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The Sleeper (2012)
Cheap, predictable and boring
"Sleeper" is supposed to be a homage to 80's slasher movies like "The Prowler, Halloween, Black Christmas, Friday the 13th and Prom Night". That explains why it is set in the early "80's. Also why a lot of scenes are copied from several of those classics. However it does not explain the bad points: - Music so annoying you want to turn off the sound more than once. - A dull and slow story that isn't entertaining or even interesting for a minute. - An "albino looking" killer that's supposed to be scary because of some light blue contact lenses. - A cheap and terrible camera/montage crew, which ineptness is really shown during the final chase scenes.
I love the slasher genre, but it's more than just a bunch of gory special effects. Sure, "The Sleeper" has a couple of them, they rank from laughable to OK but overall not really convincing. But besides that, this movie has nothing more to offer: bad director, terrible cast without a spark of charisma and the story is avoided of any tension or thrills. Not using your FastForward button is in this case a mission:impossible. Stick to the classics instead or watch "You're Next" if you're looking for a slasher homage.
1 Location - 1 Actor - 75 Minutes of wasted time..
There's nothing wrong with a story that starts out slowly with nothing happening yet. But half an hour into the movie you get the feeling that it isn't getting better at all and you're right: we our stuck with one actor in one specific location for the entire duration of this so called "ghost story". That kind of stretches it because it's slow and boring as hell without any thrills or scares. The credits show Vanessa Redgrave as second name but we only hear her voice. Another female character is only heard during phone conversations and when our main character (unknown actor, not bad but not great either and certainly not worth watching every minute) opens the door for a neighbor, (Yes ! Finally another cast member !!) we do not even get to see him. The special effects are kind of limited: we have a Holy Maria statue that opens her eyes and a very poorly executed CGI black wolf that's not scary or convincing and has no purpose at all.
Watching this wretched tale end is even more disappointing, because there's no real ending. No thrills, no surprises, no closure, it just kind of stops. And when the credits finally role, you can't help wondering why cheap crap like this is still made. Who's the target audience ? I'm sure the creators weren't aware either, they were just cashing in on the hype of supernatural ghost/horror movies.
Boring mess from start to finish
After almost 10 years, a couple of criminal friends are released from prison and they travel to a small town in the desert in search of their money from a casino heist.
The story begins with their release, but soon the viewer is treated with some shaky and vague flashbacks of the actual heist, probably shot while the camera man was either drunk or high as a kite (probably both). The action is bad, you hope it'll get better but the sad part is that you've just witnessed the highlight of the movie. It all goes downhill from here.
The character development is very poor and illogical most of the times. For commercial reasons, we have Jean-Claude van Damme. I was always a big fan of his early work. His recent films have been decent but this has to be his worst movie in probably 10 years. Not that it's his fault, his character is unbelievable and unconvincing: he has absolutely nothing to work with. He's supposed to be the criminal mind of the bunch but all he does is flirt with the local bar lady and gets killed (very easily) by some local punk with a knife. This happens before the 'grand finale' but having seen how that turned out, he can be glad he didn't stick around for the credits. There isn't a single believable character in this dull story. It doesn't seem to bother the town at all that they've been invaded by a dangerous crew. Life just goes on, right ?
How clueless the filmmakers really are is perfectly constructed during the final scene. The gimmick of the movie shows that the bag of money was hidden on top of the empty water tower. The bag looks brand new, how is that possible after laying there for almost 10 years in 40 degrees of burning sun ??
Sad that Jean-Claude Van Damme (it was great to see him in Expendables 2)has once again reduced himself to cheap movies that no one really wants to see. His role is not a cameo, but it's not that big either, and totally forgettable.
Mischief Night (2013)
Mischief Night - Don't get too excited..
The blu-ray cover tells us it's "An Old School slasher". I don't remember them being so boring. It also tells us it's "The Purge meets The Strangers". Or you could also say "Halloween meets You're Next". All of the above titles I love, this mix doesn't deliver in any way.
In the opening sequence we're introduced to a couple of annoying characters but maybe that's deliberately done because they'll be dead before the credits roll. Unfortunately, it's not and the rest of the fairly unknown cast is mediocre at best. We have an aged Ally Walker (Universal Soldier, When the Bough Breaks) with too limited screen time, because she's the only convincing character. In the beginning of the movie when the blind girl is picked up by her father we have a shot from the front were his jacket is open. In the next frame from the side, his jacket is mysteriously closed. This contingency error is repeated not twice, but four times.. It's also hard to swallow the fact that the blind girl seems to know her way around the house perfectly when we've been told they only live there for 2 months.
The biggest problem however is that the writers or director didn't know what to do with the story. We have vague flashbacks of the car accident which ended the life of the mother. Than we have our usual suspects like the Ally Walker character, the boyfriend or the father. But he turns up in the closet at the end, bounded by the killer ("Scream" anyone ?). This all had to have something to do with the identity and the motivation of the killer(s). Since none of the makers could possibly find an explanation, it's simply revealed by one of the killers that they did it because "it's Mischief Night". The body count isn't impressive and the special effects are very limited to gunshot wounds and a knife in the throat. (the highlight, but ruined by the fact that the blood comes from the elevated hand of the killer instead of the actual throat of the victim.
