6 days ago
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Scream Bloody Murder opens with a kid watching his father work on a bulldozer. The kid hops into the drivers seat and watches from there for a little bit. He then manages to get the bulldozer moving and runs his dad down with it. After doing that, he jumps off and somehow manages to get his hand under the track. He is then sent to mental hospital where they give him a hook for the hand that he lost. He stays there until he becomes a man, at which point he returns home. Matthew (Fred Holbert) had been getting some letters from his mom where she talks about her new man, which upsets Matthew a great deal. The day he returns home just happens to be the same day that mom gets married to the boyfriend. Matthew doesn't like this news at all of course. Eventually, after watching his mom and new husband fooling around just a little, Matthew murders his new stepdad. Of course his mother doesn't understand at all, and Matthew ends up killing his mom too. After that Matthew goes on the run, eventually becoming friends with Vera (Leigh Mitchell), a woman who likes to sleep around with guys. Since the murders Matthew has gone a bit ape shit in the head and sees his dead mom and stepdad in other people now. Will he get Vera to like him, or will he kill her as well?
Scream Bloody Murder is considered by some to be an early slasher film. I can understand why, since he does use knives to kill people, or an axe, or even his own hook. Scream Bloody Murder is a movie that you just can't help but laugh at. It ends up being a bit silly in places, though I'm not sure that was the intention when it was filmed. Like when Matthew, as a young kid, jumps off the bulldozer. He jumps so that when he lands he will be beside the bulldozer, but his hand still manages to get under the track even though it is flat against the ground. Or a kid who is going door to door selling candy, but refuses to accept no one is home. I'm pretty sure he doesn't hear anyone inside, yet he rings the door bell, knocks on the door and windows and even looks through every window in the front of the house. The whole time asking if anyone is home and that he has candy for sell. I just found it funny how this kid was not going to give up. A scene that turned into a "what the fuck" moment is when Vera manages to get away from Matthew, leaving him upstairs as she runs down to the front door. When she opens the door, there he is! No idea how he managed to get ahead of her, let alone outside the house. The movie itself was a bit slow, I wasn't giving it my whole attention at times because of that. Whenever Matthew would think he was seeing his mom and stepdad, they would add a swirly effect to it that would get annoying after a while.
The gory effects are pretty lame. All they really are is just some fake blood, that looks very fake, thrown on where the wound is supposed to be. That is pretty much the extent of the effects. The acting was cheesy, but better than I was expecting. Neither Fred Holbert or Leigh Mitchell were real bad. This was apparently Holbert's only movie, and Mitchell only went on to do one other film. This has nothing to do with the acting, but I had to wonder just how old Holbert was supposed to be in Scream Bloody Murder. I assumed he was supposed to be in his 20s, but looked older to me.
I enjoyed Scream Bloody Murder, which is also known as Claw Of Terror sometimes, but it wasn't because it is a good movie. It was the silly things for once that made the movie entertaining. Obviously Matthew has mommy issues that boarder on creepy to say the least. If you are interesting in movies that fit the bill for a slasher before they became so popular, you might give Scream Bloody Murder a try. If you are not that interested in the slasher genre, then you certainly won't miss much. I did it! A review a day along with a review on the weekends at Top Horror Movies Club. I have surprised myself at getting a review a day in, more so since I had to double up at least one day on the weekends. While I didn't get much else done through the month, I'm still very happy that I was able to get it done. I will not disappear now that the month is over. To my surprise I don't feel burned out at all. In fact I have a couple of movies here that I am looking forward to. While I may not do a post a day here on out, I will still be around. It has been fun.
2 out of 5 Very glad I don't have mommy issues
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Much like the other films, Saw VI picks up where the last film left off. Once again here be spoilers about the last film, so don't go any further if you don't want to know. With Agent Strahm (Scott Patterson) out of the way, Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) believes that he has framed Strahm with the recent Jigsaw murders. The contents of a box that Jill (Betsy Russell) was left by John (Tobin Bell) are revealed to be John's last grand test. William Easton (Peter Outerbridge) works for the insurance company that denied John's request for coverage for a treatment that might cure his cancer. In fact William has a team set up that looks for errors or other things on applications so that the company can then terminate the claim. John doesn't like that they look for any little thing to cancel a policy, and he believes that they don't take one important factor into consideration: the will to live. Now it is up to Hoffman to bring the games full circle. With the FBI not believing that Strahm is really Jigsaw, Hoffman has to set the plans in motion a little early. Jill has some tricks up her sleeve as well though.
After a disappointing fifth movie, I was still looking forward to watching Saw VI. With each film, new things are left open in order to be answered in the next film. In this case it was the contents of the box that Jill got. I liked Saw VI a lot more than I have some of the other Saw movies. The main reason is because that the test for William got what felt like equal screen time with the other plots that have been running through the whole of the series. Things started to clear up a little bit about why some of the people in the earlier films were picked for traps. I also enjoyed the story line that has run through the films a little more this time as well. Things got real confusing early on, but now that certain plot lines have played out, it has gotten easier to follow the others. I agree with people that feel that the traps work best when it is someone trying to get out of them on their own. Most of the traps in Saw VI require William to try and save someone that is in a trap. I guess it adds more sympathy for the people in the traps. In this case William knows everyone that is in the traps and is trying to get to a certain point where three people are waiting for him. The climax of this story line is one I don't get at all. I can only assume the lesson Jigsaw wanted William to learn is that picking a choosing who lives and dies isn't a nice thing to do when you are face to face with them. Much easier to do it when you are just looking at paper.
The effects are as good as ever. Body parts and fat are hacked off in order to win one trap. Bunch of people get stabbed or shot. While not all of the traps are gory, some are a bit hard to watch. I don't find this scary at all, but aren't horror films also supposed to make you feel uncomfortable at times? It is a different kind of horror, and not one everyone likes. The acting was about the same. Peter Outerbridge was pretty good as the main character for the traps plot line. Athena Karkanis is a surprise return. I was not expecting her to return after the events of the last movie.
The FBI surprised me some in this movie. They have good reason to not suspect one of their own of being the new Jigsaw thanks to Hoffman. The way he tries to frame Strahm is something Hoffman should have known wouldn't work. Sometimes I think writers think of something that sounds cool and go with it. They must have forgotten that in the earlier Saw films, Hoffman was listed as a Forensic Detective. So the stunt he pulled is something he should have known better about and never have done it. Even though they are on to him, the FBI seems to play it a little too cool. Despite the problems, I still enjoyed the overall plot. Once Saw VI pulled me in, it didn't let go. The only other problem I had with this movie is that the sound was off. I had to turn the volume up to hear what was being said often, only to quickly turn it down because of loud music or sound effects. I did feel that the series got back on track with this one. I don't know that I agree with the reasoning for the test, but I can certainly understand the reasons behind it. Now to see if Saw 3D answers the rest of the left over questions.
3 out of 5 I would hope the FBI can tell finger prints apart!
Friday, October 29, 2010
After the events in Saw III and IV, Detective Mark Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) is the last man standing of those that Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) was testing to take his place. Once again the plot picks up where the last movie left off. Hoffman puts Agent Strahm (Scott Patterson) in the trap that you see in the poster. It is a sealed box that fills with water. Hoffman then rescues Jeff's daughter and walks out the hero, with no one the wiser that he is now the new Jigsaw. Except Strahm does find a way to survive the trap, and starts to piece things together that Hoffman is not only the new Jigsaw, but has been involved with the original Jigsaw longer than one might think. While Hoffman and Strahm battle it out, so to speak, five people are put through a series of tests. They all have something in common that does justify Jigsaw wanting to test them. Jigsaw warns them that up until now they have acted as individuals, but must now work as a team. Will they be able to do this?
