Thursday, February 25, 2016

BURYING THE EX

Burying The Ex Movie Review

Max (Anton Yelchin of Fright Night and Odd Thomas) is an ordinary guy: he has a boring job, big dreams, and a psycho girlfriend. When said psycho, Evelyn (Ashley Greene), moves in and turns his life all green (gotta watch that carbon footprint ya know), Max tries to find a way to break things off, but when Evelyn dies in an accident, Max feels bad--until Evelyn comes back for eternal love. This romantic zomedy is going to draw comparisons to the king of all such films, Shaun of the Dead, and it is going to fall short in every way. Once you get beyond those obvious comparisons, however, this really isn't a bad film. Yelchin, as usual, is likable as our lead character, but Greene truly steals the show here.

Or am I too scared to say anything bad about her?

She is very believable as the "psycho save the world but kill anybody who dare look at her boyfriend" character, and turns in a hilarious and chilling performance once she comes back. The humor is hit or miss, but there are a few laugh out loud moments. The intertextuality and references to past horror films (including some cool posters and film clips) are delightful additions--in particular I enjoy the nod to this "gem" Not all is well, however--in a film filled with likable characters (throw in Alexandra Daddario of Texas Chainsaw 3D as Max's would-be girlfriend Olivia), we are presented with Travis (Oliver Cooper), Max's half brother and this film's answer to Shaun of the Dead's Ed...if Ed had absolutely no redeeming qualities, was portrayed by a horrible actor, and made you want to contemplate killing yourself (or turning the movie off at least). Truthfully, there is not a single thing to like about this character, and worse, he adds absolutely nothing to the story other than to be the victim of the ONE scene of gore we get (don't even get me started on that omission) and providing a source of more possibilities to rip off SOTD. Take this character out, and throw in more creativity and less "borrowing" from preceding films, and you have a much better movie than what we have here.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Burying The Ex Movie Trailer

Saturday, February 20, 2016

AFTER DUSK THEY COME (aka The Forgottten Ones)

After Dusk They Come (The Forgotten Ones) Movie Review

A group of five rather irritating people get shipwrecked and end up on an island inhabited by a lost tribe of killing machines. This 2009 film is some unusual combination of Predator, Touristas, Planet of the Apes, and a prototypical 1950s jungle film--only the sum of the parts is much worse than the parts themselves. Over the first half of the film is spent getting to know the characters--or driving home just how annoying each one can be...however you want to look at it. When they finally land on the island we see a whole lot of trees, leaves, and bushes rustling about before we, at last, see the mysterious tribe of the jungle. For one moment, lets imagine you are with this group and stuck in this situation. Do you...

a) brave the open water

b) brave facing this guy, or

c) brave spending another moment with this bunch

I'll take b...just kill me quick Mr. Monkey-Man-Animal-Thing. Beyond all this, there's not much to this film. Continuity errors are around every corner, so that's a fun thing to watch for. The ending is so over the top and ridiculous that's it's hilarious--unfortunately, they weren't really going for this reaction; picture Sharknado taking itself too seriously, and being shot way too dark. Fans of the series Firefly will be delighted (or disappointed) to see Jewel Staite (Kaylee from the series) as the lead, and a quick look at imdb reveals that Jake (Kellan Lutz) had something to do with the Twilight series, and is also in The Expendables 3, which, most unfortunately, I have not watched yet, though I am quite fortunate to have never seen the Twilight series either. Back to After Dusk They Come"..this is a standard, slightly below average creature feature that nobody should go out of their way to view.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4



After Dusk They Come (The Forgotten Ones) Movie Trailer

Saturday, February 13, 2016

THE CANAL

The Canal Movie Review

The same night film archivist David (Rupert Evans) discovers his wife Alice (Hannah Hoekstra) is cheating on him, Alice goes missing and is discovered dead. David soon finds similar incidents took place in his house more than one hundred years prior when a man murdered his cheating wife, their nanny, and their child. David now struggles to connect the past with the present while also convincing everybody else of his innocence. This Irish horror flick is an odd combination of the really good, the really boring, and the really, really bizarre. The good: the mood is set early on, as we know right off the bat this is going to be a somber ride. The shooting style and music maintain the feel, and Evans does a fantastic job as the lead. There are not a ton a gory scenes, but the ones we do get are rather gruesome.

Ewww

The story itself is nothing terribly original, however, and it will certainly lose points for it's plodding pace. The director (Ivan Kavanagh, also the writer) relies far too much on one of my personal pet peeves of film, television, or any video of any sort for that matter: the jump cut. None of the characters are developed much, and the tension between David and his co-worker Claire (Antonia Campbell-Hughes, who I still say looks like Falkor) should have been built better throughout the film. Some of the scenes seem to go completely off the rails as Kavanagh seems to want to take the film in a more "arthouse" direction, and the results are mixed--the wall scene near the end is effective (if not completely original--thanks The Ring), but the birth scene is just--gross, out of place, unnecessary...but certainly memorable. All this leads to an ending that is equal parts jaw-dropping and ridiculous. The Canal is not a typical horror film, yet is very much clichéd, making it one of the more unbalanced films you are likely to encounter--it is worth a viewing, but approach with caution (and patience).

