Thursday, November 14, 2013

WITHER is an explosive gorefest

RATED- Unrated
RUN TIME- 95 Mins
WRITER(S)- Sonny Laguna, David Liljeblad, and Tommy Wiklund
STARRING- Patrik Almkvist, Lisa Henni, and Patrick Saxe
DIRECTOR- Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wiklund

Synopsis taken from IMDb
Ida and Albin are a happy couple. They set off to a cabin in the vast Swedish woodlands to have a fun holiday with their friends. But under the floorboards waits an evil from Sweden's dark past.

A friend of mine gave me the title of this film, and told me it's the Swedish version of "The Evil Dead" (1981). Upon hearing which, I quickly found this flick and had to give it a watch. Those of you who read my reviews from time to time know that I'm obsessed with "The Evil Dead" series. So, telling me this is similar to the films I love so much isn't going to get any sort of reaction out of me other than me rushing to watch it.

Reading up on it, I came to discover that a lot of miss information has been spread about this movie, mostly by Swedish newspapers which stated that it was the first Swedish zombie film. False. The first Swedish zombie film is 2005's "Die Zombiejager". However, while reading, I found a quote from a critic stating that this is "the film that 'Evil Dead' 2013 should have been." So of course, my interest was only piqued even more.

What is clearly a low-budget production, opens with a paranoid and gory beginning. Right from the go, you know what type of motion picture you're in for. It's got balls like the original "Evil Dead", and isn't afraid to go to new lengths of brutality. About a minute into it, I knew I was going to like it. It was a little eerie watching such a crazy flick late at night, by myself. But, it's not scary.

Although the plot is far from original or inventive, it managed to keep me enthralled. Though, there's a lot of predictability, it's still a very fun watch for those who love their violence with an abundance of gore. You can smell the influence that Sam Raimi's classic has had on this entire project, and some can even say that this is a foreign remake. The lead character even has a blue button-up shirt on, and other obvious nods to Bruce Campbell's portrayal of the hero, Ash Williams.

There are differences though, such as, what's in the basement isn't a creepy book and a shotgun with some ammo. Instead, it's a Vittra. A nature spirit that lives underground and one of the animistic elements of the Norse religion. Again, while not scary, there is a level of creepiness to this creature and the entire film.

The only problem is, if you've seen the "Evil Dead" series, then you know what to expect from this. It doesn't really offer anything new that's worth mentioning. It's just very graphic and bloody. It's definitely a gore flick, for sure. There's not much story or character development, much like the "Evil Dead" remake. There's just a ton of chaos and confusion spread amongst characters.

My criticism would be that while I appreciate a good homage to a classic movie, you also need to have something of your own to offer. And this is one of those films where you've seen what's in it before several times over. I'm sure for the Swedish population who haven't ever seen "The Evil Dead", that this is something mind blowing to them. However, to me and the rest of us, this is just a fun rehashing.

So, if you're in the mood to see a bunch of young adults turn on each other due to possession, and start hacking each other up with various weapons, you should probably check this out. For those of you who have the "been there, done that" attitude, you're probably better off sitting this one out. I don't think there are too many positive things someone with that mentality will have to say about it.

Not the best thing I've ever seen, but I am definitely a fan. To me, it's fun seeing other cultures take a stab at this type of thing. And it's a testament to how Sam Raimi's original film is still as influential as ever, and one of the greatest horror films ever made.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

BESTIES coming to VOD January 21st

At the start of next year, there's a  new Single White Female coming to town in the thriller, Besties from Phase 4 Films

"Besties tells the story of two high school girls-- Sandy, a high school freshman and self-described loser and Ashley, a sexy senior and Sandy's former babysitter. Sandy hoping to forge a friendship with the most popular girl in school, arranges to be left at home under Ashley's supervision while her father goes out of town. Little did Sandy know that an unexpected visitor from Ashley's past will leave the awkward freshman and her idol tangled up in a manipulative and deadly friendship."

Written/Directed by Rebecca Cutter, Besties features standout turns from Madison Riley (Grown Ups) and Olivia Crocicchia (Rescue Me), with 90's icon Corin Nemec (The Stand) co-starring.

This is one I'll be looking forward to. Nothing like a good psychotic thriller. So if you're the type who enjoys a nice thriller every now and again, this is one you won't want to miss! Below are some stills and the trailer. 

Don't miss out on this film when it lands in January. And bring in the new year properly!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Well, the year's almost at it's end. And we've had our hits and misses this year, like every year. But while some of the letdowns were severe, some films soared above and beyond expectations and gave us instant classics on the spot. All in all, 2013 was a good year for horror, and almost every other genre of film.

