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Enjoyable if somewhat flawed Bigfoot effort
Following the disappearance of several hikers, an executive looking into the group's whereabouts hires a primate specialist to join his team to trek into the wilderness believing that Bigfoot has taken them, only to discover that the legendary creature is now hunting them one-by-one.
Overall, this one was quite an enjoyable Bigfoot film. One of the strongest features here is the expected ferocity that arises during the film's encounters with the creature. These are generally quite fun and chilling with the initial attack on the hikers serving as a fine series of ambushes on everyone. Out in the woods with the rest of the crew, the ramping up of the brutality towards the group which makes this one incredibly enjoyable with the first ambush on the lone girl that draws everyone's attention while everyone else is scattered throughout the campsite and sets up the fine series of encounters that are featured throughout the finale where the creature is shown chasing them through the woods creating some tense encounters here. Given that these are still accomplished with practical effects while keeping the creature off-screen for large portions of time, there's a lot to like with this aspect of the film. As well, there's also an enjoyable setup that arises throughout the first half as this starting point serves a lot to like. With the whole plot being based on the search for the missing hikers and the team coming together to find them, there are some rather enjoyable aspects to be had with the crew setting up their respective skills and preparing for their mission. Dedicated to not only bring them back alive but capturing an image of the creature as well, there's some fun to be had with the film following professionals doing their job in this situation. Building off of that in a fine matter is the later scenes where they're becoming aware that something's out in the woods with them as the evidence, the slowly-dawning realization of something in the woods with them is a highly enjoyable effort. Together with the practical effects used for the Bigfoot creature, these here are what hold the film up over it's few minor flaws. Among the film's few problematic areas is a rather disappointing middle section that spends far too much time in useless subplots to detail much in the way of Bigfoot encounters. Rather than bring in more attacks by the creature on the group who are now fully aware of its existence, the fact that this is mostly dropped for the backstory on most of the characters that should've happened earlier in the running time as this ends up taking time away from the Bigfoot encounters. Likewise, there's very little need for the final twist here that turns what could've been a fun genre effort into something else entirely through a cliched revelation that undoes everything the film had built up before for no reason other than to have a change that was unexpected from the start of the film. Otherwise, there isn't much to dislike here.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Violence, Graphic Language, Brief Nudity, a brief sex scene and implied violence-against-animals.
Zombie Tidal Wave (2019)
Fun and enjoyable action-packed zombie film
Following an accident at sea, a boat owner comes to believe that a swarm of zombies mutated by a chemical spill undiscovered off the shore are being dropped on the residents of the area by an oncoming tsunami and tries to help them get to safety in the chaos.
Overall, this one was an absolute blast of an effort. One of the strongest aspects to like here is the utterly relentless nature of the action scenes featured here. The fact that the initial sequence that starts the invasion on the town occurs minutes into the film gives a spectacular pace to this one by showing the crazy image early on. This is the biggest part of the film where the idea of what's going on slowly gets crazier over time as it becomes aware of what's going as the zombies are being transported from the sea to the shore. On top of that, the film's action content increases significantly once they arrive in town. The mini-battles and encounters with the zombies throughout the town offers up a stellar amount of action here, from the race to escape the beach filled with creatures and their reanimating victims as well as the beachside commuters getting swarmed and pulled down around the village. Likewise, battles in the police station to stop the creatures or a series of thrilling encounters in a hospital that's slowly being overrun by the creatures manages to bring out some tense moments as well as the crazy action and sets the stage for the crazy finale featuring one main method of attacking the creatures and putting them down for good. The other great aspect of the film is the solid technical aspects on display. The central storyline here manages to do something unique and original with the zombies as their sea-based setup causes some well-thought-out wrinkles to their traditional setup. With the use of headshots no longer having any effect on the zombies, the change to having electricity be the singular source of dismantling the creatures is a nice change that is given some rather fine backstory due to the massive conspiracy involving the coverup. That's also a rather intriguing cause here with the seeming setup of corruption turning out to provide this with some solid backstory here. As well, with the nautical setup here providing a running theme into the zombies' make-up designs which is a solid touch and plenty of practical gore, there's plenty to like overall here. That said, there are some minor flaws featured here. As is to be expected in these kinds of efforts, the film's biggest problem is the uniformly terrible CGI. There's so much to like here with the practical effects for the zombies that when we see the CGI mess of them wandering through the scenery or seeing the blood-splatter spraying around, there's a sense of disappointment here due to the drastic change in appearance. There's way too much of it, especially in the final half where their over-the-top plan to not only stop the zombies but also to finally get the main ship underneath the water which is somewhat expected considering the setup featured but is still a prominent feature here. Beyond that, there isn't much else to dislike here.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Violence and Language.
Monsterland 2 (2019)
Absolutely dreadful and nearly worthless anthology
A series of segments featuring people confronting monsters and other various beings.
The Good Stor(ies): White Drift-Arriving in a small town, a former soldier suffering strange effects from the war tries to find his friend but instead comes across a concerned waitress. Aware of what's going to happen if she gets too close, the beast within him eventually causes more problems for both of them. This was a solid enough segment. The build-up of his condition at the diner gives a nice clue to his situation as well as the overnight campout or the hallucination at the coffee shop all come together nicely to give this a solid enough turn and fulfill some needed exposition in the storyline. The finale's twist is a logical buildup of that work, but the cheap attack and overall lack of coherence as to what's happening cause this to come off cheaper than it is.
The Bad Stor(ies): Braceface-Tormented by her peers, a man tries to help his daughter get by in life even though she's constantly forced to wear a humiliating metal brace for her teeth. When she's confronted by bullies trying to pick on her, they realize too late they've unleashed a hidden monster within her. This was a woefully underwhelming way to start this film off on. Despite trying to invoke sympathy for how the girl is treated, overall there's not much to this one as the twist is seen coming a mile away, the payoff is neutered considerably by the camera angles that never deliver the goods and the Christian family values storyline to finish this doesn't have anything to do with the rest of the segment. This seems like a waste to start this story off.
Wormbug-Accidentally swallowing a bug, a man begins to grow concerned the creature is controlling him when he begins uncontrollably eating and hearing the bug talk to him. Fearing what the creature wants him to do, he sets out to protect his wife and those around him from the bug's malicious plans. This segment was just lame. The central premise isn't scary, the execution here is laughable and has no point being here as there's nothing to redeem it before the gore.
The Flea-Following a rash of ritualistic murders, a man tries to put his past behind him when he's confronted by a friend saying they still have work to do together. Realizing what he means to attract, he sets out to stop his friend from carrying out his demented plan. This was another rancid and worthless effort. There's no real interaction with the killer being as we never get to see it much less know what they're doing as there's no dialog setting up the point of what they're doing. There's a viciousness to the kills due to the target selected but that's it.
Justice Served-Stuck in a police detention room, a man on trial tries to get his lawyer to see things from his perspective which hampers his chances in the trial. As it gets underway, he finds things not going his way and has to live with the dire consequences he brought on. There's no point to this black-humor segment. The idea behind it is darkly comic but there's no creature at all and its inclusion is tenuous at best simply because there's nothing to get into with the majority here being simply back-and-forth questioning with the dark twist on it to end this with a true whimper.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Violence and Graphic Language.
