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Some are only loosely defined as 'Teen films'. Some are college-aged.
In alphabetical order.
i'm not claiming all of these films are great (some are very mediocre), but I enjoyed them all for what they are.
Not including sequels.
Now including animated films about teenagers.
For the purpose of this list I decided to keep the term ‘Horror’ loosely defined. I’ve included some mystery/thrillers I found particularly tense, as well as action films with horror elements. Also there are comedies and animated films that I believe are indebted to horror.
Anyway, enjoy. Horror remains such an under-appreciated genre that most dismiss far too easily.
Cat Sick Blues (2015)
An odd little gem
I was one of 142 backers on Kickstarter that helped Dave Jackson and Andrew Gallagher raise $14,500 to make their debut feature film Cat Sick Blues. Every cent of that money is visible on screen.
It's a confident first film. It is well shot and sometimes very creative, experimenting with black-and-white, slow motion, reversed footage, etc. The acting is better than any other low-budget horror film that I have seen in a long time – Matthew Vaughn is very creepy as the 'Catman', and Shian Denovan is solid as the other lead. It should also be mentioned that the music is diverse and incredibly effective. Really, there's was a lot to love about this film.
Admittedly, some of the dialogue felt a little clumsy, and it jumped around a lot tonally. These were just minor quibbles though.
The special effects were really impressive. It's a pretty violent, gory film – lots of severed heads and big barbed cat dildos. This lead to a lot of memorable images – A black-and-white scene featuring a trunk and bizarre catman will stay with me for a while, as well as the excellent hostel massacre.
I also wanted to mention the ending. The plot takes an unnecessary detour in the last 15 minutes, stumbling after a strong run. The idea itself is sound and could have been effective if shortened, but is too overlong to feel worthwhile. Despite this, in its final minutes the film is able to recover and ends on a sad, satisfying note.
I really hope they are able to find a distribution deal for this little gem. If you are able to see it at some point in the future at a festival or after its eventual release, I highly recommend that you do so. You won't regret it. Hell, even if you do regret it, I'm sure you'd agree that Jackson and Gallagher are filmmakers that will be worth keeping an eye on.
New Prime (2011)
Olan, Well Done.
Reviewing Olan Rogers' recently completed web mini-series New Prime without being biased is pretty much impossible for me. I've been a fan of Olan's work for some time now, dating back to his days with sketch comedy group BalloonShop. It's because of this that I was so excited, and ultimately impressed, with the ambition and scope of NP.
New Prime is the 2nd web series of four to explore this particular universe, the first being the inventive and hilarious The Last Scene, and the last two, which are yet to be produced, are to be titled Pop Rocket and The New Scene. Just as a side-note, New Prime works better as a whole if you have seen TLS prior to viewing it. This is because several TLS characters make small appearances, which could otherwise cause confusion due to the actors playing multiple roles (Olan Rogers x4, Thomas Gore x3, Reid Sullivan x2).
Firstly, the humor. Your enjoyment of New Prime really hinges on you sharing the same sense of humor as Rogers. If you were a BalloonShop fan this should be no issue. However, if you are unfamiliar with their style of humor, it may at first come off as jarringly strange, and not really that funny at all. For me though, New Prime and Rogers' humor in general, is the perfect combination of volume, repetition and absurdity. You see, the characters like to yell a lot. If you don't find Olan screaming "Rev it down!" or "Calm your storm" the first time all that funny, then you probably won't still be laughing by the 30th time he yells it. I was though. Olan has a talent for writing memorably absurd one-liners. Does the following make you laugh: "Quit dipping your toes in my mind butter". If not, then maybe New Prime is probably not for you.
Plotwise I'd prefer not to reveal too much, so I'll just quote its IMDb entry: Two bounty hunters attempt to take down a terrorist known as "The Phantom" and to save the planet, New Prime. Yeah, that'll do.
The performances are what you'd expect from their previous work. Their voices are coarse and exaggerated – a parody of typical action heroes. Reid Sullivan, while not a great actor, is still incredibly endearing as the bounty hunter Dutch ("No, the Nimbus Cubs!"), Thomas Gore is as awkward and hilarious as ever, while Olan Rogers attempts genuine versatility with some genuinely touching emotional scenes.
The special effects are impressive considering the limited budget. The final episode is amazing, combining emotion and exciting special effects to create an incredibly climactic ending, that in many ways rivals those of large Hollywood blockbusters. Sure, a lot of the background renderings are not of the highest quality, but Olan's passion for his work seeps through every frame, which is quite infectious. You can imagine the hours that were put into that final episode, and you can't help but feel a little proud watching it.
Okay, now I want to try some constructive criticism. Firstly Olan, you need to plan more. The first episode is 5 minutes, while the 5th runs for 20 minutes – there's something wrong with that. If you plan ahead for your next series and plot it out fully, you can split it more evenly and create an overall more consistent series. The Last Scene suffered from the same problem.
My second issue is one that most probably won't agree with. I personally feel that the emotional moments in NP, despite being well-executed and surprisingly effective, were unearned, other than in the last episode. You expect us to care for these characters, for their losses and their triumphs. Despite this, we never really get to know these characters until we are force-fed with overly melodramatic flashbacks. I'll admit, I loved these flashbacks, because they show your growing talent as a filmmaker. I just think that before we were fed these flashbacks, the characters should have been explored further through dialogue. Otherwise it feels like we only cared for these characters because we happen to find Rogers and Sullivan incredibly likable, and was then told to care about them.
If that seems convoluted, I apologise. It's difficult to make sense of my thoughts regarding New Prime. Let me just finish by saying that overall New Prime is incredibly ambitious – Olan Rogers, well done. You've created something special here.
A testament to the brilliance and weakness of the medium.
Let me be the first to write something about this film. Firstly, I've never really watched much machinima before; just the occasional episode of Red Vs. Blue, but that's about it. So, essentially, this was my official introduction to the medium.
I'll try to sum up my thoughts on the film as briefly as possible.
1. It was incredibly well made. I was constantly astonished at how smoothly this had been put together. Clearly a lot of effort went into this production, as visible in the editing and camera movements of the film. That's not to say the editing was perfect. It was occasionally clunky, but that is assumedly understandable considering the medium. It would not be fair to compare it, in that respect, to a traditional film. 2. The story was very interesting. Basic fantasy stuff, but it held my attention. I loved the concept of the wrist slashing being necessary for magic to occur, and overall many of the explored concepts were quite sound. It twisted the ideas of good vs. evil back and forth, which I liked. 3. I found the voice acting pretty horrendous. The accents seemed clumsy, and the vocal tones didn't always seem to compliment the situations. This is especially obvious in the character Magda, whose attempts at drama were quite laughable. 4. The dialogue was so-so. Much of it was built from clichés, but was still passable, and did not really hinder my enjoyment of this film. 5. The music choices were strange, but added a lot of life to the production. Many genres were explored, but the song use did admittedly give it the feel of an overextended cut scene. 6. The characters were pretty shallow, which makes me curious about how much more development they received in the unedited series of Bloodspell.
That's about all I can think to say off the top of my head. That may seem like a lot of complaints, but I did actually enjoy this film quite a lot, but comparing it to traditional films it was heavily flawed. Still, it's not only watchable but also completely enjoyable and even occasionally arresting. If I read correctly, this is the first feature length machinima film to be created, and I will definitely be looking forward to any that come out in the future.
My level of enjoyment is reflected in my score.
Keyboard Kid (2006)
Simple, but Brilliant
Plot: There is not much I can say without giving away the punchline, because this short video only goes for roughly 3 minutes, but the basic overview is this: Jeffrey wants to play a song for you on his keyboard, but there may be more to it then it first seems.
This Internet video is from Derrick Comedy, the same guys behind Bro Rape, so check it out if you like their other stuff.
Where this video succeeds is in the subtleties of Jeffrey's expressions, adding extra hilarity to an already amusing situation.
I think that about covers the 10 line minimum, so just go check it out.
Bran Nue Dae (2009)
It Is What It Is
Bran Nue Dae is an honest attempt at providing us with a light-hearted Indigenous-fueled musical comedy, that instead of dwelling on the wrongs and injustice that have been bestowed upon their culture and past by white society, decides to celebrate everything Aboriginal. This is an enormous shift in tone from previous films such as Samson & Delilah, in which the protagonist sniffs copious amounts of petrol, and at one point is living homeless under a bridge in Alice Springs (though it does feature one of the most beautifully minimalist relationships I have seen – Samson only speaks a single word during the film). It is also a far cry from Rabbit Proof Fence, which deals with the whole "Stolen Generation" debacle (probably not an appropriate word choice). So it is nice to see a more joyful film coming out of the Aboriginal community. But, even despite its best intentions, Bran Nue Dae is in no way a great film, and in fact actually teeters on the edge of being a bad film.
Bran Nue Dae tells the story of a boy named Willie (Rocky McKenzie – cinematic virgin), who lives in Broome, and is destined for priesthood. Despite his supposed destiny, Willie feels a lustful urge towards a young girl named Rosie (Jessica Mauboy). Before he is given a chance to fully explore his feelings, Willie is sent back to a Christian boarding school, ruled over by Father Benedictus (Geoffrey Rush – Shine, Pirates Of The Caribbean). After an incident involving a few Cherry Ripes and a paddle, Willie runs away, attempting to make his way back up to Broome with the help of a drunkard named Uncle Tadpole (Ernie Dingo), a hippie named Annie (Missy Higgins), and German man named Slippery (Tom Budge – Round The Twist) who is looking for his father. So they travel, they endure conflict, and it all gets resolved, etc etc.
BND is essentially a feel-good movie, but being so leads it to take route down a never-ending display of cliché avenues. Most of the characters are built entirely on stereotypes – the hippie, the bad-boy, etc. And so little character development takes place that the characters are merely shadows with names. The acting, however, is decent. McKenzie gives an overall solid performance, and though his speech does often falter, he is steady enough to be warranted watchable. Mauboy just mostly stands there and looks pretty with hardly anything to do – can she act? After this, I sure as hell don't know. Then the Rushinator comes in to spice things up, and you can almost see the rest of the cast looking over at him and taking notes. Not much can be said about Missy's performance other then that she tries her best, and though I didn't find her particularly appealing as an actor, I was thankful that she wasn't particularly painful either. And then there was Mr Dingo – the film's savior. He has a comedic air and sense of timing that is not prevalent for most of the other actors in the cast. He is charming whether he be getting drunk, singing along to Rolf Harris, or just smacking a snake against a tree.
Magda Szubanski shows up for a cameo, which can only be said to be rather pointless, other then giving Dingo something more to work with, or if you like her jiggling her breasts around. Actually, that was the problem with a lot of the film – most of it just seemed far too pointless.
It's a musical, so I guess something has to be said about the music. The music was okay I guess, despite the fact that every single song seemed to be launched into rather awkwardly. Most added very little to the plot, but their was a particularly appealing song about wanting to be nothing but an Aborigine. Other then that I wasn't particularly impressed with the music the film had to offer. The vocals were fine, Ernie Dingo once again being an obvious standout, but that is really just a mater of personal preference.
I guess, cutting it to the core, what I didn't like about the film was just how corny it was. Everything was smothered in cheese, resulting in it playing out much like a Bollywood film. I do have to applaud it for that though. It never attempts to be anything more then a big hunk of happiness, and occasionally the happiness can be really quite infectious. It's incredibly cheesy, but often the lyrics of the songs are actually incredibly smart. It' s a mixed bag really, because despite being a bad film, you can't really exit the theater feeling anything but happy. So it succeeds in its goals, though it aims lower then it should have. The ending though? Brilliant. Terrible, but brilliant. It is just one big "stuff you" to rationality, and believability. They want you to feel good, so why not just tie everything together in the most ridiculous way possible? Bran Nue Dae is based on the stage production of the same name, and is Rachel Perkins 3rd movie. I will neither recommend it, nor suggest you don't watch it.
Interesting... Very Interesting
i have been anticipating this movie for a while now, and NO i have not read the graphic novel. i went into the cinema with high expectations and on the most part they were either met or exceeded.
i caught a nighttime screening of this movie and the cinema was packed full. there was an excited vibe in the air, chatter amongst people... but everyone fell silent as it began.
unlike most comic-book movies this takes the time for character development, in fact this takes a lot of time for character development. and for the whole it is better for it. the visuals are beautiful, the action outstanding. Zack Snyder has done a fantastic job with the direction.
the soundtrack is mostly brilliant. the opening credits are some of the best that i've ever seen. there is one moment where the music falters... and if you've seen the movie you will know what i'm talking about. there is a certain moment when they play Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' which leads to it being unintentionally hilarious.this is the 2nd time that Zack Snyder has made a scene like this strange and funny, but i enjoyed the movie nonetheless.
the other people attending the movie all seemed to have read the graphic novel, and they all seemed to have loved it. since watching the movie i have began reading the graphic novel and it is brilliant.
though this movie has garnered some mixed reviews i recommend you go see it and make up your own mind. this is definitely one of the best comic-book/graphic novel adaptions i have seen