Reviews written by registered user
|7 reviews in total|
"Stake Land" is a film about Martin (played by Connor Paolo) and Mister
(Nick Damici), who travel across the nation that has become over run by
blood-thirsty vampires, in search of New Eden, a settlement in Canada
that promises to be a safe-haven in an apocalyptic country. Along the
way, they meet up with other, equally-like-able characters such as
Sister (Kelly McGillis), Belle (Danielle Harris), and Willie (Sean
Nelson), as they struggle along as desperation and death surrounds them
with false promises of hope and safety.
This film was amazing on every level for a horror film, and I would say that the greatest thing going for the movie are the characters. You have Martin, who is learning the ropes of killing vampires after he is saved from a vampire ,who killed his whole family, by Mister, and you have to give Connor Paolo credit for making the character very human and like-able, even though his emotions when his family is killed isn't really "all there". But my favorite character has to be Mister. I just love the way he grasps this apocalyptic vampire world by it's bloody throat and commands it to listen. Every time he's on screen, he steals the show.
But I would also say that another big character in this film is the apocalyptic setting. The whole landscape is strewn with carcasses of the long-forgotten, and the hanging bodies and lying skeletons (some of them not exactly adults, either) just sets one of the creepiest atmospheres that I have ever seen in my life as a horror film buff.
And while what some people say about the ending might be true (I'll admit, it underwhelmed me a bit) the film is one of the tightest apocalyptic/horror films that I've seen in a while. The director, Jim Mickle, is on a two-for-two winning streak for me (his previous film, Mulberry St, was ,to me, the best "Horrorfest" entry of that year) and he really sets this great gritty and grim mood for the film. He has written some great characters that I would LOVE to see again (after all, the ending kinda does leave opening for a sequel). Overall, it's a great film that any fan of the apocalypse or vampire genre should see.
Lake Mungo is about sixteen-year-old Alice Palmer, who drowns in the
local dam, and her family, who, since after her death, have been
plagued with paranormal events around their house. Since they think
it's Alice, they seek help from psychic and parapsychologist Ray
Kemeny, who, after investigating the tapes of cameras around the house
and through other family members and friends, discovers that Alice,
before dying, wasn't all what she seemed to be. All of the clues lead
back to Lake Mungo, where Alice's secrets emerge.
The film is shot documentary style and there's a thing that separates this from, say, The Blair Witch Project. With The Blair Witch Project, it was meant to show that the people that were shooting the film were not at all professional documenters. While with this film, everything seems like a real-life documentary.
And the thing that shines about this film is the acting. You have actors who seem like real-life people and not actors. They actually FEEL like they have had this bad experience happen to them. And you buy them as those people.
The one down side to this film, though, is that there are things in the film that are just dropped. There are two or three moments in this film where the writer and director of the film should have built up to. But, it just falls to the sidelines. You think there is a reason for something, but it turns out it was something else and they never mention it again. Really? I mean, they could have made REALLY good plot points in the film.
But, overall, it's a good flick. It has it's creepy moments and, I gotta say, the ending did creep me out.
ZMD is about an Iranian-American girl named Frida, who is always
thought of as being iraqie and who is being forced a deli job by her
dad. Also, you have Tom, who comes back to Port Gamble (the
conservative setting for the film) to tell his mother that he is gay.
Then, all of a sudden, a zombie outbreak occurs! And those three people
have to fend off the zombie apocalypse while trying to get out of Port
The greatest thing about ZMD is it's comedy. The director and writer, Kevin Hamedani, is great at comedy and shows it well through the political satire in the film. There are great jokes in this film, like jokes about gays, Iranian culture, American culture, religion, rights, and, of course, zombies.
The biggest complaint is that the film does get a bit TOO preachy. There is a preacher in this who believes that he can cure homosexuality. And this would be a good minor joke for the film IF they played it that way. But the film overplays the joke too much. Also, the acting does get a bit cheesy at times (even though it maybe the film's intent).
But, if you love zombies and if you love political satire, ZMD is the film for you. It's a funny,smart, and overall fun time. I suggest you watch this film with a group of friends, because this is a great film to hang out and have fun with. And that's how I think the After Dark Horrorfest is supposed to be about: to watch these films with a bunch of friends. Sure, some of them aren't always fun, but they're a good time. Like this film.
Friends, I'm going to ask you a personal question. You don't have to
answer if you don't want to. I'm just asking out of curiosity. Have you
ever been bullied? Have you ever got picked on by the big, brawny jock?
Or have you been made fun of by the high school girls because you don't
look "fabulous" enough? Now, a better question: Have you ever wanted
revenge? Did you ever wanted to cut off that jock's fingers so that he
couldn't play football anymore? Or did you ever want to melt that high
school girl's face off so that she wouldn't be "fabulous"? Well then,
if you answered yes to those questions, The Final is for you.
The Final is about a group of nerdy teenagers who decided that they have had enough of taking the "cool kids" crap anymore. So, they decide to throw a faux costume party to drug them and then torture them. This group is lead by Dane, who is a kid that has decided that the only way that he can get even is with violent well, violence.
Now, while you may think that with the description that I gave you, this film is nothing more than a worthless, torture-porn flick like hostel or all of those useless saw sequels. But, don't think that way. Because behind all the gore and violence, this film is actually a very thought-provoking. It comments about the nature of bullying and (let's face it) about colombine.
I think the strongest thing about this film is it's actors. The people who play the group of nerds surprisingly not over the top. Sure, the "why us?' message does get overplayed, but the actors are actually mild-mannered kids. You buy them as people who have been picked on all of their lives. And I think that's the major goal of the film. Plus, you sympothize (sorry my spelling sucks) for these characters because the people who play the bullies are so RIDICULOUSLY over the top villains.
