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  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


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


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


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



   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


[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