Monday, November 30, 2015

So Let's Talk About The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead finished its midseason finale, "Start to Finish," and predictably, the Internet is full of a variety of colorful complaints. I've only really been watching this show for a year, but I've read all kinds of criticisms about it dating back to season 2 or so, and I think it's time to just sit down and talk candidly about this show. Can we do that? Let's give it a shot.

First, the midseason finale. SPOILERS if you haven't seen it, so don't read any further if that's not your bag.

The finale was mostly fine. It wasn't terrible or anything. Parts of it were quite blood pumping good - several cool action sequences and some solid tension between Carol and Morgan being the highlights for me. It moved along at a fairly brisk pace. But then it just kinda ended, way earlier than I thought it would. Maybe I was expecting a 90 minute episode or something - but even at the usual 45, they still could have resolved a few more of these plotlines. As is, it felt a bit like they just cut short before we got to a really climactic moment for any of the various storylines.

Like, really, we couldn't have had a cool climactic end to the situation between Carol, Morgan and the tied-up Wolf guy kidnapping Dr. Denise? We had to end Rick's story this year with him and the others just wandering out into the crowd of zombies? We know their deaths won't come from these things because that would have been the big emotional payoff, and that would have happened this year in this episode. The show obviously has something else planned. So what's the deal? It just feels like this was a placeholder, a stop-gap to move the show from one point to the next, utilitarian-style. Which is not a good way to do a show. The Carol and Morgan fight should have felt huge, and Rick getting to the armory should have been the climax of the episode, not some cliffhanger cut off in the middle.

Surely - predictably - they want to open up next February with a real bang in some new way. But why does the show have to sacrifice the midseason finale for that?

The show's real problem is inherently intertwined with its very nature. The show's intent isn't really to build toward some great epic climax or to have some big earth-shattering discovery for one character - it's to show the endless, droning life of a zombie apocalypse. That premise combined with the 'ooh, let's get a cliffhanger' nature of network TV inevitably leads to a lot of dead space in the show and a lot of diminished payoffs. I like the huge cast, but the number of characters inevitably leads to the show only developing them right when they're about to die in the same episode. That gets predictable fast.

Maybe it would have been better if it was an Orange is the New Black or House of Cards style show where every season is just released at once. Maybe a more out of the ordinary structure would have helped, one where all the episodes could focus on being self-contained and good, rather than several of them ending on dumb cliffhangers that end up taking weeks to resolve. The show often feels protracted to a fault, and while I like a lot of things about it, it seems like they could probably put more effort into some of the filler stuff in between 'big moments.'

Too much of the time now, The Walking Dead teases you with good build-ups and strong character acting, but then fails to deliver the real punchy moment, the zinger so to speak, until weeks later, when the moment is supposed to happen for the best ratings or some other evil reason. It'd be a better show if we could just get the good stuff quicker and keep the show rolling without losing the sense of pacing and build-up. The way it is, too many scenes and episodes feel like they came off a conveyor belt, as similar as they are to ones we've already seen before.

I do remember this show taking more risks in its earlier seasons. Things felt more dramatic, and there was a lot more blood pumping energetic action going on. The characters were livelier and showed more personality - though the show's way of showing how they adapt to the zombie apocalypse makes it fitting for them to seem so much grayer and quieter as the years go on. I don't mind the quiet moments in the show and I never have, though the dialogue could sometimes stand to be a bit more substantial and less hollow platitudes in the real sad moments. There have been a lot of critiques on dialogue in the show tending to mull incessantly over how life has changed in the apocalypse. I don't mind that aspect too much myself, as it's not like they can talk about fucking Gray's Anatomy or the newest issue of Sports Illustrated to pass the time. What do people expect?

But I get it. Is that really going to make for compelling TV season after season? Not if they don't introduce more interesting new characters. The show has had a lack of them for a while now. A few good ones here and there, but there are so many characters overall that they get lost in the shuffle, and none of them are really properly developed. And there hasn't been an awesome villain since The Governor died. But then, I hear this Negan character will be good. Here's hoping. This, I think, could really fix the show's problems.

In the end it's still a fine show for what it is. I like a lot of the main characters and there are enough good, dramatic moments going on for me to want to see what happens. But at this point, I just wonder if the show really has it in it to deliver something drastically more exciting and better. Can it really be better than it has been lately? I guess we'll see.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankskilling (2009)

Thanksgiving is here, which means we can sit around the table with our families, enjoy good food and good company, and post condescending picture memes on Facebook about how sad it is that we took shit away from the Indians hundreds of years ago. But there’s also a dark side of Thanksgiving. A sinister side. A side full of bad puns, worse sexual humor and absolutely abhorrent comedy writing in general. You know I’m talking about Thankskilling. Though, perhaps that’s just because you read the title of this review before clicking on this.

Director: Jordan Downey
Starring: Lindsey Anderson, Lance Predmore

Co-written with Michelle and Tony.

This is a horror comedy that needs heavily implied quotation marks around both of those things. It’s probably the only well known horror film to focus on Thanksgiving, which is sad. Halloween has Halloween, Christmas has Black Christmas, and Thanksgiving has this movie, where a talking turkey fucks a girl in the ass. Did that set the bar low enough yet? I think it did.

