This is definitely a mainstream film that fell short. There’s a great idea, some very cool cameos, yet the inconsistent pacing and plot holes cripple what could have been a new franchise.
In the 2010 film Chain Letter the writers tries to tap into a great premise.Premise in a word or two: A HS kid gets a letter. “Send this to 5 people in 24 hours or you’ll die”. It gets sent and the next 5 people have to do the same. When people in this circle delete, they get deleted. You’ve got a little bit of The Ring meets SAW meets Final Destination and with the most deliciously annoying subject matter “Chain Letters”. The idea is really good, we’ve all gotten these email and deleted them ticked at the person that wanted “a little bit of extra luck”, “The man/woman of their dreams”, “to help Timmy who fell in a well and needs us to send this email”?!?! So it’s agreed-idea is good. Not to mention the poster looks good and Dimension Extreme does some really cool and gruesome stuff like my all time favorite “Inside” ( A L’Interieur).
So why does it fail?
The opening was pretty good, very SAW like, not original but amusing and kicks the story into action. then you’ve got the uber hip HS kids (who look and act like 20 something college students-which is how they should have set it up) Their lines come quick and hard. Problem is, there is loads of witty banter which try to mask a real development of characters. So we end up with the same cast as “I know What you did Last Summer” meets “Scream” but not as well developed.
Ok then on to the kills.
Pretty good. You can see by the set-up and deliveries that they had a budget. Still only one kill, is somewhat original in that in neatly ties up the story, kind of.
So, I’m not sure if I’d saying “see it” or “skip it”
See, 1st off they say 24 hours or die, but hte timeline lasts a week or two. Huh?!?! The actors had time for funerals, arguments in the park and cops had time to investigate. HUH?!?!
Then, in the stylized way it is shot, it’s unclear if the writers were going for SAW ( a psycho) or RING (supernatural) explanation. Well actually it’s more SAW but they add this silly Matrix like dial effect every time someone deletes the email.
Also, with all of the great actors they snagged Keith David (The Thing), Brad Dourif (Child’s Play), Betsy Russell (SAW), Charles Fleisher (A Nightmare on Elm Street) they don’t up any sort of twist or give the seasoned actors anything original.
It sunk at the box office, there’s no great character development and only a slight twist.
On the other hand…
The production value shows that it had promise/ a budget and is a cut above those “great cover-d movies” that come out and go straight to dvd.
Worth an instant watch, maybe a rental (Netflix).
CHAIN LETTER (2010) USA
Written by Michael J. Pagen, Deon Taylor
Directed by Deon Taylor
Starring Nikki Reed, Keith David & Brad Dourif