Movie Review: “Stalker” talker and slow-walker

Whoa, did NOT see that coming.

I mean, it only took 75 minutes for something, ANYthing to happen in this 93 minute picture. And when it did, boy oh boy.

Just kidding. That was a letdown, too.

“Stalker” is a ridiculously-chatty bore of a thriller, a stunning waste of viewing time about an actress and a second unit photographer stuck in an elevator.

Did I mention the title is “Stalker?” So, one of them’s “stalked” the other? You think? Maybe?

Any way you pose that question feels like a spoiler. But when you give that title to your “claustrophobic” “two-hander,” you’ve given the game away anyway.

It’s a British film set in the States — or maybe Canada, seeing as how wrestler Bret Hart has a bit part as a movie director — about a weary starlet (Sophie Skelton) who has finished another day’s shoot on a horror film, now trapped in a “three star” dump of a hotel whose elevator might have transported Rudolph Valentino, back in the day.

It’s that old. And screenwriter Chris Watt needs to sit down with a Michelin guide and LEARN what a “three star hotel” is.

This one doesn’t have a desk clerk on duty. So when Skelton’s character, Rose Hepburn (clever) calls for help via her in-and-out cellphone (naturally), nobody answers.

This bespectacled, headphoned dweeb (Stuart Brennan, like Skelton, British) who jumps into the lift pre-liftoff looks familiar. To her. He works on the set, too. Turns out he’s there to get B-roll, just a guy and his digital camera, making horror the cheapest way they can in this digital era.

“Daniel” gives off a creepy vibe. Rose seems more depressed than alarmed. But she grills him “to keep my mind off” her claustrophobia. They talk and talk and talk.

He uh, “knows” her.

“I’ve seen you,” he says, tamping down the pervy. “I mean I followed you…followed your career.”

He struggles to come up with solutions to their dilemma. As does she.

The “problem solving” is a joke, as if concieved by somebody whose only experience with elevators is in old movies they’ve watched. Sorry, I’m picking on the screenwriter too much. The direction is as airless as a popped balloon.

No, nobody seems all that manic about what’s happening. There’s zero sense of ugency, fatal all by itself in your typical thriller.

But “Stalker” has too many pre-existing pathologies to ever have a prayer of life. And nothing that happens, even in that livelier (as opposed to comatose) third act, could possibly change that prognosis.

Rating: unrated, profanity

Cast: Sophie Skelton, Stuart Brennan and Bret Hart.

Credits: Diretected by Steven Johnson, scripted by Chris Watt. A Gravitas Ventures release.

Running time: 1:33


About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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