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I survived two episodes
I thought this would be quite entertaining but somehow they have produced a real turd of a show with absolutely nothing going for it whatsoever other than the concept.
The show is filled with very stilted radio conversations between two people putting on their best serious voices. This is the British army who, in the midst of the apocalypse, have nothing better to do than shepherd some morons through their simplistic tasks. One was literally to find a photograph of themselves pinned onto a wall. Another was to climb over two ankle height pallets.
To add to the dragging pace you've got Greg James, a presenter blessed with all the personality of a dial tone. His lame half-jokes are just shameful pap and filler. On the subject of filler there's also lots of shots of the zombies turning around, all four of them. And yet more filler! The PANTZ system is a "comical" government service message about zombies that is just tedious.
I'm amazed they could take such a potentially entertaining concept and create such a leaden uninteresting load of rubbish. This really isn't worth watching.
Dyslexia of the dead
Here's the simple acid test to determine whether you have created a viable work of fiction or not. At the end have you told a story or have you mainly filmed people running around a warehouse? In the case of Chrysalis it's very much the latter.
The monsters don't look great and don't really do a lot either. There are some OK scenes if all you want is to see people running away from zombies through a warehouse. Myself, I would like a bit of story with that. Or even just some action. Also why the long scenes about a characters inability to read? It's not character development if it doesn't develop into anything. Or get referenced again throughout the whole movie. I was waiting for the scene where she was stood with a jar of penicillin and a jar of rat poison trying to read the labels or something.
All the actors involved are bad but the girl is so stilted and wooden that it gets annoying to listen to her. At the end of the movie no story has been told. This is basically what I would expect from a movie cobbled together by amateurs with kickstarter money. Don't waste your time and don't be fooled by the ridiculous fake reviews either.
Dragons' Den (2005)
Evan Davis flitters around the set of Dragons Den like a daddy longlegs that has run into a light. Aside from being visually annoying he only seems to be there to tell you things you just saw, are going to see or they didn't have time to show you because of him talking. If that wasn't enough filler for you he has a nice line in generalisations too like "it takes nerves of steel to face the dragons" or "all of todays entrepreneurs are hoping for an investment".
If you ever thought millions of pounds would make you instantly happy take a look at the panel. You've got nervy Deborah Meaden scowling at proceedings while a waxy Duncan Ballentine appears at times to be worked by Peter Jones by way of a lever or something. Kelly Hoppen would be a good investor to work with if you need advice on what shade of brown to paint something but beyond that her presence on the show is mystifying. She's certainly not going to spend any cash and the cameraman seems obsessed with getting shots of her nose. I also feel my lifeforce draining away every time she starts droning on about design.
I do love the show though. Seeing the nonsense people come up with is interesting but you can't help but feel sorry for the ones that have invested their life's savings in an invention that's doomed.
Camp Dread (2014)
A washed up director, played by washed up actor Eric Roberts, sets up a reality TV show where the contestants get murdered. A familiar and simple plot that's been used many times in the 10 years or so since reality TV was topical. But this movie is so ineptly put together that it makes less sense at it goes on.
Eric Roberts may as well have been filmed actually reading from the script since he conveys no emotions whatsoever. The movie does have one intriguing idea regarding the reason the contestants were picked but fails to go anywhere with it making the already threadbare plot even less believable.
The contestants are so uninteresting that you can sum them up in their entirely with a three word description. Fake leg guy. Girl in lingerie. That's not a sign of a good movie. I didn't expect much out of this but honestly my low expectations were a long way from met. Well, that's just a viewers opinion read the other reviews to see what the makers thought of their own movie. Turns out they liked it.
Alien Abduction (2014)
Brown noise mountain lights
This is another found footage movie, this time the footage comes from a camera which has been dropped out of a UFO where aliens are torturing someone with a dentists drill. Luckily the camera has survived several days of use without recharge and being punted out of a flying saucer from near-orbit. The aliens are mad to throw away a camera that reliable in my opinion.
So the movie has shown you the ending within the first few minutes. The family themselves are bland and uninteresting but there are some funny moments and I mean funny as in badly done. Witness the argument that explodes out of nowhere in the car when they suddenly decide they are lost.
"I didn't make the mountains! They go up and they go down!" That's just the kind of thing people say to each other during car arguments isn't it? Not as funny as the way the aliens flat-pack their victims during abduction though. What a ridiculous effect.
When the aliens do show up it causes the camera to malfunction in a convenient way that shows you very little and instead gives you a blast of annoyingly loud noise to make you jump and some annoying jittery images of rubber alien masks to go with it.
Return in Red (2007)
Return for refund
A creepy van hangs around an isolated community pointing a radar dish out at them to send them mad. I liked the premise but for the first 60 minutes nothing more exciting happens than an elderly gentleman having his television aerial adjusted. In the meantime people trudge back and forth from a factory lit like something from a Dickens novel.
I was disappointed because at first this movie looks like it's going to be pretty good but you're waiting and waiting for something to happen but it doesn't until the last ten minutes. The end does however feature a hilariously bad effect involving a forklift and what looks like a blow-up doll that may raise a chuckle. I was also amused by the newspaper headline which read "some people found dead in local factory". That's another scoop for the daily unspecific.
This could have been a great movie but the preoccupation with dimly lit factories, bankrupt coffee shops and shift patterns didn't do it for me.
Began taking on water in the first scene
Welcome to Atlantis where, in early antiquity, all the inhabitants speak English and look like extras waiting for a better show to start. You'll probably spot a few of them in the background of the coming season of Doctor Who. Where they belong to be honest.
The music is over the top, the script is full of jarring anachronisms such as exasperated characters saying "Really?" and the CGI is crap too. The rushed cuts just go to prove what an amateurish, or rather careless, production this is. In the same vein as shows like Zena this all takes place in a vague "long ago" period of history that doesn't even make proper use of the mythology and everything feels forced and rushed.
This is for BBC America (who were involved in the production), I'm surprised they even bothered showing it here. I doubt it will be a big hit abroad though because this is so poorly put together.
The only positive review of it you'll find in the media is from the Sunday Times who declared it "an action packed buddy movie" having presumably copy pasted their review from the wrong press release.
In short, very disappointed.
The last thing I ever expected to appear in the TV listings was a new series based on the excellent Prisoner Cell Block H! Being a big fan of the original series I had to see what it was like.
The acting is good and it has the same mix of tragedy and tension as the original. I think it's a good move that they didn't try to exactly copy the characters and stories of the original, instead opting for some familiar names and a whole new story with some reminders of Prisoner for the fans.
You have to hand it to Australia, there are some genres of TV they do better than the rest of the world, namely soap opera and prison drama. Great stuff, I will definitely be tuning in next week. Well done to Channel 5 for buying in something worth seeing for a change.
Alien Trespass (2009)
Despite being billed as a comedy this is more like an attempt to make a movie that looks and feels like a drive in film of the 50's. That's great because I love those old movies, unfortunately the end result is a bit unsatisfying.
The monster isn't great and although I appreciate 50's monsters were a bit on the rubbery side it doesn't look like they really put a whole lot of effort into it. I didn't like its ability to become invisible either, it seemed cheap and lazy. The acting is also distractingly over-the-top or poor depending on how generous you are feeling.
If you like 50's scifi then you will almost certainly enjoy this movie to some degree, they get enough right that it works but with a better cast it could have been a lot more entertaining. It definitely doesn't have the same charm as the genuine article.
Under the Dome (2013)
The (ratings) stars are falling...
I've watched half of this miniseries and so far everything that has happened could easily have been shown in an hour long episode. The dome, which is the reason people are watching this in the first place, barely features. Instead we get a lot of inconsequential stories from characters that are totally unconvincing. There's no sense that this is a story that is going to go anywhere at all. For example the last episode I watched featured 20 minutes of a woman I'd never seen before giving birth.
We are supposed to believe that nobody has thought of writing a sign and holding it up to the people on the other side of the dome. We're supposed to believe that the government would immediately try to blow the dome up despite it not actually being a threat and everyone inside being OK. We're supposed to believe that Frank Bruno lesbian kiss was integral to the plot. Come on.
I'm only clinging on to see just how badly it all ends. I see they have listed a second series, are they smoking propane? No way will this run to a full second series. More likely it will get cancelled and the show won't even get a proper ending.
Before Dawn (2013)
A couple rent a cottage in Yorkshire as an attempt to rekindle their failing marriage. For 45 minutes you are trapped in that cottage with them and nothing happens except for an argument about the great wall of china. This is not character development.
When the zombies turn up they bark and snarl like Yorkshire terriers. To make them look jerky they simply removed some frames from the film. This looks terrible. Highlights of the zombie action include a 10 minute long chase scene around a land rover with hilariously amped up action music as though something exciting is happening.
This is a poor effort with non-existent pace, illogical reactions and mediocre acting. The ending is laughable too.
I Am ZoZo (2012)
Soso nearly a good movie
A group of friends go out to a holiday home on an island on Halloween. The acting is fine and despite the well used setup it's actually pretty believable. The low key story about them playing around with an ouija board is quite good up to a point. The problem is that towards the end they seem to lose interest in telling a story and not a whole heap happens.
Talking slowly and drawling your words isn't scary either, it's just kind of annoying. As is the awful camera-work which bobs around constantly. It's also got the worst music imaginable, especially the last song. It made me laugh out loud it was that bad.
It's a shame there isn't more of a story here because I liked it until they lost interest in trying to scare me. Too much home movie and not enough horror for my tastes. Courtney Foxworthy (the witchy one) is definitely an asset to the movie though and helped me make it to the credits and that awful nasal song!
Ghost Hunters (2004)
Liked it at first
I liked this show when it first appeared but over the years it has gone downhill and is now not worth watching. I think the reason I liked it at first was because they seemed quite honest and sometimes said they had found nothing at all. They also don't use mediums unlike most other similar shows.
There were a few bits of the early shows that seemed questionable. Grant is clearly a pretty pushy guy and him speaking to other cast members like crap seemed to be something they wanted to highlight for the purposes of drama. I didn't really like that angle. Then there is the whole issue of repetition. They talk to someone. Grant then tells you that he spoke to someone. Then another cast member then sums that up. This is not taking into account all the repeated information you get because of the advert breaks. You also get a sound track over the entire investigation which makes it seem like something is happening.
For me though I started to lose interest after watching their live investigation where a recorded voice growled "You're not supposed to be here!" twice. To anyone impartial that was clearly a recorded voice. Since then every show I've seen has had Brett saying "did you see that?" and of course, we didn't. Off he runs to investigate but alas, despite this happening nearly every episode he's not wearing a headcam or anything so every week golden evidence of the paranormal is lost. You'll just have to take his word for it I suppose.
I think this show started off quite well but turned to pure rubbish. I see it is now officially described as a docu-soap, sounds about right to me.
War of the Dead (2011)
Nice setting, little else to enjoy
During WWII the Germans develop an anti-death potion or something which not only revives the dead but lets them jump 30 feet into the air and that kind of thing. So if you were hoping for shambling Nazi zombies, like I must admit I was, then you're out of luck. After developing this war-winning technology they leave it in the woods for the Fins or Russians to find. Which seems pretty plausible.
This movie is full of action sequences shot in such a way that all you can see is the person firing their gun. This is boring to watch and since none of the characters are gifted with a personality there's not a whole lot else to sustain your interest. I was really hoping the mechanical device would open to reveal a plot or something but sadly it didn't.
The Hell Patrol (2009)
In this zombie short a group of survivors head out looking for supplies. If you like zombie films this is well worth checking out. The acting is pretty good and the effects are much better than I was expecting. I thought the final shot was especially well done.
There's plenty of zombies, a decent dollop of gore and some nice scenery. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of 'Brickhouse' going nuts as he seemed to be the most interesting character. Anyway, if you like this kind of thing and have 20 minutes to kill I would recommend it.
This is better than world war z and was $189 million dollars cheaper to make so that's worth an extra point I think.
Zombie Massacre (2013)
Some kind of secret US weapon turns the inhabitants of a Romanian town into zombies. The squad sent in to deal with this clustermug are just preposterous. The worst of them, and it's hard to pick, would be the ginger ninja woman who has clearly not had even five minutes training on how to hold her weapon and instead strikes what she undoubtedly thinks are 'dramatic' poses.
The sniper, who supposedly killed 300 men from the same position, uses a bolt action rifle that looks like it last saw service circa the Korean war. I could go on. None of them are actually any good at what they are supposed to be the best at, the sniper for example gets ambushed within 4 seconds of setting up his gun. In total the entire squad expends just over 20 rounds between them before running out of ammunition.
This really is poor. I always watch every movie to the end but in this case I just couldn't do it. What a waste of good effects. The lowest point has to be the president with his thick German accent played by none other than Ewe Boll. Here is how he introduces himself:
"Hi! Ya, it is me. The president. Perhaps you are remembering me?" he says and later wittily adds "Ah I should be having sex with prostitutes! Perhaps I should just press ze red button." I lasted about another 30 minutes before hitting the off button.
Even if you love zombie films don't waste your time, this is just moronic.
The Gerber Syndrome is shot as though it is a documentary and records the effects of a zombie-like virus and it's effects on society. If you're looking for people being attacked by zombies there isn't a lot of that. The main threat of the infected is that they might infect you too, not that they'll attack you though their irrational behaviour means they aren't totally safe to be around.
The documentary follows a doctor and a security guard and both of them seem like real people which is the real strength of this movie. The situation has been well thought through and the reactions of ordinary people are pretty credible.
I did feel the movie lost pace a bit in the middle but the ending made up for it.
Better than expected
A demonstration of a new killer mold goes wrong and infects the scientists and some visiting VIPs. It's not a bad story and it's told quite well. Even though the film isn't billed as a comedy some of the characters are too over the top to be taken totally seriously.
The setting isn't very convincing either and while you accept that in a low budget film it comes to something when the antidote is administered using the same kind of spray bottle I water my geraniums with. Likewise, there is no containment area or any equipment for dealing with an outbreak beyond some suits with prominent nuclear symbols. This definitely doesn't help the movie. Nor does a character inexplicably not reacting to their eyes exploding.
Despite these flaws I thought it was pretty good for a low budget flick. Half the time these cheapies are sunk by wooden acting or crappy looking camera-work but this is a cut above that kind of thing.
Before watching this movie I checked the IMDb and read the reviews. One comments that 'this is really one for the old school B-movie buffs.' You'll have to judge for yourself if you are seasoned enough to watch a cheap movie about green mold or not.
Another review states 'the savagely mocking potshots on the 80's war on drugs are especially fierce and amusing.' I think it's only fair to say that this element exists only in that reviewers mind and not in the film unless you count a politician snorting coke as fiercely amusing which to be honest I didn't. I'm probably not enough of a B-movie buff to understand it or something.
Jurassic Shark (2012)
Second worst film of all time
An unlikely criminal gang has stolen a painting which subsequently gets lost in the bottom of a lake, chomped by a giant shark and has dynamite thrown at it. It doesn't occur to anyone in this film that the painting might have depreciated in value somewhat with this treatment. That's how good the script is.
The shark attacks all take place in a three foot deep lake while the CGI and stock footage depict a great white in the ocean. We're talking about a movie so cheap it can't afford to rent an office and instead has to depict conversations between the lab worker and his boss and subordinate in a stairwell. You can imagine how good the shark looks. In one scene it looks like they are using a cardboard cutout of a shark but it might just be awful CGI.
Some of the worst bits can't even be blamed on a low budget. In one scene a gunman aims off screen to the left at a girl. Suddenly her friend runs on from the right and clubs him with a branch, but with her is the girl he was aiming at!
At the risk of sounding pedantic the megladon is a creature of the cenozoic period so even the rip-off title doesn't work. Don't waste your time honestly this is not even funny. If it wasn't for the film Zombie Nation this would be my pick for worst film ever made.
Mangue Negro (2008)
Fun zombie splatter movie from Brazil
In this movie people living on the edge of the mangrove swamp find their food becoming scarce and venture into a dangerous part of the swamp. This sets in motion an entertaining zombie bloodbath with plenty of splatter effects and proper groaning moaning shambling zombies.
I have to mention the soundtrack which keeps up a great beat during the action and is nice and eerie when they're in the swamp at night. It definitely adds something to the movie.
On the downside there are two old people in this movie who seem to be played by younger people with unconvincing latex masks which is a bit odd. One of them (the old lady) has a very annoying voice and much too much screen time. Other than that I liked the characters, mainly because they do a pretty convincing job of looking terrified. Especially the older fisherman, his sheer terror at being trapped in close quarters with the living dead is totally believable and funny to watch.
Documenting the Grey Man (2011)
The worst of the found footage movies
In the opening of this film, shot on location in Burger King, some amateur film makers decide to investigate a house which the owners think is haunted. The plan is to con the home owners with some stunts, prove how gullible people are and then reveal to them that it's all been a joke at their expense. What could possibly go wrong? From these opening scenes it's clear that none of these guys can act at all. They aren't even natural enough in front of the camera to pass as extras.
When they turn up they find the kid (who is the only one who can act) actually levitating and not only that, catch it on camera. Bingo! Except this doesn't change their plan one bit. Nor does a girl getting dragged out of a room by a ghost in grand comic style or people getting badly scratched. That's how well written this film is. It's supposed to be a found footage film but seems to forget that at times and makes no use of it at all other than an excuse for looking bad.
I have to mention the girl who is supposed to be 'hot' because the film can't stop trying to direct your attention to her. Beauty is of course in the eye of the beholder but I think nine out of ten beholders would probably agree she has a freakishly long neck. They couldn't even get the tit shot right, presenting it in wobbly sideboobvision. Not that you'll care. If Nicole Neal came cartwheeling topless into the movie it still wouldn't repay the viewer for what they'd already sat through.
At least she is trying to act, unlike the chortling psychic eunuch character who is supposedly a classically trained actor. The close up scenes of his face when he's in the van go on long enough to scorch his wobbly face onto the viewers retinas for an unwelcome length of of time afterwards.
What I found absolutely hilarious though is the very end credits which begin trying to convince you that what you just saw was 100% authentic footage. As if anyone would actually be sat there wondering if it was real or not. So funny. It almost made this home video worth watching.
Dark Skies (2013)
This film begins with a quote from Arthur C Clarke which states that we are either alone in the universe or not, and both prospects are equally frightening. Here's another one to ponder if you will: either this film represents the best writing Hollywood can buy or they know any old crap will do. Either prospect is equally scary.
There are no scares in this movie though, really none at all. The bits that are supposed to be scary were funny, for example the scene where they find the father outside with his mouth open. It looked absurd and bear in mind we're talking about one of the big scenes of the movie here. Aliens that invade your fridge and leave your bacon on the floor? Just ridiculous. What part of the alien masterplan did that achieve I wonder.
After boring you with a story that doesn't really go anywhere the film just ends abruptly as though it was so jam-packed with good bits it had to rush the ending or something.
A satellite crashes bringing with it a virus that turns people into people chomping cannibals. All of this takes place around a sleepy small American town protected by a very young deputy sheriff.
I thought it was a pretty good movie, or at least a nice fast moving one most of the time. There's plenty of action and the effects were pretty good and so was the acting.
The camera work is annoying in places though. For some reason it wobbles around wildly when two people are talking but is steady in the action scenes. In some scenes actors nearly vanish off the screen for lack of a tripod.
There's also all that military hardware just sat around as scenery. I would have thought a dozen or so soldiers would give a horde of zombies a run for its money, it's a shame we weren't shown that or more of the hazmat guys freaking out about the situation.
Well nobody likes a long review so I'll just say I liked it and if you like zombie movies and that kind of thing this is a pretty entertaining movie and definitely improves from its shaky opening.
The first movie was better
This film differs from the comic in some key ways, for me the liberties they took with the setting are just too much to make this an enjoyable movie.
Judges don't execute people unless they have to. The sentence for killing a judge is life without parole, not death. Judges are obliged to issue a warning to perps.
Judges are almost impossible to bribe as they're generally depicted as living in the sector house and having everything provided for them by the city. If you did manage to bribe a whole squad of them you wouldn't be paying them in dollars as the nuclear war wiped out that currency. You know, these details cost nothing to get right.
The city services are run by a supercomputer, not a call center.
Judges ride amazing looking motorbikes, not scramblers with a bit of fiberglass glued to them. They don't use them to chase Nissan minivans.
If a PSI-judge can read someone's mind why is keeping him alive to interrogate him a big issue? She should be able to do it there and then.
That's just the tip of the pedantic iceberg. I'm a fan of Judge Dredd so to me this film was just wrong in too many ways to be entertaining. If you just want a fairly watchable and violent action movie then it's not a bad movie but I was looking for a Judge Dredd film and this is just too far from the source material to do it for me.
Ich bin ein parkour zombie
This movie initially seems like it's going to be great but as it rolls on it becomes increasingly obvious that it isn't going to go anywhere and indeed it really doesn't. There's very little sense of danger except in the odd scene and as the survivors aren't scared why would the viewer be? In terms of characters every last one of them in underdeveloped even by horror movie standards. It's impossible to care about them because the loss or gain of a survivor has no impact at all on anyone regardless of their prior relationship. Talking of dud characters the second you see a Muslim woman in a EU film you know, without doubt, that she is going to be a doctor. They're all terrible, especially the whining husband who you know is only acting that way to justify his inevitable chomping he's got coming.
Giving your first movie a silly title with chronicle in it implies they think this is going to turn into a profitable little series. I really don't think so though, there is no pace, virtually no story and abysmal characters. The inclusion of parkour zombies wasn't exactly a bonus either. Parkour, if you're not aware, is the hobby of being 13 and filming yourself jumping off supermarket walls.
This isn't unwatchable, just very disappointing when it's over and you find there is no actual story, characters or frights.