Archive for the ‘Movie Review’ Category

Muck (2015)

Posted: May 6, 2015 in Movie Review
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Directed By: Steve Wolsh

Starring: Lachlan Buchanan, Jaclyn Swedberg, Stephanie Danielson, Lauren Francesca, Kane Hodder, Bryce Draper, Puja Mohindra

Synopsis: A group of friends take refuge in a Cape Cod home from a group of mysterious creatures.

Thoughts: I don’t recall being more confused as I was at the beginning of Muck. It starts like you are halfway through the movie with the group of friends on the run from…something. After watching the movie and doing a bit of research, Steve Wolsh intends Muck to be a trilogy, with the first movie actually being the centerpiece, with a prequel and sequel to follow. It’s an interesting concept, but made for quite a confusing start.

It’s pretty easy to see the director Steve Wolsh wanted this to be a bit of a throwback to the 80s with the practical effects and copious amounts of nudity. The attempt works to a degree and I think Wolsh has a pretty good start on a mythology with the creatures he conjured up, but the execution was a little lacking. I actually thought that the nudity was a little too over the top and distracted from the movie. Instead of building nay tension, we’d see scenes of ladies getting naked for no particular reason. If I wanted to watch a movie just for naked women, it wouldn’t be a horror movie.

The second issue I had was with the characters. I didn’t really like any of them. They all seemed to fall into the same stereotype and I never found myself investing in any of their fates. The blame can be shared by the script and the cast I suppose.

Even with its flaws, I was able to enjoy Muck, I just thought it could have been so much better. The effects are pretty top notch and I thought the creature designs were very good. They reminded me of a cross between Lord of the Rings and The Descent. I found them to be the most interesting characters in the movie and want more of them. Hopefully Wolsh improves on the next movie, because I think that the concept has a lot of potential.

Clown Poster

Directed By: Jon Watts

Starring: Andy Powers, Laura Allen, Peter Stormare, Elizabeth Whitmere, Christian Distefano, Eli Roth

Synopsis: Kent McCoy dons a clown suit for his Son’s birthday, but is unable to take it off. Disturbing changes and urges ensue.

Thoughts: Clown’s origin is an example of brilliance in Guerilla Marketing. Jon Watts, the eventual Director, released a fake trailer and had the gall to attach Eli Roth’s name to it. Normally, this would result in something along the lines of a cease and desist order, but Eli thought it was fantastic and backed the movie, becoming a Producer, and played a bit role.

Luckily, Jon Watts had more than just a few minutes worth of a story when it came time to make a feature length movie. The story is original, even if the content is bit repetitive, but what isn’t these days? Kent’s transformation throughout the movie is reminiscent of Seth Brundle in The Fly, becoming more monstrous while still trying to hold on to his humanity. Clown also breaks a pretty significant unwritten rule (at least in mainstream American horror), by killing children onscreen. This rule isn’t just broken though; Clown may have set a record for amount of kids killed. I mean, Kent heads to a Chucky Cheese for some snacks, which just proves my belief that that place is Hell on Earth.

I was really impressed with the acting throughout the movie, which is often a common area that I find fault in movies. Andy Powers, who plays the lead, was convincing, being able to be scary and invoke sympathy throughout the movie. Peter Stormare, who is seemingly everywhere these days, is almost always great fun to watch, and doesn’t disappoint here either.

The effects are top notch as well, and Clown splatters the red stuff around liberally. Clown does a good job of pulling the camera away at the right moment while still being pretty damn gory.

There have been plenty of movies that looked great from the trailer (real or fake), but have failed to deliver a quality product. In my opinion, Clown delivers. It’s been one of my favorite discoveries of the past year, and I’m a little surprised more people aren’t talking about it. A portion of that could be that it has yet to be released in the US, which is also a surprise to me. Maybe it’s the fact that children are killed, but I have to believe that there are distributors that would give it a shot. If you do get a chance to check this out, give it a shot.

Wolfcop Poster

Directed By: Lowell Dean

Starring: Leo Fafard, Amy Matysio, Jonathan Cherry, Sarah Lind, Aiden Devine, Jesse Moss, Corrine Conley

Synopsis: Part man. Part wolf. All cop.

