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04/22/2017 15:29

Film: The Green Inferno

Year: 2013

Director: Eli Roth

Writer: Guillermo Amoedo and Eli Roth

Starring: Lorenza Izzo, Ariel Levy and Aaron Burns

 

Review:

This film begins in a dorm of two freshmen. One of them wakes up hearing protestors outside. She is played by Lorenza Izzo. She opens up the shutters and this wakes up her roommate, played by Sky Ferreira. She is in bed with her boyfriend. They are annoyed by the protestors as well. They are on a hunger strike, trying to get the janitors at the college to have full benefits.

The two women go to get breakfast and watch the protestors on the way back. They are led by Ariel Levy. Izzo is interested in him and his girlfriend, who played by Ignacia Allamand notices this. She kisses him.

Izzo and Ferreira go to class where they learn about female genitalia mutilation. Izzo speaks up about in class, asking why more is not being done to stop this and she is informed that it is happening in too many places. It would take all the lawyers in the United Nations to really make a difference. As they are leaving class, a man who is part of Levy’s organization approaches her; he is played by Aaron Burns. He asks her to come to their next meeting.

The two young women go out to eat with Izzo’s dad, who is actually a lawyer with the United Nations and is played by Richard Burgi. She brings up her point she made in class and he tells her that there is nothing he can do. A lot of this is that it is not illegal in these countries and there isn’t a lot he can do. He does ask her about a necklace that her grandmother gave Izzo. She tells him that she still has it, but forgot to put it on today.

Izzo goes to the meeting. She makes a bad comment and Levy gets angry with her. He kicks her out of the meeting and she is upset. Burns tries to comfort her, letting her know that they won their strike and the janitors got their benefits. He tells her that Levy is just passionate and that she should stick it out.

She ends up meeting with Levy and begs him to let her join the group. She is passionate about women’s rights in Africa and wants to learn how to make a difference. He relents and lets her in on what their next plan will be.

There is a company that is cutting down the rain forest trying to change the course of a river. There is an indigenous people that are going to have their home destroyed. Their protest is trying to stop them, but the company has hired a private militia to protect what they are doing. This is going to take place in Peru. Ferreira and Burgi are against this, but Izzo still goes anyway.

The closer they get to the site, the more that Levy reveals and how dangerous this will be. They are going to chain themselves to trees as well as their equipment. They are also going to blow up one of the bulldozers. They have a man who is financing the operation; he is played by Matías López. He seems shady and Izzo notices this from the beginning. He also has set it up for them to hack into a satellite the company is using to broadcast this to the world. They have camera phones to do this.

They put their plan into motion and Izzo cannot get her lock to close. She is pulled down from the tree and a gun is put to her head by Percy Chumbe. Levy announces who her father is and Chumbe’s boss calls. They have won and what they did is going viral. They have succeeded.

The students get on a small plane and we see López pay a soldier. He is given all of their passports. They are celebrating on the plane, when the engine explodes. They crash into the jungle. Many died in this, but the survivors try to figure out how they are going to survive this, when they are attacked. Allamand gets an arrow through the neck and one in her forehead. The rest of the men are knocked out with darts.

They wake up as they arrive to a native tribe’s village. They are being led by a headhunter, played by Ramón Llao. They are brought before the elder, who is played by Antonieta Pari. Izzo and Levy both have survived thus far. With them are Daryl Sabara, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Magda Apanowicz, Nicolás Martínez and Burns. Everyone is taken to a cage except for Burns. He is murdered in front of them. His eyes are removed as well as his tongue, which are eaten by Pari. He is cut apart and then cooked. These people are cannibals.

Izzo is discovered soon after that to be a virgin and she is going to be prepared to clitoris mutilated like she learned in class. Can they escape before this happens? Levy reveals his true nature and that there is another company doing the same thing they tried to stop. Will they make it to save them? Is there anything they can do to get away? Does Martínez’s GPS work and can it be used to save them if they can get to it?

I have to say that when I saw the trailer for this film, it made me think of the exploitation film Cannibal Holocaust. I wasn’t surprised to learn that director, writer and producer Eli Roth made this film from inspiration of that one. This film is a watered down version of it. Coming in you have to know that it is going to be bloody and gory, as that is what Roth is known for. This film is quite graphic. I thought the acting was pretty good for the most part. Izzo is solid and the rest of the cast was believable. I did like to see that all of the villagers are real natives, but aren’t really cannibals. The concept of this film is terrifying and I also the idea that Levy was paid by a rival company to do what he did. It makes you really question the ideals and the motives of some of these people that try to make changes. Levy is really a scumbag and only cares about himself.

Now I’m not entirely sure how I feel about Levy and his acting. I liked that at first you think he is an asshole because he does care about making the changes he is campaigning for. Then you realize that he is just an asshole and is no better than those in power. His acting wasn’t great after he is captured though, so I’m not sure I fully believed that he would be as calm as he was. This film is also set up for a sequel and I don’t know if I like that. I will probably see it if it is made, but a film like this would be better as a stand alone. It also takes awhile for them to get to the village. The film did a great job at building tension early, but it seemed to struggle as it approached the climax. It has such a bleak outlook, but we don’t get enough hope that they will make it out alive and that hurt the film for me. I’m also surprised they didn’t do more with Burgi and worrying about finding his daughter.

Now with that said, I would recommend this film if you are into gory films. The film is terrifying to be stuck in a situation like they are without much of a chance to make it out. The acting for the most part was good. The concept and story were as well. It doesn’t build enough tension for me and it doesn’t feel like they have a chance to survive, which did hurt it a bit for me. This is a watered down version of Cannibal Holocaust, but still has some gore to it. If you can stomach it, I did enjoy this film and would say give it a viewing.

 

My Rating: 7 out of 10

04/21/2017 16:59

Film: Joy Ride II: Dead Ahead

Year: 2008

Director: Louis Morneau

Writer: James Robert Johnston and Bennett Yellin

Starring: Nicki Aycox, Nick Zano and Laura Jordan

 

Review:

This film begins with a trucker buying something at a store and getting back into his truck. A woman follows him and she turns out to be a truck-stop prostitute, she is played by Rebecca Davis. The man in the truck is Rusty Nails. He allows the woman to get in, but when she asks what sexual act he wants, he doesn’t answer. She tries to escape through the window, but before she can, he traps her by rolling it up. He then kills her by running her body into a truck beside him.

