Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Ultimate Weapon (1988)

Hulk Hogan is Cutter, a man for hire who has a bad toupee and a conscience - both of which are a real problem for a mercenary.  He should maybe think about changing his line of work, or only sign up for wholesome family mercenary jobs.

After Cutter and his new partner complete their mission, Cutter gets suspicious that the goons he's delivering weapons to are not part of a U.N. operation like he'd been lead to believe. So he does what any good mercenary would do - he blows up the weapons.  In typical action movie consequences, this causes his family to become targets.

Cutter is quite the family man.  He casually delivers the worst proposal in the world to his girlfriend and hasn't seen his daughter in about 10 years.  If we follow the bad movie making playbook, this is cause and effect which leads to her work at a strip club.  She must not have been doing this for long because the light hasn't gone out of her eyes yet. But it will soon because her dad is watching her dance.

Family drama ensues as Cutter tries to protect his daughter while she bitterly avoids him for not being part of her life.

There a stunt double for Hogan that looks nothing like him, which is really distracting.  The stunt is jumping a fence. Not a chest high fence, but one where you can literally put a  hand on it and jump over.  I'm guessing Hogan is so bulky that his giant frame could not accommodate the slight jumping action.  But it's disconcerting to see someone who is far younger and in far better shape jumping the fence because at first glance, you think "who the hell is that" even though you know it's supposed to be Cutter.

The worst name a villain can give a document that has
secret info for his eyes only? Secret File.

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Friday, March 30, 2018

Abandoned (2015)

Single mom Streak takes a job as a night time security guard at an abandoned high-rise building.  On her first night on the job, she's told that she will patrol the building at regular intervals while her partner - a grumpy middle aged man in a wheelchair - watches the security monitors and communicates over the radio to her.

Before her manager leaves for the night, he makes it clear that no one is allowed in, and if someone does get in, her job is to get them out.  Streak is desperate for this job. She needs this job as she's worried that she's going to lose custody of her daughter and this appears to be her last chance of avoiding this.

This is why it's so crazy when a few hours later, and against her partners instructions, Streak lets a homeless man in to spend the night because there's a storm outside. Argh! Sure, come on in crazy homeless guy and bring your dog too.

As if that isn't a bad enough decision, she is told to stay away from the part of the building where there are no cameras. But she wants to figure out why the cameras don't work and heads into the basement to fix them. While there she hears something behind a padlocked door. What is a new employee to do on their first day? Obey the rules and continue your rounds, or break the padlock off the old door and explore? Streak decides it's padlock breaking time and off she goes.

Oh Streak, don't you understand that they've hired you to keep people out?  Even if someone is in there, the padlock keeps them out. Now she's opened up an avenue for anyone in there to come into the building. And if your employer has a padlocked door, it's not a good idea to break the lock and explore, ever.

Strange things start happening, and Streak sees little kids in the labyrinth behind the padlocked door.  Is it real? Is she crazy?  Will there be a payoff at the end? No, no there won't. The ending will annoy the hell out of you as it's totally unsatisfactory.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Zoombies (2016)

Eden wildlife zoo is opening soon and college interns arrive to help get the place in shape.  They are shown the amazing set up of this new marvelous zoo which includes an app to track all the animals.

A CGI monkey gets a virus and dies. An experimental serum is used to bring it back to life. Oh snap! Things do not look good for our intrepid undergrads.

The students on the internship are the standard characters including a girl with a terrible attitude. How did she even get  this internship?  They do interviews for internships and no one would have touched this girl with a ten foot pole.  She's horrible.

When an alarm goes off, everybody ignores it.  That alarm? Oh it's just that darn researcher who's always setting it off. It can't be anything important.  No, we don't even pay attention to it anymore. No, it couldn't possibly be zombie animals planning to kill all the workers in the park.

Eventually they figure out the alarm is for real this time.  So they lock down the park and wait for SWAT to save them.  Oddly enough the SWAT team shows up on the animal tracking system.

While this is a film by The Asylum, which is not a good thing, it is one of the more entertaining Asylum movies because things happen quickly. Usually Asylum has some crazy plot that could be awesomely ridiculous and fun, if only the movie wasn't idiots standing around talking.  There's some of that in this, but the animals go crazy pretty quickly and then everything is chaos.  There's nothing new about it, and it's not stellar by any means, but it had more going for it than most.  Watch for the continuity issue where the guys tattoo switches arms as he goes down zip line.  (I can't even remember his name at this point).

