When you have a director who has made an iconic horror movie in the past, you certainly have to check out his future projects. After all, lightning has struck more than once for many directors in Hollywood. So when I realized Bernard Rose, director of the infamous CANDYMAN back in the early 90s, was making a new film, I knew I had to jump on it. CANDYMAN was a nice dose of terror, and I hoped Rose could pull off the same with this one. Unfortunately, SX_TAPE falls way short of anything resembling horror, and the result is a lackluster film that is as confusing as it ridiculous.
If you are not familiar with SX_TAPE, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Well Go USA:
BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU PLAY. From the director of CANDYMAN and the producers of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY comes a found-footage nightmare of lust, possession, and destruction. Jill’s an artist. Ian’s a filmmaker. And their love life is off the chain. There’s no experience too wild, no dare too dangerous—not even when Jill lets Ian strap her to a gurney in the abandoned hospital they’re scoping out for their next art show. But he shouldn’t have left her alone. Not even as a joke. Now, Jill’s hookup with horror has awakened something in that place. Something with a lust for more than flesh.
I wanted so badly to like this film. The fine folks at Well Go keep putting out hit after hit after hit…but I guess every company misses the mark every now and then. Sadly, such is the case with this film.
SX_TAPE is shot in the typical found-footage style, with a personalized POV and shaky camera angles. This is not a bad thing at all, as those two aspects are a big part of what make found-footage films so fun. But the rest of the film fails in every other area, and thus forces the movie to sink into oblivion territory.
The acting is ok, although the characters themselves are arrogant and annoying. They go out of their way to push societal limits and see how stupid they can be without getting busted. Like having sex in the dressing room of a nice clothing store; they do get caught, which forces them to run, but they end up stealing something as they leave! See the kind of people they are? So why in the world would I care about them when bad things start happening? This is a huge flaw in the film, even more so when two of their friends show up. If I can’t connect with the main characters or feel anything for them, why should I continue to watch?
The plot of SX_TAPE is a ho-hum storyline that we’ve seen in countless films. I wish screenwriters would move out of the abandoned-hospital setting and into something original. Not to mention the shooting location of the film…I swear I’ve seen that same building used in four other horror films.
Which brings us to the storyline itself. Much of it doesn’t make sense, and what does is not very good. There are many questions that struck me when I was watching. When Jill starts begging Ian to take her home, why would he turn around and follow her back into the hospital once their friends show up? And why would her friends want to go in there when they see how upset Jill is?
Pushing that aside, the final scene makes NO sense whatsoever. It tries to be shocking, and I suppose it technically is…however it doesn’t fit with anything else in the movie. I shook my head when the credits started rolling and was actually glad to see the movie end.
SX_TAPE is not a film I can recommend, unless you are starving for rehashed found-footage concepts. I am disappointed with director Rose, and I hope he chooses better material in the future. This film is available now if you want to give it a look.