Far better than expected killer clown effort
Suffering from an intense fear of clowns, a woman finds herself suddenly stalked by a strange demonic clown that has already claimed several other victims in town, and after learning the true nature of the killer being, tries to fight it off before her crippling fear prevents her from saving herself.
This was nowhere near as bad as its reputation suggests. One of the biggest aspects of this one is how this one manages to feature a great setup for the main killer clown. Adopting the exploits of a supernatural clown while the main character is shown to have a fear of clowns, this enables the scares here to be utilized far more into a realm of nightmare logic than usual. The opening half-hour features some solid lead-up to the particular clowns stalking tendencies, from the use of balloons as a form of warning to the dreams she has of the clown playing mind-games with her. These lead solidly into the attack scenes throughout here. The opening ambush in the house offers a creepy location and a solid shock-jump, while the later attack on the boyfriend features a great suspenseful setting for the stalking following another great jump. A fine series of car-gags, featuring them having balloons appear inside the car before being driven off leaving them at the scene to several times appearing inside the car suddenly or even just driving around which has the fun addition of setting up the frantic battle at the diner. The great battle tactics and energy present here are quite fun, the stylized lighting for the situation is chilling and atmosphere and the big storyline additions to the fight add a lot to this one. Alongside the chilling lead clown's makeup, these here are what hold this one up over its flaws. There are several big problems with this one. The main issue with the film is the absolutely moronic storyline that runs throughout here. There's very little here that makes sense as for how the main killer clown actually works as the supernatural tactics simply mean he pops up unexpectedly at surprise moments, and yet none of that offers up anything about what the clown's trying to prove or how he operates. The idea of setting up the balloons and the date of death on them is rather obvious yet that's wholly ignored as the various attacks before them don't have any kind of definite standing. That causes plenty of sloppiness within here as her being constantly convinced otherwise means the film runs through numerous sequences of her stupidly deciding plans of escape only to be confronted by the clown and then wondering why they've met up again. It gets annoying and frustrating when this easily could've been explained and cleaned up quite simply. The other real problem here is the obvious and apparent low-budget throughout the film. The make-up for the clown is the biggest factor, which is quite creepy looking but still maintains a rather cheap aspect that pours out of the film.whenever he's on-screen. The rest of the production values here features the same general tone, looking quite closed off and cramped which doesn't really signal anything special about the film. That carries over into the kills here which are practically bloodless and aren't gory until you get to the aftermath which is what constitutes the graphic killings with this one. For the most part, these are what holds this one back
Rated R: Graphic Violence and Language.
Highly enjoyable and creepy slow-burn ghost story
Following several strange deaths, a woman discovers a connection between the participants and a strange urban legend they got involved with of a nightmarish spirit unleashed from a devastating curse and must race to solve the mystery about the fiendish being before it's too late.
For the most part, this one was a solid enough effort. One of the more enjoyable elements here is the stellar story that offers a strong central villain. The central specter, a ghostly figure that can be invoked or summoned through a specific curse that involves all around who hear the name spoken or written down which creates a fine folklore-based character of Shirai-san that is spelled out in the flashback sequence. Showing the cursed group retelling the legend of the figure while at the motel, the ominous atmosphere of the hotel makes for a fine setting to tell ghost stories in the first place before getting to it's chilling retelling of the legend which ramps up the tension considerably. From there, the search for the source of the curse and how to break it drives the middle of the film where their investigation discovers the basis for her being free as the only means of stopping her. On top of this, the film features several fine supernatural sequences featuring the spirit attacking. The opening attack on her friend starts this one well as her shock and horror being expressed before the grisly death blow featuring all manner of gory aftermath strewn all over the floor. Other chilling scenes include a terrifying encounter in a hospital where the spirit stalks a victim through the darkened corridors while an oblivious nurse searches for her and a fantastic confrontation in the alleyway showcasing the cursed group attempting to put their information about stopping her to the ultimate test. Given that these scenes provide the perfect chance to showcase how genuinely creepy the spirit is with its grotesque features and distinctive eyes which make a real impression when it's shown, these elements manage to give the film plenty to like. However, there are some big flaws here. The main problem with the film is the incredibly lackluster pacing. Very rarely is there any sense of urgency or immediacy from the actions created by the spirit, slowly taking its time at a steady let lethargic pace that plods along from one scene to the next. By adding all the investigative work into the spirit's backstory into this plodding tempo, to the point where the attacks completely disappear which makes that pacing stand out even more. Then, there's the wholly rushed finale that offers a potential topper to the curse that could've provided the film with a solid storyline to play with getting brought up without any kind of build-up and then just ends u[ causing a really weird feeling. Some of the CGI is a bit much for the kills as the computer-generated blood is hokey and awful-looking, but beyond that, there isn't much wrong here.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Violence and Language.
Standout creepy and chilling if slightly flawed effort
After arriving at a lord's village, a young woman is suddenly forced to deal with the uptight rules and regulations of the house which puts her at odds with the other women living there when a ghostly spirit is found to be tormenting the inhabitants, forcing her to try to stop its deadly antics.
For the most part, there was quite a lot to like here. When this one gets going, a lot of the positives come from the stellar ghost action present throughout here. The film creates a wholly oppressive atmosphere in the village setting that gives the appearance of something creepy lurking behind every corner. The fog-shrouded streets and night-time settings allow for the creepiness to really get ramped up by playing with the shadow of the spirit running around or hearing the ethereal laughing on the soundtrack providing the basis for several big shock scenes such as the opening attack on the worker in the farmhouse featuring the spirit rushing out of the darkness for several rush attacks or the attack on the lord with his belief that the spirit is behind him several times before the killing blow. The arrival of the exorcism and the attempts to rid the house of the evil spirit offers up several impressive moments including the gratuitous vomiting of the black liquid immediately upon arrival to the visions of the spirit feeding on the life-energy of the inhabitants and the failed exorcism attempt in the woods that ends tragically for most involved. Moreover, the finale of the film is incredibly fun and really has so much to like. With the political ramifications spelled out in full effect, from how the women are conspiring to keep the family lineage for themselves against her to understand how the curse works, this section of the film generates the setup necessary to get the final confrontation prepared. Not only does this section of the film feature even more frenetic supernatural action with the ghost getting to play with the malicious head of the household that killed her by making him think he's attacking her instead of his helpers or the battle between the spirit and her that features several attempts to overcome her wrath and vengeance that gets rather bloody and brutal at times. With these supernatural actions really bringing aboard some fantastic action scenes featuring the reanimated spirit flying around looking to get her full revenge on everyone, this section is not only quite exciting but cathartic. On top of that fine work, the film's issues of classism and social constructs are quite prominent. That this takes place in the village, the idea of wealth and opulence is quite apparent in their fancy, colorful clothes and ornate designs that are strictly at odds with her more humble and down-to-Earth upbringing which starts to infuriate the others around the palace the longer she's around. Once they're forced to take care of her, the resentment that arises and takes place in the house with the rules and regulations that are placed manage to showcase how the various classes and social statuses deal with different issues. They're more likely to deny everything that occurs, regardless of whether or not it's followed on their end, while she gets strict regulated deals that are punished for not following. At times, that creates a convoluted storyline with the revelation of the spirits' vengeance coming so late into the running time because of all the different storylines present here with all the political trickery and backstabbing but that's really the main issue with the film.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Violence, Language and Brief Nudity.
