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8/10
solid, and managed to stick with me long after I had finished watching it.
28 May 2011
Buzz has been flying around about YELLOWBRICKROAD for some time now. Recently, the film was picked up for distribution by the newly formed "Bloody Disgusting Selects" label, and will begin a limited theatrical run on June 1st. The film has been touted as "Blair Witch done right". I'm not so certain that's anything outside of a hit farming quote, but I can see why the two films would be compared. A group of people set off into the woods where something horrible once happen in order to uncover the truth, and publish their findings in a book. Navigation equipment begins to malfunction, mysterious music begins to play from an unknown source, and the crew is wearing down very quickly.

The music that I spoke of before is one of the most important aspects of the film. It's the first indication that there's something very wrong about their surroundings, and you can see the group's mental state deteriorating as the music becomes more and more obnoxious. To be honest, at the half-way point, I was actually beginning to feel quite hostile myself. It was a very effective way to illustrate to the audience, a descent into madness. Just as it fades, you think it may be over, or at the very least the group will find the source, but it kicks back in to an even higher gear. On paper, that may sound a tad gimmicky, but in execution, it flawlessly delivers the filmmaker's desired effect.

This is not a jump-scare thriller, so if you're expecting cheap thrills, you'll be sorely disappointed. This is most certainly a slow burning film. At the 40 minute mark, nothing much had happened outside of character development, and atmospheric tension. For some, this will be a turn-off. But, if you appreciate the ability to invest yourself into the experience, and the characters, this will be a major selling point. When the inevitable begins, it's that much more effective, having built relationships with each character on screen.

There is a moderate amount of violence, but it's not really that type of film. The special effects are highly competent when they're used, and thankfully they're only used when required. Most filmmakers today try and cram as much gore into their film's as possible, as even if it's a weak experience, violence sells equally as well as sex. The deaths that do take place are highly disturbing, but it's mostly in a psychological way. There is one fairly gruesome death, and it happens in such a matter-of-fact sort of way that it sort of punches the collective audience in the gut.

I feel as if writers/directors Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton deserve a lot of credit here, for many things. In particular, not filming in first-person. Found-footage films are all the rave right now, and this duo could have very easily went that route. It sort of makes YELLOWBRICKROAD the anti Blair Witch Project. A film, similar in nature, with the ability to appeal to the audience that didn't have a positive experience with BWP. At the same time, fans of that film will find much to enjoy about YBR as well.

One factor that will split audiences is the lack of proper closure. Without spoiling too much, chances are if you have questions late into the film, you'll continue to have them after. This worked for me, as I didn't feel insulted as a viewer. I don't enjoy having bits of backstory, and unneeded vocal explanations of what could or could not be happening. It feels unnatural in every film that attempts it. Much is left to viewer interpretation, and in my opinion, it couldn't have worked any other way. There are certainly some things that I would liked to have learned, but I'm okay in it remaining unknown.

One thing that bugged me, and a very major thing at that, was the finale of the film. It felt forced upon my first viewing, though I do plan on watching a second time to see if it has a different effect. To me, the last few frames of the film seem to almost cheapen previous happenings. It's weird, as it didn't actually tarnish the whole experience for me, but it did make me re-think my opinion previous to the scene. It seemed like an unnecessary last minute effort, to rope in the viewers that need some sort of entity to blame things on. I would liked to have been left with that strange feeling in the pit of my stomach that the idea of everything remaining completely unexplained created.

Despite my problems with the ending, I can still recommend YELLOWBRICKROAD with confidence. It reminds me of another one of my favorites of the year so far, Insidious. It had me all throughout the beginning, held my enjoyment through the middle, and then sort of dropped the ball right at the end. Like Insidious though, enough had happened up until that point to leave a lasting scar on my psyche. If it weren't for the questionable tactics near the end, I would say that YBR was near perfect. Even taking that problem into consideration, it's still solid, and managed to stick with me long after I had finished watching it.
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Fast Five (2011)
8/10
The Fast and the Furious has morphed into quite the little action series
1 May 2011
Before we get started, I want to get something off of my chest. For a long time, the Fast and the Furious franchise has been a big guilty pleasure of mine. Sure, they're silly, unrealistic, and way over the top, but they're fun, and exciting. Not ever cinematic experience has to mirror The English Patient. Sometimes I just want to see car chases, and sht blowing up. This series, despite it's many flaws, manages to provide the audience with enough eye candy and carnage to solidify it's spot in pop culture history. When the trailer premiered, and revealed to me that I would be seeing a host of returning characters, coupled with Dwayne Johnson versus Vin Diesel. I was on board instantly. I even learned that The Liberal Dead's own Ted Brown had a soft spot for the series as well. When I finally sat down to consume the new installment, my expectations were off the charts.

Following the example that the previous film set, Fast Five is more of a crime/action flick, than another rice-a-roni car porn. Many people were not fans of the previous film, but I admired it for the direction that it took the franchise. It may sound silly, especially considering the material, but it almost felt like the franchise had matured. Whereas previous sequels tried to re-capture the flavor of the first film, focusing almost entirely on the cars, and the races, "Fast and Furious" revisited the original characters, and showed us what the events of their first romp has done to their lives. There's almost something magical and mysterious about the ending of the first film. It certainly romanticizes the fact that Brian let Dominic go, rather than bringing him to justice. But what are the consequences for everyone involved? These are the questions that were answered in the last film, and now expanded upon in series' return.

Fast Five begins where the previous film concluded. Brian, now rogue from the FBI has rounded up a furious carpool to bust Dominic out of police custody. Living on the run in Rio, Brian and Mia reconnect with Vince, and try to pull off a heist to help get their heads above water. When Dominic shows up with the crime already in progress, he senses a double-cross, and alters the plan preventing the crew from meeting up with the man that hired them for the job. The man turns out to be the #1 kingpin in all of Rio, and he orchestrates a wide-net search party, including his own henchmen, as well as the majority of the local police, who happen to be on his payroll. Since several US federal agents where found dead in the aftermath of the robbery, a US Special Forces team is sent to apprehend Brian and Dominic, who they think are responsible for the deaths. Leading the team is Special Agent Hobbs, played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

The introduction of Hobbs as a character, pits two completely larger than life action heroes against one another. This not only appeals to the sensibilities of action fans across the globe, but it leads to one of the most exciting scenes of hand to hand combat in recent history. Dwayne and Vin have a terrific amount of on-screen chemistry, and could very easily go on to make movies outside of the F&F universe, both versus, as well as on the same side. Say what you want about either man, but both of them have several solid films under their belt. Hopefully the decision to put these two titans in the same film yields the obvious intended result, and Fast Five will end up dominating the box office.

Enough characters return from the previous films to appeal to franchise fans, but the story and the situation generates crossover appeal as well. Even though it's a continuing story arch, anyone looking for a popcorn action flick can walk into the theater and walk out satisfied, even if you're completely unfamiliar with the four previous films.

