Thursday, July 21, 2016

WRONG TURN 6: LAST RESORT

Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort Movie Review

Danny (Anthony Ilott) has just inherited an abandoned resort in West Virginia. When he and his friends go to check it out they find a couple creepy caretakers and  something very sinister about Danny's bloodlines--here's a hint: they're in West Virginia and this is a Wrong Turn movie. If nothing else this changes the plot up a little bit in the series as we see the crazed inbreds somewhat working with "regular" people, and we see more "normal" members of the family--yeah, I know we saw this to some degree in part 5 but this time it's different...this time...it's family! (If you're waiting for the return of Maynard, keep waiting. It doesn't happen). The movie does deliver in something we have come to expect in the series--gruesome death scenes.

Oh look...oh...sorry...umm...here's one now

The acting varies--some is horrible, but others are sort of okay. The budget and production value drop off from previous films in the series, and the directing is pretty poor. Still, this movie does have a Wrong Turn feel to it, and maintains the level of mediocrity set by the films that have followed the first two.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort Movie Teaser Trailer

ADDED BONUS: For folks who watched this movie on Chiller and wondered why they blurred the woman walking toward the hot spring at the start of the movie...here's your answer...

Okay, I still have no answer

WRONG TURN 5: BLOODLINES

Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines Movie Review

Amidst the Mountain Man Festival, the hillbillies from the previous films join forces with Maynard (Doug Bradley, Pinhead from the Hellraiser films), a serial killer, to seek revenge on a group of friends in town for the festival. This marks the first time we see the family working with somebody outside their clan, and the reason for this is never really explained beyond Maynard mentioning they are staying in his home. Naturally this movie brings a ton of blood and guts (literally), and comes through with some intense death scenes.

He wants to be...your sledgehammer

Mercifully, part 5 drops the dreaded attempts at humor we had to deal with in part 4 and finds the nice balance of the first few films in the series. To no surprise at all Bradley brings the awesomeness, though it is funny hearing his accent come and go at various points throughout the movie. The rest of the acting is fairly decent, and this would present arguably the most likable group of victims since the first film. A little too much time is spent in the jail with little to nothing advancing the story other than Maynard repeatedly threatening everybody else. With the festival in town you may be excited at the prospect of the hillbillies going on a mass killing spree, but sadly, it's not to be. What we do get, however, is a pretty memorable ending taken straight out of the pages of the Saw series. For whatever reason many fans of this series name this their least favorite of the Wrong Turn films, but to me it sits a solid third, behind only the first two.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines Movie Trailer (not red band, but it probably should be--insert the obligatory nudity and language warning here)

WRONG TURN 4: BLOODY BEGINNINGS

Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings Movie Review

This movie starts off in 1982, where we see the hillbilly family we have grown to know and love, as children in an sanitarium. After they break out and kill practically everybody in front of them we flash forward to 2003, when we see them as adults stalking a group interchangeable young people lost on a snowmobile outing. The fourth installment of the series approaches with tongue planted firmly in cheek--there's no denying there has always been a bit of humor in these films, but if the previous three films each had a sip of comedy, this one is going for the Polar Pop. Fortunately there is a good amount of blood to keep you mildly interested in the film.

You just have to hang in there

After the bloody and, well...interesting...opening sequence, quite literally nothing happens for the next thirty minutes or so to advance the story. We get to meet a handful of one dimensional characters, there's some sex, and people disagreeing on stuff, and...yeah, that's about it, so when you watch it, if you're not interested in seeing boobs, check out the opening then fast forward a half hour to save yourself some time. Once it gets going, though, there is a ton of gore (albeit comedic most of the time) and an ending that might surprise you (except that, you know, it's also comedic). To me this is the worst of the Wrong Turn movies, but somebody has to be the ugly sister I guess.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings Movie Trailer

WRONG TURN 3: LEFT FOR DEAD

Wrong Turn 3: Left For Dead Movie Review

A group of four college students are terrorized by cannibal freaks in a wooded area. A short time later a prison bus transferring prisoners overturns in the same woods, giving the cannibals more potential meals. Let me start this by saying that I am a fan of the first two Wrong Turn movies. As a fan I was cautiously excited about seeing the third installment, and was pretty let down. As opposed to the first two films, which saw entire families of these freaks tracking people down, this one features primarily one freak and his boy (for a short time anyways). Also, unlike in the first two, this film has other “bad guys”, graying the question of which side is good and which is bad.

