Monday, April 14, 2014

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Here's the thing. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is not a good movie. But the weird thing about it is that it is possible to watch the entire thing and then go out into the world thinking that it was good. Recommending it to your friends and family even. It's very nice looking. The actors are all very charming and nice looking and good at their jobs. The words they are saying, on the whole, seem like words that human beings might say. It's not even the ludicrous plot that's causing problems (well, not the biggest problems). But there is something at the core of this movie that is just a couple of degrees off and if you think about it for more than a few seconds the entire thing falls apart. This recap is basically an attempt to explain to myself just what exactly is wrong with this movie because I can't quite put my finger on it after a casual viewing. Come on this journey with me. It has salmon.

The opening credits play over arty shots of salmon swimming in the water, in case you were holding out hope that this movie wasn't actually about salmon. It's totes about salmon guys. So much salmon.

We eventually pull out to a shot of a Sheikh fly fishing, as Emily Blunt voiceovers an email to Dr. Ewan McGregor: the World's #1 Salmon Expert. The gist of the letter is “Dear Dr. Ewan: My crazy moneybags client wants to pay all the money in the world to introduce salmon fishing to Yemen because he is straight up nuts. And the Foreign Office TOTES wants us to do this for good Middle East press because of like war or whatever. Will you help me check yes or no?” (P.S. Because I grew up in the ‘90s I cannot hear the word “Yemen” without thinking of Chandler Bing so I can’t promise he won’t pop up in this recap from time to time.)

Emily works as a something or other organizey money something at a something something investment consultancy firm. Or something. It's not really relevant. She sends her email and then rushes out of the office to meet up with none other than Tom Mison, newly of Sleepy Hollow fame. They have just started dating. He is in the army reserve or something. He is very pretty. She is very pretty. I'm rooting for these two kids.

She is nervous and they make cutesy awkward small talk before Ichabod Crane handsomely defuses the tension by saying “Last one to the restaurant pays!” and running off.

We switch over to Dr. Ewan's house where he is replying to Emily's email in about as condescending a manner as you can imagine. But you can't get too mad at him because he's actually allowed to use his Scottish accent in this movie and it is swoonworthy. But anyway, he basically says “Let me explain to you about salmon. They need to be in the exact opposite climate of Yemen in order to survive, therefore you and the government are both super dumb, please leave me alone.”

He sends the email and then talks to his wife about how she is flying off somewhere or other tomorrow for work and he's like “Will u read my academic paper about salmon on the plane and tell me what you think?” and she is like “LOL no” and he makes a frowny face.

Meanwhile, Emily is having a much better day as she has her new boyfriend Ichabod over at her place and they're about to get down to sexy business. First she feels the need to say that she doesn't normally do this kind of thing because she is SO SHY and he's like “Hey that's cool, whatever you want to do, I'm a Nice Guy” and then they Do It.

Next thing you know, Kristin Scott Thomas is being woken up by a phone call in the middle of the night. She is some super important Foreign Office person and whoever is on the phone tells her there's a “code red” which is the super secret government way of saying “Turn on your TV, somebody blew up a mosque in Afghanistan.” She goes into work the next day and tells everybody they need to find some good news coming out of the Middle East. Since they are top level government employees, they choose the most competent and intelligent method of doing so:

Somebody tips her off to the whole Crazy Moneybags Fishing Enthusiast Sheikh plan. She thinks it's dumb, obviously, but at that moment the Prime Minister calls asking for an update and so she's like “Um yeah, I totes have a good story and you are going to love it please don't fire me!” because the only other stories people found were apparently even stupider.

Dr. Ewan goes into work and don't even ask me what his actual job is because I have no idea, but his office looks like basically a glorified cubicle full of crap, and he starts his day by casting a fishing rod at a picture of his boss so it seems pretty fun.

While he's fucking around, his boss (who is overweight and eating a sandwich, because we're not supposed to like him; good job movie!) gets a call from Kristin Scott Thomas and he's so excited to get a call from such an important person that he almost falls out of his chair while picking up the phone (because he is a sniveling sycophant, as power-hungry as he is sandwich-hungry). She's like “What up, bro. We just heard tell of this Salmon Fishing in the Yemen thing and it sounds like a great idea for a movie cool idea to get good press, whaddaya think?” He's like “Uh... it's kind of dumb but I guess we'll try?” and she is like “THERE IS NO FUCKING TRY JUST DO IT YOU DUMMY!” Listen, don’t bother reading the past few sentences, this whole scene is basically this:

He sends his secretary to fetch Dr. Ewan, but before she can state her business Dr. Ewan is like “First look at this horrifying supercloseup picture of a bug, I think it will go great with that report my terrible wife won't read on the plane.” She is like

Dr. Ewan rambles about how it's such an exciting picture that will titillate the “YouTube generation” but then remembers that he has a picture of a spider eating a fly that may be even better and then we have to look at that too and I'm like bring back the boring salmon please, this is gross. Dumb Boss comes in and is like “Yeah, I'm going to need you to meet with Emily about this stupid salmon thing” and Dr. Ewan is like “But it's so stupid and I'm really busy understanding how much young people love disgusting bug pictures” and Dumb Boss is like “I know it's stupid but the government lady yelled at me and I am your boss so you will do it and also I hate you.”

So Dr. Ewan goes to Emily's office to be condescending to her about salmon in person. She comes to the lobby to greet him and he assumes that she's a secretary because he is a dummy and this is the face he makes when he discovers that she's the crazy salmon lady:

They go to her office and she starts to explain how the Sheikh is her client and he has property in Scotland because he is super into fishing and Dr. Ewan rudely interrupts her by saying “Water! H2O!” and she understandably assumes that he is just asking for a glass of water in a very rude manner and goes to get some and he's like “NO YOU MORON WATER FOR THE FISH! You do know fish need water, right?” and she's like “Yeah...” and he's like “Let me patronizingly teach you about the difference between British water and Yemeni water by pointing at this map of the world you have hanging in your office for no discernible reason and talking to you like you are a kindergartner!”

I would probably slap his face, but she is a professional so she just calmly explains that it's not really that dry in Yemen because of monsoons and some secret water stores they discovered while drilling for oil and Dr. Ewan is like “Yeah but could it BE any hotter in Yemen?” and she's like “Not in the mountains; it's pretty similar to parts of California where they TOTALLY have salmon” and Dr. Ewan is like "Stop making me feel like a dummy, dummy!"

So despite Emily making some good points Dr. Ewan is still sticking to the “This is stupid” line and asks why the Sheikh doesn't spend his money on something more reasonable like a football club (soccer team, for us Yanks) and Emily says that the Sheikh is her favorite client and is a visionary. Yeah ok, whatever Emily. Dr. Ewan is like “Visionary schmisionary, I said I'd meet with you and now I have, have a nice life” and then he walks face first into a glass door and we all LOL at him together.

Dr. Ewan goes back to Dumb Boss and says “No way am I doing that stupid thing” and Dumb Boss is like “Actually you are going to do that stupid thing or else you are fired. Stop complaining, they're paying you double your salary” and Dr. Ewan is like “FINE! I will take a lot of money to work on a project related to the thing I love most in the world with a nice woman where I don't have to be around my boss who I clearly hate. GEEZ!”

Later that day he is playing cello at some kind of amateur mini-orchestra for grownups with his wife, who is playing trombone (these two characters are now officially three dimensional), and he asks if he should have just quit because of his dignity or something and she's like “No. We live in the real world where people need jobs because of money and don't quit because of stupid principles. Shut up and play your damn cello.”

On their way home he's still yammering on about it so you can't really blame his wife for tuning him out as he goes on and on about how maybe he should just quit and they can have a baby and he can be a house husband. He is so sad when he realizes that she ignored his wonderful speech in favor of looking at work stuff on her phone. Women, am I right? In case anybody watching the movie was still on the wife's side at this point (Ahem!) the next thing that happens is they have boring, mostly-clothed grownup sex and when they're finished she actually pats him on the head and says the words “That should do you for a while.” GET IT TOGETHER, SCREENWRITER!

Meanwhile, Emily and Ichabod are woken up by someone calling Ichabod to tell him that he's been called to active duty. OH NO, NOT ICHABOD! He tells Emily he's sorry he has to go and he knows they've only been together a few weeks and who knows how long he's going to be away but pretty please will she wait for him? She's like “TOTES! Have you looked in a mirror recently?”

So anyway, enough of that Downward Debbie stuff! Emily and Dr. Ewan are officially working together now and they’re meeting to start putting Salmon Quest in motion. But Dr. Ewan is still being a huge dick about it, which today manifests itself as him drawing pictures for Emily that demonstrate how idiotic he thinks the whole thing is as he once again explains what a logistical clusterjam it would be.

The thing about it though is that even though he's an asshole he's pretty much right when he responds to her point that they could keep the fish alive during the dry season using the dam that's already been built by saying it would be a waste of precious water resources all for the whims of one rich dude. But whatevs. If you look too closely at the plot of this movie you will be wasting precious brain resources so I recommend not bothering.

Anyway, she continues to ignore his sarcasm and just asks how much it's going to cost, and he says at least 50 million pounds. THERE ARE STARVING CHILDREN IN LITERALLY EVERY COUNTRY BTW. Sorry, don't know where that came from! Emily is like “HA! So you do think it’s possible! In your face, jag!”

He's outraged for like the 50th time that he's being asked to take this seriously, and it's like, we get it! He thinks it's dumb and beneath him! Can we please move on! Emily tells him that the Sheikh will be in town in a couple weeks and asks if there's anything he can work on in the meantime. He asks her to set up a meeting with the engineers of some fancy schmancy Chinese dam not because he actually needs to but because he wants to be a dick.

Dr. Ewan comes home with a spring in his step because of getting the last douchey word against Emily, but his buzz is immediately killed when he discovers his cold fish wife (see what I did there?) is packing to go to some work thing in Geneva for six weeks that apparently he knew about but didn't realize was happening now? Or something? I don't know, but he's pissed. She's like “Thanks for congratulating me on this great career opportunity!” and he just runs away to throw bread into the fish pond in the backyard and think about how shitty his life is. She joins him and they have a serious talk about how maybe it's good for them to have some time apart.

Meanwhile Emily is having real problems. She is at home listening to the news about the war and thinking about her hot boyfriend who could die at any moment.

Also having real problems is Kristin Scott Thomas who has just gotten word that some Minister of something was photographed doing something inappropriate with a young lady. Quite the scandal, really. She tries to put out the fire over the phone while getting her kids ready for school because she is a modern working woman and therefore responsible for everything all at once. She is very pleased to get a text saying that Salmon Quest is moving forward.

She goes to Dr. Ewan's office to talk to him it. She lets him know that the Sheikh has already transferred the 50 million pounds and asks if everything's good to go. He's like “Um actually no, because wheretf are we going to get 10,000 British salmon without royally pissing off the millions of British fishing enthusiasts?” and Kristin ignores the majority of his words and is like “HOLD UP! How many fishing weirdos did you say there were?” and now she of course has a plan to get all the voters to like the government by making it look like they all love fishing or something. I don't even know, it's not really relevant to the plot. Everything with Kristin is like a whole separate farcical movie about politics and has no point.

