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Monday, September 29, 2014

The Midnight Game (2013)



For the past few weeks, I have been waiting on this movie to be returned at Family Video. Evidently, the powers that be decided to keep it out of sight. Fortunately, when I went in last night it was sitting there on the shelf waiting on me to pick it up. That movie (and my next review) is on the 2013 independent flick, The Midnight Game.


Plot/ After playing a pagan ritual on a dare, a group of high school students find themselves trapped in an endless cycle of their worst fears.


When I sat down to watch this, I figured that there would be some cliché moments considering that the premise involved a pagan ritual and teenagers. Unfortunately, I was right. While this one does feature some solid performances with a rather unknown cast, a decent storyline, and some atmosphere, the ending definitely let this one down. In fact, it is the disjointed, almost anti-climactic ending that dropped this flick a few notches (as did the underdeveloped scripting). In the end, this was a somewhat entertaining low budget indie flick that is much better than many entries in this genre. With Halloween right around the corner, this one may provide some late night entertainment. Give it a shot.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Found (2012)



Earlier today, I finally finished my last quiz in art history. While it was not the 100 percent that I pulled in the first three, a 96 is not bad. Of course, I believe I know the one I missed and I probably changed it from right to wrong, something that frustrates me on many levels. Now, time to get back to the blog, with a review of the 2012 low budget flick Found.


Plot/ Based on the novel by Todd Rigney, Found centers around Marty, a shy, bullied fifth-grader who takes refuge in horror films... until his life turns into one. After finding a human head in his brother's closet, Marty fears for the safety of his family while making a desperate effort to reconnect with Steve, the big brother whose homicidal cravings threaten to destroy life as Marty knows it


I love finding no-budget indie flicks that surpass all expectations and leave you wanting more. That is exactly what this movie does. This twisted flick works on many levels with great atmosphere, decent acting, plenty of blood, and solid effects. On top of that, it does a great job at exploring many of the issues that plague society in a subtle socially conscious manner, so to draw you in and allow the issues to take hold. Yes, as with all low budget indie flicks there are some problems with sound quality and there are a few moment with technical difficulties, but those do little to bring this movie down. In the end, this coming of age horror flick hits on many levels and is a joy to watch. Sure, it may not be for everyone, but if you enjoy well-done indie horror, you must check it out!



Friday, September 26, 2014

Suspect Zero (2004)



After another busy week with homework, soccer, and softball, it is time to find something interesting to watch. After deciding to pass on the continuation of my Fringe marathon, I decided that I wanted to venture into the darker world of serial killers. My selection for the evening is the 2004 horror/thriller Suspect Zero.


Plot/ A mysterious serial killer is hunting other serial killers - and one FBI agent suspects there may be more to the vigilante than they imagine.


It had been some time since I last watched Suspect Zero, and I will say that time did in a few ways help. This serial killer based thriller does have some good moments, although it is far from great. This one has some decent pacing that works within the premise, an interesting storyline, some solid cinematography, and does boast a perfectly cast Ben Kingsley in a darker role. Unfortunately, the overall cast does lack chemistry, and the scripting is uneven, both flaws that help bring the overall feel down. In the end, this may not be one that I search out to rent or watch again, but it was an entertaining entry in the saturated serial killer/FBI genre. If you like that type of movie, check it out. If not, there is nothing new in here to make it memorable.  

Monday, September 22, 2014

Audrey Rose (1977)



Now that out whirlwind trip to North Carolina is behind us, it is time to dive back into the blog. To get there, I had to find something to watch. After some debate, I decided to venture into the strange world of reincarnation. With that in mind, I decided on the 1977 film Audrey Rose.


Plot/ A stranger attempts to convince a happily married couple that their daughter is actually his daughter reincarnated.


It had been some time since I have watched Audrey Rose, but it is always fun to revisit movies from my youth to see how they stand up. For me, this journey into reincarnation was one of the more memorable flicks from that timeframe. The story is intelligent, with enough tension and creepiness to draw you in. The acting is solid, the scripting works, and the storyline does a great job at diving into one of the more controversial subjects that still mystifies society. Yes, there are some pacing issues, some overacting, and there are some predictable moments, but that does little to drag the film down. In the end, this one is more of a psychological thriller than horror movie, but it does stand the test of time. If you have not seen it, give it a shot, it is much better than some of the modern ilk that hits the screen.


