Monday, June 28, 2010

Dead Alive Review (1992)

Dead Alive

Before he went all crazy, making those silly Academy Award Winning Lord Of The Rings movies, Australian director Peter Jackson had a fairly nice career making crowd-pleasing horror film. His most famous of which are Bad Taste and Dead Alive. While these two films didn’t make much of a splash stateside during their theatrical release, they did soon become cult classics, and made a killing on DVD.

Dead Alive is known to most by a different title. One that is a little more catchy, being Braindead. It was put out under Braindead in most regions of the world, nearly all in fact except America where it was changed to Dead Alive, which makes it sound more cheesy than it should. Even though this movie has enough cheese to make Kraft jealous.

The plot that the film follows can be easily claimed by almost any zombie flick. On a trip to a remote jungle, a zoologist uncovers a strange breed of monkey, which at that point attacks both him and his crew. Somehow the monkey catches a ride on a boat and makes it way to land, where it is promptly caught and placed in a zoo. Enter a young man with an over protective Mom, a crush on the girl next door, a heart full of gold, and a body full of clumsy. Lionel decides to take his girlfriend on a date, and go to the zoo of course, but his always knifing mother is there to put a stop to things, and subsequently gets bitten by a Sumatran Rat-Monkey. She gets ill, passes on, and then comes back, only to bite and infect more people with this strange disease from a distant land.

Obviously, Dead Alive isn’t one of the most original films to grace the screen. In fact, its plot has been done several times, near to death, but it just keeps coming (he-he). The screenplay, weak as it may be, is always fun. Now fun doesn’t mean good. It’s full of inconsistencies, impossibilities, voice-overs, terrible dialogue, and to many deux ex machinia’s to count. Our hero begins as a bumbling idiot, and somehow becomes a leading class strong-man in the course of about three days. He also has the keen ability to get the girl, end his mom, and save the day. Like I said, fun doesn’t mean good. But in the life of a film critic, sometimes its nice to just sit back and watch some stupid without a care in the world.

That being said, for what it is, Dead Alive is an excellent film. It obviously knows what it wants to do and does that perfectly. It has a certain vulnerability at its heart that entrances the audience into rooting for the characters, and hoping for the survival of their favorites. It may be one of the best zombie films made. It’s intentionally funny and self-referential, the humor doesn’t always hit, but when it does, it hits spot on. The film is also unrelentingly grueling, gory and violent. Peter Jackson knows how to direct violence, he puts things at the perfect angle, sets up just the right shot, gets the gore, and doesn’t let up. He isn’t afraid to cover the screen in gooey red, or green, or even white. (yes white, one of the more disgusting scenes in the film)

Not a whole lot else matters in a zombie film like this. The film sets it sites, and hits its mark. It knows what it does, does it perfectly and nothing else. You cannot hate a zombie movie for being a zombie movie, especially a good one. It is wholesome, mindless, brain-bashing, gut-munching, side-killing fun, that never lets up and never holds back. Peter Jackson can have his cake and eat it too, as he knows how to direct fun, entertaining horror films, and win some Academy Awards too.

I Give Dead Alive A:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Surveillance Review (2008)


Surveillance is the second film from Jennifer Lynch. Daughter of David Lynch, her career was thought to be short-lived after her debut feature Boxing Helena was received extremely negatively by both from both movie-goers and critics alike. Now, fifteen years later she tries again to break into the business her father is constantly revolutionizing, and she does so with mixed results.If her career speaks for Jennifer Lynch thoroughly, she is never going to be as talented as her father is. This is something that needs to be stated, and known.

If you go in thinking that Jennifer Lynch is going to be there for us when David passes on, I’m afraid you’re going to be wrong. Boxing Helena was obviously a film with a number of flaws, all of them nearly unforgivable. Surveillance however brings her work up a notch, and almost lets you forget about her previous film, but that however is not something very hard to do.

For all it’s worth, Surveillance certainly doesn’t have as unique of a story as Boxing Helena, but that doesn’t really matter when the other film just ended up terrible. Surveillance is about two F.B.I. agents investigating a series of murders, and a missing woman. While at the town where these vicious acts have taken place, they interrogate three people: a cocaine addicted woman, a corrupt police officer, and a little girl whose family was killed by the murderer. All three of the stories are told slightly differently through the eyes of these people, and ultimately interlock.

The film wants to, and sometimes tries, to be about the different reactions of different people when they know they are being watched by authority or peers. While it desperately wants to be deep and tell us a little something about the human psyche, and ends up falling short, and reverting to a murder-mystery tale that has a trick that we’ve seen before (different people, different stories, overall story develops through different additions ), and even has some slasher film influences, with the killers wearing creepy masks, and lots of blood making it’s way onto the screen.

