Archive for Horror

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. 3

Posted in Top 15 Zombie Movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2010 by Pass the Popcorn!

Here is the third and final part of my list of top 15 zombie movies ever.

5. Planet Terror (2007)

In this movie the main female character (played by Rose McGowan) has a machine gun instead of her leg. Need more reasons to watch Planet Terror? : ) Anyways, this is a fantastic movie directed by Robert Rodriguez in which we have a “military” bio-weapon experiment gone wrong that turns people into zombie-like creatures. Planet Terror offers more than pure fun, it clearly is a masterpiece that will easily be appreciated by both horror and non horror fans.

My Rating: 9/10


4. Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Many people consider this to be one of the best zombie movies ever made, I couldn’t agree more. In his second zombie movie, Romero decided to put a group of survivors in a mall overrun by the living dead. That was a very effective idea due to the fact that both scriptwriting and directing in Dawn of the Dead are perfect. In the second part of the movie a biker group (lead by Tom Savini !) breaks into the mall and then all hell breaks loose. Dawn of the Dead is a really great movie!

My Rating : 10/10


3. Night of the Living Dead

It seems George A. Romero made another movie which deserves to be in the top 5 best Zombie Movies ever (and which I find even slightly better than Dawn of the Dead). His directing debut, Night of the Living Dead was a genre breaking movie at its time (and still is) and the first movie that featured zombies as flesh eating masses as we know them today. Needless to say that the movie was very controversial when it came out. Anyways, my full review about this movie can be read here.

My Rating: 10/10

2. Dawn of the Dead (2004)

The remake of  the ’78 classic left me completely astonished. I didn’t expect it to be such a good remake.. a remake that is even better than the original. The remake had much more action and even some comedy elements while the horror elements (and the interesting atmosphere)were left “untouched”. It was a perfect fusion of many different genres. I’d even dare to say that the characters from the remake are much more interesting than the ones from the original. All in all, best remake ever and second best zombie movie ever.

My Rating: 10/10


1. Braindead aka Dead Alive (1992)

And we finally came to my best zombie movie ever which is Peter Jackson’s Braindead! Braindead is one sick, gory, funny, silly, wonderful experience which may even be one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. The movie follows a likeable man named Lionel Cosgrove whose mother gets bitten by a “rat monkey” and turns into a zombie. Now he has to deal with her and all other zombies that she made. In conclusion, this movie is absolutely perfect. If you are interested, you can read my full review here.

My Rating: 10/10

That would be all from my top 15 Zombie Movies ever list.

Still there are many more very good zombie movies who, unfortunately, haven’t made it to the list but are definitely worth mentioning:

Return of the Living Dead serial (1985, 1988, 1993, 2005, 2005) – the first one is awesome, can’t say that about the rest though

Fulci’s other zombie movies like The Beyond (1981) and City of the Living Dead (1980) – stupid, gory, funny

Fido (2006) – A very original modern zombie movie, check it out!

Day of the Dead (1985) – The worst one from the original “of the Dead” trilogy but still good

That’s all I can think of right now. More reviews coming soon. Cya till then!

Top 15 Zombie Movies pt. 2

Posted in Top 15 Zombie Movies with tags , , , , , , , on June 25, 2010 by Pass the Popcorn!

This is the second part of my list of top 15 zombie movies ever.  : )

10. Re-Animator (1985)

Based on a short story written by H.P. Lovecraft, Re-Animator is surely one of the most recognizable movies ever made. Like many other zombie movies, it also has some comedy elements in it that make it even better. Re-animator also spawned 2 sequels, which I, unfortunately, haven’t seen yet but I heard they are good. I will give them a try soon but I fear they won’t manage to create the atmosphere (and originality) that was in the first part. Oh yeah, I nearly forgot to mention that it has a really interesting soundtrack. All in all, Re-Animator is a classic.

My Rating: 8/10


9. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

A movie like Shaun of the Dead needs no special introduction. Every comedy/horror fan should be familiar with it. It is surely one of the best modern movies from both genres. Because of its perfect combination of intelligent humor, awesome performances made by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost and, well,  zombies, Shaun of the Dead soon became a cult movie which can be found in every “Top Zombie Movies” list. Definitely a movie to check out furthermore. Btw “Ever felt like you were surrounded by zombies?”  : )

My Rating: 8/10

8. Dead Snow aka Død snø (2009)

I’ve already wrote a review of this movie, you can read it here. Briefly, Dead Snow is a fantastic Norwegian Horror/Comedy with nazi zombies! It was one of the best movies of its year and, as you can see, has a very high ranking in my list. It is a very enjoyable gory experience that has many references to other cult horror movies like The Evil Dead. A movie that really deserves more attention because it is fun, fun, fun! By the way, many people took this movie way too serious so they found themselves to be disappointed by it. Don’t make the same mistake.

My Rating: 9/10

7. Zombieland (2009)

Zombieland was also one of the best movies of its year, along with Dead Snow. It is an extremly fun roadtrip movie with zombies, which offers very likeable, developed characters and many funny scenes. Despite the fact that Zombieland was slightly predictable from time to time, it still was a perfect movie to watch. I’d even dare to say that it was genre breaking in its own special way. Honestly, I can’t wait to watch the sequel, which should be finished next year.

My Rating: 9/10

6. Cemetery Man aka Dellamorte Dellamore (1994)

What can I say about this masterpiece? It is much more than your average Horror/Comedy. Dellamorte Dellamore even has a wonderful romantic story, beautiful storytelling and characters. It is an astonishing experience that made a huge impact on me. The main actor in it is Rupert Everett, most notable for being an inspiration for Dylan Dog’s character. This movie is perfect in many different ways. If there are still horror/non horror fans that haven’t seen it yet, do it now, you won’t be disappointed.

My Rating: 9/10

That’s all for now. Pt. 3 of my list coming tomorrow and then will you see my top 5 zombie movies ever.

*Edit*: Now that I think about it, I kinda prefer Shaun of the Dead over Re-Animator so I changed their places.

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. : )