A horror movie sans horror.
While I am an aficionado of all things zombie and sci fi, horror is not a category I can comfortably call myself an expert in (I see zombie movies and horror movies as entirely different categories BTW. I’d be happy to discuss the difference with anyone who actually cares). Friday the 13 and Halloween never actually did much for me. I like stories where the protagonists have a chance to fight back, not be hung on a meat hook by an immortal force of nature. (Halloween image courtesy of the Horror Movie T shirt category)
(Incidentally, meat hooks and things hanging from them is something I am way too familiar with. My father was a meat cutter and I spent an unhealthy chunk of my childhood surrounded by dead animals and insanely sharp knives. Good thing I’m so well adjusted today. You know, quiet fellow. Keep to myself for the most part).
That being said I am not illiterate in this area. I have seen most of the classic horror films and understand what works or doesn’t work for them. More importantly I understand what works and doesn’t work for film in general, and unfortunately there is less that works than doesn’t work here.
I’m not happy to say that as I am a fan of Hammer films. They made a name for themselves in the B movie horror film arena with such classics as the Vampire Lovers, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell, The Devil Rides Out, The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, The Plague of Zombies, Vampire Circus, Hands of the Ripper, and the Camp on Blood Island. Most of these are weirdly amazing and super fun to watch with some friends and some beers on a Saturday afternoon. More recently they have tried to break into bigger budget, bigger name films with the Woman in Black and Let Me In with mixed results.
I won’t say this film was bad. Just that there was an absence of good. The film focused on building suspense to a denouement that really wasn’t a whole lot more exciting than the rest of the film. The “horror” was mainly derived from found footage style surprises, like “wouldn’t it be surprising if we were watching a possessed woman on 8mm film and all of a sudden the nearby radiator blew up with a loud bang?”. Off camera bumps, knocks, and things happening out of the shot or suddenly flying across the screen in a blur that ends up showing you nothing is not the zenith of horror making in my opinion. The net result of this constant build up to next to nothing was 98 minutes that dragged for 92 of them, with lots of time spent watching the creepy professor smoke and bitch his students out.
I also have an issue with the whole “found footage” aspect of this film in that if you are going to commit commit. You can’t go parachuting and hang from the planes landing gear for an hour and a half. The camera shifted back and forth from what was being “shot” by Brian, the camera guy, and a regular film camera. Very little attempt was made to make the shot footage look like it was one on a single camera in 1974 so the shift back and forth really did nothing for the film. They should have either gone all found footage or just blown the whole thing off. Also the sound was flawless in spite of the fact that there was no sound guy. SPOILER ALERT Given that all the found footage was reportedly destroyed by the end of the film it made this aspect even more annoying.
A lot has been said about this film being taken from a true story but if so perhaps there is a reason most movies are written from fiction. The scientist was kind of either comically evil or laughable stupid. The rest of the cast was Shaggy and a slutty Wilma from Scooby Doo, a straight man, and the possessed girl herself. As a whole they seemed like complete idiots in that they didn’t all bug out the first time random evil crap started happening around them. No real reason was given for anyone other than the professor and the possessed girl to hang around, and characters with no sense of self preservation make for incredibly lame protagonists.
Of course regular readers should remember that I hate the ’70s with a burning passion so that definitely colored some of my perception. I think I was fair in my assessment of the film regardless of that. For the record given a choice between traveling back on time to the 70’s or the Great Plague I would have to give serious consideration to London in 1665. At least they didn’t wear bellbottom pants suits.
The story. It starts off with Professor Joseph Coupland of Oxford (Jared Harris-Natural Born Killers, Lincoln, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. By the way, the “real” story they took this from happened in Toronto. I guess the film need the most prestigious university ever to make it work. It makes more sense to me that weirdness like this would come from the Great White North. Hail to our Canadian nerd brethren! You guys rock!) hiring a camera guy named Brian (Sam Claflin-Snow White and the Huntsmen, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) to document a study of a girl he believes to be manifesting ghosts and apparitions with her mind using “dark energy” (? Oil? The theoretical glue of the universe? A generator powered by burning babies? What is dark energy?). His is assisted by tech geek Harry (Rory Fleck-Byrne-Vampire Academy, Stealaway) and super blond and slutty ill defined scientist of some kind Krissi (Erin Richards-Open Grave, Breaking In, Being Human).
He introduces him to the subject Jane (Olivia Cooke-Bates Motel, the Signal, Ouija), who looks exactly like she is possessed by an evil spirit that seriously wants to kill everyone. They are recording her with some kind of electronic devices while forcing her to stay awake with the help of Cum on Feel the Noize by Slade. She is sort of a prisoner with no privacy and sort of a volunteer. Joseph’s plan is to force her evil, dark energy filled side out and some how remove it (he is truly short on explanations on how he intends to do anything other than torture the girl and get his grad students killed. At one point he seriously said something about harnessing the dark energy and I swear I thought he was going to add a maniacal laugh and the words “then take over the world!” but that might have made the film interesting). He also thinks that if he can cure Jane he can cure everyone in the world with mental problems (what, and put my poor therapist out of work?).
They lose their funding from Oxford and have to move out to some super creepy house to avoid all the noise complaints. At that point the film turns into about 75 minutes of bad X-Files episodes. You know, the ones where every few minutes you think you are about to see something super cool and interesting but it turns out to be a damned cat? Interesting stuff almost happens a lot, and on the rare occasion something happens it is always off screen. There are some dopey twists and betrayals. I won’t spoil the ending but I was more glad the film was over than anything else.
I don’t know. Both of the girls were super hot, and you almost see them naked in a very PG-13 way. One star. I will give credit for an original setting. You don’t see a lot of horror movies set in England. Usually they are outside of some bumbling Bible belt cow town. One star. I do appreciate stories derived from reality. One star. Given an original idea and their obvious attempt to move from the straight-to-DvD world I will award Hammer Films one more star as an A for effort. One star. Total: four stars.
The black holes:
Nothing in this film is remotely new or interesting. Recycled from a ton of other films. One black hole. Pacing sluggish as hell. I’ve seen raw security camera footage of nothing happening that seemed better paced. 98 minutes that felt like 198. One black hole. The whole “found footage, not found footage” thing was annoying. Make up your mind. One black hole. Everything that might have been interesting happened off camera. Honestly I think they did it to keep their PG-13 rating. One black hole. A distinct lack of motivation, as in why the hell didn’t any of these people decide being far away from this weird ass girl was more in line with their interest in breathing? I’ll buy people sticking around a dangerous situation as long as you give me some form of excuse as to why. One black hole. At the end of the film I really didn’t know what point was being made. Was she possessed or not? Did she manifest everything with her mind? Was the professor right? One black hole. Total: five black holes.
So a total of one black hole. For me that’s at the low end of mediocre. The film is not irredeemable. Had they tightened up the pacing and given us some actual events prior to the last 10 minutes I might have been much more engaged. However, if you have seen any 10 horror films and the Blair Witch Project you have seen this film. I’d say see it when you are bored at home with nothing else to do. Date movie? Not really. Bathroom break? There’s a scene towards the end when Brian goes back to Oxford for more film or something but really spends a ton of time doing research at the library. Nothing he is doing is explained while he does it and he later reveals everything anyway.
Thanks for reading. Hitting a dearth of film lately. I saw a couple recently and never got around to writing them up so maybe I will do one of those tomorrow. Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu. Email me any off topic questions or suggestions and if you have a comment on this film or my review feel free to leave it here. Talk to you soon.
“the Infamous” Dave Inman
Enough with the ******* vampires!
I now look upon Hollywood’s desperation to launch anther teen franchise with the same contempt I reserve for losers who spend all their money on Lottery tickets. Sure, they have all failed miserably to produce results but THIS time it’s going to be a winner. Face it guys. Twilight and Harry Potter won the lottery. It’s a miracle lightning struck twice. You literally have a higher chance of being hit by a meteor, and a massively higher chance of sending all your money into a black hole never to see it again. The studios would be better served spending all their money on King Cobra and cigarillos.
(That reminds me. What is the Mega Jackpot up to? I better grab my tickets.)
That being said I think I can say the Vampire Academy is the best of the worst. Oh, it’s horrible in every way that you can imagine mixing the lamest elements of Twilight, Mean Girls, Buffy, and Bloodsport can be. The vampires still suck (haw!), the script should have spontaneously combusted out of shame (and possibly did), the “male” actors are mostly sizzle chested man/boys, and the girls all manage to make you hate them with the burning passion of 10,000 suns in spite of the fact that they are all drop dead gorgeous. You know, a typical Twilight movie or Tuesday at any white suburban high school (that’s sort of FTW in a weird way). However in the Valley of the Blind the slightly less migraine inducing teeny bopper launch movie is king. I’m saying in looking back at all the other “This film is the new Twilight ” movies that have come out in the last few years this one may just be the best. I resent the time and money spent watching it less than I did the Host, Mortal Instruments, Percy Jackson, I am Number Four, and Green Lantern (technically Green Lantern really wasn’t an attempt at grabbing teenagers (or anyone actually living on this planet). I just really resent it) so I guess that’s sort of a recommendation? Sort of in the same way I would recommend you jump into a pit full of scorpions and used syringes if your only other choice was a pit full of acid, burning napalm, and Andy Dick.
Wow this is weird. I just looked up the director of this canker and discovered he actually did direct Mean Girls. I guess he’s not going to travel much outside of his comfort zone. I’m going to put this movie not making me want to kill anyone (more than a typical day, I mean) on the fact that it was released by the Weinstein Company. I guess I respect them on some level. They do a lot of cool, smart, smaller movies and Harvey Weinstein knows how to make a film. The writer of this did Heathers, Demolition Man, and Batman Returns (Danny Divito Batman, NOT Batnipple Batman. That’s enemy of all things cool Joel Schumacher) so I guess he’s decent?