The story is interesting enough, but it has been done before. A lot before. This idea of telling the story over and over again through different perspectives has almost begun to be normal, and the classic murder-mystery style of having one person solve it the lesser used. The mental aspect they wanted to add doesn’t work, and the twist ending easy to see coming. There is nothing specifically good with the story, but nothing specifically bad about it either.

The two main parts in the film are played by
Julia Ormond and Bill Pullman, playing the F.B.I agents, and they do decently, again something that I could go either way on, there was nothing that made their roles jump out, or hold back, but I do have to admit, Bill Pullman is always kind of creepy, so it did somewhat add to the performance. Ryan Simpkins places the young girl Stephanie, and does a fantastic job for her age and part, she is easily one of the best child actors I’ve seen in awhile, and can’t wait to see more from her, in fact she is the first child to win a Best Actress award at the New York City Horror Film Festival. The film also has some other not to shabby performances from Kent Harper and Pell James.

Jennifer Lynch’s direction in this film is actually rather nice. She keeps the film raw and unshakeable. Never do we see anyone in the background, keeping us with a feeling of desperation a solitude, as if we couldn’t escape. A good deal of the film is set in the middle of the desert, which only enhances that effect. The office building in which the police work is desolate and empty, which though unexplained is still creepy as well. The film rapidly switches through color tonality, which gives us different feelings based on which character we’re watching and that helps the film quite a bit.

Jennifer Lynch has certainly beaten her previous offering with Surveillance, but like I said, it just doesn’t matter because almost anything could be her previous offering. She showed that she does have some skill behind the camera and can create a certain amount of emotion, but were she lacks is in directing people. The plot is ordinary, overused, and has been outdone, but is never boring, if she does another film, I will go ahead and give it a shot, but won’t necessarily look forward to it. Surveillance is a film that won’t kill you to see, but you shouldn’t kill to see it. It rests right in the middle, and is worth a rental if you were looking for it.

I Give Surveillance A:

Monday, May 10, 2010

[REC] Review (2007)

One of the best foreign horror films in recent times not to come out of an Asian nation was REC. Coming in from Mexico, the Spanish film did decently here, playing at a few film festivals and was a pretty successful DVD realese. It was of course remade, and terrible into Quarantine. But don't let that fool you, REC is seriously scary. It's in the tradition shaky-cam style and is very short. It's got an interesting plot, some great sublimely creepy effects. I hope to see more from these two directors and can't wait for REC 2 to get it's stateside realese.

I Give REC A:

Orphan Review (2009)

The most recent in the sub-genre of creepy children horror came to us in the form of Orphan. The film was realesed last year and was pretty successful, though it did run into a little trouble with some associations. I enjoyed the film quite a bit though. I thought it was good that we got an R rated slasher, that wasn't R for just sex, but actually had some really gruesome moments, and disgusting scenes. One of the best comes during the beggining of the film which had my girlfriend seriously freaking out. The little girl who played Ester did an amazing job, even nailing a faux Russian accent. The only problem was the ending, which was a little to far fetched for me. The film had a cool style, good acting, and some good gory scenes, and I enjoyed it much more than most recent horror flicks.

I Give Orphan A:

Saw Review (2004)

What started out as a short film, and then and indie film dying for a limited realese has now become the major franchise you see before you. Though many people furiously detest Saw, and with good reason. I actually rather enjoy the series, the first one especially. Saw isn't the smartest film ever, but most horror films aren't.But, it's decently gory, fairly scary, and kept me entertained up until it's amazing finale. While it does have it's flaws, mostly in the acting category, I've still watched it multiple times, and still get shivers at the end. While some people grew up on Halloween and Friday The 13th, the most recent generation has the Saw franchise, and that's good enough for them.

I Give Saw A:


Army Of Darkness Review (1992)

The third, and (thus far) final film in Sam Raimi's epic Evil Dead trilogy comes to us in 1992 with the title Army Of Darkness. Bruce Campbell returns as the chainsaw wielding Ash, and the story picks up directly after the events of Evil Dead II. This is by far and away my least favorite of the Evil Dead films. It trades in gore, violence, and scares for some cheap thrills and laughs. I enjoyed some of the humor but not enough of it to make an entire film based off it. Evil Dead II was the perfect combonation, but by Army Of Darkness the series almost became pointless. I love the campyness of the film, some good laughs, decent effects (for the time), and some of the costumes are rather well done, I still enjoy the film, just not nearly as much as the others. There are currently talks of a sequel, or remake (or both), and either way, I'm pretty much there.

