Saturday, September 29, 2012

Vile (2011)

Do you like seeing a guy's chest cut open and then a pile of salt shoved into it?  Me too.  I had forgotten about torture porn for a while, but it looks like Vile is bringing it back like Justin Timberlake.  For some reason, the description of this movie is making me think of Captivity, which I kind of would like to have forgotten.  Remember the "milkshake" scene?  Blergh.

Back to Vile.  We get treated to a sort of intro scene of a dude being tortured, and then we switch off to a sexy group of twenty-somethings frolicking in the woods.  After leaving their campsite, they stop off at a gas station, and get asked for a ride by an attractive older woman.  They oblige, but are quite surprised when she knocks them out with some random gas.

They wake up in a room, tied to some chairs, with some onlookers plotting how to handle them.  They watch a video with a creepy lady.  She's sort of like the Saw puppet.  She explains that the campers have some mechanism attached to their heads that is collecting chemicals that are caused by extreme fear and pain.  So basically, they need to torture each other in order to fill a quota in 22 hours or they all are about to peace out.  Someone is a fan of the Saw movies!!  Oh, and if their implants are removed, it's instantly fatal.  Why does this remind me of Fortress?  I've seen too many movies.

So obviously everyone starts torturing each other, trying to split up the percentages of pain.  Makes sense.  Then the stoner guy suggests that sex might produce the same chemicals, and the girls refuse!  WTF.  I'd try banging over fingernail-pulling any day of the week.  The brunette chick in this nonsense is wayyyy too eager to torture everyone.  Something is up with her.

Man, these people are BRUTAL.  I totally understood the plan to split the pain up among all of them.  But these freaks are taking this to a whole new level.  Also, I do not understand this shit of splitting their share into two sessions of torture.  No way, dude.  Give me all of mine at once so I can go chill and be done.

The torture in this movie is obviously extreme.  But you know what, I liked this flick.  I liked the concept, and the crazy bitch trying to fuck everything up.  The end got a little boring and the twist was not that great, but overall, I would not rate this as badly as Netflix and IMDB did.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Twin Peaks - Pilot (1990)

After reading Pines, I felt somewhat compelled to watch Twin Peaks.  I've heard it mentioned before in reference to other horror movies and TV series, but somehow I never got around to watching it.  But now it's on Netflix instant, and since my TV show reviews are one of the most read features of my blog, I thought I'd try my hand at watching it, and reviewing it by episode. 

Of course, Twin Peaks was known by its tagline, "Who Killed Laura Palmer?"  There are a bunch of recognizable actors/actresses in this show, and it must really give your age away with what you remember these people from.  For me, Kyle McLachlan is Trey from Sex and the City and Lara Flynn Boyle is the skinny chick from network TV.  Anyway, a teenager, Laura Palmer is found dead on an otherwise quiet morning in Twin Peaks.  The town is rattled by this discovery, and people begin to behave strangely.   Or are they already strange?  It's hard to tell.

Of course, the first suspect is Laura's boyfriend and local bad boy, Bobby Briggs.  He denies it vehemently, but people don't seem convinced.  An FBI agent, Dale Cooper, arrives in town to investigate the murder, believing it to be related to another nearby killing.  He, too, is a bizarre individual who is oddly obsessed with trees.  Meanwhile, another young female is found wandering the railroad tracks, abused and bloody.  Cooper believes this to be related to the other crimes.

Also, they find Laura's diary, and discover bizarre clues inside, including a key to a safe deposit box filled with a ton of money and a porno magazine.  Then it seems like all the guys at the high school become suspects and get locked up in the holding cell.  Also, everryyyone in this town is up in each other's biz and always reporting on each other and talking behind their backs.  Get a life, nosypants.  The ending is a cliffhanger (of course!) and we're onto the next episode!

Pines by Blake Crouch

I've never seen Twin Peaks.  It aired in 1990, making me 7 years old at the time, and I certainly wouldn't have been allowed to watch it.  So I'm hearing this book is very Twin Peaks-ish, and lucky for me, it's available on Netflix instant, and I've added it to my queue.  I hope I like it as much as I did this book.

I've been a huge Blake Crouch fan  for quite some time. His books are typically brutal, and while I found Pines to be more low-key in the violence department, it amped up the creepiness to no end.  Pines is about a U.S. Secret Service agent, Ethan Burke, who wakes up in a hospital in a place called Whispering Pines.  He's having a hard time remembering remembering details of his life, especially things like his home phone number and his wife's name.  Of course it doesn't help that no one seems to be able to find his credentials or his iPhone. 

Ethan feels suitably creeped out in the hospital and opts to escape and find his belongings on his own.  But being greatly injured, confused, and without money or ID, he finds it difficult to make his way in the small town.  Also, it's not making things any easier that no one seems to have any idea who he is, or why he is in Whispering Pines.  Ethan's memory starts to return, and he realizes that he was there investigating the disappearance of two fellow Secret Service agents.  While most people in the town seem to ignore his plight, others appear to give him clues surrounding the strangeness.

