Reviews written by registered user
|58 reviews in total|
A collection of eight independently-produced Halloween-themed short
films, with an overarching plot that these were left as a VHS tape on a
young female horror fan's doorstep by a masked, knife-wielding
Most of the stories are extremely short, in the 5-10 minute range, the longest being about 17 minutes. They often have little plot, rather being merely campfire-style, mysterious horrific occurrences with no real beginning, climax, or resolution.
They are all, nevertheless, rather original, well-produced, and effectively gripping. The acting and effects are all quite satisfying and convincing. A couple even push the grim envelope, even by today's standards. One story takes the unusual route of being entirely in Spanish (with subtitles), whose inclusion in a primarily English-language movie was, I felt, an admirable risk.
The only true weak point for me was the very end, where the framing plot was wrapped up a little too simply.
Each short story, along with the framing plot, were independently produced by different writers, directors, and crews, and each one's credits are shown in sequence at the movie's end.
An infant named June is imbued with a powerful spirit by her parents'
cult of Satan worshipers. She bounces around the foster care system as
the evil periodically overtakes her to mysteriously hurt people around
June is a risky mix of classic horror and slow artsy cinematography. The shots are often quite beautiful, and the acting is pretty decent. The flick is nevertheless ruined by a pedestrian script, with cheesy and obvious borrowed elements from Carrie and The Omen (among others). Dollar-store music and visual effects also clash hard with its otherwise artsy ambitions.
Fantastic Four is not your average superhero movie by today's
standards. It's dark, low-key, and unexpected. I almost passed on
watching this, since everyone seemed to have hated it. I'm glad I gave
it a shot anyway.
I'd like to borrow a quote from another reviewer here that expresses quite accurately why this movie didn't do well (even though the review was intended to be negative):
"Fantastic Four is a film very much out of time and place in today's market of superhero movies. Ten or fifteen years ago a studio might have been able to get away with it but not today. Audiences like to be entertained and with the competition offering much more excitement, I don't see audiences taking to this, at all."
That about sums it up. Superhero audiences were expecting something similar to recent superhero offerings, and they didn't get it. For myself, being generally not terribly impressed with most recent superhero movies, I had a somewhat different reaction. There have been a couple standouts, like Batman Begins and Iron Man, but on the whole most seem like forgettable, disposable eye candy.
If taken as a standalone flick, independent of any expectation, this is a decent movie. It's for the most part well-paced, well-acted, the effects are convincing without being overdone, and it's even well-written, for the most part.
What it is not, is "big". And people were expecting big, of course. Rather than its characters shown becoming celebrities with the world watching, the press eating them up, and displaying spectacles for the public that destroy city property, these kids spin a rather "small" tale that occurs primarily in secret.
I give this a seven out of ten, but threw in an extra star to offset (just a little bit) the unfair slap this movie got due to viewer tastes being, I feel, ruined by bloated Hollywood treatment of recent superhero adaptations.
An attempt at a slick Hollywood comedy, which is why it comes off as
amateurish, since there just wasn't enough money involved to pull that
off. This is especially apparent in the soundtrack, which consists of
the same punk rock sample looped over and over in every music-backed
scene from beginning to end. Visual effects were just this side of
acceptable. Directing and acting were almost there but not quite (Elyse
Levesque was one notable exception, who aside from being beautiful also
manages to craft a convincingly unique and interesting character).
Why? Well, for all its shortcomings, there is an apparent effort and care here on the parts of all involved (director, writers, actors, etc), resulting in what I suppose I would call an unexpected innocent charm; which not only kept me watching but also had me enjoying nearly every minute. I also feel the movie's current rating is unduly harsh and it deserves a little more recognition.
Bad indie movies normally leave me struggling to keep my brain from liquifying and leaking out my ear, as they pretend to be something better than they are. This is a film that knows its limits and plays within them. It helps that the story was more original than most films of this ilk, and the production values were actually a lot better than they should have been given the constraints. I should also note that the genre of "comedy" doesn't entirely fit, as there aren't many actual attempts to make the audience laugh. This is more of a lighthearted rompy adventure, and in that regard I feel it could please more than disappoint, as long as you don't go in with other expectations.
I think this writer/director could pull off some truly great work with just a little more money, and I will definitely be waiting for his next film. The actors also have great potential. In the meantime, this made for a fun little indie outing, even if it was neither slick nor artsy.
PS. Despite the probably-true claim that most of the reviews so far for this movie were posted by fake accounts or people close to the production, I'm not one of those. I've been on IMDb for 11 years, have posted 50 other reviews, and had nothing to do with the production of this movie, nor do I have any connection to anyone who did.
I kept having to double-check whether the IMDb rating I was seeing was
for the right movie.
This movie is good. It doesn't even look low-budget, if you ask me. The production values, the sets, the props and effects, and even the acting are all pretty well up there in quality and are actually above-par for an indie flick. In fact, the only clue I can see for this even being an independent film is the lack of celebrity actors. Plop a couple famous faces in here and I think anyone would be hard-pressed to tell the difference from a Hollywood production.
