Friday, February 27, 2015

Film Review: Dredd (2012)

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

"There isn't a single second of boredom here."

In the near future, the United States is a dystopian wasteland riddled with violent crime. Judges act as judge, jury, and executioner.

Dredd follows Judge Dredd (Karl Urban) and his psychic rookie, Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), as they enter a 200-story apartment building on a routine call. There, the pair stumble upon a drug operation selling a new drug called "Slow Mo," which slows down the user's perception of time to a mere 1%. When they attempt to arrest a drug dealer for interrogation, resident drug lord Ma-ma (Lena Headey) locks down the building and calls on her minions to slaughter the Judges. So, Dredd and Anderson attempt to survive and move up the building full of hostiles. The ultra-gory onslaught continues up to the satisfying ending.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Film Review: Friday The 13th Part 2 (1981)

Friday the 13th Part 2 (Review)
United States/1981
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...it even does some things better than the original."

A murderer stalks camp counselors at a camp near Camp Crystal Lake...

Friday the 13th Part 2 is more of the same. The film takes place five years after the events of Friday the 13th. Fresh counselors are arriving at a training camp. They bicker and have fun. While most of the counselors hit the bar for one last night in town, a select few stay at the camp. These counselors are picked off by a masked killer. Like the original, this film leads to a cat-and-mouse climax. I liked this ending a bit more, though.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Film Review: Friday The 13th (1980)

Friday The 13th (Review)
United States/1980
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...some savage death scenes, moderate suspense and tension..."

In 1958, two camp counselors were slaughtered by an unknown assailant. Twenty years later, the camp is set to reopen...

Friday The 13th follows a new group of young camp counselors as they prepare Camp Crystal Lake for its grand reopening. The counselors learn about the camp's infamous past, which includes the 1958 murders and the unfortunate drowning of a young boy in 1957. Slowly but surely, the counselors are attacked by an unknown assailant -- brutally picked off one-by-one. That's about it, really. Some messing around with the counselors, a gory death scene, more games, a death scene, and so on. Friday The 13th leads to a tense game of hide-and-seek (cat-and-mouse?) for satisfying climax and ending.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Film Review: The Last House on Cemetery Lane (2015)

The Last House on Cemetery Lane (Review)
United Kingdom/2015
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Streaming
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"The severe lack of horror is the most disappointing aspect of the film."

Screenwriter John Davies (Lee Bane) moves to an old manor to focus on his writing, but finds himself tormented by the home's restless spirits...

The Last House on Cemetery Lane is a film with an eerily familiar story. A writer struggling with writer's block moves into a large, secluded home. There's a blind woman who lives on the third floor of the home, but she doesn't come out, so he practically has the house all to himself. Eventually, he meets his neighbor, Cassie (Georgina Blackledge), and they develop a relationship. Things go bump in the night, like a record player playing at night or a painting falling over, and... that's about it. The Last House on Cemetery Lane leads to an interesting but predictable ending.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Film Review: Joe (2013)

Joe (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"It's ultimately very effective."

Joe (Nicolas Cage), a foreman with a troubled past, takes a young man, Gary (Tye Sheridan), under his wing.

Joe follows the titular character as he develops a father-like relationship with Gary. Gary is a young drifter with an alcoholic and abusive father, Wade (Gary Poulter). However, Gary is a hard-working optimist who will do anything to support his family. Joe is a hard-working man with inner-demons. The bulk of the film follows Joe and Gary as they interact -- very refreshing character development. The ending, however, felt rushed and disappointing. Suddenly, a conflict arises and resolves within minutes -- I didn't like this approach.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Film Review: The Village (2004)

The Village (Review)
United States/2004
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...has its fair share of flaws, but it's mostly an enjoyable experience."

The inhabitants of a secluded village are tormented by creatures that roam the surrounding woods.

The Village follows a set of characters in this secluded village. First up, a young man, Lucius Hunt (Joaquin Phoenix), wishes to travel into the forbidden woods to reach other towns for medicine. The elders don't allow it. While he continues to push his idea, Luscious develops his romance with a blind woman, Ivy Elizabeth Walker (Bryce Dallas Howard). I felt the romance in the plot was ineffective for the most part. Anyway, as you'd expect from a M. Night Shyamalan story, the film leads to a surprising ending. I thought it was interesting, but unfulfilling - too much exposition, I don't like how M. Night Shyamalan himself sat and explained it.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Film Review: Scary Movie 5 (2013)

Scary Movie 5 (Review)
United States/2013
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...worst of all, it's not funny."

Charlie Sheen dies and his kids are adopted by Jody (Ashley Tisdale) and Dan Sanders (Simon Rex). Then, a bunch of random stuff happens.

Scary Movie 5 is a parody of a few horror films and a lot of popular films from other genres. Off the top of my head, Scary Movie 5 spoofs Evil Dead, Black Swan, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Paranormal Activity, Inception and others. This story follows Jody and Dan in what is primarily a spoof of Mama... To be honest, I don't think there was much of a story here. I mean, I feel like it's unfair to me to have to write a plot overview for this film. Yes, I know, I'm reviewing the film, but it's difficult. Here's the plot: nonsense. It's a scene or two from other films that the writer tried to convert into comedy scenes. That's it.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Film Review: You're Next (2011)

You're Next (Review)
United States/2011
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...I was utterly disappointed by this tiresome tread through cliché-ville."

Crispian (A.J. Bowen) brings his girlfriend, Erin (Sharni Vinson), to meet his rich parents and bickering siblings during a family reunion at their vacation home in the woods...

Stop me if you've heard this one before: A secluded home in the woods, not a neighbor in sight. A cast of useless characters, except for the strong female lead. A group of incompetent intruders who wear silly masks. A lot of moments of dead silence and slow movements to create a fabricated sense of suspense. Well, that's You're Next in a nutshell. Sure, the latter half of the film features some refreshing “fight back” spunk, but most of the film is riddled in clichés and plot contrivances. I mean, why do villains always recite their master plans – keep it to yourself, I don't need the convenient exposition! Eventually, You're Next ends with a bloody yet predictable finale.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Film Review: Chernobyl Diaries (2012)

Chernobyl Diaries (Review)
United States/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"Despite the flawed story and characters, I still found myself enjoying the trip."

A group participates in extreme tourism when they visit a town shadowing the infamous Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant...

Chernobyl Diaries is a straightforward horror film. It begins with a generic tourism montage, then it introduces its shallow characters. Conveniently, one is planning to propose soon -- I bet you can't guess where that's heading. (sarcasm) So, this group decides to visit this small town near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant for a brief tour. Of course, everything goes wrong, partly due to idiotic characters decisions, and a fight for survival and escape ensues. It leads to an odd ending.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Film Review: Borderland (2007)

Borderland (Review)
United States/2007
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"...a hidden gem for fans of this sub-genre of horror."

Three college students, Ed (Brian Presley), Henry (Jake Muxworthy) and Phil (Rider Strong), take a trip to Mexico, but find themselves trapped after a kidnapping...

Borderland is a surprisingly character and story focused horror film. The story begins with a grizzly intro to a vicious cult in Mexico. Fast forward a year, Ed, Henry, and Phil head out to Mexico for a much-needed break. Ed finds love in a bartender, Phil falls for a prostitute, and Henry continues his carefree life. All is well until Phil is kidnapped. Ed and Henry investigate until they cross paths with cult members and realize they may be over their heads. It boils down to a very bloody climax and ending.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Film Review: Dark Ride (2006)

Dark Ride (Review)
United States/2006
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"If you like gory kills with light suspense, this might be a ride worth taking."

Twin girls enter an ominous Dark Ride only to be brutally slaughtered. A decade later, a group of college students visit the attraction during Spring Break...

Dark Ride is a cliché horror film. The story follows a group of generic douchebags characters as they depart for Spring Break. After they stop for gasoline, they're convinced to visit a Dark Ride attraction that is set to re-open in three days – the Dark Ride attraction from the introduction. So, they break into the attraction, tinker with the setting, smoke weed, take shrooms, and so on – what you'd expect from this cast of characters. Eventually, they become the target of a masked killer with brutal methods of execution. It leads to a very predictable ending.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Film Review: Devil (2010)

Devil (Review)
United States/2010
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...a very entertaining, immersive, and well-paced flick..."

Detective Bowden (Chris Messina) races to rescue five strangers trapped on an elevator, suspecting one may be the Devil...

Devil is a straightforward horror-thriller. The film mainly follows the five strangers on the stuck elevator. The strangers consist of a salesman, a temp security guard, a manipulative woman, a war veteran, and an elderly woman. When the manipulative woman is injured, Detective Bowden takes the case. While detectives and staff watch the elevator patrons from a security camera, the strangers start to die one-by-one when the lights go off. The tension continues to escalate as a strong sense of paranoia is developed within the elevator. It leads to an interesting climax and decent ending.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Film Review: Death Sentence (2007)

Death Sentence (Review)
United States/2007
Format Viewed For Review: Blu-ray (German)
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...but it is very entertaining, wildly suspenseful, and masterfully directed."

When his son is killed for a gang initiation, Nick Hume (Kevin Bacon) takes the law into his own hands...

Death Sentence is a traditional revenge thriller. It often tries to dig deeper into the psychology, but it ends up more of an action-thriller -- and that's a-ok. The story begins with some family home videos. Although not the best substitute for character development, it ends up working effectively. Soon thereafter, Nick's son is slain, and he won't let the inept justice system let him die in vain. So, he kills his son's murderer, which unleashes a chain reaction of vengeance. I won't spoil the rest, because there are a few surprises here and there. I will say, the climax is superb and the ending is good.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Film Review: The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014)

The Town That Dreaded Sundown (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes

"It's really nothing new, but it works out well enough."

Decades after a serial killer dubbed The Phantom tormented the streets of Texarkana, a violent murder spree shakes the city once again...

The Town That Dreaded Sundown is a meta-sequel to a film with the same title. This re-imagining follows teenager Jami Lerner (Addison Timlin) after she ditches the annual showing of The Town That Dreaded Sundown in Texarkana with her date. Her date is brutally slaughtered, but The Phantom allows her to live under one condition: make them remember. So, Jami investigates The Phantom's original crimes to identify the new murderer. Meanwhile, Texas Ranger Morales (Anthony Anderson) arrives for the formal investigation. The Phantom continues his murderous rampage, Jami investigates, Morales investigates, and so on. Not a bad formula. The ending, however, was immensely disappointing -- way overdone and unsatisfying.