Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Cold Moon (2017)

DIRECTOR: Griff Furst


Griff Furst
Jack Snyder


Josh Stewart
Candy Clark
Frank Whaley
Christopher Lloyd
Robbie Kay
Rachele Brooke Smith
Sara Catherine Bellamy
Michael Papajohn
Carol Sutton
Tommy Wiseau


In the small Southern town of Babylon, Florida. A young lady named Margaret Larkin sets off on her bike into town and is killed by a masked killer on her return. Her body is drowned in the creek close to her house. When her corpse is discovered by a local fisherman, the police begin hunting for the killer. The dead never stays buried though and her killer begins being haunted by her vengeful spirit. The spirit plans on getting revenge for her brutal death.

Going into Cold Moon, I wasn't sure what to expect from this movie. I didn't witness the trailer before seeing the movie and was only going in knowing about the poster for the movie with the woman lying in water and the bike at the bottom of a creek. I imagined a murder mystery of some sort. Not knowing anything about this movie is probably what made this all the more enjoyable for me. Going in knowing nothing is probably your best bet with Cold Moon. Sure to surprise some horror fans.

When the movie opened and I saw the studio logo for Uncorked Entertainment pop up, I sighed. I expected an extremely low budget horror movie with no-name actors and terrible effects. I haven't had a great run with movies released by that company. So I was already expecting the worse and judging a movie before it has even started based on the people releasing it. It's the same with Midnight Releasing. I expect the worst from them. Probably not a great thing to do as a horror fan.

Based on the novel by the Michael McDowell who wrote Beetlejuice, Tales From The Darkside: The Movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Thinner. I started to let my guard down. A man who has written these four films wouldn't let me down if he was writing a dark southern horror film about a vengeful ghost who is haunting the person who killed it. I started to trust in this movie a bit more and wasn't so worried about who financed or released it. I hoped for something at least good.

Cold Moon is an interesting one. The movie has a lot of problems. I won't ever deny it. I hate to say this because there have been many a low budget horror movie that have done amazing things on a small budget. However, I think with a larger budget for Cold Moon, it may have helped the vision be realised a little bit
 more here. I think with this being written by the man who wrote Beetlejuice, there is a grander vision that sadly isn't fully realised. There are so many ghostly happenings here that the budget sadly doesn't accommodate.

The movie could have used a bigger budget for the visuals on display. With heads being ripped off by hand and ghosts bursting out the ground with snake-like bodies and Beetlejuice looking heads. I think they've gone the CGI route and not having the budget for great effects, a lot of the stuff on display here is really cheesy and poorly done. I think had they used practical effects, it would have been better than what they went with here. CGI really does kill a lot of the scenes in this film.

What Cold Moon gets right is that this movie never stops moving. Once Margaret is murdered, the movie is relentless. This is a fast-paced and frantic supernatural story. I also really enjoyed that the movie was able to successfully blend a ghost story with elements of a masked-killer and slasher movie. I don't think anyone will ever call Cold Moon boring and if they do, it's a lie. The film, for the most part, is a lot of fun, even if the visuals are silly and lend a lot of the set-pieces into more comedic territory.

While I don't think Cold Moon is all that scary. The movie on more than one occasion does try to build tension and suspense but I don't think it's always successful. I think that the film does have a few solidly loud jump scares that should scare unsuspecting audience members. As I said before, the movie is always moving so the film is always trying to scare the audience and at times, a few of the scares do land. I think that the Southern setting also adds to the eerieness.

Lastly, we come to the acting in the film. I wasn't expecting such a well-known cast going into this movie. Josh Stewart is playing against type from his Collector films and is the bad guy. I enjoyed his descent into madness. Candy Clark is emotionally distraught and never lets up. Her performance is filled with sorrow. Christopher Lloyd is sadly underused. Frank Whaley is decent as the town sheriff. Anyone hoping for a decent Tommy Wiseau cameo, don't expect much, it's a blink and miss it role.



- A woman is drowned in a river.
- A snake comes out of a dead girls mouth.
- A woman is stabbed in the stomach with a sword.
- A young man is decapitated by a sword.
- A woman is seen standing in a puddle of blood at the bank.
- A woman is hit in the head twice with a brick.
- A teenage boy has his head pulled off.
- A man's body is found in the river with his ear missing.

Cold Moon is a supernatural slasher that is sadly hindered by a low budget. A lot of the visual effects come across as cheesy due to an overabundance of CGI. Still, Cold Moon is an above average horror movie that is never once boring. The movie never stops moving from the first murder. We have a solid cast and the southern location only adds to the eerieness. You could do a lot worse than Cold Moon. A welcome surprise that I had originally passed off before even watching it.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Red Christmas (2017)

DIRECTOR: Craig Anderson

WRITER: Craig Anderson


Dee Wallace
Sarah Bishop
Geoff Morrell
David Collins
Janis McGavin
Sam Campbell
Deelia Meriel
Gerard Odwyer


When an estranged family comes together for Christmas at their rural family home. Little do they realise of the horror that is about to befall the family. When a cloaked and masked man holding a letter knocks on Diane's door. It soon becomes apparent that a decision she made twenty years ago has returned to seek revenge on her and everyone that she loves. Diane will need to put an end to this person once and for all before he ends up killing her entire family.

There is something pretty amazing about watching an iconic actress like Dee Wallace come all the way down under to Australian to shoot and headline a gory, bloodsoaked Christmas slasher. An actress who has starred in classic movies such as The Howling, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Cujo, Critters, The Hills Have Eyes, The Stepford Wives, 10, and The House Of The Devil has taken time out to film a low-budget horror movie in my country of birth. I feel like it's a proud moment as a horror fan.

Looking at the poster for Red Christmas, you may be mistaken for thinking this is just another Christmas themed horror movie. Lately, they seem to be all the rage. But Red Christmas isn't your typical slasher movie. There are some truly dark themes that run deep in this movie that elevates it beyond just your standard masked killer who is out seeking revenge which has been done countless times. This is a flick that I think will get certain groups, up in arms over some of the content portrayed in the movie.

While the movie features a plot that feels very similar in structure to a lot of slashers. I think what I enjoyed most about the film was the motive of the killer. While this film is heavily steeped in revenge, the killer is seeking revenge for an attempted abortion that happened twenty years ago. It's probably one of the darkest motives that I think I've ever seen in a slasher. It also raises a lot of questions about terminating unborn children who may have a mental disability. It asks you which side of the fence you sit on and where your moral compass lies.

One of the biggest issues that I had with Red Christmas was the family dynamic. Most of the family are utterly unlikable. Nearly every single character but a few spend the entire film arguing and fighting. So for the most part, I didn't care if three-quarters of the family died. The only two people that I cared for here are Dee Wallace's Diane as she is the most seasoned and has the most to work with and her youngest daughter Hope who seems to be the nicest one in the family.

The highlight of Red Christmas is the practical gore effects and the death scenes. For a low-budget Australian horror film. The gore here is top-notch. We have some of the bloodiest and goriest kills that I've seen in a slasher all year. We have people split in two with an ax, heads shoved onto broken blender blades, blood geysers, and a bear trap death scene that is one of the best I've seen since Ravenous or the Straw Dogs remake. Gorehounds will walk out of this smiling.

When it comes to the suspense and tension. I don't find Red Christmas all that scary. But what I think it does successfully is that from the moment the killer knocks on the families front door, it has this sense of eerieness to it all. It also never lets up or slows down from this point on. Once the killer begins picking off the family in pretty glorious fashion, its always moving. I think the earlier scenes have this sense of dread about them. As the killing start taking place, I think that the movie is injected with a huge dose of urgency.

It must also be mentioned that Red Christmas is a pretty dark movie. If you're hoping for some relief by the end of the film, don't. While the film is filled with all these neon colours, it's far from colourful. The movie is basically watching an entire family being brutally murdered. Three generations being massacred and wiped out. I do like that Australian horror films aren't afraid to end on a dark note. I think Craig Anderson has crafted one mean-spirited little horror film.

Lastly, we come to the acting. I've mentioned several times already that this is Dee Wallace's show. She is the star and producer of the project. As the matriarch of the family, she is given the most to work with and is the catalyst for all the horror that takes place. An iconic actress that even when doing a low-budget Australian horror film gives it her all. I think she is fantastic here. I also felt incredibly sorry for her character Diane. A mother who watches her entire family and all those she loves being wiped out.



- A man has his penis ripped off.
- A man is shown with his face smashed onto a table grinder.
- A woman is sliced down the middle with an ax.
- A man is hit in the middle of the head with an ax.
- A man is strangled to death in a car.
- A teenager with Down Syndrome is shotgun blasted.
- A woman is stabbed in the stomach.
- Someone's eyes explode and blood sprays everywhere.
- A woman has an umbrella shoved through her eye.
- A woman hangs herself.
- A man is hit in the chest with an anchor and pulled out a window.
- A police officer has a bear trap shoved on his head.
- A guy's heard is shoved onto a broken blender blade.

While Red Christmas sticks to pretty standard slasher formula and has a vast array of annoying characters. Red Christmas is still an enjoyable holiday horror treat. You'll be gifted with buckets of gore and a pretty dark and mean-spirited little Australian horror film. The practical effects are fantastic and Dee Wallace is in fine form. The movie also deals with some darker subject matter that will more than likely piss off anti-abortion and pro-life groups.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Another Evil (2017)

DIRECTOR: Carson Mell

WRITER: Carson Mell


Steve Zissis
Mark Proksch
Jennifer Irwin
Dax Flame
Steve Little
Dan Bakkedahl


When an artist and his family are staying in their vacation home and witness a ghost, they end up hiring an exorcist who is recommended to them by a friend. He is said to be an assassin of the paranormal. Soon after he arrives, the family soon realises that the spirits may not be the only things to fear in their house. As they begin to remove the ghosts, their new exorcist may be harder to get rid of than the actual specters.

When I first finished Another Evil, I had wondered to myself am I too hard to please? I pondered this because not once during an hour and a half did I find this movie even remotely funny or enjoyable. The movie is a comedy horror film. For me, they are one of the hardest types of films to pull off because they need to get that balance right to be successful in both genres. If one outweighs the other, it could end up disappointing both horror fans and fans of comedy horrors.

Another Evil starts off rather well. As a horror film, it's actually effective during these early scenes. The movie opens with our family hearing sounds upstairs while they are downstairs in the living room playing a game. The father goes upstairs to investigate to find a chair overturned and some paintbrushes arranged in a triangle. Things only escalate from this point on and for the first ten minutes of the movie, I genuinely got chills during the night scenes where the family hear and start seeing ghosts.

For the next hour and fifteen minutes, the movie just sort of flatlines for me. Once we are introduced to the exorcist who is a paranormal assassin. This flick turns from this somewhat chillingly creepy horror movie into a quirky exchange of words between its two lead characters. This is where the movie tends to try for comedy but didn't work for me. One is a family man and an artist that is growing increasingly frustrated with the exorcist. The exorcist is a weird loner who you don't know whether he is actually really gifted or a complete fraud.

I find comedy to be the hardest genre to enjoy. I think getting someone to laugh is a lot harder to do than any other feeling or emotion. I also think horror is as equally as hard. It's hard to create tension, suspense, and to craft a well-built scare. I think that the comedy in this movie for me felt like that awkward 'The Office' type comedy just without the characters ever looking at the cameras. It just wasn't funny for me. So I spent an hour and a half being bored more than anything. After the first ten minutes, it lacked both horror and comedy.

