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Posts Tagged ‘Horror’

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)

 

INSIDEOUS review by John Delia

March 31st, 2011 No comments

 

 

 

Cast: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Barbara Hershey and Ty Simpkins

Directed by: James Wan

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for thematic material, violence, terror and frightening images, and brief strong language

Genre: Horror

Running Time: 1hr 42 min

Opening Date: April 1, 2011

Distributed by: Film District

 

By John Delia

There are many bumps in the night in the film Insidious, but not enough acting delivery to make the horror work.  I do admit I jumped and flinched on a few occasions as director James Wan does set you up for some exciting chills, but it’s not enough to give the film even an average grade.  Of course like most horror flicks these days, they’re critic proof and this one will probably still do well at the box office with teens.

The Lambert's consult with ghost hunters

The plot centers on the Lambert family who moves into a Victorian home in the burbs.  Shortly thereafter, their young son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) starts having nightmares and ghostly visions.  Hearing a noise in the attic, Dalton goes up in the dreary room, climbs a ladder and falls putting himself in a coma.  When parents Renai (Rose Byrne) and Josh (Patrick Wilson) cannot bring Dalton around they call in some ghost hunters in an attempt to release him from evil spirits.

The story provides nothing new and the acting slips downward as the movie plays out.  The saving grace here are the scare techniques that James Wan (Saw) uses to get a rise out of the audience.  They are very chilling at times and he inserts them intermittently much like a walk through a scary Halloween horror house.

A demon enters Dalton's room

That said, acting by Wilson (Phantom of the Opera), Barbara Hershey (Black Swan) and Byrne (Knowing) goes down hill shortly after the opening sequences.  I’m puzzled as to why the three consummate actors would even allow themselves to be in the B movie.  As for the plot, it’s so predictable, if you don’t get it right away you need to get out of the house more often.

Oh, and in one scene the director or one of his crew was probably so bored with the film that he drew a likeness of the mask from Saw on the blackboard.

Insidious is rated PG-13 for thematic material, violence, terror, frightening images, and brief strong language.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A shock flick that needs more tricks. (D+)

PSYCHOSIS on DVD reviewed by John Delia

March 17th, 2011 No comments

“CATCHY PSYCHOLOGICAL DRAMA”

Starring: Charisma Carpenter, Paul Sculfor and Ricci Harnett

Directed by: Reg Traviss

MPAA Rating: R for bloody violence, strong sexuality, nudity and language

Genre: Horror, suspense, thriller

Running Time: 1hr 33min

By John Delia

Although Psychosis is somewhat predictable it still deserves a watch on DVD.  The directing and cinematography make the plot work with suspense-laden scenes, extreme horror thrills and a surprising twist that comes early on in the film.  I am going to recommend the film for another big reason; the bonus feature ‘The Making of Psychosis’ is a great tool for would be actors, cinematographers and directors.

The movie centers on Susan (Charisma Carpenter) who has left the United States with her husband David (Paul Sculfor) for a retreat and rest from a psychological event that caused her to lose her mind.  The European countryside seems to her as a great place to write her second horror novel and everything is in place for it.  However, Susan starts to see visions and ghostly people that start to make an impact on her love life and threaten her psyche.

The winner here is the direction by Reg Traviss who takes the hackneyed storyline and actually makes something good happen.  He brings us close up to the action showing the brutality in sex and murder.  Much like relentless Jason in Friday the 13th, his initial killer gets wild and crazy adding a lot of terror to the film.  He bonds with the camera giving us beautiful vistas of the countryside and then splashes his beautiful canvas with blood.

One of the best finds of a ‘Making of’ as a bonus feature is on this DVD.  The interviews are extremely good and the showing of how all the horror and sex fits into the film will be a great tool for budding actors, directors and cinematographers.  The interview with cinematographer Bryan Loftus (The Company of Wolves) brings out a lot of tips on special shots and lighting value, especially in a horror flick.

The film is rated R for bloody violence, strong sexuality, nudity and language.  Be cautions as there is also a graphic rape scene midway through the film.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A good DVD for horror fans and students of film. (C+)

RED RIDING HOOD review by John Delia

March 10th, 2011 No comments

 

 

Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Shiloh Fernandez, Max Irons, Julie Christie, and Gary Oldman

Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence and creature terror, and some sensuality

Genre: Romance, Suspense and Horror

Running Time: 1hr 40min

Release Date: March 11, 2011

Distributed by: Warner Bros.

By John Delia

Alright Twilight fans here’s a little change a of pace called Red Riding Hood with romance and werewolves that should fulfill your cravings until you can get more of Stephanie Meyer. However, don’t be too quick to jump into this one if you are a reasonable adult that’s looking for some horror that chills. The fright is fleeting and the terror no more scary than a large devilish dog. Mostly shot on two sets, the film could have easily been a theatrical play.

Amanda Seyfried as Valerie

Most everyone remembers the story of Little Red Riding Hood and this film uses it in a very dark way. In a small isolated village in the deep forest live several families who have been fighting off a werewolf for years. Young Valerie (Amanda Seyfried) has reached the age of being married, but her older sister who has been promised to Henri (Max Irons) must be first. In the meantime Valerie has accepted the charms of Peter (Shiloh Fernandez )and is quite content on waiting. Suddenly the werewolf kills her sister and Valerie gets ordered to marry Henri. When the town comes under siege by the howling daemon, Valerie devises a plan to escape her fate.

Costumes take a major role in Red Riding Hood

The costume film takes on a striking aura with fairytale garb, ‘gingerbread’ cottages and thick forests. But, all the above looked like a theatre set perfectly placed and lifeless, even sand covers the ground in an attempt to resemble snow. Two main locations make up the film, the small town square with lower class buildings and an isolated house where grandma lives. The actors move about the sets reciting lines that direct all the action. I found this a little boring and listless at times.

Julie Christie

Saving the film from total loss is the beast and the fight. Cruel and with a vengeance it attacks the townspeople for food. The battle against the creature and the intermittent love triangle keep Red Riding Hood interesting and palatable. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Julie Christi’s brilliant performance as grandma and Amanda Seyfried’s pervasive screen presence.

But, that’s not enough to make up for the lines Valerie has to say to her grandmother that add a feel of silliness during an important scene. A look at grandma’s eyes, ears and teeth by Valerie is all that’s needed here, but director Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight) goes for the punch, but looses the fight.

The film is rated PG-13 for violence and creature terror, and some sensuality. Immature youngsters may get easily freighted so take this into consideration before allowing them to go with siblings.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A teen chick flick that suffers from over indulgence in the fairy tale. (C-)

Categories: Written Reviews Tags: , ,

DRIVE ANGRY 3D review by John Delia

February 25th, 2011 No comments

 

 

 

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner, Billy Burke and David Morse

Director: Patrick Lussier

MPAA Rating: R for Strong brutal violence throughout, grisly images, some graphic sexual content, nudity and pervasive language

Genre: Action, Horror, ‘Grindhouse’, thriller

Running Time: 1hr and 44min

Release Date: February 25, 2011

Distributed by: Summit Entertainment, LLC

By John Delia

Out of the depths of hell and brimstone comes Drive Angry 3D a wicked ‘grindhouse’ film that takes evil to a higher level.  It’s a lot of campiness in a large bundle of violence and mayhem.  Director Patrick Lussier gets his cast to whittle down their talent and fit their trailer trash persona.  If you are a fan of films like Machete and Planet Terror, then this cut is right up your alley.

David Morse and Nicolas Cage in Drive Angry

The movie surrounds Milton (Nicolas Cage) a deceased murder that breaks out of hell in an attempt to track down the killers of his daughter and kidnappers of her baby.  Along the way he meets Piper (Amber Heard), a tough waitress who can kick-butt and spit nails.  Running from a mysterious stranger, the two head for the biggest confrontation of their lives.

 

Although not the best grindhouse film, my favorite is Planet Terror; Drive Angry still follows the same pattern of slaughter and chaos.  Here writer/director Lussier (Hellraiser, My Bloody Valentine) mixes the barrels of blood and guts, slings body parts around the set and explodes anything and everything within reach of his main characters.  It’s a horror flick with non-stop violence that in some cases too realistic.

Amber Heard plays Piper in Drive Angry

As for the characters, Cage gets most of the bloody make-up while Amber Heard keeps prettied up so well, that her face rarely has a smudge.  Even while beating the bad guys with her fists, her gorgeous frame shows little wear and tear.  Now that’s one of the rules of grindhouse, quick recovery from near death and the pretty face does not sustain damage.

 

As if there weren’t enough odd-looking weapons in films today, Lussier adds a destroyer weapon from hell, a unique gun that can blow anyone or anything into eternity. Coupled with some very hot cars that are weapons in their own right, this non-stop action film kicks horror filmmaking up a notch.

A CGI action scene from Drive Angry

The 3D is rather good since the production company actually filmed Drive Angry with 3D cameras and equipment.  Several incidents made me flinch and duck as bullets and shrapnel came flying out of the screen.  Using special effects that pop and burn even the flames and ash spit out at you.

 

The film is rated R for Strong brutal violence throughout, grisly images, some graphic sexual content, nudity and pervasive language. Not for the faint of heart, easily repulsed or psychologically imbalanced, Drive Angry makes pretend look authentic.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A fired up film that puts hell on earth. (C+)

(All photos courtesy of Summit Entertainment, LLC)

 

 

NITE TALES: THE SERIES on DVD review by John Delia

February 10th, 2011 No comments

“HORROR WITH A TWIST”

Hosted by Flavor Flav

Genre: Horror, Suspense

Running Time: 2hrs 36min

MPAA Rating: Unrated

By John Delia

Much like the television of yesteryear, Nite Tales: The Series features  a lot of unique imagination.  However, budget does hurt the project, but not enough to count it out completely.  However, although every episode is not top-drawer horror  hard core, I found many that could have been expanded into a full feature film.

The titles within this cool goose bump DVD hold true to their content.  It’s Twilight Zone all over again with “Night Watch”, “Dark Heart”, “Trapped”, “Ima Star”, “Black Window” and more.  The talent comes up to snuff including noted actors, Gary Busey, R&B singer Ray J, Deray Davis, Rodney Perry, Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister, Essense Atkins, Bridgitte Nielson, Carl Payne and Kel Mitchell.

The segments I found amusing  include “Trapped” with Gary Busey in the lead as a combat officer who finds himself in a room with four other people not knowing where they are and with no seemingly way out.  It’s a twisty little story that caught me by surprise.  A very sick film features Bridgett Nielson (Rocky IV) as a demanding mother who wants her child to be happy.  As long as she can keep the stock in her business up to orders, her daughter gets to enjoy her life.  The clues are all there; you just have to put them all together before the weird ending.

The fun here is that you can re-watch the series over again so you can tell where you may have been able to figured the ending before it happens.  When you are finished watching the DVD, take a look at the bonus of a ‘Making of Featurette.”

Nite Tales: The Series doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of most horror flicks that you see on the big screen, however, and that’s where this series fails.  Being a Cable feature you can see the limited budget and therefore lower quality.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Not for the horror freak, but certainly for us novices. (D)

Categories: DVDs Tags: , , ,

LET ME IN written review

September 30th, 2010 No comments

“A BITING TALE”

137_let-me-in_posterStarring: Chloe Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Jimmy ‘Jax’ Pinchak

Directed by: Matt Reeves

MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody horror violence, language and a brief sexual situation.

Genre: Horror, Suspense

Running Time: 1hr 55min

Release Date: October 1, 2010

Distributor: Overture Films

By John Delia

Let the Halloween season begin, the top runner Let Me In has arrived and it is ‘kick-ass’ horror that gets so tense that it gave me the willies.  What makes this film a stand out comes from an eerie storyline, outstanding camerawork, menacing settings and creepy music that keeps the film a fright show.  Acting and direction here are masterful, but with horror I’m sure you just want to know; does it scare.  A resounding yes, so get your black capes, bloody teeth and scary face down to see this flick with your best girl of course.

Chloe Grace Moretz plays Abby

Chloe Grace Moretz plays Abby

Nice young Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) has been running from bullies most of his middle school years and he can’t seem to shake the vicious dudes.  A total social outcast of his schoolmates, he spends most of his time in his bedroom.  One day Abby (Chloe Moretz), a young girl about his age, arrives with her father (Richard Jenkins) to an apartment within Owen’s complex.  He seems to dismiss Abby’s intensely overpowering look and urges a friendship.  As time passes Abby gives in to Owen’s inquisitiveness, helps him with advice about the bullies and they form a bond.  When a ‘food’ shortage threatens Abby’s lifestyle, Owen gets cast aside and their relationship starts to dwindle.

Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Abby meet on a snowy night

Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Abby meet on a snowy night

Unlike those other remakes like The Ring or The Grudge that just set you up for a quick scare using evil beings crawling on a ceiling or a young hideous girl coming to get you through a television set, Let Me In also provides a coming of age story that captivates.  So compelling however, that you almost want to take both sides of this sick storyline with it’s twisted ending.  It’s not teen fest Twilight, but I never really think of that series as real horror anyway.

Director Matt Reeves on the set

Director Matt Reeves on the set

What makes this story work is the acting by Chloe Moretz, Richard Jenkins and Kodi Smit-McPhee.  Under the able direction of Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) the three outstanding performers make their characters believable (Owen), chilling (Abby) and compassionate (Jenkins).  Reeves puts the actors on sets that are dank, cold, dreary and dismal, then puts his multi-filtered camera up close as he adds menacing music while leading up to some very sinister action.

The film is rated R for strong bloody horror violence, language and a brief sexual situation.  Let Me In has all the elements that stimulate the minds of the devout horror fan.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A biting tale of love and death. (5 of 5)

KANE HODDER star of HATCHET II to attend screening

September 30th, 2010 No comments

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