Saturday, December 13, 2008

13 Tzameti [2005]

"In the vien of Clerks, Following and Man Bites Dog...13 Tzameti is no less than black and white gold."

Synopsis: Sebastien, a young man looking for an alternative payment method after his employer overdoses and dies, steals an envelope with mysterious instructions from the man after he overhears it's possibility to lead to great fortune. Sebastien is led into a dark and heartless world of immorality and death.

Review: 13 Tzameti is yet another example of what's missing in cine-America: originality, independance, and stylistic moulding. It's base is solidly film-noir, only without the attractive and devious femme fatale, it's structure is slow and painful, and it's execution is armchair-gripping, uncomfortable and marvellous to watch.


Monday, December 8, 2008

The Strangers [2008]

"...livin' it up when I'm goin' doooooooooown"

Synopsis: Liv Tyler and **unimportant co-star** have a oscar nodded rocky-road-relationship with little-discussion argument interrupted by a few kids, grounded from their ipods and PS3's, with knife-murdering on their minds!

Review: An actual surprise! Now...not so much a hoof to the balls whilst-asleep surprise, more so a hot wife cheats on a rich husband with a pre-nupt kind of surprise...say wha!?!? Strangers is tightly-contructed, easily-sat-through and straight-as-an-arrow. Jump scares...check. Short runtime...check. Non-ditz hottie...check. Killers in masks...check. Ok ur girl's date movie night!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

An Ear To The Blood Soaked Ground - 100 Tears [2007]

Gotta fuckin' LOVE killer clowns...and this one looks like the biggest gore-luvin' of them all...'s limited screenings have been quiet and unrippling in the film world...1 DVD release in Germany so far, it's US release should be out by the end of the year...until then, enjoy the tasty trailer!

An Ear To The Blood Soaked Ground - Black Dynamite [2008]

Perhaps what Grindhouse should have been...Black Dynamite looks to rule so much 70's throwback exploitation ass...ya dig?

I'm guessing gratuitous nudity, senseless violence, fabricated vengeance plot and total balls out man fun (errr without any homophobic connotations). One can't help seeing the resemblance to the ultra-ass-kicking-Chilean-martials-arts-exposee Mirage Man [2007], another definate must-see. World premier at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2009.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Shrooms [2006]

"Don't do drugs...holy fuck, that cop that visited our school was right!!!"

Synopsis: Five Americans meet an Irish lad (who's NOT her boyfriend) for a planned trip into the Celtic backwoods for a weekend of drugs and good times. Unfortunately, they camp too close to an abandoned all-boys school ran by sadistic priests that hold a tragic history of abuse and murder.

Review: Yet again, more kids go camping in the woods, but this time, they take even more stereotypes and pack enough cliches to last an entire weekend - how can anyone screw that up?!?! With a muscled jock sportin' less mass than Mary-Kate on a crack binge, a stoner pulled from the Jay (& Silent Bob) knockoff assembly line (now with 50% more hippyage!), more j-horror-typical ghosty-shots than a Ju-On/Ringu marathon, and sans du nakit prancin' yankee cooch with chest-eggs exposed. How distasteful. If it wasn't for the absolutely beautiful Irish shot locations or the equally elegant Maya Hazen and Alice Greczyn, Shrooms would be completely pointless, unless you've taken said title. Not so recommended.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wilderness [2006]

"Predator meets Lord of the Flies..."

Synopsis: A group of young criminals are sent to a deserted island (or so they think...oooo) to rough it out as punishment for driving a fellow offender to commit suicide. It doesn't take long before the group begins to be hunted down by a mysterious figure and it's pack of killer dogs.

Review: This all-to-often-seen "troubled teens in the woods" surprisingly escapes the mould and turns an entertaining, dark and visceral gory slasher survival, shot over a well-utilized and captivating landscape. The slowly developed storyline will lose some viewers, but once the first drop of blood is spilt, more bleedings will follow...quickly and repeatedly. All deaths aside, the level of realism is what's most important here - a coin-flip of contentment so to speak. There really isn't a likeable or cheerable character - which is more realistic but less interesting. All in all, a decent UK horror/thriller.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Midnight Meat Train [2008]

"A gory fuckin' mess...and a bloody good time..."

Synopsis: Leon is an urban city photographer who stumbles upon the trail of a serial killer in the depths of the subway system. When local law enforcement shrug aside his findings, the mystery consumes him and leads him to face the killer head-on.

Review: I'm just effin' happy I finally got to see Clive Barker's Midnight Meat Train - after plans of a wide-spread release turned to direct-to-video turned to limited release turned to a complete fuckin' mystery - and now I'm pretty stoked to say it didn't disappoint. Ya, there is too much CGI, the ending (although true the short story) is a priceless WTF moment, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson makes a "citizen's arrest" cameo and Brooke Shields still isn't hot...but I couldn't help but dig it. The blood glubs and the gore pours...faces get smashed and then smashed again...Leslie Bibb is smokin' hot...devoid of any brain-dead WB teens...and Bradley Cooper isn't as annoying as I remembered. And do I even need to mention a crazy decap shot where the camera rolls with the head, sees it's own twitching and blood-spurting torso, then reflecting back to the still blinking eye on the head...awesome! The photography is incredible...the cold and chilling blues and greys of the subway scenes and the stale reds and burnt oranges of the "happy" scenes succesfully created the desired tone and mood. Sure it aint no Hellraiser, but this one should satisfy any Clive Barker fan.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Treevenge [2008] **Short**

"Yeah, Jonathan Torrens from "Trailer Park Boys" and "Jonavision" muthafuckas!!!"

