"Boltneck" Movie Review

Starring Matthew Lawrence, Justin Walker, Christine Lakin, Shelley Duvall, and Richard Moll. Alternate title, "Big Monster On Campus"

Boltneck is the story of a lonely teenage nerd named Frank Stein who figures out how to bring the dead back to life. Soon enough he's presented with the corpse of Karl, the Goth kid who was accidentally murdered by the school jocks. Frank swaps Karl's damaged brain out and inadvertently drops in the brain of a serial killer.

Somehow Boltneck has managed to perform the alchemical equivalent of turning gold into lead. I honestly don't know how you could go wrong with a setup like that, but what we've got here is a giant steaming heap of family entertainment.

Karl's menace is limited to his ill-conceived wardrobe, which references Bono at his worst. We're talking black leather pants and country-western shirts with white piping, topped off with a Gilligan hat. Yeesh!

Any horror movie worth its salt could have had a lot of sick fun with the concept of a full-grown serial killer trapped in a teenage body. All the girls suddenly find Karl terribly seductive once he assumes his new, dangerous persona. Cronenberg would have presented Karl as a mosquito zapper, luring the girls in with Karl's dark appeal, then frying them to a crisp when they ventured within Karl's reach.

It could have been more than a teen slasher movie; it could have been a sweeping statement on our culture's fascination with danger. A treatise on our craving for things that seem dangerous (but aren't), and the unfortunate way we sometimes confuse things that seem dangerous (but aren't) with things that actually ARE quite dangerous.

You know, once a serial killer is locked up behind bars, suddenly he's flooded with fan mail and marriage proposals. No one's ever really been able to explain this phenomenon, but consider the fact that people will run from a lion loose in the streets, but a lion in a cage is a public attraction.

I had ample time to ruminate over these and many other interesting thoughts during the course of this movie. Thoughts that it flat-out refused to entertain. Everything turns out happy in the end; the boy and his father are reunited, the jocks get their comeuppance, the gothic boy's brain is replaced, and the missing girl (earlier presumed to have been murdered by Karl) reappears unscathed.

Oh, hooray.

Final score: 2 points.

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