Friday, April 28, 2017

Film Review: The Windmill (2016)

The Windmill (aka The Windmill Massacre) (Review)
Netherlands/2016
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...one of the better slashers of the 21st century."

A group of people become stranded near a windmill during a bus tour of Holland's famous windmills. While searching for help, the tourists are killed one-by-one...

The Windmill is an interesting slasher. The plot follows Abe, the tour guide and bus driver, and a group of tourists: Jennifer (Charlotte Beaumont), an Australian woman working in Amsterdam, Nicholas, a doctor, Ruby, a photographer taking pictures of windmills, Takashi, a tourist looking to spread his grandmother's ashes, Jackson, a soldier running away from trouble, and Douglas and Curt, a father-son pair who are traveling together. When their bus breaks down in the middle of nowhere, the group go searching for help at a nearby windmill. However, their plans are derailed when they're attacked by a scythe-wielding psychopath. They seek shelter in what appears to be an abandoned church. While there, they experience hallucinations that relate to the sins of their pasts. So, yes, this is more of a supernatural slasher. It leads to a predictable ending in terms of plot, but I was surprised by some other 'things.'

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Film Review: The Good Son (1993)

The Good Son (Review)
United States/1993
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"If you like 'evil child'-type of movies, this is a must-watch."

After his mother's death, 12-year-old Mark Evans (Elijah Wood) is sent to stay with his uncle and aunt, where he meets his cousin of the same age—a boy with violent tendencies.

The Good Son is a chilling film. The plot begins with Mark losing his mother—don't worry, that's not a spoiler. Since his father has to work, Mark is sent to live with his uncle and aunt for a few weeks. At their house, he meets his cousins: Henry Evans (Macaulay Culkin) and Connie. Mark immediately becomes friends with Henry. They fight, they argue, but they like each other. Well, at least until Henry begins showcasing his disturbing behavior. As Henry's behavior grows increasingly violent, Mark becomes convinces that Henry wants to hurt his family—but no one will believe him. It leads to a compelling, albeit predictable, ending. I don’t mean the actual ending is predictable, but you kind of know where it's heading.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Film Review: Fear Clinic (2014)

Fear Clinic (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Shudder
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"Fear Clinic is a disappointing film. For everything it does right, it does something wrong."

Dr. Andover (Robert Englund) has created a machine that allows him to cure his patients' phobias by inducing and controlling hallucinations, but playing God leads to some severe issues.

Fear Clinic is an interesting film. I was naturally drawn to the concept of this movie. Unfortunately, the execution is mediocre, especially when it comes to storytelling. The plot begins with one of Andover's procedures. The procedure ends in tragedy, so he closes his clinic. Fast forward one year and now Sara (Fiona Dourif), a former patient, arrives at the clinic because she's suffering from 'fear aftershocks.' To her dismay, Andover has become a recluse due to the previous incident. Anyway, more of Andover's former patients arrive, sharing similar side-effects to Sara. Also, it's not obvious in the beginning, but it turns out all of the patients suffer from PTSD after surviving a shooting. It's supposed to be obvious from the beginning, but, like I said, the storytelling is mediocre, so it's not as clear as it should be. It leads to a bizarre climax and underwhelming ending.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Film Review: Angst (1983)

Angst (Review)
Austria/1983
Format Viewed For Review: Shudder
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"I've reviewed hundreds of horror movies on this website and Angst is one of the most disturbing films I've ever watched."

After he's released from prison, a disturbed man relieves his sadistic urges on a small family living in a secluded home.

Angst is a simple but effective film. The plot follows a nameless psychopath (Erwin Leder), who shot an elderly woman and served ten years for his crime. Although he admitted to having little recollection of the murder and appears to be unhinged, the psychopath is not treated for his perversions. Instead, he's released into the general public after serving his time. Of course, being a psychopath and all, it's only a matter of time before he begins falling to his sadistic urges. He finds a seemingly abandoned house, which seems perfect for his lifestyle. However, when he discovers it's not abandoned, he begins harming the residents of the home. During his fits of violence, the psychopath's story is explained through his narration—you learn quite a bit about him. It leads to a bloody climax and a great ending.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Film Review: Frontier(s) (2007)

Frontier(s) (Review)
France/2007
Format Viewed For Review: Shudder
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"If you have the stomach for it, this is a must-watch for horror fans."

During the violent aftermath of a controversial election, a group of robbers flee Paris and find refuge in a secluded hostel—which is operated by a family of neo-Nazis...

Frontier(s) follows a gang of robbers: Alex, Tom, Farid, Yasmine (Karina Testa), and her brother Sami. After a far-right candidate wins the presidency in France, violent riots break out in the streets. So, this gang seizes the opportunity and commits a robbery. Unfortunately, Sami's brother is shot, which changes their plans. Tom and Farid flee Paris with the money and agree to meet the rest of the gang at a hostel; meanwhile, Alex and Yasmine take Sami to the hospital. Of course, this only means Tom and Farid meet the hostel owners before their partners in crime. One thing leads to another, and soon everyone is fighting to survive in this hostel. There's much more to the story, including a wide cast of villains, but I'd rather not spoil anything else. It leads to a bloody climax and good ending.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Film Review: Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Nocturnal Animals (Review)
United States/2016
Format Viewed For Review: FandangoNow
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"It is a beautiful, disturbing, and suspenseful thriller."

A wealthy art gallery owner is haunted by her past when her ex-husband sends her his new novel—a dark and disturbing tale of vengeance...

Watching Nocturnal Animals is almost like watching two films at the same time—the real world and the fictional world. In the real world, so to speak, Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) is a wealthy art gallery owner with everything she could ever want—except for happiness. Her world is disrupted when she receives the latest manuscript from her ex-husband, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal). She begins reading the novel. Cue the fictional world. In the novel, Tony Hastings (also played Jake Gyllenhaal) attempts to avenge his family after his wife and daughter are brutally assaulted. The film frequently hops between the real world and the novel, but it is seamless and effective. Since this is almost like two movies, it also leads to two chilling endings.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Film Review: Jessabelle (2014)

Jessabelle (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Shudder
Netflix Instant: No
Amazon Prime: No

"It's a moody horror film, but the plot is ultimately forgettable and ineffective."

After an accident leaves her on a wheelchair, Jessabelle Laurent (Sarah Snook) returns to her childhood home. Unfortunately, a restless spirit has been patiently waiting for her return...

Jessabelle is an interesting film. The story begins with Jessabelle's unfortunate car accident, where she loses her boyfriend, their unborn baby, and the use of her legs. Since she has nowhere else to go, she returns to her childhood home to live with her estranged father. Things go bump in the night—your typical ghost story. Jessabelle eventually finds a set of tapes made by her mother. These tapes warn her about a presence in the home, violent deaths, and so on. It's nothing groundbreaking, really. There's also this whole subplot about Jessabelle reconnecting with her high school romance, but it's really useless. It leads to a mediocre climax and ending. It's supposed to be shocking, but, to be as blunt as possible, I thought it was dumb.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Film Review: The Void (2016)

The Void (Review)
Canada/2016
Format Viewed For Review: VUDU
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...the visuals are this film's main attraction."

After delivering a patient to a rural hospital, a police officer and the staff experience surreal events that appear to be linked to a group of hooded figures surrounding the building...

The Void features a plot that is both simple and complex—often for the wrong reasons. The plot follows Officer Carter (Aaron Poole), who springs into action when an injured man stumbles in front of him on a vacant road. He takes the injured man to the closest hospital—a hospital which happens to be closing down very soon. Things are normal until a nurse kills another patient and starts mutilating her own face. This leads to a shooting accident. Before Carter can call it in, he's attacked by a person in a white hood. So, he runs back to the hospital and finds that the entire building is surrounded by the hooded people. Worst of all, there appears to be a creature inside of the hospital. Anyway, Carter and the rest of the survivors in the hospital fight for survival and try to find out what's going on. That's basically your plot. It has a few twists and turns, but they didn't really work here. The ending was enigmatic, definitely something to talk about, but it didn't leave an impression. All in all, the plot appears to be aiming for something larger, but it ultimately feels like just another creature feature.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Film Review: Toolbox Murders (2004)

Toolbox Murders (Review)
United States/2004
Format Viewed For Review: Shudder
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"Due to a severe lack of suspense and originality, the film often feels uninspired. Even worse: it can be downright boring."