I’d also like to comment on the acting in this film. It wasn’t great. It wasn’t even particularly good. However, it was functional and when it comes to films of this ilk that’s about as good as we can get. It’s obvious that the producers strapped Zoey Deutch into a chair with her eyeballs wired open Clockwork Orange style and forced her to watch every episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer ever (even Where the Wild Things Are). Like I have said before imitating something halfway decent can sometimes result in something tolerable. Most of the people in this movie were given a set of programming (or just arrived at the casting office with the program already running) for their characters and ran the length of the movie on it. Not awesome but not not seizure inducing.
I remember when I reviewed Mortal Instruments bitching about the fact that the film creators assumed we had all done a doctoral thesis on the rules and intricacies of demons and slayers. Without a reasonable understanding of why the characters do what they do and what the endgame for each move is it’s hard to stay in the theater. Well, looks like screenplay writer Daniel Waters is among the tens of regular readers I have as he hooked up the exposition fire hose and spent about 2/3rds of the movie shooting the audience in the face with it. By the end of the film you will understand every nuance and subtlety of being a vampire in the world created by Richelle Mead, knowledge that will be of great use when the studio opts to let this series die a meandering death and never make the sequel (opening weekend gross: $3.9 million. Give me a budget and I could get that much filming the homeless people rooting through my trashcans).
Also, if you didn’t think movies about teenage girls treating each other like something something stuck on the bottom of their shoe is a pleasurable experience prepare for a kidney stone passing experience. Take all things trite and trivial about being a high school girl and then ad some magic and modest amount of bloodsucking and you have this movie. For the record the vampires in this film are so laughable when compared to their source material you will never feel anything remotely resembling apprehension. Anyone else remember when vampires were something to be feared, not romanced and/or laughed at?
Do I really need to recap the story? Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry-no other film credits, and a slew of crappy TV ones. I don’t know if this film will be her springboard) is a good vampire (part of the orientation lectures tells you specific names for the different types of vampires and half vampires but I have already wasted enough brain cells on this film) who is good because she doesn’t kill when she feeds. Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch-Beuatiful Creatures, Ringer, Mayer Cupcake) is a half vampire or something and is Lissa’s best friend and bodyguard. Apparently if you are born half vampire you are automatically a slave or something to the full vampires and spend your life as a bodyguard for them, ready at any time to take a stake for them.
Oh, also if you kill while feeding you turn in to a bad vampire called a Strigoi (I only remember this because it is a term used in Warhammer). I found this really confusing to be honest. The drinking of blood from a person who is going to live is not inherently different from the drinking of blood from someone who is about to die. I supposed there is a morality issue that could be associated with damage to your soul but if so what happens if you are at a party (or blood orgy) and you drink from a human who, six vampires later, dies. Do all seven of you turn into Strigoi? What if you drain a human to the point of incapacitation and in his or her lightheadedness they fall off a cliff? If the death changes your soul wouldn’t that be the same as draining them dry? If a moral choice manages to make physiological changes in your body wouldn’t you turn Strigoi if you shot somebody? For that matter it is said that Strigoi are faster, stronger, and most importantly immortal while regular vamps just kind of shuffle off the mortal coil. Sure, they look ugly but why not enjoy your good looks while you are young and then once you start to get a little long in the fang (haw!) go full Strigoi and live forever? Someone look up the definition of “cursed” and email it to the author. In spite of the reams of data force fed to us I’m still confused.
Oh, yeah. Also apparently being fed upon by a good vampire has some kind of narcotic effect and they have humans volunteering all the time, spending a year in the “feeder program”. I don’t want to dump all over the author of this epic (although really, I do) but there is a reason humans can’t really donate more than about a pint of blood every two months. It seems like Lissa needs to feed every day and I’m willing to bet she takes more than a teaspoon full. Oh well. I’m sure no harm could come of giving teenagers misinformation regarding health and safety issues.
Anyway, Lissa and Rose are on the run from the Vampire Academy. Apparently (I’ve noticed the more times I feel compelled to use the word “apparently” in my story recap the weaker the script tends to be. I might be going for a record here) Lissa felt like her life was in danger from something (?) but it might have been stress from being bullied by other students. They get caught by Vampire Academy Secret Police (where the writer proves she has no idea how motorcycles work) and hauled back.
On the way home they get attacked by some Strigoi who want something (? I really don’t know. Maybe they felt a burning desire to keep this film from being godawfully boring) from them but are beaten back by Fabio looking love interest Dimitri (Danila Koszlovsky-My is budushchego, Dikhless, Garpastum (I swear I’m not making those up)), the head vampire slave. The two of them get hauled into the headmistress’s office and read the riot act. Turns out Lissa is the last survivor of the Dragonmir clan and eligible to inherit the throne or something (anyone want to take bets as to whether she get the throne or not? The good news it it looks like we won’t have to find out).
Anyway, at that point the story, which had been chugging along at a fast clip (relative to the land speed Galápagos tortoise) slows down like a car with three flat tires and a fourth tire that is actually a Hefty bag full of treakle and used chewing gum. The girls start going to classes. Lissa spend a lot of time in her magic class (cough cough Harry Potter cough cough) and Rose in her combat bodyguard class (cough cough umm…Buffy meets the 36th Chamber of Shao Lin? cough cough). Oh yeah they share some kind of mental bond where at random (very plot convenient) points Rose can see and feel everything Lissa can but not the other way around. Stuff starts to happen that may be a serious threat to Lissa’s life but may also just be crazy high school vampire hijinx. Lissa’s ex boyfriend (I couldn’t pick him out from the other man/boys if you held a gun to my head. Sorry guy) has a slutty new girlfriend who hates Lissa. Some dude who might have been somehow associated with the school (or may have been just some creepy old dude hanging out with hot high school girls) asks Rose and Lissa to hang out with his daughter Natalie (Sarah Hyland-Modern Family, As the World Turns, Geek Charming). Lissa meets some emo dude (Dominic Sherwood-Not Fade Away, the Cut, Sadie J) and sort of romances.
I don’t really want to get into this any further. Bitchy high school hijinx ensues. There may or may not have been some kind of plot going on. There is some other teacher who Rose knew who opted to go Strigoi and now wants revenge for something (?). The Queen shows up periodically to bitch out and embarrass Lissa. Lissa uses her magic to brainwash herself into popularity. Inappropriate romance blossoms between Rose and the Russian Fabio dude. A lot of film rolls by without anything really happening. The end.
I know I said this is the best of the worst, but that is not really star worthy. I’m not in the habit of rewarding relative mediocrity. You can’t just hand out trophies to every kid who plays in Little League, can you? Well, most of the girls were amazingly attractive and if seeing hot high school girls in sexy ass Catholic school girl uniforms does it for you fuhgettaboutit. Of course this film suffers under the PG-13 rating like like a fragile oceanic eco system under a crude oil spill so don’t go waiting for anything higher than mid thigh. One star. In spite of the brain aneurism inducing script the acting, editing, and pacing were adequate. This puts this movie miles above such classics as the Host.. I guess I am in the habit of rewarding relative mediocrity. One star. There were a couple of laughable moments. Few and far between but I did catch myself laughing out loud (much to my embarrassment). One star. Total: three stars.
The black holes.
Story from Hell (possibly literally. If Satan were to take up scriptwriting this just might be the story he comes up with). One black hole. The director collected all of the vampire lore this movie ripped off or made up into a 50 gallon drum and then held the audiences head under it for about 55 minutes. One black hole. Speaking of ripping off, this film managed to “borrow” heavily from every vampire, high school, and teenage romance film, book, or play ever with the grievous and ironic exception of Bram Stoker’s Dracula (image courtesy of the Horror Movie T Shirt category). One black hole. The motorcycle stunt from the beginning of the film (if you see it you will both understand and agree with me). One black hole. The big bad guy doesn’t really get introduced until the last 20 minutes. Until then it’s just HS BS. One black hole. What’s the deal with the half vamps getting shanghaied into taking a stake for the good vampires? Isn’t there one of those kids who wants to be an artist, doctor, or pot head? One black hole. Can someone please tell me where the good vampires got the idea that going Strigoi was a bad idea? If your options are to go teetering off into senility and death or killing someone and becoming a red eyed immortal monster I think after 70+ years the decision process could be pretty quick. In fact, the one thing all the exposition did was convince me that I not only don’t give a crap about these vampires and their rules but don’t have any interest in learning it ever. It’s like reading an instruction manual on how to punch yourself in the testicles. One black hole. Hollywood really needs to let go of the two ideas that they can launch another franchise based on the “Bland teenage girl with two romances from guys who’s interest in women is difficult to establish” and that vampires are even remotely cool. Face it guys. All the freaks who love vampires probably killed themselves at the end of Twilight when they realized that in four very long movies absolutely nothing happened. One black hole. PG-13 sucks. One black hole. This movie is 104 minutes you won’t be getting back. Two black holes. Total: eleven black holes.
So a total of eight black holes. Still not worse than Hercules but in the ballpark. Worth seeing? If you are a huge fan of the books maybe, but other than that the only other reason I can think of for seeing this is if you died the night before in the theater and the ushers haven’t noticed yet. However, it is certainly better than all the rest of the failed franchise launches so if you want to see it for some kind of sociological research go for it. Date movie? Well, the male characters with the exception of the Russian guy have all the machismo of the Vagina Monologs so you should be able to look kind of manly in comparison, but odds are if you either suggest or agree to this film there is a part of her brain that will be thinking “WTF is up with this guy?”. Pass. Bathroom break? Oh, pretty much any time you see a scene with actors in it.
Thanks for reading. I really didn’t expect this one to ramble on this long but it’s 12:49am on Febuary 15th and I’m working on this instead of being out with a Valentine so I guess I’m trying to convince myself I have a life. Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu. If you have a comment about this film I pity you but feel free to leave it here. Off topic questions or suggestions should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Talk to you soon.
