Thursday, September 29, 2016

Tell Me How I Die (2016)








DIRECTOR:
 D.J. Viola

WRITERS:

James Hibberd
Rob Warren Thomas
D.J. Viola

CAST:

Nathan Kress
Virginia Gardner
Kirby Bliss Blanton
Ryan Higa
Mark Furze
Ethan Peck
William Mapother
Mark Rolston
Christopher Allen
Katie Booth
Shaun Brown

PLOT:

Anna is a college student who is looking for some part-time work to earn a little extra cash. One night while out at a bar, the bartender gives Anna a sheet of paper that has a large sum of money on it for taking part in a clinical drug trial. Not wanting to pass up the chance for some extra dough for the short amount of work, Anna joins a large group of college students who take part. Little do they realise that the side effects of the drug give them visions of how they will end up dying.







Tell Me How I Die is an interesting movie. It's one that originally left me torn. I'm not wholeheartedly sure that I enjoyed the overall film, but it's one that I can't really hate on it for trying to throw in something original when it comes to the slasher film. Here we have a thriller that plays like your typical run-of-the-mill slasher and even has a few of the tropes we've come to expect from these films but at the very same time adds it's own little twists on the formula.

The movie starts off rather interestingly. We have a group of college students who take part in this new two-week drug trial to earn some extra cash. They all come to this lovely facility where they'll be given this new drug and be monitored by the staff. It's $2000 for a couple of weeks of work. It sounds interesting enough that I would even consider taking part in it. The basic plot of the film had me intrigued from the very start.

Once our college students get to the facility and the movie starts picking up the pace, I was totally onboard with it. I was taking the premise, hook, line, and sinker. As the movie begins to unravel, we have a few of the willing participants start to experience precognition. This is where the film adds it's own little twist on the slasher formula. I am also well aware that this is the premise of the Final Destination series, but that had a more supernatural twist where this film takes the straight-up killer approach.

Things begin to go haywire in the medical facility when the college students and staff start turning up dead. This is where the movie starts to ramp up the blood and gore content. I have to hand it to the writers and director for pulling out a few rather nasty kills. They get pretty creative with their kills. There is a very 'Suspiria' like homage involving barbed wire and an air vent. We also have a nice head in a bear trap scene that left me very satisfied.

When it comes to building the tension, Tell Me How I Die has a few clever moments. The bear trap scene that I mentioned above is quite nifty when it comes to ramping up the tension. The movie also features a few moments where it comes to the stalk and slash scenes that had me glued to the screen while wondering where things are about to go. The movie isn't overly scary but has a few enjoyable moments that had me on the edge of my seat.

Visually, I think Tell Me How I Die is well made. It's very polished looking and all very clinical in its approach once inside the facility. There are a few very gorgeously slick moments outside the facility where D.J. Viola gets to use a couple of great shots with the snowy setting. Minus some terrible use of CGI when it comes to an explosion, I'm not able to really fault the film on a technical level. It's one of the more glossy horror films that I've seen in 2016.

The acting is okay for the most part. Nathan Kress and Virginia Gardner are our two main stars, and I enjoyed their dynamic. They both worked well off each other. Kirby Bliss Blanton who plays the bitchy blonde woman quite does it well, but at times her character does become grating, though. As does Ryan Higa as the comic relief. Martin Furze as our tough jock guy is on par with Kress and Gardner and it was good seeing him outside of the Australian soap Home And Away. A few nice supporting turns by William Mapother and Aliens, Mark Rolston.

Lastly, the ending needs to be mentioned as I think this will be what kills the film for a lot of people. While the movie has a pretty clever premise and the build-up is a lot of fun, I think the final feels like a bit of a cop-out. Everything that comes before the ending seems like it was all for nothing. We have a killer who seeks revenge and while the killer succeeds in getting it on the people he sets out to kill, he sort of just gives up when you think he will need to get rid of the witnesses that are still alive. It all sort of abruptly ends.







DEATH TOLL:
 14

BLOOD AND GORE:

- A guy stabs himself in the stomach with a kitchen knife.
- Mustard gas is used to kill an entire dorm room of students.
- A woman is seen bleeding from the eyes.
- A foot and head snapped shut in a bear trap.
- Someone's throat is slashed.
- A dead body is seen lying in the stairwell.
- Face first into an air vent full of barbed wire.
- Stabbed in the chest with needles.
- Someone is smacked in the head with a pipe.
- People are stabbed in the chest.
- Two people are blown up.


Tell Me How I Die is a film that is worth a watch. The premise while appearing like a standard slasher film has a few neat tricks up its sleeve. The acting is above average, and the production is very polished. It also contains a few inventive and amusing kills. It's just a shame that the ending really does sort of throw away everything that it lays out before it. Still, the movie is worth the once off rental and watch. Not a complete waste of time but flawed.


Monday, September 26, 2016

Fender Bender (2016)








DIRECTOR:
 Mark Pavia

WRITER: Mark Pavia

CAST:

Makenzie Vega
Bill Sage
Dre Davis
Kelsey Leos Montoya
Lora Martinez- Cunningham
Cassidy Freeman
Harrison Sim
Hilary Guler

PLOT:

Hilary is a seventeen-year-old girl who is currently going through a breakup with her cheating ex-boyfriend. While out and about driving her mother's newly purchased car, she is rear-ended by another driver. After the two involved in the accident exchange information, Hilary starts to feel like she is being watched and stalked. While having friends over and her parents are away, the killer decides to finally strike.







