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Coisa Ruim (2006)
Subtle truly beguiling supernatural story, for those who don't mind slow paced buildup's to their films.
Plot is about biology professor Xavier Oliveira Monteiro (played by Adriano Luz think a Portuguese Kevin Spacey) who takes his family back to the village and home his ancestors are from. Only its not the lovely picturesque area it seems on the surface, there's a lot of old folk tales the locals are only more than happy to share with the Monteiro family. To prove himself right and the locals wrong Xavier and wife Helena agree to take part in a séance that ends in terror when a part of his childhood is brought up no one alive could possibly have known. This all happens at a point the oldest son returns home from studying, who as some kind of incestious hold on his sister who's got a baby child of her own to an unknown father. The films true beauty is that it lets the viewer fill in the gaps themself something which may be off putting to people who can't accept ambiguity in what they view.
First horror/supernatural/psychological/spiritual (call it what you want hehe even its genre is ambiguous) film I've seen in ages I've been totally captivated in. Everything works well, the music mostly light almost indie guitar based rolls along perfectly with the beautiful yet washed out look of the locations, just the way it blends with the fog rolling along a field or dust blowing during one of the period funerals.
A much deserved 9/10 from me, if I had to give a flaw it would be it was a little slow to get going but so hope Frederico Serra & Tiago Guedes choose to do more creepy films and not switch genres. Also if Portuguese cinema is this good, please distributors start subbing and releasing it so the rest of the world can see it.
El Mascarado Massacre (2006)
Mexican surprise with double cheese.
A group of teens go on a trip to film a porn film in Mexico, on the way they encounter a 'your doomed' style gas attendant who tells them the story of El Diablo Negro and warns them not to pull up till they get to the next gas station. Don't you know the pesky teens stop to shoot in a run down bar only to be hacked down by a psychopath in a wrestling mask.
Nobody watches films like this for plot which thankfully is a good job cause there's not one. Feels more Full Moon than Troma which isn't saying much. But that said its fun and well paced with nicely done action scenes, gore and the odd flashed top rack. All in all better than average 6/10 from me.
Akumu tantei (2006)
Suicide Club meets Nightmare on Elm Street by way of Radioheads How to Disappear Completely !
Rookie female police officer Keiko played by wonderful eye candy Hitomi as one tough 1st case, a suicide which is seemingly too brutal to be suicide, quickly followed by another savage suicide. The key to both (is the now well worn plot) of a phone call to a mysterious Mr O (wickedly played by Shinya Tsukamoto himself)whom helps the suicidie by saying he's going to join in and kill himself while they are. Only he goes that little bit further and actually goes into their sleep and does the gory work himself. The police turn to man who's talent is going into peoples dreams, ala the Nightmare Detective of the title played by the great Matsuda Ryuhei). First attempt goes badly and O manages to kill a male police officer. Not being able to live with this Keiko now tries aided by by the nightmare detective who goes into O's own dream, revealing the reason for his actions.
Plot is basically Suicide Club meets Nightmare on Elm St 3 Dream Warriors by way of Radioheads How to Disappear Completely, visually pleasing which we've come to expect by headf'ck cinema master Shinya Tsukamoto, and should have enough blood to please most gore hounds. Flaws really come in the script, pacing and that feeling you've seen it all before. Still gets a 7/10 by me as of yet the best Asian horror film I've seen in 2007.
Cemetery Gates (2006)
Reggie Bannister puts the B in B-movies with style.
Firstly I guess most people expected a zombie film with a title like Cemetery Gates, its not this is a fun retro slice of b-movie cheese. About a Tasmanian Devil. Basically its a blood and boobs, gore ridden mutant creature feature with enough throwaway dialogue to please the MST3K style so bad its good fans.
I mean sure this won't be in many top 10 Horror films of 2006/07 list/polls. But I bet out of the films that do take up those top 10 places, few are going to be as much fun as this one is.
Reggie Bannister is a bona fide cult hero period, for that alone horror/cult genre fans need to dig this out at some point or other.
Its been a pretty good 12 months for creature features. I gave this an above average 6/10.
The Thirst (2006)
Plot is about a terminal ill woman's last ditched attempt to keep alive, thanks to a late night visit from a vampiric nurse, only set back being she didn't tell her boyfriend her plans, so when he finds her months later dancing in a seedy nightclub after being supposedly dead, he gets roped into joining her new found vampire family. Then they decide to try kick the vampire urge by going cold turkey.
The "Requiem For A Dream Meets Near Dark" tagline for this was always going to be hard for it to live upto. And sadly though pretty obviously this doesn't come close to either.
But that said its a very entertaining horror film once it picks up, has bucket loads of blood, heaps of throw away laughs and enough twisted off the wall madness to keep even the most hard to please horror fan happy.
Great to see Fireflys Jayne aka Adam Baldwin turn up in a horror movie but even he's outdone by the thin white duke English vampire played by Neil Jackson (Duke is also in The Thirst (2006) by Tom Shell).
