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342 reviews in total 
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Evil Dead (2013)
1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Good, but a major disappointment, 30 July 2013

When I heard they were remaking (or rebooting, which seems to be the term these days) Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead (1981) I first thought: why? Even with the approval of Raimi, producer Rob Tapert and actor Bruce Campbell why even bother? In my view, The Evil Dead is perfect and needs no modern update, even then, I would have thought the rabid fan base would be enough to scare someone off touching this. Well, it doesn't really matter what I think because here I am reviewing Evil Dead, directed by newcomer Fede Alvarez and boasting the very bold tagline "The most terrifying film you will ever experience."

Well, this is most definitely not the most terrifying film I have ever experienced. In fact, it is probably one of the most disappointing films I have ever experienced. Is it bad? No, not at all. Is it as good as it could have been? Definitely not.

It's a fairly fun ride for the most part, with a strong opening and plenty of neat gross-out gags (with minimal CGI, which is a big bonus). The actors are serviceable, as is the music and direction. But to me it feels lifeless, almost like it tries too hard to be gross and disturbing. The story also leaves a lot to be desired in some parts.

I will not break the plot down, it is basically the same as the original with minor changes I will not spoil here. My big issue is that no character is really likable or interesting. Now, the original didn't boast deep or complex characters, but they all seemed more human, more easy to relate to in some strange way. There is no hero like Ash which I found really strange, as that was a huge part of the original. There are also plot holes and contrivances which I can't go through otherwise I will spoil the movie, needless to say they are fairly obvious and disappointing.

As I mentioned previously, the acting is serviceable, Jane Levy is the stand out as Mia and Lou Taylor Pucci does a great job as the unlucky Eric. The other three are okay, but nothing to write home about. I think for a debut film Alvarez does a great job behind the camera, the direction feels assured, he definitely knows what he wants, which in this case is blood, lots of it. Once the carnage starts it doesn't let up, there are plenty of gags that the special effects team get to show off. No body part is safe, no sharp object unused. These scenes are nasty and in your face, with a darkly humorous edge to them. By the end of the movie they do feel a little forced, but overall the level of gore in the film is not disappointing and any hardcore horror film will appreciate what is on show here.

Overall the film is enjoyable and easy to watch. I can't say it was ever boring, and I am impressed that this is a debut feature film. For this reason I am giving it a more positive rating; however I think the excessive praise that Evil Dead is 'near perfect' and 'astonishing' is mostly hype. I enjoyed it enough to buy the Blu-Ray to add to Evil Dead trilogy Blu-Ray collection, it is something I can watch if I want some cheap thrills or to gross out a friend, but when compared to the original it just doesn't make the cut. Sam Raimi's film was scary, funny and insanely gory yet very simple. This tries too hard to be all of the above, and only just succeeds.


9 out of 19 people found the following review useful:
Great voice acting and visual effects save this otherwise average animated adventure, 1 October 2012

Although I am only 21 I feel I am too old when watching these new children's animated films. What looked like a fun, entertaining movie ended up being disjointed, manic and sentimental. It's like all the kids these days have ADD and can't concentrate on a well-told story so the filmmakers feel the need to have almost no pause in the action and just go from scene to scene with no breather, inserting pop-culture references everywhere. Even my eight year old cousin who I took to see this said the movie felt "like it went faster than other movies."

The voice cast is excellent, with Adam Sandler, Steve Buscemi, David Spade, Andy Samberg and Kevin James lending their talents. Visually the film is quite stunning, with vibrant colours and hideous monsters sure to scare the kiddies. In terms of the 3D I wasn't really impressed but I haven't been impressed with any 3D movie as I find it adds next to nothing to the experience but hey, the children seem to love it and it brings in more money so I'm sure it's here to stay.

So why does this animated kids' film fail to come together? Bursts of manic pacing steamroll over most of the wit in the story, and by the end the whole movie is bogged down by parental mush about trusting one's kid to make her own discoveries. It really is a shame that this was just average, but hey, you could do worse these days.


3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
By far one of the best movies I've seen in many years, 14 September 2012

Personally I believe South Korea have been making the best films over the past few years. The movies they make take simple stories and create wholly original pieces driven by well-written characters, fantastic scores and directors with more talent than the majority of America's combined. I Saw the Devil just proves my theory without a shred of doubt. What sounds like a typical revenge thriller is just so much more and by the end of this movie I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. What I thought would be a good way to kill a couple of hours ended up making me laugh, cringe and ultimately move me.

