Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Grudge 3 (2009)

Did you even know there was a third Grudge movie? No? Same here! Well, I didn't expect much, and I didn't get much. While it did offer more gore than the two preceding movies, the acting was too rigid for toleration. Boo!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Isolation (2005)

Who knew cows could be so horrifying? Had I read the synopsis, I would have probably dismissed this movie on grounds that its premises seemed lame. Boy am I glad I don't read synopses! This movie had it all: direction, story, thrills, acting, suspense, and gritty, bloody fun.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Majesty (2009)

Something new for Horror Dose: a musical performance DVD. Since I was able to find The Black Dahlia Murder's new DVD release on Netflix, I figured I'd review it on Horror Dose. If you're familiar with this band, it makes since to post a review on a horror site.

First off, Shannon Lucas is out of control on drums! The DVD is not a Shannon Lucas DVD, so, unfortunately, it doesn't show his drumming the whole time. But everyone else is on point, too, so it works out. The live performances are phenomenal: brilliant audio and video quality, which is a must for a metal band like this. I haven't watched the music videos because I don't care about music videos.

The greatest part of this DVD release is the outtakes from the band. As if we needed any more reason to think that the guys from Black Dahlia are outrageous, we get a glimpse into their lives as they travel from gig to gig. There are moments in this footage that seriously cracked me up!

Great DVD for the Black Dahlia fan, but if you're a Lucas fan, you'll probably be a trifle disappointed. Oh well!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mum & Dad (2008)

A bizarre, twisted, grim British horror film that left me puzzled. I just can't figure out why, out of all the torture-plotted horror movies I've seen, this one was not enjoyable in any way. Seriously, there wasn't a moment in the movie where I found myself having a good time watching it, and that's what horror movies are for: allowing fans to have a good time with "horrific" situations. Perhaps this was the effect Steven Sheil, writer and director, aimed for. In any case, I can honestly say I wish I had chosen something else and left Mum & Dad unwatched. I'll take a Saw movie any day over this one

I'm not a filmmaker, so I can't even guess what kind of camera this was shot on--perhaps someone can answer that for me--but the video quality gave it a "realistic" look that helped emphasize dread. The video quality combined with the minimal, almost nonexistent musical score really brought the character's to the forefront of the film, which was a little different for a torture film. Traditionally it's all about the torture scenes, but this film does harp on the characters and their personal conflicts. After the first few scenes within Mum & Dad's house, the gore only seems to include body parts carried about in plastic bags, though there is one small little bit that caused both the heroine and me to gag.

Now that I think about it, this movie left me feeling the same way I felt after watching The Girl Next Door, though reading that book was a completely different experience than the below average movie. You sort of feel like an awful person for watching the movie, but at the same time you cannot help but stay glued to the screen in hopes of revenge, escape, something. But, like my experience with Jack Ketchum's terrifying story (based on a true story, mind), once that "something" occurred at the end of Mum & Dad I felt unmoved, still stuck in the grimness of the preceding 70 minutes.

My advice, watch Hostel, Saw, even The People Under The Stairs if you want a few visual gags, twisted characters, and a sadistic plot. Mum & Dad has all been done before, but not so poorly.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dream Cruise (2007)

The acting is rigid, and the plot is lame. This film exemplifies the reason so many people view horror movies as a waste of time. And to all J-Horror filmmakers: Please stop using multitudes of supernatural hair!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Family (2007)

Not so much a horror movie as it is a dark comedy. Well, truly it's just a comedy with creepy elements. George Wendt plays an excellent serial killer who suffers from delusions that we, the audience, get to enjoy! This film is filled with wit and twisted fun. It's definitely worth a watch, but don't expect anything close to MoH offerings such as Pelts, Imprint, or Cigarette Burns.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Inside (2007)

I think I've said it before, but I'll say it again: the French are creating a new wave of horror recently. In fact, critics are calling this wave New French Extremism, which is more than fitting for Inside. Having recently watched Martyrs, I wasn't sure if Inside would even affect me, but I quickly forgot about Martyrs and was sucked into a new hellish world. This movie took the pacing and brutality of High Tension and ramped it up a few notches higher.

It's amazing how effortlessly the French filmmakers are able to spend the first fifteen minutes or so laying down some exposition and then maintain intense action and pacing for the remaining seventy-five minutes or so. Typically when this structure is employed, the audience either grows numb to the gore or just plain tired of the heightened action sequences back-to-back, but, once again, Inside starts off with a creepy stalker standing outside and then pushes the envelope further and further until a repulsive climax that will leave you saying no! no! no! But it will also leave extreme horror movie buffs satisfied (you sickos!).

I'm trying to determine which movie was more disturbing: Inside or Martyrs ...

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Red Shoes (2005)

First and foremost, the "shoes" in this movie are NOT red; they're pink! Unless I'm color blind, these shoes characters consistently referred to as red were undeniably pink. I know, I know, it's a little thing to complain about. But is it? If you're going to make the title of a movie The Red Shoes, make sure said shoes are red.

The premise of the movie plays on the typical Asian horror revenge/envy plot. Can't these Asian people just move on and find peace and happiness? Well, if they did we wouldn't be able to sit back and enjoy these great human psyche thrillers! And hey, at least the catalyst was a pair of shoes and not a camera, modem, television, computer, or some other electronic device!

In typical K- and J-Horror fashion, we get a savory mix of pallid apparitions haunting long corridors, elevators, subways, and the trademark flickering light bulbs. I'm growing a little tired of these tactics, but there is one scene where the ghostly girl from the elevator walks right past the heroine that really gave me the creeps. Aside from that it's your typical, run-of-the-mill Asian horror. But, keep in mind, that doesn't mean the movie is bad. On the contrary, the typical, run-of-the-mill Asian horror film is generally better than most.

After seeing Pulse last night I wasn't sure if I'd even stay awake for The Red Shoes, but I found it much more enjoyable. It was shorter for one thing, which fits my A.D.D., and the structure was tighter. Whereas Pulse would give a thrill (and they were eerie), then a load of exposition, this film felt sure of itself from start to finish.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Pulse (2001)

Despite more than a handful of eerie thrills, Pulse seemed longer than two hours and reminded me that I've already seen too many J-Horror movies that revolve around technology. It's a shame, too, because there truly were some eerie moments that also reminded me how much I enjoy J-Horror.

I would only recommend this one if you are willing to be patient and really get into the theories Pulse attempts to describe--it does have a fairly deep plot with a satisfying ending. Unfortunately, you will most likely find yourself thinking of the grocery list, friends' upcoming birthday parties, work, school, food, a new CD, and so on during the movie.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Evil Dead (1981)

After seeing Drag Me To Hell last night, it seemed proper to go back and watch Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead tonight! If you haven't heard, this flick is a classic and highly celebrated among Raimi Fans. It was a treat to witness Raimi's signature "character abuse" in both Drag Me To Hell and The Evil Dead. Both feature characters' bodies being tossed about by spirits and a hearty serving of various fluids, substances, juices, as well as the famous yellow Oldsmobile.

If viewed for the first time nowadays, The Evil Dead will most likely seem an intentionally campy, comedic movie, but it's still a blast, and for its time it pulled off great stunts with sounds, effects, costumes, and camera angles. Sure, it has its flaws: Bruce Campbell gets trapped under a third of a flimsy bookshelf TWICE--apparently his arm was hooked around one of the (broken) shelves, thus making it virtually impossible to escape the few planks of wood. And I can't count the number of times it seems like Bruce Campbell, and others, behave as if having a friend-turned-demonic-zombie in the doorway or under a cellar door is no more than a perfunctory, everyday occurrence.

The best part about this movie is the ending--you know, the part where we watch as the zombies are taken asunder? It seemed like the film crew took whatever goop was leftover and emptied it all in the final zombie deconstruction scene. Keeping with the Raimi-esque "character abuse," Bruce Campbell's face is repeatedly painted with the different goop!

The Evil Dead is a cult horror classic from '81 that is still entertaining and "so Raimi" even today. Rent it, buy it, download it (shame on you!), or catch it on Netflix instant viewing like I did.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Now I remember why I stopped going to the movies: the plague of tweens that use the two hours away from their parents to chat with friends, send texts, and, every now and then, take a look at what's happening on screen; and--surely this is the worst--the guy who uses the opportunity to practice his stand-up comedy. This is the guy who swears everyone in the audience hangs on his every word and cannot wait for his next comment. To make matters even worse, my experience last night was complete with a guy who burped during a silence-before-musical-sting. Upon drawing laughter from the two tween chicks nearby, he continued to burp whenever possible, despite the fact that the first time was the only time the chicks laughed at him. Seems young guys are still doomed to use obnoxious behavior as flirtation.

Do I sound bitter? Well, it's probably because I'm at this strange age where I'm too old and too young to say anything to the tweens. If I say something, it will be translated as "be even more obnoxious" and I'll be the weird young/old guy who is so not cool.

Okay, now that that's out of the way, I can move on with the movie review. Once again, I purposefully abstained from the trailers, but that didn't stop me from overhearing others at work talking about them. I still haven't seen the trailer, but apparently it portrays the movie to be pure horror. Not true! Thankfully, I quickly skimmed over a few other reviews and found that it is what I thought beforehand: campy, jumpy, clever...well, Sam Raimi! And it was a blast! One of the most entertaining movies I've seen in a long time. It's employs the most quick-scares I've ever seen in a single movie, while maintaining a fun level of camp, all of which leave the viewer satisfied. But for this reason, I smite the trailer for it's false expectations. Then again, I smite all trailers. I hate them.

The trailer versus the actual movie resulted in such audible comments as "that was retarded." It was both amusing and a little sad to see/hear audience feedback as the movie rolled on. Of those who were actually paying attention to the movie, I could tell they were there to see a terrifying horror film. Unfortunately, they were entangled in an emotional mix of severe disappointment and confusion. Confusion because they couldn't figure out whether it was supposed to be funny (i.e. campy) or not. My only guess is that the decent acting (unusual for campy horror movies) and the great use of audio and visual threw them off. Unlike the traditional comedic horror movie, Sam Raimi had some money to spend!

For those of us who understand what this is supposed to be, Drag Me To Hell is a blast! Raimi takes a simple Gypsy curse plot and has fun with it. I even jumped two or three times. There are more than a handful of quick-scares, as I said. At every turn, something is appearing without warning, and when "it" does appear, the audio effects are loud, raucous, tumultuous! I swear The Palladium cinema cranked the volume on this movie beyond the usual level!

If you're like me, you're tired of the recent run of Hollywood remakes (and originals?) that aim to be the scariest horror flick yet--this just isn't happening here in America lately, sorry. Finally, the Raimis have embraced this fact and produced something we can enjoy again. Let Korea, Japan, France (the French are on it lately!), etc. handle the movies that actually do deliver creepy, harrowing horror films.

The last thing I want to mention about this one is the placement of iMacs and an iPhone around Justin Long. Love it!