|Index||9 reviews in total|
4 brothers take refuge in a fort inhabited by 3 beautiful girls.
Unsurprisingly, the girls and the fort have some dark secrets...like
that creature outside.
"The Sacrifice" (an adaptation of Del Howison's short story "The Lost Herd" by Mick Garris) is a good way to kick off the series "Fear Itself." The show itself is basically "Masters of Horror" for basic cable, so no major gore, or sex and nudity, or profanity. Still, there's plenty to like. The acting (particularly from Jesse Plemons and Rachel Miner) is quite good. Also, since there can't be much of the red stuff, the episode opts with suspense, which for the large part succeeds. Add to a great creature, and you have a winner.
That's not to say that there aren't any flaws. The conclusion for instance, is a bit of a letdown, and a few lines of dialog fall flat. Still, it's a good start for the series, and makes me look forward to more.
When I first saw this I didn't know what to expect. All I knew that it was about vampires living in a old creepy fort. The story is that there are four thieves trying to find help. What they find is three sisters living in a fort that they built to keep out the vampires. One of the sisters is evil and the other two are good. I thought the effects were really good and acting was good. The plot seemed well planned out and the ending was good. The traps that the evil sister put out were smart and tricky. Of course the ending was twisted like all the other episodes. Overall I would give the episode "The Sacrifice" a 9/10 for good effects and a good episode.
A group of criminals seeks refuge in an old fort, guarded by three
young women. They soon discover something awful lurks inside the fort
and suspect that surviving the night my be their top priority.
Unfortunately for this episode, it has the job of being the defining moment for "Fear Itself". For those who had grown used to "Masters of Horror", we placed our hopes into this new series that the creators could pull off the same magic with the new restrictions. And in many respects, this just wasn't possible, causing the episode to be judged harder than subsequent entries will be.
The nudity is toned down, the vulgarity is squashed and even the blood flow is diminished (Walter Phelan, who played the vampire, told me that the producer on set actually made them wipe blood off the actors before a scene was accepted). This, and due to commercials the episodes are going to be shorter. Maybe they will be extended in the DVD release, but judging by the fast pace of this one, I don't hold my breath.
Now, that's not to say the whole thing was a waste. One of my favorite horror actresses, Rachel Miner, takes center stage. I could watch her for hours and this is no exception. She has a very natural acting ability that accents her beauty (whereas all too many actresses use their beauty as a crutch). And there is some moderate gore -- the mouth-stitching scene was pushing the limits by network standards, I thought. And Lemon (who looks like a poor man's Matt Damon), hanging upside down? Well done.
As the series goes on, with plenty more big name directors and horror icons, I'm sure some will be gems and others disposable. This beginning is somewhere in the middle. It leaves something to be desired, but was no less enjoyable and captivating than the average "Masters of Horror" episode. I think things will go well for the show.
...and I got mediocre. That's alright, since I didn't expect NBC to
deliver a masterpiece Horror film that only lasts for 40 something
minutes. The first episode in the new season for MOH aka, Fear Itself,
is your typical vampire movie that starts off with a good beginning,
but ultimately gets that rushed feel towards the end, making it look
and feel ridiculous. This becomes apparent enough when one sees the
The Plot: Four guys (one of them is badly injured) are stuck in a remote town that has only three inhabitants: hot sisters. The menace is in the air, but not clear enough. The pale looking sisters are weird and creepy enough, but why? After various flirting encounters and some macabre sewing lessons, the real threat is shown: One of the wimpiest vampires I have ever seen. A 5 foot flying, bloodsucking midget that was covered up by humongous growls and heavy steps. What a letdown. Anyways, after all the revealing and "plot" mumbo jumbo (which is good, better than MANY other vampire movies out there), the remaining survivors try to escape and kill the un-killable vampire. Then comes the ending...not a big fan of it. I know the writers decided to avoid The Cliché, but what the f*ck? It wasn't handled that good.
In short, I expect the director of Sahara to deliver a crapfest. He didn't with this one. It was an alright, entertaining vampire movie. I hope the series gets better after this one. Brad Anderson's next week Horror installment with Eric Roberts looks interesting. Anyways, The Sacrifice was alright. A 5.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Masters of Horror was a truly ground-breaking concept / format when it
first debuted on Showtime. To give the most important, world-renowned,
successful horror filmmakers the chance to make their own films their
way with no studio interference. And have their films debut on Showtime
with no cutting for violence, nudity, language, or story content, so
long as it didn't break one of Showtime's few restrictions (no male
genitalia, no scenes of children killing or hurting children their own
age - those are ones I know about).
With a deal like that, it's no wonder they were able to stir the interest of every living major name in the genre (Wes Craven didn't participate but he was interested, and George A. Romero and Roger Corman signed up but had to back out for personal reasons). John Carpenter (Halloween, The Fog, The Thing), Dario Argento (Suspiria, Deep Red, Opera, Tenebre, Phenomena), Joe Dante (Piranha, The Howling, Gremlins), Tobe Hooper (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Salem's Lot, Poltergeist), John Landis (An American Werewolf in London, Innocent Blood, Michael Jackson's Thriller), Larry Cohen (It's Alive, Q the Winged Serpent, The Stuff), Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator, Dagon, From Beyond, Dolls), Takashi Miike (Audition, Ichi the Killer, Visitor Q), Tom Holland (Fright Night, Child's Play), John McNaughton (Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, The Borrower), Don Coscarelli (Phantasm, Bubba Ho-Tep).
Masters of Horror was a historic event. The quality of the films they'd make was unfortunately affected by a 10-day shooting schedule so that the films would be TV-ready. Many of the films needed more work and didn't get it. But surprisingly, some of the films turned out to be pure excellence. John Carpenter and Dario Argento made the best films they'd made in years for Masters. And the newcomers (Lucky McKee, William Malone, Rob Schmidt) managed to make the best films of the whole series. So this was a worthwhile thing for horror fans.
But the deal was only for 2 seasons of films. Showtime decided to pass on a 3rd season. But NBC decided they wanted their own Masters of Horror series for 45-minute showings on TV, padded to an hour with commercial breaks- naturally. And they got their wish, thanks to Lionsgate, one of the leading names in horror this decade. A studio with output like May, Ginger Snaps, American Psycho, Open Water, Riding the Bullet, Hard Candy, and lots of direct-to-DVD films.
So, here's the first episode. Directed by... Breck Eisner. Let me be first to say in a review... "Who?" In NBC's promo for Fear Itself, they said the makers of some of the most terrifying films ever made were assembled for this series. So it surprises me that a guy with no horror experience is directing an episode. Though, he's "announced" as the director for a bunch of remakes. What? Remakes are one of the things that is killing horror this decade. And the makers of a horror anthology want a 'remake-guy' on their directors list? Thankfully however, he's remaking a not-great George Romero film, The Crazies, and the old '50s Universal monster movie, Creature from the Black Lagoon. I'm fine with that. Remake bad films all you want, just don't touch the good ones. And, enough time has passed to remake a film as old fashioned as a black and white Universal monster film.
But, how's the episode?
The good news, and there is some, is that the opening title theme for this series, Fear Itself, is kind of cool. System of a Down is a very creative and interesting band and they didn't do their usual over-the-top thing on this theme. It was just bizarre and nice, I liked it. The acting quality is acceptable. The look of the production design and all that is okay. It's only 45-minutes long so you won't really get too bored. And viewing it is free- you don't need to buy Showtime to watch this. Everyone can see it for free.
The bad news is that this episode just doesn't cut it. When it gets going, the camera speeds up like 28 Days Later. 28 Days Later is a great film, but I don't think other movies should try and copy it. Plus, it's more of an action-film technique to make the camera whir this fast around. It's not scary to have a speedy camera. The monster for the episode isn't scary either. They tried that old "what you don't see is scarier than what you do see" thing. That could work. But the sound effects that you hear before you see the monster aren't scary. Plus the camera is moving so fast, you don't get time to get scared of the sounds.
