Tag Archives: 2005

Review of Assault on Precinct 13 (2005)

14 Nov

Assault on Precinct 13 (2005) is a thriller/action/crime film, which is a remake of Assault on Precinct 13 (1976).

Directed by Jean-Francois Richet (Mesrine: Killer Instinct (2008), Mesrine: Public Enemy No. 1 (2008)).

Written by James DeMonaco (Jack (1996), Staten Island (2009)).

Starring: Ethan Hawke, Laurence Fishburne, Gabriel Byrne, Maria Bello, Drea de Matteo, John Leguizamo, Brian Dennehy, Ja Rule and others.

The original had a „cold open” of sorts, that set-up the possibility of action in a movie that was more slow-paced, this time we open with a completely frantic scene, with our main character played by Ethan Hawke in an undercover operation, which doesn’t turn out so well. Some time has passed and we see him arriving at a police precinct on the New Year’s Eve, as it is about to close and relocate the personnel.

Then we see a shoot-out in a church, after which Laurence Fishburne is arrested. Soon he has to be transported and the two groups of people who will have to meet at some point are set-up. On the prison bus, there’s four inmates being transported, one of them being John Leguizamo going into his over-the-top neurotic mode. Some shit happens along the way so they have to stay in this half-abandoned police station.

When the new year comes, suddenly everyone’s new year resolution becomes to stay alive, because they get attacked by masked men and the people inside the precinct are left to try to hold them back. They even manage to make them more inhuman by having them be hidden behind thick ski-masks, due to the storm outside. But then they decide to add a decent, yet very unnecessary twist to who the attackers are. I liked the almost supernatural quality they possessed in the original better.

The movie does have some kinetic energy and interesting visuals, like a bunch of lasersights sniping through the windows of the precinct, a cool mexican stand-off, involving like 10 people and almost everyone who dies for some reason gets shot in the head.

Yeah, I know, since the original was in a way a loose remake of Rio Bravo, it is forgivable that they made another remake, but there’s really nothing that the movie brings, that validates its necessity to exist. It’s just pointless, it doesn’t change enough to make it fresh and really interesting and only updating it a bit doesn’t make much sense, because the original wasn’t all that dated.

The score was disappointingly bland, not even worth comparing to Carpenter’s iconic synth-drone theme.

The acting also isn’t that great, to be fair in Carpenter’s version the acting wasn’t the best part either, but it was also a low-budget film, with relative unknowns, who were acting western parts in a modern-day setting. Here we have amazing actors (not all of them, there’s Ja Rule, after all) with huge experience, but the acting is just as unconvincing.

Overall, might be enjoyable, especially if you haven’t seen the original, but even then I don’t think it’s really worth bothering. It’s conventional, some good actors pop up, at times entertaining, but ultimately a waste of time. Not recommended.

PIctured: The most jolly movie rape scene ever.

Review of Dreams in the Witch-House (2005)

23 Sep

Masters of Horror – Dreams in the Witch-House is a horror/thriller/fantasy episode of a TV horror anthology series, each one-hour episode done by a different director.

Directed by Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator (1985), Stuck (2007)).

Written by Dennis Paoli (From Beyond (1986), Dagon (2001)) and Stuart Gordon (Body Snatchers (1993), The Dentist (1996)), based on a short story by H.P. Lovecraft.

Starring: Ezra Godden, Campbell Lane, Jay Brazeau, Chelah Horsdal, Yevgen Voronin, Susanna Uchatius and others.

I want to note, that this series of horror stories is pretty cool and unless it’s something really interesting, one hour is actually a decent length for an average horror movie, because usually when it’s more, you can see that the concept hasn’t been broad enough for it to sustain 90 minutes and they throw in pointless padding.

A physics student starts renting a shoddy room in some apartment building and as he works on his project, he gets to know his neighbours: the building’s asshole manager, a young woman with a baby and a creepy old guy. You know, your typical set of oddball sitcom neighbours.

Soon the guy starts having various weird dreams. In one of them the single mother is doing full-on nudity and turning into an old, ugly woman, who is equally naked. Then he keeps seing a rat with a man’s face, which looks really silly. Then he’s in a library and Necronomicon appears briefly. All this is due to some witch, which the title hints at.

Beside the close-ups of a talking rat, the movie has some decent suspense building, some over-the-top gore and almost depressing last 10 minutes.

Overall, it’s ok, nothing really special though, it’s an odd mix of brutality and a stupid rat. Not bad if you decide to watch it, but nothing really worth looking up. Not recommended.

Pictured: If you try really hard you can make the rat-human in your movie look less scary than anything from The Witches (1990).

Review of Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005)

30 Jun

Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005) is a straight-to-video horror/mystery/thriller film and the eighth film in the Hellraiser film franchise.

Directed by Rick Bota (Raising the Bar (2008 TV), The Vampire Diaries (2009 TV)), who also directed the previous three Hellraiser movies.

Written by Carl V. Dupre (Bone Chillers (1996 TV), Inkubus (2011)), based on the short story “Dark Can’t Breathe” by Joel Soisson.

Starring: Lance Henriksen, Doug Bradley, Henry Cavill, Katheryn Winnick, Khary Payton, Cristopher Jacot, Anna Tolputt and others.

Since this is another one from Rick Bota I didn’t have great expectations, the series was not in great shape before that, but he completely destroyed all the dignity it had left. Also you know he prefers quality over quantity, when he releases two movies of the same series in one year, both based on rewritten unrelated scripts.

We open with a funeral of some guy and we are introduced to his friends, who didn’t bother to dress up for a funeral. One of them is our future Superman – Henry Cavill. If Immortals made me enthusiastic about him being Superman, this kind of took the enthusiasm back a notch, although, you can’t blame him for anything in this movie.

It turns out all the friends and the dead guy play some shitty online computer game called “Hellworld”, which is based on the Hellraiser mythos. I don’t exactly understand, how this works, do all the previous movies exist in this universe? It is never made clear. So they play this incredibly shitty game and they all get invites to a Hellworld party in a mansion. Sounds like a great party.

They go to the mansion and this party is filled with hot goth people, all dancing and doing all the other stuff, the outgoing community of obscure online game players do. Also it’s hosted by Lance Henriksen. You can guess three times if he’s going to be the villain. For some reason he gives the five college kids a tour of the house. So what, is he showing it to all the guests? There’s like two hundred people there. He must have been doing this all day. The mansion is kind of cool, filled with babies in jars and other shit, everyone loves.

During the late 90’s, early 2000’s there were a lot of potentially dangerous video game related generic horror flicks and this is one of them in addition to being a total slasher movie, even having a group of one-note characters – “virginal girl, jock douchebag, black guy, slutty chick and sensitive guy”. They get separated and killed off one by one as well. It is irritatingly generic, just as most post-Scream slasher flicks.

Doug Bradley’s last movie as Pinhead, he appears from time to time and does things that he wouldn’t do, until it is later revealed it wasn’t actually him. Or was it? I don’t know, by the end they throw a couple of desperate twists at you, that make the movie make even less sense than it did before.

Overall, a pretty painful experience, since after the exposition they turn the blandness up to eleven and you kind of sit there, just watching the characters being confused about things. It’s a worthless piece of shit, not recommended.

Pictured: A single man, who longs to have some pickle-babies of his own.

Review of Hellraiser: Deader (2005)

25 Jun

Hellraiser: Deader (2005) is a straight-to-video mystery/thriller/horror film and the seventh film in the Hellraiser film franchise.

Directed by Rick Bota (Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005), Harper’s Island (2009 TV)).

Written by Benjamin Carr (Super Hybrid (2010), Zarkorr! The Invader (1996)) and Tim Day (Hellraiser: Hellseeker (2002)).

Starring: Kari Wuhrer, Paul Rhys Doug Bradley, Marc Warren, Georgina Rylance, Simon Kunz and others.

We open up to  some chick waking up in a crack-den, then just walking out. Turns out she’s a well-known journalist. Obviously not well-known amongst crack-heads. She goes to some office and her boss shows her a snuff film of sorts, where a chick shoots herself in the head and then comes back to life. The journalist says “tell me it’s some kind of special effect”, but then, of course, she instantly abandons this idea and goes to Romania to investigate.

During her investigation she gets her hands on the puzzle box and soon bad shit starts happening, mostly to the viewer of this film. We are once again subjected to pointless hallucination/dream sequences, as she tries to find out more about this cultist sect called “deaders”.

She visits some guy who gives her various information, which he has acquired by being a leader of a gang that is an insult to Romania’s subway system. Because there is a whole metro train, he and other subculture euro-trash people are living in. I suppose you can have your own train, if you keep up with the schedule. However, it compliments the educational system by having everyone in Romania speak good English.

At first I thought that the movie was going for a certain tone, but then I realised that the tone is created by the combined blandness of digital video and a boring script.

It seems Rick Bota had chosen to make the Hellraiser series about people seeing things and nothing actually happening, because the previous one was like that, this one is like that and the next one is in a way also like that. Why did they let him do three movies? Why can’t they write scripts for the series and not rewrite unrelated ones? Why?

There is one cool scene, where a character wakes up in the night, to find a knife stuck in her back and tries to get it out. That was the only interesting scene in the whole movie. Pinhead appears a couple of times and delivers some words of wisdom and I was grateful that at least they didn’t make him the villain.

Overall, there’s some flashes of interesting choices, but it doesn’t hide it being a total mess, it’s really bad. Not recommended.

“Ahh! It sucks that I can’t bend my neck, otherwise I could just let these chains slip over my head!”

Review of The Descent (2005)

7 Apr

The Descent (2005) is a horror/adventure/drama film about a group of women who go cave exploring only to find that the cave has been explored before them.

Directed by Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers (2002), Centurion (2010)).

Written by Neil Marshall (Killing Time (1998), Doomsday (2008)).

Starring: Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, MyAnna Buring, Nora-Jane Noone, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder and others.

There’s really not many horror movies where the main cast consists solely of women, but here we are following six women, who have in my opinion one of the worst hobbies imaginable. Fucking cave exploring.

I prefer to think of myself as reasonably claustrophobic. Rides in elevators don’t bother me at all, scenes in action movies where people are crawling through vents make me feel slightly uneasy and the thought of crawling through sections of caves, where there is no possibility to turn around, stand up or be sure you won’t be squashed by some boulders is fucking terrifying to me. So I guess I’m the target audience of this particular horror movie.

The movie starts a year before the main events with the women doing some dangerous shit in the water (was it rafting?) as our main character’s husband and daughter wave to her from the shore. As they get ashore, it is important that you don’t miss some very meaningful glances between some characters as they foreshadow some tension which leads to the finale, there’s other hints sprinkled throughout the movie, some of which make sense only after seeing it.

The husband is distracted on the ride home and causes an accident, which leads to Sarah running through a hospital hall and having a Hitchcock zoom performed on her. There’s other consequences as well.

So a year goes by, the women gather to have a new adventure, because doing dangerous shit isn’t half as risky as being distracted on the ride home. And as I mentioned they go cave exploring. To spice things up, the leader of their expedition decides to fuck safety and go to the caves where allegedly no one has ever been before. What can I say, that’s the greatest idea ever. If you’re a professional team of scientists and everything, but not if you’re a bunch of chicks, who cleared out the rock climbing equipment and flashlight store.

Of course they soon start regretting they’re choice, even before they realize that they are surrounded by a bunch of flesh-eating bat-humanoid creatures, who have evolved to have great hearing, no eyesight and look like Nosferatu and Gollum had children. Seriously, the first time one of them suddenly appears I nearly shat myself. The make-up is just awesome.

The caves we see were actually built sets, but there is no way you can tell, at first I was wondering how the hell they shot it in actual caves. The few, low powered light sources really help in concealing the fact that they are not real, while also creating the atmosphere and claustrophobic feeling. But it also made it kind of hard to tell the women apart at times, the fact that they were in helmets, dirty and had different accents and names I did not manage to memorize.

The movie does raise a lot of questions, mostly about the creatures, but I enjoyed the movie enough, to let it go. I stopped worrying and learned to love The Descent.

Overall, definitely one of the best horror movies of the 2000’s, a creature feature where the creatures aren’t the only scary thing. Recommended for sure.

Evolution of crawlers explained.

Review of Corpse Bride (2005)

23 Jan

Corpse Bride (2005) is a stop-motion animated fantasy/musical/family film, which is somewhat similar in style to Henry Selick’s film The Nightmare Before Christmas, except on this one Tim Burton is a producer and a director.

Directed by Tim Burton (Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985), Beetlejuice (1988)) and Mike Johnson (The Devil Went Down to Georgia (1996 Short), The PJs (1999 TV)).

Written by John August (The Nines (2007), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)), Pamela Pettler (Monster House (2006), 9 (2009)) and Caroline Thompson (Edward Scissorhands (1990), The Addams Family (1991)).

Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Christopher Lee, Emily Watson, Tracey Ullman, Paul Whitehouse and others.

I guess since this is the first movie of his that I review, I should express my thoughts on Tim Burton. I used to really like him and not without a reason. I mean, he’s made some of my favourite films, like Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands and Batman Returns, but then as I got older and got more familiar with his films, I sort of grew tired of his heavily stylised visuals. I think Charlie  And The Chocolate Factory and Alice In Wonderland are two lifeless, flawed and gimmicky movies, which shouldn’t exist. However, I still like most of his movies and I still look forward to seeing more from him.

This film has one thing going for it, that makes me enthusiastic right from the first frames. It’s stop-motion animation. I don’t know what it is about it, but I just find it beautiful and fascinating. Here again I got to enjoy this amazingly detailed eye candy. And there’s also something about it, that makes scary scenes really  fucking creepy. Some of it has this eerie silent era horror feel.

There’s some nice touches sprinkled throughout the film. Like the brand plate on a piano saying “Harryhausen”. You know, as in reference to Ray Harryhausen, the great special effects artists, who is known for his work in stop-motion. Or in this other instance, we see a skeleton that looks like Ray Charles. There’s also a funny Gone With The Wind reference, you know the quote.

The skeleton dog is really cute, which if you think about it is kind of weird, so that’s an accomplishment, I guess.

The voice acting is pretty much perfect, but some of the characters were written for the actors, so I guess that helped. Of course there’s Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp again, which I think is something Tim Burton should stop doing. I really like them all, but it’s getting hard to take this seriously. Also Christopher Lee is in the cast, so that’s, of course, awesome.

I’m not the biggest fan of musicals, because they tend to slow down the narrative, but I found the musical numbers quite enjoyable and didn’t mind them at all.

It’s sort of classic plot, but nicely twisted and unpredictable. I really didn’t know how it will end, as I kept guessing if the dead will turn out to be evil or what. And surely enough, the ending surprised me. And afterwards I got that feeling, which reminded me, why I used really like Burton. I can’t explain the feeling, but it’s good and  the same as what I got after watching Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands.

Overall, a good, well-made, beautiful film and recommended for people of all ages. I liked it a lot.

I hope it's Halloween and not their wedding.