Thursday, April 19, 2018
This is the third fuckin' horror movie I'm doing on here that has Adam Scott in it! Piranha, Krampus, and now the Netflix original, Little Evil! Is he becoming the new Christopher Walken, popping up all over the place because he doesn't want to get bored? I'm not complaining. He became a boy mayor and blew the town's money on a giant winter sports complex named Ice Town! And if you don't understand that then go watch Parks and Rec you uncouth fart!
Little Evil is a horror comedy based around the premise of The Omen... or maybe just an AC/DC album since the kid looks more like Angus Young than Damien. Gary marries the woman of his dreams without having ever spent time with her son Lucas. Lucas is literally the child of the devil, conceived through some strange cult ritual. Gary just wants to be a good step-dad for his step-son, Lucas wants to bring about the apocalypse, the mother is oblivious. It's a step-dad support group vs. a doomsday cult while Gary attempts to become the father he never had.
Netflix hasn't really been pumping out good content when it comes to their original horror films (ex: I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives In the House) but they do a much better job when it's a cross-up such as this. It's like an America swing at making a film in the vein of Shaun of the Dead. We get nods to The Shining, Poltergeist, and some Ghostbusters humor thrown in. We're also treated to one of the best uses of Rush's "Tom Sawyer" for a device reveal. I had a good time watching Little Evil. It's one of those films where you could have some friends over, order some food, and make a Friday night of it.
I give Little Evil 3 copies of High Voltage out of 5:
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Someday, I can only hope to have an unknown uncle leave me a house full of mannequin parts and blood magick. I have an entire branch of the family tree that split from my side a few generations back, so it could happen. Suddenly I could get a letter in the mail about secret basement rooms in a creep house while I have dreams of a mildly attractive scene girl. I mean, I don't care about the girl, but the creep house I'm all in for!
So that's part of the plot of The Curse of Sleeping Beauty. Thomas inherits a large and strange country home from an unknown uncle. In the letter he is told of how he is tied to the house by blood and to never go into the secret basement. After a quick visit, in hopes to get the house ready to sell, he finds out that it's associated with a series of disappearances and carries a heavy anxiety with the locals. With the help of a local woman (that is searching that home for her brother), Thomas uncovers some apocalyptic shit involving demons, djinn, and a mysterious woman known as Briar Rose that is sleeping somewhere below.
This was a surprisingly good movie. There was a great mix moments where you're holding your breath in expectation and straight up visual horror. The application of the mannequins in the house and their role in the story improved with each bit of lore. The set, prop, and character design gave me this sense of Guillermo Del Toro meets City of Lost Children meets Silent Hill:Revelations. The only thing that felt out of place was the strange hacker character that they bring in to help translate a journal. He doesn't serve any real purpose except to have an "oh shit" moment while everyone else is traversing the chamber of secrets like Harry fuckin' Potter.
The very ending of this film appears to be leaving things open for another film. If so, I hope their plan is to work through other fairy tales because this really should be a one-and-done. If not, they'll kill what momentum they had going for it. At the same time, this could also turn into a really long and shitty episode of Supernatural if they fuck it up.
I give The Curse of Sleeping Beauty 3.5 copies of Grimm's Fairy Tales out of 5:
Tuesday, April 17, 2018
I'm not sure how, but I have never watched this film before. I've heard really good things about it, knew the general plot, and liked the fact that the poster copies Salvador Dali's "In Voluptas Mors," yet I have never felt the urge to sit down and watch The Descent. Then the universe decides it's time and I have to sit down and watch it. The question is, over a decade later, will I like this as much as other people did?
The Descent leads us along with a group of women coming together to do some cave spelunking. This is their first group outing since the death of the husband and child of one of their members (Sarah). While it's meant to be a healthy and healing gathering, their interpersonal issues cause a lot of tension, especially when a new girl is introduced to the group. What was planned as a simple trip down and through an established cave formation turns dangerous when the planner actually takes them to an undiscovered cave and a cave-in traps them inside. Lost in unmapped and unfamiliar terrain, they attempt to find a way out but instead find why no one has ever survived to talk about these caves.
