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11/15/2011

Husk



   Cornfields, killer scarecrows, generic characters, predictable story.......I feel like I should hate this movie on principle alone, but I can't. There was something about it that kept me entertained the whole time. Not to say this was a great film by any means, just very watchable.

    Like I said, the story isn't all that creative in general, there are some small aspects of it though that give it a certain degree of legitimacy and individuality, but lets face it, when you've got a bunch of ghost powered zombie scarecrows trying to exact their murderous intentions on a group of very token characters you are not going to win any awards for originality. But the acting redeems a good portion of what the story lacks, once again, not award winning acting by any means, but solid none the less.

    The visual feel of the film was definitely one of the better parts, it was glossy, crisp and professional. Not that a well done gritty B rate production can't be just as good or even better in many cases. But for movies as simple as this, I just like to see whats going on in full HD quality detail.

   Which brings me to the violence, once again (at the risk of sounding like a broken record) good but not quite great. A lot standard of hack and slash stuff, well done, but nothing to scream about. I remain a bit confused as to how the scarecrows inflicted as much damage as they did with only a handful of carpentry nails, but whatever, they got the desired effect.

    Sometimes playing it safe on a movie isn't absolutely horrible, and I think that is whats going on here. Never will this picture blow anyone away, but giving it a watch ain't gonna hurt nothin' either.


6.5/10 detached retinas

11/14/2011

Botched






     Botched is another one of those films that I had the pleasure of going back and watching again because, at the time I first watched it I had not begun reviewing movies yet. I had hoped going into this second watch that it was as good as I remembered, and it answered that question with a resounding YES!

    I've mentioned before what a fine line it is to walk when trying to write a good horror comedy. I may be wrong, the creators of this film make it seem effortless. Stephen Dorff  (Blade, The Gate) leads a mostly unknown but still all-star (at least in my mind) slapstick cast through a tale of robberies gone wrong, murderous Russian cultist weirdos and other general hilarity. The story is completely ridiculous, but it doesn't matter, In fact it adds strength to the script as it creates a lot of room to play with the characters and their situation without losing the audience to unbelievability. And play they do, with characters being murdered mutilated by one of the most hilarious villains I have ever seen. The funny isn't just brought by the villain either, the victims themselves are pretty riotous as well. But, by far the standout roll among them is the security guard......I think I probably will never be able to hear the phrase 'alpha male' again without laughing.

    With all the comedic success this film enjoys one might think going into this that they may have skimped on the violence, well let's just say, one would be wrong. This movie is unrelenting in the splatter department. Miles of entrails, skinnings, beheadings and boatloads of other gory delights are all through out this picture. It really is glorious.

    Get this movie, that's all  I can really say. You're missin' out if you don't


8.5/10 detached retinas

11/04/2011

Prowl



     
    Even though this movie wasn't really all that great, I'd still sit through it a thousand times over before I watched any of the Twilight films even one more time. I say this because I am in absolute opposition to the softening of image and mainstreaming that has been happening to the genre of late. Prowl, despite being poorly executed, at least gave the vampires a piece of their dignity as monsters back, and I commend its creators for that.

   I could tell there was a concerted effort here to have a strong plot, it's just too bad so many of the other factors in the film took away from what could have been a real winner of a vampire flick. Mostly to blame is the acting and dialogue. Nobody really had any on screen chemistry with anyone else for the majority of this film, and the script didn't give them any help with that, throwing awkward lines at the actors and into the works like so many metaphorical wrenches. The story is solid and even bold at points, with some good twists and turns up until the very end where it kind of trails off almost as if they had written themselves into a corner, a corner that seemed pretty easy to write ones self out of, but never the less, that's the feeling I got.

   Gore, yea, it's here and it's decent stuff. Not enough to overcome the films other flaws by any means, but still deserving of its due.

  Bottom line, this movie wasn't that good, and yet somehow I came away from it feeling like the world was a better place for it, because every movie featuring vampires in their rightful monstrous for is a small victory against the mega market Hollywood tragedy that is.... you guessed it......Twilight........Twilight hater much, you ask? You better f**ckin' believe it!


4.5/10 detached retinas

11/01/2011

Heartless




    This is another one of those movies that I feel like I should have liked more than I did. It was both classic and fresh with a story that resembled that of a fairy tale and yet was not tired or overdone at all, it was foreign, well acted for the most part and had really interesting and at times really brutal visuals. But for some reason certain scenes and actions by the characters, mostly the main one, kept rubbing me the wrong way and kept this film from really shining as brightly (or darkly) as it could have.

    I think a big part of my dislike for the main character comes from his over the top view of his own misfortune. Pining away over his disfigurement and how it will keep him from ever attaining love, which considering his affliction is merely a purple discoloration on his eye and shoulder I'm thinking he's better off without any females that would find enough issue with that for it to be a relationship deal breaker. Had he had some sort of real disfigurement like a severely cleft palate, or an abnormal growth on his face or anything a bit more extreme than what he did, I may have had a bit more sympathy for him, but as it stands......I didn't, call me an a**hole but I've known people much worse off than him over the years who weren't half as depressed. BUT, as much of and issue as I took to that, it is about my only real issue with this film, the rest of it is very well done. The story centers around this young and unfortunate fella who lives in a morally decaying version of the U.K. and encounters some fiendish gang types who may be responsible for it. After several encounters with these ghoulish hell raisers (in which one of his mother is killed) he decides,in a rather cliched manner, "to take matters into his own hands" at which time an offer that is just as cliche comes up from a devilish character and.......you guessed it, he can't refuse it, at which point he discovers he's been tricked by the devil (really?!) and is forced to do some unspeakable things. Despite the clicheness of alot of this, these encounters are all organic and entertaining with alot of the characters being very engaging and well developed. And the story does have a certain freshness to it despite the way I may have painted it.

   The violence in this film is kind of a weird entity, seemingly brutal in retrospect and yet it never really got much of a rise from me as I watched it, It all seemed a bit routine and disengaged me at points. But it was quality work nonetheless. It's just a bit strange that a movie included violence at this level and yet all I can remember really being all that gross was the fact the main character was always drooling all over himself.

   I think I may be alone in a lot of my opinions on this one but I'm sticking to my guns on this one. This film had a lot of potential, and a lot of elements of success, but fell way short of anything I can really get behind.


6/10  detached retinas

Red State

 

   "A horror film by Kevin Smith".....whether or not this movie is truly a horror film is up for discussion, but, that being said, based on the subject matter this is one of the more terrifying films I've seen this year.

    I'm thinking Kevin Smith may have missed his calling, after the failures of his last few attempts at comedic and dramatic films, I had chalked him up to being done. Looks to me like he would have had a lot more successful last few years had he jumped on the darker side of things a bit earlier. And he didn't even have to completely abandon his patented wit and knack for dialogue to enjoy that success either. This film almost feels like Coen brothers doing horror because of the expert blending of levity and misery, that along with a perfectly selected cast of individuals who are all fair game as far as life expectancy goes makes this even more shocking and unpredictable......much like, well.....a Coen brothers film (and the presence of John Goodman in the cast does nothing to quell those comparisons). The plot is brilliant, multi layered and very socially applicable dealing with an ultra- right wing 'christian' group that resembles a truly worrisome hybrid of the Branch Davidians and the Westboro Baptist freaks (yea, the "god hates fags" guys but with a literal arsenal) who take 'god's will' into their own hands by capturing and dispatching of gays and other such 'sexual deviants'.  At some point the government gets involved, and the movie kind of takes a turn from the horror side of things and heads more into a government cover-up, bureaucratic war of morals, stand-off type of deal. But at no point does it lose any steam, staying just as brutal and engaging from minute one to minute eighty eight.