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Darling (2015)

A young woman known as Darling is hired to take care of a wealthy matrons New York home.  When she shows up to start the job, she is warned that the previous caretaker committed suicide by jumping off the roof and the house is said to be haunted. But Darling is game, as what else is she going to do since she'd have nowhere to live if she didn't stay. Also maybe the owner should have mentioned this prior to hiring her.

Darling stares at the camera a lot.  She wanders around the house and stares.  She has what are either flashbacks or hallucinations, which rely on jump cuts and jarring noise accompaniment in an attempt to startle and induce fear. Instead it just induces annoyance at this cliched manipulation.

The movie spends an inordinate amount of time watching Darling.   So if you want to watch a young woman stare emptily, act slightly weird, and not speak much, then you'll probably enjoy this.

The ending is not a surprise and you'll find yourself wondering why anyone - especially someone rich -  would not check references before hiring a caretaker.

Also there is a locked door at the end of the hallway that you assume will figure into the story line at some point.  There is talk that the house may have been the site of Satanic ceremonies, that it might be haunted and that other caretakers have left suddenly or killed themselves.  Yet the mystery of the locked door is never used effectively so it just becomes another dead end which doesn't contribute to the story, such as it is.

The film is in black and white, and while this can be an effective choice when making a film, the lack of contrast in this movie is noticeable. It's as if they shot in color and just stripped the color out. There seems no thought to the contrast, which could have made the film moodier, spookier and more visually appealing.  If you watch films from the 50s and 60s, you can see how lighting is effectively used to deliver tension and mood. This film is far too bright and flat to effectively work.

The extras on the dvd include an interview with the director who seems very convinced that this is a special film and the viewer has never seen anything like this. Yet it borrows heavily from his influences and anyone who watches horror regularly will not be surprised by anything that occurs. Also the use of chapters in a film has to be done carefully to be effective or it comes off as pretentious, which it does here.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Red Christmas (2016)

Diane, her children and their spouses are getting ready to open their Christmas presents, when there is a knock on the door. Diane opens it to find a creepy man with a speech impediment wearing a cloak who has slightly oozy bandages obscuring his entire face.  His gloved hands hold out an envelope which has the word Mother scrawled across the front in pencil and it is obvious there is something very wrong with him.

Diane does what anyone would do in this situation and invites him in to sit down with the family. Keep in mind that it is a beautiful day in sunny Australia and the home has a huge front porch on which this stranger could have cooled his heels.  Based on the mans odd behavior, there is no way even the most compassionate person would have invited him into their home, especially when among the inhabitants are a very pregnant woman and a teenager with Downs syndrome.  What about the safety of your family?

Things get even weirder when the stranger, who's name is Cletus, insists on reading his letter to Mother and it is revealed that this is the child whose birth Diane terminated twenty years earlier.  The clinic was bombed while she was there and someone pulled the baby from the trash... the living baby... the large living baby who would never have been terminated at that age of development. It even waves it's larger than a newborn hand at the man who picks it out of the garbage.

There are two huge problems with this film.  Diane's family is completely unlikeable and ungrateful, other than Jerry the teen with Downs Syndrome who is totally in the Christmas spirit.  And the film is a complete bummer.  You don't care about the family, you don't care about Cletus, and when the movie ends you just feel yucky.  It's completely depressing and worst of all, it's just no fun. The only reason we managed to make it through this thing was Dee Wallace.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Mothman (2010)

Graduation is fast approaching and a group of teens is hanging at the lake, drinking and having fun.  Well it would be fun if they didn't have to babysit Jamie, Jared's little brother who is a couple years younger.

When they decide to scare Jamie and play a prank on him, he accidentally drowns.  The group decides they don't want to ruin their own lives.  So they come up with a story that he hit his head and drowned. Argh!  What is wrong with these people? And Jamie's brother goes along with it? What a tool.

To seal the deal, they each hit Jamie in the head with a rock, which is incredibly stupid as it's not going to look like an accident with six hits to the cranium. But apparently either there was no autopsy or the medical examiner is incompetent because they get away with it.

Ten years later Katharine, who is now a reporter, is sent back to town to cover the Mothman festival.  So I guess she isn't a good reporter since that isn't the type of assignment you'd give a serious journalist.

After running into her ex-boyfriend, Katharine reluctantly meets up with her old friends and discovers she was the only one who ever left town. Coincidentally it is ten years since Jamies death and the old gang gets together every year to toast Jamie.  A very odd tradition since you would think they'd never want to think of that horrible night they accidentally killed someone and then bashed his head with a rock to make sure everyone kept the secret.

Within a day of her arrival, members of the group start getting killed by the Mothman.  The police have no idea that it's a supernatural being. Because no one really believes in the Mothman. It's just a  harmless legend. Not so, says the creepy old blind guy who claims to have scratched his own eyes out to avoid being killed by the Mothman.

Intrepid reporter Katharine and her high school sweetheart Connor pursue leads as to why their friends are dying and how they may avoid the death sentence themselves.  The blind dude tells Katharine that Mothman can only come into their world through reflective surfaces, and Katharine notes there are no mirrors in his home.  Someone should tell him that he's wearing glasses and his house has windows because glass is reflective, dumbass.

Turns out Mothman only kills those who have killed others and hidden it to avoid paying the price.  So basically, he's a good guy getting justice for those have been wronged.  This leads us to the big problem with this movie, which is why would I care that he is killing these horrible people?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Seventh Son (2105)

Centuries ago, a witch named Mother Malkin was imprisoned underground  in a cage by Master Gregory, a spook (knights who hunt witches).  Now Malkin has escaped and plans to wage war on Gregory and the rest of humankind.  Gregory is looking for a new apprentice, seeing as they keep dying, and finds Tom, the seventh son of a seventh son.

They set out on a quest, with Master Gregory training Tom in the way of the knights.  Gregory is the last of his kind so he's looking for an apprentice to take over some day.  Since they all inconveniently die before this can happen, here's hoping Tom can survive long enough to learn the ways of the spooks.

Jeff Bridges plays old Master Gregory as if he's got a mouthful of oatmeal, a curious choice indeed as it's awkward and annoying.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Microwave Massacre (1983)

Construction worker Donald just wants a normal sandwich, but his wife May wants to expand her culinary expertise. She whips up complex inedible dishes for Donalds lunch and dinner.  Oddly enough, Donald doesn't just throw the lunch away and buy a sandwich at the lunch wagon.

One night he comes home drunk. When he gets in a fight with May about her cooking, he kills her and stuffs her in the biggest microwave known to man.  The next morning when he realizes what he's done, he hacks her up, wraps her in foil, and throws her in the fridge, which is already filled with foil wrapped food.

When Donald accidentally eats May's arm, he decides it's better than what he's been eating. He shares a sandwich with some friends at work, and they tell him it's tasty but seems a bit old. So Donald starts praying on young women in the area to get tender flesh.

The lead actor is comedian Jackie Vernon, who is probably best known as the voice of Frosty the Snowman, and is essentially a low rent Jackie Mason.  The movie is filled with bad jokes that you'd expect to hear in vaudeville of 1950s movies, and parts of the film seem as if you're watching Jackie do a monologue, complete with supposedly comedic inflections.  There are a couple of sex scenes with topless woman and a fully clothed Jackie writhing on top of them.  No one wants to see that.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Forest (2016)

Sara and Jess are twins.  Sara is the good reliable one, and Jess is the troublemaker.  When Jess disappears, Sara's twin-tuition tells her that Jess is still alive.  So she travels to Japan, and learns that Jess was last seen going to Aokigahara, known as the Suicide Forest.

Sara refuses to believe that Jess would kill herself, plus her spider sense tells her that Jess is still alive.   She decides to go to the forest, even though locals warn her it is a dangerous place and if she goes, then she must not leave the path.  It is said ghosts haunt the forest and target those who are sad. Also it's easy to get lost because there's such a tangle of brush.

Stopping in to a bar for a drink, she meets Aiden, a reporter.  He is planning to go into the forest with his friend Michi, a forest guide who does sweeps for bodies.  Aiden says he'll take her along, if he can write her story.

They traipse into the woods and Michi leads them off the path to look for bodies. When they find her sisters tent, it is late in the day.  A tent in the forest casts doubt on whether the person intended to kill themselves.  Michi tells them they must go back, but Sara refuses to leave.  Aiden is torn between safety and leaving Sara alone, but stupidly decides to stay with Sara. Hilarity ensues. No wait, not hilarity, horror. Yes, pure horror because they did not heed the warning of staying on the path. Always stay on the path and always heed the warning of a stranger who says don't go into the woods. Stupid girl.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Dead By Dawn (2009)

A group of high school students, whose advanced age means they must have limited intellectual capacities, go to a cabin to celebrate their graduation.  Tanya is invited along by one of her friends. When the kid whose family owns the cabin finds out, he is not happy.  His older brother was accused of rape by Tanya's identical twin sister, which led to the brother committing suicide in this very cabin.  Well that's awkward.

Tanya's sister disappeared after the suicide, and the police suspect she ran away. But Tanya is convinced something happened to her sister. She has terrible nightmares and being around these jerks isn't helping since they want to make her pay for her sisters accusation.

Aaaaand lots of people die, there's a vengeful spirit and sadly enough you may fall asleep because it's not very interesting.