Aaron Paul as Bryan Palmer
Emily Ratajkowski as Cassie Ryerson
Riccardo Scamarcio as Federico
Francesco Acquaroli as Eduardo
Budget $NO DATA Box Office $331,704
IMDb 5.2/10 Rotten Tomatoes 11% Metacritic 38%
It’s been a long time since I gave the ending to something in a review for you guys. But I can’t fully review this movie and have it make sense unless I can address the whole movie. Therefore, this review contains spoilers. You have been warned.
We start with what appears to be a young couple in love. The girlfriend, Cassie, has booked a romantic retreat vacation for the two of them in a remote luxurious refurbished monastery surrounded by a luscious award-winning vineyard. The perfect blend of romance and rustic that is sure to inspire the kind of wining and dining most women dream of.
On their way to their dream spot the cabbie first takes them to this somewhat rundown and distressed looking house. At first, they are thinking they got conned. That or Cassie made a mistake. They ask the cab driver as nicely and politely as they can if he’s sure they are at the right place. He checks his GPS and then starts driving off, filling the couple with a sense of relief.
So, they get to the house. It’s huge. Gigantic. It’s well furnished, well decorated and very well stocked. The owner of the house has left them a very nice bottle of wine, two glasses and a small note telling them to please treat the house as their own and to enjoy their stay. The owner says he is just a town away if they need anything at all.
They are excited by all the lavishness bestowed upon them for their stay and they decide to christen the all wood dining room table within minutes of walking in the door. That’s when we find out that this happy little couple isn’t as together as they appear.
The boyfriend, Bryan, apparently caught Cassie having drunken Christmas or New Year’s sex with a co-worker. Now, every time he tries to sleep with his lady all he can picture in his head is her having sex with this guy Justin, which is seriously affecting their sex-life as a couple. It’s like Bryan can’t perform anymore. Cassie’s cheating was a major blow to his ego and it seems that this is a pure example that mind really is over matter.
Repeatedly frustrated after a number of failed attempts at romance their first night there, Cassie goes to bed angry and Bryan ends up nosing around the homeowners record and book collection. He finds a book on Eros, the Greek god of love, and soon begins to pleasure himself to the graphic images depicted in the book. Then he starts to fantasize about his girlfriend and finishes himself off. After that, he passes out on the couch.
Here’s the kicker. This is where we see that there are hidden cameras in the house. In fact, all over the house. Someone…is watching.
When Cassie gets up in the morning, she sees Bryan on the couch and gets frustrated again. She makes some breakfast for herself, leaves him a plate and a note and goes for a run. (People exercise while on vacation???? Okay….)
While on this run, she, of course, falls and sprains an ankle. Hobbling down the road on her way back to the house a local in a pickup truck stops to play Good Samaritan. He introduces himself as Federico and gives Cassie a ride back to the house.
Cassie introduces the two men, of course Bryan is immediately insecure about another man honing in on his non-territory territory. Federico is a good-looking young man, quiet, athletic and healthy looking, Italian. He seems a little awkward around Cassie and Bryan. At least, at first. Trying to create small talk Cassie brings up to Bryan that Federico lives in the house they accidentally went to before they arrived at the vacation house.
During the conversation, Federico offers to give them a ride into town, recommending a market there. Though Cassie is excited at the idea of exploring and thankful for the offer, Bryan is not so accepting and tries to refuse the generosity. After some back and forth, it is settled that they will take the ride, however much it is against Bryan’s many protests.
Federico drops them off in town later that day and Cassie very kindly thanks him for the ride. He points out a few points of interest and Bryan basically says that they have it from there and shuts the door on Federico. This infuriates Cassie and Bryan, of course, starts hurling insult after insult about how she just can’t help but open herself up to guys and implying that she basically welcomes men’s advances and such. This sends her into a whole new realm of pissed and she storms off to go back to the house and he storms off to go get drunk.
Cassie tries to get a cab but she needs cash so she tells the cabbie to wait while she hits the ATM right across the street. But she’s so upset she’s having trouble getting through the prompts. Lucky for her Federico shows up and once again, saves the day. He puts her in the cab and she goes to the house.
Then we see Bryan in a bar. Next thing he knows Federico is there and buying him a drink, trying to be cordial. So, Bryan figures he might as well at least be nice. Over a few hours, not only does Federico get Bryan completely sloppy drunk, he also gets him talking about his problems with Cassie and their relationship, such as her cheating. Bryan starts running off at the mouth about how he’s thought about cheating on Cassie and how he wishes he could just so she could see what it felt like to have those images in her head every time she looked at him, just like he does when he looks at her. Lo and behold, a couple of attractive women walk into the bar and what do ya know, they know Federico.
They sit down and start drinking with the guys and talking…flirting. Poor Cassie is calling Bryan but she’s not getting ahold of him. While the girls are getting all up close and personal with Bryan, Federico is still feeding Bryan alcohol, some of it laced with some drug of some sort. At the end of the night, the girls help Bryan to a hotel room that they all share for the night…and there’s video on his cell of it. The next morning, he wakes up and has no idea what happened. He grabs a cab and goes back to the house.
Once again Cassie and Bryan have an argument and Bryan tells her he doesn’t want Federico coming around anymore. He tells her nothing of what happened the night before. Only that he doesn’t like the guy and that he doesn’t want him there. He also tells her he thinks he lost his phone because he can’t find it anywhere. He tried to go to the bar to look for it when he woke up but bars aren’t open in the morning usually so, no luck. Afterwards, he leaves to go for a walk.
Two things happen while he is on this stroll. First, Bryan finds out that no one is living in the house Federico claims to be his home. Second, Federico shows up at the vacation house door with a dead rabbit in hand, determined to make rabbit stew for the two of them for dinner. Cassie and Federico prepare the stew while Bryan is out walking. When he returns, he is less than thrilled not only to see this man sitting at the table with his girlfriend but also that they seem to be getting along famously. In fact, Federico has apparently been telling Cassie about the previous night…but not everything. What fun would that be?
They have dinner and during their meal, Bryan and Federico go back and forth in a boxing match of semantics and insults, toeing the line but not quite crossing it. Saying just enough that if you know all the details you know what he’s talking about but, if you are on the outside it seems like regular conversation that has an awkward tense vibe.
