Reviews written by registered user
scarletheels

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40 reviews in total 
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Inkubus (2011)
13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:
A movie that has a whole lot of nothing ever happening, 17 April 2012
3/10

Inkubus (Robert Englund) spends the evening tormenting the unfortunate members of a police station skeleton crew and Diamante (William Forsythe), the detective who nearly put him away years ago. While it may seem like all fun and games for the crafty demon, he has two objectives: settle a score with Diamante and find a new host for rebirth so that he may live on for another century.

While the film boasts quite a few recognizable names and faces, the dialog is feeble, in stark contrast to the menacing tone and visuals. It's not quite campy and has no flow. A lot of the banter between Inkubus and the officers are laundry lists of past victims dating back to the beginning of time. I get it, he's killed a lot of people, I don't need to hear every name and date. In fact, Inkubus talks more about murdering people than actually killing them.

Englund and Forsythe are always a treat to watch but, yeesh, the acting by the rest of the cast is shameful. It's a baby step above porno-grade. (This coming from someone who watches a buttload of indie and low budget horror.) Speaking of pornos, there are two sex scenes, neither of which contains any nudity, despite the casting of rather well-endowed actresses.

The entire movie is one, long teaser of things to come and therein lies its colossal weakness. Scene after scene, I was itching for Inkubus to go postal on someone, anyone. Is that too much to ask from a beast that, in the beginning of the film, shows up with a decapitated head and a vehicle adorned with dismembered limbs and internal organs? I was both disappointed and relieved when the movie was done. Disappointed because the final showdown between Inkubus and his rival, Diamante, had ended so abruptly. Relieved because I was finally put out of my misery.

Skip this unless you're like me and hellbent on watching every horror ever released.

8 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Intense, well-acted, tip-top visually, but no breath of fresh air, 16 April 2012
5/10

Two urban couples head to the countryside for some downtime; however, they're quickly introduced to the other side of 'roughing it' in the wilderness when the men's ATV excursion makes a collision course straight for hell, where the locals aren't keen to strangers. After a standoff with a couple of ill-tempered hillbillies, the residents of Resurrection County go from hostile to downright murderous, out to avenge the death of one of their own.

It's your run-of-the-mill redneck torture flick - city folks wander off into no man's land for some fresh air, only to end up being stalked (sometimes devoured, but not in this case) by a group of inbred loonies who possess the strength of Hercules and the Hulk combined. Lo and behold, the actors and actresses, a bunch of no-names, do a pretty damn decent job. The make-up department and special effects crew deserve a round of applause for creating very realistic blood and gore on a limited budget.

It falters midway through, courtesy of some slow-moving and unnecessary scenes that should have ended up on the cutting room floor, as well as succumbing to the stereo-typical errors that characters in horror movies make. There is a shotgun scene in the beginning that will satisfy sadists but, while gory throughout, there really isn't much on-screen torture or anything that qualifies as extreme, not to veteran horror fans anyway.

Although predictable, it's still intense with genuine performances, but lacks anything fresh or remarkable.

100 Feet (2008)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Watch this only if you're a die-hard horror fan, otherwise skip it, 7 March 2012
5/10

Marnie (Famke Janssen) returns home for three years of house arrest after serving jail time for murdering her abusive husband, Mike. Shanks, the cop assigned to keep an eye on her happens to be her dead husband's partner. He's less than enthusiastic about her release and harasses Marnie every chance he gets. Add to that a sister who is bitter about their mother sacrificing her energy and finances to pay for Marnie's defense lawyers.

Ostracized and lonely, unable to leave the confines of the house, she spends her days cleaning, reading, and eventually befriending a neighbor boy, Joey (Ed Westwick, Gossip Girl), who delivers her groceries. He's the only one who will speak to her or even acknowledge her presence.

Enter the weird CGI ghost of Mike - half Michael Myers and half knock- off Japanese horror creation. He terrorizes Marnie subtly at first but as the film progresses he becomes Hercules, knocking her down stairs, throwing her against walls, giving her numerous bruises, and attempting to shred her hand to pieces. Desperate to rid herself of Mike's spirit, she removes all of his clothes and other belongings but it doesn't work. Will Mike ever leave her alone?

