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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
(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
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