Shutter (2008) - A newly married couple discovers disturbing, ghostly images in photographs they develop after a tragic accident. Fearing the manifestations may be connected, they investigate and learn that some mysteries are better left unsolved.
This one has a pretty foul reputation. I've never seen anyone utter any positive things about this film. But, while the original was great and had several unnerving scenes, it on the whole didn't really wedge itself too far into my heart for me to become a rabid supporter of it. Therefore, I didn't mind seeing Hollywood's spin on this tale though it seemed to vex some that the main characters were "white-washed". Meh, that sounds like some people were just looking for excuses to complain and were bitter that a foreign film was dared remade to appeal to a wider American audience. Casual movie-goers don't like subtitles, get over it. I can't say that I'll remember much from this as time goes on (and even now I'm struggling to note its positive attributes over its original), but I can't say that its deserving of all its undue bashing either. If anything, an American remake should bring attention to foreign cinema and that's a good thing, right? So, yes, you should watch the original... it's subtitled, but scenes from that will creep you out much more than the similar scenes in this one. Yet, despite enjoying the original and finding it more effective than its remake, I would never say that this film earns its universal disdain. It's definitely NOT the mess it's made out to be. It earns an average 6/10 from me. At the end of the day, there is a good story that's being told here. Just reward yourself with the best telling of it rather than the average telling of it, but this one works fine if you don't like subtitles. I won't judge you.
Mother's Day (2010) - The sadistic members of a villainous family return to their childhood home to terrorize the new home owners and their guests.
To me, there's probably three breeds of remakes. First, there's the foreign remake that tries to bring a twisted tale to a wider audience (like 'Shutter'). Second, there's the remake for classics that do not really need to be remade and therefore don't get watched by me typically (I'm looking at you, 'Poltergeist'). Finally, there's the remake of those sh!tty movies from long ago that had *an* idea but terrible execution and therefore could benefit from a partial or sometimes complete revamp. 'Mother's Day' is definitely an example of the latter, at least for me. While my love for 80s horror is well-documented by now, I can't say I really enjoyed the original 'Mother's Day' (1980) all that much. In fact, despite what could've been a good movie, I didn't enjoy it at all. Everything about it just seemed a bit too "been there, done that" even for it's time, and earlier movies did its few positives much better. So, in terms of the remake, I was glad to see them go more 'in spirit' with it... the plot was traded from a backwoods campers-in-peril tale to one of home invasion. And, being a fan of home invasion movies, it was a pretty thrilling ride the whole way through. Though the cast is a bit Hollywood for believability's sake, there's a lot of great players in this... particularly Rebecca De Mornay as the wicked and evil mommy dearest, Jaime King as our broken but kickass heroine on demand, and Shawn Ashmore as the reasonable doctor who kind of bridges the gap between the psychos and our doomed heroes. I was rather shocked the movie didn't push the boundaries more than it could've; I was expecting and dreading a rape or two being included, but there was none of that business though one of the brothers would've gone down that route if he was in charge. Perhaps we should be thanking 'Mother' and her rules for that aversion. I have no problems giving this a solid 8/10... it could've gotten a point more if that ending hadn't been so obvious, though.
Interesting fact is that apparently this movie was possibly based on a true home-invasion/mass murder that happened in Kansas where two men broke into a home, stumbled upon a party of friends, and subsequently tortured and raped them until only girl survived. I perused the Wikipedia article rather loosely before work one day, but I haven't examined the real-life case enough to see *how* similar it is but it's definitely similar enough to warrant a closer look when I think of it next. Psychos like this really do exist in real life, sadly.
Prom Night (2008) - Donna's senior prom is supposed to be the best night of her life, though a sadistic killer from her past has different plans for her and her friends.
Another remake that's been much maligned by the horror community, though I hope that most dislike it for its legit flaws rather than for it being a simple remake. I mean, I hate to admit it, but 'Prom Night' (1980) is probably my least favorite of the Jaime Lee Curtis slashers. So, this movie had all the potential in the world to improve on the lackluster original. Sadly, I am of the opinion that the movie lives up to its disappointment reputation. The first major problem was that it was a 'stalker-slasher' of nature rather than the beloved 'dwindling-party' slasher. Sure, there was a group of disposable friends in this, but his reasoning for killing them in the first place made no sense whereas it made perfect sense in the original. The death scenes were far too forgettable, and why wasn't the damn killer wearing a mask? Oh, right, that's because the biggest mistake was the movie's script, which should've been constructed as a mystery. But it wasn't, Johnathon Schaech's character is the killer. And that is NO spoiler either so donât be bitchy towards me about it. On the other hand, I'm too level-headed to bash this movie to the skies like most do... after all, I do think itâs entertaining enough and Brittany Snow is always a sympathetic heroine, even if she has a crap script to get you through. The movie's harmless, really... and possibly effective for its targeted audience. Sadly, I think fans of the golden-age mistakenly felt that this movie was made for them when in actuality with its notorious PG-13 rating, it was marketed for teeny-boppers for its time. A coworker who is about 10-years my junior admitted to me that this movie scared her when she saw it, so one must keep this in perspective when watching this. A generous 5/10 for this one, just because the movie didnât annoy me despite its plentiful flaws and Brittany Snow is a fav of mine.
