Tag Archives: horror

Movie Review: The Rezort


Released: 2015
Genre: Horror
IMDB Rating: 5.1 / 10

Those people who know me will testify to just how much of a wild child I am – staying up till 11 on a work night, playing music with swear words in them when an innocent child with ears like a bat might be within hearing distance, wearing mismatched socks and not giving a damn. I’m sure you get the picture. So my epic badassness decided it wanted to live on the edge, and nothing gets the adrenaline pumping quite like a 5.1 IMDB rating – it really could go either way. Will this be one of those hidden gems that you recommend to friends, or will it just be one of those hit and miss movies that bores you a little but you committed so you watch it to the end anyway?

Usually with this sort of thing you need to waste a good 40 minutes before you find out if you made a bad choice or not, but as soon as I heard British accents I knew we were going to be OK.

Ooh gurl, this my jam!

Ooh gurl, this my jam!

The Plot

10 years ago the world was ravaged by a virus that turned the dead into voracious killing machines. Unlike other zombie apocalypses where mankind just kinda lies down and takes it a British stiff upper lip led the world as it fought back and contained the outbreak, and now the world is more or less zombie free and back on its feet.

The only place that still has zombies in abundance is the Rezort, a holiday destination on an island off the coast of North Africa where those survivors who need to let off some steam can put the undead back in their graves in relative safety. Melanie thinks that this is just what she needs – still haunted by the war against the undead and the loss of her father, perhaps blowing some human corpses to smithereens will help give her some closure.

Of course there are still wackos in the world, and some believe that just because something’s a reanimated corpse with a desire for human flesh and the capability to bring about our complete and utter annihilation doesn’t mean it doesn’t have rights, so rightly or wrongly they aren’t the greatest fans of the Rezort. When one of them manages to hack into the Rezort’s servers and deactivate all of the security on the island all of the tourists must once again fight for their lives – not just against the zombies, but also against the Brimstone Protocol, which will see the island incinerated to stop a further outbreak in just a few hours.

Melanie’s gonna need to get a whole lotta closure if she’s gonna make it off the island.

Bitch please, I don't have time for you to shoot me.

Bitch please, I don’t have time for you to shoot me.

The Visual

Ever since The Walking Dead revitalised the genre zombie movies have become a dime a dozen, and more often than not get it very wrong since surprisingly few seem to understand that your zombie movie lives or dies on how good your zombies look and behave. Thankfully the good people behind The Rezort knew what they were doing, and the zombies are nicely put together and behave in a suitably menacing manner. The movie also goes for the ‘the fresher they are, the more they can move’ approach, which means that you only really need to make the older zombies look bedraggled while contact lenses and some fake blood will suffice for the newer ones without detracting from the overall scare factor.

Also, if they ever salvage the island from the Brimstone Protocol, I want to buy it. I imagine the property price will be quite low and the scenery is rather majestic.

Nothing compares to a child's smile.

Nothing compares to a child’s smile.

The Feelings


The Rezort is never going to be considered a classic, but what I liked most about it was its fresh approach to the zombie apocalypse – very rarely in these movies does mankind ever win the battle, let alone turn it into a thriving business opportunity. I can see something like this happening just as much as I can imagine there being zombie rights activists in the event of an outbreak.

In the midst of the general mayhem and panic the movie also manages to throw in some surprisingly good social commentary, which I commend since this is what drove a lot of zombie films, particularly Romero’s, in their nascent years. What it deals with is very timely given a number of disasters currently besetting the world without making the movie become preachy, which isn’t always the easiest balance to strike.

I vote that we just hand the zombie genre in its entirety over to the Brits to handle from here – when they do it, they just do it right.

My Final Rating7 / 10
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Posted by on October 2, 2016 in Movie Review


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Book Review: Horny Zombies Crave Tacos #2

Horny Zombies Crave Tacos 2

Author: Kacey Zen
Genre: Erotica / Horror
Published: 2015

So a little while ago this popped up in my Twitter notifications:

Kacey Zen Tweet

I felt bad, especially considering that I had been a little harsh in my review (I may or may not have implied that Ms Zen’s brain was riddled with tapeworm). I’m man enough to admit when I’ve made a mistake, and I thought that perhaps I had been too rash in my assessment of Horny Zombies Crave Tacos #1. Maybe I’d had a rough day, maybe I wasn’t in the right head space, there are a myriad reasons you can misjudge a literary work.

With all that in mind I decided that the only fair way to judge whether I was wrong about Kacey Zen was to read Horny Zombies Crave Tacos #2: Rug Munchers VS. Dick Heads, and I’m happy to report that it all turned out just as I had suspected: I’m never wrong.

The Plot

Kacey Zen’s trying to get all literary up in this gig, let me tell you.

Horny Zombies Crave Tacos #2 tells the story of two women, Vanessa and Rita, and how they came to find themselves as members of the Rug Munchers, an all-lesbian survival gang trying to make it in a post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland.

Vanessa was a young girl from a good home in a small town who moved to the big city with a simple dream: to become a porn star and ride the biggest fucking dicks you’ve ever seen from dawn until dusk. Fate cut this dream short when, just as she was about to do her first scene, her coworker overdosed on cocaine and became a zombie, forcing the military to evacuate her from her room.

Rita’s story is a bit darker. Some good old-fashioned parenting has left her crippled by her mother’s anxiety when it comes to “real” men, and she has gone through life dating androgynous guys and butch girls. But there’s a void deep within her begging to be filled. Cue donkey-dicked Frank, an Adonis Rita met when he was taking a shower in the parking lot behind her vegan café. Frank technically raped Rita in the café but she liked it and managed to record it, and she uses that recording to blackmail him into fucking her in every orifice whenever she wants, sometimes as many as twenty times a day.

An untold number of years later Frank’s dead and Vanessa and Rita are now members of the Rug Munchers, but Rita wants revenge. Revenge on Vanessa for fucking Frank, and revenge on her girlfriend Betty for killing him right before she herself was going to stab him with a butcher’s knife. But this revenge plot gets complicated when the Rug Munchers come up against the Dick Heads, a group of men on the prowl for women to fuck and then eat, and our lovely ladies in flannel will need to think on their backs if they’re gonna make it out of this alive.

The Writing Style

This was the issue with my review of the first pamphlet in (what some might loosely call) this series, so let’s start off with the good before we get into the bad.

Horny Zombies Crave Tacos #2 is just over twice the length of its predecessor, coming in at a whopping 42 pages. With all these extra pages Ms Zen has managed to get her pronouns right and flesh out her characters a bit more, so instead of the rather two-dimensional Ava from the first pamphlet you now have wholly unlikable characters like Vanessa and Rita.

What these extra pages have not fixed is the fact that Ms Zen struggles to put together a coherent sentence. God knows that before I publish a review I need to take out at least a dozen commas that shouldn’t be there (and maybe pop one or two in where I wasn’t paying attention), but at least I take the time to do it. I can also be accused of using the same word repetitively because, at that time, I was quite fond of it, but during the proof reading stage I will change it up a bit and even consult a thesaurus if need be. My point here, Ms Zen, is that there are other ways to refer to a woman’s vagina than constantly repeating the word “pussy” ad nauseam, with nothing to differentiate these various pussies other than their degree of wetness.

Also, and this is some free advice, when more than two people are engaged in dialogue (and even if it’s just two people for an extended period of time) YOU NEED TO INDICATE TO THE READER WHO IT IS THAT’S SPEAKING! For fuck’s sake…

The Feelings

Sweet Zombie Jesus, where do I even begin?

You know what, I’m not even going to focus on the all the things that can be considered wrong with having zombies with what may well be 34 inch penises double penetrating a woman, you can let your imagination run wild with you on that front. Equally, if your mother didn’t teach you that it’s wrong to keep women captive while flooding their systems with heroin and raping them repeatedly then I don’t imagine that there’s much that I can say to set you right.

What I am going to focus on is just how every idea in this soiled one-ply piece of toilet tissue is just so wrong. You want toxic ideas of what constitutes a “real” man? It’s all here! Want to see how a woman being a crazy, possessive stalker is really just how women show that they care? You better believe that’s in here! Fancy seeing the notion that lesbians aren’t cheating on one another if one of them sleeps with a man? I’m not sure if it was intentional, but it’s here! Forgotten that all a lesbian really wants out of life is a really big dick to fuck her endlessly? Let this pamphlet remind you of what may have slipped your mind!

