Monthly Archives: February 2011
Directed by Takashi Miike
Written by Ryu Murakami (Novel) and Daisuke Tengan
Ryo Ishibashi as Shigeharu Aoyama
Eihi Shiina as Asami Yamazaki
Audition is the film in which nightmares are made. A man who has been alone for the past seven years since his wife’s death is persuaded by his son to find a companion. He doesn’t like the idea of going off to college and leaving his father all alone. So the man and a producer friend of his come up with the idea to hold an audition. The women who attend the audition will be under the impression that they will be “playing” the man’s wife. In reality he is actually picking the woman who will be his real wife.
One girl, Asami, stands out from all the rest as special to the man. However his friend tells him that this woman is bad news. The man will not listen to him. He is blinded by his love for her and sees her as beautiful both inside and out.
So far this all sounds like something out of a soap opera, all melodramatic and full of emotion. Asami sits alone on the floor of her apartment one night. There is a telephone and…something…in a large sack there on the floor with her. She sits quietly as the phone rings…rings…rings…and suddenly the sack makes a noise between a gurgle and a belch and rolls over on the floor. It is then that we realize that there is more to Asami than meets the eye. It is then that this movie becomes the abyss which stares back at us. It is then that we nearly jump out of our seats.
Audition is a masterpiece of a horror film that only Takashi Miike could have pulled off. He lures the audience into Asami’s world with softness and a sense of security before revealing the razor wire and pulling the rug out from underneath our feet. With Asami, he shows us that that which is beautiful can be the deadliest thing of all to us. Ryo Ishibashi and Eihi Shiina give spectacular performances as the man Aoyoma and Asami. Shiina does not so much take over the film as she becomes a part of it. It wouldn’t be until Charlize Theron‘s performance in Monster that I have actually seen an actor get this deep into character.
Audition is a cautinary tale and therefore I warn you: see it with someone you love. But remember, they may not be the person you think they are.
Directed by Pirophan Laoyont & Thodsapol Siriwiwat
Dollaros Dachapratumwan as Jo
Wichan Jarujinda as Dr.Taa
Kanya Rattapetch as Ae
Chidjan Rujiphun as Nook
The Asians have got to be the producers of some of the weirdest shit ever put to celluloid. The culprit this time is Taiwan. The film is Sick Nurses. The beginning of the film starts off like a Girls Gone Wild video. The titular nurses are young, beautiful and dress the way a nurse would dress if she were part of some teenage kids sex fantasy. The film even includes a set of twins who make out with each other and tell one another that the other is “the most beautiful girl.”
But wait, there is a plot underneath all this frivolity. Before you know it Nurses Gone Wild turns into Nurses Gone Gory. Turns out this bevy of beauties was involved in an organ harvesting scheme and when one of their own threatens to expose them she is quickly murdered to keep her quiet. Now, if you have seen any Asian ghost film then you know that the ghosts do not take things lightly. Next thing you know you got this mysterious dark figure running roughshod over the nurses and killing them off in all kinds of sick ways.
If you like your foreign films to be sick and twisted, then this may be the film for you. But be forewarned. The plot is threadbare and sometimes not noticeable at all. It’s also got some pretty horrible acting. On the plus side, the gore is pretty cool and there is plenty of it.
Yep, the Asians sure put out some weird shit. Before anyone steps up and calls me me a racist or something like that I will tell you that I mean that as a compliment. I, for one, happen to like weird shit.
Directed by Joey Stewart
Written by Jason Kabolati
Marc Donato as Dane
Jascha Washington as Kurtis
Whitney Hoy as Bridget
Justin Arnold as Bradley
Lindsay Seidel as Emily
Julin as Heather
What was high school like for you? Were you popular or were you the kid whose life was made a living hell by the cool kids. Were you the jock or the joke? The princess or the pauper? If you were the former, then why did you treat other kids the way that you did with such cruelty? What did they do to you?
However, if you were the latter the question is how many nights did you lie awake at night plotting revenge? Did you want the homecoming queen to be as ugly on the outside as she was on the inside? Did you want the high school quarterback to never again experience the thrill of throwing a touchdown pass or the sexual joy of fucking that same homecoming queen after a hard-fought victory?
If you were the tormented, then The Final is just the film for you. However, if it’s the other way around, then you may want to call up that kid that you picked on all those years ago and tell him you’re sorry and you better mean it. Because if there is the slightest chance that he/she has seen this film that is gonna mean there are gonna be some vengeful ideas running through his/her head.
Six teenagers whose lives have been made a hell on earth by the jocks and the cool chicks decide to throw a party. But not just any party. This one will be long remembered because it will be the night that they get their long-awaited revenge on their tormentors. Welcome to the final. There is only one question on this test: What did I do to deserve this?
The film tells us early on that the kids are going their love of horror films to good use and there are clear references to Audition and also to the Strangers. But there is also reference to real life horror as well. The pact that the kids make before putting their plan into effect reminds me of two kids who also sought revenge against their tormentors. Their names were Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and their house of horrors was Columbine High School. If they had tried to make this film a few years after 1999 it would have never seen the light of day.
The performances in the film are top-notch and I really didn’t see any bad or weak acting from anyone. The only complaint I have is that the film seems to be almost bloodless. Then again the film is not about gore. It is about what a person or persons will do when driven over the edge. For the record, I was one of the picked on kids. But I never sought revenge. I didn’t even think about it. I made friends with the people who mattered and went on to live a happy life for the most part. The Final is about the ones who couldn’t let go.
Directed by Takashi Shimizu
Written by Takashi Shimizu and Masachi Adachi
Yuka as Nagisa Sugiura
Karina as Yayoi Kinoshita
Kippei Shiina as Ikuo Matsumura
Tetta Sugimoto as Tadashi Murakawa
Shun Oguri as Kazuya Omori
Reincarnation is a Japanese film released in the United States as part of the After Dark Horrorfest series. Each year a series of anywhere from seven to eight films is released on DVD under the collective title of either ‘Films to Die For’ or ’8 Films to Die For.’ The films are usually pretty good but there have been a few misses here and there and I hate to say it but I have to put Reincarnation in the ‘miss’ section.
The film is about a film crew that travels to a hotel where a college professor murdered his children and nine other people before committing suicide. The director wants to make a film about the victims and not the killer. He feels that if he makes the film and tells their story then they will be able to find peace in the world beyond. Yeah, not a good idea. Next thing you know they’re up to their ears in ghosts.
The main thing that I liked about this film is that it made you feel like it was a film within a film without making you feel like it was a film within a film. We are watching a film about a crew that is making a film about a murder that took place in a motel many years ago. The main thing I didn’t like is that the film tended to drag a bit and get bogged down. The story is good, the acting is very good (especially from Yuka as Nagisa Sugiura). There is also a doll in this film that has to be one of the creepiest dolls I have ever seen in a horror film. The film also tends to get a bit confusing at times. Are the actors the reincarnation of the murdered people? I never really understood if that was the case.
There are good parts to the film, yes. But the bad truly outweighs the good this time around.
Take care and stay scared.
RESIDENT EVIL:AFTERLIFE-United States-2010
Written and Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
Milla Jovovich as Alice
Kim Coates as Bennett
Wentworth Miller as Chris Redfield
If Uwe Bolle is considered the ‘worst of the worst’ horror directors, then Paul W.S. Anderson would be a strong contender for the ‘best of the worst.’ Take Resident Evil: Afterlife, for example. The film has some great action sequences, but there is no style. It has some pretty bad-ass moves from Milla Jovovich and Ali Larter (who I will get to in a moment), but no substance. The plot is thread bare and only exists to take us from us one shoot-out-music at full volume-balls to the wall action sequence to the next. It’s all great stuff, but so is a peanut butter and banana and mayonnaise sandwich. Once you’ve eaten it, it’s gone and forgotten.
I don’t have to go into detail about the plot of the film. Once again, Jovovich plays Alice and once again herself and a band of human survivors must do battle or try to escape from the ugly, hungry and very determined zombies. There’s the plot. Did you blink? I hope not, because I’m not repeating myself. I can stand a mindless zombie movie. I even like mindless zombie movies. The Resident Evil series is some of the best mindless zombie movies out there today. That’s not what I can’t tolerate about this film. What I can’t tolerate about this film is Ali Larter’s horrible acting.
Her acting is so consistently bad I began to wonder if Megan Fox didn’t take the same acting classes. But again, her performance is yet another example of something that’s nice to look at, but without style or substance.
If you can get past the bad acting and the threadbare plot then Resident Evil:Afterlife is a fun way to spend a mindless afternoon. If you can’t then I feel for you. Because that’s all you’re going to get with this film. I never said that Paul W.S. Anderson was the ‘best of the best.’ I said he very well may be the ‘best of the worst.’
Directed by Gareth Edwards
Written by Gareth Edwards
Whitney Able as Samantha Wynden
Scoot McNairy as Andrew Kaulder
The first thing that I can say right out of the starting gate is that I have yet to see District 9. I intend to, but it just hasn’t been on my radar screen yet. I can say this, though, and that is that Gareth Edward’s Monsters may not have happened without District 9 and it’s success. You can also throw in a little bit of Cloverfield in as well. Aliens living among us. Not just aliens, but big giant tentacled aliens that remind this reviewer of something out of Lovecraft.
But, I digress. Monsters is actually more about the romance that slowly blooms between a photojournalist and the boss’ daughter that he reluctantly agrees to get out of the ‘infected zone’ and back to the safety of the United States. Now before you think ‘Oh, great. When Harry Met Sally disguised as a horror/sci-fi hybrid film’ I can assure you it is nothing like that. The two of develop a friendship and finally a romance out of a need for each other and to help the other stay alive long enough to make it to the United States and safety. The two leads performances are well thought out and are centered on urgency. Andrew begins to fall in love with Samantha slowly and the same goes for Samantha for Andrew. The titular monsters are secondary to this and honestly don’t make too much of an appearance until the last one-fourth of the film. However, just as the title Alien or Aliens can be taken two ways (Ripley and crew were not on Earth, so doesn’t that make her the alien and not the other way around?),the same can be said for the title of this film as there are subtle examples of human monsters.
Monsters will not blow you away with Armageddon-like action or the aforementioned Aliens-like excitement. It’s too sophisticated for the former and it would be pointless for it to be like the latter. What it does do is keep you on the edge of your seat by not delivering the big money shot. Instead it does what a lot of films think that we aren’t capable of:
It leaves it to our imaginations.
I know that there are a lot of people out there who probably think that I’m a little bit warped because I write a horror film blog. Well, I can tell you right now that my wife would agree with those people. But not because I write a horror film blog. I’m a weirdo by nature. Now, that doesn’t mean that I sit at home and as Brad Pitt said in Se7en “read Guns & Ammo and masturbate in my own feces”. Not that kinda weird, folks. My kinda weird is I’m the guy who would rather watch pro wrestling over any other sport besides maybe football. Who would rather own a CD or a DVD than download it. I think Tom Waits has a great voice and have never been impressed with someone like Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston. As for horror, I love it and would rather watch a low-budget horror flick over anything someone like Michael Bay or Nicolas Cage turns to shit nowadays.
Horror films and horror itself have been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I grew up in South Carolina. On Saturday afternoons we had Shock Theater. That is when I was introduced to Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolf Man. Despite the fact that my sister would tell me that there was a werewolf in the closet and was going to come out and eat me I fell in love with werewolves and werewolf movies. I read Dracula for the first time in fifth grade. All the other kids were still reading Scholastic books and here I was reading this huge book about the King of Vampires.
I had horror movie posters that glowed in the dark. I had Aurora Model kits of famous horror movies. When I got old enough my cousin and I spent every Saturday and Sunday at the theatre watching the latest Friday the 13th or whatever slasher flick was playing. Those were some of the best times of my life.
I moved away from horror for a while as I got older. Maybe I thought it was kid stuff, that no serious movie lover would list horror as a favorite genre. But, as they say; you can take the guy out of the gory, bloody movie but you can’t take the gory, bloody movie out of the guy.
Okay, so they don’t really say that. But you get my drift. I embrace the horror genre now. That’s why I write this blog. I want to share my love for horror with the rest of you. I’m not a critic. I’m a guy who loves the genre of film that he is writing about and believes that through the years he has learned enough about that genre and is entitled to offer his personal opinion about it. I never went to film school. I never studied film at all. Sometimes I have to stop and think about what I am going to say and how I am going to say it. But I do what I do because I love what I do.
