Saturday, July 26, 2014

Open Grave (2013)

There is nothing like taking an evening out to get the blood flowing. Last night, we went to see Hairspray at the State Theatre. That movie is one of Markie’s favorites, and with her birthday in a couple days, it made for an easy gift. That performance was awesome, and I am glad we went. Getting back to the blog, I still have a couple movies I must catch up on. The first is the 2013 mystery/thriller Open Grave.

Plot/ A man wakes up in the wilderness, in a pit full of dead bodies, with no memory and must determine if the murderer is one of the strangers who rescued him, or if he himself is the killer.

I really had no idea what to expect when I picked this up. While the premise on the description seemed interesting, there definitely appeared to be many ways that this could become cliché riddled. What I found was much better than I would have imagined, complete with solid cinematography, decent performances, and an interesting storyline that kept me engaged throughout. Sure, there may have been some repetitive moments in the middle and the ending was somewhat flat, but all in all it was one of the better movies of the type I have watched in some time.  In the end, this was an entertaining and somewhat memorable movie, and one that is much better than what its generic title would suggest. Give it a shot.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Almost Human (2013)

After a few days focused on homework, as this creative writing research class is pushing my limits, I decided that it was time to jump back into the blog. While I have watched some interesting flicks recently, one jumped out to me at Family Video and made me grab it. That film is the independent alien / slasher flick Almost Human from 2013.

Plot/ Mark Fisher disappeared from his home in a brilliant flash of blue light almost two years ago. His friend Seth Hampton was the last to see him alive. Now a string of grisly, violent murders leads Seth to believe that Mark is back, and something evil is inside of him.

This was an interesting flick, and while I could sit here and mention all that was wrong with it, but I will not, because it was actually extremely entertaining in a weird way. This film has some pacing issues that really work. While it is for the most part a slow burn, once it starts it rolls along. Honestly, from the opening, and throughout the film, everything takes place in a straightforward linear fashion. Sure, the acting is uneven; there are some plot holes, and there is almost zero character development, but that is secondary to the story of this film. What is impressive is the gore, and the creative kills (and effects used on those kills) throughout the film. Sprinkle in an awesome ending and some homage to classic horror films of the 1980s (Evil Dead tree penetration comes to mind) and this one works. In the end, there is nothing truly original in this, but it is an interesting and entertaining 80-plus minutes for gore fans. Sure, it is not for everyone, but if you enjoy straightforward mindless horror, give it a shot!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Under the Skin (2013)

After a couple days of working on some homework and finishing some writing, I decided it was time to jump back in for some reviews. While I am currently watching some alien stuff right now, it is nowhere near as surreal as the next film for review. That movie is the 2013 entry Under the Skin!

Plot/ A mysterious woman seduces lonely men in the evening hours in Scotland. Events lead her to begin a process of self-discovery.

This movie will definitely divide the audience, as some will love it and others will hate it. It is that simple of an analysis. Personally, I loved it! The surrealism of what is developing on the screen and in the story kept me guessing. However, I am a huge fan of surrealism and spent many hours dissecting the works of David Lynch. Yes, there are some pacing issues, there is some vague plot moments, and some of the acting has some uneven moments. That being said, this film is amazing, with stunning visuals and enough open space to allow your mind to fill in the blanks. In the end, this movie is definitely not for everyone and will likely go unnoticed by the masses. If you enjoy surrealism and movies that push boundaries, give it a shot!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hunting the Legend (2014)

With my first week of the new quarter in the books, and finally feeling like myself again, it was time to finish the reviews on the movies I watched during my illness. As of this point, I have movie Darkroom and this found footage flick left on my list. Next up, the 2014 entry Hunting the Legend. 

Plot/ In 2008, a deer hunter was taken by something in the Alabama woods. Only his rifle, blood, and a 16" footprint were left behind... Five years later, his son seeks revenge.

I was really torn when I saw this flick. While I am not a huge fan of found footage movies, being a Bigfoot researcher, I was interested to see this films take on the mysterious cryptid. As I expected, there was nothing new with the filmmaking techniques, the acting was overdone and uneven, and the characters were poorly developed. However, I was extremely disappointed in the characterization of Bigfoot, turning the species basically into a group of large crazed cannibals. Yes, I understand that this was an interpretation, but it could not be further from the legend and a poor choice for a found footage flick. Unless you are a huge found footage fan, stay away from it!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Stage Fright (2014)

I finally feel like I am back to where I was before I got sick. For most of the week, I fought through some lingering fatigue issues, as I had to return to the institute for a new quarter. With some energy now in place, it was time to get back to the block. Next up on the chopping block is the 2014 horror musical Stage Fright!

Plot/ A snobby musical theater camp is terrorized by a blood-thirsty killer who hates musical theater.

Horror musicals are always a challenge and this one was no different. While it was entertaining and laughable, I will say that there definitely was not sound balance between the slasher elements and the musical portions. That being said, the acting was solid, the concepts interesting, and there was a decent amount of blood when the gore started to flow. Sure, there were some pacing issues, the scripting was uneven, and the ending was quite predictable. In the end, this movie may not be perfect, but there was something interesting going on and it had some entertaining moments. I could quite easily see this movie take on some late cult movie followers in time, it has just enough schlock and gore to make it appealing. If you like musicals, give it a shot!