Thursday, September 29, 2016
DIRECTOR: D.J. Viola
Rob Warren Thomas
Kirby Bliss Blanton
Anna is a college student who is looking for some part-time work to earn some extra cash. One night while out at a bar, the bartender gives Anna a sheet of paper that has a large sum of cash for taking part in a clinical drug trial. Not wanting to pass up the money 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 has left me torn. I'm not wholeheartedly sure that I enjoyed the film but its a movie that I can't hate on for trying to throw in something original when it comes to the slasher. 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 nice 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 first moments.
Once our college students get to the facility and the film starts picking up pace, I was onboard with it all. 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 movie adds it's own little twist on the whole slasher formula. I am also well aware that this is the very premise of the Final Destination series but that had a more supernatural twist where this film takes the straight-up killer approach.
Things being going haywire in the medical facility when students and staff start turning up dead. This is where the movie begins 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 neat 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 slick looking and all very clinical in its approach once inside the facility. There are a few gorgeous moments outside the facility where D.J. Viola gets to use a couple of great shots with the snowy setting. Minus a terrible use of CGI when it comes to an explosion, I can't really fault the film on a technical level. It's one of the more polished horror/thriller 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 plays the bitchy blonde girl quite well, 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 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.
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 is worth a watch. The premise while appearing like a normal slasher film has a few neat tricks up its sleeve. The acting is above average and the film is very polished. The film also contains a few clever kills. It's just a shame that the ending really does sort of throw away everything it lays out before it. Still, the movie is worth the once off rental.
Monday, September 26, 2016
DIRECTOR: Mark Pavia
WRITER: Mark Pavia
Kelsey Leos Montoya
Lora Martinez- Cunningham
Hilary is a seventeen-year-old girl who is going through a breakup with her cheating boyfriend. While out driving her mother's new 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 originally caught my eye when I noticed the rather impressive and retro looking poster for the film. When it comes to horror cinema this year, I haven't seen too many slashers. So I lapped up the chance to watch the film and see if it was any good. While Fender Bender has a few solid 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 quite well done. 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 not much else.
Once we get into the third act, Fender Bender doesn't skimp on the blood and gore. The movie gets rather nasty. While the kill scenes aren't all that extreme when compared to other slashers, the movie 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 questionable. While this character is no Coach from Mysterious Skin, he still delivers a pretty evil role with his car crashing killer. His costume is a cross between the Rubber Man from AHS Murder House and The Miner from My Blood Valentine.
The rest of the cast are also pretty solid in their roles. The movie revolves around Makenzie Vega as Hilary, the killer's latest stalking victim. She is pretty good in her role on an acting front. At times, I thought she looked like a young Sarah Michelle Gellar. Dre Davis who I'm aware of from Pretty Little Liars is also enjoyable in her role and lastly, Kelsey Leos Montoya who plays her gay best friend looks like he's having the most fun in his role.
When it comes to delivering on the thrills, I think Fender Bender does an alright job. The movie 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 found the overall sense of dread to be well done. The movie really ramps up the suspense in the third act when our killer starts to attack the group. Overall, it's got enough suspense to make horror fans happy.
Lastly, It needs to be said that the main female character in Fender Bender while originally seeming intelligent by getting the killers information after the crash. 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.
Fender Bender was pretty hit and miss for me. I appreciated the setup and premise, I thought that the killer's look was great and enjoyed the acting 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 gruesome kills which should keep most horror fans happy.
Friday, September 23, 2016
DIRECTOR: Luke Scott
WRITER: Seth W. Owen
Jennifer Jason Leigh
Lee Weathers is a corporate risk-management consultant who is sent 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. The humanoid named Morgan has begun showing signs of increased aggression 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 due to the fact that when I first saw the promotional material for the film, I was incredibly hyped for it and the hype was sadly squashed by the rather lackluster critic reviews. I was expecting something great and the critics sadly didn't agree. So when I popped Morgan on, I was a little worried that I may leave the film unimpressed. Luckily for me, this was a movie that me and the critics didn't agree on.
Morgan is a movie that takes a little while to really get going. For the first fifty minutes or so, the film is rather slow in building itself up towards its pretty entertaining second half. The first half of the film is where we get all the pleasantries out of the way with the introductions of all our characters. The movie also touches on the moral dilemmas 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 biggest problems. While the film does its best in introducing us to each character, some characters get more screentime than others which leaves others underdeveloped. I found myself not caring for many of the characters fates. I think where I should've wanted to see 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 film 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 moment that Morgan and Lee went head to head. The fight scenes were solid in the film. These two take hits and it looked brutal.