I Give Army Of Darkness:

Whoa, been forever.

I regret to inform you all of what you already know. But I've been neglecting this site somewhat lately. I haven't been posting that much, and that of which I have been posting has been kinda half-assed. So I present to you Paragraph Reviews. Starting after I post this, I'm going to write short reviews for a few films that I've been pushing off for awhile. This will hopefully make me feel better, get the load of stuff to do off my back, and give you a quick horror fix. So without further ado, I shall post this, and get to writing.

I've been busy working on this:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Thing Review (1982)

The Thing

A remake of the 1951 original, The Thing was helmed by director John Carpenter. This was his first big studio effort, with previous films including the original Assualt on Precint 13, and Halloween. Carpenter couldn't have picked a worse time to realese the film. As it was set, The Thing came out only two weeks after Steven Speilberg set out his own alien film, that one the hearts of moviegoers, and went on a box-office rampage, E.T.. Since then, critcs and audinces members have repented, and The Thing has become a much beloved cult classic, earinging its spot at #162 on's top 250 films of all time.

The plot is relativly simple, but creates for a very confusing story, that will keep you guessing all the way through. A group of scientific reasearchs are in a base in Antarctica to to some sort of study. While there we meet a whole cast of characeters, that are all very interesting and unique. The Norwegians from a nearby base begin to act strangly, and won't return calls. Pretty soon, the crew is sent to investigate, only to find that they have pulled something strange out of the ice. Once back at base, dogs begin to howl, and create very strange noises, only to have their heads explode, and turn into an octopuse creature shortly thereafter. Soon, this strange parasite has infected a few members of the crew. But the question is, who do they kill to find out?

Let's start this off by saying that John Carpenter is a master of his craft. He has proven to us that he can do suspense, and scary multiple times before, just look at his track record. He virtually is a tour de force in the name of horror. Once you have a title like Halloween under your belt, you have it made. There are a few things that I really enjoyed about his style this time around, and other things that I didn't. Firstly, since it had a bigger budget, we have better sets, and lighting, and camerawork. But the bigger budget also attributes to the loss of classic eariness, that comes through natural lighting, and home-brewed sound effects. Personally, I think Carpenter works best with a minimal budget, when he is forced to be created, but this certainly is one of his best big films.

A lot of The Things infamy comes from its gratuitous violence, and excellent special effects, which you can see displayed above. And I have to say, they are pretty amazing, especially for the time period. Most of the accolades for this great achivement can go to
Roy Arbogast, the speical effects director. He created some truly horrifying and gruesome things for this film. I am really shocked that this wasn't nominated for more awards in effects departments. Not to mention, all of them are practical. Not one effect you see was done with a computer, which is something to marvel in itself.

The film has a fairly slender cast, with the only big name being
Kurt Russel. He's a decent actor, in my opinion, and he continues his streak of decency throughout this film as well, neither here, nor there. The supporting cast does a great job for a group of relative unknowns, such as Wilford Brimley, T.K. Carter, and David Clennon. They round out a diverse cast of characters decently. But the problem is, since the film relies so much on what the characters say and do (because thats how we decided who we think is infected), I wish a better cast could have been attributed to a great idea.

Overall, The Thing is a fun movie. A nice little horror monster flick to watch inside on a wet day, or when you take a sick day. The film is disgusting in its violence. Gruesome in its gore. And unrelenting when it comes to special effects. It's an interesting idea, pulled off by a decent cast of people, and a decent directing job by John Carpenter, who is truly a master of suspence, and an excellent choice for the director of this film.

I Give The Thing:
Four Zombi's Out Of Five
(I seem to be giving that a lot lately)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Daybreakers Review (2010)


Okay, before we start anything here, can we talk about how awesome this one-sheet is? (One-sheet for those who don't know, is the industry word for poster). For me, this is the perfect kind of movie poster. It's simple. Has the title. Has the realese date. Catches the viewers attention, and you pretty much know what it is going to be about. I've been looking forward to this movie for a long time, even before it was officialy announced. Why and how you ask? Let me explain.