While the first pamphlet really did nothing for me, this one made me angry. I lifted my head up to the heavens many times in the 20 minutes it took me to read this, praying that some higher power would give me answers, but none were forthcoming. Lacking divine guidance I’m not sure whether I should direct my anger at Ms Zen for perpetuating the ideas sprinkled so liberally throughout this pamphlet, or at the audience who will find nothing amiss about it.

My Final Rating: 1 / 10
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Posted by on July 17, 2016 in Book Review


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Movie Review: Boogeyman 3

Boogeyman 3

Released: 2008
Genre: Horror
IMDB Rating: 4.9 / 10

As the day wore on I was ready to tackle the final stretch of my impromptu one-man mini-marathon. I went in knowing that this would likely be bad, given that I never trust a third installment of anything. I’ve been burned too many times before. But even my seasoned movie-watching bones weren’t quite ready for the sheer inadequacies that Boogeyman 3 decided it was going to pump out of my TV screen.

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, and what Boogeyman 2 brought to this attempt to create a film series Boogeyman 3 undid.

Consuela had really been slacking when it came to the cleaning.

Consuela had really been slacking when it came to the cleaning.

The Plot

Right, to make this work we’re going to have to rewrite history a little bit. Remember the second movie? You may think you do, but you don’t. While you may remember Dr Allen being vehemently opposed to the idea that there was any truth to the boogeyman story, he was actually very much a believer and was extremely worried about what this entity might do to his patients. Following his death he left his journal detailing his research into the boogeyman to his daughter Audrey, who now becomes the creature’s next target.

While seeking asylum at her friend Sarah’s dorm Audrey is killed by the boogeyman. Sarah witnessed the whole thing, but due to her own tenuous grasp on reality (something to do with her mother killing herself) she isn’t entirely sure what to believe and seeks the help of her five college stereotype friends to deal with the trauma of losing a dear friend. I’m not sure what help there’s to be found here since these six could be out-acted by an IKEA shelf, but this is where the movie thought it should take us.

Of course strange things start happening in the dorm following Audrey’s death, not least the “disappearance” of two of Sarah’s other friends. As time goes by Sarah becomes increasingly convinced that the boogeyman is real and, through a set of pseudo-premonitions, realises that the creature plans to massacre everyone that lives in the building. With reality slipping further and further away from her and her friends becoming increasingly convinced that she needs a warm cup of cocoa and a nice straitjacket, Sarah must race against the clock and find a way to defeat the boogeyman before all those that she loves end up pulled through spaces the human body wasn’t designed to squeeze through.

Sweety, the spine doesn't go that way.

Sweety, the spine doesn’t go that way.

The Visuals

Ugh, I hate the style that this film went for.

Much like the first movie Boogeyman 3 tries to go for a J-horror kind of feel, but even more so. The boogeyman is suddenly this bedraggled, long-haired, flashing in-and-out of reality thing that likes to roar a lot (a bit like the creatures in Pulse). My issue is that the creature design and the special effects used to make it appear and disappear just look cheap, so there was nothing about the monster that was scary.

The monster aside there were some cool moments, such as the entire dorm bleeding (very The Shining), which was nicely done and suitably creepy looking. These moments are few and far between, however, and the movie mostly relies on weak jump scares and the usual darkened cupboards with flickering lights. Seriously, can Americans not install lights in their cupboards that work all the time? It’s a concern.

The untold story of when an entire sorority's cycles sync up.

The untold story of when an entire sorority’s cycles sync up.

The Feelings

Bored stiff.

Boogeyman 3 is such an amateurish movie that I wouldn’t know where to begin taking it apart to explain all that was wrong. Between it’s completely generic plot, the nonsensical rewriting of the story from the first two films, its wooden cast and it’s reliance on a film style that had long since run its course, there really isn’t much that can redeem it. Perhaps its only saving grace is that there was some budget so it was at least filmed on a real set and they could afford all the fake blood that they needed.

At the end of the day I guess you just can’t mash together Pulse, The Grudge, The Shining and Urban Legend and have something half-decent come out at the other end. Now we know.

My Final Rating: 3 / 10
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Posted by on July 15, 2016 in Movie Review


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Movie Review: Boogeyman 2

Boogeyman 2

Released: 2007
Genre: Horror / Thriller
IMDB Rating: 5.2 / 10

Round 2, FIGHT!

Armed with a strong cup of coffee and my most comfortable blanket, I boredly stepped into the second installment of this rather tepid franchise. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I am pleased to present you with a rare example of a second film that marginally outdoes the first of its franchise.

The very real danger of being overly sultry.

The very real danger of being overly sultry.

The Plot

Laura and Henry didn’t have the easiest start in this world. Once part of the very typical all American family, all of that was destroyed one night on Laura’s birthday when their parents were brutally murdered in front of them. The assailant was never caught, and because he wore a black hoody that completely obscured his face neither one was able to help put their parents’ killer behind bars. A child’s mind being as mushy as it is, the two have suffered from a crippling fear of the boogeyman ever since.

Now adults, Henry has just come out of a three-month intensive therapy programme to help him overcome his fear before he heads off to San Francisco for a job interview. The prospect of him leaving tips Laura, who hasn’t been quite as successful in conquering her fear, over the edge and she books herself into the same programme in the hopes that it will set her right as well.

The therapy sessions don’t get off to a tremendous start and only go downhill when some members of the group begin dying in ways mysteriously linked to their different phobias (a nyctophobe being murdered in the dark, or a germaphobe drinking industrial cleaner after finding a cockroach in his mouth). Laura, convinced that this is the work of the boogeyman, tries to convince the powers that be that they need to evacuate the hospital, with little success.

The question is, who exactly is behind the murders? In order to shoehorn this movie’s plot into the story from the first it turns out that Dr Allen, the head psychiatrist overseeing the programme, treated Tim Jensen following the events of the first movie. Tim ultimately committed suicide, leaving us to wonder whether the boogeyman really is stalking the halls of the hospital or if Laura’s story of the boogeyman and the memories of Tim’s unsuccessful rehabilitation have pushed Dr Allen murderously over the edge.

Human foie gras? In this economy?

Human foie gras? In this economy?!

The Visuals

Well this took quite a turn.

While Boogeyman tried to be a creepy horror movie, Boogeyman 2 wants to be a stabby-stabby horror movie. This means that there’s gonna be a lot of intestines and bodily fluids flying all over the place.

Surprisingly this change of pace was handled quite well, with the special effects department doing a good job of the rather twisted ways that the film decided to off its characters. There were times that I actually had to look away because some of the killing methods just got under my skin, but since that was what the movie was going for it I guess it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The stylisation of the boogeyman was also much improved on the one from the first movie.

No amount of root canal's going to save that mouth.

No amount of root canal’s going to save that mouth.

The Feelings

Slightly surprised.

Let’s be clear, Boogeyman 2 isn’t entirely to my taste. This went in a completely different direction to the first movie and somehow landed up in Saw territory. I know it has Tobin Bell in it, but damn.

That said, this is a better movie than the first that sets itself a clear end goal and manages to pull it all off as it goes along. Whether or not you ultimately enjoy it comes down to personal taste and if you can deal with a girl bound up with duct tape trying to cut maggots out of her arm using a scalpel. Not really my cup of tea, but this did come out when torture porn was really popular, so I can see why it went the way it did.

My Final Rating: 5 / 10
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Posted by on July 13, 2016 in Movie Review


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Movie Review: Boogeyman


Released: 2005
Genre: Horror
IMDB Rating: 4.1 / 10

There’s something about having an entire day to do absolutely nothing, a warm electric blanket and some freshly made white hot chocolate that just screams “you should totally watch an underwhelming film franchise!” Not one to regularly argue with myself, I dug through my pile of movies and realised I had all three of the Boogeyman movies. A product of the mid-2000s (and best left there where it belongs), Boogeyman is a wonderful example of a trilogy that really started off at mediocre and saw absolutely no reason to push for anything better.

Quoth the Raven, "bluuuggggh".

Quoth the Raven, “bluuuggggh”.

The Plot

Tim Jensen really hasn’t had an easy life. As a child he saw his father being abducted by a supernatural being that lived in his closet, never to be seen again. This really messed him up as an adult, to the point where Tim lives in a flat with no cupboard doors, all his clothes on racks in the middle of big spaces, and enough lighting to make the sun shield its eyes from the glare – all in an attempt to keep the boogeyman at bay.

When his mother, who never really got over the father “running away”, dies, Tim’s therapist suggests that he needs to spend a night in his childhood home in order to face his fears and realise once and for all that there really is no boogeyman. But if there’s nothing there, then why do the closet doors keep opening and closing on their own and why does something keep tripping the lights while making odd groaning noises all over the damn place?

When his girlfriend is abducted and his childhood friend is threatened by the boogeyman Tim decides to team up with Franny, a young girl who’s also seen the creature and has been keeping tabs on all of the kids it’s made off with. Together they will try to send the creature back to whatever part of hell it sprung up from.

She's so ashy when she sleeps.

She’s so ashy when she sleeps.

The Visuals

Boogeyman tries to follow the visual template established by the J-horror remakes that were all the rage in the 2000s. That wasn’t a great phase in movie making since American film makers could never quite grasp the essence of what makes Japanese horror particularly spine tingling, so when a movie that isn’t a J-horror remake tries to go toe-to-toe with said remakes the end result just isn’t anything to write home about.

Much like the movie’s storyline the visuals are average, relying on a lot of darkened corners and creaking doors to try and get its audience’s blood pumping. The creature itself, which only makes a full appearance quite late into the movie’s run, is your average CGI monster. Not that the monster would’ve been particularly frightening in 2005, but 11 years later the CGI hasn’t held up well enough to make anyone leap out of their seats when the boogeyman comes calling.

There's always that one bitch eavesdropping on every conversation.

There’s always that one bitch eavesdropping on every conversation.

The Feelings


There really isn’t much else that I can say about Boogeyman. It’s a completely generic story with all the stereotypical characters and ‘twists’ that you’ve seen a thousand times before. It’s horror by numbers in absolutely every sense and the end result is a movie that’s not bad, but it really isn’t good either.

My Final Rating: 5 / 10
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Posted by on July 11, 2016 in Movie Review


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Movie Review: Genocyber


Released: 1994
Genre: Anime / Science Fiction / Horror
IMDB Rating: 6.3 / 10

Down here in the southern hemisphere we’re either experiencing the harshest winter ever or I’m getting old enough that my knees can tell me when it’s going to rain. Something about this made my brain decide that the day would best be spent in bed with a flapjack stack, a well-made pot of tea, and some horrifyingly gory and graphic anime. I must admit, despite some reservations, that my brain’s idea was a solid one – the flapjack stack was amazing, the pot of tea was satisfyingly soothing, and Genocyber taught me that I haven’t become entirely desensitised to that particularly Japanese blend of body mutilation.

Next gen VR systems look intense.

Next gen VR systems look intense.

The Plot

As with the other anime I’ve reviewed Genocyber is divided into five episodes spanning three story arcs – I’ll break the plot down by the story arcs.

Episode 1: A New Life Form

In the 21st century mankind dares to dream of a Utopian world racked by violence: as the world’s developing nations prepare to form a single united government, Kenneth Reed, with funding from the Japanese Kuryu Group, is working to create the Genocyber, the world’s ultimate weapon. He will do this by harnessing the Vajra (psychic) energy of sisters Elaine and Diana and melding them together, thus forming the Genocyber.

The problem is that the initial experiment only called for one child to be born, and the disruption to their Vajra at the time of birth resulted in Elaine being born feral and Diana being born with virtually no muscle control in her body. When Elaine, imbued with more Vajra than the designers could ever have imagined, manages to escape Kenneth sends Diana in a very fetching mechanical suit all around Hong Kong to find her and bring her back. At the same time a gang of cybernetically-enhanced government agents are also looking for Elaine, and aren’t scared to leave a trail of corpses in their wake if it means getting the job done.

When Elaine merges with Diana to protect herself, and thus becomes the Genocyber, Hong Kong is in for a literal hell ride as the beast fights to defend itself.

Episodes 2 and 3: Vajranoid Attack & Global War

Shortly after the events of the first episode the great and well-known nation of Karain has decided that it doesn’t need to be part of the United Nations or the new world government and decides to go rogue and attack its neighbour. Sadly a routine bombing of a small beach goes horribly wrong when a helicopter fleet blows the ever-loving shit out of Elaine’s friends while the group was innocently frolicking.

Elaine, shocked from the attack and exhausted from blowing up helicopters, is taken aboard the Alexandria, a US supercarrier en route to Karain to bring peace to the region by force. The supercarrier, having received images of the Genocyber blowing up helicopters with no apparent motive, asks the Kuryu Group for assistance if they come across the monster. Kuryu’s response: the Vajranoid. While you could be forgiven for thinking that this name denotes some kind of giant murderous vagina, the Vajranoid is actually an automaton imbued with Vajra energy that can meld with any piece of machinery it comes into contact with, making it the perfect war machine.

Unfortunately the Vajranoid identifies Elaine as a hostile target and sets out to kill her. Elaine, not one to be outdone, knows virtually nothing other than how to fight back. When the Vajranoid, under the instruction of its insane creator Dr Sakomizu, absorbs all the souls of those on board the Alexandria to bolster its own power, even the Genocyber is going to have a bit of a time bringing the situation under control.

Now relax and count back slowly from 10.

Now relax and count back slowly from 10.

Episodes 4 and 5: Legend of Ark de Grande City (Parts 1 & 2)

Set 300 years after the previous three episodes, Ark de Grande City is one of the last surviving cities in the world following centuries of destruction across the globe by the Genocyber. Diana eventually managed to convince Elaine that their power was too much for this world, and the Genocyber essentially went into a prolonged hibernation.

Ark de Grande City is the ultimate realisation of the violent Utopia dreamed of in the first episode – clean, efficient, safe, and ruled with an iron fist by a mayor who (quite literally) crushes any dissent or minor infringement that threatens the stability and order of the city. Of course, as is true in all similar situations, a group will rise up to fight its oppressors. The rebels in Ark de Grande City are a Christian sect who believe the Genocyber to be God and its centuries of destruction to be God’s wrath on mankind for their sins. They discovered the husk of the Genocyber’s body when Elaine and Diana pulled their combined consciousness from it and keep it in their Church deep beneath Ark de Grande City.

Things take a turn for the worse when Ryu and Mel, a young couple on the run from Ark de Grande’s authorities, fall through the roof of the Church into the room with the Genocyber’s body. Through a convoluted series of events Diana begins to call Mel ‘big sister’; Mel, wanting revenge on Ark de Grande for its treatment of her and Ryu, merges her consciousness with Diana and Elaine, creating an enormous and even more violent version of the Genocyber to reign terror down on one of man’s final bastions of civilisation.

Mel would forever regret the things she did for a Klondike bar.

Mel would forever regret the things she did for a Klondike bar.

The Visuals

As I become more and more of an expert in this field, I feel that I can say with confidence that this particular set of episodes was suitably animated. The only thing I didn’t like was in the first episode where the animation was superimposed over real-life photographs; neither the animation or the photography have aged well enough for this to look good in 2016, but it’s a minor gripe and it only happened in the first episode.

Of course it’s the little things that really matter when you’re watching this sort of thing – when a character’s skull and spine are being ripped out through their heads you want your own spine to twitch a little bit; when a character’s hand is split in two to reveal a secret mini-chainsaw, you want your own hand to tingle a little bit (that uncomfortable, slightly itching tingle between the fingers – you know the one); and when a child’s head is blown to pink mist you really want to feel the need to reach for a tissue to wipe the spray off your face. Genocyber offers you all this and so much more!

It's called fashion, mother.

It’s called fashion, mother.

The Feelings

Moderately disgusted.

What Genocyber taught me was that it’s not that I’ve become desensitised to on-screen violence, it’s just that there are certain types of violence that creep me out more than others. Unlike the Urotsukidōji OVAs Genocyber doesn’t abound in sexual violence, and it’s that type of violence that makes my skin crawl. Also unlike the Urotsukidōji OVAs the violence in Genocyber isn’t constant, but rather delivered in short controlled bursts – when it happens it’s quite horrific, but there’s enough time between the various instances to allow your nerves time to recenter themselves before they have to have another go at it.

All in all Genocyber is by no means the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen, despite all that I’d heard about it, but it’s disgusting enough that if you like splatter anime you’ll have a good time with it. Despite it also being the master of the anticlimax, where the end of each story arc really falls terrifically flat, the rest of the story leading up to that is quite competent and reasonably easy to follow.

My Final Rating: 6 / 10
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Posted by on July 7, 2016 in Movie Review


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Movie Review: Cell


Released: 2016
Genre: Science Fiction / Horror
IMDB Rating: 4.5 / 10

In the 28 years that I have been on this Earth I have learnt many things, not least of which is the fact that it is incredibly difficult to adapt a Stephen King novel to film. Take It for example – a brilliant movie (well, miniseries), but not entirely faithful to its source novel (although, to be fair, it would be illegal to adapt at least 70% of the novel to film). Misery is another one – a good film, but one where it loses its punch because you can’t take half of the main character’s inner dialogue (which drove a lot of the story) and put it on screen.

Knowing these things I went into Cell with an open mind. I’ve read, and thoroughly enjoyed, the novel but wanted to be open to what the movie would do with its source material. It doesn’t deserve the outright panning it’s received from many critics, but it’s not without its problems either.

Surely this many men don't speak on their phones at urinals?

Surely this many men don’t speak on their phones at urinals?

The Plot

Clay Riddell has just received some very good news: someone has just offered to publish his graphic novel series with options for movies, games, the works. Since the Universe must keep balance in all things, however, Clay’s good news must be balanced against some bad to restore a natural equilibrium; in this instance the bad news is the almost complete annihilation of the human race as we know it by way of “The Pulse”.

“The Pulse” is a transmission broadcast over cellphones, turning anyone who uses their phone to make a call into a mindless, rage-filled lunatic (think 28 Days Later but with electronics instead of rabid monkeys kicking things off). Clay is caught in the middle of the initial outbreak and meets up with Tom and Alice. Together, the three will try and trek across the country to help Clay find his wife and son, who he was speaking to on the phone just before The Pulse hit.

The tricky part here is that people affected by The Pulse aren’t your typical zombies, and instead work as a hive mind and play to very different and rapidly changing rules of engagement. It’ll take everything Clay and Co. have to outsmart, outrun and out-blowup the increasingly large and aggressive hoard of phoners.

That feeling when it's yet another telemarketer offering you something.

That feeling when it’s yet another telemarketer offering you something.

The Visuals

Let’s go with 80% good and 20% meh.

Because the movie opens at the beginning of the apocalypse all you really have to do is trash a few neighbourhoods and it’ll all look relatively convincing. Also, because you aren’t dealing with actual zombies that decay a few white contact lenses, some dirt and some blood, and the occasional fake bone sticking out of a leg will suffice. So long as you have enough extras to fill out the scenes, you’ll be good.

On the downside there clearly wasn’t an awful lot of money for CGI work. The movie doesn’t make use of it an awful lot so it’s not a constant in-your-face problem, but since it’s used so scarcely I would argue then that it’s worth doing right. I’m not asking that you set actual office blocks or soccer fields full of people on fire for the sake of realism, just hire someone who can do a convincing job of it.

Dear Movie: This guy was important in the novel.

Dear Movie: This guy was really important in the novel.

The Feelings

Neither here nor there.

As a novel Cell was both an excellent horror story and social commentary. The phoners and what drives them were nicely revealed as the story progressed, as was their rapid evolution and the characters’ responses thereto.

As a movie Cell retains just enough from its source material to warrant the title and the tagline “based on the novel by Stephen King”. If you’re in the mood for a slightly above-average techno horror on a Sunday afternoon then you could do far worse than this. If you’re looking to watch a faithful adaptation of Stephen King’s novel and the exclusion of important details and plot devices from said novel will make you angry and write things you shouldn’t on internet notice boards, then maybe give this one a miss.

My Final Rating: 6 / 10
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Posted by on June 19, 2016 in Movie Review


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