Turns out, I had nothing to fear but fear itself, because what a difference a budget makes! Although it’s nothing to write Mom about (she’s a wuss when it comes to things, no?), it’s enjoyable in that delightfully brain-dead way for which weekend movie-watching was invented.
After one of the greatest opening sequences I’ve seen all year (yes, I know it’s only January), its premise unfolds: Nerdy Neil (Cody Kasch) receives an unusual chain letter online proclaiming him the first link in the chain. If, he states, he fails to send the message to five people, he will die. With the help of his sister (Cherilyn Wilson, “Parasomnia”), he fires it off to a select few friends … who pretty much blow it off.
And that’s when the grisly deaths begin. Taking core elements from the likes of “Final Destination,” “Urban Legend,” “Scream” and “Saw,” “Chain Letter” has a ball mixing contemporary tropes with a high-tech twist, even making light of the current young generation’s addiction to cell phones and the like. Here, it dooms the good-looking students (“Twilight”’s Nikki Reed among them), despite the warnings of their teacher, Brad Dourif (“Halloween II”).
From trap-heavy slasher scenes to a clever end, it’s too much fun for its own good. You’re next! —Rod Lott