Category Archives: horror

XX Anthology

Directed by Jeff Garlin, I know that horror films are very popular because the ones that I get my hands one sell like hot cakes. XX is a collection of short horror films that are unfamiliar for a lot of horror fans, they will catch your interest. You should give them a shot because like most horror movies you have a 50/50 chance of ending up with something which is overall worth your time and money.

This collection is produced well and acted will, but it’s nothing to get super excited about because, honestly the first short film The Box was really the only one worth watching that I enjoyed, the rest, well, were not that great. Still, you might the other because horror movies are so diverse.

Being a horror fan it intrigues you. There is a good chance you will more than I did. I am not saying it is a bad collection, but I do feel the horror experience should have been better. Either way, if you are a horror fan let me know what you think.

Overall, it is an anthology that shows a variety of styles. Each filmmaker’s expression is distinctive and contemporary, and it makes for an awfully good horror viewing.

Like I said The Box is a deep story and Only Living Son is a second best with a more thematically deep, straight horror and dark comedy. You crave horror, then you won’t be disappointed.

Satanic

satanic_rgb-dvd-frontSatanic, directed by Jeffrey G. Hunt, the movie starts off with a group of college coeds driving in a van visiting old Satanic Panic-era sites in Los Angeles. They end up following the creepy owner of an occult store home, only to find themselves saving a suspicious girl from an apparent human sacrifice. Only this so-called victim turns out to be much more dangerous than the cult from which she escaped.

The movie is a super-low-budget horror movie with “From The Producers of The Walking Dead” on the DVD cover, which saved the movie from coming across rather boring and poorly filmed. The story doesn’t start until 40 minutes into the film with the characters about as interesting as playdough.

The movie stars Sarah Hyland (Modern Family), Steven Krueger (The Originals), Justin Chon (Twilight), Sophia Dalah (Unbroken) and Clara Mamet (The Neighbors).  Hunt has directed some TV shows like CSI and Scorpion, but he is pretty much a Steadicam operator or assistant director, which is the bulk of his experience. Remember that when you watch this movie.

The story follows four college students. Before taking a road trip to Coachella, the group checks into the Flower Hotel, the scene of Lainey Gore’s gruesome suicide in homage to Satan himself, for their own satanic tour in the City of Angels.

The thrill seekers visit the site of the infamous Manson murders and an unnerving satanic store, leading the group to mistakenly interrupt a cult’s sacrifice of a girl named Alice. Ultimately allowing her to break free, the travelers soon begin to question her innocence as she has an unsettling admiration for the spirit of Lainey Gore.

Truly, nothing much happens in the movie with the exception of a suicide and much of the horrific stuff is off-camera.  The repercussions of the horrifying elements are all that is shown. Horror movie fans will without a doubt be interested in seeing this movie until they reach end and notice how many unique ways Hyland can scream. The drawing of the pentagrams, five-star mystic and magical symbol, on the wall is really not that scary.

Backtrack

03139824135580_z_backrcluDirected by Michael Petroni, known for directing The Book Thief, combines paranormal with a mystery in a plot that twists suspense to an all-time high. The story is like The Sixth Sense  but in reverse. It is refreshing to watch a movie that is so different.

Oscar winner, Adrien Brody, and Sam Neill star in the spine-chilling thriller, Backtrack. Suspense is the key word because it kept me on the edge of my seat as the shocking story slowly unfolds.

We follow Psychologist Peter Bower, played by Brody, as his life is thrown into turmoil when he discovers that the patients he has been seeing are ghosts. Risking his own sanity, Peter delves into his past to uncover a terrifying secret which only he can put right.

I am not a fan of psychologists because the profession is built on the premise that man is an animal. I completely disagree. Though, this movie is really good.

The Blu-ray and DVD have some nice behind-the-scenes featurettes including “The Psychology of Backtrack.

All in all, Brody carries the movie along with strong supporting actors. The story is just as strong with a resolution that is believable.

Flight 7500

flight 7500Directed by Takashi Shimizu, who directed The Grudge, Flight 7500 introduces us to the excitement of getting ready to take a trip on a plane in the friendly skies. But, soon the flight turns into a spine-chilling journey to the dark side.

Taking off from Los Angles to Tokyo for a 10-hour flight overnight, the plane is shaken up by a server storm. When the turbulence subsides, a violent death of a traveling businessman happens.  The other passengers investigate the cause, and it looks like a supernatural force is unleashed. More passengers are taken over by some kind of evil force causing them die while they try to figure out what the cause is.

Shimizu does a good job of moving the mystery along rather nicely, and it is entertaining, but there is nothing original about the story.  So, the overall story is kind of flat and goes nowhere but, because of the cast and crew, I was interested throughout. The ending has a twist, but it was very weak and didn’t fit the storyline, so I didn’t like the end. Besides that, it is worth watching when you have nothing else to do and want to be entertained.

Leslie Bibb, Jamie Chung, Jerry Ferrara, Ryan Kwanten, Johnathon Schaech, and Amy Smart are all very good in the movie. The DVD comes with a featurette called “Inside Flight 7500.” The featurette tells you how the movie was made, which is always nice to watch and learn about filmmaking.

The Last Witch Hunter

the last witch huntVin Diesel movies make money and entertain in a simple but direct way. The Last Witch Hunter is a little different and not such a simple movie. Directed decently by USC alumni Breck Eisner, the movie is both largescale and commendable. Eisner crafts a distinct urban fantasy-horror universe, which looks different from other movies of the same genre.

The story begins in the past with a group of silver-haired warriors on an important journey to slay the evil Witch Queen, played by Julie Engelbrecht, responsible for placing a curse on whole the countryside. The warriors fight bravely with suspense and terror as if they are fighting a monster, not a witch. All in all, this part of the movie is very good.

The story moves forward to the present, we meet Kaulder, played by Diesel, who is an immortal hero with a very complex or angst personality. If you are familiar with Diesel’s characters, you know he is still sarcastic and badass as ever, making his dedicated fans over-the-top, hand slapping happy.  He teams up with Axe and Cross, a group of priests. Dolan played brilliantly by Michael Caine, works closely with Kaulder, but retires and unexpectedly dies. Kaulder suspects his death is caused by “dark magic beyond evil,” meaning the Witch Queen.

Eisner adds a lot of action scenes with some awesome scary scenes, a strong supporting cast, and plenty of really useful computer effects with vibrant monsters and crazy spells. However, the story has no surprises only clichés, yet it’s a Diesel movie, so no complaints either.

Elijah Wood is excellent as Kaulder’s sidekick, a geeky priest in New York City. He adds a lot to the story and production. I like seeing him with Diesel because they are so different in real life.

All in all, it is a pretty good movie and worth seeing if you are a Diesel fan.

Little Dead Rotting Hood

rottinghoodDirected by Jared Cohn, Little Dead Rotting Hood maintains the idea that some low-budget horror movies are not worth watching unless you are an avid horror movie junkie who needs a fix.

The storyline works on paper but the production value needs work. The movie is described as something sinister lurking in the woods, and the residents of the small town nearby are falling victim to its bloodlust. When the town sheriff discovers that the wolves inhabiting the nearby forest are getting more aggressive and even deadly, he soon uncovers a danger beyond his imagination.

Different from the description, Little Dead Rotting Hood jumps around like ideas and the plot rarely meet with coherent understanding. Nothing is clear. The story is murky, even the significant twist near the end is awkward, just hard to make sense out of it all. I don’t want to share the key points because you will see the movie, and it is best for you to determine if you like it or not.

The movie is filmed well and captures the idyllic life of living in a small town. The surroundings are flourishing and stunning while the overall location looks perfect for the story. The acting works though with familiar faces, Eric Balfour and Patrick Muldoon.

Laura Beth Love did a marvelous job with the cinematography, and I’d like to see her work on a better movie, where she can really shine with a good plot.

Kill Game

Kill GameWritten and Directed by Robert Mearns, Kill Game is your typical low-budget, slasher and whodunit horror movie. Jimmy, played by Nathan Ross Murphy, becomes the first victim. The story meets a small group of close friends, who attend his funeral.  The cast in the small group are Sari Sanchez, Joe Adler, Pierson Fode, Michael Galante, and Laura Ashley Samuels.

They are close because they share a deadly secret that happened five years ago in High School.  They played a prank on a student who died from it.  Covering their tracks by masking the incident as a drowning accident, the group lives with the horrible crime, never realizing that their actions will soon haunt them, with deadly results.

Shortly after funeral, they come to terms that anyone of them may also become a victim.  The reason they believe they are next is because they not only played a prank that killed the student but played some pretty mean pranks on other students and teachers. Yet, they have no idea who the slasher is because they played pranks on a so many people.  Then, Jimmy’s twin brother shows up from out of town attending the funeral, and is trying to uncover what happened to his brother. He has no idea about the deadly prank relating to his twin’s murder.

The movie is hard to follow at times because the clues to the murder are all over the place. The sequence of discovery is not linear or easy to follow. For example, a mask was found, but how did the group relate it to the killer. The clues just didn’t add up like a good murder mystery.

It is obvious this is a low-budget horror movie that is full of clichés and empty on good substance.  I am sure most horror movie junkies will want to see this movie for what it is worth.

The Vatican Tapes

the vatican tapesMovies about exorcism are quite common in the horror genre since the 1973 novel by William Peter Blatty The Exorcist came to life on the silver screen. The Vatican Tapes is another horror movie added to the list and is available on both Blu-Ray and DVD. .

Directed by Mark Neveldine, the story begins when we meet Angela Holmes, played by Olivia Taylor Dudley, a young woman soon to be married. Her father Roger, played by Dougray Scott, is in the military and on leave. He arrives on Angela’s birthday, which is a pleasant surprise. During the birthday party, she is injured, ends up in the hospital, and she starts to act strange. Father Lozano, played by the wonderful Michael Pena, happens to be present to witness some of Angela’s behavior. Father Lozano curiosity or spiritual perception compels him to see more of her, and after some time he is certain she is possessed by the devil. Security footage of one of Angela’s strange fits is brought into the Vatican. After viewing the footage, a sound decision is made that only an exorcism can save the young woman.

The set up for the third act where Angela receives the exorcism is rather slow. The build up and suspense never really hits a high note of intensity. When the pivotal point finally arrives, the story begins to move in the right direction. The exorcism happens in a believable and suspenseful way. Sure enough, belongings and possessions make eerie noises with furniture and such bouncing all over the place. Angela performs back bends in unnatural ways of a possessed human, which is similar to other movies of the same genre.  A clever twist at the end is important to know in case you decide not to finish the movie or lose interest and miss the point. The twist is worth watching at the end of the movie.

Neveldine delivered a quality production were the acting shined. The scary scenes were okay, but nothing new for a movie about exorcism. The storyline may be done to death, but if you like the theme, you will probably enjoy the movie.

 

Knock Knock

Directed by Eli Roth, Knock Knock stars Keanu Reeves in a story that needs to be left on the shelf.  We meet Reeves character as a strong, handsome man, who is devoted to his family. His wife and kids take off for the weekend where he grudgingly remains at home working.  After the wife and kids leave for the beach, he settles down for the evening, which happens to be rather dark and stormy.  He is surprisingly interrupted by someone constantly knocking at his door.

He opens the door and voila. Two sexually energized, hot, hot chicks are at the door and need is Good Samaritan help.  They take over the scene and coyly ask to use his hair dryer because they are soaked through due to the rain.  They wait for the cab while the hot chicks play a clever game of seduction. Reeves’ character tries with all his might not to fall prey to their enticement. It culminates in a brief ménage à trois, French for “household of three”…how appropriate.

The situation gets worse and before it gets better it gets even worse.  Uninhibited pleasure-seeking comes to mind as the women make his life miserable, along with nauseating table manners and a fondness for stay-at-home bullying.

The movie is rated R for obvious reasons and most times feels like a porn movie gone bad.  Reeves’ character is basically good, so feels downtrodden for his moral dilemma he is facing for his infidelity.  The movie trailer promoted a plot twist, but it fell flat on its rear end.

The upside to the movie is the message about being faithful and the consequences of infidelity or going to the dark side of life.

The Quiet Ones

thequietI am not a horror fan, but love movies like The Sixth Sense or The OthersThe Quiet Ones comes close to these two movies but is still a horror movie.  The movie is based on a true story and is entertaining.

Directed by Director John Pogue (The Skulls, Quarantine II) the movie lacked a strong storyline and character development.  Don’t get me wrong, the movie is worth seeing if you are into horror, but it’s not out of this world.

Based, sloppily, on a real experiment that took happen at Oxford in 1974, this film brings to light the deep notion of what the supernatural experience might manifestation in the minds of believers who have a few screws loose.

We follow Professor Coupland (Jared Harris), graduate students Krissy (Erin Richards) and Harry (Rory Fleck-Byrne and videographer Brian (Sam Claflin of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Mockingjay).  The group investigates the psychic phenomena produced by the suicidal young Jane (Olivia Cooke) with the justification of treating her. Like all psychiatric treatment, it’s barbaric and inhumane.

Coupland’s techniques are questions as Jane’s health is increasingly becoming at risk, and Coupland turns frenzied in his mania to treat her.  The drama of the story becomes intense when clearly Coupland and Brian share a bloodthirsty importance that skirts a sexual obsession in saving her.  Their actions cause conflicting measures.  Jared Harris’ acting is inspiring and committed while on the other hand Sam Claflin comprises the whole story with emotional weakness. Olivia Cooke directed her crazed, disturbed, unstable and sensitive angst well.

Like I said the movie is good and entertaining moments with gripping, shocking, scary and long scenes wound up in a ball about to spring out with a creep factor of 150 plus.  The movie turned into having to explain why all this horror stuff was happening, rather dull point, and there is a twist.