Friday, March 27, 2015

COME BACK TO ME

Come Back To Me Movie Review

Sarah (veteran television actress Katie Walder) begins having a series of night terrors and blackouts after being injured in a car accident. However, when things begin to get more bizarre, Sarah installs a camera in her bedroom to see what is truly happening, and what she sees is worse than anything she could imagine.

Stuff like this

This is a pretty slick horror film, though the camera work is really bad at times and the acting is largely sub par, with the exception of Nathan Keyes as new neighbor weirdo (and resident Cookie Monster) Dale, a guy who saw his father kill his mother when he was 14. Still, the story is a really good one, and the reveal is very effective. The movie may seem to drag a bit, but pay attention and you will catch clues throughout as to what is really happening, leading to a final twist in the end is really well executed. The movie isn't overly gory but there are a couple bloody scenes. This low budget 2014 movie sort of flew under the radar, but it is a pretty good film that is worth a viewing.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Come Back To Me Trailer

Thursday, March 26, 2015

V/H/S: Viral

 V/H/S: Viral Movie Review

This is the third film in the V/H/S series, and much like the first two, this one taps into the spirit of movies such as Creepshow to tell three tales with a wrap-around story. In this one, the wrap-around story (titled Vicious Circles) is of a group of people, but one youngster in particular, filming a police chase in hopes their video will be a viral sensation. The young man soon realizes the chase is going around in circles and something evil is happening as a result. This story is frankly boring, and the end is a disaster.

At least he's not using his cell.

The first of the three stories within the story is of a magician named Dante The Great (I kept hearing Jeff Anderson saying this in my heads the entire time this story played out) who uncovers real magic when he comes across a cape. However, aside from magic, the cape posses true evil, and must be fed humans to keep going--a comparison to The Blob is obvious here. This is by far the best of the three stories, and stand alone, I wouldn't give it a score above maybe a 6. It did have a lot of potential, and the acting and directing are decent, but it suffers from poor special effects, not enough time to develop the story, and somewhat poor dialogue.

Back! I'm not even supposed to be here today!

The second story, titled Parallel Monsters, is about a guy named Alfonso who creates a device that allows him to tap into a parallel universe and see himself there. The two Alfonsos agree to enter each others world for exactly 15 minutes. When they do, the original Alfonso discovers his other self is nothing like him. This one had a TON of potential but falls flat when the big reveal of what is going on in the parallel universe happens. Strangely, this segment is in Spanish, but was not subtitled in English (I watched this on Netflix, so it may just be an issue there and not on the DVD). Turning on the subtitles via Netflix helps, but it obviously is not translating everything being said.

The Alfonsos

The final of the shorts is Bonestorm. In this one a group of skateboarders travel to Mexico for drinks, weed, and fireworks, as well as to film themselves skateboarding more. This is a disaster of a short. It takes seemingly hours for anything to happen beyond foul-mouthed kids skateboarding and talking about absolutely nothing of substance. Eventually they skate on some sacred ground--or something--and are surrounded by, and attacked by--ghosts? Spirits? People dressed for Day of the Dead? Skeletons?--I really don't know, but by the time these things show up you will likely be so annoyed by the skaters you hope they are killed instantly. As if the characters weren't bad enough, much of this is shot via a helmet-mounted GoPro. This is the absolute worst of the segments in the entire V/H/S series, and that's really saying something.

One of our heroes.

If you have seen the first two V/H/S films, watch this one just to complete the trilogy and to appreciate the other two more. Otherwise, skip it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

V/H/S: Viral Movie Trailer (There's stuff in this trailer you won't find on Netflix. It is from a segment that was cut from the film but is an extra bonus on the DVD)

FUNNY GAMES (Original)

Funny Games Movie Review

Two young boys force their way into the home of a couple and their child and proceed to both mentally and physically torture the family through a series of games. This Austrian movie (In German with English subtitles) from 1997 is really more a social commentary on violence in media than a straight horror film, and the delivery of it is very hit or miss. The movie blurs the line between reality and fiction--lead villain Paul often breaks the fourth wall, telling the audience the formula of how such a film works, predicting who the audience is cheering for, and so on.

Fourth wall? Broken.

This thin line is blurred more during an absolutely fantastic moment near the end of the film that sees Paul searching frantically to find the remote to the television so he can rewind what just happened. While these things all make the movie enjoyable, there is also too much that takes away from it. The film moves at a very slow pace at times--one scene in particular is one continuous ten minute shot where practically nothing happens at all. I understand the director was trying to set a mood with this shot, but for a viewer it drags on far too long--I literally found myself drifting off as this scene unfolded, completely ruining the mood for me. Another point is that while the director tries to drive home the violence in media point, there is little violence actually shown in this movie. The movie really takes too long to develop as well, and the premise as to why, or the reason they give anyway, for their behavior is uninteresting. Overall this is not a bad film by any means, but I don't believe it to be the masterpiece many make it out to be.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Funny Games Movie Trailer

