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Burnt Offerings (1976)
If you though a house couldn't get less haunted than in Amityville Horror then watch 'Burnt Offerings'
*********May contain SPOILERS********
It pains me to give this film a bad review, for the pure reason that the house is so creepy looking and the film had a general dark look and feel to it, but that is the only complimentary thing i can say about this. I was so shocked to read such good reviews to this on IMDb.
An all star cast, who although passable for the main, did not give 'all star performances'. Bette Davis is pretty appuling in her death sceene.
Where the film goes wrong (more than the flat acting), is it's far too slow, in fact it travels at snail pace for 116 minutes. A few weird things happen but there is no explination in the conclusion.
From what I can gather from reading other comments on IMDb, is that the house needs to kill it's occupants in order to stay new - why and how it does this i'm none the wiser. The photos in Mrs Allardyce room I suppose are of the people the house has consumed (hence the fmaily's photos on her table at the end). Fine, I can except that - what I don't understand is the clocks, the chaufeur, the fact no one seemed puzzeld by the fact Bette Davis was killed by a coffin the chauffeur pushed at her, the glasses in the pool and why Mrs Allardyce turned out to be Karen Black.
The only thing that made this watchable was the hope the ending would explain it (and betting with myself if I could stay awake that long)
Direction: 5/10 Acting: 5/10 Story: 0/10 Script: 4/10
Pet Sematary (1989)
Bury this film - just don't bury it in the pet sematary or it will come back
This is one of thoose bad films that is passably entertaining all the same. However, it sticks to the book very well.
The acting in this is absoutly appauling - with the exceptions of 'Gage' - he was cute (even when he was dead), and 'Church' the cat - the other actors could learn a thing or two from him. First time in a while i saw a film with such flat acting.
Suffers from the late 80s/early 90s horror film tendancy to have sod-all atmosphere but lots of cheap blood and guts.
Read the book, it's better than this!
Ghost Ship (2002)
Do yourself a favor - disregard the bad reviews you've read
MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
I can't believe how underrated this film is, by both the critics and other IMDb users. This is a classic to me.
The opening scene is my all-time favourite opener to a film. It's one of the oldest tricks in the book of making a horror film give the audience a false sense of security and then BANG get to the scares. I've never been one for gore in horror films, it's usually so cheap but the opening scene is really well done.
The rest of the story unfolds into a good haunted house story (haunted ship rather) and sure, it does use all the old clichés (Blood coming out of walls, food turning into maggots) but it does it so well.
Acting was good, SFX were very well done. Emily Browning, who plays the little girl/ghost Katie, was especially impressive and she will no doubt have a long future acting career ahead of her.
If I was to add constructive criticism, the scene in which Katie shows Epps what actually happened on the ship that night, the music used was out of place and didn't add atmosphere to another gory scene.
All in all, a great flick. If you are a fan of the genre you'll love it. Not one for peoples with a weak stomach :)
The Exorcist (1973)
Surprising how ahead of its time this film is. Everything I could say about this film has already been said I sure so to keep it short - one of the scariest premises to a film ever, good acting, some of the sceenes of Regan pocessed look a bit silly (but not as laughable as some might say) - the atmosphere makes up for what the special effects lack making it one of the scariest films I've seen. POSSIBLE SPOILERS: The best bits for me where when Regan was making the funiture move. Truly a horror classic.
The Amityville Horror (1979)
You call that a haunted house?
Sorry, I don't mean to be bad, because I read some pretty awful reviews for this film and I feel a bit sorry for it - but this is really quite bad.
It had a lot of potential - with a film about a haunted house you have no limits really - and it's said its based on a true story which would make it even scarier. But why make a film about a haunted house if its not going to be haunted? It certainly didn't seem haunted. It was like, 'Quick - we've gotta get out of this house - quick - quick!!!!!' Why? What exactly were they running from?
Acting-wise - Margot Kidder was good, James Brolin was passable - the remaining cast were completly over the top.
I can't honestly say I hated this film, but it's one of those that when it ends you think - was that it?
One of the BBC's finest moments
I was 8 years old when this was broadcast, and I have never been scared by anything any more than I was by this, nothing has even come close since. My brother and I, three years older than me, were both so scared that we had to ask my mother and farther who were in the next room to watch it with us.
