Archive | July, 2012

Review of 2012: Supernova (2009)

31 Jul

2012: Supernova (2009) is a straight-to-video sci-fi/action/disaster film from The Asylum, a film company specializing primarily in mockbusters.

Directed by Anthony Fankhauser (Gacy House (2010), Shadow People (2011)).

Written by Jon Macy (Merlin and the War of the Dragons (2008), In the Blink of an Eye (2009)), Anthony Fankhauser (Tsunami Beach Club (2008)) and Jon Willis III.

Starring: Brian Krause, Heather McComb, Najarra Townsend, Allura Lee, Alan Poe, Londale Theus, Stephen Schneider and others.

We open to a view of CG outer space, which doesn’t instantly strike your eye as something horrible, since there’s nothing real it interacts with, so it looks like a pretty decent video game cutscene.

The movie stars Brian Krause, who most people, including me know from the TV series Charmed and if you’ve watched it, you can notice he doesn’t have much of a range or screen presence, but still, he’s a pretty big name and a good actor. By The Asylum standards. He is sort of ok, the problem is that he has only one mode – concerned.

I was almost excited that this thing won’t waste any time on exposition, the main characters – Krause, his wife and daughter  just appear and a minute later they’re on the run from someone. Then it slows down for some exposition, but as luck would have it, it’s some nonsensical bullshit. In Asylum movies the plot itself is a MacGuffin.

Somewhere along the way Krause is split up from his wife and daughter. He goes on to do… something in a… „space” facility place. I don’t know.  Krause is multiple times attacked by someone in space facility and I figured it out who it was and even forgot about it and then they brought it back at the end as this major „twist”.

The wife and daughter go home, but are forced to leave on their own separate journey to… somewhere. Yeah, I didn’t pay much attention. And, by the way, the wife and daughter look like they have a very small age difference. She must have been 12 at most when she had her. Krause, you dirty man! This plotline is far more interesting than the boring scenes with Krause’s concerned face and his oddball fellow scientists. Interesting stuff actually happens, they encounter a pervert farmer guy and run from the catastrophe destroying everything, you know, the sort of thing that made 2012 entertaining… and the pervert farmer.

The title suggests it being a rip-off of 2012, but they made 3 different movies under the „2012” title and though they do bear resemblance to various specific movies, the „2012” is just their way of saying „generic  disaster movie”.

Honestly some of the action could be considered half-decent for their budget, but it’s not like it is an „action-packed” movie, we have to sit through painful scenes where they try to pretend it’s not a some low-budget crap sci-fi disaster flick with cliché characters, plot you don’t even want to understand and cringeworthy emotional moments. It follows a strict structure of „action scene – bogus science talk – action – short dramatic scene (probably involving bogus science) – action – bogus science”,  at the end of the day it’s a „nonsensical science-packed” movie.

Overall, it’s a shitty Asylum movie, which is the reason why I watched it, but what I hoped for was some B-grade entertainment value, but what I got was boring bullshit, with some decent action spliced in, that still didn’t make it worth it. Not recommended.

Review of Dracula (1992)

29 Jul

Dracula also known as Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) is a fantasy/horror/drama film, based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker.

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola (Dementia 13 (1963), The Godfather (1972)).

Written by James V. Hart (Hook (1991), Muppet Treasure Island (1996)).

Starring: Gary Oldman, Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Waits, Monica Bellucci, Cary Elwes, Richard E. Grant and others.

I won’t dwelve much into plot details, because if you don’t know what happens in Dracula by now, you probably don’t care to find out anyway. Coppola decided to do a little more faithful adaptation of the novel and called it Bram Stoker’s Dracula, however, how its faithfulness is debatable.

Right from the start and throughout the movie we get some amazing visuals, which are even more impressive because they’re all practical. The movie also has this otherworldly, dreamlike quality.

One interesting thing is that we are provided with more insight into Dracula’s character than in the novel, and he now is less of a villain and just a tragic figure, he is basically an anti-hero and way more likable than the protagonist.  We first are introduced to Dracula in a very bad state, he looks old, frail and has an absurd looking wig/hairstyle. Gary Oldman is great casting for the role, but then again, when is he not a great casting choice.

Then, when Dracula gets to London, he starts looking as a young man again and for some reason he walks around the city in daylight. In the novel Dracula was mentioned being able to turn into a wolf, but even though it looked cool, they went overboard here and made him turn into a fucking werewolf, nice effects, but still.

I don’t hate him, but I wonder why some filmmakers cast Keanu Reeves in serious dramatic roles, it’s clear he has a very limited range, he can play a certain type, but it is definitely not Jonathan Harker, the horribly stilted accent he’s doing doesn’t help either.

Jonathan Harker is an odd character, because in all adaptations, that have him arrive at Dracula’s castle, he is very oblivious about all the strange things going on around him. Here they do that as well, but it is sort of explained. He notices all the weird shit, but is just too polite to say anything and after all, Count Dracula is an important client, but still, he should be more creeped out, especially in homoerotic scenes, like one, where Dracula is shaving him.

Winona Ryder is another odd casting choice. I like her just fine, but she doesn’t make any sense as Mina Murray. There’s also Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing, which is a good, yet uninspired choice. I wish he had been in Kenneth Branagh’s Frankenstein, then he would have been in all the modern versions of Universal Horror’s „big three”.

I wouldn’t call this a horror movie though, it’s more of a psychological thriller, exploring the themes of sexuality. And it’s very unbalanced overall. It is the most interesting portrayal of Dracula, yet the least interesting of all the other characters. It is a very well-made and cool looking movie, but not very involving and after a while becomes even slightly dull. Coppola seems to pay great attention to details, yet lose the sight of the picture as a whole.

Also I think of Dracula as a very hard novel to adapt, because of its unconventional format. It consists of letters, diary entries and telegrams, which makes the narrative subjective and constantly changing perspectives, when you apply conventional movie structure to something like that, it tends to fall apart.

Overall, it’s not a great movie, but probably the best adaptation of the novel. I felt it was, in a way, style over substance type of deal, which is weird, since the movie is very much about the characters and romance. I don’t know, I have mixed feelings, but still – recommended.

“I know what you’re thinking “how does he look so cool, without seeing himself in the mirror?”, well let’s just say I have a lot of paintings of myself at home.”

Review of The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

26 Jul

The Dark Knight Rises is an action/sci-fi/drama film, the sequel to The Dark Knight and conclusion to the trilogy of films based on DC Comics character Batman.

Directed by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight (2008), Batman Begins (2005)).

Written by Jonathan Nolan (The Prestige (2006), Person of Interest (2011 TV)), Christopher Nolan (Following (1998), Inception (2010)) and David S. Goyer (Death Warrant (1990), Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011)).

Starring: Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anna Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Morgan Freeman, Michael Cane and others.

It’s hard to review a movie like this, I have no idea where to start. Not only is it an almost 3-hour movie, with a lot going on, it’s also an adaptation of more than 70 years of various interpretations of a character in comics and the last movie in a largely succesful trilogy of movies, probably the most anticipated movie of the last 4 years for the general movie-going public. I’m not going to go over all of this, because in the end of the day I’m just another geek who went to see the latest Batman flick. The reason why I bring up this is because how in hell can a movie like this not be overhyped and not disappoint in some ways.

I’ll start at the beginning of the movie, we see three guys with bags on their heads get taken to a plane, one of the guys is buff as shit, who could that be? That’s Bane! He is the main villain of the movie. The voice is really bad, it’s way too loud, I get that it’s hard to understand him through the mask, but cranking his voice way louder than everyone else’s is not the answer. I took me like half the movie to get used to it. Other than that Tom Hardy was great, him being so huge and those eyes just make him really intimidating and his sort of delivery of lines make him menacing, although at times he feels a bit cheesy, like a Bond-villain. There’s one of my favourite scenes in the movie, where this guy says “I’m in charge!” and Bane lightly places his hand on the guy’s shoulder and asks him “Do you feel in charge?”. Most of the people in the theater laughed, but it was like an uncomfortable laugh, a laugh to hide that you just shat your pants a little bit. Figuratively.

