Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Evil Within (2017)

What a Saturday, I went to lunch with Dad, was surprised when one of the daughters cut the grass without prompting, and I was able to push through another piece for my epic poem Salvation. While that may not sound like much, it was enough to allow my week to slow down and let me get some much needed down time. To finish the evening, I decided on an interesting flick, 2017s The Evil Within.

Plot/ The sadistic tale of a lonely, mentally handicapped boy who befriends his reflection in an antique mirror. This demonic creature orders him to go on a murderous rampage to kill the people he loves most.

When I sat down to watch this one, I had no clue what to expect. What I found was an interesting film that was much better than I initially would have guessed. While this is not a perfect film and it has some uneven moments, it is rather entertaining and memorable, featuring some solid visuals, decent performances, and sound cinematography. Yes, the ending (like parts of the movie) was confusing and there were some minor pacing issues, but those really do not bring the film down especially when the history of this movie is brought to life. This relatively strange and unknown gem, originally titled The Storyteller, was the obsession of oil heir Andrew Getty, who wrote, directed, and methodically crafted this film for roughly 15-years until his tragic death in 2015. In the end, this movie may not be great, and in may not live up to its own history, but it is a memorable entry and one that I am glad I noticed during my last trip to Family Video.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Institute (2017)

Last night, I took some time away from the blog as I was working on my National Poetry Month project, the epic poem Salvation. While that has proven to be extremely challenging, I am on pace to have it finished by the end of the month. To get back into the swing of things, I decided on the 2016 psychological thriller The Institute.

Plot/ In 19th century Baltimore, a girl was stricken with grief from her parents' untimely death voluntarily checks herself into the Rosewood Institute, and is subjected to bizarre and increasingly violent pseudo-scientific experiments in personality modification, brainwashing and mind control; she must escape the clutches of the Rosewood and exact her revenge.

When I saw this one on the shelf, I decided to give it a shot. While it is not a perfect film, it is an atmospheric and entertaining flick that was different than what I expected. There are some positives, as the performances were decent, the storyline interesting, the cinematography solid, and the atmosphere was better than I would have expected. Yes, it did lack some of the horror elements that I expected, the sound quality of the disk was off, and some of the characters felt flat, but those elements did not indeed hamper the end product that fit will into the Victorian aesthetic. In the end, the real horror of this tale is that it is believable in regards to the way patients were treated and experimented on during that era. Sure, this is not a perfect film (although I personally love it, as it matches my writing style), and it is more of a mental trip into days gone by, but it is a movie that fans of period horror pieces should check out. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Arbor Demon (2016)

With having my camping trip coming closer into view, I have been in the mood for some interesting films that take place in the outdoors. So, while walking through Gamily Video on my trip to pick-up Split, I stumbled upon thin next flick, and I am glad that I did. Next up for review is the 2016 creature feature, Arbor Demon (AKA Enclosure).

Plot/ An adventurous woman with a secret from her husband insists the couple go camping to reconnect. Something in the woods wipes out a group of hunters nearby, preventing the couple from leaving their tent. Secrets and supernatural stories come to light, and they must determine if the real threat is inside or outside their enclosure.

Creature features based on camping trips are usually ripe with cliché and are rather predictable, and while this entry has a few moments like that, it is a rather impressive venture into that subgenre. Yes, it is not a perfect film (there really aren’t many that are), but it was an entertaining film with some solid elements to enjoy, the performances are better than normal with this lower budget, the pacing works to build a tension-filled atmosphere, and the characterizations are better that what you would normally expect. Sure, much of the action and horror sequences take place off screen and there are some head scratching moments, but none of those make this creature feature seem out of place, In the end, this movie was much better than I expected when I picked it up at Family Video, while it is not the best of its kind, it is am entertaining and interesting low-budget creature feature.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Split (2016)

It is nice to be back home after a trip to North Carolina. While it is nice to visit with family, that it a long drive and I often return exhausted and worn out. Plus, I usually miss my typical horror fix. To get back into the swing of things, I went to Family Video and picked up the 2016 thriller Split.

Plot/ Three girls are kidnapped by a man with a diagnosed 23 distinct personalities, they must try to escape before the apparent emergence of a frightful new 24th.

As many already know, movies by M. Night Shyamalan can range from awesome to terrible, and honestly, you never know what you will get. I was relieved that Split fell closer to the good productions. While not a perfect film and it does have a few clichéd moments, the performances within the storyline (especially James McAvoy) make it easy to overlook those. Besides McAvoy, the performances are solid, the story is engaging, and the direction was solid. This one was definitely an atmospheric thriller that was better than I expected. Unfortunately, it was somewhat predictable and the twist ending was not needed. In the end, there was a lot to like about this movie and it appears that Shyamalan has again put together of entertaining thrillers. Hopefully, he keeps up this trend with his next entry.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Horror Short, Rotary , Trailer Debuts

First off, I want to wish everyone a Happy Easter. As I am traveling this holiday, I am reminded of the importance of friends and family (as well as quiet). Fortunately, while I may not have spent much time on the computer this weekend, I have had a chance to get some writing in on my 2017 National Poetry Month project, Salvation. Because of that, I have not really had an opportunity to get many movies in. I did, however, receive word that the 2017 short film Rotary is primed for the festival circuit. Following is the official press release for the movie. 