Ay yi yi.
January is a fascinating month when it comes to movie releases. This is when all the films that were not really good enough to go head to head with the Xmas releases timidly stick their heads out of their hole in an attempt to sneak a little bit of leftover scraps still on the table only to get caught and eviscerated by the household cat (that would be me in this particular case). What is really interesting to me is that there is even enough money in Hollywood for movies they apparently know are going to suck but still managed to green light.
The studios are rarely wrong in the area of timing and that brings up another question: how can the studio be dumb enough to give the production of a stinker like the Legend of Hercules a $70,000,000 budget based on the script equivalent of the crayon drawings of a slightly above average chimpanzee yet turn into the Stephen Hawking of scheduling when it comes time to release their sewage onto the market? It seems like whoever they have deciding that this film just isn’t strong enough to swim in the adult pool should have been consulted a couple months before production started. Oh, well.
Not that I, Frankenstein is horrifically bad. Based on what I have seen so far (this and Hercules) it is literally the best release of 2014. It is a weird study in contrasts. The quality of the movie bounces back and forth like the needle on a Richter Scale during a 7.2 earthquake. The story is Ass from the Planet Ass in the Asstastic Nebula but for some bizarre reason they cast some exceptional actors and the acting is far superior to the actual dialog. The CGI seems pretty awesome at times and then all of a sudden it looks like you are watching the flying monkeys from the original Wizard of Oz. There are some really awesome action scenes and the world they have created is somewhat intriguing, but they literally overexplain every detail to death and then you realize that the werewolves and vampires (I’m sorry, gargoyles and demons) have been dredged up from the deepest literary pit and have no relationship to anything that makes sense. The plot moves in fits and starts but at least it moves, only to have every smidgen of good will you have garnered ruined in the last two minutes by one of the dopiest hero monologs since the ending of Cave Dwellers. I am a fan of Aaron Eckhart but he would have to absorb the acting talent of every actor in the history of the universe to make his oath to defend humanity against demons sound anything other than laughably annoying.
I would like to bring up another issue that got on my jock in this film. It would be fair to say that if I had a flatter head, some scars, and bolts coming out of my neck I would not need much more to look like the classic Frankenstein (Franky image courtesy of the Horror Movie t shirt category). Where do they get off casting a guy with the body of Adonis and a face that women seem to drool over? Sorry but when they keep calling a guy who looks like an ex Calvin Klein model a “monster” just because he has some scars it is an insult to those of us with average (or challenging) looks. Also, realistically what function is served by this? Do they really think they are going to pull in women to their Frankenstein action movie with him? I see this film as a real failing in forward planning. The main guy is too old to bring in the teeny bopper Twilight fans, too good looking to be believable to the guys who like action films, and the film is too action oriented to appeal to the women who might like to see Aaron Eckhart shirtless. Fail deluxe.
The story. Adam (Aaron Eckhart-Thank You for Smoking, Battle Los Angeles, Olympus has Fallen) starts off telling the story of his creation by Dr. Frankenstein and how he murdered Mrs. Frankenstein and let his creator freeze to death. While burying the good doctor he is attacked by demons who talk about bringing him back alive to Prince Naberius. Suddenly the demons are attacked by three living gargoyles; Gideon (Jai Courtney-A Good Day to Die Hard, Jack Reacher, Spartacus), Ophir (Mahesh Jadu-Taj, the Three Stages of Sasha, Singularity), and Keziah (Caitlin Stasey-All Cheerleaders Die, Evidence, Please Like Me). They pick up Adam and haul him in front of their queen Leonore (Miranda Otto-The Lord of the Rings, What Lies Beneath, War of the Worlds).
They turn out to be the Earthly manifestation of something that may or may not be angels sent to Earth to fight against demons. The demons want Adam for something and Gideon wants to kill him to keep them from him, but Leonore (after explaining every detail of the whole gargoyle/demon thing) opts to let him go after giving him some magic weapons. Adam wants nothing to do with their war but decides to dedicate his life to hunting down and killing demons (how is that from joining the gargoyles in their war exactly?) for some ill defined reason.
Flash forward 200 years and Adam is still running around the world looking for demons to kill. Meanwhile Naberius (Bill Nighy-Hott Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, About Time) is a very rich something and is experimenting with reanimating the dead. To do this he hires the hottest scientist ever Terra (Killer Elite, Chuck (yes, the blond), The Canyon) who for some reason doesn’t have alarm bells go off when a very evil looking and sounding dude tells her he wants to be able to reanimate corpses for humanitarian reasons.
(As another aside, sorry but this girl does not pull off the nerdy scientist very well. I know, I’m a big sexist jerk but honestly she looks and acts like the evil demons head of Marketing, not R&D. I’ll buy a woman scientist in a heartbeat but when they clearly look like the just got dressed from their Maxim photo shoot I can feel my suspension of disbelief gasping for oxygen.)
So Adam shows up in the City of Location Unknown (seriously, what city was this? It all started over 200 years ago and seemed to be somewhere in Europe but the few humans had British accents and the cop looked like a NYPD officer), where no one ever notices things like giant flying gargoyles and thousands of demons attacking a local Gothic building of unknown provenance and bursting into flame when the gargoyles attack them with medieval weapons. They pick him up and chain him to a chair for no apparent reason. The demons attack, and force Dr. Frankensteins notebook out of them in exchange for Leonore.
Honestly this plot is pretty predictable. Naberius wants to use either Adam or the notebook to build thousands more Frankensteins. Apparently if you are reanimated you have no soul and a demon can possess you. There are a lot of cool fight scenes and the movie ends with the stupidest monolog ever.
I can’t say the acting is exceptionally good but it far exceeded the boundaries set by the story and dialog. I think it’s just that they hired a bunch of really good actors. None of them did what I would consider a stellar performance when compared to any of their other work but overall the acting was actually kind of pleasant. One star. Most of the action scenes were pretty good, with some excellent transition from flying to ground combat. Looks like the fight choreographer really thought about what combat with flying statues would look like. One star. At the moments when the hamsters running the CGI wheel were well fed the CGI was really good. One star. While extremely derivative of Underworld (as in the clump of hair I just pulled out in frustration at another movie with a $65 million budget spending $114 and a case of Old English on the writing is derivative of my scalp) the world created was at least an interesting concept. One star. Bill Nighy was his usual awesome self. He plays possible the best villain out there. One star. The blond was at least easy on the eyes, although you see more of Aaron Eckharts body than hers. One star. At the end I didn’t feel like it was a total waste of 93 minutes of my life. One star. Total: seven stars.
The black holes.
The story was kind of dopey without any reason for the audience to connect to it. Who are these gargoyles and why should we care exactly? What is Adams motivation to do anything at all? This film also fell into the scope trap I talk about a lot. Destruction of the human race? Do they really think that I am going to believe that is how the film will end? If I can’t believe that the film producers would ever let the bad guys plan come to fruition how can I care about anything the good guys do? One black hole. If you are going to do a movie about the Frankenstein monster and call him a monster the whole time can you not at least make him look a little monstrous and not like an extra from a Gold’s Gym advert? One black hole. When the hamsters powering the CGI wheel ran out of food they died and stank up the screen with their bloated corpses, giving us creature movement that would have embarrassed the original Clash of the Titans. One black hole. The film sat right on the fence about being about the character of the Frankenstein monster, this hypothetical war between demons and gargoyles (can we just call them angels? For God’s sake commit to something and take a chance. Otherwise call them gargoyles and orcs, or insectoids, or Flying Spaghetti Monsters. It’s about the same), and just a dopey action film. One black hole. The PG-13 rating was a serious anchor on this film , with both demons and gargoyles dying in kid friendly evapo-explosions (kids should never see corpses or blood. That might damage their fragile little brains), only one female showing no skin below her knee, and all the other wet blanket aspects that a movie that should be going for an R rating but opts to try to make more money brings to the screen. One black hole. The whole plot is predictable and very by the numbers. It kind of just plods along like a horse pulling a plow and has about the same level of surprise and suspense. One black hole. Way too much dialog for an action movie. I normally applaud having things laid out but at a couple points I wanted to yell STFU to the screen. One black hole. While I suppose most of you could assume this will be my feeling in any 3D film but the 3D added nothing to the movie except an extra $3 for the ticket. One black hole. And finally the really insanely bad monolog at the end where Adam Frankenstein swears an oath to no one to defend humanity against the demons while posing on a church roof really made me want to burst my own eardrums with a knitting needle. One black hole. Total: nine black holes.
So two black holes, which puts it on the down side of mediocre. Better than the last film I did, making it my current contender for best film of 2014. I honestly don’t think it will hold that slot past this weekend. Worth seeing? I suppose if there literally isn’t anything else you want to see. There are good parts that you will enjoy but honestly other than occupying two hours of your life will add nothing else. Odds are you will have forgotten this film two weeks later. Date movie? Not really. The only thing that would appeal to your date would be Aaron Eckharts washboard abs and I don’t think you want to put yourself in that contest. Bathroom break? There is a scene where the hot blond is stitching up Adams shoulder that is 100% worthless filler. Go nuts.
Thanks for reading as always. Lots more to see this weekend. I need to get caught up and expect to have more funny reviews soon. Follow me on Twitter if you can @Nerdkungfu. If you have comments on this review or movie feel free to post them here. If you have off topic questions or suggestions email them to me at email@example.com. Thanks and have a great day.
I hope you brought eye protection because there will be a lot of bile flying around on this one.
I know I was only supposed to do the worst 10 to match my best 10 from last post but honestly the field was so thick with candidates I didn’t think I could limit myself. Remember writing these posts is more for my benefit than anyone else and after most of last year I have a lot of pent up movie frustration to expunge in a literary orgy of tortured metaphors, run on sentences, and analogies to horrible sexual, scatological, and blasphemous images.
