Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Are you ready for the 13 Days of Christmas?

Get ready! One week until our 13 Days of Horror advent calendar starts! Thirteen days, thirteen Christmas themed horror movies.... Get hyped!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Final Cut for the 6th Cut!

original photo from Winnin.com

So we come to the end of another Cut here at 30 Days of Plight.  This pushes to total movie count to over 180 films with no sign of stopping.  Except I am going to take a short break to catch up on other things I haven't been watching before I start the 7th Cut.  However this won't all be down time.  I have a couple of things planned.

First, I'll be an upcoming guest on the fantastic podcast Rank & Vile.  Quincy and Ryan were nice enough to ask me to come on and we'll be discussing and ranking three films for their already epic list of horror, wrestling, and video nasties.   You can find them on iTunes at Rank & Vile or on Podbean at Rankandvile.podbean.com.  I would recommend checking them out even if I wasn't going to be a guest on the show because they know their shit in regards to both horror and wrestling and it's a fun podcast to listen to.

Second, I'm going to be doing a horror film advent calendar this year.  Calling it The 13 Days of Christmas, starting on the 13th of December and running up to and including the 25th, I will be reviewing one Christmas themed horror film each day.  If I have to suffer through terrible crowds and PA piped in carols then I'm going to soften the blow from Old Saint Nick's southpaw hook.  My only exception is that I already covered A Christmas Horror Story on here so I won't be covering it again.

Finally, I'll be starting the 7th Cut of 30 Days of Plight on Sunday, January 7th.  In the meantime look for the advent calendar I mentioned and we do have a Facebook and Twitter you can follow by clicking on the links on the right or searching 30daysofplight.

In the meantime... I'll be right back...

Friday, November 24, 2017

Ava's Possessions (2015) 1h 29m

Someone reviewed this film as "The Hangover but with a lot more demons."  It's up there on that poster.  If The Hangover has become the standard description for any film where someone has a loss of memory and tries to figure out what happened during that time then that sucks.  The Hangover was a terrible movie and aside from the point I just touched on is not relatable to this film at all.

Ava's Possessions starts with an exorcism.  Once cleansed, to avoid jail time from her month long demon possession, Ava agrees to go to a recovery group for people that were inhabited by a demon.  Much like a regular 12-steps recovery, Ava has to seek out the people that she wronged to apologize but also to put the pieces together from her lost time.

This film had some great casting. Wass Stevens (that I know from being Max in Daria) was the demon possession counselor, Deborah Rush (Strangers With Candy) played Ava's mother, and mother fucking Carol Kane (Adam's Family Values / The Princess Bride / Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt / a million other awesome things) as the magick shop owner all killed it in Ava's Possessions.  Also, after a ton of possessed girl movies, it was great to see one just treat the possession with a recovery program.  It feels like a much more "modern" view instead of bumbling attempts with religious archaism or an obsession with The Exorcist.

Also, I want to give a quick shout out to whomever the person was that had to do the research for the demonic possession spell portion of the movie.  It was kind of a hodgepodge of stuff but I recognized the parts that were (if I'm remembering these details right) a Hermetic spell to ask for the favor of a demon.  It looked as the sigil on the floor was either Goetic or Enochian.  So thumbs fucking up for that.

On the flip side to this praise, the things I liked in this movie were overshadowed by the fact that it felt more like I was watching this for three hours as opposed to an hour and a half.  There was always something going on but the pacing just felt off.  Which leads me to my other complaint of the third act of this film had its own third act where they pushed all these reveals and explanations to the last little bit.  It felt really wrapped up well but instead of letting it ride they threw more and more onto you.  You probably aren't going to make a sequel to this.  This isn't like when Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm street were made and you needed to add a scene on to make a franchise.  Just let it go!

I give Ava's Possessions 2 Regans out of 5:

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Sacrifice (2016) 1h 31m

I've never been to Europe but, keeping with things I've learned from horror films, here's a list of things you shouldn't do:

1) stay in a hostel, because rich murder people will kidnap you
2) visit castles the locals tell you to stay away from, even if you have a contract with "The Count" or whomever owns that shit
3) be disrespectful to the Romani/Roma because that's just good travel etiquette and you shouldn't be a prick when abroad
4) visit random small inhabited islands, because cult murder people might kidnap you

Sacrifice breaks rule #4 because after having another miscarriage a doctor goes with her husband to the small Scottish island where he grew up.  They plan to adopt a child from the hospital/orphanage on the next island over.  However, the woman finds remains from a ritual killing buried on their land and this sets her on the path to finding out the truth about the island's inhabitants.

This isn't really a horror film.  At least not by my assumed guidelines of horror.  Aside from a few dull chase scenes there isn't any true sense of danger.  Some of the sets were really elaborate and well done.  I liked what I assume was a "ritual room" in the house.  My big question is why do you need to have engraved plates above the runed branding irons?  I would assume that you wouldn't need to label that as you should just know.  Kudos on the use of the Futhark rune set though, even if they did just make up a rune for "sacrifice."  Also, the pictures on the wall of fathers with adopted sons makes it seem like a creepy NAMBLA club. Come to think of it, they don't really ever give us a proper explanation of the group either and the dad makes some really misogynistic comments to our heroine...

I think my biggest complaint about Sacrifice is that it becomes so focused on the action and the escape toward the end that they get sloppy with continuity and execution.  For example, they're watching the woman run from room to room on a security camera, but despite someone standing there and still watching the cameras they don't see her and her husband start to escape with a third person?  Then he's watching security camera footage of a fight that is obviously just regular footage they threw an effect on because, A) a security camera facing some piping is pointless, B) the shot is perfectly framing the actors, and C) the camera sways with the action.  If I'm yelling at the TV about your slapdash fucking work then you fucked up hard.  Fucking sacrifice this movie to the devil in hopes you get a better movie or, like, an ice cream sandwich.