After dinner, Bryan walks Federico to the door and tells him not to return. He then turns to Cassie and they have a quick exchange in which he thinks she’s going to push back on the issue but instead she agrees that dinner was weird and that she’s not comfortable with Federico coming around anymore either. Bryan locks the doors and places a call to the owner, leaving a voicemail about the strange neighbor of his that is bothering them and that they thought he should be aware.
This leads to the two of them having an emotional moment together and they start to make up. Cassie tells Bryan to give her ten minutes, get some wine from the wine cellar and meet her upstairs in the bedroom. She goes upstairs to get herself ready and he goes to the wine cellar.
Once in the wine cellar, the door suddenly closes behind him and locks. He’s stuck down there and can’t get out.
Meanwhile, upstairs, Cassie hears music being put on and comes out of the bathroom into the bedroom. She sees one of her bras and a pair of her underwear laying on the bed with a satin blindfold and a note. The note instructs her to put the items on and wait. She does so.
So, Cassie is there sitting on the side of the bed in full view of one of the hidden cameras. Then we see Federico enter the room. He begins to, shall we say, gently dominate Cassie and start to kiss and caress her body. Now remember, she’s blindfolded. So, she thinks this is Bryan doing all this to her.
At the same time, Bryan is in the cellar trying to figure out a way to free himself. He finds a secret door behind the wine racks. It leads to a tunnel. Of course! Tunnels! It’s an old monastery. Why wouldn’t there be tunnels for easy hiding and escape? He finally finds a way out and comes up through a pantry or linen closet of sorts on the main floor of the house. When he does, he makes some noise. This scares Federico away. But not before he takes the time to leave Bryan’s phone behind in the bed for Cassie to find.
When she finds it, she finds messages from the girls from the night before and the video of Bryan having sex with them. At the same time she’s finding this out, Bryan is finding the fresh video of Federico licking and pawing all over his girlfriend and her obviously getting turned on by it.
Now the both of them are pissed as all get out. They find each other in the house and immediately start yelling at each other. As the quarrel escalates, Cassie throws her phone at Bryan. She misses him and hits a large mirror on the wall. That’s when THEY become aware that the house has hidden cameras all over the place.
This is when things go sideways…for EVERYBODY. Cassie and Bryan start freaking out because they realize Federico has been watching them the whole time. Federico realizes he’s been discovered and goes to the house to confront his victims. During this confrontation, he admits that he is watching them and he just couldn’t help himself from interfering, Cassie was too beautiful. A fight ensues and, in the struggle, Cassie beats Federico to death with a cane. Aware that everything they’ve just done was caught on video, they decide that they must hide the body and destroy the video evidence and the cameras.
But, then there’s a knock at the door. They don’t answer but someone lets themselves in the house through a side door. The owner. Eduardo.
After a brief exchange with Eduardo, Bryan is unable to convince him that this pesky neighbor is no longer a problem. Eduardo wants to check the house, just to make sure everything is okay. While he is looking around, Cassie and Bryan go to the room where the body of Federico is and panic. Meanwhile, Eduardo makes his way through the tunnels to the little room where all the video screens are that Federico watched Cassie and Bryan on. Now it’s clear, he’s in on it.
Eduardo goes back upstairs. He comes up on Cassie and starts talking to her. He takes his jacket off and covers the hidden camera in the front hallway that captures where they are at that moment. He then begins to slowly advance towards her, gun in his hand pointed at her, asking her what she did. As she continues to assert she did nothing, he continues to advance. Behind him, Bryan is sneaking up with the cane in his hands, ready to strike. Just as Eduardo is about to attack Cassie, her eyes clue him into Bryan’s position. He turns the gun to Bryan and Cassie stabs him with some object she grabbed that was close. He falls. Bryan hits him multiple times with the cane. Eduardo drops the gun. Cassie grabs the gun and is going to shoot Eduardo but, Bryan takes it from her and does it for her.
They spend many hours afterwards cleaning up the house, burying the bodies and destroying the cameras and video equipment.
Once it is all over, the two lovebirds decide to take a shower. Trying to wash away their sins, their guilt, the blood and dirt, who knows? This time though, Bryan IS able to perform.
Cassie asks him if he got all the cameras. He tells her that he’s pretty sure he did but that he also destroyed the hard drive they upload to, so that should take care of everything either way.
As we fade out, we go to a computer screen that is watching what looks like a security camera. It’s Bryan and Cassie burying the bodies via the hidden camera in the garden gnome. It’s then that we realize that everything that happened in the vacation house was being uploaded to the internet to a site called “Eye See You”, a voyeur site, and that many people already saw what they did.
What creeps me out the most about this film is the invasion of privacy. I don’t like the idea of paying money to go stay in someone else’s home but that’s just me personally. I don’t even like hotels. Then again, I travelled for a living for ten years or so. I guess that can make a difference.
Here’s the thing. This film could be the chilling cautionary tale for those sites where you book to go stay at someone else’s pad for five days for a vacation. There are a lot of sites that do it and we all know what they are and to avoid any chance of any type of lawsuit I am not going to mention their names in this article. People are too sensitive nowadays. Not worth the risk.
But this does show how, in this day and technological age, our assumption of privacy can easily be taken advantage of or manipulated. I mean, this couple straight assumes that some stranger that they’ve never met in person, never even talked to on the phone, is just as honest, if not more so, than they are. They assume that they will have privacy in someone else’s home??? Why??? That’s like assuming you have privacy in a government building or on the internet. You don’t by the way. Nothing is anonymous. Don’t kid yourselves.
This film eerily walks through the chilling sequence of an already dysfunctional relationship being invaded and dismantled all for the bleak entertainment of others. Although voyeurism is intellectually understandable with my psychology background, emotionally I have a hard time processing that kind of intrusive abuse of trust.
We’re talking about a stranger in a foreign and unfamiliar country filming you in your most vulnerable and private moments and uploading those to the internet for other complete strangers to view, comment on, pick apart, make fun of, exploit or worse. With geo-tagging and exif-data our world is getting more and more complicated, more and more dangerous. Certain things can actually tell the predators where you are without them even trying. The thought of your most intimate life details being broadcast on some random public access website…that should scare the crap out of anyone.
There wasn’t anything bad about this movie. There wasn’t anything spectacular either. I would call it average. The little twist at the end where we find out everything goes to the internet and that there are more people being watched than just Bryan and Cassie, that was good.
The acting wasn’t bad at all and the filming was definitely very decent. I just wish there had been a little more punch. Ya know? A film with this story, I feel like there could have been more weight to it, more heft. I was waiting for a real WOW moment and other than the little AH HA at the end, we didn’t really get one.
That doesn’t mean this was a bad movie and it’s one that I would probably be willing to watch again. I have a feeling this is one of those movies that tends to grow on you the more you watch it. So, I’m not going to count it out completely. And I do think suspense and thriller lovers should give it a go and at least see it once.
Directed by Robbie Lopez
Richie Ramone as Richie
Alyssa Paige as Wynnona
Jeff Vaughn as Sherriff Sunny
Chris Stimac as Deputy Eubanks
Doug Todd as McCreepy/McDaniels
Amy Stacy as Tina Eubanks
Richard Montano as Greasy Gary
Zeke Callahan as Ben Ulrich
Adam Fletcher as Deano
Music by: Richie Ramone, Dopesick, Robbie Lopez, Mi Corazon Negro
Okay, I have to be honest here. I started watching this movie and I was truly all geared up to watch it. Then it began and I was sitting there, unable to take my eyes off the screen, completely mesmerized and at the same time thinking to myself, “What the eff am I watching?!”
Then, I’m faced with these horrid little creatures, trolls actually, that look like a cross between Hellboy and Gremlins. Wicked cool looking as they may be, these little monsters cause quite a problem. In all honesty, they were one of my very favorite parts of this movie. They are disgusting and wretched little heathens that make you laugh with their party pranks and practical jokes. They are stars of the film themselves, along with the actual actors and actresses.
What was REALLY mind blowing was actually getting to see Richie Ramone (formerly of The Ramones) star in this film. I have to admit, the whole time I was watching I was kind of repeating here and there “I CANNOT believe that is ACTUALLY Richie Ramone! This is so cool!” in my head.
What I think made me laugh the most (yes this horror film was intended to make you laugh, this particular director has an excellent and very active sense of humor, always down for a laugh) was that I could not stop asking myself, “What the EFF am I watching?!”. There’s this one part where Richie is getting it on with one of the female stars, her character is Wynnona and we’ll get to her in a minute, but this isn’t just any regular sex scene in a horror film. Now, you all know that sex in films doesn’t bother me. I did catch myself thinking, “my God, how long is this sex scene?” because, and I’m being sincere here, it seems like they really took a lot of time and effort putting that scene together and on film.
There’s also this awesome throwback Claymation concert where Richie’s band plays. I loved that. It really did take me back to before there was all this CGI stuff and new technology on special effects and animation. Back when it was simpler, but just as much fun to watch. The guys DO use some CGI in this movie but it’s in a really fun way, like blood spatter.
Richie is awesome. Totally cool as hell, totally comfortable on camera. There’s an excellent chill scene, with some killer music for the soundtrack, where Ramone seems completely genuine, very funny and very down to earth.
The same with Alyssa Paige, who plays Wynnona. She came across as if playing her part were effortless and second nature to her. She’s perfect for the part and a natural on screen.
The soundtrack to the whole film is good as far as music goes. The only thing that I struggled with while watching this film was the sound. It wasn’t always a consistent level, sometimes it would go up to regular volume, sometimes down in volume, as if they were missing the microphone or something.
There is a serious strobe light effect in a scene or two so, if you are prone to seizures or anything like that caused by strobe lights, you might want to look away for that part.
Other than that, I felt like the movie did its job. It entertained me. It made me laugh and I had fun watching it. It wasn’t as good as Texas Death Trippin’ Ax-tended Cut, but it was still good.
You can find the movie at either of the links below:
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Texas Death Trippin’
Written and Directed by R. Lopez
Catherine Daisy Coleman, Bryan Slusher, Cody Calderas, Dakota Danger, Melesa Murphy, Rob Di Perna, Robert Robson, WRGIII, Todd Hughes, George Wang, D.E. Todd
Music for film provided by the following:
Spencer Jacob Grau
DJ Halo Dark
Buffalo Bud Buster
The Death Ray Angels
The Reefer Hawks
Mi Corazon Negro
Now I know if you are an avid visitor to my site you will be wondering why I’m reviewing the same movie twice. I’m not. The guys decided to add so much extra footage to this film that is really is a completely different movie than the first time around. The first version will soon be out of print and THIS is the REAL version of the vision these guys had for this film.
While the basic plot of the beginning of the film remains the same, that’s really the only part that they didn’t add something obvious to. In almost every scene there is new footage, new dialogue, new characters.
What we have is a group of stoners road trippin’ to see a music festival. And everything seems to be going perfectly as they make their rounds to grab everyone that is going on the trip. Three guys, two girls. (Someone is about to be the fifth wheel and they don’t even know it.)
So how about a few observations about the characters in the film. First off, Andy is a sexual assault charge waiting to happen, total perv. Not that the other guys, Muppet and Sidwell, are much better, but they are slightly. Sid is driving the 420 white box molester van. Muppet rides shotgun. Andy is in the back with the two chicks, Sheena Starr and her gal pal Teresa.
Now, think about the road trip those teenage fools took in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Now merge that with Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 corpses. Then, throw in a creature that looks like Swamp Thing and Leatherface had a very ill-conceived child. Finally, add the smell of a landfill. This film is like a very whacked out version of Texas Chainsaw Massacre melded with House of 1000 Corpses.
One character, an old guy at a gas station, is the epitome of Otis from House of 1000 Corpses plus Leatherface from TCM.
We also have a character named Malakhy. This guy, wow. As soon as I saw him, I was like, OMG it’s the new Vince Neil! Except maybe a little creepier.
This movie also taught me a few lessons that I will live by until I die.
There is a point where Sheena proves she is one tough badass chick by opening a beer bottle with her teeth. Just watching that made MY teeth hurt. Then, at one point when she’s running from the mutant swamp thing monster, they show her actually RUNNING. Not that half-ass side step looking run that victims always use in movies so the killer has time to catch up. Sheena didn’t want him to catch up. She RAN ran. Thank you! Finally! A chick that can RUN in a horror flick.
This is a dark horror comedy. The guys meant for it to be funny and it is. I was laughing through most of the movie. The simpleton type of comedy, the dark comedic comments, the toilet humor, it’s all constant and perpetual through the whole movie.
Now, I watch a lot of horror. I watch a lot of true crime. I’ve seen an autopsy. Very few things can actually gross me out. I mean, to where I feel nauseated. Watching the guys eat food in this film is something I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to unsee. So, fair warning, food is involved and not always in the way you are thinking. Like Muppet’s insatiable love affair with cold, canned ravioli. I just, yechhh! Still the most disturbing ravioli interaction I’ve ever seen, but it was totally funny as hell.
Another thing they did so much better this time around are the kill scenes. The guys got a lot more creative and with the extra characters and added footage, that left a lot of opportunities for some really fun murder scenes.
Now, if you are looking for an A-List film with A-List Hollywood actors, this is not what you are looking for. If you love horror and comedy and want to have a good laugh and have some fun, this IS the film you are looking for.
The guys from The Toking Dead make a special appearance in this film too.
Also, this could be the new Reefer Madness except for shrooms not marijuana. That’s how outrageous some of it gets.
Some of the horror effects are truly disgusting and it’s obvious the filmmakers had a lot of fun with the gore factor of this movie.
There are some full range bird’s eye view shots of where the group decides to go camping. It really adds to the realization of the vastness and isolation of where they are. That, in my opinion, adds a certain chill factor to the whole film. Along with that, there are some very seriously high-pressure moments that will have you on the edge of your seat.
Even though it’s a horror film, the most disgusting part of the whole movie is, well, food. The things that involve food in this movie are going to be forever disturbing to some people, no matter how hilarious it is. And this is not entirely a comedy. Lopez pulls off a few truly eerie and creepy moments that would make anyone’s skin crawl. Mine did. (I have this thing about evil or creepy laughs. It’s such chilling to me.) Additionally, the flipping back and forth between the various character’s stories add a lot of body and heft to the film.
But, here’s the kicker. Even though we can see the killer, up close and personal, it’s still hard to determine what the hell it is exactly. This creates the fear of the unknown which is a natural human response to things we feel are out of our societal “normal” range.
To top it all off, an ending fit for any horror lover. Nice and quick, concise, easy to understand and entertaining. The guys really did go balls to the wall when refreshing this film and adding all the extra stuff.
A definite win and a fantastic dark comedy horror film for the avid horror lovers.
Directed by Robert Altman
Screenplay by Al Hayes
Kenneth Branagh, Embeth Davidtz, Robert Downey Jr., Daryl Hannah, Tom Berenger, Robert Duvall
Budget $25M Box Office $1,534,569
IMDb 5.7/10 Rotten Tomatoes 58% Metacritic 65/100
Today when I got up, I happen to catch this movie from the beginning. My lucky day. So, with coffee and cigarette in hand, I embarked on waking up to this thriller. I have to be honest it was the description of the film that was on the info on cable and the cast. I mean, I’ll watch almost anything with Robert Downey Jr. in it. Except the Iron Man movies. (Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. I’m the only person on this earth that doesn’t like those movies. Don’t get all twisted about it. The franchise isn’t going to go down because I don’t watch it.)
This was one interesting film. First off, this is the first time I’ve seen Robert Duvall have so few lines. I mean he barely speaks at all in this movie. But he does have a certain creep factor about him. I think a lot of that has to with his character and appearance rather than the actual script. Next, Robert Downey Jr. was quite the piece of work in this film. He pulls off this great accent and plays the drunkard private investigator to damn near perfection. This was in 1998, during the height of Downey’s drug use and failing career. So, it doesn’t surprise me that he can pull off a drunk when he’s drunk and stoned all the time himself.
So, here’s the set up for the film. A young woman meets a divorced lawyer with a questionable reputation at a party that he’s attending and she’s waiting tables. He expects to have a one-night stand but develops feelings for her rather quickly. She shares with him that her father is stalking her and threatening her, that he’s done things like steal her car and hang her cat to its death. Seeing as how this lawyer has a personal interest in this gal, he offers the support of his small practice and resources to help get her father committed to a mental hospital for evaluation. They succeed.
Unfortunately, Daddy breaks out of the hospital, with some help, and starts stalking not only his daughter but her new lawyer friend and his kids. Things start getting violent and crazy. Next thing you know, people are dying, being abducted, being terrorized and threatened.
So, what do they do? Does she make it? Does the lawyer? And why is Dad all crazy anyway? You’ll have to watch the movie to find out.
I will say that I didn’t have any trouble staying interested in the film. It was easy for me to watch. I haven’t read any other reviews on the movie, but the ratings seem to label this film as average. What really surprises me is the horrible Box Office numbers compared to what the film budget was. I mean, I don’t think a lot of that budget went to the actual making of the film.
At the time this film was made, Downey Jr. had had so many problems with drug arrests and failed drug tests as part of his sentencing that it was almost impossible for the studio to insure him. It ended up costing over $1 million dollars to insure the actor and filming had to begin with no insurance for Downey Jr.
The screenplay writer, Al Hayes, is actually director Robert Altman. However, after all the time he put in to write this screenplay, the initial test screening was terrible. The studio, Polygram Films, decided to go outside the film crew and hire an editor to re-work the film. This editor criticized Altman’s version of the film, saying that it basically lacked punch and suspense and had an ailing film score. The new editor made changes and the film was screen tested again. This time it went over worse than the original Altman version.
Still, when the film released it got decent reviews, a vast amount praising Altman for his touches to the film, citing that it would have been just mediocre fodder without his contributions to the film. The initial reviews also praised main character star, Kenneth Branagh for his role in the film and attributed a lot of the films interest to his acting as well.
