Monday, October 16, 2017

CUBE ZERO

Cube Zero Movie Review

In this prequel to Cube, we see the men responsible for the cube as we simultaneously see the latest group of people go room to room in their attempt to escape. The third, and to date, final, movie of the franchise attempts to answer some of the questions left open by the other two films, while also presenting new ideas and concepts--this is a tricky endeavor in prequels, and unfortunately, this film does not pull this off well at all. As this is a prequel, one would expect the rooms to look just like they do in the first film--they don't. In fact, the rooms look very different here. Cube 2 is completely ignored (thank goodness), which means all the parallel universes and other such nonsense is out, the CGI is an improvement from that film, and this is probably the goriest of the three movies.

"I'm melting...melting!"

You know the type of characters to expect, and it's obvious from early in the film that behind the scenes man Eric (Zachary Bennett) will eventually enter the cube to help Rains (Stephanie Moore) attempt to escape. While we don't get to see who the top man of the cube experiment is, we do see who is presumably the top man at the actual location of the cube and he's...well...

Eye don't have the words

This character, Jax, is so over-the-top, and actor Michael Riley hams it up so much, that it's really hard to take him seriously, and worse, after waiting three movies to see who is pulling the strings here, this reveal is a major let down. If that's not bad enough, the final scene is beyond absurd. While not as bad as the second installment of the franchise, Cube Zero still falls well short of its potential, and is a rather disappointing finale to the series. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5


Cube Zero Movie Trailer

CUBE 2: HYPERCUBE

Cube 2: Hypercube Movie Review

Just as in the original Cube film, a group of strangers awaken in a square room with no memory how they got there. They must maneuver from room to room as they attempt to find their way out of this hyper-cube. Unlike in the original, all the rooms are white, and very few are actually booby trapped--and the ones that are are, well, uninteresting. This movie relies WAY too much on CGI, and unfortunately, the CGI is all pretty awful.

It doesn't get any better than this

The characters are almost carbon copies of the original film--the caring motherly type, the back-stabbing jerk, the math genius--you get the picture--and other than maybe Jerry (Neil Crone, It), they are pretty unlikable. The story becomes overly convoluted, as we discover the hyper-cube includes alternate universes and time distortions, among other ridiculousness. The rooms are far less interesting than in the original--it's as if the people making this movie were more interested in what they could do in post-production than actually presenting a decent film. Watch this movie if you are having a Cube marathon--otherwise, skip it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4


Cube 2: Hypercube Movie Trailer

CUBE

Cube Movie Review

A group of strangers awaken in a seemingly never-ending maze of rooms--some of which contain deadly booby traps. As they get to know each other and learn of each others' individual knowledge and strengths, they work together to figure out how to escape. This low-budget Canadian film from 1997 is incredibly original and somewhat ahead of its time. As a viewer, it's exciting watching the characters go from room to room and discover if the next room is a trap or not. The film is also visually pleasing, as each room is filled with a different, vibrant color.

Red room, red room

This movie leans more toward science fiction than horror, but there is a fair bit of blood and gore, none surpassing the opening sequence.

When he saw this room he should have split

The acting is hit or miss here--half the cast is pretty good, while the other half is really, really bad. The characters are not developed much, making it a bit challenging to care what happens to them--except Quentin--you WILL want to see him killed. Director Vincenzo Natali provides some very interesting camera angles--you will either love or hate this approach, and I personally think it is very effective. Cube is not a great movie by any stretch, but it's uniqueness, presentation, and variety of rooms are enough to make it a very enjoyable film.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


Cube Movie Trailer

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (2003)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Movie Review

A group of friends on their way to a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert seek help from the sheriff (R. Lee Ermey) of a small town after a hitchhiker they picked up kills herself—unfortunately for them, the sheriff is also the patriarch of a family of killers and lunatics. This 2003 version of the 1974 classic still stands out to me as one of the best horror movie remakes of the 21st Century. Because this movie is so different than the original, I will keep the comparisons to the original to a minimum here—I will say this outing is a lot bloodier than the original, not as scary, and much more slick—to that point, when you watch this movie, you have to understand two things: the original was a low-budget grindhouse film with no expectations of achieving any sort of huge commercial success (much less becoming the iconic film it is today), while the 2003 version had a much larger budget and was created for mainstream popularity and acceptance. It is important to keep that in mind while watching this movie, or, if you saw this one before the original, keep that in mind while viewing the 1974 film. Anyway, some of the more ominous themes of the original film are dropped here, but that doesn’t necessarily make this version any less intense. The actors do a decent job, and director Marcus Nispel and cinematographer Daniel Pearl do a fine job making us believe the events of this film are actually happening in 1973. Another nice touch to the film is bringing John Larroquette back to narrate the film, as he had done the original. The story itself, of course, is a disturbing one, and some of the scenes are likely to leave you feeling a bit uneasy.

This scene certainly ruffled some feathers
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We know from the beginning which of the friends will be the one to make it to the end, so no surprises there, but after such a strong build up, the climax of the film feels a bit disappointing—still, the 2003 edition of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a very enjoyable horror flick that, for better or worse, kicked off the trend of remaking classic horror movies that continues 14 years later.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Movie Trailer

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE (Original) (aka The Texas Chain Saw Massacre)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Movie Review

Sally (Marilyn Burns) and her invalid brother Franklin (Paul A. Partian), along with a few friends, visit an abandoned house they had spent some time in as children--after encountering some strange people along the way, they eventually wander into a nearby house, which is the home of a masked, chainsaw-wielding killer.

THIS leatherfaced killer, to be exact

Director, producer, and co-writer Tobe Hooper made a huge splash with this low-budget 1974 horror film, which is far more suited for a local grindhouse or drive-in of the 1970s than any sort of mainstream theatre, but somehow broke through to a massive audiences and gave us one of the all-time great characters in horror history. Practically everything about this movie is unsettling, from the plot to the way it's shot to the music--everything comes together perfectly to tell a horrific tale. This landmark slasher film, which many consider one of the scariest movies ever made, is all the more impressive in that it manages to terrify the audience without actually showing much blood or violence. The acting is also very impressive here--Burns is really good as Sally, and Edwin Neal does such a good job as The Hitchhiker that you can't imagine him NOT being that insane in real life. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is considered one of the greatest horror movies ever made, a title it very much deserves--there is a lot to like about this movie, its shortcomings are very few, and it is basically a blueprint for tons of movies that would follow it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 9

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Movie Trailer

Thursday, September 28, 2017

QUEEN OF THE DAMNED

Queen of the Damned Movie Review

So after watching Interview With The Vampire for the first time, my girlfriend was reading about it online and said aloud "Hey, there's this other movie with Lestat called Queen of the Damned. Have you ever heard of it?" and instinctively I shuddered--I, in fact, HAD heard of Queen of the Damned, and even paid a dollar to see it in theatres way back in 2002--I recalled wanting my buck back as I walked out to my car. Some years later I found it on VHS for a quarter at a yard sale and thought to myself "Maybe it's not as bad as I remember", bought it, and never watched it. I warned my girlfriend my recollection of this film was not pleasant, but she insisted, so I dusted it off, we watched it, and good grief, it is even worse than I remembered. Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and pretty much everybody involved with Interview With The Vampire wanted nothing to do with this film, and when you watch it, you see why. Lestat is now played by Stuart Townsend, who actually did a pretty good job as Dorian Gray The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but is nothing short of dreadful here. Oh yeah, and Lestat is now a rock star--not just a rock star, but the lead singer in a nu-metal band, with vocals provided by Jonathan Davis of Korn. So now we have a grade C Lestat with the voice of Jonathan Davis and nu-metal played throughout the entire film--and somehow, it gets even worse. The ""Queen" is Egyptian Akasha, played by late singer Aaliyah, of Brooklyn, New York--she sort of walks like a snake slithering around and turns in a performance even worse than that of Townsend. The special effects are what you would expect from a college project. The dialogue is laughable. The directing is beyond bad. The story is dull, the ending is even worse, and did I mention you are subjected to nu-metal the entire time? Anne Rice, the author of the books this film, and Interview, were based on, disowned this movie, and watching it, you will wonder how this ever made it to the big screen.

