Wednesday, November 7, 2012

388 Arletta Avenue

Runtime: 87 minutes
Rating: NR
Release Date: May 18, 2012
Director: Randall Cole

James (Nick Stahl, Mirrors 2) and his wife Amy (Mia Kirshner, 30 Days of Night: Dark Days) lead a seemingly idyllic life. The only downside is that someone keeps filming them, and they have no idea about the stalker tracking their every movements. The man seems content to follow them from the street, filming the couple as they come and go from their house. One day, he sees them tuck the spare key in a hidden spot, and he uses the key to gain access and plant cameras around the house.

Nothing seems amiss until James climbs into his car and the music starts blaring. He pulls out a mixed CD from the dash, and realizes that it contains music he never heard before. He confronts his wife, thinking that she made it, but she completely denies it. Amy then convinces him that he probably made it years ago and forgot about it. She even shows him his music library, which contains the same songs. James thinks something is odd because he doesn’t even remember downloading those songs.

Despite his hinky feelings, James continues on with his life. When he comes home from work one night, he discovers a note left by Amy saying that she’s taking a break. He doesn’t think it’s her handwriting and calls her friends, but no one will listen to him, not even the police. Now that the stalker has complete access to his home, he starts playing a deadly game with the man.

I’m a little surprised by the horrid reviews that 388 Arletta Avenue got because this really isn’t a bad movie. The entire film lands on the shoulders of Stahl who proves that he can handle the movie. It does require a large suspension of belief though. Would you really have no idea that someone was sneaking into your house and filming you? I work from home, and I hear every noise in this house, including the neighbors hammering things in the wall. I can’t imagine someone walking around in my basement without anyone noticing.

On top of that, you have to believe that (a) he never notices a single camera in his house and (b) that the cops have no interest in his claims. The stalker hides a camera in his bedroom, giving it the perfect angle of his bed and yet he never notices it. Other cameras are scattered around the house, and he somehow never sees a thing. The cops meanwhile, aren’t even willing to take a missing person’s report on his wife, despite the fact that none of her friends or family have heard from her. In today’s world of Laci Peterson and the like, it seems pretty unbelievable.

When James finally takes matters into his own hand, you can actually believe that he would do something like that. He tracks down Bill (Devon Sawa, Final Destination), a man from his past who he thinks might have something to do with his wife’s disappearance. Unfortunately, he takes things a little too far in the end without any evidence or real reason to believe that the man has anything to do with what happened.

Granted 388 Arletta Avenue has some slow moments, especially in the middle, but I’m surprised it didn’t get a wider release. Maybe the off-screen antics of Stahl have something to do with it, or maybe it’s just the fact that American audiences in particular don’t seem to have much love for the horror or quasai-horror genre anymore.

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