Tag Archives: Netflix

Slasher: Season 1 (2016)

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I know I promised to do a review of Deathgasm, which is outstanding by the way, but after I realized a new horror series was added to Netflix I changed my mind.  If you have no idea what this is and don’t have Netflix, check out this trailer:

Pretty awesome, right? The opening sequence is even better. It’s like it was lifted from American Horror Story, and it seems like a great substitute to tie any horror fan over until September. Then…you actually sit down and watch it, and all of your hopes and dreams are quickly crushed. But, I’ll get more into that later. If it wasn’t made clear from the trailer, the plot is a woman named Sarah decides to move back into the house where her parents were brutally murdered by The Executioner. We’re not talking your normal murder here. Her dad almost gets split in half, and Sarah was actually cut out of her mother’s womb while her mother was still alive. That being said, why in the hell would you want to move back into that house? Most people would guess closure, a fresh start, or maybe the fact that the town is small enough that it would be perfect to raise a family. Your guess is as good as mine, because no explanation is offered in any of the 8 episodes. And we’ve only scratched the surface.

We have our (highly questionable) plot set up, what about our cast of characters? All of them suck. I’m not kidding. By episode 2, you wish a horrible death on every single person, including the one that’s supposed to be our heroine. This entire show is a victim of terrible writing. The first episode is incredibly misleading. You think you’re getting your standard slasher show, where a character will be killed every episode right up until the last one (think Harper’s Island). We do get a pretty gnarly murder every episode (swan dive unto a saw is my personal favorite), but then we get these convoluted, soap opera-like plot twists that created more questions instead of answering them.

For example, the town’s police chief is the biggest jerk for no reason at all. Halfway through the season, we discover he’s an alcoholic, a murderer, a kidnapper, and a rapist all within a span of 10 minutes. The sweet editor of the town newspaper is actually a fame-hungry harpy than framed an innocent man of molestation and murder, which leads to him committing suicide. Sarah’s husband only married her because she was the best lead to learn more about the original Executioner murders. But none of this beats Sarah, the woman we’re supposed to be rooting for. Where do I start? Believing her husband is the copycat killer, then minutes later screwing her high school sweetheart? No, that’s not the worst offense. No…it’s the fact that her constant nagging and snooping leads to several of the murders. If she had just left town, or had not “uncovered sins”, several people would still be alive.  Am I the only one that sees something severely wrong with that?

This gets 2/5. About 30 minutes into the first episode, you give up hope and just stick with it because of the Saw trap-like deaths. The acting is decent for what it is, but you can see that even the actors were quite uncomfortable with how their characters developed. I understand that they were going for the whole “even the quietest town can hold the biggest secrets” thing, but it didn’t work. Instead  of letting plot twists unfold at a natural pace, they bludgeon you with each ridiculous addition. But I have to mention the ending. Out of freaking nowhere, this cute, blonde little girl who can’t be older than 10 breaks a cat’s neck, and gives the camera this creepy grin.

What does this imply? My best guess is that the writers just couldn’t leave it alone, and threw this in to give the impression that “it’s not over”. How the hell would you do a season 2 for this? They freaking killed everyone! Of course, that hasn’t stopped the writers.  If you’re a gorehound like me, the deaths definitely pay off. However, if you want a decently paced story along with gore, look elsewhere. Let’s hope Slasher gets a new writing team for season 2.

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The Den (2013)

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I’m going to go out on a limb and say this movie was made by someone that has an unhealthy contempt for technology. Why do I say that? Because anyone with half a brain can debunk every plot-point. We start with a whiny graduate student who is doing her thesis on the poor man’s Chatroulette/Skype hybrid. Why anyone would willing sift through hours of random penises is beyond me, but that’s not the point. We quickly discover that the internet is nothing but lonely people with way too much time on their hands. We have our own version of Meat Spin (DO NOT GOOGLE THAT), jump scares that have a better budget than the whole movie, a random British couple, and sick bastards that think faking a suicide is funny. I have no choice but to go into detail because that’s all that happens for the first 30-45 minutes.

You may have noticed I’ve said nothing about our “heroine” Liz (Melanie Papalia). As much as I want to give the actress credit, I just can’t. For example, when she witnesses the death that starts the chain of events that lead to her being tormented, she has this expression:

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I don’t know about you, but if I ever see someone get turned into a human Pez dispenser on Skype, I’d probably scream and fall out of my chair. But…this is all she could muster after seeing a very real murder. She also has this weird dynamic between her “boyfriend” Damien (David Schlachtenhaufen), and a guy who has reached the 7th circle of the friend zone named Max (Adam Shapiro). This is one of those movies where everyone is just horrible, but there’s no reason for it. You don’t even want anyone to die. You just want it to end.

