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September 20, 2012

2

Die-Ner (Get It?)

by Franz Patrick


Die-Ner (Get It?) (2009)
★ / ★★★★

Rose (Maria Olsen), a lonely waitress in a diner during a graveyard shift, was regaled by Ken (Joshua Grote), a guy with a friendly voice, interested tone, and modest looks. Because Ken was so engaging, Rose found herself being comfortable with the stranger… until he revealed that he was a serial killer. After Ken killed Rose and the cook, a couple facing marital problems walked in. Kathy (Liesel Kopp), ordering water, didn’t want to talk about it because she claimed to be tired. Rob (Parker Quinn), ordering coffee, insisted that they discussed the problem immediately. Meanwhile, the waitress and the cook, looking dead, somehow got out of the freezer and lumbered toward Ken. Written and directed by Patrick Horvath, “Die-ner (Get It?)” began so promisingly but ultimately disappointed. There was a certain romanticism in the interaction between Rose and Ken as she informed him of her origins and how she ended up working in the middle of nowhere. Olsen wasn’t classically pretty but I loved looking at her and the way she delivered her lines from when she stood until she sat down to be on the stranger’s eye level. It was appropriate because I consider diners to be a romantic place, a haven of sweet-smelling pancakes and steamy mashed potatoes where all sort of strangers gather, eat, converse, and leave–a place of transition. I enjoyed the way it turned very dark as the waitress realized that the man she just started to trust turned out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. There was horror in the way her expectations were played with and crushed. But from the moment the zombies were shown, my level of frustration toward the material climbed to a boiling point. While I appreciated that the characters knew what a zombie was, it didn’t make sense that they did not seem to have any background knowledge about them. For instance, they tried to kill the zombies but not one was quick to suggest to put a bullet in a walking dead’s head. If the script allowed its characters to recognize a zombie, why not also make them be aware of their weaknesses according to pop culture? By doing so, it would’ve given its own twists more power and impact. The zombies were not the only threat. Naturally, Rob and Kathy considered Ken to be a big danger after he admitted that he murdered the diner’s staff. The man with the gun, Ken, was shown as not always the one in charge. It was a good decision because it gave us hope that there was a possibility of escape for the couple. There were times when Ken was hit on the head and lost consciousness for a few minutes. However, this was around the point when I started to yell frustrations at the screen. Why didn’t Kathy and Rob make sure that the murderer, once he woke up, could never again get the upper hand? Personally, and it’s understandable if you don’t agree, I would have shot one of Ken’s kneecaps. Once I knew he would not be able to come after me, if none of the cars parked in the parking lot worked nor had keys in them, I would run toward the freeway and find help. It was unfortunate that the writer-director put too many limitations on his characters, as if the zombies had already eaten their brains. With movies similar to this, it’s so difficult to root for someone who doesn’t seem to have an instinct for survival. It is absolutely understandable if a character chooses to turn to savagery in order to preserve his or her life. It’s much better than watching a character running around like an idiot, just waiting to be killed. “Die-ner (Get It?)” was neither scary nor darkly amusing enough to pardon its glaring weaknesses in logic and entertainment value. At least it didn’t mistaken gore for horror.

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sep 21 2012

    “It was appropriate because I consider diners to be a romantic place, a haven of sweet-smelling pancakes and steamy mashed potatoes where all sort of strangers gather, eat, converse, and leave–a place of transition.”
    That’s some good writing – better than the film probably deserves! :D

    Reply
    • Sep 27 2012

      I appreciate the compliment. Thank you!! You know, this movie made me think of the kinds of movies I stumble upon your website: the ones that are little known/forgotten horror movies. Which reminds me… I need another recommendation so I’ll be checking in.

      Reply

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