The Shrine, Makeupalooza

The Shrine


The Shrine has earned my respect as a horror movie by relying heavily on makeup effects. Factoring out the Evil Dead remake, you don’t really see a lot of that, y’know? Sure, it looked cheesy, but that’s the fun of it! Retro-glamor with a dash of horrific mutilation and tides of blood. The premise of the movie is really neat, and the scares are viable whether you laugh or scream at goofy looking monster masks.

The ShrineCarmen is a journalist looking to find her next big scoop. She thinks she already has it; several disappearances of European tourists in the Polish village of Alvania. After acquiring a journal from one of the tourists and being haunted by his bloody-eyed visage in a dream, she decides that she’s going to Poland. Not without conscripting the aid of Sara the intern and Marcus the estranged boyfriend first, of course.

In Alvania, they find an enormous patch of dense, dark, unmoving fog, as described in Eric Taylor’s journal. The locals don’t take very kindly to the presence of strangers, and are quick to turn them away from the fog. Carmen notices that the fog is the only part of Alvania that the townsfolk are safeguarding, so naturally, it must be where the tourists are. The team sneaks over to the fog to investigate, and Carmen and Sara go on in. Marcus stays back, because fuck that noise. It’s spooky.

The ShrineIt’s all downhill from there. The townsfolk capture the lot and murder Sara with a ritual that involves hammering a mask with large iron spikes where the eyes would be into her head. The same masks had been seen earlier in a room full of corpses. Clearly the fog has some greater significance if it would incite such an occult reaction. On the brighter side of things, I was relieved to find that the Alvanians didn’t function as a one-dimensional antagonist force due to the snazzy twist near the climax. Horror movies don’t have a lot of room for fluid morality; you have to appreciate the little things. Anyway, we’re nearing spoiler territory, so I’m gonna have to cut this short.

Overall, I’d consider The Shrine a decent horror flick. It’s not radically original, but it has its own unique charm, particularly with the horror evoked by
the iron masks. That could just be personal preference talking, but faceless masks always seem to get under my skin.

The ShrineHorror Movie A Day thought The Shrine had a tactically boring startup with a scare-fest second half, and I’m inclined to agree. As far as pacing goes, setting your audience up with low expectations and then bringing out the big guns works wonders. That specifically may or may not have been planned, but it works all the same. Here’s the alt review for a more detailed look at The Shrine: http://horror-movie-a-day.blogspot.com/2010/10/shrine.html

The Fourth Kind Probed Itself Wrong

The Fourth Kind

The Fourth Kind is a horror movie that wants its audience to believe that its content is true. We’re not talking about a murder with a vaguely supernatural nature, by the way. We’re talking about aliens. Hold the cream and sugar please, I take my aliens straight. This flick is so adamant about being real that it plays “actual” recorded footage side by side with the actual feature. And you used to scoff when movies said “inspired by true events” and left it at that. What an utter delight that is by comparison. On top of that, it has a pair of opening and closing segments in which its actors speak out of character about how very REAL the footage is. To paraphrase, “I’m not saying the events of this movie are real, but they are and we have video evidence to prove it.” Effort only a mother- excuse me, paranoid alien conspiracy theorist could admire.

The Fourth Kind

The idea driving The Fourth Kind isn’t bad on its own; several of a psychiatrist’s patients begin sharing the same dream and having panic attacks when hypnotized. The psychiatrist takes note of their behavior, and upon studying all the facts, suddenly concludes that aliens are responsible. After she hits that point, the movie says “yeah definitely aliens” and throws in some large ovular UFOs, a mandatory quasi-nude probing scene, and makes sure to not actually show any aliens by having every camera suffer a stroke at every potentially revealing moment. I’m not referring to the probing thing, but you don’t get to see anything anyway.

The Fourth KindYou see, The Fourth Kind goes about inspiring fear and awe with all the subtlety and tact of a surgeon with a chainsaw who happened to forget his subtlety and tact medication. Borrowing elements from the possession subgenre of horror, victims of alien attacks apparently float, hear voices speaking in Sumerian, and start breaking things while hypnotized. After that, they go crazy and murder their families because they don’t want to remember being abducted. They even have a skeptical cop who goes out of his way to be a complete prick to the protagonists, because he doesn’t believe in aliens and only assholes don’t believe in aliens. Have you not seen all the proof? LOOK AT ALL THE PROOF ALIENS ARE REAL SHUN THE NON-BELIEV-

*cough*

The Fourth KindPoor Milla Jovovich. Even as sci-fi actress royalty, this was not one of her finer roles. Not because of her acting, mind you, but because of the content. If only aliens would come down and extract the memory of her ever having participated in the filming of this movie, eh? Tee hee.

