Saturday, January 31, 2015

Zombieland Review


9/10 

In 2009, "Zombieland" took the world by surprise, and became known as one of the funniest horror films ever. I personally love this film, because of its extreme gore, clever dialogue, fantastic cast, and hilarious antics. It was another one of my first horror movies, and I have loved it for years. 

The beginning is one of my favorite scenes of the movie, and it shows the many rules of surviving a zombie apocalypse. My favorite one is when he says that you need to have good cardio, and then the fat guy gets eaten.  This makes me laugh every time I watch the movie, because it is so sudden and well timed. 

In the next few minutes, we meet two characters.  The first one is named Columbus, and he is played by Jessie Eisenberg.  He is shown as a smart man, but he is also pretty weak and scared of a lot of things.  The next character is named Tallahassee, and he is played by Woody Harrelson.  He is a very tough man, and is the polar opposite of Columbus. The relationship between the two is absolutely hilarious, because Tallahassee has an initial disgust for the soft personality of his counterpart. They slowly start to become friends though, and Columbus begins to really look up to Tallahassee.  On their journey for survival, they meet two girls named Wichita(Emma Stone) and Little Rock(Abigail Breslin).  Columbus immediately falls Wichita, but what he doesn't know is that her and her sister are both con artists.  After a trick that they pull on the boys, they steal all of their possessions and drive away.  Luckily, the girls change their mind and let the boys drive with them.  The addition of these characters was absolutely perfect, because they added so much sarcasm, and they were very interesting people. The relationship between Tallahassee and Wichita is absolutely priceless, because they butt heads constantly, and become each other's nemesis.  I feel that this is relevant because of the fact that they are so similar, that they can't get along at all. 

While the movie is a horror film in nature, it is also one of the most intentionally hilarious things I have ever seen. There are so many classic scenes of comedy, and they're outrageous in a way that I will never forget.  Tallahassee's whole side story with the Twinkies is awesome, because it is so random, yet it fits so well in the movie. The whole part in Bill Murray's mansion is perfect, because his presence just automatically makes in hilarious.  My favorite line from the movie came from his mouth, and it was when he said his only regret in life was "Garfield."  Being the movie is so funny, it is hard to take any dramatic moments seriously, which caused me to laugh at scenes that many people should be sad about.  This isn't bad at all, but it probably wasn't what was meant to be intended. 

The gore in this film was fantastic, because it was excessive and nasty.  Every kill was full of guts flying, and there were also many graphic scenes of cannibalism.  While the scenes aren't scary, they're still cool as can be, and they look fantastic.  Along with the gore, the zombie effects looked so realistic, and the actors themselves were convincing as they could possibly be.  I was so glad about how the effects and gore turned out, because it really reminded me of the classic movies that I love. They weren't ruined by stupid CGI, but it was an authentically bloody mess, and it made me proud. 

The film's soundtrack was one to praise, because of the awesome old music that was used. There was "Everybody Wants Some" by Van Halen, "For Whom the Bell Tolls" by Metallica, "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" by Willie Nelson, and many others.  This added so much energy to the film, because the high octane rock music really pumps you up, and makes the film all the more cool. 

The only weakness I really saw was an awful mistake by the writers. There is a scene where Emma Stone says "in 1997, I saw my first R rated movie; Anaconda." Every time I hear this line, I want to throw something at the television, because "Anaconda" was rated PG-13, and it still is to this day. While this isn't a movie ruiner in any standard, it was a stupid mistake, and it ticks me off quite a bit. 

Overall I really love this movie. There is fantastic cast, gut busting humor, great gore, and an all around high quality film. I highly recommend it to any movie buff, because I think you will enjoy it immensely.  It is definitely one of the funniest movies in the horror-comedy genre, and one of the best zombie movies ever made. 

Summer School Review


9/10

One of the things that teenagers dread more than anything is summer school. What would make it even worse is if your dreams during class were some of the most brutal things that a mind could think of.  This 2006 horror depicts this, and it has become a pretty highly regarded independent film.  I enjoyed the film a lot for its outrageous gore, high energy, and careful craftsmanship in moviemaking.

The movie begins by showing a young student named Charles sitting in his classroom alone during summer school.  He is shown to be very bored, so he starts to write down grades for horror movies that he puts on his website. This really caught my attention right away, because my website is something I'm very passionate about, and this kid is the same way.  I also liked it because he was talking about horror films in one, and I love when movies do that, because it's a lot of fun. 

In the next scene, we meet the rest of his summer school class, including his friends Steve, Dennis, and a girl named Lindsey. The top two are idiots that were forced to come by the court, and Lindsey is a girl that attracts Charles a lot. Charles is a very smart guy, and he doesn't need to be in summer school at all. The only reason he is doing it is so he can get Physics over with before the school year starts. 

The film starts to get weird as Charles is strapped down, and is being tortured by his friends. They're beating him, and scaring the heck out of him, until he finds out that it was just a dream.  As he falls asleep time and time again, the dreams get even weirder. He sees his friends get killed, he is put in a cocoon type of thing, and he is attacked by monsters. These dreams really start to terrify Charles a lot, because he can actually feel the pain in real life. This is such a great storyline, because no matter how scary the events taking place are, Charles is able to wake up out of it.  It gets very confusing at times, as he has dreams inside of dreams, and just adds to the horror.  

The first great thing about this film is the gore. It is gruesome, realistic, and plentiful. One of the grossest scenes in my opinion was when a Charles slices a patch of black on his skin, and blood starts to come out like crazy.  For a film with such a low budget, this greatness really impressed me, and it reminded me of 80's horror gore. 

The cast was pretty good in my opinion, because they kept pretty authentic by not overplaying their roles.  Simon Wallace was the lead character Charles, and he did a great job of starting off as a normal teen, and turning into a complete psycho. The actors portraying the Nazis were other favorites of mine, because they gave such a cold and brutal performance that I felt like I was really watching Hitler. 

The way that the film was shot is so cool, because even though there was a definite darkness in the tone, there is also a bright light that shines on everything. One of the greatest examples of this are the scene in the rednecks' land. The sun really beats down in everyone, and it gives such a gritty tone to the scenes. The slow motion and other cinematic effects were also so fantastic, because they really added to the brutality of the film. 

The last twelve minutes of the movie were absolutely shocking. There was killings all over the place, and a lot of intensity.  I feel that that the scene was like this to show how much the horror movies had taken over Charles' life, and how his sadistic mindset caused his fate.  It ended on a "what the heck" moment, and like I've said many times, that is the best way for a horror film to end. 

Definitely check this film out, because it is a fresh, energetic, and gory mess of a horror movie, and it was truly genius. It had a great cast, great effects, great cinematography, and everything else that could be wanted in a film of the genre. I really think that any fan of the slasher genre will have loads of fun with this movie, and that they won't be disappointed at all. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Nurse Review



3/10

"The Nurse" was a 1997 horror film about a nurse that wipes out a family as revenge to the man responsible for the suicide of her father.  I really did not like this film at all, because of its "made for television" feel, and the fact that it was often very boring.

The film starts out on a sad note, as we see a nurse named Laura Hanniman's father kill himself and his son and wife, because of an embezzlement scandal that was going to put him in jail for years.  This scene is absolutely heartbreaking to watch, because of the pain that everyone is going through. The man that was responsible for the scandal's beginning then finds out about the tragedy, and he suffers a massive stroke that will leave him paralyzed.  I actually felt sympathy for this man, whom is named Bob Martin, because he never wanted this to happen at all, and this was such a blow to him. Laura is them seen hard and angry after the funeral, and she said that she hopes that Bob dies, and she ends up "treating" him at the hospital, where she threatens him and wishes that he suffers terribly. This really set the tone that this movie was going to be intense, and I felt it was much needed. 

The movie really starts to get crazy when Laura kills the nurse that was taking care of Bob by shooting her up with a bunch of Potassium Chloride.  While this scene is completely bloodless, it is still pretty brutal in nature, and it was a great first kill. The thing that makes it very painful to watch is paralyzed Bob in the back of the car, because he had nothing that he could possibly do at all to help himself or Jane. 

One of the impressive factors of the film was the cast. The lead role of Laura; played by Lisa Zane was very well done, because she had a very great way of putting on a fake self to hide her pyschopathic nature.  I think it was a good choice to have a lesser known actress in the role, because it give more of an authentic feeling. Another actor that I found to be very good was John Stockwell as Jack Martin.  He portrayed a very likable character, and he was extremely pretty realistic in his portrayal. Although Michael Fairman doesn't have many lines in his role of Bob, he has a really great way of showing his anger with his facial expressions as he looked at Laura.  The words were not needed at all, and he was a character that I felt a lot of sympathy for. 

While the plot of the story is interesting for the most part, the film really has the vibe of a Lifetime movie.  This turned me off a lot, because this took away from the quality greatly, and it was harder to take the film seriously. One of the biggest factors in this flaw is the music. It is so cheesy in every possible way, and it has been used in about 1000 horrible TV movies. 

Quite honestly, I don't get why this film was rated R. The violence was actually extremely weak. There was not one drop of blood, and there was nothing too brutal. For a horror movie, I would expect a lot more, especially for the era it was made in.  While I think the suspense that is built kind of makes up for this in a sense, I still wish that things were a little crazier.  The one scene that I will call an exception to this was when Laura slit a man's throat open. While it wasn't gory, there was still a very gruesome feeling to the scene. 

The ending of this film lacked immensely.  There was so much potential for something really crazy to happen, but like any other crappy horror film, they had to take the easy route and make a happy ending. I can't stand when the movies do this, because it takes away any of the shock that happened before, and makes the finished product feel like a fairy tale.  

Overall, there was a couple things I liked about this film. There was a really great cast, and a decent enough plot, but the movie in general sucked. There was a very unprofessional feel to it, and I won't ever understand how it became a motion picture.  The film was also lacking in shock, and it had one of the worst endings I've ever seen.  Please do not waste your time with this overlong piece of crap, because it is not worth it at all. 






Hide and Creep Review


9.5/10

"Hide and Creep" is a 2004 independent horror comedy, and it tells stories of zombies, aliens, and other horror related subjects.  The movie was praised by critics at its time, and was a hit at movie festivals.

The first scene was very clever, because it gave many references to classic films. It takes place in a video store, and the owner is on a phone call talking about zombie movies he has seen. I really liked this a lot, because it showed the filmmakers' true passion for the genre. In the next few minutes, the zombie attacks begin.  I really like the way that they were done, because the music and movements of it all was extremely satirical, and it was very enjoyable to watch.  The zombies are also pretty cool looking, because while they don't look like normal humans, they also weren't overdone at all.

This film is one of the best horror-comedies I've ever seen, because the humor is so diverse.  There are jokes for everyone, because there are inside jokes for horror fans, and other scenes that would make anyone laugh. This is perfect, because the movie is accessible for anyone, and it was absolutely genius.  The humor was actually very dry at times, and very reliant on sarcasm.  I enjoyed this a lot, being its my style. There were also moments that were just absolutely outrageous, and these were hysterical on all levels.  A lot of people call "Zombieland" the iconic horror-comedy, and while I find it to be great, this one is much much funnier. 

The gore in this film is to the max, and while its lighthearted, there is still a gruesome sense to it.  There is ripping of skulls, eating of body parts, graphic bloody shootings, etc. I really like this a lot, because the blood and guts were very well made, and I could still take it somewhat seriously. 

The cast was absolutely perfect, because they were hilarious, and they could keep a straight face throughout everything.  I imagine that this would be so hard to do, because some the lines are laugh out loud, but they stay completely stoic the whole time. My personal favorite actor of the film was Chuck Hartsell, whom played the role of Chuck. He had a fantastic way about him, and his subtle humor was perfect.  The other standout in my opinion was Kyle Holman in the role of Keith.  He did a great job in playing the tough, gung ho zombie killer, and he was surprisingly likable. Barry Austin was absolutely perfect in the role of Reverend Smith, because while you can tell that he wants to be good and honest in his profession in the church, it is quite obvious that he has an utter disgust for the people in the congregation, because of their rude and selfish ways. 

Another factor to the film that I really liked was the multiple stories that took place. Instead of boring us with one plot, we get an individual look at certain groups throughout the entire film. It was almost like the "Pulp Fiction" of horror.  This is a further reason for the film being one of the best horror flicks I have ever watched. 

If there was one weakness I could find in the film, it would be the ending.  Just minutes before, there was the true introduction of the UFO's in the movie, and I thought there would be a cool ending where they actually showed them. This never happened though, and I felt the ending came way too soon.  Whole the ending itself was good, I just wish there was some more that happened, because the movie was enjoyable enough to go on for two hours. 

I would like to do you all the favor of recommending that you watch this movie with all of my heart. It is hilarious, disgusting, and just about everything I could possibly want in this genre of film.  I promise you that it will be one of the greatest zombie movie experiences of your life.  The only one I would still put in front of it would be "Night of the Living Dead," but that is still saying a lot.  So please check this film out, because i guarantee that you won't be disappointed. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Night of the Living Dead(1968) Review


10/10!!!!

George A. Romero is the king of the zombies(no pun intended).  Even though there were films before his time that had the topic, he was the true innovator. He made the first gruesome zombie flick ever, and it was a 1968 film called "Night of the Living Dead."  This is one of my favorite horror movies ever.  It is a shocking, and extremely fun piece of cinema, and it was the first movie of its kind that I had ever watched.  

The movie starts off with a bang, and it engrosses the viewer right off the bat.  We meet Johnny, and his sister Barbra.  The two of them are visiting their father's grave, and they converse with each other.  Things seem completely normal, until a man starts walking around the graveyard. Johnny walks over to him, and the zombie kills him.  Barbra runs away, and she locks herself in the car. The zombie tries to break in, and Barbra runs away until she finds an abandoned house.  This first ten minutes is so iconic, mainly because of the car scene(which has been mocked and repeated so many times).  Everything is just so exciting though, and it is one of my favorite beginnings ever.

As Barbra hides in this house, an African American man named Ben comes in. He is also hiding from the zombies, but he is a very strong and capable man.  He takes it upon himself to board up the entire house, as a way of saving themselves.  What they don't know yet is the strength of these zombies, and the number of them that will try to take them down.  The viewers also meet five other characters later in the film. Two of their names are Harry and Helen, and they are husband and wife.  Their daughter is also featured, and her name is Karen. The other two are a couple, and their names are Judy and Tom.  Throughout the rest of the film, these seven characters try their best to save each other, but their chances are not likely at all.  The plot is such an intense story, and although it's been used many times after, it was very original for its day of age. 

The cast was extremely talented, and each of them really gave a convincing portrayal of fear and anger.  The standout for me was Duane Jones as Ben.  It was uncommon for an African American to be to the hero of movies at this time, but he did such a great job. He was smart, resourceful, and extremely tough. He was also the most likable character of the film, and it was easy to admire his tenacity.  Judith O' Dea was the other lead in the film, and while she did a good job. Her character was absolutely terrible.  While revolutions were made with Ben, the character of Barbra is one of the most sexist and stereotypical roles I've ever seen. She was weak, dumb, and annoying as she could possibly be.  She is shown to be incapable of doing anything, and it was a wonder she lived as long as she did.  The other actor I really liked in the film was Karl Harden(Harry). He was a very angry man, and it made me laugh a lot.  Harden was a great character actor, and he gives everything you could want in the role.

Even though the film is quite tame by today's standards, it was extremely graphic for its time. There is gory wounds, eating of body parts, stabbings, etc, and it is still quite a gruesome film. I really give a lot of credit to it for this, because a lot was risked.  There was the chance that people were going to hate the movie, and that it would flop immensely.  Even though critics didn't like the gore at the time, this has changed, and it is now known as one of the greatest horror films ever. 

Being the film was made in the late 60's, black and white footage was still used. I really like this for the movie, because it gave a very grainy and dark look, and it was surprisingly realistic to life.  Instead of watching a movie, I feel like I'm actually there, and it adds to the horror extensively.  I honestly don't know why the black and white is special in this one, but it really set itself apart from other films of its type, and it was the best in my opinion. 

One of the things that I really liked in the film was the way that the radio and televisions in the house almost work as a narrator to what is happening. It made things very tense, and it was a genius move.  I feel that it was influential, because "American Graffiti" did a very similar practice years later. 

