Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Death Race Review

Death Race Poster

Death Race is not exactly a scary film, or a horror film. But I saw it this weekend and it had a TON of gore. It had so much gore that it might as well have been a horror movie. It wasn't scary, but it was so violent and gorey that I was having a blast at the movies again. This movie wasn't great, it had horrible plot structure, horrible story, but the violence and the gore make up for all of that. It is a mindless self indulgent film. Check it out...here's a clip for "restricted" audiences...that's right, gorey, and violent....you've been warned:



If you're not really into this film, or the clip, then you should read about this one guy...yeah this one guy got so upset that a director would say his film was so scary that you couldn't watch it alone, that he bought every ticket to a theater and saw it alone. He said he wasn't scared at all. Check out the scary movie fan story here.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Lost Boys The Tribe Review

the lost boys 2

I’ve been doing movie reviews for a long time, and the most requested movie of all time for me to review has been The Lost Boys: The Tribe. That’s probably because I don’t have a whole lot of visitors, but that’s all right. The Lost Boys is a franchise that has a lot of fans, and purists. With so many different horror remakes coming through the wire, you might be afraid of watching a sequel to the original Lost Boys film, but give it a once over and you might enjoy it, but you really have to love straight to dvd movies.

This movie’s opening has a great cameo from the legend of make up effects from Tom Savini getting dismantled by some vampires. I thought this film was going to be about cannibal vampires, but it wasn’t. This movie is about a brother & sister duo that moves towards the ocean and befriends a circle of vampires. This plot structure was not played off well and made me kind of sad that I had invested so much time into the set up of this horrible movie. I tried to watch this film with an open mind, but within the first half of the film the clothes start coming off and we get treated to a ton of nudity for no apparent reason. We also see some relaxed vampire effects and cg effects that really look lazy.

I tried to dumb myself down to this movie’s level, and then I realized that the star was in an American Pie sequel, and here is the star in all his comedic glory.

Stifler Jr.

Yeah, there he is, Stifler’s little brother with an oboe on his member. Like I’ve said before, I’ll watch ANYTHING and well, sometimes these straight to dvd sequels are launching pads for references in a horror review that really makes no apparent sense.

Here’s a trailer for Lost Boys: The Tribe:



The movie got a lot of attention, and I believe that some bloggers were paid off to promote this stuff, all because of Corey Feldman’s return to the screen. He does a great job reprising his role, and I swear he hasn’t aged a whole lot since he was a kid. He plays the vampire hunter and he makes some references to the original Lost Boys film, but for the most part he’s the highlight of the movie, which isn’t saying a whole lot.



The movie had a terribly linear script, the story was more about sex than it was about vampirism in the traditional sense, and while I did appreciate all the gore effects, I don’t believe that this movie stands up to the original in either style or substance. This film looks like it was filmed with an HD camera rather than real film, and while I do admit there are a few cityscapes, but for the most part it just didn’t have the film quality of most horror films straight to dvd or not.

The Lost Boys 2 dvd is enjoyable for a short time, however once the nostalgia wears off, you don’t have a good vampire film at all. In fact, I had more problems with this film than I have had with a lot of other movies out there in the same category. There is a great surprise at the end, but quite honestly, I hope that doesn’t make for another film with the Lost Boys franchise. This movie had cheesy effects, horrible dialogue, and too much nudity for no apparent reason. If you’re absolutely in love with Corey Feldman or just want to cheer on another Lost Boys movie, then this is for you. I didn’t like it too much, but I managed to get through it.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Hard Candy Review



Hardy Candy punishes your senses and is quite the thriller indeed. The movie had a brilliant marketing poster and it still is creepy. The premise of the film is that a young girl is picked up by a pervert online and is taken back to his place for some sexual encounter, only to get the tables reversed. The story gets really sordid and the details begin to blur into the realms of the unreal, only to have a dramatic climax where nothing is what it seems, and all the sounds and back story come to life. It's a good movie, but the ending and reveal still have a little work to get done.

Hard Candy is visually stunning for a horror/thriller film. Is it a horror movie? Is it a thriller? It's debatable for sure, especially since this film does not have a lot of gore, no boobs, or anything that would give it a R rating. Most people will probably side with the idea that this movie is a thriller, but this is "scary film" blog and we review films that are scary. While some might night think that this movie fits into the genre, consider the fact that the realities expressed in this film are completely real and scary to most women, parents, and even teenagers.

