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Dec

posted by admin | December 4, 2013 | Drama, Horror movies, New Releases, Reviews by the Goon, screeners, Suspense

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7th Day
2012 – Not Rated – Dire Wit Films

I will always believe that the most frightening films are the ones that could actually happen. Movies that know how to prey on you when you are most vulnerable. Films like The Strangers, Rear Window or anything with Taylor Lautner (or just the mere fact that he is getting work is truly terrifying). Among these things, real monsters, are serial killers. They are very real and they could be anywhere. It’s a dark, horrific truth we have to live with daily, but we brush it aside, like most FOX sitcoms and ignore it. But every now and then a film that depicts these real life monsters comes along and reminds us that we are not always safe when we think we are. Such a film is 7th Day, as it takes us into a week, day by day, of the life of a sociopathic killer.

And right away the film gets its hands dirty. A young woman oddly dressed like Mork from Ork gets stabbed in the neck by a bearded man in a baseball cap, without even so much as a final “Nanoo Nanoo.” This is when our humble serial killer, Allen, introduces himself and narrates who he is, what he does and why he does it throughout the film. Sure Allen is just a regular guy, with a regular job. He believes like everyone else that he is well liked and unappreciated… but he has a very strange hobby, to say the least. This narration is a clever little insight as to what goes through Allen’s mind (and possibly other serial killers), but we’ll get into that a little later on in the review.

7d_2The life of a serial killer sure can be lonely, as Allen describes, but the solitude is necessary. It all ties in with his theories about survival of the fittest, as you now see he has been describing all his thoughts and processes to a tall man, who looks like melted wax, dressed in a suit and long coat with a microphone fused into his hand with wires jutting out, reminding me of Max Renn’s gunhand from Videodrome. Most of the time when we see Allen narrating to this man (or creature), his mouth isn’t moving and it’s not some sort of dubbing flaw. It’s obvious and intentional. Perhaps a look into his broken psyche?

Speaking of a broken psyche, Allen truly believes that a waitress where he works, Denise, understands him and thinks just like him. He’ll go into detail about how he wish he could have a normal life with her, but it just isn’t what he was meant for. When Allen isn’t at work arguing with his co-worker Dave and being smitten over Denise, he spends his free time stalking his prey, or hunting as he calls it. On occasion, even loneliness gets to Allen, as he demonstrates by having sex with a recently murdered victim, although it doesn’t romanticize the idea of necrophilia. He’ll remind you that it’s not something he typically does (so you know, don’t worry about it) and if it were an issue, he’d get a girlfriend. Simple as that.

And this is where we see Allen going against his own words, but not in a hypocritical sense. It’s as if Allen views himself differently and he’s outside looking in. While stalking some more prey in the park, a pretty lady jogger stops to talk to Allen and it seems like maybe she is hitting on him. Hey, Allen is a single guy and he has something to offer. You kind of want him to win this and go on a date with the girl, but he’s too damn awkward and reacts the way most shy males do… he pees in his pants like a five year old. And do you think this attractive young lady is understanding about this? No. She flat out makes fun of him and ridicules him like a jock in high school. Just because a dude wets the bed in his 30’s or 40’s doesn’t mean that he’s a loser! It’s a medical condition! Oh, excuse me… a little bit of nerd rage was released.

7d_3All of the things Allen claims not to take part in or need in his life are the very things you see him falling victim to constantly throughout the film, like drug use and having sex with corpses. As Allen explains it, you do believe him, but ultimately it’s Allen trying to convince himself and not us. But why do we believe him? Why do we watch this monster act out these atrocities? Because Alan is a believable person just as much as he is a believable monster. He’s not some unstoppable killing machine like Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers or some sophisticated homicidal maniac like Patrick Bateman. Allen is that unassuming guy that would sit at the bar with his head down, hat covering his eyes that you pay no attention to. He blends in to the point where he is practically invisible and that’s what makes him more dangerous.

As the days go on, Allen narrates more to this creature, detailing his childhood and how his brother would have sexual relations with his mother, dress Allen up like a woman and beat him… and then have sex with him. If you’re anything like me, you had simultaneous feelings of disgust and sympathy. That’s a good thing. That means you’re still human, so hold on to that feeling. Fortunately, his brother choked to death in the kitchen, which happens to be the same room where his father killed himself. Allen’s mother hated the kitchen and given that and the history of deaths in this room, makes it Allen’s favorite. His other favorite room would be the basement, which he gleefully gives us the tour of with a female victim tied up on the floor. Displaying the gruesomely, jaw dropping practical effects in this movie, he uses a box cutter (a tool that always makes me wince in pain) and cuts a hole in her back, but he’s not done there. Poking his finger in it and rooting around like he’s trying to remove something stuck in a drain, he pulls out bloody strings of sinew and muscle. To be honest, this scene was making my muscles tense!

