Chain Letter (2009) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
53 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
People die from CHAIN LETTERS....not kidding.
Matt_Layden11 April 2011
A chain letter is forwarded to a one kid online, he decides to forward it to some of his friends. Those who forward the chain letter live, those who don't die.

The film Chain Letter went wrong in many places, so many that it pains me to write this review because that would mean I have to remember parts of the movie. Here is a film so boring, unimaginative and down right stupid that it almost doesn't qualify as a horror film. The one and only thing the film has going for it are some gruesome death scenes, yet even those aren't that great. So now that I have that one and only positive out in the open, let me address the numerous issues this film has.

For starters, the script. You should always start with the script, or in this case, lack there of. Chain Letter has a simple premise. People are dying because they don't forward a chain letter. Now, the direction the film could have taken and if they did, would have made it a hundred times more interesting, is a supernatural route. Instead, they went with some cult route that has a killer, deemed The Chain Man, tracking these kids down through technology and killing them with his chains. I had a good laugh seeing this monster type on a laptop.

The story had some interesting bits to it that are only mentioned and never explored. The cult of people who hate technology, is shown to us at the last minute and we never get the chance to go deeper than that. This part could have helped the film if they would actually pursue it, but they thought it would be more interesting to bore the audience to death. Both Keith David and Brad Dourif seem to be trying in their poorly written and underused roles, but even they seem to know they are in a stinker of a movie.

We never got the opportunity to like, or even hate the characters. I would hope that the film would at least make some characters clichéd enough to hate, but not here. These characters were so one dimensional I was surprised they got actors at all. I don't remember a single character from this movie, other than the detective and the teacher (David and Dourif). Sadly the film is too boring to even remember characters enough to hate.

There is no climax. The film has no rising action, it goes from one kill to the next. There isn't even a main character. Once you think it's the female, but then we end up spending more time with the detective. The movie doesn't know who's who or where it wants to go. It's a confusing mess, so much that we get to see the title sequence TWICE. We literally get to see the title of the movie pop up in the exact same manner twice. For what purpose? You either start with the title, or end with the title and go to black. Don't do both, then have a few minutes of random images afterwards. It makes no sense.

The writers, directors and producers have no idea what they were doing. The movie is competently done, but what good is that? The only people who seemed to know what they were doing were the special effects guys, dishing out the blood. The Chain Man is forgettable, this movie is a complete mess and I wouldn't even consider calling it a horror film. Delete this Chain Letter and move on with your life.
32 out of 37 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Torture Porn at its worst
poj-man29 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The SyFy channel must have paid $0.50 to show this so...what a bargain for the channel...they are running it! It amazes me that some people actually think the moronic beginning to this dreck is actually a good beginning. The sheer amount of impossible coincidences for the first scene to occur is incredible.

The husband and wife are leaving the home in suburbia. They both have backed their vehicles into the driveway the night before. They both have decided to park outside of the perfectly empty garage. They both are too stupid to notice that there are big metal chains attached to the exhausts of the car. They both are too stupid to notice that the garage door is high enough off the ground for a body to be attached to it by the chains.

They both simultaneously start their engines. They both get on the cell phone and turn up the stereo volume so that they won't hear the chains dragging. They both drive out of the driveway at precisely the same moment. Neither one of them notices a pull from the heavy chains dragging a human body at the back of the vehicle.

The girl who has been bound and gagged raises her head up enough to slam it into the garage door before being pulled out under the garage door with ease. So...she could have ducked and not hit the door...but she is too stupid to do that. She is also too stupid to realize that although she is gagged and chained she could roll her body out underneath the garage door out into view.

This is just torture porn at its stupidest.
9 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Clichéd, Gimmicky Schlock
cow-hammer14 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I give this movie 3 stars, almost solely because it has the doctor from Deadwood in a fairly prominent role. Performances hearken back to the days of "I Know What You Did Last Summer" and related slasher movies of the '90s, so the usual 20-somethings playing high schoolers badly. The kills were predictable and always had the gimmick of using chains in some way, which was kinda fun, but was way overdone.

This is all expected in this genre, but the worst is the ending: THERE ISN'T ONE. You barely find out who the killer(s) are, it shows the main character (if she can be called that) being killed, then it throws up the title card and rolls the credits. I know they're probably trying to set up for a sequel, but it ends up looking like they ran out of budget after they filmed an hour and a half of footage.

Don't bother with this one. You can find better uses of your time.
19 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Pretty Bad Stuff
Jakealope30 May 2011
I was looking through Red Box the other night when I rented this load of crap. I saw Brad Dourif and Keith David in the credits so I figured it had some merit, wrong. Hey these days torture porn and teen slasher movies are almost passé. Serial killer movies have grown from genre to category next to Drama or Comedy. No one expects too much from any of these genres but this movie manages to out stupid the worst in each of the above genres.