Once again I can only list the films I saw. I’m sure there are plenty out there that make these films look cinematographic masterpieces rather than the pond scum that they are but I don’t have the time or inclination to seek them out. I will also say that while most of these movies truly do suck they serve some function if only to give us perspective. Without these 15 films to set the bar low enough to trip a wiener dog the worst film last year would have been Parker or Stand Up Guys. The scripts of those films should have been used as radiation shielding at Fukushima but it did have a few watch-worthy moments and if you were passed out in front of your TV the subliminal suckage your subconscious mind absorbed would not have been TOO damaging. There’s always a low man on the totem pole and if you can’t identify him it’s probably you.
15. G.I. Joe Retaliation. Imagine if you will a reproductive artist creates the ultimate sculpture of a giant pile of poo. It is flawless in every detail, with just the right proportion of corn to excrement and moisture glistening in the carefully positioned lighting in way guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye of any coprophile. Literally a polished turd so perfect and flawless you can almost smell it. Well, that is pretty much what G.I. Joe Retaliation was; a perfect, flawless representation of the sewage outflow of Hollywood action movies. Well executed, but at the end of the day it’s still based on s&$&.
14. Jack the Giant Slayer. Some films take classic literature and tell a cool story with neat twists that makes you appreciate the classic tale with a warm satisfied sense of childhood nostalgia. Others take the stories and molest them in ways no amount of therapy or drinking will ever blot from your memory. This is definitely the latter type. I have a problem with great literature being beaten into a shape that appeals to the brain softening “creative” people of certain companies who’s name may or man not rhyme with “fisney”. This movie would worth your time if you feel the need to see Ian McShane in his douchiest role ever (until they cast him as Douchy McDouchalot, the lead singer of the Douchetones). Normally a crappy period piece at least has some redemption available in the costumes but outfits in this film would embarrass a troupe of transvestite circus clowns.
13. 21 & Over. This one ended up at 13 but to be honest it could have ended anywhere. I know I watched it. I know I wrote 1,343 words about the experience. I think there was an Asian guy and two naked white guys in it. However, except for those details I can’t for the life of me recall this film. I had to read my own review in detail in order to even consider it. Now, I wouldn’t call myself an expert on film theory or legitimate film criticism but it seems to me a movie that is so forgettable that I can’t remember a single scene from it six months later just might be a bad one. I’m just saying. Anyway, it’s foggy nature puts it in the relatively harmless position of number 13, but if I were actually able to recall it odds are it would have ended up lower.
12. Spring Breakers. I’m now at the point that I reach every year while writing this where I want to make every film left the number one worst movie. The funny thing is I don’t have such a hard time with the best films. I will give this film some credit for at least attempting something out of the box and having some white trash nudity, but realistically this film was a laughable joke that wasn’t actually funny. However if you are into scenes being repeated ad nauseam and chicks in bikinis dancing in slow motion while some frat boy squirts water all over them then this or the latest Girls Gone Wild is the film for you.
11. A Good Day to Die Hard. This film may very well show up again when it comes time to hand out the special awards (cough cough Franchise Killer of the Year cough cough). Hollywood in many ways is resembling a vampire stuck forever in an old mausoleum, breaking open caskets to suck on the dry bones of past films in the desperate attempt to find the slightest hint of moisture and blood remaining. John McClane was a staple of my youth. This film is a staple in my taco. This is why if you are going to do a sequel to a classic it is worth talking to the director of the classic if only so he can tell you what you are doing to the series it tantamount to a body cavity search. Or at least watch the original.
10. After Earth. Sci fi movies should never be done by people who aren’t actually sci fi fans. I mean, you wouldn’t go see your lawyer to have your gall bladder removed, would you? Similarly you wouldn’t go to a science fiction movie to unwittingly learn about a religion popular among celebrities invented by a writer if some mediocre sci fi novels that involves the spirits of dead aliens would you? I see this movie as evidence that Will Smith grossly overestimates his and his families star power. The thought process seems to be “Sure, we can write a boring script filled with plot holes, bad science, weird ideology, and have it star my box office unproven son while I yell at him over a radio and it will be successful because I AM A CINEMA GOD!” Well I guess you are not. Also this film has pretty put the final nail in the coffin of my admiration of M. Night Shyamalan (which started dying as the final credits for Unbreakable began to roll).
9. Machete Kills. This film was supposed to be a spoof on bad film making but it seems to have forgotten the spoof part. The first Machete was a fun spoof. This is just all the pain of a bad film with none of the humor. I mean, all the potential good of this very concept had already been milked dry in the first one, leaving us with the corpse to watch decay for two hours. Also someone grab Robert Rodriguez and tell him a crappy joke doesn’t get funnier when you redo it 4-5 times.
8. R.I.P.D. Now I’m at the point where I have to decide which movies would literally cause me less pain to watch a second time and of the eight remaining films on my list this one is only a modest beating. Honestly this film is more boring than painful (although it is also painful) so I guess if I needed a massive dose of Ambien and couldn’t find a street dealer it would work in a pinch. Also if the last thing on your bucket list is to see Rooster Cogburn join the Ghostbusters this would let you die in peace. However it is in all ways awful and deserves to be buried in a shallow grave outside of Kettleman City California.
7. The Counselor. Can’t I just take this and the next six films and call them all the worst films of 2013? Ridley Scott, what happened to you? Honestly this film sounds like the opening scene to a Ridley Scott remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers wherein an acclaimed director comes out with a dull, convoluted, and pointless film much to the confoundment of his fans and a humble reviewer of a very minor blog is compelled to investigate, discovering the current Ridley Scott to have been grown in a pod in his garden and the real Ridley Scott is now Soylent Green. I wasn’t looking for another Aliens necessarily but at the same time I didn’t expect to see the Heaven’s Gate of the 21st century.
6. Hansel & Gretal. This and the next five films collectively could be considered a crime against humanity if shown back to back so the actual order is really kind of irrelevant. The reasons this film is number 6 rather than 3 or 2 is because there was one really, really excellent nude scene and because while the movie sucked like 10,000 Romora eels at least I liked the concept. Kind of a Brothers Grimm version of Vampire$ (the book not the movie. Thinking of the Vampire$ movie just made me throw up a little in my mouth. Thanks a lot, Hansel & Gretel). Also I find it amusing that Jeremy Renner is now a big star but had this stinker back in his closet and the studio opted to capitalize on his recent fame by embarrassing the crap out of him. BTW in answer to the question that I know is burning through her mind yes Gemma Arterton I will marry you in spite of your participation in subjecting me to this monstrosity. In fact it seems the least you can do.
5. A Big Wedding. A big failure, really. We are really scraping the bottom of the barrel (and yet, I still have four movies to talk about). This has everything I hate about assemblage story telling along with all of the assorted stories being ass too. This film is like cutting up 14 of the worst episodes of Threes Company and randomly sewing them together like the Movie Centipede. The reasons why it is number 5 and not number 1 is first off like Hansuck & Regretal it had the most pleasantly surprising nude scene ever (it was like being force to grind up broken glass by chewing on it only to find one of glass fragments you just destroyed your mouth with was actually a decent diamond) and for the fact that this is the only film in my top 5 that did not sully the world of nerd interests. It was not sci fi, supernatural, or interesting.
4. Getaway. I guess pointless, convoluted, plot hole infested stories is a thing for me as 3 of my 15 could accurately be described as such. This one takes it to a new level. I’m not sure what brain parasite ate into Ethan Hawke in order to make him think this script was worth doing but he should get a brain flush immediately (also known as firing his agent). Also, I guess every year I need to have one star end up twice on this list. Last year it was Ryan Reynolds (who only appears once here, a 50% improvement! Well done Ryan) and this year it is Selena Gomez. I honestly don’t hate her as an actor but she is drawn to bad films like a baby seal to the business end of a club and in this one she felt as natural and unforced as Tom Servo, Crow, and Joel do in any episode of MST3K (with the exception that I would have been very glad to see the Satellite of Love crew in this bomb). Also if you are going to force in some eye candy can you have her wear something other than a hoodie?
3. Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters. Ha ha ha. There are days when I really love doing this, and when handed teenie bopper tripe like this and the next two films (you might see a pattern in my bottom three films) I start to salivate like Jason Voorhees stumbling across a college cheerleader camp (Friday the 13th image from the Horror Movie T Shirt category BTW). It is saying a lot when I tell you that this movie was actually worse than Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. I think Hollywood is perplexed as to why all their attempts to ignite a new vampire-ish teenage franchise keeps falling on it’s face like a drunk with a broken beer bottle stuck in the back of it’s head but I think I have an answer. This stems from my experience in the skateboard market. You see until the last cycle skateboarding tended to follow a 7 year cycle where a bunch of kids would get into it for a time making it the biggest thing out there only to have most of them realize that skateboarding is hard, dangerous, and hurts (the last cycle was extended by one thing: Tony Hawk Pro Skater. It’s way easier to dress like a skateboarder and play a video game about it than actually get on a board). It troughs out until the next group of testosterone rediscovers it. I think all the morons who fell for Twilight have had their fill and all the younger kids who would be those morons are so turned off by the first group that they refuse to get into it. I’d say Hollywoods best bet would be to let the sparkly vampire genre lie fallow for another 6-7 years and try again. Meanwhile let the Hunger Games have it’s day. Really, though, there can be only one.
2. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. See everything I just said about Percy Jackson and then multiply that times some of the most odious characters since Divine from Pink Flamingos. While Percy Jackson gets a bit of applause for the effort behind it, this film I would happily see get run over by a combine. Also, with a $60 million budget you would think they could do fake tattoos that didn’t look like a high school kid doodling on his arm with a Marks-a-lot. The entire cast should be wedgied daily, with the blond main kid getting a covered wagon. In my review I gave a list of reasons why this film sucks that resembles the invite list of the worlds biggest wedding. I know most of Hollywood is either completely brain damaged or thinks we the audience are but is a decent story and some direction so hard to accomplish? It’s not like there aren’t examples of what a good movie should be. Next time rent a couple of Scorsese films and when it comes time to make your film do what he does.
1. The Host. You don’t have to be Nostradamus to have predicted that this film would be my number one. It’s the perfect storm as far as I’m concerned: a story style I hate written by an author I have contempt for for an audience I despise in a genre I love. For me she is like Cruella Deville except instead of making her fur coat out of her own Dalmatians she came to my house, skinned my puppy alive in front of me, and sewed it into her jacket still bleeding. Fortunately I was able to let the air out of her movie by illustrating in graphic detail exactly how much it sucked. If this film were placed in a time capsule and opened in 5,000 years by Doctor Who he would probably come back here and give the Daleks a detailed map of how to get to Earth. Awful in every regard unless you are really turned on by cute but bland chicks (where else have we seen that formula used…?).
So that’s my list. Do I feel better now that I have dumped on these cinema surgical remnants? Yes. Yes I do. Have I made the world a better place because of all the reviews I did last year? Well, since I’m sure no one in Hollywood would ever deign to read my blog or ever take any of my criticism to heart in one sense no, not at all. On the other hand if even one of you, my beloved readers, opted to see a great film or avoid an eye raping thanks to what I have written over this last year then yes I believe I have. So my special awards are still to come up and I have a big backlog of new movies to see (I was in LA this last weekend and didn’t get to see anything) so look for more reviews coming up soon. If you have any comments on this list or these movies feel free to post them here and if you have any off topic questions or suggestions email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks and have a great week.
A mixed bag of good and bad.
I’ll admit it has been years since I read Enders Game. In fact I think I read it when it was a novella (the book actually went through several revisions) as when I went home and reviewed the story it was closer to the movie than I remember. It was a good book, and good source material for a decent movie. However, what we got seemed to alternate between good and seat squirming bad.
The biggest issue here is the pacing. The book is a tremendous story (actually several different stories, depending on which version you read. Orson Scott Card likes to match his book to the political clime) that takes place over six years. This movie tries to incorporate all that but in truth leaves the entire movie rushed and feeling like there are a lot of missing scenes. The whole development of Ender as a military genius had a very organic approach, with him and his friends at age six figuring out how to beat the other teams in the zero gravity game. In time they become a very tight group who knew each other instinctively and worked together as a team. In this film it all seems to come together like a portrait made by tossing cans of paint into a tree shredder. All of a sudden there is a completed mess and not a dook of an idea how it all came together. I honestly am going to blame this on the director not being willing to cast several boys to play Ender at different ages.
Another problem is this film more or less starts off with the base assumption that Ender is the savior of the human race and everyone is just there to help him realize it. In the book he was just another kid recruited into the Battle School and over time exhibited his command potential, along with certain psychotic personality traits.
Yet another issue that the movie actually shares with the book is the squirmingly inappropriateness of recruiting preteen children to fight wars. It’s actually harder to watch here than in the book (although the book started them off at six). When you see a bunch of kids together your brain wants to channel a Disney film, and to then see a bad imitation of Gunnery Sergent Hartman from Full Metal Jacket yell and scream at them like they are in Li’l Tykes boot camp is just dumb. The whole time you see these kids learning to fight you can’t help but feel that this is just wrong on so many levels. One of the adult characters more or less says the same thing by mentioning that using anyone under the age of 15 to fight is a war crime, but the issue washes off the screen and is never really approached again.
On the other hand the film is very pretty if you like long video game trailers, and all the acting exceptional. I am a huge Ben Kingsley fan and he looks weirdly great with face tattoos. Harrison Ford is a welcome presence on any screen for me, and Asa Butterfield pulled his role off nicely. Like I said, there is a lot of good here too.
The story starts off with a personal bee in my jock strap, a monolog about how the Formics invaded Earth and were defeated by a hero named Mazer Rackham (I wish Hollywood would realize how out of the film a monolog really takes us. It is a lazy directors tool to get around actually having to film something). Skip forward 60 years and the Earth forces are preparing for the next big push on the Formics by training children (in the book the training took the form of increasingly complicated games (kind of like the title of this movie) but here it is all classroom stuff) to be the soldiers. Ender (Asa Butterfield-Hugo, the Boy in the Striped Pajamas, the Wolfman. Image courtesy of the Horror Movie T Shirt category (yes I know it’s not the same Wolfman. I only have so many resources)) beats another kid in a game and gets bullied by him afterwards. He beats the kid near to death and is expelled from the program.
Meanwhile Col. Graff (Harrison Ford-Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Blade Runner) decides that the cold blooded psychotic approach Ender took with the bully might be just what they need and with Major Anderson (Viola Davis-the Help, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Won’t Back Down) re-recruit him. He goes into orbit where Graff purposely alienates him for some reason (there was a lot of missing motivation in this film too) and he is more or less hated by his classmates. They don’t do any of the zero gravity games that were such a big part of the book until Ender is transferred to another group. There he has to deal with miserable bully Bonzo (Moises Arias-Hannah Montana, Despicable Me 2, the Kings of Summer) but meets good friend (and closest thing to a romance) Petra (Hailee Steinfeld-True Grit, She’s a Fox, Romeo & Juliet).
There he gets pushed around by Bonzo until he excels and is given his own army. His army beats Bonzo, who takes it the wrong way and tries to beat him up. In the fight Endor cracks Bonzo’s skull for him (in the book I think Bonzo dies) and feels so badly he resigns (again, missing motivation here really). Graff gets Enders sister Valentine (Abigail Breslin-Zombieland, Signs, Little Miss Sunshine) to talk him back. Once back in orbit he trains more. I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t read the book so sufficed to say aliens/human space battle is joined.
Visually stunning, with great CGI and special effects. Camera work was really good too. Two stars. All the acting and casting was excellent, especially Asa and Harrison. Two stars. Sci fi movie. One star. Sci fi movie based on a book that made a strong effort to remain true to the book. One star. Ben Kingsley. One star. In the end a decent time watching. Two stars. Total: nine stars.
The black holes:
The pacing issues really hurt the story, giving you little connection to the continuity of the plot and consequently made me not really get invested into the characters. A lot of good stuff got cut out I think. Two black holes. The whole child soldier thing was really off putting. One black hole. There were a lot of unexplained motivations, like why Ender even wanted to be in the program and then later why did he quit? One black hole. The ending, while true to the book, was truly underwhelming and opened up a whole new box of unanswered questions. I guess they are setting up for the movie version of Speaker of the Dead, but while Enders Game was great that book was garbage. Bottom line the whole movie kind of puttered out. One black hole. Total: five black holes.
A total of four stars. Decent, but based on having seen about 100,000 trailers all of which seemed more interesting and exciting than the actual movie I was expecting more. I’ve noticed that I tend to come down harder on films that are based on books I have read, but I really tried to see this film as a stand alone project. Should you see it? If you read the book, like science fiction, and are not bothered by pacing and continuity issues absolutely. See it on the biggest screen you can track down. It will be worth it. Date movie? Probably not. There isn’t the slightest whiff of romance in this film, and the cute kid is kind of off putting as a young sociopath. I’d choose something else, although I don’t know what based on what is out right now. Kind of a dearth of date friendly movies. Maybe Free Birds?
Thanks for reading as always. I’ll try to see at least one more movie this weekend. Maybe two. Follow me on Twitter for review announcements. If you have a comment on this film or my review feel free to post them here, but I get a lot of spam so don’t hate me if I accidentally delete it. If you have an off topic question or suggestion feel free to email me at email@example.com. Thanks and have a great night.
Carrie, Carrie quite contrary. Why was this movie made?
I’ll give you all fair warning: this review is going to have a lot of me bitching about and bemoaning my own miserable high school experience (or, as I like to think of it “The years whose name must not be spoken”). To say this movie struck a nerve or two with me is like saying being eaten alive by fire ants is an unpleasant way to die or George Lucas has ruined his legacy. However, you know how the saying goes: cows moo, pings oink, Dave bitches about high school. Read on if you are cool with it.
The real question here (and the same question that came up in movies like Footloose and Red Dawn) is “Why did this film have to be made?” It has been years since I saw the original Carrie (image courtesy of the Horror Movie T Shirt category) so I had to look up the plot in order to make sure my impressions were correct and sure enough this one is almost a scene for scene remake (with some YouTube thrown in). Remakes are as always a sure sign that Hollywood has just given up on the whole original idea thing (hey, creativity is hard work) and as the trend continues we can expect to see inevitable remakes of Citizen Kane, Blade Runner, Alien, Dumb & Dumber, and the Neverending Story (oh, wait. That last one is in production). Since there were two other remakes for Carrie done already (one for TV and one for something else I forget) this is actually the fourth Carrie, so I guess in three years we can look for another Carrie starring Willow Smith.
Where this film differs from the original is in tone and scope. The first film was a true horror film in the sense that Carrie goes nuts and mind murders her entire class. This film is more a teenage outsider angst drama with 20 minutes of action but none of the horrible dread that so made the first film work. Only the real trouble makers get killed, the gym teacher survives, and you tend to lose your hatred of Chris (the main bitch) when she is pleading with her daddy via text to come rescue her. A true horror film has one (and only one) survivor, not a bunch of kids sitting on the lawn while firefighters come to save them.