Thoughts: Wolfcop was destined for my shelves the second I saw the poster. When the poster hit the internet, it created an immense amount of buzz based on the image alone. It’s currently available on video, as well as hitting the convention circuit.

I picked up one of the limited Blu Rays available only at Best Buy, which was a good move by them as I hadn’t been in my local store for quite some time. I’ve since watched it a couple of times, as well as most of the special features. Wolfcop was successful in being more than just a great poster and interesting premise. It delivered with a decent story and pretty damn good practical FX to boot.

The acting is pretty uneven, but the cast is largely unknown. Leo Fafard, who plays Lou Garou and the titular Wolfcop, overplay his role a bit at the beginning of the movie, but really hits stride once the lycanthropy action ramps up and ends up being very likable. Sarah Lind is smoldering as the local bar owner Jessica, and actually displays some acting chops as well. There are a few lines and scenes that are a bit clunky, but overall this is a well-acted small budget movie.

Although the cast is strong, the effects are the real stars of the show. Wolfcop prides itself on practical effects, and it should! The transformation scenes are great, and bring a new twist to werewolf movies. Let’s just say that Wolfcop proves that Wolfman has nards. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when WC rips off a bad guys face, leaving a very comical, yet bloody, skeletal face.

If you couldn’t tell by the premise and poster, Wolfcop has plenty of humor throughout. It succeeds by blending campy humor and groan-worthy one-liners with some pretty gory moments and a dash of T&A thrown in for good measure. This is a flick well worth seeing and supporting, so grab a beer and enjoy!

Croczilla (2012)

Posted: February 22, 2015 in Movie Review
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Croczilla (2012)
AKA Million Dollar Crocodile {Bai Wan Ju E}

Directed By: Li Sheng Lin

Starring: Tao Guo, Barbie Hsu, Suet Lam

Synopsis: A 36 foot crocodile raised in a sanctuary escapes after being sold and rampages across the country side.

Thoughts: I’ve long been a sucker for killer croc movies, so when I was paging through options on Netflix and Croczilla flashed across the screen, it was an easy selection. It’s been a long time since watching a horror movie with no preconceived notions or any idea what the film entailed, so I was really looking forward to watching it. In fact, until clicking play, I didn’t even realize that this a Chinese movie!

Even though Croczilla is billed as a horror movie, there’s just not a lot of scares to be found. It mimics some of the 1970s Godzilla movies with its comedic moments and there are a couple of pretty cool scenes where the croc attacks, but it just isn’t enough to make this a worthwhile entry into a favorite subgenre of mine. It plays a lot like a dubbed ScyFy Channel movie.

I don’t recommend checking out this movie, but if you do, venture forth with copious amounts of your favorite alcoholic beverage and a couple of friends to help you riff on the movie. Don’t be fooled by the awesome poster I found either.   It is easily the best part of the movie that I’ve experienced.

The Eye 2

Directed By: The Pang Brothers (Danny Pang Phat & Oxide Pang Chun)

Starring: Shu Qi, Eugenia Yuan, Jesdaporn Pholdee

Synopsis: After attempting suicide, Joey begins to see spirits.

Thoughts: The Pang Brothers followed up The Eye with a sequel just two years after the original was released, although The Eye 2 doesn’t continue the story and has really nothing to do with the first film, other than the ability to see ghosts. I guess you could say that they have the same thematic elements, but so did the majority of other Asian horror movies in the early 21st Century.

The Eye 2 does have some really creepy moments, but they come later in the movie after Joey discovers she is pregnant and start to realize why she can suddenly see ghosts. There is one scene in particular that was pretty disturbing for me. It takes place during the delivery of a baby. Scenes that involve pregnant women and newborns in horror movies always make me cringe, and this one was no different.

Most ghost stories center on similar themes. Either the dead were murdered or left something undone in their lives. The Eye 2 takes a little different spin on things, one that I won’t divulge here as it is a pretty integral to the plot of the movie. This different take puts The Eye 2 slightly above its competition in the genre. This isn’t a must see movie by any means, but it isn’t bad. If you’ve already checked out the staples, this is worth a spin.


Directed By: Ron Underwood

Starring: Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Michael Gross, Reba McEntire, Finn Carter, Victor Wong, Bobby Jacoby

Synopsis: Giant subterranean monsters decimate an isolated Western town.

Thoughts: Tremors is 25 years old this year. Let that sink in for a moment. If you are like me and remember when this came out, you are probably feeling a bit older at the moment. If you are too young to recall the release, get off my lawn and pull up your pants.

Now, back to the movie…Tremors is essentially a Godzilla movie in a Western setting where the creatures live underground. It is infused with comedy and never takes itself seriously.

The cast is a big reason for the success of Tremors. Fred Ward and Kevin Bacon play the leads and work together in a “buddy cop” sort of relationship. Bacon has flirted with the horror genre throughout his career, going all the way back to his early days where he was a camp counselor in Friday the 13th. His works have included Flatliners, Hollow Man and the underrated Stir of Echoes as well.

You can’t mention the cast without pointing out Michael Gross and Reba McEntire as the right wing fanatics with enough firepower to take over a small country. Although the characters are over the top, it really works with the setting and storyline.

Director took the success of Tremors and turned that into a career directing family oriented films. It’s no exaggeration to say he peaked with his second film, helming Golden Globe nominee City Slickers. After that it went downhill in a pretty fantastic nature, including Mighty Joe Young and Pluto Nash. After Pluto Nash, Underwood focused on directing television episodes.

Although the cast is fantastic, the Graboids in Tremors are the real stars. Without a great monster a movie like this will fade into oblivion as time passes. Universal was smart to guard the look of the monsters as they promoted the movie, saving the reveal for the movie. Although this seems like such a basic principle, it’s amazing how often marketing campaigns get this wrong. Look no further than the success of Cloverfield at how anticipation and great marketing can propel a movie to success.

Tremors wasn’t a huge financial success at the box office, but quickly became a favorite on home video and with movie monster fans everywhere. It spawned 3 sequels and a television series, which is another indicator of its popularity.

Tremors is a great gateway horror film for young fans of the genre. There isn’t much that would scare younger fans and the deaths are not graphic. I look at this movie as a natural fit with other giant monsters like King Kong and Godzilla. Tremors is also readily available (and cheap) as a 4 pack with its sequels on both DVD and Blu Ray. There’s really no excuse for not checking out this flick.

Science Team

Directed By: Drew Bolduc

Starring: Vito Trigo, Richard Spencer, Emily Marsh, Matt Chodornek, Mariea Terrell, Josh Potter, Lloyd Kaufman

Synopsis: Chip battles a telepathic alien and The Science Team.

Thoughts: Science Team comes to us from Drew Bolduc, creator of The Taint, and promises a movie unlike any you’ve seen. I will have to say Drew is correct. This is not an easy movie to categorize. It’s got plenty of laughs, but it’s not exactly a comedy. There’s an alien, so you could categorize it as Sci-Fi, but it doesn’t fit well there either. Of course there is a good amount of gore and melting faces, but this isn’t a horror movie either. What it is, however, is a lot of fun, and I could see this becoming a bit of a cult hit. It plays like a “midnight movie.” Something a crowd of people could get into, laughing along and cringing at some scenes in unison.

Science Team was put together on a self-proclaimed micro-budget, but that’s not apparent from the quality of the production. The camera work, editing and score are all pretty fantastic. You don’t feel like you are watching a cheap movie by any means. At times, the acting can be a bit distracting, but for the most part, the actors do a great job. Vito Trigo, who plays Chip, is a very intense personality. There were a couple of scenes where he was downright frightening on the screen (like when he lost his mother). It really pulled you out of a campy horror movie and made you a bit uncomfortable (in a good way). I think he could play a very dark personality effectively (thinking something along the line of Taxi Driver).

While I’ve heard of The Taint before, this is actually the first I’ve heard the name Drew Bolduc. I am thoroughly impressed with what he has done on such a small budget, and sincerely hopes he continues to make movies. He’s got the creativity and eye that is sometimes rare in the realm of film. I’m on the search for The Taint as you read this.

If you’re looking for a fun movie to watch with a group of people, give Science Team a shot. It’s an interesting premise and a great example of innovative filmmaking. You will also be supporting independent filmmaking, which is not a small thing.

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