Thursday, September 21, 2017

Film Review: Unnatural (2015)

Unnatural (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed for Review: Showtime
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"It is a horror movie without even a semblance of horror."

A group at a remote cabin in Alaska are targeted by a genetically-modified polar bear...

Unnatural is a simple film—simple to a fault. The plot follows a corporation that is experimenting on animals in order to help them adapt to climate change. They experiment on a polar bear, then, as expected, the polar bear escapes. Meanwhile, a photographer and his models land in Alaska where they stay at Martin Nakos' (James Remar) remote cabin for a photo shoot. They are eventually attacked by the polar bear. This starts a fight for survival, which is actually just them sitting around and waiting to be picked off while Martin tracks the bear. That's the entire plot. There really isn't anything 'deep' or even interesting about the story. It leads to an underwhelming ending, too. It's not horrible, but it doesn't leave an impression.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Film Review: Hard Target (1993)

Hard Target (Review)
United States/1993
Format Viewed for Review: Showtime
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"It's cheesy, it's fun, and it has Van Damme in it. What more could you ask for?"

A woman hires a drifter to help her find her missing father, but the pair discovers a dangerous game during their investigation...

Hard Target follows Natasha Binder (Yancy Butler), a young woman who's searching for her estranged father. She discovers that her father has been homeless for some time and she hires Chance Boudreaux (Jean-Claude Van Damme), another homeless man, to help her find him. To their dismay, they discover that Natasha's father was murdered. On top of that, they discover he was killed for a game—a game where wealthy men pay to hunt homeless people through the streets of New Orleans. The story is fairly simple, but it works. It leads to an action-packed third act and a great but abrupt ending.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Film Review: The Devil's Candy (2015)

The Devil's Candy (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed for Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...one of the best horror films I've seen this year."

After moving into a new house in rural Texas with his family, a struggling painter begins to experience bizarre visions of death and flames...

The Devil's Candy is a simple but effective film. The plot follows a small family—Jesse (Ethan Embry), a struggling painter, his wife Astrid, and their daughter Zooey—who decide to move into their dream house in rural Texas. However, their dream house at their dream price has a catch: a couple died there. They still move in and start settling in. Almost immediately, Jesse begins hearing eerie whispers. He suddenly feels inspired to paint a morbid image of children burning—and he can't stop painting it. Meanwhile, his family is tormented by a man, Ray (Pruitt Taylor Vince), who claims to have lived in their house. He becomes drawn to Zooey as he also fights the whispering voices in his head. It leads to a strong climax and ending, although certain scenes may be contrived.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Film Review: Hardcore Henry (2015)

Hardcore Henry (Review)
United States/Russia/2015
Format Viewed for Review: Showtime
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"Despite its plentiful action, the film eventually becomes boring and repetitive."

Henry, resurrected with hi-tech cybernetics and no collection of the past, fights to save his wife from a psychokinetic man who plans on building an army of cyborg soldiers.

Hardcore Henry initially caught my interest. The plot follows the titular character, Henry, after he's resurrected by his scientist wife, Estelle. While working on returning Henry's voice, Akan, the psychokinetic antagonist, shows up and interrupts the procedure—leaving Henry mute but capable. Henry escapes with Estelle from the laboratory, which was located in an airship. Wild, right? It gave off Wolfenstein vibes. Anyway, Estelle is eventually captured and Henry has to fight his way to save her while finding his memories. That's it. That's the entire plot. Sure, there is a little more to it, but the plot never really builds on any of its ideas. It leads to a solid ending, though. By that, I mean: the last action sequence is great, but the story is still mediocre.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Film Review: House on Willow Street (2016)

House on Willow Street (Review)
South Africa/2016
Format Viewed for Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"I loved some parts of the film, I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the movie, but it just runs out of steam and never finds its footing as a horror movie."

A group of criminals kidnap the daughter of a wealthy business owner, but their plan backfires when they realize the young woman may be hiding a sinister secret...

House on Willow Street is a film with a familiar plot. I think most of us have seen a concept like this in one film or another. The plot follows a group of criminals: Hazel (Sharni Vinson), her boyfriend Ade, Ade's cousin James, and their partner Mark. The group invade a house on Willow Street but find little to no resistance—the security system has already been turned off, too. This, of course, barely bothers them. They kidnap Katherine, the daughter of the owner of diamond chain, then they take her to their hideout. However, upon arriving at their hideout, they realize Katherine is not what she seems. They begin experiencing surreal hallucinations that reveal their inner-demons. I won't spoil anything else, but I bet you'd be able to predict most of the plot. It leads to a silly/cheesy third act and underwhelming ending.