Tag Archives: Netflix

SERIES OVERVIEW: Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return (2017)

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return

This review might seem a bit out of nowhere for a horror site, but Mystery Science Theater 3000 is something near and dear to the hearts of many hardcore horror fans simply because we've all had to suffer through bad movies with our friends.
We've all been there, particularly if you lived through the video rental era. You'd wander the aisles for upwards of an hour, reading the backs of boxes, looking for the perfect movie to watch. You would grab a pizza and a few refreshing cold beverages, get home, pop in the movie and immediately be disappointed with your carefully selected choice of films. It happens, but you'd suffer through it anyway, because money was spent and you weren't about to let that crappy movie win.
I'm a bit shocked that some of the people I watched movies with back then are still my friends considering how many bad movies I made them watch. At this point I would like to formally apologize to my friend John for making him suffer through all those dreadful movies. Notice I said that I would LIKE to apologize; I'm not actually going to because those memories are some of the best of my formative years.
Which brings me to my point. Mystery Science Theater 3000 isn't just a movie watching experience; it's more like a bonding experience. You feel a kinship, not just with the host and his companions, but with everyone who has ever suffered through a bad movie.
I'll admit that when I first heard that Joel Hodgson was trying to reboot Mystery Science Theater 3000, I was skeptical. As much as I loved the show, I really didn't think it was still relevant in today's society of 140-character Twitter humor, Fail Army videos, and tasteless memes. That, and the fact that it's closing on 20 years since the show appeared on television.
Surprisingly, the new incarnation is every bit as good as the older version. Mind you, it's not the same show. It's the next step in the progression of the show. An evolution. Everything about it is new. It's much more polished with better visuals in some areas, and the old school, homemade feel in others.
Kinga Forrester and Max aka TV's Son of TV's Frank / Fair use doctrine.The story plays out the same way as the old one. Evil mad scientists Kinga Forrester (Felicia Day), and her assistant, TV's Son of TV's Frank, aka Max (Patton Oswalt), trap some poor, likable dope — Jonah Heston (Jonah Ray) — on the far side of the moon and force him to watch bad movies with his robot pals.
Even though Day and Oswalt do a great job as the new "Mads", I don't think their characters are fully developed at this point. They seem almost TOO competent compared to Clayton and Pearl Forrester. And while both are colorful and entertaining, they seem a bit generic. As a big fan of both, I'm hoping that both can embrace their respective roles and make them unique and interesting characters in future seasons.
Jonah and the bots / Fair use doctrine.Jonah Ray does a superb job filling the shoes of the hosts before him. No small feat. (Get it? Shoes, Feet. HaHaHaHa!) considering that Joel Hodgson and Mike Nelson had two distinctly different styles. He's not just filling the shoes in though, he's doing a great job of making the role his own. And although the voices of Crow and Tom Servo have changed slightly, Hampton Yount and Baron Vaughn pick up almost seamlessly from Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy regarding the character and delivery of their respective robots.
The riffing in the theater segments is fast and concise right out of the gate, with lots of references to current events as well as throwbacks to some of the classic episodes. Just like the old show, the diverse range of topics give the new shows a great amount of re-watchability.
The host segments are lively and fun, although it's easy to tell that Ray, Yount, and Vaughn haven't quite mastered their on-screen chemistry. That sort of thing will come together over time, though.
Also, the addition of some big-name celebrities and a few familiar old faces dropping by on occasion gives the viewers an added treat. I'd tell you a few right now, but it's more fun to be surprised by it.
Overall, it's a faithful continuation of the series if you're an old fan of the show, and it's a great introduction if you're a newbie.

MOVIE REVIEW: I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016)

Quite often I get asked for movie suggestions. Often that suggestion comes with the caveat, usually along the lines of “not the usual found footage, or stupid teens”. Luckily there are a few suggestions I can give and I Am Not a Serial Killer is one of them. It's definitely not your usual horror film, and while the main character is a teen, he's not your usual clueless, horny teen.
I Am Not A Serial Killer / Fair use doctrine.
I Am Not a Serial Killer on Netflix
I am not a Serial Killer on Netflix
I Am Not a Serial Killer on Netflix
I Am Not a Serial Killer is about a young teen who is fighting sociopathic urges and tendencies. He hasn't hurt anyone yet, but he can fill the pull and is intrigued by death. It doesn't help that he works in the family's funeral home. His personal conflicts are exacerbated when dead bodies start turning up around town. He's drawn to the victims and the crime scenes, and it soon becomes apparent that the killer, might be something more than human.
The film is based on the first novel in the John Wayne Cleaver series by writer Dan Wells. It was directed by Brian O'Brien. I Am Not a Serial Killer stars Max Records (Where the Wild Things Are), as John Wayne Cleaver and Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future, Piranha 3-D) as his elderly neighbor Bill Crowley. That's about all the plot I'm going to give you. It would be a crime to spoil it any more. The film develops fairly quickly so you wont have to wait long.
As I mentioned, I Am Not a Serial Killer isn't your usual film with stupid teen protagonists and victims. Even though the lead is a teen, and the book is based on is considered Young Adult, John Wayne Cleaver is nit your typical teen. He's a troubled, complex character, a clinically diagnosed sociopath, fighting his darker urges. His conflict, trying to stay on the side of light, while investigating, and trying to prevent more murders is just as compelling as the conflict between him and the killer.
And the killer is no less complex, as we find out he is more than a cold blooded killer. Slowly we learn what drives him, as his killing drives John closer to his dark side. The film allows you to have some understanding of the killer and why he does what he does. Even the background characters are more than the usual cardboard, two dimensional set pieces. John's mom struggles to understand him, while he feels detached from her, we realize she is at least trying to stay connected.
Lloyd gives the usual superb performance, in a role that's a little more complex than bumbling scientist, or elderly crime lord. Powers is a relative newcomer but makes a believable teen antagonist in his first, adult, or young adult role. I really don't want to give away anymore and it's hard to talk about each character without doing so. Let's just say both roles stray far outside the usual hero/villain archetype and leave it at that.
The story does have a twist, fairly early in, and it might be less than shocking, but it lends to an interesting story. A story I wasn't expecting when I decided to watch it. The twist propels it out of the thriller category and squarely into the realm of horror. Don't let the Young Adult tag on the book scare you away, I Am Not a Serial Killer is great for adult viewing. It's not a gore fest by any means but there are some bloody, gut-filled scenes that might make some queasy.
The only real negative was in the final scenes, where there are some special effects that seem a bit less than horrifying. It really didn't bother me but I'm sure some horror fans may claim it ruined the film for them. Some people are just way too willing to let anything ruin a film for them.
So for a smart, well written, well acted film that isn't your average found footage, teens lost in the woods, inbred slasher fare, check out I Am Not A Serial Killer. It's currently streaming on Netflix. On a scale of 1-10, I'm giving it a stout 7 stars.

MOVIE REVIEW: Contracted: Phase II (2015)

CONTRACTED: PHASE II (2015)

Director: Josh Forbes
Writer: Craig Walendziak
Stars: Matt Mercer, Marianna Palka
For those of you who have seen 2013's Contracted and enjoyed the film which, I personally did, you're in luck because Contracted: Phase II starts off at the exact minute that the original ended. I like that it picked up exactly where you left off – there are no holes, there are no gaps, and no wondering whatever happened to this person and that person... It's a continuation and, in my opinion, one at its best. And considering that the films were both written and directed by completely different people from the original, I was pleasantly surprised at the outcome.
Some of the same cast for the most part are present, there are obviously some new faces thrown in there because a lot of the people from the first one are dead, but are referenced to periodically to keep the story consistent. The movie unfortunately does drag little bit here and there, but then again, the original film wasn't exactly a fast-paced action horror film either.
Contracted: Phase II, definitely continues with the same feel and emotion. It does definitely stay true to itself and isn't blown out of proportion as so many sequels sadly are. The thing that I like so much about these two movies is in my opinion its original as hell!! I mean seriously, where else have you seen zombies that are contracted from a necrophiliac!
Overall, Contracted: Phase II is a good movie. It's got a couple of decent little gory almost squirmish kind of parts in the film but doesn't feel the need to have to over do it, and I appreciated that quality. I felt for this movie because it was a perfect balance.
My only gripe with the film, and this is not a spoiler, but in the first one, the disease is originated by a perv in a morgue who is banging dead chicks. In the sequel, there was a purpose for that. I didn't really care for it. I thought that just having a corpse fucker gave it a twisted edge on its own, but that's not to say that it took away from the story either.
Contracted: Phase II is now on NETFLIX . If you’re in the mood for a horror movie that isn't over the top , and not a splatter-fest or a extreme gore but is story-driven, then I think you'll like this. I definitely think it's worth a watch.
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MOVIE REVIEW: Ghost Team (2016)

Director: Oliver Irving; Writers: Oliver Irving, Peter Warren; Stars: Jon Heder, David Krumholtz, Justin Long, Melonie Diaz, Amy Sedaris, Paul W. Downs; Rating: PG-13; Run Time: 83 min; Genre: Horror Comedy; Country: USA; Language: English; Year: 2016
I first heard of Ghost Team from a friend of mine a few months ago. I remember he showed me a trailer for it on YouTube, and, I must admit, the trailer did make it look pretty damn funny. When you put John Heder and Justin Long together, your outcome will most likely be laugh out loud funny... Well, unfortunately, that's not the result in Ghost Team.
Louis (Jon Heder) and Stan (David Kromholtz) are roommates living down-and-out lives going nowhere fast. The two are fans of a paranormal TV show that is running a contest where the winner gets to be the next member of the show. So, when they hear of a local barn that might be haunted, the light bulbs over their heads switch on with the ingenious idea to become ghost hunters and try to win a spot on the show.
The two team up with other friends who they think might be able to help them out by specializing in different departments of their investigation, such as Ross (Justin Long), a rather gung-ho night security guard for a department store who becomes head of security for the Ghost Team. With a now full paranormal investigation crew, they head to the supposed haunted barn in the middle of nowhere in a van full of equipment that was borrowed from a local electronics store where Louis’ nephew Zak (Paul W. Downs) just happens to work.
From the beginning of the movie, I kept waiting for all the one liners and the slapstick to happen, and it just never really did. There were a few chuckles at best. It did, however, start to turn into what I thought was going to become a decent and suspenseful ghost movie. Unfortunately, after about 15 minutes of build-up, the suspense ball was dropped when we discover the reality of what their ghosts really are.
The film itself reminded me of an episode from the old Scooby-Doo mystery cartoon. The kids are out for adventure, looking for ghosts, but it lacked the pull-off-the-rubber-mask-to-reveal-who-is-underneath. The ball was dropped, and in so many ways! In short, Ghost Team as an entire film is a big let-down on many levels.
With the cast that was acquired for this film, Ghost Team had the possibility of being a great comedic piece and, even better, a great horror comedy. I am a fan of Justin Long's work, and I’m not saying that his or anyone else’s acting is bad, but the movie just did use the talent properly. This leads me to believe that the cast must have owed a lot of favors to whoever made this. Maybe with the right group of people or if I had been a little drunk, it would’ve worked for me, but I was neither. Sorry guys, but this one goes nowhere fast!
Ghost Team is currently playing on Netflix.
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MOVIE REVIEW: Carnage Park (2016)

CARNAGE PARK (2016)
Ashley Bell, Pat Healy, Alan Ruck
So it's getting to be a late Saturday night and being the party animal that I am I flop on the couch, grab the remote, turn on Netflix, and start to waste time looking hopefully for a good movie. As always, I go straight to our beloved horror section, and I actually happen to stumble across Carnage Park. I knew was a relatively new release and figured why not, I don't have much else to do.
The story is of young Vivian (Bell, The Day, The Last Exorcism) who is kidnapped by two bank robbers in a small town outside the California desert. The two outrun the cops by driving off into the desert hills on an old dirt road that they come across. Thinking that they have made the easy escape, the two criminals are shot and killed by a skilled marksman who's watching them out in the hills. It is from this point on that Vivian is forced into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse.
So, hearing that, Carnage Park doesn't sound that bad... well, it's not great either.
Mickey Keating, director of Carnage Park, is trying for a late sixties feel. The beginning of the film was almost obnoxious the way it was done, then tried slipping into a near Tarantino hip feel, finally ending up trying to mock Rob Zombie in so many different ways.
And it must be pointed out that just because you're able to find an old model Nova to use as a cop car, an old Chevy Impala for the getaway car, and put a tinted lens over your camera, it really doesn't give a retro feel. The point that it was supposed to be dated is there, but, honestly, anyone could have picked up on it. It really had nothing to do with how it was shot.
Carnage Park is a borderline disappointment as the film had decent potential, and the star acting was pretty good and actually the one thing that held it together. Pat Healy (Compliance, Cheap Thrills) as the shooter was really good,...just wish there was actually more of him, and Alan Ruck as the sheriff looks the same as he did in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Now I'm not saying that the movie is Godawful because it's not although I did catch myself watching the clock and kind of wondering when is this ever going to be over.
It did have the potential to be a much grittier and bloodier film, and I really wanted to like this a lot more than I did. As many of you know, my love for Netflix is not a strong one anymore. Still, if you're a crazy, wild, Saturday night party person like I am and you can't find anything else worth watching either, sure go ahead and give Carnage Park a view... Hopefully you'll like it more than I did.
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DUAL MOVIE REVIEW: Satanic (2016)

EDITOR's NOTE: As I was reviewing some articles for publication, I noticed that both John Roisland and Dixielord had both reviewed the same Netflix movie: Satanic. What's more, both of them felt the same as I did. Therefore, House of Tortured Souls presents our first ever dual review. Enjoy!
By John Roisland
SATANIC is a 2016 film about four friends who get messed up with the devil. Or that would be the nice way of putting it.
First, I must say, I do enjoy movies about the occult and dark magic, so when i saw the title of this film, I thought, 'Wow, pretty balls move to go right for the throat' . You've gotta have a solid winner and know what you're doing to use a major or strong word for your title. For example, The Exorcist , Titanic, and, hell, even Gremlins used their bold titles, and they owned them. Sadly enough, Satanic did not.
The story begins with the four friends stopping into a occult store while in LA only to piss off an employee and get chased out. The four follow the store employee home after he gets off work and find the center of what appears to be a ritual killing of a young woman.
After being seen and chased away from the property, they run into the should have been sacrificed girl the next day at a coffee shop. They hang out and talk to her, eventually inviting her back to their hotel, where they drink some beers and talk occult until the girl apparently curses them after she paints a Penatgram on the wall and then slits her own throat.
With this now supposed Satanic curse on them, weird things start to happen around as well as to our four bumbling idiots. I'm sorry, I'm usually not one to tear up on a film, and I have seen much worse. The film from the get go has a made for television feel, almost like your watching a series. The movie itself really doesn't go anywhere, and its a shame because it really could have. It had a lot of potential.
There was at the very end one of those, "Oh yea, huh," moments and that was about it. The acting was god awful and had a few decent special F/X in it. It just felt like they were rushed almost. Like they had the ideas, but forgot to add a few.
So this, now playing on Netflix streaming, was unfortunately one that I had hoped would have been much better, but was merely something to kill time with. And this, from the producers of The Walking Dead, sorry guys.
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By Dixielord
Satanic Panic was all the rage when I was a teenager. It seemed there was always reports of mutilated pets, and graveyard gatherings. Now we know that for the most part the Satanic Panic was just urban legends blown out of proportion. Still, that's no reason we can't make films about them. Ti West delved into Satanic Panic with The House of the Devil, and just this year we went old school satanic with The Witch. Now the new film Satanic explores satanism as an evil force while using the panic years as a device to drive the film.
Be careful of looking for doors, you might find one - Satanic
Satanic, which stars Sarah Hyland (Modern Family) and is directed by Jeffrey Hunt (The Vampire Diaries) is the story of four friends on their way to Coachella, who decide to make a detour to visit sites involved in the Satanic Panic, including the Manson murders. Always looking for a new thrill the visit a magic store and follow the cashier home, hoping to witness a magic ceremony. They stumble upon what they believe to be a human sacrifice. They interrupt the ritual, which any good horror movie fan can tell you, isn't a smart thing to do. Attempting to help the young girl, they get more than they bargained for and the fun quickly turns into fear. They follow the girl down a path that leads straight to hell, or at least a reasonable facsimile.
I found myself enjoying the film throughout most of the early part of the movie. Alice, played by Sophie Dalah, is suitably creepy and any time shes on screen it's fun to watch. There isn't a whole lot new to the story but it is executed fairly well. There's only one real gory scene, but its very bloody and comes out of nowhere. The fact that up till then the film is pretty bloodless makes it more shocking and builds up expectations that the last half of the film will be a monster.
Satanic
Some Satanic spoilers ahead!
And that's where Satanic fumbles. Instead of building on the insanity of the hotel room scene it dials it back. There's still an intensity, but it always falls flat, and we go back to it being a bloodless film. Instead of seeing our four teens picked off one by one in a gruesome manner, they just disappear. It becomes repetitive, and well, you just know each time whats about to happen.
The scene in the hotel room held out such great promise, not just with the gore, but with the dialogue. With talk of doors, and the labyrinth beyond, you are almost expecting cenobites or at least something really esoteric and horrifying. Sadly Satanic doesn't deliver on this. Alice says “Hell is a beautiful confusion, and there's pain”. It's a great line, but I just felt let down with the final revelation of what hell actually was.
These teens don't take the Satanic Panic seriously
There's a lot wrong with Satanic, but it is still watchable. I think with a better ending it could have been a really good little film. But it is what it is, and what it is, is just meh.it's a good for a rental or a boring day, Netflix rental, but I wouldn't purchase it. A generous 5 out of 10 stars.

MOVIE REVIEW: Sweet Home (2015)

By John Roisland
Sweet Home is a 2015 release I caught on the endless wall on Netflix. One would think there's nothing more romantic than a quiet house to yourself, candlelit dinner for two, in order to celebrate one's birthday... or so one would think.
Sweet Home is a story of the young realtor who decides the old, abandoned, and soon to be condemned apartment building that she is inspecting would be the perfect spot for a romantic evening. She quickly plans to take her boyfriend to the building for a little alone time and birthday candlelight dinner since neither of them can get their roommates out for the evening.
Our young protagonist blindfolds her boyfriend, brings him to the secret location, and then removes the blindfold to reveal the area she has decorated with a throw rug, candles, and a feliz cumpleanos banner.
The evening goes well for the smiling and laughing couple until they exit their apartment and spot three thugs wearing ski masks walking down the hall. As it turns out, the masked figures had just murdered an elderly man who was holding out and refusing to leave the building. Scared, the young couple tries hiding and, of course, make noise and are found out. It then becomes a game of cat-and-mouse. Through accidents and slips during chasing, two of the thugs are eliminated. The third, while trying to punch a hole through a peep hole, gets his hand stuck. Thinking quickly, the young couple inside tie his wrist to a fixture in the apartment and take off.
The third, stuck in the door, uses his cell phone to contact someone obviously very very important. He apologizes profusely for having called and interrupted his evening and asks him to send help.
Moments later a car pulls up and out steps a large man wearing a hooded raincoat and rain boots who enters and chains the door locked from the inside. There is now no escaping from the cleaner! I am here till you this man is straight from Hell with a heart that is cold as ice. A true professional with all the tools of the trade, and not afraid to use them at all.
Watching the young couple from this point on became pretty exciting due to the fast-paced and downright gritty action. I have to admit that there were a couple of unexpected curve balls, and I was pleasantly surprised. Adding the deeply dark character of the cleaner really added an entirely new feel to the film.
I recommend Sweet Home as I was pleasantly surprised and really enjoyed it. The only thing that caught me was trying to figure out where the film was really taking place. The woman had a French accent, the old man that was murdered spoke Spanish, her boyfriend is British, and the three thugs sounded Canadian. Other than that, it was a good movie, , so check out.
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MOVIE REVIEW: Baskin (2015)

By John Roisland
2015 brought us the Turkish horror film Baskin. From first hearing about Baskin - reading what little information was being given out - to finally trailers of the movie when first announced, I knew I had to see this film! Baskin had been talked about as the be-all end-all of all horror films. It was claiming to be as one of the scariest and the goriest films to have been made.
I was beyond thrilled when our little friends over at Netflix decided to actually put something worthwhile and relatively new to their horror section. Baskin begins with five Turkish police men who, after dining at a small, dark, and dismal cafe, drive their police van through what seems to be the darkest and creepiest of back roads. While traveling and singing (yes, I guess Turkish men sing love songs to each other), a call comes across the radio from another police vehicle in distress. The location is right up the road, so they respond and immediately hightail it to the location. While en route, they hit what they thought looked like a naked man who ran into the street causing them to run off the road and into a ravine. No one is seriously injured, so on foot they go back to the road where there's no body and no visible evidence that anything was hit.
They soon run upon a family with a small campfire. The family eventually gives directions to the location that the police seek, but warns them not to go. Before leaving, the officers note that the family had buckets full of frogs... Hundreds of frogs.
The cops walk through the woods and make their way to the location, which is a rather large old decrepit building of some kind. They find the empty police car that had radioed for help, lights still flashing. As they slowly enter the building, friends, THIS is where things start to get good! Until this point, the movie was moving kind of slowly, but it still kept the viewer's interest. The things that the police officers run into and witness inside are visions straight from Hell - tortured bodies, cannibalism, and blood everywhere.
It seems that the building is some sort of portal or or threshold, if you will, through one of the gates of Hell. When our five enforcers enter, things quickly get bloody for our law fighters. Unfortunately, it didn't quite live up to my expectations. I did enjoy the film as it moved fairly quickly, yet I wish the build up had been stretched out a bit longer. It seems they took all that time and built it up, they would have rid it out a bit more.
The scenery/set they used for Hell i thought was perfectly designed, much of a dungeon feel to it. The film is subtitled, and I do not know if there is a dub version. I think dubbing takes away from the film. The special effects were good, the overall story was good, and it was an overall solid horror film. It is a dark and twisted film where the director's vision is projected perfectly, but it falls short because of all the media hype that it got upon its release - particularly reports claiming it was the ultimate horror film. It's not, by far, but it's still an enjoyable flick. I'm always up for a good foreign horror film, so I do recommend you check it out and give it a shot. At least it was fairly original... and that alone to me is worth a watch!

MOVIE REVIEW: Holidays (2016)

By John Roisland

Holidays-Torrent-2016-Full-HD-Movie-Download

Holidays is a 2016 horror film i just checked out. I want to say i liked it, but it’s not one that I think I'd add to my library.

Holidays is another anthology film set much like the ABCs of Death, in that they gathered up a handful of writers and directors, and instead of them pulling letters out of a hat, a calender was thrown in the mix and each was given a holiday to make a short on.

Holidays-2016-m

Holidays tackled include:

  • Valentine's Day (a nerdy swimmer in high school cutting out a team member’s heart to give to their coach)
  • St. Patrick's Day (a woman giving birth to a snake with a pompadour)
  • Easter (a deformed half Easter bunny and half Jesus)
  • Mother's Day
  • Father's Day
  • Halloween
  • Christmas ( Seth Green puts a smile on your face)
  • New Year's Eve

 

The New Year’s Eve segment, directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer, who brought us Some Kind of Hate in 2015, stole the show.
Ending the year and the film was New Years Eve

The big name throwing his hat into the ring is Silent Bob himself, Kevin Smith who brought us Red State in 2011 and Tusk in 2014 and countless non horror films. Smith brings us a rather different event for my personal favorite holiday, Halloween... webcam porn. I'm gonna leave it at that for you to check out, but i will tell you that it IS in Smith style and one other thing, i clinched!

All writers and directors added their own dark twist and flare on not only the holiday, but added a bit of folklore into some of them as well. Some pieces I obviously enjoyed more than others, as I'm sure you will as well. Some were moved along, some tended to drag, others honestly made me wonder just what the HELL did I just watch!?!

HOLIDAYSREVFEAT

I for one am a huge fan of anthologies, maybe because if one sucks, you know its not going to be much more than 10-15 minutes long, or maybe its because my brain can only comprehend for that amount of time. Regardless, i enjoy and welcome them.

Holidays is worth a watch and is currently on Netflix. Run time is about 1 hour and 45 minutes, and the film actually is not rated. But, no, this is not one for the kiddies!

I give Holidays a 6/10

 

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MOVIE REVIEW: The Girl in the Photographs (2015)

By John Roisland

The Girl in the Photographs. Fair use doctrine.

Some people say that art is murder and murder is art, and in this little movie I found on Netflix, it seems so. The Girl In the Photographs is a 2015 horror film that was directed by Nick Simon, who also brought us The Pyramid in 2014.

When Colleen (Claudia Lee from Kick Ass 2), a local girl in Small Town, USA is targeted to find murder pix posted in her grocery store where she works, she freaks a bit, and because there's no proof, local police just chalk it up as a prank with bad taste. It’s soon found out the a serial killer (Luke Baines) is on the loose. This killer dismantles his victims. poses their bodies to mock famous glamour model magazine shots, and then photographs the victims (hence the name...The Girl In the Photographs) to leave for Colleen. When the word of this does finally hit the Internet, Peter Hemmings (Kal Penn from Harold and Kumar), an LA hotshot photographer who once lived in this same small town immediately takes a road trip back home with a few models as well as his entourage and set up shop for a week to do a photo shoot with some of the local women.

His game plan, to taunt the killer by having Lee star as his local model for his shoot, goes south when the killer shows up unannounced at the final party before they all leave to head back to LA, taking Lee with them in promises of making her the new big model

I'm not going to give away any spoilers, what kind of ass hat would I be to do that? But what I will tell you about The Girl In the Photographs is this: I was pleasantly surprised, not only with this film in its entirety but with the ending was as well. It managed to surprise me some, so it wasn’t 100% predictable. I really enjoyed that! It's a slasher film a with brain that still delivered on a good amount of suspense and gore!

The Girl in the Photographs. Fair use doctrine.

I also very much enjoyed a surprise 2-3 minute scene that starred Katherine Isabelle, from Ginger Snaps and, of course, American Mary, that opened the film. Way to go, Netflix. It’s about damn time! So if your scrolling Netflix horror endlessly looking for something that catches your eye, give The Girl in the Photographs a shot. I think you'll surprised.

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MOVIE REVIEW: Hellions (2015)

By John Roisland

hellions-poster-01

So what do you do on 4th of July when its shitty weather out and even the local fireworks have been postponed? You watch a horror film! Today's choice from the never ending line-up of endless shit on Netflix is Hellions.

The basis of Hellions is that a young teen who just found out she's pregnant must survive Halloween night alone. Okay, doesn't sound too bad, kind of cliche (survive until morning), nevertheless, I'll give it a go.

From the get go, I felt that this one isn't going win any Oscars, yet something about Hellions just kind of dragged me in. Our young maiden Dora Vogel, played by Chloe Rose... (Wait. First off, I've got to say this: every damn time I heard someone say or start repeating her character's name in the film, all I could think about is that loud bitch DORA the EXPLORER.....FUCK!!!) Anyhow, Dora finds out she's knocked up, goes home, and waits and waits and waits for her boyfriend to pick her up for a Halloween party. 'Cause going out to a party is what you're supposed to do when you find out you're prego! Soon a knock on the door brings what appear to be children in, yes, kind of creepy costumes, screaming, "Trick or treat!" When their bags are opened to fill with candy, Dora's old man's head is in the bottom of one.

hellions-home-bg-1280x900

From this point on I'm expecting a typical but possibly cool Halloween home invasion flick. What I ended up with is a cross between Michael Doughetry's Trick r Treat and a heavily dosed acid version of Rob Zombie's The of Lords of Salem.... sorta.

From this point until about the last three minutes of the film, it's entirely shot in this soft pinkish-purple hue. And it's nauseating as hell! The film unfortunately fell flat where I personally think it could have been great!

To me a good Halloween-based film is always a good thing, and this one really had something different. There was no axe- or butcher knife-weilding escaped mental patient on the loose, slashing and hacking at teen girls - not that that is a bad thing - but this was somewhat original. Our little demons asking for candy were actually some kind of Halloween spirits that were there trying to take the unborn child to sacrifice.

The film was released in 2015, directed by Bruce McDonald who also brought us Pontypool (loved that one!) and co-stars Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgement Day) as a local police officer. (My guess is he owed for a favor and got stuck doing this role.)

Sorry guys, but this isn't one for the personal library.

3/10

Keep It Evil.

MOVIE REVIEW: Monsters (2010)

By John Roisland

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A few weeks ago I finally had a little time to myself, so I decided to watch a movie. As I scrolled through the entire horror section on Netflix (Which is, in my opinion, becoming worse and worse every month. I mean no disrespect, but the selection dwindles down to crap that even kids don't want to watch anymore.) I came across the 2010 movie called Monsters. The description sounded interesting and the screenshots that they provided kind of caught my eye. So I figured I'd give it a shot since it's something that I had not seen yet (and I hoped it wouldn't end up being a total shit sandwich).

The opening scene of the movie was in night vision. You see military personnel fighting a large monster, kind of a scene out of an old fifties sci-fi/horror film. I thought that was pretty cool. The monster itself looked like a giant squid or octopus on stilts and appeared to be about 50 feet tall, something a bit different. I liked that! However, as the movie goes on, the action/horror and the titular monsters themselves become less and less part of the film.

Monsters takes place in Mexico (gee, imagine that, aliens that are from Mexico, go figure), so the writer obviously had a huge sense of humor when first coming up with the idea from the film. The movie is actually well done, but the problem is that it is slow. Incredibly slow.

Monsters - map

The story revolves around a photographer who is on assignment in Mexico when he receives a phone call from his boss telling him that the boss' daughter just happens to be vacationing in that same area. The boss tasks the photographer with safely escorting her back through what is now considered the contamination/danger zone of Mexico and into the US.

Monsters - the wall

The two trek through the jungles (paying their way) guided by local guerrillas who are fighting these monsters as they try to get home safely. The two of them build a small relationship (of course) as the perils of their journey home bring them closer. The movie is very, very slow, but the ending was well done and actually kind of surprised me. If you are looking for an action-packed, scare-filled, or traight up monster movie, this is not it. If you are looking for a slow-moving adventure borderline romance movie then Monsters is the one for you. It gave you enough to keep you watching, but fell short on delivery ONLY because of lack of action.

The cinematography in the film actually has some great moments, and the acting was surprisingly good. Monsters stars Scoot McNairy and Whitney Able and was both written and directed by Gareth Edwards who also directed the 2014 Godzilla.

Keep It Evil.

FILM REVIEW: HE NEVER DIED (2015)

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By Nick Durham

Henry Rollins is one of my all time favorite people ever. The legendary punk vocalist and author is no stranger to the horror genre, having appeared in Feast and Wrong Turn 2 over the years, and now he has the starring role in He Never Died; a very unique film that definitely isn’t how it appears to be on the surface. Mixing elements of pitch black comedy and blood-curdling horror; He Never Died is something surprising and maybe even a little bit special too.

Rollins plays a guy named Jack: an antisocial misanthrope that does little other than sleep, watch TV, and frequent a local diner. The thing about Jack though is that this seemingly middle-aged man is a reclusive immortal, with an occasional taste for human flesh. Jack receives a visit from the teenage daughter (Jordan Todosey) he never knew he had, is gleefully unaware of the waitress (Kate Greenhouse) that has a crush on him, and eventually runs afoul of a crew of local gangsters. Naturally it doesn’t take long for shit to hit the fan, as you can probably imagine.

I have to say this right off the bat: Rollins is wonderful. He’s never really given much of a bad performance in anything I’ve seen him in, but here, good ‘ol Hank is something else. His deadpan delivery makes the comedic scenes laugh out loud funny. His revelations on his origins aren’t loaded with remorse or even emotion; they convey that this is a man with everlasting life that is just so damn tired of going on and on with no end in sight. If there’s no other reason to watch He Never Died, it’s Rollins’ performance.

As for the rest of the film, well, it’s definitely interesting and even somewhat original too. There’s a number of directions that writer/director Jason Krawczyk could have gone with the material, but instead of going full on tongue-in-cheek, he chooses to tell the film in a somewhat serious tone with various sprinkled moments of dark humor. I really can’t imagine the tone of this film being any different, because in all honesty, it wouldn’t have taken much for the whole thing to fly off the rails; great lead performance or not. Story wise, there’s still plenty of questions that don’t get resolved, with the rumor being that Krawczyk and Rollins will return with more adventures of Jack sometime in the future.

So yeah, you’re not going to see many films like He Never Died. It’s startlingly original and features a fantastic performance from Henry Rollins, which is reason enough to check it out. It may be an acquired taste for most however, so proceed with a little bit of caution. It’s currently streaming on Netflix, so now’s your chance to give this a look.

Rating: 3.5/5

FILM REVIEW: THE LAZARUS EFFECT (2015)

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By Nick Durham

Do you want to see some of the worst that mainstream horror has to offer? Look no further than The Lazarus Effect. A shit-stained retread of Flatliners that features a very talented cast all amounts to a total waste of 83 minutes of your life. Seriously, I can't shit on this movie enough, even if I tried. I could eat a full course meal from motherfucking Taco Bell and I still wouldn't have enough shit to spew towards amalgamation of awfulness.

Frank (Mark Duplass) and Zoe (Olivia Wilde) are an engaged couple that are working on a serum to bring the recently deceased back to life. Their assistants range from an annoying smoker (Evan Peters), a tech guy/shitty comic relief (Donald Glover), and camera girl (Sarah Bolger) that doesn't do much besides look hot. All five of these actors on their own are talented, but all five of them are phoning it in so hard in their performances as shitty stock characters that we literally don't give two shits about what happens to them. Ray Wise is here too in a blink and you'll miss him cameo, but in that literal minute and a half screen time he has, he gives the most memorable performance out of the whole fucking crew.

After bringing a dog back from the other side, bad things happen, and eventually Zoe finds herself among the recently deceased. Why not try this new miracle on her? She comes back, and one by one, everyone gets picked off. It's so damn predictable that you will be able to figure out who gets whacked when, and even with the attempt of giving Zoe some kind of character arc thanks to a traumatic experience in her childhood, nothing helps elevate The Lazarus Effect as anything more than being cheap, easily digestible, mainstream horror bullshit that deserves none of your time. Not to mention that even though the film is predictable, it's also flat-out boring and anything but scary. I caught this on Netflix recently out of sheer boredom, and I wish I'd spent my time doing something more constructive, like watch my cock get smaller.

So yeah, in case you can't tell, I didn't like The Lazarus Effect. Everyone involved in this deserves better, and goddammit, I deserve better for sitting through it. Fuck this movie. No wait, you know what? Don't fuck this movie and don't let your friends fuck this movie either; it's un-fuck-worthy.

Rating: 1/5

FILM REVIEW: MINE GAMES (2012)

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By Nick Durham

We’ll get to the badness of this movie in a bit, but there’s one thing I feel I need to address right off the bat, and it’s the confusion over the actual title of this piece of shit. First and foremost, I discovered Mine Games on Netflix, and noticed that it stars Briana Evigan (Sorority Row, The Devil’s Carnival, Paranormal Island).  Anyone who knows me well enough knows that one of the things I love more than horror is ogling Briana Evigan, so I was sold right away into pressing play. As soon as I did, the film’s title card appears, but doesn’t say Mine Games, and is instead titled The Evil Within. Imagine my confused state, for not only am I now watching something I didn’t select, but I may also not get to ogle Briana like I had intended.

As I feared that my penis would soon begin to weep along with my eyes for fear of seeing no Briana, I soon realized that I would be weeping internally as well, because no matter what this movie is called, it’s a piece of dogshit either way. Upon further examination, it turns out that this film was titled and re-titled a couple different times throughout a turbulent production period, and an even more turbulent post-production period as well. The story of all that itself is infinitely more entertaining than the actual film itself, but that’s a whole other story.

Anyway, the plot of Mine Games revolves around a group of friends that consist of stock type toolbags and airheads going on a nice, relaxing trip outdoors, and all eventually getting slaughtered. This involves a claustrophobic mine and looping timelines and multiple versions of the characters that doesn’t amount to a lick of fucking sense. This is made all the funnier because the film actually believes that it is being clever, and it isn’t at all; it’s just confusing and boring.  The characters are all stock types: jocks, annoying partyhounds (but one here has a British accent, so that makes him charming!), a hippie, a maybe psychic chick (with no explanation how), and the previously mentioned Briana Evigan plus Julianna Guill (who had a legendary sex scene in the 2009 Friday the 13th remake) absolutely both refuse to show much skin, which in turn helps make my penis sad in addition to the horror nut inside me.

So yeah, in case you can’t tell by now, Mine Games is a total stinker. Like I said before, it’s on Netflix right now, and if you’re a masochist, I’d say give it a look and hate yourself later. For the rest of us though, this piece of crud is better left not being seen…by anyone.

Rating: 1/5

FILM REVIEW: DJINN (2013)

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By Nick Durham

What the fuck happened to Tobe Hooper? That was my first thought when watching Djinn; the long delayed Arab/English horror film that has been sitting on the shelf since being originally filmed in 2011. But then throughout the course of watching the film, I remembered something: Tobe Hooper hasn’t been the same director that he was in decades.  Here’s the thing: Hooper will forever be a horror icon for crafting the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre, along with Poltergeist and Salem’s Lot. He’s helmed some super enjoyable films as well, including The Funhouse, Lifeforce, and Spontaneous Combustion; but over the past couple decades, he’s been a shell of his former self with his work. Djinn is not excluded from that sad, sad fact.

Djinn revolves around an Emirati couple who return home from America after the death of their infant child. Their glorious new high-rise apartment building though appears to be built upon a part of land that also houses some very, very malevolent spirits that have ties to the local culture. Soon enough our couple realizes that things aren’t all what they seem with their home, or with their new neighbors either. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that some very bad things are going to happen, and no one is coming out of this one hundred percent intact either.

Djinn actually features a ton of promise from its first shot onward. There are some genuinely creepy images and moments peppered throughout the film, but sweet fucking Christ does it ever plod along. Seriously, the pacing of this film is all over the fucking place. One minute things are moving at a brisk pace, the next minute they slow to a crawl. It feels like a decent amount of footage was left on the cutting room floor, which would explain the erratic pacing. Considering this film sat on the shelf for a few years (released in some parts of the world in 2013, and the rest over the following two years), this wouldn’t be much of a surprise.

The acting isn’t too bad (mostly), but despite the creepy moments that Djinn does offer, it doesn’t pack nearly enough scares, tension, or suspense. Back in the day, no one could do scares, tension, and suspense like Tobe fucking Hooper. Until you’d see his name in the credits, you would never know that he helmed this, that’s why it’s so hard to believe that this is the same guy that graced us with a handful of classic films decades prior.

So yeah, Djinn is a stinker, but in all honesty, I didn’t really expect it to be much else given Hooper’s previous few works. It’s available on Netflix right now, though I can’t say I really recommend it, no matter how bored you may be. What happened Tobe? Seriously, what the hell happened?

Rating: 2/5

FILM REVIEW: POD (2015)

pod-poster

By Nick Durham

Well, this is…something.

What happens when your crazy, war-vet brother claims he’s found something in the woods that is some sort of blood-hungry, otherworldly beast? Well, you go stage an intervention of course! That’s pretty much the basis of Pod; a super brisk (about 78 minutes long) dirge of a thriller that has a quite a surprising amount of positive things going for it for about half of its running time.  After that though…well, read on and find out.

From writer/director Mickey Keating, Pod tells the story of bickering brother Ed (Dean Cates) and sister Lyla (Jug Face‘s Lauren Ashley Carter) who unite to take a road trip up north in an effort to stage a possible intervention for their seemingly mentally ill brother Martin (Brian Morvant). When they arrive at Martin’s cabin, they learn his dog has been slaughtered, the windows and doors are secured and boarded and taped up, and there’s something in the basement that Martin keeps referring to as a pod that he claims is responsible for his behavior and the death of his dog…along with much, much more.

Fairly minimalistic in its presentation, Pod has a lot going for it. From the initial trip and tour of the dilapidated cabin to the first encounter between the siblings, this film manages build a shitload of wonderful tense moments. The camerawork, editing, and acting are all wonderfully impressive given the film’s almost barebones nature. That’s all pretty much the first half of the film though, as all the good things that are built up initially are betrayed as Pod stumbles towards its conclusion.

The major flaw of this film is that from the beginning sequence onward, we pretty much know that this monster exists and that Martin isn’t totally crazy. Pod could have benefited as being more of a psychological-based thriller if this wasn’t known right away. If instead the film kept playing with the viewer, making you wonder if this thing is real or if Martin is as much off his fucking rocker as it seems. Instead it degenerates into a creature feature, with a predictable hoot of an ending.  Oh, Larry fucking Fessenden is here too in a small, yet pivotal, role as someone whose presence never gets explained. I swear, I can’t fucking escape him.

That’s the other thing about Pod: nothing is ever really explained. We don’t know if the creature is some kind of mutant or a fucking alien or what. The film’s promotional material kind of makes the film look like an alien abduction-style affair (which is what I thought this was at first glance) but in reality it’s little more than a monster-in-the-woods affair. The little to no explanation of things about the film is something I actually kind of dig. There’s no cell phones present and the cars are old models, so we know this film takes place in the past, but we’re never sure exactly what decade. Little things like this kind of elevate the whole thing, at least to me that is.

All things considered, if you’re looking for a brisk and somewhat enjoyable thriller that actually does tension (mostly) right, Pod may be for you. It doesn’t wind up being as promising as its first half makes you think it might be, but it isn’t horrible either. It was just added on Netflix, so give it a look.

Rating: 3/5

MOCKINGBIRD (2014) FILM REVIEW

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By Nick Durham

What? Another micro-budgeted found footage movie from Blumhouse Productions that features actors you've actually seen once or twice before? Well, here we are. Mockingbird comes from writer/director Bryan Bertino, whom we haven't gotten anything from since his solid 2008 debut The Strangers. That film was a home invasion thriller that didn't offer much up in terms of the motivations of our assailants, where as Mockingbird...is more or less a quasi-home invasion thriller that offers no explanations of the motivations of our little-seen assailants. 

Bryan Bertino is a weird fucking guy.

Anyway, Mockingbird takes place in the magical year of 1995, where things like cell phones weren't widespread, people still had landline phones with easily cut wires, and finding a mysterious camcorder at your front door is the gift that keeps on giving (fun fact: 1995 was the year I discovered my infantile schlong was made for more than just peeing, which is why this year is so special to me). A handful of seemingly unconnected people all find mysterious camcorders at their doorsteps. This includes a husband and wife, a college student, and a mama's boy loser that ends up donning clown makeup. It doesn't take long to realize that there is some bad shit afoot, and it's more than likely that no one is coming out of this intact.

One thing I can definitely praise Mockingbird for is its opening scene. If that doesn't grab you by the throat, nothing will. Sadly though, the rest of the film is pretty much downhill from there, which is massively disappointing because that opening scene will kick you straight in the gut. The creepy moments that unfold drag on and kill a lot of the film's momentum. The suspense never really ramps back up except towards the film's climax, but by that point things become a tad predictable...except for the end reveal of the masterminds behind this whole thing. It is pretty well-acted though, but the setting of the film seems to only make sense so Bertino wouldn't have to worry about today's technology getting in the way of the film's leaps in logic.

So yeah, Mockingbird is a fairly predictable found footage dirge that has a lot of wasted potential. It's disappointing considering this film actually has a lot going for it, but it doesn't deliver on it at all. Still though, that opening scene man...holy shit. It's currently on Netflix, so check it out for that alone.

Rating: 2.5/5

 

ANIMAL (2014) FILM REVIEW

By Amy Mead 

Animal 2014 cover

ANIMAL

Directed by Brett Simmons 

Starring Joey Lauren Adams, Keke Palmer, Amaury Nolasco, Elizabeth Gillies, Thorsten Kaye and Jeremy Sumpter 

Animal starts off with a group of four people, two couples, running through the woods, fleeing from some unseen screaming creature. They are panicked, terrified and there is nowhere to go. A woman in the party trip and is quickly ravaged by the unseen beast.  The groundwork for something terrible has been laid.

Flash forward to a group of five close friends, Alissa, Jeff, Matt, Shawn and Mandy are head into the wilderness for a weekend of fun. Jeff and Alissa used to come here all the time as kids but it's been years since their last visit. They set out for a day hike and naturally they don't head back before sunset and quickly become lost. They stop to rest and Mandy spots the remains of something that has been slaughtered. There is blood, lots of it, and entrails and and bones strewn everywhere. Then they hear something  emit a blood curdling shriek and it's enough to make their hair stand on end and shake them to their very core.

In short order, they come face to face with the creature and are pursued by the flesh hungry beast and lose on of their party to the vicious beast.

Frantic, they gain entry to an isolated broken down cabin and discover another party already hiding there.  They are the same group from the beginning of the film, now a party of three that has been hiding for some time and have already lost one of their own.

The first group has been there long enough that they know a little bit about the creatures habits and what to expect from it, and together the two groups devise a plan to escape, which of course fails miserably. Can they make it out before they are torn limb from limb or will the creature get them all? Who will be left?

I love a good creature feature so I was eager to see this one. And although I found it more than mildly disappointing, Animal was still kind of fun to watch, strictly for the jump scares alone. It is loaded with them and you just  know they are coming, but they still get you anyway due to the sheer loudness that accompanies them. I was had more than once by the blaring sound effects. 

That being said, there isn't much else here, sadly.  The plot is painfully predictable, almost laughably so, and the ending can be seen coming a mile away if you are a seasoned horror fan such as myself. 

The characters all one dimensional, the acting leaves much to be desired and the dialogue made me want to punch most of them in the face. The mere thought of being trapped in this type of scenario with these whiny dumbasses alone made me want to kill them all and feed them to this damn thing myself. I really didn't care if any of them survived or not, even the pregnant one. 

The creature design also left a lot to be desired and overall Animal is a waste of a good creature feature. I wanted my hour and a half back. There are far more more constructive ways to waste your time such as, I don't know, sleeping perhaps?? Had it not been for the little bit of fun with the jump scares Animal would be a complete yawnfest. I have seen a few decent things come from Chiller Films, but unfortunately this isn't one of them. 

I give Animal  4/10 which might be just  a little too generous... 

FILM REVIEW: BOUND TO VENGEANCE

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By Nick Durham

Good old fashioned revenge flicks have made a bit of a comeback over the last couple years. One of which, 2013's Blue Ruin, probably being the best of the bunch (and by all means, you need to go check that out). In this little revenge flick renaissance, I've come upon Bound to Vengeance (thanks Netflix); a relatively brisk film about a captured young girl (Tina Ivlev) who turns the tables on her captor (Richard Tyson, aka the asshole villain from the Arnold Schwarzenegger classic Kindergarten Cop).

Bound to Vengeance begins with Eve (Ivlev) waking to find herself in the captivity of Phil (Tyson). It doesn't take long for her to free herself and turn the tables on our villain though, and it takes even less time for Eve to embark on a journey to find and rescue all the other girls that Phil seems to have captured and scattered all over the place. Of course things don't seem to work out well for anyone involved, and naturally, things aren't quite what they seem either. What? You thought this would be by the numbers and easy to follow? You've come to the wrong place then motherfucker.

That's the main problem with Bound to Vengeance: it tries too damn hard. First it tries to be somewhat subdued in terms of the extremes this kind of thing could offer...then it tries to get all twisty and even a tad noir-ish. It doesn't work as either sadly, and comes off as a more bloody and less overacted episode of Law & Order: SVU instead. The film also has a severe lack of atmosphere and for being a 79-minute long movie, it often drags along. At least the cast is good though. Tina Ivlev has a bright future ahead of her, and Richard Tyson is a typically wonderful scumfuck.

So yeah, Bound to Vengeance isn't anything special or remotely good. Still though, you can certainly do far, far worse in terms of revenge flicks. It's short and new to Netflix, so if anything I've described sounds interesting to you, give it a look. Then again, you'd be much better off checking out Blue Ruin instead.

Rating: 2/5