Posts Tagged ‘John

17
Nov
08

Splinter directed by Toby Wilkins

Looks like it's already inside that hand.

Looks like it's already inside that hand.

Splinter, an independent horror film that’s been getting a serious amount of buzz lately, deserves every bit of the flurry of interest it’s creating and then some.  Sure, it owes A LOT to its forefathers, most notably John Carpenter’s The Thing, ALIEN, and even to a lesser extent, Tremors, but that doesn’t mean that Splinter can’t stand on its own two parasite infected legs.  Toby Wilkins (who oddly enough is also directing The Grudge 3, god bless him in trying to resurrect that piece of shit horror series) has made something from nothing here.  That’s right folks, this is not a sequel, it’s not a remake or re-imagining of an Asian film, and it’s really clever, fast-paced, and surprising in ways I had forgotten horror films can be.

Our plot is familiar, a couple goes away on a camping trip alone in the woods in the back country, the tent doesn’t work and snaps, and of course they forgot to pack the spare.  So back in the SUV they go, and while driving to a motel, they are confronted by two hitchhikers, who are actually criminals on the run from the law.  The criminals take over the vehicle, but keep the couple as hostages, more or less.

The Flat tire seems to be the next logical step, but it’s WHAT they hit that is interesting, and before they know it they are at a gas station, trying to fix the now very fucked up SUV, when all hell breaks loose.

It’s not groundbreaking, and the “boo” scares aren’t going to make you shit your pants, but it’s all so well executed and framed, that it’s really easy to just slip into the atmosphere and the setting.  I quickly allowed myself to get over the fact that I’ve seen this done before, mostly because I haven’t seen it done THIS WELL before.

The cast, made up mostly of four characters, are excellent.  Shea Whigham really stands out here as someone who could easily handle a starring role in a major movie, as he plays the hardened criminal who has an amazing story to tell.  His transformation in the film is subtle, but magical.  It’s rare that ANY character development takes places in horror movies now a days, and to have one as profound and jaw-dropping as this, really elevates the movie above the “Creature Feature” title I was thinking of giving it.

Monster design is, for the most part, also somewhat subtle, but it’s also very detailed.  I won’t ruin any of the  surprise, but think along the lines of The Thing and the monsters from the recently released video game Dead Space and your on the right track.  Toby Wilkins fast editing and mild shaky camera manage to strike a balance between showing off the almost CGI less creature, and creating tension and panic visually.  I usually hate shaky cam, but it really works well here.  Sound is also very crisp and can be piercing at the right moments.  In tandem with the visual style, the technical package delivered here is very robust and professional.

Lastly, I MUST congratulate the writers, Kai Berry, Ian Shorr, and Toby Wilkins.  Not only did they manage to include some clever nods to the films that obviously inspired them (The hand gag from Evil Dead 2 makes a not-so-funny appearance here) but also have written some of the most likable and realistic characters I’ve seen in horror in quite some time.  Never do the characters do the classic “dumb” thing and get themselves killed, and the dialogue is too the point and refreshing, all the while never insulting my intelligence.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been broken away from the mood by some teenage jerk in horror flicks talking about a girls boobs while their best friend gets his guts spilled out by a monster.

Splinter is about as lean, mean, and streamlined as modern horror is going to get.  It wastes little time, keeps you involved with refreshingly smart heroes and villains, and is presented with so much piss and vigor, it’s really difficult not to fall in love with something in this movie.

Get Splintered today.

29
Oct
08

Saw V – Spoiler Free Review

Saw V

Saw V

Readers of this blog will know that I am a self-confessed Saw fanboy. So I was eager to see how the Saw franchise would move forward with the death of it’s leading character.

Fear not dear reader, this review will be spoiler free, I will not be giving away any new plot details, I promise!

Saw V begins with a quick review of what we found out at the end of Saw IV, that Jigsaw is dead, Strahm is trapped in a room and the other players from IV are also dead. The only survivor is Hoffman.

Saw V starts with the pendulum trap that we saw in one of the first clips released. V spends half of its time jumping back and forth between the past explaining stuff (‘stuff’ that I shan’t expand upon), and the present, with five new players in a trap. This is the ‘five will become one’ clip that was circulating before the release of V.

A lot of questions are answered in Saw V, but – true to the series – more questions arise as the movie trundles along. Speaking of which, I found the first twenty or so minutes quite slow, but – true to form – picked up pace. This is definitely more of a story Saw, than a gore Saw.

You won’t believe how it ends‘ say all the posters. Well, I obviously won’t give away the ending, but it’s hardly earth shattering – still a nice twist though.

I breath a sigh of relief and say: I like Saw V, I’m still a fan. And well done Mr Hackl too, his first full film as a Director, and it looks good… has the continuity of Saw I – IV (hardly surprising since Hackl practically is Jigsaw!), it’s dark, nicely lit and gory when it needs to be.

I just worry that there’s an outsider lined up to Direct Saw VI. Oh well, won’t be long now ’til Oct ’09…

21
Oct
08

Top 5 (+3) Posters for Halloween

It was near impossible for me pick just five, and somehow I managed to stop myself from cruising the Internet and sifting through my own collection at the magical number of…8


The criteria I used for my picks was simple.  Firstly, I had to actually know about or enjoy the movie’s themselves, as I will try to couple something akin to a mini-review with each poster.  Also, I tried to choose the most creative and eye-popping of the bunch, and if possible, the ones that have really cool innuendo, double-images, or are just plain sick and twisted.

In no particular order.

You see?  It's a skull, but it's also the women from the flick. That's fucking cool.

You see? It's a skull but it's also the women from the film. That's fucking cool.

If you haven’t yet seen Neil Marshall’s The Descent, then you need to go rent, buy, download, borrow from a buddy, or…something and see this flick.  The Descent is one of the most legitimately terrifying, psychologically draining, and claustrophobic films our generation is likely to ever see, and unfortunately the poster you see above wasn’t used very much in advertising for the film.  The reason?  Well, it probably had something to do with some stuck up liberal cunt thinking that the fact that women are screaming and posing on a poster is somehow sexist and degrading to women.  The irony of course, is that the movie is one of the strongest and best portrayals of women I’ve ever seen, in or out of the horror genre.  Anyway, this one-sheet gets on my list for being very innovative, slightly sexual, and having sweet double-imagery.  Oh, and the movie itself is near perfection.  That never hurts.

So much going on.  And the movie actually has ALL that crpa in it!

So much going on. And the movie actually has ALL that crap in it!

The Beyond is one of my all time favs.  Reviewed already on here by my best buddy Ronnie, who wasn’t as fanatical as I was about it, he still gave it some credit for being a cool little gore/zombie flick.  This poster, to me, represents perfectly the sheer chaos the film exudes.  Zombified girls getting their fucking heads blown off by grown men with a .357 magnum.  People running from scary shit.  Lots of screaming.  Dead people.  More dead people.  Mega bonus points for the almost “hand drawn” feel to it, and just the sheer amount of scenes from the movie they were able to fit into one sheet a paper without actually ruining some of the best parts, which of course are the gnarly kills.

Someones about to get a good Ol' fashioned raping.  Wait, IN A HITCHCOCK FILM?!?!?!?!?

Someones about to get a good ol' fashioned raping/murder combo. Wait, IN A HITCHCOCK FILM?!?!?!?

This one threw me for a total loop.  Hitchcock, a man known for his thrillers and endless amount of class in dealing with sex and violence eloquently, yet this poster seems to suggest something totally different.  While Rear Window still is my favorite Hitchcock film, Dial M for Murder is a damn close second.  This poster seems very risky, even if we saw something like it today.  I mean, the girl is obviously in peril, and not only is it clear that the shady man’s intentions are to silence that bitch permanently, he may also be looking to get some non-consensual love while he’s at it.  Again folks, this is pretty dark, twisted, and edgy for Hitchcock, probably why I had never seen it before I started digging for posters for this project.

Spooky.

Spooky.

