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Cat's Eye (1985)
I love anothology horror films, and I've wanted to watch this one for a long time. After picking up several damaged, un-watchable copies I finally found one that worked. So how is it? It's not fantastic, but it's a pretty fun little flick. The sad thing is, there's only one thing holding it back from being better, and that's the final segement. The first two stories are great. They're very serious faced, often psychological pieces of horror that are firmly rooted in reality. The final segement on the other hand dives completely into utter fantasy. Which is fine in theory, seeing as it's the finale of the film, but it was handled entirely wrong. See, being that the other two stories are fairly frightening and suspenseful, the last is a bit funny to be true. It's too light-hearted and it ruins the tone of the film. It's not awful, but it feels completely out of place and it's not the least bit scary. Still, this one is worth watching, and it's an enjoyable flick. Not a bad way to start of a new year of fright. ;)
I decided to give this one a chance, seeing as it caught my attention some time ago. I went into it not knowing much about the plot, and I'd say that's the best way to watch it, seeing as this film is quite a head-twister. And it's actually pretty scary and suspenseful. I was on my toes, and pretty un-nerved until the ending. That being said, this is not a perfect film. The camera work is utter crap, the editing is uber-sloppy and the ending feels cheap. It's not really something I'd reccomend, but it did it's job admirably and there are much worse ways to spend a few hours.
What can I say? I love Kevin Smith. I'll admit the guy hasn't made a good movie in years, but a true fan always hopes. And the premise of this film is brilliant. It's wacky, unconventional and just the kind of thing you could see a director like Smith pulling off. Sadly, this is still not a triumphant return for him. The film's biggest problem is it's un-even atmosphere. Sometimes it feels like a Tarantino film. While that may be dandy for others, it isn't for me. I don't enjoy watching films that constantly feel like they're in the middle of an identity crisis. This film goes from being fairly disturbing, to laugh out loud funny, then snaps back to a totally surreal crapstorm and ends in a tonally confused sputter. It's sad, because there are glimpses of brilliance here and there, and this film could have been so much better. The best aspect is easily the acting. Justin Long delivers quite possibly his best performance yet, Michael Parks is great as the unhinged maniac and Johnny Depp totally steals the spotlight in every scene he's in. This film is worthwhile watching just to see what a "Human Walrus" movie turns out like, but Smith still isn't back on top of his game yet.
As Above, So Below (2014)
I know it's stupid to put your faith in an Oren Peli production but I really had high hopes for this one. And while it's not AWFUL, it's not very good either. It starts out pretty good. The opening scene is well directed, and sets the stage excellently. The film's attention to detail and ancient history is also fascinating and keeps the viewer engrossed. It also takes a while for the outright "horror" stuff to begin. The sets and locations keep things creepy though, and for awhile it almost feels like you're watching an Indiana Jones flick. Sadly, once scary things begin happening the film takes a nose-dive. Indeed, the cliched jump-scares, stupid character desicions and ominious noises start kicking in and the whole thing begins feeling like all the other generic big-studio horror flicks we've seen in the last few years. While arrogant protagonists are common-place in the genre the lead character here is so stupid that it's not funny. Don't get me wrong. She's a likeable character, but her overly driven sense is a little off the wall. Even the dumbest characters from all the horror movies last year put together don't make as many plainly idiotic descions as this girl. There's a few creative scenes, but most of them were shown in the trailers, and the rest just isn't good enough. I suppose you could do alot worse with a few hours of your time, but you could do so much better.
The Evil Dead (1981) (1983)
This one has been sitting in my collection for a long time, and I finally got around to watching it. And yes, I'm going to say it. This film is really overrated. I'm not saying that to sound cool or hip, it just really isn't that utterly fantastic. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad horror film, but it has a number of serious problems. The biggest beef being a total lack of character development. We learn almost absolutely nothing about the main characters. They feel as much like strangers at the end as they do at the begining. We even only learn that certain characters are related to others once their dead. This causes alot of otherwise brutal scenes to lose their punch, seeing as we just don't care about most of these people. Bruce Campbell is likeable only because of the Harrison Ford style charm he brings to his role. But it's not like he even has very many legitimate speaking lines to work with. This is a bone-dry script. Also, I understand how low-budget this film was, but that's not an excuse for how downright ugly this film looks at times. I'm not talking about the blood & guts, I'm talking about the horrible cinematography. That's not to say this isn't a worthwhile film. It's not original or well put together, but it works as brainless horror entertainment. It doesn't always hit it's marks even then, but it's a decent film. And it's pretty cool when the effects go full tilt at the end. I'm just baffled that such an average film is so renowned. I guess this just isn't my thing.
The Gate (1987)
I watched this film once before, and wasn't very impressed with it. However, I felt that I should give it another chance and as expected, I enjoyed it much more this time around. This is not a perfect film by any means, but it's so much fun that almost all the problems are overlookable. I wish there were more films like this nowdays, that aren't afraid to aspire to be nothing but a purely fun genre film. The effects are cheesy, but they still look more believable than most of the CGI crap you'll find in today's horror films. And the film can get hammy here and there, but it's not trying to be anything other than dumb fun. It'd make a great first horror film for the kiddies as well, seeing as it stars children and even emits a Spielbergian auora from time to time. But it's not so watered-down and kid-friendly that adults can't enjoy it either. A great film to just kick back, relax and enjoy some good old-fahsioned 80's horror style fun with.
