Genre: Mystery / Sci-Fi / Thriller
IMDB Rating: 5.2 / 10
Having recently acquired Netflix I have developed the rather annoying habit of spending several hours adding things to my ‘To Watch’ list and then losing all interest and returning to my seemingly never-ending Grey’s Anatomy binge. Eventually I got tired of it and swore to myself that I’d watch at least one movie in my ever-growing list, and Mine Games was what I settled on. I wouldn’t say I was pleasantly surprised but I did find it exceptionally watchable. It’s the horror fan’s equivalent of a Sunday evening chick flick.
As I’m sure many can testify, when you finish with college all you want to do is get away and have some fun, and that’s exactly what our seven generic twenty-something college kids are going to do! Michael, Lyla, TJ, Claire, Lex, Rose and Guy are getting away from it all, escaping to the country to enjoy the rustic ambiance of their friend’s modest forest mansion. It’s going to be a trip filled with nothing but laughs, swimming, hiking, and recreational drug use (except Michael, who’s on some serious anti-psychotic medication which you, dear viewer, will be reminded about many times throughout the course of the movie), and they’re certainly not going to be put off by something minor like nearly running someone over on their way up to the mansion, crashing the van, and finding an unexpected dent and blood on the front bumper.
This excitement is only amplified by TJ’s discovery an abandoned mine during one of his morning runs, and the group simply must investigate what might be hidden beneath miles of solid dirt in said abandoned mine with no concern for their personal safety whatsoever. This is despite the fact that there is a sign across the mine’s entrance warning people not to enter, the rather ominous wording ‘Break the Cycle’ written on the mine’s outside wall, and the occultish references inscribed on the walls inside the mine. But hey ho, you only live once and all that…
It’s after they leave the mine that things start getting a little weird. Rose, the group’s resident sultry Latina and part-time medium, is starting to get rather vivid images of angry spirits running in the woods, which is very draining on her and gradually drains her of both her energy and sultry-ness. Add to that the fact that TJ, Lex and Guy have just found their own corpses in one of the rooms in the mine, and the group starts to realise that what’s going on around them may not be entirely without its supernatural overtones. Michael’s also been acting a little weird…
As Rose’s visions become more intense and her ability to gyrate her hips abandons her entirely, the group must find a way to get out of the forest, not become corpses, keep Claire from meeting a version of herself that’s locked up in the mine, and ask Michael a few more times if he’s taken his medication if they ever want to feel civilisation’s smoggy embrace again.
There’s not an awful lot to say here. Most likely working with a limited budget, Mine Games (and a lot of other movies could learn a thing or two here) doesn’t try to over-extend itself with special effects that it can’t achieve and which are ultimately unnecessary. The mine itself is creepy enough with enough scattered rags and empty cans to make the locale plausible, but ultimately the movie relies on the inherent creepiness of a forest at night and an abandoned mine to create tension, which works quite well.
None of the actors are going to go on to win an Academy Award but they’re all competent enough and there’s enough variety on display that at least one of them is going to visually appeal to whoever’s watching. The movie’s also quite low on gratuitous nudity, with only one naked couple in a single sex scene (who, shortly after succumbing to the very heights of passion, are violently murdered). This allow’s the movie to tick all of the necessary ‘kids in the haunted woods’ boxes while keeping the story on track without the unnecessary flaunting of breasts at every twist and turn.
Comfort. As I said at the beginning, Mine Games is the horror fan’s equivalent of a Sunday evening chick flick; it takes an idea that has been done many times before and does absolutely nothing to push the envelope, but within those limitations it is executed flawlessly.
Sometimes you want to watch a movie that stretches your mind to the limits, both in terms of the plot and the sheer terror that will leave your body pumped full of adrenaline for hours to come. Other times all you want is to lie in bed at 2am and let the movie gently take you wherever it wants to go without having to extend your brain beyond the command to keep your eyes open and directed at the screen. Mine Games fulfills the latter need to a T, and there’s absolutely no shame in that.
My Final Rating: 6/10
Buy Mine Games at Amazon.com