December 29, 2009
At least 2009 goes out in style, giving us a few DVD goodies to send it off with. From best to worst, here are this week's notable releases. 9 is an excellent little animated post-apocalyptic flick, that you need to see. Keep in mind that it might give the kids nightmares though before letting them watch it, which I totally support, so give it a go! Paranormal Activity may be the highest profile horror release of the year thanks to its genius marketing strategy. Though it may not be the scariest thing you've ever seen (as its been billed), it's definitely creepy and worth a watch. Alone, and in the dark of course. Carriers was another fun little post-apocalyptic movie, that was better than I expected it to be. Plus, I really like the hot chick from Everwood, so it was destined to be a movie that I liked. Vampire Killers aka Lesbian Vampire Killers... Why the title change? Seriously America, are we to the point where a frigging movie title is going to get people to whine and picket? It's a dumb horror comedy that involves lesbian vampires being killed, so can't we just call it what it is? Geesh. Jennifer's Body sucked for the most part, save for the slick texture of it all, and the hot chicks making out with each other, and you can thank Devil Coby for said suckage. Watch it on mute, and you may actually enjoy it. And finally we have A Perfect Getaway, which underwhelmed me, but wasn't all that bad. Confusing, I know. Rent it maybe, but don't expect much. So until 2010, see you in 2010! That didn't make much sense, but you get the gist.
Sub-Genre- Supernatural/Backwoods Horror
Cast Members of Note- Kristoffer Joner, Cecilie A. Mosli and Karin Park.
|"Give mommy a kiss!"|
|Screw that noise, I would leave.|
|"You, sir, are an effing nut-job."|
|Q- I that his mom, or is he nuts? A- Yes.|
Skjult is filled with far more jump-scares than it is good kill scenes. For shame.
|Next time what say you lose the shirt.|
After Dark Horrorfest, I have a feeling that many of you will feel the same.
Cecilie A. Mosli is in this.
December 25, 2009
#1- Trick r' Treat- Yes I know, this movie was made a few years ago, and other horror sites named it as one of their best back then, but it wasn't released until this year, so shush. I can't remember the last time that a horror flick captured me, enraptured me, and left me wanting more, more, more like TrT did. Don't just take my word for it either; everyone in the club, and everyone that they made watch it, raved about it just as much. TrT captured the essence of Halloween and all of its atmosphere, and took us on a clever and near perfect journey through it all. I don't know that I've ever seen a movie that captured the spirit and atmosphere of Halloween this well, and it instantly becomes mandatory yearly watching for the creepy month of October. I hesitate to give a movie a 10/10 score, because to me that implies a sort of perfection, but after watching this movie, I had no other choice. Ignore the few internet naysayers that will say "it was OK" or "it didn't come close to living up to the hype", and own this movie. Own it and love it. Unless of course you don't like awesomeness, then feel free to ignore this one altogether. #2- Zombieland- I have one thing to say, and one thing only: any movie that plays For Whom the Bell Tolls over the opening credits is aces in my book. Ok I lied, I have more to say... This movie is fun as hell and, aside from the annoying actions of the main chicks throughout most of the movie, is easily one of the best of the year. Woody Harrelson is brilliant as Tallahassee, the zombie-ass kicking southern boy with a penchant for awesome one liners. I mean no disservice to the other actors in the movie, but he carried this one on his back, and even pressed it over his head a few times. Everyone else performed admirably too, but Woody definitely stole the thunder. As horror comedies go (especially of the zombie variety), dare I say this is better than Shaun of the Dead? That's totally up for debate but it is absolutely as good, if different, and I can only pray that we get a sequel at some point. See it, and if you already have, see it again. #3- The Children- The best creepy kid movie I've seen in ages belongs to the British. Dread and unease permeate this movie and never really seem to let up, and are eventually joined by some vicious violence and gore; when mixed together, they basically have a square dance on your nuts until you end up hiding in your closet and crying like a small child. Ok, I may be exaggerating just a bit, but this is one taxing movie, and that's no joke. This movie is profoundly disturbing, and left me feeling a bit numb at the end. Only bits and pieces of the reasons for the children turning on their parents are given to us, and maybe that's the worst part. Actually, the worst part is probably the fact that 6 and 7 year old kids are hell bent on killing their parents. The ending was one of the best I've seen in quite a while too. It came out of nowhere, and chilled me to the bone. It also left me with questions which I wish I had definitive answers too, but hey, at least it made me think. #4- Drag Me To Hell- A return to horror form for Sam Raimi, Drag Me to Hell is jsut a hell of a lot of fun to experience. I love the dry wit on display here, as too many Hollywood horror flicks seem to forget to be fun these days; the "we used to have a cat" bit kills me every time I see it. The look on Alison Lohman's face is just priceless. Even the ending goes against popular convention in some ways, which I loved. This movie definitely reminds me of campy 80's horror; It's fairly linear, over the top, a bit tongue in cheek, creepy, gross, tension filled, and we know exactly where it's going and we can't wait to get there with it... or rather for the movie to take us there. Aside from "the fire dance" and one obvious plot twist (you'll see it coming from miles away), this movie made me smile the whole way through. Unfortunately, it didn't kill at the box office as I had hoped it would, but it looks really good on Blu-ray. If you haven't seen it yet, go grab a copy on DVD or add it to your Netflix que now. I promise it's fun. #5- District 9- This one really isn't a horror movie per-se, but as a genre picture it has to be counted on even horror lists as one of the years best. What Peter Jackson and Neill Blomkamp pulled off here with the tiny budget of around $30 million is nothing short of pure genius. Gorgeous, action packed, bloody, messy, and engrossing, D-9 reminded me that sometimes the good guys can win, and that smart, well made movies can stand far above their dumber, more expensive popcorn flick brethren, and shine brightly. Heart and soul count, and this is one crazy movie that delivers those goods while kicking your ass at the same time.
December 23, 2009
As many films as there were this year that could be, or deserve to be in our top 10, we had to pick just 10, so here they are... #6- Acolytes- Something about this Aussie thriller just stuck with us, and me in particular. Visually the movie is stunning, the characters are believable and likable (though sometimes absent minded), and the concept is interesting and keeps you guessing. Oh, and it's pretty creepy too. Some have said that the beginning half of this movie dragged a little, but I beg to differ; the first half of the movie seemed to me a meditation of sorts on teenagers, in which sexual angst and troubled pasts are set up to play an important role in what comes later. Good stuff. Ever since Wolf Creek, I've been impressed with the horror/thriller scene coming from down under, and Acolytes only serves to strengthen my resolve. #7- Dead Snow (a.k.a. Dod Sno)- I love this f'ing movie. I can't remember having this much fun watching a horror flick in a long time. Its tongue in cheek nature is reminiscent of Evil Dead 2, Army of Darkness, or Shaun of the Dead in a way, because it mixes humor and horror so well. I liked the over the top action too. From the foot stomping at the edge of the cliff, to the zombie wake up call scene, it's almost melodramatic in its mechanics, but it works. A machine gun mounted on a snowmobile? Count me in! How can you not love a bunch of Nazi zombies terrorizing innocent Norwegian people? #8- The Last House on the Left- Wow, a remake that was really, really good for a change... what a nice change of pace. I'll admit that there's one scen at the very end of the movie that felt a bit out of place to me, but aside from that small thing, LHOTL is a nasty little piece of remake bliss. Dennis Iliadis directed the hell out of this movie, and he has a bright future ahead of him. He created a dark and foreboding atmosphere, and made the story believable. Most American-made horror films fail to reach this level or craft and realism anymore. Kudos my good sir. #9- Orphan- I went in to Orphan thinking that it would be just another in a long line of cookie cutter, PG-13-ish, typical Hollywood messes, that didn't get the point of being a horror movie and wouldn't go for it, but I was wrong. Orphan didn't play it safe at all, and in fact, pushed the limits of disturbing quite often. To say that I was surprised with some of the places that this film went would be putting it mildly. This is also a gorgeous film too look at; the camerawork capturing the mood through sparse winter landscapes which always make for a gorgeous setting. I'm a sucker for a snowy setting, what can I say? #10- (It's a tie!)- Sure, something about claiming a tie cries cop out to me, but we have more than enough love to go around. Come on, it's Christmas time! Antichrist- This is a film that I will have to meditate over for some time to come. Was she evil? What happened to her in the forest with her son? Is this movie a misogynistic bash on all of woman kid? I have no answers, but I will be thinking on it for quite some time. This film is unbelievably gorgeous, and ridiculously so. Each of the chapters has its own look from monochrome to black and white, and is just something special to behold. With Antichrist, Von Trier captivates visually even if he manages to lose some of his audience thematically. Is this his masterpiece? I don't know, but it sure feels to me like it may be. Killer Movie- This was a pretty damn good slasher flick; it's typical, and doesn't even come close to breaking any new ground, but it's smart, witty, and a good old fashioned fun time in your DVD player. I love how the smart script had just the right mix of humor and horror to make it seem fresher than most movies of its kind, especially those of late. Slashers can be fun and still work, and this movie reminds us of that.