Overall I liked the film. There were a few times I was rewinding the DVR to catch something small that was said or something like that. I liked the story. I liked the way it all came together and I like that it’s definitely more realistic in the end than a lot of stuff spewed out of Hollywood. I do think it’s gonna be a film that I’m going to have to watch a time or two more to really be able to follow all the little ins and outs of how it came together, which doesn’t bother me. It’s a movie I’m willing to watch again. In fact, it might be one of those that grows on you.
W. D. Richter
Based on: Dracula (1897 novel, Bram Stoker), Dracula (1924 play, Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston
Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier, Donald Pleasence, Kate Nelligen
Budget $12.164,000 Box Office $31,235,812
IMDb 6.5/10 Rotten Tomatoes 59% Metacritic NO DATA
So, I have to start this off and be completely honest, I have never watched an actual ‘Dracula’ movie. Vampire movies, yes, but Dracula himself, no. So, I didn’t have any preconceived ideas as to what to expect from this film.
Just as the graphic novel I have (Bram Stoker’s Dracula by Roy Thomas), the beginning is sort of haphazard and unclear. It is very slow moving and honestly, I expected more, I don’t know, Dracula action, I guess. I don’t know how to put it.
One thing that really threw me off was that there was a lot of focus on wolves in the beginning. I was sitting here trying to figure out if I was watching a werewolf movie or a vampire movie. The howling of the wolves seems to play a big part. Although, you always kinda expect Dracula to be a bat, or turn into one.
Now, in this film, Dracula has killed everyone onboard and enters England, appearing to be, of course, a man of extreme wealth.
He immediately sets his sights on the daughters of those that are helping him set up his England home, a dreadful looking castle only befitting a character such as Dracula. The people helping Dracula are the famous Van Helsings. I know this name to be that of vampire hunters so, this is not a good situation for old Dracula.
The rest of the film is Dracula’s pursuit of his prey and the chaos that follows.
Again, the strangest thing was that they had Dracula scaling the sides of buildings as if he were Wolverine or his brother Victor. I’ve never heard of Dracula being anything close to a werewolf type beast. He’s always changed form into a bat, which DOES happen in this film, but it’s almost like a side note, when I would think it would be of great importance to the Dracula character himself. Plus, I think I just expected more blood-letting, considering it was a vampire film.
In this film, Dracula also has some sort of half living lacky that is like a butler, but with no refinement at all.
Donald Pleasence is the father Van Helsing. He’s fantastic in the role. I miss Donald Pleasence. What a great guy on screen in horror, ya know? He just has this calmness about him even when he’s freaking out, he’s still got it more together than anyone else in the situation.
I will say the final showdown is a gnarly one. But I am not going to give any details. You’ll have to see for yourself.
Based on Het Gouden Ei by Tim Krabbé
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Kiefer Sutherland, Nancy Travis, Sandra Bullock
Budget $23M Box Office $14,543,394
IMDb 6.3/10 Rotten Tomatoes 47% Metacritic 49/100
The other day, I caught an old 90s psychological thriller on TV. I’ve seen the movie many times so I didn’t have to see it from the beginning to know what was going on at the time I came in on it. This truly is a movie that I watched as a kid and have remembered very well, even to this day.
The gist of the story is a boyfriend and girlfriend, Jeff and Diane (almost sounds like a John Mellencamp song) are road tripping, she goes missing and he spends the next three years trying to find her…unsuccessfully. During this time, he tries to forge a new romance with a new woman, Rita. Yet, in the background, he still maintains a stringent search for Diane…unbeknownst to Rita. It creates lies and problems and of course, they split.
Then, just as Jeff has seemingly lost everything and all his hope, the man who took Diane appears at his front door and offers him all the answers he has been seeking. With one condition. He must experience everything exactly as Diane experienced it, then he will know what happened to her.
Now, I find no need to tell you any more than that about the actual details of the plot. However, the psychology behind the film is so twisted and out there, it’s like Jigsaw before there was Saw, only with a twist.
This guy, the bad guy, Barney, he’s all about philosophy, okay? He likes to prove things to himself. Like when he was fifteen, he wanted to prove he had the courage to jump off the balcony of his house, so he did. And it made him proud. He claims psychologically that prepped him to jump from a dock hanging out over a lake and save a little girl from drowning. Now, I personally don’t know anyone that can swim that wouldn’t jump off the dock to save a little girl in a LAKE from drowning, not like it’s the ocean. But, in his mind, he makes it this big ordeal about how his daughter thinks he’s a hero and that made him feel guilty because he didn’t know if he was really deserving of his daughter’s love.
This is where we get all philosophical, or well, Barney does at least. He needs to know if he is as capable of evil as he is of heroism. That in itself seems like a jacked-up reason to hurt someone. But he thinks this will make somehow a more complete human being, a kindred spirit as he chooses to sort of describe it. In theory, you can’t have one without the other. If you believe in one, you kinda have to believe in the other. Good can’t exist without evil. It’s like having light without dark or wet without dry. One state can’t exist without the presence of the other.
So, Barney wants to know if he’s a complete human or just a big ol’ softy that cares about others and lives right and contributes to society…oh wait, that’s most normal human beings, that’s right, I forgot for a second. Apparently though, being average, being normal, being like everyone else isn’t good enough for Barney. William Shakespeare wrote, “Nothing is so common as the wish to be remarkable.” So many people crave to be outwardly special, possess some special talent, have some special gift, something that sets them apart from everyone else. What they fail to realize is that we are all unique.
Unfortunately, being inwardly unique wasn’t enough for Barney. He had a wife who loved him and was devoted to him, he had a thirteen-year-old daughter that thought he was a God, he had a nice job, lovely house. What’s not worth having in that??? Most people, most normal people that is, that would be enough.
But, then there’s Jeff. The inability to accept not knowing is truly an American thing, in my opinion. We as Americans (the current times are a perfect example) will do damn near anything we are told as long as we are told WHAT and WHY. Americans LOVE the WHY. We require explanation, detail, information. As time wears on through the years, we seem to require more explanation than we used to (kind of worries me just a tad). We also seem to have a hard time wrapping our heads around the idea of “I don’t know”. I mean, even as human beings, it’s hard for many when asked about religion or faith to not have SOMETHING they cling to. It’s a scary thought to a lot of people that things just happen unexplained and for no reason. That there might not be an afterlife, that once you are dead, that’s it, you’re dead. People fear the unknown. And in absence of actual information they will grasp at whatever makes them feel safe and secure.