The story is not interesting, although the theme leaves you room to guess what it'll be. It sort of mixes a witch film with a torture film, you see a character fall down and wake up tied upside down and he can't get down. But later, there's a monster, so now you have 3 themes. That doesn't last long and soon it's a few people trapped in a cabin with a monster outside and it's not a scary monster so... Then, there's a vampire theme and the totally clichéd 'your brother or sister is bitten and you just can't kill them, so you have to watch them transform'. Plus, to make matters worse, the sister characters are supposed to be like the Amish, cut off from the rest of the world and their behavior is old fashioned. Yet, one of them is a sexpot whose dialogue slips in and out of her old-fashioned "Romanian" upbringing. I say, why bother making them that way if you can't keep them that way?
In the end, you're left with a lot of cliché and stuff you've already seen before. If you want to see it again, you might enjoy this. Me... I kind of want to see something a little different. Or more interesting.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The premise seemed pure gold.
Take a few of the up and coming horror/terror writers and directors (with some proved and worthy veterans), put together some classic and new takes on genre favorites, throw at them the chance to create, practically, a short movie a week to air them on TV, a medium that, in the last decade, has become THE place for quality genre entertainment.
What can I say other than "the horror, the horror..."? The series starts with a bump.
The production values, with great set pieces, excellent make-up and a nice atmosphere, are about the only thing that makes this pilot watchable. The plot is dumb, the actors are bad and the "new" take on vampirism is so full of holes it is incredible that the actors don't start laughing on screen.
A really bad start to this anthology.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Four desperate criminals end up stranded in the middle of nowhere. The quartet seek refuge at an isolated old fort where three sisters reside. It turns out that the sisters are hiding a deadly secret. Director Breck Eisner, working from an absorbing script by Mick Garris, relates the engrossing story at a snappy pace, creates and sustains a spooky claustrophobic atmosphere, delivers a few startling moments of fairly grisly and nasty violence, and pulls out all the stirring stops at the tense and exciting climax that's topped off by a devastatingly grim ending. The sound acting by the sturdy cast holds everything together: Jeffrey Pierce as the hard-bitten Point, Jesse Plemons as Point's antsy and wimpy younger brother Lemmon, Stephen Martines as the lusty Diego, and Reamann Joshee as the seriously wounded Navarro. Walter Phelan makes for a foul and frightening monster as a vicious and grotesque vampire. However, it's the exceptional work by the actresses who portray the fetching sisters that make this episode so chilling and effective: Racher Miner as the sweet Chelsea, Mircea Monroe as gorgeous and enticing temptress Virginia, and Michelle Molineux as meek mute Tara. Attila Szalay's striking cinematography provides an impressively gloomy look and boasts a few neat shots of the bleak wintry landscape. Brian Tyler's shuddery score hits the heart-racing spot. A worthy show.
After the success of a movie you can count on sequels. After the success of masters of horror you could expect the same. Mick Garris, the man after masters scripted a whole new series with so called famous directors. In fact, the directors used didn't came from the horror genre. And that was already blamed by the geeks out there. Whatever, Fear Itself was broadcasted and is now here in Europe out on DVD. First thing I noticed was the price of the first season, it was cheaper then a normal DVD. So far so good but would that say that it is rubbish. First of all, the effects used were very good, on the credits I saw the name Nicotero, do I have to say more? The story was quite good, it doesn't become a real horror movie, it isn't that scary, it was okay for a director not in the genre. But still it can't overrule an episode of Masters of Horror. It isn't bloody or gory by any means. It was okay, a bit in the style of Ginger Snaps or Jennifer's Body, you know what I mean, not for the geeks but for a starter.
Fear Itself: The Sacrifice (2008)
** (out of 4)
When Showtime's Masters of Horrors series got canceled, the men behind it took the series to NBC and renamed it but all in all this series plans on doing the same type stories. This first film has four criminals making a getaway when their truck breaks down and they are forced to take shelter inside a creepy village that is behind wooden walls. Soon the four men are seduced by three sisters but soon the men will learn that the women trap men so that they can feed them to a vampire. I was really disappointed in this first episode because it really doesn't try to do anything new with a very familiar subject. Since this is on network television instead of cable, there isn't too much gore and there's no nudity (unlike the Showtime series) but I thought this could have been great since it would force the directors to go for some atmosphere over cheap gore. That doesn't happen here but to be fair to the director, the screenplay is the biggest problem. The cast is better than average and there are a few nice scenes but in the end we've simply seen this type of thing way too many times.
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