**THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS IF YOU ARE AN IDIOT**
A documentary about a man trying to finish a horror film that was made in the ’80s? It’s an 18? Well he’s clearly going to go insane and kill someone then. Just from reading the blurb on the back of this film (or even just looking at the front cover), you know exactly what will happen in this film. It’s like if “Super Size Me” was an 18 – you’d know that Morgan Spurlock would end up going insane and shoving loads of burgers down people’s throats or getting naked and jumping out on people with a burger stuck on his cock. It’s been done before (well not the whole burger-knob thing), many times – “Man Bites Dog”, “Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon”, “Diary of a Bad Lad”, “I’m Going To Film This Serial Killer For A Student Project But Because I’m Insane I’m Going To Start Killing People Too” – and although it may have been original once, it’s same old same old nowadays.
Still, I’ll always give them a chance – “Leslie Vernon” was fantastic – so I popped “Resurrecting the Streetwalker” into my DVD player to give it the benefit of the doubt. Here’s how it went:
5 mins in: This is actually quite interesting, they’re talking about Video Nasties – I quite like them.
10 mins in: They’re not talking about Video Nasties anymore, and we’ve been introduced to some solemn looking man talking about a man called James Parker. I reckon James Parker’s done something bad.
20 mins in: This is actually quite interesting, they’re talking about being an intern – I’m an intern – I quite like this.
40 mins in: This is quite boring.
50 mins in: Boring.
70 mins in: Oh he’s gone insane. Turns out I didn’t need to watch any of this.
That’s pretty much it. And even though I knew what was going to happen, it didn’t necessarily mean that I couldn’t like it. But it’s just not a very good film, and so the obvious plot coupled with the fact that it’s pretty boring combined to make a rather unpleasant movie experience overall.
The main problem is that nothing happens. So much of it is concerned with talking heads and something that I think is called ‘foreboding’, that it neglects to realise that THINGS HAVE TO HAPPEN in order to hold an audience. It’s even worse when you know what’s going to happen as you spend the entire film waiting for that very thing to occur; and when it’s a let-down-Sally, it’s a double punch in the face of watchability.
The other main problem is that it pertains to be a real documentary. Now, for it to be taken seriously as real life, the acting has to be spot-on by the whole cast and unfortunately this is not the case; thus believability is flushed down the bog along with a giant credibility turd. It’s not terrible by any means (and some cast members are actually rather good – particularly James Powell as the central nutjob), but it all comes unstuck when attempts at realism actually cause a verfremdungseffekt (BAM!), by alerting the viewer to the fact that it’s all a big, fake lie. For example, there’s a bit where James’ mate is showing the camera a horrible scene of violence on his laptop. He sets up the laptop, selects the video and presses play – this man is a master of laptops. Then when he’s had enough of the disturbing sequence, he pulls a funny face and asks the cameraman, “How do you shut this off?” “WELL, CONSIDERING YOU KNEW HOW TO TURN THE DAMN THING ON AND PRESS PLAY, I ASSUME YOU’D FUCKING KNOW HOW TO PRESS STOP YOU MORON” the cameraman doesn’t reply. It’s these over-thought and forced efforts to appear lifelike that ultimately cause the film to fail.
Also, the titular ’80s horror film is a load of old codswallop. It’s meant to look as though it was made at that time, so it’s shot in black and white for some reason. Plus everyone is wearing ’80s’ fashion (hint: they’re not) and the whole thing looks just as modern as the documentary that surrounds it – save for one woman who does look like she’s just stepped out of a Human League music video. To make it truly believable, so much more should have been done to make this appear as though it was from the decade that taste forgot – for a silly wig and a leather jacket do not the ’80s make.
Finally, we have the “Cloverfield” effect – why keep filming when everything around you is in chaos? There’s a bit where the cameraman ‘quits’ and storms out of the room – but he leaves the camera on, and in a nice position so it can still film what’s going on. I don’t buy it. Saying this, they do at least include various reasons as to why he would want to keep filming (he’s also making a documentary) but it’s still a little unbelievable – although nothing akin to filming your mates eaten alive by zombies or making sure you get a nice shot while you’re climbing between two skyscrapers as a giant fuck-off mosquito is trying to kill you.
Still, it’s not that bad. There’s clearly been a great deal of thought (sometimes a little too much) and endeavour behind the whole project, and any filmmaker should always be applauded for trying something left-of-the-mainstream with a small budget. All the on-screen cast clearly give it their all, and mostly they succeed, but as I’ve said before it’s James Powell who steals the show – by making sure he treads the thin line between nutcase and NAAAAAAATCAAAAAASSSEE with relative concentration – I’m sure he’ll be one to watch.
Overall, I wouldn’t recommend “Resurrecting the Streetwalker” to any of my friends, as there’s no giant robots, no martial arts, and no explosions. But there is a really funny bit where James throws a drink all over the most annoying character, so it might be worth a watch just for that. Or maybe if you just like this sort of thing.
“Resurrecting the Streetwalker” is out on Region 2 DVD on 28th June from Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment
Ozgur Uyanik (director) / Ozgur Uyanik (screenplay)
CAST: Tom Shaw … Marcus
Gregory Duke … JC
Joanne Ferguson … Joanne
Pinar Ögün … Rosa
Gloria Onitiri … Jackie