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/

The Happening… Has it Yet?

The Happening
From the cesspit of lame horror movies crawls this spectacle of suicide… The Happening! Complete with Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel. I’ve heard that they’re meant to be good actors, and based on what I’ve seen from this particular movie, I cannot agree nor disagree. Simply put, good actors do not a good movie make. I didn’t like the end product when the plot was dumped in, but the final opinion’s up to you based off the synopsis. Away we go.

Elliot and Alma are a couple having problems. Elliot’s a science teacher, Alma is some sort of legal type person who just baaarely cheated on Elliot by seeing some other guy for lunch. Julien is their math teacher buddy, and Jess is his daughter. None of this matters yet, because first you have to see a bunch of people commit suicide because of the “event.” Some people stab themselves, some people jump off buildings, some crash their cars, so on, so forth. No explanation yet, so bear with me.

The event is initially blamed on terrorist poisonings because it tends to pop up in the middle of parks and places with a generally high population. Elliot and his lot flee to Philadelphia via bus, but wind up stranded in a small town with some botanists who think that plants are causing the mass suicides. As the plot progresses, they discover that it is indeed the terrorist plants, and that the size of the targeted populations is gradually shrinking. Inevitably, the poison will target the tiny, fleeing groups via wind.

The HappeningThere’s a lot of room for stragglers and secondary characters in this one, since a most of them wind up dead. After Julien dies while trying to meet up with his wife, every other new character you meet shortly follows suit. So, you know, don’t get too attached to anyone.

I’ll save you the trouble of waiting for the “exciting conclusion” and tell you now that the Elliot, Alma, and Jess survive. The wind catches up to them and they wind up trapped in an empty house, only to discover that the event has ended. They become one big happy family, and the news tells them that there’s NO chance this event will ever happen again. You know, because science can’t prove that it will.

The main shortcoming of this movie is that it feels like a corny science show. The characters feel really stereotypical and plastic, the dialogue can get a little (very) cheesy, and the overall plot is rather flimsy, relying on the suicides to leave an impact. It’s one of those movies that you watch once and ONLY once unless you’re bored off your ass and have literally nothing else to do.

The HappeningNigel Floyd of Metacritic stabs the movie right in the kidney, pointing out that all the initial buildup and suspense amounts to an empty, boring conclusion. According to him, the characters are flat and dreary, and I couldn’t agree more. Take a peek at his review here: http://www.timeout.com/film/reviews/85173/the-happening.html

Who Ya Gonna Call? Why, Ghostbusters, of Course

GhostbustersSo pick up your phone and call! Ghostbusters! Or, you know, you could call me so you can hear my review of the movie. Or you could read this, I suppose. It’ll have to do. The preliminary outlook of this beloved 1984 flick is overwhelmingly positive. Who doesn’t like watching two nerds, a hornball nerd, and a cynical black guy go around capturing blobby looking ghosts? That’s the general idea, anyway. On with the review!

Peter Venkman, Raymond Stantz, Egon Spengler, and Winston Zeddmore (who comes in later) make up the quarter of specter snaring cadres. The three fellows are in college studying psychology, parapsychology, and the like, but in reality are trying to engage themselves in what I’ll term “spiritual activity.” In the first scene, the three catch wind of an unusual library disturbance, and their final plan is to run up to the ghost and “GET HER!” Ray’s plan, obviously. It fails spectacularly, but sets the tone for the rest of the movie.

A little bit of character description should help clarify things. Ray is the overenthusiastic ditz of the crew; intelligent, but prone to critical blunders. He provides the more childish perspective. Egon is the hardcore nerd. He handles all the major gear, planning, and statistics, while not offering too much in regards to characterization. Peter is what we could call the flirty, skeptical comedy relief. Early in the movie, he’s using a psychic test to pick up a cute blonde girl, then later on he tries to hook up with one of the Ghostbusters’ clients. Winston doesn’t play too huge a role, but manages to input a fair amount of cynical commentary before the curtains fall.