Synopsis: After enduring decades of being sawed, dragged out of their homes, screwed by a stand and embarrassingly decorated - it's finally the time of Christmas tree retribution - Treevenge!

Review: An absolutely incredible short, written and directed by Jason Eisener, the creator of the SXSW Grindhouse contest winning short - Hobo With A Shotgun. I doubt a short has ever been as gory (not even Aftermath) or as hilarious - and I have yet to see one as entertaining. With it's Ewok-style Christmas tree dialogue, kickass 70's-esque score and no limits to the gory depravity, Treevenge is an anomaly in a sea of boring metaphoric shorts. I don't know if we'll ever see on a DVD but it would be a travesty if it wasn't. I can only hope we'll see this breath-of-fresh-air filmmaker get big-budget backing to create a feature length horror.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Eden Lake [2008]

"I'm gonna get me some revenge (if it's the last thing I do)..."

Synopsis: A young couple vacationing for the weekend at a flooded quarry run into a wiggity wiggigty wacked out group of teen thugs front-en' like you woodaint belief... hollaaaaah! The playa hata boyfriend accidently 187's the whigga crews crunked out rottie and all hell breaks loose.

Review: Eden Lake is quite good...until the final scenes which will either make it brilliant or shass (the seldomly used power combo of shit 'n ass). Our protagonists are innocent, interesting and compelling; our teen-age antogonists aptly opposing - cruel, offensive and fearless. It's solidly produced, directed and acted; and that's where the applause stops. A young couple in trouble (boooo) in the woods (come on) who get tortured (gimme a break) then seek revenge (oh fuck off!). Followed by a predictable, doubtful and uninspiring "twist ending". But like I said - some will really eat this shit up.


Saturday, November 8, 2008


I've been watching a ridiculous amount of movies recently so I apologize for not being to update the page...but stay tuned for the following choice reviews:

Mutant Chronicles


I Sell The Dead

Jack Brooks:  Monster Slayer


Trailer Park of Terror

Midnight Meat Train

Netherbeast Incorporated

Friday, October 24, 2008

Donkey Punch [2008]

"Could it have been more successful named Dirty Sanchez, Rusty Trombone or Cleveland Steamer?"

Synopsis:  Three hot hoochies from the UK travel to Spain where they meet a group sailors with a yaught to party on.  When one of the tarts is killed during the aptly named sex act, blame is assigned, plots are devised, and more death is inevitable.

Review:  Donkey Punch is devoid of any original merit, creative thought, or vested artistic touch; but who the fuck needs all that when you have yayo, death by outboard motor and possibly some rear entry!??!  NC-17?  Yes, please.  Donkey Punch, a blend of Dead Calm and Very Bad Things,  is solid.  The cast is young and attractive, without being retarded and boring (like most U.S. features of similar stature), and give strong performances until they're violently and entertainingly killed off.  The story could be quite real and is mostly relatable - a principal key to it's success.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Repo! The Genetic Opera [2008]

"A whole lotta singin'...but I can't understand shit..."

Synopsis:  An industrialized future where a worldwide epidemic of organ failure gives birth to a company that genetically grows replacement organs for sale or finance.  But don't miss a payment, otherwise you'll meet the Repo-Man to repossess it's property.  

Review:  Surely Repo! will become the Rocky Horror Picture Show of the either sulkin'-or-cryin' Emo era (generation xy, if we're still alphabetically naming our posterity); but God I hate fuckin' musicals.  Bill Moseley is irratating, Paris Hilton doesn't die, Paul Sorvino can't fuckin' sing, Alexa Vega plays either Shiloh, Shallow or Shadow (I'm not convinced it's just one), and Anthony Head should keep his acting to TV.  All I wanted was enough time in between rock anthems to decypher what the hell they were saying before they rev up for another number.  Grrr.  It's useless.  Can someone please come and repossess my eyes and ears before I shoot myself.


Dance of the Dead [2008]

"Sure...zombies catapulting out of their graves is cool...buuuuut..."

Synopsis:  Toxic gas from a nearby power plant awaken the dead, who run rampant through a small town on the night of it's high school's prom.

