Monday, September 9, 2013

And Then They Were Fewer and Duller: Have a Nice Weekend (1974)

Have a Nice Weekend (1974)
rating: **
starring: Michael B. MillerPeter DompeValerie Shepherd

Yet another take on the popular Agatha Christie bodycount book And Then They Were None (AKA Ten Little Indians), Have a Nice Weekend is a proto-slasher that may look slick and exploitative, it actually fails to be slick and exploitative.

Not to say that the plot is uninteresting; it follows Chris, a war veteran, phoning in his family to meet up in their small island home to celebrate his return from Vietnam. Needless to say, Chris is clearly not all right after all the atrocities he saw during the war and his suspicious mannerism is anything but normal.

When he and his family finally made it to the island, things were going as smoothly as it can (with some rocky man-to-man talk between family members along the way) until Chris is starting to act up from his supposed trauma and tension rises within the family and their guests. It wasn't long until one of them actually ends up slaughtered with a knife one family member was fascinatingly caressing during a dinner. For some reason, these guys are taking forever to sink in the idea that this guy is dead (can they not see the non-moving body bleeding from the neck?!) but once they finally did, the once tense family gathering becomes tenser as one member to the next is suspected a killer.

As fun and curious as it sounds, Have A Nice Weekend could have been more exciting if it wasn't for the misleading tagline claiming an all-out massacre (only three quick murders) and the duller-than-mud acting. It slowly burns through the story with enough dramatics to work up some possible suspects for the incoming murders but after two bodies dropping dead, we have to sit through a humorous patch work of whodunit monologues and flashbacks, pulling us into the action on figuring out who the real killer is. As far as I can tell, the revelation was far from what I expected, but any sense of excitement was dulled down by the anti-climatic (and barely heard) rambling of the guilty ones and a Psycho-inspired finale, where in the killer's psychiatrist explains to a surviving family member what happened, that comes right after the movie literally says "The End".

Technicals, including special effects (very few), lighting, audio and scoring, is at level with a weekday morning TV thriller, so it's not hard to figure out why this movie's so obscure among us slasher fanatics. It'll depend how you take it, Have a Nice Weekend would either be one of the worst proto-slasher there is, or one of the more forgivable if you like your pre-Halloween bodycounters as cheesy and ineptly funny as possible. I'm more on the less impressed, but slasher film completists might find something to like about this film, but the real question here is how desperate are they to try?

1 male slaughtered with knife
1 male hacked on the head with hoe
1 male killed with fishing gaft
Total: 3
My Favorite five letters in the Alphabet.

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