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Really not great
The first ten seconds of this movie are brilliant and very clever. Not a type of introduction I've seen before.
Sadly, the rest of the movie doesn't live up to the introduction.
Generally, with horror you get about 45 minutes of setup and character development, then 45 minutes of screaming and dieing. That doesn't happen here. At one hour in I glanced at the time and wondered when the action was going to start. After that I was looking at the time every five minutes wishing it would hurry up and end.
The jump scares become more prevalent as the film goes on, but they were the only type of scare for me in the film. No tension, no building sense of dread; I note that the hairs on the back of my arms didn't stand up once (and I'm easily scared), and I mildly jumped three times during the film.
There's no real plot to speak of but there were a few ideas that, if fleshed out, could have become something.
Like other reviewers, I saw the rating saw it was a British found footage (yay, a break from Americana!) and gave it a whirl. Ah well, we all make mistakes.
Be My Cat: A Film for Anne (2015)
No plot, no structure, no acting
I like indie's, found footage, horror and anything not from the Hollywood/American meat grinder. I'm a big horror fan and understand that low budgets, odd choices by the characters and sometimes questionable acting are just part of the package.
This is not a good film. This is not a good bad film.
There is essentially no plot. No structure or acts that I could discern.
You expect shaky camerawork on a found footage, but for a large portion of the movie's finale the camera isn't actually pointing at anything.
I wanted to give it 3/10 because I'm nice, as a piece of 'cinema' it deserves 1/10. 2/10 sits right in the middle.
Kudos to what's-his-name for managing to push this through to completion. The lack of a plot, structure or narrative clearly didn't hold him back.
Der letzte Angestellte (2010)
A slow burner with effective moments of tension
Writing this because the other two reviews listed have spoilers, and personally I like to see a review when flicking through movies on here.
Our lead gets his first job in three years, and is tasked with liquidating a company. Not a fun job for any regular human being, but made worse for our guy by his previous mental issues.
I knew next to nothing about this film going in and that's how I like it.
It's a slow burner, and the empty office setting is used effectively. A few times the hairs on my arm rose, such was the tension created. The odd jump scare but definitely not a tactic overused here.
Found my copy on the excellent WIPFilms, for me the single greatest resource of unusual and rare cinema on the web today.
Seek it out if you're a fan of slower horrors or German cinema in general.
Shaky Shaky Shake-Shake
This film would be a 6, maybe a 7 for me. However the director somehow failed to notice that every time they called action their cameraman was in the middle of a fit.
The movie basically goes like this: Shake shake shake.
Oh someone died back there.
Shake shake shake plot shake shake shake.
It's a real shame as the creature looked quite cool but you never really see it for long enough to appreciate this. Even static scenes in the gas station have to wobble about just to punch home the peril of the situation to us.
The film gave me motion sickness.
Namae no nai onna-tachi (2010)
Really slow, not much happens, the end
I haven't seen any of the director's earlier work, which is probably for the best.
The acting is very wooden in this. At one point our lead is giggling about how she "feels hollow inside." I know depression; that feeling doesn't leave you giggly. The mother is a caricature at best, not a real character.
I noticed that the two leading females never seem to change their outfits. This is just one of many examples of the cheapness of the piece. You can make a good film with no money, but you need some ideas.
If I'd known the director was previously involved in pink cinema I'd have skipped past the nudity bits, they did drag on.
Ultimately this film has no redeeming qualities I can think of. It's slow, when there is gore it's confined to some red paint in a squirty bottle, and every character that appears seems hammier than the ones before.
Pledge of Allegiance (2007)
Just pretty slow
I didn't know about any of the 'political message' that was behind this going in, it was just another film to me.
It starts off pretty slowly and doesn't really go anywhere. You can safely skip to about 1:12 when you've had enough of the lead actress' wailing. She does do a reasonable job in this to be fair, and is about the only redeeming feature of the piece.
Just to note, whoever the 'great actor from Footballers Wives' is I don't know, but I do know that show is utter trash. It is on a par with Jersey Shore and anything featuring a Kardashian; i.e. vapid and banal.
Were it not for the political message this film would have nothing to say, bar "torture is bad!" The piece looks okay enough. You can tell they didn't have a lot of money but they had enough. Just a shame there's no real story, plot, action, drama or suspense here.
Zombi: La creazione (2007)
Not "good with a few mates and beers bad," just bad bad.
Remember, big fan of movies in general and zombie flicks here. I am used to a bit of cheese in a zombie flick.
This one stunk like the cheese counter at your local supermarket, or that big bag of especially dank green you just picked up.
The first fifteen minutes involve plot set-up (tl;dr: zombies on an island. Yes we should visit it) and the fact that our heroine suffers from nightmares. We couldn't just see her have one nightmare, we had to see three just to really hammer the message home (and to get some zombies in early / use some cool footage they had. Probably). This sets the tone for the rest of the film; dragging things out.
Our "rough and tumble marines" actually scream and prance like highly strung queens at the first whiff of danger. Particularly embarrassing anyway (stuck in my mind) but then to read that in the strapline, well yeah.
The dialogue leaves a taste like tinned ham in your mouth. People repeat things and it is so painfully apparent that these are not trained marines (apparently people with such high training need to be told three times to open fire).
But, the worst part of the film is the camera work. The worst part because it is the best part (the film does look good). This means they had some money to make this film with, they just didn't feel the need to spend that money on a compus mentus director, a script that didn't only contain plot holes and cheese, and an editor who doesn't think repetition is the key to success.
I'd give the director, the script writer and the editor an honorary Razzie, then send them on a tour of film schools around the world armed with a copy of this film to show the students what not to do when making a film.
Oh there's about three plot twists. No one involved in making this had much to say, they figured they'd only get one swing at the ball so they threw everything into the mix.
I did manage to clip and file my nails while this was on and miss absolutely nothing, so that's something.
Deadly Birthday Party (2014)
A stinker in every sense of the word
I suspect the one review currently here is by a friend, so I'll attempt to set the record straight.
You know it's meant to be a fairy tale because it screams this fact at you. There are also regular 'pointers' for the viewer posted on screen, such as "Marissa (or however you spell it) suffers from headaches." Not showing our heroine suffering from a few headaches and leaving it at that, oh no - that would be to easy for our director. They prefer to add text to make sure you are 100% aware of this fact, and they do that specific trick twice that I remember.
I love indies but this made no sense. The writer didn't seem to be able to decide whether the Dad was a pervert or just weird, I didn't care - just another badly drawn character (some people use a fine pen for their characters, others seem to use a crayon and dribble a bit while sketching them).
I could go on. You can probably tell that. But this hits the word count for IMDb there's no spoilers and there's no point - if you don't believe me by now about just how bad this is you never will.
La cripta de las condenadas (2012)
Budget soft porn with no plot.
While watching this movie I glanced at the time and made a mental note to tell you all to skip the first 23 minutes, that's how enthralled I was.
Two women lie on a rug, one occasionally caresses the other. For 23 minutes.
The music probably means something to the director, but not to me. It was like being stuck in an elevator.
The rest of the movie's scenes consist of two or more women, somewhere, vaguely caressing one-another. Occasionally there's some subtitles about something, occasionally someone talks about hell.
The director and cameraman are clearly fans of the sepia filter on their handicam.
You get much better looking women in a proper softcore flick and much more bang for your buck (if that's what you're after) from porn.
Do yourself a favour, avoid this at all costs.
The X Files: My Struggle II (2016)
I actually loved it...
...and I'm surprised how many of the first page of reviews here didn't. That's what prompted me actually.
A lot of loose ends get tied up in what works hard to be a thrilling and fitting finale to, what 23 years of television? To do that, still leave a frankly genius final scene and plot for who knows what comes next (we can only hope, though I doubt we will be lucky)? Well, I am sold.
I thought the whole series was a fitting final tribute. They didn't throw them in willy nilly but still went old school on some fun cases (and threw in an excellent dig at the early days). The baton handing was the one thing that grated on me but it was only slight and in fairness Tad is a great future-season redshirt (one thing you have to say, they take no prisoners and their sfx guys really are top notch).
Special mention to Cigarette Smoking Man, by far one of the best evil geniuses of recent decades. He is a monster, now he looks like a monster.
If you just wanted them to come out and trot out their hits ad infinitum you were plum out of luck boyo; Chris, thank you for that.
The first occurrence...
...I think, of the hugely important phrase "all of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again." If I was ever to get a quote tattoo, that might very well be it.
M p.s. Apparently I need to add more lines.
I give it 9/10, for the reason stated above.
p.p.s. Nope, still not enough.
Tricia Helfer is quite stunning as always.
p.p.p.s. Almost now, I hope.
I would even go so far as to call Her wife material.
Young, High and Dead (2013)
I wanted to like this film, I really did.
After 52 minutes I shouted at the screen "just start killing them already." There was not enough gore to fill a 30 second TV advert in the whole film.
The audio is literally all over the shop. You can't hear the characters and then some ominous music blasts through your ear drums (ominous music when nothing is actually happening most of the time, incidentally).
This film drags on and on. As do the characters (or rather they drone on and on).
As a big horror fan I am no stranger to stupid decisions made by characters, but to give the smallest girl the only car keys and the only weapon? To let her run off by herself to 'get tools' without freeing the others first? To then sit around and bicker/argue about your love lives while chains are around your ankles and one guy has a finger missing? For f*cks sake.
Let me give you one more example. In Sin City when Marv goes to the shop to get some razor wire the scene lasts about 20 seconds and is very cool/punchy. When the killer here goes to the shop it takes at least five minutes (though it feels like longer) for him to buy some duct tape, cable ties and a roll of something (the whole scene replete with that ominous music, of course).
I don't review many films on here at all, but the one review posted giving this 8/10 and calling it "entertaining, edge of your seat stuff" (apparently you don't just see that on box covers) compelled me to.
I wanted to like this film, I like horror I like indie projects and I want British cinema to do well. But this? Avoid it. Avoid it like the f*cking plague.
Something different if you're a genre fan.
Let me start off by saying it's not a bad film. I didn't hate it, I just didn't fall in love with it. But I'm glad I watched it.
The cinematography is very good, the whole piece is generally rather beautiful. But can beauty make up for a lack of plot or substance? The first half is very good. Scrap that the first two thirds are very good. The build up, the general air of unease created, spot on. Then we have this particular films 'reveal' and it all quickly goes downhill from there.
Don't get me wrong, if you are a horror fan I would recommend this over any Saw (bar the original) any day, if only for the originality of the setting. I just don't see it going mainstream.
Oh, one more thing; you will never see the phrase 'dipping your toe in the water' in the same light again!
Day of the Dead (2008)
Fodder for morons
"Oh, we are alive and running normally. Now we are dead, and can move like spiders across the ceiling at very high speed." If you like the sound of that, you will like this. If not, then I salute you.
This film was made by someone who'd seen zombies running along the ceiling at him in a video game and thought 'whoa, that's cool!' It may work in a game, but it doesn't here.
The characterisation was so dire as to be worthy of special mention. One example: "so it's a spear because I'm a black guy?" less then two minutes later "Yeah that was pretty gangster."
The plot started well enough then quite comfortably moved into the ludicrous. As if more proof of the game-playing origins of the script (by the way I love video games but I also Never confuse them with good film ideas) we have a 'super zombie' in the bunker.
This is a terrible film. I only hope that, in posting my review of it, I stop just one person from seeing it.
An American Haunting (2005)
Everything about this film is simply awful. From the 'woo scary malevolent-spirit camera' (which is re-used I think half a dozen times during the movie, each time dragging on for what feels like Several Minutes - we know they're all scared, why do you persist on showing us All Their Faces?!), to the 'actually my daddy was just an abusing sicko' ending.
Hopefully this is ten lines long, as this is all I have to say about the film. No actual scares, a few cheap horror staple attempt-scares (which even then weren't done with even a modicum of skill), and a pace which would make a snail proud.
Oh wait, sorry, I forgot the actual ending. We now have the doll as the connecting piece to the present day, where clearly the same thing is going on. "It could be happening to your child as well!!!" Give me a rest from your thinly-veiled family-worrying tosh, and make something that doesn't make the viewer literally create an account at the IMDb (on which he has been a regular lurker for several years) just to berate.
If I had paid to watch this movie I would be livid.