Let Me In (2010) â A bullied young boy befriends a young female vampire who lives in secrecy with her guardian.
Iâve put this one off for so long. The foreign original really impressed me when I'm the type who just canât get into the vampire lore to save my life. I didnât really avoid it because it was a remake, I just need to be in some type of mood for the kind of a horror this one offered so well. Iâm not sure how the hell it was possible for them to make a movie this dark so damn cute, but they did it and did it well. The remake pretty faithfully followed the original, and while itâs still good, thereâs a few scenes that put me off in the remake. The first two scenes are when Abby attacked innocent people for their blood; was Eli (the Abby character in the original) that fast and vicious in the original? I surely wouldâve remembered if these scenes had looked cartoony if she was, but said scenes sure in hell looked horrible in the remake and took me completely out of the movie. The other scene was right at the end: When vampire girl came to the mortal boyâs defense, it seemed much better shot and moving in the original than the remake. But, don't listen to me... I came into this with a bias towards the original flick so maybe it was easier for me to find flaws in its remake. Ultimately, you will basically get the same story if they watch this film instead of the original. So, if you hate subtitles, then I have no problems recommending this one. Iâd give this a solid 7/10, though like âShutterâ, I would hope people would check out the original since I feel that it's much better done overall.
The Stepfather (2009) â Michael returns home from military school to find his mother happily in love and living with her new boyfriend. As the two men get to know each other, he becomes more and more suspicious of the man who is always there with a helpful hand.
I had a very similar feeling about this easy-to-hate remake than I did âProm Nightâ, though unlike that one, this one did follow the original somewhat faithfully, making a few minor changes to halfheartedly iron out its own identity. The movie didnât really bother me much at all, but I didnât understand a few things. First, how was he a step-father if he wasnât even married to the mother? Second, why was Amber Heard so *beep* idiotic in this movie? She was constantly singing the âstep-fatherâsâ praises and trying to get her concerned boyfriend to ignore all alarms about himâ¦ I almost expected it to be a twist that she was the psychoâs wolf-in-sheep's-clothing daughter given how she carried on about how good he was, but nope, she was just there to prance around in her bikini and convince the boyfriend (and therefore the audience) what we already knew was not true. The mother was no better, but at least she seemed somewhat sad/desperate for love so her complete blindness to David made sense, though completely irresponsible. Third, while this is nitpicky, why didn't Penn Badgely get naked, full frontal in all its probable glory? Afterall, the most memorable scene of the original for me was that we actually saw Jill Schoelen nude in the shower which shocked the hell out of me since characters like her rarely ever do nude scenes. Wishful thinking, but still. Anyway, Penn Badgely is cute and you got to give the movie props for incorporating a believable, intuitive lesbian aunt (played by the wonderful Paige Turco) who wasnât butch which is kind of rare to see anywhere in movies. Dylan Walsh did a serviceable job as the titular character, though reviews would have you believe that Terry O'Quinn (the original bad step-daddy) is the only one ever capable of playing a psycho in a horror film. Pffft. Yes, the movie was riddled with clichÃ©s, but I can't say that I found myself bored during it despite the familiarity so no hate here. 6/10
I have a soft spot for American remakes of Asian horror films. Like I was one of the few who liked Shutter too . And One Missed Call <3. I think Tyler and I were it's only fans.
Delta Delta Die! (2003) - Every-so-often, boys dissapear from the Delta House, a Sorority suspected to be based on cannibalism.
The movie establishes very early on that there's something seriously wrong with the sorority girls of Delta Delta Pie, especially given that one of them bites a poor sucker's dick off in the opening sequence. You quickly get to know the sorority chicks the next day when said girl is put on trial for committing the cardinal sin of cannibalism: Don't eat the man's penis ("It's full of germs and sperm", the girls recite - and, no, I'm not even kidding) and the girls have to vote on the girl's fate. You then see the girls as they work for the devilishly wicked but charming house mother, Marilyn, on the upcoming food sale where the question of the mystery meat is best left unanswered. But, hey, at least the sale is a hit with the buyers, right? Oh, and by work, I mean the girls have to go out on the town to pick up hunky men and lure them to the sorority house, never for the men to be seen again. Meanwhile, a male creeper suspects something's afoul at the sorority and enlists in Marilyn's ex-BFF for help. Plenty of boobs and even a peen is seen along the way. I loved the Tiffany Shepis striptease. I've seen her in plenty of sh!tty horror films, but she's always a bright spot in those movies. It's the way that she plays that sometimes-slutty, sassy-'n'-brassy best friend that makes her stand out amongst the rest. Overall, this was a very enjoyable B-movie, but the ending was a bit of a copout for me and left me thinking "What was the point?"... not that I was really expecting anything better. lol! 6/10
Voodoo Academy (2000) - Young Christopher has just enrolled at the prestigious Carmichael Bible College, managed by the somewhat unusual Mrs. Bouvier. After some unexplained disappearances, Christopher does some exploring and discovers that Mrs. Bouvier and the Reverend Carmichael have some very unwholesome intentions for the young men of their school...
