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Rolf Kanesky is becoming the most interesting director working in low
budget horror. Lord knows there are enough terrible hand-held efforts
clogging up the rental shelves, although it's cool that people are
getting out there and trying. Anyhow, Rolf seems to have a much lower
budget on this one than on The Hazing, be he economises well and the
make up and effects are good and it works to the films benefit that
they are sparingly used until the climax.
Story concerns an unstable young woman who uses a wacko ancient fertility mask to try and improve her sex life with her husband only to end up having horrific visions of a spirit contained within the mask. The demon seems to come to life while she's stranded in the woods on a ill-fated road trip and ends up running for her life. In to the the mix is Kanefsky regular Tiffany Shepis and her gang of buddies hanging out in a remote cottage. They have their own complicated relationship issues. Shepis is a good actress who seems naturally uninhibited and doesn't look down upon B-movie roles and just has fun with it. She's great here, and has a sexy tough and funny role. Sure, there's nudity and gore, but who would want to see her as, say, Ashton Kutchers girl in a sucky comedy. The rest of cast are variable with the lead actress overplaying at times but improving as the film goes on and her responses look more appropriate.
I digress, sorry, violence and weirdness abound as the "nightmare man " descends upon the cottage, and the newly arrived guest ain't feeling herself. Some odd, surprising twists happen before the climax. Think the The Mask meets The Exorcist and you're there. Kind of..
I was lucky enough to have caught this on The Horror Channel and it's one of their best recent acquisitions. I'm not saying Nightare Man is a stone-cold classic but it is a gem and well executed considering the low budget and resources. I do feel this director will improve with each movie. Kanfesky knows how to be ambitious whilst giving the horror fans what they want.
Not that I am saying this movie was all bad, but that was the highlight and if the sexy talk is the highlight of a horror movie then it is not much of a horror film in the end. The story has this woman who seems to be having a bit of trouble on the marital front. Her solution to the problems seems to be to order some love god mask, they instead seem to send her the evil demon love god mask and throughout the movie you wander if this manifest ion is real or not. She is being driven to the mental institution by her husband they break down and she is seemingly stalked and attacked by this person or thing while her husband is getting gas. Meanwhile, somewhere in the woods there is a house with two couples. Two very cute girls who are friends and their boyfriends. They play truth or dare and then the crazy...or not, girl ends up in their care. Well lets just say there is somebody out there trying to get at her as he quickly steals a crossbow and handles the one guy while he is being mooned. However, you still don't know if it is the mysterious nightmare man the girl goes on about or something else. The husband is heading for the cabin though and soon afterward so are the police. This movie had potential as do most horror movies and like so many they just miss some stuff. On the plus side you get to see a couple of good kills, some good nudity, and the end was rather good too. However, I was kind of hoping for something more in the lines of say an Evil Dead movie rather than a typical slasher film with a twist here and there. So far out of the three Afterdark movies in this new batch this is the strongest, sadly though compared to the last batch this one would be tied with Penny Dreadful as the weakest in my eyes.
Wow, this movie was downright bad. From the acting to the score to the
screenplay to the direction, just downright bad. I think the writer
didn't realize that fertility deals with procreation, not libido.
The biggest problem with this movie is apparent from the get-go. Generally in movies you pull for a hero, whether them likely or not. Films have protagonists and the audience is supposed to like or care for them depending on the context. In order for this film to work, we have to truly care for the well-being and safety of said protagonist. The character is terribly written; she's whiny, bitchy, and full of inconsistency. The actress makes it worse. She's just terrible. Literally unbelievably bad.
The plot is weak, and the "twist" is seen miles away. Very obvious, yet it doesn't make much sense.
The minor characters are fluff at best, and the "being" is hilarious. It isn't one of those, "so bad it's good" things, you actually find yourself forcing laughter at just how terrible this is.
The score reminds me of shaking uncontrollably in a cold sweat. It's uncomfortable, annoying and headache-inducing.
All in all, this movie is only worth a viewing if you're attempting to show someone how NOT to make a film. You could point out plot, screenplay, direction, cinematography, acting, characters, score, visuals, et cetera.
