Showing posts from May, 2014

Patrick: Evil Awakens (2013)

With my workweek winding down and a weekend full of events at the Pennsylvania Literary Festival (and softball), I decided to kick back and relax once I finished some homework tonight. While relaxing, I threw on a film I picked up at Family Video, the 2013 entry Patrick: Evil Awakens.

Plot/ When a young nurse begins work at an isolated psychiatric ward, she quickly becomes fascinated with Patrick, a brain dead patient who is the subject of a mad scientist's cruel and unusual experiments. What starts as an innocent fascination quickly takes a sinister turn as Patrick begins to use his psychic powers to manipulate her every move, and send her life into a terrifying spiral out of control.

As many know, I am not a huge fan of remakes. However, this updated version of the 1978 film Patrick is worth watching and does a great job at bridging the films together. While there is solid acting, detailed cinematography, and a tremendous score, it is the dark storyline and underlying realism t…

Look at His Pain! - A Zombie Attack

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (2014)

After hitting a few different genres over the past few days, I decided to venture back into the paranormal / occult for my viewing pleasure. While there are a ton of movies out there that would fill that craving, I decided to venture back into the Paranormal Activity franchise for their latest installment, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones.

Plot/ Jesse begins experiencing a number of disturbing and unexplainable things after the death of his neighbor. As he investigates, soon Jessie finds he has been marked for possession by a malevolent demonic entity, and it is only a matter of time before he is completely under its control.

I honestly did not expect much from this one as the Paranormal Activity franchise has been trending downward for some time. However, after reading the tag and watching a preview, I decided to give it a shot. What I found was an interesting mixture and a decent attempt at rebooting the franchise. While to storyline differs in some ways from the rest of the se…

Dead Sea (2014)

Last night I got my religious flick in for the weekend and I decided to dive into something in a different spectrum with my Monday evening viewing. While there were a ton of choices out there, I decided on the 2014 creature feature Dead Sea.

Plot/ A Marine Biologist is assigned to investigate the mysterious deaths of marine life in an inland salt water lake that have been attributed to a creature thought to have been the stuff of legend.

I went into this one knowing that it was going to be far from perfect. This low-budget indie flick definitely suffers from many of the flaws that plague this type of movie. What I will say is that there was some potential in there, but it seemed like there were multiple stories going on at one time and because of that diversity, nothing truly developed in a coherent manner. The acting is decent for the budget, the scenery interesting (although there were too many locations), and the decision to keep the creature out of sight worked. However, the lack…

Way of the Wicked (2014)

After watching The Facility, I decided to venture into a completely different direction for my next review. I decided to dive back into the religious realm, and potentially find some type of Antichrist themed movie. What did I find at Family Video? I found the 2014 Christian Slater flick Way of the Wicked.

Plot/ After a series of inexplicable murders sweeps a small, isolated community, Father Henry goes to a local police detective with a theory on why the murders are occurring.

I know I should temper my expectations when a movie catches my eye at the video store. Unfortunately, I did not do that again, and in turn grabbed another watchable flick. Way of the Wicked is that, watchable, as it follows a played out storyline with nothing inspiring. The acting is decent, the scripting uneven and the pace and storyline predictable. Yes, the setting worked well, but that was about it. In the end, this one offered nothing new and failed to develop any type of believable atmosphere throughout.…

The Facility (2012)

After taking a few days to wade through my homework for the week, it was time to get back into some horror. While I did let the daughters watch Vampire Academy, I could not even find it worth paying attention to. Instead I focused on something more my speed, 2012s low budget horror, The Facility.

Plot/ Eight volunteers find themselves fighting for their lives when a drug trial goes horribly wrong.

This low budget film popped up on the shelves of the video store the other day and caught my eye. While there are many cliché moments that will turn some off, it is actually quite entertaining. The acting is solid, the storyline realistic, the atmosphere heavy, and the overall effects were really good. Yes, is does have some incoherent moments in the script and some pacing issues on top of the cliché, but for a micro-budget flick this one hits where many others fail. In the end, this relatively underpublicized flick is one of the more entertaining and believable films I have seen in some ti…

Tom Holland's Twisted Tales (2013)

When I returned Mr. Jones the other night, I had a film jump off the shelf and catch my attention. While I should know not to rush into flicks based on packaging, this one felt different. That film was 2013s Tom Holland's Twisted Tales.

Plot/ Tom Holland's Twisted Tales was a web series hosted by our friends over at FearNet. There are nine short films, all written and directed by Tom Holland that cover a myriad of topics as only he could envision.

One of the biggest miseries I have had since moving from New Jersey is living without FearNet. Yes, I could watch it on my computer, but I am usually working on something. When I saw this DVD on the shelf, I had mixed emotions. As with any anthology, especially ones made specifically for the web, I knew there would be quality issues because of their lower budgets. I was right! While there were some interesting pieces, there was a wide range from best to the worst in the series. There were also some acting flaws, pacing flaws and too …

Mr. Jones (2013)

One of the movies I grabbed the daughters (besides I, Frankenstein) was another PG-13 entry. Personally, I am not a fan of that rating and feel like studios overuse it. However, having kids there are times where I must suffer through movies like 2013s Mr. Jones just so I can keep them involved in the horror genre.

Plot/ A young couple moves to the woods and soon finds their nightmares and reality colliding.