The most amazing part of the film in my opinion is the closing scene. I have never been so shocked by anything before. I remember watching the movie for the first time, and I literally yelled at the tv because of what happened.  There has never been a better ending of a movie before, and I don't think there ever will be again. 

I will make this conclusion very simple. Watch. This. Film.  If you want to be a true horror film, then there is no escaping this.  It is the absolute gateway to all films of the genre, and it is a true masterpiece. I may have to call it my second favorite horror flick, only behind "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." I promise all of you that this film will not disappoint you in any sense. Be prepared for a gruesome, shocking, and iconic film from the master himself..... George A Romero. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Meadowoods Review



7.5/10

"Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself." James Anthony Froude- Historian.

The quote above is the first words of this 2010 indie horror flick. "Meadowoods" has not been a largely known film by the public. It was direct to video, and it will never have the same notoriety as a classic like "Halloween."  It is a movie about the sadistic mindset of three teens that killing someone is a way to have a good time.  While aspects of the film were stereotypical, there is a lot of originality in the storyline, and I enjoyed this movie a lot. 

In the first scenes of the movie, we meet the main characters Ryan, Travis, and Stephanie.  They tell us about how their lives were boring and miserable, and that then we're going to liven things up by killing someone. They depict the many factors that will go into their plan including; age, gender, the way they will do it, etc.  This plot is so disturbing in my opinion, because these kids don't even know the extent of what they're doing. They almost make the killing of this person seem like it will be a game. It is also a very original plot for a horror film, because instead of seeing people just randomly die, we know everything that is going to happen to them. 

The film revolves around the three characters for the majority of the time, and in this, we find out a lot about them.  While their characterizations weren't original at all, they worked very well for the film itself. Travis is the crazy one of the friends.  He is constantly goofy, and he doesn't show any distress at all in the killing.  He is also a bully to Ryan, as he constantly brings him down with demeaning comments.  It is also shown that he doesn't have many people that care about him, and it has made his life meaningless. Stephanie hates everyone and everything in the world. She is extremely troubled because of harm done to her, and she lacks any kindness at all.  She believes that the killing is totally just, because "everything gets hurt at some point of their life."  Ryan is the outcast of the group. He is quiet, insecure, and he does not want the killing to happen.  He ends up falling for the target, and he gets pushed away even more. He is the only one that has a realistic idea of what it going on, and he knows how terrible it is.  He is also very melancholy, because of the fact that his parents are never there for him. They leave town constantly, and don't give the time of day to him. I feel like the only reason he hangs around with Travis and Stephanie is that they are the only ones that pay attention to him at all,  regardless of how terrible they are to him.  The only other character we get to know is Kayla; the potential victim of the killing.  She is interviewed by Ryan, and we get to see a lot of the facts of her life. She is extremely smart, beautiful, and musically talented.  She has great plans for her future, and she is an all around great person.  It is so sad to see this, because if they kill her, then a person with so much potential will just be wasted. Her dark side is the insecurities of feeling that she will be alone forever, even with the knowledge that many people care about her. The four of these characters are almost like "The Breakfast Club," because they fit a category very well, and they try to get each other to express their feelings. 

The actors portraying the characters were all fantastic in my opinion.  Michael Downey was very well suited for the role of Ryan, because he had a great way of showing his sadness, and he kept his performance pretty low key.  This was totally necessary, because his lack of opening up really showed how much he was just going through the motions with the others. You can really see the toll that this whole thing takes on him, because by the last half of the film, he becomes fed up with his former friends, and he just ditches them.  Connor Thorp was absolutely awesome in the role of Travis. He was so professional, that I wouldn't want to meet him in real life. The way that he portrayed the sadistic qualities of this character was extremely crazy, because he showed no regret at all in what he was doing, and he could also portray his anger immensely.  Kerry Goodwin was exceptional in her role of Stephanie, because she had such a dark way about her. You could tell her anger towards everything, and the many depressions she seems to face. My favorite cast member was definitely Ila Schactler in the role of Kayla.  She started out as such an easy going person, but she made a complete transition in acting as a person being tortured. She showed so much fear and anguish, and her performance gave me the chills.

The movie was shot in documentary format, so it had the same look as films like "Blair Witch Project." While I'm not usually a fan of this type of movie, I could make an exception for this one, because the shaky cameras were completely necessary in the sense that most of the film was from the videos that Ryan was making. It also gives us a feeling that we are watching through his eyes, and it was extremely neat. 

There was not one instance of blood or gore in this film.  Regardless of this, the last half of the film was one of the most disturbing things I've ever seen. The torture is not violent in the way you would usually think, but it really messes with the mind of Kayla.  The box technique was absolutely horrifying, because it was so claustrophobic, and her fear was insane.  I love the way this scene was shot, because for a lot of it, the screen was completely black, and the only sense you could use was hearing. This made so much room for imagination as to what Kayla was going through.  When the light came on, things were still dim, yet now you could see how small of a space this really was.  So while this isn't your typical slasher film, it is extremely brutal for this reason. 

The ending shocked me a lot.  I was expecting a much different outcome, but this one was really awesome. Instead of giving you the happy ending that was wanted, this film left you on such a sad note that it isn't something that will never be forgotten. 

I liked this film a lot. There was a super interesting storyline, a fantastic cast, and some horrifying scenes. While I think some things were generic as could be, it was a small blemish in an otherwise awesome film. The fact that a direct to video film could be this great really impressed me, and I recommend it to all of you for sure. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Inflicted Review




6.5/10

Doug Bradley became a household name of all horror fans from his role in "Pinhead" in the 80's horror series "Hellraiser." As I have found from this 2012 film, he is still going strong.  "The Inflicted" was a great horror movie from our time, and I feel that even though there are many mistakes throughout the film, it is still a lot of fun. 

The film itself starts very strangely, with the event of a father pushing his daughter into a pool, and letting her drown. This is disturbing to think of, because parents are supposed to love their children.  The worst part of the whole scene was that the father held his son back from saving her.

A large time gap occurs, and we see this young boy grown up. His name is David O' Hara, and he is a very intelligent medical student.  He is also very good with the ladies, and he even gets a beautiful girl named Melissa to come to his apartment.  Regardless of the positive things I have mentioned above, it is obvious that there is something wrong with him.  

The two students proceed to make love, and everything seems okay.  Things get weird as David kidnaps Melissa and ties her wrists to the ceiling.  He then tells her that he wants her to bore a child of his, so he can finally be a better father than his own was.  He also stated that if she refused, then he would kill her.  Out of fear, she accepts, but is then saved by an officer.  David then runs away, and resides at his father's house so he doesn't get caught.  These scenes were extremely disturbing, because of the sadistic and dark nature that surrounds it.  I found everything to be extremely interesting, and I was totally engrossed to see what happened next. 

The cast of this film was satisfactory. There were some weak links, but overall there was a lot of talent that portrayed a lot of emotion.  The writer and director of the film Matthan Harris did a really great job in the lead role of David.  He was like an emotional chameleon, because he could go from a suave gentleman to a complete pyscho with no effort at all.  Lindsay Hightower also did a great job in this film, by portraying the main protagonist Melissa Daniels.  She makes us feel so much sympathy, because of constant bad luck, whether it was the fate of her child she bore, or the torture she goes through with David.  Bill Moseley did an outstanding job in the role of David's father. The thing that really stuck out to me about his performance was the way that he could make us forget the fact that he was just as bad as David. A murderer of his daughter, and an accessory to the crimes of his son, he is a pretty rotten person.  We are tricked though by his sensitive side.  Whenever he sheds tears, we see an artificial goodness in him, and he tries his best to convince that he had reasons for his wrongdoings.  Doug Bradley worked well for his role of Agent Wilson, because he could give a fast and aggressive delivery to his dialogue, and he was a very convincing detective.  Sid Haig was decent in my opinion. He made his character of Doctor Gardner very likable, but it was hard to take him seriously at some points with the thought of his more evil roles in the back of my mind. 

This film featured some great slasher moments. There was lots of blood and gore, and very cool weapons were used to make this possible. Along with these scenes, there were plenty of other things to make this film sick and horrific. There were assaults, deaths of children, and the dismemberment of bodies.  This was one of the most twisted horror movies I've ever seen, and even though I enjoyed it a lot, some of it was a little bit much. 

