Friday, April 26, 2013

Hypothermia (2010)

I'm not sure what to make of this movie.  It has two recognizable stars, Michael Rooker and Blanche Baker, and has a pretty kickass location on Sacandaga Lake in upstate New York (holla!)  But the creature in this movie was completely ridiculous.  Like, I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out if it was supposed to be a joke, or some sort of tongue in cheek sort of thing.  I still don't know.

Hypothermia is about a family on an ice-fishing vacation -- dad Ray (Michael Rooker), mom Helen (Blanche Baker), son David (Ben Forster) and future daughter in law Gina (Amy Chang).  Ray looks much forward to this trip, and even goes seeking out a spot while it is still nighttime.  This results in his almost-demise, and in the awakening of a dormant creature under the ice. 

The next day, with Ray fully healed and warmed up, the crew takes to the frozen lake.  Their humble fishing area is soon interrupted by a loud father and son pair toting a top-of-the-line fishing trailer.  With their lame sandwiches and lack of beer, the family seems a little put off by the new arrivals.  However, once they both spot the ominous creature under the ice, they decide to join forces to eliminate it.

I am not joking when I say this creature was just SO lameballs.  SPOILER.



Like, what?  What is this even supposed to be?  It's played by a person in a costume.  They are credited at the end of the movie.  Seriously, no.

So all in all, this was a somewhat interesting concept, with a great location. But the reveal of the creature just fell flat, and the acting was pretty meh.  Luckily this was short (only a little over an hour), so if you're desperate to see the awesome lake creature in action, check it out on Netflix instant.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Day 9 (2012 short film)

Anyone who knows me is aware that I am a huge supporter of independent horror.  There is no movie I won't watch, and review objectively, of course ;)  I haven't reviewed too many short films, but I got hooked up with Day 9 through a friend and I'm happy to check it out.  This film is brought to us by up and coming New Jersey filmmaker Tom Ryan.

It's important to take independent and low-budget films with a grain of salt, as I feel many reviewers do not.  Just like The Scream Queen isn't as slick, awesome, and full of up to date information as Dread Central, independent films can't rival the effects of a Michael Bay film.  I really enjoy the grittiness and creativity of an independent film more than the theater-run movies anyway.

Day 9 is basically about the first nine days of a zombie apocalypse, like a scaled-down 28 Days Later.  A couple, Tom and Melanie, are excited to spend a weekend alone while their kids are with the grandparents.  Unfortunately, this weekend is the beginning of a zombie infection, and subsequent apocalypse.  Tom and his wife must fight to survive an invasion that they are very much unprepared for.

I've played a zombie before in an independent show, and I know how hard it is to stay energetic and in character.  The zombies in this movie were really into it and made for some good action shots.
The sound in this movie was actually pretty great for an indie, and I liked the background rock music (provided by Tom's band, Vlad the Inhaler). The only thing that was a little tough on my ears (and laptop speakers) was the kind of grinding/alarm-y interlude sound, which I think they could have dropped.

I liked this flick overall and it worked really well as a short instead of a full length movie.  Everything was really blue-collar realistic, instead of people that are randomly armed to the teeth once the zombie apocalypse hits.  I can't say I was in love with the ending (I would have rather been left hanging a bit) but I'm looking forward to seeing more from this independent filmmaker.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Scream 4 (2011)

I kind of forgot about Scream 4 until it popped up on my Netflix instant queue.  I'm taking it easy this weekend, catching up on some blogging, and attempting to work on a cross-stitch project, which is a little difficult considering my younger cat is being ultra needy and will not leave my lap.  Oh, the things we do for our pets.

Scream 4 is chock-full of random stars, like these "reunion" sequels typically are.  We also get the return of Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox and David Arquette from the original Scream.  We kick off with sort of a movie within a movie.  Rachel and Chloe (Anna Paquin and Kristen Bell) are watching a Scream-esque movie where some teens are being killed by a mysterious caller.  Rachel complains about the stupidity of the movie, and Chloe stabs her repeatedly.  Turns out this is the trailer for Stab 7, which two teenagers are watching on a television shortly before they get killed by Ghostface.  Andddd, SCREAM 4, bitches.

Dewey is still a cop, now married to Gale, and Sidney is now a self-help author.  Sidney has returned to her hometown of Woodsboro as the last stop on her book tour.  Of course, as soon as she arrives, all hell breaks loose, with the murders once again occurring on the anniversary of the original incident.  The new high school clique comprises Kirby (Hayden Panettiere), Olivia (Marielle Jaffe), and Jill (Emma Roberts).  The connection is that Jill is Sidney's cousin, and is dealing with a betrayal from a boyfriend, much like Sidney in Scream.  The ex-BF even climbs in the same window as Billy did, as Sidney's aunt lives in her old house.  Thrown into the mix is a strangely-acting deputy, Judy Hicks (Marley Shelton), who claims to know Sidney from high school. 

We proceed with the typical Ghostface formula.  Creepy calls on the phone from other people's numbers, claiming to be nearby or watching.  Bloody and public deaths and narrow escapes.  Meanwhile, Gale has decided to partner with some high school news bloggers to try and crack the case.  The bloggers believe that the killer is modeling the murders after Stab Part 1, which makes sense as this movie itself is very reminiscent of Scream.  The whole movie continues pretty predictably, and the twist didn't come as a huge surprise, although I did like the "final battle," which did wrap it up fairly well.
 
