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Kingp35's Horror Viewing Log



  • Heartless

    Jim Sturgess plays Jamie, a young man with a disfigured face and body due to large purple birth marks. He slowly becomes convinced that there are demons roaming the streets of London and eventually ends up making a deal with a demon to rid him of his disfigurement to allow him to fall in love. The problem is that Jamie is tricked and must now kill someone as his part of the bargain. Having started a relationship with the beautiful Tia, he must decide whether to hold up his part of the bargain to keep his new face or is there something else happening in Jamie’s world that he doesn’t yet understand.

    First things first, Heartless is a beautifully shot film full of wonderful photography and great scenes of London. It’s very much a dark film in parts as well as being a tale about love and depression and how someone sees himself and how that differs to other people’s views. It’s excellently acted and is very much a thinking person’s film so it’s quite amazing that I just couldn’t get into it. At 114 minutes long and with a slow pace it was a hard watch at times which led to periods of boredom. Some scenes were very drawn out at times were a little too artistic for what the film is. It’s all a little muddled in the final half hour and I found myself checking the timer to see how long was left. The horror elements are done very well and the film is populated by interesting characters but the slow pace and the mixing of so many genres made it a very difficult film to watch.

    Heartless is a film with many good elements but also many bad, it’s beautiful to look at but far too slow with a somewhat muddled plot. Definitely not a bad film, it’s one that will be enjoyed by certain people and endured by others.


  • The Blob (1988)

    The basic plot is almost identical the 1950’s original; an asteroid carrying a blob of red jelly crash lands on earth. The blob turns out to be alive and less than friendly as it begins to attack and eat the local population by dissolving them which in turn makes the blob even bigger. It’s up the local thug and a few friends to try and save the townsfolk from being devoured.

    The 1958 original was a largely cheesy effort but this remake is a darker film that has much more blood and guts and less of the camp value. It’s very much a rough remake with only the main plotline staying the same, all characters and situations are different. This is by no means bad thing as it allows for the blob to be a much more menacing creature than in the original as it stalks it’s victims throughout the town, including the sewer system. The practical effects are all very good and there is plenty of gore to be found here. The pace of the film is excellent as our creature never lets up his attack providing great entertainment throughout. The only real down point is the explanation of what the blob is, it simply wasn’t needed and tainted an otherwise decent remake.

    The Blob is an entertaining film throughout as our titular creature feasts through the townsfolk is plenty of gory ways. The ending is a little anti-climatic but this is a solid remake that’s well worth the watch.


  • Mega Piranha

    I can only assume that anyone who chooses to watch a film entitled Mega Piranha has a fair idea of what to expect, that is terrible dialogue, awful CGI and ridiculous scene after ridiculous scene. If you do watch it with these expectations then there is plenty of fun to be had here as you will laugh your way through this intentionally stupid film.

    A group of American scientists are genetically engineering piranha in the Orinoco river in order to help feed people by improving the food chain, this automatically makes them the dumbest scientists of all time. Needless to say things get out of hand and the piranha start to chomp on the local population. In steps our muscular special forces hero to try and save the day along with 80’s pop princess Tiffany as one of the scientists. Not only do they have deal with the piranha that are getting exponentially bigger and heading for Florida, they must also overcome the local military leader who is hell bent on solving the problem by blowing up the ferocious fish.

    Everything about this film is utterly ludicrous, from the insane plot, the countless plot holes, the terrible acting and awful CGI but it all adds up to a gleefully entertaining 90 minutes (after a beer or two of course). Some of the scenes are jaw droppingly stupid as giant piranha jump from the river and crash into buildings which duly explode as well as our muscular hero standing still and kicking countless fish that jump from the river to attack. It’s all purposefully over the top, and you can’t help but laugh at sheer number of times the piranha from being huge t being small again for no apparent reason. There is one downside though and that is the very lazy ending. It’s hard to be critical when a film is this stupid but it makes no sense and is very anti-climatic and will undoubtedly leave you a little angry.

    The Asylum have yet again created another ridiculous film that is so bad you can’t help but be entertained. Great film to have a few beers and laugh at, just try not to be too annoyed by the ending!


  • Skeleton Key

    Caroline Ellis (Kate Hudson) is a New Orleans caregiver who helps people who are dying to live out their days comfortably. She decides to take a job looking after a stroke victim in an old mansion in the countryside but soon finds out that the house has a dark past concerning practitioners of Hoodoo, the African American art of magic.

    The Skeleton Key is certainly not an original film in that it’s very much a by the numbers supernatural horror film plot but it’s still very much an interesting story that is slowly revealed throughout the films running time. Yes it’s predictable at times but there are enough twists and turns to hold your attention to the end. Its main problem is that for a horror film it’s just not frightening enough. There is no creepy atmosphere which is disappointing given the films setting, all we get is the usual jump scenes. It’s clear that director Iain Softley was focusing on his storytelling and in that regard the film is a success but in order for it to a really good horror film it needed a little more in the scare department.

    The Skeleton Key has an interesting plot involving Hoodoo and quite a good ending but horror fans will be disappointed with the lack of scares to be found here. It’s well worth the watch for the largely engaging story though.


  • The Loved Ones

    The story is excellent; Brent is a teenage boy who was behind the wheel of the car involved in a crash that killed his father. Six months later and he is struggling with life but has himself a nice girlfriend. Lola, a shy girl from school, asks him to the dance but he refuses due to his girlfriend. It turns out that Lola and her father are downright crazy so they kidnap Brent and force him into taking part in a private dance at Lola’s house. What happens next is extremely violent but gripping stuff as Brent finds out just what the family has been up to and desperately tries to survive his ordeal.

    The Loved Ones is in no way your typical horror film; it’s wonderfully written, beautiful to look at, has an excellent soundtrack and contains some incredibly twisted and violent antagonists. The main plot focuses on Brent and Lola but there is also a sub plot involving Brent’s best friend and his date with a depressed girl that leads to film to be a strange mix between an 80’s teen drama and an ultra-violent horror film. The gore is excellently done and certainly not for the squeamish although the Loved Ones is certainly no torture porn film as it has a touching side to it and a wonderfully written story. Lola and her father are incredibly twisted people and there are plenty of shocking scenes in the house, one such scene involving a drill is particularly graphic. The pace is quite slow but this allows you to fully appreciate the story as it slowly unfolds to an excellent ending.

    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that The Loved Ones is the best horror film of 2010; brilliantly written, great story and extreme violence used in an intelligent way, make sure you check it out.


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  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

    The storyline is very simple, four teenagers are traveling across America before two of them head off to the Vietnam War but they end up in a car crash. Along comes a crazy man masquerading as a sheriff who takes our teenagers to his house to allow his deformed adopted son, who his wife found abandoned in a rubbish bin as a baby, to cut them up and serve to his family as food. Can our protagonists escape from Leatherface and his crazy family? Well as it’s a prequel I think you already know the answer to that question!

    As well as the fact that we know all the characters are going to die which makes the film devoid of tension and suspense, there are a number of other problems with this prequel. First of all it’s supposed to tell us how Leatherface became the crazy killer of the original film but instead we are treated to a couple of meager scenes at the beginning which tell us precisely nothing. Secondly Leatherface is very much a secondary character here behind R. Lee Emery’s crazy father and has very little screen time. Don’t get me wrong, Emery is terrific and extremely menacing as the cannibalistic dad but Leatherface is the star of the series and most people will watch this film hoping to see his origin story and him chopping up a load of teenagers. He eventually does do this but it’s at the very end of the film with him hardly making an appearance during the previous 80 minutes. Despite problems there is much to be admired here; the gore is full on which makes for an incredibly violent and intense film. There is no CGI to be found here and the practical effects all look great. It’s well directed and acted, especially by Emery who really steals the show. There is a great pace to the film with plenty of action and violence that will no doubt make many people squirm and this all adds up to entertaining film. Sadly the lack of Leatherface means that this doesn’t feel like a Texas Chainsaw film until the final 15 minutes.

    Plenty of problems riddle this prequel and a lack of Leatherface is a seriously bad decision by the writers but R. Lee Emery almost single handedly saves the film by putting in a truly menacing performance. Plenty of action and violence and a good pace make for a decent film but it could and should have been much better. We still have no idea how this cannibalistic family came to be.


  • The Rig

    Your typical B-Movie setup is the name of the game here; a major storm strands a skeleton crew of workers on an oil rig who unwittingly unleash a creature from the bottom of the sea while drilling. Said creature is hungry after all those years of doing nothing and decides to feast on the rigs crew.

    There is nothing wrong with the setup; the problem is with the execution. First off the creature is more akin to a goblin than a sea creature as it walks, runs and jumps after the crew. This was a major disappointment as a giant sea creature attacking a rig would have been much more fun. The next problem is that the film is far too serious for its own good, surely the film makers knew that anyone who watches a film like this would be expecting a ridiculous over the top B-Movie that they can laugh at but sadly there is no tongue in cheek scenes or cheese to be found here bar the very silly ending. As for the action, it’s mostly poor as the kills mainly happen off the screen with the usual blood spatters on the wall. Kudos must be given for the decision not to use CGI but as the budget is so small the man in a rubber suit doesn’t feature that often but when we actually get to see the creature it does look good.

    The Rig is mildly entertaining for the final half hour but the rest of it mostly consists of rubbish acting and off screen kills. You’re better off avoiding this one.


  • Wind Chill

    Emily Blunt plays a girl who is travelling home for Christmas and decides to put up a sign looking for someone to share a car with. In steps our guy, played by Ashton Holmes, who claims in lives in the same town offers to drive her home. It quickly becomes apparent that he has ulterior motives, and after he takes a typical horror film short cut through the woods, our girl starts to become nervous. They end up getting run off the road and stuck in the car with temperatures reaching as low as minus 30F. Desperately trying to stay warm, ghostly figures start to appear and haunt the two which seems to have something to do with an accident which happened on the road years before.

    Produced by George Clooney and Steven Soderberg, Wind Chill is an excellently made film that’s both well written and acted. The first half of the film is focused on Holmes crazed obsession with the girl and he is suitably strange as a stalker. You’re never quite sure if he is dangerous or not until the film gets into the second half and the supernatural elements kick in. From this point on there is a great creepy atmosphere as the mystery unfolds and the two are haunted by various ghosts. There are some effective jump scenes and the story is never too predictable. The effects are good and one ghost in particular is quite menacing.

    Yes Emily Blunts character is a little annoying at times and some of the decisions made are extremely questionable but Wind Chill is a solid supernatural horror film that has a strong plot and plenty of ghostly happenings. It’s definitely a recommended watch on a cold dark night.


  • Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet

    There is nothing even slightly new or original about this low budget slasher, in fact it’s chock full of every cliché you can think of, but it’s precisely these facts that make Blood Night a fun and entertaining watch for fans of silly slasher films.

    The plot revolves around the urban legend of Mary Hatchet, a woman who butchered her entire family. When she was only 12 years old, Mary murdered countless orderlies during an escape attempt from a mental hospital before being shot dead. Local teenagers celebrate Blood Night every year on the anniversary of her rampage but when a group of them use a Ouija board at her graveside they may have brought the crazed killer back from the dead as they begin to be brutally murdered at a Halloween party.

    There is no denying that the acting is pretty awful, the characters are all cardboard cutouts, every cliché in the book is used and the identity of the killer is pretty obvious but despite these things Blood Night still manages to be entertaining for the simple reason that it never takes itself seriously. The entire film is tongue in cheek and it’s a real throwback to those trashy 80’s slasher films. There is plenty of gore to be found here, most of which is done using practical effects, and most of the kills are quite funny. The plot is very predictable and maybe there is too much filler in the opening half but if you realise that you are going to be watching a light hearted slasher film then you can do worse than grab a few beers and give this a watch. There aren’t many slasher films where the killer is a woman who spends most of her time naked!


  • High Lane (Vertige)

    Five friends head off on a mountain climbing expedition in Croatia but once they get to their starting point they find the trail closed. Just like any good horror group they decide to do it anyway which leads to them becoming trapped on the mountain and stalked by a your staple horror character, the deformed crazy cannibal.

    There isn’t an ounce of originality to be found here, it’s essentially the French version of The Hills Have Eyes, but it’s so well filmed that this doesn’t matter at all. The first half an hour plays out as a simple climbing film with some excellent cinematography. We are introduced to our characters and the various tensions that exist between them. It’s about half way through that our deformed mountain man turns up and starts to track our group. To say he is intense is an understatement; he is a truly menacing character that is hell bent on dishing out as much pain as possible. Yes there are plenty of stupid decisions made which may have you shouting at the screen but there is lots of gore and suspense to keep you watching and the action is all excellently filmed. The pace of the film is perfect as it zips along and with the running time being only 80 minutes you will never get bored.

    High Lane is a good entry into the deformed mountain man genre with some nice action and gore and great cinematography. Yes characters make stupid decisions but the films pace and an excellent bad guy make for an entertaining watch.


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  • Cherry Tree Lane

    Christine and Michael are your normal everyday married couple who are sitting down to dinner after a hard day’s work. Unfortunately for them, three local teenage boys burst into their home, beat Michael up badly and tape him up as well as tapping up Christine. They claim the couple’s son has ratted out one of their cousins and they are waiting in the house to slit his throat. It’s up to the parents to think of a way to save their son.

    The opening half an hour is excellent; the two main characters are perfectly developed as being a married couple who are having troubles in their relationship. The attack is excellently filmed as the youths burst into the house and subdue the two of them before settling down to their waiting game. It’s the utterly calm manner in which they orchestrate the attack which is the most chilling and it’s portrayed very realistically. The next half hour is where the film struggles as the pace slows to down to a crawl as our kidnappers hold conversations among themselves. It picks up again in the last act as one of the attackers takes a liking to the wife and the son comes home forcing the father to try and save the day. The acting is quite strong from all involved and the realistic plot works very well in patches but it’s the mid section that drags the film down and leaves it being just an average home invasion film.

    Certainly disturbing at times due to its subject matter, Cherry Tree Lane is a film with both good and bad parts and ends being a worthy entry to the home invasion sub genre. It’s quite frightening to think that this kind of situation could happen to any one of us at any time.