   Just as intense and engaging as the plot are the phyical aspects of this film, great ultra realistic violence is all through this film, with people getting offed at a clip that made my head spin. Like i earlier mentioned, no one is safe in this film and when they meet their respective demises there is no apologizing or skirting the issue, Mr. Smith makes damn sure of that.

   If you're into a really smart, super brutal and not traditionally scary film, look no further than this one. I look eagerly foward to Kevins next offering to the genre.


8/10 detached retinas
  

10/26/2011

Before the Fall (3 Dias)



  This is one of those movies I'm very happy to have stumbled across. I could have very easily gone my whole life without knowing this Spanish gem existed. But, thanks to technology, I found it, and loved it.

  The story here is not your classic mindless horror fare, in fact for most of the film, you don't get much of a horror vibe at all from this one. It's not until very late in the film that things get really dark and the terror element creeps in. But don't get me wrong, this film isn't all lolly pops, fairies and carousel rides followed by a bloody ending, It is grim. Interestingly set in a world who's clock is running out due to an impending meteor strike, the desperate last activities of humanity frame the central plot beautifully setting a bleak and hopeless landscape for the characters to dwell in. The central plot itself is a deep and emotional one, dealing with a main character who finds himself lacking a purpose in life and frankly doesn't seem all that broken up about the worlds demise. Ale (main character) is then thrown into the middle of a situation involving his family and their ties to an escaped prisoner that has it out for them due to the fact they were the reason for his incarceration. After certain events occur it is up to him to come out of his depressed, self loathing shell and protect his missing brothers children from this madman. Fantastically written, superbly acted and emotionally engaging, the subtleties of film making were not lost on the creators of this one.

  When it comes to violence there are different ways of creating success in these types of movies, you can get dirty and go for added shock and risk losing a chunk of your audience who may be squeamish, or you can walk the just as tricky tightrope of implying violence and rely on creative camera angles and character performance to make your film scary. This flick does the latter, to perfection. There is violence in this film,don't get me wrong, and what violence there is is very well done, but it's not on the level of some of the French shockers I've reviewed in the past, and yet it still enjoys the same level of success. Kudos to this flicks creators for keeping this gore hound happy without a single disembowelment, skinning, beheading or compound fracture.

 Give this film a watch. It's not that often that movies so closely toeing the horror line are this good and easily enjoyed by all, you don't want to miss em when there here.......do ya?


8.5/10 detached retinas

10/04/2011

Zombies of Mass Destruction



   I've been contemplating watching this movie for quite awhile now. Now that I have, I can't really say whether or not it was worth the wait. There's plenty of good things about this film: good comedy, decent zombie make-up, great mid to low budget gore and a fairly charismatic cast. I'm thinking the only thing that really kept me from liking this picture more than I did was the tired references to terrorists and other Bush era overused terminology. In this post 9/11 world I have become numbly grumpy toward such subjects through their overexposure and abuse. I guess I should have thought about that before watching this, considering how apparent the title makes that association, but truthfully it never really crossed my mind.

  Personal rant aside, this is a solid zombie comedy, definitely achieving the same class status as such genre films as Dead and Breakfast and The Mad, while falling a little bit short of the big dogs such as Shawn of the Dead and Slither. Good casting definitely helps with its success, featuring main characters Tom and Lance (yeah, they sound gay because they are) leading a crew of randoms consisting of some religious zealots, an unjustly persecuted second generation Iranian girl "Frita" and a handful of others, towards what they hope is survival.

   The violence and make-up in this are exactly what you expect and hope for in these types of films. Goofy, bloody, over the top, borderline gross out stuff. All of the content in this aspect of this movie is well done. And the disembowelment via weedwacker scene is certainly the gem of the bunch. Bravo.

   Pay no mind to my small personal issues with this movie and its content, they are my own problems and really don't affect the quality of this film. Solid zombie fun......nuff said.


7/10 detached retinas
  

10/03/2011

Left Bank (Linkeroever)




   Belgium just became a legitimate blip on my radar that I will be paying closer attention to after this seeing this film, They threw a great combo of real life everyday drama in with a twisted and highly engaging element of paganism and human sacrifice.

   This movie is rather slow, mostly due to the real life drama I earlier spoke of, but even though it slows the film down, I can't really complain about its inclusion in the film. It is so well written and acted that despite its seemingly boring exterior it is still very watchable, and the constant presence of creepy individuals and mysterious occurrences breaks up the would be doldrums nicely. The story is one of depression, regret and the need for validation because of years wasted obsessing over things that don't matter ......all of this is woven through a mystery involving disappearances, pagan sacrifices and demonic legend all set in Brussels "left bank" which is basically their version of "the projects" and has been for centuries.

   This film has a really smooth and professional look but with care to keep the images soft and not too sterile, just like most of it's other European counterparts. The gore and make-up (although it takes a good while for them to get around to it) are both A+ quality. The main character gets a knee injury midway through the film that progressively gets worse as the film goes on turning from merely bruised and scraped to some sort of plague/frostbitten looking mess with huge course hairs growing randomly out of it.....it is really pretty disturbing looking. And there is a demon type creature near the end that was very intriguing, I just wish they would have given me a better look at it.

   This is a flick that anyone who doesn't mind reading subtitles (horror fan or not) can get into and enjoy, it's got a good story, great acting and an interesting setting. And it's got something for horror fans too. So there's no excuse for any of y'all to not watch this one.....In fact, I'm expecting everyone that reads this review to write a report on this film and carry it on them at all times until I next see you.....or just e-mail it to me ;)


7/10 detached retinas
  

9/27/2011

Battlefield Baseball




   Or known in some other, more obscure, circles as 'The Mask is a Dick', well, probably not but it seemed appropriate. It'll be hard to put joking aside while trying to write this review, because that is exactly what this movie was, a (really effing funny) joke. An hour and a half trip on the Asian train to goofy town will make some people go nuts quick style, but this guy had a great time!

  I thought going into this that it may just be another rip-off of Shaolin Soccer, but I was far from the truth. this film makes what some may consider the absurd scenes in Shaolin Soccer seem tame in comparison. There's a complete lack of effort to make this anything resembling a traditional film: musical numbers thrown in with ultra goofy and gratuitous gore, people dying only to be brought back to life over and over again and a bizarre setting in which everything important in the script seems to happen in precisely ten minute increments are just the tip of this nut job of a scripts iceberg.

   There's really not a lot I can say about the content of this film that will sound sane on any level, but I can however, strongly promote the watching of it. It is rioutous, unpredictable, assinine and classic all at the same time. If you can deal with the pure lunacy that can be asian culture at times, I suggest you get yourself a copy of this, watch it, and try to avoid foamy or carbonated beverages while doing so.


7/10 detached retinas

9/26/2011

Hells Ground



   I thought this was a freakin' zombie movie! Even though the trailer I watched for this was a good five minutes long, the story was barely less of a mystery to me upon watching this then it was before watching the trailer. But I'm not complaining, despite my being misled into thinking this movie was about the undead, it still entertained me to no end!

