The Deaths of Ian Stone (2007), for its first half at least, is an unfunny variant of Groundhog's Day (1993), using the same broad ideas but for purposes of disturbing the viewer.
A hockey player, Ian Stone (Mike Vogel) is having a bad day that ends in his death, but then he wakes up with a new life as a desk-jockey in a hideous office setting. One day he's a sports star, the next he's a flunky.
This will happen again & again, as he is stalked by demonic figures who kill him then build for him a new reality, each worse than the last, through which to stalk him anew.
Eventually they have reduced him to reliving his life as the worst kind of junky. In this life we see him unconcious with a needle sticking in his infected arm. Sick & strung out, he is trying to escape yet another horrible encounter with the demons.
He is not supposed to remember the previous lives, but he has begun to do so. There are a few constants from scene to scene, such as a man who tries to advise him to try harder to remember. And there's the recurring girl who the demons, though they construct each reality, do not initially recognize as separate from their influence or creation.
Throughout that part of the film when the mystery of this horrific series of events remain mysterious & unexplained, the film is absolutely captivating. But later as we get little lectures explaining what's up, & about the odd rules that seem to govern what is happening. So it gets a mite silly here & there.
What had seemed a great horror film devolves into a barely good one, then devolves further into a poor one, though even at its worst better than two-thirds of the junk that's out there.
[SPOILER ALERT!] The demons, as is eventually revealed, are "Harvesters" & our hero used to be one, though he no longer remembers being other than human.
He was "saved" from his kind's demonic lust for causing human pain by falling in love. Despite that he has forgotten his own powers, he nevertheless keeps bringing the girl who changed him, Jenny (Christina Cole), with him into each of the realities the Harvesters create for him. And each time, he finds he must protect her from the Harvesters who believe he'll return to the fold if Jenny is killed.
Harvesters are immortal & cannot kill one another, but can make existence continuous punishing hell. Our hero, it turns out, is the first Harvester who has learned to feed upon, & kill, other Harvesters, which is why these demons keep harming him. It all begins to feel like more like the rules of a video game than a story, as if the author were largely illiterate about film or stories but only knows storytelling through video game play.
Ian must in essence overcome his new "human" reluctance to destroy other beings, even Harvesters. Since they are relentlessly bad, he eventually turns on them with a vengeance, revealing himself way too powerful for them, as love-energized slaughter is apparently the toughest of all. How doltish is that. [END SPOILER ALERT]
We see some interesting methods of turture heaped on our hero by the Harvesters, as the relatively recent Torture Porn type of horror film has been an unfortunate influence here. Jaime Murray as the femme fatale Harvester seems quite to have enjoyed the role of demon-dominatrix, so I hope she tied up the director & made him pay her double.
In its favor, we do get some pretty good & rather perverse monster FX that never stop looking like CGI or video game figures but are pretty cool even so. So while it's deteriorated into a bad movie by the end, I enjoyed it quite a bit as a "good" example of crapulistic commercial drivel.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl