Tag Archives: Rated R

Review of The Dead Zone (1983)

7 Feb

dead_zone_xlgThe Dead Zone (1983) is a thriller/fantasy/horror film, which is based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King.

Directed by David Cronenberg (Shivers (1975), Cosmopolis (2012)).

Written by Jeffrey Boam (Straight Time (1978), The Phantom (1996)).

Starring: Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, Tom Skerrit, Martin Sheen, Herbert Lom, Sean Sullivan, Anthony Zerbe and others.

So here’s another one of the four thousand movies based on a Stephen King novel. When I watched the film I had just finished reading the book and my interest level for it couldn’t be higher. So it was hard avoiding comparisons, which is both good and bad as it always is when you’re watching adaptations of literary works you’ve read.

A young Christopher Walken plays the protagonist John Smith, who in the novel is a very normal guy, which is something you can’t say about any character played by Walken ever. He doesn’t look as sinister as when he got older, but his speech pattern alone makes him a more odd and arguably interesting character to follow. Yes, he might be miscast, but I never complain about seeing Christopher Walken in a movie, because he as always gives an excellent performance.

I can’t tell you how much I love this clip.

The story concerns an English teacher who gets into an accident, goes into a coma and then wakes up with a psychic ability. Of course this is half the book, because King likes to set up every character and its mother before something starts happening, here it is all the first act. A lot of character lack the depth, but you can’t do that in a movie and have a sensible running time.

They change around the way the accident happens and other details to shortcut between the main plot points and I have to admit that mostly they do a good job, since it would really slow the movie down, had they left all the extraneous shit in. Where I wished they had spent a little more time is the exposition, because it feels rushed and establishes neither the relationship John had before the accident or the lengthy period he spent in coma very well.

One aspect, which I wish they had included as it was, is the implications on the moral level, with Johnny’s mother’s obsession with god and insistence on Johnny being on a mission from god. They do allude to this, but the connection with his mother is left out. But at least the theme of Johnny being a messianic character still clearly shines through.

The movie builds suspense pretty well and it is basically a supernatural thriller and not really a horror movie. One of the best aspects is how the movie moves past the supernatural element, because it is important only as a set-up and for the plot points, which themselves illustrate. Also the plot is polished and structured better and with more sense. For example a section of the book which was just a serial killer murder mystery out of the blue, here doesn’t get so much attention and just advances Johnny’s character, is cool and moves on.

Another performance worthy of notice is Martin Sheen as a two-faced politician, who has a big ominous role in the future of the world. He is great and unlike Walken is perfectly cast as this despicable character.

From the direction stand point, it is a bit cold and detached, doesn’t seem David Cronenberg really was all that into making this movie, since there’s very little of his signature style.

Overall, definitely one of the better Stephen King adaptations, both in quality and faithfulness. I really liked it. Recommended.

"Who wants. To LEARN some English? Today..."

“Who wants. To LEARN some English? Today…”

Review of Red Scorpion (1988)

6 Oct

Red Scorpion (1988) is an action film.

Directed by Joseph Zito (The Prowler (1981), Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)).

Written by Arne Olsen (Cop and a Half (1993), Repeaters (2010)), Jack Abramoff and Robert Abramoff.

Starring: Dolph Lundgren, M. Emmet Walsh, Al White, T.P. McKenna, Carmen Argenziano, Alex Colon and others.

Once again Dolph Lundgren plays a Russian, however, this time he’s the good guy. For the most part. He’s a Soviet Spetsnaz trained, KGB agent sent to an African country to fight the damn anti-communists. Oh, you can stop right there, I see where this is going. I saw Avatar, I know he’s eventually going to join them, because his higher-up is a major asshole. Get it? Major? Because he’s a soldier? Ah, nevermind.

His first night there, Lundgren gets drunk, gets into a fight with a couple of people, speaks gibberish with a Russian accent, sings an amusingly senseless rendition of the anthem of USSR and other things that are supposed to make us believe he is truly a Russian guy with Russian guy troubles, which are mostly remembering his native language should contain at least some actual, existing words.

