July 29, 2010

The New Daughter (2010)

"A direct to video horror flick starring Kevin Costner... and it could have been worse."

Sub-Genre- Supernatural/Creature
Cast Members of Note- Kevin Cosnter, Ivana Baquero, Samantha Mathis, Eric Palladino, Noah Taylor and James Gammon.

I don't know why I though he was dead, but Kevin Costner is still alive, and he has a new daughter! He has a son too, but who cares about him. The movie isn't called The New Son now is it?

After the death of his wife, Waterworld moves to the country with his two kids, to "start over" and to "leave the past behind." They also aim to "move on with their lives", "make a new beginning", and "forget mommy never existed." I guess there's something about trees and well water that makes people want to do all of those things in the quiet, Kinfolk-filled country. Odd how it never seems to work out as planned in these movies though, isn't it?

Aah, country life!
Unfortunately for them, their new house is situated on a piece of land that also harbors a creepy looking mound that talks to Bull Durham's daughter, and makes her act odd and stare into space a lot. Indian Burial Grounds can never just be serene or peaceful, can they? Instead, the "Ancient Spirits" are always pissed off or they place some crazy curse on anyone foolish enough to come too close... that's so racial!

That looks way too creepy to live in.
As Robin Hood notices his "new" daughter setting creepier and creepier, he must race against time to learn a lot about Indian Spirits and save his family from some mongoloid-looking mutant-things. Can he save his daughter from certain death? Will they pay for trespassing on the lands of the dead with their very lives? Will anyone ever get the bad taste of Waterworld out of their mouth? I won't spoil what comes next here, but I will say just forget about Waterworld; If you want to feel true pain, try sitting through The Postman. Makes me shiver just to think about that movie.

"You talkin' bad bout mah' movies?" Yes Kevin. We are.
I had almost forgotten that Kevin Costner had a career until I saw the poster for this movie. True, he was in Mr. Brooks and The Guardian recently, which were both good flicks in their own right, but I never thought I'd see the day when he'd be a guy whose movies went Direct to DVD.

Surprisingly, for the most part, this movie was pretty good. Despite being slow in parts, using a tired premise, and the fact that Kevin Costner played maybe the worst dad in the history of Horror flicks, The New Daughter was fairly dark and eerie, had some decent bloody moments towards the end, and didn't totally piss me off. That may not sound like much of a compliment, but trust me, it is. If it was engaging enough for me not to want to fall asleep or hit fast-forward, then it definitely has some merit to it.

This thing looks like it has a vagina dentata in the mouth.
Is it me, or did Kevin Costner play the dumbest father in the history of Parenthood in this movie? You move your family to a new, isolated house in the country and odd things begin to happen, but you do nothing. Something is clearly wrong with your daughter, but do nothing. Someone/something is clearly watching your home, but, no biggie. Someone/something has clearly entered your home without your knowledge, and you just frown about it.

Family pet found slaughtered? Look around at the trees and think "this doesn't seem normal." The babysitter is kidnapped? It happens. Her murdered body is found half eaten? Wow, that's a little odd. A stalking, home invading, murdering something or other is out there and messing with you, but you don't take the kids and hightail it out of there, you just wonder what's happening and do nothing? Best of all, he leaves his really young son alone in the house, to go find his daughter mind you, when he pretty much knows he isn't coming back alive... Epic Parenting Fail, Kevin Costner!

Why bury the shotgun? Can't you just keep it in the closet, unloaded, and know where the shells are in case of an emergency... an emergency like mutant monsters attacking your house and trying to eat your kids?

Surprisingly, there is a little bit of fun violence towards the end of the movie, most notably a rather messy throat bleed-out scene. This is not a flick for Gorehounds though.

"Tell me what's wrong, or I can't help you!"
Ivana Baquero takes a shower and has scene which is technically topless, but since she's only 16, it didn't do much for us. So I guess the answer is no on the nudity and sex.

Do not turn around until you're 18. Thank you.
Kevin Costner is still kinda cool. Also, don't mess with Indian Corpse Mounds, as you will be haunted soon thereafter, and possibly be killed. Not by the mound itself, but by some spirits that live inside.. oh, you know what I mean.