Back into 2003, the directors of this film, the Spierig Brothers, made a little independent zombie film called Undead. It had a budget of around $1 million, and was given limited realese, along with some festival screenings. The film sold incredibly well on DVD, and while not being a great movie by any means, I still enjoyed it quite a bit. Now, six years later, the Brothers are back again, this time with vampires and $30 million. I heard they were making a movie about a world overrun by vampires, about a year after this was announced, I saw the Daybreakers trailer, and basically, I had a freak-out

Now, in case you don't know, Daybreakers takes the premise of your typical zombie and vampire films, and turns it on its head. The world has been virtually overrun by vampires. Not crazy, insane, brainless vampires, but vamps that run buisinesses, and drive, and drink blood coffee. People that do not get enough blood, go crazy and turn into your run-of-the-mill brainless vampire. There are a few humans left in the world, and those who are, simply try to survive. Unfourtanetly for the vampire society, the human population is almost extinct, and they are running out of blood, so soon, every will be "Underdwelers", going crazy, ravenous, and consuming all.

For a weird horror genre-bender, Daybreakers actually has a fairly nice cast attached to it. Ethan Hawke plays our main vampire, with Sam Neill as the evil corporation executive. Then we have our heroes, played by Claudia Karvan and Willem Dafoe. Surprisingly, the cast does fairly well for the most part. Ethan Hawke does a fine job as our main character, and Willem Dafoe is always fun, especially in supporting roles.

The Spierig Brothers (Michael and Peter) do a good job for the most part, adapting their script to the big screen. Unfourtanetly for them, they aren't the best of writers, and these wonderful actors are given some pretty bad dialouge to read. Most of the effects are done decently, and there is a substanstial amount of gore in the film as well. The only problem is, the entire film takes place in one town, which would be fine, but the entire world is suppose to be overrun, and all we ever see is the tiny little town. Also, a good surprise, the Brothers managed to fit a little political message in here as well, and hopefully people will pick up on this, with the healthcare bill just being past and all.

Overall, Daybreakers was a fun goofy ride. It was a film about vampires taking over the world, and thankfully, it knew what it was, and never took itself to seriously. The make-up, and visual effects are done rather nicely for a moderate budget, and they had some very good actors to play some interesting roles. Unfourtanetly, the budget was a little to small for the scope of the project, and the dialouge is a little weak. But like I always say, there is a difference between a good movie, and a fun movie, and Daybreakers was definatly a fun ride.
I Give Daybreakers:
4 Zombi's out of 5

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hard Candy Review (2005)

Hard Candy

Yes, before Juno, before Whip It, before she was really popular, Ellen Page starred in this little indie gem from 2005. It is directed by David Slade, who may not have made a very big paycheck off this film, but is sure to in the soon future. He also directed the hit vampire film 30 Days of Night, and is currently set to direct the 3rd Twilight film. It's so sad when an excellent director switches to the dark side. However, this is a very different Ellen Page then the one you have come to know and love. She is not your smart, sassy teen, but rather strong a brutal. And has a very short hair-cut.

While many have called for the reform of the MPAA's rating system for film, many say that Hard Candy is a perfect example why. While the MPAA currently rates film based on their content, such as language and violence, people question about film that have little bad content, but mature subject matter. Enter Hard Candy, a film that does have some strong language, and a little gore, but is much heavier-handed in political tones involving criminal penalty and molestation. Should films be rated based on context, or convention, or a combanation of both? Or should film go without rating, as to not ruin their artistic creativity, as some have also suggested.

Hard Candy is a very difficult film to process. And not an easy one to watch. Not because of graphic violence or anything of that sort, but because of it's story. It involves a young girl named Haley, who meets a man named Jeff over an internet chatroom. The two of them decide to meet, and as it turns out, Haley is 14, and Jeff is 32. They go back to his place, where we find out that he is a photographer, his home doubles as his studio, and he his brought back, and photographed many girls the same age as Haley. I think you get where the story goes from there. But, Haley is a lot more resiliant than she looks, and may even be more deviant and evil than Jeff.

While much controversy will be stirred in the audience over to subject matter, this is where Hard Candy really sticks out. It creates such a dynamic conflict in the viewer. Do we root for the young girl, to hold her own, or do we root for the pedophile, who is being very physically mutilated by his would-be victim. I think this is one of Ellen Page's strongerst performances. Much stronger than her showing in Whip It, and about on par with Juno. Also here we have
Patrick Wilson, who plays Jeff. He does a fairly decent job, and has to go through a very wide range of emotions very quickly, often switching over and over again per scene. Also, Sandra Oh shows up very, very briefly, but does play a very nice supporting role, in an otherwise small cast, consisting of a total five characters in the credits.

Another place that the film works very well in is the direction. David Slade does a very good job with pacing and style, creating a subperb tension, and unease between this two characters. You never really know which way it is going to go, and it works very well. The film also has a great visiual style and flow that it uses. The red walls that you see in the picture above, are sometimes the only major color on the screen, while everything else has been bleached out. Credit is also due to Brian Nelson, who wrote such an awesome screenplay, and kept things very equal between the characters, and dared to do something not many other people would have. Not to mention the amazing ending.

One of the few major flaws that comes with Hard Candy is the fact, that at it's core, it is basically a torture film. Granted less so than most others, this young girl does capture, taunt, tease, violate, and mutilate this man, much to her sick amusement. It doesn't help that the film also has a scene, that will have men crossing their legs, in fear for their family jewels. Hard Candy acts like it is a step above the other torture films, which it is, but that does not completely clear it of it's true face.

As a whole, Hard Candy is a very solid picture. It has a very interesting story, and payoff that will split the audience members in a half, and definatly create a stir with the group you are seeing it with. The actors all perform rather well, especially Ellen Page, who gave a solid performance for an incredibly hard role, at a relativly young age. David Slade directs well, keep the tension between these two evils at an equal, and also has a nice visual flair. It is however a torture movie, granted a very smart, and good torture movie, but still a torture movie nontheless.

I Give Hard Candy:
Four Zombi's out of Five.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Why So Many Romero Zombie Films?

Since I was to lazy to post an actual review this week, I've decided to give you something else. Seeing as there are so many un-official sequels, prequels, remakes and spin-offs of Romero's classic zombie tale, I'm going to sort them. Sound Good?

Night Of The Living Dead/Dawn Of The Dead/Day Of The Dead/Land Of The Dead/
Diary Of The Dead/ Survival Of The Dead

The Return Of The Living Dead/Return Of The Living Dead Part II/
Return Of The Living Dead 3/Return Of The Living Dead 4/ Return Of The Living Dead 5/
Remake/3D Remake/Children Of The Living Dead/Flesheater/Escape Of The Living Dead/
Flight Of The Living Dead

Zombi or Zombi 2/Zombi 3/Zombi 4/Zombi 5/Zombi 6/Remake

Day Of The Dead 2: Contagium/Day Of The Dead 3(in pre-production)/Remake

And there you have it. I just wasted your time giving you something you could have easily found on the internet! Happy Birthday!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Cloverfield Review (2008)


One of the most secretive films of recent times, Cloverfield, didn't have an official title, until about two months before realese, and was only known my it's realese date, 1-18-08. The film became famous for that date as well, breaking January box-office records, which it still holds. Much of it still remains a mystery, as we get no real answers throughout the movie, if you want answers, you'd have to sift through dozens of websites, created for an intense, and very smart marketing campaign.

The idea for Cloverfield, was created by the leading sci-fi writer of the decade, J.J. Abrams, creator of Alias, Lost, Fringe, and the remake of Star Trek. He was on a trip to Japan, when he looked inside a toy-store, to find one of the most popular items was still Godzilla merchendise, he decided it was time for America to have its own monster, and thus, Cloverfield was born. Abrams should get some credit for this film, but not all, he created the idea, but did not write or direct, only produced. Matt Reeves should get some attention, for directing one of the hardest genres, the shaky-cam.

Cloverfield has an impossible backstory, which I will not attempt to explain here, as the average movie-goer would not go to the lengths I did to find the answers, I will give you the story the film does. Rob is getting a new job in Japan, as VP of a drink company called Slusho, a group of friends decides to throw a surprise party, and record his last night stateside. But, a horrible accident occurs as something emerges from the Harbor, and begins stomping around Manhattan. We get very little invitation, as the film is done completly through a hand-held camera. We get the same amount of information we would, if we were really on the streets, one of the reasons some people hated it, but one of the key reasons, I enjoyed it.

Now, Cloverfield is not the type of film to win any major awards, but it is very fun. It's not a film that's just plain bad and fun, (Transformers), it's actually decent. Matt Reeves does an excellent job of directing mostly improv lines, and making the film seem real. A key player, and major credit need to go to Kevin Stitt. His name is barley attached to this film, but he made it what it truly is. As the editor, he makes every transition, and cut seem fluid and effortless, which would be very difficult with the film type he has to mash together. The visual effects are pretty nice as well. The film is short, lasting only about 1 hr. 15 mins. but we do get a few very nice shots of the secretive monster, buildings being destoryed, cars crashing, and the Statue Of Liberties head crashing to the ground.

Surprisingly, these are decent performances. My favorite character was Hudson, or Hud, as he is mostly called, he plays the cameraman, and gives excellent comentary throughout the film, and adds a bit of light comedy to a mostly dark movie. Here is one of my favorite lines:
Rob: Hud, will you just shut up for five seconds!
Hud: Sorry, I have to talk about something, or I'm literally gonna shit my pants in the stairwell!
The only problem with the acting, is it has very little matter, as the objective that is driving them to get through the city (and not to a safe zone) is rather stupid. But, all these actors and actresses are very good, performing in mostly improv roles, particularly T.J. Miller, as Hud, and Lizzy Caplan as Marlena.

Overall, Cloverfield is a fun, monster-movie experience for the modern age. It's isn't particulary scary, but definatly has some thrilling moments. The effects are pulled off nicely, for having to add them into constantly shaking footage, the editor and director definatly deserve more attention than they get, and the performances are done rather nicely. The only problem for the film, is it's near lack of story (which can be done well), but not really here, though I respect the creators for truly trying to make it as real as possible. If you can't tell, I thoroughly enjoyed Cloverfield, and own it on DVD.

I Give Cloverfield:
4 Zombi's out of 5.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn Review (1987)

Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn

Six years after the original film stormed the cinemas, Evil Dead 2 was realesed. The film was written and directed by the originals creator, and now legend, Sam Raimi, and was put into an even larger theatrical released, and was even reviewed by prominent film crtics. Among these were Roger Ebert who dared to give the gory horror film 3 our of 4 stars. Something most critics would have been afraid to do. This film, like the last has since become a cult hit. It's status has not yet reached that of the original, or of Army Of Darkness, but in my opinion surpasses both those films greatly

Evil Dead 2 opens up with a small recap of the events that happened in the previous film. They are altered slightly, such as it being just Ash and his girlfriend going up to the cabin, both those are easy to look past, and not care about. The sequel then picks up directly where the first one ended, with Ash in the puddle about to be consumed by the evil of the Necromonicon, the sun then begins to raise, and Ash notices that the evil begins to fade. Start sequel, which is even better than the first.

While the original film was a classic, and an original, and will never be touched in that sense, Evil Dead 2 is even better in my opinion. It adds more and more of what we loved about the first. There is even more blood in this one, as surprising as it sounds, and while the first one was mostly humorless, this one begins the start of the series being funny. Bruce Campbell reprises his role, as he rightly should have, and does a Bruce Campbell job in the role.

The acting in this film isn't that bad. It has about the same amount of characters as the first, maybe a little less. Ash is trapped in the cabin, until two FBI agents find him stranded there. Bruce Campbell does exactly what you'd expect him to do with the role, and I'm fine with that, as should everyone. Bruce Campbell became famous for this type of acting, and he does it marvelously. Everybody else does fine. There roles weren't written as anything special, and they aren't played that special.

Like I said before this film has an excellent amount of gore. And trust me, Sam Raimi can do gore well. It certainly shows here, with blood dripping from ceilings, coming out of bodies and everything inbetween. Raimi being as masterful as he is pulled off these effects quite nicely, not to mention lots of other effects, including flying through houses, walking trees, and giant whirlwinds. Not to mention this film has an awesome ending, which I won't spoil, but you probably already know about. The film is also genuinly funny, with Ash and the cast all performing funny dialouge very cleverly.

To sum up what I've previously written in five paragraphs, I simply loved Evil Dead 2. Sometimes, I appreciate watching movies on VHS. It adds a sense of nostalga to the expericence, of which you should already be having a handful. The film is funny, witty, and well written by mastreo Raimi. The gore is extreme and pulled off nicely, as is all of the numerous technical effects used in the film. The acting is what you'd expect, which is not much, but at least passable. Blood is plentiful, and the jokes are good, and that simply makes for a fun, entertaining film, and definatly a worthy sequel.

I Give Evil Dead 2: Dead By Dawn:
5 zombi's out of 5!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Gremlins Review (1984)

The 1984 classic has finally worked its way into my blog. Gremlins is an interesting little film, whether it is to be called "Family Friendly" is questionable. You see, back when Gremlins was first realesed, the MPAA hadn't yet created the PG-13 rating. And Gremlins certainly didn't have enough bad content to qualify an R rating, so PG it was. This is a very violent movie, and a very gory movie despite its rating. Gremlins get chopped, cut, thrown, and even put into blenders and microwaves. Wow, this movie easily could have traumatized some little children in 1984.

I don't feel I should even have to explain the plot of this movie, but I will anyway. Out late looking for a Christmas present for his son, an inventor father is in Chinatown, and comes across an old man, who has a little creature called a Mogwai, (I have no clue if that's it proper spelling), the old refuses to sell the Father the creature, but his nephew isn't so reluctant. Upon giving him the animal the nephew tells the man that tere is only three rules he muse follow:
1. They don't like the sunlight
2. Don't get them wet.

