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As a devout Horror fan, I've seen pretty much every sub-genre there is,
from Torture Porn to Comedy Horror. I must say that usually when asked,
I say that Ghost Story is my favorite of the sub-genres, especially the
Asian ones were the ghosts connect with my inner child and scare the
living daylight out of the poor thing. However, films dealing with
exorcisms and haunting / possession come as a very close second,
especially when it's a good one like The Exorcism of Emily Rose or The
Unborn. As of late, a new sub-genre has joined the as no. 1 and as the
best Horror international cinema has to offer: James Wan films. It has
taken me a while to figure out that the best Horror I've seen in the
passed 10 years has all been made thanks to that amazingly talented
Writer-Director: The Saw Series, Insidious and Dead Silence are
masterpieces in my book. Now, The Conjuring happily and rightfully
joins the list.
The acting by Patrick Wilson is excellent. While his character is usually a little timid and not all that impressive, Wilson has truly proved profound acting skills playing the charismatic Ed Warren. Yet the really pleasant surprise is by far Lili Taylor as the mother of the family whose house is haunted. I haven't seen Taylor since Mel Gibson's Ransom, and had to look her up in order to even realize that, but if she never acts again this part shall be remembered as her moment of pure glory. I have seen many actors playing the part, and she still managed to amaze me. I believe "Bravo!!!" sums it up.
The story is great, and with all due respect to "based on real events" - I credit that to Wan. A perfect combination of Ghost Story and Haunting / Exorcism, interesting and compelling with great suspense. The script is even better, and I've been really impressed with how many classic jump-scare moments simply didn't happen! No cheap tricks, no cheats, nothing! At first the ghosts manage to frighten the audience without even appearing in the shot. We do see them eventually, but in two (maybe three) scenes only. The only criticism I have - without giving away any spoilers, there are two scenes I've noticed where the characters suffer a pretty serious fall, then get up with not so much as a sprained ankle. Suspense of disbelief is critical in such "supernatural" Horror films, and making the characters miraculously immune to falls slightly damaged it for me. Along with that, I was going to say the ending was slightly anti-climactic, and that I personally felt that the plot set us up for an ending that had never arrived. Then I saw that there is (or about to be) a sequel, which I'm anticipating greatly!
As for soundtrack and cinematography, I didn't notice anything too impressive or even worth mentioning (which takes absolutely nothing away from this excellent film).
All in all - the slight almost non-existent criticism I've mentioned is the only reason I'm not rating this 10. I've seen a review claiming The Conjuring is better than Insidious, and while I find it difficult to agree - it is an excellent film, a fine piece of Horror, and another great achievement by the Wan and only. I recommend this film to any Horror fan out there. Re-reading all I've just written for editing reasons, I realize that my words don't commune clearly enough how much I've enjoyed watching this film. Take my word for it - this is one of the best Horror films you'll ever see.
Always a pleasure reviewing an Israeli film, especially one that can be
considered as an attempt to qualify for the "horror" genre as has been
defined by Hollywood for around two decades now. While avoiding any
criticism towards the genre as it is known today, I can sincerely say
I'm proud to have another Israeli film so well known, and being a
devout Horror - that I'm very glad Israel has joined the list of
countries making worthy Horror films.
Now for the film itself... I can't help but feeling disappointed, for a number of reasons: 1. The first reason would probably be irrelevant for anyone not familiar with Israel's film industry, and yet I must point out that using Lior Ashkenazi (a famous excellent actor) for the character of an irresponsible uneducated stereotypical Israeli police officer simply didn't feel right. Ashkenazi is as charismatic as he is talented, and his screen presence is undeniable. Seeing him making the stupid mistakes forced upon him by the script was almost painful.
2. Immediately relating to the previous reason, the film used one of the horrible "cheats" that have become the bane and doom of many Horror films, Slasher/Serial Killer films in particular. Due to my oath to avoid spoilers, I am unable to describe the cheat, but suffice to say you'll know it when you see it. It joins the infamous list of killer being faster then a sprinting victim, a car running out of gas / car keys falling due to stress and fear / cellphone having no signal and such unreasonable annoying causes of death, making the audience join hands together in an epic group face palm.
3. Like many other Israeli films, this one has been stained by the puzzling need to make a socio-political statement. Be it regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or the gender discrimination problem (both described thoroughly in Israeli websites dealing with cinema reviews) - I personally find these to be redundant and plain stupid. This is a professional Horror film, not one about women's rights and equality or the contemporary political state. It has no room for such things, which do very little at most to serve the plot or the message (at least what the message should be).