Now we come to what can only be described as the twist. I didn't actually see the twist coming. So when it's revealed to the audience, I was pleasantly surprised by it. It worked for me for the most part. I had a lightbulb moment when I realised what had happened and how it all tied into previous moments in the film. While the twist isn't some shocking or groundbreaking twist, I still thought it was a fun little moment to close the film.
Morgan is rounded out by an extremely talented cast. Kate Mara is great 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 film 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 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 film 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 film that doesn't break any new ground when it comes to this type of story. We've seen it all before in Splice and it was done a lot better. The movie 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 bad way to spend an hour and a half.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
DIRECTOR: Kevin Smith
WRITER: Kevin Smith
Harley Quinn Smith
Jennifer Schwalbach Smith
Haley Joel Osment
Two teenage girls who are known as 'The Colleens' are invited to a party by the school's hottest and most popular guy. With plans on attending the party, they are made to work at the very last minute by their manager. Little do the girls realise that this is the last of their problems when they are overrun and attacked by Bratwurst Nazi's. They must team up with a legendary hunter to stop this latest threat.
I've always been a big fan of Kevin Smith. I remember first watching Clerks when I was about thirteen 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, though. I even really enjoyed his transition from the Jay And Silent Bob universe and into darker territory with his brilliant Red State.
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 Canadian 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 very well 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 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 still had a slight hope going into the movie that I may end up enjoying the absurdity of the premise. After watching it, though, I actually 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 film isn't very funny. I found that I laughed twice in the entire hour and a half. Both Harley Quinn Smith and Lily-Rose Depp are talented actresses, just the material is below their talents. Adam Brody, Justin Long, Austin Butler and Tyler Posey are also wasted in Yoga Hosers.
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 than wear. A far cry from his days as the kid from The Sixth Sense. Vanessa Paradis and Natasha Lyonne deliver what can only be described as the most enjoyable roles in the film.
Yoga Hosers contains some of the worst visual effects that I think I've ever seen in a film. I get that the film is about a bunch of Bratwurst Nazi's so the film 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 movies 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 light. The horror aspect is pushed to one side in favor of Kevin Smith giving us his usually brand of comedy, only with less dick and fart jokes. The height of comedy in Yoga Hosers comes from the little bratwurst nazi's inserting themselves in people's arses. I found that a few of the scenes in the film 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 clearly 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 Canadian 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 Ghost World instead.
Monday, September 19, 2016
DIRECTOR: John Moore
William Wisher Jr.
Mike Regan is a rich businessman who is on the verge of creating an app that allows other very wealthy people to book and track their private jets just like Uber. When he has an issue with his internet at home, he asks his new computer software intern to help him out. When his interns start to become obsessed with his daughter, things begin spiraling out of control and his life is turned upside down.
It hasn't been the best 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 films this year. It's now two for two when it comes to badly 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 a rotten 12% on the website. I personally found that I preferred Urge compared to his latest 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 rotten run with me. I've seen every one of his films and not liked 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 rather terrible. I.T. sadly won't break that losing streak as he's delivered another dud of a film.
When it comes to the obsession thriller, it's nothing new in the realm of cinema. 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 to describe I.T. would be to say this is a cross between Hackers and Fear.
The biggest 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 the film will head and how it will 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 extremely 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 very silly. It's all a complete overreaction if you will. 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 a teenage girl and making a mother think she has breast cancer. The last one being the cruelest 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 big budget action films. So here he is doing a movie that is more confined and he handles it with ease. The techno-thriller aspect is probably where we get the most visuals from the film. The movie gives us some nice frantic looking shots whenever we enter the lair of our crazy villain and when we are entering the life of Pierce Brosnan's character, we get a very clinical and minimalist feel.
The acting is another aspect that completely took me out of the film. Pierce Brosnan deserves a Razzie Nomination for this film. He is just terrible here. He chews the scenery and overacts in each scene he is in. James Frecheville as our films villain also 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 cold film.
Lastly, I.T. lacks any real thrills or suspense in the film. I mentioned above that this story is all very predictable and doesn't really 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 rather bored as this movie lacks on all fronts when it comes to being a thriller.
DEATH TOLL: 0
BLOOD AND GORE:
- Blood is seen running down a phone.
- Face bashed against a sink.
- A bloody fight.
- Head smashed against tiles.
I.T. is a movie that doesn't add anything new to the obsession thriller. The movie while catering to today's younger 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 watch Fear with Mark Wahlberg instead.