  Pakistan, yeah you heard me right,Pakistan is the country responsible for this....this....well I'm not very sure what "this" is, but it's awesome! I guess it's sort of a ripoff of a lot of things, but it isn't annoying because of the culture gap between the makers of this film and most of the films one could say it 'ripped off'. The story feature five young adult-ish Pakistanis on an adventure to go see "the hottest band in Pakistan", on route the get predictably lost and briefly run into some zombie plague victims (the reason I rightfully thought this was a zombie film) but they escape the fiends and continue on their confusing journey. All while speaking English half the time while the other half is subtitled, don't ask me why or how, but it worked. They then get into the meat (no pun intended) of the story after getting more lost. They meet the killer and his lovely family upon stopping to ask for directions...... Like I said, it's sort of a ripoff, It's just the antics, cultural differences and similarities, that make this so watchable. The killer ^^^that guy on the poster^^^ or burqaman (fantastic name b.t.w.) is freaking AWESOME! Apparently he is the product of a widowed mother who decided at some point that he was her daughter and not her son. So at an early age, he was made to dress like a female, and thus a killer was born. Old news, I know, that is how most killers are born you're saying right now......I'm aware of that fact, but it's still awesome so shut up. Also there is a good eco-conscious not so subliminal message around the reason for the zombie outbreak, showing extended scenes of the garbage devastated water supplies in the region and the filthy conditions most in that area are subjected to living in (a truly sad and disturbing note within a tongue in cheek film)

  Apart from the entertainingly and badly acted story, there is still sooooo much good stuff in this movie. The gore is amazing B-rate stuff, grisly, messy, butcher store stuff. When you're killing people with what looks like 45 lbs of morningstar, it's gonna have some splatter effect. The zombies, are classic Romero -esque stuff, but still fun, and their horde even includes a dwarf which is a great addition to any zombie scene/film if you ask this guy. All around grade A... B grade, to say the least.

 Get culturized, if for no other reason than watching your first Pakistani film. And why NOT this one? My guess is ninety percent of the rest of the movies from there aren't even half as entertaining as this one!


8/10 detached retinas

9/19/2011

Inside



   This film made me feel like a 13 year old version of myself, watching a horror movie for the first time. Not to say I was scared, just exhilarated, blown away and almost overwhelmed. This movie was non-stop sensory punishment, in all of the the most successful and asked for ways. Any mothers to be or aspiring to be, my suggestion is that you wait 'til your baby is safely outside of your body to watch this one, otherwise you will not be sleeping for the rest of your term, and we don't want that.

   France..... I don't know what's in the water over there, but they keep killing it over and over and over again, every time I think they have maxed out the potential of the horror genre, they come back with something so above and beyond what I thought possible and completely reprogram the parameters of the genre. Inside is no different, taking what should be a simple and straightforward concept and warping it into something the devil himself would have a hard time stomaching. That's what they (the French) do, when they aren't completely owning original story lines, they take the tired elements from classic horror fare and breathe some sort of cursed and most certainly godforsaken life back into them, and when you get results like this....I am anything but complaining.

   Every character is played to perfection, although apart from the killer no one else really had to do much but get killed, scream, whimper, gurgle and cry. But Beatrice Dalle, the killer, was captivating and disgusting all at once, creating a very intimate nightmare with her psychopathic bedside manner and her oddly maniacal beauty.

   The gore in this film was masterful, and even that is a sad understatement. It's rare that movies that take themselves this seriously throw the sheer volume of gore that this one did at the viewers. But then again, this is not most movies, and I praise every ounce of un-apologized for blood and severed flesh that covered nearly every cubic inch of this set.

   I would love to try and get everyone and their mother to watch this film, but the fact is it is far too intense for the greater portion of society and 99.7 percent of mothers (<true fact I Googled it), but if you do decide to brave it I commend you, for this is a brilliant film!


10/10 detached retinas

Scarce



   I've got to give it to these guys, they take their craft seriously (to the point of seriously injuring themselves), and maybe with time they could be significant contributors to the horror genre. But for now they're a ways off from getting it completely dialed.

   For the first part of this movie I was fairly certain I was gonna hate this film, it screamed "RIPOFF!" from the get go. But as it progressed and I witnessed the physical torture the makers/actors endured in real life (extended and plentiful scenes of them running through the snow and freezing creek beds barefoot and in their skivies) to get this film made I started to come around by way of their commitment. The story is, like I earlier said, a ripoff of any number of cannibal films set in the rural United States, complete with a group of city boys given purposefully bad directions in an effort to get them to an area in which they will be dispatched by said cannibals. Nothing noteworthy there, but I will say that the acting and camaraderie between the group of friends was pretty entertaining, they did a good job of recreating the banter and conversation that most dudes in their age bracket partake in.

  The gore and violence in this film was decent stuff, it got the point across and even induced a shout or two out of me at points mostly via a great shotgun chestsplosion and a few other nicely executed bits of carnage.

  I wouldn't go out of my way to see this one, but if you're wanting to get the jump on viewing the early work of some possibly future big time players in the horror genre, by all means check it out.

6/10 detached retinas
 

9/05/2011

Stag Night




   Boooooorrrrrrrriiiiiiiinnnnnnngggggg. this word was ringing in my head the whole time I was watching this movie. If only I had been in the room when they pitched this to the studio, I'm sure it would have sounded a lot like this:
creators:"Ok, so we have this great idea. So, you know how good The Hills Have Eyes remake did, right?"
studio:"yea"
creators:"Well, we're thinking of stealing that story, changing the setting to a New York subway system, and making it all happen to a bunch of guys at a bachelor party instead of a family, what'dya think?"
studio:"sounds stupid."

   Now, at this point I think that they probably had to go with their ace card because there aren't a whole lot of redeeming points to their "script", and they were quickly losing steam.

creators:"Well, what if we told you that the villains butcher the people they kill and feed em to dogs?"
studio:"...still stupid"
creators:"....and look like Rob Zombie circa 1999?"
studio:"Oh shit.... that might work, he looked f**kin' scary back then!"

  And with that another piece of boring, plagiarised, American cinema dung rolled out of studios and into living rooms and a select amount of theaters nationwide.

3.5/10 detached retinas

Feed




  Gross, that's what this movie was, but in all the right ways. Focusing on humanities depraved sense of sexuality. Bringing to light how the powers that seek to control and censor are usually just as depraved as the ones they seek to stifle. Not quite so in this particular case, but not a far stretch.

  I was enormously impressed with some of the acting in this movie, most of all by the villain who lines consisted of some of the best soundbites I've heard in a long while. While not everything was acting gold, the way the movie plays out makes up for it, and the general bizarreness of the films concept really keeps any acting issues out of the viewers focus.

  This movie was a little hectic in the way it was shot, alot of scenes were cut and pasted together in a semi confusing fashion that, until the end of the film, made it slightly hard to follow, but the end cleared most of the random flashbacks up well. Overall the movie looked good, as good as a movie featuring mostly naked 600 plus pound women can anyways.

  This movie may feel to most like it was created for one reason, to gross the audience out, and it will, there is some really raunchy vomit and piss-stained material in this film. But all of that is just the package that the creators social commentary is wrapped in. I'm not going to tell you what I got out of it, I'm going to leave that for those of you who watch this one to decide. I just think, for a shock based film, this one had a deeper message than most of its counterparts.

  This one needs a bit of a warning prior to recommending, I'd love to tell everyone that they have to see this film, but I have a feeling that a few of you upon watching it may take your disgust out on me at a later date. So, all that being said, I recommend this movie to everyone that thinks they've got the meddle or are at least trying to prove they've got it. Bon appetit


7.5/10 detached retinas

8/31/2011

Trollhunter



  Can anyone say ADVENTURE?! Because that's what this movie boiled down to, pure, monster inspired adventure. Making the absolute most out of a slightly worrisome (at first, for me anyways) PG-13 rating,  trading carnage for suspense set in an epic and very believable world.

