Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Anime Review: The Devil is a Part-Timer (Season 1) (TV)

The Devil is a Part-Timer (Season 1) (Review)
Japan/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...brimming with humor and exuberance."

During a battle, Satan, the Demon Lord of Este Isla, retreats to Earth with his generalissimo, Alciel. As they begin to rebuild their empire, they find they've been followed by Hero Emilia...

The Devil is a Part-Timer is a rather simple series – at least during the first season. (I'm assuming there will be another.) There is some interesting background, but it rarely delves deeply into the lore. The season follows Satan, Alciel, and Emilia as they enter Earth. Satan changes his name to Sadao Maou, Alciel becomes Shiro Ashiya, and Emilia sticks with Emi. In order to dominate Earth, Sadao begins working at MgRonald as a part-timer with an adorable coworker, Chiho, and Ashiya takes on the housecleaning, while Emi works as a call center agent. Initially, Emi planned on defeating Sadao once and for all. But, she finds herself with mixed emotions when she sees Sadao's strange work ethic and caring demeanor while stalking him. Her plans are further complicated as several foes arrive on Earth from Este Isla – blurring the lines between good and evil. It ends on a simple note, really – nothing extravagant or epic. Yet, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to a second season if it ever came to fruition.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Film Review: Dying of the Light (2014)

Dying of the Light (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Prime
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"The narrative is actually very interesting, especially some of its themes, but the execution is flawed."

Evan Lake (Nicolas Cage), a highly-decorated CIA agent suffering from early stage frontal temporal dementia, spirals into a tailspin when he finds evidence of an old foe's survival...

Dying of the Light is an interesting film with bizarre flaws. The plot follows Evan Lake, who was tortured in Africa by Banir, a terrorist, over 20 years ago. In the present, Evan is diagnosed with a form of dementia. As he stumbles upon news of Banir's potential survival and residence, Evan is considered a liability by the agency. Fortunately, he finds aid from his colleague, Milt (Anton Yelchin). Milt and Evan connect the pieces, then begin tracking Banir. It may sound like a globe-trotting adventure with psychological elements, but it really isn't. The film never actually delves enough into anything it offers, which is incredibly unfortunate. It leads to a simple ending, too – nothing special, really.

Friday, December 25, 2015

TV Review: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia — A Very Sunny Christmas (2010)

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia – A Very Sunny Christmas (Review)
United States/2010
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...successfully gets you into the mood for the holidays."

Dennis (Glenn Howerton) and Dee (Kaitlin Olson) set out to teach Frank (Danny DeVito) a lesson for his "fakeout" gifts. Meanwhile, Mac (Rob McElhenney) and Charlie (Charlie Day) attempt to capture the spirit of Christmas by revisiting their childhoods...

A Very Sunny Christmas is a television Christmas special following the cynical crew during the holidays. This special 44 or so minute episode follows the traditional Always Sunny formula – the characters split up for separate causes, then met up towards the end. Fortunately, it's a formula that always works. In this case, Dennis and Dee are bent on teaching Frank a lesson for his usual holiday torment; by that, I mean, Frank loves to purchase the gifts Dennis and Dee want for himself, then shove them in their faces. On the other front, Mac and Charlie revisit their childhood and find they've been lied to by their parents. (It turns out, visiting someone's home and opening their presents isn't a tradition, but it's actually stealing.) It all leads to a surprisingly tender ending.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Anime Review: Aldnoah.Zero (Season 1) (TV)

Aldnoah.Zero (Season 1) (Review)
Japan/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"I really did enjoy this rich world..."

A devious plot to assassinate a foreign princess revitalizes a war between Earth and the Vers Empire, an empire powered by powerful Martian technology called Aldnoah...

Aldnoah.Zero is a bit complicated, which can be good and bad. On one hand, there's a rich background and a large set of characters. On the other hand, there's not enough time in a 12-episode season to efficiently tell the story. So, let me try to give you a condensed version of the plot while avoiding spoilers from the latter half of the season. Aldnoah.Zero follows the Terrans, the inhabitants of Earth, and the Martians of the Vers Empire, particularly Princess Asseylum. Princess Asseylum visits Earth on peace mission. Upon arrival, her vehicle and her convoy are destroyed by Martians posing as Terrans. With their convenient excuse, the conspirators, a few of the Orbital Knights of the Vers Empire, consequently attack Earth with all of their might. As war erupts, Inaho Kaizuka, an oddly tranquil and calculated teenager, joins the fight with other surviving Terrans and helps unravel the conspiracy. I think that’s about everything I can explain without spoiling certain plot points. There are many more characters, though. It all leads to a very powerful ending, leaving you wanting more.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Film Review: As Above, So Below (2014)

As Above, So Below (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"Although the film suffers from an annoying main character, the film fares better in the story and horror departments."

Hoping to complete her father's search for the philosopher's stone, Scarlett Marlowe (Perdita Weeks) is led to the Catacombs beneath Paris...

Within the first five or so minutes, you'll have a teaser of everything you'll be getting into. You'll have a teaser of the obnoxious main character, the sensation of adventure, and an idea of the terror – as well as a peak at the shaky cam. (You can't have a found-footage horror film without the shaky cam...) The story follows the unbearable Scarlet Marlowe, a scholar with several degrees and a black belt, as she forces leads her peers, including her close friend, George (Ben Feldman), into the Catacombs beneath Paris. While searching the claustrophobic tunnels, the group find themselves hearing and seeing bizarre anomalies – many reflecting their tormented pasts. The farther they delve, the more tangible their visions become. The climax becomes sort of a run-and-boo ride, but it's decent. The ending was unfulfilling – it felt lackluster compared to most of this horror-adventure.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Video Game Review: Gears of War Ultimate Edition (Xbox One)

Gears of War: Ultimate Edition (Xbox One – PC coming soon)
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Developer: The Coalition
Genre: SciFi Third-Person Shooter
Platform Played For Review: Xbox One

"...it's hard to find a more exciting and engrossing shooter than Gears of War."

Fourteen years after Emergence Day, the Locust have overwhelmed the COG forces in a war against mankind. Marcus Fenix is freed from prison by his best friend and comrade Dom, then led to meet Delta Squad for a daring mission...

For the sake of this review, I'll try to keep the plot details short and efficient. So, it should be noted: although I'll skimp on some details, there is a rich world to be found here. So, you play as Marcus and eventually lead Delta Squad, which, at its core, consists of Marcus, Dom, Cole, and Baird. Your objective is to find the resonator, a device that will map the Locust's caves and tunnels, to deploy a ruinous bomb at the source. The trip feels grand as you travel through the grungy, hopeless world on foot and vehicle. Of course, everything doesn't goes as planned, which causes a few detours. Fortunately, the plot never felt thin or poorly-paced. All of the pieces fit well to create a very smooth and enjoyable ride. For those who only played on Xbox 360, the extra PC act is seamlessly added into this plot – and it was great! It all leads to a great final sequence and a decent boss. (I swear, there must have been a little spike in the difficulty for that final boss.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Anime Review: The Seven Deadly Sins (Season 1) (TV)

The Seven Deadly Sins (Season 1) (Review)
Japan/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...an excellent blend of action and comedy, forming a concoction of pure entertainment."

Sensing a giant conspiracy afoot, Princess Elizabeth sets out to gather the Seven Deadly Sins to aid her in rescuing the kingdom from the holy knights...

The Seven Deadly Sins is a bit complicated considering its large world and diverse set of characters, so I'll try to keep the story details short and snappy. The Seven Deadly Sins were a group of talented knights in the Liones Kingdom who were suspected of plotting to overthrow the king – some legends say they died in battle, others say they still wander the world. After witnessing the Holy Knight's coup of the kingdom, taking her father hostage, Princess Elizabeth escapes and begins her quest to gather the Seven Deadly Sins in order to save her family and the people.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Film Review: The Chosen (2015)

The Chosen (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It's not great and it's not terrible — it's merely decent."

A child-stealing demon known as "Lilith" attaches itself to a little girl, forcing the family to sacrifice six other family members for her safe return...

