Mar 25, 2011

DVD Review: Patrol Men [18]

Dir: David Campion / Ben Simpson
Making films is hard, and when two people manage to gather the will and the money to, fresh out of university, make a feature off their own backs, and then get it released, you have to give them some credit. Sadly, that is all the credit I can give co-writers and co-directors David Campion and Ben Simpson for Patrol Men, which is so inept at every level that it makes Ed Wood look like Martin Scorsese.

It's set on a small island just off the British Isles, where there has been a curfew in force - enforced by the titular gas mask sporting 2x4 wielding nutters - for 30 years, following a brutal murder on the island. All Campion and Simpson have done here is taken bits of (much) better films and jammed them together. The setting recalls The Wicker Man, the look of the Patrol Men is a lift from Dead Man's Shoes, the boogeyman looks exactly like one of The Strangers, and his backstory is a lift of Michael Myers' backstory (yeah, cause no horror fan is ever going to spot that). There are more, but itemising them would take more space than I have here, on the internet.

The film is ineptly made. It looks as though it was shot with a Hi8 camera, through a filter made of a used teabag. The lighting is appalling and the shot design suggests that angles were decided by rolling dice or (more likely) simply plonking the camera down in the first convenient spot. If the filmmaking is poor, the acting is an abomination, an offence against all good movie loving people. It ranges from lifeless (star Chloe Van Ark's scenes with the actor playing her father are like watching two people slip into comas) to the relentlessly overblown (Jonathan Hansler as the Lord Summersile style mayor). There's no sense of a consistent tone, no signal that the directors had anything specific in mind about how to tell this (stupid, derivative, boring and confusing) story.

Even the violent scenes are terrible. For the most part the Patrol Men do nothing but stand around looking 'menacing', and then when they finally get around to doing something the choreography and filming are beyond shoddy and the blood looks hilariously awful, as if the directors took Alfred Hitchcock's tip about using chocolate sauce to heart and just forgot they were shooting in colour.

Patrol Men is an embarrassment, it may be an achievement to make and release a film, but really, I wish Campion and Simpson hadn't bothered. The only way you might enjoy this (and even this is a stretch) is as an MST3K film.