Review:  I have no idea what the fuck online reviewers are smoking...maybe it's the same chemical laden odor of the power plant that gave rise to the zombie in this dung-heap of a film.  8/10? 9/10? 10/10? are you fucking' kidding me?!?!?  Perhaps they're are all just grinning ear-to-ear like a retard from blowing eachother or happy having not to conjur up their own opinions and thoughts.  This is just a shit stain of a movie.  Since when could zombies drive, make out with other zombies, or become hypnotized by emo screamo?  Sure it's original, but it's far from clever or inventive.  There's no point, and no need.  Not to mention rip offs from Evil Dead 2 (severed hand gag) , Night of the Living Dead (attack on car at a cemetery), Return of the Living Dead (Braaaaains) and Day of the Dead (Rhodes getting torn apart by a zombie mob).  And this is coming from a pretty big Gregg Bishop fan (The Other Side kicked so much ass)!  Maybe I need to be a teenager again to find any of the one-liners funny, or be a nerd to find any characters likeable, or be forgetful and lose every horror I've ever seen to find the gore impressive...but I'm not, I'm not, and I can't.


4bia [2008]

"A mixed-bag of Asian horror...unoriginal, yet effective and satisfying."

Synopsis:  A 4-part anthology from Thai directors Youngyooth Thongkonthun, Paween Purikitpanya, Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom.  "Happiness" - A young woman is cooped up in her apartment due to a broken leg, when she becomes increasingly interested in a mysterious text messager. When the messages become more and more aggressive - fear, panic and horror ensues.  "Tit For Tat" - A young boy is relentlessly bullied by a group of schoolmates to to the point that ultimate retaliation is his only option.  "In The Middle" - Four teenagers embark on a trip of camping and white water rafting. When one of the boys goes missing after a down river accident, the boys must cope with the loss of a friend and the neverending fear created by themselves.  "The Last Fright" - A flight attendent is summoned to escort a single passenger from A to B, and then back again. The only catch is the passenger has a personal vendetta with the flight attendant and won't stop her vengeful plot, not even when she dies before the return flight.

Review:  "Happiness" is ultimately an unoriginal formulaic technological-device jump-scare film with few redeeming qualities; however, it's short runtime, basic yet tight construction and compressed nature make it successful.   There is little time to breathe or to pick apart it's flaws before it's over - concluding with it's predictable twist ending.  The tried and true methods have worked before and work again here.  "Tit For Tat" is pretty f'n weak.  From it's thrown together plot, piss-poor non-frightening CGI, and only a couple of redeeming scenes, it's easily the bad beer of the case.  "In The Middle" could quite easily be the funniest movie I have ever seen in a theatre.  In The Middle is cleverly written and hilariously acted by it's incredibly animated cast of misfits.  It mocks the genre, mocks it's continent of original and even mocks itself.  "The Last Fright" takes off where Happiness was left.  The story has shades of The Twilight Zone, and uses the same aforementioned jump-scare tactics used so often in Asian horror cinema.   A fun and frightening finale to the efforts from an ensemble of young Thai horror directors, that we haven't heard the last of I'm sure.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

End of the Line [2006]

"If nothing more, a valiant Canadian effort"

Synopsis: On her way home from work, Karen, a pysche-ward nurse, is aboard the last subway of the night when it suddenly stops, and a band of fanatic religious extremists begin a slaughtering rampage on any non-converted non-conformist. Karen, and a group of survivors, must escape the crucifix-dagger weilding killers and the cold dark depths of the underground tunnels.

Review: It's not often that I'm completely torn between opposite ends of the crap-gold spectrum, but End of the Line has me in this piss-off of a predicament. It's beginning is not unlike recent efforts in asian-horror, an opening jump scare, a gruesome death, haunting images of the supernatural, a heavy stringed score, and a dark and atmospheric setting. Awesome! The successful formula hasn't been used so effectively in North American cinema since What Lies Beneath?. It isn't long after this mood has set in before Quebecois writer/director Maurice Deveraux says "Faaack...YOU" and 180's the story into a stalk and slash tale of radical bible thumpers gone wild (but only if your married). Which I would have minded a lot more if he didn't deserve leaping high-fives and praisful good-job butt-pats for some brilliant gore and brutal violence - including a de-cap to esteem-at and a ma and pa kodak moment with their unborn fetus...the depraved shall rejoice! Keep it mind, that this doesn't save the story. The implausible degree of chaos in the world above and beyond the tunnels loses most of the believability of the plot, and therefore it's "what if..." effectiveness. When all is said and done, the film then double backs to it's opening origins and attempts to provide an underlying meaning for what we've just experienced. I'll leave it's level of achievement for you to decide.


Brain Dead [2007]

"In the decade of remakes...this familiar title, however, is not (and can I say unfortunately?)."

Synopsis:  A group of mostly young Americans take shelter in a run-down fishing lodge when they are terrorized by a slug-like alien amoeba that takes over it's human host by living in and slowly devouring their brains, vommiting on others to spread the infection, creating more mutant zombie-like monsters.

Review:  This fun and gory rollercoaster is quite the ride, albeit a not too unfamiliar one. Camouflaged by one-line zingers and heavy chested beauties all too eager to show off their bountiful boosoms, it's borderline ripoff (Slither), but notwithstanding entertaining and satisfying.  Many recent horrors have called themselves "throwbacks" or "old school" (Hatchet), but never got the formula right - Brain Dead is pulled straight from the 80's recipe book and was baked to tasty goodness.  The gore is truly 80's style, exploding deaths, bodily fluids gushing galour, and need I say - no death-by-CGI (unless absolutely necessary).  Add in a few jump scare moments, a snapper shot, lesbian skinny dipping, and total unorginality...makes it a must-see for cheese lovers, but should be avoided at all costs by anyone seeking breaths of fresh air or intellect on any level.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Let The Right One In [2008] Låt den rätte komma in

"...fence-sitting between the yards of brilliant and remarkable..."

