Desecrated is like a slasher drained of all the things that make slashers fun. The movie starts with the archetypal slasher premise. A group of attractive, obnoxious youths head to a (semi-)isolated house for spring break. They encounter the hard-as-nails caretaker, Ben (Gonzalo Menendez), who (surprise, surprise) turns out to be a crazed murderer. Two of the friends break into a seemingly abandoned trailer to have sex where they discover a jar of human remains. A lot of nothing happens for a while, and then Ben starts picking off the teens one by one for desecrating the memory of his dead wife and daughter. It’s pretty uninspired material, but it’s an adequate enough basis for a decent slasher flick.
But all those things you like about slashers — the nudity, the sex, the gory kills, the grotesque makeup effects, the scary killer, the joy of watching annoying teens get massacred — none of them is present in this movie. I guess Desecrated is aiming for something a little more suspense-driven, but the filmmaking is nowhere near up to the task. The direction is bland. The action is poorly staged. The videography is cheap, with some really ugly color correction. The characters are shallow and irritating. The acting is lousy. I hate to beat up on a small-budget movie like this, but everything here is just … bad.
Unfortunately, it’s rarely bad enough to be amusing. For a while I thought it might be coming together into something delightfully terrible. The incongruous presences of Haylie Duff and Michael Ironside (cashing his paycheck with the absolute bare minimum of effort) seemed like they could tip over the whole affair into so-bad-it’s-good territory. But it never really sticks. There are some laughable moments to be sure, many of them provided by Menendez’s half-committed and confusing performance, but the movie is way too slackly paced and repetitious to generate entertainment of any sort.
Even worse, the film glances at serious issues it can’t hope to properly address. Ben is ex-military, and it’s suggested that some combination of his military training and the deaths of wife and daughter are to blame for his crazed break with reality. But, beyond outfitting Ben with some military accoutrements like land mines and body armor, the movie has less than nothing to say about the military or family tragedies or anything else.
On DVD and VOD January 6 from Uncork’d Entertainment.