Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cloverfield (2008)

I'm not sure this is exactly considered a horror movie (Netflix says Action/Adventure, IMDB says Action/Sci-Fi) but I feel it's fit to review this movie here.

Cloverfield was filmed over 34 days in both New York and Los Angeles. When they were filming here in New York, it was a big to-do, as the other New York disaster movie, I Am Legend, had recently made the Brooklyn Bridge appear to be under attack. The "No Parking" signs on the street read "Cheese" and many New Yorkers were confused as to what was being filmed.

In fact, Cloverfield was filmed, produced, and shipped under several code names including "Cheese," "Slusho," "Clover," "Bertha," and surprisingly, "Cloverfield" which ended up being the actual title of the movie. Cloverfied is actually the name of the boulevard in Santa Monica where the Bad Robot offices are located.

I cannot remember a single horror/sci-fi movie generating this much speculation, confusion and interest since The Blair Witch Project. The producers did such a great job of building up so much mystery around the film that people just could not wait to see it.

Cloverfield centers around a group of twenty-somethings attending a party in Manhattan when it comes under attack. The entire movie is filmed from the prospective of a handheld camera, which results in some very bumpy footage. (There were warning signs outside the theaters akin to those for roller coasters)

A small group of friends scrambles to escape whatever is attacking (running past a downed Statue of Liberty head on the way) They attempt to run over the Brooklyn Bridge, which of course, is immediately destroyed. They run around like everyone else, trying to figure out what's going on, and end up down in the subway. This part of the movie totally freaks me out. Ugh, even when the train slows down/stops in the tunnels, I start to feel claustrophic...the thought of running through the tunnels makes me have a mild panic attack. Also, the calculations on this part were a little off...they run through the tunnels from Spring Street to 59th and Lex in a short period of time, when any New Yorker knows that trip takes a solid 20 minutes on the subway.

Anyway, I digress. They arrive at Bloomingdales to encounter a military presence rounding up what appears to be cases of zombieism. Then, in a ridiculous move of stupidity/heroism, they decide to forego the military-offered transport and swing on over to Columbus Circle to try and find their friend. Once again, only takes them about two minutes to get there (in reality it's about a 20 minute walk) and no one in their 20s could afford an apartment in that building as they go for several thousand dollars a month.

This movie ends about how you'd expect for a "monster-destroys-New York" movie. This was a pretty solid end-of-the-world movie. It was pretty much like the Blair Witch Project, if you picked up that little group and their camera equipment and dropped them off in SoHo.

Grade: C (Blair Witch Project...after the kids were on Oprah and we all found out it wasn't real)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Photo of the new Jason Voorhees

He looks like he's wearing a wig. This remains unacceptable in my book.


Photo Credit: IconsofFright.com


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Billy Bob Thorton to play Freddy in upcoming NOES remake

Completely unacceptable.

photo credit: joblo.com

Remake of Friday the 13th


Some truly sad things are happening in the horror genre right now. Apparently, since everyone has run out of ideas and need to make movies about babies answering deadly cell phones and plants killing everyone because of some crazy global warming conspiracy, they've now stooped to re-making the true classics.
Obviously it wasn't enough to poach every Japanese horror movie, do remakes of all the 80s stuff, and make sequels to everything on God's green earth, now they're really getting horror fans where it hurts.
How can you remake the quintessencial summer camp classic?! I don't want to see Gossip Girl/The Hills-types running around in the woods while Fall Out Boy plays in the background. I don't want to see teenagers distracted by their IPods as Jason approaches. I don't want cell phones or product placements involved in any way.
I want strip monopoly and Kevin Bacon in short-shorts and everyone cut off from the outside world because there were no cell phones or wireless internet. I want the creepy music and Jason walking super-slow but always able to catch you in the end. They're not even bringing back Crazy Ralph -- blasphemy!
Oh, and fuck you, Michael Bay. Stick with The Transformers, Armageddon, and that stupid TV commercial. Only Rutger Hauer can play John Ryder, and you're retarded for thinking otherwise.
So on Friday, February 13, you'll find me crying in my beer over the death of another great horror classic.

Movie News: Saw V Posters

Seriously, when is this franchise going to take a break? It's getting a bit repetitive. In fact, one of the masterminds behind the previous 4 Saws, Darren Lynn Bousman, wouldn't even sign on for this one. Maybe that should give everyone a clue to just. stop. this. nonsense. Anyway, don't expect Donnie Wahlberg to be back...he's touring with New Kids on the Block!












Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Mirrors (2008)

Mirrors, starring Keifer Sutherland, is brought to us by the director/screenwriter who created such gems as the remake of The Hills Have Eyes, and High Tension. The Hills Have Eyes never should have been remade in my opinion as the original had a campy charm that can't be recreated. But High Tension was pretty badass, so I'll start this guy off with a clean slate.
Mirrors is a remake of Geoul Sokeuro, a Korean film with the same story. Apparently Alexandre Aja thought it had been long enough since we ripped off pretty much every every Asian horror movie in existence and felt he had the go-ahead for this one. Kiefer Sutherland plays Ben Carson, an ex-NY cop and recovering alcoholic trying to get past a tragic incident while on the job. He's living with his sister Angela (Amy Smart) while looking for work and attempting to reconcile with his wife.
Ben gets a job as a graveyard shift security guard at a burnt-out department store that is currently in the midst of a legal battle. The store is seriously creepy, and dirty, but strangely enough, the mirrors are sparkling clean. After working a few shifts at the store, Ben begins to experience some strange things involving mirrors. These occurences extend to his family -- including his sister in New York, and his wife and children in what I assume is New Jersey.
Ben becomes determined to find out what the cause of these crazy mirror problems are, and his investigation leads him to an old mental hospital that housed a severely schizophrenic young girl who was "rehabilitated" in strange ways.
The story is good up until this point, but then it kind of veers off track. Kiefer lapses into some "24"-esque dialogue and then the action sort of follows along with that. There's this totally ridiculous fight scene, and the ending is generally meh.
This movie was pretty good altogether. There were some decent scares, good cinematography, and a solid plotline. There's a general creepiness about it, and freaky kids thrown in for good measure. The last 20 minutes or so kinda killed it, but it's worth a watch. Oh, and the end left it open for a sequel, which I pray to the horror gods they do not make.
Grade: B- (The Ring -- solid and creepy, but definitely not a classic)

Feast (2005)

This little movie has a lot of big muscle behind it, with producing credits that include Wes Craven, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon. And apparently a whole bunch of actors owed them a favor because everyone and their mother is in this movie. We've got Jason Mewes ("Jay and Silent Bob"), Balthazar Getty ("Alias" and frolicking with a topless Sienna Miller whilst still married), Henry Rollins (self explanatory), Navi Rawat (numerous prime time TV dramas), and Judah Friedlander (that guy from the Dave Matthews video). This movie was actually a result of the "Project Greenlight" reality show, which gives everyone only a million-dollar budget to work with.


So there are a bunch of random people hanging out in this bar, which is seemingly in the middle of nowhere. We get introduced to each of the characters with names, "fun facts", and life expectancies, which is original and funny and it gets my stamp of approval. None of the people have "real" names -- they all just have these nicknames, and surprisingly, it does not make the movie hard to follow at all.

Everyone is just chillin out until a random guy stumbles in and says that monsters are about to attack the building in five minutes. And attack they do. The poor bastard who was nice enough to warn everyone is immediately snarfed up, and the remaining patrons prepare to defend themselves against these mysterious creatures. They manage to get ahold of one and kill it after a prety intense struggle. Everyone is surprised and disappointed when they find out that this is actually a "baby" monster and the real ones are exponetially larger. They decide to show the dead monster to the other monsters (dumb) to assert who's boss. All this gets them is some pissed off creatures and a full view of monster-sex (this was a first for me!)

And then it's on, bitches. What follows is tons of blood, gore, and violence with plenty of campiness to satisfy the Evil Dead-lover in all of us. The acting was solid, the story moved quickly, and it was gross gross gross! I thought this movie was pretty damn good, especially since it involves monsters, which are usually not scary enough and typically fall flat for me. It's got a great Rodriguez/From Dusk Til Dawn vibe, so if that's your jam, check it out.

I also see that two sequels are lined up for this...ugh, why can't they leave horror movies alone nowadays?! I might check out the second one, but I certainly won't be expecting much...

Grade: A (Planet Terror - gory, grimy, and oh-so-good)

Joshua (2007)


I have no idea how I've managed to see two horror movies called Joshua in a matter of a few weeks. Apparently Joshua is getting up there with Damien as a name for creepy-ass kids.

Joshua is a little-known independent movie that I came across when I was working on the review for the previous "Joshua" movie that I watched. It is the story of a young rich child living on Park Avenue in Manhattan. Joshua appears to have everything: a beautiful apartment, great school, a plethora of toys, and of course, tons of money. But soon, Joshua gets something that he does not want -- a baby sister.

Lily is born, and as it usually is with babies, she needs a lot of attention. Everyone is taking pictures and cooing over the baby, and young Joshua is not taking this whole thing very well. He begins to act out in strange and violent ways. It begins with cutting up his stuffed animals and purposely ruining a piano recital, but quickly escalates.

Sadly, at the same time, Joshua's mother is struggling with severe post-partum depression. She is also not adjusting well to Lily's birth, and her family is suffering. Joshua continues to make life difficult on everyone as he masterminds his creepy plans to chip away at the family.

The tone of this movie was very reminiscent of The Omen -- it was obvious that this child had major underlying problems that were enhanced by the birth of his sister. Although there is really no blood and gore to speak of, this film was thoroughly creepy and incited quite a few scares and screams in our living room.

Grade A- ("It's all for you, Damien!")

