Saturday, January 31, 2015

Universal Solider: The Return (1999)

Jean Claude Van Damme returns to kick a bunch of cyborgs in the head, protect his daughter from an evil computer, and keep intrepid gal reporter Maggie safe from the rampaging army of Universal Soldiers who have gone rogue.

Jean Claude is Luc, a man who works on the Universal Soldier project, which is essentially reanimating soldiers by pushing a huge block in their brain.  Luc used to be a UniSol, but now he's not. I'm not sure how this could ever happen, but what the hell. It's a Jean Claude movie so things aren't likely to make sense.

When the computer, known as Seth, learns that the UniSol program is being shut down, he goes rogue, locks down the building, and kills everyone in charge.  Then he reanimates all the UniSol's, sends them to kill everyone else, and sets out to find a body to house his essence.

When Luc advises everyone to save themselves and get the hell out, our plucky gal reporter doesn't want to give up on this incredible story.  So Jean Claude proves his gallantry by protecting her. He also has a daughter to rescue, which follows standard action movie cliches by showing the tough guy is also sensitive and cares about children and small animals.

Get ready for scenes of sad Luc mooning over the death of his spouse juxtaposed with scenes of him beating the hell out of the UniSol's and an artfully lit shot of Luc's butt... a little something for the ladies.  This isn't a good movie, but then again, did you expect it to be?  It's okay to watch if you're doing housework or just in the mood for something you don't need to think about at all.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Occulus (2013)

When Tim is released from a mental institution where he's been  confined since age ten,  sister Kaylie meets him and immediately tells him they need to fulfill their promise of destroying a mirror.  Tim's not happy about this since he just got out of an asylum and doesn't need to do anything that's going to get him sent back.

When Kaylie and Tim were children, their family moved to a new home. An old mirror they purchased contained a spirit who possessed their father and made their mother crazy.  After their father murdered their mother, Tim killed him in self defense. But what police officer is going to believe the story of a screaming kid who says it was the mirror, not him, that killed his parents.

Kaylie convinces a reluctant Tim to go back to their childhood home to confront the spirit in the mirror and destroy it.  There are cameras set up around the house and Kaylie plans to tape everything so they have proof of the evil spirit.  Poor Tim, this  is not going to help his mental health.

Once everything is set up, and they start their investigation, the two find they can no longer tell what is real and what is a hallucination.  The viewer can't tell either.  There are flashbacks to the events of their childhood which complicate things further.  Is it a flashback or are the characters thinking about past events?

I'd heard good things about this and have seen it on multiple lists as one of the best horror movies of the year, but I'm not impressed.  There were some great scenes, such as Kaylie biting into the lightbulb.  Even I thought she was stupid, it still made me wince.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Demons 2 (1986)

If you haven't seen Demons,  it's nicely summed up by saying  demons run amuck in a theater.  Demons 2 tells us that the demons were eventually defeated, although they don't provide any info regarding how.

Demons 2 takes place in a high-rise apartment building, where half the tenants seem to be watching a movie about demons. Could there be a another demon attack, asks the movie? We're about to find out.  Among the apartment dwellers are a young couple going to be parents, a group of weight lifters, a child left at home alone, a prostitute meeting a customer, and a group of teens having a birthday party where they do 80s dance moves while listening to the Smiths.

Apparently making a movie about demons enables demons to come out of the TV, if they see someone staring at them, which Sally is doing instead of fraternizing with her friends.  No one shall ask why Sally doesn't turn the tv off, unplug it, smash it, or push the tv up against something so the demon can't get out of the screen. But then again, if Sally hadn't been a big sulking baby at her own birthday party, sitting alone in her room watching a movie about demons, then none of this would have happened.

Soon Sally has a demon face and is wreaking havoc on her friends, who also become demons.  With demon teens rampaging through the building, people try to escape, hide in their apartments, and hope to survive.  The building has bullet proof, double paned glass, and since the electricity in the building is out, the doors won't open. So everyone is locked in with the demons, including the weight lifters who are so into pumping iron that they are working out in the dark.

This is very similar to Demons.  People are locked in a building with demons, except it's a bigger building with more places to hide, and more victims who can become demons. Like the first movie, there is a car full of obnoxious who have a loose connection to the plot.  There is no explanation for how a demon could get through a TV screen.  I enjoyed the first part of the movie best due to the teens at their party, with the yellow couch, dance moves,  and songs right out of college radio.

80s dance party with the Smith's. 
Demon coming through the TV? Well that's going to ruin the party.
Is this really a happy birthday?
There might be something wrong with your dog.
At this point, a puppet makes an appearance
The awkwardly stiff, non-moving flying puppet

Monday, January 26, 2015

Blood Beach (1980)

Harry, a Harbor Patrol officer, is out for a swim when he hears his neighbor Ruth scream from the beach.  When he gets back to shore, there's no sign of Ruth except her dog.  The police are notified, and check with everyone she knows, but with no sightings and no body, there's nothing they can do.

Ruth's daughter Catherine comes to town to help the search.  She used to be engaged to Harry so things are a bit awkward.  But both know that Ruth wouldn't run off and leave her dog alone.

Meanwhile down at the beach, a homeless lady, who looks like a cross between Tim Curry and Lily Tomlin, wanders around and gives people crazy eyes... well, not literally. She just stares in an odd manner and warns them that something is very wrong at the beach.

A few days later, Santa Monica Beach is filled with families and teens having fun in the sun.  When a group of teenagers buries a girl in the sand, she is attacked by something.  Henceforth the teens in town call the location Blood Beach, which you'd think would drive people away, but instead the kids think it's cool.

Soon more people disappear, and one creepy guy has his genitals ripped off - take that, rapist! - yet the police are no closer to finding an answer.  Harry starts searching under an abandoned building by the pier, hoping to find a sign of whatever is grabbing people and pulling them under the sand.  Will Harry ever find the creature?  Will the police solve the case?  And most importantly, why do people keep going on the damn beach?  It's all over the news. Get the hell out of there!

I've wanted to see this movie for years. So I was really excited when my friend found a copy put out by some no name label (and turned out to be a DVD-R).  When I was younger, the trailer for this movie freaked me out when I saw the people being sucked down into the sand.  But thirty plus years after it's release, it's fairly tame.

The pacing is slow and the deaths are few and far between.  John Saxon is a police captain who doesn't believe anything is going on until a rich teen gets her legs bloody.  One of Harry's fellow Harbor Patrol officers has a band and there's a throwaway scene of him and the band singing a lame song in a bar.  Overall, I'm glad I saw it. I like the concept, the trailer and the poster, but it's not the most exciting movie.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Demons (1985)

A weirdo with a shiny silver mask on half his face stalks a woman through the subway.  When he finally catches her, he hands her a ticket to a movie. As she watches her creepy follower walk away,  he continues handing out tickets to other passersby.

Later that night a crowd gathers at the Metropol, a formerly abandoned theater that has just been reopened.  In the lobby are various decorations, including a motorbike with a strange mask hanging off it.  When a woman who looks like Rick James tries on the mask, she nicks her cheek which starts to bleed.

The film turns out to be a horror flick where teenagers go into a tomb, and find a mask that looks just like the one in the lobby. When the guy in the film tries it on, he nicks his face, and soon changing into a demon.  Female Rick James notices her cheek is bleeding again and gets very nervous.

Before you know it, there's a demon in the restroom and someone has been attacked. This is not a good sign for the rest of the patrons since the demon follows zombie rules - if you're bitten or scratched by a demon, you'll become a demon.

So get ready for demons running all over the theater. When the crowd tries to escape, they discover the front doors locked and no way out.  They all scatter, trying figure out how to survive until hopefully help arrives.  There is also a brief subplot about four druggie kids who steal a car and end up hiding in the theater to evade the cops.

Most of the movie is people running through the theater, screaming, and demons drooling green goo. At one point, the motorbike comes into play.   I'm still wondering why the blind guy went to the theater since his companion had to describe what was on the screen.  Overall this is a ridiculous movie with gross demons. As with most Italian horror flicks, it leaves you feeling weird at the end.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Population 436 (2006)

Census taker Steve Cady heads to the small town of Rockwell Falls and finds nothing but trouble.  No one at the gas station will give him directions to the town, (in fact they give him funny looks just for asking). The dirt road to town is unmarked. When he finally sees a sign for town, his tires blow in a massive pothole.  The town's police force is hesitant to help him. There's weird chanting coming from the school.  The towns records show the population is always 436, and Fred Durst is the Sheriff.  Oh yeah, Steve wouldn't know a red flag if it draped itself over his head.

