Category Archives: Saturday is Horror Day

Saturday is Horror Day #61 – The Grudge 2, Unfriended

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

The Grudge 2

 


Aubrey’s (Amber Tamblyn) sister Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is being held in Tokyo, accused of burning down a house. Their mother is too ill to fly to Japan to deal with the situation but demands Aubrey do so, even though she has gone no contact with Karen. Aubrey goes and finds her sister under lock and key at a hospital. Karen is actually happy to see her and begs her to get her out of there. Aubrey meets a young man named Eason (Edison Chen) who also wants to talk to her sister. He is a journalist and he is trying to figure out what happened in that house, but Aubrey isn’t receptive to the idea.

Allison (Arielle Kebbel) is the new kid  at an elite academy in Tokyo. But she quickly becomes a target by some of the popular mean girls. Two of them take her to a house which was the scene of some horrific crimes and persuade her to go inside with them. There they play a vicious prank on her, locking her inside a closet, where she sees something horrifying. But the prank backfires when one of the girls goes missing, and Arielle just wants to go home.

 

Meanwhile, in Chicago, Trish (Jennifer Beals) has moved in with her boyfriend Bill (Christopher 


Cousins) and his two kids – Lacey (Sarah Roemer) and Jake (Matthew Knight). She wants to get to know them, but they aren’t sure about her. Jake thinks something strange is going on with their next door neighbors, but he isn’t sure what, other than they’ve come in with someone who huddles beneath their coat and can’t be seen. Strange things begin to happen. Trish and Bill are nowhere to be found, and he thinks there is something wrong. He sees things he is sure can’t really exist. But when he meets the girl next door, she tells him they followed her home.

The Grudge 2 picks up where the first one leaves off. There are three intertwining stories here, which sometimes makes it difficult to follow the plot. I’m still not entirely sure why these things are happening, although the film gives the same explanation as the first one. Again, not a bad film. I hope everything is wrapped up in the final installment. I’ll give this one 3.5 Stars as well.

Unfriended


A group of friends who are Skyping find themselves with an uninvited stranger in their midst, one they cannot get rid of no matter how many times they exit and enter. As if this wasn’t odd enough, someone is posting on the Facebook of a dead girl named Laura, who committed suicide… one year before. The intruder claims to be Laura and is determined to reveal all the group’s secrets, including who posted the embarrassing video that caused her to kill herself.

The intruder, who calls herself Billie, but whose account is linked to Laura’s, wants to play a game of Never have I ever. And secrets are being revealed that will tear friendships apart. But worse than that, breaking the rules of the game could prove to be deadly.

 

This film is told from the POV of the participants, as we watch them Skype on their individual screens. As the night progresses, the teens turn on each other as their secrets are revealed in the midst of this deadly game. It has a fair amount of scares and shock value to be interesting without being too obvious. In fact, at the end you can’t really be sure what exactly happened. 

 

None of these teens is exactly innocent, they were all cyber bullies who received their just desserts. Lesson to be learned – be careful what you do on the Internet, it will live there forever. I did enjoy this and will give it 4 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #60 – The Funhouse, Human Centipede III (Final Sequence)

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

The Funhouse


Amy Harper (Elizabeth Berridge) doesn’t get out much, under the watchful eye of her parents, but when the opportunity arises to go on a double date with her friend Liz (Largo Woodruff), she takes it. Amy’s date is hunky Buzz Dawson (Cooper Huckabee) and Liz’s date is the more nerdy Richie Atterbury (Miles Chapin). Amy tells her dad the two couples are going to the movies, instead of their original plans of going to the carnival, as her dad had told her not to go. But they end up there anyway. On a whim, they decide to spend the night in the Funhouse, and Amy tells her parents she is spending the night at Liz’s house.

Amy’s little brother Joey (Shawn Carson) has been a pain in the butt, but he loves horror movies, and he knows where his sister is going, so he sneaks out of the house and heads toward the carnival.  The two couples hide inside the Funhouse, and after hours, they’re making out when they hear a noise. They are able to see a room below them, where the drunken fortune teller, Madame Zena (Sylvia Miles) is talking to the man with the Frankenstein’s monster’s mask, who was operating the Funhouse. They make a transaction for money but when things don’t turn out to the man’s satisfaction, he wants his money back. Although technically he doesn’t say that since he seems to be only capable of grunts. When Madame Zena refuses, he flies into a rage and strangles.

 

Now the couples want nothing more than to get away from this place. But that seems less and less likely, and the creature knows they’re there and is after them. Turns out he’s dealt with this sort of problem before. Can the teens make it out of the Funhouse alive?