We’re treated to the first of several “hilarious” online conversations between Kristin and various high-level government employees and it’s like give me a break, we are supposed to believe that this is the profile pic Kristin chose for herself?

Anyway the upshot of this fascinating plot development is that Kristin puts Dr. Ewan's douchey boss in charge of procuring the necessary salmon which gives Dr. Ewan an excuse to lord it over him because he is a jerk.

So now Emily and Dr. Ewan take a trip to the Scottish castle that the Sheikh owns to talk to the Sheikh about his ridiculous and wasteful plan. Dr. Ewan is very pleased to see that his room comes complete with high-end fishing gear and takes advantage of it immediately by heading down to the picturesque fishing area of the estate. River? Stream? I don’t know. There’s water.

The Sheikh comes down to greet him along with Emily and his entourage and further endears himself to Dr. Ewan by saying that he uses the super special fly Dr. Ewan invented like ALL the time because it’s the best. Dr. Ewan is a fishing genius! And the Sheikh is a flattery genius!

The Sheikh takes Dr. Ewan to one of his favorite fishing spots so they can have a bro to bro chat. He’s like “So Dr. Ewan, I know you think I’m crazy, but listen to these salmon metaphors that explain that I am actually a visionary just like Emily said.” Basically he says a bunch of stuff that sounds super deep because he is a mysterious Middle Eastern man full of mystical wisdom, because it’s the 21st century and stereotypes no longer exist. Anyway, the gist of it is “Fishing makes the world a better place.” Immediately after his speech, he catches a fish which apparently is a sign that this is all a great idea.

Dinner at the Sheikh’s castle that night is apparently a black tie affair, and Dr. Ewan is SHOCKED by how beautiful Emily is in her gown. Because she was totally ugly before, of course. He asks if the gown is hers, which is a very normal question. She says yes, and he admits that his suit was given to him by the Sheikh along with all that nice fishing gear. He thinks it’s super creepy that the Sheikh knew what size to get him, and Emily admits that they asked her for his size, and she guessed. He tells her he has a 32 inch waist, not a 34 inch waist. Shut up, Ewan. This scene is so pointless and I can’t believe I bothered writing all those words about it.

Dinner conversation is very casual and normal “getting to know you” type stuff… JK! It turns almost immediately into the Sheikh asking if Dr. Ewan is religious and him saying he’s not, and the Sheikh being like “But you’re a fisherman and you stand out there for hours and hours waiting for a fish so like faith or something” and then the music gets really mystical again and I’m desperate for a break to be given, but it does not come. Instead of making the completely correct point that having faith that you will eventually catch a fish comes from experience of having actually caught a fish along with indisputable knowledge that fish exist in the first place from having seen them with your own eyes while faith in a deity has no proof at any point except ostensibly when you die and whatever is supposed to happen to you in your religion happens, Dr. Ewan is just like “Wow your mystical knowledge is so mystical, good point bro.” They toast “to faith and fish.” Dr. Ewan adds “and science” and they all LOL.

After dinner they all have a nightcap by the fire, and the Sheikh is like “Hey Ems, I can tell when a woman isn’t happy because bitches be trippin’ and I have a bunch of wives (ugh) and am therefore an expert on females so I know that you’re bummed about something, please tell me so I can mystically help you with my mysterious Middle Eastern wisdom.” Instead of being like “None of your fucking business, go fuck yourself you creep” she’s like “Oh well my hot boyfriend Ichabod just got sent to Afghanistan and could die at any moment LOL.”

Dr. Ewan is shocked to hear that anybody other than him has problems in their lives and tries to be mildly comforting about it, which is at least a step up from open hostility and condescension. The Sheikh changes the subject by telling Dr. Ewan that his wife must be pretty great to let him go traipsing all over the world on his Salmon Quest, and Ewan is like “Oh well that icy-hearted monster is working abroad at the moment anyway so whotf cares” and the Sheikh is like

Because having a wife on a business trip is pretty much exactly the same as having your boyfriend in a war zone. Yup. This guy is smart.

On this note, they head off to bed. Emily and Dr. Ewan stop at their respective bedroom doors so that she can ask him what he thinks of the Sheikh, and he’s like “Well he’s super mystical and I still think he’s cray but in order for the plot of this movie to advance I have to now decide that I don’t mind so much that this idea is the dumbest, so let’s do it!”

Back at the office, Dumb Boss is video-chatting with some salmon dude who suggests that angry British fisherman are more dangerous than Al Qaeda, so no way can they send a single fish to Yemen. Dumb Boss is so worried about disappointing Kristin :(

That same day, Emily comes bursting into Dr. Ewan’s office to tell him that OOPS! those Chinese engineers he requested a meeting with as a way of winning an argument back when they were frenemies are here, because she emailed them but her Mandarin is rusty or something and the dates got mixed up. Dr. Ewan is like “Crap.” They go have their meeting with the engineers, Emily serving as translator as Dr. Ewan just weaves a tapestry of verbal bullshit about their plans and apparently they manage to not look like total dummies and I guess these dudes are going to be their engineers if and when Salmon Quest comes to fruition. What can’t these two do when they put their heads together?

After the meeting, Dumb Boss comes to say hi and asks who “those chippie chappies” were. He is discouraged to hear that Salmon Quest is proceeding more quickly than anticipated, because he has no idea where the fuck he’s going to get the requisite salmon from. He also manages at the same time to loom into Emily’s personal space and try to hit on her while also talking shit about Dr. Ewan directly in front of his face. I don’t want to tell the filmmakers how to do their jobs but I’m not really sure yet whether we’re supposed to like this guy so they probably should have had him eating a sandwich while he talked. Anyway,  Dr. Ewan is like “GTFO we’re going to lunch, you perv” and Emily is just like

At lunch, Emily starts popping bottles to celebrate her improbably flawless Mandarin. She wants Dr. Ewan to get crunk with her, but he says he only ever drinks after 7PM on weekends. Emily is like “Oh my god you are so boring that I’m going to initiate the same ‘Do you still think this project is stupid’ conversation we’ve had a zillion times already” and Dr. Ewan is like “Yup, still think it’s stupid, but I haven’t seen anything that says it’s 100% impossible, so theoretically it’s going well?” He then starts to pull out some Salmon Quest related files and she’s like “Really? You want to work at lunch?” Luckily this is interrupted by Emily getting a phone call. Unfortunately it is not Ichabod, as she first thinks, but somebody telling her that Ichabod is missing in action.

She ditches lunch to try to get some information about what’s happening with Ichabod. Unfortunately she thinks the best way of achieving this is to call some governmenty person and say basically “So I only knew Ichabod for like three weeks but we’re like boyfriend and girlfriend so can you tell me secret military details?” What a dummy. Anyhow, she apparently decides that her sadness means she is no longer required to go to work so Dr. Ewan has to resort to leaving a message on her answering machine, basically like “Hey, sorry your boyfriend might be dead, but Salmon Quest is going great and we have a deadline so get the f back to work already geez louise.”

She does not take kindly to this message and he at least seems somewhat ashamed of ending the message with “Please call me back at your earliest convenience.”

Later, Dr. Ewan is walking down the street and realizes that phone calls are too impersonal and he needs to go harass Emily face to face in her home, so he turns around and start walking the opposite direction through a crowd of people like the asshole that he is.

When he turns up at her door, Emily is really not pleased to see him and chews him out for bugging her about Salmon Quest, claiming that she can’t leave the house in case someone calls with news, because cell phones don’t exist, and she also suggests that him insisting on coming over in spite of her emotional distress indicates that he has Asperger’s which is just a lovely little treat to throw in there. Very sensitive. Anyhow, Dr. Ewan is like “Frowny face! I just came over to see if you were ok also I brought you a sandwich!” Now she feels like an asshole, so it’s like a meeting of equals. They hug, and agree to start calling each other by their first names instead of Dr. Jones and Miss Chetwode-Talbot, as they had been doing previously.

She apologizes for the Asperger’s comment and Dr. Ewan says that the great thing about people with Asperger’s is that it’s very hard to hurt their feelings, so it’s totes fine. WOW, MOVIE. GOOD JOB.

Dr. Ewan further proves that he is loosening up and becoming a nice guy by revealing that he’s brought a bottle of wine with him EVEN THOUGH IT ISN’T AFTER 7PM ON A WEEKEND. Character growth. They eat their sandwiches and drink their wine and talk about how Emily is pretty sure Ichabod must be dead. Dr. Ewan segues into being like “Hey let’s get your mind off this sad stuff by going to Yemen to work on Salmon Quest some more!” and she’s like “No I have to stay in case there’s news” but he tells her that the Sheikh has already agreed to fly her back on his private jet if anything happens. She seems shocked, but dude, that guy just dropped 50 million pounds on the stupidest idea of all time, he would probably not notice if you stole his jet let alone balk at lending it to you.

He softens her up by saying that he can’t do it without her, and she says “Whatever it’s just fishing. Who the hell cares?” Good thought to put out there halfway through the movie, screenwriter. But Dr. Ewan says “Strangely enough, I do.” He’s a true salmon believer now, and she’s so touched that she agrees to go.

So finally at the fifty-one minute mark of the movie we’ve made it to the country from the title. Emily and Dr. Ewan get off the plane and there’s desert everywhere so it looks super promising for Salmon Quest already. Emily asks Dr. Ewan if he ever thinks they’re part of a “lavish practical joke” and I kind of wonder if that was in the script or if that was just Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor chatting on set.

As they ride over to Salmon Quest HQ to meet the Sheikh, they pass such sights as goats running amok and a group of dudes praying outside a mosque and a grizzled older dude standing on the side of the road holding a gun and looking sketchy. HA HA this movie. Wow.

They finally make it to the area where Salmon Quest is supposed to happen and Dr. Ewan is like “Hey look at these rocks, perfect place for salmon to lay their eggs if only this weren’t a desert” and Emily is like “Cool story. Hey look, this beautiful woman in a fancy looking hijab just emerged literally out of nowhere with a water jug, let’s drink her water out of these clay mugs we were apparently carrying with us. Yemen, am I right?”

This totally natural event happens just so that Dr. Ewan can say “OMFG THE WATER FROM THIS MAGICAL LADY’S WELL IS COLD. SALMON QUEST IS GO!” To further drive home the point, they climb some hill and look down to Salmon Valley which is slightly less deserty than the other side, like there are even some greenish shrubs.

They catch up with the Sheikh who is getting bitched and finger-wagged at by one of his cronies. Emily and Dr. Ewan join him and he’s like “Can you believe that goon? He said that Salmon Quest blows because nobody in Yemen wants any part of those fishy Western ways and God is probably super pissed about it too. Anyway, let’s not spoil your vacation with this bullshit, look how pretty my valley is! It even has some water!” and then some guy starts filming them and the next sequence is shot as though it’s this guy’s home video? I don’t know why. It’s dumb. But it’s basically a montage of the Sheikh going over plans with Emily and Dr. Ewan and arguing with some Yemeni dudes.