I thought that the plot for Saw V was just okay. The original movie was about the two guys and finding out why they were there. Information was dropped about Jigsaw as well, but it was mainly about the two guys. With each sequel, things have slowly gotten away from that. Instead of the focus being on the people in the traps, and why they are there, it is now fully on Jigsaw and those that are helping him. The traps are still there for people, but honestly it is starting to feel more like an after thought. Since the main story of Hoffman and Strahm didn't really pull me in a lot, it was things like the people in the traps that was starting to get to me. There was one thing that pushed Saw V into the realm of stupid. Strahm visits some of the crime scenes in order to collect his thoughts to see if he can piece together everything about the crimes and possibly who all was behind them. I was fine with this. Sometimes being there again can help with the thought process. What pushed things into being stupid though was that the traps were still there. The razor wire trap that was first shown way back in Saw was still there. While the time lines in the Saw movies is hard to figure out, in Saw IV they say that Eric has been missing for months, which means there has been plenty of time for police to have dismantled the traps that they know about. I know why they did it this way, so that we knew which trap Strahm was visiting. Since they showed the trap in flashback anyway, that would have solved the problem just as well and not have looked stupid for leaving a razor wire trap laying around.
Saw V throws in more gory effects than the last movie did. Crashed hands, using a saw to split ones hand open and one person even loses their head. The first trap might have been the best as far as effects go. Think The Pit And The Pendulum, and you have the basics for the trap. Some feel the acting in Saw V was the worst in the series, right down to Tobin Bell. Most of the cast that isn't killed off from the other movies returns here. If you liked their acting in those films, I don't see why you wouldn't like them here. The new people weren't bad. I enjoyed watching Carlo Rota a lot. Too bad they didn't keep him around longer. You can also find Julie Benz, Meagan Good, Greg Bryk and Laura Gordon. They make up the group that is being tested. Mark Rolston and Betsey Russell rounds out the cast.
A few people seem to think that Saw V is possibly the worst in the series. Most point to the confusing plot, but I didn't have any problems following it. One thing I noticed is the writers still have this need to explain every little thing in the previous movies. I think part of this is due that they don't want to leave behind the character of John. He might be dead now, but he still lives on in new flashbacks. One thing that did confuse me a little bit is that we see Hoffman helping John with the razor wire trap. Since the writers seem hell bent on explaining everything and showing every trap John or others have set up, that only leaves one, maybe two, traps before Hoffman came in. I find it unlikely that the media would start calling someone Jigsaw over one or two murders. A shape like a puzzle piece is cut from the flesh of the person if they don't survive. Since I have interacted with police detectives thanks to my job, I know that not everything is revealed about a case to the public, and I think this is fairly common knowledge. I can easily see the puzzle piece cut being withheld. I can't see why the media would start calling the serial killer Jigsaw if it wasn't for that mark. Not all things were bad about Saw V, but I just couldn't get into it completely. With all these smaller things, if I can call them that, starting to pile up, I just couldn't enjoy it a whole lot. Some say that Saw VI breaths new life into the series. I guess I will find out later tonight.
2 out of 5 Flying guts were fun at least
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Saw IV is a little tricky. It starts with the autopsy of John, and the discovery of another tape. Detective Hoffman (Costas Mandylor) is called in to listen to it, which we learn from it that things are just starting for the games. The movie then jumps back to when Kerry's (Dina Meyer) body has been discovered. Two FBI agents show up to take over the case. Hoffman gives them what they need, but finds Rigg (Lyriq Bent) watching an old video tape of an interrogation. Rigg, one of the few officers to be untouched by Jigsaw thus far, returns home only to find his wife leaving. Instead of going with her, he decides to stay. When he wakes up that night, his house has been changed by hanging pictures. He finds tapes and a trap that has a woman in it. He eventually finds out that Eric (Donnie Wahlberg) is still alive, but is in another trap along with Hoffman. It is up to Rigg to save them, but first Jigsaw wants Rigg to see what he sees and feel what he feels.
Saw IV didn't confuse me near as much as Saw III did. It still jumps around a lot, but I found it easier to follow this time around. I didn't get confused until the end when Saw IV and Saw III converge. It is a bit of a twist with the plot, but I figure I will save all of you a bit of a headache with that one by spoiling it. It isn't the main twist by any means so there is still plenty to discover. The bulk of Saw IV, with only the start and very end being outside of it, takes place at the same time as the events in Saw III. I do appreciate that the writers are trying to do more than usual to connect all the movies together. Most of the characters in this movie have been in the series for a good while now, at least two others I would say. The good news is if you like movies that pick up the story line from where the last one left it, you will like this set of movies. At least far, as I haven't finished them all just yet. The bad news is that you will be screwed if you try watching them out of order. I'm a bit confused about them and I am watching them in order.
Sometimes I hate Netflix. According to them, the plot goes something like this: Picking up where its grisly predecessor left off, this Saw finds Jeff Reinhart (Angus Macfadyen) searching for his missing daughter, but a videotape from the dead serial killer Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) is Jeff's only lead in his frantic hunt. The film switches back and forth in time throughout previous Saw films and ties up some lingering -- and bloody -- loose ends. Darren Lynn Bousman, who helmed the film's second and third chapters, directs. As you can tell from what I wrote about the plot, this never happens. I was confused over this at first, but knew I had the right film just because it was following a plot thread from the third film. I couldn't see them doing this two films down the line.
I was pretty surprised when Eric showed up. I thought they made it pretty clear what his fate was in the last film. It does flashback to some of the scenes that happened between Eric and Amanda, which were flashbacks to begin with, but I noticed they didn't show one important flashback. So they either ignored that one, or the end result of it wasn't what I thought it was. Saw IV also jumps back into time more than a few times to give us more of an idea of how John became Jigsaw. It also shows us his very first trap that he used. I thought these flashbacks were better defined than they were in the last movie. A lot of the flashbacks in the third film were about Amanda, and the only reason I knew it was a flashback sometimes was because her hair was different.
While Saw IV isn't as gory as the last film, but there are certainly some shots that gore fans will love. The autopsy at the start of the film was a bit too gory for some. They open John's skull and remove his brain. They also open him up and remove his stomach. It is very gory, and if I'm not mistaken, very realistic. Some of the traps were pretty cool I thought. It might sound strange, if you have watched this one, but I thought the one involving a woman's hair was the hardest one to sit and watch. The acting wasn't too bad. What surprised me the most is that even though Lyriq Bent is more or less the main character in this movie, he doesn't have a lot of lines. You can also find Besty Russell, Scott Patterson and Athena Karkanis.
One thing I didn't like is that we don't really know what some people have done wrong in order to be placed in traps. One trap has two people involved. They are chained to a device that slowly drags them in where it would eventually break their necks. One guy has his eyes stitched shut, while the other guy has his mouth stitched shut. We are never told why they are in this trap, at the time we see them in it at least, but later learn about one of the two. The other person is never explain who he is or why he was there. I liked Saw IV better than the last movie just because it was easier to follow. It still didn't match up to the second film to me, but it was better. To me there were just too many unanswered questions that lingered at the end of the film. Knowing this series though, they will probably answer those questions in the next couple of films.