7d_4The week goes on and Allen goes more against his beliefs that he was verbalizing, focusing heavily on his drug use (to which he claimed he didn’t do), often smoking either heroin or crack (crystal meth maybe? I don’t know drugs). Usually, he partakes in this with his neighbor Bill, who clearly is an upstanding individual and in no way a creepy pervert. I’m sure you detected a high amount of sarcasm there and you would be right. It’s insinuated or hinted (or Bill flat out says it, but tries to play it off as a joke) that he is a pedophile. So if you think having one character that was despicable, here’s another. But that’s sort of the appealing part of 7th Day. Virtually every character in the film is in their own way very grotesque and we end up siding with one of them, particularly Allen. Of course we aren’t supposed to, but that what happens when you give a character some depth and go on a journey with them. Although I would recommend a shower and some church immediately afterwards.

Unlike Rob Zombie’s Halloween, writer Mark Leake and director Jason Koch show you in a visceral and darkly disturbing way, what goes into to making a serial killer with no remorse. It’s a path you don’t want to go down, but they make it interesting and entertaining in a very curious way, allowing us to live vicariously through Allen. The crew brings this morbid visual to life in a way that will make even the strongest of stomachs turn. Even though Jason Kock himself has done special effects on films like Troma’s Return to Nuke’m High and Science Team (which oddly enough, he made a mold of my friend’s head), the credit on this one goes to Kaleigh Brown, who does a marvelous job.

7th Day
Given the trend with filmmakers confusing blood and violence for actual horror and the director’s association with Troma, the film could have easily been a gross out movie, but instead it took a far more sophisticated route and illustrated for us the mind of a truly tormented and lost mind. Let Allen be your Willy Wonka of murder and check this movie out.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Robin Williams’ suspenders cameo.
  • Mustache rides… of death!
  • Serial killer spooning.
  • Can’t drop the mic, ’cause it’s melted into my hand.
  • MC Pee Pants.
  • Not what I had in mind when he was fingering…
totals

9

blood

BLOOD

The effects are pretty nasty that will spoil your appetite and that weird reporter thing is cool!

6

blood

BREASTS

Blood covered boobs is like chocolate covered strawberries.

8

beast

BEASTS

Mark S. Sander brings the sociopathic Allen to life and it is frigthening!

7.6 OVERALL
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Nov

posted by admin | November 9, 2013 | Action, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, New Releases, Reviews by the Goon, screeners

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Deadly Prey
2013 – Not Rated – David A. Prior

Is it ever too late for a sequel? Robert Rodriguez is finally making Sin City 2 after a decade and it seems like the interest just isn’t there from the masses, which is one reason why sequels are usually made within three years. But that never seems to be the case with the Cult and B-Movie genre. You can make a sequel many years later and we would all wet our pants to watch our favorite cast climb casually back into their old roles. I guarantee you if another Evil Dead were actually ever made, EVERYONE would be eager to see it, even if it was Ash taking a crap for ninety minutes.

There is also some concern from an audience when viewing a sequel that took a long period to be released. Films like this have often suffer from production and financing issues or the filmmakers themselves get caught up in trying to make it “hip and cool” for the new generation, attempting to speak to youth by loading up on unnecessary CGI effects and tossing around some of that youngster lingo, but it comes across as your guidance counselor trying to “rap” with you. Does Deadliest Prey fall, urm… prey to this trap? Since this is a review, odds are we are going to find out.

dp_2Nearly thirty years after the events of Deadly Prey, Hogan is released from incarceration and immediately is picked up by his hot minx, Sophia. I have no idea how these two met seeing as she was most likely born when he went to prison. Hogan immediately declares revenge on the man who was responsible for his jailing, Mike Danton. Hogan puts forth his plan, but what has our hero Danton been doing all these years? He’s been raising a family, mowing the lawn… you know, regular action hero stuff. But when he sets out on his most dangerous mission, taking out the garbage, he is kidnapped and wakes to find himself in a familiar situation. He’s stranded alone and weaponless in some unknown woods… and he hasn’t even had breakfast. I do have to give credit where credit is due; Ted Prior is pretty cut and looks pretty buff, even in pajama pants.

Once again, it’s a game of survival, much like Hard Target for those of you who may be unfamiliar. What’s different this time around is that Hogan is broadcasting the carnage filled extravaganza all over that new interwebs thing, being funded by ‘Internet Company’. Okay, so technically it’s not a new idea. Plenty of other films have done it or something similar. Hell, when the Halloween series did something similar years ago. It felt tired then, but given all the advancements in technology and the way we utilize the internet and social networking, maybe there is a fresh new spin on this? Eh, no. The idea is merely touched, mostly feeling like a vehicle to bring the film into the new century to make it ‘updated’.

However, this isn’t the point of the film. We’re getting to that as soldiers rush out at Danton, who straight up murders all the thugs without remorse. Not even the whimpering soldier who surrenders and only took the job because he needed the money. Danton doesn’t even flinch at extinguishing his existence and coldly saying, “You should’ve filed for unemployment.” Don’t worry, there are plenty more terrible, macho catch phrases.

dp_3Time to pause on the action and focus on another thing you’ve seen plenty of times before, Hackers! Hackers that mash the keyboard, call each other “bro” and hang out with a nerdy, but really cute chick that they try to give a catch phrase to. Throughout this scene, she keeps saying “True dat!” Like they had thousands of “True dat!” shirts printed and they needed to sell them, so they figured they could make it a household catch phrase again. These “hackers” stumble across the live stream of Hogan’s little game and recognize Danton from stories they’ve heard. Using their magical computer wizardry skills, they bypass all security nodes, access the modules, hack into the mainframe, triangulate the coordinates (you know, hacker stuff!) and find Danton’s approximate position, they set out on a road trip to save him. I’ll let that sink in.

Then in true 80’s action movie fashion, Hogan hires Lt. Thornton’s (from Deadly Prey) twin bother… Thornton! He’s even more buff than his brother, as he demonstrates by killing a merc with a single punch to the face. The way this dude presents himself with dark aviators, a sleeveless vest and leather gloves, you definitely buy it. Hogan and Thornton decide to let Danton have a little more fun, as he dispatches of more mercs, complete with one-liners so cheesy even Arnold would be embarrassed. In fact, let me show you the formula of dialogue between Danton and the mercs:

Bad Guy – “Dimwitted, but somewhat clever threat.”
Danton – “Witty retort.”
Bad Guy- “Snarky comeback!”
Danton kills bad guys.
Danton – “Macho catchphrase.”

dp_4And just about every conversation is composed like this. But it’s not like we’re reading Shakespeare here… or whatever that saying is. So where were we? Oh yeah, those hackers literally run into Dalton with their hatchback, escaping with him as the cute girl keeps saying, “Hi” to him, like it’s her other catch phrase. So they have an over abundance of “Hi” and “True dat!” shirts. Thornton finds them and pops a couple shots at them. They react and talk like a bullet just missed them, yet there are no bullet holes anywhere on the car or windshield (or maybe Thornton isn’t as good of a shot as he thought). Geez, so much inconsistency and error with this film, I don’t know if I can trust it!* Either way, once a bunch of dweebs rescue you in a hatchback, you sort of lose all credibility as a tough guy.**

*Editor’s note: I’m totally kidding.
**Editor’s note: Still kidding… please don’t hurt me.

The hackers take Danton home to find Sophia, who tells him his family has been kidnapped. Danton responds with a strong, but controlled pimp slap and then put several bullets in to her brains. Now he is freed up to unlock his tool shed of mass destruction and gear up with quick zooms and sound effects! Although I am a little concerned that this entire time his tool shed was only secured by a cheap padlock. Enough lessons on safety, it’s time to pose for the movie poster and it is glorious! It’s the body count part of the movie as Danton mows down scumbag after scumbag, trapping them in time-consuming-that-he-wouldn’t-have-really-had-time-for and mostly improbable traps, barely ever getting a scratch on him until he reaches Hogan or dies trying!

Even though I gave this movie a hard time, I thoroughly enjoyed it! I wouldn’t say it was as good as Deadly Prey and giving the time that has passed and the tight budget they had, Deadliest Prey is a worthy sequel, if not for the cheesy one-liners alone. However, it’s not to say it doesn’t have its faults either. Like I stated in the review, you’ve seen this plot done a million times before and it’s still just as stale as it ever was. Also since they are using the same exposition as the first film (even the same villains and hero) it feels like nothing new is being brought to the table. The hacker characters only seem to serve the purpose of getting Danton to his home so he can load up and kick some butt and at times, the audio seems to be balanced unevenly.