Back in England Dumb Boss is still failing to procure the Salmon Quest salmon because he is terrible and has no redeeming qualities. He yells at some dude about it over Skype, possibly the same guy who compared angry fishermen to terrorists earlier, but who knows, all middle-aged white men look the same to me. Anyhow, Nondescript White Dude is very annoyed about being bossed around by Dumb Boss so as revenge he gets a story into some fly fishing trade magazines about how the evil government is trying to steal their salmon. They all have pretty great headlines but this one is my favorite:

This bummer moment ends and we go back to Yemen where Dr. Ewan is making a new fly. He sees Emily talking on the phone and looking perturbed. He asks her if there’s news from Afghanistan and she’s like “Nope, I was just leaving a voicemail on Ichabod’s phone because I am actually insane, no worries.” Dr. Ewan finds this endearing and says that when he’s having problems he talks to the fish in the tiny pond in his backyard, so he totally understands what she’s going through.

She says that she doesn’t picture him having a difficult life and he’s like “My wife is a cold shrew and we got married too young and therefore I have the worst life ever!!!!” She non sequiturs that she can’t even remember what Ichabod looks like anymore. REALLY?????? DO YOU NOT HAVE ANY PHOTOS OF HIM? THIS IS NOT LIKE AN ELIZABETHAN COSTUME DRAMA, DO YOU NOT HAVE A CELL PHONE AND/OR FACEBOOK? ANYWAY LOOK AT HIS FACE HOW COULD YOU FORGET IT HE IS SO HANDSOME:

She says that she’s stuck and can’t move on. Girl, take it easy. You knew this dude for three weeks get it together. Dr. Ewan says he’s stuck too. Their lives are basically the same. Sadsacks Anonymous over here, geez louise.

Meanwhile some dudes in a tent are having an angry conversation while villain music plays in the background. They look at a newspaper article with a picture of the Sheikh on it and show it to a young dude with a big gun who looks like he would be more at home in hipster coffee shop in Brooklyn than an assassination plotline in Yemen but what do I know.

So not only are some gun-toting tent-dwellers planning something probably not so nice, but some Scottish guy is on the news standing in front of a river talking about how rude it is to even suggest sending their fish to Yemen. WE GET IT. PEOPLE ARE NOT ON BOARD WITH SALMON QUEST.

Kristin is watching the news and talking to the Prime Minister, who suggests they just cancel Salmon Quest altogether. Kristin is like “HOGWASH! We’ll find the fish somewhere else” and then she opens her refrigerator and some fish falls out and she looks at it thoughtfully.

She goes to meet the team at the Scottish castle and the Sheikh walks her in past his household staff or bodyguards or something, listen, I don’t know who they are, but basically a bunch of Yemeni dudes wearing kilts and turbans, and Kristin basically says “Schwing” at them.

So anyway, she’s come to let them know that she has a brilliant new salmon-procurement scheme. Since all the actual river salmon are off-limits, they’ll just buy a bunch of salmon from the fish farms that supply grocery stores! Dr. Ewan is like “Wow you are an even dumber dummy than anybody involved in this dumb project! Those salmon won’t run if we put them in Yemen, all they know is fish farm life! Could you BE any more ignorant about the intricacies of salmon behavior?”

Kristin doesn’t see the problem, but the Sheikh is ultra-pissed because he has a vision and it doesn’t involve second-rate salmon who will just float away if they drop them in his desert river. Kristin is like “Too bad, so sad, the government is breaking up with you now, best of luck in your future endeavors.” Dr. Ewan resigns his job, which apparently is somehow contingent on the government liking him, so I have even less idea of what he was actually doing for a living before Salmon Quest than I did forty-five minutes ago. But whatevs. Dr. Ewan is now like the #1 fan of Salmon Quest and will dedicate his life to it, so screw you Kristin, you’re not my real mom and you never will be!

He and the Sheikh go fishing to blow off some steam, and the Sheikh says they have to have faith that they’ll find the fish elsewhere. But even Faithy McReligiousson doesn’t sound convinced by his own mystical proclamations this time. At this moment, one of the kilt-wearing bros that Kristin wanted to get on earlier sneaks up on them carrying a gun. It’s the hipster from the tent, oh no! Emily also happens to be walking by and sees the would-be assassin but she doesn’t see him in time to warn them.

Tent Hipster jumps out and yells something and there’s no subtitles so I’ll just assume he says “My name is Tent Hipster, you killed my no-Western-pastimes-allowed-valley, prepare to die” but before he can get a shot off, Dr. Ewan CASTS HIS FISHING POLE AT HIM AND HOOKS HIM IN THE NECK CAUSING HIM TO FALL OVER RENDERING HIM INCAPABLE OF KILLING THE SHEIKH AND ALSO I LOL FOR A SOLID 90 SECONDS.

After this heroic fishing moment, Dr. Ewan runs to the Sheikh to make sure he’s ok because the Sheikh is his #1 bro for life. The Sheikh is flustered but fine obviously considering the gun didn’t even go off. But he thanks Dr. Ewan for saving his life and then they get the adrenaline-giggles.

At this point in the movie I would 100% forgive it for everything if these two started making out, but sadly it’s not to be, and pretty soon Emily is fawning all over Dr. Ewan like “OMG, r u ok??? You’re so strong and brave!”

The Sheikh asks Emily and Dr. Ewan to continue working as though nothing has happened because Salmon Quest is too important to be derailed by something so silly as almost getting killed. He also promises to repay Dr. Ewan for saving his life.

That night, Emily is watching the news and there’s a report about the operation in which Ichabod became MIA. Dr. Ewan watches with her as it’s announced that everybody involved in the operation is officially deadsies. She goes to weep in her room, and Dr. Ewan follows her because he has no tact.

She says she’s sorry for being such a crybaby, but she’s sad because she never really got the chance to get to know Ichabod. Dr. Ewan hugs her and she weeps some more and apparently they fall asleep that way somehow? Or actually judging by the next shot, Dr. Ewan just spent the entire night lying in her bed and watching her sleep. Dude could you BE any more Edward Culleny right now?

He gets up and goes back to his own room, but not before gazing intensely at her from the doorway. It was at this point in my initial viewing of this movie that I realized that it was not a somewhat-groundbreaking depiction of a male and female developing a respectful working relationship and platonic friendship while dealing with their own complicated romantic relationships, but actually a fucked up boy-meets-girl-and-they-fall-in-love story and I was SO PISSED. And still am, but I’m surprised I didn’t realize it sooner.

Anyway, Dr. Ewan goes home and his wife is there because she got a day off from living in Geneva and thought she would surprise him. But she’s the one who’s about to be surprised, because he tells her that he quit his job to commit to Salmon Quest full time. She’s like “Uhhhh, but what about your pension and shit?” and he says that they had put too much work into the project to walk away after the government pulled out. And his wife is like “’WE?’ WHAT DO YOU MEAN ‘WE’? I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THAT EMILY WOULD BE INVOLVED, THAT HARLOT!” This despite the fact that there has been literally no indication that Dr. Ewan can even stand to be in the same room as Emily since the last time she and Dr. Ewan saw each other. But apparently she googled Emily and saw how young and hot she is, so she tells Dr. Ewan that he’s making a fool of himself over “some short-skirted office girl.” GIVE ME A BREAK, MOVIE. Dr. Ewan storms off yelling “SHE’S JUST A FRIEND!!!!” and goes to talk to the fish in his pond. But his shrew wife comes out and asks if he’s in love with Emily and he’s like “Nothing’s happened and it probably won’t but LOL yeah I am.”

He apologizes and she gives a speech like “You are just having a midlife crisis and in six months you’ll come crawling back to me because it’s in your DNA!” and Dr. Ewan doesn’t register any of that except the DNA part which gives him a fish epiphany, which we know because suddenly we see him through…

Just to make double sure that we realize he’s had an epiphany, we get those shots of salmon in the water from the opening credits and a voiceover of what Dr. Ewan’s wife said literally 30 seconds ago about DNA.

Dr. Ewan goes back to the Scottish castle and tells them that the farm salmon will actually be totally fine because swimming upstream is in their DNA. The Sheikh is like “Oh did you find some research about it or something?” and Dr. Ewan says “No, I just know it” and as the mystical music flares up the Sheikh is like “HA HA GOTCHA! FAITH! YA GOD BURNT!” and Dr. Ewan is just like “LOL you’re right I get faith now.”

So they fly the farm salmon into the valley via helicopter and dump them in the river. There are some shots of Dr. Ewan and Emily feeding the salmon and being cute together or whatever, mostly just to prepare us for the next scene in which Kristin is playing videogames with her son but gets interrupted by a call telling her that one of the soldiers from the operation where everybody was supposedly dead is actually alive. I WONDER WHICH ONE!!!!!!!!!!

She finds out that it’s Ichabod, and tells the person on the phone to make sure that the press doesn’t find out because she has a brand new scheme now.

Meanwhile in Yemen, the Sheikh is saying a prayer over the salmon in preparation for the imminent commencement of Salmon Quest. He goes and finds Dr. Ewan and Emily hanging out on the dam and says that though he started Salmon Quest as a way of glorifying God (give me a break), he now wonders if they’re actually glorifying man (you think?) (also this is a thought you might have stumbled upon 50 million pounds ago, I’m not saying I’m just saying).

That night Dr. Ewan and Emily go for a sexy swim in the salmon river like normal coworkers. Emily says that she doesn’t know how she would have gotten through the Ichabod debacle if it weren’t for Salmon Quest. He’s like “That’s cool. Unrelated: I left my shrew wife and she told me I was genetically programmed to come back to her but she was totally wrong, I belong here with you.” She smiles at him and I mean, he is shirtless so Ichabod-grief notwithstanding I can't really judge her for having a ladyboner.

He asks if theoretically there might be something between them and she says yes, but she needs time. He’s like “COOLIO” and she kisses him on the cheek.

The next morning it’s time to see if Salmon Quest will work or not. Kristin and some government officials are there because they are back on board because of Kristin’s Ichabod-centric schemes. Plus there’s a fuckload of reporters, because part of Kristin’s plan involves getting a photo-op with some government dude fishing.

Dr. Ewan and Emily are hanging out on the pier and he shows her the new fly he made. And he named it after her of course because he is super slick. She’s touched. But unfortunately their romantic moment is interrupted by a helicopter zooming in and SURPRISE! It’s Ichabod.

Emily spots him and runs to him, leaving a very frowny-faced Dr. Ewan to watch them cry and hug and kiss. He clenches his fist so hard around the fly he named after Emily that he draws blood.

So Kristin’s sneaky plan was to use the romantic reunion as a publicity stunt so there’s an impromptu press conference about how true love is great and also look how we’re BFFs with Yemen now because of the salmon thing, everything is perfect and there are no problems in the Middle East!

Emily has to awkwardly field questions about how happy and in love she is, and the reporters make them kiss for the cameras. Dr. Ewan sulks over on a hill and the Sheikh strolls up to say he’s sorry that he got so magnificently cockblocked.

