Blog

07/11/2017 16:31

  1. Black Swan (2010) – Mine: 10; IMDB: 8.0
  2. The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015) – Mine: 9; IMDB: 5.8
  3. The Belko Experiment (2016) – Mine: 9; IMDB: 6.2
  4. Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) – Mine: 8; IMDB: 7.5
  5. The Birds (1963) – Mine: 8; IMDB: 7.8
  6. The Bad Seed (1956) – Mine: 8; IMDB: 7.5
  7. Blue Velvet (1986) – Mine: 8; IMDB: 7.9
  8. Before I Wake (2016) – Mine: 8; IMDB: 6.1
  9. Blade II (2002) – Mine: 8; IMDB: 6.7
  10. Beetlejuice (1988) – Mine: 8; IMDB: 7.4
  11. Blade of the Ripper (Lo strano vizio della Signora Wardh) (1971) – Mine: 8; IMDB: 7.0
  12. The Blob (1988) – Mine: 8; IMDB: 6.4
  13. Birth of the Living Dead (2013) – Mine: 8; IMDB: 7.1
  14. Byzantium (2012) – Mine: 8; IMDB: 6.5
  15. The Blood on Satan’s Claw (1971) – Mine: 8; IMDB: 6.4
  16. Battle Royale (Batoru rowaiaru) (2000) – Mine: 7; IMDB: 7.8
  17. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935) – Mine: 7; IMDB: 7.9
  18. Bunny Lake is Missing (1965) - Mine: 7; IMDB: 7.3
  19. Black Christmas (1974) - Mine: 7; IMDB: 7.2
  20. Blade (1998) - Mine: 7; IMDB: 7.1
  21. Black Sabbath (I tre volti della paura) (1963) – Mine: 7; IMDB: 7.2
  22. The Black Room (1935) – Mine: 7; IMDB: 7.0
  23. The Beyond (...E tu vivrai nel terrore! L'aldilà) (1981) – Mine: 7; IMDB: 6.9
  24. The Brood (1979) – Mine: 7; IMDB: 6.9
  25. The Burning (1981) – Mine: 7; IMDB: 6.1
07/07/2017 16:45

Film: The Burrowers

Year: 2008

Director: J.T. Petty

Writer: J.T. Petty

Starring: Clancy Brown, David Busse and William Mapother

 

Review:

This film takes place in the Wild West. We start at night with a family that hears something coming. The father believes it is Native Americans so he goes out to head off whatever it is while his eldest son takes the family down into a crawlspace to hide. Something attacks them and they drop their lantern.

The next day we see two men checking in on them. One of them is Clancy Brown, who I believe is the sheriff for the area. With him is Karl Geary. They don’t find anyone and they think they’ve been taken by Native Americans. Geary finds a picture that he takes with him.

We then shift to a family that is going out to have a picnic. From what I gathered, the mother was married previously and has a son. She is played by Laura Leighton and her son is Galen Hutchison. The man that she is seeing now is played by William Mapother. Hutchison notices a man with a funny hat riding up. It is Geary. Mapother sends the woman and her son back to the house and he speaks with him. Mapother agrees to join up to find the missing people along with Hutchison.

Brown, Mapother and Hutchison go back to the house to investigate. On the property Hutchison notices a weird hole as well as the grass around it mashed down. These three then join up with a soldier and his unit. The man in charge is played by Doug Hutchison. Also in his unit is a cook played by Sean Patrick Thomas. Doug has a Native American guide and interpreter as they hunt to try to find what happened to this family. Mapother’s horse almost falls into some loose dirt. He doesn’t notice it, but we do that there looks to be flesh of something that was once alive.

This group comes upon a Native American in the distance and Doug fires his weapon, killing the man’s horse. He is played by David Midthunder and tries to run away, but he is knocked out. Doug then starts to interrogate him, with the help of Mapother, to see if he knows what happened to this family. Midthunder brings up the name of what they assume to be a tribe of Natives, known as the Burrowers. He is glad to see that they like not just Native American meat, but also white.

That night, four men from the unit disappear and we see that there is something in the grasses. We don’t get a good look at it, but it walks on all fours and has a terrible screech. Doug is upset the following morning to learn the men disappeared. There are also more of these holes that they find. It is this day that they find a woman buried under the dirt. They don’t understand what would do this and they hear a weird scratching from her shoe. When they remove it, they find two of her toes are moving. Is there something inside of her? Or are other parts of her moving as well? Is she alive or dead? Galen is tasked with taking her to be buried properly.

Mapother, Geary and Thomas break away from Doug’s unit as they know he is on the wrong trail. They happen upon a Native American woman, played by Alexandra Edmo, who gives them the mythology of what the Burrowers actually are. Can they find the missing family or is it too late? Can they survive what these things are?

This was a film that I saw a trailer for back when I was in college, but hadn’t gotten around to seeing it. I have to say that I am glad that I did. As most probably already know, I’m really big on story and I like that about this film. For creatures, which this is a Western creature feature, I either like a good back-story or know pretty much nothing at all. I like that this one gives us almost a mythology of what The Burrowers are. It is something that we know in real life didn’t exist, but there were a lot of mysterious things happening back during the wild times that something like this could happen. I’m not big on Westerns, unless they are done right, which I think this one is. It raises the stakes for the time period as there are no hospitals or places to find when out in the open prairie. What also makes this great is these things used to eat Buffalo, but after the white man pretty much killed them in extinction, they had to turn their sights on other forms of food. This gives it an added dimension for me. I was also a big fan of the ending as well.

