Slasher movies have covered almost every aspect of life. If someone has issues, you can be sure a slasher movie has been made about it. From the woods, camps, office buildings and the every day home. One of the spots that hasn't been covered to much is sports. Maybe there are films out there that I don't know about but The Catcher (2000) is the first movie that I have watched where it takes place at a baseball stadium. If you think about it, sports is a prime breading ground for slashers. They all have issues, the killers I mean. I would hope it is a rare day that someone just wakes up one day and decides it would be a good day to kill someone out of the blue for no real reason. With sports, there can be all kinds of reasons to become a killer. Not that I am trying to give anyone any ideas or anything.
In The Catcher, we have one such person with issues. Johnny (Fred Meyers) is out in the yard throwing the ball around with dad (Joe Estevez). Dad is talking to his son about baseball and Johnny says he wants to be a catcher. Dad decides he is going to all supportive of this and starts throwing the ball at Johnny as hard as he can. When Johnny knocks the ball down instead of catching it, dad gets all mad and really starts yelling. Next we see them at the ball park. It is after a game, everyone else has left except for Johnny and his dad. The team won but apparently Johnny didn't play well so dad is making him get in some extra batting practice. Dad throws the ball and almost hits his son. On the next pitch, he does hit his son. Dad goes and tells his son to take it like a man so the son stands up and starts swinging away at dear old dad.
Now we cut to present day. The Devils have finished their last game of the season and their catcher, David Walker (David Heavener), is sitting in the locker room after having been thrown out of the game for some reason or another. Some of the other guys on the team start getting on him some about his bad play and how he drags the rest of the team down and makes them all look bad. Terry Mitchell (Monique Parent) is I guess something like a general manager of the team. She is new to the job and is going over records and things when she is told it is time to get rid of Walker. Walker already has had a bad day. Did bad in the game, his girlfriend breaks up with him and now he is about to be released from his contract with the team. He is shown to have issues as well. He is throwing a ball around in the locker room and it breaks the beer bottle he has beside him. Instead of cleaning it up, he presses his hand into the broken glass and cuts his hand. He just sits there and looks at it. Is it Walker who later starts going on a killing spree or is Johnny someone else?
I was a little disappointed with the effects for The Catcher. I wasn't really expecting a gore fest of a movie since the main weapon for our killer is a baseball bat but I was expecting a little more than what we end up getting. I'm sure a baseball bat can do a lot of damage to someone but they don't really show this in the movie very well. Sure cuts show up where the bat hits someone and the blood flows. I noticed at times that blood and/or wounds would appear out of seeingly now where on some people. When the killer really cuts loose, this is down off camera mostly. The camera will be close to killer while he swings away (with cheesy sounds effects to let us know the bat is connecting) and blood will sometimes fly up or spray the killer. A ball machine is also used as a weapon at one point as well with a silly death of a ball getting stuck in the coach's mouth.
The acting was ok. It wasn't to bad for the most part but it wasn't all that good either. For this type of movie I can work with it though. I'm sure not a lot of money was put into the film so I understand you just have to get the best actors you can that will take a small pay check and that is also probably why the effects didn't go all out. Even so, I have watched movies with much worse acting. It was interesting to see Joe Estevez. I don't recall ever seeing him before. If you know the name it is probably because he is the younger brother of Martin Sheen and uncle to Charlie and Emilio. You will also find Sean J. Dillingham, Leslie Garret, Paul Moncrief, James Patterson and Harley Harkins.
The Catcher does have its share of problems. The editing is pretty bad at times. I noticed once that a scene was started and then a new scene starts almost right away. This happens so quick that I thought I was only seeing things at first. Another person that did a review also noticed this and also noticed it at a different place in the film as well. Another problem I noticed was how fast people would run in this movie. They are supposed to be running for their lives yet they seem to be moving no faster than a snail at times. Just running at a trot sometimes and even walking at other times. Can't run faster than the camera person I guess.
The Catcher might have its problems but I still enjoyed it. It is different enough to stand out and the problems aren't that bad to take away from my enjoyment. The ending of the movie does come close to doing that though. It makes very little sense and felt a little rushed. One think I thought that could have improved the story was maybe having a quick story about where Johnny went from killing dad to playing baseball. How did he get on a team and things like that but part of the movie is trying to figure out which ball player is Johnny. We know someone is Johnny because we see this someone out of the field at times and see the ghost of dad still yelling at him. One thing that I had to ask is why certain people were hanging around the club house for so long after the game? Don't these people have homes to go to?
I felt the people involved with The Catcher did a good job with what they had to work with. Could it have been better? Sure but I still think this movie stands out just enough to make it interesting. One complaint I noticed is that The Catcher took itself to serious and should have tried to be more of a comedy/horror mix. I for one am a little tired of that sub genre. I was glad to see that someone still takes horror serious when making a movie. To each their own though. I would suggest giving this movie a try. As I have pointed out, it has problems but still manages to stand on its own.
3 out of 5 "Three strikes and you die"
4 days ago