Monday, November 1, 2010

October Challenge Film #30

Frozen (2010, Adam Green) - 93 min.

Two boarders and a skier manage to catch a last-minute chairlift ride right before the resort shuts down for the week.  Unfortunately, the stupid liftee makes some mistakes and winds up shutting down before they get off the lift.  The group is forced to choose to either 1) jump to the ground from the lift, break their legs, and fight off a pack of wolves, or 2) sit on the chairlift all week and freeze to death.  Doesn't sound like one bit of fun to me.  Frozen had pretty good character development, pretty good pacing, and pretty good acting.  My major problem with the movie, however, was that the writers decided to make some stuff up.  So, since when have chairlift cables been razor sharp?  What a lame thing to make up just to eliminate the easiest way for the characters to get off of the lift.  Silly.  I also thought the characters made some pretty stupid decisions, like jumping off the chairlift when they could've used their jackets as a makeshift rope to lower the guy a bit so maybe he wouldn't break both his legs.  On the bright side, there was a good Kane Hodder cameo in the flick.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October Challenge Film #29

Vampire's Kiss (1988, Robert Bierman) - 103 min.

This movie was... strange.  Yet at the same time, pretty entertaining due to the fact that Nicolas Cage goes apeshit in it (i.e. he thinks that he has become a creature of the night).  Actually this movie kinda sucked, but gets two bonus points for being so ridiculously (and somewhat unintentionally) funny.  Don't watch the whole thing though, it's not really worth it.  Watch this instead:
Also, I'm pretty sure that this is what Nicolas Cage is like in real life.


October Challenge Film #28

The Descent Part 2 (2009, Jon Harris) - 93 min.

Wow.  Words can barely express how much this movie sucked.  It's like the director wrote the manual on how to make a crappy horror movie.  I can see the ad now!  "How to Make Your Movie Suck!  Featuring the latest techniques from Jon Harris!  If you buy a copy of this book, we'll even throw in a copy of The Descent Part 2 for FREE!"  Here's a list of the cheesy and/or bad techniques used by Mr. Harris, just to give you an idea of how much this movie sucked:
  1. Jump Scares - that was the only kind of scare present in this train wreck masquerading as a film.
  2. Lighting - I'm in a cave with nothing to light my way but a flashlight, so where's that light coming from that's lighting me from above?  Was the entrance really above me that whole time?!
  3. Character Resurrection - wait, so Juno got away from all of those crawlers with an injured leg? Hmm... she must secretly be a crawler or something.
  4. The Villainous Community Member - Well, I won't explain this one fully, because it might ruin the "surprise," but it's a lot like the gas station attendant in The Hills Have Eyes, which is very cliche by now.
  5. Stupid Characters - yes, I am talking about you Sheriff Vaines.  Handcuffing someone to you and then trying to cross a very precarious natural bridge made of fallen rocks sounds like a good idea to that guy.
Part 2 just took everything that was great about the original and threw it out the window.  On the bright side, there are a few cool (sorta) kills involving squished heads.  That's the only bright side I can think of though.


Friday, October 22, 2010

October Challenge Film #27

The Host (2006, Joon-ho Bong) - 119 min.

This movie suffered from being extremely average.  I just don't feel like anything much happened and didn't care about what happened to any of the characters.  I tend not to like Asian horror films very much though, so if you're a fan of Asian horror you might like this one.


October Challenge Film #26

Paranormal Activity 2 (2010, Tod Williams) - 91 min.

When I saw Paranormal Activity 2 I expected only one thing - to be terrified out of my mind.  And, surprisingly enough, I was.  I was actually in tears by the end of the movie because I was so scared.  The same thing happened during Paranormal Activity.  I am very impressed with both films.  The set up and suspense in these films is astounding, the characters are believable and generally likable, and some really scary sh!t happens without resorting to grossing out the audience via gory stuff.  See it in a crowded theater late at night.


October Challenge Film #25

Sleepaway Camp (1983, Robert Hiltzik) - 84 min.

The acting is horrendous, the story is cheesy, and the deaths are a tad ridiculous.  But not one of these things matters.  All that matters is the ending of this movie.  Well, I guess everything leading up to the end is a little important, because it makes the end that much more awesome, but the end is still paramount.  Watch it and be amazed, awestruck, and horrified!


October Challenge Film #24

Let Me In (2010, Matt Reeves) - 116 min.

