The Frankenstein Theory
From the makers of The Last Exorcism comes a boldly original vision of horror. What if the most chilling novel of all time was actually based on a true account of a horrific experiment gone awry? When he is suspended from his university job for his outlandish ideas, Professor John Venkenheim leads a documentary film crew to the rim of the Arctic Circle in a desperate effort to vindicate his academic reputation. His theory: Mary Shelley's ghastly story, "Frankenstein," is, in fact, a work of non-fiction disguised as fantasy. In the vast, frozen wilderness, Venkenheim and his team search for the legendary monster, a creature mired in mystery and drenched in blood. What they find is an unspeakable truth more terrifying than any fiction...a nightmare from which there is no waking.
I’m sure you all remember “The Last Exorcism Part 2” releasing in theaters. What you might not be aware of is on that very same opening weekend, “The Frankenstein Theory” also released – from the same people that made “The Last Exorcism”. It makes sense that a lot of you missed this one considering there was little to no public advertising for this movie, and the biggest star in the whole film is some guy that played an unimportant role in “Final Destination 3”. However softly they tried to tread under the radar, no horror-ble movie can hide from my review.
The bulk of the film takes place in Canada, where a descendant of Dr. Frankenstein has hired a film crew to follow him into the snowy Canadian mountains in search of the long-lost monster of Frankenstein. In spite of a failed relationship and a steady flow of dead bodies piling up during the search, the young, eccentric descendant holds firm in his cause – to be face to face with the monster. Of course, once you are, what then… ?
Excruciatingly slow build-up. Halfway through the movie, I forgot I was watching a horror film and instead was admiring the beautiful scenery of the Canadian mountains. Granted, a lot of time is spent on character development of the main character and the film crew, but at least the build-up in “The Last Exorcism” was creepy. This is just… childish bickering. I remember one random scene where they almost run over some poor guy. It doesn’t have anything to do with the story; I’m assuming it was supposed to be “jumpy” or something.
Everyone is killed off-camera! The most annoying part of the movie is the fact that we don’t get to see Frankenstein kill anyone! What the hell?! Let’s call it what it should be – a slasher movie. The monster goes around killing people, just as the killer does in any slasher film, but everything happens off-camera coupled with cheesy sound effects of the actors getting ripped apart. Imagine the original “Halloween” movie except every time Michael Meyers went to stab someone, the camera cut away. Imagine the original “Nightmare On Elm Street” without getting to see anyone actually get killed. People might claim this was done for suspense, but we all know this was done to keep the movie cheap. Which brings me to my next topic…
No excuse for such a low budget. We are talking about the people that made 40 million dollars just in the United States from “The Last Exorcism”. Normally, I wouldn’t complain about budget in a movie shot entirely from handheld cameras, but we are talking about Frankenstein here – a grotesque monster created from the parts of different humans and animals. Give me something, anything that resembles the Frankenstein’s monster that I remember. No. Instead we get a really tall actor wearing a fur coat. Oooh… spooky…
It’s like “The Blair Witch Project” meets “Quarantine”. Toward the end of the film, three characters are left alive as they watch the monster ransack their tiny cabin. The scene is shot entirely in night vision on a handheld camera. All you see is blurred images of scenery as these idiots run around. One shot I remember in particular is when the cameraman is looking at the monster from a distance, when for no reason he turns the camera away, and upon returning to the monster – he’s now gone. All right. If I was looking at Frankenstein’s monster, I would not point the camera in any direction except at the monster. No one would. It’s unbelievable. It’s predictable. Of course the monster is now gone. Everyone knows Frankenstein’s monster is known for being a light-footed sprinter, right? Give me a break.
There’s a reason no one has tried to make any more Frankenstein movies. It’s a concept that’s too outlandish to fit in modern horror. Vampires and werewolves have been softened into damn love stories, and I’m sorry to say that the ones that try to be horror only come off as corny and played-out. Zombies have survived in horror over the years because people know what to expect in a zombie movie – gore and action. Frankenstein is a giant man-made monster that kills people, which would fit perfectly into a gory action movie – not a quiet, suspenseful thriller. Once the filmmakers understand that, I’m more than willing to give another Frankenstein movie a fair review.
In closing, the acting is actually pretty decent in this film, and if anyone else had made it I would suggest giving it a watch at least once, but the fact that it was made by the same people who brought us “The Last Exorcism” really sets the bar high and really lets you down.
Cheers and goodnight.
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