Friday, July 31, 2015

COCKNEYS VS ZOMBIES

Cockneys Vs. Zombies Movie Review

As a group of well-intended robbers hold up a bank in London's East End a zombie breakout hits the city. The leaders of the group, brothers Terry and Andy (Rasmus Hardiker and Harry Treadaway, respectively), must now rush to the retirement home of their Grandfather (Alan Ford, Snatch and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels) to rescue him and his friends, leading to a full fledged assault against the zombie.

Our heroes
  
I came into this movie with fairly low expectations, but turned out very pleased. The comedy is actually very funny (yes, I am a bit of a sucker for dry British humour), the acting is up to par, and the gore is plenty. Hardiker is hilarious as Terry, and Ford, who I loved in both the Guy Ricthie films mentioned above, delivers one of the finest performances you will likely see in a film such as this. The humor may be off-putting to many--and I get that--but this film has two of the funniest scenes I have seen in a horror-comedy. One sees zombies of rival soccer (football for those outside the States) teams attacking each other while the other involves one of the all time great chase scenes.

Hilarity

Unfortunately, some of the scenes in this film are drawn out way too long, and the acting by some can be distractedly bad. Another drawback for me was the end--I won't spoil anything but will say it failed to pack the punch one would expect. Ultimately these are minor issues with the film and certainly can be overlooked in a movie this fun. This zombie comedy is filled with both laughs and a great bit of gore, drawing obvious comparisons to Shaun of the Dead--Cockneys vs. Zombies is not THAT good, but it certainly ranks among the elite in its genre.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8

Cockneys vs. Zombies Movie Trailer


Added bonus: This awesome song plays during the credits.

THE HILLS HAVE EYES (2006)

The Hills Have Eyes 2006 Movie Review

A family driving through the desert on their way to San Diego stops at a remote gas station--there,  the owner gives them directions leading them to a mutant, cannibalistic clan. This 2006 remake of the 1977 Wes Craven classic is a little slow out of the gate, but once it picks up it's a whirlwind of blood and carnage. The mutants are wonderfully hideous.





The makeup department deserves many kudos as the deformations look genuinely real for the most part, making it easy to believe these people are really out there. The violence is unrelenting and graphic--in fact, several minutes had to be cut out to avoid an NC-17 rating (there is an unrated version that restores many of the scenes, and is the version I own/am reviewing as we speak). Some scenes are difficult to watch, including the entire sequence of the mutants first attacking (it involves burning alive, rape, and point blank gunshots). Another thing I really enjoy is how they present the characters--you are absolutely certain who the survivor(s) will be once the characters are introduced, but that notion is very quickly wiped out. There are a couple things I didn't like about this film. The acting from the victims leaves a little to be desired, though Ted Levine (The Silence Of The Lambs, Shutter Island) does a good job as the family patriarch, Big Bob, and Dan Byrd is believable as the son Bobby. The characters also make some decisions that will leave you scratching your head, but then again, it IS a horror movie after all. Overall I think this is a very well made remake and a horror film every fan of the genre should check out.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8



The Hills Have Eyes Movie Trailer

Thursday, July 30, 2015

JUG FACE

Jug Face Movie Review

A backwoods community sacrifices their own to a pit in order to take advantage of the heeling powers of said pit. Their method of determining the next sacrifice? A drunk, borderline retarded potter gets a vision and creates a jug with their face on it (hence the bizarre title of the film). When pregnant teen Ada (Lauren Ashley Carter) discovers her jug she hides it, resulting in all hell breaking loose in the woods.

Well this isn't good.

This is an absolute mess of a movie that tries to do way too much. If you think the premise above is not enough, throw in the fact that Ada has an insane mother (an almost unrecognizable Sean Young of Blade Runner fame) and a sadistic father (B-movie vet Larry Fessenden). Still not enough you say? Okay, here goes--the father of her unborn child is her brother. Okay, yes, I think we have covered ALL the hillbilly stereotypes now. The acting in this film is actually pretty good, which helps make the film watchable. Unfortunately, there's not much else going for this movie. Really, the story is a decent one and screams direct to video horror from the 1980s. It simply suffers way too much from convoluted nonsense and really, really bad special effects. It won't take long before you start to zone out watching this film as there are really long stretches of little to nothing happening to advance the story. The death scenes are fairly gruesome but nothing you don't see coming, and the end leaves you wondering why in the world Ada even still cared at this point. I wanted to like this movie but in the end just couldn't bring myself to do so.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4


Jug Face Trailer

CREEP (aka Peachfuzz) (2014)

