November 23, 2014

What's new on Netflix? (Week Ending 11/22)
It's never easy trying to figure out what's new on Netflix (because they suck at telling you), but never fear, because we're here to help!

Below are the newest & most noteworthy Genre releases that have been added to Netflix over the past week, that may just be fit to meet your streaming & binge-watching needs. If you need more streaming options, head on over to our full What's New on Netflix Page, and have at it!

Cannibal & Dream House are the only Horror movies to hit Netflix this past week, but at least they're both decent watches.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. might be good for a binge-watch, as few of us here at THC really seem to a like it for what it is. I haven't personally seen it, but am curious to give it a look at some point, especially if it keeps tying into the movies like it did with Captain America: The Winter Solider. Good or bad though, it’s now available to stream.

Peaky Blinders is everything we wanted Boardwalk Empire to be, only with a decidedly British twist. Cillian Murphy and Sam Neill are top-notch in this show (as is the rest of the cast), and Tom Hardy showing up in Season 2 makes it even better. If you like gangster drama, do not miss out on this show. It's one of the best of the year, no doubt.

Ripper Street is a decent period drama about coppers in London’s East End, right after Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror ended. We liked Season 1, and will be catching up with later seasons as soon as we're able.

Sabotage is a silly action flick, but hey, we need those in our lives now and then. Arnold is in his 60's now though, so you know, it's a bit of a hard sell...

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If you like shows like Luther, Broadchurch, or The Killing, then these UK Shows will be right up your alley, mate.

The Fall is a show that we caught last year, that we absolutely loved. The 2nd Season won’t be on Netflix (US) until January 1st, but now is a great time to check out Season 1, and get all caught up before it premieres. Gillian Anderson is great in this bloody, twisted little Cop Thriller. *Season 2 is airing right now in the U.K.

Hinterland may be the first Welsh TV Show that we’ve ever seen, and we have to say that it’s pretty solid so far (we’re only 2 episodes in.) Known as Y Gwyll in Wales, Hinterland is a quiet and effective Cop Thriller, and Wales is gorgeous, which makes it pleasing to the eye. Give this one a look if you’re in the mood for something a bit different.

November 22, 2014

Netflix Review: Mockingbird (2014)
We were originally going to pass on reviewing Mockingbird, because it was a really bad movie, and there wasn't going to be a lot that we could say about it that wouldn't seem like we were just bashing it to bash it, you know?

But then we saw a "review" of the movie on a "Horror Site" that praised how great and effective it was, ultimately giving the film a grade of 4 out of 5.

This review began with a disclaimer that basically said "Hey, we're friends with the people who made this movie, but that won't influence our review at all. We promise!" Right.

So at that point, we decided to go ahead and write our review, because it pisses us off when a big site, with a big audience, pimps the sub-par work of their buddies in such a blatantly shady manner. We understand that opinion is subjective, and that one man's masterpiece is another man's tragedy, but we're also objective enough to understand that bad is bad, no matter if we enjoy something or not.

If you want to skip our spoiler-filled review of Mockingbird, there's only a few things that you really need to know about the movie anyhow:

  • It had promise, but it was awful.
  • Blumhouse has had this one sitting on the shelf since 2012 because it's so awful.
  • Bryan Bertino is a much better writer/director than this movie suggests.

That's basically the crux of it. If you'd like to know why we found Mockingbird to be so awful, then by all means, read on. Be aware this review is 100% spoiler-filled, and that reading on will give just about everything away.

Set in 1995, Mockingbird is the story of a group of people drawn into a sinister game by an unknown creep of some sort... who might just be Jigsaw's cousin or something, because he totally uses the "I want to play a game" line with no shame.

You have a husband and wife who are getting ready to enjoy some quality alone time, sans kids; a single woman who lives alone and seems depressed about something; and what may be the biggest loser on the planet, who is desperate for friends, money, and is really annoying in general. So, the perfect cast of victims.

Each of them receives red gift boxes on their doorstep, containing a camera inside. Convinced that they've won some sort of contest that they signed up for, they're all ecstatic until they learn that whoever gave them the cameras has something dark and twisted in mind for them; they all have to film everything going on around them, or else they die! Well, one of them has to dress up like a clown, and run around town doing all sorts of silly errands (that still tie into the plot), but he has to film everything too, so that still counts.

The couple and the woman find themselves trapped in their homes, being toyed with, and left completely at the mercy of their mysterious tormentors (there has to be more than one tormentor, right? Different locations and all?) From here on out it's a battle of wills not only between killer and victim, but between us and our remote controls... because in hindsight, we should have just had the good sense to push STOP, and call it a night.

Mockingbird has been finished since 2012, but is just seeing release now, in October of 2014. Ib most cases when a movie sits on the shelf for a year or more, it's because it's bad, and the companies behind them know it. In the review from the other that I mentioned earlier, it was said that everyone at Blumhouse was proud of the film, and that its long delay was only because they were looking for the right release date.

For two years.

That being said, we were legitimately excited to see Mockingbird, for two reasons: One, because we LOVED director Bryan Bertino's 2008 home invasion classic, The Strangers (our review HERE); and two, because Blumhouse Productions has put out some great movies over the past few years, and their track record gives us confidence in most of the projects that they choose to support.

Mockingbird opens well enough, with an extremely tense scene that made us think "holy shit, this movie is going to be crazy!" As many Found Footage/First Person/POV films do though, Mockingbird descends into a confusing mixture of implausible plot devices, and genuinely effective tension. The mechanics of this movie are the real issue here; they're frustrating, and they don't really work all that well, and it's really hard to "feel" a movie when so much of what happens during its running time just rings false.

To be fair, as messy as the movie ended up becoming, we have to admit that the tension was pretty high at times during this one.

I guess my biggest problem with Mockingbird is the stupidity of its script, and the even deeper stupidity of its characters.

The main plot device that allows this movie to exist is that people randomly receive video cameras, and they're told to keep filming everything or they die. Fine. After a while though, they figure out that the killers can see everything that they're doing, because there are transmitters in the cameras, which is the first thing we took issue with...

  • Why not put the camera in a closet or another room or something, so that they can't see what you're doing/planning?
  • Why not just smash the camera?
  • Why not drop the camera, and run from your house into the night until you get somewhere safe?

The character's frustrating inability to do anything remotely intelligent to change their situations is one thing, but are you telling me that none of their neighbors can hear screams, yelling, glass breaking, or the fucking loudspeaker that's playing creepy, repetitive messages from outside in the middle of the yard?
And the ending... we pretty much figured that they'd all be lured to the 1805 Mockingbird address once the couple got the card at the beginning, and that somehow they'd all be duped into killing each other, or at least they'd try to... but a house full of balloons? Watching them all wading through an endless, congestive sea of balloons (that filled every inch of space from floor to ceiling) was almost comical.

And once the balloons parted and they were finally in the same room together, and they shot each other, I couldn't help but think "these people are great shots." Only two people had guns, and as inexpert, terrified, and confused as they were, both of them managed to shoot two people dead in a manner of seconds?

Come on.

All of the above sloppiness could have been forgiven to an extent, had it not been for the atrocious ending.

The reveal that it was a bunch of 12-year-old kids behind the elaborate "game" was just downright silly, and even more so insulting. How in the world were they able to orchestrate the terrorizing three separate households full of people, and then all make it to the place of the final showdown, to be able to witness them killing each other?

I mean, the couple's kids left, and went to a bowling alley where it's revealed that these other killer kids were all hanging out, taking pictures with the clown; then somehow these killer kids split up, went to the couple's and woman's homes, and began their terrorizing of them; and then once the victims are told that they have 10 minutes to get to the Mockingbird address, these kids all somehow get there before them, so that they can be laying in wait for them?

How do those logistics even begin to make sense?

  • If this was set in 1995, how could the kids afford to pull this off? Back then, do you know how much all of those cameras, and the technology to wirelessly monitor them, would cost? How could children afford that?
  • Even if they could somehow afford it, how in the world would they know how to do such things?
  • And how were the kids monitoring the transmitters in the cameras?
  • How did they even place them in the cameras to begin with?
  • Even if they knew how to do such things, how did they all get to and from different residences, a bowling alley, and back to the house at the end? None of them can drive!
  • And how did the camera batteries last so long?
  • And how did they break into these peoples homes in the middle of the night, and video tape them while sleeping? Were they all emancipated, and had no guardians?
  • And where did they get all of those balloons? Literally, it must have been 1000+ balloons? Who paid for those? More importantly, who blew them up? WHO BLEW THEM UP!

NO WAY IN HELL could  bunch of children be able to pull off this type of elaborate, tech-savvy "game" in this day and age, let alone in 1995. The fact of the matter is that they most likely wouldn't have even been able to conceive of such a thing.

There's just so, so much about this movie that made absolutely no sense whatsoever, that we're honestly not sure what in the hell happened.

We can tell you one thing though: Mockingbird should have never made it out of the scripting stage.

The fact that the same guy who wrote and directed The Strangers, wrote and directed this mess of a movie, perplexes the living shit out of us. Maybe it sounded great on paper, but in execution, Mockingbird is a tragedy. We're going to forget this movie ever happened and just wait for Bryan Bertino's next effort, There Are Monsters, because honestly, he's better than this.

Mockingbird is available now on VOD, and is also streaming on Netflix.

It's always great to see Audrey Marie Anderson in something new. We've loved her ever since her days on The Unit.


November 21, 2014

What's new on VOD this week?

Ill-fated urban explorers; self-cannibalism; 2014's Box Office champ (so far); a blind werewolf hunter; and a creepy insomniac... These are the VOD releases for the third week of November!

It's not a bad crop of movies, but aside from Guardians of the Galaxy, it definitely is a risky one.

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As Above, So Below: When a team of explorers ventures into the catacombs that lie beneath the streets of Paris, they uncover the dark secret that lies within this city of the dead.

As Above, So Below didn't fare too well with critics, but that doesn't mean we're not going to give it a rent anyhow. What do critics know anyways? Whether or not you give this one a go all depends on how much you like Found Footage movies, and how easily you can accept their nonsensical tropes and just enjoy what you're seeing on screen. Tall order, I know. We're just hoping that this one turns out to be a better-than-average Found Footage effort.

*As Above, So Below is available to buy now on Digital HD ($14.99), and will be available to rent on December 2nd.
Eat: Novella McClure is like most struggling actresses in Los Angeles: she's in her early 30s, her fake name sounded cooler ten years ago, and she hasn't landed a role in three years. To top it all off, she's developed a disturbing habit of eating her own flesh. Novella desperately tries to hide her strange condition from her motherly landlord, Eesha, and somewhat psychopathic best friend, Candice, but her body and mind continue to deteriorate in the depressing world of failed auditions and sketchy night clubs. Can a romantic relationship with her psychiatrist prevent her from self destruction? Or will her fatal habit continue to eat away at her?

We've never even heard about this movie until now, and we're not the biggest fans of cannibalism on film, but the trailer at least looks interesting. That much we can give it. Eat will no doubt be at the back of the pack for us as far as this week's rentals go, but who knows, maybe it will be worth the $5 rental after all.

*Eat is available to rent & buy now on Digital HD, starting at $4.99.
Guardians of the Galaxy: A group of space criminals must work together to stop the fanatical villain Ronan the Accuser from destroying the galaxy.

If you aren't already aware of Guardians of the Galaxy (and of just how awesome it is), then you probably don't like movies all that much, and we're not sure why you're reading this to begin with. Marvel's latest (and maybe greatest) Superhero Epic is a kick-ass journey across the galaxy that we enjoyed at an A+ level. A lot of the hype surrounding this movie is well deserved; it's fun, funny as hell, exciting, and it may just be the best movie that we saw in a theater this year.

But it now in early release, or wait until December 9th to rent/buy it in Blu-ray, just see it either way. 

*Guardians of the Galaxy is available to buy now on Digital HD ($19.99), and will be available to rent on December 9th.
Late Phases: Ambrose McKinley, a cantankerous blind vet, moves into a retirement community only to learn the residents there have been dying, not from old age, but from dog attacks. After surviving his own encounter with a canine one night, Ambrose comes to believe the assailants are much more than mere dogs...

Making a truly good werewolf movies is a tough nut to crack, but Late Phases at least looks like it's different enough to be worthwhile. It definitely looks like it's more on the lower-budget side of things, but we do love Nick Damici, so we'll be giving this one a chance, despite our better instincts.

*Late Phases is available to rent & buy now on Digital HD, starting at $6.99.
The Sleepwalker: A young couple, Kaia and Andrew, are renovating Kaia's secluded family estate. Their lives are violently disrupted upon the unexpected arrival of Kaia's sister, Christine, and her fiancé, Ira.

The Sleepwalker garnered some pretty solid reviews at Sundance, and the trailer looks solid, so we'll ignore the fact that it looks like a boring character study and give it a chance anyway.

*The Sleepwalker is available to rent now on Digital HD, for $6.99.

Our VOD Release Dates Page has been updated!
We've updated our VOD Release Dates Page for Nov-Dec, including a sneak peak at January!

Lots of movies coming and gong on the list this week, so head on over to the VOD Page and stay in the loop... or else how are you going to know what to watch?

That's all. Just wanted to let you know.

November 20, 2014

The Nightbreed: The Director's Cut (Limited Edition) Blu-ray is half off!
Normally $79, the Nightbreed 3-disc Blu-ray set is only $48.54!!!

Now, if you love this movie, and have always wanted to see the rumored Cabal Cut, then this is the disc you have been waiting for. This is Clive Barker's personal version of the Cabal Cut, which boasts 20 minutes of new footage, along with 20+ additional minutes of alternate takes/footage that isn't in the Theatrical Cut.

This set is also the only place where you can get the Theatrical Cut.

This 3-disc set contains:
  • The Theatrical Cut.
  • The Director's Cut.
  • A Bonus Disc featuring tons of special features. (4 hours worth of bonus material in total, between the Bonus Disc and the features on the Blu-ray disc.)

This is a crazy low price, and who knows how long it will last, so if you love all things Clive Barker, then get it while you can! It's limited to 10,000 copies.