Fender Bender initially caught my eye when I noticed the rather impressive and old school looking poster for the film. When it comes to horror cinema this year, I haven't seen all that many slashers. So I lapped up the chance to watch the movie and see if it was any good. While Fender Bender has a few inventive and bloody kills throughout the film, I think it still fell short when it comes to horror films that I've seen in 2016.

So the overall set up for Fender Bender is actually pretty impressive. Here we have a serial killer that will purposely crash his car into young women so that they will have to exchange their information with him which allows him to find out where they live and he can then later stalk and butcher them. I liked the way the movie handled the premise. It felt like a genuine way to get the killer into the victim's life. It was one of the main aspects of the story that I enjoyed.

For a slasher, the film is a rather slow burn. The movie opens with the obligatory first murder scene, so you know how the rest of the movie will play out. We get to see the killer in action, so you know he ain't messing around. But for the rest of the film, the killer doesn't strike until the third act. We have an hour and ten minutes of our final girl being stalked and looking over her shoulder, but there is not much else here.

Once we get into the third act of the film, Fender Bender doesn't skimp on the blood and gore. The movie gets rather nasty. While the death scenes aren't very extreme by comparison to other slashers, the film still delivers the required gut punches when it comes to seeing characters you start to like being stabbed to death and murdered. I felt like the dynamic of our main girl, and her mates was a lot better when compared to other generic slashers.

Our killer in Fender Bender is played by the excellent Bill Sage. Who some will know from his time working in indie fare and great directors like Hal Hartley, Mary Harron, Lisa Cholodenko, Gregg Araki and more. It's also not the first time that Bill Sage has played a character who is evil. While his masked killer is no Coach from the excellent Mysterious Skin, he still delivers a pretty villainous role with his car crashing killer. His costume is a cross between the Rubber Man from AHS Murder House and The Miner from My Bloody Valentine.

The rest of the cast is also pretty solid in their respective roles. The movie revolves around Makenzie Vega as Hilary, the killer's latest stalking victim. She is pretty good in her final girl part on an acting front. At times, I thought she looked like a younger Sarah Michelle Gellar. Dre Davis who I'm aware of from Pretty Little Liars is decent in her role, and lastly, Kelsey Leos Montoya who plays her gay best friend looks like he has the most fun with his performance.

When it comes to delivering on the thrills, I think Fender Bender does an alright job. The film wasn't scary by any means when it drops a few predictable jump scares that have been thrown in to liven up the slower first and second half of the story, but I did find the overall sense of dread to be well done. The film really ramps up the suspense in the third act when our killer starts to attack the group of friends. Overall, it's got enough suspense to make horror fans happy.

Lastly, It needs to be mentioned that the final girl in Fender Bender while appearing intelligent by getting the killers information after the accident. She seems to lose all smarts when she needs it to survive. The killer decides to take her picture while she's in the shower which clearly shows her that he's inside the house, she decides to get dressed and grab a baseball bat and not call the cops. Little character decisions like this throughout took me out of the movie. It became a big annoyance for me.







DEATH TOLL:
 5

BLOOD AND GORE:

- Someone is repeatedly stabbed in the back.
- Someone is stabbed in the chest and face.
- A woman is stabbed, pushed out a window and ran over by a car.
- Someone is stabbed in the throat.
- Someone is stabbed in the shoulder and beat with a tire iron.
- A person is set on fire.
- Someone is stabbed in the thighs and chest.







I found Fender Bender to be a pretty uneven slasher, sadly. I enjoyed the entire setup and premise, I thought that the killer's look was great and enjoyed the performances for the most part. For a slasher, though, the movie is dreadfully slow during the first and second act, and some of the character decisions drag the film down. The movie, however, has a few bloody and nasty kills which should keep most horror fans happy. The movie does have the honour of having an amazing bit of poster art and deserves to be seen just based on that alone.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Morgan (2016)


 





DIRECTOR:
 Luke Scott

WRITER:
 Seth W. Owen

CAST:

Kate Mara
Anya Taylor-Joy
Rose Leslie
Michelle Yeoh
Toby Jones
Boyd Holbrook
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Brian Cox
Paul Giamatti
Michael Yare
Chris Sullivan
Vinette Robinson

PLOT:

Lee Weathers is a corporate risk-management consultant who is sent out to a remote compound in the wilderness to assess whether a recent incident involving a company staff member and the artificially created humanoid that they are monitoring needs to be terminated. Morgan has begun showing signs of increased aggression, hostility, as well as intelligence and Lee, will need to stop Morgan before it's too late.







Going into Morgan, I was a little apprehensive about the film. This was because when I first saw the promotional material for the film, I was incredibly hyped for it and the hype was sadly squashed by the somewhat lacklustre critic reviews. I was expecting something great, and the critics, unfortunately, didn't agree. So when I popped this on, I was a little worried that I may leave the film unimpressed. Luckily for me, this was a movie that I enjoyed much more than what the critics did.

Morgan is a movie that takes a little while to really get going and to find it's feet. For the first fifty minutes or so, the film is somewhat slow in building itself up towards its pretty entertaining second half. The first half of the movie is spent getting all of those pleasantries out of the way with the introductions of all of the central characters. The movie also touches on the moral complexity of whether creating artificial human life is right or wrong.

