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613 reviews in total 
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Horns (2013)
Tame compared to Aja's other films., 22 November 2015

Daniel Radcliffe is trying desperately to distance himself from the role that made him famous. What better genre to work in than horror? The total opposite of a kids fantasy series. He starred in The Woman in Black, to tepid reviews, but the film made enough money and had enough of a fan base to warrant a sequel. Don't worry, I'm not reviewing that flick; instead were looking at a film adaptation from a book penned by Stephen King's son, Joe Hill.

Horns is a murder-mystery / almost horror hybrid. Radcliffe plays Ig, yes that is his name. His girlfriend turns up dead and he is the prime suspect. Yet, he didn't do it. How is he supposed to find the real killer? Well, one day out of nowhere a set of horns appear on his head and gives him the ability to see people speak the truth. He finds out some horrible things from his friends, family and complete strangers. With this new 'power' of his, he's on the war path to find out the true killer of his girlfriend.

Hill is a weird guy; he has to be, growing up with King as your father. His own foray into the world of writing is just as weird, if not weirder than his father. Horns is just a peek into the mind of Hill and Alexandre Ajatries his hand at adapting Hill's work for the screen. Aja is known for his brutal take on violence, just look at High Tension or The Hill Have Eyes remake. Both gritty films with blood and violence filled to the brim. Horns isn't as violent per say, but does have some grisly images here and there. Aja was a good choice for this piece of work, even if he does seem more focused on those horrific images of blood than he is in the mystery element.

Radcliffe is someone I'm not particularly a fan of. He seems to be trying way too hard to speak like a normal person. There is something off-putting by the way he pronounces most of his words that it bleeds into his performance, making it seem almost wooden at times. Horns is his best performance to date, for me at least, but he is still a weak actor by far. How much of a career will he have now that Potter is done, well, we'll have to wait and see. I wouldn't mind seeing him in more pieces like Horns and less like The December Boys, that's for sure.

To say Horns is ordinary is a big disservice to the material. The film is weird in a unique way mainly due to Hill, but Aja manages to bring it to the screen with some flair. Check out Horns for something oddly fun.

A little boring at times, but interesting nonetheless., 22 November 2015

After being caught cooking meth, a teen is sent to rehab. It is here that he meets a young beautiful girl who offers him a job. They go to a remote cabin with her boyfriend and third partner in their little drug scheme. Things go a little wrong for them when they begin to turn on each other. Things go from bad to worse when they find themselves caught in an old Native American curse. Now they must find a way to break free, or forever be dammed.

I was given this little indie flick by my uncle, who surprisingly sang its praises. So I went in with modest expectations and came out with a smile on my face, a sense of disappointment and a feeling of "I've seen this done better before".

Blood Punch has one aspect about the film that I would love to talk about, but feel that it would ruin the surprise. So I'm at odds here because this happens in the first act and the rest of the movie is wrapped around this plot device. It's nothing new or original, in fact it's been done to 'death'. Yet it's the inspired direction from Paxson that really gives Blood Punch a sense of accomplishment. The drama in the beginning takes a turn to black comedy once we arrive at the cabin. The film tries a balancing act and works for the most part, it's just that I didn't really find it too funny.

The genres this film mixes a fast and furious. There is even a action heavy shoot-out for crying out loud. This might make it seem like the film doesn't know what it wants to be, but I believe Paxson and crew knew exactly what they were doing here. An ode to some crazy Raimi/Coen Brothers hybrid of a film.

While interesting enough to keep my attention, bizarre enough for me to want to find out more. This is a film that I can't really see myself watching again anytime soon. I can't place my finger on it. The acting is serviceable to the story. The direction above what one can expect from a low-budget indie black comedy flick and the blood effects will make the horror fan smile. It simply feels like a precursor to something more, something bigger, something better down the road for the career of Paxson, if anything.

Jessabelle (2014)
A Big Disappointment., 22 November 2015

When I first saw the trailer for this film, I thought to myself; "Wow, now that seems like it could be a tense film, she's stuck in a wheel chair the whole time". I stand by that comment; any horror film with the main character being terrorized or haunted and they are stuck, immobile, will lead to greater stakes. That individual can't run away, they can't really hide, they're stuck. I was game to see this flick.

Jessabelle tells the tale of a young beautiful woman who has her dreams cut short by an accident, which leaves her unable to walk. Confined to a wheel chair, she calls her absentee father to come and pick her up. She moves in with him and finds these old VHS tapes around the house with messages from her mother, whose dead, about Jessabelle's fate. You guessed it, her fate isn't looking to good. Her mother see's death, torture and ghosts in poor Jessabelle's future and her future lurks behind every corner.

Okay, so now we have a main character, physically confined to her chair. The threat isn't really tangible, it's a ghost, so that can come out of nowhere. You're not safe in any room, any corner, or under any sheets. Great, this is good news, the tension will come....the tension will come....I'm sure the tension will eventually come....the tension never came.

Jessabelle disappoints me so much in that area. Not once did I ever really fear for her character. Sure things get a little creepy, but those scare tactics are clichéd and tired out. Even the added bonus of our disabled character, couldn't save the film from that. This film only works, barely, due to the performance from Sarah Snook. Snook was nominated in last years Mofo Film Awards for her role in Predestination. She failed to win, but did indeed turn some heads. She does so again, for me at least, with her honest performance here. She's beautiful, but that doesn't define her character, as so many horror movie characters go that route. Here, Snook gives Jessabelle some depth and some empathy, something a lot of horror flicks lack. So Jessabelle earns some points there.

The final reveals fail to live up to the moderate build up. So the end result is a poor result all around. The film lacks a lot of much needed scares and more importantly, tension and fear for the well being of our main character here. If Jessabelle looks like an interesting film to you, don't be fooled, it's not.

Seen it before..., 22 November 2015

Sinister seemed to scare a lot of people, yet I found myself bored by a lot of the attempts. Then when I heard about Deliver Us From Evil, I had an End of Days sense of things, judging from the trailer. Derrickson is no stranger to exorcist/possession style films. An earlier hit of his was The Exorcism of Emily Rose. This time, he goes a bit more grittier and a bit more bloodier.

Eric Bana is a detective, his partner is miscast Joel McHale, together they try to solve a series of mysterious crimes. He reluctantly includes a priest who seems to know a few answers regarding the odd quirks of some of these criminals.

When reflecting on this film, the one thing that comes to my mind is - great make-up effects. The possessed people, especially during the interrogation scene, is spectacular. The shortcomings of the film seem to be everything else. Bana tries his hardest to be a tough cop from the Bronx, but it doesn't work. His accent is too distracting. Even more distracting is comedian Joel McHale who seems to be a specialist with knives.

The film gives Oliva Munn, the thankless role of being Bana's wife. All she does the entire film is complain how he isn't there for his family. This film is predominately a male populated flick. The females here have nothing to contribute, which is a shame because I feel that Munn is actually quite talented. She just needs to right vehicle for her career. Sean Harris, you might recognize him as the bad guy from the recent Mission Impossible film, Rogue Nation, is one of the possessed 'bad guys'. I feel like his career should be taking off soon enough, if this film does anything for him it makes his resume look diverse.

The marketing team will have you believe this is based off true events. This is a lie.While there is indeed a man, played by Bana, who actually exists. A man who reportedly did deal with paranormal investigations and even wrote a book about it, the story given to us in this film is not one of those he wrote about. Instead, it is entirely fabricated and uses his name to promote that "inspired by" tag. Misleading? Sure. Then again, every tag that gives us that is a bit misleading, but I just feel that this takes it to a whole other level.

Yes, we all know Derrickson can create a creepy atmosphere. He's done it before, but Deliver Us From Evil cannot capitalize on it. At certain parts of the film, it felt like a totally different picture. Everything that deals with his daughter feels right out of Poltergeist. What's it doing in an exorcism film? To say this film fails to deliver, is an understatement.

Stage Fright (2014/I)
Could Have Been Good., 22 November 2015

There haven't been many horror/musical mash-ups in the film world. So when I saw Stage Fright available to watch, I thought I'd give it a shot. Much to my surprise, this was a well shot film. It walks a fine line of self parody with the musical numbers, but the horror elements all feel straight laced. The final result is an odd mix that I feel that I wanted to like a lot more than I eventually did.

Broadway star Kylie Swanson opened the musical The Haunting of the Opera, an obvious spin on Phantom of the Opera. That same night she was murdered, the killer never found. Ten years later, her two kids help her old manager run an theatre camp for kids. The manager decides to bring back The Haunting of the Opera in an effort to be back on top. Once the rehearsals start, so do the killings.

That Broadway star is played by Minnie Driver and her scene is in the opening of this film, that's all. The manager is played by Meat Loaf, his voice isn't the same as if Rocky Horror Picture Show days. The rest of the cast is made up by no name Canadian stars. Yes, this is another Canadian film.

The deaths are somewhat creative. The killer seems to like ROCK and ROLL and absolutely HATE theatre musicals. There are a few scenes where they have fun with some red herrings, but not enough in my opinion. If you don't know who the killer is before the reveal, then you don't watch many films.

The laughs are few and far between, as are the deaths. It honestly felt like they gave up on the musicals numbers for 2/3's of the film. This attempt at this mash-up tells me one thing. It's not ready yet.

0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
What Am I Afraid Of? Not This Remake., 22 November 2015

No no no, this is not the Tobe Hooper classic from the 80's. This is the horror remake cash grab of the last decade genre. I'm not going to compare this film to the original. I feel like that would be a bit unfair. Instead, I'll simply judge it on its own merits. But first...why did I bother to watch this film?

Poltergeist is a shallow remake with; no scares, tension, surprises or people that seem to give a damn. Rockwell in my opinion looks like he is literally sleepwalking through the role. The amount of "this is for a paycheque" written on his face is undeniable. Rosemarie Dewitt, who plays his wife, does seem like she cares though. She agreed to do this film because her husband was in The Conjuring and she witnessed first hand the type of fear it struck in the audience. She wanted to be apart of that experience....unfortunately she decided to star in Poltergeist.

The film simply feels unnecessary. It brings absolutely nothing new to the table. Why am I paying to see this film? If I'm not paying, why am I dedicating two hours of my life to watching this? There is no answer because Kenan doesn't deliver anything of note here. We have a by the numbers PG-13 Horror flick shot in 3D. Yes, expect to see some "coming at the screen" moments, which make me cringe in embarrassment and a little bit of disappointment, considering Kenan also had a hand in the animated haunted house flick, Monster House.

I can't stress this enough, Poltergeist is a failed attempt at remaking a horror classic. Why do they take good films and remake them? I do not know. Take bad ones and make them good. There's an idea!!!, 22 November 2015

Here is a film that has received a lot of positive buzz this past year. Receiving especially high acclaim from The Exorcist directed himself William Friedkin. So, being the horror nut that I am, I knew I had to give it a chance. I'm glad I did.

A depressed and troubled widow, Amelia, has raised her six-year-old son Samuel alone. It's extremely difficult for her because the kid is beyond troublesome. Constantly yelling, threats of violence and an obsession with weapons has driven her to her boiling point. One day a children's book appears on his bookshelf. She reads it to him...big mistake. The grotesque pop-up book details murder and mayhem for the young child at the hands of The Babadook. Throwing the book away doesn't help, because he has already been unleashed.

The first thing I noticed, besides how annoying this kid was, was the art direction of the house. How incredibly blue and grey everything was. It was striking how drab the interior was and how it matched her depression. Kent, the director, has cited Polanski and Lynch as influences. This film feels like an odd mix between Eraserhead and Rosemary's Baby. So those inspirations shine through here and it makes for a well done horror film.

Very few horror film rely on real genuine scares, they instead opt for the cheap jump scares that heavily rely on sound rather than sight. The Babadook doesn't really go that route. Thank heavens. It slowly builds the tension and releases the horror at the right moments. We see glimpses of 'him', like Bruce in Jaws, which amps up the fear.