   I realized while watching this film that outside of the trolls shown in Lord of the Rings and a few other much less remarkable movies, I really haven't seen very many trolls in cinema before. Which was nice going into this one as it made for a clean slate as to what trolls should look and act like. And I really like the direction they took these creations, there was a certain amount of innocence given to them that made them more of an animal than a monster, lending them a sympathetic light while they still retained their intimidation through their sheer size, animal instincts and strength. And the "science" they used to back up these creatures throughout the film was fascinating, creating an even more believable aura to the film, scientifically explaining legend and myth with an ease rarely seen. The subspecies mapping and categorization was great as well, giving them the ability to create and explore many different animals rather than limiting themselves to one or two. On that same note, they did a fantastic job with the cover-up angle as well, wiping away all reason to complain about why the general public is unaware of these behemoths existence.

   The film is set as a sort of impromptu documentary shot by students who follow our "trollhunter" under the assumption he is a poacher, and are then waist deep in a land they never even knew existed. And everyone plays their part immaculately.

   Now, there are a few minor details that may distract some who watch this film. I know there's a large group of people who aren't fans of the handheld camera films, and the trolls from time to time are obviously CGI, but for me those points became non-issues considering how great the rest of the film was. And personally I don't think this film would have been half as good as it was had it not been shot by handheld.

  Small amounts of blood coupled with the presence of CGI usually makes this guy a not so happy camper, but in the case of this film, I've got to give credit where credit is due. Definitely one of the best monster movies of the last ten years, maybe ever.

9/10 detached retinas
   

8/30/2011

The Violent Kind



    Outlaw bikers, greasers and buckets of blood? I'm thinking a good portion of the people I know and associate with will be fairly intrigued, if not in love with this one. And the plus side is, despite this movies obvious niche marketing it was well funded, and more importantly, well executed.

     Now it seems that this film was looking to cash in on the success that Sons of Anarchy has enjoyed over these last few years, but it does so in a way that's not annoying nor does it really rip anything off, plus by the end of the film you've forgotten, for the most part, that the main characters/victims were even bikers in the first place.

    The cast in this films acting skills ranged anywhere from "good enough" to "phenomenal" hero and villain alike. The greasers especially, their leader was a young Giovanni Ribisi look alike who completely stole the show with his 'giddy at the prospect of the earths violent demise' performance.
    As far as plots go, this one was a winner. Seemingly a possession flick at first, then turning into a captive torture flick....and finally ending with a bizarre turn of events that I'll just say had a certain Hitchcockian element to it. All elements that by themselves aren't all that original, but when successfully fused make for a really entertaining film.

   The Violent Kind doesn't disappoint as far as it's title goes either, bringing the blood and mutilation at every opportunity. And it's all quality stuff, exploded torsos, facial lacerations and the like all done as good as this reviewer could ask for.
    In closing, this is one of the more solid, in the classical horror sense, films I've seen in awhile. I'm thinking that everyone from the casual viewer to the hardcore fans will enjoy this one.


7/10 detached retinas

8/26/2011

Stake Land



  I could taste it, and it tasted so damn good! Right up until the end, this movie had me salivating with its near perfect blending of the post apocalyptic and vampire film genres. Reminding me a good deal of what a mixture of The Road and John Carpenters: Vampires might look like. But there were a few minor issues toward the end of this one that kept it off my all time list.

  Nick Damici plays the quietly charitable and heroic vamp slaying "Mister" and in doing so became one of my favorite post apocalyptic lead men to date. The rest of the cast pulled their weight as well, villains, monsters and survivors alike.

  The story here is well written and inventive, full of commentary on how humanity and religion could (and most likely will) play a large part in how things will unfold once society crumbles. Showing that not only do we need fear the "plague" itself (or whatever catalyst may bring about our end), but also we must fear those who believe that "plague" is their gods will. It made for some highly entertaining story lines and created a world outside of and around what the main characters were dealing with at any moment. At points you could almost forget about the vampires as they became almost a backdrop for the larger issues of human on human violence.

  The vampire make-up was well done, not amazing but welcome considering they looked more like animalistic vamp/zombies than a bunch of stylish pasty faced "dreamboats" for once. The violence was rather hit and miss featuring some great stuff mixed with some no-nos, namely a couple of scenes that had obviously computerized bloodspray, but all in all it was fairly solid stuff.

   The only real issue I had with this film was the break in consistency near the end in which one of the vampires suddenly has reasoning and speech capabilities whereas every other bloodsucker in the film is dumb as rocks and basically frenzied beyond any capabilities of anything resembling revenge. And the Bond villain-esque explanation given was pretty unconvincing.

    Despite the couple of small issues I had with this one, all things considered this was a damn good movie that I would suggest that everyone dedicate an hour and thirty eight minutes of their life to. Adventure, vampires, religious freaks and the apocalypse? duh......

7.5/10 detached retinas

8/23/2011

Hobo with a Shotgun



    I went into watching this film with what I at first thought were high expectations, come to find out I undershot the pure awesomeness that is this film by a wide margin. Every aspect of this movie was seemingly tailor made for the splatter/horror/grindhouse fan that I have become. From the Oscar worthy performance of Rutger Hauer (it's probably a good thing they don't let me vote for those awards), to the oil tanker loads of blood and guts, to the ridiculously spot on retro low budget eighties art direction, and it even included a score that Goblin would have been proud of.

    Rutger Hauer (Blind Fury, Blade Runner), to me, has always been an underrated part of the acting community, and his acting chops show brighter than ever with his portrayal of the endearing title character in this one. With movies like this it's easy to lose an audience's support amidst the all cheesy one liners and campy carnage required of these films. But Hauer brings this character to life with one of the most charismatic and sympathetic revenge movie performances I've seen almost ever. Nailing the homeless hero act with authority. And everyone else in this movie? They don't disappoint either. Everyone in this flick seemed to be on board with and well studied in the fine art of grindhouse picture success, knowing their roles and hitting their cues all in a way that made the cheese factor less of a cheese factor and more of a reality of their world. Also amazing are the "last straw" villains (you know...those dudes villians always call when they're outclassed by the forces they're up against ala Danny Trejo's knife throwing character in Desperado) or "The Plague" as they are called in this one.... a couple of robotic bounty hunter types that just dripped with B-Movie badassness.

   The story is simple: homeless man arrives in town, homeless man tries to blend in, homeless man is repulsed by the abhorrent acts being committed by citizens and police alike, homeless man gets shotgun and takes matters into his own hands. But there were more important parts to this script than just the basic outline. social messages that although subtle, couldn't be ignored....especially with where our country is (and is heading) these days.

    The violence in this film doesn't require a whole lot of introduction, Just know that there is alot of it and Troma films had better watch they're collective asses, because this movie may just have stolen from them the title of best violence in a B-Movie.

    While I realize I may be one of the only people who like this flick as much as I did, it remains to be said that everyone needs to see this film at least once. Cause you all know you're just gonna be curious until ya do!


10/10 detached retinas

8/22/2011

Sutures



   After watching this movie I realized that a lot of horror films could benefit from simplifying their story line, while I applaud writers for applying new ideas most of the time, there is a fine line between originality and just plain over doing it. This film fell into the latter category, with a "twist" filled ending that looked to tie up loose ends that no one could have possibly know existed, or much less even cared about.

   One recognizable face resided within this one, Jason London of Dazed and Confused fame (glad to see he's doing well.....) supported by a not horrible but far from good cast of unrecognizables. And like I earlier mentioned, the story was looking to overachieve and promptly failed. I feel like they should have just embraced their Hostel rip-off aspirations that shown through so glaringly rather than trying to shoot for a shock factor storyline.

