Saturday, August 18, 2012

Horror Movie Review: Tormented


Starring: Tuppence Middleton, Olly Alexander, Dimitri Leonidas, Alex Pettyfer,  April Pearson, and Calvin Dean

Written by: Stephen Prentiss

Directed by: Jon Wright

Production Companies: BBC Films, Screen West Midlands, Slingshot Productions, Pathe, and Forward Films

Release Date: May 22, 2009

Geeky Darren Mullet gets bullied to the point of committing suicide and the student populace of Fairview High School don't really seem to care, except for equally geeky Jason Banks. Head girl Justine doesn't even remember whom he was, despite giving his eulogy. After his funeral, it's back to normal.

That is until the popular kids start getting texts from Mullet insulting and threatening them. They accuse a couple of the geeky set, including Jason, of using Mullet's phone, but soon the threats become deaths. And is that Mullet is the window?

Justine, meanwhile, finds herself becoming one of the popular kids after Alex begins going out with her, but is being accepted by the popular kids really what she wants?

It's your typical Geeks versus In-Crowd set up, but unlike most versions, there's an uneasy division between the two. It's not all black and white. Justine was not popular, but she was not a geek either. And Mullet's victims don't stick entirely to the In-Crowd.

I've seen this movie labelled as a horror-comedy, but I didn't see any comedy. It's not that they were trying to be funny and I didn't get it either. I doubt director Jon Wright would call it a comedy.

Tormented is a pretty good ghost story that keeps us interested by forcing us to ask, who exactly will Mullet kill? Will Justine also get killed or will she be protected like Mullet's suicide note said? Definitely worth a watch.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Horror Movie Review: A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)

Nightmare on Elm Street

Starring: Jackie Earle Haley, Rooney Mara, and Kyle Gallner

Directed by Samuel Bayer

Written by: Wesley Strick, Erik Heisserer, based on characters created by Wes Craven

Production Company New Line Cinema and Platinum Dunes

Release Date: April 27, 2010

Awards: 2011 Worst Film - Fangoria Chainsaw Awards; 2011 Favorite Horror Movie - People's Choice Awards


 So first they remade Halloween with some success. Then came a remake of Friday the 13th, not with as much success. Which brings us to most recently the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010). Oh, it's time for horror to stop relying on remakes. I've said it before, I'll say it again...come up with something original horror makers!

We know the story...Freddy Krueger kills teens in their dreams to get back at their parents who killed him for killing children and getting off because of incorrect police procedure...wait, no, that was the original. No, in this one Freddy Krueger kills teens in their dreams to get back at them (the children) for telling their parents that he molested them leading the parents to illogically kill him rather than go to the police.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is by and large the difference between this remake and the original. In fact, some of the exact same scenes are used. Exact. The movie seems mainly a collection of some of the best scenes from the earlier franchise. Freddy's body shaping out of wall over a sleeping teen, a body bag of an already killed teen being dragged through a school, the heroine dozing in the tub with Freddy's claw-glove hand rising from the water between her legs. Seen it!

With nothing really different done, nothing new explored, it makes me wonder what the point was. There was a potential with a comment about being in a coma being like being stuck in your dreams, but other than another mention of Freddy wanting that to happen to the main heroine, it wasn't explored.

Though clearly there's some disagreement about the film as Fangoria chose it as the 2011 worst horror film but it was voted best horror film by the People's Choice Awards. I say pass this one by and watch the first two or three of the original franchise, but they're making a second one.

Although, IMDB doesn't even have Jackie Earle Haley's name attached yet. No director. Since it was announced there would be a sequel after the weekend box office return for this one came in, there's been plenty of time to get something rolling. I wonder what the hold up is? Maybe rethinking the whole thing?

Related Trailers

Maniac Cop III: Badge of Silence - Jackie Earle Haley, who played Freddy Krueger, also starred in Maniac Cop III: Badge of Silence. The Maniac Cop returns from the dead for the third time when a female cop is shot down during an attempted hostage rescue. This time, the "wrong" arm of the law wants a love girl, and nothing's likely to stop him! He's undead and unwed, so any cop with a pulse (and there are plenty in this flick) had better give this zombie a wide berth.


Jennifer's Body - Kyle Gallner also appeared in Jennifer's Body. After a supernatural romp with a satanic emo band, hot cheerleader Jennifer (Megan Fox) is transformed into a demon with an insatiable appetite for high school boys. Now, it's up to Jennifer's BFF, Needy (Amanda Seyfried), to protect the guys from the bloodthirsty man-eater.


Wolf - Wesley Strick also contributed to the script of Wolf. Bitten by a wolf in the Vermont wilderness, genteel book editor Will Randall acquires an aggressive new edge after he's demoted at work. No longer meek and mellow, Randall sets out to get his job back in this imaginative take on the werewolf legend.


Final Destination 5 - Eric Heisserer also wrote Final Destination 5. Death still isn't satisfied in the fifth installment of this cult horror franchise, setting out to claim the lives of shaken co-workers who cheated him when they heeded a colleague's premonition about an unstable suspension bridge.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Horror Movie Review: Traveler


Starring: Val Kilmer, Dylan Neal, Paul McGillion, and Camille Sullivan

Directed by: Michael Oblowitz

Written by: Joseph C. Muscat

Production CompaniesVoltage Pictures, Hollywood Media Bridge, and Front Street Pictures

Release Date: June 2010

Awards: 2011 Best Feature Film/Best Psycho-Thriller at the New York International Independent Film & Video Festival.

A man calling himself Nobody arrives at a police station to confess to murders which haven't happened yet. When the murders start happening while giving the confessions, the police officers get concerned, and a past mistake starts to come back to haunt them. And with the excellent acting of Val Kilmer as Mr. Nobody, a lot of potential.

And Val does a good job as Mr. Nobody. I've seen criticism of Val's work here and I have a hard time thinking these criticisms come from people who aren't happy with the antagonist, not from people who understand the antagonist. He calls himself Mr. Nobody, wears all black, and may or may not be a dead man. He's subtle, subdued, seemingly emotionless, like you would expect from a supernatural being called Mr. Nobody. But with a slight grin here and there, we can see Mr. Nobody is amused at the police officers' confusion and panic as they get killed by the confessions.

As we learn about death of Detective Black's daughter, and the past injustice the police officers committed comes to light, connections begin to form hinting at who Mr. Nobody is and why he's there. But in the big reveal at the end, the whole point, or at least what should have been the point, evaporates and we are left asking, "What was the point?" There was no lesson to be learned from victims making mistakes and getting killed because of their mistakes, lack of morals, et cetera.

And the oddity of Mr. Nobody's limitation. If no one hears his confession, he has no power to make it come true and he has to do it himself. While there's no explanation for how Mr. Nobody has returned and has his abilities (Which isn't a problem. The unexplained supernatural doesn't bother me.), no connection is made for why he must be heard. Freddy Krueger had knife fingers because he made a knife glove for killing when he was alive, so why must Mr. Nobody be heard?

The other actors and actresses turned in shallow performances, but Val carries the show. It's worth a watch if you are a Val Kilmer fan and just want something to watch, but otherwise, don't go out of your way to see this one.

Related Trailers

The Thaw - Val Kilmer also stars in The ThawWhen a team of ecology students assisting an environmentalist (Val Kilmer) in the Arctic uncovers the frozen body of a woolly mammoth, they unwittingly release a parasite in need of a new host -- and, in the process, unleash a prehistoric terror. The ante is significantly upped when the parasite takes refuge inside the students' warm-blooded bodies and leads the group to a heart-wrenching decision.

Prom Night 3: The Last Kiss  - Dylan Neal also appeared in Prom Night 3: The Last KissDead prom queen Mary Lou Maloney (Courtney Taylor) escapes the confines of hell and returns to Hamilton High School looking for blood.

The Breed - Michael Oblowitz also directed The BreedFBI Agent Grant (Bokeem Woodbine) finds himself falling for Lucy (Ling Bai), a stunningly beautiful vampire, as he and his partner track down a renegade bloodsucker that is bent on exposing a government plan to integrate vampires into society. Soon, the line between the good guys and the bad guys begins to blur and Grant's next move could be his last.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Horror Movie Review: The Wolfman

The Wolfman

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Benicio Del Toro, Hugo Weaving, Emily Blunt, and Max von Sydow

Directed by: Joe Johnston

Written by: Andrew Kevin Walker, David Self, and Curt Siodmak

Awards: Best Make-Up 2011 Saturn Awards, Best Achievement in Make-Up 2011 Academy Awards

Release Date: January 27, 2010

Production Companies: Universal Pictures, Relativity Media, and Stuber Productions


 Horror became a big time movie presence when Universal Pictures started their monster movies of the 30s and 40s. The Wolfman was a latecomer to the monsters with Dracula and Frankenstein coming out nearly a decade earlier. The difference being that Frankenstein and Dracula have source material in literature and the Wolfman just has folktales. So when they talk about a remake of The Wolfman, they really could go just about anywhere with it.

But Walker and Self did a real good job of maintaining the gothic feel of the original Universal horrors. The plot bares a strong resemblance to the original, as well. Lawrence Talbot returns home, the prodigal son, after hearing of his brother Ben's death by a supposed wolf man. Lawrence doesn't believe the locals, and neither does Inspector Abberline of Scotland Yard (played wonderfully by Hugo Weaving). While investigating his brother's death, Lawrence is also attacked by a Wolfman, but unlike his brother, he escapes, although with a serious bite. Soon Lawrence is being blamed for the other wolf man's murders while he tries to protect Gwen, his brother's fiancee and his new love.

Anthony Hopkins, as is typical, is brilliant as Lawrence's estranged father Sir John Talbot. I'm not a fan of Benicio Del Toro, but he did a fair job as Lawrence. Emily Blunt, however, was not noteworthy as Gwen.

If you like gothic monster films, then you can't pass this up.

Related Trailers

The Wolf Man - In the original 1941 film, After teasing his friends for believing in werewolves, Larry (Lon Chaney Jr.) is promptly bitten by a rabid wolf and faints. Horror superstars share the screen when Larry wakes to find a gypsy (Bela Lugosi) who moonlights as a werewolf. Cursed by the werewolf's bite, Larry suffers torturous full-moon transformations and tries to escape the townsfolk who hunt him. Claude Rains, Evelyn Ankers and Ralph Bellamy also grace this classic B movie.


The Rite - Anthony Hopkins also stars in The Rite. Despite his conviction that demonic possession is just so much supersitious mumbo jumbo, Catholic priest-in-training Michael Kovak (Colin O'Donoghue) journeys to Rome to attend a special exorcism school being taught at the Vatican. Before long, true-believer Father Lucas (Anthony Hopkins) introduces the young cleric to the devil's power firsthand. Director Mikael Håfström helms this graphic supernatural thriller inspired by a true story.

Needful Things - Max von Sydow also stars in Needful Things, a terrifying thriller based on Stephen King's best-selling novel, also starring Ed Harris, Bonnie Bedelia, J.T. Walsh and Amanda Plummer. A mysterious new antique store opens in the town of Castle Rock, Maine. And for the curiosities he offers, the owner is always willing to make a devil of a deal.

Sleepy Hollow - Kevin Andrew Walker also assisted with the script for Sleepy Hollow. New York detective Ichabod Crane (Johnny Depp) is sent to Sleepy Hollow to investigate a series of mysterious deaths in which the victims are found beheaded. But the locals believe the culprit to be none other than the ghost of the legendary Headless Horseman. Christina Ricci, Miranda Richardson and Michael Gambon co-star in Tim Burton's big-screen adaptation of Washington Irving's timeless tale of murder and intrigue.

The Haunting - David Self also wrote the screenplay for The Haunting. In director Jan de Bont's remake of the original spine-tingling haunted house adventure, Dr. David Marrow (Liam Neeson) invites Nell Vance (Lili Taylor) and Theo (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and Luke Sanderson (Owen Wilson) to the eerie and isolated Hill House to be subjects for a sleep disorder study. The unfortunate guests discover that Marrow is far more interested in the sinister mansion itself -- and, soon, they see the true nature of its horror.

Creature with the Atom Brain - Curt Siodmak, who wrote the original Wolf Man screenplay, also wrote Creature with the Atom Brain, one of his last horror films. A mobster hires an evil ex-Nazi scientist to bring his dead henchmen back to life.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Horror Movie Review: The Human Centipede

The Human Centipede

Starring: Dieter Laser, Ashley C. Williams, Ashlynn Yennie, and Akihiro Kitamura

Directed by: Tom Six

Written by: Tom Six

Production Company: Six Entertainment

Release Date: August 30, 2009

Awards: Best Horror Jury Prize at the 2009 Austin Fantastic Fest, Best Picture Festival Trophy at the 2009 Screamfest, and Dieter Laser won Best Actor Jury Prize at the 2009 Austin Fantastic Fest

Two girls on a trip through Europe get lost on the way to a secluded club and wind up in the hands of the deranged Dr. Heiter. Dr. Heiter, an esteemed surgeon known for his work on separating Siamese twins, has developed the twisted dream of not separating life, but joining it, creating a Siamese triplet, a human centipede.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to rent The Human Centipede. I like horror movies that endeavor to scare us, not gross us out like so much of the torture porn that has started since the debut of Saw. (Although, lumping Saw in with some of the later torture porn like Hostel is a disservice to Saw.) But I decided the concept was interesting enough for there to be a redeeming element. I was wrong.

After being joined together by the gastric system, one girl's mouth connected to the anus of the guy in front, the girl in back being connected similarly, Dr. Heiter one night complains to his creation that he should have removed their vocals cords because the incessant sobbing of the girls in particular prevented him from sleeping. After the surgery, that's what the film became. Heiter training his human centipede to walk, and the three victims sobbing. Heiter feeding the head of his centipede, the girls sobbing. Heiter getting excited when the head could no longer keep himself from shitting into the middle's mouth, and everyone sobbing.

And we horror lovers have to accept that the victims do, to some degree, stupid things, but both escape attempts were ripe with idiocies beyond what I would call acceptable amounts of idiocy. Returning to save your friend ensures that not only will you not save your friend, but you won't save yourself either. The other moronic move in the second escape I'll just leave for anyone who wants to check this crapper out, pun intended. But then the girls were idiotic beyond the pale to begin with. They get a flat tire and start walking down the road to find help. Net thing we know they are stumbling through the woods...Why did they leave the road?

Dieter Laser does a great job as the demented Dr. Heiter, so we can thank Laser for one redeeming element, but the very limited scope of the script, the apparent lack of social commentary, the pointlessness of everything associated with the film, wastes Laser's entertainment value.

Related Trailers

The Human Centipede II - Tom Six and Ashlynn Yennie return in The Human Centipede II. Inspired by the fictional Dr. Heiter, disturbed loner Martin dreams of creating a 12-person centipede and sets out to realize his sick fantasy.