Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thirst [2009]

After being completely mesmerized by South Korea's Vengeance Triology, Park Chan-Wook wasted no time catapulting his way a top my list of favourite foreign directors.  So it was to no surprise that when I heard rumblings of Chan-Wook taking on the mythos of vampires in his next feature, my excitement much in fact, that I'm pretty, moved.  Somewhere, George Costanza can relate.

Father Darkman

In true Chan-Wook fashion, nothing is ordinary or normal.  Sang-hyeon is a loyal servant of the church and flaccid penis.  After the lifelong devotion becomes unfulfilling and un-fu-fucking he selflessly volunteers himself to an experimental medical project to help find a cure for a deadly disease elbola-ing through innocent lives.  He dies, gets a (vampire) blood transfusion, and miraculously recovers.  

Add a scrumptious hottie, Mahjong, armpit licking, barefoot sprinting, bloody vomit fluting, feats of strength, popped cherries, religious sins and nightly feedings from a local hospital's coma department and you have one of the most fucked up and intensely interesting Asian horrors since Takashi Miike's Visitor Q.  But even with all that, I must hold the prays back a bit.

Spanning over 2hrs and 15mins it's a real mental workout.  The extremely dark tone and depressing nature of the story, running that long, are like gift bags of razor blades at suicide wards.  This, ultimately, won't sit well for fear finders just looking for some quick blood and gratuitous nudity.  Thirst is definitely not for the weak of patience or lack of sleeped.

Chan-Wook attempts to liven up the undertaking with  some comic relief [since he can't physically come through your 1080p and poke you ("hey, you still awake?")].  Unfortunately, the frequent interruptions of dark humor seem to do more harm than good despite their comical genius.  These bumps in the road are more like lengthy detours, scenic or not.  And they left me...not bored...but really fuckin' tired to say the least.

Not to mention, the almost equally as heavy drag on the story was the entire angle of lingering religious sentiments; which held back back our protagonist`s eventual and incredibly obvious fate even more so.  I found it unnecessary and somewhat degrading - priest oò no priest...just tell us he doesnt want to kill someone for food or otherwise and you could`ve saved us a half hour.

Those points aside, Thirst is inventive, twisted, and another solid and recent installment to the vampire genre...bloodsuckers should rejoice.  Soundly produced, skillfully shot, and masterfully written...comparatively, not unlike Let The Right One In.  Trimmed down, it would`ve had a stranglehold on 9 or 10, but as it stands...


ps - the North American DVD release...not a god damn extra to be found...not even a trailer...fuckin bastards!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Acolytes [2008]

**(Yet another) beautiful young woman is running and screaming...and bloody...away from something terrible, we assume...because she's bloody and screaming...and running...but we can't really say for sure - but this's in the fuckin' woods - so suck it**

Luckily, the cliches, (sorta) end there.  While bored, and wandering around, smoking the reefer, three teens stumble upon a suspicious character in the woods with a shovel.  For some strange reason they assuuuuuume that he must be up to some sort of no good (I see all sorts of people in the woods with a shovels and Iiiiiii can casually be on my merry way, sheesh).

Vince Shlomi, where's my ShamWow!?!?!

Well...this time, they were right.  Cuz they dug up the recently disturbed soil and find a dead body.  After mulling it over awhile they decide to track down the killer and blackmail him into killing a Romper Stomper who previously flashback raped two of the boys.  Cool!  (Hey, I'm just happy the kids didn't start fuckin' the dead girl.)  When things don't go as planned, shit hits the fan, mysteries are revealed, and arrows and knives can't stop anyone.

Acolytes is a complex thriller and one helluva an attempt from Australian, Jon Hewitt, who took a terrible slasher genre conclusion and threw in some heavy thriller story to get there - a la the hip hip modern noir Brick.  Some slick photography and beautiful Queensland gave Acolytes a credible production look and a good dose of weighty suspense and the sexyiness of Hanna Mangan Lawrence - whom I'd like to introduce "ass, the new vagina" motto to - captured and retained my attention throughout.

But while Acolytes isn't quite the regular everyday run-of-the-mill teen is, however, a run-of-a-mill-ion or so undercharacterized trashcan twists that are rushed, hardly plausible, and force fed.  


ps - check out the poster for Jon Hewitt's next feature - simply titled "X"...deeeeeeeeelicious!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Baby Blues [2008]

"The following is based on actual events."

An opening line all too often used, attempting to send chills down ones spine and set a mood as a tale begins, leading mostly to "who gives a fuck" 's and "ya fuckin' right" 's equally as often.  But half way through Baby Blues I thought back, remembered, and cringed at the possibility that what I've just seen...had actually happened. <= mild spoilers

Deep in the south, smack dab in the bible belt, lives a family on an isolated farm.  As Pa is on the road living the life of a long haul trucker, his wife, is left alone to cope with 4 young ever fighting, arguing or crying children, a household filled with endless chores, and a marriage with signs of betrayal.  When an evil entity invades the home, and threatens the life of it's inhabitants, it is up to the eldest son to save his family and himself from a tragic demise.

If you have looked further into Baby Blues you will've undoubtedly run smack dab into the shocking major spoiler, running rampant in almost every review I've read.  And that's unfortunate because Baby Blues views best knowing the least amount of info possible.  So, it is for that reason that I will keep this review as vague as possible.

Baby Blues is really fuckin' dark...and it packs the most viscious and visceral punch since Inside, and the beat-down doesn't let up, uncaring if you're still trying to catch your breath or not.  And I say that even after a couple of the cruelest and most disturbing scenes are left sight unseen.  So after I've explained that there are 4 children in the house, and something shows up to do something very, very bad to them...I'd recommend you skip this one if you have any aversions whatsoever to the possibility of it happening.  Even for the truly depraved horror fan (like myself)  *fist pump* ya!, Baby Blues won't be the pride and joy or bragging piece of any DVD collection - your numbered edition of Cannibal Holocaust can breathe easy again ;)

Okay, now that that's out of the way. The setting and photography are frighteningly taken advantage of and captured - from the dreary archaic farmhouse to the mysterious and mazing cornfields.  More than once I was thrown back to thoughts of Grandma's House (which had my shittin' bricks as a kid!) wonder kids under 18 dig Baby Blues the most.

 Performances, for the most part, were excellent.  Baby Blues relies most heavily on the shoulders of children, and although in a couple moments their inexperience and lack of talent was clearly evident, it doesn't hinder their believability or the story's entrallment.

So...if you're in the get in a worse mood, toss Baby Blues in the DVD player.  But don't be surprised when you're saying "That was awesome! But I feel terrible for thinking so!" 


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Treevenge [2008, Jason Eisener]

A revisit of sort...but mostly cuz it's (not as widely) available online (as it should be) now.  Jason Eisener's Treevenge is one of the best shorts I have ever seen....gory as hell, hilarious and totally original...not unlike his winning faux trailer creation, Hobo With A Shotgun, included in the Grindhouse spectacle...also added for your displeasure.  Can't wait to see this guy comes up with next!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Black XXX-Mas [1999, Pieter Van Hees]

After viewing Linkeroever and admiring director Pieter Van Hees' helm of the project, I found myself diggin' up more dirt on the guy.  Which led me to his award winning short Black XXX-Mas from 1999.  Check this shit out...this guy's as spun as a ceiling in Courtney Love's room...I fuckin' love it!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Linkeroever [2008] aka Left Bank

Why the fuck aint Belgium making more horror these days?!?!?  Along with the recent successes of Vinyan (2008) and Calvaire (2004) (two Fabrice Du Welz-ian outtings), Linkeroever proves Belgium should steer some focus away from hardcore cycling and tasty waffles, toward some seriously fucked up "cinéma fantastique"!

We open with Marie - a part 22-year old track 'n field hottie and 13 year-old Dazed & Confused-ish virgin boy...I think I just suggested a closet love of all things penis and underage - but fuck it...just watch it and you'll see...I'm moving on!  When a handicapping blood condition prevents her from training, she quickly re-involves herself with a newly found boyfriend (Bobby), whom she quickly moves in with.

The apartment - standing in the repugnant and dismal, yet highscale, Antwerp suburb - fills Marie with boredom - ironically, as Bobby has done nothing but fill her like a champ.  One of the two inevitably lead her into the case of a mysterious disappearance of their former tenant.  Not to mention, at one point, she must've cheated on Santa cuz he left a lump of coal in her furryplace (you explain it otherwise!).  Anyway, along the way a couple periods are missed, archers show up, Marie gets naked, a lot, and a giant black hole has vagina written all over it.

