Stitch (not to be confused with Stitches, the delightful Irish Horror/Comedy featuring a horny, foul-mouthed, back-from-the-dead killer clown) is a hallucinatory nightmare odyssey. Written and directed by the single-monikered filmmaker Ajai, Stitch stars Shawna Waldron, Laurence Mason, Shirly Brener, and Edward Furlong (T:2, American History X)
Check out my review after the jump.
Official Synopsis: Stitch follows the story of grieving parents as they cope with the loss of their young daughter. At the height of their desperation, they turn to their best friends for healing advice, who lead them into the deep desert for a weekend ritual meant to burn away emotional baggage. Unfortunately, the amateur ritual goes awry and cosmic forces are unleashed, revealing something sinister ravaging each person with a progression of gruesome, medieval surgical scars. As the stitches rip skin and tear apart relationships, a battle for survival ensues, forcing the couples to come to terms with loss, betrayal, love and hope.
Stitch does its damndest to set a sinister mood, kicking off with a collage of sounds and imagery: A funeral, a solar eclipse, a bleached white cow’s skull… all to the soundtrack of apocalyptic horns and choral chanting mixed with ethnic arias. It’s intriguing to say the least but, unfortunately, Stich is a difficult movie to take seriously. The featured 4-some takes an off-road pilgrimage to a mansion in the middle of a desert playa. It’s an unlikely structure, totally off the grid yet somehow fully functional, complete with electricity and running water. There is an ominous metal door in the basement that seems to contain some unknown terror.
Pirino (Laurence Mason) is a wannabe spiritual guru anxious to perform a new-age healing ritual to soothe his heartbroken homies. There’s a definite Burning Man/Black Rock City vibe which the filmmakers may or may not have been going for. Either way, it’s totally hippy-dippy and reminiscent of a college LSD party (and the rest of the film certainly feels like an epic “bad trip”). But you’ve just got to shake your head and groan when the group begins to chant endlessly in unison: “I—CALL—DEATH. I—CALL—DEATH”. You don’t have to be a Horror aficionado to realize what a bone-head maneuver this is. There’s a reason you don’t play with Ouija Boards in haunted houses, a reason you don’t say “Bloody Mary” 3 times in front of a dark mirror—and a reason you don’t invoke Death! Come on, people!
From this point forward, Stitch makes no attempt to ground itself in reality. What follows is a long, disjointed, confusing, and sometimes boring metaphorical journey through death and rebirth. When the shit hits the fan, all masks are dropped, all secrets are revealed, and each character is tormented by a malicious and nebulous entity. It’s not just the storytelling that’s sub-par; the characters are all shallow, 2-dimensional, and just plain unlikable.
Stitch is a completely mixed bag. The special-effects budget must have been astronomical because everything looks amazing. But the story just doesn’t hold up and no amount of CGI trickery can disguise the fact that Stitch is a hot mess. Director Ajai may have been overly ambitious, creating a film that touches on too many different metaphysical possibilities while finally settling on a rather bland conclusion. Or perhaps Stitch is the unfortunate result of creative group-think; too many cooks in the kitchen, each determined to add his particular spice, creating a meal that looks great but tastes inedible. Even the titular “stitching” the characters suffer seems tacked on and out of place. Whatever message the filmmakers meant to portray with the stitches is lost in the psychedelic hodgepodge of disjointed images and ideas. Creepy animated dolls, quantum physics, parallel universes, split-second flashbacks—give me a break!
Look, if you’re going to make an FX-driven film, best to keep the plot simple and straightforward.
Stitch completely fucks itself in the 3rd Act as the characters squabble to resolve personal issues that seem rather petty when compared to the apocalyptic nightmare threatening to destroy them all. I don’t usually take cheap shots, but it was a definite mistake having Edward Furlong take off his shirt (the skinny kid from T:2 has not aged gracefully). The final reveal feels like a watered down rehashing of Jacob’s Ladder that lacks intelligence, believability, and balls.
Stitch is one of those movies (usually Sci-Fi offerings) that looks great but totally sucks (like After Earth, Skyline, or John Carter). I don’t think it’s an accident that Stitch isn’t even listed in Edward Furlong’s filmography on his Wikipedia page. Only The FX crewmembers have any reason to be proud.
1 out of 5 Skull Heads.
|Release Date||February 11 2014|
|Starring||Edward Furlong, Shawna Waldron, Laurence Mason, Shirly Brener|