3 out of 5 Welcome to the Saw army
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Saw III picks up moments after the last film ended. We see what measures Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) takes in order to escape. We also find out that Kerry (Dina Meyer) falls into one of Jigsaw's traps. The main story though is that John (Tobin Bell) and Amanda (Shawnee Smith) will be putting Jeff (Angus Macfadyen) through a series of tests. Jeff is a man who lost his young son when a drunk driver hit him. From flashbacks, it looked like the kid rode out in front of the car, so drunk or not, it wasn't entirely the driver's fault. Anyway, Jeff is taking the loss very hard. He wants to kill the guy that killed his son, will not change anything about his son's room, and doesn't like it when his daughter takes something out of it. The tests are designed so that someone who was involved with the case is presented to Jeff. It will be up to Jeff if that person lives or dies. Each time he is presented with someone he has to decide if he is so filled with hate that he will let people die, or can he forgive them and find ways to save them.
As a second story that feels more like the main story to be honest, Amanda kidnaps Lynn (Bahar Soomekh). Lynn is a doctor and it is her job to keep John alive at least long enough for Jeff to complete his tests. Since John is dying from terminal cancer, this is a tall order. To make sure she does everything possible though, Amanda puts a collar around Lynn that will blow Lynn's head off if John flatlines.Will Jeff be able to forgive and will Lynn be able to keep John alive?
Saw III is a complex film when it comes to the plot. There is just so much stuff that is going on in it. Information about the first movie is dropped, mostly that Amanda was part of that game as well. We also find out for sure what happens to Matthews. If I can say one thing for sure about Saw III, it is that I was getting very tired of all the damn flashbacks. They make it a little hard to follow at times, and in some ways it feels like the writers are cheating. As I understand it, thing are revealed about plot points in this movie further into the series. If the writers had done their job right the first time around, they wouldn't need to go back in another movie and explain plot points further. Saw III requires more than one viewing in order to let everything that happens in it to sink in. With how long the movie is though, I don't have the time to do that right now. Maybe I will like this movie more once I watch the others and decide to give this one another watch sometime.
I understood that the majority of the flashbacks had to do with Amanda's story arc through Saw III. I enjoyed the arc, but by the end of it I felt like it was almost a waste of time considering how it ended. The other arc that had to do with Jeff, both arcs come to a conclusion pretty much at the same time and together, was the one I didn't care for the most. While both arcs set things up for the next film, it is Jeff's arc that seems like it has the most impact on the next film. Time will tell tonight when I watch it. I did feel bad for Jeff, I'm sure the death of your child is something that will take a long time to move on from, he is a very frustrating character. I understand him not reacting to the people who he has to confront. I'm sure I would have a hard time with it as well. The thing is for me though, once the device has started its thing, I'm not sure I could just stand there and watch. Jeff does eventually act, but I won't spoil it any further than that. Plus I kept wondering how the hell this was supposed to help Jeff.
The effects are just as gory and just as good as they were in the second film. Skin gets ripped off, a foot getting smashed up, a person gets frozen (that looked better than I thought it would, pig soup, limbs get twisted and a head goes missing. Some are a little hard to watch and from what I understand the missing head is not shown in the rated version of the movie. Depending on who you ask, the acting is sometimes called the worst in the series. I didn't have a problem with any of the acting as much as I did some of the characters actually.
I was surprised by some of the deaths that happened in Saw III, which I found to be a good thing. I found the start of the film a bit of a put off though. It felt like they were just trying to tie up some loose ends before getting into the main story. I'm fine with that in a way, but it felt rushed at best. I have to agree with some who felt that Saw III was a departure from the other two films. It felt like it focused more on the gore and the devices than the other two films did. Part of watching these films is to see what new devices come with each film. They would leave Jeff for a good chuck of the film while we catch up with what is happening with John and company, and then catch up with Jeff just in time for his next encounter with another device. As much as I appreciated what was happening with John and company, I wanted to see what Jeff was up to more. As I said earlier, I might end up liking Saw III more when I give it another chance down the road, but for now I just didn't care for it much.
2 out of 5 Play the game, don't let it play you
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg) is a police detective who is called into a crime scene. They soon realize that the crime scene is the work of serial killer Jigsaw. Kerry (Dina Meyer) points out the Jigsaw has called out Eric by name at the scene. Jigsaw's message to Eric is to look closer. While having trouble sleeping, Eric comes up with a possible clue as to where Jigsaw might be. After getting by some traps that his fellow police officers so kindly set off for him, Eric soon finds himself face to face with John (Tobin Bell) who admits that he is Jigsaw. John reveals that Eric has another problem to worry about. Jigsaw has set up a house full of traps and has put eight people inside the house with instructions. To add to the game, a nerve gas is being pumped into the house as well. If they aren't able to get out within two hours, the gas will kill them if the traps don't. One of the eight people happens to be Daniel (Erik Knudsen), Eric's teen aged son. The people he is with won't be very happy if they find out who Daniel is related to. Will Eric follow Jigsaw's rule to sit and talk for two hours, or will he try to save his son?
As was mentioned by Aaron in a comment about the first film, Saw II takes the series into a whole new level. This was why I liked the sequel better than original. It is very rare I feel that way about a sequel, but I really did feel like this one out did the original in most ways. The mystery of Jigsaw is pretty much gone. There are new things that come out about him, but that part is different compared to the first film. The traps are better, in my opinion anyway, and the gore is truly there this time. I also liked the story better than I did in the first movie. I know it wasn't much of a story, but I still liked it. I remembered a bit more about Saw II than I thought I would when I watched it again last night. Even though I didn't know it was her the first time I watched this movie, or the first one for that matter, I remembered Shawnee Smith being in this film. I also remembered the twist concerning her character. Speaking of twists, I enjoyed them a lot better in Saw II, and the fact that there were more of them as well. I didn't remember all the twists towards the end of the movie, so I was able to be a little shocked by them yet again. I'm pretty sure I know why Jigsaw led the police to him, but I'm not completely sure about my reasoning. Much like the first movie, after knowing everything that happens in Saw II, I was a bit surprised by the risks that Jigsaw took at times.
The gore effects came more often, and were better this time around. We get a guy that is shot in the head, cut throat, a club with nails to the head and a few others. The traps were also very good. A lot of them made me cringe at times. The pit was maybe the worst for me. I just couldn't see myself having to do that at all. The acting was also pretty good. I'm rather mixed on Donnie Wahlberg though. I didn't think he was bad, but there was just something about his acting I didn't really care for either. Shawnee Smith was great. Tobin Bell was great as well. As for the people that were trapped in the house, I enjoyed their acting for the most part as well. I wished they had given Beverley Mitchell a larger role. I liked her character but they didn't really expand on her much unlike some of the others. I was starting to get rather tired of Franky G as the movie went on. You can also find Glenn Plummer, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Tim Burd and Noam Jenkins.
I don't know if anyone else noticed it, but there were a few things that happened in both films but with different characters. I thought that was pretty cool. I think I picked up on it this time since I watched both films back to back, instead of months in between them. The script was intended to be a movie of itself, not a sequel to Saw. Writer Darren Lynn Bousman was first told his script was to violent, and then told it was to Saw like. It was eventually picked up for this sequel and writer Leigh Whannell was given the script to turn it into a true sequel. I loved Saw II and could easily watch it again tonight if I really wanted to, but I need to turn towards the next sequel instead. Many people really down it, so I'm looking forward to it if for not other reason than to see how I will react to it.
