Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Hallowe'en 2013!

It's here! It's Hallowe'en 2013!

The big non-event has finally arrived on a Thursday when nobody can do anything for it.

I'm completely burnt out by horror this month anyway, so I'm going to have a long hiatus. There are no new theatrical releases on my radar until at least March 2014, and I'm bored with these lacklustre straight-to-DVD horror movies and "hobby horror" crapfests.

I was going to write about Empire Pictures and Full Moon, but I can't be bothered to do it anymore. In fact, I can't be bothered to write reviews of anything. After over 2000 reviews, and more online "fights" over them than I can remember, I think I've finally grown out of it.

We only had one theatrical horror release in October, and it was that soulless "Carrie" remake. I think that's what finally killed the genre for old school horror fans such as myself. Let the new kids on the block gush over their slew of shitty movies which I'm never going to watch. I'm not going to waste any more of my time.

No more remakes, sequels, and clones for me.

As far as I'm concerned, horror is dead.

No more Twitter, no more Facebook, or any of the other social networking sites which don't send any traffic back to Blogger anyway. The internet "horror community" (what a joke!) is too full of cliques of cyberbullies and trolls all fighting among themselves, and I'm leaving them to it. The internet is not the fun place it used to be where you could make a few pretend friends and hang out when you were bored.

To everyone I offended in any way over the years, I'm sorry.
I'm not going to be that guy anymore.

I'm done with it.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Solo (2013)

"A teenage girl is terrorized when she spends two nights alone on a remote island as part of her camp counselor [sic] initiation."

My second movie today is this extremely generic Canadian "Friday the 13th"-esque clone.

Don't watch the trailer because it gives away all the good bits!

"Solo" is typically Canadian with better acting than it deserves, more clich├ęs and borrowings mixed together with a big paddle of predictability, and no chance at ever getting a higher rating than "just average". The main character's backstory provides some originality, but as it's lost in favour of a traditional "kidnap, escape, and chase through the woods" third act, it's hardly worth mentioning.

Nothing much happens horror-wise until the end, and the gory money shot is far too short, but everything looks okay. Decent production values, competent camerawork (albeit sometimes shaky), and solid acting tend to cover a multitude of sins in the pacing, lack of atmosphere, and script.

Annie Clark is satisfactory as the lead, and the bad guy gives a damned good try at being nutty as a fruitcake, but neither performance is outstanding or very memorable. As usual, I have no idea if anyone involved in this production is famous in other respects such as TV, and I can't be bothered to look them up.

One thing I picked up on is that all the male characters smoke and don't seem to be able to get through a scene without lighting up. It's not important to the story in any way, just a theme which runs throughout. Maybe there's an in-joke there which someone can explain to me later. As a smoker myself, it amused me that I was puffing away along with them.

Unfortunately, "Solo" isn't very scary. I had hopes that more would be made of the ghost story about the island being haunted, but alas, it was not to be. It's a mystery thriller with some horror elements, and only a minor upgrade from Syfy Originals and other "filler" genre movies.

I have a feeling that "Solo" is pretty much a directorial debut. Sometimes I tend to be more lenient with new talent, and there's enough talent involved in this movie to make it watchable. If you want something more exciting, however, I recommend one of the earlier "Friday the 13th" movies or "Sleepaway Camp" instead.

Monday, October 28, 2013

We Are What We Are (2013)

"The Parkers, a reclusive family who follow ancient customs, find their secret existence threatened as a torrential downpour moves into their area, forcing daughters Iris and Rose to assume responsibilities beyond those of a typical family."

I'm just going to do a couple of quick reviews today to get them out of the way. To be honest, I've found it a bit of a struggle to fill this month with something horror-related every day, and I'm looking forward to my time off on Hallowe'en.

The first of today's movies is Jim Mickle's reimagining of "Somos lo que hay" (2010) with the genders changed of the protagonists for no good reason whatsoever. Changing the sons from the original into daughters and having the mother dying instead of the father doesn't add much. Actually, it downgrades the social commentary of the original to such an extent that there's nothing here which you haven't seen before in any generic American horror movie from the last 3 years.

In many ways, "We Are What We Are" reminded me of "Flowers in the Attic" (1987) although its story is closer to being a non-comedic version of Jack Hill's "Spider Baby or, The Maddest Story Ever Told" (1968). As with all new horror movies, some scenes are very formulaic, and because this is only a special kind of remake anyway, its borrowings are fairly obvious.

Julie Garner and Ambyr Childers.

Decent enough cinematography and above average acting are becoming de rigueur in remakes, and are the reasons why I'm not going to pan this one completely. It's always nice to get a movie which looks like a real movie. I was impressed by the camerawork in the opening scenes, and that was enough to hook me into watching the rest of it. If "We Are What We Are" had looked like another low-budget nasty, I would have ditched it after 5 minutes.

The biggest problem is that "We Are What We Are" is extremely slow over the ground and plays as a drama/thriller until the final scene. Mystery elements including a decoy murder and a doctor working out that the family are cannibals by looking up the symptoms of Kuru (or spongiform encephalopath for the more medically minded) are added to pad the running time, but a lot more gore spread throughout would have been better. I don't mind a languid pace in some movies, but this one made me want to scream, "Hurry up and do something!" at the screen.

The ending finally brings the much needed gore to the table (literally!), but it's so over-the-top and from out of left field that it completely ruins everything which preceeds it. The gore effects themselves are nothing to write home about either.

Worth a rental, I suppose, but neither of the "We Are What We Are" movies are as shocking as Pete Walker's "Frightmare" (1974).

I liked the setting with all the rain.