January 31, 2011

Review: I Spit on Your Grave (2011)

Cast Members of Note- Sarah Butler, Jeff Branson, Andrew Howard, Daniel Franzese and Chad Lindberg.

Jennifer is a sexy little writer who decides to rent a cabin in the woods to work on her newest book... right there you know she's destined to get raped, killed and/or terrorized in some way, right? It's so obvious. Hot chicks can not go into any backwoods locale alone, and hope to find any sort of comfort or solace. I think that's a law in most states. Especially in the South.

Yes, you should have known better. Now stop pouting.
Anywho, after spilling water on the rube at the gas n' go, and making out with the town retard, Jennifer decides to drink a few bottles of wine, smoke some marijuana cigarettes, and walk around her cabin half naked. With all of those elements aligned, it takes about 4 seconds for Jethro and his dim-witted crew of yokels to show up, and put a good rapin' on the city whore's ass.

"I should go look in there..."
Left for dead, Jennifer gets herself cleaned up, builds some crazy traps, and sets off on a mission to make the rape gang from Petticoat Junction wish they 'taint never done seen her pretty city titties... It really is your standard rape/revenge story, but I feel it appropriate to say that Jennifer doesn't play around, and she gets quite nasty in here revenge tactics. This is exactly why I don't rape people. Well, that and I'm not anywhere near that level of creepy.

I think at this point, I'd stop calling her a whore if I were you...
Well made and superbly acted by everyone involved, ISOYG 2010 is a nasty, unflinching little remake that should please even the most jaded of Horror fans. If you've seen the original, then not much here will come as a surprise to you other than the fact that the remake is a far better film than its 1978 namesake.

Rape/revenge movies are an acquired taste. They're usually stark and brutal, and on most levels, they're profoundly disturbing. Sure, the revenge aspect of things seem to make it all right in the end, but the slow and brutal build up that comes before that vindication is a tough thing to sit through for most folk. There's a reason that these movies were big in the 70's for a while and then disappeared for the most part... there's not a lot of fun involved for the audience.

That being said, these types of movies do have a strong and necessary message in them that begs to be heard, and it's basically "do unto others..." Sadly, in real life, these types of crimes go mostly unpunished for the most part, if they're even reported in the first place, and therein lies the beauty of a movie like this; the sick fucks of the world whom prey upon the innocent and chaste get what they deserve and more, even if it's only on film. It's almost like our own personal revenge, and damn if it doesn't feel good to see, even if it's incredibly tough to watch.

Sarah Butler will make you like her, feel for her, feel her pain, and cheer her on through all of the unspeakable acts that she partakes in, because she deserves her revenge. She's also a cutie, which never hurts things. Conversely, the villains of the film will make you seethe with anger, especially Johnny and the Sheriff; they're played to evil perfection by Jeff Branson and Andrew Howard. You will hate them, and I'm talking an extra special kind of hate here. The bottom line is that the cast did their jobs admirably, and pulled exactly what they were supposed to out of us, emotionally.

He got punched so hard his eyes are red!
The one criticism I have is this: how does a sweet, innocent type like Jennifer turn into a vicious, death-dealing angel of no mercy so quickly? I get it, but I mean she concocts some pretty elaborate "traps" if you will, and dishes out some really rough, slow torture to her victims. It felt a tiny bit odd to me. It really is a small issue, as the movie worked well overall, but I felt it worth a mention.

That smile is a trap!
When are city folk going to learn that you do not head off for an idyllic weekend in the country, unless you're armed for bear and willing to kill? You're just asking for trouble if you don't.

The worst kind of trouble.
Rape, torture, rape, anal shotgun violence, rape, eye torture, rape, hedge clipper to the groin, rape, face melting and rape. There's so much rape in this movie, that even one of the bad guys get raped... albeit by a shotgun, but it still counts. This is a tough one to sit through, and will most likely make you flinch and squirm throughout.

Personally, I'd take the fishhooks in the eyes, if I got a choice.
We do get to see the nice little body of Sarah Butler in various stages of undress, but considering the subject matter, it's not very enjoyable. She's very nice too look at before the nastiness starts though.

If you're going to rape someone, you should really be prepared to have your dick cut off. I mean, you pretty much have it coming, so, just prepare for that.

She is vengeance.
As remakes go, this one managed to improve on the original in most ways, and add enough flair of its own to make it more than just a simple retelling. You have to like the whole rape/revenge, female empowerment sub-genre to truly appreciate this one, because its a tough watch, but don't discount it as mere Torture Porn or blatant exploitation. It's more than that.

Bottom line is, this flick delivers the uncomfortable, messy goods.



Sarah Butler is destined to be a genre great, if she's so inclined. First though, she's intent on finishing this puzzle...

I know where one piece will fit...

January in Review

So what exactly did the first month of the new year give to we, the horror faithful? Well, Theatrically we got a Nicholas Cage clunker about some knights and a witch, with Season of the Witch. Not a great way to start the year off. We also got a pretty good possession flick in The Rite, though it had some issues and could have been perfect had they gone a different way with it. The annual After Dark Horror Festival only went theatrical in 10 theaters this year, so it looks like most will have to wait for DVD if they want to catch them. That's probably not the worst decision that After Dark has ever made... On the DVD front, we got a mixed bag... We got some good ones- The Last Exorcism *, Machete *, Pirhanha 3-D *, Buried * Some average ones-Bitter Feast, Case 39 *, Dark Skies: The Complete Series, Death Race 2, The Traveler * And some just plain bad ones- Saw 3D: The Final Chapter **, Let Me Die Quietly, The Shadows, Wolvesbayne, Halloween Night, Psychosis. So overall, it looks like a slow, uneventful month for the most part. February already looks more promising, so let's keep our fingers crossed, shall we? January was a C, at best.

January 28, 2011

Quick review: Vanishing on 7th Street (2011)

Here's what amazes me: some of the "big" Horror Sites, which considered 2010's A Nightmare on Elm Street an abomination of epic proportions beyond any and all comprehension, oddly found some way to gush over this movie, which was honestly a mess from the get go. Why is that? This movie was every bit the mess that ANOES 2010 was, and in our opinion, even more so.

I'm not looking to start a debate here, but it just makes me wonder about a lot of things that some sites print.

Let me back up for a second here.

I'm a Metro Detroiter. Go ahead and make your Detroit jokes, I get it. I can't argue with most of them. The city itself, is pretty much a joke. Still, being born there, and living in its suburbs, I have a sense of pride about the place, kinda, and it tickles me to no end to see how many movies are being made here in the area of late.  

SE Lower Michigan has some great locales, great culture, and a ton of untapped potential. Plus I'm here, so it's obviously an awesome place.

Rush hour in Detroit.
Add to that the fact that I love Brad Anderson's work -from The Machinist and Session 9, to most of his great TV series work- and this movie had me all sorts of giddy from the get go. Brad Anderson is shooting a Horror flick in my own backyard.. hells yes! No, make that fucks yes! Awesome stuff, right? Well, after seeing the movie, I have to say not so awesome.

While not an abomination, this movie certainly makes its fair share of missteps, and feels haphazard. Lazy even.

Are those Christmas lights?
Basically, the story starts with Hayden Christensen waking up to find that pretty much everyone in the city (Detroit) has vanished, leaving piles of clothing behind as the only sign that they had been there at all. He comes to discover that he's safe when it's light out, but once it gets dark and the light fades, shadow people pop up out of nowhere and turn you into another pile of clothes. Fine. Interesting enough premise.

John Leguizamo, Thandie Newton, and some cute little black kid pretty much round out the cast as the other survivors. They all meet up, freak out together, and fight like hell to keep a light on while they figure out what's happening. Still interesting, still a ton of possibility...

But then...
We get some flashbacks of the characters before everything "went dark." We get plenty of moments showing the light juuuust about to wink out with the shadow people closing in to make the kill, only to be foiled by a last minute light display of some sort. We get some cheesy, cliche' moments involving both dialogue, and poor decisions that seem to be there only to give the movie another chance to scare us. And we for sure get a shitty ending that resolves nothing save for the fact that we should have seen another movie.

What we don't get is any sort of resolution, any strong hints towards whats going on, what caused it, what the shadow people are, why our main characters didn't die immediately like everyone else seemed to... Croatoan you say? I guess so, though it still explains nothing. And no, I don't need to be spoon fed, and actually prefer ambiguity in movies like these, but there's so little here to chew on and digest, that drawing my own conclusions just seemed pointless.

It had its moments, don't get me wrong, but there were just not enough of them. Also, there's no 7th Street in Detroit. That's downriver a bit in Ecorse. I'm just sayin'. Night of the Comet meets Pulse, but far less satisfying. that's pretty much the story here.

No, Hayden. Just stop.
Not the Brad Anderson movie I'd have someone unfamiliar with the man's work start with, Vanishing on 7th Street needed to be tighter and a little bit more substantial. I'm not saying don't watch it, I'm just saying don't expect anything remotely close to the quality of Session 9 if you do.

Oh, and back to the point I opened with... politics. I blame politics.



I ain't even mad at Thandie Newton. Or that other chick.

January 24, 2011

Review: Season of the Witch (2011)

"This movie is a perfect example of why studios dump certain movies in the theatrical wasteland that is the month of January..."

Cast Members of Note- Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman, Stephen Graham, Claire Foy and Christopher Lee!

