Monthly Archives: April 2014

Another Kind (2011)/ Behind Your Eyes (2011)/ The Wind (2001)

I made some major progress on this collection. However, 3 of the movies were so bad that I have decided to put them all in one review. All of these get 1/5. First up is Another Kind.

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I almost feel like Devil’s Pass is the finished version of Another Kind. I say that because it seems like we’re watching a rough cut of the final film. It’s not found footage, but everything is so poorly shot that it could pass for one. Also, nothing really happens for 45 minutes out of the “friends” arguing and insulting each other. When the action starts to pick up, we’re subjected to a dream sequence that has nothing to do with the rest of the movie. I know this was supposed to be one of those “what you don’t see is scarier than what you actually see”; but it doesn’t work here. You still need to give your audience some idea of what they should be scared off. Flashing different colored lights doesn’t cut it. My next selection was Behind Your Eyes.

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At this point I started to miss Another Kind. Here we have a couple that is kidnapped and tortured, but they escape their kidnapper and run into murderous religious fanatics. Oh and the boyfriend was in the first kidnapping because he’s a homosexual drug addict, and this torture/rape fantasy gives him something to focus on when he has sex with his girlfriend. In yet another (and unnecessary) twist, the gay, drug-addicted, Viagra-popping boyfriend is the disowned son of the religious couple. Their M.O. is to kill women who are “sinners”. The son likes going after gay men because they need more “saving” than anyone else. There, I described the movie in less time than it took to watch it. I just saved you 90 minutes. But don’t thank me yet, because I’ve saved the best for last: The Wind.

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After watching this, I am almost positive M. Night Shyamalan stole the plot of The Happening. Instead of pissed off trees, we have demonic wind that turns a supposed group of friends into murder-happy freaks. The ringleader/ love interest has the same physique as a 12 year old boy, and about as much sex appeal as a corpse. The men of the group develop this frat boy persona, and then beat each other to death. This is obviously a student film made by someone whose “genius” the rest of us wouldn’t understand. To recap: there’s ghastly acting, a $3.50 budget, no plot or storytelling, and stock footage from 1942. And of course no explanation as to why the wind wants “revenge” against college kids. I’m not going to say which movie is the worst I’ve seen so far. Why? The next one manages to be even more pointless than the last. Don’t believe me? The movie after this is Adrift: a 1993 made for TV remake of Dead Calm. I wish I wasn’t so stubborn. I am beyond ready to quit this collection.

Rapid Retrospect 4/21- 4/27

Mirror Mirror (2012) 2/5
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I started to warm up to this as I was watching it. Then it turned into social commentary and ended with a Bollywood dance sequence. It was a little confusing. The acting is…alright. Some actors are stronger than others, and I really think someone else should’ve played Snow White. The best parts of the movie are the sets. It is a gorgeous film, but that’s about it. I should mention this was directed by Tarsem Singh, the same guy that did The Cell. That explains everything you need to know.

Phase 7 (2011) 4/5
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Another end of the world flick, but it’s decent. An apartment building in locked down and quarantined because of a biological agent that has sent society into chaos. I thought this was good because it wasn’t just zombies or straight gore. The people we’re supposed to root for range from insane to unbelievably oblivious. It’s a lot of fun to watch, and it is streaming on Netflix.

Cassadaga (2011) 3/5
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Besides the horrible title, Cassadaga has several issues that bog it down. What saves it is Kelen Coleman. She’s fantastic as Lily, a deaf schoolteacher. The killer’s method’s are interesting (cutting off people’s limbs, and turning them into human marionettes), but I don’t think it was explored as much as it could’ve been. The biggest problem is the pacing and storytelling. This needs to be 20-25 minutes shorter, the plot could be told better, and the title needs to be more descriptive. Cassadaga is merely the name of the town where the story happens. That’s about it. Even though there are questionable creative choices, I still think it’s worth watching because of Coleman’s performance.

Germ Z (2013) 1/5
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A zombie flick that doesn’t have zombies. This is 28 Days Later, except jet fuel causes everyone to eat each other. However, they even tell you in the movie it’s not zombies. Then there’s this side story of a dude carrying a torch for some chick that wants to be friends with benefits. There’s really not much here, and things get worse when the film tries to be artsy at the end. Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis is better than Germ Z. Think about that for a second.

Dracula 2000 (2000)

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I reached the end…of the first disc. That took way longer than I thought, but at least I’m ending it on a semi-decent movie. Typical vampire flick, except Dracula is hunting down Van Helsing’s daughter because she has his blood or genes. They don’t really explain why he wants her, but I think you’re just supposed to go with it. The first thing I noticed was the cast. There are some pretty big names in this: Gerard Butler, Omar Epps, and Jennifer Esposito. If you grew up in the 90’s like I did, the face that might stick out is Lucy Westerman, played by Colleen Fitzpatrick aka Vitamin C.