It's not uncommon for beautiful men and women in a horror movie to find themselves in a twisted situation, only to find a reason to get naked. For this movie, it's about the men running around at night shirtless. Sometimes they even bathe themselves in front of each other. While usually a pair of boobs can be expected to pop up in these movies, not even the attractive Mrs. Bouvier gets naked in this... I guess she really needs her boys pure of mind and body. So, in a nutshell, this is merely just a movie about men in boxers really. Not a peen to be seen, unfortunately, but you do get to see them sensually touch themselves (not in *that* way), over and over again. It's really bizarre. The only member of the roster I recognized was Drew Fuller of 'Army Wives' fame, but all of the guys are really cute. This movie has so many quirks that it's hard not to find it a bit more comedy and less horror. First, the boom mic was so obviously visible in a few scenes that they must've just said "meh, whatever" about it in the editing room, if they noticed it at all. Also, how the hell was it constantly storming at night??? I get that storms are supposed to set the tone, but does it really storm violently three nights in a row? Must've been some voodoo sh!t at work. Finally, how the hell am I supposed to follow Mrs. Bouvier's twisted/confusing reasoning for doing what she does when you've subjected me to an hour-and-some-odd minutes of males rubbing their hands over their rock-hard pecs, abs, and sometimes groins... I feel like they truly expected me to do the impossible here by watching this stuff and pay attention too. Still, the movie never really dragged and is fairly enjoyable on a "so-bad-it's-good" basis, but I would've liked the plot to have made a bit more sense. If you're horny, then this might do the trick, but straight men should probably stay clear of this at all costs unless they're bi-curious. 5/10
The Mutilator (1984) (aka Fall Break) - A teenager who accidentally committed matricide finds himself being hunted together with his girlfriend and mates by his now crazed father.
@ them spoiling the killer in the movie summary, not that it was a well-guarded secret but still. I'll spoiler-warning it regardless. It was impossible for me to find this one, other than to buy its bluray blindly through Amazon which cost me a good chunk of change. I don't usually try to blind buy unless it's necessary, but believe me... when it comes to 80s slasherfair, it's absolutely necessary. The movie itself is pretty typical of most... a kid with a messed-up past takes his friends to a beach house where they get murdered by an unmasked assailant. You have your two oversexed couples, the couple that isn't doing anything due to the pure final girl, and the killer with a unique weapon of choice. This time, it's a gigantic fish hook. Party games, drinking, skinny dipping, and murder all ensue just the same. One thing this movie does right is making their characters pretty likeable. Other than maybe the doomed skinny dippers (things never work out for these characters, who get bumped off before we get a chance to know them), these characters are likeable and you are left a tinge bit sad when one is bumped off. The main character, despite having killed his mother at a young age, turns out to be a pretty alright guy all things considered and none of that typical "My life sucks" melodrama stuff really shows up here, oddly enough since you'd almost expect it to. One death scene involving the fish hook was pretty nasty. Standard as this is and in spite of its quirks, this movie can easily be enjoyed by anybody who likes the familiar formula all too well. 6/10.
Blood Rage (1987) (aka Nightmare at Shadow Woods) â As kids, Todd is institutionalized for a murder whilst his twin goes free. 10 years later, on Thanksgiving, Todd escapes and a killing spree begins in his neighborhood.
This movie really brought back memories of âSilent Night, Deadly Nightâ for several reasons. Much like that film, this is a holiday horror (Thanksgiving, this time) and an already-broken family is forever changed for the worse by a tragedy of years past. A mother on a date at the drive-in theater takes her twin sons along (why, Iâm not sure). While there, one twin murders someone and the other twin takes the fall. Fast forward a few more years, the two twins are now hunky young men and the bad twin has never had to face up to his horrendous crime while the good twin is traumatized in a mental institution. The mother gets engaged and settles the family/friends down for Thanksgiving to break the news, which causes the bad twin to snap. Conveniently, the institutionalized twin breaks out on the same night which gives the murderer all the more reason to go on a killing spree. Overall, this is a really good holiday horror that brings the family, friends, and professionals together for a plentiful (but messy) body count. I wouldâve loved to have seen the psychologist live a little bit longer; she actually believed that the wrong twin got wrongly accused, but unfortunately she was bumped off much too soon and the twisted-psychological-thriller edge this movie couldâve explored left with her. There are a lot of fun bloody death scenes and a pretty good chase. The guy playing the twins did a terrific job playing the two characters (especially the charismatic and goofy killer), and that ending! It was so beyond twisted that youâre cold blooded if it doesnât send at least a shiver down your spine. 7/10
Restraint (2008) â A young couple on the run hole up in a country estate with a hostage in tow.
