In case you hadn’t noticed, I watch a lot of Horror movies. The advantage of this high consumption is that I often find underrated gems or sleeper hits that I can’t wait to write about and rally behind. The downside is that I inevitably sit down to film with high hopes only to discover I’ve picked a dud.
Crossland in an English horrible movie—I mean, HORROR movie, written and directed by Mumtaz Yildirmlar
Read my review after the jump.
Official Synopsis: A young jogger named Jason is out doing what he loves, running cross- country. Unknown to him, the runner trespasses into a private property, and is soon lured into a self-sense of security. What seemed like a routine run in the countryside, turns into a heart-pounding nightmare. Fear will run its course. Will Jason ever escape to tell the story?
Ok, did anyone else do a double take when they read that synopsis? Jason gets “lured into a self-sense of security”. A “self-sense of security”? What that hell does that mean? Was that supposed to read “false sense of security” or “automated security system”? Lest you think this was just some typo on IMDB, this is the word-for-word description of the film that also appears on the back of the DVD. Whatever.
If you’re wondering why I picked out Crossland in the first place, especially with such an awkward synopsis, well, I’ll blame Amazon for this one. The summary there is definitely more intriguing:
A jogger named Jason trespasses into private property in the countryside. He is running through the forest as a huge log falls directly in front of him. He looks up and wonders how this could have happened. There is no explanation for it and he continues to jog, cautiously. Another log falls behind him. He begins to panic. He can hear bushes rustling in the distance. He stops to listen. The rustling gets louder, closer. He runs off dropping his water bottle. He exits the forest into a cornfield. He catches his breath. Suddenly, another jogger named Nicole rushes out to join him. They observe each other curiously. They establish that something was chasing them but they couldn’t see what it was. They agree to go back into the forest to find out what it was. Something shocking happens to Nicole and Jason runs off afraid. Jason is lost as he keeps running around in circles. A rusty looking Land Rover appears from the distance. Jason runs in front of it in hope to stop it. The Land Rover comes to a stop. Jason approaches the driver door and sees a female behind the wheel. She is clearly a farmer. She is wearing a dirty old hat and her eye is seriously scared. He explains that Nicole is in trouble. She observes him, freakishly. She asks him to get in.
Sounds pretty cool, right? So even though there wasn’t a single customer review, I was intrigued enough to give Crossland a spin. I should have know from the get-get go that I’d been duped. The “huge log” that falls in Jason’s path could easily fit in a fireplace. More like a branch. It was pretty silly, actually.
Crossland is a disaster of poorly written material and bad acting. The character motivations seem to fluctuate wildly throughout the film. Jason is brave, then he’s a coward, then he’s brave again. Nicole is a victim, then a villain, then a victim again; she wants to be rescued, then she wants to kill, then she wants to get fucked. The antagonists’ motivations are far fetch and nebulous; they seem to enjoy luring and hunting unsuspecting joggers and hikers to their deaths, sort of along the lines of The Most Dangerous Game.
The action goes something like this: Let’s run away from the house. Now let’s run back to the house. Now let’s run away again. Now we should wait. Now we’ve got to hurry. Now we should wait again…
Jason’s inability to find his way out of a fairly small parcel of land seems for a moment supernatural, like he’s stuck in limbo perhaps. It’s later revealed that he’s just too dim to find a way out because “it all looks the same in the country”.
Jason’s car ride with Tape-Face (aka Helen played by Lucy French) is slightly David Lynchian, which gave me hope. But like everything else in Crossland, this scene goes nowhere. Attempts to create a Texas Chainsaw Massacre vibe fail.
The only interesting part of the film comes in the Third Act when Tape-Face reveals her truest motivation for killing hikers and joggers. There may be a thrill to the hunt, but mostly, she just hates trespassers. I mean, she really REALLY hates trespassers. She launches into this emotional diatribe about entitlement and right to privacy. As she meanders it dawns on me: This scene is clearly improvised—and the actress is clearly drunk. I kid you not: Unquestionably, ridiculously loaded. At this point, I’m actually slightly amused wondering if perhaps Crossland is one of those “so bad it’s good” films.
But it’s not.
The Third Act also includes a couple brand new bad guys whose appearance is so late and out of place it brings the final 15 minutes to a befuddled crawl.
So except for Lucy’s monologue, Crossland is a waste of time that feels like it was made up as they went along. While it clocks in under 80 minutes, it feels like hours.
I guess amassing vast Horror movie knowledge means I’m bound to suffer through a flop from time to time. But it’s worth the risk.
1 out of 5 Skull Heads.