Friday, 23 March 2012

Slaughtered Innocence (2012)

Anyone who is a fan of the movie Old School starring Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn & Will Ferrell probably remembers the wedding scene with 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' playing.  If you're like my friends and I, you associate that song with the movie - or at least you did until you watched Slaughtered Innocence by Tyler Hosley.  Now, I can't give away any spoilers but when you watch this you'll know what I'm talking about and you won't ever listen to that song the same way again.

I've watched all of Tyler's shorts, and each one just keeps getting better and better.  This is my favorite one yet.  I love every twisted minute of it.  This is hard to review because I can't give away anything because you need to see it for yourself.  It's only 7+ minutes long, but every single minute is used so effectively, with each of them creating a memorable scene.  All I'll reveal is the awesome use of 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' and the greatest phone call ever made to a partner.  Trust me, every minute of this will stick in your mind.

Now as I can't give away anything that happens, it doesn't mean to say I can't tell you other reasons why it's awesome.  As stated before, the use of music throughout this is so effective that dialogue isn't even needed, but when the dialogue is used it's memorable.  I also loved the use of the shaky cam, as it gave it a disjointed feel that really worked.  It's kinda like if someone filmed a documentary in one of your darkest nightmares.  The phone call that I mentioned is also really funny, albeit in the darkest of ways.  It's black comedy and not for everyone, but those of you who read this blog will get a kick out of it.  That's not saying it's a comedy though, because there's some genuinely creepy horror here.  All of Tyler's shorts have interesting characters and the dude has a real knack for writing horror.  Each short keeps getting better, I know for a fact from talking to him how good his ideas are and I look forward to every future project he does.  So, sit back, leave all morals at the door and watch this awesome short - and the rest of his shorts.  I also recommend Junkie.  Watch them all though and you'll see the progression of a young filmmaker with skills and ideas so twisted they make a car wreck look like a calm, spring boat ride.  Enjoy.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Welcome to Hoxford (2011)

I don't know what to say about this other than you just need to watch it.  It's one of the best shorts I've ever seen in my life.  I don't know anything about the director Julien Morkani, but pretty soon I'll know everything because this has excited me.  The story is based on a comic book about werewolves invading a prison.  The short has a Sin City vibe going on.  You just need to watch this and decide for yourself.  Personally, I hope they make a full feature.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Shrine (2010)

It was about 2 years ago I was watching a horror channel on TV when a movie came on that stood out much better than the stuff they usually showed.  This movie was Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer and ever since, it's become a favorite horror comedy of mine and holds a special place in my heart.  It was also the first feature from director Jon Knautz, and a debut full feature that good definitely shows potential for an exciting future.  Ever since Jack Brooks I've kept an eye on Jon Knautz's career and waited patiently for his second feature, The Shrine to hit UK shores.  I nearly forgot about it until I picked it up earlier from a local supermarket.  I put this on with high expectations, perfectly aware it was totally different from his debut.  I had faith that it would be a good movie, but THIS GOOD...  I had no idea that it would become the best horror film I've seen in a couple of years.

The Shrine is about a group of journalists who visit a rural Polish village to investigate missing persons.  They believe that the village is inhabited by a cult.  When they arrive in the village they discover a strange mist, and inside the mist they discover a strange statue.

Now, if I say more I'll give too much away.  After they discover the statue the movie truly gets going.  You might think you've seen it all before, but this really isn't what you expect at all...

As I said, this is a totally different shift from the horror comedy 80's throwback of Jack Brooks.  This is a serious horror movie.  One could be forgiven for assuming it to be a simple horror mystery, where a group of foreigners become unwelcome guests and targets of a cult.  Reading the synopsis, that's how it would appear - but it's so much more than that.  Now, don't get too amped up.  It certainly isn't 100% original and genre defining, but it isn't what you expect and it's one of the smarter horror films in recent times.  It's a fun flick, with some creepy moments and just when it has you thinking Wicker Man, it turns on you.  Now, you'll see the twist coming but the movie more or less deliberately presents it to you anyway.  Things are not as they would appear in this one and it lets you know.