What an inaccurate plot summary, IMDb. It implies that thereâs a hostage already with the criminal couple as they hole up in a house. In reality, the fugitives find a house, enter it, only to find an agoraphobic man and take him hostage. Itâs really more of a home invasion movie. I rented this on Netflix because someone mentioned that it had a similar plot to 2016 âIntrudersâ which I had already positively spoken of on this thread. While there are mild similarities, this one is definitely more of a psychological thriller of sorts whereas âIntrudersâ was straight-up horror. It seems like these British/Aussie films always excel at making complex characters, and this movie was no exception. Some characters are indeed bad, but oddly they also have quite sympathetic traits as well. I was most impressed by Travis Fimmel in this movie. He and no doubt the script brought a surprising amount of complexity to a character that would usually be passed off as a one-dimensional thug in most other crime thrillers. Teresa Palmer and Stephen Moyer both do an alright job as well, but Fimmelâs character was the one that kept me glued to the screen. I really want to buy and rewatch this movie, because I get the feeling that I will pick up on new things that I didnât catch the first time around. I could say more about the movie itself, but I donât really want to spoil too much and I have a feeling that this is the type of movie where viewers will develop their own interpretations to the scenes that play out and itâs not right to bias people before they even have a chance to see it. Someone please watch this so that we can chat about it sometime. 9/10
Warning Sign (1985) â A woman working as a security guard in an agricultural research facility finds herself and her co-worker Schmidt fighting to survive against their former friends.
This is another rare movie that I had to rent off on Amazon, because itâs really nowhere to be found on Netflix and itâs rather expensive to buy. I came into this expecting a rabid-human/zombie flick, but this movie is more about a biological-warfare virus getting loose in a lab and quarantining a number of people (scientists and security guards alike) inside with it. As more and more people get infected inside and those not infected do their best to survive them (and each other), the outside media is going crazy over this story, the government has taken over things to the outrage of family and friends of those trapped inside, and one small-town sheriff (husband of our heroine trapped inside) desperately tries to uncover answers and get inside to save his wife. The infected arenât all that vicious, but they definitely got some rage to attack anybody not infected, even if not as violently as I was anticipating from a film of this nature. Itâs really not all too bad, but there's almost too much going on here and many scenes seem to kind of drag down what could've been a great movie. Overall, I can see how this film kind of got lost in the shuffle and why no one ever seems to really talk about it, despite it being well-made. I feel like it didnât really commit to a genre (was it a romance? a drama? a thriller? a horror? all of the above?), so Iâm left feeling a bit lukewarm about it after all was said and done, but no doubt the premise (which makes it out to be a claustrophobic horror movie) looked amazing on paper. I give this a 6/10 for the strong performances involved and the movie sets coupled with the Utah scenery were all pretty to look at, but I think it would have been better and possibly a classic if it had its heart set on a genre.
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015) â Using a special camera that can see spirits, a family must protect their daughter from an evil entity with a sinister plan.
The sixth film in the Paranormal Acitivity franchise. The first movie set the stage as a great ghost story, the second movie bored me to tears, but then the third movie got me hooked when it went from being a sinister supernatural nightmare to an actual terrifying movie about evil witches and chosen ones. Sadly, none of the installments since have done much for me, at least so far as adding new or interesting layers to the story set up in the original trilogy. Each movie since the third has side-stepped the story to showcase the all-too-familiar plot and tropes that constantly show up in these movies, granted each movie ties loose ends to the original trilogy to remind us that they are related to the films we cared about in this franchise. This particular movie has a lot of problems, mainly that it abandons the âless is moreâ approach of the films up to this point. Suddenly, we now see the presence and some of these graphics are just downright cartoonish. This is also the first Paranormal Activity that does not feature Katie Featherstone, though the younger Katie and Kristi still show up as does Hunter from the fourth film. The movie does an alright job of tying itself to the earlier films (as can be expected, anyway), but ultimately this was just a decent effort to once again side-step the overall story that any fan should truly be caring about at this point, which is Katie/Hunter who disappeared into the night in the second film and was explored again (although poorly) in the fourth film. They really need to quit incorporating new helpless families for another all-too-familiar round of âMy Imaginary Friend Tobiâ which results in tons of recording and a climax that oftentimes leaves more questions than answers. Get back to the character of Katie (the ADULT Katie), her creepy witchy grandmother, and end this franchise for once and for all, because there's really not a shortage of found-footage horrors out there involving ghosts and possessions to warrant these pointless additions to the franchise. Sorry for the rant, but enough already. 4/10
This thread gives me life everyday
The Reaping (2007) - A former Christian missionary, who specializes in debunking religious phenomena, investigates a small town which seems to be suffering from the 10 biblical plagues.
While I know I love gushing about campy '80 slashers and poor-CGI monster flicks, I am always looking for atmospheric nightmare works that get under your skin and you can't just shake off easily after hitting the stop button at the credits. The last one that gave me that uneasy feeling was 'Last Shift' (seriously, get that watched - it's on Netflix for Pete's sake!) and I was hoping the same from this. This one had a strong lead in Hilary Swank, who is an ordained minister who lost her faith after losing her family. For the most part, she's a likeable albeit cynical lead with a tragic backstory and a partner who happens to be a God-fearing man (go figure). ClichÃ© dynamics aside, you do grow to like these characters and the mystery they get entangled in is interesting and not quite all that meets the eye. Expect a few twists along the way, though one is rather minor to the overall story and the other should be seen a mile away for any horror-savvy fan. There's still some creepy sequences along the way, and I think this one could disturb more religious viewers (alas, I'm not one). It's an alright movie overall, but it promises more scares than it delivers unfortunately. Still, the effort was made to scare the viewer more through atmosphere than jump scares, so one has to give the movie some credit. I still enjoyed it though, so it gets a 7/10 from me.
