Sunday, June 14, 2015

Finders Keepers (2014)

Oh, those sweet, sweet words, "a SyFy original movie."  And this one's a true trifecta: Jaime Pressly, Tobin Bell, and a possessed doll. I'm a child of the 80s that grew up fearing Chucky, so the whole devil doll thing penetrated my fragile little mind from a young age.
Holy crap, what did Jaime Pressly do to her HAIR?! She was going for a Carey Mulligan and got slapped with Demi Moore circa Ghost.  Unfortunate.

Alyson (Jaime Pressly) and her daughter Claire (Kylie Rodgers) move into a house where shit clearly went down in the past.  Claire immediately finds an extremely creepy doll and demands to keep it.  Upon befriending this doll, Claire instantly becomes a total asshat, refusing to go to school and sitting in her room, singing and ripping the wings off flies...oh, and maybe killing cats.  Possibly humans.  You know how this stuff can get out of hand.

A psychiatrist, Dr. Freeman (Tobin Bell) says that it's the stress of moving, but when Alyson sees some pictures of the former residents of the house with the doll, she goes looking for Zachary (Joey Luthman).  And ooops, it turns out that he murdered his entire family and two cops, something that the real estate agent failed to mention.

So while Dr. Freeman accuses Alyson of child abuse, the doll strengthens its hold on Claire until they are physically and mentally connected.  They try to throw the doll away but you know those little assholes make their way back.  

This was a pretty predictable possessed doll movie, with nothing new to offer this sub-category.  And I'm a big fan of SyFy original movies because I feel like they can be intentionally/hilariously bad, but this one didn't fall into that realm either.  The Wikipedia summary is pure gold, though.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort (2014)

I'm such a sucker for the Wrong Turn movies.  I wonder if the use of the word "last" in the title means they are ending the series.  I mean there's really no reason to keep making these movies, but people like me keep watching them!

We get the typical Wrong Turn beginning.  A poor, unsuspecting couple is gettin' nekkid in the West Virginia woods only to be happened upon by deformed cannibals.  Meanwhile, two other likely-unfortunate groups are traveling to WV to check out a hotel that one of them, Danny (Anthony Ilott) inherited.

What they imagined to be a little motel in the woods is a massive, sprawling old inn complete with hot springs and a weird brother/sister/lover caretaker duo, Jackson and Sally (Chris Jarvis and Sadie Katz). Jackson tells the cannibals to leave the visitors alone, but they've never really been good listeners, have they?

As things start to go awry, Jackson and Sally become more and more excited to introduce Danny to his family, and I imagine you can guess who that is.  The longer they spend at the hotel, the more Danny wants to live there permanently, therefore turning against his friends and girlfriend.

"You don't know me anymore!  I've changed!"

So I thought the backdrop of the crumbling resort was pretty cool (it was filmed in Bulgaria, which is becoming a very popular location for horror flicks) but I was disappointed in the lack of deformed cannibals and, more importantly, creative and gory deaths.  Plus there's this weird side story about public sex in stirrups that made absolutely no sense.  It's left open, of course, to a sequel, possibly involving an inbred baby that they're excitedly trying to make as the movie wraps up.  So I won't be surprised if we see a Wrong Turn 7 (Three Cannibals and a Baby?) on the horizon.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Hangman (2015)

Adam Mason.  On this blog, I've said some nice things, some not so nice things, and I've been totally mindfucked.  But the mindfuckery and enjoyment have outweighed the "not-so-nice" by far, and I am really excited to see his new movie, Hangman.  The official description is:

Returning from vacation, the Miller family find their home has been broken into. After cleaning up the mess they continue with their lives, shaking off the feeling of being violated. But little do they know the nightmare has just begun.

So I don't drive or own a car since I live in the city, so it never occurred to me that some creeper could watch you park your car at the airport or whatever, break into it, and just hit "go home" on your GPS.  That is frightening!  They know you're not going to be there, because you're in your floppy hat and flip flops getting ready to go chug some margaritas.

Someone breaking into your house and stealing your shit is one thing.  But someone breaking into your house and watching your home movies, eating your food, sitting on your furniture, and touching everything....ugh it's giving me goosebumps.  The victims in question are the Millers, Aaron (Jeremy Sisto), Beth (Kate Ashfield), Marley (Ryan Simpkins) and Max (Ty Simpkins).  The oddness of the break-in (nothing valuable stolen, random things moved around) creeps them out, but they try to get back to their normal lives.  But weird things keep happening, like orange juice left out on the counter, and toilets flushing at random.  Then these instances increase, pointing at adultery, breaking up couples, getting into dreams.

I'm always open to spoilers, but I really don't want to give too much away. From an overall, not-ruining-the-movie perspective, the acting was great, and the cinematic perspective was reminiscent of what I liked about Paranormal Activity, that constant wondering of where the camera will point or cut next.  There's very little blood and gore but just SO MUCH CREEPY.

The whole situation just crawls under your skin because it could happen.  Among the ghosts, jump scares, and overuse of CGI in horror these days, it's not that far of a reach that this whole movie could happen to any one of us. I was genuinely creeped out, the whole movie ties together, and it either opens up for a sequel (eh) or just to leave us all hanging.  As well as installing security systems and erasing our GPS.

Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)

Wow I can't believe it's been NINE MONTHS since I last posted.  My life has been a whirlwind since then.  At that time, we were wrapping up our adoption process, and in October and November we took two trips to South Korea.  Having my son home has been amazing, but during the times I wasn't taking care of him, I didn't have a lot of energy or inspiration for blogging.  Not to mention, I can't have the computer open anywhere in his vicinity or he goes nuts.  But finally, today is the day.  Its a hot and gloomy Sunday here in Queens, New York, and my husband "owes" me a couple hours of watching the kiddo so I can finally reignite my blog.  I have no shortage of movies to watch, since I've been DVRing films that catch my eye, and I have an instant Netflix queue that will keep me going until my little one is in college.

I remember being excited to see TCM 3 showing on IFC, because I feel like it's one of those that's never on, and not available on Netflix instant.  Plus, my man, Ken Foree!  This movie has a weird history, with directors and actors being hired and fired, characters that were supposed to die being kept alive in the end, and an X-rating that led to the movie being cut numerous times so it could get a release. The saw is family, bitches, let's do this!!

I haven't seen TCM 2 in a while, so I had to check the Wikipedia page, and it looks like everyone, including Leatherface, was presumed dead at the end of that one.  This sequel kicks off by talking about the original TCM, and how the only survivor was Sally, who died in a private health facility in the late 70s.  It also says that one member of the family was arrested after the massacre and was assumed to be "Leatherface," as a result of a split personality, and he died in the gas chamber in 1981.

Fast forward to the time of this movie, Michelle and Ryan (Kate Hodge and William Butler) are driving from LA to Florida, bickering the whole way.  They get held up at a checkpoint, where a mass grave is being excavated, and later, move onto a creepy gas station where they run into Tex (Viggo Mortenson), who gives them some "better directions," which we all know never to trust.  Of course, they run across some demented cannibals, but somewhat luckily, they also cross paths with survivalist Benny (Ken Foree).

We get the typical TCM "formula" for the core of the movie--the poor travelers and anyone they ran into, get kidnapped, forced to see the now very decomposed "Grandpa," and are invited to join the clan for dinner while a loved one gets strung up on meat hooks.  There's the requisite creepy family members, who seem to materialize out of nowhere after the majority of the clan is supposed to be dead in the previous two films.  With the presence of Benny, we get an extra dose of racism and the "dark meat" analogy the family's been dying to use for years.  We're left with the cliffhanger as usual, and of course more sequels, and remakes are to follow.

TCM 3 is neither as groundbreaking as the original, or as delightfully oddball as the sequel, but it has the aspects that have made us love the franchise, from the freakishly backwoods individuals to the ever-present roar of the chainsaw.    Now bring on Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Stoker (2013)

The people involved with this movie was enough to pique my interest.  I'll watch anything that Chan-wook Park is involved in, and then it turns out that Wenworth Miller wrote the screenplay.  Even Harmony Korine is in this movie.  So you couldn't pry me away, even though I had to wait for the DVD to come through the ACTUAL mail, which is just becoming harder and harder for me to deal with.  I'll admit that Netflix's instant offerings are improving, but having to wait for one disc at a time to watch Game of Thrones is getting a little out of hand.  Anyway, I digress.  I tried my best to keep spoilers out of this, but this movie is kinda hard to explain!!

I notice Park's influence from the beginning.  Just the intense focus on small things -- the hardboiled egg, the spider crawling up India's leg, the tennis balls spilling across the court.  And of course, this beautiful shot:


The details enthralled me in his other films, and I see they will continue here.  Now for the story.  On India's (Mia Wasikowska) birthday, while she searches for her hidden gift, her father is killed in a car accident.  After the funeral, she meets her father's brother/her uncle, Charlie (Matthew Goode) who announces he will be moving in to support India and her mother, Evelyn (Nicole Kidman).

India is reluctant to have Charlie stay at their home, while Evelyn cozies right up to him.  When India's Aunt Gwendolyn (Jacki Weaver) comes to visit, things get a little hostile, and she decides to stay at a hotel instead.  Meanwhile, it turns out that Uncle Charlie may not be the laid-back world traveler he claims to be.

At school, India is frequently bullied by the popular crowd.  When she fights back, she is joined by Whip (Alden Ehrenreich) who commends her for the act, and they meet up again later, unfortunately for Whip.  While searching her dead father's items, she learns about her Uncle Charlie's past.  But rather than being repulsed, she India is intrigued, while Evelyn is all "bitch, you stole my man!"

While this movie was certainly no Vengeance trilogy, it was just so interesting and compelling in many ways.  With a unique script, and Park's great directorial touch, it really is worth a watch.  I found the acting to be excellent as well--even though I didn't think much of Nicole Kidman going into it, she was well-cast as a Stepford-ish lush, and Wasikowska blossomed beautifully throughout, from a sulky teenager to a cold-blooded psycho.  Don't miss this one!