INSIDIOUS (AND INSIPID) CINEMA: THE CARETAKER
Starring Andrew St. John, James Immekus and Jennifer Tilly
Directed by Bryce Olson
Written by Jackie Olson
Death by grapefruit is probably one of the more ignominious ways to go in a horror film, and that’s exactly what happens to one of the victims of The Caretaker, a movie killer not likely to remembered beyond the agonizing 82 minutes it takes this execrable piece of trash to play out.
Let’s be clear: bad movies can be fun. Plan 9 From Outer Space, Horror of Party Beach, any of the Mystery Science Theatre flicks (with commentary)… Bad can be good. But bad can also be boring, and The Caretaker is boring.
The very thin story starts with a group of teens (played of course by twenty-somethings) skipping out on their school’s Halloween dance in favour of a limo ride up to the abandoned caretaker’s house in the local grapefruit orchard. Legend has it, the boys tell the girls, that the jealous caretaker chained his wife up in the house, even going so far as to kill her family when they tried to intervene. A baby was born and mother escaped with child, only to be chased down by her crazed husband… who was never caught.
You see where this is going, right? The Caretaker arrives to mow down the “teens” one by one, until only a final girl is left. But there’s a twist ending that throws us all for a loop. Fade out.
How The Caretaker got made is beyond me. Oh wait. No doubt the producers secured funds by casting Hollywood vets Judd Nelson (The Breakfast Club) and Jennifer Tilly (Bound) in thankless supporting roles. Throw in a little gratuitous nudity and some very coy, near bloodless kills and you’ve got an inoffensive slasher that barely has the balls to call itself a horror film. The identity of The Caretaker is telegraphed early on, and only Tilly’s carefree performance (and bountiful cleavage) merits a rise in our pulse rate.