Parlor (2015) - A mysterious nomad known as the "Artist" practices a dark art form passed down through the generations.
I've been eying this one up since it was released on VOD sometime last time, but the only place for me to watch it was on Amazon Prime via renting. Very rarely am I in the mood to subject myself to torture-porn movies on my movie nights, but I figured I'd go with this one tonight. The tagline promises a mystery, but this is torture-porn thru and thru. Not that that's a bad thing: Some of the best usually offered something to make the violence worth it. The Saw movies usually engrossed me with its convoluted plot and the usual twist found at the end; the first Hostel was a trial, but the escape/revenge thriller at the end made it all worth sitting thru. Unfortunately, I would put this in the same category as Turistas, each film offering a different (slightly) positive factor and a different (extremely) negative factor. While there's absolutely NO fun to be had in either film really, at least Turistas was a pretty film to watch for some scenery shots while this one was gloom and doom the whole way thru, with absolutely no gorgeous shots to be seen of Lithuania, assuming it was even filmed there in the first place. Looking at these films from another angle, while Turistas was clichÃ© and predictable in the characters (the film made it abundantly clear who we were supposed to be rooting for), this one takes on a sleazy tone from the getgo: Everyone's getting drunk, screwing like rabbits, and making dumb, irrational choices that make you facepalm. Still, at least Anarchy Parlor teases us with two possible candidates for final girl which almost like never happens when it should be happening more. Unfortunately, if you think watching so much cruelty will be worth it in the end, you'll be sorely disappointed the way I was. I can't in good conscience recommend this to anybody. A few scenes show promise, but this is one of the few films that doesn't fail to disappoint me at each and every turn. 4/10 - not worth it.
Re-Kill (2015) - It's been 5 years since the Re-Animates outbreak that wiped out 85% of the world's population. Within a few cities, the Re-Animates have been segregated into "zones" and are policed by the R-Division of the QUASI S.W.A.T. Unit.
At its heart, this is basically a found-footage/faux-documentary movie about a zombie outbreak, somewhat similar to [REC] 2 but played more laughs and possibly a bit more realistic/less scary. The movie plays like a TV broadcast that would hit the airwaves during a zombie apocalypse when humanity struggles to survive. "Re-Kill" is a show that follows a couple of reporters as they document a squad of armed fighters that go around killing zombies to inch humanity closer to defeating the "re-animates" (can't use the Z-word, ya know). Intermixed with its broadcast, we see hilarious commercials that oftentimes take up tones similar to real commercials we see on actual television. One was peddling a drug that can be taken after a zombie attack to prevent yourself from 'turning', and another commercial pushed people to have sex to repopulate America. Pretty amusing stuff. As we see the squad go about their daily routine in a zombie-apocalyptic world, they eventually get special orders to go into THE Zone, described as being the ultimate zombie ghetto - a place another squad went into but never came out. The movie on the whole is pretty good for the most part; it was no where near as effective/unnerving as [REC] 2 even though it could've been, but I think this was for the most part well done and it was pretty entertaining aside from the shaky camera movements. 7/10 - I'd probably give it a point lower just because it's not really memorable per se, but this is rather original/unique of more conventional zombie movies.
Submerged (2015) - Trapped in a car -- underwater. For these victims of a botched kidnapping, the nightmare's about to get far worse.
I used the Netflix tagline since that's what got me to watch it. Is it just me, or upon reading this, does the tagline make the movie sound like a possible Malevolence/Scarecrows plotline? A group of criminals getting themselves and their kidnapped in a whole lot of trouble with whatever horrors lie underwater? That's what I was expecting, but this was more of a crime thriller than anything even remotely horror. In reality, a group of masked conspirators are pissed off that a man laid-off half the town so they try to kidnap the man's daughter for ransom, but they suck at kidnapping considering that possible criminal(?)/resident badass Jonathan Bennett (of 'Mean Girls fame) drives off with a group of kids only to crash into the river, trapping them completely underwater. Accusations fly and tempers flare between the group as they run out of air and the limousine they are in slowly fills up with water. They try to make it into a whodunit of sorts when the members of the doomed group start suspecting that one of them is involved in the conspiracy, but when all is revealed, you won't find yourself surprised or mindf#cked one bit. Some of the acting in this is really bad though; one person at the end when explaining motives was downright hammy and you wonder what the director was thinking letting this person get so cartoonish in delivery when really it should've been played a bit more straight. It's an alright movie nonetheless, but in this case, you just need to know the type of movie you'll be getting here. It's not a horror film at all, but if you don't mind straying off the beaten horror path once in a blue moon, this one is decent for a Netflix find. 6/10
The VVitch: A New-England Folktale (2015) (aka The Witch, obviously) â A family in 1630s New England is torn apart by the forces of witchcraft, black magic and possession.
I apologize but I do have to rant for a second here. I may be the only one, but it has gotten incredibly annoying seeing people constantly write âThe VVitchâ when talking about this one, as if theyâre trying to give this film some sort of added quality in addition to the film itself. We get it, the writer/director did his research and stylized his otherwise boring title this way, but at the end of the day itâs STILL a boring title thatâs hardly original and will be used again in the future. Just call the damn movie what itâs meant to be called and be done with it. The good thing, this mild irritation over the title is really the only thing about the movie that bothered me.