The Shrine is fresh and should really establish Jon Knautz as one of the most exciting directors in the genre today, along with Ti West, Jason Eisener and Adam Green.  He's made two totally different movies, both of which deserve cult classic status.  From what I understand, his next venture is going to be a black comedy, followed by the second installment of Jack Brooks.  He's definitely one to watch, and along with Trevor Matthews he has a great co-writer and actor.  It's 2 horror fanboys writing good horror and making good movies.  They're not changing the game, but they sure do remind us of what can be be so great about it.

Movies That Were So Much More Than I Expected

My last post was about movies I thought were good, but could have done a whole lot more.  This one on the other hand is about movies I didn't expect much from and ended up really enjoying.  I got some good feedback on the last one so I hope this will spark some debate also.

One night I was watching TV and a trailer for this appeared on my screen.  I thought, ''meh.''  Assuming this would be a mainstream intended, cheap fright, found footage movie about possession... let's just say it wasn't high on my radar.  But one night I decided to give it a go as part of a ''horrorthon'', in which I attempted to watch as much horror as possible within the month of October. Anyway, the subject of exorcism peaked my interest and after reading mixed reviews, I took the plunge and gave this a shot...

I became engrossed right away, with the documentary style concept and interesting lead character.  It done a good job of being documentary-like and sometimes I forgot I was watching a piece of fiction, until My atheism and disbelief in the supernatural reminded me.  Anyway, this one really kept me guessing until the end.... And that ending.... HOLY SHIT!!! (or should I say ''UNHOLY SHIT?'')  I won't spoil the ending, it really is a love or hate it ending among many horror fans.  I loved it though and honestly didn't see it coming (although maybe I should have).  Anyway, it was twisted, creepy and really caught me off guard.  I loved every minute of it.

Overall, this was a great movie for me and one of my personal favorites of the past couple years.  If you have assumptions that this is just a run of the mill, some girl is possessed by a demon-type of film then think again and give it a chance.

Sunday night and it was on TV... why not?  The original wasn't really the classic I expected it to be and just being new to film obsession at the age of 16, I was anti-remake because I felt I was expected to be.  Anyway, this opened my eyes and gave me a more open mind.  It was everything I wanted to the original to be - fast paced, fun and Ving Rhames.

This surpasses the Romero classic by miles for my taste (I feel the need to inform you that I don't find every classic overrated).  Zack Snyder is a great director who makes movies that can satisfy the mainstream audiences, but retain enough genre aspects for us geeks.  I really dig his style, and although he may lack substance, his movies are just easy to watch and cool (even Sucker Punch).

So what did I love about this?  It was fun.  Furthermore, unlike some remakes it was respectful to the original but at the same time a significant improvement.  Sorry horror fans.

I just watched this because of the glowing reviews I was reading all over the internet.  Before watching this movie I didn't watch a lot of slow burn horror (I love it now).  Anyway, I had no idea what this was going to be like going in and thought it would be just a girl being terrorised in a big empty house.  But the start caught my attention when the mention of Satanic cults arose.  I've always been fascinated by real life fanatics and the mention of a cult made this much more appealing.

As the movie progressed not much happened, and that was what I loved about it.  The character was so cute, endearing and developed.  I felt I was getting to know a character I could semi-relate to being a student myself (I'm a boy though).  However, despite getting to know the character in her day to day life, there was always that feeling that something bad was going to happen - and when it did it really caught me off guard.

Wow is all I can say about this one,  This enhanced my appreciation of cinema as a whole, especially horror.  A perfect example of a less is more type of film.  I urge you to watch this if you haven't already seen it.

Any movie with Bruce Campbell is going to be added to my collection if I can get a hold of it.  However, I started watching this with disappointment when I realised that Bruce wasn't a lead star as falsely advertised.  The rest of the cast and those involved in the making brought me back to unbiased rationality though (Lawrence Bender, Scott Spiegel, the Raimi's, a greaser).  So, I was on board eventually but not expecting much but what did I get in return?  I'll tell you what - the greatest slasher of all time in my opinion.  I love it.  The kills are awesome, the characters are funny and the twist is predictable but great nonetheless.  The ultimate fun slasher.

