There’s a fundamental difference between bad acting and bad actors.
Bad acting is typically the result of poor choices made by the actors and directors. It’s usually a matter of degrees, as when an actor shouts when he should whisper, or plays coy when he should confront his scene partner directly. Bad acting can ruin a scene or a whole movie, but it usually comes from good intentions and some clear artistic motivation, and it can even be interesting in that it gives actors a chance to experiment and fail.
Bad actors, on the other hand, stand out by their inability to use an actor’s tools — voice, body, imagination — to present a coherent action. Their poor performances do not spring from failed experiments, but from lack of talent and failure to prepare for the role. Bad acting can still be entertaining, but bad actors are rarely fun to watch.
Unfortunately, Socket, the latest psycho-sexual gay horror film from writer-director Sean Abley, is littered with the latter.
Lead actor Derek Long is the worst offender. With a grating voice suggestive of Brad Garrett without the comic skill, a body with all the searing sexuality of a cross between Robin Williams and David Hyde Pierce, and a history of starring in softcore gay movies (and one direct-to-video Seagal flick), he’s an odd choice of lead to begin with. But to call his performance wooden would be an insult to plants everywhere. I frequently enjoy looking at trees. Long is just unpleasant.
After being struck by lightning, Long awakes in a hospital bed where hunky intern Matthew Montgomery tells him about an underground club for people who’ve been electrocuted and discovered that they get off on electricity. The two become romantically involved before Long spirals into an electricity obsession that is described in hushed tones but never actually dramatic.
It’s a decent starting point for a horror story, but a weak script, terrible cast, and amateur cinematography render the film unwatchable.
Key Line: “My body wanted something, but it sure wasn’t Gatorade!”