4. While falling into line with Hollywood is good for the Israeli cinema's status, it made the film lose the "Israeli" uniqueness the fans have seen and loved for decades. The comic bits do little to return it. Israel's cinema is known for having its own rules and goals, and the past decade or so has brought us very little films still loyal to this tradition.
However, I still find some very glowing spots of light in the film, making it very worthwhile and recommended. The acting by the trio of main characters is absolutely exquisite. Each plays his role beautifully. I was especially impressed with Tzahi Grad as the mourning father and Rotem Keinan as the prime suspect. Whether it's the tone of voice, or the body language, or the looks on their faces in each scene - the acting is by far the best aspect of the film. The story, on the other hand, lacked, and lacked much. The effect of similar plots like Saw and The Tortured and such is way too obvious. That wouldn't have taken anything away from the story, had it been in anyway at all original, which it simply isn't. I personally couldn't guess the ending, but only due to too much credit given to the writers. I honestly have never expected them to use such a banal anticlimactic closure-less catharsis lacking ending.
All in all, I can't say I didn't enjoy the film. The suspense is nerve- wrecking and the acting is, as mentioned, profound. Therefore, regardless to the relatively low rate I've given it, I urge you to give it a chance. No, it won't be the best film you'll have seen this year, not even the best horror film, probably not even the best Israeli film. Yet it remains a film worth watching, showing Israel's progress towards the cinematic conventions of the 21st century.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As a devout Horror fan, I've seen my share of post-apocalyptic end of
the world films. And prior to discussing the quality (or lack thereof)
of The Collapsed, I must pay due respect to author Kevin Hutchinson and
screenwriter/director Justin McConnell for originality. No zombies, no
cannibals, and none of the cheap shots (unnecessary nudity, death due
to car not starting etc). Instead, whatever evil the protagonists face
(whether man or thing is unclear until the end) is mysterious and
unnerving like the killers in the famous Slasher films.
I guess I've seen too many similar films, as I've guessed the plot twist from the start, but that doesn't mean it wasn't good. Story and screenplay were good, though the script slightly lacked. Acting was also quite impressive, especially considering the fact that I've never heard of any of the cast before. Soundtrack was also nice, sort of a Kill Bill/Friday the 13th hybrid. As for cinematography, I found it to be slightly too ordinary, meaning that it wasn't used as a hint towards the twist and the end (not a clear spoiler hint, but a subtle one that could only be recognized upon the realization and conclusion of the ending).
All in all, I almost as usual don't agree with the raters of this site. This film is far from being a masterpiece and isn't one of the best, but it isn't as bad as to be given a 3.5, not at all. While I wouldn't recommend going through any trouble to get it, I'd definitely say that if you come across it - give it a chance, as it's a fun watch.
As a Horror fan who has learnt of Resident Evil not through the
original Capcom game, but through the Hollywood films, I've very much
enjoyed the first film, and very much more the second. Extinction, the
third title in the Resident Evil anthology, on the other hand, has very
little (if at all) cinematic value besides being another chapter in the
The screenplay is nice and fits right in with the rest of them, but in this case lacks the good plot twists we've learnt to expect after the first two films. The story connects beautifully with the ending of the second film, is a great start for the coming fourth, but not that goo on its own. Not much good or bad can be said about the script.
The acting by the cast is good as always, Milla Jovovich and Oded Fehr are a great as they've been before, and Ali Larter (as this film's female addition to Jovovich) isn't another Femme Fatale like in the first two films, but more of a leader. Not much good or bad can be said about the direction and cinematography.
All in all, as I've said, besides being a nice conclusion to chapter 2 and a preparation for chapter 4 - chapter 3 isn't much. Definitely my least favorite of the series so far. I very much hope that Afterlife will return to the glory of the first two films.
As a pretty experienced Horror fan, I'd say that Madhouse is a nice
combination of the Ghost Story sub-genre with psychological thriller
about the thin line between reality and fantasy in the mentally insane.
The screenplay is rather good, with some Sixth Sense / Fight Club style hints leading to a pretty good, if slightly unoriginal and overdone plot twist. The script, however, simply feels unprofessional. As for acting, take your pick between the at times atrociously bad acting by the main cast (the worst performance I've seen of Horror icon Jordan Ladd) and the profound acting by the supporting cast, mainly the ones playing the mentally insane patients. Direction and cinematography really remind me of Rob Zombie's work, and altogether felt like a nice tribute to 80's horror and contributed much to the few scares. Even the gore scenes are original, featuring some things I personally haven't seen in any torture-porn flick so far (for instance a person being electrocuted till they bite their tongues off).