I had very low expectations when I picked this up for the daughters. At this point, I feel that found footage flicks have lost their edge and at PG-13, there was not going to be a ton of horror elements. While this movie is uneven, with some weird camera decisions, some of the storyline that is interesting. The supernatural and occult aspects of the scarecrows / totems and the folklore / magic behind them were an intriguing twist. Of course, it did have some flaws with uneven acting, a disconnect between the first and second acts, some weird acid trip vibes and a strange dream sta…

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

I love classic tales. My favorites are often those stories that transcend generations and visual movie adaptations and the majority of time, come across in a fresh almost modern way. One such movie was on my television this weekend, 1999s Sleepy Hollow.

Plot/ Ichabod Crane is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate the decapitations of 3 people with the culprit being the legendary apparition, the Headless Horseman.

It had been a while since I have watched Sleepy Hollow and honestly, it was a lot better than I remembered. This Tim Burton / Johnny Depp collaboration was one of their best. The pacing was on, the horror elements and effects were outstanding, the cast was amazing with both Christopher Walken as the headless horseman and Christina Ricci perfect for their roles, and the gothic atmosphere was captured in an entertaining  manner. Of course, it would not have been possible without the tremendous eye and cinematography of Burton, who created an interesting world within this classi…

Holy Ghost People (2013)

After watching I, Frankenstein last night it was time to dive into something a little more serious. With my writing class challenging me to dive into other genres besides my typical horror realm, I decided to watch a drama. My choice for the evening was the Holy Ghost People from 2013.

Plot/ On the trail of her missing sister, Charlotte enlists the help of Wayne, an ex-Marine and alcoholic, to infiltrate the Church of One Accord - a community of snake-handlers who risk their lives seeking salvation in the Holy Ghost.

I went into this knowing nothing about it, and that really worked. This is a fascinating story, which is extremely believable on many different levels. The acting is solid, the storyline interesting, and there are aspects that make it entertaining. Yes, there are some problems early on that felt forced, some of the characters are under developed, and there are some narration aspects that really take something away from the overall feel. In the end, this is an entertainin…

I, Frankenstein (2014)

Ever since watching Jericho and subsequently reading the graphic novel, I have been hooked. I love the feel of graphic novels, and am always interested in finding movies based on them to see how well they translate. That was exactly what I found to watch tonight, 2014s I, Frankenstein.

Plot/ Frankenstein's creature finds himself caught in an all-out, centuries old war between two immortal clans.

Movies based on graphic novels can be difficult to replicate on the screen, and I, Frankenstein was no exception. This CGI driven action flick was simple and effects driven. In no way did it make you thing when you were watching it. While some of the action sequences were impressive, the acting solid, and even the general idea interesting, there was too much packed into the 90 minutes to make it really hit home. Between the plot holes, uneven dialog, and an somewhat confusing timeline, it was easy to just block everything out and enjoy the action. In the end, it may be somewhat entertaini…

Kill Your Darlings (2013)

After viewing a couple of no-budget indie flicks from Brain Damage Films over the past week, Bren picked up an interesting drama based on the early years of some literary icons. Having read many of the classics from the Beat Generation, this would be a solid change of pace. That selection was the independent drama Kill Your Darlings from 2013.

Plot/ A murder in 1944 draws together the great poets of the beat generation: Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William Burroughs.

It is amazing how many people in the world truly have no idea how important the Beat Generation was to literature, and possibly society. While there are some fascinating movies out there (their books are better), no movie has truly captured the entire feel of the movement. This film is an interesting take on the origins of the movement. As with every movie, there are some good moments featuring decent acting, some solid characterization, an intriguing pallet, and a standout cast. Unfortunately, the scripting was a to…

Blood Rush (2012)

Zombie films are everywhere. In time, it is likely to be one of the genres that will see the popularity die down. Unfortunately, there are many low budget indie flicks that populate the shelves, excessively many to watch, so finding the right one is often a challenge. Fortunately, there is always time to try. Next, up for review (also from Brain Damage Films) Blood Rush from 2012.

Plot/ When a small town is overcome with a blood lust, the local Witch Doctor is thought to be the source. What they don't know is that he has a different agenda.

As everyone who have read my blog realize, I absolutely love incoherent no-budget indie flicks and this one is definitely right up that alley. While it is a strange mixture of well-known zombie films and does have some cliché moments, there is definitely a subtle world of its own that lives inside. While the acting is sound, the storyline decent, and the execution solid, it does have some flaws. The pacing is a touch slow, the effects are unev…

POE: Project of Evil (2012)

With the NFL Draft finally in the books, I can finally take off my Steelers 101 hat and take a break. While I still have some work to do with a total recap and undrafted rookie profiles, it will be nowhere near the intensity of the past three nights. With some extra time on my hands, I decided to venture into the mind of Poe for my next review. My selection for the evening was Brain Damage Films, POE: Project of Evil (AKA P.O.E. 2) from 2012.

Plot/ In this twisted horror anthology, eight talented Italian directors present their takes on the disturbing tales of Edgar Allan Poe, each in a very personal and modern way. Prepare to experience the terror of POE like never before!

Before I get deep into my review let me start by saying if you are a Poe purest you should stay away from this film. If, like me, you enjoy strange anthologies and love the master of macabre, than you may enjoy this one. Clearly art house cinema, this Italian entry has a lot to like, as it uses the classic Poe tal…