The Next Day: The Tapes Edition

Welcome to the first installment of a new feature here at TheAvod: The Next Day! What is the purpose of this feature, you ask? Simple - as I'm sure most cineastes are aware, horror movies only have one ending - the monster gets away - despite the fact that studies have conclusively proven that everyone hates open-ended horror movies. The plague of open-endedness went so far as to drive producers to alter the TV version of 'The Thing', adding a blatant 'the monster gets away' ending to the film's famous ambiguous one.

This assumption that all horror films must be so rigidly formulaic has caused the people who make them to grow incredibly lazy when constructing their narratives, ending every film by tacking on the 'and then the killer got away with it' resolution even when the facts presented in the film in no way allow for the possibility of that happening.

The ridiculous part is that there's no need for this ending - if a situation with believable characters is crafted with enough skill, it's scary enough when they wind up getting killed by a monster. The experience of watching that happen is what people go to horror movies for - not to have the filmmaker - at the supposed 'end' of the story - announce "And the creature is still out there... maybe standing right behind you... right now!" It's as if somehow William Castle became the template for every horror filmmaker's career.

So the methodology of this feature is as follows: I establish the facts of the plot, relate the film's ending, and then explain what would have logically happened next - despite the film's claims or implications.

Now our Inaugural Film: The Tapes!

This found-footage movie concerns a trio of young people who ran afoul of a satanic cult one cold winter's night in rural England. According to the film, the police discovered some video cameras along with the corpses at the scene of a brutal murder, and the majority of the film's running time is the footage from those cameras, edited to form a narrative.

The basic premise of the film is crucially flawed, since, in attempting to explain the central logic leap of every 'found footage' movie (if this is real, why am I allowed to watch it?), the movie has the police explain that they in no way approve of the release of the film's footage to the viewing public-

But then the film goes on to say that the families of the victims have approved the filmmakers' work, hoping that it will help in the case.

Here's the problem, though - why are the families in a position to make that decision? The footage was found by the police, and is evidence (really good evidence - I'll get to that in a moment) in an ongoing police investigation. At the end of the film we discover that while the two men were killed, the woman was kidnapped, and hasn't been heard from since. So why would they be turning the tapes over to anyone, let alone the family?

Which brings us to the film's most implausible conceit - that the killers could have escaped at all. Here is some of the footage that the killers left for the police to find.

The clearly-visible faces of four of the killers.

Easily-readable license plates of the cars the killers arrived in. RE53 TFX, HJ54 SVD - there, cops, I've just solved your case for you.

Armed with that information, how could the police have gone two years without any leads or suspects? One of the killers is shown to work in a local business, another is said to own a farm outside of town. How could the police not immediately have their names and clues about how to find them?

The strangest part is that the killers are basically asking to be caught, as they not only take the time after the murders to film a 'statement of purpose' involving the kidnapped woman reading a script-

-but they also edit the camera footage from the middle of the movie to include single frames-

From the later scenes when they capture the amateur documentarians who'd been filming their Satanic rite.

The only logical outcome of this series of events is that the four known killers were caught literally hours after the tapes were discovered - the only remaining question is whether they revealed the identities of their compatriots or not.

Also, it's kind of unfortunate that for the one of the purportedly 'scary' animal heads the killers wear they elected to use the 'creepy horse mask' that the internet is so fond of making jokes about. Kind of undercuts the effect.

Although that is creepy outside the context of the movie.

1 comment:

BedazzledCrone said...

isn't that a new feature at the Castle!!!