Monday, October 20, 2014

Film Review: [Rec] 3: Genesis (2012)

[Rec 3]: Genesis (Review)
Spain/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray (eOne Films)
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!*

"...a very fun and entertaining zombie film by its own standards."

Koldo (Diego Martin) and Clara (Leticia Dolera) celebrate their wedding with their very large and extensive family. All is well until an uncle takes a bite out of his wife...

Rec 3: Genesis begins with the series' signature found-footage style. The introduction features some nice and subtle buildup and character introductions as Adrian, Koldo's cousin, records the event. It also works well in connecting this film with the first two in the series. Eventually, Hell breaks loose in a great sequence, and the found-footage is dropped and replaced with traditional shooting. The rest of the story follows Koldo and Clara, who are separated in the chaos, as they try to reunite. It's fairly simple, but enjoyable. The ending is great – I enjoyed it, definitely something most people won't be accustomed to, though.

Rec 3: Genesis is the most polarizing film in this series – and understandably so. First and foremost, the bulk of this film is traditionally shot – it's no longer found-footage. Some people might like this, some people might hate it. I loved the found-footage in the first two films, and I'm only slightly disappointed that it was replaced in this installment. Even more polarizing, though, is the drastic change in mood. The first film is a terrifying horror film; the second film is an exciting horror-action movie; this film is a blend of horror, comedy, and romance. And, in this case, I didn't find any of it particularly frightening – the only reason this is considered a horror film is because of the blood and gore, and zombies.

However, I did think Rec 3: Genesis was exciting, funny, and occasionally clever. First, the action and gore reminded me of video games like Dead Rising – a lot melee weapons, like a sword or a mace – or, my personal favorite, a chainsaw. I like this, it's a fun and exciting change for the series. Aside from some exciting zombie action, the film also has some chilling moments. Next, the film features some very lively and humorous characters. For example, Spongebob oops, I mean John Sponge, the completely original character who doesn't infringe on any copyright. *wink wink* The black humor works very well with the rest of the film, and it is occasionally self-aware. (I loved the jab at found-footage.)

The acting is good. It's a little melodramatic at times, but it works well with the overall mood of the film. Leading man and lady Diego Martin and Leticia Dolera are great, though. The film is shot very well, both in found-footage and traditional styles; I especially enjoy the cinematography and the setting, I loved seeing the setting change over time. The music fits well with the film; it creates some tension and it creates some cheesy but humorous moments. The makeup is great, too, some of the gore is superb. This film is helmed by Paco Plaza alone, removing Jaume Balaguero for this entry. Plaza does well in creating a fun mood, but there is a notable lack of actual horror and suspense – I definitely had fun, but it has a some shortcomings.

Overall, Rec 3: Genesis is a very good film. I know many fans will be disappointed by the many differences and departures this film features, but I enjoyed it. It's definitely different from the first two films, and it's nowhere near as scary or suspeneful, but it's a very fun and entertaining zombie film by its own standards. I would honestly be lying if I said I didn't have fun. So, if you're open-minded about films, especially films you know are polarizing beforehand, I think you'll enjoy this one.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, some partial nudity.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Film Review: [Rec] 2 (2009)

[Rec] 2 (Review)
Spain/2009
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray (eOne Films)
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!*

"...a fantastic action-horror movie."

Immediately after the events of the first film, a Special Operations team with helmet-mounted cameras enter the quarantined apartment with a doctor from the Ministry of Health...

So, obviously you should watch the first film before watching – this is not a standalone sequel. The story follows a very distinguishable 3-act plot. It begins with the team and the doctor entering the building to investigate and complete their mission – which is to extract a vial of blood from the source of the infection. The second act follows a the father of a tenant, a firefighter, and a group of teenagers who sneak into the building – each with their own intentions. Finally, the ending pieces together the mystery with some interesting revelations and characters. I like the final act and the ending of the film – it's definitely different, but I like the originality.

In fact, the entire film is original. I love the blend of possession and zombie, and the found-footage perspective works very well with the setting. In this case, the ending goes beyond the possession and zombie genres, and treads into some experimental territory – and I like it. I also like how this sequel implements a new set of characters. Okay, there is one flaw in these characters – or, more like three. The only thing I didn't like about this film are the annoying teenagers – I mean, they're not only blatantly arrogant, but I think they're borderlines stupid.

