Tuesday, September 05, 2023

8 Found Dead

Here are two things horror movies hate: online B&B’s and old people. This one has both, so it is highly likely several people are going to die. Just how many? Off the top of my head, I’m going to guess eight. Annoyingly, there are probably even more flashforwards and flashbacks than corpses in Travis Greene’s 8 Found Dead, which releases Friday in theaters.

The prologue is totally unfair to Jenny, because when she arrives at the desert party house, she spends hours cleaning up after the previous renters, before the slasher finally gets around to killing her. There will be more bodies, as we can tell when Greene flashes forward to two divorcing sheriff’s deputies, Blake and Bobby Miller, responding to a 9-1-1 call. However, they only count five bodies.

Presumably, whatever happened involved Richard and Liz, a weird old couple (for horror movies, that is a redundancy) who claim they have reserved the house instead of Sam the influencer and Dwayne her boyfriend. They make the same claims when the couple’s friends Carrie and Ricky finally show up several hours later—but they never mentioned having met Sam and Dwayne earlier.

Screenwriter Jonathan Buchanan’s fractured timeline is not nearly as clever or effective as Greene hopes. Frankly, it mostly comes across as a labored attempt to build misleading suspense. The film also feels like an homage/rip-off of Ti West’s
X, given the creepy hyper-sexual talk that comes out of the mouths of the scary old people. Several of the victims in this film look exponentially healthier than Richard and Liz, so there are basic physical credibility issues too, especially since their suspicious behavior should nullify the element of surprise.

Tim Simek and Rosanne Limeres definitely chew all kinds of scenery as Richard and Liz (they say they are actors, get it?), but they come on so strong, it is hard to believe anyone would stick around to enjoy their company. Conversely, the two pairs of couples are blandly forgettable. Probably the best work comes from Laura Buckles and Patrick Joseph Reiger, as the bickering Deputy Millers.

There have been so many anti-airbnb movies, you have to wonder if the New York City Council is funneling money to them, to provide propaganda cover for their restrictive policies.
The Rental and The Host are probably better, whereas 14 Cameras, Tone Deaf, and Welcome Home are at roughly the same level or worse. Either way, this vein seems to be just about mined out, yet this film promises a decades-prior prequel, much like what Pearl was to X. Skip them both. 8 Found Dead just isn’t worth your time when it releases this Friday (9/8).