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Exit Humanity

       Stephen McHattie (Pontypool, Shoot 'em Up) just collected a paycheck for grunting his way through a role that would have normally required speaking lines, were anyone but him to play it.....and that is why he is Stephen McHattie. There are some personalities who can do no cinematic wrong, in my eyes, Stephen is one of those select and under appreciated few, it's just too bad he was criminally under utilized in this picture.

     This movie didn't quite turn out to be what I had pictured upon first learning of it. While all the elements that sparked my interest in the first place (civil war era zombie plague, to be specific) were present, I wasn't expecting the "docu-drama"-esque package they ended up being delivered in. It was a bit of a double edged sword for me. On the one hand, the freshness of the docu-drama aesthetic was very welcome, and well executed....but on the other hand, like most docu-dramas, it was a bit hard to feel close to any of the characters due in part to the constant narrative distractions. Most of the protagonists roles are suitably acted, and the non zombie antagonists characters (namely Bill Mosely: Devils Rejects, Rogue River)  are highly entertaining, but mostly for their seemingly illicit drug influenced performances rather than anything they did right in any traditional acting sense. Like I earlier mentioned, the setting is one of the best parts of the film. The gloomy aura of the post Civil War South in winter provides a fantastic backdrop for a zombie outbreak. The story within the setting, however unorthidox it was, still boiled down to the same one used in modern zombie fiction. Man loses family, zombies, man gives up on life, zombies, man finds reason to live, zombies, man finds secondary adversity, zombies, survival, zombies....etc.
   The zombie make-up and gore effects are on par with everything else in this flick, great at times, and a leaving a bit to be desired at others. I only say that because, despite the generally great look of the ghouls, they decided to put a very obviously chalky and non disease/post-mortem occuring substance on a lot of their faces and I found it to be a bit off putting. The gore however, was fine, nothing too special but solidly executed by a clearly professional crew.

    I find this film a bit confusing to put a rating number on, while I find it to be highly recommendable due to it's efforts and successes at originality, I also have a hard time awarding it much more than an average rating because of the general lack of passion it inspired in me to feel as I watched it. Aren't first world problems a bitch?!

6.5/10 detached retinas



   So, Rider Strong (Cabin Fever, Boy meets World) a Paul Walker look alike (Jake Muxworthy)and a Jim Caviezel look alike (Brian Presley) walk into a bar in Mexico.....I dunno if this joke has a punchline, but if it did it'd probably have something to do with them all being Hollywood 'D' listers, or something to that effect.

   All jokes aside, this movie is pretty damn good, despite being a part of the 8 Films To Die For collection, which isn't always filled with terrible films, but when it is.......The three earlier mentioned characters find themselves joined by  a pretty favorable cast of no names, apart from Sean Astin (Encino Man, Lord of The Rings) who plays a role not originally thought by me to be in his wheelhouse. Tobacco chew spitting psychopathic cult follower just doesn't scream Sean Astin to me, but he did a pretty fair job. As did most others in the film. The three main characters are a bit cliched in the way they were written, making them a little bit less sympathetic, but they get the job done without ruining any of the stronger points in the film. The story is loosely based off of a drug cartel kingpin who performed human sacrifices in the name of Satan to further his drug running success, so you can imagine where the story here goes. Good subject matter, although not the most original, aptly handled by the screenwriters, and not too badly handled by the cast.

   I really enjoyed the style in which this film was shot. It really did justice to the desperate, sweaty, hot, bloody and dusty area that is the Mexican American border. The grit and hopelessness of the story came through very well visually, lending the film a degree of evil that it may not have attained without the production.

   The gore in this one is, by far, its most winning aspect. While it's not a full on torture porn, it still has a good amount of those types of scenes. People being liberated of their eyes, scalping, tongue removal and much more. To go along with the more captive and intimate violence is a healthy dose of action movie gore, gun fights and machete battles are strewn everywhere across this hellish Mexican landscape leaving any would be tourists who watch this movie with second and third thoughts.

  This is definitely one of the better, if not second best (behind Frontier[s]) movie associated with the 8 films.... franchise. While it's not re-inventing the wheel, it's doing some fun stuff that is made all the more creepy by its association with actual events.

