All Hallow’s Eve Movie Review

Posted: November 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

“All Hallows Eve” is a rare animal. Ill get to the reasons why, in this review. But I do want to throw a disclaimer out there: Not everyone will think this film is awesome.

The Film begins with a babysitter, watching two kids on Halloween night. The kids have been out trick or treating and they are going through their candy. Well, they happen to find a video tape in one of the candy bags.  Begging to watch the tape, the kids finally convince the babysitter to put it in the VCR to see whats on it. And so the horror begins….

The film is done in anthology style, much like “VHS”. The babysitter watches each installment on the video tape, and notices that things in the real world start to get creepier with every story. She continues watching, after the children have gone to bed. Reality shifts more and more into a nightmare, with each story she witnesses. Until finally the nightmare is right there with her.

If you read my other reviews, you’ll notice I am pretty brutal when it comes to rating a movie. Sometimes I am borderline abusive. I wont hesitate to backhand an awful movie all around the house, calling it names and degrading it to tears.  I call it how I see it.  But like I said earlier, this film isn’t for everyone. let’s get down to the details, shall we?

I would give this one a good rating just based on the creepy clown character that makes an appearance in all of the stories. This clown is badass. If you didn’t have a fear of clowns before watching this, you certainly will afterwards. Everything about the character is scary as Hell, and I could see him becoming a franchise if this film does well. His name is “Art The Clown” and he is the common thread of evil in all of the stories.

Speaking of the stories, let’s go ahead and summarize them for you:

  1. A Demonic cult lives in the under-workings of a train station
  2. A woman living in the middle of nowhere has a close encounter
  3. A young girl lost on the highway runs into a psycho, that will follow her anywhere.
  4. The babysitter wrap-around story


The film is definitely low budget. Like, you might be able to buy a couple used Hondas with the money they spent on this. That being said, the effects are all practical. The only problem: Sometimes they work. Sometimes they fall flat. But look at it this way, at least they didn’t use any cheap CGI. This is going to be the dividing line for most of you. Either you will be able to excuse the cheap effects and gore, and enjoy the movie, or you will hate it. There really isn’t much room for middle ground here. Some of it looks great, some of it looks lame. The different settings all look great, especially the creepy train station.

The shooting style is a hybrid of found-footage, and voyeuristic. Both  styles seem to put you into the movie. The styles are very diverse as well. It is the same director throughout the film, but each segment has it’s own style and feel. So if you thought the previous segment was lame, then the next one might shock you.

There is a good bit of cheese in the dialogue as well. Once again, this is a possible dividing factor. The movie has plenty of campy moments. The acting is OK. No one in this film will be winning an Oscar anytime soon.

So if you can get past cheesy acting, lackluster effects and gore, The maybe you will see it for what it is: Fun. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and if this style of film is something you enjoy then check it out! I honestly think there is more to like, than to dislike with this one.

A little trivia: After doing a little post-research, I have found that director Damien Leone has been working on this film for quite a while. Two of the stories ( “Terrifier” and “9th Circle”) have been shorts on youtube for the past 5 years. He added material and used the original shorts to compile “All Hallows Eve”.

MV5BODYxNjgzOTkxMF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTcyNTUzMDE@._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_

small promo

Horror as a genre can span several different forms of media. While it is most popular in books and film, music is no stranger to horror themes and dark imagery. However most metal and hard rock bands that feature horror are very extreme, and tend to alienate their audiences. I mean, not everyone can dig Cannibal Corpse. The bands that have dark themes, but have an accessible sound are few and far between.

We are here with IAMSOUND, a band that is not only heavy as hell, but also very melodic. IAMSOUND hails from the spooky city, Savannah Georgia. IAMSOUND recently reformed after a 7 year hiatus, with two of the original members (Christopher Horton, Troy Gillespie), and a new lineup on guitar (Stephen Grosse), drums (Matt Jumonville), and vocals (Tim Ryder).

IAMSOUND certainly has some dark lyrical themes. In the songs we have a conversation with a demon, a tale of a psychotic stalker, and in “Man in High Castle” we have blind fury and rage. The dark and driving music certainly fits the pictures that the lyrics paint, with down-tuned 7 string guitars, hard hitting drums, and thundering bass. But amidst the chaos, there are some legitimate songwriting chops, and its easy to see that while these guys like their scary themes and heavy guitars, they also like a good hook.