We then shift to a group of three. There are sisters played by Nicki Aycox and Laura Jordan. Aycox’s fiancé is in the car as well, he is played by Nick Zano. They are on their way to Las Vegas for a joint bachelor and bachelorette party. They are also driving in Jordan’s old beat-up car.

They stop to get gas and meet an emo punk guy. It turns out to be Jordan’s boyfriend, who is played by Kyle Schmid. She met him on Myspace. Aycox is not happy about it, but she will try to give him a chance.

Schmid convinces Zano that they should take a side road so they can get to Las Vegas quicker. They do take it, but the car breaks down. They resort to walking and end up at a house in the middle of nowhere. There is no one home and Schmid breaks a window to get in. Zano breaks the door down when he thinks there is something happening to Schmid, but it turns out he is just messing around. The phones do not work and it looks like no one has been there for sometime.

They end up finding a nice old car in the garage and decide to take it. Aycox leaves her number so they can pay the owner for the window, the door and for taking the car. It also states that they will bring the car back. They hit the road again.

It turns out that the car belonged to Rusty Nails. He hits the road again, looking for the group.

The next morning, the group goes to a truck stop diner. They are almost hit by a semi and Jordan flips it off. She also throws her coffee at it. They go inside and Schmid begins to run his mouth about truckers. It turns out that his father was one and doesn’t have much respect for them. Zano goes to the bathroom.

While they are waiting for him to return, their food begins to come out. Aycox is worried about Zano when she gets a phone call. It turns out that it is Rusty Nails. He reveals that he has been watching them and has taken Zano. He says that they have to do what he says if they want to see him alive again. The first thing he wants is the finger that Jordan flipped him off with.

They get an idea to try to trick him by removing a finger from a corpse in the local morgue. He forces Aycox to strip at the drop-off point, but it turns out that the person she is stripping in front of is another trucker and Zano is not in this truck. When everyone gets back in their car, they find Zano’s severed finger in the glove-box. They know he isn’t playing.

Will Aycox get to see Zano alive again? Will they be able to survive the sick, sadistic game that Rusty Nails is playing? Schmid ends up being captured too and is forced to play a deadly game of craps, will he survive? Will Rusty Nails get away with it again?

I have to say that this one has a different storyline than the first and I did like that. I thought the first one was great and the idea of Rusty Nails can be terrifying. I like that he has multiple reasons for coming after them and he is a maniacal genius in the things he does to mess with them. He uses a lot of different things, including other truckers and knowing things about them that force them to do scarier things in his game. I think Schmid was pretty good in the character he played as well as Zano and Jordan. That is about where it ends though.

My biggest problem with this film is that it had big shoes to fill in the original. I don’t think the story is as good as it was in the first. I also think that this one is as well-written as well as the original. The acting in the first was better across the board. Aycox is the star and I wasn’t a huge fan. I think she is pretty in a different kind of way, but I just don’t think she was all that believable. Rusty Nails is not voiced by the same actor, but the voice is quite close. This film seems to have a lower budget and it feels like it like does. It just had the feel of a sub-par horror film and that is what the final product is.

I would only recommend watching this film if you are into low budget horror films. If you are coming into this one expecting something to follow-up the first one, you are going to be disappointed. The story has a good concept, but it is not as well written. The acting is okay. The death scenes are pretty good and somewhat creative. This film takes Rusty Nails from being a trucker who has been embarrassed and looking for revenge, to a psycho who is still out for revenge for something else. I would say avoid this one unless you want to watch a cheesy, low-budget horror film. I would warn you to not come in expecting a lot though or I fear you’ll be quite disappointed.

 

My Rating: 4 out of 10

04/20/2017 18:41

Film: Joy Ride

Year: 2001

Director: John Dahl

Writer: Clay Tarver and J.J. Abrams

Starring: Matthew Kimbrough, Leelee Sobieski and Steve Zahn

 

Review:

This film begins with Paul Walker talking on the phone to his friend, Leelee Sobieski. Walker goes to college in Berkley, California, while she goes to school in Boulder, Colorado. We get from their conversation that Walker has a crush on Sobieski, but she has been seeing someone else. She lets slip that they broke up and she wishes she had a car to drive home or if he had a car so he could get her then drive home. This gives Walker an idea as he looks at his plane ticket.

Walker cashes it in and buys a car. He starts the trek to pick up Sobieski. On his way home, he talks to his sister on the phone and she tells him that their older brother has been picked up for a drunk and disorderly. Walker learns that his brother is in Salt Lake City.

He makes a U-turn and gets pulled over by a Highway Patrol Officer. We learn that he has a busted tail light. Walker bails his brother out of the jail and he is played by Steve Zahn. We see that he is fast talking and gets himself in trouble quite a bit. While they are stopping for gas, Zahn has the mechanic put in a CB radio, without asking his brother.

As they go along, Zahn continues to play with it, learning that there is a storm coming and that there are no cops within forty miles of them. Zahn then gets the idea of having Walker pretend he is a girl, he used to do this as a kid. They talk back and forth over the CB pretending they are meeting up. That is when they hear the voice of someone over the CB with the handle Rusty Nails. The voice is done by Ted Levine. Zahn then convinces Walker to speak with him. Walker doesn’t want to, but reluctantly does. They engage in a borderline racy conversation.

They pull over for the night and it is raining hard at a motel. Zahn goes in to get them a room and there is a man, who is played by Kenneth White, in there who is upset with the service at the motel. He goes off on man running the desk and body-checks Zahn as he leaves. While Zahn is inside, Walker hears Rusty Nails over the CB. Zahn returns and is bothered by the man from the office and hears the voice as well. He comes up with the idea to have Walker talk to him and tell him to meet Candy Cane, the handle for Walker’s female voice. The room number he gives though is for the jerk that shoved Zahn. He asks Rusty Nails to bring pink champagne.

