How the mighty have fallen. Matthew Lillard, once a Hollywood hopeful, is forced to play a really bad game of “whodunit” in a screenplay reminiscent of Scream, one of his earlier works. Unfortunately, Messages Deleted just isn’t in the same league. You’ll probably guess the killer within moments of his/her introduction.
PLOT: A screenwriting teacher is forced to live out the plot of a screenplay idea he stole from a student, who now seeks revenge.
DIRECTOR: Rob Cowan
CAST: Matthew Lillard, Deborah Kara Unger and Gina Holden
AGE RESTRICTION: 13 (Violence and language)
Like Scream before it, the characters in Message Deleted somehow seem just a little too self-aware. Lillard, plays a failed screenwriter (Joel Brandt) who teaches classes in screenwriting, who often makes comments regarding plot holes and poor writing techniques. Ironically, the film falls victim to the very same techniques it mocks throughout the movie. Whether this is purposely done or not doesn’t matter because you’ll be highly irritated by the end of it all.
Joel receives a quivering voice on his answering machine begging him to answer. Thinking it’s a prank, he then deletes the message. When the caller is later found dead he becomes the prime suspect. The murders and phone calls continue until he realizes that he has become a victim of his very own screenplay. Who could possibly be behind all the killings? No one knows. Thankfully one of his college students believes he is innocent and together they play Scooby-Doo mystery games to discover the cryptic truth.
Lillard shouldn’t be acting in movies like this. How does an actor go from a leading role in Love’s Labour’s Lost to a dreadful performance in one of the most dull thriller movies of 2011? Here is a rotten tomato for your efforts!