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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lost Boys 2: The Tribe

As a horror fan I should hate this movie. As an '80s movie fan I should hate this film. As a Lost Boys get the point. But I am also a lover of cheesy horror films that don't take themselves seriously and Lost Boys 2 is just that.

The film picks up an indeterminate amount of years after the first film. Former surf champ Chris Emerson and his teenage sister Nicole (Autumn Reeser) move to Luna Beach after the death of their parents. Chris meets Shane (played by the extremely luscious Angus Sutherland) another surf champ who dropped out of sight. Shane sets his sights on Nicole and begins to seduce her into his vampire coven. Chris teams up with vampire hunter and board shaper Edgar Frog (Corey Feldman reprising his role from the first movie) and goes to the brink in order to save her.

The film has some good and some bad points. The good: Corey Feldman is awesome to watch in this film, and eerily enough looks almost exactly how he looked in the first film. The story is engaging enough and Angus Sutherland literally steals the film. Kudos for bringing back Gerald McCann's Cry Little Sister as well. It's a wonderful song and makes more sense in a film about a brother trying to save his sister.

The bad: While viewers do find out what happened to Edgar's brother Alan and Sam Emerson there is no word on what happened to the rest of the Emerson clan or Star and Laddie for that matter. The film's official website claims that Chris and Nicole are cousins of the Emersons but this is never mentioned in the movies. The movie relied a little too much on sex scenes and a ran way to long police chase scene that simply weren't necessary for the film. Also unnecessary was the character of Chris and Nicole scatter-brained aunt who is pretty much a one note joke that wears thin very quickly.

If they really wanted a weird family member why not have their aunt be the mom from the first film Lucy. It'd be fun to have her essentially play the same role that her on screen dad played in the first film. The seemingly clueless character who knows more than she lets on.

Lost Boys 2 would have done better as a stand alone film. It's a decent story with a great cast. Corey Feldman is a welcome return and we even get blessed with a cameo by Tom Savini who is all kinds of awesome. This is definitely a film to veg out to.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Diary Of The Dead

This film centers around a group of film students who are shooting a horror film in the woods when a zombie outbreak commences. We watch the gang via camera deal with zombies as they attempt to contact their loved ones and find a safe place to hide

I honestly don't know what to say about this flick. On one hand, I love George Romero and have never disliked one of his films. I do however dislike films that are shown from a camera's point of view. I know it's supposed to be more realistic and tries to make the viewer "live" the film but I simply don't like it. I got nauseous watching Blair Witch and while Cloverfield was good I don't intend on seeing it once again. With Diary Of The Dead, it simply bored me and distracted me from really immersing myself in the films.

Don't get me wrong George Romero didn't disappoint as far as the story went. It's nice to know that he still has the magic touch. However the constantly jerking camera angles did not impress me. If I want to real camera footage I'll rent a documentary but when it comes to zombie flicks I want the fantasy. If you liked George Romero or Cloverfield/Blair Witch check this film out. If you suffer from migraines or get easily nauseous then avoid it.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Ruins

The Ruins was a lot better than I expected. In light of what horror has been reduced to lately, I was worried that I was going to spend two hours being grossed out. The Ruins focuses on a group of Americans who decide to go to some hidden ruins to explore. They are joined by Matthias a European looking for his brother who had gone to those ruins a few days prior.

Inexplicably the gang is attacked by Mayans and are quarantined in the Ruins with no contact to the outside world. The Mayans are not their biggest problem as some mysterious vines begin to infect the gang.

The premise may seem silly but the films is a good way to pass the time. Jena Malone is a great actress even though I found the character she played to be whiny and unlikable. People who have read the book the movie is based on, be warned. The movie barely follows the books aside from the basic plot.

This film is refreshingly light on gore and doesn't bore the viewers with the generic crap that most horror films are hindered with. The only thing that really bugged me about the film was the vague ending and the selfishness of the protagonists. Even after knowing they are infected and knowing they could infect others they still want to escape. If I were in that situation, I would be thinking of other than my own skin.

The film also stars Joe Anderson (Across The Universe) and Shawn Ashmore (Iceman from the X-Men films.)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Hush Little Baby

Once again a combination of boredom and nothing else to watch has led me to the channel Lifetime.

Hush Little Baby is a ghost story centering around the character of Jamie, played by the adorable Victoria Pratt. After her first born daughter drowns, a frightened Jamie gives birth to her second child.

However Jamie becomes increasingly convinced that her late daughter is somehow possessing the baby and trying to kill her. In her confusion she begins to alienate her husband and sister by accusing them of having an affair. After a stint in the ER, her therapist begins to fear that she will hurt the child.

For the most part, Hush Little Baby has a wonderfully creepy atmosphere and Victoria Pratt proves that she's more than a pretty face. She takes a character that was dull and made her riveting.

The ending however was weak, rushed, and confusing. In fact the last scene is so ludicrous that you will more than likely find yourself grabbing the remote in disgust.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Why You Fail At Horror

After reading Stephen King's recent EW article "Why Hollywood Can't Do Horror" I started thinking about the state of the horror film. I realized that the large majority of my favorite horror films come from '60s, '70s, and '80s. Very few of the recent films were likable or memorable enough to make me want to watch again. Horror has lost it's way in the recent years.

One thing I can't stand about recent horror is the gross-out factor that half of the movie director's are going for. If the film isn't filled with graphic dismemberment, disemboweled organs, and gore then it's considered boring. I hated The Hills Have Eyes remakes, I couldn't finish Wrong Turn, and I thought the entire Saw franchise was dumb. I don't like to vomit and don't see why I have to spend money so that a director can try his damnedest to make me do so.

True horror doesn't need the best guts money can by. Horror is supposed to scare you not gross you out. Take Psycho for instance, the shower scene still scares the pants off me. It plays off one of my basest fears. What if someone attacked me while I am in the shower. There is no escape, there is no weapon to defend you. The shower scene from Psycho is one of the most chilling scenes in horror cinema and you never saw the knife penetrate Janet Leigh. Some recent horror films keep the faith. The directors of such films as Hostel, Frailty, and Ginger Snaps know when to use gore and when to scare the pants off of you.

We don't need to understand the killer in horror movies, we don't want to. In the real world people are killed for just being in the wrong place at the wrong time, that is a scary thought. Slumber Party Massacre is a movie that comes to mind. Granted it wasn't the best slasher film of all time but the ending was awesome. When we find out the killer was just some random dude with no connection to the final girl, it was refreshing. We didn't have to delve into his psyche and find out the reason he killed, he simply killed.

1974's Black Christmas was also awesome in the fact that we never knew why the killer did it. He stayed mysterious and uncaught, stunned viewers wondered who he was and better yet who was Agnes. It some cases there are questions that never need answers. When you answer those questions you get Black Christmas the remake. A film filled with unlikable characters, boring subplots and gore gore gore galore. Oh and yes we now know why the killer did what he did. He's not a bad man just a kid who watched his mother kill his father. A kid who was forced to impregnate his mother. A kid who is forced to live in walls. What's the point of the back story? Are we supposed to forgive him because he just didn't know any better?

Today's horror takes itself way too seriously. Sometimes a good horror film can be deliciously cheesy as well. Not every horror film needs to be "deep". We don't need some slap in the face about what horrible people we are. We don't need a message on how we brought this horror on ourselves. Modern horror seems more about being discussed and revered than actually trying to scare the viewers.

I miss being scared by a horror movie. Not startled, not grossed out, not confused simply scared. I miss slasher films that were all about the slash, not burdened down by back story. Michael Myers was scariest in the first Halloween movie. Because you had no idea why he was on his spree. They gave you the facts, mysteriously killed sister and lived in Haddonfield. His scariness failed as soon they brought in relatives and thorn cults. Freddy from Nightmare On Elm Street 1, mysterious and scary. But of course the back story fairy had to interfere. I hate the back story fairy.

True horror is mystery, suspense, the kind of film that keeps you from sleeping at night. The film that makes you want to turn on all the lights. We don't need big budget movies fraught with gore and socio-political meaning. We just need to get the that delicious chill up our spines once more.