Monday, July 11, 2016

Day 30: Contracted: Phase II (2015) 1h 18m

It's really challenging to find any kind of zombie film these days that isn't beating a dead plot horse.  In fact, even if you've never seen a zombie film, odds are that the increase in the phenomena surrounding zombie films means you could list off the primary identifiers.  While most people spend their time arguing over Dawn of the Dead fast or Night of the Living Dead shambling, I just want something different.  Contracted: Phase II delivered.

The sequel to 2013's Contracted, Phase II follows our main character Riley.  After the zombification and death (re-death?) of his friend Alice he begins to see signs of the zombie virus in himself.  The big difference with the virus in this case as compared to most other zombie films is that it is transmitted via intimate contact.  This can be anything from a kiss up to and including sexual intercourse.  In fact, we get one of the grossest scenes I've ever seen where Riley is having a flashback to having sex with Alice (still human) and I guess he pulls out and a ton of maggots just fall onto the floor.  The process doesn't kick in after death, here it is a slow build up of the body breaking down and decomposing while the person is still alive.  This leads to some amazing make-up.

I could really gush all over this review about the make-up.  Huge worms coming out of infected wounds, a nose bleed that is literally a deluge of blood, the grossest puss color and consistency I've ever seen, infected pustules that shift their fluid and tension as Riley moves, and an arm scratching moment that made me want to hide my eyes.  I'm not squeamish when it comes to horror.  Most of the time I can watch blood and dismemberment without issue.  But if you make it just real enough that I can actually imagine it happening to me, then you fucking win the prize.

The bulk of Contracted: Phase II is Riley attempting to deal with what is happening to him, but then him trying to track down the man that is the cause of it.  A mixture of Patient Zero and Typhoid Mary, this man passed on the virus when he sexually assaulted Alice, but never becomes a zombie himself.

I need to watch the first film to get the back story.  That's not to say that I didn't gather an understanding by watching this film by itself.  Either way, give these films a shot.  This one was rather short compared to most movies and it was paced well.  If nothing else, watch it for the great make-up effects.

I give Contracted: Phase II 3 condom bananas out of 5:

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Day 29: Scary Movie 3 (2003) 1h 24m

I wish I could hate this.  I wish I could sit here and say that this film was absolute shit and not good as a horror comedy.  In truth, I definitely laughed at parts of this movie.  Not all of it mind you, but some parts of it.

Scary Movie 3 is the center point of the Scary Movie franchise.  If you're not familiar with it, Scary Movie takes popular horror and non-horror films and spoofs them in a single movie.  This one takes 8 Mile and The Matrix and fits them in with a combined plot of Signs and The Ring.  The only actors I even cared about were Queen Latifah and Leslie Nielson (a true Canadian treasure!) and I didn't even realize one of the people was Simon Rex (probably because he wasn't naked or introducing a video).

There's not much to talk about here.  You either like these or hate them.  It's the same humor you'd find in a middle school locker room: farts, homophobia, sex humor, misogyny, and add in gratuitous breasts.  Unfortunately, as I said, it still made me laugh.  I'm apparently a terrible person. *sad face*

I give Scary Movie 3 2 censored Simon Rex porn movie boxes out of 5:

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Day 28: The Invitation (2015) 1h 40m

There are moments when I watch a film and I can identify with a main character.  Spending most of a party having one of those "something is going on that I'm not down with" feeling is definitely something I've done more than once.  Luckily, none of those parties involved anybody in a weird death cult that plans to kill their old friends.

The Invitation is a literal invitation to a dinner party.  A couple had returned to LA after being away for a few years after the death of a child and the end of a marriage.  While they were away they had apparently found a strange cult that embraces death.  Our main character, Will, is the ex-husband of the female in the cult couple and the father of the child that died.

Pretty much from the start Will keeps noticing little things that seem off.  His continued paranoid outbursts keep upsetting his friends and his girlfriend.  Truth be told, if someone had the doors locked and made me watch some cult recruitment video I'd be loosing my mind as well.  Will has a major freak out after he hears a voicemail from a friend that said he was at the party but hadn't been there all night.  The timing is just right for this friend to show up and Will kind of breaks down and accepts he has been winding up about nothing all night.

Then everything clicks for him...

During the toast he suddenly realizes the drinks are dosed and starts slapping drinks out of people's hands before they can drink.  A girl that was just a friend of the couple gets up and starts screaming that Will has ruined everything and attempts to attack him.  It's also noticed that one woman did drink and she is dead and foaming at the mouth.  The couple and the friends of the couple then begin trying to pick everyone off one by one.

