Review: Cruel Intentions (1999)

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“Most people are sheep. Who are you to criticize something you’ve never experienced?”
– Sebastian Valmont

SYNOPSIS: Two vicious step-siblings of an elite Manhattan prep school make a wager: to deflower the new headmaster’s daughter before the start of term. – via IMDB

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GRADE 8Rewatching this recently was very rewarding. I watched it many years ago, definitely when I was way too young for this on way too many levels. I was on such a nineties binge, and this was right up on my list. I watched it with my hubby, and then again shortly after with Natasha, because she hadn’t seen it.

Right off the bat, the movie is twisted. I don’t say that in a bad way (you all know how much I love a little bit of the icky). Cruel Intentions explores some really dark subject manner, touts some truly reprehensible characters, and really looks at the depths of depravity and cruelty that some people are overly familiar with. The cast played their roles so convincingly, and that really helped it along. Witherspoon was sweet, pure, and adorable, while Phillippe and Gellar both nailed the dark, twisted, sadistic beings that they were. The supporting cast, too, was quite good.

Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe has fantastic chemistry here (yes, I know they were together, but it conveys so well on screen). It was great to watch them. Selma Blair’s Cecile just annoyed me endlessly. I am sorry, she was just so… silly. Pointless. Annoying. I get why she was there, and Blair played Cecile well, but she was one character I was not overly fond of. I would have liked to see more Joshua Jackson, and his character was a right snake!

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The pacing for this is pretty good, and it all works together to bring about a solid story, albeit quite a nasty one, and it provides the viewer with a most satisfying, unexpected conclusion, and just looking at the fact that it is not the same stale story with a little twist in it is pretty refreshing.

There are flaws, surely, but the movie is engrossing and fascinating regardless of that. The dialogue is a little odd at times, and these kids are really hard to identify with. These people are sick and twisted, and yet you cannot help being drawn into their crazy games. Sebastian is a character that develops quite a bit, yet Kathryn never even tries to change her ways. I found Cruel Intentions to be dark and devious, and definitely something to keep you hooked from the off. That being said, I just don’t think it is going to work for more sensitive viewers.

Review: I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997)

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“We killed a man and ruined the lives of everyone he knew.”
– Julie James

SYNOPSIS: After an accident on a winding road, four teens make the fatal mistake of dumping their victim’s body into the sea. But exactly one year later, the dead man returns from his watery grave and he’s looking for more than an apology. – via IMDB

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GRADE 5This was big when I was a rugrat. I mean huge. This is something I saw quite a few times. I might not have loved the crap out of it then, but it was okay. Seeing it all these years later? Sheesh. There really were some bad flicks that came out in the nineties. It’s like… the film is actually pretty funny because it is so silly, but it tries to take itself too seriously, and that is what hurts it.

Anyway, I don’t have an awful lot to say. I can’t help but think that this film embodied the nineties in so many ways – I think the most obvious is the stars attached to it. Ryan Phillippe nails that rich, crazy, spoiled brat, and this was no exception. This was, however, one of the times I was not a big fan of him, and I usually enjoy him. I think it is more his character than him, but he was still just a meh character all round. The cast wasn’t actually bad. Jennifer Love-Hewitt, Ryan Phillippe, Freddie Prinze Jr, and Sarah Michelle Gellar? They all delivered their totally one dimensional characters just fine. Corny lines and all.

Anyway, the premise to this is actually so weak and over the top silly. I mean come on! These kids all look like they have been through the wringer, and nobody is wondering what the hell happened to this tight-knit group of elite friends to reduce them all to absolutely nothing? I don’t buy it. I really don’t. The movie was chock full of any type of horror cliché it could squeeze into it, and was predictable, but still relatively entertaining when all is said and done. It is fluffy and light and silly. The villain is actually so ridiculous, and that also really hurts the movie. The super sappy ending also didn’t help matters, either. My eyes went a-rolling.

Typical nineties teen slasher with a very recognizable cast, but ultimately is quite the flat, uninspired experience and doesn’t have much going for it. There are infinitely better popcorn entertainment horror/slasher movies out there to keep yourself busy with. I certainly won’t be rushing to rewatch this and its questionable content anytime soon.