Reviews

96 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Death Race 2050 (2017 Video)
7/10
Campy as HELL, it nails so bad it's good to a T while producing some craptastically fun entertainment.
11 September 2017
There are a lot of laughs and plenty of smirks, all of which are generated from meant to be dead serious scenes in the film. There is also a lot of meant to be humor that's sprinkled throughout as well as some great gore, but I'm not saying this crazy, over the top, campy, gory, ridiculous flick will be for most folks, anyone expecting anything but what I've described will be sorrily disappointed. I actually got some laughs from reading the 1/10 reviews on IMDb, you know those hugely detailed thesis type reviews from people who spent more time and energy writing than the film's writers took to punch out the actual script while they got stoned and drunk. Honestly I can't possibly see how anyone can go into watching this and be that ignorantly blind to think it's going to be even the slightest bit serious.

Recommended highly to watch with friends, drunk or sober you will have fun with it. This is in no way whatsoever anything like the other very seriously done Jason Statham vehicle, that took itself almost too seriously, but had enough solid action to make it good, but we're talking apples and oranges here whereas this film shoots in a TOTALLY different direction, actually it shoots in every direction possible and then some which is part of the fun.

I should add that I saw it on TV with commercial breaks, this has a way of helping or hurting a film, but in this case I think it helped(even though it was censored and some scenes likely cut). Well that's about all of my 2 cents on this flick. If you happen to disagree please feel free to hate it, it's certainly not to be taken

seriously and it does it brilliantly🙃.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Manhunt: Unabomber (2017– )
8/10
So far a must see Series, Sam Worthington and Paul Bettany are both incredibly engaging.
7 August 2017
I watch this sort of stuff all the time, too much at times, but I can say that this has an insightful feel to it that draws you in fast and leaves you wanting to spend the rest of your day/evening watching the rest. It's so well made, the writing is very intelligent and doesn't spoon feed you as it goes along. I admit despite occurring in my Country, the entire series of events was nothing more than a series of news-lines as I was graduating HS that year and remembered little more than that infamous sketch and vague details of the case as a whole.

I think they chose a good time for a show surrounding the details of what makes(made) Ted Kaczynski tick and how agent Jim 'Fitz' Fitzgerald meticulously profiled him in a manner unlike any other before him. I haven't read any of the Ted Kaczynski written articles and letters, but the start of this series has me very interested in him and his ideals. T.K. seems to have some very relatable ideas, some that I very much agree with, but ideals and mailing people explosive devices are quite different. This guy could have easily been a famous author or as law enforcement keeps saying "with an IQ of 168 this guy could have done anything in life", Einstein had a 160 IQ. I'm very much looking forward to the rest of the series after such a great start.

The really negative reviews here are laughable and written by those who are most likely on a watch list....👀
48 out of 61 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Killbillies (2015)
7/10
Slovenia captures the essence of horror in quite an entertaining manner. ◆≈≈6.5/10≈≈◆
9 October 2016
OK yes, this scenario has been played out before many years ago and it lifts elements going back from "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre(original)" with a good splash of "Deliverance" and borrows the "Wrong Turn" concept, but with much more violent content. I personally don't have a problem with it because as a true horror hound I relish when a film truly does justice to films of old and entertains viewers on some new levels of horror.

Being a very low budget film at €220,000 didn't stop it from delivering very explicit and realistic gore. The team behind all of the practical special effects did one hell of job as there were plenty of memorable gore that looked perfect.

The villains, oh boy the villains, these two mountain "killbillies" were the most vile and disgusting duo I've ever seen in a horror film, the very sight of them is almost enough to induce vomiting for those sensitive to such things. Hats off to the casting director who found these guys, wherever they came from. One of them is more or less useless, but Frankl aka puss-face is one formidable son of a b!tch and he played his role well. I'm leaving out the plot in this as it's pretty straightforward and there isn't much need for repeating the film's summary, moving on.

Again hats off to Slovenia for bringing the goods for one entertaining splatter horror/thriller. I found the acting to be good, but since I was reading subtitles they kind of have a way of covering up any badly delivered dialogue. I felt the ending was great, though admittedly I do have quite a dark sense of humor, it was kind of refreshing from the usual cliché endings in these type of films, sick and twisted, but good.

So far the film in my opinion is criminally underrated at a 5.0/10, this is an above average horror flick which was made on a budget, but you can hardly even notice the cash restraints. The effects guys really put their heart into it and gave it their all and it showed.

Also when the girls aren't in the dark cellar, the film is chock full of amazing and breathtaking visuals of the gorgeous Slovenian mountains, talk about a view. The location they film at was visually stunning, it definitely added to the film. Not only the isolation, but the landscape itself can be treacherous for our protagonists. This being a Slovenian film, they showed that while absorbing all of our American horror flicks, they in turn gave us their own little unique version of madness and depravity that while familiar managed to be unique to them and their territory. My final score is a 6.5/10(rounded to 7/10), but apparently I enjoyed it more than most(to each their own) and I am totally open for catching the next film of writer/director Tomaz Gorkic, if he gets the opportunity to make one. Recommended only for true horror fans.
19 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
Sinks from the long run time and lack of tension. ◆≈≈4.5/10≈≈◆
1 April 2016
This film drowns in monotony as it ultimately leaves the viewer in a literal state of "can they please just kill these people so this film can end" for an extended amount of time, mostly the last twenty minutes of the film. Losing patience to such a degree means that all feeling for the cast has been lost or in this case never felt to begin with, this is obviously a big problem for a horror film when even the fate of the innocent young lead(Claudia Lee) loses importance. Nick Simon fails to create any atmosphere throughout as well as suspense and tension. There may have been a few small jolts of electricity, but they dissolve almost instantaneously.

Despite being well produced, shot and acted with lots of pretty faces and even some nice T&A, this film just doesn't succeed in being what could have been a more engaging horror flick had some serious editing and script adjustment been applied.

But in the end I'm still a horror junkie and I have to judge the overall package against it's fellow B horror competitors and there is enough here to possibly warrant some degree of entertainment for those with the same genre affliction, there were some OK kills and to be completely honest the picture the killers leave for the girl in the final seconds was brilliantly done, though a photo cannot undo the overall average plot and mundane feel to this film.
19 out of 26 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Animals (III) (2014)
7/10
Disturbingly realistic and true to life.
19 May 2015
It's not often that a film comes along that accurately captures the incredibly bleak and painful world of heroin addiction. Critically acclaimed films like Trainspotting and Requiem For a Dream are quick to come to mind, but fifteen long years have past since the subject has been hit so emotionally and true to life. David Dastmalchian, the film's writer and lead actor opposite of Kim Shaw, has taken his own past experience and personal struggles with addiction and used it to create a film that captures the day to day struggle an addict faces in a fashion that is second to none.

