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.