There may be some diehard WWE Studios apologists out there, but most of us accept that the best we can hope for is a cheap popcorn flick and a few (hopefully intentional) laughs.
That's why, for the most part, few batted an eye at the announcement of the now-released Escape the Undertaker, an interactive "horror" special that puts you in the role of tag-team The New Day as they try to steal the Undertaker's soul-sucking urn. The trailer didn't even try to promise anything more than schlocky trash, but hey... that's the best kind.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves.
Not everyone loved the idea of a campy Undertaker special. They felt that Mark Calaway deserves a real horror movie to his name for once, especially with less than a year behind us since his retirement. And, well...let's just say those people clearly weren't familiar with WWE Studios' previous attempts at real horror.
While we've ranked most of WWE Studios' films before, we'd like to take an updated look at their fright flicks in particular.
With one-fifth of the upcoming list currently boasting 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, you might want to buckle up.
To start with the most egregious issue, this film is dark.
You frequently can't see protagonist Terrence Shade's face, and later shots are entirely shrouded in black with only a dim light bulb in the background to assure you that your screen isn't broken.
Second, nothing really happens in this movie. Most of the film's energy goes to its Lifetime-style flashbacks of Shade's deceased wife.
These lead slowly up to her death as if you should be expecting a big reveal, maybe even a twist that ties into the current narrative. But no. She lived a boring life and died a boring death, and a boring movie spends eighty minutes boring you about it.
The frustrating part is that the film had potential. Eric McCormack (of Will and Grace fame) actually puts forth a surprisingly decent performance for a genre that doesn't seem suited to him.
Even with the lame twist ending, the journey leading up to it could have really been enjoyable just for the sake of watching Shade and his children navigate their grief together on a haunted holiday in the forest. There's so nearly a decent movie to be found here, but Barricade always keeps you just on the other side of it.