Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Unrest (2006)

Title: Unrest
Director: Jason Todd Ipson
Writer: Jason Todd Ipson

Starring: Corri English, Scot Davis, Joshua Alba, Jay Jablonski, Marisa Petroro, Derrick O'Connor
Studio: Lionsgate

Unrest follows a first year medical student named Alison who is just beginning her Gross Anatomy class. She is paired up with three other students and they are introduced to their cadaver. Alison immediately senses something odd about the dead body. Soon people start coming up missing, and dying under strange circumstances. Alison is sure the corpse has something to do with it, so she researches where it came from, and how it arrived at the hospital. But can she put the enraged soul to rest before it's too late?

To tell you the truth, I really couldn't care less. This movie was OK, but I was never really scared, or in suspense. Everything that happened was predictable, there were no twists or really anything at all to keep me interested in the story. The one good thing this film has going for it is the amazing special effects work. The blood and gore are extremely realistic, but that wears thin pretty quickly when the narrative is seriously lacking. Unrest is not that bad of a film, but it just didn't offer up enough scares to be worth the hour and a half of my time I spent watching it.

Favorite Quote:

Alison Blanchard: "I think there's something wrong with my corpse."

RATING: 2/10

Monday, October 29, 2007

Penny Dreadful (2006)

Title: Penny Dreadful
Director: Richard Brandes
Writers: Diane Doniol-Valcroze, Arthur Flam and Richard Bra
Starring: Rachel Miner, Mimi Rogers, Michael Berryman, Mickey Jones
Studio: Lionsgate

Penny Dreadful is a breath of fresh air. Instead of the flood of supernatural killers, ghosts and what-have-you, Penny opts for a story than can actually happen, which makes it much, much more scary.

Penny is a young girl who was in a car accident in which both her parents died, leaving her the only survivor. Since that day Penny has been terrified of cars, but her and her Doctor set out to face her fears and take a trip into the mountains to build a snowman (Penny has never seen snow). Along the way the Doctor, who is driving the car, almost hits a hitchhiker, and as a show of good faith, gives the person a ride. Well, the hitcher ends up acting way beyond creepy, so eventually they drop him off. And that's when it all goes downhill. The car gets a flat tire and the doctor goes missing. Penny soon finds herself trapped in the car, lodged between two trees. And that's were the rest of the movie takes place. A whole 90 minute movie taking place inside a BMW might not sound too exciting, but take it from me, this movie scared me more than anything in recent memory. Rachel Miner, who plays Penny, does a phenomenal job of bringing to life the terror that Penny feels throughout the movie. As each second passes, you feel like you are stuck in the car with Penny, not knowing what is going to happen next. I'm going to go as far as to say that this is the best movie I've seen all year. Buy it, rent it, I don't care, just watch it ASAP!

Favorite Quote:

Eddie: "Probably somebody didn't like her meatloaf." (laughs)
Alvin: "That's not funny Eddie."
Eddie: "No, I guess it's not."

RATING: 9.5/10

The Woods (2006)

Title: The Woods
Director: Lucky McKee
Writer: David Ross
Starring: Patricia Clarkson, Agnes Bruckner, Bruce Campbell, Lauren Birkell, Jane Gilchrist, Emma Campbell, Gordon Currie, Rachel Nichols
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

OK, let me just say one thing about this movie right off the bat... It creeped me the hell out! This film has a lot of good things going for it, one of which is Bruce Campbell (don't get too excited though, he doesn't have a big part). Campbell is really only onscreen at the end, but it's classic Bruce, guaranteed to make you laugh.

The story takes place in 1965 at an all-girls boarding school in the middle of the woods where a young girl is dropped off by her mom and dad. Heather is a troubled young lady who doesn't do too well with authority figures. She soon has a few run-ins with some teachers as well as a few students. As if things couldn’t get any worse she starts having nightmares and students begin to disappear. Soon enough Heather starts investigating and finds out there’s something wrong with her teachers and the woods surrounding the secluded school.

The movie is well written and well acted. The tension throughout the film builds nicely and the scare scenes are done so well that I caught myself gripping the arms of my chair a little too tightly on more than one occasion. Overall this movie contains a lot of scares as well as a lot of laughs, and it should please just about everyone who watches it. It may not be the best flick out there right now, but it sure is a few rungs above most of what has been released in the past couple of years.

Favorite Quote:

Samantha: [Walks up to the table] Heard you been saying stuff behind my back, fire-crotch.

Heather: Now, Samantha, all I said was your breath smells like you've been drinking out of Ms. Mackinaw's douche bag, that's all.

RATING: 8/10

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Abominable (2006)

Title: Abominable
Director: Ryan Schifrin
Writer: Ryan Schifrin
Starring: Jeffery Combs, Matt McCoy, Haley Joel, Karin Anna Cheung, Natalie Compagno, Michael Deak, Paul Gleason, Ashley Hartman, Rex Linn, Phil Morris, Tiffany Shepis, Chad Smith, Christien Tinsley, Dee Wallace-Stone, Lance Henriksen
Studio: Anchor Bay

Abominable is a low budget horror movie that is so bad it's good. I personally love to watch these types of pictures because it is great fun to laugh at it in all of it's low budget glory. And that is the only reason I would recommend this film to anyone.

Because this is a straight to DVD B-movie, it does have it's up sides. The monster is hilarious, the acting is bad (except for the main character), and the kills will have you rolling on the floor holding your stomach. Those might not sound like positive things, but trust me, if you are only looking for a good way to burn an hour and a half, then this entertaining movie will do the trick. There is a face biting scene that I laughed about hours after the movie was over.

The general plot has to do with a man who is going back to living in his cabin in the mountains after he lost his wife, as well as the use of his legs, in a mountain climbing accident. A group of girls rent the cabin across from him and he can only watch as this big hairy Sasquatch kills them one by one. He attempts to warn the police multiple times, but they don't believe him, so he plans to take on the monster himself. I must admit that for the low budget-ness of it all, the story isn't presented half bad. My favorite thing about this movie is how this man who is confined to a wheelchair can only watch through his binoculars as these girls are slaughtered, but he is helpless to do anything about it. It's reminiscent of Hitchcock's Rear Window.

Horror B-movie staple Lance Henriksen makes a great cameo as a fearless hunter who has heard the legend of the Sasquatch and has come up to the mountains because, as he says, he "likes to kill stuff."

This movie is not all bad, in fact it's quite good when you consider it for what it is, a fun way to kill some time. If it's on the Sci-Fi channel I suggest you give it a viewing, but don't waste your hard earned cash on a rental.

Favorite Quote:

Ziegler Dane: "Oh God, that is gross!"

RATING: 4/10

30 Days of Night (2007)

Title: 30 Days of Night
Director: David Slade
Writer: Steve Niles
Starring: Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, Ben Foster, Manu Bennett
Studio: Colombia Pictures

I have been excited about this movie since I first saw the trailer on youtube last month. I have always loved vampire lore, and I have read Bram Stoker's Dracula three times. But the vampires in this movie are quite a bit more brutal than Stoker's Count. This film is chock full of some good old fashioned horror ultra-violence.

The vampires in this film are not great seducers as they have commonly been portrayed over the years, but rather they are killing machines, with absolutely no emotion what-so-ever. This makes for a very fun viewing experience. Director David Slade has done a fantastic job creating a non-stop action thrill ride from start to finish, while staying true to Steve Niles original graphic novel that the movie is based on. I can honestly say I loved every second of this film.

The synopsis goes like this:

The movie is set in Barrow, Alaska, where the residents experience alternating periods of light and dark every thirty days. The story begins at the end of the last day of sun. Most of the population is leaving town because the next month will be darkness until the sun rises again. The local sheriff, played by Josh Hartnett, finds a pile of cell phones burnt in a fire, a man's sled dogs have all been slaughtered, as well as other acts of violence and vandalism. He links the crimes to a suspicious stranger who has just arrived in town. When he arrests the stranger for an outburst in the town restaurant he finds out that he must deal with much more than just one troublemaker from out of town. Something is cutting off the town's remaining ties to the rest of the world. Something is getting ready to feed...

It is the vampires themselves who are the true stars of this great film. They are terrifying, fast moving, cunning, and truly evil creatures. They even have their own horrendous sounding spoken language. Not to mention their high pitched screams, I shudder just thinking about those sounds. Once they begin their rampage on the town you will be squirming in your seat as you try to take in all the throat ripping action on screen.

As I write this I can't stop thinking about seeing this movie again as soon as possible. Here's hoping for a quick release of the DVD!

Favorite Quote:

Eben: "Hell of a day."
The Stranger: "Just you wait."

RATING: 9/10

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Spider Baby (1968)

Title: Spider Baby or The Maddest Story Ever Told
Director: Jack Hill
Writer: Jack Hill
Starring: Lon Chaney Jr., Carol Ohmart, Quinn K. Redeker, Beverly Washburn, Jill Banner
Studio: Dark Sky Films

Spider Baby is an old black and white horror film that really surprised me when I saw it. The high tech visuals and gore of the 21st century have made me so jaded that I normally can't sit through an old time horror picture. Spider Baby is different though. The story is so strange that it grabs your attention from the beginning. Without giving too much away here is the basic plot.

The Merrye family suffers from a syndrome, caused by years of inbreeding, that results in each family member mentally regressing back into childhood once they reach puberty. This is odd in itself, but in addition the afflicted also exhibit homicidal tendencies once they reach their childlike state of mind. There are two teenage girls living in the house along with their older brother. The brother is played by Sid Haig (who most recently played Captain Spaulding in Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects). Haig's performance is unforgettable, and it really kept me interested in the movie. Even though he plays the older brother to the two girls, he is older in appearance only, because the older the members of this family get, the younger their minds become, so Haig spends the whole of the movie acting like an infant. It is hysterical at times and adds some much needed comic relief to this disturbing movie.

The name Spider Baby comes from Jill Banner's character, Virgina. Virgina is one of the teenage sisters and she loves to play a game she calls "Spider," where she traps unsuspecting visitors to the house in nets then proceeds to "sting" them with knives.

The family obviously can't take care of themselves, with the parents in a worse off condition than their children on account of the syndrome, so the family chauffeur Bruno (played by Lon Chaney Jr.) has been watching over the household for the past few years and only he knows the truth about this strange family and it's secrets. This movie is extremely hard to classify or explain and I feel that if I write anymore that I will reveal too much. As with most movies, this one is best viewed knowing as little as possible.

Favorite Quote:

Bruno, the Chauffeur: "Just because something isn't good doesn't mean it's bad."

RATING: 7/10