Machine Head (2014)


Jim Valdez’s “Machine Head” is a triple threat. The acting is abysmal, the directing is bush league, and the writing is incoherent nonsense. And what’s worse is the movie seems to be competing with itself to see which aspect is worse than the others. This results in a nearly unwatchable and putrid horror film that has no idea what it wants to be. Sometimes it’s a thriller, sometimes a slasher, and sometimes a road horror film in the vein of “Duel.” Truly, when you see the final scene that book ends this tripe, you’ll laugh, roll your eyes, and move on to something worth your time.

I was really trying to lose myself in the narrative, but I spent a lot of the film trying to figure out what, if anything, the prologue had to do with the entire film as a whole. It’s a “Scream” style game of a woman dodging a stalker who’s obviously infiltrated her house, and is slain, but it has no relevance to the overall film. If that’s not enough the sequence is so badly directed and edited, it was a task to understand anything that was happening. For reasons I can’t understand, Evans directs the opening on a very shaky hand held cam, and then delves in to what is supposed to pass for a story in this farce.

Rachel is another of the many blond buxom girls in the movie living in a lush house who does nothing but whine about freedom and going to spring break. To avoid her two little sisters getting in to any more trouble, Rachel’s parents insist that she take her sisters along to their vacation house for their getaway. Life is so hard, isn’t it? Why does Rachel complain about being stuck in her house for spring break when she travels across country to go to her parents’ vacation house and sit around all day in doors? And why is the daughter of two people that can afford a vacation house driving to spring break? In all corners, “Machine Head” is a pure waste of time.

And even its merciful eighty minute run time doesn’t reduce the pain that comes with sitting through such an amateur production with writing that doesn’t seem to understand how to mount tension or suspense. It also doesn’t help that the performances are universally terrible, with the girls screeching at every moment, and running all around their house like a Scooby Doo cartoon. There isn’t a single redeeming quality to “Machine Head,” and its pitiful excuse for a surprise ending is also completely misused and feels awkwardly tacked on to give audiences the illusion that they’ve seen something very clever.

It’s no wonder “Machine Head,” made in 2011, wasn’t released until 2014. If you pass this at any store, or Netflix, avoid it at all costs.