The movie in the final few minutes reverts back to being a pretty dark horror movie. This is where I thought the movie began to get some life again. It's just too little, too late by this point. I spent close to eighty-five percent of the movie being utterly bored by both the characters, their dynamic and the comedy that the little bursts of horror weren't enough for me to find much at all to enjoy this film. I think that critics, on the other hand, will find a lot to enjoy as this seems just quirky and odd enough from the other films this year that it might stand out as an indie hit.

When it comes to the suspense and tension. I think the first ten minutes and the last several minutes of the movie are actually pretty effective as a horror movie. There is a scene early on when the teenage son wakes up and we hear this horrific moan in the dark hallway that sent chills up my spine. There is also a nice little ghost on the staircase scene that felt like a homage to The Grudge. The ending is also pretty dark. I didn't see where this movie was heading early on but I think I enjoyed the horror elements more than the comedy.

What I would have liked to see in the film is a little more backstory on the ghosts. We see a range of paranormal entities during the course of the movie and we believe that The Exorcist is also aware they are there but we never find out why they are stuck or how they came to die. So we get these pretty cool looking ghosts but never get any explanation. I get that they have left things unanswered but the scene where we see a ghost with a tentacle coming out of its vagina is almost alien-like in nature. I would have liked to see more of the backstory.

Lastly, we come to the acting in the movie. I think the acting is hit and miss for me. I didn't connect or like basically any of the main characters so it was hard to enjoy their performances. I think the standout here is Steve Zissis as the artist and family man. I think he played his role well enough that come to the end of the film, I wanted to see him survive for the most part. Mark Proksch as our exorcist is the one I couldn't deal with here. He is so annoying and over the top that his performance felt grating to me. I didn't care for the character at all or his influence over the others.



- A demon is seen crawling up the stairs with blood on its face.
- A ghost with a tentacle coming out of its vagina is shown.
- A man is hit in the face with a bowl.
- Two men fight in the desert.
- A man is shown with a bloody face.

Another Evil is a movie that I think will be a hit with the critics and indie horror fans. The movie has this quirky character dynamic to it all. For me, the movie sadly misses the mark. The movie is light on horror and laughs. The comedy is probably the films biggest weakness. It's all played fairly deadpan and I simply wasn't a fan. It's also not helped that the villain is not likable in any sense of the word. The first ten minutes of actual suspense and solid tension and a dark ending can't save this movie from being lifeless. Another Evil is a miss for me.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Lake Bodom (2017)

DIRECTOR: Taneli Mustonen


Aleksi Hyvarinen
Taneli Mustonen


Nelly Hirst-Gee
Mimosa Willamo
Mikael Gabriel
Santeri Helinheimo Mantyla
Pirjo Moilanen
Ilkka Heiskanen


In 1960, three campers are found dead in their tents while camping on Lake Bodom. They were found stabbed to death and brutally murdered in their tents. Based on real unsolved murders, four friends decide to head to Lake Bodom to try and recreate that night to see if they can solve the murders. Little do they realise that the original killer may still be alive and hunting Lake Bodom for more victims.

For anyone who reads my little website or follows the Schlock Horror Twitter account, knows that I'm a huge fan of true crime. Going into Lake Bodom, I wasn't aware that this movie was actually based on a real unsolved murder case that happened in Lake Bodom in Finland in 1960. I went into this one expecting a foreign slasher film. I may have underestimated this film thinking it would be nothing more or nothing less than your run of the mill slasher.

Lake Bodom has the honor of being a pretty entertaining and dark little slasher film. One of the most original to come out of the last decade if I don't say so myself. What it does first and foremost is that it subverts expectations. Taking those typical slasher tropes that we've all come to expect and ends up turning them on their head, offering the audience a couple of very clever surprise twists. The first being so surprising that I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me.

What I thought Lake Bodom did well in setting itself apart from other slasher films is that the entire setup has this meta sort of feel to it all. Being that the movie is based on a real-life unsolved crime. I liked that this group of teenagers goes to the original location and tries to re-enact the crimes to see if they can solve the case once and for all. It's only then do we head into the more familiar slasher elements. I thought it felt similar to The Town That Dreaded Sundown remake.

Where Lake Bodom will get the biggest complaints lobbed at it is for the end and the pacing. I think at times, Lake Bodom feels like it lags. When your movie is a short and sweet hour and twenty-four minutes. Any time that the story feels like it gets bogged down in exposition, you can feel it here. I think the several times that we actually get exposition, it kills some of the intensity. The choice to deliver these moments in times of chaos feels like a bit of an odd choice. That's not to say that this isn't successful as there is plenty of tension to be found here.

I also have to mention that the version of the movie that I saw had some of the most terrible subtitles that I've seen in a recent foreign film. I believed I had been supplied the Shudder version of the film. I'm not sure if Finnish doesn't translate to English as well as other languages but there are times when the subtitles make no sense. Entire words or sentences seem to be missing. Is this just the Shudder version or was this lost in translation? It was very distracting.

Visually, I think Lake Bodom is gorgeous in a very dark and moody way. I think the movie looks fantastic. There are some beautiful shots of the locations of where the film is set. You would be hard pressed to film a movie in Finland or Estonia and have it come out looking terrible. There is just so much beauty and lush scenery that the director has captured on film perfectly. There is also one of the most spectacular car crashes committed to a horror film since the High Tension forest chase.

When it comes to the gore in the film. I read a lot of reviews for the film stating that this is brutal and extreme. I actually found the carnage to be restrained. While there is blood and violence in the film. I think a lot of it is mostly implied and offscreen. As the movie builds towards the third act, it starts to get a little more gruesome but it's a gradual build towards the bloodshed. I think the ending of the film is where people will be left most shocked as this is not a very happy ending. This is as far as a happy Hollywood ending as you'll witness.

Lastly, I think the acting from the four leads is solid. I think the two leading actresses get the most to do within their roles. At first, all four characters begin as your typical horror high school kids. We have the party girl, the quiet girl, the horror nerd and the cool guy. The middle of the film is where shit hits the fan, things are reversed and we get to see two of the four characters become something entirely different and it really is a blast to watch. The performances can't be disputed.



