Posts Tagged ‘Horror’

Spoilers!

A rescue team from Earth are against the clock and must save humans on Sirius 6B from the robot Screamers before the planet is wiped out by a class 10 solar meteor strike.

None of the original cast return in director Sheldon Wilson’s offering, we are told that Peter Weller’s grumpy, in search of love, Joseph A. Hendricksson committed suicided on reentry to Earth, presumably in a tussle with the killer teddy bear screamer left on the spaceship.

The visual effects are surprisingly effective with some convincing composites and some impressive practical effects. There’s more gore, chopped of limbs, torsos, heads split open, impalement, a fist punched through a body and a head. The sets and production design are great but it’s has a direct to DVD look (especially in the first half) and lacks the filmatic feel that its low budget predecessor managed to achieve.

As the contingent of soldiers get picked off one by one, we’re introduced to some annoying feral people better placed in Mad Max. We find out that Victoria Bronte is Hendricksson’s daughter giving fans some much needed connection to the first. Arguably this could have been revealed much earlier on. Lance Henriksen turns up briefly as Orsow injecting some weight into the shenanigans. Both actors Gina Holden and Stephen Amell are notable.

Unfortunately, the Miguel Tejada-Flores (who also co-wrote the original) script lacks execution, it can be clunky in its delivery and at times lacks logic. What Tejada-Flores and Wilson do well is expand and attempt to build on the Screamer mythology. That said, sometimes less is more.

Amongst the explosions, shootings and blood the pacey sci-fi setups are more or less recycled from the first film. It lacks Philip K. Dick‘s philosophical questions, paranoia and sense of desolation that its predecessor attempted to touch on.

It’s a passable sci-fi B-movie, if somewhat cliched especially in the Alien/Terminator-like closing act. In fact, as DTV film and sequel, to Wilson’s credit, it’s probably one of the best of its kind.

Spoilers!

After his traumatic experiences in the haunted Overlook Hotel, troubled Danny Torrance as an adult tries to resolve his past. Soon he crosses paths with a teenage girl who is being stalked by the True Knot, a cult who want to extend their lifespans by consuming the psychic essence from those who have the shining.

Director Mike Flanagan’s production of Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep masterfully incorporates Stanley Kurbrick’s vision of the Overlook hotel, aesthetics including the maze and likeness of the characters drawn from King’s source novel. Incorporating Hallorann and the ghosts of the Overlook to name a few. Flanagan expertly recreates scenes from the original with new actors including the likes of Wendy (impressive Alex Essoe), Jack and young Danny.

Doctor Sleep at times tries to scare you but with the child murders it also shocks and sickens. Opening with a nod to Frankenstein, where a young girl is by a lake, Doctor Sleep is very vampire-like with the True Knot gang feeding off the Shining, instead the blood of virgins to extend their mortality. You then have to watch an overdose and toddler death. Flanagan doesn’t pull punches.

The acting is on point from every character. Ewan McGregor is outstanding as Doc/Danny, carrying a hefty character arc. Rebecca Ferguson menacingly simmers and Kyliegh Curran is notable, all supporting cast offer great support. Emily Alyn Lind steals some scenes as new True Knot recruit Andi. Henry Thomas (Eliot in E.T.) as The Bartender Jack Torrance has an uphill struggle, it’s difficult not to compare him to Jack Nicholson, that said, without the aid of CGI tweaks (which may have fared better) he does a decent incarnation of Danny’s father.

The special effects, especially the skull faces of the gang during their demise is impressive. The recreated sets are exceptional (painstakingly recreated exceeding the Thing (2011)). Flanagan offers a well paced film, plenty of character development and of course chills, especially the directors cut! His visuals are stunning and handsomely executed (the homages to Kubrick’s Shining, including music reworked by
The Newton Brothers and sound cues are especially welcome) and the third acts return to the Overlook is a joy.

Doctor Sleep is a good adaption of the novel and is an advantageous sequel which builds on the characters and makes connections to the film. While it could never compare to Stanley Kubrick’s weighty original, this pastiche sequel is fresh and unsettling enough to justify its existence

May contain spoilers.

