Once in a while, a movie comes along that looks great,
sounds wonderful, and moves nicely but is riddled with plot points and
production values that only confuse. Mark A. Lewis’ Ill Fated is just
such a flick.
When it’s over we’re left wondering “Whose story was it?” (just one of the
characters achieved any sort of resolution, with a finality that shuts the door
on the sequel) and “Was the parody intentional?” (the split-second inclusion of
a Virginia Woolf novel being read in the midst of The Beverly Hillbillies
meets Deliverance was a deft touch, but paled in comparison with the
once-too-many, sliding-out-of-the-backdoor-of-the-bus gag).
Other natters include:
- When best friends head for the old swimming hole for relief on a
hot summer’s day, who wears gaudy boxers?
- In the same sequence there’s a marvellous shot of Jimmy (Paul
Campbell who leads the film in the looks department but appears more puzzled
than angst laden), treading water before vanishing from the screen. We only hear that he stayed under long enough to worry his buddy Clayton
(Christopher Gauthier, convincing as the stereotypical overweight “slow” boy),
where a water shot was teased but not delivered.
- The “chicken or the egg” philosophical question served to glue
some of the scenes together (always a winner for those gathered ’round the bar),
but the metaphor came to life as a trio of real ones were tossed at various
windshields-the last bringing Jimmy and his wayward father, Earl (Peter
Outerbridge whose sexual prowess is as accurate as the egg thrower’s) together
for first aid, confession and compelling advice “You can’t run away from
- Barry (Bill Croft, savouring the abuses he rains down on anyone in
his way) is a nasty man with a nasty son Bobby (John Callander) and a rebellious
daughter, Barb (Nicki Clyne, who personifies “be careful what you wish for” when her
rabbit test comes up positive—seems Jimmy’s count is as potent as Dad’s), but
they live in a house that’s clean enough for a feature in Better Homes and
Gardens: “Now Bobby, be sure to dust before you go out and smack that no good
- A ray of hope is Jimmy’s eccentric Grampy (John F. Parker,
curmudgeon extraordinaire) who tries to show his grandson the value of hard work
and morals, only to reveal a tongue worse than a sailor’s when Jimmy refuses his
offer of a home. What unintended irony that the job at hand for this
generational moment was digging up a broken septic line: shit happened.
- Showing the passage of time with three “clock” shots in the early
going gets tiresome.
- The weekly fishing trip by the best friends was fine, but who
fishes from the beach?
- The opening “boner” scene comes across as more silly than
- And finally, Earl’s moment of truth has to be yelled from behind a
stump to those who would either kill or capture him. Fortunately, all are
polite enough to let him finish before the film staggers to its unfulfilling
Notwithstanding all of the above, if in the right mood, Ill Fated is an entertainment that will bring some chuckles—intended or not. And Mike Neilson’s mallet-filled, saucy score is worth the price of admission alone. JWR