OK, teens get weird chain email threatening death if they don't spam 5 friends with a forward of the email. So real steel chains are literally used to dismember these teenagers if they delete CHAIN letter, get it? It was reminiscent of Hellraiser with all those chains and hooks tearing into bodies but minus the supernatural voodoo that made that movie bearable. First off, there is supposed to be some sort of conspiracy, some Luddite anti technology group that is protesting our loss of privacy via cell phone and internet technology. So why pick 5 random teen agers to kill in a gruesome fashion but with no terrorist demands or media frenzy to promote the cause? In all those teen slasher movies the teens did something or went somewhere they weren't supposed to and the monster had some good reason to kill them, like they just had sex or something. But no real motives here, from a cell of supposed warped Unibomber type geniuses who want to send out a message. Then the conspiracy finds some Leather Face Texas Chainsaw guy to do the actual murders, which makes so much sense. Then, for all the yapping about decreased privacy due to things like cell phone tracking, all the teens were killed right at their homes or in their favorite haunts, that took no technical wizardry past a phone book to track them. Then we have a veteran cop who is supposed to be tracking all this but never once does he call in for any sort of backup as he goes rummaging around empty plant buildings by his lonesome in his town's biggest crime wave investigation.

Finally there is this utterly stupid and gory dismemberment scene that opened and closed the film, literally a repeat. There was no coherent plot and a cheap theme that doesn't even tie the movie together. There was one teen who even forwarded the messages but got wasted anyways as soon as he deleted his copy. It made no sense on so many levels and was simply a cheapest sort of exploitation of an exploitation movie. I also rented & watched "I am No. 4" from Redbox last weekend and that was a turkey too. But at least that one had a coherent if silly and derivative plot.
14 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Boring, predictable teen-slasher
HorrorQueen1725 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Another day, another horror movie where teenagers are killed off, in no particular inventive way whatsoever.

Firstly, this film is exactly what it says. The tag line of "If you don't send it on, you die", should give you enough of a clue as to how bad this film is. And that is probably one of the wittier lines 'Chain Letter' has produced.

Everything about this film was bad. The concept, that not sending on a chain letter will have some manic, chain/axe wielding nutter chasing after you, tracking your movements through GPS and hacking into your computer to watch you through your own web cam (despite the fact that the chain letter in that particular case was received on a phone and at no point on the computer in question), was pushing it, to say the least, but if it had been well plotted, written and acted it could just have made it. Unfortunately, it was none of these. The writing was terrible and whenever there was a 'reveal' (not very often, I might add), the writers dumbed down this film so much that they had to literally spell out every last thing.

With the exception of Nikki Reed, who played Jessie, the film featured some pretty poor acting. And the plot holes and ridiculous inconsistencies and errors made this teen-gets-killed worse than many of its counterparts.

For example - the first death. A body is that badly mutilated, by a killer we have no trace of, yet it is released to be buried 2 days afterwards? No way would that ever happen. Also, the police would not interrogate people at the actual funeral. I don't know if this film was created specifically for morons, but if not, please credit your audience with a little more intelligence than that.

The second death, where the engine falls on Dante - how would the police know that was murder on the same day? The guy said he fixed it onto the ceiling himself, why on earth would the police assume someone murdered him, rather than the more obvious solution of the engine falling because it wasn't affixed properly?

The third death, where the killer bursts through a skylight (!) - by this stage 3/4 people have been killed and the police are assuming it's the same killer. His own sister has been killed, in the house. Disregarding the fact that that house would be a crime scene just one day on, where the hell are the kids parents? They've just lost a daughter and yet someone can make all the commotion they like, climbing onto a roof and smashing through a skylight to drag their son through it, and the parents do not hear a single thing. Unbelievable. Plus, why have the storyline building up to something about an anti-technology cult, which would have been quite interesting, and then never explore it in any depth?

There are so many more annoying, ridiculous things about this movie but it would take me all night to list them all.

Overall, the shock moments were cheap and predictable, and didn't make me jump once. The storyline was full of plot holes big enough to fit on ocean liner through, the kills were uninventive and not even particularly gory, and when there would have been gore, the camera cut away! The writing was stilted, the acting was wooden and the mistakes drove me mad.