The movie sucks even more than this guy does

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 2


Queen of the Damned Movie Trailer

INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE: THE VAMPIRE CHRONICLES

Interview With The Vampire Movie Review

In modern day San Francisco (or modern day when the film came out in 1994 anyway), Vampire Louis (Brad Pitt, World War Z) tells a young reporter (Christian Slater, Heathers, Pump Up The Volume) the story of how he became a vampire, and all the hell and loneliness that came with it. This film, based on the novel from Anne Rice, approaches the vampire genre in ways we may not have seen at the time. We see a character, Louis, who has chosen to become a vampire, but very soon regrets his decision, and we are presented with the many reasons why. We see Louis learn from the vampire who transformed him, Lestat (Tom Cruise, The Mummy), a vampire much more comfortable in his own skin, and their friendship borders closely on the romantic side, something else considered groundbreaking at the time. What I remember most about the time leading up to the release of this film, however, is the doubt practically everybody had when Cruise was cast as Lestat--for the younger crowd, recall the backlash when it was announced Heath Ledger would be playing The Joker and amplify that even more--but Cruise not only silenced the critics, he turned in arguably the performance of a lifetime.

"Doubt me, will you?"

The story here is a very interesting one, and it presents thoughts about the life of an immortal that people may have never considered before. You feel for Louis, and for the "daughter" (Kirsten Dunst, Spider-Man) Louis and Lestat bring on board, and you even feel for Lestat himself--the scene near the end when Louis finds Lestat alone in the modern world is absolutely tragic. The cinematography and music are both outstanding in this movie, and while Pitt may be not have been the best choice for the role of Louis, the cast is overall good, with Dunst stealing the scenes she's in. The vampires are a nice combination of the "attractive" vampires we were seeing emerge around this time...

"Lestat, how's my hair?"

...and the frightening vampires we were more accustomed to.

"Yeah, I ate alligators...at least they weren't rats!"

The film runs a bit long at just over two hours, and it certainly loses steam when Lestat disappears for a while, but overall,  Interview With The Vampire still stands as one of the better vampire films. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 8


Interview With The Vampire Movie Trailer

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

IT (aka It: Chapter One) (2017) (From The Theatre)

It Movie Review

A group of teenagers must face their deepest fears in the form of Pennywise, a demented dancing clown who can project himself into the image of what most frightens the children. The kids must find a way to battle the clown, who, by the way, enjoys eating children and/or bringing them into his underground lair. This 2017 movie is based on the classic 1986 Stephen King novel, and is the second visual take on the book, the first being the 1990 television mini-series of the same name. I won't spend a ton of time comparing this film to either the novel (which I haven't read in forever) or the mini-series other than to say two things: the 2017 film can get away with a lot more than the television version could (it's rated R) and, whereas the mini-series jumped back and forth over the 27 year period that the novel spans, the 2017 film focuses exclusively on the Losers' Club as children, with a second film to come to cover 27 years later (due out in 2019).

Oh yeah, and Pennywise looks like this now

So you know how sometimes you see the news that Hollywood is remaking a horror favorite and you sigh, then you see the trailer and think "Okay, that doesn't look TOO bad", then the film shocks the world by getting rave reviews and smashing box office records and you think "Okay, maybe I will give this one a chance" and you walk into the theatre thinking "No way this is as good as everybody says" but then you watch it and as you walk out you say to yourself "Oh my God, it really IS as good as everybody says"? Yeah, that happened here. First and foremost, if you have not seen this movie, and it is still playing in the theatre as you are reading this, hurry to your local megaplex and see check it out...wait, finish reading this first, then go--this is a wonderful film to see on the big screen. Anyway, on to the movie--the scares are absolutely terrifying, the comedy is actually funny, the tension is strong, and, most surprising, the kids all do a fantastic job.

