16 year old Sylvia lives the life of most every teenager in America, dealing with an overprotective father and juggling multiple boyfriends at once, unable to decide on which to make a commitment to. She’s also been a bit sick of late and begins worrying if she hasn’t gotten herself knocked up. After her father finds a used pregnancy test in the trash, he takes her to a remote cabin in the woods where she’s confronted by a woman that lives there about her “problem”. Sylvia thinks it’s nothing more than being questioned on whether she’s pregnant or not, but it’s something much worse than that; her community is the home of a group of women who, over the decades, have contracted a mutated gene that causes them to develop horns. In essence, they become goat women. And isn’t it Sylvia’s lucky day…her father is a carrier of the gene, and her transformation is about to begin.
Marker is the equivalent of a Lifetime “Movie of the Week”, but with goat chicks, cursing, and a splash of gore thrown in for good measure. Take those few elements out, and you’d have your standard, paint-by-numbers coming-of-age tale that you see on the aforementioned network and the Hallmark Movie Channel on a daily basis. That’s not saying it’s a bad thing; if you’re into those types of films, and you also have a penchant for fantasy and a bit of horror, this may tickle your fancy. As a grown man, I’m likely not the target audience for Marker, and I really can’t fault it over what it is.
What I can touch on however are the elements that are universal in all films, like the technical aspects. Marker is shot in a very mundane style, one that you can certainly associate with made-for-TV fare. There’s little done in the way of framing the picture or creating attractive set-pieces to set the mood of the film, and what you’re left with is the story itself, laid out for you in the simplest, plainest way possible. If the plot doesn’t get its hooks into you, there’s little else here that will.
I also didn’t find the protagonist of Sylvia to be very likable. Sure, I realize she’s a teenager and working through the type of growing pains that all teens deal with, but it’s hard to feel sympathetic towards her when she’s cheating on the guy that clearly likes her with the guy that’s obviously using her only for a piece of ass. I too found it odd that the “good” guy she’s seeing is 23, and she’s apparently only 16. Her dad knows this, but doesn’t seem to care very much. The town is also very small, and I could see word getting around quick about this cradle-robbing, but it’s hardly ever touched upon. I suppose worrying about another member of your community turning into a goat is of much greater concern.
I could actually see teenagers and young kids that flocked to the theatres in droves to see Twilight enjoying Marker, but anyone over the age of 16 probably shouldn’t even bother. It’s really not that bad, but it lacks any real substance and there is nothing at work that makes it standout to warrant spending much time with it. In an interview with the website Canuxploitation, director John Paizs pretty much echo’s my sentiments:
“Well, we did it for very little money and on a really short production schedule, and it suffered. It's not a terrible film, but I wasn't able to create any atmosphere. All I really could do was to get the bare bones, and not even all of them.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Marker comes to DVD courtesy of S’More Entertainment. The film is presented in 1.85:1 letterboxed format, and looks okay for the most part. I saw a couple instances of artifacting, but it generally looked vibrant and clear. Audio is available in Dolby Digital 2.0, and aside from being a little soft in spots is just fine. The DVD case claims that a trailer for the film and a “Marker Girls Gallery” is included on the disc, but in actuality the only extra is a gallery consisting of production and publicity shots.
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