- Lots of shots of crime scene photos.
- A man is stabbed in the back.
- A man is repeatedly stabbed to death.
- A woman is stabbed to death in a tent.
- Two women are injured when their car flips.
- A woman is attacked by a dog.
- A woman's face hits a steering wheel.
- A woman is smacked in the face with a wrench.

Lake Bodom was a movie I had heard a lot of people praising before I got a chance to witness it. When I first saw the film's poster, I expected just your run of the mill, low budget slasher. I expected nothing more from it. I think my low expectations for the film may have yielded positive results. This is a clever, meta-filled and dark slasher. There is even a few nice surprised and some solid acting. Go in not knowing a thing and you should be pleasantly surprised.

Friday, June 09, 2017

The Bad Batch (2017)

DIRECTOR: Ana Lily Amirpour

WRITER: Ana Lily Amirpour


Suki Waterhouse
Jason Momoa
Jayda Fink
Keanu Reeves
Jim Carrey
Yolonda Ross
Giovanni Ribisi
Louie Lopez Jr.
Aye Hasegawa


When Arlen leaves the fenced-off world where civilization lives. She wanders into the Texas wasteland where there is no law or government. In the unforgiving landscapes, she is captured by a band of savage cannibals who are using their fellow travelers for food. With her life on the line, Arlen decides to travel the wasteland in search of the charismatic man known as The Dream.

I still remember back in September of 2016 when The Bad Batch was unveiled at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals. The word of mouth from the critics who witnessed it, was pretty mixed, to say the least, but what followed from that was an excitement and anticipation. An apocalyptic cannibal film from the director of the highly beloved A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. I was extremely excited to see what director Ana Lily Amirpour would turn out for her second feature film.

Going into The Bad Batch, I was immediately taken aback by how beautiful this film looked. The movie is one of the most gorgeous films I've seen all year. Every single shot of the film felt like it was framed to be able to be used as a snippet or piece of promotion for the movie. The huge wide desert landscapes, the cannibal villages, the rave sequence, the night time desert shots, The Dream's mansion. Every single scene in this film felt like it was something to behold.

That is sadly where it ends for me with The Bad Batch. While the movie is full of style and every scene has something to admire about it. That's all it was for me. The film is all style and very little substance. While I enjoyed the hell out of The Neon Demon. I think The Bad Batch will draw similar comparisons to that movie. Both filmmakers are talented and have such a unique visual style and eye, that it may actually be the only thing that saves these movies as they have very little story at the core of both films.

The Bad Batch moves from one set-piece to another without ever really feeling like there is much of a story there. There feels like there is no weight or heft. It doesn't feel like it has anything really important to say. Minus the theme of immigration that seems to be used as an important character reveal. I didn't find much else here. The film feels ultimately shallow. In saying that, there may have been something deeper here that I just didn't pick up on. Give it a few years and critics will be writing about how important this film is and make me appear brain-dead.

Another element of the movie that I really enjoyed was the soundtrack for the movie. The soundtrack features a mixture of the eighties and nineties that is thrown together with heavy club-ready new wave and house. It is so perfectly matched to the visuals within the film that it almost had this sort of euphoric effect on me. It was almost like a drug. The rave scene and Arlen's drug-trip in the desert are two of the scenes that use both music and cinematography and visuals so expertly.

While some horror fans might find the lack of gore in The Bad Batch disappointing. I still think that the film is shot in a way that feels like less is more. The violent scenes are never once gratuitous. I think while the movie has moments that do lend itself to the horror genre, this may feel more like a drama or a romance which is set among an apocalyptic landscape with unsavory characters more than a flatout scary, bloody or intense horror film. This is pretty light on the horror elements.

When it comes to the acting in The Bad Batch, I think the movie is a little all over the place for me. Suki Waterhouse is just gorgeous to watch on screen. I think that Arlen was actually the most sympathetic character in the movie. She is given the most to do emotionally and if The Bad Batch is anything to go off, she'll be a big star who will headline tentpole films one day. I wouldn't be surprised if Michael Bay comes after her for a Transformers film or something down the line. She carries this film.

Lastly, the supporting cast is where the movie feels a little hit and miss for me. Jason Momoa puts on an accent and it feels completely distracting at times. However, he's easy on the eyes, so as a leading man and cannibal, he does the role justice. Keanu Reeves is taking all these weird indie roles of late and I admire the direction. Just in The Bad Batch, he's not good at all. I found his role to be laughably bad here. Finally, we have Jim Carrey as 'The Hermit'. I had no idea it was him until I started writing this review after seeing the film. So under all that beard and costume, it was Jim Carrey all along. I was actually shocked.



- A woman's leg and arm are sawn off with a hacksaw.
- A girl rubs herself in her own excrement.
- A woman smashes another woman's head in with rebar.
- A human leg is seen being cooked.
- A man is shot in the chest.
- We see a man's hand being cut off.
- A man is hit in the leg with a knife.
- A man is hit in the back with a meat cleaver.
- A woman's neck is snapped.
- A woman is shot in the head.
- Crows are seen pecking a dead woman's face.
- We see a man carving up human body parts and cooking them.

The Bad Batch is a movie that feels like style over substance. There is very little plot to be found here. At almost two hours, it feels very long. At times, the movie feels like it could have used a lot of editing to cut the film down. There feels like there is a lot of fat that could be trimmed. Where the movie lacks story, it makes up for sheer gorgeous cinematography and visuals. It also has a great soundtrack and score. Suki Waterhouse carries this film. Worth a watch but don't expect anything with depth.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Leatherface (2017)


Alexandre Bustillo
Julien Maury

WRITER: Seth M. Sherwood


Stephen Dorff
Finn Jones
Lili Taylor
Nicole Andrews
Vanessa Grasse
Sam Strike
Sam Coleman
Jessica Madsen
James Bloor
Ian Fisher
Julian Kostov


When one of the Sawyer children ends up murdering the daughter of the local sheriff. He seeks revenge on their entire clan. That includes one of the sons who has escaped from a mental institution. He and several patients have taken a female nurse hostage and are traveling across the country leaving a pile of bodies in their wake. It's now up to the sheriff and his men to bring a stop to their murder spree.

I remember when it was announced way back in late 2014 that Alexandre Bustillo and Julian Maury had signed on and would be directing the new Texas Chainsaw Massacre film. I was excited, to say the least. The men had delivered one of the most shocking debuts that I can personally think of when it came to any horror filmmakers with their first film Inside. I would even go so far as to call it a masterpiece and one of the best films to come out of the French Extremity era of horror.

Hearing that they were going to give us their own take on Leatherface. I imagined all the endless possibilities. I also couldn't wait to see how far they would take it with the brutal violence and gore seeing as they don't usually shy away from it if we are going off any of their other movies. I was just hoping that the studio wouldn't interfere here with their vision as there seems to be a lot of that whenever foreign filmmakers come onboard to do American productions.

After watching Leatherface close to a week ago and watching it again this morning. I can't really say that I love this movie. I didn't hate it, yet I didn't love it. Slapping the movie with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre imagery is great and all and I adore a good origin story but this feels like the loosest Texas Chainsaw Massacre film to date when it comes to actually delivering on the whole Leatherface title. Being bookended by two scenes that involve a kid and teenager brandishing a chainsaw does not make this a Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie.

What we have here with this origin story is actually a road trip movie gone awry. The movie has a heap of brutal violence and death. The movie from the opening scene is steeped in grime, dirt, and blood. This is everything you have come to expect out of a horror movie. Sadly, it's just not what you expect out of a Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie. On one hand, it's a disappointment. On another, this is utterly original and so far removed from the original seven films that I can't hate on Bustillo and Maury for at least trying to deliver something completely different. I have to hand it to them for at least trying to set themselves apart from the other films.

Looking at the first trailer for the film, I expected a dark descent into madness with this film. The movie plays more like a series of violent and brutal confrontations. If you want mean-spirited, this is the movie for you. I had expected nothing less from the filmmakers. Their vision is dark. All of the violence here is exactly how it should be. It's without remorse. The movie also delivers some other pretty nasty stuff such as necrophilia, rape, and people are eaten alive by animals. The only thing I think left off the table is the cannibalism.

The scene inside the diner is a standout scene that is only ruined by the classic rock soundtrack that plays over it. A scene where mental patients start to brutal murder the patrons. In the trailer, this scene was horrific and played extremely intense. The scene itself while bloody is hindered by the choice in the soundtrack which kills the entire mood. We have a pretty intense car chase sequence and the final showdown between Verna and Sheriff Hal Hartman is pretty intense. The third act twist that is meant to come as a surprise as to who the identity of who Leatherface is falls flat as it's completely expected.

The acting in Leatherface is pretty solid. Lili Taylor is excellent as the matriarch of the Sawyer clan. I believe every single word and expression that she delivers. A talented and underrated actress. I thought that Stephen Dorff was awesome as Hal Hartman the vengeful sheriff. Sam Strike as the young Leatherface is the most sympathetic version of the character. The entire film he spends it torn but the final moments with the mask are great and lastly Vanessa Grasse as our hostage and nurse is also great in the film. I thought her final moment was devastating and ended the movie on an extremely bleak note.

Lastly, will Leatherface scare horror fans? I doubt it. This is not a scary movie. This is all about the gore and brutal violence. I didn't notice one single attempt at any cheap jump scares or quick bursts of loud music to try and make me as an audience scared. I think having Alexandre Bustillo and Julian Maury on the production, they have gone more for mood and showing the Sawyer clan as outlaws who will kill anyone that tries to disrupt their way of life. This is all about revenge here. You can sense that the two filmmakers of this movie want to give you an experience and not just a run of the mill stalk and slash.



- A child saws into a man's leg.
- A man is hit in the head with a mallet.
- A patient has his head repeatedly stomped on.
- Men are shot in the head and face.
- A woman is decapitated with a chainsaw.
- A woman is shot in the head.
- A patient is thrown out of a window to his death.
- A woman has her head blown off with a shotgun.
- The sheriff is hit in the chest with a chainsaw.
- A doctor has his face repeatedly smashed into a sheet of glass.
- A man is repeatedly punched in the face.
- A woman has a live mouse shoved in her mouth.
- The sheriff has his hands chopped up with a chainsaw.
- A man is repeatedly stabbed and fed to pigs while alive.
- A police officer has his head repeatedly slammed in a car door.
- A nurse has her mouth cut into by a patient.
- A woman makes out with a corpse during sex.
- Two men are stabbed in the throats.
- A woman falls through the floor and has an engine dropped on her.
- A man is made to bite a rock and his head is stomped on.
- A woman falls face first into a gooey corpse.
- A finger is shoved into a head wound.
- A woman is strangled to death in bed.
- Three people hide inside a dead cow carcass.

As a Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie, I think fans will be incredibly disappointed. As a blood-soaked road movie, horror fans may walk away from this impressed. I think what works here is the gore, violence, and mood. Bustillo and Maury have crafted a road trip from hell. It's just a pretty big shame that the rest of this movie isn't all that great. At times, the movie becomes dull and feels frantically all over the place. Not even the cast of decent performances can save this eighth entry in the franchise.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)

DIRECTOR: John Luessenhop


Adam Marcus
Stephen Susco
Debra Sullivan
Kirsten McCallion


Alexandra Daddario
Dan Yeager
Trey Songz
Scott Eastwood
Tania Raymonde
Shaun Sipos
Keram Malicki-Sanchez
James McDonald
Thom Barry
Richard Riehle
Marilyn Burns
Gunnar Hansen
Bill Moseley


A young woman receives notice that she has received an inheritance from a family she never knew existed. Her and three friends decide to come along as support so they can pick up the inheritance. When they arrive in Texas, they find that she has been left a giant, gated estate. Soon the group of friends will discover that this old estate comes with
 a chainsaw-wielding madman named Leatherface who resides in the bowels of the old mansion.

