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6/10
Worth watching
1 June 2014
I don't why user reviews here are so extreme -- it seems like the only people who write reviews either absolutely love the movie or completely loathe it. Me? I liked it.I found it entertaining. It wasn't the best movie I have ever seen, but I'm not sorry I watched it. The reviewer that compares this movie to Rosemary's Baby is nuts -- should we declare every drama made since Citizen Kane terrible because it's not as good as Citizen Kane?

Delivery has a decent, if not particularly fresh, premise: strange things start happening around a pregnant woman. It's filmed in the ubiquitous "found footage" style that too many low-budget horror projects use these days as a crutch to disguise poor production quality. In Delivery, however, the style is done well, and the production quality is good. The acting is solid, the pacing is tight, and the dialogue is believable enough. I noticed one plot hole (that the otherwise intelligent couple want to have a home birth with a midwife despite being an extremely high-risk pregnancy), but it doesn't ruin the movie at all. This is really more of a thriller than a traditional horror, as it's more creepy and tense than scary.

All in all, I'm glad I saw Delivery, it was an enjoyable way to spend a rainy Saturday night, even if it wasn't a classic on par with Rosemary's Baby, lol.
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Jungle Gold (2012– )
2/10
Impossible to root for these guys
11 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
These have to be the two least sympathetic dudes on TV right now. "Real estate investors" Scott and George lost their shirts when the market crashed, and rather than, I don't know, GETTING A JOB like everyone else in America, they decide to abandon their wives with their many, many young children and go risk their lives (and hundreds of thousands of private investors' dollars) to mine for gold in Africa. This is the equivalent of betting your life savings on a roulette wheel, if the roulette wheel was in the middle of the jungle in Ghana. The guys whine nonstop when their pipe dream of getting rich without doing any work doesn't go smoothly (rest assured, the only people actually working on this show are the nameless African locals who toil day in and day out for pennies so these clueless meatheads can pay the mortgage on their Utah McMansions).

Some lowlights include: the guys flat-out lie to their private investor to try to squeeze more money out of him; one of the guys tries to make some quick cash through a shady deal to be a "middleman" for a "gold dealer" to "sell large quantities of gold to rich Americans" (the deal fell through when the dealer spotted the hidden camera the show sent in to the meeting); the guys walk out on their partners, who stepped in when it became clear that these dudes know absolutely nothing about gold mining and kept the operation running, but blame the partners for not finding enough gold; the guys decide to take the last $30,000 (of their investors' money) and use it to buy a $75,000 gold bar from some random shady dude in the middle of nowhere--to the surprise of no one but Scott and George, it's a trap, and they walk away without the money or the gold; after catastrophically failing and blowing an amount of money that most Americans could easily live on for 5 years (money that didn't belong to them in the first place), Scott and George learn their lesson, and return to their families determined to find decent, steady, respectable jobs and simply work to pay down their debts and support their families. JUST KIDDING! The guys vow they will return to Ghana, presumably with some other naive investor's money, to try again.

Honestly, the ONLY reason to watch this show is the schadenfreude of seeing one horrible thing after another happen to these terrible guys.
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Splinter (I) (2008)
8/10
Very fun flick
22 November 2008
The premise has been done many times before, but this film does it right. Apparently "Splinter" is an independent film, but it doesn't deserve to be lumped in the same category as the hundreds of "low budget" horror movies out there that are hardly more than a few friends with a camcorder and some ketchup packets. The production value here looks as good as many Hollywood movies, and the "monster" is done particularly well. The three main actors are great, and the characters are likable.

