31 May 2012

OF SILENCE

OF SILENCE

USA, 2012
Director: Jeremiah Sayys

7/10











"Of Silence" is the pretty impressive debut feature of Alabamian director / writer / producer / actor Jeremiah Sayys, a movie about a young man who slowly slips into madness after his wife's death. It's a dark and depressing psychological horror-drama, not perfect but definitely something worth checking out.

The movie is very well made, very well shot, thanks to the powerful direction and the fantastic camera work of Erick M. Crespo who captures the haunting atmosphere of the darkly-lit one-location setting (a suburban house) in a mesmerising way.
There's lots of thrilling tension and suspense, shitloads of eerie sounds and noises, many extremely creepy scenes and even a few cool jump scares.


The acting is outstanding: Jeremiah delivers a mindblowing and stunningly intriguing, almost disturbing performance. There were moments where I thought that this is a real person, not just a film character.
The other actors are also very good, especially the gorgeous Ashlee Gillespie ("7th Heaven") and Suzanne Ford (upcoming "The Apparition").

There are a few unnecessary lengths in the middle, and I wasn't too fond of the weird and incomprehensible ending which raises more questions than answers. Nevertheless, "Of Silence" is a remarkable and quite awesome movie, made by a very talented filmmaker. Well done!

Imdb
OF SILENCE on FACEBOOK

[Thanks to Jeremiah for sending me a screener of the movie]

30 May 2012

FACES IN THE CROWD

FACES IN THE CROWD

Canada / France / USA, 2011
Director: Julien Magnat

4/10











Man, I was so excited about this and I realy, really wanted to love this movie, but I couldn't. "Faces In The Crowd" is a mystery-thriller/drama (a bit in the vein of movies like "Jennifer 8", "Eyes Of Laura Mars" or "Julia's Eyes") with a fascinating premise and some nice Giallo-elements, but alas, badly executed, poorly directed and horribly written.


It starts out strong in the first half, but falls completely flat in the second half, thanks to Julien Magnat's horrid script. Gee, there are so many stupid plot holes and illogical plot points, I yelled with rage at the screen several times. What's with the guy who suddenly shaved his face for no apparent reason? Why is the main character unable to distinguish people from their voices? What's with the killed woman in the club? How can that happen so easily? Why are there so many rollerbladers?
Furthermore, there's no chemistry between all of the characters (yes, all of them), and the whole thing is so fucking predictable, I knew who the killer was after the first half hour.

I adore Milla Jovovich and I think she gives an awesome performance as teacher who suffers from face-blindness, still there are many scenes where it seems as she has no idea what to make of her character. The other actors are mostly weak, espcially the wooden Michael Shanks and a surprisingly weak Marianne Faithfull. Oh btw, for no apparent reason, Faithfull's character was named after
Heather Langenkamp...


As for the good, the opening kill reminded me a bit of early-70s Argento, there are a few highly suspenseful sequences (subway, showdown) and the constant changing of the faces looked great - but apart from that, "Faces In The Crowd" is a huge letdown.

29 May 2012

Michael Haneke's FUNNY GAMES (1997 & 2008)

Huge congrats to Austrian director Michael Haneke who won his 2nd Golden Palm at the Cannes Filmfestival for his newest film "Amour".
Woot Woot, Austria :)
The perfect opportunity to post a little review of my alltime favorite Haneke movie (and a review of my least favorite Haneke movie).

FUNNY GAMES

Austria, 1997
Director: Michael Haneke

10/10











Not the first home invasion movie ever made, but undoubtedly one of the greatest and most shocking ones: the outstanding "Funny Games", one of
Michael Haneke's most impressive movies next to masterpieces like "The Piano Teacher", "Benny's Video" and "Caché".

It's obviously not a funny movie, but rather a mean, brutal and deeply disturbing 'experiment in terror' about violence in media and senseless violence per se, very realistic and authentic. Haneke's unique, innovative and completely unpredictable script is mindblowing, and his sharp, gripping direction is just flawless.


The acting is excellent and every cast member delivers a fantastic performance, most notably Arno Frisch and Frank Giering as cruel and terrifying invaders, and the amazing Susanne Lothar as tormented mother.
The movie is packed with upsetting and disturbing scenes that leave you speechless, such as the kid's death, the crying father, the killing of the dog or the scene where the mother gets thrown into the lake.

Other 'highlights': the heartstopping Vivaldi-meets-John-Zorn opening, the disconcerting egg-scene, the son's thrilling escape and of course, the infamous remote control sequence, probably the most unfair scenes in movie history.


"Funny Games" is an absolutely outstanding European movie highlight, highly recommended to people who love controversial and uncompromising movies like "Irreversible" or "Last House On The Left".

Wiki ~ Imdb



FUNNY GAMES U.S.

Alternate Title:
Funny Games

USA / UK / France / Austria / Germany / Italy, 2007/2008
Director: Michael Haneke

4/10







10 years later Michael Haneke, for whatever reason (money? lack of ideas?), decided to shoot an American version of his classic. The result: "Funny Games U.S.", an utterly unnecessary shot-for-shot remake, now set in America with American actors.

The film may work if you have never seen the original, but totally doesn't work when you already seen the original a couple of times (just like me). It's the same movie with the same characters, the same dialogue (now in English), the same long shots and similar-looking settings.

During the entire movie I was hoping for something new: a different plot twist, new dialogue lines, different character responses etc. - unfortunately nothing new happened :-/



The cast is great (Naomi Watts, Tim Roth) and the acting is good, but sadly no-one here is able to deliver a performance as strong, powerful and emotional as the cast from the original did. Furthermore, the absence of surprises disappointed me and after the first half hour I was almost bored to death, despite the beautiful cinematography and Haneke's tight direction.

Of course, far from being as bad as Gus van Sant's stupid shot-for-shot re-crap of "Psycho", but definitely as pointless and redundant. Stick to the original.

Wiki ~ Imdb

27 May 2012

"CARNIVAL OF CRIME" (Cult Terror Cinema 12 Movies Pack, #10)

CARNIVAL OF CRIME

Original Title:
Sócio de Alcova

Argentina / Brazil / USA / Spain, 1962
Director: George M. Cahan

2/10








*Yaaawn* Horribly boring and super-tedious low-budget mystery / crime / drama / comedy hodgepodge without any tension or suspense, thanks to the bland direction and a badly written, badly paced script.

The acting is ok (Jean-Pierre Aumont) and the cinematography looks nice - everything else is just bad: endless scenes of people talking and talking and talking, an incredibly annoying Flamenco-soundtrack, a pretty dumb plot that almost needs forever to get under way, some awful-looking stock-footage, and a few weird scenes, probably intercut from some other low-budget movie, that have absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the film.

A carnival of crap.



"LURKERS" (Cult Terror Cinema 12 Movies Pack, #9)

LURKERS

Alternate Title:
Home Sweet Home


USA, 1988
Director: Roberta Findlay

2/10








"Lurkers" is a pretty crappy lowest-budget z-grade horror-rubbish from Roberta Findlay, director of 70s Hardcore Porn classics like "Anyone But My Husband" or "Mystique", but also responsible for 80s horror junk like "Prime Evil" or "Blood Sisters".

The good:
A solid opening scene where a girl gets threatened with an electric iron by his mother, gets almost strangled with a jump rope by a few other kids, and gets haunted by some weird ghosts, called "Lurkers" - some ok gore and a few gorgeous tits.

The bad:
Everything else. Nearly every single actor is horrible, nearly every character is completely unlikable, there's almost no suspense or tension, the direction is weak, the editing is amateutish, every single effect looks cheap, the plot is stupid, the ending is laughable and the synth score from Walter E. Sear ("The Beyond", "Zombie Holocaust") is so bad, so incredibly annoying, it makes you wanna stick pencils in your ears.

Avoidable 80s garbage, don't bother checking it out.



25 May 2012

EXORCISMUS (2010)

EXORCISMUS

Original Title:
La posesión de Emma Evans


German Title:
Der Exorzismus der Emma Evans

Spain, 2010
Director: Manuel Carballo

5/10




I have no idea why I regularly force myself to watch mediocre exorcism flicks, but... sigh, whatever. Here we go: the Filmax-produced "Exorcismus" is just another unimportant and rather unimpressing movie about a teenage girl that gets possessed by the devil.


It's watchable. No more and no less. Sophie Vavasseur delivers a superb and highly believable performance as the eponymous main character - the rest of the acting ranges from decent to lame. There are many tense and intriguing moments, but also many tedious and boring scenes.
The plot is predictable but solid (same for the ending), the soundtrack is good, the handheld camera work is often a bit annoying and all the exorcism-clichés (levitation, demonic voice, seizures)... well, we have all seen that before.

Ok but forgettable. For hardcore exorcism-fans only.

THE UNINVITED VISITOR

THE UNINVITED VISITOR
(4minute short)

USA, 2012
Director: Christian Guzman

7/10










Third episode in Christian Guzman and Rudy Gold's "Midnight Horror Show", and so far the best: "The Uninvited Visitor", a nice little chiller that I enjoyed a lot.

It's tense, gripping and highly atmopsheric, including a few great moments that kept me on the edge of my seat, and one kick-ass jump scare that creeped the crap outta me :)


Camera work and editing are fine, the set design is cool and Erin Powell's haunting music is just awesome, plus: Katelin Petersen delivers a solid and believable performance.

Flaws: it's too short and the lack of plot is disappointing.
Aside from that, I loved it!


Watch it here!

24 May 2012

DRIVE ANGRY

DRIVE ANGRY

Alternate Title:
Drive Angry 3D


Alternate German Title:
Drive Angry - Fahr zur Hölle

USA, 2011
Director: Patrick Lussier

6/10





After the atrocious "Ghost Rider 2", I actually promised myself never... NEVER to watch anymore post-2000 Nic Cage movies, but one of my workmates (and The Cinema Snob) convinced me to break my promise, and to give this one a shot - and so I did. Well, it's nothing special but at least it's far, FAAAR better than the "Ghost Rider" flicks.

Patrick Lussier's 3D box office bomb "Drive Angry" is a quite enjoyable grindhouse-like carsploitation action movie. It's entertaining and action-packed, full of exploding cars, gun shootings, naked girls and car chases, but unfortunately, it's also full of dull, tedious and uninteresting scenes, that totally spoil all the fun.


As for the acting... well, Nicolas Cage is Nicolas Cage (though fortunately not as over-the-top as usual), and Amber Heard is Amber Heard (decent but horribly overrated actress) - but the rest of the cast is pretty awesome, especially William Fichtner as the super-hilarious "The Accountant", the legendary Tom Atkins as grumpy police captain, David Morse as highly sympathetic trucker, and script writer Todd Farmer as cheating douchebag.

Top: Nic Cage humping a whore while smoking a cigar, drinking Whiskey and shooting an awful lot of bad guys.
Flop: way too many shitty-looking CGI effects; some annoying 3D.

Final verdict: solid but forgettable fun flick.



22 May 2012

Comparison: The Funhouse / Halloween / Psycho

In the opening scene of "The Funhouse" (1981), Tobe Hooper pays massive tribute to the shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" (1960) and the opening of John Carpenter's "Halloween" (1978).
Here's a little comparison between these scenes:



A mysterious killer picks up a clown mask and puts it on. In both movies, the killer is actually a little boy.
Isn't it awesome that Hooper paid tribute to a movie that came out only 3 years before?








The mysterious killer enters the bathroom and 'kills' a young girl with a large knife.
Absolutely fantastic homage to Hitchcock's unique and outstanding shower scene.

Detailed FUNHOUSE review Here!

Tobe Hooper's THE FUNHOUSE

THE FUNHOUSE

Alternate Titles:
Funhouse: Carnival Of Terror

German Title:
Das Kabinett des Schreckens

USA, 1981
Director: Tobe Hooper

9,5/10





Not only one of Tobe Hooper's most underrated movies, but also one of the most underrated slasher movies of all time: "The Funhouse", an awesome and very well made powerhouse of a horror movie. I loved it when I first saw it (almost 20 years ago) and I still totally adore it.
Aside from 1-2 annoying characters and a few lame dialogue lines, this is one of the very few 80s slashers that are almost perfect - you know... perfect in a slasher sense :)


The whole movie is incredibly tense and gripping, very well paced and packed with suspense. Hooper's direction is flawless and Larry Block's surprisingly intelligent script is just outstanding, thanks to a cool story, interesting characters, and many unexpected twists and turns.

The attractions at the carnival are all just cool (a freakshow with 2-headed cows and mutant babies, hot strip girls, the amusing impaler...) and the spooky Funhouse is a tremendous feast for the eyes. The deformed killer is one of the most fascinating creatures in horror history - sure, he's dangerous and frightening, but he's also extremely pitiful due to his miserable life. The sex scene where he tries to have sex with Madame Zena is strangely sad and almost touching.


Highlights:
The kick-ass opening credits, the uber-awesome opening scene which pays tribute to "Halloween" AND "Psycho", all the kills, and of course, the breathtakingly stunning climax.

Furthermore, most of the acting is pretty good (most notably Kevin Conway and the super-gorgeous Elizabeth Berridge), the settings all look excellent, the camera work is amazing and trailer-composer John Beal's powerful score is just outstanding.


"The Funhouse" is a top notch must-see, must-have horror classic. If you haven't seen it yet... my goodness, you don't know what you're missing!!

Wiki ~ Imdb

 Oh btw, "The Funhouse" has also one of the coolest opening credits ever.
Check out the awesomeness!



DARK RIDE

DARK RIDE

USA, 2006
Director: Craig Singer

3/10











A blatant rip-off of Tobe Hooper's classic "The Funhouse",
boring, cliché-laden and stupid.

Pros:
There are a few badass and supergory kills (head cut in half, the freaky blowjob decapitation, the puppet string corpse), the funhouse-settings are very well designed and look pretty creepy, and the killer's mask looks just cool.

 
Cons:
The acting ranges from weak to terrible. Every single characters is so fuckin' annoying, it's absurd. The dialogue is beyond awful. Large parts of the movie are so fuckin' slow and tedious, it almost made me fell asleep. The direction is lame. The script is laughable. The shaky camera work is a joke.

Watch Craig Singer's "Perkins' 14" instead. No masterpiece but way better than this piece of junk.

21 May 2012

WE ARE WHAT WE EAT

WE ARE WHAT WE EAT
(10minute short)

UK, 2012
Director: Sam Toller

8/10










Just when you thought the zombie-genre was dead and buried, 16 year old filmmaker Sam Toller comes along with an impressive and refreshingly complex short film about a zombie-invasion at a high school, shot over 2 days in 6 locations.

"We Are What We Eat" (not to be confused with the Mexican "We Are What We Are") starts out slow and weird, but gets more and more compelling and intriguing, and ends with an unexpected bang. There's some breathtaking atmosphere and lots of tension, and the constant switching between dream and reality is simply fascinating.


Next to Toller's gripping direction and powerful script, we get to see some beautiful cinematography, excellent editing and many well-shot, well-chosen settings. The zombie make-up looks kick-ass, the gore effects look cool and believable, the gloomy soundtrack is very fitting, and the acting is solid (especially Lucy Joyce and Chris Bearne).

It's obviously not as awesome as "Plague", my favorite zombie-short of all time, but it's definitely one of the most original, most inventive non-zomedy zombie flicks in a long time.



Oh btw, these 2 pics are from the presskit and they are just too funny not to show to you :-)

"Making fake intestines was a blast!
Producer Darien Davis' cat, Charlie, thought so too..."

Imdb
We Are What We Eat on Facebook

20 May 2012

"BLOODLUST!" (Cult Terror Cinema 12 Movies Pack, #8)

BLOODLUST!

USA, 1959/1961
Director: Ralph Brooke

5,5/10











"Bloodlust!" is blatant low-budget rip-off of the 30s classic "The Most Dangerous Game". It's silly and amateurish, but it's also quite funny and entertaining, thanks to the short runtime and the tight pacing.

The cast is pretty cool - Robert "Brady Bunch" Reed, Wilton Graff as bloodthirsty maniac Dr. Albert Balleau, and his intimidated wife, played by Lilyan Chauvin, the Mother Superior from "Silent Night, Deadly Night".
There's lots of cool kills (decomposed in a tub of acid, attacked by leeches in quicksand, death by bow and arrow), an effective score and a few hilarious dialogue lines ("I can't go on forever, pretending to be a useless drunk.").


As for the bad, most of the characters are plain stupid and constantly make wrong or imbecile decisions. The story is idiotic and brims over with large plot holes, most of the effects look cheesy, the editing is weak and the ending is dumb.
Overall, a campy and enjoyable drive-in flick, best enjoyed as a double feature together with "Guru The Mad Monk".

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