Losers' Club

To a person, every child actor in this movie nails their part, making the foul-mouthed characters likable and bringing believability to their friendship. Jaeden Lieberher is wonderful as Bill, the lead character, Sophia Lillis does a great job as Bev, and Jack Dylan Grazer (Brian's nephew) steals the show as Eddie, the hypochondriac who looks like me as a child and acts like my girlfriend as an adult. The movie makers are spot-on with the 1980s look and feel in this film, and the music matches it nicely as well--keep your eye on the walls in the kids' rooms for posters that scream 1980s. The cinematography is excellent, and though there is a bit too much CGI and a few too many jump scares for my taste, they are certainly not enough to ruin the film. I would not have imagined it when I first read this movie was being made, but It truly is one of the better horror movies to come out in quite some time.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 9


It Movie Trailer

Friday, September 15, 2017

SCREAM 4

Scream 4 Movie Review

After an eleven year hiatus, the Scream franchise returned in 2011 with the appropriately titled Scream 4. Sidney (Neve Campbell) is now an author who has moved on with her life, but when she returns to her hometown of Woodboro, another Ghostface copycat killer begins to terrorize the small town once more. So after the original, the characters of Scream 2 gave us the rules of the sequel, while the characters of Scream 3 laid out the rules of the final film of the trilogy--Scream 4 gives us the rules of a remake, and this movie certainly feels a lot more like a remake of the original 1996 film than it does a continuation of the franchise. The movie starts off with a few false starts that are both hilarious and terrifying, showing the Stab franchise is still going strong. Gale and Dewey are back again, and while they are not as prominent as they are in the third film, they are still in this movie way too much. We are introduced to a whole new group of teenagers, each essentially mirroring a character from the original film. This one also brings back a lot of the violence missing from the third film, and may be the goriest of the series.

She spilled her guts to him

It was nice to have a Scream film actually feel like a Scream film again, but the characters very much pale in comparison to the ones they are mirroring--Emma Roberts (Nerve) does a fine job as Jill, Sid's cousin, but the remaining actors playing the group of teens turn in very forgettable performances--you get what you expect from the rest of the cast. While this film lacks the cleverness of the original, it is still well-written, albeit somewhat TOO self-aware. Still, Scream 4 is a very good horror movie, a wonderful final film from legendary horror director Wes Craven, and a fitting finale to the franchise.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


Scream 4 Movie Trailer

SCREAM 3

Scream 3 Movie Review

Set three years after the events of Scream 2, in this outing, we find that Sidney has done all she can to isolate herself from the world--meanwhile, the film franchise within the film franchise, Stab 3, has begun production, which is where Gale (Courteney Cox) finds Dewey (David Arquette), now hanging around Jennifer Jolie (Parker Posey of Dazed and Confused), the actress playing Gale in the latest Stab film. It doesn't take long for another Ghostface killer to begin hacking people to death, this time mainly on the set of Stab 3. This movie came out in 2000, and this was a weird time to be sure--Friends, which starred Cox, was a top 5 show on television, and Arquettte was the WCW World Champion in the world of professional wrestling.

I'm not making this up

I can only guess this popularity of the real-life couple is why the writer and director of this film decided to make this film "The Gale and Dewey Show", but my God, is it every annoying. The two characters become full-blown unbearable in this outing, and it takes away from the film more than I could ever properly explain. The film is very much more comedy and less horror than the two previous outings--aside from Gale and Dewey hamming it up, we see Jenny McCarthy show up to...actually, I don't know WHY she is here other than to play into one of the stereotypes the previous movies made fun of. If that wasn't ridiculous enough, we also get...wait for it...

Jay and Silent Bob...IN A SCREAM MOVIE!!

Detective Mark Kincaid (Patrick Dempsey, Enchanted) warns us that all bets are off in the final outing of a movie trilogy, and that certainly seems to be the case here, but not in any good way. While the intertextuality of seeing the movie within the movie is expanded and actually somewhat cool here, it also helps to illustrate that Scream 3 has come full circle from the first film in the franchise and is...gasp...precisely the dumbed-down kind of movie the original mocked. 