VOD Review: The Babadook (2014)
(aka Mum is Off Her Nut.)
Release Date: November 28th.
Country: Australia.
Rating: Unrated.
Written & Directed by: Jennifer Kent.
Starring: Essie Davis, Daniel Henshall, and The Babadook.

About half-way through The Babadook, I nearly turned it off. I was expecting a story about a loving mother protecting her young son from some sort of unseen menace, and what I had gotten up to that point was the story of a whiny, annoying kid whose namby-pamby mother couldn't control him. The kid honestly annoyed me so much, that when the mom said "Why don't you go and eat shit!" to him, I was like "finally, she tells that little fucker to piss off!"

Maybe we were having an off day. Who can say.

As annoying as it all was towards the beginning though, I'm really glad I stuck it out, because the third act of The Babadook went to a great place, justified its previous annoyances, and ended up being a pretty solid movie.

*This is going to be a quick review, because we'd really like to keep things as spoiler-free as possible, and thus we cant say as much about it as we'd like to.

Seven years after the death of her husband (as he rushed her to the hospital to give birth to their son), Amelia and Samuel (the son) are still grieving over their terrible loss. Samuel is hyperactive and mischievous, and Amelia is visibly shaken and timid, letting her son run amok, lacking the strength to smack him senseless when he needs it.

Enter into both of their lives a mysterious book called Mr. Babadook; a scary, supernatural tale of a monster that asks to be "let in" to your life, presumably so he can kill and/or eat you. This story terrifies Samuel, which illustrates that Amelia doesn't make the best decisions as a parent, because the kid is troubled enough without reading him a terrifying story before bedtime, isn't he?

Well, The Babadook does come knocking, but Amelia is so scared that she just hides under her covers, leaving it to roam the halls of her house, free to kill her son if it so chooses. Samuel, on the other hand, decides to make odd traps and weapons in an effort to defend he and his mum against The Babadook. The poor kid is 6, and he's apparently the only responsible adult in the house.

From here on out, all sorts of creepy things happen to both mother and child, but we'd be remiss to discuss them, since doing so would spoil the twists and turns that the movie takes. Suffice it to say though, that if you can make it through to the third reel of this film, not only are you a trooper, but you'll be rewarded with a genuinely terrifying climax that will leave you thinking about this movie for days after.

The Babadook is a really solid movie that irked the shit out of us for most of its first hour. We try to remain as laid back as possible during most movies, but the one thing that always gets us is annoying characters, and for the first half or so of this movie, both the mom and kid were genuinely aggravating. To be fair, it was mostly the kid that irked us, mainly due to his incessant whining and screaming, and whinging, and acting out... and it got so bad that we didn't care if The Babadook killed him or not. Sounds insensitive, I know, but there it is.

As for the mom, she couldn't or wouldn't control her kid, and it frustrated us to watch. Now, there was a good reason for her frustrating demeanor and behavior, as she had been suffering from serious post-traumatic stress from the death of her husband, but it still worked the nerves. Her snotty sister and bratty niece were no help either, as both of them were awful to she and her son. It bothered us that they were so dismissive of Amelia and Samuel, when they clearly needed help.

We get that most of the character's behavior and actions may have been amplified to illustrate how Amelia saw things through the eyes of her PTS, but it still grated on us. We truly believe that this is the reason that The Babadook is so great though; because we were supposed to see things the way that we did, and react to them exactly how we did, and it was all by design. We basically experienced things through Amelia's eyes, and by doing so, we understood her actions better, and empathized with her far more. Clever stuff.

With all of that said, please understand that The Babadook is a very smart and effective movie. Yes, so much of what occurred in its early-going was manic, and it did test our patience, but it all began to make narrative sense once the events of the final act began to unfold, and so our frustration all but disappeared for the most part.

The movie offers up plenty of scares in a variety of different ways, all of which get more intense as the film wears on. We really can't give specifics without spoiling, but trust us when we say that you'll most likely be on the edge of your seat before it's over. The Babadook's voice was especially great, and we wish that the movie had featured more of him/it. Every time he spoke, we got chills.

Essie Davis turns in an intense performance as a disturbed woman who has to overcome her own demons in order to protect her son from what might be an actual Demon (at least of sorts), and she deserves all the credit in the world for pulling it off so well.

On a side note, we'd absolutely buy a copy of that pop-up book if it were ever made available for sale. And yes, we'd read it to unsuspecting kids. We're creepy like that. 

We found The Babadook to be a trying movie, while at the same time being a clever, fresh, and ultimately satisfying one as well. The themes that it explores are fairly deep and complex, and once the third reel kicked in, the way that the film handled them was truly horrific.

If you're looking for something fresh and different, then check it out when it hits VOD on November 28th, or watch it now if you have DirecTV.


The Babadook is available now on DirecTV, and will be available on VOD and in Theaters on November 28th (U.S.)

Essie Davis is in this.