3. Never, ever feed them after midnight.

Gremlins is a fun little flick. It is very reminiscent of the 80's and has all the cooky plot devices we've come to expect from films of that era. While people's opinions vary on the age recomandation for this film, I'd say this is okay for any 8 year old. The comedy easily outways the gore. The comedy is actually more of what this film really is. And it is very well done. Some moments actually made me laugh out loud with hilarity. But if you are a horror fan, don't be turned away by this movie just for that fact.

Aside from being a funny film, it is also a very intense one. While I wouldn't really call it scary it does have its moments. Scenes in which, you see a cup of water spill, and head toward the box, then the camera turns, and you see the sillhouette of some creature coming up out of it are very chilling. Steven Speilberg knows what he's doing in these movies, he is an excellent producer. But, lots of credit must also go to Joe Dante, the films director. He does an excellent job of balancing comedy with scares and keeping the actors up with the film.

The acting in Gremlins is decently done by all. They keep up with the films rapid change of pace and genre, as I said above, and do it nearly flawlessly, in fact, most of this film is nearly flawless. In fact, the acting is the main promblem I had with this film, and it wasn't even that big of an issue, but, was still very annoying at times. Corey Feldman makes an interesting guest appearance, and you are a fan of the 80's you should definatly check ot this movie, if for that reason alone. Wait, if your a fan of the 80's why haven't you already seen this?

The effects in the movie are also very nice. They still hold up pretty well into with todays modern technology, even though they are noticably puppets. For 1984, the effects are amazing, the combanation of puppeteering, animatronics, and visual effects blend nicely together and make the film that more awesome.

Well, if you can't tell already, I am pretty much in love with Gremlins. Of course, I have loved this film ever since I was a little kid. The story is fun, and the action is nice. The film manages to be gory, scary, and funny all at the same time, and has something for the whole family to enjoy. The being said, the acting isn't to terribly amazing, and noticably bad at times, but I personally don't mind. The effects make this film worth seeing alone, and that combined with everything else just make it a really cool movie. But, the acting still bothers me, and my admitted bias do hinder the film slightly.

I Give Gremlins:
Four Zombi's out of Five.

Layout Change

Hey guys, how's it going? I just wanted to inform you that the layout for the reviews will change here the next time I post, which should be tommorrow. Rather than having the poster in the left hand corner, I'm putting it in the middle, really big before the review starts. And then starting the review a few line breaks below it. Also, I will just be saying how many zombi's it gets out of five. No longer will I put the pictures of zombi's up. It took quite a bit of time, and they only give me a limited amount of pictures. The reviews may or may not be broken in the middle by a picture from the film, depending on the length. Those are the only changes that I am aware that I will be making. If things don't turn out as well as I like, then I will switch back to the old layout, and everything will be cool again. Sound good? Comment below this, and on the next review to tell me which review format you enjoy better.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Them (Ils) Review (2006)

Them, known in it's native France as Ils, is a horror film that was made in 2006, circled the festival circuit, made a killing in France, and was prominently reviewed, but never got a state-side realese. Now, its three years later in 2009, and the film is finally getting the attention it deserves. Them shys away from the torture-porn type horror we have come to know, and instead goes back to a Hitchcockian type of horror, blending suspense and slashing. Them is also based on a true story, and this isn't one of those movies that claims to be based on a true story and isn't, and it isn't a shakey-cam film either, it is simply true, which makes the final product that much more disturbing.

The plot of Them, or Ils, is quite simple really. It is about a young couple named Clementine, who is a school teacher, and Jared, a struggling writer. They live in a large farm-house on the country side of Bucharest, Romania. The day is coming to an end, and they start hearing strange noises outside. They think nothing of it. The noises the turn into flashing lights, and even louder sounds. The sounds are then inside the house. Like I said, simple. It's also been done before, a lot before, but this one is definatly better than most of them.

Part of what makes this such a great film is the chemistry between the two lead actors,
Olivia Bonamy and Michael Cohen do a great job playing husband and wife. In fact, the acting here is solid by nearly everyone involved, even the characters during the open sequences were very strong, and they were only onscreen for about 5 minutes. That being said, there isn't that many characters here, just the couple, the two in the opening sequence, and three other side characters, but, they all performed marvelously.

Another part that I really liked about the film is that it was great from a techinal standpoint as well. The lighting, pacing, camera-work, and direction by
David Moreau, and Xavier Palud, were all done magnificintly. Also, the sets that were used are very nice as well. The mansion has a proper gothic atmosphere and adds a very creepy element to the film. And like I said, the camera-work was very good, and some aerial viewpoints had this movie crawling with tension.