The only explanation I can see for the poor ratings is that people were expecting a sci-fi flick and are judging the movie's compliance with that expectation. I've seen this phenomenon before, and it's sad, because good movies end up without the recognition they deserve.
This is actually a good movie, in nearly every way. It's basically a war movie with a touch of sci-fi, and in that regard it's actually rather exceptional. It's well-written and well-acted, with convincing combat, and an interesting and original story. It's my hope that people disregard the low ratings and give movies like this a shot anyway.
The Vicious Brothers (as the directorial team call themselves) try
breaking the mold, with some mixed results.
The bulk of this is typical horror mixed with typical alien/saucer imagery. About an hour or so in, there's a Matrix-inspired sequence that at least looks authentic. The film caps off with a very X-Files routine. Cliché characters, one of whom seems to have been awkwardly transplanted from an '80s teen horror film, and all of whom play out cliché melodrama during very obvious and convenient breaks in action, didn't really help things.
With some skill, this mash-up of recycled elements could have actually worked, maybe. The visual effects were convincing, but the rest (writing, direction, acting) were frightfully amateurish.
This isn't a "found footage" film, but it seems to want to be one. It's sort of a found footage film that simply wasn't shot that way, resulting in something rather awkward.
The dragon mother storyline is the only one that really captures my
The rest is a lavish soap opera. It ups the bar in production values and provocativeness, but is essentially a trashy, meandering romance novel that HBO successfully passed off as a pop culture phenomenon.
There is really no direction or character development to speak of. Peter Dinklage manages to inject some nuance into his performance, which appears as brilliant acting relative to all the other stone faces, of whom no director seems to make any hefty demands. Lots of great lines fall to the wayside while efforts are spent instead on costumes and sets. Evil characters are just evil, and making us truly understand them isn't remotely a priority.
I don't hate it. I sometimes hate myself for rather enjoying it, in the way humanity's less endearing qualities force us to grow addicted to juicy gossip and reality shows. I wouldn't call this a "good" show though.
On the upside, after watching an episode, everything I think and read takes on a posh British accent, which adds a touch of refinement to my American lifestyle.
Clichès don't bother me as much as melodrama, and I think that's what
most people really mean to complain about.
The X-Files was solid largely because each scene advanced the plot. This pilot suffers from what most TV sci-fi suffers from these days, and the reason most of them end up getting canceled: They try to cast a broader net of appeal than they think sci-fi alone can achieve, by spreading out revealing scenes in a pool filled primarily with melodramatic opera.
I was excited to find out Carter was doing this via Amazon, as perhaps then, skittish TV execs wouldn't be in the way to demand more "non-hardcore" material that (they think) will raise the ratings over a broad demographic. To see it make all the same mistakes anyway is very disappointing.
If this gets picked up, I hope Carter can start remembering what makes a show good, and direct the writers there, rather than shooting for broad appeal.
Some kind of weird meteor hits the ground and causes an otherworldly
electrical disturbance in the vicinity of a big college party. Suddenly
there's two of everyone, which apparently causes violence to ensue. In
the midst of it all, the main character is trying to win back his
Is it sci-fi? Horror? Drama? Sexy college comedy? It appears to try for them all, but doesn't achieve any with particularly flying colors.
A lot of people will probably like this just for the awesome party depiction; and that's cool. It does look like one hell of a party, and I kinda wish I'd been there. This movie has a lot of other things going for it, including a good premise, decent acting, glossy big-budget-looking production values, and some nudity (yay!). The effects were also quite convincing.
The story, however, leaves something to be desired. It's hard to tell whether the relationship drama or the weirdo cosmic event was supposed to be the main storyline, but I didn't much care about either one. A bunch of one-dimensional characters try to say deep things once in a while, and their reactions to the strange situation are a little contrived, as if the writers chose to force a horror/thriller show from a premise that should've taken a more intriguing route. I also kept wondering why everyone didn't just LEAVE when it became apparent that things weren't right. I guess the party was just that good.
It turned out fun, somewhat entertaining, and a bit disturbing, but could've been more. I'd recommend this for a streaming rainy day view.
I'm not really sure what I just watched. I did enjoy myself though.
As the first reviewer said quite accurately, the cinematography alone is worth it. There's a superbly eerie quality to many of the shots, and ditto for the set, prop, and makeup designs. Some elements are downright visionary. The main actors do a great job, especially Klaus Tange, who hits some authentically demonic high notes, and Roger Tebb's fanatic priest is also great. Jytte-Merle Böhrnsen (there's a mouthful) is devilishly delightful as the fair young maiden, and the cinematographer did some wonderful things with closeups of her beautiful facial expressions.
The realism falls a little flat in certain areas, most noticeably in the few "night" shots that are much too plainly day shots with a blue filter (it's not even a terribly dark blue). Some other visual effects are also a little cartoonish.
It's easy for a person like me to forgive those issues because I love watching a cryptic and unpredictable story unfold; and that, if anything, describes this movie. A dense myriad of clues are presented and it's not easy to figure out what might actually be going on. The point of the whole thing is spelled out in the end, sort of, but it's still not quite clear how it all fit together. This is one of those movies where you Google afterwards for possible explanations.
If you like to be intrigued this is worth your time.
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