Thursday, June 26, 2014

20 Feet Below: The Darkness Descending (2014)

Chelsea, an intrepid reporter with an almost complete lack of cranial functioning, heads down into the tunnels of the New York subway system to do an explosive documentary about the homeless.  She interviews Skeeter who volunteers to guide her around. After hearing about an area of the tunnels controlled by Angel and his gang, Chelsea convinces the unwilling Skeeter to show her where it is.

Angel is an educated thug spreading the word from God about destroying the corporate greed that runs this world. He and his gang abduct wall street types from the subway platforms and murder them, but his recent victim was high profile so now the police are involved.

While searching the underground for clues to the murder, the police force the homeless to get out, even if they have to beat them into leaving.  This doesn't sit well with the idealistic rookie cop who tells the others to treat people with respect, and tells the camera he just wants to protect and serve. Oh, he is so dead.

It's only when the cops are changing in the locker room that one mention that our bright eyed rookie  didn't come out of the tunnels. Seriously?  And you didn't look for him? The next day two cops go back into the underground to look for him, but that seems to be lackadaisical in nature rather than an actual police operation.

If the only thing I knew about being homeless was from watching this film, I'd think living in the tunnels under New York was awesome.  Everyone watches out for each other, has fun, and is friendly.  They sit around having singalongs. They don't worry about their guitars or personal property being stolen. There's a shower made from a broken water pipe, and apart from a few smudges of dirt, even their clothes are clean.  With the exception of Skeeter, these are the most well adjusted homeless people I've ever seen!

It would be a monumental task to try to capture all the cliches in this movie.  The list of cliched characters include:
  • pushy reporter in over her head
  • former cop who lost it after his wife was murdered
  • orphaned teens who don't want to be split up
  • free spirit artist (they even named her Harmony)
  • fresh faced rookie cop who just wants to protect and serve
  • the cop with a beef 
  • bad guys with silly haircuts
Chelsea continues to have a severe lack of brain activity and decides that would be a great time to film herself and do commentary while she's trying to escape from thugs by hiding behind a barrel.  She also blames Skeeter for leaving her alone in Angel's lair.  No one shall ask why she didn't leave when Skeeter repeatedly told her they shouldn't be there, it was a bad idea, he was going to leave, and she  needed to get the hell out of there immediately.

When Jake talks of his wife being murdered and dying in his arms, Chelsea digs deep and tells Jake she's not a stranger to tragedy because both parents got cancer and died in same year. Yeaaaah, not really the same thing. A tragedy would be both my parent got cancer, but then they'd went into remission and we thought they'd beat it, but then they were hit by a bus.

Keep a look out for the dreadful dreadlock wig on Harmony's head and her annoying hippie patter. Angel's dialogue is so boring that I found myself drifting off every time he went into one of his monologues regarding society, consumerism, and corporate greed.  Ultimately there's nothing original here, and the only reason I watched it was because of Danny Trejo.

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