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Devil's Pond
2003 - R - 92 Mins.
Director: Joe Viertel
Producer: Bill Block, John Davis
Written By: Joe Viertel, Mora Stephens, Alek Friedman
Starring: Kip Pardue, Tara Reid
Review by: Joe Rickey
Imagination and creativity once were common in Hollywood films. Recently though, it seems that screenwriters steal ideas from one another and reuse them over and over again while trying to pawn off the newest version of a formula plot as something completely original and unexpected. This ploy rarely ever works because audiences have become accustomed to the elements of a formula film right from the beginning and only a select few reliably keep venturing out to see the films. Sure, formula films can be fun when done right but when they are poorly executed the word monotonous comes quickly to mind. ‘Devil’s Pond’ is practically the definition of the aforementioned adjective.

The movie’s various problems start and end with an utterly predictable storyline. The plot concerns newlyweds (Kip Pardue and Tara Reid) traversing out to the husband’s secluded cabin (Is there any other kind?) for two weeks of honeymoon romance and adventure. At first everything is going smoothly with the two lovebirds enjoying each other’s company just fine. Soon enough though, the wife upsets her hubby and the darker, murderous side to his personality is revealed.

Don’t worry; the above synopsis doesn’t spoil anything you wouldn’t quickly figure out for yourself if you have seen a single thriller released anytime in the last thirty years. The film literally does not contain one single element of being that could be considered surprising in any way. There’s supposed to be a big secret about one of the film’s ominous locations but viewers will almost immediately discern what the supposed secret is the first time they see the landmark. The film also commits the cardinal sin of taking far too long to get to the main plotline of the production; instead featuring scenes of the two main characters lounging around the cabin not doing much of anything. Director Joe Viertel captures some scenic views of the lakefront surroundings but has little clue when it comes to properly pacing a film. He presents the film almost as if it were produced from a generic outline for a thriller, containing possible elements in which he plugged in choices. It’s like Mad Libs (Series of novelty books in which a story outline is given with blanks for filling in missing elements; thus making a complete story) gone to the movies.

The film certainly isn’t helped by two performances that almost instantaneously begin grating on one’s nerves. In the damsel in distress role, Tara Reid is constantly whining when she isn’t spouting off swear word after swear word or running through the woods in an attempt to escape her crazy beau. Kip Pardue is equally annoying as he is never really a credible villain as he fails to give the role the proper amount of conviction and all around effort to make it work. He seems to be going through the motions; presenting as little effort as possible.

Overall, ‘Devil’s Pond’ is a thoroughly lackadaisical attempt at a thriller that is void of any surprises and features two awkward lead performances.

Movie Guru Rating
A train wreck.  So bad some may find it unintentionally entertaining.
  1 out of 5 stars

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