Friday, January 31, 2014

Pretty Dead (2013)

Having not watched any new movies in a while, the weekend usually allows me a chance to stay up and watch something. Sure, my selections are not always perfect, and lately, they have sucked, I still look forward to what I pick. This first selection is the 2013 flashback driven entry Pretty Dead.

Plot/ After killing and cannibalizing several men and being found unfit for trial, Regina Stevens desperately tried to convince her psychiatric caregivers that she wasn't mentally ill, but was in fact slowly becoming a real life zombie. 

While this movie looked interesting on the shelf at Family Video, it definitely did not live up to the appearance. Yes, the story is interesting and some of the performances are not bad, it cannot overtake the slow pacing and lack of excitement. The sound quality is all over, the script is uneven and there is really nothing that makes it stand out (not to mention the laughable ending). In the end, this movie is really to get worked up about and should only be assn option if you have absolutely nothing else to watch. Stay away. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Satanic (2006)

After revisiting Lizzy Borden, I decided to venture back into the flicks that sit in my review backlog. Honestly, I had very few options.  Being in the middle of a deep freeze, it is hard to watch something I arm interested in with the girls constantly awake since school has been closed or delayed because of the sub-zero temps. In catching up, I decided to go back to the 2006 indie entry Satanic. 

Plot/ The powers of darkness converge to claim the soul of a young girl who may have made a deal with the devil. After a devastating car accident claims the life of her father, Michelle wakes up in a hospital with no recollection of the events leading up to the traumatic tragedy. 

Low budget horror can go many different ways, and often it leaves you scratching your head wondering what you just watched. That is definitely the case with this one, as there are very few redeeming qualities to even mention. Yes, there is nudity and some interesting cinematography moments, but that in no way can save this one from the weight of the incoherent and hole-filled script. The CGI is bad, the characterization worse, and the acting is extremely uneven. In the end, there are much better low budget flicks out there, you can definitely pass on this one.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Lizzy Borden Took an Axe (2014)

The legendary story of Lizzy Borden is a tale most of us have known since our youth. Between the violent unsolved mystery and the poem, it would be hard to imagine anyone growing up without at least hearing about her. That was why I was excited when I saw a preview for this site. The 2014 made-for-television Lizzy Borden Took an Axe starring Christina Ricci. 

Plot/ The true story of Lizzie Borden, a young woman tried and acquitted in the 1892 murders of her father and stepmother. 

The story of Lizzy Borden is one of the more interesting tales to come from that part of our history. Incredibly, that story, and the iconic poem with last forever, as the case remains an unsolved mystery. In this incarnation, the story is presented in a way that makes it both believable, yet open to interpretation. It featured decent performances, solid scenery, some graphic effects (for TV) and of course an interesting story. Unfortunately, the soundtrack, while entertaining definitely did not fit the feel of the movie or the period, really detracting from the atmosphere. In the end, this was a decent made-for-television movie that had potential to be so much more. If you missed it, do not sweat, I am sure it will be on a million more times.  Yes, it was watchable, but it was not must see TV.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Ouija Experiment (2011)

While our weather did not improve all that much on Sunday, it did allow me a chance to sit back and do some relaxing. I did have to finish some homework, but that was only a small trip into work mode. Now, to catch up on some of my weekend viewing, the 2011 low budget flick, The Ouija Experiment. 

Plot/ Five friends decide to videotape their experimental sessions with an Ouija board in an attempt to create a viral video that is sure to make them famous. Personal drama causes members of the group to forget to maintain focus on the game's important rules and soon fall prey to the evil entities that occupy the board. 

This low budget entry has has been a challenge to get a hold of. Incredibly, it was always out when I went in to Family Video, that was until yesterday when I grabbed it. Of course, being a low budget flick with a small unknown cast, I figured there would be some issues, and there were. While the story was interesting and there were some creepy moments, it did not hold my attention throughout. One major reason was the overacting, which was evident from the first minutes of the film. Couple that with the uneven pacing and lack of flow and it was a difficult viewing experience. In the end, while the story had some potential, the opportunity to reach that was missed. Unless you have it on your bucket list to watch everything with Ouija Boards, I would pass.

The Black Waters of Echo's Pond (2009)

With the crazy snow storm raging today, I had a lot of time to think about what I wanted to watch today. While part of me wanted to see some zombies, I figured that they would not be a good follow-up to Lizzy Borden. After some time, I decided to check out, the 2009 entry, The Black Waters of Echo's Pond. 

Plot/ Nine friends take a holiday at a Victorian home on a private island and uncover a game that when played brings out the worst in each of them. Jealously, greed, hatred, lust, all of the things they keep buried deep inside themselves rise to the surface and come to a boil. 

While I have seen this one on the shelves many times, I had stayed away as I had a bad feeling about it. Now that I have seen it, my instincts were spot on. Yes, there was some decent atmosphere, the effects were OK, and the cinematography worked within the confines of what was an interesting storyline. Unfortunately, the positive moments do not outweigh the flaws. The acting is flat, the scripting is cliche and predictable, and the  characterization creates some miserable characters. In the end, this low budget entry never reaches its full potential and leaves a lot to be desired with a retread storyline that I swear I have seen before (only better). If you have no other choices, give it a shot, but be warned, there is nothing memorable in it.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

All Hallows' Eve (2013)

I was on the fence with what horror genre to dive into tonight. I could have dove into some zombie stuff, possibly a supernatural flick, or even something with an Ouija Board. However, after some thought, I decided to venture into some murder and ritual with an evil clown. Or, the 2013 anthology All Hallows' Eve.

Plot/ While watching two children on Halloween night, a babysitter finds an old VHS tape in the kids' trick or treat bag. The tape features three tales of terror, all linked together by a murderous clown. As the night goes on strange things begin to occur in the house. It isn't long before the babysitter learns the horrifying truth... the maniacal clown is slowly working his way into her reality.

Let me start by stating that this flick was nothing like I expected, and in a good way. The three short anthology with an evil clown wrap-around was definitely low budget, but it was extremely entertaining. The storyline was cliche but interesting, there is some decent atmosphere and the effects are more than you would expect from a low budget movie. Yes, the acting was not great, the stories were uneven, and there were some pacing issues driven by too much dialogue, but that does not bring this one down. In the end, this low budget flick is definitely worth watching, especially if you love evil clowns. Not for everyone, but there is enough blood to go around.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Black Water Vampire (2014)

Last night I took a break from writing, as I had a homework project I had to finish. While building an inspirational poster for my psychology class,  I decided Ruthi venture into the vampire genre for my next selection, 2014s Black Water Vampire. 

Plot/ A documentary film crew investigate a series of brutal killings known as the Black Water murders. As they delve deeper into the story, they stumble upon a horrifying secret. One they may not survive.

As a fan of low budget cinema, I am usually excited when I find something that I never heard of. That was the case with this one, although I surmised early on that this one was going to be a cliche-fest. While much of it feels like a remake of the Blair Witch Project, this one at least has an interesting ending, believable acting, and a couple of interesting moments sprinkled in. Unfortunately, the cliche gets old leading up to the twist at the end, the pacing is off, and there is zero atmosphere. choir me. In the end, this one did nothing for me as i was not captivated by any of it, but I am also not the biggest Blair Witch mockumentary-style fan. If you links those, give it a shot. If you are like me, stay away.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Machete Kills (2013)

Last night I took a break from writing, as the weather just put me in a bad mood. With the temperature dropping outshine, I decided to watch something with a warmer feel. My selection for Tuesday the 2013 entry Machete Kills.

Plot/ The U.S. government recruits Machete to battle his way through Mexico in order to take down an arms dealer who looks to launch a weapon into space.

I knew this one was going to be ridiculous as soon as I saw the first trailer. As a fan of Machete, I knew they could never recapture everything that made it great, and that bigger is not always better. This one was violent, it had some solid kills, and as with the first one , there was a lot of action, comedy and effects to like. Unfortunately, the storyline in this installment did not live up to the first one, and the ensemble cast did not flow in the same manner as the first. Yes, there were some perfect choices like Carlos Esteves, but others did not work. The biggest let-down was the new  characterization of Machete, as they transformed him into a supplier hero destined for the Justice League. In the end, I am glad I waited for this to hit the video shelves and did not rush in. I love grindhouse and exploitation cinema, but this one is a stretch even for me. Be warned!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Haunted Boy: The Secret Diary of the Exorcist (2010)

This has been a long cold weekend. Yes, it has been nice spending time with the family, but between homework and some other work, I have moments where I need to take a break. Now refreshed, I decided to watch something different, a docudrama / documentary in the 2010 piece, The Haunted Boy: The Secret Diary of the Exorcist.

Plot/ This is the untold story of The Exorcist, a chronicle of true events based on the priest's secret diary the world was not to see.

I knew going into this one that it would be a polarizing entry for some viewers. No matter what the storyline is, to these viewers, documentaries cannot have any artistic flair. That is the case with this one, as it is more of a stylistic docudrama than pure documentary. This one has an interesting storyline, some interesting interviews, and some credible information that adds some depth to one of the greatest stories ever to be turned into a movie. Sure, some viewers will take offense to the artistic visual effects, the hard-hitting soundtrack and the edgy editing. In the end, I understand that the Booth Brothers are controversial names in the paranormal community because of their artistic interpretation of different locations and stories. To me, theirdocumentaries actually breathe some life into an over-saturated market. If you are a documentary purist, stay away. If not, give it a go, it is an interesting story.