When it comes to the character building in Morgan, I found this to be one of the film's most significant problems. While the movie does its damndest in introducing us to all of the characters. Some characters get more screentime than others which leaves the others underdeveloped. I found myself not caring for many of the characters fates. I think where I should've wanted to see several of these people make it out alive, I just didn't care. This may come down to the poorly constructed character development.

Once we get into the second half of Morgan, this is where the movie really picks up speed. From the moment Morgan gets out of her cell, goes postal on the compound and rains terror down on the scientists, the movie had me from this point on. I was glued to the screen and loving every single moment that Morgan and Lee went head to head. The fight scenes were fantastic in the film. These two take hard hits, and it looked brutal.

Now we come to what can only be described as the twist or reveal. I didn't see this one coming if I'm being honest. So when it's revealed to the audience, I was actually pleasantly surprised and shocked. It worked for me. I had a lightbulb moment when I realised what had happened and how it all tied into previous moments in the movie. While the twist isn't some shocking or groundbreaking twist, I still thought it was a fun little moment to close the movie.

Morgan is rounded out by an incredibly talented cast. Kate Mara is excellent in her leading role. She has a few 'Sarah Connor' type kickass moments in this film that had me cheering her on. Anya Taylor-Joy is also great in the movie as Morgan. Her scenes where she is being interrogated had me feeling for her character. It takes a talented actress to really make you side and feel for a villain. Rose Leslie and Boyd Holbrook are the only other actors to really get a chance to shine.

I think someone as talented as Jennifer Jason Leigh, Toby Jones, Brian Cox and even Michelle Yeoh are underused in the film. I would've loved to see Jennifer Jason Leigh get more screentime. Paul Giamatti who comes and goes in an extended cameo gets to have the most fun and goes out in a rather gruesome fashion. I'm shocked that such a talented cast came in for such short screen times in this film.

Lastly, when it comes to suspense and gore, Morgan is never really scary. The movie has a sense of foreboding dread throughout and gets rather intense in the third act but it never really goes for jump scares. As for the violence, this movie does have a few brutal moments, but the gore is never extreme or over the top. Morgan is a case of the directing being restrained when it comes to delivering the red stuff.







DEATH TOLL:
 10

BLOOD AND GORE:

- Camera footage of someone being repeatedly stabbed in the eye.
- A deer's neck is snapped.
- Someone tears out a person's throat out with their teeth.
- People are gunned down.
- Someone is shot in the chest and head.
- Several bloody fight scenes.
- Someone hangs themselves by a belt.
- Someone is suffocated.
- A person has their head bashed in with a gun handle.
- Someone is impaled on a stick.
- Someone gets drowned in a lake.
- Someone is given a lethal injection.








Morgan is a movie that doesn't break any new ground when it comes to the genetic manipulation sub-genre of horror science-fiction. We've seen this before in movies like Splice, and it was done better. The film is slow in it's build up, but once it gets going, the movie was a thrill ride with a neat little twist. We also have some solid acting talent in the film, and the movie looks slick. Not a terrible way to spend an hour and a half.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Yoga Hosers (2016)








DIRECTOR:
 Kevin Smith

WRITER:
 Kevin Smith


CAST:

Lily-Rose Depp
Harley Quinn Smith
Johnny Depp
Adam Brody
Austin Butler
Tyler Posey
Natasha Lyonne
Justin Long
Jennifer Schwalbach Smith
Tony Hale
Genesis Rodriguez
Vanessa Paradis
Haley Joel Osment
Kevin Smith
Stan Lee
Ralph Garman
Jason Mewes

PLOT:

Two teenage girls who are known as 'The Colleens' are invited to a huge party by the school's hottest and most popular bloke. With plans on attending the party, they are made to work at the very last minute by their manager. Little do 'The Colleens' realise that this is the least of their worries when they are overrun and attacked by miniature Bratwurst Nazi's. The Colleens must now team up with a legendary hunter to stop this latest threat.








I've always been a big fan of Kevin Smith. I can still remember first watching Clerks when I was roughly fourteen years old and not fully understanding everything in the movie but finding it absolutely hysterical. It became one of my favourite films out of his entire filmography. I also ended up falling in love with his other films Mallrats and Dogma. Chasing Amy is still his masterpiece. I even enjoyed the whole transition out of the Jay And Silent Bob universe and into darker territory with the underrated Red State. Things were looking up.

Sadly he's seen his fair share of terrible movies as well. Cop Out is still probably his worst film to date. The first movie in his Truth North trilogy Tusk was also a miss for me. Yoga Hosers is the second film in the trilogy, and I didn't think it was possible for it to get any worse than Tusk, but Yoga Hosers has succeeded at that task. It may be one of the 'Wurst' movies of 2016 which they even used on some of the promotional material for the film.

Going into a movie where the film's villains are angry little Nazi's made out of German bratwurst, you know you won't be witnessing a 'Citizen Kane' type masterpiece. I still remember seeing the trailer for the film and just being so put off by everything I had seen in the trailer. I even had a slight hope going into the movie that I may actually end up enjoying the absurdity of the premise. After watching it, though. It turns out that I hated nearly everything about the film.

We'll start with the acting in the film, it's terrible. I get that the entire cast is putting on terrible Canadian accents for the sake of comedy, but the movie really isn't all that amusing. I found that I laughed twice in the whole hour and a half. Both Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Depp are talented actresses, just the material is way below their talents. Adam Brody, Justin Long, Austin Butler and Tyler Posey are also wasted here in Yoga Hosers. It feels like they are all slumming it.

Even Johnny Depp who is one of the most talented and diverse actors working in film today looks bored in the role. Other than looking kooky, there isn't much more to do than that. Haley Joel Osment stops by for a cameo and looks worse for wear. A far cry from his days as the kid from The Sixth Sense and Pay It Forward. It's both Vanessa Paradis and Natasha Lyonne that deliver what can only be described as the most fun and enjoyable roles in the film.

Yoga Hosers contains some of the worst visual effects that I think I've ever seen in a movie. I get that the film is about a bunch of Bratwurst Nazi's so the movie is sort of entitled to have this look of being poorly made as it adds to the overtly silly quality of the film and to all the proceedings, but this is just so bad it's almost unforgivable. All the exploding nazi visuals reminded me of early Nintendo 64 graphics. I've seen films that were made for less than a million that had better visual effects than Yoga Hosers.

When it comes to the horror in Yoga Hosers, it's all very lighthearted. The darker stuff is pushed to the side in favour of Kevin Smith giving us his usual brand of comedy, we have less dick and fart jokes here. The height of comedy in Yoga Hosers comes from the little bratwurst nazi's inserting themselves into people's arses. I found that a few of the scenes in the movie felt quite similar to Jennifer's Body which is a much better film than this one.

The problems in Yoga Hosers doesn't stop there. The movie has a lot of other issues. We have a few scenes of the girls singing, which aren't great. There are also terrible cutaways to explain all the characters in the film that are apparently made by a man in his forties who thinks he's down with teenage girls and their internet habits. Yoga Hosers sadly also suffers from having any real semblance of a plot. The movie is just all over the place. A big misfire for Kevin Smith.







DEATH TOLL:
 4

BLOOD AND GORE:

- Bratwurst Nazi's inserting themselves into people's asses.
- Someone's neck is broken.
- Bratwurst Nazi's being stomped on and exploding.
- A Bratwurst Nazi is pulled in half.
- The villain is made of flesh and bones.
- Someone is killed with a huge hockey stick.








Yoga Hosers is a terrible film. From the awful performances to the lousy visual effects, this is simply one of the worst movies of 2016. Kevin Smith started off promising with his turn into darker territory with the excellent Red State, but his True North trilogy so far has been two for two on the 'awful movies' front. If you want a well-made movie about teenage girls and friendship, watch Terry Zwigoff's Ghost World instead.

Monday, September 19, 2016

I.T. (2016)








DIRECTOR:
 
John Moore

WRITERS:

Dan Kay
William Wisher Jr.

CAST:

Pierce Brosnan
Anna Friel
Stefanie Scott
James Frecheville
Michael Nyqvist
Austin Swift
Jay Benedict
Adam Fergus
David McSavage
Jason Barry

PLOT:

Mike Regan is a self-proclaimed millionaire who has everything he could ever want in life. He is also on the verge of releasing his very own app that allows other incredibly wealthy people to book and track their private jets just like they would, an Uber. One day when he has issues with the internet at his top-of-the-line home. He asks his new computer software intern to help him out. When his interns start to become obsessed with his teenage daughter, things start spiralling out of control, and his life is thrown into chaos and turned upside down.







It hasn't been the greatest year for Pierce Brosnan when it comes to critics and his choices in films. It appears that he's had a pretty bad run with movies this year. It's now two for two when it comes to poorly reviewed films in 2016. First, they gave his drug thriller Urge a 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, and now his cyber stalker thriller I.T. has an incredibly rotten 12% on that website. I found that I actually preferred Urge over his new film I.T.

Going into I.T., I noticed that it was directed by John Moore. John Moore is a director who has had a pretty terrible run with me. I've seen every one of his movies and not enjoyed a single one of them. Behind Enemy Lines, Flight Of The Phoenix, The Omen (2006), Max Payne, and A Good Day To Die Hard have all been somewhat terrible. I.T. sadly won't break that losing streak as he's delivered another dud of a film. The entire mess falls back on the writers of the flick.

When it comes to the obsession thriller, this movie is nothing new in the realm of the sub-genre. It's been done many times in the past and in many different ways. What I.T. tries to do is add it's own little twist for today's generation of tech-savvy people by adding a techno-thriller vibe to it. This is as many parts an obsession thriller as it is a cyber crime film. The best way I can describe I.T. would be to say this is a cross between Hackers and Fear.

The most prominent issue that this movie faces is that because this is a story that has been done many times in the past, it's all very predictable with where this movie will eventually lead and how it will all turn out. Being that this is a Hollywood production, this movie doesn't take any risks or add any shocks to the story. Had they dropped an extraordinarily dark and disturbing ending, I may have given this film a higher rating. Due to it ending exactly how I guessed it would, it wasn't a surprise to me.

The entire set up and eventual descent into obsession also felt incredibly silly. It's all a complete overreaction. Here we have a guy that ultimately tries to destroy an entire families life because he is turned away from dinner twice. This sets into motion a guy trying to ruin a millionaire's business, sending out a sex-tape of the teenage daughter and making a mother think she has breast cancer. The last one being the cruellest of the lot. This was the only time in the film that I felt like the movie had any balls to go to that dark place.

Visually, I found I.T. to be slick looking. This is John Moore who is known for handling bigger budget action films. So here he is doing a movie that is more confined, and he manages to pull it off with ease. The techno-thriller aspect is probably where we get the most visuals from the film. The movie gives us some incredibly wild looking shots whenever we enter the lair of our crazy villain, and when we are coming into the life of Pierce Brosnan's character, we get a very clinical and minimalist feel.

The acting is another aspect that ultimately took me out of the movie. Pierce Brosnan deserves a Razzie Nomination for his role. He is just woeful. He chews the scenery as well as overacts in every scene he is in. James Frecheville as our villain tries to match Pierce Brosnan on the over the top scale and almost succeeds at times. The standout for me if I was to praise any of the performances is Anna Friel who plays Pierce's wife with heart. Her breast cancer scare scene is one of the most heartfelt moments in an otherwise bleak film.

Lastly, I.T. lacks any real thrills or suspense in the movie. I mentioned above that this story is all very predictable and doesn't try to add anything different when it comes to the shocks or tension. Some may find the ending a bit on the edge of your seat, but if you've ever seen any of the dozens and dozens of obsession thrillers, you'll be slightly bored as this movie lacks on all fronts when it comes to being a thriller. They don't try for any really shocking character deaths to surprise the audience.







DEATH TOLL:
 0

BLOOD AND GORE:

- Blood is seen running down a phone.
- Face bashed against a sink.
- A bloody fight.
- A man's head smashed against tiles.







I.T. is a movie that doesn't add anything really new to the obsession thriller. The film while catering to today's younger social generation who are all about technology will probably enjoy the story but for anyone hoping to see a thrilling movie about a crazed hacker stalking a family will be left sorely disappointed. The movie is predictable, the acting is horrendous, and it lacks suspense. Go and watch Fear with Mark Wahlberg as you will likely enjoy that movie much more.


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Range 15 (2016)








DIRECTOR:
 Ross Patterson

WRITERS:


Billy Jay
Nick Palmisciano
Ross Patterson

CAST:

Danny Trejo
Sean Astin
William Shatner
Keith David
Mat Best
Mindy Robinson
Ron Jeremy
Ross Patterson
Martin Klebba

PLOT:

When a group of army veterans wakes up after a big night of fun and partying. They soon discover that a zombie apocalypse has spread right across the United States Of America. It's now up to this group of veterans to try and find any survivors while also trying to survive themselves in this new and very undead America. They'll even need to try and work on finding a cure to stop the zombie outbreak for good.








I've always enjoyed a good horror comedy. I also have a soft spot for horror comedies that skewer and parody the classics. I am even guilty of enjoying the first three Scary Movies. Yes, I'll go on record and admit that I even enjoyed Scary Movie 2. I think it's held up as the funniest of the series in comparison to the first and third films. When I saw Range 15, I thought I would give it a shot. While I wasn't expecting Zombieland when it came to the pinnacle of zombie comedy horror, I hoped for passable.

Range 15 is the type of film that I imagine the guys behind Super Troopers and Club Dread would have made if they were given a chance to direct a zombie comedy. The movie is an hour and a half of over the top jokes about drinking, sex, and drugs. This is pretty much the formula for parody films and is kinda ripe in the Scary Movie series which I enjoyed. I sadly found that Range 15 wasn't as smart with the comedy as the writers thought it might have been.

The movie throws everything you could ever possibly think of at the audience. It's as if a group of frat boys got together to make a zombie movie and chucked every idea on the table as to what they thought was hilarious, and it ends up making it into this film. No person or group is safe from the makers of this movie when it comes to the end of days and their mockery. They will be ridiculed or made fun of, the filmmakers don't hold back here.

The jokes in the movie range from Kesha being a man. A woman with no arms being screwed behind a dumpster. A woman taking it in the arse as she doesn't want to be impregnated. Two toddlers have their heads blown off. A guy has a blow-up doll glued to his penis throughout the entire film. Whisky is inserted into a someone's rectum to cure them of the zombie virus. A guy also has his penis ripped off by a midget zombie and many more stupid jokes. While I did giggle a few times during the movie, I still found this all rather silly.

The biggest win for Range 15 is the cameos in the film. William Shatner opens up the movie and has a pretty bloody death scene that will make his Star Trek fanboys pretty happy. We have Sean Astin showing up for a few minutes as a helicopter pilot. Keith David in a supporting role is as good as ever and lastly Danny Trejo as a zombie is doing his best Bill Murray from Zombieland cameo. I think the names of these guys will be the biggest drawcard.

When it comes to all the blood and gore in this film. This is another case where the filmmakers have chosen to go with the overuse of dreaded CGI blood and gore. The entire movie looks fake and childish. I would've much preferred the use of practical effects as it would have looked a lot better on the zombies. Even the zombies in the movie are pretty poorly done. They don't even use contacts for their eyes. It's just crowds of people covered in white paint and blood. They didn't even try to have our zombies walk or move like zombies, it all seemed somewhat lazy.

The film being a comedy horror, it was free of all scares and suspense. I didn't expect much going into the movie regarding tension, but a few jump scares would've made a lasting impression. Instead, the film never tries for any of that sort of stuff. They have the comedy turned up to eleven and the zombie horror on mute. This is all done for laughs. Horror fans thinking they may have Zombieland on their hands again, think again. You'll be sorely disappointed.

Lastly, the acting wasn't great. The leading actor Mat Best is charismatic, and a good looking guy and has a few funny scenes in the movie, but it's not enough to save it. Keith David is the standout in his role as a sergeant. The rest of the cast that is filled out by the women and soldiers were terrible. I couldn't even pick between them as they all eventually just blended into one big mess.







DEATH TOLL:
 40 (Estimated)

BLOOD AND GORE:

- Heads bashed in with an assortment of tools.
- Guts are torn out.
- People are gunned down and shot in the head.
- Someone has their penis ripped off.
- Lots of zombies are shot to pieces.
- Zombies are set on fire.
- Two toddlers have their heads blown off.
- Two people are blown up.
- A hot curling iron is shoved down someone's throat.
- Someone is shot in the head.







Range 15 is a movie I'd recommend for those looking for an immature comedy. If you're a fan of the guys who made Super Troopers and Club Dread, you'll enjoy this movie. Horror fans will be left sorely disappointed as one outweighs the other. The film while having a few laughs is a forgettable experience. The acting is hit and miss, the gore effects are lazy, and the jokes don't land often. I'd say watch with a group of mates while you're all drunk and you may end up having a better time than I did.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Windmill Massacre (2016)








DIRECTOR:
 Nick Jongerius

WRITERS:


Nick Jongerius
Chris W. Mitchell
Suzy Quid

CAST:

Noah Taylor
Charlotte Beaumont
Patrick Baladi
Ben Batt
Adam Thomas Wright
Fiona Hampton
Tanroh Ishida
Bart Klever
Kenan Raven

PLOT:

Jennifer is an Australian woman who has come to Amsterdam to escape her past. She is working as a full-time nanny for a wealthy family. When the patriarch of the family learns that she has been using a fake name when he discovers her real passport. She makes a break for it and runs to evade the authorities. She decides to join a tour bus that is heading out of the city to see the real Holland and their windmills. Little does she realise that the authorities would be the last of her problems.







Being someone that has travelled to Amsterdam twice in two years. I have a love for that city that can't be easily explained. If I were to try, I think Amsterdam is a great city to visit just based on the fact that it feels so freeing. Even with all the seediness of legalised prostitution and readily available weed, it's still a city that is just beautiful to walk around and experience. The people are lovely, friendly, and non-judgemental and the entire city is gorgeous and very old-school. So to set a slasher in Holland had me very excited to watch it.

I'm going to start with the positive aspects of The Windmill Massacre. Nick Jongerius has crafted a gorgeous looking slasher film. Being that the movie is set in Holland, it has a beauty to it. The opening scenes that take place in Amsterdam are quick. It's enough to show you the lively and touristy side of the city. Once we head out of the city, we have some beautiful cinematography that shows the countryside of Holland. These scenes are genuinely marvellous to witness. I can't fault it on a technical level.

The Windmill Massacre also delivers when it comes to the gore and violence. Fans looking for some substantial looking gore effects and a decent amount of bloodshed won't be disappointed by what's put on screen in this film. There are a few ingenious ways that victims are dispatched of within the film that should keep most gorehounds extremely happy. There is also one death scene in the movie that I didn't see coming or expect that had my jaw on the floor.

This film isn't just your typical stalk and slash, slasher movie. I must commend Nick Jongerius and his fellow writers for trying to add something a little bit different to the story. While not everything about the plot is entirely original and you would've seen a few of the plot devices used in better movies, I liked the fact that this movie tried to add a few supernatural twists to the overall story. The whole 'sinner' element was a fun little addition that I thought gave the story more depth than just people being killed by a masked killer.

When it comes to the villain known as The Miller. I doubt he will be joining the ranks of Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers. The Miller almost reminded me of the killer from the Australian slasher movie CUT! starring Molly Ringwald and Kylie Minogue. They both looked very similar in design, and both films have a supernatural element to the way they these killers are able to murder their victims. The only real difference is the weapon of choice.

When it comes to the acting in the movie, I think it was actually hit and miss for me. Noah Taylor will be the most recognisable of the cast members. His role in the movie while small was still the standout for me. I also enjoyed Fiona Hampton's role in the film as a French photographer. The most significant disappointment when it comes to acting comes in the form of the main star Charlotte Beaumont. She's not the greatest lead actress, and I found her performance boarding on being almost cheesy.

Another big issue in The Windmill Massacre comes down to the characters decisions. This also falls back on the script. Having the characters, who are all being stalked and butchered by a scythe-wielding killer, in which the victims keep leaving the setting of refuge which was an old dilapidated church, was one of the most frustrating things in the film. When you repeatedly set up your characters to be killed off by having them go off on their own or not listening to stern advice about not leaving a place of safety, it just became repetitive and silly.

Lastly, we come to the suspense of the film. While The Windmill Massacre is solid on the gore front, I felt that it lacked a little when it came to scares or suspense. Never once was I creeped out or on the edge of my seat. I think this movie comes across as more unintentionally funny than sinister or scary. Still, if you're easily scared of horror films, this may have a few moments that will spook or shock you.







