April 23, 2014

VOD Review: 13 Sins (2014)

"Risk everything. Fear nothing."

Sure, that's easy for you to say when you're just the voice on the phone instructing someone else to do horrendous things in the name of money. You're not risking anything, and if the poor guy ends up getting killed while jumping through your twisted hoops, you owe him nothing, so yeah, that's some real brave advice there, Mr. Mystery Voice!

Sorry about ranting so randomly, but that little tagline from the trailer has been driving us nuts since we first saw it. Poppycock!

Anywho... 13 Sins is a remake of the 2006 Thai Thriller, 13: Game of Death. In all fairness, I personally have not seen the original, so I can't speak to its merits either way.

With the way that American filmmakers tend to handle remakes of Asian Thrillers though, we didn't hold out much hope for this one. Have you seen the Oldboy remake? What about the Nic Cage version of Bangkok Dangerous? Neither were anywhere near as good as their originals. They're even talking about remaking The Raid and I Saw the Devil for American audiences, which is a total joke. The original films are just fine for American audiences, and it's truly a shame that we as a culture are too lazy to read subtitles.

All of that is to say that going into 13 Sins, we were expecting to find a watered-down, lost in translation mess of a remake, but instead got a movie that hits most of its marks, and does so pretty well.

A likable loser who has hit hard times financially, receives a mysterious phone call offering him a chance to play a game. The prize? Millions of dollars! The game? All he has to do is perform 13 tasks, exactly as he's told to, when he's told to, and once he starts, he can not back out of the game, or he loses everything. Sounds like a plan to us.

Kill her! She's a horrendously annoying Vampire!
At first, he has to eat a fly for a $1000, and then make a little kid cry on a crowded playground, for a few grand more. Simple, right? Well, the challenges get nastier and more dangerous as the money prizes grow, and soon our guy finds himself ruining his life and on the run from the Po-Po because of them. Even his retarded brother and racist pappy are at risk from the mysterious forces behind the game, so he has to keep going, even though he wants to stop...

"I'm going to kill your parents, you little bitch!" What a fun game.
Detective Ron Perlman is on the case, investigating the "incidents" brought on by this crazy game, and as he delves deeper and deeper into the seedy world of high stakes truth or dare, one thing becomes apparent; nothing is as it seems! Like it ever is in these movies?

That guy is about to get jacked for that flask.
13 Sins reminded us a lot of Cheap Thrills, what with its plot about a financially strapped young man being lured into a creepy game with the promise of life-changing riches. Cheap Thrills was a better movie overall, but aside from an ending that isn't as good as everything else that leads up to it, 13 Sins is a pretty solid little Thriller in its own right.

13 Sins is a smart and stylish flick that boasts some solid performances and a great concept. It was full of tension, it had a few solid scenes of bloody mayhem, and it kept us asking questions about what was going on throughout... even though we never really got the answers we wanted. At least the movie made us care enough to ask.

"And why would you have to search my ass, Officer?"
We're not too familiar with a lot of Mark Webber's work, but he won us over with his likable loser role in this one. We absolutely despise Rutina Wesley's Tara on True Blood, so we were not only shocked, but also pleasantly surprised to find ourselves liking her work in 13 Sins. That's saying a lot for us, because we REALLY hate her character on True Blood.

And of course, we always love Ron Perlman, just as any reasonable human being with any sort of soul does.

C'mon... how can you not love this guy!
Who was the mystery group behind "the game?" I mean how vague can you leave it without making it all seem like it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of your movie's plot? Were they The Skulls? Was is the creepy, rich Europeans from MartyrsSatanists? Mormons? And why did they use such outdated phones in their high-tech game? We need answers!

What is with these phones from 2001?
The ending was a bit of a mess, with twist #1 leading directly to twist #2, which brought us to the WTF moment of the movie, which paved the way for twist #3... which was just a red herring, because, happy ending! What the hell was all of that malarkey?

It all really just begs the question: did he get the money or not? Clarity, people. Clarity is a good thing.

Just leave the phone and upgrade, man!
Limbs being severed, throats being slit, stomachs being stabbed, a group beheading... this one is not shy at all in the blood & gore department.

Well, at least he wore a mask...
No, but Brittney Alger looked fantastic in that nurse's uniform. Also, we didn't know that Mark Webber was real-world married to Aussie hottie, Teresa Palmer. Nice job, Mark.

Never trust a sexy nurse!
The Illuminati controls everything. Or maybe it's The Freemasons. Immobiliare? Some ultra-secret group controls everything.

Not as great as we'd hoped, yet not as bad as some critics are making it out to be, 13 Sins is a fun, tense little remake, that will entertain most viewers with its bits of black humor and shocking gore gags. How this movie only has 57% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes is beyond us, because it's definitely a better effort than that paltry score indicates. For $6.99 on VOD, you really should give this one a go; it's well worth your time and the money.

13 Sins is available now on VOD, and in Limited Theatrical Release.


Brittney Alger? Yes, Brittney Alger.

April 22, 2014

The Digital Dread Report for April 22nd

Big Bad Wolves is finally hitting Blu-ray & DVD this week, and that is a lovely thing. It's one of the best movies we've seen all year, and at $14.98, it's an absolute steal. We can't wait to see this one in Blu-ray quality.

Forget the shitty 2009 remake, Sorority Row, because the original -The House on Sorority Row- is out on Blu-ray today, and it's a way better Slasher effort.A must own for fans of Retro Slasher flicks.

We'll also take a copy of each of the Get Carter movies too; both the 1971 Michael Caine version, and the 2000 Sylvester Stallone remake. Both are great action flicks, and we've been waiting for a long time to see them released on Blu-ray.

Everything else this week, is a crap shoot.

*Click below to order a copy of whatever it is you want to order a copy of!

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April 19, 2014

Theatrical Review: Enemy (2014)

Not many movies truly mesmerize us these days. Maybe we're hard to please, or maybe the truly clever films of the world are just extremely few and far between, but Enemy had us hypnotized like a cobra at the hands of some Indian guy with a wonky flute.

It blew our minds that a movie could be so insanely complex and yet be delivered in such a simple and incident-free way. Because it really is a simple, straight-forward movie... then again, it's really not.

When the movie ended -and let me tell you that it ended on a truly hair-raising note-  we were left thinking two things: 1- Wow, and 2- What in the hell did we just watch?

The crazy thing is that Enemy isn't really a Horror movie at all, and yet it had us all bunged up as if it were the creepiest of psychological Thrillers, because that's exactly what it was... or was it?

I can't really say what in the hell Enemy truly is, but one thing is for certain; with Prisoners and now Enemy, Denis Villenueve is on one hell of a freaking roll with his films.

Jake Gyllenhaal #1 is a quiet and awkward College Professor, who is somehow banging Melanie Laurent, despite him appearing to be a total geek. One night after work, he rents a movie and sees himself playing a bit role in the background, and he freaks out. He does some research, finds out who Jake Gyllenhaal #2 supposedly is, and goes and rents all of the guy's movies. Obsession and paranoia ensue.

The answers to everything are written on that board...
Jake Gyllenhaal #2 is a sexy actor who is married to his own hot chick, in Sarah Gadon, who is pregnant and seems to think that her hubby is cheating on her. When Jake Gyllenhaal #1 calls the house and talks to her, she freaks out and gets even more paranoid, which prompts her hubby, Jake Gyllenhaal #2 to follow suit.

Also, there are spiders all over the place.

"Spiders! Spiders everywhere!"
Is Jake Gyllenhaal crazy, or does he really have some sort of doppelganger running around, cramping his style? If there is a doppelganger involved, then which Jake Gyllenhaal is the real Jake Gyllenhaal? Is this a tale of other-worldly invasion, ala Invasion of the Body Snatchers? Is this a movie about spiders finally deciding to take over the planet for themselves?

To say any more about the plot, or how it unfolds, would ruing things for you, or at the very least, lessen the impact of this crazy movie; after all, you deserve to feel the same dread and paranoia while watching this one as we did.

WTF is going on here!?!
This movie is an absolute mind trip. Mind fuck, even. It's hazy & ethereal, and feels like some sort of waking nightmare, and though it's contains no death or even any violence, it had us on the edge of our seats until the screen went black. As for the last shot in the movie, the one right before the screen went black... well, it made us whimper a little.

Enemy is an Indie Film that plays like a high quality episode of The Twilight Zone or Night Gallery.

As good as this movie was, I can see how it might be lost on some people, as it makes you think more than it entertains. Mostly. I don't know, we're still messed up over the whole thing. We'll definitely need to see it again to see how it plays now that we "understand" it.

I used to flinch every time I heard Jake Gyllenhaal's name mentioned in connection with a movie, because he always annoyed the piss out of me. Don't know why, he just did. I personally turned the corner on my Gyllenhaal hatred after his impressive work in Zodiac, and after seeing End of Watch and Prisoners, I found myself really liking the guy. With Enemy, he raises the bar on anything he's done previously, and turns in one hell of a dual performance. This movie is truly a showcase of his talent, and it's a great showcase at that.

Melanie Laurent and Sarah Gadon are both good here too. Sure, they both get naked, which is a spectacular thing to behold, but their nudity does not undermine their acting talent. Sarah Gadon was more impressive here than was Laurent though, mainly because she had a bigger role.

Can she ever learn to love a doppelganger?
We actually had to do some Internet browsing after watching this one, to try and clarify exactly what it was about. Not because we're stupid, but because we just had some questions... alright, maybe we're stupid.

The point is that Enemy is about more than it really seems to be about, and if you're not paying close attention to the minutiae throughout the film, it's very easy to miss the point completely. Or maybe you get the main point, but you just aren't sure how everything that happens fits in with the main point. Or maybe you still end up all confused and needing a hug.

It messes with your mind!

That is actually Jake's twin brother, Chaz Gyllenhaal.
That ending...

I wish we could post a picture of the final shot of the film, but we really can't. Some reviewer somewhere said that the ending to Enemy was "The most terrifying movie ending of all time" or something to that effect, which isn't exactly true, but it comes close. It's shocking and even confusing more than it is terrifying, although given our biggest phobia, it was pretty terrifying too.

We definitely cringed, and had creepy dreams that night.

The answers to everything appear right in that sign...
None, whatsoever.

To see both Melanie Laurent and Sarah Gadon naked in the same film is nothing short of a Hallelujah type of moment. Both are gorgeous, and both are apparently comfy with nudity, so, bravo, girls!

We really hate spiders. Also, you can never completely trust an Actor, mainly because they're shady as fuck, and always up to something nefarious!

Shady as fuck.
Enemy is one hell of a suspenseful Thriller that I really hope gets some much deserved recognition come Awards Season. That's not to say that it's a perfect film or anything, but it's crazy effective, and Denis Villenueve's artistry is in high gear throughout. Gyllenhaal's too.

If you like creepy movies that play with your mind and leave you feeling used and paranoid about everything, then you'll definitely dig this one.

Enemy is available now on Direct TV & in Limited Theatrical Release.


Melanie Laurent and Sarah Gadon are two of the hottest hotties in Hollywood, and neither of them are American. Go figure.