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Monday, March 21, 2016

Z for Zachariah (2015)



After watching the interesting He Never Died, I decided to venture into the post apocalyptic world. Unfortunately, my selection for that genre did little to quench my craving for that realm. That movie was the 2015 entry Z for Zachariah.


Plot/ In the wake of a disaster that wipes out most of civilization, two men, and a young woman find themselves in an emotionally charged love triangle as the last known survivors.


This is one that was picked up at Family Video that I had zero expectations for. Fortunately, that was the case because I really found nothing extremely new or interesting inside this one. In fact, the best part was the lush New Zealand backdrop. Slow and unmoving, this post apocalyptic flick is definitely miscast as something Sci-Fi, being more of a drama/love story. Yes, the performances were solid, but that could not so anything to help add pace or excitement to this rather non-atmospheric entry. In the end, this one is a snoozer and a movie that could have been left on the shelf.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

He Never Died (2015)



After spending the past two days living inside my homework writing a treatment for an episode of Castle (and conducting peer reviews), it was time to find something to help my mind unwind. After searching the shelves at the video store, I settled on the 2015 indie flick He Never Died.


Plot/ Jack, a social outcast, is thrust out of his comfort zone when the outside world bangs on his door and he cannot contain his violent past.


When I saw this at Family Video, I knew I had to see it. The idea of Henry Rollins playing a strong, social outcast/loner seemed impeccable, and it was. He was definitely the perfect choice for this role, and one of the highlights of the movie. On top of that, for a low budget film, this one did a great job at creating a mixture of atmosphere, storyline, darkness, and demons in a way that did not require a lot of wasted visual effects. Plus, the technical aspects are better than I would have expected. In the end, this underrated movie is a must see for horror fans, and a film that should continue to create interest for some time.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Sideshow (2000)



Last night I had to start on my big project for the week. Knowing that, I definitely had to find something that could keep my attention (and maybe serve as some inspiration). After a quick search, I settled on the 2000 low budget horror Sideshow (AKA Haunted Freakshow).


Plot/ While visiting a traveling carnival full of human freaks, high school students nearly join as permanent members.


Most of the time it is easy to predict what to expect from Director Fred Olen Ray and Charles Band, but every once in a while they throw you a curve. That was the case with this dated horror flick that captured the creepiness of the carnival/sideshow atmosphere. While the characters are somewhat unlikable and underdeveloped and the performances uneven at best, there was still enough entertainment and storyline to keep my attention. Couple that with some of the better low budget effects from that day, decent cinematography, and a storyline that was rather coherent, and you have an interesting no budget flick that served as a perfect backdrop for an evening. In the end, this one will definitely not be for everyone, but if you love low budget horror, Charles Band, or Full Moon Entertainment you should love it. Check it out!


Sideshow (2000)



Last night I had to start on my big project for the week. Knowing that, I definitely had to find something that could keep my attention (and maybe serve as some inspiration). After a quick search, I settled on the 2000 low budget horror Sideshow (AKA Haunted Freakshow).


Plot/ While visiting a traveling carnival full of human freaks, high school students nearly join as permanent members.


Most of the time it is easy to predict what to expect from Director Fred Olen Ray and Charles Band, but every once in a while they throw you a curve. That was the case with this dated horror flick that captured the creepiness of the carnival/sideshow atmosphere. While the characters are somewhat unlikable and underdeveloped and the performances uneven at best, there was still enough entertainment and storyline to keep my attention. Couple that with some of the better low budget effects from that day, decent cinematography, and a storyline that was rather coherent, and you have an interesting no budget flick that served as a perfect backdrop for an evening. In the end, this one will definitely not be for everyone, but if you love low budget horror, Charles Band, or Full Moon Entertainment you should love it. Check it out!


Sideshow (2000)



Last night I had to start on my big project for the week. Knowing that, I definitely had to find something that could keep my attention (and maybe serve as some inspiration). After a quick search, I settled on the 2000 low budget horror Sideshow (AKA Haunted Freakshow).


Plot/ While visiting a traveling carnival full of human freaks, high school students nearly join as permanent members.