Friday, January 17, 2014

You're Next (2011)

After spending Thursday night with the remake of Carrie, I decided I wanted to go with something mindless for my Friday evening. With the snow falling outside, it is the perfect night for some mayhem. After some thought, I decided upon the 2011 horror flick, You're Next.

Plot/ When the Davison family comes under attack during their wedding anniversary getaway, the gang of mysterious killers soon learns that one of victims harbors a secret talent for fighting back.

As usual, I stayed away from this one until I could watch it at home and i am glad I did. While this is not a perfect flick, it does have some interesting aspects even with the cliche moments sprinkled in. This movie actually has a decent mix of comedy elements thrown into the various kills, which in some ways make it more fun than you may have expected. The acting is OK, the cinematography solid, and the direction works, having some originality thrown into the mix with some of the kills. Sure, the atmosphere is all over, there are plot holes and the characterization is lacking, but it is far from terrible. In the end, this is a hard flick to categorize, as it boasts multiple murders, but does not fit into the different horror sub-genres. To me, this was an entertaining and comic trip down a bloody path, and one I enjoyed. Not for everyone, but if you like blood, guts, murder and mayhem, give it a shoot. If not, stay away.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Carrie (2013)

Everyday I think about what movies I plan on watching and often have mini debates inside my mind as I figure out what genre I want to venture into. Once in a while, there are movies that come out that cause me strife, as my emotions are torn on whether it would be worth viewing. This was one of those, the 2013 remake of Carrie. 

Plot/ A reimagining of the classic horror tale about Carrie White, a shy girl outcast by her peers and sheltered by her deeply religious mother, who unleashes telekinetic terror on her small town after being pushed too far at her senior prom. 

I have been on the fence about watching this one. As a fan of the original, it would be hard to see this one live up to that one. Usually, when a remake hits the street, they never compare to the original. That, in some ways is the case with this one. While it does not match the original, it is a solid an entertaining remake. The cast works well, especially Julianne Moore who nails the role of the religious freak mother. Even Chloe Grace Moretz, was better in the role than I expected, sure she is different than and plays the role differently than the iconic Sissy Spacek, but it works. While it is more of a remake /update than revision, it does add a few elements from the Stephen King novel that were left out of the original. yes, there are some pacing issues and some of the characters do not match the actors, but overall, it works and is entertaining. In the end, it may not have the atmosphere or shock value of the original (how could it), but it is an entertaining flick. If you watch it with an open mind, you should enjoy it, just do not expect the magic of the 1970s masterpiece.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Crawlspace (2012)

After some debate, I decided to take an evening off from the blog. While i the writing, and it gives the voices in my head  Samsun outlet, sometimes, I have to take a break for my own sanity. Now recharged, I decided to review another flick from my vacation, the 2012 Australian Sci-Fi flick Crawlspace. 

Plot/ A group of elite soldiers sent to infiltrate and extract the lead science team from Pine Gap, Australia's top secret underground military compound, after it comes under attack from unknown forces. The mission is compromised when they encounter a young woman with no memory of who she is or how she came to be there. 

This flick was interesting to me, but for a different reason than many that may watch it. I had a distinct flashback to the research I have seen on the the Top Secret Montauk facility,  and the similarities of the storylines between the truth with Montauk and this film. While I had hoped for more, this one desire at least have some solid cinematography and decent visual effects. Unfortunately, even with some so-so, the laughable dialogue, cliched story, and unlikeliness characters bring in down.  I the end, this Sci-Fi story had some potential, but fell short of what it could have been.  Sure, it does have some entertaining moments, but it is far from must-see selection.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Elysium (2013)

When I went to Family Video, one of my daughters made a request for something Sci-Fi. While I usually stay clear of mainstream blockbusters, how could I pass the opportunity to keep up the daughters interest in Sci-GI and horror? Armed with that request, I picked up what she wanted, 2013s Elysium. 

Plot/ In the year 2154, the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth. A man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds. 

In some ways a follow-up to District 9, this film in no way measures up to that piece of great Sci-Fi cinema. While not a terrible flick this one just lacks a coherent script. Yes, the action sequences are solid, the CGI is above average and the cinematography creates a tremendous example of a post-apocalyptic world. While these aspects and the set design create stunning visual world, it cannot save the film from a severe lack of  characterization that brings it down. while some of the performances are solid, many are flat, and fall short of the potential that existed with the cast. When you couple the uneven performances with a uneven storyline and a simple ending, you have a recipe for issues. In the end, this is a visually impressive flick that had the potential to be something special. Unfortunately, the miserable characters and dismal script prevent that from happening. Sure, it is watchable, but it is nowhere near a Sci-Fi masterpiece.