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Backlash007

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727 reviews in total 
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Tenement (1985)
"All of you here are dead!", 21 February 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

~Spoiler~

"Tenement it's a place to live some look so bad make you wanna shed tears." Tenement: Game of Survival is a tale of urban decay from Roberta Findlay (Blood Sisters, Snuff). Yes, women can make trashy exploitation just as well as men. Perhaps better. This movie has one scene in particular that goes further than anything in Last House or I Spit on Your Grave. I found myself covering my mouth with my hand! You'll know the scene if you've watched the flick. Actually, I'm going to spoil it: A woman is raped to death with a broom and her 6-8 year old daughter sees the aftermath. It was pretty shocking even to me, and I've seen plenty of trashy movies. The storyline is similar to Death Wish 3...only without Charles Bronson. A gang is hanging out in the basement of a building where one tenant has had enough. He calls the cops and the gang is arrested. Unfortunately, the punks are soon released and swear vengeance on all the tenants of the building. Before you can say Assault on Precinct 13, the gang is fighting their way through the building killing everyone. One complaint I had is that I would have liked to get to know the tenants a little better, specifically Mr. Washington. There are some things left unsaid about his character. Was he a Vietnam vet, or just the bada$$ super? The gang members were also one dimensional characters who are only amused by death (even if it's one of their own). I didn't really care when they killed the tenants, and on the other hand, I didn't find myself cheering when they were killed like I should have been. I think the movie is a bit of a failure in that regard, but it's still watchable. I really wouldn't mind seeing this one get the remake treatment. The acting is terrible all around with few exceptions. Those being Joe "Mr. Washington" Lynn, Dan "Cigar Face" Snow, and the always underrated Paul "Always Underrated" Calderon.

The Bite (1989)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
"All you had to do was show me your arm.", 21 February 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

~Spoiler~

It's a movie about a guy with a snake hand...how do you f**k that up? The Curse II: The Bite is a sequel that has nothing whatsoever to do with the Wil Wheaton original. And if you disliked the first film, you ain't seen nothing yet. The Curse II is about a couple (played by 80's scream queen Jill Schoelen and soap star J. Eddie Peck) traveling through the desert who pick up a hitchhiking radioactive snake. When the boyfriend gets bitten by the traveling snake, he thinks it's okay to get treatment from a traveling salesman (Klinger from M.A.S.H.) who happens to be carrying anti-venom from various snakes. As his hand later transforms into a giant snake head and he gets all kinds of sick, his girlfriend can't understand what's wrong with him and even yells at the poor guy. Then local redneck sheriff Bo Svenson comes along and makes matters worse. I wish I were making this up. With this story and collection of random actors, you probably think I'm making this up! The Curse II might sound like some bizarre cult film, but it's not. It's really very boring until the end. That's where Screaming Mad George's unique effects come into play. The hero of the story starts vomiting baby snakes, his eyes fall out, and eventually a huge snake tears its way out of his head. It's as disgustingly offensive as it sounds. Speaking of disgustingly offensive, there is a slow-motion scene of the couple driving over hundreds of snakes on a deserted stretch of highway that will absolutely puzzle the hell of you. I would strongly suggest staying away from this film. But somebody out there must have liked it because there are 2 other movies that exist which bear the "cursed" Curse title.

Screamers (1979)
"They're men turned inside out!", 21 February 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

~Spoiler~

First of all, they're not men. And they're not turned inside out. What is the box art to this movie all about? Screamers is completely misleading in it's attempt to convey the plot of what lies within said box. It's actual Island of the Fishmen, a film that was directed by the legendary Italian Sergio Martino. Legend has it that Roger Corman acquired the rights to the movie, changed the name, and flared it up a bit with some over the top gore (specifically the intro scenes with Cam Mitchell and Mel Ferrer). Screamers is an Italian take on Dr. Moreau with good actors and bad, knock-off "Gillman" suits. Richard Johnson (who looks like he's on the same set, wearing the same clothes, and playing the same part as in Fulci's Zombi), Barbara Bach, Joseph Cotten, and the aforementioned added Mitchell and Ferrer are pretty big names for a project like this (of course they've all done their fair share of trash too). Screamers is entertaining enough, but nothing special. Only really noteworthy for the audacity of the misleading marketing.

