Saturday, 26 July 2014

The Purge: Anarchy (2014) Review

Although I saw The Purge, I didn't actually write a review for it. So after watching The Purge: Anarchy last night, I thought I would touch upon it's predecessor first.

I haven't got many nice things to say about it to be honest as I found it stupid and annoying. The plot was wafer thin and full of holes and it was filled with stupid characters making even more stupid decisions! The characters were so annoying that I actually wanted them all (they deserved it) too die. It was 2013's ATM which was my worse pick of 2012.

Despite the talents of Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey, the film was let down by poor, predictable and clichéd writing and in the outcome it was Rhys Wakefield's performance as the "Polite Leader" that was the most positive thing about the home invasion movie.




In short, I felt it was a dumbed down piece of over predictable entertainment for the masses and I hated it! I would give it 1 STAR!

With the sequel written and directed by James DeMonaco once again, I wasn't expecting much more with this sequel.

This time round the story follows a number of characters and moves out of a house and onto the streets of Los Angeles. Two hours before the start of the annual purge, we're introduced to the main cast, a grieving Sergeant (Frank Grillo) out for revenge, a bickering couple, Shane and Liz (Zach Gilford and Kiele Sanchez) on the verge of separation, a concerned mother and daughter, Eva and Cali (Carmen Ejogo and Zoë Soul) and their dying father/grandfather Papa Rico (John Beasley).

One again, the plot is thin and very simple. This time though there's an added under story with Carmelo (Michael K. Williams) as someone whom is speaking out against the purge and what it really represents. In the meantime, Shane and Liz's car breaks down, Eva and Cali are in world of trouble with Papa Rico going missing and the Sergeant the out for blood. A gang of purgers are after Shane and Liz, Eva and Cali are accosted by tactical purgers and predictably they all come together as one, under the begrudged protection of the Sergent.

I went into this movie with low expectations and from the outset it seemed to follow the same principles as the first film. That being, having annoying characters making stupid decisions and a level of predictability that causes more nuisance than good. About 45 minutes in and I found myself wanting to hate this film, but I just couldn't.


Yes, it has characters that I wanted to die because of their stupidity, but there was only two this time, instead of the whole cast! Frank Grillo was a good leading actor and I have to say, everything else I've seen in him, including this film, he has been solid. His character provides someone to cheer for, and somewhat of an anti-hero. His character starts of cold with one mission in mind, but as the film goes on he becomes a protector and rock for the main cast of characters to rely on, weather he likes it or not.

There is a few twists and turns throughout this sequel, but nothing that causes a big surprise with the underlining sub plot that presents a message that has been an issue since the invention of money. The rich and poor and the divide between the classes. The Purge sequel becomes more about the problems of the annual purge and not just the "cleansing" it's meant to be about. This was slightly broached in the first movie with "the stranger" as played by Edwin Hodge, but failed to make an impact. Hodge does make an appearance towards the end of the flick.

Half way through the movie, and especially towards the end, it felt more like an all out action flick rather than horror. This isn't a bad thing and was the reason why I didn't hate it. Yes, it is predictable, yes, there were times I was thinking "I wish he/she would should the fuck up!" and "Just shoot her/him for fucks sake!" All round, it had better character development and things are not as straight forward as they appear to be in the first flick, and that made The Purge: Anarchy a more entertaining watch as opposed to an insult to intelligence and mindless bashing of the senses.

I did enjoy it and thought it was a hell of a lot better than The Purge and that's why it gets the amount of stars I'm about to give it.

THE LACK OF TENSION IS MADE UP FOR BY THE FUN ACTION SCENES AND PROVED TO BE AN ENTERTAINING FILM THAT DIDN'T PISS ME OFF LIKE IT'S PREDECESSOR!

The Purge: Anarchy gets 3 Stars

Check out the trailer below...

