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DUCK! THE CARBINE HIGH MASSACRE Movie Review
by PROFESSOR DARK
"DUCK!"... away from this movie!
Since my buddy DEVILMAN had his fill of shot-on-video low budget American movies with THE ATTACK OF THE COCKFACED KILLER (reviewed elsewhere), I volunteered to step in and review DUCK! THE CARBINE HIGH MASSACRE for him. Not having reliable access online myself, this is not something that I get a chance to do often, but anything to help save DEVILMAN's delicate sensabilities (yeah, right).
Let's get a few things out of the way first shall we. If you are looking for graphic horror, lots of gore, sex / nudity, or the like, then you'll need to look somewhere else. This movie is NOT for you. Well, there is alittle gore (which we'll talk about later) but there's no horror, there's no sex, and only four... count 'em, only four exposed female breasts to be had. So, if you're looking for any of the above listed material, please move along because there's nothing to see here. Now, if you're still with me and still interested, here's what you can look forward to if you pop in this particular DVD.
DUCK! came out originally in 2000 after the real life Columbine High School shootings. The film, supposedly touted as so controversial, it landed it's makers in jail, is loosely based on the events that took place in Colorado. Two young outsiders (in this case named Derwick and Derwin instead of Eric and Dylan), grow tired of being picked on and decide to kill their classmates and in the end, themselves. Yes, that's a gross oversimplification but this isn't the forum to rehash all of the outrageous reasons for school shootings, although that is probably one of the only uses for this film. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Anyway, The movie was written and produced by WILLIAM HELLFIRE and JOEY SMACK. These two also play the lead character roles (as Derwick and Derwin) with HELLFIRE even doing the directing chores as well. The cast includes such forgettable people as LILLY TIGER (obviously not her real name), MICHAEL OVUM, and LIZ BATHORY as "GothGirl" (DEVILMAN's particular favorite character). The one "star" of the film (assuming you're into straight-to-DVD movies) is MISTY MUNDAE (the popular SEDUCTION CINEMA actress). She plays, ironically enough, "Bible Girl", but sadly, does not get naked anywhere in this flick.
DUCK!'s story? Simple enough. The film follows the events leading up to the infamous massacre, showing the lives of Derwick (JOEY SMACK) and Derwin (WILLIAM HELLFIRE), as well as the antics of their various two dimensional classmates. Our two "stars" spend their days ordering nuclear weapons from China via online retailing, reading hate websites, and putting up with their clueless, self involved parents. One of the more entertaining gimmicks in this film is that all of the parents in the town are played by the same two actors. I suppose this is WILLIAM HELLFIRE's commentary on how all parents are essentially the same in how they treat their kids. As for these in particular, Derwin's mom is ditzy, his dad is on prozac. Derwick's parents are equally worthless. They're drunks and abusive, and so on.
Anyway, as it goes, Derwin is brutally beaten by several said class members. He recovers from his ordeal, purchases guns with his pal Derwick (quite easily too I might add), and then BLAM! BLAM! And BLAM! BLAM! Oh, almost forgot, there is also a wacky subplot concerning the school's janitor who turns out to be not entirely from this world. Why? How? Hell, who really knows for sure with this script. You've got to see it to believe it. Trust me on this.
Yet no matter what impression you've already got about this movie, there are some good things to be had in DUCK!. WILLIAM HELLFIRE was surprisingly relaxed and natural as an actor. The role was probably not a real reach for him though, but he was enjoyable in a general cast of wooden planks. I said earlier I would get back to the gore, and here it is. The gunshot effects were simply great! The blood and explosions from the doomed student's bodies were all done very nicely. I personally thought MISTY MUNDAE's death scene in particular was very good. Derwin's inital beat down was also extremely brutal and eye pleasing. The only problem is that these scenes only make up 10 to 15 minutes of the movie. The rest of the flick is all stiff dialogue and often tedious build-up. The pay off just isn't worth the effort sometimes.
That being said, one cannot agrue enough that there's lots and lots of problems with this movie though. So here's my rant. First of all, the filmmakers would have you believe that their purpose was to make a satire on the way the media handled the rash of school schootings around Columbine. But guys, you missed something. If I put on a cop's hat and act goofy, and go around saying "Look at me, I'm a cop!", that's not satire. I think satire should have some subtlety and most of the time, it's absent in DUCK!. Secondly, if this whole affair was about all of the school shootings, why was the plot so note-for-note a copy of the original Columbine tragedy? Couldn't think of anything more original? And just because you're all from New Jersey, that doesn't give you the right to copy KEVIN SMITH's films with the whole "title cards between chapters" thing (ala CLERKS). And last (but certainly NOT least), what in the HELL was up with the insane UFO ending?! That just sucked! There's no other way to say it. And I'm not really spoiling this for anyone because no one will probably care about the ending anyway.
However, I think this movie might have been saved if a few things had been done differently. Mostly, I felt the film was just too damn long. I think it would have made an excellent short film, say some 20 to 30 minutes in length. That would have been plenty of time for the drama to unfold so we could get on with the shocks and impacts. As a full length feature, I feel it looses just about everything. I mean the audience is soooooo bored by the time we get to the actual shootings (something EVERYONE's been patiently waiting for), there is simply no emotional involvement anymore.
So, in closing, I admit, with the recent rash of new school shootings, DUCK! might serve one purpose - it may get people talking. If it makes you and your friends talk about why these sorts of things happen in our society, then the film's worth at least one viewing. I guess that would probably make the filmmakers very happy. But I'd suggest renting or borrowing the DVD from someone who already has it. I wouldn't recommend you spend your hard-earned cash on it.