The best part of the film was the very end when Will notices a red lamp lit outside the house, and then sees others lit outside a dozen other homes on the hillside.  It sent a definite chill down my spine at the thought of these bizarre cult murder suicides.

I was a teen when the Heaven's Gate group all killed themselves and had their purple sheets and Nike shoes to go on the Hale Bopp comet.  The fact that I remember all of those details and more is probably want triggered that chill.  That the death cult idea really isn't crazy enough to not exist...

I give The Invitation 3 Hale Bopp comets out of 5:

Friday, July 8, 2016

Day 27: The Chosen (2015): 1h 28m

There are a lot of really weird and cool things that come out of Abrahamic religions.  One of the most common you come across is Lilith, the first wife of Adam.  She was made of the same clay as Adam and was a much more independent individual.  The story goes that Lilith turned down Adam's sexual advances.  Adam, jilted and angry, turned to God and complained that Lilith would not do what he wanted.  God cast Lilith out of the garden and cursed her barren.  God then took the rib from Adam and created Eve.  The rib was used this time because it was a part of Adam and thus Adam would have a better control of Eve.  From here Lilith's story gets random.  To some, she becomes a vampire and feeds on or kills infants.  She also becomes Fraser's wife.  In this film she makes a pact with Lucifer and possesses children.  If a blood relative doesn't draw a blood sigil on six other blood relatives for Eve to take in the child's place.

And that's the plot of 2015's The Chosen.  An early 20's something uncle spends his time trying to save his niece from Lilith.  Luckily he has two elderly people living in the house, a bitch of an aunt that shows up, his mom (who confesses that she killed the young girl's twin brother three years ago), and a drunken asshole of an uncle living in the house.  That's only five you say.  C'mon, you know who the 6th person ends up being...

This film was slow as hell.  Even when there was action it felt like it was slow.  A ghost nun that wrote the weird book on Lilith our main guy ends up with shows up a few times and is kind of cool.  Otherwise, this movie was a good plot but a boring execution.  The Chosen was only rated PG, and that was its nail in the coffin.  If it were a solid R they could've made this pretty awesome.  I mean, the fact I spit out a bunch of esoteric knowledge on Lilith and that's longer than my review portion of this film should mean a lot.

I give The Chosen 1 Lilith statue out of 5:

Day 26: House of Good and Evil (2013) 1h 48m

There's an old Alka-Seltzer commercial where a guy said "I can't believe I ate the whole thing." I can't believe I watched this whole movie, and no fizzy tablet water will make this feeling go away.

House of Good and Evil revolves around Maggie and Chris, a dysfunctional couple that lost their baby when Chris pushed Maggie. Chris is a fucking scum bag in this film, don't let him fool you. After the loss of their child they move to a duplex in the deep country. Why this house was turned into a duplex, I have no clue because that would mean that two families want to live in the middle of fuck all. Also, Duplex of Good and Evil doesn't sound as scary as House of Good and Evil.

There's a second bedroom with a black door that is locked up and Maggie keeps hearing the a phone coming from the room despite there not being any phone lines. There are also other weird noises and things she keeps experiencing but Chris doesn't believe her. She eventually breaks into the other side of the duplex to meet her elderly reclusive female neighbor. After realizing the neighbor reminds her of herself, she fleas. This parallel between the neighbors and Maggie and her husband exist a lot, including the violent and abusive male.

This all culminates in the neighbor woman telling Maggie a story about how she finally stood up to her husband and after a self "baptism" in a creek, Maggie returns full of self-worth and a "fuck you" attitude. She calls Chris on his shit and threaten hims with an axe. The neighbor guy comes out, says terrible misogynistic things, and kills Chris. Maggie kills that guy and then kills the old woman. The property manager comes after and finds Maggie in bed with her dead husband. It turns out that Maggie apparently poisoned her husband the night they first moved in and everything after that was all a hallucination. All of Maggie's interactions with the neighbors were fake as well because two perfectly well adjusted individuals drive up while the police are taping things off and say they're the neighbors and have been in Florida.

I can't say I didn't see this coming. All in all, this is a plot that has been done before and done at a much better pace in much shorter films. House of Good and Evil would have been better titled as "Turd Duplex" so I knew what I was getting into.

I give House of Good and Evil 0 popsicle stick houses out of 5:

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Day 25: Final Girl (2015) 1h 30m

I get the feeling that someone watched A Clockwork Orange, decided they wanted to make some bastardized update of it, and then have Alex and his droogs lose and die while out for a bit of the ol' ultraviolence.  I wish I could kick them in the yarbles for that...