This film has something of a pedigree, with director Tobe Hooper, who you may recall from such films as Poltergeist and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And writer Lawrence Block. Their combined work adds some quality to what is otherwise a forgettable film. It’s not so much that it’s bad, but I think the “freak” who is the oddball in the film and prone to violence if not handled correctly has been a bit overdone. There is no explanation of what is wrong with him, and how he came to be the way he is.

 

All in all, not a bad film and worth checking out. I’ll give it 3.5 Stars, mostly because I like Tobe Hooper

Human Centipede III (The Final Sequence)


To be honest, I wasn’t going to touch on this despite watching it today, but I’ll give it a brief mention anyway. First, you need to watch the first two, just because. They’re not exactly sequels but they also are. In the second one, we saw the first one as a film on DVD, and now in the third one, the first two are films on DVD. The doctor from the first film, Dieter Laser, is back as Bill Boss, the sadistic tyrant of a prison warden. Laurence R. Harvey, who was in the second film, is back as Boss’ accountant, Dwight Butler. Boss is beyond bad and terrorizes everyone, including his secretary Daisy (Bree Olson) and makes inappropriate sexual demands on her (not that there are appropriate sexual demands, just saying). 

Butler is obsessed with the Human Centipede films and makes Boss watch them, but he isn’t impressed. Neither is he impressed with the idea of making a human centipede at the prison, although Butler argues it will solve a lot of problems, including morale, discipline, and budgetary issues. The prison doctor, Dr. Jones (Clayton Rohner) is also a fan of the films and claims he can make it happen. Together, he and Butler think they have even improved the original techniques. Btw, Dr Jones is lucky to be able to work there, as Boss reminds him, because he has no medical license, so can’t be employed anywhere else. Boss changes his mind when the plan meets with the approval of Governor Hughes (Eric Roberts), although the governor doesn’t really realize what they intend to do.

 

Well, there is the basic premise. Let me just say it’s the weakest entry of the three, and most of the film consists of Boss’s ranting and raving and sadistic treatment of everyone inside that prison. Of course it’s gory, it’s a Human Centipede. Is there an actual 500 man centipede? Yes, but not until almost the very end. If you just want to finish the series, go ahead and watch it. If you want the same experience as the first two, do yourself a favor and skip it.

Well, I guess that wasn’t really brief, was it? Look for Tom Six playing himself. And you might remember one of the prisoners as playing the president in The Fifth Element. Anyway, I’ll just give it 2 Stars and will not rewatch.

Saturday is Horror Day #59 – Ju-on, The Forgotten

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Ju-on

Rika Nishina (Megumi Okina) works as a volunteer for a senior health center. She is dismayed to find herself being sent alone to a client’s home, believing she is not ready to go alone. But she ends up going anyway. The house is a mess, and the woman she was sent to care for seems to be nonverbal.  While cleaning up, Rika hears a noise upstairs and goes to investigate. She finds a strange little boy, who says his name is Toshio. Wait, did he just turn into a cat?

 

Kazumi (Shuri Matsuda) comes home to find a messy house. She is annoyed because her husband’s sister, Hitomi (Misaki Ito) is coming for dinner. Kazumi’s husband Katsuya (Kanji Tsuda) is acting strangely, and he’s being no help. When Hitomi arrives, she can’t find anyone, and her brother’s mother-in-law is non-communicative. When she does find her brother, he is acting strangely and practically pushes her out the door.

 

Something strange is happening at Hitomi’s work, and it’s unnerving her. Late at night, most people gone for the day, she encounters a ghostly figure in the ladies room and hurries to tell security. The guard assures her he will check it out and to wait there. She watches in horror at what she sees on the cctv.

 

A young girl, Izumi (Misa Uehara) is walking home from school with her friends when she becomes frightened of a poster of three missing young girls. She hides away in her room, and tapes her window and draws the curtains, claiming that all three of them watch her! Turns out she knows more about the disappearance of her three friends then she lets on.

Ju-on is the original Japanese film that The Grudge was made from.  As the story unfolds, we see the story of this house from several different viewpoints until we get all the way back to where the grudge began. I think it’s more well-made than the Grudge, to be honest, and has a higher creepiness factor.  I plan to watch the sequels of each and will keep you posted. I’ll give this one 4 Stars.

The Forgotten

Although it’s been fourteen months since his death, Telly (Julianne Moore) just can’t let go. Every day, she goes to his room and looks at the things he left behind, looks through his photos and watches videos of him. But then one day, the pictures are gone, and the video has been erased.  She confronts her husband Jim (Anthony Edwards), who  refers her to her therapist, Dr. Munce (Gary Sinise). They both tell her that there is no child, she miscarried her pregnancy and what she thinks she knows are false memories.

Telly encounters Ash (Dominic West) in the park where her son Sam and his daughter Lauren once 

played together. Lauren was also on the plane crash that killed Sam, but Ash claims he has no daughter. A baffled Telly goes to his apartment, and uncovers evidence of Lauren. Suddenly he remembers.

Telly and Ash find themselves on the wrong side of the law. They try to convince Detective Pope (Alfre Woodard) that they aren’t crazy. When she goes to investigate, two men from the NSA try to take her case but she isn’t having that. What has the NSA to do with anything? Nothing federal here.

 

A strange man seems to be everywhere they are, and he tries to take them in, but they manage to escape. Telly and Sam come to the conclusion that no one would go to such lengths concerning dead children, so their kids must be alive. What is going on though?

For having such a good cast, and an interesting premise, this film simply falls flat. It isn’t bad, per se, but it really isn’t particularly good either. I believe these stars have given better performances, so I have to wonder what drew them to this script to begin with,. because it isn’t very good. Let’s look at this in some context. In 2004, Anthony Edwards was still starring in ER, so perhaps he was already anticipating his move to the big screen and didn’t care how he got there.  Julianne Moore had already done Hannibal by that point, as well as The Hours, so she shouldn’t have been exactly desperate for work. Maybe Gary Sinise wasn’t in big demand back then and thought why not?

I did watch the extended version with the alternate ending, which I have to believe is better than the theatrical. Still, the premise is somewhat predictable and yet leaves questions. Mainly exactly who and why. Unless you’re just a fan of these particular actors, I wouldn’t rush to watch this. I’ll give it 3 Stars because I do like Julianne Moore.

Saturday is Horror Day #58 – Zombieland: Double Tap, The Grudge (2004)

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Zombieland: Double Tap

Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) have banded together in the face of the Zombie Apocalypse into a family of sorts. Columbus and Wichita are a couple, and Tallahassee is like Little Rock’s protective father. They decide to take up residence, at least for a while, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, aka the White House. But nothing lasts forever. When Columbus pops the question and presents Wichita with a huge blue rock surrounded by diamonds, and Little Rock decides she’s being stifled, the sisters do what they do best – they leave.

 While exploring a mall, Tallahassee and Columbus run across another person, a ditzy blonde named Madison (Zoey Deutch), who attaches herself to the, particularly Columbus, who is nursing a wounded heart. Wichita returns unexpectedly to restock her weapons, but she also tells them that Little Rock has left her as well, stealing their vehicle and leaving a note. Karma indeed. Before she left, they’d picked up a hitchhiker, a peace-loving hippie named Berkeley (Avan Jogia), who leaves with Little Rock.

 

The group hits the road, their new destination Graceland, home of the King, hoping to catch up with Little 

Rock there.. However, when they arrive, they discover that the mansion is ruined, and they end up instead at The Hound Dog Cafe where they meet Nevada (Rosario Dawson). Nevada is more than capable of taking care of herself, and sparks fly between her and Tallahassee.

When Madison becomes infected, it becomes Columbus’ job to put her down before they head to Graceland. But now that Madison isn’t there, maybe they’ll find them at the hippie haven of Babylon.

 

The sequel to Zombieland has less emphasis on zombies and more on the relationships within the group, although there are zombies, especially at the end. And, as Columbus explains at the beginning, the zombies have changed, and some are even harder to kill. I think the narration at the beginning got on my nerves. Also, I didn’t like Wichita and Little Rock in the first film, and I’m not more inclined to like them in the second. Now there is a very annoying ditzy blonde who got on my nerves too.

The sequel doesn’t have the charm of the first film, but I’ve seen worse. It’s worth one viewing, wouldn’t watch either one again. Look for Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch as clones of Tallahassee and Columbus. Also, I recognized Avan Jogia from a show I used to watch called Now Apocalypse. I hope there isn’t going to be a third film, to be honest. I’ll give this one 3 Stars.

The Grudge (2004)

A house in Tokyo, scene of an horrific event, is the starting point for a number of mysterious deaths. Karen (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is sent to the home to care for its stricken inhabitant, Emma (Grace Zabriskie). The regular caretaker, Yoko (Yoko Maki) is a no-show. But Karen quickly discovers all is not right in this house, including a mysterious boy. Or is he a boy? Sometimes he seems like a cat.

 

The woman’s son, Matthew (William Mapother) and his wife Jennifer (Clea DuVall) have barely moved into the house when strange things begin to happen. Jennifer sees strange things she can’t explain. Is there someone else in the house, someone who means them harm?

