Posts Tagged ‘horror

18
May
18

The Other Side of the Door, Doctor Strange

The Other Side of the Door
This 2016 horror movie tries to be the Indian version of The Grudge, but is too inept to be scary, and too stupid to be entertaining. Some white people living in India get in a car accident, and the mom’s son dies. A mystical Indian woman (this movie assumes all Indian people are mystical) tells the mom if she spreads the son’s ashes on a temple’s steps at night, she can speak to him one more time. The catch is that they have to talk from opposite sides of a door, and she can’t open the door no matter what. This being a horror movie, and the characters all being idiots, she obviously opens the door and lets her son’s evil spirit back to the land of the living. The son’s spirit terrorizes the family, but it’s mostly just stuff to startle the audience. The film’s low body count prevents the audience from feeling that there is any real threat to be found. The acting is dreadful, and there is a lot of scenery chewing and screaming over ridiculous things. The mystical Indian woman dies, but other mystical Indian men ultimately save the day. In a “twist” ending that is completely hilarious and eye-rolling at the same time, the mom dies, and her husband brings her back from the dead and opens the temple’s door, starting the whole thing over again. If the movie wasn’t so badly acted and directed it could have been decent, but it languished. Setting it in India could have given us an insight into a culture we rarely see in Western cinema, with a unique twist on the horror genre, but it’s all couched in generic mysticism, and the entire point of being set in India is lost. This movie is only good if you need to laugh.
Verdict: Shitty
Doctor Strange
Benedict Cumberbatch dropped his Sherlock Holmes role and donned a doctor’s white coat and a bad American accent for this 2016 film. As far as Marvel movies go, Doctor Strange wasn’t too bad. It is removed from the super-self serious tripe we got with Captain America, and the herky-jerky “everything and the kitchen sink” stuff from The Avengers. Unfortunately, it plays out like every Marvel origin story. Cumberbatch is an egotistical neurogsurgeon (has there ever been a movie doctor that wasn’t egotistical?) who loses the use of his fine motor skills, but replaces them with the ability to conjure magic. Yeah, sure, okay. The villain has the same powers as him, which is something we always see in Marvel origin stories. It’s completely predictable with nary a story-telling stray alley or twist to be found. On the positive side, the visual style is rather unique. The psychedelic magic made it rather a pleasure to watch. There were enough moments of levity sprinkled throughout to keep the movie bouncing forward without becoming a self-parody. Basically, it’s a generic Marvel movie wrapped up in a fresh visual style, and a lead actor who is fun enough, and doesn’t take himself too seriously. I didn’t find myself getting bored with this one, which is more than I can say for most of this studio’s output.
Verdict: Average
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30
Apr
18

Mom and Dad, The Witch

Mom and Dad

Mom and Dad is a weird film, and since it stars Nicolas Cage, that’s saying something. It tries to be a hybrid of genres, combining zombie and home-invasion styles to create something new and utterly terrifying. Except it isn’t terrifying in the least. And it isn’t interesting, funny, exciting, or well-acted. It’s a giant turd of a film, and when you watch it you can’t help but wonder how something like this ever got financed. The premise is a mind-control signal is broadcast on TV, and any parent who sees it wants to kill their children. They don’t want to kill other children, just their own. The parents act like fast-running zombies while they try to kill their children. However, the bulk of the film takes place in a house, with the kids trying to escape being killed by their parents. The movie is peppered with flashbacks which don’t work, and go on for far too long. The music is mostly heavy metal, which clashes with the 70s vibe they go for visually. The acting is atrocious, although Cage gives his usual 110% so he can’t really be faulted. It doesn’t offer any explanation for why this happened, any cure for the parents, or even an ending. It just stops mid-sentence, in fact. It’s a slog to get through as it offers little to grab onto, and no characters to identify with. I have read that this is a “black comedy” but there’s no fucking way that was the original intent. The film is utterly bereft of humor. I think the marketers slapped the “black comedy” label on it after it failed at being any other genre. Fuck this movie, what a waste of time.

Verdict: Shitty

The Witch

The Witch has been heralded as a modern horror masterpiece. Horror is a bit of a stretch, and masterpiece isn’t even a part of the equation. It’s a boring, turgid film that will test the patience of any seasoned film-goer. It takes place in colonial America, and an ultra-religious family is kicked out of town to go live in the countryside. While there, strange things begin to happen. Unfortunately, strange does not equate with interesting. Nothing interesting happens at all. The family just goes from scene to scene, fucking around, being boring, praying, and farming. A few times, when it seems like something interesting might happen, the film cuts away so you don’t see it. The filmmakers are so obsessed with building atmosphere, that they do it at the expense of things happening. It become excessively aggravating as you desperately want something, anything to happen, but the film refuses to attempt anything noteworthy. The culmination, with everyone dying, happens in the last five minutes or so. And then, the main actress goes off into the woods to become a bride of Satan. Apparently, the goat was supposed to be Satan or something, but whatever, who gives a shit? A movie this boring cannot be considered scary in the slightest. But as cure for insomnia? Certainly.

Verdict: Shitty

05
Nov
17

The Woman in Black

Horror is a tough genre to do well. It’s mired in cliché and cheese. Either it’s too gory, too dumb, or not scary. Modern horror films have relied too much on startling the audience instead of earning scares. An ever increasing reliance on CGI have made horror films tame. What’s scary about an obviously fake computer generated image? Nothing.

The Woman in Black is by no means a movie that shakes up the genre. It stays firmly planted in all the usual trappings of a standard haunted house film. What this film does well, however, is it generally avoids all the modern pitfalls like startles, stupidity, and CGI.

