Friday, March 30, 2018

YOU'RE NEXT

You're Next Movie Review

A wealthy family have a get-together at a remote mansion, but this happy reunion goes south when a group of masked home invaders begin killing them off one by one. This 2013 film was a surprise hit at the box office--I recall seeing it on the big screen with my girlfriend when it was released, and both of us being pleasantly surprised by it, so last night we decided to give it another go. I thought that at some point along the way, I had reviewed this film, but alas, I had not--2013 was a dead time for this site...I'm really not sure why. Did I lose interest? Was I too busy? Was I doing something way more productive with my life?

"Get back on track, or YOU'RE NEXT!"

So we get the quick "get to know the players before they're killed off" bit in the beginning, and this is delivered with a surprising bit of humor, but once the family is finally all together, the chaos is unleashed. This begins with the neighbors, just to get the body count up, I guess. Speaking of body count, it is really high here--that's a good reason to have such a large family gathering. Gore hounds will delight in the amount of bloodshed throughout the film, and, to it's credit, the movie does a wonderful job taking the viewer on a roller coaster ride, with a few twists and turns along the way. The music even stands out as a highlight, particular the song we hear on a continuous loop, and the totally 80's horror nod we get near the end. The acting is even pretty good in this movie--this is surprising in that everybody in the film is a virtual unknown. The main setback in the film is the absolute unlikelihood of what we see from the lead character--it borders on Home Alone at times. The humor in the movie also seems way out of place--while effective in doses, especially in the beginning, it should have been cut short as the horror began. These things aside, You're Next is a really fun horror flick that I enjoy as much as I did the first time I saw it.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


You're Next Movie Trailer



Added bonus, just for you Sani

Sunday, March 25, 2018

MOON OF THE WOLF

Moon Of The Wolf Movie Review

Set in Louisiana, this 1972 made-for-television movie tells the tale of dead bodies popping up all over a small town. The authorities assume it's wild dogs doing the killing, but, as you may have suspected by the title--or at least the movie poster--it turns out to be a werewolf. So let me emphasize one thing once again--this is a made for the tele film...don't expect much action...or violence...or gore...you get the idea. This one feels like some strange blend of 1940s horror and a Hammer film--no doubt what they were going for--but with a distinct bayou feel. We sit through a LOT of nothing happening before the reveal is finally made, and when it is, our werewolf looks less like the one on the poster above and more like, well...

...this.

The acting is some bizarre swing from wooden to Wiseau-esque overacting--I'm looking at you, Geoffrey Lewis--and the script, based on a book, is some potion of pages torn from previous films. There is actually really nothing offensively bad about Moon of The Wolf...there's nothing particularly good about it either--I'd recommend it if you're having trouble getting to sleep at night. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4


Moon Of The Wolf Movie Review

Sunday, March 18, 2018

THE MAD MAGICIAN

The Mad Magician Movie Review

After having his show shut down and his newest creation, The Buzz-Saw, seized by his employer, magician, makeup specialist, and prop inventor Don Gallico, aka Gallico The Great (the also great Vincent Price) kills the evil business man--this all leads to Gallico taking on several identities and going on a bit of a killing spree.

Think he SAW this coming?

So the story starts off nicely--Gallico, a humble man, essentially has his life ruined by his boss, Ross Ormond (Donald Randolph)--not only does Ormond, via a shady contract, own everything Gallico creates, he owns everything he will EVER create; if that wasn't bad enough, Ormond even stole Gallico's wife--of course we feel less sorry for Gallico when we meet said wife, played by Eva Gabor, whose voice will, for the rest of my life, remind me of Miss Bianca from The Rescuers.

In case you're wondering

Seeing Price go from disguise to disguise is pretty cool, but come on; how could anybody not identify him by that voice? The film moves along nicely, with surprises here and there, making it a fun one to watch. The movie came along during the first wave of 3D in Hollywood (1954), so there are the obligatory "3D shots"--stuff flying toward the camera for no reason. The real strength of the film may be the acting, which is actually pretty good across the board. Unfortunately, the movie kind of falls apart toward the end, and the climax--and follow-up scene--are rather disappointing. The Mad Magician is far from a masterpiece, but I enjoyed watching it for what it was.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6


The Mad Magician Movie Trailer

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

RATTLERS

Rattlers Movie Review

After a series of people turn up dead in the desert outside Los Angeles, snake expert Tom Parkinson (Sam Chew) teams with Sheriff Gates (Tony Ballen) and war photographer Ann Bradley (Elisabeth Chauvet) to try to stop the den of deadly reptiles. The 1970s were full of deadly snake movies, from Sssssss to Stanley to this "gem". 

This has classic written all over it

In a movie filled with absolute ineptness, it's really difficult to know where to begin...I'll start with the acting. We've all suffered through poor acting, from grindhouse films from this same era to 50s schlock to 2000s guy with a pro-am cam films--we've seen it all--and the acting in this film is as bad as in any of those. The dialogue is mind-numbing. The "action" is largely a person writhing about, cut to a snake, cut back to the person, and so on, until the person quickly dies. In one scene a trained military dude fires his rifle repeatedly at a snake that is within inches of him...and misses...over and over. Naturally, a romance arises between Tom and Ann, and, for whatever reason, they decide to head off to Las Vegas in the middle of all this, and, yes, the snakes follow. The reason the snakes are so aggressive is absurd (you know the second you see the military they're behind it all). This all leads to an ending that is as boring as the rest of the film. I did manage to find a couple nice things to say about this movie, however; the body count is high, I love that the conversion to DVD was direct from reel (I have it on the Savage Predators collection), and it is fairly short at 82 minutes (though it feels twice as long). 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 3


Rattlers Movie Trailer

Sunday, March 11, 2018

TURISTAS

Turistas Movie Review

After their bus crashes, a group of tourists in Brazil bond and join up in pursuit of the next town...and the next good time. After a night of partying on the beach, the group realizes they have been robbed, and a couple are missing. One local, Kiko (Agles Steib), offers to help by taking them to his uncle's house, but what lies ahead is anything but the safety they desire. During about a five year period, a handful of movies came out to teach us one thing: if you travel to a foreign country and engage in lots of partying, you will suffer! Hostel taught us this before TuristasThe Ruins reminded us of this a couple years later, and a few more were sprinkled in as well. Aside from this general lesson, the other thing these movies all have in common is the extreme gore, all following in the footsteps, of course, of Saw in what would come to be known as torture porn--Turistas isn't quite as severe as the aforementioned films when it comes to this, but it does have its moments.