I felt that the acting of this film was good. Brown doesn’t have a lot in this one, but his look was perfect. Mapother was solid in this film. What I like about him is that he can speak a little Native American, but being that no one else can he actually lies to his group about what they are saying if it goes against him. He is getting desperate at that point and I love the character flaw. Geary is good as well. I liked that he was smitten with the eldest daughter so he will stop at nothing to save her. Doug Hutchison was solid as the arrogant, jerk of a military soldier. Galen Hutchison and Thomas were great in support as well.

From here I want to touch on the creature design and the use of CGI. Now according to IMDB, many of the monsters are based on people and their movements, but it looks like CGI was used over top of them. This film was very good about keeping them in the dark and shadows, which makes them scary. At the climax we get a real good look at them and I think they looked creepy. I think other filmmakers should take a note of how they use computers to make this, because I was impressed. They also use it when horses or people get shot to show the blood spurts. This looked good too, which normally is one of the issues I have when it looks fake. I thought the editing was good for the most part. There was a slight lull to me when I got a bit bored, but once it gets to the climax I was locked. The soundtrack didn’t stand out to me, but it definitely doesn’t hurt the film.

Now with that said, I would recommend this film if you like creature features or Westerns. I thought the creatures looked good and their mythology helps to build on them. It is a pretty scary thing to deal with during the time period. Westerns and horror don’t give mixed often, but in a case like this it is very good. I thought the story and concept were solid as well. The acting was good. The editing of the film could have been tightened a bit, but it doesn’t ruin it. The soundtrack doesn’t stand out or ruin the film as well. This is definitely a film you don’t hear a lot about, but I think it is worth a viewing.

 

My Rating: 7 out of 10

07/07/2017 16:36

I have posted all of the horror films that I have currently viewed and wrote a review about that start with the letter B. I will now be starting my countdown of the best horror films that begin with the letter B. The top 25 horror films that start with B will have a list that recaps and each will get their own as well. I also want to point out that this is a fluid list because there are still a lot of horror films that start with B that I have not seen or haven't reviewed yet. As I watch more, I will add them to this list if they make the cut.

Without further ado, here are films that came up just short, but are the honorable mentions:

  1. Blood and Black Lace (Sei donne per l’assassino) (1964) – Mine: 7; IMDB: 7.1
  2. Burn, Witch, Burn (1962) – Mine: 7; IMDB: 7.0
  3. The Body Snatcher (1945) – Mine: 7; IMDB: 7.4
  4. The Believers (1987) – Mine: 7; IMDB: 6.0
  5. Brotherhood of the Wolf (Le pacte des loups) (2001) – Mine: 7; IMDB: 7.1
  6. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (2006) – Mine: 7; IMDB: 6.8
  7. Blood and Roses (Et mourir de plaisir) (1960) – Mine: 7; IMDB: 6.7
  8. Borderland (2007) – Mine: 7; IMDB: 5.6
  9. Below (2002) – Mine: 7; IMDB: 6.2
  10. The Blair Witch Project (1999) – Mine: 7; IMDB: 6.4
07/06/2017 16:40

Film: The Bye Bye Man

Year: 2017

Director: Stacy Title

Writer: Jonathan Penner

Starring: Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount and Cressida Bonas

 

Review:

This film begins back in 1969. A man pulls up to a house and gets out of the car, he is played by Leigh Whannell. He goes up to the door and knocks. A woman answers and he asks if she has told anyone his name. She states that she has and she slams and locks the door. Whannell goes back to his car and takes out a shotgun. He shoots the door, creating a hole and reaches in to open it. He kills the woman. He sees her husband, who is wheelchair bound and on the ground. He then goes across the street, chasing two women.

We then shift to the present. We have a couple, played by Douglas Smith and Cressida Bonas, and his best friend, played by Lucien Laviscount. They are looking at a house that they are going to live in. The three of them all go to a local college and have a great rapport together. The house they are looking at hasn’t been lived in for quite some time, is rundown and the original furniture is in the basement.

They throw a housewarming party and Smith’s family shows up. We learn that his mother and father passed away in a car accident. His brother is protective over him, played by Michael Trucco. His wife is played by Marisa Echeverria and they have a daughter played by Erica Tremblay. She goes up to Smith and Bonas’ room and finds a coin by a nightstand. She puts it on the stand and it falls again as she walks away. She also checks out a mini-closet and the one on the other side of the room opens. A dog like head pokes out of another one on the opposite side of the room. Before her and family leave that night, she tells Smith about the coin and what she did. He thanks her.

Smith checks it out and finds the coin she is referring to. He puts it into the drawer and it falls out of the back somehow. He takes the drawer out and looks at it. Inside is the writing, over and over again saying ‘Don’t Say It, Don’t Think It’. He rips it out and finds underneath it the name ‘The Bye Bye Man’. Bonas invited a friend from English class to the party; she is played by Jenna Kanell. She claims to be sensitive to psychic things. Laviscount is kind of a player and he takes a liking to her. They hold a séance that night and Kanell is freaked out by what she learns. Everyone else is skeptical of her, but she does know Smith’s history and everyone convinces him that they didn’t tell her. He tries an experiment by hiding keys, but when she is right, he still doesn’t believe her.

Later that night Smith hears scratching outside as well as thinking he sees something inside of his coat on the hanger across the room.

The following morning Laviscount takes Kanell home and she invites him in. He freaks out when he sees maggots in her hair. When he gets back home, all he does is compliment Bonas. She also sees him naked when he is supposed to be in the shower. Was it real or just her imagination? She also seems to be coming down with a cold.

The three of them start to hallucinate and become fearful of each other. Smith starts to suspect that Laviscount and Bonas are seeing each other behind his back. Laviscount does seem interested in her and Bonas gets worse with her cold. Smith starts to see a tall, slender man played by Doug Jones. He is also accompanied by a monstrous looking dog as well.