    There is however a ton of violence in this film, and what it lacks in quality it makes up for in sheer volume. Mostly all surgery/torture based stuff with side dish of slasher as well, definitely a fun mix that gave this one a couple more ounces of watchability for me.

    Summarizing this one is kind of overkill at this point, I can't bring myself to tell anyone they should watch it, but the same holds true for the opposite. So, I guess ya'll are on your own.


5/10 detached retinas

8/09/2011

[REC] 2



    For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of watching the first film in this series, get out there and do it. It's a great rage style "zombie" flick with some originality and oomph, but beware if you are prone to motion sickness, it's a shaky camera ride from hell.

    And for those of you who have watched the first offering from these Spanish sickos, you are not going to want to miss the second installment. They didn't do away with the helmet/handheld camera element, but that (for once) is most of the basis for the amount of success this film had. The pure adrenaline coursing through this films veins escapes through the screen and gets into the viewers bloodstream.

    The story starts exactly where the last film left off, with a few tough-guy S.W.A.T. officers set to escort a "doctor" into the quarantined apartment building. From there all parties involved are quickly introduced to the fact that they and the rest of humanity are royally screwed if their mission is unsuccessful. The characters are all well played, bringing to the screen a great representation of situational awareness, going from manly military types to psychologically broken wrecks within minutes of realizing the gravity of the scenario.

    Also, this film features a plot twist not really (unless you are really paying close attention at the end) eluded to in the first film, the reason I put "zombies" in quotations earlier in this review. A departure from traditional fiend films that was both fresh and classic all at once. Lets just say religion plays a larger role in this offering than in the first film to avoid spoiler status.

    The violence and make-up in this flick were just as good and quite possibly even better in this film, featuring bloodspray on a scale that puts most genre films to shame. Masterfully executed are the attacks and general grisliness of this one.

    If I had to sum up this film in one word I would have to go with "whiplash" for the breakneck speeds it attains and the car wreck like shocks it portrays. This is one balls out badass horror movie!


8/10 detached retinas

7/29/2011

Bitter Feast



   Critics.... who needs 'em? I sure don't.........wait. No, but seriously, I find a lot of critics (especially food critics) to be pompous blowhards who wouldn't know a good time or a good taste if it punched them in the mouth....literally. I was discussing this with my wonderful female companion last night, why does a food critic get to tell other people what tastes good? Everyone is wired differently, shouldn't taste be relative? As long as the food is safe to eat.....who needs a critic to tell you what to like? To me a critic is there for suggestion purposes only, not to destroy things other people worked hard to create.  Anyways, rant aside, that's what this film is about, revenge on one of those pretentious, know nothing reviewers (heh).

   It's a pretty standard revenge/torture plot that, by way of the specifics, becomes fresh and intriguing. Fantasically acted on all counts, starring James LeGros (one of the surfer dudes from Point Break), Larry Fessenden (Habit, I Sell the Dead ) and a few other unknown but very competent faces. LeGros really brings out a lot of creepy justification, and lends his own brand of pretentious "why, how dare you" attitude to the proceedings that really lent the film a smooth and entertaining finish. And his main victim is equally engaging.

   I don' know where they shot this film, but the country home in which the main character lives and partakes in his "rehabilitation" seminar for our victim is on one of the most beautiful plots of land I've ever seen, made even better by the fact it was beautifully shot.

   And finally the violence, oh man..... This guy (the critic) has a rough, and I mean rough, time. Cast iron skillet burns to the face that after awhile get infected and, well lemme just say he looks like shit. The did a terrific job on his make-up that much is for certain. And all the other violence in the film is top notch too, neck impalement, hand stabbings....all great.

   If you have anything to do with the service industry, watch this film, and if not, watch it anyway. It's superb. bon appetit.


8/10 detached retinas

7/28/2011

Carver: The Slit Mouth Woman



    I think this movie may have been a backward attempt at a Japanese after school special on child abuse. It at least resembled some sort of P.S.A. on that subject, the main issue I had with that association was the lack of obviousness of who was supposed to be being punished for said crimes. So if it's not a vengeful spirit.....then what? No, seriously I really want to know, cause this movie confused the hell out of me.

   It's nice to see that some Japanese movies have surpassed the standard of acting set by the Gojira franchise, even if it's not by a whole lot. I understand that the translation of Japanese spoken word to English subtitle can make for some awkward dialogue but the acting/script problems only got worse from there. Super annoying decisions made by characters coupled with their apparent lack of the essential fight or flight reflex made for some sad laughter.

   The gore was fairly well done along with the make up on "the slit mouth woman". She was pretty brutal to look at with her mouth gaped in a knife induced perma-smile, although I'm still a little confused as to how they made her prosthetic work, but all the same it looked pretty rad. The rest of the violence was fairly tame but not so much as to make the movie any worse than it already was.

  I don't know if it's just my own issue or what, but I find Asian horror fairly hard to watch being as It's so annoyingly (and seemingly purposefully) bizarre, it must just be a culture gap that I haven't fully been able to bridge for myself yet. But if you are a fan of these types of films, check this one out, it's got the makings of what I think most Asian horror connoisseurs would enjoy.

5/10 detached retinas

7/27/2011

H6: Diary of a Serial Killer



   Pay absolutely no attention to the tagline pronouncing this film to be "The Spanish answer to Hostel". Whomever was at fault for that terrible comparison should have their reviewing rights stripped. I kid, but that was a seriously bad association. Something more along the lines of "the Spanish answer to American Psycho" would be much more toward where I would lean with this one.

   Much like American Psycho this film follows the killer and not the victims, who are mostly just circumstantial parts of the film anyways, not really evoking too much emotion in the viewer. Which I'm assuming from the success of this aspect, was the directors point all along. The main character is interesting, engaging and not without his own brand of creepy charm and does a bang up jobs doubling as the films narrator, making for another comparison to the job that Christian Bale did in the earlier mentioned comparative film. But don't let my comparisons turn you off of this film, it most definitely is its own movie, and doesn't even begin to be a ripoff of anything else.....it's just hard these days to make a movie that doesn't, in one way or another, at least slightly resemble something that has already been done.

   There's a certain fascination that is created by the on screen happenings/killings that I haven't been exposed to through other films I have seen. The method in which the main character methodically captures, psychologically and physically tortures, interrogates and then dispatches with his victims felt more like a documentary or lesson in psychology than any horror film I have seen to date. Not to say there isn't some good ol' chainsaw mutilation and messy post kill cleanup. Also, just a warning, there is a fair amount of rape in this film, done as tastefully as an ultra touchy subject as rape can be done, but it's still rape.  

    At the end of this one I can safely say that this was a darn good movie, Enough originality to feel fresh, and enough of a classic story to win over just about any audience. Give this one a gander, methinks you'll like it too.

7/10 detached retinas

7/21/2011

High Lane (Vertige)

 


     Every once in awhile a movie comes along that convinces you to never, ever, do a certain thing. This movie convinced me to NEVER go climbing in the Balkan mountains (or any mountains for that matter) while a member of my party is traveling with any sort of combination of current and ex lovers. Terrible things are bound to happen within that scenario alone, add in the presence of a feral cannibalistic mountain man to that scenario and you've got yourself a recipe for being dead.

    This movie is French, but sadly, the only version they had available on Netflix was dubbed. While it wasn't dubbed too badly, there is still this unavoidable element of separation between vocal emotion and physical emotion that grates ever so slightly especially with a movie as intense as this one. And it was intense, competently and desperately acted by a fine French cast (at least a far as body language went). And the story was solid too, with good elements of man versus nature and man versus crazed killer mixed perfectly together.

