Bad Movies Done Right – Fable: Teeth of Beasts

Every week Robert Saucedo shines a spotlight on a movie either so bad it’s good or just downright terrible. Today: Don’t watch this movie. Please.

Let me just get to the point: Fable: Teeth of Beasts is a bad movie.

While you might have guessed that due to the face that it’s being covered in a column named “Bad Movies Done Right,” I don’t want to mince words or side step around facts. Fable: Teeth of Beasts is not just a bad movie, it’s a movie that makes me wish Superman would fly backwards around the world really, really fast and change the past so that the film was never made.

Directed by Sean-Michael Argo (who also contributed the film’s story) and written by David R. Williams and Matt Yeager, Fable: Teeth of Beasts is a movie that desperately wants to be a Neil Gaiman story. Audiences will just desperately want it to be over.

Melentha Blackthorne stars as Lilith Noir, a tough-as-nails freelance crimefighter who patrols the city of Fable, a neo-mystical city that exists in the shadows of the real world. Fable (no relation to Fabletown, the setting of the much, much better comic book Fables by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham) is home to ghosts, witches, incubus and all other manners of nasties. Lilith Noir (can we pretty please have a moratorium on fantasy/horror films with female characters named Lilith?) works with a powerful government entity named The Tower to keep the city’s mystically inclined bad guys in check.

And that, my friends, is the most you’re likely to understand in this mess of a film. There’s some sub-plots about witches using Ouija boards to communicate and taint the real world, a designer drug that’s leading to the deaths of Fable citizens and a rubbery-faced demon who’s going around killing all of Lilith’s friends and co-workers. There’s no need to watch Fable, though, in order to get the experience of having done so. Instead, just drink an ounce of absence; watch Blade Runner, Army of Darkness, Equilibrium and your choice of soft-core ‘80s porn; put your forehead on the end of a baseball bat and run around in a circle for two hours while listening to an audio book recording of William Gibson and than snort a yard long line of cocaine.

I feel sorry for picking on Fable: Teeth of Beasts as the filmmakers clearly put their all into the film. Unfortunately, the filmmakers’ “all” amounts to the enjoyment equivalent of a fart in a crowded elevator.

The movie is jam packed with high-concept ideas that cleverly mix fantasy and science fiction concepts — and then those ideas are promptly beaten with an ugly stick due to the movies hideous visual aesthetic and the filmmakers’ ruinous editing skills.

I rue the day that digital effects became cheap enough for independent filmmakers to play around with them. Filmed in front of a green screen, Fable: Teeth of Beasts has a look best compared to the MySpace photos of a teenager who has just learned how to use Photoshop’s filter features. Certain scenes are almost indecipherable thanks to the crazy amateurish look given to the movie. Even worse, though, is the editing.

Scenes transition from one to the next without warning or skill. It’s almost like the film is being told by an ADD kid constantly being distracted by shiny objects (or Blackthorne’s ultra revealing costume). Worse yet is the sound design. Dialogue goes from being hard to hear or understand to blaringly loud from one scene to the next. Was the movie recorded using a couple of tin cans and a piece of string? Probably not but it sure sounds like it.

The acting in the movie is pretty bad but, compared to the rest of the final product, not worth ranting about for too long. Honestly, you’ll have mentally checked out of the movie long before you tire of the wooden delivery or blank-eyed performances from the film’s lead actors.

The movie shamefully steals from other films or television shows. One character is dressed exactly like Nathan Fillion from Firefly. Another demon looks like he could have been a cosplayer’s attempt to dress like Evil Ash from Army of Darkness — he’s even called a Candarian demon! Even the Necronomicon from the Evil Dead films make an appearance. Maybe the filmmakers were trying to be meta and have the city of Fable be the home to other fictional characters from thoughout filmdom. If that was the case, though, I sure couldn’t tell from beneath all the heavy-handed posturing and groan-worthy “deep” dialogue.

Fable: Teeth of Beasts is a flat-out terrible film — one you shouldn’t even have heard of. My greatest regret in writing this column is not hurting the filmmakers’ feelings (I’m an asshole) — it’s that somebody out there might think this movie sounds like something worth watching if only to goof on.

Please don’t.

I could feel my soul rotting while I watched Fable. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

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