Obviously he’s too Russian for some people, so some officers come by and throw Nikolai Lundgren into a jail cell. There he spends about an hour pondering his devotion to his country and he figures that since they are treating him like a huge, violent and drunk guy, while torturing someone else, he’s on the wrong side.

So he teams up with an African man and an American reporter and they escape the prison. The reporter, played by M. Emmet Walsh, really hates Nikolai for being „a fucking ruskie”, let me guess, they’re going to be pals by the end of the movie. Spoilers. Yes. Yes they are.

For some reason, the only music you can hear in Africa is that of Little Richard. Seriously, there’s at least 6 fucking instances of Little Richard on the soundtrack. I like him alright, but it doesn’t make sense. Is this an homage to Predator or something?  I don’t get it.

Lundgren is sort of ok, but most of the time I can’t even understand half of his dialogue, the role is completely one-dimensional and the whole movie is exploitative of the 80’s action hero cheese craze, for example, having Nikolai getting ready to go swimming, with no other purpose than to have him shirtless for an entire action sequence. And I’ve always liked him better as a villain, Rocky IV, Universal Soldier, never cared that much for him as a protagonist.

The action scenes are not very memorable, maybe except a couple of  bits during the climax. Nikolai (at this point randomly smeared himself with black paint, because that’s the best camouflage in the desert) is fighting like hundreds of military guys and then suddenly one of them appears with no shirt on and holding a knife. Why? Did he think he’s the protagonist? Stand out moment is when Nikolai shoots a guy’s arm off. That was nice.

Red Scorpion is basically a First Blood knock-off, having both Nikolai and Rambo be disillusioned by their service to the country. But, while Rambo was actually an interesting character and the movie did comment on aspects of Vietnam, Red Scorpion is stylistically more similar to later Rambo movies and having this overblown action, an actually dumb hero, and the Cold War propaganda so blunt and heavy-handed, that it just doesn’t hit any intelectual or emotional beats.

There’s also another part of the movie, which just comes out of nowhere. Nikolai starts hanging out with some bushmen and for a while it becomes this odd buddy movie having his relationship with one of the bushmen resemble that of Robinson Crusoe and Friday, surprisingly this is the most enjoyable part of the movie.

Overall, it’s dumb, not consistently entertaining, entirely forgettable. It’s just your typical B-grade 80’s action flick, lacking anything that would make it stand out from the other one  and somehow made on an almost A-budget. Not recommended.

“Hey you want to know why I’m wearing cut-offs? Have you ever heard of nevernudes?”

Review of Assault on Precinct (1976)

21 Sep

Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) is an action/thriller/neo-western film about a group of people defending a police station from a gang attack.

Directed by John Carpenter (Dark Star (1974), The Ward (2010)).

Written by John Carpenter (Eyes of Laura Mars (1978), Ghosts of Mars (2001)).

Starring: Austin Stoker, Darwin Joston, Nancy Loomis, Tony Burton, Henry Brandon, Kim Richards and others.

The first thing that pulls you into the movie is the cool theme music, which is not unusual for a John Carpenter movie. I love his synth-heavy film scores, in some ways more than the classical orchestral arrangements.

It starts by introducing various groups of people and all the introductions start with a time stamp, by the time I saw any of the time stamps, I had forgotten the previous one, so it didn’t help to lock the scenes in some time slot, but it helped to create the feeling, that it was all building-up to something. Having seen more than a few movies, it becomes immediately clear, that eventually all the groups will collide. The way they are brought together is actually really cool and natural.

Unusual for the time, the protagonist is a black cop. Here the resemblances to Night of the Living Dead start, which obviously has inspired the movie, besides the fact that it’s in a way a remake of Rio Bravo. The black cop goes to a police station that is closing – precinct 9. That’s right, 9, I guess 13 just sound so much better than 9 to marketing people.

The movie is really ruthless, the bad guys are set up by having one of them do a shockingly unexpected killing. This makes you think he’s going to be the villain, but he is more a symbol of the whole group. To further the comparison to Night of the Living Dead, the gang members that attack the police  station are a lot like zombies. They don’t have dialogue, they don’t hesitate to attack and kill and they just keep on coming, seemingly with no source.

