Add to the list “Stag Night,” a 2008 fright film just now seeing release, under the Ghost House Underground label.
In the wee small hours of the morning, the prenuptial rite of passage for Mike (Kip Pardue) ends as he and three pals exit a strip club, and end up with two of the strippers on a subway train headed home. Mike’s troubled brother (Breckin Meyer) makes unwanted advances to one of the girls (Vinessa Shaw), who answers with a spray of mace to the face.
The resulting offensive mist causes them all the abandon the car between stops. Their first sign that was a bad idea is finding a newspaper on the ground ... whose front page reports on Watergate. Their second sign is spotting the feral, homeless cannibals who live within the tunnels. Looking like a cross between Rob Zombie, the Predator and the Geico cavemen, they adore white meat.
Let’s hope, for the sake of Mike’s fiancée, that their wedding deposit is refundable.
Establishing a story quickly is a good thing, but “Stag Night” has nowhere to go from there, other than the mode of “run, kill, repeat,” capped off by the requisite stupid ending. Movies set in subway tunnels (even partially) can be mighty entertaining — see “The Midnight Meat Train,” “Creep” and either version of “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3” — but writer/director Peter A. Dowling’s tale is rather rote.
He penned the Jodie Foster thriller “Flightplan,” but this exhibits none of that one’s ingenuity or suspense. Any chances it has are ruined Dowling’s ever-shaking camera; coupled with the darkly lit setting, that approach makes it awfully tough to see just what is going on. My eyes don’t wish to work so hard when my brain hasn’t been engaged. Pun not intended.
At least it’s good to see Shaw, a classy actress, in something. She works not often enough. “Stag Night” works even less. —Rod Lott