I checked out the much hyped indie flick “Saturday Morning Mystery” the other evening with high hopes. In case you have no idea what this new movie is all about it can be summed up pretty simply: live action Scooby Doo in an R-rated horror flick. Sounds pretty fantastic right? It’s clearly a pretty great idea but beware, these characters though clearly based on the cartoons aren’t really the comic relief you might be expecting. This is a more realistic take on the group, so don’t expect the dog, named Hamlet to be talking in this one. The rest of the characters are more true to life as well Floyd(Shaggy) smokes weed and does acid, Chadwick(Fred) & Gwen(Daphne) have wild sex and Nancy(Velma) has a crush of her own on one of the team members.
The movie starts out pretty strong, with the gang investigating a haunted house, but soon like the cartoon find that behind the curtains are just some normal yet truly sick people. They’re even reprimanded by the police for messing up their covert operation-those meddling kids!! It’s not long before the gang is running low on funding for their paranormal investigations so they decide to tackle one last case in hopes of maybe discovering something supernatural before throwing in the towel. Their last case leads them in their vintage van to an abandoned “haunted school” where there’s rumors of satanists and ghosts within it’s walls.
There’s not too much more I can or should tell you about the story. It’s got a few twists and turns and for the the most part is a pretty solid horror flick with a great premise. However I think the premise of this film is by far it’s strongest attribute. If you take away the whole “Scooby Doo” theme there honestly wouldn’t be a heck of a lot to really separate this from anything else out there. To me they could have benefited by adding a little more comedy, naivety and color to the characters and the story. There could have been more of “Scooby” or Hamlet I should say, in the story as it seemed maybe the film was played a little too real, at least for what I was hoping for.
I also hoped for the sets to be a bit more interesting, it’s have been cool to see them an truly unique and colorful haunted setting. An old haunted school should have looked and felt more like it would have in the cartoon, but perhaps it wasn’t in the budget? The settings (at the very least the inside of the school) were a bit bland for my expectations. The film takes a turn in it’s third act and gets gory and gritty and this really would have been more effective had out gang acted a little more like their cartoon counterparts. At times it brought to mind say “Night of the Demons” or “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2” but clearly operating on a lower level. “Evil Dead meets Scooby Doo” is what Aint it Cool News called it-not quite. In the end though I think it was a decent, solid effort that doesn’t quite live up to the hype. On a more positive note, I gotta give it best movie concept of the year!