And what's so scary about this film is how it touches with reality. When you watch this film, you can't help to think about the Columbine shootings and the other school massacres. And that's because it touches with it so nicely as a hidden message behind all of the blood and gore in this film.
I have to give my hat off to Lindsay Seidel, who played the goth girl in the group of nerds. Just the body language she uses when she has the mask on and when she's torturing her victims, you know that she's a professional actor. I really hope that she gets acting roles down the line.
Yet, a bad thing that I have to say is that not only do they shove the message down your throat (even though they shove it real nicely), but this film kinda feels like an unfinished project. I mean, you watch the film and when it gets to the ending, it kind of leaves you high and dry. It really feels like a first-time movie, considering this is Joey Stewart's (writer,director of The Final) first time behind the camera. Also, there are some REAL continuity issues in this film. I can't spoil it for you guys, but when you see it, you'll know.
But, overall, The Final is a pretty good film and a nice addition to the After Dark Horrorfest.
and to think that all of the movies in the After Dark
Horror-fest would be somewhat, oh I don't know
enjoyable? Because of
what I had to deal with this first film, The Graves,
well, it wasn't
The Graves, a miserable little turd fest of a film, is about two girls, Meghan and Abby, going on a last trip together before Meghan leaves for New York. They go to comic book stores (which, I'm sorry, these girls look like they've never set foot in a comic shop in their lives) and talk about how Lady Death is the most awesome comic book ever .really? (And don't worry, this is only one of the many faults of this movie.) They then stop in a diner (which is so far out of the way that the first girl to die in the original Nightmare on Elm Street is stuck waiting there), and they're lead to Skull Mine, which is said to be a ghost town after some brutal murders took place there. And then, guess what? Everything goes to hell what a shock .
My first point is Brian Pulido. I should just stop there, but I'll guess I'll keep going. If you don't know who he is, he is one of the WORST comic book writers from the 1990s and the 2000s. He's responsible for writing such terrible comic books such as Lady Death (which I referred to before) and Evil Ernie. So when I heard he wrote, directed, and produced this piece of utter crap, I already knew it was going to be terrible. He doesn't have a clue what he's doing and he should stop thinking he can do anything creative.
And some of the acting in here is atrocious. You have your two female protagonists who can't act their way out of a wet paper bag. I mean, they have scenes where they are just SO melodramatic in scenes where they're in total danger! Also, you have Tony Todd ..really? Tony, why did you chose this? Did your wife need a new car? Did your daughter need more money to get into the collage she wanted? I mean, you were the candy man! Your cartoon-styled acting in this is so bad, that I almost broke down and cried.
Now, if there is anything redeemable about this film, it's that Bill Mosely (yep, Devils Rejects Bill Mosely) plays a guy called the "Pig Man", who is just a guy who puts on a fake pig nose and likes to kill people. I have to say that whenever he was on screen, a shimmer of light helped me get through this film.
But, all in all, there is almost (almost!) nothing to like about this film. It's not scary, it's not funny, it's not dramatic, It's not anything! And if it weren't for Bill Mosely, I would give this film a flat out zero.
So...usually, before I get into what I liked and didn't like about a
movie when I review it, I usually give a plot summary to show others
what it's about. But, in this case, I cant give one because, frankly,
there IS no plot
Now, I have good news and bad news about this film. The good news is that this film goes above and beyond the normal setting for films going "too far". The bad news? There's not much else to this film.
A thing that I have to praise this film for is it's one on-going shot that's used for almost the entire film. If you want to become a director, cinematographer, or pretty much anything else to do with film, you should see this film purely on that.
But, the major down-side to this film is that it's just plain boring at times. I'm not one of these conservative people who will hate this film because "It's too terrible" or "It will corrupt the kids" or anything like that. I mainly don't like it that much because it's just plain boring at times. Your waiting for the film to move on at points, but it never really does.
Maybe that was the director's intentions or the actors intentions (because you can tell that this film is mainly improv), but whatever it is, it's not something that you should really see OTHER than the technical stand-point.
Dread is about a university student and philosophy major, Stephen, who
meets a very peculiar student named Quaid. Quaid suggests to Stephen
that he and himself should make a documentary about what people dread
in life. Along with their bud Cheryl, they start interviewing students,
but none seem right to Quaid, who is looking for a bit more trauma than
just a fear. And when some expose some of their own personal dread,
Quaid decides he wants to make them go through their fears like he did
when he saw his parents getting murdered by an ax-wielding maniac at a
very young age.
Dread is a film-adaptation of a Clive Barker short story with the same name. The story was included in the short story collection, "Books of Blood." And while the story isn't my favorite Clive Barker story, the film is a very good adaptation (which is hard to do with Clive Barker stories). It's written and directed by Anthony DiBlasi, who also co-produced some other Clive Barker adaptations (Midnight Meat Train, Books of Blood). He really understands the content of the story and knows what to do with Clive Barker adaptations.
The acting in this is also very well done. You have Jackson Rathbone, who you may remember from the Twilight Saga (because I don't), who plays the part of Stephen. He shines because we buy him as a normal protagonist who's been thrust upon a bad situation (or maybe a bad person) and he does a great part playing the part. You also have Shaun Evans, who plays the part of Quaid. It's a really good horror film when an actor plays a villain who you don't want to win, but you're excited to find out what he does next.
What REALLY stands out about this film, though, is the 3rd act, which is brutal and ruthless. It's one that you don't see coming, even though you're expecting something to happen from Quaid. And the ending is something that ..well, I can't really talk about without spoiling what it really is. But, let's just say, it's not a fairy-tale ending (but were you really expecting) and it's something also that you don't see coming.Dark, brutal, and twisted. I love it.