Later that night, they see someone walk past their room. They cut out the lights and turn off the television. They try to hear what is happening, but it is muffled. Walker and Zahn know someone gets hurt and they both think it is Rusty Nails.

The next morning Walker hears Zahn talking to someone outside and he looks out to see it is the police. The officer is played by Michael McCleery. Zahn tries not to slip the story of what happened, but both men are shocked to learn that White, the jerk, is the one in the hospital. Both men are taken to the Flat Rock police station where they meet with the sheriff, played by Jim Beaver. He goes off on them for what they did and takes them to see White. He is in intensive care and is missing his bottom jaw.

Rusty Nails is calling out on the CB to Candy Cane and finally the men respond. They tell him it was a joke and that he shouldn’t have did what he did to the other guy. Rusty Nails doesn’t find it funny and wants an apology. Zahn tells him off and refuses. Rusty Nails tells them they should get their taillight fixed. They stop off to get gas and they see an ICE truck pull in. The driver is played by Satch Huizenga. Walker pays for the gas and they flee, thinking that Huizenga is Rusty Nails.

Huizenga does follow them and reveals that Walker left his credit card at the gas station. Another semi shows up and destroys his truck. He pins them against a tree and Zahn pleads for their lives, saying it was a joke. Rusty Nails pulls away and leaves them.

The next day they meet with Sobieski as well as her future roommate, Jessica Bowman. They hit the road, but the nightmare isn’t over. Zahn and Walker told Rusty Nails there was not girl, now there is one. Bowman is kidnapped and Rusty Nails tells them that they will do what he says or she will die. Can they get Bowman back? Can they get away from Rusty Nails before it is too late? Will they all survive?

I have to say that despite being a B film, this one is actually really good. First off the acting is pretty solid across the board. Zahn is great and adds comedy value. Walker and Sobieski don’t give much range, but they both look terrified throughout. The real star for me is Levine and his creepy voice. The concept is scary as these people are all fairly young and messing around, but they pick the wrong person. It is also scary that for the most part, you do not see who is driving, so the rig is almost the enemy as it is faceless, just a creepy voice. Now my question is though, was Rusty Nails a psychopath before he was messed with, or was it a perfect storm and he is trying to get them back by going too far?

I do have some issues with this film. For one, how did he know about Bowman and that she was friends with Sobieski. I think it would stick out a bit if there was a random Semi just hanging out nearby. I guess it’s possible and no one saw it, but it is a little farfetched. I also want to know how Rusty Nails figured out it was Walker and Zahn to begin with. I guess it is a fair assumption that the room next door would be where the person playing the joke would be, but what if it wasn’t? Rusty Nails guessed right then.

With that said, I will say that this film is very solid. There are quite a few actors that went on to have solid careers after this film. I think the acting was pretty good across the board. The concept of this film is scary and Rusty Nails is a terrifying character. Being voiced by Levine makes it even better. This film does have some minor issues, but none are enough to truly ruin this film. If you have not seen this, I would highly recommend it. It is definitely worth at least a viewing for sure.

 

My Rating: 8 out of 10

04/19/2017 19:11

Film: Jennifer’s Body

Year: 2009

Director: Karyn Kusama

Writer: Diablo Cody

Starring: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried and Adam Brody

 

Review:

This film begins showing the title character Jennifer, played by Megan Fox, lying in bed. We see a woman look through the window, played Amanda Seyfried. Fox looks out the window and she is gone. We then shift to Seyfried in a mental institution. We learn that she didn’t always ask for this. She is now violent and aggressive. She then takes us back to what caused her to be the way she is.

Seyfried and Fox are best friends. Seyfried is a nerd while Fox is the head cheerleader. Seyfried is dating Johnny Simmons, who is in a band. Fox wants Seyfried to come to the only bar in town to see a band that is playing there, called Low Shoulder. She gives in and decides to go.

Once there we do really see that everyone is in love with Fox and that she knows it. They go to meet with the bed, which is fronted by Adam Brody. Seyfried overhears the band and think they want to sleep with Fox. We hear that they are looking for a virgin and Seyfried tells them that they are correct, she is. When Fox hears this, she finds it funny and informs us she is definitely not one.

The band plays and then a fire breaks out in the bar. There is a mad dash to get out and many do not. Once outside, Fox is in shock and Brody steps in. He gives her a drink. She is in a trance and Brody convinces her to come with them.

Seyfried goes home and calls Simmons. She tells him what happens and then her doorbell rings. She goes down to check it, but there is no one there. We see a shadow move behind her. She gets off the phone and then goes to check in the kitchen. She turns around to see Fox. She is bloody and she opens the refrigerator. She takes out a chicken and eats it. She then throws up a thick black liquid on the floor. She also growls in a weird voice and leaves.

The next morning, Seyfried looks tired and we learn that she does due to being up all night to clean up the mess. Fox on the other hand comes in and looks amazing. The whole town is shook up after what happened.

There is a football player, played by Josh Emerson, who is torn up after his best friend was killed in the fire. Fox comes up to console him, but does it in an odd way. She asks him to come into the woods with her. A bunch of animals watch as they kiss and then Fox reveals herself to be a monster. She kills Emerson. Their teacher hears his screaming, he is played by J.K. Simmons. He is the one to find Emerson.

Fox is the only one who has moved on from the tragedy. She is slowly begins to loose the luster of how she looks. She then turns her sight on another victim, this one played by Kyle Gallner. After a night with him, she goes back to looking fantastic.

Seyfried begins to look into books on the occult and learns that the band sacrificed her, but because she was not a virgin, she has a demon transferred into her body. She needs to eat and drink the blood of victims to make her beautiful. Seyfried is forced to decide to kill her friend and protect her boyfriend, or allow her to continue to claim victims. What will she do? How does she end up in the mental institution?

I have to say that I was personally impressed with this film. I thought the acting was pretty good for a high school horror film. Now everyone in this film is not high school age so you’ll need to suspend your beliefs on that coming in. What I really liked about this is they could combine dealing with high school issues, which writer Diablo Cody is great at doing, but mixing dealing with a supernatural problem like Fox. She is technically a succubus, which is a female demon that uses her beauty and sexuality to entice men, kill them and suck their life. Fox is great to look at in this one. The story isn’t overly complex, but entertaining.

I didn’t have a lot of issues with this film, but I mean the stupidity of how high school students’ talk is one. I can’t hold this against the film, because they do a good job getting into character. The film really doesn’t have anyone investigating of what is going on, aside from Seyfried. I know that Fox would be the last person they would expect, but regardless, I would expect more of trying to solve these crimes. I also thought it was odd that Seyfried’s boyfriend Simmons would change that quickly to want to be with Fox, but then again, if I had someone that beautiful hit on me while I’m in a relationship, I can’t really say what I would do.

Now with that said, I would recommend seeing this film. Is this the best horror film out there? No, but is it a good horror film that combines the issues of high school with the supernatural. The acting is good enough, the horror scenes are as well and both female stars are good to look at. There is even a lesbian kissing scene between them, which isn’t bad. Don’t come in expecting an amazing film and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

 

My Rating: 7 out of 10

04/18/2017 20:19

Film: It’s Alive

Year: 2008

Director: Josef Rusnak

Writer: Larry Cohen, Paul Sopocy and James Portolese

Starring: Bijou Phillips, James Murray and Raphaël Coleman

 

Review:

This film begins showing us that we are at a college. Students are taking a test and we follow one of them back to the place that she stays at, she is played by Bijou Phillips. She is pregnant and is moving out to move in with her boyfriend. Her roommate is bummed to see her go; she is played by Ty Glaser. She is helping her pack and is concerned that Phillips will not finish her graduate degree that she has worked so hard for. While they are working Glaser’s boyfriend shows up; he is played by Arkie Reece.

Phillips’ boyfriend is played by James Murray and he lives out in the middle of nowhere. This film takes place in New Mexico. He lives with his little brother, who is played by Raphaël Coleman. He is wheelchair board and he has been living here since their parents died. Coleman was hurt in the car accident and will not be able to walk.

As Phillips is unpacking, she decides to take a shower. She starts to have pains from the baby and screams out for Murray. They go to the hospital. Murray is concerned about Phillips and meets with the doctor, played by Todd Jensen. Murray asks if he can go back to see her and is informed that he cannot. Apparently the baby has doubled in size since their last visit and is coming now. It is too big to be born normal so they have to do a caesarian section. It is also odd because the baby is only 6 months old.

Phillips knows there is something wrong, but the doctors and nurses continue to put her at ease. The baby is removed and it is healthy. It cries and then we hear screams. We see a nurse who wasn’t involved in the birth go into a closet next door. As he leaves, he noticed there is something on the bottom of his shoes. He goes back inside and looks through the window. We see that all of the doctors and nurses have been mutilated. No one survived except Phillips. The baby is cuddle up on her.

Murray happens to see as they are wheeling her down the hall. Phillips is awake and they both want to see the baby. They are leery about doing so, but they do assure them that the baby is fine. They can’t see him yet as he needs to be cleaned off.

The police officer in charge of this case is played by Owen Teale. He visits the couple in their room, but Phillips doesn’t give much information. Teale understands, but still tries. He does ask if she will meet with a psychologist to see if there is possible a repressed memory. She agrees, but wants to go home with her baby. She assures him that she will follow-up to meet with him.

Phillips loves the new baby, that they have named Daniel. She really falls off and only cares for him. Glaser constantly calls, but she doesn’t answer and she is increasingly becoming concerned. Phillips doesn’t even really let Murray see him all that much. She even encourages him to go back to work. Murray does find some dead mice outside of the house by the trash can. He also hears something in the vents while he is in the bathroom. He thinks there are mice inside the walls as well. There is also a scene where Murray goes to play with Daniel in his crib and he cuts him with a nail as he starts to cry.

We then see Phillips nursing Daniel and he bites her nipple to the point that it draws blood. We even see when she pumps milk into bottles that there is blood in it. He also is able to hold his head up and roll over, things that take months for a baby to be able to do and he has just came home. The baby seems to keep getting out and killing animals. Phillips has to keep taking them away from him, telling him he shouldn’t be eating that.

Phillips continues to descent into madness from love and wanting to hide what her baby is doing. It becomes a problem when she doesn’t want to leave the house, even for dinner with her boyfriend. Teale forces her to meet with the psychologist, but she doesn’t give him anything. When he comes to the house, Daniel kills him and Phillips has to hide that body as well.

Coleman knows there is something up, but can’t prove it. Murray doesn’t see it due to his love for both of them. What will happen with Daniel? Can he be stopped before it gets out of hand? What can you do with a baby that when it gets scared kills and eats animals?

I have to say that I have seen the original trilogy and loved it for the campy films that they are. Is the concept slightly outrageous? Yes, but there is something to this idea that is realistic. A mother’s love can blind them from realizing what their baby is doing no matter how horrible and not be able to stop it. I can believe that part of Phillips character. I also liked that they explain at the end what happened and why Daniel is the way that he is. Phillips tried to abort the baby and took some pills she got online. It didn’t work, but it mutated him into the creature that he is. This film uses CGI for the baby, but they don’t show it a lot, which I think works. We do see it at the end and I like that. Sometimes it hurts a film for me if we see it too much and can analyze how it looks.

This film unfortunately is not as good as the original for me. There are so many things that I didn’t buy and lost the realism. Now you might wonder how realistic a film like this really is. You have to bend some of your beliefs to enjoy it, but not all. The first is that they wouldn’t let Murray in the delivery room. I don’t believe they would keep him out, even if there was an emergency. I know for a fact I was born by c-section and my dad was in the room during it. It would seem that they did this so they could kill all of the doctors and nurses, but hurts the film for me. I don’t know if Teale would be legally allowed to force Phillips to come in and talk to the psychologist like he claims. I also have issues with the baby. We don’t see it a lot, which is fine. My question is, when he is laying in the crib do they not notice it is mutated? Does it look like a normal baby? I think this should have been established, but it wasn’t. This film also has a low running time, but I found that I was slightly bored through quite a bit of it. Once the baby starts to kill people, it ends with a flurry, but outside of that we don’t get a lot.

