Directed by David Slade
Based on the comic book miniseries 30 Days of Night.
Starring: Josh Hartnett and Melissa George
IMDb 6.6/10 Rotten Tomatoes 51% Metacritic 53/100
I have this comic book series but, I decided to watch the movie before reading it. For once I think Rotten Tomatoes and the others got it right.
The film is set in Barrow, Alaska, a small town where, for one month straight every year, they experience nothing but darkness. During this time, they find they are being overrun by hungry vampires, hungry for both power and blood. There are no flights in or out of the area for the whole month. Most of the town typically goes South for the winter but, for the few that stuck around, it is a nightmare come true. The majority of the ones who stayed in town are soon killed and the few that remain must ban together and do whatever it takes to survive the full thirty days until they see the sun rise once again.
Now, we have all seen a number of vampire horror movies. They’ve really done pretty much everything they can with the topic. And still, I found this movie to be fairly entertaining. I do have to admit that the weird, screeching sound the vampires make is NOT pleasant and thankfully it seems that the filmmakers chose not to use it TOO much. I still like the idea of vampires that speak English and walk amongst us, fooling us with their trickery and deceit, but this was a nice spin on the whole subject for me.
The vampires were definitely disgusting and scary looking. They had constant dried (or fresh) blood on their chins pretty much at all times. Like I said though, I would have preferred that they spoke real words instead of the horrible screeching that served as their voices. Although, when they all “yelled” at once, if you heard that in person you would definitely be scared and run for your life. Unless, of course, you’re like a vampire hunter or something where you run towards the danger instead of away from it.
And now, about Josh Hartnett. I have to be honest, I do NOT understand why chicks go gaga over this guy. Is it just me or does he always look like he’s squinting as if he needs glasses? And personally, I don’t buy him as a town Sherriff. I mean seriously. He still looks like a kid to me and even the character’s personality in the film didn’t fit that of a Sherriff. I’m actually still waiting to find a film that Josh Hartnett stars in which he actually does a great job at portraying his character. I don’t understand the whole heartthrob sensationalism around him and I don’t think he has superior acting ability.
That being said (as it very much needed to be), the film wasn’t horrible and is definitely worth the watch. I AM glad that I didn’t buy this one and only recorded it on DVR. I don’t think it’s one I’ll be watching again any time soon.
Directed by Johannes Roberts
Written by Bryan Bertino
Starring: Christina Hendricks, Martin Henderson, Bailee Madison and Lewis Pullman
IMDb 5.2/10 Rotten Tomatoes 39% Metacritic 48/100
Okay, let me just start with the whole “based on true events” thing at the beginning. Once again, “INSPIRED by true events” would have been much more accurate. So don’t go thinking that all this stuff really happened. The writer used a number of real events for inspiration for this tragic tale but none of the actual happenings were what happened in the film. That being said, I started the film with an eye roll due to the announcement being made from the get go. I feel like they are trying to lie to me when they do that. I’d rather the filmmakers just be honest and say, “We were inspired by personal experiences and notorious events when creating the plot for this film. None of this actually happened. We made it all up.” Trying to get me to actually believe that these events really happened, in this age where we can Google everything, is a complete waste of time and truly, almost insulting.
The film isn’t much different from the first one. This time it’s a family that is on a vacation before the rebellious daughter is shipped off to boarding school. They go to the trailer park that is owned by family of theirs and eventually settle into the trailer they are assigned for the night. They plan to make contact with their family in the main trailer in the morning. Little do they know their family members are already dead.
No sooner do they get settled when there’s a knock at the door. And the nightmare begins. Once again, the three “strangers” terrorize this family and start killing off each member. As usual they are chased and taunted and frightened into running around like scared little rabbits.
Now, I thought that this one was actually a little better, maybe, than the first. I think it’s because there’s no broken love story to muck things up. Not to mention that I was a very rebellious teen myself and immediately realized that this whole ordeal is actually HER FAULT. See, if she wasn’t acting like an ass all the time she wouldn’t be getting sent to boarding school which, in turn, means that they wouldn’t be having this family vacation as the final family get together before she’s gone away. So, truly, if she wasn’t acting a fool, they wouldn’t have even been there and everyone who died would still be alive.
I still don’t think it was a bad film and any horror movie lover would like it enough to watch it at least once. It’s not like there’s a whole lot to expect from a modern day slasher film anymore. And they did the job fairly well. So, hopefully none of you will feel let down when you watch it. I thought there were some pretty killer moments, to be honest. (Killer…no pun intended but, a great one nonetheless.)
Directed by Christopher B. Landon
Written by Scott Lobdell
Starring: Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, and Ruby Modine
IMDb 6.5/10 Rotten Tomatoes 70% Metacritic 57/100
On IMDb this film is classified as “horror/mystery/thriller”. I am surprised they left comedy out of the genre description list. Not to mention that they try to throw a little bit of a moral tale/love story into it. (Insert eye roll here.) Why do studios, writers, directors, whoever it is, feel that they have to ruin a perfectly good horror, action or war movie with a love story. Can we stop with the sappiness already? I watch horror for the entertainment. Not to be taught some sort of morality tale as if it were a fable I was watching. I don’t watch to see all the gushy moments of self-realization and redemption. Isn’t that what dramas are for? Add to that the fact that they add a romantic tension between to characters who obviously know they are hot for each other and drag that out just amplifies the chick flick aspect to something that is not anywhere near meant to be a romance movie with some feel good drama and mushiness.
The plot of the movie was good. It was like a horror version of Groundhog Day. A girl in college is killed by a masked assailant one night on her way to a frat party. She then wakes up reliving the same day of her death, which is her birthday, over and over again until she figures out who is killing her.
(Was that my fastest summary of a film ever or what?)
I thought this film, for the most part, was pretty good…minus the lovey-dovey garbage. And while it didn’t ruin the film for me, our main character’s little moment of “oh I’m a bitch and I’m mean to everyone and maybe I shouldn’t do that anymore” was completely overdramatic and gave a cheesy feel to that particular scene. Like I’m going to watch a horror movie to learn the lessons on how to be a good person and contribute to society. I really think there are better ways to learn that lesson than a murder flick. But hey, that’s just me.
Now, other than ALL that…I liked this movie. The mask worn by the killer is a creepy baby mask that makes you think twice about the idea that all infants are cute. And I have to say, it seems like every masked killer nowadays does the whole “Michael Myers” stare where they tilt their head to the side and stare blankly at their target. We gotta find something new people. Only the Michael Myers character pulled that off in the initial way it was intended. Now it’s all just copying the great characters of horror. Not every killer is on the same mental derangement level as Michael Myers. Freddy Krueger didn’t catatonically stare at his victims. NO. He taunted them and then tossed them like trash. Such an angry fellow.
Still, if we look at those kinds of things in this film, it does follow a lot of the formula. Female lead, her life is in danger, masked killer stalking her. I gotta give props for that. Then addition of the slight sarcastic comedy is subtle but noticeable. It doesn’t make anything bad and it adds a certain lightheartedness to the movie.
All in all, I’d say that this was good but average. Also, very predictable in many ways so, don’t be expecting the biggest twist in horror film history or anything along those lines. It’s an average horror movie than is very low on gore and would be tolerable even to non-horror fans.
Directed by Corin Hardy
Written by Gary Dauberman
Starring: Demián Bichir, Taissa Farmiga, and Jonas Bloquet
IMDb 5.8/10 Rotten Tomatoes 27% Metacritic 46/100
I had the opportunity to not only see this film at the theater but, it was at a ScreenX viewing. What this means is that in addition to your usual viewing screen front and center, you also get film displayed on the sides of the theater walls. It’s a 270 degree viewing surface. The main screen was described in the introduction of the theater to be four stories tall and seven stories wide. One story is roughly ten feet tall or so.
This was an AMAZING viewing experience. The only thing I didn’t like about the ScreenX viewing was that the side film display was only during certain parts of the movie, like when we are watching the character walk through a hallway or up a flight of stairs or something like that. It really does make it seem more real, closer to Virtual Reality. But since it wasn’t on the whole film it was slightly distracting at times. Still, it added incredible depth to some scenes and helped put you right there in the film yourself.
Now, once again, Rotten Tomatoes and I are at odds. While this film will probably never be declared as a horror genre staple, it wasn’t NEAR bad enough to receive a 27% rating. I don’t think these people at RT like horror at all, in general. They probably wouldn’t even like Halloween or Nightmare on Elm St…or Jaws even.
The film had a few good startling scare moments and the special effects were killer. Still, I’m not a huge fan of the religious stuff and this whole film is centered in Catholicism.
I have to say, I think the hype surrounding the movie amps it up a little more than is warranted. However, this IS a movie I would definitely not want to miss. It’s good enough that all horror fans should like it. If you like movies about possession, evil, demons and strange happenings in theological settings you will absolutely LOVE this film. I don’t know that it’s worth paying the price to go to the theater BUT, it is certainly worth seeing once it’s on DVD, Blu-Ray or cable.
Written, Produced and Directed by Jérôme Cohen-Olivar
Starring: Einar Kuusk as Einar, Rebecca Ramon as Helen, Cody Heuer as Mark
I saw an awesome indie film this weekend!! This film is making its world premiere at the NOLA Horror Film Fest on September 22.
This film is essentially about three young YouTubers who are making videos for their channel as they travel the world. When they get to Casablanca things get really weird really fast.
Here is a small summary:
LITTLE HORROR MOVIE
NOLA HORROR FILM FEST
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 22
How many views is your life worth?
Little Horror Movie from French-Moroccan filmmaker Jérôme Cohen-Olivar is a fresh take on the found footage genre, marrying self-aware humor with suspenseful, blood-soaked terror, and shot on location in the famed city of Casablanca.
Helen, Einar, and Mark are three YouTubers who make their living traveling to foreign countries and immersing themselves deep into the culture, documenting everything for their audience no matter how dangerous.
Following a particularly harrowing incident in Brazil, the trio heads to Casablanca to find their next story and are quickly befriended by Tareek, a charismatic tour guide while exploring the city.
After attending a mysterious local wedding with Tareek, Helen begins acting not quite like herself. Her strange new personality soon causes the trio's childhood secrets and current desires to swirl together, pushing them ever closer to the perilous fate that awaits them -- and testing how far they'll actually go to get more views.
This is a wonderfully done new take on the found footage film idea. This film includes found footage and is also filmed like a regular movie so it’s much easier on the eyes to watch. I found the whole film creepy. They did a great job on this one. The film kept me on the edge of my seat and I never once checked the counter to see how much time was left. It really kept me involved and entertained, not to mention that it was truly creeping me out.
The dialogue between the characters is completely effortless, the banter back and forth is amusing and adds a very personal edge to the film. As they work their way through the film, when the characters get that inevitable sense of foreboding and fear their doom is ahead, boy, do you really feel that with them!!!
The actors are completely comfortable in front of the camera and, in my opinion, did so well that there’s not an awkward moment in the film. (You know what I mean, where there’s a pause that’s too long or an awkward look or the flat dialogue, that kind of stuff.)
I think the editing was also well done, slashing scenes together the way they did gives quite an impact in some parts of the film. It really added to the whole spooky and eerie feeling I got watching the whole thing.
I will also say that I thought the special effects and makeup were very well done. At no point did I think any of it looked cheesy or low grade. The blood looked great, I must say.
Here’s a little information about the Director:
Jérôme Cohen-Olivar is a French Moroccan filmmaker, producer, and writer. He spent most of his childhood in Morocco, where he made little horror movies in super 8mm (the inspiration for Little Horror Movie) before moving to Los Angeles, where he went to University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) and the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute. His first short movie Susan Susan was a satire about immigration in the United States, and was purchased by Disney. He produced his first feature film Unveiled in 1994, and returned to the director’s chair in 1999 to make Cool Crime, a dark comedy feature about a gang of ghosts running through LA streets, which screened at the Palm Springs Film Festival and launched his relationship with Creative Artists Agency (CAA).
In 2008, Jérôme made his first Moroccan feature film, Kandisha, inspired by a local legend of the revengeful spirit of Aîcha Kandisha. Kandisha won awards at film festivals all over the globe and became a cult phenomenon. After a long break, Olivar returned to filmmaking with the Moroccan box-office hit Midnight Orchestra (2015), the story of a man who returns to Morocco thirty years after having left in the midst of the Yom Kippour war.
In 2013, Oren Peli, the filmmaker behind the hit found footage movie Paranormal Activity, optioned the screenplay for Little Horror Movie. After years of waiting, Jérôme rescued his movie from development hell by taking back the script and producing it himself.
Keep your eyes peeled for this film. You’ll definitely want to see it. I hope it does well at the Film Fest. I think they did a spectacular job!
Directed by Michael and Peter Spierig
Written by Josh Stolberg and Peter Goldfinger
Starring: Matt Passmore, Callum Keith Rennie, Clé Bennett, and Hannah Emily Anderson
So, I practically binge-watched the Saw series to catch up in order to watch Jigsaw. Some of the films I hadn’t seen before. And I was thrilled with each one. Except Jigsaw. Although it wasn’t horrible it DID feel like it was the only film in the series where they were reaching for material. All seven of the previous films fit together so nicely. And it’s not that the last one didn’t fit, it just…okay, the scenes where the games are being played are good, as always. The scenes outside of that…eh. I know it explains the last of everything but, it just wasn’t done as well as the others…or as I expected.
I think my biggest complaint would be how we see things happening concurrently, as if it’s all happening at the same time and then we find out a number of things. That’s when it felt like they were trying to make this great twist happen and I think it felt flat.
Not to mention that there’s a person setting up these games in the name of Jigsaw and yet they keep breaking the rules themselves.
As Jigsaw said, “A game can be won.”
But, I’m not saying this film is all bad, not at all.
This eighth installment brings together every loose and and question you could possibly have about the life and work of Jigsaw. That’s the best part. New reveals, circle-backs and exciting twists and turns make this film worth watching, even if it is, in my opinion, the least thrilling out of the eight films in the series.
The rest of the series is AWESOME!!! I really thought the first seven were very well written and executed. My favorite thing is how various parts in the plot seem to continue to circle back to various previous installments of the series.
Now, seeing as how everything in the films is all connected, I am choosing not to give anything away. However, I strongly recommend the entire series start to finish to all horror and gore lovers. If blood and such makes you squeamish, you should know by now that the Saw movies are NOT for you.
So, fellow gore fans, if you haven’t seen all of these films…it’s a definite must.
Written and Directed by Kim Henkel
Starring: Renée Zellweger, Matthew McConaughey, and Robert Jacks as Leatherface
IMDb 3.2/10 Rotten Tomatoes 16% Freshness Metacritic NO DATA
So, we all know the original story of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. If you don’t, where have TCM movie I’ve reviewed, I’m not going to go through the backstory yet again. This time, it’s a bunch of kids after Prom stranded after a car wreck, finding themselves in the grips of Leatherface and his family, albeit a younger version of the family.
First and foremost, DO NOT let the fact the Zellweger and McConaughey star in this trick you into thinking that it is worth the watch. Even though they are the only redeeming qualities of the film they just barely make it tolerable to watch. Robert Jacks created this high pitched whining moan for Leatherface that was nothing short of awful and irritating. While Zellweger and McConaughey do play their parts well, the story is written so badly that I feel it would be difficult for ANYONE to make it look good.
We’ve got our villain who is an infantile imbecile, another one who has some sort of weird mechanical contraption on his leg, some weird chick as his girlfriend (oh yeah, and their love is violent and well, disgusting really) and then these horrible and stupid teenagers, ugh!!! I was ASKING for Heather and Barry to get splattered…and FAST!!! Anything to shut them up!!! (Leatherface DOES stuff Heather in a box so, I guess he felt the same way.)
I would have to say that the best part was the way McConaughey portrays a psycho killer. He does have those wide, wild eyes and he did manage to somehow turn that sweet and kind smile and gentle laugh into something totally perverse, so I do give him that. But, the rest of them, WOW! Now, I don’t know if they got some bigger names to try to make this movie fly but, all they got was a crashing bird bomb.
As you all know, I am VERY forgiving. But, the only way I can in good conscience recommend this to ANYONE is if they are just TCM diehards. Other than that, it should have stayed on the cutting room floor with the edit clippings.
Directed by Dan Trachtenberg
Written by Josh Campbell, Matthew Stuecken and Damien Chazelle
Starring: John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher Jr.
IMDb 7.2/10 Rotten Tomatoes 90% Freshness Metacritic 76/100
Howard Stambler- middle aged tense and angry man who has a master’s degree in paranoia and conspiracy theories, owner and builder of the fallout shelter/bunker buried under his house, lost his daughter, saved Michelle after car crash, reports that there has been an attack on the US and the air and environment above is contaminated
Okay, so, this movie has been out for a little over two years. I was excited to watch this film because of John Goodman starring in it. I felt like, with what I’d seen over the years, that he’d be good to watch in this type of film, kinda like the film Fallen. And I must say he did NOT disappoint. In fact, nobody did.
So, in this story we have Michelle. She just left her boyfriend and is on her way out of town. While driving, she gets into a car accident. Next thing she knows, she wakes up on a mattress in an underground shelter bound to a wall by chains.
Howard is the man who owns the shelter. He tells her that he saved her after the car crash and brought her there to keep her alive, due to the massive contamination of the surface from whatever attack has happened.
She soon meets Emmett and after the initial shock of everything, believe it or not, they start to live a fairly normal family type lifestyle. Michelle grows to trust these two men, even though they are complete strangers and even returns Emmett’s subtle flirtations, which obviously angers Howard.
Howard consistently treats Michelle like a little girl, comparing her directly and indirectly to his daughter, who is no longer “with us”, according to Howard. He becomes very possessive and controlling of her, bordering on treating her like an object instead of a person.
Eventually, the air filtration system malfunctions and Michelle is enlisted by Howard to crawl into the vents and fix it as she is the only one small enough to fit. While in the utility room (for lack of a better term) she finds evidence that Howard may be lying to them.
She discusses this with Emmett and they hatch a plan for her to make a gas mask and suit. But, eventually, Howard catches wind of this plot and Emmett is killed in the confrontation over it. Michelle seizes that moment to try to escape and arms herself with the haz-mat outfit and crawls through the air vents once again and eventually to her safety outside. Or so she thinks.
This is where the story twists and people either like it or hate it.
Once she gets up top on the Earth’s surface she removes her gas mask and finds that the air is fine. She is certain that Howard was lying. But, then she is attacked by a robotic alien like creature and it chases her down. She finally defeats it by heaving a Molotov cocktail into its ship and uses Howard’s truck to head out of town. She hears on the radio a distress call from Houston asking for anyone who can help to go there and render aide. She also hears a radio announcement stating that all survivors should head to Baton Rouge for evacuation. She thinks for a minute and then heads off to Houston to continue her fight.
Okay, so the creepiest thing for me about this film, and yes maybe I watch too much true crime television, is that the whole idea of a man kidnapping a woman and keeping her in a bunker because he’s delusional or psychotic or whatever the clinical term is, REALLY does happen. They just don’t usually get away with it that long but, it does happen. Now, the whole BUNKER thing, I don’t know, but women have been held for years in houses, basements, closets, tents in yards, boxes under waterbeds, chained to furniture or walls. There have been men who have BUILT bunkers in preparation for holding sex slaves but they rarely got the chance to use them, at least not that I am aware of.
Now, I did read an article published about the meaning behind the film. This was a very interesting take on the premise of the movie. It explained that the film was a metaphor for domestic violence and abuse. (I have looked for the article I read but I can’t find the exact one. However, if you Google it, you’ll find a few on the subject.)
Howard DOES seem abusive and extremely controlling from the very beginning. And they do use his dialogue as a means of foreshadowing and hinting at you that something just isn’t right even though he seems to be explaining things to his “guests”. He throws his position of power around and uses it against them. He also requires that they just take his word on everything with no questions. Questions make him angry…and it seems, a little flustered and confused.