*Warning: Religious jokes ahead (because Religion is usually pretty funny)* Behmen and Felsen are fierce warriors of The Crusades, carving their way through the innocent and guilty alike in the name of Jebus. When they decide that killing women and kids is just too much, they renounce their quest for Jebus, and run away. I think it's all a cop-out, because if you can't slaughter innocents and non-believers (or touch young boys in the pants) in the name of God, who can you slaughter? Or touch. The Catholics have been doing it forever, and they grew into pretty much the biggest company of all time.

Praise him indeed, Homer. Praise him indeed.
After a lame sword fight that really doesn't prove them to be fierce warriors at all, Behmen and Felsen are captured and forced to tend the weeping wounds of a plague-stricken king. The two are then forced to choose between escorting an imprisoned Witch to her "fair trial" or say 42,000 Hail Marys as penance for their cowardly desertion. Behmen then lets it be known, about 52 times, that he will do it, only so that the Witch girl can receive a "fair trial." He is so pious.

In search of the ever-elusive "fair trial."
So Behmen, Al Capone and a priest named Ballsack ride around in the forest, cross a bridge, talk, fight some wolves, ride around in the forest, fight amongst each other, talk, build a leaf fort, brood, snap off some witty one liners, play tag/hide and seek with the Witch, and ride around in the forest. It's all very compelling stuff. There's also something about a book, and then everything turns into The Exorcist. Kinda.

"Are you familiar with the book of Enoch?"
Will Behmen and Ballsack ever figure out the mystery of the Witch? Will she receive the "fair trial" that she's been promised over, and over, and over, and over again? Will January ever be a month in which we can expect decent, let alone good movies, to be released in Theaters? Yes, no and probably not. There's always February though...

She's even cute when she's all dirty and creepy.
If this movie were an episode of some syndicated fantasy show on the CW or Spike TV, it wouldn't have been so bad. It didn't make for a strong movie, but it works perfectly well for the Zena or Legend of the Seeker fans of the world, I'm sure. I don't like those types of shows, but hey, they serve a purpose, and obviously plenty of folks love them.

Had they stuck by the original premise of the movie, you know, which involves an evil Witch, this could have been fun. But once the dreaded and obligatory "Twist" arrives, there's no more fun to be found in this movie. It had it's fun moments, but those were interspersed with slow, non-exciting moments that either induced laughter or a roll of the eyes. Or a quick nap. It just gets so lost in direction, and becomes so dull and pointless, that there's nothing to really care about. I'd like to know how this movie ended up such a mess since they re-shot and re-tooled it, and worked on it for so long...  

Ron Perlman, who is pretty much the B-movie version of Michael Caine, is always fun to watch, even when the material he has to work with is sub-par. Same goes for Nicolas Cage; he's in his share of shitty movies, but they guy has a likable quality that usually sucks us in, level of shit be damned. They both deserve better material to work with that they had here though. We hope to hear more from Claire Foy as well, as she's a cutie who pulled her weight in this one, though the weight they gave her wasn't much to write home about. And it's always great to see Christopher Lee still going at age 89. That makes us truly happy.

I'd trust her.
The CGI was pretty shabby in this one. The green screen battle scenes were bad enough, but the way they went with the Demon... that just ruined it all for me. It's bad enough that the story became about a Demon to begin with, but to have it look and act so cheesy just felt wrong. If you're expecting something akin to the look and feel of lets say an Army of Darkness (sans humor, of course), you're not going to get that here. Not even close.

So deep.
What kind of movie was this supposed to be? For a minute, it was a Medieval battle movie (though a poorly-rendered one at that), then it became a movie about the evils of the Church and Religion. It was a movie about a battle-hardened warrior who finally decides he has morals and refuses to kill unjustly, and then it became a movie about "let's kill that bitch!" It jumped around so much and left so little impression on any of the themes it was trying to maintain, that in the end it really felt like it was about time to leave the Theater. See what I did there? I'm clever.

"Just keep staring at the screen and pretend you're not on a sound stage... Aaaaaand action!"
There's violence to be had here, but nothing all that good or graphic.


January is Hollywood's dumping ground/graveyard for mediocre, embarrassing films that they have absolutely no faith in. In most cases, they're right to think that way. Also, if you aren't familiar with The Book of Enoch, then you need to check out Fulci's The Gates of Hell. It's good stuff.

Also, Nic Cage is a mystery. 
It's not hard to see why this movie was pushed back from a summer 2010 release date, all the way to January: it's a shoddy little mess of a flick that doesn't look or feel truly complete or coherent. We didn't hate it, though it feels like we should, but it certainly isn't a very good start to a new Horror year. We love Nic Cage, love Ron Perlman, and we love good stories about Witches, but this movie is really, really hard to love. Or even like. See it at your own risk if you like it cheesy and aren't much on quality.


Aw, she's a sexy bitch Witch.