Overall, the acting really isn’t that bad. You just have to remember this came out in 2000, and it hasn’t exactly aged all that well. The music is stuff like Linkin Park’s One Step Closer and super old Disturbed. If you can get past that, it’s a decent movie…except for the ending. We learn that Dracula is actually Judas, the dude who betrayed Jesus for a couple pieces of silver. Instead of dying when he tried to hang himself, Jesus cursed him to walk the earth as an unholy being that can’t die. That’s where things get a little weird.

I noticed a lot of horror movies from 2000-2005 do this weird thing where flashbacks look a lot like acid trips, and they seem to have a metal or techno soundtrack. Just when I thought this couldn’t be any more outdated, it manages to outdo itself. For decent acting, a not terrible plot, and nice gore; I give this 3/5. The only real downside is when it was released, and all of the elements that show its age non-stop. Other than that, it would be great for a one-time watch.

Rapid Retrospect 4/14- 4/20

Feed (2005) 3/5

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I first tried to watch this back in 2007. I say “tried” because I shut it off about 10 minutes in. If you are blissfully unaware, this is about an Australian detective who tries to find a man that’s feeding women to death. This is a much sensationalized look at a real fetish: men that are turned on by feeding women that weigh hundreds of pounds. The scenes are very graphic, but it loses steam after a while. It goes from horror, to social commentary, to thriller, and settles for black comedy. I still thought it was decent, but I just wish it had written with more focus.

 

Nurse (2013) 3/5

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This week’s contender for Oddly Specific: A psychotic nurse murders unfaithful men. She’s rejected by her protégé, and then proceeds to ruin the poor girl’s life. This is just 80 minutes of gory, naked fun. Unfortunately it has the same problem as Feed: a lack of direction. The film seems to know how outrageously unbelievable it is, but it still holds back. Even the mass chaos at the end felt like it could’ve gone even further. Paz de la Huerta does fine as nurse Abby Russell, but at times it feels forced. I like it because it was different, but it fell short of its true potential.

 

Homefront (2013) 3/5

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Another Jason Statham flick. I didn’t think was terrible, but he has done better. Most of the action doesn’t happen until the last 30-45 minutes. The rest is focused on James Franco as the country meth addict/dealer. The sad part is the role seems to fit him. Everything else about it is just okay. It’s good to watch if there’s nothing else on, but don’t expect too much from it.

 

Here Comes the Devil (2012) 1/5

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This is one of those movies where events wouldn’t have happened if everyone had common sense. If you were on vacation in an unfamiliar place, would you let your children go to the top of a mountain where a serial killer disappeared into thin air? Hopefully you answered no. The people we’re supposed to root for let their kids go just so they could have sex in their car. What follows is a cheap attempt at 70’s horror, and pointless nudity. Anytime the story progresses, there’s someone naked and/or about to have sex. The ending isn’t really an ending, and there’s no explanation as to what is going on. It’s easy to see how its rating on Netflix was down to 1 star a day after it was added.

 

Alice, Sweet Alice (1976) 4/5

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I’m trying to make up for all of the classics I haven’t seen. This is one of them, and it’s really creepy. The kids are messed up beyond repair, and the adults aren’t that far behind. I thought it was great. It might be over 30 years old, but it’s a great example of how you don’t need extreme gore or sex to tell a story. I’m not saying those aren’t fun, but sometimes it’s nice to see a film that takes a more minimal approach.

Zipperface (1992)

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2nd to last movie on this first disc, and it’s so terrible that it makes me miss Die-ner. There’s a killer offing hookers/actresses, and it’s up to a rookie detective and her senior partner to stop him. First, let’s just examine the killer. He wears a gimp mask, biker boots, leather pants, and rhinestone gloves. Oh, and his instrument of choice is either a whip or a machete. Based on the description, I would think it would be hard for the guy to walk around without being noticed. He manages to kill 5 women before he’s caught. And the kills? People just get splattered with strawberry syrup, and heads magically fall off. You can see his “machete” is made out of cardboard. How bad does your budget have to be that you can’t even afford a toy sword from the dollar store?

Of course, it gets so much better. The rookie detective is the first female detective in the precinct. Why? Because she has a vagina, and beings with vaginas shouldn’t be able to hold higher ranked positions. Seriously, that’s the tone of the whole movie: vaginas are holding men back from their potential. And yet the mayor of this idiotic town is a woman. That tells me that they’re okay with a woman running their city, but solving crimes? Oh that is too far! She can’t solve crimes because she’s a woman. This whole thing is 89 minutes of boobs and misogyny. Do I even need to go into detail about the acting?