Sunday, March 22, 2015

FANGS

Fangs Movie Review

Genetically-altered bats are unleashed on a greedy realtor and his cohorts in a small town. This horror-comedy lacks both scares and laughs--at least laughs where they attempted to get them. I personally got a good laugh at the rubber bats and spider seen in certain scenes. The CGI of the attacking bats is horrible. The acting, especially that of Lukas Behnken as Logan, is absolutely terrible. One has to wonder how Corbin Bernsen, who has been in a million things, ended up in the movie, almost reprising his role of Roger Dorn from Major League. For me there really is not much at all to enjoy about this movie, except one thing--in high school I was good friends with Nicole Clendenen, the actress who plays Alexis Hart, the bratty daughter of Bernsen. It was hilarious and awesome seeing her play this character--in high school she was a very sweet, friendly person who was absolutely nothing like the character she plays in this movie. Sadly, Nicole is only in three scenes, but in my obviously biased opinion, she did a fantastic job. Overall, this is a harmless, fun little film that I would likely not recommend--unless an old friend is in it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Fangs Movie Trailer

WE ARE WHAT WE ARE

We Are What We Are Movie Review

After the death of the mother/wife, a cannibalistic family moves on as they pass down to the eldest daughter the tradition of preparing supper. This is a very dark, depressing sort of film that benefits greatly from beautiful cinematography. The acting in this film is very good as well, particularly Julia Garner and Ambyr Childers as Rose and Iris, the daughters of the family.

The sisters

Bill Sage also does a good job as Frank, the father of the family. Kelly McGillis of Top Gun fame also makes an appearance, though if you've not seen her since the mid-80's, you likely won't recognize her. The movie does move at a slow pace at times, and I feel they could have cut about 10 minutes out. Another trap the film falls into is the stereotypical portrayal of a Christian family as a bunch of psychopaths--this is something you get used to seeing in films (especially horror films) but it's really over the top in this movie, to the point it is distracting. You may roll your eyes at this part of the movie, but it certainly is not enough to ruin everything. There are not a ton of death scenes here, but the ones that are tend to be bloody and somewhat disturbing in the realistic look of one or two of them. The ending is a jaw-dropper that is executed very nicely. Also of note is the music selection in the film--it is really fantastic. If you have the patience to sit through a largely dialogue-based horror film and have the patience for a fair bit of Christianity bashing you may enjoy this movie--I did.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


We Are What We Are Movie Trailer

Friday, March 20, 2015

OUIJA

 Ouija Movie Review

Two young girls play the board game Ouija--years later, as teens, one of the girls rediscovers the game, only this time it leads her to suicide. Now the other girl (Olivia Cooke, Bates Motel) and her pals try to discover what really happened to their friend. While Ouija doesn't deliver anything really unique, it doesn't deliver anything terrible either. For the most part the acting is okay, with the obvious exception of Lin Shaye (Insidious), but you expect horrible acting from her.

She has all the answers.

The scares range from cheap jump scares to absolutely creepy. There is a decent twist to the plot, but again, it's nothing we haven't seen before. Keep in mind it is rated PG-13, so don't go into this expecting a ton of gore. This movie has obvious Japanese horror influences, and reminds me of movies that came out ten years or so ago--this may explain why I like it so much. This is not a horror classic, but it's not the terrible movie like some make it out to be. I actually quite enjoyed it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Ouija Trailer

Sunday, March 15, 2015

BLED

Bled Movie Review

A stranger (Jonathan Oldham) approaches Sai (Sarah Farooqui), an artist, to give her a drug that will let her enter a dream world where she can control what happens in real life. The drug--sap from a rare tree that must be burned and inhaled--doesn't quite work as promised--she can't really control anything in the dream world (not that is matters because nothing really happens there), nothing in that world happens in real life until much later in the movie, unless you're somebody else, but not everybody else, and the only thing Sai really wants is to be with Royce (Chris Ivan Cevic), who she is kind of already with, and later she continues to take the drug to be with him even after she already is. Yes, this movie is just as bad as it sounds--probably even worse, and that was one horrible run-on sentence.

The movie sucks more than this thing.

This is a dreadfully boring movie, and the 95 minutes it clocks in at feel more like 195. The acting is tolerable for the most part, with the exception of Oldham, who is beyond bad. None of the characters are developed beyond the superficial. The accents are strange, switching from American to English to--whatever else--at the drop of a hat. The lighting is horrid in this movie, and the special effects are equally as bad. One unintentionally hilarious thing about the movie is the rubber suit the Incubus (Ivan L. Moody of the band Five Finger Death Punch) wears, and the obvious outline of the vampire fangs. These things almost made it worth watching--almost.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3


Bled Movie Trailer

Saturday, March 14, 2015

DRACULA (aka DRACULA'S CURSE)

Dracula's Curse Movie Review

I did a bit of research on this, and found the title on the set of four movies I have is Dracula's Curse, but in Italy, the movie's country of origin, it was titled Dracula and there is another movie titled Dracula's Curse that has absolutely nothing to do with this film, or Bram Stoker for that matter. Oh, and this was a made for television movie. So with that out of the way, let's have a look at this film.

