This time we're at film school, where young wannabe directors are at each others' throats for the coveted Hitchcock Prize, which virtually guarantees the winner a Hollywood career (nice joke there!). The lovely Amy (Morrison) is the leading contender, even though her film is about a serial killer who bases his murders on urban legends. Her competition includes the thoughtful, artistic, hunky Travis (Davis); the in-yer-face stud Toby (Mount), also making a thriller; and the arrogant second-generation filmmaker Graham (Lawrence, mercifully against type). So when the cast and crew start dropping like flies, who's the most likely suspect?
Director-editor-composer Ottman (who also edited The Usual Suspects) directs the film with a real sense of fun, spinning off of the moviemaking theme with clever visuals and drawing on the script's constant references to film studies. This makes it absolutely hilarious to anyone with even a passing knowledge of cinema. And the continuous comedy more than makes up for the usual boneheaded plotline, in which logic is jettisoned freely so characters can stupidly roam alone around abandoned buildings and creepy film sets, despite the fact that there's a killer on the loose. The cast is great fun as well, diving into their roles and playing off expectations to come up with something a bit interesting. Especially good value are Hofschneider's snooty Euro-trash cinematographer, Bochner's fed-up prof and Cauffiel's scream-queen. In other words, this is pleasantly much less insulting than most films in the genre ... and far more entertaining than it has any right to be after its dire predecessor.
[15--themes, violence, language] 9.Oct.00
US release 22.Sep.00; UK release 1.Dec.00
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