Synopsis:  Oskar, a shy and bullied boy finds friendship and reliance in Eli, a vampire whom he meets in his apartment courtyard.

Review:  Let The Right One In...fence-sitting between the yards of brilliant and remarkable...may just be a perfect horror movie - if I may be so bold to actually place it into a single genre - transcending itself above and beyond any recent effort I can think of - including the visceral Inside, the shocking Martyrs, and the frightening [REC].  But how it manage to do it, is what's most impressive.  Child actors, astory true-to-the-myth yet original, implied violence, no off-the-wall special effects or crafty editing, a love story with coming-of-age undertones and an almost put-a-gun-to-my-head drawnout pacing are only a handful of the hurdles director Tomas Alfredson and writer John Ajvide Lindqvist overcame effortlessly.  And not unlike [REC], it brilliantly leaves so many questions left unanswered, an unfortunately underutilized technique, to keep it stained on your brain for days, however Let The Right One In even manages to do this seemlessly.   Let The Right One In is chilling, dark and stylish.  The Leon-esque characters, 30 Days of Night setting and Stand By Me realism keep you captivated.  It ever forward marches; on a solemn path of loneliness and meloncholy, and it is on this relatable ground, we all walk together.


Monday, September 15, 2008

13: Game of Death [2006]

"An interesting attempt from an uninteresting cinematic country in an already diluted genre..."

Synopsis:  Pusit is in the shits; having just lost his job, his girl, his car and is neck deep in debt.  All his luck seems to change when a game show calls offering big money for relatively simple tasks, but when the challenges become more and more severe, dangerous and all too familiar, his world spins out of control and he may just lose everything he had left. 

Review:  I don't want to spend too much time on this one, even though it did have some redeeming qualities.  13 is chalk full of plotholes, dull characters, uninventive shock moments and the all too notorious "we just picked you randomly" (so it could happen to anyone) motiveless storyline.  The pacing was good and was co-anchored by the almost spot-on comedic timing...the children's daycare scene was HILARIOUS!  If you have an hour 1/2 to kill, giv'er a whirl, just don't expect too much and everyone will get home safely.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Martyrs [2008]

"Erotica is not porn, and Martyrs is not torture porn."

Synopsis:  Lucie, a young woman subjected to an arduous childhood of pain and suffering, returns to the home of the family who abused her with on revenge on her mind.  Her vengeful outing leads her to her fate, and her best friend and consoler into the life of which she escaped from.

Review:  Martyrs is undeniably brilliant.  It has haunted me for days and I still can't shake the thoughts and emotions ingrained in my head for long enough to write an in depth review.  Martyrs is really two films in one, both unmistakenly different.  The first half is a high-paced, emotionally charged, kill-fest that packs a fuckin' punch like you wouldn't believe.  The second half is an emotionally draining and mind numbing slowed-down transcendant trek of tortuous abuse that leads to an almost unwatchable ending.  At parts it's scarier than [REC], more brutal than Inside and grotesquely more beautiful than Aftermath.  I've seen this film make viewers cower in their seat, vomit at their feet and remain speechless and motionless for minutes.  It's an experience.  It's a masterpiece.  It's unforgetable.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Zibahkhana [2007] aka Hell's Ground

"He's a shit sweeper's son, and always will be!"

Synopsis:  Five Pakistani youths set forth, unbenounced to their parents, on a road trip with a concert as their destination.  En route the group is diverted off course and end up smack dab in the middle of a infectuous outbreak of zombie-like flesh-eaters and a family of ritualistic killers.

Review:  What was marketed as "Pakistan's first gore film" hopefully won't be it's last, but I'm praying it's Omar ali Khan's last.  Hell's Ground is a mess.  The story layout is confusing as Hell; the first third plays out like a comedy, which rolls into a environmental subtexted zombie reel in the middle third and the final sequence showcases a killer-family slasher survival led by a sheet-wearing spikey-ball twirler.  I'm befuddled.  The frame-to-frame inconsistancies, cycled screen shots, piss poor sound effects and homages that seemed more blantant ripoffs were laughable.  The shameless Mondo Macabro plug and Rehan cameo, however, I did love!  The cast was decent, as to was the dialogue between them...confusing as the half English half Urdu was.  A disappointment at best.


p.s. - If you can clearly hear your attacker breathing, he's more times than not, not dead.  Holy fuck.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Calvaire [2004] aka The Ordeal

"Fuck chocolate, Belgium needs to give us more Du Welz!"

Synopsis:  A pseudo lounge singer's trip to his next gig is interrupted when his transportation breaks down.  With the help of a passer-by he finds a nearby inn owned by an all-too-friendly fellow artist whom offers room and isn't long before he finds out the ins and outs of the inn (ya, that's right!).

