Thursday, 29 December 2011

Kill List (2011)


The cast -                                           Director - Ben Wheatley
Neil Maskell as Jay
MyAnna Buring as Shel                        Writers - Ben Wheatley & Amy Jump
Michael Smiley as Gal
Emma Fryer as Fiona
Struan Rodger as The Client
Harry Simpson as Sam
Gareth Tunley as The Priest
Mark Kempner as The Librarian

The plot -
Ex-soldier turned contract killer Jay, eight months after a disastrous job in Kiev left him physically and mentally scarred is pressured by his partner, Gal, into taking on a new assignment. As they descend into the dark and disturbing world of the contract, Jay begins to unravel once again – his fear and paranoia sending him deep into the heart of darkness.

"I hate dirty soap"

Doing it's rounds on the festival circuit in Canada, USA, Finland, Sweden, France, Greece and UK's Frightfest, it received critical acclaim.

This isn't your average horror movie. This isn't the typical crap that low budget companies in the US churn out nor is it a big budget overrated Hollywood horror.

This is a British low budget horror giving the big boys with big bucks a run for their money!

The movie goes straight into the home life of Jay, Shel and their son Sam.
They seem like the typical family, arguing, having fun and having friends over for dinner.
Then you realise that all is not as it seems!
Even though the movie moves slowly, the dialogue, seductively scuzzy images and pitch-perfect performances keep you interested.
You get a real connection with the characters.


With the way each scene is delivered and how natural each performance is ( even though some of it is improvised ), you over look the ever so slightly predictable story.

From Hitman thriller with scenes of smashing fingers and skulls with a hammer, it soon takes a dive into the horror of ritualistic pagan ceremonies.

The twist and turns will keep you wanting to know more.

The ending will make you think you've gone insane or simply make you think "WTF?"

This movie is funny and bleak, tender and cruel, serious and out-there, weird and wonderful all at the same time.



Kill List gets a killer 8/10

Check out this clip below...

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Hostel: Part III (2011)

The cast -
Brian Hallisay as Scott
Kip Pardue as Carter
John Hensley as Justin
Skyler Stone as Mike
Kelly Thiebaud as Amy
Sarah Habel as Kendra
Thomas Kretschmann as Flemming
Chris Coy as Travis
Zulay Henao as Nikki

Director - Scott Spiegel

Writers - Michael D. Weiss & Eli Roth (characters)






The plot -
High stakes gambling takes on a sinister new meaning in this third chapter of the terrifying Hostel series. Scott leaves his fiancée Amy at home to attend his bachelor party in Las Vegas with three friends; Carter, Justin and Mike. While there, they are enticed by two sexy escorts; Kendra and Nikki, to join them at a private party way off the Strip. The next morning Mike and Nikki are missing!



As they try to find their friends and retrace their steps, they are all horrified to find themselves the subjects of a perverse game of torture, where members of the Elite Hunting Club are hosting the most sadistic show in town.








The beginning of the movie starts of promising with the usual Hostel set up but with a twist. But then it doesn't really get ant better from there. The actual hostel situation doesn't get addressed like in the first to films. In fact it's only seen again once throughout the movie. If the "Elite Hunting Club" wasn't used then this could have been a stand alone movie, as it did feel like one.

Instead of the dingy torture room there's now a clean, glass fronted area in which the victim is shown for all the EHC members to see and make bets on.

The deaths are made to be more elaborate with showmanship from the killer(s).

The effects aren't bad but there not great either.


Even with the couple of twist and turns within the movie it never really got of the ground, it only just keeps your attention. It felt like a cheap version of the original two Hostel movies and doesn't deserve to be called a sequel!

Overall it had a good opening scene and a good closing scene but not much substance in between.

It's another one of those sequels that's been made for the sake of it, hence the straight to DVD release.


Hostel Part III gets a 4/10

Check out the trailer below...


