Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Well, it's a lot better than The Roommate...

Ah, freshman orientation, a stressful week filled with forced bonding exercises that I imagine are repeated upon entrance into hell. My first week at an upstate university (where from I transfered the following year) included a book club discussion of the assigned summer reading titled Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together In the Cafeteria? I kid you not, it was as friend-making an experience as you’re imagining right now.

Thusly do we get Red Hook, a New York-based horror film set during that first week of class registration, mess hall meeting, and closet-space imperialism.
Quick Plot: As a young girl, Jenny witnesses the brutal slaying of her older sister at the hands of a man disguised as a cop. Flash forward ten years or so as Jenny leaves the green of North Carolina to enroll in The University of New York City, which I assume is the lesser little sister (how appropriate) companion school to Felicity’s alma mater.

Turns out, everyone that attends UNC is pretty much a terrible terrible person. Jenny’s roommate is a squeaky-voiced musical theater major who spells doom the minute she tacks down her Mama Mia poster. The RA is an immature prankster, but you’d be an asshole too if your floor consisted of the incredibly awful newspaper-centered overachiever, the sullen lesbian, man-using slut, used man jock, and so on. Despite everyone being inexplicably mean to her, Jenny manages to uncover a potential boyfriend in Tim, the sweet guy New Yorker who, whaddya know, ALSO lost an older sibling as a child.

Isn’t it sweet?
You know what’s sweeter? Having your first date end with a shooting in a deli wherein the prospective robber gets his head blown off an arm’s reach away from you. That’s totally the stuff you can’t wait to tell your grandkids.
Moving on...
After a prolonged orientation to our characters’ orientation, the grabbag gang takes on a city-wide scavenger hunt in the hopes of scoring White Stripes tickets (or jobs at either The New Yorker or the school newspaper, it’s unclear). Before long, our lovably unlovable freshmen start splitting up and hitting some of New York’s hot spots, annoying tired cashiers at the now defunct Two Boots Pizza & Video and not-at-all busy employees of The New York Times. Thankfully, they’re also getting slaughtered.

Red Hook is a fairly by the numbers slasher made a tad more interesting by its aggressive insistence on being a 21st century New York movie. Look, it’s Columbus Circle! And wow, Angela is totally auditioning for Spring Awakening! Those kinds of nods only really matter if you, like many of the characters, have just moved to New York and therefore a) know the landmarks and b) are still green enough to be impressed by them. 

As for the rest of the film, it unfolds as you’d expect, with characters being gutted just when they think they’re safe and a few different “it’s THAT person!” end teases. Then it’s over and your life continues as it did before.
High Points
Um. It’s odd. I’ve certainly seen worse things than Red Hook, but I’m stumped to call upon any specific aspect that felt special about this film. Perhaps the final line, which has a nice and depressing vibe to it
Low Points
Any movie that teases me with a top-billed Terence Mann and then gives the first Javert a mere three brief scenes has earned my red hook

Lessons Learned
Having sex in the middle of Central Park on a sunny September day is apparently really easy
Real blood bleeds
With enough time and tears, a lesbian will totally change what kind of woman she’s attracted to
When filling out your college housing application, don't forget to make a special note that you're allergic to theater majors

Red Hook is incredibly mediocre, but hey, I still got through it. I can’t recommend a viewing, but as a quick stream on Netflix when you’re halfway occupied with reading a magazine or pairing off your orphaned socks following your most recent laundry, it’s not necessarily a painful experience. Some of the acting and editing is horrid, but the main performances at least push through and’s a movie. Not a good one per say, but you know, it starts and stuff happens and then it’s over. Sometimes that’s enough.


  1. Emily, your review makes me want to watch this! Besides, I've recently just done lots of laundry and I need a film to pair up my socks to. I thought Romasanta: Werewolf Hunt could be that film, but hey, maybe Red Hook is what I need! :)

  2. It isn't the worst film to have double dates with your mismatched socks to. The Roommate would have been far worse! Although Romansanta: Werewolf Hunt sounds incredibly romantic and may actually be more fruitful for successful sock pairing. I'm torn!

  3. This movie reminds me of Final Exam. 'Some pass the test...God help the rest!!' The 80's were a fun time to live in weren't they!

  4. Ooh I haven't seen Final Exam but it sounds simply splendid. And probably way better than Red Hook!