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Voice from the Stone (2017)
not a horror movie
I guess i'm the stupid one for picking it, but my cable service kept pushing this film up the list of Horror titles available on demand and I eventually caved and tried it.
It's not a horror movie, but rather a drama with a bit of romance.
except on top of that it flirts with some horror ideas and even all but confirms at least one ghost. The ending as well seemed unsure of itself in terms of genre, resulting in a flat-out confusing ending
this isn't at all my type of movie, but what tends to really aggravate me is when a movie doesn't seem to know what genre it wants to be, and ends up being not fully committed to any genre in particular. it's almost never worked out for a film
Don't Sleep (2017)
Boring. Also, holy hell Cary Elwes got fat
Of all the wacky ideas put forth by this movie, its greatest flaw is that it is insufferably boring. It doesn't even try to be original for much of its run time, relying on every Smalltown, USA hot young couple moving to a new house horror movie cliché so blatantly that every single jump scare is laughable. You see everything coming, and they kill the dog, so that's an immediate strike against this film.
The main character guy whose name I completely forgot it was so forgettable was apparently demon possessed or something as a child, and had to rely on extreme therapy from a doctor guy and now he's a supposedly well adjusted adult. Except he's a complete and utter asshole and douchebag, which this seems to be unrelated to his demon problems.
drifting drearily along this boring slog, a random demon kid in a hoodie appears and... beats up people. that's literally all he does. He beats up an old man so badly the old man starts freaking out and jibbering incoherently, then commits suicide while angrily defying the demon kid who watches him. Then the main character guy gets beat up by the demon kid.
Then a whole lot of basically nothing happens, and the main character guy has an irrational freakout at his old doctor on learning that he still contacts his mother to discuss him and his case. He then also starts arbitrarily harassing his girlfriend and acting needlessly paranoid about... nothing in particular. He's just running around screaming and cursing at nobody and nothing while overly dramatic music tries to tie this to the demon kid who beats people up, or maybe he's being re-haunted by the demon, or maybe he is the demon kid.
None of this makes any sense, and by the time we reach the end, they throw in a wacky, screwball-esque twist. At some point early in the movie, completely out of nowhere, they bring up a story about a fisherman who went on Crusade in medieval times, and when he came back, his wife killed herself because she was raped repeatedly.
That story suddenly comes back as it's revealed the main character guy was that fisherman crusader, and his girlfriend was the wife who got raped, and apparently she got raped by some manner of demon thing that turned her immortal, and she spent the next millennium either waiting for him to be reborn, or trying to find him after he wandered off or something.
Then the movie ends, with its end credits overlaid with some incredibly awful romance pop songs after the movie spent about 95% of its run time being the exact opposite of a romantic movie.
The Call Up (2016)
luring people under false pretenses and murdering them
What ever the idea behind this awful plot was in-universe, it has all the settings of being needlessly cruel and brutal and it just makes me angry.
some random company lures a bunch of video gamers with the promise of $100,000 to the winner to a modern warfare VR game, but the catch is, if you die in the game, you die for real!
it's so hackneyed and overused it's painful, and it never ceases to make me genuinely angry.
the kids are basically lied to, told to put on the gaming suits and compete, not told about any of the dangers at all. A VR drill sergeant basically tortures them as much as the virtual enemy does, at one point actively interfering with the game and breaking one of the player's legs, effectively killing him as the others have to leave him behind for his brutal leg wound to get infected and have him die.
maybe it's just me, but this is the kind of setup that would make me so incredibly angry that I would refuse to comply with orders, shoot and kill the VR sergeant when he comes threatening me, and if that doesn't work, shoot and kill everyone then kill myself, out of pure, white-hot raging spite.
nothing else in this bland movie interests me beyond that. That's all I can fixate on. The whole thing is a total fraudulent setup. it's not clear if all of them are expert FPS video gamers or if maybe one or two of them is an expert at friggin World of Warcraft. Even if they were experts, they have no trainings and no experience with actual weaponry or modern warfare tactics. They all get one "medipack" that instantly heals them if shot, and that's it. After that they basically die for real. it's a pointless exercise just to murder a bunch of teenagers and young adults, and it's infuriating that they go along instead of refuse and defy these scumbags the whole way down.
Beacon Point (2016)
ran out of ideas
Something went seriously wrong with this movie, starting with the cold open. it starts with a bunch of white trash looking "militia" types with AR-15s with holo sights and very thick beards, looking like they're on a training mission in preparation for the next black president, when suddenly "something" attacks them, in a manner evocative of Predator.
Dropping a quick and early spoiler right here; this entire sequence has absolutely nothing to do with the film at all. It doesn't come back to anything, doesn't hint at anything, and it's not clear if it even takes place in the same area that the movie is set in. Nothing about it comes up later.
Then, we finally get into the actual movie, starting with a woman, Zoe, going on a hiking trip in the Appalachians. We also meet a guy who works there, named "Drake", when the boss finds out he has a criminal record and fires him. Drake handles this with the sort of maturity and restraint of a guilty child, barely clinging to his lie of "It's someone else" for 10 seconds before basically conceding it's him, then inexplicably gets into a pushing match with the boss, which equally inexplicably ends in hilarious fashion with the boss tumbling backwards over his desk, knocking over a pair of moose horns, with the moose horns spearing him through the eye and killing him.
So Drake is now panicking and has to deal with taking on Zoe and a group of others on a 10 day hike through the Appalachians. All throughout, he is emotionally manic, needlessly belligerent, and just an overall bully with everyone involved. It comes not as a surprise that he gets into a fight with the hikers, but that it took as long as it did for him to do so. They tie him down and decide to go looking for Zoe's backpack, as she brought her father's ashes with her to scatter at a mountaintop area.
Before this big fight sequence, we get a moment of them finding a dead coyote with its eyes torn out, then one of the hikers, Brian, gets a sickness around his eyes that looks similar to that. Then he suddenly gets better off-screen, then dies some time later with his eyes torn out like the coyote.