I can understand people being put off of the film due to the kid. He does ruin the picture at times. I get that he is suppose to annoy, irritate and make the viewer want to inflict pain onto the poor lad, much like the mother feels, but there is a breaking point. He does a good enough job, but I totally understand where people are coming from in their dislike for the film because of his performance. The mother does a good job here as well. We feel tired like here throughout the beginning of the picture. Kent manages to switch the fear here. We fear for the mother, then we fear for the kid. It was an interesting move between characters.

With real scares, The Babadook is this years The Conjuring. Enjoy

Misery (1990)
I'm your number one fan...., 22 November 2015

I don't know why it took me this long to watch Misery, but even after 25 years and countless imitators, this film rocks my socks.

Paul Sheldon is a famous writer, most famous for his ongoing series titled 'Misery'. After completing a new novel up in the middle of nowhere, he races back to civilization to deliver the draft. Big mistake, a freak snow storm makes him lose control of his car and crash. Luckily he is saved by a woman who lives in the area. She takes care of him while he is bed ridden and luckily for him, she is his number one fan.

Based on the Stephen King novel, Misery takes fan admiration one, two, maybe three steps too far. We enter the world of Annie Wilkes, a deranged woman who will stop at nothing to keep her favourite author locked up in her house, just to have him all to herself. At first, she seems like a lovable do-gooder. She won't swear, she's overly nice and humble. Things start to crack here and there when she doesn't hear things that she likes. Violent outbursts, stone cold stare downs and even sledgehammers make it into the mix. That sledgehammer scene by the way, which is arguably the most famous scene in the film, still makes me cringe even though I've seen numerous clips of it over the years. Extremely well done in my opinion. On the flip side of that, the scene when someone smacks their head on the typewriter...horribly done. Laughably, horribly done. That's the one hiccup in this otherwise, tightly directed film.

I was surprised by the amount of talent behind the camera. Reiner directing, William Goldman adapting the story from King and Barry Sonnenfeld as the cinematographer. All three of these areas are highlights of the film. Without reading the book, I get the sense that Goldman managed to get the best adaptation of the work possible. Reiner gives us many scenes of unnerving tension, heightened because our lead protagonist can't even walk. Sonnenfeld captures the cold wintery landscape beautifully in scenes and really lets us feel the isolation.

The real standout is of course, Bates. In her breakout role, which won her on Oscar no less, she commands the screen with oddity. She even makes snorting like an exciting pig seem perfectly fine, yet still oddly out of place in her role of Annie the psycho Wilkes. Every scene she was in, I had no idea what to expect. Will she be happy, mean, excited, deranged or dangerous? Sometimes she'd be all of them in a matter of seconds. An outstanding performance for sure, one that could have crippled the film is not done as well as she did. Caan manages to hold his own against her. I feel he has just as difficult a job in that he is restricted from using his body as much as one would like. He relies more on his facial expressions than anything else, he has to. Of course there is Richard Farnsworth, he is a lovable goofball here as the Sheriff. He delivers his lines with such soft, caring and humorous attitude that he almost feels like he should be in a different film. All three performances here are great and deserve recognition.

Misery is a great film that I'm ashamed to have put off for so damn long.

Ant-Man (2015)
What Could Have Been?, 21 November 2015

Ant-Man had the opportunity to be one of the most visually bizarre and interesting Marvel films to date. I think back to the pre-production stages of the film and was pretty puzzled that Edgar Wright was the man behind this project. Could he work with such a big studio, being the visually distinct director that he is? The answer was of course no. He left the project and we got The Break-Up's Peyton Reed. That's not a negative to Reed, he does his job in giving the audience an approachable Marvel superhero film. But...I keep asking myself that questions; "What could have been?"

Scott Lang is a master thief who just got out of prison. Hank Pym is a genius inventor who's been keeping an eye on Lang for some time. You see, Pym was the original Ant-Man. He has hidden the suit and the secrets to it for years in fear of it falling into the wrong hands. His predecessor, Darren Cross is trying to replicate the same formula and Pym must train a new Ant-Man is stop Cross from achieving his diabolic plans. Scott Lang is the new Ant-Man.