Knights of Badassdom (2014)
This film looked like alot of fun and at the end of the day that's all it is. A great film to kick-back with some fellow horror buddies, load up on pizza and have fun with. It's funny, at times quite bad-arse and purely campy. It also features a great cast, which is part of why the film works as well as it does. Ryan Kwanten, Steve Zahn, Peter Dinklage, Summer Glau, Jimmy Simpson...even the supporting actors are perfect for their roles. A film like this hinges on it's cast, and this one worked splendidly. Unfortunately not everything works. Some parts of the film are just way to cheesy to work and the special effects really weign in some places. Especially the ending, which features a pretty fake-looking monster. But I do have to applaud the director for not using CGI and actually attempting to put some soul into the effects. It's not a complete home-run and it will never be confused for high art, but it is fun, funny entertainment. Sometimes that's enough.
Ghost Ship (2002)
What is up with these Dark Castle ghost movies with the dumb twist endings? Why can't this studio produce a film with a good ending to save their lives? Besides the incredibly cheesy ending this isn't that bad of a film. It has it's moments and if it had been more well rounded-out it would've at least been average, but as it stands it's simply un-satisfying. Not really worth looking at, but you should at least look the opening scene up online. It's simply awesome, and almost makes the film worth renting just to see. If only the rest had been as good.
The Orphanage (2007)
After being somewhat dissapointed with one of Guillemoro's other Spanish films, Pan's Labyrinth, I steered clear of this one for a while. But after enjoying some of his American endeavors I decided to give this one a try. And although it's certainly a good film, it's not a "MASTERPIECE!" as everyone claims it is. Maybe it's just me, but this film just didn't satisfy me. It's not very original, as it borrows elements from a plethora of American films ranging from Friday The 13th to Poltergeist, and feels more like a thriller than a straight-up horror picture. But when it comes down to it, there's not alot of things that are really wrong with the film. It's engaging, the script is good as is the acting and the cinematography is absolutely gorgeous. There's a few really intense scenes, and it ends on a beautifully emotional note. It's defintely worth seeing, but something about it just didn't completely win me over.
I've eagerly awaited this film for months for several reasons. It's based on a book written by Stephen King's son for one thing, stars Daniel Radcliffe and just looked amazing. And this is a pretty great film. It's unlike anything Alexandre Aja has ever directed before, and unlike anything you will ever see. The plot really is quite genious and disturbing. The film has a thick auroa of jet-black comedy. But it juggles between the serious stuff and the more toungue in cheek aspects pretty well. The acting is especially strong, and this role certainly breaks Radcliffe from the "Harry Potter" image and finally shows his true acting chops. He gives a phenomanal performance here. Really, everyone does. Even the supporting cast and bit parts are filled with familiar faces, and they all NAIL their roles. But all in all, even though I was thoroughly engrossed in the film, it just didn't totally work for me. I'd defintely reccomed it, however. And perhaps a few more opprotunities to view it would better help me gather my thoughts on the whole thing. This really is a good picture, and all horror fans should defintely check it out.
It's funny. I am not a fan of The Blair Witch Project at all, but I've enjoyed everything else I've seen from Eduardo Sanchez . I honestly think he's one of our generation's most underrated horror film-makers and this little flick is no exception. POV films about Bigfoot have been in abundance for a few years now, but most of them have been extremely low-budget and either very campy or purely awful. Exists seperates itself from the pack as the first great POV film about the topic for several reasons. First being that it understands that it is nessacary for the audience to actually SEE a Bigfoot in a film about Bigfoot. And this film did it right, it shows just enough glimpses throughout the duration of the film, and goes full force at the end. Thankfully the effects are pretty good, and the creature is actually very menacing. Which is a mean feet for a Bigfoot movie. The noises the monster admits are bone-chilling enough by theirselves to send one into a corner. There's some good suspense scenes, the acting is decent, the characters are loveable and it's just a solid little horror flick. Very pleasently suprised by this one.
Dracula Untold (2014)
I always appreciate a new spin on the Dracula mythology, so I've been cautiously excited to get my hands on this film. It is, however, a big-budget, big-studio horror flick so I kept my expectations in check. Luckily, this film turned out pretty good for the most part. It tells the story of everyone's favorite bloodsucker in a way that's never been told before, the effects are shockingly pretty good and the film looks absolutely gorgeous. Themes of betrayal, war and honor are all well intergrated into the film as well, making it a fairly engaging watch. There's some pretty intense scenes, and Luke Evans was a suprisingly good choice for the role of Dracula. He's no Gary Oldman, but he gives a fine performance here. Sadly, those looking for straight-up horror will be dissapointed. This film feels more like a big-budget action epic than anything else. Ocassionaly the film slows down to allow more frightening and suspenseful scenes, but it basically moves at pretty fast clip. And after you see Luke Evans turn into a cloud of Vampire Bats for the hundreth time it kind of loses it's effect. Luckily the emotional arcs push the story forward, even when things begin to grow stale. The film's biggest problem is it's ending, which transports things to present day. It's lame, out of place and forced. It feels like it's just a way to set up a sequel that I hope never happens. As well as to introduce Mina into the script, SOMEWHERE. If you're a Dracula fan, looking for a fresh, fairly entertaining spin on the story however, there's enough here to keep you interested. Worth a watch, but not anything amazing.