There are times we are all tempted to watch something so horrible, we get chuckles. This is NOT that film. Just stay away if you know what's good for you.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Nightmare Man starts as Bill (Luciano Szafir) is driving his wife Ellen
(Blythe Metz) cross country to a mental institute, apparently Ellen
thinks she's possessed by some sort of demon from an Afican tribal wood
carved face mask, obviously she isn't & that's why she's on her way to
a loony bin. However en-route the car runs out of petrol in the middle
of nowhere, Bill sets off on foot to find a petrol station while Ellen
stays behind in the car. It turns out though Ellen may not be as mad as
originally anticipated as the Nightmare Man (Aaron Sherry) becomes a
living reality that wants to kill her, she runs away into some wood
where she stumbles upon a log cabin with four friends inside who all
become potential victims for the Nightmare Man...
Written, produced & directed by Rolfe Kanefsky this low budget teen slasher isn't quite as bad as I had feared & isn't too bad if you have low enough expectations. The script obviously takes it inspiration from the self conscious Scream (1996) & it's imitators, this is a basic teen slasher & to be honest it doesn't really try to be anything else. Sure there are a couple of average twists in the story to liven things up a bit but at heart this is just a slasher. To be positive at least it moves along at a nice enough pace, there might have been a couple more murders but I wasn't bored with it, the character's are actually a lot better than I thought with reasonable decision making like actively trying to stick together & deciding not to go out in the woods alone or split up which is a nice change & generally speaking I thought it was a painless if undemanding & forgettable enough way to pass 90 odd minutes. The other thing that I liked about this film is Tiffany Shepis who I have seen in several other low budget horror films but didn't particularly know her in the sense if I saw a picture of her I wouldn't recognise her, here though she's probably the best thing about Nightmare Man as she runs around in her extremely mini skirt & boots holding a huge hunting rifle spouting mildly amusing one-liners, hey I'm easily pleased OK?
Director Kanefsky does alright on a low budget but it's not stylish & it all rather flat & bland. I've just realised that I've seen every horror film Kanefsky has directed to this point (lucky me, not), The Hazing (2004) which is pretty good, Corpses (2004) which is not so good, Jacqueline Hyde (2006) which is terrible & this which is OK. There's no scares, the twists aren't entirely successful or surprising, there's not much tension & no atmosphere but nothings perfect I suppose. Horror fans will also be able to spot the blatant The Evil Dead (1982) homage. There's not much gore here, an arrow fired into someones mouth, a knife stuck under someones chin & a bit of blood splatter & not much else.
Withn a supposed budget of about $250,000 this is as well made as you could expect, it's certainly glossier & nicer looking than many low budget straight-to-video/DVD horror film crap that's out there. As I said Tiffany Shepis is the best thing about Nightmare Man, she's a really hot looking chick with a great body & she actually gives a decent performance here which I'm sure no one was expecting to hear. The rest of the cast do OK & all of the girls find themselves in some degree of undress at one point or another.
Nightmare Man isn't anything particularly special, in fact it's nothing more than OK but even that's still a hell of a lot better than I was expecting. Worth a watch for horror fans who have to see everything & anything but other more casual viewers out there may not be that impressed.
I had heard some good things about this Horrorfest film so I decided to
give it a shot. I had fun with some parts of it but it's mostly an
annoying, typical slasher mess. This is the only film of the 2007
Horrorfest I've seen but I'll probably be checking out the others as
well. Though, they're usually pretty bad, to be honest.
The acting was okay, I guess but Tiffany Shepis' character was so extremely annoying that her performance alone could have ruined the whole movie. However, a lot of things did. The script is terrible, I am so tired of "trapped in a cabin in the middle of the woods with a killer on the loose" films. There was also very little suspense whatsoever. One thing I liked was the blood, it seems like a throw back to low budget horror of the 70's and 80's and that made me happy. Unfortunately, it was pretty much the only thing.