Thursday, 15 December 2011

Final Destination 5 (2011)

The cast -
Nicholas D'Agosto as Sam Lawton
Emma Bell as Molly Harper
Miles Fisher as Peter Friedkin
Ellen Wroe as Candice Hooper
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood as Olivia Castle
P. J. Byrne as Isaac Palmer
Arlen Escarpeta as Nathan Sears
David Koechner as Dennis Lapman
Courtney B. Vance as Agent Jim Block
Tony Todd as William Bludworth

Director - Steven Quale

Writers - Eric Heisserer & Jeffrey Reddick









The plot -
A group of co-workers are gathering for a company retreat. The group includes Sam, who desires to have an apprenticeship in Paris; his best friend Peter, Peter's girlfriend Candice, and office assistant Olivia. Along for the trip are Molly - Sam's girlfriend, Peter's co-workers Isaac and Nathan, and their boss Dennis. While they cross the North Bay Bridge, Sam receives a premonition that it will collapse when their bus is still on it, killing everyone apart from Molly. In a panic, he grabs Molly and gets off the bus. Peter, Candice, Olivia, Nathan, Isaac, and Dennis follow. The bridge collapses as Sam foresaw, but this time they have been spared. Following the memorial service, local coroner William Bludworth mysteriously warns the survivors that they cheated Death. They ignore his warnings and move on with their lives.



If you've seen the first four movies ( if you haven't then watch them all before this one ) then the rest of this film is pretty clear as to what direction it takes!





I loved the first Final Destination. It was a refreshing and original movie. The three that followed were not as good, as most sequels are. But there was something different about this one. Sure, it had the same set up - Cheat death, die in over elaborate, bloody and painful ways.

The difference was the misdirection of how the death scenes played out. It was done superbly yet they were so blunt. The gore was just the right amount, not over the top, but enough to make you think or even shout "Whoa, Ouch!"




"You heard the news, they say it was natural causes"..."They are more like supernatural"


I actually enjoyed this, even though the slower drama parts of the movie only just kept your attention between the action / death scenes.

The ending was fantastic. You don't see it coming throughout the film. Only at the very last minute do you put things together and it should still make you smile!

Tony Todd ( pictured below ) features more in this movie which is always good to see.


"I don't make the rules, I just clean up after the game is over"

If you like the first movie, even if you didn't like the rest, the fifth instalment is still worth watching.

For me, and this isn't a bad thing, the way it ends was my favourite part. It was perfect!




Number 5 could be the final part of the franchise, but probably not, even though with the way it ended it should be.

Final Destination 5, if not just for the final scene, gets a 7/10

Check out the clip below...

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Apollo 18 (2011)

The cast -
Warren Christie as Captain Benjamin "Ben" Anderson
Lloyd Owen as Commander Nathan "Nate" Walker
Ryan Robbins as Lieutenant Colonel John Grey
Andrew Airlie as Mission Control



Director - Gonzalo López-Gallego

Writers - Brian Miller & Cory Goodman

The plot -
Decades-old found footage from NASA's abandoned Apollo 18 mission, where two American astronauts were sent on a secret expedition, reveals the reason the U.S. has never returned to the moon.

In December, 1973, the crew of the previously-cancelled Apollo 18 mission is informed that the mission is a go, though it has now been deemed a top secret Department of Defence mission. Commander Nathan Walker, Lieutenant Colonel John Grey and Captain Benjamin Anderson are launched towards the Moon to place detectors to alert the United States of any impending Intercontinental ballistic missile attacks from the USSR.


Grey remains in orbit aboard the Freedom Command / Service module while Walker and Anderson land on the moon in the lunar module Liberty. While planting one of the detectors, the pair take samples of moon rocks. While attempting to sleep, the pair hear noises outside and a camera captures a small rock moving nearby. Houston claims the noises are interference from the ICBM detectors.

Anderson finds a rock sample on the floor of Liberty despite having secured the samples. During further exploration they discover footprints that lead them to a Soviet LK lander nearby, finding it functional but blood-stained. Anderson follows tracks leading into a dark crater and finds a dead cosmonaut. Walker queries Houston about the Soviet presence but is told only to continue with the mission. This leads to more strange sightings and noises where they find out that they are not the only organisms on the moon.


I was sceptical going in to watch this. It didn't have a great deal of good press.

After watching it I knew why!

The good things to take away from the movie were the effects, the use of actual space footage and camera work which did have the look of what it was supposed to - 1970s / on the moon, worked great.

The couldn't fault the acting either.

However, what was wrong with the movie out weighed any of that.

From the time they landed on the moon to the end of the movie, it felt like a complete miss-match of horror sub-genres that just didn't work together.




It was like a really bad version of Paranormal Activity / Alien / The Blair Witch Project / Arachnophobia all mixed together!  That's never going to work by anyone's standards. Plus there was no real tension that creeped me out or put me on the edge of my seat, it wasn't scary and didn't make me jump at any point.

