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Alone in the Dark (2005)
Two Words: Stay Away
Not being a fan of the two other Boll films I've seen- House of the Dead and Blackwoods. I decided to see this film to see if it deserved any of the criticism. And that was a mistake. It was laughably bad from start to finish. Then i started to feel bad that I wasted my time there. THEN i started feeling bad for Christian Slater, who NEEDS a good movie. And Tara Reid, who I feel sorry for because her public image has spiraled down (I was a huge fan of her Bunny Lebowski character in 'The Big Lebowski', even though that wasn't a huge stretch. She's so unbelievably bad. And Stephen Dorff didn't want to be there, it seemed. Why Boll... Why? Why zombies again?! Did you want to fix the HotD mistake? That was a throw-away storyline that didn't serve any point and was BOR-ING. And the Dorff goes down at the end to put the explosive, to blow up some/all of the creatures? and the door that god closed was different than the door opened? No logic here. And the ending- the town is deserted? What? Huh? Who cares.
And the sex scene? It's beyond bad, and beyond out of place. Earlier in the day i had the song 'Seven Seconds' by Youssou Ndour running through my head. THEN i heard it during that sex scene. I knew i was in for trouble. It was some kind of bad omen. If anyone reads this and wants to see how to do a sex scene that is not interesting, out of place, and HURTS the movie, check this out. But if you blink you'll miss it.
Everyone involved in this cinematic mess should apologize. Boll should be put in a room, forced to watch this movie over and over until he pees his pants and promises never to do it again.
Corpses Are Forever (2004)
this movie takes forever
I'm always one to give a zombie movie a chance. This was more of a thriller that had zombies in it. Some zombies. The movie tried to impress upon you that the world had been overrun by zombies (why?), but there was never any tangible sense of fear or terror. This was a total vanity project.
As a newly minted Debbie Rochon fan, I had wanted to see her performance. The homicidal character she portrayed didn't serve much, if any, purpose. It was as though she was there to prop up the main character as a hottie girlfriend, but that was stretching the truth too far. The lead, in the B/W sequences, looked like a high schooler in a home movie. And it seemed like in every scene he was checking his clip for bullets. And the kungfu scenes... woah boy. And dude, keep your shirt on, that Bacardi bat tattoo was too skimpy looking (not bad ass, but ass-bad).
I did like Richard Lynch's over-the-top acting. And, there is something nice about seeing Brinke Stevens and Linnea in another horror film. In fact, I would have enjoyed more seeing Brinke, Linnea, Debbie, and Richard talking about horror films. That would have been interesting. However, this film is truly marred by the deus-ex-machina at the end with Linnea showing up saying "You owe me one (two... three...). In any sequel she would probably show up whenever the heroes were in trouble and bail them out. How unimaginative! Speaking of deus-ex-machina, let's have a serum that induces a flashback and amnesia that has little to do with the story! And let's have a bright white room with no segue to the other scenes.
Why, WHY, does one actor bring up John Carpenter's "They Live"? All of a sudden I was thinking about that film, and how much better it was than Corpses. It took all I had not to turn off the movie then and there. I'm a big fan of indie cinema and horror films, but this film simply falls short in so many ways. Total vanity project- it's as if the writer/director shelled out bucks for some talent and couldn't deliver on the script. The positives? Rochon, Quigley, Lynch, some of the lighting, and the car. The zombies sucked. But I'm sure the cast and crew had a fun old making it.
Hunting Humans (2002)
hunting humans review
I found myself enjoying this. I understand what goes in to an indie production. I know what it's like to work on a low-budget feature. There were some decent twists in the end. AND a good story from start to finish. The low-budget aspects came through quite often, and some of the acting was spotty, but I really respect what the filmmakers were trying to accomplish. I enjoyed Ganz's acting.
The bad- for the most part was the sound mix. It sucked, you could pick out where sound tracks were added- not much was seamless. I don't know if this was shot on 16mm or super -16, but you could often hear the camera sound. Until I heard the camera sound i thought iit was shot on a cheap miniDV cmaera. i don't know why the footage looks below average, but it wasn't too distracting.
But i'd have to say that the orchestral score ROCKED. it was great. don't know where you got it, but it was really good.
Ultimately I respect what the filmmakers were doing, and I say keep rockin'. There was a good story here. Just get better actors and a better camera next time. Rick and Kevin rock, though.
take me to your Blackwoods
I picked this out because it was a thriller set in the woods. Then i found out it was by Uwe Boll. I had seen 'HofD' sometime previous. 'Blackwoods' to me was a lot of style but with substance that fell short. technically it was pretty good. though, after the umpteenth flash forward and flash back... it got to be a chore. they were flogging a dead horse at that point.
i found myself thinking about michael pare- i hadn't seen anything since 'streets of fire'. he was very solid here. muldoon, on the other hand, has been slumming since 'starship troopers'. i always enjoy clint howard, though.
It's any wonder Boll went on to 'house of the dead' after this. There is some promise here. but ultimately the ending caused a shrug, and made me think of 'sixth sense'.
Ain't got time for 'Bleed'
Another case of a decent DVD case betraying the shot-on-video quality of the film.