It should be noted, though, Rec 2 is different than the original in more ways than simply the characters and some of the new ideas it implements. Rec 2 is more of an action-horror movie rather than a traditional horror film. Where I found Rec to be terrifying, I find Rec 2 to be more thrilling. Rec 2 still offers great suspense, gory visuals, and some jolting jump-scares, but it moves at a more ferocious pace and has much more action than the first. A lot of shooting, a lot of wrestling, and a lot of running. It's exciting and thrilling, and it has a scary atmosphere – so, I still count it as a horror film. But, it's different from the first. I don't find it detrimental – in fact, I think both films compliment each other well – but it is worth noting for those expecting more of the same.

The acting, although better than most horror films nowadays, is a bit more overdone this time around. The sense of panic and terror that was so masterful in the original feels louder and more unnatural this time around – especially from the teenage cast. The film looks great, though. I love the setting of this film; the claustrophobic hallways return in full force, but I enjoyed how we revisit this setting – it's a very memorable set. The shaky camera returns, and it's still better than most shaky cams we see in found-footage films nowadays. I also like the first-person perspective we see from the helmet-mounted cameras. Directing pair Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza return with a vicious action-horror movie; it's definitely less frightening than the first, but more exciting and thrilling – pick your poison.

Overall, Rec 2 is a fantastic action-horror movie. Although it's not the better film, it masterfully compliments the original film. If you love exciting and thrilling horror movies like Aliens, I think you'll love this film – well, if you can tolerate found-footage and have seen the first, of course. As a matter of fact, now that I think of it, Rec 2 is sort of the horror equivalent of The Raid. Anyway, this film sits between an 8 and 9 for me, I'll give it the benefit of a 9, though. (again)

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Film Review: [Rec] (2007)

[Rec] (Review)
Spain/2007
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray (eOne Films)
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!*

"...a contemporary horror masterpiece."
 
Television reporter Angela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman, Pablo, cover the night shift at a local fire station for their series While You're Sleeping. Angela and Pablo tag along to a routine call in an apartment, which quickly spirals into madness...

[Rec] is a fairly simple story. The camera crew arrive with the firemen to find some police officers have already arrived. The call concerns an old woman's bloodcurdling screams from her apartment – most of the residents have already gathered in the main hall. However, the routine call spirals into madness when the old woman viciously bites an officer, and the occupants of the apartment complex find themselves quarantined. Much of the rest of the film follows the survivors as they try to find out why they're quarantined, find an escape route, and survive a mysterious disease. The ending is fantastic – a terrifying ending with a nice pinch of originality for the genre.

As if the film wasn't original enough already. [Rec] is a breath of fresh air for a genre that has become stale – or rather, the found-footage sub-genre of horror that has grown repetitive and boring in recent years. It's much more than a “zombie” found-footage horror movie – both in style and narrative. As simple as the story may sound, it packs plenty of surprises, plenty of character, and most certainly packs in plenty of terror. And, I'm talking pure terror.

Whether it's the claustrophobic settings, the nail-biting suspense, or the jolting jump-scares, [Rec] aims to petrify. And it succeeds tenfold. The suspense is nerve-shredding; in this case, I think the tight corridors and stairwells, as well as the found-footage style, contribute greatly to the suspense – it creates an effective cone vision that block you off from the rest and keeps you on edge. Since the suspense is very effective, this a rare case where the jump-scares are actually frightening. The visual presentation is also scary – there are some chilling visuals, including the overall design and the gore.

The acting is very impressive, especially by horror standards. By any standard, actually, the acting is great. Manuela Velasco is a great leading lady, very charismatic and genuine in emotion. In fact, the entire cast captures the sense of urgency and panic perfectly – I was panicking myself! The film is, of course, a found-footage movie. Therefore, some of the camerawork is shaky. However, I didn't find it as annoying as I usually do – I mean, it was occasionally nauseating, but it also created a sense of realism and, again, panic. Directors Jaume Balaguero and Paco Plaza are fantastic in creating pure terror. The suspense is superb, the visuals are chilling, the atmosphere is always ominous (you never feel safe), and even the jump-scares are incredibly effective.

Overall, Rec is a contemporary horror masterpiece. It was one of my favorites when it first released, and it still manages to scare me. There are some minor plot contrivances and now-cliches (I think this film is responsible for the “Record everything” cliché, due to its emphasis), but not nearly enough to hinder an otherwise perfect horror film. So, I would give this film a 9.5/10, but I only use whole numbers in my reviews, so I have to round up to a 10/10. (yeah, yeah, excuses excuses.)

Score: 10/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, some partial nudity.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Film Review: Nightmare City (1980)

Nightmare City (Review)
Italy/Spain/1980
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!*

"If you're looking for something to make fun of with your friends..."

As news reporter Dean Miller (Hugo Stiglitz) prepares for an interview with a scientist, an unmarked military plane lands and unleashes a horde of zombies.

Nightmare City is a relatively simple rehash of every zombie film known to man. Okay, this time around the zombies are treated as superhuman and like to stab their victims' throats or boobies, but everything else is very familiar. The set of character -- none of which have any distinct character -- basically fight for survival. That's it! The ending was unnecessarily stupid, too. I mean, I had a great laugh, but what was the point!

Fortunately, Nightmare City has some B-movie charm. It has the laughable dialogue and plenty of unintentional humor. Like a surgeon who throws his scalpel like a throwing knife, or all of the melodramatic deaths. It's not nearly enough to fully redeem the uneventful and occasionally boring story, but it makes the film a little more enjoyable -- something you can laugh at and have a good time. There are also some great practical gore effects, too, like some sick eye-gouging.

Aside from the boring and uneventful story, the film also feels like it takes itself way to serious. This ends up negatively effecting the B-movie charm and humor. There are scenes where it tries to talk about its themes, like mankind's self-destruction and living like machines or whatnot, but it does it without any subtly. I mean, it actually spells it out for you, like: "this is the theme of the film, thanks for watching." Unlike George A. Romero's iconic Dawn of the Dead, and others, where the theme and commentary are blended seamlessly with the film.

The acting is all-around melodramatic. I think most of the performances were actually kind of funny, to be honest. That's partly due to the actual performance, but also due to the terrible dialogue -- everyone sounds so unnatural. The music is good, but it doesn't fit the film; I'd listen to the music without the film, though. It's shot well, at least, and the camerawork is good. By B-movie standards, the film is funny and somewhat entertaining; by regular standards, director Umberto Lenzi has a big mess of a movie that lacks an eventful story and a strong, distinct vision.

Overall, Nightmare City is a mediocre zombie-horror film. It has some b-movie charm and some great unintentional humor, as well as some decent gore, but not enough to redeem the film's other shortcomings. The story is uneventful and often boring, as well as generic, there isn't any actual horror in the film, and the dialogue is terrible by any standard. If you're looking for something to make fun of with your friends, this is a satisfying time-killer; otherwise, stick to Dawn of the Dead.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, and nudity.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Film Review: Night of the Living Dead (1990)

Night of the Living Dead (Review)
United States/1990
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!*

"If you can get past these characters ... you're in for a horror treat."

Barbara (Patricia Tallman) and her brother are attacked by a zombie at a remote graveyard. Surviving the attack, Barbara stumbles across an old farmhouse...

Night of the Living Dead continues as Ben (Tony Todd) arrives at the farmhouse. The pair clear out the house of any zombies, and soon find another group of survivors in the cellar. The group decide to barricade the house until they can find the keys to the gas pump and escape. But, the clashing personalities and the difficulties of the situation make the goal seem like a dream. A very simple and straightforward story, Night of the Living Dead leads to a good ending -- it was great to a point, but it also has some issues.

There isn't much to discuss when it comes to the plot. It's a barebones zombie survival film. Fortunately, it has plenty of scares, great suspense, and many thrills. The simple story helps the film flow quickly and fluidly -- it's fast-paced and consistent without cutting any corners and without much filler. The biggest issue with the film are the characters. I should say I appreciate the mere fact that this film bothers to have character, but they ultimately become irritating and even confusing.

You have Barbara, who's hysterical at first, magically turns into Rambo minutes later, and finally hurts the ending with her hypocrisy. You have Cooper, the loudmouthed coward who ruins every plan and never stops nagging. And, you have Tom, who makes one of the stupidest choices I think I've ever seen on film. If you can get past these characters, like I did for the most part, you're in for a horror treat.

