January 29, 2010

Review: Paintball (2010)

This movie is such a mess, I don't even know where to start. 

The constant shaky cam might be a good place. The horribly-written and acted characters might be another. Better yet, the shoddy story that felt like it had been written by a couple of Middle School Kids with ADD might be it too. Take your pick, it's all equally worthy of our collective venom. 

The story borrows heavily from films like Martyrs and Hostel, with touches of Gamer and let's say every Backwoods Horror movie you've ever seen thrown in for good measure, and then shits on it all. 

A lot of it didn't make much sense, but it's basically about a group of tools on a paintball trip who realize far too late that the game is real, and its stakes are -dun,dun,dun- their lives! Interesting enough premise, but too bad the execution was so horrible. 

Maybe if they had kept their masks on the entire time and not talked...
Do these people know how to play paintball? They stand out n the open, talk loud, and even scream. When people start dying, they still scream. Loudly and often. Once the first person was killed, wouldn't you think that shutting up and keeping out of plain sight might be for the best? So many of the characters actions were nonsensical or cheesy, that about 15 minutes in, I didn't care anymore. I really hate when characters are nothing more that plot devices, without a trace of depth or worth other than to be there, act stupid, and die. 

Just notches in the deathpost.
I also hate when filmmakers treat me like I'm a moron. You see, if the camera is looking one way and we the audience can't see something, then neither can the characters, right? Even if it's something in plain view of all of them, like a body stretched out in the open right in front of most of them. IN PLAIN SIGHT. But the camera swings and... the characters react! Too much of the film made no logical sense, and again, within 15 minutes I was well past the point of wanting to watch any more.

And what's with the shaky-cam thing? The entire time, the camera jiggles and shakes as if we're watching things from an unseen killers point of view, but we're not. The killer's POV was all shown through thermal imaging goggles, and the death scenes were mostly shown through them too, basically editing out any gore we may have seen. I don't get what the filmmakers were going for with most of it, but it grated on the nerves. And the ending... what the hell even happened? Screw it. It just doesn't matter.

Just die already.
That's right, the master was not pleased at all with this one. Bad writing, bad acting, bad camera work, bad directing... I could go on and on about the bad points of this movie, but it would be a fruitless exercise. It's been a long time since a movie left me truly pissed off, and this is coming from a guy that was shaking mad after watching last year's Halloween 2. I think I'd actually watch that one again first.

Now had this girl been in the movie... no, it still would have sucked.

This movie did star some lovely ladies though. we can not deny that.

Review: Whiteout (2009)

When I saw the trailer for this movie, I was excited. I love movies set in isolated, snowy wilderness locales; I love me some Kate Beckinsale; I usually love Tom Skerritt, and above all I really love Horror Thrillers.

Serial Killer flicks just do it for me for some reason, especially when they're basically "Adult Slashers" like this one is. I guess I should have known that it would suck after going through so many rewrites, re-shoots, acting and directing changes, and then sitting on the shelf for the better part of two years. Those are huge red flags for most movies, and it usually means that they are trainwrecks that are beyond repair.
Investigating. You're doing it wrong.
Why does it suck? Mainly because it should have been so much better. A great setting, a great premise, a great cast... but the storyline, script and pacing were so predictable and weak, that everything else ceased to matter one bit. I guessed the "twist" near the beginning (and I'm not bragging, it was just that obvious), and it was lame. Worse still was the dialogue, which was so bad in places that it made the pacing seem even more tired and slow than it was on its own. Kate Beckinsale is hot, and a decent actress to boot, and I felt bad for her having to plod through this shoddy script. She's much better than the shite that she has to work with here, as is Tom Skerritt for that matter, and they both seemed to be trapped not by an impending Antarctic whiteout, but by the trappings of a shoddy movie.

Stopping looking for the script Kate. There's nothing around you but snow.
Do yourself a favor at stare at it for 90 minutes, and don't waste your time on this blizzard of crap. Watch the Fritt Vilt movies instead, if you want to see a good snowbound slasher.

I will say that the movie's poster is truly awesome, though. That's something.

 At least Kate Beckinsale is always pleasant to look at. At least there's that.

January 28, 2010

Review: Blood Creek (2010)

"Who doesn't love a good story about a Nazi necromancer and a herd of zombie horses?"

Cast Members of Note- Dominic Purcell, Henry Cavill, Michael Fassbender, and Emma Booth.
*Directed by Joel Schumacher.

During WWII, a German family living in America is bribed by the Third Reich to let a Nazi scholar come and live with them on their quaint little Town Creek farm. It turns out that the scholar is in search of a rune stone that is buried on their property, and wants to use it to turn himself into a Super Nazi bad-ass. Subsequently, the family is trapped on their farm (which is frozen in time) and put through hell for the next several decades.

"Ich liebe untoten Pferde!"
Fast forward about 70 years, and we meet Evan; an EMT with a heart of gold (?), who lives near Town Creek. He's been a mess ever since his brother Victor disappeared while they were camping together 2 years earlier... my question is, how do you stay lost in the woods for 2 years? That shit is beyond me, but when Victor suddenly shows up in the middle of the night looking like Dan Haggerty on crack, the two of them head back to Town Creek to get revenge on "Those Kraut Bastards" who have been keeping him a prisoner all along.