Most of the time it is easy to predict what to expect from Director Fred Olen Ray and Charles Band, but every once in a while they throw you a curve. That was the case with this dated horror flick that captured the creepiness of the carnival/sideshow atmosphere. While the characters are somewhat unlikable and underdeveloped and the performances uneven at best, there was still enough entertainment and storyline to keep my attention. Couple that with some of the better low budget effects from that day, decent cinematography, and a storyline that was rather coherent, and you have an interesting no budget flick that served as a perfect backdrop for an evening. In the end, this one will definitely not be for everyone, but if you love low budget horror, Charles Band, or Full Moon Entertainment you should love it. Check it out!


Sideshow (2000)



Last night I had to start on my big project for the week. Knowing that, I definitely had to find something that could keep my attention (and maybe serve as some inspiration). After a quick search, I settled on the 2000 low budget horror Sideshow (AKA Haunted Freakshow).


Plot/ While visiting a traveling carnival full of human freaks, high school students nearly join as permanent members.


Most of the time it is easy to predict what to expect from Director Fred Olen Ray and Charles Band, but every once in a while they throw you a curve. That was the case with this dated horror flick that captured the creepiness of the carnival/sideshow atmosphere. While the characters are somewhat unlikable and underdeveloped and the performances uneven at best, there was still enough entertainment and storyline to keep my attention. Couple that with some of the better low budget effects from that day, decent cinematography, and a storyline that was rather coherent, and you have an interesting no budget flick that served as a perfect backdrop for an evening. In the end, this one will definitely not be for everyone, but if you love low budget horror, Charles Band, or Full Moon Entertainment you should love it. Check it out!


Thursday, March 17, 2016

Ex Machina (2015)



In finalizing the flicks that I watched this weekend while working on some homework, I was left with just one to review. That movie it the thought provoking artificial intelligence flick Ex Machina from 2015.


Plot/ A young programmer is selected to participate in a ground-breaking experiment in synthetic intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a breath-taking humanoid A.I.


While the subject matter in this one is somewhat familiar, it is done in an extremely effective and deep manner that makes you think. It was definitely one of the most thought provoking movies I have seen in quite a while. Everything really works with a dark and haunting atmosphere, emotional (and outstanding) performances, a fascinating score that echoes the atmosphere, and some extremely detailed special effects that were truly worthy of all of the accolades that they received. Sure, the ending may not be for everyone, but personally, I loved the darker tone that they ended on. In the end, this was one of the most entertaining and captivating movies I have seen in some time. If you have not seen it, give it a shot.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Green Inferno (2015)



After discussing a horror comedy last night, I decided that tonight I would head in a complete different direction for my review. After all, there is nothing truly like cannibalism and honestly, we could use more flicks from that vein. Next up is the 2015 cannibal inspired entry The Green Inferno.


Plot/ A group of student activists travels to the Amazon to save the rain forest and soon discover that they are not alone, and that no good deed goes unpunished.


While I knew that this would not rise to the famous Cannibal Holocaust when I went into it, I at least left satisfied by what was created, especially considering where we are with society and the mainstream disdain for horror. Unlike the 1970s/1980s when horror could grow and the shock was everything, today in this hypersensitive era, it is amazing that the subject matter of this film was even allowed to see the light of day. Yes, it is not a perfect film by any means featuring uneven performances, a stripped down plot, and some head scratching moments that seemed to develop from weird editing choices, but it was not all that bad. This movie featured some awesome visuals, great practical effects by Greg Nicotero, and enough believability to make it interesting. In the end, this film by Eli Roth is definitely not for everyone because of the gore and subject matter. However, if you are looking for something outside of the PG-13 horror box that is populating the shelves of horror flicks, five it a shot.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Freaks of Nature (2015)



After taking a day off from the blog, it is time to dive back in. For my next entry, I decided on the 2015 horror comedy, Freaks of Nature.


Plot/ In the town of Dillford, humans, vampires, and zombies were all living in peace - until the alien apocalypse arrived. Now three teenagers-one human, one vampire and one zombie-have to team up to figure out how to get rid of the visitors.


This was one that I never imagined would be entertaining, yet alone good, but I was wrong. This one was one of the most ridiculous and entertaining gorefests I have seen in some time. A brilliant mix of comedy, blood, guts, romance, and horror, this one had everything you could ask for (vampires, werewolves, zombies and even aliens). The best part was the strong performances, originality, dramatic moments, and mix of blood, guts, and gore. Yes, there were some head scratching moments that made little sense, but those did not matter in the least. In the end, this was one of the most entertaining flicks I have seen in some time, and a movie that definitely has me taking an extra look at the McRib. If you have not seen it, give it a shot it is definitely worth it.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Visions (2015)



Last night I was able to both knock out my weekend homework and dissect a few different flicks. The first one up for review is a somewhat typical low budget supernatural flick: 2015s Visions.


