Tag Archives: Slasher

Movie Review: #Horror (2015)

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Rating: D/ A failure on almost every conceivable level, #Horror has one of the most confused scripts I’ve ever had the displeasure of encountering. It’s a woeful movie that doesn’t know what it wants to be; a slasher movie? a meaningful teen flick about cyberbullying? A satire? The movie just kind of drags on until it becomes stagnant and features a group of loathsome characters that do nothing to arouse our curiosity or engage our sympathy. Yes, in this movie, I wished bloody homicide on a group of twelve-year-old girls. Thirty minutes in,  I wanted everybody dead, and fast. Continue reading Movie Review: #Horror (2015)

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Movie Review: Hush (2016)

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Rating: B-/ Hush is a fairly typical home invasion/slasher flick with a intriguing twist- the victim of the unfolding mayhem is more or less completely deaf, making her easy pickings for an unhinged thrill seeker with a neck tat and a bad attitude. Or so he thinks. Maddie (actress/ co-writer Kate Siegel) is a kind and independent hearing-impaired young woman who’s retreated to a cabin in the woods to finish her latest novel.All the wants is some peace and quiet while she tries to overcome her crippling bout of writer’s block, but the otherwise unnamed ‘man’ (John Gallagher Jr.) has other ideas, as he stalks Maddie with a crossbow, intent on not only murdering her but also making her life a living hell before doing so. Continue reading Movie Review: Hush (2016)

Hellions (2015)

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Rating: D-/ Wow. This is one the more ridiculous films I’ve had the displeasure of seeing lately. Not to be confused with Kat Candler’s wonderfully authentic 2014 drama Hellion, Bruce McDonald’s Hellions is both implausible even for a slasher and at times unintentionally hilarious. The best worst part this sumptuous feast of cheese offered up for me was the scene where the pregnant teenage heroine Dora (Chloe Rose) imagines her reflection in the mirror gobbling up an incredibly fake-looking human fetus after sprinkling it with a little salt and enthusing about how ‘good it tastes.’ Seriously? Who wrote this fucking script?

I have to admit I wasn’t a fan of McDonald’s earlier efforts The Tracey Fragments and Pontypool (I actually did an inner face-palm when I saw his name in the opening credits- Bruce McDonald? That Bruce McDonald?) but I must say this was the cream of the crap, so to speak. Looking at the quality alone I would have guessed this was a film student’s first feature, not the work of a director with several films under his belt. The gaping plot holes, the ludicrous storyline, the frustrating purplish-pinkish lighting that pervades through most of the movie- I say that anyone who loved this movie needs to be checked for a brain. Still, it isn’t a complete bust, because I really needed a new scathing review for my blog. Here it is, folks. You’re welcome.

Seventeen-year-old punk-goth Dora Vogel finds out she’s like, totally preggers one Halloween which is sure to be unlike any other she’s ever experienced. That night, what appears to be some creepy trick-or-treaters routinely torment her and eventually offer her her boyfriend (Luke Bilyk)’s head in a bag. Rude! Dora decides to fight back and is aided in her battle by local cop Mike Corman (Robert Patrick,) who randomly takes her with him into the house and hands her a gun. Seriously, can’t you lose your job for putting a teenaged girl’s life is grave danger and just handing her a loaded weapon. Anyone can be a cop apparently. And learning how to load and unload a gun doesn’t take, like, training or anything.

None of the authority figures act the way they should in this movie. Instead of immediately coming to her assistance, the 911 operator waffles and asks Dora if the killers are ‘playing some kind of joke on her’ after Dora has already provided the details for her. They put her boyfriend’s motherfucking head in a motherfucking bag, lady. Do you think you could send some fuckin’ back up before someone else loses their crown? Then there’s the little satanic moppets who want Dora’s baby for some Rosemary’s Baby type shit. They wear screwed-up masks (one of which looks like it came straight off the kid from The Orphanage) and keep trilling ‘Blood for Baby!’ in weirdo distorted voices. Turns out, Dora’s little angel is growing at a rapid rate- and plans to feed on her flesh as soon as it emerges from her body. The evil trick-or-treaters’ jobs are to see this plan to completion.

But this movie is so darn corny and ridiculous to care what will happen to Dora or whether she will be devoured by Baby Munster. The lighting is distracting- it feels very unnecessary and low-budget and detracts from a movie that has enough damn problems to begin with. The special effects and acting are surprisingly on a scale of not-so-terrible to pretty good, but the script is ludicrous and suffers from a multitude of exasperating implausibilities and plot holes. We see that Dora’s tormentors are not quite human when salt gets poured on one of them and it literally sizzles and perishes on the spot, but Dora doesn’t get the idea to use the salt as a weapon until 2/3 of the way into the movie.

Maybe she sees salt melt people on a regular basis. I was like use the salt, use the salt, use the salt! The Frog Brothers could have told you that. But you can’t guide the character in a horror film’s decision-making. That’s what video games are for. Dora remains infuriatingly obtuse and the police force remains bollocks and this movie remains lame. Lame and implausible and oh-so-very cheap. If unintentional comedies are your thing, this movie may be your new favorite cult classic. If you want an intelligent, well-constructed horror movie that doesn’t make you roll your eyes, oh, every five seconds, stay far, far away from this appalling dud.

Hellions

Halloween (1978)

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It may seem unconventional to review a slasher movie called Halloween in the midst of the Yuletide season, but I’ve never been much good at these things, so please, bear with me.

