Reviews written by registered user
|6 reviews in total|
...or the horror! Did not rate this one at all, I'm afraid. The pace
was slow, dialogue boring and predictable and the characters were
completely under developed.
The acting was OK, I suppose, not that the script gave much of an opportunity to shine. Biggest gripe I had with the acting was the accents. Anthony Hopkins couldn't decide whether he was English or Irish and Bernicio Del Toro's native accent kept infiltrating the part American, part English accent that his character should have had. Didn't anyone notice this when they were shooting the movie? I'm no expert on film production but isn't that the sort of thing that might prompt the director to use the word 'cut'?
Another gripe was with the Wolfman himself. His face reminded me of Teen Wolf and when he was running on his hind legs with his hands dangling in front of him, he frankly looked a bit camp. Not that I have a problem with gay werewolves but are they scary? I would say no but hey, that's just me.
Gore effects were really good (old school decaps are always fun) but not even Rick Baker was enough to save this yawn of a movie.
I'm seeing the word 'art' being bandied around a good deal for this
film which is fair enough given the fact that it's cinematographic
presentation is nothing short of brilliant - dark and highly original
with techniques I personally have never seen before. The acting was
also impressive (especially regarding Charlotte Gainsbourg's
performance, which was the most demanding out of the two).
In terms of the screen play I was frankly not impressed. The characters were under developed and much of the dialogue is devoted to boring psycho-babble. The story had potential but plot revelations are not given enough attention in terms of build up and execution - breezed over to make way for more fluffy camera work.
Apart from a couple really severe displays of ultra realistic gore (seriously...ouch!), I wouldn't call this a horror movie. It lacked tension and I frankly didn't think enough of the characters to be concerned for their well being. That being said the score was great, probably would have suited a scarier film.
All in all, I'd say this is a movie that the 'film noir' enthusiasts will wet their pants over but I wouldn't be inclined to recommend it for anyone else.
It's funny how tastes will change with age but I have over the last ten
odd years developed a strong taste for films that psychologically
scarred me as a kid.
Make of that what you will but let me tell you of all of the depraved horror and gratuitous cinema violence I smuggled past my parents as a teenager, the damage that this one caused on my impressionable young mind was by far the most difficult to kick of them all.
All that aside Ghosts of the Civil Dead still remains one of the most absolutely under-rated masterpieces of my life time in my view. The story is elegantly assembled, challenging the viewer to dust off the old brain by not spoon feeding the information but never becoming unnecessarily confusing for the sake of appearing intellectual. I believe there was a team of five on the screen play itself, including director John Hillcoat and musician/actor Nick Cave (they've recent teamed up again to make The Proposition which is another great watch).
One of the many brilliant qualities of this film is it's ability to instigate such overwhelming reactions of tension, pity, repulsion and so on in the viewer without ever straying away from it's beautifully under-stated approach.
The music is minimalistic but filled with the sense of foreboding and dread befitting of the subject matter. The various thematic points of the film are more than adequately addressed without resorting to fluffy, dialogue masturbation. Saying more with less in cinema is the greatest indication of screen writing talent in my view (thesauruses aren't that hard to come by).
It always shocks me to think that what seems to me to be somewhere in the realm of fifty percent of the cast in this movie have never gone on to do another film since. All performances were absolutely brilliant, though I must say that if I were giving an award for best performance, it would have to go to the wise yet highly intemperate Ruben played by Vincent Gil. It totally blew my mind to see Gil so effectively nailing a role of that caliber (not that the Nightrider was anything other than a stand out performance but you know... it wasn't quite so demanding as that of Ruben).
Anyway, to cut a long story short, Ghosts of the Civil Dead is an intensely disturbing and powerfully enlightening portrayal of high security prison life that will not only have you questioning the values of the incarceration system in regard to human rights but also the value it provides to society in general.
I believe it can still be obtained from online stores in Aus if not Amazon. Keep an open mind and you'll be pleasantly surprised.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As much as I like the idea of a film that marches a clan of sexy,
wealthy and smart tourists up a cursed hill side to be slowly tortured
to death by evil ground-runner plants... Actually, no that's really
crap idea isn't it. You can disregard all but the words "slowly
tortured"from that last remark (believe me, this was a process of
torture that could only be described as slow).