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

The Canal Movie Trailer

Sunday, February 7, 2016

OUT OF THE DARK

Out Of The Dark Movie Review

An American family (Julia Stiles of The Omen and Scott Speedman of Underworld fame) moves to Columbia to take over the family business, but when they arrive they discover something very unusual about the house they live in, and the town in general. This movie starts out promising, as the opening sequence is suspenseful and even a little frightening, but once Speedman and Stiles show up, it tanks. I am not of fan of Speedman or Stiles, but I don't have a strong dislike of either one, so it wasn't their mere presence but more what they represented: one dimensional, generic family in crisis as they live in a spooky house and their daughter goes missing. If that's not bland enough for you, rest assured of one thing: almost every "scary" scene in the film is a jump scare.

The kids look creepy enough though

The basic story is that a group of kids were burned alive some time ago and there is a celebration of there lives, or a ritual to keep them at bay so they don't haunt everybody, or both--or none really, as it's all revealed in the end (in a twist you will see coming twenty minutes into the movie) that everything we are told is false and naturally it's all the fault of the white dude and that cursed mercury. Much of what unfolds is difficult to see as the scenes are so dark--not that you're really missing much anyway. Out Of The Dark wreaks of generic mediocrity that, as I discovered, only makes the feeling of being sleepy worse.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4


Out Of The Dark Movie Trailer

WHEN ANIMALS DREAM (aka Når dyrene drømmer)

When Animals Dream Movie Review

Marie (Sonia Suhl) has a rough life: she works in a fish packing plant with a bunch of abusive men, her mother is suffering from an illness and appears to be on her death bed, she lives on a small island that has seen multiple disappearances and strange happenings, and she is developing a rash that seems to be changing not only how she looks, but how she feels. This Danish film from 2014 is some bizarre cross between Carrie (teen girl being bullied for being different, except by grown men instead of schoolmates, and eventually exacting revenge) and the 1980s classic Teen Wolf (inheriting a body transforming family secret), minus the humor.

And this guy

Does this combination work? I'll be nice and say it's hit and miss. Unlike the two films it appears to borrow heavily from, this movie is built more on mood and emotion than action and words, which gives it more an indie drama feel than a straight horror. That said, when Marie does appear in her full pseudo-wolf form, it is fairly horrific and bloodshed ensues.

"Push ME in a tub of fish will you"

The transformation scenes are impressive, and, for the budget, the film looks nice, albeit too dark at times. Unfortunately, When Animals Dream treads water quite a bit right from the get-go, making it a challenge to hold on until the end, which, though bloody, also runs the risk of making the viewer leave feeling unfulfilled. Is Marie really any better off than she was at the beginning of the film? This is not a particularly bad film, but it's also not one I would go out of my way to see again.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5



When Animals Dream Movie Trailer

MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE

Murders In The Rue Morgue Movie Review

Carnival barker/mad scientist Dr. Mirakle (horror legend Bela Lugosi) decides to mix ape blood with human blood to create the ultimate being. Kidnap and murder soon follow as the police and villagers attempt to put together the pieces. This 1932 film was released soon after Lugosi's breakthrough title role in Dracula, as Universal looked to capitalize on Hollywood's newest horror icon, but this movie, as it turns out, was a monumental bust.

"I see no monumental bust here!"

First and foremost, it should be mentioned this is based on the Edgar Allan Poe short story of the same name, but it really does no justice whatsoever to the short. Aside from going WAY off the original story, the movie suffers in multiple other places as well. The acting is really bad here, including Lugosi, who is even more over the top than usual. The back and forth shots of the ape as an actual ape and a guy in a suit creates a contrast that is horribly distracting. The directing leaves a lot to be desired, in particular the quick cuts showing reaction shots. There is too much unnecessary comedy (intentional and unintentional) thrown in as well. In small defense of this movie, about twenty percent of it was edited out because censors believed it to be too violent.


A lot of it involved this scene

One can only wonder how the film would have turned out had the twenty minutes not been removed, but what we do know is we are left with a very disjointed movie that was just over an hour long--one could also wonder how so much of the film was cut out yet the very audible laughter of a supposed victim was left in one scene. Being a fan of both Poe and Lugosi I really wanted to like this film, but Murders In The Rue Morgue ends up being a film that will leave you thinking about what could have been.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Murders In The Rue Morgue Movie Trailer