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

The Trouble with Horror Groups on Facebook

If you're on Facebook and you're a horror fan then I'm sure you're aware of the plethora of horror groups that are available to join. They majority of them are generalised horror groups, but there's a few out there that specialise in certain areas such as Found Footage, Foreign Language Horror, Indie Horror, Hammer Horror etc. and there's even my own horror group that's only available to UK/Ireland residents. This blog post does NOT apply to any of these specialist group though.

I've actually been wanting to write about remakes and the reaction of horror fans in these general groups, but my good friend Dani Carnage aka Doctor Carnage recently wrote a blog post on the subject and took the words right out of my mouth! I 100% whole heartily agree with everything in his post so I'm sharing it right here for you read - Doctor Carnage's world of horror: Remakes Remakes Remakes.


"IF YOU DON'T KNOW, GET TO KNOW"

For those that don't me or are unfamiliar with what I do, then it's important for you to understand where I'm coming from with this post. I'm 36 years old and have a been a lover of film pretty much my whole life, with my favourite genre being Horror of course. With that love of film and the many different genres I watch, it was back in 2011 that I decided to specialise in this genre and start the Facebook Page Maven's Movie Vault of Horror along with this blog as a tool to write film reviews. For a short time I also wrote reviews for HORROR-MOVIES.CA. I'm also a senior committee member of the FRIGHT METER AWARDS organisation, where we honour the year's best in horror. Along with that I browse the many horror news websites and research films on a daily basis.

Over the years I've built a reputation that has had directors asking me to review their films before releasing them to the general public. This is something I'm very proud of. Even when my reviews have been negative, I have received positive feedback from directors still thanking me for my views and saying that they would take my constitutive criticism on board. As a lover of film and a horror film reviewer I pick up on all aspects. Direction, story, script, cinematography, editing, score etc. and give a subjective view on each.


"OPINIONS ARE LIKE ARSEHOLES & IT SUCKS"

OK, so we all have an opinion. These opinions don't have to be agreed with. The most important part of an opinion is expressing your views in a manner that others understand.

Going back to basics with the definition of OPINION...
1. a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.
2. a statement of advice by an expert on a professional matter.

The key words here are VIEW, JUDGEMENT, ADVICE.

"I liked it" or "I didn't like it" are perfectly acceptable opinions. However, saying "It sucks" or "it's shit" is NOT an opinion! "It sucked because..." I can get on board with. BUT, when you see these kind of people in these horror groups saying "it sucks" and ask them why they thought this, they can never explain the reason why they felt that way. Instead you get abuse hurled at you for even asking. As far as I am aware, these groups are set up so fans can talk about, share, recommend and DISCUSS everything this wonderful genre has to offer. But instead, 95% of the time, 95% of their members very quickly turn into an angry hate mob.

I have discussed this with some of my fellow horror fans and friends and have a few quotes for you with their thoughts on the subject:

"The worst things I see are honest fans trying to strike clear, detailed discussion about a film and the only responses are "it's shite" or "apart from it sucking, I didn't notice much about it". I hate these veiled attempts to sound intellectual or informed, but still failing to add to the discussion in any intellectual or meaningful way. I mean it's fine to disagree, or even to deeply hate a film, but only with some arguments to explain your reasoning. Otherwise it's a pissing contest instead of a debate. It's stuff like that alienates people in groups and keeps people from connecting as a community as opposed to simply being members of a collective of random individuals." - Chandler

"People don't want to Learn and Share. They want to bitch and get attention." - Bonnie

"They're great when they start off and have a few thousand members but then they seem to 'take off' and 20000 people later you're banging your head against your keyboard!" - Gary

"It's the same crap over and over. Bash remakes, bring up the same movie over and over and curse out someone that doesn't like the same movies as you. They're awful." - Brad

The phrase "I don't have answer to you" often pops up when these kind of fans are asked to explain why they thought something sucked. Asking someone "why?" is not a test or an attempt to start an argument. It's merely an attempt to understand fellow horror fans views as to why they didn't like something. Instead they get their back up. The only explanation, or rather logical assumption for such behaviour, is that they are simply not intelligent enough to be able to present a debate in an articulate manner. Or, putting it in a harsher light, they have no idea what they are talking about. Thus the thread turns nasty and it's the person asking "why?" that gets blamed for the start of something nasty and get called a "TROLL." Then the rest of them join in because they can't express themselves in the correct manner either.

