This is the last, hopefully, film that I have that was directed by Joe Castro. I have nothing against him. I just haven't found a movie that impresses me a whole lot. I will say that the movie I watched today, Near Death (2004), does manage to come close. Don't get your hopes up too high though. It didn't come that close. I do have some good news to give to you all. Well, it is good news to me at least. Post number 250 is getting closer with each review. This one puts me at 241 if you are wondering. I have a movie in mind for that post but I haven't decided if that will be the movie I will pick for it yet. Since I haven't done a tribute post in a while now, I think I will throw one of those in before I hit 250. I have someone in mind for that as well. And last, but not least, the next review will be the start of another series review. I was supposed to get the last of four movies in the mail Saturday, but it didn't show up. Hopefully it will today. I think that is all I wanted to pass on so now, the review.
Near Death centers around June Rivera (Perrine Moore). She is doing research on a curse that has turned into a legend. She is doing the research for a book and has managed to get Tammy (Ali Willingham) and Billy (Scott Lunsford) to help her with it. They go to this big house that was once owned by Willie Von Brahm (Carl Darchuck). Legend has it that he murdered a young woman, Maria (also played by Perrine Moore). There was no real proof of this but her mother believed it so much that she cursed Von Brahm and all who was in his house. The curse is that they can't ever leave the house, if they do then they will die. Von Brahm throws himself off a cliff though so maybe the curse does work. In death, Von Brahm is holding the souls of the people left in the house hostage. So if they leave the house, not only will they die, they will also lose their souls forever. At least I think that is how the plot worked itself out. The way it all worked out is that the remaining people aren't dead but they aren't truely alive either. Instead, they are now ghouls that eat the living. Will our group figure out what is going on and find Maria's body, thus breaking the curse?
Near Death is a movie that tries to be too much. This is evident in the effects more than anywhere else. There are two types of effects to be found. The old fashion makeup effects and the newer CGI effects. In both cases, there were things I liked and things I thought could have been left on the cutting room floor. The opening effect wasn't a good sign of things to come. One woman gets her throat cut open and this happened so quickly that I couldn't tell if this was sped up or if there was some kind of edit cut in there. Either way, it didn't look very good. Another big mistake is when the ghouls are eating. They make it look like they are eating nothing more than a dark jello. One thing I did like though is when one the ghouls does try to leave the house in search of food. He starts to melt away and when he pulls his shirt off, his flesh goes with it. However, they did manage to mess even that up by adding some unwanted CGI effects. Not all of the CGI effects were bad but I thought alot of them were not needed. Sometimes I felt they found an effect that they thought went well with the movie so they tried to push it more. That was when they went to far with the effects. If they had kept them simple it would have looked a whole lot better.
The acting is also a mixed bag. I liked Ali Willingham and Scott Lunsford was ok. The lead actress, Perrine Moore, was good as Maria but not as good as June. I don't know why that was the case. Maybe because Maria had fewer lines. I have no idea. The ghouls were ok as well but had a way of over acting at times. They were Brannon Gould, Joe Haggerty, Marieno Savoie and Darlene Tygrett. You will also find Scott St. James, Joseph Commesso and Billy Bicskei.
Another problem with Near Death is the plot holes. We discover that these people have been trapped in the house since the 1940's. At the start of the movie, they have hired a guy that is working as a bartender to bring them their supper. They pay him a gold coin per body. When he discovers where they keep this gold, he tries to take all of it but gets caught. The ghouls then use him as their supper. After this they are upset because they have no idea where their next meal will be coming from. They have no phone (stressed earlier in the movie) and they can't leave the house. This begs the question, how did they manage to hire this guy in the first place then? It also made me wonder why the police weren't poking around this bar where missing people were last seen at.
At one point, the ghouls go on the attack. Our group barely has to touch them and their heads split open revealing their skulls. One of them even has a rat in her mouth that wasn't there before. It was things like this that pushed it from an "oh cool" moment into the realm of silly. The plot wasn't the best around but I kind of liked it. If only they had not tried as hard as they did and put way too many effects in. Sometimes less is better. Always nice to have wow moments but it is better to have only a few effects that will be remembered as great instead of a bunch of effects that will make people end up laughing. I can't really suggest this one for anyone though unless you are just crazy over bad movies. Maybe I will have better luck with my next set of movies.
2 out of 5 Wishing for better movies (a hint to the next series review)
1 day ago