If you can shut your brain off and ignore some sloppy writing, and dismiss the fact that no one in this movie ever made a good decision, it's actually kinda fun. Mostly. Filled with a pretty awesome cast right down to the bit players, The New Daughter is worth watching, especially if you have a free rental coming from Netflix or something. If not, maybe just wait until it hits cable.


Don't you give me that face, Kevin Costner, a C is all you get!

July 26, 2010

Heartless (2010)

"Beware of spoilers, as we have to comment on this movie's ending... because it kinda sucked."

Sub-Genre- Supernatural  
Cast Members of Note- Jim Sturgess and the ever gorgeous, Clemence Poesy
Heartless is about a socially-inept geek who can't get laid because he has a heart-shaped mole on his face that freaks people out, especially the ladies. He lives with his mum, his best friend is a camera, and he sees Demons roaming the streets at night causing all sorts of mayhem. Who doesn't, right?

I see this every night.
One evening, after getting a mysterious call from Satan's 8-year-old concubine, heart-face boy heads over to some skeevy tenement, and quite literally ends up making a deal with the Devil; in exchange for having his face made all pretty, he will kill a random person or two at ole' Lucifer's whim. To seal the deal properly, Satan sets him on fire.

Satan kinda looks Russian to me. Maybe Albanian.
Once he's sexy and facial deformity-free, heart-face boy starts banging Fleur DeLacour on the reg, which is really the point of the whole movie. That and Satan making him his bitch and forcing him to de-heart random, innocent people on command. So Heartless... see? Because he takes people hearts out... and his heart shaped face-thing gets removed which has always been his biggest dream. And maybe because it's rather heartless to kill innocent people for payment... multiple meanings make things deep.

Chicks dig beauty marks, don't they?
Does Fleur really love him or is she just a dirty whore? Is heart-face boy smart enough to outsmart the Devil and survive the constant badgering by his pesky Chav minions? How many people from Harry Potter are actually in this movie? All I will say is this; I hate, hate, hate endings like this. A lot.

Yep, she's a whore.
What an odd little movie. At first I thought it was about Demons, then a guy who just has to be the Devil comes into the picture, and then it becomes more of a Faustian serial killer thing... but at its heart it's really a story about losing a parent, finding love, and being alright with how you look? Odd indeed.

Heartless, ironically, has a lot of heart. It's a great premise, it's well made and the actors do their jobs wonderfully, it's dark, a bit creepy in parts, bloody in others, and it has a lead character that you can't help but feel for... so then why am I underwhelmed by it all?  

Heartless also had a Clive Barker-ish vibe going on, and I liked that.

Clemence Poesy has a face worth mentioning in The Good section.
***ENDING SPOILERS, BEWARE!*** Yet another movie that draws me in, keeps me intrigued and entertained, made me care about the characters, then at the end yells "just kidding!", kicks me in the nuts, and runs away laughing. Endings that negate most or all of what you just sat through really frustrate me. It was all in his head? Again? Shutter Island anyone? The Village? Not Haute Tension though; I like the dupe in that one.

What is it with Chavs? White, British kids with their hats cocked sideways, pretending to be rappers, roaming around in gangs, doing nothing but hurting good innocent folk? With movies like Eden Lake and Heartless showing us why, they seem to be more of a problem than I had ever realized. It should be legal to put Chavs in a sack, and drown them just like it is with kittens...

I'm pretty sure that's legal. If not, forget I said anything.

There are definitely some bloody and nasty moments in this movie, most of which involve hearts being cut out of chests.
Oh, he is so screwed.
Not really. We get a tiny bit of skin, but it should have been far more considering Clemence Poesy isn't afraid to bare it all. Sigh.

Do not ever trust Satan. Also, Clemence Poesy needs to be in more Horror flicks.

***ENDING SPOILERS, BEWARE*** Heartless is a great little movie in most ways, hindered only by the all too common (at least to me) and crappy "It was all in his head" type of ending. Had they played it straight and just let it be what it seemed to be throughout the whole thing, I think it would have felt more "right." Aside from the fact that most of the movie didn't actually happen the way we thought it did, it's definitely worth checking out.


Good lord just look at her. Look!

July 21, 2010

True Blood just keeps getting better...

Only 5 episodes in, and season 3 of True Blood is already better than the whole of season 2, and at least just as good as the first. Tara is still Tara, Sookie is still a tad annoying, and Jason will always be a moron, but damn it if everything else isn't blazing ahead full bore towards the abyss of awesomeness. With no brakes. Randomly, let's discuss the finer points: -The wolves are awesome, and the first glimpses inside their culture opens the door for all sorts of possibilities. the Nazi super-wolf/vamp thing is intriguing. -Alcide is pretty cool. Sookie's gonna bang him. -Eric is awesome, still, and thankfully he's getting a lot more to do this season. His back story is great. Oh, and Sookie's gonna bang him. Man is she looking good.
You dirty, dirty girl.
-I'm actually liking Sam and his story arc for a change. Sookie is not going to bang him. Poor Sam. -Sookie using her powers again was awesome. Being familiar with the books, I'm wondering how they are going to handle all of that. They seem to deviate from the book in a lot of areas, and with her powers, I hope they do the same... it's too spoiler-ish to say anymore than that though.
Ethereal facepalm!
-Lafayette is back in true form, which serves to make the show that much better. Considering he dies in the first book (or second, I can't remember), I think the best decision Alan Ball has made for the show is keeping him around. Oh, and Lafayette is going to bang Jesus.
"I don't know what Brokeblack Mountain is, but I'd love to go there."
-Sophie Anne and the Magister could be screwed. -Pam better not bet screwed, she's really cool.
Leave her be, you Magister jerk!
And the non-finer points: -Jason and the whole cop thing... come on. -Tara being angry and confused is annoying... but it looks like this last episode she started to get her act together, and let's hope she changes for the better. -Why can't they make the episodes 2 hours long? I mean, come on! We can't wait for next week. I'm hoping we learn more about Eric an his viking-revenge plan, and I'm curious to see what happens to sookie now that people have seen her new ability. Season 3 is an A+ so far guys, so keep it coming!

July 17, 2010

Do Not Want- Flesh, TX (2009)

I should have known better. I should have seen the cool box art, known the movie would be total crap, and passed it up. Of course, I'm a glutton for punishment, and in the interest of saving innocent Horror fans everywhere from the pain, I bit the bullet and watched Flesh, TX.

This is another "Inbred backwoods hillbilly family that kills people and eats them" flick... which is a totally new and fresh idea. Wait, it's not new and fresh, so I'm sure there will at least be some interesting or fresh twist on the tired old formula to keep me interested, right? Nope. Not that either. Why am I watching this again?

The chick is hot, but everything else about this movie is about as pleasing as having a root canal done on you with a rusty ice pick... by an ill tempered monkey. (I wanted to say Llama, but with no opposable thumbs, it just seemed too far fetched.) There is so much story here that no one will care about, so much talking that does nothing for the movie, and so many cringe-inducing moments in the first 15 minutes alone, that I think a person deserves some sort of prize for sitting through the rest of this steaming prairie pile. A smack in the mouth and a nice "what's wrong with you!" should do nicely.

Do low budget Horror filmmakers even try anymore? Do they all have to try an be clever by giving us cartoonish and "wacky" characters in an attempt to be artistic? I blame Rob Zombie for this, because ever since Devil's Rejects, Horror filmmakers seem hell bent on trying to create their own Otis, Capt. Spaulding or Baby, and 99.9% of the time they fail and end up serving giving us a painful parody rather than off-kilter or interesting characters.

Which brings me to my next point; I can't remember the last time I saw a movie this poorly acted. Aside from Kathleen Benner, who shows some promise despite the fact that she had nothing to work with script or dialogue wise, I think everyone else was just recruited at the bus stop, and told to act. The script definitely made it worse, but the actors just didn't have it in them to rise above it, or even make it back to par. It's always sad to see Joe Estevez (you know Martin Sheen's brother, Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez's uncle) even doing this kind of tripe. He's no master thespian by a long shot, but come on, his brother is Martin Sheen! He has nothing more in him than this? Even Charlie doesn't suck this bad anymore, and he hasn't been relevant since what... Major League 2?

