Written and Directed by: Bill Dear
Starring: Crispin Glover, Margo Harshman, Greg Cipes and Kelly Vitz
Reviewed by: Josh G.
Crispin Glover always seems to be playing the crazy men these days. Gone are the times of his wacky dance in Friday the 13th Ė The Final Chapter. Then again, maybe his characters were never that sane in the first place. At least he didnít play a psychopath. But with the Willard remake, the Wizard of Gore remake, and now Simon Says, itís pretty much safe to say that this man has found his calling. By not taking itself too seriously, we have an intentionally just for fun slasher with a lot of goo thrown in, and pot too! Everybody, see this flick!
Oops. Be careful. I didnít say ĎSimon Saysí.
Kate (Margo Harshman) and her boyfriend Riff (Artie Baxter), along with stoner Zack (Greg Cipes), Vicky (Carrie Finklea) and Ashley (Kelly Vitz) go off into the woods to camp out. However, they did not anticipate the legend that curses the place. Years ago, teenage twins Stanley and Simon (played by Chad and Chris Cunningham) got into a fight, resulting in the death of one of them. The survivor later went on to kill his mother and father. At the gas station, in the present day, the group of five meet Stanley and Simon (both played by Glover), who act creepy in their own different ways. Itís obvious that one of the twins are not alive, as the two never appear in the same room together at the same time. But the killer manages to express his multiple personalities to the fullest, and he has his eerie little eyes set on the lead, Kate. Simon/Stanley follows the group to the woods, where along the way, he hacks paint ball players and other campers with his devices made out of pick axes. The gore is nonstop when this psycho comes to play his deadly game: everybodyís childhood favorite, Simon Says.
This poorly made release, though terrible in a handful of ways, is watchable for the fact that it is meant to be what it turns out to accomplish. A pack of caring main characters also help this gorefest to be more tolerable, and as always, Crispin gives a grand performance, as if his life almost depended on it. Ashley is the goody-goody girl, who may have had the chance to survive when the slasher genre was first taking its baby steps, but in the modern age, this certainly wonít do. Sheís a whiner, and appears to be Ďtoo goodí for this crowd. You know sheís going to get it, but how she dies is something you may not have expected to see. The kills in Simon Says are absolutely ridiculous comic book fun, and the CGI doesnít hurt the film when considering the wacky tone it has set for itself. Stanley/Simon is a funny character, one with a southern accent, the other with a mental disability. But both always remind their victims when in a confrontation that they forget to say ďSimon SaysĒ. If thatís not a dead giveaway that you should turn your brain off, I donít know what is.
The setting and atmosphere of the forest is beautiful in the daytime, green, natural, and calm. The night, for a major change, is foggy, grim, and sadly, feels like a set. Simonís killing contraptions include a pick axe throwing machine and a spinning giant cylinder with pick axes attached. Well, what can we say? The man loves his pick axes. But he finds many other ways to off his opponents, which I will get to soon, because we cannot go further without mentioning college drama. I guess the director was wise enough to decide that these adults could not attempt to pass for high school students, and went on to the higher secondary education. Anyways, want to hear the latest gossip? Apparently, Riff and Vicky are having a fling together behind Kateís back. The couple is interrupted when walkman-listening Ashley jogs by and spots them making out. Ashley lets it slip to Kate, and Riffís relationship plummets from the heavens. Oh well. The entire cast is beautiful. Trust me, they wonít have trouble finding new fish in times of crisis.
Zack is the most likable character, with his druggy voice, charisma, and as we soon see, his love for Kate. He may not be the ideal boy next door like Riff, but in many ways, heís much sexier and easier to relate to, unless youíre a cheating good-for-nothing prick like Artie Baxterís character. The same can almost be said for the slightly more enjoyable, but still slutty, Vicky. Sheís the hottest of the females at first, but her obnoxious bitch attitude makes Kate shine like a star, which is for the best. Sheís our heroine after all. And now, on to gore. The body count is over a dozen, including one cute white dog who gets stomped on (!) when he finds a hand in the forest. The hand belongs to one of a few mutilated paint ball gamers, who seem to have forgotten the lesson learned in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives Ė Ďdonít go paint balling in the woods!í People are impaled on multiple pick axes, and once, a double impalement on a pick axe, which is already infixed in a tree! Some others are stabbed, two are hung high in a tree, and one girl is turned into a bloody doll, attaching only her head, hands and feet together. Oh, the laughs youíll share. But the absolute most creative death is-...no. I canít give that away. Not only will it spoil who dies, but itís something that you have to see for yourself.
There is a lot of characters just added in to boost the kill number up, but whose complaining? Itís a horror comedy with a silly script. And I must not forget the ghostly woman on a horse, who points toward the gas station to warn people of the evil nearby. Who is she? Iím not sure. Maybe I missed something, but Iím certain it just has to do with intentional cheese. As poor as it is, thereís just no end to the entertainment. The ending does leave on a negative note, and your high spirits are crushed when kills become a bit cruel. But itís funny! You canít go wrong with funny! Not with Glover on the case. Although itís an American slasher, Europe got this gutsy glory prior to North America. Odd, but possible. In my opinion, Simon Says is a better throwback to 80s cut-em-ups than the self-proclaimed Hatchet. Unfairly, it only received a barebones widescreen release by VVS Films, presented with above average audio and video in the like of new releases for direct-to-video films. ĎSimon says Rent it!'
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