Reviews

HorrorFest 2010, Round 4

Wednesday’s come again, and that means another trip to the video store to grab some more horror. It also means another installation of brief reviews of the movies I’ve viewed over the past week; this week was a doozy, collecting a total viewing of seven — yes, seven — horror films. (If you’re wondering how or why I’d watch so many horror movies in less than a week, firstly, it’s October; secondly, I screwed my back up doing some very suggestive dance moves followed by inebriated frisbee so I’ve been stuck to the couch.) On with it! 

Splice — Ugh. I had high hopes for this one. For some unknown reason, I had it in my head that David Cronenberg was involved; I really wish he had been. This movie was RIDICULOUS. I don’t use all-caps very often, but this case just called for it. RIDICULOUS. Virtually every plot twist or development happened for some inexplicable reason — very deus ex machina to get literary. Unless you want to see two of the weirdest sex scenes ever filmed, please do yourself a favour and don’t watch this movie! (Side Note: What the hell happened to Adrien Brody? From The Pianist to Splice and the newest Predator? Ouch.)

Land of the Dead — George A. Romero is an inspiration. He’s made virtually his entire career out of making zombie movies, two of which are undisputed classics. While this may not be an indisputable classic, Land of the Dead is a welcome addition to the [Blank] of the Dead series. It’s interesting to watch the progression of the zombie throughout the [Blank] of the Dead series; each film features a progressively smarter zombie. We’re not talking leaps and bounds, but the difference between the zombies in the original Night of the Living Dead and Land of the Dead (not the last entry in the [Blank] of the Dead catalogue) are quite significant. The most obvious difference is the introduction of a lead zombie, one that is not only smarter from the opening but one that learns along the way and ushers the other zombies all the while. (Zombies able to use weapons effectively? Shitty deal!) I really enjoy the fact that Romero uses his zombie movies to analyze and make statements towards our culture: it’s no coincidence that the leader zombie is African American; or that the guards inside Fiddler’s Green resemble Nazi officers; or that Dennis Hopper uses the line “We do not negotiate with terrorists.” (Poke at the United States what?)

The Wicker Man — I have a very hate/love relationship with Nicolas Cage. I say “hate/love” because it’s more hate than love. There’s no arguing he’s done some great work — Adaptation, Bringing Out the Dead and Raising Arizona are among my favourites — but the bad work he’s done is so bad it’s quite detrimental to his better acting. (I have a theory going that revolves around his use of Nicolas versus the shorter Nic, which he rocked for much of his worst acting. Now he appears to be heading back to Nicolas; a source for optimism?) All that being said, this movie wasn’t all that bad. Not great, but not Splice thank God. The film actually had me thinking of Shutter Island a bit, in the sense that a guy is invited to a secluded island to find a missing person only to discover that everything around him wasn’t what he thought it was. My favourite part? Watching Nicolas Cage getting his knees busted in, then having his head fit with a cage that is then filled with bees — which he’s allergic to — that sting him a bunch of times and he goes into anaphylactic shock. Does it stop there? Hell no! This is Nicolas Cage we’re torturing! So we stick him with an EpiPen, drag him over to our large sacrifice statue and hoist him up to the head, which is his cage, where he will proceed to burn to whatever death we’ve left him. (I know, I shouldn’t take such delight in that alternate ending scene, but I’ve wanted to see that for a long time.)

Friday the 13th, Parts I through IV — AMC has been running their FearFest since the 18th of this month, and one of their features is playing nine movies featuring the infamous Jason Voorhees. Instead of writing separate reviews for each of the first four chapters — really, how can you write four different reviews about sex-driven young teenagers going to the same lake and getting killed? — I’m just going to say that, having never seen any of the Jason franchise before, it’s been very entertaining. While the formulaic approach only gets more obvious with each sequel, so does the attempt to outdo the preceding film’s murder scenes, and that makes for some good watching. (Side Note: Is it just me, or does Mr. Voorhees have something against people having sex? Jealousy, maybe?)

This evening AMC will be showing the fifth and sixth installations of the Jason franchise, which I’m more than eager to see. Beyond that, I’ll be doing a bit of research following this post and then heading down to the store to grab at least a couple for the weekend. Scary stuff so far, huh kids?

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