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The Scorch Trials (2015)
A disorienting mess of clichés that seems far from the original
I could sum up this movie pretty easily. You have a bunch of super powerful teenagers who are saved from an "evil" organization named Wicked by... Wicked. Which I am not sure if that was supposed to be a plot twist or not. This movie quite differently from the last film has zombies, which fit the cliché roles of screeching at the camera and being of no threat whatsoever to anyone let along a group of confused un armed kids. Bizarre plot stuff happens for two hours that looks like a blend of 80's apocalypse movies.
My honest opinion is that the movie appears almost nothing like the first one to me, so if you enjoyed the first one you will doubtfully enjoy this one. It is over loaded with genre clichés, and over all seems not very interesting.
Two clichéd genres for the price of one!
Oh movie clichés. I could go on about all the carbon copies of Superbad since its release. Pretty much every coming of age highschool nerdy white kid movie has the same exact set of jokes. The slo mo scene with the emphasis on the nerdy features of the characters set to gangster rap.. the plentiful amount of dick jokes. The epic highschool kid party that would upstage most celebrities (Neighbors, 21 Jump Street, anything with Dave Franco really).
Then you have the zombie film clichés. Dimwitted completely harmless zombies that cannot kill a bunch of pubescent teens yet managed to wipe out a town. Flawless head shots through out (of course, only after the almost immediate realization that you have to shoot them in the head).
There isn't much new here.. beyond that character development does actually show itself to be decent and you may find at least one of the main cast to be like able.
VERDICT: If you love these types of movies then I am sure you will like this. If you spot these clichés and roll your eyes because it is the millionth time you have seen them in the last decade pass this one.
Devil's Due (2014)
Found footage + devil baby trope wrapped in one.
With two things that have been done so many damn times before you would think that the creative staff would go for something new but they don't. Expect all the nonsensical found footage clichés such as people putting cameras absolutely everywhere and not checking them too late. Naturally bad camera work, cheap effects, and a complete near absence of a story. Basically cultists who use the symbol from the old PC game quake stalk a clueless family to get the devil baby they planted inside of a woman. There is NOTHING new presented here that hasn't been done a million times. At least movies like Taking of Deborah Logan which had been done to death offered a few neat scenes in there. No Content No Story Absolutely nothing interesting.
Ich seh ich seh (2014)
Quickly degrades into torture porn
I had high hopes for this film. It starts off with some decent atmosphere, some nice shots here and there. That is about where the good ends. There is very little in the way of plot. It is almost absent, and any content comes off as a gimmick. Unfortunately it quickly degrades into disgusting torture porn. Even some clichés rear their ugly head, like a character not being able to call for help until just a second or so too late.
I am not sure who I could recommend this film too, if anyone. It is just a uncomfortable movie, and lacks any discussion that films like "Funny Games", "Benny's Video" or "We need to talk about Kevin".
Another entry into the sloppy surrealist film genre
Reminiscence appears to be a surrealist horror film, with the plot revolving around magnetic fields and possibly dimensional travel... it was kind of hard to tell. The major and most easily addressable problem with the film is that all of it feels with out purpose. Even the most bizarre surreal films have purpose behind their moments of strangeness. Reminiscence tries to make you feel disoriented or scared with shaky and fast cutting camera work, bizarre scene structure, non linear plot, speeding up or slowing down the camera for a second or two, and quick shots of "creepy images".
To sum up where the film fails, watch the chase scene at the 1 hour mark. What is the point of this scene? How does it enhance the film?
Even hardcore surrealist fans will doubtfully enjoy this one.
I must address my biggest complaint with the film. When the film starts it introduces you to a whole set of characters from a "ghost hunting" team. Some establishment of character is attempted, or at least feels so. At about 30 minutes into the film, almost the entire cast is never seen from again except one. Why was the time spent explaining little nuances about the characters if you are never going to see them again? The character that the camera does stick with had the smallest build up. It felt like a waste of time. The remainder of the film is the "ghost" activity, which mostly consist of the ghost or whatever it is spooking people.
This makes the story or complete lack there of very weak. No explanation is given to the ghost or why it was around in any way at all.
The acting wasn't horrible. Not great by any means. Far better than your average B horror selection. Doug the plumber came off a little silly at points.
Special note would go to some of the music which presented a very good 80's horror feel, though it was pretty limited.
Something to watch if you have seen virtually every other available film on netflix/amazon.
Scream Girls (2008)
Nothing terribly exciting, or supernatural.
From the description of the film I expected Scream Girls to be about a group of teens working together to fight an evil spirit, the film is not that.
The film mostly follows the troubled young Koaru who is bullied relentlessly by her classmates, and beaten by her abusive father. At some point early on in the film, Koaru's friends abandon her to join in the torment of her bullies, with the only explanation being that they wish to avoid bullying themselves.
Not a lot of supernatural stuff happens in the film. At one point a ghost peeks through a door, and one is maybe seen in a field... I think that sums most of it up.
The sound effects were silly at times, and the camera and lighting didn't produce a supernatural atmosphere so much as it did a dreary poorly lit one. The plot was rather thin, with nothing brought to the table in terms of suspense, mystery, or twists.
All in all the film was rather unremarkable, kind of boring. Because of its lack of "bad" but also lack of anything good it gets a 4 out of 10 from me.
Slow, boring, and on the border of parody
The movie is about a horror movie writer that into a big old haunted house with a creepy mysterious blind woman living on the top floor. His friend and companion states "sounds like a good plot for a film", unfortunately the film we are watching does not seem to confirm her statement. The film is slow moving with out taking advantage of its pace. Long drawn out scenes of your main character walking on the beach and finding messages in a bottle set to indie music, and conversations going over the previous scenes fill a majority of the film. While acting and camera work isn't bad, there simply is no substance to the film and nothing new is brought to the table. There are no scary moments in the film, unless you count a slamming door as scary. Once the ending of the film came around, I wondered if the movie was somehow a misplaced joke that wasn't funny. You will see what I mean when a near replica of a certain Halloween scene is done.
Mulberry St (2006)
slightly different approach on over flooded zombie genre
The film market today is absolutely flooded with zombie films, shows, games, and other media and they all seem to follow the exact same formula and tired clichés. With most zombie media, there is a skip strait to the apocalypse, this being the reason that it just doesn't make sense how such a thing could spread. This film actually attempts to show the slow transition, which is appreciated for the simple fact that it is different. There is a degree of suspense building and some decent character establishment before the action kicks off. The acting is acceptable, with nothing detracting from immersion. Camera quality is clearly lower budget. It can employ the shaky and rapidly moving camera technique during action scenes which is a bit annoying. I have to comment on the music choice during the initial action scene which was some indie track. Not a fitting choice, and made the scene kinda feel less intense. Overall, not a bad choice for major zombie fans, otherwise, a pretty average horror film.
The Sacrament (2013)
Seemed on the right track, but pattered out to uninteresting
The film is among the found footage genre. It leads in with some decent photography, nice ambient soundtrack, and some pretty good acting. The suspense builds with a decent and slow momentum, but unfortunately doesn't lead to anything interesting or unique. The film had a really nice opportunity to go down a different path. It had all the qualities to do so and be good. Unfortunately it just decided to re hash an old story and try to deliver it as something new. I can give it five out of 10 for keeping me interested until the climax good photography and nice track, but the subsequent let down can't allow me to give it anything higher. If you are interested in something like this I would recommend a documentary on Jonestown. There are many good ones out there.