October 2017

Trapped (aka 24 Hours) [2002]

IMDb = 6.2
Rotten Tomatoes = 18 / 48
Personal = 7.0

A wealthy couple's daughter is kidnapped in an elaborate plot that may not be as it seems. Joe (Kevin Bacon) terrorizing the mother (Charlize Theron) for most of the film makes your skin crawl and was becoming a bit too uncomfortable for a bit too long. But then things started to subtly change and twist leading to a climax that was absolute total chaos. Excellent performances by everyone, especially Charlize, Kevin and Courtney Love. Good stuff.

Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore [2010]

IMDb = 7.3
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 57
Personal = 6.5

H.G. Lewis began making nudie cutie movies in the late '50's and later went on to create the over-the-top gore sub-genre. This excellent and extensive documentary chronicles his rise to prominence as a man who makes terrible movies that became classics. As one person noted when asked whether Lewis' films were good or bad, they said, "There are good movies, there are bad movies, and there are Hershell Gordon Lewis movies". Be forewarned ...this doc (and trailer) are practically as gory as the films.

Marebito (aka The Stranger from Afar) [2004]

IMDb = 6.1
Rotten Tomatoes = 38 / 50
Personal = 5.6

A strange and surreal story of a videographer that discovers a world under this one. He brings home what appears to be a girl. Then his personal world and his sanity begin to slowly denigrate. The relationship between him and the girl was interesting but the hand-held camera stuff was not good quality (strange for a videographer) which became irritating and ultimately, the movie ending left me sort of hmmmm.

The Bay [2012]

IMDb = 5.6
Rotten Tomatoes = 77 / 43
Personal = 8.2

A mockumentary centering around the July 4th celebration in Claridge, Maryland where, before the end of the day, most everyone would die from a parasitic creature growing in Chesapeake Bay. Barry Levinson's (Homicide: Life on the Street) direction was so well done, this could pass for any news documentary. That, and the knowledge that this could really happen, makes it all the more frightening. I had nightmares after watching this film ...I don't recall the last time that happened.

Blade II [2002]

IMDb = 6.7
Rotten Tomatoes = 57 / 68
Personal = 6.3

Blade teams up with an elite group of vampires to hunt down a new strain of vampiric monster. The story was fine and the action was fun to watch but everything felt so refined and scripted and, often times, contrived. The acting of Leonor Varela as the lead female was just terrible and I wouldn't hand out any acting awards for anyone else either. For an elite team, they weren't very convincing and practically everyone of them died doing something stupid. It's fun but take it with tongue wedged firmly in cheek.

Kwaidan (aka Ghost Stories) [1964]

IMDb = 8.0
Rotten Tomatoes = 85 / 90
Personal = 7.5

Four ghost stories based on Japanese folk tales. This incredibly long-winded film is over 3 hours so I would suggest watching a story or two at a time rather than try to watch it in one sitting. The stories are simple and personal. Despite the slow pace, the film had stunning photography and strange discordant music that made it both beautiful and haunting. These aren't really scary ghost stories but rather we have a film that is more artful and elegant than many of today's films. Quite fascinating.

Wind River [2017]

IMDb = 7.9
Rotten Tomatoes = 87 / 92
Personal = 7.6

A professional tracker and an FBI agent (who is sorely out of her depth) investigate the rape and murder of a girl in winter on an Indian reservation in the middle of nowhere, Wyoming. More a character study than a crime drama, the story is a deeply personal and emotional look at the people, the culture, and one's own personal demons. Personally, I would have liked a bit more emphasis on the hunt and there was an awesome shootout but that's just me. Overall, extremely well made film.

Blade III: Trinity [2004]

IMDb = 5.9
Rotten Tomatoes = 25 / 59
Personal = 6.9

The vampires awaken the original Dracula in the hopes of re-establishing a pure race. The resistance is developing a plague that will only affect vampires. Beyond that, this is pretty much one fight scene after another. Quite good, though ...the fights are well choreographed, filmed and edited so you're not left wondering what you're looking at and they felt more raw and natural than they did in Blade II. I've found that ever since Deadpool, though, I've really come to dislike Ryan Reynolds. That notwithstanding, lots of fun.

One Missed Call 2 (aka Chakushin ari 2) [2005]

IMDb = 5.4
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 49
Personal = 4.7

More people getting phone calls from their own phone in the future depicting their death and their puny efforts to stop it. The first half moved along at a steady, creepy pace setting up what promised to be an explosive second half. Unfortunately, they failed on their promise as the story got more confusing by the minute, the pacing become frustratingly bad and, in the end, I was totally perplexed and disappointed. Perhaps another viewing would minimize my confusion but it's not worth seeing again.

It [2017]

IMDb = 7.8
Rotten Tomatoes = 85 / 86
Personal = 8.7

The town of Derry is experiencing a rash of missing kids. When one group of kids finds out why, they realize they're the only ones that can stop it. Brilliantly constructed, the kids having to deal with bullies, dysfunctional parents, and, of course, It, was very real and very human ...it never felt scripted, cliched, or contrived. The movie itself was thrilling, terrifying and relentless; nary a dull moment. Buckle up for the Pennywise ride!

The Last Man on Earth (aka The Damned Walk at Midnight, The Naked Terror) [1964]

IMDb = 6.9
Rotten Tomatoes = 71 / 69
Personal = 6.0

An immune survivor of a deadly virus may be the last man on earth. After seeing The Omega Man and I Am Legend, this first film adaption of the story 'I Am Legend' is nostalgic but rather lame and poorly made. What was interesting about it, though, was the creatures that walked the night were called vampires but, by modern day terms, they were clearly zombies, in a broad sense ...a monster that didn't become mainstream until Night of the Living Dead 4 years later.

The Graves [2009]

IMDb = 3.7
Rotten Tomatoes = - / 12
Personal = 5.0

In Unity, tourists are directed to a ghost town called Skull City Mine ...which will be the last stop on their trip. The first half of the film was goofy, messy, and morbidly delightful with Bill Moseley portraying an excellent psycho. It felt much like a Hills Have Eyes clone. The second half, however, was quite a let down. Tony Todd's performance was as excellent as ever but the film lost it's charm and the injured girl going from being ok to barely being able to stand up from one scene to the next was really trying my patience.

Dark Skies [2013]

IMDb = 6.3
Rotten Tomatoes = 40 / 49
Personal = 6.1

A married couple and their two boys are inexplicably being haunted by unknown entities. A rather well made film that uses the story to drive the events rather than just throwing random scares at you. The characters are normal, intelligent and real. The levels of denial are different for each and when they break is well paced and logical. No real violence to speak of but a well above average spook fest that manages to entertain just fine without being gratuitous.

Mother! (aka Day 6) [2017]

IMDb = 7.1
Rotten Tomatoes = 69 / 49
Personal = 4.5

A writer and his wife (who's renovating their home after a fire) keeps having unexpected, and destructive visitors parading through their house. This film was unsettling and uncomfortable from the word go. I had some idea of what was happening in the opening scene but I rejected that notion as it seemed to obvious. In the end, I was right ...making the whole thing futile and pointless. Plus, there's elements in the film that seem to serve no purpose. A very well made film that I'm sure others will praise but I really disliked it.

Reviews Coming Soon

Airplane! [1980]
Avatar [2009]
Djinn [2013]
Edge of Tomorrow [2014]
Morgan [2016]
Nightmare Castle [1965]
Split [2016]
Starve [2014]
Vulgar [2000]

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