This gets a 0. I knew it was going to be bad, but my god. Keep in mind this was made in 1992. It wasn’t exactly a progressive time, but I’m pretty sure there were female officers. Whoever made this held the belief that actresses were desperate prostitutes, and all females deserved to be called bimbos, skanks, or whores. Doghouse was more female friendly than this. This had to have been written by all men, right? One of the screenplay writers is named Barbara Bishop. Let that sink in for a while.

Rapid Retrospect 4/7- 4/13

I wasn’t able to watch that many movies this week. Between school starting and all 4 of my Netflix DVDs being unplayable, I had to improvise. Outside of one film, I really enjoyed what I was able to watch.


Hansel & Gretel (2007) 4/5

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This is one of the many horror movies involving Hansel and Gretel, but it is very well made. We follow a man that is in a bad car accident, and drifts into the woods for help. There he meets a young girl who leads him to her house. Her parents seem nice, but something isn’t quite right about her siblings. It is a little long (2 hours), but the pacing is done beautifully. There’s not a lot of gore or filler, and it’s just downright creepy. Then again, I think the unofficial rule is children in horror movies are supposed to give you the heebie jeebies.

Oculus (2014) 5/5

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I wanted to see this so bad. I was just worried that the previews were going to be the best parts of the movie. I’m so glad I was wrong. If you haven’t seen previews, this is about some kind of possessed mirror that tricks people to murdering others and/or killing themselves. So far, this is one of the best movies of 2014. It’s very suspenseful, and it’s not you’re traditional horror movies. This one’s all about atmosphere, and it was filmed perfectly. The way the movie drifts between the past and present is so mind-bending, but it fits together so well. I plan on seeing it a couple more times while it’s in theaters, and I can’t wait to add it to my collection later this year.

Bloodsucking Nazi Zombie (1981) 1/5

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And now for the blight of the week. I knew it wasn’t going to be good, but my god I didn’t think it was going to be that bad. I think the budget was in the $5-15 range, and it looked like it was filmed with a potato with an Instagram filter. There’s this static that overpowers any dialog, and I think the cameraman kept falling asleep because the camera angle drops down at random moments. I’ll let you guess how good the acting it. All I learned is that if a movie is only $1, there’s a good reason for it.

District 13 (2004) 4/5

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I decided to give this a shot since the upcoming Brick Mansions is the American remake of it. I think it’s pretty badass. Yes, it is a parkour action flick, but the fight choreography is fun to watch. The acting probably isn’t the best, but that’s really not what you’re supposed to be paying attention to. I really liked it, and I’m curious about how Brick Mansions will put an American twist on it.

Rapid Retrospect 3/31-4/6

Frankenhooker (1990) 4/5
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It’s time for a new contender for Oddly Specific. Here we have a guy who rounds up body parts from prostitutes, in order to bring back his girlfriend that was killed by a runaway lawnmower. I love this movie. It’s absurd, vulgar, but you can’t help but laugh at the Acme-type hijinks that occur from beginning to end. It’s available through Netflix, but this is one every horror fan should own.

Machete Kills (2013) 2/5
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I really wanted to like this one. If I had a shorter attention span, I probably would’ve rated this higher. Instead, I can’t look past the fact that the plot jumps around everywhere, and it’s implied the 3rd movie will take place in space. There’s the usual bad guy with world domination plans, but here the guy has a Scientology-like cult that he sends to space to colonize the moon…or something. I got tired of all the bouncing around, and I wasn’t really listening during the last 20 minutes. It’s more proof as to why sequels aren’t always a good idea.

Detention of the Dead (2012) 2/5 MV5BMzQyOTQ3MDQ0MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzM1MTI2OQ@@._V1_SY317_CR15,0,214,317_

I really wanted to like this one. The problem here is that it’s not a tribute to 80’s comedies and horror films. It just rips them off. It takes the plot of The Breakfast Club, and just adds zombies. I’m pretty sure they even copied lines from the script. Combine that with bad acting and cheesy effects, and it turns into a boring take on an iconic film. When a zombie movie is boring, you know something went terribly wrong.

The Purge (2013) 1/5
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When I first saw previews for this, I was terrified. Just the thought of all crime being legal for one night scares the hell out of me. Could you imagine the chaos that would come from that? Well, keep using your imagination because The Purge actually focuses on a home invasion. A perfectly good plot is abandoned to show rich people are closet psychos, or whatever message the writer was going for. There is a sequel that is going to be released later this year, but I don’t have high hopes.

Armistice (2013) 1/5
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I think this would’ve been better as a short film. Instead we see a dude trapped in a house for 80 minutes that has to battle zombie/ ghost hybrids. Right off the bat you know what’s going to happen: he’s already dead, and this place is where soldiers go to atone for sins they committed during war. This point isn’t made clear until the last 5 minutes. The rest just drags on, and there’s no real development in the character or the overall plot. Does the plot seem familiar? It should, because this is a poor copy of Jacob’s Ladder. Save yourself the trouble and just watch any movie that Armistice tried to rip off.