Sunday, January 31, 2016

Day 6 (2011)

After spending most of the past two days submerged in homework with a large publishing and distribution project, I decided that I needed to take a break and watch something to help motivate me. After some debate, I decided to watch the 2011 sci-fi mystery Day 6 (AKA Alien Exorcism).

Plot/ Dr. Davide studies the alien abductions. From the abductees under hypnosis, he has understood that some alien races have been installing, for millennia, their active memories in the people's brains, to exploit a special energy: the Soul.

While I had no idea what to expect with this movie, I was definitely surprised to find such a diverse mixture in the storyline. Also known as Alien Exorcism, Day 6 is a movie that manages to combine the alien mythos with religion in a way that is entertaining. It was definitely a different look at possession and alien abductions and it was an intriguing and modern take on the concepts. Overall, while there was really nothing new, the performances, the cinematography, and the subject matter made it a good watch, even at the extended run time. Yes, the audio quality was uneven, and some of the early portions of the movie seemed disjointed as they built the storyline, it was not enough to bring this one down. In the end, this is an underrated movie that is entertaining and should appeal to many people who are fans of the different genres. While this is not groundbreaking, give it a shot; you may enjoy it.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Sinister 2 (2015)

After some sci-fi last night, I decided to venture out to Family Video to see what came out this week. Fortunately, there were a few newer movies that I had not seen. One of the first flicks that I picked up was the 2015 sequel, Sinister 2.

Plot/ Following the events from the first film, a different family; a mother and her 2 sons move into a rural house that is marked for death. When the deputy from the first film learns that this family is next in line to fall to the demon Bhughul, he races before time to stop it and save them from the same fate.

Sequels are always hot or cold, and sometimes face the impossible task of building into a developed storyline. While this one is not the worst sequel, it is also not the best one to come out. Sinister 2 has an interesting storyline, and develops as a solid continuation from the source material. In fact, the potential is there to take this one beyond the original, but somewhere it loses focus, and never reaches that point. The scripting is decent, the visuals dark (especially the 8 mm scenes), and there is some uniqueness to the idea. Unfortunately, the atmosphere is inconsistent, the performances uneven, and there are too many attempts at jump scares that miss the mark or are at predictable spots in the story. In the end, this one may not match the overall quality of the original, but it is not a terrible movie and has some entertaining moments. Personally, I did not think Sinister needed a sequel, and that could be one of the reasons this movie did not fully resonate with me, but that is me. If you loved the first one, give this one a shot, you may feel the same as I do, or you may just love it!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Parallels (2015)

I spent last night entranced by the sounds of the Beatles and the visual trip Across the Universe, so I decided that I needed to venture back into some type of horror or sci-fi for the evening. After some debate, I decided on the 2015 sci-fi entry Parallels.

Plot/ this is the story of a small band of people traveling across parallel earths. An estranged brother and sister, Ronan and Beatrix Carver, who are looking for their father, lead the group. What they discover is that their family is shattered across multiple earths. The question is: can they put their family back together again?

Sometimes you watch something, and realize how hard it is to turn a pilot into a series. That fact becomes completely obvious after watching this one. Parallels is an amazing pilot episode and is a series that should be made. As with many pilots, there are many unanswered questions left dangling, but that is exactly what is supposed to happen in this scenario. Yes, it is not perfect, but it is an entertaining sci-fi journey into different worlds and dimensions and a show that would definitely appeal to fans of Sliders or Fringe. In the end, this movie was fun to watch and left me wanted to see more. Here is hoping that comes true and that Parallels is not a pilot left unfinished; some company must make this into the series it was meant to be. If you have not watched it, it is streaming on Netflix, so give it a shot.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Across the Universe (2007)

After taking a break from the blog last night, I decided that I needed to watch something extremely different tonight, as I have been overly submerged in darkness for some time not. After some debate, and a quick search of Netflix, I decided on something extremely different, and one of my favorite musicals, Across the Universe from 2007.

Plot/ The music of the Beatles and the Vietnam War form the backdrop for the romance between an upper-class American girl and a poor artist from Liverpool.