Review:  Fabrice Du Welz' debut film is a stellar outing in the disturbing and creepy bowls of shock horror, Calvaire is unsettling and uncomfortable from the get go, and never lets up on the reigns of distress and suffering.  With obvious nods to many of horror's elite, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Misery, Delieverance and Psycho, Calvaire is as unique as it is homaging.  It's almost unparalelled originality formulates from it's stunning cinematography, bold performances , and sets and locations so dismal they put the "grotesque" back in "holyfuckisitevergrotesque".  Calvaire simmers in the cooking and not in the feast...and demands we all stick out or tongues to have a taste, no matter who much it will burn.


Friday, September 5, 2008

Arang [2006]

"I've got a "ju-on" to pick..."

Synopsis:  A detective and her new forensics specialist partner are on the hunt to find the killer of 4 friends with a murderous past.  Is it another long-black-haired teen back from the dead to avenge her death or perhaps a different killer with a "ju-on" to pick? 

Review:  A monotonous uneventful outing to an over cliched genre...the long-black-haired ghost with a grudge...yet somehow writer/director Sang-hoon Ahn believed he could reinvent the wheel with an added detective twist to the story...a swing and a miss!  The spills were few and far between and the thrills were non-existant.  By the time the banal final twist was thrown at me the dismal score had me dozing, the acting had me "who cares"-ing, and Asia has me running to France!  Skip it.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fragile [2005]

Synopsis: A nurse is hired to work the final few nights at a hospital for children before the patients are moved to new hospital.

Review: Fragile (Frágiles) is a simple yet effective ghost story not uncommon with the dozens of recent Japanese horrors. Perhaps too overconfident, the film faulters. It lacks the frightful jumps of it's J-horror relatives and the final shocking twist. It's upside is it's capable cast and strong editing, both of which will keep you seated and your hand away from the remote. Although not worth seeking out, it may be a decent flick to find on TV when nothing else is on.


Monday, September 1, 2008

Eden Log [2007]


Synopsis:  A man awakes in the underworld without memory or clothing.  As he makes his way through the labyrinthian network truths and dangers are revealed, both equally frightening.

Review:  Eden Log is yet another masterpiece to emerge from France, and will comfortably accompany the likes of Saint Ange, Ils, À l'intérieur, Frontieres and Haute Tension.  Not surprisingly, as first time director Franck Vestiel sat assistant director on two of the five films (Ils and Saint Ange).  As the torch has now been unequivocably passed from Japan to France, it seems as though "chef-d'oeuvre" after "chef-d'oeuvre" are being churned out; each is unmistakenly different, exploring new realms of horror and taking untrodden paths to reach it.  Eden Log is a surreal oasis of dark mystery, enigmatic atmosphere and perilous intrigue.  The story unfolds slowly, yet effortlessly, we are taken on the same journey as our protagonist and we only learn what he learns; this will either attract or detract the viewer.  It's upsides are it's downsides.  For viewers, not unlike our protagonist, that can sustain the oddysey, will reach a conclusion that provides the answers we seek...and subsequently more questions to ask.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Rogue [2007]

"Move along...nothing to see here"

Synopsis:  An American travel journalist partakes in an Australian outback river tour to voyeur the crocodile in it's native habitat.  When the trip takes an unplanned detour the boat and it's passengers come face to face with the largest and most fierce man-eating croc the tour has ever seen.

Review:  Greg Mclean's follow-up to the arguably triumphant and successful debut, Wolf Creek, has more misses than hits and can easily be described has a significant and utter failure.  The first third is a wasted effort of scenic landscape shots, character development, and storyline buildups; none of which have bearingin later thirds.  The viewer is told that the crocs can hunt intelligently, propel their entire bodies straight out of the water using their powerful tails, and will rip you to shreds if unable to swallow you whole...none of which happened.  The dark and murky night scenes was shot beautifully but used little to no underwater shots, a successful trademark in any water creature features.  I can only assume that Mclean was trying to demonstrate he had real filmmaking skills, the postcard shots and the strange u-turn character driven finale, but both will be lost in translation.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Stuck [2007]

"...emotional and survivalistic, humorous and disturbing, a recipe for the uncomfortable pleasure we all love."

Synopsis: A young woman heads home after a drug-popping liquor-filled night at the club and en route introduces her windshield to a recently bad-luck stricken down and outer. Instead of taking him to the hospital (where she works) she chooses to leave him (and the car he's attached to) in her garage to bleed out. Cue the shit to hit the fan.

Review: Far from Gordon's best, far from original ("The Hitchhiker" from Creepshow 2), far from perfect, but not far off my favourites of '07 list. Stuart Gordon once again proves why is considered a "Master of Horror". Gordon pulls the best out of his actors, which allows the film to be sturdily placed upon their shoulders, and makes the most of a simple script, by making the situation as real and relatable as possible. The film does not drag and fits tightly into a perfect running time. This is a must for any situation film, a rule, nowadays, that is rarely followed. The tones are very emotional and survivalistic, humorous and disturbing, a recipe for the uncomfortable pleasure we all love. Highly recommended.