Overall, this is an moody period piece that (outside its title) didnât go completely overboard in conveying the style of the time. Clocking in at a manageable 92 minutes, this one is by no means a chore to watch like some other period pieces that overkill the runtime and oftentimes introduce pointless characters to the mix to give the film flair and character. 'Twas not needed here, for our doomed family showed the ugliness of the times all by themselves, sometimes without even the help of the titular Witch. The horror in this movie lies in the gloomy mood of the times, the isolation bestowed upon the family for not conforming to religious norms, the temptation they all have to commit sin, and the fallout that transpires when they do sin. While the Witch in the foreboding forest does not help matters, I actually think this family was doomed for destruction from the start, for the skeletons in this family's closet would've come out eventually. The Witch just sort of flicked the first piece that caused the rest of the dominos to fall. I found myself more sad/depressed than scared most of the time, but there were a few spooky sequences. I donât think Iâd give this top-scoring the way Iâve seen other ratings sites score it, oftentimes with perfect 5*star ratings which may be a tinge-bit overdoing it. I can't tell if people are trying desperately HARD to find new modern-day classics or if this just works more for casual horror viewers, but this one is getting "The Babadook" (another so-so affair that got rave reviews) treatment big time.. I tried my best not to let the glowing reviews bias my experience. Itâs not perfect and certain aspects couldâve used a bit of tweaking to make this film truly stellar, but I give it credit for being succinct and making its point without suffocating viewers under all the usual aspects of period-pieces. Itâs a horror and it has a few good scenes, a terrific ending (no spoilers here), but itâs not like itâll rock your world like reviews would have you believe. Iâm still stuck between giving this a 7 or an 8: Certain aspects of this were well-done but I just donât think Iâll remember it much down the road so I might go with an above-average of 7/10. Judge for yourself, though.
Queen of Carthage (2015) - An American Drifter discovers a New Zealand Singer and develops an obsession for him. - Netflix
You have to love these lesser-known Indie flicks that have bloated, high ratings here on IMDb when they really should sit more at 4 or 5. I digress, this one really wasn't all too bad all things considered. I was in the mood for a Fatal Attraction-like thriller; make Alex Forrest a gay guy and you have this movie. Shiloh Fernandez played the role of sleazy criminal much better than hero in his previous films, so it's really not surprising that he plays the role of crazy guy well, too... it helps that he's pretty cute on top of it all. Btw, the New Zealand singer? His voice was awful... Shiloh must've wanted him really bad. This movie is more of an exercise in style over substance; it's visually stunning and wonderfully acted by all actors involved, but the entire final act was terribly underwhelming.
There's Something in the Pilliga (2014) - The Pilliga Yowie, - or 'Jingra' - has haunted the Australian outback for centuries, stalking a remote part of New South Wales, where men seldom dare tread, content to keep to itself... until now. - DVD
I really feel bad hating on anything released out of Australia because I do think that, for the most part, they release the best killer beast films of anyone else. Sadly, this was such a terrible movie. It's found footage, why the guy is recording this, no one knows. These two guys pick up two women and they start driving around, and then they find a dead body and of course one of the *beep* absolutely refuses to report the body, instead hiding it out of fear of getting blamed or something. The movie completely loses me at that point, and it never gets better. It's not even fun seeing these people get slaughtered, because nothing happens on screen. Hell, I don't even think you get to see the beast hinted at in the sypnosis, aside from glowing eyes in the dark. Lame.... AVOID!!!
Eat (2014) - Novella McClure is like most struggling actresses in Los Angeles: she's in her early 30s, her fake name sounded cooler ten years ago, and she hasn't landed a role in three years. To top it all off, she's developed a disturbing habit of eating her own flesh. - Amazon Prime
Oh my, God, what a nasty little gem this was. I've seen a lot of the so-called nastiest movies of all times (Headless, from 2015, taking the trophy as the grossest and most demented by far), so I give a film a lot of credit if it manages to make even me cringe. And, yes, this one made me cringe several times. I'm getting ahead of myself, though. We are introduced to this beauty named Novella who wants more out of life than to be a struggling actress, but her BFF insists on Novella following her dream because being a working hairdresser sucks. This BFF is all kinds of awesome though; two men attempt to rape the two girls while they are out which makes you think that this would be a rape-revenge deal, but the BFF subverts that by shooting both squarely in the dicks and that's the last of that plotline. It was all kinds of awesome. Anyway, yeah, Novella gets stressed about her setbacks in Hollywood and has a habit of self-mutilating herself. Euphemism aside, the bitch like seriously ate herself. It was so screwed up and a lot is showed; very little is implied here. I loved this movie and found its gross-outs effective, but I doubt many others would share in my opinion. Watch, if you dare.
