Archive for the 'New Releases' Category

Aug

Comments Off on Poltergeist (2015)

I’ve been doing a lot of reviews of recent films, but there’s a reason, and I promise to return to the vintage side of things soon. But, for now, let’s talk about a remake. A tried and true tale of time: The haunted house. Now, I see many reviewers that have panned this movie, but the way I see it is this: A remake is only as good as the way it’s received. You gotta take off the nostalgia goggles, forget the original movie, and enjoy the ride. So let’s ride, folks!

This movie begins like all haunted house stories does: Family moves into a new place, explores it, bad stuff happens. I’m going to try and not make a lot of comparisons to the original, folks, but some must be made. This time around the family is consisted of a middle class family down on their luck. The father is unemployed, the mother is a stay at home mom with hopes of becoming a writer, a bratty teenager, a young son, and an even younger daughter. Now, usually the first mistake that most remakes make is failing to update the material, and I’m happy to say that this movie does that very well. They have modern technology and modern day problems.

The house of haunt that they move in to is wired to the core for high speed internet and security systems galore. The only reason I mention this is because a good writer just gave us a whole lot of background with a quick and simple fact. But, for the family it just means one less expense, and for the viewer it means less montages of unpacking. Shortly after arriving and getting somewhat settled in the new couple is invited to a dinner party with some local folks that spend their time laughing at the poor, it seems. I’m not one to throw stones, but c’mon, the last time I saw this many wasps I was being chased by them because of a water-hose incident. Don’t ask. But, they do reveal that the land is built upon an old graveyard, but the graveyard was moved. Plus we get one of the best lines in the movie regarding an ancient burial ground.

While the parents are away the ghosts will play. Back at casa de haunt bad stuff starts to happen. We got a tree that is very grabby, clawing at the young boys window, wifi that goes haywire and leads the teenage daughter into a garage, and the youngest little girl gets visits from her “imaginary” friends. Unlike other movies, that spend a whole lot of time getting built up, creepy stuff starts happening from the get-go. This first night is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Then it hits the fan. The boy is assaulted by a creepy clown doll, the teenager is grabbed by muddy zombie ghost fingers, and the little girl stares into a vortex that would make Doctor Who jealous. Usually these types of scenes are ones that employ jump scares, but this movie does it with atmosphere, music, and a good buildup.

Another thing I like about this remake is the relate-ability of the characters. The father begins to drink, the wife begs him not to, and FOR ONCE IN HORROR MOVIES he listens, dumping the devil juice down the sink. The teenager is just as bratty as any real one is, and the two younger children are actually tolerable! Why do I mention this? Because they make you want to care about them. So, after a night of debauchery and hauntings, the worst happens: The little girl get sucked into the world of the dead. Or as some people call it: Florida. Just like the original the family decides that going head to head with the specters is a bad idea, so they call in help. First up on the list of characters whose names we aren’t going to remember: Paranormal Investigation Team College Edition.

Short chick, tall guy, and their leader The Librarian go to the house and start to probe, poke, and doubt. There’s even an exchange between tall guy and the young boy where the accusation of the search of fame is the motivation behind the entire thing, inferring it’s a hoax. I know my own choice of words would’ve been much more colorful, but the young man still shuts him down. What’s that, on the horizon? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it five time WCW World Champion Booker T? No! It’s….It’s….KARMA! Oh, sweet, sweet, and cruel karma! Following his callous accusation tall guy is tasked with mounting some piece of tech, whose relevance is inconsequential, in the nightmare closet with a drill. It’s at this point the spooks decide to let him know that they are, indeed, real. He gets up close and personal with a drill bit, inching towards his skull.

Needless to say, the small college team is not enough to deal with our haunters, so they call in the big guns. No, not some “medium” whose voice is so high pitched only certain breeds of dogs and four rodents can hear it, but a sturdy, Irish gentleman with his own ghost show. The kicker, of course, is his catch phrase: “This house is clean!” With no shame, whatsoever, I can admit that I chuckled. With no cameras in tow we find out that he is, as a matter of fact, a real medium. What I love about this character is the way he’s written, not like a superhero, or some paranormal badass, but a man with a gift, and very human. In fact, he and The Librarian are ex husband and wife, leading to some very well written dialogue between the two.