That being said, the fantasy of the alienated outsider gaining super powers and using them to kill most of his or her school mates is one that sat heavily in my mind from 1st grade up until my 30th birthday. In most films you are supposed to identify with the protagonist and revile the antagonist. When a film has you thinking “there but for the lack of mind powers goes I” while watching Carrie incinerate her class the film stops being a horror film and kind of turns into a dark comedy. I’m sure for those of you who enjoyed high school and didn’t view each school morning with the dread of a prisoner walking the Green Mile this film looks pretty awful but there was a big part of me wishing for a higher body count.
The story. If you have seen the original Carrie skip ahead a few paragraphs. If you haven’t and find them annoying there are a bunch of spoilers incoming so SPOILER ALERT. It starts out with Margaret (Julianne Moore-Crazy, Stupid Love, Children of Men, Magnolia) having the creepiest birthing scene since It (another film that is on deck for a remake. Can’t wait). She has a child who grows up into Carrie (Chloe Grace Moretz-Kick Ass, Hugo, Let Me In). Margaret is a crazy super religious nut and more or less raises Carrie in a Bible Skinner box. Chloe has an awkward menstruation episode in the shower at school and thinks she is bleeding to death. Her classmates, headed by main bitch Chris (Portia Doubleday-18, Youth in Revolt, Big Mammas: Life Father, Like Son) and Sue Snell (Gabriella Wilde-the Three Musketeers, Dark Horse, Endless Love), throw tampons at her and make fun of her. Chris films it on her phone. While this is going on a lightbulb bursts. Carrie is rescued by Mrs. Desjardin (Judy Greer-Three Kings, the Village, What Women Want), the PE teacher.
Carrie is picked up by her mother and locked in her prayer closet. Over the next few days Chris posts the video on YouTube and has the whole school laughing at her. Meanwhile Carrie is discovering she has telekinetic abilities and is researching and practicing with them. Mrs. Desjardin is pissed at the whole group of girls and forces them to do punishing exercises. Chris refuses and is expelled and banned from the prom.
Sue is feeling guilty and gets her boyfriend Tommy (Ansel Elgort-first film credit) to ask Carrie to the prom. At first she refuses but he shows up at her house and she agrees (with some encouragement from Mrs. Desjardin). Chris is pissed and gets her hoodlum boyfriend Billy (Alex Russell-the Host, Chronicle, Wasted on the Young) to kill a pig and rig a bucket with it’s blood over the stage at prom. She arranges for the king and queen vote to be rigged and Tommy and Carrie are voted in. On the stage the blood is drenched on Carrie and the bucket falls, knocking out Tommy. Carrie thinks everyone is laughing at her and goes on a mad TK killing spree, ending with the death of Chris and Billy in their car.
She eventually ends up home and washes the blood off. Her mother finds her and they pray together, but Margaret stabs Carrie in the back with a knife convinced she is a witch. Carrie kills her as Sue arrives to help her. More TK nonsense ensues leaving Sue pregnant.
Very well executed. The director Kimberly Peirce also did Stop-Loss and Boys Don’t Cry and her expertise shines through. Two stars. I am hesitant to give this film a star for story as you literally can’t get more derivative but if this were a stand alone film I would reward the plot, so one star. All the acting was excellent, and the characters all very believable. The bitch is a bitch, the hood a hood, the little goody goody a goody goody, and the alienated religious girl just as troubled as you would believe. One star. A bonus star each for both Chloe and Juliane. Both were awesome characters and very well portrayed. Two stars. If you have a burning hatred of your high school experience and all the little pretty children who went to prom (guess who was working at a pizza restaurant that night instead of attending? I spent most of the evening hoping they all got each other pregnant) than the last 20 minutes are very gratifying. One star. In spite of the first 60 minutes being all high school drama and build up I thought the pacing was excellent. I was engaged the whole time and never felt the need for a fast forward button. One star. Total: eight stars.
The black holes:
This film will get a black hole from me until someone can explain to me what function was served by actually making it. Remakes are like wearing water wings in a wading pool. One black hole. I don’t know where Kimberly Peirce went to high school but if I were to hazard a guess I’d say it was the world of the Time Machine where all the fat, ugly, nerdy, pimply kids were forced to move underground as Morlocks leaving the beautiful Eloi above ground to attend the Prom. One of the reasons Chloe worked as Carrie is until she dresses up for the prom she is the least attractive girl in the film and you know that is saying a lot. Normally I reward films for only casting hot chicks but in this case I really think a kid with self esteem issues (i.e. all of them) could really be damaged. Also all the dudes were pretty much hot chicks too if you know what I mean. One black hole. This film failed to really strike a tone. Was it a horror flick or a teeney bopper coming of age film with 20 minutes of blood? Were we supposed to hate Chris or feel sympathy for her? Are we supposed to identify with Carrie or Sue? A lot of grey in this film. One black hole. This film ate the rated R pie and then toned down the actual horror and violence anyway. Without the cussing it really was straddling the PG-13 line. It definitely felt softer than the first film. If you are going to draw a zero comp on your Warhammer army anyway I say make it as broken as possible. One black hole. Total: four black holes.
A total of four stars. Not bad. If you are a fan of Chloe or never say the first Carrie I’d say this is well worth your time. However there is nothing really hear to require a big screen. Even the action horror parts of the film would not have look out of place on an after school special. There was only one scene that had the potential for visual excellence and it cut short super fast. Date movie? Odds are your date has fond memories of prom night and therefore you should probably steer clear. Bathroom break? You absolutely don’t want to miss Prom night but the rest of the film really is just so much lead up. I’d say any scene up until Carrie finishes making her dress is disposable.
Thanks for reading. I’ll try to see something else tonight and write it up tomorrow. Follow me on Twitter @NerdKungFu. If you have a comment on this review or the movie feel free to post it here. If you have an off topic question or suggestion email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (single ladies are especially welcome to take advantage of this option). Have a great night.
I kind of wish I had been wearing a (sleep) mask while in the theater.
This film was clearly crafted in the Frankenstein mode: if they just stick enough body parts into it eventually lightning will strike and the monster will rise from the slab and terrify the local villagers (I mean excite the audience. Frankenstein image courtesy of the Horror Movie T Shirt category). This approach was clearly and unabashedly lifted from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Unfortunately what works for pirates apparently fails to work for Old West outlaws, especially when working with a character no one cares about at a time when cowboys just aren’t really that popular (go back in time to 2001 IMO).
This film tanked horribly at the box office and I’m not surprised. I think it fair to say I see a lot of films and with very, very few exceptions manage to stay awake for the duration of all of them good or bad. In this one however I was struggling to keep my eyes open. The worst part is after the third or fourth time I caught myself nodding off I realized I probably could take a 20 minute nap and not miss much (of course I would never do that. I have my “professional” pride to consider). This showing wasn’t even that late for me.
I think this movie is a good example of Disney really believing they can force out a new movie franchise if they just push hard enough. I’m glad to see it has failed in the past (cough cough John Carter cough cough) and seems to be continuing to do so. Don’t try to tell me what to like. I will say that I have seen the trailers for this about 1,000,000 times and if you go by the rule that the more the studios market a film the more likely it is to suck than it was inevitable that this movie be awful.
If grinding movie progression were an Olympic event this film would win gold, silver, and bronze by beating it’s competition to death at the finish line with a lacrosse racket. It goes a whopping 149 minutes (that’s 2 hours and 29 minutes) that feels like six hours. Each scene was padded and paced in order to be as long and agonizing as possible, with tons of long, panning shots of nothing interesting, guys riding horses, inane flashbacks, and character development that couldn’t be more predictable or boring each scene had been delivered via semaphore a day after you watch it. The Frankensteinian nature of this film comes from about 14 completely unnecessary subplots, about 800 leftist social commentary messages, and a plot that meanders back and forth to no real purpose.
The real failure of this film (in my less than humble opinion) is the lack of a clear, appealing villain. The obvious villain is outlaw Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner-Black Hawk Down, the Dark Knight, Contact) but his is so cartoonishly evil that you can’t take him seriously. If you have to make your villain a cannibal to paint him as even more evil you just might be trying too hard. About halfway through the movie (you know, at the three hour mark) the villain stops being Butch and somehow turns out to be a railroad guy (and by extension the evils of the industrialization of America). This shifting of villains can work well in a well written, complicated story but in a simplistic action movie (you know, kind of like Pirates of the Caribbean) use the K.I.S.S. principal: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
At this point in one of my reviews that bears closer resemblance to clubbing a baby seal than offering constructive criticism I find a couple of redeeming qualities in a film if only to assuage my own guilt, so here goes. I thought Johnny Depp did his usual stand out character portrayal (on the other hand if I were a Native American actor I might have issues with this film). It is hard to not like him in almost any role. Armie Hammer did as well as could be expected with his role. Unfortunately the writers painted him into a really bland, formulaic corner.
The story. The whole thing starts out in 1933 at a fair. A dopey kid is checking out a Wild West exhibit wearing a Lone Ranger costume and comes to what appears to be a stuffed Native American. The guy turns out to be an ancient Tonto (Johnny Depp-Edward Scissorhands, Benny and June, Sweeney Todd). This ham handed plot device leads to Tonto telling the kid the story of the Lone Ranger (Princess Bride style. This film does not hesitate to rip off movies other than Pirates). John Reid (Armie Hammer-Mirror Mirror, the Social Network, J. Edgar) is traveling back to his home town in Texas to become a Federal prosecutor. On the train is villain Butch Cavendish, headed to the same town to be hung. In the same prisoner car with Butch is Tonto, being transported for some reason(?).
Butch managed to find a gun hidden on the train car and is rescued by a gang of outlaws (if you like stereotype soup you are in for a treat). John gets caught up in the escape and ends up surviving the crash with Tonto. He heads out with his brother (James Badge Dale-Iron Man 3, the Departed, World War Z) and the posse to recapture Butch. They get ambushed and all killed. Tonto shows up to bury them all but a magical white horse compels him to resurrect John (or maybe the horse did it, or the magical spirits. This film suffers from a paucity of details). He wakes up and Tonto convinces him to wear a mask for no real reason.