Eye see some torture here

Other than a scene or two, and a particularly unsettling operation scene, this movie is fairly tame for the genre--the film does make up for the relative lack of gore with the level of acting, which is unquestionably a step above the similar films, and you will recognize a few people here--Olivia Wilde of House and The Lazarus Effect, Desmond Askew of Go and The Hills Have Eyes fame, and horror legend Melissa George (Triangle, 30 Days of Night) all show up. Once we get past the party scene, the movie takes off, though there are a couple things along the way that take the movie off track somewhat--the extended underwater scenes seem there primarily to show off the cameras used for the shots, and not once, but twice, Pru (George) seems to just disappear, only to show up later--it's as if the director forget the character existed at the most critical times. These things aside, Turistas is a pretty enjoyable film--most of the characters are likable, a real rarity in this horror sub-genre, and the ending is a satisfying one.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 7


Turistas Movie Trailer

Friday, March 9, 2018

THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN

The Revenge Of Frankenstein Movie Review

After escaping execution, everybody's favorite mad scientist, Frankenstein (this time played by legendary horror actor Peter Cushing), reemerges in Germany as Dr. Victor Stein. After his secret is discovered by young Doctor Hans Kleve (Francis Matthews), Stein takes Kleve under his wing and they begin more experiments with reanimating the dead. Released in 1958, this sequel nobody asked for moves as a rather slow pace--not surprising, as this IS a Hammer film after all.

This guy's a bit too Hammered

As is the case with most sequels, this movie fails tremendously in capturing anything that made the original so great--this one lacks the interesting story, the unexpected, and, most unfortunate, the scares of the first film. In fact, to even call this movie a sequel is a bit of a stretch. The saving grace in this film is the acting--Cushing is good, and Matthews turns in a particularly strong performance. If you are a fan of Hammer films, you know that most follow the same pattern--a somewhat interesting story with little to no actual action leads to a thrilling finale--not so here; the ending is as dull as most of the rest of the movie. 

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4



The Revenge Of Frankenstein Movie Trailer

Monday, March 5, 2018

THE DEN

The Den Movie Review

Grad student Elizabeth Benton (Melanie Papalia of the similar film Smiley and Extraterrestrial) is working on a project to discover how many meaningful conversations she can have on a site, The Den, that allows users to chat with random strangers. Things take a turn for the worse when she sees a video that appears to show another user being murdered, and soon, Elizabeth, her boyfriend, and her closest friends all find themselves in danger. The entire movie is shot from the point of view of looking through or at a computer screen or cell phone, so if that turns you off immediately, you may want to skip this film entirely. 

Whole lotta this going on

While distracting at first, if this doesn't make you want to turn the movie off instantly, it's pretty easy to get past--at this point, enough movies are shot similar to this that I'm just sort of used to it. The story isn't anything new, some of the events that unfold are highly questionable and require a lot of forgiveness for their ridiculousness, and the ending is pretty disappointing. Where the movie succeeds is in creating a lead character you actually cheer for--at least for most of the film. There are some brutal scenes here and there to keep your attention, but the reveal of them is rather uninteresting. More than anything, The Den comes off as more a social commentary on the darkness that exists on the internet, and possibly even touches on the human disconnect these ways of communication present--had this film focused more on the latter, it may have been more interesting, but what we get instead is just a just below average little horror flick.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 4


The Den Movie Trailer

Saturday, March 3, 2018

RAW

Raw Movie Review

Justine (Garance Marillier), an animal-loving vegetarian genius, is off to veterinarian school, where she is met with a lot of resentment, her wild, partying sister Alexia (Ella Rumpf), and older students who subject her to more than a little hazing. After being forced to eat a rabbit's kidney, Justine suddenly develops an insatiable craving for flesh and blood--especially that of humans. Okay, so we have known for a while the French enjoy making weird, disturbing, and violent films, so upon hearing the plot of this movie, it should come as no surprise to anybody that this 2016 flick comes to us from the land of cheese and mimes. Surprisingly, with an exception here and there, this movie isn't TOO gory, choosing instead to go the gross-out route. 

"A finger! YUM!"

This movie has received rave reviews, and one can see why--the cinematography is quite impressive, the acting (particularly from Marillier) is good, and everything seems very real here. For me, the story plays out too slow and is fairly uninteresting--we have seen this basic story a million times, and at times this feels like a toned-down Carrie. Also somewhat disappointing is the fact we are never given a reason WHY Justine (and, spoiler alert, her sister) enjoy eating people--and by eating people, don't expect entire people to be eaten here...they nibble more than anything. One gets the sense that when Julia Ducournau wrote this, she had the idea of creating a story with a strong female lead being bullied, but then to add shock, she thought "Let's make her a cannibal...just because". The end result of all this is a somewhat decent drama with dashes of horror elements, leading up to one rather graphic scene at the end, and a nice little twist in the final scene. Raw isn't as good as you've heard, but it's certainly worth checking out.

On A Scale Of One To Ten: 6


Raw Movie Trailer