And as Americans and just plain human beings, we want answers. And Jeff, well, he just can’t seem to get his life together after Diane disappears. If he had found her dead or something, that would be different, but he has no idea what happened to her, she was there and then, she wasn’t. Jeff just can’t stomach that. No matter how hard he tries, even with Rita at his side he is still willing to give up everything for the opportunity to go back those three years and find out everything that happened to Diane.
Just think about that, I’ve lost people to things uncertain and certainly unexplained, and I can’t say that I would give up the life I’ve built to go back in time to get that one answer. I don’t think my loved ones would want that for me either. That strikes me as so entirely self-absorbed. It’s like Jeff thinks he’s the only person to ever lose someone without answers. It’s like he doesn’t realize that he’s destroying not only his life, but others.
And Rita. Poor, poor Rita. She loves Jeff so much and she’s lived through so much that she just doesn’t know how to give up. Talk about a fighting soul. This chick is hard core deep down inside. Jeff doesn’t really know it, but he’s no match for Rita and her resolve. And neither is Barney.
If you want to know how it all comes together, you’ll have to watch the movie.
Directed and Written by
Ed Asner as Dr. Howard Arden
Melinda Page Hamilton as Abbey Bell
Julian de la Celle as Greg
Bailey Edwards as Jacob Bell
Janet Ulrich Brooks as Nana Millie
Note***This film is so new that budget, box office and rating information is not yet available. The film’s theatrical premiere release date was March 13. So, keep that in mind while you are reading this because I am not going to be giving a whole lot away.
I was lucky. I got sent a screener of this movie to watch and review for you guys. From the trailer I saw, I was excited to see it and thought it had a lot of potential to be a really good flick. My only concern was that it was in that kind of home movie/found footage style and sometimes I have a hard time with those films. But I still wanted to give it a shot regardless because of the plot. Here’s what got my attention enough to watch the trailer.
“A distraught mother (Hamilton) suspects her teenage son (Edwards) is plotting a school shooting, but when he slips through the cracks of the system, she is forced to take matters into her own hands. After installing an elaborate spy camera system in their home, Abbey captures a series of disturbing videos that confirm her worst fears.
Torn between a mother's unconditional love and a mother's acute intuition, Abbey caters her videos to all the other "mothers of monsters" online. Abbey's plan backfires when Jacob uses a dark family secret against her, launching both mother and son on a terrifying, and ultimately deadly, game of cat and mouse.”
Right?!?! How can that NOT sound interesting to a horror fan??? I mean, that should appeal to the very core of the fiber of our being! So, I had to watch it.
Now, what we really see here is a truly desperate single mom, who is at her wits end, making video diary entries of her daily life experiences and video recordings of her son’s behavior, abuse towards her and his escalation of the two in addition to his anger and poor coping skills.
This poor woman, Abbey, is a 42-year-old single mom and she just can’t seem to communicate with her 16-year-old son, Jacob. She’s worried about him. She’s scared for him. She’s scared OF him. So, scared in fact that she installs hidden spy cameras all over the house. When Jacob is gone, she searches his room (Any teens reading this??? Yes, your parents know way more about the shit you’re doing than you think they do).
Abbey seems truly terrified. She records these videos as warnings to the other moms out there. She’s alone and afraid. She feels like there’s no one to turn to, no one to help her. These videos she’s making, collecting, they are also, in my opinion, a way of talking through the things she’s going through.
Jacob, on the other hand. Jacob is the typical rude, hateful, mouthy, ungrateful, entitled teenager…kicked up a few hundred notches. He yells and screams at Abbey, cusses at her, calls her names, insults her, plays mean tricks on her. He treats her like she’s his mortal enemy at times. It’s amazing how he talks to her.
Needless to say, their relationship is anything but warm and loving, nurturing and caring. Their relationship overflows with toxicity and negativity. And no matter what kind of approach she tries, Abbey just can’t seem to get a handle on things. Jacob makes even the simplest of things, like having a conversation, practically impossible.
Abbey is very worried that Jacob is going to end up hurting SOMEONE. Maybe even her. She’s voiced these concerns, even to the police, which is hard as a parent, to turn your own child into the police, but it didn’t do any good. She is basically told he’s fine and to move on.
Things between Jacob and Abbey continue to spiral out of control as Jacob finds out about certain things here and there until Abbey is in true fear for her life. It’s getting extremely tense and time is of the essence. He’s got her backed into a corner and everything she does makes him mad or frustrated or worse. It’s decision time for Abbey. She’s going to have to make a choice.
I really, really enjoyed this film. Like I said before, I was worried about the film style but it actually worked great for this movie.
I thought that Bailey Edwards was exceptional with his part. He definitely made it easy to hate a bratty 16-year-old. He expertly splashes the screen with the overflowing teenage angst and deep anger and rebellion a lot of us remember feeling at that age. (Remember how EVERYTHING was the end if the world and life and death at that age?)
And Melinda Page Hamilton was superb. Her portrayal of this mom who thinks her son may be a school shooter or a family annihilator is completely believable and totally brilliant. You see the fear in the red rims of her eyes, the anguish and desperation from crying, all caught in her eyes as she makes her videos.
There was definitely, without question, an eeriness within the film. Not so much in the beginning, but as the movie gets going you really feel the anxiety build along side Abbey as she gets more stressed and scared. It’s not really a suspenseful feeling, but it’s for real creepy and sinister. I have to say, with all my education and research, all the true crime videos I have seen on true crime shows, this duo really does seem to nail the psychological aspects of both sides of this troubled mother/son relationship. That's exactly why I found this so creepy and disturbing.