Let Me In is to Let the Right One In as Quarantine is to [REC] - an okay, practically shot-for-shot remake made simply because the original is not in English and the American populace is too stupid to read subtitles.  I saw Let Me In thinking that the director was going to take it in a different direction, but alas, almost every line was the same and so was every shot.  It was well directed and the young actors Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moretz were absolutely fantastic, Let Me In didn't really bring anything new to the table.  They showed more of Abby's vampiric powers, but more didn't make it better, it just meant that they used more CG.  This one's not worth paying for if you've seen the original.


October Challenge Film #23

White Dog (1982, Samuel Fuller) - 90 min.

When a struggling actress finds a stray dog, she takes care of him only to discover that he is a trained attack dog who has been specifically trained to attack black people.  Pretty crazy stuff.  Honestly I'm pretty scared of dogs if they're big and bark a lot.  This dog definitely did those, as well as maul and kill a few people.  The pacing of this movie was awfully slow and inconsistent, and the acting was okay.  It was well filmed and directed though.  The best part is when the actress meets the man who trained the dog.


Monday, October 18, 2010

October Challenge Film #22

Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994, Wes Craven) - 112 min.

This is one of the best of the Nightmare on Elm Street series.  It was great to see Heather Langenkamp in the series again!  Overall, I tend to dislike the sequels in this series, but New Nightmare was a fresh take on a dying series.  This one was campy like the original, but not near as ridiculous as some of the sequels (*cough* Freddy's Revenge *cough*).  The child actor in the film was also great.  He didn't feel like he was being told what to do, so his performance felt very real.  Who knows, maybe they were actually scaring the kid.  My only complaint with New Nightmare is that I didn't like Freddy's new look.  They should've stuck with the classic look as opposed to creating a new one.  That's just my .02 though.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

October Challenge Film #21

Dead & Breakfast (2004, Matthew Leutwyler)

Dead & Breakfast is a highly entertaining zombie(ish) flick about a group of people who get lost on the way to a wedding.  They stop for the night in a little town and stay at a somewhat creepy b&b.  One of the guys discovers a box and opens it, unleashing a demonic power into the town that possesses all of the townspeople.

Dead & Breakfast has it all - blood, guts, dancing zombies, David Carradine, and a possessed folk band!  It's pretty silly, but well worth a watch if you're in the mood for something campy.


October Challenge Film #20

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005, Scott Derrickson) - 122 min.

The main problem with The Exorcism of Emily Rose is that it was marketed as a horror film meant to scare you.  In reality, the film is a drama about the trial of Father Moore, the man who attempted to exorcise the demons from Emily.  He is accused of negligence for encouraging Emily that her case was a spiritual one, not a medical one, and for allowing her to die.  Definitely more of a drama.  Don't get me wrong, there are some very creepy scenes, but the film is much different than what it was made out to be.

The acting was great, especially from Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, and Jennifer Carpenter.  Jennifer Carpenter can do some scary body contortions!  The mood was very fitting for the subject matter, as it was somber and serious, yet there was an underlying creepiness that really makes one uneasy.

I know nothing of the story this film is based on, so I won't presume to say that the film adaptation of the actual event was accurate, but I will say that it was very believable and earnest.


October Challenge Film #19

Shredder (2003, Greg Huson) - 86 min.

This movie is absolutely ridiculous, but at the same time, highly entertaining.  Especially if you're a snowboarder.  When a group of teens go to ride a closed mountain, they're systematically killed by a stranger who is taking revenge on the teen snowboarders for a murder committed years ago.  One of my favorite things about this movie is the "snowboarder vs. skier" dynamic.  Back in the day when snowboarding was just getting started, everyone assumed we were irresponsible jerk-offs, and the snowboarders assumed all skiers were spoiled and preppy pricks.  Luckily, things never got to the point of murdering each other on the mountain (unlike in this case) and now everybody gets along just fine.

There were some really fun kills, the characters were entertaining (although the acting was far from perfect), and the movie had a Scooby-Doo feel to it.  Shredder is definitely worth checking out if you're into skiing or snowboarding.  Otherwise, you'll miss a lot of the humor and probably won't like it.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

October Challenge Film #18

Shrooms (2007, Paddy Breathnach) - 84 min.

Basically, six people go into the woods, do Shrooms, one chick freaks out and kills everybody.  The movie suffered from being extremely average and apparently is nothing like actually doing shrooms.  The trailer's worth watching just for the fun-factor and for hearing the chick say "I shouldn't have done those shrooms" right before she gets killed, but stay far far away from the full-length movie itself.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October Challenge Film #17

The Lodger (2009, David Ondaatje) - 95 min.

The Lodger was more of a psychological thriller than pure horror, but the trailers advertised it as a horror movie.  Kind of like Shutter Island.  I, however, enjoyed The Lodger much more than Shutter Island, but that's for another review.  This movie was well-filmed, and the story was interesting, but in the end, the whole movie was just kind of "meh."  I didn't particularly care about any of the characters, nor did I really care who the bad guy was in the end.  I did enjoy watching Shane West though.


October Challenge Film #16

Fright Night (1985, Tom Holland) - 106 min.

This movie rocks.  The characters are fun (well, except for the annoying one, but he gets his comeuppance), the story's fun, and the music is oh so much fun.  Gotta love the 80s.  When a boy finds out his neighbor's a vampire, what does he do?  Well, he does the sensible thing; he finds the vampire killer from his favorite television show and enlists his help.  This movie is one of the types of horror films that I love best.  It's campy and fun, but also has great gross-out effects.  Definitely worth a watch.


October Challenge Film #15

Wilderness (2006, Michael J. Bassett) - 94 min.

A group of young offenders who've committed crimes ranging from rape to murder go on a camping trip to an isolated island where they are supposed to practice teamwork.  Unfortunately, the crazed father of an inmate who had committed suicide comes to murder the entire camping party.  This one was actually pretty cool.  The gore was great (although there were a few instances of the dreaded CGI blood), the bad guy was pretty cool, and there was a great scene involving bear traps.  Yes, I meant for "bear trap" to be plural.  The setting was great and the acting was pretty good too.  My only complaint really was the cheesy music.  It was horrendously cheesy, which didn't fit in very well with the seriousness of the story.


Monday, October 11, 2010

October Challenge Film #14

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996, Robert Rodriguez) - 108 min.

Every time I see this movie I love it more and more.  It is absolutely hysterical.  If you haven't seen it, do, but I recommend that you don't read a plot synopsis or watch any trailers - that makes things more interesting.  George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, Juliette Lewis, Harvey Keitel, and Salma Hayek are just a few of the fun and awesome names attached to this project.  Check it out!


Saturday, October 9, 2010

October Challenge Film #13

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974, Tobe Hooper) - 83 min.

This is one of my very most favorite horror movies.  I love the atmosphere, I love story, and most of all, I love Leatherface and his kooky family.  This is a horror classic that everybody should see at least once.  The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is also a great representation of 70's horror: lots of screaming.  My favorite scenes in the film are when Leatherface first shows up, and the chain saw ballet at the end.  I use some clips and sound from this one in my "Evolution of Terror" video:


Friday, October 8, 2010

October Challenge Film #12

I Spit on Your Grave aka Day of the Woman (1978, Meir Zarchi) - 100 min.

I had heard a lot about this film and I was expecting the violence level to be that of Cannibal Holocaust.  Overall, it wasn't quite that violent, but it still manages to leave you feeling like you need a shower.  This film had some pretty bad sound - it was frequently very obvious that most of the sound was recorded in a studio.  The acting was okay, and some of the scenes were pretty ridiculous.  I did love the part where she cuts of the guy's man-parts, as well as the line "suck it, bitch."

I Spit on Your Grave has led to a lot of debate, not just over whether or not rape can be portrayed in film, but over whether or not this film truly deserves the title "Day of the Woman."  Although Jennifer takes revenge on the men who raped her, I believe that this film really cannot be considered as one of "empowerment" for women (even if it is really fun to see Jennifer get revenge).  The film is largely about having Jennifer be naked.  Even when Jennifer exacts her revenge, the writer/director have her get naked for the camera.  To me, that was kind of silly.

Then again, this is a horror film, and horror films are never feminist.  Practically all horror films do is objectify women.  And yet, I love the horror genre.  I'm not a total feminist, but I do find sexism, misogyny, and male chauvinism to be rather offensive in real life.  I guess that I can just tell the difference between real life and a movie.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

October Challenge Film #11

The Exorcist (1973, William Friedkin) - 122 min.

Should I even write a review for this one?  I mean, everybody knows what I'm going to say.  The Exorcist is brilliant.  It's not my favorite horror movie, but that doesn't alter the fact that it is pure brilliance.  My favorite part of the film is whenever little Regan spews obscenities and inappropriateness.  The only bad part of this film is that it made Linda Blair famous, causing her to appear in more movies.


October Challenge Film #10

Right at Your Door (2006, Chris Gorak) - 96 min.