But what makes these guys tick? Lets find out!

-What are some of your musical influences? What got you started?

CHRIS: Ive always liked heavy stuff. I grew up with 90′s alternative, but I always had an interest in metal as well. I like a bit of everything, though. From jack Johnson to Slipknot! As far as guitar goes, Metallica and Nirvana really inspired me to play. When it comes to switching over to 7 string guitars, Fear Factory, Meshuggah, and Korn had a huge influence on me. I’ve always wanted to get that low growl that Dino gets in Fear Factory and that just cant happen without the extra string.

STEPHEN:  Like Chris I really cut my teeth on the early 90’s grunge scene.  From there it was Metallica and such.  Other than metal and hard rock I would have to say classical music, especially the Baroque period.

MATT: When I first started playing music I was doing a lot of older stuff my parents listened to, Aerosmith, Jimi Hendrix, Doors all that jazz.   As time went on my tastes widened out a bit.  I’m from that same era so pretty much all the same bands Chris mentioned has been an influence for me.

-Are you avid horror fans? Whats your favorite horror film?

CHRIS: My wife and I watch horror almost exclusively! “Martyrs” is by far my favorite horror film. But I also love the classic Universal Monsters, The 70′s Hammer films, Asian Horror…..I will stop there, this list could get long. But when it comes to horror, the mentality of ” the more extreme, the better” doesn’t work for me. I need it to have some artistic quality as well.

STEPHEN:  I’m a huge horror fan.  I do tend to shy away from torture porn movies though.  I am an avid zombie buff also I like supernatural horror and religious horror.

MATT:  Couldn’t say I’m a huge fan, but if I had to pick one movie that’s gonna scare the shit out of little kids it would be Stephen King’s “It”.  Still scares me…I also like cheesy 80’s “horror”

-Is writing a collaborative effort? If so, what is the process?

CHRIS: Well, it all starts with a riff…then…

STEPHEN:  In the beginning the songwriting was handled by Chris and myself.  As we have grown as a band however everyone is starting to contribute in their own way.  Almost to the point now that Im not sure who has written what. *laughs*

MATT: it becomes a group effort.  Chris and Stephen are definitely the driving force in song writing but we all but in our two cents to make it what it is.

-You are listed as “progressive” on your EPK, tell me about that style of songwriting.

CHRIS: I feel like the standard “Verse/Chorus/Verse style of writing feels limiting, but on top of that, I tend to write in “sections” more than standard songwriting. It will all fit together in the end. We are always trying to “one up” the last song that we wrote. Making it more complex..or heavier, or more melodic. We really don’t want to get pigeonholed into a certain sound, like so many bands seems to fall prey to. We want to stay interesting and relevant.

STEPHEN:  I tend to look at music like a Jig saw puzzle.  Ill have these different riffs and ideas that lie in pieces on the table.  I tend to stare at them until I find a corner piece and then after that it really gets going.

MATT: For me it’s breaking from standard formulas, using weird time signatures and odd pauses, and just trying to be as creative as possible without crossing the line into un-listenable.  There are a lot of progressive bands that are amazing musicians but at the end of the day it’s too hard to follow, as a music listener.  I want to be weird, but catchy at the same time.

-Do you enjoy being a DIY band, instead of having a label/studio/manager etc?

CHRIS:Its certainly more work, but being signed to a label these days seems like kicking yourself in the ass. You lose money that way, and you have people telling you how to sound, how to write…Being your own boss is cool!

STEPHEN:  I like the idea of doing it yourself.  It forces you to learn how the system works and how to operate within its parameters.

MATT: Either way it goes as long as I’m playing music I love.  I’ve been DIYing for a while now and a little monetary support from a label/studio/manager, to me, seems like it would take a lot of burden of my shoulders, but maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

-What does the future hold for IAMSOUND?

CHRIS: We are going to be playing a lot of shows in the Savannah area, very soon. Check our reverbnation and our facebook page for dates and details! We really want to get out there, and let everyone hear the music that has us so excited to be playing.

STEPHEN:  Hopefully making steady progress and not looking back.

MATT: and soon after we’re taking on the world!  I see big things for IAMSOUND and it won’t take long for others to see what we all already know.  This is the best band you’ve never heard of… Yet .

 

You can find pictures of the band and free song downloads at www.reverbnation.com/iamsound.

Image  —  Posted: October 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

You’re Next Movie Review

Posted: August 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

Youre-Next-2012-Movie-Poster“You’re Next” has been the biggest tease to me.  It started with the photo promos, with the killers in the masks. Then the teaser trailer. Then the multiple clips. Interviews with the cast. It was already viewed at festivals TWO YEARS AGO.

I sat there saying: “Will this damn movie just come out already?”

Then I started throwing money at my computer screen, just to see if that would get the point across.

Then I begged.

Then I lost hope.

Then….I was angry.

Then, more money throwing and some gentle weeping in my pantry.

Then a United States release date finally showed itself to me!

It’s safe to say, that when the date finally arrived (it was yesterday) I was more than excited. I had pretty high expectations going in. I try not to let hype get to me, but I guess I fell right into the marketing campaign for this one.

So it is with a great feeling of relief that I write this highly positive review. I was not let down, not one bit.

“You’re Next” follows a wealthy family, The Davisons,  that are having a bit of a family reunion. The mother and father recently bought an old house in the usual remote middle-of-nowhere location, that they plan on fixing up during retirement. Their nearly insufferable children show up with their seemingly equally annoying spouses, and it becomes pretty apparent that no one in this family gets along. The family doesn’t know that they are being watched…stalked, until it is too late. And when the blood starts flowing, it doesn’t stop. But someone in this group may not be what they seem….

I’ll leave the plot details alone, as I don’t want to provide any spoilers. I know it sounds like such a cliche’ when you see this in a review but: “The less you know, the better!”

Director Adam Wingard ( VHS series, A Horrible Way To Die) really knows how to make a scene tense. While there are plenty of jump scares, a good portion of the film is used to create an overall feeling of dread. There is some fantastic camera work here. I also have to praise the title sequence, as it was super inventive. The vast expanse of the house, and desolate woods surrounding, that our characters are trapped in makes for some serious tension as well.

All of the effects are practical, and the makeup and gore is all top notch. The film has a nostalgic effect, as it seems to pull a good portion of it’s inspiration from 70′s and 80′s slasher flicks. Despite these obvious influences, Wingard manages to create a very unique and memorable overall vibe. He has his own style, and I think it really comes through in this film, more so than any of his other works so far. There’s gore, comedy,  and awesome acting.

Wingard pulls in Ti West ( The Innkeepers, VHS, ABC’s of Death) for a cameo appearance that I didn’t even recognize him in until the credits rolled. The rest of the cast is a rag-tag band of  recent horror movie veterans that have starred in both West’s and Wingard’s previous films. Everyone seems totally engrossed in their roles, which makes the moments of black comedy really stand out. You laugh at them, but you also believe that a family this dysfunctional would actually act this way in the face of adversity and tragedy.  Just because you’re scared to (literal) death doesn’t mean you will be any less an insufferable ass. In fact, you might be even MORE insufferable than usual.

My only real gripe, is that once things get going, the plot is pretty predictable. You see the twists and turns coming before they unfold before you but that doesn’t completely put a damper on their effect. The plot still moves along, and the pacing is fantastic.

I must say, that I was very pleased and I cant wait to see what Wingard has in store for us next. If “A Horrible Way to Die” and “You’re Next” are any indication of his talent, he’s certainly a director to watch. It was a bit sad, that on a Saturday night, there were only 5 or 6 other souls in the theater with us. So get out there and see this one!!

2013-03-03-sxsw_youre_next

Sound of My Voice (2011)

 

Sound of My Voice

2011

4 out of 5 Screams

Tagline:Set in Los Angeles, substitute schoolteacher Peter and aspiring writer Lorna are a couple in their twenties embarking on their first undercover journalism project. Their subject is a small cult led by the mysterious Maggie. Both Peter and Lorna have personal motivations to expose Maggie as a fraud.

 

I know what youre thinking if youve seen this movie. Its not Horror…per se.  There IS an over-all feel of dread, and you feel like there are sinister intentions going on once we meet Maggie’s cult.

What would you do if you met someone who said they were from the future? What would you say/do to prove that they are not? Its a hard question. Theres not alot you can do to debunk someone when they say that they randomly awoke in our time period. Maggie wears a respirator, because science tells us that someone from another time period (even as short as 20-30 years) would become ill from disease that doesnt exist in their time period. She is confined to the indoors of a townhouse in an undisclosed location in Los Angeles county. The cult members are blindfolded when they are taken to the townhouse.

Our main characters seem like the type of people that wouldnt drink the Kool Aid. They seem like people that can make their own judgments and are only doing this because they want to do an Expose’ on Maggie and her cult. But…how long does it take a skeptic to turn into a believer? How long before a charismatic leader pulls your heart-strings tight enough to make you believe in them? How long, until you are doing something unimaginable for this charismatic leader?

But better yet..is this leader for real?

Im a big fan of this film. At first, I was disappointed in the ending. But as I thought about it, it stuck with me the rest of the night. Then it stuck with me the next day. I thought about the psychology of the entire movie. After pondering the meaning of the ending for a while, I came to a conclusion. I know what the whole thing meant…at least, I know what it means to me.

The days after I watched the film, were just as good as actually watching it. You really have to pay attention to all of the dialogue, as the final act comes sudden, and abrupt.

The film is well shot, and in many instances stark, and Kubrick-like. Theres no blood. No gore. No decapitations. But this movie is unsettling still. Its an exercise in belief, and trust.

What will you believe in the end?

Image  —  Posted: July 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

V/H/S 2

 

V/H/S/2

4 out of 5 Screams

Once again, we have a set of directors providing films for an anthology setting with a wraparound film that ties them all together. I will review them as individual films.

“Phase I Clinical Trials”

Possibly the weakest film, but thats saying alot since they are all pretty much excellent. This one follows a guy with a robotic eye implant that seems to be malfunctioning. Malfunctioning how? Well…he can kinda see dead people now.

The special effects were good, but it seemed a little rushed at the end. Like they just threw a bunch of stuff together at the last second. A good opener for what comes next.

The entirety of this film is shot from the perspective of the robotic eye, which makes for a great surprise.

“A Ride in the Park”

You know those “Go Pro” cameras that you can clip to your hat? The ones you use when youre biking or hiking to show your perspective of whatever bullshit youre doing? This short is shot entirely with one of those. What would happen if something crazy happened while someone was wearing one of these? Like the apocalypse?

That would be worth filming way more than your half ass mountain biking video, that you upload to youtube so you can force family members to watch it. I mean, that the whole purpose of those cameras right?  “Look at me!!! Im fucking important!!”

You know whats important? The beginning of the end of the world. Thats “Going Pro”.

I wont spoil what the film is about exactly. Its better if you just wait for it.

“Safe Haven”

By far the best of all the films. They shouldve saved this one for the final act.

Here we have a news crew doing an expose’ on an Indonesian cult that believes in “purification”. What does “purification entail? Well, its all pretty vague until a bell starts ringing out of nowhere. Then, here comes the crazy. This one is definitely the most brutal of the four shorts. It wouldve been plenty creepy without any supernatural elements thrown in, but that aspect makes it ten times creepier as we near the closing.

This time, the camera view is from the film crew, and lapel cameras connected to the interviewer’s shirts. This gives alot of the shots a first person view, like “Maniac” (Elijah Wood 2013) Which in my opinion, puts “you” into the film more.

“Slumber Party Alien Abduction”

Once again, we have another inventive camera angle. This time is a camcorder, set up to catch pranks that our group of kids are trying to pull on their older sister. Eventually the camcorder gets attached to the family dog, around the same time all hell breaks loose.

Whats the film about? Dont be a dumbass. Its literally in the title.

 

The wraparound story seems really lame until the end. But its a pretty solid ending.

Is it as good as the first V/H/S? I think so. It doesnt have the same impact, because now you are familiar with the style, and the setup. But i thought it was every bit as enjoyable. Solid movie! Check it out!

 

Image  —  Posted: June 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Revenant

The Revenant (2009)

4 out of 5 Screams

Tagline: ” The film focuses on Second Lieutenant Bart Gregory (David Anders) who has been killed under mysterious circumstances in Iraq.[1] Even though his friends and girlfriend Janet (Louise Griffiths) attend his funeral, Bart finds himself anything but at rest.[2] Enlisting the help of his best friend, Joey Leubner (Chris Wylde), Bart begins to understand and learn how to deal with his new undead state; mainly, the fact that Bart needs blood to hold back decomposition and that he returns to a state of in-animation during daylight hours. Joey does research online to find out what Bart is and seems to be stuck between a Zombie and Vampire, finally stating that Bart is a Revenant.”

 

Wow! This film was AWESOME.  The acting was superb, the effects were top notch and it was hilarious.  The Revenant was written, directed, and produced by Kerry Prior, who also supervised the visual effects on the film. Its really too bad it was such a limited release, because it will most surely be a cult classic.

Our two main protagonists bicker back and forth like best friends. Their characters are very believable.  They sound exactly like a couple of dudes, constantly fucking with each other, dick jokes and all. This is only amplified as their “situation” gets a little more grim. There is one particular scene, where our undead Bart decides that robbing the hospital for blood is a great idea. This scene had me rolling.

The whole thing reminded me of a Kevin Smith movie,  the dialog is vulgar and funny.

The end was fitting, and actually a little bit deeper than you would expect. I was expecting humor, but instead you get an almost melancholy ending. I wasnt expecting the mood to shift at the end. Not in a film where the word “fuck” is said probably a hundred times. A film that has a scene where a decapitated head uses a vibrator as a voice box, so his words are audible.

 

Give it a shot!

 

Image  —  Posted: June 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

Mama (2012)

 

Mama (2013)

2.5 out of 5 Screams

Tagline: The film deals with the story of two young girls abandoned in a forest cabin, fostered by an unknown entity that they fondly call Mama, which eventually follows them to their new suburban home after their uncle retrieves them.

This marks the second time that Del Toro put him name on some shit to apparently line his friend’s pockets with money. That might sound a little jaded. But hey, Im not going to bullshit you.

The first time, was with “Dont Be Afraid of The Dark“.  About little,  CGI laden tooth faeries. Which, if I were not getting heroically drunk whilst I was viewing, I wouldve turned it off 20 minutes in.

And now we have this one. Once again every scene rapes your occular orbs with half-assed computer generated imagery. Imagery that quite honestly, would have been conveyed more appropriately with practical effects. Im not one of those people who think that CGI has no place in movies. I think it can be used effectively (lol punz) in many instances. This is not one of them.

Especially when they had an actor playing some of the parts in a few scenes. They even got the creepy guy from the end of “[REC]” to play “Mama” in a few scenes where they used the practical effects techniques. But whatever. I digress.

The story is an expanded version of a short film. The story is by far the best part of the film. It was well written until the forced ending. I wont spoil anything,  but the ending leaves you saying : “Why????? What the hell??”

As far as the acting goes, Jessica Chastain is almost completely wasted in this film. She steals every scene as the punk rock bassist turned reluctant surrogate mother. She truly is a talented actress, and seems a little out of place from the get-go.

Also….its not very scary. And I know what youre thinking. Youre thinking I watch too much of this shit, and I dont get scared. Im hear to tell you, thats not true. I get freaked out. I LIKE being freaked out. Thats why I watch this stuff. But in this case, it didnt happen.

You know that coffee commercial where the brother comes home from South Africa on Christmas and his sister answers the door? You know that uncomfortable moment where the sister says “Youre my present this year” and puts on bow on her brothers chest, suggesting some kind of perversion akin to Leia Kissing Luke in Star wars?

That freaks me out way more than this film.

But dont get me wrong, it isnt an entertainment void. I wasnt looking out the window while the movie was playing, wondering what its like to be a squirrel or anything ( I HAVE done that before, with other films Amy and I endured).

It was a fun watch, but I cant give it a good rating, because of the flaws. I guess the biggest problem I had with it, is the fact that it couldve been AMAZING. It had all of the potential.

It was like having a kid that drops out of school one semester before he graduates.

Or the daughter that asks you for money so she can buy a Morning After Pill.

Or when you order a Ten Piece Chicken Nugget, and you get home and only have a six piece.

Or when you drive to the store in the middle of the night, to get ice cream. The store is closed.

You expect better, but it didnt happen the way you hoped.

Im not mad, just disappointed.

 

Image  —  Posted: June 4, 2013 in Uncategorized