June 26, 2012

The Digital Dread Report for June 26th


Sector 7 is probably the safest bet this week. It wasn't A-level or anything, but it entertained and looked slick. Wrath of the Titans... well, it's as hollow as most big budget summer fare tends to be, but likewise it's also pretty and full of all kinds of great, FX laden action scenes. It's going to look great on Blu-ray.

Of the ones we haven't seen, there are a few that we really want to see. Parasitic and Don't Fall Asleep both really appeal to us, but on different levels. Hiding could be a decent Teen Terror flick. Could be.

As for the rest, well, they make us a bit nervous. Amok Train? Really? We'll just take some of these as they come.

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June 25, 2012

The Road (2012)

(aka You no Drive There!)
Release Date: Available now at Amazon Instant Video.
Country: The Philippines.
Written by: Aloy Adlawan and Yam Laranas.
Directed by: Yam Laranas.
Starring: Carmina Villaroel, Rhian Ramos and TJ Trinidad.

From the first time this we saw the trailer for The Road, it definitely had our attention. It truly looked creepy and atmospheric, and we had high hopes, but it begged the question: "can a movie directed by a guy named Yam be any good?"

Sure, why not.

Broken into different sections (or stories), The Road is a movie that moves backwards to establish its plot and answer the questions that it poses. The first story, which is also basically the wrap-around for all of the others, takes place in 2008; Two young cousins sneak out of their house late one night with a boy, to go joyriding. None of them have a driver's license of course, so when they see the Cops on the road ahead of them, they decide to take a detour down a dark and lonely road (hence the title), which leads them to pretty much get jumped by a gang of ghosts. It doesn't end well for all involved.

You can't run from ghosts! LOL
The second story takes us back 10 years to 1998, and shows us two young sisters traveling down the same road (hence the title), making plans for College and being sisterly. When their car overheats,they turn to a creepy boy for help, and he lures them back to his house to get them some water... and yes, it's the same house from the first story, so you know they are not going to get their water. It doesn't end well for all involved.

"You come with me I make kidnap."
The third story takes us even further back in time to 1988, where a lonely little boy is shoved in closets and told never to go outside by his domineering, evil Mother. I don't want to give too much more away here, since there are some twists that tie everything together, but suffice it to say that this kid does not grow up well adjusted at all. They also live in a house along the road (hence the title.)

They look so happy together.
The Road was a good effort, although it did feel a bit uneven to us. It was well made, the actors all did a fantastic job, and for the most part it maintained a creepy vibe throughout. Yam Laranas' heart was definitely in the right place with this one, even if he didn't give us a perfect film. We loved how the movie's plot worked backwards; in that respect, it reminded us a bit of Christopher Nolan's Memento (though only on the surface.)

The first story was good, but it didn't really pack many scares. Sure, there were plenty of creepy-looking spirits running around, but it felt a bit... reserved, to us. Maybe we were just expecting the "ghosts" of the titular road to be a bit more vengeful and dangerous.

Run, rabbit, run.
The second story of the three was the one we liked the most, as it had everything; creepy atmosphere, disturbing visuals, tension, and even a bit of emotional pull thrown in for good measure. It felt almost Torture Porn-ish in a few places, although this movie was hardly Torture Porn at all. It was definitely the most engaging segment for us.

The third and last section of the movie, 1988, was solid enough, but by the time it rolled around it was obvious what the "twist" was and it took away a bit of the film's overall impact. If anything, the this story was a bit sad, as it made us sympathize with the killer... a bit too much for our liking.

The wrap-around story is what threw us off a bit. It wasn't "bad," but it distracted us. The mystery (or "twist" if you will) behind the whole movie became clear by the time we got to the second segment, and the "possession" bit was unclear to us at first, and the way it all wrapped up was a bit too... easy. The movie was still effective and enjoyable, but it just could have been more so had the wrap been a bit smoother and more eventful. Less subtle, even.

