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I just caught The Roost at SXSW--my friends and I had a great time with it. Reminded me of staying up and watching Night Flight and horror movies at sleep overs as a kid. Loved the vintage horror host framework and that it never became campy or self parody. It was also refreshing to see a scary movie that is a true monster movie rather than another slasher, bogeyman or demon flick--not that I don't like that type of horror, but a good monster movie seems to be a rarity. The theater was packed which meant that it was also rewarding to see a film that made people jump and squeal (the guy two seats down from me was hugging his knees at one point with his hands over his ears). It had great atmospheric music and a cool use of horror programs coming from all the radios that created an eerie effect. I'm totally impressed that this is a first time director who made this with next to nothing. Horror fans should love it!
"The Roost" is a movie that was most assuredly made by lovers of "B" movies for lovers of "B" movies. Nothing more, Nothing less. And as a lover of this particular type of film I was stoked to see it. I have to admit though...It was a while before I could get into the movie. It starts out slooowly, With a intro/outro featuring a horror host that I found to be fairly interminable. As a matter of fact I didn't know what was going on for more than a few minutes of the film. Once the feature actually started I managed to get a hold of the concept & enjoy the film a little bit more. A lot of the film is grainy & dark. Not a good combo if you ask me but it 's not enough to hinder watching the film on your TV. It must have been rough to watch on a big screen though. The plot? Well let's just say that 4 People are stranded on an old country road in the middle of the night & seek shelter/help at an barn that they stumble upon. Unfortunately for them the barn is infested with killer bats that have the ability to turn you into a zombie if you are bitten by them. WTF? Yeah, It's a bit odd. As a matter of fact it doesn't make any sense at all. But I don't think they were looking to make a logical movie when they were filming this. Just a movie that makes you jump a few times & cover your eyes a bit. And in that sense they succeeded.....Barely. It's got plenty of atmosphere & the performances were pretty tight(When you can hear them, The sound is fairly bad. Subtitles help a lot). The ending was also pretty eerie. All in all a pretty good little movie to get you through a dark & stormy night with your significant other. And I believe that's what the filmmakers set out to do. They succeeded.
While driving to the wedding of their friend Mike, Trevor (Karl Jacob),
Brian (Sean Reid), Allison (Vanessa Horneff) and her brother Elliot
(Wil Horneff) leave the main road and have an accident, and their car
falls in a ditch in a lonely road. The quartet seeks for help in an
empty farm, but Elliot and Trevor decides to walk further, leaving
Brian and Allison waiting for them in the farm. They meet the highway
patrol Officer Mitchell (John Speredakos) that brings them back to meet
Brian and Allison. Meanwhile Brian decides to go to the barn, where he
is attacked by vampire bats. When the group seeks for him in the barn,
they are trapped inside by the killer bats that turn people into
"The Roost" is not a totally bad low-budget movie, actually it is tense and has good acting of the unknown cast. However, it is a short story that is extended in low-pace to last 80 minutes running time, and becomes boring in a certain moment. The conclusion and the silly black and white insertions with The Horror Host are awful. I do not know if the intention of the director / writer Ti West was to extend the feature or try to make it cult with the insertions, but the fact is that it does not work. My vote is four.
Title (Brazil): "Ataque dos Morcegos" ("Bats Attack")
Four people are on their way to a wedding when they decide to take a
backroad due to traffic. A bat hits their windshield causing them to
wreck the car, and now they're stuck in the middle of nowhere. After
walking a good ways, they realize that there's a farm down the road.
Too bad for them the rest of the bats have chosen the farm's barn to
roost in. Worse, the people that the bats attack turn into zombies for
whatever reason, and they already attacked the elderly owners of the
This film takes a very threadbare plot and does nothing with it. Not that they could really do much with it to begin with, you might say, but anything can happen if you bring enough imagination and rugged ambition to the table. Alas, "The Roost" winds up being a relatively bland effort where not much happens. The bat attacks are underwhelming and sloppily handled. It's never explained why their victims become zombies. I love the unexplained, I love being left to wonder about certain things that aren't spelled out for you, but I just didn't care in this case. In fact, the film didn't give me a reason to care about much of anything. The characters are whiny too, so I couldn't really invest in them. Cult director Larry Fessenden appears very briefly as an ill-fated tow truck driver. He also served as producer. Seems like an odd fit since his films are the right kind of ambiguous, whereas this thing tries ambiguity just to be even more stripped down than it already is.
The whole film has a faux "Frightmare Theater" wraparound complete with horror host, but it was more annoying than it was effective at creating any type of nostalgia. At one point, the film is stopped dead in it's tracks due to the host's antics. Really, did we need this nonsense intruding on the main tale?
Even with the bare minimum of a plot, this could have been something. It seems like Mr. West just wasn't interested. There is one moment in the film that I really liked, that being when one of the teens gets into the farmhouse and looks over a bunch of pictures on the wall. The way in which West shoots this brief sequence made something so simple as looking at photos take on a certain level of uneasiness. The rest of the film was in desperate need of something like that. Excluding that one bit, this is weak stuff all around.
I found this pretty banal - I watched in it London's cosy ICA cinema 2
- it's an art cinema, but if you get the right crowd (as they recently
did for 'Thundercrack!', the atmosphere in this 45-seater is excellent.
However, I had to step past a guy who'd fallen asleep when the movie ended - the build up was excellent at points, but there was no payoff. It was pretty senseless, and although the grain lent it a spooky low budget ambiance, I'm not certain that was the intention.