Once Ethan delves into the eerie happenings of Whispering Pines, it's like falling down the rabbit hole, or driving in circles, quite literally.  Most people are his enemy, but he also sees that there are a few lurking friends.  But once he discovers what is behind the whole town...well, I don't want to give anything away ;)

Although this wasn't the stomach-churning horror style of Crouch's other novels, I really appreciated the eeriness and unique twisting plot of this book.  I'm definitely going to give it a re-read to see if there's anything I missed the first time around.  Well played, Mr. Crouch. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

Something about Tilda Swinton bugs me.  I don't really get how she is revered as an actress, and she just bothers me in general.  It's also a little hard for me to take John C. Reilly seriously after his mostly comedic career.  But I was dying to see this movie since creepy kids scare me like no other. 

We Need to Talk About Kevin is one of those movies you won't be sure if you liked at first.  It jumps all over the place, and although full of striking cinematography, is hard to follow at times.  As much as I don't love Swinton, she is perfect in the role of Eva (mom/wife) who is first a confident, independent and artistic city-dweller, who throughout her son's life, turns into a terrified and withdrawn woman practically hiding in the suburbs.  Reilly is pretty forgettable as husband and father Franklin, but satisfies the needs of the part.  The succession of children and the teenager who play Kevin are gloriously creepy and perfectly cast.

The plot?  Fairly basic, but hard to follow at times.  It sort of starts at the end and then jumps around throughout the life of the couple, their small family, and of course, Eva on her own.  Eva and Franklin fall in love after a night of drunken debauchery, and live a happy life in New York.  Eva is excited to become pregnant with Kevin, but things quickly become difficult.  Kevin is a troubled baby and cries incessantly, only stopping when his father returns home.  As a child, he resists potty training, and any sort of affection from his mother, yet continues to bond with his father.  As a teenager, he seems to have no interests aside from archery, and seems to harbor a deep hatred for his mother.  The movie both begins and ends with him committing a terrible crime, forcing his mother to be shunned by the community and live a depressed and solitary life.

I really wasn't sure about this movie at first, but the more I've thought about it, the more I realize I liked it.  Kevin was so cold and unfeeling that it was hard to imagine if he had some sort of motivation (supernatural or otherwise) or if he was just born with a legit psychotic personality.  The scenes were choppy, but shocking, especially a few towards the end.  I did generally like this movie and feel it is worth a view for drama and horror fans alike.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Them (2006)

I saw this movie years ago, and realized recently that I never wrote a review.  In an attempt to make some sort of dent in my Netflix instant queue, a quiet afternoon and a glass of Shoofly Buzz Cut is the perfect opportunity for a rewatch.

Of all the foreign horror movies to come out in recent years, those out of France and Korea have been my favorites.  I go through phases where I watch so many from a particular region that I feel like I start to speak the language.  I have a high school knowledge of French, which makes watching French movies a little more understandable to me.  Them has very little dialogue between the main characters and relies greatly on noises and atmospheric terror. 

The basic premise surrounds a couple, Lucas and Clementine, who live in a remote house.  Oh, the life of French people.  Eating delicious food, drinking wine, smoking cigarettes, watching TV, and having sex.  They're attempting to enjoy their weekend when a variety of strange occurrences begin to take place.   Strangely, in French horror movies, people seem to stay very calm as scary things start to happen.  Even as a seasoned horror veteran, if my phone rings with heavy breathing in the middle of the night, I'm barricading myself with a weapon, not taking a fucking bath! 

Lucas and Clementine fall asleep, only to be awakened by an outdoor noise, which turns out to be their car being stolen.  The lights go out, and they begin to panic.  They are randomly attacked and taunted, but one of the cool parts of this movie is that you rarely see the villains. There's no Jason or Michael Myers stalking around with giveaway music.  I love that the stalkers are so ambiguous. 

The environment of this movie is awesome.  I love the old house, the tunnels, and the "trapped in the open" vibe of the countryside.  The acting is great, and the two main characters are really able to carry the movie with their intensity.  The length of this movie is perfect, in my opinion.  I appreciate these short and intense horror flicks.  The ending of this movie, of course, created controversy over whether it was good or not.  I thought it was creepy, but I would have enjoyed it more if they showed an actual interview.

This movie was touted as being "based on true events," and it was.  There was a similar story where a couple spending a vacation in Romania were brutally murdered by three teenagers.  Also, there was a sort-of remake here in America, which you would know as The Strangers.  I'm a city girl to the core, and the thought of spending vacations in remote areas is unappealing, nonetheless living full time in one.  Them is a cool flick, although as Americans, we probably relate more to The Strangers.