directed by: Ken Meyer
starring: Stacy Logan, Mike Wiles, Freeman Williams (I)
(back of video blurb):
"I'm sure not looking forward to this."
- Leslie, stating exactly what I was thinking.
[review by Erik Threlfall]
That's it! I'm suing. I'm suing for the psychological trauma inflicted on me by watching this film. Don't let the bodycount at the bottom of the review fool you folks, for although there are seven casualties in this film, nothing appears to happen for its entire duration.
Now before I get down to dissecting this 'film' and start giving details of its 'plot' I should let you know that I will be telling you who lives and who dies and who the killer is. But this is blatantly obvious from the first five minutes so I don't really think it can fall under the heading of 'spoilers'.
The film kicks off with a girl being chased from her car by some big bloke who soon catches her, kills her and dumps her body in a lake. Cue credits. Not a bad start as far as these kind of films go. However, this is as exciting as it gets as the rest of the film consists of our heroine, Lesley, talking to her brash friend Janna about the problems she is having with her boyfriend who can't act, Josh. It transpires that Lesley & Josh were engaged to be wed but she's having doubts since he started hitting her. So far, so KNOTS LANDING. But when exactly does the 'terror', promised in the title, commence?. Well not for a while, if in fact at all. Unless of course your idea of terror is two girls cavorting aimlessly around a lake (called 'Tenkiller' after a local Indian girl in days of yore) whilst in the background some talentless cabaret musician plays a particularly gorgonzola-esque little ditty on his Bontempi organ.
Janna & Lesley end up getting jobs in the local diner which is where we meet the loud waitress with a southern drawl, Debbie and also Tor, who turns out to be the killer. And that isn't a spoiler because shortly afterwards Debbie is killed in her spa by Tor. Hell, she even shouts out his name in case we didn't recognise him from the earlier scene. Meanwhile, the girls head down to the lake shore and meet a crusty old sea dog (or should that be lake dog ?) called 'Preacher'. Lesley enquires about the origins of his name to which he responds "I guess my Daddy named me that". And the oscar winning dialogue doesn't end there. Preacher takes a shine to the girls and says "I should keep an eye on those girls, shit, I should keep two eyes on them!". His randy ramblings don't go down too well with Tor. Later on that night, Preacher tries to win the affections of the girls by offering them fish (Christmas gift idea there lads). Oddly enough, the girls manage to resist his charms and the dejected old geezer heads for home only to be stabbed by Tor and in a bizarre twist, Tor then chops off the now dead grandad's arm and throws it in a shed. Yes folks, this guy is definitely a few peppers short of a stir fry.
The rest of the film is then padded out with Lesley receiving obscene phone calls (is it Josh? is it Tor? Who cares.), the girls sitting around talking about the phone calls, and Tor playing his mouth organ which sounds like 70s electronic game, Simon. The film's only moment of gore takes its time coming when the annoying Janna gets knifed in the back whilst washing her hair in the kitchen sink. Lesleys wooden ex, Josh, in the meantime has worked out where the girls are and heads out there. But before he can utter another line of dialogue in the style of a great oak, he has his throat slit (offscreen). All that's left then is a yawn inducing game of cat and mouse between Lesley & Tor which results in Tor drowning. And the reason for all this mayhem? Well there's none, actually. Lesley explains in a sombre voiceover that "...the police investigation wasn't able to solve the mystery of Tors background or why he did all these horrible things". So there we go. 85 minutes of the most mundane film-making ever and then not even a proper ending. Well, apart from the FRIDAY THE 13TH inspired final 'shock' which may or may not awaken you from your inevitable slumber after sitting through this.
Terror at Tenkiller takes inanity to bold new places. There is no suspense, no characters worth caring about and the 'plot' moves about as quickly as a particularly slow steamroller on 'national go slow day'. There is a modicum of mirth to be had early on with the amateur acting on display, particularly from the chap playing Josh, Kevin Meyer (in a film directed by Ken Meyer and written by Claudia Meyer, suddenly it's all becoming clear). Then there's Janna played by Michelle Merchant who isn't exactly Meryl Streep herself. Rising slightly above the rest of the cast is Stacey Logan as Lesley who looks so like Olivia Newton John that you expect her to tell Josh that 'he better shape up'. Interestingly, Ms Logan seems to be the only one involved in this atrocity to actually carve out a career in Hollywood, albeit as a stunt woman rather than an actress. Indeed, she has been very busy throwing herself about in such classy films as STIR OF ECHOES (1999), THE NEGOTIATER (1998) and, em, D3: THE MIGHTY DUCKS (1996).
Anyway, as I was saying, the giggles you'll experience early on will soon fade. It took me two sittings to get through the movie and even then it was still very hard work. There is precious little enjoyment to be had watching this. It's not a good sign when the most interesting thing about the film appears in the end credits where it's revealed that one of the songs featured was performed by the wonderfully named 'Andy Gravity'. Well, I think it's a cool name. Unfortunately no-one I know has heard of this chap which leads me to believe he followed director Ken Meyer into oblivion, which on the evidence of this movie, is probably a blessing.
BODYCOUNT 7 female:3 / male:4
1) Female throat cut and body dumped in lake
2) Female stabbed in stomach in spa
3) Male stabbed in stomach and arm is chopped off
4) Female stabbed in chest (in dream sequence)
5) Female stabbed in back with kitchen knife
6) Male throat cut (offscreen)
7) Male drowned in lake