The Curse of Valburga (2019)
Solid and somewhat enjoyable comedic Slovenian slasher
Attempting to get by in life, a group of friends looking to start a scam tourist souvenir business and head out with an eccentric group of tourists and other locals to a supposedly haunted local castle, only to find that the local superstition is true when they start to disappear one-by-one.
Overall, this one was quite an enjoyable enough offering. Among the better qualities here is the exceptionally wacky screenplay that manages to bring together this group of seemingly separate storylines into one whole story. The early scenes of the group sitting around the bar talking about how they're going to start the scam business starts this off with some sardonic laughs at their eccentric behavior while the series of utterly bonkers and bizarre tourists that are on the trip with them manage to build that whacky setup further. Combined with the bizarre work you see behind-the-scenes of the tour as they try to pull of the scares of their fake service, this first half of the film has a lot to like about it. Once this one manages to go for the overt horror scares and stalking scenes, the film picks up considerably with plenty of strong points. The first attack in the basement has a lot to like, while the attack on the group going through the porn shoot is just as striking, giving us a clear idea of what they're dealing with. That leads nicely into the big scenes here where the killer, still off-screen, begins to really take out the tour group which features plenty of slasher fun here with the attacks on the group which comes from the relentless and utterly frenetic running time that means numerous attacks and stalking encounters throughout the castle for the various members of the tour group. Since these are all accomplished with stellar practical special effects that look gruesome and realistic, the film manages to contain a lot of positive elements. That said, there are several flaws with the film that hold it back. The main issue here is the fact that the film's sudden introduction of the family alongside the killer hunting them doesn't strike any purpose. They act as though they're trying to capture the women in the group to act as broodmares for the future to ensure the family bloodline continues, but the fact that they outright kill or just severely break the victims apart before then is completely at odds to what their intent is. Even still, that's just a guess as they're brought into this so late into the running time we don't have enough time with them anyway to learn about them or their needs, and most what they accomplish while on-screen could've easily been handled by the lone killer making them redundant in the film overall. The other real issue to be had with the film is the somewhat confusing and jarring conclusion that doesn't connect to anything that's happened before simply to set up a potential sequel. These are all that hold the film down.
Rated Unrated/R: Extreme Graphic Language, Extreme Graphic Violence and drug use.
House Shark (2017)
Highly enjoyable if slightly flawed effort
After a tragic accident in their house, a man and his son come to believe that a rogue species of shark that lives on land may be responsible and is hiding out inside killing anyone who comes inside, forcing him to turn to a rag-tag team of locals that understand his plight to stop the sharks' rampage.
Overall, this one was a lot more fun than expected. Among the film's greatest strengths is the surprisingly grounded nature that is presented for such a ridiculous concept. The central idea of having a shark capable of living within the walls and indoor plumbing facility of a house manages to give the film a wholly goofy scenario which is played far straighter than expected given the true attempts at comedy present. A backstory given for the creature dating back to a connection between the original appearance of the species alongside the Indian tribe manages to give the universe a decidedly ridiculous setup that's quite adept at the style of film this becomes. That also provides the film plenty of solid action complete with that setup. The opening attack on the toilet gives this a goofy and genuinely silly setup as it comes from underneath to take out the unsuspecting victim resulting in a crazy, bloody death. The later scene of the couple getting devoured has a lot to like as the suspenseful scenes of the shark stalking them before the attacks are quite nice, and the full-on finale here is just insane over how crazy and absolutely silly the action gets. Featuring the trio working together to try to get the shark out of the house is a complete ripoff of other segments in that film and then upping the ante in terms of sheer lunacy displayed by featuring action suited to the goofy setup here, this is goofy, fun, gory and an all-around blast to watch. As well, the film manages enough genuine and intentional comedy to offer a lot of laughs. Not only is the central premise a major part of that but by ripping off and homaging major scenes outright there's some fun featured throughout here. The fun it has with the bodily fluids or the characters being complete characterizations of the genre yet thrown a loop with several decidedly unnecessary personality twists are fine enough as well, but the finale that brings the utterly ridiculous shark costume onto screen that is over-the-top cheesy is a fantastic addition to how goofy and fun this one gets. That's also one of the few flaws here since the amount of cheese present watching that costume attack the characters or perform what it does might be a tad too ridiculous for some viewers here. The length might be a turn-off simply for the duration, but beyond that, there isn't much to dislike here.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Language, Graphic Violence and Brief Full Nudity.
A solid if somewhat flawed genre effort
Assigned to work detail, inmates of a local female correctional facility are tasked with a job in the woods, but when a friend springs the group as well as takes the crew patrolling them hostage their escape plan brings them into contact with prehistoric sharks and must find a way to escape alive.
This one wasn't all that bad overall. One of the better features here is the strong start and overall pacing featured here as this one tends to get started quickly. The opening minutes here manage to showcase the release of the sharks due to the fracking operation, and that gives a great attack on the workers stranded in the woods right after which gives the film a fast start. Likewise, the ensuing ambush during the initial time on the gang that leads into the kidnapping scheme that features some great scenes of the sharks operating on the outskirts of their hideout. The action bringing that to pass in the latter half is quite fun. The initial attack showing the creatures tracking the one victim onto dry land that serves to introduce them to the group when they discover the body and get attacked by the creatures gets this going nicely. That this gives a fine start to their attempts at escaping which has some great action as they attempt to utilize the rather creative tactics to get away, and the series of underground attacks as the sharks stalk the group through the darkened caverns makes for a solid time here. These here are what hold this up over it's few flaws. There are a few minor problems. The main issue to be had here is the laughable attempt to pass off the sharks as being capable of burrowing through dry land. The tactic of doing so should work mainly in the sense of digging ruts onto land off of the adjoining waterway, yet the method here of just popping up out of nowhere in the middle of the woods is rather silly and comical. There's nothing mentioned about how they manage to survive on dry land and the manner of how this is shown has some of the weakest CGI in the film. That is the other big flaw here, as the film's CGI is quite ridiculous as it follows the majority of the tropes associated with these films like sie changes or physical switches. These here are the film's biggest problems.
Rated R: Graphic Language and Graphic Violence.
Jurassic Shark (2012)
Really underwhelming and absolutely dreadful killer shark film
Attempting to expose an illegal drilling facility, a group of journalism students on a supposedly abandoned island come across another group of smugglers stranded on the island by a vicious prehistoric shark released by the oil drilling nearby and must try to survive each other to get away alive.
For the most part, this one was a rather bland and uneventful effort. Among the bigger problems here is the complete lack of technical competence from nearly every aspect of the production. The editing is a huge culprit, basically being so underwhelming that the film is a complete disaster, featuring scenes that go on way too long or just rendering scenes so incomprehensible that it's impossible to tell what's happening. That is a major factor in the film where the attack, supposedly the main selling point in these films, are just so haphazard and ridiculously edited that it's impossible to figure anything out. As well, the absolutely atrocious and utterly ridiculous CGI for the shark really lowers this one. The fact that every form of terrible-looking tactic for rendering unbelievable creature effects is present here makes for a really torturous time with the film, starting with the main difference here in the anatomical issues. The shark never once looks anywhere close to a real shark and is so obviously pixelated into its environment that there's something going on with the creature as the other big issue highlights that even further. With the shark looking quite obviously fake and out of proportion to the scene, there's a truly laughable quality to the shark attacks seeing the way the creature looks here featuring the ever-present size and dimension changes that showcase how inaccurate the shark really is. The main setup of the attacks here is the film's other big problem since they're maddeningly and woefully atrocious in most cases. Not only do the attacks here feature the troublesome setup with the size-changing shark, but there's also the fact that these are riddled with flaws elsewhere makes them the biggest letdown in the film as the early scenes simply show the shark arriving at a spot and sucking down the victims in bloodless sequences. That later scenes are so haphazardly edited with the rapid quick-cutting that renders it hard to see but some of the attacks are just missing altogether with characters reacting to the incident without any on-screen activity, resulting in even more problems to be had with this one. Despite all that, the film is still strangely watchable with none of these factors diluting the fun pace and surprising watchability of the film with all the action against the shark, especially in the final half. Still, there isn't much to really like elsewhere.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Language and Violence.
Underwhelming Bollywood action film with a killer shark
Growing up together in a remote village, two friends who find themselves as close as brothers learn that the village is under the iron-fisted rule of a treacherous gangster and must stop him from overrunning the village, only to find the task complicated by a massive shark lurking in the nearby waters.
This was a somewhat troubling if enjoyable effort. One of the film's biggest issues here is the decision to concentrate on the decidedly non-horror exploits of the gangster ruling over the village. The fact that he's a crime-lord with a mansion filled with dogs he feeds subordinates to is pretty eccentric, but this is a rather uneventful start to a creature feature film as it keeps the creature off-screen. Detailing the feud between him and the villagers as well as the secondary plot to smuggle out the pearls from the area, this ends up holding back our first shark attack until nearly an hour into the running time. That goes hand-in-hand with the other subplots involving his attempts to rule over the villagers to keep his nefarious plan a secret which just ends up doing the same thing in keeping the shark off-screen. That's somewhat of a blessing as well with the film's technical limitations due to the budgetary restrictions. It shouldn't cost much to make a shark that retains the same basic dimensions and proportions throughout the film yet the shark here is maddeningly and frustratingly inconsistent. Initially appearing to be slightly bigger than a grown person in some attacks, later scenes have the creature big enough to swallow a person within their jaws while an underwater chase is more of a realistic bigger-than-man being. This change in size is carried out with the stiff, plastic-like look of the model inside playsets for the sharks' activities. The storyline rationale for some of the attacks is also a bit clumsy and far-fetched which manage to hold this one back. There are a few things to like here. Despite not having much shark action, the other scenes here depicting the villagers fighting back against the mobsters' goons which result in various clumsily choreographed but energetic kung-fu brawls with the henchmen that offer a fine lead-in to the village raid. The scale is quite grander than expected and has a lot of intensity with the stunt-work featured here, really giving this a big scene much like the thrilling police raid at the compound at the end which has a rather enjoyable action movie tone featuring the gun battles and fighting throughout. That also is what works here with the big confrontation to get the shark out at sea as there's plenty to like involving the extended battle trying to bring it to the surface while the secondary race to stop the gangster fleeing the scene is a great touch due to the spectacle here of accomplishing both at the same time. Otherwise, there isn't much else here.
Rated Unrated/PG-13: Violence and Language.
47 Meters Down (2017)
Underwhelming if watchable mainstream shark film
On a vacation together in Mexico, two sisters agree to go on an underwater cage-dive as a means to have an adventure together, but when an accident strands them on the ocean floor with a diminishing air supply they must brave the shark-infested waters to water the surface and get to safety.
For the most part, this was a big disappointment. Among the film's problems here is the film's prominent display of stupidity for setting everything in motion. The sense of personal safety checks that are bypassed here simply to undertake this incident which starts with the trip being done because of an off-hand comment told by a spiteful ex-boyfriend. Done with no build-up as for why that comment means anything anyway coming from an ex-boyfriend, that such an unimportant remark means that she then continually ignores every common sense of self-preservation to get onboard the boat and head out with that rickety, rusted equipment is just absolutely ridiculous. Likewise, the film's strong technical flaws come through rather strongly. Despite plenty of accurate and wholly intelligent reasoning about the unwanted ascension to the surface from that depth, the fact that they're even alive at such a location without being crushed under the water pressure is a severe issue here. They're only equipped with flimsy wetsuits and are unprotected otherwise, that they're able to survive the experience is quite troubling and generates some major problems here. As well, with all the blood in the water from their injuries that they're not bleeding out faster is wholly problematic and not entirely realistic. The last major problem here is the genuinely troubling lack of shark action for much of the film. They have such a minor role throughout here that they're almost an afterthought to the more prominent survival thriller aspect of the scenario. Instead of continually coming down to the cage to check out the strange object in their environment, the sharks are instead presented as the underlying obstacle to prevent their ascent to the surface and keep them on the ocean floor where they can engage in an extended series of tasks designed to stall for time as if a back-up plan wasn't put into motion, the result is that the sharks don't play as much of an issue as they should've been. That said, there are some real positives to be had here. The main scenario about being trapped in such a situation lowered to the bottom of the sea with rapidly-expiring air and killer sharks around them comes off as a genuinely terrifying situation that has some merit to it. That splits the film nicely into halves with the survival drama first half giving way to shark attacks in the second half as they manage to interject some extra intensity and suspense in their quest to escape while the various attacks that do occur are carried off with genuine thrills. Given some of the savagery inherent in these scenes and generating some of the only blood-flow in the film, these are what hold the film up but not enough to overcome the flaws present.
Rated PG-13: Violence and Language.
Harvest Lake (2016)
Engrossing if slightly flawed supernatural effort
Heading out for a weekend in the woods, a group of friends arrives at a secluded cabin where they soon come across a mysterious stranger who joins them, unaware that the trip is about to be crashed by the emergence of a strange entity around the lake that begins to target them one-by-one.
Overall, there was quite a lot to like with this one. One of the strongest aspects to this one is the rather strong build-up here that manages to make the group immensely fun and enjoyable. There's no drama or urbane secrets to be had from each other but are instead treated to a wholly enjoyable and fun starting point as they are fun to be around, joking around, offering comebacks to each other and playfully teasing that gives a sense of genuine friendship between everyone. That, in turn, manages to add a strikingly enjoyable quality to the horror scenes later on. The build-up from these early scenes is just as good, going from absolutely stellar scenes featuring a hypnotic quality to the group being affected by the atmosphere of the lake, creating not only a haunting quality to these scenes but likewise furthering the sexualized air created here. As that slowly turns into the discovery of something not quite human being in the woods with them, not only subtle or physical which are all possible due to the fine start this one works from. While this work is incredibly well-done, the strong poetic nature of these scenes does make it hard to fire out the general sense of what's going on. As characters seem to shift between being possessed one minute and acting like they're normal the next, the further throws confusion upon things as we try to figure out the whole plotline involving the group coming under the spell of whatever's living in the woods surrounding the lake which seems to feed on sexual energy. That is furthered along by the surreal, dialogue-less final ten minutes where they seem to be pleasing a gloopy, pulsating blob of some kind, yet without words to fill in the blanks, this becomes somewhat frustrating. That factor does lead to the lone true flaw in the lack of horror action. Although the group is slowly becoming possessed by a strange force living in that area, its intentions are never remotely threatening as the general atmosphere is kept incredibly light. Instead of being stripped away of their humanity and forcing everyone else to do so against their will or meeting their end via a ravenous, blood-crazed beast, the seemingly utopian based nature of whatever's in the lake doesn't provide as much of a jolt as it should've since there's a sense of harmony and euphoria experienced rather than fear and revulsion. As that could combine with the slow, deliberate pace to throw some people off, it's the only issue to be had with the film.
Rated Unrated/NC-17: Full Male and Female Nudity, Continuous Sexual Activity, Language, Violence and drug use.
Shark Exorcist (2015)
Rather underwhelming shark film
After a series of strange attacks, a woman grows concerned her friends are affected by a strange source and soon discover that a curse has unleashed a possessed killer shark on the community controlled by one of her friends and heads out with a local priest to save her possessed friend and stop the killer shark.
There wasn't a whole lot really wrong with this one. One of the better features here is the sheer lunacy continued within this one as all the various plotlines throughout here all come together. Mixing together the supernatural with the nun's sacrifice and the paranormal investigators' psychic connections to the creature as well as the body-hopping possession that affects the numerous victims that are gradually put under the sharks' evil presence, the film gets plenty of mileage out of this supernatural inclusion. That these are placed alongside the concept of a creature feature involving a shark running free in a small-town lake has some interesting aspects to it. Likewise, there's also the fact that this one generates some enjoyable attacks on several fronts. The supernatural attacks by the possessed victims relying on the temptation aspect of the sultry performer at the heart of the scenes turn nicely into creature feature when the shark arrives and takes them out in traditional manners that has some worthwhile suspense to things. That these attacks are mostly accomplished with decent enough CGI to not make for an embarrassing shark, it's enough to end up holding this up for its positives over the detrimental negatives. The biggest problem to be had here is the fact that hardly anything here makes sense. The randomness of throwing all sorts of utterly bizarre sequences here, from watching a faux paranormal investigator being involved into the scenes of the possessed friend going around town picking up various townspeople as a potential sacrifice only none of them are actually sacrificed to a stupefying scene of a random coven of witch wannabes trying to contact the spirit of someone who died at the lake. None of this is explained or even given a reason for being here, much like the sequence at the fair that goes nowhere or the endless hosts of people in bikinis that pad out the running time when it could've tried to bridge together it's interesting plot points. The other issue is the sheer incompetence displayed throughout the film that really does this a disservice. The audio/visual problems here is the main point, making for such a cheap-looking atmosphere here to have the natural sound in the scene that either never matches what's happening on-screen or being so obviously overdubbed in a different setup that really manages to make this look and sound absolutely awful. The exorcism scene suffers from this the most, turning what could've been a cheesy sequence into such a cheap-jack look here with the barely two-minute sequence that ends up becoming a joke of a scene that it just drops the big significantly. As well with the lack of nudity and gore in a scenario that requires plenty of it, these stand out as the biggest problems to hold this one back overall.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Language and Violence.
Highly enjoyable if flawed killer shark effort
Arriving in a small ocean-side community, a research group looking to vacation in a small coastal community find that the series of mysterious disappearances around town are the result of a monstrous shark created by a secret Naxi experiment and loosened upon the world, forcing them to stop the creature.
This one was every bit as cheesy and goofy as expected. Most of what makes the film so cheesy are the outright ludicrous and laughable storyline that we're supposed to take seriously. The idea of melding together sharks and the Frankenstein legend by way of a Nazi experiment in WWIII is a truly goofy concept here, and that's in addition to the full-on explanation sequence where this one pulls off the connection between the fictitious story and real-life events. This explanation gives the reasoning for the sharks' ragged appearance and ties into the sequence of the group assisting in the operation to revive the shark. As well, that also stretches to the creature attacks throughout here. With the reliance on short shock scenes of the shark jumping out of the water to attack those on the beach, there's a goofiness and overall sense of cheese that makes this a lot of fun. When it starts getting to the bigger scenes like the boat attacks or the chases away from the island, these have a bit more suspense than expected which offers a great contrast to the finale involving the creature sprouting legs and attacking on land as there's some goofy fun to be had involving the creature running through the woods attacking locals and leading up to the explosive finale in the lighthouse. These here are what hold the film up for the most part. The main issue holding this one back is the expected lackluster special effects featured here. The shark is completely lackluster, never once looking more than a puppet superimposed over the action in a manner that renders such impossible changes in size dimensions across the scenes that it stands out every time it happens. That the CGI is arguably worse, not just for the creature's attacks but other scenes including shots of the villains' hideout superimposed into the scene which is not only unnecessary but adds an extra cheese factor which lowers this one significantly by looking cheaper than it should. This is an issue with the effects work as a whole that lowers this one which is more detrimental than the practical effects also featured here. The other problem with this one is a wholly muddied explanation for why the creature turns into a humanoid mutation. The fact that there's no reason as for why the creature, which was a shark-body, gets struck by lightning and turns into a monstrous, humanoid deformity that was never an issue in the original story so why it happens to the shark here is quite curious. Along with a questionable rape scene on a villager that doesn't need to be there, these are what hold the film down.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Language and Graphic Violence.
Solid if still slightly flawed addition to the franchise
After finding a lonely young girl, a nurse at a local hospital tries to help her regain enough senses to tell what happened to her, eventually leading to a connection with a local urban legend her brother accidentally uncovered and brings her colleagues face-to-face with a murderous ghost.
Overall, there was quite a lot to like with this entry. One of the strongest factors here is the way this one utilizes the traditional elements of the series into creating a very familiar atmosphere. The film explores a rather intriguing investigation angle that was central to the original entries in the series where the authorities are looking after the young girl who wandered into their lives. Realizing the connection between her and the mother who died and then trying to understand what's going on by interviewing the girl has some great moments to it by setting off the nurse's interest in the situation. The connection deepens when the brother gets involved and turns up missing with the fateful video of the scene which is analyzed and proven to contain enough about it to make the authorities look at it even further which is a stellar factor of the film. On top of that, the film's ghost scenes are quite creepy and generally effective. The opening scene in the apartment of the ghost interrupting a woman's attempt to kill her daughter gives this a strong and shocking start, while the scenes at the doctor's office investigating the girl provides some enjoyable moments here. This carries into the terrifying encounters at the hospital of the ghost coming to life and targeting the nurses' patient in the corridors of the building which are just chilling and incredibly creepy but also serves a fine purpose of getting the traditional franchise elements into the film. Alongside a strong finale that features plenty of creepy action on the island and keeps this one connected with the series incredibly nicely, these here are what manages to hold the film up for the most part. There are still some problems with the film. The biggest issue to be had here is the fact that the introduction of the girl and how the investigation is going to be handled just comes off as sloppy and mishandled. Knowing from the start that the fire was the cause of the mother's death and the rest of the hospital staff finding her is decent enough, but to get the brother involved here through his investigation of the area as a project for his video channel is extremely lazy. The fact that one disappointing video that still manages a respectable number of views is suddenly cause enough for him to want to abandon the content he's providing and turn automatically to ghost-hunting on that kind of a whim has no connection based on what happens. As well as some confusing instances of cheap CGI that undoes a couple of the jump-scenes, these are all that really hold this one back.
Rated Unrated/R: Violence, Language and children-in-jeopardy.
Creepy and enjoyable if somewhat flawed Indonesian shocker
Attempting to attract more followers, a group of friends decides to break into a supposedly haunted local apartment to live stream them searching a haunted building, but when they realize they've inadvertently opened a doorway to guardians from another dimension they try to fight the deadly beings.
This one ended up being a spectacular overall effort. One of the film's best aspects is the strong storyline setup that's in play here. The idea of the game that's played here and the rules that are featured here in regards to what they have to play with. The scene in the room where they initially come into contact with it that generates the rules of what they've unleashed where they've accessed the spirit world without their intent. Following up their return trip where they learn they've unleashed the portal and brought them into the world, this being combated by their social media provides a solid twist that keeps this one quite enjoyable. On top of that, the film's focus on the teens who are obsessed with such social media, constantly worrying about followers and being at the top of the class in terms of popularity with their feeds strikes a fine topical cord. That their need to be perceived as popular or even just using their devices to stay up-to-date on the news around them is a great touch and manages to make it believable that they would eventually feel the need to get involved with the game in the first place. As well as the supernatural action, the film manages a lot to like with the stellar supernatural work at play. This starts with a vengeance featuring the group in their apartment trying to use the game to help their possessed friend that gets this one started strongly. Likewise, the film works with the few modernized touches that integrate the ghostly action into that setting, from the freaky occurrences during the live stream before it turns sideways or their attempts to investigate the building that results in some jump-scares by being shown through the camera of their phones. Once they leave the building, the various battles with the supernatural creatures that have been unleashed offer up some gripping sequences featuring the team coming into contact with the various spirits in both the real world and the spiritual dimension. From there, the film scores so well with the unleashed supernatural beings coming for them. The scenes in the abandoned building where they investigate the history of the artifacts in the room, from the designs on the floor to the mystical parchment that no one else can read but the one who finds it. The mysteriousness of their surroundings, the supernatural influence on the actions of the group and the terrifying actions that arise that signal the group has unleashed something in the scene is a fantastic viewpoint of their ordeal to come and showcases that something's going on. Their trip to the supernatural world and being tormented by the otherworldly beings is exceptionally chilling and the eventual escape is a stellar sequence while the one loner left in the spiritual dimension confronts the murderous spirit in one of the creepiest scenes in the film as she walks through the various trinkets and objects left around where she finally sees the creature. Combined with the stellar make-up work on the possessed individuals and some shocking gore, there's quite a lot to like here. There's not much to dislike here, which mainly stems from the overall lack of explanation for anything going on which makes it seems pretty confusing and troubled overall. However, that's all that holds this one back.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Violence and Graphic Language.
The Brood (1979)
Massively underwhelming and barely worthwhile genre effort
Stuck within the legal system, a husband trying to get his wife out of a controversial doctor's treatment center finds a stumbling block when the refusal to free her coincides with a series of strange attacks, and when he discovers a link between them tries to shut him down for good.
This one ended up being rather troubling overall. The main issue to be had here is the endless series of psychobabble that runs wild throughout here. There's very little info given early on to describe what's going on, rather dropping us off immediately with this troubled family and the lunatic doctor who's ruffling the feathers of the husband over his treatment with the wife due to the belief that the daughter is in physical danger. It's an incredibly strong setup to establish here and the film doesn't give us much of a clue about several big questions involved here, from what happened to the family to the previous encounters they've had to the doctors' experimental treatments that are unconventional and confusing to have played out here. As well, all those issues with the storyline questions leave feeling bored with the film as a result. Since we're not aware of anything about what's going on, this means we end up following an irrational husbands' quest to get past a cold, emotionless doctor plying a secretive therapy regimen on his wife for the sake of his daughter and while that's a great baseline to work off of there's little reasoning for anything. Without knowing anything about the mother's sanity issues, his pleas to see her, the threats to get her free or the interactions with the daughter instead serve to stretch out the running time here making for a mostly dull and bland experience. On top of that, the last flaw here is that these issues don't make for an exciting genre effort. Since the first hour here pretty much is devoid of any specific take on the killer kids running around, their inclusion comes off as an afterthought since there's never any mention of where they came from, what they're supposed to be or their methods for choosing their targets until much later, making them feel incredibly disjointed and unconvincing. When the full extent of the situation is revealed, that ends up answering some but bringing about more questions about the creatures' purpose rather than clarifying anything which leaves these scenes a mess as a result since we're confused about them in general and completely unscared of them. These here are the main problems with the film. This one does have a few solid points about it. The attacks by the strange creatures are exceptionally brutal and quite graphic which manages to give them some semblance of enjoyment here, especially with the first attack resembling a haunted house ambush with all the various objects flying around from an unseen source before showing the vicious attack on the victim. With the later attacks on the grandfather in his home or the schoolteacher in the classroom in front of the kids were especially brutal and jarring, that stand out more than the first encounter and set up the grand finale at the farmhouse where it goes overboard with some stellar confrontations and wild ideas that are rather nicely utilized. However, that's all that holds this one up overall.
Rated R: Graphic Violence, Language and children-in-jeopardy.
Low-budget sci-fi indie
Several years after aliens arrived on Earth, a group of kids selected to lead a mission to a space station near to a potential new planet to live on are soon stranded on the planet and must try to utilize their skills in order to survive and accomplish their mission.
There wasn't a whole lot to this one. One of the film's bright spots is the absolutely stellar and impressive special effects work that goes into the numerous conflicts and encounters with the aliens. From the opening autopsy where they remove the creature from inside the one individual to the girls' dream sequence, it becomes obvious that the special effects here are going to be old-school based and stay really fun. The design for the aliens, with their oval-shaped bodies, large eyes in the middle of the shape and tentacles flipping around has a great look that's created through practical means which is really appreciated. With the fantastic gore also showing up through practical means later on in the various attacks on the kids throughout the planet with their chases keeping this one moving along often enough to make for a fun time, it's special effects are perfectly in tune with the low-budget here with the vast woodlands in the forest looking rather enjoyable. These here are the film's positive points. This one has a few issues with it. The main factor to be had with this one is the absolutely banal and slow-paced tempo that plays out in the first half here which is rather disappointing. Taking way too long to get the kids' purpose for traveling to the stars as we get too much about their home-life and the pre-launch prep about the choice of letting kids on a suicide mission in the first place. Despite trying to accurately bring up a valid point which is brought up numerous times in their meeting which causes that factor to get brought up as well, this one just takes forever to get going with the main sequence taking place so late in the film's short running time that it's a slough to get to the good scenes. The sentimentality expressed here, with the kids trying to connect and trust each other in this instance but clearly not able to do so based on their backgrounds, is cliched and feels forced, causing this to drag out even more. On top of that, the film's other big problem is the aforementioned lack of comprehension in the storyline featured here. The idea of sending these kids, completely unqualified and utterly unprepared for what they're about to accomplish as the idea of the visit being a publicity stunt just makes no sense. There are so many great points about why the children are being prepared to go along on the journey that is brought up by the few proponents of the idea that it just stands out as being too logical as for why the plan to go forward takes place. Likewise, the idea of the supposed bodyguard they run into is the main threat they have to battle against is quite underwhelming, feeling as if it's coming completely out of nowhere with very little build-up or point like there's some extra point needed for them to do while on the planet as if the survival on a rugged planet aspect couldn't be accomplished. These here are what really hold this one back.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Violence and Language.
Slightly flawed but still highly enjoyable effort
Arriving at their summer home, a family looking to have a relaxing summer vacation are suddenly confronted with mysterious, murderous doppelgangers of themselves who are intent on killing them and anyone else in their way along with their fellow doppelgangers, forcing them to stop the beings.
Overall, this one was enjoyable enough if still somewhat flawed. When this one works, its due to the rather fun concept of this one exploring a really underutilized setup for this one. The nature of the family being tormented by killer versions of themselves created in the fashion that they are here makes for a truly chilling and startling setup that gives this plenty of strong material to work with as the parallel versions of our own dark thoughts. Their penchant for using scissors, dressing in red jumpsuits and being generally creepy looking in their straightforward pursuit of the family is a wholly creepy concept that's incredibly well-detailed here. The connection here to the carnival she visited as a kid and the experiments done beneath the city with the secret tunnels and passageways hiding them as long as they have been is a grand setup here. This provides the film with a lot to like when their entire operation is revealed at the very end down in the lower facility and everything here becomes revealed. As well, this early setup manages to turn out a rather impressive and enjoyable series of action scenes here with the doppelgangers. The initial encounter in the carnival sets this up with a wholly chilling and freaky setup, yet the outstanding home invasion is where this one picks up considerably. With the sheer unknown quality of the family outside standing silently before they move and take over the house, there's an unnerving quality to their movements and behavior which is all the more chilling when compared alongside the stellar confrontations featured with each doppelganger. With the brutality inflicted here and the escape measures they try to employ in order to get away from them, this extended sequence serves the film well with a lot to like and is chilling enough to serve as a launching pad for the rest of the film being out on the run. Later confrontations at their friends' house with those doppelgangers and a series of TV show clips featuring the other doppelgangers out in the community offers the kind of viciousness that makes this one quite fun. That said, there are some issues with this one. The early buildup here with the family, as much fun as they are, stretch the beginning of the film out than it really should causing the film to, in turn, run on longer than it needs to be. These scenes of the father trying to get the family excited about the rustic experience at the cabin or getting together with their friends on the beach which feature some fantastic work setting up the characters but just feel like excess padding that could've gotten to the point sooner. Likewise, the pacing to this one's action scenes are wholly overlong, with the home invasion taking forever to get the intruders inside and then to take over which seems to take far longer than necessary more in terms of pacing and setup than actual on-screen action. Also rather troubling is the finale, where the action is quite underwhelming and it just doesn't end on a high note. These issues end up holding this one down.
Rated R: Graphic Language and Graphic Violence.
They're Inside (2019)
Misguided home invasion effort but still somewhat enjoyable
Arriving at a secluded cabin in the woods, a group of friends attempting to film a special film project documenting a beloved moment in her personal life, only to have their personal struggles get pushed to the side when a pair of psychotic strangers invade the shoot looking to have fun with them.
Overall, this one wasn't all that bad. One of the more enjoyable features here is the rather strong setup here that focuses on the stellar invasion done out in the woods. The idea of shooting the documentary at the remote house in the woods through the contest is a fine enough starting point, and with the concept of the footage here being the behind-the-scenes filming of the shoot there's a fun motive for the resulting series of attacks here. This sets up the behind-the-scenes drama as well with the times she states the reasoning for being there at the house and how they're long-buried resentment at the moments that are being recreated on-set gives this a strong start to what's coming to play later in the film. That turns out to be the rather chilling series of surprise ambushes featured by the killer duo. Starting with the initial interruption that is seemingly suspicious but brushed off, it starts to get creepy when added together with their spying on the group from the outside or being there from the very beginning that the group never notices. As well, starting with the opening shots of the freaky killers sneaking up on the personality shooting at the cabin and attacking him shown through the found-footage camera, the home invasion scenes get rather chilling with the full-on attacks that are featured which are non-stop throughout the final half-hour which include multiple chases in the house and outside into the woods that give this a nice life overall. There are a few flaws to be had here. One of the biggest issues is the maddening quality of filming this in the found-footage style which this one completely doesn't need. This one hits nearly every single complaint usually found in found-footage films where it's completely unnecessary to film it in that manner from the very start and just seems to be completely at odds with the type of film they're shooting at the cabin. On top of that, the film also manages to undermine much of the suspense to be found from the stalking in the cabin where this one really could've provided more atmosphere and suspense playing this as a straightforward, traditional genre effort, being one of the rare efforts that would've been better had it stayed as a traditional film. The other big issue here is the film's rather bland pacing that comes into play. The first half here, dominated by so much behind-the-scenes nonsense of the two going through the trials and tribulations of their history together that interfere with the shooting that there's no real interest in this one due to the found-footage aspect to be had here. That also manages to have an effect on the killers here who are absolutely laughable on-screen dressing up in shorts and t-shirts to try to kill people that it's impossible not to laugh at them physically trying to impose their will on others. When the utterly ludicrous finale comes into play that turns this into a wholly ridiculous offering here because the pacing doesn't allow this a chance to do more with them, they end up holding down the film overall.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Language, Male Nudity and Graphic Violence.
Blood Paradise (2018)
Flawed if sometimes intriguing effort
Looking to get new inspiration, a crime writer decides to take a holiday in Sweden on a remote farmhouse trying to find her next book only to come across the increasingly unhinged and psychotic individuals around the farm and tries to find a way to get herself to safety.
Overall, this was a decent enough if still troubling effort. One of the better features here is the generally odd atmosphere at the farm that invites plenty of generally creepy feelings the longer we're around. Ranging from the generally bizarre farmer and his eccentric lifestyle to the obsessive fan and his wife that plow their way into the story, the general feeling from the environment is exceptionally creepy that goes hand in hand with the general beauty of the landscape. This explodes into a grisly and violent final half where it's built entirely on the reversal of those elements to become a fun grindhouse-styled adventured laced with some dark comedic sequences and plenty of fine gore. Tossed off with some solid nudity from those well-qualified to deliver and there are some generally enjoyable elements to this one. However, there are still a few flaws here. The main troublesome aspect is the glacial-like pacing that takes the viewer out of the film with very little of any interest happening for long periods. The time spent on the farm getting used to the various quirks and eccentricities of that lifestyle do nothing but showcase how she's so unaccustomed to farm-life being from the city. Nothing about this is creepy or thrilling, and the one time it could've been with her clothes being stolen while skinny-dipping doesn't even register as she takes off without alerting or informing anyone about what happened. The result is that there's way too much time taken here before anything starts going on. The other big issue is that there's no clear indication of what the film's trying to be. The influx of several vastly different storylines, from the rustic lifestyle on the farm to the posh lifestyle she lives that's supposed to provide fish-out-of-water comedy to the quirky neighbors that get involved in the story and the matter-of-factness of the different people on the farm that they go about their lives without bothering her until the very end means there's a seemingly discordant tone that arises. Whether it's supposed to be funny or creepy is never really explored and the film feels awash in numerous plot-points that don't mesh into any kind of worthwhile hole. These here are what hold this one back.
Rated Unrated/R: Full Nudity, Graphic Violence and Graphic Language.
Si yiu (1981)
Not all that bad Hong Kong slasher/giallo
Following the discovery of a dead body, a police inspector realizes the similarities to a case from a neighboring village and travels there to conduct his investigation where he falls into the plot of a vicious killer conducting a killing spree against a local brothel and must stop it.
Overall, this one has plenty to recommend about it. The movie's at its best when dealing with the abundant and grimy sleaze packed into it. The very nature of a killer running around defiling bodies and committing necrophilic acts on those bodies is quite unsettling from the very start, and doing as many detailed shots of the body's being examined while absolutely crawling with maggots and worms is absolutely revolting. That the girls are nude in this manner while covered in such a nausea-inducing state makes for a queasy experience which is suitably matched by the scenes caressing the naked bodies in the morgue in an almost orgasmic manner to really get an uneasy feeling about the material present. The extended close-ups and panning shots along the body showing the insects crawling out of the orifices or simply congealed on the various points present with the rotting, desiccated skin underneath creates even more disgust and grime within here, and helps to provide the appropriately dirty air throughout with the revolting concept being equaled by their realistic execution. Another suitably strong aspect here is the melding of the grimy atmosphere with the storyline. The inclusion of elements from the giallo and krimi genres, especially the policeman's dominance of the first half conducting an investigation into the crimes and setting the events around a brothel playing major roles in the film. From the first attack on the security guard on patrol to the excellent ambush inside a car outside the brothel and then the big dual attack at the chicken farm nearby that offers two different attacks inside, there's plenty of strong action scenes throughout here. With the finale taking place in the upper realms of the brothel with a fun attack and chase scene giving this one lot of great gore and fun at the ending, these manage to hold it up rather nicely. There are a few minor issues with this one. The biggest problem to be had is the rather flat and sedate pacing that runs throughout the first half, as the scenes not focusing on his investigation tend to be quite bland with the focus on the brothel and their inner workings, which aren't in the least bit interesting. Watching how they entertain guests, the behind-the-scenes struggles trying to keep the sickly performer healthy and the various bits of comic relief trying to get inside the building don't have much of any interest as it drops the necrophile angle in favor of these investigations singling out the individual we all know is the killer. That aspect also manages to hold the later half back since the main focus here turns away from these aspects to turn to the slasher scenes and investigations. With the revelations and double-crosses in this section emerging into far more convoluted scenarios than necessary, this half of the film is a lot more underwhelming than it really should be.
Rated Unrated/R: Graphic Violence, Graphic Language, Full Nudity and explicit themes of necrophilia.
Hong yi xiao nu hai 2 (2017)
Underwhelming ghost followup
Trying to find her missing daughter, a woman joins a rescue team when she's spotted being lead away by a mysterious figure in red heading into the local woods to find her and discovers a strange connection to a local legend involving the deadly figure forcing her to protect her daughter.
For the most part, this was a decent enough if still highly flawed sequel. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the film is the localized build-up of the central storyline involving the mysterious girl ghost. With the stories they tell featuring the girl leading people away through hypnotism and other mind tricks, the need for the red cloak at all times and the general behavior she exhibits when capturing them allows for the spirit here to have a great central feeling and helps to build a wholly chilling central character in the process. As well, the ghostly action here is quite fun and manages to get some startling encounters. The opening encounter in the woods gets this off to a great start and a surprisingly shocking sequence at the home of a fellow mystic that may hold the keys to solving the mystery she faces has some great work here featuring the ghost emerging from odd places to attack and generates some tense moments. There's also the rather fun scenes of the demon child running loose in the woods which invokes some rather creepy imagery of the supernatural beings performing their unearthly tricks. Seeing them turn into the demonic creatures and begin chasing them through the alternate dimensions battling the spirits of the unborn children. These here are what manage to hold this one up overall. However, there are several problems with the film. The main issue at hand here is the wholly disjointed and chaotic storyline that makes little to no sense at all. The idea of exploring the legend of the ghost girl in red is to have an idea of the motivations and practice that goes into what they're targeting and who's at risk, yet this one seems to ramble on more about the history of the locals' interactions with her rather than give out any kind of concrete example of what the ghost is accomplishing or after. Likewise, the idea of dragging the survivor from the first film into this unrelated film serves no use when she doesn't do anything in a catatonic state for the majority of the film and doesn't even serve the function of filling in the backstory work that she did in that one which would've been the perfect opportunity to have her there. The film's other big problem is a wholly overlong running time that doesn't do this one any favors. There are so many beats in here that aren't necessary at all, from a confusing side story involving a local tracker that acts like a tiger crawling on all fours or a series of encounters she has with the mystic woman who has her own tragic backstory that ties into what's going on. These segments are simply excessive and force the film to run on far longer than it really should giving us storyline points that aren't related to the film at all and causes the film to run through its ghosts scenes in truly perfunctory and expected manners to make up for the time lost to these situations. These are what really harm the film overall.
Rated Unrated/R: Violence and Language.
Hong yi xiao nu hai (2015)
A solid if somewhat flawed ghost effort
Attempting to move on his life, an ambitious real-estate agent and his girlfriend find their relationship struggles interrupted by the disappearance of his grandmother, but once he goes missing as well she finds a potential cause to be the legend of a local ghost coming after them.
This ends up being quite a decent if flawed effort. One of the brightest aspects here is the rather intriguing storyline that utilizes a wholly effective rationale for the ghost haunting. Tackling a popular and chilling local legend that's built into the local folklore and tells a rather interesting concept for a ghost film. A mischievous being that preys on guilt and regret, especially with children and the elderly, there's potentially a lot to really get into with the concept of a ghost following a person around to torment them for their feelings of guilt in their lives. This is particularly evident in the fact that the central relationships present in the film that borders on their regrets in life, from failing to keep childhood promises to their lack of understanding the romantic feelings that pop up in their romantic side. Once this early setup is accomplished, the later series of jump scares and ghostly interactions becomes all the more intriguing. Directly aping the original legend with the video footage of the girl in the red dress following a group of unknowing hikers in the mountains, these scenes come off nicely mixing together some rather traditional elements with the folklore trappings. These early scenes of the ghost influencing their dreams as they both end up getting their own dream-like encounter with the ghost popping up out of nowhere to generate scares or the stand-out hallucination of him supposedly eating bugs and worms instead of a regular meal. These are accomplished in conjunction with the creepy-looking ghost itself that looks quite chilling and really helps to sell some of the scares in the scares, especially evident in the scares of it crawling around on the floor chasing after them. There are later scenes in the jungle searching for everyone that manages to generate some reasonable suspense with the frantic search based on the earlier knowledge of their interactions with the ghost and the creepy setting is put to good use as well with these frantic scenes. Overall, these are what really hold this one up. There are some problems with this one. The main issue here is the overly familiar feeling that runs throughout the film, mostly centered on the overloaded sense of stylistic choices taken from other films. With the film focused on thinking these elements drive the main fearful aspects instead of its generally captivating storyline, there's a somewhat bland feeling that can emerge at times. As well, the other big issue here is the rather weak story that tends to be more confusing than anything. This one offers up a wholly intriguing storyline about a young ghost girl that can foreshadow strange incidents and calamities afterward, yet really doesn't do much with it. In the end, this relies more on an intriguing premise more than actually having anything with this ghost and just causes some confusion as for why include that backstory in the first place. These are what hold it down the most.
Rated Unrated/R: Violence and Language.