42 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Predictable all the way
31 August 2012
As soon as the movie started, I hoped it would not be as predictable as I feared it was going to be. Unfortunately, it was. It was like an old mold was used, as the whole storyline never surprised or added something new. Well, it saves me from writing a long review I guess.

Though somehow still slightly entertaining (hence my 4 points instead of lower), the movie didn't only lack of originality, but also of any sort of depth. Never do we get to know Jerry better, nor do we get to know the family better. There's no real character development, no real deep emotions, just nothing that makes it stand out.

Some people describe it as a satire, which it could have been, if only there would have been more sharpness to it. Instead, I think I only smiled once, but it was more like a slight curl of my lips than a real smile.

So to keep it short as promised, I did sit through the 90 minutes and was entertained enough not to search for an other unseen movie in my collection, but that's about it. If you do not mind a predictable thriller, and you like the lack of any real tension, well it might just be something for you. If you are used to movies that keep you on the edge of your seat, skip this one.
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Absentia (I) (2011)
Slow and atmospheric creeper makes for a pretty impressive experience.
5 April 2012
I do not really understand why the average rate of Absentia is so low. Well, maybe I do understand, if you watch this horror with the expectations that you get a fast paced gore filled typical horror movie, you will be disappointed. Absentia is a slow one, and it basically has no real gore. So just skip it if that's what you are going for, and save this little gem the downrates which it really doesn't deserve.

Now, that having sad, Absentia has something different to offer. It's not per say in the storyline itself, which, when you read it, doesn't seem too original. What it's got to offer is mainly in the mood. The soundtrack, which is relatively minimum, really adds to the claustrophobic and depressing atmosphere. The acting is well done, realistic and believable, and the characters are well worked out and take the plot to a higher level. There are some weird things in the plot that make you wonder what is really going on. It gives the perfect sense of mystery, never fully explaining it, but definitely enough to leave you satisfied.

I found Absentia more of an experience, though it doesn't come short to the story at all. Things may or may not make sense, and you might wonder a couple of times how much comes to perception and how much of it is really happening, it doesn't take anything away from the story or from the mood. It only adds to it.

I was a bit reluctant when I put the DVD into my player but all my doubts faded away within the first minutes. The movie is perfectly shot, everything just works really really well. I am very pleasantly surprised and think it certainly belongs to one of the best horror movies of 2011.

The only bad thing I have to say about it is that a few times I found it hard to follow the dialogue (mumbling) and had to rewind to listen to it again.

Watch it if you get the chance, and if you like horror which crawls deeply under your skin. Do not watch it if you want action and gore.
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Bleak, grim, realistic and brilliant Australian movie
20 February 2012
I didn't quite know what to expect when I put this DVD into my player, but it certainly wasn't this. Snowtown was so much better than what I hoped for, and it left me with a satisfaction which only some movies manage to do for me. Of course I knew on forehand that it was a movie about serial killings, but it got well above all those cliché SK movies that have begotten so common.

For starters, Snowtown feels very realistic. We don't get to see the story from the perspective or main focus of the main serial killer, but we see the world through the eyes of the son of the family - soon to be dominated by John. John initially comes over as a charming guy who likes to be the Knight in Shining Armour against pedophiles, but it doesn't take long before we know that his ideas are obsessions which go from 'let's teach the guy a lesson' to an excuse for executing his sick fantasies. Jamie, our protagonist, initially likes John's charms but soon finds himself in a very vulnerable, confusing and dangerous position. One can not help but feel sorry for the lad.

The movie takes place in a realistic setting in a poor part of town, which is made even more depressed by the bleak colors of the movie. There is no Yellow Brick Road in this Land of Oz. Though the story may initially be confusing, and some reviewers advice to read up on the case (Snowtown Murders, Bodies in the Barrels), it's certainly watchable without that information. However; I do agree that it's the best if you dó read up about it, no matter if it is before or after you have seen this movie. Bits of the puzzle will fall into place and it makes the movie even better, because of the authenticity of what happened.

There are a few very violent scenes in Snowtown, so it's not for those with a weak stomach, but most is kept to your imagination. It's a psychological thriller that focuses on what happens with Jamie. So do not expect to get a full story about John Bunting's life. Snowtown is a story without a real beginning and without a real end. Still; it doesn't need any, it is just perfect the way it is.