The Chosen follows Cameron (Kian Lawley) and his dysfunctional family. Immediately, you're thrust into this fairly large family consisting of uncles, aunts, grandmas, grandpas, nieces and so on – most of which live in the same house. It's a large family tree you're expected to understand within minutes. It takes a little longer than that, but you'll eventually get the gist. So, Cameron is Angie's uncle. Cameron takes Angie to visit her mother – a former drug addict. During the trip, the pair stumble upon a neighboring dispute. At this point, the demon latches on to Angie. Angie becomes sick and begins showing bizarre symptoms of aggression. Cameron finds he must sacrifice 6 family members in six days in order to save Angie from the demon – so he does that. It all leads to a predictable ending. The ending was a little cheesy, too.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Video Game Review: Rise of the Tomb Raider (Xbox One)

Rise of the Tomb Raider (Xbox One, Xbox 360)
Publisher: Square Enix, Microsoft Studios
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Genre: Action/Adventure
Platform Played for Review: Xbox One

"Rise of the Tomb Raider is one of the best games of 2015."

One year after the events of Tomb Raider, Lara Croft continues her search for answers to life's enigmatic questions using her father's research. Specifically, Lara seeks to finish her father's research by discovering the lost city of Kitezh and the secret to immortality...

Rise of the Tomb Raider essentially follows Lara Croft as she attempts to complete her father's research. At the end of his life, Lara's father, once revered, was disgraced and humiliated due to his search for immortality - a search that consumed him. Lara is convinced she's found the source and begins her trek, which leads her to Syria. Of course, her adventure isn’t simple. Lara is being tracked by Trinity, a relentless group seeking the same goal as Lara; except, this group, led by Konstantin, has their own intentions for the Divine Source. Lara joins forces with the locals, including Jacob, the leader. The story is obviously a bit more complicated, especially with characters like Jacob and Konstantin, but that's generally the gist. Expect a fast-paced conclusion and a satisfying ending — even the credits were great!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Film Review: The Frozen (2012)

The Frozen (Review)
United States/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...it feels like you're watching nothing for an hour, then you watch a 20-minute short film with a plot you've seen before at the end."

A couple, Emma (Brit Morgan) and Mike (Seth David Mitchell), set up camp in the woods to soak in the beautifully snowy scenery. After a snowmobile accident, the pair find themselves stranded...

The Frozen is a very simple and generic film — more emphasis on generic. The film follows Emma and Mike, a couple with some blatant problems — more than just the lack of camping experience. During their trip, the pair crash their snowmobile. With their only method of transportation destroyed, the pair find themselves trapped miles from their truck. To worsen their problems, they can't find a way back. So, eventually, Mike goes missing and Emma is left to fend for herself. She tries to survive, she's tracked by a mysterious hunter, and she suffers from bizarre nightmares. That's practically everything that happens in this film. It all leads to a very cliché ending.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Film Review: Penny Dreadful (2006)

Penny Dreadful (Review)
United States/2006
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"Despite all of its flaws, I think the sheer boredom was its grandest offense."

On a trek to overcome her fear of cars, Penny (Rachel Miner) joins her therapist on a cross-country trip. Their trip goes haywire when they cross paths with an ominous hitchhiker...

Penny Dreadful is a very simple film. Penny and her therapist, Orianna (Mimi Rogers), travel to a mountainous region so Penny can trump her fears. The pair hit a peculiar hitchhiker, so they offer him a lift. To their utter dismay, the hitchhiker turns out to be a creep. They soon find themselves stranded with a flat tire, then stalked and attacked by the hitchhiker. Eventually, Penny finds herself purposely trapped in the car by her pursuer. That's all. A few other characters show up, but nothing really happens. With very little going on, this plot is stretched thin. The ending of the film was predictable and underwhelming, too.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Film Review: Pressure (2015)

Pressure (Review)
United Kingdom/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It has some glaring story issues, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't entertained."

While trying to repair an oil pipeline, a group of drivers find themselves trapped in a small pod with limited resources...

Pressure is a very simple film. The film follows Engel (Danny Huston), Mitch (Matthew Goode), Jones (Joe Cole), and Hurst (Alan McKenna) — the characters have very generic backgrounds. Before actually diving, the group are already at annoyed with each other, so you can imagine what their experience will be like. Anyway, they dive, then fix the pipe. While ascending, the main vessel is hit by a storm, which kills the entire crew and leaves the divers stranded with a few resources — including limited oxygen. The rest of the film follows this group as they basically attempt to survive. That's it, really. Fortunately, the film is only 90-minutes long — it still feels a bit bloated, but it could have been much worse. The ending was a little underwhelming, but decent enough.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Film Review: Beasts of No Nation (2015)

Beasts of No Nation (Review)
Africa/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...paints a haunting portrait of war and child soldiers..."

When his family is separated and killed, Agu (Abraham Attah) must learn to survive during a vicious war...

Beasts of No Nation follows Agu, a young child in West Africa. When war approaches his peaceful village, Agu's mother and sister leave for the capital while Agu, his father, brother, and grandfather stay in their home. Agu escapes as his family is slaughtered by the army, barely evading death. Soon thereafter, Agu is caught by the Native Defense Force, the rebels, which allow him to join as a child soldier. Commandant (Idris Elba), the battalion's leader, allows Agu to join under his guidance. Agu transforms from innocent child to trained-murderer as he adapts to survive. The film continues to show this heart-rending transformation until its bittersweet finale.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Film Review: Police Story: Lockdown (2013)

Police Story: Lockdown (aka Police Story 2013) (Review)
China/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...a dark and exciting action-drama with plenty of suspense."

Detective Zhong Wen (Jackie Chan) visits the Wu Bar to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Miao Miao (Jing Tian). To his utter dismay, he finds himself as one of the main targets in a scheme of vengeance...

Police Story: Lockdown is a fairly simple crime-drama. The film follows Zhong as he visits the Wu Bar and meets Miao's boyfriend, club owner Wu Jiang (Liu Ye). He's knocked unconscious, then finds himself restrained to a chair and talking to Jiang. He sees Jiang used Miao to lure him to the reinforced bar. So, the film begins to hop back-and-forth, from bar to case, as Zhong tries to find out why Jiang has captured him and what his intentions are with the hostages he's kept. There's a chase here, a shootout there, and fights everywhere. It's not really action-packed, but it injects more than enough action to balance out the cliché plot. The film leads to a decent climax and ending — the climax felt like a scene out of a soap opera, though.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Film Review: American Heist (2014)

American Heist (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...one of the most generic films I've seen in a long time."

When his older brother, Frankie (Adrien Brody), is released from prison, James (Hayden Christensen), a man working to turn his life around, spirals back into a life of crime...

American Heist is a very generic crime film. The film follows James and Frankie. The brothers have a troubled relationship, especially due to a crime the duo committed years ago — Frankie serving ten years, James getting spared with 16 months. Anyway, James is working on getting his life back together when Frankie is released from prison. Of course, Frankie drags his younger brother into a risky scheme — a bank heist. James is reluctant, but his brother's "associates" hold him with few options — basically, help or everyone he loves will die. It's stuff we've seen a million times before, really. The climax, the actual heist, is decent and the ending was okay. The ending was a bit abrupt, though, it almost felt like the writer just got tired and gave up.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Film Review: Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' (2015)

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' (Review)
Japan/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...one of the most exciting and entertaining films I've seen this year."

Frieza's incapacitated army, led by Sorbet, find the dragon balls and resurrect their sinister leader...

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' is a very simple film. After being swiftly resurrected, Freiza begins training to reach a new level of power and exact his revenge on Goku (Sean Schemmel). As Frieza arrives, he finds Goku is absent; Goku and Vegeta (Christopher R. Sabat) are training with Whis at Lord Beerus' humble abode. So, our group of remaining heroes — including Gohan, Piccolo, Krillin, Master Roshi and Tien — decide to hold off Frieza's forces until Goku can arrive. And, when Goku and Vegeta finally arrive, we get our epic climax. A battle between old adversaries with a few surprises. The film leads to a satisfying ending.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Film Review: Harbinger Down (2015)

Harbinger Down (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"If you don't mind a bland narrative, this is a spectacle worth watching for the practical special effects."

