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.