Monday, August 4, 2008

The Other Side [2006]

"The Other Side leaves no detail unattended, no shot unexplored, no plotline untravelled, and no viewer unentertained."

Synopsis: Sam North is dragically murdered and sent to hell where he escapes the clutches of Hades' tight hold and returns to the world of the living. He and other escapees must elude three reapers attempts at returning them to "The Pit" all the while solving the mystery of his missing fiancee.

Review: A brilliant no-budget product of a determined and talented young newcomer, writer/director/editor Gregg Bishop. A cross between The Matrix and Constantine, The Other Side is a high impact and exuberant energy filled outing that proves that there's hope and life left in the stagnant U.S. independant filmmaking scene. From start to finish we're treated with refreshingly witty humour, buckets-of-blood and exploding gun-shot-wounds, well-written plot-twists and an unknown, inexpericenced, yet capable, acting. The Other Side leaves no detail unattended, no shot unexplored, no plotline untravelled, and no viewer unentertained.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door [2007]

Synopsis: Based on the true story of the death of teenager Sylvia Likens who was murdered by her caregiver and caregiver's children. Meg Loughlin and her younger sister Susan are left to live with their abusive Aunt and cousins after the tragic death of her parents. It is not long before Meg is the center of verbal and subsequent horrific physical abusive which leads to her slow three month long death.

Review: This movie is NOT for the weak. Imagine if the dungeon scenes from Hostel were real, and Eli Roth decided to take you into the realm of a factual torturous death, with more shocking implied horror than effects laden exhibitions; this is what director Gregory Wilson has done with Jack Ketchum's novel of the same name. Not all the facts are real, however, the abuse and conclusion are. Wilson does not shy away from creating uneasiness and discomfort for the viewer, he forces us into the world of the movie and obliges us to feel her pain. Fantastic performances were given from the entire cast, fronted by lead actress Blythe Auffarth who blew me away with her role of Meg. Highly recommended for genre lovers with strong stomachs.


Frontieres [2007]

Synopsis: A group of hooligan rioters flee Paris, make a convenient but unfortunate stopover at a rural motel en route to Holland, as it is run by an in bred family of neo-fascist nazis.

Review: Somewhat of a mish mash pot of horror: 3 cups Texas Chainsaw Massacre, 2 cups Hostel, an ounce of Wolf Creek, a pinch of The Descent, bring to a boil and let simmer. This hearty meal is one grotesque, defiled and immoral stew, only to be savoured by the depraved movie goer. Although not without flaws (unoriginal story, cliche torture scenes), it's put together rather well. A balance of sturdy actors, ridiculous death scenes, a wild score, and an unaccustomed story will keep most viewers in their seat. By far not the best French slasher to come out recently, but much better than most of the U.S. produced garbage of late!


Monday, July 28, 2008

WΔZ [2007] aka The Killing Gene

"Saw meets Se7en?"

Synopsis: A creative, vengeful serial killer forces his victims to choose between taking the life of a loved one or their own.

Review: Critics have described this UK thriller as "Saw meets Se7en". I wouldn't be too quick to throw comparisons of the brilliant Saw or the masterpiece Se7en, however...their similar tones, stories and polished production might just be able to justify it. Stellan Skarsgård (Ronin) gives a fabulous performance as the mysterious Eddie Argo, a detective assigned to solve the shocking and scientific killings of local hoodlums and their loved ones. This dark film is paced quite well, which allows the story to unfold methodically all the way to its fantastic twist ending that comes completely out of left field. It's weaknesses are few and far between, but a standout minus goes to the inconsistant (rookie?) detective Helen Westcott (Melissa George), who can not properly balance her Skarsgård protagonist counterpart. Recommended to all dark crime thriller lovers.


The Mist [2007]

"The hype ruined it for me."

Synopsis: A large group of locals and non-locals of a small town are held hostage in a grocery store by a mysterious mist.

Review: It has taken me awhile to finally get around to seeing this Stephen King adaptation. What I had heard was "an incredible blockbuster", "the best King adaptation yet", and "one of the best endings to a horror movie". And when that "ending" finally happened, I didn't realize it until the credits rolled, and I felt confused and alone like a hooker with a sale on. "That's it!?!?", I screamed. The hype ruined it for me. Perhaps I needed to be an ignorant movie goer or a horror newbie. The surprise finale was neither unpredictable nor shocking, and was completely inconsistant compared to the characters previous actions and decisions. The middle third was irratatingly religious. Suspense and terror was nowhere to be found. Had I been on of the first to see this, perhaps my feelings would be different, but I wasn't so they're not.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Last Winter [2006]

"Sierra Alpha Yankee, Whiskey Hotel Alpha Tango!?!?!?"

Synopsis: In the great white tundra of the north, a group of oil drilling experts, accompanied by two operational scientists, are challenged by the effect of global warming and their quest for the much coveted natural resource.