We start this off with a naked nun who looks like she’s straight out of a porn movie for Amish people. She’s on screen for a whole twenty seconds before dying, so you know this movie’s gonna have tons of character development. And that’s the last time I’ll be sarcastic about this, because it’s old hat and you know all the jokes anyway.

If this were porn, it wouldn't be worth even a dime or a bit of Internet space. But luckily it's just a shitty horror movie.

Instead, let’s talk about how awful these fucking characters are. It’s unrealistic from the start, because these people are coming out of a college, and I don’t believe they would be admitted into a college. These are the kinds of people who run outside for Thanksgiving break and rip their clothes off, excited like they just escaped from being war prisoners. Guys, it’s a fucking four day weekend, you’re not going to find the Holy Grail.

To top it off, the main girl tells her to pull down her shirt, it’s Thanksgiving, not TitsGiving. I just died typing that. I’m dead, and I’m a ghost now, and I’m still doing the review. This is Hell.

These characters are a laundry list of cliches - it’s the same cast as Cabin in the Woods basically, the jock, the pure virgin girl, the stoner, the nerd and the dumb hot girl. Only Cabin in the Woods at least tried to do something else besides say ‘hey, this is how horror movies are! Get it? Get it?!?!?’ Like they bully the nerdy kid a lot, and he still sticks around, because I guess he’s either a masochist or so retarded he can’t distinguish between friendship and vitriolic hatred. Anyway, he says, out loud to everyone, that he’s FINALLY going to have sex with one of them on this camping trip! That’s really how people talk, yeah, you got it.

Oh, by people I actually meant ax murderers. I don’t think I have any more sympathy for this character.

I’ve never thought a scene could be improved by the government randomly deciding to use the set for a nuclear bomb test site, but this movie is really pushing my expectations. Like this next scene where you see the sheriff character sipping his coffee and going “this tastes like shit,” then you see his wife actually did take a shit in the coffee. On the one hand, this is the absolute nadir of comedy, but on the other, you can easily tell who to kill first in a zombie apocalypse by whether they laugh at this.

This is actually just the special edition of the DVD.

The actual backstory behind this is revealed when our brain trust heroes go camping in the woods. Nerdy Guy tells them a story about a sorcerer who summoned an evil turkey five hundred years ago to kill white people, and now it’s coming back. Wow, with all the talk about how these politically correct people want to kill all white people, I guess this is the final nail in the coffin. Evil turkeys are the final frontier.

It turns out the turkey actually is real, as we find out when it scares the lead girl in the woods and she keeps screaming for way too long. Get it? Because most horror lead girls scream a lot? The humor in this is multi-layered, man! The turkey basically looks like a rubber sock puppet that got left in the oven for too long. Really strikes the fear in you, I'll tell you.

Somehow, they all get away, because the turkey is fucking terrible at its only purpose I guess. They drop off the dumb hot chick and the lead girl says her legs are harder to close than the Jon Benet Ramsey case, which is a great thing to say if you’re a wretched sack of flaming manure masquerading as a human. Seriously, what the fuck?

Later, we get a scene of the turkey coming across the dumb hot chick fucking her boyfriend, and the turkey kills the boyfriend and she doesn’t notice. I guess she’s just used to that happening during sex. Then the turkey starts fucking her, too, and this is the point where movies jumped the shark, guys. Movies were just never the same.

If you think that’s bad though, just watch this scene where the sheriff answers the door wearing a turkey costume like it’s actually Halloween. The turkey is at the door, wearing a fake nose and mustache. They sit down at the table together. This is how evolution happens.

With two very much alike people sitting down at a table.

But frankly, I’m glad we at least know the sheriff deserves to die now. I sure wouldn’t want him protecting my town.

Then the kids show up, too, and the turkey is wearing the sheriff’s skinned face mask after killing him. Somehow, the kids confuse THAT for him being the sheriff. This is exactly why the comedy in this movie doesn’t work. You can’t just throw in any random joke that doesn’t make sense with any logic or reason. Why would they confuse that turkey for the sheriff? Are most sheriffs in their world two feet high? It doesn’t make sense, and it’s why the movie sucks.

Even the turkey tells them they’re retarded for not figuring it out. How stupid are you pricks?!

To be fair, this is far scarier than whoever else was riding the slow bus with these characters.

They eventually figure out they have to look in this book called Turkeyology (...I just can’t) to figure out how to kill it. Why did the sheriff have that book? Why is it even written down at all? Fuck it, it’s supposed to be funny! Laugh! Laugh!!!!!

There’s a whole bunch of stupid shit that happens left, like when the fat redneck guy dies, the nerd spends an agonizing several minutes imagining scenes of them skipping around in fields of flowers and shit. It’s just so stupid, and it goes on way too long. Yeah, I get the joke, but that doesn’t make it good. Just repeating something for longer isn’t a joke.

After they finally kill the thing, there’s a retarded ass epilogue scene where a family sitting around a Thanksgiving table gets attacked by their turkey, which it turns out is the same evil turkey we’ve had to suffer all movie long. Then it says “To be space!” on a black card.

That's not funny either! It's not funny just because it makes no sense! If that were the case, I could say purple lawnmower leprechaun assassins, and that would be enough to put my kids through college. These jokes just aren't even in the same galaxy as anything resembling quality humor. It's like they traveled through the wormhole from Interstellar and that's where they got the "comedic inspiration" to make this.

Only it doesn’t matter! The movie KNOWS it was bad, because it was trying to be a parody of bad horror movies, so it didn't have to try at all with any of its jokes. Therefore, the less you try, the better it is. Like this:

Or even better, this:


Happy Thanksgiving, guys.

Images copyright of their original owners, except those two artistic masterpieces I made.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Kristy (2014)

Kristy is a movie that is set around Thanksgiving time, and you don't see many of those. I like to try and review movies close to whatever holiday is going on, because I guess I want to annoy myself in a themed way. For Thanksgiving, I guess this is the best way to do it short of sitting at a Thanksgiving table full of vegans. Kristy is a new thriller/horror movie that tries some exciting avant garde tricks, like having no explanations for anything that happens. How deep!

Director: Oliver Blackburn
Starring: Haley Bennett, Ashley Greene

Co-written with Michelle.

We open with a girl getting killed in a car. Her attackers are a bunch of guys in hoodies. They take some pictures and upload them to this “dark web” looking place. What can we possibly find in there of any worth? Child molesters? Oh yeah, sounds great. I'd love to go there.

Pictured: total weenies.

This is actually an interesting opening, and it does set a creepy mood. Though, the bad guys wearing hoodies means they have bigger problems to worry about:

Pictured: Another total weenie.


Then we get introduced to our main character Justine, a college girl staying at school over the Thanksgiving vacation. Her boyfriend is leaving and so are all her friends, so now she's free to do truly scary things like dance in the hallway and chat with the security guard. Scandalous! I bet her parents didn't expect this debauchery when she went away to college!

The dancing, sure, but talking to a security guard? Don't get too crazy, movie.

These scenes aren't bad or anything, but they take up a lot of this movie, which really isn't that long. Like really, we've got about an hour left at this point and the scariest thing you've shown us is Justine running into some creepy girl in a hoodie at the gas station while buying ice cream or something. Sorry if I'm not shaking with fear, but I see people in hoodies everywhere I go. That doesn't scare me.

I will give the movie credit – it does actually make you like Justine and even the security guard guy guarding her building. They're good actors and the movie sort of, actually, endears you to them. So I guess what I'm saying is, if the movie decided to change gears and be a buddy comedy, it would probably be pretty good.

But that isn't the plan. The plan is for a trio of hooded maniacs to attack her at the school. When people said colleges shouldn't be so PC, I'm pretty sure they didn't mean students should have this happen to them. But then again, maybe this was what they meant. Gotta toughen those little pricks up somehow.

These guys are edgy!

The movie after this is mostly just Justine running around and trying to escape the college. Michelle and I found it interesting that pretty much every dorm room seemed to have been left wide open – like, the doors weren't even closed, much less locked. Every dorm, just hanging wide fucking open like an invitation for thieves. That security guard must have either been the best or worst at his job in the world.

She runs outside and attempts to call the cops, which seems to work, but then of course it's just the gangsters messing with her – because you know, most criminal violent thugs like to pretend to be the cops and string their victims along. Or they do in dumb movies anyway. I guess these guys are part of a cult that's actually smarter than your average dumb thugs. But even so, them playing around with her, cat and mouse style, is just such dumb-ass padding. All these sorts of movies do it. In real life, I hardly think these scenes would drag on so much. They'd just get it over with faster, ya know. Criminals in real life don't have time to waste.

Plot twist - the killer was INSIDE THE COLLEGE...BUM BUM BUM...actually it's lame when you put it that way. Never mind.

There's even a scene where she hides under a table and the bad guys never find her under there, even though they're in the room looking around. Guys, it's not that hard. Unless they're disabled and can't bend at the waist, I see no reason why they can't find her under there.

If you were going for groin-vision, though, then this is a success.

I guess there's some cool conceptual stuff when the cult people attacking her start calling her Kristy – title drop! – and say she's beautiful and has a pretty car or some other stuff like that. I thought the movie was trying to make a point about how shallow our society is, but they didn't even try that. They don't really explain anything. If my review is a bit confusing so far, it's because the movie has given me exactly that little to work with. It's kind of like trying to understand a person speaking a foreign language, only then you find out it was never a foreign language and the person was just blabbering gibberish the entire time.

These chase scenes are mostly not bad, I guess. There's a lot of running around in the dark, a lot of hiding. I found myself wondering how hard is it to escape when she's right out in the open? How far away is this fucking college campus from the rest of society? Can't she just run to a gas station? Don't keep hiding under tables, you moron, try actually running away!

Then she runs outside and finds the random groundskeeper guy who lives in a shack with his dog. For some completely unknown reason, when they go back outside again, the whole area is suddenly covered in a thick fog that wasn't there before and isn't always there later on. I guess that's a pretty minor thing, but it's really just more of the never-ending randomness that is Kristy, and I need to document all of this for future civilizations to see.

The fog was dumped there by government planes flying overhead, who are in cahoots with the killers. I can make that up because the movie's actual plot is so threadbare.

The groundskeeper and dog both get killed, because really, what else was ever going to happen? There's no reality where this doesn't happen to side characters in slasher movies. You could go to alternate universes where this movie was directed by a talking dog, or where all the characters had an extra arm, and this groundskeeper guy would still die in all of them.

Sorry, man. You didn't get lucky.

Things get so bad that she gets chased up the stairs in the library to the balcony, where she has to jump off to escape the killers. She lands on the ground after like, at least a fucking two story fall, and is mostly just fine. Seriously – like, she limps for a few scenes, but then a few minutes later, she's totally fine and there's nothing even worth mentioning. Did she land on the secret marshmallow filling pit on the ground below the balcony, or is she just fucking invincible?

So the movie keeps a'rollin' on, somehow, and the boyfriend guy shows back up! I love how he sees the one female killer running past him and, as he can't see her face, just assumes it's Justine. Like hey, it's a woman, so obviously it must be THE woman I'm looking for! I have a hard time believing this guy dresses himself in the morning.

It also speaks very poorly of his ability to recognize his own girlfriend.

Hey, he'll probably be fine! If I completely ignore everything I know about slasher movies and about this particular movie, I can convince myself of that just fine...

"If only I knew my own girlfriend's body better and hadn't fallen for that trick!"

Oh. Whoops. I guess we all make mistakes, including me even.

Other escapades include the time she hides in a pool and they can't find her there even! You know, I'm starting to think these guys aren't a threat at all. How hard is it to look down in a fucking pool? She's not magic invisible girl, transparent like a jellyfish, she's just right there, clearly visible to anyone who isn't blind. Maybe the guy chasing her was just bored and didn't care about looking very thoroughly.

"Hang on, let me look very quickly at the pool room and make sure she's not in plain sight... nope, we're good! She's nowhere to be found! We're brilliant at this!"

But at least they're crafty enough that they're hard to kill! Killing these badasses requires exquisite planning and strategic brilliance. Like, you know – beating the fuck out of them with baseball bats!

The intellect required for this is off the charts!

So I guess with the renewed knowledge that these guys are actually a bunch of moronic pussy bitches with the survival instincts of wounded baby bunny rabbits, Justine is able to go back outside, instantly find the last surviving cult member, and burn her alive in the parking lot right there in public.

I'd say that's cool, but there's an after-credit scene that lasts all of five seconds showing more hooded maniacs killing people. So I guess if you wanted the end of the movie to be “nothing you saw mattered at all,” this is cool.

Seriously though, they never explain why the hell this all happened or what the story was behind these cult members! There's no meaning given for it. Guys, I'm not saying I want a Peter Jackson trilogy explaining where the bad guys in this came from. But I think there had to be something.

It's just a shame, because the visuals were nice and the acting and characters weren't bad at all. This was a cool looking movie and got some atmosphere going, but the story itself just didn't tie up any loose ends, and didn't bother explaining anything going on even a little – even the most bare minimum. Most of the movie was basically just an elongated chase scene like you'd find at the end of any other slasher movie. While I appreciate the lack of dumb filler scenes, the lack of any real story just made this a pretty empty, hollow experience.

And frankly, this wasn't even really that much about Thanksgiving! Let me fix that:

Ahhhh. Yes. That's better.

Images copyright of their original owners, we own none of them.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Exeter (2015)

The month of October is over, and we're all hungover from horror films. So what to do now? I mean, I don't even want to see a horror movie right now. I need a fucking break. My head is spinning from all the gore and suspense and terror. Luckily, this movie, Exeter, has absolutely nothing scary or cool in it, so this shouldn't be too hard to sit through.

Oh who am I kidding, of course it will be.

Director: Marcus Nispel
Starring: Kelly Blatz, Brittany Curran

Co-written with Michelle.

This movie starts out with something nice and considerate – a depiction of exactly the state you need to be in to enjoy the movie:

That's right, you have to be a member of the cast of Requiem for a Dream.

How nice of it; a sort of tutorial. What a thoughtful movie.

Then we get a black and white exposition dump told in the way of an old documentary. Apparently there was a mental hospital years ago that burned kids alive, or something like that. Snooooooooore.

Then we get our main characters, a bunch of douchey high school morons who want to have a party at the place years later. Our main character is Patrick, or I think that's his name; a wimp who sucks at everything. I say that because he is working with a church to refurbish the place and on the first day of doing that, he decided to invite every kid in a hundred miles to come destroy the place for a party. I mostly find it highly dubious that he managed to get that many fucking people to come. I very, very highly doubt he's that popular or likable, movie.

He's friends with a couple of douchenozzles who talk about nothing but having sex with random chicks. They see one of them from behind and talk about how hot she is and how Patrick should go talk to her. I just find it depressing that they introduced the main girl in the movie by showing her ass first, without even showing us her face yet, and the main characters ogling her. What a piece of shit this is.

Unless she's going to talk with her ass Ace Ventura style, I don't think this is a viable way of introducing a character.

So the party drags on all night and well into the morning, and I guess none of these bungholes has anything else to do. Patrick and the girl go outside and have a ridiculously poor talk about their personal lives, where we learn they have broken families and yadda yadda. Who gives a fuck? This movie trying to emote is like a crack whore trying to relate to you.

"Hurr durr derr."
-Pretty accurate for this scene...

If you think that last bit is harsh, well, I'm sorry if I can't get into the “touching” scenes when the next scene you see is them performing fake exorcisms just for shits and giggles. Something tells me these characters are the types of people who stick their tongues into electrical sockets to see what happens.

Anyway, yeah, so the little brother character, Rory, somehow ends up possessed from their fake exorcism game thing. Which the main characters are surprisingly cool with and don't need to think about at all before realizing that. Patrick just instantly knows, and doesn't question it even a little, and the girl says they don't need a hospital, they need a priest! Somebody put these detectives on the case. Nothing gets past them!

"This really reaffirms my suspicions that demonic possession is real!"

The group spends a lot of time just wandering around arguing about what to do. One guy says over and over that there's no such thing as possession, but then immediately reverts that position when he sees Rory. What a pussy. I love the scenes where he's raving about how Christianity is fake and possession is a lie, but then like, ten minutes later he's hugging a big cross like a baby. Fuck that guy.

They all try to figure out how to beat the demon, and the best they can come up with is watching a Youtube video about how to perform an exorcism. I would make fun of this, but honestly, the brain mash required to come up with this sequence is so bizarrely specific and odd that I think the movie's writers should be studied as lab experiment guinea pigs.

Well, they SAY it's Youtube, but really it's just a shitty looking website from 2002 because they didn't have money to use Youtube's likeness. Or maybe they did, but Youtube didn't want to be associated with this movie. In fact, I'm betting it's the latter.

It was around this point that both Michelle and myself began to think this was actually intended as a comedy, but I think that's just because the writers had no idea what they were doing. It comes off like one writer wanted to do a “serious” possession horror movie, but the other wanted to write a jokey horror comedy, so they instead combined into a two-headed, disagreeing chimera, a horrific abomination, and thus the movie was spawned.

At any rate, Michelle did think some of this was funny – so you might, too, ya never know. Your mileage may vary. There's a scene where they use a Ouija board and find out that the demon's name is Devon – that sounds like the name of a member of One Direction or something. This demon really got the short end of the stick when it came to badass demon names.

Oh, and somewhere in the middle of all this, a priest named Father Conway arrives to help them with the exorcism, and then the jock kid of the group, like a moron, hits him with the car and nearly kills him. They go back inside the building, and somehow get locked inside, because even though they're all corporeal humans and should be able to figure out doors, a ghost gets the better of them on locking a fucking door. Yeah, they're real brain trusts. Keep endearing us to them, movie!

This movie sure likes to abuse priests, which I think indicates a deep seated psychological trouble that the movie needs to see a therapist for.

Next we get a long, mushy trudge through soggy horror clich̩. Every character basically acts the way you expect Рthere's a stoner guy in the movie who walks around the entire time in his underwear with two Cheetoes stuck to his back and the phrase 'I Love Fat Cock' drawn on his back in marker. That's so bad that I can't imagine who would write it and think it was funny.

Please stop showing this, movie. Please.

Oh, and you know what this was missing the whole time? Exposition. Looooooots more exposition! So the movie does right by itself, and adds in an over-long scene of the two leads finding convenient videotapes explaining that there was a patient named Devon (like the demon's name earlier! A-ha!) there at the hospital who got mistreated and that's why all of this is happening now, or some shit like that. I do have to say this answered some questions – but not the main one I had, which was: How are they using the Internet and watching things on TV? Who is paying the fucking electric bill in this place? Wasn't it deserted for like 20 years?

Maybe the GHOST paid the electric bills! OooooOOOOooohhh!

Then there's the random guy who comes in and threatens to call the cops on them for being there. The next second, he's sticking a gun in their faces and propositioning (what's supposed to be) a teenage girl for sex. I'm pretty sure the cops wouldn't like that. Isn't that like calling the cops on a guy for breaking into your house, only to immediately order the assassination of the burglar's entire family before the cops get there? Bit of a mixed message.

Anyway, he gets the typical death characters in these movies often have – the demon breaks his neck, then he walks outside with his head twisted 180 degrees backwards, and accidentally shoots himself in the face.

Ho hum. Booooooorrrrrriiiiiiinnnnnnggggg.

Oh and there's a really random scene where the demon pretends to be the normal kid, Rory, again, only to fake them out and then immediately try to attack them again. It makes no sense because we never see the demon try to do this again. But hey, fuck logic! We have super cool possession effects to show!

As the movie slogs on, like a drunk rhino, most of the scenes take place in the middle of the day. Which is the worst idea, because now we can more clearly see how shitty and run down the building they're in looks. They somehow get the demon out of the kid again, for real this time, and then the hot blonde chick of the group who is near 30 but playing a high schooler gets it next. She's the obvious choice because the movie had her take off her bra in an earlier scene and now she's able to run around so her boobs jiggle a lot, and if anyone ever watched this, that would be an obvious pandering reason to do so. Oh, and I guess she kills a lot of people or something.