This movie isn't going to change the genre or make anyone's Top 10 list, but it's definitely one of the more entertaining horror films I've seen in the last couple of years. It's a fun way to spend 80 minutes. My 8 out of 10 rating is a bit over-inflated simply because there have been so many terrible horror movies put out recently that it was refreshing to genuinely enjoy one from start to finish. A more realistic rating would be 6 or 6.5. Totally worth the price of admission, and I look forward to seeing more from this director in the future.
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Dead Mary (2007 Video)
6/10
Oh lighten up!
18 January 2008
This is no classic, but it's a perfectly entertaining way to spend 103 minutes. It's definitely the best Canadian horror flick I've ever seen (actually, it might be the only one).

Seriously though, while the acting might not be Oscar caliber, it ranges from not offensively bad (Eve) to actually pretty good (Baker). And while a lot of movies in this sub-genre are full of characters you can't wait to see die (I'm looking at you, "The Breed"), I found myself rooting for the survival of a few in this one.

Sure, the premise of a group of young people stuck in a remote area battling evil has been done a million times, but that's because it's a fun horror sub-genre, and this is a decent entry. I really don't understand the confusion over the plot that many reviewers have mentioned--this is not a thinking man's movie and requires only a very basic level of consciousness to get it.

One last thing... I liked the ending! As I said before, if you're looking for a cinematic masterpiece, you'll be disappointed in "Dead Mary," but what are you doing in the horror section in the first place? If you're looking for a bit of mindless entertainment, "Dead Mary" will do the job.
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Solstice (II) (2008)
Not a bad teen chiller
29 December 2007
I don't really understand why this is a direct-to-video flick, as it had high production quality, familiar faces from TV, and a plot straight out of a Christopher Pike or R.L. Stein book. (Do those guys still put out books? I'm dating myself, but I used to read that junk 15 years ago.) Anyway, it was fairly predictable and certainly not very scary, but benefited from the always-fantastic atmosphere of back-woods Louisiana. Seriously, I think all horror movies should be set in the swamps of Louisiana. Much like Skeleton Key and Venom, Solstice probably gets a whole extra star for location alone.

The "teens" were all easy on the eyes (most of the actors are in their late twenties, but whatever) and performances were adequate at worst.

I'd give Solstice a 6 out of 10, considering it a teen chiller as opposed to a real horror movie.
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Centipede! (2004)
7/10
Cheesy bad fun!
17 December 2007
I always have a bit of a dilemma when rating a movie like this. Do I rate it based on the actual quality of the movie, or the amount of fun I had watching it? Suffice to say, I went with the latter option on this one.

If you're a fan of "so bad it's good," this movie is for you. It is fast-paced enough, has enough characters, and enough bad dialogue to hold your attention rather than just being boring.

Production value is slightly below that of the average Sci-Fi channel movie. The CGI effects are terrible. I think the casting director (probably the same person as the writer and director) would have ended up with better acting had he just randomly cast the parts from people on the street. In my opinion, the best performance was put in by the guy who's character was brain-damaged by a bad acid trip.

Add to that a preposterous premise, an invincible bug-monster, and a lot of unlikeable characters for fodder, and you've got a rockin'' good time with a six-pack and some friends.

My only complaint: not enough blood.
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4/10
So bad it's good
4 November 2007
This low-budget horror flick manages to be just bad enough to be entertaining. Like a cross between "Growing Up Gotti," "Stand By Me," "My Side of the Mountain," and, well, "The Hills Have Eyes," the filmmaker put together a combination of elements so bizarre you can't stop watching--even though you will seriously consider it, several times.

We've got Carmine, who might have been kicked off an episode of "The Sopranos" for being too over-the-top, and a fat kid, and some other kids. They are hiking in the woods, and quickly become prey for a mentally retarded redneck, his redneck brother, and their redneck dad, Cappy. Fortunately, despite his short stature (or perhaps because of it), Carmine knows some sweet moves to defend himself and the boys. As an added bonus, one of the kids brought along a copy of an excellent survival guide, containing tips which, skimmed briefly, can teach a bunch of city kids how to outsmart three grown men who've lived in the woods their whole lives.