Smith starts to look into this, but can’t find anything on it. His search leads him to the school library where he is helped by Cleo King. There is a hidden story about Whannell and what he did back in 1969. His widow, played by Faye Dunaway, is still alive and knows something. The problem is the more people he tells, the stronger Jones becomes. Can he find a way to stop the Bye Bye Man? Or will he meet the same fate that Whannell did all those years ago?

Now I was hesitant to check this film out, because I saw that it had a low IMDb rating. There is a podcast that I like to listen to that went to see it at the theater, but they do spoilers, so it went on my list to see so I could listen to that episode. I am actually glad that I finally watched this film though. From what I have heard, the concept of this film is actually an urban legend, one that I have not heard of and it is not from the area that I grew up in. I like the concept of a creature like this that gains power by fear and thinking about it, even though it is something that has been done quite a bit already. Especially in this day and age, since this age group, including myself in this, we worry about everything. We are the prime group for something like this to gain a lot of power with. The story progresses fairly quickly, but I think in doing that it built tension well. I thought writing of the film was okay and the mystery that this has. This film does leave a lot unexplained and that really bothered me though. There is multiple references to a train that are never explained. We do get a train scene, but the film makes it seem like much more than what we get. I also don’t understand why Jones’ character has the monstrous dog. I have a heard a possible theory that is connecting this to Greek mythology, which I would love if that was what they were going for, but I think the film needed to connect this more if they were. I really liked the ending of this film though.

The acting in this film is kind of hit or miss for me. Smith was pretty solid as the lead. He has a look of someone that is bothered by what is happening and plays it well. Laviscount I liked at first, but he kind of falls back as the climax approaches unfortunately. Bonas was disappointing. I thought she looked good, but she comes off a little flat. I discovered that she is from Great Britain and I think part of it is she is trying to cover up her accent. Kanell looks her part very well. We also get cameos by King, Dunaway, Carrie-Anne Moss and Whannell. All are solid in the little time on screen they get. Jones doesn’t get any speaking roles, but he is fantastic with his look in the film. I also want to give a shout-out to Tremblay. She was good as the daughter in this and it is amazing to me that her older brother was in another film I just watched that he did a great job in. Crazy that both are that solid at the ages they are. I will definitely see more of what they are in to see if they can continue it on.

I have to comment on the setting of the film, because at least part of this was filmed about 20 minutes from Cleveland, Ohio, where I am writing this. It is fun to see a film that is made so close to me. There was some CGI for this, but it was used very well. They don’t focus on it too much so it doesn’t look fake which is a problem that happens a lot. Wasn’t much needed in the way of that. The editing of the film was solid. Nothing really stood out to me, but the film to me was put together well and never seems to go into a lull, which is great. The soundtrack didn’t stand out either, but didn’t hurt the film.

Now with that said, if you are a horror fan I would recommend this film. I think the name has turned a lot of people off as I saw a lot of memes mocking it. I actually think the story of this film has some good concepts, but lacked completely fleshing them out. The ending is good and it is well-written. The acting is a little hit or miss, but overall it is good. The setting is fun for me being that I’m from the Midwest and that’s where this is, focusing more on Ohio. The creature and the CGI looked good, but I wasn’t a fan of the dog’s that accompanies him and I thought the editing was solid. The soundtrack didn’t stand out, but for this film it didn’t need to. I would definitely recommend giving this film a viewing.

 

My Rating: 6 out of 10

07/05/2017 16:55

Film: Blair Witch

Year: 2016

Director: Adam Wingard

Writer: Simon Barrett

Starring: James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez and Corbin Reid

 

Review:

This film begins with showing footage of someone in a run-down house. They pass by a mirror and we only get a glimpse before they go into a room and close the door. We then learn that someone is watching this on YouTube. That person is James Allen McCune. He is talking to his girlfriend, played by Callie Hernandez. McCune believes that the woman in the mirror is his sister. He is holding out hope that she is still alive. McCune has reached out to the person that claims to have found this footage in the house in the woods outside of Burkittsville. It should be pointed out that McCune is the younger brother of Heather Donahue, the sole woman from the original Blair Witch Project.

Joining them are two friends who are also a couple. There is Brandon Scott, who has known McCune since they were children. His girlfriend is played by Corbin Reid. They show off all of the gadgets they got for this expedition. They have cameras that are ear pieces, they have security cams, Hernandez has a camera and there is a drone.

Hernandez is a film student and she is going to film this expedition to see if they can find anything involving McCune’s sister. Scott has reservations that she is taking advantage of him. Hernandez tries to convince him that is not the case, she wants to help him to either find something or finally give this up. If they find anything, she can use it to pass school and she doesn’t want to miss out on that opportunity.

These four go out to Burkittsville where they meet up with another couple, played by Wes Robinson and Valorie Curry. There is a twist that they want to go out into the woods with them. Scott clearly isn’t for this and McCune is reluctant to allow this. They end up giving in.

Robinson has his own camera, one that is a little bit older than the rest that burns to DVDs. They hike into the woods. They have to cross over a river and during this, Reid cuts her foot. McCune is a paramedic, so he bandages her up.

It is starting to get dark so they set up camp. That night they start to hear noises. It scares them. Robinson goes out into the woods, but everyone makes it back. The following morning though there are bunch of the Tiki-Men hanging all around their campsite like in the original film. It is also not morning, but 2 in the afternoon. It is decided that they will go back to the car. On the way back, they realize that Robinson and Curry faked the men, as Hernandez finds the same rope in Robinson’s bag. They are forced to find their own way back. The other group panics when they end up back at their campsite.

