Two urban couples head to the countryside for some downtime; however, they’re quickly introduced to the other side of ‘roughing it’ in the wilderness when the men’s ATV excursion makes a collision course straight for hell, where the locals aren’t keen to strangers. After a standoff with a couple of ill-tempered hillbillies, the residents of Resurrection County go from hostile to downright murderous, out to avenge the death of one of their own.
It’s your run-of-the-mill redneck torture flick – city folks wander off into no man’s land for some fresh air, only to end up being stalked (sometimes devoured, but not in this case) by a group of inbred loonies who possess the strength of Hercules and the Hulk combined. Lo and behold, the actors and actresses, a bunch of no-names, do a pretty damn decent job. The make-up department and special effects crew deserve a round of applause for creating very realistic blood and gore on a limited budget.
It falters midway through, courtesy of some slow-moving and unnecessary scenes that should have ended up on the cutting room floor, as well as succumbing to the stereo-typical errors that characters in horror movies make. There is a shotgun scene in the beginning that will satisfy sadists but, while gory throughout, there really isn’t much on-screen torture or anything that qualifies as extreme, not to veteran horror fans anyway.
Although predictable, it’s still intense with genuine performances, but lacks anything fresh or remarkable.
I didn’t have the opportunity to watch this in 3D or IMAX. Such a shame because I’ve heard that it was a visual treat, even from the harshest critics of the exhausted gimmick. Having been a long time follower of the series, I was pumped to finally see what was supposed to be the franchise’s revival, with an ending that had Final Destination fans abuzz. Although the conclusion’s twist (if it can accurately be called that) wasn’t entirely clever or unpredictable, it did satifsy.
The fifth installment doesn’t disappoint in the inventive kills department and I was especially appreciative of the build up leading up to each death. It takes a certain skill to evoke a sense of dread, stomach full of butterflies, without any blood or gore. I wasn’t as responsive to the comedy attempts but, folks, this is a Final Destination flick, what matters is the exit, not the wit.
*May contain SPOILERS ahead!*
I’m usually respectful about not including spoilers in my reviews but…
What in the hell is up with the ‘new’ rules of cheating death when this is supposed to be a prequel? This was completely unnecessary, particularly when those rules don’t have anything to do with any of its successors and the number one rule, you can’t cheat death, no matter how hard you try (just ask Clear – oh, wait, you can’t… she’s dead!).
Mary (Rachelle Lefevre) moves in to an apartment complex in Puerto Rico to escape her abusive ex who is none too happy about the divorce or the restraining order placed against him. Soon after, she’s plagued by a barrage of phone calls from someone who identifies herself only as Rose. Slowly, their casual conversations veer toward an ominous direction, and one by one, people around her start dying or disappearing after she tries to cut off contact with the deranged caller.
If you have the patience to wait out the first 20 minutes, The Caller is a decent, straightforward mystery and suspense type thriller with reasonable acting and the welcomed absence of any CGI. Most of the scenes are shot at night or in Mary’s dimly lit apartment, adding to the overall gloomy and grim tone. The movie is meant to inject you with fear, not with a quick jab to the jugular but, via a slow and steady stream. The borrowed time alteration theme from Frequency has its pitfalls – don’t over-analyze and you won’t be bothered by the plot holes.
A refreshingly unpretentious flick that relies on old school horror techniques (no gore or guts, no obtrusive soundtrack, no deafening sound effects) but, sadly, easily forgettable.
Formulaic B-movie horror flick about a group of 20-somethings that venture into the Australian wilderness with their anthropologist friend, Dace (played the very buff and very sexy Wil Traval), to study an ancient cave painting. It’s paced well and it’s not too long into the movie that Chad’s free-spirited girlfriend, Mel, begins a horrific transformation into a frenzied predator that stalks them one by one.
For the gorehounds, there are rocks bashing heads in, teeth falling out, flesh ripping, cannibalism, and much more. Veteran horror fans, it’s nothing you haven’t witnessed before. The film borders on cheesy but, I have to be honest, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie until the last 20 minutes or so, when the special effects department decided to throw in some hokey CGI and a bizarre attempted impregnation scene between Anja and a seven foot cave-dwelling slug.
Primal isn’t so much scary as it is intense. There are quite a few white knuckle moments, as well as a couple of holy shit, what the hell was that scenes that will stun and amuse you. It’s almost devoid of gratuitous nudity since Mel’s transformation from cute blond chick to ravenous killer with three inch fangs happens fairly quickly (sorry, men).
Definitely not recommended to the squeamish type or the casual viewer. If you liked movies like Cabin Fever and The Ruins, you may get a kick out of this return to Ozploitation from writer/director, Josh Reed.
Amusement is one that I’ve had on my list for quite some time, mostly because of the scary ass clown on the cover. Like 99.9% of the cover art done for modern day movies, it’s greatly misleading. There is one semi-intense scene that will provoke your coulrophobia and it was only included, I suspect, as an excuse to create an enticing DVD spread for horror fans.
Starting off with the plot, this movie doesn’t have one, at least not a coherent one or one that makes an iota of sense. The film is a mish mash of discombobulated scenarios consisting of a maniac stalking three young women because they they didn’t find his mutilated-rat-in-a-box particularly funny or entertaining a decade earlier. Talk about holding a grudge. A dumb one.
Visually, the movie works. I mean, really works. So does the acting, surprisingly. All of the violence is done off-camera. This isn’t a slasher, torture porn (although, with different direction, it could have easily ventured into that territory), or even a mystery/suspense. It was originally slated for theatrical release until the distributor sent it packing straight-to-video after viewing it and it’s no brainteaser why. Despite above-par acting and some pretty kick ass locations and sets, Amusement is dragged down by a muddled script, zero scares, and a cookie-cutter villain. It’s not even so bad, it’s funny.
In 1960s Oregon, Kristen (Amber Heard) is sent to North Bend Psychiatric Hospital after burning a farmhouse down to the ground. Confused and weary, she is soon introduced to Doctor Stringer (Jared Harris) and the ward’s staff, Nurse Stringer and Roy, a no-nonsense orderly, as well as some barbaric methods used back in the day to cure mental illness, namely electro-shock therapy.
Kristen starts seeing a ghost of a woman named Alice. Not surprisingly, no one believes her, except for the other patients who seem to know more than they let on. One by one, girls start disappearing and as the ghostly visits become increasingly violent, Kristen hatches an escape plan with two of her closest friends at the ward, Zoey (Laura-Leigh) and Emily (Mamie Gummer). However, Alice is unwilling to let them go without one last confrontation.
John Carpenter, whose credits include many of the greatest horror movies ever crafted, returns with this much anticipated mystery & suspense/horror flick. It pains me to say it but what a letdown. The Ward, chock full of pretty actresses, is a psychological thriller with a spiteful spirit element to it but a shoddy script and numerous plot holes makes its 86 minute running time seem like an eternity. Although there are a few spine-tingling and blood-letting moments here and there, it’s difficult to move past the familiar clichés of a horror movie taking place in an insane asylum.
On a positive note, all of the actors and actresses really embraced their characters. I was particularly fond of Laura-Leigh as childlike Zoey and Danielle Panabaker as prim and proper Sarah. Mamie Gummer, whom I had no idea is Meryl Streep’s daughter, is impeccable as Iris and the supporting cast, D.R. Anderson as the no-nonsense orderly, Ray, and Susanna Burney as Nurse Lundt, are equally as good.
Has John Carpenter been consorting with M. Night Shyamalan? The twist at the ending is hardly inventive and has actually been done quite a few times already. It’s not quite a cop-out but it’s underwhelming, to say the least, especially as a follow-up to such a climactic series of events. Had this been made three decades earlier, The Ward would have worked perfectly as a The Outer Limits or The New Twilight Zone episode.
Love and Other Drugs is based on Jamie Reidy’s Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman, a book about his years at Pfizer during the pharmaceutical company’s Golden Age. Jamie (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a womanizing, smart-mouthed slacker who gets fired from his job at an electronics store after he’s caught in the act with the boss’s girlfriend. He lands a gig as a sales rep for the big pharma giant and, true to his ways that have never failed him before, uses his charm and good looks to get an ‘in’ with Dr. Stan Knight (Hank Azaria). He convinces Stan to let him observe his appointments and take notes, under the guise of a medical intern. This is when he meets Maggie (Anne Hathaway), a sharp-tongued, free-spirited artist who also suffers from early onset Parkinson’s disease.
They form a kind of friends with benefits relationship that serves them well in the beginning. Maggie doesn’t want to get too close to anyone for fear of becoming a burden and Jamie is focused on scoring a big promotion to Chicago. As their casual sex arrangement transforms into a more emotional connection, Jamie must come to terms with her Parkinson’s long-term in order to open himself up fully to love but it’s Maggie alone who finally accepts her illness. As he struggles with his own demons, he must also indulge the whims of his younger brother, Josh (Josh Gad), who’s moved in with him, constantly find new ways to one-up a rival pharmaceutical rep (Gabriel Macht), and pimp out hot females to Stan in order to stay his numero uno.
I am a fan of Ms. Hathaway. Her personality and smile light up a room, she’s a versatile and talented actress, and she seems like a down-to-earth individual. But I don’t think she was right for this role. I didn’t get the artsy-fartsy vibe from her. Sporting beanie hats and bohemian clothing doesn’t make a person an artist. Ordinarily, nudity doesn’t bother me but seeing her naked all of the damn time became tiresome. To be fair, I was sick of seeing Jake Gyllenhaal’s butt, as well. Jamie’s transformation from insensitive jackass to adoring boyfriend is hardly believable amid steamy pajama parties and threesomes and flesh-peddling for doctors. Nice, melodramatic “I’m head over heels in love with you” speech at the end but, by that time, I didn’t care.
I think I would have liked Love and Other Drugs more if it hadn’t come off so schizophrenic and desperate for attention. It was trying to be too many things for too many viewers – weepy romance, light-hearted comedy, social and corporate commentary, soft core porno, Pfizer documentary… therapist. If they had concentrated their efforts on two, even one, less sub-plot, it would have made a noticeable difference. There’s no doubt that this is the film to watch if you’re hungry for healthy doses of Hathaway’s rack (which is beautiful, by the way – full and all-natural) or Gyllenhaal’s ass (also decent) but as a rom-com, it lacks depth and the laughs.
Mel (Peyton List) and her best friend, Jules (Cameron Goodman), return to Los Angeles from their trip to Mexico. At the airport, they’re hit on by Seth (James Snyder) who is with his buddy, Matt (Dave Power). They board a shuttle after the driver (Tony Curran) offers to transport them for half the normal cost. When they end up on a deserted road away from town, the driver tells them he has brought them there to avoid a traffic jam. Cue dramatic music when Matt’s fingers are completely severed as he changes the bus’s flat tire and the situation goes from bad to worse – much worse.
There is a twist at the ending that was spoiled for me after I read, what I thought to be, a harmless thread at the IMDb message boards. I still would have figured it out and that’s not me being cocky. Most avid movie watchers will guess correctly too, especially since the subject matter was popular around the time this movie was made. There are numerous clues throughout the film but this is more of a drama/thriller than it is mystery and suspense. In a way, depending on how you perceive the cover art, you may assume this is torture porn. It’s not. There are a couple of minutes of nudity and it is not gratuitous. There is violence and bloodshed but nothing the average person can’t handle.
The characters are constantly doing (or not doing) things that are frustrating, to the point I almost punched the screen, right where their faces were. It was maddening. I’ve seen a lot of low-budget horror films and the characters are always making irrational decisions but Shuttle elevates illogical to a nearly epic level. Despite snags in the tale’s weave, the actors and actresses give decent, authentic performances. I’m both pleased and bitter about the realistic, totally depressing, hard slap-in-the-face ending. The Mist’s or Mary and Max’s conclusions? Pfffft, baby food compared to Shuttle’s and the latter does it with the visual alone, without a moody musical accompaniment.
Sarah (Jaime King, My Bloody Valentine), her husband, Jason, and their six year old son, Sammy, go to Vancouver for Jason’s Uncle Raymond’s funeral. During their stay at Aunt Mei’s house, Sammy starts seeing ghosts. He ends up in a coma at the hospital after nosing around the basement of Uncle Raymond’s warehouse. Soon, Sarah sees them, too.
Desperate for answers, she visits a local pharmacist who shows her a sketch of the spirit with Sammy – her skeletal hand reaching for his exposed heart – that he drew a year ago. He tells her the spirit has imprisoned her son’s soul and Sarah has until dawn on the last day of Ghost Month to find out what the spirit’s motives are or Sammy will be lost forever.
The R rating has me baffled. There are some disturbing images but not near as gory as The Grudge and that’s rated PG-13. There is no sex or nudity, not even a side boob. I don’t even recall a single swear word. This is more mystery & suspense than it is horror, in my opinion. The scares are good but the acting is terrible. Pei-pei Cheng as Aunt Mei and the adorable Henry O as Sammy are very believable but King is a whiny mess and Chen doesn’t understand the use of facial expressions.
If mine is the first review you’ve read of They Wait, then let me advise you not to watch the trailer if you want an awesome scare in the beginning of the film!
Marnie (Famke Janssen) returns home for three years of house arrest after serving jail time for murdering her abusive husband, Mike. Shanks, the cop assigned to keep an eye on her happens to be her dead husband’s partner. He’s less than enthusiastic about her release and harasses Marnie every chance he gets. Add to that a sister who is bitter about their mother sacrificing her energy and finances to pay for Marnie’s defense lawyers.
Ostracized and lonely, unable to leave the confines of the house, she spends her days cleaning, reading, and eventually befriending a neighbor boy, Joey (Ed Westwick, Gossip Girl), who delivers her groceries. He’s the only one who will speak to her or even acknowledge her presence.
Enter the weird CGI ghost of Mike – half Michael Myers and half knock-off Japanese horror creation. He terrorizes Marnie subtly at first but as the film progresses he becomes Hercules, knocking her down stairs, throwing her against walls, giving her numerous bruises, and attempting to shred her hand to pieces. Desperate to rid herself of Mike’s spirit, she removes all of his clothes and other belongings but it doesn’t work. Will Mike ever leave her alone?
This is a genuinely scary movie at times. The camera angles, the creaking floorboards, and long silences create a lot of tension. For the gore hounds, there is an impressive fight scene between Mike and one of Marnie’s visitors. What works so well in the first half of the movie is ignored completely in the last half. The implied turns into an obnoxious, visual assault. It’s like the ghost of Mike is training for some underworld UFC and he’s using Marnie as an unwilling sparring partner.
Watch this if you’re a die-hard horror fan. Otherwise, skip it and go see Insidious or rent The Others.