4 out of 5 Not sure I could cut my own eye either
Monday, October 25, 2010
I'm sure everyone knows the plot for the first movie at least, but here it is. Adam (Leigh Whannell) wakes up while in a tub of water. As he gets out, he discovers that he has been chained to a pipe. He hears someone talking to him, and as the lights come on at last, Adam finds that he isn't alone. Lawrence (Cary Elwes) is also in the same situation, chained to a pipe, with a dead body between them. They soon discover that they are part of a trap set up by a serial killer named Jigsaw by the media. Through the use of flashbacks, we discover what Jigsaw has been doing, and how Adam and Lawrence are connected to it all. Lawrence is given some options that Adam doesn't know about in order to help save his family. To what extremes will Lawrence take in order to do just that?
This is only the second time I have watched Saw now. Same goes for the sequel. I don't know why I haven't gotten into the series before now...well, that isn't completely true. Sometimes I hate supporting something that so many other people like. Since I wasn't crazy about Saw the first time I watched it, I never really gave the rest of them a chance. I admit that I liked the sequel better, but I still wasn't in a hurry to watch the other films. Add in that some people think they need to compare other horror movies with the Saw films and I just get tired of hearing about them after a while. Ever see the South Park episode "Simpsons Already Did It"? Sometimes I feel like they could easily make an episode called "Saw Did It" with the way people throw that out at times.
I understand why people like Saw so much. The mystery of how the two guys got there, why they are there and who put them there, can all be very interesting at times. It is also done in a way that makes it all easy to follow and flows very smoothly. That is always a plus when using flashbacks to give back story. At the same time, I understand why people hate it. The big twist at the end of the movie leaves a big plot hole. I understand it was partly explained in a later sequel, which was probably put in in order to help explain the plot hole. According to some, the saw that they have could cut through the chain if they had tried long enough. Given that they have six hours (I think) before their time is up, that does leave them with plenty of time. We are shown that they try this, and quickly give up. But considering six hours is shown in an hour and half (little over actually), who is to say they didn't try more than once? My biggest problem with Saw was with the what they did with the character of Zep. We learn through flashbacks that Jigsaw finds ways of being in control of the traps, so it makes sense that he has done the same with this one as well. It turns out that he does have some control over the trap, but in the way we are first lead to believe. So Zep ends up being something like a wild card to the whole thing. It really surprised me when I discovered this and I still don't get why Jigsaw would have allowed it.
I still see people calling Saw a gory movie, but I just don't see it. It has its moments, which are well done, but I still can't call it a gory movie. People are also split when it comes to the acting. Some think it works, while others think it is the worst acting in the world. Even though the acting can be over the top at times, I didn't have any real problems with it. Lets face it though, they are in an over the top situation. If I have a problem with the acting, which I guess I do, it is that the major actors are barely used. Maybe they would have required more money to do more scenes, but it feels a bit of a ripoff that they are barely there. Cary Elwes had been acting for a good while before Saw came around, but from my stand point, I didn't consider him a big name at the time. I completely forgot that Danny Glover was in this movie. While he is in a good number of scenes, he doesn't have to do a whole lot in any of them. Monica Potter and Shawnee Smith were both badly underused.
I was mixed about Saw the first time I watched it. I would say that I boarded on not even liking it. Watching it again this time though, I can say I liked it better, but I'm still not in love with it. I still can't call it a favorite like so many others around me can. I just can't buy into some of the plot points so that I can reach that point. Like any other movie, I can't blame someone if they do call Saw a favorite movie. I am looking forward to checking out the rest of the series, once I get past the next movie.
3 out of 5 Why do they call it Saw?
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Four friends, everyone (including the official synopsis) calls them teenagers but I felt they were a little older than that, are camping in the Australia outback. The film starts with Craig (Bob Morley) waking up and having sex with his girlfriend Nina (Sophie Lowe). In the other tent, Liz (Georgina Haig) listens and wants the same with her boyfriend, but Marcus (Xavier Samuel) just rolls over and gives her his back to look at. Once they do get going for the day, Craig drives them on down the road. As they are talking, Craig notices a big rig coming up on them. As it turns out, this one is a Road Train. One of the girls has never seen a Road Train before, it is a big rig with more than one trailer being hauled in case you don't know what it is either. They are excited by the Road Train, until it bumps their car instead of going around. Eventually is causes their car to drive off the road and flip. Everyone manages to survive, but Craig breaks his arm pretty bad. Once they make sure everyone is alive and mostly unhurt, they notice that the truck stopped further down the road. Marcus and Liz decide to check out the truck and find out why they driver caused them to crash. When they get to the truck, no one is around but the keys are still there. Once Nina and Craig show up, they hear a gun shot and see a guy running at them and shooting at them. They all get into the truck and take off. They soon discover though that there is a lot more than meets the eye with this Road Train.
Road Train is the original title for Road Kill. It was changed once released to DVD here in the States. While the original title fits much better, I can understand the title change. I sure didn't know what a Road Train was. I guess they are used some here in the States, but I never heard it called that before. According to some web sites, Road Train is a term that is used mostly in Australia. Road Kill tries to do something a little different with the killer truck type movie. The truck itself is interesting in a way, with more than one trailer being hauled. It is obviously evil, but why? This is never really answered, but the images of Cerberus that pop up from time to time should give you a hint. So the truck is evil in some way, but apparently it still needs someone to drive it around. Writer Clive Hopkins tries not to spell anything out for us, but I'm thinking he should have, at least a little bit. There are just too many unanswered questions in this movie, and many of them are just too hard to try and explain yourself. Like even though Craig's arm is obviously broken, the bone is sticking out after all, he is still able to have full use of it once the truck claims him. Director Dean Francis said in commentary for the deleted scenes that there were more scenes explaining the truck in the script. He never says if all were filmed, or why they were cut. The scenes shown on the deleted scenes section were understandable, and didn't explain what was going on any further.
The effects were okay. The broken arm looked pretty gross, as they usually do. What they find inside one of the trailers looked good as far as the effect went, but I couldn't help but laugh some at it. What they tried to do just looked silly to me. The acting wasn't too bad. I didn't have a problem with any of the actors at all. I'm always a sucker for the accent they have there. No one really stood out to me in this movie as far as the acting went.
Another thing that got to me was how stupid the characters were at times. Francis does a good job at showing how our little group is out in the middle of nowhere, with nothing around them at all. Knowing this doesn't make the characters act any smarter though. When lost and have a very limited water supply, they get mad at each other over who is fucking who and dump water out in anger. Nina sees a plane and tries to start a fire to get its attention. Now the plane was a bit lower than normal, you could see it fairly good, but it was still to far up for a small fire to get the attention of anyone. Going back to the water thing, after drinking the last of his water, one character needs to take a piss so does it in the bottle, then tries to drink it!
I liked what they were trying to suggest with the truck. It is sort of interesting in what it uses for fuel and that it needs someone to drive it around. What the purpose is of the truck is what I could never grasp at all. Road Kill is a well made movie, but the script still could have used some work. This is too bad though. We could really use another killer machine out there. I'm a little disappointed wasn't better than it turned out to be. I would liked to have had the last movie shine a little more, but that is okay. If Fangoria releases another set, I'm sure I will be there watching it.
2 out of 5 Is it hard to steer a big rig?