The Fast and the Furious has morphed into quite the little action series, and despite the satisfying amount of closure the film leaves you with, it also leaves just enough open so that a plethora of sequels are not only able to be produced and make sense in the context of this film, but have the potential to actually be enjoyable films. Fast and Furious has become the Saw of the action genre. The only difference being, I actually hope they make a couple more F&F films, especially after the scene that occurs after the end credits. I can't wait to see where they're going to take it from here.
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The Super (2010)
8/10
If you came to realize your taste in horror through dingy dollar theaters, and big-box VHS, then this is a film you must see.
29 April 2011
The Super follows George, a Vietnam vet who is the superintendent of an apartment building in the New York City Borough of Queens. George doesn't have much anymore. Occasional nights at the bar with the younger brother of one of his friends from the war, interaction with the colorful tenants of his apartment building, and surrealistic conversations with his wife and kid are what fills most of his days. A young couple have just moved into the building, and George appears to be going out of his way to accommodate them. So much so that it has begun to make them uncomfortable. A night of drinking that results in a brutal bar fight teaches us that George has some issues he's dealing with, feelings of rage and abandonment are beginning to spiral out of control, and causing violent outbreaks that generally result in someone getting hurt, or worse. When George learns that one of his tenants has murdered her neighbor's cat, he decides to respond to her act in kind. With the help of one of his trouble tenants, Olga, played pitch-perfect by Manoush, George does his best to cover his tracks, and go on about his day to day activities.

"The Super" grabbed my attention with the intro, and then secured it for the duration once the title card was shown. The market has been saturated with films that pay homage to exploitation, but most of them do it in such an obvious way that it's obscene, and in some cases, even insults the viewer's intelligence. After all, a shitty movie with digitally enhanced film blemishes is still a shitty movie. This is not that type of experience. If I didn't know better, and I just happened across this film on a shelf somewhere, I would be convinced that it was released in 1984 at the latest. Not to say that it's a primitive piece of cinema, but it just captures the essence of that era of film so competently, and without gimmick.

During the '70s, '80s, and perhaps even a very early portion of the '90s, movies that were filmed on location in New York City had a flavor of their own. Films like "Maniac", "C.H.U.D.", "Taxi Driver", "Mean Streets" etc. displayed the city as a living, breathing character of it's own. So gritty and dreary, yet so fascinating. "The Super" replicates that oldschool New York City horror flavor like no other film has done for decades. Though most of the film takes place in the apartment building, you can still very much sense the presence of the city it's self. Ominous shots of the late night skyline help to set an eerie atmospheric tone that is sure to spark nostalgic memories of films past in any seasoned genre fan.

The character of George is enthralling. Demetri Kallas portrays in a stark performance, a man well over the edge, and we follow him on his journey into madness. Though George is performing, and enjoying terrible acts, it's still easy to sympathize with his pain. The Vietnam war left a generation of men scarred, physically, and mentally. When George reminisces back to the high points of his life, he associates that to some of the terrible things that he had done during the war. It appears that when George is doing some of the terrible things he does to the tenants of his building, it's somewhat recapturing the memories that he holds so close to his heart. If everything you've ever known and loved has materialized while you were surrounded by violence, violence would be the only thing that brings you comfort. Unless you are a shining example of perfect mental health, you should find yourself at least a little bit, relating to what George is going through.

"The Super" is depraved in it's violent content. The special effects are great, but it's not the type of film that focuses on mounds of gory imagery in order to provoke a response. The film gets wet when it needs to, but doesn't relish in it to the point of becoming absurd. The kills are brutal, and diverse in style. George and Olga compliment each of their depravities, bringing different styles of murder to the table. When they are in their element, and working in unison, I wouldn't want to be the one strapped to the chair.

The casting director did an excellent job putting together the group of faces that help the story to unfold. The acting is phenomenal across the board, which is something you don't always get with an indie flick like this. Most notable though, is Demetri Kallas as George, Manoush as Olga, and Lynn Lowry as George's wife, Maureen. Lynn is no stranger to the genre, having starred in some cult classics such as George Romero's "The Crazies" as well as it's 2010 remake. Lynn also starred in the classic 1982 were-cat film "Cat People". Lynn's performance as Maureen is heartbreaking. You can see the pain in her eyes every time she's on screen.

"The Super" is a film made by fans of the genre, for fans of the genre. It makes no bones about from where it draws it's influence. This is the perfect example of how to create film that pays homage to an era of film, without self-awareness. Constantly reminding your viewer that your intentions were to exploit their fondest memories of the films of yesterday is counterproductive. While it may be enjoyable at first, to realize that a filmmaker may share your taste in cinema, it fails to create the experience that you were aiming for. "The Super" skips past the bullshit, and while it's a unique experience, especially by today's standards, it still gives you that warm, familiar feeling inside, like your favorite blanket, or the cool side of the pillow. If you came to realize your taste in horror through dingy dollar theaters, and big-box VHS, then this is a film you must see.
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Husk (2011)
3/10
After Dark Originals: Husk – Or The Aquaman of Horror Villains
27 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This year, instead of doing it's annual "Horror fest", After Dark films has opted to do a series they've titled "After Dark Originals". Instead of buying up films that were already made, and simply distributing them, they've taken a more controlling position over the projects. From the initial filming, to post production, the ADO series are films that were developed for, and by After Dark films. One of the high profile offerings from this series is a film titled "Husk". Unfortunately, it's already been hyped to be something that it could never possibly live up to. Much like the claims surrounding the first "Hatchet" film, people are already talking about "Husk" as if it's the second coming of "old-school American horror". As we learned in the case of "Hatchet" this creates expectations from fans that can't possibly be met. When you make such a bold claim, you fill the heads of your potential viewers with images of films they grew up watching, and those that hold very special places in their collective hearts.

I don't feel it's entirely necessary to break down the plot for you. If you've seen a horror film between 1974 and 2011, you've probably seen something identical in nature. There are some kids on a road trip, and some sort of jump-scare causes them to veer off of the road leaving their vehicle inoperable. Strange things begin to occur around them, and for some odd reason they are more interested in getting closer to the mysterious danger, than staying the f*ck away, like any human with some form or fashion of a logical thought pattern. Soon, after venturing into an eerie cornfield, and investigating the broken down remains of the house from "Texas Chain Saw Massacre", the dimwitted "teens" start to get picked off one by one.

I understand that director Brett Simmons set out to make a film that pays homage to the classics, but as we've discussed before, there's the correct way to film an homage(The Super, The House Of The Devil), and then there's just lazy filmmaking. Sometimes when a director/writer/producer realizes they have a stinker on their hands, they start tossing around hyperbole like "It's a throw-back" or "It's old-school". What they really mean is, it's a bad movie, and they hope that you're gullible enough to buy in to their marketing ploy. Every possible horror cliché, vehicle, exposition, even camera angle is utilized here, and to basically no effect.

There's no real plot to speak of, other than your basic "TCM" fare. Replace the psychotic family with what seems like a gang of ninja scarecrows, that are apparently good at everything but scaring crows, and you have "Husk". They do give the scarecrow a sad back-story, and a seemingly supernatural explanation for his existence, but the dots are never fully connected, and aside from a few unexplained ghostly visions one of our main characters experiences, it's not paramount to the film as a whole.

The one thing I will give "Husk" is that the "possession" angle was a bit unique. If it were put into the hands of a more competent writer, it may have salvaged an otherwise forgettable, and ridiculous film. Some of the special effects are okay looking, but with all the furious fast-motion hand-held camera work, you don't really get to see the carnage, or even the scarecrow it's self.

This was a pretty big miss for the ADO's first outing. I hope that it gets better from here. In the interest of full disclosure, I did watch "Husk" as it aired on the SyFy channel, so it was in it's censored form, but It's pretty rare for SyFy to do any censoring other than blanking out the F-Bombs, and blurring out the nipples. They aired "Wrong Turn 2" in almost it's full glory, so I highly doubt anything was cut from this film that would have heightened the experience. There is no amount of gore or nudity that could have made this an enjoyable film. Perhaps Brad Simmons will ease up on the handi-cam and clichés next time around. You can clearly tell that he has proper love and respect for the genre, but as we've learned time and time again, that doesn't always carry over into someone's film.
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Paul (2011)
8/10
How often do you get to see a little gray man sit around a camp-fire, get stoned out of his mind, and tell dirty jokes, anyway?
23 February 2011
"Paul" is the new film from director Greg Mottola. Greg is responsible for such films as "Superbad", "Adventureland", and one of my personal favorites, "The Daytrippers". The film was written by Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Seth Rogen, who also star in the picture. The story begins as Clive(Frost) and Graeme(Pegg) have traveled to American in order to meet their favorite science fiction author at Comic Con. An altercation with some local hill-folk at a rest stop leads them to make a hasty get-away in their recreational vehicle. On the highway, the two see a pair of headlights in the horizon and assume it's the rednecks from earlier. It turns out to be a car, that in-turn crashes in front of them. Stopping to see if everyone was okay, they realize that the drive of the car was actually Paul(Rogen), an alien that's just escaped government custody. From here, the trio set off on a cross country journey to get Paul back to his home planet.

One of the things that surprised me about this film is that they opted for the R-Rating. Granted, Mottola's work has been adult oriented for the most part, but it seems like they would have went for the cash-in on this adult homage to the classic film "E.T.". I still think this would be a fun film to take your children to see. There are several strings of randomly grouped curse words, so it maybe not suitable for the ultra young, but if my son were around 8-10, I would have no problem with him seeing it. There's no nudity, no extreme gore, just a few F-Bombs, and some sexually suggestive dialog. I still think that this was a cute picture, and could be enjoyed by families that aren't too stuck up. To be honest, when I saw the trailer, I assumed that it would be a family film. It was surprising to me to hear the language, as they could have easily had a big PG-13 box office turn-out for this affair.

Taking into consideration the bodies of work from both the director, as well as the stars, this is by no stretch of the imagination any of their best work. It would be hard for anything to stack up against Shaun of the Dead, and even Hot Fuzz. Mottola's most well known film is undoubtedly "Superbad", though I personally prefer "Adventureland", as his best "new wave" comedy film. If I were to attempt to make a comparison to anything, it would be to the Kyle Newman directed "Fanboys". It's similar in style, as it's clearly an homage to classic cult films past, and it's loaded to the brim with pop-culture references. Some recognizable to the casual viewer, and a few nods to those of us that are serious cinema addicts.

I was kind of dreading the film, to be honest. A CGI Alien voiced by Seth Rogen? Don't get me wrong, I'm not a snob, and I am a fan of Rogen's films. This just seemed like it would be silly to me, though. It was surprisingly entertaining, on several different fronts. It works as an homage, an almost kiddie friendly romp, and an adult themed dick and fart joke comedy. It was fun to seek, and spot the references to other movies-such as the obvious, "E.T.", but also "Mac & Me", And even "Aliens", complete with a running cameo by none-other than Sigourney Weaver. Speaking of Cameos, almost the entire cast is comprised of special guest-stars and cameo performances from some comedy greats. Bill Hader, Jane Lynch, David Koechner, and many more.

I had a fun time with this lighthearted comedy. It was great to see Pegg and Frost back on the screen together, and the back and forth between them and Rogen was highly entertaining. Jason Bateman is also a favorite of mine, and he does a good job at being the cliché' agent on-the-hunt character. As slim as the film selection is during this time of year, this would definitely be something I would recommend getting out the the theater to see. It's not the best film of the year, but it's fun. How often do you get to see a little gray man sit around a camp-fire, get stoned out of his mind, and tell dirty jokes, anyway?
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Luster (2010)
8/10
Mason does a good job straddling the line between the gritty indie style he's become known for, and mainstream marketability.
20 November 2010
One of the most underrated directors working today is Adam Mason. Mason made waves in the indie scene when Dimension Extreme picked up his feature debut "Broken". When his follow-up, "The Devil's Chair" punched me in the gut, I was sure that he would become a household name. Here we are, several films later, and it feels like Adam's films are getting even less attention. "Blood River", which was one of the best films of 2009, has yet to even secure North American distribution. This is despite the high praise the film has been met with from most whom have seen it. Mason's experimental film "Pig", which was filmed almost entirely in one take, has been made available by the director through online premieres, but is still not readily available to those that wish to see it. Skip forward a year, and Adam is back with "Luster". Though, admittedly not a horror film, it's dark enough of a comedy, and intense enough of a thriller that it plays well to fans of the genre. Much like his last several films, Mason is having some trouble securing distribution, which is a sad thing, because this is his most polished film to date. "Luster" would play well on the big screen, and I honestly believe that if given the shot, it would stand toe to toe against anything that Hollywood has to offer.

"Luster" follows the title character, Thomas Luster, played by the amazing Andrew Howard. Thomas is dealing with a severe case of insomnia. He also suspects his wife of fooling around with his eccentric neighbor. When he starts receiving strange letters telling him to stop taking his insomnia medication, he assumes it's his neighbor playing with his mind. Thomas, and his homeless friend Les, played by Tommy Flanagan(Sons of Anarchy) take a trip to a local pawnshop, and walk away with some video surveillance equipment to try and catch his neighbor in the act. When Thomas reviews the surveillance footage, he discovers that something far more sinister is afoot. When Thomas' personal life crumbles, bodies start to drop, and Luster is left to battle his inner demons.

One of the most impressive things about Adam Mason, is that he can take a budget that most filmmakers would scoff at, and turn it into a brilliant, polished cinematic experience. "Luster" is no exception. Mason turns in a finished product that would convince even the most educated cinephile that he had much more to work with. It saddens me that films like "Paranormal Activity" receive support from big name studios, yet films like "Blood River" and "Luster" have gone unnoticed. A lot of people complain about the state of Hollywood films today, but only a handful are actually willing to do something about it. How can you complain about a lack of creativity in one breath, then slap your hard earned dollars down on the counter for whatever this month's hot new pillaging of our childhood favorites happens to be? Andrew Howard's performance is the driving force behind "Luster". Howard is a regular in Mason's films, and every time he steps in front of a camera he brings his A game. Howard takes us on a roller coaster ride of emotions as we follow him on a steady decline into madness. Anyone that has ever gone a couple of days without sleep knows that your mind starts playing tricks on you after a while. This is portrayed with a level of brilliance, both by Andrew's acting chops, and the impeccable writing of both Mason, and his writing partner Simon Boyes.

The cinematography of "Luster" is great, as with all of Mason's films. The spectacular lighting is what really sets the mood though. One scene in particular features Andrew Howard standing in a bathroom caked in blood. The scene looks spectacular, proving that the aesthetics of your film rely heavily on your knowledge of lighting a scene. A lot of people don't realize this, but sometimes fake blood that is used on the set doesn't resemble blood at all. Mason himself admits that without the lighting of the scene mentioned above, the blood that Andrew Howard is covered in would have looked terrible.

Mason does a good job straddling the line between the gritty indie style he's become known for, and mainstream marketability. Fans of his previous work will not be disappointed, yet casual viewers are not left feeling alienated. The characters are all interesting, and easy to relate to. The story is smart, and compelling, yet easy to follow, and the ending is both satisfying, and unexpected. Adam Mason stepped outside of his comfort level with this film, proving that he's not a one-trick pony. With Andrew Howard's career building steam, perhaps a much deserved theatrical release will be given to "Luster" in the year to come.
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Predators (2010)
8/10
Predators is the best film of the summer, and the Predator experience that fans have been begging for for decades.
11 July 2010
Predator(1987) became such a cult phenomenon, that it spawned a sequel, two crossovers with the Alien Franchise, and a massive line of toys for both kids, and adults. The problem is, none of the following movies were any good. Sure, "Predator 2" gained a cult following, but there's a scene in the movie where an old lady smacks the predator with a broom as he runs through her apartment, so to me, it's a "so bad it's good" situation.