Right at Your Door is a great flick about a barrage of dirty bombs going off in LA and how a couple tries to survive the fallout from the bombs.  Unfortunately, the wife is trapped outside in the toxic ash, while the husband has barricaded himself in their house.  The movie is very emotional, focusing on the fact that the wife is not likely to survive this ordeal, and how her husband can do nothing to help her.  The movie takes an interesting direction in the end, which I found pretty shocking.  The plot was intriguing, the acting was pretty good, and the overall production of the film was great.  Definitely worth a watch!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

October Challenge Film #9

The Deaths of Ian Stone (2007, Dario Piana) - 87 min.

This one is from the After Dark Horrorfest (2007), and it was pretty good for an After Dark flick.  The Deaths of Ian Stone had a great alternate reality feel to it, sort of like Blade or The Matrix.  The first half of the movie was highly entertaining, and although the effects are a tad cheesy, they fit the movie well.  The second half is where things kind of fell apart.  Think of it this way, it was similar to The Matrix in that the protagonist attains some awesome powers, but in The Deaths of Ian Stone, the protagonist gets his powers far too early.  It's after that event in the movie that the entertainment value goes downhill.  The movie also had a pretty cheesy theme - love conquers evil and hatred.  I'm kind of partial to that theme though, no matter how cheesy it is.


October Challenge Film #8

Session 9 (2001, Brad Anderson) - 100 min.

Session 9 is a very interesting film.  I loved the set, and the story itself was incredibly interesting, but I wasn't entirely happy with the cinematography.  That aspect of the film felt somewhat amateur.  I also had a hard time taking David Caruso seriously (here's why:  Some aspects of the story didn't quite seem to add up in the end, and they left a few loose ends, which was rather disappointing.  Unfortunately, I think my hopes were set too high for this film by fellow horror-boarders.  It's definitely worth a watch though, just to see what Session 9's all about.


Monday, October 4, 2010

October Challenge Film #7

Frontier(s) (2007, Xavier Gens.) - 108 min.

I had heard good things about this one when it came out, and I finally got around to seeing it.  This film was absolutely beautiful.  It had that gritty, yet sort of surreal look that French horror films have displayed lately.  The characters were all pretty intelligent (i.e. I wasn't yelling at them for making idiotic decisions) and the bad guys were pretty scary.  I think Frontier(s) is my new favorite French horror film of the past couple of years.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

October Challenge Film #6

The Hunger (1983, Tony Scott) - 97 min.
The Hunger was ... interesting, to say the least.  It was beautifully filmed, and I liked their take on vampires, but I didn't particularly care for the pacing of the film.  The pacing just felt kind of off.  I loved their use of the music from Lakme though.  I think the soundtrack was actually my favorite part of the film.  It's worth a watch to see why it has such a huge cult following, it just didn't turn out to be a film I liked very much.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

October Challenge Film #5

The Uninvited (2009, The Guard Brothers) - 87 min.

Dare I say it?  Yeah, I'll say it - I actually liked this one better than the original.  I think that the way they took the story was more interesting and made the ending more shocking.  In the original, there were also quite a few instances that made it so the ending made no sense, while in the remake, if you re-watch the film, the ending makes perfect sense.  The soundtrack for this one is great as well.  Emily Browning made a great lead in this film, and I hope to see her in more films.  I just caught the trailer for Sucker Punch, which she's starring in, and I think it looks pretty awesome.  Check it out:


October Challenge Film #4

Hatchet II (2010, Adam Green) - 89 min.

Unfortunately, Hatchet II didn't live up to the first one, but in all honesty, I didn't expect it to.  There was a long stretch about fifteen minutes into the movie where pretty much nothing happens, which was a tad frustrating, but the rest of the film was pretty darn fun, just not quite as fun as the first one.  There was a great battle between Kane Hodder and R.A. Mihailoff (Leatherface in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3), and another between Kane Hodder and Tony Todd.  Then, to top it all off, Danielle Harris kicks some serious ass.  I think they must have used a different kind of camera because the camera seemed to make Hatchet II look a bit like a soap opera.  I'm not really sure what it is, and I can't seem to find any information about the camera they used to film the movie.  Oh well.  Anyway, even though Hatchet II doesn't live up to the original, it's still worth checking out, especially for the ending scene.


October Challenge Film #3

The Hills Have Eyes Part 2 (1985, Wes Craven) - 87 min.

I don't understand why this one only has a 3.3/10 on imdb.  I mean, it's far from the greatest movie ever, but it was a fun ride nonetheless.  I thought the characters were fun and the effects weren't half bad.  I can see people expecting a lot more from it after the first one, though.  I thought it was interesting to see some of the stories from the original continued in this sequel.  I especially liked that Pluto was scared of dogs after nearly being killed by Beast in the first movie.  All in all, a fun watch if you're not planning on something serious.