My wife is very supportive of me and my endeavors with the blog. She believes in me as a writer and knows that I have ideas for stories running around this brain of mine. I think to myself; ‘You know, Stephen King’s wife believed in him.’
Maybe my wife is on to something.
Directed by Tod Williams
Story by Michael R. Perry
Michael R. Perry
Christopher B. Landon
Original Story by
Katie Featherston as Katie
Micah Sloat as Micah
Brian Boland as Daniel Rey
Sprague Grayden as Kristie Rey
Molly Ephraim as Ali Rey
Seth Ginsberg as Brad
The main thing wrong with Paranormal Activity 2 is that we’ve definitely seen it all before. In fact, we saw the same thing in the first Paranormal Activity. This time as the film progresses we learn that it’s a prequel to the events that happened in the first film. The Rey family is haunted by an unseen entity that appears to be there for one reason and that is for the couples newborn son. We know this because their daughter Ali did research on the internet on just that sorta thing. Isn’t the World Wide Web grand?
As is the case in any ghost story there is always a doubting Thomas. In this case make it a doubting Daniel, the husband. Everything weird thing has an explanation. The pot fell off the hook it was hanging from? It wasn’t hung properly. The pool cleaner is out of the pool every night for a week? The settings are too high. This kind of thing really upsets Kristie, his wife. She’s actually his second wife. We learn from a conversation he has with Ali that his first wife is deceased. They don’t go into detail; Ali just mentions that she thinks the house being haunted would be cool because then she could talk to her mom.
There are a few genuine jumps and jolts in the film. There is also a scene that is very reminiscent of the first film. The most annoying thing is how repetitive the film can be. The cameras that are installed throughout the house (and through which we the audience are the voyeurs in the Rey household) go through the same pattern each and every night. It wouldn’t have killed the filmmakers to do a change-up every now and then.
Paranormal Activity 2 is not a bad film. It’s not a great film. It’s one of those films that when you watch it, you just know that you’ve seen done before, and better.
HATCHET II-United States-2010
Directed by Adam Green
Written by Adam Green
Danielle Harris as Marybeth
Perry Shen as Justin
Tom Holland as Bob
Adam Greens Hatchet II was hailed as the first American horror film in over 25 years to be released unrated to major theaters. I don’t know how true that actually is. What I can tell you is that Hatchet II starts off like a blast from a double barrel shotgun and in the end it leaves you lying bleeding and dismembered and wanting more.
Danielle Harris (Halloween) takes over the role of Marybeth (originally played in the first film by Tamara Feldman). She has survived the onslaught of Victor Crowley and now she enlists Reverend Zombie (Tony Todd-Candyman) to go back into the Honey Island Swamp to retrieve the bodies of her father and brother. Reverend Zombie gets a hunting party together and we later find out that he has other plans in mind. If this were a TV Guide synopsis then this would be the part where the words ‘murder and mayhem ensue.’
Hatchet II is one of the best horror sequels since Sam Raimi‘s Evil Dead II:Dead By Dawn. It pays complete homage to the slasher film by not only casting several of its stars from previous old school slasher films (Tony Todd, Kane Hodder and Danielle Harris); but also by sheer amounts of gore and in-jokes especially suited for the slasher film crowd. There is murder by curb-stomp, boat motor and decapitation, to name a few. Not only that, but, there is also a brief reference to director Adam Green’s Frozen and also to Behind The Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon. Each one of these in jokes/references is in homage to the original material and never looks down on it or patronizes it.
The cast is top-notch. Danielle Harris takes over effortlessly for Tamara Feldman. I didn’t realize that she wasn’t in the first film until I checked the credits for it at IMDB.com. Tony Todd is both creepy and funny in his role as the Reverend Zombie. It is because of him that I will not say the words ‘Candyman’ five times into a mirror.
Then there is Kane Hodder. No other actor could have played the role of Victor Crowley so convincingly as he has done in Hatchet and Hatchet II. He is still the best Jason Voorhees ever and history will probably record that he was the best Victor Crowley as well, also.
In the end, Hatchet II leaves you wanting more gore, more blood and more Crowley.
Bring it on motherf—ers!!!