Scott finds that there is something in the cut on Reid’s foot. It is bleeding pretty badly. He goes off into the woods and is attacked by something. He is taken off. McCune tries to find him, but only his walkie-talkie. McCune and Hernandez bump into Robinson and Curry to learn that it has been five days since they last saw each other, not just earlier in the day like Hernandez believes.

What is going on here? What is after them? Can they find Scott? Can they all get out before it is too late?

Now I have to say, when I first heard about this sequel, I was intrigued. Even more so since this is a sequel to one of the most influential found footage films of all time. To add even more, Adam Wingard is a director who likes to take advantage of this forum when it comes to many of his films. Now this film is scripted unlike the original. This is technically a direct sequel to that one. The story does have some issues for me. The first issue I’ll look at is I don’t recall Donahue saying she had a brother in the original. Not a big deal, but something that I thought about. Next issue is I don’t know how McCune would believe that his sister is still alive. It has been 17 years since the original to this point and there is no way he would think she could still living. There is the time doesn’t run the same aspect that was introduced in this film that could explain how it could be, which I liked. This is something that is kind of brought up in Book of Shadows: Blair Witch II, which makes me believe they are incorporating that in there. This one also feels like the original, but throwing in a creature to chase them. This film does bring up some things that are not fully explained, like what is inside the cut and leg of Reid. It is questionable to introduce it and then revealing why. I liked the ending as it brings it full circle as well.

The acting I don’t have a lot of complaints about. McCune I’ve actually seen in a couple of things and he seemed real to me. He has concern for his sister, but it has been so long that it is tempered. It is a little implausible though since there is an age gap though as he would have been really young and probably wouldn’t remember her. I thought Hernandez looks terrified during the final sequence, which is good. The rest of the cast I believed and didn’t have problems there.

Now when it comes to found footage, I am a big fan when it is done correctly. I do feel that this one was one of those, but I’m not surprised with Wingard at the helm. I liked the idea of cameras that they wear around their ears, as it eliminates everyone carrying one. I also like that the only reason things are filmed near the end with a camera is because of the light that is on it as they lost their flashlights. The creature they have was barely showed and I loved it. It was done with CGI, but we don’t get a good look at it and I thought it was creepy. It also incorporates part of the legend we are told in this film. This one I felt did rely too much on the jump scare. I get why they do it and sometimes I can be used with great effect, but too much it feels gimmicky. This one really flirted with the latter unfortunately. There is no soundtrack in terms of music; they use sounds of nature which help to build the realism of the film.

With that said, this film is slightly above average. I felt that it tried to do some of the things that the original did, but it is hard to do since this is a sequel and not an original idea. I thought they had the perfect choice for director in Wingard who knows how to utilize found footage. I thought the story was interesting with some of the aspects that they incorporated. I would like to know more about them as they are left unexplained. I would say the acting was good and natural. I thought the gadgets they introduced also helped make this feel more real. The creature is barely shown and I thought that was great. There are a lot of jump scares that this film relies on, which I’m not a big fan of. The editing of the film was good and I like how the story comes full circle in the end. Outside of screams and talking, the soundtrack is nature so that helps with the realism as well. Now you don’t need to see the original to enjoy this one, because it does fill you in. I still prefer the original to this one. I would say that this is an above average film. If you like the original then give this a viewing try to temper your expectations coming in.

 

My Rating: 6 out of 10

07/03/2017 15:22

Film: Basic Instinct II

Year: 2006

Director: Michael Caton-Jones

Writer: Leora Barish and Henry Bean

Starring: Sharon Stone, David Morrissey and David Thewlis

 

Review:

This film begins with Sharon Stone in a car with Stan Collymore. Stone is reprising her role from the original film and she is a novelist. Collymore is a professional soccer player who seems out of it. Stone takes his hand and starts to pleasure herself. She is speeding down the road as this is going on. As she climaxes, she drives into the water. She tries to free him, but is unable. She does save herself though.

She is being brought up on charges of murder for this incident. The detective in charge of this investigation is David Thewlis. Working with him is Neil Maskell. They interview Stone and much like the original film, they get nothing out of her. It is decided to send to a psychologist to see if they can get a hold on her to build a case.

The man that Scotland Yard uses is David Morrissey. Stone arrives with her lawyer, who is supposed to be the best and is played by Terence Harvey. Stone decides to go in without him and she is interviewed by Morrissey. His assessment is that she has problems with risk addiction and that she is a danger. The judge sees it the other way and she is released.

Morrissey is leaving the court when he bumps into Hugh Dancy. Dancy is a reporter and he doesn’t get along with Morrissey. The reason we learn later is that Morrissey is divorced because Dancy was sleeping with his wife, who is played by Indira Varma. They are actually seeing each other still. Dancy is writing an article on Stone and this incident and tries to get a quote from Morrissey, who blows him off.

There is a party later that Morrissey goes to with his colleague, played by Charlotte Rampling. Morrissey is trying to get a position that is prestigious, but he has to impress Heathcote Williams. Williams is kind of eccentric and gives a backhanded compliment to Morrissey who critiqued something that Williams wrote. Morrissey is also trying to move on with his life and kind of seeing Flora Montgomery.

The next day Stone goes to Morrissey’s to get him to treat her for her risk addiction. He declines, stating that it would be inappropriate with their past now. He is willing to give her the name of Rampling who is just as good. She declines and is persistent in changing his mind. She shows up to another party, one that Williams throws.

Morrissey agrees to take her on as a patient, but his life starts to become crazy afterwards. Stone is seeing Dancy along with his ex-wife. She is becoming all that he can think about and when she stops seeing him as a patient, he starts to follow her. There are talks of another patient that Morrissey was seeing that was thought to have killed his girlfriend. Thewlis is bound and determined to convict Stone of a crime.