The film explores pedophilia in a very blunt way.

Here is the trailer for Hard Candy:





Everyone credits Ellen Page with her performance in Juno, but I think she is way better in this film. This film demands so much more raw and physical emotion. She goes from playing the young naive teenager to a psychopath in a matter of moments. She teases sexuality with her motions and her words, and really puts the main character in some implied trauma. I would liken the trauma to the film "Audition" which is done here splendidly. You don't get the brute force and gore that you would get from a horror film, but you get the implied reactions. To spoil the film a little she basically freezes a guys testicles and performs a castration...or so you are led to believe.



If the idea of someone being tortured doesn't really make for a good movie in your opinion, consider the fact that for the first half and maybe even three quarters of this film you are not cheering for the young girl. Sure, the guy seems to be a pedophile, but he also comes across as genuine and a photographer, so in some ways you are sympathetic to his character until the young woman finds the porn stash of previous "victims".

The movie really starts to unfold at the very closing moments, and police are called, we see a slice of vigilante justice, which is the worst part of this film. I'm not sure how I would have closed off this film, but one thing is for sure...I wouldn't have done it the way the film makers did in this film. It just seemed too out of left field.

I highly recommend checking out Hard Candy on dvd. I bought it last week via Best Buy for 4.99 but I'm sure you can find a better edition through the official Grindhouse online store, or through amazon.com and other locations. Hardy Candy has an odd premise, but delivers one hell of a ride! You won't be too disappointed with this one, although if you're a fan of extreme gore or straight forward horror, you're not going to find this one too enjoyable. Hard Candy is tough though, tougher than Juno, that's for sure.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Into The Mirror Movie Notes



Thanks to a reader comment, I am going to post this about the Korean horror film "Into The Mirror". Obviously, not everyone has heard or seen this film. I am lucky in that my former boss stocks Korean horror films, and I actually had this in the store at the time of my video store clerk phase. I call it a phase, but it was just my last job before graduating college.

The movie was the subject a remake which I have just reviewed. The movie "Mirrors" is not the same as "Into The Mirror". Sure, it hinges on the same overall themes, but the difference is style and acting ability. The overall themes that I discussed in the previous review about math, theoretical dimensional studies, and even the existence of god is placed into this film, and is a lot heavier handed than its American remake.

The Korean film relies heavily on psychology, sounds, and implied action sequences rather than straight forward gore. Gore is a great tool, but the director of this film Sung-ho Kim does an incredible job of focusing on style and poetry through motion, and you really get a deep sense of darkness and paranoia. The fact that the actors are not speaking English, maybe a great thing for those that have seen "Mirrors" already.

It's hard to find this dvd in a lot of places, including Amazon. There are versions floating around the internet, however, here is the trailer for the film. Just by this trailer you can see the visual style and acting differences between the film.



For a deeper, more intricate synopsis, I referred to IMDB.com and a user write up:

After the accidental death of his partner Young-ho in a hostage situation, the former detective of the Seoul Special Operations Force Woo Young-min (Ji-tae Yu) feels responsible for the tragedy and quit the police force joining the private security company SecuZone. His uncle and owner of the department store Dreampia, Jeon-il Sung (Ju-bong Gi), hires Woo to be the chief of the security of Dreampia, which was rebuilt after a fire where many employees died and is near the reopening in spite of the protest of the families of the victims that claim their indemnity. When an employee dies after hours in the store, Woo leads an internal investigation, while detective Ha Hyun-Su (Myeong-mim Kim) that blames Woo for the death of his friend Young-ho, and his assistant Park, come to the store to lead an official investigation. When other employees that worked in the same department are mysteriously killed in the store, Woo meets Lee Ji-hyun (Hye-na Kim), the twin sister of Lee Jeong-hyun, that convinces him that her sister has not died in the fire and is trapped in the mirrors, while Ha Hyun-Su believes that Lee Ji-hyun is the serial killer.

"Geoul Sokeuro" is another great South Korean horror movie. With a complex screenplay that discloses an intricate and intriguing supernatural plot, this film is supported by great direction and acting and excellent camera work, using mirrors in many unexpected scenes. The horror is not gore but psychological, and there is an important and complex explanation about the "mirror-world" that is basic to understand the end of the story.