Life After Beth (2014)
This one looked like it could be a cute little horror-comedy, but it turned out to be almost nothing like I expected. This film has a very black sense of humor, and isn't really laugh-out-loud funny that often. It also isn't quite as simple as it's trailer suggests. But whatever the reason it just didn't work. For one thing, director Jeff Baena didn't properly excute alot of the film. The whole thing would probably be alot funnier and more enjoyable except that this is an exceedingly bland motion picture. The cinematography is downright ugly, everything pretty much looks grey and green and the spastic "indie" camera seems to be ripped right out of a Duplass brothers film. Thus the film just feels like a mis-handled opprotunity. Or perhaps the bleekness and ordinary atmosphere were the director's intention. That's hard to believe though, when dealing with a film that's so obviously trying to be funny. The only thing that can't be faulted about the film and the only thing that keeps it from being awful is the acting. There's a great cast here consisting of familiar faces like John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Anna Kendrick and Michael Gray Gubler. The real highlight of the cast however, is Aubrey Plaza who plays Beth. She gave a great performance that was very multi-faceted. And it's always a sheer delight to see Dane DeHaan in another movie. He's one of the best up and coming actors out there right now, and his performance here was fine as well. As much as the cast attempts to bring some color to this monochrome picture however, it just doesn't really work. There are much better horror comedies out there. Skip this one.
Alien Abduction (2014)
It's hard for me not to be interested in anything that has to do with aliens. Even if a film looks like it might suck more than a 20-pound leech, chances are I'll eventually watch it. And that was pretty much the case with this film. Although it has some cool ideas, there's simply not enough here to make it worthwhile. First in the long list of mistakes was the desicion to make the main character a child with Autism. It goes without saying that he doesn't have much personality. So we're stuck with someone who basically screams and talks about what we can already see with our own eyes controlling the camera. Not really a very bright idea. Next is the fact that not that much really happens. We get to see some aliens, but every time they're around the camera malfunctions horribly and makes it impossible to see anything. The rest of the film is basically taken up by people freaking out, and getting sucked off the ground by bright lights. That's it. As I said, the film does have a few moments. Most notably a rather chilling scene inside of a tunnel. And the ending is a memorable image. But the rest feels like filler. A movie about aliens shouldn't be this boring.
I just feel like alot of people don't know how to make a proper horror/thriller these days. Take this film for instance. All the ingredients are here to make a fantastic film, but the execution is all wrong. There's some good ideas here and some parts do work, but this film has no style. No artistic soul. It's obvious that it was intended to, but that's the problem with most lower-budget "indie" horrors nowdays. Whereas a fantastic low budget horror picture like Halloween, ANOES or Saw could crop up in the latter decades, indie directors just mostly don't seem to know what they're doing anymore. This film plays it safe. It has plenty of chances to further explore it's concept and present an original expierence. But instead it feels to much like a low-budget anglamation of other, more famous films. Skip it.
The Houses October Built (2014)
By now you should know, I'm always down for a POV horror flick. And this looked interesting, and presented an original premise, which is a blessing in a sub-genre run rampant with ghosts, zombies and bigfoots. And I was pleasently suprised that this was a pretty good little movie. It takes a while for the crap to hit the fan, but the build-up is lots of fun and creepy moments are spread throughout the film. It's entertaining actually getting to go through all the haunted house attractions with the characters, and the cool part is all of them are actually 100% real. They're suprisingly scary as well, seeing as you know something bad is eventually going to happen in one of these places, you just never know which one. The characters are loveable and once the scares get started the film is actually very suspenseful. The only thing holding it back from being as good as it could have been is the ending. I was expecting something much more gruesome and grimy. But when it comes down to it, the ending may be satisfactory for other people, I just feel like we've seen enough of it in other movies and the build-up suggested something much nastier. But all in all this is a chilling, entertaining little POV flick. I could easily see it becoming an October tradition in my house. Give it a try.
V/H/S Viral (2014)
I've been exicted for this film more than words can explain. The first V/H/S is one of the best horror films of this decade in my opinion. And while I didn't find the second one to be as good I was still hopeful that the filmakers could get back on top of their game with this one. And although it's still nowhere near the level of the first, this sequel is alot of fun. All of the segements, including the wrap-around work. They just can't recapture that sense of fear that the first had. I'm also dissapointed that each film has fewer segements than the last. The last segement (Bonestorm) is easily the best here. It's creepy and oodles of bloody fun. If only the rest of the film had been as excellent. The first segement (Dante The Great) is pretty campy, but it has it's scary moments. It honestly feels more like an action film than a horror film, but it's fun. The second (Parallel Monsters) deals with alternate dimensions, and is easily the weirdest and most disturbing of the segements. It's the weakest part of the film, but it's effective and unnerving enough that it works. And the wrap around (Vicious Circles) actually makes sense in a weird sort of way this time around. I like the cultural themes that it plays with and it provides the picture with a memorable ending shot. This is not a perfect film, but I enjoyed it much more than the second, and it was good entertainment. It didn't takes itself as seriously at some points than the other films, but I didn't mind that much. I don't think they'll ever be able to top the first, but I hope they keep making more of these movies.
This little film has been getting quite a bit of attention lately. Even compliments from Peter Jackson. And that meant I just HAD to watch it. And all in all, this is a well-done, entertaining film. But it's not amazing. It's a pretty slow film and sometimes it becomes a tad boring. It picks back up though, and becomes quite interesting. The direction is good, the cinematography feels ripped out of an eighties horror flick and the film even has a bit of humor here and there. It also has several twists that I didn't see coming. The problem is, although it's more original than most of the output the genre has been seeing it borrows a few to many ideas from other films. There's pieces of The People Under The Stairs, Disturbia and even slight references to Dead Alive (a no-brainer seeing as this is also a film from New Zealand.) But they're all quite subtle really. Besides the excrutiatingly slow start-up, this is a good little flick. Give it a try.