People around them start to die and there are questions of who is the killer? Is it Stone? Morrissey? Varma? Or someone else? Can Morrissey get to the bottom of all this before he goes crazy himself?

Now I will admit that I checked this film out, because I really liked the original. This one though I don’t think is nearly as bad as everyone seems to make out it to be. Now it is very close to being a clone of the original. It has been some time since I’ve seen that one. My question though is what do you expect? It is like the Hangover Part II, you watched what you did in the first one and then they are trying to capitalize on that success with another one. It is interesting though how long they waited to do this one. I thought the mystery and trying to figure out what is going on was good. I was slightly disappointed by the ending. I wanted a little more out of it than what we got. Aside from that though, it is another interesting take on a man being obsessed with Stone’s character and trying to prove they are not the one doing the murders, all while hoping that she is not one doing them either.

I will say that the acting for this film is actually really good. This film has a solid cast. I have to talk about the star first though, Stone. There were 14 years between the original and this sequel. She was also 48 years old at the time this film was made and I will say she looked fantastic. She is nude in the film and I won’t lie I enjoyed it. With that being said though, I thought her acting was really good as well. She is this character and has the role down. I love how she is in control in every scene, no matter what the person opposite her thinks and it is great. The other star, Morrissey, was solid as well. I liked him on the Walking Dead and I believe this is the first film I’ve seen him in. He is great because at the beginning, he is in control, but the more he delves in with Stone, we see him losing his grip. I’m a huge fan of seeing people descend into madness. Thewlis is solid as the persistent detective. You can believe that he could possible be dirty. I’m a big fan of Rampling and Dancy as well.

I will say that I thought the film could have been trimmed a little bit. There were a couple of stretches where the editing could have tightened it up. It just felt there was some things that we were given that wasn’t necessarily needed to progress the story. The soundtrack didn’t stand out to me, so I don’t feel that it hurt it either.

Now I am adding this to my horror film research. This isn’t a horror film, but it does have elements of films from the genre. There is a decent body count of murders. One of them is particularly bloody. It almost comes off to me as a non-horror slasher in that regard. I am also adding it due to Morrissey and his descent into madness at trying to get to the bottom of what is going on and proves that he is not the killer.

With that said, I would recommend this film. I don’t think it is nearly as bad as a lot of people said. I think part of the negative view of the film is that is sequel and that it resembles the original too much. I came in knowing what the original is about and watching this as a film that is continuing Stone’s story, which I ended up enjoying. It brings up a little from the previous film while not violating what happened. I thought the acting was really good. I feel the editing of the film could have tightened up the product. The soundtrack didn’t stand out, while also not hurting the film. I would recommend this as a psychological thriller, but it can also be viewed as a fringe horror film. We have elements of a slasher as well as of a man descending into madness to prove his innocence. Not the best film in either of this types of films, but there are much worse out there as well.

 

My Rating: 6 out of 10

06/29/2017 16:35

Film: The Devil’s Candy

Year: 2015

Director: Sean Byrne

Writer: Sean Byrne

Starring: Ethan Embry, Shiri Appleby and Pruitt Taylor Vince

 

Review:

This film begins with a man lying in bed; he is played by Pruitt Taylor Vince. He hears something talking and it sounds quite creepy. In order to stop it, he plays his guitar really loud. His mother comes in, played by Shiela Bailey Lucas. She tells him that he cannot play that loud at that time of night. He ignores her and she tells him he will go back to the hospital. He chases her out of the room, hitting her with his guitar as she goes to down the stairs. She falls her to death. As this happens, the cross hanging on his wall unhooks and hangs upside down. Her husband and Vince’s father, played by Richard Rollin, opens the door and sees her dead on the floor.

We then shift to Ethan Embry. He is shirtless and painting. We learn that he loves metal music and is a commissioned painter. His daughter, played by Kiara Glasco, opens up the door to his studio and mocks the subject. He is painting butterflies and he tells her that it is for a bank so he has to do what he is asked. Her mother and Embry’s wife, played by Shiri Appleby, enters as well and she scolds him for not showering.

They go to look at a house, the same one that Vince was living in. They look around it and they love it. There is even a large shed that could be a studio for Embry. The realtor does reveal that there were two deaths in the house and he has to disclose that. He plays it off as the woman died of natural causes and the husband couldn’t cope. The realtor also slips that there are other potential buyers. This young family buys the house.

We see Vince move into a hotel. He tries to keep whatever talks to him away by playing his guitar, but someone complains and a deputy shows up, telling him to keep it down. Vince reluctantly agrees to this.

The new family settles in and Embry takes Glasco to school. When he returns and enters the house, he hears the same thing that Vince does. He goes up to Glasco’s room and takes down one of her posters. Behind it is a stain that was around the cross that hung there. He then goes out to his studio and paints a black, upside cross. He is some caught up in his work that he doesn’t hear Appleby come in. He also doesn’t remember painting it.

On the following day, he scans and image on to a flash drive and takes it to a local studio. He was rejected before and the proprietor normally doesn’t give people a second chance. The woman agrees to show him regardless.

The family is visited by Vince and he wants to come home. Embry is rude to him, telling him that he doesn’t live there anymore. Glasco is shocked by how he acts. The next morning Vince has left his guitar. Glasco wants to keep it, but Embry won’t allow it. Embry is supposed to pick her up later that day from school, but he gets caught up in his next painting and forgets.

No longer with his guitar to stop whatever is talking to him, Vince kills a little boy. He buries it on the land that used to belong to his parents. He also sets his sights on Glasco. Can Embry stop him before he takes his daughter? Or will she become the next victim? What is talking to Vince? Is it something sinister or just in his head?

