Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review: Spring (2014)

Quite good and different. I didn't know what to expect, but I liked it a lot. A unique love story to say the least. The acting is extremely believable and natural. Plus, the Italian location is insanely beautiful like the lead actress. There is a tiny touch of CGI, but I think it's handled rather well. All the effects and transformations are pretty cool. It could've used a little more horror I guess since it's light on scares and more of a romantic drama; however, I don't think all horror films need to be the same. That is actually one of the best parts of the horror genre: its flexibility. You can really tell whatever kind of story you want. I really love the opening of Spring. It quickly gets you on the side of the main character and makes him sympathetic. Even when he gets into a fight, he does it to save his friend. That is smart storytelling. This kind of character could've easily gotten annoying via "woe is me" all the time, but they wisely sidestep that dilemma. I'm always a fan of Lovecraftian twists, and this one definitely doesn't disappoint especially for an indie.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Review: A Horrible Way to Die (2010)

Not bad but pretty long and the constant fading to black then starting a scene out-of-focus only to go out-of-focus again at the end isn't bad by itself but when the film does it over and over again, it was a bit annoying. The score is creepy though and establishes a great sense of unease. The first scene gets things off to a nice dark start, and I like the lead actor (AJ Bowen from You're Next, The Signal, The House of the Devil, etc.). I think the writing is quite good too, and the twist at the end was well done although some seem to hate it, but I disagree... I didn't see it coming at all. I wouldn't say it's up there with Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, but it's an indie made for $96,000 (can't believe it cost that much actually) so you can't expect The Silence of the Lambs. It's absolutely the best low-budget independent film on a serial killer I've ever seen. True, I haven't seen many of those, but the movie is pretty good, and it's clear both the writer and the director are talented (we did get You're Next from them after all and The Guest!).

Monday, June 9, 2014

Review: Wolf Creek 2 (2013)

Damn, this movie sucks. The first scene is pretty good, and I like Mick Taylor, but they don't develop any of the characters so it gets boring real quick. If you don't know your leads and care about them, it's all pointless. I wasn't even a big fan of the first film, and this sequel feels even more tedious. I've seen plenty of these kinds of movies. There isn't anything unpredictable or new here. There was a pretty funny but over-the-top sequence with some kangaroos I wasn't expecting; however, I don't know if that was really good or just so silly I laughed. I wish they explored Mick's character more, but they really don't (he's an xenophobic psycho... got it last time... how about something new?), and the foreigners in the outback are pretty much blank slates. It's a shame because the acting isn't bad, but they've got nothing to work with. This German guy has a German girlfriend. He likes her. Australia is beautiful. Great, where the fuck are the characters? What the hell is unique about these people? Why should I care? Don't waste your time.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Review: Blood Glacier (2013)

I like the practical effects even though sometimes, they're a little too stiff and not as good as they could be. Plus, you never get a great look at the monsters like you want. The little bit of CGI is done well too aside from the blood glacier itself, which doesn't look so realistic. The major issue with this film is the horribly-stupid, hilariously-bad ending. What were they thinking? It's so bizarre and silly. I won't spoil it for you, but I think for 99% of the people out there, it's going to ruin the movie, which really was pretty good until they decided to jump off a cliff with that bonkers finale. I get that they kind of set it up, but it still doesn't make any sense, and it isn't believable at all. I was insanely excited for this one too, and I was into it until the filmmakers decided to metaphorically put a gun to their head. It really has to be one of the worst endings ever. It sucks too, because what I'd love to see more of are monster movies with good, old-fashioned F/X. Oh well, I hope Harbinger Down is good.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Review: Curse of Chucky (2013)

I'll admit I was worried at the beginning. I've liked all of the Child's Play films even though I didn't see Seed of Chucky. Not sure I want to take the risk on that one since most seem to hate it. This latest sequel took a bit to get going, but there are so many great surprises and twists in it tying back to the previous entries that I have a hard time believing any Chucky fan wouldn't like it. The extra bonus after the unrated version's end credits is quite fun too. Don Mancini included it to show how the entire series would end just in case another movie is never made. The acting is good all around especially Brad Dourif, of course, who nails it as always. His daughter turns in a nice performance as well. Chucky is definitely taken back to his more creepy, sinister roots. Characters that seem one-note and predictable don't stay that way for long. Maybe I'm just gullible, but there is so much I didn't see coming. I'll have to give Seed a try sometime just to complete the series.

Who wants to play hide the soul?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Review: Banshee Chapter (2013)

The true events behind this film are much more fascinating and terrifying than the end product unfortunately. There are definitely some creepy moments but the main investigative story fails to be compelling. You've got a female reporter trying to find out what really happened to her friend who she may or may not have been in love with (probably should've opted for the latter since it's hard for the audience to get invested in a relationship if the girl doesn't even know how she feels about the guy). I know this movie didn't have a huge budget, but it's also too small for its own good. You barely get to see any monsters or experiments, and the ending just made me go, "That's it?" Ted Levine who we all know as Jame Gumb from The Silence of the Lambs is excellent and helps liven things up a bit, but he doesn't get that much to do. They mostly wander around, attempting to solve the mystery, but there isn't any ticking clock or narrative device to build momentum. Making a horror film based on these real events is a brilliant idea if only they could've mined it for its true potential. It's ok but not as good as it could've been.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Review: Riddick (2013)

I love Pitch Black, but The Chronicles of Riddick disappointed me especially the damn shaky cam and over-lit fake-looking sets. I didn't care about the mythology. Calling his home planet "Furya" was just dumb and far too obvious. Alexa Davalos was incredible in that sequel though. I really liked her character, and the film had a good ending. When rumors of another one suggested it'd go back to more Pitch Black territory, I was really looking forward to it. Sadly, I was pretty underwhelmed again. The writer/director avoids shaky cam this time, but the film is full of cruddy CGI, and it's almost a complete rehash of Pitch Black except they have characters you don't care about, a weak silly contrived ending, etc. The monsters are also fairly weak, and there's only one type of them throughout the whole freakin film. I liked his furry companion, but the CGI sucked. It was like a bad cartoon. Plus, after The Chronicles of Riddick, Diesel's character has kind of lost his edge. You can't do Pitch Black again without bringing something new to it.

I miss her.