Wes Craven’s career would be nothing without his one big (admittedly genius) idea. By allowing Freddie Kreuger free reign in the dreams of teenagers he guaranteed that no killing could be too over the top, no line too lame and no franchise centrepiece too unkillable. After all, there only dream sequences.
If you think about it Last House on the Left is little more than a depressing and all too real tale of mindless killers. The People under the Stairs a gimmicky thing anyone could have made. The Hills have Eyes a generic mutant tale. And don’t get me started on Scream, the ‘anti-franchise’ that played up to ignoring genre clichés at the expense of any semblance of logic.
Which brings us to Shocker, another failed attempt to start a franchise. Where the best bits are a direct rip of his own Elm Street idea, and the worst bits are everything else.
Shocker centre around a young boy named Jonathan and a guy named Pinker. Pinker is a TV repairman ‘slash’ electrician ‘slash’ mass murderer. Jonathan is an innocent young foster child who is somehow able to ‘mind-hack’ Pinker while he carries out every heinous detail of the bloody crimes.
Little Jonny essentially uses these visions to lead the cops to Pinker… eventually. (After a few goes and some folded flags and 21 gun salutes.)
But even though we might like it to be so. Pinker is a long way from finished. He goes viral after being executed by electrocution. And now things go from mediocre to straight silly. Being an ‘electrician’ I guess gives Pinker extra powers. Now he pops up through TVs, power points and the like in order to continue killing his victims. Which begs the question; what would a serial killer accountant return with? A calculator? A haunted spreadsheet?
Anyway pointless logical conundrums aside, Shocker starts shorting early and gradually loses more and more power as it continues.
As with most Craven efforts, the everyman ‘hero’ is kept deliberately bland in order to make the villain stand out more. But when the villain is as silly as this one and the deaths and chases so very uninventive then the viewer’s battery runs out quick. And it would take much more than a ‘jump’ to respark my interest in Shocker.
Final Rating – 5 / 10. It would be false to claim this as one of Wes Craven’s lesser efforts. More accurate to say that it just another non-Elm Street effort.