7/10 detached retinas



  Well, once again the hype machine has struck. And this disappointed reviewer has fallen for their shit yet another time. I've been buzzing in anticipation of this flick for a couple of months now. Finally get the sucker queued up and slowly but surely all remnants of said buzz are slowly washed out of me with each passing moment of this unimaginative and all too cliche waste of time. The film has moments where I regathered hope and interest and thought to myself "Well, maybe if they finish the rest of this picture off strong, they can justify some of these other, more glaring issues." But each time a moment like that arose it was crushed soon thereafter by another, more glaring issue than the past.

   This anthology has a lot of the elements you need to succeed when making a variety platter type film, but they are so disjointed and amateurishly thrown together that it's hard to credit anyone for their creative input. A couple of the early stories were interesting and had a very realistic feel to them. Being a found footage anthology, all of these stories are shot on home video and the first two stories really did a good job of capturing the essence of what the scenario would be like for the person unnecessary story prompt scenes that take you out of the moment or unrealistic camera work. Good gore was in both of these shorts, with a really great creature make-up that will stick with me for awhile. I commend the directors of both of these shorts and wouldn't be adverse to viewing anything else they have to offer. But from there things start going severely downhill.

   The next story is an absolute bomb, terribly acted, shot, written and just plain aggravating. The entire time the camera is freaking out and harsh feedback assaults the ears while the picture cuts in and out.....this could have been forgivable if the premise was interesting, but it wasn' all.

   Following by far the worst story of the film is the strongest story conceptually, a bit weak on visuals, but a good premise. The lead actress of this story is a pretty fun shepherd for this little journey, and despite the purposely confusing ending, it still left an easily swallowed taste for my movie viewing palate.

   Next up we've got the resolution of the host story, which has been going on throughout the film, before and between the other stories. The characters in this do a pretty great job of acting like assholes, so there a bit of justification in their demises, but I really don't even have any idea what the hell happens to them in the end. It's poorly shot, on purpose, but it doesn't make it any more authentic feeling.....just nauseating.

   The final story of the film is about as generic and cliche as has ever been in an anthology style movie. Ghost/exorcism/ jump out scare crap. But by the time we had made it to this point of the movie none of us watching it were invested enough to care that the scares were even going on. There's not much to this story, just a group of guys saving a girl, running....etc. Really weak stuff. And roll credits.

   The true gravity of my disappointment didn't completely hit until a few minutes after the movies end as I went through what I had just seen and weighed the sum of its parts, which didn't add up to much. Even the good moments of this film weren't really good enough for me to recommend this movie to anyone. But that what the hype machine is for. Step 1. throw the most visually striking moments in a trailer. Step 2. get people talking. Step 3. ????? Step 4. PROFIT! Whatever, I guess I'm just bitter.

4/10 detached retinas


Juan of the Dead

   The inevitability of Shaun of the Dead comparisons to this film is almost as certain as gravity, so purely for the sake of avoiding redundancy, I'm going to do my level best to steer clear of any and all unnecessary associations between the films. I feel, as strong as this movie was, it would be a grave injustice to try and make it meet the kinds of successes its nearly perfect British counterpart met.  Juan of the Dead is obviously and defiantly its own film, and anyone disappointed by it's lack of similarity to Shaun.... is completely missing the point.

   From the opening scene of this film on, it is abundantly apparent that the characters in this film are not going to be the usual type of protagonists one may have gotten used to seeing on screen over these last few decades in which the zombie revolution has slowly but surely taken hold. This ragtag band of Cuban heroes are much more prepared for a bloody end through their already unstable and semi desperate lives. Living under the banner of 3rd world communism has given these cats a survivors leg up and enough of a skewed moral compass to be perfectly suited for the environment they are soon to be thrown into. They knock the Zomedy ball out of the park as well, line after lulzy line of goofy, language barrier crossing wit fills this movie to bursting. All of the characters are wildly over the top, but in an endearing and easily relatable way that makes this movie all the more fun to watch.
   Plot wise, there's not a lot of new stuff going on here. You've got a band of survivors on a zombie infested, communist run island. After a few tries to monetarily gain from the situation, they decide it's not worth it and that maybe it's time to get the f**k off of said island. Standard, solid and unapologetic.

