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|Index||31 reviews in total|
I saw this one today at the Fantasy and Horror Filmfest in Munich. This was very disappointing. Absolutely no suspense at all, apart from the two or three "shock moments" which resulted through the sound effects. A wanna-be-shocker, who tried to copy movies like "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and "The Blair Which Project", with exchangeable actors and a storyline told in one second. It could have been so good! As the "monster" was shown the first time, the whole audience laughed because it was everything but frightening (I just say: dog). This movie was one of the worst and most boring movies I have seen in a long time, I checked my watch every ten minutes. No shock moments, instead of that endless talks. Before you spend your money at this movie, think twice.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Evil Remains references, pays homage to, or just blatantly rips off
every classic as well as recently released horror movie. In the first
two scenes, there are snippets of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The
Blair Witch Project, Jeepers Creepers, The Hills Have Eyes, The Evil
Dead, Halloween, and fill in the blank, because when the credits roll
you will be hard pressed to name at least one slasher film that hasn't
Nonetheless, this is a solid if not very original movie. Director James Merendino forgot it takes a lot of humor to glue together so many disparate pieces but that doesn't stop him from referencing two similar scavenger films that were quite funny, House of 1,000 Corpses and Cabin Fever. As a result a movie that could have been good is just a cut above the average slasher flick, no pun intended. Merendino also left out another essential ingredient for this genre: T&A. This will not start a trend.
The story is otherwise boilerplate slasher. Five students prowl around an abandoned plantation that is the subject of a vague legend. Four will die and one will live, and with this movie that isn't a spoiler. Two of the three male students are brothers, bonded by what apparently was a bad childhood (guess what happens before we know).
Yeoman acting is bolstered by standout performances from an uncredited Kurtwood Smith as the sagacious shrink and Estella Warren and Ashley Scott as lesbians who tag along to help on the ill-defined graduate work. The on-location New Orleans scenes also lend a creepy atmosphere to this otherwise ordinary film. Yet this is somewhat offset by production and continuity flaws, which include an abandoned house that is fully lighted in one scene.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I wasn't sure about this low budget horror movie for the longest time because I have to admit I didn't like the DVD cover art on it.It makes the movie look cheap and b-rated. I like the movie's alternate title called trespassing which is what they all did. I was surprised to learn I actually liked the movie and found it to be chilling and interesting.The opening scene reminded me a lot of the opening of a movie called hatred of a minute which was also about a boy being physically abused and then grows up to be a monster. And then it's 20 years later and we meet the rest of the cast.After all the humor and some lame dialog happens, 2 brothers and 3 friends go up to investigate an area that was rumored to be haunted and cursed after many tragic occurrences took place over the years.It was as soon as they entered the house that the movie got eerie and started to get frightening. It is an effective ghost story with lots of tension and a creepy soundtrack.I was watching this movie late at night all alone so I guess it may have had an effect on me, and either my mind was playing tricks on me or there was a presence in my apartment. For an independent and low budget film it did seem like one of the better ones.
The graduation student Mark (Daniel Gillies) is developing a monograph
work about contemporary myths, and he interviews the psychiatrist Dr.
Theodore Rosen (Kurtwood Smith), who was treating Carl Bryce (Jeff
Galpin), a deranged teenager that killed his parents twenty years ago.
The body of Carl has never been found and there is an urban legend that
the spot is a cursed place since slavery times, causing madness and
death to those that trespass the area. Mark invites his friends Eric
(Jeff Davis), Tyler (Clayne Crawford), Kristy Goodman (Estella Warren)
and Sharon (Ashley Scott) to help him in his research in the old real
estate. Once there, a mysterious killer starts to execute and chase the
group, with the survivors trying to escape alive.
"Trespassing" is a predictable and forgettable low-budget movie, with a promising beginning and a deceptive ambiguous conclusion. The story is another rip-off of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre", but with an awful handy cam that shacks and trembles the images, most of them too close and without permitting to see the surroundings. Ashley Scott performs the annoying and totally incoherent character Sharon, taking the worst possible attitudes under stress. The conclusion is ridiculous, probably with the intention of a sequel. My vote is four.
Title (Brazil): "Invasão Mortal" ("Mortal Invasion")
Rating: *** out of ****
I'll admit it, the deciding factor that made me seek out this film was Estella Warren. Sure, she displayed little acting talent and almost no screen presence in any of her prior roles, but there's no questioning she's a total hottie and seeing her in the role of a scream queen was a dream come true. To my utmost surprise, both she and the movie are pretty damn good, making this movie one of the more pleasant surprises of the past few months.