Knock Knock (2015) - When a devoted husband and father is left home alone for the weekend, two stranded young women unexpectedly knock on his door for help. What starts out as a kind gesture results in a dangerous seduction and a deadly game of cat and mouse. - DVD
Poor Keanu will probably get a lot of crap for his acting in this one for years to come, but I'm not sure what anyone expects from a horror film, much less one by Eli Roth. It's clear that the two girls were propped to be the true starlets here anyway; one being Roth's real-life wife who is kind of becoming the star of a few of his films (she was also the lead in The Green Inferno). My only thing with a film like this is that I get a bit bored seeing the villains taunt the hogtied victim for 90-minutes, and this film was seriously just that. That's probably why Keanu got grief for his acting; there's just no real action here, which was a disappointment since I always like seeing a good ol' battle between good and evil though it may be a bit inappropriate to label Keanu as "good" considering some of his choices made in the movie. Anywho, there are some amusing moments sprinkled throughout, but there's really not enough of them. Not one of Eli Roth's best works by a long shot, but worth seeing if you enjoy cute crazy chicks and their shenanigans.
Is anyone else looking forward to The Conjuring 2? I loved the first one, so can't wait for this. Hopefully it should be good and scary enough
Suspension (2015) - A high school girl and her bullying peers are terrorized by an escaped psychotic killer who is more than meets the eye.
I'm not really sure if the person who wrote the sypnosis is on crack, or just wants to mislead the doomed audience into expecting a movie that it was not getting. This is one of those "8 Films to Die For" slasher movies, which tells you from the getgo that you're more than likely getting a throwback of sorts which isn't always a bad thing. The plot centers around this girl with a tragic past (I guess her dad was a psycho killer) drawing grotesque images of violent murders as a coping mechanism, which alarms her teacher and ultimately gets her suspended. However, they don't dwell on this point at all, so I don't see how that would explain the movie's title 'Suspension' but there it is nonetheless. Rather, a bulk of the story takes place after school when she continues drawing these awful images for her very young brother, who is a mute but seems to enjoy watching his sister draw? Yeah, it's really a bizarre movie with character tropes galore. You have the hot guy who grew up with the final-girl and takes an interest in her and her weirdness, you have the alpha-bitch who is with said hot guy and knows that her boytoy is slipping away so she acts extra c#nty to our heroine to mark her territory, and then there's the best friend stuck between fitting in with the "cool kids" and being the friend-in-need to the loser. Oh, and we cannot neglect to mention the clown who wants pussy and is merely there just to be killed, of course. They try to throw a few twists into the mix that sort of clear up some of the story's weird/awkward elements, but everything about this is just way too familiar and done before even for a slasher film. You should be able to put the pieces together by the time they make their big reveal, so I won't spoil much. I'll give it a 5/10, but I can't say that I'd seek this out again in the future just because it did nothing for me.
Angst (1983) - A troubled man gets released from prison and starts taking out his sadistic fantasies on an unsuspecting family living in a secluded house.
Okay, I have things to say about this one... and it's going to be a bit long so forgive me for the upcoming rant. I may border on revealing spoilers so if you are fussy like that, then skip this movie review. I'm saying what I have to say, so don't say I didn't warn you. ^_^
Once in a blue moon, I will come across a movie so stunningly unique and well-made that it should be given high marks really, but because of the gruesome content of the film and where the story goes, I just don't enjoy it AT ALL. Yeah, I get that this is a horror film which is supposed to disgust and disturb a viewer to the core, but sometimes a film is just so depraved that I can't support it to save my life. This Austrian film is one of those films. I started watching it because it was described as a hidden gem from the slasher movie cycle of the early 80's. Throw in a home invasion angle and it sounds like a promising premise, right?
Well, no. Unfortunately, I found out rather early in this one that you ~ as the viewer ~ get put into the mind of a convicted-but-soon-to-be-released killer. In that aspect, it's very similar to Maniac (1980), another early 80s film that has its fans but I can't say that I enjoyed much either. However, unlike Maniac which had a man stalking beautiful young women who were not disabled and were thus able to run away (hell, I even think the final-girl even got away in that movie with little-to-no chase), this movie actually had our villain-protagonist killing people who just had absolutely no fighting chance... and absolutely none of it was played for laughs either. The sequences were downright frightening and played for real, which is to its credit, but it was in poor taste all the same. One victim was a mute cripple and another woman was old enough to be your grandmother, yet both were brutally dispatched. While maybe this was an accurate representation of a real-life home invasion/massacre, I found both the murder scenes to be in poor taste. I won't even get into what happens to the poor girl featured on the movie poster because that's even worse yet... :\ To give you a general idea on this movie, I say that this was a mixture of several movies that were just too cruel and unsatisfying for words... imagine putting Maniac (1980), Funny Games (1997), and Martyrs (2008) into a blender and coming out with this gross concoction of a movie. I enjoyed none of them, so of course I wouldn't enjoy this. I guess some people really like the dark stuff that plays for realism, but not me. Different strokes, folks.
For me, horror movies are a form of entertaining and that fun factor is essential in watching any horror movie. I can tolerate violece and yeah, I want to be scared and disturbed... but I also like seeing people fighting back against pure evil and sometimes even succeeding (though not always). Also, in my opinion, the terrifying thing about killers in these movies is that you don't always know what they're thinking or what their next move is, but after watching a movie that forces you to spend an hour-and-a-half in the mind of a cold-blooded murderer, you come to find that some things about a killer are best left to the imagination. 5/10 - It boggles my mind that this one is so highly rated on IMDb, but I'm sure the fact that it was well-made and realistic played a role, but seriously, do the people who rated it so high actually watch this for enjoyment?
