June 16th, 2012
Release length: 1:23:00
Saturday Morning Mystery follows a group of mystery solving college graduates and their dog, Hamlet, who had just foiled a child pornography ring. Desperate for cash, Nancy (Ashley Spillers) agrees to help out a representative of a bank to prove there is no paranormal activity going on at the old Kyser building. When the representative is not there to greet them, Officer Lance (Paul Gordon) helps them to the building when their van breaks down, and takes them on a guide, explaining the history of the building and how kids generally break in to perform occult or Satanic rituals. Of course, the longer they stay inside, the more it seems like ghosts do exist and are prowling the terrain.
One of the main plot points to the ghostly spirits happens to be that Frankie (Sean Ryan) dropped some acid tablets in their cooler when Officer Lance stopped to help them, leading the rest of the group to ingest it on accident. Other than that, there’s also Chad (Adam Tate), who is more of a ghost hunter, hoping to catch a glimpse of the supernatural just once in his life, though starts to freak out when this seems like an all to real possibility. When Hamlet starts eating a dismembered hand and a body is found, the night becomes chaotic, and who or what they seek out shows itself, leading to a big reveal and very real threat.
Much of the acting here is decent, and in many cases relatively close to the Scooby-Doo characters they happen to be portraying. Nancy can sometimes be a spot-on interpretation of Velma, Frankie ends up a bastard version of Shaggy, though Chad and Gwen (Josephine Decker) don’t quite portray Fred and Daphne too well, though do act like they want to be involved in this film, and are genuinely having some fun with it. In fact, next to the hard-ass Detective 1 (Sonny Carl Davis) who flips out at the gang after the child pornography bust, Gwen ends up one of the most believable character of the film. Officer Lance, however, just seems like Paul Gordon is just sleepwalking through the whole film, as if he simply didn’t want to be there more than Jeffrey Combs in Night of the Living Dead 3D: Re-Animated. His performance is incredibly monotone, and perhaps one of the most boring you’ll come across in any recent film. If this really was intentional, it was a horrible move, but given how bad it is, it’s impossible to believe it was all on purpose.
But, as a spoof of the early Scooby-Doo cartoon series, this one does its just rather well. When you look at that series as an adult, and were to take it into a modern environment, this really would be the adaptation. Nancy and Frankie had a relationship, though what happened between them is never addressed, nor what Nancy did prior to the start of the film that has blame and doubt cast on her much of the time, and Chad and Gwen are a current item that is pushed through the sex scene about half way through the film. There is some “groovy” music that hits now and then that throws back to that time period as well, and even the chase scenes with everyone running through different doors is included during the chase scene. The only thing missing is any clothing that even remotely resembled the original animated characters. While it more than likely had to do with legal reasons, it would have been a nice final touch to this modern vision.
Saturday Morning Mystery does, however, look rather sleek for the most part. The audio levels are are all well done, though some of the sleuthing moments that show visions of the building and Kyser family’s past do have increased audio levels that sometimes don’t reflect the given situation, such as towards the end when they figure out what happened to the Kyser children Mona and Floyd (Heather Kahka and Johnny Mars) where they are talking normally. Visually, it all looks rather crisp, and some scenes rather colorful and a bit over-the-top in an animated scene. Again, towards the end, this becomes really obvious outside the lighting effects used, such as the addition of lights on the microphone they use and a strong purplish glow from the goggles used. But, for some reason, there are times where the camera movements suddenly become blurred for a split second. It would reflect the acid that some characters drink, but Frankie is sober and it seems to happen most near him.
Saturday Morning Mystery had the potential to take a childhood classic and bring it into modern times, and possibly branch a successful sequel or trilogy out of it. However, the film ends up squandering that potential. The story takes forever for anything to happen, and when it does it’s all at once. There are some decent gore scenes like one of the killers chopping someone’s head right off, but for the most part there’s nothing much to look at. Instead, the film seems to really focus on the acid that everyone ingests, and general banter that leads absolutely nowhere, is poorly written, or just introduces stuff from the past that is never explained, even if it’s brought up again. Had the acting and writing been better, Saturday Morning Mystery would be a Saturday morning hit for the adult crowd. Instead, it’s just a boring experience with a few redeeming traits and homages to keep you watching, but nothing to make you watch it a second time.
|Overall Score: 3/10