Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Boy (2016)

This movie has been so hyped, doe.  I don't know if it's the presence of Lauren Cohen (gorgeous and talented) or the subject matter (who doesn't love a creepy doll?) but I have seen previews for this shit left and right all year.  Finally Netflix notified me it was time for them to ship me this DVD and I had to pop it in right away.

So if you haven't seen this trailer, you haven't watched any horror movies in the last six months or so.  But basically, a nanny gets a super posh job watching a kid, but it turns out to be a doll with all these rules to follow.  But the doll could always be alive, right?  We have six Chucky movies to tell us that.

In the first two minutes of this movie, I'm already annoyed because the nanny, Greta (Lauren Cohen) is told to wait in the parlor for the family to return, but immediately investigates a "strange noise" upstairs.  Luckily, we don't get a jump scare this early on, but then we meet Brahms, and I can guaran-fucking-tee you I would be out the door in the first five minutes.  Then, of course, we wouldn't have a movie, but I digress.

So we all assume the doll can't be trusted, right?  Apparently Greta didn't get the memo, and figures that she can just toss a blanket over Brahms until the parents get back from holiday.  The parents tell her that the hot grocery boy, Malcolm (Rupert Evans), will be by once a week, but my guess is that the nanny is going to be killed by the creepy doll before the first week is up.

It's kind of hard to like Greta, because she just makes shitty decision after shitty decision.  Just follow the doll's dumb routine and cash your checks, girl.  Don't follow noises into attics and ignore the fact that Brahms is moving around the house without you touching him.

So I'll admit this movie plodded along in the middle a bit, with the doll moving around and the calls coming from inside the house, but the twist in this movie was pretty freakin' sweet.  Not gonna spoil it, but it's not what I was expecting.  Even Scream King said, "not too bad," which is high praise for a horror movie coming from him.  So try to look past the girl making dumbass decisions, and the standard possessed-doll storyline, and hang in for the ending!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Starve (2014)

I feel like I've watched an inordinate amount of horror movies about people being starved.  Is it a more common thread in horror than I realized? Off the top of my head, I remember Hunger, Feed, Ravenous, and Dread.  These movies are not about food deprivation as a portion of overall torture or imprisonment, but the basis of the entire movie (a little less so in Dread, but that was the sequence that got me the most)

So now we have Starve, with a middle of the road rating, and filmed right here in the good ol' US of A.  We got ourselves a group of hipsters, Candice, Beck, and Jiminey, traveling to the boondocks to look for an urban legend of feral children living in sinkholes.  In the Texas Chainsaw Massacre-esque roadside store, the proprietors warn them not to go into any houses and to stay away from the old high school.  While I'm sure these poor suckers would have TRIED to stay away from the high school, we all knew that wasn't in the cards after that oddly specific warning.

So, the "zookeepers" as they're called, are keeping a menagerie of humans that they starve, then force to kill another person in order to eat.  It's a fight in the sense that someone gets a machete and someone gets a length of rope.  This continues so on and so forth, with new victims brought in, and the longtime residents being thrown in the mix.  Candice and Beck, joining forces, present a challenge to the Principal.

So there was something I really liked about this movie.  The premise was similar to Hunger, pitting people against each other in a time of starvation.  The backstory of the captors was actually similar as well, but I wish it would have gotten a little deeper into that.  We were left until the very end learning motivations, and then it was just a little too late.  But overall I liked this, and I think it deserves a little more than the mediocre rating it's getting. Check it out on Amazon Prime streaming.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Forest (2016)

Oh, Queen Margaery, thank you for gracing us with your lovely face in a horror movie.  The story of the Japanese suicide forest, Aokigahara, is pretty well known by now, and there have already been two other movies made about it.  The forest is associated with demons in Japanese mythology, and there have been many suicides there.  So, you know, let's take a Japanese tragedy and make an American movie about it.

Sara and Jess Price (both played by Natalie Dormer) are twins.  Sara is the more level headed one, while Jess seems to be more unpredictable.  Jess is teaching in Japan when she disappears into the Aokigahara forest.  When Sara goes to the school to investigate, the students are frightened, thinking that Sara is Jess's ghost, returned from the forest.

When Sara goes to the forest to look for her sister, she finds a visitor's center that collects the suicide victims they find in the forest.  An employee explains that the forest is inhabited by ghosts that trick you into committing suicide if you feel sad.  At her hotel, she meets up with an Australian travel reporter, Aiden (Taylor Kinney) who offers to take her on a guided tour of the forest the next day.

The guide warns Sara that anything she sees or hears in the forest is not real.  Well, besides the dead bodies, that is.  And the boy toy with her that may or may not be able to be trusted.  Demons and ghosts abound, along with a weird dead parents backstory that I never quite understood.