That night Emily and Ichabod get set up in a dope tent and Ichabod assumes that he’ll be getting some action considering that he just heroically came back from the dead, but Emily is acting shy and awkward and asks if it’s ok if they just snuggle or whatever. He’s like “Remember how like a million years ago at the beginning of this movie I said I was a Good Guy? I’m a totally good guy so no rush.” Before they go to sleep he’s like “Oh BTW, lololololololol howtf did you get involved in this colossally stupid project?” and she’s like:

Dr. Ewan is all by himself in his tent with a sad boner, and he gets a text from his wife that just says “Don’t leave me.” Ah, modern love. But even though he can never have his precious Emily now, he still doesn’t want to be with his wife because she’s such an icy shrew so he texts back a rejection.

The next morning he stands forlornly on a hill looking off into the distance. Ichabod comes to join him and thanks him for being there for Emily during his absence. Dr. Ewan doesn’t even pretend to play along and just straight up tells Ichabod that he loves Emily. This is the hero of our movie who we’re supposed to be rooting for, BTW.

Ichabod is such a Good Guy that he just stands there awkwardly for a second and then asks if Emily loves Dr. Ewan back. Dr. Ewan is like “Now that you’re alive I may never know :( :( :(” which ruffles Ichabod’s feathers enough that he sarcastically apologizes for not being dead. And Dr. Ewan says he can’t accept his apology and Ichabod is like:

Dr. Ewan says he’s sort of joking and that it’s all right and walks away. I don’t know how his face didn’t get punched in that scene but whatever.

It’s Salmon Quest Day! The Sheikh makes a speech for the press about how nobody knows if this is going to work or not but he sure hopes it does and then some stuff about how he wants to paint the desert green so his people can get jobs as farmers or something and then he starts on the faith thing again and I fall asleep and then they finally open the fish gates and everybody holds their breath as the most suspenseful moment of their lives unfolds before them.

At first the dumb fish start going the wrong way, but then one has a DNA moment and turns around and all the other fish lemmings follow. OMG IT WORKED! THANK GOD! Emily and Dr. Ewan hug and he lifts her up in the air and Ichabod is the frowny-faced onlooker now.

They share a group hug with the Sheikh and prepare to go fishing. Kristin gets her photo of the government dude fishing with Ichabod. Everybody’s happy (well except poor Ichabod I guess, but who cares about him, he’s the only decent character with noble motivations).

Sadly the festivities come to an end when some of the Anti-Salmon Quest Brigade murder a guard on the dam and open the floodgates so that everybody nearly gets drowned by a giant wave. The Sheikh and Dr. Ewan catch hold of a boulder and help each other get out of the water and I’m like who does the Sheikh think he’s kidding with his multiple wives, just kiss him already!

But he doesn’t :(

Also all of the salmon are dead or got washed away or something so the Sheikh is super sad and everything is ruined. Dr. Ewan walks through the ruins of the camp and I think somebody forgot to tell the art director that it just got washed away in a flood because it looks like it was recently on fire.

Dr. Ewan symbolically burns the fishing rods which seems like a waste of perfectly good equipment. He and Emily share a meaningful gaze with Ichabod standing literally right there because they’re good people.

That night Emily is like “Who would do such a terrible thing?” and the Sheikh says he knows exactly who it was, but he doesn’t want to arrest them despite the fact that they actively murdered that one guard and also drowned several people. But I guess none of them were main characters so it’s NBD. He says that while the dudes are definitely bad, maybe they had a point because nobody understood that the point of Salmon Quest wasn’t salmon but… I don’t know, he doesn’t say. I also don’t understand what the point of Salmon Quest was but I didn’t murder anybody, just sayin’.

Emily asks if he’ll try again and says he will if they help him. Emily is like “I dunno, Ichabod probably wants to go home” and Dr. Ewan is like “I don’t have a home I don’t know what to do now that all of my dreams have been snatched away” and Emily is like “Oh crap, I forgot about that whole thing, this is awkward.”

They prepare to leave the next day and Emily tells Ichabod that she’s going to say goodbye to Dr. Ewan. He’s like “The only thing that kept me going when I was lost in the desert was the thought of you” which is maybe the saddest thing I’ve ever heard considering he only knew her a few weeks. Like there might be a decent movie to be made about this guy’s sad empty life of loss and betrayal. Emily feels guilty, but he says she doesn’t owe him anything I guess because she already saved his life or something? It’s unclear. But he basically gives her his blessing to go to Dr. Ewan if she wants.

Emily goes to Dr. Ewan and apologizes about how things turned out with Ichabod, and says she didn’t mean to hurt him and she doesn’t know what to do. She asks if he’s going to stay and he says “What for? There’s nothing for me here now that you’re gone and there’s not a single fish in the river.” This would be the perfect opportunity for Emily to say “Maybe not, but there’s plenty of fish in the sea,” drop the mic and peace out back to Ichabod, but unfortunately she does not.

Dr. Ewan starts to walk away but then the Sheikh, who has been creepily spying on them from a nearby rock this whole time, calls out to them because OMFG THERE’S A SALMON IN THE RIVER! They didn’t all die after all! So Dr. Ewan is going to stay for Salmon Quest 2.0 because he is easily swayed by small symbolic events. He has also apparently had an epiphany that they need to involve the local community more this time to avoid any more murders.

Emily stares at him with the googliest of eyes and asks if he need a partner and he’s like “Yup, in my pants!” and they make out.

Meanwhile Ichabod is still standing where Emily left him because she never actually told him what she was going to do, so he has to just stand there and watch her and Dr. Ewan and when they start kissing he gets the idea and leaves without her. I’m pretty sure her luggage was in his car so at least he got some small revenge.

Emily and Dr. Ewan hold hands on the pier and the sun sets and you think the movie’s over, but LOL it’s not because we have one last HILARIOUS moment of Kristin’s wacky political shenanigans before the credits:

And what better way to end this masterpiece than with a somewhat racist conversation between two assholes who had very little bearing on the plot of the movie! Perfection.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Red Riding Hood

SO! It's October, and knowing me by the time I finish this it will be Thanksgiving, but in any case, it seemed like it was time for something spoooooooky. Or at least spooky in the teen-romance conception of spooky which means men who are some kind of supernatural beast getting busy with pretty young girls. Which, knowing very little about it going into this, my first viewing, I assume is the general gist of what Red Riding Hood is about. If not, I don't apologize because you are not the ones who have to watch it so I'm still the loser in this situation.

We start very spookily with some spooky music and some spooky snow-covered mountains. There's some mist, and a castle and some old-timey looking boats. And a very Twilighty forest! And the names of people who were involved with Twilight (Catherine Hardwicke and Billy Burke)! And a water wheel! And the names of a lot of people who should really know better but apparently needed some money (I'm looking at you, Gary Oldman, Virginia Madsen and Julie Christie)! And a waterfall!

We finally close in on a very ramshackle little village with a dilapidated windmill and thatched roofs and shit. The most Aryan child of all time who basically looks like she came straight out of Kakariko Village comes skipping along the streets with a water bucket.

On her way through town, she passes by the most run-of-the-mill smalltown tableau: a very sad little girl handing over a pig on a leash to a man who tells her to cheer up, because it's better that the wolf eat her precious pet than a human. SPOOKY! Also there is another man setting up some kind of weird scarecrow with a sad moonface.

Amanda Seyfried, who I am assuming is the grownup version of the little blonde girl, voiceovers that she lived on the edge of a dark forest (as opposed to all those light forests you come across) in a town nobody knew the name of because it was so shitty that who would even care, what with all the terrible spooky things going on, like that pesky werewolf problem. She continues that her mother always told her to just get the water and come straight home without talking to anybody, which sounds like a pretty good way to guarantee that your daughter is going to get so bored that she grows up wanting to fuck a spooky wolf in the dark forest, but what do I know?

A LOT! Because not two seconds after arriving at the stream, this little boy with dark hair and dark clothes comes up and is like “COME ON VALERIE, LET'S REBEL!” I don't know if he's the wolf but I mean he's probably the wolf, right? RIGHT? I'm not used to writing about movies without already knowing the ending but I promise not to come back later and edit this if I'm wrong. Anyway, they run off together, giggling.

And what are they going to do? MURDER A BUNNY, THAT'S WHAT!!! They have apparently set a trap and callously look on from under a tree branch, the boy holding a knife, as a bunny wanders toward certain doom. The trap falls over it and Valerie is like “Oh how pretty, it has snow white fur! Fairy tales!” and the boy is like “I'll use it to make you some boots” and I'm like “EW!”

They calmly argue about who is going to slit the poor bunny's throat but we never find out because suddenly we are in the forest with the words “TEN YEARS LATER” on the screen.

I'm assuming that ten years later they are both in jail for being serial killers. But this movie is apparently set in medieval times so we're supposed to be ok with it but WHATEVER. Team Bunny.

What's actually ten years later is that Valerie is now Amanda Seyfried and she's sneaking around the forest looking very very pretty and voiceovering about how she knew girls weren't supposed to hunt rabbits or sneak around in the creepy woods and stuff but her childhood boyfriend just made her want to do boy things. Speaking of whom, he is now “hot” and chopping the shit out of some wood.

He stops chopping wood and sneaks over to where Valerie is creepin'. She jumps out from behind a tree holding a giant axe.

They grin at each other and he playfully takes her axe and then nonsequiturs that he just heard that she is totes arranged-betrothed to someone named Henry. She's like “UGH, parents just don't understand!” and Peter is like “If u don't want 2 marry him u could run away w/ me 2 the ocean or the mountains.” I'm just going to let you know right now that these two have ZERO chemistry and this is most likely because whoever this actor is is almost as cardboardy as Dean from Gilmore Girls but thinks he has the bad-boy charisma of Jess. He doesn't. Valerie giggles though and tells him she'd leave everything behind to be with him. They are about to straight up get on some horses and ride off into the sunset, but they're interrupted by the sound of distant gongs and Valerie says “THE WOLF!”

She walks through some picturesque haystacks and comes across a group of some scared teen girls who say the wolf has “broken the peace.” Valerie is like “LOL who did the wolf eat?” and they tell her it was her older sister. WAH WAH. And lo and behold, just around the corner she finds her parents standing over her totes deadsies sister. 

It starts to snow, as though God is crying frozen tears.

That night the family of the dude Valerie is supposed to marry comes over. Henry wants to offer her his sexy condolences but if it's even possible he looks like even more of a doofus than Peter. I'm beginning to see why this movie was not successful. A love triangle with these two goons? Not that Edward or Jacob exactly lit my fire but I could at least see the appeal for children.

Predictably, Valerie runs and hides and tells her marriage-arranging mother that Henry has cooties and she doesn't want to play with him. Downstairs, Henry stage-whispers to Valerie's dad (who also happens to be Bella Swan's dad, oh my god seriously Catherine Hardwicke are you even trying??) that they should go to the tavern and get crunk and “let the women grieve in their own way” which I think we're supposed to be charmed by but WHATEVER don't you know Valerie isn't like other girls? She carries giant axes and murders bunnies so she could probably use a drink too.