This is a genuinely scary movie at times. The camera angles, the creaking floorboards, and long silences create a lot of tension. For the gore hounds, there is an impressive fight scene between Mike and one of Marnie's visitors. What works so well in the first half of the movie is ignored completely in the last half. The implied turns into an obnoxious, visual assault. It's like the ghost of Mike is training for some underworld UFC and he's using Marnie as an unwilling sparring partner.

Watch this if you're a die-hard horror fan. Otherwise, skip it and go see Insidious or rent The Others.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
The Village + Twilight = an hour and 40 minutes of torture, 7 March 2012
4/10

M. Night Shyamalan's The Village meets Twilight, giving birth to an hour and 40 minutes of torture. It makes sense. Catherine Hardwicke directed the sparkly vampire teen romance. Red Riding Hood plays out in the same fashion - brooding young hotties fighting for the same girl, in this case Amanda Seyfried as Valerie. (I did go into this film not knowing who directed it. I didn't find out until afterward so I viewed it unbiased.)

For many years, the townspeople have kept the beast away by offering it an animal sacrifice every month. With the appearance of the blood red moon, its hunger can only be sated by taking a human life, Valerie's sister. A grieving Valerie returns home to find out that her parents have arranged a marriage with Henry, a wealthy suitor, but she's in love with Peter, a lowly woodcutter (who, by the way, not only can't bring home the bacon but can't act to save his life).

Seeking revenge and justice for the slaying, the people of the village summon Father Solomon (Gary Oldman), a renowned werewolf hunter. He warns them that the beast takes human form during the day, inciting paranoia in everyone, including Valierie who wonders if her true love could be the one who killed her sister. The watered down romance suddenly turns into a whodunit mess.

Despite the trailer and theatrical poster that emit a dark vibe, horror/thriller fans will be grossly disappointed. Even with veterans Gary Oldman, Julie Christie, and Virginia Madsen, the film is constantly bogged down by its simple dialog and cheesy CGI. There is also a lot of nonsensical filler that stretches 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Why can't Hollywood ever offer a decent ending to a movie? It doesn't have to contain a clever twist but it shouldn't be so anti-climactic.

You may think I'm being harsh but, in fact, I bumped my rating up to a generous 40% because of Oldman. Tweens and teens will like the re- imagined fairytale but serious movie-goers will probably walk away frustrated.

Unknown (2011/I)
4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Escapist entertainment that relies mostly on its leading man, Neeson, 7 March 2012
6/10

Liam Neeson is Dr. Martin Harris, a scientist who travels to Germany with his wife, Liz (January Jones, Mad Men), for a bio-tech conference. Before checking into the hotel, he realizes he's left his briefcase and passport behind so he flags down a taxi driven by Gina (Diane Kruger, Inglorious Basterds). Her expert driving skills sends them careening off of a bridge and into the drink. She manages to save herself and Martin, then flees the scene, not wanting to risk deportment because she's an illegal immigrant from Bosnia.

After waking up from a coma, Martin can only remember who he is and why he's in Berlin. He finds his way back to the hotel where he finds Liz, only she denies that she's his wife or that she even knows him. Worse yet, she's with a man (Aidan Quinn) claiming to be her husband and the real Dr. Martin Harris. Lacking any identification to prove that he is who he claims to be, he's removed from the premises. And the mystery surrounding the dual Dr. Harrises begins.

He tracks down Gina and, together, they try to understand what is happening to Martin and why Liz denies that she's his wife. They're lousy detectives. If it weren't for the mystery men constantly in their faces (I don't want to give too much away), they'd be wandering aimlessly around Berlin.

Yes, there are plot holes and more than enough "reeeeally?" moments, but Neeson makes it all worthwhile. At 58, he's still got it. The action is intense, the suspense and thrills are the perfect tone, and the mystery is well done. It's up to you to decide whether the twist at the end is satisfactory. This isn't a flawless film. It's escapist entertainment that relies mostly on its leading man. Unknown is The Bourne Supremacy with less action.

Priest (2011)
2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
High flying stunts don't make vampires more intimidating, 7 March 2012
4/10

After the last war between vampires and humans, the Church sets up a walled off society where the people are oppressed and controlled by the constant reminder that "to go against the Church is to go against God". After learning his niece, Lucy (Lily Collins, The Blind Side), was abducted by a vampack, Priest (Paul Bettany) disobeys the Church by traveling to the wastelands to rescue her. Her boyfriend, the town's sheriff (Cam Gigandet, Pandorum), accompanies him on his quest, along with Priestess, who defies the Church's orders to bring him back dead or alive.