Throw in one completely pointless hot-blonde-hillbilly-girl, an army of cops who couldn't find a mountain if they were staring at it, and five minutes of Carmine shirtless, and you have yourself a great little flick to get drunk and laugh at. I will leave you with a quote, from the town sheriff: "Oh, Cappy, Cappy, Cappy. What have you done?"
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5ive Girls (2006)
6/10
Aspires to be "The Craft"
21 October 2007
Similar concept, at least... five girls uniting their unique powers for a common purpose. Here, it's to ward off some kind of demon.

I'm not going to bother going over the plot--that's what the plot outline is for. Rather, I will say that the production value was high, the five young women played their roles very well, the story moved quickly, and there was some surprisingly good dialogue every once in a while (humorous, reminiscent of Buffy the Vampire Slayer dialogue).

That said, a lot of the script was terrible. Plot holes, inconsistencies, and cheesy lines. It's almost as if two completely different people wrote the script: one wrote the scenes between the girls and the other wrote the "action" scenes. There's not a lot of gore, but a couple of "supernatural" special effects were borderline cool/cheesy.

The movie is entertaining, the cast is easy on the eyes (Ron Perlman aside), there aren't any twists or psych-outs. It's a decent flick and worth watching, especially if you're a fan of the "girls kick supernatural butt" genre.
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The Abandoned (2006)
7/10
Runs the Gamut
22 April 2007
So far, this has been the toughest "After Dark Horror Fest" film to rate. Others have been great ("Penny Dreadful") to boring ("Wicked Little Things"). "The Abandoned" is harder to classify, so I'm going to break it down:

Atmosphere: 10 Production quality: 8.5 Scares/gore: 6.5 Acting: 7 Coherency of plot: 3

Honestly, after the first 30 minutes I had no idea what was going on, or why. This was even despite some clunky exposition (characters explaining to each other what was happening, with no clear reason how they knew). By the end, I was watching because the movie was cool, not because I cared what happened. I'm still not sure what happened in the end. I don't regret watching this film, and would recommend it to horror fans solely because the whole backwoods-Russia-crazy-dilapidated-house idea was executed flawlessly. You can get sufficiently creeped out just focusing on the scenery and not worry about the plot, and you'll enjoy this film.
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4/10
Just another crazy hitchhiker movie
18 March 2007
This movie is watchable, but nothing special. Four girls on a road trip to Vegas foolishly decide to pick up a hitchhiker (because he is cute). They all end up staying the night at a motel in the middle of nowhere, and the hitchhiker's psychotic issues with women become apparent.

The characters are clichés--there is a married, responsible woman; a slutty party girl; an unsure bride-to-be; and a man-hater who just got dumped. The hitchhiker is genuinely nice until he goes crazy.

There's not nearly enough gore, and way too much rape. I enjoy slasher horror/thrillers a lot, and this one did nothing for me. The ending was just as lame as the rest of the movie.

On the positive side, the actors did a great job with that they had to work with. The dialogue isn't awful, and overall I was impressed with the cast, having never seen or heard of any of them before. And the plot wasn't out of the realm of possibility (although I really doubt any woman in this day and age would pick up a hitchhiker--no matter how attractive he is), so I wasn't groaning that things didn't make sense.

Overall, "The Hitchhiker" was well-acted and made sense, but wasn't very interesting. There are a lot of better movies in the same genre that I would recommend over this one ("Rest Stop," "The Devil's Rejects," "Texas Chainsaw Massacre," even "The Hitcher" remake). Do yourself a favor and skip it unless you don't have any other options.
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Cry Wolf (2005)
7/10
Entertaining fluff thriller
2 February 2007
I really wouldn't classify this movie as either comedy or horror, it seems more like a mystery/thriller. Basically you spend the 90 minutes trying to figure out what's going on, and who did what. The writers do a good job of keeping the audience guessing, and there are enough twists and turns that, even if you figure some of it out, something will surprise you. And not to worry--if you're the type who never figures it out, the movie is very careful to explain everything in detail at the end.