As some already may realize, I do have some diverse tastes in my movie selections, and this is one of my favorites that sit outside of the horror or sci-fi genres. While this is not a textbook movie and it has many flaws with some pacing issues, weak character development, and some of it may feel a touch forced, but that does nothing to truly bring down the experience. Yes, it is not perfect, but it is both beautiful and captivating, and features some of the best interpretations of classic Beatles songs that you will find. Couple that with some intense and vivid visuals, an interesting storyline that captured the turmoil of the era, and an emotional tone that will definitely strike a chord with many viewers (but also turn some viewers off). In the end, this may not be the best musical out there, and it may be somewhat polarizing, but if you kick back and embrace the creativity, you will experiences something amazing. Check it out.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Fire City: End of Days (2015)

After spending some time this weekend with the snow, a mind-bending trip in Deep Dark, a couple hours with the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and the return of the X-Files, I decided to venture into something a little different tonight. After some debate, I decided upon the 2015 entry Fire City: End of Days.

Plot/ Vine, a disillusioned demon, secretly lives with others of his kind in the world of humans sustained by their misery. Forced into a choice to save his brethren or an innocent human girl, the delicate balance between human and demon kind is threatened, which may result in war.

At first, I had no idea what to expect from this movie, as it started off both interesting and confusing (really confusing). What I found after the initial confusion though was something much better than I expected from the meager budget (listed as $200,000). The story is both original and unique, the special effects are amazing, the atmosphere is heavy, and the cinematography is interesting and dark. Now, I am sure that the confusing scripting early on will turn some people off or keep them from embracing the true depth of what is taking place, but those are but minimal flaws in the realm of low budget b-movie cinema. In the end, this one was much better than I imagined when I picked it up at Family Video. If you are looking for something with some visual flair and are not afraid to tread down a strange spiral, give this one a shot, this one is definitely worth watching.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Deep Dark (2015)

With the natural snow fort set up around the perimeter of the house from digging out yesterday, it left me times to watch a few different movies last night. While I did not pull an all-nighter, I did squeeze in a couple from the selections I grabbed at Family Video before the blizzard hit. Next up is a movie that I truly cannot classify, the 2015 trip into the surreal Deep Dark.

Plot/ A failed sculptor discovers a strange, talking hole in the wall. It has the power to fulfill his wildest dreams...and become his worst nightmare.

Yes, that about sums up the plot for this intriguing gem. Honestly, I am still trying to figure out exactly what genre I should place this mind bender into, as it is one of the most thought-provoking and original films I have seen in some time, but it definitely does not fit squarely into any specific genre. Part fantasy, part, horror, and dare I say part comedy, this one takes you places that you will never expect, and creates an entertaining trip into the surreal. This low budget entry is better than most, featuring solid performances, strange originality, and amazing soundtrack, atmosphere, and some top-flight cinematography. Yes, there are some confusing moments and non linear actions, which could be a turnoff, and the ending may not be for everyone, but for me these only added to the impressive story that was unfolding. In the end, this was an incredible journey, and a movie that had enough strangeness to make me want more. Check this one out!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Hollows Grove (2014)

Winter Storm Jonas appears to have come and went with a bang, leaving behind roughly two feet of snow behind for us to deal with. Fortunately, it was not worse, and I was able to maneuver around town a couple times today. Now, it is time to curl up and spend the night watching some horror. First up for review tonight is the 2014 found footage flick, Hollows Grove.

Plot/ A young filmmaker documents his ghost-hunting, reality show friends as their routine investigation of an abandoned orphanage turns into a nightmare from which they can't escape.

What could be better than watching low budget horror featuring Lance Henrikson during a blizzard? OK, I can think of a bunch of things that could be better, but those are not readily available tonight as we recover from Winter Storm Jonas. Actually, Hollows Grove was not a bad consolation. While this found footage flick is not perfect with some uneven performances (Maybe even subpar performances) and predictable moments, there was a lot to like. This movie featured a solid storyline that was actually rather layered for the found footage genre, the atmosphere was rather creepy at times, and for a found footage flick it is actually somewhat entertaining. In the end, this is a decent example of how found footage could work. Is it perfect, no, but it is also one of the better low budget examples to come out in some time. I would not run out and buy it, but if you have some time on a winters afternoon, give it a shot.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Queen of Blood (2014)

Yes, I have been struggling trying to find something decent to watch. Now, being stuck in the house for the evening as the snow falls outside from this projected blizzard, I could only hope one of my five rentals from Family Video would hit the spot. My first selection for the evening is the 2014 micro-budget vampire flick, Queen of Blood.