The single payoff came right at the end, and if I hadn't seen it coming would have been the best bit of the film. Seriously, don't bother. 2/10, because sadly, I have seen (slightly) worse.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
danxxx199015 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Weak acting and the most uninspired plot line I've ever seen since SAW series. Watching this movie is like wasting, in the most useless way, 96 minutes of your life. The plot is a mess, and the characters have no contour of their personalities, plus, even though the killer can be categorized as being a maniac, this is just not enough, because all you see is a big guy that shows his victims how strong and merciless he is. Watching this movie gives you the sensation that it was filmed and distributes in a big rush. The scene where Jessy gets killed is deprived of its meaning, because from the first second you can anticipate the end of the movie.
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Dime a Dozen Shallow Horror Attempt
dimarinc11 April 2012
Chain Letter is not very good. I can relax my standards for horror movies typically if it has some redeeming qualities. An interesting character or a cool villain or unique plot are all components that can get me through. This movie lacked all of these and really lacked any hope of being a decent movie.

The movie seems so similar to any horror movie that it's hard to find anything it does well. If you like gruesome deaths, than it has a couple unique "chain related" moments. Other than that, the movie is shallow story wise, has flat characters provides very little pay off. There isn't much suspense built up either, but certain scenes showed some promise.

I wouldn't recommend this movie to anyone unless they absolutely love chains.
7 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Barrel scraping, third division mess
Simonster29 March 2011
Viewed at the Festival de Film, Cannes 2010

If all you want from a horror film are some gory kills and blood, go ahead, knock yourself out and have a ball. But if you want anything more, say a decent script, a story that makes sense, characters, even one, you can root for, some logic, even internal logic, and finally a decent killer with motivation, look elsewhere. Make no mistake Chain Letter is a mess.

So much of this film makes no or very little sense it's hard to know where to start. Basically, teens who receive a chain letter and fail to pass it on get offed. Why they are getting this letter I could never figure out. How the killer manages to do what he does defies even the often screwy logic of such films. At times he seems to be in several places at once, doing different things. It's almost like the producers took every draft script and shuffled them together, pulling out 100 pages at random and saying, "Now let's make this one"!

Even if Chain Letter were good, and it's anything but, it would still not rise above the level of clichéd and derivative: the Japanese do it so much better. Heck! Just about everyone does it better!

I love horror films, I even enjoy ones that are so bad they're good. There's usually something to be found in them. But treat Chain Letter like the real thing: don't pass it on no matter what the promise, just trash it.
18 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
So Much Fail in Just One Movie
bababear25 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I'm presuming that the people who run the Encore Suspense channel make sure that the prints of movies they get are complete and that the reels are shown in correct order. With this, it was hard to tell.

The main characters are high school students whose lives glide along without parents. At any hour of the day or night they are always in their huge homes all by themselves or, at best, with another teenager.

There are adults in the story, two police officers who do have the best of intentions. Sergeant Hamill at least tries to solve the murders that form the core of the plot, but her part is so underwritten that her character could have been eliminated. Detective Crenshaw is more interesting because he has absolutely no common sense. He'll follow up a lead at an isolated location all by himself, never calling for backup, never taking even the most minimal precautions.

The biggest item in the film's budget was probably the rain machines which make remind the viewer of how much more effective BLADE RUNNER was on every count. It rains at night. It rains during the day. Worst of all, it continues raining during a funeral scene where the rain is in sharp contrast to the bright sunlight we see everywhere.

The plot has to do with some anti-technology nuts who hate computers and cell phones, so they kill off teenagers who use these devices. It would have made more sense had they targeted, maybe, the CEO of Apple, but that would have been some work for the writers. The plot device is based on killing anyone who fails to forward a chain letter. Fortunately for the killers, none of these teenagers forwards the chain to anyone who lives outside of Sacramento. That was nice of the kids.

Don't try too hard to guess the killer's (or killers') identity, because that's a little detail the writers forgot to include. The movie does not end, it simply stops.

For what it's worth, though, the last ninety seconds actually did make me jump and that one moment is truly shocking. It comes out of nowhere, but it is effective.

There are a few good things about the film. There's nice camera work with some well done crane shots, and the musical score is pretty well textbook but appropriate. But the writing is terrible, although I'd suspect that there were many scenes that were written and may or may not have been filmed that would have tied the story together into a cohesive whole.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Too Late
KirnehGlitch31 January 2011
The movie starts out very well and the whole movie has the golden rules for horror, which most of us have gotten tired of since it makes movies too predictable, and this movie is no exception.

The movie builds up very well and with good pacing. You get the chance to get to know a few of the characters on a deeper level, but nothing to stand up for. The gore is very well made and not over done, that's actually the best about this movie, the killings. The ending was very weak, very predictable and didn't leave you in awe as Secret Window or Identity did.

Chain Letters, we have all received them and we all hate them, and most of us delete them before finishing reading them without thinking about it. That's what makes this movie quite alright on the plot part, it's a nice fresh idea to what Wes Craven started back in '96 with "Scream" (the teenage horror flicks) or perhaps he started it with "A Nightmare on Elm Street" back in '84, depends on how you look at it.

I kind of liked the movie, but it's a one time watch. You should watch this when you're in the mood for a simple flick with minimum amount of brain activity usage, because this is not one to watch when you're actually in the mood for a movie evening with your partner or friends.

I rate this ******
13 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Bare to break the chain...?
paul_haakonsen2 March 2013
This movie was not at all what I had expected it to be. Was it better? No, quite the opposite actually. This movie was really boring and was suffering from a rather silly storyline.

The concept of this movie was about some chain letter that was sent out to a group of people, and those who deleted the message ended up dead in gruesome ways.

Nothing much interesting happened throughout the movie, aside from the odd brutal killing here and there. But the characters in the movie were fairly one-dimensional and you never really cared for any of them or formed any kind of bond with them, so you ended up just shrugging most of the time and looking forward to the way that the next in line was killed.

If you enjoy brutal horror movies with inventive killings, then you might find some enjoyment in "Chain Letter", but if you enjoy horror movies that are driven by a deep, captivating and interesting story, then this movie is a poor choice to put your money on.

Personally, I was drifting off a couple of times throughout the movie, and my focus started to shift elsewhere. This movie didn't make any lasting impression, and it will never make it to a second time around in the DVD player. It simply just wasn't worth it.
8 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Quite possibly the worst film I have ever seen
claire-warby718 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Just awful. Having read the description of this film (but not the reviews) I decided to give it a watch. Well, it was a waste of 90 minutes. The premise of the film, although not fantastic, could still have worked had it not have been for the lack of plot, a terrible script, a nonsensical ending and some truly awful characters. At no point in the film do you grow to like or hate any of the characters which is a must in any film. It made no sense.

So you receive a chain letter which says you will die if you do not pass it on to 5 friends. Fair enough. Those who do, live. Those who don't, die. Almost every character is finished by some unknown person who likes chains (get it...). He likes them a lot. Some gruesome deaths, lots of blood and gore but as it jumps from one person to another you really don't care about who is being killed. You'd be lucky if you could name them as they are popped off one by one.

The ending is non-existent - it finishes how it ends. The same girl being killed, in the same way. And, just in case you had forgotten the first 5 minutes of the film you are shown it all over again 80 minutes later.

You are only ever given a small clue as to who is behind all of this. Apparently it'll be the technophobes who have bar code tattoos. You are shown who 2 of these are but, after seeing that the killer is a rather muscly, almost hulk like, man you know that neither of these people committed the killings. So, who did? I have no idea. And neither will you. Nor will you care.
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Torture Film Where the Real Victim is the Viewer
claudio_carvalho5 April 2012
An anti-tech cult promotes a teen murder spree, killing those teenagers that do not forward a chain letter. A detective investigates the murders.

When I saw this DVD on sale, I did not believe on IMDb User Rating and I decided to buy and see this garbage.

If you also do not believe, spend you time and money because I will not spend more time writing about a torture film where the real victim is the viewer.

My vote is one (awful).

Awful! Awful! Awful! Awful!