Shine a light on it all you want to sir, it is what it is.
As for the ending, and they way it all came together, it was effective enough, but we do have one big gripe; with a lot of Asian Horror films (and Asian films in general), they seem to head off into a philosophical or metaphorical place (which is great), but we aren't fans of catharsis at the end of our Horror flicks. I don't want to see the de-vilification of the "bad guy," because it lessens some of the nastiness that they perpetrated beforehand. I mean, someone kills a bunch of innocent kids and then finds his spiritual release? Blah.

You died for catharsis. Thank you for your sacrifice.
Aside from a bunch of grisly corpses and spirits, some gunshot violence, a few savage beatings, some smothering and a suicide, there's not a ton of bloody stuff to be found here. Sounds like we're being contradictory, I know, but it's really not that bad.

Old country roads never lead to anything besides death. Also, Filipino's are a very nice looking people.

She's very nice looking, too bad she has to die on an old country road like that.
Had the movie been a bit more clever and subtle as far as its mysteries went, it would have been far better off for it. As it stands though, The Road is a well made, mostly effective flick that is stronger in the middle than it is at either of its ends. It's a movie that for us teeters on the edge of the C+/B- dividing line. Either way, it's definitely worth a look see.


I'm pretty sure that all of the other girls in this movie were under 18, so all you get is one picture of Rhian Ramos... because she is not jail-bait. Sotty, readers from Thailand.

June 22, 2012

The Theatrical Trauma of June 22nd

It's sad that during a week in which we get a vampire movie in theaters, we'd rather go and see the new Pixar movie.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter looks goofy and we have no desire to pay $10 to go to the theater and watch it... well, one of us does, but not me, so he's overruled. The premise is goofy enough, but all of the slow motion wire-fu cheesiness in the trailers has just put us off. With all of the great horror movies out there that dare not even dream of a theatrical release, this is the crap we get in theaters? No thanks.

Brave, the new Pixar movie, may be far removed from the horror fodder we crave, but even so it's what we spend our money on this weekend. It's gonna open huge, and everything else that opens this week will be forgotten by the next.

There's also The Woman in the Fifth and Tortured which are both seeing limited release this week. The Woman in the Fifth looks like an interesting little thriller, and we saw The Tortured a few years ago, but they may be good options for horror fans if their city is lucky enough to be getting a print. We do find it odd that The Tortured has been on DVD in some countries since 2010 and is just now being released in theaters... better late than never?

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June 19, 2012

This trailer makes the Dark Knight in our pants rise...

The Avengers has ruled the summer box office so far, and rightly so; it's a great movie. Come July 20th though, Batman will arrive to finish out his trilogy and Earth's mightiest heroes will no longer rule alone.

Christopher Nolan is brilliant. Tom Hardy is brilliant and his turn as Bane looks wicked. Oldman and Bale are both brilliant (Bale's gruff and gravely Batman voice notwithstanding.) Caine and Freeman are brilliant. Anne Hathaway will make us all meow as Catwoman.

-With all of the trailers, clips and TV spots we've seen thus far, it's curiously notable that we have yet to see any sign of Talia al Ghul. Will her Daddy make an appearance in this movie too?
-Will Bane snap the Bat's back?
-Is there more to Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character than simply being a cop?

This movie is going to kill it.

The Digital Dread Report for June 19th

What we have here is another week chock full of DVD releases that we have no clue about. It's a jam-packed week, but we aren't sure what the quality level of said jam-packed movies is.

Blade and Blade: Trinity are being released on Blu-ray this week (Blade II to follow soon), and they are basically the only Must-Have's for us this week.

As for the rest of the releases pictured below, some look interesting and some look like they may hurt. If we had to roll the dice and pick a few movies to take a chance on, they would be: The Disco Exorcist, Family Demons, Headspace and Mother's Day Evil. Don't ask us why, we're shooting from the hip here.

We've seen Seeking Justice, and like most Direct-to-Video Nic Cage movies, it didn't do much for us.

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