Now with that said, I would probably avoid this film. The original is much better, but even that one is a campy horror film and you need to keep in mind that it is low-budget. This one visually looks much better, but the film isn’t as good. The concept is good, especially the idea of loving your children no matter what and wanting to defend them. There are a lot of issues with this film that bothered me. Plus despite the low running time, it surprisingly was boring at times. This film was below average to me, because it could have been much better.

 

My Rating: 4 out of 10

04/17/2017 19:48

Film: The Exorcist III

Year: 1990

Director: William Peter Blatty

Writer: William Peter Blatty

Starring: George C. Scott, Ed Flanders and Brad Dourif

 

Review:

This film begins filling in what has happened for the past fifteen years after the night of the exorcism of Regan MacNeil. We see through the eyes of someone as they walk down the street of Georgetown and then we see that a body is found by the water. We learn that it is the body of a little boy. We also learn that he is strung to a makeshift cross and his head has been removed, being replaced by a head of a Jesus from a statue.

The main character is the detective that is in charge of this case and he is played by George C. Scott. We see him as he meets the friend he made during the events of the first film in this series, played by Ed Flanders. Scott was held up at home and is late meeting him for a movie. They go see ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’.

There is then another murder, this time of a priest. We see as he is listening to a woman give her confession and the things she starts confess are horrible. The priest is then killed. The nature of his death is not normal either.

Both of these victims have a drug in their system that is used during electro-shock therapy. The victims are paralyzed, then killed before they dismembered. He is sure that the fingerprints will match, but Scott is stumped when they don’t. He doesn’t understand how there can be two different killers when they are so similar in how they were done.

Flanders is then admitted into the hospital. Scott is upset, but tries not to show it as he messes with him. Flanders doesn’t seem to be too distraught about being in the hospital.

Scott that night has a nightmare where he is in heaven and meets people along the way. He meets the murdered boy who is fine now, just with his head sewn back on. He sees people like Fabio and Patrick Ewing. He ends up running into Flanders there. He asks if he is dreaming too and he learns that Flanders isn’t. He is awoken by the phone ringing.

He goes to the hospital to find that Flanders has been murdered. His blood has been drained from his body into cups that are used for urine tests. There is also a message written on the wall, stating that ‘It’s a Wonderfull Life’. None of his blood was split. He wants the hospital almost on a lockdown to try to investigate this case. There is a point where he is leaving that we see there is a statue that is missing its head.

Scott starts by interviewing the nurse that was on duty that night, played by Nancy Fish. She states she went into his room at 5 am and then again at 6 am. He was fine at 5, but dead by six. There was another patient who was knocked out on the ground between these times. Scott wants to talk to her. He is taken to her by a doctor, played by Scott Wilson. When they speak with the woman, she is in a psych ward and they don’t get anything out of her. Scott is then taken by Wilson to the isolation wing where there are patients as well. There is one in particular that he meets with.

In order to get into this wing, they have a code that changes daily and the outer door requires the nurse at the front gate to open it. When Scott goes into the room he is shocked to see that it looks like Father Karras, played by Jason Miller. Miller was the priest who investigated and helped with exorcism 15 years ago and died that night. Scott talks with him and he turns into Brad Dourif, who claims to be the Gemini Killer who also died 15 years ago in the electric chair. During their talk, Scott gets angry and punches him in the face, breaking his nose.

Scott is scolded for locking the hospital down by the administrator, played by Ken Lerner. They come to a compromise. He then goes to see another priest and learns of the one in charge at the hospital. He has conducted an exorcism in the past. This one is played by Nicol Williamson.

Can Scott get to the bottom of this before it is too late? More murders in the hospital keep happening and see that something maybe taking over the bodies of the catatonic patients. Is the person in the isolation room really Miller with Dourif, the Gemini Killer, in the body? Can this demon be stopped once and for all? Or will it continue? How are these victims connected? And if Dourif is doing the killings, how he is getting out?

I have to say that this is the second time I’ve seen this film. It really had a great premise and I also have read the novel this is somewhat based on, Legion. I also have read up on some trivia and this film could have been much better if the studio would have let the writer, who also directed this film, William Peter Blatty make the film that he wanted. Despite that, I think this film is still pretty good. I love the idea that the demon kept Miller alive despite him falling to his death from the window and putting the soul of a serial killer inside it. It is plausible that the brain damage sustained would take 15 years to fix itself. I do like the story, the concept and don’t even mind having an attempted exorcism at the end. It makes it similar to the first one, especially since we don’t really see much of Williamson until it happens. He gets even less time during the exorcism as well than what Max Von Sydow did in the original one. I really liked the cast this film had. Scott, Flanders, Dourif and Miller all did fine. The supporting cast around them did as well. I thought the soundtrack definitely helped set the mood as well.

I did rate this film down a bit though. The film falls into lulls that were a little bit boring. The film is also slightly disjointed and according to what I read, this was due to the fact that the studio stepped in to make a different film than what Blatty wanted to. Reading as to what his vision was, it sounds like it would have been a much better and scarier film. Blatty didn’t want to have the exorcism at the end and wanted to make it more of a mystery, where this one wanted a little bit more of a body count if I remember correctly. I don’t want you think this film is horrible though, because it is better than the previous installment in the series. Another aspect of this is Williamson’s character. We get one scene of him before the exorcism. This was something that the studio wanted to have added and it ends up feeling out of place. He barely gets screen time and we really don’t know him or anything. It just didn’t fit for me and the story. If he was going to be used, I feel we should have had a scene or two more to establish his character. He also seems to fail immediately and I didn’t really feel sorry for him like the film wants.

With that said, I would recommend this film if you are interested in seeing all of the films that were in this series. This one is decent, but doesn’t stand up to the original film. I would call this film slightly above average. It had potential to be much better though. The cast of the film is pretty solid. The story wasn’t bad and the concept was good, it just feels disjointed by what the studio wanted added to it. This one is better than the second film and on par with both versions of the prequel. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this one by itself, but it is enjoyable.

