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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 ya?

8.5/10 detached retinas


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


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 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