She realizes it too

Patrick Warburton (our Soarin' Chief Flight Attendant) and veteran horror actor Lance Henriksen both turn in good performances, but it is Posey who steals the show in this one--I shudder to think how much less bearable this movie would have been had she not been a part of it. The reveal at the end could have saved this movie, but unfortunately, it is so absurd it is almost laughable. Scream was meant to be a three and out franchise--thankfully, Wes Craven had one more left in him, though we'd have to wait a while for it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5



Scream 3 Movie Trailer

SCREAM 2

Scream 2 Movie Trailer

Released just a year after the successful movie Scream, Scream 2 finds Sidney, now a college student, trying to escape the horrors she had just gone through in the first film--this is made all the more difficult because the story has inspired a film titled Stab, and now a copycat killer is on the loose at her university. Following the success of the first film we knew this one was coming, because--let's face it, baby--these days, you gotta have a sequel! Just as in the first film, the characters acknowledge the horror genre, discuss sequels, and, in a film class, struggle to come up with a sequel that was better than the original--Scream 2 certainly is not one of them, but that's not to say all is bad here.

Dr. Foreman won't be around for part 3

Unfortunately, the all the best characters in Scream were killed off, so we are left with the rest--returning from the first film to join Sidney are Randy (Jamie Kennedy), not-the-killer Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber), Deputy Dewey (David Arquette), and reporter Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox)--they are joined by a whole crop of young people you will likely recognize, including Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Grudge), Jerry O'Connell (Stand By Me, Piranha 3-D), Timothy Olyphant (The Crazies), Rebecca Gayheart (Urban Legend), heavy metal legend Jada Pinkett Smith, Luke Wilson (Soul Survivors), Heather Graham (License To Drive), Joshua Jackson (Shutter), and even Portia de Rossi of Arrested Development fame, so saying "Hey, look who it is!" will be something you will do more than a few times as you watch this one. This film is where we begin to see the story shift a bit from Sidney to Dewey and Gale, which is unfortunate in that neither character gives you much reason to care about them--or their on again, off again relationship--and whereas Dewey was funny and quirky in the first film, he begins to get a bit more irritating in this one; Gale, already irritating in the first film, is even more so here. The movie progresses at a good pace, and the death scenes are interesting. The reveal is a bit of a stretch, but certainly not something inconceivable, and is a bit more obvious than that of the first movie. While the humor from Scream is still there, and still effective, the scares are less, the story less impressive, and the twists not nearly as interesting as in the first film--still, as sequels go, this one isn't too bad.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


Scream 2 Movie Trailer

SCREAM

Scream Movie Review

A masked maniac begins killing students of Woodsboro High School, specifically targeting Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell, The Craft), a girl who previously helped convict the alleged killer of her mother. This 1996 horror film is largely credited with bringing new life to the slasher genre, and really to the horror genre in general--the late 80's and early 90's were filled with cookie-cutter horror films that ranged from bad to awful, and, before the release of Scream, many people had considered the genre dead. Writer Kevin Williamson and legendary director Wes Craven combined to bring Scream to life, and the world was given a horror film the likes of which it had not seen before--this film was scary, bloody, funny, and extremely clever. The movie points out the cliches and short-comings of many horror films before it, while also paying homage to horror classics such as A Nightmare On Elm Street, Halloween, and Psycho, and, in something that was rare at the time, the characters in the film acknowledge the existence of horror films--many of the lead characters are even fans of the genre. The movie also went against the grain of the horror genre by casting some big name stars, including the top-billed Drew Barrymore, and proceeded to shock the audience with the opening scene.

"My popcorn is burning!"