While not every movie can make the best of 2009 list, there were plenty of movies that deserve their share of mention and praise. Some were fun, some were creepy, some were really good, some were enjoyable despite their flaws. (Once again keep in mind that many of these movies may have been made/released in other countries, or had festival screenings prior to 2009, but they weren't released proper until this year.) The Good: The Road, Paranormal Activity, The Collector, Grace, Friday the 13th, Pandorum, Pontypool, Home Movie, Sauna, I Sell the Dead, Infestation, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, The Hills Run Red, Laid to Rest, Thirst, Beautiful, Hush, Kill Theory, Mum and Dad, One Eyed Monster, House of the Devil, Carriers, My Bloody Valentine 3-D, The Devil's Tomb, Embodiment of Evil, The Uninvited, Fritt Vilt II, Dead in 3 Days, The Box, Gamer, Moon, Nature's Grave, Outlander, The Pretty Good: Red Mist (a.k.a. Freakdog), Dolan's Cadillac, The Thaw, Gnaw, The Broken, The Burrowers, Tormented, Invitation Only, Plague Town, The Horsemen, Dying Breed, Amusement, Deadgirl, Book of Blood, Backwoods, It's Alive, Dead Air, Babysitter Wanted, Elsewhere, From Within, The Grudge 3, The Killing Room, Black Devil Doll, Donkey Punch, Sam's Lake.
December 21, 2009
Cast Members of Note- Talia Zucker, Rosie Traynor, David Pledger, Martin Sharpe, and Steve Jodrell.
Lake Mungo is about 16-year-old Alice Palmer; a sweet girl that goes missing on a family outing to a local swimming hole, and the creepy fallout that follows after her disappearance.
|No more fun for you, 'cause you're dead.|
|I'll piece you back together, honey. I'm nurturing like that.|
|Anyone who actually goes to a place this creepy, kinda has it coming.|
Part of January's upcoming After Dark Horrorfest, Lake Mungo (along with the excellent Dread), gives me a giddy sense of expectation for what this year's fest could end up being. Finally, we are getting more than second rate B-Movies that aren't really all that good or scary in an American Horror Film Festival.
I'm surprised at how much I enjoyed this movie. You see, it's presented to us, the viewer, as a straight up Documentary ala something you would see on TV Shows like Unsolved Mysteries or Cold Case Files. It's obviously a fictional drama, but you'd never know it if you just caught in on TV one day. The subtle quiet of the movie is what makes it work so well, as characters looking at photographs and videos proves to be more chilling than anything else that happens onscreen.
The real terror in this movie comes from the seedy goings-on in a quiet suburban neighborhood, what those actions lead to, and how they can damage someone beyond repair. The theme of knowing your own doom is unsettling as well, and especially with the way it's explored throughout this movie.
|This picture pretty much captures the feel of the movie.|
Hollywood is already planning to remake Lake Mungo, which to me seems unnecessary. This movie stands on it's own as a great film, and an effective Horror movie, but the lack of jump-scares and "incident" means that it probably won't make sufficient bank in this country.
Oddly enough, it's getting a Theatrical release in January as a part of the After Dark Horrorfest, but it's still getting remade. I hope it makes money and the remake just fades into oblivion, but then I always do tend to dream too big.
|Middle. That's all I'm saying.|
Lake Mungo is an atmospheric, disturbing, creepy, and even sad movie in some ways, and it deftly weaves all of those elements together to pull you in and leave you thinking about it long after you've finished watching. Little more than regret, guilt, and dark secrets manage to make a movie with no violence or threatening antagonists give you goosebumps and make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, which to me seems quite a feat.
If this is an example of what we can expect when the After Dark Horrorfest IV hits Theaters in January, then it's going to be a good month. Go and see this when you get the chance.