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Deliver Us from Evil (2014)
Good for some fun without deep thoughts
I actually very much enjoyed the first part of the movie - it did very well in setting up a really creepy atmosphere with good effects and lots of promise. I just don't think it delivered very well on that promise.
As I see it, this movie could have gone a lot of ways but decided to go safe, shallow, mainstream exorcism story - don't think too hard, very little background or logic to it, 'just trust me, this is totally a good enough explanation' I can almost hear the movie say.
My biggest issues is with the really run-of-the-mill choices - the wife is pregnant, the main dude is an atheist but with a 'special gift' who is converted... It used to work, that pregnant thing - it used to heighten my empathy with the person and make me care but it's been done so much that now I just think "Not another effing pregnant woman in a horror flick!" It's as if we can't empathize with the woman unless she's got a bun in her oven and that's freaking insulting to me.
As an atheist myself, I actually don't mind supernatural horror - it's my favorite horror genre. It got insulting though, when the movie actually tried to get deep and philosophical with it - oh, look, they mentioned the problem of evil and the very next split second it's just handwaved as if it's not a huge problem and as if there aren't 3 million other problems with religion. Choose a route here: Either you address problems with religion and then have an actual conversation about it or you stop addressing it entirely - this halfway thing is insulting. It makes me think the character is a moron if it takes that little to convince him. Yeah, there were other factors contributing but not enough that it would make a normal person shift over so completely so quickly. Why not just make him a very soft Christian to begin with? Much more believable.
My next biggest issue is with the choices that make no sense. The way they focus on Jane biting Sergent, you'd think it'd have some sort of relevance. No. When the wife and kid get kidnapped, does the story do ANYTHING with it? No, wrong again. It was just really non-sensical and pointless. The same can be said for abused wife's death right before the climax - why? No reason except kicking up the death tally.
My conclusion: It's an alright watch if you're in the mood for a rather mindless horror flick with good build-up and atmosphere. The last half of the movie is somewhat disappointing if you think too hard but otherwise almost decent. The effects and scares are the strong point over the actual storyline, though.
Decent flick with flaws
Let's start out with the good. It was pretty entertaining, I'll give it that, and I wasn't bored at any time during the movie - the format of several smaller horror movies with a wrap-around narrative works quite well, especially as many of the ideas showcased in the V/H/S franchise aren't brand, sparkling new. It simple provides a new twist and keeps the viewer from losing interest in plots quite similar to things they've seen before.
The acting was fine - I have nothing to say here. Didn't notice any really obviously bad acting.
Scares were good. I felt tense through much of the movie and jumped a couple of times. All in all some of the main pillars of a good movie are set.
However, there were also flaws. My first and biggest gripe is costumes. The sort of devil/ demon thing from the cult snippet looked extremely goofy up close (and a little goofy from far away). The aliens in the last snippet also looked so weird - and not in a good way - that I really couldn't take it seriously. Make up on the various breeds of zombies and zombie-like creatures was good, however.
But that is actually my second-biggest gripe: The zombies (or zombie- like creatures). Really, they had to be in 3 of 5 segments?! And don't get me wrong, I love zombie movies over all other movies, especially if done right, but having them in a movie that (I thought) was supposed to showcase a variety - like the first one - is simply overkill. It fit well in the bike guy segment - after all, it was the central plot - but then it also showed up in the cult one (and it was creepy, granted, but still, we had just seen zombies!) and then AGAIN at the end of the wrap- around. I began doubting whether the segments were really separate because the different zombies looked pretty alike and acted much the same way (except maybe for the end one, though it was hard to tell). That was a big minus to me.
The plots were a bit hit and miss. The first one felt a bit too rushed and like it was missing something (it was probably just as well that it didn't go on longer, it didn't feel like a very deep idea, more a throw- away thought), the second one was alright though to me it didn't seem super innovative (enjoyable, nonetheless), the cult one was pretty awesome and the alien one... well, I had trouble taking it seriously but I like the idea of new, modern takes on alien abduction. This one suffered a bit from some seemingly inconsistent logic, but it could be interesting. I liked the wrap-around fine (though it was a bit weird that the PD would just watch a tape while the girl lay dead beside him at the end).