Deadly Prey
What I do find interesting about how I feel about this movie is throughout the film, there is the presence of a ‘home movie’ feel to it. Whether it be the look of the film or the overall tone, but this could have worked in the 80’s as shot on video. But where this movie really shines, is the nostalgia for over the top 80’s action films it gives you. The violence varies from stiff choreographed martial arts, but gunshots as well. Whether it’s to the body or the head, people will take dozens of shots to that specific area. Modern technology aside, Deadly Prey feels like it was made in the 80’s shortly after the original. It may not go down with cult status like the first film, but it’s still a riot. It makes Demolition Man look like Judge Dredd. It makes Phantom Raiders look like… well, Phantom Raiders. I would definitely check this out for an explosive good time!

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Action Family Man.
  • Internet revenge.
  • Ridiculous one-liners.
  • Black gloves, black shades.
  • Hacker babe.
  • Loading up on weapons montage!
  • Give the man a hand… or an arm!
  • You’re only ‘half’ the man you used to be.
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

Hundreds of bullet wounds, a severed arm and a man cut in half. All in a days work.

2

blood

BREASTS

Sophia shows off her cleavage, as well as Thornton.

6

beast

BEASTS

Hogan is an angry man filled with revenge and Thornton is silent, but deadly.

5 OVERALL
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Oct

Comments Off on Maniac (2012)

Maniac
2012 – Not Rated – IFC Midnight

Remakes are a very fickle subject. Films that are often being remade, are those that are regarded as high ‘cult’ status and have a large and not to mention intense fan base. So, it goes without saying that when rumors were rumbling that William Lustig’s serial killer masterpiece Maniac was being fitted for a remake, it would be critically disapproved before it was even made. This disapproval seemed to settle into gentle curiosity when High Tension director Alexander Aja was attached and shortly after the casting of Elijah Wood in the role of Frank Zito, not only were we curious, but they had our attention as well. Sure enough, we were watching the production of this film under a microscope and growing more interested with every shred of news.

It’s also tricky reviewing a remake. It will, of course, be compared to the original, which in most cases, is far superior (if not only for nostalgic reasons). But you have to remember to look at it as its own entity and judge it based on its own merit. After all, do you really want to see the same thing rehashed exactly the same way (remember the Psycho remake)? Like I said, it’s very challenging to remake and modernize a horror film, so how does Franck Khalfoun’s rendition of the classic hold up?

It starts off similar enough, with Frank stalking his prey. Only this time a young woman decides to walk home from a night club all by herself, unaware that Frank is watching her (as we watch from his POV) from his truck. After one of the best opening music soundtracks in this generation, Frank meets her at her apartment, unbeknownst to her though. He cuts the power, darkening the corridor and walks behind her, breathing heavily until she is about to enter her apartment. Hesitant to turn around, he tells her, “Please don’t scream,” and before she can, he plunges a giant Bowie knife under her chin. Gently he caresses her face and removes the knife to scalp her and then in big, bold, confident and alarming red letters as big as the screen, the title MANIAC appears before fading to black. Right out of the gates, the movie doesn’t hold back any punches and doesn’t shy away from disturbing you.

maniac_2As Frank wakes up and goes about his daily routine, makes coffee, hallucinates that a girl is in his bed (you know, the usual stuff), you may be noticing that it hasn’t switched out of his POV and that is what not only separates this remake from the original, but from pretty much every other film out there. Keeping in theme with the original, Frank staples the scalp to a mannequin while talking with it. So just in case you weren’t sure he was a few cans short of a six pack, this should tip you off. Continuing, we get a look into how this movie is ‘modernized’ as Frank stalks and sets up potential kills via dating websites. It actually makes good sense and clearly illustrates every single person’s worst fear, but now it’s going to make it harder for me to score a date… especially when we watch this!

A quick online dating success later, he meets up with a cute little trollop named Lucy. It’s during this dinner that we get a look into Frank’s psyche, as the radial blur filters the screen, he sees everyone in the restaurant staring at him and blood trickles down Lucy’s face. It’s never explained exactly what this condition is, though he calls them migraines. They seem to quickly reside after he pops a few pills. Unfortunately, they effects don’t last long. Lucy invites him over for a drink and he insists that he needs to leave, but nervous guys that she can domineer are her thing. She dances around her apartment to ‘Goodbye Horses’, made popular in Silence of the Lambs and forever stapling it to all things creepy. Overcome with homicidal tendencies, he strangles her and scalps her, thus acquiring a new girlfriend (in his mind), after he staples the scalp on a mannequin, of course.