Back in 2012, I remember hearing all the talk of a new Texas Chainsaw Massacre film being released. The word on the street after the movie was released wasn't good. The movie took a beating from critics and audiences alike. I remember watching it on DVD and wasn't a fan at the time. Four years later and reviewing the entire series now that we have had another Leatherface movie come out. Not much has changed on where I stand on the movie after watching it for the second time. This film really hasn't aged or improved over time, sadly.

Going into this latest entry. I had completely forgotten that this movie opens right after the events of the first film. So as the opening credits rolled and we see clips of the groundbreaking original, I was immediately hooked. Once the credits had finished rolling. We see a siege of the old Sawyer house where the local townspeople end up having a shootout with the infamous family and end up killing them all and burning down the house. This opening scene had me as giddy as a schoolgirl. I was onboard for where this was going to take me.

That is until we meet the new group of victims in the following scene. Here we have the final girl, the b-grade rapper boyfriend who has only been cast so he can bring in all five of his fans, the slutty best friend and her boyfriend who is the weird emotional emo hippy guy. As quick as we are introduced to these four people, we see that they are mostly terrible human beings. The slutty best friend and the final girl's boyfriend are sleeping together which renders them immediately unlikable and makes you not care for a single person here.

The movie also throws in a hitchhiker for good measure so it can stick to that Texas Chainsaw formula. He also turns out to be a terrible person because he is a thief. So as soon as this group of five get to Texas, we are happy to see three of the five die. The other two are only just bearable because they come across as unknowing as to what their partners are up to behind their backs. It's also weird because the emo guy and the slutty girl together seems like one of the oddest pairings in a horror movie in recent memory. There is utterly no chemistry between anyone in this movie.

The movie is riddled with problems. Once we realise that the boyfriend and the best friend are cheating on the final girl and her boyfriend. There is no resolution to it all. They are killed off and while that is what they deserve, everyone else doesn't know about there indiscretions. So while they die horribly, their partners survive or go to the grave believing that they were innocent. It felt really odd to pass that little detail over. I think story and plot points are passed over just to keep this movie moving at breakneck speed. One thing that Texas Chainsaw 3D isn't, is boring. I at least have to hand it that compliment.

The movie also introduces us to a new Leatherface who is probably the least scary of any of the incarnations and that includes the cross-dressing Leatherface in The Next Generation. The whole movie builds to them trying to turn Leatherface into the anti-hero and it doesn't work. It kills any possible tension or suspense. It also lends the film some terribly cheesy moments when our final girl teams up with Leatherface to kill off the evil townspeople who killed their relatives thirty years prior. It becomes tonally uneven towards the third act and doesn't really recover.

I need to talk about the carnival scene. There is this odd scene towards the third act of the film where Leatherface who is brandishing a chainsaw chases our final girl into a populated carnival. The entire scene where we have our final girl hanging from the Ferris Wheel and Leatherface is throwing chainsaws at people. This entire sequence feels out of place. I believe this may be added to show the 3D in full force but for me, most of the 3D here is used minimally. Slapped with the 3D title, I'd have expected a lot more from this movie when it came to 3D but it's barely noticeable. Take that as however, you see fit.

When it comes to the gore and carnage. Texas Chainsaw 3D delivers. This is actually pretty gruesome. Gorehounds will enjoy themselves and get a real kick out of all the death on display here. We have a man minced up in a giant factory grinder. A man is sawn in half with a chainsaw. The entire moment is on camera and it's bloody. I really can't fault the gore here. The movie is over the top. With all that gore and bloodshed, the movie sadly tacks tension and suspense. Most seasoned horror fans won't find any of this frightening at all.

Lastly, we have the performances. Alexandra Daddario as our final girl is alright. I dug her in True Detective more than this film. Towards the end of the film, I couldn't take her seriously. The dialogue was laughable. I was actually cringing. With a name like Trey Songz, enough said. Scott Eastwood as the local police officer, I think he was the standout for me. He is far beyond the rest of the cast. It was nice to see cameos from original cast members Marilyn Burns and Gunnar Hansen. We also get a nice cameo from Chop Top himself, Bill Moseley.



- Seven people are shot and burnt alive in a siege.
- A woman is killed and her baby is taken away from her.
- A man falls into a giant grinder.
- A man is stabbed in the chest with a pitchfork.
- We see a man with his head sawn off.
- A man is hung on a hook and sawn in half with a chainsaw.
- An old ladies corpse is found rotting in a chair.
- Leatherface is seen cutting off a severed hands fingers.
- A woman is hit in the leg and chest with a chainsaw.
- A woman is shot in the head.
- A police officer is repeatedly hit in the shoulder and back with a tomahawk.
- A man's hands are sliced off with a chainsaw.
- A man has his Achilles heel slashed with a chainsaw.
- Leatherface is seen sewing a skin mask to his face.
- A man's face is cut and peeled off.
- A man is hit in the back with a metal hook.
- A hitchhiker has his head bashed in with a hammer.
- We see glimpses of a man's skinned face.

With the seventh entry in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series. Here they have tried to offer us up a new Leatherface who teams up with our final girl. The blood is thicker than water and it seems this revenge tale and a Leatherface who plays the anti-hero doesn't sit that well with me. While the movie is gory and brutal and has an awesome opening scene that ties directly to the original. It sadly can't be saved with laughable dialogue, horribly unlikable characters and an uneven and cheesy tone. 

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2006)

DIRECTOR: Jonathan Liebesman


Sheldon Turner
David J. Schow


Jordana Brewster
Matt Bomer
Taylor Handley
Diora Bird
R. Lee Ermey
Lee Tergesen
Andrew Bryniarski
Lew Temple


When brother's Eric and Dean take one last road trip with their girlfriends before they are drafted and sent to serve in Vietnam. They are heading through the backroads of Texas when a horrific jeep accident leaves them injured and stranded in the company of an evil sheriff. They will soon come into contact with the sheriff's cannibalistic clan and their chainsaw-wielding son Leatherface.

I had originally seen The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning in cinemas back in 2006. At the time, I remember liking it but not as much as the original or the remake. Rewatching it eleven years late, I think the movie still sits somewhere in the middle of this franchise. While nowhere near as iconic and groundbreaking as the original or as bonkers and left-field as the sequel. The movie also loses some of the freshness that the remake had generated when it burst onto the scene three years earlier. What The Beginning did right was that it kept things dark and brutal.

Up until watching Leatherface (2017) last night. I think The Beginning held the award for being the most brutal and mean-spirited of all the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films. Quite an honor when you consider that the series as a whole, deals with murder and cannibalism. Where the remake was dark and violent when compared to the original and the first three sequels. The Beginning takes it that one step further and goes for the jugular. The barrage of nastiness on display is glorious to behold and that is what this prequel will be remembered for always.

What I think the movie does successfully is that it creates four leading characters who you actually care and root for and that you want to see make it out alive and survive their ordeal. Unlike the remake, where we have the annoying nerdy stoner who ruins more than one scene that he is in. Here, I actually liked both brother characters and their girlfriends. I also think the whole Vietnam drafting subplot played well in making them come across as likable guys even if one didn't want to go to war. It also served Sheriff Hoyt to be extra harsh and violent towards the brothers.

Again, the prequel like the remake is a gorgeously filmed horror movie. There are some beautiful wide open shots of the Texas landscape. Where the remake is darker and we see a lot of fog-filled backwoods and grey skies. I found this prequel to be a lot more bright with golden brown hues. This prequel feels like it tries to match the look and feel of the original in terms of aesthetic. While this is much more polished than most of the sequels and the original. It still felt very similar in tone and feel. I think Lukas Ettlin has done a great job with the cinematography.

Where the prequel goes wrong is that the movie is pretty predictable. Going into this movie, you know exactly where this will end up heading. There is no way that any of these characters can survive and make it out of this alive because that would throw away everything that came after it. If someone survived this ordeal and went to the police, there would be no remake. So for an hour and a half. We know exactly where this story is heading. While a very dark ending for the film which I enjoyed, it's still extremely predictable as it can only go one way.

Another element of the story that I didn't like was the biker subplot. While the two biker characters serve up some decent gory fodder when it comes to being victims. They don't really serve much of a purpose other than adding to the death toll. Both are written pretty terribly as well. Both walk into their situations and are immediately killed. They offer no threat to Leatherface or Sheriff Hoyt. They simply enter the big creepy house or confront and are immediately killed off. They are around for all of a few minutes and are just disposable.

When it comes to being a suspenseful horror film. I think the movie has some solid scenes of tension. The jeep chase and crash with the cow is outstanding. I thought the entire scene was solid in building up the tension. Sheriff Hoyt taking three of the characters back to the rural farmhouse with the reveal of Leatherface is also great. I think the movie has enough tension that it gets a pass for me on that front. The gore is also outstanding. This is one of the most brutal slashers you'll see come out of a major Hollywood studio.

Lastly, the acting in the film is solid. Matt Bomer, Jordana Brewster, Taylor Handley, and Diora Bird are put through the wringer in this movie. Every single actor gives it their all as well. I think Jordana Brewster is a solid lead here. While I prefer Jessica Biel, I still think Jordana does well with her performance. I think Diora Bird for my first time seeing her in this film is also fantastic. Every single character is made to suffer. R. Lee Ermey is also fantastic as Sheriff Hoyt. Just like the remake, he is a despicable human and you love to hate him.



- A woman dies giving birth to a deformed baby.
- Leatherface is seen hanging up meat in a slaughterhouse.
- A man is repeatedly hit with a baton as he tries to do push-ups.
- A man is shot in the kneecap.
- A man is cut in half with a chainsaw.
- A biker has a chainsaw rammed through his stomach.
- Someone runs and steps in a bear trap.
- A police officer and civilian are hit by a speeding car.
- A woman has a chainsaw slammed through her back.
- A man's legs are sawn off.
- A woman is hit in the shoulder with a fisherman's hook.
- A man is beaten to death with a mallet.
- The sheriff of the town is shotgun blasted to the head.
- A cow explodes when hit by a speeding jeep.
- A woman is shotgun blasted in the chest.
- We see a man have his skin and face cut off.
- A woman's throat is sliced open.
- A man has a chainsaw slammed through his back.
- We see the corpse of a woman with no feet or hands.
- A woman is seen preparing a stew using human parts.
- A woman is shown to have had all her teeth pulled out.
- The Sheriff has his head repeatedly slammed against the porch.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning sits at number three in the franchise for me. It just edges out Tobe Hooper's sequel for me. While not as great as the original or remake, this is still a vicious and mean-spirited little film. While it doesn't add all that much to the mythology of the series or the Hewitt family and has a predictable ending. I still think this is so dark and gory that I can't help but enjoy the carnage on display here. Gorgeous cinematography and some solid performances raise this as an above average entry in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise.

Monday, June 05, 2017

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)

DIRECTOR: Marcus Nispel

WRITER: Scott Kosar


Jessica Biel
Jonathan Tucker
Erica Leerhsen
Eric Balfour
Mike Vogel
Andrew Bryniarski
R. Lee Ermey
David Dorfman
Lauren German


When a group of five friends who are traveling through the backwoods of Texas on their way to a concert decides to stop to pick up a young traumatized hitchhiker. The group is left shaken when she commits suicide in the back of their van. Stopping at a local gas station, they are told that they will need to meet the sheriff at the local mill. Soon their day goes from bad to worse when the group come upon an old farmhouse that is home to a family of evil cannibals and their chainsaw-wielding son Leatherface.

