Archive for the Horror Review Category

Red State (2011)

Posted in Horror Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2012 by Pass the Popcorn!

Director: Kevin Smith

Writer: Kevin Smith

Tagline: Fear God

Plot: Set in Middle America, a group of teens receive an online invitation for sex, though they soon encounter fundamentalists with a much more sinister agenda.

Cast: Michael Parks – Abin Cooper

Melissa Leo – Sara

John Goodman – Joseph Keenan

Kyle Gallner – Jarod

Michael Angarano – Travis

Review:

Red State is one of those movies that might just have worked if it had been directed by some anonymous indie director and not by a well established Hollywood director like Kevin Smith. Kevin Smith became popular in the 90’s with movies like Clerks, Dogma & Chasing Amy  but in the 00’s he really went downhill (especially after releasing Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) with pretty average movies like Jersey Girl, Clerks II & Zack and Miri Make a Porno (I didn’t see Cop Out because it received really bad reviews), and lately Red State which is, arguably, the last nail in the coffin of his career. Although Kevin didn’t release a really good movie in about 10 years I still think that his less successfull movies have interesting scripts which were well written. Unfortunately, I can’t say that about Red State. First of all, we’ve already seen Kevin deal with topics like religion and extreme violence in Dogma, so what was the point in making a clearly inferior movie with such similiarities to the cult classic? And second of all, the dialogue in Red State was just awful – and Kevin Smith is the guy who wrote some of the most memorable lines in 90’s cinema!

Honestly, when I started watching Red State I knew it wasn’t going to be the next Chasing Amy or something like that but I at least expected a fairly entertaining fun; instead I got this boring mixture of weak acting (except for Michael Parks who plays the pastor Abin Cooper, and maybe John Goodman in some scenes, although his real potential is overlooked), bland characters and pointless action scenes. The movie starts off as a psychological thriller with some survival horror influences only to turn into an action shoot out in the second act. And by time the audience is just following a one group of undeveloped characters trying to kill the other group of undeveloped characters, I find that to be horrendously boring. Despite the fact the first part of the movie was nothing new nor original I would have rather watched another wannabe torture porn movie than to be forced to watch this strange genre changing direction the movie has taken. The third, and the final, act of the movie was, I think, supposed to be some social commentary and possible criticism against the USA goverment (?), which could have been good if it had been following the movie’s pacing. Because of that, John Goodman’s final lines seem to come out of nowhere and noone can possibly take them seriously.

I don’t know why Kevin Smith decided to change the movie’s plot so violently and rapidly after the first act but it definitely seems forced, especially when you consider the fact that Red State’s duration is less than 90 minutes (and considering that no valid plot points happen in the first 20 minutes!). The direction of the movie is also not remarkable, in spite of some decent camera angles. It is really disappointing to see Kevin Smith go this low.

My Raing: 3/10… One of the most anticipated movies of the year (because I’m a really big 90’s Kevin Smith fan) turned to be one of the worst movies of the year. Forgetable characters, boring actors, and worst of all, a really bad script ruined it for me.

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A Serbian Film aka Srpski Film (2010)

Posted in Horror Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2011 by Pass the Popcorn!

Director: Srdjan Spasojevic

Writers: Aleksandar Radivojevic

Srdjan Spasojevic

Plot: An aging porn star agrees to participate in an “art film” in order to make a clean break from the business, only to discover that he has been drafted into making a pedophilia and necrophilia themed snuff film.

Cast: Srdjan Todorovic – Milos

Sergej Trifunovic – Vukmir

Jelena Gavrilovic – Marija

Katarina Zutic – Lejla

Slobodan Bestic – Marko

Review – not my average reviewing style:

Today I decided to review one of the most controversial movies of the 2010 – ‘A Serbian Film’. I’ve seen ‘A Serbian Film’ several months ago and the reason why I didn’t simply write the review back then was that I just wanted to forget everything related to this movie – not because it is shocking but because it is rather bad. However, ‘A Serbian Film’ gained quite a cult local following (especially here in Croatia) so I think the time has come for me to say something about it. ‘A Serbian Film’ is about a porn star, Milos, who ends up starring in a snuff film directed by a total psychopath, Vukmir. And…that’s it – that’s the whole plot – the rest of the movie is just filled with random shocking and violent scenes that are supposed to be controversial.

Nevertheless, the writers of ‘A Serbian Film” said that behind all those controversial scenes there is social commentary.  I just don’t see it. If the writer and director, Srdjan Spasojevic, wanted to put some social commentary in his movie, why couldn’t he do it in an intelligent way? I don’t find ruthless violence “deep” nor “intelligent” – anyone (AND I MEAN ANYONE) can make a “shocking” movie – just put some rape scenes in it, torture scenes, babies dying, etc.  But not everyone can make an intelligent movie with actual social commentary. Furthermore, selling your average stupid and dull torture porn movie as an intelligent movie with social commentary is just a cheap marketing gimmick. Congratulations, Srdjan Spasojevic, you managed to fool people your movie has some depth. Yeah right. Raping newborn babies and killing women while having sex isn’t social commentary, you dumbass! Those scenes may stand out as controversial to the average viewer, which is ok if you want to shock the viewers but if you want to make them to actually use their brain and think you DON’T  show them mindless violence – you show them something intelligent. Look for an example at ‘A Clockwork Orange’ – at first it shocks its viewers but later gives political and social statements about how no one may control a person’s life. Was it your goal to achieve something like that? If it was, guess what, you FAIL.

Despite ‘A Serbian Film’ being so RETARDED, it does have some good aspects. The acting is better than average (highlight of the movie: Sergej Trifunovic as the porn director, Vukmir), the soundtrack is also nice and well incorporated (done by Sky Wikluh), moreover, the directing isn’t bad at all (considering it is Srdjan Spasojevic’s first), and of course the special effects done by Miroslav Lakobrija (who also did the special effects for Zone of the Dead) are great . To summarize, ‘A Serbian Film’ could have been a very good movie – it had all the resources – famous Serbian actors, a decent budget, great special effects etc. But all of this is ruined by the sheer simplicity of the plot and the “unnecessary” violent scenes.

My Rating: My subjective rating would be 3/10 or even 2/10 … but my objective rating is 5/10

Sorry about the different writing style of this review, I’m just sick with all the retards in RL who are trying to convience me that ‘A Serbian Film’ is a great movie. The fact that ‘A Serbian Film’ managed to find its place in the local pop culture makes me sick. All in all, this movie pisses me off – just a simple waste of time.

Dead Silence (2007)

Posted in Horror Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2010 by Pass the Popcorn!

Director: James Wan

Writers: Leigh Whannell

James Wan

Tagline: You scream. You die.

Plot: A widower returns to his hometown to search for answers to his wife’s murder, which may be linked to the ghost of a murdered ventriloquist.

Cast: Ryan Kwanten – Jamie Ashen

Amber Valletta – Ella Ashen

Donnie Wahlberg – Det. Lipton

Michael Fairman – Henry Walker

Joan Heney – Marion Walker

Review:

Well, I’m back after a few month pause so now I can (finally) continue writing reviews. Today I’m going to review Dead Silence, directed by James Wan, who also directed the first Saw movie. According to these two movies, it seems James Wan likes to incorporate dolls in his work of art. Many people are naturally afraid of dolls so they could find this movie to be genuinely scary. Besides dolls, Dead Silence also features ghosts and few nice kills. Although all of this sounds promising, Dead Silence is just your another average popcorn horror flick – which is a huge disappointment…

So anyways, this guy, Jamie Ashen, finds a mysterious package in front of his doorstep which contains a ventriloquist doll named Billy. Jamie leaves Billy with his wife Lisa, while he goes out to buy some dinner. Unfortunately for Lisa, she gets brutally killed and Jamie is taken to the police as a prime suspect – but he suspects the doll did the morbid deed. Very early in the movie, we can see a standard horror “jump scare” scene followed by great effects of a victim’s deformed face. From this point of the movie (and to the very end) my thoughts were pretty mixed up. On one hand the atmosphere wasn’t bed at all although the color that dominated through out the whole movie was “dark blue” (another irritating cliche in modern horror movies – they have to be dark blue). And on the other hand all the characters seemed pretty undeveloped, wooden and sometimes even annoying. Furthermore, as the movie progresses on, we are being introduced with more and more, often stupid and silly, informations and elements of the plot. It’s like the scriptwriters could not focus on a single plot, but had to bring up something new every now and then. In conclusion, all of this collides into one huge ending filled with all of this random shit (I couldn’t find a more proper word to describe it). The thing that saves Dead Silence from a total disaster is a very interesting twist that happens in the very last minute of the movie. But despite being great, the twist makes the whole movie seem pretty much pointless and it may leave you somewhat unsatisfied.