I give Sacrifice 1 bagpipe out of 5 only because I like cults in movies:

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Pod (2015) 1h 16m

Hey.  We haven't sat down in a while and talked about a good tin-foil hat style movie.  What happened to those kind of films?  I feel as though that plot has just vanished from existence recently.  Maybe it was the government getting too worried about us getting close to flat earth lizard people working for the Illuminati and running the world's governments while the Greys prepare to enslave humanity!  Did I miss anything there?

Pod revolves around a set of three siblings.  After receiving a strange message from one of the brothers, the remaining two siblings fear for the brother's mental stability and drive out to check on him.  What they find is a crazed man talking about being experimented on while he was in the service and that he has captured one of the "things from the pod," which is locked in his basement.  Is this man losing his grip on reality?  What's in the basement?  How did he fire off a bunch of shots from a bolt action rifle without using the bolt? *cue X-Files theme*

I have two complaints which I'm going to throw here first because they're brief.  First is the initial dialog between one brother and the sister where he informs her about the message. This is the most uncoordinated five to ten minutes of script of the film.  It felt bumbling in the way a play goes awkward when an actor forgets the order of their lines and the scene is a mismatch of dialog.  It could've been much shorter and to the point as opposed to this drawn out hostility.  Second, I'm not entirely sure what the point was meant to be in regards to certain character development points.  Why was the sister drinking so much?  Was the scene with the guy she just slept with leaving and her drinking to show that she's not as straight laced as the one brother?  If so, why is she such an emotionally lose cannon in the film?

Those few things aside, after that awkward scene, I really liked Pod.  While I could tell where things were going to go most of the time, it would occasionally swerve into the other direction just enough to leave you a bit freaked out.  The creature looked great when we get the reveal and was this great mix of alien/cryptid/undead design.  The acting from the military brother and the sister were fucking stellar.  The brother's manic behavior and later the sister's breakdown and crying actually resonated with me.  What can I say?  I was entertained... except for about five minutes where I got distracted on my laptop with the Ryan Gosling not eating his cereal video, but that's entertainment in itself.

I give Pod 3 Dana Scully rolling her eyes out of 5:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Damned (2013) 1h 27m

I've learned a lot of odd things from horror film logic.  One of them is the following:  If you come across someone locked/chained up in basement, then don't jump to conclusions as they might be there for a legitimate reason.  The odds of me ever having to apply this lesson are pretty slim but it's definitely something that I will keep in mind should I come across such a situation.  You know, for safety reasons.

Set in Columbia, The Damned follows a man/father, his second wife, the daughter from the first wife, and two other young persons.  After getting caught in a landslide they survive and come to an old inn.  The old man living there refuses them entry until he finds out the daughter is injured and her father is trying to get her help.  Once inside the inn some of the group find a young girl locked in the basement.  They let her out only to later discover that she is possessed by the spirit of a Bruja that was killed by old descendants from the village.  Everyone is fucked.

I want to like this movie more than I do.  I thought that the spirit's backstory was flushed out well enough.  The the spirit could never "die" because if you killed the body hosting it then the spirit jumped to your body.  This is only a step above Horror 101 but I can look past this because of how well it fit the film.  There are some good practical effects present here as well, like the woman cutting her face with the knife or the hands in the fake stomach.

On the flip side, The Damned took a page from the "shit I'm tired of seeing done poorly in horror" book by letting a majority of this film exist in a blue-grey tonality.  Yes, it's raining.  Yes, this film is spooky.  You can do these things for atmosphere but when you're not offering me anything as a visual juxtaposition it just makes me feel bored.  These are colors we associate with sadness and melancholy more than we associate them with horror.  Even the blood in this film was incredibly dark in color.  So I ask myself, would I watch this again?  Nah.  I've got better things to do.  Like lock people up in my basement...

I give The Damned 1 copy of The Damned's s/t album out of 5:

Monday, November 20, 2017

Stitches (2012) 1h 26m

I don't like clowns.  I'm not afraid of them, I just think that they use their shtick to violate my personal space and it makes me want to punch them.  Y'all mother fuckers can still do the same shit a good two feet away and I'll enjoy it much more then having you creep all up on me like we're in the club.  Like Bozo, he knew not to creep up on people and he gave children prizes for playing with balls... wait a minute...

Stitches is a horror comedy where a terrible clown deals with horrible children at a party, or maybe that's just how kids and clowns are in Ireland.  The kids take their pranks too far and they cause Stitches the Clown to trip and fall on a carving knife... twice.  Well, technically the second time it falls on him.  The birthday boy, Tom, goes to visit the clown's grave and stumbles upon a satanic coven of clowns where he finds out that a clown that doesn't finish a party can never rest.  It's dumb but they need a reason for this clown to come back for revenge six years later.

I have actually watched Stitches previously because my husband has an odd inclination toward clown horror films.  The first time around I wasn't a fan of it.  I expected more and it wasn't what a wanted.  Going into it this time though I knew that while the plot line is something straight out of a B-film, the work here really isn't.  In fact, if you like practical effects with a lot of fake blood then this could be just for you.  There are a ton of blood splatters, decapitations by punt or by explosion, severed arms, ears, genitalia, and just a touch of CGI when things like the umbrella spear wouldn't have worked well live.

The humor is like a low-grade Beetlejuice and the character development is kind of weak.  It's also high school kids so it's mostly tropes or just shitty teenagers.  I can't fault it too much.  I'm not expecting some sort of epic backstory development from a movie about a clown that returns from the dead.  This second watch-through did cause it to rise up a bit in my internal head rating.  I won't have it on my shelf, but it's probably background at a party good.

I give Stitches 2 clown horns out of 5: