It seems that when Deon Taylor and Michael J. Pagan sat down to write Chain Letter, they gave themselves a check list so that they could create the most formulaic teenage horror romp ever. And this is no bad thing.
1. Good looking ‘teen’ protagonists who are actually in their late twenties – check.
2. A ‘trendy’ topic, in this case the issue of privacy on the internet – check.
3. A psycho killer with a deformed face and no apparent reason to be so pissed off – check.
4. Some sinister grown ups who could also quite easily be the killer – check.
5. An open ending, ready for Chain Letter 2: The revenge of the email or something equally as thrilling – check.
As obvious as this all might sound, Chain Letter still managed to be really enjoyable and the extreme gore certainly gave it a little bit of edge.
The film opens with a woman lying unconscious in a garage, her head wrapped in duct tape, her body chained up and her legs chained to the back of two cars. We watch as a man and woman walk to their cars and that feeling of ‘oh oh’ washes over you. But oh yes! The woman is ripped apart as the cars drive off. It’s a brutal, in your face beginning that despite being a little OTT, does grab your attention.
Then the story begins to play out. A rather geeky looking boy (Cody Kasch, who you may recognise as Zach Young from Desperate Housewives), who is in love with his computers (a nerd, in fact), receives a chain letter which says he is the first link in chain that if he chooses to ignore it, he will have hell to pay. He would have ignored it but his ditzy, pretty sister barges into the room and insists on forwarding it to various people.
And so the killings begin in various brutal ways involving chains, this is after all a chain letter. One of the gang, Jessica Campbell (played by Twilight‘s Nikki Reed) starts to get suspicious about what is going on. Yeah, we would too. Jessica is clearly meant to be the smart girl of the group, as she has brown hair and wears glasses. She works out that the killings are in some way linked to the chain letters they all received. Clap, clap.
I don’t want to give too much away but it turns out that the killings are in fact an anti-technology rebellion. It is unlikely to have the same impact as The Social Network did and you probably aren’t going to question your use of email and mobiles, but you should enjoy the slightly-less-conventional technology twist.
Chain Letter is silly, it has no apparent resolution but the acting isn’t terrible and it’s got some rather enjoyable gore and the obligatory breast scene that all good teen horrors should have.
Once you have read this please forward to at least five friends or you will be brutally murdered with chains… just kidding.
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