Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Totem (1999)

Oh, God. Here we go with another zero-budget Full Moon caper. Naturally I expect nothing from a movie like Totem, other than to be entertained by its immense shittiness and get a few laughs before the crushing realisation that I'm still watching movies like this in my late 20's hits home and I possibly go and cry somewhere for an hour. Well, good news because this movie pretty much blows like no other, and provides endless lolz.

Totem begins with a bunch of models waking up in a cabin with no memory of how they got there. They are being kept prisoner within an invisible forcefield, which is demonstrated to amazing effect by the actors doing their best "trapped mime" routine anytime they try to leave the immediate surroundings of the cabin. There's some plot stuff about an Indian burial ground (possibly, but don't quote me on that), and it turns out that three of the group will be possessed by an evil force and three will be murdered. There are a load of plastic monsters that appear periodically to mess the actors' hair up and generally behave like pricks, as well as a lot of nonsense about Indian curses and the like. It's kind of like Melrose Place crossed with Evil Dead, if that helps any.

So yeah, obviously you'd have to be a complete cock-end to actually try and pick holes in a movie like Totem, so let's focus on what it's got going for it. Firstly, there's the astoundingly bad acting, which will no doubt tickle you no end if you're into that sort of thing. The age-old technique of saying "fuck" every five seconds in order to convey emotion is employed to great effect here, although there were times when the cast looked like they wanted to evaporate into thin air in embarrassment - which I obviously dug. The scenes where characters become "possessed" are toe-curlingly awkward, leaving me halfway between wanting to leap out the nearest window and pissing my pants in laughter. Aside from the acting, one of the most bizarre things about Totem is the fact that there's barely any static shots, with the camera maintaining this weird, sea-sick bobbing motion as if the makers were worried the viewer would get bored if things weren't CONSTANTLY MOVING. I have no idea what the thinking was with that one, but what do I know.

I think my favourite aspect of Totem is the creature effects. When I say a bunch of plastic models terrorise the cast, it's not an exaggeration. Clearly visible wires and plastic stands are used to prop up the foot-high scamps, which the cast are then forced to roll around with and try to seem somewhat distressed. Of course, this is all gold to me. It may sound like I'm ripping Totem to pieces but I dug it 100%, and it has basically everything you could ever want from a bad movie. To top it all off, it's barely over an hour long, so hey, at least you won't be wasting too much of your life.

So yeah, I could write more about this but you get the idea. Totem is basically horrible in every conceivable way, a complete dogturd that you would most likely be embarrassed to admit to watching. So in short, I give this movie TEN OUT OF TEN.

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