Creep Peachfuzz Movie Review 

Aaron (Patrick Brice), an independent videographer, answers a Craigslist ad to film a cancer victim's (Mark Duplass) message to his unborn child. Once he gets there Aaron finds Josef, the man who hired him, is not quite who he expected. This movie, also directed by Brice and co-written by Brice and Duplass, combines elements of horror and comedy to varying degrees, but the real strength of the film is the real feel of it. It takes a given we are all aware of--that you never know who is on the other end of the Craigslist ad--and amps it up with a character who is both psychotic as well as compassionate (though I personally would have left once I heard the first part of my job was following Josef to the bathroom to film him taking a bath). The film also throws in a twist or two, and at one point actually does a decent job of making you wonder which one is really the antagonist. There are some shortcomings to this film. The sheer stupidity of Aaron is unquestionable. Yes, I know at some point in the film it is made clear he needs the money, but I find it difficult to believe anybody would experience many of the things he did and continue on with the job. I would have also enjoyed it more had they built the Josef character with a bit more subtlety--instead, we found out almost instantly that he's nuts.

The appearance of Peachfuzz doesn't help 

Brice and Duplass have an obvious chemistry on the screen, and as writers they throw in enough twists and turns to keep you interested. The final five minutes of the movie are really intense and interesting, and at just 82 minutes, it is just the right length for this sort of film. As found footage movies go, this one sails a bit higher than most. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


Creep Peachfuzz Movie Trailer

Friday, July 24, 2015

THE BABADOOK

 The Babadook Movie Review

A single mother (Essie Davis) struggles with the loss of her husband, her son Samuel's fear of monsters, and, after reading a mysterious bedtime story, the very real possibility that something evil may be indeed be lurking in her house. This Australian horror film is a fan favorite and a critics darling, and for good reason--it is a very scary film with clever writing and twists and turns here and there. The mood of the entire film is dark--very dark in fact, so do not come in looking for any dashes of humor. The villain in the movie, the Babadook, is seen primarily as a shadowy figure and drawings in the book--in fact, you only catch a brief glimpse of his face.

You can't get rid of him. 

Teasing the monster but never showing it entirely is a very effective technique in this film, and it helps maintain the overall uneasy feeling one gets watching everything unfold. Davis also does a fantastic job as the mother at her wits end. This movie does have a couple setbacks, however, with the first, and largest of them, being this kid...

Samuel, the REAL monster of this film

I have a couple issues with this kid. First, a kid in a movie such as this needs to be scary--this one is not. My second issue with Sam is that he is such an out of control, hyperactive, obnoxious brat that you will unquestionably start to pray the Babadook just kills him already. You see the picture up there? It paints the perfect picture of this kid. It's not that the actor, Noah Wiseman, does a poor job with the character either--it's just an overwritten character. This all leads to what you want to avoid in a good horror film--a victim that you feel no sympathy for. My other major issue with the film is the ending. This is a very good horror film that unfortunately suffers from a bad ending--the final ten minutes are horrid and contradict, in several ways, the groundwork already laid out in the film. Ordinarily the last couple points I made would be enough to cripple a film, but I can't help but like this outing in spite of its shortcomings. As I said, this is a truly terrifying film and one that all horror films should check out.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

The Babadook Movie Trailer

Thursday, July 23, 2015

ODD THOMAS

Odd Thomas Movie Review

A cook named Odd Thomas (Anton Yelchin) has the ability to see dead people and avenge their deaths. The problem is he cannot tell many people of this ability or else he will be institutionalized. When he has visions of a massacre coming to his small town it is up to Odd, his girlfriend Stormy (Addison Timlin) and Police Chief Porter (Willem Dafoe) to prevent the disaster. This is a really slick film, based on a book by Dean Koontz (I have not read the novel so there will be no comparisons here). The acting, for the most part, is solid, with Yelchin and Dafoe (obviously) putting in great performances. The story is a fairly original one. The special effects are better than I would have expected, with the especially creepy demon-monster things "The Bodachs" popping up here and there.

A Bodach

The movie delivers with many twists and turns, particularly in the end--some you see coming, others are nice surprises. The dialogue is clever, and the exchanges between Odd and Stormy lie somewhere between Dante and Randal and Lorelai and Rory. This is not a traditional horror film as it leans a bit more toward sci-fi and comedy, but there are enough horror elements to keep those fans happy. Not all is great with this movie--it contains a plot hole or two and some of the scenes leave a little to be desired- Still, Odd Thomas is a film I enjoyed quite a bit and recommend to all. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8



Odd Thomas Movie Trailer

Sunday, July 19, 2015

THE INVISIBLE MAN

The Invisible Man Movie Review

Scientist Dr. Jack Griffin (Claude Rains) discovers a way to make himself invisible. The side effect, however, is the new found discovery also makes him a madman. The first thing one will likely notice about this 1933 horror classic is the incredible use of special effects. A LOT of the stuff you see in this film was groundbreaking at the time of this film's release, and over eighty years later it still looks very good. Rains gives a unique performance as you only see his face very briefly, but he is impressive in this film nonetheless as the stranger that terrifies an entire village.