All in all, if you can get passed the script and some of the acting, Madhouse is a compelling story with an interesting and surprising plot, similar to The Ward and Shutter Island, though not as good. While far from being a masterpiece, it's enjoyable enough. I'd say it's worth a shot.
After watching the first Resident Evil, I've thought it to be the best
zombie virus film I've seen. Now, after watching Apocalypse, I know I
was right. The definition of a good sequel is that it picks up where
the first film has ended, smoothly continues, leaves no loose ends and
unanswered questions, doesn't open itself to plot holes, and takes the
rules made by the first film to a new and improved level. Resident
Evil: Apocalypse does all of these, and in a nearly perfect way. In my
opinion, it's easily in the top 5 of the best sequels ever made.
Another thing I liked, is that it shows features that we've seen before
(or will see later) in other famous films in their respective genres,
like Terminator, The Matrix, The Descent and pretty much ever new
zombie flick made in the 21st century. Resident Evil is probably the
hottest name in the zombie film industry, and by right.
The screenplay and story are excellent, although the name is slightly misleading - the only place going through a "zombie apocalypse" is Raccoon City, not the entire world as the name (and the end scene in the first film) imply. Perhaps Resident Evil: Raccoon City would have been a better name, but never mind that. The plot involves everything we've learnt and today know to want and expect to see. An area infected by zombies, survivors trying to escape/live through the ordeal, and excellent action scenes of battles. As for the new and evolved rules - they're absolutely there and are very exciting, but I wouldn't want to risk spoilers.
The acting is excellent. Milla Jovovich is as talented, beautiful and deadly as in the first film, and is this time joined by Sienna Guillory as Jill Valentine, the perfect femme fatal! I also liked Jarred Harris's roll as Dr. Ashford, but altogether a great work by the entire cast!
Direction and cinematography are also great, featuring some terminator style shots from the point of view of the beings controlled by the Umbrella Corporation. The soundtrack is also just the way it should be in a zombie flick.
It took me to this week to familiarize myself with the Resident Evil anthology, and not a moment too soon. I only wish I'd known it years ago. As a big fan of the Underworld anthology, I salute the better predecessor. I know I'm about to have a great time watching the rest of the Resident Evil films, including the animated ones. This film in particular is, as I've said, better than the first, and leaves plenty of room for more improvements (or a devastating fall from grace) in the third. The perfect sequel!
As a devout Horror fan, I suggest that Zombie flicks are sort of a
different genre. It could be considered a sub-genre of Horror, much
like Ghost Stories and "Torture Porn", but it's more unique in it's
differences, I reckon. I've seen my share of Zombie flicks. Most of
them, like world famous Dawn of the Dead, take place in a zombie
infected reality, where few survivors try to live through the aftermath
of an apocalypse. Resident Evil predates most of the films of the
passed decade, and the best thing - it shows the factors that lead to
the zombie apocalypse. I must confess that I have no prior experience
with the title, not the Comic books nor the animated films. But I very
much enjoyed this film!
The screenplay and story feel unoriginal, but if anyone knows of the first film that has come up with the idea of a major corporation developing a virus that turns people into zombies, then gets released somehow and infects the world - let me know, because I don't. White Zombie was released in 1932, but involved Voodoo rather than a virus. Resident Evil probably ins't the first, but it was there before many others. The story is great, with good plot twists and delightfully surprising turn of events.
This film might not be a cinematic masterpiece, but it's a great and fun to watch zombies film. The acting is good (Milla Jovovich and Michelle Rodriguez of course, but I also liked James Purefoy as Spencer). Direction and cinematography are also good, done just right for such a film. I've watched this intending to continue and watch all the anthology, all the way to the latest 2012 film, including the animated films. It seems I'm in for quite a ride!
So I've just finished watching Day of the Dead, and I must say I've
rather enjoyed it. I've read some of the reviews and message board
posts, and I can understand why people don't think it's the best film
out there, not even the best Zombie flick. It's just a zombie film, and
not such a bad one.
The story is just about the same story like in any other film of the sort. A virus, infected, some people naturally immune, survivors trying to escape the outbreak. It's not an apocalypse film, as the virus is local, it's more like what happens before the apocalypse. The plot is nice enough. I did like the fact that unlike in other films of the sort, in this case the infected do retain some of their humanity and traits. Acting isn't all that great, though I don't think it's the cast's fault, as there's a limit to how well one could play the banal obvious rolls in such a film. I did like Nick Cannon as the comic relief, although it too was rather stereotypical (very Bad Boys). Nothing I can say about the direction and cinematography, and the soundtrack was OK I guess.
