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Showing posts from July, 2014

Open Grave (2013)

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There is nothing like taking an evening out to get the blood flowing. Last night, we went to see Hairspray at the State Theatre. That movie is one of Markie’s favorites, and with her birthday in a couple days, it made for an easy gift. That performance was awesome, and I am glad we went. Getting back to the blog, I still have a couple movies I must catch up on. The first is the 2013 mystery/thriller Open Grave.

Plot/ A man wakes up in the wilderness, in a pit full of dead bodies, with no memory and must determine if the murderer is one of the strangers who rescued him, or if he himself is the killer.

I really had no idea what to expect when I picked this up. While the premise on the description seemed interesting, there definitely appeared to be many ways that this could become cliché riddled. What I found was much better than I would have imagined, complete with solid cinematography, decent performances, and an interesting storyline that kept me engaged throughout. Sure, there may h…

Almost Human (2013)

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After a few days focused on homework, as this creative writing research class is pushing my limits, I decided that it was time to jump back into the blog. While I have watched some interesting flicks recently, one jumped out to me at Family Video and made me grab it. That film is the independent alien / slasher flick Almost Human from 2013.

Plot/ Mark Fisher disappeared from his home in a brilliant flash of blue light almost two years ago. His friend Seth Hampton was the last to see him alive. Now a string of grisly, violent murders leads Seth to believe that Mark is back, and something evil is inside of him.

This was an interesting flick, and while I could sit here and mention all that was wrong with it, but I will not, because it was actually extremely entertaining in a weird way. This film has some pacing issues that really work. While it is for the most part a slow burn, once it starts it rolls along. Honestly, from the opening, and throughout the film, everything takes place in a…

Under the Skin (2013)

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After a couple days of working on some homework and finishing some writing, I decided it was time to jump back in for some reviews. While I am currently watching some alien stuff right now, it is nowhere near as surreal as the next film for review. That movie is the 2013 entry Under the Skin!

Plot/ A mysterious woman seduces lonely men in the evening hours in Scotland. Events lead her to begin a process of self-discovery.

This movie will definitely divide the audience, as some will love it and others will hate it. It is that simple of an analysis. Personally, I loved it! The surrealism of what is developing on the screen and in the story kept me guessing. However, I am a huge fan of surrealism and spent many hours dissecting the works of David Lynch. Yes, there are some pacing issues, there is some vague plot moments, and some of the acting has some uneven moments. That being said, this film is amazing, with stunning visuals and enough open space to allow your mind to fill in the blan…

Hunting the Legend (2014)

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With my first week of the new quarter in the books, and finally feeling like myself again, it was time to finish the reviews on the movies I watched during my illness. As of this point, I have movie Darkroom and this found footage flick left on my list. Next up, the 2014 entry Hunting the Legend.

Plot/ In 2008, a deer hunter was taken by something in the Alabama woods. Only his rifle, blood, and a 16" footprint were left behind... Five years later, his son seeks revenge.

I was really torn when I saw this flick. While I am not a huge fan of found footage movies, being a Bigfoot researcher, I was interested to see this films take on the mysterious cryptid. As I expected, there was nothing new with the filmmaking techniques, the acting was overdone and uneven, and the characters were poorly developed. However, I was extremely disappointed in the characterization of Bigfoot, turning the species basically into a group of large crazed cannibals. Yes, I understand that this was an inter…

Stage Fright (2014)

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I finally feel like I am back to where I was before I got sick. For most of the week, I fought through some lingering fatigue issues, as I had to return to the institute for a new quarter. With some energy now in place, it was time to get back to the block. Next up on the chopping block is the 2014 horror musical Stage Fright!

Plot/ A snobby musical theater camp is terrorized by a blood-thirsty killer who hates musical theater.

Horror musicals are always a challenge and this one was no different. While it was entertaining and laughable, I will say that there definitely was not sound balance between the slasher elements and the musical portions. That being said, the acting was solid, the concepts interesting, and there was a decent amount of blood when the gore started to flow. Sure, there were some pacing issues, the scripting was uneven, and the ending was quite predictable. In the end, this movie may not be perfect, but there was something interesting going on and it had some entert…

Slenderman Does Not Kill, People Do ---> An Argument

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The Returned (2013)

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As my sickness took hold this week, I could not believe the amount of movies that I had not had a chance to review prior to falling ill. During this vacation from the institute, I decided to venture into a few different genres in my viewing, as well as some more of my favorite no-budget indie entries. This next review is on a an interesting zombie flick from 2013, The Returned.

Plot/ In a world where a deadly zombie virus has infected some of the population, a single cure has been found. The cure, a treatment which stays the effects of the virus in its host. With injections every 36 hours, the Returned are able to live as though they were never bit, despite the virus still coursing through their veins. When it is discovered that the protein stock is running low, chaos hits the streets.

