Friday, April 30, 2010

Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever (2002)

Starting right where Cabin Fever ends, the contaminated water is being used by a bottled water plant and the local high school has just gotten a fresh shipment on prom night - dun dun dah! There is a bit of plot revolving around John, who is in love with long time friend Cassie, a sweet girl who is inexplicably dating the school asshole who bullies John. With a gym full of teens ripe for the virus, the movie is much gooier than the first. Also there are some gross out scenes which are just disgusting and you won't even want to see them. I suppose if they were looking for shock value, they succeeded, but the scenes are unnecessary. And once again, the new theme of fat guys having sexual encounters with hot girls comes into play again. What's up with that?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fear of the Dark (2002)

Ryan is a young boy with a crippling fear of the dark due to an experience he had when he was younger. His family lives around this fear with his older brother Dale being frustrated at the toll it takes on the family.
Shortly after their parents go out for the night, a storm knocks out the power leaving Dale and Ryan at the mercy of the dark things in the house.

The movie makes effective use of childhood fears and is based on atmosphere rather than special effects. When I was a kid I was afraid to have my hands or feet hang off the edge of the bed. The movie makes good use of this as well as the premise that if you hide completely under the blankets the monsters can't get you.

I believe it's PG-13. It's a decent flick and fairly well done, but those expecting lots of scares will be disappointed.

Mortal Kombat (1995)

As with other movies based on video games, you know there isn't going to be much of a plot or character development. Competitors head to a martial arts competition on an island where they must fight to the death. If you've played the video game, then you've essentially seen the movie. It's lots of fight scenes with little bits of dialogue between.

I saw this movie at the drive in when it first came out. In the scene where Goro has Johnny Cage trapped on the cliff with no way down, the film suddenly cut to Johnny alone looking relieved. What the...?! Now after being forced to watch it again, I can now rest secure in the knowledge that the drive in messed up changing the reels rather than the filmmaker had no idea how to get out of that scene.

Ghost Game (2004)

A group of college students rent a cabin which turns out to be on an island where thirty years earlier some witches died in an occult ritual. After arriving on the island, the group decides to play a game that has a huge note in it which literally says, "do not play this game." Of course they do not heed the warning and bring forth the evil on the island and the killings commence.

In the opening scene, the witches paddle a canoe. Then it cuts to shot that says "30 years later". Huh? Nothing happened!

As the present day story progresses, the story of the witches is told via flashbacks that are intermittently inserted into the film. My guess is that the flashbacks are supposed to look like old film as it's off color and of questionable quality, but it just ends up looking bad.

As for the game, how do they even know the box has a game in it? It is an unmarked metal box that looks like it might be a tool box or a box you'd use to store letters or keepsakes. Yet as soon as they see it, they cry out, "let's play this game!" It just doesn't make any sense. If I saw this box on a shelf full of games, I would push it aside - which is the same thing you should do if you're thinking about renting this.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cabin Fever (2002)

A group of college students head to a cabin in the woods to spend a week in celebration of their graduation. The kids meet up with some strange town folks, including Dennis, a young boy who bites anyone who gets near him.

One of the guys, Bert, goes out to shoot squirrels and accidentally shoots a sick guy who is hiding in the woods. But the glancing gunshot is the least of his worries as his flesh appears to be bubbling.

Later that night, the guy shows up at their cabin looking for help. Some of the group wants to let him in, while the others slam the door shut due to their fear that what he has is contagious. At this point the man gets in their truck which causes the group to try to convince the guy to leave them alone by using bats, rifles, and a flaming torch. Needless to say it ends very badly when the man catches on fire and runs off into the woods. Here he falls into the pond which is where the cabin gets it's water supply. Oh snap!

