August 31, 2011

Choose (2011)

"Choose something else."

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1325723/
Choose is the story of sexy Fiona; a sexy girl who is doing her sexy best to stay sexy while she gets her College Degree... which will also be sexy once it belongs to her.

Her dad is Kevin Pollak, who used to be a good actor but is now a Sheriff in some sleepy College town. Sheriff Pollack's wife/Fiona's mother committed suicide a few months back, and they are still trying to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.

Aaaw, such a compelling plot so far, no?

I'd help pick up her pieces... Zing!
Their town is beset of late by a bizarre string of murders in which victims have to choose their fate; which one lives, your Mom or your Dad?; which can you live without, your eyes or your beauty?; which would you rather watch, a Channing Tatum movie or a video featuring an adorable puppy starving to death? We pick the puppy. And we LOVE puppies.

So Detective Dad is on the case to find ScarLip (the killer's name, even though he's never called that in the movie) before he can force any other innocent victims to "make a choice." Of course this all has to do with sexy Fiona in some way, and being a Cop's Daughter, she begins to dig into the mystery of Shit Lip and his choices, uncovering some shocking things about herself and her family, everyone who is dying, and Scuzz Lip in the process. You get the point.

Yes, the choices are timed.
For the most part, Choose is a run-of-the-mill Torture Porn/Slasher flick. It's got some decent deaths and gory scenes sprinkled throughout, though none of the really inspires any feelings of excitement or awe. Where the movie really loses ground though is in the lame script and the lackluster story. Some of the dialogue was so bad that they even stole the old "How do you like them apples" bit from Good Will Hunting... and it came off as laughable here.

At least Katheryn Winnick was nice to stare at for 90 minutes, give or take. She's got a great face (eyes especially) and a rockin' bod (yes, I just said that.) She's a decent actress too. So, despite her character being a moron and doing some "It's in the script" type of things, she was the bright spot of the movie.

We likey.
The worst part of the whole affair was the ending(s): After the first ending, which I thought capped off a mediocre movie adequately enough (even though the twist was bland and we saw it coming from about 35-45 minutes away), we had another ending thrust upon us; you know, the other twist ending that's supposed to make you gasp even more than the first one did, but really just makes you shake your head in disbelief? What was that? Totally out of left field and made no sense at all on about 10 different levels.

***ENDING SPOILERS*** After proving to be so tough, why was Fiona so terrified by the old man? I mean, she just made short work of Funk Lip, so why the screaming fear? Also, what did the old man have to do with anything, and why did he show up so randomly and at exactly the right time? ***END of ENDING SPOILERS***

Rubbish. From what we understand, the director of Choose made a choice himself to have his name removed from the finished product, because he didn't like some of the tampering that was done to his movie. After seeing the pure shit that this movie ended with, we don't blame him.

At least some of the gore was interesting.
Choose is a slightly below average slasher flick that tries to hard to be a new franchise, rather than trying hard to be a good movie. It's not truly awful; it would have garnered a middle of the road "C" grade had it not been for the awful mess at the end. Still, the fact remains that it's not very good, and aside from some decent bloody moments and the sexy hotness of The Winnick Girl, there's not much else going on here.

D

We adore Katheryn Winnick. Look at her... what's not to adore?

 
 

August 29, 2011

Closed For the Season (2011)

"Closed for good reason..."

It's amazing to me how some of these low budget movies try so hard to be unique and different, and end up over-complicating things to the point of being unwatchable.

Here's the rule: If you have $50 to make a movie, don't over complicate things. Keep it simple and make it interesting, and the lack of budget wont matter as much. Clocking in at just under 2 very long hours, Closed for the Season was anything but simple.

Closed for the Season is the tale of Kristy; a hot chick who got scared at an amusement park when she was a kid, which traumatized her so much that she decides to go back there in her 20's. As luck would have it, she finds herself trapped in the creepy park and unable to leave, along with some guy named James, who is very mysterious and... no, mysterious is good enough.

It seems as though they are both trapped in the creepy wonderland, which makes for 2 times the tedium. Together they run around the park fending off evil Carnies, fighting with a dude in a cheesy costume, and walking through a lot of fog. I think there was fog. Isn't there always fog? Maybe it was mist. Or smoke. Whatever.

The movie attempts to be a Psychological Thriller, with our main characters "trapped" in their childhood memories by an old amusement park. Yes, it's a haunted park, and it really goes to great lengths to con people into never leaving... It's not a bad premise at all, and in fact, it could be one hell of a good ride if done right, but it's far too uneventful and boring to get much of a rise even out of the most casual Horror fan.

The actors even fell asleep during their scenes!
The characters are wooden and uninspiring, as is the script that they're forced to tread through. Aimee Brooks is nice to watch though, as she spends most of the movie sweating profusely in a tight tank top, which was absolutely the film's highlight. We liked her.

We also have to admit that the movie looked pretty good in most places, and was shot competently. As for the Horror elements present in the movie... well, there weren't really any. Some of the CGI was bad, and even downright laughable in some places. The clown wasn't creepy. The lake monster made me do a double take and question if this was supposed to be a comedy or not. And the atmosphere the director was going for never really came to fruition, which is the real shame of it all; the old abandoned amusement park that they used for the shoot was perfectly creepy, and could have been put to far better use.

Seriously, what is that? LOL!
If the 70's taught us anything, it's that great Horror movies with effective settings/atmosphere can be made with an almost non-existent budget. The 80's added to that lesson by showing us that as long as there were tits and blood in abundance, shitty Horror movies could be endured. These days, so many low-budget Horror flicks fail to deliver on any of those things, and it's bewildering. Too much high concept B.S., inept dialogue, and a favoring of the artistic over the exploitative tend to ruin most cheapo flicks in this modern age of Horror. T

he great Horror movie makers of yesteryear became great because they made something out of virtually nothing; these days, Horror filmmakers tend to take nothing and make it into more nothing. I guess maybe they just think themselves great right out of the gate, and their movies end up suffering for it.

If you like gorked-out, psychedelic mind trips that lull you into a comforting and untroubled sleep, then by all means, grab a copy of this movie on DVD. If you like good movies that make sense and make you feel something, anything, aside from the overwhelming desire to hit STOP on your DVD remote, then skip this one. It's definitely a DO NOT WANT for us.

We do, however, want more of Aimee Brooks. Please.

*FYI- These pics of Aimee Brooks are from Monster Man, not Closed for the Season, so if you're looking to see her all scantily-clad, look there, not here.

August 26, 2011

We Are the Night (2011)

"We are the dirty, slutty night."

Sub-Genre- Vampires
Cast Members of Note- Karoline Herfurth, Nina Hoss, Jennifer Ulrich and Anna Fischer.

What's not to love about a gang of sexy Vampire party girls who smoke, drink, drive fast cars, have all kinds of casual sex, engage in random lesbianism, and drain the blood of deserving losers? Aside from the chance of maybe becoming their food... nothing.

You bad girl!
It's not all fun and games with the ladies of the night though, because they have a rather large penchant for blood... mainly because they're Vampires, but that's not excuse, is it? Then again, women want what they want, and if you give them an ultimate power like Vampirism, they're pretty much going to kill you and steal your credit cards. Because even in the afterlife, women like to shop.

You just paid for that, don't bite it!
The story doesn't really matter so much, as it's fairly generic and simple; the Vampire girls run around the city acting all entitled and decadent, happy with their way of life until the Lesbo of the group brings in a new girl, which pretty much fucks up their whole scheme. Why, you ask? Because of forbidden love, and a detective with a penis who who is mysteriously drawn (also by love) to the new girl as well. Excessive bloodletting ensues.
"You're mine, bitch."
It's sleek and pretty to look at, we can definitely claim that much. Aside from its shiny visual aspects, Wir Sind Die Nacht is basically an average Vampire tale, which does a decent job of entertaining, even though it slips into Romance-land towards the end. And no, contrary to the claims and opinions of morons across the Internet, this movie isn't like Twilight at all. Just because there's a doomed romance mixed in with the Vampire shenanigans, doesn't mean it belongs in the same vein at all. If we're being honest, most Vampire flicks involve the "L" word (Love, not Lesbian), and unless were comparing Twilight to Dracula or Lost Boys, we can't do that with this movie either.

Like we said before, it's a slick and pretty movie, with some good FX and a solid overall atmosphere about it. It's nice to see a movie involving a gang of hot chicks causing trouble for a change too. If you like a glossy, stylish ride, you'll dig this movie.

...It's bloody too.
Arguably, the best part of the movie is the stuff involving Charlotte's history and back story. The bit with her Daughter towards the end was oddly... touching. Why they didn't explore aspects like this a bit more, we can't say. A bit more character depth, and this could have been a far better movie.

What starts off very promising ends up being a sappy little romance in the end. As we said above, the strongest points of this movie -that kicked it off to a pretty strong start- ended up by the wayside after the halfway point, where it all becomes a tale of forbidden and impossible love. Some pretty heavy jealousy drama too. Lesbian and straight, mind you. We don't hate love, but it does kinda suck when it kills a good story.

Now why didn't they explore this love story?!?
Neck breaking, gun violence, blood drinking, hot chicks burning alive and a pipe in the gut... a decent amount of gore is on display here.

Nothing naked here save for some bare backs. There is some lesbian kissing, but the sexiness never seems to go too far.

"Guten abend."
Undead German chicks like to party. Also, love tends to screw everything up.

As Vampire movies go, this one was decent enough. Had they explored the back story's of the characters a bit more, it could have been something special, but as it is, it's just decent. It's definitely a case of style over substance here, with the sexiness and bloodletting being the backbone of the movie. Vampire enthusiasts may like it because they tend to love all things Vampy, but it really doesn't bring anything new to the sub-genre

C

We want to turn this Frau (Jennifer Ulrich) upside down.

 
 

August 23, 2011

Review: Grave Encounters (2011)

"If you like your scary movies light on the scary, this is the movie you've been waiting for!"

*In Limited Release now, various cities.

Grave Encounters starts off promising enough; with its Horror reality show angle, and its creepy location and premise, but as it wore on, the creepiness diminished more and more until it was gone altogether, and we were left just wanting it to end.

Lance Preston and the crew of "Grave Encounters", a ghost-hunting reality television show, are shooting an episode inside the abandoned Collingwood Psychiatric Hospital, where unexplained phenomena has been reported for years. All in the name of good television, they voluntarily lock themselves inside the building for the night and begin a paranormal investigation, capturing everything on camera. They quickly realize that the building is more than just haunted - it is alive - and it has no intention of ever letting them leave. They find themselves lost in a labyrinth maze of endless hallways and corridors, terrorized by the ghosts of the former patients. They soon begin to question their own sanity, slipping deeper and deeper into the depths of madness, ultimately discovering the truth behind the hospital's dark past...and taping what turns out to be their final episode.

 It seems to us that Grave Encounters is loosely based on The Travel Channel's show, Ghost Adventures, which features an annoying muscle bound ghost hunter locking he and his crew inside of creepy old buildings at night, and walking around taunting the ghosts with verbal gems like "Dude!" and "Come at me, Ghost Bro!" and "Dude, come at me ghost Bro, Dude!"

Seriously, he walks around trying to karate fight ghosts.

To be fair, aside from lame theatrics like that, the show can be creepy at times, and I dare say creepier than the uber-popular Ghost Hunters on Syfy.

The only real difference is the Smurf.
Like I was saying, Grave Encounters feels a lot like that show, from the host to the way they "X-mark" certain spots and set up their cameras, to the way that they ask the questions of the ghosts... The problem is that the movie gets mired down in the style it's trying to exude and forgets to be creepy. There's just not enough subtlety. The scares come eventually, but instead of adding to the ambiance, they pretty much instantly kill the mood and atmosphere, and never allowed us to get back into things again.

