The worst part of this experience is that I thought was getting the earlier, better Ed Gein movie from 2000. Definitely a dumb mistake. My problems with this 2007 version are pretty much what other critics have stated: the plot and characters vary so much from the historical Gein story that it may as well be about a completely fictional character.
Here Gein’s character is almost the complete physical and emotional opposite of the real deal. Not only is he portrayed as extremely aggressive, but he kills so many people so quickly that he should’ve been a murder suspect from very early on. Instead, he’s out and about on ‘business’, freaking out everyone he doesn’t kill, as though the rest of the characters just accept the fact that they’re stuck in a horror movie.
Actually, his hallucinatory scenes are pretty well done. Seeing his mom in every woman he runs across gives his already wound-up mood some added boost. His house has a quaint look from the outside, and inside I was expecting a rat’s nest candidate for an Intervention/Hoarders episode. But, no, another disappointment; other than the ghoulish touches, it looks to be in decent shape. But the barn’s assorted ‘trophies’ have got any movie’s mythical vampire/mad scientist guy’s hideout beat for authentic horror value. Had the filmmaker kept the focus on these genuinely creepy scenes and imagery, and let up on the subplots, we’d have a much more entertaining movie.
I haven’t mentioned the gore yet. It’s everywhere, every sort of it, every five minutes. Well, there’s going to be some nasty stuff with a murderous ghoul ‘in the house’, but so much of it is gratuitous. Why does the deputy’s girlfriend have to be mauled when they roll their car? Clearly the purpose is to leave her for Gein to scoop up…so she can be hacked up again. That brings up the annoying subplot of the nice young couple (deputy and girl)–who cares about them? or the nice deputy’s toxic relationship with his boss? The very drawn-out ending has way too much speechifying–and a numbing mano-a-mano stare-down between the deputy and Gein. Looks to me that our deputy is justified in shooting him, as Gein has a gun too. Despite all of the build-up, I can’t tell if Gein was shot after all. Momentarily forgotten, the incredibly resilient girl is apparently incapable of really dying.
I’ve got to give it points for pretty solid period authenticity. There’s a couple of strange things though: how did they scrape up not one, but three Hudson Jets (a little seen car only made in ’53-’54)? Also, regarding the vehicles, the white Ford pick-up that belongs to Gein’s fellow ghoul–a good casting choice, as that guy looks scarier than Gein–which Gein steals, is the same truck that is later seen driven by a black couple. So, I guess they got a deal from Gein, but no pink slip.
Only recommended for die-hard Ed Gein fake-true-crime, slasher-fest experts. 3/10.