My only complaint is this…during the entire movie I could hear a low vibrate, two short buzzes at a time, like cell phone on vibrate. It’s like someone working on editing sound or something had their phone on silent and it was getting blown up throughout the making of the whole movie. I don’t know if it was accidental or part of some soft and slight background noise I didn’t fully pick up on (I have a slight hearing loss in both ears), but it was really weird. That buzz may actually have something to do with the eerie feeling. It’s what happens when your body responds to stimuli you can’t see…basically. There’s a lot more to it but that’s the basic gist.
So, other than that, I loved the movie. And I do hope you guys take the time to check this one out. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Scotty Landes and Tate Taylor
Story by Scotty Landes
Starring: Octavia Spencer, Juliette Lewis, Diana Silvers, Corey Fogelmanis, Luke Evans
Budget $5M Box Office $61.1M
IMDb 5.6/10 Rotten Tomatoes 55% Metacritic NO DATA IndieWire 2/5
I wanted to watch this because it’s listed as a psychological thriller and from the general description that was on the cable summary, it reminded me of a couple of true crime cases I had heard about.
The basic premise is this: A middle aged woman named Sue Ann works as a vet tech in the local vet clinic in a small town where she grew up. Needless to say, she’s a quiet woman with a soft, loving smile and that genuine church lady love kind of voice that you just can’t walk away from, ya know? She just seems like such a sweet gal.
Flash to our other characters: A group of misguided teenagers (Maggie, new in town and new to school, Haley, Darrell, Chaz and Andy, who ends up dating Maggie) always looking for someone to buy their liquor and a place to party. Now, I never had to do this because I hung out with slightly older kids and they always had older siblings or parents even that would buy us alcohol and let us drink at their house (don’t OMG me people, this was a different time!). However, these kids know the struggle I don’t, so what they have to do is stand outside the liquor store and ask random strangers to buy their goods. (Like really, does that shit eve work? Do adults really do that? How do you know these kids aren’t plants by the cops? Moving on…)
So, that’s how they meet Sue Ann. She’s walking her dog and passes by the store and Maggie, the newest addition to the group because she’s the new girl at school, is standing outside and does the approach and ask on Sue Ann. And it works. Then Sue Ann becomes their regular hook up. But even more so, she offers up her basement as their party pad so they aren’t drinking and doing drugs out in the open. They’ll be safe at her house.
[I have to interject here with some logic from a cop’s kid. Okay, even at seventeen years old, if some random older woman who was willing to break the law to buy me and my friends alcohol wanted all of us to come party at her house which is not in the suburbs, but off in the woods, my answer would not only have been no, it would have been hell no. I would have NEVER gone from point A to point B with a stranger to a basement with the intention of getting all trashed and drugged and liquored up. Ummm hello??? Where’s those brain cells???? Moving on…again…]
So, being teenagers, they think this is the PERFECT setup and are all in. And at first, it’s great. They party, they get drunk, they get high. Sue Ann has established the rules, which are: Don’t use the Lord’s name in vain, Never go upstairs EVER and Call her Ma. So, they have fun, Ma has fun. And things are raging like a techno club for a while.
But then, as it always does, real life sets in and these kids have to go to school and do homework, extracurricular activities, sports, spend time with their families. And eventually, they get kind of tired of Ma always wanting to be around. See, she’s strangely sort of just inserted herself right in the middle of their “circle” (you know how it is in school), and it makes the kids uncomfortable. Not to mention that things start getting weird at Ma’s house and some people’s belongings start going missing, things become fuzzy and hazy and questions start being raised.
What these kids don’t know is that Ma grew up with their parents. And that for some people, high school never ends.
I have to be honest, when I first watched this movie and I got through the whole thing, originally, I felt a little dejected. But after thinking on it for a couple of days, I really think this is truly the kind of movie that will grow on you. There are some things in it that have just stuck with me, just kind of interesting, I think. I don’t want to tell you what they are because I don’t want to spoil the movie. But, after rethinking my original reaction, I think I reacted harshly.
Octavia Spencer is great in this movie. We always see her in this role of love and care and support, like the loving mother or the supportive caretaker or the strong supportive female friend, etc. But in this film, she really comes out of her shell and pulls a complete switch on us. This is a side of Spencer that we have not seen, but that she was especially good at showing. I give her fantastic praise for her performance in this film. She creeped me the hell out, that’s for sure.
So, DO give this film a chance. And if you feel a little, say, shortchanged at the end, do what I did and go over the film in your head a bit and sit on it. It’s not for gore. It’s psychological. Remember that and I think you’ll enjoy the film much, much more.
Starring: Michael Ealy, Meagan Good, Joseph Sikora, Dennis Quaid
IMDb 5.5/10 Rotten Tomatoes 32% Metacritic 39/100
Budget $5-8M Box Office $36.6M
Let’s take a little trip down imaginary lane. I want you to pretend that you’re newly married. And you and your new spouse are wanting to start a family. But not just in any regular old cookie cutter home in the suburbs. You guys decide to buy a house outside of town, like in the country type kind of place. The kind of place that is surrounded by big, beautiful trees and scores of flowers and foliage everywhere you turn. It’s quiet, away from neighbors and the hustle and bustle of the city. More importantly, it got acreage, lots of room for kids to run and play and grow up. And you find this house on the outskirts of town and man is it perfect. It’s everything you are looking for. You talk to the seller; he seems to be a nice guy. He gets what you might consider to be somewhat personal but hey, he’s just being friendly like most country folk, just small talkin’. After a little dealing and signing some papers this dream house you’ve picked out is ALL YOURS.
Or is it?
Imagine, no sooner do you get moved into your new home and the previous owner starts popping up. First with housewarming gifts and such and he DOES seem like he misses the house so why not invite him to the housewarming party, right? Have some dinner with friends, maybe some wine and talk about what you want to do to the house to make it more “YOU”. Isn’t that what people do?
Little do you know that your previous owner has a hard time letting go of things. He doesn’t like being cast aside or slighted, he doesn’t like having to have sold his home and he sure as hell doesn’t want you changing everything in HIS HOUSE. Imagine you start putting up, say, security cameras and the old owner comes up and tells the workers to halt working and starts yelling about holes being put in HIS house. HIS house? Remember, you just bought this house. Don’t forget that. This is your property. Then the previous owner starts showing up unannounced and at inconvenient times.