Overall, the movie is different in its psychological weight. Psychology makes for a great movie, and American audiences really don't grasp that so much. Sure, it can be a good thing, but most psychological thrillers are panned as too "heavy" for wide audiences. I recommend checking out the movie "Audition" for a similar intensity level, or the movie "Three Extremes" for the terror levels, but if you can't seem to get behind those widely talked about films check out "Perth" or "Old Boy" which are completely different films altogether. If you haven't seen "Into The Mirror" you aren't going to be missing out on anything drastic.

I know, I come across as an expert, but really I'm just a fan of critical thinking. Asian Films offer a lot of implicit psychological development, and a lot of people really don't take time to dwell on those things, and why should they? To the general audience horror is not a psychologically intense experience, but rather just another piece of garbage genre.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Mirrors Review



Alex Aja comes through once again, putting together a very scary and enjoyable remake of “Into The Mirror”, creating a very easy to watch film of paranoia, ghosts, religion, and death. Mirrors, is not a cult classic by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s not a bad movie, and despite what critics are going to say about this film, this was actually quite good.

The initial thing that I caught in this film was definitely great. I’m talking about typography. The typography in the beginning of the film came out backwards, as if they were in a mirror, then they flipped right side up. It was a really nice touch, and alongside the typographic effects, they used a cool (albeit beginner technique) mirror technique to display a vast city. It really was cool to see my schooling used on a real professional level.

The gore level was huge at the beginning. There is definitely a great introduction to the overall film, and it was great. However, the gore levels really just stop there for the most part. You might remember Amy Smart ripping her jaw off, but that was also in the first third of the film. It was incredible, but I think it might have been CG instead of make up techniques that I was expecting.



Here is a trailer for the movie Mirrors:



The rest of the film played out like an episode of 24. This movie really had some pacing problems, and like a lot of horror movies, I was ready to throw the towel in. However, right when I was ready to give up on this film, I really was in for a shock. The movie started to unravel, and I started to get a tense cold spike, and this film was insane. There were a lot of mirror effects that was top notch.

I didn’t like the wife’s acting. I thought she was horrible. However, the movie isn’t terrible at all. This movie was really tense at times, and besides the jump scenes, they had some great juxtaposition of religion, skepticism and reality.

For those of you that are now lost by this, I’ll take a moment to explain the film. The plot surrounds an old hotel with these indestructible mirrors. These mirrors are high, and massive. Inside the mirrors the dead seem to come alive, but in the real world there is nothing happening. The idea of dimensions is expressed in this film. Take a mirror and put it in front of another mirror slightly askew and you’ll see an infinite array of reflections. There is a theory of infinite universe and proof of God that hinges on the idea that in two mirrors you see infinite reflections. Therefore, infinite planes of existence, beyond 3-D. Math sometimes can talk of a fourth dimension, and if you are familiar with that, this film hinges on those ideas. The movie takes themes from “The Grudge”, and even “The Exorcist” and mashes them together into a relatively creepy film.



I’m not sure if I enjoyed the ending to this film, but for what it was, it was definitely better than I thought. I would recommend watching the Korean original “Into The Mirrors” but American audiences will enjoy this one for sure. It wasn’t half bad and I liked the intensity that Aja brought to this film. He’s definitely a worthwhile director. For those of you scratching your head about who Aja is, I reviewed his film P2 and High Tension!

Too bad that the studio's didn't push this one. Maybe it's because it was panned by most critics. But you know what? I liked it. I thought it was good for what it is. I paid five bucks and saw the first showing on a Saturday. My wife, who doesn't really have my taste in movies thought this was creepy, and so did my sister. Meanwhile I liked Tropic Thunder and they didn't think it was all that great. So there's definitely an audience for this, and to consider the deeper meanings of infinite universes, and transitional mirror dimensions, really makes for a creepy thing.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Netflix is Screwing Me Over

Where's the horror? Well Netflix has it and they are having major problems right now. Yeah, Netflix is having shipping problems. I usually carry 5 out at a time and try to get as much horror in as I can to review for this site, and while I have seen a MILLION horror films, I don't think it's fair to simply write a review from memory. Hacking Netflix reported about this earlier, but now I'm informing you guys, all 4 readers of the problems.

I don't have a massive horror dvd collection, but I might have to dip into it, meanwhile netflix fixes their act.

I like my Roku streaming player though, so at least it's not a total loss. In the meantime, there are a lot of angry Netflix users.

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

28 Weeks Later Review



The first film had a sense of depth and desperation, 28 Days Later is a superior zombie film compared to this film. I’m sorry, 28 Weeks Later is a huge let down.