I'm not the type who watches movies simply because of the reputation they've gained about being messed up.  A film really needs to appeal to me.  I'm picky over what I watch and that's why I rarely leave a movie experience angry or disappointed.  I have no intention of watching a movie like Fetus or Slaughtered Vomit Dolls just because they're fucked up.  I know I won't like them (not because of moral fibre or a weak stomach - I love offense and gore, movies like this just don't appeal to me though).  A Serbian Film really pissed people off though.  After hearing it being called everything from a ''perversion'' to an ''extreme masterpiece with a message'' then curiosity got the better of me.

So, would I recommend this to you?  No.  It's not for everyone.  I can see why it would cause offense.  For me though, I laughed so hard because I felt it carried out such taboo themes with a dark comedic sense of humor, but at the same time promoting a political message.  It's also a very well made film with an engaging character to focus on.  This is a very good movie, but not one I'll watch over and over.

I didn't expect much from this at all.  I didn't even like the first one that much until like 2 years ago, but when I watched this I didn't like the first one at all.  I've always loved the mythology of the Blair Witch though and thought this was worth a watch on TV.  It surpassed my low expectations and turned out to be quite an enjoyable movie.  Perfect by no means, but a fun watch that deserves to be given a chance.  I would really like a third movie in this series.  I remember reading years ago that they were interested in exploring the myths origins and going back to the witch trials that condemned the poor old hag.  I would LOVE that.  Anyway, recent sequel reports have suggested they won't go down this route if it ever happens.

I LOVE John Carpenter, but reviews were't kind to this one were they?  Nor were they too kind towards any of his post 80's movies and they were all great so screw critics.  This one really took a panning though and even I thought that maybe this would let me down.  Well, it turns out it didn't.  This isn't one of his best movies by any means, but it's still a lot of fun and I'll defend it to the death.

I've always had faith in Clive Barker, but when this got given away for free with a newspaper and had a starring role for Vinnie Jones (whom I love but he's not the best actor ever), I expected a basic slasher.  I always meant to check it out but just never rushed to.  Anyway, last year I decided to finally watch it and it blew my freaking mind.  Vinnie Jones was flat out creepy and Bradley Cooper played a character I rooted for.  This is a dark film and I recommend watching at 3am with all the lights out like I did when no one was awake.  I don't ever get scared at movies, but this one had me on the edge of my seat with tension.  Bravo.

This one had me pumped up like a shot of straight adrenalin to the heart.  It really is an edge of your seat, nail biting, screaming at the characters classic.  Going in to this, I was just devouring any movies about cults and wasn't expecting anything this freaking awesome.  Trust no one watching this, don't ever drink and drive when pursued by Satanists and basically just keep your mouth shut because the whole world is out to get you.

I went in to this expecting a typical, run of the mill alien invasion blockbuster that would underwhelm me.  How wrong was I?  This is one of the best movies I've seen in years, yeah it's a massive blockbuster, but it has so much heart and all of those child actors were amazing.  Watching this, I got the same feeling I got when I was a kid watching The Goonies and Monster Squad.  This is a classic and deserves to be regarded as one.

There's many more I could have listed, but I'm getting brain fried.  What movies would you include?

Monday, 19 March 2012

Movies That Should Have Been So Much More Than They Were

You know those movies that you really looked forward to for a long time then ended up feeling a little underwhelmed by them?  The movies that you wanted to love so much more than you did?  These aren't bad movies.  They're still enjoyable, but you just think to yourself, ''that could have been so much more...'' Well, I have a few movies I feel this way about.  Bare in mind, I still enjoy the movies I'm about to list but my expectations were perhaps a little too high.

LEGION (2009)
Legion is the number one on my list.  I like this movie.  It's fun, action packed and a good 'popcorn' movie.  But I just wish they done a little more with it.  This one is weird to describe because I think it's an excellent movie, but the expectations I had going in to this had me believing I would bare witness to the greatest movie ever.  The concept was massive, the execution was very good.  I just wish it was much more.

