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The Undertow (2003)
Thank you!!!! A good horror flick!!!!
I wasn't really expecting much from this one, especially since everyone's been coming out with backwoods homicidal hillbilly flicks these days (Wrong Turn, House of 1000 Corpses, TCM Remake, etc), and it's a direct-to-video release (so you never know what you're going to get), but I can honestly say that this was one of the best independent horror films that I've seen in a long time!!!!
The story's nothing really groundbreaking, but it's the way director Jeremy Wallace and crew pulls this movie off that's so refreshing. What I appreciate the most about the movie is that it's very straight forward and serious in its handling of the horror elements of the story (unlike that crappy Cabin Fever flick), which is something you rarely see in horror films these days. The film is very much in the vain of the great 70's horror flicks like the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes. Like those films, the story is simple in nature, and yet it delivers a wonderful sense of dread and tension with a brutal dose of well-executed gore!!!
I've seen Wallace's first flick, The Christmas Season Massacre, and while I thought that movie was good for what it was (horror spoof), he really took a major step forward as a director with this flick (he even wrote the simple, yet extremely effective score for the film). Wallace's confident direction is aided by some fantastic editing and cinematography by Eric Stanze (director of Ice From The Sun and Scrapbook) and a cast that's way above average for a movie of this budget level, who all turn in great performances (especially Trudy Bequette and Julie Farrar).
Horror fans should definitely check this baby out! Like I said, it's nothing original, but it definitely delivers what it promises, which is more than I can say for most of the stuff coming out of Hollywood these days!
I try to be positive when watching a movie. I usually don't bring many expectations to the table. Generally, I can find something worthwhile in any movie I watch, even when the movie sucks ass. However, except for the ample cleavage, this movie totally sucks in every department.
The acting is very amateurish all around, the writing is poverty-row (at best), the cinematography is quite poor in a lot of places (lots of out of focus shots), and the "special effects" are laughable. Plus, this movie has a couple of the worst child actors I've ever seen! Damn!!!! I wanted to smack them every time they appeared on screen.
I walked into this with an open mind, but for all my efforts, I just ended up getting robbed of money and 80 minutes of my life that I'll never get back!
Ambitious, low-budget surprise!
It's not every day that you see a movie at this budget level that manages to achieve a great deal of complexity and creativity. It was rather refreshing to see that these filmmakers put their limited funds to good use by actually telling a decent story, rather than just parading a bunch of mediocre effects across the screen that come off as being shoddy, due to lack of funds to do them properly.
The project seemed really focused on every aspect of the production, from Robin Garrels literate screenplay, to John Specht's sure-handed direction, to Eric Stanze's tight editing. I was surprised by the competent actors that were assembled for this project, and with the exception of a couple of the smaller parts, the acting was really solid, especially by Robin Garrels and Chris Grega in the leading roles.
Now, this movie will probably not be for everyone. It might even be to "art-driven" for some people's conversative tastes, but for those who have a little patience, I'm sure you'll be satisfied on how all of the story elements come together near the movie's conclusion.
INSANIAC is a cool, bloody, mind-bending, personal experience! Isn't that what independent film is all about?
The perfect movie for any bad-movie night!!!!!!
Well, first I'd like to say that this has got to be one of the worst movies I've ever seen. IT'S BAD! This movie redefines the word BAD! I'm not saying this to be mean! I'm sure the Polonia Brothers are nice people! Too bad this movie sucks ass!
I'm sure the filmmakers were very passionate about their work. I just wish they would have kept this one to themselves, instead of unleashing it on the public!
The script is ridiculous, the acting is even worse (the dubbing doesn't help any), but the so-called "special effects" have got to be the worst I've EVER SEEN! Check out the dinosaur "eye" and you'll know what I'm talking about.
I've actually seen some of the Polonia Brothers more recent work, and technically, they are improving! They still can't tell an effective story to save their lives, but they are getting better! I have hope for these guys!
As for SAURIANS, I'm sorry, but this has got to be worse, most unintentionally funny movies I've ever seen. Get a group of your friends together, add a lot of alcohol, stir SAURIANS into the mix, and you got yourself a surefire recipe for a great "bad movie" night!!! Enjoy!!!!
The movie of the year has finally arrived!
Wow! Glitter has to be the most enjoyable movie-going experience that I've had in a long time. Of course, the fact that I had quite a few drinks before I watched this stinker made the ride more bearable.
First, I'd like to say sorry to all those Mariah Carey fans out there. At least she'll have her recording career to fall back (maybe). Second, I have nothing personal against Mariah. I'm sure she's a great person once you get to know her, but Glitter has got to be the most f**king ridiculous movie I've ever seen.