The acting is convincing and natural, Daniel Henshall gives a chilling performance of Bunting going from reasonably charming to a total sick creep. Lucas Pittaway is well cast for the role of Jamie, and he does remarkably well in making the audience believe how the lights fade out in Jamie's eyes throughout his nightmarish experiences, going from adolescently bored to traumatized numb.

I gave Snowtown a 9 instead of a 10 (though I would rather have given it a 98 out of 100) for the parts which are a bit confusing, especially the beginning is a part you really sort of have to sit through. But be patient; once it's at speed, and you let go your expectations but simply experience it, Snowtown drags you in and will not easily let you go. I watched it about one and a half week ago and it's still fresh in my head. It's a movie that grows on you, even after you have finished watching it.

Well done, very well done indeed, Mr Justin Kurzel! This is exactly how I like my movies. I do hope to see some more of you.
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The Aura (2005)
The Overuse of Slow
20 February 2012
El Aura has an interesting idea (man dreams about a big time robbery and gets the chance to do so in an unexpected way) but the way it is all worked out is just too slow. Though the pace does work on some moments, and I do certainly not always mind slow paced movies, it didn't have enough tension for me to keep my thoughts constantly on the movie. The images are nice, I liked the setting, it is well shot and atmospheric, but it seemed to me that the director was too much of a perfectionist with his focus on every separate scene instead of the whole of the movie. Which is a shame, as I think that with about 45 minutes less, I would have liked it a lot more. I certainly don't mind if a shot of a thinking man takes up long seconds but if that happens all the time, with about everything that's going on, well, I know the game and it looses it's strength to me.

The script itself was also not always very believable. I'll not go into details, but the reality of the story definitely had it's flaws.

All together it was disappointing, because the potential is certainly there. If the silence would have been used only in certain parts and less in the rest of the movie, and parts of the script would have been just a bit more believable, it would have worked better for me. I know I will get down rates for this review, as most people seem to be totally lyrical about it, but I just can't make anything more of it. Slow is great if there is a lot of tension. In this case, there were too many scenes were slow was used without that needed tension.

Maybe I watched it with too high expectations. I'll still give it a 7 out of 10 because it was good enough to not give it anything less, but I might change that (to a lower number) depending on if the movie stays with me or simply fades away in my memory. It was a good try, with some beautiful shots and great moments, but really.... not thát special, and definitely overrated.
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Slow starter soon goes from eerie to claustrophobic
27 January 2012
Before I watched YellowBrickRoad, I had read mostly negative reviews. So to be honest, I didn't expect too much of it. And what I certainly didn't expect was the way this movie crawled under my skin.

YBR starts slow, and within the first 20 minutes I even asked myself a couple of times if I was in the mood to watch a movie. However, before I knew it, I was on the edge of my seat and it didn't let me go right until the end. What started out a bit boring soon became a tensed and claustrophobic experience. Halfway I wished I had payed more attention to the beginning, but no way was I going to stop the movie to watch it back, it would have been too much of a disturbance. I will for sure do that later on though.

Though there are a few nasty things happening, the biggest atmosphere is not set by those events but by music. At the beginning this feels a bit cheap, but I've got to say that it is used very effectively. In fact, I still do hear it in the back of my head. For me, the most important thing in the story is the descent into madness. Something you sort of feel yourself as a viewer, as minute by minute the beautiful woods turn more into a creepy nightmare and the music starts to really work on your brain. YBR starts innocent and then turns unpleasant. When things really start to go wrong, it has been done in such a way that initially you only half realize what happens, just like the people in the movie who observe it through binoculars. It's almost comical until you realize that things go really out of hand.

About the end.. well, a lot has already been written about it. I am still not sure what to think of it, to be honest. It leaves me unsatisfied and I do wish it would have been done differently. Not that I don't like an imaginative ending, I just do not like it much in the way it was done here. Still, even though disappointing, it doesn't take away the whole eeriness of the movie. Some people have mentioned The Shining, and I do see the comparison, maybe especially with the ending. I do think that the whole idea behind the Yellow Brick Road was a metaphorical. "We all walk a trail" could be translated as the road we follow throughout our lives. I won't go more into this as it might be a spoiler for the end, even though it was all very vague. If the movie was meant to be metaphorical, I wish that it was done better, so that it would make more sense. Which could have been done, without spelling it out. I consider it to be a missed chance, though I might have to give it an other chance myself and focus more on the meaning behinds things, and not only in the end bit. There is probably a lot more behind YBR than how it looks at the surface.