Urban Legend-Based Period Film Poised to Hit 2017 Festivals 

WASHINGTON, D.C.- The official trailer for Rotary has debuted. You can view the trailer on youtube here:

We may consider urban legends today as trite and sentimental. These “friend of a friend” macabre stories, polished or pock-marked over the years with updated, modern details or crazy twists have cemented their place in our American canon of folklore. 

Kidney heists, Bloody Mary, alligators in the sewer: all resonate tales because in their lack of specificity they become eerily plausible, and we recognize a familiar predicament—one we’d dread. Rotary is based on classic The Babysitter and the Man Upstairs.

Director and Writer Lorenzo Adams explains his impetus for creating the film, “ I've always been infatuated with things of the macabre, things that terrify us as human beings and terrors that have a touch of reality. Rotary is based on an urban legend that dates back to the 1950's. This story, in my opinion, is one of the first kind of home invasion horrors that predate films like The Strangers, Straw Dawgs, and Wait Until Dark. It birthed the horrifying reveal that gave many of us nightmares and questions as to if we were really safe within our own homes. The reality is one of the roots of real horror. ” 

Rotary, written and directed by Lorenzo P. Adams was shot over a five-day period in mid-July at Windy Ridge farmhouse in Galax, Virginia. 

Director Lorenzo P. Adams shares why he knew Windy Ridge was exactly what he was envisioning the moment he saw it. “I knew that I wanted a house that had plenty of character and embodied a vintage look that would effectively place viewers in the time period of the story that takes place.” 

Emma Fawkes makes her debut as the film’s star, 17-year-old Julie Moore. Hunter Ott plays Robert, the young babysitter’s charge. Hunter has previously appeared in Chicago Fire and Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall. 

The film is in the process of being wrapped up and submitted to several festivals throughout 2017. To find out more about Rotary and receive the latest updates on festival screenings, please visit us on Facebook. Twitter, or Instagram @Rotarythemovie.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Lighthouse Keeper (2016)

After taking last night away from the blog to nap before driving to North Carolina for the Easter holiday, I figured I would focus tonight’s entry on the last film I watched during the week. That movie is the 2016 Edgar Allan Poe-inspired The Lighthouse Keeper.

Plot/ Marooned on a remote peninsula and haunted by frightening specters, a young man must confront the grotesque denizens of the night, or follow the Lighthouse Keeper's cryptic warning to, always keep a light burning!

There are times when I want to relax and watch the classic horror tales of the past. Filmmaking was so different in the past eras, with the atmosphere and storylines taking center stage instead of the forced effects and gore. That is exactly what I found with this one. Loosely based on the short story by Edgar Allan Poe, this one harkens back to a different time in cinema. While it is not perfect, the storyline is interesting, there are some atmospheric moments, and the direction/cinematography was solid. Yes, some of the performances were flat and uneven, and the ending felt a touch abrupt and forced, but those flaws are minor and do not bring down the film. In the end, if you are a fan of Poe or enjoy movies that make you think instead of relying on effects and gore for entertainment values, this one is for you. Check it out!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Bye Bye Man (2017)

Last night, I made a trip to Family Video to see what had come out recently. What I found was a wide selection of new horror flicks on the shelves. To start off these new choices, I decided on the 2017 horror/thriller The Bye Bye Man.

Plot/ When three college students move into an old house off campus, they unwittingly unleash a supernatural entity known as The Bye Bye Man, who comes to prey upon them once they discover his name. The friends must try to save each other, all the while keeping The Bye Bye Man's existence a secret to save others from the same deadly fate.

This one definitely has a unique approach to the slasher genre and a ton of potential. While I would class it as more of a thriller than a straight horror flick, there are just enough elements to keep it above water. The storyline was interesting, the casting decent, and the cinematography and filming were solid. Yes, some of the performances are uneven, there are minimal scares, and some of the scriptings felt rushed or disjointed, but those parts are easily overlooked. In the end, this movie will not be for everyone, but it is a decent PG-13 entry that makes for a great scary movie night with the kids.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 (2017)

Last night, I spent the evening watching my beautiful and talented daughter Genesis perform with the West Virginia University Symphonic Band, and it was an impressive performance. The same thing cannot be said about the next movie up for review, 2017s

Plot/ After meeting online, Jack and Kristy go on a weekend getaway to the woodlands of rural Missouri. While discovering each other, they soon learn of the terrorizing horrors that the forest has in store.