Last night I watched the newly realeased DVD of Ghostwatch (which is avalible at HMV at least if you are after it) and it didn't quite have the same effect - but it wasn't far off. Now that I know it wasn't really happening live, I did think to myself at some points 'did I really think this was real' but for the majority it was very well done.
In particular Sarah Green and Craige Charles was superb (i would never have guessed they were acting); saying that I've like them both in every thing I've ever seen them in but they were really spot on. Mike Smith was slightly less convincing, but passable all the same. Parky was good to watch as always, but looking back - maybe he was just a little too sceptical, and he over-reactive when we find out the girl was hoaxing us.
I've seen it read that the two little girls let the side down on the acting front, which is...well true to an extent. The younger one was much better in my oppion. The part where the older of the two get possesed could have been down better (she looked as if she were about to burst into a fit of laughter - not professional, even for a kid).
Although it wasn't as scary as it was 10 years ago, I genuinly believe it is to do with the cat being out of the bag. I, like almost everyone else who saw it, was convinced this was actually happening because the quality of the cast was so high and the presenters were all well respected in their field of entertainment and you trusted them enough to think that this was really happening.
It must have been a huge task for the BBC to pull this off. I've not seen anything as original since from them and although they probably regret making this programe after the bad publicity they got, I think it TV at its best and a classic which I hope to enjoy again and again.
Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)
Teddy rules! And as for the rest of the film...
Im glad I didn't take notice of some of the bad reviews I have read on here, because in this instance I must say that they do not do this film jutice. I found it a pleasure to watch, despite being a just a modern yet dark version of Pinocio. Haley Joel Osment was not as irritating as he was in 'The Sixth Sense', and the standard of acting was good for the main of the cast. Jude Law's charachter seemed pointless really (no doubt just there to get another star on the bill). The best charecter was by far Teddy - he was so cool. Worth watching, if only for the humour Teddy brings to it.
The Birds (1963)
Flap Flap Flap
*POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD*
Fun-lovin' Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hendren) travels to Bodega Bay in such of the town stud - Mitch, but is attacked (several times) by some very nasty birds.
This is a very impressive film. The special effects were good, and although a few of the bird attacks made me unintentionly laugh (such as the school children attack) the majority were very well done and realistic I felt. I fell in love with lead lady Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hendren) from scene one.
If I was to add constructive critism to the film (which instantly became one of my favorites films of all time) I would point out that the ending was a slight disappointment. The mystery of why the birds begin to behave this way is never really solved - although Alfred Hitchcock suggests in the trailer for 'The Bird' that they are getting their revenge for years of man treating them badly (eating them, keeping them in cages, using their feathers for decoration in lady's hats etc) - however this theory never manifests into the film. Also, the birds are never defeated - they are just left to attack anyone unfortunate enough to walk into their path. Maybe this was done delibratly (?) but it did feel that the film promised more than the ending delivered.
One of the best films of all time.
I simply had to see this film, I had just heard so much about it - though admit I didn't really know anything of the story. Back in 1960 this must have been so scary. The story is truly chilling. That old house was so creepy. Well acted by an attractive cast and superbly directed. Don't let the fact it's in black and white put you off - it just makes it a lot creepier. The other thing worth mentioning is the fabulous music. One of my all time faves.
Don't Look Now (1973)
Good, in a confusing sort of way
'Don't Look Now' certainly had a creepy premise but with only the few following exceptions it failed to live up to the horror I was led to expect. The film has a deeply disturbing last scene in which you are left with the idea of witnessing your own funeral which I think would give anyone a chill down their back.
Aside from that there wasn't really much horror for me. The bloody murder scene was more confusing than anything else - unlikely killer that's for sure. There is a large part of the middle of the film where I got a bit lost, but got back on track for the finale.
Acting was excellent from both Sutherland and Christie. It also features a touching love scene, which although very beautiful adds nothing to the plot (if anything slows it down) and gives nothing to character development, so I can't help but wonder what its point is, but it was very nicely done - they really do look like they are making love.
Certainly worth watching for the performances if nothing else.