Courtesy of eOne Films
Dir: Deon Taylor (The Hustle, 7eventy 5ive/Dead Tone)
Cast: Nikki Reed, Noah Segan, Cody Kasch, Cherilyn Wilson, Matt Cohen, Keith David, Brad Dourif
Reason to see: Horror starts at a Yes for me, plus this stars Nikki Reed (Twilight), Brad Dourif and Keith David (The Thing, They Live) and I like all of them!
Chain Letter is a high school set horror film starring where horrible things occur after the chain of events starting with a email chain letter. It kind of reminds me of all those American remakes of Asian horror films from the past 10 years, because the premise itself is a little light and the scares aren't that scary but in contrast it does deliver in the gore department, and there it delivers in impressive, bloody amounts.
The film follows a group of high schoolers including Jessie (Nikki Reed of Twilight), Dante (Noah Segan of Someone's Knocking at the Door) and brother & sister Neil & Rachael (Cody Kasch, Cherilyn Wilson) who make up a rag tag group combining friends and siblings whose lives become even more interconnected after a email chain letter is sent along to them and sparks a chain of grisly murders. The adults in the mix are ludite teacher Mr. Smirker (Brad Dourif) providing the context of what life was like before cell phones and internet and we also have Detective Jim Crenshaw, played by the always awesome Keith David.
I liked that the film does toy with the interesting question of privacy versus access and I'll admit I didn't always know where Chain Letter was going, but sometimes it felt like it wasn't aligning to the logic it set up. The shining star here is really the effect and the gore and that actually grossed me to the point where I had to look away (and that's saying something as I've sat through Martyrs). They really sit with the gore and the effect and sound really punch it up. I like more horror more on the atmosphere side of things, so it wasn't the best match although I think gorehounds will really enjoy it.
One thing horror is known for, beyond scary and grossing us, is a place to spot new faces and from Chain Letter I would have to say that Matt Cohen did a good job here as the Johnny, and I'll be keeping an eye out for what he does in the future. It's not the first time I've seen him as he was also on couple of episodes of "Supernatural", but his understated performance here really shone in the film.
Warnings: Violence, torture, gore
Shannon's Overall View:
It actually got me queasy at times
I would watch it again
I definitely recommend it for gore horror fans
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© Shannon Ridler, 2011
Nikki Reed as Jessie Campbell in Chain Letter. Courtesy of eOne Films.
Keith David as Det. Jim Crenshaw in Chain Letter. Courtesy of eOne Films.