As soon as I started praying for this to just stop, I got my wish. As it turns out, it’s some real-life version of 4-Chan that gets paid to torture unsuspecting Den users. Once they’re completely broken and forever scarred, they’re killed. We then cut to a man who is paying to watch this and had other videos lined up, only to be interrupted by his young son. The end. Credits roll. Did this seem short? Too bad, because I just described how things played out in the movie, and in half the time. So what can we learn from all of this? Beware of Skype? The internet is filled with snuff film lovers? Make your thesis about something people actually give a crap about? I have no idea. This gets a 1/5. Some of the effects are interesting, but it’s so clunky that you just give up on it as it progresses. Couple that with bad actors, no real development, and a severe lack of understanding about the internet, and you have the reasons why its Netflix rating dropped to 2 stars in the course of an hour.

Rapid Retrospect 5/5- 5/11

Nightmare Detective (2006) 3/5
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Here’s one of the foreign releases from Dimension Extreme. I have to say I’m a little disappointed. I was expecting a lot of gore, along with an interesting plot. What I got was a clunky mess that just peters out at the end. The whole “serial killer in dreams” bit has been done many times before, but Nightmare Detective doesn’t add anything except a lot of water and confusing scenes. My biggest question is how a couple people gain the ability to enter dreams, and why did it take so long for the police to track them down? However, the monster/killer was interesting, and it was promising until the last 15-20 minutes. It’s good to watch once if you have an hour and 40 minutes to kill.

Eaten Alive (1980) 1/5
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I wanted to see this one because I am on a quest to see every horror film from the 80’s. I’m guessing it’s considered horror because of the cannibalistic scenes, but it’s just very…rapey. Every 10 minutes some chick is getting what little clothing she has ripped off, and then gets pinned to the ground. That’s bad enough, but then this steals scenes of real animal abuse from other movies. I can handle anything, unless animals are really being harmed. I lost count of how many times an animal is killed on-screen. There’s nothing redeeming about this, outside of the hilariously bad wigs the cannibals are wearing. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to overshadow unnecessary rape and abuse.

Bloody Birthday 3/5 (1981)
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Three babies born during an eclipse lack remorse and empathy, and turn into murderous schoolchildren. My biggest question is how everyone seems to ignore the blatant signs that the murders weren’t committed by an adult. A jump rope is left at one of the crime scenes, and no one thinks to look at the creepy kids that always hang out together? They beat the sheriff to death in broad daylight, and the official report has cause of death listed as a fall? It’s an original story, but I can’t turn off my common sense long enough to really enjoy it. To its credit, those kids gave me the heebie jeebies. If you want something creepy, this is a good pick.

Sadako (2012) 3/5
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This is in the Ringu set of films. Someone has the brilliant idea to resurrect the girl that was dropped into the well, and her spirit creates a cursed video clip that drives people to suicide. Unfortunately, this was meant to be seen in 3D. A lot of the scares and effects are lost when you watch it normally. The best part is when the spirit manifests as a spider/cricket hybrid. It is as creepy as it sounds. The story itself isn’t horrible, but I think events could’ve played out more smoothly. I say watch it if you like completing franchises, even though there is a part 2 that has not been released in the U.S. (thanks for the tip, Jason). For the rest of you that aren’t familiar with Ringu, you’ll be lost and probably bored.

The Baby (1973) 3/5
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It takes a lot to unnerve me, but The Baby managed to do just that. It’s so bizarre that you’re not sure how to feel about it. We follow a social worker who takes on the case of Baby, a grown man that lives life as a baby. This is all because of abuse at the hands of his mother and sisters. I’m not quite sure how to rate this. Given the subject matter, the acting is quite good, and the plot is weird but well-executed. It’s worth watching on Netflix, but be prepared for the most uncomfortable 85 minutes of your life.

The Keep (1983) 1/5
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Nazis take over a town with some kind of crypt that is covered by crosses. When two of the soldiers try to steal silver, they unleash a being whose name is very close to Molasses. Molasses also has an enemy whose name is close to Goulash. Nothing really happens for 90 minutes outside of an out of place sex scene, and Nazis randomly exploding. It sounds awesome, but it’s really not. Throw in some bad special effects and a non-stop fog machine, and you have a sedative in celluloid form.

Vamp (1986) 4/5
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The only way I can describe this is it is everything 80’s, and it is glorious. You have Grace Jones as the vampire queen, fraternity pledges, gore, comedy, and boobs. Do I need to say anything else? It is a cult classic, and you should buy it if you don’t already have it.

Mr. Nobody (2009) 4/5
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I saw this on Netflix a while ago, but I had no interest in it. It’s over 2 hours long, and it’s science fiction. But because of a recommendation, I decided to give it a chance. And my god, this is outstanding. Jared Leto plays the last living mortal who is on his deathbed. He is interviewed by a report, and retells the story of his life. However, he gives two versions: what would’ve happened if he had lived with his mother, or if he had stayed with his father. It doesn’t sounds like much, but the movie aims to show how the smallest decisions will impact the rest of our lives, who we meet, and who we fall in love with. Don’t let the run time scare you. It is worth it, and I think it deserves more recognition.

