Thursday, 23 October 2014

IMDb Bottom 100 Review – Number 68 Nine Lives

When a film proudly displays Paris Hilton right there on the cover, you just know you're in for a treat. Sure she has some skill being a socialite and marketing herself, but I still fail to see how that somehow makes people think she should also be in movies. But she is, and I'm going to have to come to terms with that. Even evil spirits or haunted Scottish mansions can't conceal the fact, that Paris Hilton is a thing that exists in the confines of this particular piece of cinema. So we might as well get to it. Put your clapping devices together in a rhythmic fashion for...


Most of the 8 dead people in this movie were killed by, in my medical opinion, relatively harmless stab woulds like this. That's like 2 inches of blade in the gut? Who hasn't tried that and lived to tell the tale?

Nine Lives (2002)

So let's just get the following sentiment out of the way right from the get go. I watched this movie and was somewhat entertained didn't want to immediately end my own life. I'm obviously not going to go so far as to say it was a good movie, because it most certainly wasn't. But as far as movies on this list go, it was the cinematic equivalent to hearing the Beatles for the first time if all four members had been replaced by Justin Bieber impersonators. I didn't want to gouge out my own eyes or accidentally trip and land jugular-first on a rake because the production value of this flick was slightly better than I'm used to, and while the acting sucked bad, and every action taken by any character was mindnumbingly stupid, the plot kind of made sense. I guess this can be attributed mostly to the fact, that 80% of the movie was just people running around a house. Doesn't take a Pullitzer Prize winner to come up with a plot that intricate. For some reason, however, I let that slide and contended myself to just scoff a lot, and roll my eyes so much I might've sprained an eyeball, at the actors and the horrible dialogue. The plot, while supremely simplistic, made sense. None of the lines spoken by anybody did. But I wasn't enraged by it. Like I normally would be (Simon Sez – characters, Baby Geniuses – story, Barney's Great Adventure – concept, Troll 2 – everything). I don't know what to make of this. Perhaps I'm desensitized at this point. Scary thought. I should call my shrink.

Paris! In the mansion! And super obnoxious from A to Z and then some. I don't know if she understood she was in a movie, or if she just thought it was a dinner party with friends. 

Before I do that, however, let's wrap this review up. So nine school friends, 8 of which are British and 1 of which is Paris Hilton, are invited up to a mansion in the remote Scottish flatlands. Precise location is not specified, but in the long shots there are no mountains or even hills nearby, so I'm guessing highlands are out of the question. It's Scotland anyway, deal with it. As soon as they are inside the mansion, which is one of the best things about this movie, Paris is bitching. I don't know if this is supposed to be meta, because she jokes about not being a socialite just because she's been in two magazines. I don't know if she knows. Or if she knows what meta means. Anyway, the 9 people unpack and have dinner. We're treated to an exceptionally boring dinner scene followed by an equally boring post-drinner drinks scene. Two characters discuss existentialism, poorly, and seem to confused it with solipsism. The dialogue is poorly written and poorly acted, so it's really pointless to try and make sense of it. During the drinks the most douchey of the nine, a guy who coincidentally is also the one dating Paris, experiences visions in the bathroom. The group splits up and decides to head to bed. Mr. Douche and the kid who owns the mansion stays behind in the library. Here Dr. Douche finds a mystical book that immediately curses him. We have ourselves a movie.

This guy. I couldn't stop thinking of Seth McFarlane when he was on screen. I don't know if that speaks for or against this film.

This sets off a seemingly unending string of poor decision making in all the remaining 8 characters. The curse makes Prof. Douche kill. And here's the best part: if he's killed, the curse passes to whoever kills him effectively keeping it going in perpetuity. That's unfortunate. Because how the hell can they stop that? Well Paris is quickly out of the running, because her cursed boyfriend stab her right off the bat. I'm arguing that he might not actually have been cursed at that point in time, but I digress. It's as good an excuse as any. People decide to split up left and right, so there's a lot of knocking on the locked library door and not letting people back in. Because existentialism/solipsism, right? Yes, correct. Throwback to the conversation (I knew it was too specific to not have a meaning) from earlier: How do we know anything is what we think it is? How do we know anything is real? How do we know that anything outside our own pathetic puny fluff infested minds is even actually real? We don't? So when people are furiously knocking on the door to the library, and begging to be let in, under no circumstances should they be let in. Flawless logic. Yadda yadda yadda, one guy survives because he actually IS Scottish and the others were just English and/or Paris Hilton and that simply won't do. Not to Murray the Angry Scottish Ghoul.