  Gore, oh that zombie flick gore, it really is the brightest part of an already glowing genre. This film does nothing to change that, great scenes of limbs flying, jaws ripping, faces being lacerated, torsoes getting crushed are all through this movie, complete with ridiculous action sequences resembling some sort of slapstick Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon hybrid in which these wounds are delivered. All in all, despite some minor CGI issues that really aren't worth getting into, the action, visuals and violence in this film lived up to every other part.
   In closing, I'd like to mention that this film may get a few zombie purists up in arms, as it doesn't always perfectly fit with the exact mold of what a zombie film should and shouldn't do. But I'll tell ya right now, anyone complaining about those aspects of this film is splitting hairs. This movie is a comedy...... a comedy that's chock full to exploding with "Dissident" zombies, but a comedy first and foremost. And a uproariously entertaining one at that. Put any preconceptions you may have about this film aside, open your mind, watch the hell out of it and be all the better for it. Cheers.

8/10 detached retinas


Cinema Dumpster

    It's time for some promotion of one of my other ventures. This is a podcast that myself and a couple of buddies do in which we watch what we hope will be awful movies and then get together to give them a healthy ration of dumping on. If you have some time to spare to listen to three highly unqualified cinematic minds pontificate on the finer points of goofy films, head on over and check it out, it's some pretty silly stuff. Cheers.
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Cold Sweat (Sudor Frio)

   Argentina have solidified themselves, in my mind, as horror movie heavy hitters now that I have witnessed a few of their offerings with the latest of them being the giddily fun Cold Sweat. A perfect showing of old school horror ideals while still throwing in enough current satire and culture to keep this more technology driven generation entertained.

   With the story, the makers meld what resembles a sort of T.C.M. captive torture type of plot with one of modern morality vs. old school values and ideals, and it works flawlessly. References are made to the Argentinian Revolution to create a context as to why the events in this film are taking place making for an element of realism and possibility that many horror films don't strive very hard to attain. Comfortably acted as well, no one in this film stole the show or gave a particularly memorable performance, but the the story is strong enough that you will likely remember them (for more than just their/her exquisite breasts) anyway.

   The violence factor was great.....a little lacking in quantity as I couldn't help feeling that they missed a few golden opportunities to really let the gore faucets flow, but that's probably just me being a gorehound. There was some cool little artistic tweaks they through into this one as well, with a panoramic slow motion explosion that was as visually engaging as any I've ever seen. All around the visualls in this one were good, bordering on great.

   In closing, I'd like to suggest that everybody pick a country at random from the catagories of whatever avenue you use for movie viewing and pick a horror film (or just any film) from that country to watch. I think sometimes we, as Americans, get so used to being spoonfed the crap that the powers that be want us to watch/consume that we forget there are other countries, who haven't sold their souls to money guzzling movie producers, that still strive to make great cinema. argentina is one of those countries, bravo.

7.5/10 detached retinas


The Host

    Monster movies are a far too seldom visited semi-secret pleasure of mine that, were there more quality releases within the genre, I would probably visit more often. This Korean treasure is the example personified of why I have this fascination in the first place. It harkens back to a day where scale models of Tokyo were decimated weekly by a giant lizard with questionable alliances, while adding it's own, more modern, highly entertaining and infinitely better written spin to the mix.

   It had been awhile since the first time I saw this movie, around four or five years I'm going to guess. But I remembered really enjoying it on the first go around, luckily my memory is better than I usually give it credit for, because this one was just as good the second time. This flick has a variety of faces ranging from slapstick comedy to the more serious epic quest inclined "rescue of the innocents" storyline . The characters are all extremely vivid, lovable, engaging and just as varied as you would hope from a movie that goes in as many directions as this one does. And storywise, despite it's resemblance to it's other, less intellectually layered predecessors, it shines... eliminating a small portion of the damage that the SyFy channel has been working so diligently to cast upon the genre.

   I may sound like a flip-flopper when I say that I really liked the CGI in this film *gasp*, I know, it's hard to even say. But considering the genuinely organic feel that they managed to create for this creature, I come away feeling much less dirty for having praised a computer generated monster. The art direction and concept behind said monster were something to behold as well. Asian monster creators take the cake for originality and for thinking "outside of the box". This thing was equal parts salmon, alligator, lamprey, basilisk and orca.....not an easy creature to picture, but once you see this abomination, you'll understand.