Steve figures he'll be in town for just a few days, but he's puzzled by the lack of fluctuation in the towns census records which go back into the 1800s. The townsfolk are nice, but within minutes of him getting to town everyone knows his name.  There are also several odd instances where people mention that Steve is staying with someone because he hasn't found a home, or remark that Steve has  moved to town.

It shouldn't be a secret to anyone who watches the movie that there are only two ways a population can stay exactly the same. Either every time someone is born or moves to town then someone else must leave, or the town has completely incompetent census takers.  The movie has similarities to Shirley Jackson's short story, The Lottery, although this movie is nowhere near as powerful or shocking. In fact, it's fairly tame, slow at times, and not anywhere near the same class. People certainly won't be talking about this movie in two years, let alone fifty.

What is puzzling is why the townsfolk don't let people leave town when there is a new arrival. This would alleviate the problem of a changing population.  Also this is the only town in the world which counts visitors as part of their population.  What is wrong with these people?  A visitor isn't a resident.  You just let them leave and your population stays the same.  Oh wait, these people are probably inbred simpletons since most people never leave town.

So to sum up, they don't want you in their town. But if you do come, they won't let you leave and someone will have to die.  Yup, thanks crazy religion!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I, Frankenstein (2014)

After his wife is murdered, Victor Frankenstein treks into the frozen Arctic to get revenge on his monster and freezes to death in the process.  The monster Frankenstein carries him back to the family graveyard and is attacked by demons. But just as it looks like he might be losing the battle, a couple of gargoyles swoop down and vanquish the demons.  Hoo boy, so basically if you're into the classic Frankenstein novel by Shelly, you're going to be thinking, what the freaking hell is this?

The gargoyles take the monster - a hunky, muscular, artfully scarred man - to their headquarters to meet spiritual leader Leanore, who promptly christens him Adam.  Leanore explains that, unknown to the humans, there is an ongoing battle between demons and gargoyles.  Some of the gargoyles want to kill the monster Adam, but Leanore invites him to join them. He declines, and is provided with weapons to vanquish the demons and send them to hell.

Two hundred years later, Adam and his square jaw are still wandering the Earth.  He hasn't died or aged, which is amazing since he's made of dead bodies.   It's not clear why he wouldn't be subject to the same physical deterioration of the living or dead.

When Adam has a run in with demons at a night club (yes, that's right), a police officer is killed and one demon escapes to notify tycoon Charles Wessex that Adam is back in town.  Wessex has a team of scientists researching reanimation and is currently experimenting on rats.  But unknown to the scientists, Wessex is actually the head demon and there are thousands of corpses waiting for the chance to be reanimated. Once this happens, they can destroy the gargoyles and take over the world.  Meanwhile, Adam has gotten a haircut to increase his hunk factor.

If he can get his hands on either Adam, or Victor Frankenstein's diary, his scientists should be able to determine why Adam is still alive and how he was successfully reanimated. So the chase is on. There's lots of CGI and lots of Adam sneaking around, such as monsters do.

I can't say it's a good movie, but it was entertaining.  There's not much to the plot, and it's way too serious for it's own good.  At times it felt like a pilot for a TV show.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Favor (2013)

Down on his luck Marvin is visited by his childhood friend Kip.  The two share a beer and Marvin brings out an old photo of them as kids while they reminisce. Kip mentions that Marvin used to say a friend helps you move, a good friend helps you move a body.  Marvin laughs since it sounds like something he'd say, but Kip looks awkward and asks, "Well, will you?"

It seems Kip has accidentally killed his mistress, who started pushing for a relationship.  If news of the murder gets out, Kip will lose his wife, his career, and he'll be ruined financially.

Being a good friend, Marvin accompanies Kip to the motel to survey the scene.  They end up back at Marvin's for supplies, where Marvin tells Kip to go home and let him take care of it.  He's afraid someone might remember Kips car if he goes back to the motel again. So Marvin will take care of making Kips problem go away.

The next day, Kip is upset to see Marvin on the curb outside his home. Marvin is shaken up, but Kip says they need to avoid each other for awhile so no one gets suspicious.  But Marvin keeps popping up at Kips home and his work.  And it seems that every time Marvin shows up, he wants something.  That's what happens when you do someone a huge favor. They want you to reciprocate. Flashbacks throughout the film show what occurred when Marvin got rid of the body.