For the love of God I hope he's planning to shoot Channing Tatum.
The problem is, "Those Kraut Bastards" have a Super Nazi bad-ass Necromancer with a thirst for warm blood locked in their cellar, and when he gets out, they're all pretty much destined to die painfully. Can the brothers defeat the evil Nazi Sorcerer? Will Zombie Horses nip a guy in the shoulder and pull him through a window? Do the words "bone armor" make anyone else laugh as much as they do me? Maybe, yes, and they just have to.

Bone armor... lol.
I am absolutely astounded at how good this movie was. First and foremost, I loved the premise; the Nazi's sent "Scholars" to America to find ancient rune stones, hoping to harness their Occult powers to win WWII, and thus rule the world. If that isn't creepy, I don't know what is, especially since the Nazi's actually were into the Occult.

The Occult aspect of this movie is its strong point. Magic rune stones, reanimated dead people (and animals), blood rituals, wards painted on the house to keep the evil at bay, people frozen in time, the Lovecraftian "third eye," and those creepy Necromantic spells that the Nazi whispers... It was just all really, really cool.

I actually felt tense during much of this film, and especially once the Super Nazi shows up and starts kicking all sorts of ass. The guy can reanimate anything dead to do his bidding, which makes things all the more interesting. Zombie Horses, y'all. Yep. Bad ass.

It's nice to see Joel Schumacher making a strong return to the Horror genre; after all he is the guy that gave us The Lost Boys and Flatliners. And two horrible Batman sequels... anyway, welcome back, Joel.

*Addendum- This movie features a pre-Superman Henry Cavill and pre-Magneto Michael Fassbender, which is kinda cool.

Yeah, this actually happened.
Zombie Horses. Not only are they huge, mean, and very creepy to look at, but they are near impossible to kill. If they don't die after 10 shotgun blasts, I'd quit shooting and run. Or, I'd turn the gun on myself.

Zombified and under the control of an evil Nazi Necromancer, Butternut tried to rape everyone in the cabin, earning him a hide full of buckshot and a heart full of shame.
After a few title changes and basically no promotion whatsoever, Lionsgate dumped this movie into a handful of Dollar Theaters and then banished it to Straight-to-DVD hell. Why? Did anyone see The Stepfather, Whiteout, or Sorority Row? They all got Theatrical Runs, decent promotion, and they all sucked. Badly. Blood Creek is a great little movie, and I refuse to believe it couldn't have made enough $ at the B.O. to justify even a Limited Release... and no, Dollar Theaters do not count. I just don't get it.

Then again, it's not like this movie is Superman or something...
This one is a Gorefest; blood-drinking, bloodletting, torture, bone-knives through chins, all sorts of shotgun violence, Zombie Horse violence overkill, dog stabbings, zombie violence... there's all sorts of messy goodness to be found here.


Was it rape?
"That's mine" or "No. You're going to feed me."

Zombie Horses are really hard to kill. Also, Evil Nazi's never die, which means that Hitler is probably a zombie somewhere in Guam or something. Great.

This movie was as enjoyable as any I've seen lately, and the best Horror flick of the year so far. Creepy, tense, interesting and bloody as all get out, Blood Creek is far better than its treatment by Lionsgate would have you believe. If you love Nazi's, zombies, or just have a love for the Dark Arts of Necromancy, then you'll love this movie. You definitely need to rent this one, if not buy it, as soon as you get the chance.


Blood Creek is available now on DVD and VOD.


Emma Booth is in this. *Apologies to Emma Booth for our originally mistaking her for Winter Ave Zoli. Hey, they do look kinda similar...

January 25, 2010

Quick Review: The Road (2009)

The Road is not a really much of a Horror film. It's certainly a Genre flick, it's full of Post-Apocalyptic ruin and chaos, and it sports some truly horrific visuals and themes, but at its heart, it's really a drama about a father and a son.

Still, I believe it to be relevant to most Horror fan's interests to share my thoughts on the film, as it should be right up most of our alleys. Ahem.

Penned by Cormac McCarthy (No Country For Old Men), The Road is a story of a father (Viggo Mortensen) and a son (some kid actor) fighting for their very survival, in a world of full of Post-Apocalyptic strife and ruin. Food is scarce, bands of armed thugs roam the roads looking to take anything from anyone they come across, and hope is all but nonexistent. Did I mention that cannibalism is pretty rampant too? No? Because it is.

"No, Son. That McDonald's is closed now... forever."
It's a sparse, bleak, and truly a depressing film in many ways, but it's also an uplifting meditation on sacrifice, and just what a father would do to see that his child is safe and cared for. I cringed a few times and the lengths that Viggo's character went to.

You do not fuck with Viggo. Period.
I hated the ending, although I get the point of it, and the whole thing just left me feeling blah. Still, it was poignant and had something to say, which made enduring its bleakness that much easier. It was a really good movie, but you may want to wait to see it until you're in a down mood to begin with. Otherwise, it might just ruin the rest of your day.



Oh Charlize...