I originally heard about this film from horror podcasts I followed and it took me some time to finally get a chance to watch it. I am glad I finally did, because I loved this film. To start with the story, I find it very interesting to look at a couple of ways. This is considered a haunted house film. What I like about these that are done right is you don’t know if what is going on is real or just in their head. Is the voice Vince hears the devil or just him having a mental disorder. The film would lead you to believe that it is the devil, since Embry hears it as well. Something else about this, Vince goes on to kill people and Embry isn’t effected the same way. It could be that Embry wasn’t there nearly as long, but just something I noticed. I really liked why Vince is killing them, something that is revealed later in the film. The title of the film makes so much more sense after it is revealed. Writer/director Sean Byrne did a great job on the screenplay to me.

As for the acting, I have to say that I was surprised by Embry. He did a great job as the father. You get that feeling of excitement for him when he they buy the house, but you also get the despair as he fails to live up to some of his duties. I got the feeling of pressure from him due to the fact they are behind on their bills as well. This was a bit confusing since they just moved in and weren’t their long though. I also really enjoyed Embry and his character’s transformation at the end. Appleby was good as the foundation of the family, having a steady income to her dreamer of a husband. I was most impressed though by Glasco. I haven’t seen her in anything before this, except for an episode of Haven. She has a bright future as a teen actress. Personally, I hope she sticks with the horror genre. I also want to comment on Vince, who also did a great job. He plays the role that it could be mental illness or it could be the devil telling him to do it. I love where that line is blurred to make it more realistic.

I have to comment on the soundtrack and the audio of this film Byrne did a great job at knowing when to have sound and when not to. This film has a feel of being almost like a rock opera. I’m not big into metal music, but I loved how it was used for this film. It is perfect for the scenes that it is used and then for dramatic effect having scenes where there is no sound completely. I felt that the editing for the film was good. My favorite example is when Embry is painting and Vince kills the child. We see red paint being used and stirred. It is edited next to images of blood being cleaned out a bathroom. I felt it was an amazing juxtaposition and of what Embry’s possession and Vince’s possession forces them to do. The film runs well and I didn’t see where any tightening up was needed. One issue I did have was the computer generated fire that was used in the end. I wasn’t a huge fan, but I understand why it was done. It would make the scene nearly impossible to film if not. The blood looked pretty practical and if it wasn’t, that was an example of great CGI. I also loved the fate of Vince. That brought things full circle for me.

Now with that said, I would highly recommend seeing this film. The story is interesting take on the haunted house. It almost seems to make it into a rock opera, but it also brings the realism of not knowing if what we are seeing is the devil or mental illness. I felt that the acting was very good across the board and I was impressed. I love the soundtrack, even though I’m not a metal fan as well as the use of sound throughout the film. The editing was good. I wasn’t a fan of the fire at the end, but I get it. The rest of the effects looked good. I feel that is one of the better films I’ve seen in some time and would recommend giving this one a viewing for everyone.

 

My Rating: 9 out of 10

06/28/2017 17:03

Film: The Lost World

Year: 1992

Director: Timothy Bond

Writer: Harry Alan Towers

Starring: John Rhys-Davies, David Warner and Eric McCormack

 

Review:

This film begins with a young reporter for a British newspaper wanting to make a name for himself, he is played by Eric McCormack. The film takes place in 1912. McCormack wants to be sent to where ever there is a war and he is informed that one is not going on at the moment. He is given the task of interviewing a well know scientist. McCormack is excited, but deflated immediately when he hears them making a bet that he doesn’t get the interview.

This scientist does not like reporters, so McCormack gets the idea to pretend to be a scientist from Italy. As he goes to meet with him, his maid warns McCormack what could happen if he is lying. The scientist is played by John Rhys-Davies. He immediately sees through his act and attacks him. The police show up during the scuffle, but McCormack does not press charges. This actually impresses Rhys-Davies, so much that he gives him an interview.

Rhys-Davies is an explorer as well as an expert on animals. He claims that while he was exploring Africa, he came across an American who claimed to have found a plateau that had prehistoric dinosaurs. Rhys-Davies was consumed by finding it. On the way, he is attacked by his interpreter, played by Nicky Rebelo. Rhys-Davies kills him and he is left alone with his guide played by Innocent Choda. He finds the plateau, but during the attack by Rebelo he was injured. Rhys-Davies shows a sketch book to McCormack. No one in the scientific community believes him though. McCormack gives him a vote of confidence and this excites Rhys-Davies even more. He invites McCormack to a talk that night.

This forum is made up of Rhys-Davies peers. He challenges his biggest opponent, played by David Warner. Rhys-Davies wants him to lead an expedition to this lost world. Warner declines until McCormack joins in. He then reluctantly agrees. When more volunteers are called for, a boy played by Darren Peter Mercer, and a woman, played by Tamara Gorski, offer to go. Both are ignored. As it turns out, Gorski is actually an American photographer who has explored a lot of the world. She still is ignored despite this.

Warner agrees to allow McCormack to come, but he will not let Rhys-Davies. Rhys-Davies will not give him a map to get there, but does give him a letter that is meant to be opened on a certain day at a certain time. Gorski ends up getting her way to come, as her father is wealthy and pays for the expedition.

On the ship to Africa, Gorski finds that Mercer is a stow-away in a box. He has also forced his way onto this expedition.

Once they get to Africa, we meet more members of this group. There is an interpreter who is played by Géza Kovács, but there is something that is shady about him from the beginning. They also take a woman interpreter played by Nathania Stanford. McCormack as well as Warner takes a liking to her, while Gorski is jealous.

As they prepare to begin their journey, we learn that the letter given to Warner is blank and Rhys-Davies shows up. He will be coming along on this expedition as well. They head up river.