I've been on methadone maintenance successfully for eleven years and over that time I've forgotten the horror's of my past or maybe buried would be a better term. So this film was real on a very personal level to me, it was as if I was reliving past experiences as events unfolded within the film. I've read that Dastmalchian worked with director Collin Schiffli for a number of years on this project and their devotion to the film shows in its execution. While it's not quite as artistic and visually spectacular as Trainspotting and Requiem for a Dream, it held its own and it didn't romanticize the subject like certain films do. This film is just a small slice out of the life of an addict, what you see here is perfectly normal and it's a cycle of hell that just repeats itself daily. Nothing is stable, you're never ahead of tomorrow. It's nice to see that Dastmalchian has been one of the rare few who has escaped the trappings of addiction and went on to much better things in life. In this case writing his first script and taking the lead in Animals, a film that is certainly worth a look.
12 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
My unbiased 2¢
7 May 2015
I watched this completely unaware that the lead was also the writer/director/producer, having learned that info after definitely increased my appreciation for the film. It wasn't a perfect film, but it's obvious that there is a lot of potential in Zephyr Benson. His script wasn't perfect and his acting isn't exactly Oscar worthy, but it was the way the subject matter was captured that was really inspiring. He presented a common story of just how many of us can so quickly go from a life of immense potential and unlimited choices to a life of deep regret that's seemingly beyond redemption. All of which is usually resulting from a few small missteps at a very critical time in life, which here is in the later high school/mid to late teenage years.

While this doesn't come across as a masterpiece, this debut does definitely warrant some extra appreciation due to the fact that it was all created by such a young filmmaker on what I'm sure was a very constraining budget. It more than succeeded in entertaining and does have a clear underlying message woven within making it worth a look.
9 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Vengeance is a real bitch! ◆≈≈6/10≈≈◆
6 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
It's a title that sends instant recollections of one of the most brutal & torturous horror films ever made, a title that is infamous to all horror junkies alike. I still remember from when I was a child, pulling down the original I Spit on Your Grave (1978) VHS tape from atop the entertainment center where it was poorly hidden from me. Those visions that were burned into my young mind still remain fresh almost three decades later, it was one of the most unflinchingly dark, utterly disturbing, nightmarish and uncomfortable films of the century. I would have to say the rape portrayed within is as nasty and uncomfortable enough to match any other film I've ever seen. I can only imagine the reaction of some of the audience members during screenings of Meir Zarchi's cult classic in its theatrical release in 1978.

When Steven R. Monroe decided on the remake in 2010, my curiosity was unparalleled and my expectations were high to see the difference of interpretation of the times, considering how much the horror genre has evolved and changed over all these years, sort of building up a mainstream tolerance with the addition of more and more films in the vein of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Hills Have Eyes, Saw and Hostel. Audiences have become well accustomed to the level of violence, somewhat similar to the original "I Spit". That said, Monroe blew the doors off theaters with his masterful remake in 2010 which very much lived up to it's predecessor and in some ways even far surpassing it, much of the success lied on the shoulders of the superb performance of young Sarah Butler, certainly her breakthrough performance.

Taking all of that into account, it's a safe bet that most viewer's expectations going into "I Spit 2" are going to be set pretty high considering Steve Monroe is again in the director's chair. There is one thing worth noting here and it's the fact that unlike the original film written by Meir Zarchi and it's remake which was essentially a carbon copy of Zarchi's script with Stuart Morse's name attached, I Spit On Your Grave 2 is a completely fresh reboot from writers Thomas Fenton (SAW IV) and Neil Elman, a producer with a few Sy-Fy channel scripts under his belt. These changes are definitely noticeable as the "I Spit 2" sequel serves up slightly less graphic rape scenery and to some extent lacks the very sharp uncomfortable edge that the first two films leave you straddling. In no way am I saying it doesn't deliver the expected smörgåsbord of graphically violent and downright uncomfortable scenes, it did, but it failed to affect me mentally like other films of this kind often do. It didn't quite fully enrage me during the rape scenes, possibly because I wasn't able to fully connect with Katie's character. Not that this makes this a bad film, but it did play a large role on how emotionally charged I was at times during the film and seems to leave the audience too unattached to receive the kind of emotional payout that its predecessors delivered on.

As the story goes, Katie (Jemma Dallender) a very beautiful young woman looking to break into the modeling business ends up with a phone number of a photographer Ivan (Joe Absolom) and after a quick call she agrees to come downtown for a photo shoot free of charge. When Katie shows up, things don't go as planned when they insist she pose nude, she abruptly leaves, but not before getting the attention of Ivan's brother Georgie, who becomes obsessed with Katie. Later that night, Georgie (Yavor Baharov) , who got Katie's home address from the release form she had turned in at the beginning of the shoot, ends up at her door with a handful of pics that were taken before the nudity issue arose. Katie reluctantly takes the pics and after some urging finally gets Georgie to leave, only to awaken in the middle of the night to see Georgie sitting in her dark bedroom filming her. They immediately struggle violently and in the process, make enough noise to draw the attention of a neighbor/boyfriend Jayson (Michael Dixon). After stabbing Jayson, he binds and rapes Katie while her boyfriend lies watching on the floor bleeding out. When Georgie calls his brothers for help, Katie ends up being smuggled out of the country and sold out for further sexual abuse and torture by some seriously sick-minded individuals. Left for dead, badly beaten, battered, bruised, and broken, a stroke of luck gives her the chance to regain herself and take brutal vengeance upon all who harmed her, torturing each of them similar to the way in which they abused her, only she's so, so much more motivated.

Everything else was all pretty tight, production values, cinematography and score were all befitting for the making of a solid horror flick, but in the end it's just not on the same level as the remake. It's worth a look for horror fans just as long as it's clear that "I Spit 2" is going to be a decent step down from the revenge masterpiece that preceded it.
63 out of 95 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Good acting and excellent directing debut by Lee ◆≈≈6.5/10≈≈◆
5 September 2013
It seems Ji-seung Lee has been taking notes in his many years spent on the producing end of the film business. Here he delivers a relatively short, but powerful film tackling some very sensitive issues. He walks the viewer through one of the most heinous of crimes possible, sexual assault against a child. As serious of a crime as that is, Lee chooses to expose another evil, one not so easily identified, one of which as shown here in the film, is seemingly just as unconscionable-The indifference of the very people we as society so delicately entrust to deal with these sensitive criminal matters. With his unique eye Lee exposes the evil that law enforcement and everyday people can commit by choosing not to see what is squarely in front of them, choosing to ignore the plight of the woman, something that reaches more into the climate of social female prejudice, which is strongly represented throughout the film as Yoon is dismissed time after time by the males that are in charge of her case.

Making the move from strictly producing as he has done in the past, Lee's unique way of dividing up the narrative took what could have been a fairly simple story and found subtle ways for drawing in the viewer to feel Yoon's (Young-nam Jang) pain and frustration as she desperately seeks the proper attention from police. Do note in the film Yoon is constantly referred to as Azooma, a condescending form of address for an older married woman in Korea, serving as yet another form of prejudice toward Yoon.

It was an incident that occurred by chance, one day Yoon was running late from a business meeting to pick up her ten year old daughter from school. Unfortunately, a serial pedophile was lurking nearby, his sights set firmly on the young girl. As she started down the sidewalk, the predator, identified only as "man"(Taekwang Hwang), quickly rolls up along side her, explaining he knew her mom and to come with him in the car. It was later that night that the child's raped and wounded body was found in a trash pile. With no witnesses and since the man had taken every precaution possible not to leave any trace evidence, the police take little to no action to track down the offender and have no patience for Yoon's constant demands for action. The specific actions of Detective Ma (Ma Dong Seok) are so indifferent and unconscionable that certain scenes involving him interacting with both mother and daughter are infuriating to watch. Even after Yoon tracks down the attacker physically, the police that respond are easily outwitted into thinking that Yoon was just some "Azooma".

To throw in extra complication, the father of the child, Yoon's ex- husband Dr. Lee, is some form of a celebrity there in Korea. So he uses whatever influence he has to hinder and ultimately close the investigation. All the while the camera is fixed on Yoon and she does a superb job showing the myriad of emotional transitions that her character goes through. In all it was a very satisfying Korean film that gets under your skin and leaves you with a strong semblance justice has been had, while certainly not delivered in a conventional means, it's a violent, but fitting resolution indeed.

EDIT(2017):phi-thanh-nguyen, good to see you enjoyed the film despite having sh!t for brains. Stay classy.
11 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Accidental Evils ◆≈≈6.5/10≈≈◆
2 September 2013
From the producers of "Hobo With a Shotgun" comes Cottage Country. The film's lead being Tyline Labine, who you will probably recognize from the film "Tucker and Dale vs Evil", a film where he both figuratively & literally killed it in the role as Dale. Labine returns to a film filled with accident evil, not quite as good as Tucker and Dale, but a fun romp

Here Labine plays the somewhat more refined role of Todd Chipowski, a man who has planned out the perfect week long getaway at his parent's lake house with his longtime girlfriend Cammie(Malin Akerman). Todd has planned a bit more than just the vacation, he and Cammie have plans to paddle out to the lake's remote island and find the perfect spot for Todd to pop the question. Before they even get settled in, Todd's rowdy, obnoxious brother Salinger(Dan Petronijevic) shows up with his sleazy girlfriend Masha in tow(Lucy Punch). When Todd tells Sal to hit the road they end up in a scuffle which ends up with the better part of an ax head buried into his Sal's neck. When Cammie hears the news, she decides that nothing is going stop their engagement and they continue with their plans on the island. Little do they know that Sal has invited all his friends over for a big bash that very night and they return to find a house full of strangers and a whole lot of explaining,lying and diverting to do as to the whereabouts of Sal and why his car is in the driveway.

It has been done before effectively in numerous dark comedies, but this film has a fresh feel and once it fully gets going, will have you laughing a good deal as well as squirming in your seat. One great surprise for me was the effective zig-zag in the film's final minutes, it does something unpredictable and leaves you with a certain upbeat sense of karma. I think it's a fine choice for some good laughs and some great spurts of uncomfortable tension which I recommend if that's what you're in the mood for.
4 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Colony (I) (2013)
5/10
A flawed but nonetheless watchable flick for genre fans◆≈≈5.4/10≈≈◆
2 September 2013
Looking at director Jeff Renfroe, he's a capable and talented director who I know from his intriguing feature film debut "One Point O" in 2004, which was followed by the more widely known "Civic Duty" about two years later, also well received. After a long period out of the spotlight, I was delighted to see his name attached to "The Colony", a film with a seemingly sufficient budget of $16 million and an experienced, capable cast. I love these type of genre blends, the elements of overcoming not just nature, but humanity in order to survive extinction. When you've seen as many of these films as I have you come to expect familiar elements and a plot that is far from original, we're in an area now where nothing is new, where everything is borrowing from one film or another. For me the success of this film will undoubtedly depend on it's script, acting and effects, when all are done brilliantly, the plot originality can be somewhat sacrificed, unfortunately this film was eons away from brilliant. As we have seen many times before it's all about us versus them, against the elements of nature.

The film takes place in a post-apocalyptic era, where the remainder of Earth's inhabitants have been driven underground due to sustained sub- zero temperatures. The surface has become a frozen wasteland void of life. Out of the few that did survive, many died due to overcrowding, starvation and sickness. The film revolves around an underground colony of survivors whose numbers are dwindling because of rampant flu, consisting of roughly forty people responsible for growing food and storing seeds in hopes that the surface will again someday be capable of growing crops. It's a last ditch effort to preserve humanity against all odds, some of which they are not prepared to face, a new evil, far more dangerous than the frozen surface or flu.

The leader of colony seven is Briggs (Laurence Fishburne) , after receiving a distress call from colony five, he picks one member out of the group Sam (Kevin Zegers) to accompany him and another member Graydon (Atticus Dean Mitchell) volunteers to accompany them. What they find there is not at all what they expected. It's inhabitants have been decimated by a rogue group and as the film swiftly shifts into higher gears, it's no longer clear who, if anyone, will be able to survive what is coming.