All in all, a tight, well-acted piece of fluff entertainment if you're a fan of the genre. The two main leads, Owen and Dodger, were very good for their roles. JBJ had a nice little cameo. Some of the actors playing the friends were annoying, but they were supposed to be.

Really, I have no complaints. This movie is no classic and I won't be thinking about it for days (or even hours), but I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent watching it.
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1/10
Horrifically bad
27 January 2007
In the interest of full disclosure, I did forget to turn the volume back on after one commercial break and thus missed about 20 minutes of this awful tripe.

Honestly, I don't understand why the Sci-Fi channel insists on making special effect-heavy movies. The "gryphon" was ridiculous. I've seen more realistic monsters both in my four-year-old niece's coloring book and in movies from the 1930s when they still used the puppet method. Sci-Fi really ought to save some money by making horror flicks without much special effects and invest in a better scriptwriter. And acting lessons.

Which leads me to Amber Benson. Oh, Amber. She looked terrible and acted even worse. I guess I didn't really expect much after seeing her in Intermezzio (with the near-death Eddie Furlong), but it's just so hard to accept that this actress who was wonderful on "Buffy" is actually a hack. Jonathan LaPaglia was just as bad, if not worse. He needs to leave the acting to his big bro, Anthony. The supporting cast didn't help, either.

I guess the ONLY reason anyone should watch this movie would be to ogle the sorcerer's wives (two chicks in leather bikinis) or Jonathan LaPaglia's arms (real gun show there). However, those are not even remotely sufficient reasons to subject yourself to this movie.

I think this might be the first movie I've rated a "1," and I've rated a lot of bad movies. Please don't waste your time.
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Breach of Conduct (1994 TV Movie)
2/10
You've got to be kidding me
11 January 2007
This movie was so far-fetched that it wasn't enjoyable. I saw it during a "guilty pleasure" afternoon on the couch in front of Lifetime Movie Network, so I was even in the mood for cheesy early-90's chick flicks, and this one was just abominably terrible. The entire premise was ridiculous, the things that happened, from start to finish, were ridiculous, the resolution was ridiculous. Stupid, stupid, movie.

The acting wasn't terrible but it wasn't great--just forgettable.

Do not waste your time unless you feel like being blown away by ridiculousness.

I mean, I know sometimes movies require you suspend your disbelief, but this goes so far into unbelievable that it's not entertaining, it's just dumb.
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Five Desperate Hours (1997 TV Movie)
7/10
Guilty pleasure
11 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
OK, I admit it... for pure entertainment value, this made-for-TV movie came through. I wasn't expecting much from a hostage movie, and had to roll my eyes when it was the clichéd African-American criminal taking the suburban white woman hostage. But, against my will, I totally got sucked into this movie. Taken hostage by it, if you will. (Ha ha ha).

Don't get me wrong, I'm not denying the movie isn't cheesy as all get out. It is. But something about it just made me unable to change the channel. It might have been Giancarlo Esposito, who was absolutely fantastic. Sharon Lawrence did an alright job, but Esposito just completely stole show.

I don't think this is really a spoiler, but I will confess to having actual tears streaming down my face at the end.
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The Woods (2006)
6/10
Entertaining
10 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
A movie worth seeing, although it's not cover-your-eyes scary.

Very nicely shot, and while the "scary" trees were kind of cheesy, I LOVED seeing a re-match between Bruce Campbell and the branches (a la Evil Dead).

I actually thought the best thing in the film was the overlay of a creepy vocal track onto Leslie Gore's "You Don't Own Me." It plays over the credits and I watched until the very end just to listen to it.

Parts were decently gory, and although the climax wasn't 100% coherent I appreciated the splatter.

