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FilmFatale

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106 reviews in total 
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Survival (2006/I)
Frustrating and Ultimately Unmemorable, 9 August 2015
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I watched this barely 24 hours ago and had to search the synopses to remember anything about it - not a good sign. I try to be understanding with low-budget films but this one had two major problems that had nothing to do with budget. First, it's terribly precious. It tries so hard to look like a newly-discovered drive-in classic from the 70s with its scratched film stock and "missing reel" cards but there's something so cutesy about those touches that it really took me out of the experience. Second, it's insanely boring...and that's unforgivable when you've got a house of crazies and a batch of potential victims. I never quite understood what the doctor (Father) was trying to do, and whether the kids were supposed to be their own conveniently insane offspring or if they had been experiments that were mildly successful and kept around to procure more victims. There's obviously some potential on display here and I'll be willing to give the filmmakers another chance because after Survival, they've pretty much got nowhere to go but up.

Amusingly Offensive, 9 August 2015
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Maybe I'm feeling charitable, but I thought Mother's Day Massacre was pretty fun. Not that it's not a total mess - there are a whole bunch of plot threads and some of them intersect and some of them don't (and some that do still don't make sense) but I thought it was an amusing play on the hillbilly horror subgenre and I was able to recognize quite a few nods to other exploitation flicks. Greg Travis has a blast as Tex, father of our main character and cause of all the action that ensues. The teens are likable enough, the villains are over the top, and what it lacks in explicit gore it makes up for in perverse ideas. I can't really disagree with those who hated it, because this is only gonna work for a select few but I'd always prefer to watch an entertaining mess over a competent bore-fest.

Pernicious (2014)
7 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
A Little Hostel, A Little Grudge..., 24 June 2015
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Three American girls travel to Thailand to teach English to the schoolchildren there. They are set up in a sweet house (but still manage to complain about it) and while they are exploring, they find a mysterious life-size golden statue of a little girl. Soon, our heroines are plagued by nightmares, the old man next door who keeps dropping in, a vanishing child, and more. Are the girls a victim of a vengeful spirit? I thought Pernicious was mildly entertaining but it has a lot of problems. First, the three lead actresses aren't great. Sometimes it seems like they're smirking at the script and other times they play it straight so it messes up the flow of the story. Speaking of the story, it's serviceable but completely predictable. You can tell where it's going from the first scene with the statue.

Pernicious would be practically indistinguishable from a dozen or so other Asian ghost revenge flicks were it not for some truly excellent gore from ToeTag's Jerami Cruise. Fans of this subgenre aren't usually confronted with eye-gouging and tongue-ripping and the like, so the gore is kind of out of place but I liked it and it did liven things up a bit (that the actresses don't speak during the big set piece also helps). Still, it's odd that there's creepy scene setting, then BIG GORE SEQUENCE, then creepy exposition/jump scares, then HEY WE HIRED A GORE EFFECTS GUY SO LET'S HAVE SOME MORE NEAR THE END, then it ends.

I can appreciate the filmmakers trying to do something different but I'm not sure how many people Pernicious will please. Ghost story fans probably won't appreciate the gore, and gorehounds will have a lot of time to kill between the good stuff.

The Basement (2011/I)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
A Very Long 83 Minutes, 13 June 2015
3/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Basement wastes no time in getting its characters into the titular basement - the opening scene has our five actors hustling down the stairs and slamming the door shut as a crazed killer has attacked one of their own. The next 75 or so minutes have the viewer and characters trapped in the single room as the teens yell at each other and get picked off one by one. Nobody seems particularly likable and there's a twist ending which doesn't really work but it made some of the flaws of the basement behavior less egregious so I actually bumped my rating up from two stars to three because of it. The young cast tries their best and the blood is well done but listening to so much yelling and swearing and arguing for so long just wore me out. The Hole with Keira Knightly has a similar premise but I liked it much better.

Inbred (2011)
1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Has a Few Good Moments But..., 13 June 2015
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Four troubled teens and two caseworkers head to a remote area in the English countryside for a weekend of team building and scrap metal salvaging. An unfortunate incident with the locals leads to an accident, which leads to a misunderstanding, which leads to murder and worse.

I love my inbred killer movies and I love my small town with a secret movies but I did not love Inbred. Nothing much happens until 40 minutes in and then the movie decides to be utterly bizarre for a while and give us a vaudeville performance with kills rather than going straight for the jugular. I couldn't help be reminded of the family show in House of 1000 Corpses and how that sequence dragged down the pacing just like the show here (although there's a very excellent bizarre kill in the first "act").

We finally get through this part of the film and things move on quickly for a bit of survival horror with some decent gore and dark humor but by then it was a case of too little too late for me. I liked the main group of good guys and there was some effective gore but I spent too much time being bored and not enough being entertained.