The tenants of a historic Hollywood hotel are terrorized and murdered by a person with a toolbox.

Toolbox Murders is a remake of the 1978 film The Toolbox Murders. Aside from sharing a similar concept—a serial killer murdering people in an apartment complex—this film bears little resemblance to the 1978 original. The plot follows Nell Barrows (Angela Bettis) who, along with her husband, move into a new apartment. Due to the history and affordability of the apartments, they are surrounded by actors and a few scoundrels. Anyway, most of the film follows Nell as she meets her neighbors and spends time with them while her husband works. When Nell's not with her neighbors, they usually die horrendous deaths. It really starts to differentiate itself towards the final act, where it becomes a bit more interesting and engaging, The ending was okay, too.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Film Review: The Prowler (1981)

The Prowler (Review)
United States/1981
Format Viewed For Review: Shudder
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"This is one of the better slashers—past and present."

A violent killer—wearing a military uniform—stalks and murders a group of students at a graduation party...

The Prowler starts off at the end of World War 2 as Rosemary Chatham sends a Dear John letter to her boyfriend, breaking up with him due to his long absence in her life. During a graduation ball, Rosemary and her new boyfriend are brutally murdered. Fast forward 35 years and Pam MacDonald is organizing the first graduation ball in the city since the murders. Of course, it doesn't take long until the students start dying—picked off one-by-one. Most of the film focuses on Pam and Deputy Mark London (Christopher Goutman) as they attempt to find the prowler... while said prowler kills off Pam's friends. It's a simple plot, but it does have some interesting characters. The motive behind the antagonist's rampage is certainly compelling. It leads to a very bloody ending. Some parts of the ending are unusual, but it's solid.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Film Review: Hacksaw Ridge (2016)

Hacksaw Ridge (Review)
United States/2016
Format Viewed For Review: FandangoNow
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...a brutal depiction of war with compelling pacifistic themes and deep character."

The story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), a pacificist combat medic who refused to touch a gun during the Battle of Okinawa.

Hacksaw Ridge is a biographical war film about Desmond Doss. The film can be neatly split into two halves. The first half of the plot depicts Doss' upbringing in Virginia and his troubled time during his training. He adequately completes his training, but, due to his refusal to touch a weapon, he is put at odds against his superiors. Eventually, he is allowed to join his peers in the Battle of Okinawa. The second half of the film focuses on the combat while occasionally reaffirming Doss' staunch beliefs with flashbacks or scenes challenging his conviction. Although it doesn't take any risks—and that's not a bad thing—it does lead to a strong climax and a compelling ending.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Film Review: The Toolbox Murders (1978)

The Toolbox Murders (Review)
United States/1978
Format Viewed For Review: Shudder
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"It's brutal, tense, and often surprising."

A vicious killer murders the tenants of an apartment complex using the deadly tools in his toolbox...

The Toolbox Murders is a slasher film. It may try to act as a mystery crime thriller, but it never quite works out like that. It is a solid slasher, though. The film begins with the killer arriving at the apartment complex while showcasing flashbacks to a fatal car accident. The killer brutally murders several people. The police begin investigating, but they're too slow to catch on. The killer strikes again—killing another tenant, then kidnapping Laurie Ballard (Pamelyn Ferdin), a teenager. The rest of the film follows Joey Ballard, Laurie's brother, and his friend, Kent, as they search for Laurie while cleaning up the crime scenes. It leads to a twisted climax and a solid ending. There are some scenes at the end that drag on a bit, but it ultimately leaves a strong impression.