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.  

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.