Marvin is down on his luck.  He's been unemployed for awhile, has no job prospects, no dating prospects, and is running out of money.  On the other hand, Kip is successful, has a nice home, a pretty wife, is successful at work, and women like to flirt with him.  After doing such a big favor for Kip, Marvin's not too pleased that Kip won't help him solve his problems.  This isn't going to go well.

This is a low budget movie.  The majority of the film is interaction and dialogue between Kip and Marvin. At the hour mark, I was wondering if I could last until the end. But either the movie isn't as long as it says it is, or the last part goes much quicker than the first. It's an interesting idea and plays out in way I didn't expect.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ninja Apocalypse (2014)

In a post apocalyptic world, survivors have split into warring clans.  When Grand Master Fumitaka is assassinated at the peace gathering, the Lost Ninja Clan is blamed.  The clan must fight their way out of an old nuclear bunker that is twenty floors below the surface, while facing ninjas, mutants, and the undead.

With zombies, mutants and ninjas, you'd think this would be great, but you'd be dead wrong.  A half hour into it, we gave up.  There was almost no action and the clan was just beginning to try to get off the twentieth floor. Yay, only nineteen more floors of nothing to go.

Maybe the action picked up after the first half hour. But it wasn't interesting up to that point, even though the clan has the ability to form balls of lightning in their hands.  I'm guessing that would com into play at some point.  Ernie Reyes Jr., former child star, appears in the movie.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

It Came From Somewhere Else (1988)

An unidentified flying object lands in the woods at the edge of the small town of Grand Bosh. While the teenage boys go off to see what crashed in the woods, the girls are stranded by the side of the road and later kidnapped by aliens.

The town suddenly develops a problem with spontaneous combustion. So the Sheriff puts in a call to the government and an expert arrives in town. He's not all that useful though, and ends up drunk.

The town is overrun with strange goings on.  The local doctor believes in x-raying everyone who comes in for treatment, and shoots more than one hundred x-rays at a sitting.  There are human hands growing in a field at the edge of town, and when local youths run over an officer who has cordoned off the crash site, the man is none the worse for wear.  The aliens wear karate gi's and know kung fu. Plus for some unexplained reason everyone in town, including the Sheriff, hates the Buckner family, especially Mr. Buckher.

This is one bizarre movie.  Shot in black and white with an occasional burst of color when someone is shot or aliens arrive, this is probably going to have a narrow appeal.  It's a spoof of 1950s sci-fi movies and the comedy is fairly predictable for much of the movie.  But there are some funny scenes and lines.

When I first started watching it, I wasn't sure if I should invest my time.  The comedy was flat and while there were some decent ideas, it was just an amateur movie spoofing bad movies.  But as it went on, there were things that made me laugh. The overall strange tone of the movie kind of grabbed me. Sure, much of the comedy will make you groan, but there is some funny stuff.  Overall, glad I watched it.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Beneath (2013)

Johnny and his friends go to the lake for a weekend party in celebration of their graduation from high school.  It's also the last time all of them will probably get together like this before most of them go off to college. Geeky Zeke is going to be a filmmaker so he always has his camera going.  Luckily, this isn't a found footage movie.

Arriving at the lake, they get the rowboat ready to launch, when an old man approaches. He's a friend of Johnny's grandfather and wonders if Johnny has permission to be there. When Johnny tells him they're going to row across the lake to party, the old man warns that he should know better. Johnny assures him they're only going to row across and won't go into the water.  But the old man still says it's a really bad idea.

Shortly after this exchange, Johnny tries to give one of the girls a necklace with a large tooth on it, stating it will protect her. She turns him down since she's dating one of the other guys, and thinks the necklace is weird.  No one shall ask why Johnny would invite his friends to a lake that appears to be super dangerous even to row on, or that someone need protection to be near.

Half way to their destination on the other side of the lake, the group stops to drink and go swimming, a fine combination indeed. Johnny tells them not to, but doesn't protest too much, and let's face it,  other teens really aren't going to listen to the one kid who's saying "don't do that". So half the group dives into the water and swim away from the rowboat.  It doesn't take long for something to appear in the water and the group to find out they're in big trouble.  The large creature leaves them stranded in a leaking boat without oars, and wondering how they're going to survive.  This doesn't bode well since stress brings out peoples true nature.

The tense situation reveals the characters to be of different levels of unlikeable.  But I liked this movie.  It's an average flick, but I was entertained by it. Thankfully the kid who filmed everything wasn't the source of the video, although once in awhile you'd see the film from his perspective.

The creature is done by an effects team, rather than CGI, and has a nasty looking long toothed mouth.  I definitely prefer real creature creations rather than computer generated ones.  Just keep in mind that the creature is not as big as it appears on the cover, where it appears to be large enough to swallow the row boat whole.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Dead Outside (2008)

Six months ago a virus spread through Great Britain, leaving the countryside deserted except for the infected and people trying to hide from them.  After his family dies, Daniel decides to leave his home, but runs out of gas on a lonely country road. Luckily there is a nearby house which appears to be well fortified and deserted.

Daniel eats some food in the house and bunks down for the night, but is awakened with a rifle in his face.  Homeowner April is hostile and distrustful, which is understandable due to the circumstances. Can you really trust anyone after a pandemic?

April isn't sure whether Daniel is being honest when he says he don't have the virus.  She tells him that if he has it, he shouldn't use the treatment since it will only make things worse.  She allows him to spend the night, but the next day he's attacked as he's trying to leave. So the two form an uneasy truce, which develops into an awkward partnership.

April doesn't like talking, while Daniel yearns for companionship.
When a woman shows up outside their yard, Daniel opens the gate to allow her to join them. April is upset.  Not only does she not trust strangers, but she doesn't like that Daniel finds it easier to get along with the new woman, and fears he'll leave with her.

While I got this on a movie pack of zombie movies, the zombies are negligible in this film.  There are a few here or there (until the end), and April has fortified her fence with barbed wire so none get even close to the house for most of the movie.  This is more a study of the characters and their relationship.  It's a lot of talking and not much blood. So if you're only interesting in blood and zombies, you won't like this.

Aside from a few places where I lost focus and wondered if I should continue watching, it was decent.  The film was made in Scotland and a few times I found the dialogue hard to understand, but it was more due to the level of the music rather than dialect.  There are numerous scenes where the music is louder than the characters.  The first time it happened, I thought it was being used as a device to signify that what they're saying isn't important. I expected a cut to some other scene or some sort of action to be the focus of the scene. Then I realized it was just a bad mix on the sound.

Another thing that makes this movie a bit difficult to watch is April's anger. I don't think she says  anything without an angry tone or angry yelling.  I get that she doesn't trust people, and she's traumatized by what's occurred, but does she need to yell at poor Daniel all the time?  Give it a rest.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Ouija Experiment (2011)

A group of annoying friends decides to play with a Ouija board and see what happens. One of the guys is taping everything so he can post it online and become famous when it goes viral.  The others are irritated by the camera constantly being shoved in their faces.

Micheal tells the group there are three rules they have to follow. Don't ask the ghost how he died. Don't ask how you will die.  And the most important rule of all.... is the point that one of the girls chooses to head to the bathroom.  No one shall ask why Michael doesn't wait until she gets back before telling this most important rule.

The third rule turns out to be always say goodbye at the end of your Ouija session. If you don't, it leaves a passage open for the spirits, and you don't want them coming into your house. They'll mess shit up.

Needless to say, rules are broken, and things go horribly wrong for those involved.

This is the only movie I've ever seen where a group who manages to contact the dead asks the Ouija board questions about themselves.  Who is my boyfriend texting right now?  Is he seeing someone behind my back? Does anyone know about his cheating?  Seriously?  You've got a connection to a supernatural being and you're going to ask it questions about what's going on in your life?  Wow. Just wow.

Then three quarters of the way through the movie, they must have run out of steam since they switch to a flashback of the people who used to live in Michael's house. Not sure how a found footage movie can have a flashback to a time that involves people who used to live in the house, but Michael finds a scrapbook in the attic which is full of newspaper clippings regarding a murder in the house. Whose scrapbook was it? If I move into a house and it's a murder house, I'm not going to keep clippings on it. And why didn't Michael clean out his attic when he moved in?

There are two pieces of mythology I don't think I've heard in any other ghost movies. First is that ghosts don't like video cameras, said by the girl who leaves her camera on all night. The second is that the spirit has to say goodbye to end the session. This makes no sense. So all the supernatural entity has to do to keep that pathway open is refuse to say goodbye and this world will be overrun by evil spirits.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Bug (1975)

After an earthquake releases an underground breed of fire starting roaches, the bugs go on a rampage, such as bugs do.  The roaches get around by climbing into cars exhaust pipes and spreading around the town.  How do they get up off the ground into an exhaust pipe?  Why do they set cars on fire?  Why do they kill people?  No idea.

Professor James Parmiter is a biologist at a local college and is called upon when someone discovers the bugs.  Parmiter determines they set fires by picking them up and burning his fingers. So he decides it would be a good idea to study them.

After the bugs kill his wife, he hunkers down in a cabin at the edge of town and tries to breed them with another species of beetle or roach.  This proves to be a very bad decision when the new bugs can not only can set fires, but have a taste for human flesh.  Now they're setting fires, eating people, and communicating by spelling out words.  Freaky bugs indeed. Thanks Parmiter for making things so much worse.

Parmiter proves to be a terrible scientist since he never suspects that anything bad could happen from breeding killer fire roaches.  He also never latches the box they are in, even after he discovers that they've escaped and eaten a steak. Yes, you heard me - they ate a thick juicy steak.  Also if they're fire bugs, why the hell would he house them in a wooden box?

This is a William Castle film, which depending on how you view him is either fantastic or something to avoid.  It's a bit slow paced, but kind of amusing at times.  Who leaves a surprise birthday cake in someones garage?  Why are people living in the Brady Bunches house?  Seriously, look at the kitchen and then the living room - this is the Brady Bunch set.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Phase 7 (2011)

Coco and his pregnant wife Pipi arrive home from grocery shopping without noticing that the world around them seems to be going crazy. They're so wrapped up in their conversation that they miss the car crashes, people running through the streets, and general feeling that something major is happening.

Later that night, Coco is called down to the lobby where he sees men in hazmat suits outside.  Coco and the other residents are notified that their building is under quarantine due to a virus.  The remaining tenants are advised to stay in their apartments and not socialize, just in case any of them have the virus.  A doctor comes by to check everyone to see if they seem to be infected and they are given a number to call if they need help.

As food supplies dwindle, the tenants start teaming up and some decide to get rid of anyone who might be sick.  One night Coco sees two men trying to convince an elderly neighbor to open his door so they can check on his health, but the men have hammers behind their backs.  Eventually there are two factions in the building, plus the elderly neighbor who has decided to brandish a gun.

The movie revolves around Coco and the survival in those left in the building.  The plot has a similar feel to Rec since it takes place in an apartment building where a group of people are quarantined.  There aren't zombies and there's less tension since they just need to stay away from other tenants, which means they can stay in their apartments with the door locked.  So if you're expecting zombies you'll be disappointed, but it's not bad.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sharknado 2: The Second One (2014)

Of all the Syfy movies, Sharknado is probably one of the better ones.  It's ridiculous premise is actually matched by the ridiculous scenes unfolding throughout the movie. So it's better than most of their films that have great titles, but nothing particularly going on within the film.

Finn and his wife April travel to New York to promoter her new book on surviving shark attacks. On the way - what are the odds - they encounter another Sharknado. In fact, it almost seems like they are being stalked by a shark who is out for revenge.

In an opening segment right out of Airplane - including a camera by Robert Hays as the pilot - Finn has a Twilight Zone moment when he sees a shark outside the plane.  No one believes that sharks are outside the windows unit they start crashing into the plan, screaming down the aisle of the plane, and removing peoples heads.

When April tries to shoot a flying shark, it bites off her hand. But luckily Finn is able to take control of the plane, land it safely, and get her in an ambulance.  While she's en route to the hospital, Finn goes off to meet his sister and her family at a ball game.  The lead singer from Sugar Ray, Mark McGrath, plays Finn's brother-in-law. So you know that's going to.... probably make Tara Reid feel a little more comfortable about her wonky acting.

Once Finn finds his relatives, they must try get across town to meet up with April.  Surprisingly, even though April lost part of her arm earlier in the day, she's up and dressed and out the door to meet up with her clan.  The rest of the movie is tons of cameos, while Finn and his family try to get to safety and NYC is inexplicably hit by a Sharnado.

Honestly I hope they keep making Sharknado movies.  These movies are so ridiculous that they're pretty enjoyable.  But statistically, the more sequels, the worse they get.  But if they start out ridiculous, you just need to find a way to keep that going.   And I'm hoping they get to Sharknado 10... in Space. Nothing says crazy like sharks in space. Ian Ziering has revived his career and he actually fits this role.  Mark from Sugar Ray... not so much.  But then again, Ziering, Tara Reid and the guy from Sugar Ray might be a cheesy enough buddy shark fighting team that it just might work.

Watch for the scene where Tara's bitten off arm shows up again, which is ridiculous enough, but the arm length doesn't match the length that was bitten off. So that's kind of amusing. Continuity error or they just didn't care? Also watch for the Evil Dead circular saw blade in place of a hand.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Silk (2006)

Hashimoto, the head of a paranormal research team, has been researching antigravity. While the antigravity isn't going that well, the team has something called the Menger Sponge, which is material that absorbs energy. They've used this to capture a ghost and keep him in a small room.  When the ghost boy reaches for the doorknob, which has sponger on it, he is unable to get past.

In order to further their research, Hashimoto requests dynamo policeman Tung be assigned to his team.  Tung is adept at reading lips and believes he'll be able to tell them what the ghost is saying.  But Tung's mother is very ill and he's not that interested at first. He soon changes his mind.

Hashimoto believes the key to determining who the boy is, and why he is still there is to discover what he's saying.  The team are also curious whether the boy can interact with humans or just  repeats the same actions over and over. Hashimoto is particularly interested in discovering the secrets of the ghost world. He's crippled, his diabetes is getting worse, and he wants to know whats going to happen after death.

This is another movie where the trailer was really interesting and the movie was okay. The one new concept I can't recall seeing in any other horror movie is that it's not a good idea to urinate on a ghost.  They really don't like it.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Doom (2005)

After a research facility on Mars issues a distress call, a crack team of marines arrives on a rescue mission.  The military unit is commanded by Sarge and each of his crew seems to have a nickname.  No one shall ask how a crack squad of marines ended up with a hesitant new guy who is sure to put the group in peril. This point is hammered home when the timid guy asks  for some drugs to calm down. Because if there's one thing you want when you respond to a distress call, it's a scared newbie on random drugs.

When they arrive at the station, fellow solider Reaper discovers his sister is involved in the researchers.  She informs the squad that she'll be going with them so she can download the research data.  Reaper balks since this is a rescue mission.  But Sarge confirms their job is multifaceted and includes getting the data.

The group spreads out in an attempt to locate the doctors who were working and finds the man who made the call for help.  But an attack by a strange creature slows their progress, and then the bloodied doctor disappears from sick bay.  Something has gone horribly wrong at the research facility and the group must try to complete their mission without getting killed by the monsters that seem to be roaming the building.

The movie has similarities to Resident Evil in which a rescue mission goes into a locked down research facility and needs to extract data.  Doom was not a success when it was released, but it's okay for a mindless action movie.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Book of Blood (2009)

Ghosts have highways that intersect, and at these intersections, spirits sometimes cross over into our world.  So goes the opening and closing scenes, bookending the story of the investigation of a home where years before a teenage girl was murdered while alone in her locked attic room.

A hired killer has been paid by a collector to procure the skin of a young man with unique scarring.  The young mans skin is so different from anything he's ever seen that our killer offers a deal to the young man.  He will have a quick, relatively painless death if he tells the man his story.  The young man agrees.

Dr. Mary Florescu and her assistant Reg are investigating reported paranormal activity at the now deserted house were a murder previously occurred.  Mary is a Professor at a local University and recognizes her new student Simon as the prior child media sensation who had a premonition regarding the death of his brother.

Mary believes Simon would be an asset to their investigation and that he'd be a good conduit for any supernatural entities in the house.  Reg is skeptical, but when there are multiple supernatural occurrences the first two nights, Mary is convinced they have made contact. She also starts having dreams about Simon and becomes a bit obsessed with him. Hey the guy sleeps in the nude and isn't shy about stripping down in front of her.  Reg is not amused and believes that Simon may not be on the level.  But Mary has lost perspective and won't tolerate any of Reg's suspicions since she believes Simon is providing the connection that lets the spirits access their world.

I had never heard of this movie, but my friends rented it. The movie was pretty good. It is more atmospheric than gory, although there are a few gross scenes.