One of the main weaknesses I could find spot was the film's score.  It was such a cheesy instrumentation, and it sounds like a sample track that can be found on Windows Media Player.  I honestly feel that an annoying vibe was created because of this mistake, and it dragged some of the scenes down a lot. 

Another weakness that came up a few times was some of the filming.  While the majority of the film looked great, there was a couple scenes that bugged me greatly.  The first one was the party scene.  The screen was a little too clear for my taste, and it made things look fake. The second scene I noticed immediately was the news scene. The color scheme looked terrible with the camera quality, and it looked like an iMovie. While there was only a couple scenes that ran into this problem, they were really apparent to me, and it affected the entire film as a whole.

Overall, I enjoyed this film a lot. There was an interesting plot, great cast, and some great slasher scenes. I did notice quite a few weaknesses along away, and while they were grating, they didn't screw the film up to the point that I didn't like it.  I recommend checking this little known film out, but I warn you that there are some touchy subjects that come up throughout the film, and are not for the faint of heart at all. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Prom Night(1980) Review




9/10

In 1978, "Halloween" was released, and it turned Jamie Lee Curtis into a star of the horror genre.  This 1980 film was her second shot in films, and it has been a hit since its release. While critics didn't love it, fans of the genre have raved it, and it has become one of the most popular slasher flicks of all time.

The beginning of this film was done very well. I really love the cinematography as it flies around the brick buildings, because it gets a very tense feeling. The chants of the children are also very chilling, and it gives a unique feeling to the movie. The scene basically portrays children terrorizing a young girl by following her saying "the killers are coming." This scares the girl very much, and she ends up walking out a window by accident. It is extremely sad to see the death of this girl, and the reaction of the kids that were only try to joke around is heartbreaking. 

The movie then skips forward six years, as the family of this girl are shown visiting her grave. One of the members of the family is Kim Hammond, played by Jamie Lee Curtis. The family is obviously still very torn up about the death, and they leave reluctantly.  As things go on, we see a bunch of teens being called by a mysterious man that is using a list to keep track of people to stalk.  We also meet Kim's boyfriend Nick, whom is ignoring these calls. In his mind, he thought it was another girl he was seeing named Wendy trying to take him to prom. This whole beginning sequence of the film is very interesting, because it has a lot of mystery, and it gives a great build up in introducing all of the characters.

One of the things I particularly like about this film is the blurry vision that we see. It gives a very eerie tone to the movie, and almost makes it feel like a nightmare.  In fact, I feel that the style was actually used later in "A Nightmare on Elm Street" during the dreams sequences. 

The acting in this film was quite satisfying in my opinion.  Jamie Lee Curtis gives her usual performance, which is awesome, and I feel that she was a pretty safe pick for the film. Leslie Nielsen was great as her father, because he was good at portraying a stern but fair man. Kim's brother Alex(Micahel Tough) was another great character, because he had a great chemistry with Curtis. I feel this was extremely necessary for their relationship, because in reality, this is how they should be. The death of their sister would in real life make the two of them closer, and this was shown so well.  The rest of the teens do a great job, because they make the high school experience very real. Some of them are the nicest people in the world, and others are complete jerks.  Nick(Casey Stevens) was an example of a likable character, because he was very good to Kim, and was kind to everyone else around him. Some examples of characters that were the opposite would be Lou(David Mucci) and Wendy(Eddie Benton). They are absolute scum, and have no redeeming qualities at all. They hate the fact that Nick and Kim can be happy, and because of this they do whatever they possibly can to make them miserable.

It takes about an hour for the first kill to happen in this movie, but I think that this strategy was very appropriate for the film. Things built up to this one moment piece by piece, and by the time it was here, it just made things even crazier.  I love the way this film was shot, because it was very grainy slow motion, and the killer was in a black costume which made it even more intense. I love how just before the throat of the victim was slit, they cut to her face, because it showed the fear at the moment.  The noises used for this kill were absolutely brutal, and they were perfect. After the kill, the whole movie really amps up, and a rampage of murder begins. I love how this was done, because the tone of the film was a little dry to begin, but you could tell that everything became more energetic, whether it was the chasing, or it was the music at prom. 

The scenes at prom were very well done, they made the dance look quite fun, and the disco soundtrack was pretty cool.  The lighting in the school looked great, and it made me feel like I was watching a "Soul Train" type of thing.  I also like the way that the teens are shown out of the gym. When the girls are in the restroom, their banter is very realistic as to what girls would be talking about in real life, and some of the occasional pressure is extremely genuine. 

The violence and gore in this film is lighter than others I've seen, but it is so proficiently done that I enjoyed it greatly. Rather than just being the usual lighthearted slice and dice movie, there is a lot of tensity that comes about these scenes, and they really get the adrenaline going.  It almost reminds me of a "Halloween" type of thing, because they don't make it graphic, but it's just as intense. My personal favorite of the whole film is the killing of Wendy, because it is a long and horrifying chase scene that builds up more and more, and then turns into a black screen as we hear the brutalities occur. 

The ending of this film was absolutely shocking. I was not expecting the killer to be who he was at all, and once it was revealed, the feeling of the movie became heartbroken. Thankfully, it ended right at this, because it didn't add any stupid fluff to ruin the vibe. It honestly may be one of my favorite horror movie endings ever. 

"Prom Night" is a fantastic slasher film. It was one of the first, being released in 1980, and it's one of the best. There is so much intensity and terror in this film, and while it's not scary, it's still gets the adrenaline going well. I highly recommend this film to any fans of the genre, because it is not one to miss. 


Killjoy Review




6/10

One the fears that people have is clowns.  I've never understood this, because I've always found them to be quite humorous if anything.  This 2000 movie horror film makes my point even further proven, because it is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen. It is so cheesy, and low quality, but it is enjoyable as can be. 

This movie starts off in a rough neighborhood where two girls are walking home from school. As they make their way to their house, they run into a boy named Michael, who asks one of them on a date. The girl Jada is taken already, and she turns him down. As they stand there, a car full of a gang beats up this boy, because the leader Lorenzo is the boyfriend of Jada.  After everybody leaves, the film takes us to Michael's room as we see him trying to conjure up a spirit named "Killjoy."  He is then called down from the house by one of the gangsters from before, and they kidnap and murder him.  This whole beginning is very entertaining, and quite intense. 

The film skips forward a year, and we see Jada on a study date with a different boy named Jamal.  He is much nicer than Lorenzo, but she still has some feelings for him. Jamal convinces her of how dangerous this is for her, and they end up making love.  In the other side of the story, we see Lorenzo and his friends all smoking and drinking together.  They then hear a ice cream truck, and go out to buy something. In the truck, they see a clown that is also claiming to be a dealer.  This clown lures them into the truck, and teleports them into his lair. 

This special effects in this film are hilariously pathetic. They look like they were done on a cheap movie app, and they obviously took no effort at all. This isn't exactly terrible though, because it made me laugh more than cringe.  The funniest scene was when Killjoy shoots bullets out of his eyes, and as they hit Lorenzo, little digital dots hit off his body.  The props used were also super fake, and the knives look like they were bought at Dollar Tree. 

This film is one of the first horror flicks I've ever seen with an all African American cast, and it gives a whole different feeling to the genre.  I think this was cool, because it isn't common, and it made a very urban vibe.  The acting was absolutely terrible though. The cast members have no sense of delivery, and they portray little to no emotion at all.  I spent so much time laughing at this, because the way they act seemed like the biggest spoof ever.  The only actor that I could ever see being a different film was Michael L. Johnson(Lorenzo), because he at least did a good job of portraying a gangster. 

Killjoy is not a scary villain whatsoever. He is creepy, but any potential of being frightening is dogged by his constantly hilarious antics. He dances around, says funny things, and does nothing at all to make himself brutal at all. He is basically an evil Barney.  I laughed at almost every part he was on screen, and for that reason I could say he was at most enjoyable. 

The best part of this whole film was the ending, because it really did leave the viewer at a "what the heck" moment. I do give props to this, because it's the best way to end a horror film, and the directors at least figured that out. 

Overall, this film is one of the biggest disasters I have seen.  There is nothing in it that could be called close to quality in any standards.  Regardless of this statement, the film was one of the most fun horror flicks I've ever watched.  Some movies are bad, and are unwatchable, but this one was so bad that I couldn't take my eyes off the screen.  For this reason, I will give the film a good grade, because if it hadn't been so funny I would've given it zero stars.  Don't expect a masterpiece in any standard, but watch this film for a laugh that you can't get anywhere else. 

