Crazy Eights (2006)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
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Six people are brought together at the funeral of a childhood friend. While settling the estate, they discover a map, which leads them on a search for a long forgotten time capsule, at the request of their dead friend. What they discover reawakens repressed childhood traumas and leads them on a journey through their long abandoned childhood home: a home with a terrible secret and a mysterious dead girl who will lead them to their strange fates. --IMDb
Dina Meyer
Dina Meyer
George Newbern
George Newbern
Traci Lords
Traci Lords
Dan De Luca
Dan De Luca
Frank Whaley
Frank Whaley
Review by Chad
Added: March 24, 2008
When I read the synopses for the movies featured in last year's incarnation of the After Dark Horrorfest, Crazy Eights was the only film that really seemed to stand out. I looked through the list and thought that "this" movie sounded alright and "that" one sounded like it had potential, but aside from today's film, none of them seemed like a must-see for one reason or another. I still haven't seen any of the others as of this writing, but if this film is any indication as to the level of quality featured in the second outing of the Horrorfest, I think that I'm just going to skip the whole lot of them.

The storyline for this one sounds great on paper (well, on this website at least), and really, that's the saddest thing about the entire affair. We begin with six former friends who have drifted apart in life - Dina Meyer, Traci Lords, Frank Whaley, Gabrielle Anwar, George Newbern, and Dan DeLuca - being called together after they learn that one of their childhood friends has died. They discover that they no longer get along with one another, but more importantly for the plot, they also discover that their now-deceased friend has left behind a final wish: he wants them all to rediscover their past, and to do so, he's left them a map that leads to a time capsule that they all put together when they were wee little lads. They all set out to find this little treasure chest as it's a fairly harmless last request, but when they find it, they make a grisly discovery: there's a dead body tucked away alongside the toys, dolls, drawings, and books. From there, we're presented with a film that mixes together elements of the supernatural horror and the psychological thriller, but in the end, it's really nothing more than a supernatural / psychological clusterfuck.

Aside from the plot, the thing that stood out the most about this film was the fact that the filmmakers put Traci Lords in one of the leading roles, and when I say "one of the leading roles", I'm not simply referring to the fact that she's one of the six main characters; this is not a minor role that she was given, as aside from Dina Meyer, she's the star of the show here. I realize that the woman left the world of porn behind some twenty years ago and that she has long-since made the transition to legit films, but it's hard to take a movie seriously when one of the leading ladies was starring in films like Hot Cum Orgy and Tailhouse Rock years before her eighteenth birthday.

However, that's far from the worst problem that plagues the film as I can easily overlook a cast member's past for about ninety minutes, and besides, Lords wasn't half bad in her role. The real problem here was the way that the filmmakers seemingly came up with a novel concept for a movie (see the above plot outline) but simply had no idea what to do with it. I hate to be particularly venomous with my words here, but it genuinely felt like some scab stole a few pages out of a real writer's notebook (again, see the above plot outline) and came up with their own half-assed method of finishing the tale.

To begin with, a fair amount of the storyline twists are spoiled for us before we're even ten minutes into the film. You see, before we even see a single frame featuring any of the cast members, we're presented with a couple of sentences detailing... well, I'll let you read it for yourself. Suffice it to say that anyone with half a brain will know that these sentences play a big part in where the film ends up going, and when it takes the characters in the film an hour to figure out what you've known since before you even saw their faces, it gets a little tedious to say the very least.

As if that wasn't bad enough, we also quickly learn that this group of friends used to be known as the "Crazy Eights" when they hung out together as kids. Wait; there's six characters here and seven when you count the one that just died, so that tallies up to just one shy of the expected eight. Where's the final member of this little gang? Again, anyone with half a brain will be able to put the pieces together long before the characters do, and any decent writer would have been able to make these clues (clues which, when combined, tell you everything you need to know about the entire plot) a whole hell of a lot more subtle.

That's not even the worst of it, as that "honor" would go to the way that things happen solely to move the story along. Let me explain that statement. You know how in most movies, we begin with a character or a set of characters, something happens to or involving said character(s), they react to it, something else happens, repeat until the credits roll? It's sort of like watching a slice of someone's life regardless of how far from reality it may be, but the writers here seemed to have missed that class when learning the rules of filmmaking. Things happen here for no reason other than to move the plot along; the characters need to discover something that is down a dark, spooky hallway? Send out a ghostly kid to lure them down there... a ghostly kid that has no other relevance to the film at hand and only pops up to serve in situations like this. The storyline isn't making much sense? Oh, well, just drop in a book for one of the characters to read out loud, a book which spells out the plot for the slower members of the audience. You may think that I'm nitpicking here, but this sort of thing happens again and again as the film rolls along, and it almost felt like a parody of the genre at times.

Finally, there are too many aspects of the story which simply don't make any sense at all. Heavy spoilers will follow, so skip this paragraph if you want to be surprised. For starters, how in the world does a basement lead into an entirely separate building? You've got this normal house which we see the inside of, the characters make their way down to the basement, and from there, they turn up in a completely different place. Did I miss something here? Then, there's the thing about expecting the audience to buy that six people have managed to repress their entire childhoods; you're telling me that not one of these six people remember the first eighteen (or however many it was) years of their lives? None of them remember that they were experimented on? None of them can recall how they met one another? I know that people can repress particularly traumatic moments of their lives, but this was pushing that notion way too far. Again, these are but a few examples of a flawed script, and viewers who choose to watch this film will be "treated" to many more including an ending which comes from out of nowhere and makes absolutely zero sense.

Avoid. There are some great set designs here, the idea driving the script had potential, and Dina Meyer is especially good in her role, but this film simply fell flat in every other way. 2/10.
George Snow #1: George Snow - added 08/19/2008, 02:49 PM
Quite possibly the worst piece of shit I've ever seen. This is a movie with a decent cast, and it just goes to show what some actors will do for money. Whoever edited this had their eyes shut the entire time. What's described in the above review is called continuity and no one cared at all about it. This movie made less sense and had more plot holes then I Know Who Killed Me.

I've seen some of the other Horrorfest Movies and they are just as bad as this.

Us Sinners is not a perfect movie, but it kicks ass compared to this garbage. And it didn't cost as much as the film makers probably spent on coffee to keep cast and crew awake while making this shit.
Dametria #2: Dametria - added 07/14/2009, 01:39 AM
Dear Jesus. I finally got arround to watching this one, yeah I know its gotten nothing but bad reviews but, I thought the plot sounded interesting. Talk about a mistake. First off, was the twist really supposed to be considered a twist when the pretty much gave it to us at the begining of the movie? Second, they did that thing I freakin HATE in horror, where the camera focuses on something else in the room while a person is being killed just out of frame. Third, alot of the "injuries" the characters suffer dont seem to be fatal. Fourth, these kids were brainwashed for the entire period of there childhoods right? So much so that they remember the head Dr as their dad..... so have they never seen or heard from their families in the 20 years since theyve been back in the real world? Fith, why the hell does the killer kid want to kill them? They tried so save her ass!

But I think the single worst thing about this film was that I couldnt figure out what the hell they were doing down there in the first place as kids! I heard maybe 2 sentances about learning guilt and apparently the creepy killer girl never got the programming. THATS the reason you have all these kids brainwashed for years in the basement of a hospital?! WEAK

SPOILER: Also, the ending was downright retarded. "Oh, the only thing that will make you happy and NOT try to kill me anymore is if I commit suicide? Okey Dokey then, if thats what it takes...."
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