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Graduate student Katie Armstrong (Keri Russell) is doing her thesis about Oliver Hartwin (Thomas Kretschmann). Oliver is a guy that has grown up being obsessed with eating someone. He eventually meets Simon (Thomas Huber). Simon is a gay man who has an obsession with letting someone consume him. Grimm Love tells the story of how they met, and what happened afterwards.
After seeing the trailer for Grimm Love, I was looking forward to watching it. The story itself was inspired by true events in Germany not long ago. For once a movie is telling the truth about that. A man did willingly give himself to another man for the purpose of being eaten. Of course the law and courts still see it as murder. The movie follows Katie as she travels to place to place that has a connection with Oliver. His childhood home, school, and so on. With each place, we get a flashback that explores Oliver's early life. It also delves into Simon's life a little bit, but not near as much as Oliver's. Armin Meiwes, the real life Oliver, tried to keep the movie from being released, as he didn't want to be represented in a horror movie. The courts eventually ruled that since Grimm Love doesn't distort the facts of the case, Meiwes' rights were not violated.
I thought this story would be a bit more interesting than it turned out to be. For me, once I knew the facts of the story, I didn't really care about the rest. Cannibal movies just aren't my thing, probably never will be. It is one of the few sub genres of horror I just don't get into enough to really enjoy a movie about it. So once I knew the basics, who was who and why (more or less) it happened, I was bored the rest of the time. It doesn't help that Grimm Love is a slow moving movie on top of that. The movie itself is shot well. The transition from present to past is done in interesting and creative ways. Director Martin Weisz and writer T.S. Faull decide to focus on the characters instead of the gore. If you want the gore, I understand that the 2006 movie Cannibal will give you what you want. Both feature the same true story.
I thought the acting was pretty good at least. The two main actors both do a nice job with their characters. As for Keri Russell, we see her and hear a voice over by her in most of the scenes she is in. She is mostly there just to help move the plot along, although I don't know why they bothered except maybe they wanted a little star power added to the cast. A few of her scenes show up in the deleted scenes extra on the DVD. Besides helping move the plot, she is also sporting some odd eyeliner at times. This is the only part of the movie that is supposed to have been made up, as far as I know anyway. This part of the plot, which I guess represents present day, goes nowhere. They don't even bother telling us if she finished her thesis, and how she did on it if she did.
I don't really want to discourage anyone from giving Grimm Love a try. It isn't the movie's fault that it happened to be about a subject I don't care about at all. If I had ever read an article about the real events, I would probably read it out of curiosity, and then forget about it before the day was over. If you are really into character driven films, you will probably like Grimm Love. I didn't connect the dots with either character as to why they turned out as they did. They both had somewhat hard lives, but I still didn't get why they would want to eat or be eaten by someone.I'm sure it will be interesting to some people, just wasn't for me.
2 out of 5 Not sure how they were supposed to be in love with each other either
Friday, October 22, 2010
Amy Nicholls (Calista Flockhart) has been recently hired to take over the night shift at Mercy Fall's Hospital. Mercy Fall's is a children's hospital that is about to close its doors forever. The hospital the children are being transferred to is being swamped thanks to a train wreck, so the last of the children have been delayed. All Amy has to do is watch over the kids for a few nights. One of the girls there is Maggie (Yasmin Murphy) who often talks about a girl who used to be at the hospital and is causing bad things to happen. Maggie believes that the girl doesn't want the other children to leave, which is why she is making bad things happen. Of course no one believes Maggie at all. Why would you believe a little kid after all? After some things happen though, and Amy does some digging on her own, Amy starts to believe that Maggie is telling the truth after all. Amy sets out to make everyone else believe as well.
I love ghost stories. Nothing gets to me quicker than a good ghost story can. I don't like every movie that has a ghost in it of course, but I was looking forward to watching Fragile when it came time. Things start off interesting enough as Maggie sees an empty glass start to vibrate, and then the boy in the bed next to her own screams in pain as his leg breaks. While it is being x-rayed, the bone breaks again. This is a plot device that is used more than once, but not as often as I thought it would be used. Writers Jordi Galceran and Jaume Balagueró, who also directed, took their time in setting up the story. I didn't mind this too much as I enjoyed the mystery of who the ghost might be and what she wanted. A few things happen that keep things from getting too dull, like the sheets from an empty bed providing a good little scare, but I was really starting to wonder just how well I would like this movie. Then the last act kicked in and Fragile turned from good to awesome. The angry ghost story line is nothing new when it comes to ghost stories, so it wasn't the ghost that pushed Fragile into the realm of awesome for me. As much as I liked what they did with the ghost, it was the emotions at the end that pushed the movie for me. I will be honest about Fragile, it didn't scare me at all. None of the jump scares, there weren't many, made me jump at all. The relationship that was started with Amy and Maggie comes to a conclusion that almost had me in tears. What happens to Amy thanks to Maggie, and the very end of the movie as well, managed to let loose my tears. I wasn't bawling or anything like that, but I'm not ashamed to say it made me cry a little. It was this that sold the movie for me above all else.
Not a lot of gore in Fragile. I think the only scene is where a surgery was being done on a leg. It is a pretty graphic image. We also see an arm being snapped for no real reason, spelling blocks get moved around on their own as well. The ghost itself, along with Flockhart's acting, is what reminds me how people see things so differently at times. While I thought the makeup for the ghost made her look a little silly, I understood why she looked the way she did. For others, they either loved the looked or thought it was very funny. As far as Flockhart's acting, people either thought she was great or was over acting the entire time. I feel somewhere in between. I can't say I am a Flockhart fan, never watched Ally McBeal and probably never will. I enjoyed her acting here, but there were times I thought she was pushing it a little too much. Richard Roxburgh was pretty good as a possible romantic link to Amy. Elena Anaya was also good as the day nurse. My favorite though had to be Yasmin Murphy. She proved that child actors can act sick and not be annoying as hell. She did a wonderful job with her role.
Jaume Balagueró is probably better known to horror fans for Darkness, [Rec] and of course [Rec] 2. I have watched two of those three, but have only reviewed one of them so far. I really liked Darkness, but I think Fragile, is probably my favorite movie of his so far. The only problem I really had with Fragile was the extent that everyone still working at the hospital would deny what was going on. There is also the top floor that is apparently no longer used and has been closed up for a very long time now. This seems unlikely for a hospital to do that. Things would begin to fall apart after so many years, which would not be good for a functioning hospital. That was a minor quibble for me though, it is just a movie after all and not real life. The movie is rated PG-13, but as many have pointed out, it probably should have been rated R. It is possible though that someone messed up and released the DVD as unrated, but the PG-13 tag still appears. If you are looking for a scary movie that uses a more emotional punch instead of scares to get to you, you really should give Fragile a look. I'm not trying to downplay the scares of the movie at all. It is hard to get to me anymore, so it could be scary to some still. Fragile is possibly my favorite of this set so far. One to watch if you love ghost stories.