"Preadators" directed by Nimrod Antal, and produced by Robert Rodriguez, is a return to form for the franchise. It's more of a direct sequel to the original film than the sequel is, if that makes any sense. The events of the original film are referenced several times throughout the movie.

We open to Royce, played by Adrien Brody, free falling through the sky while unconscious. Recovering from his hard landing in an unknown jungle, he starts discovering that he wasn't he only one tossed out of an airplane. Murderers and mercenaries literally start falling from the sky. A ragtag group of complete strangers, with only one thing in common, they are all killers in one way or another.

The first act is spent mostly in a state of confusion. Not only is the audience confused as to what is going on, but so are the characters. Cautiously advancing through the strange jungle, they start to discover that they weren't the only people(things) dropped into this jungle. Empty cages, as well as skinned remains lead them to believe that they have been dropped here for a reason, to be hunted as game by somebody, or something.

The first encounter with something other-worldly, is in a sequence where the crew is ambushed by a horde of strange canine like creatures. It is at this point that they actually realize they are being treated as game, in a reserve. Predators, releasing the hounds in order to get their prey on the run, and give them the upper hand. This is our first real treatment to the gun porn aspect of this movie, while our characters fire their respective weapons wildly into the pack of vicious beasts. Anyone who has spent any amount of time playing Modern Warfare 2 will quickly recognize Royce's gun, an AA-12, which is a fully automatic 12 gauge shotgun. The FX in this sequence are a decent blend of both CG, and practical splatter. The creature design is awesome, but not quite as jaw-dropping as Stan Winston's original design for the Predator.

In a decision that could be viewed as either really smart, or supremely stupid, the group follows the "dogs" tracks back to what appears to be the Predators(plural) camp, we discover that there are different types of Predators present, and apparently, not all of them get along very well. Tied up in the camp is "Classic Predator" played by Derek Mears of "Friday The 13th" reboot fame.

One of the main problems I see people having with the movie is Adrien Brody's performance. While I find it to be an effective performance, some are accusing him of trying to mimic Christian Bale's raspy whisper. While this is partially true I suppose, Brody plays a hardened merc like one would picture a hardened merc being. No complaints from me in this department. Another complaint I have heard is that, if Arnie couldn't stand toe to toe with the original Predator, how is it that scrawny Adrien Brody is able to do so in this sequel? Without giving too much away, I don't feel that this is the case. Brody doesn't have a knock down/drag out with the Predator, he actually just exploits one of the Predators only weaknesses.

I've heard other complaints about the Jungle, and how it looks too earthly to be on another planet. These people aren't taking into consideration that this is sort of a hunting preserve. One of the first rules of hunting is to make your prey feel comfortable, so that they won't be expecting you when you make your move. Personally, I was glad to see straight up jungle, and not some ridiculously CG environment like that featured in "Avatar". It looks a lot better the way it is, trust me. It helps you connect the film to the original, and although it's a story about killer extra terrestrials hunting and slaughtering humans on another planet, it serves to keep the film as grounded in reality as possible.

As mentioned before, the FX were a solid mixture of practical, and CG. The Predators, of course are still the classic rubber suit monsters that they've always been. Opting for a CG solution would have completely ruined the film. Derek Mears brings that same aggression to screen that he put forth in the F13 remake, and was quite menacing.

Though not quite as tense as the first film, Predators manages to amp up the hunter/prey aspect this time around. In the first film, the rest of the team was done away with pretty fast, and you had the rest of the film filled with Arnie playing a game of cat and mouse with the predator. This time around, it's truly strength in numbers, as our mercs find ways to outsmart, and overpower the Predators that are tracking them down.

In a summer full of bland family flicks, fake vampire films, and soulless cash-ins, Predators is the real deal. It's not a mindless popcorn flick, but it is fun as hell to watch. Predators is the best film of the summer, and the Predator experience that fans have been begging for for decades. If the AVP series left a bad taste in your mouth, be prepared to wash it out with the bloody good time that is "Predators"

8/10

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7/10
It's just straight up splatter.
4 July 2010
The first "2001 Maniacs" movie came out of left field for me. I had already seen Herschell Gordon Lewis' "2000 Maniacs" and While I personally enjoyed it, it seemed like an odd movie for someone to remake. It had the backing of a solid indie studio, and starred Robert Englund, so I checked it out. Some people hate it. It's campy, with over the top gore, and way over the top acting, but it's a fun flick, especially if you're a fan of the HGL original. "2001 Maniacs: Field Of Screams" follows that same pattern of campy goodness. Genre favorite Bill Moseley, however has replaced Robert Englund this time around. While we're introduced to a couple of new characters, the best characters from the first film have been kept. While the story is not exactly paramount to the plot. It is however, summed up with a slick comic book style intro montage. Basically, during the civil war, some "yankees" came into the small town of pleasant valley, and raped, tortured, and killed the entire town. Since then, the town folk return once a year, luring unsuspecting northerners into a festival, in which they will kill and eat each one of them, until they reach the magic number of 2001, which signifies the number of them that were killed. This year though, the sheriff of the town, who has apparently been playing ball with the ghouls, has told them that he would no longer allow their festival of death to happen. What can they do, other than to take their carnival of the macabre on the road?

Before pressing the play button, you have to ask yourself the following questions. In order for you to enjoy a film, do you have to have solid, clever writing, and amazing acting? If the answer is yes, you're probably not going to dig on this sequel. Director Tim Sullivan is not out to win any awards with this one. He simply wants you to have fun. In doing so, he's asking you to forgive a lot of stale lines, cheesy delivery, and classic horror movie clichés. Also, considering that this is an homage to hicksploitation, there is a small amount of racism in the film. It's never harped upon, nor is it glorified, but used to display how disgusting our antagonists really are. Then, there are things like the one Hispanic character in the film being named "Jesus" and having his name mispronounced as "g-sus" throughout the entire film. I'm here to tell you though, I'm a bleeding heart liberal at my very core, and none of this offended me in any way. It's an homage, and paying respect to an era of film that was made famous for it's political incorrectness.

The special FX in this film are most definitely practical. From what I could tell, I didn't notice one usage of CG in the entire film. This, as you know, makes me happy. Some of the kills were absolutely insane. Ridiculous, of course, but no less insane. One scene in particular involves a naked chick, and a table saw inching it's way toward her nether regions. Add to that graphic electrocutions, "brokeback" gay sex, and exploding heads, there's enough gooey red stuff in this flick to make even the modest jaded horror junkie crack an evil smile.

If you like your horror loaded with gore, and filled to the brim with enough nudity to make a late night Cinemax movie look like a Disney film, you've come to the right place. It's cheesy, it's goofy, it's gory, it's off the wall ridiculous, but I can think of much worse ways to kill 90 minutes of your life.

Tim Sullivan, in an interview, stated that he was a little more free to do what he wanted this time around. This translates into some insanely grotesque fun. Kills that you would never see anywhere else. As mentioned before though, if you're not into campy films, this might not be for you. There is no clever plot twist, nor are there A-list actors to deliver a well written script. It's just straight up splatter. If that's what you're looking for, you will be satisfied. 7/10

http://www.liberaldead.com
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5/10
you can tell that there is some talent behind the project.
2 July 2010
Before going in to "Girl Number Three" you have to accept, and embrace the fact that this is a micro budget production. You have to accept that you will not be witnessing any flashy FX, or quick cut editing. If you can get this into your head before you start the movie, you should be able to enjoy it for what it is.