I know I'm a little late to the party with this one, but aren't I always? This film has recieved really mixed reviews and I didn't care for the director's previous endeavor (Absentia), so I was cautious. But this film looked really interesting. Luckily, I can say that I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's well made, acted and quite creepy at times. But it's not a total success. In fact, there's a lot wrong with it. Some may find the jumping from past to present to be annoying, but I personally thought it made the film more special and gave some extra punch to some of the scenes. But some parts of the film don't make much sense. I get the feeling I lost quite a bit and maybe some Forum scouring will help me better understand the film, but some parts just don't work. And a lack of explanation for what's really going on is understandable, but also a little jarring. Still, this is a unique, good little horror flick. Perhaps I'll enjoy it more as time goes on.
The Guest (2014)
I hate movies like this, that try as hard as they possibly can to feel like a Quinten Tarantino film. I honestly expected something alot better from the people behind You're Next and V/H/S. But this is total crap. A few cool scenes, but this is such a soul-less film that I have a hard time forming sentences about it. Blah.
I've been waiting to see this one for awhile, but I had the idea that I shouldn't make my expectations too high. And I was right. While this is a fun, enjoyable genre picture it is the very epitome of a B-Movie. And for people who love B-Movie monster flicks that's just fine. This isn't high art and it's far from original, but it's enjoyable the same way that old 50's monster movies are. The acting is good enough (albeit a few awful performances), the gore is plentiful and it has a few suspenseful scenes. The best part is easily the creature effects by Gary Tunnicliffe. The monster(s) look absolutely real and I love still seeing effects like this in movies today. It's a heckuva lot better than all that CGI dreck. There's a few dumb character sub-plots thrown in and the cliches are abound, but if you're just looking for some good horror entertainment and nothing more then this is a good watch.
Open Windows (2014)
I've never seen Nacho Vigalando's other film "Timecrimes", but I've seen his segement in V/H/S 3 and this film looked intruiging. And that it certainly is. Technically speaking, this is a superb film. It's extremely original, what with the way it's shot almost entirely through computer screens. And the director pulled everything off flawlessly. This really is a truly engaging watch, in a somewhat stagnant genre. The story is fairly original as well and the whole thing is incredibly suspenseful. In fact once things get started it barely leaves the viewer time to breathe. The acting is also superb, with an expectantly good performance from the reliable Elijiah Wood and even Sasha Grey turns in a great performance. I've been known to poke fun at the actress's less than remarkable performances in other films, but she was fantastic here. Sadly the only drawback to the whole thing is the twist ending. Sadly, it just didn't work for me, and made the rest of the film just seem strange. Rest assured, it's not unbelievably stupid or anything. I just couldn't work with it. But perhaps it won't bother others. Regardless, everyone should see this film. It's a suspenseful, original little picture. It just didn't totally work for me.
I should've known better. It's a Blum House production AND it's directed by the man who gave us the awful "The Strangers"? Blech. Sadly, I'm a sucker for POV films, and this one looked fairly original. But in reality it's nothing but a boring, stagnant, hobbled together mess of elements from other, much better films. At times it almost feels like the director is paying homage to his own previous film, what with the simliar plot and alot of repetitious music. It's fracking horrendous and nearly gave a headache. Not to mention how mind-bogglinly boring the film can get. And the outright stupidity of the ending. I'll save you from this dreck just by saying this. Go watch the trailer. Now...what if I told you the whole thing was being done by children? That's right. Kids set this whole, incredibly elaborate setting up for absolutely no reason. They had enough money to buy tons of expensive equipment and all kinds of other crap. Actually I have the feeling the ending was made soley to be "shocking". Perhaps children made this movie. Because intelligent people sure didn't. This is drivel made by idiots, for idiots. We need to stop making junk like this.
I haven't yet watched the Japanese original, but I decided to cave in and give this remake a try. And it's more or less what I expected. A glossy, hyper-speed edited, run of the mill J-Horror remake. There's nothing really special about this film. Hopefully the original did more with the glorious plot-potential but this is just...meh. At least we have Kristen Bell to stare at though. ;)
This one has been sitting in my collection for some time now. I started watching it several other times, but never really finished it. This time I sat the whole way through...and it wasn't that bad at all. It can get a tad cheesy from time to time and it's far from perfect, but it's a fairly enjoyable little horror flick. The biggest problem for me is that the character of the Priest doesn't have much of a personality. He feels a little cold, which is never a good thing for your main protagonist. It's also amusing seeing Ben Cross play a "man of God". The whole thing is luckily pretty interesting, and the demons at the end are cool, albeit a little fake looking. Just a fun, creepy 80's B-Horror. You could do alot worse than give this one a try.
I've heard that this was a pretty good little film, and quite possibly the only well recieved film in the Fangoria Frightfest lineup. And I was pleasently suprised. This is a classy, creepy little ghost film that harkens back to the way we used to make supernatural movies in the 70's and 80's. Trust me, it's got some modern trappings, but for the most part it feels like it dropped out of the eighties. It has a few good scares although there's much more suspense than there is cliched jump scares (a blessing) and Calista Flockhart gives a great lead performance that will leave you wondering why her acting career never really took off. For anyone looking for a good horror flick that doesn't feel like every other Oren Peli/Blum House "ghost" movie nowadays this is a great watch.
The Eye (2008)
I wanted to watch the Japanese original before I saw this American remake, but the copy I picked up was incredibly crappy so I had to postpone it. However, I still decided to give this one a try. And truth be told, it's one of the better J-Horror remakes that has come out. It isn't anywhere near the level of The Ring, but it's an enjoyable, fairly well constructed little horror flick. For once I wasn't annoyed by Jessica Alba. She was actually quite likeable here and her acting was better than usual as well. There's nothing remarkable here, and the whole thing is actually pretty average, but it's an enjoyalbe (albeit highly perdictable) little picture. It's not mandatory viewing, but you could do alot worse.