Just before this, we got what was conceivably a nightmare sequence in which Zoe is wandering the woods at night, gets confronted by what is ostensibly an alien, and then wakes up in an alien-like sleeping tube, spotting Drake in a similar tube across from her. She and Drake discuss it in real life, confirming it wasn't just a dream.
Then they come across a freaky looking totem which is very much not Cherokee, while earlier one of the hikers had found a bead that looked like nothing but he kept describing as "not native American" and looking like a scarab.
At some point after Brian dies, they all just disperse, going their own way, before Zoe finds Drake again, sick in the eyes like Brian was, and they go into a cave where they find lots of tourists' baggage and Drake has a meltdown saying THEY'VE been watching us for generations, using our eyes like spy cameras. He then freaks out and tears out his own eyes and Zoe runs off and...
Escapes. She scatters her father's ashes like she wanted. Inexplicably, she finds a "scarab" bead in his ashes, then she gets magically transported (or flashes back to) the alien sleeping tubes, where everyone is alive and awake and freaking out.
Then the movie just ends, having barely done anything with its concept and seemingly unaware of it. They seemed to be implying an ancient aliens connection, but it was never even indirectly hinted at. It's as though a significant portion of the film were cut out and nothing further was done to rectify it.
The Monster Project (2017)
This was a movie initially a bit difficult to get into, as it came across boring and the characters rather unlikeable in the opening several minutes. As such, I had started the film weeks ago, then given up and only re-watched it now.
once it gets past its establishing period, it becomes shockingly fun. While the vast majority of the film is essentially filmed in night vision on a camera, there is very little that is hard to see and it's not at all difficult to keep track of the action going along.
the plot is serviceable enough, in the form of an amateur documentary on people who claim to be real life "monsters"; a vampire, a Navajo skinwalker, and someone possessed by a demon. each one gets a brief interview segment, then Stuff Goes Wrong and the adventure ride begins.
while filmed in a by now familiar style of found footage running from a demon monster thing, the use and constant interchange between three completely different types of monsters actually works in maintaining a vibrant pace without getting overly bogged down, while giving us some unique "fight" sequences with the different monsters.
It all plays out rather like an adventure game, with each monster as a "boss fight" to be defeated in different ways, with the demon in particular being the most unusual of the group with a hallucinatory pseudo-flashback sequence involving one of the protagonists.
rather than go through each "boss" one at a time, they end up recurring several times, often playing to their original mythos (as in, the Demon leaves its initial victim and possesses someone else, the Vampire gets killed but bites someone and that person eventually becomes a vampire later on).
The movie began to slog a bit near the end, involving a twist ending reveal that in my opinion killed the fun of the movie, no longer indulging itself in various monster mythos but instead going with a familiar, bland Christian-centric Satanic rituals and talk of an antichrist. It all came apart around there, losing focus from its initial monster mash premise and going for something entirely different for its last 15 minutes
American Fable (2016)
title is a lie, genre tags are a lie
Nothing about this film in any way constitutes it being a "thriller", and the title is a complete lie; there's nothing fairy tale-ish or fable-y about it at all.
it's a plain, straight-forward drama about a little farm girl who discovers some rich big city man being held prisoner in her father's grain silo or something. We quickly learn this is part of a poorly thought out plan to ransom him for money because Ronald Reagan is evil and wrecking the economy so everyone's losing their farms.
all throughout the film, the girl's older brother is almost mentally deranged in how needlessly belligerent and violent he is towards her, culminating in an inexplicable sequence near the end where he literally tries to stalk and murder her with a rifle, and ends up killing a random neighbor woman who came to check up on them.
Let's Be Evil (2016)
Lures you in, bores you, then confuses you
The concept and setup of this film was amazing to me, luring me in without complete explanations, forcing me the viewer to pick up information as we go along. At no point is it ever clear how these people were selected, why, and what they are even supposed to be doing in terms of overseeing the children, since everything is seemingly automated anyway. The idea that the facility is essentially completely dark at all times, only noticeable when they take off their augmented reality glasses, is genius --- great way to conserve power --- while using the food maker thing to keep them supplied with nutrients and such.
The main character Jenny has an inexplicable backstory involving someone killing her father in front of her, and a dying mother whose medical bills prompt her taking on this job. Throughout the job, she gets some minor taunting from an unknown source, in sequences that tend to make no sense and can be difficult to follow when everything is in a first person view shifting back and forth among the three protagonists' augmented reality glasses.
At some point, stuff starts going wrong, as expected in a film. The facility's augmented reality portion seemingly loses power at times, or else is being hacked, and the perpetual virtual intelligence program A.R.I.A.L. that is the only "glue" to the whole place is taken over by... the children.
The children are taking over the facility for some reason. Then some of the other people, Tiggs and Darby, start getting attacked, apparently by the children. Jenny also finds one of the children, Cassandra, who has her augmented reality glasses taken away and so is essentially blind as the facility is completely unlit.
At this point, it becomes boring. There's long, poorly shot "chase" sequences in the dimly lit augmented reality facility, so you're basically looking at dull shades of colors for minutes at a time with lots of camera shaking and people shouting.
It got to a point of being so boring that I completely drifted off and had to rewind many, many times and re-watch many portions leading up to that "twist" ending.
The twist at the end was apparently Cassandra was evil all along as well, having contact lenses that kept her in to the augmented reality portion. She expo-dumps some stuff, but not enough, and leaves us basically confused. I had been so bored by the previous section of the movie that I felt even more confused because I wasn't paying attention to much of the middle section of the film. Apparently the other children in the facility don't exist and it's only Cassandra there? Or maybe the other children do exist?
Also apparently they were playing some manner of "game" with Jenny, which Cassandra dramatically says at the very end that she's lost the game. I apparently wasn't paying enough attention because I didn't get this at all. And the incredibly boring middle section of the film makes me not want to re-watch it to find out.