Flesh, TX is mostly full of dialogue and character development scenes that we can't care about, and when the blood does flow, it looks like runny pink karo syrup and kinda sucks. If you're gonna do it on the cheap, and with limited talent, at least pack it to the rafters with the bloody stuff. I could go on and on, but you get the point by now I'm sure. There was at least one thing, and one thing only in and about this movie that was good, and if you look closely in the following pictures, you should be able to figure out what it is. Look close!:

If you guessed "scenic locations/set design", that's not really right, but we will accept that answer. We will also accept "The slutty hot chick in the whore get-up" as well. There is nothing left to say on this matter, other than:

July 11, 2010

The Reeds (2010)

"Not as bad as The Final, but nowhere near as good as Dread, this Horrorfest entry falls... sideways?"

Sub-Genre- Supernatural/Serial Killer 
Cast Members of Note- Anna Brewster, OT Fagbenie, Scarlett Johnson, Emma Catherwood, Will Mellor, Danny Caltagirone, and Geoff Bell.

A group of twenty-something folks from London (England, not Canada) head off on a boating trip to what may be the lamest vacation spot on the planet; a group of shallow, narrow channels of water lined with little more than reeds (hence the title.) There's not really even a lake at the end of their journey, just a wider space in between the reeds which I suppose is meant to be tranquil and gorgeous? I've never pretended to understand The British. 

"I don't understand us either. Wait... what?"
After repeatedly running into some a gang of homeless creepy kids, hearing "strange" noises, and seeing "odd" things, the haphazard boat crew ends up hitting something and becoming stranded (as if you didn't see that one coming.) With one of them injured, and all of them scared like a bunch of pansies, they head off into the reeds to find help. Of course there is something dark and sinister lurking in the reeds, which not only adds to their problems, but adds to my problems figuring out just what the hell is going on in this movie...

The Children of the Reeds?
What is lurking in the reeds? What's up with that creepy old man? Will anyone survive the lamest boat trip ever? I won't reveal the answers to those questions or tell you what happens next, but suffice it to say that the ending will leave you feeling cheated, beaten and dazed; a victim of poor writing and lame plotting.

This is a victim.This will be you.
As After Dark Horrorfest movies go, this one was par-for-the-course; mostly passable, but truly underwhelming and not very good. The Reeds is basically another direct-to-video quality, run-of-the-mill Horror yarn, that will be entertaining enough for some, but forgettable to most.

None of that really qualifies as "The Good" does it? Well, I will say that the acting was pretty good. The characters were mostly annoying, and all stupid, but the actors did their job admirably. The movie also had some creepy moments throughout, as the setting was bland and isolated, which did make us feel uneasy at times. That's it though. No more good.

Why did this movie seem like such a confusing jumble of bad writing? What's up with the dog? Why were the creepy kids sacrificing animals? Don't ask, because you will never get an answer. Why did the movie seem to have no clue what it wanted to be where it was going? I can't bitch about much more without giving plot elements away, but the movie just felt disjointed and forced in some spots, which really hurt it in the end.

What happened?
Are you even kidding me with that ending? Why do Horror filmmakers these days feel compelled to end their movies with lame twists and surprises, even though most of them totally suck, and feel as if they've been forced into the story just for the sake of having a twisty surprise? It was a pretty big "roll your eyes" moment for me, as I really do hate plot devices. REALLY.

Oh. How twisty.
We get some impaling, shotgun violence, and your standard animal sacrifice scenes, but most of the movie was not a gore lover's dream.

Yes, we get a naked dude jumping into the water... and we see his bum.

Never vacation in a swamp.

This movie felt a bit unorganized and haphazard, and didn't make a lot of realistic sense. It was passable, but could have been much better had it decided on what kind of Horror flick it was early on, and just went with it. Its only saving grace was the acting, which in most cases was solid, but it just wasn't enough to make this movie good. I'm sure some people will like this one, and it's not awful, but having seen it once I can absolutely say with confidence that I'll never watch it again.

Skip this one and go rent Lake Mungo or Dread instead.


Scarlett Alice Johnson is in this. Isn't she cute?