JONAH LIVES (2015)
Starring Brinke Stevens, Cesar Pereira and Ryan Boudreau
Written and Directed by Luis Carvalho
“A story of revenge from beyond the grave, centring on a group of teenagers who unwittingly supply the catalyst for the murdered Jonah’s return from the grave.”
What do you get when you get a bunch of thirty yet old looking teenagers who like talking about nothing between weird long pauses and just playing poker in a basement, and toss them in a blender with a zombie with a shaky motivation for going on a killing spree?
You get the ridiculous Jonah Lives. Man I really hate hating on a film but this was bad.
The aforementioned group of teenagers who look like adults who speak like aliens probably think we speak get bored of playing poker while their parents get pissed upstairs and start playing a ouija board. As well as kind of being possessed they inexplicably wake up a dead guy who, instead of going after the people who killed him, just kills the dumb kids downstairs.
There are so many things weirdly wrong with this but I kind of got myself lost listing them all.
Characters are completely inconsistent. One minute they’re an asshole jock, then they’re religious and nice, and then they’re suggesting doing a seance. And the actors never rise above it.
Francis is the Skeet Ulrich type who is a jock on the outside but has a heart of gold. Maybe. He flip flops.
Lydia starts as a typical dirty talker Rob Zombie type and then has an existential crisis or something.
And it goes on like this for them all.
Not only are they inconsistent, they’re horribly written and completely unlikeable. I swear to god someone says penetration and another guy chuckles and says “he said penetration!” And then another guy says “fuck you and your peer pressure” and they just sit around in a basement like little children. Carvalho probably does know how human teenagers interact, but he sure as shit can’t write it.
Which is a shame, because Carvalho can compose a shot professionally. This feels like a bigger budget than it probably was visually. But the seizure induced editing makes even the simplest scenes incoherent, as does the laughable sound effects.
The pacing, the structure, the acting, the filmmaking is all just massively uninspired. As is Jonah himself when he eventually turns up.
To wrap this up on a positive note, the score by Russell Estrela is a great 80s synth score that recalls a few Giallo scores. It’s really fun.
But that’s it.
From the cutaways to the party upstairs that leads to nothing, to the random debates about religion that feel cut and pasted from Wikipedia, I just found this a really joyless experience. Could there be a drinking game in here? Maybe a tequila shot every time there is an unnaturally long pause in the dialogue, or a beer bong when someone an attempt at humour goes wildly wrong. Actually, that could be fun! Maybe order a pizza too, and get some friends round.