   This movie has a little something for everyone, and you don't even have to turn it off when the kids are around, or mom shows up. "Family friendly movies on this review-blog?" you ask. Yea, it's not gonna happen very often.......unless a bunch of monster flicks on par with this one start popping up, which, come to think of it, would not be a bad thing.

8/10 detached retinas



    'Dat Gypsy Magic' just became my new catchphrase. No, It's not a quote from this film, I just couldn't stop saying it whilst watching this movie. Don't know how applicable it'll become to everyday life, but I'm gonna try and make it stick.

     This film is not your average horror film, and it instantly shows. From the very beginning it's confusing as to who the real 'bad guys' are. Pikey justice was theme of this one, but said "justice" is being served to the seemingly innocent protagonist and his ultra protective mother, making for an immense grey area that blankets most of the flick. The plot is a ride, to put it lightly. Scenes of ancient Irish occult and pagan ritualism are all through this one as the "hunters" use it to find the "hunted". A battle of magical wills is waged that won this viewer over with it's seeming realism and dark nature. The casting is great as well, tortured, gritty and lifelike characters populate this film and do wonders for what could have merely been a cheesy cult oriented picture. Not to leave out the filming style, which did more than its fair share for the ambiance of this film, darkening up the joint with a desperate and impoverished feel that resonates straight through until the films end. There are a few unexplained bits as far as the legend and magical practices go that could have been followed up on a bit more to really sell the story, but considering the thickness of some of the Irish accents in this one, I may have never completely understood anyways.

      Violence and make-up, I'll give it a ground rule double, versus a home-run. The violence, by itself, is fantastic.....uber-bloody and viciously realistic. But the make-up on the monster character, or as I like to call it "Chupahulkenstein", was a weird mix of prosthetics and tripped out visual effects, interesting but a bit distracting at the same time. He looked damn cool at times, but others he was blurry and obviously computer altered, taking me out of the movie world they worked so hard to create and into over analyzing critic mode.

      In closing, I'd like to thank Bloody Disgusting for helping to release all these new, original and fun Indie and Foreign horror flicks. And also thank Netflix for picking up what seems to be the bulk of their catalogue. It's making this reviewer one satisfied horror junkie.

7.5/10 detached retinas


The Pack

     They tricked me! I thought this was going to be a French version of your classic pack of biker/werewolves (because that's apparently the only fringe group of people a werewolf can blend in with) chasing a young girl across the countryside. But instead what I got was a movie about some sort of age old curse in which the people whom the earth has swallowed become its bloodsucking, blind, subterranean zombie-like minions and require blood sacrifice to satiate their gore-starved mother Earth. There are some pretty silly and stereotypical bikers in this film, but no werewolves......which, looking back, was just fine by me.

     The premise, as I earlier mentioned, has a certain ancient feel to it, almost the sort of thing fairy tales are based around. But it works well in a modern setting, brought to life by an engaging and easily likable lead character. Her interactions with what appeared to be the French Benicio del Toro and the few other sparsely placed humans throughout this films landscape, are as resembling of the real world as one would expect from a movie about underground dwelling, curse zombie, mutants, and maybe more so.

    The gore is great, although sparse, at first. They don't try to push it and risk losing the audience with unnecessary violence, but when the blood does start flowing, it's in rivers.....not drops. All very well done too; dismemberings, exploding torsos and general zombie-esque carnage is represented, right through until this films twist riddled ending.

    This ones kinda hard to give a number to, considering the sum of its parts seems to be greater than the final product. The math just doesn't add up. I liked this movie, but not as much as my earlier comments in this review may lead one to believe. There was maybe one or two unnamed things keeping me from 'loving' this film, but I've yet to put my finger on 'em.....just thought you should know.

6.5/10 detached retinas


Mum & Dad

   If I was forced to come up with a one word descriptive word to sum up this British torture horror flop, it would be "Ugly". This film tries it level best to make the viewer uncomfortable, and generally succeeds with that. But there seemed to me to be a real lack of any other redeeming elements within the film. If you're going to make torture flicks for a horror market that is currently over saturated with forgettable films, you had better find a way to push the envelope, either by going for the gusto and really shocking your viewers, or by at least writing a highly engaging script. This film failed to do either.