Solomon Kane (2009)
Some may call this more of a fantasy/adventure movie, and it is, but to me it has more than enough to qualify it as a horror film as well. I've been intruiged by this one for a while. It's obvious it was meant to turn into something much bigger, but for whatever reason didn't evolve into the franchise it was intended to. That being said, I can't fully see why. This is a solid picture, that has plenty of things going for it. It'll satisfy the fantasy lovers, the comic book fanatics and the horror crowd, it's got a great story and most importantly an awesome protagonist. James Purefoy is one of my favorite actors and he did splendidly in the role of the title character, making him a living, breathing human being and not just a two-dimensional "thing". That being said, the film has it's problems. The pacing ebs and flows widley throughout the film's duration, slowing down sometimes when it should be moving a tad faster and vice versa. The ending is not entirely satisfactory either but it works. I wouldn't have minded seeing some sequels at all, because this is a fairly good first installment and there was plenty of room for improvement. But sadly, we all know what happened. But if you're thinking of checking this one out, by all means, go ahead.
The Wicker Man (1973)
This classic has been available at my local rental shop for quite a while now, but for whatever reason I had grazed over it thus far. I finally decided to give it a try though, and I'm rather happy I did. It's not exactly my cup of tea, but it's a very well made picture. I don't feel like it's the sort of thing I could watch very often but for a one time watch I was pleasently suprised. This must have been quite the controversial film back in 1973, what with all the nudity as well. As someone who is usually bothered by the gratoutist nudity in horror films, I wasn't that bothered by it here. Mainly because most of it is actually nesscary within the plot. The film also apparently stays fairly true to real Pagan customs as well which is interesting and adds an extra element to the film's uneasy, macabre atmosphere. No doubt, this was an influential film and is mandatory viewing for serious horror fans. But films like this just aren't my thing. As I said, good for a one time viewing, and a thoroughly solid film, but nothing I'll probably watch again.
The Babadook (2014)
I've been excited too see this film like I haven't been excited to see a horror film in years. Needless to say, my expectations were almost un-attainably high. And sadly, they were not met. Don't get me wrong, this isn't a bad film by any means, just a wasted opportunity. Unlike other people I had no problem with the limited appearance of the actual "Babadook" in the film. Rather I was just disappointed with the direction the story took. It's much more of a psychological/possession film for the duration of it's run time. It's not that type of film in the same way, per say, The Exorcist is, but it's not what I expected. My biggest ilk however is the ending, which is a bit laughable and not at all scary. The rest of the film is surprisingly well directed and not at all shabby, but this is a flawed film. Worth a look, though.
The Grudge (2004)
Yet again, I couldn't get my hands on the Japanese original, so I decided to give this remake a try. And I was hopeful that it would turn out better, seeing as for some reason this film has quite a fanbase state-side. Yet, it's simply a severely mediocre attempt, shoe-horned by a big studio for quick cash. It is better than other J-Horror remakes (One Missed Call, Pulse etc.) but no where near the level of the only decent American film of it's ilk, The Ring. Sometimes a scene works, but for the most part this film isn't even scary. The image of the ghost only becomes truly frightening at the end and just feels like an overplayed gimmick. Also, the story is severely average in the execution department. But my biggest problem is the characters. Well, if you want to call them that. They scream, cry, get freaked out and that's about it. None of them have the slightest lick of that thing we call a personality that is so important for any character in a film to have. They are simply there. Heck, the only reason we don't want Sarah Michelle Gellar to die is because she's so pretty. That's a huge problem. I suppose you could do much worse, but I'm really glad we stopped making these films.
I'm always down for a good werewolf flick, and this one looked really original and fun. And that's about what it is. It almost becomes a lot better than it is, but a few things are holding it back. The most intriguing part of the film is easily it's setting. Indeed, no one can name another werewolf film that has taken place in a retirement community. It's an original idea that's executed with both intelligence and tongue-in-cheek humor. The performances are great around the board with Nick Damici giving an amazing performance. Ethan Embry is always a welcome presence as well. And luckily once we actually get to see the werewolves they're awesome. They're big, scary and best of all...no CGI. Completely practical effects here, folks. And they look great. Even the transformation scene is original and quite disturbing. Rest assured, these are some of the most nightmarish werewolves seen on screen. So what's holding it back from being as good as it could have been? A few plodding areas that get a tad dull, some ugly cinematography and really amateur directing. However, none of this keeps the film from being a thoroughly enjoyable little flick. If you love werewolves or you're just looking for a different kind of horror film, you should check this one out for sure.
This movie used to scare the crap out of me when I was a kid. Nowdays? Not so much. And it's abundant flaws are much more obvious to me as well. There's a great cast here, but I'm not sure what drew them to this film. Unfortunately they don't have much to work with. The characters are pretty shallow. And sometimes they're downright weird. Especially the comically inept tugboat captain played by none other than Donald Sutherland. No matter how many robots are tearing people apart his top priority is always the money. There's also a black guy who goes total commando once the crap hits the fan and wanders around the ship acting like a cross between Tarzan and Sylvester Stallone. Besides that, the story is inventive, but wasted potential is everywhere. The special effects are convincing as well. Although this is a pure B-movie with quite a few face-palm inducing moments at the end of the day it's not awful. It's simply mediocre. I wouldn't bother again.