The next 40 minutes of the movie is basically just disposable – endless scenes of these morons wandering around in the dark with flashlights. The possessed girl kills the stoner guy and stabs the fat kid of the group in the gut, but he doesn't die yet. They all end up splitting up. Patrick and the lead girl find the possessed demon chick in an upstairs freezer room, but they kill her by stabbing her eyes out.

So this is basically the equivalent of a wet T-shirt mud fight between these girls. Glad the movie's not pandering!

You know what, this isn't even funny anymore. The least you could have done was add cartoon sound effects!

It turns out Father Conway is still alive, and actually killing some of the kids himself for no real reason. He even manages to kill the lead girl by sticking a lead pipe through her torso, which was training I never knew they gave priests in the sacristy. Eh, you learn new things every day.

Then Patrick shows up, cries over the fact that this girl he's known for six hours died, and burns Father Conway alive with a lighter. I do think every horror movie should end this way, so I guess that's a point in the movie's favor:

If there weren't already a bunch of heavy metal songs written about this, it might be more shocking.

After Father Conway kills the lead girl, it's revealed that the girl's name was Devon and she was the one sent to the asylum! And also the drug addict woman who shot herself in the opening scene was her mother! Shock and awe! What a twist! So Patrick goes from mourning over her to mutilating her with a fan blade, cutting her arms off and then shoving her into an incinerator in like, ten minutes. His mind is like Silly Putty; he never sticks to just one idea for long!

Also note the complete dead-eyed lack of empathy at the horrific violence he just committed. Maybe the movie is trying to make a point about how we're all so desensitized now. Or maybe it's just total shit, either way.

So that's Exeter. It sucks. It's poorly paced, poorly acted and poorly characterized, and the scares are as good as any you would find in your local Kindergarten class. The plot makes no sense, with a bunch of random threads never connected, like the world's worst-made Christmas sweater, coming unraveled at the seams. Like, yeah, a story about a random possessing demon with no rules or logic to how it works, and the magical priest who can survive being hit by a car and then becomes an stone badass killer for no reason. Sign me the fuck up for that.

But at least it's not a total loss. There are a few redeeming factors. Like, uh, well...actually, nevermind.

Images copyright of their original owners, we own none of them.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Tony and I Debate It Follows

Earlier this month, my friend Tony and I (and Michelle) finally saw the film It Follows. And we actually disagreed on it. If you've read my earlier review of the film or seen its spot on my "More Great New Halloween Staples" list, you probably know I really like the film. But it didn't work for Tony, and he said he found it ineffective and un-scary. I guess that's just how it goes sometimes. So we did this:

Who do you agree with? Let us know in the comments!

Happy Halloween, too!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Halloween (2007)

There was a time back in the mid ‘00s where, for some reason, movie studios felt the need to totally revamp the old horror classics that nobody ever had a problem with to begin with. But the studios really wanted to do updated versions, even though nobody was asking. And I get it - Hollywood has always lived on the backs of remakes. We have timeless stories and we make them new again for new generations. However, it really seems like Rob Zombie was trying to kill the story of Halloween with this remake rather than keep it going.

Director: Rob Zombie
Starring: Scout Taylor Compton, Sheri Moon Zombie, Malcolm McDowell

Co-written with Michelle and Tony.

This is an awful, repulsive piece of trash with nothing really good about it. It’s seriously just amazing how bad this really is. Zombie wasn’t bad at making pseudo-Texas Chainsaw rip offs like House of 1,000 Corpses, and The Devil’s Rejects was legit a great movie, but it was this movie where he showed his true colors - i.e. he can’t do anything else. But if you want screaming, cursing rednecks and lots of sleazy sex scenes, you’ll be in paradise here. And if you want that, I'll know to stay the fuck away from you.

The only question is, what does any of that have to do with John Carpenter’s 1978 classic, Halloween? Nothing. It has nothing to do with it.

We start off with something that doesn’t make sense from even the first line of dialogue: hillbilly rednecks living in the midwestern suburbs. Yup, the Myers family in this is apparently a bunch of constantly unpleasant jackasses, led by the stepfather Ronnie, this greasy looking motherfucker who looks like he belongs in a trailer in Alabama, but is instead in the suburbs in Illinois now. I guess Zombie really, really needed to put in guys who look like him! It’s like a security blanket or a pacifier for an infant.

Yup, this is how Halloween should open up, said no one ever.

In the first few minutes, Ronnie says he thinks his own stepdaughter's ass is hot and says Michael’s mom is jealous of her own daughter’s ass. That’s how we’re starting off this movie. A pair of adults talking about a teenage girl's ass. Ah, it’s refreshing to start off with absolutely zero expectations or integrity. How could you get any worse, movie? That was a rhetorical question. The movie gets way, way worse.

It’s fucking amazing how unpleasant this is to watch - like, really, even if you don’t care that it has nothing to do with Halloween, it’s still bad on every level. What’s entertaining about watching a bunch of white trash rednecks scream and break shit? I guess the point is to show how bad Michael’s home life is, but frankly all that’s missing here is the cops on speed dial for the next time there's a domestic incident in which one of the kids or the mom, uh, fell down the stairs. Yeah. That's it.

If you never pictured the hulking behemoth Michael Myers as a whiny, stringy-haired 10-year-old, well, now you're safe and will never be afraid of him again. Thanks for fucking nothing, movie.

Michael's mother is of course played by Sheri Moon Zombie, because the entire cast of every Rob Zombie production goes like this: 12 big hairy ugly dudes, and Sheri Moon Zombie wearing a bikini top most of the film. That sounds like the beginning to a terrible porno, which makes sense because Sheri's only role in every one of these films is to show off her tits and ass.

If it seems weird to you that Zombie constantly casts his own wife in these films just to let the whole world see her naked, well, I guess some marriages are just never meant to be understood.

And yeah, as most criticisms of this movie mention - it’s an origin story for Michael Myers, one of the most recognizable horror movie villains. Not to quell the creative ambitions of Rob Zombie (haha...hahahaha….ha ha HA…), but if we needed an origin story, we probably would have gotten one before this movie came out in 2007. The scary thing about Myers was that he was pure, unexplained, unstoppable evil. Explaining him and giving him an actual character is like shining a light under the bed and telling your kid there’s nothing there, it’s all in her imagination.

But seriously, even if you get past that, just think about it: if you were to give Michael Myers an origin story, and show it on screen, why the fuck would you want it to be this one? We don’t need scenes of him whining in the bathroom or being bullied at school. Why would we ever need that? Even if you wanted to know more about why he became a killer, these are very poorly written scenes where every person he meets is a total unrepentant, over the top dick to him. They’re all basically just excuses for Zombie to go for the shock factor of having people say fuck around little kids and show boobs. That’s not interesting to watch.

I want to see all my horror slasher icons as bratty children. That makes the REAL terror shine through...

But hey, he gets his revenge by killing a bully who was mean to him in the woods!

When they say fight back against your bullies, I’m pretty sure they just mean throw a punch back. Not ambush them in the woods and beat them to death with a stick. But it’s okay, because this is never mentioned again. Yes, really…

The whole movie so far has just been the equivalent of a really obnoxious guy screaming in your face. Every scene is full of greasy, grimy looking people swearing and talking about sex in the most annoying ways possible. But hey, at least we get to see the realism in how Michael finally snapped and became a killer! He’s sitting there eating candy in his house, and then, with no provocation, he gets up and starts slaughtering his whole family.

This is a ridiculous scene where it plays "Love Hurts" over top him sitting on the sidewalk by himself - just awful. It's baffling to me that anyone thought this would be touching. It's as emotional as watching a pet fish flushed down the toilet.
It was the fucking candy corn after all. Damn candy corn.

Yup, that’s it. That’s what Rob Zombie wanted to show you to account for a ‘realistic’ backstory! I mean, I guess it can happen in real life. But the way it’s shown here isn’t particularly realistic, subtle or well written - he’s sitting there eating candy, and then he goes and kills people. I guess he should have had an apple or rice or something. Maybe then he would have been fine.

And yeah, he kills his stepfather, his sister’s boyfriend AND his sister this time, as opposed to just his sister like in the original. That isn’t a big deal, but I just find it funny, like the movie is the bratty little brother of the original trying to outdo all his big brother’s stories. “You had one person killed, huh? Oh yeah, well I can have THREE people killed and in more bloody ways! And I’ll have child Michael wear the Michael Myers mask when doing his first kill!”

Nobody ever wanted to see a midget cosplaying Michael Myers, movie.

So then we get like forty minutes of him in a mental hospital with Dr. Loomis, who is played by Malcolm McDowell. He looks less like a doctor here and more like an aging rock star your dad would be friends with and your mom would disapprove of because he always sleeps on your couch blind drunk after a show down at the county fairgrounds on a Wednesday.

Hey, don't judge him. He's trying to clean up. He's just in a bad place right now.

These scenes all pretty much go like this: Michael asks to go home, Loomis tells him he can’t because he’s a terrible child, Michael cries. Rinse and repeat for like over 30 fucking minutes. Except for one scene that changes up the formula, where a janitor played by Danny Trejo of all people gives Michael a random pep talk about not letting the hospital get him down. I don’t even think Trejo was part of the cast. He was just walking by the set wearing a janitor costume for no reason, and delivered this speech unprompted.

"Remember, kid, don't let them get you down."
"Okay, Mr. Janitor. I don't know why you're telling me this, but okay."
"So why are you in here, kid?"
"I killed my whole family."
"Really? Oh, well forget what I said. You're fucked."

Oh, and this is apparently the worst hospital in the world, as they give metal forks to patients who have murdered people, and train their nurses to make rude comments that provoke the patients to murder them! Ha ha ha! Oh wait, I guess that wasn’t supposed to be funny.

The REAL origin story of the film is telling how mental hospitals learned to stop letting patients have metal forks.

After that, I guess they learned their lesson and kept him locked up for the rest of his life. But hey, what could have really been done about this? You know, things happen!

Until about 15 years later, when a couple of wretched security guards decide to rape some innocent girl who was brought in as a patient. They drag her into Michael’s room and do it there. It’s extremely unpleasant and grating to watch, as they scream “fuck” and “faggot” through the whole thing and obviously the rape itself is extremely awful to watch, and nothing I’d even want to subject my worst enemy to. There is no point to this scene. And it takes way too long. So, congrats on that one, Zombie, you can film a fucking awful rape scene. Hang that award on your wall.

Seriously, what am I supposed to get from this? I guess he really wanted to make Michael Myers the good guy, because I don’t think anyone in the audience is sad that these rapist assholes got murdered. Nothing about this scene or anything else so far has actually been scary so much as fucking gory and awful to look at - neither of those things are compliments. A gonorrhea infection is also awful to look at, for a comparison point. This does not make a good movie.

My only real conclusion has to be that Zombie wasn’t interested in making a horror movie, because this is not a horror movie. This is porn. It’s porn for people who like watching serial killer films and who get off on reading about Jeffrey Dahmer or some shit.

Sigh. So I guess Michael kills everyone else in the hospital, including Danny Trejo, and breaks out. After like, an hour and a half of all this unwatchable, unpleasant, unscary bullshit, what more is there to do? Regurgitate the original 1978 classic, of course!

Seeing this poster on a Google search while you have this remake on would be the only way you'd ever be reminded of the original while watching this piece of shit.

Yes, really - an hour and a half in, we get introduced to Laurie Strode finally. She’s played here by Scout Taylor-Compton, who doesn’t seem like a bad actress. But her first scene has her miming being molested by making over the top sex noises and playing with a bagel, and I died inside just typing that sentence.

You know, it doesn't matter if I even explain this scene more. It would still be stupid.

Her whole character doesn't even make sense. She's a girl next door type who makes jokes to her parents about child molestation! She's an outgoing peppy chick who gets inexplicably shy like a different person entirely when her best friend asks if she has a boyfriend! These things could be fine if written better, but in this movie, I think it's safe to say Zombie isn't in tune with how teenage girls act.

Well, that bagel-child-molestation thing would be bad no matter what. Seriously, what the fuck?

The whole thing just kind of plays out like a dumber, trashier version of the 1978 one, with several scenes just being shot for shot the same. It’s full of really shitty changes from the original. Like when this one girl and her boyfriend just finished having sex. In the original one, it’s just a dumb, harmless scene - they had sex and she tells him to get her a beer, and he gets killed by Michael. Here, though, she’s a total bitch to him and seemingly can’t stop being rude even for one second just because the sex was bad.

Christ, even her face is annoying to look at. I'm sure she's a nice person, but this character is just so bad in this movie.

I’m not saying that’s unrealistic - though the dialogue and writing suck - but it just points out what’s wrong with this. This wasn’t a change made for some great change to the overall story. It was just because Zombie seemed to want to make everything super gritty and "realistic," which mostly just comes off as dumb as fuck in this. It comes off silly, tired and dated. Making people shittier and ruder isn’t being realistic, it just shows what a small minded view you have of people.

The final chase scene is extremely boring and lame. It goes on for fucking ever. Like seriously I could have read a few chapters of Infinite Jest by the time this goddamn scene ends. The original movie’s chase scene wasn’t night and day from this one, but this movie has been completely unwatchable poison up to this point, so I guess it’s just hard to sit through more of its fat rolls of “plot.” There’s a moment at the end when you think it’s over - Laurie does her whole “was that the Bogeyman?” line, and Loomis replies. But then…

Yup! It’s still going. You hack ass piece of fucking shit. JUST STOP! Sorry for the tasteless profanity. I got possessed by the spirit of the movie there.

It finally ends, after like twenty minutes of aimless wandering through the Myers house in another stale attempt at a chase scene. The least this movie could have done was end sooner, but no, we don't even get that. We have to sit through Zombie's unique vision - a dull, dime-a-dozen chase scene that anyone could have filmed. Woo hoo... Anyway, Laurie finally kills Michael and THEN it's really over!

Wow, was that all? After two hours of rednecks screaming the word “faggot,” unnecessary violence, rape scenes and people being horrible to each other for no reason, I really want more. I think Rob Zombie really did capture what made the original a classic. I’m surprised he ended it at only two hours myself! I know I could have watched at least another two hours of this tasteless, irredeemable bullshit.

A lot of people talk about how this remake ruined the original’s point by explaining Michael Myers’ character, and they’re right. The original movie was only scary because of how mysterious Michael was, and how he was this unstoppable evil force who just descends randomly on a small town. It was the arbitrary, random nature of it that made it scary. Here, once Zombie explains it all, it’s just a bland serial killer upbringing story that has as much charm as reading a Wikipedia article on Ted Bundy.

But even if you don’t care about that, the movie is still complete shit. This is an annoying, irritating movie on every front. It’s visually grimy and grungy, annoying to listen to because every character constantly spews "fucks" and "faggots" every other line in awful redneck accents and even the violence and sex can't save it, as neither one of those things is even remotely enjoyable to look at here. The movie is not even remotely tense, scary or atmospheric. The writing is woefully slow-witted, blunt and dull, so they can’t even fall back on ideas in the script and claim the gratuitous sex and violence was an artistic decision. It feels more like a dumb 15 year old’s attempt at scaring his mom and little sister because they made him go to church.

This movie fucking sucks, and Rob Zombie fucking sucks. The Devil’s Rejects was a fluke. This is all he really has to offer.

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