It wasn't that bad. Rochon does a serviceable job and Damn! the cast is good looking. I've never seen that many musclebound guys hang out together on a regular basis. This movie really wanted to make you think Rochon was the killer, but it was not to be. My biggest problem with the film was that by the end, I didn't much care who was the killer, and the real killer made little sense, since it was out of the blue and the filmmakers were thinking 'ha, betcha didn't see that one coming, sucker!'. Yeah, there were continuity errors about (mainly with ms. Rochon's ever-changing wardrobe), but for an indie slasher it's not that bad. I was pretty sure at the beginning it was just a thinly veiled excuse for girls to go topless, but that was just a gimmick. The dialog was overly think and painful at times.
Just don't have high expectations going into this, and it won't be that bad. And Lloyd Kaufman's cameo is wonderfully understated.
In the Woods (1999)
Who let the monster dog out?
This movie's plotting, pacing, dialog, action, and acting were so bizarrely strange, i don't know what to think. Any dialog snippet from any 5 minute segment has its own howlers. To with: "I'm gonna take leave of the fire station. And I can come help you at the pet store. and you can show me the difference between the gerbils and hamsters". Woah!
The cop had the best line "I'll tell ya what we got- s**t is what we got". This could be a cult film. You just cannot watch this sober. You need as many friends along to cheer the action along. I thought the cinematography was decent, with the traveling shots. Production design was less than inspired. The dialog was so inept it hurt. The sound mixing was okay, though it felt like everything was ADR'd and foleyed. This film CANNOT be compared to Blair Witch. BWP was much better done, and was a completely different kind of movie. Very little of this film took place in the woods. Maybe 'In the Woods' was a reference to the style of acting (wooden). Something i noticed with the short running time is that certain shots and scenes held out a little longer than needed. I'm wondering if that was to pad out the run time. If so, it hurt the pacing of the film. See at your peril. You have been warned.
Dead Above Ground (2002)
what did i just watch?!
Stephen Cannell?! The man behind the A-Team? And my favorites "Rip Tide" and "Wiseguy"? This... TURKEY... is an example of what the poorest written low-budget horror film would look like. I mean, a team of monkeys could do better than this.
I've seen many, many horror flicks, and this rates so far down there. It's completely unwatchable. I mean, there's no payoff anywhere. It's an insult to view. Even worse that George Lucas was drawn into this for no reason. Worse, the acting, characters, story, dialog, plot, and everything else just suck, suck, suck.
On the positive side, if you're looking to make a horror film yourself, view this film to see how NOT to do it. If you have an idea that's even a little better than this one, you can be one- up on Cannell himself. Speaking of which, WHY was he even in this film? He looked like this old dude in a film that presents a plot SO implausible... it's an insult. To whit: the coach gets fired, yet hangs around the parking lot to harass a teacher (Cannell), and he doesn't do anything about it. The best part of the film is Sabato, Jr, though you have to wonder why he had anything to do with this piece of detritus.
The original title was "Director's Cut", and according to Cannell's website the movie would allow them to "experiment with new narrative ideas, visual styles and different approaches to editing". Also on the website "We were really stepping out," said Bowman. "So we needed to keep absolute creative control." Uh, yeah. Just promise me never, EVER do it again.
Pep Squad (1998)
Chanced across this indie gem and it was pretty good. The 'thing' i liked the most was the cinematography and the style of the action. There's definitely a vision here. And a lot was done with the found locations and the normal locations used for good effect (the laundromat). The acting was somewhat stilted in places, but I liked that people looked like real people. I had rented 'mean girls' at the same time, and i have to say i liked this one better. Darker and with more bite. And the 'pool' performance art scene- priceless!
The characters were waayyy to over the top and melodramatic in places. But they had their own styles, and was really nicely done. Scriptwise this was good in parts, but the broader themes of having something to say, and trying to be heard and understood by adults in high school- and the title of prom queen being really hotly contested? This was more effective than a parody. I really like 'Jawbreaker', but this was considerably better.
Great use of Kansas locations- where the people correctly say 'Pop', not 'Soda'.
This film wasn't perfect, but the vision behind, the direction, and the shooting style raises it above normal.
The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2001)
I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats
This was a fun, fun sci-fi movie. Solid story and solid camp acting. I loved, loved, loved the dialog! The cast and crew really cared about this project, and it showed. They looked like they had a great time putting this together and were fun to watch.
The skeleton rocked! "I go to sleep". This was sublimely absurd, and it worked well. I'm a big fan of MST3K, and this film is a result of wanting to do a serious 50s style alien sci-fi film- which of course comes off as a total fun camp film.
The Hazing (2004)
not half bad
Have always been a fan of Brad Dourif. He's used well here, even though he's not in much of the film. tiffany shepis puts in a good performance, adding to her rep as a nouveau scream queen. the director made a nice entry into the horror canon, even with the demonic mumbo-jumbo. shepis and nectar rose are well used and an fine form. The combination of space suite and bunny outfit stole every scene they were in. The cunnilingus scene was handled fairly well, too. Some of the effects were hit and miss- the cheap effects looked like cheap FX. However, the acting, shot selection, and lighting were really well done- helped elevate the film to the level of a decent horror film. A nice effort all around. This is nothing we haven't seen before- but was very well done and not a total waste of time, which says a lot. Good job to everyone involved.