The acting is good. I like how Patricia Tallman captures hysteria with her anxious smile. Tony Todd delivers a great performance, too. The film is shot very well; it really stands the test of time, especially in high definition. (really, you should watch the HD print of this film.) The makeup is great. Although the introduction has one person with obvious makeup, the rest of the special effects are fantastic -- I love the old-school effects. Director Tom Savini does well in building suspense and horror, and he makes the film flow -- it's always moving.

Overall, Night of the Living Dead is a great zombie film. The concept and story are simple yet engaging, there is great suspense and horror, and it's very entertaining. The characters can be annoying and stupid at times, but they're tolerable for the most part. If you didn't like the original because it wasn't modern enough or you can't stand black-and-white films, this is a simple yet worthy remake.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, some nudity. (there are two zombies with their buttocks exposed briefly.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Film Review: Dead Snow (2009)

Dead Snow (Review)
Norway/2009
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!*

"...a dark, fun, exciting, and creative zombie movie."

A group of friends travel to a snowy cabin in the woods for Easter break. All is well until the Nazi zombies show up...

Dead Snow follows this group of friends as they vacation at the cabin. They have snowball fights, play Twister, and drink beer. An eerie stranger eventually shows up to give a history lesson on the location -- a lesson which involves Nazis and their harsh treatment of the locales during World War 2. About halfway through, the Nazi zombies make their presence known, and the group begin battling for survival. It's a very bloody and exciting climax, which leads to a predictable but great ending.

Dead Snow is a simple zombie horror film. The first half of the film focuses on the characters, some humor, and building up the climax. It's a little slow and has a handful of clichés, but it gets the job done and it gets it done well. The film explodes with a gory, unforgettable death sequence about midway through and never stops. This isn't a traditional zombie horror film, it's a dark, fun, exciting, and creative zombie movie. There isn't much too discuss really: barebones when it comes to plot but fun when it comes to the blood and gore, or at least "fun" when it comes to a horror sense. Some of the humor does fall flat, there are some pacing issues, and it often gets lost in translation. (I couldn't tell if the clichés were bad or satirical.)

The acting is good -- nothing really stood out as spectacular or terrible. The film is shot very well during the day; some of the nighttime scenes were a little too dark, though. The music was also great; I liked the soundtrack and the original score. The special effects stood out most on the technical side. It's a fantastic blend of computer graphics and practical effects, with a great use of the latter. The makeup effects really helped make this film both memorable and distinct. Director Tommy Wirkola crafts a funny and exciting zombie horror film; the humor blends in well and the gore makes this film a standout in the zombie genre.

Overall, Dead Snow is a very good zombie horror-comedy. It's not particularly terrifying, but it is very bloody and gory. Despite a few fall-flat jokes and gags, the humor was mostly hilarious, too. Definitely worth watching, especially if you're looking for something entertaining or to kill the time.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore, and a brief sex scene.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Film Review: Day of the Dead (2008)

Day of the Dead (Review)
United States/2008
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes
A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!*

"...lacks confidence and seems to stray any which way."

In a small town in Colorado, a virus outbreak causes the people to turn into sprinting, leaping, and crawling zombies...

Day of the Dead mainly follows Corporal Sarah Cross (Mena Suvari) and her brother Trevor (Michael Welch). Sarah is there on duty as the town is quarantined, and Trevor just lives there. The outbreak occurs after the pair take their mother to the hospital. They end up separating, and both fight for survival at different locations. Then, they find each other and try to escape the infested town. That's about it. It begins as a barely decent film that spirals into bad territory during the final act. The ending felt very quick and underwhelming.

Day of the Dead started off promising. Now, I didn't think it was going to be spectacular or anything like that, but I thought it would at least be decent. And, it was... at least for a while. The zombies in this film are very fast and can take huge leaps -- I thought this was interesting and even made for some suspenseful scenes. The zombies also occasionally crawl on walls and ceilings, which I thought was out of place and stupid. Regardless, like I said, there is some suspense and a few thrills to be had. The film simply runs out of steam too soon and becomes more irritating as it goes on.

For example, the character clichés become more evident during the second half. The characters become stupider and more annoying during the second half, as well. And, the concept starts aiming and shooting wildly; zombies who can be controlled and super zombies -- not bad ideas on their own, but bad ideas when executed so poorly. As for the characters: you have Sarah, who is very hypocritical. You have Trevor, who leans towards douchebag territory. And, worst of all, you have soldier Salazar, who's the douchebag and wannabe gangster all-in-one -- appropriately played by Nick Cannon, if I may add. If you've read my reviews, you know I dislike most of these characters, especially when they lack charisma -- and these all do.

The acting was most detrimental for the film. Mena Suvari was decent. Michael Welch was okay. Nick Cannon was horrid, with a severe lack of charisma and fall-flat humor; not so surprisingly, his character takes a larger role during the latter half of the film, which was where the film completely fell apart. The special effects were decent; a lot of computer effects, but tolerable, especially if you know what you're getting into. (I'm more a fan of practical gore effects myself, though.) I didn't like the flashy editing, though. Director Steve Miner had the opportunity to make this remake his own and, in a way, he does -- just not in a good way.

Overall, Day of the Dead is a bad horror film. Actually, it's more of an action/horror film, but a bad one, anyway. It starts off promising, but quickly loses steam. The story lacks confidence and seems to stray any which way. It also suffers from very bad acting from Nick Cannon. The minimal thrills and suspense can't redeem this film.

Score: 3/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Film Review: Day of the Dead (1985)

Day of the Dead (Review)
United States/1985
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!*

"...exciting and occasionally funny."

Survivors of a zombie apocalypse find themselves in an underground military base, where scientists work to stop or cure the disease and the military provide support.

Day of the Dead mainly follows Dr. Sarah (Lori Cardille), Captain Rhodes (Joseph Pilato), and Dr. "Frankenstein" during this process. The group of survivors bicker and argue amongst themselves and struggle to communicate. Dr. Sarah doesn't really know what she's looking for, Captain Rhodes is hardheaded and tyrannical, while Dr. "Frankenstein" spends his time conducting experiments on zombies in hopes of teaching them to behave. It's a fairly simple plot that leads to a great climax and good ending.

Day of the Dead is a little more of a blatant human drama than it is a zombie horror film. And, I don't mind. The characters are often infuriating, though. The scientists complain about communication but don't provide proof of their research, the soldiers are obnoxious and tyrannical, and the pilot and electronic specialist... well, they're really not that bad. I understand that the characters should be irritable, but these come off as annoying instead -- a pinch of charisma would've been appreciated.

Otherwise, I liked the plot. I liked the idea of the underground base and I liked the drama between the characters. I especially liked the insight into the zombies and their behaviors. Obviously this is a work of fiction, but I love when film worlds and mythologies expand, and this does just that. It's not particularly frightening or even suspenseful, but it is exciting and occasionally funny. The characters may be an issue, but I don't see many gaping flaws with the actual story.

The acting ranged from mediocre to good. Lori Cardille is good, as is Joseph Pilato. The supporting cast, particularly those that play soldiers, are way overacted; they act like cartoon characters when they laugh so hysterically and so often. The film looks nice, despite mostly being secluded to an underground base. The music was great; it feels refreshing visiting an 80s films. One of my favorite parts of the film, though, are the superb special effects; master Tom Savini once again delivers with these fascinating practical gore effects. Director and writer George A. Romero crafts an entertaining zombie drama; some of its tones are inconsistent and the characters lack a shred of charisma, but it's more than competent.

Overall, Day of the Dead is an entertaining zombie drama/horror film. The special effects are superb and the story is great and refreshing, but the characters are mediocre. The message it sends is clear, but the film doesn't really give it chance to shine. Regardless, fans of zombie films, especially those with insightful elements, will find an engaging and entertaining film.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Film Review: The Ward (2010)

The Ward (Review)
United States/2010
Format Watched For Review: Blu-ray (Arc Entertainment)
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!*

"...Carpenter is still more than capable of conjuring effective suspense and horror..."
 
After burning down a farmhouse, Kristen (Amber Heard) is institutionalized and finds herself haunted by a sinister force...

The Ward follows Kristen in 1966 as she settles in at this psychiatric hospital. Kristen insists she's not crazy, but she has no recollection of the events prior to the fire. Anyway, Kristen, as well as the other patients, find themselves being haunted by a zombie-like ghost. The deeper she investigates, the more death surrounds her and the more grizzly secrets she discovers. It's a straight-forward horror film. The ending is predictable, but I enjoyed it.

I enjoyed the horror in The Ward. The film has a great focus on atmosphere and suspense. Fortunately, the film often builds up great suspense and tension. The payoff is usually a jump-scare, but don't fret, these are actually impressive. Most of the time, jump-scares just don't do it for me, but these actually gave me a jolt at least a handful of times. There are also some subtle visuals that I really enjoyed, as well, like a shadowy or ghost figure in the background – I like those little details.

I think the biggest downfall for The Ward is the acting. It's passable, especially by horror standards, but it just doesn't really bring you into this world – it doesn't help bring you to the 60s. Also, none of the cast play a believable psychiatric patient. Amber Heard is occasionally good, but whenever the role becomes demanding, she just sounds off and overacted. Otherwise, I enjoyed the cinematography and I especially enjoyed the camerawork. The music is good, too, I just wish John Carpenter got his hands dirty. On that note, John Carpenter's direction is great. Aside from the acting, Carpenter is still more than capable of conjuring effective suspense and horror, and the film is also well paced and balanced.

Overall, The Ward is a very good horror film. It's not a groundbreaking or even original film, but it's hard to find a film that's truly original nowadays, anyway. The horror, which is what I expect most will be watching for, is very good, though. I enjoyed the atmosphere, the suspense, the subtle imagery, and even the jump-scares – it's very well rounded. The acting... that's another story.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Film Review: Hatchet 3 (2013)

Hatchet 3 (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!*

"It's good ol' gory fun."

After a massacre at Honey Island Swamp, local and state police enter the home of Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) to verify Marybeth's story.

Hatchet 3 picks up where the last installment left off. After killing Victor Crowley, a bloodied Marybeth (Danielle Harris) goes to the police to report her success. So, the police head out to Honey Island Swamp. Meanwhile, journalist Amanda Fowler (Caroline Williams) drags Marybeth back to Honey Island Swamp to finish what really hasn't ended. It's a really simple plot that gets straight to the point -- it doesn't add anything to the characters or locale, but it gets straight to the mayhem. The ending is good -- it's more of the same, though, an ending we've seen time and time again.

I liked the simplicity of the story -- it gets straight to the action and horror. Sure, I would love to see some new characters and maybe some new details regarding Victor Crowley, but I'm perfectly content with a film that simply aims to entertain. And that's what this does. It's good ol' gory fun. Over-the-top violence around every corner. A couple of jolting jump-scares. Typical horror movie logic. Some very black humor. (there was at least one laugh out loud moment.) It's a throwback horror film that doesn't try to be more. If you like practical over-the-top gore, then this is for you. There's not much else to it.

Except... there is one thing I really didn't like. This ridiculously gory fun film is partly spoiled by the terribly obnoxious and annoying journalist character, Amanda. Every scene with Amanda was not only annoying, but also boring and cliché. The other characters are lively and energetic, some are even hilarious, but this one is obnoxious. Also, this time around, there doesn't seem to be a solid protagonist. Marybeth is in the film, but she shares less screen time and plays a minor role. It wasn't really something too detrimental, but it's worth noting.

The acting ranges from decent to bad. A lot of the supporting cast is bad. Danielle Harris is decent. Aside from her character being ridiculously annoying, Caroline Williams' performance is also ridiculously over-acted. Kane Hodder is always welcomed, though, as are the cameos. You see, the acting really ranges. Otherwise, the film is a standard horror film. The special effects are great; it's obviously wasn't aiming for realism, so expect some cheesy effects. The concept is familiar, but director BJ McDonnell does well in cutting any fat from the story and delivering a straight horror film.

Overall, Hatchet 3 is a good slasher movie. It's treads very familiar territory, has one terrible character, and a few dud performances, but the film never fails in delivering the over-the-top gory fun. It's an improvement over Hatchet 2, which I did not like much. Just don't expect too much, and you should have some fun.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Graphic violence and gore.