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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Scioto Set "Scorned" Is Just a Rotten Film



"Let us have a dagger between our teeth, a bomb in our hands, 
and an infinite scorn in our hearts." 

--Dictator Benito Mussolini (recently applied to Sadie in Scorned)

I remember when the movie Scorned was being filmed on Two Mile Hill. People were thrilled to think that Hollywood had actually come to Portsmouth, Ohio. During evenings of production, we would sit at my house on Brant Avenue, fascinated by the bright movie floodlights set at the estate on the hill. We even used binoculars to attempt to catch a peek of the action and joked about being extras on the set.

All the activity created quite a buzz around town. Some locals were actually in the film, and we heard it was a thriller starring one of the major actors in Titanic, which had won 11 Academy Awards. I didn't know when the movie was to be released, but all of my family looked forward to seeing the production that featured Scioto County extras and scenery. What a neat thing was occurring in our little part of the world... at least, that is what we thought at the time.

Well ... Scorned has been released, and we gladly paid $4.99 to On Demand to see the film last night. If you are wondering, I did watch the entire movie. My answer to "Why?" is because I was actually attempting to find some little smidgen of saving grace for the celluloid and the expense of five bucks. I admit the error of my ways. I know I should have turned the film off, but I guess I realized I had to finish my senseless viewing to its senseless end. Mea Culpa for me, please.

If you haven't seen the film, let me save you enough money to invest wisely in a Little Caesar's pizza. In one word, my advice to those who haven't watched Scorned is "D-O-N'-T."

Scorned, is, perhaps, one of the worst films I have ever actually watched from beginning to end. I admit in Scioto Breeze Drive-In days, much of the "B" film fare at the passion pit was pretty poor, but Scorn is a total waste. In comparison, this film makes Russ Meyer's Vixen (which my buddies and I sneaked in to watch in our testosterone-driven days of mindless youth in 1968) look like a slam-bang Oscar winner.


First of all, this film does not know whether to be a silly remake of Steven King's Misery, an incredulous revenge thriller, a suggestive and sick romance, or just full-fledged torture porn. It scatters itself amid genres and falls apart with horrible acting, insulting characterization, a downright ignorant plot, and no theme other than the paraphrased cliche by English playwright William Congreve -- "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" -- which  is alluded to over and over in the movie.

Here is part of a critique by Matt Donato of wegotthiscovered.com: 

"I’m softening you up for the surprising fact that Scorned is quite possibly one of the most boring, uninspired, and poorly imagined thrillers of the year... I dare you to drink every time Scorned references its own title – knowingly. Actually, I recommend you play that drinking game, because being blackout drunk may be the best way to watch Jones’ (Director Mark Jones) latest. Hell, the same rules might even help my own review.

"I’m not sure what I expected after Scorned‘s introduction outlined a texting conversation including the line 'I miss your magic pussy.' I should have immediately stood up, thrown a brick through my television, and melted this disc down to make a decorative coaster for my mahogany end table. Instead I just hid under some blankets and braced for impact, drowning in a sea of 'scorned' puns someone unfortunately thought to be hilariously clever. 'You SCORNED me!' 'Hell hath no fury like a woman SCORNED!' 'SCORNED, SCORNED, SCORNED!' 

"It was either self-gratifying references, awkward sex between Billy Zane and AnnaLynne, or hot women acting as naughty little puppies – escape was no option. Thankfully the soundtrack provided cheesy ripoffs of the most bubblegum teen pop tracks imaginable – sorry, did I say thankfully? I meant I’d rather stick pencils directly into my eardrums until – well, you get the point.

"From poorly green screened car scenes to wildly out-of-touch conversations, we’re constantly wishing for these horrors to end, but Sadie keeps on cockily pressing on. On the flip side, we do learn some valuable lessons – all men are cheaters, getting away with murder as a child is easy, and staging a murder/rape scenario couldn’t be easier." 

 )


Let me save you the time and money of seeing the film by reviewing the plot:

Scorned is the story of Sadie, a troubled and mentally disturbed young lady madly in heat or in love or in both with her latest freely accommodating male. Cheaply Sexy Sadie (played by AnnaLynne McCord) and her boyfriend Kevin (played by Billy Zane) are about to spend an intimate vacation together in the mansion on Two Mile Hill where Sadie is hoping for a marriage proposal after only being with Kevin for a few months. Kevin, on the other hand, appears to be "pulling the wool" not just over Sadie's eyes but the wool of her active, insatiable libido.

In the meantime, Jennifer, Sadie's best friend (played by Viva Bianca) thinks that Kevin is going to dump Sadie for her. At least Kevin leads her to believe that. There's tons of vague and not-so-vague "use" and "abuse" during the 86 long minutes of the movie, so cloudiness of intent is par for the well-worn course.

By the way, for all who can stay awake, there's are the obligatory R-rated boobs and panties in the feature. Plus, to boost sales, Scorned features near pornographic, suggestive opposite sex scenes and a little same sex loving. According to the MPAA, Scorned is "Rated R for violence including torture, sexual content and language."

