Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Visit (2015)

Okay, so I know we're supposed to hate M. Night Shlamalamaman for everything he did post-The Sixth Sense, because he is like the Nickelback of the movie world. But I liked this movie, okay?

A mom (Kathryn Hahn) has been estranged from her parents for years over a falling out they had over a man she was dating.  Now they've looked her up and asked to spend a week with her two children, Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) and Becca (Olivia DeJonge) so that she can go on a vacation with her new boyfriend.  Becca and Tyler are pretty excited about the opportunity, and Becca is using the visit to make a documentary.

The grandparents (Nana and Pop Pop) seem really nice, but they have a rule about not coming out of their room after 9:30.  Being kids, they break the rule almost immediately and are disturbed to hear Nana being violently ill.   The next day, they are startled when Nana chases them under the house, seemingly playfully, but with surprising speed and agility for her age.

As the days go on, there are more and more strange occurrences.  Everyone chalks it up to old age, specifically a condition called "sundowning," a form of dementia which causes old people to act extra weird in the nighttime.  But even these chill kids start to get riled up by the behavior and count down the days until they can go home.

I was actually watching this for a second time when I wrote this review, because I forgot to write the first time I watched it.  And even though I knew the twist, honestly it still held up, and allowed me to pay attention to the other details in the movie.  So I stand by this one, even though it might be the movie equivalent of singing along to "Photograph."

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Pet (2016)

Were you wondering what happened to Dominic Monaghan after Lost?  Well, fear not, Pet has the answer for you!  Monaghan plays Seth, an awkward guy that works at an animal shelter.  One day, on his bus commute, he spots Holly (Ksenia Solo), who he went to high school with.  He becomes infatuated with her, visiting her at work, sending flowers, and following her on a visit to her ex-boyfriend.

When he discovers an abandoned area of the animal shelter, he sets to building a steel cage, with the intention of imprisoning Holly.  What starts out as the typical obsessed guy locks up unsuspecting girl story takes an interesting turn.  As it so happens, Holly is not really as innocent as she first seems to be.

While it would seem that Seth has the upper hand in the relationship, as time goes on, the two begin to test each other.  As Seth's performance slips at work, his connection to the shelter is in jeopardy.  Not to mention that he's not doing such a great job at keeping his basement visits discreet.

Honestly this movie was just kind of unbelievable.  The whole snatching a girl and locking her up thing has obviously been done before, but her backstory, and his obsession with "saving" her was just too far-fetched.  Not to mention the ongoing love diatribes...and body part requests? (wtf.)  And then for him to make the "sacrifice"? No one loves a crazy bitch that much.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Hostel Part II (2007)

How is it that I've never reviewed this one?  Hostel was THE movie, right?   I have this awesome memory of an entire theater of people SCREAMING at the part when Pax was driving the car near the end (no spoilers, I guess?)  The original move was one of the pioneers of torture porn, and with that sub-genre in full swing, everyone was thirsty for new movies and sequels of beloved favorites.

Hostel 2 picks up where Hostel left off, with a bleeding Pax traveling on a train from Slovakia.  As the sole survivor of this whole ordeal, he's terrified of being found by Elite Hunting and hides out at a remote house with his girlfriend.  Unfortunately, his fears are well-founded.  Meanwhile, in Italy, three young women Beth (Lauren German), Whitney (Bijou Phillips), and Lorna (Heather Matarazzo) are enjoying a semester abroad, with plans for a weekend in Prague.  Whitney and Beth are close friends, while Lorna is kind of a tagalong.  They run into Axelle, a model from their drawing class, who encourages them to join her on a spa trip in Slovakia instead of staying in Prague.  

The girls end up staying at the infamous hostel, and are having a blast at the nearby harvest festival.  Unbeknownst to them, they've already been purchased by rich torturer/murderers, who are at the same festival, preparing for their imminent deaths.  The torture scenes in Hostel were so shocking (especially at the time), that its a tough one to follow up.  But in the sequel, we're treated to vampire-wannabes, alpha males with circular saws, cannibals, and wife haters with dorky glasses.  And some very realistic dick-slicing.  

This is one of these situations where there's really no way to top the original, especially because the "twist" has already been played, but this is still a good sequel.  The subject of women rather than men is a good angle, although, as a feminist always looking to smash the patriarchy, there was something extra special about seeing men victimized in the original film.   


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Funhouse Massacre (2015)

Finally getting around to digging through my DVR, and can't really remember why I taped this one, but here we go!  Robert Englund aside, the cast is a who's-who of "oh that guy"s like Jere Burns, Courtney Gains, and Clint Howard.  Another fun fact is that this movie was mostly filmed at the real Land of Illusion Scream Park in Middletown, Ohio.

So the Warden (Robert Englund), is apparently "running" some defunct-ish asylum where the craziest of crazy go to rot.  That is, until they get busted out by a goth chick badly posing as a reporter (Candice De Visser).  Of course, very conveniently, a haunted house based on their crimes is opening up nearby.  So of course they can blend in as if they are the performers.  And if people get killed, it looks like it's just part of the show!

There's lots of people mixed up in this disaster of a haunted house, but the core group is two stoners, a shy wannabe couple, and a couple that is constantly banging.  Both couples are painful to watch -- the one because of their awkwardness, and the other because of her constant orgasmic shrieking and his demands to be called "superhero" and "Mr. President."

So it's kinda clear what happens when you throw together a bunch of serial killers and haunted house enthusiasts.  But some of these folks aren't just about to lie down and take it, and they decide to fight back, with varying results.  Having a handful of serial killers makes it hard to really develop any of the characters, so this movie relies heavily on cheesy acting, bloody gore and fun kills.  And it has that in spades.

Nothing groundbreaking here, but it was pretty fun, and who doesn't love a good haunted house movie?  But this is not to be confused with the awesomely low-budget, 80s glory of the superior The Funhouse, which I can't believe I haven't reviewed yet!

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!