Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ravenous (1999)

Ravenous is one of those movies that have been creeping on me from my Netflix queue, always popping up into my recommendations and swearing I will love it.  So finally on a quiet Sunday afternoon, I took the plunge.

This movie has an interesting concept, a tale of soldiers who have to resort to cannibalism in the midst of wartime.  Captain John Boyd (Guy Pierce) gets promoted and sent to a small base employing only 8 people, most of which appear fairly useless.  A man named Colqhoun (Robert Carlyle) arrives, and tells a story of being lost in the Sierra Nevadas with his wagon train, and having to resort to cannibalism to survive.  He explains that they began with eating a person who had already died, but then began to proactively kill the others.  Knowing he would soon be killed, Colqhoun escapes, but believes the others may still be alive.

Colonel Hart (Jeffrey Jones) takes a crew, including Calqhoun, and they set off to rescue the possible survivors.  However, one of the locals warns that once you consume human flesh, you become stricken with an insatiable hunger, much like that episode of Always Sunny.   Throughout the trek, they realize that Calqhoun is maybe not all that he seems...

There's a lot going on in this flick and it's not a basic people were hungry so they ate other people type of thing.  Apparently this movie was intended to be pure horror but became a black comedy due to its sometimes-silliness and little ironies.  I guess not to mention the stereotypical characters, which do appear intentional.

I liked this movie.  It had a cool story but made no efforts to make it a serious historical movie or Donner Party reenactment.  It contained actual cannibalism and genuine horror, along with a lot of tongue in cheek and some amusing over-acting.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Devil's Due (2014)

Literally the thing I'm most interested about in terms of this movie is the prankvertisement they used to promote it...a horrifying baby robot rolling around the streets of NYC.  If you haven't seen this thing, you have to watch it.  Anyway, it did it's job and drew me into putting Devil's Due on my Netflix queue.

Much to Scream King's dismay, this movie is not about a devil baby riding around terrorizing people.  It's about a young couple Samantha (Allison Miller) and Zach (Zach Gilford) who are on their honeymoon in the Dominican Republic.  Sam was an orphan and knows nothing about her family history, and they go to a fortune teller that frightens both of them by knowing much about her life, and claiming that people are "waiting for her."  While trying to get home later, they grab a cab, which promises to take them to a really fun party.

In a scene out of Turistas, they get hammered at this basement party, and an entire chunk of the night goes missing from their memories.  Weeks later, they find out that Sam is pregnant, and while the couple tries to be happy, Sam exhibits increasingly strange and violent behavior leading up to her due date.

Like most horror fans, I'm kinda over the whole jump scare thing, and there was plenty of it in this movie.  It was a little bit Paranormal Activity and a little bit The Exorcism of Emily Rose, plus they had a little cult backstory thrown in.  I kinda wanted to dislike this movie because of all the cliches, but I actually really ended up getting a kick out of it.  There's some truly creepy parts, and I'm a sucker for possession movies.  Hopefully this is on Netflix instant soon, because I can't see too many people taking up a spot on their precious DVD queue for this one.  It is worth a watch though.  Just don't expect any roaming robot babies. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Loved Ones (2009)

Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets.  I loveeedd this movie, man.  Even Scream King loved this movie, and I haven't heard him say a nice thing about a horror movie in a while.  I have been waiting forever for this movie to come out, and finally it popped up on my Netflix DVD queue, which I have to remind myself to check nowadays since I mostly stream.  This was well worth the wait and it was deliciously concise at a wonderful 84 minutes.

The Loved Ones is the story of Lola Stone (Robin McLeavy).  With the end of the school year dance approaching, she asks her crush, Brent (Xavier Samuel) to attend with her.  But Brent already has a girlfriend, Holly (Victoria Thaine) and he politely declines.  Meanwhile his friend, Jamie (Richard Wilson) is thrilled to score a date with sexy goth Mia (Jessica McNammee).  Everyone goes their own way to get ready for the dance, including Lola, who is very hurt over Brent's rejection.  So hurt, in fact, that she kidnaps Brent for a private dance at her house.

It turns out that Lola and her family don't really have it all together.  Her father is so dedicated to her (in an incestuous way) that he's happy to kidnap and torture any boys who don't love his little Lola right off the bat.  In this house of horrors, the dance from hell ensues, including threatened castration, lobotomies, bleach to the voicebox, and just plain creepiness.  This movie manage to be demented and trippy from start to finish, and we learn that other characters are all tied together in a strange way.

The acting was great, the story was awesome, and there were some great little twists throughout.  There's also a little tongue in cheek about the whole thing, which I believe was certainly intended.  I just really couldn't find anything wrong with this movie, and I really liked it overall.    