Review: Things I learned from The Last Winter: Global warming will release giant caribou ghosts with a taste for blood from the frozen glaciers, walking nude into the icy abyss will result in my eyes being plucked out by crows, Ron Perlman wets his bed, sour gas will make us all crazy, and drinking doesn't help to battle hypothermia. What could have been an atmospheric, claustrophobic, and chilling psychological thriller, is sadly over complicated, over time and ironically, over everyone's head. The performances were strong enough, but the characters were developed to go the story.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Funny Games [2007]

"Funny Games... manipulates, force feeds, and drags the audience on a short leash with a strong grip."

Synopsis: Two young sociopathic killers enter and exit the lives of an innocent family vacationing at their lake-front cottage.

Review: Funny Games, a shot-for-shot remake of the 1997 film of the same title and director, manipulates, force feeds, and drags the audience on a short leash with a strong grip. Michael Haneke should be commended for taken the reigns on the remake inevidibility, and in this second effort, admirably, neither dumbs-down or over-simplifies his risky and controversial objectives deeply lined in his first triumph. Each and every visceral, disturbing, confusing, and substantive shot, dialogue, and scene is maintained and preserved. The script is undeniably engaging, uncomfortably hypnoptic and sadistically voyeur. Each and every performance is painstakingly real and brilliant, principally Michael Pitt, as "Paul", who arguably outperforms Funny Games' original, Arno Frisch. This film is still hard to watch, still difficult to digest, and still impossible to decipher.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

[REC] [2008]

"[REC] needs only a second to interest you, a minute to suck you in, and an hour to eat you whole."

Synopsis: A beautiful young reporter and her cameraman follows the working lives of a fire fighting detachment. A late night call of a "screaming old woman" brings them to a small apartment building where they meet it's residents, local law enforcement, and their soon to be fate.

Review: Not many recent horrors can leave you speechless...and speed reaching for the remote to replay it. [REC] does that and more. It infects you. It consumes you. It's a fuckin' masterpiece. What writers/directors Juame Balaguero and Paco Plaza have done is not rocket science, they stripped down horror to its bare fuckable necessities. They conjured up a simple idea, made it relatable and realistic, shot it stylistically, and hinted on and implied a deep rooted back story. The action is fierce and each "scene" catapults you into the next. Where Cloverfield failed to produce likeable characters, [REC] succeeds. We know nothing about the female protagonist, but her personality just beckons you to care for her; and her firefighter cohorts need only their professions to do the same. [REC] needs only a second to interest you, a minute to suck you in, and an hour to eat you whole.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pathology [2008]

"I want my Milano back, and somebody owes me a pathology"

Synopsis: Young forensics genius Dr. Ted Grey begins a residency at a university pathology lab where a group of fellow classmates, led by Dr. Jake Gallo, take turns randomly killing innocent victims and solving their scientifically mysterious murders as a form of entertainment and game.

Review: This absurd implausable story will either attract or distract; and it has me caught in the indecisive world of purgatory. The quick and tight editing gave the pace a steady and straightlined flow but became an issue when establishing each characters motive, consideration and provocation. The cast was strong, even the fart-smelling skill of lead Milo Ventimiglia (Dr. Ted Grey) was only partly annoying. Top nods go to the surprisingly brilliant Michael Weston, as Dr. Jake Gallo, and Keir O'Donnell, as Dr. Ben Stravinsky. Gore hounds will be gratified with the elegant visuals and red soaked autopsy tables, almost Aftermath-esque. All that said, it was a few rungs short of it's online buzz, so don't run out and pull a muscle ripping this off the store shelves, there's a lot more to be seen before you throw this in the DVD player.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Zombie Strippers! [2008]

"Fake Tits, Throat Slits & A Dose of Wit"

Synopsis: George W., now serving his fourth term of U.S. presidency, has spread his military arms too thin (into the entire middle-east, Canada and Iceland). After recognizing their need for more soldiers, U.S. scientists create a virus to reanimate the bodies of dead soldiers, allowing them to be put back into action as "super soldiers". All goes to hell in the research labs, a bitten soldier flees the premises and takes refuge in a nearby strip club where he infects the entertainment.'s boobie time!

Review: Zombie Strippers! should not be taken seriously...and for that, it fails and succeeds. Horrorphiles who seek subtext, underlying meaning, metaphors and satirical commentary need to adhere to these simple yet effective procautionary instructions...make yourselves be seen, back away slowly, and don't make any direct eye contact. If you can do that, you'll be alright to go about your business and you may briskly walk back to your Argento collection. This is a b-movie...errr...z-movie. It's sturdy foundation is built on delivering fun and amusement. The jokes are obvious and retardedly infecting, the tits and ass are bountiful and abundant, the gore is outrageous and hilarious, and each of the components was only outdone by the intelligent dialogue and script. And by intelligent I don't mean "intellectual" or "deeply conjured", it was just written perfectly for it's goal; a solid turn-your-brain-off tit and shit show. Unfortunately these charateristics are it's downfall. Zombie Strippers! does not break any new ground or even attempt to, and it's the attempt that is what film, especially horror, is all about.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Insanitarium [2008]

Synopsis: A loving brother insanely razorblades his pecs, hits the street, and insanely mumbles and screams at people until he's institutionalized to an insane asylum, ran by an insane Dr. who experiments on his insane patients until they become even more insane, all in an effort to save his committed insane sister.

