Crap Film Club Review: Llamageddon
I had such high hopes, my friends, and perhaps that was my first mistake. My second and final one was sitting through this "movie." I will not take responsibility for any of the other mistakes that evening as they rest entirely on the shoulders of the film makers and those around them. CHOICES WERE MADE.
"But Sarah," you may say, "this is the Crap Film Club. You really have brought it upon yourself." And to you I say.... Well, maybe. But that doesn't mean I have to enjoy it! (Ultimately the enjoyment is watching these horrible things with others. Shared torture? I digress...)
Llamageddon at face value had put on an offer a movie about a Laser-Eye-Llama invasion. However, this was not the case.
At first we were lulled into a false sense of security with a crazy animated introduction. There was an army of marching llamas on an alien planet with a soundtrack of heavy metal. One Llama took to a horse-trailer-spaceship and launched towards the unsuspecting planet Earth. The animation reminded me of weird 80's music videos - it wasn't great but worked well enough for what it was. The title card LLAMAGEDDON filled the screen and we are all bracing ourselves, excited for the experience to come. And then the second title card crossed the screen for some reason....?
What followed was the story of two siblings, their parents separated, their grandparents (mom's side) killed (by the llama), and the party they threw the night of the funeral. The younger sibling was named Floyd, and he was nervous, dorky, socially awkward, and an unknown age (maybe a teenager? I'm guessing?). He was obviously wrecked and disturbed by the death of his grandparents. The sister was named...I don't remember. She was horrible, whiny, complained about everything, and in college/university. The mom left the two siblings at their dead grandparents' farm for the night. The sister decided to throw a party (there was a torturous amount of screen time spent cutting between her calling friends and her brother wandering aimlessly through the farm). Party happened. People died during the party because of the Llama. Dad came in and saved the day. The end.
I could write about the crap editing, the horrible acting, the worse effects, the even MORE atrocious cinematography and dialogue. I could...but I feel like that would give this movie some semblance of legitimacy. As if it even tried to accomplish any of those things, which it was clear the film makers have zero knowledge of.
What I will say is that it needed so many more scenes with the llama and about half the footage of the party (if not even less...so much less). They could've completely forgone the party all together and made it a story of two siblings fighting for their lives in a cat-and-mouse game with the Llama. Use movies like Alien, Scream, and Predator as inspiration. I think the potential is one of the things that does upset me.
However, what's even worse is the lack of llamas really compounded the themes and opinions of the film makers, making this movie not only bad and disturbing but also pretty upsetting. The main character, the nervous man-child, had sex for the first time in the film. His sister and a friend set him up with an easy girl at the party who liked virgins. After he had sex, he suddenly had confidence and was a changed man. This type of storytelling needs to die. And I really don't care if this is just a *dumb* movie, because it is, but making that a key plot point in your film should give you some pause. Sex is not a right of passage. It does not make one a man. It is not transformative or make anyone better than others. If you believe it is, you should take some time to examine your personal relationship with intimacy before you mess up all your relationships with these ideas, including your own self-esteem.
On top of ALL that, the father's entire story was just as toxic. He was introduced in a cut-away scene at the beginning that was supposed to be funny? But was disturbing as it was a very wide-angle lens of his face while having sex with a woman likely a third his age. The second scene with him was when his children called him for help - he was still in the bed with her and she gave him a bunch of cash saying something about he's going to have a few more children? I think? It was very confusing. The third scene was him driving to the farm and drinking while driving. Do the film makers think this makes him a badass? He then proceeded to take a shotgun with unlimited ammo, shoot a guy in the face (he was transformed into half-llama at the time) with little hesitation and remorse. He had a fight with the llama, almost died, killed the llama with the tractor thing, and then had a death scene with the two siblings. He didn't earn that death scene. He wasn't likeable, relateable or a badass. I bet the people who made this movie think Rick (of Rick and Morty) is the hero.
Ultimately, I hated every character in the movie except the llama.
The best acting and scene was actually from an unnamed character; a drunk girl at the party, who laid down for a nap. She got up and asked where everyone went and ultimately died as well. She was the best.
The movie was an excuse for 20-somethings to get together, have a party, and do things they thought were funny but ultimately fell flat when put to screen. I'm sure they had a great time making it, but they shouldn't ever do it again. It was a clusterfuck of ideas, tired toxic themes... and I'm going to lay a few things out for you because my brain won't let me break away from this document until I do....
Don't break the fourth wall. Only select genres and actors can pull it off. You aren't Ryan Reynolds. The story wasn't set up for this. It isn't funny.
Your stoned-out jokes and acting is old and just stupid. This isn't a stoner movie/genre. Most of those scenes could be cut.
Speaking of, WHERE THE HECK IS EVERYONE SITTING? If you cut between two couches with differernt characters but never show the full room NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THE F' IS GOING ON. Use an establishing shot, for the love of Kubrick!
Killing the majority of your extras in a hot tub is lazy storytelling.
Changing your shirt every scene was confusing and doesn't fit in with the world you've set up. It's dumb.
The wide-angled lens is part of the cinematic language you clearly don't know how to speak. Which means whatever you were trying to convey didn't come across.
The close ups of the tongues and mouths were unnecessary and added zero to the story. Same goes for the weird kissing, unnecessary sex scenes and using-film-as-an-outlet-for-sexual-frustration. It was uncomfortable and unbelievable and just...weird.
None of the characters were sympathetic. We rooted for the llama every time. In my mind, the bad guys won.
If you want to make a film, it's important to realise that the opening scenes are your thesis. They describe the mood, themes, and give the audience an idea of what to expect through the rest of the movie. This movie had no idea what it was or what it wanted to be.
I don't know why Howie Dewin decided to write and direct this pile of crap, nor his co-writer James Earl Cox III. The two of them should never work on anything ever again.
Next month, we'll be continuing our Crap Film Club with American Ninja! Come join us and I promise you, it'll be way better than this film... it has to be.