  • Dorothy Mills

    Jane Morton, a Dublin based psychiatrist, is sent to small Irish island village to work on the case of Dorothy Mills, a young girl who tried to strangle a baby. After Jane is involved in a car crash, she begins to notice a number of strange events happening around the village. She eventually diagnosis Dorothy as having multiple personality disorder but it eventually seems as if something much more supernatural is at play.

    The thing that stood out the most for me about Dorothy Mills is how Irish life was portrayed in the film, it seems as if our French director thinks Ireland is stuck in the dark ages and modern life is yet to reach us. With this annoying gripe out of the way, Dorothy Mills is a solid enough film with plenty of good moments but also long stretches of nothing. There is a very good story in there, particularly the excellent ending, but it’s not handled very well by the director and could have been much more interesting if done better. The film is not even remotely frightening and lacks a creepy atmosphere; at least one of these is needed for a truly great horror film. It’s well acted for the most part, Jenn Murray as Dorothy plays her multiple personalities very well, but in the end there is just something missing to make this a truly engaging watch.

    Dorothy Mills is proof that having a good story is only half the battle, a slow midsection and a complete lack of scares drags it down to average standard. A solid opening and a great final 15 minutes make it well worth a watch though.


  • Mirrors 2

    The plot of this sequel has almost nothing to do with the original bar the setting being the same, the Mayflower shopping centre. Nick Stahl plays Max, a man who has recently lost his fiancé in a car crash and who is suffering from depression and hallucinations. His dad has recently bought the Mayflower so offers him a job as a night watchman. Max begins to see visions of a dead woman in the Mayflower’s mirrors and also visions of the future deaths of two employees. It seems as if these visions are related to the disappearance of a former employee who is calling out to Max for help.

    The opening half an hour of this sequel is excellent; we get three deaths with top quality gore effects and an interesting opening story. Unfortunately it then simply grinds to halt and fails to pick up until the final ten minutes. What starts out as an interesting and gory film transforms into a completely unoriginal and predictable supernatural horror film with the dead woman calling from beyond the grave for help in catching her killer. The entire midsection is devoid of action or scares as our hero tries to unravel the mystery behind his visions. It all leads to a predictable conclusion that will have you yawning with boredom. This sequel does have some redeeming qualities though, the first half an hour is very good, the acting is solid and the production values are excellent. It’s the seen it all before story and the slow midsection that drag this film down.

    Mirrors 2 is a passable direct to DVD sequel that offers a few nice kills but an unoriginal and predictable plot. Hopefully this ends up being the last entry into the series.


  • The Most Dangerous Game

    The hugely influential plot tells the story of an insane hunter who has become bored hunting animals so he takes it upon himself to buy a remote island, lure ships onto the rocks and then indulges in a spot of hunting of the survivors of the wrecks. When a fellow hunter, and a famous one at that, becomes wrecked on his island, it ends up being a showdown between the two hunters as well as a beautiful woman who had been shipwrecked previously.

    There is no doubt that The Most Dangerous Game has inspired countless imitations throughout the years, the simple premise of an insane hunter capturing and hunting humans is ripe for entertainment. This short 1932 film, it’s only 63 minutes long, is great fun as our insane hunter is suitably demented with a silly Russian accent, our hero hunter is a posh British gentleman and the beautiful Fay Wray plays the damsel in distress. The sets are excellent, so much so that they would be used again in King Kong. The action is filmed quite well and although it’s certainly predictable it’s still good fun to watch the hunt unfold. It’s a film full of retro black and white style and really one well ahead of its time.

    Without The Most Dangerous Game it would be possible that countless horror action films would never have been made. Great fun with an over the top villain and excellent sets, it’s certainly worth a watch to see how action horror films were made in the 1930’s.


  • Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

    Set in the Korvatunturi Mountain’s of Finland, a team of scientists have discovered something buried deep within one of the mountains. A young Finnish boy called Pietari is convinced that is Santa Claus, and not the loveable one of western culture but the evil Santa who dishes out severe punishment to naughty boys. A series of events leads to Pietari, his father and a few friends coming face to face with the man from the mountain that seems to be every bit as bad as Pietari thought. It’s up to the young boy to become a man and help save his father and friends.

    Beautifully shot and well acted, Rare Exports is almost a perfect film in that it’s funny, and touching, action packed and truly an original take on the origins of Santa Claus. It’s very well written with a touching relationship between father and son at its core. The coming of age of the boy is great to watch and you can’t help but cheer him on. It is very funny at times but perhaps the tonal shifts between dark and brooding to light and slapstick comedy will be too much for some people. The effects are good and the Santa from the mountain looks truly menacing. The final 20 minutes have some great action scenes that are interspersed with moments of comedy to produce great entertainment. The only real flaw with the film is that it promises a pay off that never materialises. Whether this was due to budgetary constraints or otherwise it still leaves a slightly sour taste in the mouth and drags the film down a couple of notches.

