Tucker and Dale vs Evil

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Tucker and Dale vs Evil is a 2010 horror comedy about two friends, Tucker and Dale, who head out to Tuckers cabin to do some repairs and relax.  On the trip the pair encounter a group of college kids who stereotype the them as inbred, homicidal maniacs.  What ensues is a night of blood and comedy as the two groups clash over a misunderstanding.

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The writing and plot are fairly simple but very effective.  Tucker and Dale just want to spend the weekend doing some fishing and drinking beers but have their weekend ruined when these college kids keep killing themselves all over the property.  Tucker and Dale rescue one of the girls when she has an accident while swimming and almost drowns.  Her friends mistake the pair taking her as a kidnapping and set out to get revenge.  The best part was seeing the various ways that people would end up unintentionally killing themselves to the dismay of Tucker and Dale.

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This movie has great special effects to go along with the comedy.  The special effects are all practical and gory, similar to the Evil Dead series.  The effects create some gruesome, albeit hilarious death scenes.  My favorite was the cop that gets impaled when he leans against the broken column in the house, causing the kids to freak out as they think that the pair just murdered their only hope for survival.

Tucker and Dale vs Evil is a great movie.  Its funny, well acted, and the gore effects are great.  The humor is the best part of this movie.  You could argue that it’s actually more of a comedy movie with a horror slasher aspect to it.  Overall its got the full package to make it a cult classic.

9/10

-Andre’

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Beyond the Gates

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Beyond the Gates is a 2016 horror adventure film.  Two brothers reunite to clean out their recently deceased fathers old VHS store.  In the midst of exploring the old building they find a board game that their father had played just before their father’s death.  Once they begin playing they find themselves host to the perils of horrors from the other side.

This movie was a chore to get through.  For the first half of the movie absolutely nothing happens.  Once the main characters put the game in even the lady in the game does nothing but stares at them from the TV for the most part.  I literally had a conversation about rice during this movie that was more entertaining than anything that was happening on the screen.  The acting is mediocre and awash with blank stares and facial expressions.  The best actor was probably the creepy curator guy but he was just overly cheesy.

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The story actually has a good premise, it’s basically trying to be the horror equivalent to Jumanji except if falls flat on its face attempting to emulate it.  The game itself is just dumb.  The characters have to collect four keys that the game inserts inside of a couple of people and then forces the main characters to remove them, killing the person.  So the game punishes random people for having the audacity to know the main characters but the main characters survive no problem.

This movie is boring and not worth your time.  The best thing going for it was that some of the special effects in the kills were pretty cool.  Other than that it’s not worth the hour and a half to sit through.

1/10

-Andre’

Annihilation Review

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Annihilation is a 2018 sci-fi/horror film about an unexplainable event called the “shimmer” taking place near the southern coast of the US.  After multiple investigations into the effected area yield no results, a team consisting of five women with various specialties is sent into the shimmer to find out its cause.  Inside they find horrors that challenge everything they’ve ever known about life.

Spoilers

Annihilation has a few good things going for it, but they’re undone by the bad parts.  The cast is excellent, the visuals are amazing, and the atmosphere is great.  For me though, the writing just wasn’t up to par with everything else.  The visuals in this movie look amazing.  The shimmer is being caused by a meteorite that crashed into the area.  As a result all surrounding life begins to be mutated, both plants and animals.  As explained by a member of the team, it has effects similar to a prism, except it refracts everything, including DNA.   This leads to some pretty great scenery and designs.  The group encounters strange sights ranging from an alligator with shark-like features to plants that take the shape of a human.  My favorite effect caused by the shimmer was the zombie bear that captured the voices of those it killed.  After it attacked one of the ladies, it lures the other women to it when it screams for help in her dying voice, tricking them into believing she’s still alive.   annihilation-2018-monster-bear-review-600x300

The weakest part of this movie was the writing.  Even though this is an unexplainable, alien event there’s a lot of things that happen that really make no sense.  There are far too many moments where common sense and logic are absent when these people are supposed to be smart, on paper.  Towards the beginning its shows that the military has been sending teams into the shimmer for a few years and none of them have ever returned.  So what do they do?  Continue to do the exact same thing for years, producing the same “results,” letting them learn nothing about this thing.  When Oscar Isaacs character is shown to be the only person who’s ever returned from the shimmer he begins to spasm and cough up blood hes quarantined immediately as his health starts to fail.  The very next group that gets sent into the shimmer goes in without so much as a dust mask on with only one having prior combat training.  Obviously something inside caused him to have that reaction just as something else claimed the lives of every group sent in before yet there’s no further preparation, not steps taken to do anything different to get results.

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Some of these girls are pretty dumb.  They have a paramedic among them and when the group sees a video from a previous group, they see a soldier with his insides squirming and moving under his skin as though his intestines are alive.  The paramedic says it’s just a trick of the light and everyone looks at her like she’s an idiot.  Another scene that makes you scratch your head is when the group is attacked by the mutated alligator at the edge of the swamp.  This is a giant alligator, roughly thirty feet, highly aggressive and really strong.  They manage to kill it, and the next scene shows them in tiny boats traveling through the swamp.  I guess they were taking the risk that was the only alligator in the entire area.  At night they hole up in a facility and station someone at a guard shack to keep watch.  The facility their sleeping in is a large tower and the guard shack is roughly three hundred feet from it.  So obviously the person in the guard shack gets attacked and killed and no one even sees what happened or what did it because it was so far away.

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The ending is…… it’s so weird that a description really cant’ do it any justice, but here goes.  Portman gets to the initial crash site of the meteor and finds Leigh there who vomits out a rainbow rock, which transforms into a humanoid shape.  This humanoid shape proves impervious to harm when Portman shoots at it, then it chases her culminating in a weird scene of mimicry and hugging before it turns into a copy of Portman.  The ending is left open-ended as to whether the person we see outside in the real world is actually Portman or the alien thing.

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Overall, this is a movie that had great potential but ultimately fell on its face.  I liked it for the fact that it’s the closet to a modern adaptation of one of my favorite stories, The Colour out of Space and its interesting to see such a similar concept on-screen.  Other than that, this movie is ultimately brought down by the poor writing and sheer dumbness of the plot.  Basically this movie is dumb and made no sense, but it was amazing to look at.

5/10

-Andre’

Terrifier Review

Terrifier

Terrifier is a 2017 horror slasher film.  Terrifier follows Art the Clown in his solo debut movie as he spends Halloween night tormenting three young women who were unlucky to have come across him.

Spoilers

Terrifier is essentially just a slasher, but what sets it apart from other slashers is Art the Clown.  Aside from Art though, this movie doesn’t really offer anything in the way of character or plot development.  Everyone is just cannon fodder for Arts rampage.  Characters do dumb things and are punished for it later on.  For instance, there’s a scene where after Art brutally murders her friend in front of her, the girl manages to stab him then after he goes down, she drops her weapon and runs off to hide.  As with any slasher ever, he gets up and comes after her again, brutally disfiguring her in return.  The plot is paper thin, killer chases victims and kills them.  That’s all there is to it.   I’m guessing the script was a few pages long at the most.  What I did like about the plot was that they did away with the common trope of a lone female who survives it all.  While there was only one female survivor, she’s horrible disfigured and becomes a psychopath killer herself as a result of the horrific night she had to endure.

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Art the Clown is the best and probably only good thing about this movie.  He’s really creepy and unsettling.  He doesn’t speak, or make any noises for that matter.  Art is actually more of a mime than he is a clown but I didn’t come up with the name.  He’s essentially a much more brutal Pennywise the dancing clown placed on mute.  His costume and mannerisms, combined with the way he kills his victims makes him a very memorable villain and one of my favorite slashers.  All signs point to Art being a franchise character and I really hope that in his next outing that he can remain the character he is while having more well written protagonist to go up against.

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Overall, Terrifier is a decent movie.  Although the plot and a lot of the characters were really thin and not fleshed out, I think that Art the Clown made up for a lot of it.  I love the eighties cinematography style that it’s filmed in, it gives it more of a grindhouse slasher type of feel even though it’s a new movie.  That said, there is a lot of gore, and its all done with practical effects that make it look great.  Terrifier is a good movie that could be a great movie with a little improvement on the paper thin plot.

6/10

-Andre

Truth or Dare 2017

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Truth or Dare is a 2017 horror movie about a group of college kids caught in a harrowing game of truth or dare.  Whats starts as a fun game in a seemingly haunted house soon takes a turn for the worse.  The game continues to get more intense as otherworldly forces force them into increasingly dangerous acts.

Spoilers

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Truth or Dare is a weird, yet entertaining movie.  The plot is just sort of there.  There is no build up or explanation for why things are happening the way they are.  The group starts a game of truth or dare in what local legends say is a haunted house and later on they encounter someone who played years before who just refers to it as “the evil.”  Thats all the explanation the movie gives over whats happening.  The rules of the game change and I can’t tell if its the evil force just messing with them or because of inconsistent writing.  For instance, when given a truth the first girl lies and the evil just calls her a liar and thats it, yet later on when another girl lies just as the first did, shes killed by the evil force.  Another example was a dare in which two girls had to remove seven body parts in seven minutes.  The evil force interrupts them and tells the girls it has to be whole body parts when one of them cuts skin from her elbow, yet counts it when they cut tips from fingers and parts of their ears.  Also, for some reason one of the girls decides to cut off her entire foot, despite fingertips and toes being accepted.  One thing I did like was that one of the kids is smart enough to realize that the dares don’t specify who has to do them, so they can all share the dare to minimize the effects rather than having a single person do it.

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This movie also had one of the most unsatisfying endings ever.  The final dare was for one of the girls to kill the other.  So they both get into a car and speed off and crash into a tree.  There’s a black screen and you can hear them both gasping for breath before the credits roll.  This ending just leaves you with questions and refuses to explain anything.  The only redeeming thing about the movie was some of the kills were pretty entertaining, and the fact that the evil followed them outside of the house and tormented them in their normal lives.  Overall, its a fairly average but ultimately forgettable movie.

5/10

-Andre’

The Endless

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The Endless is a 2017 horror movie following two brothers a decade after they escaped what they described as a UFO death cult.  The two brothers struggle to adjust to a normal life.  Justin, the elder wants to continue to try and fit in while his younger brother Aaron longs to return to the cult where he had a sense of belonging.  Once they return they come to realize that things aren’t all lies and brainwashing as they’d previously believed.

Spoilers

The Endless is a strange movie.  Its portrayed in a realistic way yet manages to portray this otherworldly weirdness at the same time.  The plot is unique, well written, and well paced.  The movie starts with more subtle strangeness, giving you the feeling that things aren’t right here then it escalates the weirdness as the movie progresses.  From the beginning you notice how Justin and Aaron look around the same age as everyone at the camp, despite them having been kids and everyone else adults when they left ten years ago.  We find out that the “leader” of the group rescued the two from a car crash that the boys lost their parents in years ago.  Once the movie hits the midpoint, that’s when whats really going on becomes more clear.  The camp is under watch by an ancient entity that can manipulate space and time.  This entity has trapped everyone in the vicinity in time bubbles that repeat ad nauseum.  Camp Arcadia is trapped in a bubble that repeats every ten years, ending with the entity consuming them only to bring them back to repeat the cycle over again.  As such the camp members don’t actually worship the entity as a cult would, they realize that they’re trapped there and they accept it as they try to live as best as they can, forever.

The acting is done surprisingly well for a low-budget indie film.  None of the actors are even b-listers but they play their roles well.  My favorite was Carl, he provides more of a comedy relief aspect because he’s so over being this entities plaything.  He’s constantly agitated and yelling off in the distance at the entity how much he hates it, only for the entity to make things worse for him.  He was crazy before being trapped by the entity, and hes even worse after, but hes funny.

I really like the portrayal of cosmic horror in this movie.  The characters try their hardest to overcome something they have no idea how to understand.  They’ve been at it for decades yet nothings changed for them.  Everyone struggles to live their lives while realizing that they’re mere playthings for this unknown entity that has them in an eternal prison.  We’re led to believe that the two brothers manage to escape before the time loop resets, trapping them in Camp Arcadia, but there’s subtle things in the film that would lead to other conclusions.

Overall, The Endless albeit a low-budget indie film is actually a pretty good horror movie.  I find myself enjoying the indie horror movies a lot more than the big studio productions.  The Endless does its own thing and builds off of its own ideas to make it a unique film.  It’s a weird movie, but in a good way.  I can’t wait to see what the director puts out for the third installation of this series.

8/10

-Andre

Mandy Review

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Mandy is a 2018 action/horror film starring Nic Cage and Andrea Riseborough.  Nic Cage is Red, a logger living in the wilderness with Riseborough who plays Mandy.  They live a good life until one day Mandy catches the eye of a psychotic cult leader, setting in motion a gruesome revenge story as Red rampages through the cult.

Spoilers

The acting in Mandy is excellent.  There are no cheesy or over the top performances in this one.  My favorite performances are those of Cage and Roache, who plays the cult leader Jeremiah Sand.  Cage delivers a solid performance as he portrays a broken man consumed by a hunger for revenge as he slaughters hellish demon bikers and crazed cult members to avenge his wife Mandy.  There was one scene that takes place in a bathroom that can best be summed up as “classic cage.”  Roache on the opposite end portrays Sand as a manipulative, psychotic fanatic who I’m pretty sure is on LSD the entire time.  He manages to control everyone under him through intense psychological manipulation to the point where they would die for him or sacrifice each other at his will.  He’s also a failed musician who doesn’t take too kindly to criticism, hence his reaction to Mandy laughing when he plays his music as he tries to impress her.

The presentation of the movie is excellent.  Sound is slowed down, distorted and manipulated to help lend to the sinister feel of the person speaking or the events taking place.  For some characters their speech comes off as though they were underwater or as if it were coming from all around you.  The cinematography of this movie is amazing.  Scenes look like something painted by a skilled artist.  The use of color and combined with blackness in certain scenes gives more of a feel for whats going on rather than the actual spoken lines.  The movie also uses good-looking psychedelic animation when showing what a character is dreaming about.  This movie is all over the place artistically but in a good way.

The story is a fairly predictable revenge movie.  Red violently carves his way though all obstacles to get revenge on the man responsible for Mandys death.  There were a couple of more unique parts to the story though.  For instance, the biker gang that kidnapped them for the Sand.  They were supposed to be demons I guess.  They looked like cenobites from Hellraiser and I wish there had been a bit more focus on them as they were pretty interesting.  The movie also had an amazing fight scene with two guys battling it out with chainsaws of all things.  Also towards the end we see imagery indicating that the events occurring aren’t taking place on earth.  Perhaps Red died or he’s hallucinating everything taking place, we did see him use LSD earlier in the movie.

Overall Mandy is a great movie, for certain people.  Its one of those rare really artsy horror films that’s an homage to eighties b-movies.  The story is a predictable revenge flick, there’s nothing surprising about it but the way its told is what makes it special.  The unoriginal story is more than made up for by excellent production and great acting.  Mandy is one of the best horror movies released this year and it’s definitely worth a watch.

9/10

-Andre