The first thing that many may be quick to criticize will be the script, the lack of detail & explanation. Worse yet after the extended period of time it takes to inject any real fear or excitement into the story it has completely failed to engage the viewer by an utter lack of character development even after forty long minutes in. When the pace quickens the viewer becomes easily detached by the chaos that ensues, leaving the question behind "who should I be caring for & why". Personally I didn't mind the slow crawl in the film's beginning, it successfully laid down a solid foundation for the second half to launch from and it did with sustained intensity. It was in that intensity where the film seemed to lose its identity to some degree within the onslaught of the attack. Another thing that may put off some viewer's was a major lack of explanation as to how exactly humanity ended up in the ridiculous spot they were holding up in. Again many weak points in the script to be found all throughout the film. Nonetheless, there were some solid performances given by the cast and the cinematography was superb, having an actual decommissioned NORAD base to use as a set made for an absolutely perfect backdrop. Despite the aforementioned problems, the film still holds decent entertaining value, enough to meet my initial expectations for a direct to disc sci-fi flick. The end wasn't very reassuring, I would have preferred something less in the grey area. Although, as a whole, it was light years ahead of other recent more expansive films like "After Earth". Again, it had it's problems but it's still worth a VOD or Redbox pick for fans of the genre .
4 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Alpha Girls (2013)
5/10
Good enough to work as a viable low-budget horror flick fix ◆≈≈5/10≈≈◆
1 September 2013
Alpha Girls is the bloody good film debut driven forth from the depths of hell by way of Johnny Zito and Tony Trov, who each played an equal part in the film's production, writing and direction. A horror film from the bloody beginning where viewers are treated to a satanic ritual from the year 1896, the time of the Sorority's dark origination. A scene any horror hound will undoubtedly appreciate, serving up a nice dose of blood and skin. The film of course is of low budget and at times even uses it to advantage, ripe with moments of camp and twisted humor.

The opening scene aside, the film begins in present day, introducing the newest Alpha pledge hottie Morgan (Falon Joslyn) as she becomes acquainted with the snooty house members and the chapter's house mother Ms. Grace (Victoria Guthrie) . Morgan soon butts heads with Veronica (Nikki Bell) the house president and is sent to join the other three young pledges in their tortuous pledge hazing. While first being at odds with one another, the pledges soon find solace in each other by plotting against their house tormentors. It's then that pledge Cassidy (Beverly Rivera) uses her gypsy background to perform a ritual between pledges where each is to receive the one thing they most want in life, but what is received does not always come without a cost. Cassidy has tapped into something much more powerful than her own manifestations, something that is deeply rooted into the cultish history of the house. All hell soon breaks loose, sisters begin to die, it seems no one is safe from the evil power awakened from within the Alpha-Beta house.

The film, despite it's novice creators and restrictive budget, manages to pull off some pretty entertaining scenes continuing throughout the runtime. It's full of beautiful women that fulfill their parts without anything cringe-worthy and that's a lot to be said for this type of film. The effects were minimal, scenes of blood mostly with little actual gore, not lacking but not overkill. They even throw in Ron Jeremy for a cameo as a confessional priest, although I was hoping for a glory hole gag that didn't happen, oh well. Overall, this film accomplishes what it intended, it was a decent B-horror flick with some good entertainment value.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
A thought provoking and chilling film ◆≈≈8/10≈≈◆
9 August 2013
This proved to be one of the most surprisingly effective thrillers I have seen in recent memory. At a glance we have an unknown first time writer/director in Christopher MacBride matched with a relatively small budget of just under $1.2 million. Maybe I'm wired a bit different than the average film addict, but when I come upon a new indie film like this my anticipation for the result is much greater than say your average Hollywood blockbuster. Finding greatness in the unknown is what drives me as a fan, while it doesn't always pan out, nothing beats when it does, as this film proves to.

The Conspiracy starts off at a somewhat slow pace as we are introduced to the main characters Jim (James Gilbert) and Aaron (Aaron Poole), two documentary filmmakers who are out to make a film not unlike many you may already be aware of. It's theme based on the age old conspiracy of a worldwide secret society of powerful, wealthy individuals behind such things as staging events to start wars such as WWI, Vietnam and 9/11 Iraq. They become interested not so much into the truth of such conspiracies, but in the people who so adamantly and wholeheartedly believe in them. They find Terrance (Alan C. Peterson) through an internet link, a man who is exactly one of those people. His house is covered in news articles connecting everything and anything that could possibly be evidence in his search for his desired truth. After Terrence goes missing and his landlord is disposing of his possessions, Jim and Aaron take Terrence's research from his apartment walls and begin their own quest to find truth within the mountain of information. After finding the existence of a secret group called Tarsus, they make contact with one of it's members Mark Tucker (Bruce Clayton) , who later gives them access and a chance at finding and filming one of their secret rituals.

The first half of "The Conspiracy" can appear deceptively mundane. Do not make the assumption that this is just another propaganda film filled with unconfirmed speculations. The last act is the real deal, it's as chilling as it gets. The score pulls you into the scenes as the true reality of the events is slowly revealed to each of the characters. Their mini spy cams give off a perspective from their eyes that really pays off. For a small budget indie film from a first time writer/director it was an extremely original, effective thriller which I would surely recommend. One thing I should note though, while listed as a thriller/horror film it stays mainly within the confines of a thriller, replacing needless gore instead with a very sinister atmosphere, which proves to be a worthwhile trade.
37 out of 43 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Banshee (2013–2016)
10/10
Banshee lets the good times roll 10★'s
14 July 2013
Looking back at season one of Cinemax's Banshee many great things come to mind. It's unique uber-violent theme, adrenaline pumping pace, graphic sex scenes usually closely matched with it's abundantly violent, murder when it suits you theme. Banshee is an exercise in the overindulgence in many evils. One thing to keep in mind is that, while this show is currently produced by Cinemax, a station noted for little more than it's weekly soft core pornography flicks, this show, while very graphic in nature, is nothing of the sort. This is a very smart, well written, fast paced show that can be very, very addictive.

After completing his 15 year prison sentence, an ex-con (Antony Starr) tracks down his former partner, now known as Carrie Hopewell (Ivana Milicevic), residing now in Banshee County, Pennsylvania. When the ex- con arrives, his first stop is at Sugar's Bar, rightly named after it's owner Sugar Bates (Frankie Faison) who also did his share of prison time. It's there where he meets the county's new Sheriff, Lucas Hood, who has literally just arrived in town and has yet to meet anyone. When Hood is killed during an attempted robbery, the ex-con kills the robbers and saves Sugar's life in the process, the two strike a deal to bury what has happened, both literally and figuratively, leaving the ex-con to assume the identity of the town's new sheriff. The town's youthful mayor wanted to bring in an outsider as Sheriff to deal with their local power broker/mafia boss, Kai Proctor (Ulrich Thomsen) , who seems to have everyone else in his pocket, with business dealings on both sides of the law.

Granted now that's just the pilot, it ends leaving you starving for more, but it also leaves you eager to see exactly how a newly released ex-con could possibly pull it off, fooling everyone. Keeping his identity a secret is an issue dealt with in a variety of ways in just about every episode of the first season and it damn sure looks to be even more of an issue in the teaser for the second season. Both the townspeople & the viewers come to find out that, since a new sheriff has come to Banshee, there suddenly isn't a dull moment in a once corrupted, but relatively quiet Pennsylvania town. Whatever you do, don't walk away from Banshee thinking "that concept could never work" or that "there won't be enough material" to expand upon. Lucas's adversary Kai Proctor becomes a very well liked bad guy, his charisma and his acting makes it hard not to like the guy. There also is the issue of the missing $10 million in diamonds that Lucas & Carrie made off with before Lucas went to prison. An extremely evil & powerful man by the name of Mr. Rabbit (Ben Cross) is hot on the trail of the diamonds and he'll stop at nothing to get vengeance on the two people he trusted most in life, his daughter and the man who he raised like his own son. Rabbit is the kind of man who has no problem killing his own or anyone who betrays him.

In closing, it's hard to think of another show quite like Banshee, it's celebration of excess and it's comic book roots do weave some outrageous plot lines, but damned if it's not one of the most fun, sexy and entertaining crime/action TV shows I've ever been fortunate to lay eyes on. Right now the show is in its latter half of it's 4th and final season and it's a show that will be sorely missed by it's fans as there is nothing anywhere close to the charm that Banshee generates, but all good things must end.
12 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Wasteland (2012)
8/10
Surprisingly good take on an old theme. ◆≈≈8/10≈≈◆
14 July 2013
If by chance you happen to have read the plot summary prior to this review and also kept up with the latest British crime flicks, then please believe me when I say this. Although at first look, this may look to be yet another in a long line of dodgy Uk crime yarns. This film, "Wasteland" , is in fact, the real deal. Being an American, ever since back in 98' when "Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" exploded onto the scene, I've been catching everything related to the genre and the locale. In that span of time there has been many brilliant films, but unfortunately there has also been a number of cheap knock offs made for the singular purpose of making a quick buck, again not the case here. First time writer/director Rowan Athale has delivered a fresh, smartly written screenplay and directed it in a slick, exciting manner. As the summary suggests, this formula has been delivered in the past in a variety of techniques. Despite this, Athale has taken his vision, skillfully applied it, combined it with a most capable cast, making for one fun and very engaging film experience.

So as "Wasteland" begins, it introduces Harvey (Luke Treadaway), in a bloody and bruised state, sitting in police custody, across the table from D I West (Timothy Spall). The interrogation by West is just in the beginning stages, we here Harvey is just a fews weeks out of prison after serving a year for innocently taking the fall for a local dealer which for all intents and purposes destroyed his life. Much worse, he's now being held on charges of attempted murder of local businessman Steven Roper, the man responsible for the sinister act that put him in prison in the first place. Before we get to hear much more of the story, the film then rewinds back to when Harvey was picked up from prison by his mate Dempsey, (Iwan Rheon). We are shown the brother like bond he shares with his best mates and the deep set loyalty they have for one another. The group comes up with an ingenious plan to set the record straight once and for all. In the meantime Harvey tries to reconnect with his previous girlfriend Nicola, the stunning (Vanessa Kirby) . What unfolds here is a sometimes funny, exciting, suspenseful and truly engaging story.

This is where I normally would criticize any lows the film may have possessed, such as acting that wasn't believable or up to par, production values that felt low and cinematography or editing that could have been better, but after just catching it again for a second time, I just cannot find any inferior qualities that this film possessed. Instead, I will commend other elements that had a positive affect, one being the sound department, while much of the film was relatively quiet, in the instances where it was used, it managed to provoke emotion and produce a feeling of connection to the film and it's characters. Again, much respect due to Rowan Athale, if this was his first you can count me in for any of his future ventures.
18 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Drug hazed dark comedy turns into horror and ends with a bad Elvis improv ◆≈≈5.6/10≈≈◆
12 July 2013
Despite the considerable amount of great actors involved, this film managed to remain off my radar until literally minutes before viewing it. So any expectations I had were formed in the few minutes I spent overlooking the film, that said, "Pawn Shop Chronicles", in the end wasn't quite as good as it could have been, but it certainly had it's moments and managed to stay entertaining. Director Wayne Kramer has more than proved his mettle in the past, writing and directing two film's which I have fond memories of "The Cooler" (2003) a film in which William H. Macy was brilliant in and "Running Scared" (2006), a film starring Paul Walker who rejoins Kramer in this film's first segment. With a solid director and such a long list of talented actors I felt this was going to be a sure thing. Then came the dialog from writer Adam Minarovich, weighing the film down like an anchor.

The film concentrates on a southern pawn shop run by Alton (Vincent D'Onofrio) in an unusual town full of unusual folks. It presents three stories, all of which are uniquely tied to the shop and framed out while Alton and his buddy Johnson (Chi McBride) hang out, business as usual. These stories range from speed-freaks, to kidnapping and murder. Each tale revolves around one item bought or sold at the shop and how they end up relating to one another in the span of one day. The first installment stars Kevin Rankin, Lukas Haas, Norman Reedus and Paul Walker. It's another day in the life of a few meth heads and there is no shortage of dark humor & hi-jinx, Walker as "Raw Dog" is a sight worth seeing as he's in full on "tweaker" mode, quite a reversal from the norm. The second installment shifts gears from the quirky to the horrific, starring Matt Dillon and Elijah Wood. Dillon plays "Richard" a man who finds a ring in a pawn shop belonging to his missing wife who's been gone for six years. He literally drops everything and goes on the hunt for her, ready to dish out some sickly sweet revenge to anyone connected to the ring. If you're a horror fan you'll appreciate this segment the most, I know I did. The third sequence, taking into account the insane direction that the previous story took, it was a bit bland with a most bizarre ending. It was all about Brendan Fraser, a burned out Elvis impersonator who faces an important decision while performing at the county fair right around the same time that a parade of nude women, all with zombie like expressions begin filing onto the scene.

It's all a bizarre & disjointed film which was trying to be something like a hillbilly version of Pulp Fiction, but failing to be anything but a mish-mash of the most strange and peculiar elements. Things do all relate to one another eventually and it's an entertaining film with some redeemable qualities, but the script is far from brilliant. I can't think of any memorable lines given or anything that made me laugh out loud. While succeeding to be amusing it didn't go much further than that. I believe Wayne Kramer made the most out of what he had to work with, but with a script lacking in any serious wit or style there is only so much that one could do. This film will likely be forgotten before it's even discovered.
19 out of 36 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Jug Face (2013)
6/10
Unorthodox horror flick with a fresh story ◆≈≈6.0/10≈≈◆
10 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
At first glance, after reading the plot outline of "Jug Face", a myriad of other film's popped up in my mind. All of the usual clichés and expectations of a horror film involving a remote backwoods community were buzzing around in my head. It didn't take long to see that first time writer/director Chad Crawford Kinkle had successfully managed to add, not only something fresh, but a considerably engrossing spin to that age old horror theme. He did an exceptional job in writing something original and vividly bringing it to life. The film had taken some of the most engaging ideas of M.N.S's "The Village" and added actual terror, although here, the thing we do not speak of is very much alive with an insatiable appetite for townsfolk.

The story revolves around a young girl Ada(Lauren Ashley Carter) she's been chosen to be "joined" with a young man Bodey(Mathieu Whitman). The thing is, she's not a virgin anymore(oddly enough in this town the woman is examined for purity). Not only is she not a virgin, she is pregnant by her brother Jessaby(Daniel Manche), something that is extremely frowned upon even in this backwater community. Ada soon learns that her current problems are nothing when compared to what may be in store for her. As you likely already know, this town has a secret, they worship an unseen being that resides in a blood filled pit located at the edge of town. A man named Dawai(Sean Bridgers)who is the local pot maker receives visions where he falls into a trance like state, blindly making a jug bearing the face of the next person the pit desires as a sacrifice. One night Ada stumbles upon the next jug face discovering that it's her face on the jug. This sets forth a chain of events & deaths as Ada searches for a resolution.

Despite this being Kinkles first feature film, a low budget indie, he took an idea that sounds a bit ridiculous and for ninety minutes made me believe in it. None of which would have been possible without the top notch acting all around, especially by Sean Bridgers, Lauren Ashley Carter, Larry Fessenden and Sean Young. Besides having an odd title, although a very fitting one in retrospect, no inadequacies come to mind in terms of production value or score. The effects were minimal, but compelling. They chose to use their minimal budget wisely and in doing so they did a sufficient job inferring the violence, showing mainly the aftermath which was fine and the scenes that did happen to include gore were chosen wisely. In the end "Jug Face" is a recommendable offbeat horror flick for those fans sick of the same old slasher/inbred killer/pointless torture films that the horror genre is over saturated with.
19 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
An American horror film with an Italian flair and a classic cast. ◆≈≈7.2/10≈≈◆
2 July 2013
Italian Writer/Director Jonathan Zarantonello, in his first English language film, has brought together a rather intriguing cast and delivered an original horror piece that should entertain fans of both vintage & recent horror films. A substantial part of it's success is owed to the film's tight, well written script, but make no mistake, long standing horror icon Barbara Steele absolutely owned the role of Ann. While it may help some folks by reading further into the film's actual full synopsis, I found that even though going in blind was a tad confusing at first, especially if you aren't glued to the screen for every moment, it pays off later when everything clicks and falls so neatly into place. So I will do my usual, less is more outline.

Ann is an older, private, but elegant woman with a passion for butterfly collecting, who longs for the companionship like that of which she had so many years past with of her seemingly long lost daughter Dorothy. One day while out shopping, Ann is drawn into the company of a young, seductive and extremely manipulative young girl Alice(Julia Putnam). As Alice's motives become more clear, Ann realizes that their meeting was by far no accident and that Alice's deceptive tactics are not only being used on her, but a string of women. All of whom are also childless and for one reason or another, are all willing to participate in this warped type of pseudo parenting. The shock of this finding sends Ann into a spiral of madness resulting in some very lethal & callous acts to those unfortunate enough to cross her path.

Despite this being an American production, Zarantonello manages to effectively put that familiar Italian Giallo feel into the film. The atmosphere was very creepy and the film possessed that 60's kind of look & feel to it, with cinematography that was reminiscent of the horror films of old. As a bonus for horror buff's, there was no shortage of cameo's from the likes of Erica Leerhsen(The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), Heather Langenkamp(Nightmare on Elm Street), Adrienne King(Friday the 13th), Camille Keaton (I Spit on your Grave), PJ Soles(Halloween). You won't find a better psychotic & violent portrayal by a women that, can you believe, is seventy-five years old. I recommend taking this old Buick for a ride if you happen to have an urge for something creepy or looking for a good late night horror flick(which in my case is every night).
18 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Sanitarium (2013)
7/10
Interesting & well filmed anthology, but you should know not to expect a horror flick.◆≈≈6.7/10≈≈◆
30 June 2013
This isn't your average horror anthology by any regard and the unique way of this film's storytelling may put off many viewer's that are expecting a V/H/S or Tales From the Crypt type of film. Instead what we get is a look into the minds of three different mentally ill patients and the horror that is real to them in "their" world. Since there are three installments, I'll outline them individually, although there is one constant throughout the film and that is Malcolm McDowell as Dr.Stenson, who gives a bit of a narrative connecting one story to the next.

The first segment,"Figuratively Speaking" stars John Glover, who convincingly plays the fragile artist Gustav, whose connection to his creations(which pays a nice homage to the Puppet Master franchise) & some foul play by a trusted friend, lead to his ultimate downfall.

Segment two, "Monsters are real" involves a young boy named Steven(David Mazouz "Touch") who has the unfortunate case of Catatonic Schizophrenia. At the young age of eight his life crumbles around him as his visions of a beast like stalker begin to plague him. His teacher Ms. Lorne, played by the gorgeous Lacey Chabert, tries to render help to Steven when she suspects abuse from home. All of which leads to quite a mysterious conclusion, blurring the lines between imagination & reality.

The third segment, "Up to the Last Man" stars Lou Diamond Phillips as Professor James Silo, a husband & father who becomes deeply obsessed with ancient Mayan prophecies telling of an upcoming apocalypse. As his grip on reality fades he begins to design the mother of all bomb shelters and like in the second segment, insanity & reality become intertwined.

This is a film about perspective, it's purpose isn't to terrify or deliver buckets of blood, but to bring to light the views from inside the minds of these three random, but quite unique patients all remanded to the same asylum. It walks us through the horror's that the exist only in their minds, well, mostly only in their minds, as the viewer is left decide what in fact is real. The direction is executed perfectly in each story by directors Bryan Ortiz, Bryan Ramirez and Kerry Valderrama. Equally noteworthy was the score, giving each piece it's own specific atmosphere & identity. If this sounds interesting then by all means give it a go. It's no masterpiece, but it made for an original & intriguing watch.
22 out of 33 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
There will be blood & laughs, "That's a Morgan brothers guarantee" ◆≈≈7.4/10≈≈◆
30 June 2013
Co-writer/directors Cameron and Colin Cairnes, in their feature film debut, successfully deliver all the essential elements needed to both make you laugh & squirm in their new black comedy "100 Bloody Acres". A story of two unscrupulous brothers, Reg(Damon Herriman) and Lindsay Morgan(Angus Sampson) and their quest to be the unrivaled top dogs of the local fertilizer industry, a status that they will stop at nothing to achieve. After a tragic accident claims six lives in town, the two swipe the bodies from the scene and after adding them to their special "mix", they become the champions of the fertilizer biz.

Our story starts out with Reg, while out driving one day he encounters a trio of kids, Sophie(Anna McGahan),James(Oliver Ackland) and Wesley(Jamie Kristian) who happen to have the bad luck of having car trouble and are looking for a ride into town to attend a local music festival. At first Reg resists, but after some thought & a little nagging, he reluctantly welcomes James & Wes into the back of his cube truck & Sophie up front to ride with him. Any good intentions soon vanish as the guys discover the body of a man Reg previously collected from an accident scene. Thus the film descends into a quite comical & altogether gory fight as the trio does their best to remain "unprocessed" at the brother's fertilizer factory.

While the plot consisted of conventional & somewhat clichéd ideas it used those elements to their maximum potential. With fine acting from the entire cast, skillful gore effects and proper production values, the film managed some serious laugh out loud moments while also delivering a few bona fide quirky uncomfortable scenes of horror, all of which were delivered in fun, as it stayed mainly on the black comedy track. If you don't mind gore and have the urge for a hilarious Aussie dark comedy, I absolutely recommend it.

--^--7.4/10--^--
19 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Prank (I) (2013)
4/10
A failure to execute ◆≈≈4/10≈≈◆
20 June 2013
Potentially, this film could have been a seriously disturbing flick. The reason it failed in my eyes wasn't because of the hand-held cam, it wasn't even that the acting was extremely dreadful, as it was in fact acceptable enough. When taking on a subject like this, there should be one major goal in the filmmakers minds of the utmost importance, make the story as realistic & believable as possible no matter what the cost, this just didn't occur.

The story consists of three social outcast nerds who, after years of abuse & bullying, decide it's time to stand up & turn the tables on one particular bully named Dax. It's the summer before their senior year and they feel as though maybe, if done correctly, this prank will redeem them in the eyes of their fellow classmates and possibly win the affection of a certain girl who one of them happens to have a crush on. Of course all of this is to be filmed & posted on the internet in hopes of a colossal payday which will finance the other boy's dream of hitting thirteen Star Trek conventions in a row, yes, lame indeed. Which brings me to another area of the film in which I felt was just lazy & completely unimaginative, the cardboard, cookie-cutter characters of the three nerds. They adhered to making them the most clichéd bunch of geeks ever concocted. Which was ultimately forgivable when looking at the big picture and the overall effect in which they were sequentially reaching for, to make the viewer uncomfortable, unsettled and inherently disturbed. A goal that was just not met.

I won't go into specifics of the plot that I felt led to the overall downfall of the film's believability, but I will say that the prank within a prank was not concealed well, it was completely obvious to me and it crippled the film's credibility beyond repair. The plot became completely disjointed & ultimately contradicted the premise set forth in the beginning. I know what they were reaching for here because I've seen it accomplished in other films quite well, where the viewer becomes immersed into the story and is left shocked & disturbed at the film's end because it was in fact so believable, not so in this case. I don't recommend wasting your time with this.
7 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
No One Lives (2012)
7/10
Not entirely perfect, but still a good, entertaining horror flick ◆≈≈7.5/10≈≈◆
12 June 2013
I've had my eye on No One Lives for a while and in that time I had forged good expectations for the film. What more could an avid horror fan want when such a solid cast gets paired up with one of the most interesting horror directors in the biz in Ryûhei Kitamura, known widely for his direction of the 2000 film "Versus" & more recently for his 2008 "The Midnight Meat Train". So it seemed the film's success would likely all come down to the quality of the script put forth by first time writer David Cohen.

This is definitely one of those films that is extremely hard to review without spoiling things, so I will stick to relaying the most basic plot line as possible. After botching their last job, a crew of merciless, degenerate criminals encounter a man(Luke Evans) & his girlfriend while eating at a restaurant. This spirals into a further violent meeting between the two which get's more interesting as we come to learn just where the real danger lies. The clash turns bloody as the balance of power shifts & the gore begins to rain down.

Of course it helps to keep in mind that this is in fact a horror film and that you're not going to witness any award winning performances, but there are some really solid efforts given by Evans as the "Driver" & Adelaide Clemens who plays Emma, a kidnap victim who has been hardened by long lengths of mental & physical torture. There are a couple of scenes that are sure to please the sickest of fans while at the same time may seem a bit on the gory side to the average viewer, but overall I felt this was a very enjoyable, entertaining vision delivered by Kitamura. He lays down a few subtle nuances early in the film that become clear to the audience later if you pay close attention, the best being revealed near the end of the film.

As for the downside of the film, there were some real snags in the script that I felt could have been changed and yes there are a few holes in the plot, most of which were used primarily as a vehicle to exploit certain plot developments. Or in one case to present one heck of a bloody surprise, you'll know what I mean after you see it;] Despite those problems, the film still managed to rise above the average effort, but I believe that it was those weak script points that hurt the film in theaters & the reason it may draw further criticism in the future.

So in the end,if you're trying to decide if this will be a good pick for your horror/gore itch then I can definitely recommend this as a top choice, but if you're looking for a smart thriller with a well developed story then this may not be your best choice, but I wouldn't let it stop you from grabbing it from your local DVD kiosk.
63 out of 80 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Static (I) (2012)
7/10
Static actually has pretty good reception --^--6.8/10--^--
23 May 2013
Static comes to us from a completely unknown source by way of Todd Levin, this being his directorial debut, he also was one of three people credited for the screenplay. For a first effort it was a promising start, of course having an experienced cast in Milo Ventimiglia & Sarah Shahi to work with certainly didn't hurt. The film had very good cinematography and sound that worked to create a tense, creepy atmosphere quite early into the film.

The film relies heavily on the acting of Ventimiglia & Shahi who play Addie & Jonathan, a grieving couple who recently lost their beloved son Thomas to an accidental drowning death a short time ago. Not far into the film, in the dead of night, they are awoken by a hard knock on the door. It is here we meet a desperate woman named Rachel(Sara Paxton) who claims that while tending to a flat tire, someone had attacked her and was still in pursuit, but when Jonathan goes out to look he can see no one, but just to be safe the couple agrees to let her stay the night. It is at this point that strange happenings begin to occur and we are left guessing where exactly the danger lies. The first half of the film closely resembles The Strangers(2008), but there is more than meets the eye as the details slowly bubble to the surface and the story takes a hard turn in a new direction.

The plot does consist of familiar ideas, things we have witnessed before in other films, but the film presents them in an intriguing way, making for an entertaining thriller. It had great atmosphere, good tension and fine performances by the film's lead characters, they both held my attention well throughout the film. The ending was a bit frustrating, as I'm sure some will agree, but was still an acceptable answer to all of the mystery & motives. Not a bad way to spend 80 minutes.
40 out of 53 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Judge Minty (2013)
8/10
Nothing short of *fan*tastic --^--8.5/10---^--
22 May 2013
I admit, there are far too many short films that I never seem to have the time to watch, between all of the feature length films, indie flicks & television series there is little room left. After catching this inspiring fan film "Judge Minty" I have made a vow to make some time in the future to ensure that I don't miss out on gems like this.

Oddly enough, what drew me in like a moth to a flame was the poster art, the rickety wooden sign exclaiming "NO LAW 2000 Miles". I didn't even check the runtime or plot summary, just went straight into it. The only drawback I found while watching was the unfortunate end. I could have easily sat through another hour based on the framework already laid down.

The story chronicles the retirement phase of one of the long standing judges of Mega-City, Judge Minty(Edmund Dehn),a secondary figure to Judge Dread from the comic book series. After an incident of slight indecision in the field almost cost him his life, he is given a choice where he can either live out his days teaching at the Academy or he can leave the city and walk alone, out into the lawless anarchy of Cursed Earth, most commonly referred to as "the long walk", a perilous journey in which he will live out the remainder of his days battling lawlessness in the post-apocalyptic wasteland of cursed Earth. A place teeming with dangerous threats & great evils, ranging from sub-human beings with the power of telekinesis, to savage creatures who have the ability to go unseen to the naked eye(Predator nod). And of course not to forget the man who made all of this come together so well, writer/director Steven Sterlacchini, way to go in making a very entertaining & visually stunning piece of film with limited resources.

I wasn't a particularly moved by any of the previous Judge Dread films, but this seems to carry more of a message than its predecessors, to go along with the uber-violent, chaotic action sequences that the "Dread" films carry. Best of all, it's FREE, a "for non-profit film" which is now available on youtube and various other streaming sites. So if you happen to have a half-hour to kill, this is undoubtedly a very cool way to burn it. -^-8.5/10-^-
7 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Stoic (2009)
6/10
A bizarre reminder of just how callous people can be in regard to others
19 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
You know for a while into the film I was re-examining my own behavior towards "easy targets" when locked up, as it is a habit to "bid" off of other people's misery in whatever way possible for amusement when stuck in such a dire environment. Whether you're the perpetrator or just having fun watching the "kid's play" for lack of a better term, it's a part of ANY prison system and in some cases I'd like to think I'm responsible for at least one person never going back, BUT obviously what happened in this prison just does not happen in 99.99% of cases. In a larger group dynamic this situation wouldn't even be possible, you could get beaten up, raped & shanked but not this type of situation, you need to have the perfect storm of personality traits for this. The people in this cell were just the right/wrong mix with the wrong string of events. Some people have mentioned being shocked that this was a juvenile facility when in truth this bizarre event could likely only have transpired in an environment housing young offenders.

Furlong plays the all around amoral scumbag(himself in a nutshell)who is mixed with the violent skinhead(Mennekes). Combine them with the kid Peter(Levinson) who was really just happy having someone below him on the totem pole to keep the bidding off of him, innocently aggravates the already poor situation for Mitch the cell bitch(Sipos). When the skinhead Jack ratchets things up to an insane level, the scumbag Harry, unaffected at the level that the skinhead has went to, gives Mitch the broomstick treatment, why? For the hell of it, in his mind, why not was likely the only reason for his motivation. Suddenly, the stakes are raised well above Peter's comfort area, so he, out of an act of pure self preservation tries his damnedest to work with what little handle he had on the situation(which was slightly less than zero). Out of desperation he throws out the hanging theory, in his mind it was either appease his cellies or it would be him on the other end of the broomstick or worse, he's just witnessed what they were capable of. If that was as accurate of a portrayal as I've heard then I actually have some sympathy for him, it appears he was put in a situation far beyond his control. In the end I think they were all sentenced very properly. So many times when someone is killed and there are multiple defendants they charge everyone as equals & even often try them as one. In this case it could have easily went that way, but instead they did happen to show some leniency on Peter for his case.

I know I failed to mention the writer/director. Being based on a factual account, I felt the manner in which it was filmed worked very well, going without scripts for much of it. It's not a very satisfying watch, there is very little entertainment value to be had in a telling of this tale regardless of who directs it. I usually don't review old films but after hitting Boll's latest Assault on Wall Street(2013) and getting pleasantly surprised I cracked open the Boll vault & had me a second look. I had COMPLETELY written him off after seeing a few really unsavory early films of his and I'm glad I took a look after seeing Rampage, Seed, Postal, Darfur and now Stoic. When adding his latest flick Assault on Wall Street it actually makes for a decent looking six pack. Who knew? A month ago I would have called him an irredeemable hack. I know, I know, put a batting helmet on a blind person and you're bound to make contact with the ball a few times.
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Aftershock (2012)
6/10
Grisly death & human depravity w/a thin story ---^---5.7/10---^---
11 May 2013
I've had my eye on this for quite a while and was looking forward to what I had hoped to be a fresh & stylish film from Chilean writer/director Nicolás López's first US aimed film debut. Aftershock, being the latest Eli Roth production, comes with certain expectations, some of which were met, others not so much.

The film immediately opens with scenes of three men, Gringo(Roth)the practical guy, Pollo(Nicolás Martínez)the laid back ladies man and Pollo's lifelong friend Ariel(Ariel Levy)the nervous type who is preoccupied with reconnecting with his ex-girlfriend, all vacationing in beautiful Chile, having a blast club hopping while looking for some beautiful women to spend the night with. Almost right away they meet three lovely ladies, Monica, Kylie & Irena and agree to travel with them to the town Valparaiso to check out the clubs there. Just when they get comfortable a massive 8.8 earthquake rocks the city and in an instant their paradise is turned upside down and they are left fighting for their lives. Quickly they find not only is the city crumbling around them, but a local prison has collapsed sending gangs of murderous thugs into the city raping, killing & pillaging everything they can find. To make matters worse a tsunami warning siren continuously blasts, making their bad situation into a real life nightmare.

All in all, it was a solid, watchable film. Things happen very fast with people all around them continuously meeting violent, grisly deaths. It is a bit hard to relate to exactly what is happening in the film, my biggest gripe would be how it lacks realism, not just in one area but really in mostly all areas. Even with more than thirty plus minutes of character development, I found it hard to truly care about the cast. The film felt surreal at times, times when just the opposite was needed for the film to really click with its audience. It's not a great disaster film or a great thriller/horror film, but in combining the two it does make for a decent overall film and a good way to kill ninety minutes.
9 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

Recently Viewed