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Flesh Blanket (2018)
Quite an achievement for the budget
Flesh Blanket is a weird genre mix of comedy, drama and found footage horror movie. The overall plot is reminiscent of movies like Blair Witch Movie in that a film crew tries to make a documentary that goes horribly wrong and leads somewhere unplanned and horrifying.
The movie is heavily referencing the standup comedy scene and delivers a real dark meditation on it. Honestly it fits in the times as lately several standup comedians have started to question their profession. The documentary in this movie is meant to show comedians pushing the boundaries in remembrance of the great Lenny Bruce and trying to reproduce an old comedy event with him today to make a point about free speech in comedy. So a weird director meets up with a bunch of standup comics and strippers to get money for the project and organise it.
The whole thing is the usual excessive green room debates, drugs, alcohol and sex and what each comic carries before him ... honesty, truth and unchallenged free speech. Before the whole thing goes downhill the movie already produces some great points about the scene and its clichees, as main character Ramsey Moore keeps pushing the honesty thing into uncomfortable territories all while his inner demons come to the surface.
Triggered by some minor events and the visit of his father to the set, things spiral out of control and Ramsey turns into "Flesh Blanket", the killer on the set asking the question "Do you really want to know what i think about you?".
After the buildup, you get a kind of found footage killer movie. The whole thing is made in the most low budget way and often making fun of itself but still it works in its approach to the standup scene and with some good editing and music choices that keep the movie interesting and moody.
This is definitly not for everyone but with for example Hannah Gadsbys recent standup and the questions it raised, Flesh Blanket pours the salt into the open wound that is also visible in todays social media culture. How much honesty and truth are bearable and how honest and true is it really beyond the self proclaimed purity? If you are into things a big different and challenging and like trashy horror movies... this might be for you. Hats off to the director.
The Twilight Zone (2019)
Interesting take on an an old concept
I am into the third episode "Replay" now and I honestly don't get all the hate that is spilled over this remake here. I also thought the first episode was a bad starter as it was too slow and had too little ideas for its running time which made it drag. I liked the idea... of yourse you can say it has been done in some kind before but honestly, what isn't?
Anyway... Episode 2 was great and i really like how they don't copy the old episodes but try to nod to them while telling stories for this age. The episode was tense and interesting throughout and although the ending was kind of predictable it still had an interesting twist. Cinematography was good... stop comparing everything to Black Mirror. The availability of millions of series and movies at a fingertwitch made people too jaded.
Episode 3 was good too. Sure again, basic idea was there in different movies before but I think they managed to make something of their own. To call it "race baiting" just fires back on yourself as this was one of three episodes with a black theme, the others did not have it. Using a racist cop is not "race baiting", especially after all that happened in the last 2 years. Stop whining your snowflake tears. IMDB has degenerated into a pit of whining about how movies and series don't fit into peoples ideology. I am seriously sick of it. Sure, the ending was kind of cheesy but I remember that kind of cheesyness from old Twilight Zones too... i didn't expect anything else. Its just a different kind of cheesyness.
I see how this show could be better... but its not. Its definitly not bad and the fanboyish comparing to the old shows helps no one. Its the same boring routine as with movies made from books or remakes like "The old one was way better because I was younger when i saw it and therefore i knew this show before most of you were even born". Seriously ... that stuff is one inch away from "Things were better back then!".
Just accept this show for what it is and stop comparing or projecting your agenda on it. This site is about movies and series and not about politics or gloating who did it first, so for gods sake ... please stop it and concentrate on the content instead of using reviews to spread ideology.
I seriously do not get half of the reviews about this movie about it not having a plot and being slow or about the editing being confusing.
"Destroyer" has a very straight forward plot that is not even using cheap twists but rather telling a straight story in a hypnotic trance way and cutting up the timeline to reveal information at the time the director considered it necessary.
I loved Karyn Kusamas "The Invitation" and "Destroyer" is a well made movie, no matter how you look at it. Nicole Kidman carries the movie along with the perfect choice of music that sucks you in and watch the plot unfold. This is not an action movie and if you fell for that its not the directors fault. Its a slow drama about a cop that made wrong decisions and tries to right her wrongs when her past with a bank heist gone wrong gets back to her 17 years later.
I know people today have attention spans like moths but seriously... if you can't accept a slow drama for what it is, that says more about you than about the movie. And come on, its 2019... if you are confused by a non-linear timeline and can't wait till the movie clears up the confusion.... thats on you too.
Don't expect this to be a violent revenge movie... its not. Well, at least its not the focus of "Destroyer", although the movie does not hold back when things go down. The drama elements are well played and the ending was quite touching to me. At its core this movie is about the desperate longing for escape from a cold, grey world and its quite obvious from the choice of locations and flats that always give off a bleak, worn down feeling. Music and cinematography make this work perfectly and the editing helped spice up a rather straight forward plot. If you liked Kusamas previous movies... go for it. The key ingredients of haunting atmosphere and slow unveiling of information to the viewer are there although this is a completely different movie than "The invitation". So don't fall for all the moths swarming IMDB. I can't put my finger on all those silly 1star ratings but honestly, it reeks of gender insecurity.
Good for fans of pitchblack comedy and satire
I don't know the movie, so I don't seriously care how this relates to the original plot and characters. Anyway you look at it ... This is a well made series. Perfect choice of music, awesome camera work, good acting and a good script with many scenes and one-liners that have the capacity to become cult classics.
This show pokes fun at EVERYONE... it waves societys hypocrisy in everyones face. This is not about LGBT or SJW or whatever many are projecting ... its a simple role reversal of the villains when in the end no one even knows who is the villain in this series. Most characters are heavily exagerrated... the cool kids, the nerds and losers, the dumb jocks, the idiotic parents, the teachers... everyone. Many characters are obviously blatant caricatures of real people.
What this show boils down to is pointing the finger on a society obsessed with status and PR work. Everything people do on this show revolves around creating an image. Bullying, suicide, sexual orientation, fashion, lifestyle, school plays and activism... everyone does it with an agenda. If anything fails... kill yourself on camera and create drama to get your five minutes of fame.
Basically it is impossible to say who is the villain because everyone is a selfcentered douche on this show.
Now the funny thing is how this show is being reacted to. One side is outraged because LGBTQ kids are shown to be the bad guys. What used to be jocks and cheerleaders is now an overweight PC girl, a gay drag boy and a black girl pretending to be a lesbian to fit in. The other side takes this show to be on their side for trolling "the left". What is a basic role reversal is heavily projected on and ignoring that everyone in this show is portrayed with negative sides. I don't see this as problematic at all and have to wonder about the heavily politically biased reviews and comments on this show.
What is problematic is a society that reacts exactly as depicted in this show. Because this show is about an ignorant society where everyone bullies the other and feels to be the victim, uses victimhood to become a perpetrator and plays everyone for his own agenda. The end of this show is just perfect and spot on about how hypocritical society is dealing with subjects like school shootings, teen suicide, bullying etc. So basically dropping the show because its too edgy in light of the thousandth school shooting is exactly what this show points the finger at.
And the funniest thing is... even when Paramount used this tactic to get attention and sell this show for a lot of money. Still its exactly what "Heathers" is criticising at its core. So the way people react is perfect in how they have got the mirror shoved in their faces with this show.
What looks like a trendy show with hip kids and cool editing has some serious subjects at its core that seem to fly over a lot of peoples heads because they are so self obsessed. Its like the teachers who wonder if they could have listened to the kids just to go and get drinks instead and plan another hollow PR charade for some TV cameras.
THIS is what the world has become. It may be a pitch black comedy but it created a feedback that is exactly what it points at.
The Break with Michelle Wolf (2018)
With so much competition, this show is completely unnecessary
I was already irritated by the buzz around Michelle Wolfs correspondence dinner speech. Many put her in a place like she was critical and funny like no comedian before her... which just is not the case. The years prior to her speech were much better, just look at Hasan Minaj in 2017. It felt like people wanted to push a woman to feel good during #metoo season. Her jokes were Ok, but felt forced and were not that original.
So obviously what happened is ... she made a buzz and got a show. And that show suffers from the same problems as her speech, just way worse. First of all... no one needs another political comedy show making jokes about politicians and especially Trump. Jim Jefferies already stumbled into that trap and his show is way better than this, although still annoying with the repetitive lame Trump jokes. This show just feels unnecessary because again... Michelles Jokes feel uninspired and often forced. Throw in some sexual stuff for shock value, then bash republicans, bash democrats, do the usual in-between segments which feel like they belong in a lame skit show... you know it all. Its the same old routine, just way worse... why did Netflix do this? I mean, they even put a DJ in the show who is basically just standing around and is hardly included. Its another detail that shows how uninspired and copycat this show is.
And the worst thing of all.... Michelle Wolf has zero charisma. She looks into the teleprompter like a zombie with dead eyes. Her whole body language oozes insecurity which she tries to gloss over with being rude and filthy but meanwhile its really hard to stand that annoying voice for long. She sounds like fingernails on a blackboard after a while. If she was funny ... OK. There are several comedians who make up for lack in charisma with being funny or just different. But i can't see anything here. Even the feminist angle feels lame as it has been done over and over lately by Samantha Bee and other female comedians. And honestly... most of them failed too with their shows. This format is dead for quite a while and it hurts to see so many good comedians being burned in unnecessary shows like this. To me Michelle Wolf isn't even one of them.
Hot Date (2017)
I have seen two episodes of this show and I am hooked. This is definitly a weird and different take on relationship and daily life subjects. On the surface some jokes might look stupid at first but I think they all lead up to a connection and message that often adds unique viewpoints to themes. Its not really your basic laughtrack humor although the show seems to make fun of comedy clichés.
The whole thing is basically a skit show with some intelligent and creative (editing wise) connections of the themes, many of them sexual in nature or dealing with different views at things in different stages of your life and making fun of TV with spoofs inserted and reoccuring on TV screens in the scenes.
There is one guy here calling this "worst show" which is kind of funny because he used the exact same review on another show here on IMDB. So make up you mind, which is the "worst show" now ... i always found the "worst" statement on movies to be quite funny and idiotic since it most of the time is proof of a visceral emotional reaction to a movie or show that is hugely exaggerated. But this guy is a caricature of himself trolling 2 shows with the word for word same review. So I guess when people accuse a show like this of 12year old humor and lack of intelligence, that reflects hard on their own cognitive abilities.
Positive surprise for a german series
I was on the fence about watching this series because usually german TV sucks hard in being completely uninspired and badly acted. When reading all the comparisons with Stranger Things I already expected the worst but with so many people recommending Dark i tried it and was positively surprised.
First of all... the comparisons with Stranger Things are rather superficial. But if you look at the whole thing you see that a lot of ideas were blatantly stolen from here and there. There are some obvious influences from Stranger Things but even more it seems Donnie Darko was a huge influence on this series. Its more about teenagers than about kids, there is a strong emphasis on drama and relationships, you get loads of 80ies references and music, there is timetravel and an ominous time circle with set dates, a lot of the philosophical and scientific themes are told by teachers in classrooms... there are quite many things taken from Donnie Darko. The dark synth themes and 80ies music, the dramatic montages shutteling through the characters. The basic philosophical question about free will and fate... some of the things sound like they were lifted exactly from the movie with loads of symbolism dropped in and philosophy told through school plays or a book about time travel constantly referred to. In Donnie Darko it was "philosophy of time travel", here its called "A journey through time". I guess you get what i am hinting at... they stole a lot!! But they managed to put it in a plot that inserted enough other ideas.
After 2 episodes I became rather annoyed by the ridiculous repetitive sound design that constantly tries to be dark, moody and foreshadowing while basically nothing really happens. There is way too much drama and sad looking characters often overacting their grief. But when inserting various time levels with characters at various stages of their life and acted by different actors of course it gets interesting in connecting the dots... so despite all the drama Dark managed to keep my interest until the end.
A lot of the science stuff sounds rather stupid to me. When they explain dimensions with drawings I had a flashback to "the human centipede" and the Doctors laughable "medically acurate" scribbles. Various points of the timetravel story made no sense in portraying characters before events in their past already affected by things that happen later through timetravel. But that is the usual problem with movies about time travel, especially with so many levels and characters. I think they did a good job in glossing over the strong flaws with an overcomplex plot... definitly worked for me.
What they could have used is some of the humor from Donnie Darko. Dark is way too dry and takes itself too serious in my opinion... there is too much TV drama with people staring dramatically into the camera for no reason and most of the time. Some characters have the same facial expression throughout and the rain... well, the constant rain became a kind of running gag in this series because they tried too hard to make this bleak and moody without any humor lighting it up. Also a lot of the plot seemed unnecessary... maybe its build up for season 2 but at the end of season 1 i thought they could have told that story way tighter in half of the time.
Anway... for a german series this definitly is the best I have seen in ages and it beats most german movies too. So give it a try.
Hit the Road (2017)
Vulgar humor with quirky characters
If you don't like cursing, vulgar humor and explicit themes, this show definitly is not for you. If you like characters that are neither good nor bad and always need to be evaluated by their actions like in shows as "Curb Your enthusiasm" or "Mom", then this could be something you might like. I always appreciate shows that don't use flat characters but rather play on the persons flaws and stengths.
The show is playing a lot on cursing and things like the fathers name being Ken Swallow but it has an interesting way of presenting rather untypical subjects like threesomes, making Nazi friends and the hypocrisies of the music business or drug addiction in a way that makes you think. So the humor is quite broad if you can go with the cursing. The basic plot about a family band moving in a band bus on the road to start a new life and career often looks a little bland but the characters make it work. You get a weird stoner son, the hot sister, a black adopted son with a strong Michael Jackson vibe, a little loudmouth sister and two parents constantly struggling with their relationship and flaws.
Some subjects are rather bold in their approach and often border on falling flat on their face... which they do sometimes. But if they work its fun and interesting. Jason Alexanders character is a total egotist, very much like his Seinfeld character and especially the dynamic with his wife is great. The threesome episode was awesome.
So don't be fooled by the 1star reviews... this show definitly has some flat jokes and plays on clichés but I think there is a lot of depth in it too.
Death Note (2017)
Not a manga fanboy here, rather a fan of Wingards work
Let me preface this by saying... shame on me, I do not know the japanese original, so all i can judge is this movie itself. I mainly watched this because I am a huge fan of Adam Wingards previous movies and I definitly was not disappointed on that matter. This is a solid movie which incorporates a lot of elements from Wingards previous work. The movie starts of with a kind of dreamy slow motion sequence and then gets into the plot very fast with some short outbursts of onscreen brutality, awesome camera work with many interesting angles and an 80ies soundtrack ... all of which manages to build atmosphere nicely. Its a very american movie in how the plot is presented and I can imagine how they dumbed it down a lot for this remake. Many decisions by the main character Light and his girlfriend Mia seem a little dumb and uninspired... their whole relationship is kind of stupid in how it unfolds. There are some serious weird parts to the story like Light being a "genius" who is to dumb to read all rules of a book that basically hands him the world and falling for a girl who obviously sucks from the get-go, so some things developing later are easy to predict. These are the strongest misses of Death Note in my opinion... otherwise this is a really solid movie with an interesting plot.
Seriously... I can imagine being disappointed by the plot if you are a fan of the original but to vote this 1 or 2 points is damn ignorant and rather makes you sound like a spoilt brat that can't take art in all its components and needs to trash the whole thing because one or some elements are not to his supposedly superior taste.
So, if you want to watch an entertaining movie and don't know the japanese original... just do it. I doubt you will be too disappointed. Just wanted to drop this review because I think the fanboy reviews here are kind of retarded and misleading.
Oh, and btw... the ending, well... that was not too glorious really. But when I see that Netflix is kind of sliding on making a second movie just in case this gets enough money, the half-assed ending makes kind of sense.
This makes me so angry
From the get go it was a really weird idea to remake a french euro classic in horror movies and use a spanish director. What sense does that make... Well, you can both trash a good movie and destroy another european career in the process because the Hollywood remake of "Inside" is simply atrocious.
Its obvious from the title sequence onward which is like 80% of this remake directly lifted from the original. Where the french movie was gripping and dense as well as creative right from the carcrash sequence on, this movie feels like no one cared the least to make it good... maybe because they knew it was an near impossible task to make a better movie anyway.
That stomach aching feeling with the minimal score and stunning dark cinematography... i can't find it anywhere in this movie. Most of this feels uninspired and boring. I can't for the life of me imagine why someone would take a thrilling movie and make it less thrilling... it just feels like they did not care at all.
The first three quarters of the movie are pretty much an identical remake of the original movie. Of course its kind of americanized but most of it is pretty much the same... just way less interesting and gripping. The house invasion fails and when something interesting is happening the reactions of the actors feel off, like when the main characted accidentaly kills her mother... there are several of those scenes that feel like they thought "OK, lets get this over with". No emotional depth at all. And in my opinion the sound design is a major reason for lack of tension. Everything just passes you by.
Now, the original movie to my taste had a kind of letdown ending and you know what... they changed the ending of the movie and turned it completely on its head. While the original movie was living of its ominous atmosphere and completely unclear motivations (which were a letdown to me when the tension unwrapped in the end) of course some Hollywood producer must have said: "Hey this is a movie for an american audience, so lets spell every little piece out in giant letters, so no idiot can say he didn't get it when the credits roll". Its the basic difference between american and european or asian movies... they have to market it to the lowest common denominator and avoid any uncertainty or openness for interpretation. And boy, did they do it here. But its not even the biggest problem with the last quarter of this movie. The way things move out of the main characters house are ludicrous and the way they changed an original bleak end into a weird happy one is so full of dump character actions... its stunning. That pool scene is so full of unbelievable actions and of course a covered pool is lighted, so cinematography works better... sure! Best of all... when they go for a highlydramatic ending which literally has the main actor thanking god, they just smash the credits right over it, like they want to underscore again "Hey, no one cares and we got better things to do... so lets get out of this doomed mission FAST!".
Cinematography is good, sounddesign sucks, everything else is average... and that makes this a one point movie for me because you can't do such a careless remake of a movie that garnered a cult following.
Hollywood... keep your fingers off good movies. And Americans ... learn to watch subtitled or synchronized movies like the rest of the world. You don't even know what you are missing when you get silly remakes like this. Watch the originals and let money be spent on new scripts and no more be wasted on unnecessary remakes.
Seed 2 (2014)
Germany - Zero points
The first Seed Movie by Uwe Boll was already pretty bad but compared to this waste of resources even Seed 1 seems like pure genius. Everything about this movie looks like a student project. The opening scene introduces us to bad acting, bad writing and timing and starts the movie with a calculated provocative scene that immediately falls flat on its face.
After that you are basically treated to half an hour of boredom, incredibly bad acting from the female leads and dialog and a "plot" that is so blatantly ripped off a hundred other movies and re-invented in the most annoying way possible that I really wonder if many make it more than 20 minutes into this "movie". So you have a van full of bad acting chicks driving through the desert, picking up hitchhikers, meeting a bored police woman acting even worse than everyone else... and then they die. Sometimes it looks like they wanted to go for a "Hills have eyes" style... but after all its just shots of the desert and a guy in a mask killing chicks.
The camera work is mediocre (still the best about the movie), the sound mixing is off with several characters far too hard to understand, the choice of music is bad, the editing is uneven and forced, the storytelling and dialog are childish (must have been written on a bus ride or something) and even the only thing that could make this a little watchable looks cheap and unrealistic.... the FX. Usually German horror movies suck at almost everything but deliver some decent FX. Seed delivers absolutely NOTHING.
Avoid at any cost.
En las Afueras de la Ciudad (2012)
I can't believe they are doing a remake of this mess
This has been the biggest waste of time for me in a long while. I can't remember when I have last seen such a bad movie as "Hidden in the woods". The editing and story telling is atrocious. Scenes are drawn out, then cut in a way so you can't even follow the paper thin plot. Characters are doing things that are completely random and unbelievable or utterly over the top all the time, the girls are constantly screaming which just gets annoying after a while.
OK, this is supposed to be an exploitation movie but not even the violence keeps this mess afloat. There is a lot of rape and incest but that is delivered in such a ridiculous way that it often borders on the laughable. Basic premise is that a sick father who is working for drug dealers is living in the woods, killing his wife, raping his daughters which results in one of them having a disfigured son that is raised as an animal. All this is told in a boring and disjointed fashion that buries all the shock value. Suddenly the father goes amok (like many things that happen in this movie just for no conceivable reason), ends in jail and his drug dealer friends try to get their stash, chasing the girls. Then there is some more rape (seriously... there is not one male character in this movie that is not a pervert or rapist), sudden cannibalism just for the fun of it, lame drawn out shoot-outs and a revenge ending with a lot of blood and a short twist which once again suffers from childish editing and story telling. The end of this movie leaves you with the impression that the director must be as mentally retarded as the incest mutant son that keeps mumbling, stumbling and looking at the camera throughout this snooze fest.
If you are into horror movies nothing here will shock you. I was bored and often staring at the random happenings on screen in total disbelief. Don't fall for the reviewers who talk of the good special effects. They are basically just showing rapes and pouring buckets of blood on some people. There is a chainsaw killing scene at the beginning that exemplifies which is basically close up of a chainsaw and faces sprayed with red liquid, inter-cut in such fashion that you wonder if the movie got stuck in a time loop. Looks like a fun movie project by school kids and definitely not like a serious film. So don't be mislead by the cinematography which is in comparison to everything else in this movie close to divine (*irony*).
The people who are doing a U.S. remake of this waste of resources should be slapped for their utter ignorance and incompetence.
Horror Trash with a 70ies flair - Comedy?
Now that was a disappointment. The whole plot of this movie is rather ridiculous. From the opening you know this is a low budget production because the acting and dialog are really bad. its often hard to know if this movie is meant serious or funny. I expected the latter because a psycho killer and 70ies disco victims sound like a fun ride. As soon as they used flashbacks to explain the childhood trauma of the guy I was out because that just must be the dumbest thing i have ever seen. The cops remind me of the Beastie Boys "Sabotage" Music Video... fake haircuts, mustaches and acting all over the place. After all this is a really trashy tribute to old horror movies, kind of a funny homage that fails to deliver the fun which just leaves some gory kills. And for todays standard these just don't keep the movie afloat. Editing is often atrocious and really... there is just too little disco in this movie. When I hear a totally misplaced Wilhelm's scream at the end of the movie I know this was supposed to be funny but either i did not get it or the movie makers failed to deliver. Either way... don't waste your time.
Butcher Boys (2012)
Fresh Meats Night Out
Now this is some strange movie. It already had me reeled in with the strange intro and straightforward title sequence that only shows aerial footage of houses and streets. The paper thin plot unfolds pretty fast with a bunch of teens on a night out starting out in a restaurant and then quickly descending into chaos after the drunk party girl first gets two guys angry at a filling station that start a car chase with the 4 teens. Not even 10 minutes into the movie and they are in deep sh*t already... the 2 guys seem pretty aggravated and you are prepared for the worst when the whole thing turns around in a sudden twist just to get the 4 teens involved with some even weirder nutters. Now that is basically what the movie goes on like... its a continuous roller coaster ride on a downward spiral into utter madness. "Butcher Boys" has a strange brooding atmosphere with sudden explosive outburst of violence and plays heavily on horror clichés with endless chases through dark alleys and derelict buildings. The thugs chasing the teens are a strange mix of 60ies leather jacket Italian rockers and supernatural demons... has a strong "Sometimes they come back" feeling.
After some pretty drawn out chases the movie turns into a bizarre Texas Chainsaw Massacre direction when the girls are abducted into a underground society that just gets weirder and weirder... weird doctors, chained monster, a girl with Stockholm syndrome, cannibal orgies and plans to breed a monster baby...it just gets weirder and weirder and there is never a way out and always a more terrifying monster behind the exit door.
Seems like your typical horror fare and borrows from the classics. But what makes "Butcher Boys" special is that it includes a lot of humorous elements that could be taken as normal horror stupidity. But honestly... scenes like when the girl is locked in a dark room, then finds a blowtorch to light the darkness and look around and then with the blowtorch finds dynamite or several ridiculously drawn out scenes hiding in lockers or sneaking around a sleeping fat guy are obviously making fun of the genre. When a girl is crawling under the floorboards with every now and then creepy hands grabbing for her it has the feeling of an annoying "tunnel of horror" ride. But while many horror movies use these elements seriously it just has to be satire here... if anything the scene with the girl hiding in front of a TV shop with a TV playing uplifting music and flower videos should prove that this is a pitch black comedy. There are so many tongue-in-cheek jokes and when psychos in drag are running around and starting a giant shootout with machine guns and bazookas its just WTF on heavy rotation.
I found the movie strangely fascinating since it mixed the humor with a dense horror movie atmosphere in a rather untypical way that kept the movie entertaining up until the end that was just about as dumb as way too many other movies.
Like someone else said.... get your buddies and some beers and have fun. Its sure an entertaining ride but there are some elements that are thrown in (considering the title they should be important I guess) but just end up on the sidelines with all the crazy stuff happening. So don't even expect a proper plot!
I Spit on Your Grave 2 (2013)
What the hell?
It comes as no surprise that this is a cheap sequel to the successful remake. But this is not merely a disgusting regurgitation of a remade cliché that has long gone stale ... this is on all accounts a bad movie, if you can even call it a movie.
While the first part was well done, well acted and had a logical story arch that culminated in some pretty gut wrenching scenes this one has none of that. There is no story arch... the whole thing is utterly ridiculous. Girl goes to photo shoot, does not want to undress for nude pictures and gets raped, abducted to Romania, gang raped and buried alive.
60% of the movie is the dehumanization of the female lead and still I could not care less about her.... 60minutes of rape and boredom, just so she can crash into the Romanian gutters an be freed magically, find a bible and read the words "Vengeance is mine". Yes, it really treats the viewer like an idiot. It goes on equally dumb. Basically you get 60 Minutes of rape, 20 minutes of pseudo drama and 20 minutes of revenge. That is all this thing has to offer... just the same formula with a "new" script that is so devoid of meaning it makes most parts of the film boring and annoying as hell. That is not just because of the bad writing and dialogs if there are any. The acting of the female lead is atrocious. The constant screaming and overacting often makes you want so turn this thing off. But not only is the acting bad and unbelievable on so many levels... the whole editing and use of music is incredibly trashy and collides heavily with the dramatic tone the film takes in the last 30 minutes.
Characters are presented in the cheapest good/bad guy style and introduced just to be killed off or rot on the sidelines of the story. By rotting I don't even mean the revenge on one unlucky guy who is cut and left to die of his fecal smeared infected wounds. I mean characters like the priest, the police detective and the evil woman. You couldn't care less about any of them, they are really just literally standing around while the lead actress stumbles through her revenges and they are ignored since the script writer had too short of an attention span to realize this giant plot hole.
Oh, the kills... One little piggy is smeared with poo, the next little piggy is drowned in poo and the next is.... I don't even know what that electrifying was supposed to be. Even the kill and torture scenes are annoying, badly lit and they don't just smell of poo and sewers, they smell of utter desperation. Someone tried desperately to give the reviewers and audience something to talk about. But if feces and electrocution are the only thing you have up your sleeve.... you stink!
Don't even think this movie tries to have a meaningful or climatic ending. The whole thing is so random a monkey could have written it. This must be one of the worst told hollow stories I have ever seen. This is the exploitation of exploitation. There is not one redeeming element that I could mention in a positive way. Stay away from this... so these copy+paste remake types don't get to make another such mess of a movie.
You got to be kidding me
I wonder when this FoundFootage hype ever wears off. There is really not many gems among all these shaky cam documentary horror style films (all i can thing of are Poughkeepsie Tapes and Lake Mungo which were heavily story driven).
V/H/S is no exception to the rule here. First... don't fall for the cheap promotion about people getting sick in cinema. If they did they did because of the annoying camera shake, not because of how creepy or sick this movie is. For a horror movie in 2012 this is laughable, both on the scares and the gore level.
Honestly... the idea to make a FoundFootage anthology has to be one of the most idiotic ever. So you got a genre that seriously lacks storytelling already and then induce it with the additional cheesiness and storytelling laziness of anthology movies... this had to end badly.
What you get is some episode pieces bound into a surrounding "plot" about some burglars out to steal some VHS tapes and watching them in a dark house with a dead guy in a chair.
The episodes are barely worth mentioning. The first is about some guys out to party with a chick they pick up while one of them films secretly with a camera in his glasses and the whole thing goes boom when the chick turns out to be some kind of demon. This is the best in my opinion and it doesn't deliver much more than what I summed up. The gore is minimal, some of the effects are laughable even with the bad quality, dark picture and shaky cam covering most of it.
One episode stands out for it using a skype video-chat and trying to tell a little story with a twist but although the actress is pretty convincing the twist just doesn't cover it. I can't find if its Adam Wingards part but it reminds of the basic premise of "horrible way to die".
The last segment has some decent effects with a haunted house feel but honestly it feels like a ghost train in an amusement park with hands coming out of the walls and some boo scares.
I don't get how these kind of movies always manage to generate such a buzz. Blair Witch Project was kind of new but this thing wore off years ago. Stop making such cheap cheese and make movies with a storyline, not with idiotic boo-scares and saving money on a camera guy.
Project X (2012)
I am not sure if I did not get the movie or most people on IMDb did not get it
I went into this movie with the expectations of a guilty pleasure teenage party romp. Its kind of what I got but this movie is so over the top I was kind of irritated in the middle, more irritated in the end and utterly irritated when reading what people think of "Project X" on IMDb.
Whatever you think about Project X... its a movie that conquers new ground, it breaks taboos constantly and doesn't seem to give a s**t. Its a fun movie in its uncompromising way ... but it leaves a strange taste in your mouth.
The premise is simple... three horny high school kids not to popular at school try to use the birthday party of one of them to raise their popularity at school by making it BIG. So they invite many people, buy booze and drugs and hope to score big time... but like in those Facebook stories things get out of hand and hundreds of horny drunk high school kids show up. Now that is pretty standard stuff but the director just stacks one ludicrous thing on the next. They raise the bar so many times you lose hope they ever find an end to it. All that is filmed in "found footage" style by a guy who no one really knows or cares for, who is barely shown or heard in the movie but who seems to be a focal point, especially because the movie ends pretty much on him.
The strange taste in my mouth was not really caused by the massive amounts of drugs, booze, tits, puke and pee shown in the movie but by the way ALL characters behave. EVERY character in this movie is an egotistical douche-bag. People constantly treat others disrespectful or use them for their own fun or game. The three main characters get treated like s**t and they treat others and each other just the same. There is one scene where they are high on ecstasy (after a ridiculous scene where pills are falling on the ground and dozens of kids just taking them without knowing what it is... the whole ecstasy/drug dealer plot line is so full of holes and unbelievable it really feels a little forced... just like the choice and editing of the music). It feels like they have an epiphany about how badly they treat each other... but they just keep on making fun of each other and being a-holes. And thats what the whole movie does... it just goes on and on, there is no resolution. Whatever happens, it just goes on. In it to win it, nothing else.
You get animal abuse, kids constantly bullying each other and neighbors or clerks in stores, jocks bullying nerds, parents calling their son a loser, friends calling their friends fat pigs, midgets locked in ovens, kids tazering and beating up adults cowardly, exploiting the law, constant lying and manipulating, shaving drunk persons and even peeing on them, filming couples having sex for hidden cam youtube videos... the whole thing feels kind of dystopian at times.
Now there seem to be two ways people react to this movie... "Aaah, this is the best and most radical party movie ever" or "This is a despicable display of teen assholism and irresponsible to downplay that kind of behavior". I might be over-analyzing but to me this is a biting satire and critique of our times.
EVERY person, and i mean EVERY person in this movie is an unlikable egotistical and ignorant douche-bag. The birthday kid comes across as a victim at times but the way he reacts and desperately thirsts for attention is as despicable as his friend who talks him into it all and the people showing up and destroying everything. There are no likable characters in this movie. I was really irritated about that and the casual presentation of all this behavior until the movie pulled full throttle in the last montage where kids are shown as drugged out pale zombies, shouting for someone to jump off a roof, exploding bottles in full rooms and in a an ultimate scene peeing on a drunk guy puking in a toilet and having a guy explode and runs around burning. Seriously... the last montage was more of a modern Techno-Video version of Pasolinis Salo than a fun party movie.
OK, maybe i over-analyze... but look closely in the end. Look at the repercussions, look at how they get out of it with money, lawyers, lying and bending the law (all written on screen). Look at how a father seeing his son as a loser respects him simply for making hundreds of idiots show up to a party that could ruin his whole life. Look at the kid who films the whole thing who turns out to be an outcast no one cares for who eerily looks like the Columbine shooters and lives alone with his parents missing and the police inspecting their disappearance. Look at how everybody thirsts for attention and hurting others is a fine vehicle to get there including how the school treats the three losers after the party, how the girl forgives birthday-boy. All just because 1000 people showed up to a party... it eerily fits with the fat loser guy regularly referencing his facebook friends. This is a giant inferiority complex in progress.
Its funny how in this case some seem unable to even see the utter ignorance this movie is made up of while others are simply appalled by it and ignore the statements in the end.Many reactions to it are damn scary. The depiction of social interaction in this movie is more dystopian than anything that Ayn Rand could ever make up.
Blood Runs Cold (2011)
Sonny Laguna should make porn
"Blood runs cold" is the epitome of meaninglessness. Basically you get a low budget slasher, kind of the twice lobotomized brother of the lame "Fritt Vilt" movies. The killer has a pick Axe and lives under a house in a snow-scape where some kids end up being picked off one by one. Best things first... I thought the killer looked quite effectively creepy and considering the budget they managed to make the movie not look too bad at first sight and even managed some decent gore scenes. But this movie lacks where budget is no excuse. Half of the movie has close to no dialog and just dumb people stumbling through empty rooms and doing things that are totally irrelevant for the "plot". The movie just ends suddenly after a bunch of unbelievably dumb scenes of which most is shamelessly stolen from other horror movies and reproduced in a cheap low budget way. Many scenes of closeups seem repetitive, the blood looks orange like in a bad 70ies movie, the acting is bad, the snow looks fake and the plot is as close to non-existent as in a porn movie.
Considering that the directors name is Sonny Laguna he is already halfway to a porn director, so why not go all the way? Anybody who rates this movie above average must have had his brain frozen due to excessive SlushPuppy indulgence.
Well played, Mr. DiBlasi
"Dread", Anthony DiBlasi's first movie is among my favorites, so I was quite thrilled seeing his second movie being ready. I was a little bummed when seeing it basically is a restless ghost story but hats of to the writing. They really made this word by incorporating several Slasher and Giallo influences (pretty obvious from the Italian influenced poster artwork) and writing a stone solid script.
"Cassadaga" deals with a deaf girl who loses her beloved little sister in a car crash and heads of for an off-time in a psychic community (the title-giving Cassadaga) to clear her head. After a séance gone wrong she is haunted by visions of a ghost-zombie-girl who won't leave her alone before she clears the story of her death. So up to here this is some really worn out story material but the girls deafness is incorporated in a pretty creative way and the lead character works perfect. Also the story of the nice guy falling for he after she gives his daughter painting lessons is kind of different with him being torn between a girl seeing ghosts and having regular breakdowns and fighting to keep custody for his daughter. Now when the killer is introduced it gets pretty messy since "Gepetto" is obsessed with puppets and tries to build human marionettes by severing limbs and reattaching them to the living dolls in a pretty bizarre way.
The movie manages to serve you some disturbing imagery, staying close to the basic ghost story and yet throwing you curve balls from the beginning on and mixing things up in a puzzling thriller-type of way that keeps you guessing all the time. With all that "Cassadaga" manages to be a creative and kind of different ghost movie that will also satisfy the gore hounds. The whole movie has a pretty romantic feel with the girls relationships to her sister and the nice guy and I think they went a little heavy on the music which along with some wooden acting was the weakest point in the movie and often came across rather cheesy. But besides these flaws its still a really solid movie and among the few better horror movies of last year.
Like in "Dread" DiBlasi manages to tell interesting and different stories with a strong focus on the story telling and right amount of sledgehammer to the head. I'll definitely be looking out for his future movies.
Life is full of misunderstandings.... and everybody dies!
This movie was praised from its festival premieres and I was looking forward to a different horror movie with comedy elements. Man, was I disappointed.
I give "Rabies" one thing... and that is that it sure is different. I guess it tries to be exactly that because the movie has nothing but one basic idea. Take horror movie clichés and turn them upside down. Kind of like "Tucker&Dale vs. evil" but minus the comedy.
There is a killer here but he never manages to kill anyone. Instead everyone else in this damned forest ends up killing themselves or each other by accident and misunderstandings. Now that would make for a funny roller-coaster plot but "Rabies" goes for a strange slow pacing with barely any jokes, light moments or suspense. The atmosphere is rather dark and there is little gore which is another plus for "Rabies" because its not much but its done professional and without CG.
Basically you got 4 guys and 4 girls stumbling through a forest that inexplicably is laced with land mines and a killer who instead of killing takes a 70minute nap. When 2 cops appear to help it goes downward because one of them has serious issues and sets off a downward spiral which has only one survivor... Hint: Its not a girl like in all the french horror movies.
