TV Movie: “The Crooked Man”

The horror TV movie only needs one thing. A decent creepy premise and a quick enough pace not to bore you. Okay, maybe two. But if it can achieve that, there may be some fun within the few precious hours you spend watching whatever predictable story is being told. If you can’t have fun, then there was never any hope of that outcome, no matter how much you’d had to drink before and during its airing.

The Hybrid Productions movie “The Crooked Man”, is a creepy enough movie and manages to make a lot of other TV movie’s look bad.

This horror film stars Michael Jai White (“Never Back Down: No Surrender”, “The Asian Connection”), Angelique Rivera (“American Crime”, “Anything Can Happen (Short 2014)”), Cameron Jebo (“Killer Coach”, “Hard Sell”), Dina Meyer (upcoming “Flight 192”, “”Fortune Cookie), Amber Benson (“Sunday Morning”, “Tom Holland’s Twisted Tales”), Daniel Booko (upcoming episode “The Goldbers”, “Sniper: Special One ”), Dia Frampton (“#15SecondScare”, “Socks for You (Short 2016)”), Brianne Tju (“Grey’s Anatomy”, “Liv and Maddie”), Reilly Smith (“Castle”, “Video”), and Alexis Wilkins (“Instant Mom”, “Maker Shack Agency”).

The movie was directed by Jesse Holland (“We Go On”, “Chilling Visions: 5 Senses of Fear”) and written by Peter Sullivan (“His Double Life”, “Home Invasion”).

The movie debuted on Oct. 1, 2016.

It’s October (in case you’d forgotten) and if you watch a lot of SyFy like I do, you know that today began “31 Days of Halloween”. It’s an exciting time for horror fans, as well as the fans of B-movie features which debut during this month long celebration, and on the network in general. While you may not expect a whole hell of a lot, you may find that one or two are actually quite decent. I remember a few years ago, this little film called “Finders Keepers”, certainly scared and entertained me enough, that I’m still on the look out for a copy of it. Granted, I haven’t done much looking as I know where to find a copy, but the point is, it’s still on my “to own” list of movies. Who would’ve thought a low budget horror movie could be so entertaining?

This one could go either way. I’m not certain what I think of it. The biggest plus is the fact that it didn’t suck compared to what typically airs. It was fun, it was creepy, and it did what I needed it to do. Entertain me. For me, which I’m finding may be a common theme this month, I was distracted. I was bus. I chose to watch this while doing a wee bit of babysitting, which wasn’t bad, but certainly gave me an experience I wasn’t expecting. I think a plus out of this, I stayed awake and actually watched it without too many issues. And here I thought, even as the movie was going, that Twitter was what helped me enjoy it, but I don’t think Twitter did at all. Certainly not in the usual ways. Mind you, it was still good to read the snarky comments.

The Crooked Man was creepy. His design, coupled with a bit of CGI work, was kind of frightening. Not as much as other classic horror creatures or even the creepy doll in “Finders Keepers”, but enough that I didn’t want my charge even glancing back once. There was so much about him that was creepy. The way he came about being. A rhyme of some sorts. Then, which is a fear I have, he appears slowly through darkness. While the trick for seeing him for some seems to come straight out of “Lights Out”, it still unnerved me enough. I’m sure I’ll be more scared by the thing in the other film than this one, but that there’s that kind of consistency is good. Even the way The Crooked Man moved was creepy. All disjointed and gross. I hope tonight’s not a night my brain decides to torture me, as I think I know what’ll be there.

The worst thing about this movie, the mythology. I was wondering what Sullivan was going to do with this, mainly as at first it seemed impossible that the Crooked Man could go after other people. You have to say a rhyme and then he’ll appear. Think the “Candyman”, but instead of just the speaker being killed, the Crooked Man kills all in the given place, a house. Which even as I typed that, that seems to make very little sense. Why a single location? What if it had been an office building? Then there was another ridiculous wrinkle, of Rivera having been away, and effectively “pausing” the curse. I don’t think much more needs to be said on that. At least with “Darkness Falls”, another film (for those who don’t know) that deals with this whole staying in the light and you can avoid the creature, operated on a single legend and didn’t try to create something that made little sense, and only served to allow for the present plot to work. Or so I think that’s what it was. If not, I’m hoping you see the point.

Everything else was business as usual. Okay performances that helped to create paper thin characters you only sort of cared about. If you’re some sort of snarky tweeter, or just a sarcastic person, then you probably found some way to make a few of these dull characters more entertaining. Likability was never really on the table. As the story progresses, with decent creepy moments and bloody deaths, which were quite fun to see, cliché and predictable moments occurred, one right after the other. The only thing missing from this movie was a montage of characters doing research. While that was missing, research and investigating certainly did occur. They had to find a way to stop the Crooked Man! Anything and everything, which also got few people (and rightly so) not believing them, also occurred.

Sometimes the only thing you need is an entertaining TV movie. It raises the bar slightly, but doesn’t allow you to get your hopes up too much. Throw in the appropriate amount of horror elements and you may end up with a winning movie experience! It’s what’s fun about this type of movie. Hopefully the rest of the movie’s that premier during this month long event can live up to what this one gave. That being said, the promo for next weeks new movie isn’t giving me much hope that it’ll continue this trend for another weekend.

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