4 out of 5 The nudity isn't so good in this one
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Dwight Terry (Arron Shiver) is the new Deputy in town. After arresting the Mayor of the town he used to live in, he was fired and more or less sent packing. Along with his wife (Jenny Marlowe), they are trying for a fresh start. His partner (Joe Mantegna) is helping him get to know the small New Mexico town better when they meet Diana (Danielle De Luca). Diana is in town because she won a contest back in her home town in Texas and was promised a job by Fred (Mel MacKaron). Once in New Mexico, Diana finds out the promised job is nothing more than being a stripper. Since she has no money, and her father doesn't want to help, she either has to work or try and find some other way out. She decides to work, but with Fred taking most of her money, he tells her that he does it to repay his expenses for getting her there and giving her a place to stay while there, she is again faced with the choice of finding different ways to make more money. Rita (Lisa Hill) is another stripper that Diana lives with, and she suggests to Diana that prostitution is a good way to make extra money. Diana holds out but eventually she goes up to Colin (J.D. Garfield) and leaves with him. Diana decides she can't go through with it, but Colin drags her back into his car. He eventually rapes Diana (off screen) and then strips her and sets her loose out in the middle of no where. She is given a 15 minute head start before Colin starts to track her down in order to kill her.
I know it sounds like I have given a lot away for the plot, but in truth Naked Fear never makes much of a secret about anything. The opening scene is a naked woman that gets hunted down. From there it takes about a half hour before Colin is revealed as the killer, way before he even meets Diana I believe. Director Thom Eberhardt is perhaps best known by genre fans for Night Of The Comet. I will admit that I don't mind watching Captain Ron when not much else is on. As you can guess from the title Naked Fear, there is lots of nudity in this film. Not a lot of women get nude, but De Luca is nude for a long time in the movie. The plot itself, at least the hunting down women part of it, is based on the real life serial killer Robert Hansen, who killed at least 15 women in the same way in Alaska. This adds a sense of realism to the movie. How we meet Diana is also a real thing, although I think it is done more with people who are here illegally so they won't want to go to the police over it. The first half of the movie is just okay. I know they are trying to set up that Diana is feeling pressured even more to find a way out of her situation, and other smaller sub plots that get the ball rolling that people will look for her when she disappears. The police are given a bad rap in this film since they come off as not caring at all that strippers are disappearing from time to time. It isn't until the second half of the movie that things get more interesting from a horror prospective. Despite De Luca being nude through most of it, Eberhardt shoots it in a way that would not be considered soft porn or anything like that.
Eberhardt also does not rely on any special effects. There are a couple of places where we can see where someone was shot, but that is about as far as effects go. The rape and apparently torture of Diana is shown all off screen with some cries of stop, and things like that, being heard. Actually there is no way of knowing if she was raped, it is just assumed by me and others because the movie was based on the real life case. The acting wasn't too bad. I enjoyed De Luca's acting in the lead role. Mantegna isn't in the movie a whole lot. His role is more than a cameo, but not much more than that. Garfield was pretty good as the bad guy of the film.
You have to give a lot of credit to De Luca for shooting a movie in the nude out in the wilderness for a large part of the movie. Colin's character really comes out when Diana manages to find some help at one point. There were times when I didn't care for Naked Fear though. As much as I liked that they made Diana a strong and smart character, there are times that she passes up chances of getting the upper hand on Collin. She manages to knock him out at one point, but leaves him and his gun behind. I realize it would be very hard to take another life, but I felt they made it pretty clear to Diana that it was kill or be killed type of situation. The first half of Naked Fear wasn't bad, it wasn't hard to get through, but with everything already being spelled out, it came across as rather uneventful. I liked Naked Fear, but I think if writer Christine Vasquez had tried to wait to reveal who the killer is, and used the sub plots better, I think I would have liked it a lot more. In the end it isn't a bad movie though. The ending of Naked Fear is a bit odd, and it pushes it out of the realm of realism the movie tried so hard to create. If you are thinking about finding this one, I don't think you will be disappointed by it too much.
3 out of 5 Good thing nudity has never bother me
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Lexi (Mary McCormack) and Brad (Rory Cochrane) have just recently moved to L.A., so recent in fact that they aren't even unpacked yet. Lexi heads to work in downtown L.A. while Brad stays home to make some phone calls for possible employment, and wait for the cable guy. Later in the day, while listening to the radio, Brad starts to hear reports that bombs have been set off in different parts of L.A., which of course gets Brad to start calling Lexi. When reports start coming in that the bombs might have been a chemical weapon, and still unable to reach Lexi, Brad takes off in his truck to try and go find Lexi. He is met with roadblock after roadblock, and even sees a guy get shot when he tries to run past police. This conveniences Brad to return home...and wait. A neighbor, who I think is a guy that was working on the house and not the actual neighbor, more or less breaks in but Brad allows him to stay. When the radio starts to report of a toxic ash, they suggest that you seal yourself into your house. Brad does so but leaves the front door unsealed until he has to do so in case Lexi shows up. After sealing it up though, Lexi does return. With the radio reporting that you shouldn't interact with people caught out in the explosions/ash, will Brad let his wife back into the house?
Right At Your Door is a great title for this movie. Even though it takes place in L.A., it could easily happen anywhere. It is more of a character study than it is a horror movie, but I think that helped it more than hurt it. It is about the hard choices two people that have been caught up in all this have to make. The message boards on IMDb have some pretty long threads about this movie. More than I usually see for a movie that is. I think most people enjoyed Right At Your Door, but I also felt people were being a bit too nick picky about it. The bombs that went off are often referred to as a dirty bomb. A dirty bomb is more times than not a bomb that is radioactive, which the bombs in the movie are not. This didn't bother me since they were just using it as a general term. Another thing I noticed was that people that watched this are taking what was said on the radio as fact. Truth is, the people on the radio probably knew more than the average person, but what they say isn't always fact. Like they say that antibiotics will be distributed. I felt this was being said to keep people in their house until more was known. They don't want millions of people going into more of a panic than they already are after all. I also felt that people who didn't care for this movie were ones that didn't really put themselves into the characters shoes, which in this case is important.
As for me, I really got into the two main characters. I was shocked by some of the choices they made, but that doesn't mean I don't agree with them. I know I have complained about stupid choices people make in a movie, but deep down I know that it is easy for me to make fun of it from the safety of my chair. The choices that the characters made helped the movie feel more real. There were a couple of things I didn't care for though. I didn't like that it was hard to judge how much time has gone by. At one point Brad is telling a guy that an event from earlier in the movie took place a day and a half to two days ago. It honestly didn't feel like that much time had passed since then. Another problem is that a co-worker of Lexi's shows up out of nowhere, and wants Lexi to leave with him. There is a weird vibe that goes along with the whole scene. Brad is obviously upset by this guy showing up, and doesn't seem to like him at all. It is an odd thing to throw in and not explain it at all.
No real effects at all through Right At Your Door. We do see smoke and fire coming from downtown L.A., and a lot of ash, but that is about it for this movie. The acting is the showcase and both McCormack and Cochrane come through. I really felt sorry for McCormack's character at times and almost cried with her at one point. That is really selling your character. If you are looking for a movie with a lot of action, you will be very disappointed by Right At Your Door. If you enjoy a movie with some great characters that are put through a lot, then you will likely love this one. The twist at the end is not one I saw coming at all. I didn't completely understand why it went down like it did, but after thinking it out I get it now. If you have Netflix you can still watch it on Instant Watch. If you don't, find a way to get this one if it sounds like a movie you would enjoy.
4 out of 5 Would you let your loved one in knowing it could be your own death?