In truth, Final Girl was a pretty okay film.  It wasn't a horror movie at all though, definitely more along the thriller lines with some slight horror elements.  Our primary characters are Wes Bentley (American Beauty/the Hunger Games) and Abigail Breslin.  Abigail you may remember as Little Rock from the 2009 film Zombieland, or as the little girl with glasses that dances to "Super Freak" in Little Miss Sunshine.  After finding that tidbit out I can no longer pull parts of this film up in my mind without thinking about that.

Apparently Abigail's parents were killed and she ended up in Wes' care.  Wes then trains her to be some sort of weird spy without the actual spying but all of the cool subterfuge and killing abilities.  He does so because he says that someone killed his wife and child and I think he was trying to find them.  I'm not sure, it really had nothing to do with the plot aside from bringing them together and then was abandoned.

Her first real solo mission is to kill this group of four guys that have been taking girls out into the woods and "hunting" them.  A majority of these scenes seemed like something that would be in a The Killers video.  It's her with blond hair and a red dress in the dark woods while four guys in tuxedos try to find her.  The fact that she dosed three of the guys with DMT and they're having crazy hallucinations helps this idea too.  You could just see Brandon Flowers suddenly popping up and singing with that old timey villain mustache he has sometimes.  Just a girl trying to kill guys in tuxedos and then suddenly "SOMEBODY TOLD ME! THAT YOU HAD A BOYFRIEND!..."  The Killers are a pretty good band.  Much better than this film was.

I know that above I described this film as "pretty okay," and using that as a descriptor typically means that it was shit and I don't want to just don't want to say it.  This film had moxie though.  While it brought together a lot of things I like, it was middle of the road for me.  This isn't to say that if, in conversation, the discussion of films comes up that I might not recommend it, but it's a movie, I saw it, and it was it.

I give Final Girl 2 The Killers albums out of 5:

Day 24: Let Us Prey (2014) 1h 32m

I've started this post a few times now and each time I find myself getting stuck.  That's not to say that there isn't a lot to mention, or specific things to pick out and branch off on.  It's more of a way of stating that this film came from a lot of crazy angles... and I mean crazy.

Let Us Prey is a UK film set in a small Scotland town.  Our primary character, Rachel, is a rookie police officer that, through the passage of the film, we find that she has been through and survived her own personal hell.  This is important because during the course of the film, every other character aside from one (whom I will get to in a moment) will be forced to face their greatest sins and it drives them to madness and death.

The extra character that I'm speaking of is named Six, and supposedly died many years ago.  Think of Six as a person that isn't quite an angel, but not a demon either.  He exists simply to make those with darker secrets know that he knows and in turn the souls are collected by the end of the evening.  Those that he collects range from a man that beats his wife, to a closeted homosexual police chief, to a doctor that murdered his family in an experiment to find the human soul.

During the course of the Let Us Prey the film itself becomes more and more extreme.  At first it ranges from normal rage and insanity to an eventual bible-verse-quoting-wrapped-in-barwire-with-a-shotgun crazy.  That's a thing that happens.  The police chief is attempting to dispose of the bodies of gay men he slept with and killed and just kind of snaps.  Well, I guess snaps further.  Snap crackle pop?  That might get a cease and desist.

I give Let Us Prey 3 Judgement cards out of 5:

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Day 23: Kidnapped (Secuestrados) (2010) 1h 25m

I feel as though something were translated poorly as the Spanish (as in from Spain) film Kidnapped didn't actually have a kidnapping happen in it.  There's a weird beginning scene that doesn't tie into the rest of the film, and that guy may have been kidnapped, but as for the rest of it there was no kidnapping.

Kidnapped is actually a home invasion film with a group of rich people I couldn't be arsed to care about and a weird trio of criminals.  There's the all business criminal, the criminal that is looking out for the family, and the hyper-violent criminal.  They're all still dicks, but like I said, so is the family.  I initially thought that the family was chosen because the father could have been involved in some sort of shady business, but it seems that they were just chosen because they were loaded.  Most of the film is either the daughter and the wife in the house while the hyper-violent and the compassionate criminals watch them, or the all business and the father driving around while the bank accounts get emptied at ATMs.

IMDB says that this film was apparently done in 12 long shots without cuts.  I could see that.  It would explain why it was so damn boring too.  You can pull of interesting long shots as a director, but this film had no real direction with it.  The script must have been "rich family moves in house, people break into house, draw this shit out as long as possible, kill everyone."

I give Kidnapped 1 Spider-man ski mask out of 5: