Monday, March 19, 2018

You've Got a Stalker

Oh Amazon Prime, you with your grainy late '90s horror titles that no one but the last Blockbuster shelf has ever head of.

I love you.

Quick Plot: As a child, Jana Mercer witnessed a mad man named Calvin Hawks (Dr. Giggles himself, Larry Drake) slaughter her family. Twenty years later, she lives a something Sandra Bullok-in-The-Net life, venturing out at night for interior design jobs, doing video therapy with Sally Kirkland, and otherwise keeping mostly to herself.

Meanwhile, in his dungeon-like prison cell, Calvin has full access to a laptop and AOL. Naturally, he uses his time to instant message the one that got away just in time to make her extra ready for his shocking parole.

As Calvin makes his way home, Jana reconnects with a mysteriously reappearing high school crush, heading back to the very neighborhood where the crime took place. Calvin stocks up on a quality sushi knife and begins to re-hone his skills, practicing first on a batch of pumpkins before moving on to an amazingly sweater vested librarian.

Written and directed by Larry Brand, Paranoia is a strange little late '90s relic somewhat saved from obscurity by Amazon Prime. It wallows a little too deeply in some overwritten ramblings regarding the nature of pain and evil, but manages to entertain enough in 90 minutes, especially with the somewhat bonkers final reveal.

Plus, this movie utilizes a grand dummy death, and as we all know, no movie with a grand dummy death can ever be that bad.

High Points
I'm not saying Paranoia is the feminist revenge fantasy we all want and deserve, but Brigitte Bako's Jana is a refreshingly strong woman who takes action in a satisfyingly badass way

Low Points
A gal can only hear so much musing about what it means to love pain before she wants to gouge her own skin with carefully placed thumbtacks

Lessons Learned
Never underestimate the appeal of Peter Tork to late '90s punkette

If you don't like walls, stay off Park Avenue

Sushi knives should be suitable for buttering toast and slaughtering pumpkins

I'm not telling anyone to put plans on hold in order to watch Paranoia, but those with an Amazon Prime subscription and 90 minutes to get some tasks done with something on in the background could certainly do worse.

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