They end up finding the plateau. Rhys-Davies sees a pterodactyl, but Warner misses it. To get up the rock face, Rhys-Davies has a mortar that fires a grappling hook. Warner, Mercer, Rhys-Davies, McCormack, Stanford and Gorski all go up. Kovács is asked to protect the rope, but we learn that Rebelo was his brother and he wants to get revenge on Rhys-Davies. They are now trapped at the top.

They begin to investigate and find dinosaurs. They also run into a couple of tribes of natives on this plateau as well. Will they be able to get the evidence they need to prove to the people of England what they found? Can they make it down to prove it? Will they survive?

I have to say that this one is pretty good at following the main story that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote from what I know. I think that this one did better with making the dinosaurs look like they are supposed to. I thought that Rhys-Davies and Warner were pretty good as far as acting. I thought that Gorski was quite cute as well. The overall story and idea of this is good. I also like that this one is based in Africa, not South American. Not that this makes a much of a difference, but it is something different. Also this one is based on happening in 1912 and much closer to when the actual story was written, so they at least are using things that were available to them. Nothing stood out as being out of place.

I did have quite a few issues with this one though. McCormack was absolutely annoying in this. He tries to be a comedian and his jokes were horrible. Everyone fell in love with Stanford the moment they saw her, but I really didn’t see it. I felt that Gorski was much better looking. I thought most of that acting was pretty corny. The action is weak and how the story plans out is very family friendly. This film has too much Hollywood and based for teenagers for me.

This film is being added to the horror film research due to the fact that there are dinosaurs and a native tribe that is feeding humans to them. I put this as being similar to a Godzilla or Cloverfield type film, which are both horror films.

Now with that said, I would probably avoid this one. There are better versions of this film out there. Some are as faithful to the story as this one, but they do better at building suspense. This one was just a little too family friendly for my liking. There is some good acting, but for the most part it was too corny. The story itself is good as well as the concept; it was just not done well enough on the screen. There are much better dinosaur films as well as versions of this story that would be much more worth your time. I would say though that this is a very average film.

 

My Rating: 5 out of 10

06/27/2017 16:36

Film: The Burning

Year: 1981

Director: Tony Maylam

Writer: Peter Lawrence and Bob Weinstein

Starring: Brian Matthews, Leah Ayres and Brian Backer

 

Review:

This film begins at Camp Blackfoot. There are a group of campers that are going to get their revenge on the man that runs the camp; he is named Cropsey and played by Lou David. Their prank is to light the candle eyes of a skull that has worms and gore on it. They knock on his window so he wakes up to it. He panics though and knocks it on to his bed. This causes it to catch on fire. He has gasoline in his cabin and it ignites. David is engulfed in flames and rolls down a hill to the lake. He ends up in a burn ward at the local hospital. There is a scene where an orderly brings a new doctor to see him and David grabs the orderly’s arm, terrifying him.

We then jump three years into the future. David is being released from the hospital, but his skin graphs didn’t work. We hear nurses and doctors telling him to let go of his rage, that what happened to him was an accident. He leaves the hospital and picks up a hooker. He goes up to her room and kills her with scissors.

The film then shifts to another camp, one that is not to far from Blackfoot. There is a game of baseball being played. Through this we are introduced to many of the main characters. Leah Ayres is a senior counselor here. Brian Backer is a nerdy guy who doesn’t seem to have many friends. Jason Alexander and Ned Eisenberg are two very horny guys. There is also Carrick Glenn and Carolyn Houlihan. Houlihan is wearing bikini bottoms and Eisenberg is interested in her. There is a scene where a younger girl, played by Shelley Bruce, goes off into the woods and David is stalking her while she looks for the ball.

The next morning, Glenn goes to shower and she screams. We see Backer as he flees. Ayres goes to scold him when the senior male counselor shows up, played by Brian Matthews. He scolds him, tells him to go back to the cabin and then calms Ayres down. It turns out that they are seeing each other as well. Matthews goes and talks to Backer, making him come clean and gives good advice to deal with camp. In the girls’ cabin we learn that Glenn is interested in the tough guy at camp.

The tough guy is played by Larry Joshua. He bullies Backer until Matthews shows up. He tells Joshua to back off.

From here we go to the lake where Alexander, Eisenberg and J.R. McKechnie are going to swim. Backer is with them, but he can’t swim. The guys jump into the lake and Joshua comes up behind Backer, pushing him in. He then goes out to the raft where the girls are. We then meet another guy from their cabin, played by Fisher Stevens. He has a BB gun and shoots Joshua in the butt with it as revenge.

There is a canoe trip that is coming up that the older members of camp are going on. The first night they are told the legend of Cropsey. Eisenberg also pulls a scare on them. He goes off with Houlihan that night and they go skinny dipping. He gets a little forceful and she rebuffs him. She leaves and is killed by David. The next morning Matthews and Ayres ask Eisenberg where she is and he tells them he doesn’t know. All of the canoes are gone and David is stalking them. Can they get back to camp alive? Can David be stopped before it is too late?

This film I heard a lot about from horror podcasts I listened to, so I was excited to check it out. I personally had not heard the legend of Cropsey, as I’ve never went to summer camp and from what I can tell it is not an urban legend around where I grew up. I love that the film was based on the urban legend though, also having it play out to see why the killer is what he is. It is really hard to blame the guy for being burned as bad as he is, even though it was an accident. I was a little disappointed in the film though unfortunately. It is pretty slow. We get a kill early on, but then it goes for a long stretch of nothing. There are a few moments where the film builds tension, but the gaps between them hurt it for me. It does hit most of things that the slasher films needed, which included nudity.