Monday, September 15, 2014

The Believers (1987)



Every once in a while I decide to journey back into my youth a re-watch one of the flicks that helped shape who I am today. Last night, I had one of those moments and found the perfect movie to quench my desire. Of course, it also provided some much-needed relaxation after a day of softball and my first feeble attempts at defeating the skeleton king (Diablo III). That movie was the 1987 entry, The Believers.


Plot/ A New York psychiatrist finds that a voodoo cult, which believes in child sacrifice, has a keen interest in his own son.


I remember seeing this when it came out in the 1980s. This journey into Voodoo/Santeria is a well-made thriller that takes on the religions in a realistic way. While it is not overly scary, there are parts of this flick that capture the imagination and bring the seriousness to life. The acting is solid, the storyline intriguing, and the atmosphere is heavy and dark. Sure, there are some pacing issues, some of the small details that could add some clarity are overlooked, and there are some complexities that may make it hard to follow for some viewers. In the end, this is an entertaining journey into a mysterious religion. Yes, it is not for everyone, but if you enjoy religious horror, you have to give it a shot.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Shame the Devil (2013)



Although I have had some entertaining moments over the past couple days, I was definitely busy between high school football games, middle school soccer, softball and band performances. When you throw in some Diablo III, it is easy to see how I did not get to the blog. Of course, it would also be because I am trying to finish Fringe as well. Next up for review is the 2013 British entry Shame the Devil.


Plot/ A London detective tracking a serial killer finds the killers "truth or die" methods take him to New York to solve the case.


While I had no real expectations for this one, I was still left with an empty disappointing feeling after watching it. In fact, if you have seen any movies in the Saw franchise, you have already seen better versions of this one. From the outset, the cliché moments and clear duplication of the Saw model are abundant. From there, it cascades into more of the same, without the class of the Saw franchise. The scripting is uneven, the dialog is subpar, the acting rough, and the is nothing to draw you into the movie. In the end, this was a hard movie to watch and offers nothing new (not even any blood or gore). Honestly, re-watch one of installments from the Saw franchise, you would have a more enjoyable time.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Willow Creek (2013)



As an investigator in the field of Cryptozoology, Bigfoot has been one of my favorite creatures to research. That being said, the legendary cryptid also finds his way onto my must watch list, as I cannot get enough of Sasquatch themed movies and documentaries. While those movies can never compare to field research, they at least hold me in check until I can get back out into the field. The next movie in the genre for me to review is the 2013 indie flick Willow Creek.


Plot/ Jim and his girlfriend Kelly are visiting the infamous Willow Creek, the alleged home of the original Bigfoot legend and footage (the Patterson-Gimlin film) - the tale of huge ape like creatures that roam the forests of North America. Deep in the dark and silent woods, isolated and hours from human contact, neither Kelly or Jim are prepared for what is hidden between the trees, and what happens when the cameras start rolling...


As with every review of found-footage flicks, I understand that you will either love or hate the genre. Personally, I am somewhere in the middle, as if done correctly, they can make a realistic impact on the viewer. This movie is one of those. While it is far from perfect, there is a lot to like. The acting is solid, the scripting believable, the atmosphere works and more importantly, the 80-minute runtime is about right for this style of film. With those positives in place, writer/director Bobcat Goldthwait cannot get past some of the cliché moments that plague this type of film and has some uneven pacing throughout, which knocks it down a notch. In the end, this is one of the better found-footage flicks to come out in some time and a movie that effectively captures some of the real elements experience when in the field. Sure, more action would have been awesome, but what is here is awesome. If you love Bigfoot and found-footage flicks, this one is for you. Check it out!


Monday, September 8, 2014

Crazy Eights (2006)



While I did spend some time playing Murdered last night, I spent the majority of my time watching both Fringe and Zero Hour. Yes, both television shows are interesting and both open up some very intriguing questions, but sometimes I need something more mindless. In those moments, I dig into some of the horror I have on hand. That is the case with my next review, part of the 2006 After Dark Horrorfest, Crazy Eights.


Plot/ Six people are brought together at the funeral of a childhood friend. While settling the estate, they discover a map, which leads them on a search for a long forgotten time capsule, at the request of their dead friend. What they discover reawakens repressed childhood traumas and leads them on a journey through their long abandoned childhood home: a home with a terrible secret and a mysterious dead girl who will lead them to their strange fates.