Continue reading ‘The Woman in Black’

10
Jul
16

Rubber

There are bad movies, and then there are BAD movies. Rubber, if you couldn’t guess by the title alone, falls in the latter category. It purports to be a satirical take on horror/slasher films. I suppose it is, but it isn’t a good satire, it’s a terrible one. Pretty much every decision they made was a bad one.

The film is about a sentient tire that rolls through the desert, and kills people by exploding their heads with psychic energy. That idea is amusing enough for a one-shot comic or an SNL sketch, not a feature-length film. That’s the problem right there. A punchline can’t be stretched to accommodate an entire movie.

The bulk of the movie is about a cop who investigates the murders, and slowly comes to realize that the tire is the one doing the killing. He and his colleagues attempt to take down the murderous tire. Now, if that had been it, the movie might have been watchable. But it didn’t stop there, it took things further down the rabbit hole of shittiness.

Continue reading ‘Rubber’

06
Mar
16

The Babadook, The November Man

The Babadook

The Babadook was supposed to change my life. It was supposed to be the greatest horror movie of the decade. It’s a low-budget Australian film from 2014, directed by nobody and starring a bunch of nobodies. Hey, that’s OK. Every director and actor was a nobody at some point. But you know what’s not OK? Making a shitty movie.

The Babadook (pronounced bah-bah-duck — a duck, how terrifying) is an amorphous black blob with a top hat that terrorizes a single mother. She has a really bratty, super-annoying kid that drives her crazy. All he does is talk about the Babadook from morning to night. That would drive me crazy, too.

Eventually, she starts to think the Babadook is real. She goes nuts and tries to kill her son. It’s supposed to be metaphorical, with the Babadook being a stand-in for a person doing something insane after they break under pressure. Oh, wait, it’s not? The Babadook was real? Oh, well, nevermind, this movie is completely stupid, then.

For a horror film, there are absolutely no scares at all. The movie chugs along at a languid pace, the characters all suck, and you’d rather have them die than survive. It’s a weak movie, and I wouldn’t bother with it if I were you.

Verdict: Shitty

The November Man

Pierce Brosnan’s return to espionage films was a rather lackluster affair. He plays a gritty spy this time, a clear retaliation against the sheer lunacy of his final Bond films. And I certainly didn’t mind watching Brosnan shoot guys in the chest in what turns out to be a surprisingly bloody film. Unfortunately, The November Man is woefully generic. It offers up nothing new for the genre, instead relying on age-old spy clichés, a boring soundtrack, a ton of boring character actors, and a plot that can barely move itself ahead. Brosnan scowls his way through the film, barely keeping it afloat.

Verdict: Shitty

 

26
Apr
13

I Saw the Devil and He Looked Like a Bitch

I saw the Devil’s pants.

I Saw the Devil is a movie that has a good premise, good acting, good directing, and good production values. Despite having so many good things going for it, it’s a piece of crap thanks to having a boneheaded script. No matter how wonderful everything in your movie may be, if your script sucks ass, your movie will suck ass.

The film takes place in South Korea, and the premise is that a serial killer’s latest victim was a young woman who happened to be the fiancée of a spy. The spy uses his training and advanced technology to hunt the killer. But he doesn’t just hunt him down and murder him. No, his revenge is to psychologically torment the killer, making his life a living Hell. Like I said, great premise. Sadly, the characters act like stupid dipshits, ruining the movie.

Continue reading ‘I Saw the Devil and He Looked Like a Bitch’

26
Oct
12

Lessons Learned from The Wicker Man (AKA Oh No, Not the Bees!)

A picture of Cage running with a blank stare on his face perfectly encapsulates this movie.

The 2006 instant classic The Wicker Man starring Nicolas Cage has quite a few valuable lessons to teach us. Here’s a list of the things I took away from this thought-provoking cinematic masterpiece.

1) You don’t need good acting when the dialog is this amazing – Seriously, the dialog is stellar. It’s so goddamn good, they could have filmed the pages of the script and it would have been just as exciting. For example, in the very first scene, a waitress asks how a customer is doing. He answers, “Sorry, my mind was wandering” to which she deftly replies, “If I ate one of those burgers, I’d totally be in a trance, too.” Hilarious! A few moments later, Cage’s cop character pulls someone over and he asks, “You know why I stopped you?” The driver says, “Yeah.” And – scene! Amazing! Are we sure this movie wasn’t directed by Hitchcock?

2) It’s best to be as literal as possible – Cage gets a letter from Willow stating her daughter Rowan has been missing for 2 weeks. He talks to another cop, we have no idea who he is, but presumably he’s Cage’s boss or something. He explains the letter and says he is going to the island of Summersisle to investigate. The friend asks, “Who is she? An ex-girlfriend?” Cage answers, “No, we were engaged.” That’s right. Not an ex-girlfriend, an ex-fiance. How can we expect to live in a functional society unless we are being as literal as possible? I, for one, applaud Cage for being completely specific. If we don’t abide by the rules, then we are living in anarchy.

3) Drinking is good for you – Cage drinks mead almost immediately after stepping onto the island. What we didn’t see were all the deleted scenes where he got hammered on mead. In fact, Cage was probably drunk on mead the entire time he was filming The Wicker Man. How else could he have turned in such an inspired performance? Substances must have helped him along the way. And to be completely honest, drunk on mead is the only way to watch The Wicker Man.

Continue reading ‘Lessons Learned from The Wicker Man (AKA Oh No, Not the Bees!)’




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