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Posts Tagged ‘Horror’

Silent House, Film Review by John Delia

March 9th, 2012 No comments

HORROR

TURNS TO

TERROR

FLICK

SILENT HOUSE

 

Review by John Delia

What starts out as a horror flick turns into a terrifying mind-bender in the movie Silent House.  Not a very good script and a bit too sophisticated for most fans of the genres, there’s little doubt that it will not last at the box office.   

Set in a northern rural lake area, Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen) has returned to her childhood retreat for one last time to gather her personal belongings due to the pending sale of the property.  When they arrive John (Adam Trese), her father realizes that the electricity has not been turned on, but still wants to pursue closing the house.  Accompanying them is John’s brother Peter (Eric Sheffer Stevens) to help lend a hand.

From the opening shot we see that Sarah has not been well and seems to have harsh feelings about the whole ordeal of moving.  Inside the house it’s very dark and all the windows have been boarded so battery operated lamps and flashlights are being used to complete their tasks. Needing supplies John sends Peter to town to get them while he orders Sarah to her room to box up her stuff. 

Sarah hears a rap at the front door and when her father doesn’t respond she opens it to find Sophia (Julia Taylor Ross) whom Sarah does not recognize, but accepts the fact that they were friends as children.  When she reenters the house and locks the door behind her however, unexplainable strange things start to happen.

 

Elizabeth Olsen plays Sarah in Silent House

The ‘noises in the dark’ factor makes things disturbing in this film with spookiness around every corner.  Directors Chris Kentis and Laura Lau do their best to drag out the thinly plotted film with a dark and gloomy tour of the several bedrooms while Sarah looks for her father and tries to avoid intruders who may be on the property. It’s their loss, however that the lack of character build-up doesn’t allow much empathy for Sarah when she faces the horror making her anguish little concern.

The cinematographer uses available light to create a spooky feeling

Keeping their camera lenses wide open to gather necessary light from the lamps, we can barely see Sarah and where she’s moving, but it’s a good technique used to ramp up the eerie feeling necessary to provide the scary factor.  But, unfortunately it gets excessively repetitious, delays the inevitable and creates a different film that the outcome intends. 

Although her acting ability is head and shoulders above her famous twin sisters, Elizabeth Olsen does her level best to make her character work as she stumbles around the dark lake house acting out the mystery of her captivity. But the payoff to this thriller can be seen coming early on and no matter how absorbing her performance she can do nothing to save the film. Much like Woman In Black’s script failed with the likes of Daniel Radcliff, it’s the storyline here that puts Olsen in a position to fail as well.

Silent House has been rated R by the MPAA for disturbing violent content and terror.  It also shows scenes of suggested sexual content.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS: Not the best horror flick, but if you understand early on where it is going you actually may enjoy it more. (D)

 

Additional Information:

  • Cast: Elizabeth Olsen, Adam Trese, Eric Sheffer Stevens and Julia Taylor Ross
  • Directed by: Chris Kentis and Laura Lau
  • MPAA Rating: Rated R for disturbing violent content and terror
  • Genre: Horror, Thriller,
  • Running Time: 1 hr 25 min
  • Opening Date: March 9, 2012
  • Distributed by: LD Entertainment, Open Road

 

Follow John Delia on Twitter @staragent1 and Yeticket @yeticket

TODD & THE BOOK OF PURE EVIL, Video Review by John Delia

February 28th, 2012 No comments

A WICKEDLY

WONDERFUL

BOOK OF

PURE FUN

 

TODD & THE BOOK OF PURE EVIL

 

By John Delia

 

 

You don’t have to be a teen/twenties to enjoy Todd & The Book Of Pure Evil a wild blood festival, but that’s the mighty demographic that will eat this awesome series up.  Pushing all the modern social lifestyle buttons that amps up today’s High School crowd the 13 episode series has finally arrived on DVD. Adults who like horror/comedy and don’t get grossed out too easily should have a good time with it; I know I did.

Todd & The Book Of Pure Evil focuses on four teens, Todd Smith (Alex House), Jenny Kolinsky (Maggie Castle), Curtis Weaver (Bill Turnbull) and Hanna B. Williams (Melanie Leishman) all attending Crowley High School.  Since Todd finds the book of pure evil he becomes a leader of sorts trying to control the awesome powers that the book grants the holder.  Unleashing some of the many students’ darkest wishes, the book brings out the worse of their desires. When the book starts jumping out of control, Todd and his friends find themselves locked in one evil adventure after another. 

Being the first season we get some no holds barred funny, yucky, weird, crazy…well you will see what I mean.  Each episode gets more hilarious than the last starting with Todd who turns his mediocre guitar playing into that of a far out heavy metal god.  It’s a wacky start that introduces the powers of the book and the four main characters. 

The season goes on from there when science nerd Hannah wishes for a winning project and ends up with a magical character called Homunculus that looks like Todd.  Destructive and very scary, the blood starts to flow and the four friends are out of control.  The stories and bloodletting continue with titles like Rock n Roll Zombies, Gay Day, Monster Fat, Invasion of the Stupid Snatchers, Terrible Twin Turf Tussle, Cockfight, Big Bad Baby, The Ghost of Chet Sukowski, The Phantom of Crowley High, Checkmate, and A Farewell to Curtis’s Arm. 

Two very good support characters round out the cast including Jason Mewes as Jimmy the janitor who knows more about the book that he shows.  Mewes is on the top of his deadpan comedic game here, but not as over the top as his character Jay in one of my favorite films, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (Yes I have the DVD on my shelf right next to Clerks I and Clerks II).

Chris Leavins plays adult Atticus Murphy Jr. Crowley High Guidance Counselor who gets in more trouble than the teen Quartet.  Tied to a coven of former students, Atticus is constantly after the book to return it to his evil-minded group.  Creating a lot of havoc for the kids and him, the fine actor brings a lot of fun to the series.

Hannah getting her science project together

Trust me when I say that after the first couple of episodes you will be hooked.  It didn’t take me long to go through all 13 and I can guarantee you that I’ll play the best ones over again. Hanna has captured my heart and has become my favorite character.  The naive science nerd finds herself in the middle of every dastardly deed going on in the show, yet comes up still doubtful of what just happened. 

The two-disc Season 1 of Todd & The Book Of Pure Evil has been released in DVD just prior to the upcoming Season 3. Now this unfortunately creates a demand; trying to find out what happened in Season 2.  But, if you are lucky enough to have cable and either the Fear or SPACE Channels, the stations are rerunning Season 2.  If you are not able to get Todd & the Book of Pure Evil on your television at all, I have some inside information that it may be coming out on DVD before the end of the year.  I will just have to wait with the rest of you, but having Season 1 totally keeps me on replay. If any of you have more information on where our followers can view Season 2 pass it along and I will tell all on Twitter.

Disc 1 of Season 1 has seven episodes and Disc 2 has the remaining 6 plus some gnarly Bonus features with a lot of surprises:

  • “Three Audio Commentaries with Cast & Crew”.  I highly recommend turning this on for the episodes Monster Fat, The Phantom of Crawley High, and A Farewell to Curtis’s Arm after you have viewed the whole season for a lot of laughs.
  • Blooper Reel: Pure Evil Is All Shits And Giggles.  If you have picked out a favorite cast member or two you should catch them in some most embarrassing moments.
  • Outtakes and Deleted Scenes.  Just what it says, more action with some footage that should have been kept in the episode from which it was deleted!
  • Extended Musical Scenes.  A lot of metal, Rock on!
  • Q&A with Cast Members.
  • Todd & the Book of Pure Evil: The original short from which they created the cable television series. 
  • And, some promotional clips that include previews of future seasons.

 

 

THE TECHNICAL ASPECTS AND MORE INFORMATION ON THE SERIES FOLLOWS:

 

  • Cast: Alex House (Todd Smith), Maggie Castle (Jenny Kolinsky), Bill Turnbull (Curtis Weaver), Melanie Leishman (Hanna B. Williams), Chris Leavins (Atticus Murphy Jr.) and Jason Mewes (Jimmy)
  • Directors: James Dunnison, James Genn, Craig David Wallace and David Winning
  • Type: DVD
  • Aspect Ratio: 16X9 1.78:1
  • Audio: 5.1 Surround Sound
  • Running Time: 290 minutes.
  • Genre:  Horror/Comedy
  • Language: English
  • Rated:  Not rated, but contains violence, gore, language, sexual situations, adult content, drug use
  • Language: English w/English SDH Subtitles

 

 

FINAL ANALYSIS: A magical evil fest that rocks the house. Series (A), Bonus Features (A-), Overall Experience (A)

 

Follow John Delia on Twitter @staragent1 and Your Entertainment Ticket @yeticket

THE WOMAN BLACK, review by John Delia

February 3rd, 2012 No comments

HORROR FILMS

SHOULD BE

SCARY

NOT JUST DISMAL

 

THE WOMAN IN BLACK

 

 

Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Ciaran Hinds, Janet McTeer, Misha Handley

Directed by: James Watkins

MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for thematic material and violence/disturbing images)

Genre: Horror, Adaptation, Thriller, Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Running Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Opening Date: February 3, 2012

Distributed by: CBS Films

 

By John Delia

 

For the first time being away from his comfort zone of playing Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe takes on a Victorian horror flick called The Woman in Black.  Although Radcliffe has shown a strong growth on his way to being an adult film star, he chose this film that has to prove he has made it.  Good choice or bad, he’s now matured and ready for something even bigger. Although I was not pleased with the story due to it’s weak ending, lack of true horror and some plot points that did not work, most of Radcliff’s followers will be waiting in line for tickets.

 

Kipps (Radcliffe) sloshing around in the bogg

It’s an early period in England and when the story opens we find Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe) at the foot of a bed receiving his newborn child only in disbelief that his wife has died giving the birth he holds in his arms.  Five years pass and now a lawyer we see him in the office of his boss.  Not happy with Arthur’s successes he gives him one more chance to remain in his position.  His assignment takes him to a remote town of Crythin Gifford where he must go over the final papers of an estate. He arrives there and finds the town haunted by the mystery of their missing children. When he goes to the island mansion estate to search through files, things get very creaky and threatening.

 

Director James Watkins spools his movie out very slowly getting as much gothic local color as he can in every shot.  Setting his ominous mood he adds the fog, rain and cold weather of the North, muddy roads, worn houses, beat-up shops and costumes of the era. The dank atmosphere that Watkins provides for Kipps helps with the ghostly feel that makes the film at least passable.  When Kipps arrives at the island mansion estate, Watkins’s set looks daunting, worn, overgrown and unkempt. It’s a perfect setting for a horror film.

 

Beyond the façade of the sets and costumes lies a story that never stands up to the horror that most American’s have come to enjoy.  Yes there’s a lot of shadowy movements in the dark, a very tormented screaming woman wasting away in a black dress, scenes of children in grotesque poses; well you know, Disney’s Haunted Mansion.  The film just didn’t cut it for me and especially a story with a litany of sadness, grief and remorse, having an ending so weak I walked out at the end feeling, not scared, but scorned.

 

Well, did Daniel Radcliffe do a good job of acting? In spite of the lame story and cheesy scare tactics, Radcliffe made his intended character believable, interesting and enjoyable to watch. Unfortunately, for those of us who feel that Radcliffe could do no wrong as Harry Potter, he got sucked into a role that will not be memorable except to say, “Wow, too bad he chose to do that role after leaving such an awesome legacy”. But, Daniel do not be discouraged, tweens and teens will crowd to see you in The Woman in Black, but start choosing your future career moves more wisely.

 

The MPAA has rated The Woman in Black PG-13 for thematic material and violence/disturbing images.  Maybe the film is scary by British standards, but lame by American horror releases.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS: A poor choice for Daniel and his fans. (C )

 

You can follow John Delia on Twitter @staragent1

 

 

The Woman In Black-Video Review

February 2nd, 2012 No comments

All Rights Reserved

What Horror Movies Can Teach Economic Policy Makers

October 28th, 2011 No comments

Financial crises can seem like horror movies. Peter Matheson, chief economist at the British Embassy in Washington, writes that economic policy makers might take some lessons from the genre.

See the article here:
What Horror Movies Can Teach Economic Policy Makers

Paranormal Activity 3-Video Review

October 20th, 2011 No comments

Look pretty for the camera in the bathroom.

All Rights reserved

THE THING review by John Delia

October 14th, 2011 No comments

A REMAKE

OR  A

PREQUEL?

 

THE THING

 

Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton, Ulrich Thomsen and Jonathan Walker 

Directed by: Matthijs Van Heijningen

MPAA Rating: R for strong creature violence and gore, disturbing images, and language

Genre: Adaptation, Suspense/Horror and Science Fiction/Fantasy

Running Time: 1hr 43min

Opening Date: October 14th, 2011

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

 

 

 

 

By John Delia

 

Fans of the film The Thing beware; even though the movie takes you back to the Norwegian outpost providing a beginning to John Carpenter’s 1982 film with the same title, it may as well have been a remake.  Those that have never seen Carpenter’s masterpiece however, will get all the chills and thrills of the original.  For fun, why not rent the 1982 horror flick AFTER you see this release for a comparison of alien shape shifting.

 

Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Sander (Ulrich Thomsen) dissect something very disturbing

A Norwegian snow tractor falls into an abyss in Antarctica and the crew discover an alien frozen in the ice.  The mining team moves the creature to their outpost where an American Paleontologist, Kate Lloyd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) has been flown in to identify their find. A specimen is taken from the now thawing alien and Kate discovers that its cells are replicating those of a human.  When members of the mining team start getting attacked, the horror begins.

 

The 2011 script delivers some new experiences; how the alien may have arrived on Earth, its original form and a way to identify humans from alien made replicas.  Beyond that there’s nothing more than the same violence, similar shape changes, firefights and ghastly results of vicious attacks.

 

Director Matthijs Van Heijningen on the set of THE THING

First time director Matthijs Van Heijningen does his best to make his film better than the classic, but fails miserably.  For those that know the extremely suspenseful 1982 iconic scare fest, this one will not have that gripping expectation. Of course due to some extra special computer graphics that weren’t available back in the day, we do get treated to an even more ghastly experience.  It’s hard to remake a classic, but even though the filmmakers will call it a prequel, no dice.

 

Juliette (Kim Bubbs), Karl (Carsten Bjornlund), Adam (Eric Christian Olsen), Wolner (Trond Espen Seim) and Sander (Ulrich Thomsen)

That said, I do recommend the film highly for those who have not seen the original as this shock flick has some nicely placed scare scenes.  The mixture of human and alien bodies dart about, shoot out spiked tentacles, have huge teeth…well you get the idea.  Guys it’s a great flick to take a date, but make sure she doesn’t have long finger nails or you’ll have to wear long sleeves for a week.

 

The Thing is rated R for strong creature violence and gore, disturbing images, and language.  If your X-Box playing pre-teen has already been playing M rated alien infested games, he should be grabbing at your arm to take him to see the film, but it’s not suggested he attend alone.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:  Terror at it’s best for THE THING newbie’s (B), veterans (C )

 

 

 

 

 

DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK review by Marisa Ings

August 25th, 2011 No comments

Guillermo del Toro

UNLEASHES HIS HORROR

STORY THIS WEEKEND

 

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark

 

Director: 
Troy Nixey

Stars:
Katie Holmes, Guy Pearce and Bailee Madison

 

 
By Marisa Ings

Troubled little Sally’s (Bailee Madison) mother casts her off and sends her to live with her dad (Guy Pearce), Alex, and his new girlfriend Kim (Katie Holmes). As Sally unloads her emotional baggage into the gothic mansion that Alex and Kim are renovating, she begins to hear raspy whispers coming from within the mansion walls. Dejected and feeling neglected, Sally is determined to find and play with her new friends that in reality are playing her…

Bailee Madison as Sally in DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is a remake of a popular 70’s television movie with the same name. Out of curiosity, I read the original film’s summary but there was nothing to compare. The remake is an exact replica of the original with nothing distinguishing one from the other except for the change of Sally as a young girl instead of a grown woman.

The first few minutes of the film gets bloodcurdling scary and sets the bar high for the rest of the film, but unfortunately as the film progresses it begins to fall flat. The rest of the story movies along at a pretty fast pace adding some chilling moments leading to a very disturbing ending with an extreme twist. 

 

Katie Holmes as Kim in DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK

The film’s setting is eerily creepy with the mansion being the epitome of a haunted mansion with the brick walls and arch doorways. Although the place could be attractive to people looking for a huge estate, I know if I were Sally, I wouldn’t want to live there.
Overall, there were some chilling moments but the film itself was more irritating to me than petrifying. There are way too many close calls and instances where Sally’s curiosity gets carried away. Also, once you actually see the CGI creatures, they aren’t as terrifying as the magical marketing gurus would have you believe in their trailer. The pipsqueak terrors are only powerful in numbers. However, the back-story behind their existence is intriguing and I would have liked to see more on that subject.
I judge scary films by whether or not I have to sleep with the lights on and let’s just say… I slept like a baby (C )

 

 

FRIGHT NIGHT review by John Delia

August 18th, 2011 No comments

3D MAKES THIS

BLOOD SUCKER

EVEN MORE ENTICING

 

FRIGHT NIGHT

 

 

 

Cast: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Colin Farrell, Christopher Mintz-

Plasse

Directed by: Craig Gillespie

MPAA Rating: R for bloody horror violence and language including some sexual references

Genre: Comedy, Suspense/Horror and Remake

Running Time: 1hr 46min

Opening Date: August 19, 2011

Distributed by: Touchstone Pictures

 

By John Delia

 

The scary, seething, suspenseful, gory, horror filled Fright Night left me turning my head on my way to the car following the showing.  It’s a frightening flick that takes its toll on those that can have a love for the thrills that evil can provide.  You don’t have to be Goth to enjoy, just a sense of humor and a need to feed your bloody thirst for a good horror movie.

Charlie (Anton Yelchin) and his mom (Toni Collette) try to get out of their burning home

 

Charley (Anton Yelchin) has finally made it to the in crowd in his senior year at his local high school.  He’s got the top girl Amy (Imogen Poots), cool duds and the guys respect him, what more can a teen want.  How about some thrills, just what Charley needs, right?  Well he’s about to get his fill when Jerry (Colin Farrell) a vampire moves in next door and starts raiding the neighborhood for ‘food’.  When his former best friend Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) comes up missing, Charley tries to convince his mother and girlfriend that evil lurks in the house on the left.  Luckily Peter Vincent (David Tennant), the vampire killer is in town performing his magic show.

 

Charlie and Amy (Imogen Poots) hunt down a vampire

I am a huge horror fan and I’ve seen the 1985 original starring Chris Sarandon as Jerry and Roddy McDowall as Peter Vincent and loved it even though it didn’t have all the special effects that ramp up this version.  The remake of Fright Night does have much of the comedy as the first except here they use it as a relief from the horror where in Tom Holland’s it was more of a tongue in cheek campy kind of fun.  While this one has a LOT more horror and suspense, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to rent the original for some good laughs, but not before seeing the remake.

Jerry (Colin Farrell ) tries to get a bite of Charlie

 

The performance by Colin Ferrell as the relentless blood lusting ghoul is chillingly terrific and most times terrifying.  He brings to Jerry a wicked smile and evil eyes that makes his character very creepy and spine chilling, just what’s needed to carry off the menacing plot. 

 

Director Craig Gillespie does a great job of infusing the intermittent laughs with the help of Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Charley’s nerdy best friend Ed who steel many scenes while trying to escape the clutches of the vampire.  Gillespie lays out his story and gets to the meat of it in a very nice fashion leaving no time to make his audience think of other films that may be similar.  He charges right in letting you know who the vampire is and what kind of mayhem he’s taking to the neighborhood.

 

The film is rated R for bloody horror violence and language including some sexual references.  The 3D in Fright Night does have some very nasty things coming at you and a scene of glowing ashes that’s quite mesmerizing, thanks to some amazing CGI.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS: A very good horror flick with a lot of gory fun. (B)

 

 

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SCRE4M review by John Delia

April 14th, 2011 No comments

 

 

 

 

Turn this poster upside down - CAN YOU SPOT THE 'Other' GHOST

 

 

Cast: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette, Emma Roberts, Marley Shelton, and Hayden Panettiere

 

Directed by: Wes Craven

MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence, language and some teen drinking.

Genre: Suspense, Horror,Sequel

Running Time: 1 hr. 43 min

Opening Date: April 15, 2011

Distributed by: Dimension Films

 

 

 

By John Delia

 

If you combine all of the three previous Scream movies you will not see as much blood as in Scre4m, it’s a sanguinary feast. The strongly violent film makes Scream 2 and 3 look like kiddy shows.  If you are into films that make your cringe, flinch and urge your dinner to come up, then this fourth edition of the famous Scream will do the trick.

 

David Arquette, Adam Brody and Marley Shelton in SCRE4M

This time we find Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) coming back to Woodsboro on the day and place where the murders in Scream were committed some 15 years earlier.  She’s there to do a signing of her book on self-help. Dewey (David Arquette) has become Sheriff of the small town and is happily married to Sidney’s arch nemesis Gale (Courteney Cox)… as you know Dewey and Gale got engaged at the end of Scream 3. It’s an unwelcome homecoming for Sidney and most of the town, including her close relatives feels an air of danger.  When high school kids start dropping like flies from violent stabbings, everyone becomes terrified of a possible slaughter at the hands of Ghostface.

 

 

Ghostface

Although the film does include some comic relief from Sheriff Dewey’s blunders the realism of the stabbings however, instills chills and a nightmarish feeling that lingers far after the move ends.  Craven leaves not one of his central characters without a stab wound in this killer thriller.  Superb special effects, barrels of blood, lifelike sounds of the knife cutting into the body and realistic makeup bring out the horror that director Wes Craven expects from his visual crew.

 

Sheriff Dewey (Arquette) and Gale (Courteney Cox) in SCRE4M

The film’s story line isn’t much, but neither were the other three.  I must admit, though that this chiller tops the list of the Scream quartet for acting, bloodletting, suspense and unpredictability.  And, it’s a shrewd release time from the master of gore especially since his audience following has nothing out there to compare. It’s the film that asks, “What’s your favorite scary movie?”

 

Kirby (Hayden Panettiere) and Jill (Emma Roberts) in SCRE4M

Scream fans will get their refill of Campbell, Cox and Arquette with a little cherry topping of Emma Roberts (as cousin Jill) and Hayden Panettiere (as Jill’s best friend) thrown in for good measure. The cast is really up for this one and they really put on a good show.

 

Scre4m is rated R for strong bloody violence, language and some teen drinking.  The film features gory scenes and some brutality so caution is suggested when being asked by any of your under 17 year olds if you can take them to see the film.

 

FINAL ANALYSIS:  Take a stab at Scre4m only if you’re ready for a fright. (B)