    The violence in this film was terrific, just a carnal, uber bloody, maimfest. Absolutely nothing special or out of the ordinary, it all just fit the bill to perfection for what the subject matter of the film pertained to. Well executed simplicity goes over better sometimes than over the top shock value stuff that at times feels forced.

    The long and the short on this one? Go watch it, whomever you are, whatever kinds of horror you like.....I have a feeling most of you who watch this one will like it.


7/10 detached retinas

7/19/2011

Albino Farm



     Sitting through whole movies that only impress on one out of four or five possible levels gets to be a little disheartening at times. This movie had some really well done make-up and effects but failed miserably on so many other points that it made itself fairly hard to recommend.

     Character selection and dialogue to me are key ingredients to the success of any horror film, even when these movies aren't well acted having a few likable characters who don't act like totally unbelievable d-bags the whole time can save you your audience. There were a couple of mutated villagers who did fair jobs at pulling of the creep vibe, but the "good-guys/girls" were all so annoying that it didn't matter much in the long run. And story wise, well lets just say, if you've seen one hillbilly inbred killer movie, you've seen em all.

     Like I earlier mentioned, though, the make-up jobs on a few of the albino farms occupants were exceptional, you could tell the artists took real pride in their creations (too bad for the rest of the film). The violence was so-so featuring some well intended scenes that could have been executed a little better but nothing to really complain about except one particular scene in which the most obnoxious character is finally meeting his demise by what appears like it's going to be a truly breathtaking killshot/maiming, but kind of peters out in a confusing spray of animated blood and disappointment.

     There's not a whole lot of reason to go out of your way to watch this movie unless you've been dying to see wrestling personality Chris Jericho play a giggly, backcountry dwelling, pervert. But I've been known to have differing opinions from some, if not most at times, so feel free to check it out for yourself.

4/10 detached retinas

7/14/2011

ThanksKilling



   When the opening line in a movie is "Nice tits, bitch", you know you're in for some kind of a ride. Albeit short lived (this movie is only an hour and six minutes long) it was an entertainingly goofy ride.

    There's not a whole lot to this film thanks in part to it's tunnel vision storyline, which, if you haven't picked up on it by now, is about a hellspawned vengeful turkey on a 505 year old mission to kill white folks for their crimes against the Native American people. Goofy I know, and even goofier still is the "acting" in this film, it might contain the most deliberately ridiculous dialogue I have sat through to date. But even as I say that, I realize it's part of this films charm. And the character selection for this one, I've mentioned before about "token" characters, this movie may just take the cake.....featuring an all-American quarterback type, a "hot" slut, plain jane "good girl", fat comic relief redneck fella and a socially crippled nerd who for whatever reason decide to take Thankgiving break together ending up as the would be victims of the terrible turkey. The truly saving grace of this film is the hilarious one liners and general wit of the villain, borrowing a bit from Freddy Krueger and the Leprechaun in his apparent joy with murder, but taking a much more gleefully asinine approach.

     Violence wise, this one doesn't disappoint nor does it amaze. Containing your usual low budget horror comedy fodder. Good amounts of guts and generally unrecognizable messy bits.

     If you're looking for a movie to sit point and laugh at (and with) for just over an hour, this is your movie.

6/10 detached retinas

7/13/2011

Cannibal Suburbia



    Australia brings us this blood splattered, low rent, shocker and I have gotta say, I don't know whether to thank or curse them for it. For now I'm going to tentatively stick with thank.

    For some reason this movie is billed as a "black comedy" by some internet personalities, I have no idea what kind of movies those people based their genre descriptions off of but it's nothing short of a horrible description, considering this movie isn't funny. There are definite attempts at humor during the film, but the acting and script are so bad they fall flat on their face..... basically if you want to break it down there is really only one reason to watch this movie......For the shock factor. Considering the lack of a decent story, decent acting or production, why bother otherwise? And there is plenty of it, unlicensed (I'm fairly certain this chick wasn't a doctor) removal of the male genitalia, fecal facials, profuse vomiting, cannibalism, nudity, the works. And it's all done in that gritty low budget style that makes it all the more fun to witness. Somethin' about B-movie shock stuff just gives it a more palatable taste for me, I don't know about you but if I'm going to watch someone liberate a mans penis from him without his permission, said scene being in HD just doesn't lend  itself any credibility.

    This movie is far from what I would call "accessible", and will do a great job itself of weeding out those of you who won't be into it within the films first few minutes. But for those sickos out there that like these types of splatter flicks, give this one a watch, my bet is it'll do do the trick for ya.


6/10 detached retinas

7/07/2011

Rubber



   One of the most astoundingly bizarre, moving and hysterical pieces of cinema I have ever seen. I had little to no idea of what I was preparing to watch as of a couple of hours ago, but as I emerged from this one I felt as if my life has been changed in some microscopic way. Now that last line may have been a (tiny) bit of an overstatement, but this film was pure crazed genius none the less.

   If you haven't seen the trailer yet, allow me to paint a picture of this film for you. A tire wakes up in the desert and begins a journey for a far away audience of which may or may not be involved in the "movie" they are witnessing. On said journey the tire (Robert) acquires the skill of telekinesis with which it blows up small animals and human craniums alike, all the while never uttering a word. There is much, much more to this film but for the sake of not ruining it for you I'll leave the rest for you to discover.

    The blurring of reality lines in this movie was top notch, creating a cerebral playground of sorts. And the narrative/dialogue were a hilarious study in blurriness as well.

    It would be an underwhelming statement to say this films character buildup was perfect, but that's what it was. Anytime you can mesmerize and emotionally connect an audience to a completely nondescript tire for nearly an hour and a half, you've accomplished something few have.

    And to top all these other glowing accolades, the violence is fantastic and gory as hades! A real head-sploding treat, if ya ask me.

   In conclusion, I have a feeling not everyone is going to love this movie as much as I did. But one thing I do know, is that everyone who watches this one will have an opinion on it. I gave you mine, now I want to hear yours......comments welcome.



9/10 detached retinas

7/06/2011

Zombie Farm



    Mexican Americans......fight a lot of voodoo undead? Doesn't quite have the same ring as the classic Cheech and Chong song's original lyrics. And these were some strangely re-though versions of zombies as well.

    This film spent a lot of time building up the characters, who for the most part were fairly endearing, but not enough so to overcome this movies general stupidity. The film starts out promising, but by the end just sort of trips all over itself to the point of genuine annoyance. The story is one of voodoo, spousal abuse with some elements of racial commentary and half-assed romance thrown in to round it out. When dissecting each of the elements on their own you can find plenty of holes, holes that don't get filled once they're combined to complete the film.

   And the whole zombie element, while it's not a complete failure, doesn't create enough draw on it's own to make this a recommendable flick. The creators just took their hybridization of voodoo zombies and the flesh craving undead a little too far. Going as far as to make these fiends impervious even to head shots? Just a bit too much if you ask me.

    The violence is fairly weak also. Not much to be seen, and what is seen is really lacking. Even the zombie feeding mobs disappoint, where you would usually see dismemberment or disembowelment you just see backs of heads and growling poorly made-up zombie sneers.

    This definitely isn't the worst zombie film I've reviewed of late, but it just disappointed me a lot more than the others considering the feeling it gave off during the opening credits. Oh well, It's not as if there's no more zombie films out there left to impress.....maybe next time.
   
   

4/10 detached retinas
 

7/05/2011

Pelt



      Things I learned from this flick; 1. Do not go into the Kentucky hill country and act like an asshole to the locals, or anyone else for that matter, because you will get dealt with in one way or another. 2. Just because the film features slutty looking girls with large breasts, doesn't guarantee you a glimpse of them. 3. When running for your life from a faceless killer, always continue away from said killer.....backtracking for whatever reason just gets you killed. I guess that last one kinda falls under the laws of common sense, but the fact remains, these people did it..... and I now, will not.