Jason X Review


2/10

There have been many times that famous characters have gone to space in our time. There has been Abbott and Costello, Tom and Jerry, The Muppets, along with many others.  Who would've ever thought that Jason would be the next in line?  This could've been a good film, and something very different, but this movie failed on most possible levels. It lacked likable characters, a decent plot, good effects, the majority of things that made the originals good. 

The first point I would like to bring up about this film is the name "Jason X." In reality, this name  doesn't work well at all, being Pamela was the killer in the original, and Roy was the killer in part 5. So technically this would only be the eighth film to have Jason as the villain, and therefore makes the name quite irrelevant.  While this doesn't bug me too much, I just think that the filmmakers should've chosen a name a little more carefully. 

As the movie starts, we find out that Jason has been frozen by the government, and they want to transfer him. There is a lot of controversy about this decision, with the fear that Jason would escape and kill.  Even though they give in, they are too late; as Jason slaughters them all.  If this film hadn't been part of the series, this would be cool, but in continuity standards, this makes no sense at all. First off, the last we saw, Jason was taken to hell, but now he is back on Earth?  Even with the time jump of 1993 to what is supposed to be 2010, this scene is completely irrational, because even for Jason, it would logically be impossible for him to come back from hell.  

The movie then jumped forward to 2455, where Jason is shown to be frozen. As the scientists begin to start doing experiments on him, he thaws out and begins his killing spree. Honestly I don't like the futuristic aspect of this film for many reasons. First off, I like the vintage feel of watching the others in the series. I really miss the 80's nature of the original films, and this 400 years forward thing came across as very cheesy.  Another reason I didn't like this idea was the costumes. I don't think the "Power Ranger" suits and elf shirts looked good at all, and it made me feel like I was watching a bad alien movie.  I also really disliked that the film was turned into more of a scifi film than anything. It takes place on a spaceship, looks like "Star Trek," and feels like "Alien Resurrection."  This is not what I wanted to see in a Jason film. While I think that the space idea had the capability of being neat, I feel that it was a failure in this form.  It would've been much cooler if it was astronauts in present day, because it would have much more of a horrific feeling, because the future almost takes away from the tensity, being it will never happen during our life time.  It actually made the film take itself way too seriously, with the constant melodrama of the ship, and the cheesy monologues coming from the captains and such. 

One of the positives I happened to find in the film was that at times, there were fun moments like the originals. There was times where I laughed a little, and I mean because the scene was genuinely funny. I liked how the dialogue was often witty, because it helped balance out the otherwise boring tone of the film.

The other main positive of the film was that Kane Hodder played a very good Jason once again. He was big, brutal, intimidating as ever, and his fast walk really kicked butt. I think that this was his second best performance as the character, behind his portrayal in "The New Blood."  Jason also looks pretty good in the first half of the film, with the exception of that the stupid hair that the makeup artists added to his head in "Jason Goes To Hell." 

Things really went downhill with his appearance after his new costume appeared. He is completely metallic, and looks like a cheap robot.  I found this to be extremely dumb, because he looked like a low grade General Grievous, and the lack of his hockey mask takes away from the character completely.

I personally felt that the special effects in the film were pretty terrible. They were fake CGI tricks, and not once was I blown away.  The sets looked extremely fake, and so did everything else surrounding the characters.  The earlier films worked really well when they used fake blood, because there was much more of a authenticity than this computer junk squirting all over the place.  The frozen head kill in this movie was one of the most creative murders of the entire series, yet I felt it was dragged down by the shoddy gore shown. Overall I wish that the filmmakers stayed to doing these effects much more genuinely, but obviously they wanted to stay with times, and there is no way of changing it now. They just have to pay the price of looking back at this and seeing how crappy of a job they did. 

Another terrible aspect of the film was the acting. In the previous films I can't say there was any Oscar winning performances, but at least the casts were somewhat enjoyable.  In this one, it is almost unbearable to watch some of the people. They have a whiney tone to their voice, and no sense of delivery at all. One of the best examples is the scene where Jason is brought to the fake world, and those two girls in the sleeping bags try to lure him over. They were two of the worst actresses I have ever seen, and it seemed like there was no effort in their lines, and no effort at all by the cast director to have picked them. 

The ending is another thing that really bugged me in this film.  There was no shock whatsoever, and it was a cheesy happy ending that shamefully ripped off "Alien" and "The Empire Strikes Back" in one instant. I don't know why this was done, because often in the past really crazy things happen at the end, and it's often the scene a viewer remembers best from the film.  

In the end, this movie sucked big time. It is most definitely my least favorite of the series, and one of the worst movies I've ever watched. There was such a bad ratio between positives and negatives, because in the midst of two good things, I found at least ten horrible problems.  I really cannot recommend this film to anyone, because it is a waste of 93 minutes.  Watch the original nine films, and skip to "Freddy Vs Jason," but stay far far away from this film, because it is hell. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Amityville Horror(1979) Review



6/10

All of our lives, we have been surrounded by haunted houses. Whether they are the attractions we go to during the Halloween season, or a laughable subject of a horror film, every person has some connection to them.  Did you ever think about what it would be like if the connection that you had was that your house you have resided in was actually one of them?  This harsh reality became life for the Lutz family in the 1979 classic "The Amityville Horror." Based on a 1977 novel by Jay Anson, this story tells of a family that moves into a house that had been abandoned after a son murdered the rest of his family. Slowly as they reside in this mysterious home, things begin to get weirder and weirder.  Over the decades, this film has become a huge hit with horror fans, although it has been universally panned by critics. I find the film to be good, but not great, with a slow pacing and unsatisfying ending really dragging a film with huge potential down.

The film does something that not many do, and it gives its best parts right in the beginning. As the first shots come on to the screen, we see a family murdered by the oldest child. Two parents, and four children dead for no motive whatsoever. Is this possible though? Why would anyone just kill their family for no reason?  As the caption telling this story comes up, they make sure to really emphasize this point, causing the thoughts to begin racing into our head as to what might've happened.

The film then skips a year into the future, and we see a couple played by Margot Kidder and James Brolin looking at the very house that the murder took place in. One of the really cool things about this scene was that as the realtor showed a different bedroom to the couple, there were flashbacks to each individual killing.  At the moment I saw this, a few questions went through my head.  Does the couple know of the events that happened? And if they did, why would they want to bring their family into a house with this kind of psychological baggage?  Regardless of these obvious questions, the Lutz family buys this house, and the film skips another year so it becomes present time, and they are shown living in the house with their children. As we meet the children in the family, something ironic came into my mind. Two parents, and four children. Weird isn't it?  When I looked at the elements that the film had given me so far, I knew something crazy was going to happen. 

This entire film goes off of this slow revelation of details. Every day the family lives there, something new occurs in the house.  On one of the first days of living there, a priest by the name of Father Delaney(Rod Steiger) comes to visit the family. When he enters the house, no one is there, and he looks around to find someone. As he is in one of the bedrooms, he is apparently seen to be attacked by a swarm of flies.  This becomes the first of his problems, as his physical and mental state deteriorates throughout the entire film.  Another victim of this growing craziness is Brolin's character George Lutz.  Originally a very easy going and kind man, he slowly turns into an easily angered, threatening and paranoid man that honestly shows a lot of potential to murder.  This really scares Kathy(Kidder) as she has nightmares of him murdering the family and such.  Outside of the people being harmed, the house starts to be weird.  Toilets overflow with black water, closets trap people even though they don't have locks, and windows automatically come down on the fingers of the children.  I really love how the film does this, because it builds up the tensity you feel toward the house, and it gives you the idea that a huge climax was on the way. 

One of the positives to this film was the cast. Both Margot Kidder and James Brolin do a great job in the lead. They both start out as very likable people, but as the film goes on, they have a great way of conveying the previous kindness into a newfound insanity.  Brolin especially does this well, because he is almost like a chameleon. He goes from moments where he seems like a mindless drone, then to a paranoid freak, and in just the next second he could be completely normal.  Rod Steiger was fantastic in his role, because he has such an amazing speaking voice.  Whether he is just talking or yelling in a huge outburst, his voice is so easy to listen to, and his delivery of words are absolutely stellar. 

