Universal Pictures | Release Date: January 13, 1995
6.8
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Generally favorable reviews based on 6 Ratings
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FilipeNetoJan 16, 2022
I didn't have very high expectations for this movie, which was supposed to be, more or less, a kind of light horror for young adults and teenagers. The film was made as a follow-up to a television series, as well as two older films that I'veI didn't have very high expectations for this movie, which was supposed to be, more or less, a kind of light horror for young adults and teenagers. The film was made as a follow-up to a television series, as well as two older films that I've covered before. Unlike the previous films, which have about five short horror stories, this film sought to develop just one and make a feature film out of that. It didn't work out: despite the technical merits and a good cast and crew, the feeling that remains is that the plot has been stretched to the maximum.

In this film, we follow a single night in a decaying roadside motel where, by chance, seven people are gathered when a mysterious traveler arrives. He is Brayker, and he will try to keep a low profile until another character arrives, threatening him and unleashing a chaos that leaves everyone confined to the house. This figure, whose name we never got to know, is willing to do anything to obtain the Key, an ancient and powerful relic that Brayker carries.

As I said, the film has its merits, and it's a lot better than a lot of the crap out there... but needs a more juicy story that can sustain the length without making us feel that all could be solved in the 45 minutes of a TV episode. Another problem I felt is the religious issue: the film wants to follow a fight between good and evil, God vs. Devil etc. And assumes that Brayker's relic is indirectly linked to Jesus and the Collector is, in fact, a "high-ranking" demon. However, the name of Jesus is never mentioned, being treated simply as Carpenter, and this association is somewhat putted aside. Respect? An attempt to avoid shoving religion into the film? Maybe, but I don't think it worked out. Also, a final note to the poor use of the love subplot involving the characters Cordelia, Roach and Wally, which could have helped to offset the weakness of the main plot.

The cast is truly lavish for the kind of film it is: William Sadler was very good and competently secures the main character, but it's Billy Zane who steals all the attention with an excellent performance, full of dark humor. You can see how much he is enjoying doing his job. Jada Pinkett Smith, still far from the big hits, has also done an impeccable job here. The film also has the exquisite additions of CCH Pounder and Thomas Haden Church.

On a technical level, the film bets heavily on creating a gloomy atmosphere, wisely taking advantage of a good setting and a suitably dark cinematography, which seeks to make the best use of the light points and the framing. This works really well, but the main dish, as far as horror is concerned, is the special effects and visuals, quite gore and full of artificial blood and slime. Some scenes are explicit enough to make you forget about popcorn for a while, and the malevolent and hideous creatures that appear around here are pretty good. However, it lacks a good soundtrack that helps to wrap everything up and there are too many scenes that are too long or absolutely unnecessary, but that have passed quietly on the editing table to lengthen the film, which drags on like fresh molasses from a moment on.
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