It’s interesting to note that this kill is somewhat different from the others in the film, in that he is hesitant to kill her and almost seemingly resists. He even throws up afterwards and weeps, possibly indicating that he was beginning to like Lucy and did not want to kill her. It adds a whole new dimension to the character and not just a showing the typical ‘kill the women mindlessly’ slasher trend. But now I’m getting off track.

maniac_3This is when we are introduced to the lovely Anna, who will become the love interest of sorts to Frank. She wakes him the next morning by taking photos of his mannequins outside his shop window. Feeling a desirable, artistic connection, he invites her inside to look at his work. When he isn’t doing the Apache scalp to women, Frank restores antique mannequins out of a shop he inherited from his mother, who recently died. The two bond and create a friendship, perhaps with an unspoken romance and you can really see it in their eyes. More specifically her eyes, as the actress, Nora Arnezeder, has to stare into the camera as if she is looking deeply and affectionately into Frank’s eyes and she does this convincingly well. You’ll fall in love with her as she looks past the camera and into your eyes, piercing your soul. But how long can Frank subdue his murderous impulses?

As the two spend more time together, it’s noticeable (to the audience) that Frank is falling for Anna. It’s actually quite charming to see him become smitten by her. Maybe it’s the way she looks at us, the audience, that we are falling in love with her! The very mention that she has a boyfriend gives him a “migraine” like before with Lucy. He goes out of his way to take non prescription pharmaceuticals to control these sinister urges, but unfortunately like all classic monster movies, the beast has to come out. He follows a girl home from a dance studio, chases her through a subway and into a parking lot where perhaps the most daunting and brutal murder of the film takes place, as hides under a car, slicing her Achilles tendon as she walks by and stabbing her repeatedly in the back until finally scalping her and posing by a car, so that his reflection resembles the original movie poster. It’s actually a clever nod, seeing as how we don’t get the infamous bathroom or shotgun scenes.

Having borrowed some of Frank’s mannequins for an art show, Anna invites him to said show where everyone seems to be judgmental of the two, but they are lost in each other’s creativity, as Frank and Anna speak, you really get a sense of the tragedy that they most likely will not end up together. At this point, it’s really debatable if this is a love story or not. You want nothing more than for her to save him from all his troubles. You want Frank to tell Anna that he loves her and maybe that’s the true horror of this film and not the murders; that Frank and Anna will never be together. And as if seeing Anna with her beau wasn’t enough to crush his spirits, he’s ridiculed by him for potentially being a closet homosexual (jocks at an art show… this IS fiction) and then by Anna’s manager. Frank follows her home and in a rather disturbing scene, Frank watches her bathe for a moment, just before dunking her head underwater. He then begins yelling at her as if he were yelling at his mother for the terrible things she did and then scalping her. It’s in this scene where you think maybe Frank doesn’t believe that he is killing anyone, but helping them to live on forever.

maniac_4After receiving the news that her manager is dead, Anna calls up Frank who is more than happy to console her. However, Frank lets a few things slip as you watch Anna’s facial expressions change from sad, to quizzical, to horrified as she realizes Frank is a killer. Realizing she is in terrible danger, she now fights off the psychotic Frank, who tells her he wants nothing more than to help her and take her away, all leading to a very dark, but unfortunately for Frank, fitting end.

In a word, Maniac is intense. Although it contains the same elements and ideas of the original, it feels like a completely different beast. But that’s how a remake should feel. For starters, the entire movie is shot from Frank’s POV, with a few exceptions where the camera will come out from his eyes and we see him committing horrendous acts of violence, which is incredibly effective as you see the murder through the killer’s eyes, then transition to be an audience to it. Frank himself is quite different, being an unassuming, charming young man rather than the chubby, greasy (no offense) counterpart and Elijah Wood plays this role eerily convincing. It’s seriously my favorite portrayal of a character in a long time. Elijah Wood ‘kills’ it! We also go into his childhood quite a bit and examine his mother issues, which there aren’t that many. So it feels like the film could do without these scenes and still work, but the way they are shown is pretty traumatizing. Especially when you see little Frank’s mother getting gang banged as he watches from the closet… and she knows he’s in there. Ah, brings back memories.

As I said before, the entire cinematography is from the point of view of Frank. We are looking through his eyes, which you would think could get nauseating or even be distracting, but the shots are smooth and don’t bob around so much like it would with a free hand found footage type of movie. This also makes viewing it ghastly, like you are a part of this macabre destruction and gore. Speaking of gore, Maniac may not contain the famous head explosion like the original, but it has more than enough repulsive violence and bloodshed to go around! A majority of the effects are practical (or a combination of composite shots) and seeing Frank use his buck knife or straight razor to remove his victims scalps, then slowly pull them off may require you to prepare barf bags before viewing. And to further shake your core, the score by Rob is a simple one, reminiscent of John Carpenter, with an easy synth beat and heavy stings, but always fitting the mood of the movie.