     The premise of this film is pretty standard, mean ass bitches and their meatheaded male friends go on a backtracking trek through the Kentucky forest. Meatheads and mean bitches alike get a pop quiz in backwoods survival by some woods dwelling psycho, and promptly fail. The way this one started out I was getting that "they deserve everything that's comin' their way" feeling, but as the movie progressed I started to warm up to one or two of the victims. There's some semi-funny dialogue in this one.....but there is also some of those antics that jocks and their girls possess that I can't stand, but for the most part it's all fairly on point.

     The violence in this film was, sadly, a little understated, but there was still some alright stuff, It just seemed like they were holding back a little to much, given the theme. Just some fairly basic slasher fare. Could have  (and should have) been a lot better/more violence coming from this standpoint.

      Just another fair to middlin' movie with a fair to middlin' cast, fair to middlin' story and fair to middlin' gore. If you're lookin' for something safely entertaining, but slightly boring......this is your movie.


5/10 detached retinas

Dismal




   This movie takes everything that has ever been legitimate about rural cannibal movies and throws it all out the window. Making absolutely no sense from start to finish, as you will soon find out, there is slight template that must be followed if you're going to rip off a genre of films and be successful at it, and when you don't at least play by the few "rules" provided.......you end up with garbage like this.
   Now, if you are going to make a movie about backwoods folks so desperate for sustenance that they have turned to eating human flesh...... do not set it in a freaking SWAMP!  The swamp these cannibals live in is so teeming with wildlife that it makes all the chase scenes for their human "prey" completely ridiculous. And the fact that the killers completely pass on a 12 foot long poached alligator in favor of some screaming little twat was so dumbfounding to me that I literally yelled at the television. But at the same time logic doesn't play a huge role in these types of films......so you look for something else to be entertained by .....except in the case of this movie, there is literally nothing. Animated bloodspray (grrrrrr), CGI explosions, asinine dialogue, terrible acting and generic characters make this crapfest nearly impossible to watch. There are a couple of decent kill scenes but it's a case of too little too late to redeem this films many downfalls.
   The short on this one= don't waste your time.......


2.5/10 detached retinas

Maneater



    Dean Cain is usually a bad selling point if you're trying to get people to take your film seriously. But as this movie showed, there can always be slight exceptions to most every rule. I mean, he can't be all bad all the time.....he did do Lois and Clark......right? <<<nerd out.
    The wrath of the Wendigo, yup...that homicidal Native American spirit of purity and vengeance, is the subject of this film. I'm sure there are more films out there dealing with this mythic beast, but up until now I haven't seen any of them. Despite the fact that I haven't seen this specific creature in film before, there isn't a whole hell-uva lot of originality in this flick. Even the Wendigo itself wasn't all that original, looking a bit like someone dusted off and old Cryptkeeper costume and added glowing eyes and a toothier grin. But what this movie lacks in original thinking is made up for in classic horror fare. Plenty of butchery, blood and boobs grace the screen in this one making it quite a bit easier to swallow than I expected it to be. And the acting, while I wouldn't say it was "good", didn't make me hate the film (once again, despite Dean Cains presence).
     I'm not going to even recommend that anyone watch this movie, but if you happen to run across it and have nothing else better to do, like say, on a hungover saturday.....give 'er a shot.


4.5/10 detached retinas
  

7/01/2011

Night of the Demons (2009)




  Well, this movie may be a bit more Hollywood than the films I usually review, but seeing as I never saw a trailer for it, and most of the actors/actresses in it have been a bit washed up of late, I'll review it anyways.....plus, for an American re-make of an 80's classic, it wasn't half bad.

   Shannon Elizabeth (American pie), a really bloated and unhealthy looking Edward Furlong (Terminator2, American History X) and a few other familiar faces lead a decent cast of characters through this demonic romp.

   For the most part, I hate Americas obsession with ruining classic horror flicks by re-making them, only a few times have they been truly successful in my mind, namely with Dawn of the Dead and Rob Zombie's Halloween re-thinking's. But this film, while it wasn't mind blowing or anything, was a completely acceptable re-do in my eyes. It gave tribute to its predecessors campy theme, while updating the effects in such a way to thoroughly delight most splatter fans. And the demon make-up was top notch to say the least.

   If you've seen the original film and you're wary of this one because of all the remade crap being shoved down our throats these days, don't be. And if you haven't seen the original, this film does it a good amount of justice, check it out.

6.5/10 detached retinas

Beast Within (Virus Undead)



    (the) Beast Within, I found out, is the name of over five or six different books and movies.... which made it hard to find information on this particular film. Plus the fact that it actually goes by the much more easily Google searched moniker of Virus Undead pretty much everywhere besides Netflix, added a whole other element of confusion that (in the long run) this English language German movie was not worthy of. 

    The film starts out fairly well, with a production style that points toward a decent movie. But it didn't take long to figure out that this one was gonna be a stinker. Some of the least sympathy worthy characters in recent memory inhabit this film. I've said this before but this film begs me to say it again, I wanted nothing more than for them to die for pretty much the entire movie. And the element of uneducated "science" concerning their "research" of the zombie virus they try to throw in is laughable in a completely non-funny way. Brutally painful dialogue peppers the length of the script and the explanations and conclusions the characters come to are just as painful.

    The films most successful part, by far, was their make-up work on the zombies. featuring some pretty cool, boil infested and mutant fiends that were pretty fun to witness. And the general violence was decent as well. Plenty of blood and variety in the styles of dispatch.

    Zombie fans, I'd say don't waste your time, but as I know being one myself, you'll probably watch it anyways just for a chance to see some zombie murder despite the amount of garbage you have to wade through to get there.


4.5/10 detached retinas

Them (French)




     There has been a lot of speculation, with no clear answers, over whether or not The Strangers, was a re-make or rip-off of this (French) film. I'm firmly on the side of those who say it wasn't. But, I will not say there aren't plentiful similarities. Once this films conclusion rolls around though, any ideas of plagiarism are firmly squashed, in my eyes.

     I believe that this may be the first film I have reviewed on this blog that actually frightened me a bit, but luckily I had my lovely girlfriend at my side to provide comic relief by way of jumping, screaming and generally being a hilarious, nervous wreck......she is really good at reminding me through her overreactions, that it is just a movie. But back to my point, this movie is scary, much like The Strangers, the randomness and pure malevolence of the crimes lends the film an element of evil that chills to be certain.

    The cast in this one does a marvelous job at portraying pure terror and confusion mixed with a frantic need to survive that really draws the audience to them. The story isn't anything special, but is executed well, with a nice little plot detour at the end to keep you guessing.

    Now, considering there are only two victims/main characters in this film it should suffice to say there is not a whole lot of violence in this film. This one is definitely a movie that scares more through an idea than through gore, but that being said, there is a small amount of convincing and appropriately placed brutality in this one.

    So, I would say that everyone should check this one out, except for the fact that I know (and I'm not naming any names) a few people who just don't deal well with these types of cerebral torture flicks. So if you don't get bothered by these types of films, or you're just feeling froggy.....give it a shot, it's a winner.


7.5/10 detached retinas

6/30/2011

Dead Snow




    This is another one of the movies that I watched before I started this blog that was a must for me to re-watch and review. This is one of those films that only comes around once or twice in a decade, enjoying the same kinds of success comically and creatively as past films like Evil Dead, and Dead Alive. 