If you decide to see this, see it for the blood alone and expect nothing else. It truly is a tedious film that does absolutely nothing we haven't seen a million times before.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The quick and dirty version of this movie without any spoilers - it changes the type of movie it's trying to be too many times! The problem with movies that do that is they don't do any one right. Good slashers stick with something - suspense, believability, etc. and run with it. The five is because it does entertain the viewer, but the acting is average and the movie does not give you something to think about after the credits role. Bottom line for those deciding whether or not to watch this movie - if you're hinging an evening on this flick, skip it. If it's a rainy day and there is quite nothing else to do, crack open that bottle of cognac and half of your attention will suffice to get the full value of this one.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Remember the episode of Seinfeld, where while standing in line to see a
film "Rochelle, Rochelle" Elaine says guys will sit through anything
for an hour and a half just to see breasts? That seems to be the case
for the positive reviews of this flick from young teen guys that can't
get their hands on Girls Gone Wild videos and manage to buy DVDs like
Nightmare Man, gushing mainly about the hot chicks, the boobs, possible
girl-on-girl, etc. but not much about the quality of the movie. For
them, they're easily distracted by the nudity so they don't care about
the rest and can also claim they're watching a "legitimate movie" in
case they're questioned by parents about what they're watching. I'm not
against nudity in films, I love naked people! But when it's just a tool
to distract the viewer from the lack of scares, humor, or PLOT, it's a
Oh, the plot: a woman with a mental problem eats pills as often as Tic Tacs and claims to be chased by the Nightmare Man ("That mask is HORRIBLE" she keeps exclaiming, and she's right -- it's just a terrible cheap mask that induces laughter instead of fear out of the viewer). She meets up with two horny young couples in a luxury "cabin" in the woods where the gals find numerous ways to be seen undressed. Killer shows up. There ya have it.
I went in with a very open mind, and found myself losing hope within the first 10 minutes. Nothing scary yet, and we're treated to the camera moving up Ellen's naked body in the shower (notice they never do that when a guy is in the shower?), and the Nightmare Man ripping open Ellen's top shortly after...I just knew where this was going. Even by hearing bad things about a film you can't really know for sure until you see it yourself. Well, thank goodness this DVD was part of a set (bought all eight 2007 After Dark Horrorfest titles together for a special sale price at Best Buy), because there is no way that the current $19.98 retail price (nor any future lower prices) can justify purchasing this. I've known plenty of friends who've walked out on this one when it was showing in theatres in their area as part of the Horrorfest, and I can fully understand why.
About 20 years after There's Nothing Out There, you'd think writer/director Rolfe Kanfsky would have improved on his craft. Most of the budget on that first flick went on the then state-of-the-art opening credits, leaving the rest of the film to naked girls and no scares nor great laughs (as it was intended to be somewhat of a parody). All these years later, Nightmare Man had nice opening credits, and the rest the same old thing of girls naked or wearing nothing much and no scares at all. The really sad thing is this was intended to be a serious horror film, not even a parody. In Kanefsky's statements he says he's very proud of this "flick." But he just really didn't try to give us anything original nor different. You've seen this type of film dozens of times before, and there's an obvious lack of an attempt to make the presentation look decent. Bad lighting, extreme acting, lazy dialogue and plot -- man, did that first chase through the woods go on forever, with so many chances for Ellen to get caught. Actually, she was caught a few times and too easily got away again and again. Low-grade effects included Ellen cutting her wrist with a knife, with blood ALREADY there on her wrist and looking like thick orange-red paint. The color was NOT set wrong on my TV. All in all, just nothing new here, no surprises. It's as if Kanefsky figured his loyal fan base would blindly praise and support anything he makes. Apparently they do, as someone keeps funding these projects and the DVDs keep coming.
Easily the worst of the 2007 After Dark Horrorfest along with Lake Dead. As Ellen kept annoyingly screaming, "Where are my pills? Where are my PILLS??" I felt I needed some pills too from this viewing experience...but was just left with the sound of frogs croaking, a Kanefsky trademark. One can't help but feel insulted from that.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It seems that After Dark decided to distribute a film that was in that
"so bad it's funny" category, worthy of MST3K-style commentary
throughout. In fact, that's really the only way I'd recommend watching
this film, because anything else will lead to utter disappointment.
This movie starts off featuring Ellen, a woman who receives an African
mask of a fertility deity she ordered to help her and her husband with
their sex life, only it looks nothing like what she expecteda all-too-
classic devil/demon looking face, which she insists leads to an actual
demon taking over her body and mind (and haunting her dreams). Her
husband, Bill (an Antonio Banderas knock-off), is driving her to have
her committed to a mental hospital, when the car runs out of gas in a
remote location. He goes off to get more gas, leaving her alone to see
that this demon is in the woods where the car stalled and is actually
after her. It pursues her to a house where four young adults are having
a small party, and people start dying.