Director Jeremy Kasten is slowly but surely rising to the top tier of new American horror genre directors, hopefully this is a sign of things to come specially as his next feature is a remake of HG Lewis's Wizard Of Gore. One I'm sure horrorheads don't want to see messed up.
The Thirst gets a very respectful 7/10 from me, leaving me thirsty for more of the same.
A 6 Meter Creature Feature...
I'm forced into commenting on this purely due to the pittyfull marks its been getting (at the time of making this comment its on a user rating of 2.6/10 and is No.98 in the bottom 100).
Basic plot is a group of American journalists, a crocodile expert and a big game hunter travel to Africa to do a feature and hopefully capture a local legendary 6 meter giant man eating crocodile named Gustav. Only they come into as much trouble facing local war criminals, as much as they do when they face the beast itself.
It was never going to be in the running for Oscars or Cannes prizes but come on people take it for what it is, a fun slightly political creature feature about a giant African crocodile.
Personally they could of left the political side of the story out for me same can be said for the recent Korean creature feature The Host also.
But there's enough action set pieces in this to make it worth an hour and half of anybody's time. Nice to see Prison Breaks Dominic 'Linc' Purcell in a feature too.
On a final note the crocodile FX are handled really well considering its mostly cgi. So undeserving of its bottom 100 slot I gave it a better than average 6/10.
Big Bad Wolf (2006)
Most fun I've had with a werewolf film since Dog Soldiers.
He's hairy crude and he's a big bad wolf, and he'll be your monster for the duration of this movie.
Plots barely worth going over for this its your typical 'group of friends go to a cabin to spend a wild weekend blah blah...'
It's been done so many times but if you go into this film with the sole aim of being entertained, you'll easily get your moneys worth. Even though it's not got an original bone in its hairy body you'll laugh so much you'll forgive it that.
Its got a wicked sense of humour with lots of tits'n'ass and blood'n'gore a plenty, and a very retro 80s feel.
"Lets go to the cabin, and get in a little beastiality" a furtastic 7/10 from me. Would be awesome if the people involved came back quick with more comic/horror gold.
Put aside your love of hard hitting revenge actioners...this time Chan-wook Park is taking you on an inner journey and thats OK with me!!!
Pure treat of a film this, couldn't of come along at a better and flatter period in cinema and specially Asian cinema. Chan-wook Park bravely steps away from the formula that sent his name buzzing around the world movie scene and delivers for me one of the highlights film wise of the year.
Other comments unfairly mention this is boring, I beg to differ surely truly boring cinema is the 100s and 1000s of films that come out each year with the sole aim copying other films ideas. Namely the sequels and remakes and rip-off's we get a glut of.
This thankfully is a true unique feeling film sure One Flew Over A Cuckoo's Nest & 12 Monkeys spring to mind, but that's purely due to the setting. Closest in feel would be the films of Michael Gondry & Lindsay Anderson.
A whopping 8/10 from me, would of been 8.5 but IMDb doesn't like halves.
TURN OFF EXPECTATIONS AND SAVIOUR BRILLIANT FILM MAKING.
August Underground's Penance (2007)
The Brown Bunny of underground horror movies... or more fitting the Damp Squib of the trilogy.
Man uses video camera to shoot 2 underground snuff films August Underground Pt1 & Pt2.
Man meets girl and goes about making a 3rd only this time messes the formula up and spends the bulk of it filming himself in various redneck/trailer park trash pursuits. See as man acts like a gangster, as he feeds a gator & lion, as he rides a quad, as he does a few lines yawn yawn ...
Intercut all this with a few gore moments and yawn some more before the end credits roll. Fred and the toetag team have a way with fx this still can't be argued, but its all pointless unless its alongside narrative.
To sum it up I gave it a 3/10. If you want sex go rent a porno, if you want gore rent a slasher movie. If you want to feel like you've wasted your money or time rent this.
Watch this if you dare and you'll feel you've suffered as much as any of the victims...
1st time teeth cutting exercise the crew may of enjoyed, viewers I doubt will.
Painfully slow,amateurish and downright poorly acted first effort from a writer director who's clearly been renting Gaspar Noe/Toshiaki Toyoda style films out at blockbusters a long time. This as none of the wit originally or charm of other lower budget British directors like Simon Rumley or Chris Cooke. Save your time on this and go watch the likes of Red Road or This Is England.
Normally I'd be the 1st to give a first time writer/director a break, but its a shame we get sham reviewers building films up to be more than they are. In who's book honestly is this a 9 or 10 ? They are clearly insider comments/ratings, sad as I highly respect mandiapple having read her reviews for years, she's oddly been someone who's pointed me in the direction of the film makers who's style Footsteps is clearly trying to emulate.
For me I'd of most likely given this film a 4 for a nice first attempt but to balance the way off other ratings its getting a 2. I do hope you come back soon Gareth, hopefully you could learn one big lesson with this first feature and try make the people in front of the camera feel more comfortable, that way the viewer would feel more comfy and be able to enjoy the film.