August 28, 2010

Piranha 3D (2010)



"After a sudden underwater tremor sets free scores of the prehistoric man-eating fish, an unlikely group of strangers must band together to stop themselves from becoming fish food for the area's new razor-toothed residents."

There's been a lot of hatred towards "Piranha" from various online critics some of which was deserved, but, mostly, it has all been due to over reverence of Joe Dante's 1978 original. Yes, this is yet another remake unfortunately but it was far more exciting and adult than I expected.

The two things that everybody seems bent out of shape over are the use of CGI and the amount of nudity. Personally, I'm getting pretty bored with all the CGI bashing that goes on especially when, in the case of a film like this, you really have to ask what method other than computer effects could you possibly use to create shoals of predatory fish? The CGI in "Piranha" is actually pretty good and is mixed with enough gory practical effects to satisfy any of those "stuck in the 80s" fanboys. Also the sheer amount of gratuitous nudity is a bonus as far as I'm concerned. I see nothing wrong with that at all.

There are some very beautiful women in this film although most of them don't survive in that condition. With a cast that includes Elisabeth Shue, Kelly Brook, Riley Steele and Dina Meyer (briefly) among many others, there's something very wrong with anyone who doesn't enjoy the eyecandy. When I say "anyone", I do of course mean red blooded heterosexual males as I can't really comment on all the shirtless boys in this film. This probably isn't as good as "Leeches" if you are gay, but I'll leave the assessment of male eyecandy to other reviewers in the Horror Blogger Alliance before I dig myself a hole here. I think Steven R. McQueen may be quite appealing to the female and/or gay audience even though I found his character to be quite irritating.

If you don't already know that Alexandre Aja also directed "High Tension", "The Hills Have Eyes" remake and the pretty awful "Mirrors" then it won't really harm your enjoyment of "Piranha" at all. I will admit that all of his movies have been flawed, have continuity errors and seem to be increasingly weaker as his career continues but when it comes to action and gore he still knows how to put a good scene together. "Piranha" is quite exciting in places but derivative of much better films about killer fish (yes, you know the ones!). I don't really see that as a bad thing though. No horror film is without its formulaic components and action films even less so. The usual things such as a disposable black character, pointless self-sacrifice, kids disobeying authority and all that other good stuff is here and it's none the worse for it.

The actual plot of "Piranha" is also not very original and there are various homage scenes to "Jaws" and the original "Piranha". They aren't done very subtly but they are done with a newer and more exploitative eye. I've always thought of the original "Piranha" as being little more than a ripoff of "Jaws" but with smaller fish so I really didn't expect a remake to be anything else. I wasn't disappointed because I think this is a better film than anything Joe Dante has done other than "Gremlins". Rumour has it that Alexandre Aja wanted this to be something like "Gremlins for adults" anyway and he pretty much succeeded. It's not going to be thought of as a classic by any stretch of the imagination because the characterisation was far too weak and the pace was a little bit too fast overall, but it's still a damn fine "Creature Feature" all the same.

I'm tempted to say that you probably shouldn't watch "Piranha" if you are expecting it to be a 100% serious horror film but I did exactly that and really enjoyed it. You could definitely compare it unfavourably to "Tremors" even though it has much more of an "Eight Legged Freaks" feel to it. I'm not sure if the comedic moments really work as I don't have any sense of humour whatsoever but seeing hoards of annoying teenagers getting eaten by prehistoric piranhas did satisfy that dark part of my soul. I wish it had been knocked up a few levels to include small children and frail old people being eaten as well but you can never have everything you want especially when it comes to mainstream theatrical releases. At least Eli Roth and Jerry O'Connell both get their just desserts or rather the piranha do at their expense.

Anyway, "Piranha" is showing at your local cinemas right now so I recommend that you all go and see it for yourselves. You'll notice that, in spite of the full title, I didn't mention the 3D. The bottom line is that the 3D is just a gimmick which neither adds or subtracts anything from this film at all. It's well done in the few places where it occurs, but it isn't very important, and I can't even mention the best 3D scene anyway because it would spoil it for you.

"Piranha" is a fun movie, a not too bad way to waste an hour and a half of your life, and it's one of the most entertaining things I've seen this Summer. There have been some outstanding movies this year and it's not over yet but so far I would definitely put this in my top ten of 2010. I also saw "The Expendables" this week and, to be blunt, I enjoyed "Piranha" a hell of lot more.

August 23, 2010

Do you want a horror scholarship?

I just got an email from Christian Gamboa of Star Costumes informing me that they have recently launched the first-ever Horror Scholarship. It's a $1000 scholarship designed to provide assistance to students studying to work in the horror industry.

They have set up a page devoted to "The 2010 Star Costumes Horror Scholarship" at http://www.starcostumes.com/horror-scholarship.

You'll need to meet some eligibility requirements and fill in an application form before October 31st but, if you've always wanted to work in the horror industry, you should check it out.

August 15, 2010

Vampires Suck (2010)



"A spoof of vampire-themed movies, where teenager Becca finds herself torn between two boys. As she and her friends wrestle with a number of different dramas, everything comes to a head at their prom."

Although "Vampires Suck" is clearly aimed at all the "Twilight" haters and doesn't really go much further than spoofing the entire first "Twilight" movie with some parts of "New Moon" thrown in, it's not totally without a few merits of its own.

The most obvious thing is that everybody does such brilliant impersonations of the real "Twilight" characters that it's often difficult to tell if this is actually a comedy or not. If you haven't seen "Twilight", you could watch this and and still go on to enjoy the official sequels with no problem at all. Jenn Proske (as Becca Crane) could be Kristen Stewart's Bella even though she's actually slightly prettier.

This attention to detail may be the parody's undoing though. There is a very thin line between what is an acceptable parody and obvious copyright infringement, but we'll just have to wait and see what Stephanie Meyer's lawyers make of it all. Personally, I think this is way too close to simply being a "Twilight" remake in all but name. It looks the same, the characters have 99% identical names, and the story is just far too close to the original for comfort even if everything is clearly played for laughs.


"Vampires Suck" isn't particularly funny though. There are a couple of amusing scenes but that's all they are, just amusing not side-splittingly funny. I'm not big on comedies anyway so it may be funnier to some people than it was to me, but I just didn't think there was anything here that can't already be found on YouTube in smaller doses. If you've ever heard a joke or seen any kind of amusing image lampooning "Twilight" or the Twihards themselves then it's repeated here. It seems that it's all by the same team who did "Epic Movie" and "Meet the Spartans", but since I've never seen either of those films and have no intention of ever watching them, I can't tell you whether this is any better or worse than those. It isn't as good as the last "Scary Movie" that I watched, but I don't think very much of that franchise anyway.

I did like that "Vampires Suck" had really good production values. There's nothing worse than watching an obviously low-budget parody especially when you don't like low-budget movies in the first place. As I mentioned, this really has a lot of attention to detail and it's possible to argue that this is probably how "Twilight" and "New Moon" should have been done in the first place especially when it comes to pacing. At around 70 minutes long, it all flies by with not too many lags. If you discount the two or three somewhat feeble pop-culture references which will date this film horribly in a few years then it isn't too bad at all.

Just because the actors in this did a much better job than the real cast of "Twilight", I am actually going to recommend "Vampires Suck". If you don't like comedies then you should avoid it. It's not a horror film, it's not scary, gory or even as funny as the "South Park" episode about emos, but it is an amusing and completely throwaway diversion.

August 10, 2010

Feast (2005)



"Patrons locked inside of a bar are forced to fight monsters."

I have no idea why I even watched this except that I was bored and it seemed like a good idea at the time. When I read that "Feast" was a horror-comedy, I was already dead set against enjoying it and nothing was going to change my mind. Or so I thought.

Starring nobody you've ever really heard of apart from Jason Mewes from "Clerks" (1994) and Clu Gulager from "Return of the Living Dead" (1986), "Feast" is a smorgasbord of American TV actors who are all very talented. At least two of the girls, Krista Allen and Jenny Wade, really stood out although I was surprised that only one of them made it to the end of the film. I'm not going to spoil it for you by telling you who that was either.

That's the big gimmick with "Feast", you don't know who is going to live and who is going to die. During the intro and at other times throughout the movie, what I can only describe as "Profile Cards" pop up giving details about each character and their life expectancy. It's all rather pointless though as none of the characters actually do what is expected from their profile.

In spite of being a comedy, "Feast" is ridiculously gory and nasty with it. If you wanted to compare it to another film then "Tremors" (1990) is the obvious choice but with a lot more blood and far less tension. Some people have compared it to "From Dusk Till Dawn" (1996) but that would also be giving it way too much credit.

I did quite enjoy the special effects. I think they were all practical effects which is always a bonus except when they look obviously fake. The monsters themselves were like nothing you've ever seen before but the action happened so fast with quick cuts that it was very hard to tell how good they were anyway. I'd guess that the monsters were the weakest link in the film which is why the scenes were so skilfully arranged to not show very much of them.

"Feast", for all intents and purposes, is a parody of dozens of B movie monster films with the emphasis more on gross-out comedy than real horror. It is funny in places but nothing that will make you actually laugh out loud unless you are the kind of person who my dead grandmother would have described as someone who "would laugh to see a pudding crawl".

August 2, 2010

Another Meme for Horror Bloggers

I haven't made one of these survey things (or "Memes") before but I think this could be a bit of fun. Here's the deal. You know those "Movie Compatibilty" tests that you see all over the place from sites such as MyYearbook or Flixster? Well, they never seem to have one just for horror movie fans so I've made one for you. Feel free to copy it, repost it, link it back or whatever you want. You might find it useful or you might not, it's up to you.

<-- Start -->

Below are twenty horror films which are universally accepted as classics listed in alphabetical order.

Just rearrange the list by cutting and pasting them into your own order based on how you would rate them. For instance, if you think that "The Hills Have Eyes" is a better movie than "Hellraiser" then cut and paste it higher up in the list. Repeat this with all the titles until you have your own personalised top twenty. Other people will then be able to see if you have the same tastes in horror as them or not.

Alien (1979)
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
The Exorcist (1973)
Friday the 13th (1980)
Halloween (1978)
The Haunting (1963)
Hellraiser (1987)
The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
The Omen (1976)
Psycho (1960)
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
The Shining (1980)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
The Thing (1982)
The Wicker Man (1973)

<-- End -->


This is what I think:

My Horror Movie Compatibility

The Omen (1976)
The Haunting (1963)
The Exorcist (1973)
Halloween (1978)
Alien (1979)
The Thing (1982)
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Hellraiser (1987)
The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Friday the 13th (1980)
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
Psycho (1960)
The Wicker Man (1973)
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
The Shining (1980)
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
The Lost Boys (1987)


Now it's your turn.


Also if you want an award, here's one I made earlier. :)


I'm giving this particular award to Jinx at Totally Jinxed for no other reason than I've read more of her blog than anyone else's.

Feel free to use this award yourself. The usual rules apply. Just say who you are giving it to and why.

Train (2008)



"In Europe, a group of American college athletes unknowingly board a train that will become one deadly ride."

Well, I'm nearly at the end of my series of torture movies which I'm sure is a relief to everyone not least of all me. There's only one more to go after this (excluding the "Saw" franchise which I'll probably never review) but it's a good one and I can take my time over it.

I'm not going to spend very long reviewing "Train" though because it just isn't worth the effort. It's not a remake of "Terror Train" thankfully but it's yet another ripoff of "Hostel" with all the xenophobia about Eastern Europe and all that other nonsense.

The best way of describing this film is to rename it as "Turistas on a Train". That's all it is but with the gorgeous Melissa George replaced by a really butch looking Thora Birch.

There were some really nasty torture scenes as usual with varying levels of ridiculousness and the story was entertaining enough if you don't think about it too hard but, honestly, it's so far beyond unoriginal that it's actually boring to watch.

I'll just do a brief recap of the main points of the film. A team of American wrestlers (I kid you not, this is supposed to be a sport!) go out partying and miss the train to their next event. Knowing no Russian, their coach shouts his mouth off about nobody being able to speak English and an older yet still attractive Russian woman helps him out by telling him which train they should all take.

From then on it just gets silly. When asked for their passports, they all happily surrender them for "safe keeping" to two lecherous train staff even though everyone on the planet knows that you never give your passport to anybody when you are abroad ever.

Next the team members start disappearing one by one and find themselves being taken to the back of the train where they are cut up for their various organs without anaesthetic, realism, suspense, or any acting ability whatsoever. It's all so horribly derivative that it just makes you want to laugh no matter what vileness is depicted on screen. There's everything from a "Wolf Creek" head-on-a-stick moment to various scenes of ripping out eyes, castration and all manner of mutilations in between.

During all this Thora Birch manages to avoid capture by the Russian woman (who turns out to be a doctor) and her lumbering assistants. Honestly, you won't know whether to laugh or cry, switch it off or kick your TV screen in. If you've actually bought this DVD then I think you'll probably want to do all of those things to some extent.

The funny thing is that even though everything in "Train" is so mediocre apart from the gore, there's still enough there to make you want to watch it all the way to the end just to see what happens. It's completely predictable though and not at all memorable. It even has an epilogue where you are supposed to think about how "badass" Thora Birch will be after surviving all this horror. That's nothing compared to how badass, or maybe just plain bad, you will feel if you endure this entire movie yourself.

It obviously had a pretty good budget but it still looks all grainy and cheap like the "Saw" sequels, "Captivity" and others of that ilk. There's nothing you can say about the acting really because nobody does any worth perking up for. The Russians are actually Bulgarians so they don't even need to fake their accents and everyone else just does as much as the script allows them to but no more. There is actually such a complete disregard for characterisation that it's impossible to care about anybody or what happens to them. I didn't think there could ever be a film like this which would be poorer than "Hostel" but now I know.

The bottom line is that if you want to see a complete ripoff of every other torture porn movie that has gone before with the events all taking place on a train then this is for you. If you are tired of seeing people being tied up, hung from chains and meathooks, screaming as big chunks of their bodies get ripped or sliced off, then give it a miss. Actually, I'll probably never get completely tired of seeing any of those things but it's all to do with context.

If you know someone who has never seen a horror movie before then slip them this and prepare to laugh when they tell you how it was the most horrible and disgusting thing that they've ever watched. For those of us who have seen the same thing done better many times before, it will still be the most horrible thing we've ever watched too but for completely different reasons.

August 1, 2010

What happened to The Bloody Podcast?

Most of you don't know this, but a couple of years ago, I used to regularly do a horror movie review podcast. I wasn't famous for it or anything (in fact only about 60 people ever listened to it), it was just something I tried out and enjoyed for a while even though it was really quite annoying to edit it into something that I was actually satisfied with each time.

I think I did the last one early on in 2008 when horror movies were drying up and there wasn't really anything to talk about, or at least nothing that interested me. I also moved house and lost my microphone, so I just saw it as a bit of an omen that I should probably leave the podcasts to the other horror guys out there (especially as there are so many of them).

Recently I had an email from the site which hosted my podcasts telling me that if I didn't upload a new show soon then they would delete my account. Ordinarily I would have just uploaded something somehow simply to keep the account active, but not after they already deleted over a year's worth of podcasts from my account anyway!

Stuff like that is beyond annoying. I have backups of my audio files, but I really can't be bothered to reupload them, and so I now consider my podcasting career to be at an end. Sometimes I call into horror shows on BlogTalkRadio, but I haven't even been listening to that for a while. Things change, and I've become more of a written word kind of guy, so I've decided to stick with blogging instead. Maybe my writing will improve if I do it more.

One thing I've noticed though is how easy it is to get out of writing. I often have to really think about the placement of commas and parentheses, breaking longer sentences into smaller ones, and avoiding ridiculously long words which most people would need to look up in a dictionary. I hate reading blogs like that myself, and I'm not somebody who uses a lot of big words when a lot of smaller ones will do anyway. Gushing flowery prose is so not me.

I'm not the greatest writer in the world nor am I even trying to be. I just give my 100% honest opinion about the films I watch and the things I like and don't like, and if people enjoy reading any of it then good for them. I'm probably not as informative as I could be and keep falling into the trap of negativity, but I suppose that's just what happens when you watch too many films. Can you ever watch too many films though? Now there's a question.

Anyway, "The Bloody Podcast" is no more. One day I might do it again, but I don't really want to right now. Some people enjoyed the shows I did, but I'm the first to admit that it's not really my area of expertise.

I have also never bothered with YouTube either because I don't have the patience to make anything worth watching on there. Really, if you aren't "iJustine" or "VenetianPrincess" then you're wasting your time posting webcam videos. I don't watch any kind of horror on YouTube anymore other than a few trailers and certainly no movie reviews. What's the point of waving a DVD around to show people you've bought it and swearing about how bad it was? I can do that happily enough in my own home and have no desire to broadcast it to the rest of the world.

I'm not sure how long I will even have the patience to keep blogging either. I've been writing my reviews since 1994. Those were the days of papery magazines which nobody bothers with now. In 1997, I moved everything online and sometimes I wonder if that was a mistake too. There's almost too much to keep up with if you are just one person running a horror site. There used to only be a handful of horror sites back then, but now everybody seems to have blogs, message boards, podcasts, FaceySpace and God knows what else. It's information overload. No wonder I took the original "Dr Blood's Video Vault" down for nearly three years.

I don't miss the days of being one of the 'Big 6" horror websites, but I'm uncertain about the future now that everyone has become a critic. Just trying to stay current with new releases and getting a "zero day" review is proving to be more trouble than it's actually worth. Pretty soon I'm just going to start going back over the "classics" though as playing catch-up after 18 months' hiatus is getting boring for me. I obviously can't review every horror film in the world, but I'm going to give it a damn good try.

I don't often write anything personal like this on my blog, so don't expect me to start getting all conversational on here. I used to on MySpace when it still had categories, and every so often I'll dip back into one of the 800 or so posts on there and find something suitable to rewrite and repost again. I think I've become a little bit more self-conscious with Blogger than I was with the closed social networking systems. I have to keep remembering that this goes out to the whole world not just a selected group.

What a ramble! Anyway, I thank you all for reading this and for subscribing to me over the years in one way or another. I'm going to take a couple of days away from this now to watch some DVDs, play with my cats, and give the beginnings of my repetitive strain injury from mousing a chance to subside. I've got a couple of hundred posts on here already, so feel free to read a few of them and leave me some comments.

The Collector (2009)



"Desperate to repay his debt to his ex-wife, an ex-con plots a heist at his new employer's country home, unaware that a second criminal has also targeted the property, and rigged it with a series of deadly traps."

I thought that I'd reviewed this film ages ago when it first came out but, having looked through my notes, it seems I must have just talked to people about it and imagined writing a review because I don't have one. Maybe it was on my hard drive during the ill-fated week when I tried Ubuntu 10.04 out and had to wipe everything because it didn't work properly. Who knows? I'll just have to make up for it by reviewing it now.

So, "The Collector" is yet another "in the tradition of Saw" serial killer movies with a few good kills, a bit of torture and quite a few action scenes.

I was hoping that it was a remake of William Wyler's 1965 film of the same name starring Terence Stamp but, alas, subtle horror like that just doesn't work anymore. I think there may be a couple of nods to it even so. There's kidnapping and all that other good stuff in this though so I wasn't too disappointed. The premise of the film reminded me a bit of "Captured" from 1998 with Andrew Divoff but there are quite a few films where thieves break into houses only to end up becoming the victims themselves so any hope for an original story would seem to be futile.

The new spin on things here is that the psycho serial killer who only gets named as "The Collector" is a real sick dude who has such incredible handyman skills that he can set up a house full of mutilating traps in the few hours he has between pretending to be an exterminator and kidnapping an entire family apart from one daughter who has gone out and her sister who he can't find. If I didn't know better, I'd say this was a black comedy but it seems to be played pretty straight so I'm not sure. Maybe it's just plotholes or the fact that it's ultimately not actually a very good film but all the traps and the time the killer has to set them up are a bit of a stretch.

The hero, if we can call him that, is played by Josh Stewart who I think is a bit of a David Arquette lookalike if you get him from the right angle. Maybe that's just me. His character, Arkin, is quite likable even though you know he's not exactly a good guy. I suppose you could say that his intentions are good but I think that real thieves are the scum of the earth so I really didn't care what happened to him. As much as I enjoyed the alternative ending with its more honest approach to what most of us would really do in the situation, the even more unhappy ending is what Arkin actually deserved. Horror movies have often been morality tales and "The Collector" simply continues the trend. It's not up there with John Carpenter's "Halloween" or any of the earlier "Friday the 13th" sequels but there are clearly some messages in it about what happens when you do wrong.

Similarly, the older daughter, Jill, played by Madeline Zima, gets her comeuppance for for breaking some obvious horror movie rules about sexual morality. It's like going back to the '80s with stuff like this but it's sometimes nice to see a few clichés. One thing is for sure, Madeline Zima certainly has a fine pair of clichés in this film.

There were quite a few things I didn't like about "The Collector" though. There's a pretty nasty and totally unnecessary scene with a cat which means that I will never have this film in my collection. I can't endorse things like that because I know how impressionable some people can be and I can almost hear the cheers from an audience of stupid little teenagers who would probably like to film their own version and stick it up on YouTube. There are enough little retards filling up animal shelters with the results of what they think is funny already and I find any animal cruelty (fake or not) in movies to be totally reprehensible. I don't particularly care what happens to people because they have a say in what happens to them but anything to do with animals is another matter. It really makes me want to get on my soapbox not because the scene caused any emotional response in me but because it was just so puerile and irresponsible. Hopefully sane people will be disgusted by what happens to the cat. There's a dog death later too for dog lovers to get upset about.

Although I found the gory effects used to be quite realistic, the action scenes themselves were overdone and incredible in a bad way. I probably should have used the word "implausible" but I was hoping to save that for my summary. Everything in "The Collector" is implausible even so but I suppose that's why it's a movie and not real life.

I was quite disappointed by the way the movie looked. At first I thought it was going to be yet another horrible handycam nasty as it seemed grainy and cheap. I'm still not entirely sure that it shouldn't be included in that category because the acting although adequate was nothing very special and the script even less so. There were just too many times where my willing suspension of disbelief was lost because of all the ridiculous traps or the superhuman qualities of "The Collector" himself. He pretty much turned into another Jason Voorhees at one point instead of a Spaniard in some kind of gimp mask.

One other thing I noticed was that there wasn't really a lot of tension to all the "cat and mouse" (or, more appropriately, "spider and fly") shennanigans inside the house. There were a couple of moments involving the safe where the timing was almost perfect but then things got a little bit predictable especially when it came to jump scares.

The ending, which presumably sets things up for some kind of sequel which I hope never gets made, was at least ten minutes too long. Although it was necessary from a moral angle, it was full of moments which jumped the shark and ruined a lot of the good things which had come before. Yes, in spite of writing what I now realise has turned into a pretty negative review, I can accept that there were quite a few good bits to this film too and it was generally entertaining to watch. I just felt that I'd seen a lot of this before not because it was completely unoriginal, because it wasn't, but because there's just so much you can do with any home invasion/torture movie in the first place.

I don't recommend "The Collector" because basically it's not so much derivative of the "Saw" franchise as it is a "Home Alone" for adults. The attempts to be original almost worked but then yet another formula came into play and undermined them. It wasn't all that scary either but it was disgusting enough if you like gore. It wasn't a very deep movie especially with a plot that you can summarise in one sentence if you really want to but, then again, what horror movie is? It's not as if any of us watch these things for some kind of spiritual enlightenment.

Years ago, I used to read reviews of films like this which often ended with the words, "beer and pizza". I'm pretty sure that you wouldn't really want either when watching this film but, as yet another bit of averageness among far too many similar offerings, you might enjoy it with whatever beverages and snacks (or lack of them) you choose.

Sick Girl (2007)



"With her parents dead and her older brother off to fight in Iraq, emotionally disturbed teenager Izzy flips out and goes on a nasty killing spree, gleefully torturing and executing the bullies who like picking on her younger sibling, Kevin."

Well, it's the start of another month and thankfully I only have two more torture films after this one to left to review. I feel like I've seen every "torture porn" ever made recently. I've learnt a lot should I ever decide to totally flip out. It's not that I really want to be a serial killer or anything like that but I might just lose it completely and start making low-budget handycam crap myself since there still seems to be a market for this stuff.

Rewatching "Sick Girl" to review it was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do not because of the sadistic torture scenes but because of the terrible sound and annoying voice of the lead, Leslie Andrews. She really does look the part and is certainly pretty enough that I'd want to do her but the whole production is so very amateur that the only thing that carries it is the story itself and what atrocity Izzy is going to do next. She does try to act at times and has lovely big white teeth but her inexperience is very noticable. With a stronger lead and better direction, "Sick Girl" could have been a classic.

It's a real shame that this film had such a poor budget and so many non-actors in it because you can see how it could have been really incredible if more time had been spent on it. If you could read the story as a screenplay or a novel you'd be blown away. Seeing it as a low-budget movie just sort of sucks.

I wasn't too disappointed with the goriness or inventive (though far-fetched) torture scenes but I kept getting thrown by the absolutely terrible acting. Sometimes the lines were delivered as if they were being read and the response times between characters needed a lot of work. I can imagine the director, Eben McGarr, poking the actors with a long stick so they would know when to say their lines. I'm sure he didn't and probably thinks he created a masterpiece. It wasn't his fault that nobody had any chemisty, he only wrote and directed the thing! I'm sure he'll learn from this though as it is his first film.

One thing that you might not spot is that that Stephen Geoffreys from "Fright Night" plays the rat-loving teacher, Mr. Putski. You won't recognise him at all and, to be honest, he hasn't been in any movies that you'd want to see for quite some time. Let's just say that he had a bit of an alternative career. I'm not judging him and it's nice to see him back in the genre. He can act and his character is a little bit more than just a cameo. The only problem with his scenes is that they really show up how inadequate everybody else is and he isn't even all that outstanding either.

In spite of the considerable flaws with the acting, the camerawork is actually really good. Some of the scenes and cuts between characters could have been a little bit better but at least it's not all shaky.

I've already mentioned the sound but I think I should explain that it's the lack of a consistent volume that is the main problem. Some scenes are hard to hear and others are far too loud. If you watch this DVD on a laptop with headphones plugged in then it isn't much of a problem but if you are in your living room with the windows open then their are quite a few moments that you don't want anybody passing by outside to hear especially as there isn't much background music to alert them to the fact that you are watching a movie. If I was watching this in England then the American accents would give it away but, where I live now, I was expecting somebody to call the police to my apartment to see if I was up to mischief.

Of course, you are probably wondering how "sick" this film actually is. Well, it certainly lives up to its name. We have here, among other things, incestuous desires, abduction, torture, child murder, sexual mutilation, and rape. The torture scenes were certainly different to anything I've seen before even but, possibly because there's something wrong with me, I thought they were funny. I can honestly say that you won't be disappointed if you make it all the way to the end.

I'm not entirely sure if I want to recommend "Sick Girl". I've watched it twice and it doesn't stand up to a repeat viewing. If you go into it with no prior knowledge then it's not a totally awful film and it should hold your attention. Little flashbacks fill in a lot of details about the relationship between Izzy and her older brother. The scenes with her little brother and family friend add more roundness to what could have been a far more basic and generic horror movie. Some of it is a little bit sad and other bits are absolutely awful because it was a far more ambitious project than anybody had the technical skills for.

Certainly, you should hire this from Netflix or your local video rental store if you still have one. Unless you are really, really into collecting movies of this nature then I don't encourage you to buy it unless you find it really cheap somewhere. The overall quality of the product doesn't justify some of the higher price tags that I've seen on this DVD in some places.