With a different ending, and probably a bit clearer use of metaphors, I would rate this movie higher, but still, I can't give it anything below a 7,5 out of 10. It was just far too creepy for that.

All in all, YBR surprised me a lot more than I expected. If you like atmospheric horror movies that crawl under your skin, this might be one for you. If you are into slasher and such, and/or want a whole lot of action, skip it.
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The Magician (I) (2005)
One of the most humorous movies I have seen in a long time.
23 January 2012
The Magician is often compared to movies such as Chopper, Leon and Man Bites Dog (Cést Arrivé près de Chez Vous). Of those three, I would say that it comes closest to Man Bites Dog. Both movies are satirical and both movies have a killer followed by a camera. Still, though there are quite a few similarities, the Magician is certainly not a rip-off.

Ray Shoesmith is a hit-man from Melbourne. His friend is making a documentary about him, as a sort of memento just in case he kicks the bucket a bit too soon. We follow Ray doing what he does. There are a few story lines woven through each other, with the mayor storyline focusing on a guy Ray is supposed to kill. Things take a different turn though and what starts out as a simple job ends up to be a bit more complicated.

Instead of having it's main focus on violence, The Magician is much more about dialogue. And many of those dialogues are truly hilarious. Not in a typical comedy way, but the humor is much more in the normality of conversations between friends and conversations just to kill some time. Still, despite the humor and lightheartedness of some conversations, there is always that dark undertone. For example, at one point some fast food has to be ordered, which is quite an amusing scene. But at the same time, you don't forget that one of the guys is still Ray's mark. This makes it exciting all the way. At times you would almost think of Ray as just a normal chap, but certain scenes in the movie make clear that we do deal with someone who is a cold-blooded hit-man. The contrast between those sides of Ray is always there and make him a very believable character. He's charming, at times sensitive, but also a merciless killer, and often oh so real.

Ray is brilliantly portrayed by director Scott Ryan himself. The acting is perfect, his performance outstanding. Some of Ray's facial expressions are worth gold.

It;s quite a while ago since a movie really had me laughing out loud. I honestly can not find anything negative to say about The Magician. I can only say that this movie is absolutely worth your time and money. If you manage to get your hands on it, watch it. If you have a good sense of humor you definitely won't regret it. Kudos, Mr Ryan!
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Clerks II (2006)
Lacks the strength of the original, but still has it's memorable moments
23 January 2012
It has been a long time since I have watched Clerks 1, but it will always be one of my favorite comedies. Clerks 2 is unfortunately not that strong. Where Clerks 1 is genius in it's dialogue, Clerks 2 is more just enjoyable in dialogue. There were a few strong moments, and I did like the new character of Elias. The plot is never surprising, and though it's more of the same, it's less of the good. Still, there were definitely some moments where I laughed out loud. The donkey-man is one to remember.

I'm gonna keep this review a very short one. Clerks 2 is still an enjoyable feel-good movie, and pleasurable to watch, but do not expect the quality the first one had.
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Interesting concept, though flawed, well worth a watch.
22 January 2012
'The Collingswood Story' has got a lot in common with the Found Footage genre, with one little difference, it's not based on found footage but it's based on webcam and video message conversations. Still, it has that same kind of intimacy and gives it the sense of 'being real', with us, viewers, as the witnesses. It's really a nice concept, and one I had not seen before in the way it was used in 'The Collingswood Story'. It's quite a simple set-up but I liked it all the way.

So what is it about? We have boyfriend and girlfriend John and Rebecca, Rebecca recently moved to Collingswood for college. They are an 8 hours drive apart and have contact through a webcam. It's Rebecca's birthday, and Johnny surprises her with all kinds of amusing webcam nutters. The last one she visits is a psychic. When the psychic tells her that something is just not right, Johnny also contacts the psychic who tells him that Rebecca has to be careful because of the troubled past of Collingswood. Being slightly unsettled, he surfs a bit around on the net to find out that the psychic's story is based on truth, Collingswood had a history of a satanic cult and the house Rebecca lived in was once the scene of some grisly family murders. Though Rebecca is initially freaked-out, she later decides that the psychic is just playing tricks on people. Johnny on the contrary is worrying more and more.

