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Triloquist (2008)

Dimension Extreme Home Entertainment
DVD Released: 7/2/2008

All Ratings out of
Movie: None
Audio: 1/2
Extras: No Extras

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 7/2/2008

You often hear people talking about "bad" movies, or for those who are fond of hyperbole, "the worst movie ever made". These detractors don't realize that they are often exaggerating, and that truly bad movies are rare. Look at the films on Mystery Science Theater 3000 for example. Those films were often made by amateurs who, despite any enthusiasm, didn't have the money or the talent to make anything resembling a quality movie. Today, with the advent of HD cameras, most anyone can make a movie which at least looks competent. But, even if a movie looks good, it can still be lacking in story or acting. So, films like Triloquist may not look like the out-of-focus, backyard productions found on MST3K, but this is still an awful movie.

I saw Kit Kittredge: An American Girl today and I thought that film's portrayal of the Great Depression was depressing, but then I saw the opening of Triloquist, where a mother OD's on heroin in front of her kids, and I realized what depressing really was. Those kids, Norbert and Angelina, along with their mom's ventriloquist dummy, who is named Dummy, are sent to foster care, and then to live with an abusive uncle, whom Dummy kills (?). The story then leaps ahead to find Norbert (Rocky Marquette) and Angelina (Paydin LoPachin) as young adults. They, along with Dummy, attempt to live normal lives, but this is difficult, as Norbert only speaks through Dummy and the trio can't quit killing people. Following a murder, Angelina turns Norbert into the police, and then attempts to come up with a plan to get him out of a mental hospital. (If she knew that she was going to have to spring him, why did she turn him in.) Once Norbert escapes from the asylum, and dons an outfit identical to Dummy's, the trio head for Las Vegas, where they plan for Norbert and Dummy to be stars. Along the way, they kill several people and Angelina suddenly decides that Norbert needs to be a father. All this time, Norbert and Dummy are attempting to find a way to escape from Angelina.

Wow! I consider myself to be a fairly eloquent person, and I can't begin to imagine how I'm going to describe just how bad Triloquist is. The words "student film" first came to mind, but then I remembered that I was once a film student and I realized just how offended that I would be by that comment. The movie was written and directed by Mark Jones, who is no amateur. He's worked in the industry for years and wrote for many TV shows in the 80s. But, he's probably best known as the director of Leprechaun. If that excites you then you are more easily impressed than me.

With Triloquist, he has created a film which is chock full of profanity and senseless violence, but has little story to speak of. There is no character development here, and other than the fact that Norbert and Angelina are orphans, we know nothing about them. And we learn nothing about the characters who drift in and out of the movie, often dying very quickly. Once the group hits the road for Vegas, any narrative goes out the window, and the movie simply becomes a series of random scenes. And even at 80 minutes, the movie drags. And what does any 80-minute movie need? Musical montages!

But, what does any of that matter -- this is a horror film with a ventriloquist dummy, it's got to be scary, right? No, not in the least bit. How do you screw that up? Actually, I think that Triloquist is supposed to be comedy, but it fails on that front as well. The movie is neither funny nor scary, and there's nothing even the slightest bit creepy about Dummy. Well, he sounds just like William Hickey, and I guess that's a little unsettling. Despite the fact that the movie isn't scary, there's still plenty of violence, and one scene which I'm sure is supposed to be shocking. Guess what? Brain Damage called and it wants its scene back.

Is there anything positive that I can say about Triloquist? No. The characters are unlikable. Angelina is repugnant and Norbert looks like Jim Carrey's mentally challenged brother. Dummy isn't scary, but simply annoying. The "jokes" aren't funny, the violence is generic, and the scenes of a child doubling as Dummy walking are insulting. And why does Brian Krause have a cameo in this? Aren't those Charmed checks still coming in. Lastly, the movie never really let me know if Dummy was alive or simply controlled by Norbert. In the end, I didn't care. I was just glad that the movie was over.

Triloquist doesn't move its lips on DVD courtesy of Dimension Extreme Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. As there is no justice in this world, the transfer is very good. The image is very sharp and clear, showing no grain. I spotted a couple of defects from the source material, but they were minor. The image's clarity gives it a lot of depth. The colors look very good and the picture is never overly bright. The DVD has a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track which provides clear dialogue and sound effects. This track has nearly non-stop surround sound and utilizes the rear channels much more than most audio tracks. There is also a good amount of stereo effects and while the constant music montages may be annoying, at least the music sounds good.

There are no extras at all on this DVD.

Review Copyright 2008 by Mike Long