Plot/ Vampire Irina is reborn as a bloodthirsty plague, a force of nature whose destiny is to lay waste to a fever dream vision of the Wild West.

After suffering through some really bad low budget flicks, I was excited to find something that was both low budget and extremely different. More of a macabre art house trip into the surreal than true vampire flick, this one is definitely not for everyone. While it does feature a heavy mood, subtle pacing that allows it to grow, the storyline is not clich̩ riddled, and an amazing soundscape that adds some haunting elements to the atmosphere, the lack of dialog (yes Рno dialog) will surely lead to most of the hatred for the film. Amazingly, the performances are decent, and the cinematography is eerie and at times thought provoking (iPhones can do some great work). Plus, any movie with Nivek Ogre from Skinny Puppy cannot be bad, can it? In the end, as a fan of art house cinema, this film struck a chord and drew me in. While I am sure that I am likely in the minority, I love this one and will definitely search for the first entry, Blood for Irina, and check that one out.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (2015)

Today was a rough day, as something that I had hoped for did not quite fall into place, and coming to terms with that has not been easy. In time, I am sure I will let everything set in, but it may take some time to fully grasp. Because of this, I wanted something mindless to help pass my evening, and what could be better for mindless entertainment than Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension from 2015.

Plot/ Using a special camera that can see spirits, a family must protect their daughter from an evil entity with a sinister plan.

I knew I was taking a risk by watching this one, as honestly, I have not been one of the biggest fans of the series. Unfortunately, I am a sucker and seceded to give it a shot, and just like last night, I should have gone in a different direction. This may be hard to believe, but this one may be the worst film in the franchise, and actually did not feel like it belonged with the others. The performances are uneven, the storyline and scripting predictable and somewhat clichéd, and there are truly no scares what so ever. In fact, there is nothing memorable at all in this film, and it definitely felt as though it was forced. In the end, there is nothing worth watching and this film, and you should stay away. We can all just hope that this was indeed the final entry in the franchise; it has to end!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Martian (2015)

After doing some writing last night to honor the great Edgar Allan Poe on his birthday, I had planned to venture into the world of David Lynch to celebrate his birthday. Unfortunately, my daughter Jillian wanted to instead watch The Martian. While I gave it, I should have stayed true to my plan, it would have been more entertaining.

Plot/ During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit, and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.

This was a movie that my daughter was excited about, and unfortunately, it left us both somewhat dissatisfied. From Ridley Scott, we both knew going in that the scenery and cinematography would be amazing, and it was. However, that is about the extent of what was worth watching. There was almost zero atmosphere, the characterizations felt flat and uninspired, and the storyline could have definitely been cut back to keep this in the two hour range. Honestly, there was nothing new or redeeming about this flick at all, and it took up too much time. In the end, the Sci-Fi entry misses the mark and could have been ignored all together. If you love Matt Damon, maybe you should watch it, but in you aren’t stay away; this is categorically NOT a Ridley Scott classic.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Happy Birthday Edgar - Mortal Fears and Open Wounds

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, and if you are familiar with this blog or me as a person, you would already understand the meaning. In honor of Poe, I decided to write a pastiche of Spirits of the Dead, to commemorate this important day. Poe has always been one of the major influences in my life, and without him, I probably would not write, and without writing, I would definitely be insane.


Through darkened days and unknown specters
Mysteries shadow truths inside spiraling emotions-
Empty thoughts, and even stranger dreams, give way
For my mind, realities fade.


Stillness overwhelms the vile depths,
   Reverie smothers the calm-but still
The forgotten rise and roam the abyss
   Their hunger stronger than their will
Dreams overthrow the tyrants-solitude unbound
Calmness swallows thy heart: judgments unwound.


