(David Winning, 1987)
Made for zero money by a bunch of Calgary kids, this film has exactly one thing going for it, and that is its eccentric, amiable tone. It was an inspired choice to yank gawky nerd David Palfy out of the film's initial high school milieu and into a tense rural-thriller narrative, and his work is of a piece with the nasty, displaced, casually ironic direction. A prologue that comprises three guys glancing at each other in balaclavas for eight full minutes makes a surprising joke out of relentless overextension, but soon enough it becomes apparent that the joke's on the audience, because things never pick up - everything goes on far, far too long, with little payoff. The relationships and motivations are vague, the geography of the action ill-defined, the various cute props never exploited to their potential. The school sequence makes one joke, then takes ten minutes to make the same joke again. The narrative contrivances are incredible and annoying, and get more so as the movie goes on. And it's telling that in the first scene, two of the balaclava guys look so identical that I couldn't tell them apart until they unmasked. This is half a real movie at best.