Movie Review: Chain letter (2010)

Chain LetterChain Letter was one of many DVD’s I received at Christmas and after a quick survey of the cover art, blurb and cast details, we decided that it was to be next on the list to watch. Said cover included a close up of some of the cast and a bloody corpse with a chain wrapped tightly around their ankle. The top billed also made for promising reading with the inclusion of horror legend Brad Dourif accompanied by familiar face Keith David and from Twilight, Nikki Reed.

The film opens with what is probably the most chilling moment. A girl who has been bound and tied is chained to the back of two cars. As she lay on the floor of a garage, two people exit the house and get into the cars, unbeknown to them, their cars would soon become a weapon of horrific death! The scene ends without actually finding out what happens and it isn’t until the end that we learn of the fate of the poor woman chained to the cars!  

The basic premise of Chain Letter follows a familiar pattern and is very reminiscent of both The Ring and Final Destination, almost a freak hybrid of the two to be honest. A group of friends must struggle for their lives as they are picked off one by one following a chain letter/E-Mail being sent to them by an anonymous sender. The first to go are those who dismissed the letter as stupid and ignored or deleted it without continuing the chain! 

Well, that’s the story in a nutshell. For the most part, Chain Letter follows a very formulaic pattern shared by hundreds of like minded slasher flicks, with very little in the way of originality the premise promised a lot but fails in every quarter to deliver. As with most slasher films, it does have its fair share of impressive and inventive death scenes but other that this, there is very little to find of note with Chain Letter. 

Not even the inclusion of Brad Dourif is enough of a stimulant to stir up some quality. In fact, having his name attached to this film was probably how it got as much attention as it did, despite him having approximately 4 minutes of on-screen time. The vast majority of screen time is dominated by Nikki Reed. Reed plays Jessie, one of the group of kids who finds herself tangled in this web of horror. However, it is very difficult to find any empathy for the characters as very little effort is made in building their individuality. In fact, as the first death scene is going on, I was scratching my head trying to figure out who was being butchered, appartently he was connected to them in some way but you’d never know it!

All in all a paint by numbers slasher film with zero characterisation and a fairly poor and extrememly unsatisfactory ending leave this with very little to find in the way of recommendations. I think the closest I can come is a squeamish death scene involving a rather large chain and a poor teen’s face. I will leave it there! I also think this is the first time I have reviewed a film and scored it the same as that given by the users at IMDb! That’s something!

Released: 2010
Chain Letter (2010) on IMDb
My Rating: 4

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