Lost Episode is marketed as another Found Footage film,
one of several (Episode 50,
to follow a group of documentary ghost hunters around a disused
asylum. And indeed, that is the story, but the film itself is
shot with a conventional narrative structure. When the distributors
are actively trying to fool audiences into thinking that they
will get another example of a genre that is less than adored,
you know you’re in trouble. And sure enough, The
Lost Episode takes little time to establish itself as
breathtakingly, soul-crushingly awful. That the film is directed,
co-produced and starred in by Michael Rooker is very, very depressing.
The film opens with a bunch of astonishingly annoying teens (annoying
both as characters and incredibly inept actors) who visit the
derelict Pennhusrt asylum, where one of them regales the others
with the story of a TV crew who ‘disappeared’ there.
How he knows the intimate details of what happened is never explained,
but thankfully, the bulk of the film is taken up with this story.
Not that it’s any good, or that the actors are any better
(seriously: if anyone in this film apart from Rooker ever works
again, that’ll be the scariest part of the movie), but at
least the characters are slightly less annoying.
The film then follows the usual trajectory of ghost encounters
as the characters split up. One character meets a topless ghost
and, naturally, has sex with her – because what else would
you do in those circumstances? It’s clearly supernatural
sex, because she doesn’t need to take her knickers off.
But eventually, the crew start to fall victim to the imaginatively
named Doctor Death (Rooker), who kills them in gory medical experiments.
It turns out (and if you are foolish enough to think about actually
watching this, be warned: slight spoiler ahead) that he is a former
patient and very much alive, and that the ghosts have been trying
to help the hapless crew – which makes absolutely no sense
given what has come before.
In fact, this feels like a film thrown together on the spot. The
story fails to hang together, the characters are all one dimensional
and forgettable, and the film itself wanders somewhere between
torture horror and ghost story. The acting is, as I suggested
earlier, breathtakingly bad. Birdemic bad. But
not Birdemic entertaining, sadly. The production
values resemble a trailer park zombie film and even at 77 minutes,
the film is more heavily padded than a rubber room. There is one
moment of entertaining ineptness, when two female ‘characters’
are assailed by invisible ghosts (fans of 1970s era Dr
Who might appreciate the special effects and performances
in this scene), but the rest of the film is too dull to even have
a ‘so bad it’s good’ appeal. Sadly, The
Lost Episode is simply so bad, it’s unwatchable.
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