Okay, confession: I don't think this lived up to the hype. It was close, I'll say that, but I think the difference in time might be what knocked The Descent down a few pegs for me. About 90% of this film I was down for. The only things I found lacking were: 1) I wish the Native cave paintings would have included something about the creatures. Even just one weird little mud guy slapped on there. 2) The creature design didn't do it for me. I think this is because I've been watching too much FaceOff (the show, not the movie) but it's just this bat/human hybrid which is such a go-to design for something cave dwelling.
Oddly enough they made a sequel to this movie in 2009. It even has Shauna Macdonald reprising her role of Sarah. I can only assume this was a cash grab on the popularity of the first movie. Odds are if it ends up on Netflix then I'll end up watching it for this site.
I give The Descent 3 pictures of why I will never go spelunking out of 5:
Monday, April 16, 2018
I've recently been trying to get back into shape. I was never ripped but I played ice hockey from the age of 5 up until I moved to the deep South... where ice exists only rarely and when it does the entire city shuts down. Why am I sharing this info with you? Because if I take nothing else away from this film, it's that you can try to be as healthy as you want but you can still get wrecked as fuck by something beyond your control.
Dana is a track coach going through her usual yoga/morning run routine when she is hit by a car. The driver immediately leaves the scene and only through sheer luck does Dana end up in the local hospital. When Dana comes to she has the feeling that she's being watched by an unseen figure at night time. During her recover she finds that the hospital had an orderly that acted as an "angel of mercy" to five sick children before he was found out. His nickname was Nails, due to his habit of keeping fingernail clippings from the children in envelopes.
This is another film that would've worked out much better if it were a thirty-minute short. There's a sub plot of Dana's husband having an affair that serves no real purpose aside from the ghost showing Dana a weird video of it. We also get a large amount of time spent showing that the hospital is poor and practically in disrepair. It's filler that did nothing to further the main plot and only padded the movie out.
The final act of this film jumps the rails completely. In fact, it doesn't just jump the rails, it jumps to another rail, grinds that into a combo and finds a secret tape hidden there. We become established with why Nails wants to kill Dana but now he's just killing anyone and everyone in the hospital. It's one of those moments where you ask yourself why he didn't just do that shit in the first place. You're a ghost with ghost powers, use them! Ghost it up!
I give Nails 2 weed leaf nails out of 5:
Friday, April 13, 2018
Here's something new to the 30 Days of Plight. I've covered live action films of manga/anime with the Netflix Deathnote film, I talked about the anime inspired Castlevania series in my Choice Cuts, but now we get a CG film based on a manga/anime. I just need a legit video game movie to pop up now. Maybe one of the three Resident Evil animated films... which I own on blu-ray... shut up! I like them!
Gantz:O is like watching an hour and a half video game cutscene (I'm looking at you Kojima!). After Kato is stabbed and killed by some psycho in the train station he wakes up in an apartment with four other individuals and a large black orb known as the Gantz. In this version of Japan some people die only to resurrect as part of a game where they battle real life monsters in order to gain points. If a player collects 100 points in a round then they are granted a "wish" where they can get a special weapon, bring back a dead teammate, or be set free from the game and never have to play again. Kato needs to survive, not only for himself but for his younger brother he cares for.
This is my first exposure to anything Gantz. I knew of it, but never what Gantz's plot was. After watching this though I definitely want to check out at least the manga. I was afraid the use of CGI was going to detract from the film. Luckily the CGI is just lifelike enough that your mind is kind of tricked into thinking it's live action. This is in opposition to other similar films such as Advent Children. Keep in mind though that Gantz:O is years later than Advent Children so technology has only improved. The creature design for Gantz was impressive, with a great collection of creatures inspired by Japanese mythology with parts swapped out like custom action figures.
I will say that certain plot lines get confusing with this, especially when it comes to the very end. I had to look up interpretations online but this just left me with more questions as this timeline apparently takes place after Kato's second death and he has no recollection of his prior time in the game. These elements don't detract from the movie though and even the ending part could be read as set-up for a sequel.
I give Gantz:O 3 Onna Nue out of 5:
Thursday, April 12, 2018
Do you like Cormac McCarthy? In particular did you like The Road? Do you wish that rather than the strange Mad Max raiders he put in there that the big bad were some sort of zombie/cannibal? Do you also want it all presented to you in Canadian French? Then brother I have a film for you!
Ravenous takes place in rural Quebec where a viral outbreak has turned people into a zombie-like state with a craving for flesh. Our story focuses on a single man that tells jokes like your drunk uncle at a wedding. He exists to lose his friend, gain a new female friend, acquire a small child, and join another small group of survivors. Who lives? Who dies? Who was at risk of falling asleep during this movie? Spoilers: The answer to the last one is me!
I'm not saying Ravenous is a bad film, it's just slow. It's slower than most films I've complained about being slow. Even when we're faced with someone fighting the infected it's not enough to get the adrenaline pumping. This isn't helped by the generic attempts at getting the audience to establish a personal interest or connection with these characters.
Then I have my personal complaint with this film. The woman that takes on the "mother" role of our group carries an accordion with her almost everywhere. I own an accordion and let me tell you that those mother fuckers are heavy. There is no way in hell I would consider carrying it on my back in an armageddon situation.
I do appreciate the personality of this film's infected. They retained enough intelligence to be able to set traps as well as have an almost communal or pack mentality. They don't overexert themselves by chasing prey until they drop and they work together. They aren't perfect. We get a few scenes of them just standing in a field waiting for something to catch their eye, but it's progress.
I give Ravenous 1.5 accordions out of 5:
Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Denmark: A country that I looked up a bunch of facts on and, while most of them are pretty cool, I don't feel like sharing them on here. A land where people live simple lives and work at a factory that processes fish. A land where one guy is a total asshole to his female co-worker and he and a friend do a fake sexual assault using a fish, as if that makes the shit joke okay...
When Animals Dream is less of a horror movie and more of a light thriller with a horror element. Marie lives with her father and ailing mother. She lands a job at the local fish processing plant and all seems to be going well. That is until she starts to unravel a secret about her mother being part of some Russian tests and that whatever the mother has might have been passed on to Marie. I'm being vague but long story short, it's some kind of lycanthropy, and everyone in the town knows what's up. Some people end up missing and they come for Marie and her mother.
This film was incredibly slow if you're looking at it solely from a horror stand point. The actual wolfwomen segments are minimal and it's not a shock because I guessed what this was going to be about just based on the title. I don't know why werewolves are the thing to associate with this "coming of age." Just last week I covered the same general plot with Uncaged. There's also Ginger Snaps which everyone knows by this point.
I get it! Puberty sucked for us all. Hair where the was no hair before, adult teeth bumpin' in, primal urges to jizz into all the tissues that exist in the house, yeah, we get it. The same with the passage from teen-to-adult. We fucking get it! After watching this I spent a bunch of time trying to think of a different monster we could use for this metaphor but nothing really works well... except for maybe the Creature From the Black Lagoon. You could hit puberty and get weird dick gills or something. Oh god, that'd be the worst.
I give When Animals Dream 1 t-shirt of wolves howling at the moon out of 5:
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
This is my second time watching The Babadook. I saw it not long after it came out and didn't understand what all the fuss was about. So when it came up for this website I realized that I needed to check my shit at the door and give this film an honest chance to see if maybe, four years later, this film had something that I missed. Don't get me wrong, I missed or forgot about a lot, but do I still think this film is a Babadookie?
The Babadook is a visual representation of anxiety and depression. Everyone knows this by now. A single mother and her six-year-old son are going through some hard times and a book titled The Babadook mysteriously ends up on their shelf. It freaks them both the fuck out and from that moment the boy begins to claim that certain things are the Babadook's fault or that he is physically there. The one thing he keeps telling his mother though is to not let him in... she shits the bed on that one.
A lot of the conversations I've had about this film have people pointing a finger at the boy and basically saying "that kid is a shit," or blaming him in part for his mother's problems. Okay, first off, that kid is on the cusp of turning seven and built a backpack catapult and a crossbow out of random pieces of wood and string. That's some incredibly intelligent shit for someone that age. Other than that, he's just a typical child. He hasn't developed proper tact, he is curious about all kinds of things, and if you don't pay attention then he may get into some shit. On top of that, he realizes that there is something really wrong with his mother emotionally and attempts to comfort her and let her know that he won't leave her.
They're both dealing with the absence of his father (he died in a car accident while driving the mother to deliver the boy). It just happens that as the birthday approaches it reminds her of what her life was meant to be (a writer), and what it became instead. She also doesn't have a network of supportive individuals as her sister sucks and she hides the truth from her neighbor and coworker. Her depression is so deep that she can't sleep, calls off work, ignores her child, and becomes a miserable person overall. It's only once she realizes that she needs to get help and, for lack off a better metaphor in this film, stands up to her depression (The Babadook) does she begin to heal.
The Babadook is banished to the basement (where the father's stuff all remains) and she acknowledges it, feeds it worms, but doesn't let it rule her life anymore. She's become a greater mother, neighbor, and person. If only dealing with depression were as easy as yelling "THIS IS MY HOUSE!" and then giving your depression worms every so often...
This has been more of an analysis than a review. I still don't really like The Babadook. I think it's okay but I've touched on my dislike of "the real monster is mental illness!!!!" enough on this site. The movie itself is just paced too slow and it felt like a slog, especially when I knew what the payoff was going to be.
I give The Babadook 1 Babadook Meme out of 5:
Monday, April 9, 2018
There's something in the water! It's Jerry O'Connell's CGI penis! Everyone get out of the lake! Real talk though, there was a part of my brain that ignored the fact that this film was ever remade. Then I promptly had my mind blown by the people involved with this movie. Neville Page did creature design? Jerry O'Connell (and his CGI dick), Christopher Lloyd, Elizabeth Shue, Ving Rhames, Adam Scott, Paul Scheer?! Where the fuck did the money come from for this movie? Why did they decide to remake Piranha? And most importantly, why was this movie kind of okay?!
Piranha's plot is simple. A small quake opens up a crack in the bed of a lake. This gives way to a subterranean lake full of prehistoric piranha that have also evolved to be extra badass. It's also Spring Break which means people came to party at this lake. I assume these college kids are the lamest of the party kids to just come to a small town with a big lake to party. We have our main characters but it's all the usual shit for them. Teenage son shirks off his babysitting duties and then he and his wards all end up in danger. Their mom is the sheriff and has to come save them while dealing with dumb college kids and killer fish.
They knew what the fuck they were making with this film. It's dumb, but lovable dumb. There are lines like "If fish looked like that I would fuck fish. I WOULD ONLY FUCK FISH!" The CGI kills done by the schools of Piranha are extra gory and great. We get a bunch of people that end up with gnawed skeletal sections of their body, and even a cable slice followed by an upper body slide down the cut (a personal favorite of mine in horror). The only thing I really hated about this film was Jerry O'Connell just being the grossest of the gross. I get that he's supposed to be as sleazy as Joe Francis, but I grew up watching My Secret Identity and Sliders. Jerry will always be the dorky guy that ends up flying with the help of aerosol cans in each hand.
I give Piranha 3.5 actual piranha out of 5:
Friday, April 6, 2018
I've covered the original Creep way back in my second cut. I wasn't overly impressed with it and found its story to be lacking a strong punch. So when Creep 2 was released and people were suddenly saying how good it was I wasn't buying it. I couldn't conceive how Mark Duplass would build off of the original film and come up with something that was suddenly so adored. Then I watched this sequel...
Creep 2 picks back up with Aaron (Duplass) in the midst of one of his spying/lying schemes to kill his latest victim. This time though, it's different. In his set-up to the murder he begins to confess about the stalker being him and that he has been feeling off in some way. The murder still happens but his speech continues as his victim bleeds out. He is having a personal crisis on if he still finds enjoyment in his "work." Enter Sara. She's her own brand of odd as she is attempting to create a YouTube show where she replies to random online dating ads and then tapes the strange encounters. After two failed episodes she has her own breakdown but in the morning finds an ad placed by Aaron. The two meet for Sara to actually tape Aaron's confession about being a serial killer, although she doesn't believe him.
I liked the plot of this movie so much better than the first. Starting with this bizarre depressive crisis from a sociopath that doesn't get a thrill from the hunt anymore is such an odd but engaging concept. I found myself actually wanting to know where Aaron was going to go mentally. Sara also brings her own manipulations which just ups the ante and made me try even harder to figure out where this was going.
I assumed three possibilities:
1) They're going to get together and become a murderous power couple
2) He's going to groom her to take his place
3) He's going to kill her and get that spark back
I'm not going to say if any of those were right or wrong because that gives away too much. I will say this though: The ending of and the perceived endings of this movie left me fulfilled each time as a horror fan. Good job with the rally cap, Mark!
I give Creep 2 4 singles of TLC's "Creep" out of 5:
Thursday, April 5, 2018
I've been disappointed by films before. Had my heart broken. Been starving hysterical naked, dragging myself through the streets at dawn looking for an angry fix. Okay, that's actually the greatest minds of Ginsberg's generation but you get the point. There are films that I hope will bring good things once I hit play. I assumed that a werewolf film called Uncaged could take me places. Instead it just left me on my couch with a want for something real.
Uncaged puts us shortly after our main guy's 18th birthday. Apparently becoming a man also includes becoming a wolfman for him. His uncle invites our guy to his cabin for winter break. It will apparently be empty and this is also the time that his wolfy-ness should be kicking in. Wolfman invites his misogynist-hyper-sexual-focused-but-virgin cousin and their friend. Our wolfdude begins to realize there's something wrong with him and eventually gets tied up with a local crime person. Wolf shit happens, this movie is bad, and they try to pull off a low budget version of the American Werewolf in London change but end up giving us a wolf snout, teeth, and an Amish beard they picked up from the Spirit store. It's butt! BUUUUUTTTTTTT!
I think the moment I gave up on this film was about two minutes in when the cousin is having a conversation and says "she is thirsting for my penis." That's pretty much how that guy talked the whole time, unless he was making a gay joke. His dying wish was for a prostitute so he wouldn't die a virgin. Well virginity is a social construct and not a real thing. Do you know what is real? This movie, but it needs to be forgotten. Left as a bad dream best forgotten for it's terrible writing, boring looking wolf, and all around aura of an egg fart.
I give Uncaged 0 copies of Soundgarden's "Rusty Cage" single out of 5:
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
If you've been with us from early on then you'll know that I covered this film's predecessor, Curse of Chucky and was blown away by the franchise's return to being actual horror films. I'm not sure why but when I saw that they made yet another Chucky (do we still refer to this as Child's Play?) film then there was some trepidation that Cult would not live up to Curse. Luckily, I was not let down.
Cult of Chucky takes us a few years beyond the ending of Curse. We find out that Nica was blamed for the murder of her family but her insistence on the actual murdering being the Chucky doll lands her in a maximum security psych hospital. She is eventually deemed safe enough to be moved to a medium security space by her doctor. At the same time, Andy (from the original Child's Play films) is all grown up but still tortured by his past. He keeps a living Chucky head in a safe believing that this is the best chance to prevent him from doing anymore harm. Unfortunately for both of them, Chucky learned a spell from VoodooForDummies.Com (yes, that's a quote) and with the help again of Tiffany, he tries to finish everything he started all while creating a true cult of Chucky.
I can't believe that I was blown away again by a Chucky film. It's the perfect mix of meta humor and knowing when and how far they can take a joke. Combine that with some gruesome kills and an overall solid story and this movie is near perfect. Alex Vincent returns as to play the adult version of his childhood role of Andy, Jennifer Tilly is still on board, and Brad Dourif is doing Charles' voice again. What more could you want?
I give Cult of Chucky 5 My Buddy dolls out of 5:
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Mother fucking Wesley Snipes! Fuckin' Blade! Mother fucking Simon Phoenix! A man that has vanished from the public eye (except for the one time my friend was his Uber driver). He's back! Or at least he was back in 2012 with today's film. Is my excitement warranted? Does Snipes live up to my hype? Does this film do him justice and vice versa? Ehhhh......
Gallowwalkers (yes, all one word) takes us to the old west where a badass looking Mr. Snipes is hunting down a specific individual all while doing Sub Zero head-rip fatalities and being a rad cowboy. We come to find that the man he's looking for is a strangely skinless person that steals the flesh from a young man and harasses a cult known as Enoch's Hammer. His actions are all because he thinks that Mr. Snipes killed his son. Wesley picks up a sidekick at some point and then everyone meets on the farm where our hero was raised for some final gun shooting and rock throwing.
Okay, real talk, as hyped as I have been sounding with this review, this film isn't that great. Wesley Snipes looks cool but when he talks it feels lackluster for someone that is meant to be a shoot-first-growl-talk-later type of guy. As a "presence" though, he kills it.
The plot and character design are what saves Gallowwalkers for me. If this were just a bunch of jagoffs in cowboy hats shooting each other because of "reasons" then I would've counted this as a total loss. Instead we have men that steal the skin of other men (and in one case, lizards), carrying around a crucified mummy, all while hunting down Wesley Snipes. On the other side we have sick dreadlock and grey-in-the-right-places Wesley hunting them down in return and ripping people's heads and spines off to satisfy his own revenge, and counter the curse upon him.
I made this movie sound sick as hell again...
I give Gallowwalkers 3 Simon Phoenix's out of 5:
Monday, April 2, 2018
You know the beginning to the Outer Limits? Where a monotone voice tells you to just sitting back and relaxing because "they" control your TV and are about to take you on an adventure? That's pretty much what happened to me when I started watching this movie. Rather than a descent into madness it was an ascension into it. You go willingly as opposed to fighting tooth and nail.
The Void throws us right into it with two men attempting to kill everyone in a remote country house. A survivor makes it onto the road where the local Sheriff notices him and transports our man to the closest hospital (20 minutes away, just to show that this is fuckall USA). We're then given about an hour or so of insanity, Silent Hill-esq monsters, crazy cultists, and a doctor that read too much Lovecraft.
I really liked this film. It felt like someone was turning up some sort of intensity knob slowly from the start, but paced it so well that when you reached the end everything was at its breaking point. I could see the influences of Lovecraft but more so I saw the influence of the first two Hellraiser movies. Nods to Frank, the labyrinth beast chasing Kirsty in the hospital, and the Leviathan are all present but not heavy handed. It's tastefully done... you know, as hell creatures go.
I also like that "The Void" isn't just an arbitrary title. There is a literal void which exists in a space between the folds of our perceived universe. Somewhere between life and death, somewhere with weird muscle monsters and giant triangles. Actually I just made this sound like a gay club...
I give The Void 4.5 bloody Franks out of 5 (I'd watch it again, but I probably won't buy it unless the DVD has amazing extras):