Honestly, this is about when I started to doze off and a lot of the actual plot details might be missing (you aren’t going to suffer for the lack of them). Since each of these little plot devices is akin to a boring mini movie unto itself I will just spout out the ones I remember fire hose style. The head railroad guy has a creepy attraction to John’s brother’s wife and kid. The wife secretly has always loved John. Butch is actually working for the railroad guy. The railroad guy wants to transport tons of silver that he stole from the Native Americans and use the money to buy out control of the railroad. Butch was hired by the railroad guy to attack small settlements in order to get the US Army to attack them and negate some land treaty. Tonto thinks Butch is some kind of evil spirit that is causing nature to unbalance, manifesting in the form of jack rabbits that are turning into viscous carnivores who specialize in eating scorpions (no joke). The Native Americans attack the army and are slaughtered to the man. Butch turns out to be the railroad guy’s brother (Tom Wilkinson-Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Batman Begins, Shakespeare in Love). Johns horse is magical and may or may not be able to fly. The kid and mom get kidnapped by the railroad guy or something. Tonto is suffering from PTSD from some childhood thing. The railroad guy gains control of the railroad at gunpoint. Large amounts of explosives are apparently stored at the bank and Tonto and the Lone Ranger need to rob it or something.
See what I mean about Frankenstein?
Johnny Depp was as good as you would expect. One star. Armie Hammer was decent too. One star. Hmm. Is that it, really? I guess so. Two stars.
The black holes.
The pacing on this movie was slow and painful, like being dissolved in a vat of acid. Two black holes. No good villain to give this film some focus. One black hole. So chock full of sub plots and social commentary you have a hard time seeing the actual story. Two black holes. A bonus black hole for the killer rabbit sub plot that was introduced and then blatantly ignored. One black hole. The action was comically stupid. One black hole. There was nothing in the movie to make me care even a little. The only character worth anything was Tonto and we see him alive and well fifty years later at the start of the movie. The plot had no hook. One black hole. Throw in a hot chick somewhere. I am a fan of Helen Bonham Carter but she does not incite my libido, especially when her character has a prosthetic leg. One black hole. Another attempt by Disney to force feed us a franchise. One black hole. The ending was a gigantic trite sandwich served with a side of trite potato salad. One black hole. The entire main plot was a long deus ex machina party where the only music was an old REO Speedwagon CD. One black hole. Total: twelve black holes.
So a grand total of ten black holes and based upon the box office sales I’m not alone in my assessment. Perhaps it is not as horrible as that but it has been a while since I saw something that really sucked and I guess I felt the need to tear something apart. Also since Disney is not hurting for cash I don’t have to feel bad about dumping on someone’s livelyhood. Worth seeing at all? Not really, unless you are having trouble sleeping. If you like Johnny Depp see Benny and June. If you are at all like me you will be bored in the theater. Bathroom break? The one nice thing about a movie made up of dozens of stupid sub plots is you can break any of them off and not really hurt the film much, so take your pick. If I had to choose one scene I’d say the railroad board meeting. It’s in the last 1/3rd of the film and by that point you will need to relieve yourself.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment on this film or my review here. If you have an off topic question or suggestion feel free to email me at email@example.com. Follow me on Twitter @Nerdkungfu. Have a great weekend. Talk to you soon.
Ever wonder what a 101 minute Cradle of Filth video would look like?
This is the worst kind of film for me to review. Not because it is bad. Handing me a bad film to review is like handing Jason Voorhees a half dozen college students on a spring break camping trip (Crystal Lake shirt from the Horror Movie T Shirt category). Two hours later and I am cleaning blood off my machete with a warm, satisfied feeling in my stomach. No, this film is tough for me to review because I am actually a fan of Rob Zombie.
It’s true. I like his music, and some of his films are amazing. House of 1000 Corpses and the Devil’s Rejects are horror classics. It’s to the point that as I arrived in the theater I already had the first two glowing paragraphs of this review written out in my head once this film turned out to be amazing (or even adequate).
Time makes fools of us all however, and in this case the amount of time is 101 minutes. I spent most of that time waiting for anything to happen. Ever take a long road trip and find yourself running low on gas? Ever do that and hit one of those weird stretches of highway where they don’t apparently believe in gas stations (hello West Texas) and as you approach each exit you desperately hope that you will see a Unocal or Mobil sign? Your desperation and eagerness increases with each passed exit until finally you end the movie parked at the side of the road on a desolate two lane highway with nothing but coyotes for company.
So it was for this film. Rob can definitely build atmosphere, and when it comes to horror foreplay he is a master. The problem is every time the build up reached the point where something, anything interesting had to happen it would stop with a screeching jump cut, leaving the audience with the equivalent of movie viewer blue balls. Even in the few scenes where something happens inevitably end up being dreams or hallucinations of some kind. I would like to say that having the main character wake up in a cold sweat after a vividly horrible dream is a cool movie tool to help establish otherwise intangible plot points. However, it should not be used to cover 1/3rd of the scenes. It became so standard during the course of this film that in the final scene where something actually was happening I kept waiting for the main character to wake up yet again.
This is why the film felt more like a Satanic rock video than a film. It is chock full of creepy Satanic images and hallucinations from deep in Charles Manson’s subconscious but lacking in anything really scary or disturbing. The whole thing felt like Rob Zombie messing around on his home editing system, putting together a video of some anti-Christian footage that his friends might enjoy while half drunk but not really for public consumption. Very self indulgent, and given that he cast his wife as the main character and a bunch of his friends as supporting characters I’d say that is an apt description. The whole time I was watching I felt the same burning desire for a fast forward button that I felt while watching Terence Malicks Tree of Life. I know Rob intended this film to be a tribute to the Shining but he more closely parallels Malicks film style, only without the Christian overtones.
The story, I guess. Sheri Moon Zombie (the Devil’s Rejects, House of 1000 Corpses, Grindhouse) plays Heidi Hawthorne, part of a three man late night DJ team that looks like Rob learned a lot from his interviews on the Howard Stern Show (I actually listened to his last appearance on that show and he pretty much says that is where the inspiration came from). She and her fellow DJs Whitey (Jeff Daniel Phillips-Faster, Hide, Unknown) and Herman (Ken Foree-Dawn of the Dead, the Devil’s Rejects, Water for Elephants) interview Francis Mathias (Bruce Davison-X-Men, Harry and the Hendersons, Short Cuts) the author of a book on the Salem Witch Trials. That night Heidi has a record delivered to her in a wooden box that screams Necronomicon from a band called the Lords. She plays it and begins to hallucinate about witches. The next night she plays it on the air and a bunch of women in the town of Salem are more or less possessed.
At that point things kind of mosey down the road with not much happening. Every ten minutes another amazing scene is set up and seems to be leading to something that could be considered a plot point or pivotal moment, but just as you think something is about to happen Heidi wakes up. A lot of Satanic and anti-Christian messages and images are use. The witches burned (for the record, no witches were burned in Salem. They were all hung. I’m not saying that makes us any more civil than Europe. I’m just a stickler for historical accuracy) are trying to come back and want Heidi to be their vessel from which Lucifer (or something) will be born. Heidi’s landlady and her creepy sisters (Dee Wallace-E.T. the Extraterrestrial, the Howling, Critters Patrical Quinn-the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Shock Treatment, The Meaning of Life Judy Gleeson-Gilmore Girls, Spanish Fly, the Duke) are working together to make this happen and at one point beat Francois to death with a frying pan (closest thing to exciting as this film gets, honestly). Religious images are shown over and over again and laughable Satanic verse is spoken in a voice that makes monster truck announcers sound serious.
If you have an axe to grind against Christianity and love Satan then this is the movie for you. You can’t say Rob Zombie doesn’t deliver a message. One star. He does create good atmospheres. One star. His wife is pretty damned hot in the scenes where she isn’t looking like a strung out drug user. One star. Total: three stars.
The black holes:
No real horror to speak of, nothing scary, and nothing happens. One black hole. The story is about as solid as a soggy corn flake and more or less serves to connect Rob’s images together. One black hole. The course of the entire film is like a beach ball with a BB hole in it, leaking air and finally ending with a vague fart sound and a quiet settling. One black hole. At no point in the film to you get an idea of what the evil plan is or even who the villain is. No antagonist to speak of, and when the plan is finally unveiled you still don’t know what the hell is going on or why you should care. One black hole. I don’t think playing a subdued character is Sheri Moon Zombie’s forte. Furthermore I felt no interest in her character or any kind of connection whatsoever other than she was hot (or any of the other characters for that matter). One black hole. Given the number of times I have bitched about rater R movies that avoid nudity this is weird for me to say, but there is a lot of nudity in this film but with very few exceptions (Sheri being all of them) you will truly regret having seen them. Some things watched can’t be unwatched. One black hole. It’s honestly hard to take Satanic rhetoric seriously. They have all the issues that Christian rhetoric has except that it just sounds silly (if you have ever listened to an Anton Levey interview you know what I mean). I mean, worshiping Satan means you actually believe in the Christian pantheon but are going to go with the guy who will burn you in everlasting fire. One black hole. It’s rare that I have to say this since I usually find something to entertain myself with but as I left the theater I really felt like I had wasted my time. Two black holes. Total: nine black holes.
