Okay, this is it for me. One more sub-micro-budget flick from Hulu’s “horror and suspense” offerings, and I’m done. It’s damn near Halloween, and I’ve got the next couple of days off work and would like to spend them watching good, reliable horror staples that I know will entertain me. Trolling through stuff I’ve never heard of on Hulu in the hopes of finding some hidden gems has yielded decidedly more misses than it has hits, but no matter : it’s been an interesting viewing experiment, and even if I go back to “Netflix Halloween” next year, as is my custom, or give Shudder a go, or do something else altogether, this hasn’t felt like a complete waste of time on the whole.
Unfortunately, the final film I chose to watch as part of “Halloween On Hulu” — writer/director Lou Simon’s 2013 slasher Hazmat — proved to be exactly that.
Filmed in Miani, Florida, for what looks to be just about no money whatsoever, this is a clusterfuck of rancid idiocy from start to finish. Tell me if you think this setup seems at all interesting to you: annoying TV host “Scary” Dave (played by Todd Bruno) hosts a brain-dead “reality” show called “Scary Antics” that’s basically a horror-tinged take on Punk’d, only even more recklessly juvenile (if you can conceive of such a thing). His wife Melanie (Gema Calero) would like him to, ya know, grow the hell up and find some honest work, but he thinks he’s onto a winner for his next episode, which will feature a withdrawn and sullen young man named Jacob (Norbert Velez), who’s got just about the worst group of friends you can possibly imagine. Consider : in order to break him out of his funk, they think it might be a good idea to take him to the very same place where his father died and scare the shit out of him. This hare-brained (to say the least) scheme backfires spectacularly, though, when Jacob snaps altogether, grabs an axe, throws on a gas mask, and hunts everyone in the now-abandoned building down and, of course, kills ’em.
Whoops, guess that didn’t work!
And neither does the film, to be honest. The acting is lousy from top to bottom, the practical effects are often laughable (check the “beheading” scene that features a lopped-off noggin that looks like it’s probably a mask stretched over a basketball), the various characters’ motivations are either nonsensical or non-existent, the dialogue is wretched, and Simon — whose obviously-self-written IMDB bio is a bizarre mix of egotistical self-promotion, WTMI family hagiography, and paranoid right-wing anti-Communism — clearly doesn’t have the first clue about how to pursue her poorly-chosen career. She’s gone on to make a couple of flicks after this that I certainly hope are better (shit, it’s hard to imagine them being any worse), but it’s not like I’m gonna track ’em down to find out after watching this embarrassingly sub-professional effort.
As a matter of fact, out of the 15 films I watched as part of this little “Halloween On Hulu” thing I’ve been doing, Hazmat is most likely the worst of the bunch — which is really saying something, because I’ve wasted my time on some serious clunkers. So I guess we’re ending with more of a whimper than a bang here, but ending we are. I hope everyone has a terrific Halloween, and we’ll see you again in November (which is only about 72 hours away as I write this), when we return to our regular — uhhhmmm — irregularity around these parts.