Good guy?

This is a cool concept that usually works in films, but not this one. The acting is pretty bad here two, with really no exception. Another thing that separates this from the first two films is the use of CGI, which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if the CGI was good—it’s not. Probably the only thing this movie really has going for it is the number of interesting death scenes, which is a staple in this series. The ending also leaves questions and features at least one thing you may not see coming. Overall this is the worst of the Wrong Turn series (so far) and I really only recommend it to fans of the series who can’t go without seeing them all.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Wrong Turn 3: Left For Dead Movie Trailer

WRONG TURN 2: DEAD END

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End Movie Review

A group of young people goes into the woods to shoot a survival-based reality show hosted by former Marine Dale Murphy (Henry Rollins, Feast, The Devil's Tomb) and are soon hunted by a family of deformed cannibals. This sequel to the original Wrong Turn sticks pretty close to the feel of its predecessor while adding a ton more gore.

And these guys

The actors playing the game show contestants are hit or miss, with Texas Battle (Final Destination 3) as Jake standing out as the best of them. Of course all the actors pale in comparison to the awesomeness Henry Rollins brings to the film. There are some very memorable death scenes in this one, too, blending extreme gore with a bit of humor. The story of the inbred family is actually sort of interesting too. This movie, much like the original, is a lot of fun and something I recommend to any horror fan.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End Movie Trailer

WRONG TURN

Wrong Turn Movie Review

Six young people are stranded and chased through the backwoods of West Virginia by three disfigured inbreds who are well trained with weapons and love to kill--a simple plot that reminds me of a cross between The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes. I remember seeing this in the theatre when it first came out and I later received it as a gift, and having just finished watching it again, I think I like it more than ever.

Don't go that way...

There is nothing outstanding about it--it is just a really solid horror movie, from the believable fear shown by the victims to the creepy silliness of the killers (one in particular) to some really cool death scenes to intense moments here and there. The cast, lead by Eliza Dushku (Dollhouse, Tru Calling) and Desmond Harrington (Ghost Ship, Dexter), is pretty strong here, and mercifully the weaker actors are killed off fairly early. This is just a fun, cool horror film with a nod to 70’s grindhouse. I recommend it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8

Wrong Turn Movie Trailer

CHILLING VISIONS: 5 SENSES OF FEAR

Chilling Visions: 5 Senses of Fear Movie Review

Chiller channel brings us this 2013 horror anthology--each of the five segments is based on one of the five senses, and each is brought to us by different directors.

Smell

We start off with Smell. In this story a heartbroken underachiever finds his life turned around when he buys a cologne from a door to door sales woman. She warns him not to use too much, but as he finds more and more riches--and women--he does not heed the warning and pays the price. Mixing too much unfunny comedy into the fold, this portion of the film only gains traction when we begin to see the results of too much of a good thing.

See

In our next segment we see an eye doctor using a chemical to see what his patients see. When he sees that one female patient sees her significant other beating her, the doctor makes that man see what he sees the woman sees...and we see the results. The strongest part of this segment is the flashes of visions. This is a decent take on an ages old story, but I've seen better.

Touch

Touch tells the story of a blind boy wandering through the woods to find help after his family has been in a car accident. When he comes across a killer in the woods the boy must use his sense of touch to get him out of a bad situation. The most boring of the segments, Touch would have benefited  from having the boy actually use the senses he does have instead of doing things you can't find believable from somebody who can't see.

Taste

In Taste we find a young hotshot hacker brought to a large office building where he is being offered a very lucrative opportunity--when he turns down the offer he finds just how deadly a woman scorned can be. This segment is a bloody one, and if you are reminded of Balsac The Jaws of Death here, you won't be the only one.

Listen

This anthology film concludes with Listen. What happens when you cross a mad Doctor experimenting with a song that kills people and a couple jackasses who, years later, find the recorded experiments and want to share them on social media? We find out here in this creepy wrap up to this film. The found footage scenes are done really well, and the story, while not terribly original, is interesting enough to keep you hooked. This is the best segment of the film.