To anyone wondering what else to expect from this film other than the aforementioned, I can tell you that's pretty much the long and short of it - apart from a bunch of stereotypically uncooperative local military goons that for some reason had come to the conclusion that by letting the sexy tourists just get up and leave the mountain of vegetative death they could all expect to die with them!?!
This is yet another of the string of lets-kill-the-dumb-Western-tourist films that may or may not have been spawned by the film Hostel, which was really the only descent one of the bunch. Frankly I'm sick of the concept, not because of any moral or inter-racial concerns. It's just become a total bore.
This film, like all of the others, had characters spanning from one whiny character that didn't like being away from home to the cool outgoing character that loved being exposed to new things and welcomed cultural diversity. Why is it always the whiny character that's among the last to take the bullet in these things?
Anyhow, apart from the occasional pang of mild nausea brought on by someone having an elongated piece of flesh dwelling, hyper intelligent vine dragged from under their skin, this film gave nothing by way of the sense of dread one might expect from a horror film that takes itself so seriously.
The evil shrubbery was subject the typical overdoing of CGI and looked really stupid. Frankly I was more disturbed by the Little Shop of Horrors and I first saw that as stage production!
I'm giving this film one star for each of the two descent gore scenes and two for the sexy cast (then I'm retracting one of those points for the fact that they had to rely on the sexy cast to sell tickets).
If your thinking about going to see this one, do yourself a favour and buy yourself a houseplant with the ticket cost instead. Put some spooky lighting on it and you'll probably find it more frightening than this waste of film stock!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As a horror fan, I must say that I'm a little disappointed in myself
for not having discovered this little piece of slasher gold before now.
This is a film that has found the perfect balance between the
late-seventies & early-eighties "teens-to-the-slaughter" classics of
the States (e.g Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street) and the pure
theater of grizzly death brought to us by the many Italian Giallo gems
(Black Sunday, Tenebrae to name a couple).
In short, it delivered on the gore with creativity and style, without unnecessarily short changing us on the cheese factor. You can't ask for too much more than that out of a slasher film! As is typically the case in this genre, the entire plot is pretty much outlined for the viewer prior to the roll of the opening credits but that's all part of the fun isn't it?
Acting skills were more than adequate - almost leaning to the side of quite good, actually. Seinfeld fans will be pleased to find a young George Costanza (Jason Alexander) amongst the teens and probably quite shocked to know that he did at one stage have hair.
Horror fans planning to undertake this classic in the near future should keep their eye's peeled for the raft scenes (note the plural on that). Some of the most inventive and enjoyable displays of gratuitous violence I've seen for ages.
All up, it's a 9 out of 10 for The Burning from me and I'm slotting it into my top three slasher films, outranked only by Susperia and Halloween. If you can find it hiding somewhere on the dusty back shelves of your local video store's horror section, grab it immediately and drag your friends over to see it with you (that way you can make comments like "oooh, burny man's not gonna like that kind of behaviour" and "oops, she's nude...I smell a decap coming"). Now that's entertainment!
Of all of the first Master of Horror series, this was the one that I was looking forward to the most and also the one that I was most disappointed with (isn't always the way!). Miike fans will note that many of his trademark scenes from his previous films were kind of redone for English Speaking audiences in this one, which is in itself worth seeing, I guess (especially in regard to the cringe factor). Far too many film concepts there for a one hour film though. My biggest beef was with male lead, Billy Drago. He severely over-acted what was already an annoyingly repetitive script... By the end of the movie, the mere sound of his voice was enough to ruin the scene. Otherwise, the story line was pretty ordinary. It seemed to be a little unsure of what it was trying to achieve. Too weird to be a standard plot yet it seemed to tie off too many loose ends to be credited as just plain weird! The dialogue seemed to have lost quite a lot in translation also. In conclusion, this is worth a look if your a die fan fan of Miike's work but one of the lesser films in the series, unfortunately.