"Girl Number Three tells the story of Max, an art student shopping for a sexy Halloween costume for a party that night. After a creepy encounter with the sales clerk at the costume store, Max heads to her car, only to be ambushed, and kidnapped at gun point. Max, along with several other girls, arrive at an abandoned plant, with bags over their heads, and guns in their backs. They soon learn that they will be part of some sort of ritual, in which they will be sacrificed. Max, however, doesn't plan on going down without a fight.

The opening 10 minutes or so of this movie, were really creepy, and atmospheric. The score really sold it for me at that point. While we're witnessing the opening ritualistic montage, I was really sucked in to the universe that film had created. I wish the rest of the film stayed in this style, as it would have elevated this watch for me by ten fold. What follows the opening scene will be rough to watch for more casual viewers. As mentioned before, it's micro budget, so you have to forgive a lot in consideration of that fact. Some of the acting is a bit shaky, but it doesn't distract the viewer too much from the over all tone of the film.

The concept is there, and you can tell that there is some talent behind the project. Had the crew been given more of a budget to work with, I have no doubts that a cult classic could have came out of it.

"Girl Number Three" is based on a graphic novel by Nathan Thomas Millner. After watching this flick, and seeing some of his artwork, I fully intend on checking the source material out. There's nothing really overly negative that comes to mind about my experience with this movie, and the things that I can think of can easily be explained away by the lack of money. Special effects, which are few and far between, could have used some sprucing up in my opinion, but again, when you're working with zero budget, you use what you have access to.

The film is showing at the end of July at this year's Fright Night Film Festival, and I hope that someone will see it, and give director Herschel Zahnd III, and writer Nathan Thomas Millner a budget for their next flick. I would recommend this movie to anyone who is a fan of late night b-movies, and anyone who has aspirations of becoming a filmmaker themselves.

http://www.liberaldead.com
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4/10
Suffers from "Middle of the road" syndrome.
26 June 2010
No, you're not having an acid flashback, and you don't need to text ChaCha, that is Joel Greco from trash TV show "Cheaters". I recently subscribed to "Indieflix", which, if you don't know, is like Netflix instant watch, only for independent film exclusively. It's a good service, if you would like to check it out, and it provides countless hours of independent cinema at the click of a button. Last night, I saw a vampire/comedy film available by the name of "Nightcrawlers", Having never heard of the flick, and it being so close to the release date to the latest mind numbing entry into the Twilight Saga, I gave it a go. Having a brisk runtime of only 74 minutes, it wasn't much of a commitment.

"Nightcrawlers" follows two friends in a hick town. Rob, played by Lee Trull, who has just discovered that his girlfriend is pregnant, and is desperate to get his act together, and Coop, played by Gabriel Horn, the town slacker, who also happens to be running for mayor. The duo have a run in with a mysterious outlander with a business proposition, but in order to hear said proposition, the two have to meet him at an abandoned barn outside of town, in the middle of the night. Sounds shady right? Well, after being told that there is a potential to make tens of thousands of dollars, they decide to give it a go. The job is simple, sneak into a creepy house that is rumored to be haunted, open a safe, grab the money, and the deed to the house. What could go wrong? Well, turns out it's not actually the deed to the house, but some sort of ancient scroll that vampires have been fighting over for centuries.

This is a hard film to review. It suffers from "Middle of the road" syndrome. It's not so bad that it's hard to watch, but it's just so by- the-numbers that it's hard to enjoy. It feels as if the writers were trying way too hard to be clever, and funny, and in turn, achieved neither. There were perhaps two moments in the film, that made me sort of smirk, but never was there an actual comedic moment. Both main characters played their roles well, but didn't have much by way of script to work with.

To call this a Vampire film would be a stretch. Yes, there are vampires involved, but they are far from central to the plot. We're treated to a few fang mugging close-ups, and that's about the extent of it. You could tell that the FX department were aiming to mimic the style of vampires featured in "Lost Boys" sunken eyes and all, and I suppose they did an OK enough job, it just wasn't enough to elevate my enjoyment of the film.

I'm not sure what the budget was, but I will say that it looks amazing. For what I'm assuming was a low budget production, they really worked well with what they had. I think there is some genuine talent behind the lens, but I also think that director Benjamin Wilbanks should adapt someone else's script for his next project. With a better screenplay, and some wittier dialog, this could have went theatrical in my opinion.

The third act tried so hard to be amusing, but I couldn't help hearing the sound of "Yakety Sax" in my head. It was a skit lifted directly from Benny Hill. Our main characters are running in circles across town from a horde of stumbling hillbilly vampires. It may sound entertaining to you, but I personally sat in disbelief of what I was witnessing.

I can't recommend "Nightcrawlers", but I can't suggest staying far away from it either. It's so generic that it's impossible to call bad. Think of it as film purgatory. If you have 70 minutes that you would like to donate to an experience you won't remember, but won't regret, give it a go. If not, no worries, the world will not end.

4/10

http://www.liberaldead.com
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Blood River (2009)
9/10
Gritty, and dirty, but manages to be breathtakingly beautiful at the same time.
24 June 2010
Adam Mason has quickly become one of our favorite directors at The Liberal Dead. He has an uncanny ability to take next to no budget, and create something that will blow your mind. "Blood River" is his best film to date, and a true cinematic masterpiece. The story follows Summer(Tess Panzer) and Clark(Ian Duncan) as they travel across the desert to tell Summer's parents that she is pregnant. A car crash that follows what I would say is the most interesting piece of film ever dedicated to a tire blow out, leaves them stranded. The film is set in 1969, so it's not quite as easy as just pulling out their iPhone and calling AAA. Clark, and Summer head out on foot to the nearest town, "Blood River". As the couple arrive, not only is there a cow carcass laying at the entrance to the town to greet them, but there are various skeletal remains scattered across the grounds, and nothing much else. It's completely abandoned. Soon, we're introduced to Joseph(Andrew Howard), who is seen from the distance, appearing out of nowhere. It's made immediately obvious that there's something not right about Joe, but they are so desperate for help at this point, that they're willing to overlook his quirks. Leaving Summer behind, Joseph, and Clark head off into the desert, in an attempt to salvage gas from the crashed car, and siphon it into Joseph's car. This is basically the top of the coaster. It was great up until this point, and the ride just gets better from here.

The cinematography in this film is nothing short of amazing. Ingenious camera angles, coupled with a gorgeous backdrop, and some stunning helicopter angles makes this Mason's most visually appealing movie to date. I really felt, from start to finish that this film should have gotten a wide theatrical release. Mason had a budget of $250,000 to finish this film in a time span of 18 days, so the end result is even more stunning.

"Blood River" isn't a gorefest, but I think it will still appeal to that demographic. It's raw, gritty, and psychologically brutal. Another thing that made me happy was the fact that it doesn't spoon feed it's plot to the viewer. It definitely knows the message it wants to portray, but it leaves a lot of it up to the viewer to decipher. It's rare that a filmmaker gives the audience this kind of credit, instead of insulting our intelligence with flash cut scenes to make sure we got the subtlety. "Blood River" is not like this, it's intelligent at it's core, and it assumes that those watching it are as well.

The acting is superb across the board, but Andrew Howard in particular puts in a powerhouse performance. He's done an amazing job in past films with Mason, but this performance alone put's him at the top of my list for genre favorites. From the moment that he is introduced, until the last frame, Howard is cool as hell.

The atmosphere created is astonishing. It's gritty, and dirty, but manages to be breathtakingly beautiful at the same time. The setting is on a far grander scale than Mason's previous work, spanning across what seems to be a vast desert wasteland, but it still manages to keep a strong level of isolation.

"Blood River" is not an easy film to slap a label on. While it will definitely appeal to fans of the horror genre, fans of really solid dramatic, psychological thrillers will be in for a treat as well. It blends genres seamlessly, and is most definitely Mason's most marketable film to date. For fans of His previous work, such as "Broken" and "The Devil's Chair", don't worry, this movie was made for you as well. It's not a cookie-cutter thriller, and it demands the audiences attention. You're not going to be spoon-fed anything, you're going to have to turn your brain on for this one.

The film is currently available in Germany, has just been listed for pre-order in the UK, and if I'm not mistaken, there will be an announcement shortly about Canadian distribution as well. Unfortunately, there is currently no details available for a US release date for the flick, so if you have some pull at a studio, watch this flick, love it, and make Mason a big fat offer for distribution, you won't regret it.

http://www.liberaldead.com
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Pig (2010)
6/10
More of an experiment in the technical side of film making.
18 April 2010
Adam Mason's "Pig" premiered free to all tonight, on bloody-disgusting, dreadcentral, and Twitchfilm. Mason was responsible for the mind-f*ck of a film "The Devil's Chair." as well as "Blood River." To call this a film would be liberal usage of the word. It's more of an experiment in the technical side of film making. There is no narrative, no character development, and honestly no purpose to the film. The bulk of the movie(70 minutes) was filmed in one take. If you explain this to the average movie goer, not only will they not care, but they most likely won't even know what you're talking about.

Now that I've explained that this isn't really a movie, but more of a talent showcase, let's delve into what worked for me. Knowing I was viewing one continuous take blew my mind for most of the film. The cinematography is nothing short of amazing after consuming that fact. Even more impressive is how they allow for F/X gags to be set up while the camera is running. A quick re-frame of the shot, allows for the off-screen crew to quickly set up the special effects. Some of the tricks used here were absolutely brilliant. Setting the kill in the bed of a pick-up truck, allows for them to make a quick cut to a wide-shot, while someone crawls on their belly, setting up the effects for the kill.

This isn't a movie to be enjoyed. In fact, I wouldn't recommend viewing this film to anyone unless they are not only an aspiring film maker, but interested in film making as an art form. It's hard to watch, and not because of the subject matter. While our main character prepares his "meal" the camera lingers on him, with his captive struggling in the background. This goes on for what seems like forever. A lot of the time, it made me feel like I was stoned. I knew something should be going on on the screen, but I felt so disoriented that I couldn't tell if I was missing something, or if that was just the way the movie made me feel. The acting is decent, considering there's not much coherent dialog, and that this is mostly happening in real time. The setting is believable, all-be-it a little bland. The music gets a tad annoying, with the same song being played in the back ground over and over.

If you're interested in becoming a film maker, and marvel at the technical aspects of a film, you may want to endure this experiment. You'll definitely be in for something original. But please, don't go into the flick expecting an enjoyable movie, because aside from marveling at the talent behind the camera, there's nothing to like here. Watch if you dare, and remember you've been warned.

http://liberaldead.blogspot.com
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5/10
A sequel. I should end my review right there.
14 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
A sequel. I should end my review right there. But in the interest of taking up useless e-space, I'll continue. For me, The Descent Part 2 had 2 strikes against it before the opening credits rolled. Director Neil Marshall has not stepped back behind the camera to further his already finished story and the sequel is a continuation of the North American ending. Now, if you're one of the special people who were able to see the original a year, or maybe more before the North American release, you'll know that the original ending is superior in every way. It wraps the story up, and fits in with the rest of the film's bleak, hopeless tone. I'm not sure if studios feel that us American's are stupid, or if we just are too fragile to handle a down ending, but whatever the case, our protagonist survives. Found running through the woods, caked in blood, she's rushed to the hospital. Found to remember nothing upon initial questioning, the sheriff leading the search for the other missing girls decides the best course of action is to take this woman-in-shock directly back to the place that caused her the trauma. Somehow, The Descent 2 manages to continue where the first film leaves off, but feel like a complete cash-in at the same time. Some scenarios are lifted directly from the original. In the first film, the overwhelming sense of claustrophobia was treated as a character in the movie. It's one of the reasons the first film was so effective. Seeing those petite women barely making it through the holes in the cave left you feeling uneasy. This is not present in the sequel. In fact, the sheriff is a pretty big guy. I'm not going to say he was fat, but he's definitely built, and he manages to move with ease throughout the corridors. The original actresses return to reprise the roles of Sarah, and Juno, whom is somehow still alive, even though we heard her screaming while she was torn to shreds in the first film. Apparently, in her 2 days of surviving the creatures in the cave, she's become some sort of commando, hunting down and killing the cave's inhabitants. She has a short part, and half of her part is spent completely silent. They try to describe it away by saying something to the extent of "Silence is your best weapon" but it feels tacked on. One of the biggest problems with the sequel is it's pacing. In the original, we weren't even introduced to the creatures until like an hour into the film. The entire first hour was spent on character development, and building suspense. We knew they weren't alone, they knew they weren't alone, but the menacing creatures weren't really introduced until the third act. Here, it's as if the director just wanted to get to the killing as quickly as possible. We don't know anything about most of the characters, and we don't care when they are killed off. In the original, you could tell that all the girls were close friends, and you could tell that when one of them was picked off, it effected the rest of the characters. Another problem I had were with some of the special effects. Don't get me wrong, there is some decent gore in The Descent 2, including one hell of an amputation scene, but there was something wrong with the blood. It's as if the special effects team have never actually seen blood before. When characters are wounded, we're treated with an arterial spray of what appears to be Cambpell's tomato soup, in both color and consistency. All in all though, it's a watchable flick. It's loaded with problems, some forgivable, some not(Random, unexplained twist ending.) But I've seen worse movies, and certainly worse sequels.(Butterfly Effect 2?) But if you enjoyed the creatures in the first film, you'll probably find something to like about the sequel, just don't expect it to be anywhere close to the brilliance of the original, and you'll have fun.
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6/10
gory, fun romp at the prom, with a bloodbath that makes "Carrie" look like Babe: Pig in the city.
18 February 2010
To be honest, I didn't want to review this flick for a number of reasons. One of which being that Cabin Fever is one of my favorite films. Another reason being that Ti West has become one of my favorite genre directors. I remember becoming stoked the day I read that Ti West was taking on a sequel to Eli Roth's Cabin Fever, then all the delays and production problems, and reading that West had all but disowned the film, My anticipation turned to disappointment. The end result turned out to be much better than expected, but still felt incomplete.

Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever spreads the infection from a cabin in the woods, to a nearby high-school prom. With a solid performance by all players involved, some superbly fitting music, and well done gross-out effects, Cabin Fever 2 is a worthy watch for anyone into indie splatter comedies.

One of the biggest problems with Cabin Fever 2 is that Ti West wasn't available for the editing process. Sure, 90 percent of the footage that he shot was used,(and it shows) But if a director isn't there for the editing process of a film, It's not going to turn out the way it was intended. The film feels incomplete, as the producers decided to shoot an entirely different 6 minute ending sequence that feels so out of place, that if it didn't contain one of the early characters, you'd thing you were watching a completely different movie. Just as the film picks up, it's brought to a complete halt by this weird, unsuited ending. The ending actually made me feel as if the film had no ending at all. Giuseppe Andrews puts in an amazing performance as he always does, but his character isn't given the depth that he deserves.

Despite it's problems, Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever is definitely worth the watch. It has one of the best opening sequences in b-movie history, and you can tell by the cinematography that Ti West not only knows his stuff, but has a deep love for the genre. I wish they would have given him creative freedom, as I feel this would become a cult classic, but as it stands, we're left with a competent, gory, fun romp at the prom, with a bloodbath that makes "Carrie" look like Babe: Pig in the city.

http://liberaldead.blogspot.com
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Legion (2010)
2/10
Cheesy dialog during forced character background scenes fill up 3/4ths of the film.
22 January 2010
If Feast, and Splinter have shown us anything, is that sometimes the claustrophobic feeling of a close quarters set can almost be an extra character in the film. Legion went for this, but failed. After seeing the trailers, I was hoping Legion would kickstart 2010's horror'ish lineup into full gear. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Legion is the holy roller's rendition of "The Terminator" mixing elements of classics from almost every genre of film. Sometimes, a film can pay homage to cult classics, and give birth to an all new sub-genre. Legion is more like an abortion than a birth.

Cheesy dialog during forced character background scenes fill up 3/4ths of the film. The action scenes are few and far between, and what little we are given, is very anti-climactic. From the trailer, we were all but promised plenty of zombie-like scenes of innocent people being possessed by angelic forces to facilitate the extermination of the human race. If this is what you're expecting.. don't. 90% of the "cool" scenes of possession are shown in the trailer, the rest are pretty much forgettable.

Having not seen "Daybreakers" yet, so far my 2010 has begun with a dud. Legion is insulting to the viewers intelligence. Save the cash, and wait for this turd to show up late night on the syfy channel.
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7/10
There is no gray area with this film. You're either going to love it, or you're going to loathe it.
30 September 2009
Nothing diminishes the effectiveness of a film like hype. Considering the fact that Rob Zombie has been talking about The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto since before The Devil's Rejects was released, there was some tremendous hype behind this little side project. Suffice it to say, there are going to be some people that are disappointed.

Let me start by saying, there is no gray area with this film. You're either going to love it, or you're going to loathe it. I happen to fall in to the former category. Something about Superbeasto just worked for me. One of the major complaints I've heard is that the film seems to just sporadically break into song. This is one of my favorite parts of the film. Yes, the songs are juvenile, but they work. All I know, is I'll be seeking out Suzi X's(Sheri Moon-Zombie: The Devil's Rejects)"Nazi Zombie" theme to use as a ringtone.

To me, this was an enjoyable watch. Perhaps I was able too keep my expectations grounded in reality, unlike others. If you're one of these people, who can't stand the excessive vulgarity that riddles Rob Zombie scripts, you're going to hate Superbeasto. This film was one big dick and fart joke. With a myriad of short cameo appearances, fans of Zombie's past work will immediately recognize their favorite characters. Even Michael Myers makes a short appearance.

The Story is practically non existent. Superbeasto meets Velvet Von Black(Rosario Dawson: Clekrs II) at a strip club, and it's made obvious by his giant erection, that he is interested in her. At the same time, Dr. Satan(Paul Giamatti: Shoot 'Em Up) is convinced that she is his "Unholy Bride" chaos ensues.

If an insurmountable level of animated titties, and gore, and an expletive riddled experiment mixing Heavy Metal, with Ren and Stimpy sounds appealing to you, then you will enjoy this movie. Admittedly, this probably wasn't meant for the average movie viewer. But for those of us out there with a sick, demented sense of humor, it hits the spot. I have a sneaking suspicion that a few hits from your favorite bowl will make it that much more enjoyable.

3.5/5 - napalmfuzz http://liberaldead.blogspot.com
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The Thaw (2009)
6/10
The political commentary of 'The Thaw" is not subtle. I'd liken it to carving "Global Warming" into a 4x4, and smacking the viewer in the face with it.
30 September 2009
The Thaw (2009) I enjoy the mixture of horror, and political commentary. That is, after all, how this blog was born. I'm from the George Romero school of political commentary though, in the sense that it should be subtle. The political commentary of 'The Thaw" is not subtle. I'd liken it to carving "Global Warming" into a 4x4, and smacking the viewer in the face with it. Regardless, I found enjoyment in the film.

Val Kilmer(Felon) Plays Dr. David Kruipen, who is researching global warming at a remote artic research station. Dr Krupien discovers what appears to be a wooly mammoth thawing in a melting glacier. Marth MacIsaac(The Last House On The Left) is Evelyn, Dr. Kruipen's daughter. Against her father's wishes, she hitches a ride on a helicopter with 3 college students, going on a global warming study. We soon discover, that it's not just the mammoth that is thawing out.

The Thaw has a lot of the same elements of "The Last Winter" but manages to stay somewhat original. The message is obvious, Make personal sacrifices to slow global warming, or die. The opening montage shows various media sources, either validating global warming, or claiming it's a complete myth. Whichever camp you belong to(hopefully the former) you're sure to at least have fun with this borderline body-snatcher'esquire film. The acting is good across the board. The premise is somewhat believable, and the tension is thick. The location lends to the creepiness, being such a remote location.

The few scenes of special effects seem to have been handled practically for the most part. There isn't an overwhelming amount of CGI, although there is a bit, conservatively used for things that just aren't possible with practical effects.

Even though I wasn't thrilled with the fact that the political commentary was so in-your-face, it did leave me thinking after the credits rolled. I would rather it have been handled with a little more tact, but the obnoxious presence of the message fits in with the extremities discussed within the story.

3/5 -napalmfuzz

http://liberaldead.blogspot.com
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Kill Theory (2009)
7/10
Takes everything that has made slashers work in the past, and incorporate that into a very competently made modern slasher flick.
30 September 2009
At this point in horror history, long gone are the simple, yet effective, "By-the-numbers" slasher flicks. Everything has to be bigger and better than the last big thing. What Kill Theory does NOT do, is be an innovative force. It doesn't try to create the next big gimmick for horror movies to come. What it DOES do, and well I might add, is take everything that has made slashers work in the past, and incorporate that into a very competently made modern slasher flick.

One of the things I liked most about Kill Theory, is that there really isn't a main character. There is no obvious hero, there isn't really a "Red herring" so to speak. The film puts together a decent ensemble of people, some of whom are recognizable from past efforts, some were unknowns. For me, I immediately noticed Theo Rossi, and Taryn Manning from Sons Of Anarchy, an excellent show if you haven't checked it out yet. I also recognized Daniel Franzese from "Bully". Overall though, Each character appears to be as important as the last. It never emphasizes one character over an other.

The concept is interesting. It's not something new, but it's done very well, and keeps you engaged in the story, instead of waiting for the next kill. Normally in modern slashers, I've completely tuned the "Story" out, and I'm sitting in anticipation for the next piece of visual effects put on display. Speaking of effects, there are plenty of scenes of blood and gore in the film, which are also done very well. So if you're looking for some grue and grime, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the level of gritty violence and gore.

The pacing was perfect. Sitting at a brisk 81 minutes, the film takes no time setting things in motion. There is a "Whodunit" aspect to the film, but it never harps on it. You don't see the "Killer's" face until the end of the film, but it doesn't make it a big "Reveal" moment,and those of us who have been keeping up to date on slashers, will immediately recognize his voice.

If you're thirsting for a slasher film, and if you're like me, and are sick of the "Saw" franchise, and it's imitators, give Kill Theory a shot. It may not be the next big thing, but it takes different elements that made classic slashers work, and put them together in a fun, bloody, competent package.

3.5/5 - napalmfuzz

http://liberaldead.blogspot.com
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The Hills Run Red (2009 Video)
6/10
I was expecting a little more exploitation, and a lot less CGI.
30 September 2009
The Hills Run Red (2009) After reading several reviews for The Hills Run Red offering high praise, I suppose my hype meter kicked in. I was told that it was gritty, grimy, and uber-violent. Sounds good right?

The story follows Tyler(Tad Hilgenbrink: Amusement) as he develops an obsession with an 80's slasher film called The Hills Run Red. Legend has it, that it was immediately pulled from theaters after it was shown, due to a strong reaction to the violence shown on screen. Since then, all people involved in production have mysteriously disappeared. After some internet browsing, Tyler manages to get a line on the director's daughter, whom is showing off her beautiful natural breasts at a strip club. The plan is, find the daughter, get her to help him find the movie.

The Hills Run Red is one of those films that I realize is a cut above most straight to DVD horror films, and I DID enjoy the film. I guess I just felt a little disappointed. I was expecting a little more exploitation, and a lot less CGI. The kills are inventive, but is almost killed by the CGI work. This is the type of film that you NEED practical effects for.

Acting is good across the board, most notable is Sophie Monk, who plays Alexa. Sophie is a stunning natural beauty. Nothing like seeing some meat on the bones instead of the current skeletal Hollywood trend. The pacing is excellent, the cinematography is top notch.

As I said, it's a great film, and I highly recommend it, I guess I was just expecting something different. I'm going to have to knock it down a point though for the shoddy CGI work. Get a clue up and coming film makers, there is no substitute for well done practical effects. CGI will NEVER replace the rubber suit, and fake blood.

3/5 -napalmfuzz

http://liberaldead.blogspot.com
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8/10
This is no trick for Horror film fans it's definitely a welcome Treat. Say Hello to the New Generation Creepshow.
30 September 2009
I read a lot of Horror movie websites... News and reviews.... And want to keep up to date on upcoming horror films that are coming to the theater. So in 2007 I was pumped for trick r treat..... Wait 2007... yes you are reading that right ....2 yrs... I know 2 f**king years and I have finally seen trick r treat and the fact that this film is going straight to DVD October 6, 2009 Is really a shame.... Please all horror fans and genre film fans buy trick r treat... this is Wrong turn 2 straight to DVD quality.... The acting, Music, and production are top notch.... And 1 word can be used to describe this film and that's Fun.

The film is played out in 5 different stories a-la Creepshow... And Each story does have a twist a-la Tales from the Crypt... What makes trick r treat special for me is it's such a celebration of October and Halloween... Like trick r treat was written by a group of people setting around a campfire telling scary stories... It has that feeling to it...Characters from one story will bump into characters from another story.. but when that happens it feels natural the story is never forced....I don't understand how this film never got a wide release but Paul Blart Mall Cop is the number 1 movie in America this year at one time... jeez.... Anyway my favorite of the stories is about a cantankerous old hermit (Brian Cox), visited by a strange trick-or-treater with a few bones to pick. That strange trick-or-treater is the one constant in all 5 stories and serves almost like a punishment for breaking Halloween rules... Don't smash or blow out a pumpkin when this little guy's around... Who knew a sucker could be that dangerous.....

So on Oct 6th 2009 please either pick your copy of Trick r Treat up, or order it on On-Demand PPV, to show Warner Brothers a movie like this deserves a wide release.. This is no trick for Horror film fans it's definitely a welcome Treat. Say Hello to the New Generation Creepshow.

4/5 -Neurotic George http://liberaldead.blogspot.com
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3/10
The 3D effects in this film, for me, are the ONLY reason to see it. As a film, it was poor.
13 September 2009
No one has ever accused the "Final Destination" films of being high art. For a lot of us, the series has simply been a guilty pleasure. No real plot to speak of, but the deviant in us likes watching people be killed off in creative ways.

There is no doubt in my mind that the original is the best in the series. The scene where the airplane explodes from a voyeur's viewpoint has stuck with me ever since the release of the film. It also put a damper on my willingness to travel via airplane. The crash scene from the second film is epic. Some really grizzly kills are shown in full detail. The third film in the series strikes a chord with me, because I REALLY hate roller-coasters.

There was nothing for me to really connect with in the new installment. The big tragedy that sets death off on another slasher-esquire rampage is a crash at what appears to be a NASCAR race. I may live in Kentucky, but I take no pleasure from watching cars drive in a circle. I guess I have too many teeth in my head.

The 3D effects in this film, for me, are the ONLY reason to see it. As a film, it was poor. The acting, while passable, was pretty generic. The death scenes, while fun in 3D, where nowhere near as creative and fun as the last 3 films. The soundtrack was abysmal pop-rock. Basically everything about the film on a film making standpoint, was cookie-cutter standard. Some of the dialogue was so cheesy it hurt. "I've got my EYE on you" comes to mind(You'll see.)

Now, on to the 3D aspect of the film. Some of the 3D shots were absolutely amazing. I didn't feel bad paying the 25.00 price tag for my wife and I to see the film. One shot in particular actually made me flinch. I'm a seasoned 3D horror veteran, and This movie made me flinch.. I felt like a 12 year old girl hiding her face from the big bad monster on screen.

Basically, if you have 10 bucks to blow, and have a chance to see this at the theater, give it a go. The 3D effects alone are worth the price of admission. If you don't get a chance to see it at a theater, don't bother. Unless you have OCD and have to see every film in a series just for the principal, it's an easy film to miss.

The film it's self 1.5/5 The 3D aspect of the film get's a 4/5 easily.

http://liberaldead.blogspot.com
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9/10
THE must see horror flick of the decade. Midnight Meat Train delivers!
20 October 2008
So, lets face it, It has not been that great of a couple of years for us hardcore horror fans. We live in an age where direct to video horror flicks are far more enjoyable than theatrical releases. I find myself checking the DVD/Bluray new releases more so than the theater dates. When I first saw the theatrical trailer for Clive Barker's The Midnight Meat Train, I couldn't wait. I was so excited that there was a new film adapted after a Clive Barker story. I was not disappointed.

Firstly, lets talk about how the flick was treated by Dimension executives. I saw 1 theatrical trailer for this flick, and that was it. No kind of advertisement whatsoever. No TV spots, no posters or billboards, and finally, no release date. I kept waiting for this flick to play at the theater, but the day never came.

The Midnight Meat Train was a victim of office politics, and nothing more. Dimension had to ensure that "The Strangers" did as good as possible at the box office, that TMMT was essentially shelved. Later, released quietly to a handful of dollar theaters across the country.

This flick, is honest to god, one of the best horror experiences I've had since our calendars rolled over to the 00's. Everything about it feels like an old school horror flick. Beautiful scenery, and art direction, outstanding gore effects, superb acting(especially by Vinnie Jones, whom only says 3 words in the entire movie, but still pulls a stellar performance.) I've said before, that after the credits rolled on this film, I felt a way that I hadn't felt since the first viewing of "Lord Of Illusions." The atmosphere, and setting plays a big role in this film. Being a little bit of a claustrophobic in the first place, the thought of being attacked in such a personal, and enclosed area sent shivers down my spine.

The Midnight Meat Train is the horror event of the decade, so do not even think about missing it. Don't let the fact that it was screwed over at the theater detract you from seeing the flick, as I said before, it was all office politics, and in no way a representation of the quality of this film.

Check Clive Barker's The Midnight Meat Train out on FEARnet ON-Demand in high definition, or visit Fearnet.com on October 30th for the internet VOD premiere.

9.5/10
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