Scream has a ton going for it--the dialogue is smart, the story is multi-leveled and interesting on every one, the acting is very good, the scares are actually scary and the comedy is funny, and the reveal at the end is as shocking as the opening scene. The characters are very likable as well, and Matthew Lillard (SLC Punk!, Thir13en Ghosts) steals the show as Stu. The only real complaint I have with this film is the Gale Weathers character, though, compared to the films to come, she's not TOO terrible here. Over twenty years after its release, Scream stands as one of the more influential horror films ever made, and is considered on of the all-time greats, a title I myself don't mind giving it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 9

 
Scream Movie Trailer

Saturday, September 9, 2017

THE CROW

The Crow Movie Review

One year after he and his fiancee are murdered, rocker Eric Draven, accompanied by a crow, returns from the grave to seek revenge on the group of miscreants responsible for their deaths. This 1994 film, unfortunately, is probably best known for the on-set death of star Brandon Lee, a tragedy I will not address here--not only was his death unfortunate for the obvious reasons, but it also overshadows what turned out to be a pretty incredible film. Visually, the movie holds true to the 1989 comic series it was based on, and the characters--particularly the villains--are over-the-top in the greatest of ways.

Fire it up!

As good as all those actors are in their portrayals, they all pale in comparison to Lee as Draven, turning in a performance for the ages, struggling with the reality that the woman he loved died such a brutal death as he teeters on madness in his quest for revenge. 

You got a lot of spirit son

The movie blends a good bit of violence and combines action, sci-fi, superhero, and horror nicely, but ultimately--and I have made this argument since I first saw it back in 1995--this is a love story. If you are fortunate enough (as am I) to have somebody you love as much as Eric loves Shelly, you can relate to how Draven feels and reacts in this movie. The Crow is probably secondarily known for its soundtrack--the music of Stone Temple Pilots, The Cure, Machines of Loving Grace, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, Nine Inch Nails, and more add a tremendous amount to the overall mood of the film and is, in my opinion, one of the all-time great movie soundtracks. Speaking of the mood--don't look for much uplifting stuff in this one--this is one of those movies that could put you into a sadness that will stick with you for a while. The Crow stands as a cult-like film--a little ahead of its time, a bit flawed, very influential, and grossly underappreciated. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 9


The Crow Movie Trailer

Monday, August 28, 2017

LIFE

Life Movie Review

Astronauts, scientists, and various other smart people (in theory) man the International Space Station when a space probe returns from Mars with a soil sample that proves there is life on Mars. The life form, named Calvin, starts off small and cute enough, but soon morphs into a deadly killing machine.

"I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you!"

This special-effects laden big screen film stars Jake Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko) and Ryan Reynolds (The Amityville Horror) and, predictably, both turn in fine performances here--in fact, every actor in this movie does a pretty good job, making the characters across the board pretty likable--of course this makes you care about the inevitable death scenes, something we see too far little of in horror. Some of the dialogue may lose you, especially in the beginning, which starts off rather slow, and some of the decisions the characters make will have you shaking your head, but it's nothing we're not used to by now. These unbelievable scenes, and a somewhat drawn-out third act aside, there is a lot to like about Life. Yes, it borrows heavily from Alien, but separates itself more than enough to stand on its own in the long run, and it provides a very memorable final scene--this suggests there may be a sequel in the coming years, but I personally would very much prefer they leave it as is. If you're a fan of sci-fi and/or alien films, you should certainly set aside the time to watch Life.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


Life Movie Trailer

Sunday, August 27, 2017

ASHES

Ashes Movie Review

Doctor Andrew Stanton (Brian Krause) is trying to come up with a cure for AIDS, but when he prematurely administers the treatment to a dying boy, he instead unleashes an aggressive virus that turns hosts into zombies. This low budget 2010 film is part of a box set I own, and while trying to decide which film from this "prestigious" set to watch next, I decided upon Ashes based on one thing--it co-starred the legendary actor Kadeem Hardison, who, of course, we all remember as one of the all-time great 1980s sitcom characters, Dwayne Wayne.

We all remember this guy, right?

