Monday, September 15, 2014

The Believers (1987)

Every once in a while I decide to journey back into my youth a re-watch one of the flicks that helped shape who I am today. Last night, I had one of those moments and found the perfect movie to quench my desire. Of course, it also provided some much-needed relaxation after a day of softball and my first feeble attempts at defeating the skeleton king (Diablo III). That movie was the 1987 entry, The Believers.

Plot/ A New York psychiatrist finds that a voodoo cult, which believes in child sacrifice, has a keen interest in his own son.

I remember seeing this when it came out in the 1980s. This journey into Voodoo/Santeria is a well-made thriller that takes on the religions in a realistic way. While it is not overly scary, there are parts of this flick that capture the imagination and bring the seriousness to life. The acting is solid, the storyline intriguing, and the atmosphere is heavy and dark. Sure, there are some pacing issues, some of the small details that could add some clarity are overlooked, and there are some complexities that may make it hard to follow for some viewers. In the end, this is an entertaining journey into a mysterious religion. Yes, it is not for everyone, but if you enjoy religious horror, you have to give it a shot.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Shame the Devil (2013)

Although I have had some entertaining moments over the past couple days, I was definitely busy between high school football games, middle school soccer, softball and band performances. When you throw in some Diablo III, it is easy to see how I did not get to the blog. Of course, it would also be because I am trying to finish Fringe as well. Next up for review is the 2013 British entry Shame the Devil.

Plot/ A London detective tracking a serial killer finds the killers "truth or die" methods take him to New York to solve the case.

While I had no real expectations for this one, I was still left with an empty disappointing feeling after watching it. In fact, if you have seen any movies in the Saw franchise, you have already seen better versions of this one. From the outset, the cliché moments and clear duplication of the Saw model are abundant. From there, it cascades into more of the same, without the class of the Saw franchise. The scripting is uneven, the dialog is subpar, the acting rough, and the is nothing to draw you into the movie. In the end, this was a hard movie to watch and offers nothing new (not even any blood or gore). Honestly, re-watch one of installments from the Saw franchise, you would have a more enjoyable time.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Willow Creek (2013)

As an investigator in the field of Cryptozoology, Bigfoot has been one of my favorite creatures to research. That being said, the legendary cryptid also finds his way onto my must watch list, as I cannot get enough of Sasquatch themed movies and documentaries. While those movies can never compare to field research, they at least hold me in check until I can get back out into the field. The next movie in the genre for me to review is the 2013 indie flick Willow Creek.

Plot/ Jim and his girlfriend Kelly are visiting the infamous Willow Creek, the alleged home of the original Bigfoot legend and footage (the Patterson-Gimlin film) - the tale of huge ape like creatures that roam the forests of North America. Deep in the dark and silent woods, isolated and hours from human contact, neither Kelly or Jim are prepared for what is hidden between the trees, and what happens when the cameras start rolling...

As with every review of found-footage flicks, I understand that you will either love or hate the genre. Personally, I am somewhere in the middle, as if done correctly, they can make a realistic impact on the viewer. This movie is one of those. While it is far from perfect, there is a lot to like. The acting is solid, the scripting believable, the atmosphere works and more importantly, the 80-minute runtime is about right for this style of film. With those positives in place, writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait cannot get past some of the cliché moments that plague this type of film and has some uneven pacing throughout, which knocks it down a notch. In the end, this is one of the better found-footage flicks to come out in some time and a movie that effectively captures some of the real elements experience when in the field. Sure, more action would have been awesome, but what is here is awesome. If you love Bigfoot and found-footage flicks, this one is for you. Check it out!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Crazy Eights (2006)

While I did spend some time playing Murdered last night, I spent the majority of my time watching both Fringe and Zero Hour. Yes, both television shows are interesting and both open up some very intriguing questions, but sometimes I need something more mindless. In those moments, I dig into some of the horror I have on hand. That is the case with my next review, part of the 2006 After Dark Horrorfest, Crazy Eights.

Plot/ Six people are brought together at the funeral of a childhood friend. While settling the estate, they discover a map, which leads them on a search for a long forgotten time capsule, at the request of their dead friend. What they discover reawakens repressed childhood traumas and leads them on a journey through their long abandoned childhood home: a home with a terrible secret and a mysterious dead girl who will lead them to their strange fates.

It had been awhile since I ventured into the 2007 After Dark Horrorfest, and now I remember why. While I remembered some of the films, this is not one of them, which is why I grabbed it from the attic first. Yes, there were some good settings and the cinematography was not bad, there was really nothing else to write home about. The acting was scattered, the pacing was off, the script uneven, and although it was only 80 minutes, too many clichés were embedded into the flick. In the end, this one has to rank near the bottom of that set and is a poor attempt at a B-Movie. If you have not seen it, do not fret as you are not missing anything. Plus, there are much better films out there.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Odd Thomas (2013)

Every once in a while there are movies that seem to pop up around every corner, and you cannot rid yourself of them until you watch them. This week I experienced one of those movies, Odd Thomas. Now after some thought, here is the review.

Plot/ In a California desert town, a short-order cook with clairvoyant abilities encounters a mysterious man with a link to dark, threatening forces.

Having never read any of the Odd Thomas books, I have no idea whether or not the adaptation stayed true to the book. Thus, I am basing this review on what came across my screen. With that in mind, there was an entertaining factor to this film, although there was definitely a feeling that something was missing. Sure, the characters were interesting and there were some decent effects (especially for CGI), but there was definitely something holding it back from reaching its full potential. That could be a lack of character development, uneven acting, or some plot holes that opened because of my lack of knowledge on the source material. In the end, this movie was at least entertaining. While it was far from perfect, it least it had enough to keep my attention.