Posts Tagged ‘ horror film ’

A Quiet Place (2018)

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Pretty good film. Very suspenseful and tense, and Spielberg-lite at times, channeling the original Jurassic Park quite directly in certain scenes, especially (**SPOILERS**) near the end in the grain silo, and with the kids hiding in the car as the monster alien thing tries to get them. Wasn’t expecting Krasinski would sacrifice himself, though, which was a very nice touch and just about assures he won’t have to pull double duty if he decides to direct the sequel, probably. It was also quite an emotional scene without being corny, wrapping that story element up in a perfect little bow. Well done.

The monsters, though, seemed pretty stupid, and I had a hard time believing humans wouldn’t have figured out a way to kill them before all this. It’s kind of obvious; the monsters have ultrasonic hearing, so maybe turning up the volume to a frequency that would irritate them might be the way to go. It’s not rocket surgery. (**END SPOILERS**)

Anyway, a good film overall. They probably could have milked the suspense a bit more, or done more with the monsters, and some scenes were a bit stupid or didn’t make much sense, like the (**SPOILERS**) water cascading into the sound proof underground booth thing. What the heck was going on there, exactly? All that water came from Blunt’s character leaving the faucet on? Really? And this is the end of the world, you’d think they’d be more careful to not leave potentially valuable water running like that for so long in the first place. (**END SPOILERS**) A really out-of-place moment in an otherwise pretty logically sound film.

But as a film that’s almost entirely silent, and made up of only a handful of characters, it’s incredibly effective, especially thanks to the acting, which is across the board excellent. An effective, entertaining, highly suspenseful little film.

Live and Let Die (1973)

Live-and-Let-Die

Terrible Roger Moore Bond flick that left me angry and shaken and wanting revenge. Just awful on every possible level. I mean, magic and voodoo? In a Bond flick? Really? Whose idea was it exactly to turn the next installment of the series into a cheesy 1940s supernatural horror film? Who, I ask? WHO?!?

Terrible editing, acting, story, music choices, you name it. The only sort of okay actor here, other than Moore who really, really tries despite the god awful material, was Jane Seymour who played the ridiculous fortune-teller character. Idiotic and totally out of character for a Bond film, yes, but she does a good job in the role and, frankly, is quite easy on the eyes, as they say.

But no, awful. Stay away.

Watch this one instead. Way, way  better.
(Yes, I’ve sold out. Extended periods of unemployment will do that to you.)

The Bay (2012)

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Grisly, disgusting film with plenty of shocks and scares and all the other good stuff people go to horror movies to see. It’s extremely tense too, especially at the beginning when all seems quiet and calm as the voice of our sexy female protagonist warns us of the horrors to come. And it’s very well-edited and acted, and plausible in its own silly way, lending all the more to the realism of the events that unfold. Some of it is dumb, sure, but how this movie managed to get swept under the mainstream cinematic rug is beyond me.

Well worth watching, absolutely. You’ll never look at water the same way again, assuming you normally spend long periods of time staring at water, that is.

Watch it!

Moonraker (1979) – 4/5

Moon

Enjoyably silly Bond flick that tries to spin the old, tired formula in a new direction, and succeeds, mostly, even if some of it feels unnecessarily goofy at times. But the plot is sort of unique, the visuals are pretty nice, and the last third or so are unlike anything we’ve seen in a Bond film before, or since, probably. And the girls are pretty, the stunts are great, and Roger Moore gives yet another winning performance, further cementing him in my mind as the best Bond ever. What more could you ask for? A comprehensible plot? A consistent tone? Three-dimensional female characters? Nah, who needs ’em?

Anyway, the film is pretty good, as I said. The opening sequence is outstanding, probably one of the best stunt/fight scenes ever filmed. The action is so well done, you almost forget that there’s no way in hell a person as old as Moore is in this film could have possibly survived something like it, let alone get out of it with barely a scratch. But great, great stunt filmmaking. You just don’t see stuff like this anymore, and for good reason: someone could have died. Frankly, I’m surprised no one did. Nothing else in the film tops it in terms of action, though the last third, set on **SPOILERS** a space station ala “2001” **END SPOILERS** comes pretty close despite its complete lack of realism. The whole **SPOILERS** space fight sequence with the marines coming out of the space shuttle to battle the floating space station soldiers **END SPOILERS** was hilarious and ridiculous and unique and very enjoyable all at the same time. Ha ha!

The plot is okay: something about a stolen space shuttle owned by a crazy guy who looks and sounds suspiciously like Orson Welles. It’s not the most brilliant plot in the world, but it works, and it gets appropriately more insane as it goes along until it becomes just downright ridiculous, but whatever, it’s a Bond flick. Some scenes were shot really beautifully too, and, at times, like something out of a horror film, especially the “dog chase” sequence that felt like it could have easily fit into a Friday the 13th film. Talk about dark, geez. It wouldn’t surprise me if the director or cinematographer here had some experience making horror films in the past. An interesting choice, I think. The **SPOILERS** cable car sequence was also pretty cool, **END SPOILERS** though, again, a touch silly.

Overall, I liked this film. Not the best Bond ever, but certainly the most ambitious, even if the plot is wonky and often hard to take seriously. There’s also a lot of forced goofiness at times, like the whole **SPOILERS** gondola chase sequence, complete with pigeon doing a double-take as Bond speeds past, and the insane fight sequence between Bond and an Asian assassin inside a museum full of priceless glass artifacts they just can’t help but all smash. **END SPOILERS** There are a ton of such unnecessary moments sprinkled in, actually. I understand that this stuff was put in as an attempt to inject the thing with humor, but let’s not get carried away here. Crack some jokes or something if you want people to laugh, don’t resort to **SPOILERS** having a man with iron teeth bite through a steel cable, or having a chase sequence between a cable car and Bond as he propels himself and his love interest several hundred feet down a steel cable with only his hands. **END SPOILERS** Just plain silly.

But, I enjoyed it. And the reference to “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” was a nice touch, as was the Jaws character, ridiculous teeth and all. Stupid, but entertaining and well made. Worth a watch, definitely.

Sinister (2012) – 4/5

Terrible first act gives way to a pretty scary, nightmarish film that gets progressively darker and more disturbing as it goes along until you find yourself by the end sobbing softly in a corner wishing you’d prepared yourself a bit more mentally before entering the theater. Or maybe that was just me. But man, what a twisted ride. Sinister indeed, har har. And the acting too is pretty damn good for a horror film, mostly from Ethan Hawke who I’m starting to think is somewhat underrated as an actor, and from the little long-haired kid who doesn’t do a whole lot but is nonetheless quite convincing whenever he’s on-screen. Everyone else was okay to terrible, but Hawke’s performance is what really drives the film.

Like I mentioned earlier, the beginning of this film is god awful. Cheesy, clichéd, stupid, full of boring, obvious exposition and terrible dialogue. It almost lost me, frankly. But once that crap is over with, it picks up. And that’s when things really start going to hell, but in a good way. The thing is scary. Some cheap scares, sure, especially in the middle, but there’s a lot of genuine terror here too, mostly from the “home video” scenes, especially the one involving **SPOILERS** a lawnmower. **END SPOILERS** Man. It was the only one I hadn’t had sort of spoiled for me from the trailer, and it’s arguably the most disturbing of the lot at that particular moment in the film. Sick, creative stuff. And most of it isn’t even that graphic or gory, just unnerving. And it works. The story is also pretty creative; there’s a really engaging mystery established in the second act that’s resolved in quite the unexpected way by the end. At least, in a way I didn’t see coming at all.

I also really enjoyed the cinematography. It’s dark and spooky, but also strangely beautiful at times, especially the scene where **SPOILERS** Hawke is walking around his house at night, unaware that the ghosts of several dead children are following his every move. **END SPOILERS** It’s creepy, but also strangely, horrifyingly beautiful, and quite cinematic. I can’t remember the last time a horror movie had a scene that just oozed cinema like this. And the music throughout too is this weird mix of tribal and traditional, and comes in at the strangest of times. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s usually always interesting and strange and unique. Very well done.

Overall, I enjoyed this film. Sure, it’s flawed, especially the first half hour or so, and the story, though creative and interesting, is a bit shallow and full of holes, but the acting is strong, the cinematography is great, the plot is mostly unpredictable, and, most importantly, the film is scary, even downright terrifying at times. And disturbing. And the ending **SPOILERS** was one of the darkest freaking things I’ve ever seen, and so unexpected, and gory, Christ. And quite creative. Wall painting indeed. I also enjoyed how the poster for this film sort of spoils it for you, if you know it’s coming, which I guess you wouldn’t if you hadn’t seen the film beforehand, thus negating the “spoiler” aspect of it. It’s a spoiler for people who’ve already seen the film, I guess. A post-spoiler, if you will. Very clever. **END SPOILERS** Anyway, good, terrifying stuff.

Recommended, though be warned, it’s very disturbing at times. But much, much better than most of the horror films that come out of Hollywood. Go see it!

New Nightmare (1994) – 3/5

Stupid, but not entirely terrible horror film that does things pretty traditionally despite a clever and creative “meta” plot that manages to somewhat plausibly bring Freddy Krueger into the “real” world. Ooh, spooky. The writing isn’t the greatest, though, especially at the beginning, and the dialogue is god awful at times, as is the acting. And some of the effects look just plain cheap.

Wes Craven has always primarily been a visual director, and this film is no exception: great, spooky, if somewhat recycled visuals, but little to no emotional or narrative substance. And some of it is just plain goofy, though it has good moments of tension here and there. And, again, the concept of the film is very clever, namely how **SPOILERS** Freddy is in fact a real demonic presence that Craven managed to capture and bind with his first film, but, thanks to sub-par sequels, the last of which having effectively killed off Freddy and, thus, the franchise, he’s been set loose upon the “real” world to torture and kill as he pleases, unless Craven can sit himself down and write another film worthy of capturing Freddy once more.  **END SPOILERS**

It’s quite brilliant in a way, and extremely self-serving on Craven’s part, it’s just too bad the writing/directing aren’t as good as they should be.  I’ll give him some credit, though: his scenes with the always gorgeous Heather Langenkamp are some of the better acted in the film, though why they are is beyond me. I guess he’s better at guiding the performances of his actors on-screen than he is off. And he himself isn’t a bad actor, surprisingly, unlike most of the people in this film. Very strange.

Overall, though, not a terrible film, but not great either. Not very gory or scary, but it has its moments, and the premise is clever. Could have been worse.

Jeepers Creepers (2001) – 2/5

Stupid horror film with a silly, incomprehensible plot and a monster that’s neither scary nor particularly interesting. It’s well shot, though, and has a few inspired moments, but the story is lazy and often makes absolutely no sense, especially in the second act when the “creature” is finally revealed and turns the whole thing into a giant chase movie of sorts. A really lazy, stupid chase movie with barely an ounce of originality to its name.

You know you’re in trouble when you’ve got a psychic coming in out of nowhere about half way through your film to explain elements of the plot to the audience. Talk about lazy, uncreative writing. You couldn’t have had the main characters stumble on an ancient book or meet an elderly yet knowledgeable townsperson or any number of other exposition-serving horror tropes that would more creatively explain the creature’s background instead? Was making a random psychic do the dirty work really the most creative thing they could come up with? Why the need to explain it at all, really? I mean, it’s a monster, it kills people. That’s all we need to know. No psychic-inspired explanation necessary. And the mythology they do reveal about the creature is so illogical and stupid. Why. Why.

The gore isn’t even all that good either. I mean, if you’re going to make a horror film that’s neither scary nor intelligent nor particularly interesting, at least make it somewhat gory. But nope. Just stupid. And the ending, what the hell? Was that supposed to be shocking or something? Who cares. Stupid.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – 3.5/5

Another overrated, mediocre horror “classic” that’s slightly better than “Halloween” due to its grisly, inventive imagery and clever use of gore effects, but suffers from similar poor writing and uninteresting, underdeveloped characters. It’s also, like “Halloween,” not very scary when all is said and done, and the ending has to be one of the cheapest, most nonsensical attempts to squeeze one last scare in that I’ve ever seen in a horror movie. And it’s not even that scary, or surprising. Just stupid. Bad, bad ending!

The main female lead character person is extremely pretty, though, and, to her credit, a pretty decent actress. Granted it’s very “80s teen horror” type acting, and she, like everyone else in the cast, including a really young Johnny Depp, isn’t given a whole lot to work with other than to act scared and scream, but it’s hard not to fall for such a pretty face. She has a very cute girl next door thing going for her; pretty, but not the unattainable supermodel type that often litter films like this nowadays. And Depp is good too. Again, he’s not given much to do, but you can tell there’s talent there.

The film’s imagery is where it really shines, though. It’s gruesome and downright disturbing at times, but not for the reasons you’d think. The whole scene where **SPOILERS** the blond girl gets tossed up in the air and gutted and dragged about on the ceiling was great, and all the dream sequences where she’s moaning for help from her body bag, or being pulled by an invisible figure down school hallways, leaving a trail of blood in her wake, are brilliant and creepy. And of course, Depp’s death, the geyser of blood, is one for the books. **END SPOILERS** Extremely innovative and impressive. Illogical too, sure, but this is a movie about a burned guy with claws for hands somehow coming back from the dead to kill children in their dreams, so logic doesn’t necessarily have to apply to every death scene.

Overall, not a terrible movie, just not as great as I had expected. Better than the original “Halloween,” at least, with some great imagery and fountains of gore spewing everywhere and stuff, yet also surprisingly restrained and not very graphic when you think about it. Or maybe it’s extremely graphic and I’ve just become desensitized to it all after years and years of watching sick violent stuff all the time. I guess we’ll never know.

So yeah, decent horror flick, but nothing special. Poor writing/characters, but good visual stuff. Terrible ending, though. Seriously, what were they thinking?

[Rec] (2007) – 4.5/5

Yipes! This movie scared the HELL out of me, God.

Two moments stick out in my mind. **SPOILERS** One is the “fireman falling” scene, and the other is when the camera looks down the staircase and sees the horrors that are heading its way. And the last 5 minutes or so.**END SPOILERS**  These are not cheap “monster pops out of a corner” scares, mind you, but deep, terror inducing scares the likes of which made me regret having watched the film slightly drunk at 2 in the morning with no lights on.

Though I think it did try a bit too hard to explain everything at the end when there was really no need; what made it scary was the seemingly chaotic nature of it all, at least for me. That’s not to say the explanation given wasn’t satisfying, it was just a bit too much for what was essentially a straightforward plot up to that point.

Oh, and the main female character in this film was a cutie. Perhaps a little too cute to be in a film like this.

Aside from that, great movie, and scary, damn scary.

Scream 4 (2011) – 4/5

Wow! I enjoyed the crap out of this movie. It’s funny and scary and damn gory at times, with all the twists and clever dialogue I’d missed from horror films since the series supposedly ended after the last film. Granted the last film was terrible, but the first two were great, and it’s nice to see the series going back to its roots in that respect with another pretty damn great entry in the franchise.

Granted the story is totally absurd, but so what? The series as a whole has never been the most plausible or realistic. Ghost face, the killer, always seems to have strength and agility that supersedes that of ordinary psychopathic serial killers. This film is no different, but where it would be a flaw in other films, here it seems to be a strength. Or, at least, a flaw I didn’t much mind. The beginning is kind of silly, a little too “kitsch” or “meta” for its own good, and the opening death could have been better. I actually watched an alternate version of the opening after the film and preferred it better than what they ended up using, but whatever.

I had forgotten just how gory and violent this series was. It’s not the typical crappy teen slasher “horror-lite” fare, no; a lot of the deaths here are quite malicious and brutal, especially one that takes place **SPOILERS** in a girl’s bedroom near the beginning, and the blood covering the walls and stuff and her intestines spewing out, man. Oh and that guy getting stabbed in the forehead was a good one too. And the whole ending slaughter sequence, a staple of the series, was just as insanely violent and bloody as I could have hoped for. It reminded me a lot of the ending of the original Scream, actually, which I’m sure was intentional given the “reboot” nature of the film. **IN SPOILERS** It’s all pure horror, though, and I loved it.

One nitpick I did have with it is the fact that they introduce this great new cast, some of whom are actually pretty damn good in this, especially Hayden Panettiere, Allison Brie, and, at times, Emma Roberts, only to **SPOILERS** have them all die horrible, horrible deaths. Isn’t this supposed to be the beginning of a new franchise? Why kill all these new people then, some of whom are quite interesting in their roles, and keep everyone from the original cast alive if you want the series to move forward in a “new direction”? **END SPOILERS** Oh well, I’m sure the filmmakers had their reasons.

Overall, yeah, great gosh darn movie full of thrills and scares and gore and hot girls running around screaming and occasionally going on long diatribes about how they love horror films just as much as the male film nerd counterparts they inexplicably have the hots for. Sure. Whereas in the first film, only jocks and sketchy Johnny Depp looking loners were seen as plausible love interests for such girls. What a difference ten years makes. Sign of the times, I guess.

Watching this made me realize how much I’ve missed this series, and horror films like this in general. I even liked the ending, which, though totally ridiculous, felt more metaphorical than plausible, and that’s okay. Overall, it’s all just entertainment, and well worth watching.