This film was a huge part of my childhood, but I haven't seen it in many years. So how does it hold up? Pretty dang well. It's a purely fun horror film that aspires to be nothing more than an entertaining ride. The special effects are awesome, and trust me when I say that's important. This is an effects extravaganza at it's core and most of the time they look amazing. There's a few (really) dated looking sequences, but it's all part of the film's charm. Andrew Divoff does a great job as the demonic "Dijn" or "Wishmaster". He's menacing while providing the same tongue in cheek dark humor that Robert Englund brought to Freddy Kruegar. Speaking of which, the cast is great too. There's alot of horror veterans here, and it's fun for us junkies to spot them. Reggie Bannister of Phantasm fame, Robert Englund, Kane Hodder even Tony Todd, the Candyman himself is here. Heck, Angus Scrimm reads the opening lines of the film. Sadly, everything is not perfect. There's a few ideas which simply don't work and the whole ordeal gets incredibly cheesy quite often. But it's all overlookable just for the pure entertainment value. When the film goes crazy at the end and the effects go full swing you won't care about anything else but how much fun you're having. Sometimes that's all a horror fan can ask for.
After watching this mess, there's only one thing I can say. I'm surprised this film didn't get more attention, solely because how awful it is. You know those films that chug slowly along towards a big twist-ending/reveal and then turn out to be incredibly stupid and make you feel like you just wasted a whole precious hour of your life? This is one of those films. Look, I don't even care about spoilers here. If you want to watch this drivel, stop reading. If you want to be saved from a horribly stupid film then read on. This film is about a bunch of kids who become comatose for ten years, then suddenly re-awaken and begin killing every adult in sight. intriguing concept right? Well, truth is...they're doing it because Jesus told them to. Through someone's twisted interruption of The Book Of Revelations, Jesus brainwashes these kids so they can kill us adults, so we can in turn go to heaven. How does that even make sense? And why in the name of everything sane do these kids lay comatose for ten years before "Jesus" wakes them up? Hey, look. I've got no problem with religious themes in any kind of movie. I'm a Christian myself. But this film is insulting towards anyone's intelligence, regardless of what they believe. Make no bones about it. Avoid The Plague like...well, the plague.
I've yet to indulge myself in the series but this stand-alone movie from the creators of Tales From The Crypt looked like fun, so I gave it a try. It's basically a combination of The Evil Dead and Dead Alive, but not quite as amazing as that comparison would suggest. It's a B-movie, but it never tries to be anything but. Sadly, it's very poorly directed and something about the whole thing is just very lackluster. Never the less, it remains a fun flick, that's not bad at all. I especially enjoyed seeing Billy Zane in this one. He was great back then and really should have played more villians. The special effects aren't bad either. Just a decent little popcorn horror.
The Mummy (1932)
I tried to stick it out the whole way through with this one, but this just isn't my thing. I'm sure there were much better horror films being made back in this time period, so I have no idea why this one is regarded as such a classic. It's boring, dry and a waste of potential. I mean, come on. They show a pretty cool mummy at the begining and things are looking pretty good, but from then on the "mummy" just looks like a creepy old dude. He kills people using telekinesis and all he wants to do is seduce the reincarnation of his lover so he can kill her and make her like him. But all of that is happening when people aren't standing around talking. This incredibly short movie is taken up almost entirely by dialouge. I know it was exciting to have sound for the first time back then, but it gets a little ridiculous. There is also nothing remotely scary about any of this. I have a hard time believing audiences were even scared of this in the 30's. Don't get me wrong, I've seen other classic horror films and enjoyed those. But this is not a good movie.
The House of the Devil (2012)
We have a handful of directors in the 21st century that are being referred to as the future of the horror genre. Our own Wes Cravens and George Romeros if you will. I've watched numerous films by other members of this group, but the one director I have remained rather oblivious to is Ti West. Luckily, last year I saw his "The Sacrament" and was rather impressed with what I saw, so since then I've been trying to get my hands on his other works. This was his directorial debut, and is still heralded by many as his best film to date, so I thought it would be a good place to start. And while I enjoyed this little flick I didn't think it was the masterpiece that everyone else seems to think it is. I really appreciated the minimalistic style of filmmaking used here, and the old-school feel is strong. Heck, this film takes place in the eighties. The atmosphere is also rather impressive and the score sounds like it dropped out of a John Carpenter movie. Sadly, things don't quite live up to their expectations. Not much happens until the last 15 minutes of the film and it's an incredibly short burst of action. Suspense is built up towards what seems to be a big scare, but everything kind of falls flat. Luckily, the film maintains it's disturbing atmosphere all throughout the ending and therefore, even though it's not exactly scary or original it still feels somewhat suspenseful and uneasy. And the final shot leaves the viewer with a decent chill, but this simply didn't work the way it should have. Still, this is an impressive debut, and an enjoyable little horror flick, but it seems to me that this director has gotten alot better since this time. Worth a look, but don't expect a classic.
I know, I know. How can I consider myself a horror fan when I haven't watched Psycho?! Well, calm down. Now I have. And it's a classic for sure. No horror film has inspired the entire genre decades after it's release like this film has. And although some parts feel a little dated now, the whole thing holds up remarkably well. Hitchcock was a masterful director and all the actors gave splendid performances as well. None other so good as Anthony Perkins as "Norman Bates" though. His performance is legendary. Never before has a horror villain inspired the mixture of emotions that Perkins conveys in Bates. We are equally creeped out and sympathetic for him. After all, he's just a poor man, driven insane by his evil mother. He really can't help the evil things he does. Sadly, not everything here is "perfect" as other people would have you believe. At least, not perfect for me. There's a few plodding sequences where the viewer (at least myself) struggles to stay involved. Such as an incredibly long scene where Norman cleans things up after his "Mother" kills Janet Leigh's character. There's also alot of dialogue. While this slows the pace considerably and makes this a film that I feel I wouldn't want to watch frequently, it's pretty much justified. Hitchcock keeps a strong sense of suspense in every scene, even when characters are just talking. But I have a feeling it wouldn't hold up in repeated viewings. Sadly, I had the twist ending spoiled for me as well, but who that lives in America hasn't? Perkins also looks more ridiculous in his mother's clothes at the end than he does scary. But the concept is disturbing and the ending is spine tingling. Really, this is a masterful, massively important film. For the horror genre and just movies in general. While it really doesn't have many legitimate problems, it just isn't perfect for me. I enjoyed it and respect it highly, therefore, even though I wouldn't call it a new "favorite" it still gets a high score. Everyone, horror fan or not should see this film. And for crying out loud kids, sit still and respect some authentic filmmaking for once. We don't need blood spraying every five seconds for a horror film to be good.