The first sign of sickness among their group causes them to turn on each other. At that point it comes down to survival and getting help. Bad decisions are made, friendships are terminated, and there is an ending right of of Night of the Living Dead. There is also Dennis inexplicably screaming "pancakes" and going into martial arts moves.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thankskilling (2009)

Five college students, who are all sterotypes, head home for Thanksgiving and end up camping by the side of the road when their jeep breaks down. Their camp site is near the spot where a Native American placed a curse on the descendants of those who persecuted them, or anyone else who happens to be nearby and white. When a dog pees on a tiny newly painted totem pole, the ancient curse is unleashed with a killer turkey back from the dead.

The movie is in the realm of a Troma movie with bad one liners and amateur acting and writing. The turkey puppet looks exactly like it does on the cover, so you can tell what you're getting. I would not want to sit through it again, but I have to give them credit as I don't know of any other horror movie about Thanksgiving.

Shark Attack in the Mediterranean (2004)

Sven, a helicopter pilot, is upset to find that there is a giant shark on the attack and it is the same shark that ate his wife. Sven wants the beaches closed, but there is a big party and jet ski race planned and oh my god, his daughter is in the race!

The movie is alternately hysterically funny and boring. There is bad dubbing, ridiculous dialogue, and weird pronunciations of megalodon.

The funniest scene is when Sven races along the beach asking everyone to get out of the water by saying, "Shark alarm... shark alarm." But his inflection never varies and it sounds like he's making conversation instead of warning of a 100 foot shark about to kill everyone.

Also up there in the ridiculous is the scene of the German tourists who go into shark cage and are then dragged along the ocean floor while the boat is running because the boats owner doesn't want them to lose interest in the sharks. What? So dragging them across the ocean floor in a shark cage while they bump off the top and bottom of the cage, lose their mouthpieces/oxygen, cut their finger open and get attacked by a shark is going to keep them interested? How about keeping them safe instead!

Beast Within (2008)

aka Virus Undead

After his uncles death, Robert and two friends head to his uncle's mansion to settle the estate. The town sheriff is unfriendly, the local thug holds a grudge toward Robert, and Robert's ex-girlfriend is still upset with him for suddenly leaving town years ago without an explanation. However Robert's friend is able to convince her and another girl to come to the mansion that night for a party.

As the boys drive to the house, they see lots of dead birds by the side of the road. Robert's uncle was studying bird flu and once at the house they find a laboratory in the basement. This comes in handy later when the zombies start to attack. There is no explanation as to why all the zombies have come to this remote mansion location. There is also no explanation for how the group figures out it is a bird virus that is making everyone turn into zombies. I know they're medical students, but come on.

The group stays in the living room, which seems crazy since it has glass doors and tons of windows. Why not find a safer room in which to make a stand? Also one girl ends up jumping out the window and making a stand on her own on the front lawn. Why? It makes no sense. Plus as soon as she's out, the other two characters lock the window and roll down a window covering that looks like those metal safety doors you see over businesses. If they had that option to cover the windows, why didn't they do that before the zombies smashed the windows? And does the front door not lock? Zombies keep pushing it open. Good god.....

Friday, April 9, 2010

Razortooth (2007)

Four college students head to the Everglades for an internship with a professor they've never met before. The professor is studying eels, but does not tell the students he has created a mutant giant eel which is on the loose and must be contained.

After this set up, we get escaped convicts, canoe club kids, townsfolk at the diner, a crowd in the local trailer park, and five million other characters we will never know anything about other than they just might end up being eaten by an eel.

The local animal control officer and the incompetent sheriff, who happens to be his ex-wife, start looking into strange happenings in the town. Why lookee here, the local diner has been trashed, the workers killed and partially eaten, and there's a lot of slime all over the place. What could have done such a thing?! A giant eel perhaps? No, not according to the sheriff who thinks it's those darn escaped prisoners.

The cgi eels, for there are more than one, are not just in the water, but also in the trees where they circle down the trunk and spring on our unsuspecting victims. They also are not a constant size as they go through sewer lines and come up through a shower drain. There is also a scene where someone wrestles an eel which is the width of a dryer pipe, when previously it looked to have the circumference of a 200 year old tree.

This movie also features a prime example of a character carrying around a totally random item which ends up being the exact means to kill the dreaded menace to society.

Polymorph (1996)

An alien crash lands on Earth, looks kind of like a crumpled green glow stick, and can take over peoples bodies which it uses to kill anyone around. A professor has gone to the woods to study what he believes is a meteorite, but is quickly dispatched by a lady drug dealer who is then possessed by the alien.

Two college students doing an internship with the professor bring a couple of girls along with when they go to meet up with him in the woods. They can't find him - because he's already dead - and run into a group of drug dealers who have come to meet the original lady drug dealer who is possessed.

The film is slow moving and has a super clean look like it was done on VHS. The special effects are very low budget and there's not much polymorphing going on. It's a J.R. Bookwalter film.

Half Past Dead 2 (2007)

There is a gang war brewing between the Hispanic and African American gangs at the prison. Burke, played by wrestler Bill Goldberg, likes to keep to himself and so does Twitch, who is only biding his time until he can break out of prison and find a large cache of gold hidden by one of the characters in the first film.

One of the gangs kills the leader of the other gang and frames Burke for the killing which starts a gang war that happens right when Twitch's girlfriend and Burke's daughter are in the prison. Oh no, hostages for the gang members!

Oddly enough this movie does not have much action in it. I'm not sure who this movie was made for since it is lacking in plot, action, and nudity - and you've got to have at least one of those to sell this type of film.

There are so many plot holes, it'll take double digits to count them all. But the ones that bother me the most are the following:
  1. The lock down doesn't lock all the doors, only the ones convenient for the plot points.
  2. Burke is in the kitchen serving food when the killing is framed on him, yet his daughter has not managed to leave the prison yet.
  3. Having never personally been inside a prison, do visitors really have to go through the prisoners corridors to get to the visitor's room and conjugal visit area?
  4. There are no cameras in the guards control rooms, which is a shame since the prisoners can override any lockdown by flipping the switches here. Also it makes it easy to pin the killing of the two dead guards on Burke and Twitch.

Monday, April 5, 2010

28 Weeks Later

Now that the infected have died from starvation, the army has cleaned up and cordoned off part of London which they are letting people live in. Don, who abandoned his wife to the zombies when they attacked, has been waiting for his children to come back as they were away when the outbreak hit.

The kids sneak out of the containment zone to go to their old home and get a photo of their mom so they won't forget her. In the process they discover that their mother has somehow survived and is hiding in the attic. The military decides to bring everyone back inside the safe zone in order to discover how she survived the zombie attack, believing there is something in her blood that may be useful in developing a vaccine.

After enjoying 28 Days Later, I figured this would be the next movie I watched, but it did not live up to the first one. After the virus is unleashed again, the events that transpire are predictable. There is some tension when the infected attack, but it is very easy to see where the movie is headed and who is going to be the next victim. The main zombie was freaking me out, but the tension can't build when you know what is going to happen next.

Also there were some really stupid actions on the part of the characters and some things that are bugging me.
  1. The kids decide to go into the zombie containment zone. Yes, I know it's supposed to be free from the virus, but seriously? You don't know what is out there and more importantly, it's outside the safe zone.
  2. The kids are easily able to sneak past the guards, which doesn't make it all that safe. Plus the sniper on top of the building notifies security that two kids have sneaked outside, but the military takes it's sweet time tracking them down. Wouldn't that be a priority?
  3. They leave the mother unattended once they bring her back to the lab. Even though she survived, she could have a mutated form of the virus or be a carrier, so wouldn't you want to make sure no one wandered in there?
  4. If my husband had left me to be eaten by zombies, I would not want to talk to him ever again, let alone kiss him.
  5. When they discover that an infected is in the building, they herd all civilians into a parking garage, which means if one gets infected, they'll all get infected and the virus will be harder to contain.
  6. When Andy and his sister fall down the escalator in the dark, how did he end up in a different area of the subway?
Too many other questions, but I'll stop there. That being said, this was more of a true horror movie than the first one. Also it was scarier, but the first was a much better film.