At times it is kind of funny, because in a way it’s a parody of western archetypical heroes and anti-heroes and villains, having them deliver these absurd lines, that don’t make sense in the 70’s, yet at the same time it is a solid action film and not that cheesy. Also I cannot believe you can make a movie like this for just 100 000 dollars, I understand it’s 1976 dollars, but still, that’s a pretty low-budget for an action movie.

I guess, Carpenter could be called a successor of Hitchcock, not in acclaim, but in being another master of suspense, because,  Carpenter manages in his second movie to have the tension from the first minutes and last pretty much throughout the whole movie.

Overall, it’s a simple, cool and suspenseful low-budget action-thriller and I only say that because most of its shortcomings can be excused by the low production costs, which isn’t actually that noticeable. Recommended.

Gangs – bringing Che Guevara, Billy Dee Williams, a white guy and the Wolfman together since 1976.

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.

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 Orphan (2009)

28 Jun

Orphan (2009) is a thriller/mystery/horror film about a couple adopting a child who turns out to be not what they expected.

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown (2011), House of Wax (2005)).

Written by David Johnson (Red Riding Hood (2011), Wrath of the Titans (2012)) and Alex Mace.

Starring: Peter Sarsgaard, Vera Farmiga, Isabelle Fuhrman, CCH Pounder, Aryana Engineer, Margo Martindale and others.

I put off watching this for a long time, because I’ve already heard the twist and felt no interest in seeing another generic evil children movie.

But from the first moments I was pleasantly surprised by some interesting shots and a clear tone. The movie looks great, it has this modern horror movie color corrected desaturized look, while not looking washed out and bland.

So there’s this couple, they’re all like “Boo-hoo, our baby died, let’s get a new one from the baby-pound… uh, I mean, orphanage.” and the orphanage-lady is like “Here’s our selection, take your pick. But choose wisely, you can take only one.” Yes, she is Prof. Oak from the Pokemon games. The husband decides to wander around the orphanage, because… who wouldn’t? He stumbles upon a girl all by herself painting in one classroom. She is good at it and speaks eloquently for her age. So they decide to take her home. It’s as easy as that.

I’d take that girl as well. Wait, that didn’t sound right. I mean, how often do you have the chance of getting a guaranteed intelligent child? Judging by the other kids these parents have, their genes produce a lot less brain than being annoying and deafness. Esther, the orphan girl, is pretty likable, so she’s an interesting villain. I would be ecstatic to have her as a child, sure, she’s a bit weird and acts like an asshole to most people, but she’s a fucking prodigy.

Soon it turns out, they’ve gotten a bad girl at the orphanage. Isabelle Fuhrman is brilliant in the role, I’d say she’s one of the most promising child actresses I’ve ever seen. She and Chloe Grace Moretz are currently my two favourites, they both have in common a screen presence way beyond their years. Also the little deaf girl does a good job. Jimmy Bennett is awful, I hated him.

Vera Farmiga is definitely very good here, she sells the most important part, Esther’s impact on the family, by portraying this complete psychological breakdown. Peter Sarsgaard kind of does ok in the role, it’s believable, but at the same time he doesn’t do very much. There is one scene where he is drugged and he looks kind of sleepy, but it seems like he’s been that way the whole movie.

The movie is like a mix of Good Son (which I liked, unlike most critics) and The Omen or Child’s Play. It’s a pretty sick and twisted movie if you think about a lot of the implications, I wish, I didn’t know the plot twist before seeing it, but I still enjoyed it. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, so it’s a fun watch. I could illustrate by saying that the best quote of the movie is “I’m not your fucking mommy!”

Overall, it’s very entertaining, I enjoyed it a lot and if you don’t stupidly take it as some commentary on adoptions, you’re going to have fun. Recommended.

“Daddy, I can’t sleep, I have daddy issues!”
“That’s alright, Princess, I’ll just get undressed and I’ll come sleep next to you.”
“Yay, I’ll need therapy!”

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!”