I'm always down for anything with Jeff Goldblum in it and add Dean Koontz to the mix and it's even harder to resist. So even though this little film doesn't have the best reputation, I had to give it a try. And while certainly not bad, it's not anything special either. The concept is original, but has been done a few times before (Eyes Of Laura Mars, anyone?). But what the director does with it is different. The acting is good across the board. Goldblum is always dependable, while a very young Jeremy Sisto gives a good performance as the villain and Alicia Silverstone is serviceable, although nothing special. The biggest problem is some boot-average directing and some really bad special effects. One of the first scenes will make you feel like you're inside a really bad 90's arcade game. This is nothing remarkable, but it's not the worst thing ever. You could do much worse, but this isn't anything you should feel rushed to see.
The Birds (1963)
After watching Psycho I was eager to check out more of Alfred Hitchcock's work in the horror genre. And while Psycho is certainly a classic, I feel that this film is leaps and bounds better. Indeed, one would be hard pressed to find a film more purely suspenseful than this one. It truly is a masterpiece of the genre. It's thick with atmosphere as well and while the bird effects don't entirely hold up today they still get the job done. Another nice touch is the extremely well developed characters. Hitchcock understood that unless he wanted his film to be pure horror entertainment, then he needed to give us characters we actually cared about. And that makes the film so much more intense than if we were simply provided with cardboard cut-out "people". Instead we are in the company of truly realistic feeling human beings. I can't stress enough how much this helps the picture be as good as it is. This truly is a masterpiece of horror that decades later, still completely holds up and is easily the most suspenseful movie I have ever seen. Sorry, Norman, but this is Hitchcock's best work.
I've seen both this film and it's sequel not that long ago, but felt that another viewing was in order for both before I made my final judgments on either. As before, I thoroughly enjoyed this film, although I do find it slightly overrated. It has several problems, including an un-even balance between the Sci-Fi/Horror and Action movie aspects. It's also much better at being an action film than it is a horror film. Some of the kill scenes are very clumsily handled, although they still work. The saving graces of the film are easily the characters, who all deliver now legendary lines. And of course the awesome Predator himself. The climax battle between Arnie and the predator is awesome as well. And the jungle setting creates an atmosphere of isolation and intensity that also adds something to the film. This flick has some problems, quite a few of them. But all in all, it's a classic and a very fun film. Can't hate on this one.
The Fog (2005)
I wouldn't have bothered with this remake if my Mother hadn't been so insistent on watching it. But after discovering that John Carpenter and producer Debra Hill themselves were part of the project, I decided I wanted to give it a try. The original "The Fog" is one of my favorite horror films and in my opinion some of Carpenter's best work. Now, I'm the kind of person who isn't against people changing alot when they remake a film, heck, it's better when a remake isn't shot for shot. But when said changes to the original are so incredibly stupid and unoriginal that they make you feel like smashing your head against a brick wall, it's not a good thing. And there's plenty of instances here. In fact, there's a crap-load of them. There's a few good changes, like actually making the lead characters a couple and I really liked the idea of an assortment of items washing up on shore instead of just a piece of wood. The death scenes were cool as well, with the sink drain scene being something you should at least look up online. The rest is sadly pretty awful. The idea of showing the past events instead of talking about them seems good at first, until you realize just how much it strips away from the atmosphere. The ghosts also show their faces this time around, which ends up being incredibly campy. And worst of all is the clichéd twist-ending that makes you want to strangle the writer. I have no idea why Carpenter and Hill wanted to associate themselves with this mess, but rest assured, it's nothing you need to check out.
Digging Up the Marrow (2014)
I've never been what you would call an Adam Green fan. I appreciate the man's passion for the horror genre, but none of his work has ever truly impressed me. Sure, Hatchet is fun and Frozen is a decent little thriller but none of his work is "amazing". However, the concept of this, his newest film had me very excited for what I hoped would be his first great film. Sadly, it's nothing but a mildly creepy, very mediocre effort. His first film in the POV genre, Green did pretty good with the format. Fans of Green's work will reap the most reward from this one, seeing as the whole story revolves around him and his real life friends. The potential is huge here and is set up gloriously, with the always brilliant Ray Wise playing an old man who claims he has found real monsters. The monster design is all based of the magnificent artwork of Alex Pardee as well, and the special effects are awesome. Sadly, we get to see very few monsters until the ending. Most of the film is taken up by dialouge and Green rather Kenneth Brannagh-ishly billing himself as a director/writer/actor extroidanare. Really, his acting isn't that bad at all, but the whole ordeal is rather shameless. Things are pretty boring for the duration of the film, save for a few super-quick monster sightings and creepy dialouge. If Green is also anything like he makes himself out to be in the film, he's kind of a dick as well. Once the crap hits the fan towards the end and monsters are popping up everywhere you get a glorious glimpse of what this film could've been. Sadly, it's just not enough. And the finale is somewhat silly. This is a mediocre film at best, but Green fans should check it out and it is worth viewing just for the awesome monster design, but this is yet another failure for me.
