When The Last Exorcism debuted in the fall of 2010, it’s safe to say that it was definitely cashing in on the found footage genre. It was at it’s peak, with Paranormal Activity just hitting the screen a year prior and lighting the horror scene ablaze. This isn’t to say it wasn’t a bad movie, by any means, in fact it was likely one of the best of the slew of found footage features. It didn’t hurt to have Eli Roth as an executive producer. While we lost Daniel Stamm, the director of its predecessor, but Eli Roth and star Ashley Bell return for The Last Exorcism: Part II which ditches the handicam look and goes for a more traditional cinematic look.
This is the continued story of Nell Sweetzer, who has been found in New Orleans and is put into a home for troubled teen girls. Frank, the owner of the home, is convinced that the demon Abalam does not exist and that Nell has created that story as a way to deal with her prior trauma in Ivanwood. For a while, Nell does well at adjusting to her new life. She finds a job, meets a boy, and even makes friends with the girls in the house. But it isn’t long before Abalam makes his presence known and starts again on his quest for Nell. It’s up to herself and The Order of the Right Hand to stop Abalam from possessing Nell and fulfilling an ancient evil prophecy.
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Dan and Mindy are trekking home for the holidays. They immediately encounter some minor setbacks, but nothing can prepare them for the hell that is in store for them. A very pregnant Mindy and husband Dan are about to become the mice in a sadistic game of cat and mouse.
The concept is vaguely reminiscent of The Hitcher. But, in no way does Roadside try to impersonate The Hitcher. The script delivers plenty of scares and sees the film’s leads in constant peril. It’s easy to identify with Dan and Mindy. Like The Hitcher, Roadside is highly unnerving. The film is taut and filled with suspense.
The opening credits appear to pay homage to one of my favorite films, North by Northwest. And, I found that appropriate since Roadside delivers Hitchcock-esque suspense. Clocking in at around 82 minutes, Roadside is shorter than most horror fare, but it wastes no time getting started. It is short and to the point; there is no unnecessary filler. Roadside simultaneously delivers character development and suspense. It packs a big punch in to its short running time.
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Without question, the big draw for Stoker is that it's the first American movie from South Korea's Park Chan-wook, the visionary director behind movies like Old Boy, Lady Vengeance and other thrillers that mix art with brutal violence.
The premise for this coming-of-age thriller seems to be right up his alley as it follows one person's quest to overcome adversity, although India Stoker is much younger than his previous protagonists.
India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) is a loner, an outcast of a teenager who prefers to spend time alone or with her father, but on her 18th birthday, her father dies in a tragic car accident, leaving India alone with her already unstable mother (Nicole Kidman). Then her father's brother Charles (Matthew Goode) shows up for reasons that are unclear and strange things start happening around India.
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In Cell Count, Russell reluctantly agrees to support his dying wife, Sadie, in taking part in an experimental treatment. Russell is recruited to participate in the program, as well. Sadie’s Doctor promises results that seem too good to be true. But, despite their skepticism, the couple goes along with the program anyway. The problem is that their skepticism is not unfounded. In fact, it is more than warranted. It seems that 'the cure' may be worse than the disease.
Robert McKeehen (Grimm) stars as Russell and Haley Talbot (Grimm) as Sadie. The performances are reasonably good. The characters are easy enough to either relate to or empathize with. The only performance that I have any criticism against is Ted Rooney (Roswell) as Abraham. Rooney’s performance is a bit over acted at times. His performance is believable for most of the film, but he becomes a bit hammy in the final fifteen minutes.
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The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia. Straight from the title card, this movie is a mess.
A “sister” film to the moderately successful A Haunting in Connecticut has been in the works for a while [Editor's note: Once it was a directing vehicle for Ti West who bailed out.], debuting now four years after the original.
The movie tells the story of the Wyrick family, who move to a seemingly perfect little cabin tucked away in the backwoods of Southern Georgia. We quickly discover that Andy’s wife Lisa is in touch with the spiritual world, she possesses a ‘veil’, a gift that allows to her to interact and see with the other side. It seems that this gift is shared with her sister Joyce and passed along to her daughter Heidi, and because of it, they uncover a century old secret that unearths some ghostly presence as well.
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Iris, desperate to find the means to pay for her sick brother’s mounting medical bills, agrees to attend what she thinks is a charity dinner. Iris believes she will be allowed the opportunity to participate in a contest that could absolve her of her brother’s costly medical expenses. Silly Iris. What she is really in store for is a deadly game of Would You Rather.
I am a big Jeffrey Combs fan, so I was curious when I heard that he was starring in a new flick that’s been garnering positive feedback from the festival circuit. The premise of an entire film based around a game of Would You Rather seemed enticing, but I had concerns regarding whether that premise would be able to carry an entire movie. My concerns were promptly alleviated.
David Guy Levy served as both producer and director, with this being only his second time directing a feature film, and he left me anxious to see what he will do next.
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With a great mix of horror, humor, and romance, Warm Bodies is a fun new spin on the classic tale of "Romeo & Juliet."
Upon first glance, you might look at Warm Bodies and think, "Ugh. Another zombie movie?" And under most circumstances, you'd be right. The zombie fad may be near its end. But as long as a film can offer a fresh take on old material, it can work. And fortunately, Warm Bodies does just that.
First of all, it tells the story of R from a first person perspective. While most zombies are portrayed as thoughtless monsters, this story takes you inside of the head of a zombie. You hear what he's thinking as he kills a person, his thoughts about his pathetic state, his thoughts about other zombies, etc. It's a great new take on a classic movie monster. The other great thing it does is take the classic story of "Romeo & Juliet" and throws a modern zombie twist on it. The Montague family members are now zombies. The Capulets are the surviving humans. R is, of course, Romeo and Julie is Juliet. I was well over halfway through the film before I had this realization and even then it took them doing an amusing version of the balcony scene to make it blatantly obvious to me. As soon as the scene happens, you could hear the lightbulbs going off among audience members. The film also has some fairytale elements as Julie is the beauty and R is the beast. All of this combined together makes for a fun new take on the zombie genre.
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You have to admire Spiders for its gumption. On what must have been a very limited budget, director Tibor Takacs (The Gate) goes for the gold, setting the creature feature in New York City and having it culminate with a giant queen spider rampaging through city streets. Pluck, in and of itself, however, does not automatically lead to the desired result, and Takacs is unable to align ambition and execution.
On an ordinary, hectic day in Lower Manhattan, Jason Cole (Patrick Muldoon) is overseeing operation of the city’s subway system. The expected chaos of being a supervisor for the transit authority is abruptly interrupted by falling debris from an abandoned Russian space station. One of Jason’s subordinates soon discovers that the debris has occupants, and they are not peaceful.
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