Stop looking at me!

Naturally with the good comes the bad. Some of the actions of the other people in this film are utterly nonsensical. The police are borderline incompetent. The dialogue leaves a lot to be desired, and, just as in Bride of Frankenstein, we are subjected to shrill shrieking of Una O'Connor--after enduring her for as long as any human possibly should, I literally had to press the mute button on my remote whenever she appeared on screen. You can actually hear the microphones practically blowing apart as she screams.

Yes, I'm talking about you Una.

It's easy to see why this film is considered a classic, not just in the genre of horror but of film in general. I do enjoy this film quite a bit, but have to admit it is at the bottom of my list of Universal classics.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6 

A Scene From The Invisible Man

Thursday, July 9, 2015

GRAVEYARD SHIFT

Graveyard Shift Movie Review

Workers in a rundown mill have three serious issues to deal with: a rat infestation, a horrible boss, and a rat-bat creature thing in the basement. This movie, based on a Stephen King short story, does its best to support an argument many make--movies based on King's stories are never as good as the story. In all actuality, this should have never been a movie. Graveyard Shift would have worked out best as a segment in a Creepshow type movie, or even an episode of Tales From The Crypt or another such show. Right off the bat you will notice the low quality of the film and the lack of acting ability--the one exception to this being Brad Dourif as exterminator extraordinaire Tucker Cleveland, also known as the only interesting character in the film. The dialogue is horrendous, and you can tell they did what they could to stretch this as much as they could in order to deliver a feature length film. The hero of the film, John, is one-dimensional, and the actor playing him (David Andrews) also makes him as stoic as possible. The boss of the mill, Warwick (Stephen Macht) has potential to be a memorial villain, but the senseless decision he makes, coupled with Macht's inability to deliver a coherent accent, make him borderline unbearable. There are some good things about this movie, however. The undefined monster in the basement comes off as scary when we see brief glimpses, but when we see him for an extended period of time...well...

Yeah...

Is it a bat? A rat? A combination of the two? Why is it there? Your guess to the answers to these questions is as good as mine. He does bring the gore, however, so there's that. There are a few scenes near the end that bring the creepiness level up a bit, and a twist (of sorts) that will get your attention. Also, as an added bonus, sit through the credits to hear a really cool song that samples many of the lines from the movie. This movie has a very late 80's/early 90's direct to video feel about it (though it wasn't), so if that's your cup of tea, you will likely enjoy this film. However, this was during a time when practically everything Stephen King wrote was turned into a feature film, and among those films this one ranks near the bottom. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5 


Graveyard Shift Movie Trailer

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

MEGA SHARK VS MECHA SHARK

 Mega Shark Vs. Mecha Shark Movie Review

When a Megalodon is released from an iceberg, the U.S. government, obviously having just watched an old Godzilla film, create a mechanical monster shark to battle it. For those of you in the know, I can sum this film up simply and let you move along--it's an Asylum film.......if you are still with me, in short, this means this is a horrible film, but I will explain more. First, as with any Asylum film, you will notice the CGI is awful. I don't know this for certain but I suspect they may get college kids to do their CGI in exchange for credits.

Don't ask

 If you can get past the CGI, you notice the acting...oh God, the acting. Lead characters Rosie (Elisabeth Rohm) and Jack (Christopher Judge) are beyond bad, and somehow it only gets worse from there. If you enjoy drinking games, take a shot every time Jack calls Rosie "Baby"--even the most hardened drunkards won't make it the entire 84 minutes. Even the computer voice, NERO, is annoying (give me Ziggy any day). Fans of 80's music may recognize Debbie Gibson, though the electricity in her youth may have run out. 

 Yeah, I went there Debbie.

The story is boring, the script and dialogue are atrocious, the cinematography is poor, and the continuity is lacking. Slow motion, which I generally despise to begin with, it WAY overused in this film--making this worse is the fact that a lot of the slow motion is of nothing happening! Literally the only redeeming quality of this film is the absolute randomness and madness of it all--this includes, but is not limited to, Mega Shark swatting a ship out of the water, launching it with such distance and velocity that it results in the beheading of the Sphinx of Gaza...think about that for a moment...
 




On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3



Mega Shark vs Mecha Shark Movie Trailer 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

THE CREATURE WALKS AMONG US

The Creature Walks Among Us Movie Review

The third and final film in the Creature series (preceded by the classic Creature From The Black Lagoon and Revenge of the Creature) finds a group of people, headed by mad scientist Dr. William Barton (Jeff Morrow), searching for the Creature (aka Gill Man) in the Florida Everglades. The reason for this search? Barton wants to turn the Creature into an air breather by giving him lungs. The first half of the movie does a decent job developing the characters--joining Barton are his somewhat abused wife Marcia (model Leigh Snowden), another doctor named Morgan (Rex Reason), would-be hero Jed Grant (Gregg Palmer) and a couple less developed characters. After an extended swimming scene and near-misses, the group finally finds and captures Gill Man, bringing him on land and dressing him somewhat questionably.