So a grand total of six black holes. To be honest I was more than generous in my stars and reticent in my black holes. If I weren’t a Zombie fan I would have probably unloaded my black hole shotgun into this movies face and the closest thing to a star I could have found would have been that it was filmed in English. Sorry dude. I honestly hope your next film recaptures some of the magic of your earlier films, or at least has something happen somewhere in the film. Should you see it? Honestly probably not. If you are a Rob Zombie fan I think you will get more from renting the Devil’s Rejects. If you do go see it load up on Strawberry Mojitos at the Applebees down the street beforehand. This movie will look a lot better if you are plastered. Date movie? If I recommend you don’t go see this film there shouldn’t be any kind of logical process that would lead you to taking a date to it unless you secretly hate all women and see dating as your opportunity to punish them all for not being your mom. Bathroom break? There isn’t a single scene of this film (including the “climax”) that you couldn’t easily miss without losing a thing from your movie experience. Cut out, drop a deuce, smoke a cigarette, run back to Applebees to recharge your alcohol battery, and come back in time for the ending credits. Using your imagination while listening to to the post movie fake newscast might just make for a good time.
I always feel dirty after dumping on a movie by someone I like. Why can’t McG come out with something? Wrecking his movies is not only fun but I feel like I am performing a public service. Sigh. Follow me on Twitter @NerdKungFu. Feel free to comment on this film or my review below. Off topic questions or suggestions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading. Talk to you soon.
There is a plague in Hollywood and I’m not just talking about the ugly trend in remaking old movies into crappy new ones. I’m talking about the inclination towards “design by committee” movie making. One person has an idea and starts writing but by the time the director, producer(s), executive producer(s), stars, DOP, score composer, key grip, assorted wannabe movie making PAs, and the catering guy all contribute the actual original vision of a beautiful masterpiece is beaten down into a misshapen but relatively safe (from a financial point of view) movie like lump. If you have ever taught grade school and hung a big piece of butcher paper up for the entire class to do a beautiful mural you know exactly what I am talking about. Inevitably you get some pretty flowers, a rainbow, some horses (or unicorns), a black scrawl, some stick figures shooting other stick figures, something on fire, a swastika, and at least one penis.
(This, by the way, is how Hollywood cowardly hides from blame. If something were designed by committee then no one person is to blame for a flop failure. Of course this means no one gets the total credit for a massive success, but most people don’t have the sack to take that kind of chance. Also the Ash image is courtesy of the Horror Movie T Shirt.)
The point is this movie is the opposite of design by committee. Granted it was written by Fede Alvarez and produced by the great Sam Raime and Bruce Campbell, but it is clear they all shared a similar vision of what they wanted to do. Blood, guts, and terror. There was no extra message about saving the environment some parent wanted to shove in. The sole survivor was not the introverted nerd that no one liked, nor was it the sexy cheerleader with an inner psyche of hardened steel to show young ladies that they can compete in a mans (horror) world if they just have enough self esteem. There was nothing to distract the audience from the vision of gross gore, agonizing pain, and sphincter clenching fear. If this movie and another person wanted to tell you that they hated you the person would send a strongly worded email or possibly a burning bag of dog poo on your doorstep while this film would call in a tactical nuclear strike. No room for misinterpretation.
I suppose I should address the question of whether or not this is a cheesy remake like Footloose or Red Dawn. The fact is the Evil Dead 2 (one of the greatest, most flawless horror movies ever) was not a sequel to the first Evil Dead and was in fact a remake using the same set and actors. If you look at it like that technically this is a remake, but because it actually follows in the Sam Raime tradition and has brought some new ideas and production values I am going to laud this remake rather than pan it (that means I like it to those of you who don’t know what laud or pan mean). Very well done.
The devil is in the details and this movie got the details right. In case you were wondering the Sam Raime Classic (a 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88) did manage to make it into the film, as did the shotgun and of course the Necronomicon. The cabin is still the same: somehow bigger on the inside than the outside, vaguely skull like in appearance, gigantic super creepy basement with locking trap door, and a side cabin filled with every tool possible for potential mayhem. They got rid of the animal heads on the wall and the bridge was replaced by a flooded stream, but watching this film felt in many ways like coming home (read what you will about my childhood from that statement). The only things I found off putting were stuff I wanted to see from the original film (like the fact that the demon camera no longer sounds and moves like a remote control biplane), but honestly this film has more than enough to make up for what is missing.
I’m not going to call this film flawless. There are plot holes and technical errors that in a lesser movie I would have happily used as an excuse to push it down a well. For the record a nail gun needs to be hooked up to a source of compress air in order to fire, and if you think you you can shock someone back to life with a car battery and some loose junk you found in a shed you can go ahead and stop filling out your medical school applications now. The plot is pretty predictable and the surprise twist at the end was pretty much expected. However, I was so enjoying the film that my suspension of disbelief had the power to believe that nails shoot straight like little bullets. Thus we see how a good movie can make up for minor errors.
The story you should all know if you plan to see this movie. A tertiary excuse to go to an old cabin is found (in this case it’s to help a girl (Jane Levy-Suburgatory, Fun Sized, Nobody Walks) get off drugs cold turkey). The girl Mia, her brother David (Shiloh Fernandez-Red Rding Hood, Dead Girl, Red), his hot girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore-the Road Home, Burning Man, Legend of the Seeker), his childhood friend Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci-Carriers, Beginners, Horsemen), and his super hot nurse girlfriend Olivia (Jessica Lucas-Cloverfield, She’s the Man, Psych) all settle in for a safe, uneventful weekend of withdrawal symptoms in a creepy cabin in a swamp. In spite of the fact that his family seems to own the cabin David is surprised to find an even creepier basement full of dead cats. They find the Necronomicon and Eric shows how smart he is by deciphering part of it and reading The Passage.
At that part the film is pretty much over except for the blood. We all know how it will go from there, and if you don’t I don’t know why you are reading this. Horrible things happen to beautiful people. Plot gives way for wonderful gore. Stuff referencing the first movie shows up here with good special effects.
Duh. Evil Dead movie. Three stars. Amazing gore and camera work. Two stars. A bonus star for the fact that there was no CGI at all in this film. All physical effects, which is a lost art that I appreciate. One star. All the details were right. One star. The three girls were easy on the eyes, although after the first 20 minutes they are all so covered in blood and filth you kind of lose any attraction to them. One star. For the most part most of the characters acted in a manner that didn’t drive me nuts from stupidity (although I might have bugged out when I found all the dead cats, I probably would have laid hold of the shotgun at the first part sign of trouble and not put it down to pee, and I definitely would not have read from the Necronomicon after getting about 100 messages that doing so was a bad idea). One star. There was actually some good chemistry between cast members and the acting was decent. Everyone seemed to know how to act terrified at least. One star. A singular function of purpose that seems lacking in most modern movies. One star. Total: eleven stars.
The black holes.
Sigh. I wish I could skip this part, but I would lose credibility with you, my beloved readers, as well as myself if I didn’t ding this film for the stuff I noticed just because I am a rabid fan. There were definitely some plot holes waving flags and yelling “Look at me! Look at me!”. One black hole. I’m going to give another black hole for the homemade defibrillator. The one girl was a nurse. Was it so hard to imagine she might have a first aid kit with an AED in it? Also defibrillation is only done in conjunction with CPR. One black hole. I watched the Evil Dead panel at Wonder Con and got the real feeling that the cast and director all became friends while filming, but I can’t not give a black hole for a rated R (extreme side of R if you know what I mean) and not have any nudity in it. This is why officers do not become friends with the enlisted men. One black hole. Pacing was good, but I feel a little ripped off for the film only going 91 minutes. Of course the first one was 85 minutes, so take this one as you will. One black hole. Total: four black holes.
A grand total of seven stars. If you are a fan of horror or the Evil Dead this film is an absolute must see. If not you will literally be horrified by the gore and a lot of the concepts that were established in the earlier movies (tree scene, etc.). As a fan of the Evil Dead I see this as a fitting tribute and am very glad I saw it. Date movie? If she has a love of these films absolutely. If not you will never get a call back from her again. Be sure you know where she stands before taking her to this, and keep in mind that sometimes girls will say they like something just to try to develop a connection with you (in other words, if she doesn’t bring this movie up don’t even suggest it). Bathroom break? No way. Hold it. There aren’t any scenes integral to the plot that you must see (plot is tertiary at best after the first half hour) but there isn’t a blood soaked moment you won’t regret missing. Cross your legs.
Thanks for reading. More to see soon. I saw Admitted and will write it up, but am not really excited to do so. Kind of middle of the road. Follow me on Twitter (please. My numbers are pathetic) @Nerdkungfu. Comments on this film or my review can be left right here. If you have off topic questions or suggestions feel free to email me at email@example.com. Talk to you soon.
To suck or not to suck, that is the question.
I have a love of the Evil Dead that stems way back. My favorite is probably Evil Dead 2, but the first one was great as well. Army of Darkness is more comedy than horror (they all are, really), but all of them are great (Ash image courtesy of the Horror Movie T Shirt category).
I have long campaigned against the great Remake-ageddon, seeing it as Hollywood throwing off it’s pretense of creating quality entertainment and revealing itself as the money sucking vampire it always secretly was. If this were a studio remake I would have no trouble telling you how I expect it to both suck and blow. However, not only is it being done by Sam Raime but it is owned by both him and Bruce Campbell. They have retained creative control so I have to look at it from the possibility that Sam is creating another campy bad horror masterpiece. One can only hope.
I have also learned that there is no Ash in this remake. At first this seemed like a tragic mistake, but then I remembered that he was much less a critical role in the first movie. Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness were pretty much character studies of Ash (with Kandarian demons), one of the greatest horror action heroes ever, but in the first movie he wasn’t really the lynchpin. Honestly, since there is no real way to recreate him without cloning Bruce Campbell in his 20’s, this could be a great move.
Also, since Evil Dead 2 was pretty much a remake of Evil Dead the precedent for remakes has been long established. For the first time in a long time I am kind of looking forward to a remake, at least to see how it is treated. Don’t get me wrong. It could still be the movie equivalent of dying of explosive diarrhea (let’s not forget that Sam Raime did do Spider-Man 3) and if it is I will relate the experience in excruciating detail. However, the potential to not suck is present.