This movie is set 8 years after The Dark Knight and Batman has retired and Bruce Wayne just walks around the house with a cane. Speaking of canes, Michael Cane, who is perfect as Alfred, at some point just leaves the Wayne Manor and we don’t see him until the end, not that he needed to be there, I just would have loved to see him more. Catwoman steals a necklace from Wayne Manor and so she meets Bruce Wayne. I really liked Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, there were multiple times where she did something and I thought “That’s so Selina Kyle!”, I was hesitant about her before the movie and still think there were better suited actresses for the role, but Hathaway did good.

Christian Bale was as always great, this time the movie focused more on Bruce Wayne and his inability to move on. His Batman voice sounded better, but when you have Bane speaking like Sean Connery through Darth Vader’s helmet and Batman barking like a chain-smoker with laryngitis, it becomes slightly comedic. They improved the Bat-suit, so all those who thought his previous one was less a costume and more a motorcyclist’s armor, this time it looks very much like a superhero suit and I don’t know what did they do to his cowl, but it looks a lot better. Though, I still find it hard to accept that every time before putting on the mask Bruce puts on black make-up circles around his eyes.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is really good as this idealistic police officer, but there’s this weird nod to Batman fans, which actually would piss-off Batman fans and is more of a nod to people with only a general knowledge of Batman. But what they decide to do with the character in the end is pretty cool and there would be an awesome way to play it into the planned Batman reboot, but probably they’ll just recon everything.

The movie is messy at times, there’s a part, where supposedly a couple of months pass, yet it feels like only a week or so, they could have expanded that a bit, I wouldn’t have minded if the movie was like 200 minutes. It starts really slowly, even though a lot is happening, we get so much thrown at us, you kind of lose interest, but then at like 40 minutes in, it finally kicks in and the next 2 hours I was really into what was happening. The tone was kind of inconsistent, I realise they wanted to go all out with this one, but it seemed to shift from the realistic view to some straight out The Avengers cheese. I didn’t mind, I like it, because, if we’re following these people who wear costumes, it means there must be some theatrics involved.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie a lot. I’d say I liked it less than The Dark Knight, but more than Batman Begins. It has heavy flaws, but it was also entertaining as a superhero movie and moving as a character study of Bruce Wayne. If you didn’t like the previous two, this won’t convert you into a fan, but if you did, I don’t see why you wouldn’t enjoy it. Recommended.

“Master Wayne, why don’t you get a leg-brace and stop using a cane?”
“Dump the cane, huh? I’ll do that, Michael.”
“…Fuck you, Bale. How’s that Robin Hood-look going for you?”

Review of 200 M.P.H. (2011)

21 Jul

200 M.P.H. (2011) is a straight-to-video action/sports/drama movie by The Asylum, a film company specializing primarily in mockbusters.

Directed by Cole S. McKay (Star Hunter (1996), 3 Musketeers (2011)).

Written by Thunder Levin (Mutant Vampire Zombies from the ‘Hood! (2008), American Warship (2012)).

Starring: Jaz Martin, Hennely Jimenez, Darren Anthony Thomas, Paul Logan, AnnaMaria Demara, Tommy Nash, Janet Tracy Keijser and others.

So here’s The Asylum trying their luck in recreating the magic of the Fast & Furious series. Great, a bad knock-off of movies that I really don’t like in the first place.

A guy parks in a driveway and his brother comes out and says „it’s like an 80,000 dollar car”, no, please be more specific and then he proceeds to list exact specifics of the car. This happens a lot, if a character knows shit about cars, he better list some specs from Wikipedia. This doesn’t make the guys look cool at all, they seem more like nerds. They are less the guy with a greasy engine in his hand and more the guy telling you Star Trek trivia.

I don’t know shit about cars, so I relied on this movie to educate me. Now I know that I would be considered a cool person if my car could do „0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds”. I am willing to bet half of the shit they’re saying is total rubbish.

Ok, so finally we get to some racing. What’s going on? Why is it on fast forward? Oh, god, no, they sped up the footage. They could’ve put it in at normal speed and put like a little note to pop up on screen, that says „now use fast forward x2, because we didn’t know we were supposed to shoot at lower framerate”.