  The concept for this film centers around a "family" that captures, tortures and tries to assimilate new members into their sadistic fold. The family comes complete with a violent and vindictive mother figure, a perverse overweight and mouth breathing father figure, a completely brainwashed and starved for attention sister, a mentally broken and submissive brother along with a few other "siblings" who are sparingly seen throughout the film. These characters have recently come across a new possible addition to the "family" and this film is the story of her struggle to survive. The characters aren't horribly developed, although they are a bit over the top, and maybe even a little uninspired. The real problem with the story is in its lack of structure. The film just seems to be a series of scenarios bent on disturbing the audience rather than being a cohesive or driven tale. Their victim is sympathetic, don't get me wrong, but not enough so to really drive the development of the plot. Once the films climax rolls around, there's more relief felt in knowing this movie is almost over than is felt for the protagonist being free of her torturous bonds.

  The gore was just as dull and uninspired as the rest of this flick. This film has gross out moments, but they all have been seen done far better in other, more moving and genre defining films. Jerking off into a what I think was either a kidney, or maybe a liver....doesn't compare to the 'decapitated head giving head' scene in High Tension. The physical torture the heroine is meant to endure doesn't compare to anything endured by the casts of the Hostel or Saw franchises...much less the what the lead victim in Martyrs is forced to suffer through. There's some semi worthy content here, but not enough to drag this film past anything more than average.

  I was really hoping for a good British horror comedy when I began this film, but was obviously disappointed by the half-assed and all together far too average, borderline torture porn I got. Oh well, I've said it before and will again, many times I'm sure....."they can't all be winners".

5/10 detached retinas


Phase 7

    My girlfriend has been on my case to watch this movie for months now, and I didn't want to. From the description given, it sounded like it was going to be a rip-off of the [rec] movies, and not a very good one at that. But, I've got to give it to Jen (my lovely lady), she picked a winner. This flick is anything but a rip-off. It's funny, endearing, edgy and wildly entertaining.

    It didn't take us getting very far into this movie for me to see how wrong my initial gut feelings were about this film. The characters were immediately relatable and had great on screen chemistry with each other, be they central figures or just passing interactions. And the story, despite its slight similarities to other viral outbreak and quarantine oriented scripts, had plenty of its own moxie to get viewers interested early, and to keep them interested throughout the films progression. It's not a zombie film, so most of the drama between characters is derived from the human reaction in the face of extreme stress and emergency situations. And, comedic relief aside, they did a fantastic job of portraying the cut-throatedness of humanity and the basic breakdowns of social order that one may experience in such a scenario. The comedic elements were fantastic too, a great mix of slapstick and dialogue driven wit that flourished even through the language barrier (this film is Argentinian and was subtitled). All around a great flick from both the plot and acting standpoints.

    The violence was more than satisfactory as well. The lack of any kind of zombie/plague monster characters didn't slow the roll of this one at all, considering the tenants of the quarantined building did a fantastic job of killing each other off without them. Your basic, modern, person versus person violence peppers this one, knife wounds, shotgun blasted bodies and heads and other sorts of well done gore are all through this picture. It doesn't even begin to disappoint from this angle. I just hope that when the shit finally does hit the fan, the people surrounding me, aren't of the same nature as the folks in this one or two of the main characters.

    All I have to say in closing this one out, is 'thank you', to Jen for making me watch this unassuming little Argentinian gem. Sometimes I get so caught up in the fact that everyone seems to be trying to bank on the success of already established films, that I don't give a good film a chance due to the fact it might be a rip-off. Glad we gave this one a shot....finally.

8/10 detached retinas


Devils Playground

   "Parkour Zombies in London" might have been a better title for this English outbreak flick. At the very least naming it that would have cleared up any confusion as to which Devils Playground it was.

    There's virtually no new ideas within this film, everything in it has been done time and time again. But, if originality were a criteria for success in zombie films, then 98 percent of them would fail. This movie does what it does, original or not, fairly well. Good characters, interesting enough dialogue/ human interaction and plenty of interest worthy plot points and twists to keep the viewer engaged for most of this movie. Danny Dyer (Severance, Doghouse, Dead Cert), Jaime Murray (Botched, The Deaths of Ian Stone) head up a cast of memory teasing British B-rates that do the job as well as can be expected. As far as script and star power is concerned, there's not a lot of allure here nor is there any large turn offs.