Real estate agent Jonathan Harker goes to Romania to help a man sell his castle and belongings so the man can join civilization again. Of course, the man he's trying to sell for is Dracula.The first thing you will notice is the horrible special effects--you are exposed to this in the opening scene, and believe me, it gets no better. As soon as the first line of the movie is spoken you will see how bad the acting is and, with the exception of Giancarlo Giannini (Hannibal, Once Upon A Crime), it doesn't get better either--Hardy Kruger Jr. as our hero Jonathan is, most unfortunately, the worst actor of the bunch. You think to yourself "If they present an interesting story, I can overlook these things"--and you are disappointed when, instead, you get scene after scene of absolutely nothing happening to advance the story. At one point three female vampires randomly show up in Dracula's castle, but they vanish just as suddenly and are never seen or mentioned again. At 110 minutes this movie will be a test of patience and endurance. I wish I could tell you there is a satisfying payoff for your dedication, but alas, there is not. Don't bother with this film.

One A Scale Of One To Ten: 3

 This isn't the official trailer, but's it's what I could find, and it sums this one up pretty well.

Friday, March 13, 2015

CASSANDRA

Cassandra Movie Review

This movie tells the tale of a woman who has memories of a horrific event from her childhood, as well as visions of horrible things that will happen in the future, but alas, cannot change the events of the future. By no coincidence whatsoever, her name is Cassandra (no word on if her middle name is Metaphor). This 1986 Australian film moves at a very slow pace and may bore you to tears. The only thing keeping it interesting in the first 70 or so minutes is the use of dreadful sound effects and music. The child talking similar to Danny from The Shining in the flashback scenes will also likely annoy you--I swear I was waiting for him to start spouting "redrum" any second. I will give the movie credit for having some pretty good death scenes, and the model in the film does get naked, so if that's your thing there's that, but I really can't say anything else positive about this movie. The acting ranges from bearable to awful. The twist is predictable and the end is atrociously bad. Do yourself a favor and skip this one.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3

Cassandra Movie Trailer

Saturday, March 7, 2015

CHERNOBYL DIARIES

Chernobyl Diaries Movie Review

A group of friends visiting Russia hire a tour guide to take them on a forbidden journey: exploring Pripyat, a city that has been abandoned since the Chernobyl disaster. There they find that maybe Pripyat isn't a ghost town after all. This is a nice little horror film I pulled from The Stash to have a second look at (I originally saw it in theatres) and I still enjoy it. The scenery and "dead" town give it a very grey feel, and the night scenes are effective as well. There are some scares here and there--one scene in particular made me jump, but I am deathly afraid of bears, so it may not have the same effect on others--and the movie does a good job of putting you in the scenes with the characters.

My nightmare

There is a little gore, but there is nothing over the top about it in this film. For the most part the acting is decent, with the exception being Jesse McCartney--this guy's acting is beyond bad. Naturally, there are moments when you roll your eyes at some of the things the characters do, but it's nothing that takes too much from the film. The end is pretty good, and the reveal of the Pripyat denizens is acceptable--it's nothing new or exciting, but cool nonetheless. Chernobyl Diaries is no horror masterpiece, but I do enjoy it and give it a mild recommendation.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Chernobyl Diaries Movie Trailer

Friday, March 6, 2015

MOCKINGBIRD

Mockingbird Movie Review

Set in 1995, a family, a single woman, and a loser living with his mother are given camcorders as apparent winners of some sort of contest. They are given instructions to follow orders and keep filming, no matter what happens. They eventually figure out they are being watched and the orders they are being given become more sinister as the night rolls on. This found footage film is a combination of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Director Bryan Bertino (The Strangers) does a really good job setting an eerie scene, using creepy music and lighting, along with jarring camera techniques, to create a disjointed feel.

See?

The acting ranges from good (veteran television actress Alexandra Lydon does a fantastic job as Beth) to horrible (Tony Stashwick). To really enjoy this film you have to suspend disbelief somewhat--honestly, in the situation these people are put in, it's hard to believe anybody would be this stupid. Still, the movie did have some potential--until the ending. Bertino decided to end this movie with what is considered a twist, but comes off as so unbelievable that it takes away considerably from what was a decent movie to that point. All in all this movie has enough good points to make it worth watching, but it is certainly nothing spectacular.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Mockingbird Movie Trailer

Thursday, March 5, 2015

TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE (aka Bay of Blood)

  Bay of Blood / Twitch Of The Death Nerve Movie Review

After an heiress is murdered by her husband, friends and family alike swarm in to attempt to stake claim in her property. This low budget Italian horror film from Mario Bava is considered a precursor to the slasher films that would come out in the following decade (this is a 1971 film). It is easy to see the comparison, as this film is fairly violent and graphic for it's time. Fans of the Friday The 13th series will easily recognize a couple scenes in this film.

Look familiar?

It's interesting to see the influence it had on future films, but this movie in and of itself really is not a great one. The plot is pretty simple, the acting is largely questionable at best, and the setting is bland. The directing is interesting, but not necessarily in a good way, as we get repeated zoom shots that are more silly than intense. The ending is so bad it will certainly be one you won't forget. While I appreciate this film for it's inspirational elements, the rest of it is truly nothing special.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Twitch Of The Death Nerve Movie Trailer