Briefly touching on the remake argument, there exists something I like to call the "WE HATE REMAKES BANDWAGON." On this wagon are people that say "all remakes suck" and try to put down anyone else that says different. It slowly grows and grows with each comment, till you have to leave the conversation. I swear to the gods, old and new, that if these arguments happened in a pub I would be brawling and glassing people! Yes, I am a nasty bastard when I want or need to be!


"KNOWLEDGE IS POWER"

While I understand that not everybody is like me and goes to the lengths to find out information about movies, it's still not an excuse to throw your hat into the ring and come out with rather questionable views, especially if they contradict FACT! There is an abundance of fans that haven't yet seemed to grasp the concept of SUB-GENRES or even what horror actually means!

Yet again, back to basic... HORROR
1. an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust.
2. (informal) a bad or mischievous person.


A synonym of the word horror is TREPIDATION - 1. a feeling of fear or anxiety about something that may happen.

Just because you don't find something scary, doesn't mean it's not horror!


Sub-genres can get a little tricky and can often crossover too. So for those that don't know, here's a list that was compiled by a fellow horror fanatic:

Zombie
Slasher
Vampire
Werewolf
Creature Features
Occult
Horror Comedies
Horror Classics
Horror Thrillers

Animal Horror
Anthology Horror
Cannibals
Exploitation
Sexploitation
Shockumentaries
Erotic Horror
Gore/Extreme/Splatter
Splatstick
Torture Porn/Gorno
Gothic Horror
Psychological Horror
Sci-fi/Horror
Serial Killers
Home Invasion
Found Footage

Religious:
* Possession
* Satan/Demons
* Religious fanatics

Supernatural / Paranormal:
* Ghosts
* Witches/Warlocks
* Vampires
* Other Creatures


"PEOPLE SAY THE DUMBEST THINGS"

I once read a comment from an individual that stated Wes Craven's Scream wasn't horror. As we all should know, Scream is a Slasher. Throughout the 80's the Slasher flick was the bread and butter of horror. What's one of most famous slashers and arguably still the best of them all? That would be John Carpenter's Halloween. Are you really going to tell me that Halloween isn't horror?! The same person also said he only considered films about the Supernatural, ghosts etc, as horror.

This is where opinion is separated by fact. Just because you don't consider a film to be horror, doesn't mean that said film isn't. The FACTS tell us that it's horror, so your opinion is invalid and misinformed and simply has no place in any kind of debate.

A question arose in a group asking "What horror movie do you find more funny than scary?" A genuine question and a good one at that. Now, maybe it's just me, but one would think that this question wouldn't apply to horror comedies, as they are designed to be funny in the first place. Needless to say, people were mentioning a lot of horror comedies!


"NOTHING OF VALUE TO OFFER"

Think before you speak. Or in this case, think before you post a comment. The words misinformed, misguided, moronic, idiot, uneducated, stupidity, often come to mind with the majority of horror group members. I know that's a little harsh, but believe me, I could get worse. It's not rocket science to do a little research into something to find the right information. Or even asking a question. Jumping in with comments that make you look stupid to people that actually know a thing or two about horror is something I have no patience for. Even when you politely correct them you get a mouth full and all hell brakes lose and before you know it admins are banning you.

Over the course of 2 or 3 years, there has only been a handful of debates and discussions, in even less groups, that I actually enjoyed and found of value, where the members had a bigger vocabulary than just the word "SUCK."

I did get a little heated last night in a group, but I just couldn't not say anything. Suffice it to say, it has lead to this post. If you're reading this and are offended, then it probably applies to you! You are the reason why we, as horror fans get a bad name!

For the minority of the members that can actually converse as a normal human being and that are fun to have a chat with, I applaud you and encourage you to carry on the good fight for your fellow horror fans.