Title (Brazil): "A Corrente do Mal" ("The Evil Chain Letter")
17 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Disgusting piece of garbage
qualityguyftl11 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I like a good horror movie, but this piece of crap is nothing more than a few extremely gruesome kill scenes taped together with a script written by a forth grader. I hate torture porn, I hate the proliferation of it, had I known this was going to be that I would not have watched it, in fact I only watched up to the point where the Johnny Jones character is brutally tortured and killed, the scene made me sick so I did a quick eject and threw it back in the mail. The convoluted history of this film should have been a clear warning to me to stay far far away. This was filmed in 2007 and bounced from distributor to distributor until the most desperate distributor finally decided to release this turkey on a innocent public. Do not waste your time on this straight to video mess, the acting is horrible, no story whatsoever and it is truly disgusting. I hope someone out there with a brain bigger than a chimps will inject the genre with intelligent horror and not ride on sick gore which if the story sucks is not worth watching anyway, two thumbs down
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A truly painful melange of inappropriate clichés, boring characters, senseless plot additions and obvious mistakes
Zachar_Laskewicz29 May 2013
Positive criticism that's informed can help people understand better films that could be inaccessible. In the case of this film, I felt equally compelled to point out how utterly it fails in achieving any of the possible ways the genre can still positively influence our lives. This unfortunate cinematic waste of time and money is basically an extremely embarrassing collection of contemporary horror film clichés. It begins at high tempo with the immediate link to other modern-day doomsday horror-films which combine news reports with live action scenes to provide the action with some ominous credence. You learn quickly that loud and continuous shouting does not necessarily correlate with logic and plot interest. I usually like film inter-referencing but the reflexive pointing in this film is about as awry as the plot. Worse still, this psychopath with unexplained supernatural strength is connected to some sort of 'technology-despising' cult. The bandaged psychopath (who made me think of leatherface) who can still somehow work computers proficiently despite being unable to use his bandaged covered hands despises every danger Brad Dourif warns his class about at the opening of the film (and which you've already heard to excess in the news fragments) – technology provides as much evil as it does good 'somewhere out there' he decries philosophically but without the intelligence to back it up, I can only suppose this signifies some sort of transgression upon the all-sacred set of civil liberties North American culture actually believe it's always had some kind of unique access to (for anyone not living there such accepted truths seem far less obvious); and despite making proficient use of this technology to senselessly rip apart people who are unlikable but don't really deserve it, is apparently part of an 'ancient' cult that perpetuates the Chain Letter curse. The heroine, lo and behold, makes the blindingly obvious chain-mail link connecting the deaths and finds the website with the victims on it . . . and proceeds to pass the information to no one directly. There are serious problems with the logical choices made by the characters in this film and that ultimately result in their untimely demise, but personally, I was so uninterested in the underdeveloped and uninteresting characters I didn't really find it worthwhile to attempt to find out why they'd become victims anyway. Or the ludicrous connection between the 'iron chain links', smitten perhaps in the good old-fashioned way by a black-smith and I suppose some ludicrous connection is intended here to a closer relationship with natural forces. In comparison the 'email chain letters' bring about the death of everyone who disobeys them. If this chain letter curse is ancient, what people did they use to senselessly murder? People who made used of post-boxes or pigeon-post trainers? And what links the chains themselves to the members of the cult has is truly embarrassing. Bar codes, used on selling products in our capitalistic society, one may think, are tattooed on the arms of the members to demonstrate how numbers depersonalize people. Apart from the painfully obvious reference to capitalism, it is also a clear reference to the dehumanization of the Jews who were in a similar way tattooed therefore losing any sense of self. Apart from violent and senseless deaths, the victims in this film don't suffer any of these indignities; in fact it's the members of the cult who wear the tattoos. Anyway, science fiction has been denigrating the human race by assigning numbers for generations so one wonders which genius thought that particularly lame plot addition up. I mentioned when comparing this film to 'The thaw', a montage of news reports and flashy letters and numbers flying by. At least in 'The Thaw', atmosphere was created in a claustrophobic environment and time was taken to develop the characters. Both films, interestingly, made use of faded and unhealthy looking actors of previous well-repute, namely the legendary Brad Dourif or Cuckoo's Nest glory, of Excorcist III renown and unfortunately also for playing the doll demon doll Chucky. In 'The Thaw', a plump and tired looking Val Kilmer actually fulfills a very similar function as both a guest actor and an informative role that proves later to be essential to the plot. What Kilmer did in The Thaw was at least provocative and to some degree unexpected. The dynamic and appealing young cast got you interested in what was taking place around them and if there were prophetic lectures in 'The Thaw' at least they had some relevance to what would follow. The comparative subtlety of this turkey is like comparing eating caviar to plunging yourself willingly into an aquarium of hungry piranhas. As mentioned, I usually enjoy genres that reference others constantly, even if they do so constantly; here it was painful - the intelligence of the girls in the slasher films of the seventies we find amusing today seemed to me a hell of a lot less dumb today as each and every character bar one goes on using the technology which is so obviously killing them off. This film is just loud, ridiculously violent and unpleasantly so. But honestly I cared little for the characters that died (largely because of their inability to communicate well with one another about obvious things and the stupid choices any other idiot wouldn't make). I actually cheered when the lame and uninteresting heroine was ripped in two by who I assumed were her parents as they drove in different directions only to discover that their daughter had been 'chained' between the vehicles. At least the recurrence of this scene at the end definitively puts this piece of cinematic droll to sleep permanently. Apparently the talentless young set of actors in this film took part in similarly dubious horror duds like sequels to Nightmare on Elm Street. If someone sends you a ticket to this film, throw it straight in the dustbin. Please.
8 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Poor and pointless
caiged3 October 2011
This is completely pointless movie, one of those where you watch it to see what happens and then it just ends suddenly and you think WTF? Normally in slasher movies like this you'd think the weakest points are the plot and the acting. Surprisingly, there was nothing wrong with the acting. The main cast did what they were meant to but the ultra poor script didn't have any proper development for each character so there was nothing much to feel for any of them. Even the premise of the story didn't make sense. A huge guy with a bandaged face sends out chain letter e-mails to people with the threat of death of they don't play the game. What the game one knows because all the letter says is that if you don't play you die. There's no mention if you delete the e-mail you die or if you don't forward the message you die. This movie is that lame that a few simple rules aren't even scripted in.