The only other complaint I have is that it seemed anachronistic at times. The hairstyle and look of the main character was decidedly modern, in contrast with her mother (who had great '60s hair). And at one point, two of the girls share an earbud on a set of headphones that looked like they go to an iPod. Did they have earbuds back then?
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1/10
Worst of the worst of the worst
25 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I like gory, cheesy slasher flicks as much as anybody, and it actually amazes me how bad this one was. I'm not sure if this re-make was supposed to be funny or scary, but it was neither. The acting was abysmal. I've seen home movies better than this.

So we start with all these girls who live in this one apartment building getting killed. But no one notices/believes anything has happened to them... because they are unmarried, I guess? Fortunately, a married woman moves into the building and risks her life to find a missing neighbor with whom she had a ten-minute conversation. Naturally, her husband (a young doctor who apparently got stuck with the dreaded 24-hour on-call shift) comes home for the first time since they moved into the apartment just in time to save her from the killer. Oh, and the other hero is a teenager who sits in front of his computer all day leering at one of the girls through a web cam she doesn't know about that is pointed at her bed. Classy.

There's some kind of deeper story about the apartment building and how the killer is attached to building and blah blah blah, but I lost track of it half-way through when it got so boring I zoned out for a few minutes.

I especially loved the character that you are supposed to think is the killer--a great cameo by the caveman from those insurance commercials. Oh, and the obligatory cute old man who almost saves the day and dies.

Mr. Hooper, I'd like my 90 minutes back.
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5/10
Not THAT bad....
19 December 2006
Rick and Catherine move from New York City to a run-down motel (room 13, of course) in a tourist town in Maine during the winter, so Rick can have some quiet time to work on his writing "career." It rains all the time, the only other guests at the motel are weird old people, and there's something wrong with room 13. A VERY kind comparison would be: it's like The Shining, in a motel. (Seriously, don't expect The Shining, that's a classic, this is not.) The acting was pretty terrible and the production value was low, lending this movie a "film school project" feel. That said, it's one of the better film school projects I've seen. The guy playing Rick was downright awful, but the actress playing Catherine was sometimes decent. My favorite character/actor was old man Ted. He was a great loony old codger. The cinematography wasn't exactly inspired, but there were a couple of interesting shots and the editor didn't try to do anything stupid or annoying cutting the film. It was easily watchable.

I actually thought the story was interesting and fairly fresh. A run-down motel in a deserted little Maine town is a creepy setting. There were enough weird characters to keep the atmosphere going throughout. The plot moved along nicely, and although the resolution seemed sudden and wasn't exactly satisfying, I was okay with it.

All in all, worth a see if it's on TV or you've got a free rental at your local video store. I wouldn't pay to see it, but I don't want my time back, either.
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Asylum (II) (1972)
6/10
Interesting
11 November 2006
Interesting documentary observing the lives of mentally ill patients and their therapists living together in a house.

The filmmakers mostly watch--there are not a lot of interviews or exposition here. It leaves a lot for the viewer to figure out: who is "crazy" and who is "sane?" I'm not familiar with this theory of treating mental illness, but apparently it has something to do with letting mentally ill people live together without taking medication and just be themselves. It results in a very chaotic hour and a half of people screaming, incessantly talking nonsense, and smoking.

What's really amazing is the patience and dedication of the therapists who live with them. The therapists don't really intervene in the actions of the mentally ill, and it doesn't seem like there is any structured therapy sessions going on, but they are there anyway. One of the most interesting comments, in my opinion, was when a therapist was asked about a patient who talks nonsense incessantly. The therapist replied that he stayed in the room, with the patient, because of the potential that something, some time, might make sense.

I wouldn't say this is the most insightful documentary on mental illness I've ever seen, but it pulls you in to the extent that you just can't stop watching. The interaction between mentally ill people who clearly have different problems is bizarre. In my completely uninformed opinion, this whole idea of treating mental illness by allowing it to flourish without any sort of boundaries is ridiculous, but it's an interesting experiment to observe.
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