Chilling Visions: 5 Senses of Fear is what you expect from a Chiller original--mediocrity pretty much across the board. Broken down individually, Touch would get a 4, Listen a 6, and the rest a solid 5. That said, I think you know what to expect next...

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Chilling Visions: 5 Senses of Fear Movie Trailer

HOLIDAYS

Holidays Movie Review

Holidays is a 2016 horror/comedy anthology brought to us by new and fairly well-known directors, most notably Kevin Smith. Each installment is strongly to very loosely tied to a different holiday. Lets break this film down per segment, shall we?

Valentine's Day

We start off with a Valentine's Day segment, written and directed by Kevin Kolsch and Dennis Widmyer, the team that brought us Starry Eyes--this short is what would happen if that movie and Carrie could create a film love child. A girl with a crush on her swim coach is bullied by the team (one of the girls even dons the red ball cap and pigtails look from Carrie), gets her revenge on the main mean girl, and delivers her message of love to her coach in a most heart warming way. This segment was predictable, boring, and a pretty weak way to get things going.

St. Patrick's Day

Fittingly set in Ireland, the St. Patrick's Day segment sees a creepy girl (see above) giving her teacher a snake toy thing that is to bring her what she most wants--as it turns out, what the teacher most wants is to give birth, and after waking up in the back seat of a car after a long night out, she discovers dead snake skin, finds out she's pregnant with a reptile, decides to keep it, has a gestation period that lasts over a year, and gives birth to a twenty-five foot long snake with a pompadour hairstyle...it's even worse than it sounds.

Easter

After the first two segments, both disappointing and terribly unsuccessful at delivering horror or comedy, we are smacked square in the jaw with the Easter segment. Directed by Nicholas McCarthy (The Pact), this short finds a young girl in bed asking her mother about Jesus Christ and the Easter Bunny. Her mom explains the story of both, concluding that she must be sleeping when the bunny arrives because no child has ever seen him. The girl wakes in the night for a glass of water and comes across the bunny, who looks like a grotesque combination of a bunny and Jesus. Ever wonder how the Easter Bunny delivers the chicks? You'll find your answers here. The few moments this hero to children is on the screen are some of the most visually terrifying moments in horror history--it almost had my girlfriend in tears. Without spoiling what lies ahead in this review I will tell you this was the best, most memorable segment in the movie.

Mother's Day

A woman gets pregnant every time she has sex. After having about twenty abortions, she decides she may actually give birth this time and travels to see a coven of witches at a desolate location in the desert. Relative newcomer Sarah Adina Smith directed this snooze fest that will likely only be remembered as the segment with the most nudity and its final scene (I'll save you time--see the picture above).

Father's Day

Another newcomer, Anthony Scott Burns, brings us the story of a woman receiving an audio recording of her father, a man she has not seen in years and who she has assumed was dead. The recording gives her directions to where she can go to find him--the place she last saw him as a child, at the moment he was recording the tape. This short has a very strong build up and the tension grows with each step along the way. The cinematography is wonderful here, but most unfortunately, the payoff is extremely disappointing.

Halloween

After inexplicably skipping over Independence Day, our most recognized director, Kevin Smith, brings us the Halloween segment. I'm a horror freak (obviously...I mean, I DO bring you this blog after all) so it kind of goes without saying that I love Halloween, so naturally this was the segment I most looked forward to--upon seeing the opening scene it becomes painfully clear Smith is directing this one, and my excitement level dropped considerably. Don't get me wrong--I was, at one time, quite a fan of Smith's--Clerks still stands as a classic, and Mallrats and Chasing Amy are still watchable, but over the years Smith started believing the hype surrounding him and everything he touches seems to get worse and worse--this segment might actually be the worst thing he has ever done (and yes, I have tried watching Comic Book Men). The story: a porn site owner treats his porn girls badly and they get revenge, knocking him out, inserting a sex toy wired to a car battery somewhere akin to the back of a Volkswagen, and sliding him a knife to use to chop off his tallywacker. Why doesn't he just use the knife to cut the cable connecting the battery? I'm guessing it's because Smith threw this disaster together so quickly that thought never crossed his mind. Want to make it worse? The acting from the girls is some of the worst you will see...well, ever. Not bad enough you say? How about the fact that this is part of a holiday themed anthology, and the most important holiday in a horror themed anthology, and the tie in to the holiday is one of the girls casually mentioning it's Halloween so they should have the night off...and they are watching a cartoon with witches in it. This is by far and away the worst segment in this film, and reinforces my belief that Kevin Smith may be the most overrated director of my time.