 

Matthew’s sister Susan (KaDee Strickland) is concerned about her mother. She also lives in Tokyo. And her brother is acting weirdly, making prank calls during which he only makes strange noises. Working late one night, she hears strange sounds and then sees a strange otherwordly woman who means her harm. She reports her dilemma to the security guard who goes to check out, and Susan watches in horror on the CCTV as the woman seemingly manifests from nowhere.

Inspector Nakagawa (Ryo Ishibashi) has been assigned to the case, and he tries to make sense of what 

Karen has told him. He realizes something foul is afoot and goes to the house with the intention of burning it to the ground. But something prevents him from carrying this out.

This Sam Raimi movie is a re-make of a Japanese film, Juon. I haven’t seen that yet, but I intend to. The story is good, but sometimes I found the acting lacking, mostly from the Western actors. Almost as if they didn’t belong in what feels like a Japanese story. I like Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I think she came off a little wooden in this role. That’s just my opinion, of course. I am going to keep watching the series and will let you know when I view The Grudge 2. I have to say that I did like Ted Raimi in his role, and I remembered Ryo Ishibashi from watching him in Audition.

 

Not a bad film, it just felt a little off. I’m looking forward to seeing Juon, and hope for better things. I will give this one 3.5 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #56 – Zombieland

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Zombieland


Something has gone horribly wrong, and the United States of America has become Zombieland. Life will never be the same again. Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) is just trying to get back to his family in Ohio, traveling the dangerous highways, trying to avoid being eaten. He has certain rules that he lives by to ensure his continued existence. In his experience, you ignore these rules at your own peril. Such as Always Check the Back Seat. And Wear Seat belts.  He meets up with another human unexpectedly, Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), who is on his way to Florida. The two decide to travel together, at least for now.

Tallahassee is a little odd, to say the least, especially when it comes to his obsessive search for Hostess


Twinkies, which thus far has been pretty pointless. While Columbus is a stickler for his rules, he is also a compassionate guy. When the two run across two sisters, Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), he can’t help but feel sorry for them. Little Rock was attacked and is about to turn into a zombie. Rather than suffer such a fate, she implores Wichita to end it all, but she finds she can’t and asks Tallahassee and Columbus for help. That does not turn out well for the guys, and the girls manage to scame them out of their vehicle and most of their possessions.

The two groups cross paths again and travel together for a while. The girls reveal they are headed toward an amusement park, where they spent some very happy times before. Columbus finds himself more and more attracted to Wichita, but finds himself foiled every time he makes a move. And just when he thinks things are going well, the girls ditch them again.

 

Can Columbus accept this ending, or will he pursue the girl of his dreams through a dangerous zombie-filled country?

This movie is a mix of humor and horror, with a decided emphasis on comedy. The zombies are pretty blood-curdling, and I sure wouldn’t want to be trapped with these things as they are not the slow lumbering figures of early films. They move along far too quickly for my taste, even though they are not articulate. One of the funniest scenes involves Bill Murray playing himself. 

All in all, this was a fun watch. I would recommend it. I’ll give it 4 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #55 – Grave Encounters 2, Hell House LLC 2: The Abaddon Hotel

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 Grave Encounters 2

Aspiring student filmmaker, Alex Wright (Richard Harmond) is directing his first horror film, with the help of his friends and fellow students. As horror movie aficionados, they hold differing opinions on the film Grave Encounters. Alex disdains it, giving it only 1 star out of 4. But something happens to not only change his mind, but now he is obsessed with the film and he’s convinced that it was more than just a movie – it really happened.

Alex claims that the original cast of the film can’t be found – because they all died. When he receives what appears to be a casting call for a music video by the same director who directed Grave Encounters, Alex flies to Los Angeles to talk to him and ends up being thrown off the set. Undeterred, he believes he has located the film’s star, Sean Rogerson, who played Lance Preston, and goes to his home where he and his friends are entertained by Rogerson’s strange mother. She tells them Sean will be home soon and they can wait in his bedroom for him, but the bedroom appears not to have been lived in for a long time.

 

Convinced he is on the right track, Alex locates what he believes to be the site of the original film, an abandoned psychiatric hospital in Canada, and off they go. Pulling up in front of the house, they are shooed off the premises by a security guard who tells them the premises aren’t safe because of asbestos contamination, but they don’t buy that story. What else can they do but return in the dead of night and break in.

 

Grave Encounters 2 begins with the premise that the first film was just that, a film, and the film students are reality. This is also a found footage film, taken by the students themselves.  The sequel starts a little slowly as we meet Alex and his friends and explore his aspirations of being a major film maker. But once they get into the hospital, the pace picks up and the creepiness begins.  I think it’s mandatory to watch the first film before this one (although common sense would suggest the same thing) if for no other reason than because you’ll pick up on things more easily, and you’ll recognize the various locations inside the hospital.  There are some definite twists here, and some decent scares, as well as a high creepiness quotient. I did like this film and I’ll give it 4 Stars.

