Films Within Films: Stab

Category: Films Within Films
Last article published: 29 December 2016
This is the 6th post under this label
Dimension X doesn't get all the same films we do. But they might get films that are a lot LIKE ours. Stab, at least the first one, we've pretty much seen as Scream. And Stab 2 is probably a lot like Scream 2. After that... well, let's just say when there's "one with time travel" and at least 7 entries in the franchise, Dimension X has done a lot more - and in a way, a lot LESS - than our own has with the meta slasher concept.

Stab
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Stars: Tori Spelling, Heather Graham, Jennifer Jolie, David Schwimmer, Joey Garfield, Luke Wilson
Genre: Horror
Precis: A year after the murder of her mother, a teenage girl is terrorized by a new killer, who targets the girl and her friends by using horror films as part of a deadly game. (Sound familiar?)
Review from Dimension X: I have a lot of ambivalence towards Stab, and that's 90% because it's based on the actual Woodsboro murders. The first rash only just happened three years ago, and the film coming out seems to have inspired more bloodshed, so there's something really unsavory about turning these true events into an all-too-clever self-aware slasher flick even if the story does warrant that treatment. I mean, a guy in a ghost mask terrorizing the teenage population of a small town and taking cues from the well-worn genre... It's a great idea FOR a slasher. They might have filed the numbers off and made it about fictional characters is all, but then the opportunistic ghoul that is Gale Weathers wouldn't have gotten a paycheck for the use of her book.

If I don't entirely discount the movie - and maybe I should given the caliber of acting (Tori Spelling in the lead, really?!) and hair and make-up (I found Luke Wilson's wig just about the most distracting thing in the movie and was pegging him as the murderer on the basis of that alone) - it's because I am a fan of Robert Rodriguez. Coming off Desperado and From Dusk Til Dawn, I see how this project would have interested him. His grindhouse sensibilities would have been attracted to the slasher genre, and indeed, the extra EXPLOITATIVE note this story strikes by being based on a recent true story. However, it still comes off as a step down, even if the Direct-to-Video style is done on purpose. As someone who follows his career, I find the teen horror project he DIDN'T end up doing, something more Lovecraftian called The Faculty, much more intriguing, at least on paper. In a vacuum, Stab is fun enough, has quotable dialog, and treats its monster as a still-dangerous pinata, and once the franchise leaves fact behind, its drop in quality is balanced by absurd, camp plots, but we don't watch movies in a vacuum.

Final rating: 3 knives
Would see if it were made: I feel like I have.

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