THE TASK (2010)
Directed by Alex Orwell
Written by Kenny Yakkel
Starring Alexandra Staden, Victor McGuire, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Ashley Mulheron, Tom Payne, Texas Battle, and Adam Rayner
I’ve liked all of the After Dark originals I’ve seen so far, HUSK being my favorite. The rest–PROWL, SECONDS APART, and FERTILE GROUND–all have a lot of redeeming qualities. I wish I could say that THE TASK follows suit, but in the end, the film just didn’t do it for me. Not that it is terribly acted or directed–the performances were decently played and the story guided capably. There just wasn’t that oomph present in THE TASK, as if everything was kind of done by the numbers.
The story revolves around an extreme TV Show (think Fear Factor) where five contestants are chosen to stay the night in a haunted prison. A group of techs and directors watch and guide the contestants through numerous challenges specifically designed for them. Contrived can’t begin to describe what goes on as the contestants band together to overcome the challenges; all the while it seems like a real ghost of the evil warden (are there any other kind?) is going around killing the crew. The kids themselves are pretty stereotypical, cast as if checking off a list: Smart Indian chick? Check. She’s super smart, by the way. Punk English girl? Check. She’s super punky, by the way. Gay dude? Check. He’s super gay, by the way, thanks for asking. Nerdy dude? Check. He’s super—just…OK, you know what I mean.
Reality flips and flops here and those thinking they’re on a TV show aren’t and some who think they aren’t are. Things get really complex and muddy toward the end as the director throws logic out the window in order to go for the shockeroo ending. This is not unwatchable. It may be worth a view if it shows up on SyFy some lazy afternoon, but apart from the fact that one of the actor’s real names is Texas Battle (which I found amusing for some reason), I can’t recommend THE TASK.