    Rare Exports is a truly original film and the best Christmas film of the last 5 years. Dark and tense at times but funny at others with a very well written coming of age story, you’ll feel the same way about Santa again.


  • And Soon The Darkness (2010)

    Two American girls are on a bike trip through remote Argentina and happen upon a small rural town. After they miss there connecting bus, they get into an argument which leads to them splitting up. One of the girls then goes missing and it seems as if she is only one of an ever increasing number. It’s up to her friend and a fellow American to try and find the girl and uncover the truth behind the disappearances.

    I will admit that I have never seen the 1970 original but I can only imagine that it is much more interesting than this. Even taking away the predictable and completely unoriginal plot, there is still nothing to recommend here. The story plods along at a slow pace with long stretches of almost nothing happening. It takes a good half an hour of filler before the main story gets under way and even then there is very little in the way of horror or exciting moments. The entire film is completely toothless and is almost entirely devoid of action and tension. There are some beautiful shots of the Argentinean landscape and a somewhat interesting final twenty minutes but it’s not enough to make up for the largely boring opening seventy. The incredibly obvious twist will only insult your intelligence and annoy you even more.

    And Soon The Darkness is a toothless horror/thriller that’s almost entirely devoid of horror and thrills. Well shot and acted but largely boring, you’re better off avoiding this one.


  • Going to Pieces - The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film

    The Slasher film is probably the most popular and well known sub-genre of horror film so it isn’t a great surprise that a documentary charting the various ups and downs of the sub-genre has been created.

    The documentary charts the complete history of the genre starting from the late 50’s to early 60’s all the way up to the 90’s revival but mainly focusing on the 80’s when slashers were hugely popular at the start of the decade but less so by the end. There are a number of interviews with slasher legends such as Wes Craven and John Carpenter and it’s generally very well made and informative. My only real issue with the documentary is that unless you have seen every film that’s featured then it’s best to have the fast forward button ready because there are plenty of spoilers ahead!

    If you’re a fan of the sub-genre then it’s definitely worth a watch as it provides plenty of information about many of the much loved slashers. A nice watch but certainly nothing groundbreaking.


  • Creepshow 2

    Creepshow 2 is the follow up to the reasonably popular anthology film of 1982.

    The first entry tells the story of a general store owner in a dilapidated and down on its luck American Town. The store owner owns a life-size wooden statue of an Indian which is his pride and joy. After a bunch of hoodlums break into the shop, steal a number of items and kill the shop owner and his wife, the statue comes alive to kill those responsible. Entirely devoid of horror, extremely predictable and downright boring, it’s a poor effort and very bad start to the film.

    The second entry is by far the best; four teenagers head off on a swimming trip to an isolated lake as they know it has a raft in the middle to swim to. Unfortunately for then there seems to be some sort of organism floating on top of the water that is intend on eating the teenagers by slowly devouring them. After one of them is caught, the other three are caught on the raft and must try to escape. It’s a great 50’s sci-fi plot with some nice gore and plenty of tension. It’s a great throwback to films of the past and by far the most entertaining segment.

    The third segment is distinctly average; a woman is on her way home after spending the night with a male prostitute when she accidently knocks down a hitchhiker and speeds off. Turns out the hitchhiker has the ability to come back from the dead and attacks her while she tries to get home in an ever increasingly grotesque form. The story is nothing new but there is some nice gore effects and horror action to provide some entertainment but it’s all distinctly average.

    In the end Creepshow 2 is a much inferior sequel, you’re better off skipping the first segment altogether and enjoying the last two which will provide you with some nice entertainment.


  • Black Swan

    Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) is a completely committed ballet dancer that yearns for perfection and the role of the swan queen in the upcoming production of Swan Lake. Her ballet teacher thinks she is perfect for the role of the delicate white swan but is unsure about her ability to play the dark and twisted role of the black swan. Despite his reservations, he casts her in the lead anyway which ultimately leads to Nina slowly losing her mind as she becomes more and more like the black swan due to her relentless pursuit for perfection.

    There is absolutely no doubting the visual and technical perfection of this film, Arnofsky has got it absolutely spot on from start to finish. It’s a beautiful looking film with an underlying intensity throughout that makes use of colours to enhance the storytelling. It’s quite hard to define just what genre Black Swan fits into, there are elements of drama but also elements of horror when Nina begins to lose her mind and suffers frightening hallucinations. The visuals pertaining to these hallucinations are wonderfully executed and will certainly have many hiding behind their hands. The acting is great from all but especially from Portman who really loses herself in the role and is an absolute nailed on certainty to win an Oscar. The only problem with Black Swan is with the opening half an hour, it is just too slow in building up the story and is largely uninteresting. Perhaps it was the huge amount of praise heaped on the film that I expected it to be a masterpiece straight from the start but unfortunately the opening act is largely un-engaging which ends up dragging the films status down a couple of notches. When the story really kicks in it is fantastic with a brilliant, although predictable, ending that perfectly wraps up the film. It’s just a shame about the opening.