Generally, I am optimistic about this franchise - I really, really like the format of this series (and hope it will become more popular and we may get some other movies like it, showcasing different ideas) and would look forward to another. I think I'll watch the first one again too, but this didn't really hit the target for me.
A mixed pleasure
This movie had both strong points and weak points. The strength lay mainly in the comedy aspect - there were definitely funny jokes (maybe not laughing-out-loud funny, but then again, that's not my favorite form of comedy). It has a pretty unique tone, though this was intercepted by the weaker points. As far as strength goes, acting was fine too.
Weak points lay mostly in the clichés - regarding everything from plot to character types to dialogue. There were a lot of them and sometimes that really detracted from the enjoyment of this movie. There was just too much and not done well enough. It could have been a unique take on a tired genre, but it sticks to being safe and that detracts from the experience.
Still: 5/10 - I'll probably never watch it again but I don't regret spending my time on it (coming from someone who isn't really into rom-coms to begin with).
Tooth and Nail (2007)
Not worth the time spent watching it
This movie had quite a lot of problems that resulted in a pretty bad movie overall. It's starts with a rather weak premise ("what if the world suddenly ran out of gas?") and goes downhill from there. As for the premise itself, I hope that people don't actually think this is what would happen - it is pretty far out. Though it would undoubtedly make life a great deal more difficult, there's no reason to think it would be this extreme - and that's ignoring how extremely unlikely it would be for the whole world to run out of gas entirely over the course of a year.
The next problem in this movie is logic - as in there is none. Characters behave very illogically all the way through, from the (not unknown before, but still annoying) way that Ford feels the need to look at the person who says his name (for seemingly no reason either) at the beginning, even though he was holding a killer at gun point, to the way they take in a complete stranger even though it's been established that people kill each other for resources ("but she doesn't look like a killer"), to the way the redhead takes down all the cannibals in the finale.
Dialogue is also extremely lacking - it just doesn't flow right, it sounds stilted and fake. Characters are cliché in the worst way - and to top it off, the acting is pretty bad as well, making it a pretty much all-round bad movie and definitely not up to par with other alternative "after-apocalypse" movies.
If you want to see something similar to this but much better done, go watch "The Day", a 2011 post-apocalyptic movie that also involves fighting for your life against strangers.
The Nostalgia Chick (2008)
I've been watching various shows from That Guy With the Glasses for years now, and though Nostalgia Chick may rate consistently beneath her male counterpart, I've always preferred her reviews to his (though I do enjoy both).
Maybe it's because the Critic thrives on what I in my head call 'boy humor' - not fart or sex jokes, no, but loud humor with big gestures and lots of yelling. To watch the Chick is very, very different from that; this is the place to go for the dry humor, the sarcasm, the knowing look and an arched eye-brow. In-depth analyses are a must and I must say, I enjoy them every time.
A very consistently high-quality show, can only recommend it.
No Tell Motel (2012)
How do you spell out that sound where you draw in air through your teeth as if you're looking at something that hurts? Ffffff? Because that's kind of the title I was looking for for this review.
Yes, I did think it was that horrible. This was the sort of movie where, after I was done watching, I was pretty sure that I'd just seen the worst movie out of all the ones I've ever seen (that's probably overstating it, but as I seem to have actually blocked out any worse movies from my memory to live in peaceful ignorance, it's all I've got). It's definitely in my 'Top 3 Worst Movies' and it's the 'So bad it's horrible' kind.
So, what was wrong with it?
Well, for one, this was pretty generic both in the way it starts out and the ideas behind it - 'ideas' because this seems to be two generic horror plots mashed together to form one big pile of generic-feeling goo. Generically. Blending ideas can provide exciting new twists and improve the product but not for this bad boy.
For two, it seemed to have trouble finding it's angle. It wasn't really a super slashy flick, it wasn't psychological, it wasn't really anything - just 'blah' (though, on a related note, it seemed the characters didn't have the same problem of finding a type - they were all the classic stereotypes).
Three: THE ACTING. Dear Universe, it was so bad that even I could tell it was bad - and that's how you KNOW you're in trouble.
And lastly, the script. It wasn't a good script, don't let anybody fool you. Some of the things the characters say just baffled me throughout it - whether it was super-over-expositioning something or saying something that just really didn't seem like it fit in the movie at all. Just bad.
Really, a rating of 3< is REALLY generous for this movie.
