DAY 27: ARNOLD IS IN THE SPOILER ROOM
There are times when you just want to take the producers, writers and so-called "creatives" involved in the unholy world of reality TV shows and beat them with iron bars until the iron bars break. Partly for the ghastly stench of their nauseating shows themselves: a steady parade of despicable Cro-Magnon mutants who'll do literally anything for a tabloid headline and a shedload of easy money, and a redefinition of the word "celebrity" to include anyone who's ever been on a bus. And partly because of rubbishy horror movies using the reality show as a reason to lock a bunch of tiresome halfwits in a dark place and do horrible but badly-lit things to them. For every slick, nasty and fun Wrong Turn 2 there's a godawful 2001 Maniacs: Field Of Screams or there's this.
The Task is a nonsensical horror in which a bunch of people have to spend the night in the spooky old penitentiary - rumoured to be haunted by the ghost of the former warden who liked to torture, rape and kill his captives - for a TV reality show and complete various tasks involving confronting their deepest fears. (Personally, if I was asked my deepest fear when auditioning for a reality show, I'd be suspicious and tell them I was terrified of cucumbers or Lego or something.) But before long, it's clear they're not alone in there. Is the place really haunted? Or is it all another layer added by the producers of the show?
It's another film from the After Dark stable (Fertile Ground, Husk, Seconds Apart, Prowl) and it's their weakest yet, in a series that's yet to be more than okay at best. Quite apart from there being a couple of twists in the last section that mean the rest of the film makes no sense at all, the horrors themselves are unremarkably shot (in particular, a double stabbing is stunningly weak) in dark corridors. Like found-footage films, it looks cheap because it's supposed to look like a crappy TV show. And the curious casting, which includes the girl who plays Jack Dee's daughter on Lead Balloon and British sitcom and TV veteran Victor McGuire, goes for nothing as the characters are either giggling simpletons or idiots pretending for the sake of the cameras. A waste of time.
See for yourself: