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Movie Review: The Rezort

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

Satisfaction.

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
Buy The Rezort at Amazon.com

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Posted by on October 2, 2016 in Movie Review

 

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Movie Review: 1313: Giant Killer Bees!

1313-gkb

Released: 2011
Genre: Sci-Fi
IMDB Rating: 2.9 / 10

You know what, I’m not gonna rip this movie a new one right off the bat. I knew what I was getting myself into when I started watching it – I did review 1313: Cougar Cult back in the day, after all. Having seen Cougar Cult I knew that there wouldn’t be enough budget to pull off special effects (because all of the money goes into young men pulling off their clothes instead), but a little part of me wanted to see how they were going to (try and) pull off giant killer bees. Well, the long and short of it is they couldn’t, and they didn’t.

Me every second of this movie.

Me every second of this movie.

The Plot

Somewhere in the Caribbean there is a mystical research facility that is an abandoned hospital for exterior shots and someone’s house for interior shots. Here, in a high-tech breakfast nook/laboratory, research involving dipping bees into liquid is ongoing. But what research could you possibly be doing that involves dipping bees in liquid, I hear you ask? I can’t believe you couldn’t figure it out – they’re trying to make a more hardy bee that won’t die off simply because humans insist on killing the planet! These bees will be able to stand up to anything – pollutants, harsh weather, shirtless men everywhere, you name it.

Unfortunately Professor Generic wants results faster than the facility’s three-man team who never do any actual work can manage, so he sends in Too-Tight Wifebeater to spike the bee’s liquid with some other liquid. On the plus side this does make the bees more robust, but on the down side it also turns them into giant angry zombie werewolf vampire bees. These new and more deadly bees have a craving for man flesh, and upon stinging the more rugged and virile specimens these very same men become mindless drones so quickly that it blows all their clothes off.

The team must obviously do all it can to stop the bees from spreading from the island (?) and infecting other bees, and to do this they either lay around on beds in nothing but their underwear feeling themselves up, or in the shower feeling themselves up and never actually using soap and I fucking give up trying to make sense of what the hell was happening here.

The Walking "we weren't hot enough to get into actual porn" Dead

The Walking “we weren’t hot enough to get into actual porn” Dead

The Visuals

Visuals? What visuals?! Let’s keep this nice and simple:

  • If you want to watch an actual sci-fi thriller, don’t watch this. It’s not at all thrilling and there’s no actual sci-fi to it.
  • If you want to watch something that’s homoerotic, don’t watch this. It contains neither homos or anything erotic.
  • If you want to watch good-looking men running around in their underwear, don’t watch this. Rather just watch porn.
  • If you want to watch something with a strong environmental message, don’t watch this. For all the prattling on about saving the environment I’m fairly sure you could’ve drained the Hoover Dam for all the unnecessary showering that was going on.

Also don’t watch this because watching this is physically very difficult since it has a very strange colour balance and everything looks like the cameraman got bacon grease on the lens and couldn’t be bothered to wash it off.

Have to have the occasional bee to ground the movie in its title.

Have to have the occasional bee to ground the movie in its title.

The Feelings

Pulsating rage.

Again, perhaps I’m not really in a position to be angry – I should’ve known better about what I was doing to myself, or avoided watching the movie altogether. But I’m angry anyway!

There really is no point to this film – its plot is flimsy, the acting is horrific, the production values are non-existent, and for the one sad attempt at a sex scene you could’ve cut the sexual tension with a dessert spoon. The action, for lack of a better term, is also very short-lived – 1313: Giant Killer Bees! is only about 80 minutes long, but at least 40 minutes of that is taken up by men feeling themselves up or walking around a deserted castle (for reasons that well and truly escaped me).

Don’t ever watch this – not ever.

My Final Rating: 1 / 10
Buy 1313: Giant Killer Bees! at Amazon.com

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Posted by on September 18, 2016 in Movie Review

 

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Movie Review: Urotsukidōji V: The Final Chapter

Urotsukidoji V

Released: 1996
Genre: Anime / Horror
IMDB Rating: 6.1 / 10

For a while there I thought this day would never come. After more than a year of subjecting myself to a never-ending barrage of penis tornadoes, Nazi death rape machines, incest-not-incest, and Orgies By Infants™, I’m finally free! I have borne witness to things that no person, Japanese or otherwise, should to be subjected to (the inhuman things that Russian women were offering to do for and to me while I was trying to find subtitles alone would make your hair stand on end). With the closing credits to Urotsukidōji V: The Final Chapter I rid myself of this evil and draw to an end this protracted attack on my psyche!

Giving birth is a beautiful miracle.

Giving birth is a beautiful miracle.

The Plot

Unlike the other installments in this franchise, which were complete if nonsensical, part 5 was scrapped before it was finished, so what we have here is the beginning of a story without an end, and it’s got some major retconning it wants to do in its 50 or so minutes of runtime.

Remember the Overfiend from all the previous installments? Wrong! That wasn’t the Overfiend. That was a false Overfiend sent from the Demon Realm to fool us into something something something. In order to make itself more powerful it tried to steal the Lord of Chaos’ power by sexing it out of her. Himi (the Lord of Chaos) isn’t one to be out-sexed, however, and launches a counter sex attack and steals all of his power instead. The false Overfiend vanquished and its powers slowly dripping down Himi’s thigh the Lord of Chaos vanishes, never to bog down the new story line again.

So where does that leave us? Somehow through a series of explanations that really didn’t make any sense Amano (our always lovely anti-hero) finds himself staring out at the same evening from the end of the first installment: Nagumo, in the form of the Destroyer Demon, is busy destroying the world, Akemi’s still pregnant with the Overfiend, and demons are running around raping and killing everything in sight. BUT! while it is still the exact same evening, 100 years have also passed, and the true Overfiend is ready to be born.

I don't remember buying these...

I don’t remember buying these…

In a manner truly becoming of the Urotsukidōji series the Overfiend isn’t so much born as it is orgasmed out of Akemi in a truly bizarre and green-tinged birthing/self-pleasure scene. Her duties fulfilled Amano moves to save Akemi and return her to a normal life (in a world that’s being blown to pieces), but the Overfiend isn’t done with any of them yet.

The true Overfiend has grown tired of the Humans, Beasts, and Demons, and has decided to pit these three against one another until they bring about their own mutually assured extinction. In their place the Overfiend wants to leave his new race: the Messengers of Imagination. This race is neither male nor female but at the same time is both. What I mean by this is that they have masculine and feminine features (a very feminine face but a flat masculine chest, for example) and no demonstrable genitalia. No demonstrable genitalia, that is, unless they want to have sex, in which case they can grow whatever they want and swap between the two at will. They also speak to one another by making a noise that sounds like a very sexy and seductive pigeon.

Naturally Amano isn’t about to just hand over the collapsing world to these oddly ravishing creatures in their skin-tight pink outfits who keep falling from the sky out of the Overfiend’s vagina spaceship. The war to save the three warring races from the new genocidal race is on (and we’re never going to find out how it ends)!

I always knew our end would come in the form of pink spandex.

I always knew our end would come in the form of pink spandex.

The Visuals

The whole thing harks back to the first installment in terms of its graphic depiction of violence and general sexual depravity, so a lot of whether you’re going to enjoy The Final Chapter hinges on whether or not you enjoyed where the story began.

What does become an issue is that not only was the story left unfinished, this actual episode was unfinished as well. As a result the animation is rather choppy, with in-between frames missing which leaves the action happening on-screen jumping around a little bit. It also relies a fair bit on re-using scenes from previous installments (again, primarily the first one) to pad out its runtime. Given that the style shifted and changed slightly over the years, added to the unpolished veneer of its own animation, what you’re left with can, at times, be a somewhat jarring backwards and forwards in terms of quality.

We call this position 'the tantric apocalypse'.

We call this position ‘the tantric apocalypse’.

The Feelings

Oddly disappointed.

Over the course of the depravity that is Urotsukidōji I have come, the unnerving father animatronic-daughter sex scene aside, to appreciate this series for what it is. This story, and particularly the new race of beings it introduced, had a lot of potential. Squelchy potential, mind you, but potential none the less. For the first time I was actually quite interested to see where they wanted to go with the story, and it seems a tad bit unfair that by the time I eventually get into what I’m watching they decide that they don’t want to do anything with it anymore. I guess that’s just how the cookie crumbles sometimes, and believe me, many cookies have crumbled over the course of this franchise.

So, to reiterate: it’s done! It’s finally done! Never again will I be subjected to a… what’s that?… I’m sorry, I must have misheard you. I could’ve sworn that you… The New Saga?! YOU HAVE TO BE FUCKING KIDD… We’ll be right back.

My Final Rating: 5 / 10

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2016 in Movie Review

 

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Movie Review: Ice Sharks

Ice Sharks

Released: 2016
Genre: Action / Sci-Fi
IMDB Rating: 3.6 / 10

Just after I reviewed the decidedly average Mega Shark VS Kolossus a little something from one of its lead actors popped up in my Twitter notifications:

Ice Sharks_EdR Tweet

Not wanting this to be another Kacey Zen-type incident I decided that there was only one rational thing I could do: become the President and Chief Financial Officer of the Unofficial Edward DeRuiter fan club. It made sense – he tends to be in movies I enjoy watching and he had that oddly buff office worker vibe going on. And so it was decided that I would watch any movie that Mr DeRuiter had a starring role in after the aforementioned Mega Shark VS Kolossus, and the fan club kicked off its run with Ice Sharks.

Once they reach a specific age marine bases swim off to start families of their own.

Once they reach a specific age marine bases swim off to start families of their own.

The Plot

On at undisclosed island somewhere around Greenland at an unnamed facility doing unspecified but very wide-reaching research things are about to get a little hairy. According to the local Scottish Indian Inuit people are going missing on the ice, and Tracy and David (played by the ever-charming DeRuiter) decide to head out and see whether the polar bears are snacking on things they shouldn’t. It all goes a bit pear-shaped when it becomes apparent that several creatures lying in bits and pieces on the ice have been attacked by Greenland sharks, and even David’s swoon-inducing smile isn’t enough to ward off an attack, and he and Tracy barely make it back to the facility alive.

But these are clever sharks, evolved to have razor-sharp fins and a strong understanding of circles. Working as a group they saw through the ice, separating the facility from the connecting land and causing it to float off into the sea. Cautionary tale kids: don’t build your research facility on wafer-thin ice – not even David’s rippling biceps will be able to reconnect that to the rest of the shelf.

Things take a decided turn for the worse when the sharks rally once more and sink the facility, sending it to the sea floor from whence they can pick off the survivors one by one. It’ll be up to David and all his sensuous manoeuvres (and the help of several unimportant characters and a large ice breaking ship) to make effective use of soft science that’ll refloat the facility if anyone’s going to have a chance of seeing the surface world again.

Ain't nothing wrong with a little extra thigh.

Ain’t nothing wrong with a little extra thigh.

The Visuals

I’ll say this: leave The Asylum to its own devices and it can really throw some painful stuff your way, but have SyFy pitch in with a little spare cash and what I presume must be a vision of some sort and you end up with something that, while not tremendously good, is still quite entertaining. I mean I’m not quite sure why we’re building things on tiny flecks of ice or how a tank that sunk right down landed up half a kilometre away from where it was dropped or how one short cable can turn into four very long sunken-facility-lifting cables, but if that’s what the movie wants to throw at its audience then fine, I’ll accept that. Of course the vast majority of everything is also that CGI work from circa 2002, but it wouldn’t be an Asylum or SyFy movie without it. The day they cough up for real special effects is the day I tap out.

Of course, with all these CGI sharks and floating research facilities, one thing that’s all real (and all man) is Edward DeRuiter, and that’s all that matters at the end of the day.

He got that, he got that, he got that D.I.L.F. $

He got that, he got that, he got that D.I.L.F. $

The Feelings

I went into this movie for ice sharks and Edward DeRuiter, and I left satisfied.

At the end of the day you’re going to get out of this movie exactly what its title and lineage suggest: sharks in and around the ice, some very questionable science, and a bonus round of cockblocking from a Scottish Indian Inuit. In my humble opinion there are far worse ways to spend a Sunday night.

And of course, it has Edward DeRuiter. With absolutely no knowledge of a Germanic language other than English I’m fairly sure his surname must translate to ‘the dreamy one’, and that’s the most important thing this movie will teach you.

My Final Rating: 4 / 10
Buy Ice Sharks at Amazon.com

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Posted by on August 15, 2016 in Movie Review

 

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Movie Review: Martian Land

Martian Land

Released: 2015
Genre: Sci-Fi / Action
IMDB Rating: 2.3 / 10

Watching this cinematically-induced lobotomy brought to mind the words of one of the world’s most eminent scholars:

“Yes, I see. Something involving that many big words could easily destabilise time itself.”
– 
Professor Hubert Farnsworth

This was all that lay at the core of this ill-conceived attempt by The Asylum to ride on the coattails of The Martian: if we throw enough big words at the audience, whether or not they make sense, maybe they’ll think that we understand what we’re talking about. Well guess what The Asylum? My penchant for reading hard sci-fi novels from the 60s and a few quick glances at Wikipedia have taught me more about what it would take to live on Mars than anything you tried to throw together!

Next time you build a Martian colony, maybe cover it in something a bit more resilient than Plexiglass!

Next time you build a Martian colony, maybe cover it in something a bit more resilient than Plexiglass!

The Plot

In the distant future the Earth has been lost to mankind. Our habit of burning fossil fuels and the subsequent global warming ultimately resulted in an unprecedented rise in volcanic activity across the planet, leaving the homeworld enveloped in an impenetrable cover of nuclear dust which left life on its surface impossible. And so we set off to Mars to build civilisation anew! Alas, our bad habits will once again be our downfall. While Earth was the perfect temperature to begin with and didn’t really need our help Mars was a bit chilly when we got there, and so we set about trying to warm the place up a little. This fractional rise in temperature has one horrible unintended side effect – it re-ignites Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in our solar system, which causes an enormous dust storm to erupt and begin spreading out over the Martian surface.

The domed cities of Mars are not designed to withstand the wind strengths generated by this storm, and Mars New York is quickly compromised when its dome is shattered. Over in Mars Los Angeles Miranda, a truly remarkable mind in a scientific field so generically named that she could literally be studying anything, needs to mount a rescue operation that will somehow both save her daughter who was in MNY when the storm struck, and deactivate the storm before it can cause similar damage to Mars’ other cities. Thankfully she knows just the right guy for the job.

Miranda has her current husband, Neil, bring her ex-husband, Foster, to Mars from Earth, where he has apparently been living quite comfortably while trying to restore the Blue Marble to its forgotten majesty. Foster devises the ultimate plan to stop the storm – by placing EMF emitters at key points, one of which must be in the eye of this eyeless storm, they can blast the storm apart and thus save mankind’s new home. But Mars is a frigid bitch and a hostile mistress, and it will take all of Neil and Foster’s acting inabilities to pull this plan off before all of the Martian cities are lost.

I would like, at this point, to assure anyone reading this that every word in this description has been carefully chosen to accurately reflect the plot of this film.

You know it's Mars because it has spacey looking buildings like this.

You know it’s Mars because it has spacey looking buildings like this.

The Visuals

This has all your typical The Asylum crap and then a bit leftover for you to take home afterwards.

As a rule of thumb The Asylum’s films all tend to have enough budget to produce maybe three CGI scenes which must then be made multipurpose. Martian Land is no exception, and one generic cityscape will just need to cover every city on Mars, with the only difference being how much damage has been done to it by the storm. There’s also no need for extras because all you need to do is copy and paste the same guy running over and over again into the same shot and voila! You have a crowd.

Below par CGI aside Martian Land also has many other wonders to behold. Martian bushes littered all over the planet, for example. And who needs technologically fancy spacesuits to survive a hostile alien world when all-over lycra and a spray painted welding mask with some coloured tape stuck to it will do the same job for a tenth of the price? Why build your Martian rover using fancy materials when all the interior really needs are some broken up crates and a bank of fans from that old PC you were going to throw out anyway? And why are we wasting so much money here on Earth looking into clean forms of energy when all you need is an old TV antenna to act as a lightning rod that can instantly charge batteries?

If bullshit were a currency, Martian Land would be worth its runtime in gold.

My expression throughout the whole movie.

My expression throughout the whole movie.

The Feelings

This movie touched me in a bad place and then went in dry.

I am by no means an expert on terraforming or any of the other countless subjects that Martian Land so haphazardly attempts to throw at its audience like Naomi Campbell throwing a cellphone at an assistant she doesn’t like, but I find the concept of interplanetary travel and the colonisation of alien worlds to be a fascinating subject. And to be honest, you don’t need to be an expert to understand that global warming won’t activate a volcano. You don’t need to be an expert to know that you couldn’t breathe on the surface of Mars (although, to be fair, only some characters do this sometimes). And for the love of the bloody maker you don’t need to be an expert to understand that a storm needs to have an eye in the first place if an entire plan hinges on throwing something into the eye of the storm!

You know, I get it – in any space adventure film you can never get all of the facts right, and sometimes you need to bend the truth a little bit in order to make the movie fun. But the only thing that Martian Land managed to get right is that there is, in fact, a planet called Mars, and that’s just not gonna cut it for me.

My Final Rating: 2 / 10
Buy Martian Land at Amazon.com

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Posted by on July 24, 2016 in Movie Review

 

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Movie Review: Cry_Wolf

Cry_Wolf

Released: 2005
Genre: Thriller / Mystery
IMDB Rating: 5.9 / 10

Perhaps no genre was quite as overdone as the teen slasher was during the 2000s. Back in the day you couldn’t so much as turn around without being confronted by a DVD cover with a bunch of kids staring out at you (my personal favourite being when they stood in a triangular formation) and some indication of their impending doom floating around in the background. These were my formative years.

But for all the slashers I’ve seen I somehow managed to skip past Cry_Wolf entirely. I knew about it, I’ve seen it in video stores a thousand times, but I just never got round to actually taking it out. 9 years late to the party I decided to rectify this mistake by making the mistake of watching it.

It's Little Red Riding Slut!

It’s Little Red Riding Slut!

The Plot

Owen Matthews and his very odd accent have just arrived at Westlake Preparatory Academy, a very prestigious and orange-tinted private school. Owen’s father sent him there to keep him out of trouble, but he unfortunately falls in with the wrong crowd almost right away. You know what 20-something teenagers are like.

This group, headed up by Regina of the pumpkin-spice hair, decide that the recent brutal murder of a fellow student is the perfect opportunity to play a prank on the entire school. Using a seemingly endless supply of bulky laptops and Nokia N-Gages the group come up with their own urban legend centred around a murderous villain known as The Wolf. Armed with a hunting knife and bedecked in a cantaloupe-inspired balaclava The Wolf will supposedly begin his rampage on Halloween when the moon is full, picking off your usual assortment of teenage stereotypes as he goes along. Thanks to the malevolent power of e-mail Owen manages to get the story going around school, where it quickly becomes all anyone can focus on.

It all starts to go a bit awry, of course, when someone decides to take The Wolf concept and actually run with it. As members of the group start disappearing Owen must desperately try to convince Bon Jovi, the campus’ leading academic authority, that everyone is in very real danger of being hacked to pieces because of the group’s attempt at being funny. But even Regina’s too-thin legs and Sam Winchester (presumably in witness protection here and going under the name ‘Tom’) may not be enough to stop The Wolf’s perfunctory killing spree.

Sammy!

Sammy!

The Visuals

No seriously, this whole film was orange. The school was orange, the lighting was orange, Regina’s hair was orange, most of the outfits were orange, the blood was orange, the Wolf’s cap was orange – it was quite off-putting. The teen slashers of the 2000s were known for some odd choices here and there, but never before have I seen a movie that tried to out-orange an orange.

The odd colour palette aside everything else here is serviceable, if a tad bit uninspired. There’s some decent camera work and the obligatory dark and sometimes-deserted campus for these fools to run around while trying to not get killed, but it’s nothing special and certainly nothing new. This predictable approach means that, combined with the rather lacklustre script execution, there isn’t really any tension or mystery in what you’re watching, which is really what you need if you want to pull off this kind of movie effectively.

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and he looks pissed!

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and he looks pissed!

The Feelings

Weary.

The issue with Cry_Wolf, as with so many others, is that it has a very interesting premise, particularly for its time. I remember the older generations being absolutely terrified of the internet when it started to take off properly, especially considering the rather imaginative ways they thought we could get ourselves killed using it. This movie was made to capitalise on those fears, but for one major mistake – it forgot to make anything happen!

The movie takes so long to establish itself and to try and get you into the minds of the characters that it only leaves itself with about 20 minutes for the actual teen slashing to happen. Even in 2005’s economy that’s not enough slashing for the money you would’ve spent to rent a copy of the movie. It then tries to squeeze in not one, not two, but three twists at the end, but because I wasn’t really all that invested in the characters to begin with and because none of these surprises were particularly surprising I really couldn’t give a toss about the killer’s motive.

The 2000s had many a good slasher movie beyond your usual Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer knockoffs – Cry_Wolf just isn’t one of them.

My Final Rating: 4 / 10
Buy Cry_Wolf at Amazon.com

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Posted by on July 19, 2016 in Movie 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
Buy Boogeyman 3 at Amazon.com

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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
Buy Boogeyman 2 at Amazon.com

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Posted by on July 13, 2016 in Movie Review

 

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Movie Review: Boogeyman

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

Meh.

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
Buy Boogeyman at Amazon.com

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Posted by on July 11, 2016 in Movie Review

 

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Movie Review: Genocyber

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
Buy Genocyber at Amazon.com

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Posted by on July 7, 2016 in Movie Review

 

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