If this is the first time you're hearing of this insanity, watch a cool trailer here:

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Haunting In Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia (2013)

The title/branding of this movie is so strange.  Was The Haunting in Connecticut such a popular movie that they planned on making some sort of franchise out of it?  I liked the original, but the sequel purposefully has no connection, although it does claim to be based on a true story.  Apparently it was based on the events of the Wyrick house of Ellerslie, Georgia, which was made into a book called "The Veil."

In the movie version, the Wyrick family, Lisa (Abigail Spencer), her husband Andy (Chad Michael Murray), and their daughter Heidi (Emily Alyn Lind) are thrilled to move to a house in rural Georgia that they got a stellar deal on.  Lisa's sister, Joyce (Katee Sackhoff) also comes to live with them, much to Lisa's chagrin.  As it turns out, both sisters have visions of the dead, and while free-spirited Joyce embraces them, Lisa attempts to suppress them with medication.  As Heidi begins seeing spirits, most notably the previous owner, Mr. Gordy, Lisa is forced to face the presence of the paranormal in their new home.

They soon find out that their house was a major stop on the Underground Railroad, and that in addition to Mr. Gordy, the ghosts of dead slaves are haunting the property.  Things go downhill pretty quickly, with a visit to the emergency room, Lisa's visions worsening, and Heidi disappearing in the middle of the night.  We get a weird backstory about the guy who helped with the Railroad (The "Stationmaster") being a taxidermist, which all kind of ends up looping back in the end.

This actually wasn't a bad movie, but they should have branded/released it as its own thing, and not piggybacked on The Haunting in Connecticut.  There's some interesting visuals, including the sewing needle scene depicted above.  The cast is definitely not unknown, and they do a good job at a pretty standard ghost movie.  There are very few jump scares, which is a nice change from the oversaturation of that technique in a lot of paranormal flicks.

At the end, they even show pictures of the real family that the story was based on, so that was a nice touch.  So nothing groundbreaking here, but if you like haunted house stories, this isn't the worst way to kill a couple hours.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Contracted (2013)

You know Netflix goes through periods where it seems to try to force you to watch certain movies?  Like everywhere you click, this movie is front and center.  A while back it was Stitches, and lately it's been Contracted.  So finally I'm giving in and watching it to get Netflix off my back.

So I'm sorry, but right from the start, this is a stupid bitch right here.  Samantha (Najarra Townsend) attends a party where everyone's acting kind of weird towards her.  She's also recently decided to start dating a woman, when she apparently used to date guys.  However, she can't get ahold of her girlfriend, and in a bit of a drunken stupor, allows A COMPLETELY RANDOM GUY TO GIVE HER A DRINK.  Girl code dictates this is the worst decision in history.  Said dude date rapes her in the back of a car.

She meets up with her girlfriend, Nikki (Katie Stegeman) who is actually kind of a bitch.  She returns home and is bleeding in the shower, but she seems to think that's okay.  Her friend Alice (Alice McDonald), the one who threw the party, calls to say the cops called looking for some rando at her party named Brett. When she starts bleeding crazily into the toilet at work, and almost fainting in front of customers, she seems to become a bit concerned and goes to the doctor, who diagnoses her as having a head cold and a rash.

Samanthan continues to get worse, you know, with the bloody eye, the missing teeth and the worms falling out of her vagina.  If it were me, I would be FREAKING THE FUCK OUT and headed to the ER,  but this bitch just goes to bed and squirts some Visine in her eyes.  And also takes a shower in boiling hot water which she seems to believe is freezing cold.  And not only does she continue to be strangely unconcerned, but she goes into work and touches food with her nasty-ass infection.  And holy crap, is her therapist Dave Holmes from MTV?!  LoL.

I wanted to like this movie because the concept was interesting, but so much of it was just unbelievable.  The lack of getting help, even for a self-absorbed ex-addict.  Even one beautiful girl kissing another that had ROTTING TEETH.  And a guy going in raw on a girl that is legit bleeding from EVERY orifice.  And why are so many guys, and girls, obsessed with this one chick?!  I also didn't love how there was no full loop to the story...did it have something to do with the necrophilia at the beginning?  I was confused.

I will agree with some comments on IMDB that the summary of this movie is misleading and a bit disturbing.  I wouldn't call what happened to her a "one night stand" when it was actually a rape.  Not only was she way too drunk to be consenting, but she begs him to stop multiple times.

So even though Netflix is pressuring you, and there's a four star rating for some reason, I wouldn't be in a huge rush to watch this one.