Saturday, September 17, 2016
DIRECTOR: Ross Patterson
When a group of army veterans wakes up after a big night of partying, they soon discover that a zombie apocalypse has spread 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 while also working on finding a cure to stop the zombie outbreak for good.
I've always enjoyed a good horror comedy flick. I also have a soft spot for horror comedies that skewer and parody the classics. I'm very guilty of enjoying the first three Scary Movies. Yes, I'll admit that I even enjoyed Scary Movie 2, in fact, I think it's held up as the funniest of the series compared to the first and third films. So when I saw Range 15, I thought that I would give it a shot. While I wasn't expecting Zombieland when it came to the whole zombie comedy thing, I was hoping for something passable.
Range 15 is what I imagine the guys behind Super Troopers and Club Dread would make if they were given the chance to direct a zombie comedy. The movie is an hour and a half of over the top jokes about drinking, sex, and drugs. While this is pretty much the formula for parody films and is pretty ripe in the Scary Movie franchise which I enjoyed, I found that Range 15 wasn't as clever with the comedy as the writers thought it might have been.
The movie throws everything you could ever possibly think of at the screen. 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, it ends up making it into this film. No person or group is safe from the makers of this film 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.
The jokes in the movie range from Kesha actually being a man, a woman with no arms being screwed behind a dumpster, a girl taking it in the arse as she doesn't want to be impregnated, two toddlers have their heads shot off, a guy has a blow up doll glued to his penis throughout the entire film, whisky inserted into 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 laugh a few times in the film, I still found this all rather silly.
The biggest win for Range 15 is the cameos in the film. William Shatner opens the film and has a pretty bloody death scene that will make his Star Trek fans pretty happy. We also 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 draw card.
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 film are pretty badly 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 rather lazy.
The film being a comedy horror, it was free of scares or suspense. I didn't expect much going into the film in terms of suspense but a few jump scares would've made a lasting impression. Instead, the film never tries for any of that. They have the comedy turned up to eleven and the horror on mute. This is all done for laughs. Horror fans thinking they may have Zombieland on their hands again, think again.
Lastly, the acting wasn't great. The leading actor Mat Best is charismatic and good looking and has a few funny scenes in the film 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. Horror fans will be left sorely disappointed as one outweighs the other. The movie 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
DIRECTOR: Nick Jongerius
Chris W. Mitchell
Adam Thomas Wright
Jennifer is an Australian woman who has come to Amsterdam to escape her past. Currently, working as a nanny for a rich family, her employer catches her using a fake name when he discovers her real passport. When caught out, she runs to evade authorities. Deciding to join a small 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 traveled 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 based on the fact that it feels so freeing. Not without it seediness of legalized prostitution and easily available weed, it's still a city that is just beautiful to walk around. The people are kind, friendly, and non-judgemental and the city is gorgeous and old-school. So setting 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 film is set in Holland, the film has a beauty to it. The opening scenes in Amsterdam are quick but once we start heading out of the city, we have some beautiful cinematography that shows the countryside of Holland. These scenes are truly marvelous to witness. I can't fault the film on a technical aspect.
The Windmill Massacre also delivers when it comes to the gore and kill scenes. Fans looking for some solid looking gore and a decent amount of bloodshed won't be disappointed by what's put on screen in this film. There are a few really clever ways that victims are dispatched of within the film that should keep most gorehounds very happy. There is also one death scene in the film 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 film. I must commend Nick Jongerius and his fellow writers for trying to add something a little 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 films, 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 a more depth than just people being killed by a vicious 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 film 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.
When it comes to the acting in the film, I think it was pretty hit and miss for me. Noah Taylor will be the most recognizable of the cast members. His role in the film while small, he was still the standout for me. I also enjoyed Fiona Hampton's role in the film as a French photographer. The biggest disappointment when it comes to acting comes in the form of main star Charlotte Beaumont, I found her performance boarding on the almost cheesy.
Another big issue in The Windmill Massacre comes down to the characters decisions. This also falls back on the script. Having our characters who are being stalked and butchered by a killer keep leaving the setting of refuge which is a dilapidated church, was one of the most frustrating things about the film. When you keep setting up your characters to be killed by simply having another one send them off on their own or not listening, it just became repetitive and silly.
Lastly, we come to the suspense within 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 crept out or on the edge of my seat. I think this movie comes across as more unintentionally funny than creepy or scary. Still, if you are easily scared in 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 disemboweled by a scythe (Guts fall out).
