You'll often see me open a review of a horror film with some sort of explanation how "a flick can be unoriginal if it has something else going for it," and I sincerely believe that to be the case ... most of the time. But then we have pre-packaged, generic, and painfully predictable premises that keep popping up -- simply because they're easy. The recent "After Dark Originals" title The Task is one such movie. Its hook? A group of truly unlikeable people have been invited to participate in a stupidly unrealistic reality show -- only to find themselves stalked and gutted by a crazed killer.
This paragraph is where I'll often say "Aha, but The Task offer something just a little bit novel or strange or energetic!"
Alas, no. Please consider the previous paragraph non-existent.
Directed by first-timer Alex Orwell with all the creativity his meager budget allows (which means virtually nothing), The Task is as rote and as rudimentary as its premise suggests. When the biggest thrill a horror fan can find is that s/he notices Texas Battle among the cast (because he was in Final Destination 3 and Wrong Turn 2), you're dealing with a pretty inert genre flick.
So the contestants are required to spend a night in a deserted prison that might be scary if "The Task" wasn't lit like a billboard. We meet the players and the contestants, and then it's a pretty long and uneventful slog until we get to the kills, which aren't particularly scary or gruesome or otherwise noteworthy, and then there's an alleged crescendo of some sort, and then you go try to find a better movie to watch.
For all the trumpets they blared for their new line of After Dark "Originals," The Task hardly represents anything original. It feels like an eighth movie that went into production with the money left over from seven other movies. I further assert that the "reality show" horror premise is pretty much played out already. For much better examples of this gimmick, check out My Little Eye or the aforementioned Wrong Turn 2.
This year's batch of After Dark "Originals" are as follows: 51; Fertile Ground; Husk; Prowl; Re-Kill; Scream of the Banshee, Seconds Apart, and The Task.