There's so much I wasn't expecting from this film (due to the level of professional cinema making I've come to expect from the movies distributed by After Dark) that I was already disappointed three minutes in. The camera quality is no better than a mid-grade porno and the acting and scriptwriting are no better. There's pretty much no exposition whatsoeverno character building to see Ellen's decline from a simple married woman to a possessed psychotic/schizophrenic, so don't expect to feel any sort of connection or sympathy for her...or any other character, for that matter. The editing, the blood-and-gore effects, the musicit's all pretty cheap. Even the demon mask itself looks like a cheap plastic mask you could find in any Halloween or general costume shop with a "Made in Taiwan" sticker on the back.
Even the "twist" an hour in is something I saw coming...but, admittedly, the second twist a short while later was sort of a saving grace for the film (if you can even think of it that way). In fact, the last 15-or-so minutes had me reminiscing a little of "Evil Dead." Perhaps that's the sort of cheesy, hokey mood of horror film making these people were out to accomplish. It's just about as cheap, if you factor in the difference of years between the two films. So, if you're really in the mood to watch something that's so bad that's it becomes all too easy to make fun of it during the entire ride, you could give "Nightmare Man" a try. There might be better films to suit that style of MST3K "horror," but I don't normally go in for such flicks myself, to be honest. Of course, if you're looking for an actually well-made scary movie to truly unsettle and disturb you, avoid this like the plague.
This was a really bad movie. Not parts of it, but the whole damn thing. What was this director thinking? The acting was so bad you can't even imagine. There were no emotions at all. The actors were responding the same way to whatever the director throws at them! They were in this film not for their acting skills but because they looked good in front of the camera! As for the script ... What script? Is there a script really? Were the actors allowed to make up the lines as the movie went on? Because their lines were so bad and corny that they had to be improvised! I don't understand how some people were able to laugh with this thing, I wasn't able to bring myself to do that.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After ordering an African mask (from Italy?) that promises increased
fertility, Ellen (Blythe Metz) begins to experience demonic visions of
a 'Nightmare Man' attacking her. To help rid her of these horrible
visions, Ellen's flaccid husband, William (Luciano Szafir), takes her
to a health clinic. En route, the couple's car breaks down and Ellen is
attacked by the Nightmare Man yet again. Fleeing, she takes shelter in
a lone cabin with a group of strangers. The unstoppable Nightmare Man,
however, continues his attack on the group of Ellen's protectors.
The batch in After Dark Horrorfest 2006 was a disappointment and I heard the same about this 2007's as well. Regardless of my disappointment in them, however, the films always did have a couple things going for them: they're original (mostly) and they have cool one-sheets. Other than a rare couple, I haven't seen any of the fest-horrors that I'd consider to be of any quality. Nightmare Man looked promising. . . again, creative story and a cool poster. Unfortunately, the actual film fell flat due to extremely poor execution by writer/director Rolfe Kanefsky. It wasn't COMPLETELY bad: The Nightmare Man was pretty cool-looking, even though he looked like Howie Mandel in Little Monsters ("Got 'em, got 'em, need 'em, got 'em"). And, again, the story was interesting. There were a few scenes of some very good tension & suspense. Also, a bit of gore & violence helped it along, though the gore wasn't very well done. The dialogue was in a league of its own of horrible and it was made even worse by some terrible performances by the leads (I understand and advocate the hiring of international actors, but c'mon, I could barely understand the husband). The script was jammed with clichés. Over the course of a two-minute period: The arguing couple's car runs out of gas, she accuses him, the phone gets no reception, no cars on the road for 'eighty miles,' 'Oh wait! I saw a gas station sign!,' the husband leaves the wife alone in the dark in the middle of the woods, etc. Yikes! I thought my head would explode out of lack of creativity there. The predictability of the ending is pathetic and, in an attempt to eliminate the predictability, gets even MORE predictable and downright stupid. And, it all comes together to make an ultimately crappy modern horror film.
Final verdict: 3/10. PASS!
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