Evil Remains is about a small group of graduate students (five in all) who head to a long-abandoned plantation estate to help one of the guys do his thesis on myths. The plantation itself is the site of a popular myth, that the land is cursed and whoever trespasses will find themselves with an uncontrollable urge to act on their rage. Upon their arrival, the guys set up the equipment in the house while the two girls (Estella Warren and Ashley Scott), who also happen to be lesbians, go for a short walk in the woods, not knowing their return to the house will be a particularly bloody and messy one.
Right from the beginning, Evil Remains is immediately distinguished by the effective direction of James Merendino, who has a knack for developing creepy atmosphere, building suspense, and even delivering a few genuine scares. Despite the fact that natural lighting typically annoys me (and it does make it a bit difficult to tell apart the male characters for a while), it's used to good effect, giving the movie a stark look that works especially well during the nighttime scenes.
Merendino handles the stalk-and-slash sequences superbly; the second half of the film is essentially a series of bloody slasher action and exciting chase scenes that utilize both the claustrophobic and wide-spaced settings fairly well. The house itself is only explored to a mildly satisfying effect, but it's an effectively constricted location that immeasurably aids in tightening the suspense, especially in one scene where the survivors find themselves anxiously awaiting the killer on the other side of the door.
Taking everything into consideration, I was most surprised by the performances, which are all quite good. The gorgeously hot Estella Warren is especially excellent as the smart, likable heroine who actually thinks the situation through before acting. As a matter of fact, I was quite amazed by Warren's work here, since she showed no discernible acting talent in any other film I've seen her in. The only one in the cast that doesn't quite hold up is Ashley Scott, who's not bad, but the role requires her to do little more than whine.
The movie is still obviously not without its flaws. Despite the solid acting, the movie does little to establish its characters, in particular the two brothers with a troubled past that's brought up but dropped just as quickly in favor of some bloody slasher action. The decision to make the lead a lesbian is interesting (the only other slasher I've seen that made its heroine a lesbian was Deep in the Woods, but it only seemed like an excuse for nudity in that flick), but it ultimately makes little difference, as Warren and Ashley Scott could merely have played best friends and no one would be the wiser, but at least it prevents Warren from having a forced romance with one of the male characters.
A few of the characters could also show a little more common sense; one guy sees a freaky-looking image on a photo he just took, but neglects to show it to anyone else as incentive to leave. Another guy leaps off the roof of the house to escape but actually ends up backing himself towards the front door! And there's one lengthy scene that'll have you shouting "close the damn door!" Most disappointing is a potentially exciting chase scene through the woods that makes an abrupt segue that temporarily kills the momentum.
The plot's also a little hazy, there's no sense of clarity regarding exactly what it is the curse does and how a masked killer would specifically factor into it. Still, the film works for what it is, a fast-paced slasher with a number of bloody kills, exciting chases, and a terrifically secluded setting. Definitely recommended to genre fans.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Evil Remains" is a mediocre slasher film.
Twenty years after a massacre, a haunted plantation has become a figure in New Orleans urban mythology. Psychology student Mark, (Daniel Gillies) and friends Tyler, (Clayne Crawford) Eric, (Jeff Bryan Davis) Kristy Goodman, (Estella Warren) and Sharon, (Ashley Scott) are anxious to know the truth behind the legend, and decide to investigate the truth behind it. As the surroundings start to take their toll on the group and the house begins to creep them out, they start to fall prey to a mysterious killer. Deciding that escape is better, the remaining friends try to leave the house alive.
The Good News: There is some rather decent moments in here. There are some scenes in here that are quite inventive and very well-constructed. The attic sequence is especially nice, as a series of unknown banging upstairs, and upon ascending into the dusty, lowly-lit attic and discover the eviscerated corpse of one of their friends. Moments later, one of them is killed by a booby trap and stumbles into a wall and nails themselves in the head. The deaths themselves aren't half bad and do have some nice gore to them. One is killed with hedge-clippers to the head, another has their throat slit, there's a violent impaling and another is run over by a truck, leaving this satisfactory in the gore factor. There's also some very long and quite exhilarating chase scenes in here that are a joy to watch, and elevate this one a little further. It's not that bad.
The Bad News: This had a lot of potential to be good, and when it's on it's great, but when it's not, there's a lot to dislike here. The main reason for this is that it's one of the talkier slashers ever. The film seems determined to spend all of its time with actors sitting around, standing around, or driving around chatting aimlessly about random subjects. Nearly everything significant that happens in here is repeatedly and endlessly talked about in here. After seeing a similar scene for the fifth consecutive scene, it begins to wear on and it doesn't stop. That is what harms the movie the most, with nearly the first hour of the film covered by this type of action. You can tell that the plot wants to go more into the horror territory every now and then, but it's stuck in the cyclical exposition until the end, making it a slow film to get through.