"I won't let anything come between us anymore.", 30 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

~Spoiler~

I've been asked whether it's possible to both love and hate a movie in equal measure. My answer is that it's true because I've had those feelings. I absolutely love and absolutely hate High Tension. And I think most people reading this already know where the hate comes from: the ending. But don't let me get ahead of myself. Let me talk more about the plot and the dynamics of the film. The plot follows two college girls, Alex and Marie, who are staying with Alex's family at a remote farmhouse. The film gives you very little time to get to know the girls, but I feel they make the most of it. The night they arrive a visitor calls upon the farmhouse and starts slaughtering the family and kidnaps Alex. This leaves Marie, whom the killer did not know was staying there, to either hide or try to save Alex. She chooses the latter and this is where the film lives up to it's title. These sequences are all about the tension. I applaud Alexandre Aja and his writing partner Grégory Levasseur; they create edge of your seat, heart-attack thrills here. Every aspect of the film builds upon this dread. The acting is stellar, the music and sound design are very important, and the editing is brilliant. And who could forget the make-up effects. The Italian maestro, Giannetto De Rossi, is at play here and the effects are just nasty. De Rossi has not lost a step over the years and this is certainly another feather in his cap. Unfortunately it's the ending where things take a turn for the worst. It's like putting together this great puzzle but getting to the end and finding out that a few pieces have been lost. There is a Fight Club style twist at the end. It seems that there is no killer, or rather, that Marie is the killer. It left me scratching my head. I felt cheated. Some people are justifying it by saying that without the twist it would have been a regular slasher movie and we've seen that before. Not like this we haven't, not in a long time anyway. There hasn't been a "slasher" of this caliber since John Carpenter's Halloween. The twist has certainly sparked endless debate and I suppose you can make it work (however even Aja and Levasseur seem a bit confused about how some scenes work in the commentary track). But the ending negates everything you've just seen. And that's why I felt cheated. Aja had me eating out of his hand until that moment. Strange as it may sound, I still like the movie. Everything up until the revelation that Marie is the killer is so damn good that I still recommend watching this film and also consider it a masterpiece of sorts. It's just a heavily flawed one.

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
"You stole my story.", 30 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

~Spoiler~

Secret Window, based on the Stephen King short story, is about a writer (shocker!) named Mort Rainey who is accused of plagiarism by a potential psychopath. The accuser, John Shooter, begins to mildly terrorize Rainey in an attempt to have him rewrite the ending which Rainey changed. You know how some directors often say "It's not a horror film, it's a psychological thriller."? Well, this is one of the times that really applies. I had a one of a kind experience seeing Secret Window on the big screen. Towards the end of the film a tornado touched down somewhere near the theater so we had to evacuate our seats and seek shelter in the halls. When the tornado warning was over we returned to our seats to finish the film, however the audio was not synced up and we had no idea what was going on. I had to wait until Secret Window hit DVD shelves before I could see how the story ended (even though I predicted early on where it was headed). Boy, was I unimpressed. Turns out Mort is Shooter...big surprise. Anyone with half a brain will see that coming. Fight Club is the only movie where this twist works and it's now a big cliché. The only aspect of this Stephen King adaptation that warrants an honorable mention is the cast. Johnny Depp is good as his usual weirdo self and John Turturro is always a joy to watch. Also the supporting cast made up of Maria Bello, Timothy Hutton, and Charles S. Dutton all turn in good performances. Writer-director David Koepp needs to heed Shooter's advice: "The most important part of a story is the ending."

1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
"The devil has met his match...and it's a '48 ford.", 30 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

~Spoiler~

Highway to Hell is one of the most interesting and off-the-wall horror/comedies that came out of the 90's. It's about a young couple (played by Kristy Swanson and Chad Lowe) who take the wrong road out in the middle of the desert. It's the highway to hell, hence the title, and the Hellcop who patrols this area gives our young couple one hell of a time. Bad pun, I know. This is one of those movies that sounds incredibly silly on paper but just has to be seen. Along with Swanson and Lowe, Highway to Hell stars Patrick Bergin, Adam Storke, and Pamela Gidley. The really cool actor here though is the Hellcop. He's played by C.J. Graham and this is Graham's only other role besides playing Jason is Friday the 13th Part 6. There are a ton of cameos in this film too. The late, great Richard Farnsworth, Lita Ford, both Jerry and Ben Stiller, and Kevin Peter Hall all pop up for a minute or two. And Gilbert Gottfried plays Hitler. Like I said earlier, this one has to be seen to be appreciated. It's not the best movie you will ever see, but it's entertaining and that's what counts with this kind of film.