Budget should've gone into better writing and acting classes
This film kept appearing in Netflix sci fi section right at the top, pushing me to watch. It looks like a film with a hefty budget, or at least one that made great use of its budget to look seamless and professional.
that's about where the effort ends. The acting is atrocious with every single character in virtually every single line. Some of the characters have the hammy, boisterous intonation of a Star Trek supporting character, with casual expo-dumps dropped in conversations. Others, especially the main protagonist playing Ava/Seattle, are at the level of Power Rangers or Goosebumps level acting, and sometimes worse. The way they deliver lines is like something you'd expect from a mid-90s computer RPG game, like Fallout, but with none of the cheesy charm. And while that kind of loopy, over the top acting suits quick snippets of dialogue in a game, it is painful in a feature length movie.
The story presented is one which, in my opinion at least, is boring on its own. 12 Monkeys is possibly the only movie with a similar plot that pulled it off masterfully. Two kids from post-apocalyptic 2067 apparently rebels from a new government order take part in a rebel-based time travel to 2017 to do stuff. The plot description on Netflix says it's to start a new life, but in-movie it says it's to somehow change the future.
They do this by basically putting their real life selves into "stasis" and taking over the body of someone in the process of dying. For the protagonist, Ava, she is somehow still conscious as some manner of ghost who can occasionally interact with the real world via minor electrical shocks and zapping.
Inexplicably, the new government order is against this, and hunts down the rebels throughout time to stop them, for no coherent reason. The main government people are inexplicably evil and have a weird fetish for torturing and murdering people in a way that would be considered too goofy for the Star Wars prequels.
Due to the abysmally bad acting, it's difficult to keep track of the plot, but it doesn't really matter because of how abysmally bad the acting and writing is. No cliché is too tired, too lame, or too painful for this film in terms of dialogue, writing, or plot events, and all delivered like a middle school Drama I class's first play.
It is utterly unbelievable that they went ahead with actually shooting, editing, and publishing this movie as-is with this type of acting and writing. It distracts from everything in the film, it's the only thing you notice. To call it amateur is an insult to actual amateur films that actually put forth real effort in terms of camerawork or acting or writing. This has all the hallmarks of a production that just doesn't care. It just needs to churn something out to meet some deadline or fulfill some contract.
The Unseen (2017)
The plot summary/synopsis was a lie
I'm not entirely sure whether to mark this as containing spoilers, because virtually nothing actually happened in this film. At first I was fooled into thinking it was going to be a decent, properly shot horror film, but the husband Dylan's acting planted the seed of doubt which later grew.
I feel it worth pointing out that the Plot summary, identical on IMDB as it was on Amazon Prime, is almost entirely a complete lie.
"Recovering from a tragedy..."
This was never mentioned in the film at all, or if it was it was done so once, very briefly, then never again.
"... a young couple moves into an old house on a quiet street"
The house isn't actually old.
"What was thought to bring them solace is now the source of their conflict"
I don't know what this sentence even means. It has nothing at all to do with anything in the film. The source of their conflict seems to be the wife not taking her pills.
There are no "crazy neighbors", unless they're referring to Gena, the old woman who is senile, not crazy, and is only one person.
"... odd noises..."
There are no odd noises. The wife is periodically seeing things, not hearing things.
"... and something dead in crawl space...."
The "something dead" was a raccoon. It was found by the building inspector guy in the first 20 minutes and played zero role at all in the entire film.
"... have the couple struggling to determine what is reality and what is fiction."
This as well is a complete and utter lie. The only thing mentioned in the whole film is the wife claiming that someone is breaking in to the house, and her being proven right when it turns out to be Gena, the senile old woman repeatedly getting in. The OTHER thing that breaks in barely ever factors in to the plot, and when it does show up, is VERY real and the couple does NOT doubt it isn't.
"There's only one truth: no one is safe"
This also applies quite literally to "Killer Klowns from Outer Space". It means absolutely nothing and would actually almost not even apply in this case, as most of the people in the film ARE safe for most of the film.
For what actually IS in the film, there's a quick instance of what might be a long-haired man who snuck in to sleep in the wife's bed beside her while her husband inexplicably took a late night walk. This turns out to be absolutely nothing as well, as the very end involves a raggedy girl looking like something from The Ring or The Grudge sneaking into their house, killing them, then an extended sequence at the very end of the film of her crawling around in their kitchen, raiding their refrigerator, re-adjusting their furniture, and that's literally all. Nothing else.
baby's first movie
I can't hate this kind of film. It's not in any way painfully stupid or offensive to the senses. The problem with it is that it's just bad. It's like a group of people trying to paint a mural when none of them have any experience painting.
No one here was ready to do what they had to do here. The acting was not even on a level of being "bad" so much as it is plainly obvious that these kids involved have never done it before. The camerawork gets a pass as it's supposed to look like school project done on a single handheld camera. Lots of the effects such as people swinging a bat or an axe are not properly shot or cut, and you end up with a scene such as someone swinging at axe, and very clearly aiming away to avoid hitting the actor just before the camera turns away.
Everyone here seems to be trying their best, but they just can't. Nothing comes across as genuine or authentic. The way they deliver lines gives me flashbacks of Drama I classes with students delivering their first live performance. The only actor who came across as truly awful and not just inexperienced was the man playing Reginald, who seemed to be wrestling with a mouthful of lines written by someone who's never seen or heard a southerner outside of a 1930s cartoon.
It would be admirable as a friends project or a drama school assignment, but this is not a finished film fit for public consumption.
The Dark Tapes (2016)
should've been more focused
As of finishing the movie and coming to the IMDB page, I'm still not certain if each of the segments in this film are connected, or even if they unfold in the same shared universe.
Some of the segments have some great ideas but poor execution, namely the pervading one set in 2007 with the professor and the two people. They explore the idea that "ghosts" are actually "inter-dimensional creatures" that exist at a rate of time dilation far faster than ours, similar to the aliens in "Dragon's Egg", so that actual ghost sightings are so rare because it would mean one of these creatures would have to be standing still for hours at a time just for us to be able to see it for one second.
Rather than explore and flesh out this idea in the other segments or in its own segments, we get a random, pointless encounter with one of these creatures that looks for the life of me like a clown mask on a pile of rubber monster costume pieces. This clown creature says it is not a simple flesh-eating ghoul, yet proceeds to do absolutely nothing to dissuade them, randomly attacking and trying to kill them.
As for the other segments, they are a very mixed bag, with none of them being particularly interesting on their own except maybe the Ghost Hunters one. The Cam Girls one was deeply intriguing until the tepid reveal at the very end.
Overall this was a series of mini films that had no reason to exist, and which did not give any justification otherwise.
The Blackwell Ghost (2017)
fun and minimalistic
Pushing itself as a real life legit documentary, complete with not having a cast listing or director or anything on the description and only being an hour long, this one was surprisingly fun.
it has much of the hallmarks of a typical caught on tape ghost stuff, while being extremely minimalistic with regards to what goes on and what is actually shown. A lot of the spooky ghosty stuff is very small, things like turning on faucets and opening doors, and rarely goes beyond that. Something about being extremely delicate with its ghosty-ness makes it much more interesting and effective at sustaining long, drawn-out moments of anxious tension far better than a cheap jump scare would ever manage.
Uneven and unfocused
Rather surprised to be the first review, as I've seen plenty of other largely unknown movies littering Amazon Prime or Netflix get tons of coverage. This particular one isn't horrible like some I've seen or even poorly made. It could easily be something you would see put out in theaters given the high production quality.
But the problem with this film is it is uneven and unfocused. The description ostensibly makes it seem like it will be a Found Footage type sci-fi horror film, but instead, inexplicably, the movie begins as a conventional movie, filmed in 24 fps, with moody music and characters and the like.
The plot involves a woman trying to find her friends after they disappear on a camping trip of some sort, leaving behind nothing but a memory card of footage they shot along the way.
So on top of the typical "Found Footage" routine we get a regular movie about the people trying to find the people in the footage playing out more like a regular mystery thriller than sci-fi.
In fact, the sci-fi aspect is almost nonexistent until literally 1 hour in (out of a 90 minute film). By that point, the Found Footage subplot has gone absolutely nowhere. Once we actually return to the Found Footage aspect, so much of the "main" plot has advanced that the rest of the Found Footage is completely unnecessary. There's no longer any mystery, no longer any suspense.
It's like as if Star Wars had told the story after the fact, with the destruction of the Death Star being described after the fact, with all the deaths and all the details and everything concluded, only to then show us the actual battle immediately afterwards.
On a more technical level, the constant shifting between the Main plot and the Found Footage is constantly immersion-breaking, as each line just looks and sounds completely different, to the point where they're not even filmed in the same aspect ratio. It's never something you get used to and it just leaves you constantly wondering why they didn't just pick a single storytelling style and stick with it, instead of trying to graft on a "Found Footage" film onto a conventional movie film. It almost always ends up failing at both.
Kill Command (2016)
self demonstrating need for drone soldiers
While I don't actually remember if this team is said to be an elite military force of the best of the best, they very quickly demonstrate that they are not even remotely close to being competent or reliable soldiers. One of them even casually pulls his gun on their civilian attache, Mills, in a joking manner while they're in a future-helicopter, because as anyone in any branch of the military will tell you, waving your fully loaded and operational gun around in a tight, pressurized cabin at your friends and allies is what all hardcore badass marines and soldiers do.
going on, these people are engaged in an apparent training exercise in some area against robot drone soldiers, of which Mills can connect with them via some manner of implant in her body that is shown through her eye implants and such. For this reason and apparently no other, most of the squad hates and mistrusts her, with the captain being the most needlessly belligerent against her.
When stuff inevitably goes wrong and the robots start launching ambush attacks on the soldiers, they almost immediately start breaking down, shrieking and crying at each other and making lots of loud noises so the robots can better track them and kill them. As well, they start more openly threatening Mills, thinking it's somehow her fault because apparently soldiers in the future operate on a childish mindset of "new thing happen, it fault of new person".
as they try to escape the killer drone robots, they inevitably get picked off one by one, while continuously making noise, breaking up into groups, losing their cool, screaming at each other, and pulling guns on Mills because she's the computer techie and technology is scary.
when they reach the apparent command hub where all the robots are based in, they meet the first robot, and we get an expo dump with it and Mills revealing that the robots are S.A.R. program, which I forgot what the initials stand for, but it basically means they learn from mistakes, study their opponents' tactics and strategy, and adapt accordingly. Mills seems to think it's some kind of programming error or maybe a hacking that's leading to the robots killing the marines, but the Head Robot says the only problem is human error; namely that the humans suck at fighting them.
While them killing humans is a bad thing I am utterly against and would shut down the robots, they technically aren't wrong; this particular group of soldiers is comically inept and dangerously unstable, whilst the S.A.R. drones not only have the benefits of robot soldiers over humans, but they have the added advantage of learning and adapting on top of that, and they aren't constantly threatening to shoot each other for no reason or casually waving their weapons around unless they fully intend to kill a target.
While robot soldiers will essentially never match up to human soldiers, and could never replace them for delicate missions like special operations or ones with the risk of civilian crossfire and casualties, these S.A.R. robots prove themselves in the film to be far superior to the bumbling protagonist team and could even stand to be deployed to a general war zone as-is, whereas the bumbling protagonist team I would not trust to do recon without somehow screwing up and shooting each other.
What Happened to Monday (2017)
they lost me at the "residents or visitors?" scene
It was an intriguing enough concept, though not very believable (somehow GMO crops lead to a huge increase in siblings and genetic mutations and such). Instead of doing the obvious thing and changing the type of modification in order to feed the incoming identical siblings, they come up with a just as wasteful, stupid idea of "let's put them all in cryosleep until we come up with a solution in the future"
so Europe, adopting a One Child policy like old china, inexplicably becomes a dystopia where people roam the streets and the Child Allocation Bureau, like ICE, basically kidnaps children to put them into cryosleep while an angry mob watches and inevitable violent revolution creeps ever closer.