Some of the deaths are truly gory, even by Saw standards. But in the grand scheme of things they are entirely pointless. Even the Saw scenes had some intelligence to the deaths- you're a bad person but you get a chance at redemption but not until you go through a trial by fire and lots of pain. The deaths in Chain Letter are just gore and pain. This makes watching any Paris Hilton movie fun and educational.

Deon Taylor should be made to undergo one of the death scenes in his movie- either that or threaten him with a scene if he doesn't stop writing and directing such rubbish.

Recommendation: only if you like to pull out your fingernails with a tweezer dipped in acid.
8 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Mean-spirited, Boring Mess of an Excuse for a Horror Movie
Rusty-6113 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Just in case you could not grasp the subtle undertones of my review title above...

My recommendation in a nutshell: NO. I guess to justify the one star I left I could base it on Keith David and Brad Dourif doing their best even when the material to work with is utter crap. Both are the only ones in the movie who made my brain perk up when they were on screen. You may have heard talk about the show-stopping opening. I was about to point out that hardly qualifies as 'show-stopping' quality in my book, but it SHOULD have stopped the show. The credit sequence to follow was an eyesore. It all goes clumsily and rapidly downhill after there.

You want a longer explanation? Okay, then. First, I cannot believe I actually read a few fairly good reviews on horror sites. Possibly due to some of the gore I rattle (har) off below. Yes, the movie has a nasty, mean-spirited, creative dismemberment before the title credits. Actually, the entire movie is very mean-spirited, not just the gore. Here is some but not all gore included (I saw the unrated version): victim's arms being dislocated/Achilles tendons cut, then the face sort of scrubbed off slowly with 2 chains (yes, this all happened to the same poor guy, arguably the ugliest demise in the whole firm), hook through jaw, upper body crushed w/heavy object, giant hook through shoulder, heat split open by chain ...see now, I don't even think it is worth the use of my brain to recount them all. In at least one scene I got this specific creepy feeling I get while watching a horror film that usually causes me to classify it as 'torture-porn': getting an icky feeling during a drawn-out torture scene that someone involved in the making of the movie got off on it. Some creepy duct-tape and/or mutilation fetish, or something, bleh, I don't want to think about it any more. I'm pretty sure if I searched here I'd find that a frequent tag associated with CL is "Torture Porn", but that is NOT a recommendation …at least I hope to God it isn't!

Where oh where to begin with the bad? Here's some. 'Teenagers' in high school that appear to be portrayed by actors mid-20s at youngest, and some closer to pushing 30. Keith David not getting to be bad-ass enough. Characters (all of them) that the "writers" did not even TRY to give the flimsiest of personality traits or a back-story to, so you could not care less who lives or dies. A couple of the 'highschoolers' did their best, but you can only go so far with a boring, sloppily-written script. One 18-year old character's mother looks 30 years old, tops. Not enough reasons to avoid? Try adding in these! No real ending. They try to convey a message about technology and that those who give up their privacy in trade for the newest, most convenient, "cool" tech/apps don't deserve safety, but that message only would have been original or effective 10 years ago (and a LOT has happened between now and then). We get hit over the head with this message so much it gets insulting to most people's intelligence, and far before the movie is over. Motive for killing is very vague, and there's only so many ways you can kill a person directly involving a chain and keep it "new".

Also--and I hope people are through having to pay money in a theater to see CL and go for rental only- my DVD had no subtitles, not even CC for the hearing impaired (when I used the standard TV CC settings) .Bare bones for the special features. In fact, I don't even recall if there was a trailer. NO back-story on the killer, even though he has one distinctive (but unoriginal) feature, it isn't explained, and could have added a teeny bit of depth.

Don't get me wrong. I never set out NOT to like a movie, I don't rent them out of spite, life --and my funds-- are too short. I've seen more horror movies --just over the past couple years--than most people see in decades. I know what mindless, fun, entertaining horror movies look like; I grew up in the 80s, so trust me, I know mindless horror fun when I see it. This is not one of those movies. Want some movie that is a gory blast to watch, has some scares or at least very creepy moments, doesn't follow a complicated plot, and that you could keep up with plot-wise even if you had a few drinks in you? Chain Letter is NOT one of them. Try, oh, any of the Evil Dead series, the 80s re-make of The Blob, Planet Terror, 2001 Maniacs, Dead/Alive, Feast ...and those are just off the top of my head. No wonder Fangoria didn't bother to cover this train wreck to do a feature.