All in all, it's typical Action Horror zombies. If you din't expect to be overwhelmed by quality, you can really enjoy this film for what it is. If you want a nice Zombie film - go ahead and watch Day of the Dead, but if you're looking to be scared or for a Zombie film that reinvents the wheel - keep looking.
In all my long enough career as a devout Horror fan, I've seen many
many films. My favorite as of today (and probably forever) is the Saw
anthology. It's no surprise, then, that I love Dead Silence as much as
I do. Throughout the ages, dolls in general and dummies in specific
have always been a source of scary stories and later scary films. If
you've never had any fear of dummies, even the slightest most
insignificant one, you will after watching this film.
The screenplay and story are excellent and exquisite. Just like in Insidious (another personal favorite), the full credit goes to the genius one of a kind duo - Leigh Whannell and James Wan. The plot is creepy and terrifying as the plot of a good ol' fashioned Horror film is supposed to be. It's not "realistically" frightening like serial killer films or such films which attempt to appear realistic and appeal to our "logical" concern. It's terrifying and scary like a nightmare, combining all the good Ghost Story elements with creepy neurotic looking dummies. The story has more than one twists, slowly unfolding as the plot thickens. The one at the end is shocking, just as an end-twist should be, just as we've seen in Saw.
The direction and cinematography are simply flawless in my opinion. The camera cuts and transitions, the small funny parts in between the horror, Donnie Wahlberg's character who's a complete comic relief of sarcasm and cynical humor, all fit together to make the story run smoothly and the twists hit us with all their potential might (extra points given for using the Jigsaw clown dummy from Saw in one of the shots, I don't usually appreciate self-tributes, feels like a person "liking" their own status on Facebook, but in this case it was so subtle, delicate and in good taste that I had to be impressed! Besides, they chose to pay tribute to my favorite).
In the case of this film, I also have to pay due respect to the props department for making all these terrifying dummies!
And finally, the soundtrack. Another excellent cooperation between the Writers, directors and producers of the Saw anthology and the very talented composer Charlie Clausner, who really knows how to conduct an orchestra of horrific music and sounds. Absolutely fantastic!
One thing and one thing alone has truly bothered me. The poem used to describe the antagonist. It doesn't rhyme! I've looked it up, and it appears the poem has been written for this film. So why not make it rhyme, therefore making it creepier and darker? I don't know, I might be picky, but this bothered me.
What more can I say? This has been the second time I've watched this film, for the sake of writing this review. I wasn't sure how to rate it at first, and the only reason I'm not giving it a perfect 10 is because of some small plot-holes (which I can't discuss as I would sooner plant a virus on my own computer than spoil this film for anyone), and because of the poem. I highly recommend this film to anyone who's a Horror fan, especially those who've enjoyed Saw and Insidious. I can't stress this enough... go watch Dead Silence, now!
The only fair way to begin this would be to say that The Exorcism of
Emily Rose is an excellent film. It isn't a typical film of the
Exorcism sub-genre of Horror, not is it a typical Horror film of any
kind. The tagging is quite accurate, it's first and foremost a
crime/courtroom film, secondly a drama film, and only finally a Horror
film. Although ye be warned, for the Horror bits are just as
frightening as they should be.
Based on true events of a woman who supposedly suffered similar occurrences, the screenplay is great. Rather than experiencing the story first hand from the point of view of the possessed or haunted, as we usually do in possession and exorcism films, we are told the story retrospectively as the exorcist priest states his case in court with his defense attorney. The story includes secondary tales of the dynamics between the attorney and the priest, between the attorney and the DA, between the attorney and her boss and regarding the attorney's faith and beliefs. While lacking a good plot twist (probably in order to remain true as possible to the original occasions), the story is good and compelling.
The acting is excellent, professional and convincing. I for one have especially enjoyed the charismatic and energetic Campbell Scott as DA Ethan Thomas, and even more than that - Jennifer Carpenter as possessed Emily Rose. It's not easy playing such a role after decades of "The Exorcist" sequels and other such films, and yet Carpenter has done a terrific job scaring us straight!
The direction is just the way it should be in such a film, combining the aspects of a good courtroom crime film with a good possession/exorcism Horror film. Cinematography is also good but not an emphasized feature here. The soundtrack is actually what let me down a little, as I've expected at least some creepy music fitting a film dealing with supernatural demons.
All in all, I must say that a devout fan of Horror films in general and exorcism films in particular - I've enjoyed every second of this film, and would highly recommend it even to people who aren't Horror fans but like a good crime drama. It's a very rewarding experience, and now having watched it twice I'm sure there will be a third time. Great film!
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