The protagonist siblings have a system come up with by their grandfather to let them all go out one day a week, corresponding to their names as they are named after days of the week, taking on the identity of a fictitious single child that is all of them.
Somehow this all gets revealed in the first 30 minutes as CAB kidnaps two of them, then sends an ugly goon squad to capture the others. This goon squad enters the public apartment, and for absolutely no reason, murders the front desk doorman guy.
I completely stopped caring about this film at that point. The sheer level of hideous stupidity and pointless dystopia is in no way backed up by the movie's plot. This completely pointless act of vulgar cruelty sufficiently drew me out of the immersion enough to begin to realize just how impossible the movie's setup is. I'm not even half-way through the movie and I'm willing to bet it's revealed the CAB just kills all the children they capture and "cryosleep" is a lie, because that's exactly the sort of meaningless cruelty this film is going for to give a pointlessly noirish tone to a story that could've taken place in 1980s China without the pointless murder and abuse of children.
As the film trudges along in the vein of a cheap action thriller, with CAB inexplicably having possession of military-grade weaponry like high powered sniper rifles to randomly murder any civilian even remotely in their path, regardless of whether they know or are helping the siblings, more and more questions start to be brought up about this ridiculously pointless tyranny.
- If the GMO crops are causing an increase in siblings being born, while ALSO being necessary to feed the overpopulated Earth, why is nothing being done about the excessive births? No mention is made or shown of any sort of drug or medical treatment to try to mitigate the effects of the GMO making tons more babies, and given that CAB is on a daily basis kidnapping "excess" children to freeze or murder, they apparently aren't doing anything about prevention OR early intervention, whether by killing the siblings as babies or "humanely" freezing them as babies so they don't have to go into the streets and make people want to kill them for tearing families apart.
- Why not change what kind of genetic modifying the food undergoes? We've got GMO'd food today that does just fine in feeding billions of people without every single one of them having 8 identical children each. What changed between, based on the intro montage, the Obama administration and the future time this movie is set in that they can't use it again?
- How in the hell is "seven identical siblings pretending to be one person" a crime serious enough to allow for them to randomly murder innocent civilians AND OPEN FIRE ON A PUBLIC CROWD WITH AUTOMATIC WEAPONS?! Arguably, since these idiotic tyrants at CAB have already killed at least 4 or 5 innocent civilians just trying to capture these siblings, they should just let them go since they've already balanced out the food/population problem. If the whole point of the One Child policy was to be able to properly feed everyone, then they've already killed off enough random people to be able to spare for the siblings.
and we're just over half-way through the movie.
EDIT: Having finished the movie, I cannot believe I was completely right about the "cryosleep" thing being a total lie and them just mass murdering all the children they come across. The woman in charge of CAB played by Glenn Close comes across as such a moronic cliché with a (debunked) Malthusean mindset and such "whiny teenage angst" lines like "Humanity is a failed species" that seem to come out of nowhere, and which she delivers all the time all around employees at CAB
Which makes you wonder just how moronic the people around them are that their boss, who is supposedly a big huge hearted person who loves children so much she is freezing them so they can live in a better future, is roaming the halls mumbling about how much humanity is evil and parasitic like a teenager that just watched "The Matrix" for the first time and gushes to anyone who will listen about how right Agent Smith is don't talk to their friends or family or each other about what a psychopath this woman is.
If I worked at a pet shelter with a highly controversial system of "saving" lost pets and my boss was talking about how miserable pets are and how pets don't deserve to live, I'd be majorly concerned about their well-being and/or what the company is actually doing. It wouldn't take a Jason Bourne-esque action-packed chase plot culminating in a single video release to bring them down, so much years of rumor, innuendo, and inevitable insider whistleblowing and investigations.
Nocturne Six (2014)
some of the absolute worst acting i've ever seen in any film or tv show
This one is a very fragile idea, with a seemingly complicated plot that could be executed phenomenally.
This film failed miserably.
Using the framing device of a cable news expose', we're told of a CIA program using people with psychic abilities of some sort being teleported to alternate "planes of existence" to stop evil inhuman creatures from trying to invade our plane of existence. We follow a mission that ended in abysmal failure and led to the entire program's cancellation, via camera footage taken by the psychic teens themselves and in the facility from the handlers.
Right away the first failing of the film is how it actually handles the alternate planes of existence and how to put the people in them. They don't do anything original or interesting; the teens go to sleep with electrodes on their head, and basically "dream" everything.
Almost to a person, the acting is among the absolute worst I've ever seen, even reaching the level of middle schoolers sight-reading Shakespeare in first year English. EVERYONE is at their absolute worst, delivering lines like they're reading them for the first time ever and essentially guessing as to the context or tone of them.
there are two of CIA handlers voices, Alpha and Delta. The voice of Delta is literally someone putting on the most cartoonishly over the top "redneck" accent they can muster while still sounding serious, and Alpha sounds like a 15 year old reading lines from an NPC in a poorly written RPG game.
Speaking of NPCs in poorly written RPG games, at one point for seemingly no reason at all, we get an audio clip of a "resident mortician" from the alternate plane, and to call what he did "acting" is to call smeared fish guts baked into concrete by the sun "gourmet sushi".
Apparently drawing their inspiration from Vincent Price, they give a painfully bland monologue describing some manner of creature eating corpses in a funeral home with the sort of purple prose of a drunken teenager mockingly imitating Edgar Allen Poe. It is the epitome of every bad "creepy sinister old man" NPC voice in every poorly written computer RPG voiced by one of the production assistants with no acting experience at all.
Virtually every aspect of this short, short film is an abject failure. The story is incoherent and constantly interrupted by Beavis and Butthead (Alpha and Delta) droning moronically like pubescent teenagers trying to scare children with deep, ultra serious voices. All the video footage is heavily grained and distorted, the CG effects for the monsters literally look like they were made in MS Paint, and the sound mixing is some of the absolute worst of any movie I've ever heard, with some characters sounding like they have microphones, and others not. Some lines are barely audible, then other lines, usually curse words, are ear-splittingly loud, sometimes in the same sentence.
