Student film doomed from the beginning

Photo courtesy of George Cagle

Photo courtesy of George Cagle

This article was edited for accuracy on Dec. 5 at 5:47 p.m.

The student-directed and produced film “Dormitory of Doom” has a catchy title with potential. That potential is quickly stomped on with the bad acting in the first scene that foreshadows the majority of the movie.

The film begins with some friends hanging out in their dorm, complaining about how dirty, loud and unlivable the place is. A strange man claiming to be the new resident assistant eavesdrops and begins to tell them a tale of true hell in their very dorm.

The acting is either overdone or underdone; sticking with one type of acting could have had a humorous twist but mixing the two together makes the director’s goal for the type of film confusing.

It is ambiguous whether the film was supposed to be a spoof of a scary movie or a serious horror movie because the script leaves characters underdeveloped and the plot incoherent. The humor could have saved the movie but the quirky comments and sexual innuendos did not pan out with the slow, unnatural acting. Even the drunk party scenes are unbelievable.

To top it off, the mysterious main character, Ernie, takes unusual acting to a new level with his overblown moaning and unexplainable transformation from a college boy with noisy dorm neighbors getting on his nerves to (spoiler alert) a masked killer who murders his entire dorm’s occupants as well as the dean of the school in revenge. In revenge of what is the unanswered question.

However, the camera angles from Ernie’s point of view are unique with his hands interacting in front of him and his mother even pinching the camera as if they were his cheeks.

Unfortunately, the rest of the camera work may have been equally innovative but was not cut well during the editing process. The sound effects also suffer from editing as some of the punches sound like a broken snare drum and the stabs like boxed wine being punctured.

The gore scenes are also weak. The two extremes between lack of gore completely or globs of fake blood make the killing scenes not only unbelievable but plain inconsistent.

However, the score by music composition major Kyle Roderick is well-composed and well-timed traditional horror music that makes the killing scenes more dramatic.

There were also a few original camera shots and the surprise ending was a funny twist. With more coaching from director Daniel Chapman, a sophomore FTDM major, the actors could have made more of the humor work out.

In the end, the bloopers during the credits show the actors and crew having a fun time making the film, which is one crucial part of making of a good movie. The director had the audacity to take on the challenge of a horror movie and can hopefully clean up the mistakes for his next project.

The film will be showing in the Brown-Lupton University Union Auditorium on Dec. 9.