FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

May 4, 2016

VHS Week Day 3: MIKEY (1992)

Reader, I am hollow. Mikey was exactly what I expected it would be, and yet here I am, unsatisfied. I feel like a big whiny loser who never gets anything she wants, and yet I also feel like a big whiny winner who gets everything she wants. It's as if I sit atop a pile of jewels–the biggest pile of jewels in all the world–and instead of doing log rolls down the pile and laughing with utter delight, I simply rest my chin in my hand for I've realized that it's all meaningless. How could Mikey reduce me to such? Why, but a few days ago I was all set to turn this place into a Mikey blog!

Ultimately, I think it's just that Mikey brings absolutely nothing new or unusual to the table. It hits every familiar beat in the "killer kid" genre and the "stranger in my house" genre, and unless this is the first film you've ever seen, you know exactly what will happen. Stop me if you've heard this one a million times...
  • Mikey kills his family but acts the victim when the cops show 
  • Mikey acts all sweetness and light, fooling the cops, the social worker, the psychiatrist, and his new adoptive parents
  • Everything's great, Mikey is a dream child
  • Mikey doesn't get what he wants and starts acting up
  • A friend of the family thinks Mikey is really bad and probably killed his last family
  • No one believes Friend of the Family, so she digs around in Mikey's history and find some evidence, then goes to present said evidence
  • Fight fight fight
  • It's over, it's finally over
  • OR IS IT 
Mikey hits all of these notes in a perfectly serviceable made-for-TV-esque fashion. The cast is full of familiar faces and the acting is, you know, equally serviceable: Hellraiser's Ashley Laurence is here, along with a few "hey I've seen that person in a bunch of things" actors and actresses. Former child star Brian Bonsall manages to do both the "I'm sweet" and "I'm evil" things well enough. And you've got JOSIE BISSETT OF TELEVISION'S MELROSE PLACE AND ALSO THE LIFETIME MOVIE BABY MONITOR: SOUND OF FEAR, whose star power deserves all those capital letters as far as I'm concerned. And then there's the kid from a bunch of 90s trash flicks (like A Nightmare on Elm Street 5), the one who looks like Courteney Cox in Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" video.

I mean, it's all fine. You know? But when the killer kid bar has been set so high...when you've got murderous solar eclipse babies and possessed kids and the spawn of Satan out've just gotta do something to stand out. "All fine" may be all fine, but it certainly does not stand out. Bonsall was just a kid and so I can't necessarily expect the sort of intense performance you get in a similar thriller like The Stepfather. Maybe some extra special murders? I don't know. I feel weird being all blasé and not finding a kid beating his dad to death with a baseball bat to be enough of a thrill, but here we are. It's so lonely and boring here atop all these jewels!


Paul Hurh said...

Yes, but what about:

(a) the armchair psychologizing: "when a kid draws pictures of the water it means he's adventurous" (said while looking at a picture of the drowned corpse of Mikey's dead sister)
(b) the helpful "how not to be a creep" sexuality lesson from Josie Bissett in a one-piece on a paddle-boat: "Looking is fine. Just don't stare."
(c) the fact that their elementary classroom has a REAL CHILD'S SKELETON as a teaching tool. Where did that skeleton come from? Who is the real killer here?!!

and and and. . . I don't know, I just watched it for the first time and loved it. But maybe that's because I've been watching so much Netflix garbage lately.

Stacie Ponder said...

Ha, that's all very true! I think my favorite bit was Ashley Laurence claiming that Mikey has "unattached syndrome." When asked what that means, she says "psychotic behavior."

originalslugboy said...

"Unattached Syndrome" makes it sound like he has a "file not found" error. Have you tried rebooting your Mikey?

Paul Hurh said...

Psychotic behavior, but of course!

For someone suffering from "unattached syndrome," Mikey does seem to be unusually attached to his mother's fish, which was strange. Usually psychos in movies are mean to animals, but Mikey is really protective of those fish. Because fish live in water and Mikey kills people in water! It all makes sense!

By the way, did I hear aright? Was his mother's job really to set up aquariums for people? Is that a real job? And if so, why was her own aquarium so sad looking?