Wednesday, October 7, 2015

In short: Bad Karma (2002)

Mental patient Maureen Hatcher (Patsy Kensit), violently breaks out of her cosy little hospital to finally get the opportunity for a decent get-together with her psychiatrist Dr Trey Campbell (Patrick Muldoon). You see, ever since she was kidnapped and tortured by a guy who thought he was the reincarnation of a victim of Jack the Ripper, Maureen has been convinced she is the reincarnation of Jack’s girlfriend and partner Agnes. And Trey for his part is of course supposed to be the unwitting reincarnation of Jack himself.

So off Maureen goes to the island where Trey and his family (Amy Locane and Aimee O’Sullivan) are on vacation to do a bit of psycho killing and family threatening to awaken the spirit of her beloved.

Now if you think all this does sound rather stupid, you really haven’t seen veteran director John Hough’s embarrassing presentation. It’s Hough’s final movie, and one can’t help but think it would have been less cosmically horrifying if the poor guy could have ended on a slightly less crappy note, like an episode of a soap opera or something. As the film stands, Hough – a man whose films I disliked more often than not but who clearly had all the basic competences of a filmmaker – directs the thing like a particularly bad TV movie, with no suggestion of a sense of atmosphere, going through the usual motions of the serial killer thriller without conviction or interest, adding some mild and boring sleaze to it while this long-suffering viewer can barely keep his eyes open. Not that there is much to see, mind you.

Hough’s non-efforts are further dragged into nothingness by a particularly stupid script with dialogue which finds that difficult to reach place where the insipid meets puffed up self-importance.

The only good thing about this is Patsy Kensit’s performance (how often do you expect to read that sentence anywhere?). Kensit is cheesing it up quite enthusiastically, making absurd crazy-faces, and putting extra emphasis on the most stupid parts of the dialogue, excellently wallowing in all that is wrong with the movie. Too bad the rest of the cast is so wooden and drab, because if they had been playing up the absurdity of the affair this much, too, Bad Karma might still have become an entertaining bit of nonsense, instead of the boring bit of nonsense it turned out to be.

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