    Norway over the past few years has show themselves to be a formidable force in horror cinema giving new life to the tired slasher genre with Cold Prey and doing a bang up job on the zombie front with this gem. I can't wait to see what else this growing pocket of goodness provides us.

    Dealing more in the zombie curse front that your more traditional flesh hungry ghouls gives this film a little room to be creative in their scenarios. Nazi zombies after their cursed gold, prove to be formidable foes, being as they do not need to adhere to some of the "rules" other fiends do, using tools/weapons and reasoning (to a point) make for harsh conditions for our crew of highly entertaining and charismatic victims. That issue along with the fact the film is set in the snowy mountainous regions of Norway make for some slow running, uber-violent and hilarious hi-jinx.

    Speaking of violence, there is anything but a shortage of it in this gorefest, and it is all top quality stuff. Kilometers of intestines, liter upon liter of blood, dismemberment and general carnage get so plentiful at times the camera gets obstructed with the fallout. Some of the scenes seem to be custom tailored just for gore fans, with two of the main characters armed to the teeth for maximum fascist devastation in a Braveheart-esque standoff with thirty plus nazi undead. 
 
    In short, watch this movie, I can't imagine anyone with even the slightest interest in horror films specifically zombie films, who wouldn't get a kick out of it.


9.5/10 detached retinas

6/29/2011

S&Man



     I feel like I've joined some sort of elite club of hyper-underground horror fans by having watched this "documentary". I put documentary in quotes because of the fact that, while it is a documentary, there is an element of fiction thrown in that turns this film into one of the most morbidly fascinating pieces of work I've ever watched.

     The point of this film is to take an in depth look at the works of such super underground sadist filmmakers as Bill Zebub and Fred Vogel of "Toetag Productions", while attempting to find the attraction to movies such as theirs. Interviews with them and their "Scream Queens" (Debbie D.) along with several mental health professionals, search what makes them and their audience tick, and why they think we as a society have the attraction to death and morbidity that we do.

     Now the fiction element comes from the movies interaction with the creator of a series of films called the "S&Man episodes" (Eric), with which the documentaries creator becomes rightfully suspicious of. The awkward creepiness that this character exudes is that of legendary proportions, and his series of films are just as creepy. Leading to an ending that I can only explain as "unparalleled".

     There's plenty of on screen violence, nastiness and plenty of breasts and the sort in this movie, but the better part of it is in clip form harvested from some of the earlier mentioned directors back catalogue for documentary purposes. But the real winning element of the visuals is the amount of simplistic and realistic violence in the S&Man series. The a total lack of glorification of the violence within that series gives it a greasy feeling of dread and sickness that makes the "episodes" feel all the more like "snuff" films and not like movies. Disturbing to say the least.

     Educational, and mind warping......not often you get a two-fer like that, their marriage in this movie is done in a genius way that I haven't  seen to date. I really think any and everyone is doing them self a grave disservice by not watching this movie.


9.5/10 detached retinas

6/27/2011

Recycled Parts



    72 minutes of goofy, B-rate, pseudo psychotic, torture horror is a good way to spend part of your work day, if you're askin' me. Even though this movie was far from anything resembling "good" by traditional standards, it still had enough of the right elements to entertain a cheese enthusiast like me.

    Story you ask? There isn't one, well......almost. Terribly acted, directed and thought out, and even lacking in creativity, bringing to light memories of such films as Re-Animator, and The Human Centipede while not cashing in on the charm of the former nor the deranged ideology of the latter. But somehow it still created a bit of it's own charm, mostly through the main villains mentally handicapped assistant.

    There is a sizable amount of decently done violence in this movie. Featuring all the types of scenes you would expect from a surgery based torture horror film. Organ removal, amputations and the like are all here, and done as well as one would expect from a movie of this caliber.

    This movie would probably make the larger percent of you who read this blog turn it off no more than twenty minutes into it. But there are the few of us, and you know who you are, who like these kind of sloppy little pictures.....for those of you who do, give it a shot............as for everyone else, I'd say skip it.


5/10 detached retinas

Bloody Reunion



    I wish Asian languages translated better into English, or that maybe someone with a better understanding of both of the languages did the translations, because I'm getting tired of not understanding whats going on half the time. Admittedly Korean horror films aren't super easy to follow even when translated correctly, but still, why make it even more confusing?

    This flick starts out fairly slowly in order to set up the tension and motive properly, and then it is ON! Twisted kill scenes and stomach turning torture sequences that only Asian cinema has had the cajones to release before clutter the bulk of the second half, giving way to a twist that gave me a headache at the end. It's not that I didn't get the gist of it, because I did, I just didn't understand why it was necessary. It actually made the rest of the earlier mentioned torture scenes and generally brutal feel of the movie seem to be for naught. It's too bad as well, because overall, ending aside, I really liked this movie, It looked great, had great horror, engaging characters and enough blood to drown an army of vampires. It just finished of with a foul tasting confused whisper and not the bloodsoaked explosion I was anticipating. Oh, well these are the brakes of Asian moviemaking.

6/10 detached retinas

6/24/2011

SL8N8 (Slaughter Night)



    Danish satanic slashers that promise wheel barrels full of gore, that's something I've got to check out every time. It took me a week to finally finish this one, but I got 'er did. Don't ask me why it took me that long, because I've got no real reason. This movie was pretty effin' good.

    Every once in a while I think, while I watch these types of movies, about climbing through the screen and asking the dumbass occupants of the world inside; Why would you DO that? Have you not seen a freakin' horror movie before? You're asking to get yourself killed! I mean, yeah, I get that your dad died as an indirect result of his studies of this turn of the century satanic dude and you want to get to the bottom of what's going on, but tryin' to be Nancy Drew in these kinda situations is a recipe for disaster and more often than not....dismemberment. But then I realize in that same breath, we wouldn't have ninety percent of the horror movies that are out there if the characters within made smart and life saving choices.

    To be totally serious though, this movie has a decent story that, when handled by the semi cliche but still quality crew of actors in this one, is fairly potent.

    Violence...... there is a ton of it, through the films second half. Which may (or may not) be the reason it took me awhile to finish this one. Once the violence finally does start, hold on, because it's a ride. Beheadings seem to be the killer, or killers, favorite method of dispatch, but there is plenty of other (extremely well done) killing methods utilized within this film.

    Glad I didn't give up on this one, not that it ever really gave me a reason to. I think i just have attention span issues from time to time......Anyways, If you like gory foreign slashers, don't hesitate to give this one a whirl.

7/10 detached retinas

6/23/2011

Wild Country



   "Man Bear Pig Goes to Scotland" would have been a much more appropriate title for this movie. This one is an hour and thirteen minutes of goofy, bloody and hard to decipher wackiness.

   Out of all the English speaking countries it's a toss up between the South Africans and the Scots for who has the hardest to understand accents, with the Scots coming out a nose or so ahead. I really could have done with some subtitles at points during this movie, but being as it wasn't all that in depth of a story anyways, I made do. The story is pretty simple through most of the film Large beasts on the prowl for some unaware kids on a holiday, but the ending........oh, the ending. So stupid, yet so funny, and a little confusing as well. It doesn't hurt the film at all, it's just bizarre.

   Set in the hill country of Scotland, this one has a smooth production and doesn't stray too far from most of it's European counterparts in cinematic quality. The kill shots, at points, are something to shout over with some really great creature on human savagery to behold. It did get hard to see from time to time during some of the night scenes, but I'm going to blame the better part of that on the computer screen I watched it on.

   So if you lookin' for some ear squintingly, bloody, fun stuff to wrap your eyes around, look no further than this little gore parade.


7/10 detached retinas