Now, I've been asked to apologise for my remarks last night in a certain horror group. Said remarks were nothing that I haven't said in this post. For me to apologise, I would have to be sorry. I stand by everything I said. Apologising would make me a hypocritical sheep and that is something I have never been and not about to start being now! Maybe instead, these so called admins need to take a look at what's goes on with this bad influence in the group and instead of berating the ones that actually have something genuine to offer, tell the "suckers" to at least try to express themselves with some kind of common sense and knowledge.

Yours sincerely, MAD MIKE

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Save Yourself Casting News



AMERICAN MARY STAR TRISTAN RISK LEADS AN ENSEMBLE CAST
OF CANADIAN WOMEN IN “SAVE YOURSELF”

If you're a friend of mine on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, you'll know I have a soft spot for 4 certain Canadian ladies. Jen and Sylvia Soska, Jessica Cameron and Tristan Risk. So it's with great pleasure to announce that "Little Miss Risk" will join Jessica in the cast of the upcoming road trip horror movie Save Yourself.

"This is pretty much what 'trouble' looks like!!" - Tristan Rick (FB)

From the Press Release:

Director Ryan M. Andrews is excited to attach American Mary star Tristan Risk (Pictured, right) to a powerhouse ensemble cast of Canadian talent in Save Yourself, shooting this summer. Risk joins the previously announced cast of Jessica Cameron (Truth Or Dare, Pictured, left), Ry Barrett (The Demolisher), Tianna Nori (Clean Break) and Sydney Kondruss (The Drownsman).

Regarding Risk, Andrews says; “The Soska’s film American Mary was arguably the biggest indie film of last year and Tristan Risk’s character ‘Beatrice’ was a stand out performance. The character was so unique and interesting. Risk played it perfectly, and to have a talent like her bringing her edge and attitude to Save Yourself is truly exciting.”

Since American Mary, Risk has been involved with more than half a dozen new films including Canadian Grindhouse company Astron 6’s film The Editor. About joining the cast of Save Yourself, Risk said; “I’m so thrilled to be doing this since it’s got some great traditional horror elements with girls road tripping and running afoul some folks of a deviant nature, but also because of its other qualities. I think this will surprise quite a few people and continue a proud tradition with Canadian Genre.”

Bobbie Phillips
And the talent does not stop there. Andrews, along with Executive Producers Pino Halili and Allen Ormerod, did a grueling casting session to hand pick for each role, including Caleigh LeGrand (Late Night Double Feature), Bea Santos (Antisocial) and a special appearance from veteran star Bobbie Phillips (Pictured right), whose credits include Wes Craven’s Carnival Of Souls, Showgirls, Evil Breed, The X-Files and many more. Phillips says, “I’m thrilled to be joining the cast of Save Yourself and looking forward to working with the delightfully twisted Ryan Andrews, Jessica Cameron & the rest of the bloody talented T.O. cast & crew.”




Returning to Andrews’ side to shoot the film is Michael Jari Davidson (Berkshire County, The Last Halloween, SICK). “Mr. Davidson shares the same love and passion that I have for this genre. His skills are beyond reproach and his style compliments me perfectly.” Andrews says about his cinematographer. Another familiar team for Andrews are Executive Producers Pino Halili and Allen Ormerod. Their award winning post-production company Post City Sound has not only worked on many of Andrews’ previous films, but also on some of the biggest television shows and indie films out of Canada, including Rodrigo Gudinõ’s The Last Will and Testament Of Rosalind Leigh.

Save Yourself is very active on social media keeping the fans up to date with the film’s progress. With a new website launched, along with their Twitter and Facebook page, the cast and crew will have plenty to share through to its release.


Tristan Risk
You can follow Tristan on Twitter @littlemissrisk and "like" her page Little Miss Risk on Facebook.

Check out Jessica's Facebook page Here and follow her on Twitter @JessicaCameron_

The more I hear about Save Yourself, the more excited I get! Can't wait. More news as it comes...