Friday, February 5, 2016

The Lock In

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  Oh Christian films, you're my favorite type of comedy!

The Lock In – 0 out of 5

About four years or so ago I somehow stumbled upon an article that spoke about a church group that was in the process of making a “found footage” horror film that centers around a Christian youth group during a lock in—a social gathering where those involved are locked in a church and probably do really boring things but nothing more prevalent than trying to convince themselves they are having fun.  The kicker, however, is the fact the film centered on a haunted porno magazine.  Yes, you heard that right.  After learning this, I knew I had to see The Lock In and I spent the next few years keeping up-to-date on the film through their website but, not too long ago, I forgot about it.  It wasn’t until my buddy Chris over at The Robot’s Pajamas told me that it came out in 2014 that I flipped my shit.  I was pissed at myself for not realizing it came out but, more so, I was damn excited to get my hands on a copy and then have a Live Tweet event to it where I make jokes about the film—which, amazingly, had one tweet “favorited” and re-tweeted by a few followers of Christ…one of whom I am almost certain was a pastor.

Sometimes you should really read the tweet you are retweeting.By the way, follow me on Twitter!

Meet the only decent actor in the entire film.  This dude
delivers a line about how he believes there's a connection
between pornography and demon activity and he said it
like it made sense.  It's the best acting in the entire film.
On their way to a church lock in, three friends; Nick, Blake and Justin, find a pornographic magazine in a dumpster (*GASP*).  Blake—the goofy one because he’s constantly mugging at the camera—decides that it would be “hilarious” if they put the skin mag in Nick’s bag and he accidentally smuggles it into lock in.  In fairness, his judgment can easily be called into question over whether or not something is a “hysterical prank” because he also calls the lock in “crazy fun” and thinks having Justin film all the events is going to be “awesome.”  Blake believes a story about a talking snake so we can forgive his terrible sense of humor.  Any-hoo, the pastor finds the porn and decides the group needs to do what Jesus would and that is pray about it and burn that sinful magazine all the way to hell.  However, the kids soon learn that this isn’t your average naughty mag as it suddenly shows itself up again and it’s revealed that it is inhabited by a demon!  Now the demon is out to get the boys and torture is just beginning…

Part of the torture is watching this guy constantly mug at the camera.
He's the "funny" one.

As they burned the porn, Iron Maiden's "The Number
of the Beast" could be heard.
You’ll have to forgive me because I was being a little deceptive with my synopsis about the film.  Mainly in the fact that I describe what the demon is doing to the kids as torture.  The only torture that happens is the actual process of watching the film because The Lock In is bad—really bad.  Like so bad that this is probably almost definitely going to be a very harsh review.  It’s so bad on such an epic level that I don’t even know where to begin when describing that actual badness.  I could start with the predictably bad acting and talk about how hard it is to watch the kids struggle.  For example, the kids are supposed to cry when they can’t take any more of the demon’s activity but none of them can actually get tears to come out and I don’t think the production could afford a bottle of Visine to squeeze into their eyes.  Instead, they just sniffle but, even then, they can’t hide the fact that they are constantly fighting the “giggles” and have to deliver serious lines (if there was even a script to read lines from to begin with) with an out-of-place smile on their face.

And, of course, they had to do the "video apology to the parents" part.
I guess since it worked for The Blair Witch Project.

Then you have the oddities of the fact that the film has no credits—maybe in an effort to make it “real”—and then there's the fact that a non-Christian atheist like myself just can’t sympathize with the very strange behavior of these kids.  For example, the character of Nick has a crush that is going to be at the lock in and Nick’s parents are freaking the fuck out over the reality of him probably kissing the girl—not having sex or even getting to second base.  No, they are scared to death over their son kissing someone.  Then we see them go into berserk mode when they learn he had…wait for it…pizza with the girl!!!  What a bunch of whores!  Then, the mother literally asks the question of whether or not the pizza was to-go.  Maybe it’s because I was raised in a very loosely religious home and had parents that were protective but not overly so that all this stuff feels silly and really fake to me.  I mean, honestly, do super religious people really act like this?  Is it an affront to Christ to have pizza while dining in?  If they do, it wouldn’t surprise me if they actually believed in porno demons.

"Next you're going to tell us that you've actually looked this girl in the eye and
think that's she's somehow equal to men!"

It wasn’t really shocking that the film isn’t scary because, at its heart, this film is a lot less of a horror film and a lot more of a Christian propaganda film that is meant to tell you how totes awesome Jesus is.  Being made by a Christian group, the production just didn’t have the balls to make something that can speak to one of our most primitive emotions.  Hell, this film is so scared to push the boundaries that they won’t even let the kids—when they are away from the overprotective eyes of adults and being chased by a porno demon—let out a single fear-induced swear.  The closest they come is to say “freaking.”  Without a desire to really create anything scary, it feels like the production decides to work around this by obscuring literally any and all action that is seen from the porn demon.  It made for terror sequences that were confusing, too muddled to watch and, as if fitting with the overall thesis of the film, something extremely boring to sit through.

This is the closest you'll get to something that kinda/sorta resembles scary...
and it makes no sense.  It's a porno demon.  Why is it taking the form of a spooky kid?

The worst part of the film is the fact it is trying really hard to be deep and insert some serious commentary about pornography.  During a sequence that can only be described as the sloppiest execution of blatant explanation of themes and morals, the kids talk about the inherent sexism to the world of porn and how cases of porn addiction can harm a variety of relationships, both personal and intimate.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing in theory because it does raise great discussion points about porn but the clumsily and very obvious insertion of these talking points really undercuts the magnitude of it all.  And, then, of course, you have the whole porno demon thing.  Hell, this film so sloppily projects its themes within awkward dialogue that I felt a need to invest in MORE porn just out of spit for the filmmakers.

Thrill as The Lock In abandons subtlety and flat-out explains the underlying themes
through bad acting and awkwardly unrealistic dialogue!

All in all, The Lock In is a horrendous movie that was slapped together by a production that can’t even be called amateurs—hell, they didn’t even edit out the scene when a crew member accidentally walked into shot.

Assistant:  Um, Johnny walked into shot while trying to find the hymns for the weekend.
Should we do another take or edit it out?
Director:  Um...nah.

However, despite all the bad things that exist in this film—and there’s a lot of bad—things like characters who aren’t developed at all, action sequences from the demon that are obscured completely and just come off as nonsensical gibberish, really unconvincing and hammy acting and not a single scare in sight, the film still has one overwhelming redeeming factor.  The one thing that makes this film something magical and definitely something to watch is how hysterical the whole product is.  With all its huge gaping flaws and clearly inept crew, The Lock In is that perfect example of that “So Bad It’s Good” magic.  This film, with all the riff potential that is in literally every second of the running time, is right up there with films like Double Down, Troll 2, The Room and Birdemic.  This is a film that is perfect for getting a bunch of friends, a shit load of pizza, booze and junk food and just laugh the night away.

This is the only credits the film gives you.  Notice it's owned by Holy Moly Pictures.
That's so sad I can't even muster the energy to make a joke about it.

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