Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Movie Review: Messages Deleted

Director: Rob Cowan
Release Date:
Runtime: 92 minutes
Rating: 2009

What do you get when you cross “Phone Booth” with “Cellular”? I’ll give you a hint: despite what the cover/poster says, it’s not “Messages Deleted.”

Joel Brandt (Matthew Lillard, “Scream”) is your typical washed-up screenwriter who made nothing of himself so he now teaches a college class. Actually, he had one script that sold to a major studio, but it kind of disappeared. All of his female students are hot pieces of ass who want nothing more than to listen to him talk. Are we sure this isn’t Lillard’s fantasy? The hottest of the girls is Millie (Gina Holden, “Saw 3D,” “Final Destination 3”. She brings him coffee, constantly touches him, and keeps turning up in his life, which he doesn’t find the slightest bit odd.

Joel also has an extremely hot girlfriend Claire (Chiara Zanni) who is a struggling actress working as a waitress in his favorite coffee shop. One night, he goes home and hears a message on a machine from a guy crying. Thinking that it’s a joke, Joel deletes the message and stops by the coffee shop. After watching her while trying to write, he decides to tell her that it’s time to pull the plug on their relationship.

Before Claire can say much, a guy literally drops from the building to the table between them. Joel hears Detective Lavery (Deborah Kara Unger, “Silent Hill”) and Detective Breedlove (Serge Houde, “The Day the Earth Stood Still”) mention the man’s name, and it’s the same name that he heard on his machine. Joel tells them what happened and they basically pat him on the head and send him away.

Not long after, he gets a second phone call and rushes to stop the killer, only to find the woman dead. The cops interview him and stop by his apartment, finding a fortune cookie inside, and the woman just happened to be Asian. Joel turns to his best friend Adam (Michael Eklund, “The Divide”), hoping he can shed some light on the situation.

The two realize that what’s happening is exactly like what happened in Joel’s script, which was about a killer who went after a group of seemingly unrelated people. Knowing that he doesn’t know where the killer might strike next, Joel starts working on a way to trap the killer, even though he suspects everyone around him.

Okay, first things first. I watched this with my roommate who absolutely loves horror movies and he didn’t know Matt Lillard. It took him 10 minutes to even remember that he was in “Scream,” which made watching the movie a little more fun. Lillard is so unbelievable as a college professor that it was actually hard to watch the movie. I buy him as a stoner, a slacker, and even a serial killer but not a college professor.

The ending to “Messages Deleted” was something I saw coming a mile away. I even made a joke about the serial killer and no one believed me. Of course, the reason why that person even started killing is ridiculous and something that two characters spend far too much time explaining.

That’s not to say the movie is terrible. Eklund is the perfect combination of comedic relief and swarthy lothario, making it easy to buy him as both the man who hits on everything that moves and a potential serial killer. Houde is a lot of fun to watch too, especially when he slams Lillard into a parked car. Unger tries her best, but she comes across as too wooden and too unbelievable. All in all, “Messages Deleted” is the type of movie that you watch when you have nothing else to do. 

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