Naturally, Dwayne Wayne's iconic glasses are also remembered fondly to this day and were named...you guessed it..."Dwayne Wayne glasses". So, if you have stumbled upon this site because you are wondering what Dwayne Wayne, or Kadeem Hardison, looks like today...I can't help you, but I CAN show you what he looked like in Ashes, circa 2010.

"Anybody seen my glasses?"

Back to the movie itself--the film builds a lot more on character development than one would expect from a zombie flick, and it actually does it quite nicely. Krause plays both a believable and likable Doctor Stanton, Hardison is spot-on in his performance--in fact, with the exception of the unbearable Joel Bryant (of Jack The Reaper fame), most of the cast is surprisingly decent. Most of the violence occurs off screen, and the outbreak doesn't happen until near the end of the film, but it somehow works--what fails is the directing, the editing, and the camera work. From a technical standpoint, this movie is an absolute mess--it's a shame really, because this film had a lot going for it otherwise.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 5


Ashes Movie Trailer

Sunday, August 13, 2017

FINAL GIRL

Final Girl Movie Trailer

William (Wes Bentley, P2), a master...trainer? Hit-man? Boxer?...well, we're not quite sure who he is, but we know that his wife and child were killed by a "bad man", meets Veronica, a young girl who has just lost her parents. Over the next 12 years he trains her to be...a hit-woman? Assassin? Avenger?...we're not quite sure of that either, but once we meet a group of young men who enjoy luring young women into the woods for the purpose of letting said young woman run so they can hunt her down and kill her, it becomes obvious what Veronica's purpose will be. How did William know about this pack of killers? Who knows--that question is never answered either...if you're noticing a pattern here, there's a reason, and it's the biggest problem this movie has--there are so many unanswered questions and unexplained nonsense going on that it's hard to keep focus on the film--the poor dialogue and equally poor acting do nothing to make the movie any more enjoyable.

Don't even get me started on this guy

The notion of baiting a group of killers is an interesting one, but the execution lacks, as do the scenes when the killers inevitably face their deepest fears. If all this weren't enough, the pace of the movie is terribly slow, and our hero isn't particularly likable. All this said, there are a couple of things to like about the movie--the film has some strange David Lynch crossed with a live-action anime feel to it at times, and the tension actually hits an effective level during the game near the woods--these things, however, do not justify spending the time it takes to watch this movie.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4

Final Girl Movie Trailer

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

CURSE OF THE UNDEAD

Curse of the Undead Movie Review

The year is 1959. Vampire movies had been a staple on the big screen for years, and westerns were all the craze on television, so it was only natural that a movie that combined both genres be made, and that's what we have here with Curse of the Undead. As dead bodies begin to pop up, the denizens of a small Old West town begin to panic, and false accusations are tossed around. We have many of the things you expect from a western movie--drunkards, saloon fights, shoot-outs, arguments over land and whatnot, and a mysterious stranger dressed all in black--it will surprise nobody to learn this is the killer, and, naturally, the vampire.

And snazzy dresser to boot

From this point the movie shifts more toward a vampire/horror film, and brings some interesting twists to what people in 1959 knew as vampire movies--our vampire here can walk in the sunlight, he doesn't turn his victims into vampires, and is only a vampire himself because he killed himself in his previous life. He doesn't seem to WANT to kill people--he just does. Michael Pate does a decent job as Robey, the vampire, but the rest of the cast is sub-par, to say the least. The story struggles to gain traction and never really does find its footing, and the direction leaves a lot to be desired. Worst of all, the movie is really just...boring. As a fan of both horror films and westerns, I was somewhat excited to see this hybrid of the genres, but unfortunately, Curse of the Undead fails to be good at either.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4


Curse of the Undead Movie Trailer

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

ISLE OF THE SNAKE PEOPLE (aka The Snake People aka Le Muerte Viviente)

