September 30, 2013

Dark Touch (2013)



"In a remote town in Ireland, eleven-year-old Neve [sic] finds herself the sole survivor of a bloody massacre that killed her parents and younger brother. Suspecting a gang of homicidal vandals, the police ignore Neve's [sic] explanation that the house is the culprit."

If you're silly enough to read any other horror blog except mine, you'll probably see a lot of people praising how cerebral "Dark Touch' is and how it's meant to have a big message about the trauma caused by child abuse or some such unhappy horseshit at the heart of it. What a load of crap! I wanted it to be a ghost story, especially as the official IFC Films synopsis suggests a haunted house, so let the hate commence!

For those of us who can see through the fluff and arty-farty edits, "Dark Touch" is nothing more than a slow-paced clone of Stephen King's "Carrie" and "Firestarter", but it's set in the Irish countryside to make it look better. Give or take a few more disturbed children, it's kind of like how "Wake Wood" (2011) was a rip-off of "Pet Sematary" (1989) in a similar location, and it sucks just as much.

Nice cinematography using every method of filming from handheld camerawork to tripod-mounted long shots doesn't make up for the story being boring as buggery apart from two lush moments of goriness. Once you've seen them, it's not worth waiting for more unless clichés such as exploding windows, treading in broken glass with bare feet, or laconic little girls with Asperger's Syndrome float your boat. Even if they do, the cheap CGI fire effects will probably sink it.

Among the lameness, adults being pinned to walls by kitchen tables or chests of drawers against their thighs is a recurring theme in this movie which has very little to do with anything other than being another cheap and easy effect. I think it happens three or four times, but it may be more. What the significance of these repetitive scenes is, I have no idea. It can join the list of questions I have such as why does the hotter-looking mother suffer from bouts of tinnitus every time little Niamh throws a tantrum? And what kind of dyslexia causes the name Niamh to be pronounced "Neeve"?

"I'm a firestarter, twisted firestarter."

As Irish horror movies go, "Dark Touch" isn't the worst I've ever seen, but it's not even close to being up to the same high standard as "Dorothy Mills" (2008). The creepy atmosphere promises more than it delivers, and the eclectic mixture of regional Irish accents (which range from mild to harsh and unintelligible) cause it to be only a donkey or two short of another "Rawhead Rex" (1986). Having said that, I do quite like "Rawhead Rex" in spite of Clive Barker disowning it, and I'm not even sure if it has any donkeys in it anyway. If it didn't, it should have done. But I've digressed.

The acting in "Dark Touch" is fine given that character development is almost non-existent, and Swedish import Charlotte Flyvholm has a filler part as a heavily pregnant school counsellor to justify the Swedish financial investment. Out of all the characters, she stood out most for me by being the third pregnant blonde that I've seen in a movie this week, the other two being Detective Inspector Sarah Clayton (Joanne Froggatt) in "uwantme2killhim?" and Barb's mother also called Sarah (played by Chantal Quesnelle) in "Curse of Chucky".

Since there's unlikely to be a theatrical release of "Dark Touch" near you, it's available for half the price of a cinema ticket through the various VOD services. At $6.99, I think it's still way too much for a pre-pubuscent "Carrie" clone, and you'd be better off saving your money for the official "Carrie" remake in a few weeks.


September 29, 2013

Curse of Chucky (2013)



"After her mother's mysterious death, Nica begins to suspect that the talking, red-haired doll her visiting niece has been playing with may be the key to recent bloodshed and chaos."

Don Mancini's sixth installment in the "Child's Play" franchise has been one of the most anticipated horror sequels for those of us who aren't members of the privileged "praise everything" clique which gets invited to advanced screenings. After what seems like months since those shills started overhyping it, "Curse of Chucky" is finally available via VOD (depending on which country you live in and which service you use), so you can now see what all the fuss was about... or not, as the case may be.

As someone who prefers "Bride of Chucky" (1998) and "Seed of Chucky" (2004) over the first three movies, I'm a little bit disappointed that "Curse of Chucky" is more of a throwback to the earlier ones instead of continuing the story where "Seed of Chucky" finished, especially as I was anticipating being able to divide the franchise into two neat halves according to the titles. Until this one, if the movie has "Child's Play" in it, it's a dated one for fans of '80s and early '90s slashers, but if it has "Chucky" in it, you know it's going to be more modern and fun. Unfortunately, that idea has gone out of the window.

"Curse of Chucky" is like the first "Child's Play" with Chucky working alone and terrorising a family in their house for what seems like no apparent reason (until he explains everything two-thirds of the way through), and as such, it's mostly just another generic slasher with a creepy doll. Even with Brad Dourif appearing in the flashbacks, you could still easily replace Chucky with any doll from the last 30 years and not notice the difference. I was half-expecting Blade, Pinhead, and Tunneler to turn up, and I can't wait to see the inevitable Empire/Full Moon mashups appear on YouTube!

Either she's really tiny or the new Chucky is huge!

Ignoring the little girl who doesn't have much screen time anyway, the star of the show is Fiona Dourif (Brad Dourif's daughter). Apparently, she's not a bad actress, and she's exceptionally hot for a chick in a wheelchair! Sick puppies will probably say that she's the ideal woman because she can't run away, and I have a slight suspicion that her character is really only the way she is to make that somewhat puerile joke. I was quite surprised that Chucky didn't say it out loud at any point! Maybe it's due to the pussified PC times we live in that the one-liners are a lot weaker. Chucky has always been a bit disappointing as a psycho-pervert, but swearing is a poor substitute for his normally Freddy-esque humour.

Gore-wise, there are a couple of decent kills, including a decapitation and a lot of blood, but none of these movies are that special for gorehounds anyway. Most of the budget must have gone on the CGI effects to animate Chucky, which is a bit of a shame. It's not as if Chucky gets much time on screen either.

To add to the eyecandy, Danielle Bisutti (from "InSHITious 2") and Maitland McConnell provide an erotic surprise which I won't spoil for you. It's a nice touch, but it doesn't go far enough. A glimpse of Maitland in her red lingerie is the highlight; a hot and steamy shower scene would have been better.

Overall, I liked the first three-quarters of "Curse of Chucky". There was a little bit of suspense here and there, and I started to feel bad for Fiona Dourif's character, but after the courtroom scene, the three contradictory "fanservice" endings which followed (especially the one with Andy Vincent during the credits) ruined everything and pissed me off. Ideally, it might have been better to have placed the Jennifer Tilly ending in the credits, and left the others as "Special Features" on the future DVD rather than use them to pad the running time, but what's done is done.

"Curse of Chucky" is currently only available via VOD, but it will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on October 8th. Start saving your pennies if you're a Chucky fan, or save them for something better if you aren't.

September 28, 2013

Fright Night 2: New Blood (2013)



"By day Gerri Dandridge is a sexy professor, but by night she transforms into a real-life vampire with an unquenchable thirst for human blood. So when a group of high school students travel abroad to study in Romania, they find themselves ensnared in her chilling web of lust and terror."

Er... this new "Fright Night 2" isn't a sequel, it's another remake! Should I call it a "requel" or a "semake"? Naw, I'll just call it "another piece of straight-to-DVD crap" because that's exactly what it is.

Directed by Eduardo Rodriguez who made "Curandero" (2005), and starring a load of Brits and Romanians who nobody has heard of before, this sequel in name only isn't that bad in places, but it's still not very good overall. It's better than the the 2011 remake (which I refuse to review) and the real "Fright Night Part 2" (1988), but it's a lot less entertaining than the first "Fright Night" (1985). Having said that, I'm not a big fan of that movie either.

The new Gerri Dandridge is played by Jamie Murray, aka the hot chick from "Devil's Playground" (2010) and "Botched" (2007), but I didn't recognise her until I looked up the cast list. It's been far too long since I reviewed her previous movies, and she hasn't cropped up in anything else that I've seen until now.

The benefit of keeping a blog, of course, is being able to look up such details and make myself look like an idiot, but in my defence, even someone with an enormous brain like mine can't be expected to remember absolutely everything about the thousands of movies which have come and gone in the last three years. "Dexter" and "Warehouse 13" fans on the IMDb seem to know all about Jamie Murray for some reason, but I've never watched an episode of either TV series in my life and have no intention of doing so. She's an acceptable vampiress in "Fright Night 2", but it's due to her model looks and Kelly LeBrock accent rather than her acting.

Nice teeth!

The second major difference is that this "Fright Night 2" is full of boobs. Not just one or two boobs, but lots and lots of boobs! Combine them with some lesbian canoodling, a visit to a stripclub, bathfuls (or indoor swimming pools) of blood, and an animated comic strip, and it's got everything today's teenagers could want, right? Who cares that you've got Brits with fake American accents (that are probably looped), a load of crappy CGI, nobody you could give a damn about, and a completely unoriginal story? None of that matters. The morons will see the title on the DVD and rent or buy it anyway, won't they? That's what 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment are hoping will happen.

In its favour, "Fright Night 2: New Blood" at least attempts to put a new spin on things by taking everything to Romania. Why? Probably because it's traditional to set vampire movies in Romania, and it's a lot cheaper to film there! It also brings Countess Elizabeth Báthory into the story and gives her bat-like sonar, which I don't think I've ever seen in a vampire movie before. I mean, obviously I've seen "Countess Dracula" (1971) and other movies with that character in, but the sonar thing is a novelty.

Far less entertaining is the new Peter Vincent, played by Sean Power, who is now a "monster hunter" in some bogus reality TV show rather than a horror host or even a magician. Mercifully, he doesn't have much time on screen. In comparison, David Tennant wasn't that bad. Okay, he was still awful, but he just wasn't as bad as this drunken oaf. Sean Power (who has a great name, by the way) is only in this movie for the sake of having a Peter Vincent of some kind, and doesn't do anything important one way or another. He doesn't even kill Evil Ed!

British nerds playing American nerds.

It's not really worth mentioning the new Evil Ed except to say that the kid behaves like such a dick that I'm surprised Stephen Geoffreys' bat-sonar (i.e. gaydar) wasn't buzzing! He almost makes the new Charley Brewster look mature! Charley Brewster is still a horrible character though and his girlfriend Amy isn't any better. I couldn't care less what the names of the actors are who played them as I don't expect they'll be in anything else but British soap operas which I'll never see.

As much as I can usually find something of merit in any vampire movie, I had quite a struggle with this one. It's another sign of how creatively dead the American horror industry has become. "Fright Night 2: New Blood" is simply a pointless and unnecessary third remake disguised as a sequel to a remake which nobody wanted. Sadly, I expect there'll be a fourth one eventually too.

September 27, 2013

My fourth and fifth auction wins on Listia!

Two more free DVDs from Listia arrived yesterday!


I Know Who Killed Me (2007)

Lindsay Lohan!

"A young girl who was missing reappears, but she claims to be someone else entirely."

I think we all know why I wanted this: LINDSAY LOHAN! She's gorgeous.

The movie itself is a bit stupid and far-fetched, but I don't even care.

And...

Unrest (2006)

"One of the 8 Films to Die For". Still sealed.

"A young pathology med student suspects that the spirit of a dead cadaver in the hospital morgue where she works is killing off all those who handle or desecrate the body."

According to the IMDb, some fuss was made about this movie at the time because it contains real dead bodies. I don't remember a thing about watching it seven years ago though. I just got it for the sake of having it for nothing.


If you want some free stuff, click the banner below.

Auctions for free stuff at Listia.com

September 26, 2013

uwantme2killhim? (2013)



"A teenage boy's descent into the dangerous world of the Internet and the harrowing consequences of his actions. A true story."

Based on a news story originally published by Vanity Fair, "uwantme2killhim?" is the off-putting txt-speak title of Andrew Douglas' somewhat flawed dramatisation. It's written like that for reasons which will become obvious (except that spaces are used in the chat room scene), but those of us of a certain age who have never succumbed to typing like an idiot are more likely to pass this movie by as something which is meant for teenagers. That's a real shame too, since there's a semi-decent psychological thriller lurking within.

It's not the best movie in the world (it looks like a cheap British soap opera), but "uwantme2killhim?" tries hard to present a true story which is far stranger than fiction in an entertaining manner. Artistic licence intentionally prevents you from seeing the whole picture until the end, and depending on how much you think the story could have been more realistic, you will probably still agree that it's quite cleverly done. For anyone taking the movie at face value, however, the ending will feel like an enormous cheat.

The biggest problem though, other than changing the names, ages, and location to protect the not-so-innocent, is that the characters feel "wrong" in every scene. It's not just the clichés, everything they do and say reeks of fakery. To some extent it's intentional, but a lot of it is simply because the casting is questionable and the acting stinks. Not knowing how much is meant to be one way or the other until after the movie ends would be metafiction genius if handled better, but it's more likely to throw you out of the story than draw you in.

Who cut your hair? Dewhursts?

It isn't an issue that the characters talk to their computer screens as they type their words into a chatroom, we've all done that before. One character uses speech recognition software anyway, but it's easy to accept the movie convention when the others are clearly not using Microsoft NetMeeting or the yet to be invented Skype. I remember using Microsoft NetMeeting and a webcam at the end of the '90s, so the use of 2003 technology is spot-on otherwise. If you're feeling nostalgic for 2003, this is about as good as it gets without watching a movie which was actually made then.

Similarly, the school scenes may seem contrived and particularly horrible, but they are awkwardly realistic and familiar too for some bizarre reason which I can't quite put my finger on. Maybe it's because I've tried to forgot what it was like to be a very British teenager. The sad truth is that we're all complete dicks between 14-18 (and older!) with no exceptions, and I can recognise a lot of myself and my former school friends in the characters. Not that we were teenagers in the 2000s, but some things are universal. For the sake of not committing libel, all I can say is that we were some vile and immature little buggers.

While Channel 4's much shorter docu-drama version, "Kill Me If You Can" (2005), is slightly better overall, "uwantme2killhim?" isn't a bad "remake". Andrew Douglas' "The Amityville Horror" (2005) wasn't as strong as the original either, but as he's hardly a prolific director, maybe it's too early to say if there's a pattern forming.

September 25, 2013

Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)



"The haunted Lambert family seeks to uncover the mysterious childhood secret that has left them dangerously connected to the spirit world."

Utter, utter, utter, utter, utter, utter shite! And the same goes for all the shill reviews about this stupid, confusing, PG-13, exposition-laden borefest!

No scares. Crappy story. No Tiny Tim tiptoeing through the tulips. Not even Darth Maul is in this one! It's just some hot chick with blood red lipstick and her dead transvestite son called Nosey Parker, Melanie Melonballs, or something equally meaningless.

I went to sleep after 20 minutes and tried to stay that way until the end. Unfortunately, a succession of excessively loud noises kept waking me up for absolutely no good reason whatsoever. I looked around, saw nothing scary, and vainly attempted to get back to my dream about topless mermaids throwing giant oranges at each other. Anything to escape this deafening remake of the first movie, "The Amityville Horror", "Poltergeist", "The Grudge", "The Shining", "The Silence of the Lambs", "Ghost", "Doctor Who", "Mork and Mindy", and whatever else it blatantly borrows from. Alas, it was not to be, and I ended up seeing far more handheld camerawork than I ever wanted to.

Then I needed to pee.

Easiest. Review. Ever.

MILF Mortis! Sexy Danielle Biscutti!

Danielle Biscutti, Rose Byrne, Brooke Peoples, Jocelin Donahue, Lindsay Seim, Priscilla Garita, Stephanie Pearson, Sienna Farall, and Dannay Rodriguez are all hot!

I have no idea who played who, nor do I care. There are far too many people in this cash grab to keep track of anyway.

September 24, 2013

The World's End (2013)



"Five friends who reunite in an attempt to top their epic pub crawl from 20 years earlier unwittingly become humankind's only hope for survival."

Since I've been discovering far too many good movies recently, rather than tempt fate to throw a load of bad ones my way, I decided to redress the balance with a day of more torture than one person should ever have to endure. There may be no power on Earth which could ever get me to rewatch "Shaun of the Dead" (2004), but I finally watched "Hot Fuzz" (2007) and followed it up with "The World's End". Such a heroic act has to keep karma quiet for a while, doesn't it?

Although I can freely admit that I enjoyed "Hot Fuzz" almost until the end, I only did so as it was a kind of half-way house between the greatness of "Men Behaving Badly" (the British version) and the smarmy creepiness of Mitchell and Webb's "Peep Show" to prepare me for worse to come. Laddish comedy is so '90s and over now that movies such as "The Cornetto Trilogy" (or whatever the Hell these are called) are little more than throwbacks. I liked Olivia Colman's character, was amazed at how realistic Simon Pegg was as a far too politically correct cop, but the running gag with the swan stole the show. Let's face it, "Hot Fuzz" is only a comedic homage to "The Wicker Man" with a couple of lovely gore scenes anyway. Adam Buxton wearing a piece of church as a head is memorable, but nothing else.

I don't know what it is about the combination of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (with Edgar Wright as the director) which irritates me so much. It's not as if any of them owe me money or something; I just have a completely irrational loathing of them based on their movies. Thus, as you can imagine, I really wasn't looking forward to "The World's End"—even the title gave away that it was going to be yet another pub-centric fiasco which isn't funny—but surprisingly, I wasn't dead set against it either. If anything, my pre-movie mood could be described as hesitantly curious.

The thing you have to remember is that I have absolutely no sense of humour. It just doesn't exist for me in any kind of "laughing out loud" way, so I tend to watch comedies as dramas and note the wit, stunts, or happy endings which would place the subject matter in the correct category. When it comes to comedy, I'm 100% objective because I have no physical way of being subjective about it. For that reason, I can say everything that I need to say about "The World's End" in a few quick paragraphs.

Stop reading now if you don't want spoilers!

"This is a pub! We are in a pub! What are we going to do now?"

"The World's End" is very good indeed for the first 40 minutes. It's nicely filmed, the backstory is well told as an introduction, the characterisation is decent, the location is perfectly British, and several recognisable TV faces make everything comfortable. The witty banter reveals that the former bad boy hero is now a bit of a dick, his friends are easily led, and they're all uncommonly stupid, but it's aimiable enough. Sadly, everything goes horribly wrong when the first robots (or "blanks") appear. The whole mood of the film is killed in one fell swoop and never recovers afterwards.

What would have been better as a straightforward comedy about the reunion of old schoolfriends who reveal their secrets and discover a few more during a pub crawl then turns into a stupid parody of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"! WTF? WTF indeed! It's a pity that "Shaun of the Dead" already covered zombies because aliens are too far-fetched and ridiculous to be entertaining for me. I don't believe in aliens, I'm not even sure that there's intelligent life left on this planet, let alone anywhere else in the universe, and if there's one thing which will make me switch the channel on the TV instantly, it's anything about aliens. Unfortunately, you can't do the same thing in a movie theatre, and walking out wastes $12.

After a few text-speak jokes, the second-half of "The World's End" is a bunch of repetitive fight scenes which become extremely tedious by the third or fourth time they happen. There are, after all, only so many robot arms and legs you can pull off or eggshell heads you can crush before the action scenes fall into the same trap as the running-joke about "Starbucking" and identical-looking pubs. Needless to say, the carefully crafted characters are lost among the spectacle of effects and explosions, some of them physically. What a shame.

As I'm not down with the kids, I don't know if Pierce Brosnan's cameo is meant to be a special secret or a selling point, but either way, you know about it now. His former "Die Another Day" Bond-girl Rosamund Pike is on the alternative posters, so you already know that she's in this and is just as easy on the eye 11 years later. She doesn't have a very big role either, but ironically, she's on screen more than Pierce Brosnan in this movie.

Maybe if I had been as drunk as the characters were supposed to be, "The World's End" might been more entertaining, but I didn't completely hate it. Despite easily being the second weakest of the three Pegg-Frost-Wright movies and ending with a half-arsed swipe at our de-humanising reliance on modern technology, I'm sure comedy fans would get something out of it. It's simply a film of two halves—and twelve pints—which, just like this review, isn't very well written. That shitty ending which I'm sure everyone thought would be so clever is still too rushed, disappointing and unsatisfying for everyone except the characters themselves though. Stupidly, I expected more.

Placing the three movies in order of merit, I can now rate "Shaun of the Dead" as the weakest with 1 out of 10, "The World's End" gets 3 out of 10, and "Hot Fuzz" is the best of a bad lot with 4 out of 10. Thank God, I will never have to watch any of them again.

"I know all about you - sex for dinner, death for breakfast"

September 23, 2013

Devoured (2012)



"An intense, troubling film, boasting a spectacular lead performance from Marta Milans, DEVOURED calls to mind such bleak and visceral late '70s NY urban dramas as TAXI DRIVER and DRILLER KILLER in its expert depiction of alienation and escalating horror."

The synopsis from Amazon.co.uk describes "Devoured" so perfectly that there's very little I need to add. That product description absolutely nails it, uses the word "visceral" correctly, and reminds me of the days when I used to write such concise one or two sentence reviews instead of rambling on to fill up a blog post. For someone who doesn't often suffer from nostalgia, I miss those days a lot.

But as I wouldn't be me if I didn't have my own two cents to add, I will just say that I haven't enjoyed any "low-budget" movie as much I did this one. According to the IMDb, the estimated budget was only $1,500,000. That's still a huge amount of money for normal people, but hardly anything in movie industry terms, so maybe that's one of the few points in any independent movie's favour which I'm willing to concede. You don't need hundreds of millions of dollars to make a good movie if you know what you're doing, but the caveat is that you really do need to know what you're doing.

Although this is Greg Olliver's first horror movie, he's been around for a while making award-winning rock documentaries. His IMDb profile page details how he learnt his craft the right way by going to film school and then working his way up in the industry, so he isn't one of the half-arsed hobby horror filmmakers. The result of his knowledge and experience is that he has created an impressively adult "descent into madness" drama here which, despite its obviously Poe-like elements, isn't predictable at all.


Maybe I would have noticed some flaws if I hadn't been so captivated by Marta Milans as the lead, but the attention to detail is such that I doubt there are any important ones anyway. I would like to say that Marta Milans is to "Devoured" what Gretchen Lodge is to "Lovely Molly" (2011), since they both give outstanding performances which carry the rest of their respective movies, but that wouldn't be a completely accurate or fair comparison. It also wouldn't be fair on everyone else involved. Movies are a team effort, after all.

Everything about "Devoured" is as close to perfection as the budget allows. The cinematography is excellent, and from the script by Marc Landau to the smallest acting role, this is a classy, thought-provoking, and thoroughly engaging production. There are some movies which can draw you in as if you're living in them, and "Devoured" is certainly one of them. Whether you would actually want to live inside another person's nightmare is, however, another matter.

For an American movie, "Devoured" has a very European atmosphere and grittiness about it which means that it's bound to be a bigger success overseas, even if it's only for a niche audience. Such slow burns with great characterisation are unlikely to be so highly praised by the teenage slasher crowd who just want to see boobs and blood, and that's a real shame, but stranger things have happened. No matter what your age or tastes, if you call yourself a horror fan, you owe it to yourself to see this movie.

As far as I know, "Devoured" is currently only available from Amazon.co.uk as a DVD or Blu-ray. Hopefully, a US version will start appearing in stores soon. Keep an eye on the official website for further details.


September 22, 2013

The Family (2013)



"The Manzoni family, a notorious mafia clan, is relocated to Normandy, France under the witness protection program, where fitting in soon becomes challenging as their old habits die hard."

As I haven't done a "Surprise Sunday" review for months, I decided to watch this new movie by Luc Besson. I'm not sure whether to describe it as a dark comedy or a hybrid of light comedy and seriously violent drama, so it fits into my "uncategorisable" label quite nicely.

You can probably guess from the title and its star that "The Family" is a mafia movie. I would be an idiot to say that Robert De Niro has been typecast ever since "The Godfather: Part II" (1974), but he's so famous for playing gangsters in "The Untouchables" (1987), "Goodfellas" (1990), "Casino" (1995), and even "Analyze This" (1999) that such roles make him an ideal choice for yet another mafia-centric story, especially if you want it to be some kind of parody. He's 70 years old now, by the way, but with the magic of the movies, hair-dye and make-up, he has a few flashback scenes which amazingly manage to knock 10 or 20 years off.

Casting according to type and previous fame also provides Tommy Lee Jones with another special agent character much like Samuel Gerard from "The Fugitive" (1993) and its sequel, and Michelle Pfeiffer has an opportunity to be a GILF rather than a MILF. The years have clearly been a lot kinder to Michelle Pfeiffer than Tommy Lee Jones, but he is 12 years older than her and looks it. It's such a shame that we have to get older.

How and why a filmmaker like Luc Besson couldn't find any actors in a more appropriate age range for "The Family" is debatable, although I'd hazard a guess that he just decided to use these big names to sell his lacklustre movie instead of looking for new talent. However, as the kids are played by 27-year-old Dianne Agron and 18-year-old John D'Leo—who are also too old for their parts—maybe it's meant to be a comedic theme.

French people have very strange and dated ideas about what's funny; Jerry Lewis is still one of their comedy icons for some inexplicable reason. Thus, there's much sport made of French attitudes to Americans and vice versa (a la "National Lampoon's European Vacation"), and their entertainment tastes are lampooned with a Film Club who wish to have a debate over the Dean Martin drama "Some Came Running" (1958). The latter is a convenient Frank Sinatra and mafia tie-in as well which then pushes the metafiction element a little too far by being replaced on the night by "Goodfellas". Maybe that'll seem funnier to everyone else after another 20 years.

As a throwaway piece of light entertainment to pass the time, "The Family" isn't a bad movie, but you might expect more from the big names involved than what they deliver. Robert De Niro is naturally good-natured, but I've never found him particularly funny, and Michelle Pfeiffer is awkward playing a character who looks like she should really be a thirty-something. The kids do okay in their highschool subplots, and given the terrible script which they had to work with, nobody turns in a performance to be ashamed of, but this is far from their finest hour.

Constant changes in tone don't help matters much either. The extremely violent action scenes and deaths don't gel with the light-heartedness, and the comedy is only mildy amusing in a bad '80s kind of way to begin with. I'm not a fan of comedies, so you can take any opinion I may have with a pinch of salt, but nothing in "The Family" is side-splittingly hilarious unless you're very easily pleased.

If I had to give "The Family" a numerical rating, it would be 3 out of 10 for the flashback scenes, Robert De Niro's sadistic daydreams, and the over-the-top gunfight at the end. It'll be worth a Redbox rental when it comes out on DVD, but it's not worth paying $12 or more for a cinema ticket to see something which will be in Walmart's bargain bin after Christmas.

A comedy? The poster makes it look like a horror movie!

September 21, 2013

Elysium (2013)



"Set in the year 2154, where the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth, a man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds."

Using key plot elements from "Johnny Mnemonic" (1995) and "In Time" (2011) may not be enough for the general public to hate "Elysium", but the "critics" have certainly gone out of their way to bash this movie with those reasons already. Consequently, I have very little to add to their arguments except that I didn't like the predictable self-sacrifice ending either.

What? Have I just ruined the movie for you? Too bad. You've had over a month to watch it, and it's not playing in cinemas now anyway. On top of that, "Elysium" is just another generic sci-fi movie set in a dystopian future which looks good but you've seen dozens of times before. Admittedly, you probably haven't seen one with Jodie Foster's mouth movements out of sync with her words, but that's a dubious bonus which you can now avoid until the DVD is released.

Unlike the "critics" (even though I'm one of them), I'm not going to hate "Elysium" for being aesthetically similar to "District 9" (2009) since it's by the same director, but it's disappointing that poor people (and "prawns") living in scrapyards have become Neill Blomkamp's trademark. As a South African with a bee in his bonnet about apartheid, Blomkamp also seems destined to repeat the same "rich vs. poor" storyline—with the underdogs always representing good—for the rest of his career. Maybe things will change in his next big sci-fi movie "Chappie", but I doubt it.

"Elysium" isn't without some merits, however. It's nicely paced for one thing, and Matt Damon might not be everyone's cup of tea as Max, but he's not bad in the action scenes, even if those scenes are worse than the Bourne trilogy for making it impossible to tell who is doing what to who. He certainly looks the part once all the robotic enhancements have been done to him, although how he managed to get his dirty t-shirt back on afterwards is anyone's guess. I didn't dislike his character, but there's not enough there to feel anything for him either.

"Everything I found out, I wanna forget."

South African Sharlto Copley, on the other hand, steals the show as psycho-mercenary Kruger, albeit with Alice Braga coming a close second by providing splendid eyecandy as Max's former love interest. Both are far more interesting characters than the doomed Max despite being as stereotypically two-dimensional. William Fichtner (aka Sheriff Tom Underlay from the cancelled "Invasion" TV series) has a small, very important (and extremely typecast) role, but is the only other actor worth taking notice of. Everyone else is either just there playing dress-up or in bit parts which are instantly forgettable.

As a sci-fi "popcorn flick", it's not worth reading anything into "Elysium" apart than what's right in front of you. The lapses in logic are so obvious that there wouldn't be a story at all if they didn't exist, but if that's what some people want to waste their time arguing about on blogs and message boards, good luck to them. I must admit that I read a few of the oh-so-serious nerdy debates before writing this review and had a chuckle over them.

There's definitely entertainment to be had here for teenagers or anyone with low-intelligence and expectations who enjoyed "Oblivion" or "Pacific Rim", but having said that, I enjoyed a few of the gorier action scenes too. I'm not ashamed of leaving my brain outside the movie theatre occasionally, especially when I don't have that much interest in the sci-fi genre to begin with.

September 20, 2013

Eva (2011)



"A shy genius is employed by his former university to design robot software."

Although "Eva" is really sci-fi, I needed something for "Fantasy Friday", and it fits this category too. In fact, it's closer to being a "Frankenstein"-esque fairytale than anything else, and for those of you who've noticed a theme going on this month, yes, it's another beautiful Spanish movie. I've been watching more foreign movies recently than ever before due to the lack of decent English language titles, but that will change again next week because I haven't got many new ones left.

Not to be confused with Peter Dickinson's YA novel of the same name (which I know you've never heard of!), "Eva" is about robots rather than chimpanzees, but it still brings up the same questions about life, consciousness, and what makes us what we are. The subject matter is a staple of sci-fi books and movies, so it's not the most original story in the world, and there are similarities to "Bicentennial Man" (1999) and "A.I. Artificial Intelligence" (2001).

I'm not going to knock the big Hollywood robot movies which are obviously excellent, but I enjoyed "Eva" just as much as "Bicentennial Man" and more than "A.I. Artificial Intelligence". Apart from a twist which I didn't see coming (but should have done!), there's a cat robot in "Eva" which is outstanding, plus I'm kind of in lust with Marta Etura who plays Lana. If you don't know who she is, check out "Sleep Tight" (2011) and "Los Últimos Días" (2013).

Marta Etura and Claudia Vega.

Detractors may say that "Eva" is too slow, overuses long shots, and the characters don't have much depth, but I disagree. There are no pacing problems, and the cinematography is very good indeed. The characters could have been fleshed out a little bit more, especially in the case of Alex Garel (played by Daniel Brühl) who is a bit boring even for a scientist, but there's enough made of them to tell the story. Bearing in mind that a 20 minute prologue (which is included on the Spanish Blu-ray) was removed to give more emphasis to the twist, the characters weren't originally so flat.

As "Eva" isn't set that far ahead in the future, there aren't too many weird effects used except at the robot lab and every time Alex runs his computer program. Some people may find that disappointing, but I didn't. Less is more, as they say, and the snowy location covers a multitude of sins. There are plenty of robots if you look for them including little horses, dogs, more traditional machines, and, of course, the cute prototype 519. Channelling Robin Williams slightly, Lluís Homar undoubtedly steals the show as creepy servant-robot Max. His menace is a total red herring though and is completely unintentional. In this movie, it's the "free robots" that you have to be careful of.

Claudia Vega as Eva.

Horror fans will notice several similarities to "Splice" (2009) but without the incestuous implications. Claudia Vega who plays Eva isn't as sexualised as some reviewers suggest despite a couple of scenes which might make you wonder. If anything, she comes across like a nicer version of the little girl in "Sleep Tight", and her use of age-inappropriate dialogue is meant as a clue to her secret instead of turning her into another Esther from "Orphan" (2009). I can't say any more about that without spoiling the movie for you, but it doesn't take a genius to work it out.

According to a rumour on the IMDb, the Weinsteins will be distributing "Eva" in the USA later this year. In what format, I have no idea, but I expect there will be a dubbed version for the hard of understanding, and an inevitable Hollywood remake eventually. For now, I recommend importing the English subtitled Blu-ray from Amazon.


September 19, 2013

The Hidden Face (2011)

(AKA "La cara oculta")



"A Spanish orchestra conductor deals with the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend."

Don't watch the trailer!!!

I can't stress that enough! Do not watch the spoiler-filled trailer or read anything else about this beautiful movie before watching it!

All you need to know about "The Hidden Face" is that it was directed by Andrés Baiz, it's set in Bogotá, Colombia, and it stars Quim Gutiérrez, Martina García, and Clara Lago. Oh, and there's lots of lovely nudity too!

I'm not going to review it except to say that, just like its stars and location, it's almost perfect. This is what movies should be and used to be like before the handycam brigade ruined everything with their slew of shit.

"The Hidden Face" is simply one of the best Spanish thrillers that I've ever seen! The tension was so great that it had me shouting at the screen near the end, and I hope it will give you the same pleasure.

Just enjoy this one!


September 18, 2013

We Are What We Are (2010)

(AKA "Somos lo que hay")



"When the patriarch of the family passes away, the teenage children must take responsibility for the family chores: the preparation of the rituals, the hunting and putting the all-important meat on the table. These newfound responsibilities are even more daunting, however, when you live in the city and happen to be a family of cannibals."

Just a quick one for "Woeful Wednesday". I'm not going to spend much time on this older Mexican movie since the only reason I watched it was in preparation for the American remake which is coming soon.

Although I now love Spanish language movies (whether they be Mexican, Chilean, Colombian or Spanish), I didn't get much out of this one. "We Are What We Are" is more about the family's disintegration after the death of the father than it is about horror. There's plenty of blood and gore along the way. but most of the kills are off camera with only the aftermath shown. Don't believe the quote on the DVD cover about it being "a cannibal gore-fest" because it isn't.

Everything else you need to enjoy a movie is in place including decent (mainly handheld) camerawork and adequate acting, but the story isn't that great. For a family of cannibals, they are more about keeping a superstitious ritual going than appeasing their appetite, and they're pretty stupid in the way they go about it. Despite having some comic relief anyway, "We Are What We Are" might have been better played as a comedy.

Meh. Whatever.

I won't say that "We Are What We Are" is boring, but it does drag from time to time. There's a pretty girl in it, of course, who doesn't get to do as much as the others, so it's also a bit barren on the tottie front. Hopefully, Paulina Gaitan, the aforementioned pretty girl, will turn up in something horrific again one day because, apparently, she's become quite successful in other Mexican movies and TV shows.

I really don't have anything else to say about this movie. It has a few similarities to "Spider Baby" (1968), "The Hamiltons" (2006), and "Mum and Dad" (2008), but it's not even close to being as entertaining as any of them, and the ending is full of clichés. Thus, I wasn't completely disappointed, but I wasn't amazed by it either. "We Are What We Are" is simply an instantly forgettable movie which could have been so much better.


Here's a trailer for the remake (with the genders of the family members changed) which I might not watch now. It does look quite good though.



September 16, 2013

Empire of the 'B's - The Authorised History of Empire Pictures

Empire of the 'B's by Dave Jay, Torsten Dewi, and Nathan Shumate

According to the official Full Moon Features Facebook page:
"This book has been in the works for a very long time... Isn't the cover great?!?
In a few months, it will be available in the UK at bookstores, via http://www.fullmoondirect.com, Amazon, and at conventions!"

The MAD Movie World of CHARLES BAND

Here's the back cover:

Foreword by STUART GORDON

I can't wait to get my paws on a copy! How about you?

Update
You can now also buy it from Amazon: Empire of the 'B's: The Mad Movie World of Charles Band

September 15, 2013

Atrocious (2010)



"Two teenage siblings endure a terrifying experience while investigating a rural legend near their family's vacation home."

Thank God for "Bloody Disgusting Selects", not because the horror movies they've chosen are any good but because it's easy to write them off with a tirade of abuse.

"Atrocious" is yet another faux found footage movie in much the same vein as "The Blair Witch Project", and we all know how little I think of that piece of shit. Other than being Spanish, the only real difference is that the kids are younger, and that, in and of itself, is a big clue to the intended target audience.

After an exceedingly boring first-half with nothing but a dead dog to show for it, it all becomes a series of poorly filmed night vision scenes of lots of bushes and trees! Give or take some annoying screaming and shouting, it's just like watching a typical episode of "Ghost Hunters" which doesn't have any ghosts in it either.

With nauseating camerawork and no scares, "Atrocious" certainly lives up to its name and is going straight into the dungeon. I don't have time to watch any more shakycam crap like this, and I didn't have the patience to make it all the way through this one.

Supposedly, it has some kind of non-supernatural twist at the end.

Aptly named.

September 14, 2013

Baby Shower (2011)



"Four ex-classmates get together to celebrate the pregnancy of one of them. The venue chosen for the party is a country house located one hour away from the city. It has been a while since the four of them saw each other for the last time, and one recently committed betrayal threatens to destroy their long and deep friendship. The revelation of a dark secret and a series of violent deaths transform the baby shower into a nightmare. A very disturbing one."

Something which surprised me after watching "Baby Shower", and then looking up reviews to steal pictures from, is that there aren't any positive reviews of this movie to be found on the IMDb (or anywhere else for that matter). That seems very odd to me, and means one of two things: either not enough people have seen this movie yet, or a lot of copying and pasting has been done from one review to another. Bearing in mind that the "critics" in every case mainly retell the story in their own spoilerific words, I have no respect for any of them, least of all one who hated the movie because it had subtitles, and another douchebag who I know didn't give it his full attention because he practically lives on Twitter.

I have no idea what director Pablo Illanes did to upset these "reviewers" apart from placing non-comedic versions of the "Sex and the City" girls in the middle of a Chilean forest and bumping them off in fabulously gory ways—especially as I think the whole idea is absolutely fantastic—so just because he's managed to bring one of my own sordid dreams to life, I'm going to give "Baby Shower" a thoroughly positive review to redress the balance.

Okay, I admit that in my imagination, it would only be the most irritating characters from "Sex and the City" being tortured in insanely erotic ways that wouldn't ever legally make it to film, but you have to take what you can get. Obviously, nobody would want to see anything bad happen to Charlotte (Kristin Davis), since she's the only pretty one in the show, and I'm pleased to say that her lookalike Ángela (Ingrid Isensee) doesn't suffer too much either (except emotionally!). Everyone else does—oh, yes, indeedy—and there's lots of blood, nudity, and mean-spiritness to enjoy here!

Aside from (but including) the boobs and blood, the cinematography is sometimes quite beautiful, especially for a low-budget foreign movie (if you can call $900,000 low-budget!), and the location looks the part. Where logically there should be spaciousness, the atmosphere is parodoxically claustrophobic, and that takes some doing, especially as the camera looks at everything you want to see and quite a few unpleasant things which most people don't!

"You have to let go of who you were to become who you will be."

With a hint of "Rosemary's Baby" (1968) and a little bit of the craziness from "Inside" (2007), the plot itself isn't the most original, but it's handled in a much better way than either of those aforementioned borefests. Let's face it, I might like "Rosemary's Baby" myself, but it's still 45 years old and has become horribly dated now. It was never very believable to begin with, and teenagers are more likely to laugh at it. On the other hand, "Inside" is simply an overrated idiot play with unrealistic gore, and I'll never understand its appeal if I live to be a hundred.

Thus, even with its stereotypical characters which aren't really developed, and other clichés such as non-functioning cell phones abounding, "Baby Shower" is much more suitable for a modern audience, especially if they're sick puppies like me who appreciate realistic woundings and creative kills. The fact that the actresses are some of the best-looking women in Chile also doesn't hurt. Just pick out your favourite and enjoy her for as long as she remains on screen.

Once again, I'm not going to give any spoilers because I hate it when other people do that. Suffice it to say that the sexy "Samantha" character called Olivia (Claudia Burr) steals the show from creepy lunatic Soledad (Patricia López), but the rest of the cast are still impressive. In particular, Sofía García, Francisca Merino, and Kiki Rojo don't play typical helpless victims; they fight back and scream very well indeed!

The only eyecandy for the ladies is Álvaro Gómez as Julio whose first appearance is shirtless and riding a horse, so you can imagine the impression that makes! He's not quite Marcus Tandy from "Eldorado", but women shouldn't be watching horror movies for hunky men anyway. To be honest, women shouldn't ever watch horror movies like this in the first place because they'll only bitch about the gratuitous nudity, misogynistic violence, and rape afterwards. I've had enough of those prudes to last me a lifetime, and I'm sure you have too.

As "Baby Shower" isn't available on DVD yet (except in Germany), you'll have to be a Netflix subscriber to see it legally anywhere else, but you should definitely check it out if you're into the gory stuff, and unlike some dumbass reviewers, you don't mind reading subtitles.

Highly recommended.


September 13, 2013

It's Friday the 13th again!


And I couldn't care less. I hate that stupid '80s crap.

All you're going to hear about today is "Friday the 13th" this and "Jason Voorhees" that until you're sick to death of it too. "Don't forget to buy the new overpriced Blu-ray boxset with crappy packaging that scratches the discs inside!" etc., etc., etc.

Yeah, you can now buy all the movies again on Blu-ray for nearly $90 - Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection [Blu-ray] - as if that'll make them magically better. Yawn! I don't think so.

Seen one, seen 'em all.

Feel free to read my review of the first "Friday the 13th" here though.


A Quick Guide to Friday the 13th
(by Blizzard_Beasts from the IMDb. I wish I'd written what follows, but I didn't.)

Part 1 - Jason's mom kills people, and she is beheaded at the end.

Part 2 - Jason wants revenge and starts killing people, and survives a machete to the shoulder at the end.

Part 3 - Jason still wants revenge and keeps killing, and survives an axe to the face/skull at the end.

Part 4 - Jason still wants revenge, and young Tommy Jarvis kills him by putting a knife through his eye that comes out the back of his skull. At this point Jason is dead and gone.

Part 5 - Since Jason is dead, a copycat killer wears Jason's mask and starts killing people, and he gets killed at the end by being impaled on spikes.

Part 6 - Even though Jason is dead, Tommy Jarvis wants to destroy him by digging up his body and setting it on fire. But for some reason, he sticks a metal pole in Jason's chest during a storm. Lightning strikes it and brings back a zombie Jason, who still wants revenge. At the end, Jason is chained to a rock at the bottom of the lake.

Part 7 - Girl has psychic powers. Her dad dies by mistake. She tries to resurrect her dad with her powers, but accidentally breaks open Jason's chains, and Jason comes out still looking for revenge. At the end, she brings her dad back with her powers, and her dad drops Jason to the bottom of the lake once again just like the end of Part 6.

Part 8 - A power line gets hit by a boat and causes electrical currents to flow through Jason's body, and he's back once again for revenge. He gets killed by toxic waste at the end.

Part 9: Jason Goes to Hell - ignored all the previous parts since the franchise was sold to New Line Cinema.

Part 10: Jason X - ignored Part 9.

Part 11: Freddy vs Jason - ignored Part 10.

Part 12 - reboot, ignored everything.


If you really must watch something about "Friday the 13th", here's Paul Zamarelli's video instead. It's informative but slightly incorrect. "Friday the 13th" jumped the shark long before New Line Cinema took over the franchise!



Bored now.

September 12, 2013

Daglicht (2013)



"Some family secrets cannot bear the daylight."

Based on the bestselling novel by Marion Pauw, "Daglicht" is a Dutch movie which is bound to get the same Hollywood remake treatment as "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" once the "powers-that-be" get wind of it. Unlike "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" though, this movie is very formulaic and will appeal to the lowest common denominator rather than the more cerebral.

"Daglicht" (meaning "Daylight") is a polished but predictable European thriller which seems cleverer than it needs to be until you start picking away at the details. Much debated theories about genetics which pave the way for far-fetched discovery contrivances are more likely to be met with a shrug by today's "look it up" generation and laughter from those who know better, and once you realise that the mystery aspect is so easy to solve, it's only worth watching to see your hunches played out.

Maybe that's the point of the thriller genre anyway, but as entertaining as such predictability may be, we're so many years on from "Columbo" and "Murder She Wrote" that I'm surprised how something this simple could still work. Apart from one problem solving spectacle, I'm certain that everything in "Daglicht" has been done to death in soap operas too.

Don't worry, I'm not going to spoil "Daglicht" by deconstructing the entire plot because it's definitely worth watching with no prior knowledge of what it's about, but a visit to TVTropes.com afterwards will make you feel quite foolish for liking any of it. Mind you, I could say the same thing about 99% of the movies made in the last 40 years because that's just the way things are. Change the character names and locations, and we're always being resold the same half-dozen stories.

If you don't want even minor spoilers, stop reading now!

Great production values and a fine cast of Dutch actors including Derek de Lint, Fedja van Huêt, and Monique van de Ven barely cover the superficial dialogue, unrealistic relationships, and rushed situations. Everything may look good, especially Angela Schijf as Iris (and Matteo van der Grijn as Bo for the ladies), but "Daglicht" often feels like a glorified TV movie with abrupt scene changes which would normally be hidden by commercial breaks.

It's not that things jump haphazardly from one scene to the next as there is a logical progression, albeit with a few flashbacks, but many clues are revealed without reason or compulsion. Hardly any work is put into investigating other than a few interviews, and infuriatingly, the dead ends or red herrings which crop up are simply abandoned. For example, how Iris goes from one internet search to another with such precision is never explained, and the crucial cover-ups are probably the worst kept secrets in the entire history of cover-ups. When every major character is so willing to talk, it makes the minor characters who refuse to reveal information look ridiculous. Worse than that, some characters don't seem to serve any purpose at all, especially Thijs Römer's initially interesting but entirely superfluous role.

To give credit where it's due, the make-up on Fedja van Huêt (who plays both the younger and older Ray) is as outstanding as his acting, but he's not a million miles away from being a less sympathetic clone of "Rain Man". Thus, for every point in its favour, "Daglicht" has several more against it. The deal breaker for me is that the kid who plays Iris's son is annoying to the point of making you want to see something very bad and extremely painful happen to him, but sadly, nothing does.

Angela Schijf and Derek De Lint. Cool.

"Daglicht" was released theatrically in the Netherlands on April 11th this year, but has been leaked to the internet before getting even an official UK DVD release. I may be cynical, but the very high quality of the streams which I've seen suggest that rather than being uploaded by pirates, it was done by the producers themselves to avoid an international distribution deal for a movie which they realise isn't that good and use that loss to make it easier to pitch the idea of a remake directly to Hollywood. Stranger things have happened.

In its still pre-Hollywood remake favour though, "Daglicht" does attempt to show the negative repercussions of mental retardation. Despite going out of its way to reinforce the bullshit myth of idiot savants, the fact that Ray's own mother can't cope with him after his emotionless animal cruelty is only one example of the darker side.

Bearing in mind that nothing in "Daglicht" is as controversial as any of the statements I made above, there are a couple of gratuitously shocking moments, but the ickiness factor is very underplayed. Its superficial portrayal of mental health problems mean that "Daglicht" is hardly another "Loving Walter" (1982), nor could it ever be. Gritty realism would have made "Daglicht" something that everybody would want to talk about rather than another example of pulp.

Nice poster!

September 11, 2013

Ten ways to improve your internet life


It's not that I'm burnt out by it, but I often feel mentally drained within several minutes of surfing the internet. There are now too many voices competing for attention, and there's so much mediocrity that it makes me feel physically ill. Okay, maybe I am a little bit burnt out, but it's with good reason.

If something doesn't appeal to me in real life, I can just walk away from it and never have to encounter that thing or person ever again, but the internet isn't something I can abandon so easily. I've been a presence on this worldwide communication tool for over 20 years, and I'm not going to be giving up on it any time soon. Thus, I have now devised a way to make my internet experience enjoyable again which you'd be wise to take notice of.


1. Use AdBlock Plus.

There's nothing I hate more on the internet than advertising for things I don't want or need, so whoever invented Adblock deserves a medal for creating such a convenient tool. Being able to deny lame YouTubers their Google Ads revenue has never been easier, plus I never have to see all the fluff surrounding Facebook or Twitter again either. No more trending Tweets about Justin Beiber or One Direction for me!

AdBlock is just awesome in every way, although you definitely shouldn't use it on my blog if you still want to see all the pretty pictures!


2. Delete cosplayers and gamers from your social networks.

In the thousands of years of human civilisation, I don't think there have ever been two groups of nerds who people despise more than these infantilised idiots. While there's nothing wrong with playing Facebook apps occasionally or dressing up for Hallowe'en, these retards take things to a whole new level of irritating. If it's not a million automated Facebook posts about which level of Candy Crush they've just reached or how many eggs they still need to buy a new chicken on Farmville, they're on Twitter posting dozens of pictures of themselves dressed as some kind of superhero character from obscure Japanese comicbooks, cartoons and console games which nobody has ever heard of. Gah!

Yes, cosplayers, we get it. You're an overgrown child or a wannabe model who doesn't have the looks to be a model. You may appeal to some acne-ridden pubert who wants to see your wonderbra-enhanced boobies in hundreds of pictures which all look the same, but nobody else can put up with that or your over-exciting enthusiasm about "Dungeons and Dragons"-style RPGs which haven't been popular since 1992.

Once you've unfollowed/unliked them, believe me, it's like a breath of fresh air!


3. Unsubscribe from YouTube fluff channels.

Look it, there are only two reasons to watch anything on YouTube - movies and music videos. Everything else on there is a load of bland crap, motor-mouthed Americans who think they're funny (and probably are for 5 year olds), gamers, cosplayers, make-up girls, bad movie reviewers playing "show and tell", and butthurt ranters. Honest to God, I truly believe that YouTube is one of the few sites on the internet where you can find somebody to hate with every fibre of your being within 5 minutes of signing up. And don't even get me started on the grammatically-challenged comments!

Once you realise this and only subscribe to the movie channels, YouTube is actually pretty great except that 90% of the illegally uploaded movies (most of which still don't have a DVD release) will disappear from your playlist within a week of watching them. DownloadHelper is, of course, your friend!


4. Unfollow/block people with mental health issues.

Whether this is on Twitter or Facebook, there will always be people who you followed, "friended" or liked (usually because they were pretty) who then turn out to be deranged assholes. Why they have to spoil it all by being irritating beyond belief is anybody's guess, but one of the answers I've come up with is that human beings really don't need to know that much about each other before they start getting annoyed with each other's follies.

As a rule, the people I tend to unfollow very quickly are those who are an "-ist" of some kind. People with causes are the worst! Primarily, I block feminists, athiests, buddhists (who are just athiests by a different name), anybody who is into politics or boring news items, and vegetarians/vegans. In real life, I would not be friends with a member of any of these "groups", so why would I want them in my internet life?

It also almost goes without saying that I won't follow anyone under 25 years old because their brains don't work properly. I may have to raise that limit to above 30 soon though.


5. Banish lame blogs from your reading list.

I would name names, but what's the point? Instead, I'll give you a few general examples of the blogs which I never return to.

i. Snarks.
I don't like sarcasm or snarky people, and it really doesn't work in literary form. It's not funny, and even if it was, I wouldn't find it funny because I have no sense of humour.

ii. Haters.
Although I've been described as a hater myself, it doesn't necessarily follow that I want to associate with more haters. My blog posts are fair and honest rather than setting out to hate something just for the sake of hating it.

iii. Multi-posters/group blogs.
Any blog which has more than one writer is doomed to failure because they hardly ever agree with each other, the quality varies from one post to the next, and their attached forums are always full of whiteknighting fantards.

iv. Poorly presented blogs.
Whether they are poorly written or ungrammatical doesn't bother me as much as blogs with images which are too big for the posts or hang off the edge of the sidebars. I also won't return to any where all the text is centred like a poem, are too difficult to navigate, or I can't scroll through their posts with the up and down keys. Sites with "Top Ten" lists where you have to click through ten pages to see each each item should be banned!

v. Anything I have to pay to read.
Seriously? Who pays to read a blog? Not going to happen.


6. Never go to Reddit.

Whatever anyone posts on that crappy site will be seen as trollbait or downvoted into oblivion, so it's not worth the effort. As a moderator of several subreddits, I spend more time deleting spam and blocking trolls than enjoying the communities I've created. There are also several long term users of the site who need to be banned from the entire internet as far as I'm concerned.

The only good thing about sites like Reddit and 4chan is that they used to keep the majority of the internet's detritus in two easily avoidable places. Unfortunately, they've spread to YouTube and other places since.

Want a free message board? Just sign up with Proboards instead.


7. Boycott Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and other e-beggars.

Very easily done if you have the good sense to realise that it's all a scam. Normal people work hard and save up for things, or take out loans if they're in business. Giving your hard-earned money to somebody who already has more than you just so they can make something which they then expect you to buy is absolutely bloody stupid! Don't forget that Kickstarter and Indiegogo get paid out of the raised money too, so there's nothing altruistic about any of it.

Just unfollow/unlike anybody promoting one of these "crowdfunding campaigns", and you'll never have to grind your teeth in anger over these e-begging scumbags again.


8. Don't follow the pretty people.

They'll just make you feel bad about yourself as they post a million pictures from their latest free holiday somewhere exotic or tell you about somebody else giving them gifts simply because they're pretty.

Things come too easy to these people anyway, so make internet life harder for them by not pandering to their vanity and narcissism. Give yourself a reality check; even if you had a million dollars worth of plastic surgery, you aren't ever going to bump uglies with them!

As an aside, I won't ever employ pretty people in real life because they are useless at everything, have no personalities other than a plethora of entitlement issues, and are thick as two short planks.


9. Don't follow celebrities.

They are never as cool as the characters they play on stage or screen, and most of them have no personalities of their own. If their posts, status updates, or Tweets are actually written by them, they'll still be boring as Hell to read and will probably involve what they had for lunch.

Constant promotions about their next project will most certainly piss you off unless you are an obsessed mega-fan, in which case, may God have mercy on your soul.


10. Spend less time online.

Once you switch your computer off, there's a whole world of real people out there who are much more interesting. Or if you're like me and don't like people, there are cats to play with and movies to watch! Either way, taking regular breaks from internet bullshit will make you a lot happier.


If you found any of this useful, or even if you didn't, leave me a comment below.