Below are the top five horror films to be released upon us this year. There's no question in my mind that these are the elite, and the ones people are still talking about in the horror community. For better or worse, they're here to stay.

And if you missed my review for any of the films listed, I've conveniently linked my reviews above the poster art of each movie!

April 5th, 2013
Rotten Tomatoes Score- 65%

October 8th, 2013
Rotten Tomatoes Score- 79%

August 23rd, 2013
Rotten Tomatoes Score- 75%

January 2nd, 2013
Rotten Tomatoes Score- 43%

July 19th, 2013
Rotten Tomatoes Score- 87%

Monday, November 11, 2013

CAESAR AND OTTO'S DEADLY XMAS spreads holiday fear

RATED- Unrated
RUN TIME- 90 Mins
WRITER(S)- Dave Campfield and Joe Randazzo
STARRING- Dave Campfield, Paul Chomicki, and Deron Miller
DIRECTOR- Dave Campfield

Synopsis taken from IMDb
Caesar and his half brother Otto take on duties as Santa and his elf. However, the bodies begin to pile up when a fellow store Santa (CKY's Deron Miller) develops a vendetta against them, he soon turns Caesar's list of dinner guests into a list of Xmas-inspired victims! Featuring cult movie icons, Linnea Quigley, Brinke Stevens, Lloyd Kaufman, Joe Estevez, Felicia Rose, and Robert Z'Dar. 

Right when I thought I was going to have a weekend of nothing new to watch, my screener disc for "Caesar and Otto's Deadly Xmas" arrived. So, I was glad to have some new viewing material, and the fact that it's packed with cult stars I grew up watching only made me even more excited to give it a watch.

From the start, there's plenty of laughs to go around. This is the type of flick where you can tell if you're going to like it within just a few moments of watching. It's very low-budget, and those who aren't loyal horror fans may not like it's style. To put it simply, this movie is a B movie celebration, and a standing salute to the genre and all those who helped shaped horror into the powerhouse it's become. It doesn't take itself seriously, and because of that, doesn't lose focus of the motion picture that it is.

The dialogue between Caesar (Dave Campfield) and Otto (Paul Chomicki) is ridiculously funny and entertaining. They're two screw-ups who're constantly trying to out do one another. Even though they're close pals and half-brothers, they'll throw each other under the bus any chance they get to further their own lives. The entire concept is hilarious and entertaining. It never becomes really scary, it's more humorous than anything, and it's a hell of a lot of fun!

You just know things are going from bad to worse when Caesar's dinner list becomes a slay list by a store Santa who is previously insulted by Caesar. As the Santa played by Deron Miller starts scratching names off of the list one at a bloody time, it becomes apparent that Caesar and Otto better do something quick before they become the accused.

Seeing scream queen Linnea Quigley on screen never hurts, and it's always a pleasure to see her in new roles. As Donna Blackstone, she is an exaggerated version of herself. There's a really cool "Silent Night, Deadly Night" homage that any genre fan will get. My only complaint is that she isn't in the film enough! Robert Z'Dar (Maniac Cop) makes a cameo during the end credits that I thought was ingenious, and very humorous. I got a kick out of seeing him also play an over-the-top version of himself.

It seems everyone making this movie had a really good time and just got to be themselves. Of course, there's more cult actors and actresses than that included in the film, such as Felissa Rose who's known primarily for her role as Angela in the 80's slasher film, "Sleepaway Camp".

Starpower aside, this picture stands on its own as a new holiday classic full of blood and laughs that any genre fan should see this holiday season! Using limited resources, a B movie classic has just been birthed, and it's busted its way down my chimney and into my heart. As it will to most who see it.

So, if you like horror-comedies, slashers, and Christmas themed horror films, then you should give this a viewing. It's one I can see myself watching every year around the Christmas season while drinking some spiked eggnog and sharing some quality laughs with friends and family. I'll also be lifting my glass in a nod to all the actors and actresses involved in the film.

Though not a great film, this isn't  for those who are expecting the next epic horror flick. This is for those who can enjoy a throwback to the oldies and know when not to take a movie seriously, and just enjoy it.

"Caesar and Otto's Deadly Xmas" hits video next week. Don't miss out!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

DEAD IN TOMBSTONE is the western from hell


Synopsis taken from IMDb
A gang overruns a small mining town murdering their own leader Guerrero (Trejo) in a cold-blooded power grab. Sentenced to eternity in hell he finds himself confronted by Satan himself (Rourke), offering a daring proposition: deliver the six souls of his former gang and he will escape damnation. With time running out, he sets out on a brutal rampage to avenge his own death. 

Starting with high paced action and explosives, and the settings, it's easy to see that this low budget production was done right. Made on just over $5 million, it comes off more like a theatrical release, which impresses me. To me, this motion picture comes off like "The Crow" meets "Tombstone". 

It's a revenge story, but done in a very graphic western portrayal. I don't usually tend to like westerns, but there's good types of flicks from every genre. Those horror buffs who say they "only watch horror" are people I find to be both liars and boring. If you're a cinema buff, you watch it all.

The action is over-the-top, but fitting, and the experience of watching from beginning to end, is nothing short of thrilling. It held my attention and never got dry or disenchanting. I find the story to be somewhat generic, and nothing creative. But, those watching this should know exactly what they're getting in for: a lot of bloody violence, one-liner jokes, and a fun experience.

What's disappointing to me, is that Mickey Rourke seemed to have left his acting ability somewhere else, because it isn't visible on screen. He just walks about and talks trash, antagonizing Danny Trejo, who also wasn't up to par with his performance. There's several times where it seems Trejo was just reading lines off of paper, and it makes his acting suffer. 

However, most surprisingly, Anthony Michael Hall is great in this! I haven't seen something by him that I've liked since "The Dark Knight". So it was exciting to see him not only pull off being completely convincing as the lead villain, but also looking the part!

There's some inconsistencies that this film has, such as, when Guerrero (Trejo) kills off his former gang members one at a time, they never show where their souls go. This left me a bit confused. When Guerrero dies towards the beginning and makes a deal with the devil, he's in hell instantly. However, once several of the gang is murdered at his hands, it shows several shots of Lucifer (Rourke) in hell walking around, but he's not in the company of the villains Guerrero has killed, although he's supposed to be collecting their souls. Makes no sense to me. Perhaps they're in limbo until all 6 souls are collected at once? That could be logical, but is kind of a throwaway theory once you see the end.

It may seem that there's a lot of negative things I have to say, but I actually did enjoy viewing it. And I found it to truthfully be a fun time, and a film that you can whip out and watch with the guys with beers chilling in the fridge and pizza is on its way. But, I think the need to make this such a violent action film caused the filmmakers to overlook several things, including performances. This is definitely worth a watch, and even an own, if you buy movies frequently. It's just not perfect, so know what you're getting into before you make that purchase. This movies passes my grades, but it's not worth any over-praising.

Friday, November 1, 2013

THE EAST leaves its mark


Synopsis taken from IMDb
An operative for an elite private intelligence firm finds her priorities changing dramatically after she is tasked with infiltrating an anarchist group known for executing covert attacks upon major corporations. 

I haven't seen a good thriller in a long time, so with The East I wasn't hoping for much. It was a shot in the dark, honestly. Starring Alexander Skarsgard who's most known for his work on HBO's True Blood as a seductive vampire. I like that he and co-worker on the show, Stephen Moyer are branching out and doing new things. But, I guess they have to find new work since the show's ending next season do to it being cancelled. Anyway, Skarsgard shares the screen with Ellen Page and Brit Marling. The three make to be a wise ensemble as the leading cast.

I think that this movie is actually very important right now, with the statement it makes. Really, the characters in this movie are doing what we all really want to do. So even though the act of terrorism is despicable, there's a part of us that agree with what goes on in this story. That is of course, unless you're someone who works in a corporation like depicted in this flick, in which case you probably hate it. 

With all that's going on in the world today, people aren't happy. There are those that are content, those that are angry, and those that gave up with the way things have been going in the world. And those who are tired of being repressed are lashing out and speaking up, letting their voices be heard. Everyone has a voice nowadays, and people are acting out towards everything and anything that they don't like. So, this film is a true statement of things that could happen. Only, it's done in a way that you can agree with and/or understand.

Huge corporations are always, consistently raping the wallets of everyone under the sun. And their mostly uppity snobs who are complete scum bags. So, to have a character-based motion picture about such matters is a good idea in my book. It helps to pull you in. The acting is well performed, and the writing is intelligent. But what really hurts this movie is the PG-13 rating. Due to such, the material is watered down and made to be generic. 

The infiltration scenes are interesting, but I'm not entirely sure they're believable. But in any case, it's not bad seeing how the characters interact and plan their missions. It's like a James Bond film, but not as smart or entertaining. 

Again, here's another film that had a metaphoric heart, but the beating fluttered out of it. The pace is consistent, but the payoff isn't the finale I wanted. Ending on a low note left me with disappointment that I expected, so I wasn't too aggravated. I consider this to be a one-time watch. I know that I have no plans of seeing it again. Not because it's a bad piece of cinema, but because seeing it once is enough for me. There's nothing about it that makes me want to see it again.

Overall, the story is good, the acting is good, the pace is good, but the pace and story come to a halt that left me underwhelmed and I found it completely expected and commercial. I like the message of this film, but not the execution.

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