Come on!!! Who at 20th Century Fox green-lighted this turd? This flick sets new standards for film incompetence. The acting (what little of it there is) falls to capture any genuine emotion, and the script offers us nothing in the way of believable characters or dialogue (not to mention the occasional plot absurdity - you'll know them when you see them) Director Vondie Curtis-Hall tries to give the movie some glossy production value, perhaps to take your mind off the fact that Mariah can't act, but he fails, allowing editor Jeff Freeman to go insane in his use of aerial shots of NY (including a shot of the WTC towers, which will probably be the only thing in this flick that will generate any honest reaction from the audience) and some bizarre editing in certain scenes that I suppose was done to give the movie some "style". Oops! That didn't work!
What else is there to say about this flick? I knew walking in that this was going to be a bad movie. That's why I got a couple of drinks before the movie to enhance my "Mariah experience", but this movie pulled the rug out from under me. It was actually worse than I thought it would be. I actually started feeling sorry for Mariah that she was in this! She's a talented singer, but for God's sake, can somebody please talk some sense into her when, and if, she decides to do another film!
So, what are you waiting for? Get some friends together, get sloshed, and catch this little "gem" while you still can. I'm guessing it won't be around for long!
Cheezy, but painless sci-fi fun!
Well, I've seen a couple of Kevin Lindenmuth's films (ADDICTED TO MURDER and VAMPIRES AND OTHER STEREOTYPES), and this one falls somewhere in the middle. It's not as polished or as interesting as ADDICTED, but it's not nearly as awful as VAMPIRES.
OUT OF DARKNESS is the first installment of the ALIEN AGENDA series that deals with the themes of alien invasion, paranoia and murder.
There's really not much that one can say about this movie. It's just kind of there. It's not a terrible production. Directors Kevin Lindenmuth and Mick McCleery manage to maintain a decent look throughout the movie and manage to get some interesting performances from Sasha Graham, Scooter McCrae and Marcus Zanders. They also go light on the special effects, which is a good thing in this case, since these guys obviously don't have the financial resources to pull off anything realistic, and even though I don't like McCleery as an actor, I enjoyed the segment that he directed for this one.
Other than that, there's not much point to this movie. It's just some weird shot-on-video, amalgamation of other sci-fi movies and tv shows that really doesn't add up to much. The movie just ends, leaving you feeling like what you just watched was incomplete, but I'm sure that's what was intended, since a couple sequels soon followed. Joy!
The Vicious Sweet (1997)
powerful, psychological horror
Wow! I was pretty damn impressed with this little horror flick! THE VICIOUS SWEET shows that you can still deliver a movie with an intelligent script, creative camerawork, an effective score (by Jeff Jones, who also played a part in the film) and wonderful acting even though you're working with a low budget. It has it's rough spots, but director Ron Bonk's tense writing and sharp direction raise the movie above its weaknesses.
The story focuses on Tyler Phenix (wonderfully played by Sasha Graham), a popular b-movie scream queen whose career is on the rise. She's even starting to get the attention of Hollywood, which may lead to some more "respectable" roles. Her boyfriend, Charlie (Jason Wicks), has even proposed to her. And yet, even though everything seems to be going right for her, she still seems aloof from it all. Her internal turmoil is soon cut short, however, as she soon finds herself imprisoned by one of her adorning fans. Now, she's forced to confront her past, and as time wears on, the walls of her reality slowly begin to crumble as she's thrust to the brink of madness!
Well, I must say that I was quite impressed with Sasha Graham's performance. She's proven that she can play a real bitch ("Angie" for the ADDICTED TO MURDER flicks), but Tyler Phenix turned out to be a very complex character (more complex than what you usually find at this budget level) and Graham was obviously up for the challenge. She handled all of the dramatic and horror elements very well as her character slipped closer and closer to the edge, building towards a violent climax!
Like I said, the movie has some problems. Some of the scenes appear really grainy due to low lighting and sometimes the audio is a bit hard to understand, but they don't ruin the overall experience. I gladly rank this up there with SAVAGE HARVEST, ADDICTED TO MURDER & SHATTER DEAD as quality examples of shot-on-video movies that make the most of their limited resources! Check this one out!
Addicted to Murder (1995)
decent twist to a tired genre
Well, it's not very easy these days to come up with an original idea in a genre that's as tired and worn out as the vampire genre, but director Kevin J. Lindenmuth's ADDICTED TO MURDER is a quirky little opus that stylishly blends vampires and serial killers to create an interesting and entertaining flick.
Joel Winter (Mick McCleery) is a quiet and seemingly normal guy who has an uncontrollable desire for murder. His world gets turned upside down when two vampires, Rachel and Angie, get thrown into the mix. With Rachel (Laura McLauchlin), he finds a relationship that satisfies both his murderous desires and, in turn, helps to remind her of what it's like to be human. When Rachel leaves him, Joel vainly tries to recapture that "special" relationship that he found with her. He soon meets Angie (Sasha Graham), whose evil intentions lead him to question the nature of his life.
