When the press release for a film touts it as “CABIN IN THE WOODS and BLAIR WITCH PROJECT meet JACKASS”, there’s no way I’m going to pass up the opportunity to watch it. I’m a big fan of CABIN and BLAIR WITCH, and I confess I’m a sucker for the JACKASS antics, so my interest is doubly piqued by a description like that. THE JOKESTERS press release made such a claim, so I decided to give it a look last night. Unfortunately, the film itself is nowhere near as awesome as the description. The result is a lackluster horror flick that falls flat on its face.
If you are not familiar with THE JOKESTERS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Cinedigm:
Four good friends are the members of the successful Internet prank show “PrankMasters”. When their leader, Ethan, announces he is getting married and leaving the group, the rest of the founding members decide to pull off one final stun on their friend’s honeymoon: an elaborate “cabin in the woods” nightmare! What follows is a spiral decent into terror when the prank goes too far and the members of the group get picked off one by one in this tension-filled “found footage” feature film. Who will survive? The tension mounts as each Prankster struggles to make it off of the mountain alive.
I am not going to label THE JOKESTERS as the worst film I’ve seen so far this year, however it’s pretty close. It is a movie filled with promise, yet lacking on almost every level.
THE JOKESTERS is shot in a first-person POV, as are most found footage films, and the camerawork is nothing extraordinary. The production value appears decent, but otherwise it looks like every other lower budget movie. There are literally no attributes that pull this one up from the rest.
The acting is bland and lifeless. The four main characters are annoying more than anything, and I could not find any reason to care about them at all. The ‘pranks’ they pull are ho-hum and boring, which completely destroys the credibility of their successful web show. I was hoping for craziness and off-the-wall…instead, we get one of the guys glued to his go-cart seat. WOW.
The story in THE JOKESTERS has promise, but it never develops in the film. The first hour of the movie is all set-up (the wedding scenes take WAY too much time), so by the time the ‘horror’ starts, the viewer is ready to fall asleep. I literally had to pause the film and stand up for a moment to keep from nodding off. Once the killings start, the film gets a little better, however this only occurs in the last 15-20 minutes…thus, it’s too little, too late.
I wish I had better things to say about THE JOKESTERS. It has an interesting premise and could be a fun film, if it were made by the right people. Sadly, this version is not. I cannot recommend this one with a good conscious, but the film is available now in a variety of formats if you decide to check it out.