Once the men have left, Valerie's mom confides that she was in love with another man when she married Bella Swan's dad, but then she came to love Bella Swan's dad and they lived happily ever after (until one of their two beautiful daughters was murdalized by a wolf).

Cut to the tavern, where Lukas Haas is telling some old guy to look on the bright side, because at least it has been 20 years since the last time the wolf killed someone. The old man is like “Yeah because we have a truce with the wolf where we sacrifice our best livestock every full moon and we totes kept up our end of the bargain but this lupine asshole didn't!” and at that exact moment Henry's dad comes in with Henry and Bella Swan's dad in tow and says “SO LET'S KILL HIM!” There are many manly cheers.

Lukas Haas says no, they can't, because he summoned “Father Solomon” who has apparently killed many werewolves and witches and can help them with their pest problem. But Bella Swan's dad isn't having any of it, because he wants to personally exterminate the wolf because of vengeance.

Back at home all the girls are standing over Valerie's sister's corpse and wondering why she was even out on a “wolf night” in the first place, like was she meeting a boy or what? Mrs. Bella Swan's Dad says “PLEASE! She never even thought about boys.” But rather than be sensitive and let it go, Henry's grandma is like “Uhhh, she was super into Henry and used to follow him around all the time and when she heard he was engaged to Valerie it was Frownyfacetown, population: Valerie's Sister.” One of the teen girls says that maybe Big Sister decided she'd rather die than be without him to which one of the others replies “How romantic!” Of course even in medieval times teenagers were the stupidest.

Valerie is very sad about all this and says she never even knew that her sister was into Henry, and Henry's grandma very creepily looms over her and tells her not to worry because Henry has only ever had eyes for her because she's “the pretty one.” So wait, is Henry's Grandma the wolf? That would be such like a postmodern twist. Or something. She creepily strokes Valerie's face.

Peter comes calling to pay his respects, but Mrs. Bella Swan's Dad won't let him in, telling him she knows why he's here. Duh, he just told you, to pay his respects! She tells him that Valerie is all she has left now and she's not going to let some lowly creepazoid woodchopper take her baby away. He says that he can support Valerie by chopping wood and points out that Bella Swan's dad is also a woodchopper so what is your DEAL lady? She tells him that she knows from experience that it's not exactly going to pay the bills, and that Henry is Valerie's only chance for a better life, and because she's not sure there have been enough cliches yet in this movie, she adds that if he really loves her, he'll let her go. He attempts to convey an emotion with his face before walking away, but it's anybody's guess what it is:

Back at the tavern, everybody is super into Henry's dad's plan to go find the wolf and kill him. Lukas Haas is very concerned. Is Lukas Haas the wolf? Is everybody the wolf? I think everybody is the wolf.

The bartender very helpfully explains that it should be no trouble at all to kill the werewolf because of the following reasons: it can't go out in the daylight (Is it both a werewolf AND a vampire? Only time will tell), it can't walk on holy ground (whatever) and silver is major bad news. Seems simple enough. Henry looks skeptical though, and says that he agrees with Lukas Haas.

At this moment of wimpiness, Peter comes in and the two heroes have a “who can look the dumbest” contest.

Bella Swan's dad gets in Henry's face and is basically like “Ohhh the little chicken is chicken! Cluck cluck, fellas!” so Henry immediately is like “Ok cool let's kill it.” Way to stick to your guns. Everybody cheers and somebody actually yells “Kill the beast!” which was probably just looped from the mob scene in Beauty and the Beast.

The womenfolk hear the men marching down the street shouting and go to see what's going on. Valerie finds Peter and tells him to be careful, because one of her loved ones already got eaten by the wolf today and it would be a real bummer to make it two. Peter woodenly tells her that they “can't do this anymore” and I'm like whoa, I had no idea medieval breakups were just like modern breakups! He's like “GOD just marry Henry already! It's not like I even give two shits; we were just having some casual fun!” What a lying jerk!

Henry swoops in immediately and is like “Hey Valerie, I made you this silver bracelet, please love me!” and he promises her that she'll be happy again soon. He goes to join the other wolf hunters while Lukas Haas continues to whine that Father Solomon will be there tomorrow and can't they just keep their pants on, geeze louise! They ignore him and head out into the forest.

Valerie of course follows them because she isn't like other wussy sissy girls, and hides behind a very spiky tree while her dad and Henry's dad have a bro to bro talk about how good it was that Henry's dad insisted that they hunt the wolf themselves.

They eventually reach a very picturesque snowy cottage with a very picturesque Julie Christie waiting out front. She hugs Bella Swan's dad and makes him promise he'll be careful. He's like “Geez mom lighten up, what wolf would want to eat me? I probs don't taste very good.” When the dudes move on, Valerie comes out of hiding and goes to her grandmother.

They go inside to eat stew and be sad about Big Sister. Valerie is still upset that she didn't know that her sister had the googly eyes for Henry, and Grandma says “We all have secrets” and the music gets really menacing. IS VALERIE'S GRANDMA THE WOLF??? She then gives a piece of wisdom she got from her own grandmother, “All sorrows are less with bread.” Cool grammar!

Anyhow, Grandma randomly opens up a trunk and pulls out a giant red cape and is super casually like “Hey why don't you try this on? I was making it for your wedding!” Valerie puts it on and is like “UGH, don't even talk to me about my wedding I am OVER IT.”

Meanwhile, the men are now trekking through the mountains and into a dark and spooky cave. Before they enter, Henry tells Peter “You better watch yourself.” DOUBLE MEANINGS! This movie is so clever. We get an unnecessary shot of the full moon looming eerily through the clouds before going into the cave proper, where Henry's dad says “There's a fork.” Correct me if I'm wrong, but they didn't have forks in medieval times did they? Actually I have no idea as I recall 0% of the things I learned about medieval times in school except what I learned from going on a class trip to Medieval Times which was that you will cherish the souvenir photo of yourself posing with the “king” forever and that the flowers the knights throw into the crowd are just carnations and not roses because fairy tales aren't real and life is full of disappointments. But anyway this was a really long and pointless digression for the sake of a not very funny joke because obviously he means the path splits.

The men commit the classic movie blunder of splitting up which I assume will end pretty well for all involved. Bella Swan's dad takes a swig from a canteen and something tells me it's NOT water in there. If you can believe it, they reach yet ANOTHER fork like 20 seconds later and it's like who even designed this cave, M.C. Escher?

Peter and his buddies go one way while Henry and his dad go another. Meanwhile in town, everybody is locking and bolting their houses and Lukas Haas (who I should mention is some kind of priest I think, unless he's just wearing a brown robe and cross necklace as a fashion statement) shuts himself in the church.

In the cave, suddenly Henry and his dad are plunged into darkness when their torches go out, and a hilarious wolf face emerges out of the blackness, followed by a not-very-manly scream.

The other dudes rush to see what happened, and find Henry's dad lying there looking fairly dead, with a wolf snarling next to him.

Back at Grandma's, Valerie is woken up by a rattling at the door. She freaks out and runs to her grandma's room and is surprised to see Grams pop out from under the covers super cheerfully, saying “Good morning, dear!” It is possible that this lady isn't the wolf but is just a MEGA weirdo which would explain why she lives in a cottage in the woods by herself instead of in the town, but the movie sure seems to want to make us think she's the wolf.

Valerie is just like “Uh... good morning?” and makes a hasty exit.

On her way home, Valerie voiceovers that her grandma told her that the wolf used to kill whole families and take children out of their beds. This wolf is probably just misunderstood though right? And sexy? I'm just spitballing here.

Valerie wanders through the deserted streets in town, past the creepy moonface scarecrow thing, and the camera work suggests that somebody is creepin' nearby.

She goes into the tavern, where the super manly men have very masculinely impaled the wolf's head on a stick and are waving it around in triumph which does not seem like a very sanitary thing to do in a place where food and beverages are served but whatever. If it were modern times there would be some serious jock jams and Gatorade pouring. Valerie looks upstairs and makes wistful eye contact with Peter.

Unfortunately the parade is emphatically pooped on when Henry's creepy grandma walks by the open door of the tavern, accompanying a cart pulling her son's corpse. She gives a serious death glare to everybody inside.

Bella Swan's dad, tail very much between legs, meekly proposes a toast to Henry's dad, for his sacrifice.

Valerie goes to find Henry, who is banging a metal thing on another metal thing over an open flame. I know there is a technical term for what he is doing but I am too busy drinking this wine to remember/look it up but you get the picture. Valerie says that his father was a brave man and he's like “I WAS SO CLOSE I COULD SMELL THAT DAMN DIRTY WOLF BUT I WAS A COWARD AND I HID LIKE THE KING OF CHUMPFORDSHIRE!” She tries to comfort him but he yells at her to leave.

Apparently Valerie is incapable of walking two steps in any direction without somebody accosting her or being stalked by a creeper or seeing something sketchy, because she immediately sees her mom in a house standing over Henry's dad's corpse and looking probably a little more sad than is necessary, from which she surmises that Henry's dad was the dude she was talking about when she gave the whole “I was in love with someone else when I married Bella Swan's dad” speech earlier. SCANDAL!

This has also led her to connect an unlikely dot by realizing that her mom totally DID know that Big Sister had a crush on Henry, so she asks why she had to be the one to get married to Henry when her sister was both older and interested. Her mom is just like “You already know why, dummy!” but Valerie insists that she speak the gross truth out loud: Henry's dad was also secretly Big Sister's dad. 

So was the mom the wolf and just trying to prevent incest? Since I am far from convinced that the wolf they killed in the cave was the wolf wolf considering we're only 25 minutes into the movie? Anyway, she makes Valerie promise that she'll never tell her dad the HORRIBLE TRUTH.

Off in the distance, some kind of horn sounds to signal that Father Solomon has arrived and Lukas Haas is pants-peeingly excited.

Father Solomon rolls up in a spooky carriage with like 20 dudes on horses surrounding him and also a giant elephant statue, of course. A couple of the guards take off their helmets and introduce Father Solomon, who is Gary Oldman. He emerges from his carriage in a pretty purple robe.

Lukas Haas actually applauds. What is this guy's deal? Father Solomon's little daughters come bursting out of the carriage to say goodbye, crying, and Father Solomon is like “Don't worry, kids! Look at all these scared village children! I'm going to save them from a wolf!” and one of the girls is like “Is it the wolf that ate our mom?” and he's like “Ehhh, maybe.” They hug, and he sends them away in the carriage, saying he'll be back soon.

Lukas Haas runs up and says what an honor it is and kisses his hand, while the old guy from the tavern just rolls up with the wolfhead-kebab and is like “You got here just in time for us to brag about how we already beheaded the wolf, you tardy loser!”

Buzzkill Father Solomon is like “You dummies, that's not a werewolf” and the old guys is like “Uh, check your prescription bucko because it is totally a werewolf” and Father Solomon is like “No T no shade but you wouldn't know a werewolf if it ate your face and I am an expert.”