Nothing in this film went right. The writing, the acting, the visual effects, even the most basic stuff like sound. All of it failed abysmally, to such a colossal degree that, seeing positive reviews of this film praising the visual effects, of all things, genuinely makes me think those reviews are planted by the filmmakers. And I have almost never come across a movie review I have suspected of being a fake.
Alien Domicile (2017)
Half a movie, at best
This film is 1 hour and 15 minutes according to the run time. Being generous and understanding, this is not a complete film. Almost nothing is explained, and things happen with absolutely no dramatic impact and no clue as to what is even happening.
Being more realistic, this feels like a summary of a film with all the dialogue written, and then directed by an AI as best as its confused little processor can manage.
The film starts with a random assortment of people carrying assault rifles and no helmets in some gray-and-brown looking facility just walking around. Then they apparently get attacked.
Then we get thrown into a room with a bunch of people who all seem to know or suspect what is happening and where they are but don't say what it is or where they are. At no point in the film was this ever explained or shown in any way to this point.
For unclear reasons, the elderly black man keeps picking a fight with the personality-less Russian guy, and they are REPEATEDLY engaging in physical fighting. Like, it gets to a point of being laughable how often they are pointlessly wrestling each other for no clear reason. The dialogue indicates they are in an underground bunker in Area 51 and the power is out because the lights flickered, indicated they are on generator power.
The personality-less Russian guy says that what happened this morning to them didn't actually happen to them. This makes no sense and plays no role at all in the film, at least insofar as I could ascertain. Also, the lieutenant, Gail, has at least 2 hallucinatory trips or nightmares for no reason which ultimately play no role in the film at all.
Then, one of the survivors of the group that appeared in the first scene rushed into the room they're in. He finds out that Gail is infected, or rather WE find out she's infected because no mention is made by either of them of any sort of infection or illness or anything that might indicate zombies or vampires or anything of the sort. This guy just knows that she's "sick" and has to be quarantined from the others.
Later on, the elderly black man finds her, and her eyes are glowing like lights. She then transforms into the alien boogin thing, and kills him.
Then, the guy who had quarantined her comes back, finds out personality-less Russian guy is also infected, and tries to kill him in a hamfisted attempt that easily backfires. Personality-less Russian guy then squeezes on the guy's hand, bringing him to the ground, and apparently breaks his wrist, and this... somehow kills the guy.
Him and the remaining woman, Hanna, then flee, and find that the facility is overrun by aliens that look like Marvel's Venom with glowing eyes. They try to escape, and at some point I lost focus on what was even happening.
It culminated in Hanna being alone, hearing voices and jazz music in the halls, then being knocked out and dragged across the floor by an alien, where she has a flashback to that "morning" where she was in the car with her daughter, stupidly turned her head back to look at the daughter for a full minute, and got hit by another car as a result.
Later on, she ends up in a hospital somehow, and the doctor says her daughter is there to see her, and SHOCKING TWIST, her daughter is as old as she is now.
I have no idea how they even got to that place, and would've been completely left in the dust if not for the movie description mentioning time travel. The movie itself at no point showed any sort of time travel nor any hint of it up until that point.
Captain Who Makes Poor Choices
This could've been, or probably would've been a spellbinding sci-fi movie amongst the likes of 2001 A Space Odyssey or Interstellar, and even has a lot of aspects of both those films in the visual designs and musical cues.
At some point in the near future, NASA detects three separate transmissions coming from the solar system which clearly indicate intelligent life. They send Captain Roger Nelson, aka Prince, aka Captain Makes-Poor-Choices to go to all three sources of the signals and find out what's making them and study them and analyze them and such. Why they choose just one man to go to 3 wildly distant locations (Eris, Triton, and Neptune) instead of mounting 3 parallel missions is utterly beyond me, especially as the threat of a rival Chinese mission lingers over them to the point of rushing the mission ahead on a 2.5 year timetable rather than an 8 year timetable.
This sort of thing doesn't bother me much or seem to affect the story much, but they end up coming back and making a significant, severe impact on the story because of Captain Makes-Poor-Choices living up to his name and making poor choices.
Straight off, either because this is a movie cliché or Captain Makes-Poor-Choices makes poor choices, once he finds the source of the first transmission, some manner of glass-or-metal-like sphere, he touches it and it affects him in some odd way. His only excuse for this monumentally stupid action is "I felt drawn to it". This whole fetish of his of touching the spheres becomes a major conflict point in the messages with NASA which he, frustratingly, just keeps doing.
Throughout much of the middle of the movie, we keep being slipped hints of plot points that end up either going nowhere or suddenly removed, as if a big chunk of the film were edited out of the final cut. Initially, the control guy Becker in a recorded transmission warns Prince that his wife tried to record a message to him, then deleted it, and that there was something wrong with her. I thought immediately that she had ended up losing her mind or committed suicide or was maybe hearing his thoughts via some alien technology. He tells Prince this moments before his first expedition, then says don't actually watch the transmission until after he's done.
After that, this "concerning" transmission is never mentioned again, and Prince's wife Abigail is back to normal, sending him normal loving transmissions every so often.
Additionally, the guy keeps touching the spheres and apparently seeing things or dreaming while in stasis, which is supposed to be impossible. It's unclear what the content of these dreams are, as we keep getting shots of space, and potentially flashbacks of him and his wife talking, and shots of what may be some manner of alien tree branch or just a fuzzy earth tree branch.
These dream things too end up amounting to absolutely nothing. A complete red herring.
There's a bit of needless drama at one point, with him slipping and falling on Triton and coming within a minute of missing the time window to escape, which serves no purpose, while the best chunks of the film involve him actually scouring the surfaces of the moons/planet, and analyzing the contents of the spheres and reporting them back to NASA.
At some point, it's revealed the Chinese parallel mission failed and all the Chinese astronauts were killed. At that point, for no apparent reason, the Chinese apparently attempt to hack the Magellan's AI system, Ferdinand, in an attempt to get Prince killed for no clear reason. They even make Ferdinand start speaking Chinese out of nowhere to really drive home how blatantly obvious the hack attempt is.