Maniac
While it does take the idea of the original and stays true to the classic, it does take its own path while it tells its own story. I guess you could call it an ‘updated version’ (and by that I don’t mean they use computers and cell phones… although they do). Maniac is most definitely a modern day horror film that will eventually become a classic on its own merit, rather than lurking in the shadow of William Lustig’s original 1980 shocker. In fact, this may very well spawn clones of POV serial killer movies, which will soon become annoying, just like all found footage and possession movies. Check out Maniac, alone or on a date… but not with anyone you met on a dating website.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Frank the Apache.
  • Mannequin makeover.
  • Goodbye horses… goodbye, Lucy!
  • Strangers on a subway.
  • Maniac Migraine.
  • If you have a mommy issue, reach for a tissue.
  • Grand Theft Anna.
  • Frank spills his guts.
totals

9

blood

BLOOD

Blood and guts galore with plenty of scalping.

8

blood

BREASTS

All kinds and all sizes for the kiddies!

10

beast

BEASTS

Although a bit more sympathetic, Elijah Wood ‘kills’ it as Frank. He pulls off totally unassuming and totally bonkers.

9 OVERALL
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Oct

posted by Barry Goodall | October 15, 2013 | B-movies, Guest Review, New Releases

Comments Off on Ghost Shark: A guest review by Deadman

GhostShark

Shark movies are a dime a dozen. Even more common than shark movies are bad shark movies, lke this little SyFy-produced gem aptly named Ghost Shark. Boy, are we in for a whopper: a fisherman’s tale so hard to believe Bruce from Jaws is rolling in his grave. We start the movie with three extras turned plot devices and all the cursing a major network can allow. It sounds more like the would-be conversation of a couple of tweens who just learned their first swear words. And these three salty folks are on a chartered ship trying to catch a fish to win a contest that has not been mentioned, or ever gets mentioned, in the entire movie. Plot device,ho! The female aboard the ship has a tiny handy-cam which she’s filming the entire venture with, giving us our first “That’s gonna come back later” moment. Upon hooking what we’re lead to believe is an award-winning fish, for the contest that is never again brought up, we have apparently a great white shark that comes and not only eats the fish on the line but spits the stripped carcass back onto the chartered boat. Take a minute to let that ‘Tom & Jerry’ moment sink in. Got it? Okay. Let’s continue.

In a “murderous rage,” and I use quotation marks because the actor has the emotional range of a highway billboard sign, Redneck Fisherman #1 starts to shoot at the shark. It gets better. After shooting the shark with a .357 revolver, he gets all Daryl Dixon and uses a crossbow. Don’t finish that sigh, yet. Following the eight bullets fired from the six shooter, and the crossbow bolt to the face, the guy adds insult to injury by pouring hot sauce on the shark. Now you can imagine that all this was some grand chase or some kind of pursuit or multiple sessions of the shark surfacing, but this all happens at the back of the boat and the shark stays to take it all. The final straw to this attack is when the couple on the back of the boat throw a stick ofdynamite into the shark’s open mouth, which proceeds to explode, but doesn’t kill the shark. That’s right, a stick of dynamite, in the mouth of the shark, and that DOES NOT kill it. Whilst the drunken fishermen celebrate their victory over the hungry predator, the shark that we now know is destined to be the title character, swims to a cave to die when the walls glow with symbols that were probably drawn by the producer’s infant son. A bad CGI shark dies and floats to the depths of the ocean.

Already tough to swallow? We’ve only gotten past the first scene, folks. The shark that went to die in the glowing cave, by the way, that never gets explained, comes back as a see-throughblue predator of the deep that can now leap over tall boats with a single splash, bite peoplein half like they’re made of Wonderbread, and the ability to….Oops. Spoilers. Remember that previously mentioned handy-cam? Yeah. We get the set-up for the first half of the movie from the supposed footage from that thing. Enter the rest of the cast! Teenagers galore and bikinis (although very old styled) abound and not a single person outside of the main characters are on the beach! No, really, stock footage is used to establish a busy beach and then real footage takes over and it seems these kids are the only occupants. Now begins all the worst shark attacks that man can muster and paste to film. First shark attack is a teenage girl, bitten in half, off the top of a Jet Ski. Ghost sharks can leap. The chartered boat shows up with “blood all over the deck” (in reality it’s just a bloody hat) at the same time, thus leading the Scooby Doo gang to put together the shark-killed folks. Yeah, I know. But at some points it really does play out like a cartoon.

Begin the great investigation! And I meant the Scooby Doo reference. Almost every adult in this movie is simply unwilling to budge on any point made, even when they witness the shark comeout of a man’s body, splitting him in twain, just a few feet away from them. Yes, folks, that’s the Ghost Shark’s super power! The edge that makes it the most dangerous CG critter this side of Starship Troopers is that it can “haunt” any standing or running water around the town! Kids are devoured going down a slip and slide, modeled like a shark, of course, cheerleaders are chomped on during a summer car wash, and the aforementioned man split in two met his fate at the hands of the office water cooler. Oh, the humanity! Oh, the horror! Oh, my glob! It doesn’t make this movie ANY BETTER! Almost everyone that meets up with the apparition is guaranteed certain death, except the main characters, of course. The sister of the main female protagonist gets mauled in her bathtub, only resulting in a badly applied make-up effect of a bad cut. So I’ve gone through some of the attacks, leaving out the pool party attack where a severed head ends up impaled on a champagne bottle, but there is one thing we haven’t covered: actors. All these players are no-name actors except for Richard Moll. That’s right, Bull fromNight Court ended up on a SyFy shark movie.

So now that we’ve gotten the meat of the movie out of the way, let’s discuss how they “kill”the Ghost Shark. Call the Ghostbusters? No. Perform some voodoo ritual? No. Sing a song and show it that only true love can prosper? No. After a false ending of stabbing the shark with the bolt from the crossbow above and it exploding like an incorporeal pinata, the only way to kill the shark is the way they’d been discussing for the last 20 minutes in the movie: blow up that glowing cave! (Fake CGI shark cadaver included). But what’s this? Lo, those who could only see THIS plot twist coming, will have called it and knew its arrival. It starts raining! More specifically, IT STARTS RAINING GHOST SHARKS! Goodbye, Richard Moll, you will not be missed. But this is a SyFy movie. They blow up the cave and the whole town is saved. For the credits, the last survivors go for a swim in the now safe ocean, somehow forgetting their father, friends, lovers, county officials, and someone’s dog, are all dead. You can breathe now, folks. It’s over. If you think reading it was hard, try watching it!

Blood: 7 – less than a hanful of good gore spouts.
Breasts: 5 – It’s a SyFy feature
Beasts: 3 = less than convincing and sadly…Sad

Deadman is a published writer, YouTube reviewer of video games, movies and the like. Also a zombie survivalist who has a series to help those get through Z-Day. A lover of all things horror and B-Flick. Born and raised in El Paso, Texas. An artist, gamer, and father. He games as often as possible and when he’s not gaming he’s creating some literary work. Weird sense of humor, but always willing to make fun of himself, too. Another interesting note is that he is blamed by friends and family to be responsible for the zombie apocalypse; being evil isn’t easy these days.

Deadman is his second name, the first one has been stricken from history. Ask him anything
and he’ll probably have an answer.

Deadman0204.blogspot.com
Youtube.com/deadman0204

Sep

Comments Off on V/H/S/2

V/H/S/2
2013 – Unrated/R – Magnet

You either loved it or you hated it, but there’s no denying that last year’s V/H/S gave a fresh spin on the quickly tiring found footage genre. It gave it a primo, and mostly perverse, look and took the idea of the anthology and made it seem newfangled, like it was in the 80’s. It was a very pleasing mix of perversion, violence and short storytelling. So it would make sense that they would decide to do a sequel the following year, with bigger filmmakers names attached to the project. Now the burning question is, does it surpass its predecessor?

It opens up familiar enough, in POV, of a man (played Simon Barrett, baring his dong… ladies) cheating on his wife. This leads nowhere, mind you, but sets up our two leads who are private investigators, Larry and Ayesha in the bookend segment, Tape 49. We soon learn they have been hired by some woman to find her missing son, break into his apartment and root around for clues. The two person Mystery Inc. wastes no time as they reach their destination. They immediately hear a loud bang and pry open a window, shortly discovering a room littered with televisions and VHS tapes, a welcoming site to those who enjoyed the first film, no doubt. Larry decides to “Go and check” out the rest of the place, rummaging through notebooks (and oddly reminding me of the PS1 classic Resident Evil), leaving Ayesha to watch the tapes. And what could be one those tapes? Well, it’s not Veggie Tales.