Sadie (Camille Balsamo) and her college group board the fishing trawler Harbinger to study the effects of global warming on whales in the Bering Sea. Their studies are soured upon discovering something more sinister in the ice...

Harbinger Down is a basic creature feature with a generic cast of characters — I think the latter is more disappointing. The film follows Sadie after she boards the Harbinger — the trawler captained by her grandfather, Graff (Lance Henriksen). The crew discover a block of ice with a Soviet spacecraft and decide to keep it in the hold. Of course, instead of waiting until they dock, Sadie decides to pry into their discovery. She finds bizarre alien bacteria and the crew find themselves attacked by a shape-shifting alien. There are other tidbits here and there, but that's practically the entire plot. Discover, unleash, survive. The ending plays it safe — very predictable and fails to leave an impression. It's not horrible, but it could have been better.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Film Review: Wolf Warrior (2015)

Wolf Warrior (Review)
China/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

" As an action film, Wolf Warriors is a more serviceable movie."

After showing initiative during a tense showdown, expert marksman Leng Feng (Wu Jing) joins the "special forces of the special forces," but soon finds himself confronting the actions of his past...

Let's just get to the basics. Wolf Warrior follows Leng Feng when he's recruited by Long Xiaoyun (Yu Nan) to join a special forces group she commands — The Wolf Warriors. During a training mission, the group are assaulted by a team of foreign mercenaries led by Tom Cat (Scott Adkins). Tom Cat is hired by a drug lord to kill Leng Feng. So, the PLA (more like Leng Feng by his lonesome) and these mercenaries go to war in these barren woods. For the most part, the plot felt very thin and a little disjointed. It gets a little more consistent during the final act, but the ending was very predictable.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Film Review: Last Shift (2014)

Last Shift (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...one of the best horror experiences in recent years."

On her first day, Officer Jessica Loren (Juliana Harkavy) is assigned the last shift at a closing precinct. As she begins her lonesome night, Loren is disturbed by an ominous presence...

Last Shift is a rather simple film with a very familiar premise. The film follows Officer Loren on her first day. After meeting her eccentric sergeant, Loren is left by her lonesome. It's not long until she begins to receive eerie phone calls, encounter strange visitors, and experience surreal events. To her utter dismay, she eventually finds these strange happenings may be linked to a notorious cult with devious intentions. That's practically all that happens in the film. There's not exactly a lot to talk about, but it does have quite a bit going on. The plot leads to a satisfying conclusion. Considering all of the buildup, though, it did feel a little underwhelming.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Film Review: Kung Fu Killer (2014)

Kung Fu Killer (aka Kung Fu Jungle) (Review)
China/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...action fans will not be disappointed."

When a vicious killer (Wang Baoqiang) begins challenging retired martial arts masters to deadly duels, Hahou Mo (Donnie Yen), a martial arts expert incarcerated for manslaughter, is released to catch the culprit...

Kung Fu Killer is a very simple film. In fact, that's practically all you need to know about the film's story — it's that simple. Our vicious killer goes by the name Fung Yu-Sau. He goes around challenging the top martial artists in their respective disciplines – boxing, kicking, grappling, etc. Hahou knows this and convinces the police to release him so he can help capture Fung. Hahou and the police trail Fung and occasional clash, piecing together the reasoning for his crimes and Hahou's true intentions. It leads to an epic battle and satisfying conclusion.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

31 Days of Halloween 2015 Review Recap!

Our 31 Days of Halloween 2015 celebration is officially over! For the third consecutive year, I successfully wrote and shared 31 horror movie reviews in 31 days. I went through plenty of highs and lows, watching the worst and the best, for you. Thank you for reading and sharing in this celebration. Now, let's tally up the reviews and put a score up for this year.

10/01: Archivo 253 (2015) - 4/10
10/02: Area 51 (2015) - 4/10
10/03: Dark Water (2002) - 8/10
10/04: Entity (2012) - 3/10
10/05: Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1996) - 5/10
10/06: Inner Demons (2014) - 5/10
10/07: Pulse (aka Kairo) (2001) - 8/10
10/08: Quarantine (2008) - 5/10
10/09: Reincarnation (2005) - 8/10
10/10: The Relic (1997) - 7/10
10/11: Ringu (1998) - 8/10
10/12: Ringu 2 (1999) - 7/10
10/13: The Woman In Black (2012) - 7/10
10/14: The Woman In Black 2: Angel of Death  (2014) - 4/10
10/15: The Beast of Xmoor (2014) - 4/10
10/16: The Blood Lands  (aka White Settlers) (2014) - 5/10
10/17: Djinn (2013) - 5/10
10/18: From The Dark (2014) - 6/10
10/19: The House of the Devil (2009) - 6/10
10/20: Insidious (2010) - 8/10
10/21: The Lazarus Effect (2015) - 6/10
10/22: The Omen (1976) - 8/10
10/23: Tales From The Dark 1 (2013) - 6/10
10/24: Tales From The Dark 2 (2013) - 7/10
10/25: Vile (2011) - 5/10
10/26: Would You Rather (2012) - 7/10
10/27: The Last Exorcism Part 2 (2013) - 3/10
10/28: Let Us Prey (2014) - 7/10
10/29: See No Evil 2 (2015) - 4/10
10/30: Starry Eyes (2014) - 8/10
10/31: Scream (1996) - 10/10

Average Score 188/310: 6.1/10 (estimated)

With a 6.1 average score, this is the lowest scoring 31 Days of Halloween in our three consecutive years of celebrating. Fortunately, it's still not that bad and I enjoyed the experience. I love horror and I hope to celebrate again next year, even if the score drops again. If you're interested, click here to visit last year's recap. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Film Review: Scream (1996)

Scream (Review)
United States/1996
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"From its iconic introduction to its twisted ending, from its smart writing to its excellent direction, Scream is cemented as a horror classic for a reason."

A small town is rattled by a string of vicious murders, and Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and her friends are next on the list...

Scream is a clever slasher horror film. The story follows Sidney Prescott, a high school student, after the murder of a fellow classmate. Soon after said murder, Sidney finds herself in the crosshairs of the vicious serial killer. Even more unfortunate, she finds she can't trust her boyfriend or anyone for that matter due to the circumstance. Although iconic and mostly likely viewed by most horror fans by today, this is a film where you should go in blind for you initial viewing. With that said, the film leads to a twisted finale — there are a few minor issues, but it is unforgettable.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Film Review: Starry Eyes (2014)

Starry Eyes (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"...opts for surreal visuals and grizzly scenes to conjure some great frights — it's wonderful combination."

An aspiring actress, Sarah (Alex Essoe), discovers the price of fame when she auditions for a movie produced by Astraeus Pictures...

Starry Eyes is an interesting film. The movie follows Sarah, who's stuck working at Big Taters and finds herself surrounded by unsupportive friends — who also happen to be aspiring filmmakers. One day, she auditions for a role in a film titled The Silver Scream. Although originally botched, she receives another chance when she's caught pulling on her hair and throwing a fit. Upon meeting the eccentric producer, Sarah begins to realize the cost of fame — and it's not pretty. By the end, the film strays into familiar territory — the same place most horror films end up nowadays. Fortunately, it offers some grizzly surprises and more than enough to leave an impression.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Film Review: See No Evil 2 (2014)

See No Evil 2 (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"...a very generic and contrived slasher."

After the massacre at the Blackwell Hotel, the dead bodies of the victims and the main suspect, Jacob Goodnight (Kane), are delivered to a morgue...

See No Evil 2 follows Amy (Danielle Harris), Seth, and their boss Holden as they work the night shift at the morgue. As Amy prepares to depart for her birthday celebration, Holden receives a call about the bodies being delivered. So, Amy decides to cancel her plans and help out. To her convenient surprise, her friends decide to surprise her at the morgue and celebrate with her – her friends include her brother Will, Will's secret admirer Kayla, and couple Tamara (Katharine Isabelle) and Carter. While celebrating, though, Jacob Goodnight awakens and begins to slaughter everyone. That's the plot. It leads to a very predictable and even dragged out ending.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Film Review: Let Us Prey (2014)

Let Us Prey (Review)
United Kingdom/Ireland/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"It's a splendid blend of suspense, jump-scares, and gore veiled in a very attractive style."