DEATH TOLL:
 8

BLOOD AND GORE:


- Legs sliced off with a scythe.
- Someone's skull is repeatedly stomped on until eyes pop out.
- A few shots of surgery.
- Someone is disembowelled by a scythe.
- Two people are burnt alive in a Caravan fire.
- Someone drowns in a puddle.
- Face sliced with switchblade and fingers inserted into the wound.
- Someone is decapitated by using a rope.
- Someone is stabbed in the stomach.
- Someone's head is bashed in with a bone.
- Someone is set on fire and combusts.
- Someone's neck is sliced open.
- A hook on a chain is smashed through someone's face.







The Windmill Massacre is a slasher that is not quite there for me. I still recommend giving it a watch, though. The movie has some solid bloodshed and death scenes, it's visually impressive and has a couple of supernatural twists thrown into the formula of the stalk and slash film. The downside to the movie, however, is a few silly character decisions, some cheesy performances and a real lack of suspense. Still, you could find worst ways to spend an hour and a half.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Green Room (2016)








DIRECTOR:
 Jeremy Saulnier

WRITER:
 Jeremy Saulnier

CAST:

Anton Yelchin
Imogen Poots
Alia Shawkat
Patrick Stewert
Joe Cole
Callum Turner
Mark Webber
Macon Blair
David W. Thompson
Taylor Tunes
Eric Edelstein

PLOT:

An indie punk band called The Ain't Rights are currently living out of their van and are just scraping by while performing small gigs across the Pacific Northwest. When given a chance to make a little extra cash by playing at a small punk club in the backwoods of Portland, they take the opportunity. The band will soon realise that they may be in way over their heads. While backstage, the group witnesses a murder and is targeted by the owner and his gang of skinheads to eliminate them as witnesses.







When Green Room first hit the film festival circuit, word of mouth was positive. I can remember reading reviews that claimed Patrick Stewart delivers his most evil role to date. The movie was said to be ultra-violent, extreme, and incredibly intense. All this positive word of mouth moved Green Room up from being a relatively unknown indie title at that time to be one of my most anticipated horror movies of that year. The film did not disappoint at all.

After seeing Green Room while I was living in London. I went to a packed out session and got to witness the brutal carnage with a very enthusiastic audience. There really is nothing more exhilarating than sitting in a dark theatre while people on screen who are fighting for survival and are being sliced to pieces with machetes and box cutters. The movie was one of my favourite cinema-going experiences that I had the utmost pleasure of witnessing in 2016.

When it comes to plot and story, I doubt Green Room will win any major awards for originality. Green Room is simplistic regarding the story. No one will walk out of this film and claim that the story breaks new ground. The story is pretty straightforward. A punk-rock band who ends up being in the wrong place at the wrong time and ends up fighting for survival. What Green Room does do right regarding the story is that the story is never once boring.

Green Room is kinda swift when getting to the horror. The movie only takes about fifteen minutes of us getting to know these characters in the band. It's enough time for character development and us to care for these characters. Once we get past the fifteen-minute mark, this is where shit hits the fan, and all hell breaks loose. It's from this point on, Green Room is an on the edge of your seat thrill ride. I found myself at times cheering for these characters and wanting to see these people make it out of this horrible situation.

This is one of the most relentless and brutal movies that I've seen in 2016. While the movie is never over the top when it comes to violence and gore, it's one of the most realistic depictions I think I've seen when it comes to gore. There are a few scenes in Green Room that had the audience looking away in shock and disgust. Even I winced at a few of the gorier moments. The movie contains a few nasty scenes that involve a box cutter that rival the tongue splitting scene from the Evil Dead remake. Want some realistic gore? You won't be disappointed.

The acting is some of the best that I've seen in a horror movie all year. The standout here is Imogen Poots. She has probably the most badass role in the film and doesn't hold back when she needs to slice someone's throat. I was cheering every time she went on the attack. Patrick Stewart as the film's villain is also fantastic. Green Room sees him at his most menacing. Anton Yelchin is also excellent. A talented actor who was taken way too soon. This will be one of the roles that people remember him in.

The supporting cast is also fantastic. I loved Alia Shawkat. Every time she ran around the club with the fire extinguisher and sprayed the bad guys was hilarious. Her scenes towards the end are some of the most heartbreaking in the entire film. Both Joe Cole and Callum Turner round out the band members and deliver great performances. We should also mention Macon Blair who has a changeup towards the end of the film that I thought was rather beautiful.

Lastly, Jeremy Saulnier has crafted a gorgeous and brutal low-budget horror movie. What can I say, the man knows how to capture both carnage and violence well. We also have some really impressive overhead shots of the backwoods of Portland that make for some stunning cinematography. While the film is mainly set in one club, I was never bored. Jeremy Saulnier uses every location to perfection. I can't wait to see what he delivers next.







DEATH TOLL:
 11

BLOOD AND GORE:

- A woman is stabbed in the head.
- A skinhead is stabbed in the stomach.
- Someone's arm is sliced to pieces with a box cutter.
- A man's arm is snapped backwards.
- Someone has their stomach cut open with a box cutter.
- Throat ripped out by a dog.
- Someone is repeatedly stabbed to death.
- Someone has the side of their face blown off with a shotgun.
- A neck hacked into with a machete.
- A dog bites a woman's ankle.
- People are shot in the head, legs, neck, and stomach.
- Someone has their throat cut open with a box cutter.
- A woman is mauled to death by a dog.
- A dog is shot with a shotgun.







