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The Fields (2011)
More Drama than Horror
The Fields is a well made & acted atmospheric story. Despite a haunting box cover & description which advertises the film as a horror story, it is more of a boy's reflection on an incident which takes place on a farm where he is temporarily staying.
The movie takes place in the early 1970's when the Manson Family trial is all over the radio & television. Young Steven, who is living with his grandparents while his parents try to work out their marital woes, is curious about Manson & his followers. His curiosity turns to concern when he hears conversations about groups of hippies (who resemble Manson's followers) lurking in the area. He then discovers something terrible deep in the corn fields behind the house. Is the discovery a result of his imagination brought about by the current events of the time?
Thankfully for the audience, the threat turns out to be very real. Be prepared though: this movie is a slow burn. In fact, the boy's relationship with the grandparents (which takes up the bulk of the film) is actually more of a highlight than the action towards the movie's conclusion. Horror movie fans drawn in by the advertising art & description will have their patience tested with The Fields. It does emerge as a good story in the end though. Fans of this type of story are encouraged to seek out Paper House, which this film reminded me of.
Finding Bigfoot (2011)
Deceptive title but still a fun show
This is a fun show to anyone familiar (even slightly) with the Bigfoot legend. However, since nothing is definitively found, "Searching for Bigfoot" would be a more appropriate title. Watching the cast of 3 die hard Bigfoot believers & one skeptic getting together to: interview witnesses, conduct night investigations & analyze data is entertaining due to the chemistry between them. They don't always agree with each other which makes it more engaging. The realism hits its peak when all 4 of the cast members acknowledge when they are being hoaxed; it is taken (at least on camera) as simply just a part of their job. Although some of the interviewed witnesses accounts are questionable, the investigators are clearly speaking in their real voices. The show has a tendency to be repetitive, but every once in a while a surprise comes along (the best of these thus far being a bipedal figure in the middle of the woods at night time staring at them). Overall, Finding Bigfoot is an entertaining way to kill 1 hour per week. I hope the show is both able to endure for more seasons & that the cast will eventually find more evidence.
Fritt vilt III (2010)
The Weakest of the Series, but still Solid
Although Cold Prey 3 was meant to be a prequel, it succeeds more of being a slasher movie independent of the first two films.
When the film dives into the villain's background, several key questions generated from the first two films are answered. For example, it is obvious from the previous stories that the villain is a hunter. In Cold Prey 3 we see where he got that skill from. The film also explains how the villain avoided detection after his first homicides. As effective as these scenes are, they are covered in the opening moments & this is where the prequel portion of the film ends (Cold Prey 2, which was a "moments after" continuation of Cold Prey, went into the killer's background as much as this prequel). With its differing atmosphere from the first two films (there are no snow covered settings) & with the villain using a firearm for the only time in the series, you get the feeling that the creators of Cold Prey 3 wanted to to isolate the film from the preceding entries.
Although the brief background screen time will upset fans of the series, Cold Prey 3 makes up for it during the second half where a group of hikers are terrorized by the mentioned villain. Like its predecessors, Cold Prey 3 can be seen as a Norwegian version of Friday the 13th (with touches of Texas Chainsaw Massacre & Deliverance); but thankfully, not as over the top.
In conclusion, where Cold Prey 3 fails as a prequel, it succeeds as an above average terror-in-the-woods genre movie. As mentioned earlier, the film-makers may have purposely separated this movie from the earlier films, but they wisely chose to incorporate the elements which made Cold Prey & Cold Prey 2 popular with their fans: good photography, well staged action/chases & a solid cast of performers.
6 Guns (2010)
A Nice Surprise
I was expecting this movie to be hell of a lot worse than what it was. I can honestly say that I liked 6 Guns. Being that the story is a revenge western, the viewer knows exactly where the film is going throughout its running time. However, despite how generic the story is, there were a few things that I did not see coming which are worth pointing out:
_ a relationship between 2 characters does not go in the direction typical of these types of stories.
_ most of the climactic gun battle is carried out by a minor character.
The movie also flows very well; I didn't find it slow moving at all. As the title of this review says, 6 Guns turned out to be a nice surprise & I will not be quick to judge anything with the names Geoff Meed or Shane Van Dyke before watching it.
Timber Falls (2007)
Its been done before, but still worthwhile.
Timber Falls, despite being similar to many horror movies taking place in a lonely wooded area, still manages to stand its ground within the genre. The opening 20 minutes starts out with everything horror fans have seen before; but when the villain's motive is finally revealed, the film will be sure to catch you off guard. For a movie with such a generic plot, no one will see this coming. The villain's intentions are brutal, twisted, and frighteningly believable! Performances are fine, the violence is intense and the pace is never too slow. The ending is clearly a throw-back to various 1980's style horror sequels which will either cause you to sigh or laugh, but overall you'll still be entertained.
In short, despite its title, Timber Falls will eventually "fall" into the cracks of obscurity, but will not fall short. Give this one a shot. Enjoy.
Haute tension (2003)
A pleasant flight ruined by a crash landing.
This film had everything it needed to be a great horror film: good directing, fine performances, an excellent score, beautiful photography, truly scary situations and some impressive make-up fx. Also worth mentioning, it got some great reviews promoting it. So what happened? Well, what usually happens with far too many horror films; the ending did not match up to the rest of the movie.
This film proves just how vital it is to have a good ending. Those final moments are what most viewers are going to remember most. Haute Tension's last five minutes ruined an almost perfect tension-filled set up. It was upsetting.
If bloody violence and gory fx rate higher than plot and good story telling, then this film is for you. Everyone else, I recommend shutting this film off at five minutes before the final running time; it becomes a much better movie by doing so. I wish the film makers realized this during the editing process.