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2002 - R - 98 Mins.
Director: Mark Anthony Galluzzo
Written By: Mark Anthony Galluzzo
Starring: Glenn Quinn, Jason Mewes, Majandra Delfino, Daniel Joseph, Grace Zabriskie
Review by: James O'Ehley
For the first half-an-hour or so of R.S.V.P. it felt as if I were watching an episode of Big Brother.

Big Brother, in case you’re American, is a reality TV show in which a group of people are locked up together in a house for a long period of time with voyeuristic TV audiences watching them every minute. Each week they get to literally stab each other in the back by voting out someone out of the house and thus the game as well. TV audiences also get to vote. It’s a bit like Survivor I suppose, but without the exotic locales, which renders it pointless as far the escapism factor goes I suppose.

The show has nothing to do really with George Orwell, and I have found that people who watch it have no idea who he was or what the hell 1984 was in any case. That the show originated in the Netherlands and grew quite popular in West Europe proves that Europeans have no reason to be snooty at all about so-called “trashy” American culture.

Incidentally, in the former East bloc countries the show never caught on – I suppose people living in the former communist countries found the idea of someone spying on you all the time for entertainment value a bit bizarre.

But I’m digressing. In the first half-hour of this independently-made slasher pic recently brought to DVD in the States by Lion’s Gate absolutely nothing happens! Except we watch a group of trendy people party all the time. That they are a boring lot of idiots with nothing interesting or new to say and bored the hell out of me is probably what reminded me of the Big Brother show.

A twist on the Hitchcock thriller “Rope”, a group of friends come to together to celebrate the end of their college years. Unbeknownst to them, one of them is a murderer, who has not only killed and stuffed a friend of theirs in a huge wooden trunk, but is also intent on killing off every single one of them.

When the first onscreen murder occurred, I couldn’t care less. When it – and the subsequent murders – was committed in a perfunctory method that would shame more inventive movie slashers like Michael Meyers or Jason Voorhees I knew the movie was in more trouble than its doomed partygoer characters.

No attempt at any tension is made whatsoever. The structure of the film is also bizarre: a key event is revealed towards the end, by which time only a retard could not have surmised this already. In fact, having this revelation earlier would have made more sense.

Hitchcock explained suspense once as two characters talking while there is a bomb set to explode under the table – if the characters doesn’t know this but the audience do, then you have suspense. For someone who so shamelessly rips off a Hitchcock movie (and brazenly admits it) the director of R.S.V.P. doesn’t seem to have learned this lesson.

That the cast consists mostly of unknowns may leave some surprises as to who eventually survives the ordeal, but you probably won’t care. The only face you’d probably recognise is that of Jason Mewes, the dude who played Screaming Jay in all those Kevin Smith movies such as Clerks and Mallrats. He plays basically the same character here. The rest would make great extras for a cigarette or booze ad.

If you want an inventive horror movie then check out the recently released “May” instead (incidentally also distributed by Lion’s Gate). First, unlike R.S.V.P. one becomes involved with the onscreen characters and their reality. Second, it is quite original and funny. Things that the “post-modern” and “hip” R.S.V.P. thinks it is, but really isn’t.
Movie Guru Rating
A train wreck.  So bad some may find it unintentionally entertaining.
  1 out of 5 stars

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