The story revolves around a couple of kids, but first we are punched in the face by what appears to be the last remaining survivors (you have to make these assumptions, given the last films closing point) and all hell breaks loose. From this point forward the last film is only referenced on a global scale, not necessarily through the story line, so this movie stands alone as its own piece of film. The setting becomes the story, given that the last of the zombies seem to have been dead, and the virus contained, at least in the city scape. But there is an immune woman, (the mother) and well…things just get way out of hand as the government can’t seem to hold everything together.

This film reminded me a lot of Resident Evil. However, the game, not necessarily the movie series, and that’s just one of the many flaws that I found while watching this film; giving me a very disappointed film experience.

The camera moves like it is tied to a cat that has gotten scared. It is fast moving, and completely rough cut, hard edits, like a bad music video gone awry. The camera moves hard and fast and initially you get a major sense of desperation, and feel as though you are a part of the movie. This is a great thing if you’re in a large dark room with surround sound and clothed in darkness, but if you’re like me, and live in an apartment with a crappy television, you’re not going to get this great sense of desperation and fear. You’ll start getting dizzy, as the camera seriously lacks a steady pace during any action. The camera also seems to switch from frantic and frenetic spaces to cityscapes for transitional shots, which is one of my critiques for the Dark Knight film that everyone was raving about. There’s no need for these cityscapes if the confines of the film happen in a small piece of it, at least that’s what I think.



The gore level is huge. Initially it was just standard survival horror gore, but towards the end all hell breaks loose and you have no choice but to see buckets and buckets of blood. There is even a scene that reminded me of an old Chuck Norris film, with a helicopter and zombies getting torn to shreds by a military helicopter. It’s ridiculous, and you must think that the directors and writers just gave up on the project and said “screw it”, allowing their well thought out plot points to unravel into a non sense barrage of stupidity that can only be measured by numb skulls.

This movie had so much promise, and even the trailer looked decent:



The problem that I find with this film is not so much that it seems like a lazy attempt to capitalize on the popularity of the first film, but the fact that all the things that I loved about the first film seems somehow lacking in this one. This entry into the story just feels like another remake of sorts, rather than a continuation of the initial story. I don’t like how the continuity feels very slim, and overall, lacks inspiration. This movie is NOT as good as 28 Days Later by any stretch of the imagination. 28 Weeks Later is nothing that you need to see, even though it was somewhat enjoyable at times.



If by some chance you can wait about 40 minutes for the initial set up to get going, you might find that the gore filled scenes of zombie flesh eating, and chase scenes that were ill inspired by Dawn of the Dead, or even House of the Dead, you might enjoy this movie as a stand alone zombie film, rather than the sequel to the wildly popular 28 Days Later. Don’t confuse the two, it’s easy to get them confused as the marketing closely resembles each other. 28 Weeks Later is available via dvd through amazon, or get 28 Weeks Later on Blu-Ray HD Dvd via amazon as well. I don’t recommend it, but I’m just one idiot, with an opinion, so you decide.

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

28 Days Later Review



28 Days Later shocks you into a reality of zombie infestation, unlike any other zombie film before or after it’s presentation. We are treated right off the bat to a lonely world, one where a man is naked on an operation table, without knowledge of the world around him. I could have done without the complete nude scene in the onset, but that’s neither here nor there. The movie has a sense of loneliness in the beginning, and it progresses really slowly into a full blown zombie film.

The visuals are somewhat shaky and grainy, and the use of noise is well placed. We’re not treated to a full symphony to create mood, we get a lot of scarce sounds and quiet shots of real confusion. The main characters, as they are introduced by situations such as running from Zombies, really does make for an interesting first half. The film really is slow at first, and sometimes I wonder if this was just the director setting up something huge for the second half, and I most likely am right.



The movie starts with no one, and slowly fills the panorama with zombies, and they are all being infected through the blood somehow. The infestation seems somewhat controlled, but there is little hope for survival. Just when the people think they find safety, things get out of control as hope brings on desperation among the group and people start getting killed, gangland style and the blood starts to flow like a geyser.

Here’s the trailer for 28 Days Later:



The whole movie is hard to watch, just because it seems slowly paced. It doesn’t really knock you out of your seat like other zombie movies do at the start, and that’s why this film is great. It really sets up the story, and treats you like you’re ignorant to previous zombie movie scenarios. The desperation that is felt in this film is almost real, and it’s a credit to the actor’s and the director. Certain frames transform from grainy hand held footage to high resolution epic lighting sequences. I loved it.