The Eye 2 (2004)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
"It's the beginning of a new life.", 30 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

~Spoiler~

The Eye 2 sees the Pang Brothers back in familiar territory. This time out they're telling a completely different ghost story that has little to do with the original film. The new story follows a pregnant Shu Qi as she tries to kill herself multiple times and something will not let her die. Once again there are some chilling moments but I was ultimately let down. I watched Stir of Echoes, The Eye, and The Eye 2 back to back to back; I'm ready for an evil ghost movie. The ghosts in this film just hang around pregnant women while they are waiting to be reincarnated. The idea would have made a good anthology episode, but hardly warrants a feature film. That's the main flaw here, it didn't hold my attention. And I found Shu's character to be very annoying. She whines all the time and even after she knows the ghosts don't have evil intentions she is still afraid they are going to hurt her baby. If Philip Kwok tells you the ghosts just want to be reincarnated, you believe him. I know they are capable filmmakers, but the Pang Brothers have yet to seriously impress me.

The Eye (2002)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
"I no longer question why I am blind.", 30 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

~Spoiler~

The Eye is one of the original properties that was responsible for getting everyone excited over Asian horror. I remember liking the film the first time I saw it, however, watching it now I find that it's a bit boring. Well, the first half of the film is still engaging, but the latter is tedious and uninteresting to me. In the beginning of the film, we find 20 year old Mun, who has been blind for most of her life, has just had a successful cornea transplant. The operation allows her to see once again. But this new sight is more than she bargained for. She now has the ability, or curse, to see apparitions. There are some genuinely creepy moments where Mun is discovering that she can see ghosts. One involving an elevator is downright unnerving. When Mun decides to find out who the donor of her cornea was, the film turns into a kind of supernatural mystery and doesn't offer up anymore chills. That's where they went wrong. The Pang Brothers have a knack for generating some good scares. Unfortunately thus far they've put those scares into sub-par films (i.e. The Eye 2 and The Messengers). If you like films such as the original Shutter, you will probably find something to like here.

Shiver (2008)
0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
"When you live in the dark there is nowhere to hide.", 30 August 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Spoiler"

I did not know much about Shiver before I watched it. The only thing I did know was that Dark Sky films was releasing it and they are a company that I really trust right now. I can gladly say that they did not abuse that trust. Shiver is a good, albeit flawed, fright flick. It starts out in one direction and goes to a very unexpected place. The film follows Santi, a young man who has an affliction not dissimilar to vampires. Santi is highly sensitive to sunlight and also has fangs. However, this has little to do with the actual plot other than to make you think Santi could be a monster. Because there is a monster of sorts that lives in the woods near the small village where Santi and his mother have moved to. There are a few animal mutilations and murders that coincide with Santi's arrival and the townsfolk believe Santi to be responsible. I don't want to give anything away, but Santi is not the killer. The killer's identity is a highly original concept and it's what I think will separate Shiver and make it memorable. Also, there are a few scenes in broad daylight that gave me chills. That is an incredible accomplishment to me. And that's why I recommend seeing the picture. I think towards the end of the film Shiver becomes a little too routine. That is my main complaint. It goes down the same tired road we've been down before. It had a lot of potential to be different and it didn't take full advantage of that. I still think it's a good film because it did give me the "shivers" and I suggest seeing it especially if you are a fan of Spanish horror.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
"I'm into uh...murders and executions mostly.", 29 December 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

~Spoiler~

American Psycho is best described by its title. Christian Bale stars as Patrick Bateman, a man with wealth, looks, and charm...a vision of the American dream. Or is he the American nightmare? You see, he just can't get that reservation at Dorsia. Also, his business card isn't as impressive because he didn't go with the eggshell white. This is a film that I initially found a bit disturbing and did not care for at all. Upon revisiting it, however, American Psycho has hit an unexpected place: my funny bone. This is one of the most quotable movies ever and I can't believe how funny it is. I guess the first time I watched I didn't get it for what it was: a satire. It's a satirical look at the materialism and excess of the 80's and I had not seen Oliver Stone's Wall Street before viewing American Psycho. Wall Street was the key to unlocking this movie for me. Sounds weird, doesn't it? But I swear that's what did it for me. Well, that and my love for Huey Lewis and the News. The film is packed with a star-studded cast, but it's Bale who makes a name for himself here. He is the whole show. If you are a fan of his, I suggest seeing this film as you will see a much different side of the actor. Or, if you thought Genesis was too artsy before the presence of Phil Collins became more apparent, then American Psycho is for you too. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to return some videotapes.


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