Is there any good news here ? The masks are scary, certainly in combination with the yellow raincoat. Too bad the killers aren't, particularly when one of the follows the blind girl instead of just killing her.
Can't recommend it. Watch the excellent "You're Next" instead. I have already seen that one three times in the last year. "Mischief Night" is certainly not worth another look - ever.
You're Next (2011)
Bloody brutal and scary - already an instant genre classic..
"You're Next" was shown during different Festivals but wasn't released until 2 years later. Normally, that's not a good sign. With low expectations, I was in for a big surprise. It turns out "You're Next" isn't just a good horror/thriller, it's a blast for fans of the genre. And if you're not a fan, you'll still like it a lot. The cast is great, especially Sharni Vinson. I saw her a couple of times in the Australian soap "Home And Away" (my wife watches that..) but here she shows she can do way more than that. The score is eerie, with a nice addition of the Dwight Tilley Band "Looking for the Magic" (1977..!). If you saw the movie, you'll know the song. The killers in the masks are scary and there are a lot of brutal deaths with great special effects. Great, because there's no lousy CGI involved that haunts most genre movies these days.
Director Adam Wingard (V/H/S, Home Sick) did a great job. Highly recommended. More please !
You Liked "Saw" ? - Still, You'll Hate This...
After watching "Vile" and reading a couple of surprisingly good reviews on it, there's only one explanation: these must have been written by the producers and actors of "Vile". First off, I'm a horror fan and I also love movies like "Saw" and "Hostel". "Vile" is a very cheap copy of "Saw" and "Cube" but the production values are very bad: the shaky camera work gives you a headache, the script is stupid with characters that do not make any sense at all. The cast is not awful but also not convincing. But then again, the characters are badly written. Basically, the story is about a couple of friends that pick up a female hitchhiker. She drugs them all (believe that ?) and they wake up in a room with 5 other people. They are somehow forced to torture each other, because that releases a drug in the brain that the mysterious woman behind the screens wants. Yep, after 7 minutes of screen time we move to the dark room where the entire movie takes place. Boring, not interesting and not scary in any way. That's also why the torture scenes do not work on any level. You just pray the running time of this movie is limited but 88 minutes is way too long for this simple plot.
Disappointing and a complete failure, what a Waste Of Time !!
The main reason I watched this film was because Randy Couture is in it, he was in "The Expendables 1 and 2". To me, "Expendables 2" was the best action film of 2012. Well, "Hijacked" is possibly among the worst of 2012. Now granted, Couture only played a small role in The Expendables and here he is the leading star. He proves one thing: he can't act at all. We already kind of knew that from the flawed "Scorpion King" sequel. But he is not the only "star" of this film. We also have Vinnie Jones. His part is kind of limited since he's killed in the first 10 minutes. Then we have Dominic Purcell (Prison Break) with an awful "Magnum" mustache. His performance is also one he now desperately tries to forget. On with the story: predictable, lacks any form of tension or thrills. Does not make any sense most of the time.
When it comes to action you simply have to laugh when you see the limited fight scenes that are badly choreographed. So what's left ? Beats me, I just can't understand why cheap garbage like this is still produced. Avoid at all costs..
Better than "Haloween 5", but that's not saying very much...
"Halloween 5" (1989) was a rushed project with a ridiculous story and a stupid ending. It pretty much killed the franchise and it took six years before a new sequel was released. The rights once owned by Transcas Films were bought by Miramax/Dimension (a division of Buena Vista/Disney). The one brave thing this sequel has is that it's trying to explain the mess "Halloween 5" was. But unfortunately, the new story is potentially even dumber than Part 5. According to the movie, it's six years later. Jamie is being held by a cult and gives birth. How can than be, she's what, 14 years old ? We get a new actress, J.C. Brandy (the producers didn't want to pay Danielle Harris the 5000 euro for her return) who looks like she's almost 30 years old. She flees with her newborn baby (according to the producer's cut, Michael is the father (..)) Eitherway, the introduction of the baby is dumb. Michael Myers is not skilled or cunning in this one. For example, he's not able to figure out that Jamie hid her baby in the women's room of a bus station. Even though he's been there chasing her, and after he kills her, he even finds a paper roll of that same restroom in her car. It's a shame Jamie was killed off so quick in the Theatrical Cut, it was as dumb as killing off Rachel right at the beginning of Part 5. Than we're introduced to Tommy Doyle. One of the kids who Laurie Strode babysat in the original "Halloween". He's obsessed with Michael and finds the baby in the bathroom the next morning. Apparently, it's not a popular bathroom since no one has been there that entire time for about 12 hours. Must be because of the massive blood trail Jamie left the night before that no one bothered to clean up.
There's also a new family in the old Myers house. They are relatives of the Strode family who adopted Laurie after Michael killed her sister in the original. Besides the father, the family doesn't know that they live in the Myers house. Rather silly when you think about it. Again, it's not the original house they used in the classic, but it's not as silly as the "Old Myers house" in Part 5. The story makes no sense at all, trying to explain why Michael kills. The evil cult thing is awful. The reveal of the mysterious man in black is unbelievable. Remember, he's the one who took out an entire police station like the Terminator at the end of Part 5. Main reason for the messy story is that half the movie was re-shot and re-edited. The Producer's Cut has a way better story but it's still not a very good movie. It has much more scenes with Donald Pleasance and the music is way better. This Theatrical Cut suffers from a lame and incoherent story, very bad editing, unnecessary gore and an unsatisfying ending. Michael Myers is once again played by stuntman George P. Wilbur (he was also Myers in Halloween 4) but here his moves and posture are just not right. He looks more like Jason Voorhees in this one. The cast is not even that bad compared to Part 5. Paul Stephen Rudd (he also starred in "Clueless" that year) plays his part very well, just as Marianne Hagan. Mitchel P. Ryan is underused since he's a great actor and has more potential (Lethal Weapon).It's sad to see that Donald Pleasence's role has almost been reduced to a cameo. He's the only one who held up the "Halloween" franchise. Too bad director Chapelle cut out a lot of his scenes for the the Theatrical Cut.
I'v always been a big fan of "Halloween" and horror films in general. The first one remains the best. "Halloween II" (1981) was a very well made sequel that was almost as good as the original. After that, my most favorite "Halloween" is "H20": It was fresh, revived the franchise, had Jamie Lee Curtis and a scary Michael again and went back to the roots of this franchise. "Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers" (1988) was a solid entry with great performances by Donald Pleasance and Danielle Harris. Since that one was a success, a sequel had to be in theaters the next year to compete with Jason and Freddy. Unfortunately, 1989 turned out to be a very bad year for horror: "Friday VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan", "Nightmare 5: The Dream Child" and "Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers" had 2 things in common: they all did very poorly at the box office and were among the worst in their franchises. "Halloween 5" was bad. The introduction of the man in black is the worst thing of the entire franchise. I didn't like that direction with the matching tattoo's and the cult that controls Michael. That's just lame. I'm glad that the far more superior and successful "Halloween: H20" totally ignored the events of the previous three films.
Underworld: Awakening (2012)
Terrible And Sad; Like watching a Video Game instead of a Movie !
2003's "Underworld" was a surprisingly well made action-horror-adventure movie. The effects were amazing and the action sequences were cool, slick and perfect, not seen since "The Matrix" (1999). It also had an interesting story. "Underworld: Evolution" (2006) was an OK sequel, again with great effects and action but the story was not as good as the original. I was afraid the third entry, a prequel without Kate Beckinsale, would be disappointing but it turned out more than okay; it was even better than the second one. Kate Beckinsale returns once again in "Underworld: Awakening". This movie totally destroys the franchise: everything is wrong here. Lets start with the story: It's hard to sympathize with Selene's character (Beckinsale) since she now starts killing innocent humans. You do not care for anything since the story reminds you more of just another weak "Resident Evil" sequel instead of "Underworld". We do not see the Hybrid character (Scott Speedman) in person, but digitally implanted images of him, since the actor himself did not return. Digital CGI is just about everything you see: CGI blood spurting away, CGI persons being blown away and even CGI smoke to cover the naked Kate Beckinsale in a hilariously stupid scene. As cool as the action was in the original "Underworld", as lame and fake it all looks here. For every decent effect or action scene there are a dozen bad and terrible ones.
"Underworld: Awakening" is a textbook example of what's wrong with today's movies: they start to look more like bad video-games instead of real movies. The story doesn't seem to matter at all, just throw in as many action and special effects as possible in the most cheapest way possible: budget restricted, average CGI effects. Shame on everyone involved here, this is an insult for all the fans of the series. Beckinsale still looks sexy in her tight leather outfit but that's hardly worth 90 minutes of your life. Watch the original one again instead and forget there ever was a fourth one.
Street Kings 2: Motor City (2011)
I guess this totally ends Ray Liotta's acting career in a heartbeat !
"Street Kings" (2008)was a surprise hit and an excellent cop thriller with great action. Keanu Reeves and Forrest Whitaker were awesome. Because of it's success we have a so-called sequel. "Street Kings 2: Motor City" is a sequel in name only: it has absolutely nothing to do with the first one. But even if it was just named "Motor City", it would still be a very bad one. It lacks an interesting story, decent action (yes, that was CGI blood)and thrills. It's boring from start to finish and at times doesn't even make any sense at all. Not only the title is a joke but "Motor City" also shows that you can call anything "Unrated" these days.
Why is Ray Liotta in it ?? Was the rent due ? Did he have some bad investments and really needed the money this bad ? Remember him in "Unlawful Entry, CopLand, Unforgettable" ? Liotta's an excellent actor but here he looks tired like he knows what mess he stepped into. Avoid at all costs, you'll only want your 90 minutes back after this.