What I thought was pretty impressive was that there were only four actors on screen throughout the whole movie and really only three IN the movie. The fourth actor was on screen less than five minutes and there WAS a fifth actor but we only hear his voice. That’s pretty good, in my opinion. I thought the acting was great. The writing was well done and the dialogue was equally written and delivered in effortless grace. John Goodman was an excellent choice for the part of Howard. We all know he plays angry and miserable very well. You add demented and sad, sprinkle him with some delusional thoughts and a little psychosis and a penchant for violence and you’ve got our good ol’ boy here.
I really did like this film. As psychological thrillers go, it’s a keeper. I’m glad it’s one that I bought because I will definitely be watching it again.
Directed by Kelsey T. Howard
Written by Eugene (Gene) Hess, Paul Lawrence, Paul T. Murray
Starring: Edward Furlong, Daniel Franzese, Andrew Keegan, Susan Ward, Sanoe Lake, Laura Ramsey, Aimee Garcia, Joel Michaely, Nate Parker, Nicole Bilderback, Brian Geraghty, Jamie Pressly, Sam Page, William Sterchi, James Patrick Stewart, Paige Green, Troy Nealey
IMDb 3.9/10 Rotten Tomatoes 27% Freshness Metacritic NO DATA
Okay, so, long and short of it is this: A sloppy and desperate contestant gets booted off of a matchmaking reality similar to “The Bachelor” and such. Wallowing in his humiliation and shame at being second horse to what he perceives to be the token thoroughbred musclebound hunk, he decides he’s going to create his own reality show in which to vent his anger, pain and frustrations.
First, he starts with the woman who rejected him on the show and the winning bachelor at her house, which our whack job rented (as the producer of his own reality series) for his set. This being the case (and chicka and her new beau having signed off on it to take place during their vacation which they are leaving for that day), he technically has every legal right to be there. Because of that, he helps himself to the grounds, eventually killing them both.
His contestants have been sought out by placing ads in college newspapers. The selected participants are driven to the house and the games begin. Every day they are given a new challenge. One by one they are forced to take part in various competitions, some of which will determine their fate. And once you are out of the game, you die.
All of the contestants think this is just like any other reality show but, they soon realize that they are in for the long haul and have to compete to stay alive. Some of the competitions include hacking into a dead cow and carving out a meal to eat raw, getting locked in a coffin and having to free yourself, a swordfight to the death, walking balance beams with nooses around their necks…some really FUN stuff.
And psycho killer has a brother…a not well brother, who gets manipulated into helping carry out these dastardly deeds at the behest of his demented sibling.
Anyways, people get killed, get arrested, get away.
That’s about the gist of it.
Now, I told you that so I could tell you this…this movie could have been SO much better. The potential is there, for crying out loud!!! The idea isn’t a bad one…reality show reject takes his revenge by casting and creating a reality show of his own where he is the puppet master pulling their strings. Truly not bad, in theory. I guess the application of it was something a little tougher than what the filmmakers could accomplish.
I will say that the ratings online for this film are bad, bad and worse. Nobody seems to be very forgiving of this film, though I’m not sure why. I didn’t think it was THAT bad. Here’s why:
First of all, it follows the basic formula. The sex pots die, there’s chase scenes, attempts at creative murder, blood, psycho killer, etc. Yes, there could have been better special effects and yes, the kills could have been more detailed BUT, as I’ve said before, that doesn’t mean it was horrible.
My biggest complaint for why this particular movie blew the plot was that these poor contestants, they aren’t even the people he lost to. Now, IF he had gathered all the contestants from the show HE WAS ON and get them back for a reunion season or something, THAT would have made more sense. But, to just arbitrarily pick contestants…it’s just not as much about revenge as it is killing and exerting will over others at that point.
I was actually a little shocked to see Edward Furlong look like that. I had forgotten that aging in Hollywood wasn’t so kind to him. I recognize that we all get meatier as we age out of our teen years but, ouch! And that haircut isn’t doing his look any favors either. He does, however, play the psycho with gusto. I’m not saying he’s the best psycho out there but, he was adequate for the film.
I can’t say that I would recommend this to ANYONE though, those that can appreciate B-rate horror will think it’s okay.