The Final Verdict: With some great moments spread throughout that make it an entertaining film, but it's ultimately hurt by the fact that nearly everything is talked to death in the film. It's not that bad of a film, so if it sounds like fun, give it a shot. You could do a lot worse than this one.
Rated R: Graphic Violence and Graphic Language
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Witness the modern evolution of the slasher pic: the kids have grown up
a little, gotten themselves lives (kinda) and Dark Secrets, the killers
are more vague and shadowy than they were before, and the editors all
have ADHD. But, once you get beyond that, it's plain to see that Evil
Remains doesn't really bring anything new to the table.
For instance, we start this ride with a flashback to a brutal crime that occurred 20 years earlier. I ask you, how many horror films made since, say, 1978 have started with essentially the same device? But, let's go with it for now. After seeing an entire family killed, we slide forward to the present, where Mark is planning to investigate the site of the murder with an eye toward debunking the curse that locals believe hangs over the property. He takes along his brother Tyler, an expendable techie, and a pair of lesbians played by a couple of up-and-coming actresses who must not be so up-and-coming anymore, seeing as how they made this film.
Of course, anyone who's seen Sorority House Massacre can tell where this is headed. (You mean you haven't seen Sorority House Massacre? For shame!) People get creepy feelings, see and hear weird stuff, and eventually start turning up dead. In the end, one girl is left alive and no one believes her story. Yada, yada, roll credits. But, so that we know that this is a modern slasher, the cast spend their spare time psychoanalyzing each other and trying to sound deep instead of partying and bedhopping like weasels in heat. And, since we're in the post-Blair Witch era, the identity of the killer remains vague and indistinct, more a property of the locale than an actual character.
Visually, Evil Remains is a mixed bag. Kind of Robert Altman meets Chris Carter meets digital postproduction and they all go out and have too many drinks and are hung over the next day. Sometimes it works really well, sometimes so much is happening at once in such a dark room that you totally lose track of the action.
Overall, while I wouldn't actually recommend this movie, I would call it another perfectly serviceable entry in the long and proud lineage of low-budget slasher pics. And as long as they keep making them, we keep watching them, whether we like it, or not. Pity us.
To be fair, it was watchable. The thing that annoyed me mostly with this movie is that it was very slow moving, the character's you never really got any inside depth of so you was left with that neutral feeling of you don't care if they LIVE or DIE. The acting was somewhat to be desired but what do you expect when they probably picked a handful of people from the street and gave them a few hours to remember their lines. The thing that amused me the most was the actual DVD box, on the back it says "Scarier than CABIN FEVER, more terrifying than JEEPERS CREEPERS" - LOL what planet is this guy from, first off he picked 2 lousy examples of horror movies to compare with and second off it was NEITHER!
A friend rented this movie, and he liked it so much he wants to get his
own copy now. He had me watch the rental. I don't understand what he
liked about it! I'm going to have to ask him.
In an opening scene set twenty years in the past, as I recall, a couple is concerned about their son, who's killed a dog. I think. They both get killed by someone in a mask before the opening credits begin. Maryam D'Abo plays the mother, and does a convincing accent, assuming she's not dubbed. This scene, apart from the father wandering around a lot in his underwear, and talking talking talking, wasn't terribly bad.
However, after that it's a heck of a lot more talking. In a scene with Kurtwood Smith and one of the twentysomethings, they have a conversation in which the scene continually cuts between two static one-shots. How about a different angle, or a two shot, or something to break up the monotony?
A bunch of unsympathetic twentysomethings go out to the house from the opening. It's surrounded with a lot of animal traps. It's dark inside and the camera jerks around a lot. They talk a lot. People get killed, though you can barely see them. The end.
Even this director's Witchcraft IV, a pretty unmemorable movie in a generally pretty poor series, was better than this.
I just wanted to write this because the other critic seemed quite harsh. This little movie was quite a fun and scary surprise with very adequate acting and directing. This is a slasher/ghost story that kept me on the edge of my seat and just tense enough to keep me up right now to write this. It does have similarities with some other major motion pictures like Texas and Wrong Turn but also to Session9, because it is subdued in a way and keeps the viewer guessing. The sounds are very well executed as is the lack of sound in some scenes. This silence becomes very threatening at times especially in the darker scenes. All I can say is I really liked it a lot. Watch it alone with the lights OUT.
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