"No, you look nice Mr. Creature"

If you have seen Creature From The Black Lagoon you should already know not to expect this movie to live up to the awesomeness of that film, and it really doesn't. That's not to say it's bad though. The acting in it is actually pretty good, especially Morrow as Barton. The film is beautifully shot. I was impressed by the way they went about bringing the calm to The Creature before he inevitably snaps and goes nuts. This said, there is a lot I didn't like about this film as well. The time they spent on the boat searching for Gill Man was way too long. I understand they used this time to develop the characters, but beyond that it tended to be tedious. The look of Gill Man (aside from the ridiculous clothing) was...odd. Something about it was just off-putting...maybe it was the lack of gills. 

See?

Also the ending, while awesome, should have been longer. I would have liked to have seen them take time from the boat scenes and have more happen after Gill Man snaps. Still, even with the shortcomings of the movie, I enjoyed watching it, even with the depressing ending.

On A Scale of One To Ten: 6

The Creature Walks Among Us Movie Trailer

Friday, July 3, 2015

ZOMBEAVERS

Zombeavers Movie Review

Three college girls attempt to have a weekend away from their boyfriends by heading to a small house in the woods. Once there they are, naturally, joined by their boyfriends and, courtesy of a chemical spill, zombie beavers.

These guys

This horror-comedy is the definition of hit and miss. The acting is some of the worst you will find. Yes, it is largely approached as a comedy, but the acting, and especially the writing, are really too self-aware for this to work. Taking a more clever approach would have made a world of difference. Instead we get jokes a typical 14 year old boy may find amusing--the opening sequence, featuring an almost unrecognizable John Mayer, gives a good idea of the level of comedy for most of the rest of the movie. The characters are boring at best, absolutely irritating at worst--in fact, you would be hard pressed to find a dozen characters in horror history as annoying as Buck (Peter Gilroy, the actor playing the character, does the already poorly written character no favors with his horrendous "acting"). Still, not all is bad with this movie. I love the fact they used puppets and makeup as opposed to poor CGI. This is one of many things that gives this movie a throwback feel. When the humans inevitably begin to turn into human-beaver zombies the look of them is fantastic.

What lovely teeth you have

The gorehounds will be satisfied at the amount of blood spilled in this film, and fans of horror films past will enjoy some of the references included. The final fifteen minutes or so of the film make up for the preceding hour of sophomoric jokes and missed opportunities, but the fun doesn't end there. The credits feature outtakes, a hilarious song that summarizes the film, and a bonus scene after the credits the hints at a possible sequel (Zombees maybe?). As I said, this film is hit and miss, and the first hour is a lot to sit through for the final fifteen minutes, but those overall I found this to be a fun, harmless film.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5



Zombeavers Movie Trailer (Contains Strong Language)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

POLTERGEIST

Poltergeist Movie Review

Bizarre things begin to take place in the house of The Freeling family after their youngest daughter Carol Anne (Heather O'Rourke) starts to see visions in the television. After Carol Anne vanishes in the house the family contacts paranormal investigators to attempt to get her back. This 1982 Steven Spielberg film is considered a horror classic, and for good reason. The story is a creepy one. The special effects were groundbreaking for the time--with this in mind, recognize that some may seem a bit silly now, but many of the things in this film still hold up well to this day. While it may take a while to get there, some of the scenes in this film are fairly scary. The scene that shows the investigator tearing his face off is gruesome--one wonders how they got away with a PG rating (I'm guessing Spielberg being Spielberg had at least a little to do with this). The acting is largely impressive--Craig T. Nelson and JoBeth Williams both do good jobs as the parents, and Original Creepy Kid O'Rourke delivers one of the most notable child performances in the history of horror films. And, naturally, Zelda Rubinstein brings the awesome as Tangina.

Poltergeists...run.

Of course not everything about this film is great. There are some fairly distracting continuity issues, storyline issues, and Oliver Robbins is unbearable as Robbie, the son of the family (there is a third kid, Dana, the eldest daughter, but she is just sort of there off and on throughout the film, though Dominique Dunne, the actress playing Dana, does a good job). I personally would have liked to have seen this movie be a little more Tobe Hooper and a little less Spielberg, as a happy medium between the two could had unimaginable potential. Still, Poltergeist is one of the finest horror movies from the 1980s. Its influence on future films is noticeable, it has a fantastic final thirty minutes, and is a must-see.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8 


Poltergeist Movie Trailer