Review: Insanitarium is, at its core, Prison Break with zombies. So if you like Prison Break and zombie movies, then pop Season 1 or Dawn of the Dead into the DVD player and forget this dung pile ever caught your attention. But if it's more you want, then I shall be so inclined. Subbing for Wentworth Miller is Jesse Metcalfe as Jack, the not as smart, but strangely as eager, loving brother trying to break his sibling out of an institution. We don't know much about his history or motives, probably because they were never thought up. Peter Stormore is back as the bad guy, but this time he's crazy for no apparent reason, if not for convenience sake. Upsides to this mess are Paul Giamatti **cough cough** I mean Kevin Sussman as the paranoid sidekick, the hiring and not overusing a slew full of hootch and culo, and a machete though the skull and out the mouth.


Monday, July 14, 2008

All The Boys Love Mandy Lane [2006]

Synopsis: Mandy Lane, the recently turned drop dead gorgeous bookworm, is coerced into a weekend ranch get-a-way; where a deranged admirer of Mandy's tight legged and panty locked lower half spoils all the innocent fun.

Review: All The Boys... is a solid modern slasher that earns it's inclusion to the classic genre. The comedic element is thankfully only moderately used, which keeps the viewers attention on suspense build-up and character development. The w-teen cast seemed seasoned and experienced, which was a breath of fresh air considering the recent hiring strategy of "you're hot, you're hired". This one will keep you interested and entertained right up until it's acceptably decent twist ending.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Broken [2006, Boyes/Mason]

Synopsis: Hope, a single mother, is abducted from a restful sleep at home, and wakes up in a cold, damp nightmare of tortuous tests, humiliation, slavery and the mystery of her daughter's safety and whereabouts.

Review: A rare film that has actually benefitted from being highly cut and edited (the proud decision made by the filmmakers themselves). Do not expect another "torture porn" Hostel knockoff, which has been mentioned and compared to in more than one online review. Broken offers an excellent story, a relatable, passionate and convincing *albeit annoying at times* performance by lead Nadya Brand, superb direction, and set props/cinematography so stunning that they almost appear as characters themselves. It's only flaw is it's uniqueness, independance, and the obvious fingerprints left from two young and up and coming director/writers.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Gag [2006]

Synopsis: Two hapless robbers find themselves far from safe as they broke into a home of a deranged killer.

Review: A typical low budget capture and torture flick aimed to nurse from the supple teet of the Saw and Hostel cash cows. Our anti-heros are unfortunately hardly admirable leaving the viewer confused on who to cheer for. We know one of the crooks "needs the cash" but we never find out why. Are we to expect it is for something genuinely valiant? The script fails to let us in on the big secret. Shot largely in a dark and grimy basement, first-time director Scott W. Mckinlay fails to draw the viewer into any sort of terror or fear. The torture is unintentionally humorous to the desensitized and the few hide & stalk scenes were poorly done....panic, uneasiness and horror are completely absent as the story can not draw the audience in.

Timber Falls [2007]

Synopsis: Two young unmarried hitchhikers are terrorized, kidnapped, tortured, and experimented on by a family of jesus-loving, bible-thumping, god-fearing redneck hillbillies. Ya, that's one has EVER done something this original in DECADES.

Review: A dramatic kill in the opening minutes, the unexciting twist ending, the trademark torture scenes, the lost in the woods only to found by a crazy jebus-praising family plot. This cinematic mess is just one big long circumcized clichée with a only a handful of pat-on-the-back redeemable qualities. The acting is decent, if not good. The cinematography was wonderfully shot, however, I'm pretty sure it's purely incidental as it's location could hardly present itself as anything but scenic and beautiful. I did like the pregnancy aspect of the story. The dialogue is quite realistic and far from tedious. All that being said, don't waste any time seeking out or watching this trivial salad of ass and feces (and please don't mistake "ass" as any indication of gratutious nudity content, you won't find that here).


Monday, June 30, 2008

Inside [2007] (aka À l'intérieur)

Synopsis: A recently widowed pregnant woman spends one last night before she will be admitted to the hospital for a scheduled induced labour when she is terrorized by crazed woman.

Review: I don't even know where I should start ranting and raving about this (yet another) French horror masterpiece. This movie just blew me away; as High Tension did a couple of years ago. Visceral, unrelenting, primitive, beautiful, ultra-violent and gory as hell. First timers Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury seemed like season pros as they built both story and character in a method that's minimal, instinctive and primitive (similar to what the Canadian cult hit Cube [1997] had done). The darkly shot photography is rich, chilling and cold. Beatrice Dalle, the gap-toothed goddess, is nothing short of brilliant and horrifying as "la femme". Her protagonist adversary "Sarah", played by Alysson Paradis, is admirable and compelling. Inside is truly one of the most spine-tingling, stomach turning and sadistically gratifying horrors you will ever see.