I forget how I found "A Lure: Teen Fight Club". I know I was on one of those IMDB trawls where you see credits of random actors you recognise, but I forget who I was looking up. They must have been awful, and now I wish them only pain.
Asylum Movies title themselves. All I knew was the title, and it had me, so I'm about as good as the gullible Fight Club fans. This movie took me two attempts to get through. Detention 2010 and Twilight didn't take two attempts. Admittedly the first one I had to stop because it was in my living room, and I didn't want people hearing what I was watching. Again, I've seen the other two films in my living room, I watch Gilmore Girls in my living room unabashedly.
So the film… It opens with two cheerleaders running through the woods, only to get killed...? It's uncertain at this point. The smoke and the woods look like a bad Buffy set. No, a bad Charmed set, but without Smashmouth in it, as the only thing I remember about Charmed is that they had Smashmouth appear once.
We have some cops in a made-up room at a college or office, giving the usual film cop banter back and forth, and we hear about missing teenage girls. The first reaction to this is that someone's got to be sent in undercover. They get our lead girl, Maggie, a cheerleading uniform. She's going in.
The school itself, Belmont High, is awful. Every teenager is the absolute worst. You'd think that you're watching a porn parody of an Eli Roth movie, but without any payoff. The girls are all about sexually insulting each other, walking about with little on and having the acting skill of the average porn star. Although this really isn't porn. It's about a teenage fight club. In theory. Nothing is made of this, no hints. The main clique we follow are a tiny mean girl who hams it up like a 1960's Batman villain, a girl whose family are rednecks but displays no difference from the other girls, and a blonde who is exactly a pr0n parody of an Eli Roth girl. Oh, and a generic girl who's taken away plot-wise and stars in the sole séx scene (when I realised all the noises and high-pitched sweary slutshaming the girls gave to each other sounded really awful echoing through the flat. The new girl/undercover cop is instantly hated, of course. These days, a lot of films seem to tar people with the outcast brush without any need to back it up. The Amazing Spider-Man had a less overtly-nerdy Peter Parker, and at its most blatant, the awful Abduction had Jacob from Twilight, a former model, as an outcast simply because… well, it's narrative shorthand for, "you sympathise with this character". Yeah, I saw that movie. It was on the, "How Did This Get Made?" podcast and any film I've not already seen which they cover, I watch. I'll tell you about Tiptoes sometime.
The girls talk about a rave they're going to later on, and with contrived reasons why they don't have a ride, they'll get the cop girl to drive them. While bullying her. Smart girls. The redneck girl draws sympathy from cop girl, which you might mistake for characterisation, but don't worry, it won't last.
On the drive through the dry-ice woods, the girls stop so that one of them can pee (classy) and they're split up, then knocked out. The mean girl and redneck girl are attacked by a poor man's Tyrol from Battlestar Galactica, lurking in the back of their car. He tasers one and the other runs into a rope hung in the air. Not a garotte, that would kill her, but the throat-strike of the rope knocks her out.
Finally, what feels like two hours into this movie, we finally start to see more than truly terrible acting and girls in their underwear, which I shouldn't really have complaints about, but still, that's how bad this movie is. The bland girl finds cop girl's adult boyfriend. She thinks he's an evil stalker, and still he ends up talking his way into being driven to the rave. Of course, it's a totally different place than the other girls. Redneck girl's brother and his bff get lost in the woods and attacked, just like the girls. One dies, the other gets away.
The kidnapped girls are caged in pairs, and we can see the cheerleaders from the start. This is all in a barn somewhere, and the leering guards taser some of them, just for the hell of it. After a bit of caged screaming, cop girl escapes with a hair pin, because the oldies are the goodies, but is caught. This happens quite a bit with different combinations of almost out, and then not. Another eight hours into this film and we finally see the fight club. It's a boxing ring surrounded by seedy gambling types. Cop girl is dressed like a really bad Sucker Punch cosplay and fitted with a collar which will shock her if she doesn't play along. Then a now-feral girl in hot pants is put into the ring and they fight for people's entertainment. It's not as great as attractive women fighting sounded. I didn't realise this was going to be the kind of fight club, and my expectations were dashed as soon as they were raised. Part way through the fight, a goon throws a knife in and in self-defence, cop girl kills feral girl. She's applauded and sent back to a cage for another escape attempt. Oh, and all the while a shadowy figure is drinking and watching all this on a monitor, just to make it seem creepy, but in a Jimmy Savile way instead of a horror movie way.
Redneck girl's brother turns up and dies during her attempt at escaping, delaying her from going. Cop girl is given the victory hot pants from the feral corpse girl and made to fight the mean girl. They agree not to fight, are told to kiss and then when it's not convincing, are conned into fighting by mind games a five year old could work out. During this time, the cop guy and bland girl's boyfriend have figured out the girls were given wrong directions and go for a platonic drive out in the eeeevil woods.
Things go awry, with the cop girl in another fight when the cop guy turns up. He breaks up the seedy audience who could easily have overpowered and killed him, and rescues cop girl. The mean girl, having done nothing other than get put in a cage to win our sympathies, is tied up in some other barn. The shadowy form, sensing everything falling apart around him leaves his monitor (taking his drink with him) and goes to the mean girl. It's Mr Reed! A teacher we saw for a moment and the girls all leched over right at the top of the movie. If he had more of a presence, this would be more of a plot point. He kidnaps the mean girl, takes cop girl hostage (with a man around, she's suddenly become useless). He gets cop girl to drive them away which ends with a crash in a lake, ending him, and I think the mean girl, too. I don't know, I mentally switched off at this point. I entered a trancelike state, transfixed by my Resident Evil 2 mousepad. I couldn't remember where I got it from, but the pad had lasted a long time. I remembered a time when the ludicrous Resident Evil series wasn't bloated, wasn't somehow more illogical than the bad film spin offs. When wandering around a trap-laden house or police station was a slow-paced thing of joy. When we were more innocent, and didn't ask questions like, "What is life like for an average Umbrella Corporation employee? Do they have to move a statue in place, collect three coloured-keys and play part of a song on a piano just to get to work in the morning?" A simpler time.
Anyway, all of that behind me, I tuned back in and the cop girl was no longer undercover, she was together with cop guy, her rescuer, but the film ended on him looking creepy, suspicious, like somehow he was part of the ring that he investigated and broke up. An implausible and unnecessary twist end for a really poor film.
A Lure: Teenage Fight Club, feels like a really bad approximation of what a modern horror film should be like. All the protagonists have one character trait which is, "swearily antagonistic", all the girls are constantly between chastising the vírginity or slutshaming each other, then when the fight club appears, their character trait becomes, "screaming in a cage". It's lazy, unambitious, and proof that the Bechdel test doesn't always work as these are painfully one-dimensional women, but they all have names and don't just talk about guys.
I might have to find a Gamecube copy of Resident Evil 1 to play on my Wii now. I miss that game.