GhostbustersThen there’s Dana. She’s one of the Ghostbusters’ later jobs. After, of course, the Ghostbuster crew is kicked out of their college, forced to buy a borderline condemned building, and kick off their business with some advertising. In her apartment, eggs begin to cook themselves on the counter, and a colossal dog-like demon roars “ZUUL” at her from her refrigerator. If I were her, I would just move, but calling the Ghostbusters is also an acceptable stratagem.

This is all relevant, of course. Zuul is a follower of Gozer, who is an ancient Sumerian god that wants to wreak nonspecific havoc on the living world. Egon points out that the obscene number of ghosts they’ve captured point to a major event. After all, the rising of so many ghosts must mean something, right? It does indeed. It turns out that the apartment building Dana lives in is a catalyst for spiritual activity, and it acts as the beacon that brings Gozer the Gozerian back into the physical world.

An agent of the EPA, Walter Peck, shuts off the protective grid around the ghost storage facility because of a grudge. Dana, who has been possessed by Zuul, and Louis (her neighbor), who has been possessed by Vinz Clortho, use the pandemonium caused by the spirit breakout to meet up. Gatekeeper and Keymaster are united, and the door to Gozer’s dimension opens.

GhostbustersI’m not telling what happens next, because it’s dramatic and awesome and spoilers aren’t nearly as fashionable as everyone says. The effects in this movie are hilarious in both good ways and bad, the humor ranged from subtle to laugh out loud, and the plot is enigmatic, sudden, and satisfying. Overall, Ghostbusters is a good movie for people of all ages, providing you lack the seriousness that would render most of Bill Murray’s humor useless. Peter Venkman is Bill Murray, by the way. See, now you have to watch it! You can’t not like Bill Murray. Enjoy!

If you want a second opinion that’s negative, you’re hard-pressed to find it. Andrew Pulver of The Guardian has some great things to say about Ghostbusters as well. Check his opinion out here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/oct/27/ghostbusters-review

Beetlejuice, Tim Burton’s Take on Death

BeetlejuiceHumanity is often baffled by the question, “What happens when you die?” Some say you will simply decompose. Some say you will be judged by your deeds and sent to a place befitting of the verdict. Some say you will be reborn depending on how you lived your life. Beetlejuice has the kind of ideology that will make you very uncomfortable if you take it seriously. But seriously, who would take it seriously? Tim Burton directed it. Danny Elfman did the music. This movie isn’t here to preach; it’s here to weird you out and make you laugh.

A gaudy introduction, I’m sure, but I do declare that Beetlejuice deserves it. As a live action movie based upon an old cartoon series, it scores remarkably well with most critics and reviewers. In this case, it scores well with me. The first positives that come to mind are: costumes, humor, and visual effects. Mind you, this is a 1988 production, so it’s obviously not a CG-holic like most films nowadays.

Adam and Barbara Maitland start the movie strong by dying within the first fifteen minutes. Better to get that out of the way so the real conflict can go down. They live in a huge house that they spent a lot of time decorating, which is a real shame. They die, they spend a lot of time in a waiting room, and they come back to find out that the Deetzes, an “artistic” family from New York, have moved into their house. They don’t really want to have their home torn down and fixed back up after all the work they’ve done on it, so they seek assistance in clearing the Deetz family out.

BeetlejuiceBeetlejuice is the first to offer his assistance, but from his conduct, it’s obvious that the lights upstairs are a little dim. Or insane. Their case worker, Juno, tells them to avoid Beetlejuice at all costs, but to no avail. He quickly proves to be a threat, and is sent back to the realm of the dead. Of course, he doesn’t take too kindly to that.

Lydia, the gothic looking gloomy daughter of the Deetzes, can see the Maitlands because she is strange and unusual, something specified in the Handbook for the Recently Deceased. As Lydia gets closer to the Maitlands and learns their story, Beetlejuice gets closer to Lydia. He uses her fear of the Maitlands leaving to trick her into bringing him into the world of the living, but not before Otho, the interior decorator, uses the Handbook to perform a little bit of necromancy.

