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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3 REVIEW



A prequel set before the haunting of the Lambert family that reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.

Starring: Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Angus Sampson, and Lin Shaye

Written and directed by: Leigh Whannell

  "Insidious" introduced audiences to something very creepy, and extremely weird. "Insidious: Chapter 2" followed that up almost reaching that same level of creepiness, but really not explaining much more about 'the Further.' Enter "Insidious: Chapter 3," the prequel that supposedly will fill in some of those blanks. Yes, they went the prequel route to offer audiences something more, but did they really?
  Lets start with what many fans, including myself, want to know more about...'the Further.' Obviously there's some venturing into 'the Further,' as there is in the previous movies. However, it's a great disappointment because nothing new is learned about it. It's still creepy and weird, but that's it. For me, it's the one thing I really wanted out of this movie, and it failed to deliver.
  That doesn't mean it's a complete waste. If audience's like Elise (Lin Shaye), then they might enjoy the look at her character before what happens in the previous movies. They give her a little back-story that would have be nice to give to 'the Further.' Audiences will see her confronted by the strange woman in the dress, and how she meets the two ghost hunters who become her co-workers. The audience gets to see a little about where they come from as well.
  Since this is before the Lambert family, the attention is on the Brenner family, more specifically the teenaged daughter Quinn (Stefanie Scott). Her trouble starts when she tries to reach her mother, who's passed away. She visits Elise for help, but that only makes things worse. Something is out to get her, and Elise has to overcome her own struggles in order to save her. Stefanie does a decent job in her leading role, but Dermot Mulroney, who plays Sean Brenner, fails to show he’s a father that’s genuinely concerned about his daughter.
  As far as scares and creepiness, the entity that haunts Quinn is creepy in its own right. There are several unsettling scenes of Quinn along side of the entity. One of the best scenes comes when Quinn is possessed by the entity, and attacks the people who are trying to help her. There aren't many scares, except for something that comes out of nowhere to make quite an impact. It might get some of the audience off their seats. As mentioned, the woman in a dress makes her presence felt, but doesn't seem as scary this time around.
  While "Insidious: Chapter 3" isn't a bad movie, it just feels as if something is missing from it. Could that be James Wan? The movie is creepy, but not quite the same as the others. Could it be the back-story for 'the Further' that some people wanted to know? That is certainly a possibility. Did it feel as if this chapter is really necessary after watching it? While it does give some back-story, again it's missing the most important back-story. The most telling sign that it isn't necessary is the weak ending in their attempts to connect it to chapter 1. With that said, I give it 2.5 pools of blood.

HorrO

Saturday, May 30, 2015

POLTERGEIST REVIEW



A family whose suburban home is haunted by evil forces must come together to rescue their youngest daughter after the apparitions take her captive.

Starring: Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Kennedi Clements

Directed: Gil Kenan

Written by: David Lindsay-Abaire, and Steven Spielberg (story)

  As a horror fan, it continues to be a struggle to find a movie that truly scares me. At a much younger age, the original "Poltergeist" did plenty to scare me. While the remake didn't scare me, it was good to see it scare others in the theater. It apparently did for them what the original did for me, but was this "Poltergeist" remake a good movie?
  Knowing the story already, it's hard to find anything surprising. The family moves in, paranormal stuff starts happening to Madison (Kennedi Clements), all hell breaks loose when she disappears, the family brings in people to help, and then they try to rescue Madison. What is surprising is the continued need to inject some light comedy into the movie. Whether it's a comment from the dad, or something fun that happens to one of the kids, it really takes away any chance of sustaining any kind of tension.
  The story seems to move kind of fast, which is all right, but it didn't really let the audience get a connection with all of the family members. It feels like the audience gets to know the parents some, their son Griffin (Kyle Catlett) maybe a little more, but not so much with Madison. The problem here is that when the ghosts take Madison, the audience isn't going to be on the edge of their seats for her safe return. The only real reason they are going to want her back is because she's a cute little girl, and maybe they feel bad for the family.
  So what did some of the people in the theater find scary? Well, there's a tense scene where one of the ghost hunters is trying to set up equipment in a room, and gets his hand stuck in the wall. Too bad for him the ghosts are on the other side of the wall. The scene is ok, but probably ends with more hardcore horror fans wanting a bloodier ending. The best scene is probably when Griffin is flying a drone where all of the ghosts are. The audience gets to see them crawling all over themselves, and it looks pretty awesome. However, again it doesn't produce much in the way of scares.
  Overall, the best way to describe this "Poltergeist" remake is that it's a much much lighter version of the original. The story is pretty much the same. The family structure is the same. The ghosts try to do the same thing to Madison. The big difference is that the scares aren't scary enough, and they add too many comedic moments. However, I'm happy it did scare some people, but it's just not going to scare hardcore horror fans. The movie itself is ok, so I give this it 2 pools of blood.

  HorrO

(Note: I wrote this review trying not to get into many direct comparisons with the original because I'm sure there are plenty of those kind of reviews out there. You don't need to me to go compare each thing in the movie to the original, and complain about how it's not the same.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD REVIEW



In a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, two rebels just might be able to restore order: Max, a man of action and of few words, and Furiosa, a woman of action who is looking to make it back to her childhood homeland.

Starring: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, and Nicholas Hoult

Directed by: George Miller

Written by: George Miller, and Brendan McCarthy

  What an action packed adventure! "Mad Max: Fury Road" has everything an audience could want in a high-speed chase across an apocalyptic desert. Lets start with the vehicles. Furisoa (Charlize Theron) drives one mean War Rig. It looks like one of those typical trucks that carry oil, but it's fixed up to be a well defended, fast moving machine. It's a great choice because it has plenty of room for the characters to run up and down, fight on top of, and climb underneath.
  And what does it have to defend itself against? How about dune buggies covered in spikes? They almost look like porcupines on wheels. Of course there's a monster truck doing what monster trucks do. And then there's a biker gang speeding all around, and launching their motorcycles through the sky. Oh, and no one will forget the Doof Wagon carrying the guitarist with a flaming guitar. Where do they come up with these crazy things?
  Speaking of crazy things, the whole set up in the city before the chase begins is weird. There are all kinds of strange people including the leader Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). He has woman connected to machines giving their breast milk, an army of guys who are as white as milk, and a hulked up right hand man. However, not everyone is ugly. Joe has several good-looking wives locked up for himself until Furisoa decides to do something about it.
  Then there's Mad Max (Tom Hardy). These crazy people capture him, and soon after chain him to the front of a car when the chase begins. The only reason he survives that chaotic scene is because he's the main character. Actually, it's kind of surprising that the story seems to be based more on Furisoa's actions than Max's. The audience also gets to know a lot more about her than Max. However, it's still a great story, and there seems to be plenty more to be told in another movie.
  But that's getting way ahead of ourselves. Lets talk about that ending chase through the desert. It's like all of the previous chase scenes times two! Cars are crashing, and people are dying left and right! It has Max jumping from car to car fending of bad guys. Hell, he's even grabbed and swung through the air by these guys on poles that are swinging back and forth over the cars. And then there's the moment the audience waited for the entire time… a close encounter with the guitarist!
  As for the acting, Charlize does an excellent job in her role as a strong rebellious woman. Whether it's her or a stunt double, her character is involved in plenty of action, and they are terrific. Tom doesn't seem to have many lines, but also handles the action scenes well. Nicholas Hoult, who fans might remember from "Warm Bodies", is almost unrecognizable in his strong supporting role as Nux.
  “Mad Max: Fury Road” is an action packed movie from start to finish. Just as the action dies down, another exciting scene is just about to start. It has all kinds of bizarre people driving vehicles hell bent on taking out their enemies. The story, and acting top it all off. It looks like this is just the beginning of an awesome trilogy, so I give it 4 pools of blood!

  HorrO

Friday, April 17, 2015

UNFRIENDED REVIEW



Ushering in a new era of horror, Universal Pictures’ Unfriended unfolds over a teenager’s computer screen as she and her friends are stalked by an unseen figure who seeks vengeance for a shaming video that led a vicious bully to kill herself a year earlier.

Starring: Heather Sossaman, Matthew Bohrer, Shelley Hennig

Directed by: Levan Gabriadze

Writer: Nelson Greaves

  Horror fans are continuing to be on the look out for something new in horror. Many are tired of remakes and found footage films. I've already seen a couple of films done by Skype, and know about some films shot entirely by iPhones. It seems as if that something new might be the different use of technology in horror, which brings us to "Unfriended."
  The audience views the movie as if they’re on Blaire's (Shelley Hennig) computer the entire time. One of the first things she does is watch the shocking YouTube video of her friend, Laura Barn's (Heather Sossaman), death. Quite a depressing way to begin! Then technology is on full display, as she does a ton of different things throughout the movie like using iTunes, texting, web searches, video chat, YouTube, and Facebook. As it became apparent that the entire movie would be her computer screen, it made me wonder if this would hold my attention the entire time, but surprisingly it did.
  It held my attention because of the completely chaotic video chat that ensues. Blaire, her boyfriend Mitch (Moses Jacob Storm), and several friends are video chatting, but an unwanted caller that they can’t get off the line joins them. They think it's all a prank until it becomes seriously deadly for one of them. Panic sets in as they try desperately to drop the caller, but still are unsuccessful. At times Blaire and Mitch are having their own talk via text about Laura's death. Blaire does some Googling about online ghosts, as she has a hard time believing that Laura might be back for revenge.
  Friendship is an important theme, as it's one of the main reasons for Laura's death. What's interesting is how Laura turns the supposed friends against each other before disposing of them. Just like Jigsaw, Laura wants them to play a game, which is called 'Never Have I Ever.' The game causes the friends to argue, call each other names, and turn against one another, as more and more secrets are revealed about each other. This might make you want to revisit your friendships!
  So what about the deaths? Well Laura possesses each of the friends causing them to do something that results in their own death. It isn't that bloody because during most of the deaths the video chat breaks up allowing the audience to only see part of the death. In fairness, the video chat breaks up many times, so it isn't only during the death scenes. Even though the audience doesn't get to clearly see them, the deaths aren't too bad with Ken's (Jacob Wysocki) death being the best one.
  For those who might not know, the original title for "Unfriended" was "Cybernatural” (good switch). This just shows how much they wanted to make the point that technology would play an important role in the movie. Hell, the ghost might have been more technologically advanced than I am! While it might take some time to get use to, watching the computer screen the entire time isn’t that bad. There’s enough tension and drama mixed in with a few laughs to keep the audience’s attention. The death scenes aren’t too bad, although it would have been nice to see them more clearly. I give them credit for trying something different so please don’t unfriend me if I give this movie 2.5 pools of blood.

  HorrO

Monday, March 30, 2015

THE WALKING DEAD SEASON 5 FINALE



  90 minutes is too much to talk about on Facebook so I'm posting my reaction to the season finale here. First I'll say that my predictions were wrong, and I'm glad! Michonne didn't die (bad guess). As we got closer to the show I had a late feeling it would be nice if no one died from the group after such a brutal season, and it turned out that way. Also just before the finale some people made some good guesses to what was going to happen, and I'm thinking those people knew from the comic. I'm glad I don't read it just so that the show is totally new to me. So let's get into the episode.
  We usually see Morgan at the end of episodes so it was nice to see him at the beginning for a change. Who knew he was as skilled with a stick as Donatello, and the actor is British? We finally got an explanation for the W's, but again I'm guessing comic readers knew that already. Those guys and the W thing are crazy!
  What a shot with Sasha sleeping in the zombie pit! Speaking of sleep, Rick needed some good rest after the brawl. I guess he needed to take some punches to calm down, and take a different approach. It was good to see Michonne prove her loyalty. Even better was seeing Carol give us another priceless moment, or two!
  With this being a finale, I was obsessed with who was going to die, and they did a great job playing off of that for people who were in the same boat as me. Several of our favorite characters were put in tough life or death situations. I was in a panic for Daryl! That was a ton of zombies! Then he wanted to play hero for Aaron! I thought he might just do it! When he goes, I could see him going out a hero. Thank you Morgan for the save! Good thing for Morgan that Daryl knew who he was.
  I honestly thought Glenn was dead! I've been waiting for that Glenn and Maggie moment to happen so one could die, and even though it wasn't a huge moment, that quick chat between the two left me fearing for one of their lives. I was cursing Nicholas, and just couldn't believe this loser would be the death of Glenn! Glenn needs more Rick and Carol in him. Nicholas should be dead!
  And so should the Father! What a nut job! Why does he keep wandering off? Why couldn't those zombies just kill him? In a way he did a good thing by leaving the gate open, but he's still annoying. I thought he was trying to get bit, and come back to Alexandria to become a zombie there. Then Sasha had to go and get in a fight with him. With that gun around, I was nervous even when Maggie was talking to him. Glad nothing happened, but I still don't trust him.
  Good to see them squeeze in a moment for Abraham and Eugene. So much has happened, and we never got to see what became of their relationship. It's good to see them clear the air. They are part of the group, and are only stronger together. Plus that scene was almost like the comic relief for the episode.
  It’s a good thing Rick was paying attention. If not, who knows who those zombies would have killed! Once again Rick’s face was covered in blood. I guess that’s why they wanted him to ditch the beard. That was a nice bloody kill. So do you think Deanna was really going to vote Rick out? It seemed close. Instead of dropping the mic Rick dropped the zombie. Did he really need to say anything else? “Here’s the danger, and I took care of it like I said I would.”
  It still seemed like that might not be enough until good old Pete had to make a scene. Once again, it was like we are so close to the end of the episode please don’t kill someone we love. No offense Reg, but thanks for taking one for the group. How quickly Deanna changes her mind. I like how Rick had no hesitation. Then top it off with Morgan returning right at that moment. You know he couldn’t have liked what he just saw. Rick has some explaining to do!
  I like how they left off with the Wolves. I was wondering how they got all of those zombies in the trucks. Interesting how music was used so much in the last few episodes. So the wolves are going to be the next threat. Bring it! I’m assuming there are more of them, or they are going to have to come up with an even better trap.
  One thing that happens time after time is someone letting a bad person live. Then that bad person comes back and does something to get someone else killed, or injured. It happened with the Terminus people. Glenn let Nicholas live after Noah died, and it almost cost him his life. Deanna didn’t let Rick kill Pete, and it cost Reg’s life. Morgan didn’t kill the Wolf guys, and who knows what they will come back, and do next season. If you’re bad you need to die…period!
  So looking ahead we have the danger of the Wolves. I still don’t trust the Father. Hopefully the group members that heard what Deanna said about him will keep an eye on him. It will be interesting to see what they do with Nicholas when Glenn brings him back. Hopefully some more of the Alexandria people step up so they have someone to kill off later. Yes, a terrible thing to say, but we are running out of group members that I would be ok with dying! I hope they pick up where they left off just to see what Rick and Morgan have to say. Unfortunately they always seem to skip ahead in time. And time is all we have until the October return! Hopefully the spin off will keep us entertained, and be better than the unoriginal title it has!

  HorrO
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