He then tells the spooky story of how he and his wife lived in a quaint little village just like this one with their two beautiful daughters until he and his buddies got crunk one night and went werewolf hunting just for LOLs, and they found one and it bit his friend in half right in front of him so he hacked at it with a machete or something and managed to chop its paw off but then POOF it disappeared and he went home and found his wife missing a hand and LO AND BEHOLD the werewolf paw in his pouch had turned into a human woman's hand. OH MY GOD WOMEN CAN BE WEREWOLVES THERE IS TOTALLY A SHEWOLF IN THE CLOSET. Everybody is shocked as he shows them the severed hand of his werewife. Anyway, he told his kids that the werewolf killed their mom but LOL he was the one who killed her because werewolves are stinky and must be exterminated.

So the moral of the story is that werewolves turn back into humans when they get cut so all those manly men on their manly hunting trip only succeeded in taunting and murdering a garden variety wolf like a bunch of chumps and the REAL wolf is still out there somewhere just wolfin' it up, were-style.

They move the party into the tavern where Father Solomon shows off his Master Sword. Lukas Haas drools on it and says “This is one of only three silver swords blessed by the holy *something I can't quite make out but sounds like it could be 'seed' so I'm just going to go with that even though I'm sure it's not right*” and asks if he can touch it and Father Solomon is like “No you may not touch my sword you weirdo.”

He tells the townspeople that it's a very dangerous time because it's the Blood Moon and asks if they know what that means. They all stare blankly. HAVEN'T YOU PEOPLE BEEN WATCHING SLEEPY HOLLOW? IT MEANS SEXY REANIMATED WITCH CORPSES.

Father Solomon's henchmen open up a big spooky looking trunk to unveil a fancy gold model of the solar system that looks like it was stolen from Dumbledore's office. FS explains that every 13 years, the red planet converges with the moon and that's the only time werewolves can be created. For theatrical effect he throws something into the little pot at the center of the model and it bursts into flames. What a showboat. FS's main henchman elaborates that normally if a werewolf bites you you'll just die, but during the Blood Moon you will become a wolf.

So apparently there are only three more days of the Blood Moon and FS is about to explain how they're going to get rid of the wolf, but the old guy still insists that he already killed the wolf because he is a dummy and his pride is wounded or something. This is why men are the stupidest. So FS is just like “Girl please, the wolf tricked you all into thinking he/she lived in that cave so you wouldn't realize the real truth that he/she LIVES AMONG YOU!” There are gasps all around and everybody starts giving each other side-eye. A disproportionate number of people stare at Valerie.

FS commands his minions to barricade the village so the wolf can't escape and all the local dummies are like “NO YOU CAN'T DO THAT! WE ALREADY KILLED THE WOLF! WE'RE GOING TO GET CRUNK TO CELEBRATE AND YOU CAN GO EAT A FIG FOR ALL I CARE!” FS is just like

He heads outside but first gets up in the old guy's face and is like “Ok whatevs have your party but don't expect a pity party when you realize you are the dumbest!”

The party that night is real weird. People are wearing masks, they're still carrying around the wolf head but have given it some kind of flower crown, and some goons are staging a very manic reenactment of the Three Little Pigs, which seems pretty anachronistic but not NEARLY as much so as the music I think we're supposed to believe is being made by these guys

but is actually being made by this lady

which TBH seems like more or less a marriage of equals.

Some harlot starts sexy dancing all up on Lukas Haas so he runs away into the church. Henry's grandma is still real pissed so she dramatically shuts the windows of her house. Or maybe she just doesn't like the rock music because she's old. Valerie joins her coterie of gal pals. Bella Swan's dad passes out drunk in his own vomit while somebody in a wolf costume pretends to maul him but actually ends up just looking like he's dry-humping him, so Valerie hits him with a big stick.

Her dad wakes up and is like “OOPS sorry! I'll just go sleep it off! You're my good daughter” which is a pretty callous thing to say like 24 hours after your other daughter was eaten! So maybe he knows his wife's dark secret after all. MAYBE HE IS THE WOLF.

Meanwhile, the FS minions are patrolling around the gates. This kid who I assume is supposed to be mentally challenged creeps up to one of them and taps him on the shoulder, whips out some kind of tarot card and LOLs in his face. FS rolls up menaces him away.

Back at the party, the harlot who was dancing up on Lukas Haas is now dancing up on Peter who seems pretty into it. Valerie sees this and basically chugs a beer before going over and retaliating by sexy dancing with her lady friend. Who knew medieval times were so accepting of aggressive pansexual dance-offs? Henry strolls up and is not amused.

He shoves Peter and yells at him for going on the other side of the fork when he said they should stick together, which is something I don't remember happening. Valerie tries to break it up but Henry swats her away and punches Peter in the face. Peter pulls out a knife and is like “DON'T TOUCH MY PRECIOUS VALERIE UH WAIT I MEAN UMMMM I DON'T LIKE HER ANYMORE BUT LEAVE HER ALONE!!” The party is now very awkward.

Valerie goes running after Peter and he's like “DON'T YOU GET IT? I'M TRYING TO MAKE YOU GO AWAY!” but she's just like “ilu 4ever why r u dancing with that harlot u don't even like her!” He tries to make a gross comment about how he doesn't have to like her to want to bone her but his heart is not really in it. She says she knows he feels the same but he points at her bracelet that Henry gave her and is like “I will never be able to give you fancy jewelry so I clearly am not good enough for you!” Classic dilemma. It's very Dan and Serena except less judgmental.

Anyway, she eventually wears him down and they make out against a building. He says “I could eat you up” which is a poor choice of words given the circumstances (and also just in general), but she gets an even bigger lady boner and they move the party inside and onto a convenient pile of hay while WOLF CAM watches them. Oh wait, it's just Henry. UNLESS HENRY IS THE WOLF! Anyway, he pervily watches Peter unlace Valerie's bodice to liberate her heaving bosom or whatever. Nobody pauses for even a moment to wonder if it's really wise to be canoodling on a haystack with a roaring fire just inches away.

Their foreplay is interrupted when some other people come into the house, so they go their separate ways.

The party is still raging and Valerie joins in by walking across hot coals (?) while wearing fake antlers (?) and she is having a GREAT time until a wolf bursts out of a house and knocks down the cocky old wolf-kebab-wielding guy. Everybody runs screaming while FS and his minions come out of the shadows with their hardcore wolf-fighting weapons and tell everybody to go to the church.

Several of the minions get ropes around the wolf's neck but it is SO STRONG that it just tugs on the rope and sends them flying through the air and then starts eating one of the dudes while the others throw things at it. FS yells “GOD IS STRONGER!!!!!” and rides up on his white horse with his seed-blessed Master Sword, prepared to joust this jerk to death. Unfortunately the wolf just goes straight for the horse and FS goes flying.

The wolf runs off and FS surveys the damage, yelling out into the night “I WANT YOU!” Valerie and her ginger friend look on from a balcony, but suddenly it starts shaking so they run away, only to come face to face with the wolf him(her)self.

Then the wolf gets up in Valerie's face and STARTS TALKING! This movie is amazing. It says “Youuuuu cannnnn't escaaaappe froommm meeeee” and she's like “OMG how do you know how to talk?” The wolf says that all that matters is that she can understand him/her. Is this like a parseltongue thing where only Valerie can understand? IT TOTES IS because Ginger Friend is like “What the fuck are you talking about, Valerie?” The wolf snaps at her and then gazes into Valerie's eyes. She whispers “Human eyes, dark brown!” for reasons I can't imagine, and the wolf tells her that it knows her well. It knows that she wants to leave the village, and that they are the same. She's like “UH NO WE ARE NOT YOU ARE A MURDERER” and the wolf is like “Oh yeah, well who killed that bunny, huh? Anyway, if you don't run away with me I will kill everybody starting with your ginger pal!” What a jerk.

Apparently she doesn't care about Ginger Friend that much because she's just like “Whatevs, FS is going to murder the crap out of you.” The wolf is like “PSHAW! He'll be deadsies before you can say 'Wolf's your uncle!' I'll be back to get you before the Blood Moon becomes the normal moon” and then it bounds away over the rooftops as FS and his goons ineffectually shoot silver arrows at it.

As they're heading home, Ginger Friend is like “You were talking to the wolf but all I heard was growls! WTF?” and Valerie tells her not to tell anybody or they'll think she's a witch. 

In the morning, Lukas Haas prays over the corpse of the cocky old guy. He apologizes to FS about how everybody doubted him and had an ill-advised party, and FS says it's the strongest werewolf he's ever seen and must come from a super old bloodline or something. As he walks through the corpse-strewn streets, he says the only way they'll be able to kill it is if they find it in human form and that it has only survived this long by not being obvious. Apparently the signs of a werewolf in human form are isolation, witchcraft, strange behavior and strange smells. And he's going to go through everybody's house to try to find the stinky witchy loner among them.

One of the presumed dead minions starts coughing, and Valerie gives him water. But since he was bitten during the Blood Moon he is living in Werewolf City now so FS stabs him through the heart with the Master Sword, right in front of his own brother! How rude.

Valerie stares across the crowd at Peter, who has dark brown human eyes btw, and gets scared and runs away. He follows her but she won't let him in the house. He tells her that they're in danger and need to leave, and asks her to come away with him. THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT THE WOLF SAID! She tells him she can't come with him.

She turns around and is frightened by the sight of her creepy grandma holding a very furry brown blanket and looking very wolf-like. 

I GET IT, SHE'S CREEPY AND MIGHT BE THE WOLF! She's tending to Valerie's mom, whose face got scratched by the wolf. She looks at Valerie and we discover that she ALSO has dark brown human eyes. Geez, how are they going to ever figure out who the wolf is?

She looks suspiciously at her grandma and tells her that the wolf talked to her. Grandma is like "Well that's creepy that you are the parswolfmouth, but on the bright side, the wolf decided not to eat you. Let's hug!" Mom starts moaning and groaning and Valerie decides the water they have is too bloody and goes to get more.

Ginger Friend refuses to talk to her on the street because of her spooky wolf-talking powers. While she's getting water from the well, Henry walks up and says he saw her getting down with Peter last night and knows she doesn't want him. SO LEAVE HER ALONE YOU PERV! He says he won't force her to marry him and that he's breaking off the engagement. She gives back his bracelet and says she's sorry.

Meanwhile, FS and his bros and going through everybody's stuff trying to find wolf clues.

One of them calls out that he found somebody hiding in the tower. It's Ginger Friend's brother, the mentally challenged kid, perched up in the rafters and looking very freaked out. FS wants to interrogate him because of his strange behavior, saying he communes with demons. For evidence, he pulls out that tarot card that the kid was trying to prank the minion with during the party and says it's proof that he practices witchcraft.

Valerie is like “Uh, I know that kid and he is no werewolf” but FS is just like “You don't know anything, dummy! I thought I knew my werewife but obviously I did not!” The minions pull the kid down from his perch and drag him over to their weird elephant statue. FS is like “HEY WITCH BOY! Who is the wolf? Tell me, or else!” The kid is tweaking pretty hard and won't answer, so he gets thrown INSIDE THE ELEPHANT STATUE and FS lights a fire under it.