Oh, yeah, and one last thing. If you have seen or are going to see The Fourth Kind, replace the aliens with demons and tell me the transition isn’t unusually smooth.

Annalee Newitz of io9.com claims outright in her review that The Fourth Kind is a hoax. That’s kind of tongue in cheek, because you’d have to be pretty oblivious not to be able to tell. You can sell a movie by the nature and quality of its content, but when your selling point hinges on your audience believing your work of fiction to be truth… you better do a damn good job making it seem real. And The Fourth Kind didn’t. Here’s the alt review link: http://io9.com/5397359/the-fourth-kind-is-a-hoax

Devil’s Pass, Ignore the Box Art

Devil's Pass

There are no naked brunettes buried waist-deep in snow. You should know better than to think that.

Devil’s Pass was one of those few shockumentaries that I was was better. It had a good premise and an excellent buildup, but fumbled the big reveal. It’s one of the few movies of its kind that is neither horrendous nor outright amazing, which is an achievement all in itself. I imagine it would have been on-par with the Blair Witch Project if it hadn’t been so eager to explain the supernatural goings-on within. I lost interest at the halfway point, when the team discovers a mysterious something in the snow and eventually decides to investigate it. I’m sur eyou’ll agree with me when I say that the ambiguous unknown is a greater spook factor in horror movies than being chased around by some creature. That in mind, let’s begin.

Devil's PassDevil’s Pass follows a group of students who are researching the disappearance of nine Russian skiers who vanished mysteriously in the Dyatlov Mountain Pass of Russia in 1959. Some initial news reports and illegally acquired video footage suggest that the students vanished just as the skiers had, which isn’t much of a spoiler, because we all know how horror movies like to repeat past tragedies. Introductory spookfest noted, I feel the real tension begins to build when the crew first has drinks at the base of the Ural mountain range. They tell the bartender about their project, and he offers them the very same drinks the Russians had on their way up. Blatant foreshadowing, perhaps? Oh yes. On top of that, the hints at a government conspiracy certainly amplify the viewer’s sense of “just what the crap went on up there?”

Once they’re up in the mountains, eerie things start happening, and their technology begins to malfunction. Can’t have a good sense of isolation with all these communicating gadgets and gizmos in the way! It’s moments like these that make me ask myself if I really want an explanation. After receiving one, my immediate response was no, but that’s the trouble with magic tricks. Once you know how they’re done, the wonder is gone. Anyway, one of the greater lines is dropped during a nighttime camping sequence, not minutes before the discovery of the mysterious thing in the snow. That was the highest point for me.

Devil's PassNow, despite the fact that the big reveal was disappointing, I’d rather avoid spoiling it. If you end up watching the movie, please leave a comment and tell me what you thought of the buildup and the latter half. I’m aware of the fact that I compare absolutely every found footage movie to the Blair Witch, but that sets a high bar, damnit. Part of the charm was that the characters and plot were so down-to-earth you could imagine yourself there with them, shivering in a tent, afraid of the fucking baby out there. With Devil’s Pass? Not so much. I can’t envision myself running away from Russian soldiers or being haunted by a yeti.

Scott Foundas of Variety wound up getting the same mediocre-positive impression; they could have done MORE with the film. More in this case means less, because explaining everything isn’t a very good idea when you’re trying to scare people. Unless the explanation is scary. But it wasn’t. Bit of an image-spoiler in the coming link, but it doesn’t give anything critical away! http://variety.com/2013/film/reviews/devils-pass-review-1200586363/

V/H/S/2, Mega Murder Mayhem

VHS2

V/H/S/2 was alright.

What, you want more from me? It’s a sequel of a compilation of horror shorts filmed by people who sometimes don’t know what they’re doing. This time around, the quality fluctuates rather noticeably. I’ll run through each short independently for the sake of keeping things clean and orderly, okay? Okay. Oh, and yeah, beware of boobs. There are plenty. Maybe? Nah, just two sets. Four total. On two different people though.

