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.