I'll admit that I wasn't really sure what to expect from this movie. It sat on the shelf for three years before Lionsgate decided to finally release it — straight to DVD. I'm somewhat of a fan of crappy slasher horror movies, mostly of the Evil Dead II variety, and I hoped that Simon Says might be able to give me something new to chew on between viewings of the Sam Raimi classic. It does – sort of.
Simon Says contains virtually every cliche of '80s slasher horror movies. In fact, this film is something of a tribute to those over-to-the-top gore fests. This time, a group of five stereotypical college students (the slut, the straight-laced Asian, the jock, the stoner, and the girl the serial killer is obsessed with) go out into the secluded mountains for a summer camp adventure. Of course, we all know that this leads to drinking, drugs, and a ridiculous amount of sex.
Once the movie gets past 30 minutes of boring (and pretty much unneeded) exposition, the serial killer, Simon, makes his move. After attacking one of the college students, he takes out another group of nameless campers who have absolutely no connection to the plot. While this scene is utterly random, it is the best one in the film. Simon kills off a collection of people in highly creative, and highly gruesome, ways (pick-axe, anyone?) that'll make you cringe and laugh at the same time. The gore and the blood are done in such a ridiculous style that you have to laugh at the simple fact that it could never happen.
One by one Simon kills off the college students until he is left with his "dream girl." Once virtually all of the characters have been killed off, the movie gets a little flat. The writers attempt to throw in a twist at the end, build the intensity, and make the viewers actually care about the campers. Honestly, by this point I just wanted to see more crazy violence; instead it felt like the writers were trying too hard to make the movie into something that it isn't.
Crispin Glover, by far, steals the show as Simon. While his Southern accent is hardly believable, his performance is spot-on and laughably bone-chilling. This is honestly the best performance I have ever seen from him. He pulls off the creepy, disturbed serial killer well and makes viewers wish that there was more of him and his crazy killing antics than the attempt at a plot.
This movie has both things that have come to define the slasher horror genre: blood and gore… and boobs, but with a surprising lack of the latter. Yet it also has no intensity, no surprises, horribly corny dialogue, and barely a shred of originality (completely committed to the violence).
Simon Says is a polarizing movie. Fans of '80s slasher horror movies and of absurd gore-fest movies will think that it's perfect for taking up a Friday night when you have nothing else to do — just grab some friends who like these kinds of movies, some alcohol, and a bag of popcorn and you're good to go. However, if you are not a fan of slasher movies or are expecting a horror movie that's actually scary, Simon Says will be an hour and a half of pure pain.