Greystone Park (a.k.a. The Asylum Tapes)
CONS: Terrible terrible terrible acting, awful special effects, disjointed plot, overly shaky camerawork (even for a found footage film), it isn’t even enjoyably bad.
PROS: Congratulations to the location scout. (it was really hard to find a pro)
CONS: Filled with bad dialogue, repetitive score, scene where an oscilloscope is attached to a corpse.
PROS: Impressive special effects.
CONS: The worst acting I have ever seen jfc, one character was an obvious rip-off of Baby from House of 1000 Corpses, not in the least bit scary.
PROS: It ended.
Resident Evil: Retribution
CONS: Dreadful acting, minimal plot, overuse of product placement, terrible CGI (especially the blood).
PROS: Michelle Rodriguez is in it.
Review | Would You Rather
Released October 14th 2012 | ★★★★
Would You Rather was a pleasant surprise for me. Since it’s a film that I’d heard absolutely nothing about until just a few days ago, when I was browsing Jeffrey Combs’ IMDb page, I didn’t expect much. I never really do with limited released films and yet it always turns out they’re gems.
The film’s main character, played by Brittany Snow, is Iris who is struggling to find a job and is in desperate need of money to help her dying brother. She is given the opportunity to take part in a “game” along with seven other down-on-their-luck individuals. The winner of this game will be taken care of in any way they need. Nothing suspicious about that, right?
Erm… well yes. She soon finds out she’s part of a deadly game of Would You Rather, hence the title, all run by the sadistic son-of-a-bitch Shepherd Lambrick, played by Jeffrey Combs in a way that literally steals the entire show.
Would You Rather doesn’t throw the violence at you every few minutes, in fact, the film plays with your mind, letting the majority of the violence take place off-screen and allowing your mind to fill in the blanks. It’s not at all what I expected, judging from the official poster, but I wasn’t even disappointed a little. More of a thriller than a horror, but don’t let that stop you hunting it down, Would You Rather is a sick and thoroughly entertaining thrill-ride with some very excellent performances, Sasha Grey notwithstanding.
Review | Grave Encounters 2
Released October 2nd 2012 | ★★½
This review contains a few minor spoilers.
After enjoying the first movie so much, I was really looking forward to Grave Encounters 2… and after half an hour of watching it, I was still looking forward to watching Grave Encounters 2. It just takes FOREVER to get started! A few film students are planning to go to the building that the original movie was filmed in. That’s all the set-up you need, not half an hour of drinking, smoking and other such shit.
The special effects are still terrible but it still doesn’t matter. What matters is that the story is weird and seems like it should be from a different movie altogether. GE2 plays out much like the first film when they first get into the building, but things just get weirder and weirder as it goes on. Especially when Lance the crazy fucking caveman shows up and starts summoning floating cameras and shit. And what was with the ending? I was so let down by this sequel, I feel like I need to go watch the first one again.
Review | The Last Broadcast
Released October 23rd 1998 | ★
The Last Broadcast was filmed at almost the same time as the similar The Blair Witch Project, the only problem is that this film fails to create any of the eerie atmosphere present in Blair Witch, in fact it fails to do anything but bore.
The film is presented in a documentary style, claiming that the events are not fictitious and that all the footage in the film is genuine. You could almost believe this claim at first since there isn’t a single recognisable person appearing in this film. The “documentary” is comprised from footage filmed by the crew of a cable TV show Fact or Fiction and subsequently becomes evidence in the murder of three out of the four crew members. Really, it sounds more interesting than it actually is. The film really isn’t linear by any means and actually makes very little sense in parts. If the filmmakers were attempting to create the illusion that the documentary is about an actual case, at least they could have made it seem a bit more realistic. One piece of footage shows someone on the internet, before the existence of wireless internet, whilst camping three miles away from a main road.
Don’t even get me started on the last ten minutes, which effectively undoes any claims that the documentary is about real events.
Review | Insidious
Released April 29th 2011 | ★★
In James Wan’s latest horror project Insidious, Josh and Renai, along with their three children move into a new house and begin to experience bizarre and unexplainable events. When their son Dalton falls into a mysterious coma, the circumstances only worsen and the family is forced to call in a paranormal investigator.
Insidious has a fantastic first half, there’s no denying. The tension is built at a gradual pace, never revealing too much and always leaving you wondering exactly what is happening to this family and what could be responsible. The story follows a fairly simple haunted house style plot with a few added touches. In fact, the first half really sets the rest of the film up to be a very good, original horror movie. Unfortunately, the second half suffers from very rapid and sometimes illogical plot twists and turns. The cause of the bizarre events is revealed and is subsequently overexposed for the remainder. The mystery the first half held is completely gone and what follows is a mish-mash of different spirits and demons until the twist ending.
It had potential and despite being very well acted, especially by Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne and Lin Shaye, Insidious is let down by its messy second half.
Review | House II: The Second Story
Released May 15th 1987 | ★
The Second Story, sequel to the 1986 horror House stars Arye Gross as Jesse, who moves into a new house and encounters the reanimated corpse of his great great grandfather along with other mystical creatures such as some kind of caterpillar-dog combination.
This second entry in the franchise is related to the first hilariously bad movie by name only. It’s not even set in the same house! The somewhat formulaic plot consists of the main character’s quest to retrieve a crystal skull that is repeatedly stolen from their house throughout the duration of the film. This mystical skull is what the reanimated corpse of his great great grandfather needs to stay standing. While the first film is downright ridiculous and hilarious, either intentionally or not, this sequel is just awful. With the exception of the slightly amusing electrician/adventurer played by John Ratzenberger there is just nothing to laugh at here that was made to be intentionally funny.
If you want a good laugh, watch the original House. If you want to be checking your watch an hour in, watch this one. I’m still on the fence about watching the last two in the series.
Review | Phantasm
Released March 28th 1979 | ★
A young boy and his brother attempt to solve the mystery of the strange “Tall Man” and his strange collection of shiny silver death balls in Don Coscarelli’s 1979 horror Phantasm. Being a cult classic, I was expecting more, or at least a movie that made a bit more sense. Frankly, I cannot for the life of me work out how this is regarded as a classic horror.
The acting is incredibly wooden and the film is littered with continuity errors along with completely ridiculous and illogical occurrences such as the use of a screwdriver to lock someone in a room. One scene that does stand out, however, is the scene where a man is killed by a floating silver sphere which proceeds to drill into his forehead and let out an insanely long stream of blood, none of it appearing to land on any areas of the floor in the vicinity. Impressive.
Perhaps viewing this for the first time almost thirty-two years after its release just doesn’t allow me to appreciate or experience the necessary atmosphere needed to appreciate this film. Or perhaps this movie is just downright awful.