Much like Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant-Man had an uphill battle to be taken seriously. A superhero that is the size of an ant? How can that possibly be good? Well, Marvel has done it again, they delivered a good movie. That's all this film is though, a good movie. The film plays it so safe and by the book that I was actually taken back a bit. If anyone of the new superheroes could fall in line with the rough edged Guardians, surely it would be this one right? Nope. Ant-Man is so safe it could be a kids fact, it just might be a kids movie.

CGI overload of course, every time we shrink to the size of an ant. Interesting perspective at times, blurry at others due to the kinetic nature of the plot. The most impressive use of CGI has to be in the first 5 minutes, with a young Michael Douglas being all Benjamin Button on us. I was hoping that the effects flipping our protagonist and antagonist would result in something new, something fun or interesting in the fight or chase sequences, but Reed doesn't seem interested in that. He seems more interested in playing ball with the suits behind the camera. "We need this to be shown so we can see it develop at a later time in another film". Hence the entire Falcon sequence, which seems out of place, if neat.

Rudd is a decent superhero. He has the comedic timing to be likable, much like Chris Pratt. He was able to work his body into shape, much like Chris Pratt. Also, he walks that fine line of bad-boy, likable schmuck. Much get the idea. Douglas plays mentor here and has one scene where he gets to act a little bit with his on screen daughter, played by Evangeline Lilly. If Paul Rudd isn't funny enough for everyone, Michael Peña fills that void as the sidekick. I think Corey Stoll, who hams it up a bit as the villain, does the more interesting things. Everyone else seems to simply service the role, not taking any chances, or bringing anything new to the table. I'm glad to see Stoll get some bigger roles now.

All in all, Ant-Man is serviceable to the big budget superhero genre. It doesn't really further the Marvel agenda, nor does it re-invent anything. It will most likely be forgotten in a few years and find itself somewhere in the middle road of the list on people's "Best Marvel Films". That's the problem with this film, it's just perfectly content with being good movie and nothing more.

Anaconda (1997)
We should make a movie like Jaws...but with a snake....wait a minute!!!, 5 November 2015

Let me tell you about a little film called Anaconda.

I watched this film a dozen times as a kid, I loved monster flicks. Anaconda was bad, it was utterly bad, yet I've seen it more times than I want to admit. Now we visit it again, years later, so we can laugh at how ridiculous this film is.

We open with Danny Trejo, for some reason they dubbed his lines. He doesn't speak English, but the voice the use is so much higher than what we all know to be the gravel voice of Trejo. Just something that I found funny.

The monster effects are laughably bad at times and worse at others. When the snake is animatronic, the obviousness of it all makes it seems like a bad ride at universal. Then we have the CGI effects, which make the snake seem like it doesn't even belong on the screen. The first attack on a human, the entire thing looks like one giant blur. The first time we see the snake in general isn't with some Jaws like reveal, it's simply the thing slithering around in the jungle before it attacks a puma. No big reveal, no slow reveal...just the damn snake out in the open.

In Ebert's review of the film, which is enthusiastically gave a thumbs up, he claims Jon Voight delivers a brave and slimy performance. That I can agree with, but I wouldn't necessarily call it a great performance. It's without a doubt, memorable, but in the campy way. He glares at almost everyone on the screen, his skin is slimy like a snake and immediately untrustworthy. No one else seems to think they are in a bad movie here. Voight seems to know this from the get go. Watch this film and then watch The Room and tell me the performances from them are not almost identical. Is he doing DeNiro? Is he doing Brando? Who the hell knows. It's one wacky performance, that much is a guarantee.

This was one of the early Jennifer Lopez films that probably helped launch her career. Why? I don't know, she doesn't offer anything interesting here. Ice Cube and Owen Wilson play against their usual type, I don't think we've seen either of them in a monster flick since this one,

Suffice to say, Anaconda is a bad film that boarders on being highly enjoyable. Sit back, laugh and enjoy the absurdity of Anaconda. If you take this film all, even for one second, then you will utterly hate it.

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