DVD. Studio Canal.
Lane sets itself up as a study of the dark underbelly
of suburbia in much the way that David Lynch’s films often
are, and plays on ideas cribbed from Eighties ‘relationship
stalker’ films, paranoid thrillers and supernatural horror
films. It also clearly wants to be Halloween,
but it forgets one thing – horror films need to be scary,
unsettling or disturbing. This isn’t.
Rose McGowan plays radio psychiatrist Sonny Blake, who moves into
her childhood home after the death of her alcoholic father, and
soon finds herself terrorised by local paperboy Derek Barber (Daniel
Ross Owens). Yeah… a paperboy. This sociopath soon fixates
on her for no immediately obvious reason, though he’s apparently
terrorised the local neighbourhood for years. Inevitably, there
is no hard evidence of his ‘crimes’ (which are all
pretty minor for the most part) and the police start to think
Blake is imagining things. Yet the paperboy seems possessed with
supernatural powers (something the film plays with when convenient
and then fails to follow up on) and soon his actions move from
pesky to murderous.
The film is slickly put together, but it’s woefully short
on shocks, beyond the shock that someone as thoroughly dubious
as director Victor Salva still gets work – he’s a
greater monster than any character in his films you might think,
given his real life conviction for raping a 12 year old boy. It’s
perhaps because of this that the paperboy in the film seems to
be about 20 years old, despite continually being referred to as
a minor – I assume as a convicted sex offender, he’s
not allowed to work with actual kids.
We should, of course, separate the art from the person who made
it (because God knows, there are a lot of very dubious figures
out there), but even so, Rosewood Lane doesn’t
really work. An interesting cast (Ray Wise, Lin Shaye, Lesley-Anne
Down) are mostly wasted in throwaway or minor roles, and there
is little depth to the film – and little surface gloss either.
It’s never quite dull, because you always expect it to pick
up the pace and get moving. It never really does though.
Apparently, the screenplay for Rosewood Lane
was knocking around for a couple of decades before it was made.
Had it emerged in the era of The Hand That Rocks the Cradle
and Fatal Attraction, it might have made more
sense. I can’t imagine it would be any better though.
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