First of all, I was impressed with the above-average production values of the movie. Even though it was shot on video, a lot of effort was obviously put into this by everyone involved. It's intelligently written and directed, it boosts good lighting and editing, it features a great score from Steve Maruzzelli and Hector Milia, and has some well-executed gore and makeup effects from Derek Becker and Ron Chamberlain.
The movie also featured some good performances. Laura McLauchlin and Sasha Graham were definite standouts in the cast. The only real problem was the lead, Mick McCleery. His lack of screen presence really started to tax my nerves after awhile. He's not completely awful, but he sticks out when compared to the rest of the cast.
Despite a few other minor problems (the "interview" device used in the movie slowed the pace down a little and some of the dialogue was hard to understand), this has got to be one of the best shot-on-video movies out on the market today, next to SAVAGE HARVEST and SHATTER DEAD! Check it out!
The Dead Hate the Living! (2000)
Gory zombie fun for the whole family!
Director Dave Parker makes a credible film debut with THE DEAD HATE THE LIVING - the latest horror offering from Full Moon Entertainment. While most of Full Moon's recent releases have been tragic misfires (the awful SHRIEKER, TALISMAN & BLOODSTORM: SUBSPECIES 4 come to mind), Dave Parker and crew actually made an attempt to create a quality film that stands out as the best Full Moon release in years!
A ragtag group of low-budget filmmakers are holed up in an abandoned hospital to make the ultimate zombie film. As they begin to explore deeper inside the building, they stumble across an actual corpse and decide to use it in the film. When they accidently revive it, the lines of reality begin to blur as the group suddenly find themselves trapped inside the building with an ever-growing number of the undead.
THE DEAD HATE THE LIVING is low-budget, but Parker obviously tried to get as much mileage as he could with what he had.
Even though the film isn't as graphic as past entries in the zombie subgenre (like the Lucio Fulci flicks of the late 70's/early 80's, from which this film drew some influence), there's still plenty of effective bloodletting and well-crafted zombie make-ups to satisfy horror fans. The film also benefits from a great location, a decently-written script and one of the best ensemble casts ever to grace a Full Moon opus.
However, the film's not without its shortcomings. Fans of zombie flicks may be disappointed with the relatively small number of zombies in this film (I assume due to budgetary restraints). The film generally (and wisely) avoids computer-generated effects, but it occasionally uses them...and they're among the worst I've ever seen. I'm not kidding. They completely destroy the mood and effectiveness of the scenes they're used in. Fortunately, they're sparsely used, so they don't ruin the film completely.
Overall, I was impressed with this one. The film stands out with Full Moon's DARK ANGEL - THE ASCENT and CASTLE FREAK as examples of quality genre filmmaking. I just hope Full Moon doesn't screw things up by turning this into a crappy series!
A stylish, yet uneven vampire film
Leif Jonker's DARKNESS is a mixed bag.
The nomadic vampire Liven (Randall Aviks) wanders from town to town, creating havoc (and vampires) wherever he goes. Hot on his trail is Toby (Gary Miller), a sole-survivor of one of Liven's murderous rampages. Hellbent on destroying him (as well as any other vampire he happens to come across), Toby bands together with a group of teens from the latest town to fall victim to Liven's carnage.
That's about it for the plot, but that's not really the point of this film. It's more of an excuse for flashy camerawork and excessively gory effects. This is where the strength of this film lies.
The biggest problem with this film is the lighting (or the lack thereof!). The film is aptly named DARKNESS, since most of the time you can't tell what's going on! There are numerous scenes where there's just enough light to make out the image on screen, but not much else. The film would've definitely benefited from a few extra lights!
Although none of the youthful cast give spectacular performances (most of them seem to just be making up their lines as they scream frantically at each other), but within the context of the film, the actors do a decent enough job. Randall Aviks isn't as menacing as he tries to be. He looks more like a heavy-metal groupie than a vampire, but his scenes are minimal, so his presence isn't totally annoying.
The main attraction in DARKNESS is the gore, and it spills by the gallon! They're impressively done and they're graphic, as well as plentiful!
Jonker does his best to overcome his technical limitations to create a pretty cool little film, creating some memorable and haunting images - especially at the gruesome climax!
I'd like to see Jonker do something else, but I guess he's fallen off the planet. I've read reports in Fangoria that he was working on a film entitled "The Demon Machine". Anybody know anything about this? Hopefully Jonker will put together another project soon. If DARKNESS is any indication of his talent, he may very well have a promising career (provided that he invests in some more light kits).