The three of them go on a mission to track down Black Hat, another Warrior Priest who was believed to have been killed in Mira Sola, but turns out to have been turned into the first vampire/human hybrid by the vampire Queen. He plans to dispatch an army of vampires via train into the Church's city and destroy all inhabitants there. Priest, Priestess, and Hicks are now saddled with two missions - save Lucy and stop the train before it reaches the city.

Priest is a fusion of western, post-apocalyptic, science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres very loosely based on a manhwa (Korean comic), Hangul, by Hyung Min-woo. The animated sequences in the start of the film are awesome. It's a shame that it all turns to drivel once the real actors hit the screen. Paul Bettany, who will forever be the most perfect Geoffrey Chaucer in my mind, has certainly been choosing some, uh, interesting roles lately. But don't get me wrong, I dig him as a vampire slaying action hero just as much as an English poet.

This is a fine flick to veg out on but, Hollywood, please stop with the crappy CGI vampires/monsters/creatures/animals already. The familiars (humans given a pathogen to make them subservient to the vampires) look cool. The vampires do not. Do vampires really need to be slimy looking airborne acrobats? No, high-flying stunts don't make them more intimidating. The fights are stylishly choreographed but when the action dies down, it's all too easy to zone out. Not surprisingly, the movie is visually stunning - from the dark, claustrophobic city ruled by the Church to the dry, barren landscape of Jericho.

Despite what you may assume, there isn't a heavy or overbearing religious theme. Priest is nothing profound or cutting-edge but most audiences will probably enjoy it for what it is.

Hanna (2011)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Not for action junkies looking for a quick adrenaline fix, 7 March 2012
6/10

Hanna Heller (Saoirse Ronan, Atonement) lives in solitude in the Finland wilderness with her father, Erik (Eric Bana), an ex-CIA agent. For the past 16 years, he has been training her to be the perfect assassin. She is a skilled hunter and fluent in many languages but she longs for the outside world. Realizing that she is finally ready, he gives Hanna a transmitter box which she uses to dispatch her location to Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett), another CIA agent.

Leaving his daughter behind, Erik sets out to Berlin where Hanna is to meet up with him after she has killed Marissa. She's captured, taken to Morocco, and interrogated by a double for Agent Wiegler. Believing the double is the real Marissa, Hanna snaps her neck and flees from the facility, but not before getting her hands on classified files about her own DNA. An intensive manhunt for Erik and Hanna begins.

You should know that this isn't your typical action film fueled by crazy spurts of adrenaline. No car chases through busy streets, superhuman stunts, or fiery explosions. In fact, it's more of Hanna's coming-of-age story - her first real friend, experiencing the power of music and dance after wondering about it for so long, encountering technology and electricity after a decade and a half of kerosene lamps, being with a boy. This is a bit of a Euro Art House film so if you're looking for a movie like Salt, you'll be vastly disappointed.

As a David Lynch fan (director Joe Wright cited him as a major influence), I give Wright props but The Chemical Brothers score is invasive at times. As a stand-alone soundtrack, it is freaking awesome. What Daft Punk does for Tron doesn't always work in Hanna. Take Hanna's escape from the CIA safe house in Morocco, for instance. The blaring track and flickering lights are enough to put the average person into a rockin' epileptic seizure.

Recommended to those who have the patience to let their tea steep but not to action junkies looking for a quick adrenaline fix.

Parents (1989)
1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Playful satire on the facades put on my human monsters, 7 March 2012
6/10

Michael Laemle (Bryan Madorsky) and his parents (Randy Quaid and Mary Beth Hurt) move to Massachusetts where they quickly set up the perfect suburban life. His father, Nick, secures a well paying job at Toxico and his mother, Lily, is the consummate housewife who spends most of her time in the kitchen. From the outside, they're living the American dream but something sinister lurks behind their doors - Michael's parents.

He's befriended by Sheila, his father's boss's daughter. He confides in her about his strict father but can never find the right words to voice his other fear about the source of the meat he avoids at every meal. He's equally as hesitant to open up to the school counselor (Sandy Dennis), a free-spirited social worker who's honed in on his perceptive yet odd nature. The stronger his curiosity grows, the worse his nightmares become. Where exactly is the mystery meat coming from?

