Return to Sender
Throwing caution to the winds, as they say, I've decided to share my recent telephone conversation about The Return with ReelTalk visitors, so please read on.
Rogue Pictures: Thank you for calling the Rogue Pictures Customer Service line. My name is Cindy. How may I help you?
A.J. Hakari: Hi, Cindy, my name's A.J. Hakari, and I'm a movie critic for ReelTalk Reviews.
Rogue: Oh, yes, Mr. Hakari, we received your fan letters about Shaun of the Dead and Unleashed. Which of our latest films have you enjoyed?
Hakari: Sorry to disappoint you, Cindy, but I just got back from your new thriller The Return, and I want to punch -- err, I mean, uh, express my frustrations about the film.
Rogue: Okay. However, let me take care of some frequently asked questions right off the bat. Are you sure you didn't see a different film instead? We've found that customers often confuse The Return with The Grudge.
Hakari: No way, Cindy. I'm sure I saw the right movie. The Grudge was much better than this -- and it turned out to be real stinker! So let's get back to The Return. It's dull as dishwater, stupid, plotless...
Rogue: Oh, come now, Mr. Hakari, The Return has a perfectly fine plot featuring Sarah Michelle Gellar as a restless career woman drawn to a spooky Texas town by supernatural visions.
Hakari: You call that a premise? To me, that's just Buffy the Vampire Slayer wandering around the middle of nowhere for an hour and a half. And when something does happen, none of it makes any sense. Supporting characters pop up out of thin air and disappear just as quickly; the twists are obvious from the get-go; and the story's laughable resolution was completely botched. If I didn't know they were gone, I'd think the Three Stooges slapped this script together!
Rogue: Mr. Hakari, I have to ask you to please calm down...
Hakari: Calm down? How can I do that when everything about The Return made my blood boil. The director's habit of throwing in random half-zooms? The shoddy character development? Sam Shepard's wasted performance? And how about that title: The Return? I can see it now: "And the winner for Least Scary Horror Movie Title Since The Maid goes to..."
Rogue: Well, Mr. Hakari, if you're expecting a refund, I'm afraid all admission charges are final.
Hakari: Right! But what I really want returned is the time I wasted watching this mess of a movie.
Rogue: If you can't say anything nice, you shouldn't say anything at all. I'm hanging up, Mr. Hakari.
Hakari: Hello? Hello?! Cindy? Hmm. Guess I'll have to cross Rogue Pictures off my list. Now, I wonder what Uwe Boll is up to...
MY RATING: * (out of ****)
(Released by Rogue Pictures and rated "PG-13" for violence, terror and disturbing images.)