I will say for the acting that it was pretty good. I liked to see a young Alexander, who I loved in this film. Stevens was a guy who hasn’t done much, but I remember him in Short Circuit 1 and 2, which I used to watch all the time. There is also a young Holly Hunter, who doesn’t have much in this film. Matthews was solid in his role and I didn’t catch on to the interesting twist with him until the end. I didn’t mind Backer, he played his part well. The rest of the cast wasn’t bad, none of them blew me away, but they all seemed pretty believable.

For this film, the effects were great. I came in knowing that Tom Savini did them and he is a master at his craft. The realism that he puts into them for this film is great. This is a slasher were the killer uses scissors or garden shears the whole time, so there isn’t creativity there, but the realism of the stabs is. It is very well done there. I also really enjoyed the musical selection for the film. It brings an eerie feel to the film which helps to build tension at times. I also liked that we are getting POV shots through Cropsey’s eyes; he put Vaseline on the lens since his vision is altered.

Now with that said, this is a solid slasher film. The story wasn’t bad, but it is lacking a little in how spaced out things can be. The cast has actors who have gone on to have solid careers and I think overall they did a good job. The effects alone are worth seeing the film and Savini is to thank there. The soundtrack helps the film and the feel of the scenes. The editing didn’t stand out, but it didn’t really need to be. They did make good choices on hiding Cropsey, as it built more suspense. This film is above average to me and I would definitely recommend a viewing.

 

My Rating: 7 out of 10

06/26/2017 17:22

Film: Burn, Witch, Burn

Year: 1962

Director: Sidney Hayers

Writer: Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson

Starring: Peter Wyngarde, Janet Blair and Margaret Johnston

 

Review:

This film begins at first with a narrator telling us about there being witchcraft around us and that he does an incantation to ensure that the spells that are used in this film do not affect us, the viewer.

We then shift to a classroom. The professor is played by Peter Wyngarde. He is teaching sociology and explaining that witchcraft, psychics and things to this effect are not real, but we believe them to be real and it almost creates a placebo effect. The bell goes off and he asks a student, played by Judith Scott, to collect everyone’s tests. Her boyfriend is also in the class and he blows off writing a paper for the test they just took. Wyngarde threatens to have him removed from the class and he scoffs it off.

Outside, Wyngarde walks with a co-worker, played by Colin Gordon. He is asking if they’re going to play bridge tonight now that Wyngarde’s wife is returning from their cottage by the water. He confirms this plan.

There ends up being quite a few couples at this get together. Wyngarde and his wife, played by Janet Blair, are the hosts. There is Gordon with his wife, played by Margaret Johnston. There also is Anthony Nicholls, his wife played by Kathleen Byron, and Reginald Beckwith with his wife, who is played by Jessica Dunning. There is talks that Wyngarde will become the new head of the sociology chair and there are jokes that he is doing it with hypnosis or witchcraft. This makes Blair perk up.

At the end of the night, Blair is looking for something pretty intently. Wyngarde goes up to go to bed and his drawer to his pajamas won’t open. He takes out the drawer above it to find Blair has been keeping a dried up spider. She claims it is just a souvenir. The next day though, he discovers a bunch of different things around the house used in witchcraft. She reveals that she is a witch and has been protecting him and helping to have good things happen to him. He forces her to destroy all of it. She warns him that she can’t be held responsible what happens to him now.

The next day he is accused of attacking a student and Blair starts to act funny. Was what Blair was doing really working? Was she really a witch? Is there another witch causing bad things to happen or is this all in their imaginations?

I discovered this film from the list of horror films I want to see for my research. I came in not knowing a lot about it and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. This film is well written and thought out. I love that Wyngarde is teaching a class on why it takes belief for witchcraft to work, but then he starts to notice patterns and he starts to believe himself, when he was the biggest critic of it. The other thing I really loved from the writing is that is film is very subjective. It makes you wonder if these rituals are actually doing something or is it like Wyngarde says in the beginning and nothing more than the placebo affect. I also love that during the climax, some crazy things happen and it makes you wonder if they are really happening or not. I will say that I wasn’t a huge fan of how it ended; it was a tad too convenient and was unnecessary.

I was pretty impressed by the acting for this film. Wyngarde was great as the skeptical professor that starts to question himself. He starts to slip into a bit of madness and it is very good. I thought Blair did well. She becomes almost hysterical when he is destroying her items. She also totters on thinking that if she kills herself, that will protect Wyngarde. It helps to raise the stakes of the film and build the tension. Johnston was also solid in her role and definitely looks the part. The rest of the cast didn’t stand out, but they need to just round out and play their roles.

This film was interesting to me with the practical effect choice they used. I love that this came from the 1960s, so they didn’t have the technology. What happens with an eagle doesn’t look the greatest, but I thought it looked real enough for me to believe it and not be bothered. The editing of the film didn’t stand out to me. The soundtrack didn’t really either, outside of the recording of Wyngarde that has been doctored with some kind of spell attached to it. I did like that myself.

Now with that said, I would recommend seeing this film. This is a well-written, slow burn witch film. What I really liked about it is that you don’t know if what is happening is real or if these people just think that is real. I enjoy things being left up to the interpretation of what you see. I thought the acting from the stars was very good and the rest of the cast rounded it out well. There wasn’t a lot of need for practical effects, but the ones we got I felt seemed much better than things you see with CGI today. The editing didn’t really stand out, but doesn’t hurt it. The same goes with the soundtrack, outside of the undertone on a recording that is used. I will warn you that this film is from 1962 and is in black-and-white. If that is an issue, then I would avoid this film. If you can get past that, I would recommend seeing this solid film.

 

My Rating: 7 out of 10

Items: 41 - 50 of 574
<< 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 >>