Now that I think about it, I’m leaving out a whole lot of what makes this movie great; The little snippets of weirdness scattered here and there. For example, an explorer with a shrunken head checking Barbara out. Beetlejuice feeling up the legs of a woman who had been cut in half. Adam gets offered a cigarette by a man who burned to death smoking in bed. The visual effects are realistic yet comedic. The comedy is morbid and hilarious.

BeetlejuiceBeetlejuice is what I like to call a “childhood classic.” On its own, it’s kind of a unorthodox, surreal movie with little more to offer than disturbing laughs and a fairly straightforward plot. It’s a good movie for both kids and adults, although I should inform you that Beetlejuice says the fuck word at a point. He’s a very angry person. He also makes the movie awesome. I think you should watch it.

Sailor Moon, The Movie: Promise of the Rose is Your Childhood

Sailor Moon: Promise of the Rose1990’s kids will know this one. Oh yeah. This is a 1993 anime classic film based off of an awesome and deceptively cutesy TV series. Don’t think that it being based off a TV series makes it bad, though. It’s freakin’ Sailor Moon, The Movie: Promise of the Rose. How could that be bad in ANY way? Let’s crack open a bottle of plot and see how it goes down.

Darien, the true identity of the hero Tuxedo Mask, Sailor Moon’s love interest, is first seen to be giving a gift to another boy. A rose, accepted with great affection and the promise of the perfect flower. Darien had just lost his parents, and didn’t want to see his only friend go. The problem was, Fiore was an alien, and couldn’t stay on Earth too long because the air would eventually kill him. He left Darien, fully intending to find the perfect flower to return to Earth with, but ended up stumbling upon something very foul indeed. But more on that in a moment.

In the modern day, Darien, Serena, and the rest of the Sailor Scouts are out at a flower shop, browsing and having a good time. This is a shoujo, I should remind you. If I don’t succeed, the movie will remind you eighty times before it ends. It’s only sixty minutes, but it’s more than capable of melting your brain with love. I digress. A rain of flower petals interrupts the group as they’re leaving, and out of nowhere, a red-haired guy appears and approaches Darien. He seems pleasant enough, until he shoves Serena away when she tries to break him and Darien up. They were getting kinda… close. Darien realizes that it’s Fiore, the same boy from his childhood, and this unnerves him a bit. Something changed. Something bad.

Sailor Moon: Promise of the RoseSoon after, a plant monster attacks Tokyo with a cluster of vines in order to drain the populace’s life energy. The Sailor Scouts respond immediately, obliterating the flower-freak and saving the day… That is, until Fiore appears in his alien form and claims that he is responsible for the attack. But why would such a benevolent person stage such a horrid attack? Perhaps the dark flower on his chest should offer a reason.

Serena’s cats, Artemis and Luna, explain this one. The Kisenian Blossom is the most evil flower in existence, latching onto those with weak hearts and filling them with hatred and anger. One by one, she sucks planets dry of life energy to increase her own power, then destroys them and leaves. She cannot do this alone, however. Fiore’s heart was weak, and as such she sunk her claws into him and instilled him with vengeance against the human race for causing Darien’s loneliness.

During the fight between Fiore and the Sailor Scouts, Darien takes a dive for Serena and is critically injured. Since all the other Scouts have had their asses beaten, no one can stop Fiore as he grabs the dying Darien and spirits him away in a whirlwind of flower petals. Where did they go?

Sailor Moon: Promise of the RoseArtemis and Luna have this one, too. Apparently, he’s on a meteor. A meteor filled with the Kisenian Blossom’s plants is quickly descending to Earth, where it will open up and sprinkle the surface of the planet with dark seeds. In the end, the Earth would be reduced to a dead rock, and the Kisenian Blossom would move on. How can the Sailor Scouts hope to stop this evil meteor? How can Darien break his friend free of the dark blossom’s influence?

I’m not going to tell you. Watch the movie! It’s great! It’s overly dramatic, weepy, mushy, violent, flashy, and it really helps redefine the genre known as “Magical Girl.” I mean, seriously. You’re missing out if you haven’t seen this. What’s that, you said? Too girly? Don’t like the fact that the Scouts get naked when they transform? What, it’s not like you can see anything, pervy. I won’t tell you again. This is a classic of classic anime movies, and you won’t regret snapping this up on VHS (if you’ve got it) or DVD (if you want it) and giving it a good view. Remember! Only 60 minutes!

Is my opinion crap? I don’t think it is, but juuust in case you do, here’s the AnimeCritic’s take on Sailor Moon: Promise of the Rose. It’s also called Sailor Moon R the Movie, in case you’re wondering. http://www.animecritic.com/sailormoon/anr-sailormoonrmovie.html

The Ring Two, No Effort No Scary

The Ring TwoOkay, so The Ring was pretty freaky. It was deep, it was dark, it had fresh scares, an interesting tone, and it was based off of an Asian horror movie. An American remake with Naomi Watts…? Yeah. I can understand why anyone would be iffy. At the same time, it offers a new perspective on supernatural horror. Plus it set up sort of a micro-subcultural trend. Seven days? Yuppers, that’s The Ring.

The Ring Two, on the other hand… It is less loyal to the original movie. People die who haven’t watched the tape, Samara tries to escape the video and possess Aidan, Rachel’s son. It’s definitely a step down from the first movie, because the whole thing seems rather unrefined. I guess the main negative to The Ring Two is that sequels are sequels, no matter how good the first one was.

A quick plot synopsis. It won’t take very long. Rachel and Aidan discover that more people have been making copies of the tape, and that Samara is out for revenge. Aidan begins to have strange dreams, visions, and acquires a strange illness that drops his internal body temperature by around ten degrees. In order to find out how to destroy Samara, or at the very least be rid of her for an indefinite period of time, Rachel seeks out Samara’s mother. She doesn’t help. She’s gone nuts and just yells at people. However, from a story told by one of the caretakers, she learns that Samara’s mother tried to drown her. Foreshadowing?

The Ring TwoAidan is in the hospital possessed with Samara, and they won’t let Rachel in because an ill-conceived plot device made it look like she abused him. Thus, Aidan uses his magic Samara powers to make the child psychologist kill herself, and returns home. Rachel drugs him and drowns him, sending Samara back to the tape, and then she enters the movie, closes the well’s lid, and traps Samara down there forever.

Several notes: This movie is less scary. The special effects are by no means inferior, but they feel squandered because of their lack of impact. I can’t see any horror moviegoer saying that this movie was anything more than a crap sequel with no legitimate fear elements at all. I could just be too jaded, but all the same; no suspenseful buildups, no eerie sounds to cue events, no greater sense of evil or hopelessness. All in all, The Ring Two was just crudely done.

Several good points! Just to end on a positive note. I bashed the hell out of this one. The scene were Samara reverses gravity and makes water flow up onto the ceiling is pretty awesome. First time I saw that, I was pretty impressed. Ceiling pool. Awesome.

Second good point. They brought back the Samara face. You know, the face you make after you die. You get to see it twice. That was pretty fly.

The Ring TwoThird good point, all of the acting is sub-par. This is a point that’s so bad that it wrapped around the end of the sliding good/bad spectrum and started on the other side. The situations aren’t convincing, the composure and conduct isn’t realistic (even considering the nature of the movie), and the reeking stench of bad sequel oozes out of every dramatic line.

I don’t think I need to imply any further that this movie would only serve to waste your time. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate it. I don’t even dislike it. I just think it’s a bad movie, and that anyone who’s seen and enjoyed the first would likely think so too.

Eraserhead: What the Hell Just Happened?

EraserheadYou’ll be wanting to watch this monochrome… uh, classic… over and over again. It’s got coherent, it’s linear, it obeys the rules of life and death, and it brings you back to the glory of the silver screen with flash and pride. It’s definitely one of the greatest and known movies in cinematic history. You’d have to be living under a rock not to know what Eraserhead is… yeah.

Okay, so everything I said was a complete lie. Don’t worry, it still counts towards the reviewing. Just take everything I said, reverse it, and you’ll have yourself the perfect review of this scary as hell monochrome catastrophe. Before I continue with this less than gracious explanation, I’ll admit that I still don’t fully understand what this movie means.

Henry Spencer is a man who lives in a super-industrialized futuristic (I guess) city, relatively near his girlfriend Mary X. God, doing a plot synopsis is going to be so hard… I could just tell you that Henry and Mary had sex, and Mary gave birth to a mutant baby. Mary started to lose her mind out of stress, so she left Henry alone to care for the child. Eventually, the really weird things that were already happening started to make him hate the baby, so he stabbed it to death. That’s the plot.

EraserheadBut the plot’s not what the movie’s about, fortunately enough for you. This is a surrealist movie, which means most of the stuff that goes on is solely there to confuse you while the filmmaker smiles and laughs. The good news is, the title is explained through this, so… there’s always that to look forward to. I’m note entirely sure how to describe the surreal events that occur, but it’s better that I give you a description at-length to prepare you for what this movie contains.

The lady in the radiator seems to play a huge part in the movie, it seems. Her cheeks are abnormally large and clumpy, and she’s good at doing little dances. She does sideways steps, until eventually little… Okay, they look like sperm. Little sperm-ish things fall from the ceiling, and she stomps them to death, looking sweet as can be. She sings a short song about heaven the next time you see her, and hugs Henry after he stabs his baby to death, causing it to erupt into a four foot tall pillar of foam.

Had enough? It hasn’t even begun. At dinner with Mary X’s family, the fist-sized chickens crap out a pool of blood while Mrs. X makes strange guttural sounds until the chicken ass-spewing stops. Mr. X stares at Henry the entire time with bedroom eyes. I think this might be the reason Mary X moves in with Henry. Just saying.

EraserheadSo how did the movie come to be called fricken Eraserhead, then, if it’s all about random events and crap? Simple. During a dream sequence, Henry is on stage and staring at different versions of himself, until suddenly his head pops off and is replaced by the baby’s head. HIS head rolls away and is found by a boy who turns it in to a pencil factory. The guy at the pencil factory grinds his head up and uses it to make an eraser, which works incredibly well. And yet, Henry’s head is fine. It’s fine when he goes back to his room full of dirt piles. Modern art? Insanity? Who can say? Not me.

I have no idea how to make an all-encompassing statement that would apply as a conclusive analysis of Eraserhead. I suppose that in itself serves to explain just how confusing this movie is. I’m pretty sure you still have no idea what to think of it given the vague description I’ve provided you with. All I can say is, Eraserhead is a short movie, but it’ll confuse you for a lifetime. Don’t watch this if you want coherence.

Inception vs Shutter Island: Same Protagonist, Almost Different Plot

InceptionYou’re lucky I decided to be mature about this and title it the way I did. If I hadn’t had that moment of clarity, the title would be “Incraption vs Shitter Island.” But it’s Inception vs Shutter Island, so yeah.

I think it was definitely a mistake to see Shutter Island before seeing Inception. Maybe seeing both of them was a mistake in itself. A lot of people say Leonardo DiCaprio is an excellent actor, but these two movies sorta sucked the agreement out of me. While it is true that these are the only Leo DiCaprio movies I’ve seen and my perspective is rather limited, I do believe I’m justified when I say he plays the same character in both. Tweaks and twists here and there, but overall annoyingly similar.

Shutter Island: Leo plays a delusional mental patient who thinks he’s a detective investigating an institution for the absence of another patient. He keeps hallucinating and seeing his wife, his children, and other horrifying images on the hunt, but keeps these things to himself. He starts to catch on to a self-made conspiracy in which he’s part of a big experimental brain surgery scandal, only to find out that it was just the head psychiatrist trying to make him confront reality be seeing the falsehood in his own delusions. It turns out his wife was crazy and killed his kids, then he went crazy and killed her. Kind of a let-down ending. I’m not spoiling anything important.

InceptionInception: Leo plays a man who’s wanted for the murder of his own wife because she went crazy and set it up to look like he did it. As it turns out, he actually did. He used Inception and dream-sharing to plant an idea in her head that her world wasn’t real, and she needed to kill herself to wake up. He did this to get the both of them out of subconsciousness, which was a good reason enough, but he sort of botched it. Anyway, throughout the movie, projections of his wife constantly appear and ruin all the plans he tries to make because he’s in denial and wracked with guilt. Sound similar? Yeah. You bet it does. In the conclusion, he has a catharsis and admits to the projected her what he did. And she gets mad, he still feels bad about it, and the ending is ambiguous.

You see the point I’m trying to make, though, right? That Inception and Shutter Island are basically two movies in which Leo plays a crazy, haunted fella who accidentally kills his crazy wife? Because it’s a little obnoxious to have to listen to him bitch and moan about his dark and brooding past, or have it bitched and moaned to him. Redundant, don’t you know.

The sci-fi aspect of Inception was rather intriguing, though, as were the musical scores used throughout. I must admit, I was both pleased and disappointed with the ways they bent and shaped the subconscious. I know Leo is used to playing in rather realistic movies, so throwing in anything truly subconscious, namely flight, really strange images, weapons, whatever, wouldn’t exactly be up his alley. Which is a shame, because if you think about it, using the dreaming mind to its fullest, nonrealistic extent would have made the movie so much more interesting.

InceptionYes, they were trying to be convincingly realistic to a guy so they could break into his mind and do some Inception. But as Eames so indelicately put it, “You mustn’t be afraid to dream a little bigger.” In context, he was talking about his grenade launcher versus Arthur’s classy assault rifle, but my point still stands. They could have had laser guns. Just saying. Just saying that the movie came off as an action thriller with some vague aspects of subconsciousness in it. Kinda like the dreaming part was essential though still thrown in there to make everything fancier.

Well, Shutter Island sure ate up a fair bit of this review. I think it’s safe to say that those looking to be impressed (or the easily impressed) will be impressed by both of these movies. Inception more so than Shutter Island, because the latter has a bit of an anti-climactic ending, though I personally found it to be rather satisfying. You can watch them if you want, but for the love of everything, only watch one. If you see both, you’ll be plagued by the exact same general disliking of Leo DiCaprio that I’ve described.

Minority Report: Just Cruisin’

Minority ReportThat’s right, folks! Welcome to the future, and the future is Tom Cruise. First time I saw this movie, I was mainly paying attention to Mr. Cruise and his overdramatic performance. The guy takes himself a little too seriously, and I think even that statement’s a little modest. But hey, every once in a while his tone and the movie’s hit it off in perfect harmony. This is one of those cases.

Pre-Crime is a futuristic organization that works with with three very special individuals called the Pre-Cogs, who can see murders long before they happen. Pre-Crime uses the images produced by these future-seers to apprehend criminals before the incident actually occurs. It’s an incredibly effective system, and as such, it’s placed under investigation for flaws.

John Anderton works for Pre-Crime. He lost his son at a public pool, his wife left him, and because of all this he has taken to using a drug called Clarity. Despite all this, he’s a good cop. That is, until the system declares that he will kill a man named Leo Crow in less than 36 hours. Anterton has no idea who this Leo Crow is, let alone why he would kill him. All the same, John is hunted by his police friends, and by the federal investigator Danny Witmer.

Minority ReportOn his run, Anderton encounters one of the makers of Pre-Crime, who discloses that minority reports for alternative possible futures exist within the Pre-Cogs who make the predictions. So now, he has to run back to Pre-Crime and retrieve the female of the three Pre-Cogs, Agatha, in order to find a way to extract the minority report from her. Of course, in order to even get close to Pre-Crime without being eyescan identified, he has to have his eyes plucked out and replaced.

Skipping a bit, he manages to get her, and he quickly discovers that no, he does not have a minority report. He does, however, pick up the trail of a greater conspiracy hiding behind the mask of the honorable Pre-Crime organization. Soon, John discovers that the other creator of Pre-Crime, Lamar Burgess, his old friend, used his own system to get away with murdering Anne Lively. He manages to use Anderton’s lost son and Leo Crow to cover his tracks… But no spoilers here as to whether he gets away or not.