The gate, sacred seals, horses rise-
And the dead walk with souls despised
Foretold by scripture and desires once lost,
Mortal fears and open wounds survive the crossed-
Blessed implements stained by blood, opened doors,
For the path to salvation rose upon unseen shores
The chasm burns and the pure follow
Forsaken by seraphim set adrift in the shallows.


Words are but verses that shall be composed,
Verses are but visions that must be transposed,
Revelations feed doubts; emptiness breeds fright
Choices wither- and reservations survive, at least for a night.


The truths- and the tainted flesh-cannot hide-
The souls of the damned drowned by pride,
Ancient riddles difficult to perceive,
An unfamiliar destiny left for me to conceive-
How this grew-an opportunity or prediction left for naught,
Or worse, a loathsome plague-the white horse forgot.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Serenity (2005)

After some debate on what I wanted to watch today, I decided that I needed something that was both thought provoking, yet had enough action to keep my interest. Yes, that can be a difficult combination to find. What did I decide on? Well, that would be the 2005 Joss Whedon classic, Serenity.

Plot/ The crew of the ship Serenity tries to evade an assassin sent to recapture one of their number who is telepathic.

There are times when I need to revisit movies from my past that have provided some influence on who I am today. One of those is Serenity; a movie that I believe was never embraced by the mainstream society. This one has so much to offer featuring a layered storyline, solid effects, and an atmosphere that will appeal to every emotion. Yes, this is likely considered a niche movie (and series), as many did not like the western science fiction overtones, but it is definitely more than that. In the end, this one may not be for everyone (although it should be), and lives on as a cult classic. For me, I believe every Sci-Fi fan should give it a shot; it is an amazing movie that should be seen.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Bigfoot Chronicles (2013)

After a few days, I decided that I needed to be caught up with some of the films I had watched in recent weeks, but did not find time to review with everything that is going on. This past week was one of the worse for that. Next up from that list in the 2013 entry, Bigfoot Chronicles.

Plot/ A skeptical filmmaker is hired to document Bigfoot sightings. He travels to a hot spot of Bigfoot activity and pursues the wild beast. Along the way, he learns a lot about the illusive creature and in the process, he finds himself.

I am all for low budget cinema, especially when it involves a subject that sits close to my heart. In this case, though, I could have done without this one. This was one of the worst films on the subject of Bigfoot I have seen, with the famed creature standing as a mere afterthought to the dramatic elements and feelings of one of the characters. This one was nothing like I expected, and offered little to any viewer that was drawn in with title. The acting is uneven, the production values are lacking, and the make-up effects for the creature when it eventually makes it way to the screen are laughable at best. In the end, this was one that I wish I had skipped, there was nothing redeeming with it at all. Stay away; stay far away!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Last Shift (2014)

This was a busy week as I worked on some college stuff and dealt with a return to the softball schedule. Still, I was able to find some time to squeeze in some horror into the little time I had. Now, after spending the early evening with my amazing daughter Genesis at the Fay West Honors Band concert on her 18th birthday, it was time to get back to the blog. Next up for review is a movie that was recommended to me during a conversation, and a movie that I have passed over in the past few weeks, the 2014 horror/thriller Last Shift.

Plot/ A rookie cop's 1st shift in the last night of a closing police station alone turns into a living nightmare.

Having seen this one at both the video store and Netflix, I had passed it over a few times in the past few trips, and I cannot believe that I did. This one was not at all what I expected from the cover, and was a movie that was definitely much better than some of my recent selections. Although this was a low budget entry, it did not fall into many of the same traps that plague lower budgeted films. Even with a small cast, this one creates an interesting story that has tremendous pacing, an effective soundtrack, and a dark and heavy atmosphere. More importantly, it did not shy away from the horror aspects and used some creative practical effects to create some bloody and dark visuals. Sure, there were some subtle flaws, with some of the lighting effects/scares being a touch off the mark and the ending (although perfect for the storyline) was somewhat predictable considering the smaller cast, but those are extremely minor in the overall picture and are easily overlooked. In the end, this low budget flick is well worth watching, and a movie that fans of horror should check out. It is a lot better than some of the mainstream horror flicks released in 2014.