Sunday, December 21, 2014

At the Devil's Door (2014)

After diving into a classic 1980s slasher last night, I decided it was time to venture into something different this evening after finishing my short story for my college class. My selection for the evening was the 2014 entry At the Devil’s Door.

Plot/ When ambitious young real estate agent Leigh is asked to sell a house with a checkered past, she crosses paths with a disturbed girl whom she learns is the runaway daughter of the couple selling the property. When Leigh tries to intervene and help her, she becomes entangled with a supernatural force that soon pulls Leigh's artist sister Vera into its web - and has sinister plans for both of them.

This is a strange movie to place. Not truly a horror film, but not really a thriller. Actually, it comes across as a touch of a disjointed anthology, which has some intriguing elements that do not blend together in a manner to create something memorable. Sure, the performances, cinematography, and production elements are top notch; items that make this one of the more technically sound flicks of the year. Unfortunately, the disjointed feel of the stories, slow pacing, and the unsatisfying ending truly hurt the overall tone. In the end, this one sits somewhere near the middle of the road with some elements that will draw people in, but enough to turn some off. Not for everyone, this supernatural driven demonic flick will either be loved or hated, with very little middle ground.

The House on Sorority Row (1983)

There is nothing like diving into the classic slashers of the 1980s. Having grown up in that era, it is always fun to revisit the movies that helped shape my movie interests. Tonight was one of those nights, and I decided to revisit one of the cult classics, the 1983 slasher The House on Sorority Row.

Plot/ After a seemingly innocent prank goes horribly wrong, a group of sorority sisters are stalked and murdered one by one in their sorority house while throwing a party to celebrate their graduation.

One of my favorite eras in cinema is the 1980s and the great slasher craze that littered the shelves of our local video stores, and The House on Sorority Row has to be regarded as one of the better low budget entries from that time. This film features some decent performances, solid cinematography, creepy imagery, and enough atmospheres to create some tension throughout. Sure, some of the effects may seem a touch dated today, but this is definitely one of the better entries in the genre. In the end, any fan of the slasher genre must see this movie. If you have not seen it, check it out.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Stonehearst Asylum (2014)

After finally finishing all of the available episodes of Agents of SHIELD, I was excited to find something a touch different when I made my latest trip to Family Video. Being a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, I love finding adaptations of his works and grab them whenever I can. That made today’s trip awesome when I found the 2014 entry Stonehearst Asylum (AKA Eliza Graves).

Plot/ A recent medical school grad who takes a position at a mental institution soon finds himself taken with one of his colleagues - though he has no initial idea of a recent, horrifying staffing change.

Being a huge fan of Poe, I had to grab Stonehearst Asylum as soon as I saw it on the shelf. Yes, some of the recent adaptations (even loose ones) have been uneven; I always hold out hope. This movie is one of the better efforts, pulling together the amazing cast into a tight/coherent gothic thriller. The atmosphere works in a manner that keeps the movie suspenseful and dark, the cinematography is sharp, and there are enough intrigue to keep you entertained. Yes, there is a lack of overall humor like in the source story, but that definitely is a small flaw that does not impact the final product. In the end, this is a solid (albeit loose) Poe adaptation and an entertaining flick. If you are like me and love his writing, give it a shot. It is a movie that should be seen.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Alien Agenda: Project Grey (2007)

It was so nice to finally have an evening at the house with nothing keeping me out until all hours. Over the past two weeks, it feels like there has been something everyday from band concerts, to Christmas parties, to working late, it has been a challenge. Tonight was different, and not only did I have a chance to watch some Agents of SHIELD, I was able to catch a low budget flick: 2007s Alien Agenda: Project Grey.  

Plot/ Dr. Schroder listens to her criminally insane patient as he recounts the story of the murder of his four friends. A story of infidelity, jealousy, and revenge takes a strange turn revealing an alien agenda. Chip implants, government mind control, Russian military, and alien visitors, form the puzzle pieces of this science fiction thriller. A search for the answers leads to the truth.

Although I have been caught up in the world of S.H.I.E.L.D lately and there are some alien overtones, I have honestly been in the mood to see some type of alien related flick. That is what I found with this one on HULU. A no-budget indie flick, this one is definitely far from perfect, but it did have some interesting aspects that at least kept me entertained. The storyline is interesting and there were some solid moments, the soundtrack was outstanding, and there were some intriguing cinematography aspects that seemed to work better than expected. Sure, the dialog and acting was a touch uneven, and the CGI effects and some scene transitions were laughable at best, but that did not destroy the movie. In the end, I understand that this low budget entry will not be for everyone, but it does have some entertaining moments. While not a masterpiece, if you enter into it with low expectations like I did, you could be surprised.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Not Safe For Work (2014)

This was a long weekend. Between finishing my college homework, the Christmas Party for the institute, and an awesome concert by the VFW Band (with my awesome daughter Genesis performing), I did not get to the computer much. I did check out a couple movies, like the 2014 flick Not Safe For Work.

Plot/ An office worker is trapped inside the building where a killer is on the loose.

This low budget entry was a quick and interesting watch. While there were really no over the top effects, gore, or nudity, there was just enough storyline to keep the short run time moving. Yes, there were some decent performances and the plot resonates with the reality that we live inside, but it did feel a bit cliché. Unfortunately, the cliché does create many predictable moments and there really is nothing new, and that does hurt the overall feel. In the end, this may not be anything great, but it is a decent little movie that can help pass some time. While I would not search this one out, if you found it during a late night for free, you could do worse.