FS very calmly talks about how the Romans invented the “roast your prisoner slowly in the stomach of an elephant statue in order to get answers” method and Lukas Haas is like “My mustache and I aren't so sure about this.”

He says the kid can barely talk even under the best circumstances. FS is like “Whatever, he totes worships the devil. I killed my own wife because of God reasons so you better man up if you want to get rid of this wolf.”

Then we get a really gross shot which I had to suffer through and so you also are going to have to suffer through in a second of FS's poorly manicured hands digging through some meat:

Ginger Friend comes in and is like “Can I pay you these few paltry coins to let my brother out of your weird torture chamber?” He laughs in her face, so she says that she can offer more than money and starts undressing. Oh Ginger Friend :(

He laughs in her face AGAIN and is like “GIRL, PLEASE!” so she says “FINE! If you let my brother go I'll give you the name of a witch!” I would say she's a bad friend, but seeing as she did offer to Do It with FS, who is super gross, before betraying Valerie I can't really judge her too harshly.

So now Valerie is handcuffed at the tavern where the whole town has congregated to hear about her witchy ways. Ginger Friend tells everybody that Valerie is a witch because she can climb trees and run faster than the other girls and wears a red cloak. Grandma is like “GIVE ME A BREAK! I made her that cloak!” but FS's minion shushes her by waving a sword in her face. Then Ginger Friend reveals that Valerie can talk to wolves and the jig is SO up.

FS asks Valerie if it's true that she talked to the wolf, and she's like “Yup, pretty much.” How brave! He asks what they talked about and she says the wolf told her that it wouldn't kill anyone if she left with it. FS says that obviously the wolf is somebody in the village who wants her, and asks who that might be. How much time do you have, man? Everybody wants Valerie because she's the pretty one, haven't you heard?

She refuses to say anything, so FS is just like “Whatevs, just give her to the wolf then, problem solved!” Henry is not cool with that, though, saying it's human sacrifice, but his grandma is like “Ehhhh, it's cool. We've all had to make sacrifices at some point.” Whoever wrote this movie has some serious grandma issues.

After this cheerful town meeting, Henry tracks Peter down and is like “I THOUGHT YOU CARED ABOUT VALERIE! WHY DIDN'T YOU SAY ANYTHING!” Peter looks over to where the minions are congregating and is like “I do care but probably drawing attention to how much we love Valerie is not going to be helpful in this situation, you moron.” So Henry says that if Peter is trying to rescue Valerie, he wants to help. This is very Edward and Jacob in Eclipse. Especially because Peter is like “Thanks but no thanks, I'm not that desperate!” Henry says he needs him though because he has tools or something, so they agree to a truce. But they also promise each other that if they find out the other one is the wolf they will decapitate one another. Friendship is beautiful.

Out on the street, Ginger Betrayer is whining to the minions that FS told her he would release her brother and they're like “He did.” She finds his body lying in the middle of a darkened room, having apparently expired in the belly of the elephant.

Valerie is in medieval jail, and her grandma brings her bread and a blanket. She asks if she needs anything else and Valerie shows her a secret shiv hidden in her shoe and is like “I'm good.” The minions apparently did not frisk her, which is SUCH a rookie mistake. Grandma is like “DO NOT stab anybody. We need to find the wolf. It may want you but don't forget, it also ate your sister so I'd personally like for it to die.” Valerie is like “No, grandma, you don't understand. My sister was sooooo sad about my engagement that she gave herself to the wolf so it's TOTALLY fine. No worries.”

An FS minion tells Grandma that time is up, and she hands him the blanket and food for Valerie. He starts eating the apple right in front of her so she knocks it out of his hands. Somebody needs to give the women in this family lessons how to be a lady. For god's sake, it's like they have their own opinions or something!

Peter wheels a wheelbarrow through the streets and comes across Bella Swan's dad. He's like “Yo, future pops! I'm going to rescue your daughter and then I'm going to marry her if that's cool with you!” Bella Swan's dad hugs him, which I suppose counts as a blessing, and asks Peter how he can help.

Meanwhile, Henry is doing something or other with his tools and Valerie's grandma comes by to give him some cookies. They hug, and she thanks him for sticking up for Valerie at the tavern trial. He grabs a cookie and the way they're filming those cookies leads me to believe that they're poisoned. But then she takes a bite too so maybe the filmmakers are so intent on making you think everybody is the wolf that they have hilariously overshot their goal and every single scene is now a red herring.

Anyway, Grandma continues that he really didn't need to stand up for Valerie considering they're not engaged anymore. He says that just because she won't quit playing games with his heart doesn't mean he doesn't care about her. Grandma is like “Oh yeah, cool, that's probs how her sister felt about you! BTW, did you by any chance ask Big Sister to meet you on a wolf night directly resulting in her death?” He's like “R U ACCUSING ME OF MURDER?” and she's like “Nah, of course not. I just want to know the truth.” Apparently a breeze blows through the house at this point because suddenly Henry is like “Wait a sec, I smelled that smell right before my dad got eaten! Do you even remember what you did the night your granddaughter died? J'ACCUSE, BITCH!” She leaves, passing by a confused looking Peter and a spooky looking Henry's grandma who is eerily standing in a dark doorway. She goes home and very dramatically opens a trunk, but we don't get to see what's in it because of suspense.

Back on the street, Henry, Peter and Bella Swan's dad's cool plan is being set in motion. Peter signals to Bella Swan's dad, who is once again boozing in public, and he pulls the stopper out of a barrel of some liquid or other and starts dragging it down the street. Apparently pulling a cart is VERY suspicious behavior because he makes it approximately two yards before a couple of FS minions stop him, and he tries to run away. Unfortunately, they lasso him with their wolf-whips and he falls on his face. He sneers that he hasn't done anything wrong, and they're like “Yeah, ok, drunky. FS doesn't want that witch's family causing any trouble.”

Back in jail, FS brings Valerie her red cloak and says “It's time to put on your harlot's robe.” He spends an inappropriate amount of time fondling her hair with his gross silver fingernails so I'd says that HE is the only harlot in this jail but what do I know, I'm just a lady. He puts a handcuff leash on her and starts leading her away, right as Bella Swan's dad is being thrown in a cell. He tells her he tried his best to protect her and her sister and she says she knows and that he taught her to be strong. He seems more likely to teach her to drink strong drinks, but whatever. It was touching-ish, I guess.

FS makes Valerie put on some weird metal fetish wolf mask and then parades her through the streets with his men. Everybody looks at her and judges her hardcore. She voiceovers something like “What do I even know, maybe everybody is right and I am an evil bitch after all!” I mean, you did kill a bunny. I'm not saying, I'm just saying. FS yells at everybody to go home because I guess his plan is for the wolf to come eat Valerie and they may find it traumatic to watch. Lukas Haas comes up and apologizes and blesses her. I hope he learned his lesson that obsequiousness leads to young girls being put in fetish masks and eaten by wolves!

Her non-ginger friend comes up and tells her that Ginger Friend is sorry and only tattled to save her brother, and Valerie says she forgives her. On her own behalf, non-ginger friend, who is off-the-charts jelly, says “OH BUT BTW, YOU DON'T FOOL ME YOU EVIL JERK! YOU WERE ALWAYS TOO PERFECT AND YOU MISLED US ALL! BURN IN HELL!”

Valerie now takes a moment to remember FS saying that the wolf could be anybody in town, and she thinks about all of the people she knows who have dark brown human eyes, including Lukas Haas, Jelly Friend, both of her parents, Henry's grandma, Peter, Henry, and her own grandma. We have just watched a whole hour of the filmmakers trying to convince us that each of these people is somehow the wolf but I guess we're going to find out soon! Thank god. The suspense has been killing me.

Lukas Haas climbs into an attic where one of the FS minions is sharpening a weapon, while trunks full of other weapons lie around everywhere. FS asks something that I had to listen to four times because his accent is weird and I don't have closed-captioning, but I thinks is “Do you know how you get a town to follow orders?” based mainly on the fact that that makes more sense than what it sounds like, which is “Do you know how you kill the time to foul oats?” But who knows! The answer apparently is “You tie out your best goat and wait.” Which doesn't make sense for either thing so I guess it was a third thing. This movie is already dumb enough without nonsensical/unintelligible dialogue, geez louise. They look outside where Valerie is just hanging out in her creepy mask in the middle of some torches next to the moonface scarecrow. All the minions signal to each other and FS that they're ready for the wolf.

But I BET YOU FORGOT ABOUT THE SECRET SUPERCOOL PLAN that our best buddies Henry, Peter and Bella Swan's dad were executing when Bella Swan's dad got thrown in jail. Apparently whatever leaked out of that barrel earlier was flammable, and Peter puts a torch to it now, so a line of fire springs up in the snow (?) right in front of Valerie. The minions rush to put it out, and Henry creeps out of the shadows in a black hooded cape that goes very nicely with Valerie's red one and tries to get her handcuffs off. Peter goes and sets another fire, possibly in the very haystack on which he was previously attempting to Do It with Valerie, and is caught by a minion. They fight. It's boring.

FS and Lukas Haas head out to help, and FS sees Henry unlocking Valerie's cuffs and orders his minions to shoot him. Lukas is like “GIRL, take it easy! He's not the wolf!” but FS does not give a single fuck. Lukas Haas gives a lot of fucks and tries to run out and stop them so FS straight up stabs him in the back. Lukas falls right next to the flaming haystack of love. 

Luckily this murder takes enough time that Valerie and Henry are able to escape. Peter is not so lucky, though, and FS orders the minions to put him inside the elephant statue, where he screams “VALERIEEEEEEE!” over and over while trying to kick his way out.

Valerie and Henry head to the rendezvous point where Peter was supposed to meet them. When they see that Peter is not there, Valerie is like “Oh HELL no!” and pulls the knife out of her shoe. Henry says “If he doesn't show, I'm gonna take you away.” Poor choice of words, bro! Valerie remembers the wolf saying exactly that same thing to her during their friendly chat and the recollection is making her feel somewhat stabby. He asks if she thinks he's the wolf, and she just stares at him for a minute before they're distracted by a commotion nearby.

She puts away her knife and they head into a building. Valerie says they should go to the church because the wolf can't go there because of Jesus or something, but Henry just gets down on one knee and I'm like “REALLY not the time and place for a proposal but- oh, you're just lifting up her skirt and pulling the knife out of her shoe! Okay...” I think it's supposed to be sexy but it is just creepy. He uses the knife to pry a board out of the wall so they can escape.

They try to run across the town square, which is a really terrific idea because obviously nobody will see them there, and Henry immediately gets shot in the shoulder by a minion with a crossbow. He tells her to go on without him but she's just like “Girl please” and helps him hobble toward the church. Unfortunately, FS is already there. Valerie tries to claim sanctuary but FS is just like "NOPE!" He points the Master Sword at her and has his minions pull Henry inside the gates.

And it looks like we can cross Henry off the wolf list, leaving only 27 other candidates, because the wolf strolls into the town square, casual as you please! FS now decides to throw Valerie in the “Holy Ground” front yard of the church so the wolf can't get to her, and all the minions start shooting.

