Chain Letter: The Art of Killing

Chain Letter

In Theatres: 
Oct 01, 2010
Running Time: 
87 minutes

We've all gotten them; those pesky chain letters: "forward this e-mail to five people in the next five minutes and you'll get a reward." Only in this case the chain letter says "pass this on or a life gets taken away (sic)."

"Chain Letter: The Art of Killing" had promise in the beginning with the non-descript upper middle-class house setting and modest shower scene (sorry, guys) right before one of the most unsettling deaths I've seen in a while.


Then it turns into a CW-wishes-it-could-be-as-good-as-"Scream" kind of movie and gets, well, stupid. You see, the premise of the movie is that technology is taking over our society and our lives with social networking (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, MySpace) and some people just can't tolerate that. While I agree with that belief system to some degree, I wouldn't say that there's a psychopath out there waiting to target unsuspecting high schoolers to chain them up and kill them in really unpleasant ways. Really, REALLY unpleasant ways, but I don't want to give anything away. It reminded me of "The Net" and identity theft. Remember that winner?

"Chain Letter: The Art of Killing"  started with great promise. I even covered my face during that first scene because I knew (I KNEW) what was about to happen, and even though they don't show anything (sorry, again) the mere thought of what happened is just terrible. But that's where the real horror ends, the other deaths are just plain torture porn and nothing else.  A group of high schoolers get an e-mail that says "pass this on or a life gets taken away (sic)." Some of them don't believe it and delete the e-mail right away. #FAIL. Didn't any of them see "The Ring?"

I think you get the idea.

The film tries its hardest to be a mystery, but fails with its telegraphed scenes and blatant hints. I was about to apologize to Deon Taylor for my previous comments regarding his directing talents on "Dead Tone," but I won't. He really is set on unleashing the worst movies on the world. Nikki Reed ("Thirteen" and every "Twilight" movie yet) tries her best to make this thread-bare plot work, but even she can't do it justice. And NOAH! Noah Segan! Oh, how much I love watching you on the screen, if you could only get better work than a two-bit slasher flick. Sigh. I liked Cherilyn Wilson in "Parasomnia," but she is only fodder here. Too bad.

There's a smattering of actual actors in this thing: Brad Dourif ("Lord of the Rings"), Keith David ("Requiem for a Dream"), and Charles Fleischer ("Who Framed Roger Rabbit"---psst, he was the voice of Roger), but to watch them in something this flimsy, is kind of painful, to be honest.

Watch this if you must, but I can't in good conscience recommend it to anyone. Just have all that crap e-mail go to your "Trash" folder from now on, ok?

Review by Jennifer Isbell