Another positive to the film was the Oscar nominated score by Lalo Schifrin. The music in the movie is extremely tense and eerie, and it's great at setting up for disaster.  The instruments used were very diverse, and it gave the sounds gave me the same kind of fascination as the score in "Planet of the Apes."  Even though the music was such a big part of the movie for me, another cool thing I noticed was the moments without any sounds.  These scenes were very true to reality, because it depicts the times of loneliness in our own lives.  One of the greatest examples I noticed was a scene where George was just walking outside by himself, and the only thing you could even hear was his footsteps. This was a great technical decision for the movie, because it helped it set itself apart in a unique way.

The special effects were done extremely well, given the time the movie was made. Everything was quite realistic, and extremely creative.  One of the greatest examples of this was the iconic scene where the blood comes out of the walls.  Even though the blood was pretty fake, it still had a very cool look to it, and was colored very well. I liked the way that it streaked down the wall, because it gave a chilling feeling to the scene.  The only special effect that didn't stand the test of time at all was the floating head of the spirit of Ketcham. This was done very cheesily, and I had to laugh at the fake nature of it. 

One of the main weaknesses of the film was the slow pacing. Throughout the whole movie, there was a lack of life in the scenes, and quite a few of them really dragged on. I almost feel like a half hour could've been condensed from the two hour running time, being there was at least four long scenesof unnecessary   content.  If the film had been more around the hour and a half range, I feel it would've been a lot more enjoyable for sure. 

Another weakness for me was the ending. As I mentioned before, the film builded itself up for an intense climax the entire time, and this began to happen in the last five minutes. I was so excited about the craziness that was taking place, and I was totally set up for something I'd never forget. As the house started to shoot blood out of the walls, and everything started to collapse, I thought that in some way, shape or form, this family was going to die like the last one that lived there.  Sadly, this never happened.  The fact that the movie ended happy doesn't bother me as much as the fact that it came so quick. The exciting part of the movie finally came, and it only lasted about a minute. I can't even tell you how upset I was by this, because I felt like this made the entire movie a tease.  If I use a roller coaster as an analogy, the car went up and up all the way to the top of the roller coaster, and everyone is ready for the craziest ride of their life, and just as the free fall starts, we find out it was only about twenty feet, and the ride ends.  I really think that if the filmmakers were truly serious about what they were doing, they could've come up with something much better.

Overall, I enjoyed many things about this film. There was a great cast, a brilliant idea for a film, and some really great special effects.  Sadly, this all was thrown away by what I may have to call one of the worst endings ever.  I can't say that the film isn't worth a watch, because there really are a lot of positives to it, but in the end it really was a disappointment. 






Monday, January 19, 2015

Slaughterhouse(2012) Review




7/10

So I wake up this morning, and I check out all of my stats for the page and my Instagram and Facebook accounts for it, and I see that I'm tagged in a post to a movie that director Carlos Junior(whom I follow on Instagram) made. I was totally psyched that he wanted me to check out the film, because I'm open to watching new things all of the time, and it is my honor to be looked at to review peoples' films now.  So the film I watched was a 2012 indie horror flick called "Slaughterhouse."  I really didn't know what to think of the film at first, because I had never heard of it, but Carlos told me I could watch it on YouTube, so I gave it a shot.  Let me just tell you all that this film was very very well made. There was great acting, dialogue, etc.  It was a great indie flick for sure.  While some of the scenes portrayed are really not for me at all, I totally respect the way the film was made, and I give total props to Carlos for his achievement. 

The movie starts out with a quote from the notorious pyscho Ted Bundy.  The quote was "I just liked to kill, I wanted to kill." In my opinion, this was an ingenious way to start the film off, because it really set the dark tone to what was going to happen. I could almost make an analogy to how the 1985 film "The Breakfast Club" used a quote from the David Bowie song "Changes" to really foreshadow the events of the film. This was a totally awesome idea, and the maturity of it impressed me a lot from Carlos. 

This film was made in Brazil, and is spoken in Spanish, but it is still easy to connect to the characters and what they're saying. The first reason for this is the good subtitles. They weren't too quick, and not too slow, and they were very easy to read. Another thing that really helped was that the dialogue wasn't spoken at rapid speed either. 

One of the things I wasn't huge on in this film was that it was shot with found footage. I have watched movies like this before, and I really can never get into the style. It is way too shaky for my taste, and it makes me scatterbrained. I actually noticed my eyes starting to hurt from the rapid movements of the camera, and I had to look away a little bit. I understand that some people really like this technique, and it is an interesting tactic, but it's just not for me. 

Basically the film starts off quite uneventful, but yet I wasn't bored. The first twenty five to thirty minutes is a bunch of teens driving around in their car, and they eventually break down and fix the car. By this description, I know that many of you expect this film to be exhausting, but in reality, these moments were very fun. One of the saving graces that helped it stay good was the sense of humor from the cast members. They were constantly spitting out hilarious jokes, and I was laughing most of the time. There was also very spontaneous scenes like the teens randomly singing and playing guitar that made the film very light hearted and fun at these times. 

Honestly the way that this car ride starts this film off really reminded me of the original "Texas Chainsaw Massacre." Both movies start off uneventful like this, and both are in a car to start. Then both of them really start to kick in after the first attack.  I really love the way that Carlos referenced other horror films in this, because he really give a fresh reminder of the greatness of the genre. 

The cast in this film was awesome. I really loved the fact that a lot of the time I actually forgot I was watching a movie. The characters didn't even seem scripted at all, and their performances were just natural and authentic. Another great factor of the acting was that everybody was just genuinely funny. They had a great movie personality, and I congratulate them all grandly. 

As I mentioned briefly before, the film really takes off after the first attack. This scene was done very well, because you could barely see anything that took place. All you know is that the character named Junior falls to the ground, and is seen being dragged away into the midst of a field. The scene was shot skillfully, because all you can see is Junior's hand as he is being taken away, and then the screen blacks out. This really causes the viewer's imagination to go wild as to what might've happened to this poor man. 

There are many things that really captivate the terror in this movie. The first is the very dark tone used in the color scheme. It makes the scenes very shady and trippy, and it really adds to the horror effect of the film. The next is that when the screen blacks out, there are many screams and shouts in terror that add to the brutality. Even though we have no idea what's going on, the sounds itself make us think the worst is happening. 

The last twenty to twenty five minutes of the film are when things got really crazy. The people are taken into a slaughterhouse, and are completely terrorized. This is more than just a slasher film, it's full on torture. Honestly some of the events that take place really weren't for me at all. The idea of watching these people be beaten constantly is just a little much in my opinion. The worst though is an assault that was modeled off of the film "Deliverance." The humiliation put upon these two men really crossed my line in viewing.  

Overall, the film was quite enjoyable. There were a lot of fun and terrifying moments to it, and it was a great achievement for the up and coming director. I am giving this film a good grade for the fact that there was not much to dislike about it at all.  With the exception of my utter distaste to found footage, the making of this film was super well done, and I was impressed.  I just can't recommend this film to all of you, because honestly there was stuff that was way too much for me, and not knowing where your line crosses, I don't want to put that upon you. If you are a person that really digs this kind of film, then I totally recommend it, because it was a brilliantly made work, but if you don't want to watch the brutal torture of these innocent people, then I say skip it.




The Hills Have Eyes(1977) Review


7/10

Wes Craven has become one of the most notorious filmmakers in the horror business.  Being responsible for classics like "A Nightmare On Elm Street," "Scream," and many others, he has become a household to the masses.  This 1977 cult film never met the same glory as his other work, but over the decades, it has acquired a fanbase of its own. It has spawned sequels and remakes, and it definitely had quite an influence on other horror films to come.  

This film starts a little slow, as we meet an old man and a young girl named Ruby in a very rural area that is close to being a desert. The two of them start talking about how Ruby is starving, but that there is nothing left to trade for food.  After this, a family comes by to get some gas for their station wagon. Then the family leaves and they drive around and talk, and they see a big plane flying in the sky. Things start to get a little more tense as the family gets stranded in the middle of nowhere.  You know at this moment that something crazy is going to happen. The movie get even weirder as one of the young boys in the family named Bobby is seen ignoring his sister and giving her a death glare, and the fact that his face has been altered in some way.  Even though things were still slow at this point, at least there was one teaser jump moment to get things going, and a mystery to make you engrossed in the film.