Christmas

After skipping over Thanksgiving (I guess Eli Roth was too busy), Scott Stewart (Legion) gets us back on track with this segment. UVU glasses are all the rage at Christmas, and a man (Seth Green) watches another man die in front of him so he can steal a pair of the glasses from him. The UVU plays the thoughts, memories, and internet history of the person logged into it, and Green's character eventually finds that his wife's history may be even sicker than his own. While not fantastic, this one does deliver in bloodshed, and, compared to its competition, is one of the better segments of the movie.

New Year's Eve

Kolsch and Widmyer return to write the wrap up to this movie, a New Year's Eve segment directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer (Some Kind of Hate). We see a man shoot a woman in the head, then cut to another woman who sees the same man pop up as a recommendation on a dating site. They go out on New Year's Eve, and when she invites him back to her apartment, his intention is to add her to his list of victims, but this one is more than ready for him. After a slow middle to the segment, this one turns it up to eleven and brings the gore and madness. This is a well done segment and strong closer to this film.

Holidays will never make it on the list of best horror anthologies--"Easter" and "New Year's Eve" make it almost worth your time to watch this movie, while "Christmas" and "Father's Day" are enjoyable. The remaining four segments range from boring to dreadfully bad--should you decide to watch this movie do yourself a favor and skip right past them.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Holidays Movie Trailer

AFTER

After Movie Review

Two survivors of a bus accident, Ana (Karolina Wydra, House) and Freddy (Steven Strait, The Covenant), awake to find they are the only people remaining in their small town. They team up to try to find answers as they see moments from their past play out in front of them and discover a wall of mysterious mist hiding a monster is closing in on them.

He aimed for escape but mist

Okay, so there is an obvious comparison to be made to The Mist, but as the movie unfolded it reminded me more of The NeverEnding Story than anything else.

I expected him to appear from the mist, but Nothing...

We come to find Freddy is a comic writer and Ana wrote screenplays as a child--these facts become very important as we discover how their lives crossed paths in the past. The build up and fantasy elements to this movie are a big plus, but the negative comes in the disappointing finish to the film--it relies strongly on romance as it closes with an ending that takes all the air out of the otherwise strong story. Better casting (especially the children) would have gone a long way here; still, set on a budget of under a million dollars, After is a decent blend of horror and fantasy and is a film that shouldn't be overlooked.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6

After Movie Trailer

Sunday, July 10, 2016

DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004)

Dawn of the Dead Movie Review

A virus has spread across the world, and it's bringing the dead back to life. A group of survivors take shelter in a shopping mall, but how long can they survive there? Find out in Dawn of the Dead, the 2004 remake of the 1978 George A. Romero classic. The early 2000s were an interesting time in the zombie horror subgenre--it witnessed a rebirth of sorts through a combination of fantastic originals (28 Days Later), side-splitting comedy/horror hybrids (Shaun of the Dead), and wonderful remakes, and when it comes to remakes, few can hold a candle to this film. The movie starts off with one of the most intense, fast-paced sequences you will see--we get tons of blood, gore, car crashes, explosions, our introduction to the zombies, and absolute hell breaking loose--all before the opening credits!

She likes her meat rare

The movie grabs you from the start and doesn't let go--the pace remains fast, the blood continues to fly, and the zombies continue to come. If you're a fan of the original (and other Romero work for that matter) you will delight in the multiple references to this movie's predecessors, not the least of which is cameos from both Tom Savini and Ken Foree. There are many characters in this film, and almost all are actually likable, making some of the deaths hard to handle.

You're welcome guys

The acting is surprisingly good as well--Sarah Polley is a sympathetic lead (though one may wonder why she got over her husband so quickly), Tim Roth doppelganger Jake Weber does a wonderful job as the brains of the outfit, the vastly underrated Michael Kelly steals the show as reluctant hero CJ, and Ving Rhames is...well, Ving Rhames, so he just naturally brings the awesomeness. Fans of the television show Modern Family will be excited and perhaps even stunned to see Ty Burrell make an appearance as Steve, arguably the biggest jerk in recent horror.

