Directed by: Jesse Holland
Cast: Angelique Rivera, Cameron Jebo, Michael Jai White
The Crooked Man seems to be gaining a little steam in the eyes of fans of mainstream horror. In fact you really know the Crooked Man is on the rise when James Wan tosses the imposing character in a Conjuring flick. Now the gangly menace fronts his own made-for-television flick, and how you perceive the film could actually depend on what you expect from it.
Jesse Holland directs the flick, and that’s an immediate good sign. To counter that, however, Peter Sullivan writes the script, and that’s not necessarily a good sign. See, Holland has already shown us all big promise with the small cult hit YellowBrickRoad, but Sullivan is known as a quantity over quality writer/producer. He’s more interested in racking up a résumé that stretches a mile long than offering movie fans a piece of high art. So, you’ve got a green but promising director and a writer that could be considered something of a hack.
So, we can immediately rule out the hope of a great made-for-TV flick. However, we don’t have to entirely rule out the chance of having a good time with this one. It’s certainly not any high art, and it has script, performance, visual and logic problems. The movie was clearly thrown together on a flimsy budget, and there isn’t much in the way of recognizable performers to warm viewers to the project. It’s got a ton of problems, no doubt, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t offer some interesting entertainment value in a number of stretches.
You won’t for one moment contemplate calling the film a “good movie” but you might fit in the same group in which I like to hang, which is the group willing to admit that this one is a bit of a guilty pleasure. The Crooked Man has a few moments in which he looks pretty cool, and a little on the creepy side. The flick’s opener – which is bold enough to knock off a young child immediately – earns a few points for bravery. The finale is a bit on the far out side of things, but it doesn’t leave us with any major cliffhangers and it makes an attempt at giving viewers answers to the mystery of the Crooked Man.
Again, the flick as a whole doesn’t exactly “work,” but if you approach this one knowing you’re in for a cheap production with strands of promise snaking through the pic, you might find yourself getting a kick out of this cheap little piece about a relatively new meme.
It probably warrants a 1.5 star rating, but that guilty pleasure angle pushes the score up a bit.