Thursday, January 7, 2010

He Knows You're Alone (1980)

In the wake of John Carpenter's Halloween (1977) there were a lot of imitation films made about hulking serial killers cutting up groups of horny teenagers. The "slashers" were often pretty formulaic and uncreative, and such is the case with He Knows You're Alone, a by-the-numbers slasher that has a few scary moments, a memorable opening murder in which a girl gets stabbed through a movie theatre seat during a slasher film (ripped off in Scream 2), and an early appearance by a young Tom Hanks.

He Knows You're Alone is the story of a young girl who is about to get married to a guy who's probably wrong for her and a serial killer who murders brides before their wedding day. Of course, they're made for each other, but for some reason that's never explained every time you think the bride killer is going to kill the bride, he decides instead to follow one of her friends and kill them instead. Oh, well; always a bridesmaid, never a bride.

There are some good setups here and a few scenarios that pay off. I really like that they tried to be scary, instead of going for laffs. I think the big problem with the movie is slack editing. It's a basic movie trick that if you edit the shots so that the cuts gets faster and faster, it builds tension. Here, instead, they hold every shot for about half a minute or more, which kills all tension. I remember at one point yelling, "Okay! I see that the damn record is turning on the turntable! Duly fucking noted!" Another funny thing though is that there's often dialogue dubbed in when characters are clearly not talking, which at one point I thought was supposed to be scary- holy shit! That guy's possessed! But, no... And the plot is a bit stupid, but that's not usually a problem with these movies. One good thing- the acting is a lot better than usual. Sadly, though, I think Turner and Hooch is still Tom Hank's scariest movie.

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