Not only does The Task use just about every character cliché and overused twist to ratchet up tension that it can’t generate naturally, but it also spoils the twist for The Prestige if you’re still paying attention at the 30 minute mark. I don’t mind when horror films go down well worn paths, but when they ruin better films that actually did something clever, that’s just shameful. The Task doesn’t stop there though, this weak commentary on reality television culture mixes traces of Fear Factor and Saw into a horror film that’s hard to watch, nevermind enjoy.
Seven strangers are bound, gagged, hauled out to a closed down prison and offered the chance to participate in a reality show where they must spend one night in the hellish penitentiary performing various feats geared towards their worst fears.
Six of the contestants accept, and as they suffer in the dungeon the challenges divide them leaving them easy prey for an unknown menace in the dark to pick them off one by one. Let’s just ignore that six people accepted with no hesitation that the people who’d kidnapped them and dragged them to a prison were actually producers of a television show, or that the only sensible one of them to decline is painted as nerd that pees his pants. The Task lacks any sense or decent characterization whatsoever. The characters are horrifically acted clichés like the blond valley girl (again, really?), the hyper-stereotypical effeminate gay guy, the robotic plain-looking “genius” girl, the athletic black guy, and the twin foreigners who in this case are British and ballsy. Low budget horror should not automatically equal cardboard but-outs being murdered by a menacing figure. More depth is possible, but The Task doesn’t even try.
DVD Bonus Features
The only extra on the disc is a brief behind-the-scenes featurette which reveals a little about the filmmaking mindset that leads to a third-rate horror film like The Task.
"The Task" is on sale July 26, 2011 and is rated R. Horror. Directed by Alex Orwell. Written by Kenny Yakkel. Starring Alexandra Staden, Adam Rayner, Tom Payne, Ashley Mulheron.