vhs2_2The first segment, entitled Phase I Clinical Trials, stars You’re Next director Adam Wingard. He also directed this segment, a clever way of keeping the budget low. His character was in a car accident and receives an experimental robotic eye of sorts that would make the Six Million Dollar Man weep. The eye can record what it sees, so the company that built it can analyze the data (imagine the poor sap that has to sit through hours of footage of him playing video games or pooping). Soon, he begins seeing dead people around his house. A girl from the hospital tracks him down and reveals that she had a cochlear implant from the same company and could hear dead people. Between the two of them, Haley Joel Osment is a punk. The more they interact with the spirits, the more the spirits can appear and harm them… clearly, not heading toward a happy ending.

vhs2_3Next up is A Ride in the Park, which sounds innocent enough, but boy would you be wrong. A man named Mike is all set for a joyous bike ride in the park, hence the title, with his GoPro camera, when he comes across a woman who has been bitten by a pack of zombies. Mike is bitten on the neck and bleeds to death after fleeing. Shortly, another couple finds him and wouldn’t you know it, Mike turns and bites them. Soon, zombies are tearing through a youngster’s birthday party. Still beats having your dad drunkenly tell you how disappointed he is in you. Now, most of you know my stance on the current zombie pop culture trend: Their boring, uninspiring and just clones of the previous popular zombie flick, but The Blair Witch director Eduardo Sanchez along with Jamie Nash give it a spin that hasn’t been seen since possibly Day of the Dead. Their zombies retain some knowledge of a previous life, as Mike demonstrates throughout the segment and the ending is rather bittersweet after he gets a call from his wife.

Safe Haven, from the director of The Raid, is most likely the most disturbing of the bunch. Using the angle of a documentary crew, they are invited to interview the leader of a cult and learn more about their faith. It just so happens to be at the time when the cult commits a mass suicide and sacrificing one of the documentary’s crew member’s unborn child to spawn their God, which is more like Satan. I don’t know what that says, but this is the one that really brings the punch. The imagery is savage and with the leader of the cult dancing and singing wearing nothing but tighty whities, self mutilated, you’ll think twice about entering a place far from civilization. The ending is hiliarious, but also will give you willies.

vhs2_4 Last, but not least, we have Hobo With a Shotgun director Jason Eisener’s Slumber Party Alien Abduction. Of all the segments, this one is by far my favorite. It’s a group of teenagers building cardboard box robot costumes, something I’m sure we all did. No? Just me? They play cruel pranks on one their sisters and each other, all being filmed by a GoPro strapped to their dog. Just when things are getting tense between the two groups of adolescents, a thunderous boom and bright lights shock them. The power goes out and aliens are trying to get into the house, brilliantly lit with a strobe light and this is when you start getting scared… real fast. The aliens drag them outside and throw them into the lake and only a few make it out, fleeing for the remainder of the segment as they hide from the intruders, nearly being caught at every turn. This one will have you clutching your chest and calling for Elizabeth.

Finally, the movie closes on Tape 49 once our lead watches on a tape what exactly that loud bang was on a tape. After seeing what he saw, he’ll probably wish he had been watching hours of Kathy Griffin stand up.

Something you may have noticed about V/H/S/2 is it seems to be more constructed like a movie, using multiple cameras and different angles, but still using different forms of consumer style cameras to give that found footage feel. For the most part, the acting is a lot more solid, but it makes it feel less like home movies and more like… ahem, a movie. But it’s the way that the stories are constructed that makes it a solid anthology. Regardless of having a slightly more cinematic feel to it, V/H/S/2 is strong and relentless from start to finish. Unlike the previous entry, there isn’t a dull ho hum tale of the group.

V/H/S/2

V/H/S/2 is certainly on par, if not superior to V/H/S and a worthy successor. Here’s to looking forward to the third entry! Pick up your copy at Magnet’s website and for god’s sake, don’t break into a stranger’s house and start watching stacks of tapes! One of them could be a Bill Rebane film.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Start your movie with a little bit o’ donger.
  • Eye see dead people.
  • Happy ‘Death’day!
  • Singing in undies.
  • Papa of a demon.
  • Alien disco party.
  • Explosive migraine.
totals

10

blood

BLOOD

Every segment is covered in all kinds of guts, organs and plasma!

7

blood

BREASTS

It’s a requirement of each segment to bare some ta-ta’s.

10

beast

BEASTS

Ghosts, ghouls, zombies, devil and aliens. The only thing it’s missing is Santa.

9 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the trailer for V/H/S/2!”

trailers

dripper

About the Highway

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