About 32 minutes into the film, the first attack happens.  The victim of the brutality had just been talking about his abnormally large son, and then coming through the window the son takes him and beats him with a crowbar.  I can't even express how relieved I was that something finally happened in the film, because honestly if things would've stayed boring any longer, I might've fallen asleep. 

The family of savages are absolutely disgusting. They are sadistic, cannibalistic, deformed, dirty, and completely immoral. They steal babies, assault young women, murder, etc. The idea that they're attempting to cook the young baby Kate is absolutely awful, and it's such a brutal thing even for a horror movie.  My personal favorite of the gang was Michael Berryman as Pluto. He was a very deformed and creepy character, but was also quite humorous at times. 

The violence in this film is sick, brutal, and absolutely awesome. While its gore is tame compared to now, it still has a lot of bite to it, and really stands as a strong point of the movie. There is stabbing, mauling, shooting, etc.  The coolest scene is the Achilles' tendon tear in my opinion.  

The last quarter of the film is very intense, as the good family attempts to save Kate from the cannibals. There is a lot of brutal fighting and chase scenes, and it is one of the most exciting parts of the film.  The ending scene especially ends well because it ends my favorite thing; a "what the heck" moment. 

This movie was made 38 years ago, and to be honest, it hasn't aged as well as other films from the decade. I have seen many movies of this time, and even older that do just fine, but this one wasn't meant to work for more than a year in my opinion. The soundtrack makes me feel like I'm watching a serial movie from the 70's. So while I did enjoy the film a bit, this factor did bring it down a bit. 

After viewing this film for the second time, I can say that I enjoyed it a little bit more. There is some pretty exciting scenes, and the characters are cool enough. While it is still extremely flawed and dated, it is definitely worth a watch, and I think it could be enjoyable for fans of the genre. 





Sunday, January 18, 2015

My Bloody Valentine(1981) Review



7.5/10

The year is 1981, and films like "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th" have already paved new boundaries for the slasher genre.  Who would've thought that the next big movie would take place in a mine.  "My Bloody Valentine" brought horror films to a whole different level with its explicit violence and brutal nature. It was not a favorite of the critics at the time of its release, but it has become a huge cult hit since.  I find this film enjoyable without a doubt, but it is also quite flawed, and it isn't anything significant in my standards.

The movie starts out in a very original way for horror films. We see a bunch of workers in a mine, and one of the females becomes flirtatious with a man.  The scene just looks very sensual at first, and we think she knows the man well.  Then suddenly, he pushes her back into his pick ax and stabs her.  This scene was quite surprising to me, and I enjoyed it a lot. It was obvious that someone was going to die, because romance never ends well in these kind of films, but the nature of it was very different than what I thought would happen. 

One of the first things that I find interesting about this movie is the changes in atmosphere. A lot of movies like "Halloween" or "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" just stay dark the whole time, but this film is extremely diverse.  There are dark moments like the killings, but there are also quite a few scenes that are very happy and lighthearted.  The red and pink color scheme of decorations and look of the happy small town really brighten the viewer's mood, which is extremely clever in the way it sets up the other scenes. 

The idea of having the film take place on Valentine's Day was genius for a few reasons. First off, the holiday is supposed to be one of the happiest days of the year, yet there is brutal killings and terror taking place amidst the fun the characters were trying to have. Second off the holiday has a lot to do with hearts, and they bring a lot of significance to the brutality of the film. 

The acting is good in this film, because all of the cast members really give a great feeling of a blue collar mining town. They are very hospitable, kind, funny, and genuine people, and a lot of the men in the mine have a very close knit and brotherly relationship. This comes across greatly in the way they talk to each other, and by the goofy nature of their performances. One of the exceptions of this kind hearted personality was the character TJ Hanniger; whom was played by Paul Kelman. While he is a good guy, he has a certain darkness to him, and he doesn't get along with everyone as well.  This makes a good balance in the film, because it is more realistic to have a mix in personalities.

One of the infamous factors of the film is how the MPAA slashed nine minutes of footage for the theatrical cut of the film.  This caused the movie to lose a lot of the gore and special effects that were made, and it took away from the positive appraisal that the film could've gotten. Now on DVD, there is the option to buy an extended cut, and several of the gory minutes are back.  Watching this version of the film I was mindblown by some of the killings. While they aren't frightening at all, the scenes are super gory at times, and very brutal. One of the most iconic killings is when Harry puts his pick ax through a man's chin, and it takes an eyeball out of its socket. This is fully onscreen, and very very bloody.

One of the things in the movie that I find to be a blessing and curse was the fact that the movie tried to be more than just a horror movie.  Much of the film was going toward a romantic drama, and sometimes even a comedy when it wasn't being horrifying. On the positive side, the filmmakers were obviously trying to add some different elements into the genre so we didn't feel complete déjà vu from other films. Also, it gives us a more open look at the town, and makes us feel for the people a little more. On the negative side, I feel that the diversity almost made the script a little but scattered, and almost grating at times. The whole love triangle between the main characters is interesting at first, but by halfway through the film it really just feels like beating a dead horse, and I just really want things to go back to the horror side.  

Another complaint that I have with the film is the score.  It really just doesn't fit the movie at all, because it'd be better suited for something like a mystery film.  I feel that the instruments were a little bit too muffled, and it doesn't give the same suspenseful feeling that a great score like "Halloween" or "Friday the 13th" had.  I also feel that the score had been used before, or at least has a similar sound to other films. I really love a movie to have distinct music/themes. When I hear the "Halloween Theme," I know exactly what is on right away. With this film though, if the music came on randomly, I wouldn't have clue of what movie it was from. 

The last thing I can really say in negativity toward the film is that even though it is highly enjoyable and brutal, it really didn't do much to set itself apart from other films of the genre. Yes there was a new level of gore, and yes the setting was unique, but in the end, it just followed a basic formula for horror films, and didn't bring anything new to the genre.  This doesn't make it a bad film at all, but it just takes away any extra significance that I find in a better film like "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."

The ending of this film was pretty awesome. There was quite the plot twist when the killer is revealed. I honestly wasn't expecting the person it ended up being at all. I thought that this was very cleverly done, almost like the original "Friday the 13th" movie, and I give the filmmakers props for it. 

Watching this film 34 years after its release, I feel that it aged pretty well. The humor stayed pretty fresh even with the time difference, and so do all of the characters.  I feel that even though the filming definitely has a vintage look to it, it still seems pretty cool because of the darkness it gives to the movie. One of the things that isn't exactly relevant anymore is the film's setting in a mine. While there are still mines in America, it isn't nearly as common of a job, and it doesn't define a town like it did back then. While it doesn't connect to a viewer of now compared to one back then, it doesn't take away from the coolness of it at all. I find the setting to be a genius idea, because a mine is so dark and isolated, that there really isn't much chance of escaping. 

Overall, I find this film to be quite enjoyable. It isn't a masterpiece in any sort, but it is a fun bloody mess of a horror film.  I almost feel that the movie is more of a novelty for its infamous controversy, because it has much more of a reputation than it really deserves. It is worth watching for sure, but don't expect anything different.




Texas Chainsaw Massacre(1974) Review



10/10!!!!

When people, including me think of the first slasher movie, the first that comes to mind is "Halloween." What isn't always noticed is that there were films that lead to the genre, and really influenced the formula of the films greatly. One of the greatest examples of this is the 1974 classic "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."  This highly controversial film of the time depicts a horrifying story that was inspired by the real murders at the hands of Ed Gein.  The film was ahead of its time, and people really didn't know what to do at its release.  In recent decades, it has been hailed as a masterpiece by critics and audiences alike, and it is known to be one of the scariest films ever made.

The film starts in a way that many horror films don't choose to do. Being it is based on a true story, there is a brief announcement that tells the events that will take place, and even though they aren't the real events that happened, you get the feeling of it by the way that they are told.  I like this a lot, because it gives a much darker feel to the film, and sets you up for crazy things to come. In the next moment, we see the brutal aftermath of a murder. As we see a skinned body propped up like a statue, a radio tells the nature of the crime.  This is also very cool, because we get an idea of who this mysterious murderer is, and what they do, without giving away any identity.

