Director: Adam Green
Granted... Back in 2010, I think I must have watched the "Frozen" trailer 10 times a day over a period of at least 6 weeks. I loved the basic premise, I loved the poster artwork, I obviously loved the hell out of the trailer, and after Adam Green's pretty hilarious horror debut "Hatchet", I was super-pumped for this looks-like-awesomeness ice-fest.
Dafuq? It's not a bad movie, but it is so incredibly and utterly stupid, it's hard to believe that Adam Green was sober during writing the awful, awful screenplay. Just like Eli Roth, Green is more of a geek than a filmmaker which resulted over the years into a blind Green-fanbase whose members cum buckets whenever they just hear his name. "Hatchet", and to a certain extent "Spiral", were one-trick ponies. Everything that came afterwards was more than mediocre. The underwhelming "Hatchet" sequels, the insanely unfunny "Holliston" series, his deadly boring "Movie Crypt" podcast etc. Of course, he's far from being as unlikable as Roth (or his god-awful singing name twin...), but he's spending way too much time getting/keeping in touch with his fans, instead of creating good movies. "Frozen" feels like he had this basic fantastic idea, tried to write it down, but then lost patience because he couldn't wait to turn it into a feature, and so instead of properly finishing it, he hastily scribbled down the rest without properly thinking about it, and quickly rushed to Utah for the shoot.
The first half is good, but in the second half, there's so much incredulous shit happening, and the constantly whining characters make so many horrible decisions... *brrrr* It's a fucking enigma to me how movie critics like, er, Scott "I like every movie because I'm a moron" Weinberg dared to claim that we will "recall this freezing flick the next time you go skiing. For the next 15 years or so". Was he drunk when he wrote this? I mean, Weinberg means 'Vineyard" in German... so... whatever.
To Quote... David Hiltbrand, Philadelphia Inquirer
"How do you make a decent thriller from this premise: three people stuck in a chairlift at a deserted ski resort? You don't. Realistically, what could happen to this trio dangling in midair? Will they be attacked by ravenous pterodactyls? All they can do is sit there getting colder and colder as they realize help isn't coming. That folks, is the plot of Frozen. In its entirety. Where are the flying Saint Bernards when you really need them? (...)
Frozen moves so glacially, you could swear it was shot in real time. (...) Director and writer Adam Green was aiming for a low-budget thriller in the vein of Paranormal Activity. What he created is about one short click away from a bad Saturday Night Live sketch. (...) If you actually sit through this enervating ordeal, you'll swear that time is Frozen."
Better: You want helpless, but intelligent people in the cold and snowy wilderness, threatened by hungry beasts? Watch "The Edge" (1997) with Anthony Hopkins. Seriously, this one is so much better than "Frozen", it's ridiculous.
If you prefer seeing people stuck in one confined area, you're much better off with stuff like "Buried", "Cube", "Devil", "Exam", "Pontypool", "Phone Booth", "The Killing Room" etc. etc.
Even the bonkers French "Perched on a Tree" (1971) is better than "Frozen".
The House of the Devil (2009)
Director: Ti West
Granted... At a time where shitloads of non-filmmakers started to produce shitloads of non-budget just-like-in-the-80s crap because 80s slashers is all they got and all they understand, "The House of the Devil" sticks out like a sore thumb because Ti West tried, and pretty much succeeded in creating a movie that looks and feels like it was actually made in the 80s. Also, it pays homage to good ol' satanism-themed horror, and NOT to *yawn* slasher flicks.
Dafuq? Oh gawd, this could have been such a fucking amazing masterpiece... if written and directed by someone else than Ti West, who's actually far from being a bad filmmaker, but he's just so full of himself and so damn pretentious, and so most of his films end up highly disappointing. Of course, he's (almost) always overdoing it with his trademark less-is-more approach, but here, he was doing it to a point where it just became absurd, laughable and unnerving. It's all way too fucking slow, way too fucking dull, packed with scenes that go on for like forever, and scenes where absolutely nothing happens. I shit you not when I say that Rodriguez or Tarantino could have made this work so much better because they both REALLY know their 80s and I'm 200% sure they wouldn't have spent so much time on... well... on nothing.
It's nowhere near from being a misfire, but it's also far from what certain people call a 'contemporary masterpiece'. "The House of the Devil" is simply a good idea clumsily executed, and that's a real fucking shame.
To Quote... Scott Beggs, FilmSchoolRejects
"The problem with it (...) is that it's mostly pedestrian stuff leading to a pay off that's just not enough. The bulk of the film is Samantha walking around, especially the first hour or so (...) Why it takes this long to get someone into the house, why it takes that long to get from the first act to the second, is beyond me. This wouldn't be such a bad problem if the pay off was as shocking as it could have been, but over all the time invested watching A Day in the Life of Samantha doesn't yield dividends. It's not that the ending isn't frightening or shocking (...), but it's just not frightening or shocking enough. Especially for a modern audience that isn't watching news stories constantly about Satan worshippers living next door."
Better: I said it before and I say it again: watch "Babysitter Wanted" (2008)! Same premise, but far better executed, with shitloads of suspense and tension, a couple of insane and really unpredictable plot twists, and fuckin' Bill Moseley!
The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)
Director: Scott Derrickson
Granted... A well-made, well-directed movie that delivers an interesting variation of your average possession/exorcism-storyline. It has a great cast, it has a number of quite thrilling scenes and it's far from being predictable.
Dafuq? Combining Satan-themed Horror with court-room drama? Well, the basic idea is fine with me, but... goddamn, it didn't work for me at all. The first half is mildly scary and at least quite 'diverting', but then we head to the courtroom, and suddenly "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" feels like a bad Perry Mason episode. Just when you get accustomed to the whole scenario, the movie suddenly plays judge, jury and executioner with you. Even worse, the whole thing has 'Christian propaganda' written all over it. I almost expected a disclaimer popping up, saying something like "This movie was brought to you by your local church". Add to that that I've never been a big fan of the exorcism-genre, and you get why I can't do much with it.
Do I get that other people like it? Well, I do get that hardcore Christians dig it, and... well, one of my ex-gf's told me that the horror scenes gave her nightmares for weeks, so I guess certain people get their kicks out of the movie because it somehow scares them half-dead (nevermind the fact that the ex-gf hated horror altogether...). Nevertheless, the popularity of this flick is simply beyond me. There are better Exorcism movies out there, and Scott Derrickson has also made far better movies than this.
To Quote... Marc Savlov, The Austin Chronicle
"(The) backstory is told in flashbacks and set amid a daringly nondescript courtroom drama that plays like basic cable's Lifetime network movie of the week, were it hosted by Rod Serling. (...)
Saddled with a nicely vomit-free performance from Jennifer Carpenter, who instead works her way through what looks to be some serious Pilates and assorted archaic languages, Derrickson's film flirts with relevance and assorted hot-button topics of the day but ultimately fails to amount to much more than an overlong exercise in Jesuit Theosophy 101, played against the backdrop of Law & Order."
Better: You could either watch a really good exorcism movie, like "Abby", "Deliver Us From Evil", or "The Last Exorcism"...
...or you could do some homework and read all about the devastating case of Anneliese Michel ("Emily Rose" is based on this real-life case...), and then go check out "Requiem" (2006), the absolutely incredible and insanely terrifying adaptation of what really happened to the poor Anneliese, probably the best and most realistic movie ever made on that matter.
The Blob (1958)
Director: Irvin S. Yeaworth Jr.
Granted... "The Blob" is a watchable 50s monster movie with an interesting and pretty original amorphous monster-lifeform, decent practical effects, a neat Steve McQueen and some typical 1950s-monster-movie-fun.
Dafuq? Why this is still so highly regarded as one of the the best genre movies from that particular era has always been completely beyond me (see: Epic Blobfest-Post | Sorry, Craig!). I watched it a couple of times at various ages, and it never worked for me because it's just too damn unspectacular and too damn boring. Of course, I definitely admit, that it's quite original since there aren't that many horror movies centered around formless aliens out there, but... damn, I can immediately tell you ten 50s monster flicks that are better and not as slow, tedious and pretty darn boring as "The Blob". Should I? Ok, let's do it: "Tarantula", "Them!", "The Tingler", "Creature from the Black Lagoon", "Godzilla", "The Monster that Challenged the World", "The Trollenberg Terror", "The Thing", "It Came from Beneath the Sea" and "Rodan". Nuff said.
To Quote... The Arrow, Arrow in the Head
"I know this is a cult classic but it just didn't do much for me. My main problem with the film is that it's painfully slow. It starts off on the right foot with a somewhat gripping opening, but it then deviates constantly to dull scenes that have nothing to do with the immediate blob threat (...). I would sometimes even forget that the story was about a man-eating gelatin since it felt like I was watching a bad rerun of "Leave It To Beaver" every now and then. (...) Purists might call me jaded or better yet, an asshole, but this "cult classic" didn't entertain me. It's guilty of the worst horror movie sin: boring its audience!"
Better: There's only one "The Blob" for me, and that will always be Chuck Russell's outstanding 1988 remake, one of the greatest and most entertaining monster movies of all time. Brutal, gory, gross, gruesome, funny, gripping, atmospheric, action-packed - all in all, one helluva badass of a movie that makes you forget that the original even exists (Sorry, Craig!).
Also recommended: Larry Cohen's "The Stuff" (1985), a hilarious piece of 80s awesomeness about a mysterious and super-dangerous ice-cream-like goo that suddenly oozes from out of the Earth. If you haven't heard about it yet: believe me, it's as crazy as it sounds :-)