Jee-woon Kim, who has previously directed A Tale of Two Sisters, A Bittersweet Life and The Good, The Bad, The Weird, all excellent movies that would have been hard to top has done just that. With a simple story involving a federal agent (Byung-hun Lee) hunting down a serial killer (Min-sik Choi) for murdering his fiancée one would think it would be standard revenge-action fodder. But the two leads, who are two of the greatest actors at the moment, pull out amazing performances. Byung-hun Lee who is probably one of the best actors I've seen grace the screen in a long time is just so good it's hard to believe as he goes from a seemingly good guy to a completely tortured soul. Min-sik Choi plays the roll of serial killer almost too well, creating a cinematic villain to rival that of Hannibal Lector or Norman Bates.

Watching these two clash is fantastic, but that's not it. There are few scenes in this film that are just mind-blowing and one that comes to mind (and is always mentioned in a review) is the scene in the taxi cab when three criminals face-off as the camera does a 360 degree spin for a good 30 seconds. Another is a face-off between Byung and three other crazy psychopaths in a secluded retreat home to a cannibal couple. THe other thing I need to mention is the fantastic score, in particular the final piece over the credits which is so moving I shed a tear.

At 141 minutes long it seems like it may be overly long but the time just flies by. The film balances character-based scenes and drama with glorious action set-pieces and unflinchingly graphic violence not for those with a faint heart. Heads roll, jaws rip, flesh is consumed and bones part of the human body is safe in this movie.

I can't say enough about this, just go see the damn movie, you will not regret it. An easy 5/5

16 out of 32 people found the following review useful:
Nolan concludes his trilogy on a flawless note, 19 July 2012

In 2005 Christopher Nolan gave us Batman Begins, a near-perfect film detailing the story of Bruce Wayne and his journey to becoming Batman. This film brought Batman out from the depths of movie hell, there courtesy of Joel Schumacher's appalling Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, which turned Batman into a joke who no one would want to touch with 10-foot pole. Thankfully Nolan was brave enough to resurrect him in 2005, and in 2008 we got The Dark Knight, a film which turned what we knew about blockbusters and superhero flicks upside-down. With a phenomenal performance by Heath Ledger and an even darker journey into Gotham City this was a perfect film.

Now, after four years, Nolan concludes his epic trilogy with The Dark Knight Rises. There is no denying the hype for this movie is huge, people are bound to be disappointed, fans divided and angry, but when after I finished watching this (after having attended a back-to-back trilogy screening on an IMAX screen) I realised just how fitting this movie was. These aren't simple superhero movies with loud noises and non-stop action, he has imbued each character with true personalities and the story with multiple themes. Bruce Wayne became Batman in the beginning, fell into dark times in the middle and rose to become Gotham's hero in the end. Emotions run high in this final installment as Batman comes out of hiding to face a truly menacing villain along with the people close to him.

Eight years after the events of The Dark Knight Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is in hiding and his corporation is going broke, but the emergence of Bane (Tom Hardy), a mercenary with a dark past out for trouble, and Selina Kyle/Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) bring Wayne out of retirement. Now Batman, along with up and coming Detective Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), Alfred (Michael Caine) and newcomer millionaire Miranda Tate (Marion Cotillard) must try and save Gotham from Bane and his mercenaries.

Where do I start with reviewing this movie? There is much to say and an unfortunate limit on my word count so I will be brief. The acting is outstanding from each cast member, Bale has been so good as Wayne/Batman and he completes his character arc with raw emotion. Hardy is exceptional as Bane, physically intimidating and always a scene-stealer, most of the film's best scenes involve Bane addressing a large crowd or brutalising anyone in his way. Hathaway does well as Catwoman, neither hero or villain she is a complex character who I wish we saw more of. Of course Oldman, Cotillard and Freeman are excellent, but I must mention Michael Caine who really shone in this film, delivering an award-worthy final turn as everyone's favourite butler. Finally Joseph Gordon-Levitt is proving again and again he is becoming one of the best actors of our time, he does a fantastic job as the optimistic detective who never loses hope.

Nolan's direction is perfect and his script (co-written with his brother Jonathon) is an emotional roller-coaster packed with some truly breathtaking action set-pieces filmed in glorious IMAX. Cities crumble, bridges collapse and civil wars are fought and look fantastic, thank you Nolan for not shooting in 3D! Hans Zimmer's score suits the tone of the film well, the now very well known chant is used to good effect in a pivotal scene towards the end.

This is a truly cinematic experience, expertly blending the action genre with drama, creating a fitting final act to Nolan's Batman trilogy. I may seem to be heaping too much praise on this movie, but really, it deserves it, it is engrossing and quite simply one of the best films I've seen in a long, long time. Nolan's Batman trilogy is possibly one of the greatest conceived and it will be a long time before a superhero movie of this calibre will be made.


2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Totally surprised at how good this film was, 7 July 2012

Michele Soavi's directorial debut StageFright: Aquarius is simply excellent, a slasher film on par with Halloween, Black Christmas and Scream. The plot itself isn't fantastic, a psychotic actor, now serial killer, escapes from a psychiatric hospital and hitches a ride with two actresses to a theatre, where a group of struggling thespians are working on new production. Once there the actors are locked in with the killer, who dons an owl mask from the costume room and wrecks havoc with various sharp objects. But when one looks at a slasher film the plot isn't important, it isn't why we watch a slasher film, if story is what we are after we would watch The Exorcist, Rosemary's Baby or Psycho.

StageFright is stylish, fast-paced and gory with a groovy soundtrack and some genuine scares. Soavi seems to take influence from various other Italian horror directors, including Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci and Mario Bava. The setting is used to maximum effect, especially the main stage with its eerie blue lighting and the backstage corridors, dimly lit and claustrophobic. The killer's outfit is very simple, all black but with a giant owl's head, this sounds silly but is actually very creepy, with large glowing eyes it makes for a unique and entirely unforgettable villain.

Soavi also knows how to stage some incredible scenes, two of particular note include a character trying to pry a key from underneath the killer and the killer appearing during a rehearsal and being mistaken for an actor, and when told to kill by the director does just that. These scenes are so well crafted it is hard to believe this is Soavi's first film. This being a slasher one would expect gory deaths and this film does not disappoint, with power drills, axes and chainsaws being used to dispatch our cast.

The film maintains a serious, dark tone up until the very end in which the director pokes fun at slasher conventions in a rather amusing, if not out of place way. Ignoring this change in tone in the last five minutes StageFright is basically a perfect slasher film, expertly crafted and although not entirely original, is definitely unforgettable.


1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A good story traded in for FX leads to another dud Nightmare sequel, 27 May 2012

The A Nightmare on Elm Street series is one of thee most uneven horror franchises out there (not the worst, however) and after the 3rd gets progressively worse (until New Nightmare). ANOES 4: The Dream Master (1988) was a clear drop in quality after the fantastic ANOES 3: Dream Warriors (1987), but it was bearable. ANOES: The Dream Child goes one step further and becomes almost unbearable but to be fair these sequels were stretching the story to unsalvageable lengths. But being the cash cow these horror sequels were in the day they dreamed (excuse the pun) up another way to resurrect Freddy. This time Freddy is literally reborn and begins picking off the Springwood kids through Alice's (Lisa Wilcox, who returns from Part 4) unborn child. To stop Freddy Alice must seek help from Amanda Krueger, Freddy's mother.

Many consider this sequel the worst in the series, including Robert Englund. Even Stephen Hopkins, the director this time around, stated this movie was a miscalculation. One of the most obvious issues this time around is the lack of deaths, three all up which is the lowest in the series. Now, this is the part where the horror purists come out and say "oh, if the story is good you don't need blood and gore" and so on, but let us be honest here, when watching a slasher film a good story is a bonus to the inventive kills, which this series is famous for. Part 3, and Part 4 to a lesser extent, had high body counts with an interesting story. So here we are left with minimal deaths and a pretty average story. Furthermore, by this sequel Freddy had truly become the comedian, no longer scary in the slightest, although Englund still gives it all he's got. The only two positives in this installment are the excellent special effects and Gothic settings.


An Ape + Blood + Lady Wrestlers = A Good Time, 24 May 2012

Don't wish too much from this cheap Mexploitation flick except to have a damn good time, and with a title like Night of the Bloody Apes (although there is only one ape) what would you really expect! The film is ineptly made on all accounts, some of the more hilarious aspects include the random subplot involving a female wrestler feeling sorry for another female wrestler she injured, the poor dubbing and translations and general laziness in concealing goofs (a good example being the grass moving underneath someone's body revealing the stage).

The story centres on a doctor who plans to cure his son's illness by performing a heart transplant with an ape. Unfortunately this turns the son into a dirty man-ape who wanders aimlessly and maims various people.

There isn't much to see in this review really, I'm not gonna do some page-long dissection of all the different filmmaking aspects when really, the bottom-line is if you enjoy Grindhouse theatre then this movie was made for you, with all its inept special effects, uneven pacing and overall oddness.


0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Who knew the beginning of Nazisploitation could be so boring?, 8 April 2012

Love Camp 7, directed by Lee Frost, is an important film, as it began a sub-genre of exploitation cinema, suitably called Nazisploitation. Essentially, Frost gave birth to a much maligned sub-genre, with a good few of the films being persecuted in the UK and dubbed video nasties, this one included. These films generally contain copious amounts of nude women getting abused by Nazis, this one, however, is about a 'Love Camp' in which women are forced to please soldiers. Two young officers agree to go undercover to get information from a scientist being held in the camp, but alas things go wrong and the women are forced to endure indignities. Apparently this is based on a true story, but the film is so unrealistic and stupid you would have to be a fool to think this film is based on truth.

Quite frankly, this film is incredibly boring, and the 90 minute run time feels like 3 hours by the end. There is a wraparound plot where some guy in London is telling the story to another guy, it just meant that production values could be lower because the story could just be narrated rather than shown. Considering the film's reputation, there is very little blood or gore, and maybe a couple of scenes of torture e.g. girls holding buckets over their heads, the standard whipping, the 'seat of honour', but it all just seems like softcore porn than horror cinema. Even then, the film is not that graphic, and despite the fact the BBFC think the point of the film is for males to be aroused by the events taking place, it is the most unerotic film one could see.

The film scores points for Bob Cresse, who plays the cruel Commandant with relish, it is obvious he loved his role. Also, the final shootout is kinda cool, it also meant the movie ended which was a relief.


10 out of 13 people found the following review useful:
Good, but uneven, throwback to 80's religious horror, 8 April 2012

Ti West, who directed the underrated Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever, is a name to watch out for. The House of the Devil, although not fantastic, proves that West has an excellent eye for visuals, details and creating suspense. This film feels as though it has come directly out of the 80's, more like a lost film of some horror director like John Carpenter or Tobe Hooper than a second feature by a new millennium director. From the opening and end credits, to the walkman, fashion, soundtrack and the slightly faded visuals, even the storyline, centred on babysitters and Satanists feels like the movie belongs back in the 80's.

Samantha (Jocelin Donahue) is a college student who needs money fast. Her roommate is a disgusting slob, and Samantha is a neat-freak, lucky for her she has found an apartment, but needs money to pay the rent. She stumbles across a babysitter advert at the college and quickly applies. Soon enough she is meeting with Mr. Ulman (Tom Noonan) and his odd wife Mrs. Ulman (Mary Woronov) on the night of the lunar eclipse. Straight away it is obvious to us, and Samantha's friend Megan (Greta Gerwig), that this job is a setup for some sinister goings down (hence the title 'The House of the Devil').

The first 40 minutes of this movie are excellent. Samantha is a character we can care about and a sense of dread permeates the proceedings. However, once the babysitting starts very little happens and the movie slows to a halt which ultimately destroys the fantastic mood setup. Events pick up at 75 minute mark, but with only 15 minutes left the final act is rushed with no time to generate any scares (apart from some nice gory deaths).

The cast do an excellent job, the exchanges between Mr. Ulman and Samantha are deliciously creepy, and the house itself is reminiscent of the Amityville house. The actual story is quite good, nothing new or exciting but a simple little devil-themed yarn with a little twist. Unfortunately it is the pacing which is this film's undoing, and it is a shame because it really could have been an amazingly good film otherwise.


19 out of 25 people found the following review useful:
A fitting end to a series that defined my generation, 5 April 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I remember not being allowed to see American Pie when I had just turned 13 as my parents deemed it too raunchy. Being the young rebel I was I found a way to see it anyway. To this day it, and the two true sequels, remain some of favourite comedies. Sure, the American Pie 2 and American Pie: Wedding weren't as good as the first, but they all provided copious amounts of good-spirited yet raunchy and filthy laughs with characters you really liked. After a slew of shockingly bad direct-to-video sequels I was extremely excited to see the gang return for one final film in American Reunion. These are characters that have been gone from the screen far too long if you ask me, and their return, although not as good as the first, is still a hilarious trip down memory lane.

It's been awhile since the gang have been together, 13 years to be exact, which is the year their high school reunion takes place. Jim (Jason Biggs) is married to Michelle (Alyson Hannigan) with a son, Oz (Chris Klein) is a sports news reporter and engaged to model Mia (Katrina Bowden), Finch has dropped off the radar (Eddie Kaye Thomas), Kevin (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is married and an architect and Stifler (Seann William Scott) is a PA at a big firm. When they meet up for their reunion, they are once again up to their old shenanigans.

Writers Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg stick to the same formula which made the others so successful, and it worked. The situations these guys get themselves into are weaved into the story well, nothing seems forced. All the actors do a fantastic job of bringing these characters back to their old selves, it's like they were born to play these roles. Obviously the movie is somewhat predictable, with certain characters ending up with another person. By the end, American Reunion has come full circle, and for the people who grew up with American Pie as a teenager it is nice to see it wrapped up as well as it has been.


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