Phil Zomphy

Burrell does such a good job making you hate his character that for the longest time, while watching Modern Family, I couldn't see him as Phil--I could only see him as Steve and thought it weird he was playing such a goofball on this TV show. Unfortunately, this isn't a perfect film--after all, Mekhi Phifer is in it, so that costs the film at least one point right off the bat. There is a montage in the middle of the film set to some lounge version of Disturbed's Down With The Sickness that is painfully out of place, and the baby scene is as unnecessary as the bare asses scene in The Wiz. If not for these three things director Zack Snyder may have delivered a flawless horror film in his major motion picture debut--still, Dawn of the Dead sits near the top of its genre and is a must-see.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 9

Dawn of the Dead Movie Trailer

Friday, July 8, 2016

CRUEL AND UNUSUAL

Cruel and Unusual Movie Review

After Edgar (David Richmond-Peck) kills his wife he finds himself reliving that day over and over, having to not only repeatedly witness her death, but also her attempt at taking his life. In between going back to that day Edgar is locked away in a mysterious building where he has one on one meetings with a talking head on a television...

Sadly, not this one

...and group meetings with fellow distributors of cruel and unusual punishment.

Including that dude from Bates Motel

This movie starts out slow...so slow, in fact, that my girlfriend suggested turning it off ten minutes into it, so the ability to stick with it is a crucial one here. If you do manage to get into it though, this really isn't a bad movie. Yes, the movie starts slow and is essentially void of blood and/or gore. Yes, it borrows greatly from this film. Yes, the lead character looks like some weird cross between Stephen King and Hank Hill.

"Propane and propane accessories? Aisle 1408"

Get through these things and you're left with a pretty decent story that fills in nicely as the movie moves along--you'll even be treated to a twist and turn at the end. The story weaves through space and time, but not at a dizzying pace (a distraction many less interesting space/time bending movies use), so keeping up with what's going on won't take too much--use that left over attention to focus on character development. Cruel and Unusual doesn't bring a ton of new material to the table, but it is a pretty good low budget film that may leave you wondering about the afterlife (and, if you need one, presents another reason not to kill somebody, intentionally or otherwise).

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7

Cruel and Unusual Movie Trailer

Sunday, July 3, 2016

GODZILLA VS MEGAGUIRUS

Godzilla vs. Megaguirus Movie Review

Scientists in Japan attempt to create an artificial black hole to zap Godzilla away into space--unfortunately, during testing they unleash a whole new terror. This 2000 entry into the Godzilla legacy starts off very strong--we get the back story of Godzilla's original attack on Tokyo, re-created using the current rubber suit. We see how Japan has attempted to rebound, and we get Godzilla's most recent attack, a 1996 smashing that left many dead and one woman, Kiriko Tsujimori (Misato Tanaka), with a thirst for revenge. The first half hour of this movie offers up more Godzilla action than many other movies in the franchise do for the entire film, so right off the bat there's a lot to like about this movie. Godzilla himself looks cool, and the destruction is very much a throwback.

This guy's on fire!

The big guy's opposition in this outing comes by the hundreds in the form of dragonfly-esque Meganula...

All in all you're just another bug on the wall

...and their queen, Megaguirus.

And a lovely queen she is

So far so good, but then it just falls apart. The plan is to destroy Godzilla with a black hole--think about that for a moment...got it? What do we know about black holes? Take time to Google it real quick...go ahead, I'll wait.......Back with me? Okay, good. Lets try to get past that (if we can). Unlike the classic Godzilla films we all grew up with, this film relies heavily on CGI, and if you're picturing something akin to Avatar, think again.

It gets even worse than this...I'm not kidding

Another thing that sucks the enjoyment out of this film is the dubbing--I'm not sure where they got the dubbing "talent" from, but I have a vision of a sign that reads "The Simone Adamley and Jeff Spicoli School of Voice Acting". If you can sit through all this awfulness you will actually be treated to a decent final battle, but alas, it is quickly ruined by what follows...seriously, A BLACK HOLE?!?!

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5

Godzilla vs. Megaguirus Movie Trailer. It's in Japanese, but it sounds better than the dubbed version, so why not. There's also an interesting commercial after it.