Once that's gone, the acting and script tend to grate on you, as does the whole "shaky cam" aspect of things, which is never fun even during the best of the movies. I'd say by the time we got to the part of the movie that involved mean ghosts altering time and doing construction on the building, we were done.

We've said it before and this movie upholds our claim; movies made by guys that have nicknames are usually atrocious;The Viscous Brothers join the ranks of The Brothers Strauss, The Butcher Brothers, McG, Diablo Cody and others, in showing that they're more concerned with an edgy name than they are with doing something worthy of having an edgy name. The younger crowd and those easily scared may feel the effects of this one, but for most Horror fans, it's going to fall flat.

D

We have no idea where this "Ashleigh Gryzko" came from, but we admire her sexy talents. Also, we're pretty sure she's a smurf. A pale one.

August 17, 2011

Atrocious (2011)

"The events in this movie really happened. It says so right in the movie."

*In Limited Release now, via AMC Theaters.

With any Found Footage movie, you need to be able to buy into the concept and the set-up for it to be effective. If you can't accept what you're seeing on the screen as real -as in "it truly happened"- then all is lost.

Atrocious does a pretty good job at keeping things real for the most part, though it does get a bit mired down in the trappings of its own sub-genre. Much of the movie is spent with characters walking and filming, running and filming, and doing everyday life things which adds to the realism of it all, but does wear thin after a while.

Atrocious is the story of the Quintanilla family, who was found murdered in their creepy old vacation house in Stiges, Spain. The family's two oldest kids, Christian and July, just had to poke their nose into the old legend of the Girl in the Garraf Woods; both of them running around through a massive and creepy forest maze looking for proof of her existence.

It's not long before strange and eerie things begin to happen to them, both in the woods and out. They find strange altars, a foreboding pavilion, and even an old "you know you're screwed now" wishing/drinking well, all of which screams "you're about to die painfully!" to me. Add to that odd noises and goings-on around the house at night, and by the time the dog disappears, you just know they're all screwed.

Aww, un perro! (He dead)
The problem here is that everything seems all too familiar, which doesn't have to be a bad thing, but seeing as there are so many Hand Held/Found Footage flicks out there now, they need to start standing out a bit more.

Think about it like this; after the original Halloween and Friday the 13th, Slasher flicks started popping up right and left in the early 80's. Some were good, some were alight, but looking back with an honest eye, a lot of them sucked. They retreaded the same territory over and over again until they became almost a parody of themselves. People eventually grew tired of it all, which is why by the end of the 80's, the Horror genre was pretty much DOA, and didn't get much life back until Scream came along in 1996.

Atrocious is kinda like those mediocre slashers of old; it delivers what it's supposed to, but we've seen it before and done better, so in the end it all feels kinda blah. That's not to say that there aren't some great moments in the movie, because there are. Some of it is genuinely creepy and even unsettling, but like most Found Footage flicks, most of its running time is spent on set up to give us that "It's soooo real" feeling.

There's some blood in this.
The twist at the end was interesting enough, though it changed the movie for us in retrospect, and gave it a different feel. For us, Found Footage movies work when they show us glimpses of the unknown, highlighting supernatural and unknown horrors that lurk about out there somewhere, whether in a forest or an old home. They're a warning.

Here, when we actually get an explanation as to what's going on, it somehow becomes a bit less creepy. 

 
Good enough for what it is, Atrocious is middle-of-the-road entertainment for the most part. It gets some things right, really right, but overall it's bringing nothing new to the Found Footage genre. If you haven't seen many movies like this, or just can't get enough of this sub-genre's offerings, you will most likely have a good time with Atrocious.

For those of us who have seen too much of this kind of thing, and are a tad jaded about our movies, it will only inspire strong feelings of "meh."

C

So Yellowbrickroad sucked, Rammbock was good, and Atrocious was alright... Cold Fish had better be good, or Bloody Disgusting and whatever the hell "The Collective" is, have pretty much dropped the ball with their "select" partnership with AMC Theaters.

The overall results so far have not been much better than the average AD Horrorfest year, or even the Fangoria's Frightfest.