Rapid Retrospect 4/28- 5/4

There aren’t enough hours in the day. Thanks to monsoons, papers, and life just sucking in general, my movie watching time was cut very short. Thankfully the movies I did see were pretty good.

Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990) 4/5

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It’s your standard anthology, but here we have Debbie Harry who kidnaps a little boy and plans to eat him. The boy distracts her by telling tales from her favorite book. I think all of the stories are very well done, and they aren’t overly cheesy. My personal favorite is Cat from Hell just because of how the cat manages to off people. Unfortunately, this is no longer streaming on Netflix. But it’s entertaining, so I say try to find a cheap copy.

Harold and Maude (1971) 4/5
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A classic from the 1970s, this is about a guy who gets his kicks by staging suicides and attending the funerals of strangers. He then meets a woman old enough to be his grandmother, and falls in love with her. It sounds bizarre, but it’s really good. I found myself laughing a few times at the “suicides”, only because Harold’s mother just steps over him or ignores him. I can see why this has a lot of fans, and I really enjoyed it.

They Live (1988) 4/5
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Here’s another classic that I watched for the first time. I had no idea it was this awesome. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about how the world is being taken over by aliens that use subliminal messaging in consumer culture. It’s definitely social commentary, but it’s also interesting how well it has aged. Without getting political, I think the message still has a valid point today. We might not be at the mercy of aliens, but we do “consume” almost anything in sight. If it’s not your thing, at least watch it for the grand reveal. I think that’s the best final sequence I’ve ever seen.

Brain Damage (1988) 4/5
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I think film-makers need to take a look at movies like Brain Damage and They Live. You can get a message across without being ridiculously offensive. Brain Damage manages to do just that with a brain eating alien that gives its host one hell of a trip. It’s gory and campy, but once you realize it’s a story about spiraling into drug addiction you can’t help but love it. This is another film from director Frank Henenlotter, who also gave us Frankenhooker and Bad Biology. That should be reason enough to go buy this.

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.

Weirdsville (2007)

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I still haven’t given up the method of reviewing movies just because they’re about to expire on Netflix. Continuing my 2 year trend is Weirdsville, a dark comedy that succeeds in living up to its name. The cast includes Wes Bentley, Taryn Manning, and Scott Speedman, who all play fun loving, drug addicted friends. Things go sour when Maddie (Manning) dies from an overdose. Dexter and Royce (Speedman and Bentley) have the “genius” idea of burying her in the basement of a local drive-in.

It might’ve worked, except this just happens to be the night a Satan worshiping cult performs their ritual. In other words, this whole thing is the perfect definition of oddly specific. However, it actually works. It’s so absurd that you can’t help but enjoy it. What follows is 2 bumbling friends who have to deal with 3 different but equally psychotic groups. It’s hilarious, and everyone owns their part.

I give it 4/5. It’s probably one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a while. It is a lot of drug humor, but it’s done well. I say watch it just to see how everything badly unfolds. I believe it’s on the DVD side of Netflix, but I think it’s worth buying if you can find it.

Grotesque (2009)

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I found out about this through a list of banned films. To my surprise, it’s available through Netflix, and they actually had the unrated version. After watching it, I’m not sure if I’m completely desensitized to graphic violence, or if this was a poor man’s attempt at shock value/torture porn. From what I gathered, there’s a sadist doctor that gets his rocks off by torturing people to death. That’s pretty much it.

It’s only 73 minutes long, so that should tell you how much time went to the actual story and character progression. I timed it to around 10 minutes. The rest is sexual humiliation, genital mutilation, dismemberment, disemboweling, and finally decapitation. Call me crazy, but I can’t see why it was banned. Yes, it’s pretty damn gross at times. However, I know for a fact I’ve seen much, much worse in theaters that are released on the big screen

This is just Japan’s take on “splatter” porn, but I was just bored. There’s nothing here except just gore and blood, and even that still doesn’t add any excitement. If you’re going for torture porn, you still need a plot. Why did the doctor decide that this was the best way to spend his free time? How has he been able to get away with it for so long? I really just wanted to know could people not notice a dirty white van that smells like rotting flesh.

From what little acting there is, it’s still bad. Considering people got various bits chopped off, they were relatively calm. Non torture scenes are awkwardly forced, and there’s this weird static whenever someone speaks. This gets a 0. I love Japan and their bizarre film-making, but it didn’t work this time. This is yet another one meant for gorehounds or fans of the torture sub-genre. Never thought I would ever say this, but Hostel is a bit better. It’s still kind of bad, but I appreciate Eli Roth for at least trying. I can’t say the same for Grotesque. However, like most things that come from Japan, this will make you say: What the hell did I just see? If you want gory Japanese weirdness, this is right up your alley. The rest of you should just watch Saw.