 

My Rating: 6 out of 10

04/16/2017 07:46

Film: Bubba Ho-Tep

Year: 2002

Director: Don Coscarelli

Writer: Don Coscarelli

Starring: Bruce Campbell, Ossie Davis and Ella Joyce

 

Review:

This film begins giving us the definition of Ho-Tep and Bubba. We then see old footage from an archeological dig in Egypt. We see that a mummy has been found and will be taken to a museum.

We then shift to nursing home. There is a man who looks like Elvis Presley, just much older, needs to walk with a walker and is mostly bedridden. He is played by Bruce Campbell. This man claims to be the real Elvis, but he is called Sebastian Haff and that he is an impersonator. He gives his back-story during the film that the real Elvis traded with the best impersonator in the world, Haff, so he could live a quieter life. There was an accident destroying their contract and Haff died, so Campbell is the real Elvis and has been in this nursing home ever since breaking his hip on stage. No one really believes his story though.

Campbell has a roommate, played by Harrison Young. He is not doing too well and he passes away.

That night there is an elderly woman, played by Edith Jefferson. She is attacked by a giant scarab bug. Before she can kill it, she sees a man is in her room watching her. He is played by Bob Ivy.

Campbell does a lot of hallucinating and most of it is people coming into his room to do their normal jobs. Sometimes it is a person standing in his doorway, staring in at him and sometimes it is his daughter who he hasn’t seen in a long time.

He does wake up to a woman going through his roommates things. She is actually his daughter and she is played by Heidi Marnhout. He asks her if he could have the man’s Purple Heart that he was awarded if she is going to get rid of everything. She agrees, bending over in front of him while wearing a skirt. During this, the nurse comes in because Campbell has a growth on his penis that needs to be drained. The nurse is played by Ella Joyce. This is where he gives his back-story.

That night a scarab bug tries to kill Campbell, but he stabs it with a fork and electrocutes the bug by putting it on a heating lamp he has in his room.

Campbell goes to meet with another resident of this nursing home that is played by Ossie Davis. Davis claims to be John F. Kennedy. Davis is an African-American though. He claims that he his death was a conspiracy, that he is still alive and that they dyed his skin to prevent people from knowing the truth. The first time the meet, Davis is knocked out and face down on the ground. Something attacked him in the room.

There are a lot of deaths in this nursing home, but no one thinks it is odd due to what the place is. There are two hearse drivers who comment on it, played by Daniel Roebuck and Daniel Schweiger. According to the amount of times we see them, they are there almost every day. The rest home administrator also doesn’t seem to think it is odd, played by Reggie Bannister, but he just wants his staff to do their jobs.

Davis asks Campbell the next day to follow him. They go into the public restroom to find Egyptian hieroglyphs. Davis has researched the symbols and it translates to be things we find on bathroom stalls now, just in this ancient language. Davis thinks there is a mummy that is stalking the halls of this nursing home and that he is sucking the souls of the weak through their rectum. He claims that in a book he has, that soul suckers can steal it from any orifice.

Campbell has finally something to live for which he hasn’t in some time. When Joyce next comes to drain the growth, Campbell finally is able to become fully erect. She comments on he needs a cold shower and he gets spry, asking her to join him. At lunch we see another resident, named Kemosabe and played by Larry Pennell, he stands up to the mummy and dies in the process. The mummy doesn’t get his soul though. Campbell finally comes around to the idea and decides to help Davis in defeating it.

Is there really a mummy stalking these halls, stealing the souls of the weak to stay alive? Or are these old men just delusional? Are these two really who they say they are? Or has dementia set in and they’re just confused?

I will admit that coming into this film I was a little leery after reading what it was about. This film is on the list of horror films that I wanted to watch for the basis of my research so I gave it a chance. It did help that I’m a huge fan of Campbell and I really liked director’s Don Coscarelli’s series Phantasm. This film was pretty enjoyable though. I thought I’d come in not buying the identities of Campbell or Davis, but as you listen to them both, it makes you wonder if they are telling the truth. They are both such great actors so it is hard not to tell and the film never reveals if they are or not. I thought that the creature looked really good as well. The film has a great concept, because the best cover and place to live would be where people are dying constantly. There would never be any suspicions and nearly an endless supply of souls as well. I also like the philosophical feel to the film that these older men need something to live for as they are stuck in this nursing home. Campbell being able to become erect is a turning point that he no longer is wasting away.

If you have read other films that I have reviewed, I’m not the biggest fan of too much comedy in my horror films. This film did have a little too much comedy for my liking. I will always go back to the best blend for me has been Evil Dead 2 or Army of Darkness. Both of these films are still scary, but the comedy that blends in just adds to it without taking the tension away from the horror. This film relies on it too much. The film is kind of boring during stretches as well. I think this is in part due to these men are both old and cannot get around a lot, so they are stuck trying to find themselves while laying in bed or in their motorized wheelchair. They are limited how they can do their research so it just usually just given to us instead of discovering it, which isn’t as fun.

Now with that said, if you like horror comedies, then I would recommend this one. The acting is really good and the story is solid. I really like the concept as it does make a lot of sense. The film is a little bit slow and we don’t get enjoyable reveals in my opinion, but that is just an issue I have. If you are a fan of Campbell or the director Coscarelli, then I would recommend giving this film a viewing. I would also say if you like the genre, then you will probably find this film to be enjoyable. If you are not, this would be a film to watch with friends while drinking, but a causal fan might not enjoy this film as much.

 

My Rating: 6 out of 10

04/15/2017 13:36

Film: Jeepers Creepers II

Year: 2003

Director: Victor Salva

Writer: Victor Salva

Starring: Jonathan Breck, Ray Wise and Nicki Aycox

 

Review:

This film begins by telling us the rule that we learned from the first film. The creature gets to eat every 23rd spring for 23 days.

The film then kicks off with a young boy, played by Shaun Fleming. He is hanging up scarecrows for his father, who is played by Ray Wise. There is another son who is working on a truck, played by Luke Edwards. Wise is barking orders at Fleming. He goes to use his post puncher and it isn’t working as it is supposed to. Wise blames Fleming for this. Fleming notices that one of the scarecrows is moving and he goes to check it out. He gets too close and it turns out to the creature, played by Johnathan Breck. Breck begins dragging the boy through the corn.