Being born in the late eighties, a child of the nineties and just entering my formative teenage years in the noughties. Most remakes of classic horror films are where I first discovered they had an original counterpart or were apart of an established franchise. I'd previously brought up in my review for the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre that I decided to bite the bullet and watch the original before seeing the remake because I wasn't always a huge horror fanatic. The cover for the original always terrified me. So when I watched the original in preparation for the remake, my life was changed.

Going into the remake, I wasn't a decade's long fan of the original. It was fresh in my mind at that time. The original is a movie that over the years and as I've matured has become a film that I hold in high regard and consider a masterpiece. I never had the hostility for remakes like a lot of the older horror fans have because I didn't grow up with the original films. The remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the best remakes that I think I've ever seen. With the hundreds that have been made and with varying degrees, that says a lot.

What the remake does right is that it compliments the original pretty well. It doesn't go shot for shot and only takes certain moments from the original that it needs to set up the events. We have the evil family, we have the hitchhiker and an old farmhouse. Everything else feels different enough to set this movie apart. Every moment that is used here in the remake basically subverts expectations. The hitchhiker scene being the first. A brutal and horrific scene where a traumatized hitchhiker pulls a gun from between her legs puts the barrel in her mouth and pulls the trigger. The tracking shot from the front of the van, through the back of her now missing skull and out through the blown out glass of the van, is just the first of many effective moments of horror.

The remake from the very first minute never stops. As our friends begin to wander off and locate the old Hewitt house and Leatherface begins firing on all cylinders. The shit hits the fan and never slows down again. You can disown or even hate on the remake all you want but as a fast-paced, gruesome, and tension-filled house of horrors, this works. It took what made the original so fun and harrowing and tried to ramp up all the elements. Is the remake always successful? No, but as a film in the franchise. It comes in second place for me. It's the closest we've come to the original in terms of quality Texas Chainsaw Massacre style horror.

Where the remake missteps for me is that it uses some pretty silly tropes to keep the group of friends stuck in their hellish environment. One being the horrible car starting and the wheel coming off. The moment happens without the audience ever seeing a possible cause as to how the wheel may have come loose in the first place. So in a moment of levity, the movie quickly throws out the old wheel falling off the van and it still inspires groans all these years on. The remake also contains a ton of goofs that are pretty noticeable throughout the film. A severed leg being massacred yet the next shot is a clean cut. The van having no one in it in the long shots. The dead hitchhiker changing hair color from scene to scene. While distracting, I can look past them and not rip apart the movie too much.

The cinematography in the remake is outstanding. With the original cinematographer, Daniel Pearl returning to the remake was a pretty smart decision. The original having a lower budget and an almost gritty, exploitation feel to it and he returns to shoot the remake where he has a lot more to work with is great. It really shows here. We have a lot of gorgeous landscape shots. Backwoods filled with fog. The shots of the giant creepy house. Almost every shot in the film feels like a beautiful setup or angle. While a pretty gruesome film, I still found a lot of beauty in the way it was shot and looked.

I also thought the acting was solid in the remake. Jessica Biel is Erin our final girl. I love her early noughties where she took on risky roles just to send a big fuck you to the producers of 7th Heaven who wouldn't let her out of her contract. Her role in the remake where she is put through the wringer was a standout leading role for her. She really got to show a lot of suffering here. Not to be upstaged, R. Lee Ermey plays our villain Sheriff Hoyt who basically outshines Leatherface. He's pretty sick and twisted and tortures our group of friends. A big of character actor thrown into the mix.

The supporting cast is also in fine form. Erica Leerhsen as Pepper while getting a pretty lame death scene is one of the best screamers ever in a horror movie. Eric Belfour plays the nice boyfriend of Erin and his final moments in the movie actually hit you in the feels. Mike Vogel is great as Andy. His character is the one who suffers the most. Jonathan Tucker is my least favourite here and I think he is written pretty annoyingly. Lastly, we have Andrew Bryniarski as Leatherface. He's probably the most towering and powerful of the incarnations. He's like an unstoppable force in this film.

Lastly, we come to the gore and violence. Owning the uncut version of the film. This is a pretty grisly remake. From the opening hitchhiker scene to people having their limbs sawn off with a chainsaw or hacked off with a meat cleaver. This movie doesn't ever really shy away. We get some pretty nasty violence and gorehounds should eat this up. Jonathan Tucker being split up through the groin and up the middle with the chainsaw in the uncut version of the movie is the standout moment for me. For being the most annoying character, to see him go out like this was a cheer-worthy moment.



- A hitchhiker pulls a gun out of her vagina and blows her brains out.
- A guy is hit in the head with a sledgehammer.
- A woman is hit in the back with a chainsaw and then hit in the chest.
- Leatherface drops a chainsaw on his thigh cutting into the muscle.
- A man's fingernails break off when being carried downstairs.
- A man's arm is hacked off with a meat cleaver.
- We see a basement full of body parts.
- Skin and flesh are seen hanging on meat hooks.
- A man is shoved onto a meat hook.
- A guy is smacked in the face with a bottle and several teeth fall out.
- A sheriff is repeatedly run over by his own car.
- Someone is stabbed in the chest to end their suffering.
- A man is sawn up the middle with a chainsaw, entrails fall out.
- A man's leg is sawn off with a chainsaw.
- Salt is rubbed into a bloody stump.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake has the honor of being one of my top ten fave horror movie remakes of all time. With beautiful cinematography, a pretty ominous soundtrack, solid performances, bucketloads of gore and some decent suspense. It's one remake that doesn't tarnish the original. The movie has a few missteps when it reverts to some typical horror tropes and a pretty silly bit of book-ending but for the most part, this is a pretty excellent remake that most horror fans should enjoy.