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Special Dead (2006)
How did this get selected for a Film Festival? Great concept. Great poster. Awesome Tag Line.
That's it. Your enjoyment ends there.
This film was so badly shot that 90% of the movie was impossible to see. How was the gore, you ask? How was the makeup? No idea. Couldn't see ANY of it. It was almost completely shrouded in darkness. I can't believe that this was allowed in a film festival where people paid money to see it. I was so angry, I almost walked out and demanded my money back. It's like watching a bootlegged copy of a movie someone recorded at a movie theater with a hand held, cheap video camera as the battery was dying.
I stayed, out of respect for the filmmakers who probably did try to make something new. But basically, it was a waste of 2 hours and hard-earned money. They should sell the rights to the concept and let Sam Raimi or someone completely re-write and direct it.
Save your money and your time.
An American Haunting (2005)
OVERWROUGHT MESS!! What movie did you people see?
I hate to be a jerk, but I'm STUNNED at the good reception this movie is getting. I find it very sad that horror movie fans have such low expectations that movies like this get compared to THE INNOCENTS and THE HAUNTING. Are you kidding me?
This is an overwrought, obvious, clichéd mess. There is no sense of dread at all. Every scene involving the supernatural, just STARTS with the supernatural. It doesn't build to the event, it simply shows it, which makes the movie play like a "greatest hits" of horror movie clichés. (Candles burn down quickly, lights go out, doors slam, girl's bedroom covers get pulled off of her slowly, she gets dragged around, floorboards creak.)
The modern day bookend is horribly acted (watch mom whip out the conveniently placed alcohol bottle when confronted by something that happened 100 years before she was born, so why on earth is she an alcoholic over it) and the ending "twist," while interesting psychologically, is handled so poorly I had to stifle a giggle when a certain character goes running after a car when she figures out what's going on. Hilarious! It's like Showgirls bad. The bookend should have been completely skipped.
This could have been fun, scary and interesting, but it ends up being a movie that hits you over the head with a mallet every time something "scary" happens. Every scene is bombastic, loud, and over-the-top. Has the director never heard of subtlety? Acclaimed horror movies took time working up the dread aspect. They used silence to unnerve us. Director Courtney Solomon uses cymbals and a trumpet.
It's too bad. It seemed like it had potential and I was excited by the concept and the actors. I was so angry when I left the theater I could have spit.
Not to mention, the advertising is misleading. The trailer boasts "the haunting was never solved" yet, the movie GIVES an explanation, so why tout something that won't be true by movie's end? Not only that, but it also states this is the only death in history that was officially attributed to a ghost, but we never see that decision come to pass. Who made this decision? I was fascinated by that statement, only to have it mean nothing once the movie ended.
So disappointed. I'm embarrassed for Sissy Spacek and Donald Sutherland. They deserve better. And I'm stunned it's getting a theatrical release! What did I expect from the director of "Dungeons and Dragons," though, right?
The Amityville Horror (2005)
You've GOT to be kidding me! ** Spoilers**
ANYONE who thinks this movie is even moderately worthwhile must not get out much. I'm all for having your own opinion and if someone enjoy's something, then that's cool with me.
But let me tell ya. I didn't enjoy this crap fest one bit.
AMITYVILLE HORROR (the remake) has suddenly become about....well...a house with some ghost in it (that looks like Van Helsing with bad skin.) Gone is the subtlety of "what the hell is that house doing to these people." Now it's more along the lines of "whose that little girl with the Halloween makeup doing in every scene?" I mean, even with makeup the little girl was adorable. She wasn't creepy. She was a kid who stood very still until the director yelled action, then said her dumb line, and went back to her mark.
This little girl, JODIE, also appears in situations that have NOTHING to do with her history. She was killed by her brother in the closet. After the Lutz' move in, she is seen rocking in a chair, held by two gray arms on the roof of a closet with, what appears like, a Cathedral Ceiling, flailing her arms. (Um, guys, she's dead, so not much we can do about her being attacked by disembodied arms.) Then we see her watching the Lutz' doing it, by standing at the edge of the bed, with a rope around her neck and her tongue sticking out of her mouth. (It actually looked cute. The girl seemed to be playing.) Why, I ask, was there a rope around her neck? Jodie was shot in the head, not hanged. It makes no sense.
As for Ryan Reynolds, well, kudos for using your hard earned money on a trainer that I am desperately trying to hire. He's not even half bad, but come one, the moment he steps into that house he suddenly becomes a moody bastard. "Um, honey...something's wrong with you." There is no build-up, just a sudden change that his wife should have seen instantly by the creepy-eye contacts he was wearing. But no, apparently she was far-sighted.
In a bathroom scene, the little boy of the house, whom we get to see pee and shake his "thingy" to make sure it's all out, stands at the bathroom mirror as a pus drooling person/demon/thingy appears with it's obligatory scare music, next to him. (Sorry for the run-on sentence.) I asked myself, who the hell is that? Isn't this a possessed house movie? And herein lies the problem. This movie has hardly anything to do with the original Amityville story that scared the crap out of me as a kid. Where's JODIE the pig? The red eyes that glared into the window of the little girl's room? Where's the subtlety of the foul smells and the chronic fly problem? Where's an ending that doesn't have the family going UP ONTO THE ROOF of the house to get away from crazy daddy? Better yet, why does the family tie daddy up and drag him to the boathouse, load him onto the boat, and drive away from the house , rather than just getting into the car that was 10 feet away? The dialogue is a charmer. When the priest blesses the house and is slammed with a million CGI flies, he flees from the house with Kathy chasing after him. "Why are you leaving us?!!" He says nothing, just leaves them. Never calls to explain. Doesn't get them help. Nothing. Ah, the Catholic church.
When she finally confronts the priest on his turf, the man who just abandoned them like a frightened school girl, says "I don't like your house." I imagine her next line to be, "Was it the drapes?" In the end, an entire history was built to explain the house. Something completely fabricated and really really stupid. The scariness of the true story is just that, that it was true. If you make a movie that is completely made up, we're really just watching another horror movie. One we'd see on television. Like TNT.
This was such a waste and too bad, because it could have been a genuine creeper. But instead, the producers decided to give us a quick edited crap fest guaranteed to make a bundle opening weekend and then die out faster than a silverfish in my bathtub.