Wise and Edwards go after him, but he is too late. The boy is taken.

We then shift to a school bus for a basketball team that has just won the state championship. Notables on this bus are Eric Nenninger. He is a good player, but he thinks he is better than what he is. He didn’t get as much playing time as he wanted and is upset about it. Nenninger’s girlfriend is a cheerleader and she is on the bus, she is played by Marieh Delfino. There is an African-American who is the real star of the team, played by Garikayi Mutambirwa. Another cheerleader and best friend to Delfino is played by Nicki Aycox.

While they are going, one of the tires goes flat. The coaches, played by Thom Gossom Jr. and Tom Tarantini, as well as the bus driver, played by Diane Delano, go outside to check it out. They find a ninja star type weapon was used. They freak out when they find a tooth in it. Delano tries to get help with the radio.

Wise has made it mission to find his son and kill Breck. He goes about creating weapons to fight it. Edwards helps him and he also finds a dagger that Breck left behind.

Back at the bus, Delano cannot get anyone on the radio and says she can drive the bus if she goes slowly since it is only missing the one tire. As they go, Aycox has a dream of the star from the first film; Justin Long makes a cameo here. Long and Fleming try to tell her that Breck is out there and to turn around. The bus is attacked again with another ninja star and they are now stranded.

Gossom speaks with a car that comes upon them, asking them to get help. He drops flairs and something takes him. Nenninger and the rest of the team try to figure out where their coach has gone. Tarantini wants them back on the bus, but Nenninger is defiant. He thinks there is something wrong between them due to his lack of playing time.

When Delano and Tarantini are both taken, the players barricade themselves on the bus. Breck makes an appearance and makes gestures toward them. Aycox passes out and has another vision. Long tells her what is known about Breck. When she wakes up, she reveals his information. Nenninger doesn’t believe her, but the rest of the bus does.

Wise begins monitoring police channels and when he hears about the abductions in the county over, he and Edwards load up their weapons.

Breck begins to pick them off. They do fight back, but every time they hurt it, he kills someone else and uses something from them to regenerate. Can Breck be stopped or will he kill all those that have something he wants? The deadline for Breck is coming up, can they survive until then? Will Wise and Edwards’ weapons work in stopping him?

Now I have to say that the original is better than this one. To really enjoy this film, you have to take much of normal logic out. There are a lot of things that are goofs and take away the realism. What I like is the creature, what it does and struggle to survive against it. The acting is decent, I love that this film takes place just a couple of days after the original and I like the continuity between the two films. This one was made a few years after the original, so it is good they still kept things in line from the previous.

As stated, there are a lot of errors with this film. Most high school basketball is done before the spring, so it doesn’t make sense that this team has just played their final game, since basketball is a winter sport. Where is all of the equipment, fans, the band and does the team really only have three cheerleaders. If this is the spring, why is the corn in the fields already dead? Also all of the actors are clearly older than the roles they are trying to play. Aycox probably looks the most like a high school student, but was definitely not close in real life to this age. The issue that really bothers me though, is Wise creating the weapon he does, without testing it and it working as seamless as it does. It was really farfetched. A lot of this does not have anything to do with the actual story that’s being presented, but these are things that hurt it for me and the realism of a film.

With that said, if you can throw logic away and just enjoy a film, then I would recommend giving this one a viewing. It has a pretty good story, decent acting and a pretty creepy monster. I feel that the first one does a better job at building tension where this one seems to go more for the horror of it. It does follow the original storyline and doesn’t do much to ruin it. This one is also all about having a higher body count than the original, so if you are into that, then give this a viewing. There are a lot of logical errors, but as I have said, if you can put that aside, this is a decent horror film.

 

My Rating: 6 out of 10

04/14/2017 15:48

Film: Jeepers Creepers

Year: 2001

Director: Victor Salva

Writer: Victor Salva

Starring: Gina Phillips, Justin Long and Jonathan Breck

 

Review:

This film begins in a car with a pair of siblings; the sister is Gina Phillips while the brother is played by Justin Long. They are coming home from college for their break. We see that they get along, but they also bicker back and forth. They are in Phillips’ car which is old, but still runs pretty well. Long is driving faster than he should.

They are given a scare when an old van comes up behind them. It came out of nowhere very fast and honks its horn. It terrifies them, but they let it go past. They notice that the license plate says ‘Beatngu’.

They see this same vehicle down the road, but it is parked outside of an old rundown building. There is a person outside of it, played by Jonathan Breck. We don’t see his face; just that he is wearing a trench coat, a hat and has some wild hair sticking out of the back. He is taking something out of the back of his vehicle and dumping down a pipe. Long and Philips notice that he is throwing is tied up in bloody sheets with rope and it looks like they might be human. Breck sees them and gets back into his vehicle and chases them again. This time though, they go off the road and stop in a field. Breck continues on.

Long decides that he wants to go back and check out what was dropped down that pipe. If it is someone still alive, he would want someone to do the same for him. He goes back, learning that the building is an old church, and he looks down the pipe. He hears someone moan and climbs in with Philips holding his feet. Some rats climb up toward him and he panics. In doing so, he kicks his feet and Philips lets go of him. He falls in.

He asks her to watch the road and let him know if Breck comes back. He investigates. He ends up finding a whole bunch of bodies that are in a weird state, where their skin is rock hard and preserved. There are hundreds of bodies in this room. Earlier, there was talk that a couple disappeared on this stretch of road. Long ends up finding someone with a ring for the high school the boy went to.

Long finds his way out and joins his sister. They drive on to a diner. They cause a scene trying to get a waitress, played by Peggy Sheffield, and her manager, played by Jeffrey William Evans, to call the police. The payphone there then rings. They answer it and hear the voice of a woman, Patricia Belcher. She tells them things that Long has already seen. She warns him to be wary of the cats and of the song ‘Jeepers Creepers’.

Two state troopers show up, played by Jon Beshara and Avis-Marie Barnes. While they are trying to get the story straight, someone breaks into Philips car. Some of the people in the diner saw it. It looks though that whoever did it, only smelled Long’s laundry. Some of it is on the ground. Long is upset because the person now knows his name. There is no sign of who did, but there are finger prints on the door handle. The thing is they looks like powder and are blowing away.