The overlying story. It revolves around two people trying to blackmail a guy and find some lady’s son. Also boobs at the very start. Best chest forward, right? They end up watching a bunch of home movies. Everyone dies. 4/10 for tying things together but doing so very plainly. A guy shoots his jaw off, which is pretty cool.

VHS2Robot eyeball story. A man has a synthetic eye installed into his brain, and it has a camera because the company that gave it to him decided that they want to test it that way. Privacy is overrated. The guy starts seeing ghosts, a girl comes over and says that spontaneous sex will scare ghosts away, but then it doesn’t. Everyone dies. 5/10 for an interesting camera concept, but icky mirror gimmicks and arbitrary boobs.

Cyclist zombies. They don’t actually ride bikes. A cyclist puts a bunch of cameras on his helmet and bike, and then stops to save a woman who is actually a zombie. She bites his neck-meat and they go around eating people. Main zombie guys blows his face off with a found shotgun after getting a call from his girlfriend that reminds him of his humanity. The girlfriend is only ever on the phone, so she doesn’t die. 5/10 for zombie 1st person perspective, but generic enough that the magic fades quickly.


VHS2Indonesian pedophile cult
. This one’s pretty neat. A film crew explores a cult of the aforementioned nature, which is led by a character titled Father. They learn about the unusual practices that occur within, and then the only female crewmember turns out to be pregnant. Things quickly spin out of control as Satan explodes out of her uterus. 7/10 for being interesting despite crappy effects and an obnoxious, Blair Witch-Beelzebub hybrid ending. Oh, also, almost everyone dies.

Naked beige alien invasion. I hate everyone in/everything about this short. It’s about a bunch of annoying kid-friends interrupting people having sex and then being caught masturbating. And then naked beige aliens come in and eat everyone. -255/1 (you didn’t think the numbers actually measured anything tangible, did you?) for being the worst possible cinematographic amalgamation of kitschy horror clichés I’ve ever detected with my ocular accoutrements. That last sentence gets 10/10. And yes, everyone dies. Including the kid that got abducted.


VHS2V/H/S/2. It’s alright
. Skip the zombie and alien bits, alright? VHS the first had it goin’ on, what with its glitchy serial killer, naked harpy lady, lesbian neck-slasher, and- well, the generic screaming ghost girl was yuck, but the ratio of good minis to bad is superior to its descendant. You should watch both right now, one after the other. Do it. You’ll love it.

OH. Well, ex-CUSE me Kofi Outlaw of ScreenRant. I guess the SECOND one is better! It sure is all STREAMLINED and EFFICIENT! Nah, I’m just being facetious. Comparing them two movies is basically weighing two lard-filled balloons on a scale to see which one is heavier. I mean, even if you found out… they’re still just lard-filled balloons. You can probably blow it up for a laugh, but it’s only good for one go. Terrible allegory aside, here’s the link for the review by Professor Cinematograph: http://screenrant.com/vhs-2-reviews/


ComplainerMan’s Top Five Horror Movies

I love horror movies! Good ones, awful ones, long ones, short ones, startle-centric ones, suspenseful ones; a little bit of fright makes for a lot of entertainment! The nice thing about horror movies is that everyone and their mothers want to be responsible for the next big horror franchise, and most of the movies they grind out are flat-out bad. That is where the so-bad-it’s-good genre comes from! But we aren’t going to be talking about those. Top five horror movies coming at ya!

 

#5 – Rosemary’s Baby

Rosemary's BabyWhat’re you doin’ lookin’ at me like you didn’t expect classics on here? Mia Farrow, people! This is an allegorical film about a Catholic girl marrying a Protestant man, and her metaphorical journey through hell serving as punishment for their forbidden love. Forbidden by her family, anyway. It’s got conspiracy theories, it’s got a Satanic cult, it’s got a bizarre ritual that must have been particularly difficult to film; good stuff!

 

 

 

#4 – The Cabin in the Woods

The Cabin in the WoodsNow I’ve gone modern satire. What’s with this top five? The Cabin in the Woods eagerly mocks the horror industry’s long list of clichés by incorporating them as control mechanisms of the antagonistic force. Every time the ditzy heroin drops the knife right next to the assumed-dead villain, you’re witnessing the puppeteers hard at work. The best news is, depending on how you roll, this movie is capable of making you both laugh and cringe. Simultaneously, potentially.

 

 

#3 – The Fly

The FlyBack to classics! Jeff Goldblum makes such a wonderful quirky scientist type. What begins as a curious venture into sci-fi takes a terrible twist when a crucial bout of experimentation goes critically wrong. The most gruesome and interesting portion of this particular film is the transformation Dr. Seth Brundle undergoes after the incident. The effects are on par with modern 3D in the area of quality, so you’ll definitely get a kick out of the vomit-drop scenes.

 

 

 

#2 – The Thing (2011)

The ThingThe Thing gives me the creeps. It’s so bloody terrifying. A creature that can hijack your body without you knowing it, then use you as a mutated meat puppet to slaughter everyone around you and carry on the cycle of deception and elimination. It follows the function of a basic slasher movie, picking off one protagonist at a time, but the concept itself is so profoundly disturbing (to me at least) that it earns rank two on the top five. I chose the remake over the classics because the effects were… fitting.

 

#1 – Let the Right One In

Let the Right One InThis has got to be the redemption that the vampire genre so desperately needs after enduring all those need-not-be-named blood-sucker farces. A Swedish film, Let the Right One In explores the relationship between a young, bullied boy and an elder vampire wearing the body of a young shut-in girl. Their sweet, curiosity-driven relationship is the main draw of the film. It ranks first due to its flawless fusion of innocent romance and bloody dismemberment and death.

Silent Hill: Revelation Reveals That it Sucks

Silent Hill: Revelation

You know, I really love the concept behind Silent Hill. Parallel worlds woven from nightmares and chaotic emotion, twisted creatures haunting derelict halls… It’s so damned neat. But I can say with certainty (and a measure of regret) that none of the movies have really captured that surreal, claustrophobic terror. Silent Hill: Revelation is a step further away from this than first film, in fact, mainly because it’s… well, cheesy.

Sharon and her adopted father have been moving around ever since she was first saved from Silent Hill by Rose, her adopted mother. They’ve been on the run from the Order of Valtiel, a cult that is trapped within Alessa’s darkness and seeks Sharon as their means to escape. They have some manner of nonspecific god that needs to use her body as a vessel in order to reshape the world and cleanse it of sin or whatever.

Silent Hill: RevelationThe cult can manifest their spirits in the physical plane to convince her that she has an intense form of schizophrenia, which they often to just for laughs. They also send a boy named Vincent to lead Sharon to Silent Hill. After her father is kidnapped and “COME TO SILENT HILL” is scrawled on the wall of her home in the ever-appropriate dripping blood, she’s inclined to save him no matter what. Revelation drops a few (many) cliché bombs (even romantic ones) despite its attempts to be modern and nouveau, so prepare to wince.

I will admit I did thoroughly enjoy the extended time spent within the darkness aspect of Silent Hill. Something about ruined buildings is just so aesthetic, especially when paired with flesh golems and mannequin abominations and other fancy schmancy baddies. Environment-wise, Silent Hill: Revelation was spot-on.
Silent Hill: RevelationUnfortunately, they fell short in terms of monsters. Most of the beasties looked like they were directly inspired by some of the uglier Cenobites from Hellraiser. Pyramid Head was nearly a saving grace, but the film’s attempts to capitalize on his awesomeness fell flat. I cannot fathom why they chose Carrie-Anne Moss to play the role of the zealot leader of the Valtiel, but she winds up transforming into a flesh golem and duking it out with Pyramid Head in a less-than-epic duel. Though my wince count remained at one, I lament to say that that single wince lasted the duration of their little scuffle.

It’s just come to my attention that Silent Hill: Revelation was meant to be seen in 3D. That seriously explains everything. I’m reminded of how many other movies committed quality suicide by focusing more on the “wowie zowie it’s coming out of the screen” rather than the, shall we say, quality. Some of the effects were so corny I began to wonder if I was watching a Stephen King movie.
Silent Hill: RevelationSince my opinion of Revelation had already been made apparent (I would hope), I may as well conclude my review with a quick flurry of complaints that are meant to be read all in one breath. Ready? Here we go:

No plot twist no depth flat characters bad makeup effects too many drawn out slow-walking exploration scenes arbitrary 3D shock and awe why the hell did they throw in nudity damnit Hollywood.

But hey, at least Adelaide Clemens has a cutie patootie face. I would know, I only spent half the damn movie looking at close-ups of it. Bloody filmmakers.

Jeremy Wheeler of TVGuide is basically riding the same wavelength. He remarks upon the cheese, Sean Bean’s confusing accent, Cenobites, lack of scares… All that not-good stuff. It is a little sad that most of the references were done so tactlessly they may as well have been omitted entirely. Ah well. The box office should detail every last bit of this film’s spectacular failure. Check out the other review here: http://movies.tvguide.com/silent-hill-revelation/review/481064


The Cabin in the Woods Satire Mode ENGAGED

The Cabin in the Woods

What the f- Sigourney Weaver? Jodelle Ferland? Chris Hemsworth? What a lineup. May seem a little weird, but The Cabin in the Woods is basically a reference orgy for scary movie junkies. You see, it knows the formula, and it plays with that in a way that borders satire. The greater plot of the movie is unique; clever, I dare to admit. Care for a laugh? Care for a few lampshaded clichés? This may just be the flick for you.

The premise is that a jock, a dork, a slut, a stoner, and a “good girl” head up to a cabin in the middle of nowhere to kick back and party for a few days. That’s all well and good, but a secret government organization is controlling quite literally every step of their journey. Everything, down to the choices they make, the creatures that hunt them, and the tunnel collapse that traps them there.

The Cabin in the WoodsThe game is as follows: The athlete, the whore, the fool, and the scholar must die. Then, the virgin must suffer, her death being optional. The puppeteers must allow the sacrifices to select their means of destruction, and then set it upon them, all while controlling the sequence of events. To what end? To appease the dark gods that once walked the Earth. Every country must perform this rite, but only one of them needs to succeed. If they all fail, then the Dark Ones emerge from the depths and… well, I assume they moosh absolutely everything.

You will experience glorious horror movie exclamation inciters such as:

  • Reading the Latin in the obviously evil book!
  • Dropping the knife after the bad guy’s dead!
  • Going for a walk in the deep dark forest!
  • Suggesting that the group split up!

The Cabin in the WoodsNot necessarily in that order. Don’t worry, though. It’s all controlled by the guv’mint, and everybody is actually a lot smarter than they seem. Even the dumb blonde. Incidentally, and to avoid making you think that they forgot even a single cliché, the dumb blonde is not a natural blonde, and the chemicals in her hair dye cause cognitive deterioration. I’m sure you can guess who set that up.

I’d like to, if I may, note two extremely amusing references listed in the government “which monster will they select” betting chart. The first, homage to the original Evil Dead, is the Angry Molesting Tree. The second, a permutation of Hellraiser’s lead Cenobite Pinhead, the Deadite. He has a puzzle sphere, and instead of needles stuck in his head, he has buzz saws. There’s plenty more than those two, however. Zombies, werewolves, mermen, ballerinas, ghosts, unicorns, Boomers, the twins from The Shining. Yes, blood spews from the elevator they appear from.

The Cabin in the WoodsAs I said, clever. You’ll love it, scary movie addict or not. Oh, and as a forewarning, there is a very brief moment of boobage. It’s tongue in cheek. I’m sure you’ll get a laugh when all the nerdy lab boys in the observation room try to peep the almost sex scene. I certainly did.

Ben Kendrick of ScreenRant wants to let you know that The Cabin in the Woods loves its audience! That’s right. It isn’t going to spoon-feed you all the same recycled horror crap that saturates the industry, maaan. If every other dusty, replicated horror movie was dinner, this one’s the dessert! Click the link and take a taste: http://screenrant.com/cabin-in-the-woods-reviews-benk-164489/




The Grudge 2, Everybody Dies

The Grudge 2

Also known as Curse of the O Face in some obscure subcultures.

The Grudge 2 is the sequel to an American remake of a Japanese supernatural horror flick. That’s two layers of “Crapetize me, Captain!” that this movie has passed through, and it came out marginally okay on the other end. Fresh scares, new characters, larger body count; the Scream 2 formula applied well, unlike in Scream 2. But can the sequel to an iffy horror movie be any more than iffy? Likely not, but it isn’t that bad!

Continued directly from installment one, Karen is visited by her crappy sister Aubrey, who is under orders from their sick mother. Aubrey is to take Karen out of the country because her dearest sister is, for lack of a better phrase, cursed to insanity. It doesn’t work so well, because Sarah Michelle Gellar goes splat on the pavement from the hospital’s roof. The blood effect is pretty funny. It looks like someone spilled a slim-necked vase full of hot sauce.

The Grudge 2A couple of American students studying abroad in Japan play a prank on another student (played by the cute-as-hell Arielle Kebbel), which results in the curse being pulled from the burned down house and outward. As it turns out, burning the house only served to remove the spatial restriction on the curse. Now, Kayako’s got her work cut out for her. She needs to kill everybody in the entire world. Just kidding. That would take too long. She makes a mean cheerleader bitch pee herself so… wowie zowie.

You do get an explanation of how Kayako’s spirit actually blossomed into a life-taking curse, which is nice. Plot, eh? Kayako’s mother was a spiritual medium, taking darkness from the bodies of the afflicted and feeding it to her young daughter. Thus, Kayako was slowly filled with pure evil. There is a brief revenge scene in which her mommy dearest dies, but it’s sort of unceremonious. I mean, by this point, a girl was pulled into a mirror. That’s much cooler than just slumping over and being made dead.
The Grudge 2I’m actually watching The Grudge 2 as I’m writing this, so bear with me. Probably a little scatterbrained. It seems as though the different groups in this film aren’t at all related to one another. A married couple and a kid, a teen couple, Aubrey and her family, the kids at the school… The only connection is Kayako. It would be a lovely web of intrigue if any of them had anything to do with the curse, or if more than ONE person tried to lift the curse. But nah! They’re just meat for the grinder. The more people you introduce, the more people you get to kill, right?

Psh. Favoring the villain isn’t a bad thing, but the issue here is that Kayako is more an animal than a living curse. She just kills everything she touches, no rhyme or reason. It’s slasher movie logic embodied in a ghostly horror figure. “No salvation” can be a powerful phrase if hope of salvation actually exists, but you know from the very beginning that Kayako ain’t gonna stop ‘til everyone drops. Why bother?

Josh Tyler of CinemaBlend compares Kayako’s Grudge 2 curse to the common cold, which is true. The house used to be evil, but now everyone who touches someone who touched the house previously gets cursed. It’s explained that the fire changed that, because upscaling, right? It’s fun for the scares, but if it isn’t scary to you, you’re wasting your time. Click this linkpoo for more information, okay: http://www.cinemablend.com/reviews/The-Grudge-2-1854.html

Swamp Devil, Mister Branches’ Day Out

Swamp Devil

Swamp Devil sounds like a derogatory term for someone who lives in a bayou. I may have to start using that term from now on. As I’m getting sidetracked before the review has even begun, let’s talk about the movie, shall we? Swamp Devil appeals to me because it does things rather differently from most monster horror movies, and these little factors actually contribute to the plot. I daresay it’s one of the few obscure horror movies that deserves a little more attention.

Melanie Blaime receives a telephone call from an “old friend” named Jimmy Fuller, informing her that her estranged father is dying and in need of her. She doesn’t recall Jimmy, nor does she want to see her father, but after some convincing, she agrees to head to Gibbington. When she arrives, Jimmy reveals that Howard Blaime is on the run from the law because he is suspected of murder. They go to Melanie’s old home and settle in, receiving some grief from the local authorities before everyone starts being cooperative.

Swamp DevilAs the story moves along, there are several very conspicuous hints that Jimmy keeps secrets and is a bad liar. Since no antagonist is named aside from Melanie’s father, one can only assume that he has something to do with all the bayou murders. After seeing someone murdered by a giant plant creature, and then seeing Jimmy come back from who knows where with dirt all over his hands, you begin to suspect him of shenanigans. It’s an obvious twist, so I’m not spilling too many beans by letting you know, okay?

One thing that I really like about Swamp Devil is Howard Blaime’s place in it all. He was blamed for the death of a young girl, and a few of the local men are hunting him down with loaded guns. His story detailing a swamp monster was quickly dismissed as delusional drivel, but he is proven right when said beastie rears his head in front of one of the vigilantes. Basically, the “I’m not crazy” line is tossed aside long before the film actually concludes. Sweet relief.

The second good thing Swamp Devil’s got going for it is that the monster isn’t a mindless killing machine. It actually has a reason behind its actions and is capable of critical thought. You don’t see a lot of that. Friday the 13th, Hellraiser, The Grudge, The Ring, all the antagonists in those movies kill because screw the protagonists that’s why. This time around, Mister Branches actually gives a reason for murdering so many people. In the end, it isn’t justified, but it’s still a nice change.
Swamp DevilKilling Mister Branches isn’t possible with guns or knives, which makes ending the movie on a good note rather difficult. Thus, for some reason, Tree Bro can’t step outside the city limits. If he does, I guess he explodes or something.

I was eating a banana during most of Howard Blaime’s scenes, and it was really tasty. Howard was by far my favorite character. He was the old, jaded, thinks-on-his-feet type guy who knows how to get stuff done. Thanks to him, I thoroughly enjoyed my banana.

Char of Horrorphilia likes Swamp Devil, though mentions that most everyone else hated it. After checking multiple review sites… yeah. A lot of people just hate it. So fuck those guys! You should listen to me, because I know my movies. Swamp Devil is a good watch. It might not be the “watch it over and over” type, but it’s a worthwhile once-off at the very least. Read another positive review so you don’t fall for the critical mass consensus: http://www.horrorphilia.com/2011/07/25/swamp-devil-2008-movie-review/

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark or Them Creepy Little Crawlers

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark reminds me distinctly of Pan’s Labyrinth, only with a slightly brighter mood and less firearm violence. You have your little girl encountering surreal creatures that everyone assumes are imaginary, you have your troubled and busy parents, and you have a big old home that’s filled with secrets. There is death, blood, and general unpleasantness, which all settles swimmingly into a smashing horror flick.

The film begins by showing you a maid bringing old man Blackwood some food. Or rather, falling down a flight of stairs and having her teeth chiseled out and offered to some ominous unseen creatures down a rocky well. Turns out the creatures want children’s teeth in exchange for the recently kidnapped Blackwood’s son, so they pull him down and thus ends the prologue.

The protagonist of this film is the young Sally, a rather stoic girl whose mother doesn’t care for her and whose father, Alex, is very busy with his new girlfriend, Kim, and his job. He restores historical buildings to their former glory and sells them to various historical societies or… whatever else you do with ritzy old houses.

Don't Be Afraid of the DarkBeing the explorative “better off on my own” type, Sally quickly discovers a window in the garden which peers down into what looks like a basement. The old caretaker tries to steer her clear, but the parental figures involve themselves and open a wall to reveal a hidden door leading into Blackwood’s study. It contains tools, paintings, books, and an all-too-conspicuous grate concealing the well. This is when the creatures begin speaking to Sally.

They seem nice at first, but in an obviously creepy way. “Come to the basement and play with us, Sally.” That doesn’t last very long, though, because the creatures are in fact complete assholes. Assholes with acute photophobia, actually. The longer Sally refuses to “be their friend,” the more aggressive and violent they become. Soon they tell her that her parents hate her, and begin attacking people with silverware, breaking lights, and locking people in rooms.

Nobody believes Sally until the very end, at which point a rather important character has had her/his knees broken backwards before being pulled through a small hole. The body count is quite small, unlike Pan’s Labyrinth, but the fear scale is tipped more so towards the higher end. Oh, and for the record, the most startling scene I’ve ever come across involves Sally looking under her sheets for a sneaking creature. Still get goosebumps from that. I mean, I’m no stranger to startle factor, but that one hits like a truck. But I digress.

Don't Be Afraid of the DarkOkay acting, excellent effects, fair cast, and a just-above-standard plot. Overall, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark ranks a Certainly Worth a Shot on the Yes-No spectrum, so don’t be afraid to give it a watch. Pardon the pun.

Kofi Outlaw of ScreenRant sees Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark as an overblown amateur film project, riddled with CG whoopsies and plot holes, plagued by inferior acting. Giving it a second glance, I’m inclined to agree. Hard to see why those issues weren’t so visible. Maybe an icky movie’s mistakes are made less visible due to the overwhelming shroud of icky? Regardless of quality, it was still a fun watch. But just in case you want to make sure you aren’t wasting your time, here’s the other review: http://screenrant.com/dont-be-afraid-of-the-dark-reviews-kofi-129403/

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