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Into the Grizzly Maze (2015)
Hidden pearls and bears
Ever so often you encounter one of those 'hidden pearls'. With those I mean movies you have never heard about before, which weren't hyped by the big marketing machine of Hollywood. This, in my most humble opinion, is truly one of them.
I tell you honestly, I started watching this movie by the lack of something else to watch, but my oh my. This movie has left me hanging on the edge of my seat from the beginning to the end.
The cinematography in this movie is truly magnificent. I guess the absolute stunning environment made that a bit easier. The action scenes are breath taking. Without spoiling anything, there were multiple moments in the movie that I myself truly felt as if I was being followed / hunted by a bear.
I have no clue if there were real bears used for this movie or not, but if the case is that they were not, then I believe we have finally reached the point where CGI can't be distinguished from reality anymore. That bear was one big bad mother! The good part about this movie is that you understand both sides, or at least I did. You get people, who want to survive. You get the bear that ... well does what it does for the reason it does it, because I don't want to spoil anything.
The movie has an awesome cast. This is one of those movies that has you pause it from time to time saying 'Hey I know him/her'. It has a lot of established names like James Marsden (cyclops from X-men), Thomas Jane (who I have loved since Deep Blue Sea), Scott Glenn (Backdraft) and of course BillyBob Thornton, although I had to literally pause the movie to check IMDb if I was seeing that correct.
To me (and of course, to you it could be totally different), this was a breathtaking experience through everything this beautiful earth has to offer us (including nature, animals and love). And I truly, truly enjoyed it.
I've been watching Horror movies ever since I was way too little to watch them. This due to the fact that I used to be a pretty scared little boy, but that what scared me also fascinated me. Now I'm 37 and what scares me still fascinates me. The downside of this weird addiction is that after a while you've seen it all and nothing really scares you anymore. You keep renting movies, go to obscure cinemas, hell even download with that deep desire to feel that terror just once more.
And then there was Extraterrestrial.
I don't write reviews very often. In fact, I've been an official member of IMDb for 11 years now and this is exactly the third review I'm going to write. I only do this when I feel absolutely compelled to share my experience. Coincidence or not, out of the three, this happens to be the second one about a Vicious Brothers' movie.
Now I'm not much of a fan regarding stories about aliens. I do believe in extraterrestrial existence, but the movies about them were usually just plain boring. The exception to the rule would be 'Dark Skies' which I found quite unsettling and amusing.
The only reason I was waiting for Extraterrestrial was simply because it had 'By the Vicious Brothers' on the poster, and 'Grave Encounters' was that very first movie after 'Paranormal Activity' that really scared me again. So I went in to this movie hopeful, but realistic, expecting to be disappointed.
Boy was I wrong. I don't know what it is with these Vicious Brothers, but they have the unique talent to do just about anything right. My first horror loves were 'Halloween' and 'Friday the 13th', being that standard 80's kid. I could never explain what it was about those movies that made them so special, but all I can tell you it's that there is this special atmosphere. The atmosphere that makes you feel jealous that you're not there, until they all start dying.
To me, Extraterrestrial had exactly that. The perfect atmosphere. Cozy campfire feel right until things start to go very wrong. Now as always I refuse to spoil things so I can't go in to deeply. The actors were cast perfectly in my opinion and their pasts and drives became clear very fast. The effects are not overdone, but where used they were more than perfect. Once again, without spoiling, when you watch the movie, the rain sequence is a perfect example.
As I loved the way Ghost hunter shows were not being taken too seriously in the beginning of 'Ghost Encounters' I absolutely loved the way this movie deliberately included the classic horror movies stuff. As in, in Horror movies people always do exactly what they shouldn't do and that's pretty much what gets them in trouble. All the clichés like 'If you drink or do drugs you die' are there. Also the filmmakers 'tell' you that they understand you're not an idiot. Once again I'm going to refer to the rain sequence in the movie. I'm not going to tell you what happens, but when you see it, you know exactly what's going on before it's disclosed. This is so unbelievably cool that you need to experience it in my opinion.
Having made that point, I would just like to add that I had deliberately not read any reviews about the movie before watching it. Having seen it, I see there are a lot of bad reviews. I don't understand them. It once more proves to me that people's opinions simply vary. It's a shame when people don't watch movies because of the bad reviews, when in this age of the internet just anyone can write a review. The fact that they can doesn't make them experts, including me. I just wanted to give you a taste of my experience. I'm not part of the crew, but I wish I would've been. Vicious Brothers, once again you leave me longing for the next one, chapeau.
Greystone Park (2012)
What is it exactly you people expect?
Let me start with the fact that i'm a complete addict of the 'found footage' genre. I love the atmosphere it sets and the feeling of 'reality' it brings in these times of silly CGI. In my opinion (check my history) the scariest thing still is the fact that you can't see what is scaring you. I believe in this as a major 'rule' of making a truly scary movie.
Having said that, these days I have the tendency to invert IMDb ratings. Because on so many occasions, I have loved a movie that had extremely low ratings and vice versa. So I never skip a movie simply because of low ratings.
This movie was fun to watch! The camera was shaky but it is a found footage movie! Like my title says... What did you expect?! A steadycam operator joining the investigation team?
Take a movie for what is is. Do not over analyze it, just enjoy it.
I think that the only reason this movie got such low ratings so far is that Sean Stone included his dad Oliver, and that somehow made viewers expect another full metal jacket or platoon.
Don't worry Sean! Real movie lovers respect the genre and you did a great job on my opinion.
Grave Encounters (2011)
True to the genre and scary, with a small 'but'.
I was fortunate enough to see Grave Encounters last night, a movie I have been waiting for, for a long time. And because I know there are a lot of people out there who still have to see it, I will not spoil anything, which makes it a bit harder to review the movie at this time, but I'll give it my best.
I loved the beginning of the movie, especially as a 'ghosthunters' and 'ghost adventures' fan. It is very clear that the makers of this movie have at least watched 'ghost adventures'. The cast is legit, this could've seriously been a new paranormal show, or at least it could've convinced me.
I loved it even more that the makers of 'Grave Encounters' (I mean the show in the movie) actually prove it is almost impossible to capture evidence each episode. This while that's what's required to keep a ghost hunting show interesting all the time, and how they are planning to deal with that in case 'once again' nothing happens, this was the only time I had to laugh during this movie. After that, the lockdown (that word sounded very familiar to me ;) began and the laughing stopped...
In contrary to what other reviews said, I DID find it very very scary at times, even the parts that were already in the trailer. There were moments that I literally jumped off my seat. If you're going to watch a movie about ghost hunters, of course you can expect slamming doors and stuff like that, I don't think one of my previous reviewers are very honest about that and I actually wonder what YOU were expecting. Of course there are screaming people all the time, giving the events of the movie (or even only half of them) I would've liked to see you in a situation like that!
I do however admit that the movie made some turns towards the end that I didn't expect and would rather have seen differently. Once again, without spoiling anything because I would hate to do that, I would rather have seen the makers keeping it ehm, a little less explosive and a little less revealing. Once you see the movie you'll understand what I mean.
I would have been more satisfied if the only thing that I had seen the entire movie are slamming doors and flying things for instance. But I guess that's also a matter of what you are willing to believe CAN happen.
So my only reserves are that the only reason that this will not be a new blair witch project, is because there is too much visually revealed. Metaforically speaking: keeping ghosts invisible is usually scarier.
Overall, I was greatly entertained, this was the first movie to seriously scare me while watching in over a decade, which says something coming from a die-hard horror fan (check my history). It has been worth my wait and I hope I see more from this crew in the future.