But, meanwhile back to the serious side of plot development... while Sadie is waiting to get her thrill on the hill, she finds Kevin's cellphone and discovers he has been cheating on her with Jennifer. Sadie then invites Kevin's mistress to the mansion with a ruse about a romantic time together, and the rest is flat-out misery -- for Kevin, for Jennifer, for some totally tattoo-headed criminal, but thankfully, not for the best actor in the film, Jennifer's dog Bootsy. Sadie threatens to fry little Bootsy in the microwave. The near-dog-cooking scene is animal shock violence on a severely offensive, insensitive, mindless level.

Actress Annalyne McCord, who described herself as an animal lover, commented on the difficulties of filming the scene in a recent interview with JoBlo.com:

 "Obviously we had a little plastic dog standing in for the real dog, but we had to put the real dog into the microwave and shut the door for a second, it was hard for me. Obviously, that's a whole 'nother level of crazy."

 McCord and the real star of the film, Bootsy.

Watching Sadie teach Kevin and Jennifer violent lesson after lesson for scorning their love and friendship amounts to the rest of the story. Oh yeah, did I mention the title of this film is Scorned?

Sadie drugs Kevin and Jennifer and ties them up. Then it's time for the perversion to commence -- the beating, the shocking, the forcing of sex acts, the hobbling, the mutilating, the pulling of teeth, and the crunching of bones. You know... just the bitter/sweetness of bipolar, insane love and affection.

Of course, Sadie has to explain her problems about a troubled past which includes drowning her own beautiful sister and spending time in an asylum. She's been 'bused, and need I mention, "scorned," plenty herself.

I did learn to hate Sadie as she played her ridiculous part -- I guess that is good for actress AnnaLynne McCord since she was trying her best to do everything possible to make me barf. Within the screwball script, she pleasantly tortures all comers and reminisces about her awful upbringing. But, really, she is about as scary and villainous as a coked-out Barbie doll. There is no Kathy Bates here, friends, just a wannabe femme fatale. 

For a while, it looks as if the unlikely hero of the film just might be that Queequeg-headed, escaped convict from the state pen (strangely equipped with a nifty survival knife he should have used to kill that bitch Sadie), but after Sadie thoughtfully gives him a ride in her Hummer and conveniently takes herself a slutty ride on his gearshift (I guess that is what most psychopaths do while trying to escape capture..), she somehow shoots him dead. The dead convict becomes the perfect patsy for all of Sadie's bloody mischief, not to mention a convenient yet thankful excuse to end her tiring performance.

What about Billy? Other than being held in bondage and mutilated, Billy Zane did no acting in this film. His part could have been played by any other actor -- you know, even Bruce Jenner could have been this body dummy. Still, I will never forgive him for doing the wild thing with Crazy Sadie in Turkey Creek Lake. Now that I've seen the film, all my good memories of Shawnee are tainted. 

Yes, I should have known that Mark Jones made indie horror films like Leprechaun, Triloquist, and Rumpelstiltskin -- all of which I have not seen nor do I wish to see. I did this awful thing to myself. I now hate that I endured watching the entire film. I have often said the incredible mansion on Two Mile would be mine if I ever hit the lottery. Now, I am going to be haunted by total bloody absurdity every time I look out my north-facing picture window.

You have seen films like Scorned a million times before on Lifetime, minus the extreme cussing, the excessive blood, and the setting of Scioto County. This movie is like Saw on Vicodin (which, by the way, Sadie uses every five minutes to sedate her captives).

Maybe if I had been sedated myself while watching, I might have enjoyed something in the film. As it was, Scorned put me in a very negative mood. Where was the redeeming value of the art? I searched my mind for an answer and found none. The only point I saw to making this movie was to reinforce the idea that "lots of scorn must be repaid by lots more scorn" and "kill 'em all first and sort out some kind of meaning later." Oh, did I mention this movie is mainly about scorn?

You'll never guess how this film ends. Oh, hell, who am I kidding? You will guess how it ends. I won't tell you here, but if you thought it probably ended by leaving room for a sequel, you are correct. God forbid that Scorned II is set in Portsmouth. I'm already having nightmares about wasting time watching the first movie.

By the way, you can enjoy watching the credits after the end of the film to see who had a hand in the production of this fine piece of debris. I did chuckle at some names and firms listed while wondering if they now wanted to have their affiliation removed. It appears good old Scioto County's brush with Hollywood won't be winning any Oscars.

Well, its back to earth in P Town. Again, save yourself misery and don't watch this film. On the bright side, at least we can look back and be proud of Zeke Mullins and some other locals who had parts in the first episode, "Black November," of television's acclaimed series Route 66. "Black November" aired first on October 7, 1960. You can probably piece the entire episode together on Youtube. I've included a few minutes for your viewing pleasure. Oh, to return to the good old days. I highly recommend watching "Black November."

And, if you enjoyed Scorned, that's OK. Everyone to their own likes. Emotionless is some people's cup of "prolonged, bland tea." In my view, a fear, a tear, comic release, or titillation did not project from the screen of my television as I watched the movie. I don't think the big screen could add to the disregard I felt watching the film. Oh, did I mention the movie is meant to instill a greater understanding of being scorned? I wonder if that had anything to do with it being set in Scioto County.

Click here for a segment of "Black November": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN2uHevAxj4

And, if you must, click here for a preview of Scorned: http://youtu.be/iS_OTzCyxVY


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