After a meteorite lands on a farm, a family find themselves infected by a mutant extraterrestrial organism.

From Richard Stanley the visionary atmospheric director of the sci-fi Hardware and occult thriller Dust Devil comes Color Out of Space, colour U.K. spelling?

After a long hiatus Stanley returns with a film more appealing to a wider audience, that said, the H.P. Lovecraft foundation source material with the director’s own touch it’s far from mainstream. Interestingly actor Elijah Wood is one of the producers. With practical effect visuals reminiscent of John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982) and Brian Yuzna’s Society (1989) it excels Huan Vu’s 2012 impressive low budget film adaptation. The colour and digital effects rival 2018’s Annihilation.

It’s a film about every family’s worst nightmare. Nicolas Cage’s Nathan and children deal with rural life, in a bid to help their mother’s Theresa (played brilliantly by Joely Richardson daughter of Vanessa Redgrave) recovery from cancer. Shotgun touting Cage is on arbitrarily oddball form when things start to fall apart and people get mutated. Elliot Knight plays hydrologist Ward Phillips, who knows there’s something wrong on the property, Tommy Chong as Ezra, aptly the pothead hermit and Josh C. Waller as Sheriff Pierce are notable even if their appearances are brief.

Madeleine Arthur is impressive as troubled Wicca practising teen Lavinia Gardner. Brendan Meyer plays Benny but it’s young Julian Hilliard that steals the show as Jack who can hear the alien.

Some of most creepy scenes include the siblings especially the well staged black hole cosmic meteorite crash. Lavinia has a terrifying memorable attic scene where she comes face to face with her mutated mother and younger brother. Stanley offers strange coloured vegetation, a smelly glowing pinky purple meteor. Fingers are chopped off, bug creatures fly around, a squid-like creature appears, there’s mutated alpacas, bolts of purple lightning which fuses people, he successfully captures the madness of Lovecraft’s work.

It may not be as rounded as Jeremy Gillespie and Steven Kostanski Void (2016) that drew from Lovecraft but it’s is a Stanley film after all with all the cosmic infection galore trimmings. Stanley and Scarlett Amaris script possibly could do with some more meat on the bone as the dialogue is sparse. That said, Stanley naturally goes for the subtle, intelligent filmmaking route, at times ambiguous rather than a spoon feeding.

It’s a fine looking film with Steve Annis’s cinematography, there’s vibrant special effects and a complementing eerie soundtrack from Colin Stetson, it’s also dark, terrifying, emotional and gut wrenching at times. In true Stanley style it’s expectedly arty but there’s plenty there for diehard horror fans too.

Colour Out of Space may not be Stanley’s The Island of Dr. Moreau remake we’ve been waiting for since 1996 but it’s a solid H.P. Lovecraft adaptation and a welcomed return to the directing chair.

Spoilers ahead!

After staging his own suicide, a scientist becomes invisible using a suit to stalk and terrorise his ex-girlfriend.

This is yet another adaption of HG Wells tale The Invisible Man, the domestic abuse angle offers a fresh perspective on the classic source material. It also, takes some of the intriguing urban elements of Hollow Man (2000) but replaces the traditional invisibility with a suit that came straight out James Bond’s invisible car from Die Another Day (2002).

It’s well acted, Elisabeth Moss’ performance as Cecilia the abused partner add emotion and weight to the proceedings. Aldis Hodge is notable as James Lanier, a police detective but it’s Michael Dorman as Tom Griffin, Adrian’s brother and lawyer who steals ever short scene he appears in.

The invisible action and effects are well staged and executed. Director Leigh Whannell offers subtle touches from visible breathe from an invisible source to appearing knives and floating guns. That said, it’s terribly frustrating, if you’re not partial to the ‘no one believes me’ scenario type of films. In this case the police and family refuse to believe her story. There’s a nice reveal in the latter half but the final twist you can see coming a mile away.

Overall, Whannell’s film may not follow Wells’ story or be as much fun as Hollow Man and other film adaptations but it is a welcomed and effective serious toned Invisible Man film, that comes with a reminder of the horrific abuse one can suffer from a partner.

Zombie killers Tallahassee, Columbus and Wichita leave the safety of the White House to travel to Graceland in Memphis to save a now grownup Little Rock.

Director Ruben Fleischer offers a surprisingly great laugh out loud sequel to a breakout sub-genre flick that was already saturated in 2009.

Packed with action and wit, the moment where stars Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, doppelgänger’s Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch’s characters meet is worth viewing alone.

Emma Stone is perfectly dry with another sharp funny performance. Both Harrelson and Eisenberg are on amazing form. Joining the cast is the excellent gun toting Bigfoot driving Rosario Dawson but it’s Zoey Deutch who steals the show with her character echoing a dizziness of Legally Blonde with hysterical efforts.Bill Murray turns up in the credits in a throwback to the first film.

The action setups and special effects are done well, with the music being the icing on the cake. It may not break new ground, but it doesn’t need too as it’s the enjoyable reunion that recaptures the spirit of the original which makes the film so edible.

Overall, likeable great zombie killing fun.

While attempting to save her father during a hurricane, a woman finds fighting for her life against a group of hungry alligators.

Alexandre Aja (director of the underrated Maniac and overlooked Pyramid) offers a excellent exciting creature feature flick.

The glue here though is a good performance by Kaya Scodelario as Hayley. Barry Pepper is also on his usually form as her father Dave. The premise is simplistic enough. There’s moments reminiscent of The Shallows, Rouge and 47 Metres Down to name a few.

Where Aja excels is with the practical and digital effects, as looters, police and other fodder are devoured on the rising waters and storm backdrops. The tension at times is as well executed as the alligators themselves especially the setups where Hayley is trapped in a house.

Overall, it’s no game changer or as visually ground breaking or clever as Aja’s other works but it is a recommend creature feature, especially thanks to Kaya’s dedicated performance and alligator moments.

A boy named Harley and his family attends a taping of The Banana Splits TV show. However, when the show is cancelled the stars go on a killing rampage through the studio.

Director Danishka Esterhazy offers viewers The Banana Splits gang, a vest-wearing headstrong mother heroine, over the top gore and Hostel Saw-like torture, mixed with Rob Zombie’s Hell 31 (2016) on a low budget.

Like the recent similar tones of the Puppet Master: Littlest Reich (2018) reboot, Esterhazy film lacks a cinematic look and quality, its straight to home-video feel stops it becoming a cult classic. That’s said, there’s plenty to enjoy. Fleegle and Drooper are particular menacing as the majority of adults are killed off. The child actors are good, actress Dani Kind does her best Linda Hamilton as a Sarah Connor type and Naledi Majola is notable as studio manager Paige.

While this movie is packed with borrowed elements from better films writers Jed Elinoff and Scott Thomas’s story holds up with a few twists, including a programming Frankenstein creator, robotic Banana Splits with a topical A.I. gone wrong reminiscent of Small Soldiers and the recent Child’s Play remake.

For die hard ‘Splits fans Cuckoo is possibly the psychological damaged fiancee (which sets up a sequel) but the ‘head on the wall’ from the original series appears to be omitted. Nevertheless, there’s blood, elaborate deaths throughout the rundown grime ridden studio setting and the showdown with good robot Snorky versus evil Bingo robot is a hoot.

This tone shift will split The Banana Splits fans but old school Banana Splits lovers who like horror should watch even if only for the novel adult tra la la slasher fun.

SPOILERS!

When a faulty Kaslan Buddi doll is returned to a store due to its red eyes, a mother gives it to her 13-year-old son as an early birthday present unaware of its potentially evil nature.

Directed by Lars Klevberg the Child’s Play remake is a crowd pleaser with a handful of over the top Saw, Friday the 13th, Halloween, Puppet Master-like gory graphic kills.

Tyler Burton Smith’s writing is only novel if you’ve not seen advanced the tech toys in Small Soldiers or integrated App controlling in Terminator Genisys to name a few. Here the A.I. Buddi doll from Kaslan Cooperation has been reprogrammed and it’s safety restrictions removed by a disgruntled Vietnamese worker who shortly after commits suicide. Later after bonding with Andy the ‘learning’ Chucky goes on an over protective rampage.

Smith borrows heavily from Joe Dante’s aforementioned Soldiers and Don Mancini’s Cult of Chucky especially in the closing where Chucky takes control of a variety of toys and the latest line of Buddi Dolls.

As Chucky slashes and stabs his (preferred way of killing) way through the paper thin plot (gone is the supernatural voodoo aspect of the original) Smith also throws in an E.T., Goonies group of kids which also echoes the popular Stranger Things to cover all bases. The cat versus Chucky feels a little too nasty. In addition, the Texas Chainsaw gag and skin mask nod is so outlandish and early on in the film, it steals any real credence to the derivative proceedings. The pervert in the basement is a mashup straight out of Hardware and The Resident.

Mark Hamill is fine as the voice of Chucky, complete with a well delivered catchy Buddi song. Hamill offers a serial killer calm and sinister edge to Chucky but arguably he’s less menacing than his predecessor Brad Dourif. Gabriel Bateman’s Andy Barclay is solid enough even if reminiscent of the child in The Predator but never is truly fearful of Chucky even after finding his mom’s boyfriend’s face. Through no fault of actor Aubrey Plaza as Karen Barclay, the slutty mom thing stops you really caring for the character. Likeable Brian Tyree Henry’s Detective Mike Norris feels wasted. The death of his mother is too circumstantial for you to buy into his brief investigations.

While this 2019 unoriginal version is well put together, briskly paced with great effects, Klevberg vision doesn’t have the weight, wit or tension of the original Child’s Play. It’s feels like a studio property money making exercise (that it does successfully) for the common denominator and demographics. Nevertheless, it’s worth watching once if only for the Hamill and the FX.

An expedition to Saturn’s moon Titan uncovers an alien being that stalks corporate rivals from the U.S.A and Germany.

In the vein of producer Roger Corman’s Galaxy of Terror (1981) and Forbidden World (1982) director William Malone’s
Creature arguably is better put together than the latter thanks to Bette Jane Cohen’s editing, lighting and set design. Essentially Malone’s American science fiction horror film is another rip-off of Ridley Scott’s classic Alien (1979) and is also reminiscent of Life Force which was released the same year.

As expected Klaus Kinski b-movie master walks his pompous Hans Rudy Hofner role. Nevertheless, the female actors out shine their male counterparts in terms of performances. Lead Wendy Schaal is on her game along with Twin Peaks classic styled blonde
Annette McCarthy, Diane Salinger does a V-like Jane Badler’s Diana,
however, striking Marie Laurin steals the show with screen presence, even if unnecessary naked at times.

Malone offers some smokey space atmosphere assisted by Thomas Chase and Steve Rucker’s music. The director does his best with the confines of the budget plus his and Alan Reed’s own script limitations, even borrowing some Star Wars’ sound effects.

There’s a handful of decent gore, make up and special effects work by Robert and Dennis Skotak (who incidentally went on to work on Aliens the following year). In addition the above average space costume design predates Total Recall (1990).

Overall, it’s worth watching once even if out of FX interest.

A detective apprehends a serial killer who after his electric chair execution returns to haunt the police man from the grave.

As a stand alone story, House III: The Horror Show ticks all the 80s horror boxes, practical and optical effects, stunts, rock music and a fitting score by Harry Manfredini.

Just like House II: The Second Story its tame predecessor, producer Sean. S. Cunningham and director James Isaac’s only failing with this instalment is that it’s not really in the spirit of the original House. That’s said, thankfully it’s for the most part a serious offering with A Nightmare on Elm St (1984) tone, Freddy-like quips and a furnace to match. It’s also reminiscent of the Prison (1987) and echoes Wes Craven’s Shocker (1989).

Trying to keep his sanity Lance Henriksen gives one of his best straight performances as Detective Lucas McCarthy. Brion James gives his staple larger than life delivery but with genuine menace and weight as Meat Cleaver Max. Interestingly Day of the Dead’s Terry Alexander briefly appears as Henriksen’s partner Casey and Dedee Pfeiffer encapsulates that 80s brat pack persona as Bonnie McCarthy.

Overall, overlooked House III: The Horror Show has suspense, gore with surreal dreams and splatter effects. Everything a fan of 1980’s horror could want.