   Now the zombies are definitely the most remarkable part of this one, but not for any traditional reasons. Their uniqueness lies in that they are born of performance enhancing drug trials gone wrong, making them not only fast and vicious, but prone to unnecessary stunts. As you watch this movie, you will notice, as I did, that the ghouls always seem to take the most athletically challenging route to get to the victims, i.e. vaulting a dumpster they could just run around, or leaping down two flights of stairs, and virtually every time there is a wall around, they choose to do a a footplant or jump kick off of it......All of this is fairly amusing, but given the general seriousness of the rest of the film, it's also very distracting. The make up is generic, at best, featuring your run of the mill overly discolored veins popping out on all of the infected and decent bites and other fiend attack related wounds. The one main disappointment I had with the violence was the feeding piles, usually you find the best gore work within these scenes in zombie films. But this move chose to cop out and cover up all the happenings with the writhings of way too many ghouls. Disappointing.

 This film isn't going to make any converts out of those who don't enjoy zombie horror, but it's not going to too badly disappoint those who already are, either.  All in all, just another movie that's kinda takin' up space.

6/10 detached retinas


Dead Girl

   "From the producers of Hellraiser and Heathers" may not be the least confusing endorsement ever, but it is fitting given the nature of this film. The seemless fusing of a world where teen love and necrophilia can co-exist (even if not all that gracefully) harkens back to bits and pieces of both of the afor mentioned movies while not stealing in the slightest from either.
    I have to say right off the bat, If you're not a fan of sadistic sexual deviance, don't bother watching this film. While there is a clear moral line drawn complete with dire and moving consequences, a lot of the scenes are still very unsettling, rape oriented and just plain twisted. But if you think you're up for it, I strongly suggest you power through this one. It is one of the strongest and most engaging scripts of any of the films I have reviewed thus far. The whole feel of the film is strong, the ambience is solid, the situaltional awarness and realism is top notch and the general look and flow is spot on no matter what emotion is trying to be portrayed. I don't want to get in specifics about the story, because it's a good one that just needs to be watched to be explained, but just haven't seen this story or one like it in a movie before.
    The gore is on par with the rest of the film, telling what needs to be told in a messy but not excessively so, way. Professional wound make-up complete with festering sores that bring the gag reflex to full attention and they don't stop there. The main "monster" as I'll call it endures and doles out some hefty punishment and it's all brought to life (and death) perfectly by the effects team. Solid, professional work.
    While not a movie that you're ever going to show your mom, or girlfriend, or pastor or even your dog, it is a movie that you can show that sicko friend that likes to watch shit that no one else will admit they watch or like, and aren't those really the BEST kinda friends?

8/10 detached retinas


The Dead

    It's too bad people can't get a bit more creative in titling zombie films, I realize that putting some sort of 'the dead' reference in your movies title lets the watcher know that they're in for some flesh eating ghoul action. But at this point, with the myriad of weak zombie films flying at us viewers, something as pedestrian and unoriginal sounding as "The Dead" almost begs to be ignored. Luckily I had seen a trailer for this randomly some time ago, and was interested, otherwise I may not have had the chance to enjoy the pleasure this zombie gem was offering to those curious enough to watch.

   The situation is a familiar one, the dead have come back to gorge on those unlucky enough to still have their lives, what's not familiar is the setting.....Western Africa, and I think that's where this movie garners a good portion of its success from. The combination of a merciless and mindless foe with the unforgiving and barren African savannah/desert make what could have very well been 'just another zombie film' into something very worth watching. But the location is not the only thing this film has going for it. The lack of dialogue (there is some, but it's definitely not a focal point of the film) makes for a much more somber and reflective film than most modern genre films, no unnecessary one liners, no hokey comic relief and a general lack of unsolicited human interaction. Another nice addition to the plot of this one goes back to the location but in a slightly different avenue, it's in western Africa, as I mentioned, which as most of us know is one of the more war ravaged places on the globe, and this film touches on that very subject in a way that gives a sliver of  hope for humanity.

   There's should be nothing remarkable about the zombies in this film, especially now that rabid/rage/sprinter zombies have evolved into the new, more terrifying breed of horde forming undead killers. But there's still something to be said for the slow, relentless, glass eyed denizens of old. And this movie shows what it is, creating virtually make-up-less creatures that still sell the creep factor as good as any frothing rage victim, just in a completely different way. These guys aren't monsters....they're dead people, and they look like dead people, who eat living people by the village-ful with the emotion of a professional poker player and the thousand yard stare of the most ruined of Vietnam vets.

   The violence in this one is great as well, despite the fact there is some CGI scattered throughout. It's classic brutal zombie fodder, but not forced or glorified, just natural, animalistic and unblinking. The reason I give this film a pass for using CGI is that they sparingly use it and when they do it's cleverly hidden and subtle, barely noticeable even. All things that make this guy one happy camper.

  All zombie fans, this is that once a year treat that you may have heard of but weren't too sure about whether or not to watch, do it you'll like it. And to you casual viewers, I'd say give it a watch too, there's a lot of good this film has to offer.

7.5/10 detached retinas


Welcome to the Jungle

  I still haven't been able to come to a definitive stance on the semi-recent outbreak of 'found footage' films. On one hand I love the realism and desperate aura that they create, but on the other, a lot of them seem cheap and the pace at which these types of films are being flung at consumers is a bit overboard. Whatever conclusion I do come to on where I stand on this new genre.... this film isn't going to have a huge impact on it. Not that it was horrible by any means, it just didn't sway me to either side of the argument.

  It starts out like many modern horror films do, with privileged white (although not all Americans) twenty somethings in a third world country on vacation, who then decide, for whatever reason, that merely enjoying the safety of the designated tourist areas isn't enough of a holiday and promptly proceed on an ill prepared shoddily thought out journey into the nearby jungle to meet whatever denizens await. The characters aren't nearly as bad as many associated with this young 'found footage' craze, yea they all still get annoying, but there's a genuine realism to the way they interact that puts what could have been a very generic cast a bit above some of this films counterparts. And the plot, If you haven't figured it out, is centered around cannibals, nothing super original here, but it definitely didn't lose me due to  overplayed-ness.

  The gore factor is excellent, although it takes a good three quarters of the film going by before it really starts spurting. There was definitely homage being paid the original 'found footage' cannibal gem Cannibal Holocaust with one specific scene, I won't get into it, but if you've seen the latter and watch this, you'll know what I'm talking about.

   This movie is definitely entertaining, although I can't give it a great rating due to it's unoriginality and the handheld camera movie overload of late. Give 'er a shot, and don't hesitate to let me know what you think.

6.5/10 detached retinas


The Cottage

   What a treat this movie mas! Riotously funny, generously gory, well written and just plain solid from minute one to minute ninety one. The English know how to do horror comedy as good as any country in the biz, and this movie proves that statement ten-fold.

    This story expertly blends a blunder filled crime caper with a classic cannibal, inbred, rural farmhouse slasher. I know, you're thinking; "Not another Tejas Chainsaw rip-off!". Don't worry, despite it's obvious similarities to the countless other movies trying to cash in on the success of Tobe Hoopers' untouchable masterpiece, there is plenty of originality and redeeming features to this picture. This film has a good cast, starring a few semi-familiar British faces and even including a brief but effective cameo from the legendary Doug Bradley (Hellraiser). The dialogue in this film is brilliantly executed. I have always been a fan of the slapstick side of horror comedies given the fact that it creates a sense of comic realism to these types of films. I mean, let's face it, most of us would be complete bumbling jackasses when faced with the kinds of scenarios that the characters in these movies are subjected to. And this film falls nothing short of a bulls-eye when it comes to this element.

    The gore can sometimes be an afterthought in these movies, but that is not the case here (although it does take them a minute to get to the really good stuff). When the guts start flying though, it doesn't slow down until this movies final brutally funny frame. Variety, quality, quantity and originality (better known as "the big four of gore") are all present and accounted for, and it is a beautiful sight to behold. The one gripe I had with this whole movie was the monster make-up on the villain, while it was fairly well done, it wasn't up to the bar set by the rest of the film. But truthfully it's really a non-issue considering the rest of the films considerable greatness.

    Got a hankering for laughs and lopped off heads? Look no further than this underrated and underexposed British gem.

8.5/10 detached retinas