Waving the Master Sword was very effective at keeping Valerie from getting into the church, but it proves to be less effective at warding off werewolves as we see when the wolf straight up bites off FS's hand. Now you know how your werewife felt, douchebag! The wolf disarms the other minions and then says “Vaaaaaaleerriiiiiiiieeeee. Steeeep acrroosssssss theeee gggaaatteeeee orrrrrrr I'llllll deeesssstrroyyyyy thhhhiiiissss villlaaaaaggeee!” If you want to know what the wolf voice sounds like, it's sort of like Gary Oldman doing the Batman voice and somebody accidentally turned the reverb up really high. It tells her she has until the sun rises to decide, and she says “Welllll, I don't really want you to destroy this village so I guess I'll come with you. You better have good road snacks.”

Henry is like “NOOO MY LOVE DON'T DO IT!” and Ginger Friend steps in front of her, saying she won't let her sacrifice herself. Jelly Friend stands next to her and says she won't either, which definitely makes sense considering her last conversation with Valerie. A bunch of other townsfolk that we don't really care about also join them. The wolf tries to cross the threshold but its paw gets burnt by the power of God, just as the sun starts coming up. It says “You can't hide from me!” and then bounds away.

In case you were wondering if we could cross any other major characters off the wolf suspect list, everybody else in this scene is just an extra. HOW RUDE, MOVIE!

Ginger Friend and Jelly Friend pull Valerie into a group hug which is rudely interrupted by FS, who grabs Valerie and smashes her head against the church wall and she falls to the ground, TOTES unconscious.

One of the minions is like

and knocks FS over. He points out that FS was bitten during a Blood Moon, so it's werewolf o'clock AKA time to die. FS is like “But my children will be orphaned wah wah wah don't do it!” The minion is like “Oh yeah, cool story, remember how you murdered my brother yesterday? He had kids and was also MY BROTHER you asshat so PEACE THE FUCK OUT!” He stabs him in the heart.

Valerie wakes up from her micronap and immediately asks where Peter is. Henry makes the saddest sadface. Then Valerie has some kind of acid flashback where her vision gets all woozy and she sees a vision of her grandma's secret creepy trunk and the next thing she knows, she's in bed with Grandma herself. Grandma's eyes are looking extra creepy and Valerie says, and I am not lying, “Grandmother, what big eyes you have!” That is some serious pot kettle shit right there, Ms. Seyfried. Grandma says “The better to see you with, my dear!” OH MY GOD, JUST LIKE IN THE STORY! They go through it with the ears and teeth, Grandma's voice getting more and more Batman-y by the second, and just after “The better to eat you with, my dear” Valerie wakes up in her own bed next to Ginger Friend. FAKEOUT CITY! I feel so misled.

She goes downstairs and her mom is like “I was sooo super worried about you, let's chat!” but Valerie just grabs her cloak and a basket and says she's going to visit Grandma because she thinks she's in danger. How in any universe is that the message you got from that dream? Whatever.

While she walks out into the town, we get a look at our old friend Elephant Statue, and SURPRISE! It's open!

Valerie goes up to the church gate and kneels down and maybe puts something on the ground or something but they purposely don't show us as though that will somehow make us care. Henry spots her and goes over. He says they're going after the wolf before it snows so much that they can't follow its tracks, and hey don't worry, it'll be super easy to kill it because it's daytime so it will be human! He adds that Peter is still missing, and she tells him to be careful and kisses his cheek. He makes this face:

So Valerie treks off into the woods by herself which is CLASSIC fairytale stuff. Peter comes out of nowhere and is like “Thank god you're alright!” but said very nonchalantly because seriously, this actor has two inflections: nonchalant and “sexy.” Both are very similar. Valerie freaks out when she sees that he's wearing a leather glove on one hand because of how the wolf burned its paw on holiness last night. She asks where he was, and he's like “In the elephant, geez, catch up already!” She points a tiny knife at him and tells him to stay away. He looks at her with his dark brown human eyes and is like “Pffft, whatevs, I know you won't hurt me” and is very surprised when she stabs him!

She runs off, and Peter crouches in a very wolf-like manner behind her. 

We're going to be so surprised when this turns out to be a fakeout and the wolf is actually Bella Swan's dad or something.

She makes it to Grandma's spooky cabin and is like “Yo Grandma where are you? I had a spooky dream!” Grandma calls out from behind a weird curtain that she's fine, and that there's some soup if she's hungry. Valerie has a headache on account of how FS's last act on earth was to smash her head into a building, so maybe she doesn't notice that Grandma's voice is sounding pretty hoarse and also that the soup is THE #1 GROSSEST SOUP EVER TO EXIST.

She says that she thinks the wolf is out there now, and Grandma is like “It's fine, don't worry about it! Just eat my gross soup! All sorrow is less with bread or whatever that weird thing I said earlier was! Callbacks!” Valerie eats and is like “What the f is this shit, like it looks like literal shit!” and you think Grandma is about to spookily emerge from behind the curtain but

It's Bella Swan's dad! IS HE THE WOLF???? WAS I PSYCHIC?????? DID HE EAT GRANDMA???????????????

Valerie is like “What are you doing here?” and he says he had no choice and then shows her his burned hand. I WAS PSYCHIC! I AM A WITCH! PUT ME IN A FETISH MASK AND LEAVE ME NEXT TO THE MOONFACE TO DIE!

He tells her to sit down and then starts to tell her his werewolf origin story. It starts off as whinily as possible, basically like “I can't get any respect around here! I had to settle for being a lowly woodchopper! It's not fair!” So he decided that in order to have the fabulous life he knew he deserved, he would move to the city and take Valerie and her sister with him, but first he would have to turn them into werewolves so he had to wait for the Blood Moon. Since Big Sister was the firstborn, she would get werewolfed first so he creepily wrote a fake love note to his own daughter from the boy who was secretly her half-brother.

So he found Big Sister by the haystacks and tried to explain everything to her, but she couldn't understand him so he was like “UGHHHHHH MY WIFE WAS A FILTHY CHEATER AND YOU ARE NOT MY DAUGHTER PREPARE TO BE EATEN!!!!” But he was real sorry about it afterwards, he swears. You may remember that Valerie's mom got scratched in the face by the wolf at one point, and this was because Bella Swan's dad was SO MAD about the cheating. And he also murdered Henry's dad in that cave because of revenge. IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW. Except not really.

So anyway, Henry smelled Bella Swan's dad's wolf smell the night his father was eaten, and he thought he smelled it again on Grandma but he ACTUALLY smelled Bella Swan's dad, who was creepin' outside because he's a creep. So when Grandma left her “You're the wolf!” “No, you're the wolf!” “Shut your wolf-mouth you smelly wolf asshole!” “LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU, WOLF!” conversation with Henry, she spotted Bella Swan's dad outside and was like “Ohhhh right! I've smelled that smell before! Bella Swan's dad smells just like his father! Better sniff one of his old shirts to be sure!” Because Grandpa was a werewolf too, though somehow she never knew. Anyway, Bella Swan's dad caught her smelling her dead husband's shirt, so he killed her to make sure she wouldn't share his TERRIBLE SECRET. RIP, Grandma! Turns out you were just a really creepy person, after all!

So Bella Swan's dad is like “I loved both Grandma and Big Sister and I never wanted to hurt them, but I had to kill them because of reasons. Sorry! So anyway, let me bite you and let's run away together!” She's like 

He tells her werewolfism is a gift, and that it gets stronger with every generation so together they'll be invincible.

Valerie says “I must be a god, because you're the devil” which makes THE MOST SENSE. Somebody get these guys an Oscar! Bella Swan's dad is like “Welp, ok, but then that actually makes you the devil's daughter, dummy.” And then Peter busts in and is like “WHAT UP PARTY PEOPLE! WOLVES AREN'T SO SCARY IN THE DAYTIME, AM I RIGHT?” But apparently they are because it takes two seconds of hand-to-hand combat before Bella Swan's dad has an axe to Peter's throat. He tosses Peter into another room and his eyes get all wolfy and he starts to go in for the kill, but Valerie stands in the door holding her basket and is like “Wait! I have something for you” and he's like “Ohhh, I love presents!” so he goes toward her to get it when SURPRISE! He gets an axe right in the back courtesy of Peter.

Valerie pulls the cloth off her basket to reveal the severed hand of Father Solomon, complete with gross silver nails, and stabs him with it. And we flash back to Valerie's random trip to the church gate and see that she was just picking up some spare limbs because she was TOTES going to murder Grandma with it, back when she thought she was the wolf because of her acid dream.

She and Peter look at the corpse of Bella Swan's dad and she asks him to take her home. But he's like “Oops, your dad bit me during the Blood Moon! Guess I have to die now!” THIS MOVIE IS SUCH AN EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER!

He runs out into the woods and Valerie chases him, while voiceovering that everything she knew had been ripped apart and how since her sister and grandma and dad are dead and her mom lied to her that one time, Peter was all she had left. What about Ginger Friend and Jelly Friend and Henry? Get it together, Valerie! She goes on and on about how even though she accused him of being the wolf and stabbed him, he totally still came to her rescue so she could probably learn to live with the werewolf thing, right?

So they take a lovely trip to the river with Bella Swan's dad's corpse, which Peter starts cutting up with his bunny-killing knife. He says that if anybody finds out that Bella Swan's dad was the wolf, they'll hang Valerie just for being related to him which is WAY harsh, Tai. So they SEW ROCKS INTO HIS DEAD BODY AND PUT HIM IN THE RIVER. These two are so gross, you guys.

Peter tries to row away, saying that he needs time to learn how to be a domesticated werewolf so he doesn't accidentally eat her in the early days, but she's like “Whatever dude, let's go to the top of a snowy mountain and get naked and Do It on top of my red cape. We will probably not get frostbite or end up with a litter of werewolf cubs, it's totally fine.” Oh wait no, that was actually just Valerie's super dumb fantasy! LOL x1000. She says she'll wait for him and he says “I thought you'd say that!”

Then he rows away and Valerie is SO sad.

She voiceovers that it was the most brutal winter of all time. Her mom realized that Bella Swan's dad was never coming back from wherever it is she thought he went. Henry got super brave and chose a life of riding through the forest on a horse to protect the town. The wolf didn't come back but the townspeople were still super scared and left livestock offerings for it because they are the stupidest. She decided she couldn't live there anymore so she moved into Grandma's house, AKA the place where she recently murdered her own father, and sat around playing thumb pianos and petting adorable black cats. And even though it was kind of scary living in the woods alone, she wasn't really scared, she swears!

So one night she goes out to pick flowers in the moonlight, as one does, and a wolf comes out of the shadows. She makes googly eyes at it, and the credits roll. And at the very end of the credits, a scary wolf face jumps out of the dark which leads me to believe that after Valerie made googly eyes at the wolf, it ate her, which would be the best ending but may be a misreading on my part.

Now, at the end of this masterpiece, if I had to choose three words to capture its essence, they would be: