Sunday, April 30, 2017
Saturday, April 29, 2017
DIRECTOR: Chip Gubera
When Jack and Kristy finally decide to meet up after chatting on an online dating app. Kristy surprises Jack by telling him that she's rented a secluded cabin in the woods for them to spend the weekend together. When they arrive, they are greeted with an odd and creepy family that owns the lodge cabin business and their relaxing weekend now descends into a weekend of survival horror. If they plan on surviving, they must get out before it's too late.
Online dating websites and applications have the real possibility of being a genuinely frightening experience. The amount of Grindr, Tinder and Plenty Of Fish screenshots and horror stories that you see posted online, to the real-life stories that I had heard from friends and even experienced for myself makes online dating a real horror story. The scariest aspect of it all is that you never really know who you're a meeting when it comes to that time. It could be a real life killer or the man of my dreams.
Slasher.com plays around with the idea of online dating apps but never really takes it that far. The movie opens with a woman being murdered and we get news reports of a serial killer who is killing women that are using dating apps but that's about it. We are quickly introduced to our two leading characters who meet for the first time and the movie pretty much does away with the whole dating app horror element. Here we have two incredibly annoying characters who have met very quickly and now this is where the movie really begins.
If I had been chatting to a woman on an online dating application and she showed up to my home and told me she had rented a cabin in the woods for a weekend away, I'd be showing her the door. But Jack isn't thinking with the brain in his head and we see our weak-willed man jump in a car and head off into the wilderness to get laid. Now, this is where the movie turns into your typical, run-of-the-mill, fight for survival in the wilderness, backwoods horror story.
Once the movie introduces us to our creepy redneck family, this is where the movie provides us with three of the most repugnant and disgusting characters that I think I've seen so far in a genre film all year. We have a matriarch who likes to masturbate with a spoon and lick it, a father who makes sexual advances towards his daughter (It's never really clear, though) and a daughter who likes to try and sexually harass the visitors to her parent's cabins. There is not one really likeable character in the film. I couldn't find one that I wanted to root for here.
The movie quickly descends into our two characters fighting for survival against the twisted family. The movie really doesn't offer anything new for the first hour and ten minutes. It's people being tortured by rednecks, as people run through the woods and innocent random supporting characters are brutally killed off. It's generic and a story we have seen countless times before. You won't be greeted with anything remotely surprising which made the first three-quarters of this film utterly dull.
At an hour and eleven minutes into the movie is where we get a half decent twist. Due to being so bored by the first hour and ten minutes. I had completely forgotten that the movie opens with the subplot of a serial killer murdering women who the killer has met on an app. This comes back into play and it sort of ties the opening scene to one of our major characters. It's not an original twist by any means and it's been done before but for me, it sort of caught me off guard to the point where I was surprised by it. So for that, I think it deserves a point for at least messing with me.
With this twist being added to the mix, the movie then goes and does away with it by giving us an ending that feels tonally uneven. Had they just had the character reveal play out with the killer going through with the plan he had all along, it may have been darker and more disturbing. Instead, we are given all four characters a ride off into the sunset as one big happy 'new' family that I'm sure was meant to be disturbing but it doesn't come across that way in the film. It's just an odd ending to a film that feels like it tries to throw in several twists after one successful one.
Visually, I think Slasher.com has some nice drone shots. This is a very low budget movie for a vast majority of its running time and you can see they had limited funds. However, I did enjoy a couple of the drone tracking shots. Panning up the side of an apartment complex to panning up off a creek bed really gave this film some visual flourishes. It's just a shame that the director and cinematographer felt the need to use a drone for every second shot as it feels like there is an overabundance of them by the end of the film.
Lastly, I want to talk about the acting. I did not enjoy the performances whatsoever in this film. It doesn't help that not one character is written to be likeable. I found myself by thirty minutes into the movie wanting to see the entire cast killed off. The only actress that I think will stand out in the movie is Jewel Shepard as the evil and villainous mother 'Momma Myers'. She does some twisted stuff in this film and you won't look at spoons the same way again.
DEATH TOLL: 13
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A woman is stabbed to death.
- A captive man is bled out.
- A man is fed another man's blood.
- A woman's dirty panties are used as a gag.
- A police deputy is stabbed in the throat.
- A woman is stabbed in the stomach.
- A man is stabbed up through the chin.
- A man is stabbed in the leg with a pocket knife.
- A man is repeatedly hit in the skull with a rock.
- A woman falls onto a machete.
- A mass grave is found in the woods.
- A man has his throat slashed.
- A man is slashed across the leg and arm.
- A man is stabbed with a branch.
Going into Slasher.com, I didn't know what to expect. With a pretty neat poster, the poster art for the film turns out to be a lot more entertaining than the film itself. Filled with repugnant and gross characters, a boring first hour and ten minutes and terrible acting, a couple of neat visual camera angles and a surprising twist couldn't save this one from being a backwoods horror movie that we've seen a million times before but done a lot better.
Friday, April 28, 2017
Jean Philippe Ferre
Trapped in a damaged and failing cryogenic pod, a man is forced to watch a series of horrific science fiction tales before his life support systems run out.
Going into Galaxy Of Horrors, I was pretty excited to watch it. I'm a firm believer that us horror fans don't get enough horror movie anthologies. So when I first learned that Galaxy Of Horrors was a horror anthology movie that blended both science fiction and horror. I was ready to see what nasty little short films they could come up with as the possibilities seemed endless. In space, no one can hear you scream and I was hoping for some solid space horror.
One of the most important things in a horror movie anthology are those wraparound segments. I think for the movie to be somewhat successful, you need the short films to be connected by some form of story and Galaxy Of Horrors does a pretty neat job of connecting all the segments. The fact that our main character is slowly dying in a cryogenic pod while having to be subjected to horrific videos and images worked well. It added its own element of horror.
EDEN: The first short, Eden comes flying out of the gate. We have an Earth that is covered in a poisonous air, warring factions, political parties and infected zombies. While the short film is a fast paced and at times bloody affair, it feels a little all over the place. The short film has so much packed into such a short amount of time that it could've been stretched out into a feature film and it probably would've faired a lot better. As a short, it feels overstuffed and underwhelming.
IRIS: The second short film is my second favourite segment in Galaxy Of Horrors. It's a simple story of a serial killer burying a woman's body in the woods. Only the horrific twist is that his phone's intelligent assistant 'Iris' has been watching his every move. With a character who shows no remorse for his evil crimes, it may be a piece of A.I. that has a conscience and starts to dish out its own brand of justice. While slower in comparison to Eden, this is a much more clever and savvy little short. The karma filled ending is a cheer worthy moment.
FLESH COMPUTER: The third segment of Galaxy Of Horror is a prime example of style over substance. For me, this was all about the visuals on display. With imagery that felt reminiscent of David Cronenberg with the flesh computer to a nice scene involving a fly being crushed by a hand in close up, slow motion was neat. While the CGI is pretty underwhelming, I did enjoy what they tried to do on a budget they had. Light on story but heavy on the visuals.
PATHOS: This is my favourite of all eight segments. Pathos is easily the most visually striking of the lot and has the most interesting and intense of all the stories. A time bomb waiting to happen in terms of pace. I think my favourite aspect of this segment is that it feels like the brainchild of visionary director Jean-Pierre Jeunet who directed the great Delicatessen, City Of Lost Children, Amelie, Alien: Resurrection and A Very Long Engagement. Just a visual feast for the senses.
EVELESS: The shortest of all segments packs one of the mightiest punches. A short about a world where women no longer exist and two men are trying to create one. It's one part Children Of Men with the futuristic vision that I'd expect from director Vincenzo Natali. While not heavy on visuals, this is a dark, bleak and visceral little segment with one of the most gruesome looking C-Section scenes I think I've seen since the French shocker Inside.
THEY WILL ALL DIE IN SPACE: On my first viewing of this segment, this was my least favourite and least memorable of the lot. I had to rewatch it again before I did my review as I didn't remember much about it. On second viewing, this was a lot more horrific than I remembered. The grandest in terms of scope delivers one of the nastiest little reveals of what happens when you run out of food on an adrift space ship. An enjoyable segment where less is more.
ENTITY: When a female astronaut is ejected from her vessel after it blows up in deep space. She is left to drift through the vast darkness of space. What starts out as eerie isolation becomes more sinister as she comes into contact with something evil. This is another short that is simply gorgeous to watch. Planets, black holes and big bursts of bright colours make this a beautiful segment to witness. When it comes to the story though, it left little to be desired.
KINGZ: The final segment Kingz is one of the more high-octane and action-packed segments. While the short has a lot of violence and some solid gore, it left me cold. The characters in the short left little to be desired and the final few seconds with the alien creature reveal felt a little lacklustre. Like the first segment Eden, this is so fast paced and opens and closes the anthology with a bang but it all feels bookended with the least ambitious of the segments.
DEATH TOLL: 16
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A soldier is shot in the eye.
- Two news anchors shoot themselves in the head on live TV.
- A naked woman vomits up blood all over a group of doctors and walls.
- Soldiers are eaten by a zombie.
- An alien creature bursts out of a man's body.
- Someone is repeatedly sliced with blades.
- A drone drills into a man's skull.
- A man has a C-Section and a baby removed.
- Someone has a hole punched through their chest.
- Someone's neck is snapped when hit with a shotgun.
- A man is stabbed in the neck with a knife.
- A man is stabbed in the chest with a screw driver.
- A man has his fingers severed when someone stomps on them.
- A man falls off a cliff and smashed his head against a rock.
- A computer's laser dissolves a full grown man.
- A man is disconnected from a computer and dies.
- A man is killed with a shotgun blast to the skull.
- An infected man blows himself and a soldier up.
- The president is shot in the head by a small child.
- A man is seen dragging a dead body through the forest.
Galaxy Of Horrors is an enjoyable horror movie anthology for the most part. I found that Pathos, Eveless and Iris were the standout segments for me. Kingz, Eden and Flesh Computer were my least favourite of the segments. They Will All Die In Space and Entity both showed promise but had their flaws. Each segment in this anthology has positives and negatives. Still, for an hour and forty minutes, you could do worse than this anthology.
Thursday, April 27, 2017
DIRECTOR: Colin Minihan
As the zombie apocalypse begins in the city of Las Vegas. A troubled woman and her gangster boyfriend who are driving through the desert get their car get lodged in the sand. Going nowhere fast, all Hell breaks loose when a lone zombie manages to find them and kill her boyfriend. Molly must now fight for survival against a zombie on her trail and the harsh Vegas desert.
In today's current horror climate, the zombie film is no longer a rarity. With at least four hugely successful TV shows and a slew of zombie films making their way onto DVD or cinema screens, they are very much apart of today's popular culture. You can't swing an axe without knocking over at least one or two zombie movies every month. So It Stains The Sands Red, welcome to the overpopulated chopping block.
I'll be the first to admit that It Stains The Sands Red felt pretty refreshing when being compared to a lot of other zombie films. Gone are the huge desolate city street shots and hordes of flesh eating zombies that we've all come to know and love and they've been replaced with only a handful of characters and a harsh and unforgiving desert setting. This is one of the more low-key zombie films that I think I've seen in recent years and for that, I think I enjoyed it more than I thought I would before seeing it.
After watching It Stains The Sands Red. I feel like this could've been the next chapter in the undead life of Bub the Zombie from George A. Romero's Day Of The Dead. If he had escaped the underground compound and roamed the desert in search of human flesh. Some of his intelligence may have subsided due to years of roaming a desolate landscape without much sustenance. This is just my fun little theory as I thought the zombie character of Smalls showed signs of intelligence and emotion and I really liked that about this film.
Now we come to the character of Molly. A troubled woman with a dark past. At first, I thought she was annoying. As the film went on, I started to really like her. I thought that even though some of her methods of escaping death were pretty disgusting, she was still resourceful and pretty smart. There is one scene involving a tampon that is easily one of the most stomach churning scenes in the film and now joins Tonight She Comes in delivering one of the more disturbing scenes in horror involving a bloody tampon and menstruation.
What I really found myself enjoying over the course of the film was the relationship between Molly and Smalls. What starts out as sheer terror and survival, slowly grows into something resembling a friendship. I like that they both relied on each other and after a while, they can't see their existence going on if the other one isn't around. It almost felt like a Stockholm Syndrome sort of situation happening. I do like that the filmmakers also kept the threat of Smalls being a monster who may turn on Molly. It kept that sense of uncertainty around the entire time.
Now, this movie isn't without its issues. The first being that early on, Molly could have done away with Smalls many times. We see her character hop up onto rocks and onto higher ground to escape his clutch. With many huge rocks around and her at a large advantage, why not bust his skull open and eliminate the threat? We wouldn't have had a movie if she had taken that route but it would've saved her a lot of energy and time had she just killed him early on. She would've been able to focus on other things other than that flesh eating zombie that is after her.
We also have several characters who come into contact with Molly and Smalls. We have annoying army officers, the band of highway criminals who end up raping Molly in a pretty nasty little scene and several others who come and go without much of an introduction. Besides Molly and Smalls, we aren't given much in the way of character development so we don't have anyone to root for besides our two main characters. Even with flashbacks to Molly's past and the ending, I didn't care for her finding her son or even if he was alive or dead.
Visually, I found It Stains The Sand Red to be rather impressive for such a low budget Zombie movie. I think they used their desert location well and got the most out it. We get a lot of gorgeous scenic landscape shots. I think they also used a lot of creative drone angles from above. The opening pan through Las Vegas was very memorable. I also thought that the make-up effects in the film were well done. One scene involving a zombie chewing off someone's face was incredibly well done.
Lastly, when it comes to the acting, I thought the acting was pretty good. At first, it took me a while to warm up to Brittany Allen. Her character comes across as pretty annoying and abrasive at first but as the film goes on, I started to really enjoy her resourcefulness. I think by the time the film finds its rhythm, I wanted to see this woman survive. Juan Riedinger as Smalls the zombie gives us a lot of emotion under all that zombie makeup. I found that I also cared for his character.
DEATH TOLL: 7
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A zombie is shot in the chest and neck.
- A man has his neck torn out by a zombie.
- A zombie chews on a man's intestines.
- A zombie eats a bloody tampon.
- We see a burnt and charred corpse.
- A man is seen with his brains bashed in by a rolling pin.
- A woman uses a power drill to drill right through a zombies forehead.
- A woman severs her infected finger with a rock.
- A zombie has its face bashed in with a wrench.
- A zombie has its head crushed with a rock.
- A woman is raped.
- A man's neck and face are ripped open by a zombie.
While It Stains The Sands Red has its issues with questionable character decisions, little to no character development for any of the supporting characters and our lead going from one scenario to another without much of a plot, this still felt refreshing in a sub genre that feels very oversaturated. A low budget zombie film with plenty of neat visual tricks and some solid gore. It's a testament to the writers on have us caring for an actual zombie just as much as our heroine. I recommend this just for something different when it comes to the zombie film.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017
DIRECTOR: Jordan Peele
WRITER: Jordan Peele
Caleb Landry Jones
Chris and Rose are a young interracial couple who are in love. When Rose takes Chris to meet her parents at their rural estate somewhere upstate, they are happy to learn that her parents seem very accepting of their relationship. When her parents spring a friendly soirée on the couple, things start to become increasingly uncomfortable and bizarre. Chris starts to think the family may be harbouring a much darker secret.
I was, unfortunately, one of the only people this year to miss Jordan Peele's critically lauded low budget psychological horror film on the big screen. When it was released to such overwhelmingly positive reviews and a huge box office take. I felt like all the hype may have been a bit much. I kept putting it off until it was too late. Missing this movie on the big screen was a serious error on my part because after I watched it, I was completely blown away and think it would have been great with an audience.
I'll start my review with the negative of Get Out. There is so much to love about this film and so little to dislike about it, that I want to get what I thought was the bad out of the way first. We have a character in this film who is the best friend of our leading character who is also the comic relief. On one hand, he's fantastic as he appears to be the voice of reason who is trying to get our lead character to understand the situation he has gotten himself into but on the other hand, he feels like he's also there to crack jokes as some form of levity which felt uneven at times.
