It Waits (2005)

Is it weird to say that I missed watching bad movies? Probably, but back when I could safely have people over at my place (what seems like a hundred years ago), bad movies were the staple of Movie Night. We’d sit around and riff on them, finding enjoyment more through our own senses of humor than whatever lame thing was on the screen. But I watched this alone, with only my growing disappointment as company. I swear we watched It Waits a decade ago–literally this time–but all I could remember was hating a parrot? Turns out that’s all that’s memorable about this direct-to-DVD flick.

The story follows Danny, a lady forest ranger who is wallowing in guilt after her best friend died in a drunken car accident, which is later revealed to be Danny’s fault. While she’s off by herself, a demon that some students released by blowing up the seal to its cave starts picking off people and staging them in ways to drive Danny insane. Among the victims is Justin, her boyfriend and apparently a discount version of Jake Gyllenhaal. She gets some information on the demon from a scholar–I’ll get to that, don’t worry–then in the end she’s the only one alive and the demon is trapped in its cave again. The murders are blamed on a random slasher the authorities can’t find, and Danny confesses to driving the car the night her friend died.

So the parrot. Its name is Hoppy, and if it were just a normal parrot, that’d be fine. But oh no, this one has an actor providing all its lines, and they are bad. Baaaaaaad. The parrot has no bearing on the plot, it disappears in the middle, and it showing up at the very end is supposed to be some sort of feel good moment. Like, they try to have it connect to the plot with an idea that it can somehow sense the demon, but it’s a dumb parrot voiced by an annoying man, so it proves to be absolutely useless.

But don’t worry, because it turns out the whole movie is bad. The drunken car accident only has bearing on the plot because that’s the excuse they came up with for why the demon doesn’t just kill Danny immediately–it’s toying with her and her grief. And it does this by throwing dead bodies at her, or staging them in a way that makes it look like they’re eating dinner (dinner being her boyfriend’s head, which I will say does look better than the head in Diary of a Cannibal).

Have you ever heard something and though, “I don’t know if I can pinpoint exactly what’s wrong with that statement, but I have a gut feeling that it’s nothing good”? I definitely had one of those while watching this. See, when Danny is talking to the scholar about the demon, he starts listing potential weaknesses. None of them are really relevant–it not liking water is kind of useful when it rains for five minutes–but this next line was extra useless:

“Oh, it used to be a female, and that might be one of its weaknesses.”
“That’s not going to be scoring very many points at the National Women’s Caucus.”
“Not weak because it’s female, weak because somewhere deep in its psyche it still nurtures, it still… cares.”

-Joseph Riverwind & Danny St. Clair

Okay… that’s… certainly something. Does that help Danny at all? Absolutely not. There’s never any indication that the demon feels any sort of maternal feelings, and the only real impact this has on the movie is that Danny calls the demon a bitch a few times. You know, because it… used to be a female? What does that even mean? Why would you include that?! Richard Matheson, I expected better from you!

…oh, I see. This was written by Richard Christian Matheson, the son who is known for writing a few dozen episodes of the old The A-Team TV show. That makes more sense.

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