Green Room is one of my favourite experiences that I had in a cinema in 2016. The movie still holds up on repeated viewings. The movie is intense, while the violence is relentless and brutal, the acting is fantastic, and the film looks great for a film with a budget of five million dollars. The most significant issue that I found with Green Room was all story related. Green Room won't break new ground, but it's never once dull. A truly harrowing tale of survival.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Neon Demon (2016)








DIRECTOR:
 Nicolas Winding Refn

WRITERS:


Nicolas Winding Refn
Mary Laws
Polly Stenham

CAST:

Elle Fanning
Jena Malone
Bella Heathcote
Abbey Lee
Christina Hendricks
Karl Glusman
Desmond Harrington
Keanu Reeves
Alessandro Nivola
Charles Baker
Jamie Clayton

PLOT:

A sixteen-year-old aspiring model named Jesse moves to Los Angeles in the hopes of becoming a famous model. When casting agents and designers start taking notice of her potential, she begins getting work. As she starts rising in the ranks against older and more experienced models. She soon comes into contact with three women, one, a makeup artist and two are beauty-obsessed models. All three of the women hatch an insidious plan to devour Jesse for her youth and vitality.







When I first got word that Nicolas Winding Refn was going to direct a horror movie about a young aspiring model who comes to Los Angeles and is literally devoured by the industry, to say I was excited was an understatement. For months and months during the pre-production of the film, I kept tabs on the casting and any little bit of news that was released about The Neon Demon. I loved NWR's movies Drive and Bronson, so I had high hopes going into his latest effort.

After repeated watches of The Neon Demon. The movie has grown on me the more I watch it. I think when I initially saw the film, while I enjoyed it more than I didn't, I was left somewhat disappointed. After many months of hyping the film up, I was left pretty dissatisfied with the overall story. While it follows a narrative of sorts, it's very thin like the beauty-obsessed and vacant models that are found littered throughout its story. While there is some resemblance of a plot, its left to one's own interpretation of the events depicted.

In stating an opinion like the one that I did above, where I have claimed that the plot is waiflike. Someone else may find a much more profound message than the one that I did with The Neon Demon. I think for me that the overall story is a depiction of how the modelling industry, Hollywood, and fame will literally chew you up or eat you alive and spit you out. NWR isn't one for being subtle, and I think he smacks you over the head with the message. It's all pretty clear to me what he's trying to say here.

Where The Neon Demon succeeds is on a visual level. This has to be one of the most stunning looking horror movies I think I've ever had the pleasure of sitting through. From the very first frame right up until the screen fades to black, the movie is a work of art. You could splice every frame from the film and put it an art gallery as every single frame is mesmerising to look at. Throw any insult you desire at this movie but to attack the film on a visual level would be a flat-out lie. You aren't likely to find a more gorgeous looking horror film this year.

Where the film lacks a cohesive plot, I think it makes up for by propelling the movie from scene to scene with this colourful yet morbidly fascinating surrealism. I believe NWR was hugely inspired by Dario Argento when making The Neon Demon. I've heard the comparison before that this film is very similar to Suspiria in tone and it shows all over this movie. The film's use of colour is one to marvel. I believe that Dario Argento would watch this and be proud.

When it comes to the horror element of The Neon Demon, this movie indeed delivers. Instead of giving the audience buckets of gore and violence, the movie slowly builds on tension and concludes in a bloody showdown between the four models. There are a few moments in the film that will turn people's stomachs. The film touches on taboo subjects such as necrophilia, cannibalism, and paedophilia. I think many viewers will find The Neon Demon to be quite polarising and disturbing.

The acting is also fantastic. I believe Elle Fanning, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote, and Abbey Lee all deliver the bravest performances of their respective careers. Just wait until you witness Jena Malone here. She easily has the most twisted and disturbing scene in the movie and to go to the places that she does, she deserves an award for her role in the film. Keanu Reeves is also at his most perverted. His scenes made me uncomfortable. We also have Desmond Harrington and Christina Hendricks delivering in smaller roles.

Lastly, the soundtrack and score are brilliant for the film. The score from Cliff Martinez matches the visuals perfectly. The soundtrack has this pulsating electronica that feels like it injects the movie with this energy which also goes hand in hand with the new-wave synths that conjure up images of the eighties and the neon aesthetic. The only soundtrack that I've purchased in 2016. One of the best scores that I've heard since Mad Max: Fury Road.







DEATH TOLL:
 2

BLOOD AND GORE:


- A woman is shown laying on a couch covered in blood.
- A woman cuts her hand, and another woman tries to drink her blood.
- Someone pours antiseptic into a wound.
- An injury is stitched up.
- A knife is put into a woman's throat.
- A woman defiles a corpse.
- Someone is pushed into an empty pool and cracks their head open.
- Someone is seen bathing in blood.
- A woman is consumed by three other women.
- Someone vomits up an eyeball.
- A woman disembowels herself with scissors.
- Someone consumed a vomited up eyeball.








The Neon Demon is a movie that I'm completely torn on. While I think the film lacks when it comes to telling a basic story, it makes up for in nearly everything else. The acting is fantastic as is the soundtrack, visuals and gore in the movie. It's one of the most beautiful pieces of horror filmmaking I think I've ever witnessed. The movie will be one that divides audiences as it's done with myself but in time, I think I may grow to appreciate the film even more.