“I’m the only black guy in Maine!”
Opening scene: A peaceful view of a lake is interrupted by the screams of a young woman covered in blood. She runs until being whacked in the face with a shovel. This scene really has nothing to do with the rest of the film.
Elsewhere, the real opening of the film: A group of friends, Lamont, Nicole, Hilary, Lori, Ronnie, and Monroe are on a road trip (Ronnie and Monroe are their real names and they wrote and directed this film together).
Character dynamic: Monroe is an Iraq veteran trying to win his ex, Lori, back. Ronnie is a Stephen King nerd who has a thing for Nicole. Nicole is the hot one, Hilary is Monroe’s sister, and Lamont is the token black guy.
They stop at a diner called Restaurant to get some food where they’re helped by an unfriendly, creepy, waitress. They ask where Stephen King lives and she tells them he doesn’t live here anymore. If they want to have fun they should head about 40 miles north. I can’t tell if she is trying to help them or lure them into a trap.
Monroe and Lori’s grandparents have a house at the lake. When they get there, they try to rent a boat, but the creepy attendant tells them they should go 40 miles north to Deer Lake. Once again, I can’t tell if he’s trying to help them or not.
Finally, they get a boat named Christine and Lamont goes to look for a gas station. Ronnie immediately gets seasick so they drop him off at the house.
Back on the lake, after a little waterskiing, it’s Nicole’s turn. As Hilary sets her up, Nicole rudely asks how her parents died. Seems it was a mysterious death and the only one who really knew the truth was the grandmother, who recently died. A boat cop pulls them over to advise them to slow it down and to lower their voices. Once again, I can’t tell if he’s being helpful or just creepy.
Eventually, Lamont finds the gas station, even though it’s only supposed to be a quarter mile away. He pumps some wicked gas. When he gets back into the car a figure slits his throat and the black guy dies first!
Over at the lake house, the white people decide to play a drinking game called Never Have I Ever. When I was a kid we just called it I Never. Basically, you say something you’ve never done and everyone who has done it takes a drink. But if someone can prove you have done it than you have to take like five drinks for lying.
Worried about Lamont, they head down to the marina, leaving Ronnie behind, where he discovers the basement and bookshelves loaded with Stephen King books. I didn’t know Stephen King made a pop-up book!?!
It’s getting dark now as the others are still headed to the marina to find Lamont. How fucking far away is the marina?! They talk to the attendant, which leads them to the gas station, where they see cops and ambulances. The racist cop informs them that Lamont was attacked by a wild animal and Monroe identifies the body, but he ain’t buying this story. It’s got holes in it big enough to drive a rental boat through.
They get back to the house, minus minivan, in no time at all, and actually mourn their dead friend, something you don’t see too often in horror films. But, Ronnie ruins everything by trying to kiss Nicole. She storms out of the room. Monroe tries to cheer her up, but she hears Ronnie coming so she audibly tells Monroe she loves him and starts making out with him so Ronnie can see. Ronnie immediately tells Lori and now we have a situation: You can’t battle if your group has turned on each other. Lori dumps Monroe once and for all, then storms off into the woods, alone, where She runs into a hooded figure, armed with a claw hammer. She’s still close enough that her friends can hear her scream, but the killer kills the shit out of her anyway.
The others find her, but it’s too late. Monroe cries like a bitch until he discovers the hammer. This was no accident or wild animal. He tells Nicole and Hilary to go back to the house. Okay, it’s not the claw hammer, he found a stick. After a cheesy little flashback montage, he carries her body back to the house. He gets Ronnie to help him bury Lori and confides in him that he thinks it was murder.
Afterward, Ronnie is acting weird and insensitive. And he thinks there’s a “Stephen King killer” on the loose copying deaths from Stephen King novels. Monroe notices that the town is quiet. The boat cop told them keep their voices down, the ambulance on the way to the gas station had the siren off, and Lamont probably had his music turned up....
Hilary comforts Nicole and tells her to take a shower. Out the shower window, she sees something outside that scares her so Monroe the war veteran goes out to investigate. He finds Ronnie, who by the way is already suspect #1, claims he was just taking a piss. Nicole thinks he was watching her shower. They go back in and he sniffs his fingers, like he does after he masturbates (Did I mention they caught him jerking off right before they hit the marina?). Monroe comforts Nicole as they all turn on Ronnie, oh, and Lamont’s head shows up.
Ronnie is the first to fall asleep. He dreams he is on a tricycle, like the kid in The Shining, watching a woman in a bathtub. At first she’s Lori, then Hilary, then Nicole, till he starts making out with her and she turns into Lamont dressed up as Pennywise from It.
They all wake up. Nicole is gone and the front door is open. Outside, the rental boat is gone, but they find Nicole’s body, with a mouth full of sand.
Back inside, they interrogate Ronnie cuz he is never around when the murders happen, but Monroe thinks he’s innocent. They devise a plan to set up a trap based on the Stephen King story, Last Rung on the Ladder. Once they have a plan they no longer need Ronnie so they tie him to a chair. Ronnie suggests that Stephen King is the killer.
Monroe and Hilary go to the barn and he tells her to climb the ladder. She climbs up, blasts music, and starts screaming. The killer pushes her off the loft and turns off the music. Monroe goes after him with a pitchfork and eventually knocks him down breaking his glasses, but then Ronnie shows up and hits him with a shovel. Apparently, they’re Stephen King’s glasses, and Ronnie can’t let Monroe kill Stephen King. Monroe goes into a war flashback. Now Monroe is the crazy one, PTSD, as Ronnie makes noises with an air horn and bubble wrap. Just as Monroe is about to do him in, the hooded killer is back and knocks him down.
Now we’re back at the diner, with a goofy new group wanting to know where Stephen King lives. Behind the creepy waitress, the cook is wearing taped up glasses. Meanwhile, Stephen King is finishing up his new novel, The Quiet, and Ronnie is now a cop in this town. We never find out what really happened to Monroe and Hilary’s parents, but fun fact: Their last name is Bachman. The End.
This coulda been better, although it probably is better if you’re a true Stephen King fan and have read all the books and seen all the movies, which I have not. Props to the writers for going after more obscure material rather than playing it safe with stuff I would know. It looked good for a lower budget film, it didn’t have that crappy high school media tech vibe.
The Badass Award goes to Monroe for fighting in a war, having a hot girlfriend, mysteriously losing his parents, then grandparents... Basically every exciting moment of his past, but nothing he actually did in this film.
What did we learn? Survival Tips:
1) Always check the backseat of your car, even in broad daylight!
2) Don’t storm off into the woods at night, especially just a few hours after you found out your friend was murdered.
3) Put personal differences aside if you believe your tribe is in danger.