Monday, November 24, 2014

V/H/S: Viral Review

I, like most horror movie fans, love anthologies, as has been documented well here at the Batcave. There's no other genre that makes use of the short film the way horror does.  Throw three of them together, maybe a bookend segment, and you've more than likely got something that horror fans are going to be paying attention to. The first V/H/S film was met with mixed reception, some loved it, some hated it. Me? I loved it. I'm a fan of almost everyone involved in it, and I thought it was a quite solid anthology. Then V/H/S 2 came along a year later, and it was greeted with almost nothing but praise. I'll admit, as much as I enjoyed the first, V/H/S 2 blew it away. It wasn't perfect, of course, but it was just on a different level than the first. Now we have a third, and supposed final, installment in the series, V/H/S: Viral.

Viral begins with an opening bookend sequence called "Vicious Circles" that raises far more questions than it answers. The editing is purposely choppy, and the parts of it that are clear don't make a whole lot of sense. Surely by the end, it's going to come together and end up telling some semblance of a story, right? Nope. There's a guy, his girlfriend, and some kids on bikes that are chasing an ice cream truck that is on the run from the police. And they're all running in a circle. It makes absolutely no sense, and no effort whatsoever is made to explain why any of this is happening. Or maybe I just wasn't smart enough to figure it out. Either way, it was a mess, and wasn't entertaining in the least.

That was just the bookend story though, surely the segments will fare better, right? They've almost got to...

For the first segment, titled "Dante the Great" we're treated to a tale of a maniacal magician whose cloak is possessed by a demon and must be fed victims for it to continue to perform. Bad premise, bad performances, just an all around bad opening to the short films. The idea of an insane magician could have been cool, but the execution here is lacking severely in imagination. Writer/director Gregg Bishop instead delivers a bland tale that ultimately disappoints from start to finish.

The second segment, titled "Parallel Monsters", from Nacho Vigalondo, ends up being the one bright spot in Viral. It's an imaginative, wonderfully weird, mind bender of a story that brings to mind one of the best segments from V/H/S 2, "Safe Haven". A scientist, working from the basement of his home, ends up perfecting a machine that opens a portal to a parallel dimension. When he opens the door to find another version of himself staring back at him, the two decide to trade places in the respective dimensions for just a few minutes. What they quickly discover is that despite an initial familiarity, the two dimensions end up being far from the same. This one will stick with you, folks. It's more the kind of thing you'd see in Eerie than Creepy though, if you're familar with those old horror comic mags. Really, really enjoyed this one.

The third, and final short is "Bonestorm" from Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead. It basically takes a group of these skater kids with the Go Pro cameras, and slaps a coat of horror paint over it. It sounds mediocre from that description, and that's exactly what it ends up being. A bunch of teenagers take a credit card from one of their dads, and head to Tijuana to film themselves shredding in a large, remote drainage ditch. When they get there, they are attacked by a group of masked cultists, looking to make a ritual sacrifice of some sort. The whole thing is jerky, the characters are awful, and it's basically 20 minutes or so of kids running around a drainage ditch hitting skull mask wearing people with their skateboards, and occasionally shooting one or two of them. It's not exciting, we get absolutely no clue as to who the guys in masks are, or what they're doing, and it's just not entertaining.

V/H/S: Viral was a monumental disappointment for me. As a genuine fan of the series, I can only hope that some of the people involved in the first two return for one more shot at bringing the series back from this terrible entry. I'd hate to see it end on such a down note.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Guest Review

The Guest is a rare misstep from director Adam Wingard, who's You're Next was one of my favorite films of last year. A weak script and ridiculous ending are the biggest offenders here, but there's no denying this is an easy favorite for best soundtrack of 2014. Check out my full review at The Liberal Dead.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

TMNT Nightmare on Elm Street Homage

Hot on the heels of the Friday the 13th episode that kicked off season 3, here's a Nightmare On Elm Street inspired episode, featuring the voices of Robert Englund and Bill Moseley! This show just keeps getting better.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pieces of Talent Review

Pieces of Talent has moments of brilliance, unfortunately they're surrounded by a mess of a plot which takes far too long to attempt to come together into anything cohesive. The kills are setup in a way that makes you think the movie is about to deliver the goods, only to have the rug pulled out from under you when something simple like a shotgun blast happens after a quick cut away. Don't believe the hype, folks. Full review here.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

BB Interview with CJ Wallis!

I did my first interview! Check it out over at The Liberal Dead. If you've been with me a while, you'll know my excitement for BB is extremely high. I had a blast doing this interview, and CJ is just an awesome person. Huge thanks to him for taking the time to talk with a lowly blogger. Make sure you hit that link and read the interview, and give my earlier coverage of BB a read here, here, and here.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Town That Dreaded Sundown 2104 Review

It could be argued that this sequel to the 1976 classic is unnecessary. As a matter of fact, I probably wouldn't even argue with you. Still, I'm a sucker for a guy in a mask, and the Phantom just has one of those looks that I can't help but love. You throw that hood on a guy in a generic slasher every year, and I'll be there every single time. As a fan of the original, I went into the new one with absolutely no expectations, as a matter of fact, I puropsely skipped anything other than the teaser trailer. I wanted to go into this thing as open minded as possible.

The Town that Dreaded Sundown takes place 65 years after the events of the first movie, in Texarkana, Texas. The "moonlight murders" begin again, on a night when the town is having it's annual showing of the 1976 film about the original killer. For a town that's done it's best to move on from the horrific events surrounding the original Phantom, this serves as a brutal reminder of the horror that took place way back in 1946.

This is exactly what you'd expect from a modern version of The Town that Dreaded Sundown. The Phantom in the 1976 film is a killer, yes, but that movie is tame in comparison to this modern version. The Phantom in 2014 has more in common with Ghostface from the Scream series than he does his original counterpart. The kills in this movie are absolutely brutal. I don't know why, but I guess I was expecting something more along the lines of the original, and this definitely isn't your granfather's Sundown. It's been a day since I watched it, and I'm still not sure exactly how I feel about that aspect. On the one hand, I'm all for a fun, new, violent slasher movie to watch, but on the other, I love the old movie, and this one just feels so different that it feels like something completely new that borrows from a classic just for it's namesake.

My fence-riding aside, this really is a fun slasher flick. I enjoyed the kills, there's plenty of brutality and blood, the obligatory bit of nudity, and a badass looking masked killer wreaking havoc. The other thing it has going for it, for me at least, is the screenplay was written by comic writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, who you might recognize from this latest "Afterlife With Archie" which puts the Riverdale gang smack in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. That comic is just pure fun, and when I read that he was writing a sequel to Sundown, I hoped he'd bring that same fun to the movie. Aside from the slightly disappointing reveal at the end, I felt like he succeeded in penning a modern sequel to a classic story, whose only flaw in my mind is that it's a bit too modern. As to whether that's a fair criticism, I'll let you decide.

If you liked the original, and don't mind a lot of modern slasher tropes being interjected, you just might come away enjoying this one. If you've never seen the original, and enjoy a good slasher, then by all means give The Town That Dreaded Sundown 2014 a look. Personally, I'm still undecided, but plan to revisit the film again when I add it to my collection.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Babadook Review

The creepiest movie I've seen this year. The Babadook is like a nursery rhyme from Hell. It's a character driven spookfest, sort of a slow burn but it's got a nice payoff for those who stick with it until the end. Read the full review at The Liberal Dead

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Exists Review

This year has given us a bit of a resurgence in the "killer Bigfoot" genre, and I'm perfectly ok with that. The two standouts in question have been Bob Goldwaith's fantastic "Blair Witch-esque" Willow Creek, and ironically, Blair Witch co-director Eduardo Sanchez's Exists. Where as Willow Creek takes a less is more, suspenseful route, and ends up being a quite successful creepfest, Exists is a straight up creature feature. Not only do we get to see Bigfoot, but we get to see Bigfoot unchained, rage filled, and ready to wreck shit.

As with most creature flicks, Exists is fairly light on plot, which works just fine as the real reason we paid the money was to watch a big monster rip some people to shreds. The story follows a group of "extreme" twenty-somethings on their way to a secluded cabin owned by the uncle of one of the group. They plan a weekend of sex, drugs, and drinking, and the filming of bike tricks for their Youtube channel. Things get off to a bad start when they hit something with a car. At first they assume it was a deer, but before long they realize it may have been much more than that when they're running from their lives from a sasquatch on the rampage.

I admit, I dug Willow Creek a lot, but when I want to watch a Bigfoot movie, Exists is the kind of flick I want. The sasquatch was full on terrifying, especially during the chase scenes. His attacks are that of a wounded wild animal, Vicious, brutal, and merciless. He's not entirely without purpose though, as you learn at the end, which I won't spoil here. There's a reason the sasquatch is so dead set on getting to these kids, and honestly if you're like me, you'll be rooting for him. This is one of the most annoying group of kids in a horror flick in recent memory, and probably my least favorite part of the movie. There isn't a single one of them to root for. All your stereotypes are here in the ugly, groan inducing glory. The jock, the stoner, the slut, you get the idea. None of the actors are particularly bad, although they certainly aren't good either. On the other hand, Brian Steele is great as the sasquatch.

As a found footage flick, Exists works well enough, with minimal nausea inducing shaky effect. Thankfully Sanchez doesn't shy away from giving us plenty of good looks at the sasquatch. There isn't a ton of blood, but it's there. This is a sasquatch though, and not a werewolf, so that's to be expected. There is a good mixture of practical effects and cgi, but the computer generated stuff is done well enough that it doesn't  take you out of the film. If you hate found footage movies though, this one won't be changing your mind.

For fans of killer Bigfoot creature features, Exists is a more than worthy entry in the genre. It doesn't break the mold, or really do anything to set itself apart. It gets off to a bit of a slow start, but if you stick with it, you get a solid, fun monster movie with a cool looking creature, some good kills, and an annoying cast that will have you rooting for the bad guy. I don't know about anybody else, but for me, that's a recipe for success. Check this movie out.

Monday, November 3, 2014

New Twiztid and Blaze Videos

New stuff from Twiztid and Blaze, from Twiztid's brand new self-owned label, Majik Ninja Entertainment. Enjoy.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Wyrmwood Review

Wyrmwood is big on promises, but fails to fully deliver. It at least attempts to set itself apart in an over saturated infected zombie genre, but the new ideas is brings to the table aren't fleshed out enough to matter. Read my full review here