I’m going to create a new tag on my website: “The Jessie Collection”.
For those who haven’t read my review of A Monster in Paris, I have a friend named Jessie who is fond of finding terrible movies on Netflix, and now she has given me a list of movies she wants me to review. After taking a look at the list, I shrugged my shoulders and said, “sure”.
As I was looking through her list today, I discovered that almost all of them were children’s animated movies… all except one: Sleeping Beauty (2014), so I turned it on.
I was immediately met with stock helicopter footage of mountains… and then the king and queen are having a party for their newly born daughter, and the dialogue is nothing but awkwardly paced exposition, and the acting is horrendous. And then Maleficent comes in (sorry, in this rendition, she’s called “Queen Tambria”), and she puts the famous curse on the child that will put her to sleep when she is pricked with a sowing needle on her 16th birthday.
And all I could think was “Great… I’m going to watch a movie that I’ve already seen, but with terrible acting and dialogue.”
Once all of this stuff is gotten out of the way, the title sequence pops up, and the most wonderfully horrifying thing happens:
The Asylum. The goddamn, freaking Asylum.
I was then overcome with an emotional cocktail of terror and delight.
For those of you who don’t know what The Asylum is, does anybody remember the days of Blockbuster, when you saw cheap copycats like “Transmorphers”, “The Da Vinci Treasure” or “Titanic 2”? The ones that came out around the same time the actual movies came out? That’s The Asylum.
Has anyone heard of this movie?
That’s also The Asylum.
Basically, The Asylum makes movies with horrendously low budgets, but they are well aware that their movies suck. However, instead of making their horrible-ness part of the joke like some good, self-aware movies; and instead of just making a turd and dressing it up like it is a good movie like large-budget Hollywood movies, The Asylum just presents you a turd, shrugs its shoulders, and walks away.
And holy crap, was this particular turd ever an absolute blast to watch.
Back to the review…
So this Sleeping Beauty is kind of like the original Disney Sleeping Beauty…. if the original had sea monsters, zombies, ghost warriors, and what I can best describe as a poorly animated Deathclaw from the Fallout series.
Once the princess falls asleep, we see a group of men, one of whom is an evil, no good, very bad prince who finds out that if a prince goes into Sleeping Beauty’s castle and kisses her, then he will inherit her kingdom.
So he decides to go and seek out the princess with his band of evil soldiers and one guy, named Barrow, who is the prince’s slave (who they reveal is a prince from a kingdom that the evil prince took over). Barrow essentially becomes the pure-hearted protagonist.
I should mention that they found out about this castle because Barrow discovered writings that Sleeping Beauty wrote… when she was asleep… for a hundred years… how? Who knows? The movie certainly doesn’t tell you how.
So once they go into the castle, then all the horrible monsters come and start attacking the men. While this happens, the laziest, exposition-filled dialogue executed by the worst acting that I’ve seen in a long time fills your ears. And the most choppy editing floods your eyes with confusion.
It was absolutely hilarious and wonderful.
I can understand why the dialogue was so heavily reliant on exposition: all of these actors deliver the lines in the most wooden way possible that I couldn’t possibly interpret how they are feeling if they didn’t spell it out for me.
The dialogue itself is so unaware of what it is trying to accomplish that it constantly contradicts itself. Here, I’ll give you two examples:
In the first example, two of the scummy soldiers are talking about how this castle is a terrible place. This is how the conversation goes:
Soldier 1: “Brother, we need to get out of here. This is a place of great evil.”
Soldier 2: “Get out how, the way we came in?”
*The two look at the lake surrounding the castle, where one of their fellow soldiers was eaten by the sea monster*
Soldier 2: “Doesn’t matter, I’m not staying in this place. There’s gotta be another way out.”
Soldier 1: “Wait brother… the worst is behind us, let’s just stay with our prince.”
Anyone catch that? So first, Soldier 1 was saying how they needed to get out of there, and Soldier 2 was saying there’s no way out… then Soldier 2 is the one who says they need to get out of there, but Soldier 1 implies there’s no way out… it was the dumbest thing in the world. I was so dumbfounded by this immediate personality reversal that I had to rewind it just in case I missed something.
In the second example, Barrow finds a child who’s trapped inside the castle (while Barrow and the evil guys are outside sleeping). And the child asks why they’re all here.
Barrow replies “You should leave, you’re not safe here… these men that are with me are thieves and rapists…”
But then, the child talks about how she’s been trapped in this castle for years and that no one escapes.
So Barrow replies, “You should stay with us… you’ll be much safer with us than alone.”
So which is it, Barrow? Should she flee the thieves and rapists, or are these men safe? You freaking idiot.
And holy crap, the editing was so dreadful that I was laughing hysterically. When the Deathclaw comes for one of the soldiers, the soldier takes a torch and throws it at a direction that would have either hit the ground or the monster’s crotch. But instead, it lands in the monster’s mouth, and it scurries away. It was amazing.
And the villain, this Tambria, she is so horrible at acting that I saw her more as comic relief than a scary villain. Her line delivery is incredibly stiff and dreadful.
There’s this thing that I see in A LOT of terrible movies: whenever I start to realize how horrible a movie is, suddenly, one or more of the female characters start showing a lot of cleavage… as if to compensate for just how crappy the movie is. (This happens in The Forest, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and Dirty Grandpa to name a few).
And guess what, Tambria’s cleavage appears so often that I almost want to say her boobs made a more compelling character than her actual character.
In short, I both simultaneously loved and hated watching this movie. It is absolute garbage, but it’s the sort of garbage that I love experiencing. Even though I was constantly rolling my eyes at just how terrible everything in this movie was, I can’t say that I was ever bored aside from the first 5-10 minutes. If you can enjoy a good bad movie, then I cannot recommend The Asylum’s Sleeping Beauty enough. But if you’re someone who can’t stand movies of exceptionally poor quality, regardless of the entertainment value, then I would avoid it like the plague.