Worth a watch
This is a movie where I wasn't sure I'd like it; the name sounded like it might be a foreign film and the poster seems somewhat disconnected from the feel of the movie (at least, I think so).
I gave it a try anyways, and I'm glad I did. It had its flaws, definitely, for me mostly in that it could have been longer; more build- up and getting some of the smaller plot lines tied up neater would have easily pushed this movie to a higher vote. I can see why not to do it, though, as it's already longer than the standard 90 minutes.
To its credit though, I was scared enough to jump a couple of times and I was touched when I was supposed to be - which is more than many horror flicks can do these days.
All in all, I came away with the feeling that it was well worth my time so I definitely recommend checking it out at least once.
The Innkeepers (2011)
Might've been good...
If something had actually happened. for a movie of 1 hour and 35 minutes, there's surprisingly little in the way of story or plot. Now, at first I was actually excited, as I think most good horror movies are masters of building up the anticipation - 30 to 45 minutes of build up isn't inappropriate, but this movie felt like it was straight up 1 hours and 35 minutes of build up.
It almost felt like they had too much time to show the characters (pranking and having fun with each other, mostly, which became old real quick) and their relationships and too little time to resolve the ghost plot. It had the makings of a (bit cliché, but hey) storyline that, with careful execution, could have made for a nice horror flick with more subtle horror compared to all the splatters that are out these days. Instead, we got almost nothing.
This movie left me with so many questions and just kind of a "huh?" feeling - I like when everything isn't answered or when things aren't stated directly on screen - when you have to think a little bit - but this is seriously taking it way, way, WAY too far.
Instead of feeling like the movie set up some expectations and rules and then satisfied these, it just felt...
Inadequate. Very, very inadequate. And confused, and kinda hollow. Terrible disappointment.
American Horror Story (2011)
I first saw the show simply because some throw-away line at some forum or another and thought I'd give it a go - being low in shows to watch as we're in between seasons - and to be honest, when I started the first episode, I thought it was going to be a docu-drama.
Yeah, really wrong there, but I spotted reality momentarily (because I'm that great?). Anyways, the first 5 minutes went by, and I thought about turning it off and going back to my homework. They weren't good - manuscript was halting and the acting was on the weak side. I decided to let it roll, though.
And really, I haven't been so happy that I've given something a shot since I began watching Game of Thrones. With all the soap opera-ishness in series where I don't think it should be, all the insanely far out drama in drama series, and all the reality crap on TV most of the time, it's really refreshing to see this show.
Since those first few minutes I haven't been disappointed once, in fact, the storyline has really proved itself great and very engaging. (I really hope they can keep that up.) I think it's pretty innovative too - thinking on it, I really can't say I've seen any shows that has this shows great mix of mystery, horror, drama, and just a plain awesome plot.
I only have one problem now... I have to wait 4 days for the next episode, and after that, months for the new season. Cruelty.
Dr. Phil (2002)
Dr. Phil - The "fun" and "harmful" layer cake show
Dr. Phil gets 2 stars. 1 for actually taking up important issues and creating awareness and 1 for being entertaining - sometimes.
This is not the show to watch if you want a serious "(self) help" show. Dr. Phil is in your face and confrontational, which is sometimes funny, but you never doubt just whose side he is on in any given case - and you never doubt that the other part in the case is a horrible and guilty person. There are no shades of gray on Dr. Phil's show - which is strange, as the man has an education in psychology.
However, Dr. Phil may actually prove harmful sometimes. As it often is with media, he simply holds too much sway over people - he gives an opinion and millions of viewers cry out in agreement without the hassle of researching the subject. Not only harmful to the individuals, that Dr. Phil targets, it seems to also help undermine people's trust in actual authority, like the law (which, by no means is perfect or anywhere near that, but it is still a harmful influence that really doesn't help as it is often without real substance, just full of emotions).
Watch it if you like sob stories going no where, villains and judgment, or if you, like me, are a psychology student who is very interested in seeing the "acclaimed" Dr. Phil's verdicts and in making your own.
Funny note: Try to notice how many times Dr. Phil gives out-right professional advice as in "You have to do this/ you should do this...". None. Why? Because he's not a licensed psychologist any more, meaning that he CAN'T do it - it's against the law. All he can do is offer "good ideas" or layman's advice.