On Halloween night fifteen years ago, a six-year-old boy and very sick cookie named Michael Myers stabbed his older sister to death with a steak knife. Cut to present day, it’s Halloween once more, and Myers is on the prowl again, returning to his native town of Haddonfield, Illinois in search of new blood. The only thing that stands between brainy teen Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and unspeakable evil is the dedicated shrink Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence.) Loomis thinks Myers is sick, incurably sick and he’s determined to stop him from killing again if it’s the last thing he does.

Of course, a killer in a film has to have victims, and these are helpfully provided by Laurie’s ditzy, slutty friends (Nancy Kyes and P.J. Soles,) who go down in a classic scream queen fashion- usually partially or entirely undressed. What Myers didn’t count on was Laurie being a startlingly formidable opponent and knitting needle-assassin, doing her best to keep herself and the kids she’s babysitting (Kyle Richards and Bryan Andrews) alive while Loomis rushes to get there in time.

  Halloween has an absurdly simple premise and it’s done on a modest budget, but it’s one of the most successful horror movies of all time. Why? Well, John Carpenter’s sleeper has a few killer tricks up it’s sleeve, including spooky cinematography, a chilling score, and an extraordinary final girl in Jamie Lee Curtis’ Laurie Strode. It lacks the graphic gore and  showy bodily dismemberment of it’s peers, doing well by keeping most of the carnage to your imagination.

Rather than being a fallible human  opponent or tragic victim of childhood mistreatment (as he is portrayed in Rob Zombie’s 2007 remake of the same name,) Michael Myers is a unstoppable force of nature- an entity of almost supernatural evil who is determined to kill… and kill again, no matter how many bullets and sharp implements pierce his malevolent hide.

Poor, long-suffering Loomis has his work cut out for him- and his toil continues for an extensive line of sequels. Myers’ unbeatable and ambiguous nature makes him both a fresh and terrifying villain and a bit of an annoying plot device; a villain who can’t be killed puts Loomis and Strode in a kind of a frustrating position, and the audience in a bit of a bind themselves- what the hell is he? That odd bit of uncanny might be invigorating for some horror fans, but for me it kind of boggled my mind in a bad way, and I tended to annoyance at his invincibility and often wanted to scream “Die, you fuck, Die!” at my big-screen TV.

However, Halloween is a shining reminder that you can make a superior movie with an inferior budget. The actors shine (with the frustrating exception of Nancy Kyes as the more aggravating of Laurie’s two friends, who’s mannered inflection and practiced flaky attitude in the stuff of nightmares.)

    Halloween has it’s truly creepy moments and the film managed to introduce three iconic characters- Myers, Strode, and Loomis, who is dedicated to cleaning up a shitstain of a situation- somebody has to- but is not without his moments of humor, like when he stands outside the Myers house and scares the crap out of some adolescent boys; just for funsies (!)

   Halloween isn’t the best or scariest horror movie of all time, but it’s a vital addition to a genre that doesn’t always contain the most high quality or intelligent movies. For all it’s slashings and demented antics from a masked, seemingly motiveless killer, it is a smart film; it knows what scares you, and incorporates those fears into an utterly ordinary suburban environment, where nice middle class citizens work and play.

The idea, of course, is that if it happened to them, it could happen to you; a chilling concept partially or totally absent from horror films with more fantastical elements. If you have a soft spot for horror but don’t like loads of blood and Hostel style torture over atmosphere and restrained terror, look no further than John Carpenter’s spooky classic, the sleeper that defined a genre. No horror fan’s collection is complete without the movie that started it all.

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You’re Next (2011)

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Populated by the indie-horror regulars (AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Ti West, Amy Seimetz,) “You’re Next” is a fun romp centered around the blood-soaked fight between a well-to-do, dysfunctional family and a trio of masked psychos. Not that the family puts up much of a fight, for all their hysterics and high-pitched screams- it’s Erin (Sharny Vinson,) fiancé of son Crispian (AJ Bowen) that’s a force to be reckoned with.

Mom (Barbara Crampton)’s already on medication, how much more damage could a family reunion do? Plenty, as it turns out, but to be fair it’s not just the quarreling siblings who are causing her to fret when armed killers clad in animal masks crash the party. Their presence is not initially explained- why did they choose this family, over all the angst-ridden upper-class dorks in the world? The feuds within the family itself hold the answer.

It’s weird how the mindless, hysterical behavior of threatened individuals can seem annoying on the big screen, but are actually pretty accurate in the long run. You swear you would tough out a situation like a good little marine; when frankly it could be you or me who’s dragging others down with our hysterics when the shit hits the fan. You never know how you will react when you’ve got a gun in your face (or in this family’s case, a crossbow.)

Still, this family acts more than the reasonable amount of stupid when shit gets real. Bolt out of the house and outrun them? Bitch, there are three of them! Sheep Mask has a crossbow! Still, Erin levels out the stupid by being one of the most bad-ass little minxes of modern horror. She doesn’t fall to pieces when people start being killed, instead, she applies infinite focus to getting herself and others out alive.

I didn’t think this movie was as slow as other movies of it’s kind. Plus, the talky parts aren’t wasted, they develop the characters and their personal neuroses before the bloodbath starts. There are a few good jump scares, though they didn’t affect me as much the second time I watched it. I guess the reason I’m not giving the movie more than 3.5 stars is I think this premise had a lot of potential and could have been done a little better with even more character development.

There’s not as much humor as you might think from reading the hype about this movie, but it does contain a couple of pitch-black laughs. The twists and turns and the investment in Erin’s safety keep the suspense going strong. I guarantee you won’t be as invested in the other characters,  though their weakness and terror in the face of complete chaos is certainly understandable. Those who like wit rather than mediocrity in their slasher films should certainly enjoy this entertaining bloodbath.

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