At a quick glace, Linkeroever is everything but horror, a train wreck of abandoned and misdirected plotlines on a track to nowhere.  Choo choo choose to take a more sharpened look, and you may just find a truly inventive and beautiful tale of rebirth and modern paganism, structured as a J-horror, however, without the jump-scares and the no long-black-haired Asian tween on a vengeance mission.

Linkeroever is incredibly shot, quite slow, well-sexed, and only reveals itself in the last few short minutes, a destination not everyone will make it to, but I did, and wasn't disappointed.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Grace [2009] A Ripoff?

Should it be renamed Grace of the Vampire?!?!  

An eerie resemblance for sure, however, only a portion of the Grave of the Vampire seems to be similar.  In the 1974 film there's a subplot of the vampire child growing up and seeking revenge.

Give this is a go-around...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Grace [2009]

Grace, is just about as unsettling as they come.  Summed up hastely - it's no more than Three (Very Fucked Up Wo)Men & A Baby.  More deeply, it's the display of the unconditional maternal bond of mother and child, and the subsequent embodiment of horror when tragedy shows it's face.

After bearing two miscarriages, Mike and Madeline, now turned to holistic health and alternative livelihoods, are happily expecting a baby girl.  When a horrific car accident takes the life of Mike and the unborn child, Madeline's life, has inevitably been taken as well.  Having feelings of never being able to experience motherhood or giving birth she decides to takes the pregnancy and terminated infant to term with the help of a naturalist midwife.  Not long after the delivery, the once lifeless baby inside her, awakens...

From then on the story just b-lines it to land of demented fucked-up-ness.  The baby tears through momma's teets like a fat kid to a smarties box 'til they bleed - and Grace f'n loves the shit.  The overly intrusive mother-in-law is hellbent on taking the baby away from now shut in mother - and until she does, her husband will have to keep busy building a crib and sucking her breasts to stimulate the milk glands again - at least until she can pull her milk pump outta the basement.  

The midwife, who's into scratching desk drawers and hiding her true feelings for Madeline from her lesbian assistant, is stalking her.  Flies are god damned everywhere and Jonesy the cat keeps draggin' in dead mice and flinging his shit down the hall.

It's only a matter of time until Madeline runs out of blood - so when a family friend finds his way into the house and noses around just a lil' too much, the tad bit past his best before date hunk of bloody meat is on the menu.  Mmm gravy.

Unlike some of the more recent how-far-can-you-go shockers (Martyrs, Inside, Antichrist) - Grace, I would have a seriously hard time recommending to friends...scratch that, to damn near anyone.  Grace is extremely dark, and layered in a dismal monotone mood, only out-bored by it's painful pacing - but all is intended, and all is needed - remember, we are talking about topic of miscarriages and stillborn pregnancies.  

All in all, it's more drama than horror, more unsettling than shocking, and more twisted than sick.  I really, for lack of a better word - enjoyed Grace, but can't think of anyone else who would.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Rated But Not Reviewed - The Sequel

Dead & Breakfast (2004) 6/10

Frailty (2001) 9/10

Ginger Snaps (2000) 10/10

Hannibal Rising (2007) 4/10

Hatchet (2006) 8/10

The Hills Haves Eyes (2006) 6/10

Hostel (2005) 5/10

House of 1000 Corpses (2003) 4/10

Land of the Dead (2005) 5/10

The Last Horror Movie (2003) 6/10

Man With The Screaming Brain (2005) 4/10

The Others (2001) 6/10

Pink Eye (2008) 6/10

Slither (2006) 6/10

Snakes On A Plane (2006) 5/10

Sunshine (2007) 6/10

Toolbox Murders (2003) 8/10

Undead (2003) 8/10

Wrestlemaniac (2006) 5/10

Rated But Not Reviewed

28 Weeks Later (2007) 8/10

American Psycho (2000) 9/10

Audition (1999) 10/10

Battle Royale (2000) 7/10

Bubba Ho-Tep (2002) 9/10

Bug (2006) 8/10

Cabin Fever (2002) 7/10

The Children (2008) 9/10

Club Dread (2004) 6/10

Creep (2004) 9/10

Dead End (2003) 9/10

The Descent (2005) 10/10

Dog Soldiers (2002) 10/10

The Devil's Rejects (2005) 5/10