...and the trouble she discovers.
The 2010 French film Mutants was immediately suggested to me after my recent review of La Horde. Not much information was given to me at that time except that it is another French zombie flick that is not only preferred over Horde but should also be considered a Netflix Streaming Gem.
After watching I must advise anyone who is interested that while the term zombie is used in reference to this film it may not technically be so. There is a virus sweeping the country turning humans into blood thirsty creatures. This virus is spread through the traditional biting method that flesh eating bad guys seem to enjoy, however, a bullet through the brain is not the only way to kill these monsters. Also; it doesn’t appear that the host to the virus must die before returning to cause mayhem. Instead, over a several day period, the host will physically transform by losing their hair and human facial features. The host will also begin going mad and lose all control over their actions.
Mutants begins with a literal explosion of gore. I can only liken this to a ripened tomato being splattered against the ground after a considerable fall. You’re immediately introduced to the films protagonist, Sonia and Marco, a couple who dabble in the art of ambulance driving. Accompanying them is a mad female soldier who loses a short scuffle with the happy EMS duo. Marco narrowly escapes his own death with just a bullet in the abdomen. Sonia seeks refuge in an abandoned building found deep in the snow covered woods where she nurses her beloved husband back to health. Sonia also attempts to make radio contact with NOAH; a rumored army base where survivors may be gathering.
As the two main characters spend several days alone awaiting their rescue Sonia watches as Marco succumbs to the virus. She reveals that she could be immune but after a quick blood exchange Marco falls to the madness of the transformation. Sonia then discovers that not everyone she has been attempting to communicate with is as kind as she had hoped.
Mutants truly had the ability to be enjoyable but the nonexistent character development leaves the audience feeling stunted. Compounding the problem is a shaky camera. Nearly all of the action captured on film is incomprehensable. I understand the shaky cam phenomenon but when I have to take off my glasses to un-focus my eyes you’ve lost me. This movie does bring some interesting ideas to the table but the painfully poor execution falls short of its potential. Since this movie can be found on streaming I wouldn’t stop you from giving it a watch but otherwise I’d suggest not bothering.
2.5 out of 5 stars.
Repo! The Genetic Opera begins with a comic book panel animation detailing the rise of GeneCo; a for profit synthetic organ manufacturer. As the health of the worlds population declines due to organ failure GeneCo comes to the rescue. The corporation quickly discovers that there is a profit to be made in elective surgeries such as face transplants. The message here is that you can change everything you hate about yourself even if you’re on a budget.
Shilo, a seventeen year old girl who has been locked away due to a rare blood disease, is found in a grave yard where she first encounters a singing grave robber. Shilo passes out after entering a mass grave and awakens with her overbearing father, Nathan, by her side. Nathan makes a huge stink about her being far too ill to go outside then scolds her for not taking her medication.
Nathan leaves while crooning about the fact that he is the dreaded repo man who will sneak up behind you, wherever you may be, and take back the unpaid goods inside your body. Yes, it is now legal to kill, maim, and disfigure poor people for not staying current on their heart transplant. Boy, does Nathan love his job!
This is about the point I had to stop the movie. I made it a bit further however the synopsis really isn’t worth the read. These are my guesses as to how it ends:
1.) Shilo isn’t really ill and will soon discover that Pops murders for hire.
2.) Soon either Shilo, Nathan, or the pair will bring down the evil Gene Corporation during which guts will be spilled and poorly written songs will be performed.
The singing. Dear God, the singing. It’s bad but adding to it are the impossible lyrics / dialog. It’s crawling with so much teenage angst I truly wonder the age and maturity level of those who wrote it. The acting is so much worse and the costume design? Well, the costume design is so trite it appears that the entire cast was fitted in a hot topic outlet store.
It’s not often that I will review a movie that I haven’t completed, however, Repo! The Genetic Opera is a very special case. Everything involving this movie was done so poorly that I owe a warning to the movie watching community. Stay away from this dull clunker of a film. Sure, it’s dressed up as a darker, bloodier, version of your favorite horror movie but it’s a lie. If you need a fix of oddly clothed men who like to sing and dance I’d suggest Rocky Horror Picture Show. It may not be exactly what you’re looking for but at least you get to see some hot Tim Curry leg.
0.5 out of 5 stars.
The Signal is a 2008 independent release made with only $50,000. Promoted as a psychological horror it is told in three chapter by three separate directors; David Bruckner, Dan Bush, and Jacob Gentry.
The story begins with two lovers in bed, Mya and Ben, who are woken from their slumber after a television in the room begins transmitting a strange moving picture and odd frequency. As Mya asks Ben what the time is she panics revealing that she is late in getting home to her husband. Upon her attempt to call her husband, Lewis, she finds that her cell phone is also making an odd noise. Despite Bens effort in keeping Mya at the apartment she must leave and they make a light hearted plan to meet at Terminal 13 the next day to leave Terminus forever.
On the way home Mya first runs into an irrational man who is in the parking garage. Mya successfully dodges the man and makes it home to find neighbors within her apartment building arguing with one another in the hallways. No one tries to stop her and once she’s safely inside her own home she locks the door. Mya finds Lewis and two other friends inside trying to fix the television on the basis that they’re missing a sports game. Lewis cross examines Mya solidifying the premise that the marriage is strained and he’s extremely suspicious of her whereabouts. While beginning to take a shower Mya peeks out of the bathroom door just in time to watch Lewis, enraged by a minor argument, beat his friend to death. Obviously panicked, Mya flees and seeks refuge in the apartment next door.
Once morning reaches Terminus Mya forces herself out of hiding and back into her own apartment. Lewis is found strapped to a chair and Mya silently makes the decision to leave him alone without help. While wearing headphone and listening to a mixed CD that Ben had given her the night before Mya leaves the apartment. Still in peril, and finally making it to her vehicle, the audience discovers that Ben has missed her by mere seconds.
With each director comes a unique style for every transmission of this film. The second chapter, Jealousy Monster, is starkly different in comparison to the other two and introduces black humor which fits perfectly for the newly acquainted character Clark. Clark quickly became my favorite personality in this film while he rationalizes why the signal is making people go mad and simultaneously tries to deal with Lewis who has now become a homicidal maniac.
With only $50,000 to complete this movie there are some obvious flaws, especially with physical continuity errors. With that said, though, I would like to say that The Signal is one of my top ten films of all time. I’m not sure if it’s the simple love story that runs throughout, the insecurity of what’s real and what’s being hallucinated, or if it’s just the bloody violence. It could possibly be the combination of all three but something about this movie has spoken to me. After watching it no less than a dozen times in a period of two weeks on Netflix Streaming I had to purchase it via Amazon Dot Com. I just had to own this gory fun treat.
4.5 out of 5 stars.
Antichrist begins with an unnamed couple known as only He and She who are making love in their apartment while their small child finds his way to an open window. As the child falls to his death the noises of pleasure make way for those of grief. She is soon hospitalized for a mental disorder until He decides that She must continue under his own psychiatric care. He logically places her new found anxiety attacks under her mourning and decides, after a telling conversation, that they must visit the woods where she had spent the summer past with their child.
As her obsession grows with the spot in the woods they now call Eden so does her fear. She becomes short of breath once they’ve reached their destination and swears that the ground is burning her feet. He uses the techniques and exercises of his trade in an attempt to calm her nerves but as the days go on She begins to drown in her own delusions. Very slowly and very painfully the couple begins to dissolve into a nightmarish game of explicit sexual conduct and domestic violence. There are times when it’s unclear as to who’s losing their grip on reality and what impulses She may be acting on.
Lars Von Trier is better known to me as the creator of the Danish mini series The Kingdom. I knew as soon as the movie began with its oddly cut scenes and jerky camera shakes as to whose project I was watching. The extreme violence, genital mutilation, bizarre masturbation, and twisted psychological turns were completely new to me however. This movie is shocking. It plays with the idea of Man, Woman, and who truly owns the inherent evil that seems prevalent in the Human race. While there are scenes that are beautiful in nature and at times the couple seems to love each other there is absolutely no escape from the physical cringe that took place as I watched.
There are fans for this type of film. I know there are because I am, at times, one of them. Would I ever suggest this movie to anyone not prepared for such brutality though? No. I don’t really suggest this movie to anyone nor am I going to give it any stars. Von Trier was successful in shocking an audience if that was his goal. Willem Dafoe gave a brilliant performance as the oppressive husband and Charlotte Gainsbourg made me believe that she was absolutely bat shit crazy.
That’s just about all I’ve got for this flick. You’ve been warned.
Let Me In serves as an English answer to the brilliant 2007 Swedish film Let The Right One In. In the same fashion as REC, a 2007 Spanish film, and its English companion Quarantine there was no need for a remake other than the simple fact that people don’t enjoy reading subtitles.
Let Me In can be described as a horror romance between 12 year old Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee of The Road) and Abby (Chloe Moretz of Kickass). Set during the 1980’s in a New Mexico town Owen is brutally bullied at school. So bullied by an older boy, in fact, that Owen purchases a small knife in a desperate attempt at possibly defending himself. While outside practicing with the knife Owen is approached by a new neighbor within his apartment complex. Abby, also 12 years old, is barefoot in the newly fallen snow when Owen gets his first look at her. The budding friendship between the oddly placed girl who is only seen at night and the insecure boy flourishes despite odd murders that are taking place close to home. It’s not until a blood pact is formed does Owen realize that his very first love is extremely blood thirsty.
The atmosphere that is created for this movie is tense. It’s rare that I feel full anxiety as a scene unfolds, hardly able to wait for the next scene just to find out what happens next. The amount of concern that is set up for Owen as the main character makes him personal for the audience. You’ll feel his humiliation and pain with every heart beat. The shame and secrecy is a living and breathing character within this movie. I don’t believe that direction alone could have provided the performance that Smit-McPhee was able to give. His meek but determined portrayal of Owen shined brilliantly throughout the movie without fault. He truly has mastered the art of opening himself up for the camera.
Chloe also gives a great performance in this vampire genre film. She completed the task of balancing the innocence of a child while also carrying the anger of a hungry beast. Chloe did a nearly perfect job embodying her character who is torn between her hunger and sentiment for the boy.
While a remake wasn’t required this is one of the few times that insult has not been added to injury. Director Matt Reeves understood what made the original so eerily frightful and used that to his advantage. There are some key scenes and plot points from Let The Right One In that did not translate to this version but I wont bore you with the details. I do highly suggest the Swedish original however if subtitles aren’t your cup of tea then you can’t go wrong with Let Me In.
4 out of 5 stars.
Growing up with my father leading the way in movie taste there were two things to know in my house; you could get anything you’d like from the video rental store, Rack of Videos, no matter what the rating and Jean-Luc Picard was the fucking man. Rack of Videos was the place to be for my little brother and I. Nearly every Friday night we were allowed to roam the isles looking for VHS tapes and Super Nintendo cartridges.
The things we were able to rent was really rather shocking yet beautiful. Had my Father ever questioned our rentals I’d like to think he’d still let them slide. Should anyone ever have the power to look at the list of how many times my brother and I rented the same movies I’d put good money on IT the television mini series. The 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead directed by legendary Tom Savini could also be a top contender. To this day Night of the Living Dead will make me laugh out loud, without the fright of being 8 years old, when Zombie In Overalls (Full and professional name) gets bonked on the head and the rubber mold folds inward ever so nicely. Before my understanding / love for bad movies in the vein of Mystery Science Theater 3000 I could never justify the warmth I felt in my heart for this movie. Now I love it unabashedly and recommend it to any zombie lover around.
By the age of 10 there was a new understanding within our family unit. Skynet would take over the world and Braveheart was the movie of (not just a life time) but ever. Yeah, ever. No man, in my Fathers eyes, will ever outshine Mel Gibson’s performance as a Scotsman. The only close second would be Kevin Costner in Water World. My Dad is truly a piece of work.
And then there was the Cronenberg remake of The Fly. I foolishly picked this title up after my Brother announced that it could be cool to see a dude turn into a fly. My Father was excited about this choice and had the entire family gather around the glowing light of the television just to watch that bad boy. We were all in for a surprise. Well, at least I was. Broken arms, rotting flesh, exploding monkeys, and a tearful ending. That’s right, a tearful ending. While high on raging puberty hormones I wept when the monster that Goldblum had become silently begged for death. The Old Man laughed. Yup, out loud. A true LOL moment. That’s the very same day I figured out just how alike my Brother and Father really are.
While there wasn’t much prohibited from our house there were two movies I remember being denied. The first was Pulp Fiction. I have a clear memory of asking my Mother what the movie was about and her response being a disgusted look on her face, turning the box around, and stating “You wouldn’t like that.” Good parenting skill, Mom, but awful advise! The second movie was Schindler’s List. At the time I was perplexed as to what could possibly be in a movie that my Mother would give a clear and concise NO to? Fast forward to my fourth viewing of the movie in high school and you might see me sleeping through it. Thanks, public education!
What I loved about that time is the amount of freedom we had. Not just in selection but in the ability to love what we watched with a deep innocence and naivety. We were able to be completely enraptured by a film, believing every scene, and being absolutely swallowed up with awe. It was nearly magical to never worry about poor acting, over stylization, or what lines should be memorized for social gatherings. I haven’t even mention the anxiety of what your friends might think of your fandom. Dear God, I hope no one ever finds out about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle obsession.
Although I may, every so often, wish for some of that grandeur back I’m grateful I no longer have that level of bewilderment. What a terrible reviewer I might be should everything involving a murderess talking doll get two BIG thumbs up! Oh stop it; you were scared too when Andy went to military school and Chucky cleverly gained access.
Triangle is a 2009 British - Australian psychological horror film that follows the terrifying time loop that a single mother must escape. Jess, the mother of an autistic boy named Tommy, treats herself to a day on a yacht with her friend Greg. Greg also invites two high school friends, Sally and Downey, who bring their tag along friend Heather. Greg has his own tag along eighteen year old, Victor, who is apparently living with him on his boat.
The gang of socially awkward sailors are soon bombarded by a freak electrical storm which subsides their yacht and leaves them stranded in the middle of the ocean. Thankfully a sea liner quickly comes to their rescue although after going aboard they realize that the 1930’s cruise ship is completely abandoned. While searching for someone to possibly help them Jess begins to experience strong yet bizarre deja vu, stating that she’s seen the inside of this ship before although that would be extremely unlikely. It’s not until her new friends fall victim to murder does the mystery begin to unravel and Jess finds herself retracing the steps of a continuous time loop. It’s up to her to figure out how to stop the loop and get back home to her son.
Triangle is very reminiscent of the 2007 Spanish science fiction flick Timecrimes (Los Cronocrímenes) with a sea surrounding and a female protagonist. There is very little terror in this psychological horror that was premiered in the London Fright Fest however it does fulfill the psychological part adequately. The film does an excellent job of keeping you hoping for the best until the credits roll. The acting is decent and while the dialog seems out of place at first it will make sense once you’ve viewed it from another angle. This is the type of movie I see myself enjoying even more the second and third time around. I do suggest this movie to any fan of the genre.
3 out of 5 stars.
Stephen King has apparently been working on a stage show featuring the original music by John Mellencamp for over ten years. Announced in the year 2000 King has written the musical titled Ghost Brothers of Darkland County and tickets are now available for its 2012 run. The Alliance Theater in Atlanta, GA are selling the tickets for the opening show scheduled for April 4, 2012 which will run through May 13, 2012.
As a huge King fan I would absolutely love to go however Georgia is a bit out of my reach as I’m in Ohio without much of a vacation package. I hope the show does wonderfully and the fans who are able to attend enjoy themselves without equal. Here is the synopsis;
“In the tiny town of Lake Belle Reve, Mississippi in 1957, a terrible tragedy took the lives of two brothers and a beautiful young girl. During the next forty years, the events of that night became the stuff of local legend. But legend is often just another word for lie. Joe McCandless knows what really happened; he saw it all. The question is whether or not he can bring himself to tell the truth in time to save his own troubled sons, and whether the ghosts left behind by an act of violence will help him – or tear the McCandless family apart forever.”
In 2002 director Guillermo del Toro released the second chapter in the comic book to movie franchise Blade. Wesley Snipes reprises his role as the half breed vampire who can eat garlic, wear silver, and sun bathe as much as he’d like. Kris Kristofferson also returns to the franchise and brings with him Ron Pearlman, Luke Goss, and Norman Reedus.
It turns out that Whistler (Kristofferson) was unsuccessful in his suicide attempt which ended the first film. Instead of death he has turned into the unholy creature of hell he spent so much time hunting; a vampire. Two years have been spent by Blade, with his new sidekick Scud (Reedus), looking for Whistler to end his second life. After much searching Whistler is finally located in a liquid chamber leaving the audience to believe he had been tortured for all those years. Falling victim to human emotion Blade decides not to kill Whistler but to bring him home and give him a second chance by injecting him with serum. Apparently the serum is tremendously fast acting as Whistler is back to business by morning which raises a question. Why aren’t they turning all vampires back to humans if they have the technology? No matter as it goes unasked and unanswered.
New in town is a new strand of the vampire virus which leaves the infected immune to silver but not yet light. There is only one original carrier named Nomak (Goss) known and all of his underlings who are fed upon (Human and vampire) do not die but become a weaker version of himself. Their need to feed becomes frenzy-like and hundreds of weaker Reapers are made very quickly. Blade is approached by an elder Vampire named Eli Damaskinos who suggests a truce as they fight this new terror together. Blade is given a team of special op vamps who were originally trained to kill him but now must take orders from the Day Walker himself. As one may guess Ron Pearlman, named Rheinhardt in the film, does not take kindly to this.
As an added side plot that goes no where Whistler begins acting strangely. During a few battle scenes he is no where to found and later questioned as to where he was or what he was doing. I’m assuming this was to set up some under belly drama where he may be a familiar for the vampires or may not have been fully changed into a human. This goes no where and is quickly dropped once another twist is revealed at the end of the movie. Another situation that confused me a bit was the heart beat of vampires. My understanding is that as a human passes they must die before they can be reborn as a vampire therefore they are dead. There is no fresh blood to be pumped through their veins as their heart no longer beats however in several scenes there are references to their heart beats. Blade even checks the heart beat of his new lady love after a particularly bad beating. Maybe I’m thinking about this a little too much, maybe I’m supposed to just have fun, and maybe I shouldn’t even give it another thought.
As the second of the series this is thoroughly better than the first. The action is much more fluid, the CGI is blended more smoothly (for the time), and the one liners have certainly reached a higher level. Quite honestly if I were new to the franchise I’d skip the first all together and go straight for the meat and potatoes.
3 out of 5 stars.