FORGET ME NOT (2009)
Starring Carly Schroeder, Cody Linley, Brie Gabrielle, Chloe Bridges, Jillian Murray, Micah Alberti, Brittany Renee Finamore, Sean Wing, Zachary Abel, Alex Mauriello, Courtney Biggs, Joey Luthman, Sacha Edwards, Saige Ryan Campbell, Kylie Chalfa, Robby D. Bruce, Bella Thorne, Kenton Duty, Dan Gauthier, Barbara Bain and Christopher Atkins.
Screenplay by Tyler Oliver and Jamieson Stern.
Directed by Tyler Oliver.
Distributed by Phase 4 Films. 102 minutes. Rated R.
Even in the annals of stupid moves by characters in horror movies – which is a long, if not particularly distinguished list – the premise of Forget Me Not rides on a bit of a whopper.
A group of beautiful-but-stupid teens gets tired of making out, doing shots and playing truth or dare at a house party. They decide to go play a high concept version of hide and seek called “Ghost” at a local graveyard at midnight. As they are getting started with the game, a strange girl they don’t know suddenly appears over a tombstone, saying this is her favorite game and asking if she could play with them.
The kids – who have obviously never seen a horror film before – see no red flags at all about this turn of events. They say sure.
I’m sorry, but nobody – no matter how stoned or stupid they might be – is going to think that was a good idea. After all, they are in the middle of a deserted graveyard in the middle of the night, what really are the chances that someone would just happen to be there? And even on the outside chance that someone just happened to be loitering in the middle of a secluded graveyard at midnight on Saturday night, would that really be the kind of person you’d want to invite to join your group?
But, okay, fine. We’ll give Forget Me Not the benefit of the doubt on its setup.
After all, if you’re waiting for a horror film with a realistic set up, you will grow old and bitter long before finishing your quest.
It turns out – no great shock – that there is something supernaturally wrong with the new group member. As the game is winding down, she goes up to the lead character Sandy (Carly Schroeder) and asks her if Sandy remembers her. Sandy says no. The new girl says, “You will,” and jumps off a cliff.
No body is found when the police come, and everyone starts to think that Sandy made the whole thing up. Everyone decides to go on with their lives, but suddenly, one by one, the gang is attacked and killed by a shambling, angry ghost. The ghosts are definitely of the Japanese film variety, instead of gracefully floating like American ghosts do, these spirits move in awkward, non-rhythmic herky-jerky gestures which almost makes them look like a homicidal variation of the crowd at a Grateful Dead show. I wish I could say it made them scary, but honestly it made them look kind of silly, like they were popping and locking while trying to kill people.
The killings in Forget Me Not are rather novel in one way. Once a character is murdered, they are literally erased from history. No one remembers them other than our heroine. This brings up an interesting philosophical conundrum for the viewer: if people are being murdered, but no one else realizes that they ever existed, are they really dead? And if they are really dead but no one knows that they were ever alive, should anyone really feel the need mourn their deaths?
Of course, we’d get a lot more worked up about the deaths if the characters weren’t such slimy, unlikable jerks. In general, the guys are assholes and the girls are whores, with the exception of Sandy and her shy, virginal brother.
It’s not a complete exception, though, Sandy is supposed to be the nice, pure girl, but still when she describes a childhood variation of the “ghost” game, even she does it with the charming explanation, “I didn’t know if I was going to have a heart attack or if I was going to have an orgasm.” So, nice and pure, it appears, is a relative term.
As her friends meet violent and sudden deaths and become recruited into an uncoordinated army of the dead, Sandy eventually realizes that she did know the mysterious girl years before. When she was in junior high, she befriended a high-strung local girl. Sandy and her friends played a practical joke on her one night, and apparently she is the type to hold a big grudge.
However, by the time Sandy figures out what is going on, everybody thinks she is crazy because she keeps going on about these murdered friends that no one has ever heard of.
In the meantime, old school actors Christopher Atkins (The Blue Lagoon, Dallas) and Barbara Bain (Mission: Impossible) show up briefly as Sandy’s father and the Mother Superior at an orphanage and over-emote for a rare chance at an acting paycheck.
This all leads to a pretty standard showdown between Sandy and the forces of evil in a shockingly deserted hospital. (When they arrive it is full of doctors and patients, but later no one is in the halls or any of the rooms.)
I’ll even give Forget Me Not the credit that it kind of has a decent (if not completely shocking) final twist. Too bad most of the movie leading up to it never quite deserves its payoff.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2011 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: May 6, 2011.