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Ben (Howard Johnson Jr.) gathers up his friends Quincy (Trevor Bullock) and Wayne (Rajiv Shah). They in turn all head over to their last friend of the group, John (Travis Aaron Wade), so they can all go on a hunting trip. Ben is excited as it will be just a bunch of guys in the woods hunting wild pigs. That is until John's girlfriend Brooks (Tina Huang) is there waiting with John. They head to where John's uncle used to hunt before his death. John has been there before, but it has been a very long time. Once they find the place, brothers Jake (Jason Foster) and Ricky (Nick Tagas) show up with the promise of knowing where to go to find some wild pigs. So begins their adventure into the back woods of Booneville. They learn that Brooks is a great shot. Someones knee gets taken out, and someone gets shot. This sets off a chain of events that makes for a pretty wild ride.
When I told my friend that I have been giving these movies to after I finish them that I would be watching Pig Hunt, he asked if it was a killer pig movie. I told him, "Killer pig and rednecks. That is all you need to know." After watching it now, I stand by that. What I didn't know though is that there is a weird hippy cult thrown into the mix as well. Sounds strange doesn't it? Well it is. But that is what makes Pig Hunt fun is that it is different in that way. Sure there have been other movies where city folk run into country folk and things go bad before. John has a history with Jake and Ricky, but we are never told much about that history. The brothers know John and his uncle, and they like to say things that will get John angry at them. The plot moves along kind of slowly for a good while, as it is the group walking around in the woods looking for things to shoot at. They do keep things a little interesting by showing us gouge marks rather high up in trees, which is said to be done by Ripper, the legendary 3000 pound pig that is supposed to be in the woods. They argue sometimes, and when they do find a pig, one of them gets hurt. The group of friends makes an odd group in itself. There is the black guy, an Asian guy, the nerdy type who doesn't really want to be there at all, and then John and his girl.
The effects can be pretty gory at times. We see various dead animals at times. People get shot as well. The gory stuff kicks in when a knee gets broken. There is also the cutting off a pigs head, I guess it would be a boar instead of a pig, and then the gutting of it. Oh, one of the effects I really enjoyed was that of a decapitated horse. The biggest effect would be for Ripper. I was a little disappointed by Ripper in the film. We never get a real good shot of Ripper. It is mostly a close up somewhere on his face is all we get to see. If you watch the making of feature, you will learn a lot more about Ripper. Ripper is a combination of robotics and having people inside controlling it. It looked very cool in the making of feature so I'm unclear as to why they didn't show more of him in the movie. The acting was pretty good. I enjoyed the leads well enough, except maybe Trevor Bullock. I can't really say his acting was bad, I just didn't care for his character. Jason Foster was probably my favorite out of the cast. If you are into music you might know some of the people that had guest spots. Les Claypool as a small role, as well as Charlie Musselwhite. Claypool broke a finger in one of the stunts, but kept of filming. Bryonn Bain was very cool as the cult leader.
Even though Pig Hunt gets off to a slow start, I never felt bored with it. It isn't until the hour mark, which still leaves plenty of time left, that the movie picks it up a notch. The trailer didn't give a lot away, but it hinted enough that Pig Hunt was more than just a killer pig movie. I will warn all of you now that if you are looking for a killer pig movie, you will be disappointed. The killer pig is there, we know that it is even if we never see it for the longest time. Of course we do eventually see Ripper, but not until the movie is almost over. It seemed most of the negative reviews were about Pig Hunt not being a straight up killer pig movie. I agree that Ripper should have been included more than he was, but at the same time I really liked the redneck angle. I'm mixed when it comes to Pig Hunt. I did enjoy the movie, and I enjoyed the weirdness that went with it as well. Still though, I felt it could have been better than what we got. Director James Isaac, along with writers Robert Mailer Anderson and Zack Anderson, added a bit of a political undertone to it all, but I felt it never went anywhere. Pig Hunt is a fun movie, I will give it that. The choice of music made me laugh at times because of what was happening in the movie at the time. I need to give it another watch someday to see just how much I do like it, but I will say it is well worth a watch.
3 out of 5 Some nudity in these films at last!
Monday, October 18, 2010
Fifty years after the dead was raised from their graves, humans have barely survived. Those that are left have banned together in small groups that live in the wilderness. They start training their young to fight right away in hopes to win a war against the zombies that seems impossible to win. The group that we end up following is lead by General (Kristi Pearce). Her two most trusted men are brothers David (Adam Stuart) and Brian (Jim Hazelton). They have discovered that the zombies are keeping human slaves. They know that the slaves are breeding and once they are no longer useful, they are used for food. The group will save what humans they can when they are found being transported, but mostly they are just trying to get as much information as they can about the camp. Brian and David help free some women and take them back to the camp where the group hopes to teach them to talk and be useful. David ends up falling for one who he calls Star (Alissa Koenig). When their camp is raided by zombies, David and Star end up being taken to the slave camp. David tries to find out as much as he can about it, while the rest of the group tries to get ready to attack it.
Zombie Wars was written/directed by David A. Prior. Prior, along with his brother, was well known for making low budget movies through the 80s and 90s. Zombie Wars sort of marked his return in a way, as there was a good sized gap between this movie and the movie before it. I haven't gone exploring his other movies, but one person claims that Zombie Wars is one of his better films. In truth, I didn't find it as bad as a lot of people were making it out to be. I mainly wanted to watch this movie at some point because of the plot. I don't recall another zombie movie where the zombies are breeding humans for food. While the plot is somewhat interesting, the movie does suffer from being a low budget film. One thing was really bothering me through out the movie: Fifty years since zombies showed up and they still have ammo for their guns? They do show us one person packing new bullets, but it made me wonder where they were getting the stuff in order to do that. They also seemed pretty careless when it came to ammo. Shooting into the air to get every ones attention and shooting the heads of zombies they have decapitated. The heads at least were still "alive" so I can understand killing it, but a bullet didn't seem to be the only way. If you have a type of sword that you just used to cut a head off a zombie, why not use it instead of using up another bullet?
David and Brian are young enough that the way they are living is the only way they know. I can't tell you how many times though that they ran out of ammo and were surprised by it. You would think that by now they would know how many bullets each gun can hold, and how many were used so they wouldn't be caught by surprise when it ran out. Another silly thing is there is a road block maned by two guys who are looking for zombies. Sure the gate blocks the road itself, but the are all around the gate is completely open, so there is no need to even use the road to get through. I was never sure if Zombie Wars was supposed to be taken seriously, or if it was more of a parody. It reminded me of 80s action movies in a way. That is because nearly every time the humans have something smart to say before they can kill a zombie. Like one human pulls the arm off a zombie while fighting with it, and then asks if it needs a hand before hitting the zombie around with its own arm.
The effects for Zombie Wars are nothing we haven't seen before. All kinds of head shots through the whole movie. I noticed a couple of times the bloody entry wound for bullet was already there before the zombie reacted to being shot. One interesting one was when David pushed a zombie onto a peg/nail. There is also a couple of shots of someone getting their insides pulled out. The zombie makeup could be very good to very bad. It is one of those movies where they put a lot of time into the face of the zombie, but little else. So while the face looks bad with flesh hanging off, the rest of their body is perfectly fine. The acting was all over the place. The main leads weren't bad, mainly because they were at least trying to act. One person I really liked that I haven't mentioned yet is Jonathan Badeen. He played the part of Slither, because he was good at sneaking around, a guy that David meets at the slave camp and knows more than he first lets on.
Another plot point I thought was cool was that the zombies have a leader, at least in the camp. They can understand each other, but don't talk like humans at all. Think caveman and you probably have a good idea of it. Even with some zombies able to think, one has to wonder how someone was able to explain the idea of breeding humans for food without becoming food themselves. While I didn't find Zombie Wars as bad as the ratings imply, I didn't find it to be a very good movie either. The plot is interesting, to me anyway, but it was a little too stupid at times. It ends up being a good movie to make fun of, so there is always that.