What works so well in Get Out first and foremost is that this movie gets under your skin from the very first scene and never removes itself once there. This is one of the most thoroughly uncomfortable experiences that I've had watching a movie in a very long time. It never once feels perverse or gratuitous in what's happening on screen but just from what is happening in today's social and political climate, the themes in this movie feel very confronting and this makes the experience very uncomfortable to watch for our lead character.
When it comes to the suspense and tension, I think the movie is extremely successful in building both. I think Jordan Peele has moved away from giving the audience cheap jump scares and just slowly built the tension up. As the lead character becomes more suspicious with his new surroundings, we the audience are right there with him as he starts to feel his racial paranoia build. I think this speaks volumes and is a testament to Jordan Peele's screenplay and his love for horror cinema.
While Get Out starts to delve into the weirder stuff early on with the hypnosis scene, shit doesn't really hit the fan until we have the reveal at an hour and ten minutes into the film. This is where the movie starts to go haywire for our leading character. While I guessed the reveal pretty early on. I must commend Jordan Peele for crafting one of the most sinister character reveals that I think I've seen in a genre film all year. Just the scene with the keys and the switch up with the character chilled me to my core even though I was expecting it.
One thing that I wasn't expecting from Get Out was the third act to be so violent and bloody. While not as extreme in comparison to a lot of horror movies today. I was so invested in the well-built tension that I was expecting this to be more suspense and low-key but was pleasantly surprised when the blood started to flow. This delivers a few nasty little surprises. One scene that involved a set of deer antlers was a cheer-worthy moment. Every single time someone is killed in this film, I was eating it up. Easy to enjoy when everyone is so despicable.
The acting in the film is excellent. Daniel Kaluuya is an actor that I wasn't aware of until Get Out. With 40 credits to his name and movies that I've seen, I feel pretty ashamed that I didn't notice him because he is a fantastic lead. I suspect after Get Out, he will be everywhere. Allison Williams who I'm well aware from her time as Marnie on Girls is also great in this film. [SPOILERS] Come time for all those end of year lists, her character will be listed on some of those Best Villain lists. She has the best reveal in the film. It was fun to watch her play more evil and sinister.
The supporting cast is rounded out by the incredibly talented Catherine Keener who plays the matriarch of the family. A woman who is warm and welcoming but as the film goes on, you grow to hate this woman. I thought Catherine Keener looked like she was having an absolute blast with this role. Bradley Whitford was also fantastic as the surgeon, husband and father. I thought his character was the most uncomfortable to watch as he was trying to be cool around Chris but he looks like he also had a really fun time playing this character.
Lastly, I think Get Out on a visual level is excellent. I think for a first-time filmmaker, Jordan Peele has an excellent eye for visuals. A lot of this film looks gorgeous. The scenes where Daniel Kaluuya is strapped to the seat while watching the TV. I thought they gave me serious Kubrick or Lynch vibes. While not going as weird as those two filmmakers, he has given us something extremely original in concept. I also need to mention that the soundtrack and score are fantastic in this film.
DEATH TOLL: 7
BLOOD AND GORE:
- A lady hits a deer with her car.
- A man is choked out and kidnapped.
- A man's nose starts bleeding.
- Someone's skull is surgically removed and the skull cap is thrown in a bucket.
- A woman is hit by a car.
- A man blows his own head off with a rifle.
- A woman is shot in the stomach.
- Someone is hit in the head with a ball twice, bleeds out.
- Someone is stabbed in the throat with mounted deer antlers.
- A man is stabbed in the hand with a letter opener.
- A man who is in surgery burns to death.
- A woman smashes her head into the car dashboard when it crashes.
- Someone has their head stomped on.
- A man is stabbed in the leg with a letter opener.
- A woman is stabbed in the eye with a letter opener.
Get Out is a movie that lives up to the hype. Jordan Peele has delivered what I think is pretty close to a perfect film. The movie is a psychological masterpiece. The movie gives us enough sharp social satire that feels very relevant in today's political climate. The movie also has enough tension, suspense and bloodshed to keep all horror fans happy. Boasting a fantastic cast and some excellent visuals, I can't wait to see what Jordan Peele does next and I hope it's another horror film.