We see the whole story evolve through the webcam contact (Rebecca bought herself a cable allowing her to take her laptop through the whole house), video messages she sends Johnny and the sites Johnny visits online.

The movie is slow paced, but it has more of a story in it than meets the impatient eye. If you for example take the time to read the websites Johnny visits, the story gets more body. So do use that pause-button on your remote control. What I like about that concept is that it gives the movie an even more intimate feeling, as you are researching sort of together with John.

Both actors did a good job, especially considering that they both lack acting experience. I found them totally believable and really natural in their roles. Both are pleasant to look at too. The psychic and John's friend Billy lacked that believability for me, but well, you can't have it all.

The bad is that the story could have been more tensed, and more could have been done with the endings. It left me with a slightly unsatisfied feeling, though I did like the fact that I really didn't see it coming. Still, it could have been done better. At the same time, the movie did hold me at the edge of my seat and I never found it boring.

All in all, TCS definitely has it flaws but at the same time it makes use of an interesting concept, it has more in it for those who pay attention, the acting is good and the end is unexpected. It's nice to see what can be done with a low budget and a creative mind.

It was a movie worth my time.
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Atrocious (2010)
Not that bad POV movie
20 January 2012
Despite the mostly negative reviews, Atrocious is actually not thát bad. I enjoyed it more than I expected, maybe because my expectations were low.

The good: The setting was pretty good, I loved the house and the labyrinth (sigh, I wish I lived in such a place) and though it started out a bit dull and has it's predictable bits, there are a few enjoyable creepy moments. I was pretty happy to see that the end was not what I expected, and better than what I did expect. An other good thing is the brutality shown through the police photo's. You don't see anything really happen, but at the end the police files combined with the basement video make up for that and fill in the hole your imagination was still left with.

The bad: It's not a movie to watch when you suffer from motion sickness. I do have a sensitive stomach for movements and I thought it was only just bearable. That's one of the weaknesses of many 'Found Footage' movies, the shaky camera-work is just too much overdone. OK, when you are running you won't ever have a steady shot, but in the beginning of the movie one would expect at least a bit more of a steady hand. So that was actually pretty annoying. An other bad is that some bits are just too long, without anything happening, which makes you want to reach for the fast-forward button. There was too much darkness, and too much running through the night (yep, darkness, and night vision which shows nothing but trees). One last bad thing is the subtitling. I am not sure if I just had a bad version, but my, did it suck. All Spanish cursing was translated as 'drugs' which gives you a fair idea of the skills of the people who did the subbing.

I'm a bit left in the dark (pardon me the bad pun) when it comes to rating this movie. It has a lot of flaws, but the ending does make up for it, and I have seen worse Found Footage movies (like Paranormal Activity). Anyway, my advise would be to set your expectations low, and then you might even enjoy it like I did.
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Mum & Dad (2008)
Awkward, makes you cringe and grin.
20 January 2012
Lena, a young Polish girl working as a cleaner at the airport, sort of befriends Birdy, a girl about the same age who can't seem to stop talking. When after work Lena misses her bus, Birdy and her silent brother Elbie invite Lena over to their house, which is right under the airport. A bit hesitant she takes the invitation and ends up in a family from hell.

'Mum & Dad' is quite an awkward movie. The whole feeling is just plain weird. It reminded me of movies such as 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre', Rob Zombie's 'House of 1000 Corpses' and 'The People Under the Stairs'. It's brutal and there are (literally) body parts all around, but at the same time it's filled with dark humor. Not the kind of humor that lies thick on top of it, it never made me laugh out loud, but at the same time it's there, a lot. The Christmas scene for instance is unforgettable. The family really ís a family with it's own rules and values (a scene where the father tells the mother not to interfere with him disciplining the kids is a good example), it's just not something you can compare with normality. 'Mum & Dad' makes you cringe and grin at the same time.

The characters were pretty well casted. Dad is a perfect pig and the thick accents they all had were really fitting. Is it a brilliant movie? Nah... not really. But for horror fans with a sense of humor it is absolutely worth watching.

Just do not take it too seriously.
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