Thursday, July 22, 2010

Road to 500: 16 Films to Pass the Time With

I decided to start out my 500 movie challenge by catching up with the last two years worth of After Dark Horrorfest movies, which are typically more miss than hit. But, they were an easy guidance tool to just power through them, helping me stay on track.

1. The Graves

What is probably the worst fucking movie possible to start out a massive marathon. This is the kind of movie that makes you contemplate swearing off cinema for good. Two morons go to see the world's biggest ice cream scoop or some stupid shit and get caught in your typical hillbillies killing outlander shit. They try to throw in some supernatural aspects later in the movie to change it up but all it does is withhold the end credits even longer. Tony Todd's never overacted more in his life, and while Bill Mosely is fun to watch, you can tell he's just cashing a paycheck. All of the gore scenes are done with basement level CGI, even the beginner level effects. Whoever ran the camera is a moron, flat out. It never knows where the actors are going or what to focus on, and somehow it was still left in so you have to wonder how bad the other takes were, assuming there were other takes. Awful.
Sights within:
-World's absolute worst "I got stabbed!" face.
-A lady who shakes like a Pomeranian.
-A failure on every level of what it means to be a movie.
-Chaos! Comics abuse.
-A guy dies from being stabbed in the knee. Okay.
-Half the movie is delivered by bad ADR anytime someone's back's turned.
-The demon is a smell?
-I really hope Brian Pulido didn't blow all of his comic money on this shit.


2. Zombies of Mass Destruction

Dude, I'm done with independent zombie comedies. Everybody thinks they can slap one together and everybody will love it. Well, the truth hurts but you suck. Unless you have some kind of understanding of the genre and something new to bring, stay the fuck home and write a Sandra Bullock movie. This thing tries to be cutting edge by throwing in topical humor that was outdated by 2004. There were three, exactly three, times I laughed, and the last couple I think I was forcing it. Also, I'm sick of films being shot on digital and all having the exact same look and color tones. At least different films gave you different looks. And it's not that hard to throw on some filters or change it up in post anymore. It just reeks of laziness.
Sights within:
-World's worst lisping minority.
-The zombies might as well not even be there.
-Stereotype abuse.
-90 minutes of horrible comedy, and then the epilogue decides to get dead serious?
-The gay conversion chair was somewhat funny.
-The acting sucks.
Grade: D


3. Slaughter

Two girls meet up and one starts sleeping around only to have the men go missing the next morning. No real explanation for that is ever given, instead the ending is more concerned with laying out exposition about woe is me bullshit. The movie is shot well enough and the acting is decent but the story seems like it's being held together by wood glue. Other than the ending running about twenty minutes too long, there's really not too much to comment on here since the whole thing feels vapid. It just simply exists.
Sights within:
-World's best voicemail message.
-The whole thing feels like one of the more forgettable Fear Street books.
-Molar abuse.
-Wah wah wah, shut up already.
Grade: D+


4. The Butterfly Effect 3

I was surprised that this was as good as it was. The first one was decent enough (never saw the second) and you can imagine the kind of downgrade in quality when a series goes DTV. This one had decent acting and an engaging story, even if I completely called the ending about twenty minutes in. It's a much more gruesome film than the original but it's balanced out by some pretty effective humor. Entertaining, even if you don't really take anything away from it.
Sights within:
-After Dark's resident go-to annoying actress Rachel Miner just has to show up huh?
-It's nice how they explain a little why Ashton Kutcher loses his shit in the first one.
-World's most jarring opening.
-Disembodied finger abuse.
Grade: C


5. Perkins 14

This was created by a group of people voting on message boards, from story to casting and everything else. An interesting idea, even if the movie came out to be a waste of time. The beginning is decent enough, even if the lead of the film is completely awful. Richard Brake turns in the film's only good performance as a child abductor who then unleashes the titular "14" on the town, which is also when the film starts to get worse and worse. It becomes nothing but teenagers in ratty clothes chasing people down with horrible lighting accenting it. The movie becomes more and more tedious to finish until it ends things with a climax that would be disappointing if you still even cared by that point.
Sights within:
-Someone needs to get that actor some fiber or something because that stick up his ass is almost showing.
-Look, it's that Danzig-poser.
-World's most tedious attack scenes.
-Ohhh, look, when it's back-lit and out of focus, that means it's art.
-Richard Brake abuse.
Grade: D


6. Dying Breed

Not a bad entry in the backwoods killer sub-genre. Tying it into the history of Tasmania and the Tasmanian tiger makes it a bit more interesting than most. The interaction between the main characters are good and are much more believable than most films. The townsfolk are dutifully creepy and the random bursts of violence are effective. It starts to lose steam in the third act but overall, it's still a fun enough watch.
-Look, a boat made it from the Waterworld set.
-Puppy abuse.
-World's only CGI Tasmanian tiger.
-Double bear-trap whammy.
-See, Leigh Whannell isn't that bad of an actor.
-Bye-bye, rabbit.
Grade: C+


7. Autopsy

An exercise in demented humor, this isn't really anything you haven't seen before, but it sure is fun. A group of friends get stuck in an old hospital that runs with the idea of having the inmates run the asylum. A simple excuse for gross practical gags and nutball characters, it separates itself from other similar films by not holding back and having talented character actors hold it all up. The interactions between A.J. Bowen and Robert LaSardo make for a Laurel and Hardy for the mentally disturbed and could hold a movie together just by themselves. A twisted fun time.
Sights within:
-World's longest piece of glass removed from a human body.
-A literal meaning of having to get rid of some fingerprints.
-World's funniest punch in the face.
-Spinal fluid abuse.
-Intestines chandelier.
Grade: B


8. Lake Mungo

Another false documentary that seems to be in style lately, though I'm always a sucker for them. Most of them are effective for me so I'll keep checking them out if they keep making them. This takes place after a girl in Australia drowns in a lake. Soon, evidence arises that her ghost may be haunting her family. The film is constructed around the use of video and photos that are so prevalent in society anymore. Toothbrushes have cameras in them it seems, and the movie uses these devices as the method to delivering its scares. As it goes, more of the story is uncovered and your perception changes as new aspects are revealed. The movie ultimately builds up to its one genuine scare moment that kicks the air out of you and leaves an image in your head that'll stay with you for a few days. The acting is very natural and the movie uses time lapse photography and sound design to lend a great atmosphere to the story. Probably the best of the After Dark films thus far.
Sights within:
-World's most fucked phone video.
-Stay tuned through through the credits, kids.
-Image manipulation abuse.
-A dread I haven't felt since Blair Witch.
Grade: A


9. Kill Theory

Some guy for no real reason decides to pull a Saw and forces a group of kids to kill each other. Instead of using any sort of common sense, these kids go off the fucking deep end in a manner of seconds and start turning on each other just because the story needs it. If they had shut the hell up and calmed down, this guy would have been a joke. Pointless, but is at least somewhat entertaining.
Sights within:
-Directed by Chris Moore, the prick from Project Greenlight.
-World's biggest bear-trap.
-It really doesn't help when the two girls still alive at the end are both blonde and are both wearing the same color shirt. Not once could I tell them apart.
-Tabasco sauce abuse.
-World's longest "fuck you."
Grade: C-


10. The Final

A very interesting idea pulled off by wanna-be filmmakers. Nerds take the popular kids hostage and torture them, having watched a little too much Saw. It starts out well enough, but once the nerds' plan is in motion, there's really not much to do with a bunch of kids strapped down in one room. Any sort of message to be told is delivered like a lead pipe with the main nerd monologuing throughout the last half of the movie like an Inspector gadget villain. Great set-up, lackluster execution.
Sights within:
-Amongst the films alluded to: Hostel, Saw, and Audition. Directed by a horror "fan" enamored with the films of the last six years.
-Who the fuck were those two kids killed in the woods? They're not accounted for at all and it's been driving me apeshit for three days now.
-Shaving cream abuse.
-That girl doesn't need a mask to be creepy.
-Shouldn't these kids be playing World of Warcraft or something?
Grade: C-


11. The Reeds

A fairly decent British ghost tale. A group of friends (like always) go on vacation in the....swamp? Anyways, they charter a boat and go cruising only to run afoul of the spirits that were buried in the swamp. I will say that I was worried at first that it was going to devolve into another backwoods slasher flick, but after about twenty minutes the supernatural aspects began sneaking up. The film has a lot of creepy moments and manage to create a great atmosphere out of what's basically a pond with overgrown weeds. The film loses some of its edge when it begins over explaining everything, as most of these movies tend to do unfortunately. Before that, it's a surprisingly enjoyable little ghost flick.
Sights within:
-They weren't lying about there being reeds.
-Swamp abuse.
-Human kabob.
-That guy looks exactly like a black Billy Zane.
-World's most unfortunate encounter with a machete.
Grade: B-


12. From Within

The movie starts out with what seems like a great idea only to turn into the same old shit. I can tell there's a much more interesting story somewhere waiting to be told about the evils of religious fanaticism, but the filmmakers don't have either the talent or the imagination to tell that story. What's left is the same old bullshit about a curse and trying to stop it. The acting's average, with Adam Goldberg turning in a really good performance outside of his usual roles. A decent time-killer but instantly forgettable.
Sights within:
-Man, Rumer Willis really looks like her mom with her dad's jaw welded on.
-World's shortest Jared Harris appearance.
-So is the whole town obsessed with church? Is this Utah?
-World's biggest cry-baby witch boy.
-Wiccan abuse.
-A great final punchline that's hampered by rushing through it too quick.
Grade: C


13. The Broken

Normally, I'm all for the slow-burn creep out movies. If the film is made well enough, I'll revel in the slow build up as long as the final reveal is worth it. This film does all that, but when it comes time to deliver, there's no oomph there to make it worth it, causing the whole thing to feel a little hollow. It's well acted, well shot, and creates an effective, sterile atmosphere, but the film always pulls back before any real scares can be offered. There's still a few tense scenes but it falls just short of being great. It might be better on a second watch, but I have no idea when I'll get around to it.
Sights within:
-Was that a wooden phone?
-World's longest before credits quote.
-There's been too many uses of doppelgangers in these 8 Films to Die For.
-Mirror abuse.
-Was there any reason why this shit was happening in the first place?
Grade: B-


14. Voices

A pretty gruesome Asian horror entry that's thankfully light on the cursed electronics. People are going apeshit and killing those around them with no apparent reason, and one girl tries to survive being the next target. The film delivers random brutal attack sequences with an engaging mystery, even if it's never really explained. I know a lot of people are fed up with Asian horror, but I still find them effective. They have a patience and understanding of the fear of the unknown that usually works on me where American films tend to fail.
Sights within:
-Random falling brides.
-Fencing abuse.
-World's most obtuse ending.
-What the fuck was that burnt thing?
-Talk about paranoia.
Grade: B+


15. Hidden

A Norwegian horror film (how often do you come across those?) that manages to pull of great atmosphere even if the ending lets you down. KK comes home after his mother dies and soon people begin dying, with KK being the main suspect. It has a similar story to any number of films, however this one stands out thanks to its thick atmosphere. Most of the film feels like Silent Hill in the game's downtime. The movie is caked with darkness, fog, and green forests, creeping up on you as it goes on. Unfortunately, the movie ends in the most predictable manner and takes forever to get there, ruining what had been a great build up.
Sights within:
-World's trippiest hotel.
-Doesn't rely on dialog like most movies.
-Roy abuse.
-Man, fuck Roy.


16. Dread

Based on a Clive Barker story, this film takes its time getting to the horror aspects but is still engrossing as it gets there. A group of students delve into a study of fear, with one taking the interest too far. The film's primarily about the characters, only dealing with the physical horrors when it has to. It's by focusing on truly analyzing the mental condition of these people does it avoid falling into another Saw-inspired torture fest. A great film that sticks in your head for a while afterwards.
Sights within:
-Axe cam.
-Cooked meat abuse.
-World's most uncomfortable scene involving bleach.
-Nasty axe to the head.
-Sure fire way to go deaf. Get it?
Grade: B+

Movies Watched: 16
-The Graves
-Zombies of Mass Destruction
-Butterfly Effect 3
-Perkins 14
-Dying Breed
-Lake Mungo
-Kill Theory
-The Final
-The Reeds
-From Within
-The Broken
New Movies Bought: 7
-Bigger Stronger Faster
-High Plains Invaders
-Blood Creek
-Cabin Fever 2
-Brainsmasher: A Love Story (VHS)
-Zombieland (Blu)
Unseen DVDS: 3208
Unseen Blu-rays: 71
Unseen VHS: 121
Unseen DVD-R'S: 5

We'll infect your carnal mind, mind, mind, mind

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