Die-ner (Get It?) (2009) - A horror-comedy of errors, Die-ner (get it?) explores the existential dilemma of a sociopath killer who runs into the unique problem of his victims rising from the dead...
I admit it, I am a sucker for those "10 ZOMBIE MOVIES FOR $5!" packs that can be found in the bargain bins of large stores, and that's where this one comes from. I like watching crappy films for a multitide of reasons... sometimes I get spoiled by watching too many good movies in a row that I start nit-picking to find faults, so I need to watch a crapfest to keep myself humbled as a viewer. Also, once in awhile, I'll find another hidden gem that makes digging in the garbage all the more worth it. With a title like "Die-ner (Get it?)" and the nature of where I watched it, I kind of knew I was in for a low-budget comedy of sorts but the best ones always manage to use its low-budget to its advantage. The premise is pretty simple and is described pretty accurately in the sypnosis above, and the plot is actually somewhat unique. At least, I've never seen a zombie film about a serial killer's plots being thwarted because his victims won't stay dead, but I find it hard to believe that this idea hasn't been explored before in a better film so if one does exist please let me know. There were some chuckle moments between the killer and three other patrons who get mixed up in his dilemma, but where this movie fails is that it doesn't manage to hide its lack of budget much at all. While the effects weren't horrendous, the camera work seems ametuerish and the script while amusing (not hilarious) at first wears out its welcome quickly. I find that this is typical of a lot of low budget horrors, but a low funding is hardly an excuse. Some of the greatest directors and their iconic horror films started out with shoestring budgets too but that didn't stop them from producing something great... just think about Halloween, Night of the Living Dead, The Blair Witch Project... all of these show that a good movie with a low budget is possible so I don't think it's always a viable excuse for bad filmmaking. This had its moments, but it wasn't good. It's never a good sign if I have to fight off sleep to finish out a movie. But hey, at least it was short...? 5/10
End of the Line (2007) - In this unsettling and creepy thriller, Karen, a young nurse who works in a psychiatric ward, boards the last subway train of the night only to have it stop suddenly in the middle of the tunnel. As those around her are brutally murdered, Karen and a handful of survivors must face supernatural forces, homicidal religious cult members, as well as their own fears and suspicions of Armageddon, in order to survive.
As you guys already know, I've been searching for a good horror that really gets under my skin (but not in a distateful way, ala "Angst") so I got this one sent to me from Netflix. And, needless to say, I was fairly impressed with this gem from our friendly neighbors up north. Immediately from the start, there was just a moody ~offness~ to this movie that I couldn't place. It reminds me very much of the exact atmosphere of the Hellraiser films... the entire vibe just felt weird the whole way through.... almost as if these people are truly not in the real world but rather some variant of hell, but a hell that looked similar to our surroundings here on Earth. Who knows, but the general feeling is very uneasy from the very start here. After a young woman jumps in front a moving train at the station, we then meet our protagonist who is working late night at the hospital when she finds out about this girl's sucide and it really gets to her and she proceeds to eat her feelings. Once her shift is over, she boards the train and then all hell breaks loose when a bunch of religious psychos with crucifix knives start slicing and dicing through everyone else not in their cult. The movie plays out like a hellish survival nightmare that depicts a cult's twisted idea of saving people who are not with them and the overall efforts of our dwindling party who are just trying to survive down in the tunnels. Just when you think the movie wraps to a nice conclusion, a whole new level of hell breaks out and you realize that things are not quite over yet. The benefit of a movie like this is that there are so many different ways you can interpret the events and the ending, but I'll leave that to you guys to draw your own conclusions. This is truly an underrated movie, one that is actually halfway scary and thought-provoking all at the same time. Good job, Canada. 8/10
Possession (2008) - A woman's life is thrown into chaos after a freak car accident sends her husband and brother-in-law into comas. Thrills arrive after the brother-in-law wakes up, thinking he's his brother.
Truth be told, this has sat on my shelf for almost a year now. I bought it at a rock-bottom price at the dollar store for the mere fact that it was a Sarah Michelle Gellar movie, but if you saw the cover, it makes it look like she gets possessed and I try to stay clear of those kind of movies unless I have reasonable belief that they are worth viewing and reviews were mixed on this at best. Well, upon finally watching it, I couldn't believe how different it was from what I was expecting. Rather than being a horror movie about a ghost possessing our beloved scream queen, this movie instead was a nice little gem that takes the "Freaky Friday" concept of two key characters crashing into each other (causing the two to change bodies) and makes a nice little thriller out of it. It's a darker version of any Lifetime thriller honestly, but even I like the occasional Lifetime movie so that was all fine by me. I guess there's an alternate version of the movie out there and this was apparently a remake on a foreign original, but this wasn't quite horror enough for me to want to seek it out. I'll just be happy to settle with giving it a 7/10 for being a surprisingly entertaining movie with Sarah Michelle Gellar and two hunks who starred in it with her.