Horror films, how do I love thee? Let me count the screams. You thrill me, chill me, fright me and delight me and without you I’d have pissed my pants at least three fewer times in my life (I blame tequila for the other two). Incontinence aside, horror movies are what make us afraid of the bumps in the night, the pitch-black bathrooms and the eerie silence of empty houses. Meet Me There was about as terrifying as Courtney Love trying to get dressed with her shirt on inside-out (you wanna help her but mostly you’re transfixed by the train wreck unfolding in front of your eyes).
Things Meet Me There had going for it include: an Inception-like story-within-a-story-within-a-dream element and a nebulous ending that left me more intrigued than I would’ve been otherwise by this bloated Honey Boo Boo of a horror flick. Meet Me There was a hodge-podge Frankenstein of failed horror tropes as the film follows Ada Blackwell (Lisa Friedrich) and Calvin Atwood (Michael Foulk) as they road trip back to Ada’s hometown to figure out why Ada’s having intimacy issues, only to find themselves in increasingly dire circumstances as the town isn’t at all what it seemzzzzzz- what? Sorry. My survivalist narcolepsy kicks in whenever I’m about to be bored to death, which was a very real possibility with Meet Me There.
The film wasn’t the freshest hooker on the storyline block but creepy hometown fright flicks can enthrall and terrify with the right talent pool and direction. Unfortunately the acting-school rejects that Meet Me There dug up from The Kristen Stewart School For Kids Who Wanna Learn How To Act Good And Do Other Stuff Good Too were splashing around in the shallow end of that kiddy pool. There just wasn’t enough charisma, magnetic pull or, hell, I would’ve settled for a lukewarm passing nod to acting (oh wait, that’s exactly what we got). It’s like the cast got stoned at a Grateful Dead concert and wandered onto the Meet Me There set, which, I’m assuming, was someone’s awkward YouTube fail of a family reunion.
Meet Me There might’ve had a shot as a short film, provided they overhauled the lackluster cast and stilted dialogue and filmed it on anything other than someone’s iPhone… Actually, I take that back, I don’t want to insult Apple. I’m pretty sure the budget for this flick was a pack of Trident Layers and whatever change they could find in grandma’s couch cushions (spoiler alert: it couldn’t have been more than thirty-five cents). Watching this homage to aggressive mediocrity reminded me that, even with little-to-no budget, you can make a good movie; this just wasn’t one of them. Meet Me There was an exercise in frustration (kind of like waiting for the Backstreet Boys to make a comeback), it wasn’t scary, it wasn’t thrilling and it ultimately failed to engage us in the lives of the characters enough that we’d give two Taco Bell shits about what happened to them.
By the end of Meet Me There I was mostly rooting for the hillbilly townies, as they were the most engaging characters in the whole damn movie (but that’s like saying herpes is your favorite STD). There were moments, almost as fleeting as Lindsay Lohan’s bouts of sobriety, where I saw the potential this film could’ve had but ended up Charlie Sheening away (read: pissed). Things that would’ve been less painful than watching this Frightless Fest include: learning interpretive jazz dance, a Step Up franchise film marathon, acid enemas and spending five minutes with a dealer’s choice Kardashian. I’m hoping age and my (assuredly) future alcoholism bury this memory of the two hours that was stolen from my life under trips to Vegas and back alley hobo fights (don’t make eye contact, they’re very territorial).
Meet Me There should’ve done us all a favor and stayed there, wherever “there” is; I’m assuming hell… But not like the cool hell with Adam Sandler and demons with tits on their heads, I’m talking about the super depressing hell with Robin Williams and women crying like a 24/7 PMS Bat Signal for bad times. It’s too late for me but there’s still Obi Wan Kenobi (read: hope) for you. Run. Get out. Live for us both.