I think this film is under rated in a lot of ways, and while I haven’t picked up the sequel just yet, I look forward to seeing how they treat the rest of the story. The movie does leave things open ended, and we can only assume that there are survivors, but not many!

For gore, story, and visual media, this movie is quite good. I’m not sure if I can say the same for repeated viewings, but it definitely is a strong contender in the zombie movie genre, and definitely one of my favorites in that sub-genre for sure.

The downside to this film is that it feels really long, even though it’s not extremely long like other epics out there. It seems to defy logic in a lot of places, but by the time you realize that, you probably have either given into the films nuances, or you have already passed on the films set up.

28 Days Later is not an epic, but it sure is a fun thrill ride filled with Zombies, emotion, and great character development, for a zombie flick.

28 Days Later is available on dvd and Blu-Ray Dvd via several locations.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Return To Sleepaway Camp Makes Me Hate Horror

I hate remakes. The remake news and the update news really gets tiring for a horror movie fan. Here is the latest and the greatest in the revival category, and from the trailer below, they are ruining one of my favorite films from yesteryear! Sleepaway Camp is slated to be released later this year, and it looks bad, really bad. The only thing that I'll appreciate if this film takes off, is if it has Henry Rollins, he can do no wrong in the straight to dvd horror category.



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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Kids Watching R Films Despite Violence



Wow, people are really scared now! Kids are watching rated R movies and white people around the world are really concerned. I'm sorry, I guess that makes me somewhat racist, right? Ok, I'm sorry. White people out there, I'm sorry.

I am a Mexican. I grew up in a Mexican home, living in the ghetto. When I was a kid I watched whatever I wanted. I started my love affair with horror when I was six years old, so I don't understand todays parents that are so concerned with plastic toys, recalls, immunization, and now R rated films!

Who cares!

I don't.

My kids can watch whatever they want, but I am going to make sure I'm right there to explain whatever they need me to explain, and make sure they know that if they see something on screen, it is fake and not real! My dad let me watch whatever, but he made sure to tell me, that no matter what I see on television or in movies, they are not real.

But not just that, he made sure to explain to me the realities of the news rather than say...Child's Play.

Whatever.

This just made me upset, what me worry? If tweens, or kids are watching R rated movies, that's parents faults, not movie or film makers, that's for sure.

I'll get back to reviews, I'm better at that then trying to talk about news, cause I suck at writing in regards to these things.

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Monday, August 4, 2008

Feast Review



One horror cliché that abounds throughout the annals of history is the plot that involves strangers in an odd scenario that must band together to fight of an alien threat. With that in mind, I present you with the movie Feast!

Feast takes a rag tag group of people inside a bar, unleashes an onslaught of monsters, and makes them deal with each other, their problems, sexual tension, and the coming death. The monsters are ruthless, and there is only one hope for humanity, raw steal/lead as the people inside fight off the incoming invasion, tooth and nail until they’re all dead.

Here’s a trailer for the movie Feast on dvd:



Here’s the problem with the movie, and all movies that follow this sort of formula: You’re screwed no matter what. Not you the viewer, you the person in the movie. Anyone that is trapped inside one location, and can not get out, is most likely going to die. In this particular movie, the monsters continually fight to get into the bar, assuming that they have already eaten the outside world, and succeed in taking care of several people, including the token hero that says he’s going to save your ass! The trailer reveals what could have been a very clever plot point, but instead of giving it to you once you’re sitting down, it gives it to you before you want to see the film. Sad.

This movie was the result of Project Green Light, and is quite the horror film. It’s above average as a monster movie, and shares a lot of gore for what it is. It’s insane! There are buckets of blood, puke, gore, and just all around sickness flying through the walls, windows and doors. They kill kids, they kill grandma, they kill the hero, the monsters are relentless and while there are survivors at the last moment, or at least we presume survivors, these monsters don’t let up at all. These monsters are probably the hardest hitting monsters I’ve seen in a movie since Nightmare City brought fast moving zombies towards my television screen.

If you're a fan of zombie or monster films, you're going to love this one. There's not a lot of talking or random cuddly moments, there is a desperation in the air that never really lets up, and the monsters, man, the monsters are non stop and the buckets of blood seem almost real. This movie is insane, but that's not necessarily a good thing in regards to film in general. It's a treat, I wouldn't call it something to watch often or during dinner. Feast is available on dvd now.



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