When I picked this one up, I almost immediately expected the worse. Unfortunately, I was right. While the movie started well enough, the overall quality and entertainment aspects continually fell throughout the film. In fact, that opening segment is the only highlight of this movie that I can remember with any clarity. The entire film just felt like an incoherent mess that did not match the title with the script. The performances are uneven, the storyline predictable and cliché with even the murder scenes failing to provide any entertainment values as the felt cardboard and over-edited. Trust me, it is that bad. In the end, there are a ton of movies that exist out there in the slasher genre that will be much more entertaining and memorable, stay away from this one.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Monster (2016)

As I continue to make my way through the last few movies that I have watched, I am excited that I can almost see a light at the end of the tunnel. Next up for review is the 2016 indie flick, The Monster.  

Plot/ A mother and daughter must confront a terrifying monster when they break down on a deserted road.

I have to admit that this movie is much better that I anticipated when I picked it up at Family Video. While it does have a somewhat straightforward storyline, there are many things that make it better than one would think. The performances are solid, the atmosphere and tension have a nice feel, and the cinematography is outstanding. On top of all those positives, the practical effects make it a fun watch; again proving that practical effects are much better than CGI. Unfortunately, the scripting/dialog are both uneven, and because of the overused basic premise, some aspects are predictable, however, those can be overlooked. In the end, while this movie does have its warts, it is rather entertaining, and a movie that could definitely help you pass a few hours on a dark dreary night. Give it a shot.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Needlestick (2017)

I decided to take a few days away from the blog to spend some time away from the computer at Steel City Con and seeing The Decemberists in concert. Before that, I was able to watch a few flicks that I need to review. First up is the 2017 low budget horror flick Needlestick.

Plot/ A desperate doctor locks down South Union Cardiac Hospital to keep the greatest discovery in human history to himself, while the young intern race to save a dying young dancer, his ex-girlfriend, and his best friend, and stop his mentor.

Following the last thriller, I decided to kick back and watch something low budget, hoping for some horror elements that have been lacking in my previous few selections. Unfortunately, this one really did nothing to help change that. While there were some positive moments with the overall cinematography and feel of the film, there was nothing else to help it move in a positive direction. The performances were uneven, the scripting/storyline was a mess, and the entire film lacked the attention to detail that could have taken it up a notch. In the end, this one is worth skipping; there really is nothing that will do anything for you.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Blackway (2015)

I took the night off the blog last night to watch Rogue One (again) and do some writing. Unfortunately, the movie I chose after that one did not do anything for me. That flick was the 2015 thriller Blackway (AKA Go With Me).

Plot/ An ex-logger comes to the aid of a woman who returns to her hometown in the Pacific Northwest and finds herself harassed and stalked by a former cop turned crime lord.

As a fan of Anthony Hopkins, I decided to grab this one when I saw it at Family Video. What I found was somewhat disappointing and extremely predictable. While the performances aren’t bad and there were a few decent moments, the movie as a whole did not hold my attention. The scripting, characterizations, and storyline were not enticing and the cinematography was bland and uninspiring. Really, there is nothing memorable or great about this one. In the end, I could have done without this one, especially as it followed the superior Rogue One in my movie rotation. Yes, there were a few entertaining moments, but there are definitely much better options.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Havenhurst (2016)

Last night was another quiet horror movie night as I attempted to relax and do some work on my After the Static project. In doing so, I decided on another lowered budgeted film for entertainment: that movie is the 2016 serial killer themed Havenhurst.

Plot/ A troubled young woman takes up residence in an old apartment building where she must confront a terrifying evil.

I knew nothing about the movie when I picked it up at Family Video last night, but when I put it on, it served its purpose. While it is not a perfect movie, it definitely falls in line with many of the small budget flicks that exist out there today. With some decent performances, an interesting premise, and some actual gore, it had just enough to keep my interest (especially the H.H. Holmes connection). However, the decision-making shown by the characters, the pacing, and many of the small details sprinkled in were a tad too much for my liking. In the end, this one is far from terrible; but it never truly reaches the untapped potential that it has in the premise.  Not for everyone, but you could definitely do much worse.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Assassin's Creed (2016)

After suffering through two movies that did nothing for me, I decided to roll the dice for some action. After some debate, I decided to breakdown and check out the 2016 video game inspired Assassin's Creed. 

Plot/ When Callum Lynch explores the memories of his ancestor Aguilar and gains the skills of a Master Assassin; he discovers he is a descendant of the secret Assassins society.

Not being a gamer, I decided to give this a shot with no idea of what to expect. What I found was something that was confusing and disjointed. The character development was uneven to non-existent making it extremely difficult to relate to the characters, the scripting was difficult to understand, and for me, there was not enough of the movie taking place inside of the historical eras that drew me in from the box/trailers. Yes, the effects were solid and some of the performances worked, but those were not enough to save this one. In the end, this is a movie that I could have passed on. Maybe it was more for fans of the game, but it wasn’t for me.