One of the first factors in this film that influenced slasher films is that the teens were stupid, and they picked up a hitchhiker.  The ironic thing is that this slasher is about the last person I'd ever let into my car. He is super creepy, and is later found to be violent and sadistic. Edwin Neal was fantastic in this role, because his freaky laugh makes his scenes all the more weird, and he has a perfect way of delivering his words and being violent without seeming phased at all. 

The five main teens were all cast very well. They are likable, and often very funny. They aren't your big stars, in fact I have never seen them in films before. This really helps a lot, because it gives a much more authentic feeling to their performances. They also aren't you picture perfect gang, with the exception of the girls, and this also helps diversity fall into the cast, and it shows that the filmmakers didn't care about appearance at all.  My personal favorite of the teens was Paul A. Partain's role of Franklin, because he was hilariously insane, and just an awesome actor. 

One of my favorite things about this film is the cinematography. There is a grainy, bright yet dark look to the movie, and it gives such a creepy vibe to the entire thing. I also like the way the shots that the camera did, because they give so many views to whats going on, and it sometimes follows the characters as if the camera was a stalker. 

As I read reviews saying that this was one of the most terrifying films ever made, I was skeptical, not fully believing that it would be too bad.  I was wrong... This movie is the first I have watched that I will actually call scary.  It's not a gory mess like many others, but it has more suspense, and it is more brutal than any movie I have ever seen. It was such a brilliant tactic to make the first forty minutes of the film pretty slow, because it made the last half the craziest thing ever.  Once the first kill from Leatherface happens, it's like a domino effect of how insane the film got.

 Leatherface is by far my favorite horror villain ever after watching this film. He has everything that is needed.  He wears a mask, he is mainly silent except for the noises he makes, he is a big hulking character, and he is fast.  Never before have I seen this combination done this well before. Jason and Michael are awesome villains, but neither of them are scary in anyway.  Leather face is not one to mess with though. He is so brutal, and he is extremely intimidating. One of the best things about him is that he can really keep up with his victims as he chases them. Michael Meyers is pretty slow, and while Jason is a little faster, neither of them are anywhere near Leatherface.  The other thing about him is his obvious mental impairments. You can tell by the movements by his mouth, and the noises that he makes that something is wrong. This almost makes everything scarier, because there is the possibility that he doesn't even know what's happening as he tortures these people. 

Later in the film, after Leatherface does a lot of killing, we meet the rest of his insane family. This makes the film even more bizarre, because they are all complete psychos. The father is a mean and abusive man, Leatherface dresses up as a woman at home, and the siblings are all complete creeps. The topic of cannibalism also comes up in these scenes, which makes it all the more scarier. I think this family factor raises the levels of scariness in the movie much more than if Leatherface was the only villain, because you get to really see how their lives function, rather than just killing.  The weirdest thing is that a lot of the time, they don't even do violent things to the victim/s, but they poke and stuff, and it's so morbidly filmed that it is just as frightening as a killing. 

The ending of the film was perfect, because it left you at the peak, it didn't give a crappy sum up the story ending, but it left you right at the moment where you are like "what the heck?"  It honestly left me with such a frightened feeling, and I have never felt it before. 

I will just say that this may be the best horror movie I've ever seen. It was sick, twisted, and brilliant all at the same time, and it was the first movie to ever scare the heck out of me. I was actually shaking by the end.  All my life I have watched horror movies and just laughed at them, but now I saw something that was truly horrifying. It is truly amazing that forty years after a film's release, it can still be scarier than anything made after it, regardless of all the skills people have learned over the years. Definitely check this film out, but be warned that you will be scared, and you will never forget. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

An American Haunting(2005) Review


9/10

Okay so this review marks a couple important landmarks in my writing history. This is the first article I did on a paranormal film, and it's also the first new horror flick I've reviewed. This film is extremely enjoyable in my opinion, and while it was not popular with other critics at all, I saw something special in it. This film looks fantastic, it was cast perfectly, and it is one of the best paranormal films I have ever watched.

The film starts out in a way I appreciate very much.  It shows a young girl in modern day America running away from something in the woods. This scene was filmed very well. The snow gives it a chilling feel(no pun intended), and the quick movement of the camera makes the running feel much more authentic. 

After the present time is shown for a few minutes the film goes into its main setting of 1817. Not many horror films go back this far in time, but being this one is based on an allegedly true story, they had to.  This film did a great job of bringing the viewer back two centuries. One of the best factors of it all is the costumes. Every character looks the time perfectly, and I give major props to all of the costume designers for a job well done. The scenery is also beautiful in this movie. The woods look fantastic, and the buildings look very at the time. Some of the looks remind me of the 1992 film "Last of the Mohicans," because it has a very relaxing look in some scenes. On the complete other hand, a lot of the scene were done perfectly because of the dark feeling they cause. In the end, whether it's capturing the time, or just the film itself, the movie looks fantastic in all ways possible. 

The acting in this film was pleasant for sure, mainly because of the safe picks in cast members. First of, Donald Sutherland plays the main character John Bell. Sutherland is one of those actors that can't do me wrong, and this role was just another effortlessly amazing role by him. He gives such a dark performance, because even though he is portrayed as a nice guy, the delivery of his words, and his sinister smile give a hidden persona in him. Sissy Spacek was another pick that couldn't go wrong in the role of John's wife Lucy. She does a great job in capturing the fear and tensity needed in frightening moments, and then in the next scene she can go back to being a kind and loving mother and wife.  The standout in this film for me was Rachel Hurd-Wood in the role of Betsy Bell.  She gave a better performance as the victim of paranormal torture than I have have seen in a long time. She captures so much terror and emotion in her performance, and the viewer really feels so much toward her.  The way that she shakes around and freaks out is just priceless, and I feel that she did near as good as Linda Blair in "The Exorcist."  This was such a mature performance for young actress like her, and I give humongous praise to her. 

In the past, I haven't really been a fan of paranormal films. I watched "Poltergeist" a few years ago, and I just couldn't dig it at all. About two years ago, I watched "The Exorcist," and while it was a very well made film in all standards, I just couldn't get into it fully. The problem I had was the fact that I couldn't be convinced of anything like those films happening in real life.  This film really changed my opinion for me.  I could really see a happening like this taking place, because it doesn't just depict a ghost or the devil taking over someone, but much much more. I almost feel that while curses are still mildly a part of this film, that the happenings are much more psychological, and because of past trauma or sins in life. I really feel that Betsy is having a lot of these attacks because of a horrible experience that is revealed near the end of the film.  I feel that her mind was scarred, and that she became very paranoid in life. On the other hand, I think John has attacks brought to him because of his wrongdoings of his past. I feel like that his guilt ate him up the point that he felt that these horrible things were happening to him, while in the end it is just his paranoid mind playing games with him.  So in the sense that this film is called a true story, I could totally believe that in a sense.  While I'm still skeptical on the idea of ghosts physically being real, I totally believe in the psychological aspect of it 100%.

In the last section, I talked about the ideas of paranormal activities in the film, but there is a whole different side to the plot, and that's what we see in these occurrences. The scenes of the hauntings are absolutely amazing in this film. The way the camera moves, the flashing lights, the dark nature, the screams, and just everything makes the scenes amazing. I love how the stress portrayed in the character is brought of to the audience, because it really gives us the ride of the terror, and makes the film all the more freaky. Another thing I love is that you can see how these occurrences really take a toll on people like Betsy. You see her get angry more frequently, you see her asleep in class, and you see the physical ailments coming on to her. One of the best examples of this in my opinion was when she lays down at one point, and you can see that her eyes have circles of black all around them.  This is what makes a paranormal film great, because while it isn't a quick violence movie like a slasher, they portray the terror in a much slower and chilling way. 

Overall, there really wasn't anything I could complain about in this movie. It surprised me that I enjoyed it so much, but I could honestly call it the best paranormal movie I have seen so far. It was freaky, interesting, and extremely well made.  I mentioned earlier that many critics hated this movie. Only 12% of the reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes liked it. I can confidently say that I can be added to this 12% because I have become a huge fan.  This is the first horror movie I have liked from the 2000's, and it has inspired me to be more open to the genre itself, and more recent films. Definitely check this out, because you will not regret it one bit.