An earlier, irresponsible, purchase has left the young man with a drone camera. So they decide to send that in, after some setup, to try and find the young girl in the world of the dead. This is where the movie takes a cool turn, showing us what’s on the other side of the veil, and let me tell you: It ain’t pretty. Lightning! Chanting! Tables! Ectoplasm! And the final show down between the alive and the dead commences! But. No spoilers, folks.

With all seriousness I can say that this movie is actually really good. Putting aside all forms of nostalgia and preformed criticism, this is a hell of a ride, even giving me the willies once or twice. The material has been successfully updated, the characters and their interactions with the ghosts are much more believable this time around. Though CGI was heavily used, I still wholly approve of this movie. There are still some horror tropes woven in, but it adds to the fact that the filmmakers have not forgotten where they came from. Give this movie a watch, ASAP. And if you end up at the gates of the ooey-gooey, just tell them Deadman sent you. Stay tuned, folks!

roadside attractions

  • Finances are tight but they bought a house.
  • Never trust the realtor.
  • Teenagers.
  • Count the clowns.
  • Doll eyes. Stuffed animal doll eyes.
  • Stop counting clowns!
  • Don’t do that.
  • That’s a dirty drink.
totals

3

blood

BLOOD

There’s no gore, but plenty of gooeyness.

1

blood

BREASTS

None to be shown, but there’s that one shot.

7

beast

BEASTS

Trees, clowns, dolls, deadfolk. We got a smorgasbord, here!

8.5 OVERALL
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Aug

Comments Off on Unfriended

Welcome to another review, folks! Now, I’ve covered a lot of different kind of horror movies in my reviews, so it makes me kind of proud to say that this is a first in this genre: Cybernatural. Now, I’m not saying anyone else on this wonderful site hasn’t done it, just me. As I’ve said before, anything can be a scary movie, just add the right elements. And in this review we have all the right elements to give us a pretty interesting setup. Let’s get to Unfriended.

This movie begins with a Skype call between two teenage kids, a boy and girl, of course, sharing some intimacies that will make you uncomfortable. I mean, seriously, I’m aware that countless other horror movies have used naked teenagers in them, but this is borderline voyeurism. Why is it so intimate? Because the movies perspective is from the laptop screen of one of the teens. We find out that this is the anniversary of the suicide of a friend, caused by cyberbullying. After we see the appropriate video, detailing the events that happened prior to this setup, all of the couples friends are suddenly summoned to the private moment. Mood killer, I know.

They all begin to question why they’re there, like the rest of us, and begin to converse, only to notice there’s a user in the Skype call that is not registered. Mystery begins! This setup, thus far, is pretty boring, I know, but stick with me, folks, this ride gets bumpy. Once the user is attempted to be hung up on, removed, deleted, and all but given to the Spanish Inquisition, the mystery steps up a notch. I have to warn you, though, as you watch this movie you will be tempted to close all the tabs and windows the character has open, searching for your mouse the whole time. And while annoying, it does give a very real feel to the movie, and I like that.

Soon after they begin to poke and prod the mysterious presence equally mysterious messages begin to appear, everyone in the chat thinking that the others are sending them. A scene from the trailers makes its way in and then things start to get weird. The disembodied chatter wants to start playing games. I think the folks that wrote this watched Saw a few too many times. But not before pictures, that were previously unpublished, make their way to several of their Facebook pages, exposing one girl and her partying ways. Tempers flare, words are exchanged, and here’s where the tension begins to build.

The incriminating pictures are removed from one account, only to appear on another. More tempers! More words! More incoherent shouting! And the game begins. No, there’s no Jigsaw voice employed. I’m disappointed, too. Seems the person terrorizing our little group of teens doesn’t like being hung up on. The nerd of the group finds a program to remove the user and the infected files they believe is causing the anomaly, freeing them. Though the fix is just temporary. Our resident nerd is now on the chopping block.

Now that the threat has been established as real the rest of the gang is now all on board with playing the malevolent being’s series of games. The ghost must be a teenager, as it favors the game ‘Never have I ever’. Another teen is offed in the process as the tension in the movie begins to build. This, I have to say, is probably the highlight of these young actors. The scenes and their behaviors are all very, very genuine, and easy to believe. I was very impressed with the fact that they were able to make ME feel on edge with their performances.

As we learned earlier in the movie, but I have yet to detail, the reason for the grizzly deaths and the haunting, is the dead teen wants to find out who shot and uploaded the video that pushed her to meet the business end of a handgun. The fact that the perspective is limited to just one laptop is very helpful to convey the genuine terror that is going on for the other teens, each with their own fates shown through a Skype window. The ghost begins to force secrets out of each of the callers, exposing them, for what she believed, to be their true colors.

We tackle everything from cheating, to betrayal, and even rape. The remaining teens begin to oust each other, either in an emotional tirade, or to circumvent their own demise. Either way it doesn’t end well for any of them. As our number of participants in the ghosts game begin to dwindle we reach the last scenes of the movie. No spoilers, folks, but I can at least say: They didn’t go into the woods.

Unfriended is a title, I believe, that has brought a new breath of life to the Cybernatural genre. Though some of the deaths could’ve been done better, or been elaborated on more, the few that we got clear shots of were pretty interesting. I love the social commentary about cyberbullying, and its consequences. The ending can be either fantastic, or a let down, depending on your view of the movie. But the rest is certainly a ride that most viewers should take. Thanks for reading, folks! Stay tuned.

roadside attractions

  • Salsa in the bedroom.
  • What’s that bottle for?
  • Have these kids never seen Saw?
  • Unrealistic idea of Chatroulette.
  • What happens if your wifi fails?
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

There isn’t a lot of gore, but rather some interesting ways to die.

0

blood

BREASTS

There are none. There’s a preview. That’s it.

4

beast

BEASTS

It’s a ghost. So not much. Malevolent intent, however, is good.

7.0 OVERALL
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Jul

Comments Off on The Walking Deceased

Welcome back to another review, folks! I grew up with parodies, like most people in my age demographic, namely things like Airplane! And Space Balls, however, they were good parodies. For a long time, now, the genre has become ripe with gross-out humor, stereotype playups, and bad writing. Things like Not Another Super Hero Movie, Haunted House, and so on, and so on, have given medium to bad comedy writers to apply their would-be trades.

Now, that’s not to say that there isn’t decent modern parodies, but they are few and far between. One of my favorites is a parody of Scream called Shriek, another favorite is the first Scary Movie (And only the first), and believe it or not, a very well known movie that was supposed to be a parody, but ended up just as important as the movie it was trying to spoof on: Return of the Living Dead.

Mel Brooks was, and still is, the king of parodies, to me, and many others. So the bar for this type of movie was set pretty high pretty early. Some have surprised us, some have vehemently disappointed us, but almost all have left an impression. The movie in question today falls well within the ‘disappointed’ category of the list. Let’s talk about The Walking Deceased.

Zombies will always sell. Always. You can change the format however you want, but add zombies into the mix, and BAM! Instant seller. At least, that’s what the makers of this movie were counting on. It didn’t work. When you try to parody an entire genre of film it’s best to stick to the genre, and not try to tackle EVERY SINGLE TITLE in it! No, really, sit back and try to count all the references to other movies that are made here.

We start with an instant jab at Warm Bodies, a zombie narrating his life, but with half the delivery and even less comedy, and none of the charm. Then we move almost instantly into a swing at Zombieland, also lacking what made the original so good. Without pause, and I mean this, without pause, we go instantly into a stab at The Walking Dead. Though, it seems they had no ammunition for the series, and apparently weren’t clever enough to write any jokes, so they went with flashing the actor’s genitals at the camera. Repeatedly.

After some dialogue, that is only recognized as a form of comedy because of the over-the-top delivery, we movie to our next scene, and movies that this one is trying so hard to parody. Here we have a srip club, complete with more shots at The Walking Dead, Sean of the Dead, and even Zombie Strippers. The British accents are faked so badly I’m kind of glad they die in this scene, and keep the terribleness contained. However I think that they missed the irony of trying to parody a parody.

The zombie gentleman’s club is run by the main characters son, Chris, whom the sheriff will continually call “Carl”, in a desperate attempt to get a laugh. And they try to keep the joke going throughout the movie, hoping it will become funny. It doesn’t. Yeah, I know it’s already painful, but we’re not even at the half way point, folks. After the dancing zombies escape and eat the patrons, along with the main characters wife, we move almost seamlessly into another scene with more attempted jabs.

Here we find the movie has moved on to trying to be clever in another zombie movie setting, this time Day of the Dead, where the whole cast finally comes into a single entity. All the tropes meet and we have our cast. Luckily, however, we’re at the midpoint of the movie. This next few minutes is filled with what’s supposed to be clashing personalities, but ends up being just a bunch of badly delivered one liners. I wanted to laugh, I really did, but I had no reason to.

After some exposition that I don’t remember, mainly because I was bored out of mind, somehow we end up at a farm with what’s supposed to be a creepy old couple, Book of Eli meets another The Walking Dead reference, and here’s where the rest of the movie plays out. We end this movie with scenes of people getting stoned, smashing things, a character trying desperately to get laid, and the whole thing ending with some really nonsensical stuff. I would want to give it all away, but I don’t do spoilers, even for bad movies.

Where I can see the intent of the filmmakers was to be funny, it just fell well short of it, for me, I should add. Some folks might get a rise out of it, even a few laughs, but I just couldn’t find the funny. For this reviewer, the long and distinguished line of parodies has come grinding to a halt. If you want to check out this one, it’s on Netflix, though I’d say to skip in lieu of all the movies it’ll just remind you of. Thanks for reading, folks, and Stay Tuned!

roadside attractions

  • That’s not funny.
  • Not going to explain that, huh?
  • IS there such a thing as a clever zombie?
  • No, really, it’s not funny.
  • Count the shells.
  • After the 15th time it’s still not funny.
totals

4

blood

BLOOD

Small budget, small gore.

5

blood

BREASTS

Zombie strippers, and a lot of them.

2

beast

BEASTS

Zombies look like a high school production

3.2 OVERALL
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Jun

Comments Off on Extraterrestrial

Welcome back to another review, folks! Ever since a certain fire happened in a certain sky alien abduction movies were hotter than Agent Scully in the 90’s. Though the premise seems to have lost it’s foothold in the movies as of late, there are still some gems that can be found. For instance; our review today: Extraterrestrial.

While this is supposed to be an alien movie it does it’s best to be a sci-fi, suspense, horror, and even a touch political. These elements in a film usually don’t blend well, but, here, they do. We start with a horror beginning: 20-somethings all in a car to go to a cabin in the woods for a few nights of partying, sex, and debauchery. Mistake #1: They’re in a cabin in the woods! Don’t these folks read my reviews? Never go in the woods!

After a quick setup, and some exposition that isn’t really needed, we begin our weekend with our victims…ahem…characters. Almost immediately stuff starts going down. While one can argue you want to know about the character’s personalities, I, for one, don’t. Let’s commence the murdering! Lights flicker, strange noises! An alien starts to walk around the house and….gets shot by a girl with a shotgun. Well. I did say let’s get to the murdering.

After E.T. goes down, making the pool his final grave, stuff REALLY hits the fan. Appropriate reactions have already been done by this point in the movie, but there are a lot of cool things yet to see. They try to flee, but there’s a tree felled in their way. Suddenly the rain stops while they ponder what could have possibly cut that tree down. These guys would trip over the laces in their velcro strapped shoes. How did they get into college? Right. Michigan State strikes again.

After some of the worst pondering, and decision making I’ve seen this side of swimming with sharks while strapped with steaks and barbecue sauce, we lose our first female to the blue light of abduction. Or as I’ve come to call it: The Bye-bye Beam. Quick! Back in the car that wasn’t functioning just a few minutes ago! We go back to meet a character, that couldn’t be more cliché if it was Jesse Ventura in a tinfoil hat, to learn more about the alien menace. After a quick break from screaming and running we get right back to screaming and running.