Apparently Wes Craven said he would not return to the series unless the script was as good as Scream.  I can confidently say this story was actually quite similar to the original, but certainly not as good.  It was clearly supposed to be sort of poking fun at remakes, while kind of being one itself.  But I just had a hard time caring about anyone in this version.  Dodging murderers is just old hat for Sidney, and the teenagers this time around were annoyingly apathetic.  Gale and Dewey seemed to not even care for one another, and I thought that Judy would be part of the murders or something but she just sort of drifted around.  While I understand where they were going with this both as a franchise installment and a comment on the genre, I just can't say I loved it.  I think we've seen the last of the Scream sequels though. 

Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet (2009)

If Bill Moseley is in a movie, I'm going to watch it.  If Bill Moseley AND Danielle Harris are in a movie TOGETHER, you couldn't pry me away from it.  Therefore, even though most reviews on Netflix and IMDB warn me against this movie, I'm going in full speed.

If you've heard rumors that there is a topless girl in this movie, you would be correct.  However, fair warning that girl is not Danielle Harris, but is Samantha Facchi/Siong, who plays the adult Mary.  The premise is that in 1979, on Long Island, Mary Mattock/Hatchet killed her whole family, and then was put in a mental institution, where she is raped by a security guard and becomes pregnant.  After her baby does not survive the birth, she escapes and goes on a murderous rampage throughout the hospital.

Years later, local teens celebrate the anniversary of Blood Night with the normal stuff like drinking, partying, and underage sex. Oh, and also bombing people with tampons, bloody handprints, and eggs.  While screwing around in a cemetery with an Oujia board, they run into Graveyard Gus (Bill Moseley).  He tells them a Mary Hatchet story, and sends them off to party.

Finally, Danielle Harris (Alissa) arrives and tells this ridiculous gang rape story, which is fake!  Um, what?  Much like any teenage slasher, everyone proceeds to get hammered and have sex, which of course is the perfect opening for a vengeful spirit.  Luckily, Graveyard Gus is still in the picture!  I'd like to think that the cheesy lines and overacting in this movie are intentional, and that this slasher is a bit tongue in cheek.  It seems to be giving a little nod to a few horror standard -- the digging up of the ghost's body, death from behind during sex, and even Graveyard Gus himself, who was apparently modeled after Crazy Ralph.  There's even a little Halloween-esque twist, which was clever in light of casting Jamie Lloyd herself. 

The death scenes were pretty awesome.  We've got some decapitation, face slicing, and even a girl's intestines getting wound around a pickaxe.  I do agree with other reviewers that maybe Mary should have used a hatchet for most of her killings, after her moniker.  All in all, this was a fun slasher flick that obviously took some cues from some teen scream classics.  I can't say I've ever seen a killer that runs around in the complete nude, but hey, if you've got it, flaunt it, girl.  


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Amber Alert (2012)

The Netflix instant page of this movie recommends both Compliance and Megan is MissingSOLD.  This is another one of those "found footage" films, this one being a tape that is taken in as evidence after an amber alert situation.

Two best friends, Samantha and Caleb, are filming their audition tape for some sort of reality show.  They're driving around and realize they're behind the subject of a recent amber alert announcement.   These two are so annoying that I wish they were the ones being kidnapped.

Basically the best buddies argue incessantly the entire time they follow the car.  They're supposed to be just following the car until the police show up, but the cops seem to be taking their sweet time.  Once they find the dude pulling into a gas station, they check out the situation and seem to see an unconscious little girl in the backseat.  She chucks her mike into the backseat so that they can listen to the car on their car speakers.  Yet AT NO POINT do they call the cops back. Even when the dude spouts some lie about being the girl's dad.  Even after they run into a police officer who seems headed to help, the dumbest chick on the earth, Samantha, decides that they should keep looking for the guy anyway, in case the cops don't catch him.

They continue into the night, searching for the guy after the police call off the amber alert.  Let me just tell you that I would NEVER want to live in whatever area these people are in because the the police are about as dumb as a box of rocks.  I mean, I'm thinking that these people are just doing one stupid thing after another, but I guess what else are they supposed to do when they are outside the house where they can hear a guy abusing a little girl over the headphones?

The last 10 or so minutes of this movie was pretty twisted and even gave me the willies a bit.  It was actually good use of the shaky cam premise of this flick, whereas the rest of it focused mostly on the two main characters arguing.  I understand where they were going with this movie, but they fell short of getting it to the Megan is Missing level.  There just needed to be more to it than arguing and following in a car, because it did get a bit tedious after a while.  But kudos for the ending sequence, which I did like.   
 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Holy crap, where have I been?

The last couple of months have been super-busy for Scream Queen.  My day job has been insane, and then I went on a two-week trip to Thailand, which was awesomesauce.  Also, I've gone through one of those periods that all bloggers do, where I just don't feel like freakin' writing.  I've got 321 movies on my instant Netflix queue and I've just been very mehhh about clicking on any of them.

But today, I am turning over a new leaf.  I'm starting a 30 day mental and physical detox.  Full time paleo diet, hardcore crossfit, and nixing the booze for the time being.  For the mental end, I'm focusing on myself and the things that make me happy and healthy, and writing is one of them.  Writing about horror movies, of course.  So, I'll be back to writing this weekend, while Scream King is busy watching the Masters.

As part of my 30-day-detox, I am also taking a break from Facebook.  So follow me on Twitter: _scream_queen