The sole survivor (yes spoilers, you honestly didn't miss anything) looks through the haunted book and is annoyed with Murray for killing 8 of his friends when clearly they hadn't stolen his land or raped any of his wives. 

I really liked the mansion they shot this at. I've no idea who owns that place, and why they thought it was cool to have their good home dragged through the mud in this flick. I assume it was the same kind of deal that Sasha Baron Cohen strikes, when he sort of kind of talks people into being in his movie under sort of kind of fake pretenses. These people were probably told Stephen Spielberg was on his way, and that all these scenes were just preliminary footage to prepare. Yes, I'm sure that's it. In any case, it's a beautiful mansion. Haunted or not, I'd spent a weekend there, that's for absolute certain (hint hint. It's almost Christmas guys. Think of me. No pressure. But I might stop writing if you don't give me stuff. Alright I didn't mean that, don't leave please). Location aside, the picture quality was pretty crisp. I guess coming from last week's 1960s flick, it could only go up. But it still felt like at least decent equipment had been used. Gotta go for the few positives when you identify them, you know.

"Hey. There is a ruthless murderer loose in the mansion. You two guys check that room, and I'll check this room. No seriously, let's split up"

Remember when I mentioned that the plot was super stupid but at least made sense in a world where disbelief has been permanently suspended? Well I did a few paragraphs ago. Really, it's been like 2 minutes since you read it. I did write that. And with good reason. Because just people going back and forth between the library, in which others are holed up, and various rooms in the house, in which a cursed murderer is on the lose technically makes sense. But it also makes not sense, which leaves us in a weird stalemate position. A character expresses a wish to split up at one point, then chastises somebody else later for the same notion. Another character refuses to let people back into the locked library, yet that same character pleads with people in said library later to let her in. It's all kind of confusing. And I've a feeling I, as the audience, isn't the only person confused. My guess is, the writer of this flick was also kind of confused. It's all very cliché and I've a feeling he wasn't aware of it when he wrote it. Because haunted mansion flicks are easy to innovate.

A moment of contemplation. "What movie was this again?"


This was a mediocre attempt at a horror flick and a poor attempt at an intellectual version of a horror flick. Also it was hard to believe that Paris Hilton had actually attended any kind of school. And that even if she had, it had been in England. And even if she had gone to school in England, that any of these people would put up with her shit. Most of the actors playing these characters have gone on to bit parts or perhaps a few speaking roles in major movies. One guy is primarily a stunt man. I think it speaks volumes that, a mere 10 minutes after watching the movie, I couldn't remember what role he had played based on his name in the cast alone. But he seems to have done stunts in every major Hollywood production for the past 10 years. So that's pretty cool (no really, it kind of is). Why he took on an actual role here, is anyone's guess. The director is credited with 3 things. This movie, a making of for this movie and an episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood from 1968. I have no idea what the fuck that's all about, but it strikes me as extremely weird. Yes, weird. Also noteworthy; Mister Roger's Neighborhood is listed on IMDb as MisteRogers' Neighborhood. Not being of American origin, I don't know if that was the actual name of the show. It puzzled me, that's all. But the director was in an episode of it, and then decades later he decided to write and direct this movie. And then never work again. As for Paris Hilton. Well ladies and gentry, fear not. She will reappear more times before this blog ceases to exist for lack of purpose. I believe she's the record holder for most movies starred in on the IMDb Bottom 100 list. Quite an honor, if you wanted to hear my perspective. So until she returns, I'll make sure we're kept busy with other annoyingly stupid flicks. I'll watch them, and you WILL read about them. Whether you like it or not.  

Pretty sure that mansion had at least 20 rooms, yet still these two dudes get to share a room with two single beds? 

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