Rites Of Passage Reviews
Straight-to-rental movie written and directed by W. Peter Iliff centering on a group of students visiting an old Chumash Indian historical sight for a university class trip with the Brad Dourf character as the professor. At the same time, one of the stars brothers as well as the their fathers caretaker(Christian Slater) often get hallucinations as a result of consuming a strange herb called "Jimsonweed" smoked by the Christian Slater character and drank as tea from the older brother. The Slater character imagines a monkey puppet hanging onto his 12 gauge shot gun speaking to him, and the brother imagines young girls coming on to him offering themselves as wives. The version I saw is called "Creepers" which makes more sense than "Rites Of Passage" since by looking at the name itself looks like an 'archeology drama' which is quite the opposite but it's really a psychological horror film- it should've been called "Creepers" because that is the name the group of friends called his brother as a result of his stoned delusional behaviour.
The only thing I found amusing about this whole movie is the 'imaginary talking monkey puppet' created from Christian Slater characters mind. Other than that, the film is quite dismissive.
2 out of 4 stars
Nathan is an anthropology student that takes a trip to his family's abandon ranch on the beach, which is also a sacred Chumash burial ground. He invites some friends, as well as his teacher. His teacher is dating one of Nathan's friends, Sandee, and she is stripping online for another friend of Nathan's. Living near the aforementioned ranch are two insane drug users; Nathan's brother Benny and a gun owner named Delgado. When Benny is high, he takes one of Nathan's friends hostage and prepares to have a marital ceremony with her. After the girl he took hostage escapes, she is killed; he tries to kidnap Nathan's love interest, Dani, instead. Meanwhile, the teacher discovers that Sandee has been stripping online; she gravitates towards the guy that had been watching her strip. While this is happening, Delgado and Benny get into a fight with two of Nathan's friends. Delgado ends up killing one of them and severely injuring the other. Eventually, Delgado tries to kill all of the college students, though the sock monkey he imagines on his gun advises him against it. Nathan and Dani discover that Benny is evil, but Benny takes Dani captive before Nathan can really do anything to stop him. In an attempt to kill Dani, Delgado shoots Benny. I think that Benny imagines Dani making a reference to The Shining about being together "forever and ever ever..." Nathan kills Delgado, then rescues Dani before she commits suicide after a panic attack. By the end of the film, only Dani, Nathan and one of Nathan's male friends have survived. The final scenes depict Delgado somehow being revived and running out of the ranch, perhaps to kill the surviving three students.
Oh, and I think that Benny believed that he was a bear shaman or something.
All of the hallucination scenes were odd. That's the only word I can really use to describe them. They weren't hilariously quirky or disturbing in any way; they were just unusual. As a whole, Rites of Passage is pretty unusual. It isn't really generic, but it isn't spectacularly original. I haven't seen anything like it, but it isn't breaking any new ground in the horror genre. Nothing truly interesting is done with the characters, while on the other hand, certain plot elements seemed fresh.
I usually hate it when people ask this question, but why was this movie made? It certainly wasn't out of corporate greed; this is a straight-to-DVD horror flick without much of a viral marketing campaign. I highly doubt that this was a passion project; nothing seems to be particularly important to the writer(s) or director.
The acting is... I don't know. I think that most of the actors tried their best, but they weren't given very much to do. The script was... It was fine. It was dumb, but it wasn't offensively idiotic. The direction was full, and it failed to scare. Rites of Passage is undeniably bad, but it offers so little that it's very difficult to hate.