July 2017

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The Unborn [2009]

Rotten Tomatoes = 10 / 30
Personal = 7.3

Updated Dec 27, 2019
A young woman discovers that she's being used as a vehicle to bring a dybbuk into the world and goes about trying to stop it. There's dozens of similar movies but this one doesn't resort to contrived scenes or become overly dramatic. The characters seem real, not stereotypical caricatures, and the real highlight is the nightmarish imagery. This is a well made film and I think horror aficionados and filmmakers will appreciate this film far more than the casual viewer ...as shown by its ratings. Watch the unrated version.

Antibodies [2005]

aka Antikorper

Rotten Tomatoes = 65 / 71
Personal = 6.6

Updated Dec 28, 2019
This German film examines the stressed relationship between a cop / farmer of a small village trying to solve the brutal murder of a young girl and a convicted serial rapist / killer. Reminiscent of The Silence of the Lambs, this film is personal, tense and emotionally draining and spends a good deal of time trying to define what evil really is. I liked the film. My only real criticism is my usual gripe in that they probably could have done a bit more editing as it seemed to go on far longer than necessary.

The Prophecy II [1998]

Rotten Tomatoes = 33 / 44
Personal = 5.1

Updated Dec 28, 2019
The angels are at war. Danyael (good angel) impregnates a human to bare a son of God. Gabriel (bad angel) is out to get the child. The movie was ok but anything that may have required a practical or special effect was done off screen which probably saved them a ton of money. Because of this, however, the only action in the film was a few average fight scenes. The ending wasn't bad and watching Christopher Walken was worthwhile. That's about it.

The Accountant [2016]

Rotten Tomatoes = 52 / 76
Personal = 9.6

Updated Christmas, 2019
A high functioning autistic accountant / assassin is hired to find out if money is being embezzled from a high-tech research company. Mistake! Very complex, interweaving story line, loaded with history, presented in a smooth, easy-to-follow format that is intriguing, exciting, heartfelt and extremely satisfying. Several minor twists kept my attention glued to the screen for fear of missing something, as well. One of the best films I've seen this year.

The 39 Steps [1935]

Rotten Tomatoes = 96 / 86
Personal = 7.3

Updated Dec 28, 2019
A man offers refuge to a distressed woman and then discovers she's a spy. She gets killed and now spies are out to kill him and the authorities want him for murder. Rather enjoyable film for its time with lots of awkward and sinister scenarios, likable characters, a good twist ending and some entertaining comedy relief along the way.

Ek Ajnabee [2005]

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 42
Personal = 6.8

Updated Oct 19, 2019
Bollywood remake of Man on Fire. A down-and-out, alcoholic mercenary is given the job of bodyguard for a young girl to prevent her kidnapping. The first hour was loaded with far too much sap - the relationship between the girl and bodyguard is wonderful, but ...we get it, let's move on. The editing and photography was weird making it difficult to watch. Despite all that, the performances were excellent and I really enjoyed this film ...even with a completely different ending.

Death Race [2008]

Rotten Tomatoes = 42 / 61
Personal = 7.8

Updated Nov 23, 2019
I'm a big fan of Roger Corman's campy Death Race 2000 and I heard he was involved with this one so my expectations were up ...and they didn't disappoint. This one is far more serious and the only thing in common with the first is that it involves a race with a lot of death ...you probably figured that out. Anyway, gritty characters and some of the best, high-octane, racing and crashing action I've seen. No real story to speak of but, who cares. Great escapist entertainment.

The Hitcher II: I've Been Waiting [2003]

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 18
Personal = 5.1

Updated Nov 23, 2019
I consider The Hitcher one of the best thrillers of the 80's. A kid driving to San Diego is terrorized by a psycho hitchhiker in west Texas. 15 years later, our survivor and his girlfriend are in the same area and become terrorized by a different psycho. Yeah, pretty ludicrous but, be that as it may, this movie basically plays out the same scenario as the first without as much intensity. Jake Busey did a great job as the psycho but he ain't Runger Hauer. Still, I generally enjoyed it.

The Task [2011]

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 18
Personal = 3.1

Updated 7/25/19
Six people must stay in an old abandoned prison overnight and complete tasks given to them as part of a reality game show. This had great potential for somebody, with a vivid imagination, to really make a good film. Unfortunately, our filmmakers do not have said imagination. The first thing to happen to anyone took 40 minutes, the tasks were simplistic and stupid, and most of the time was spent wandering around with flashlights. Bringing in a paranormal killer didn't help. The most horrific task was sitting through this entire film. What a snoozer.

The Odd Couple II [1998]

Rotten Tomatoes = 27 / 57
Personal = 6.0

Updated Dec 14, 2019
Felix and Oscar team up again, after not seeing each other for 17 years, to go to a wedding between Oscar's son and Felix's Daughter. As soon as they hit the road together, everything that can go wrong, does go wrong. The original Odd Couple is a comedy classic and I didn't expect this to be on the same level ...and it wasn't. However, it was amusing and entertaining with a few laugh-out-loud moments. And it was good to see Felix and Oscar back together again.

Strigoi [2009]

aka The Undead

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 33
Personal = 1.4

Updated Dec 28, 2019
Good God, this was torturous. Romanian village kills a man and his wife and buries them. The couple comes back and, while he messes with various people in the village, she does nothing but eat. Sounds like it'd be humorous ...but it's not. Excruciatingly slow, making no sense, with uninteresting and unlikeable characters, no humor, action or dramatic moments. I would imagine there's someone out there that can appreciate this film but as for me? I just don't get it.

From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money [1999]

Rotten Tomatoes = 9 / 20
Personal = 6.0

Updated Dec 28, 2019
Five thieves get together to rob a bank. Just before the job, one of them gets turned into a vampire. What follows is one crazy bank robbery. As a sequel, it's full of exactly what you'd expect ...whacky characters, lots of blood and mayhem and an exciting, action-packed ending. Didn't have quite the campy sense of humor as the first one and it certainly didn't bring anything new to the table but it's still a pretty good thrill ride, nonetheless.

From Within [2008]

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 41
Personal = 6.9

Updated Nov 30, 2019
Sort of a mix between It Follows and The Grudge, this is a unique film about a rash of suicides in a small, highly religious town. The story works well, excellent pacing, the characters were fully developed and believable and, although is was not particular high on spooks, it had a tension that continued to grow throughout. It was also a great example of how destructive fanatical believe, Christian or Witchcraft, can be. I thought the ending was going to be hokey but it turned out to be unexpected, ironic and frightening. Good film.

Shadows & Lies [2010]

aka William Vincent

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 21
Personal = 3.2

Links Updated 9/10/19
When a man misses his plane, and it crashes incinerating everyone on board, he takes on a new identity and his life changes for the worst. Visually stylish art film with brilliant performances that let you know the characters intimately without really knowing anything about them at all. Despite its pluses however, every scene was tediously long and the whole thing ended up being completely pointless. In a nutshell, this movie was just plain boring with no payoff.

Reincarnation [2005]

aka Rinne

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 62
Personal = 9.2

Updated Dec 9, 2019
From the director of The Grudge comes this story about a director who is making a film about a slaughter that took place in a hotel 35 years ago. From the time she gets the script, his starring actress is haunted by visions of what really happened. I see a lot of horror movies and I like most of them as I like the genre. But, considering I see a lot, it's very rare for me to see one that is this good! Creepy as hell, the thrill ride never stops and the end is mind blowing. Brilliantly twisted!!

Here Comes the Devil [2012]

aka Ahi va el diablo

Rotten Tomatoes = 44 / 30
Personal = 3.9

Updated Dec 29, 2019
Two kids go missing on a family outing only to show up the next morning ...or is it really them? Nothing much happens in this film. It's certainly not scary or threatening and the characters are ho hum, at best. The biggest problem with this film, though, is that it's really only half a story stretched out over an hour and a half. What was going to happen was obvious and I was expecting to see what would happen next. Well, nothing ...the film ended.

Trick 'r Treat [2007]

Rotten Tomatoes = 83 / 71
Personal = 7.5

Updated Dec 28, 2019
Five interwoven stories taking place on Halloween in a town where they take All Hallows Eve very seriously. This movie was quite fun, done in a comic books style much like Creepshow. In fact, it's much closer to what you'd expect as a "Creepshow" sequel then either of the original sequels. Equal parts of gore and humor make for a very entertaining ride and the way the stories were connected with each other was enjoyable, as well. Don't forget to follow the holiday rules! Never, ever forget!!

Red Dragon [2002]

Rotten Tomatoes = 68 / 74
Personal = 8.3

Updated Dec 28, 2019
I saw the classic The Silence of the Lambs ages ago but, for some reason, I never got around to seeing this prequel. Another film I remembered seeing a long time ago is Manhunter ...which is the first film based on "Red Dragon". Both films are equally as good, imo. Edward Norton was excellent as the FBI profiler, Ralph Fiennes' performance is spot-on as the Red Dragon and, of course, Anthony Hopkins is back in his best form as Hannibal the Cannibal. Certainly an intense and worthy prequel!

Dog Soldiers [2002]

Rotten Tomatoes = 77 / 79
Personal = 7.8

Updated Nov 26, 2019
Military group on a training mission end up at war with a pack of werewolves. Really not much to the story beyond that but it's very nicely crafted with some incredibly intense action and the personal relationships between the soldiers is very well done making this an emotional, violent, and thrilling exercise into a seemingly futile effort. Good stuff!

Toolbox Murders [2004]

Rotten Tomatoes = 53 / 33
Personal = 4.8

Updated 5/13/19
The tenants of an aging apartment building are being killed with various tools. It's really too bad that the first and second half of this movie were in the same film. The first half consists of two murders and about 45 min of watching the activities of a bunch of really uninteresting people. Then there's a bit of a twist in the plot and the second half turned out to be pretty good. So, the first half was the setup. Ok, but it would have been nice to make it more interesting. I was ready to turn it off.

The Wasp Woman [1995]

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 14
Personal = 3.3

Updated Dec 11, 2019
In an attempt to reverse aging, a cosmetic executive takes an experimental wasp hormone treatment with a few minor side effects. This is a made-for-TV remake of the Roger Corman 1959 film and it's just about what you would expect from a very low budget TV movie. Rejuvenatrix (which is basically the same story without having anything to do with wasps) had much better make up and spec fx. Come to think of it, all I ever saw in the lab were bees, not wasps. This one was pretty bad.

Hackers [1995]

Rotten Tomatoes = 33 / 68
Personal = 6.5

Updated Nov 23, 2019
A kid, trying to prove to his hacker friends that he's the real thing, breaks into a highly secure system and discovers an embezzlement worm and a virus to blame on the hackers. Being as this was made over 20 years ago, I expected it to be pretty dated technology-wise. But, they did a good job of not mentioning tech that may give the time period away and, as a result, it's not really that dated at all. Good acting, colorful characters, nice story, well-made film that was quite fun.

Dark Circles [2013]

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 19
Personal = 3.5

Updated Dec 19, 2019
A true case of a movie that doesn't know what it wants to be. A couple, with a newborn, move into a new house and become haunted by an unknown woman. As a result, we watch the slow disintegration of the family unit ...far too slow, imo. And this woman... Is she a ghost? Is she a stalker? By the end of the film, I'm still clueless. If she's a ghost, then why did we have a confrontation with an obviously real person? And if she's real, who's haunting the family and why? For Pete's sake, pick a storyline and stick to it.

The Host [2006]

aka Gwoemul

Rotten Tomatoes = 93 / 72
Personal = 7.7

Updated Dec 28, 2019

A family eludes the authorities in an attempt to rescue a daughter / granddaughter / niece from the clutches of a huge, mutant lizard thing. The monster is totally awesome and all the scenes starring said mutant were great. The rest of the film felt sort of lame and sometimes silly and I didn't particularly like the way it ended, either. Overall, though, it was certainly worthwhile and a fun ride.

The Pact [2012]

Rotten Tomatoes = 69 / 41
Personal = 6.7

Links Updated 8/5/19
An eerie little mystery with paranormal overtones and disappearing family members. It's a slow, methodical journey of a women trying to figure out what happened to her sister and her cousin in the house of her recently departed mother. Even though it's very slow, they did an excellent job of maintaining an extremely heightened level of tension keeping me intensely involved throughout. Excellent story with some spine tingling moments and characters that seemed very real and genuine. Nice job!

Beneath [2013]

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 41
Personal = 5.0

Updated Oct 19, 2019
A group of coal miners get trapped in a collapse - including a woman who wanted to share her father's last day on the job. Then really strange things start happening. I'll start off by saying that this isn't a bad movie ...it just doesn't offer anything beyond what you'd expect once you buy the idea that the tainted air is probably causing everyone to hallucinate. It maintains it's tension and claustrophobic feel making it a skin-crawler but not a whole lot beyond that.

Seconds Apart [2011]

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 39
Personal = 7.3

Updated Dec 29, 2019
The Bad Seed X 2, and reminiscent of Dead Ringers, this is a story of twins who telepathically create illusions with deadly results. Extremely well written, very well made and quite disturbing and insidious, this film features excellent performances by Edmund & Gary Entin (the twins), Orlando Jones (Detective Lampkin), and Samanta Droke (Eve). Another nice aspect of the film was that you knew a surprise was coming ...you just didn't know what. They didn't disappoint.

The Secret Life of Pets [2016]

Rotten Tomatoes = 73 / 62
Personal = 8.0

Updated Dec 28, 2019
An animated story of two dogs, Max & Duke, whose animosity towards each other gets them trapped outside in an adventure between their neighbor pets trying to find them and the 'flushed pets' who want to destroy them. This is a hysterically funny film that had my wife and I in stitches. Easily appreciated by those that have pets and understand all the subtleties of their personalities. Works as an exciting and moving adventure, as well. Grab some popcorn and enjoy!

A Slit-Mouthed Woman [2007]

aka Kuchisake-onna / Carved

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 37
Personal = 4.1

Updated Oct 19, 2019
Light-weight Japanese horror featuring a woman, whose mouth is slit open, kidnapping kids. Mildly entertaining except there were far, far, far too many scenes where everyone just sort of sat there and did nothing ...I kept finding myself going, "Somebody do something"! The final confrontation featured everyone getting really freakin' stupid. I was totally frustrated by the time this was over. Apparently, there's a lot of versions of this urban legend. I don't think this is one of the good ones.

The Monuments Men [2014]

Rotten Tomatoes = 31 / 44
Personal = 5.8

Updated Dec 5, 2019
The true story about a group of men heading into Europe during WWII in an attempt to find, preserve, and return artwork that is quickly being collected and hidden by the Germans. The all-star cast makes for some nice performances and it was quite interesting from a historical perspective but overall, I found it rather dull. I think I would have enjoyed it more as a straight forward documentary as I wouldn't have been expecting so much.

Into the Blue [2005]

Rotten Tomatoes = 21 / 57
Personal = 6.8

Updated Dec 28, 2019
A diver and some friends go hunting for shipwrecks in the Caribbean after a hurricane. And they find one ...along with a plane full of drugs. Let the fun begin. I wasn't expecting too much at about the midway point but things really picked up before the finale. Good action sequences and a few twists, albeit some expected and Jessica Alba and the late Paul Walker have great chemistry and just plain look good on a screen. The photography was awesome. All in all, I had a lot of fun with this.

Werewolf Warrior [2004]

aka Kibakichi: Bakko-yokaiden

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 48
Personal = 5.6

Updated Nov 13, 2019
This ultra-low budget culturally traditional Japanese samurai movie features a samurai - who is also a werewolf - stumbling into a town where there is an issue between humans and yokai (beings who disguise themselves as human). The spec fx are pretty laughable and I'm not quite sure I understand what was going on as the film is quite surreal ...but stylish with a pretty messy bloodbath at the end ...and I was really diggin' the music. I would say I was pretty entertained.

Hellraiser IV: Bloodline [1996]

Rotten Tomatoes = 31 / 36
Personal = 6.4

Updated Nov 23, 2019
This is an odd one. In 2127, a direct descendant of the original puzzle box maker has now developed a space craft to trap Pinhead and friends and close the door to hell permanently. Several different time periods are covered and I liked how everything played out. It was also nice to get back to the roots of what the Cenobites were rather than just demons to run away from. Acting wasn't great but then the series has never been known for award winning performances. Yeah, I liked it.

Asylum [2014]

Rotten Tomatoes = - / 11
Personal = 2.5

Updated Jan 13, 2020
Ooook. We have two editors who are viewing a film in production about a swat team wandering around in an asylum (as shown by the misleading trailer). They proceed to make smart-ass comments throughout as if they were the modern day equivalent to MST3K. Jump cuts to an incredibly obnoxious crew of people wondering around the production company. Nothing about this film works. The only thing that kept this from being my worst film of the year is the editors did manage to crack me up once or twice.

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