Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

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Like we always do about this time….let’s go!

1. We Are What We Are (2010): A nicely disturbing Mexican horror movie about a poor family of cannibals living in the modern-day.  While the gore is there, this is not a slasher flick that follows typical American studio formulas. No hot young teen actors to come save the day, etc. The movie focuses on the family members themselves, their disturbing heritage and belief system, their struggles to survive and stay hidden, and their apparent genetic predilection to stalk and hunt human prey.  I think we can all relate.  Not for the meek or those against immigration (Mexican cannibals! Ahhhh, build higher fences!).  And it really hammers home a moral we all could learn: Never eat a prostitute!

Prostitutes: they're NOT what's for dinner.

Prostitutes: they’re NOT what’s for dinner.

2. Dark Skies (2013): It was in theaters for a millisecond and then went off to the world of DVD and Netlflix.  You probably remember seeing the trailers on TV and that’s about it.  While not a financial bomb (it only cost $3.5 million), a $23 million haul isn’t considered a hit by most standards.  It’s been panned by many who did see it (which were few) but it deserves your attention.  It’s a solid flick about alien abduction that builds well, holds the suspense, and delivers the right amount of “jumps” to keep it fun and scary.  Its spin on alien abduction isn’t new, but it’s intelligently vague…vague to enough to keep it terrifying but not too sci-fi.  There have actually been very few good alien abduction movies over the decades…and this is really among the better made.

3. Salvage (2009): A seriously good British monster flick that works even though the monster in on-screen for maybe 60 seconds total.  The creature is just a plot tool, this movie is pure psychological horror done lo-fi…and right.  There is little rote or trope about this.  The acting is fantastic.  The action is messy but realistic.  It’s gritty and sad.  It’s desperate and suspenseful.  And there is sustained full-frontal nudity and sex, so…shit, what are you waiting for?

4. 6 Souls (Shelter, 2010) 2013: A box office disaster by any measure.  It’s release and re-lease under a different name was bungled to embarrassment, and virtually every critic who did see it treated it like the Trayvon Martin verdict (Oh YEAH, not too soon).  But this is actually a pretty solid, if not great movie (and I think it fucking is).  It weaves a tale of faith vs. science as a psychologist gets mixed up in a generations old serial killer legend.  A serial killer who steals souls and uses them as needed.  Or is he just a legitimate case of multiple-personality disorder?  Help us, Julian Moore!

"Ha...yeah, no.  I deny all knowledge of this movie now."

“Ha…yeah, no. I deny all knowledge of this movie now.”

5. Lunopolis (2009): THIS movie.  Jesus.  You will love it or hate it, but I really dug it.  In the found-footage format (stay with me), two documentary filmmakers stumble upon a time-traveling, moon-worshipping cult just in time to try to prevent a world-ending prophecy that may have all ready happened…a bunch of times.  That’s not even the weirdest shit.  It was done on the super cheap so the acting is serviceable and some dialogue is kinda forced, a few scenes were obviously shoe-horned into the story on-the-fly to move it along faster-complete with long-winded monologues that explain what they don’t have time to explain with the story..but…BUT….it’s pretty fucking cool.  You can find it on Netflix or maybe on DVD if you dig.  Probably find it online for free also.  Sci-fi, bitches.

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Continuing my selfless community service of educating the public on great horror flicks that were passed over for some reason or other….

Apollo 18 (2011): It made about 25 million with a budget of only 5 million, so it’s not technically a bomb…but who saw this?  You didn’t.  But you should.  It’s another found-footage horror film (OH MY GOD THERE AREN’T ENOUGH OF THOSE!), but before you roll your eyes, shut the fuck up and give it a shot.  It’s a well produced, well acted, tense thriller about what “really” happened to some ill-fated astronauts on the last, and never publicly reported, trip to the moon by the US.  Creepy as fuck, great use of the natural claustrophobia of the small ship and suits they are forced to wear and the bleak, unyielding blackness of the moon they are stranded on (took poetry in college for like a week).  Like working in a cubicle.

The Objective (2008): UFO’s in Afghanistan?  Who knew? Let’s send a CIA spook and a small military outfit to investigate.  Yeah, that’s gonna work out well. It’s no Zero Dark Thirty, but fine production, great acting and script.  It’s by the guy who did The Blair Witch…and he kind of gets his mojo back with this one.  Creepy and suspenseful, with enough questions left unanswered to keep it creepy. Fuck, like white people didn’t already have enough reasons to never go to Afghanistan.

The Awakening (2011): A tiny little British flop that deserves more of an audience.  Maybe a little derivative (The Others), but original enough with a twisty, nasty ending and some fading ambiguity to really piss you off.  Good shit.

Pontypool (2009): A tiny little Canadian film that plays so much fucking bigger.  Takes on the zombie/infection genre with a very original spin on what “infection” means.  The smartest attempt at apocalyptic horror I’ve seen on a tiny budget.

The Pact (2012): Jesus, why did this movie not get a bigger release?  Better than most of the horror movies I’ve seen in the past 2 or 3 years.  Expertly directed, suspenseful, scary as fuck.  Not ground breaking, but smart and tense.  Acting and dialogue is solid.   I’ve gotta follow this Nick McCarthy guy (director) around now….

The Crazies (Original 1973 release): The remake was pretty good and made good bucks at the box office.  The original never had a fucking shot.  Romero’s non-zombie take on infection horror is pretty dated and low-budget, but it’s pretty solid and has a ballsy anti-government/corporate hook on it for the times.  Don’t be a fucking snob and check it out.

There you go, I just filled up your weekend “to do” list.  You’re welcome.

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You know the drill by now: I dig (a little) to find some pretty decent horror flicks you either never heard of or never thought worth your time (and YOU’RE WRONG!).  Don’t argue, don’t doubt…just go find ’em and watch ’em. You’re welcome.

The Hoard (2009) – This little French zombie ditty (yes, it’s subtitled, get over it) is a really well done tale of the undead apocalypse from the eyes a small group.  Yeah, nothing original there.  But this group happens to be made up of two warring criminal families who happened to be in the middle of a bloody fucking shoot-out in a run down housing complex when the dead suddenly start to rise.  That’ll give ya’ perspective.  Surprisingly great acting and dialogue, gory as fuck, and an interesting study on loyalty and vengeance in the worst of circumstances.  And don’t worry, the french chick shaves her pits so it’s cool…

Scarier than zombies?

Scarier than zombies? Or just less hygenic?

Stake Land (2010) – Another tale of apocalypse survival (vampires this time) that actual takes it’s time to develop the characters it kills and gives you plenty of time to suck in the rotting, depressing environment in which it’s staged.  The frigid landscape is as much a character as the actors.  No one is safe and it really surprises with some gutsy (no pun) character kill-offs.  And any movie that has vampires being dropped from helicopters as undead viral bombs is worth the viewing.  Nothing happy here. You can probably find it on cable once in a while…it was in like five theaters for five minutes and made zilch.

Chernobyl Diaries (2012) – You probably remember the trailers for this on TV a little while back…but you didn’t go see it.  It only hauled in like 37 million, which actually is great considering its budget of 1 million, so technically it didn’t bomb. But do you know anyone who saw it?  Nothing ground breaking here, but still a solid, taut, suspense thriller shot on location, again, using the sparse and depressing landscape and architecture as a character.  Expect misery, pain, no happy endings, and lots of disfigured fucking mutants.  And a big russian bear (sadly, it does not ride a unicycle).

Which if unfortunate, because what's more terrifying than this?

Which is unfortunate, because what’s more terrifying than this?  I just shit myself.

Black Death (2010) – The Brits do the Dark Ages justice.  A tiny band of knights are charged to find out why some remote village has yet to be struck by the black plague.  Lucky?  Immunity? A cure? Witchcraft?   This movie is less about answers and climactic resolutions, but rather about the fear and weakness of man, and the tragedy of vengeance.  And there’s a fuck-ton of gory violence.  Four-way horse pull, anyone?  Who wants the torso?

The Tall Man (2012) – A box office dark hole but mostly because it was marketed terribly.  While it appears to be a horror movie (a slasher), it’s not…or rather it’s not the horror you expect.  It starts out as a decent, mysterious boogie man movie…then flips 180º and turns into a very dark social commentary.

 

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