Back in their car, Long and Philips are heading for the station. The troopers are in the car behind them. The troopers learn that the church is on fire. The troopers then hear something on top of their car. It is Breck. We see that he is not human. He kills Beshara with an axe by pulling his head up through the roof. He throws the head onto Philips’ hood. Barnes is killed too.

Can Long and Philips get away from Breck before it is too late? Long hears an updated version of ‘Jeepers Creepers’ right before the troopers are attacked and they run into a cat lady soon after, she is played by Eileen Brennan. Will more of Belcher’s predictions come true? Who is Breck and what does he want? Can he be stopped?

I have to say that I really like this film. The concept of the Creeper is cool, in that no one knows what it really is, but that he is seemingly unstoppable. I also like that he takes certain things from people and it can cure him. Since no one knows about it though, I thought it was interesting to have his back-story filled in by a psychic. I feel that Long and Philips are great together and you really feel like they are siblings. There is some good action and the film doesn’t fall into boring parts. When there isn’t action, we are getting something revealed. The pacing is well done for this film. I also love the ending as well.

I personally would have to like to know even more about the Creeper, but I can’t fault the film for not revealing too much about the character. Sometimes that can hurt a film and I feel that is something that would have happened here. This is also a rare horror film where we don’t get to see the bad guy defeated. I do like this, but this goes back to we don’t get a lot revealed about it.

I would recommend seeing this film if you haven’t. This horror film has a basic story, with a great concept of a horror film character. The acting is good from Philips and Long, Breck is solid as the creature. There are some things that are weird about this film, but it just adds to the creepiness I feel. The film moves fast and the tension builds pretty well. This film is worth at least a viewing, but it isn’t the best one out there.

 

My Rating: 7 out of 10

04/13/2017 16:42

Film: 'It’s Alive!'

Year: 1969

Director: Larry Buchanan

Writer: Larry Buchanan

Starring: Tommy Kirk, Shirley Bonne and Bill Thurman

 

Review:

This film begins with voice-over narration setting the stage for the film; the narrator is actually director-writer Larry Buchanan. He tells us that we have a married couple that is traveling across the country. We learn that where they are, hidden behind the forests is a creature that lives in a cave and only will come out when there is rain and sunshine at the same time.

The couple is played by Shirley Bonne and Coverth Ousterhouse. They are lost as they made a wrong turn. Bonne pushed for this drive west, as she is from New York and has not seen much of the country due to this. They are running out of gas as they past through a Prehistoric Forest park. They come to a jeep that is parked and stop. Ousterhouse gets out of the car and drinks some water from a metal cooler on the back of it.

The owner of this Jeep appears and he is played by Tommy Kirk. He is helpful in telling them that they made a wrong turn and that the national park they are looking for cannot be gotten to from this road. He does inform them that there is a farm up ahead that might have gas for them to get to the nearest town.

They get back into the car and continue you along the road. They find the farm and as they exit their car, they meet the owner, who is played by Bill Thurman. He was outside playing with one of his pet snakes when they arrive. He asks about them, learning that no one would look for them if they were missing. He then invites them inside to wait, claiming that there is a truck that is coming out to the farm that will have gas. When that arrives, they can buy some and then be on their way.

Living with him is a woman that takes care of the house; she is played by Annabelle Weenick. Thurman asks her to host his guests, but she is visibly scared about something. He commands her to do what she’s told and even slaps her across the face. She agrees to what he is asking.

Thurman goes outside to move the couple’s car when Kirk arrives. He offers to help see what is wrong with the car and while he does, he is hit in the back of the head with a wrench.

Weenick brings some drinks to the couple, but they want to open the drapes. Weenick states they can’t and that Thurman doesn’t like it. She is hiding the fact that he trying to hide their car. Thurman then comes into the house and offers to take them on a tour of his farm, showing his animals. The couple reluctantly agrees to this.

He ends up taking them down to a cave and locks them in. They are concerned as to what is going on and realize that Kirk is locked down there with them. Thurman informs them that there is a creature down there, his prized possession. There is a set of stairs that take them down even lower into the cave, where the creature is.

Thurman brings a gun into the cage with him and ends up shooting Kirk when he tries to rush him. Thurman does drop his gun though and it falls to the lower level. Ousterhouse goes down to get it and is introduced to the reptilian creature.

Kirk is a paleontologist and states that it is an extinct creature. Weenick is a captive herself and tries to do what she can to help them escape, but she has to be concerned with her own well being. Can they all get away from Thurman and his creature before it is too late? Or will they all become victims to it?

I came in not really knowing much about this film, but this if from the 1960s, sci-fi/horror films where they had small budgets and minimal scripts. I did read up on this film that there was much bigger plans for it, but with the death of the star actor it was passed on. This film really had issues having such a small budget. The concept of a crazy man who is feeding this creature is good, but we only see the creature twice and it is not even on screen for more than a minute.

There were a lot of issues with this film due to this. First off, the film is really boring because there are long takes and many shots of people just driving. To play off of that, when Weenick is telling her story how she came to the house and why she is there, that legitimately takes almost 15 minutes, with a portion of that is her running through the woods, chased by Thurman. I liked that they didn’t show the creature all that much, because it looks cheap and fake. The problem though is that this film is about the creature, but it really wasn’t. It is more about the people who are kidnapped and living in captivity and trying to find a way to escape. I wasn’t a fan of the ending and Kirk’s reaction to everything either.

Now with that said, I wouldn’t view this film. The acting isn’t good and there isn’t much in the way of story either. The concept is good, having a man who is isolated losing his mind and feeding people to this rare, supposedly extinct creature living in a cave near his house, but we don’t get a lot of that. Mostly we get the people locked up and the back-story of how they got there. The budget was extremely small and the creature looks fake, so it was good that they really showed it for about a minute on screen. This film was very flawed and boring, I wouldn’t recommend giving this a viewing unless you like bad horror films and want to laugh. The problem though is that there isn’t much in the way of laughing at this film.

 

My Rating: 2 out of 10

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