Crazy EightsAfter Dark Films / Lionsgate

Six people are brought together at the funeral of a childhood friend. While settling the estate, they discover a map, which leads them on a search for a long-forgotten time capsule, at the request of their dead friend. What they discover reawakens repressed childhood traumas and leads them on a journey through their long-abaondoned home: a home with a terrible secret and a mysterious dead girl who will lead them to their strange fates.

Crazy Eights was one of the entries in 2007’s After Dark Horrorfest festival, and was thus released onto DVD by way of Lionsgate Entertainment as part of the 8 Films To Die For series that sprung out of that. Back when I caught wind of this, I was rather enthusiastic about the concept; after viewing a few of them so far, though, let’s just say my enthusiasm has waned a bit over the years. And Crazy Eights is one of the reasons why.

Crazy Eights starts off with a title sequence explaining that several children in the mid-20th Century were entered into a medical facility by their parents under the auspices of an “experiment” of some sort. They never really go into what that experiment was, outside having something to do with guilt or some sort. We just get a statement that these children were never seen again, and then get some vague glimpse as to some kind of bizarre experimenting on one of the children. Flash forward to…now, and six of the surviving children are all growed up and living out their normal lives (I guess “never seen again” has loose definitions here), even hinting at having reunions every now and then. Here, they’ve reunited to attend the funeral of one of their own, and discover they’ve been willed his memory chest that’s kept inside a rundown barn in the middle of nowhere, next to a seemingly abandoned house. They uncover the trunk, discover the desiccated corpse of a child inside along with other mementos, then wander inside the house, only to discover that it’s more than just a house…it’s the “hospital” that they were dropped off at as kids. Dun-dun-duuuuuuun. Unfortunately, they don’t come to this conclusion until well after a spectral entity in a cheep Halloween mask starts taking them out one by one.

I get the sence that Crazy Eights had aspirations to be something better than the outcome, but didn’t really have the means to get there. And I’m not even talking about the budget; much better independent movies have been made with shoestring budgets. No, the script seemed disjointed, the actors were amateurish at best (the cast features one Tracy Lords,so that wasn’t really a surprise), and the horror aspect of this really dropped the ball. The movie just didn’t know if it wanted to be a psychological thriller, a supernatural slasher, or what, and managed to fail miserably at both.

Overall, Crazy Eights gets a good, solid “Meh”. Watch it if you want, but you can do better.