All hell breaks loose when a mysterious man known as Six (Liam Cunningham) arrives at a police station in a remote Scottish town...

Let Us Prey follows the staff and current "residents" of a small police station. The plot primarily follows Constable Rachel (Pollyanna McIntosh) during her first night on duty. Before even arriving to the precinct, Rachel witnesses a car accident, but the victim disappears. So, she walks the culprit to the station and meets her sergeant, MacReady (Douglas Russell). Soon thereafter, she meets her peers and the detainees. When Six arrives, the others begin to experience bizarre visions reflecting their sins. It fairly obvious what Six really is, but everyone is oblivious for the most part. Regardless, this ignorance allows for a thrill ride of shocks and chuckles. The story does weaken by the end, though. By the grand finale, the film begins to pile on the plot contrivances and the actual ending was unfulfulling.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Film Review: The Last Exorcism Part 2 (2013)

The Last Exorcism Part 2 (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"I suppose it only lands in one genre: boring."

Immediately following the events of the first film, Nell (Ashley Bell) is found in a feral state by an oblivious couple. Nell is sent to a home for girls to start a new life, but finds herself haunted by her past...

The Last Exorcism Part 2 is a very simple film. The story follows Nell as she begins to live her new life. She makes friends with her roommates, gets a job as a maid at a hotel, develops a romance with a coworker, and so on. While she lives this fairly dull life, Nell also sees and hears some peculiar things — like people following her or her name spoken over the radio. That's about everything that happens in this film — everything. She goes on a date, something happens, then on to the next day — it's uneventful, really. It leads to the last exorcism (maybe) and wraps up with a decent ending — telling you what it reminded me of would spoil it, so I digress.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Film Review: Would You Rather (2012)

Would You Rather (Review)
United States/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"...makes up for most of its shortcomings though some compelling themes, effective direction, great acting, and a strong ending."

A group of people in need of money are invited to play a dastardly game by Shepard Lambrick (Jeffrey Combs), a man with a charitable foundation and sinister intentions...

Would You Rather focuses on Iris (Brittany Snow), who is struggling to care for her ailing brother. Through her brother's doctor, Iris meets Lambrick and is invited to a dinner party game that may whisk away all of her financial problems and her brother's medical issues. Upon arriving at the dinner party, Iris meets the other contestants; unfortunately, we barely get a glimpse at their characters. Anyway, after dinner, Lambrick reveals the rules of the game. Pick one of two fiendish options, like whipping or stabbing someone, or be eliminated. The game becomes more disturbing as it progresses. You'll probably guess who will be the remaining contestants before the last game, but the ending is quite the doozy.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Film Review: Vile (2011)

Vile (Review)
United States/2011
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"I wouldn't say it's a bad film, but it's certainly not great – I'll leave it at decent."

Ten people are kidnapped and forced to endure intense pain to win their freedom...

Vile has a very interesting concept. The film follows a group of ten forgettable people. These people, which include two couples kidnapped by a conniving woman from a gas station, are forced to play a little game — no, not like Jigsaw. Instead, these captives are given 24 hours to collect adrenaline, dopamine, and Oxycontin for their mysterious captors. How do they do that? Well, they must inflict extreme pain on each other (or just have sex, but that's too much). The rest of the narrative is comprised of said torture. The film's final act feels a bit rushed, but the actual ending was satisfying.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Film Review: Tales From The Dark 2 (2013)

Tales From The Dark 2 (Review)
China/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Instant
Netflix Instant: No
Amazon Prime: Yes
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"Some of the endings may be lacking, but it ultimately leaves a strong impression — much stronger than the first film."

A horror anthology featuring three tales: Pillow, Hide and Seek, and Black Umbrella.

Tales From The Dark 2 begins with Pillow. This first short film follow Ching-yi (Fala Chen) and her boyfriend Hong (Gordon Lam). The couple bump heads when Hong finds out Ching-yi has been snooping. After their altercation, Hong vanishes and Ching-yi finds herself incapable of sleeping... until she buys a new pillow that allows her to see Hong in her dreams. Hide and Seek follows a group of friends who visit their old school on the eve of its demolition. They decide to play a game of Master and Ghost, which is similar to hide and seek, but find they may not be alone in the barren school. Black Umbrella follows Uncle Lau (Teddy Robin), a man who seeks to accomplish good deeds in a world filled with wrongdoings. When he crosses paths with a prostitute, Lau finds himself pushed to his limits.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Film Review: Tales From The Dark 1 (2013)

Tales From The Dark 1 (Review)
China/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Amazon Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"One great story, one decent story, and one disappointment..."

Tales From The Dark 1 is a horror anthology featuring three stories: Stolen Goods, A Word in the Palm, and Jing Zhe.

Tales from the Dark 1 does not have a frame story. Stolen Goods follows Kwan Fu-keung (Simon Yam) as he searches to escape poverty. He constantly loses his jobs, which leads him to steal funeral urns to sell back to the families. Unfortunately, he finds himself haunted by ghosts while doing so. A Word in the Palm follows Ho (Tony Leung Ka-fai), a fortune teller with the ability to see ghosts. On the day he plans on quitting his job, he crosses paths with a school girl he suspects of being a malevolent ghost with a haunting past. The film ends with Jing Zhe. This story based on villain-beating, which is essentially cursing people. Chu (Susan Shaw), a fortune telling street vendor, is confronted by an usual woman and directed to beat a group of three men and one woman.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Film Review: The Omen (1976)

The Omen (Review)
United States/1976
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"The effective drama amplifies the terror thanks to the great execution."

An American ambassador, Robert Thorn (Gregory Peck), secretly adopts a child to protect his wife, Katherine (Lee Remick), from dismay after the immediate death of their newborn at the hospital...

The Omen begins with Robert Thorn rushing to the hospital. He's informed of his child's death — a death Katherine does not know about. To protect his wife, Robert agrees to secretly adopt an orphan whose mother died at the same time — without telling his wife, of course. The couple name the child Damien (Harvey Spencer Stephens). All is well through Damien's early years, the film depicts a happy family. Then, the mysterious deaths begin to pile. On top of that, Robert is warned of Damien's true identity by an eccentric priest. As the evidence begins to link, Robert begins to believe his son is the spawn of the Devil. The film leads to a decent ending — I felt some of the final scenes were a bit rushed and the final frame felt a bit off — I was waiting for some glowing eyes, to be honest.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Film Review: The Lazarus Effect (2015)

The Lazarus Effect (Review)
United States/2015 
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"...an interesting story with some solid frights."

A group of medical researchers develop a serum capable of bringing the dead back to life...

The Lazarus Effect follows these medical researchers: Frank (Mark Duplass), his fiancée Zoe (Olivia Wilde), Niko (Donald Glover), Clay (Evan Peters) and camerawoman Eva (Sarah Bolger) — the characters have about as much depth as their names. Anyway, this group creates a serum named Lazarus, which allows them to revive the dead. Their test on a dog is successful, albeit with some noteworthy abnormalities. When they're shutdown and lose all of their research, the group plan one more experiment to prove themselves. Unfortunately, while preparing their experiment, Zoe is electrocuted and dies. Fortunately, they have Lazarus. (Remember?) So, they reluctantly revive Zoe. The procedure is a success, but Zoe returns with bizarre powers beyond the capabilities of the human mind. The rest of the film essentially follows the rest of the crew as they try to get a grip on the situation... while Zoe picks them off. I wasn't a big fan of certain elements of the ending. I won't spoil it, but I bet you can guess how it ends. (Hint: It's a Blumhouse movie.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Film Review: Indisidous (2010)

Insidious (Review)
United States/2010
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray
Netflix Instant: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"This combination of horror creates a versatile ride of terror."

Upon moving into a new home, a family is terrorized by ghastly apparitions...

Insidious follows this family, which consists of: Josh (Patrick Wilson), the “busy” father, Renai (Rose Byrne), the stay-at-home mom working on her music, their son Dalton (Ty Simpkins), and two other children that are quickly swept under the rug. Anyway, Dalton enters the attic where he ends up falling, then sees a figure in the shadows. The next morning, he does not wake up. The doctors cannot explain his coma. Three months later, Dalton is back home and the paranormal events continue — increasing with power with each encounter. I won't spoil much, but eventually the film leads to a more unconventional third act concerning “The Further” — a realm occupied by restless souls. I actually enjoyed this final act and the ending.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Film Review: The House of the Devil (2009)

The House of the Devil (Review)
United States/2009
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"...worth watching for open-minded fans of horror, but it's certainly not for everyone."

College student Samantha Hughes (Jocelin Donahue) takes a babysitting job for Mr. Ulman (Tom Noonan) and his wife. A simple job turns into a tragic night as everything is not what it seems...

The House of the Devil follows Samantha Hughes. In order to move into her new apartment, Samantha finds she has to come up with $300 within a week. So, after a long process, Samantha finds a job as a babysitter for Mr. Ulman and his wife. However, the babysitting job was simply a guise — Ulman actually wants someone to take care of his elderly mother. After some bickering and negotiating, Samantha takes the job. So, she looks around the eerie home, watches television, eats pizza, then... Boom, it ramps up for a gory final act. The final act is about what you'd expect and the ending was interesting.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Film Review: From The Dark (2014)

From The Dark (Review)
Ireland/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"The direction works well in conjuring visual, audio, and atmospheric frights."


A couple on a romantic getaway find themselves hunted by a creature lurking in the dark...

From The Dark starts a bit rough. The film follows Sarah (Niamh Algar) and Mark (Stephen Cromwell) on their romantic getaway in the Irish countryside. The pair discuss their opposing viewpoints on marriage, then become stranded on a muddied path. As night approaches, the couple stumble upon a large countryside house... with a man bleeding from a wound on his neck inside. As they try to aid the ailing man, the pair find themselves hunted by creatures afraid of the night – vampires. The rest of the film is essentially a game of cat-and-mouse, where the humans try outsmart and outwit the vampires. The film leads to a decent ending.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Film Review: Djinn (2013)

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

"...the lack of depth in the story and characters keep this film from being truly great."

Suffering from the death of their infant child, a couple move back to the United Arab Emirates to rebuild their lives near family...

Djinn follows Emirate couple Salama (Razane Jammal) and Khalid (Khalid Laith). After losing their child to sudden infant death syndrome, the couple are persuaded by their counselor to move back to the United Arab Emirates so they can be close to family and so Khalid can seize a new job opportunity. They arrive at their new home, a towering building engulfed by impenetrable fog, and settle in. Khalid goes to work and Salama immediately begins to see and hear bizarre anomalies, which she believes link back to the folklore surrounding the area — the djinn searching for her long lost child. The plot doesn't really buildup well and the climax was weak. The ending felt off and abrupt.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Film Review: The Blood Lands (aka White Settlers) (2014)

The Blood Lands (aka White Settlers) (Review)
United Kingdom/2014 
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"...it is moderately entertaining and somewhat refreshing for the genre."

English couple Sarah (Pollyanna McIntosh) and Ed (Lee Williams) move to a secluded home in Scotland to lead peaceful lives, but find themselves tormented by uninvited guests...

The Blood Lands, or White Settlers, is a fairly basic home invasion film. The story follows Sarah and Ed as they spend their first night in their new home. On that very same night, however, the couple are interrupted by intruders wearing pig masks. When Ed vanishes, Sarah finds herself running through the forest to rescue her husband and escape her pursuers. She'll bump heads with them every now and then, but it's mostly sneaking and hiding. That's really about everything that happens in the plot. It does have some political undertones, which make for an interesting ending, but it's generally the same ol' home invasion flick.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Film Review: The Beast of Xmoor (2014)

The Beast of Xmoor (aka X Moor or Exmoor)
United Kingdom/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"It had a lot of potential, but it's riddled with too many issues."

Filmmaking couple Georgia (Melia Kreiling) and Matt (Nick Blood) team up with veteran animal tracker Fox (Mark Bonnar) to capture footage of a fabled beast lurking in the moor, but find something more sinister...

The Beast of Xmoor is an interesting film. First of all, no, it's not a found-footage horror film or a creature feature as one might expect. The plot follows Georgia and Matt as they travel to the North Devon moor to capture footage of a panther-puma hybrid creature. They team up with Fox, who convinces them he can track the beast. However, when they delve into the forest, they find themselves in a makeshift gravesite – a dumping ground that could not be crafted by a human. Of course, after some arguing, the group reluctantly agree to try and catch the real beast of the exmoor. The plot introduces more characters towards the latter half, but doesn't really remedy some of its deeper problems. The ending was decent, but it did feel undeserved and dragged out – it's a short film, I suppose the filmmakers wanted to reach that sweet “feature-length” runtime.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Film Review: The Woman In Black 2: Angel Of Death (2014)

The Woman In Black 2: Angel Of Death (Review)
United Kingdom/Canada/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"...it almost felt like I was watching a remake."

Amidst World War II, Eve Parkins (Phoebe Fox) joins with a headmistress and her schoolchildren to evacuate the war-torn world for a home in the countryside... The Eel Marsh House.

The Woman In Black 2 is essentially a retread of the original film with a new set of characters. The film primarily follows Eve Parkins, a deputy headmistress, her dull love interest, and a child who does not speak due to his sad experience; the rest of the characters consist of a bunch of cardboard children and the hardheaded headmistress. This group settles in the Eel Marsh House, where things eventually go bump in the night. Eve and some of the unfortunate children begin to see an eerie apparition in the dark. Eventually, death begins to plague the children and Eve rushes to find out why it's happening and how she can stop it. At this point, it's basically retelling the story of the woman in black, which is great, but unnecessary. The film leads to a very underwhelming ending — unlike the original, this ending utterly fails to leave an impression.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Film Review: The Woman In Black (2012)

The Woman In Black (Review)
United Kingdom/Canada/Sweden/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray
Netflix Instant: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"...very atmospheric as it drowns you in a spooky ambiance."

Widowed lawyer Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) is sent to Crythin Gifford to prepare the sale of the Eel Marsh House, a remote home harboring local superstition...

The Woman in Black follows gloomy lawyer Arthur Kipps as he arrives at Crythin Gifford to little hospitality. In fact, his legal contact immediately whisks him away. Persistent, Arthur decides to visit the Eel Marsh House despite warnings from the townsfolk. At the home, he hears peculiar noises, then sees an ominous woman in black, followed by the sound of an accident and a child's cries. Soon thereafter, children in the village begin dying brutal deaths. Arthur begins to piece together the puzzle at the Eel Marsh House and tries to expel the curse of the woman in black. The film leads to a surprisingly somber and effective ending.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Film Reivew: Ringu 2 (1999)

Ringu 2 (Review)
Japan/1999
Format Viewed For Review: DVD
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"I wouldn't say it tops the original, but it is certainly a worthy sequel."

Mai Takano (Miki Nakatani), Ryuki Takayama's assistant, begins searching for clues regarding his sudden death, which lead her to Sadako and the cursed tape...

Ringu 2 is a direct sequel to Ringu — if you need a recap, you can read my review. The film follows Mai Takano as she searches for answers regarding Ryuki's sudden death. With the aid of Reiko Asakawa's coworker, Okazaki (Yurei Yanagi), Mai is led to Sadako's cursed tape. She also unravels Reiko's actions in regards to saving her son, Yoichi, from the very same curse. Meanwhile, a detective and a doctor conduct their own investigations into Sadako's curse and her psychic abilities. The film leads to an interesting climax and a satisfying ending.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Film Review: Ringu (1998)

Ringu (Review)
Japan/1998
Format Viewed For Review: DVD
Netflix Instant: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"The film excels in creating a haunting experience."

Reiko Asakawa (Nanako Matsushima), a TV reporter, investigates a string of mysterious deaths linked to a cursed video tape...
 
Ringu follows single mother and reporter Reiko Asakawa. After the mysterious death of her niece, Tomoko, Asakawa finds her death may be related to a cursed video tape. The tape is said to harbor a curse that kills its viewer seven days after watching it. So, Asakawa decides to track the tape and watch it. Soon after watching, Asakawa receives a phone call warning her of her looming death. Asakawa enlists the help of her ex-husband, Ryuji Takayama (Hiroyuki Sanada) a professor and psychic. Together, they race to find the origin of the tape and stop the curse. The film leads to a haunting ending – it's iconic for a reason.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Film Review: The Relic (1997)

The Relic (Review)
United States/1997
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"...a very memorable and enjoyable film."

An anthropologist for the Museum of Natural History in Chicago accidentally sends a package back to Chicago with sinister content on a merchant ship...

The Relic follows Chicago homicide detective Vincent D'Agosta (Tom Sizemore) when the cargo ship arrives with a missing crew. After some investigation, D'Agosta finds the crew have been viciously slaughtered. As D'Agosta prepares to shrug it off as a drug hit, another savage murder occurs at the Museum of Natural History with similar aspects. D'Agosta comes in contact with Dr. Margo Green (Penelope Ann Miller) – the last museum staff member to have signed-off the night of the grizzly murder. Eventually, the museum prepares for a gala opening, unaware of the true horror lurking in the building. Meanwhile, D'Agosta, Margo, and Margo's mentor begin to piece everything together. The film leads to a good ending.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Film Review: Reincarnation (2005)

Reincarnation (Review)
Japan/2005
Format Viewed For Review: DVD
Netflix Instant: No
Amazon Prime: Yes
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"...manages to leave an impression of terror and dread..."

Actress Nagisa Sugiura (Yūka) suffers from terrifying visions of the past after she lands a role in a film surrounding a notorious murder case...

Reincarnation primarily follows Nagisa Sugiura. Nagisa is an up-and-coming actress who lands a role in a murky film. Said film tells the tale of college professor Norihasa Omori, who killed his children, hotel guests and employees, and himself 35 years ago. As the film begins production, Nagisa has visions of Norihasa's murders, particularly the murder of his daughter, which leads her to believe she is her reincarnation. Simultaneously, Reincarnation tells the story of Yayoi Kinoshita (Karina Nose), a college student suffering from similar visions. It can feel a bit fragmented due to the several characters and the splintering/colliding timelines, but it ultimately closes up well. I wasn't lost at all by the end. The ending is, in fact, haunting. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Film Review: Quarantine (2008)

Quarantine (Review)
United States/2008
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray
Netflix Instant: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"...offers nothing new and actually loses most of its chilling effectiveness in the transition."

Television reporter Angela Vidal (Jennifer Carpenter) and her cameraman find themselves trapped in a quarantined apartment building while shadowing firefighters for a TV special...

Quarantine is a simple film. The story follows Angela and her cameraman as they shadow the fire department. The firefighters receive a routine call and end up in an apartment building where one tenant has been heard shrieking. To their shock, the police and firefighters are savagely attacked by a woman with bizarre symptoms. Before they can escape the building for help, the TV crew, the remaining police officer and firefighter, and the tenants are quarantined without explanation. They soon find they've been trapped with a deadly and infectious disease. It all leads to a flawed ending.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Film Review: Pulse (aka Kairo) (2001)

Pulse (aka Kairo) (Review)
Japan/2001
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"...boasts some of the most terrifying visuals and sounds I've ever seen in a horror movie."

After a string of bizarre, unexpected suicides, two groups of friends find the deaths are linked to an internet webcam...

Pulse tells two stories at once. The first story follows Kudo Michi (Kumiko Aso) and her friends at a plant company. Taguchi, Michi's peer, has been missing for days working on a computer disk. Worried about his absence, Michi visits his home and finds him in a reclusive, peculiar state — which leads to his suicide on the very same visit. The second story follows Ryosuke (Haruhiko Kato), a college student who has recently connected to the internet. Ryosuke stumbles upon a ghostly website with nightmarish images. Ryosuke seeks the help of Harue Karasawa (Koyuki), a computer science graduate student. Like Michi, Ryosuke and Harue begin to experience the phantom invasion. Eventually both stories interconnect and lead to a satisfying conclusion.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Film Review: Inner Demons (2014)

Inner Demons (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"...offers an interesting concept, a refreshing setting, and a good cast."

A teenage drug addict's problem may be hiding a more sinister inner demon...

Inner Demons follows a film crew as they document teenage drug addict Carson Morris (Lara Vosburgh) under the guise of an educational program. In reality, the crew are filming a reality rehab show and have planned an intervention. Carson agrees to the terms and enters rehabs, but warns that she may be possessed — an idea that's scoffed at by everyone except Jason (Morgan McClellan), a sympathetic cameraman. Jason, the hero in shining armor, goes to great lengths to help Carson. The film leads to what you'd expect from a possession film — an exorcism. The exorcism is mediocre and, like many horror films, it reverts to a slasher. A part of the ending was at least surprising, though.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Film Review: Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1996)

Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers
United States/1996
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"...settles for a run-of-the-mill slasher."

On the eve of Halloween, a kidnapped and impregnated Jamie Lloyd (J.C. Brandy) gives birth to a baby boy while imprisoned by a mysterious group. When a nurse frees Jamie and her child, Michael (George P. Wilbur) begins his savage warpath...

Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers begins with quite a bit to ingest — especially for those not fully invested in the series. Fortunately (and perhaps unfortunately), the film slows down and becomes more traditional after the introduction. The film mostly follows Kara Strode (Marianne Hagan) and her son, who live in Myers' former residence; Tommy Doyle (Paul Rudd), who lives across the street from Kara and has a slight obsession with Myers; and, good old Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence), who returns to his work as Myers returns to his. Although it had plenty of characters, the story essentially boils down to Michael Myers killing everyone to find his newborn nephew. That's it. After a gory set of kills, the film leads to a disappointing climax and an abrupt, unfulfilling ending.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Film Review: Entity (2012)

Entity (Review)
United Kingdom/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"It starts off very promising, but that promise is broken within minutes."

A film crew for the television show Darkest Secrets enter a remote Siberian forest where 34 unidentified people were found murdered....

Entity follows a film crew compromised of Kate (Charlotte Riley), the host, Ruth (Dervla Kirwan), the psychic, Yuri, a Russian author, and two cameramen. This underdeveloped group travel into the forest and immediately find the grave site. After her visions, Kate feels an ominous power beyond the horizon, then leads the group to an industrialized facility. At the facility, the group begin to experience bizarre supernatural events. Eventually, they find the real reason they've been led to the facility. It leads exactly where you expect it to go. The ending is very generic and, like the rest of the film, it drags its feet to the finish line.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Film Review: Dark Water (2002)

Dark Water (Review)
Japan/2002
Format Viewed For Review: DVD
Netflix Instant: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"Rarely does a horror film leave an impact like Dark Water."

In the midst of a divorce and custody battle, Yoshimi Matsubara (Hitomi Kuroki) moves into a tumbledown apartment with her daughter, Ikuko (Rio Kanno), where the pair find an ominous presence lurking...

Dark Water is a horror-drama film. The plot primarily follows Yoshimi and Ikuko as they settle into their new home – moving in, signing up for kindergarten, applying for a job, and so on. Of course, it's never that easy or normal. Yoshimi soon begins to notice a water stain on the ceiling of her bedroom, as well a child's red bag. As hard as she attempts to ignore the stain, it continues to grow; as many times as she disposes the child's bag, it continues to return. On top of that, Yoshimi begins to see an eerie young girl traversing the ominous apartment complex. Eventually, the pieces come together for a grizzly reveal. The ending paints a poignant portrait of tragedy – it leaves a haunting impression.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Film Review: Area 51 (2015)

Area 51 (Review)
United States/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"The concept is oozing with uniqueness, but, for whatever reason, Peli opts for the same old tricks."

Friends Reid (Reid Warner), Darren (Darrin Bragg), Ben (Ben Rovner) decide to infiltrate Area 51...

Area 51 is a very simple film. The story begins with a mockumentary covering the sudden disappearances of Reid, Darren, and Ben. It then proceeds to the same old home videos of our trio of friends — they go to a party, act like douchebags, then something happens. Fast forward three months and these friends are now planning their infiltration of Area 51. Nothing really happens in this drawn out segment, which consists of at least two-thirds of the film, but there are some interesting tidbits here and there. The film kicks it up a notch for the final act, where stuff actually happens, but it is also hindered by the same old flaws — an annoying shaky cam, a malfunctioning camera, and a predictably abrupt ending. I did enjoy the setting and the technology, though, and, aside from the annoying technical aspects, the actual ending was okay.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Film Review: Archivo 253 (aka File 253) (2015)

Archivo 253 (aka File 253)
Mexico/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"Archivo 253's fatal errors are embedded in the DNA of the film..."

A group of friends enter an abandoned asylum in hopes of finding evidence of the paranormal...

Archivo 253 is another very simple found-footage horror film. The movie follows Diego (Michel Chauvet), the foolish leader, Isabella (Anna Cetti), Diego's girlfriend, Mateo (Mario Escalante), the audio expert, and Charly (Juan Luis Tovar), the cameraman. These four hollow characters break into an abandoned asylum with a haunting history – electrotherapy, exorcisms, and such. Anyway, they do exactly what you expect them to do: they stumble about in the darkness, try to talk to the restless spirits, maybe agitate a few, then run around like madmen at the end. The ending was very abrupt and unsatisfying – I actually had to rewind the movie to see if I missed anything.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

CinematicAddiction's 31 Days of Halloween 2015!

It's that time of the year again... It's time to celebrate 31 Days of Halloween! Starting October 1st, CinematicAddiction will be updated with one horror movie review every day until Halloween — 31 reviews in 31 days. This is our third consecutive year celebrating 31 Days of Halloween on CinematicAddiction.com with a plethora of movie reviews and I hope I can deliver — I'm working hard already on setting the schedule.

The marathon begins with found-footage horror movie Archivo 253 on October 1st. Aside from found-footage, the marathon will also include traditional horror classics, contemporary horror, sleeper hits, foreign horror, and much more. I'm trying to find a great balance of horror for this year's celebration. I'd love to solely watch the surefire classics, but I want to add pinch of variety, so I'll likely be delving into some uncharted territory — those movies no one else wants to watch.

Anyway, thanks for reading. You can keep up with the marathon by bookmarking this page or following me on Twitter @Jonny_Athan. I'll be sharing the reviews as often as possible. I hope you enjoy the season and watch plenty of horror films!

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Film Review: Exeter (2015)

Exeter (Review)
United States/2015 
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...a grungy and cliche slasher veiled in a possession theme."

After a party at an abandoned psychiatric ward, a group of friends unwittingly summon something sinister during the after-party...

Exeter primarily follows Patrick (Kelly Blatz), a church volunteer who works at the ward, and Reign (Brittany Curran), a girl Patrick meets during the party. The pair are joined by Patrick's brother, Rory, and a bunch of other hollow characters. While indulging in their drugs, the pair perform an little experiment on Rory, inadvertently causing him to show symptoms of possession. The group soon find themselves locked in the psychiatric hospital, where they must perform their own exorcism. The problem, of course, spirals out of control. It leads to a predictable ending with plenty of exposition, but it's not all bad.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Film Review: Mystic River (2003)

Mystic River (Review)
United States/2003
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray
Netflix Instant: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...all of the pieces seamlessly blend together for a truly haunting experience."

In 1975, the lives of three children, Jimmy, Sean, and Dave, are forever changed when a stranger orders Dave to enter his car...

Mystic River continues in modern times. The children have grown up estranged, but still live in the same neighborhood and occasionally speak. Jimmy (Sean Penn) is an ex-convict running a liquor store, Dave (Tim Robbins) is an everyday blue-collar worker, and Sean (Kevin Bacon) is a detective with the state police. Their lives collide when Jimmy's 19-year-old daughter, Katie, is found brutally murdered. Jimmy decides to conduct his own street investigation, Dave attempts to hide his mysterious and bloody actions from the night in question, and Sean begins to link the pieces. The film is executed very well. As a mystery, it pieces together perfectly for a fantastic, chilling ending.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Film Review: Rambo: First Blood (1982)

Rambo: First Blood (Review)
United States/1982
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...brimming with action coated in a thrilling sense of adventure."

After learning of the death of a comrade, Vietnam War veteran John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) finds himself in the crosshairs of a bitter sheriff...

Rambo: First Blood is a rather simple film. The story follows our titular character, John Rambo — a scarred but tranquil war veteran looking to get by. When he's harassed by Sheriff Will Teasle (Brian Dennehy) and the authorities of this quiet town, Rambo loses control. His war flashbacks cause him to pummel the police and escape into the woods. Fortunately, Rambo is special forces and a survival expert, so he has the upper hand — something Teasle refuses to admit. What ensues is an action-packed game of cat-and-mouse. I liked the climax of the film and Rambo's final speech adds some needed character, but the ending was a bit abrupt.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Film Review: Cop Land (1997)

Cop Land (Review)
United States/1997
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...a tense, exciting, and gritty experience."

The small town of Garrison, New Jersey, located across the Hudson River, is home to a number of NYPD officers. All is well until the local sheriff, Freddy Heflin (Sylvester Stallone), begins to witness the corruption...

Cop Land primarily follows Sheriff Freddy Heflin and the corrupt NYPD officers living in Garrison. Freddy is a soft-spoken, aspiring NYPD officer who never accomplished his dreams due to being partially deaf. When NYPD officer Murray "Superboy" Babitch (Michael Rapaport) kills two black teens, Lt. Ray Donlan (Harvey Keitel), a Garrison resident, smuggles Babitch out of town and fakes his suicide. Eventually, Freddy catches a whiff of the corruption. Freddy soon finds himself entrenched in the corruption when Internal Affairs investigator Moe Tilden (Robert De Niro) further enlightens him. Freddy finds himself in a conundrum — face Ray and the corrupt officers he once admired in a violent clash or look away and play along with the corruption. Cop Land leads to a satisfying climax and ending.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Film Review: King of Beggars (1992)

King of Beggars (Review)
China/1992
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"The action was exciting, the drama was decent, and the humor was, well, humorous."

The story of So Chan (Stephen Chow), the king of beggars during the Qing Dynasty...

King of Beggars follows the lazy and spoiled son of a general in Canton — So Chan. Although illiterate and crass, Chan excels in martial arts. While visiting a brothel, Chan falls in love with a prostitute, Yu-shang (Sharla Cheung). In order to win her services, Chan battles with Chiu, a high-ranking government official. Eventually, Chan is told he'll have to become the King of Martial Arts in order to win Yu-shang's hand in marriage. Unfortunately, his plans snowball out of control and Chan is left as a beggar. Chan then has to find himself to defeat Chiu. It gets a bit formulaic during the latter half, but it does lead to an action-packed climax and satisfying ending.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Film Review: Ejecta (2014)

Ejecta (Review)
Canada/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"It simply doesn't do anything with its 80 minute runtime."

William Cassidy (Julian Richings) lives in seclusion after an extraterrestrial experience 39 years ago. As a solar event looms, William invites Joe Sullivan (Adam Seybold), a conspiracy blogger and filmmaker, to his humble abode...

Ejecta frequently jumps from past to present. In the present, William has been captured and restrained in a heavily-guarded government facility. He's interrogated about the previous 12 hours. So, the film constantly jumps back as the past is slowly unraveled. The past boils down to William and Joe stumbling upon an extraterrestrial event — to avoid major spoilers. There really isn't much to say about the plot. In fact, I've already told you everything you need to know. It has some subtleties, but most of the narrative is hollow. The ending was also unsatisfying; it kept dragging on and on, always missing a suitable opportunity to end.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Film Review: Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

Kung Fu Hustle (Review)
China/2004
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...one of the most entertaining movies you'll ever watch."

In 1930s Shanghai, the Axe Gang reigns supreme; only the poorest neighborhoods are spared by the rampant gangs. One day, two troublemaking impersonators of the Axe Gang stumble into Pig Sty Alley, where their plan snowballs out of control...

Kung Fu Hustle follows the Pig Sty Alley community, the ruthless Axe Gang, and Sing (Stephen Chow). Sing and his pal Bone are losers scamming people into believing they're part of the Axe Gang. When Sing and Bone's plans fall apart due to the very strong locals, Sing manages to incidentally lure the real Axe Gang to Pig Sty Alley. Unfortunately for the thugs, Pig Sty Alley has several kung fu masters that easily defend the community. From there on, Pig Sty Alley discuss how they'll defend themselves — kicking out the kung fu masters and avoiding conflict; the Axe Gang schemes on how they'll take their vengeance — hire the coldest killers; and, finally, Sing plans on joining the Axe Gang, but he has to kill someone first. All of these dilemmas leads to an epic climax and great ending.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Film Review: Child of God (2013)

Child of God (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"Scott Haze's stellar performance and the handful of compelling scenes can't remedy the glaring issues within the narrative and direction."

After losing his father and, in turn, his property, Lester Ballard (Scott Haze) descends into madness...

Child of God follows Lester Ballard. Ballard is a troubled man with violent and deviant tendencies. After losing everything, Ballard moves into a vacant home in the forest. He runs into some trouble with the law, then eventually falls in love with a corpse. Upon losing more of his possessions, Ballard delves deeper into his madness and deeper into the forest. That's about as far as I can go without spoiling anything else — and that's more than two-thirds of the movie. It leads to a very bloody and shocking climax. The ending, however, drags its feet and feels far too long.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Film Review: CJ7 (2008)

CJ7 (Review)
China/2008
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...undeniably charming and fun."

Chow Ti (Stephen Chow) is a poor but hardworking construction worker saving money to continue sending his son, Dicky (Xu Jiao), to private school...

CJ7 follows Ti and Dicky. One day while window shopping, Dicky pleas for a CJ1 — a popular robotic dog engineered in collaboration across several countries. Unfortunately, Ti can't afford it. Instead, Ti brings Dicky a bizarre green ball he scavenged from a dump — unaware of its true identity. Eventually, Dicky unlocks the green ball unleashing a dog-like alien he calls "CJ7". Dicky and CJ7 get into their messy mishaps — including a lot of alien feces. Generally, the film follows a very familiar path. A spat with CJ7, it's resolved, a spat between father and son, and so on. It goes exactly where you're expecting, but it is still fairly effective thanks to the charm and performances. The ending is satisfying enough.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Film Review: From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (1999)

From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money (Review)
United States/1999
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...some severe flaws, but I left the film moderately entertained."

Upon the escape of his crime partner, Buck (Robert Patrick) gathers a group of criminals for a bank job in Mexico...

From Dusk Till Dawn 2: Texas Blood Money is a very straightforward horror-crime film. The story follows Buck as he gathers this generic crew. The four arrive at Mexico and spend time in a hotel criticizing porno while they wait for Luther (Duane Whitaker) to arrive — our escapee. Luther runs into a bat, really a vampire, and finds himself a vampire after the encounter. From there on, Luther begins to convert his partners one-by-one while initiating the bank job at night. Buck, being a little more perceptive, catches onto the ill-fitted pieces. The film leads to an action-packed climax and decent ending.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Film Review: The God of Cookery (1996)

The God of Cookery (Review)
China/1996
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...a film that will make you laugh until you're in tears..."

When Stephen Chow (played by Stephen Chow), the self-proclaimed God of Cookery, is exposed as a fraud, Chow must learn the craft to reclaim the title...

The God of Cookery follows Stephen Chow — an egotistical celebrity chef who actually knows very little about cooking. Chow is brought down by his conspiring underling, Bull Tong (Vincent Kuk), and his own business partner. When he spirals downward, Chow finds some aid and hospitality in a food cart owner named Turkey (Karen Mok). With Turkey and her quirky gang of misfits, Chow begins his unpredictable rise to the top. Of course, he faces some opposition from Tong and his former partners, which leads to some very peculiar character development. The film leads to an epic cook-off and a bizarre but satisfying ending. It's certainly out there, but I really enjoyed it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Film Review: Undisputed (2002)

Undisputed (Review)
United States/2002
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...a well-balanced and well-paced film."

The heavyweight champion of the world, George "Iceman" Chambers (Ving Rhames), is convicted of rape and sent to a prison called Sweetwater, where another champ reigns supreme...
 
Undisputed follows Iceman in this prison located in the Mojave Desert. Egotistical and powerful, Iceman causes a ruckus and makes it clear — he's not to be messed with. He immediately bumps heads with the prison's undisputed champ, Monroe Hutchens (Wesley Snipes). Hutchens, however, is named the aggressor and sent to solitary confinement until his inevitable transfer. Fortunately, a powerful mob boss and boxing aficionado lurks in the prison and sets up a climactic fight between Monroe and the Iceman. As one would expect, the film leads to an extended training montage and a strong boxing finale. The film does feel like it backtracks towards the end, making the odds feel worthless, but the ending is satisfying enough.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Film Review: King of Comedy (1999)

King of Comedy (Review)
China/1999
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...plenty of laugh-out-loud moments throughout this 90-minute feature..."

Wan Tin-Sau (Stephen Chow) deeply believes in the art of acting and his skill, but can't seem to get out of his roles as an extra...

King of Comedy follows Tin-Sau, an aspiring actor playing small roles as an extra. Whenever an opportunity arises for a grander role, he seems to fumble due to his clumsiness or untamable ambition. Regardless, Tin-Sau is persistent. As he waits for his big break, Tin-Sau meets Piu-Piu (Cecilia Cheung), a hostess with a sassy personality. Tin-Sau begins to teach Piu-Piu how to act in order to get more from her clients — which leads to some sparks of romance in their relationship. The film leads to a satisfying climax and ending.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Film Review: Changing Lanes (2002)

Changing Lanes (Review)
United States/2002
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...an effective drama with superb thriller elements."

A New York attorney and an insurance salesman bump heads after a car accident causes their lives to spiral out of control...

Changing Lanes follows Gavin Banek (Ben Affleck) and Doyle Gipson (Samuel L. Jackson). Gavin is an attorney rushing to file a power of appointment, which proves his law firm legally controls a deceased philanthropist's foundation. While recklessly changing lanes in his hurry, Banek causes an accident with Doyle. Banek leaves in a rush, conveniently forgetting his file and leaving Doyle stranded. Unfortunately, Doyle was also headed to court for a divorce hearing, which doesn't go well due to his tardiness. Doyle, however, finds leverage in Banek's file. The pair descend into chaos as they ruthlessly attack one another. The film leads to a decent conclusion; nothing extraordinary or unforgettable, but satisfying and even touching.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Film Review: Out of the Dark (1995)

Out of the Dark (Review)
China/1995
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"My face actually hurts from how much I laughed and smiled."

When spirits haunt an apartment building, Leo (Stephen Chow), an institutionalized ghostbuster, steps in to exorcise the haunting...

Out of the Dark follows Leo and his helpful plant, Ah Kwan (Karen Mok), an apartment tenant drawn to Leo, and the building's security staff. Of course, in order to really exorcise the building of malevolent spirits, Leo must train his allies in the complex art of ghostbusting. This includes conquering your fears, like the handling of timed explosives, and teaching the basic knowledge of ghosts. (Did you know ghosts are afraid of cows?) And, of course, all of this training leads up to the actual execution — absolute hilarity. The film ends on a high note — it keeps its momentum up by keeping it simple yet effective.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Film Review: Hellraiser: Revelations (2011)

Hellraiser: Revelations (Review)
United States/2011
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...riddled with crippling issues and it never rebounds."

Doucehbags Steven Craven (Nick Eversman) and Nico Bradley (Jay Gillespie) stumble upon a strange puzzle box while visiting Tijuana for some misadventures...

Hellraiser: Revelations hops between present and past. In the past, Steven and Nico traveled to Tijuana for some sexual misadventures. Nico gets into some trouble when his "date" turns up dead while Steven slept. They gloss over that issue and eventually find themselves in a murky strip club. A man gives them the puzzle box promising the ultimate pain and, of course, Nico opens it and unleashes the Cenobites. Fast forward to the present, one year after these events, Steven and Nico have gone missing. The Craven and Bradley families join for a dinner and eventually discuss the bizarre disappearances. Steven miraculously stumbles back and the family begin to piece together the mystery. The ending aimed for something very dark, but it really wasn't satisfying; it feels like it comes out of nowhere and doesn't really leave an impact.