- 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 movie that is hit and miss for me. I would still recommend giving it a watch, though. The movie has some solid bloodshed and death scenes, it's visually interesting 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 lack of suspense. Still, you could find words way to spend and hour and a half.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
DIRECTOR: Jeremy Saulnier
WRITER: Jeremy Saulnier
David W. Thompson
An indie punk-rock band by the name of The Ain't Rights are living out of their van and surviving on performing small gigs across the Pacific Northwest. When given the chance to make a little extra cash and perform at a punk club in the backwoods of Portland, they take it. The band will soon realize that they may be in way over their heads. While backstage, the band 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 remember reading reviews that claimed Patrick Stewart delivers his most evil role to date. The film was ultra-violent and extreme as well as being extremely intense. All this positive word of mouth moved Green Room from being a relatively unknown indie horror film right up my list of must see and most anticipated horror films to watch in 2016.
After seeing Green Room while I was living in London. I went to a packed out screening and got to witness the brutal carnage with an audience. There is nothing more exhilarating than sitting in a dark cinema while people on screen are fighting for survival and are being hacked to pieces with machetes and box cutters. The film was one of my favorite movie-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 in terms of 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 is in the wrong place at the wrong time and ends up fighting for their lives. What Green Room does do right in terms of story is that the story is never once boring.
Green Room is pretty swift when getting to the horror. The film 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. 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 films that I've seen in 2016. While the film is never over the top when it comes to blood 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. If you want 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 slit 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 fantastic. A talented actor who was taken way too soon. This will be one of the roles that people will 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 great. Her scenes towards the end are some of the most heartbreaking. Joe Cole and Callum Turner round out the band member and deliver great performances. I must also mention Macon Blair who has a change up towards the end of the film that I thought was rather beautiful.
Lastly, Jeremy Saulnier has crafted a gorgeous and brutal low-budget horror film. What can I say, the man knows how to film carnage and violence well. Some gorgeous overhead shots of the backwoods of Portland 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 backward.
- 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 favorite experiences that I had in a cinema in 2016. The film still holds up on repeated viewings. The movie is intense, while the violence is relentless and gory, the acting is fantastic and the film looks great for a movie with a budget of five million dollars. The biggest issue that I found with Green Room was all story related. Green Room won't break new ground but it's never once boring.
Monday, September 12, 2016
DIRECTOR: Nicolas Winding Refn
Nicolas Winding Refn
A sixteen-year-old aspiring model named Jesse moves to Los Angeles in the hopes of becoming a famous model. When casting agents as well as designers start taking notice of her potential, she begins getting work. She soon comes into contact with three women, one, a makeup artist and two who are beauty-obsessed models. All three 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 film 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 films Drive and Bronson so I had high hopes going into his latest film.
After finally watching The Neon Demon, I can't say that I wasn't left a little disappointed with the final film. I think that after many months of hyping the film up, I was left pretty dissatisfied with the overall story in the film. While the film does follow a narrative of some sorts, it's all pretty thin like the beauty-obsessed models that are found within the film. There is some resemblance of a plot but it's one that will be 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 it waiflike. Someone else may find a much deeper message than the one I did in The Neon Demon. I think for me that the overall story is a depiction of how the modeling industry, Hollywood, and fame will literally chew you up or eat you alive and spit you out. The metaphors may have gone over my head but this is what I took from the story.
Where The Neon Demon succeeds is on a visual level. This is one of the most gorgeous looking horror films 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 mesmerizing to look at. Throw any insult you desire at this film 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 think 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 film. The film's use of colour is one to marvel. Dario Argento would watch this and be proud.
When it comes to the horror element of The Neon Demon, this movie delivers. Instead of giving the audience buckets of gore and violence, the movie slowly builds on tension and concludes in a bloody showdown. There a few moments within the film that will turn people's stomachs. The film touches on taboo subjects such as necrophilia, cannibalism, and pedophilia. I think many viewers will find The Neon Demon to be polarizing.
The acting is also fantastic. I think Elle Fanning, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote and Abbey Lee all deliver the bravest performances of their careers. Jena Malone has probably the most twisted and disturbing scene in the film but to go to the places she does, she deserves an award for her role in the film. Keanu Reeves is also at his most perverted. We also have Desmond Harrington and Christina Hendricks delivering in smaller roles.
Lastly, The soundtrack is also brilliant for the film. The score from Cliff Martinez matches the visuals perfectly. The soundtrack has this pulsating electronica that injects the movie with this energy which also goes hand in hand with the new-wave synths that conjure up images of the eighties. The only soundtrack that I've purchased in 2016. One of the best 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.
- A wound being 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 movie 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 and visuals. 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 it this film even more.