I have not laughed once until the end. You basically get one dialog with a family arriving on a wrong turn. And that has quite some laughs to end the movie on plus the survivor which you could expect in a movie that turns the expectable upside down. But I had to suffer through 80 minutes of boredom that was only eased by 1 landmine, 1 creative gore scene and basic setup of the film
"Rabies" is a really strange movie that had so much going for it... its a shame they didn't really know where they were going in the end. In the middle of the movie i was close to pressing the stop button because nothing was happening.
A disappointment after all the wait
Since the makers of "Livid" made quite an impact in the world of horror movies with their debut "Inside" I guess I was not the only one eager to see what they would come up with next. I did not expect another "Inside", so the fact that the basic plot was a recooked stew of horror movie clichés (old decrepit house, evil old lady, kids breaking in and acting dumb, takes place at Halloween...) mashed into a ghost story was not what is my problem with this movie. There even was a surprise after the movie starts out like a rip-off of "The Grudge" with very "Silent Hill"-style visual ideas and turns into a mix of ghost horror meets modern fable. The visuals are great, the lead actress has a great aura, the sound design is as cool and fear inducing as in "Inside" ... but the plot is a total mess. There is so much unexplainable and random happening, lots of cool visual ideas that just don't make any sense and the lead characters act really dumb from the beginning on. So what is the plot? Girl starts new job as a nurse for elderly people, comes into an old house with an evil older woman lying in a bed with an oxygen mask and blood infusions and hears about a treasure which the rich old hag must be hiding. Girl and friends decide to break in and steal the treasure and end up in a creepy house with strange ghosts and the evil old ballet teacher killing them off with her electric zombie vampire daughter, some zombie ballerina kids and lots of creepy toys.
Nothing is explained and comes together... why are the woman and her daughter strange vampire creatures that can't go out in daylight... and even worse not at nighttime? Why does the girl play with creepy electric toys with stuffed animal heads, how come Mrs. evil Ballet teacher is so obsessed with making her daughter dance until she literally breaks, why is the woman not just an evil vampire but also very good in fixing mechanic spines, why is the lead nurse obliged to serve from childhood on, why are little killer ballerinas introduced and never mentioned again, why are people turning into zombies after being killed, why are there blue flames in the fields and why is the house spinning in space, why did the girl take the "wrong book" when she didn't even take one or look closely at it?
Its a shame... the ending is a total cheese-fest and doesn't resolve any of the question but rather ends more on top. The movie is like a random Frankenstein monster built of very obvious parts ripped from other top horror movies. They even go for copying themselves when some frantic neck stabbing with Scissors is re-introduced from "INside" with less blood fountains and some gory scenes (particularly the jaw-tearing scene) seem thrown in gratuitously to not totally let down the "Inside"-Fans. Storytelling is a mess, editing is equally disjointed and the flashback transitions felt really lame... two scenes were near ridiculous, one being the cheesy ending of course and the other when the old hag screams for her daughter to dance... that felt like misplaced satire. The good visuals, acting and sound design and the creepy location and strange mechanic toys felt wasted on a bad script. After all an average movie with a lot of shadows and a lot of light ending in utter mediocrity... high expectations lie shattered.
L.A., I Hate You (2011)
Quite a low budget effort
Quite a strangely interesting movie right from the slick title sequence to the first scenes introducing some pretty seedy characters who meet with midget prostitutes in between airport and meeting their buddies for the first time after years of prison.
At first the movie looks like a disjointed anthology because the 3 stories at first seem unconnected but much in a Innaritu style of storytelling get intertwined in a pretty unexpected finale with a depressing outcome.
The whole thing has grimy base starting with a guy meeting his uncle coming from jail and basically making him cheat on his wife with a waitress he is attracted to while his uncle seems to go on with his criminal lifestyle. As you can guess, this ends badly yet you don't know whats going on. Next segment deals with a man and his paraplegic girlfriend who is lured in by his best friend to a night with coke and hookers. This ends equally bad as the first but right when you think the infidelity theme is a red thread the last segment branches off. It deals with an actor out of luck but offered a role in a big action movie if he dares to kill for the role... literally.
This is where it all comes together (well, unfortunately not all of it because a lot is just hinted to) in a finale that knows no winners and doesn't even shy from incorporating aliens in the plot.
Its a well made low budget movie that sure has some flaws in the script and the production (many green screen scenes look unrealistic, yet now in a obvious bad way) but manages to keep your interest with the storytelling that moves left and right and the whole seedy strange look.
I liked it despite of the flaws. It seems to be a made for TV movie, so in this case they sure did a good job here. Watch this if you are in the mood for a dark and mysterious B-drama.
You are in for a world of hurt
Wow! I was not expecting this movie to be this engaging. Its one of those films that leave you sitting in silence for a while when the credits roll much like excellent Dramas like "Requiem for a dream" or "Downloading Nancy".
This one spells it out pretty clear with the line "Henry Barthes is all of us"... its hard to grasp how the realization that we are indeed all the same can be so painful.
On the surface "Detachment" deals with the crumbling American education system through the eyes of substitute teacher Henry Barthes (played by Adrian Brody) who starts a new assignment in a new school with new teachers, in a new class with new pupils like he is obviously used to.
The beginning shows him trying to get into this new class around the bullies threatening him and other pupils, making it hard to teach anything. At first it looks like all those "good teacher turns around a bad class" movies but its not. You soon realize that the school is just the backdrop for a larger story about a teacher who tries to do his job by taking a role outside the play. Barthes makes clear that he is hollow and words can't hurt him which is his way of coping with a hopeless situation by neglecting his private life and detaching from the world. Like him every teacher seems to have developed his individual coping mechanism. For some its cynicism and dark humor, "happy pills" are regularly mentioned too and for others its just swallowing their emotions until they erupt. You see the teachers coping with their daily routine while hearing an answering machine in the background every now and then with other teachers resigning or parents shouting for better grades for their kids.
Its pretty tough stuff seeing kids void of hope, interest or enthusiasm and teachers trying to get to the few who are still to be reached in the classroom. But its here where it all falls apart because of hollow politics, parents that do not care or are just as dysfunctional as the kids they raised and dropped into the public education system and idiotic social rules and conventions we are all used to. When you see the pattern in all the peoples private lives and their desperate tries of holding on its obvious that "Detachment" is not just about the public school system but about our whole society, about each and every one of us.
When Barthes meets a young street hooker he decides to take her in with him and do his job outside school. Its quite heartbreaking to see him trying to make a change against all odds. At times Barthes comes across like a modern day Jesus when he sleeps on the floor of his small apartment and lets the girl sleep in bed. Some might say that "Detachment" is too light on the teachers because most of the blame falls onto parents and politicians. There is hardly an unsympathetic teacher in this movie. Yet there are scenes that show Barthes is no Jesus at all... like when he violently shouts at a nurse in a retirement home after an incident with his dying grandfather. Barthes is indeed like all of us, cracking when he struggles to cope and lashing out to get out the pressure, just like the parents at school push their pressure to the teachers.
And this is where the detachment cracks... amidst all the failures Barthes manages to connect to the girl, as well as to an outcast girl at school. And he connects through emotion and personal attachment but soon has to realize that it does not work. The scenes of him sending away the girl to a foster home when he tells her he cannot be her family or when he has do send away the outcast girl when she tries to share her sorrow with him are gut-wrenching. There are so many honest and deeply emotional scenes in this movie its hard to keep track. His grandfathers death with his total forgiving, Barthes monologues trying to make the pupils understand why they need basic education for their own sake are as brilliant as Lucy Lius Characters breakdown in which she shouts out her desperation and sadness towards a seemingly not caring girl.
The relationship between Barthes and the girl is stunning and constantly rocked by misunderstandings... plain because you don't expect it to be non-sexual with all the pedophile stories, sexual harassment laws and stereotypes. But against all odds it is and you realize that when there are no parents (like in the haunting "parents night" scenes with teachers waiting and no one coming) someone else must fill this void... how empty have we become that we cannot expect someone to help out of honest interest for his fellow man... or rather child?!
"Detachment" is a bleak and painful movie but it has some hope and even some humor (the cynic teachers way of teaching a girl about the dangers of STD with a picture of a rainbow and a picture of a disease ridden vagina is one of those much needed lighter moments).
Its like when Barthes says in one of his many off commentaries... life is an ocean of chaos and the realization that you are the one supposed to throw the buoy while struggling to stay afloat is devastating. But its the honesty about his own struggle that makes him connect with others. Its when they realize we indeed are all the same, all struggling and they are not alone in their strife that gives them their humanity. But thats what life is... so what can you do but be honest and hope for the best.... Its all going to be OK!
Sieben Tage Sonntag (2007)
"Sieben Tage Sonntag" is another movie that is loosely based on a real case of youth violence. The movie follows the two lead characters Adam and Tomek through their daily routine. Adam lives with his grandmother and seems to be brought up in a Christian surrounding. He cares about his grandmother, has a connection to church and seems to be the emotional character of this film. Tomek on the other hand gives the tough guy, uncaring for other peoples emotions, yet obviously insecure.
He is the one paving the path into a downward spiral of drugs, booze, ignorance and violence. All we know is he seems to come from "the city" where he went through some hardship that is supposed to be illustrated by his jail-style tattoos. The movie plays in a run down polish city that gives the gritty backdrop for the story, although it feels like being shot in Germany and could be a picture for any ghetto in any country. Everything is broken and run down, windows are barely ever not broken and there is little light on the horizon of all the kids appearing in the movie. So what starts with sniffing glue, stealing booze and vandalizing old buildings leads up to a strange dare about killing someone that suddenly magically appears out of nowhere on some party.
Now that is my biggest beef with the movie... the character development is ridiculous to non-existent. Adam is portrayed as a rather caring character. He voices his disapproval of several of Tomeks misbehavings, is shown caring for his grandmothers problems as well as the girl he is falling in love with. Tomek is hitting on that girl with not too much of success and I guess the girl is supposed to be some breaking point or explanation for the violence the movie leads up to.
But it just doesn't make any sense when out of the blue Adam comes up with the dare. Nothing leads up to this strange dare about if they are able to kill a person. And when they stole booze and stumble upon a drunk that Tomek wants to stab with a broken bottle, nothing explains why Adam stabs the guy like a lunatic and runs across town with blood all over him until the police catches him.
I get that this is one of the cases where explanations are hard to find but if you make a movie at least have some logical character development. Here things just happen and when Adam is in jail he doesn't speak a word, not even to his grandmother when visiting.
So basically you are presented with random actions in a depressing environment. Cinematography, score and acting are OK but the movie although pretty short gets boring and doesn't deliver anything.
OK, life is hard in the ghetto but what is the viewer supposed to take from this movie that he didn't know before??
Compared to a movie like "Stoic" with similar approach to a real case this just feels like a complete failure.
The Bunny Game (2011)
The genre is dead
Seriously?? I am getting tired of movies that just go for the shock value. If you have seen one torture-porn movie you have seen all and if this label applies to any movie then to "Bunny Game". The whole "Human Centipede" thing was already hard to grasp. At least it was kind of funny and in the 2nd part had some artsy shots and a disturbing villain.
"Bunny Game" has about 1/10th the plot of HC, also goes for an artsy black and white look but just comes across like the art school project of a disturbed S+M Freak. The plot goes like this: Street Hoker down on luck and high on coke gets abducted by a truck driver and then tortured and degraded for days in the desert until she breaks down.
Thats it!! The whole editing reminds a lot of Michael Hanekes Movies with endless still scenes of nothing happening and hinting to a deeper meaning that simply doesn't exist here. Its broken up by fades to black and some hectic edited collages of impressions to which some of the ugliest Black Metal Punk imaginable is played.
The whole "hooker on a descent to hell" thing reminds a lot of the equally art school style movie "Slaughtered Vomit Dolls" but even that movie had more plot and some creative gore to it. "Bunny Games" basically just shocks you with hardcore S+M play and rape and where clearly the "Slaughtered Vomit Dolls" Director had a sick fetish for vomiting this one puts his S+M fetish on film in the least entertaining way imaginable. Even the below average playing time seems like an eternity. If you are turned on by branding, shaving, choking and asphyxiation have a go. If you are looking for a decent horror movie or the next "Martyrs" you are way into the wrong alley here.
The whole movie is pretty much trash disguised as art for those who still think that making a movie in black/white is some kind of higher art form. To end on a positive note... the acting of both leads was pretty good although I guess they were doing what they do off-screen anyway.If the branding and blowjob scenes are real the actors sure are just as messed up as the roles they are playing.
Oh, and by the way... if you wonder what the "bunny game" is... its walking through the desert with pig and bunny masks and screaming like lunatics. So have a go next time you are in a desert.