Speaking of tension, this film has a lot of it. Each scene is filled to the brim with it in fact, it will make you sit back a little bit and think, "Wow, look at what scary movies used to be like." However, even though each scene is filled to the brim, there are not that many scenes in this movie. It's only about an hour and fifteen minutes long. But that isn't bad, because this movie doesn't need to be, and I feel the movie had a great ending, and made things very, very chilling, and maybe even...eye-opening, for lack of a better term, to those who don't really know about some certain aspects of Europe.

As much as I praise the film (which it deserves) I did have a few promblems with it. First of all, bits of the dialouge between the two couples seemed a little cheesy, because it is French, I watched with English subtitles, maybe there was a bad dub, but things like "Leave me. Go! You are our only hope." were kind of strange for a movie that was pretty realistic. Also, some moments seemed implausible, or even some near impossible, but this is something that occurs with all horror movies.

These, however, were my only complaints with the film, and they are pretty mimimal.Overall, Ils, Them, whatever you want to call it, is an excellent horror film, hell, it's an excellent film all together. Great acting, story, and direction make it a winner already. But add in great thrills, suspense, genuine chill, and just a good old time make it even better. But, with some cheesy lines, and some strange decisions on some characters parts, drop this film from perfection.

I Give Them Four Zombi's out of Five.

Carriers Review

Never heard of this movie? It's not foregin. It's not idependent. It was however realesed straight to DVD, despite my over-zealous excitment for it after I saw the trailer. It takes the simple, classic premise of some sort of an airborne toxin floating through the air, killing people. BUT, it has changed it up, because these people don't turn into zombies. It's an interesting premise, but I'll get into that later. This movie was a semi-big budget horror film, with some semi-known TV stars taking up the lead roles. The movie was produced by the subsideray of Paramount, Paramount Vantage, the company never made any plans to realese it in theatres, it kept on getting pushed back, and pushed back, until they finally just realesed it straight-to-DVD, where I rented, I'm actually really glad I didn't see it in theatres, because it would have cost me $4 more to see it. Yeah, it wasn't too good.

Carriers tells the story of four friends traveling around the country together, after an airborne toxin has let all hell break loose. We have two brothers, the older brothers girlfriend, and the younger brothers crush. Along the way, we learn that there are more people who have survived the infection. Some of them are just trying to survive, others are looters, going around looking for anything they can. Carriers is an infected movie. Not a zombie movie. The people do not turn into zombies after dying of the contagin, they simply die, and then the disease spreads along. While its not really that original, it was a nice twist on the classic zombie tale, well, not zombie, but you know.

This is where Carriers succeeds. In an interesting, somewhat original story. That is almost the only place where it succeeds. While the idea may be interesting, that does not mean that it was pulled off well. It was almost completely ruined by mostly annoying characters, and anti-climatic, cliche, and overused situations and scenarios. While most of the characters are annoying, and un-original, some are new, and inventive, so I also give the film points for that.

The acting here is shallow and inconsistent. Annoying characters and bad actors are a terrible combination, especially in a movie like this. Usually, I'm less inclined to complain about the acting in a horror movie, compared to a drama, where characters carry the story. But this film was just plain old bad. The group of characters we follow for most of the film consits of
Lou Taylor Pucci, Chris Pine(of Star Trek, who is one of the better roles), Piper Perabo, and Emily Van Camp. The only saving grace is a small supporting role by Christopher Meloni, who in my opinion, is always pretty decent.

Aside from the main aspect of Carriers, its a very nice film from a techincal standpoing. The movie doesn't use too many special effects, and still looks very nice. Upon first seeing the desert wasteland, it's a lot like watching 28 Days Later, and seeing the rundown London. The cinematography, lighting, and music were nice enough for a movie in general, but for a horror film really stood out.This film was written and directed by Alex and David Pastor, while I can't say that I have full trust in their abilities, the next time they realese a movie, I will definatly RENT it, as I feel that they really have potential, that wasn't on display here. The direction was decent, and it felt very smooth, not like there was two seperate minds directing. The writing wasn't too good however, the dialouge was average, and you already know how I felt about the rest of it.

Carriers is an interesting little horror film, with a inticing, yet, sadly, not very good story, with annoying characters and bad acting. However, a few original characters and some interesting techiniques behind the camera make it stay ahead above most, but that cannot entirely save this film. For as much as I was looking forward to Carriers, I was dissapointed.

I Give Carriers Two Zombi's out of Five.