After Dark (2013)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Chase Is a Jerk!, 24 May 2015
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Seven young people head out for a vacation but Chase, who is a jerk, leaves his spare tire at home so he can be a jerk to misfit Jake. Chase, known jerk, insists he knows where they're headed but manages to take a wrong turn. Being as Chase is a jerk, he throws a full can of beer at a man walking down the lonely road. Sure enough, the gang gets a flat tire and is stranded in the middle of nowhere with Hector, the man Chase hit with the beer earlier because Chase is a jerk. Jake heads off alone in search of help (but mainly to escape a certain jerk named Chase) and the rest of the gang hang out around the campfire where Chase tells an ethnic joke, because he's a jerk. Hector tells a story about young people being murdered at a nearby campsite. The friends grow suspicious of Hector, as Chase continues to be a jerk. There's a twist at the end, and a setup for a sequel.

After Dark is so formulaic that you'll start to think you've seen it before. Entire shots are lifted from other, better slasher flicks. Character development consists of Chase being awful and the other characters calling him a jerk (see above); by the end of the movie I realized that the only character names I knew were Chase and Hector. There's no nudity and very little gore but we are treated to a weirdly long shot of a toad. The killer's back story is as silly as using a semi trailer for his lair. One excellent kill bumped this up to a 2/10 for me (as tame and boring as the rest of the movie is, that one surprised me) but there's really no need to seek this one out for it.

The Eve (2015)
4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Really Quite Bad, 23 May 2015
2/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Four people (college pals Scott, Jenn, and Harry plus Harry's new girlfriend Lacey) head to Scott's beach house on Martha's Vineyard to reconnect but things start to go wrong pretty much from the outset - for the characters AND the viewer. As another reviewer say, nothing works here. The killer is so obvious that I assumed they would be a red herring but no: the person who acts like the looney killer is just that. The "reconnecting" part of the plot doesn't work because it's made clear that the school friends have interacted recently, and to make matters worse, they don't seem to like each other all that much anyway. Nobody acts like a real person would, either; they simply lope along from scene to scene because the script says they should.

I gave The Eve two stars instead of one for two reasons. First, I didn't actively hate it - I just found it boring and bad, not excruciating. For the life of me, I can't recall what the other reason was. Yes, I finished watching the movie not ten minutes ago and can't remember the other redeeming quality. That sums up The Eve quite well, actually.

OK Slasher Throwback, 14 May 2015
4/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A group of cheerleaders head to cheerleader camp to strengthen their skills for a shot at nationals. Unfortunately for them, there's also a crazy coverall-clad killer in the woods intent on picking the ladies off one by one.

Sound familiar? Probably yes, since we've seen it all before. Spirit Camp borrows heavily from its predecessors and doesn't really bring much new to the table. The gore starts off well but drops to mostly offscreen deaths as things go on, and the acting is uneven - some of the cast seem to be playing it straight while others ratchet up the camp. Roxy Vandiver is a standout as bad girl Nikki, whose past is not what it seems.

Spirit Camp works when it's moving along on retro slasher mode or when Nikki is on screen. The lame attempts at humor are mostly painful and the last act could have used some tightening, but you could do worse if you are looking to scratch your slasher itch.

Sharing the Night(mare) Together, 23 January 2015
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Italian film director Lucio Fulci portrays an Italian film director named Lucio Fulci in this film made up primarily of films made or produced by Lucio Fulci with a wraparound story about Lucio Fulci being affected by the disturbing films he has made and also the one he is currently making.

If that summary confuses you, congratulations, because you are sufficiently prepared to enter Nightmare Concert. I really did feel like I was participating in someone else's bad dream. I was never quite sure what was actually happening to the Fulci character, what was an hallucination of his, or what was part of the film-within-a-film that the director is working on. Throw in a crazy subplot about a real killer in Rome trying to frame Fulci and you should end up like me - confused and disoriented, yet entertained.

Sure, this isn't up there with Fulci's best, but I get the impression he was trying to have a little fun with his image and career and although it's a bit of cheap ploy to insert gore scenes from other movies, at least they're quality gore scenes and fun to watch. Nightmare Concert is quite a good time if you go into it without trying to compare it to your favorite Fulci film(s).

ff

Nothing jumps to conclusions faster than a vengeful ghost., 18 January 2015
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In 1990, all of the residents of the Verlaine Farm commune were brutally murdered with cleaver and a kitchen knife in the night except for young Rebecca, who survives in spite of also being attacked. Rebecca spends two years in a coma before being released into the custody of her relatives and seems to grow up relatively unscathed. After reaching college age, Rebecca starts seeing visions of disfigured corpses and begins to investigate the massacre. As she learns more about her past, she finds that the vengeful ghosts of her father and the other commune members are the least of her worries.

I'll be honest here: I wasn't holding out much hope for this one simply because it was an Olaf Ittenbach film and I only knew him for flicks like Premutos. However, I was pleasantly surprised that this isn't a bad little movie. The acting is passable, the story moves along well enough, and the gore (of course) is over the top but fun and well-done. Of course there are problems, like too many plot conveniences and a couple of overly long "This is the exposition part of the movie" monologues, but I didn't have a bad time with Garden of Love.


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