Family Property

Family-Property-rev Family Property  (2009)    White Dragon Films/Horror    RT: 62 minutes    Unrated (violence, language, drug use)    Director: Derek Young    Screenplay: Derek Young    Music: Derek Young (supervisor)    Cinematography: Derek Young    Release date: March 13, 2009 (US)    Cast: Alexander Isaiah Thomas, Crystal Young, Danica DeCosto, Derek Young, Greg Romero, Jeremy Ambler, Jessie Bryant, John Birmingham, Johnny M. Greenway, John R. Price II, John Rutland, Johnny B. Young, Kerry Cashion, Kit Hemmings, Lloyd Kaufman, Michael Wyatt, Rowan Birmingham, Tommy Firebaugh.

Rating: NO STARS!!!

 It’s fitting that Lloyd Kaufman, the founder of Troma, does the intro for Family Property as he seems to be the inspiration for Derek Young, the one responsible for inflicting this screwed-up mess of a horror movie on the public. In the intro, Kaufman says that Family Property is “the best movie since Batman & Robin”. I thought he was joking until it started. It doesn’t take long to realize that Family Property is an absolute piece of crap. I haven’t seen anything this incompetent since I watched Midnight Matinee Psycho the week before. Mr. Young is responsible for that one too. As for the comparison to the movie that nearly destroyed the Batman franchise, it’s not quite accurate. It’s merely wrong-headed whereas Family Property is wrong in every respect.

 Family-PropertyThe plot is no great shakes. Ten years earlier, three deputies died in a shootout with a deranged man and his young son. The man didn’t like people stepping on his property. He also died in the shoot-out while the son escaped into the woods. The house has stood vacant all this time although you wouldn’t know it because it’s still being cared for. That’s what a reporter (Bryant) finds out when she enters the house to do a story on the incident. It’s about all she has time to find out before an unseen person chases her away. Next, three teens show up with the intention of throwing a party for their friends. The unseen person dispatches them with ease. Same goes for the contractors who plan to fix-and-flip the supposedly abandoned house. One of them is related to the local sheriff (Birmingham) who shows up with his wife (DeCosto) looking for the guy. Both get killed, end of movie.

 Family Property is basically a one-man show. Young not only directed it, he also wrote, produced and edited. He did the sets, music, stunts, cinematography, sound and special effects. Did he also sweep up at the end of each day’s shooting? It’s a good thing I like consistency because Young is equally inept at everything. The sound is a disgrace. I’ll give you an example. In one scene, characters are in a car heading to the house. The sound of the engine cuts out whenever the characters speak and comes back when they’re done. The rock songs on the soundtrack tend to drown out the dialogue in other scenes. Most of Family Property looks like it was shot through a green filter. I don’t even know what Young is going for with that. It’s shot on video, that’s never good. Also, were all those time-lapse titles really necessary? Do we really need to know that something takes place “Five Minutes Later”? “Meanwhile” is also used frequently.

 The acting is uniformly terrible. None of these people deliver anything even remotely resembling a performance. It’s like a bunch of people got together and recited lines while somebody filmed them. Kaufman, who also cameos as the town mayor, looks and sounds like he’s forcing it. It’s likely he took pity on Young and threw him a bone by appearing in his movie. I hope he also gave him filmmaking tips. Young also drops the ball on the violence and gore. One scene is edited so badly you don’t even see the killer embed a machete in the victim’s skull. It’s not there and one cut later, there it is.

 It should be noted that Family Property is just over an hour long. I’m talking about the movie proper. When the end credits stop rolling, we’re treated to nearly a half-hour of outtakes. I didn’t even bother. As far as I’m concerned, Family Property is one big outtake. It’s the opposite of professional. It doesn’t even rise to the level of amateur. It makes any given Troma movie look like an Oscar-worthy classic. It’s like a home video made by the only cousin who thinks he’s an auteur because he knows how to operate the camera. Hey Derek, here’s a free lesson for you. One camera does not a filmmaker make. Please go to film school or find another profession. There’s always barber college. 

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