Resident Evil: Extinction (2007)
These films will never be confused for anything great, but they're fun popcorn entertainment at best and I have enjoyed them thus far. Actually, the first is rather a good movie and the second was fun, albeit incredibly flawed. I decided I finally needed to see the rest, beginning with this third installment. This one has the best reputation of the sequels and is directed by the somewhat dependable Russell Mucahy, so I had hopes that this one could turn out pretty good. And while it's still enjoyable, I ended up not liking it as much as the other two. It felt somewhat empty in the plot department. Alot of the characters still present from the first two died off here, and the manner in which they were disposed of felt rather shallow. Also, the rest of the new cast is inexplicably discarded of mid-way through the film, rendering Paul W.S. Anderson's script intentions unclear. Still, there's plenty of zombie bloodshed, a rather unique story and some good plot twists to keep things interesting. This is pure action/horror movie entertainment and nothing more, albeit it's efforts to seem like something great.
Mary Reilly (1996)
Being a Julia Roberts fan I was quite surprised to stumble upon this flick, seeing as hardly any of her films have almost disappeared into obscurity. Yet this one has. It's the only horror film she's ever done, and I have to say, it wasn't at all what I expected. I was imagining that it would be another classy little flick, cashing in on the trend of remaking the Universal classics in the 90's (like Dracula and Frankenstein). Yet this is a surprisingly edgy little film, at least for it's time. For the most part, I enjoyed it. The performances were great, especially by Roberts and Malkovich. Julia's only problem is her unusual attempt at an accent. She seem to circulate from a British brogue, to an Irish and even southern accent. It's more the director's fault than her's though. Also, it was a cool twist on the Jekyl & Hyde story, with some really original ideas. But something about the whole thing just didn't click. Make no mistake, this is a good film, but something is missing. The romance between Mary Reilly and Dr. Jekyl isn't completely fleshed out either, which is a bit of problem seeing as it's one of the film's central focuses. But if you're a fan of the story, or just looking for a good period horror film, this is a fine choice.
Starry Eyes (2014)
This one has been getting alot of attention within the indie horror community the last few months, so I decided to check it out. I like the concept of showing the warped, evil side of the Hollywood industry through a horror film, but this one doesn't get everything right. It tells an interesting story and plays with lots of good concepts, but never fully develops anything. The characters are all fairly one dimensional and the metaphors the film plays with are extremely subtle, to the point of almost making the whole thing seem pointless. It's unclear whether the director was trying to create a thoughtful film or just a gory horror flick disguised as something more intelligent. The best part is easily the acting, especially from newcomer Alex Essoe who is practically the only thing that keeps the film going. Her performance is great and she hopefully has a bright future in store. Besides the stellar acting, there's not much to recommend here. The end turns into a downright bloodbath, with a few cool scenes for gorehounds (including a particularly grisly scene involving a dumbbell) and some body-horror elements, but in the end this is just like most of the independent horror films these days. A confused, messy, un-refined example of massive potential, but crappy execution. Don't bother.
When I heard they were doing another Woman In Black I naturally chalked it up to the next cash cow horror franchise. I wasn't a big fan of the merely ok original and I didn't have high hopes for this one. And when people started saying it was worse than the first I almost lost all hope. But truth be told, I actually thought this one was much better, for several reasons. It had a more cohesive story with more developed characters and did more with the character of The Woman In Black as well. The acting, directing and cinematography were top-notch too. But the film suffers from the same rather large problem that the first did. I don't believe that all horror films have to be frightening to be good, some of them don't even try. However, when it's obvious that a film is so clearly trying to be scary and it's not, that's a big issue. And sadly, the titular character is less frightening in this sequel than she was in the original. In fact, she barely feels there sometimes. When she does appear on screen, she's limited to hyper-quick jump scares that are lazier than those in the first. These are big problems that I feel won't be solved, even if they continue making these films, which seems likely. But that doesn't change the fact that this is a much better effort than the first.
The Pyramid (2014)
There just aren't enough horror films about mummies/Egypt anymore, so when I heard about this one I was pretty excited. Sadly, it's not everything it could've been, but it's really not as bad as some people have been saying. What I wasn't fully aware of was the fact that this was a POV film. But it's actually the most visually polished, professional looking effort I've seen in the sub-genre yet. It actually feels like a documentary at times, the camera work is not extremely spastic, even when the action gets going and the film switches back and forth between POV and normal style when needed. For someone expecting a horror film that takes it's cues from the classics though, look elsewhere. That is, unless by classics you mean the eighties. Besides the 21st century paint job some of the film's ideas feel purely campy. However, luckily it's a fun, creepy campy that we're talking about. The special effects are the weakest part of the whole thing. CGI runs rampant, but until the end it's not really problem. The main creature looks so cartoonish at times that it's almost laughable. That being said, alot of people will find this film to be utterly stupid, but as someone who enjoys a good B movie (even those that try to masquerade as something better) I didn't think it was that bad. In fact, I had alot of fun with it. That's more than I can say for most horror films as of late.
I was under no impression that this film was going to be very good, but I didn't expect something like this. I've never seen any of The Vicious Brothers' previous films, but being someone who loves anything to do with aliens I decided to give this one a try. The only way I can think to describe this mess is if someone were to mix together a teen slasher, a very contrived X-Files rip-off and then throw in every genre cliche you can think of. It's incredibly mediocre. There's a few glimpses of potential. The aliens themselves are cool, and things are pretty neat once we finally end up inside the UFO at the end of the film, but everything else is un-inspired and blah. Don't waste your time.
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All the new to me horror films I watch in 2015. Updated monthly, so be sure to check back each month. :)
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