Finally, another BIG minus is the fact that this had a lot of potential. I had a little hope before I saw the movie, since the plot, and even some of the buzz, was along the lines of what could have been another Final Destination franchise. Now I sincerely hope a sequel does not happen, but I think they were trying (and WAY too hard) to be the next Saw or FD. Not even close.

Avoid! If you rent it just to see the gore, don't do it. You'll hate yourself after, take my word for it!
6 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
itsacatchphrase27 January 2011
A well intentioned movie. One that never really feels like it starts until your at the end. Or should I say, "the end?". I feel like this is a director to look out for. The deaths were great and the overall look and feel was really good and fresh. Dialogue and acting could really could have used more help in general. I would say that i would recommend it, but only for the deaths. In all it would have been a great movie had there been a completely different editor and a more cognitive storyline. A lot of buzz words and frantic talking do not a plot make. Oh well. Do yourself a favor and go check out the remake of "I Spit On Your Grave"
8 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
NOt a bad horror, could have been more....
weemonk25 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Vincent Winterbourne's review seems to think that fans of horror, 80's and 90's will lap this up. I'm one of those fans....but this film doesn't deserve that much praise.

Chain Letter is certainly a watchable film. It is clichéd, not hugely original and nothing none of us haven't seen before. This is another of those films that will go floating by and leave you slightly frustrated because, placed in the hands of someone else, it could have been a terrific new horror franchise. There's a good core idea - you receive a chain email/text which you must forward on or die if you don't or delete it. What do you choose to do? Ignore it and you'll meet your end via a nasty gory death by chains (and the use of chains is actually quite good). You can almost imagine, whilst watching, the film this could have been had the script been slightly more polished, a bit more time taken with character development and more confident direction.

I do applaud the filmmakers though as this isn't a big budget horror and for the most part it is an entertaining film. It has some nice ideas. Unfortunately, everything seems to be hurried. I hardly grasped who was who out of the school buddies and it seemed like the director just wanted to get on to the next murder scene or shock revelation. The writers couldn't settle on exactly what was happening. We're given details that it's a cult doing the murders yet only one guy does the killing. The cult hate technology yet that is what they use to track and kill?

It's a shame. This isn't a bad film and I would say give it a try. Could have been so much more though, especially after such a good opening.

Nice to see Keith David with a chunky(ish) role and also Brad Dourif in there too.
5 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One step forward, and one back
loomis78-815-98903423 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
A group of high school friends pass a digital chain letter to each other sent from a real killer. The killer is using the kid's technology against them and gives them 24 hours to send it to someone else. Most ignore it until they are found brutally killed. Jessie Campbell (Reed) begins to catch on and tries to convince her friends and the police that this is real. Flirting with torture porn in places but really a bloody slasher movie at heart, 'Chain Letter' unfortunately takes one step backwards for every step taken forward. Director Deon Taylor makes a huge mistake opening the film by showing the audience the final scene. It is quite a dozy but it is completely ruined when we get there from seeing it in the beginning. One step forward and then back. The killer is a savage and the deaths are extremely gory and nasty. One step forward. Taylor manages no suspense at all to his death scenes and the attempts at jump scares don't work. One step back. The body count is high and the movie is well made. One step forward. The plot has holes you could drive a car through with lapses in logic. One step back. Slightly entertaining in a dry way, this movie is frustrating overall and never catches a rhythm due to its inconsistency.
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A group of kids receive an e-mail and decide if they will forward it. Much like Final Destination - not as good. I say C+
cosmo_tiger30 January 2011
After receiving an e-mail chain letter a group of friends start to realize this one is no joke. After receiving an e-mail saying send this to 5 people or you will die Jesse Campbell (Reed) sends it from her brothers computer. Like most of us, her friends delete it, but soon find out that was a mistake. There is a scene in the first few minutes that talks about everyone being on the internet and having a cell phone, (everyone can get in contact with everyone at anytime), this leads to the chain letter being sent, because no one can avoid it. I liked the idea of the movie, but it could have been so much better. I would compare this to a "Final Destination" movie. A group of kids start getting killed off one by one in various ways after one event affects them all. "Final Destination" did pull off the idea way better. Not a bad movie but don't expect "Saw" gore. I give it a C+.