Anne was the mother of Agatha, and a Neuroin addict. Her daughter was born with brain damage, a common issue with children born of those addicted to Neuroin, though she was saved by Lamar’s original partner, then used by Lamar as the foundation of Pre-Crime. When Anne Lively came clean and tried to reclaim her child, Lamar made sure that she wouldn’t meddle with his system.

Minority ReportThat’s all of the plot I’m giving you, but that’s all you really need. For a Tom Cruise movie, this sci-fi conspiracy thriller really manages to hold your attention without making you say, “Really…?” Well, at least not as often as you would in War of the Worlds or Valkyrie. Quality effects, good characters, intriguing plot, and you have a win.

A word of warning, though. There is a considerable amount of corny-mushiness contained. It might get a little overbearingly obnoxious at some points because of the aforementioned dramatic tone, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll kill the entertainment value entirely. It might make you roll your eyes, but you’ll be pretty content with the conclusion, I think.

Mirrors: An Idiot Reflected is Just as Dumb

MirrorsI don’t hate Mirrors. I really don’t. I just hate every single actor and actress they put in there. I hate them, and I’m very sad that some of them survive. I’m very happy that bad things happen to them. They come off as very annoying, because they follow the horror movie clichés to the letter. I really don’t hate Mirrors, but thanks to the cast, I do. I feel bad for judging a bad-bad horror movie, but sometimes it feels good to just hate on a deserving one. On with the review, then.

Benjamin Carson is a night watchman at a mall, the Mayflower, that just burned down. He ditched the the police force because of his drinking and the subsequent violence that wrought, and he’s on powerful medication to keep his urges suppressed. Amy Carson, his wife, asks that he stay away from the family until she feels he’s ready to come back. For now, he lives with his sister Angie in her apartment.

So, the clichés start to kick in when he begins to witness unusual imagery in the unusually clean mirrors. From the beginning, we know that the original caretaker was murdered by the mirrors killing his reflection. Or… something. So then, the mirrors begin to haunt Ben with terrifying images. He finds the original caretaker’s wallet, and discovers that the mirrors want someone by the name of Esseker.

MirrorsI’d like to point out that all throughout the course of the movie, all of these scary incidents are relayed from Ben to Amy and Angie, and neither of them believes him. Amy thinks he’s hallucinating because of his medication, and Angie just thinks he’s under stress. Ben even manages to drop the “I’m not crazy” line, which pissed me off to the extreme. I don’t like the crazy gambit in horror movies, not at all. It’s choppy, irritating, persistent, and adds nothing to the movie’s plot aside from a sense of solitude, and that’s not really worth it.

ANYWAYS. The mirrors kill Angie, which really pisses Ben off. They even start to threaten his wife and kids. He starts to investigate Esseker, finds an asylum connected to the Mayflower’s lower area, and finds that Anna Esseker was a patient in there, being treated for schizophrenia. Some mirror shenanigans go down in the Carson home, and Ben winds up finding Anna and forcing her back to the hospital at gunpoint.

At that point, something interesting happens. Something that pissed me off. This movie tends to do that. So yeah, Esseker is placed in a room of mirrors, and the demon escapes the mirrors and into her body. Because she was actually possessed, and they used the mirrors to take it out of her. Ben winds up impaling the dumb, stupid demon on a gas pipe and exploding her. It works, but he winds up stuck in the mirror world. Forever alone.

MirrorsI dedicate this paragraph to bashing on a child actor. He plays Michael. HE SUCKS. Apparently, he can see things in the mirrors. He’s the least convincing in regards to his voice and facial expressions, and he makes me want to punch him in the face. He even manages to get possessed by the mirror demon somehow, which doesn’t make sense considering the mirror demon can’t actually get into people’s minds. That said, he slashes his mom across the face with a knife. What an asshole. I hate him. Argh.

That concludes my in-depth analysis of the movie Mirrors. I can sum up the entire thing by saying I don’t like it. Because I don’t. And the unrated version doesn’t contain any bonus content. It’s actually exactly the same. Literally no difference. What the hell, man? Not worth it. Don’t buy this movie. If anything, steal it and play it when you have something else you need to do that requires background noise. Only time you’ll actually be able to enjoy it. That’s all I have to say about that.

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