I gave up on shitty movies a while back, or at least what I thought would be shitty movies. What spurred me to do so was mostly low budget American horrors that were not worth my time in any way. But over the last month or so, i've reviewed a Mexican cannibal movie, an Irish horror and a British thriller, all of which were quite good. I'm not quite ready to give the Americans another chance yet, so here's what Australia has to offer.
Needle tells the story of Ben, a guy attending college, receiving a box that belonged to his late father. It looks a bit ominous, and definitely ancient, so naturally he shows all his friends and then hides it under the sofa until he can ask someone what it is and how much it's worth. But when he wakes up the next morning, GASP! It's gone. He doesn't seem too fussed though, it's just some box. Meanwhile, of course, each of his friends start getting picked off in gruesome ways. Of course we're treated to a view of someone operating the box, except they're wearing gloves so we never know who it is. Turns out all you need to do is stick in a photo of a person, add a dash of your own blood and some kind of chemical, and it kicks out a little voodoo doll for you to play with. The move is called needle because the killer likes to stick needles in the doll, but there's a particularly nice scene where they just go all out and snap off some limbs for good effect.
Anyways, the first person to go is a Zac Efron lookalike. Well, he looks a bit like Zac Efron, so someone decided to make him hold a basketball for almost the entirety of his scenes, so he definitely looks like Zac Efron in this movie. But one death isn't anything to get too suspicious about, even though there's no explanation for the wounds. It takes another death for everyone to suddenly think "Oh wait, that box might have something to do with it", which isn't founded in any way at first, until Ben's professor tells him that the box is supposedly used as a revenge tool. Plus it's worth $500,000, so they've really gotta find it.
So the hunt is on to find the killer. Surprisingly, I wasn't left disappointed at any point in the movie. The pace was good, and while the box said that there was a twist ending (it's not a twist if you're expecting a twist) everything was wrapped up quite nicely and not in a stupid way. A lot of horror movies have ended up explaining away supernatural things by making them human actions through some random turn of events, but it's nice to see lately that people are starting to say "There's some weird ghosty shit going on, but we're not gonna explain it, just have some fun". Needle captures this perfectly. At no point did I think the supernatural voodoo stuff was stupid, because they did a good job of crafting a suspenseful story and a couple of good main characters to lead it. The supporting cast was a bit lacking in character, but hey, you can't have everything.
If you're looking for something different from your below average American slasher, then Needle will most probably satisfy you. It's not perfect, but it's entertaining, and to be honest I didn't expect anything more than that.
My rating: 3/5