Plot/ After moving to a vineyard to start a new life with her husband, a pregnant woman begins to experience terrifying visions.


After venturing into the gothic intricacies of Frankenstein this weekend, I was glad to find something serious with a different perspective and on the supernatural but not be caught in the found footage trap. While not perfect, Visions did fit the bill, and it gave me a movie that stayed away from al of the clich├ęd moments. Overall, the pacing, storyline, and atmosphere al hit home. Yes, it is not a great movie suffering from ineffective jump scares and some worn out dialog, but for being a B movie; it did just enough to make it an average horror/thriller with just enough creepiness to make it interesting. In the end, this may not the best movie of its kind, but it is still worth watching if you have some time to pass. For me, it made a great flick to help keep my mind focused on class.


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Victor Frankenstein (2015)



After taking some time to deal with some softball season requirements and this week’s homework assignment, it was time to get back into the swing of things with the blog. Having spent some time over the past few days in Sci-Fi mode, I decided to venture back into something more gothic, with 2015s Victor Frankenstein.


Plot/ Told from Igor's perspective, we see the troubled young assistant's dark origins, his redemptive friendship with the young medical student Viktor Von Frankenstein, and become eyewitnesses to the emergence of how Frankenstein became the man - and the legend - we know today.


Having stayed away from this one for some time, I decided to give it a chance. While I love the story of Frankenstein, watching an attempt to pull it off in a PG-13 environment made me cringe a little. Yes, the classic would be considered PG, there are elements that can be exploited that can add to the darkness and atmosphere. This one was clearly a film made as homage to the famous Universal and Hammer films that became classics, mixing many foundations into an interesting story. Yes, the performances are solid, some of the special effects are tremendous, there is some amazing cinematography, and the chemistry seen throughout the film between the actors are magnificent, yet, there was something missing that made it feel extremely uneven in the end. This could be the pacing that did not match the gothic feel, the undeveloped supporting characters, or the editing and scripting that came across in a very disjointed manner. In the end, there was a lot to like about this film, but it was not able to reach all of the potential that it had inside. If you are a huge fan of Mary Shelley or Frankenstein, give it a shot; especially if you have kids, as this would be a decent introduction to a classic.



Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Riddle Room (2016)



After taking a few days to knock out my major project for the week, I decided that it was time to jump back into the blog. My next entry is the no-budget entry Riddle Room (AKA Breakaway) from 2016.


Plot/ Emily Burns is being held captive in a room with no idea as to why or how she got there. Determined to escape and return to her daughter and husband, Emily discovers clues within the room that help explain what she's doing there. They even provide clues about who she is...but will they help her escape?


I am starting to believe that I need my low budget cinema card revoked, as I have been selecting nothing but dud lately. This one may be worse than that. While I love no-budget cinema, there has to be something at least potentially that can help the overcome the typical flaws. Unfortunately, the best part of this one was the short run time (80 minutes). The storyline is uneven at best, the setting, cinematography, and acting are nothing to speak about, and the pacing was extremely slow and predictable. In the end, I know there are much better low budget entries out there, so search for one of those. This one offers nothing to add to the horror/thriller community and will easily be forgotten.


Saturday, March 5, 2016

House of Afflictions (2014)



After last night, I hoped to find something a little more interesting when walking through the video store. While there, I decided to take a chance on the 2014 low budget film House of Afflictions.


Plot/ Kate Beckley was once a best selling crime author, but it's been years since her last novel following the disappearance of her daughter, Julia. While attempting to write again in a new home, Kate finds herself haunted by strange visions and paranormal occurrences - which become worse each night. Has Julia returned, or is something more sinister preying on this grieving mother.


This was definitely a movie that I came into with no expectations after picking it us as an impulse rental at Family Video. While it was not perfect by any means, it was definitely a solid low budget entry into the supernatural horror genre. There were some positives with an interesting story, believable settings that tool me back to my youth, and some solid performances. However, with uneven audio quality and sporadic cinematography the low budget elements were clearly visible. In the end, I found this one somewhat entertaining with a decent atmosphere. Yes, it will not appeal to everyone, but that is usually the case with low budget cinema.