Friday, July 11, 2014

Bad Cops

I didn't think I would get last nights review done. At one point I had decided to just get it done today instead, but I kept at it, and did get it done. I'm still in a review mood to my surprise. I didn't see yesterdays as a set back really, just got started late so was tired. I jumped right into the next film on the 50 movie pack. I couldn't find a movie poster for Human Behavior (2006), so I just went with the movie poster for Tomb Of Terrors, the movie pack I'm working through. I don't know that one could really call Human Behavior a horror movie, but it is on the movie pack and I watched it, so I'm going to review the damn thing.

Shelly (Anne-Michelle Seiler) is murdered after letting someone into her home who she knows. Detectives Mochston (Paul Anninos) and Plithman (Stephen Twardokus) are on the case though. They recruit Doc (Kevin O'Conner) to help out with figuring out who it might be. Mochston gets a lead that Shelly was talking with her ex-boyfriend and had a fight with him the night that she was killed. After questioning the bartender about it, that guy also turns up dead. Plithman gets some prints off the murder weapon, but when he leaves his computer while it runs a search on the prints, the search gets canceled and the file deleted. This leaves them to believe that a fellow cop is behind the murders. Could it be Bobby (Daniel Kash) who has been acting a little strange since the first murder? Or is there something else going on here?

Human Behavior is hard pressed to be in this set if you ask me. Outside of dealing with a crazy guy, Human Behavior falls more into a drama film than anything else. Even though this was obviously a low budget film, co-writers and directors Derek and Shane Cole do a fairly good job with what they have. There is obviously plenty wrong going on with chain of evidence and police procedure, which I'm sure not everyone knows anyway. While such stuff bugged me, I try not to let that get in the way of enjoying a movie. That is where I have to give then some credit at least. They do a good job of giving some twists to the story towards the end of it. The story wasn't anything great to be honest. Even though we don't see who the killer is at first, we know it isn't the ex-boyfriend because he is black, and the killer was clearly a white guy. I know that the detectives don't know that, but it was still rather boring watching them make a big deal over him every time he happened to be in the same area as they were. This is where the Cole's should have just started with Shelly already dead, and then show us the murder later on in a flashback. The red herring would have worked much better that way. In fact the Cole's sort of do this anyway. At around the 42 minute mark, we get a recap of everything that has happened up to that point thanks to two of the cops talking about the case, flashbacks included. That is usually something saved for the end of the film, not somewhere in the middle of it. Then there is also the odd choice of being filmed, or converted to, black and white. It doesn't add anything in this case, so not really sure why they decided on that.

Hardly anything to be found for effects. Some blood here and there, but that is as far as anything ever goes. The acting was very hit and miss, with it mostly missing. I had read a review before watching the film, which thankfully didn't give much away, just to see what Human Behavior was about. It complained about gaps in lines being said, which the review chalked up to bad acting. I didn't notice it too much, but I wondered while watching if it wasn't due more to the way it was edited instead of the delivery of the lines. Often the gaps in lines happen when there is a change in the camera angle, which is why I thought it had more to do with the editing. I never thought the acting as real bad, but there are times it comes close to it.

I guess that the twists at the end does put Human Behavior in the horror genre slightly, but it wasn't really enough for me to call it a horror film. In fact, the twists end up throwing more questions around instead of answering them. The story makes it clear who is doing the killing, and even throws out a reason for it, but that in turn opens it up for more questions. I'm not sure that the Core's thought that through very well. Still, I'm tempted to give this one a higher rating just because of the twists. They did make Human Behavior a bit more enjoyable, but the film as a whole missed the mark. Not by a lot, but it did. I don't know how it easy it is to find this film, but if you happen to have the movie pack that it is on, I would suggest giving it a watch sometime. At a 72 minute run time, it is a short film, so even if you don't like it, you won't spend a lot of time with it. I'm just curious to see how many will get the twists figured out ahead of time.
2 out of 5 Giving cops a bad name


cattleworks said...

So, I see you've been reviewing up a mini-storm here! Way to go!
I was sort of skimming this review at first, and then I noticed the names of the Cole brothers as directors. They sounded familiar, so I checked them out on IMDb.
Okay, I haven't seen HUMAN BEHAVIOR, but
as I suspected, I DID see two of their later films at a couple local film festivals in the past few years.
But, they've changed the titles of both of those movies.
The one movie I saw as M is now THE MUTILATION MAN. Considering the subject of the film, a masked man torturing this couple, the new title makes much, MUCH more sense. It wasn't a bad movie, in fact, it had some cool scenes and a pretty nifty sorta-fake-out at one point. If I remember correctly though, they had a sequence that ran during the end credits that I thought was unnecessary, and as it turned out, the brothers were available for a Q&A and I asked them why they felt compelled to add the additional scene. I think they felt the film may have been too short. Which was too bad, because I didn't think it really needed the additional bit.
But, whatever. It seems that perhaps they were a bit inexperienced with this earlier film, HUMAN BEHAVIOR, but they also seem to be significantly honing their craft with each new film they make.
MUTILATION MAN was a pretty solid film.
Their next film which I also saw, AN AMERICAN GHOST STORY, was also pretty good. And it starred and was written by the actor who played one of the detectives in HUMAN BEHAVIOR, Steven Twardokus. Again, they changed the title. I saw it as REVENANT, which sounds cool, but did nothing for me in terms of imagery or anything. The new title for it, though, AN AMERICAN GHOST STORY, seems a lot more commercial, in that it seems to be riding these "GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION" GHOST STORY or HAUNTING films-- so, it's cashing in on that trend, but it also makes it sound more generic, too, to be honest. but, it was available at my local Family Video!
Whatever. This was a pretty consistently interesting and spooky film, from what I remember of it.
So, it's nice to know they're getting more consistently accomplished on each new film they make.
I'll have to check out this HUMAN BEHAVIOR just to see their beginnings now!

cattleworks said...

PS. Oh, and I did read the review! Good job!