The one thing about this movie that both me and Scream King noticed?  Does her phone have an unlimited battery or what?  Did she ever charge that thing?!  She was prancing around the forest for like three days using that shit as a flashlight after she drunkenly tossed it ion her bed the night before.
Anyway, this movie was just okay.  The premise was cool, but there were too many unanswered questions about the backstories (dead parents, Aiden, etc.) and the ending was just meh.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Hush (2016)

I miss this blog terribly.  I haven't given it the attention I used to, and thankfully, this year Scream King paid the hosting fees without asking me any questions.  I have been a mom for 18 months now, and it has given me so very much, but it has also taken away.  The horror thing was such a large part of my identity, and when my son came home, there was only room for so many identities, and the main one was "mom."

I still cook, and go to Crossfit, two other passions of mine.  I work full time, and I make time for my marriage.  But lately, I just feel like I'm on a low simmer, like I'm ready to jump out of my skin.  Writing has always been my outlet, and I realized I had really been missing it in my life.  I'm writing a mom blog these days, but it's not the same.  There's a lot of screaming in parenting, but not the fun kind ;)

So, onto Hush.  It has a ridiculously high rating on Netflix, so I'm intrigued.  Tonight I am not in the mood for ghosts and creepy crawlies, so a movie about a deaf woman with a psycho stalker is the perfect fit.  Maddie was not born deaf, but became so due to a sickness in her teen years.  Now she is a novelist living in a quiet rural area with a sassy neighbor.  With a modern twist on "the call is coming from inside the house," she soon realizes she is not alone.

With only the house as the setting for the movie, it manages to build up intensity and dread as the two play a cat and mouse game compounded by the fact that one person cannot hear the other. There is only 15 minutes of dialogue and 5 people in this whole movie, but somehow it manages to stay pretty fast-paced, and the short running time doesn't hurt either.  Maddie (Kate Siegel) is presented as a strong and competent female lead, while the Man (John Gallagher Jr.) is thoroughly creepy and manages to carry the whole storyline with seemingly no motive.  Maddie was able to convey so much emotion without saying a word.

This is also a great movie because it really makes you think of what you would do in that situation.  I live in the city, so I'm not as isolated as the character here, but if someone took away my phone and internet, I honestly do not know how the fuck I would contact anyone of importance or assistance. Smoke signals for Chrissakes?

New release Netflix horror gems are few and far between these days, so we can be very thankful for Hush.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Green Inferno (2013)

It's Tuesday night at Casa de Sambuca.  Scream King is working very late, so much of my evening was spent cooking naan pizzas and watching Power Rangers Jungle Fury.  My son loves Power Rangers in all its iterations, and every time you think you've seen them all, a different one pops up on your Netflix suggestions and you wonder what your life has come to.

Anyway, I've had The Green Inferno on my radar for a while, because come on, Eli Roth, man.  Inspired by movies like Cannibal Holocaust and Cannibal Ferox, Green Inferno follows a group of college protestors into the Amazon, where they are fighting to protect the rainforests.  Upon arrival in Peru, the group, who assumed they'd just be hugging trees and taking some cell phone videos, see that they are in for a much more dangerous mission.  Justine (Lorena Izzo) is the daughter of a lawyer for United Nations, and quickly realizes that she may have been brought along for protection, due to her political affiliations.  After a run-in with the local militia, they believe they've made it out safely.  But small planes loaded with twenty-somethings and booze aren't always to be trusted, and as we may have expected, there be cannibals lurking in this here jungle.

Now there are no longer actually any cannibalistic tribes left in the Amazon, but regular old tribes wouldn't make for a very exciting movie, now would they?  Things happen as you would expect.  People get locked up in makeshift cages, people get killed, people get eaten for lunch, etc.  There is also this whole female genital mutilation storyline woven in, which is one of the more terrifying parts of the movie.  Additionally, they find out that Alejandro is not what he seems, and his motive is not really saving the rainforests anyway!  So he's probably the only one in this group that deserves to be eaten by cannibals.

Apparently Eli Roth used all real Amazonian tribe people in the movie as actors, and some even worked on the crew.  As for the other actors, he wouldn't even let them audition until they agreed to work in extreme conditions -- brutal heat, no bathrooms and tons of creepy crawlies.

I'm not sure what I was really expecting, but I liked this movie.  Sure, cannibals in the jungle isn't really breaking new ground in the horror genre, but the authenticity behind it really added to a pretty good storyline, some action and good old people-eating.  Although it's no classic like Hostel, Eli Roth fans should check this one out.