Hell House LLC 2: The Abaddon Hotel

 

Eight years have passed since the horror that took place at the Abaddon Hotel one fateful Halloween night, and there are still no answers as to what actually happened. The hotel is still abandoned, and the town of Abaddon would be happy if people would just leave the mystery and the hotel alone. But people are curious, and solving this mystery would obviously be a journalist’s dream come true.

 

 

Jessica Fox (Jillian Geurts) is just such a journalist. She’s received an anonymous tip that convinces her 

the answers to what happened lie within the hotel and she has to be the person to find them. She assembles a team, including lone original survivor Mitchell Cavanaugh (Vasile Flutur) and self-proclaimed supernatural expert Brock Davies (Kyle Ingleman) to break into the hotel and investigate.

Other people have attempted to find answers at the hotel prior to this adventure, and some of these people have simply disappeared, leaving behind strange footage of what they saw. Undeterred, the group break into the hotel through the back, split up, and begin to search.

 

The sequel to Hell House LLC is a combination of found footage as well as an interview from a local news program involving some of the interested parties. It starts a little bit slow as they establish some of what has been going on in the last couple of year prior to this. One of the interviewees is a representative of the town of Abaddon who insists the whole thing is a hoax and these people are just money hungry. The footage from other failed attempts is chilling, and once the group gets into the hotel, the action picks up. Watch carefully or you’ll miss things. The creepy mannequins are still there, and just as creepy as ever, and beware of jump scares. 

 

I did like this sequel and feel it was worth watching. I’ll give it 3.5-4 Stars. There is another one, will watch that later.

Saturday is Horror Day #54 – Hell House LLC, Grave Encounters

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 Hell House LLC

The grand opening of a Halloween haunted house in the Abaddon Hotel in 2009 leads to inexplicable tragedy. Fifteen people died, including both those on the tour and the staff. Five years later a documentary crew travels to the small town of Abaddon, seeking answers. However, these are not readily forthcoming.

 

 

A video taken by one of the guests on the tour ended up on You Tube. Plus the owners of the attraction have everything documented from the time they first arrived. The documentary crew locates a surviving member of the staff, Sara Havel (Ryan Jennifer) who reluctantly talks to them and tells what she knows of that night, and the time leading up to it.

 

From the moment of their arrival, the hotel is found to be in less than good shape and very creepy, but

that can only serve to heighten the atmosphere they want to create on Halloween night. The friends have definite ideas on how to achieve the effects they want in order to scare the wits out of their guests, including very eerie mannequins, a haunted bar and piano, and a basement that will provide the biggest scares and serve as the finale to the tour. Sara will be chained to the wall, her job being to scream her head off.

Even before opening night, things begin to get creepy in the haunted hotel. Mannequins are inexplicably moved, mysterious sounds can be heard. At one point, Paul (Gore Abrams) mysteriously disappears,, and when he reappears he has no explanation for what happened, or much of anything else. Tensions begin to run high. And then opening night arrives, and all hell breaks loose….

 

This found footage pseudo documentary was pretty well done, in my estimation. Between the film taken by the event staff and that of one of the guests, there is a pretty complete picture of that night, even if it’s not always clear what happened or why. There is a definite creep factor which only grows as the events unfold. Have you ever wanted to scream at the screen to tell the people to get out of there. By the end of this movie, that is how I felt.

I think this was a pretty scary film and it was well done. I look forward to seeing more of the series. I’ll give this one a strong 4 Stars.

Grave Encounters

Lance Preston (Sean Rogerson) leads a team of paranormal investigators in the reality TV show Grave Encounters. Every week they visit a different haunted site and lock themselves in to encounter and record the supernatural. The sixth episode of the series is being filmed in an abandoned psychiatric hospital. Lance and his cast have themselves locked in by the hospital caretaker Kenny (Bob Rathie) who promises to return to unlock them the following morning at 6 am. Lance and the others aren’t particularly worried because they realize something the TV audiences don’t – they are fakes, and they are not above paying someone to say he saw something he didn’t. So what’s a night locked up in an abandoned building?

They set up cameras on various floors in order capture whatever happens. Kenny the caretaker gave them a tour of the building before he made his departure, mentioning various points of interest. Such as the window which is sometimes found to be unlocked… from the inside. Or the bloody tub where a young girl killed herself.  The abandoned building is very dilapidated and neglected, but what’s one night among friends?

 

Strange things begin to happen.  The high-strung Matt (Juan Riedinger) disappears. A feeling of foreboding pervades the air, and things are starting to get real. More real than they’ve ever been in the history of this fake TV show.

Grave Encounters consists of the found footage of the filming of the TV show, some 70 hours.  Filmed 

on a shoestring budget and at night, using flashlights, there is a distinctly creepy and unsettling atmosphere about this hospital. If I’d ever considered a paranormal type lock-in before, this film cured me of the idea.

A lot of the horror is subtle yet creepy, but don’t worry. There are jump scares as well. At first the film crew goes into this hospital with the attitude of this being just another job, but that changes as they begin to realize that just maybe they’ve run across an actual haunted building. I thought the cinematographer did a good job giving Grave Encounters the appearance of found footage, and the actors are very believable in their descent into terror

 

I thought this film succeeded in being creepy and scary and was well worth watching. I give it a solid 4 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #53 – Planet Terror, The Craft: Legacy

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Planet Terror

Cherry (Rose McGowan) is tired of stripping and decides to make a new life for herself. She gives her scumbag employer her notice and walks out the door. Dr. Dakota Block (Marley Shelton) is planning to leave her doctor husband William (Josh Brolin), but she has to be careful about it. She can’t let him see the texts between her and her accomplice/lover.

 

 

Something strange is going on at the army base. A group of men arrive, led by Abby (Naveen Andrews). He’s brought something, but quickly discovers that something is amiss. The cage is empty and the subjects not to be found. Things quickly go wrong when a noxious gas is released into the air. Before things get too ugly, Lt. Muldoon (Bruce Willis arrives) and he wants answers.

 

When Tammy’s (Fergie) car overheats, she stops to use water from a pump near a bbq restaurant. The owner, JT (Jeff Fahey) offers her some bottled water and a meal. She takes the water and thanks him but declines the meal, even if it is the best bbq in Texas.  JT calls his brother, Sheriff Hague (Michael Biehn) and tells him a couple of people are hanging outside his place and he’s convinced they’ve been sent to steal his secret recipe. But the truth is far worse than that.

Wray (Freddy Rodriguez) drives a tow truck but his reputation as a troublemaker apparently precedes 

him. He ends up at the same restaurant as Cherry and tries to renew their relationship.

Meanwhile it seems there is an outbreak of pustule-laden zombies, created by the gas at the military base, one that is threatening to destroy the town. What can be done to fend them off?

 

This is not your usual horror movie. It’s campy, schlocky, and very violent. Kind of like an old B horror movie but better. Look for Rose McGowan and her machine-gun leg, as well as Quentin Tarantino in a small role. You might remember Freddy Rodriguez from Six Feet Under, where he played Rico. This is something different for him. And of course my favorite, Naveen Andrews. So damn sexy it’s criminal. He plays a biochemist who knows just what is going on.

This movie was fun to watch, but it isn’t for the faint of heart, let me warn you now. There is a lot of humor, something I appreciate in a good film. This film was originally released along with Grindhouse, but that didn’t do well, so the films were separated. Guess I need to find Grindhouse now. I’ll give this film a solid 4 Stars.

The Craft: Legacy

Lily (Cailee Spaeny) has her life upended when her mother Helen (Michelle Monaghan) moves them into the home of her new love Adam (David Duchovny) and his three sons. Feeling like a fish out of water, Lily starts her new school the next day and meets three girls, Lourdes (Zoey Luna), Frankie (Gideon Adlon) and Tabby (Lovie Simome). During one of her classes, Lily unexpectedly begins her period, and her predicament is called out by Timmy (Nicholas Galitzine), to her horror and shame. She goes to the girls’ room, and while she is pondering what to do, the three girls show up with a pair of shorts and words of encouragement. Lily begins to hang out with them and they make her the fourth in their group of witches.

The girls decide to test their powers, and sneak into Timmy’s home, placing a spell. They almost get caught and barely escape without being seen. The next day, Timmy is like a new man. He’s sensitive and attention and more in tune with his better self. The girls are delighted with this new Timmy and find themselves attracted to him, especially Lily.

 

While delighted to have made such good friends, Lily finds life at home difficult. Adam is very 

tyrannical. He’s a motivational speaker who thinks he knows everything and tries to control everyone around him. Disturbing things begin to happen. Timmy is a friend of one of Adam’s sons, Jacob. One night, Lily casts a love spell that brings him to her room, but they are interrupted before they go too far. Adam texts her to be continued. But the next day brings tragic news.

The girls blame Lily for what happened, disrupting their friendship. But things continue to go downhill. Lily witnesses one of Adam’s group meetings with his sons, and she realizes there is more to them than she realized. She wants to leave there, but how to convince her mother, who is so besotted with Adam? Lily’s accidental discovery of some very shocking news makes her even more vulnerable. Will Adam capitalize on this vulnerability? What is it he actually wants from her, and to what lengths will he go to to obtain it?

 

The Craft: Legacy is a sequel to the original Craft movie of some twenty years before. Again, we have three girls seeking and finding a fourth to complete their coven of witches, and then playing around with their powers. The problem with this movie is we have a different writer and director (Zoe Lister-Jones) and a different cast. But it’s primarily the bad writing and the terrible direction and story that make this film both boring and just plain bad. There isn’t much to it, and it lacks any of the charm of the original. I found myself wishing it would end soon. Luckily, it isn’t very long, just seemed that way.

I love David Duchovny, and even he is terrible in this, so that will give you some idea what this film is like.  I’m going to give it 1 Star and a serious recommendation not to watch it.

Saturday is Horror Day #52 – Deliver Us From Evil, Fantasy Island

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Deliver Us From Evil

Hitman In-nam (Jung-min Hwang) is ready to pack it in and retire to the sunny beaches of Panama. He agrees to one last hit for his boss and takes out a Japanese mobster.  While on the job, he receives a call from his ex wanting his help, but he doesn’t have time for her. The next day he learns that she has been killed and her nine-year-old daughter is missing. On top of that, the mobster he killed has a younger brother, Ray (Lee Jung-jae) who will stop at nothing to avenge his death.

This business just got personal.

In-nam follows the trail of the kidnappers to Thailand where he engages the services of a guide, a 

transwoman named Yui (Jeong Min Park).Learning that the children are being stolen for their body organs, In-nam and Yui pose as a couple who are in search of a kidney. They find a group of children who are locked-up, waiting to be sold, but Yoo-min (So-yi Park) is not among them. They continue to follow the trail, even as they are being pursued by Ray, intent on killing the man who killed his brother.

This film starts off a bit slow, and at first I was a little confused as to who was doing what and why, but the pace picked up and I finally caught on. For fans of Squid Game, be prepared to see Gi-Hun in a much different light as the tatted vengeful killer. 

 

I thought Jeong Min Park did a great job as Yui and Lee Jung-jae was sexy as Ray. It was a good film, very enjoyable. I give it a solid 4 Stars. I found another film that Jung-min Hwang and Lee Jung-jae are in together, called New World, and I plan to watch it too.

Fantasy Island

Have you ever wanted to change a past decision? To take the road not taken? To undo an old regret? Then come to Fantasy Island, where you can live out your fantasy… to its natural conclusion.

Gwen (Maggie Q) regrets the day she didn’t say yes to the marriage proposal from her boyfriend, Robbie (Allen Chambers). But you can’t go back and changes things… or can you?

Melanie (Lucy Hale) has had revenge on her mind ever since high school when she was tormented on a daily basis by Sloane (Portia Doubleday). All of the bad things in her life stem from that time, and she wants nothing more than to get revenge on Sloane, and see her tortured as she once was.

JD and Brax (Ryan Hansesn and Jimmy O. Yang) are brothers, although nobody believes them since Brax is Asian. But JD’s father married Brax’s mother when Brax was still in diapers, and they’ve been close over since. Now their biggest fantasy is to have it all…

Patrick (Austin Stowell) always wanted to join the military but never did, for personal reasons. The closest he ever came to performing service was to become a policeman. Now he fantasizes about being an actual soldier

What do they have in common? They’ve all just arrived on Fantasy Island.

 

Fantasy Island is a place where dreams and fantasies can come true. But always be aware of the old adage… be careful what you wish for. The host of Fantasy Island is the enigmatic Mr. Roarke *Michael Pena). He is there to see to his guests comfort as they fulfill their fantasies. There are only two rules on the island. One is that there is only one fantasy per guest. The second is that the fantasy must play out to its natural conclusion.  But he always says that “Fantasies rarely play out as you or I might expect.”

 

Fantasy Island is based on the TV series by the same name, which originally starred Ricardo Montalban and Herve Villechaize, but the director and writers have taken these stories in an entirely different direction. Would you expect any less from a Blumhouse film? These are the people, after all, who brought us Paranormal Activity (which series I love). The film has twists and turns you won’t see coming, and the ending is far from predictable. 

Although I did see some negative reviews, I personally enjoyed watching it. I thought the acting was good, Michael Pena makes a good Mr. Roark.I recognized his assistant Julie (Parisa Fitz-Henley) from having seen her as Fiji in the series Midnight Texas. You might remember Jimmy O. Yang from Crazy Rich Asians, another wonderful film. 

Watch for references to the series, and just the obvious ones, such as “The plane” or Mr. Roarke’s iconic white suit. It was enjoyable to watch and I do recommend it. I’m giving it 4.5 Stars.

Saturday is Horror Day #51 – Black Death, Killers (2014)

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 Black Death

The year is 1348, and the bubonic plague – aka the Black Death – has England in its thrall. Osmund (Eddie Redmayne) is a young monk who lives with his fellows under the leadership of their abbot (David Warner). But Osmund has a secret – he is in love with a young woman named Averill (Kimberley Nixon). Fearful of the plague, she tells him she is leaving and wants him to come with her, but he says he cannot leave just like that. She says she will wait for him every day in a certain spot for a week and hope he comes with her

A group of soldiers arrives, led by Ulrich (Sean Bean). He tells the abbot of a place that is supposedly free 

from the plague because the people there practice necromancy and witchcraft. He requests one of the monks guide them there, but the abbot assures him none will. However Osmund volunteers and leaves with them the next day. 

After witnessing something on the road, Osmund is not so sure of his traveling companions. They make camp for the night, and early the morning he sneaks off to find Averill. But instead, he encounters a group of mine who end up ambushing the soldiers. They blame Osmund for what has happened and the loss of one of them.

 

Continuing their travels, the group runs across a village where, once they establish that they come in peace, they are welcomed with open arms. But Ulrich is suspicious. There is no sign of death here, as in the other villages they passed along the way, no over-filled cemeteries, no great despair. Why do the women outnumber the men? Osmund is still in mourning when he is shown a great secret which he can scarce believe. Could it be? But how?

 

One of the more interesting aspects of this film (outside of the obvious, such as Sean Bean and Eddie Redmayne) is the good vs evil trope which is not as clear-cut as one might think. Fanatics come in all sizes and shapes and beliefs. The one thing they have in common is that each side thinks it’s right. The beliefs may differ but the solutions they use to achieve their ends is pretty much the same. Sean Bean is great, of course, as the pious Ulrich who is determined to cleanse evil in the name of his God, and Eddie Redmayne as the pious monk is also good. Look carefully at the woman in charge of the village, Langiva, you might recognize her as one of Sean Bean’s castmates from Game of Thrones. In fact, she played the horrible Melisandra. And the headman of the village, seen above, is Tim McInnerny.

The atmosphere of the film captures the time well, in my opinion, and it is a well-paced, well-told story. Some scenes are not necessarily for the faint of heart, though. I’ll give Black Death 4 Stars.

Killers (2014)

Nomura (Kazuki Kitamura) has a lot of money as well as time on his hands… and a sadistic streak a mile wide. As evidenced by the lady with the plastic bag over her head who he has bound and secured in his own private torture chamber. She isn’t the first, though, nor will she be the last. He films his torture sessions and uploads the videos for all to see. Wearing a mask, of course, to conceal his identity.

 

Bayu (Oka Antara) is a journalist of the crusading variety, who is determined to reveal ruthless 

businessman Dharma (Ray Sahetapy) for the cruel bastard that he is. Things at home aren’t going well either, ever since he moved out of the home he once shared with his wife and daughter. Now Bayu’s father-in-law seems to be trying to move a new man into Bayu’s place. Bayu finds himself on the wrong end of a kidnapping by two men who definitely intend him harm. But a virtual comedy of errors leaves them dead and him alive. Having seen similar videos, he instinctively takes his phone and records the scene, then goes home and uploads it under an anonymous user name.

Bayu is shocked when someone messages him and warns him that he is too easy to find, he needs to use another IP address next time. Confused and fearful, Bayu replies to the stranger, in spite of his instinct not to, and they begin a conversation that carries over into a video chat. The other man is wearing a mask, so Bayu won’t be able to identify him, but the man is none other than Nomura, thrilled to find someone else like him.

 

And so their relationship begins….

Killers is about two killers who do similar things but from different motives. Nomura enjoys the thrill of the kill. He only seems to come alive when he is killing. On the other hand, he finds himself having feelings for a girl he meets named Hisae (Rin Takanashi)   who owns a flower shop. She has an autistic brother, Souichi (Tensui Sakai), and Nomura finds himself giving the boy life lessons. Probably not an ideal situation. On the other hand, Bayu’s victims have done things that are wrong, so he is more of an avenger than Nomura.  Both men find it difficult to balance the separate halves of their lives. Nomura even warns Hisae to stay away from him, but she doesn’t listen, concerned about his influence on her brother.

This film is both dark and intense, and very well done. The acting is top notch, as is the direction, and the writing. It examines the question of doing evil for good reasons, and what price is too high to pay. Be aware this film is not for the squeamish. I give it 4.5 Stars.