Although billed as a dark comedy, I failed to see any humor in the story. This is a bleak, deranged, horrific cannibalism tale but also a playful satire on the facades put on by human monsters, ones that could very well be tucking you in at night. Don't let the visual horror distract you from the underlying message of Parents.

Randy Quaid aces his character with such perfection, you'll squirm with uneasiness every time he has a confrontation with Michael. Mary Beth Hurt is the polar opposite as the sweet, doting mother and she too nails it. Bryan Madorsky's performance as the intuitive and very aware Michael is thankfully subtle, as it should be. The set designs, the clothing and hair styles, and golden oldies like "Chantilly Lace" and "Purple People Eater" will have you believing you're in the 1950s with the characters. You'll either love or hate Angelo Badalamenti's orchestral score, as he has a distinctive eerie sound to his compositions.

The gore and violence are minimal and the scares are more of the lingering kind, like the lump in your throat that gets bigger and bigger and when the time comes to scream, you can't. Every horror fan should see this. It bombed at the box office back in 1989 (budget of $3 million with a measly $870,532 in gross profits) but it's gained a cult following with many of its most recent reviewers rating Parents at the highest level. I wouldn't go so far as to say this is a masterpiece or brilliant horror but it's definitely one to watch.

Parents, do not ever, ever, ever let your child see this movie unless you want your little one scarred for life.

They Wait (2007)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Decent scares but terrible acting & not a lot of entertainment value, 7 March 2012
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Sarah (Jaime King), her husband, Jason, and their six year old son, Sammy, go to Vancouver for Jason's Uncle Raymond's funeral. During their stay at Aunt Mei's house, Sammy starts seeing ghosts. He ends up in a coma at the hospital after nosing around the basement of Uncle Raymond's warehouse. Soon, Sarah sees them, too.

Desperate for answers, she visits a local pharmacist who shows her a sketch of the spirit with Sammy - her skeletal hand reaching for his exposed heart - that he drew a year ago. He tells her the spirit has imprisoned her son's soul and Sarah has until dawn on the last day of Ghost Month to find out what the spirit's motives are or Sammy will be lost forever.

The R rating has me baffled. There are some disturbing images but not near as gory as The Grudge and that's rated PG-13. There is no sex or nudity, not even a side boob. I don't even recall a single swear word. This is more mystery & suspense than it is horror, in my opinion. The scares are good but the acting is terrible. Pei-pei Cheng as Aunt Mei and the adorable Henry O as Sammy are very believable but King is a whiny mess and Chen doesn't understand the use of facial expressions.

I'm Asian, my husband is Caucasian, and we have two Amerasian daughters. I'm rating this on the low side because the movie was a letdown and only partially entertaining, not because I have an issue with inter-racial couples.

Beastly (2011)
3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
My tween daughter enjoyed this, I almost fell asleep, 7 March 2012
4/10

Kyle (Alex Pettyfer, I Am Number Four) is a handsome, popular, rich kid who is also a grade-A jerk but blame that on his conceited, inattentive father who is more concerned about his career as an anchorman than with his own son. At least that's what the film wants you to do. Like father, like son.

After Kyle plays a cruel prank on another student, Kendra (Mary-Kate Olsen, Full House), she transforms him into a bald, boil-covered, tattooed freak. It turns out Michelle Tanner grew up to be a witch dressed in emo-inspired haute couture clothing. Oops, not exactly the person you want to invite to the prom and then publicly humiliate. He has one year to find someone to fall in love with him or he's cursed to stay ugly as hell forever. A blind girl, maybe?

Nope, Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens, High School Musical), a fellow student who moves in with him after he saves her and her father from muggers. The blind person turns out to be a tutor, Will (Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother), hired by Kyle's father. Kyle was moved into a place of his own after doctors told his father that, um no, a face transplant is not a viable option.

We are all familiar with the tale of Beauty and the Beast so we all know where the characters are headed and what happens at the end. This isn't the kind of film for special effects or over-choreographed fight scenes so that leaves the acting.

Both Alex Pettyfer and Vanessa Hudgens are easy on the eyes but their acting skills have yet to be fully developed, or developed at all. It seems like Pettyfer is trying but Hudgens has one or two facial expressions in her repertoire. I've seen better acting from my daughter's sock puppets. The saving grace is Neil Patrick Harris whose comedic timing is sublime. He breathes some life into this flat fantasy.

Parents, this is okay to let your tween/teen watch but I don't recommend it.


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