Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Zombie Massacre 2: Reich of the Dead (2015)

I have taken a couple of days off to focus solely on my book project After the Static. Of course, as I am writing, I love to have some horror on in the background to help me stay focused. One of the movies that aided my cause is the 2015 entry Zombie Massacre 2: Reich of the Dead.

Plot/ Set in the WWII it tells the story of a bunch of American soldiers fighting against a horde of zombies created by the Nazis using the prisoners of the camps.

First off, I can’t say that I ever heard of Zombie Massacre and had no idea that there could be a sequel. After seeing this one at Family Video, I was interested in the story even though I figured that it would be littered with the same clich├ęd moments as most in the arena and I was right. While I did not find it the worst zombie flick I have watched, I really think that this one had a chance to be more than it was. Between the head scratching decisions, the flat characters, and the story that was rather incoherent, there was nothing really memorable. This one was really inconsistent in every aspect (even for a low budgeted film) including the effects and cinematography. In the end, while I was excited to venture back into the zombie genre as I am working on my first zombie-themed novel, this may not have been my best choice. Stay away, I am sure there are much better options out there.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Arrival (2016)

One of the best things about hanging out and relaxing over my birthday weekend is that I got full run of the television and was able to absorb a few different flicks in different genres. One of the first films I picked up at Family Video is the 2016 sci-fi entry Arrival.

Plot/ When twelve mysterious spacecraft appear around the world, linguistics professor Louise Banks is tasked with interpreting the language of the apparent alien visitors.

This movie will definitely be polarizing. More of a drama than sci-fi flick, this story dives into many elements that make it interesting and thought-provoking. While this one is not perfect, there are certain points that will stick with you long after watching it. The cinematography is amazing and captivating, the performances are believable and natural, the atmosphere is tense, but not overwhelming, and the storyline is an intriguing look at how a situation like this would likely occur with the differences between cultures and governments that exist in the world today. Yes, the pacing is a bit slow at times, some of the actions with the alien creatures are odd, and the scripting does have some uneven moments, but those do nothing to take away from the power of the story. In the end, if you are hoping for a flashy, action-packed invasion movie, this one is not for you. However, if you are looking for an alien film carrying a deeper non-linear meaning, you should definitely check this one out.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Abattoir (2016)

If you have read my blog, you would now that Darren Lynn Bousman is one of my favorite directors. Not only is an alumnus of Full Sail University like me, he has also created some of the most visually appealing movies of the past decade. Between his work on the Saw franchise, Repo: The Genetic Opera, and The Devil’s Carnival, there is an artistic flare that is not usually seen in horror. Next up for review is his next movie, 2016s Abattoir, a film that I honestly believe may be his best work.

Plot/ An investigative reporter teams up with a Police officer to solve the mystery of why a seemingly good man murdered her sister's family.

I had been waiting to see this since I first heard about it, and I was not disappointed by what I found. While I can see why this movie could be somewhat polarizing, it is an interesting take on the haunted house/curse genre and is both intelligent and visually appealing. More of a slow burn, as the tension building throughout, I found myself drawn to the main characters and the storyline. The cinematography and visuals are tremendous, the performances are solid, and the atmosphere inside the film is dark and heavy. Yes, I am sure that the scripting will cause some viewers some issue with the way it embraces an almost retro feel with a prose-like style that seems more suited for a vintage film than a modern thriller and the ending is definitely one that is both somewhat predictable and refreshing, but those issues should in no way impact the overall viewing experience of watching this film. In the end, this is one of the most memorable and entertaining films to hit the shelves in some time and left me wanting more. If you have not seen it, you are definitely missing out.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Calling (2014)

After enjoying a mindless gorefest, I decided that I needed to find something with a little more depth. With that in mind while searching through Family Video, I decided on a serial killer driven religious thriller: 2014s The Calling.

Plot/ Detective Hazel Micallef hasn't had much to worry about in the sleepy town of Fort Dundas until a string of gruesome murders in the surrounding countryside brings her face to face with a serial killer driven by a higher calling.

I picked this one up the other night and was definitely surprised that I had not grabbed it earlier. This serial killer based thriller, was both enlightening and entertaining. Different than most films in this genre, the movie moves along at the proper pace and somewhat builds throughout. The cast is tremendous, the performances are solid, the atmosphere works, and the storyline is deeper and more intellectual than others made in the save vain. Yes, there are some plot holes, but I would like to think they were intentional and the overall film lacked the character development that could have taken this story to another level. However, these flaws are easily overlooked within this underrated thriller. In the end, if you enjoy thought provoking serial killer entries, this one is a great choice. You should definitely check it out if you get the chance.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Truth or Dare (2013)

After taking some time off to work on my book project, it was time to get back at it with a review of a film I grabbed at Family Video. This is a no-budget entry from earlier in the decade: 2013s Truth or Dare.

Plot/ Six college kids find Internet stardom when they make "Truth or Dare" videos with a violent twist. It is all fun and games until their number one fan decides he wants to play by his own rules.

I know that this one is going to be extremely polarizing because it lacks many of the elements that have saturated the horror genre over the past few years. However, this one has everything a viewer would want if the enjoy micro-budgeted gorefests. For me, I love low budget horror and watching what can happen when people who love the genre are involved. The effects are bloody and at times over the top, the idea is interesting, and there are enough psychological aspects inside to draw you in. Of course, some of the performances are uneven and there are some pacing issues, but those aspects are expected when one considers the small budget. In the end, this was a fun movie to watch and kept me entertained on a snowy night. If you love no-budget horror, give this one a shot.