Monday, August 11, 2008

Freddy's Dead - The Final Nightmare (1991)


Oh, early 90s. You brought us NKOTB, slouch socks, walkmans, and Saturday morning cartoons. You also brought us the presumed "death" of Freddy Krueger, which was followed by two sequels where he not surprisingly continued to live.

Wes Craven bailed out on this franchise long before "Freddy's Dead", and this particular installment was directed by Rachel Talalay, the first female to ever direct a NOES film. In "Dead", we're introduced to a young man who is having crazy nightmares (surprise) and then finds himself wandering around a strange town suffering from amnesia. He's picked up by the local police and brought over to the youth shelter. There are some serious characters living in this place, including Breckin Meyer in his first role (as Spencer), Ricky Dean Logan as Carlos, and Lezlie Deane as Tracy. They're all pretty desparate to get out of this hole and are devising an escape plan.

Meanwhile, Maggie, one of the counselors, probes deeper into "John Doe"'s life, and she suspects he's from neighboring Springwood, due to some article he's toting around. She decides to take him for a little stroll around Springwood to see if it jogs any memories -- little does she know that the delinquents from the shelter are stowing away in the back of the van she is driving.

They all arrive in Springwood at some demented carnival where there's no kids and roaches are crawling all over everything. This part of the movie was actually sort of creepy. Then Tom and Roseanne appear -- why?! It seems as if everyone in this childless town is experiencing some sort of mass psychosis. It also appears as if John Doe is the "last child of Elm Street" (I think there's already been three or four of those)

Maggie discovers the stowaways and orders them back to the shelter. Instead they get lost and crash in an old house. They all (of course) fall asleep (dun dun dun) and start getting picked off one by one. By this point in the series, Freddy is more comedian than killer and although the death scenes are good for a few laughs, there's no real scares. Further investigation begets that someone is Freddy's child, and we delve into Freddy's childhood, adult life and how he became the dreammaster.

The final dream showdown of this movie was actually shown at the theaters in 3D. It made my TV screen look a little weird, so I assume if I had 3D glasses, they might work with the DVD. Anyway, 3D was so badass in the 90s. They should bring it back. Anyway, the "Freddy's Dead" portion was actually pretty anticlimatic since he's "died" a whole bunch of times already. This might be worth a watch if you've seen all the others, or if you're looking for some cheesy laughs. For serious scares, look elsewhere.

Grade: D+ (Leprechaun - makes you nostalgic for the fun horror characters of the 80s/early 1990s, but you gotta accept it's really a pretty crappy movie)






Saturday, August 2, 2008

Heartstopper (2006)


Well, as with most of my horror masterpieces, I picked this one out of the 4 for $20 rack at Blockbuster. Mainly, the draw for me was Robert Englund and serial killers.

The basis of the story is that this crazy serial killer is getting the death sentence. They shock the bastard a whole bunch of times and declare him dead. However...dun. dun. dun, he peaces out from the morgue and goes running around. Unfortunately for surrounding patients, they've brought this guy to hospital that is closing due to lack of funding or some such thing.

So the serial killer's schtick is that he pulls out the hearts of his victims and boom, they're dead. So he wastes poor Robert Englund and goes searching for the remaining few patients, as well as doctors and nurses left to tend to them.
Well, as general horror movie logic will tell you, everyone starts dying as supernatual-resistent-to-electric-chair dude keeps running around. Emergency room patients come in and the doctors are dead and the whole thing is a total shitshow.

This movie was okay for a gorefest. There's basically just killing and people running around. The ending is terrible, but it's the first time you'll see a TORNADO ruin things for a murderer as far as I can remember. Eh, check it out if you're bored.

Grade: D- (Fear Dot Com - okay if you need to kill a couple of hours, otherwise, generally worthless and forgettable)

From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money

Obviously, the logical opening point for this movie would be where
the last one left off. However, that would not be the case here. The movie opens with Kelly Kapowski and Ash stuck in some sort of crazy broken elevator which is soon infested with bats. Well that's that, and then suddenly they pull the whole B-list out for this little flick. We've got the coach from The Faculty, the Mexican brother from Nip/Tuck, and dudes from several random horror sequels. And of course, Danny Trejo shows up to the party because homeboy never misses a chance to be on the big screen.

So we've got elevator failures, backwoods Texas hicks, and plenty of animal abuse before we get to any sort of actual plotline. Let me tell you, over the years, I've seen hundreds and hundreds of people killed in horror movies in dozens of different ways, but pitbull fighting still turns my crazy ass off.
So as far as I can see, for the majority of this movie, everyone is sitting around, watching porn, and there are random bats flying around. Sure, one guy shows up in the (incredibly quickly rebuilt) Titty Twister for a hot minute, but it appears to be pretty much hotel rooms, bats, and calls to the cops. I was seriously bored.

Oh, and there's a bank robbery, a solar eclipse, and a few vampires in there somewhere. Ugh, this was boring as hell. I can't even bring myself to watch #3.
Grade: F (Exorcist 2 - Awesome first movie, completely ridiculous sequel)