    Black Swan is a visual and technical masterpiece with wonderful acting and a fantastic final two acts. It’s just a shame that the opening act couldn’t quite live up to the other two.


  • My Soul To Take

    The Ripperton Ripper was a serial killer who butchered a number of people in the small town of Ripperton and who claimed on his capture that he would return to kill again. The ambulance transporting him to hospital was involved in a crash so he was assumed dead although no body was found. Cut forward 16 years and a number of killings have started again. Has the ripper been reincarnated as one of the seven teens born on the night of his supposed death or did he never die and is back to kill again.

    There is nothing wrong with the setup; in fact it’s perfect for some good old fashioned slasher fun. The problems lie with the execution though and there are many. First of all at 107 minutes it is far too long especially considering there are far too many filler scenes involving our teen cast that are downright boring. Secondly the ripper is a terrible villain and to put it simply looks absolutely ridiculous. He is just not menacing in the slightest with Cravens decision to use countless slow motion shots not helping the situation at all. The so called twists are incredibly predictable and really take away from the climax. All the clichés Craven so wonderfully slagged off in Scream are here in abundance, My Soul to Take would have fit in perfectly with those poor slasher films of the mid 90’s. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

    My Soul to Take is just more proof that the once great Craven has really lost most of his talents for making great horror film. It’s slightly entertaining at times but far too long and predictable and with a distinct lack of menace from the killer. It’s a poor effort from someone who was once a master of the genre.


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  • Wasting Away

    The film has your typical zombie setup; a military medical experiment to create super soldiers using chemicals goes wrong and, while trying to hide the evidence, a barrel of said chemicals ends being lost. A group of teenagers unwittingly eat said chemicals and become zombies. The twist in the tale though is that the story is told from the teenagers perspective and don’t know that they are zombies but think they are super soldiers instead. After finding out the truth, they must avoid military capture with the goal of uniting zombies everywhere to leave in peace separate from the human population.

    There is no denying that Wasting Away is a silly film; straight from the off the humour is reasonably low brow and the various characters are not exactly intelligent but this is why the film works so well. It’s very much a lighthearted comedy zombie film that remains funny right until the end. It’s very well written and directed by Kohnen on such a miniscule budget, the use of black and white and colour scenes to differentiate between the points of view works excellently and it has to be said that Wasting Away really is a unique film. This is by no means a gore film but all the effects that do exist look excellent with the vast majority being practical effects. The story is very good, admittedly it take a little time to get going and the main characters are a bit annoying at the start but once Colby French shows up as Soldier Nick Steele it really gets going and all comes together into a nice ending.

    Wasting Away really is a very good low budget B-Movie with a unique twist on the zombie genre. Sadly it has come in completely under the radar but if you have chance the definitely check it out, hopefully you won’t be disappointed.


  • Paranormal Activity 2

    The plot is almost identical to the original film; a family begins to suspect that their house may be haunted due to a number of strange noises and happenings around the house. They install a number of CCTV cameras that capture everything that happens in the house and the ultimate demise of the family.

    If you enjoyed the original film then you will enjoy the sequel because every technique and scare tactic used the first film is present in this one. If you are like me though and found the first film to be completely un-frightening then there is nothing here that’s going scare you. The only difference between the two is the amount of filler present in this sequel; it just takes far too long to get going leading to an incredibly boring opening 40 minutes that documents the mundane activities of an American family. When the so called frightening bits start it amounts to the odd noise and a few doors opening and closing by themselves. The ending is incredibly predictable and a little stupid, again almost identical to the original.

    There is no doubting the popularity of these films, there is clearly a large amount of people that find them entertaining. It really depends on whether or not you can buy into the story and make yourself believe what you are seeing is real. For me both Paranormal Activity films fail to do this end up being rather boring and silly.


  • The Lost Boys: The Thirst (2010)

    The plot is silly in the extreme; a vampire DJ and his followers are holding rave parties around the country and handing drugs that turn the takers into vampires. Edgar Frog is struggling to deal with the death of his brother so when a woman named Gwen turns up and tells him her brother has been kidnapped b said DJ who may the head vampire, Frog takes some convincing to help out. With help of his friend Zoe and a reality TV animal fighter, it’s up to Frog to try and save the world from the vampire threat.