I think it was a poor attempt on cashing in on the Found Footage sub-genre success of films like Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project.

I think this movie would have worked better if they just shot it normally without the "old footage from NASA" part, as the story itself isn't that bad.


Would I recommend this movie? NO!

Apollo 18 gets an appalling 4/10



Check out the trailer below...

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Chillerama (2011)

The plot -
It's the closing night at the last drive-in theatre in America and Cecil B. Kaufman has planned the ultimate marathon of lost film prints to unleash upon his faithful cinephile patrons. Four films so rare that they have never been exhibited publicly on American soil until this very night! With titles like Wadzilla, I Was A Teenage Werebear, The Diary of Anne Frankenstein, and Zom-B-Movie, Chillerama not only celebrates the golden age of drive-in B horror shlock but also spans over four decades of cinema with something for every bad taste.

Since this is an anthology I'll split it into the four films...










Wadzilla

The cast -
Adam Rifkin as Miles Munson
Sarah Mutch as Louise
Owen Benjamin as Larry
Ray Wise as Dr. Weems
Eric Roberts as General Bukkake

Director and Writer - Adam Rifkin



This is a spoof on 1950s monster movies and is about "a guy that goes to get his sperm count raised, and it creates one big sperm that attacks New York City".


I Was a Teenage Werebear

The cast -
Anton Troy as Talon
Sean Paul Lockhart as Ricky
Gabby West as Peggy Lou
Adam Robitel as Butch
Lin Shaye as Nurse Maleva
Ron Jeremy as Playbear

Director and Writer - Tim Sullivan





This is a musical and a spoof Grease and The Twilight Saga. It is set in 1962 and is about a "closeted kid who meets these other closeted kids, who when aroused turn into leather daddy werebears".


The Diary of Anne Frankenstein

The cast -
Joel David Moore as Adolf Hitler
Kristina Klebe as Eva Braun
Kane Hodder as Meshugannah

Director and Writer - Adam Green




This is a black and white film about Hitler "trying to create the perfect killing machine to win the war".


Zom B Movie

The cast -
Corey Jones as Tobe
Kali Thorne as Mayna
Brendan McCreary as Ryan Miller
Miles Dougal
Richard Riehle a Cecil Kaufman

Director and writer - Joe Lynch






This the main story that presents the other three stories and is a spoof of '70s and '80s zombie films.




When heard that Adam Green ( Hatchet - http://mavensmovievault.blogspot.com/2011/11/hatchet-2006-hatchet-ii-2010.html ) was involved with this and not knowing much else about it, the two things I was expecting was silliness and blood. On these two things I was not disappointed!

As it turned out this was more of a fantasy / comedy than a horror.

But it did pay homage to the cheap and cheerful horror B movies and video nasties of yesteryear.

With cheap special effects and crazy story lines, it made for some fun entertainment.
From bad acting to cheap effects to Grease like musical scenes to Joel David Moore speaking complete gibberish instead of German to some classic movie quotes, this movie will make you cringe while laughing your ass off.

With just a touch of gore for the horror fans and a couple of bits that might make you want to vomit but laugh at the same time, it's worth a watch if you like the old B movie and anthology format!

There is a fourth film that features but it gets interrupted by the the final instalment of the Zom B Movie, with the title of Defecation, this fecal onslaught is over mercifully quickly, as the zombie apocalypse is in full swing in the drive-in.

HOWEVER, if you are easily offended by such thing as gratuitous scrotum chewing, corpse rape, geysers of semen and outright discrimination towards homosexuals, AND, have no sense of humour, then I suggest you stay away from this movie!


Me personally, I'm pretty sick and twisted and will watch anything once and I found this movie making me laugh, a lot!

So in conclusion, Chillerama will not be every ones cup of tea, in fact it's more like a cup of whiskey / vomit / semen / coffee / blood. I will also TRY anything once! Ha ha.

Bare in mind that this movie is nothing more than a bit of fun and what I like to call "watchable shite" and you should enjoy it, if you're like me that is!!!

That said, overall Chillerama only gets a chilly 5/10

Check out the trailer below...

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Hatchet (2006) & Hatchet II (2010)


Hatchet (2006)
The cast -
Joel Moore as Ben
Tamara Feldman as Marybeth Dunston
Deon Richmond as Marcus
Kane Hodder as Victor Crowley / Mr. Crowley
Mercedes McNab as Misty
Parry Shen as Shawn
Joel Murray as Doug Shapiro
Joleigh Fioreavanti as Jenna
Richard Riehle as Jim Permatteo
Patrika Darbo as Shannon Permatteo
Robert Englund as Sampson Dunston
Joshua Leonard as Ainsley Dunston
Tony Todd as Reverend Zombie
John Carl Buechler as Jack Cracker
Rileah Vanderbilt as Young Victor Crowley


 
The plot -
A motley crew of tourists embark on a boat ride of the haunted Louisiana bayous where they learn the terrifying tale of local legend "Victor Crowley"; a horribly disfigured man who was tragically and accidentally killed with a hatchet by the hands of his own father. But when the boat sinks and the ghost story turns out to be real, the group tries desperately to escape the swamp with their lives...and all of their pieces.

Hatchet II (2010)
The cast -
Danielle Harris as Marybeth Dunston
Kane Hodder as Victor Crowley/Thomas Crowley
Tony Todd as Rev. Zombie
Tom Holland as Bob
R.A. Mihailoff as Trent
Parry Shen as Justin
AJ Bowen as Layton
Alexis Peters as Avery
Ed Ackerman as Cleatus
Colton Dunn as Vernon
David Foy as Chad
Rick McCallum as John
John Carl Buechler as Jack Cracker
Erika Hamilton as Lena
Sarah Agor as Brittany
Kathryn Fiore as Shyann Crowley
Mercedes McNab as Misty
Joleigh Fioravanti as Jenna
Rileah Vanderbilt as Young Victor Crowley
Nick Principe as Hunter
Cody Blue Snider as Young Sampson Dunston
Wayne Francis Canty as Jason

The plot -
Marybeth escapes the clutches of the deformed, swamp-dwelling iconic killer Victor Crowley. After learning the truth about her family's connection to the hatchet-wielding madman, Marybeth returns to the Louisiana swamps along with an army of hunters to recover the bodies of her family and exact the bloodiest revenge against the bayou butcher.

I'm not going into much depth into these two films. As there's really not that much to say!

In the first movie we're introduced to Victor Crowley, via the old "don't go into the woods" routine, or in this case, a swamp. It's the typical set up of a group of collage kids and a couple of others taking a trip into the unknown. The story of Crowley is revealed and sure enough he turns up!


Despite the fact that he bumbles around like an idiot he causes mayor carnage and the gore surpasses the couple of jumpy bits, comedy moments and anything else the movie has to offer.


"I was moving to Hollywood next month to be famous, now I'm going to die out here with all of you assholes"




In the second movie, which takes place a day or two later, Victor has grown hair, has sharpened his killing skills and more back story is revealed.





Tony Todd is featured more in number two and Danielle Harris replaces Tamara Feldman as Marybeth Dunston which adds a bit more credibility to the movie.


One person I haven't mentioned yet is the actor who plays Victor Crowley.


Horror fans will know who Kane Hodder is. If not, "tut tut" shame on you.

He is of course the 6 foot 4 inch behemoth who is best known for his portrayal of Jason Voorhees in four films from the Friday the 13th film series (parts VII through X).




Sure enough more blood and guts get chopped, hacked  and splattered all over the swamp.



"You can't kill him. He'll just be reborn. He's forced to return to the state he was when he was killed. You can't kill a ghost"..."Maybe I can't or maybe I can. But I'm going to bury that hatchet into his fucking face!"




At best these two films are fun, entertaining and will give you a giggle.






If you like a lot of gore and not so great acting then this is a bit of mindless fun for a Friday or Saturday night with a few beers and a few friends.

As a double feature I'm giving Hatchet and Hatchet II a 6/10

Check out the trailers below and keep a look out for Hatchet III in the not so distant future...
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=296119333745666&set=a.280814381942828.74084.266850526672547&type=3&theater



The Thing (2011)



The cast -
Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Dr. Kate Lloyd
Joel Edgerton as Sam Carter
Ulrich Thomsen as Dr. Sander Halvorson
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Derek Jameson
Eric Christian Olsen as Adam Finch
Trond Espen Seim as Edvard Wolner
Stig Henrik Hoff as Peder
Paul Braunstein as Griggs
Kim Bubbs as Juliette
Jonathan Lloyd Walker as Colin
Jo Adrian Haavind as Henrik
Jan Gunnar Røise as Olav
Carsten Bjørnlund as Karl
Ole Martin Aune Nilsen as Matias


Director - Matthijs van Heijningen Jr.

