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Much better than expected
I must admit I never heard of this film until stumbling upon it at the video store a few weeks back. After reading the plot synopsis on the back, and seeing Clive Owen as the star, I gave it a shot. What I thought I was getting was a revenge movie, not the case at all. And I am glad it wasn't some revenge film, all though in some director's hands, it most likely would have gone that route, taking away credibility.
The film is all to real, and is disturbing at times. But this is an important movie with a message that all young teens should see and know.
I was rather surprised to see David Schwimmer was the director. Yes Ross from Friends, the most annoying character on that show handles this material expertly. And a great cast helps this story along as well. It never feels over the top, or too "melodramatic", just spot on. Haven't seen Clive Owen in a role that does not involve ass kicking since Closer.
But the real highlight of the movie is relatively unknown newcomer, Liana Liberato. Of her performance, all I can say is wow! And she needed to be good to, since her character is the anchor of this film. One great thing is not casting an older, 20+ year old actress, but using a real 14 year old. This adds realism, instead of why is such and such playing a 14 year old when we know she is 27.
One of the best films of 2010, I regret not seeing it around release, but glad I got too eventually. And let's hope Hollywood doesn't start using Liana Liberato in shitty roles, as she is talented far beyond her years. She could be the next breakout. Time will tell.
**** out of **** stars.
Night of the Demons (2009)
Stick to the original
I had decent hopes for this one, being a fan of the cheesy and fun original, but alas, was disappointed yet again. First off, other than demons, in a house and the title, nothing else is similar to the original. Calling this an update not a remake would seem more apt.
I was surprised to see a few decent B-actors in this film, as when I first heard about it, figured it'd be a bunch of no names with maybe a brief cameo or two. There is one brief cameo I noticed, Linnea Quigley answering the door for trick or treater's.
To the actors, Shannon Elizabeth looks about mid 40s in this film. Definitely not the hottie "Nadia" in the first 2 American Pie films, or sexy like her Maxim Days or for that matter, Scary Movie. Doira Baird looks good, real good if you like your women with breasts the size of pumpkins. Monica Keena, looked amazing. What a body! Not that you get to see anything under those clothes. And Edward Furlong. Not sure what his story has been the past 15 years, but he looks like a bloated drug addict. Not just this movie either. As far as the acting goes, its serviceable, but don't expect major thespian work here.
The directing was all over the map. I think the best parts were in the beginning with the whole silent film tactic used for the back story. It was well done, and although re-used throughout parts of the film, could have been nicer to see more of.
The demon effects were well done, but the gore was hammy. And although there is loads of blood on screen, there isn't much gory deaths. Basically total cheese fight encounters that make you groan in disbelief than getting pumped up for. Seriously, watching a couple young kids playfight in the backyard would seem to have more choreography.
In closing, the film could have had a lot more. Better kills, cleaner fights, more nudity (why just show a quick peak?), cleaner direction, better story. It plays like a comedy with horror undertones, which if the tables were flipped into a horror with some comedy, would have been much more entertaining. Not the worst thing I've seen this year, but far, far, far from the best or even mediocre. 3/10