    What made the 80’s film so much fun was just how cheesy and light hearted it all was with a great array of characters and a wonderful 80’s soundtrack. The first sequel had none of these attributes and neither does this one. The acting is awful, not least from Feldman who seems to be content to grunt his way through the film. The plot is unoriginal and un-engaging with an obvious twist but the real problem with the film is the complete lack of fun. The story takes far too long to get going, once the action starts it is vaguely entertaining with some nice effects but the previous 60 minutes will almost certainly have bored you to the point of not caring. There is very little comedy and no chemistry between the cast, just why Feldman thought this film would rectify the wrongs of the first sequel I will never know.

    It’s not as bad as The Tribe but that’s not saying much, it’s entertaining is parts but is mostly boring for the majority of meager 81 minute run time. Let’s hope that Feldman finally realises that he can never replicate the feel and quality of the original.


  • The Rage (2007)

    The plot is reminiscent of countless low budget films and the perfect setup for gore galore; a crazed scientist has become disillusioned with the capitalistic world and takes it upon himself to create a virus that forces which mutates it’s host into a deformed killer with an insatiable rage. After one of his victims breaks free, he goes on a killing spree eventually spreading the virus to a flock of birds that develop a penchant for human flesh. Said birds take an interest in a group of teenagers who must desperately try to stay alive.

    The Rage is very reminiscent of 80’s splatter films such as Re-Animator, the only difference being the completely ludicrous plot, downright awful acting and rubbish CGI effects that exist in Kurtzman’s film. As it’s a splatter comedy horror B-Movie, these usually negative elements actually help to make The Rage a fun watch as you can’t help but laugh your way through this utterly silly film. The practical gore effects are excellent from Kurtzman with buckets of blood and gore on show, it’s just a pity that the CGI birds were so downright awful. The acting is terrible from all involved, the group of teenagers have to be one of the worst group of actors ever assembled but again this only adds to the fun of the film. In all seriousness there is nothing good about The Rage other than the excellent practical gore effects but if you start to watch it knowing how silly it all is there is no doubting that you will have a smile on your face from start to finish.

    If you’re looking for a B-Movie full of blood and guts and one that’s utterly silly right the way through then you can’t go wrong with The Rage. Kurtzman has created a film that’s best described using two words; entertaining rubbish.


  • Chain Letter (2010)

    The main plotline is simple but rife for bloody horror fun; a manic with a penchant for chains has created a chain letter that has one simple rule, pass it letter onto five different people or you will die. Needless to say most of our teenage cast fails to do so and end being killed with a chain being used somehow in the killing. It’s up to the few remaining teenagers and a detective to figure out how to stop the killer before it’s too late.

    There are two good things about this film; they are the premise and some good gore effects. Everything else is just bad. The problem mostly lies with the direction and the screenplay, Deon Taylor has somehow managed to make a film about a manic killing teens with a chain be a boring watch. It has a solid opening with an inventive scene involving someone being dragged by two cars and the setup is executed well but there is zero characterisation, far too many filler scenes and a serious lack of decent actors. The ending is quite good even if it is a little predictable but by that point you will have lost all interest as you will mostly likely be bored to tears. Chain Letter is proof that an interesting premise is only half the battle, being a good enough filmmaker to put that premise to good use is the much more important part.

    Bar some interesting gore and a solid enough opening, there is very little to recommend about Deon Taylor’s Chain Letter. It’s a poor effort and you’re better off avoiding.


  • Cursed (2005)

    It seems as if there is a werewolf on the loose in L.A. which happens to attack a brother and sister after they are involved in a car crash. The two begin notice themselves changing, both physically and mentally, and eventually begin to suspect they might become werewolves themselves. The only way to stop this from happening is to kill the head werewolf; the problem is they have no idea who it is.

    Let me get this out of the way first; it is extremely hard to label this film as horror because there is absolutely nothing frightening to be seen throughout its 97 minute runtime. More like a strange mix between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dawson’s Creek, it’s more a teenage drama film than anything else, and a bad one at that. Just how Wes Craven thought the script for Cursed was good enough to film I will never know. It’s painfully predictable throughout with the head vampire being completely obvious as soon as he steps on screen. The werewolves look absolutely terrible, both in CGI and practical effects form and are not menacing in the slightest. Craven decided to make this as a PG-13 film meaning there is no gore to be found here at all. Even with all these problems, I have to admit that it is still entertaining at times by providing plenty of goofy fun. Unfortunately the bad far outweighs the good though and Cursed ends up being another huge disappointment from Craven.

    Silly fun at times but far too predictable with terrible effects and a lack of gore, Cursed plays out like a bad feature length episode of Buffy. It’s yet another poor effort from Craven.