Acting was reasonable, but the characters were beyond paper-thin. It was seriously hard to care about them at all, yet at the same time I wished them no particularly ill-will. Neither of these is a good sign.
Not recommended - not appalling, but not great by any means.
Today, we get a lot of movies that are supposed to be throwbacks to the
70's and 80's era of horror and exploitation. Usually, they get this
wrong ("Malevolence", "Satan's Playground", "The Hazing", etc.), but
sometimes, a movie gets it right. Fortunately, "The Roost" gets it
Opening with the type of horror movie host that you saw in the old days, "Roost" is actually a movie-within-a movie. The actually movie is nothing original: A group of friends car breaks down, they get stranded, and run into a deadly force (here it's bats that turn victims into zombie-like killers) While the premise and movie in a way is nothing that original, it works because of how it is all done. There is gore, but it's not a gore fest, as the movie focuses more on atmosphere and suspense (which fails on a few occasions) than gory slapstick gags and homages that can grow tiresome. Also effective is the way director sets up several scenes, including a sequence where a cop is attacked by bats. Adding to it is a wonderfully creepy screeching violin score, and some effective (but never over used) CGI effects involving the bats.
"The Roost" won't change the face of horror. It's not too original and the acting is mediocre at best. However, it's still a blast, and will be a treat to those who grew up going to see Grindhouse movies or who watched creaky, faded videos of horror movies.
With "The Roost", young writer/director Ti West (the guy's only one year older than me, damned!) proves that making your own horror movie doesn't necessarily has to be unrealizable dream! On the contrary, it's actually the easiest profession in the world just as long as your ambitions don't reach much further than telling a fun story and paying tribute to the B-movie industry of the 70's at the same time! And if that happens to be what you're expecting to see as a viewer, this really isn't such a bad little gem after all! The plot is incredibly basic, telling a story that features absolutely no surprises, no twists and no red herrings at all! Four adolescents on their way to a friend's wedding take the stupid decision to try a shortcut off the highway and face engine trouble in the middle of nowhere. When they arrive at the only farmhouse for miles around, the place is congested with bats that turn people into bloodthirsty zombies. The elderly couple and the helpful police officer are the first to die, but the kids will unquestionably follow next That's it, nothing more!! There's no explanation given to the origin of the zombie-virus spread by the bats (or why it's specifically spread by bats in the first place), no attempt to find a solution and not even a reasonable ending! Not only the script but also the technical aspects of "The Roost" are as primitive as can be. The cinematography is monotonous, with loads of traditional pans and fixed camera angles, and the editing is handled like a routine job. The make-up effects are occasionally nasty, though, with a satisfying amount of blood and guts. The most remarkable aspect about the entire production is the 70's throwback narration style. Underrated actor Tom Noonan ("Robocop 2", "Manhunter") stars as the ghoulish host a sort of Crypt Keeper, if you will who briefly introduces the creature feature and simultaneously makes a couple of wit references towards classic cinema. This film certainly isn't meant for video game and/or CGI effects worshiping audiences, but fans of Hammer, Amicus or even the "The Twilight Zone" will definitely appreciate it!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film is one of those pleasant little surprises that makes great use of its low budget, especially its setting. Kudos to the staffer who found the barn that serves as the movie's main set piece and to the director for knowing how to use it. The cast does quality work, particularly Wil and Vanessa Horneff, who come up with just the right emotions to make their reactions convincing. If I have one complaint, it's the final out come on the covered bridge. I felt cheated. I can't say too much without spoiling it for other viewers, but I'd have loved something less predictable, say, like Wil Horneff coming up with a good left hook at the big moment.
As a lover of all things horror, I started getting angry at all the
terrible remakes that were coming out. Couldn't America, the refiner of
all things horror, come up with anything fresh? What had happened?
After seeing The Roost, I realized that my problem was that I was
looking to Hollywood for the answer - when all throughout film history
the true great horror films were coming from independent theater.
Although The Roost is not necessarily destined for Horror film greatness throughout time, it is a fresh look at the genre and generates some genuine scares/insights into fear. It successfully creates suspense without necessarily showing the violence, and the element of the unknown is maintained throughout the film (as opposed to just showing us the bad guy and scaring with gore).
This film is definitely worth your time if you appreciate people who are working to further the horror genre. If not, go see The Fog remake.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As my headliner said, the first time I saw John Carpenter's Halloween, I thought "why the hype?". It didn't scare me, I remember feeling tense but with no real sense of release or pull out the stops non-stop horror. But the one thing Halloween did do to me was got me wanting to see it again. somehow the suspense created in that movie kept it intriguing, mysterious and above all Haunting! so, when it came back out to the theaters after its initial release, I went and saw it again and loved it. so much that I have seen Halloween ad naseum. The Roost had this effect on me last night after viewing, I thought.....huh. suspenseful, well done, grainy artsy inventive not unlike the first evil dead with Its Bad Sound, grainy pics, etc. The Roost kept me glued and tense throughout the whole movie. I wanted Evil Dead but got something else. I wanted Blair Witch but got something else. The Roost just could be a classic waiting to be realized. I will watch it again and savor the suspense. (spoiler alert!!!) best scene that I recall after the one viewing that sent Shivers up my spine is when dead Grandma goes by the window with the guy hiding in barn oblivious that she'll be coming round the corner when she comes..... heh. give it a chance like I gave Cabin Fever, which of course I now love as everyone else does. Roost beats hell out of the Hollywood schlock release Bats.
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