The characters are something. Our main guy is… well… uh, if you found Paul Walker bland, you haven’t seen this guy. His mother is a stripper, but you know who else is a stripper? His girlfriend. Yeah, talk about Oedipal syndrome, huh? At one point he walks into a strip-club and his mother just greets him topless and he’s like „geez, mom”, like it’s some kind of twisted sitcom called „Mom’s a Stripper!” There’s also this corrupt cop, spouting macho lines like „Did I stutter?” and homoerotic poetry like „No, this is me, the man with your balls in my hand!”, which sort of left me feeling unsure if it was meant as a metaphor. Then there’s a chick who does her best Michelle Rodriguez, which made me cringe. I like my Michelle Rodriguez done by Michelle Rodriguez.

No Asylum movie is complete without bad CGI, so here we get a CG car crash. So the main guy’s brother dies during a race and you know what? Boo-fucking-hoo, should I really feel sorry for an illegal street-racer dying? You go out at night and drive like a madman with you’re douchy sports-car, you’re kind of asking for it. The only reason why I felt a bit sorry, was because he was the only character, that I didn’t hate,

At one point a chick crashes her motorbike off-screen, does a roll on the ground and just keeps running. That’s some Catwoman trick right there. The car chases are at times pretty decent, but then they’re destroyed by some sped-up shots and cut-aways to CG-cars.  I must also mention a scene, where the corrupt cop is chasing the main guy, suddenly there’s a CG helicopter after those two cars and it’s not even in the air, it’s like 10 meters of the ground and then it disappears and is never refered to.

This movie is shit, which I totally didn’t expect from a movie produced by The Asylum, directed by some stunt-man and written by a guy, who’s  name is Thunder. Sounded like this is going to be some quality material.

Overall, this is one of the worst The Asylum movies I’ve  seen, it has its over-the-top moments, that are unintentionally hilarious, but mostly it just drags. I hated it, not recommended.

Pictured: A review from Rotten Tomatoes, which is written by a guy, who sounds like every character from this movie. A dorky douchebag.

Review of The Young Master (1980)

19 Jul

The Young Master (1980) is a Hong Kong martial arts/action/comedy film.

Directed by Jackie Chan (The Fearless Hyena (1979), 1911 (2011)).

Written by Jackie Chan (Half A Loaf Of Kung Fu (1980)), Tin-Chi Lau (Knockabout (1979)), King Sang Tang (The Protector (1985)) and Lu Tung (The Invincible Armour (1977)).

Starring: Jackie Chan, Kien Shih, Pai Wei, Lily Li, Biao Yuen, Feng Feng, Feng Tien, Ing-Sik Whang and others.

The second movie Chan directed starts out a bit differently. He is a member of some school, but he’s neither the worst or the best student, he’s just there, so if you didn’t know who Chan is, you might spend almost half an hour not knowing he’s the protagonist. His school participates in some puppet dragon dance/fight competition, which is cool and you better enjoy it, because there’s a long time before another fight scene takes place.

But the wait is rewarded by one of the best fight scenes of Chan’s career. It’s a fight, where Jackie is wielding a huge-ass fan. Filming the fight allegedly took 329 takes to complete it. That is a lot. Oh, and don’t worry, after this, there’s not 5 minutes without another fight scene.

On this movie Chan seems to have discovered some zoom lenses or something, because he does that cheesy trick of zooming in and out of character faces for dramatic effect, it works about once and then gets funny and then just irritating.

There’s a scene where Chan fights a group of police-men wielding swords and one of them is a cross-eyed idiot. Now I really have to wonder why do Asians find cross-eyedness so funny and connect it with stupidity? Because almost every Asian-comedy of this time period had at least one cross-eyed and dumb guy.

The movie starts out serious, but it fluently transforms into a way more comedic movie, this is followed by Chan’s character’s intelligence decreasing as well. You could call it inconsistency of tone, though. Fight scenes also get sillier, besides the fan-fight, there’s this character, who carries around a bench, which he uses to kick-ass. Then there is a scene where Chan uses a pipe to fight of a guy, who is very careful not to break it, since it’s signed by imperator. Then he fights dressed as an old man, old man disguise is soon abandoned for  a skirt, which he uses as a matador. It’s crazy.

Oddly here, Chan needs no training montages, he’s a master fighter from the beginning. The last fight is cool from a technical standpoint and is considered the longest fight scene in any martial arts movie, it’s also the problem with it, it’s too long. Which is weird that they left so much of it, when they had to cut down the movie so much. They cut a 3-hour movie to 100 minutes, so, I guess, it’s not surprising that the plot itself doesn’t make much sense.

Overall, it’s a pretty decent one, has some great fight scenes, but other than that, at this point it seems like Chan keeps going over an all too familiar territory and he does it a couple of times more until moving on to more interesting projects. Recommended for Chan fans.

Pictured: The most uncomfortable and painful handshake ever.

Review of The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

16 Jul

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) is an action/sci-fi/drama film, based on the Marvel Comics character Spider-Man, rebooting the film franchise.

Directed by Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer (2009), Lone Star (2010 TV)).

Written by James Vanderbilt (Darkness Falls (2003), Zodiac (2007)), Alvin Sargent (Gambit (1966), Unfaithful (2002)), Steve Kloves (Racing with the Moon (1984), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)).

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Rhys Ifan, Sally Field, Irrfan Khan, C. Thomas Howell and others.

My first introduction to Spider-Man was through the animated series, probably when I was around six. I loved him, the series itself wasn’t as good as X-Men and not that great overall, but I loved it. Then the Sam Raimi movies came along and I sort of liked them, but that wasn’t it, I didn’t love the guy himself, I was carried by my affection for the character, but this doughy-faced, bulky, man-child bearing the name of Tobey Maguire wasn’t him. So for about 15 years I’ve been waiting for a movie to re-ignite my love for him. Turns out I was waiting for this movie.

I did somewhat enjoy the Raimi ones, especially the second one, but at the same time I found them too cheesy and, at times, making me cringe. However, I’ve never wanted The Dark Spider or something overly realistic and “gritty”, I just wanted to care about characters and not caricatures. Also for something as campy as Raimi’s Spider-Man adaptations, they were basically humorless. Watching this I genuinely smiled and laughed.

Oh, Andrew Garfield is just brilliant. He is Spider-Man, he’s got the right kind of build, athletic, but lean, agile, but physically awkward. I believe he’s actually really intelligent (mechanical Web-Shooters FTW), he’s adorably twitchy in conversations, nerdy, but not a wimp. And when he cries you don’t feel uncomfortable, but feel with him. Watching Maguire cry, I forgot if I was watching Spider-Man or The Elephant Man.

The relationship between him and Gwen Stacy is really good too, it’s sort of a teeny romance, but Marc Webb knows how to not make it too cliché and also Stacy learns early that Peter is Spider-Man and it’s nice that he has a confidant. Emma Stone being one of the cutest young actresses out there right now also helps a great deal. Other supporting actors do a great job too. Rhys Ifan is cool, Denis Leary is bad-ass and Martin Sheen really makes you care about the Uncle Ben character and his fate is really impactful.

I’m not a fan of 3D and even though it was still unnecessary, I liked it in this movie. The action scenes mostly, because the shots are incredible, it really feels like a person is doing all the crazy shit Spidey does. The swooping over the city is spectacular, I actually felt immersed in the space of the movie sometimes. The downside is that, the dramatic scenes have basically no 3D effect whatsoever, I mostly just lifted my 3D glasses and there was no layering blur or anything.

The special effects are pretty solid, there’s an awful looking, mutated CG lab-rat, but, thankfully, that’s only a few seconds. Then there’s the big thing of The Lizard. It didn’t look great, but it wasn’t bad either, it was very middle ground. I could accept it, because he did walk around in a lab coat for a bit, that was all I was asking for.

Overall, not flawless, but a great superhero movie, definitely in my top 3 Marvel movies (if not my favourite), it made me laugh, it made me teary-eyed, it made me want to run around and pretend to be Spidey, it made me 10 years old again. I thank you for that, movie. If you like superhero movies, definitely recommended.

“I’m melting!”


Review of 2-Headed Shark Attack (2012)

11 Jul

2-Headed Shark Attack (2012) is a straight-to-video action/horror/sci-fi film, a The Asylum movie, which isn’t a mockbuster, but features a… 2-headed shark.

Directed by Christopher Ray (Almighty Thor (2011), Mega Shark vs Crocosaurus (2010)).

Written by Edward DeRuiter (3 Musketeers (2011)) and H. Perry Horton (A Haunting in Salem (2011)).

Starring: Carmen Electra, Charlie O’Connell, Brooke Hogan, Gerald Webb, Geoff Ward, Tihirah Taliaferro and others.

I love that some movies are so unpretentious that their titles make clear what kind of movie you’re about to see. 2-Headed Shark Attack totally doesn’t make it seem like a complete B-grade trash. And it doesn’t sound like there’s going to be a giant 2-Headed CG shark.

Soon we meet a bunch of college students on a boat and the shark, somehow the absurd CG shark manages to still be more believable than the stupid, over-the-top student characters. We get Hulk Hogan’s daughter as our protagonist and maybe the years on reality television and the other shitty actors help, but she’s kind of ok here, I found her relatively likable, but that is not saying much. There’s even the token nerd, who, as all nerds, knows various useful science facts and, of course, all the other guys find this incredibly hilarious and laugh at him.

Then we get Carmen Elektra giving one of the worst performances of her career and that is saying something, most of the movie she just sunbathes, she’s basically there to look hot as always. Which she does, although now more in a “milf” sort of way. When out of nowhere a scene calls for her to act concerned and it seems she’s never had this emotion before, so the weird expression on her face and frustration in the eyes, makes it really hard to watch and you wish she’d just go back to getting a tan.

They made a clear choice not to endanger their actors by making them be too close to the cartoon shark (with some equally bad practical close-ups of it), so at times they even make people in bad CGI. If you thought TRON: Legacy was tapping into the uncanny valley, don’t worry, this doesn’t have that effect, this comes nowhere near to looking anything human.

20 minutes in you’ve seen a shitload of chicks in bikinis and I began to suspect how they were cast. They were chosen for their natural intelligence, which, with the exception of the one nerdy guy, instantly brings good looks with it. Then suddenly the black chick stereotype with huge knockers says: “You’s a bitch!” and I start doubting my theory.

They pull out this great idea of everything for the 2-headed shark being double, which leads to the nerd coming up with an idea how to save them. Oh, no way, I never thought he’d be there for a reason! I thought they only put him there to disrupt the bunch of very good-looking people. “Who’s laughing now, good looking guys, who don’t know… science? This would be better if they weren’t all dead…”

Overall, it’s a stupid monster-flick, where a bunch of “teenagers” are killed by a huge 2-headed shark, which is 2-headed and has two-fucking-heads! Other than the shark, there’s nothing to the movie, it does take itself a little too seriously, but then again, it’s not trying to spoof this type of movies, but actually is one. Even if you are someone who thinks the title sounds epic, not recommended.

“Don’t worry guys, I’m ok, luckily this head of the shark has pizza slices for teeth!”

Review of Wake Wood (2011)

9 Jul

Wake Wood (2011) is an Irish horror/thriller/drama film, about a couple who recently have lost their daughter and move to a remote town.

Directed by David Keating (The Last of the High Kings (1996), KM64: Birth of a Skatepark (2007)).

Written by Brendan McCarthy (The Metal Man (1989 Short)) and David Keating (Into the West (1992)).

Starring: Aidan Gillen, Eva Birthistle, Timothy Spall, Brian Gleeson, Ella Connolly, Ruth McCabe and others.

There’s this little girl who is going to school and decides to visit a dog and give him a snack, only she turns out to be the snack herself. In reality you often hear about children getting injured or killed by animals. Yes, it’s pretty horrible when a dog kills a child and it’s a hard thing to get over, because putting down an animal isn’t very awarding and you never get any closure about why did the dog do it, it just did.

The father is a veterinarian and they move to a small town, where he gets a job. We get to see him perform a cowbirth by a cesarean section and I’m pretty sure it was real. Either that or those were some bad-ass special effects.

The movie has a really cool, dreary mood, it doesn’t feel like the modern Hammer films exactly, since it’s only distributed by it, however the subject matter itself is disturbing enough.

It’s not too much to say that the townsfolk turn out to be a paganistic group, which can resurrect people, what a coincidence, our heroes have someone to resurrect. There’s a scene, where the village leader explains all the rules of resurrecting someone, that is so serious and believable, yet also totally absurd and in a way pretty funny. And the movie sort of plays on this, it is creepy how nonchalantly the townsfolk and the parents proceed with this whole thing. There’s never an explanation about how all this resurrection business started and that’s a good choice.

I think it intentionally makes this opposition of us, the viewers, who see all this skeptically and then explores how much a person could suspend their disbelief and how far would they go, just to see their loved one again. One could criticise the parents’ unquestioning acceptance of all the absurdly specific rules they are meant to obey, but they’re desperate parents after all and when they finally feel a bit more at ease, with the resurrection already done, they start disregarding the rules as silly and nonsensical. However, they are not.

There’s an ending, which I would have never predicted and it’s a very interesting idea and I have no clue how that would play out. It’s sort of a cliffhanger, but it’s one so good, that I wouldn’t even want to see a sequel resolving it.

Overall, a really good little horror flick, some might write down the dark silliness of it as tonal inconsistency, but I’d say it only adds to the film. Recommended.

“You see, had you read the fine print, you’d know that the payment for our resurrectional services is a human testicle per person.”
“The joke’s on you, I don’t have any!”
“…No… No, I think the joke’s still on you.”

Review of Hellraiser: Revelations (2011)

6 Jul

Hellraiser: Revelations (2011) is a horror/mystery/thriller film and the ninth film in the Hellraiser film franchise.

Directed by Victor Garcia (Return to House on Haunted Hill (2007), Mirrors 2 (2010)).

Written by Gary J. Tunnicliffe (Megalodon (2002), Hansel & Gretel (2002)).

Starring: Tracey Fairaway, Jay Gillespie, Sebastien Roberts, Sanny Van Heteren, Steven Brand, Nick Eversman, Stephan Smith Collins and others.

This movie has received roaringly negative reviews, mostly due to Clive Barker bashing the movie on Twitter (for a good reason, but not having seen it), Doug Bradley not returning as Pinhead and the low production values. But beyond this, I personally didn’t find it that bad.

It opens with two guys filming themselves driving in a car. And I instantly thought “Oh, god, this is going to be a found footage movie”, but it isn’t. It shows that their car is stolen (which has no real effect on the plot) and then we see them opening the box and Pinhead appears. Then it turns out the mother of one of the guys is watching this on a video camera.

The parents of the other guy come over and it turns out they like to hang out together after their sons have been missing for a year and have a casual dinner. There’s also this chick that is the sister of one and girlfriend of the other guy and she goes to her brother’s room and watches some stuff on the camera. We then get to suffer through a jagged and pointless narrative when we constantly change back from standard to the handheld camera footage.

The boyfriend guy bangs another chick and then somehow kills her, while the other passes out. It’s very confusing, since we get a reaction shot from the sister after the killing part, which wasn’t filmed. Thank god, that’s the end of the videotaped shit, at least we don’t have to see it. The sister finds the puzzle box and starts playing around with it as her brother suddenly appears and everyone is mildly surprised by this. This is a running gag, as a character gets shotgunned in the stomach, but stays alive throughout the rest of the film, looking only mildly displeased with the turn of events.

We also get random flashes of Pinhead doing various hell-like things, like posing by some chains. He also is making another pinhead cenobite and stuff like that. The new Pinhead is kind of silly. I thought that after the first two movies, they were starting to light Pinhead too brightly and he lost his menace. Well this time we’re back with a Pinhead, who not only lacks the gravitas of Doug Bradley, but also looks sort of chubby for some reason. Is it really so hard to make a guy with pins in his head look scary?

The most pleasant surprise for me was the return of skinless make-up, it doesn’t look as good as in Hellraiser II, but still, it’s pretty bad-ass. And this actually signifies the return to the roots of Hellraiser, it has lack of skin, it has these darkly perverted hidden desire elements, it has some incestuous tones, all the good stuff. It feels a lot more like a Hellraiser film, than the previous, at least, four, probably mostly due to an original Hellraiser script and not a rewritten unrelated one.

So considering the film being rushed by the studio, because of copyright issues and having a very low-budget, I didn’t find it disappointing. The bad response to this film surprises me, since I would imagine fans recognizing it being closer to the original Hellraiser ideas, than those Rick Bota directed ones, which if they were children, wouldn’t be accepted in the orphanage for quadruple amputees.

Overall, a bad movie, but not one of the worst of the series. For a 300,000$ budget and three-week production, it has relatively impressive special effects and a decent twist. Not recommended, unless you’re a Hellraiser fan, who hated the previous three installments.

“Yeah, my parents don’t approve of my lifestyle. I guess they’re right. I won’t be a politician. I can take the pierceings out, but I will not drop the S&M!”

Review of Paranormal Entity (2009)

3 Jul

Paranormal Entity (2009) is a straight-to-video horror/mystery/thriller film from The Asylum, a film studio focusing on making “mockbusters”, lower budget versions of mainstream movies.

Directed by Shane Van Dyke (6 Guns (2010), Titanic II (2010)).

Written by Shane Van Dyke (Street Racer (2008), The Day the Earth Stopped (2008)).

Starring: Shane Van Dyke, Erin Marie Hogan, Fia Perera and Norman Saleet.

Although I can’t imagine in this situation, I can see someone looking at a bunch of DVDs at a supermarket and being like “Hey, I want to see some horror, I heard about that ghost movie… um, Paranormal something. Activity? What’s this? Paranormal Entity? That’s it!”, honestly, I think these people deserve their fate.

However, this is one case, where even after watching it, a lot of people might not realize it wasn’t the real thing. Although, Paranormal Activity is a far superior film, the budget of Entity might have been about the same.

Outright the movie starts by saying what happens to the characters in the end. Not a great idea, unless the way we get there is more important and interesting. But they could’ve just added another sentence saying what happens before that. Or they could have condensed it to a single sentence “A family lives in a haunted house until some of them die and shit.” That could even be the tagline.

So we have a mother who doesn’t like what is going on, a son who films the stuff that is going on and a daughter, that has a big rack, which is probably why she was cast in the Katie Fetherstone part. At least the son isn’t a douchebag like Mica.

The acting is ok, not Oscar stuff, but not Troll 2 either. And for some reason there’s a lot of emotional stuff and not enough cheap thrills. I think the movie at times forges it’s an Asylum production. That is not to say there’s not some cool moments, there’s a decent scene involving footprints, this ghost is like Paranormal Activity 3 ghost, not very subtle. At one point the guy goes looking for his sister in the night, after some crazy shit has happened, he sees the ladder to the attic is down and is like “Hey, sister, you there? Oh, you’re not answering? That’s fine I’ll come up anyway, it’s not like the ghost could be fucking with me in the middle of the night.” But his sister is up there. In her underwear. Then in another scene something happens to her in the shower and they rush in, the brother has the camera and all. And just for the sake of it, he lingers a bit on her naked breasts. Way to make me feel weird about looking at boobs.

Then there’s a doctor they’re waiting for and I wonder how is a doctor going to help them. There’s something written by the ghost on their coffee table. Dr. Lauren finally arrives and he turns out to be an exorcist or something. I don’t question he’s a PhD though, because when he sees the word “maron” on the table, he instantly knows it’s meaning and that it is a germanic word.

After the doctor’s arrival it all goes to hell and we see some more nakedness from the sister and all, and it is pretty cool, the ending I mean, not the nakedness. Well, that’s cool too, but… I’ll stop now.

Overall, it’s a decent watch, it’s not great, it’s not awful, it just is. I really hoped for a shitload of jumpscares or something, but was disappointed. It was just mediocre. I don’t know what to do with this. Not recommended, because it lacks what The Asylum’s movies are worth watching for and it lacks the real suspense and scares Paranormal Activityoffers.

Forget about the ghost, creepy exorcist in a turtleneck is more of a problem now.