Artisan // 1998 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Bill Gibron // October 17th, 2003
I wish I didn't know what you did last summer on location
Sarah and her mostly invisible mother move to Massachusetts to start a new life, or sample real maple syrup, something along those lines. They rent the one and only house in the whole of Stuckup Acres that was the scene of a prologue-previewing witch burning. Now the spooky chateau is cursed, or is at least a really strange supernatural fixer-upper. But Sarah has no time to make like Trading Spaces. She is too busy being mocked and ridiculed at her new high school for being that most bizarre of beings...a Californian (right! Like this would ever happen in real life). Soon, her peasant blouses and inability to swim have the whole town convinced she is the long gone Wiccan reincarnate, here to make good on a 300-year-old retribution IOU. And wouldn't you know it, the spoiled rotten rich kids who snub her at every occasion are the cosmically considered targets for the black magic payback. But before Brunhilda Jr. can get her hex on, a masked maniac in a black cowl sporting high-tech Freddy Krueger nail extensions starts stalking the teenage population and scaring them straight...into the grave. Is this the work of the long dead sorceress? Is Sarah really channeling the spirit of some crispy pagan princess? Or is this all some crazy convoluted crime spree by a local lunatic? Whatever it is, you'll dread hearing the hoarse voiced killer mutter "I've Been Waiting for You" if only because it means you're actually watching this tacky made-for-television turd.
What do you get when you cross the stupidest parts of Scream, the lamest aspects of I Know What You Did Last Summer, and the crappiest concepts in The Craft? Then what if you inserted dialogue so sticky with irony and laced with sarcasm that you can actually see the trail of temerity wisp from the character's lips? And then, you decorated the delirium with a cloaked killer who resembles Waylan Flowers' long dead Madame with high-tech Lee Press-On Nails? Hopefully, whatever the outcome of your Frankenstein film freak, it will be a billion times better and a millennium more entertaining than this illogical, hard to comprehend rip-off of several other more successful genre classics. I've Been Waiting for You is a cinematic threat that means to make good on the mediocrity oozing from its moniker. When a terrible TV fright film has the audacity to consistently plot-check better offerings like Carrie (we keep waiting for the bucket of pig's blood, but sadly, none is offered), it's time to call in the adaptation police and start taking names. Based on a book by faux famous novelist Lois Duncan, this Salem witch stupidity wants to be scary and smarmy, disquieting and quipping, all within a single muddled motion picture paragon. All it can do is spark memories of better (or perhaps just less pedestrian) midnight movie madness. You can tell that someone thought this off-putting tale of modern mob mentality and teen occult fascination would make a very menacing, demographically secure chiller. Too bad they decided to turn it into a Dawson's Creek version of The Crucible, with nary a Titchuba in site. This is New England, after all.
Most of this mess has to be laid at the feet of the source material. Duncan seems to have made a career out of perverting peer pressure with the paranormal and mistaking social climbing for the supernatural. A quick recap of this so-called writer's novels (Summer of Fear, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Killing Mr. Griffin) indicates that she is single-handedly responsible for at least part of the pile of youth culture creature feature crap that has slithered out of Tinseltown's terror trap since Drew Barrymore answered that stupid cell phone call. Actually, that's only partly true. Duncan's work has supposedly been massacred by that most literal of translators, the Hollywood hackjob machine, and her subtle stories have been scuttled for more T&A and less I&Q. But only the most rote of screenwriting retards could have considered that making every character, from the Stepford Wives style parents to the dullest jock itch head, into an in-joke spewing smart-ass would be a clever update on the adolescent horror pic. It may work with Wes Craven behind the camera, but the dimwits involved in this derivative dross can't get it to sound halfway normal. And yet that's what we get in spastic spades all throughout IBWFY: straight line followed by wicked barb, bit of exposition followed by crash putdown. It's like Mad Magazine's Snappy Answers for Stupid Questions is everyone's second language. And the whole suspense angle is handled in a completely snide manner. Every time a character moves, a phone rings, a cat pounces, or a mouse farts, the soundtrack ramrods, exploding with a robust "dunt dU!" musical cue, as if something of major scariness just occurred. By the fortieth or fiftieth time you get the idea that this is no longer meant as a shock signal but that someone (the director? the composer?) is pulling our phony bone. I've Been Waiting for You is the answer to the question "Is the horror genre really dead?" Apparently, the answer is a resounding "dunt...DUH!"
Argh Artisan! They're at it again, those miserly little DVD bastards. Proclaiming such SPECIAL FEATURES as...INTERACTIVE MENUS...SCENE ACCESS and that most significant of all contextual extra...THE OPTIONAL ENGLISH SUBTITLES, the unfortunate idiot who picks up a copy of this title (obviously to flesh out their coveted collection of Soleil Moon Frye starring vehicles) will merely be getting a digital version of a television presentation...sans commercials for prescription sex aides and cleanser infused wipe cloths, that is. So bereft of benefits that it could be mistaken for the United States version of national health insurance, this DVD is a gag of an offering. The full screen image is decent, if a little over compressed (hmmm, wonder what they were making room for...) and the Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is unexceptional at best.
So unless the site of Roseanne's other Becky gets you all moist in the manliness (or female fetlocks, let's not discount the lesbian factor here. We are dealing with witchcraft after all), there is nothing of substance to compel you into making Artisan financially solvent. One whiff of this repugnant stinker, however, and there's not a sno-cone's chance in Sarasota that you'll be picking up this fractured fright flick. I've Been Waiting for You will have to loiter a little longer in the back alleys of youth terror takes until it finds someone foolish enough to give its incomprehensible inconsistency a spin in the old digital decoder. No magic spell or warlock's widow's peak can make this coven claptrap palatable.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 1998
MPAA Rating: Not Rated