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The Speak

Anthony Pierce

The Speak
Some people just aren't good at things. And that's fine. But a problem arises when a highly economical (read: cheap) format enables almost any hack with a camera to pollute the entertainment world with delusions of competency. POV, or "found footage," is the culpable format and with The Speak, director Anthony Pierce has found its nadir — and that's saying something in a year that's already given us Chernobyl Diaries. A horribly clichéd story executed with zero vision hangs on the appeal of its characters by default, and it would be difficult to find a more bland assemblage than the annoying twits populating this cinematic stinker. Shelly (Steven Nelson) is a fame-hungry prick shooting the make-or-break finale of paranormal web series The Perfect Apparition. Along for the desultory ride are his girlfriend cum producer, Paige (Kristina Anapau), and Native American medium Malia (Tina Casciani). Holding the camera is his adoring brother, Luis (Michael Klinger), and running sound is a prototypical goth/skid couple, who both seem like they're a little high the whole time, though evidence of an inebriant is lacking. As part of an apparent mission to appear in more films a year than Ron Perlman, Tom Sizemore shows up as the stereotypical crotchety old man the dumb-ass kids ignore when he warns them of the impending doom that awaits them at their haunted destination of choice: an old evil hotel. Not evil in any sort of specific way, just generally evil. After a lot of pointless banter and a few flaccid attempts at playful misdirection, they convince the reticent, but cash-strapped and soon to be regretful of her avarice, medium to open a line to the spirit world. That vague threat is an excuse for a bunch of shouting idiots to be picked off by an unseen force, as captured by bad shaky-cam, and nothing resembling tension, exacerbated by a complex disinterest in the fate of these grating caricatures. What's worse is that it doesn't even have the courtesy to be laughably bad. The Speak is vapid mediocrity so extreme in its blandness that it's depressing to think that it was the passionate product of someone's imagination. (Anchor Bay)
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