I am a huge fan of zombie films, but can honestly say that the market has become over-saturated and I have been shying away from them. This movie was different, as from the outset; it did not appear to …

Afflicted (2013)

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Well, I thought that I made it out of the woods with this stomach flu, but I was wrong. Whatever this was, I wish it on no one. I am just happy that I did not pass it on, and was able to recover enough to make it to the Comets playoff game last night. Unfortunately, we lost, but it was a great season! The unfortunate thing about my illness was that I did not have the energy to even watch any movies, so this review will be from a movie I watched over the weekend and am now catching up on, the 2013 found footage flick Afflicted.

Plot/ Two best friends see their trip of a lifetime take a dark turn when one of them is struck by a mysterious affliction. Now, in a foreign land, they race to uncover the source before it consumes him completely.

While I am not a huge fan of the found footage genre, occasionally I find one that is at least somewhat entertaining and refreshing to watch. That was definitely the case with this film. It is true that the movie is quite cliché, the idea of taking t…

Dark Souls (2010)

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While, what a difference a day makes. I am not sure what does have me, but something is beating me down. Maybe it is all of the running that I have been doing, but something has punched me in the gut and is definitely keeping me laid up. However, I still have some energy left to push out my next review for the 2010 Norwegian horror flick Dark Souls.

Plot/ A revengeful father embarks on a dark thrill ride of lost memories, conspiracy and zombie-like symptoms. Finding the mysterious darkness within is the source of the bizarre world he has uncovered.

When I grabbed this one the other day from Family Video, I was not sure what to expect. What I found was an interesting journey that again proves that foreign horror has become much more original than that of the Hollywood variety. This one, while not a zombie movie as one would think is quite interesting. A Norwegian thriller, this one has a lot to like with a strange storyline, some homages to past horror entries, solid pacing that allow…

Blood Widow (2014)

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After spending some time in the giallo regions, I decided it was time to check out a slasher. While I should grab something from my movie collection (which I am pairing down at the moment), I decided to hit Family Video to see what they had. My selection for the night was the 2014 entry Blood Widow from Midnight Releasing.

Plot/ After buying a nice house in the country, Laurie and Hugh, a successful young couple, throw a party for their friends. During the wild night a few friends decide to explore the abandoned and decaying boarding school next door, only to wake an emotionally broken killer: The Blood Widow.

As a fan of no-budget indie flicks, I see my fair share of low budget horror and can pick out the inherent flaws in those productions. For the most part viewers can expect flat characters, uneven acting, poor audio quality, and some plot holes thrown in for good measure. This film could be the poster child for that, as all of those were present, within a very clichéd storyline.…

Stay Away (Short Story)

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This is a micro (non) fiction piece I did for class, about a rock throwing experience with my friend Sasquatch.

Stay Away 

The southwestern Pennsylvania air was heavy as the oppressive May drought continued to plague the area. Eric and I ventured out in search of the legendary creature that some say inhabits Chestnut Ridge. Crack! A loud crash echoed through the forest; something was there stalking us.

The aroma of death drew us into the dark cave. The musk saturates the den. Random bones litter the darkness. The uneasy feelings grew louder as we ventured deep inside. Deer, rabbit, and mountain lion remains are everywhere; some creature definitely calls this dreary abyss home. Is it just a bear, or is it what we came for: Sasquatch? I thought.

Snap! A branch crashed outside the entrance; the creature was close. We ran toward the dense thicket of pine hoping to see the beast, to force the animal into the clearing. There, we will finally have proof Bigfoot was real. Crack!

 “Look, in th…

City of Lust (2014)

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I always enjoy spending time with micro-budget independent cinema. To me, there is nothing better than watching some of these titles as they are often journeys into strange worlds that at times make little sense. Of course, they also tend to take on more than their budgets will allow, and lead to some strange inconsistencies. The next movie does come from that cloth, the 2014 entry from Brain Damage Films, City of Lust (AKA Yellow).

Plot/ A modern Giallo horror film, This tells the story of a lonely young woman who begins an unlikely relationship with dire consequences.


As a fan of the classic giallo film of the 1970s, I was a bit torn when I saw this one of the shelves. On one hand, a modern giallo is much needed, as the classic Argento tales need a new vision. However, being a low budget flick, I knew it might be hard to capture that feel. Sure, there are many of the elements one would expect in this one, complete with the non-linear but interesting storyline, the contrast of colo…

The Machine (2013)

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The Fourth of July is often one of those days that cause mixed emotions. While I enjoy the cookouts and relaxation, the drunks with the fireworks on every corner can make it a touch annoying. But, I would prefer dealing with those idiots more than dealing with a totalitarian society that wants to control everything… Oh wait this is the Obama administration. Next up for review is the 2013 Sci-Fi / Thriller The Machine.

Plot/ Two artificial intelligence engineers come together as they work to create the first ever self-aware artificial intelligence. Things go wrong when the Ministry of Defense takes over and advances the researchers' work to the next level, teaching the AI to kill with its new and nearly indestructible body.

Sci-Fi films have been all over the place recently, with the art of the Sci-Fi / Thriller almost non-existent. That was definitely not the case with this low budget but stylish independent flick. There was a lot to like in this one with a thought provoking stor…