October Challenge Film #2

A Tale of Two Sisters (2003, Ji-woon Kim) - 115 min

I liked this one quite a bit, and I don't usually like Asian horror films.  I'm not a huge fan of the way Asian horror films tend to use frightening images of a contorted body, the evil house motif, etc, but A Tale of Two Sisters kept those to a minimum.  Having seen the remake of this film, The Uninvited, I think I like the direction that the remake chose to go a little bit better than that of the original.  I'm going to give The Uninvited another watch in a couple of days to solidify this opinion.


Friday, October 1, 2010

October Challenge Film #1

 Funny Games (1997, Michael Haneke) - 108 min.

All I can say is, wow, what a brilliantly brutal and intriguing film.  Funny Games dwells on the misery of a family being tortured by a pair of deranged teens.  This is especially shown by camerawork.  In many scenes, the camera completely ignores the antagonist, even if he is speaking, focusing instead on the anguish in the faces of the victims.  One shot in particular, after an incredibly heart-breaking event, is uncomfortably long, making the audience focus intently on the victims as they react to this event.  The film itself is also an indictment of the audience.  Throughout the film, the antagonists break the fourth wall, and directly address the audience.  They question the audience's motives in watching the film, implying that the viewers are enjoying the awful events of the film.

All in all, this is one of the most interesting horror films I have seen.  It really makes you rethink what it means to watch a movie, and what part the audience plays in it.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

The October Challenge 2010

The annual IMDB Horror Board October Challenge is the most epic of epic challenges.  Every October, the most dedicated horror-boarders watch one horror film for each day of October, 16 of which must be first time views.  We post our progress on the official thread ( ), and some post their reviews on their own progress thread.  I'll be posting my reviews here, just in case a troll decides to start deleting my posts.

Happy viewings!

(Wonderful Horror Challenge graphic by Chris-435!)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Otis (2008, Tony Krantz) - 100 min.

This is one of my favorite horror flicks of the last five years.  It's clever, only slightly horrifying, and quite fun.  These traits make it the perfect movie for us horror-junkies to show to our friends who might not be as into horror as we are.

Another great thing about Otis is that the characters actually make pretty good decisions.  For once, I didn't yell at the screen telling the characters what to do.  And the end, the end is just superb.  It's essentially a more light-hearted Last House on the Left

I recommend Otis to everybody, especially those new to the horror genre.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Ginger Snaps Trilogy

Ginger Snaps (2000, John Fawcett) - 8/10
"Out by sixteen or dead at the scene, but together forever.  United against life as we know it."
     - This film takes the idea that menstruating women are monsters quite literally.

Ginger Snaps: Unleashed (2004, Brett Sullivan) - 8/10
"It only dies if you do."
     - This one takes place almost immediately after Ginger Snaps.

Ginger Snaps Back (2004, Grant Harvey) - 7/10
"Kill the boy, or one sister kills the other."
     - This is where the timeline of the trilogy gets a bit strange because, essentially, this story is about Ginger and Brigitte, but it occurs in the early 1800s.  I like to think of it as a standalone film that just so happens to be about the same two girls.

These are the best modern werewolf flicks you will find, and Ginger and Brigitte are some of the most lovable characters in horror.  I wholeheartedly recommend checking out all three of the Ginger Snaps films.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Saw Series

It seems that the Saw series needs a reboot.  Saw X: Jigsaw Goes to Space, anyone?  I can see the trailer now: "I want to play a game...  In SPACE."

It worked for the Friday the 13th series.

Saw VI (2009, Kevin Greutert) - 90 min.

Well, it was better than Saw III - Saw V.  Saw VI follows the usual plot line of the Saw movies and, of course, has the now obligatory twist at the end of the film, which, again, feels like it was pulled out of somebody's arse.

On the brighter side, there was some great gore.  The effects team relied on "real" effects rather than CGI, which I always give kudos for.  There was also a pretty tense scene in which two characters were in one of Jigsaw's traps and they were each attached to a breathing device and a device around their chests that would slowly crush them if they breathed.  It was a test to see which character was more physically fit and therefore more "fit to survive."  The scene definitely had me holding my breath.

The main pitfall of Saw VI, however, is the blatantly obvious attempt at commentary on the "evils of the insurance companies."  Really?  I mean, I'm watching a Saw movie, not a film by Michael Moore.  Keep your politics out of my Saw movie, Mr. Director!