Fulci again graces my list, and this time for a film that is considered by many to be his nastiest.  House by the Cemetery has a reputation for being possibly the most sadistic and grotesque of Fulci’s work, a man who has nack for combing the surreal elements of Giallo films, with the raw horsepower of lingering, graphic, and sickening violence.  If you wanna see the most fucked up slit throat scene in the history of slit throat scenes, grab yourself a copy of this gore classic.  The poster though, speaks to me on a very Halloween “spooky” level, and is…dare i say…very classy and simple.  A little shadow play with a disfigured face up in the clouds, a full moon, a dark, twisty, kind of bent house and a graveyard with some fog.  This is the kind of stuff you see if a movie theater, and immediately turn to your friend and say “Fuck yeah were seeing that when it comes out!”

I so want this one my wall one day.  Cre-epy!

I so want this one my wall one day. Cre-epy!

Del Toro nailed two birds with one stone with his adult Gothic fairy tale Pan’s Labyrinth.  He not only re-asserted himself as one of the premiere genre directors to watch out for, but also may have creating the defining piece of his entire career.  I just don’t know how he will eclipse of movie that not only showed so much creativity and imagination , but had not one, but two amazing story lines to boot.  (One storyline taking place inside the “Fairy-Tale” world, and the other happening in reality)  This teaser poster always made me sweat in anticipation when I was waiting for this one to come out, and it’s because it’s both incredibly simple, and very creepy.  That sure looks like a “Baphomet” type character to me, not someone who I would let lead a small girl into another dimension.  Another movie that’s highly recommended and another poster I plan to one day have framed on a wall somewhere.  Alice in Wonderland for grown ups, but really really fucking twisted.

What the fuck is that thing on that poor girls HEAD?!?!?!?

What the fuck is that thing on that poor girls HEAD?!?!?!?

How much blood will you shed to stay alive?  Do I really need to say anything else?  The movie (notice I didn’t say series, as everyone seems to have different opinions about how the series has been handled, especially going into the 5th entry in ’08) that changed how audiences viewed horror movies forever, and catapulted the “Torture Porn” sub-category into the cross-hairs of oversensitive fagots worldwide, also happened to have one of the best marketing campaigns ever.  Starting with teaser posters that began floating around the Internet as early as 2001, and extending to some of the most clever “We’re showing you a lot but you have no fucking idea whats actually going on” trailers, SAW burst onto the scene and claimed it it’s own within weeks of its release theatrically.  A perfect tag-line.  A girl in peril without having to rely on sexuality.  One of the best movies series ever. It may not save horror, but it made me believe in slashers again.

It may not save horror, but it made me believe in slashers again.

The tag-line reads “It’s not a remake.  It’s not a sequel.  And it’s not based on a Japanese one.”  Hatchet was a movie I had my eyes on for almost four years, before finally getting to experience it myself in 2007.  Sometimes waiting for shit is a really good thing.  Hatchet delivered on every promise it’s first time director made.  The gore was ALL practical, NO cgi fuckery.  There were ample breasts, some extremely funny humor, some great boo scares, an incredibly likable monster/slasher, and the list goes on and on.  This poster sums the whole thing up too.  It’s an original piece of old school American horror, and sometimes all you need is an axe with some blood on it.  Run, don’t walk, to get your hands on this gem.

The Trick was to Stay Alive.  That is so classic

The Trick was to Stay Alive. That is so classic. And that chick is so fucked.

The poster no one ever saw.  Apparently there are some stories about how much trouble this little poster got into, but I haven’ been able to put all the pieces together, and I don’t want to sit here and just make shit up, so I will instead give you my take on it.  The picture itself is mostly distorted, obviously we can make out a girl in terror, and a hand outside that’s getting dangerously close to her.  Anyone who has seen the film knows what scene this is from.  The Tag-line here really butters my biscuit though.  “The Trick was to Stay Alive.”  That’s some badass shit folks.  Like, if Michael Myers ever needed a one-liner, it would have to be that.  The easy choice was the classic “pumpkin with a knife” poster, but this one, when I found it, spoke to me, especially with the woman in terror and then the incredible tag-line.  And again, it doesn’t give away too much, just enough to put asses in seats.

BONUS!!!!!!!!!!!

For those who have never been treated to seeing the made for tv halloween special, here is, in three parts via youtube, The Halloween That Almost Wasn’t!!!!!

P.S.  Told you I’d find it mom.  Love ya!