This too goes nowhere and is rather easily, if not entirely, resolved.
Finally, we reach the climax of the film, as the true intent and function of the spheres is apparently revealed as Captain Makes-Poor-Choices touches all three of them at once. There's a big expo-dump dialogue between him and Ferdinand which, despite being an expo-dump, is monumental and utterly exciting, with mindblowing implications beyond "we found life outside of earth in the form of amino acids and proto-dna". Think the United Federation of Planets.
Then, suddenly a fourth signal appears, emanating from the Oort Cloud, about 38 years away from the Magellan. Captain Makes-Poor-Choices, fully living up to his wholly deserved name and title, sends some last transmissions to NASA then takes all three spheres and orders Ferdinand to prepare the ship to go to the Oort Cloud.
Which means he will be in stasis for 38 years. Which means NASA and all of Earth, which has just discovered from him that there is life on other planets, is essentially told to get effed and left behind with nothing as Captain Makes-Poor-Choices decides he knows better than everyone else and he deserves to potentially make first contact or discover whatever else on his own, despite being the complete idiot who thought it was a good idea to touch a completely alien artifact that might've given him Space Cancer or turned him into a The Thing.
A lot of other reviewers seem to be complaining about the ending, how it just ends at this point, without going further. In my opinion, that isn't the main problem, as I've already said, as Captain Makes-Poor-Choices leaves the in-movie humanity with probably the greatest single legacy of any explorer: Never send just a single expedition, and never send them alone.
fun quick little thing
This is one of those films that greatly benefits from being very short, only about 1 hour and 15 minutes, and probably could've stood to be 5 or 10 minutes shorter, even.
it's unclear what the actual subject of the documentary the characters are filming is, but it doesn't matter and no one cares, this is a Boogin Film and we want to see the boogin, while not actually seeing the boogin in case the boogin costume/puppet/effect is poor quality and draws us out of the immersion.
the film does a great job of balancing that, giving us perpetually tantalizing quick shots of the boogin while not letting us see very clearly what it is. Its very first appearance is rather Bigfoot-y, while the first time you get a frontal shot of it, it looks like a giant sloth, and the more the film lets slip of it, it ends up looking rather like an orangutan or gorilla with the head of an owl.
this film treads over a lot of clichés of found footage horror, including the disbelieving friend, a red herring stranger encounter (in the form of a wacky ass guy with a gun claiming to be looking for his dog), and a secret government facility with weird shenanigans happening. However the film does good by not lingering on these tropes, either drawing them out or having a strained sequence where, for example, the main characters wander into a government lab and come across a working computer or big binder fully explaining all the details of what's going on and them having a big revelation like "THIS is where all the Bigfoot sightings come from!" or "THIS is the source of the Philadelphia Experiment!"
the entire sequence through the government facility is one of perpetual running, with no time to sit still and look around or take in what is happening. More of the Boogins begin to appear, and when we get the reveal of their source, it continues to not let us get much more information or any clear reason why the Boogins look and act the way they do.
the end credits sequence is rather messy, with lots of pseudo digital distortion making it difficult to see or read things on screen, while also showing a quick compilation of random clips apparently taken in the government facility involving the boogins. it's not clear whether these take place before or after the film itself, and they too give very little actual information on what is happening and why.
And I like it that way. I love movie mysteries that are either unresolved or only partially solved. I love that there was a whole world of backstory in this secret government facility that was completely denied to us because we were busy being chased by murderous owl-sloth boogins. Our lives are in danger, we shouldn't care about any of this. It was a fast and fun ride.
Had all the right, if a bit stereotypical, pieces for a fun modern horror movie; Russia, government experimentation, video footage glitching out, psychics and psychic testing.
all of it came together somewhat ably in the film, detailing a pack of ghost hunters following a lead from a Russian author regarding a place where 34 unidentified corpses were discovered and never identified in the 1980s. Despite that setup, it quickly leads into a gargantuan industrial facility where we quickly learn the 34 unidentified corpses were part of a larger group being held there.
all of it is executed somewhat ably, there's a very mild little twist which doesn't particularly add or take away from the overall story, and it has a handful of decent jumpscares and unusual odd moments.
unfortunately, the film just doesn't manage to rise beyond "performed ably". There was no significant problem with the acting or the story, but there was also very little done with it. Everything was very straight-forward, and the mystery of the place was very quickly explained, leaving nothing for us to savor or wonder about, and no reason to care about much in the film.
this is the kind of quickly forgettable film that you only happen to remember when coming across it again in the horror movie catalogue
Harbinger Down (2015)
it's "The Thing" on a boat
It's "The Thing" on a boat.
a sentence like that can either be the beginning or the end of someone's interest in the film, entirely dependent not on it being "'The Thing' on a boat" but on what it does with itself.
And in this case, it did nothing. LESS than nothing, if you use "The Thing" as a jumping off point; it has all the standard elements of "The Thing" except for the disguised-as-human-paranoia, so it was essentially just "The Thing" without any of the mystery or psychological horror
The Open House (2018)
so bad it made me genuinely angry (Maybe spoilers? Who knows)
Putting it very politely, this is an unfinished movie edited together and released as-is. That's essentially the best way I can put it.
It's about an incredibly annoying teenaged boy and his mother, some time after his father is suddenly run down and killed, trying to sell their house. At night, the pilot light is shut off suddenly while the mother, Naomi, bathes, forcing her to go to the basement to reignite it every night. The implication seems to be it's some kind of ghost.
the son, Logan, is a stereotypical insufferable teenager with no redeeming qualities or charisma at all. He spends all day doing nothing, and occasionally having flashbacks of his father's death.
At one point, there's an instance where Logan chases someone into the basement, and it turns out to be his father, but this is apparently just a nightmare and not a ghost.
other characters include Martha, who is said to have Alzheimer's, and does nothing. Also there's Chris, who apparently flirts with Naomi a bit.
Virtually nothing happens for the entirety of the movie, until the very end when suddenly something or someone kills Chris, needlessly tortures Naomi and Logan, then disappears momentarily so Logan can be a complete idiot roaming around the dark basement swinging a knife around, inevitably "accidentally" stabbing his mother to death because he's a complete and utter moron and asshole.
Then the something or someone re-appears, chasing Logan out into the woods. He finally comes across Logan at daybreak, and kills him.
At no point do we ever see or know who this something or someone is that apparently kills everyone. Maybe they were the same something or someone that killed Logan's father at the start, but there's absolutely no hint of any connecting threads between them. The two events are ostensibly happening in entirely different movies for all we know or care.
Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997)
a literal eye sore
Holy hell, I am not even 15 minutes into the movie and virtually every scene has been hideously ugly to look at, from that nightmare-inducing hairy wizard puppet to the horrifying thing that is apparently Divatox's nephew that I can't even look at without turning away.
the film starts with absolutely nothing Power Rangers related, taking us to a fantasy land where fantasy death knights riding horses wearing masks with horns are chasing a nightmare-inducing hairy wizard puppet in a sequence that goes on for what feels like an entire ten minutes and contributes literally nothing as everything was already explained in the prologue text scroll.
while the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie was basically just rendered non-canon and they went and re-did the broad story less impressively in the series, this one apparently is supposed to be a prelude to the next series after Zeo, and according to the trivia was filmed alongside Zeo, which likely explains why Bulk, Skull, and Stone are still police officers despite having been fired/quit and become private investigators in Power Rangers Neo Geo Zeo, with a clearly spliced in line by Lieutenant Stone quickly saying they were re-hired.
meanwhile the trivia also says the original cut was nearly three hours long and holy hell not even 20 minutes in, virtually nothing has happened and it definitely feels like a three hour movie on its own.
They Look Like People (2015)
stressful to watch
I was constantly on edge watching this film, waiting for the seemingly inevitable hatchet to drop (sometimes literally).
Describing any part of the plot feels like it would spoil the experience, because that's essentially what this film is; an experience. The worst part is it is filmed and acted in such a way that is highly realistic, exacerbating the tension.
the basic plot, without spoilers, is that the character Wyatt is receiving phone calls at night from a distorted voice telling him of "them". they look like people, but they're bad and must be killed. It is unclear whether this is true or not, or if Wyatt is suffering some manner of schizophrenia, and the fact that it could be one or the other only seems to enhance the terror
a zombie tale unfolding in 36 photographs
This film starts and plays out like a typical true crime documentary and is paced as one, starting by placing us directly into the post-crime situation; a man named Francisco Salazar is accused of wiping out an entire tiny town Sangre de Cristo of 57 people overnight on the Mexican border.
The cast of characters being interviewed include some usual types, including experts, friends/family members, relatives of victims, the racist white sheriff, the racist radio host, and random loudmouth idiots on the street with racist opinions. In my opinion, this framing device is played up a bit much, to the degree that it strains a bit of credulity in the face of the photographs.
The build-up we get for Salazar is incoherent, with brief snippets talking about Mexican gangs and cartels, "La Raza", and how supposedly Salazar perfectly fits the archetype of a serial killer. This would all be fine if not for the fact that it's either not at all hinted at later on, or else directly contradicted by the later on interview.
Pure racism is the driving force behind the crusade against him, driven on mercilessly by the sleazy racist sheriff and the incessantly annoying racist radio host like a southwestern rush Limbaugh, who plays up the ultra-conservative hateful bigot to a degree that may be painfully realistic, but severely detracts from the narrative at times.
we're shown Salazar being convicted after being assigned an inept public defender only on his third case, and at a second trial we're introduced to a crucial aspect of the story that changes everything; a camera.
Suddenly we're introduced to the "real" Francisco Salazar; someone in no way related to "La Raza" or any Mexican gang or cartel. Someone who is a photographer who did odd jobs in Sangre de Cristo and was friends with the local priest and his family. We also get ahold of footage of an interview conducted with him, in which the story of what actually happened unfolds.
Via interviews with relatives of the dead, the racist white sheriff, the experts, and snippets from the interview with Salazar himself, as well as maps, we then go over Salazar's journey through Sangre de Cristo, where it becomes almost certain to us that a zombie outbreak has occurred. We get no unrealistic glimpses of the events aside from black and white still images taken by Salazar at the time it happened. I don't know how the camera worked or why the images came out oddly at times, with lots of unusual blurs, but it only served to further enhance the creepiness and unsettling nature, as many of the figures in the photograph don't look blatantly like the stereotypical zombie, but nevertheless just look wrong, sometimes horribly so.
The journey Salazar takes goes from him walking south, out of town, to him ending up running up in a roughly straight line north through town, photographing all along the way. The photographs are flawless in evoking horror and creepiness without being over the top or too expository. The zombie motif is evident in Salazar's descriptions, while the photographs seem to start adding to them, making for some scenes of "zombies" behaving smarter than the usual zombie, or with faces that are absolutely demonic.
the photographs are so magnificent that they carry the entire movie.
The only problem I have, which seems relatively major, is that the topic of the photographs is brought up during the second trial, but is inexplicably ruled inadmissible in court. No explanation is given why, and the inept public defender doesn't even bother fighting it.
The racist white sheriff uses the "they're photoshopped" excuse, but the insane level of detail in many of the photographs makes them undeniably real. Even if the "zombies" could arguably be considered photoshopped, the photographs very clearly show that it is not Francisco Salazar who is attacking and killing the subjects, but a large group of other people attacking and killing them.
The word "zombie" is never spoken or mentioned in any way, nor is the subject of zombies broached by any of the experts or defenders of Salazar. Even the psychological expert guy tries to imply at the end that the town massacre was another in a long line of historical riots and assaults on communities of color likely orchestrated by white supremacist types.
ultimately, this is a rather unique take on the Zombie genre, and the gorgeously haunting photographs do much to elevate this film.