2 out of 5 No kids at the breeding camp? Very strange.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Ben (Noah Huntley) is in the hospital with his daughter Sarah (Skye Bennett) trying to figure out what is wrong with her. We first see them while Sarah is getting her brain scanned. The power seems to flicker and then the machine starts to smoke. After some trouble getting her out, which I couldn't figure out why, Ben decides enough is enough and wants to take Sarah to a different hospital. As they wait for the elevator, Emily (Dominique McElligott) tries to stop them. Emily is a nurse there that has been working with Sarah and feels that this is the best place for her. As they talk some more while getting on the elevator, a few more people get in as well. The elevator stops and after a couple of minutes of fighting with it, it starts up again. When it stops on the next floor though, they all discover that everyone is gone. After some exploring, they do find a woman that has had her eyes removed. Sarah had been drawing that very thing. As they explore more, they come across some monsters that may or may not want Sarah.
Even though Dark Floors was filmed with the actors speaking English, it is actually a movie made by Finland and Iceland. The idea for the film, as well as the monsters in the film, is from the heavy metal group Lordi. Think the Finland version of GWAR and there you have it. Dark Floors starts off interesting enough. I liked the mystery of why the group seemed to be the only ones around suddenly, and that Sarah seemingly knew what was going on. It is never clear if she knows, or if maybe can see what is going to happen next. I know there is supposed to be something wrong with Sarah, but I found her to be one of the most annoying children in a movie. Since I was watching this in the other room, I ended up having all the lights off. This isn't something I usually do though. I'm actually glad for it this time because there is a light directly in front of the TV, so it leaves a reflection. A lot of the scenes in Dark Floors were very dark, so a reflections would not have been a good thing. I didn't know that the monsters in the film were actually a rock group when I started watching this. I found out about that in the DVD extras. I guess it is a cool way to get the band out there more. After all, I would probably never had heard of them if it wasn't for this movie. I found the plot a bit hard to follow though. It was never confusing to me, but I had no real idea what was going on with it. The ending doesn't clear anything up I didn't think, so I was left a little lost. I like it when a movie leaves things open for me to figure it out on my own, but give me some better clues.
I wouldn't call Dark Floors a gory movie. For people that don't like gore though, they might disagree with me. As I mentioned above, a woman is found with her eyes missing. There is also a guy that gets his leg chewed on, and someone gets their heart taken from then in a not so good way. I don't think any blood was shown though. The members of Lordi look kind of cool. I liked Awa, who turns out to be a ghost thanks to some decent CGI work. The best part of the effects didn't make into the film much. In the behind the scenes feature they showed putting makeup on some zombies that show up late in the film. They looked very cool, and it looked like a lot of work went into them, so I was a bit surprised they weren't in the movie more. The acting was just okay to me. I didn't hate anyones acting, not even Bennett's since I realize it was probably director Pete Riski's choice to have her play the part that way.
I didn't find Dark Floors to be a great film, it was just an okay one. If they had given clues to what was going on, no need to spell it out but little clues would have been nice, I know I would have liked it even more. The members of Lordi are just there for show really. I don't recall any of them having any speaking lines. While they can sing and play their music fine, they really do suck at interviews. Not all of them were bad, but the lead singer sure was. It went something like this:
"What did you think of the finished movie?"
The interviews were part of the world premiere of the movie, in case you were wondering about that. If you happen to be a fan of the group, Dark Floors will be worth checking out. As for me, I was able to figure out that they are in a time loop, but I wasn't able to hear what Sarah was saying at the end of the film very well. The music was a bit loud and Sarah wasn't talking very loud. I think I have figured out what was happening in the movie to a point. If you like movies that make you figure out what is going on, you should enjoy this one as well.
3 out of 5 The ghost should have gotten more screen time
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Dark House starts with three girls daring each other to go into a house. The house in question is home to a somewhat crazy lady and her foster kids. When the little girl goes into the house, without even knocking first, she discovers that the kids have been murdered. Fourteen years later, Claire (Meghan Ory) is having nightmares about what she witnessed in the house. Her memory has blocked out almost all of it, but is apparently trying to get out since she dreams about it. The shrink she is seeing suggests that she go back to the house to see if that might unlock the memories that are trying to get out. Claire is part of an acting group, she doesn't like taking her meds because it affects her acting she says. During one of her classes, Walston (Jeffrey Combs) shows up and interrupts. He offers each of them $300 a night to act in his newest horror attraction. Walston is well known for his horror attractions, but this is the first time one is taking place in a well know location. The very house that the murders happened in fourteen years earlier is now going to be a haunted house attraction. Claire sees this as a way to confront her fears with her friends being there as well, so she talks them all into taking the job. They will wish they hadn't done that.
I'm at the half way point with the FrightFest movies, and so far they haven't been too bad. I was a little worried at times with Dark House though. It started kind of cool with the three girls daring each other, but once the girl went into the house, I wasn't so sure about things. She finds a body almost right away, and it doesn't seem to faze her at all. Nor does it when she finds more bodies, or someone with their arm getting cut up in the garbage disposal. No show of being scared by these things. No running out screaming. Just walk through like it is nothing. Things get a little better after the intro, but it isn't until Jeffrey Combs show up that Dark House hits its stride. While Walston is taking advantage of the fact that kids were murdered in the house, he isn't exploiting it. He is using real actors along with state of the art holograms. We get to see some of what is in store for people that will be going through the house, and it does all look pretty cool. Two reporters are the first to get to go through it, but unknown to everyone an evil spirit has taken control of the computer. It was this whole section that made Dark House a fun movie. Sadly they had to try and end it like it was started, in a stupid way. The twist doesn't work well at all. Writer/director Darin Scott does try to rectify this at the last minute, but it is too late.
The effects could be pretty cool at times. Some of the CGI work wasn't the greatest though. There is one scene where one of the characters gets his head taken off. I admit all the blood coming out looked very cool, but it was obviously all done with CGI, including the blood. The use of holograms was a good idea. This helped each of the kills to be different and even creative at times. The acting was a mixed bag for this movie. I didn't really care for Meghan Ory in the lead role. I didn't think she was bad, but it took a long time before I started believing in her character. Ory's acting felt a little off for the longest time. It wasn't until things take a turn for the worse in the movie that her acting became better. She actually does very good with the crazy look type stuff. Jeffrey Combs was the best thing about this movie. He plays his character slightly over the top, but never to the point of being silly. Diane Salinger could be creepy as the religious crazed foster parent, but there are times she pushed into being silly. You can also find Matt Cohen, Shelly Cole, Danso Gordon, Ryan Melander and Bevin Prince.
I was a little confused with Claire at first. When she goes into the house again as an adult, she eventually sees what I guess can be considered flashbacks of things that happened in the house. I was wondering why she was seeing these things for a good while, but at last I figured out where they were going with it. It managed to confuse some people though. I think that is why part of the ending was used as an explanation of sorts. Dark House ended up being a fun movie. If it wasn't for Jeffrey Combs though, I don't know that it would have turned out nearly as good. As with all movies I seem to be watching lately, Dark House being compared to the remake of The House On Haunted Hill. Despite this, I still thought Dark House was a good movie. If the start and ending had been better, it would have put this one over the top.
3 out of 5 Why isn't Combs in more movies?