Reviews

37 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
Haunted (IV) (2014)
7/10
Go enjoy if you liked Jeepers Creepers
30 March 2014
Here we go again - bunch of young guys go to the middle of a rural nowhere to meet other guys and they find old house. Cool thing is that it is not fully true or completely not depending on how you'll see it. There is a decent couple of twists to keep you involved.

Straight to the point - Haunted/Dark House is kind secondary to Jeepers Creepers, and hear what - I won't complain about this. I would like to see more horrors (and scares scene directors) of this quality and consistence. Strong chasing scene, axes, effects, dark woods - thanks, Mr.Salva. No corn fields this time though.

It's not a completely repetitive exercise though - there are new sweets as well. E.g. I loved choreography (sic!) not to give away much. Loved new angles the team attempted to tension build-ups.

What is missed? Real scares, real dark, and depth. Otherwise it is quite simple, and well-done dish at a fair charge. Apparently overlooked and underestimated.

Again, if you liked Jeepers, you'll definitely love this honest roller- coaster too. I did.
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Tung ngaan (2010)
6/10
Solid try from Pang Bros - worth watching for those who follow Pangs
22 February 2014
The most beautiful part about horror movies, the very essence is whether you've experienced that eerie feeling on a brink of "I just can't see it any further" and of course shivers. To summarize, this one delivers both. Couple of scenes are real, real creepy.

New words to the genre? Yes - I'm following horrors quite closely and still have found new tricks. Visual candy - yes, I've liked a lot the way camera played about dimensions, 3D-oriented scenes were also likable. Derivative to The Eye, Insidious and Re-cycle - also yes, quite unfortunately. But! I'd l-love to see more derivatives to Insidious.

Well, one can complain also about full-straightforward story, which is not so to say. So-so direction - here I can agree, but did you ever see stronger performance from teens in Asian horrors? (Pals, this is not a J-horror, it is from Thailand/Hong Kong) Not likely, so why complain too much?

I can mumble a while around longish scenes, but I can also cease it on the fact that this is quite typical for pan-Asian movie school and well, this is not a Transformers franchise anyway.

All in all this is a solid, quite creative 6/10 effort well worth watching for those who seek for new tricks on the horror arena. Give it a shot - at least to your exploratory agenda.
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Haunter (2013)
7/10
Solid but not much impressive ghost story
20 September 2013
The trailer may leave you with a taste of a Gothic horror, which Haunter is definitely not. Closest resemblance is probably Others, and I'd also name Saint-Ange and Awakening for some similarity in its atmosphere.

I may safely agree with the other reviewer that Haunter is not scary at all, just couple of very primitive boom-based jumpers.

Keep in mind that the Haunter director (Vincenzo Natali) once shoot such gem as Cube, and it shows through all 97 minutes. The movie is claustrophobic and weird,it's cheating you on time and dimensions, and that's the best part. Very solid directing, script and acting yet nothing that can leave you thinking further or wondering.

As soon as you realize that lots of ideas are brought from Cube the Haunter loses on IMDb stars instantly.

Still don't get me wrong, it has its own developments, and I personally liked the way Vincenzo Natali delivers moody look, creative frames, and elaborated sets in a very contrast to minimalistic Cube.

To sum up: a solid 6/10 - not impressive but very fair dish for ghost genre lovers.
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7/10
Very immersing experience
16 June 2013
Bottom line - deeply atmospheriс, very touching, mystic and dramatic movie with a horror flavor. Close by the aftertaste to Insidious and Sinister, little below on the horror scale, and a bit up on intellectual. Don't expect massive effects, it is definitely not about it.

I loved this slow pace, rich decorations, brave camera angles and the sound work. Finally not only boom-sound effects! Just a subtle squeaking wood under one's feet in an old empty house - that's a kind of scare I was looking for. The art of attention to details is here again.

I can agree that The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh didn't untap all the potential it has uncovered. Surely not because of lacking substance.

I rather believe that the author wanted to say way more than runtime allowed to - on religion, obsessions, mother-son relationship, on religion and loneliness.. Or may be he left the space for our imagination by intent. Whatever the reason the more interesting it will be to see next works from Rodrigo Gudino I'm definitely subscribing to.
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After Earth (2013)
7/10
True Shyamalan movie, just don't expect another Avatar here
7 June 2013
Disagree with the rating and most of the reviews.

Being surprised by the rating I decided to carefully check IMDb reviews before I go witness this "crash" myself. Before diving into movie merits let me first address most frequent criticisms expressed by reviewers.

Each review starts with "Will Smith bluntly promotes his son". I guess everyone is happy with Coppolas, Sheens, so I do also feel nothing sinister in Will's deeds. What does this have to do with the movie and its rating?

"Jaden's performance is stiff and wooden". Disagree again - I was watching carefully. For 14 or so kid he is acting very decently, although yes, his palette is currently limited. My son is 14, I know what I'm talking about - try getting better performance from your kid before blaming Jaden. I personally loved the work of Shyamalan and Will on Jaden's performance. Just wondering - what were the expectations from his acting in this movie, based on this exact script? Did you see any more vivid kids performances in Shyamalan's movies? For the task he had on hands Jaden deserves his A mark fully. Let him grow up a bit before comparing with Heath Ledger.

"This is the worst Shymalan's movie". OK, I am a big fan of his work, so I love everything from his desk except Airbender, of course. I can safely say that After Earth is true Shyamalan's experience, and he was given the full control. Very scrupulous work on the frame (color, tone), small details (jamming plastic curtain after crash), gentle Indian touch to imagery (bird). Couple of trademark Shyamalan scares from Sixth Sense. His touch in the script is also there - check silent scene after Kitai gets frozen.

"This is not Sci-Fi". Well, depends on which standard you apply. Benchmarked vs. Star Wars or Aliens fascination element is underdeveloped. If The Signs and The Happening are enough sci-fi for you - After Earth is a solid sci-flick.

Although honestly I'd categorize After Earth rather as a adventure-survival movie.

Enough with reviewing reviews. Just a Quick check on AE merits:

FX - very solid piece of work, no complaints here. Just keep in mind that Shyamalan is not very keen in showing monsters in very detail (check The Village), and this movie is not about monsters as well.

Soundtrack by James Newton Howard is absolutely fabulous. As usual. Not your typical Shyamalan's movie, you say? Huh.

Script... Original idea and premises are interesting, dialogs are believable, which is rare. My main criticism would be around underdevelopment of characters, not poor performances. It is most likely due to limited running time, which prevented better granularity. Drama element was also undercooked to my taste (Leap of faith without any struggle from kid? Was he real scared like he should be?). Put in simple words: the Sixth Sense was truly heartbreaking, this one did not touch that deep.

Still struggling on whether to go see/rent The After Life? If you have a boy of 9-14, if you liked Signs and Happening, if you do not expect Aliens, Star Wars or Avatar and ready for solid survival movie under light sci-fi curry - enjoy together with you kid.

Bottom line: Not the best Shyamalan's movie, but well on par with the rest of his gems.
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Apartment 143 (2011)
8/10
Underestimated one
9 September 2012
Finally, after a long while I've got everything I love about horror movies - scares, tension, twists and solid drama underneath. Accept this, you rarely get all of these in one title. And I've seen them all - from Blair Witch to Grave Encounters, as well as European and Australian efforts. It's not a found-footage by the way, as such, it's just a footage. The most I loved about Emergo is that the genre was finally taken very seriously, backed up with absence of overacting, two interesting dramatic twists, and solid mystery behind with the finale completely delivering on evilness scale. Two major points - I believed all the experiments they were running and by the end of the night I've caught my scares. Gosh, I was missing this feeling of goose-bumping on every noise for a long time. I would compare the title with "Exorcist", "Absentia", "Los sin nombre". So disregard the IMDb score, it's highly recommended for horror lovers.
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Simon Says (2006)
5/10
Interesting for the genre lovers, skip otherwise
7 July 2007
To make a long story short: it's not scary, and is poor in every aspect - script, camera, directing, acting.. Moreover it tries (poorly again) to be a grotesque in a way of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre II. So Simon says: "Do not watch this movie".

Good news is that it has got a spark of creativity, i.e. some of the scenes/effects were way beyond my expectation like one with a dog, and with flying blonde. Brutal, cold blooded, blunt, not too detailed - right to what it should be.

Well, simply avoid this Simon unless you are a horror fan with some exploratory streak.
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The Number 23 (2007)
6/10
Jim Carrey at his best
11 June 2007
There is only one reason to see this movie, and this is Jim Carrey doing some serious playing or, say, rather playing for serious.

I was intrigued by local reviews telling this so I decided to check out myself. Well, in fact I'm really impressed by the palette and the depth of what he can portray as an actor. Thank almighties, Ace Ventura is dead. Jim is very convincing in this new emploi so I'd bet he'll become popular for dramatic roles from now on.

As for the rest of The 23.. It was OK. No revelations, but certainly not a disaster. Watchable. It could have been way more interesting if they've tuned it up to Lynch's wave.

I wish there were separate votes for performance/script/camera/etc. This would produce 6.5 instead of plain 6 I gave.
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The Dead Girl (2006)
6/10
Girls' power parade
18 February 2007
It could have been an independent Babel unless it was so naively girly. Men are bad - they're maniacs, sex-obsessed, cheating, careless. Girls here are good - they're strong, they suffer, they're victims, but still they forgiving, and so on. Sonds pretty like Almodovar, but don't be confused, this Dead Girl has no sense of humor and self-irony.

Anyway, apart from this "girls' power!" theme and multiple clichés the movie deliver some top-notch performances, as well as some brave ideas like one of "tie me up" in the first novel.

If you're convinced that all males are evil by default, then it's yours, otherwise it may bore you as it delivers nothing new or special.
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13 Tzameti (2005)
7/10
Pure exercise in tension
6 January 2007
If you've skimmed other reviews I must say then, that it has nothing to do with Hostel. At all. It's not Tarantino's style either, no brilliant lengthy dialogs here. It's a pure exercise in film noir style, and this exercise is about tension. One thing I may agree is that it is somewhat close to Hitchcock's style with creating tension in the minds of viewers, not on the screen. And sure it bears the marks of both Georgian and French cinematography schools as well.

The concept is as simple as a group of men playing Russian roulette. This is it, no gore (amendment of color stripped the remainders of it) or sadism (no coercion) mentioned here. The idea lays in between the rounds (or bullets) of the game. In something, what other film-makers skip. What players feel, how does it feel to be there. No morals drawn, no lessons or points - it's film noir. Just photography and, of course, your feelings about what you see. I've heard my heartbeats between shots, so if you up to this exercise, you may probably hear yours.
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