Writers -
Eric Heisserer and John W. Campbell Jr. (short story)







The plot -
In 1982, paleontologist Kate Lloyd is recruited by scientists Dr. Sander Halvorson and his assistant Adam Finch to join a Norwegian scientific team that has stumbled across a crashed extraterrestrial spaceship buried beneath the ice of Antarctica. They discover the frozen corpse of a creature that seems to have died in the crash 100,000 years ago.

After the creature is transported back to base in a block of ice, Dr. Sander orders them to retrieve a tissue sample, against Kate's protests. Later, while the others celebrate, co-pilot Derek sees the Thing escape from the block of ice. The team splits up into groups to search for the alien. Shortly after, all hell breaks loose as one by they the alien picks them off.



First off, lets clear any confusion, this is a PREQUEL to John Carpenter's The Thing (1982), not a remake. So if you have seen that, (and you should, if not why not?!), you should already know how The Thing (2011) ends. That's right, with the dog running in the snow being chased by the Norwegian guys in the Helicopter.

I was pleasantly surprised by this movie as I didn't really know what to expect as regards to direction of the script.

If you have seen Carpenter's movie then OK, this movie is predictable. But with the right direction it plays out well. In one scene you think they are gonna take a page right of Carpenter's movie but then things happen and it takes an alternative route.

"Not all of us are human!"

Mary Elizabeth Winstead played her role well and even showed shades of Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor.
The Norwegian scientific team were also good.

In fact the whole movie had the same feel to it as Carpenter's movie, which added to the mood and made it work better.




The one thing I have to pick on was the CGI. There was a little too much of it used when it came to the alien.
It seemed over complicated and not as graphic as it could be.



Without ruining the ended (as I said before, you should know how it ends), don't go switching it off thinking "that's not how it supposed to end," wait for a few minutes as the end credits start, the actual ending is shown then, before the rest of the end credits.

Overall it was a decent film and well worth a watch, even if you're a die hard John Carpenter fan!

The Thing (2011) gets a 7/10

Check out the trailer below...


Thursday, 24 November 2011

The Woman (2011)

The cast -
Pollyanna McIntosh as The Woman
Angela Bettis as Belle Cleek
Sean Bridgers as Chris Cleek
Lauren Ashley Carter as Peggy Cleek
Zach Rand as Brian Cleek
Shyla Molhusen as Darlin' Cleek


Director - Lucky McKee

Writers - Lucky McKee and Jack Ketchum













The plot -
The film opens with a psychedelic montage of the woman's life in the woods inter cut with images of her new born child lying in a nest of twigs. The baby is bathed in a pool of blood being lapped up by a wild wolf. The woman is a feral animal who was once part of a pact of predatory cannibals who lived like cavemen in the woods of Maine outside of a serene upper middle class suburb. She's a monster, a wolf living in the skin of a human.


It then cuts to very typical-looking American family at a barbeque. As the story goes on, we realize that this isn't the case.


The father, Chris, goes out hunting one day and finds the wild woman living deep in the woods near his home. So he does what any loving father and husband would do - he captures her, chains her up in his cellar, and brings the family in to help take care of and civilize her.


Sean Bridgers gives an effective performance as Chris Cleet (although he constantly reminded me of Will Ferrell), a family man with his own a business and penchant for hunting.

The constant fear in Chris's wife and daughters' eyes foreshadows the brutality that follows. Angela Bettis also gives a strong performance as the meek and weak willed wife who enables Chris' horrific actions which in turn inspires their son to unimaginable deviancy.

Rather than being a film about a man's hatred of women and his sick and violent manipulation of them, the film becomes a battle of wills, a twist on horror genre conventions where two evil, destructive forces battle each others.

One decisive attribute of the film is its use of music. Lucky interjects poppy rock tunes through out the film. Original songs written for the film featuring the lyrics that are synchronized to the action on screen play through out much of the running time.


Pollyanna Mcintosh plays The Woman in a powerhouse performance that carries the film through many of its shakier moments.

Finishing off with a nice little twist near the end, this is one to watch if you like your horror sick, twisted and disturbing.

Keep watching till the end of the credits for a short piece involving the youngest daughter which is actually quite sweet!

The Woman gets a 7/10

Check out the trailer below...