Who's In It: Max Thieriot, John Magaro, Denzel Whitaker, Zena Grey, Nick Lashaway, Paulina Olszynski, Jeremy Chu, Emily Meade, Raul Esparza, Jessica Hecht, Frank Grillo
The Basics: A small-town serial killer known as the Riverton Ripper dies at the same time that seven women in town give premature birth. Sixteen years later the Ripper is back on the Riverton Seven's collective birthday and he's killing them off one by one. Now, there's a legend of the Ripper that involves a lot of contractual clauses that make the Ripper's return contingent on a set of highly specific scenarios, none of which seem to be in effect for this particular round of slashings. And the main kid, a young boy, might actually be the Ripper because the Ripper's soul is inside him now. Or maybe he's just mentally ill. Whatever his problem is, every time one of the other teens dies their soul enters the main kid and he starts talking in their voice. That gets kind of funny when he uses the girls' voices.
What's The Deal: They're using Wes Craven's name in a major way to sell this thing. That's because you hear that name and immediately think of great movies like Scream and A Nightmare on Elm Street. Horror nerds will feel obligated to see it. And they will be bored. The rest of you will be bored too. The complexity of the story turns into a mush of confusion, the kids spend all their time running around in the woods and on the local railroad tracks, so you never really know where anyone is (it also makes it seem like the town has no roads or sidewalks that people ever feel like using) and there's not one moment of suspense or fear to be felt at all. As usual, you wind up thinking the killer is more or less justified in taking these irritating children out of the picture, even though the movie never tells you why he's doing that either.
What It Steals From: Two guesses. If it were scary or tense the obvious references to its creator's greatest successes would feel like cool shout-outs to himself. But in an atmosphere where everyone in front of and behind the camera look and feel like they're lifting the heaviest, least horrifying ton of bricks invented, the obvious, derivative echoes of Elm Street and Scream just weigh it down more.
But Is It Gory, You Ask: Not enough. And it's not like I'm going to recommend the brutally blood-and-guts-and-torture-filled, yet pointless, remake of I Spit on Your Grave as an alternative. Sadder still, they removed the extremely gross and totally fun Hatchet II from theaters already. Which leaves Chain Letter. And Chain Letter is even worse than this. Look, have you seen Secretariat? It's a nice movie about a lady and a horse. No one gets their face sliced off, but you can't have everything.
3 Duhmensions Of Nothing: I'm just going to say this over and over and over until other people join me in the chorus of protest, but unless you're Avatar and taking the technology to a new level of artful use or employing it as a sleazy gimmick to throw a lot of gnarly stuff at the audience's face like Piranha 3D, then you're just trying to squeeze a couple more bucks out of the ticket price and you've just injured your audience on top of insulting them.