What’s worse is that as a man in this situation, you also realize old owner dude has fixated on your wife. And I mean like stalker, gets inside your house and watches you shower and sleep, kind of fixated. Imagine what it would be like to be terrorized like that and not being able to really do anything about it. The law is slow and skeptical when it comes to matters like stalking and harassment.
We all know that this is going to come down to which man wins the fight defending his castle. So, who will it be?
I really liked this movie. I thought Dennis Quaid was great. I don’t normally picture him in a role like this but, I think he really did pull it off quite well. There is definitely a true on the edge of your seat kind of suspense factor. The kind where you want to yell at the actors to do something or not to do something, tell them to turn around, not to answer that door…etc. That ambiance is well kept throughout the whole movie.
I also didn’t feel like there were really any holes in the plot line. It’s something I often look for, especially in stories involving crime, the legal system, etc. There is a point where you start to kind of feel for the previous owner, I suppose some people would anyways, but then, as it always goes, the true colors come out and you see who you are REALLY dealing with.
I don’t quite know if this movie centers around the married couple or if it centers around the previous whacko owner. It really seems to focus on the owner quite a bit. It’s almost as if he’s running the roller coaster and the married couple, and whoever else gets in the way, are just along for the wild, twisted ride.
This film is also kind of an eye opener about what people can be like when it comes to being forced out of their homes…and their lives. Sometimes people can’t take the stress. Sometimes they take up oil painting or wood carving. And sometimes, they go attack people they feel have wronged them and helped put them in their current position. (Hey, I’m not saying that’s right, I’m just saying it happens.)
So, other than entertainment value, if you take anything away from this film, it should be this:
Don’t become friendly with the previous owner of your new house.
Happy house hunting my ghoulish friends!
Starring: Ellen Page, Patrick Wilson. Sandra Oh, Odessa Rae
Budget $950,000 Box Office $8.3M
This is a film about a fourteen-year-old girl who calls herself Haley, that plots and carries out a revenge plan against an adult male she suspects of being a sexual predator. The best thing about this movie is that this girl does what most people dream of doing to these monsters when we see them on the news or in crime shows.
She starts out by luring him to a coffee shop to meet FTF (that’s face to face for us older peeps who don’t speak in anagrams). When they do finally meet, she slyly tricks him into taking her to his house. He may think it is HIS idea but, it’s really HERS, it’s part of her plan.
When they get there, like any sexual predator, there’s some light flirting, some drinks are made, he shows her around his house while talking about his profession as a photographer, trying to impress her. But, when he hands her the drink, she says that it’s not a good idea to drink something you didn’t mix yourself. He agrees and says they can go back in the kitchen and she can watch him make the drink but, instead, she takes charge and says SHE’LL mix some drinks…screwdrivers.
She brings the drinks out and then starts slowing pushing him to drink his cocktail, faster and faster, saying that he’s falling behind and needs to be able to keep up with a teen girl. Appealing to his ego, which works, and he continues to drink the screwdriver she made for him. What he doesn’t know is that she put something in the drink to drug him. And it works.
She gets him tied to a chair, bound well with nylon ropes. And from that point on SHE is in control. And she has a purpose. She wants to get a confession out of him. A confession about a missing girl named Donna Mauer, who he admits he met for coffee.
Throughout the film we see the two of them play mind games back and forth. Haley claims to be an honor student and very bright. And she seems to live up to the claim. Jeff, the adult male predator, claims he’s not a pedophile, which in my opinion is a matter of semantics.
Quick lesson: The term pedophile gets thrown around to encapsulate ALL sex offenders that prey on minors. This is NOT accurate and is very misleading. A pedophile is a predator that preys on pre-pubescent children, usually the law says twelve and under. After that they are labeled sexual predator. Or rapist.
She finds all kinds of hidden secrets in his house and she toys with him like a cat with a mouse. Eventually, Haley sets Jeff up for an ultimatum. And it comes down to him making a choice. It will be a life changing choice either way he goes. And that’s her intent. She’s going to change his life. And his will.
I loved this movie. Haley is played by Ellen Page and she’s awesome in this film. She is excellent at the cold-hearted attitude this kind of person must have to do the things to Jeff that this girl does. The funny thing about this movie is that we go along through the whole movie believing Haley from the start. Jeff seems like a perv. And even if he isn’t the exact predator she thinks he is, because he continuously claims he’s not, he’s a predator in her mind, nonetheless. And for that, the ends justify the means. I guess in some cases it’s better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. But, then again, she’s not really worried about forgiveness.
What strikes me is that she’s a fourteen-year-old girl and she’s doing things that an adult wouldn’t be able to handle. She’s quite the thinker, definitely living up to her claim as an honor student. She definitely has a level of sarcasm and dark humor that I can appreciate, although her victim didn’t seem to find anything funny at all. Can you believe that? Not one thing. No sense of humor.
I have watched this film three or four times before I decided to write a review on it. I was originally watching it because I found it psychologically interesting. This is definitely a psychological thriller. At least in my opinion. I mean, this girl plays with this guy’s mind in every way possible making him almost crazy with fear and anger and anxiety. The mind games and psychological torture she puts this guy through is pretty impressive for a fourteen-year-old. I mean, she comes up with things that NORMAL teenage girls wouldn’t, couldn’t even imagine. She’s also very good at planning ahead, her ability for foresight is astounding. She’s quick thinking and fast on feet. It’s almost like this guy Jeff doesn’t seem to stand a chance against her, and she’s just a kid.
But, then again, this film is a good example of how much we underestimate our youth of today. They aren’t the same. Fourteen years old in 2020 is not the same as fourteen years old in 1994. We’re talking a completely different generation, with a completely different upbringing and a completely different mindset. These kids aren’t kids anymore. They grow up faster, they experience more earlier in life and they don’t do the things we did at that age. Yes, the general stuff about being a teenager, all the angst and awkwardness and such is still there. That’s just biology and natural and that will never change. But attitudes and maturity do change. And things are different now. Oddly enough, this film reminded me of just that.
There’s no blood, no gore. No slasher scenes and no chases of big breasted blondes running from madmen with big bladed weapons. This is altogether a different kind of thriller and it’s a good one at that.