Monday, May 25, 2015

Curse of the Witching Tree (2015)

This long weekend has not been great for choosing horror movies in the house, although I did watch my fair share. Of course, I have been stuck in a small Ancient Aliens marathon as I continue to do some research for a project, so my mind may be a touch disconnected. Next up for review here at The Ringmaster’s Realm is the 2015 low budget entry Curse of the Witching Tree.

Plot/ An innocent woman, accused of murdering her son and hanged as a witch, curses a tree and the children who play around it. The effects of this act of revenge echo through the years and centuries, and restless spirits haunt the house where the bodies of the cursed children have been buried. A family moves into their new home, and begin to uncover the terrible truth behind The Witching Tree and the murdered children upon which they unknowingly sleep.

After suffering through Poltergeist on Friday, I honestly thought any movie I chose would be better, and I was right. While this movie is far from perfect, it served as the perfect way to wash that out of my mind. The storyline, while unbelievable, was interesting; the atmosphere was dark, and for a low budget flick, it had some moments. Unfortunately, while the backstory was interesting, there were excessively many clichéd and head scratching moments, the acting was uneven at best, and there were really no moments that stirred any type of emotional response (even the attempts at jump scares). In the end, even with a few entertaining moments, this one is not worth diving into. Yes, it may be better than Poltergeist, but that is not saying much at all. Stay away!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Poltergeist (2015)

This has been a long week with a strange sickness taking over the house. Fortunately, as we head into the holiday weekend everyone (including me) seems to be feeling better. One thing that did not help though was going to see the 2015 remake of Poltergeist when it opened, as again, it shows why classic films should not be touched or remade.

Plot/ A family whose suburban home is haunted by evil forces must come together to rescue their youngest daughter after the apparitions take her captive.

This movie should be the death nail for Hollywood and their endless stream of remakes. Like many of the classics that have been redone, Poltergeist in no way comes close to the original, and honestly, I am not surprised. While I was in no way captivated by the movie, with even my daughter calling it cheesy (and she was the one who really wanted to see it). To be honest, there were some interesting parts, the acting was decent, and some of the 3D effects worked really well. Unfortunately, the flat characterizations, the forced scripting that tried to keep some classic moments by subtly changing them (and in many ways ruining them), and the pace felt off and almost rushed. In the end, if you are a fan of the original stay far away from this one, like me, you will be disappointed. However, if you have not seen the classic Poltergeist, and this will be your first entry into the world, it does have some entertaining moments (although predictable) and could be a fun trip to the movies for the family. Personally, I would just rent (or buy) the classic and skip this altogether. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Psychotic (2013)

As I continued to work on the rewrite for my short film script, I decided to get my mind clearly inside the sanitarium. I found just the flick at Family Video, when I grabbed Psychotic from 2013.

Plot/ A psychologist is trapped inside a mental institution where all the patients have escaped and are on the rampage.

Psychotic was a much better film than I originally imagined when picking it up off the shelf. In fact, there was so much to like in this low budget flick; it is hard to believe that this was Johnny Johnson’s directorial debut. The atmosphere is heavy, the score drives the tension, the performances are decent, and the cinematography was varied enough to keep you interested. Yes, there are some dialog issues, and likely, because of the lower budgeting, there is not a lot of blood or gore, but those issues are to be expected in any film with these restraints. In the end, this entry released in the states by Midnight Releasing was an entertaining trip into insanity. Give it a shot!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Hell at Heathridge (2013)

After watching The Drownsman, I decided that I wanted to venture into something different and I found just the thing at Family Video. Besides picking up a couple of films based deep in some type of psychosis, I also picked up a great example of independent cinema. That is my next review, 2013s Hell at Heathridge.

Plot/ Obsessed with obscure modern tragedies, wealthy Mr. Yates hires five college drama students to recreate a murder-suicide that occurred on their campus 20 years ago. As the actors prepare for the show of their lives, unfortunate events follow them, and by the end, they realize one thing . . . Evil is Real!

Last night when I sat down to watch this, I had no idea what to expect. After watching it, I am even more of a supporter of university driven independent cinema. From Kent State University Independent Films, this supernatural thriller was not only well done; it had an interesting storyline that kept me engaged throughout. As a creative writing major myself, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire production and solid performances. Sure, it was no a blockbuster, but with the budget that was in place, this one was better than a lot of movies that carry a larger scale and budget. In the end, this one was entertaining and well worth watching; especially if like me, you love low budget indie cinema. Give it a shot!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Drownsman (2014)

Last night, I decided to take a small break from the blog as I was working on the second draft of my short film script for No Face, He Has No Face! While I was writing and editing, I did put on some horror to help keep my mind focused. The first movie up for review from the night was the 2014 slasher The Drownsman.

Plot/ After nearly drowning in a lake, Madison develops a hydrophobia that is emotionally crippling. When she begins seeing visions of an evil figure, four friends stage an intervention but accidentally open a gate to a dark place.

This was a difficult movie to review. While there are a lot of moments that feel familiar and cliché, it also sparks some originality and has a tension that pulls you in. The storyline is interesting; the performances are solid, and there are some gripping scenes with some intriguing cinematography and effects. Yes, there are some parts of the movie that are predictable, there are some plot holes, and there are a lot of unanswered questions throughout, but those do nothing to hamper the overall entertainment value of this one. In the end, this was one of the better supernatural/slasher flicks to come around in some time and adds just enough curious moments and mystery to make it worthwhile. If you are looking for something in this genre, give it a shot!