But, of course, if you are new to the horror genre or just a sucker for horror movies with dolls and ghost you’ll be more than satisfied with Dead Silence. However, outside those boundaries, Dead Silence offers nothing new and is just another slightly predictable, shallow and simple modern horror movie filled with uninteresting and cliched characters. Therefore, I think it’s better to avoid watching Dead Silence and watch something else instead.

My Rating: 5/10… A very strange combination of dolls and ghosts. I assume this is the kind of movie you either love or hate. Me? I didn’t like it all.

Top 15 Zombie Movies pt. 1

Posted in Horror Review, Top 15 Zombie Movies with tags , , , , , , , on June 24, 2010 by Pass the Popcorn!

I decided to quite the Debut Week event and start something else. I hope you don’t mind.

For today I’m going to make the first part of my list of Top 15 Zombie Movies ever(as you may know, I’m a big zombie fan ^^).

Some movies have the same grade but I still find some of them to be slightly better than others, the numerical order is important.

Anyways let’s go:

15. The Living Dead At Manchester Morgue (1974)

A very interesting Spanish/Italian zombie movie from the early 70s that approaches zombies in a slightly different way. I’d say it has more drama than horror elements but never the less it deserves to be on this list. The movie also has a very depressive end which is surely one of the best endings I’ve seen in my years of watching zombie movies. So if you haven’t seen this movie already, go for it! Just don’t expect to see your classic masses of zombies.

My Rating: 7/10

14. Zombie aka Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979)

Ahh, good old classic made by Lucio Fulci with loads of gore and memorable scenes (like the one where a zombie wrestles a shark – what more to say?).  This is surely one of the most recognizable zombie movies ever made. Although it has lots of plot holes and stupid parts, this movie offers a very creepy atmosphere and awesome zombie make ups A very fun movie to watch!

My Rating: 7/10



13. La Horde (2009)

French zombies! I must admit when I heard the French were making a zombie movie I didn’t know what to expect of it, I thought it would be average. I was wrong. The atmosphere and action sequences in this movie are simply breathtaking. It is a very fun movie to watch, especially because the characters are in very interesting relationships with each other. The zombie make up and the soundtrack are also awesome.  Great movie.

My Rating: 8/10

12. Dead Set (2008)

I know this isn’t a zombie mini series rather than a zombie movie but it definitely deserves to be on this list due to the fact it’s highly innovative. It perfectly combines the concept of Big Brother with loads of zombies. The sole idea is a very interesting one and the result is more than good. I’ve already written about this series before so you can check my full review here. As I said before, it truly is a breath of fresh air in the zombie genre. Be sure to watch it if you haven’t already.

My Rating: 8/10

11. Pontypool (2008)

Pontypool is simply a very beautiful movie. It has a perfect and special atmosphere which I can’t describe so easily based on very effective script writing and directing. Even the idea behind it is awesome by itself. The movie is set in a radio station where a group of people are stuck in the middle of a zombie outbreak. The actors did an astonishing job. You should definitely check this movie out. Oh yeah, the “zombies” in this one are more similar to the Infected from the 28 days later series than to classic zombies. I know that doesn’t make Pontypool a real zombie movie but it would be waste to not include it in this list.

My Rating: 8/10

That’s all for now. Pt 2 and 3 coming soon. : )





L’uccello dalle piume di cristallo (1970)

Posted in Debut Week, Horror Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2010 by Pass the Popcorn!

Director: Dario Argento

Writers: Dario Argento

Fredric Brown

Tagline: A stunning portrait in psycho-terror!

Plot: A writer is stalked by a serial killer after witnessing a murder attempt on one woman’s life.

Cast: Tony Musante – Sam Dalmas

Suzy Kendall – Julia

Enrico Maria Salerno – Inspector Morosini

Eva Renzi – Monica Ranieri

Umberto Raho – Alberto Ranieri

Review:

L’uccelo dalle piume di cristallo (or The Bird with the Crystal Plummage as it’s translated in English) is the directing debut of one of the most interesting Horror directors, Dario Argento. It is also the first part of his “animal trilogy” (the other 2 movies are Il Gatto a Nove Code (1971) – The Cat o’ Nine Tails and 4 Mosche di Velluto Grigio (1971) – The Four Velvet Flies). Even very early in his carrier Argento showed a natural talent for directing horror movies so The Bird with the Crystal Plumage didn’t disappoint me at all.

The movie’s plot is a simple “Argentian” story. It is about a man who witnesses a murder attempt and now is being stalked by a serial killer. Actually, many elements you see during this movie are also present in Argento’s later masterpiece, Profondo Rosso. In both movies the protagonist is an artist, who is from (or has been to) America, who witnessed a murder/murder attempt and is trying to recall clues from his memory, in both movies there is a serial killer involved in the whole story and most important of all, the twist at the end of both movies is very similar. So if you watched any of those two first, you could find the second one to be a little “predictable”. But don’t let that back you off! Both Profondo Rosso and The Bird with the Crystal Plumage are very amusing experiences you should check out furthermore if you haven’t already.

So besides some elements I have seen before, Argento’s directing debut offers much more. First of all, it has a very decent and slightly depressive atmosphere which was accomplished by nice luminance and amazing camera angles. Some of the best camera angles from the movie were the killer’s point of view (one of Argento’s trademarks) and the point of view of a man falling down the building (which was accomplished by actually throwing the camera down the building :] ).What I particularly liked in The Bird with the Crystal Plumage was some intelligent humor now and then, a nice bonus to the movie’s overall feeling. The kills were also done very well, especially the first murder attempt which was the highlight of the movie. The interesting soundtrack, composed by Ennio Morricone, is worth mentioning too. It excellently fits the 70s Italian horror atmosphere.

Argento put in his first movie many interesting but, unfortunately, undeveloped characters played by amateur actors. Because of this I think the movie could have been even better, if it wasn’t Dario’s directing debut and if he had a bigger budget, due to the fact it had a big potential. So the bad acting and character development might be The Bird with the Crystal Plummage’s biggest flaws. Yeah, I also have to mention some parts of the movie seemed a little unnecessary and pointless (like when our protagonist is being chased by a man with the yellow jacket who is trying to kill him) but that’s not that huge of a deal. The Bird with the Crystal Plumage is far from being a classic but it surely is above average. You should give it a watch if you are interested in horror/thriller movies and especially Dario Argento.

My Rating: 7/10… Argento’s directing debut turned out to be a very good experience.

The Last House on the Left (1972)

Posted in Debut Week, Horror Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2010 by Pass the Popcorn!

Director: Wes Craven

Writer: Wes Craven

Ulla Isaksson

Tagline: To avoid fainting, keep repeating “It’s only a movie…It’s only a movie…”

Plot: A pair of teenage girls are headed to a rock concert for one’s birthday. While trying to score marijuana in the city, the girls are kidnapped by a gang of psychotic convicts.

Cast: Sandra Peabody – Mari Collingwood

Lucy Grantham – Phyllis Stone

David Hess – Krug Stillo

Fred J. Lincoln – Fred ‘Weasel’ Podowski

Jeramie Rain – Sadie

Review:

The Debut Week continues and the next movie to be reviewed is Wes Craven’s directing debut, The Last House on the Left. When this movie was released it spawned a lot of controversy because of its brutal and often explicit scenes. Furthermore, Last House on the Left easily gained a cult status over the years due to the fact it literally spawned many more movies with similar thematics. Even today a great number of people consider it to be a genre breaking classic. Despite all the fame that surrounds this movie, I found it to be barely watchable.

The main problem is that Wes Craven made a very simple and naive story with no real character development or whatsoever. The characters are very much one dimensional with stupidly predictable dialogues. Actually, the whole script writing seems a little awkward. Some parts of the movie were really overdone and overreacted like when the bad guys are talking about popular serial killers (I mean, come on…like that is a character development – it was just ridiculous) while the other parts  seemed so naive and childish – for an example;  the scene where those 2 girls meet the bad guys who torture them afterwards. So you may conclude that The Last House on the Left is a very bipolar movie with parts which are either overdone or naive. So this kind of scriptwriting, directing and editing makes the movie very hard (and boring) to watch. Unfortunately, that’s not all of it. In the middle of movie Craven put a “comedy” scene, with 2 cops and a truck full of chickens, which was just awful and painful. I think that could may be the worst scene from any movie I’ve seen lately. Furthermore, the soundtrack is just ridiculous, it’s like it was stolen from a Looney Toons cartoon. I am also disappointed with the acting, I think it could have been at least slightly better because most of it consisted of pure overreacting which was pointless.

The only positive thing about Last House on the Left was the impact it had on horror movie industry. Wes Craven dared to make a step further in filmmaking while adding all those often controversial scenes. Visually, the movie could be considered a several years ahead of its time so I give kudos to Craven for that. I was very surprised to see some scenes in the movie but, unfortunately, they couldn’t change my overall opinion. In conclusion, The Last House on the Left is all about weak scriptwriting, poor directing and editing, awful acting and soundtrack, some nice scenes and a huge “hype” surrounding it. Craven definitely had better days in his carrier.

My Rating: 3/10… Don’t have high hopes for this movie because if you do, you could find yourself to be very disappointed.

Btw, many people say that the remake is much better than the original. That says a lot about Wes Craven’s directing debut.

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Posted in Debut Week, Horror Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2010 by Pass the Popcorn!

Director: George A. Romero

Writers: John A. Russo

George A. Romero

Tagline: Pits the dead against the living in a struggle for survival!

Plot: A group of people hide from bloodthirsty zombies in a farmhouse.

Cast: Duane Jones – Ben

Judith O’Dea – Barbra

Karl Hardman – Harry

Marilyn Eastman – Helen

Keith Wayne – Tom

Review:

Now that I am back, after being away for some time, we can finally start with our Debut Week. We start this event with Night of the Living Dead, the directing debut of THE granddaddy of zombie movies, George Andrew Romero. As you may or not know, this was the first movie that turned zombies into flesh eating, slow moving masses as we know them today. Because of this (and many more things) Night of the Living Dead easily became a cult movie in the horror genre over the years. As for myself, I would dare to say this is my favourite movie made by Romero and one of my favourite black and white movies.

Night of the Living Dead was also released in color although I haven’t seen that version yet but, honestly, I don’t think that I will. The black and white colors simply fit the movie’s atmosphere perfectly and I don’t see why change something like that. Besides the tingling and depressive black and white atmosphere based mainly on emotions like helplessness and frustration, the movie offers a simple but effective script writing. The plot resolves around a group of strangers stuck in a farmhouse which is being attacked by zombies (like we haven’t seen that before) but this time is different, it is actually well written. The characters are developed enough (and what I particularly liked is that neither one character is entirely good or entirely bad; all of them have their flaws and virtues which gives the movie a whole new “realistic” dimension – even our main hero, Ben, is capable of hitting a woman and shooting another man) and the dialogues are strong and believable. The movie is also full with strange social commentary, mainly on the topic of racism but according to imdb (and the filmmakers) that was never intended. The social commentary that I have seen was that the human race is its own worst enemy, as seen in many scenes.

Even over 40 years later, Night of the Living Dead still doesn’t fail to scare, disturb or shock its viewers. It is full of parts that jut won’t leave you disinterested or apathetic. Even the movie’s ending is extremely shocking but I won’t spoil it out in case you haven’t seen it yet. The zombie make up is also very good for it’s time and the movie offers one of the most memorable zombies ever, The Cemetery Zombie. And all of this is followed by a surprisingly good soundtrack. Actually, the only flaw in this movie could be the acting which is far from perfect but still more than watchable. All in all, Night of the Living Dead, Romero’s directing debut, is an extremely good, classic and most of all genre breaking horror movie which I highly recommend to everyone.

My Rating: 10/10… An instant favourite and classic! Romero had a pretty strong start in his carrier with this movie.

Btw, this is my 50th review! Thank you all for reading me out regulary! More reviews are coming soon. : )