Would I watch again? - Nope
7 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
bad story but some nice effects
trashgang8 June 2012
Chain Letter was made at the time that the Saw franchise was over and all torture porn was over. The producers even got Betsy Russell in this flick who got fame due the Saw franchise. But the story itself is a bit weak.

Deon Taylor, the director would like to make a good horror but so far he failed, his first attempt 7eventy 5ive (2007) wasn't that good but he knew he had to add some gory bits to the story. That succeeded here in Chain Letter but you just couldn't get involved with the characters. Even the story about the killer isn't really explained.

It do make you think about being online and using cellphones with GPS and things you are giving free to hackers without knowing it. But most of those flicks fail to deliver, Hellraiser Hellworld (2005) showed us that even an horror icon just couldn't deliver pain and torture. The script also reminded me on the overlooked FearDotCom (2002).

It also shows that when you put big names from the genre in one flick it doesn't give you a hit. Nikki Reed here as Jessie Campbell and seen in the Twilight saga is the main lead and she did well but still I just couldn't care what would happen to her. And look the the fallen angel Noah Segan, he was going to be the next thing in the genre and made a few good flicks, Deadgirl (2008) and his breakthrough with Cabin Fever 2 and Someone's Knocking At The Door, both from 2009. Here he got just a small role. Of course the teaser would be Brad Dourif, but again he just got a small part.

Luckily the film is saved by the gore added and it was good to see that it was done with the real stuff and not with CGI. It do has a few gory moments but for a torture porn too less to become a classic. The suspense is just not there. Maybe the underground figure was Cherilyn Wilson as Rachael Conners, she do moved on from this flick to small roles in Dexter and True blood, one to look out for and she isn't afraid to show her body, She's the only one here who goes fully undressed and has a close-up as gratuitous as it can be of her juggs.

Chain Letter isn't that good after all but some gore saved the letter...

Gore 3/5 Nudity 0,5/5 Effects 4/5 Story 2/5 Comedy 0/5
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Some Great Talent Come Together For This...
gavin694219 January 2011
Six friends are pitched against each other when they are sent via email and text message, a chain letter, which if not passed on, sends a psycho-killer after them. Their loyalties to each other are tested when they must pass the letter to each other, or not at all, and if they break the chain, they lose their life.

The film and its directing are very stylistic. From the introduction, we are shown a lot of short shots, close-ups, blood, and color. Unlike the "torture porn" craze, the focus is not on the gore, despite how easy it would be to do so. I give them a lot of credit for making the decision to leave a little bit to our imaginations.

Even the opening credits sets a tone with its overview of modern technology and how frightening it may be for some people with the Unabomber, Y2K, cell phones with GPS and more. Technology is our friend, an extension of our very bodies... but it can both help and harm, keep us safe or spy on us menacingly. There is a trade off -- added technology means less privacy.

The film features a really great cast of horror veterans. Keith David ("They Live") is Detective Jim Crenshaw. Nikki Reed ("Twilight") is Jessie Campbell. Brad Dourif ("Child's Play") is Mr. Smirker, a paranoid neo-Luddite who carries the opening credit theme a step further into the film. Dourif has never failed to excel, and this is no exception. And Betsy Russell ("Saw") is Sergeant Hamill.

There seems to be some debate among viewers whether this is a remake of the Japanese film "Chain". And while there are many American remakes of Japanese films, this time it seems debatable. The writers do not want to tell you it is, so it may just be a coincidence... or a conspiracy. Who knows?

The DVD from Image Entertainment is bare bones. The film comes in either R-rated or unrated (with an extra two minutes), but that is all you get. No commentary, no featurettes. It does not even have alternate languages or subtitles (sorry, deaf people). So if you want more from this film, it will not happen... you will have to track down those involved and let them know how you feel.

The film is really pretty good, and much better than you would expect from something that went under our radar. And if the gore and humor are not enough for you, there is even a sexy bathtub scene... I think this is one of the better horror films of 2010, and it is a shame it was overlooked.
10 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great return to the Late 90's horror days
Klovemovies5 October 2010
To me at least it felt like it, Crazy yet simple plot, dumb teens, lots of blood, and innovative kills. Also the usual parents have no clue their kid is in danger thing. This movie as you may know is about a killer (Chain Man) who is killing kids who delete or refuse to forward the chain letter he sends out within 24 hours. Thats about that right there. Nikki Reed is beautiful as ever. And I felt the cast had a strong connecting with Director Deon Taylor. One of my few problems is you can see the kills when they come none of them just JUMP out at you. Anyway like I said this has the look and feel of a late 90s slasher and a pretty good twist. Def. check this one out
15 out of 42 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed