Tag Archives: Mockbuster

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.

Review of I Am Omega (2007)

19 Nov

I Am Omega (2007) is a direct-to-DVD zombie apocalypse/action/drama film, produced by The Asylum, a company specializing in mockbusters. It may also be considered a unoffical adaptation of the novel I Am Legend (1954) by Richard Matheson.

Directed by Griff Furst (Lake Placid 3 (2010), Wolvesbayne (2009)), yes, also the director of the previously reviewed 100 Million BC (2008).

Written by Geoff Meed (Universal Soldiers (2007), 6 Guns (2010)), who works mostly as an actor and plays the main villain of this film.

Starring: Mark Dacascos, Geoff Meed, Jennifer Lee Wiggins, Ryan Lloyd.

You might be wondering about the title, it’s just a combination of two other adaptations the same novel. One is The Omega Man (1971) and the other is I Am Legend (2007), which this movie is trying to cash in on, but I wouldn’t call it a total rip-off. It even came out a month before the Will Smith version.

The script is the worst part of the movie, because the plot is incredibly thin. There’s no explanation for the zombie plague, it spends a lot of time on showing the main character being alone and doing things without explaining them either. That part actually sort of calls back to the novel. He also keeps hallucinating. Then it continues on with the main story which doesn’t make much sense when logic is applied. For example, the main character decides to blow up a whole city for no real reason by using unconvincing amount of explosives.

The acting is decent, Mark Dacascos isn’t the most expressive actor, but he does know martial arts and is a fairly acceptable action hero, being at his best when beating up zombies using a nunchaku and worst when unconvincingly delivering the cliché lines, written by the easily best actor (not much of an accomplishment there) in the movie, Geoff Meed. Meed is playing this buff asshole military guy (with a very peculiar motivation and a strange idea on about its execution), which seems like something Ron Perlman would play in a bigger movie. Both Wiggins and Lloyd are ok.

Since it is a The Asylum production my expectations were very low, but it actually turned out to be not anywhere near as bad as I thought it would, it is a low-budget film, so I can forgive the zombie make-up not being that great or the awful CG explosions, but there’s also good things. The cinematography is rather beautiful, at times even it being shot in HD video looks really impressive and it has some of these things that work in B-movies, like fist or nunchaku fights with zombies, it also does enough practical effects and the CG backdrops aren’t painful to see.

It is not a good movie, but I did for some reason enjoy it. With The Asylum you expect these entertaining, so-bad-it’s-good films, but in this there isn’t much action until about a halfway in. It lingers on the loneliness and the borderline insanity of the main character, seemingly trying to actually add substance to a B-movie plot.

I do recommend this if an I Am Legend’s mockbuster version sounds interesting to you. It is a very mediocre movie. Watch at your own risk. And if you want to see a better, more faithful adaptation of the novel, watch The Last Man On Earth (1964).

"Hey, man, want to buy my long-sleeve authentic zombie shirt?"

Review of 100 Million BC (2008)

20 Oct

100 Million BC (2008) is a direct-to-DVD sci-fi/action film from the infamous film studio The Asylum, which specializes in low-budget mockbusters.

Directed by Griff Furst (I Am Omega, Swamp Shark).

Written by Paul Bales (2010: Moby Dick, Sherlock Holmes (no, not the Robert Downey Jr. one)).

Starring: Michael Gross, Christopher Atkins, Dean Kreyling, Marie Westbrook, Stephen Blackehart and others.

Oh, Asylum, you bastard child of cheap CGI and bad actors, how much pain does your movies inflict on humanity.

To be fair, I don’t hate The Asylum just because they’re trying to get some cash from being associated with better movies. I understand they want to make cheap sci-fi/horror/action films with awful special effects and a compilation of has-beens and C-grade actors and ripping off Hollywood movies is just their gimmick. This is a company that produces a lot of “so bad it’s good” movies, so I don’t have a problem with that.

This one definitely is in the “bad” teritory, but doesn’t quite reach the little spot of “good” at the bottom of the barrel.

Despite what you might think hearing the title, the characters actually travel to the year 70,000,000 BC to rescue a research team.

This rescue mission is led by Dr. Frank Reno played by Michael Gross. It was so sad to see him in this, but I guess you can’t live just on Tremors fame. He does a good job, but sadly he’s not as bad-ass as I’m used to seeing him.

Christopher Atkins was ok, and the others of the research team were bearable, but there was one hilariously bad performance. That was Stephen Blackehart. I haven’t seen him in any other movies, but I’ve seen some of his demo reels with clips of him in different stuff and it seems that his main thing is doing bad accents and passing it as acting. And in this one he is this hardcore military guy, who enjoys saying “fuck” to make everything he says intense. It’s incredibly funny and painful to watch at the same time.

Of course that is nothing compared to how torturing is the sight of CG dinosaurs and green-screen effects. I could make a cardboard cut-out of a velociraptor and run around with it behind the characters and it would look less out-of-place than these abominations they’ve created. On the other hand they don’t seem pretentious about it and I think they fully realize how bad it looks, also it’s pretty much a part of the mockbuster charm. Still with this I can let it go and pretend the CG stuff is actually there with a lot less difficulty, than Michael Bay tries to stuff his cartoonish transformers down my throat as something realistic looking.

I would recommend watching this with a bunch of friends, while heavily drinking, there’s plenty to laugh about. But it’s not a good movie in any possible way, I found it entertaining only until they return back to present. So yeah, not recommended, it is awful, but definitely not one of the worst movies ever.

Oh, and this movie has the funniest FAQ section on IMDb.com I’ve ever read. For example: “Is time travel safe? Yes, unless you are black.” You can find it here.

Honestly, this is the best looking thing in the movie.