Jesse Ventura takes on an alien and, surprisingly, it’s a pretty good scene, ending with what you should’ve seen coming a mile away. More running! More lights! And, just for good measure, they even managed to scrounge up that ‘BWAHHH’ sound from the remake of ‘War of the Worlds’, and every Hans Zimmer soundtrack since. But that’s a tale for another time. What’s that? A would-be protagonist? Go for it, Hoss!

Enter one of the film’s side characters, who the whole movie could’ve been about, but wasn’t, Goodguy McCopDude. We established at the outset of the movie, through a very long scene that we really didn’t need, that he’s been investigating the disappearance of his daughter. How important is this plot point? Important enough to cut from the main characters and their impending deaths to go to a random RV site with a random character to get more exposition to tell us that aliens are the culprit. Which I wouldn’t mind so much if the title wasn’t EXTRATERRESTRIAL!

Goodguy McCopDude is hot on the trail of…no one. And, truth be told, I don’t even remember why he was summoned to the cabin in the woods to begin with. It goes by that quick, folks, don’t fault the viewer for losing a little interest when the action goes from high-octane to donut munching. Goodguy and his cop buddy show up at the Murder Cabin and begin to snoop around, learning the unhinged partiers are being terrorized by aliens. While the partner is skeptical, Goodguy goes full Mulder, and begins to look around.

After a brief, and somewhat fruitless, encounter in the barn Goodguy is convinced it’s those pesky grey skinned fellas causing all the commotion. After he tries to wrangle the panicked few he decides to follow suit and make equally bad decisions, taking his time to convince his partner while sitting in a lit up police car! Well, bad calls can only be called out, as the alien with a shotgun wound turns up and telekinetically forces the skeptic partner and Goodguy to do the unthinkable.

The Bye-bye Beam claims more victims! And soon even the last of the survivors is lost to that fateful blue light. Now. Here’s where the usual movie would call it quits, leaving the audience with the smoldering hole in the ground that was our female lead just a few minutes ago. But it doesn’t. It keeps going, making this movie even longer. Usually I’d say this is a detriment, but the final scenes of this movie kind of answer a few questions that we’ve had for a long time.

No spoilers here, folks! This is a good movie in the fact that it does, in most of it, fuse themes taken from so many genres. The actors do their parts, some sold it well, others not so much. The effects and some of the practical effects are worth praise. It has it’s flaws, like serious plot holes, and characters that make really bad decisions, but it’s worth the pay off. Check this one out, folks. As always, thanks for reading, and stay out of the woods.

roadside attractions

  • There’s no reason for that shot.
  • That wasn’t there before.
  • Boarding up the windows with Ikea.
  • Why did you get out of the car?
  • That was a cool rain effect.
  • Seriously. Why did you get out of the car?
  • 90’s cliche camerawork.
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

Not much. Butt there is that one scene.

1

blood

BREASTS

I think I saw a nip slip. Maybe not.

6

beast

BEASTS

Old design, new things done.

7.5 OVERALL
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May

Comments Off on WolfCop

Welcome back, folks. Know those instances when the stars align and all the good things in the universe let forth a movie to satisfy your most inner B-movie aficionado? Well. Look no further than today’s review! It has everything you could ever want in, not only a horror movie, but a raunchy comedy, a bad superhero flick, and lastly, a gore-fest. Oh, yeah. This movie has all of that, and more! So let’s dive right in.

The movie begins in a backwater port town filled with degenerates and law breakers on almost every conceivable corner. No, really, it’s illustrated often enough. Our main character, whose name is irrelevant, because all you’ll call him is ‘Wolf Cop’, wakes up, hungover and late for work. As a sheriff. The next few minutes are spent with him as we watch his drive to work, passing by several crimes on the way, ranging from assault to public intoxication. The next scene or two establishes something we’ve already figured out: The town sucks, the three person police force sucks, and our main guy is an alcoholic. Yup. I think they hammered that nail home hard enough.

Well, after several scenes of continuing alcohol libation and police work that makes a school crossing guard look like the entire SWAT team, we come to the first plot point of the movie: a murder, most foul! And our less than sober hero was involved. With badly shot flashbacks plaguing him, and a new scar, that seems more decorative than menacing, and a hangover to match it all; we begin another day with our hero. This is the first time anything is actually being let on about the supernatural aspect of this movie. Yeah, I know, this is slow going, but trust me when I say it’s worth it. Behold the second plot point! The town’s drink and shoot event is mysteriously canceled! Oh…no?

All the commotion and ‘who-dun-it’ type questions that keep coming up get our main character to actually do something about it! What’s surprising is that this is supposed to be a horror comedy, but these few minutes of detective work actually feel like a cop movie for just a moment. But, it IS a horror comedy, so shenanigans must be at foot! Wolf Cop begins to feel a little sick, throws up on the hot girl in the movie, goes down stairs to the bathroom, and begins probably the most painful werewolf transformation of all time. Go ahead, ask why it’s so painful. Since you asked so nicely I’ll iterate.

While the rest of the movie is off-kilter, there is one aspect that remains true: The transformation of the wolf by shedding the human skin. Only what makes this particular change so incredibly hard to bear is simple: It starts with a very clear, dynamically framed shot of the main character’s penis, which, after secreting blood, promptly explodes. You read that right. Explodes. It’s like a car crash. It’s horrifying, you wince every time, but you can’t help but watch. My current count is three. Okay, five. After some less than hospitable men follow him down to the bathroom the gratuitous violence finally starts.

Or, rather, we can cut away after some very teasing shots of what the werewolf looks like. Yeah, we don’t get to see it, just yet. More things happen! More characters are introduced! Funny dialogue! No, really, some of the lines are hilarious, most I can’t post here, but all worth a listen. We get to see more cop work and the main guy cope with his new heightened senses, and resisting the want to rip apart a guy kicking a dog. I can sympathize. Human wolf cop goes back to the bathroom where he made a mess, trying to figure out what happened. Yeah, I know.

A couple of scenes later we get to finally meet the wolf. While the design is nothing original, it is used to it’s utmost hilarity. An over sized wolf man stuffed inside a cop uniform two sizes too small. He responds to a robbery in progress and delivers the line that I was hoping to use in this review. Great minds and their thinking, I guess. After that scene and all the laughs that go with it we get some more violence! And I mean violence! But we can’t have a superhero wolfcop without a superhero wolfcop vehicle! Cue the heavy metal car building montage!

We burn down the rural road number 9,230 to drug barn number 2,412 to fight bad guys! And this is where gratuity becomes the norm. In the midst of a raging gunfight set to the backdrop of a burning barn we have limbs torn off, heads severed from shoulders, all sorts of blood spilled in all sorts of ways, and probably my favorite moments of this entire movie: A man with his face ripped off, clean to the skull, running around screaming at the top of his lungs. I don’t feel bad for guffawing at the entire thing, and neither should you.

One of the only problems I had with this movie, in the beginning, was the slow progression of the plot. Yes, folks, there is one. But as the movie goes on the plot points come one after another, and at one point, so many at one point that you just have to throw your hands up and go ‘Okay, sure!’ But, it’s still all highly entertaining. There is some more who-dun-it type stuff, and a lot more drinking, humor, and violence left to go in the movie, as it seems the drink and hunt event wasn’t exactly ‘canceled’, but rather goes through a change of venue. You’ll see.

The last scenes of this beautiful, blood filled, cornucopia begin to creep up on us, and all the oddball antics begin to make sense. But, you know me, folks. No spoilers, here. This movie is a great watch. It has all the stereotypes, all the tropes, and every single bit of over-the-top ridiculousness that makes B-movies wonderful. This gore/comedy/schlock-fest gets two enthusiastic thumbs up from this Deadman. Give it a watch, folks, and thank me later. Thanks for coming, don’t forget the speakers, and, as always, stay tuned!

roadside attractions

  • Breakfast of champions.
  • Fuzzy Handcuffs.
  • Is this band the entire soundtrack?
  • Keep an eye out.
  • This band is the entire soundtrack.
  • Sequel bait much?
totals

10

blood

BLOOD

Buckets upon buckets upon body parts.

7

blood

BREASTS

While not many, they are top shelf.

10

beast

BEASTS

Not a single complaint.

9.3 OVERALL
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About the Highway

Lost Highway is your satirical detour down the twisted back roads of b-movies and cult films reviews. learn more >>