29 September 2010

FROZEN

This review is part of the film club
from Final Girl, the blog of all blogs!

FROZEN

USA, 2010
Director: Adam Green

5/10











I still remember when I first saw the brilliant trailer, the awesome artwork... man, I was sooooo fucking excited about this film. Unfortunately, now that I've seen it, I'm pretty disappointed. 'Frozen' is just mediocre and wrongfully overrated.

Pros:
The first half is brilliant, absolutely brilliant. Terrifically paced and built up, unbelievably atmospheric and suspenseful. The acting is nice, there's some cool gore, some enjoyable dialogue and a couple of unforgettable scenes (the jump, the light shutdown...).

Cons:
The second half is lame: way too tedious and lengthy, hardly tense or suspenseful, filled with unnecessary and boring dialogue and the ending is pretty underwhelming.
Aside from that it's illogical, extremely illogical. Whilst watching I was constantly thinking things like "Wait, that doesn't make sense...", "Wait, I don't believe that...", "Wait, this is impossible...", "Rubbish!", "WTF??", etc...
I don't wanna go into detail but, seriously:
a first class skiing area that closes on Sunday and opens on Friday?? a first class skiing area that's packed with wolves?? wolves that attack in broad daylight??? no steam from the mouths in sub zero atmosphere???
Aw c'mon...

Overall, a very, very flawed movie and sure one of the biggest disappointments of 2010.

THE BLACK CAT

THE BLACK CAT

Original Titles:
Il gatto nero / Black Cat (Gatto nero)

German Title.
The Black Cat - Die schwarze Katze


Italy, 1981
Director: Lucio Fulci

7/10




In the middle of his violent phase (between the 2 ultra-gorefests "City Of The Living Dead" and "The Beyond"), Fulci decided to do something different, namely 'The Black Cat', a loose interpretation of Edgar Allen Poe's short story of the same name. Not his best but probably his most underrated movie.
The script is quite lame and there are also some boring or uninteresting scenes, apart from that it's a really nice suspense-fest in the vein of 70s gialli and 60s/70s gothic horror, full of likeable actors and terrific atmosphere. The camera work is mostly brilliant (especially the cat's POV shots), the score is haunting, it's highly atmospheric, filled with beautiful-looking settings and pretty much all of the kills are enjoyable.
Recommended to Fulci-fans and Italo-horror-freaks.

26 September 2010

CASE 39

CASE 39

German Title:
Fall 39

USA / Canada, 2006/2009
Director: Christian Alvart

8/10







 I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love surprises, I really, really do - and "Case 39" is definitely one of the biggest and most pleasant surprises of the year, especially because actually I had no expectations for this.
It's a really brilliant horror-thriller (in the vein of "Omen" or "Orphan"), highly suspenseful and extremely scary, packed with great jump-scares and terrific edge-of-seat-scenes, cinematographically and visually stunning (lots of great-looking shots and camera moves). The acting is simply excellent: Renée Zellweger & Ian McShane are fantastic, Jodelle Ferland is outstanding. A wonderful and haunting score, some great CGI and a couple of remarkable scenes (girl in oven, hornet attack, some nice gore...).
I admit that the story is not that original and also a bit predictable, nevertheless I really had a great time watching it. Thumbs up!

19 September 2010

SUPERSTITION

SUPERSTITION

German Title:
The Witch


Canada, 1982
Director: James W. Roberson

8/10








"Superstition" is one of countless 80s horror gems that are either totally overlooked or completely forgotten. Aside from the fact that the plot is nothing special and even a bit predictable, this is a really, really brilliant kinda-haunted-house creepfest, full of eerie atmosphere, terrific jump-scares and (surprisingly) loads of impressively gory kills (death by saw blade, by microwave, by elevator shaft, by chisel etc. etc...).
It's very well written and superbly fast-paced (no dull moment, it never gets boring), the acting is solid, the dialogue is nice, the upbeat piano/strings score is very effective.

What I like most about it is, that
a) it looks extremely European with many fabulous scenes that could have been from a Fulci or Argento film, and that
b) it's very mean and brilliantly sadistic. No matter if it's a mother, a child or even a hero - they all have to die violent and gruesome deaths.

If you like movies that are scary AND gory, then this is your movie!

18 September 2010

DER TODESKING

DER TODESKING

Alternate Title:
The Death King

Germany, 1990
Director: Jörg Buttgereit

7/10









One of the weirdest and most depressing things I've ever seen; a strange kinda-anthology movie about various suicides and killings on 7 days.
Not as shocking or disturbing as Buttgereit's other cult classics "Nekromantik 1 & 2", but extremely sinister and gloomy. I admit that I definitely did not fully understand what's the message behind this movie, yet I think it's impossible to fully understand it - nevermind, it's by all means a pretty fascinating piece of art, atmospheric, strangely stylish and full of bizarre images. The cinematography is terrific and the soundtrack is simply stunning. Special kudos to epsiode 4 which is so effective in its simplicity, it's incredible.
Highly recommended to all "Suicide Club" fans!

17 September 2010

THE NEST

THE NEST

German Title:
Das Nest - Brutstätte des Grauens

USA, 1988
Director: Terence H. Winkless

4,5/10

80s cheese at its best: a hilarious and quite entertaining little insects-go-apeshit-flick, produced by trash-god Roger Corman.
The first hour is way to slow and tedious. The story is stupid, it's packed with lame and untalented actors, the dialogue is mostly incredibly bad and the soundtrackis annoying. Gladly in the last half hour the movie totally gets going with loads of brilliant gore'n'violence, terrific effects, fabulous cockroach invasions and awesome-looking monster-mutations.
Nothing special, but at least it's watchable and it kills time.

16 September 2010

THE SLEEPING CAR

THE SLEEPING CAR

German Title:
Sleeping Car

USA, 1990
Director: Douglas Curtis

3/10







A silly little 'train-horror'-flick, not as bad as "Night Train To Terror", not as stupid as "Train", but still .pretty cheesy and rubbish.
Script and story are dumb, badly written, full of plot holes and other things that just don't make any sense. The acting is ok but nothing special. Many of the effects look horribly poor and the soundtrack is rather slumberous. Worst of all is the fact that this is actually some kind of horror-comedy - but unfortunately none of the jokes/gas work and the 'witty' dialogue is just plain stupid.
At least it has some nice 80s-like atmosphere, the finale is entertaining and the kills are all cool (this is probably the only movie in history where one of the victims gets killed by coil springs).

13 September 2010

SLAUGHTER

SLAUGHTER

USA, 2009
Director: Stewart Hopewell

4/10











Oh man, this could have been really, really great. I'd give it a higher rating, if it had not been for the shitty ending.
The first hour of this psychological horror-thriller starts out pretty good. A bit too slow but eventually quite thrilling and highly atmospheric with a couple of decent actors, a great script with a neat build-up, an effective soundtrack and some beautiful shots of rural areas.
Unfortunately they completely screwed it up in the last third: no more suspense or atmosphere, unnecessary violence, confusing and annoying plot twists, stupid plot holes, an extremely disappointing conclusion and a pointless last scene. What a shame.

12 September 2010

BURNING BRIGHT

BURNING BRIGHT

Alternate Title:
Ravenous

USA, 2010
Director: Carlos Brooks

 8/10








More than a year ago I first saw a trailer for "Burning Bright" and it deeply impressed me. Now that it's out on DVD and I've finally seen it, I truly can say: yes, this is a great movie and it totally lives up to my expectations.
It's extremely suspenseful, thrilling and gripping with a terrific claustrophobic feeling and many heart-stopping edge-of-seat scenes (the scene in the laundry chute - outstanding!!). The acting of Briana Evigan (next big star?) and Charlie Tahan (very believable!) is absolutely stunning, the story is great, the script is perfectly written and well-paced, and last but not least: the tiger, a real one, just looks fantastic.
An excellent and highly enjoyable flick. Recommended!

TIMESWEEP

TIMESWEEP

German Titles:
Timesweep - Reise ins Grauen / Killer-Beast

USA, 1987
Director: Dan Diefenderfer

1/10







An extremely horrible and laughably bad direct-to-video 80s cheesefest. It is actually so bad, I'm surprised that it's not better known.
Packed with ridiculous special and make-up effects that look so shoddy, even Claudio Fragasso would kill himself laughing. The plot unbelievably stupid and utter bollocks, the actor's performances are all terrible, the dialogue is mostly pretty ludicrous. The cheesy synth-soundtrack is horribly anoying, the settings all look extremely poor, there's absolutely no tension or suspense and, worst of all, the lighting is so low-key and dark, it's often hard to follow the action.
Fans of "Creepozoids" or "Biohazard" will love this piece of junk, everyone else: hands off!

09 September 2010

REAR WINDOW

REAR WINDOW

German Title:
Das Fenster zum Hof


USA, 1954
Director: Alfred Hitchcock

10/10







One of Hitchcock's greatest movie highlights, one of the greatest suspense thrillers of all time and of course the best voyeur-themed movie ever made. An unbelievably ingenious uber-classic, highly thrilling and extremely suspenseful, but also highly entertaining and also a bit funny. Every single acting performance is absolutely awesome, story and script are absolutely stunning, the camera work is terrific and the whole apartment setting looks just fantastic.
An outstanding movie!

07 September 2010

SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE 1 & 2

SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE

Alternate Titles:
Death House / Massacre

USA, 1986
Director: Carol Frank

4/10







A silly and extremely unoriginal slasher in the vein of "Slumber Party Massacre" and totally ripping off "Halloween" (similar plot, similar characters, similar scenes). Most of the characters are extremely dumb and/or annoying, the acting is lame, the storyline is highly predictable and the dialogue is often just stupid. Thankfully it's not a complete letdown: it's photographed pretty good with some nice-looking stylish shots, the kills are all great, the soundtrack is eerie and it's quite suspenseful in the last third.
Nothing special but at least somewhat enjoyable.



SORORITY HOUSE MASSACRE II

Alternate Title:
Sorority House Massacre 2: Nighty Nightmare


USA, 1990
Director: Jim Wynorski

3/10






Weak and unnecessary sequel... wait: no, not a sequel. This has nothing to do with "Sorority House Massacre" because, for whatever reason, they totally connected it to the "Slumber Party Massacre" franchise: it looks and feels like a Slumber Party movie, it follows the storyline from Part 1 and it even contains a couple of scenes from that film!
Sadly this all doesn't help: Part 2 is a lame and cliché-laden fun-slasher with a horrible plot and nearly no suspense or action. The girls are all quite entertaining, talking hilarious rubbish and showing their beautiful titties, and the gore is also quite fun - yet, it's just too tedious and predictable with too many boring and pointless scenes and a laughably bad ending.

06 September 2010

THE HOUSE OF CLOCKS

THE HOUSE OF CLOCKS

Original Title:
La casa nel tempo

German Title:
Die Uhr des Grauens

Italy, 1989
Director: Lucio Fulci

2/10





This movie is rubbish. Utter and complete rubbish. And just yesterday I thought that "Manhattan Baby" is Fulci's worst movie - ha, far from it. "The House Of Clocks" is an extremely weak and forgettable Italo-flick. There's some nice gore in it and the ending is pretty amusing - yet, everything else just sucks. The plot is total crap, full of illogical, pointless and nonsensical ideas that don't make any sense. The acting is horrendous: every single performance is horribly annoying and completely unconvincing.Camera work and soundtrack are lame, the make-up effects look shoddy and the clock collection, which is meant to look impressive, looks... well, totally unimpressive.
I strongly recommend to steer clear of this lame cheesefest.

TOUCH OF DEATH

TOUCH OF DEATH

Original Title:
Quando Alice ruppe lo specchio

Alternate Title:
When Alice Broke The Mirror

Italy, 1988
Director: Lucio Fulci

4/10





Not the worst work from Fulci (that's The House Of Clocks "Sodoma's Ghosts") but probably the stupidest one. An extremely weird and quite pointless kinda-splatter-comedy, only 80 minutes long - but still way too long.

It starts out pretty great in the first half but gets boring and tedious in the second. The acting is mostly pretty hilarious but also in some kind of way pretty annoying (the opera singer... horrid!).The story is unbelievably dumb and makes absolutely no sense (no explanation, a super-disappointing ending). The soundtrack is funny but gets also more and more annoying by the time, and the the whole tv-movie-look just looks cheap. At least there's nothing wrong with the gore: a lotta victims hacked, slashed and crunched to pieces, cooked in an oven, eaten, strangulated etc.

As far as I know Fulci was ill at that time (hepatitis, diabetes) so I blame it on the meds which probably addled his brain - or maybe it was a cat? ;-)

05 September 2010

DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING


Original Title:
Non si sevizia un paperino

Italy, 1972
Director: Lucio Fulci

7,5/10








It's still a little-know fact that Lucio Fulci, the Italian grandmaster of gore, wasn't always producing brutal zombie-splatter. Between the 50s and 70s he mainly directed comedies, spaghetti-western flicks - and a couple of gialli as well. "Don't Torture a Duckling" is probably the best-known film from that his giallo-phase. Ok, the title totally sucks, and it's also a bit too long. Apart from that it's a really superb and interesting horror-thriller in the vein of "House With Laughing Windows", pretty tense and atmospheric. 
Most of the actors deliver great performances (Tomás Milían, Barbara Bouchet...), script and plot are decent, the dialogue is well-written and often quite amusing. Visually it's absolutely stunning with terrific cinematography and great shots of some beautiful-looking Sicilian landscapes. Yet, the highlight of the movie (next to a few impressive gore scenes) is the remarkable soundtrack including Calabrian folk music, Italo-pop, Italo-rock and a creepy score from Riz Ortolani.
A beautiful gem in the enormous Fulci-filmography.

DEATH BELL

DEATH BELL

Original Titles:
Gosa / Gosa: Piui Junggangosa


German Title:
Death Bell - Tödliche Abschlussprüfung


South Korea, 2008
Director: Yoon Hing-Seung

5/10




Imagine a crude mixture of "Saw" and "Battle Royale" including some "Ring"-like horror elements and you pretty much get the idea what "Death Bell" is about. It's an average Asian horror movie, nothing really special but at least quite entertaining.
The acting is decent, no stand-outs but all very believable. The story is ok, it has some really suspenseful moments, a couple of great kills (death by candle wax, death by clothes dryer...) and a really impressive and scary intro scene. Unfortunately Hing-Seung totally spoiled it with the script which is just terrible: one helluva mess, badly paced and way too complicated  with many confusing and pointless, but also boring and slow scenes, and with lame character development.
If you wana see a good South Korean movie, try "A Tale Of Two Sisters".

03 September 2010

GROWTH



Alternate Title:
Parasites

USA, 2009
Director: Gabriel Cowan

5/10







A mediocre little low budget horror flick that could have been waaay better if they would have spent more time and money on script and story than on the effects.
The premise is interesting, the plot itself a bit far-fetched but rather credible. The acting is pretty ok, the dialogue and soundtrack are neat. There's some entertaining gore and a whole load of surprisingly great-looking CGI parasites.
Unfortunately it's badly paced and scripted: hardly any tension or suspense, way too many scenes are just plain boring, the character development is poor and the ending is disappointing.

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