It had been awhile since I ventured into the 2007 After Dark Horrorfest, and now I remember why. While I remembered some of the films, this is not one of them, which is why I grabbed it from the attic first. Yes, there were some good settings and the cinematography was not bad, there was really nothing else to write home about. The acting was scattered, the pacing was off, the script uneven, and although it was only 80 minutes, too many clichés were embedded into the flick. In the end, this one has to rank near the bottom of that set and is a poor attempt at a B-Movie. If you have not seen it, do not fret as you are not missing anything. Plus, there are much better films out there.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Odd Thomas (2013)



Every once in a while there are movies that seem to pop up around every corner, and you cannot rid yourself of them until you watch them. This week I experienced one of those movies, Odd Thomas. Now after some thought, here is the review.


Plot/ In a California desert town, a short-order cook with clairvoyant abilities encounters a mysterious man with a link to dark, threatening forces.


Having never read any of the Odd Thomas books, I have no idea whether or not the adaptation stayed true to the book. Thus, I am basing this review on what came across my screen. With that in mind, there was an entertaining factor to this film, although there was definitely a feeling that something was missing. Sure, the characters were interesting and there were some decent effects (especially for CGI), but there was definitely something holding it back from reaching its full potential. That could be a lack of character development, uneven acting, or some plot holes that opened because of my lack of knowledge on the source material. In the end, this movie was at least entertaining. While it was far from perfect, it least it had enough to keep my attention.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

After the Dark (2013)



After last night’s late adventure to see Rocky Horror, I spent the day recovering. It has been a long time since I was pulling into the house at 4 A.M., but it was well worth it. While I am watching some flicks tonight, I do have a couple to finish reviews on. The next one from that category is 2013s After the Dark (AKA The Philosophers).


Plot/ At an international school in Jakarta, a philosophy teacher challenges his class of twenty graduating seniors to choose which ten of them would take shelter underground and reboot the human race in the event of a nuclear apocalypse.


When I saw this movie on Netflix, it actually seemed like an interesting premise that could make for an entertaining watch. Unfortunately, it never builds upon that potential to become anything that could be considered entertaining. Yes, the visuals created an intriguing world and it is somewhat believable (this is exactly the students common core is creating by focusing on the aesthetics more than the reasoning), but there are no other redeeming qualities to be found. The characters are flat and unlikable, the scripting is poor and has absolutely no understanding of philosophical concepts, and the characters create no sense of connection to the situations put forth. In the end, this was a complete waste of potential and time. Stay away!

The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Hollywood Theater (Pittsburgh)



Last night was awesome! Finally, after three years here in Pennsylvania, we made our way to another showing of the cult classic, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This showing, at the Hollywood Theater in Dormont, was backed by the Junior Chamber of Commerce Players (steelcityrockyhorror.com), who were tremendous. This performance will ale be part of a documentary in the film, Rocky Horror Saved My Life, which was filming throughout. 

The atmosphere rocked, the people friendly, and all had a good time. Plus, what made this showing even better was the fact that we decided to take three of the daughters to it for their first time. Sure, because of their ages, they did not take part in some of the early fanfare, but I am sure, their lives were changed for the better after experiencing the awesomeness of Rocky Horror with a cast.


Here are some pictures from last night:






Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Illuminating the Abyss - Issue #2 - Pig Mutilations



Last week, I posted the first video digest, featuring the 2012 Fayette County Bigfoot Expedition. While that was an eventful outing, the evidence was nowhere near as shocking as what was discovered in the second installment of Illuminating the Abyss: pig mutilations.  In the strange world that exists around us, there are chances to experience the unknown around every corner. 



Monday, September 1, 2014

Transcendence (2014)



Sci-Fi flicks are always hard to figure out. Sometimes they present storylines that are so far out, there is no way they could be true. Other times, they tackle subject matter that could become reality (or already exists), a fact that can make for an eerie trip into its world. Next up is another Sci-Fi movie, the 2014 A.I. entry Transcendence.


Plot/ A scientist's drive for artificial intelligence, takes on dangerous implications when his consciousness is uploaded into one such program.


I remember seeing the trailer for Transcendence and hoping that it would be awesome. While I missed it in theaters, I was able to finally grab it at Family Video. Unfortunately, it did not live up to what I was hoping for. Sure, the movie was not terrible, as it did have some solid performances, decent cinematography and direction, and an interesting (yet disjointed) storyline. However, the uneven script featuring unrefined story layers draws it down and leads to uneven event pacing throughout, which suffocates the atmosphere. In the end, while this movie is far from great, it also does not rise to the potential that it contained. Yes, it had some entertaining moments, but it is in no way anything memorable.