  • Hatchet 2 (2010)

    Picking up from exactly where the first one finished, Hatchet 2 continues with the story of axe wielding deformed manic Victor Crowley and his terrorising of a Louisiana swamp. Mary Beth is the only surviving member of a tour group that entered the swamp, although she was looking for her lost brother and father. After talking with reverend Zombie, it seems as if her father was involved in the death of Crowley and the reason behind his rampage of the swamp. Zombie puts together a group of hunters to kill Crowley but of course he has an ulterior motive for doing so.

    There is no doubting that this sequel is still fun and a nice throwback to the cheesy slasher films of the 80’s, it just doesn’t quite live up the original due to one reason in particular; there just isn’t enough of Victor Crowley. Green has put more effort into creating a back story for the character and it is very well done, the only problem is that it takes up far too much of the films running time and almost feels as if it’s filler to pad out the films length. Once the horror action gets going then it is great fun as Crowley hacks his way through the hunters in gory fashion with some great practical effects, imaginative kills and buckets of blood. It’s clear Green has a love for the slasher genre and knows how to make a fun film with nice throwbacks to the 80’s classics. There is a nice mix of characters with plenty of laughs with Tony Todd’s reverend Zombie being the standout. If more of the running time was devoted to the horror action segment than creating a back story for Crowley then this could have been excellent.

    Not as good as the original due to too much story and not enough Crowley, it’s still a fun film and great gory fun when it gets going. The back story is good and there is plenty to be admired about the film, it’s still a little disappointing as it had the potential to be a lot better than it turned out to be.


  • Psych 9 (2010)

    A young woman takes a job working the night shift sorting old patient files in a closed down hospital. A serial killer is on the loose in the town and the woman begins to suspect her boyfriend of being the killer. She begins to have impromptu sessions with a psychologist working the night shift on the old psych ward and it quickly becomes apparent that the woman has a troubled past and all is not as it seems within the walls of the closed down hospital.

    Honestly this film is a jumbled mess with the plot jumping from one nonsensical scene to another with the result being a film that is almost impossible to follow. Not only is the storyline a mess, the only attempt the director makes at frightening the audience is through cheap loud noise scares and the usual cliches that you can see coming a mile away. It’s clear that there was the potential for an interesting storyline here but the film tried to be a little too clever for its own good by being too ambiguous which all leads to an ending that is utterly baffling.

    Psych 9 has a solid enough opening but poor writing, cheap scares and a nonsensical ending make this one that everyone should avoid.


  • I Spit On Your Grave (2010)

    The plot is a simple one; Novelist Jennifer Hills rents a backwoods cabin in order to get some peace and quiet to write her next book. Unfortunately for her a group of men, including the local sheriff, have taken a liking to her and so break into her cabin, rape her and leave her for dead. A month later, Jennifer is back in the woods and decides to hand out her own unique form of retribution.

    At least the 1978 film was trying to make a point about the brutality of rape; this remake has nothing new to say and is simply looking to cash in on the current trend of remaking classic horror films. Yes it’s a brutal film but seriously lacks the realism of the original due to the terribly contrived plot point of having the local sheriff in on the act. This simply wasn’t needed and proves the point that director Stephen R. Munroe really had no interest in making a social point with this remake. Where the film really falls apart though is in the second half as Jennifer is enacting her revenge as it’s nothing more than a bunch of gore set pieces shoddily put together with the intention to sicken the viewer. The film simply jumps from one character to the next as Jennifer offs them one by one with absolutely no story what so ever. The acting from Sarah Butler as Jennifer is very poor although this is just one other thing in a long list of problems. The effects are very good with the use of practical gore but the film is certainly not worth watching for this alone.

    Pointless remake of an infamous film, there is really no need to watch this as it has nothing new to say.


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  • Bitter Feast (2010)

    Peter Grey is a celebrity chef who has his own TV show and is head of an up market restaurant. It all starts to go wrong for him though when notorious food blogger JT Franks writes a scathing review of his food that leads to Grey’s TV show being axed and him losing his job at the restaurant. Grey doesn’t take this too well and he decides to kidnap Franks and make him endure various food related torture in order to get his own back.

    In all honesty, the only thing that makes Bitter Feast stand out from the multitude of other revenge film is the concept, forcing your victim to cook food perfectly or to eat potentially dangerous food items to stay alive is certainly a unique one. It’s just a shame that the rest of the film is nothing new and in fact a little boring at times, particularly the second act. That being said, there is some nice effects work and the acting from the cast of unknowns is very good. Billed as horror film, I would be more likely to call it a thriller as there are no scares to be found here unless you consider the torture scenes to be chilling. The ending is a frustrating one, at one point it seemed as if Maggio was going to go against the usual Hollywood ending but instead he tacked on a final scene which made it a little more conventional. It’s a pity as this would have made the film stand out a little more.

    In the end, Bitter Feast is a solid enough low budget direct to DVD film. It has an interesting concept and some good scenes but the many bad points prevent it from being memorable. It’s certainly worth a look though.