Thursday, February 4, 2016

THE VISIT

The Visit Movie Review

M. Night Shyamalan is unquestionably one of the more known directors of the past fifteen to twenty years. After giving the world masterpieces such as The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs, he was the can't miss writer/director, and anything with his name attached became must see. He became that rare breed--the director whose name alone was enough to draw people to his movies. His next film was The Village, and that began the second wave of his career: disappointment. Though I personally enjoy The Village, this is where many fans started to fall off. The follow-up to that film was The Lady In The Water, the film that saw fans drop off the Shyamalan bandwagon by the droves. Those who clung on were then treated to The Happening, a movie so absurdly awful it was enjoyable for all the wrong reasons, and the few that clung on still (I personally was out at this point) saw things get even worse--The Last Airbender and After Earth were slammed by critics and absolutely bombed in the box office. However, in between those disasters was the film that brought me back to the M.-- Devil was a nice little horror film that was written and produced (but not directed) by Shyamalan, and put him back on the map for me. He followed that up by having a hand in the phenomenal television series Wayward Pines, and by all accounts, it looked like we may have our old M. Night back...and then came The Visit.

Hang yourself? You may want to after this film

Unfortunately, the story I have just told is leaps and bounds more interesting than The Visit. The premise: two kids take a trip to visit the grandparents they have never met while their Mom (the grandparents' daughter) goes off on a cruise. Their mother hasn't seen her parents since she ran away at a young age, and apparently wants so little to do with them she has never shown her children (they're 13 and 15) a picture of their grandparents...yet she has no problem sending them off on their own to meet people she loathes so much. Anyway, when the kids arrive some mildly strange things begin to happen in the country house, we see there is a mental institute in the small town near the house, and the clues add up (or are thrown directly in your face if you're paying at least a little bit of attention) as we move along. Oh yeah, and it's all recorded by the kids on their cameras (the daughter is making a documentary), so it's a found footage flick. One thing Shyamalan was known for in his heyday was interesting, jaw-dropping, and clever twists at or near the end of his films--The Visit has a twist, but is not accompanied by any of the aforementioned adjectives. This is billed as a horror/comedy, but is neither funny nor scary. The acting...ugh. I once believed I had come across the most irritating child in film history...

THIS kid

...but he has been dethroned. Ladies and gentleman, I present to you the new most irritating child in film history...

Tyler the Terrible!

He raps (kind of), he whines (frequently), and he annoys all those around him (constantly). I am typically not one to mute a film, but when this kid begins to rap, it's absolute torture. I somehow survived the first time this happened...and then he did it again; I made it through four lines. Then he does it AGAIN in the credits (muted one line in). Incredibly, there is allegedly AT LEAST one deleted scene where it happens again! If this kid had any talent at this, okay, whatever, I can handle a little rap--THIS IS A 13 OR 14 YEAR OLD AUSTRALIAN BOY WITH A LISP AND NO RAPPING ABILITY AT ALL!!! It was so bad that--have you ever seen a performer of some type who was so bad at what he or she did that you felt embarrassed and uncomfortable just watching the performance? That's how I felt watching this kid attempt to rap, and M. Night makes us suffer through this repeatedly!! I was on my knees praying the grandparents would just kill the kid already to put us all out of our misery! If that's not enough, his acting is just as bad. His sister is marginally better, and the grandfather and mother are barely noticeable at all. I can, with complete sincerity, only think of two positive things to say about this film: Deanna Dunagan turns in a very impressive performance as the grandmother, and it introduced the term "sundowning" to me. I paid $1.61 to get this from Redbox, and felt cheated out of that money (thankfully I stood my ground and said no when my girlfriend insisted on seeing this in theatres). This movie made a killing in the box office, and Shyamalan no doubt made millions upon millions from it--that's fine, but hopefully tasting that success again won't result in more awfulness like this from Shayamalan in the future.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3

The Visit Movie Trailer

CURVE

Curve Movie Review 

Mallory (Julianne Hough) is on her way to her wedding when her truck (actually her fiancées truck, but that's not important) breaks down in the mountains. Soon after a handsome fella named Christian (Teddy Sears) shows up to offer help. This being a horror film, she foolishly offers him a ride, and he turns out to be a psychopath (bet you didn't see that coming did you?). After a failed attempt to escape, Mallory now finds herself trapped in her overturned truck and at Christian's mercy. What we are left with is a whole lot of...

...this.
 
Yes, from this point on most of the movie is Mallory stuck in the truck, her leg stuck above her, and her screaming--do not underestimate how annoying a woman with a raspy voice can be when she screams. The movie starts off being a poor man's The Hitcher and somehow evolves (devolves?) into a poor man's Saw. Make no mistake--Christian has no interest in raping or killing Mallory--he just wants to give her a chance to survive, but at a price--he even hands her a saw at one point, for Gold's sake! This could all be forgiven but for three things: the acting is poor, the characters are uninteresting, and the pace of the film is dreadfully slow. They do manage to build a bit of tension when a policeman officer arrives on the scene, but this is quickly washed out as Mallory forgoes honking the horn to get his attention and decides to scream instead. They do throw in a little twist ending that is mildly interesting (if not original), so if you stick it out you may find some enjoyment. Curve is not a dreadfully poor movie, but it is nothing you will likely remember either.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Curve Movie Trailer