Isle of the Snake People Movie Review

An evil scientist (horror legend Boris Karloff) oversees an army of zombies on LSD, which, with the help of the equally evil dancer, voodoo priestess, and snake handler Kalea (dancer Yolanda Montes, aka "Tongolele"), he uses to fight off anybody who dare attempt to enforce law on his island...or something like that. This 1971 film (which was shot a few years before release) is an absolute mess of a movie--at times you will swear there was just a bunch of stuff filmed and thrown together to see what sticks. The directing is so off the wall and different from scene to scene you'd think it has a dozen directors--it doesn't, but it does have two--Jack Hill shot the scenes with Karloff in the United States, and Juan Ibanez shot the rest in Mexico. There are many, many scenes where the camera moves rapidly into the faces of the actors, to the ground, to random...stuff--not a zoom, but more of the scene through the eyes of a drunkard who has stumbled upon some dark rituals. There are tons of snakes and snake handling and snake dancing, primarily from the "hot" (I use that term very loosely) Kalea...


"Do you like what you see?"

...and also a little from Annabella (Julissa...yes, just Julissa), our damsel somewhat in distress.

Yeah, I'm not touching this one

Unfortunately, this movie suffers greatly from a thin plot, no direction at all, and multiple scenes so boring you will slap yourself to stay awake, and it all starts with an extended opening scene featuring a weird midget (that's his name in the credits--"Midget") grunting for fifteen minutes as a ritual involving another man and a chicken is performed. 

"Don't forget to take home some tasty friend chicken!"

As you watch all this unfold, you will find yourself wondering how Karloff ever got himself into something like this--he certainly deserved much better, and this would end up being his next to last movie. While this film does lack much substance, it is the bizarre you may find yourself attracted to--scenes such as Annabella dreaming of chasing herself are so out there and unique that they almost make the movie worth watching...almost.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4


Isle of the Snake People Movie Trailer

Saturday, July 15, 2017

GET OUT

Get Out Movie Review

WARNING! THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS SPOILERS!!

Daniel Kaluuya stars (and does a wonderful job) in this film that is just like The Stepford Wives, except that instead of creating robot wives, rich white people kidnap black people and turn them into who they want them to be--it's also pretty much just like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, except that instead of aliens taking over the body of a host, it's aging, rich white people doing so. There's also much more profanity in this movie than in the other two, the last fifteen minutes packs more violence and bloodshed than those two, and it's not as good as either of those films, much less as good as you've heard it is...but it's certainly not a bad movie.

On A Scale...

"Wait, you're not done already are you?!"

Yes...yes I am.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6


Get Out Movie Trailer

Friday, July 14, 2017

WAR OF THE WORLDS

War of the World Movie Review

After diving under the ground on bolts of lighting, aliens re-emerge, driving massive implements of destruction and killing every human being in their paths. This Steven Spielberg 2005 take on the H.G. Wells story follows Ray (Tom Cruise, The Mummy) and his two children as they run and do whatever they can to survive.

"Well there's something you don't see every day"

The aliens arrive via an apparent storm, and right from that moment, you know you're in for a big budget, big screen blockbuster film, and when Spielberg is involved, that's almost assured to be gold. After the initial destruction, we get to know the characters a bit more--Cruise is really good as Ray, an every day blue collar guy who, though he loves his kids, isn't quite sure how to protect them--we don't get the story of an every day guy who is suddenly the world's ultimate survivalist with all the answers here--Ray is flawed, scared, and never sure he is doing the right thing, and Cruise plays that role surprisingly well. After seeing their tripod machines and snake-like cameras, we finally get a look at the aliens, and they are actually fairly frightening looking.

"Say, do ya have any Germ-X handy?"

The main drawback to this film is Rays kids--they are SO over-the-top irritating that one has to wonder how Ray managed not to smack them repeatedly--I would pay money to be able to enter the movie world, track Robbie down, and beat the living hell out of the kid. They whine, scream, and overall make poor Ray's life even worse than it already was--it's a wonder he didn't just surrender himself to the aliens to escape the kids. The ending, which ties into what I just said, also fails to deliver the punch you are expecting, but overall, I still find War of the Worlds to be an entertaining, fun film to watch every couple of years.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


War of the World Movie Trailer