I told you this was a hard one for me to describe.  I mean, it's not often you can really enjoy a movie but still wish it was much better.  It starts off great, the setting is amazing and the action is adequate.  I just wish they explored the mythology more.  That being said, it's still a blast to watch.

I would like to see a remake of this one day.  Or even some sequels.  Straight to dvd sequels with lots of violence even.  I just want this mythology explored more.  Angels are an awesome concept.

Night of the Demons 2 (1994)
The first Night of the Demons is an underrated classic of the 80's. It's similar to Evil Dead in many aspects, in particular for being deliciously demented, funny and horrific at the same time.  It has laughs, but not so much that it takes away from the horror.  So, going into the sequel I was expecting another great horror movie.  I was let down to be honest.  It was just too much comedy.

I love comedy horror a lot, but for a movie like this it just let me down.  Night of the Demons genuinely brought the horror, but the sequel was more focused on laughs.  That's not to say it's not a good movie - it is a fun watch - but I just wish it was more sinister.  Some of the kills are cool and it picks up towards the end, but it was more teen sex comedy and less horror movie.

So overall, I just wanted more of a horror than a comedy.  I've yet to watch the 3rd one but I'm in no rush.  The 1st is perfect, the 2nd is... fine but it should have been so much more.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

You think I'm blaspheming here?  Just wait until my next one...  Anyway, let's get this one over with...

Hype, hype and more hype.  Growing up all I heard was how this was the greatest horror film ever.  Well, I'm not going to argue with that because I have no right to criticise a movie that means so much to the genre we all love.  I love this movie because it's genius, low budget film making, it's seminal, immortal and has inspired most of my favorite directors.  Watching it though... it just underwhelms me completely.

Now, don't get me wrong, I do 'like' it.  But anytime I watch it I just can't get into it.  I just find it so overrated.  I'm sorry horror fans.  I really am.  The sequel on the other hand is more my thing - fun, violent and entertaining, with just the right amount of silly thrown in (not that I just like silly movies, I just prefer TCM being silly).

Halloween (1978)
So now may not be the best time to tell you I'm the worlds biggest John Carpenter fan, huh?  Well, I very well may be.  But it was after this one I started loving JC's movies much more.  Like the other movies, I do enjoy still enjoy this, but I wanted it to be more after hearing so much hype about it.  But this series is one where my opinion is meaningless because my favorite is The Curse of Michael Myers.  

So yeah, I like this but I like my slashers trashy, stupid and funny. I would have loved this more if it was more violence and b movie trash rather than the genius, genre defining movie that it is.  I love all of Carpenter's catalog after Halloween (including the movies everyone hates).

April Fools Day (1986)
I went in to this one expecting a classic after everything I heard about it.  Sure, it's an opinion splitter, but in my experience, it's mainly been praised quite highly.  Yet, when I watched it, I was waiting for things to happen that never arrived.  But then again, I suppose that was the purpose of this one.

It isn't a bad movie.  It's a good time passer.  In no way though did it amaze me.  But then that twist came and kinda turned the rules of the slasher genre on its head a little, so if anything, the intention behind this movie kicked ass.  But as a horror fan, I just kinda wanted everyone involved to die in gruesome ways and stay dead.

Overall, a decent enough flick that done what it set out to do I suppose.

So there you go.  That's my 2 cents.  What movies did you want more from but didn't get what you wanted?

Thursday, 15 March 2012

2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams (2010)

This is a sequel to 2001 Maniacs starring Robert Englund, which was a splatastic, politically incorrect, cannibalistic, boob and bloodfest.  So how do you make a sequel to a movie like that?  Well, here they've went with the same idea but with more boobs.  But does it live up?.......... Not quite.

Now, not by any means is this a bad film.  It's a blast.  It's just not as great as the first one.  The kills are still a hilarious punchline to some twisted joke, the boobs are probably more boobtastic and there's some great politically incorrect jokes.  All I can say is it's not as good as the first, but a great sequel nonetheless and it does leave you wanting a trilogy.  Bill Mosely is great, it stars Jar Jar Binks (sort of) and the lead from industrial metal freaks Skinny Puppy.

So overall, fun, laughs, boobs, gore, funny kills, vagina saws... Yeah, check it out for sure.