Sunday, October 28, 2007

Review: Wrong Turn 2: Dead End

I was pretty psyched that they made a sequel to the sleeper hit, Wrong Turn, which brought hillbily cannibal antics back to the big screen where they belong. Well, they return in this one, but I can't say that it's for the better. This time around, instead of being stuck in West Virginia because of a dum dum dum wrong turn, the cast is part of a reality show that is being filmed where the contestants must survive the wilderness.

The movie begins with a pretty awesome opening scene where one of the entrants not quite making it to the set. I would say the first two acts of the movie are equally as good, featuring a likeable and unlikeable cast and a nice red herring as to the heroine of the film. It's a shame that the male lead wasn't disguised as well. You can pick out who lives out of the manly gender right off the bat and he's alright. In the meantime, we get to see some brutal deaths and Henry Rollins as a marine who goes all Sonny Landham on us as he hunts us some cannibals.

The movie fails when it tries to expand upon the horrors of the original, instead becoming a clone of remake of The Hills Have Eyes and it's toxically deformed family. Where the original harkened back to the patriarchal overtones of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, this one pays little attention to that save for a table scene ripped straight from it though gussied up with the "mutant family lol" trappings of the remake. While it does explain where they all came from, it detracts from the original and makes it less about surviving than giving us a retarded insight into the lives of a mutant band. Yes, they can pray and understand speech and electronics, but speak, no, that is beyond them.

I give it three 40s (the lower, the better). Not a bad drinking movie and a way to waste time, but don't expect the fun and power of the original.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Review: Planet Terror

Today I review the second half of the Grindhouse double-feature, Planet Terror. What can I say but that it kicks some serious ass. I think it is the stronger of the two films, providing a very kinetic and bloody feel with interesting characters oozing out of the woodwork. There isn't a forgettable character out of the bunch. And the gore, oh the righteous gore, how it flows from bodies like a river and explodes onto the screen. Seriously. Every gunshot and stab wound sprays blood and grue into the air like it was going out of style. It's awesome.

The story unfolds as a military group takes control of a special gas that seems to turn people into zombie-mutants with a taste for flesh. Slowly it gets unleashed on the populace and the attacks in a Texas town increase until pandemonium reigns. Rose McGowan plays Cherry, a go-go dancer who gets thrust into the mix as zombies take her leg away from her. Freddy Rodriguez is El Wray, her old boyfriend who has a shadowy past that we're never quite sure of. Along with Michael Beihn as the sheriff, Jeff Fahey as his bbq king brother, Josh Brolin and Marley Shelton as a medical doctor couple and Naveen Andrews as a testicle collecting scientist, the cast fights for their lives and tries to make it out of the town alive before they get eaten.

It's definitely worth checking out though the film aging doesn't seem to work as well on this movie as it did on Death Proof. It seems too artificial. I think that's where the film fails as a grindhouse release. It has the gore, but it seems too much like a homage whereas Death Proof seems to ooze 70s exploitation, save for the bits of Tarantino's dialogue that stand out like a sore but cool thumb.

Back to back they make quite a pair and I'm dreading the eventual double release with all the trailers intact. As it stands, Planet Terror only has Machete and I don't think Death Proof has any of them at all. I hope they include them somewhere, as they were pretty damn funny.

Overall, a worth addition to the zombie genre and a must see for fans of horror and Robert Rodriguez.

Hey, It's Not as Goofy as the New Movie

New strip up over at Creative Space. Click over there or on the picture for the full version. It's in honor of Halloween, both the movie and the season, since I love them both. The new version, not so much. I think it's because remakes are so hard to do when you're dealing with a character. When it's something like The Thing, which completely departed from the Howard Hawks movie, it's a lot easier. In this, the main character is Michael Myers, who people have grown up with and love to hate. Any change to him is going to be frowned upon. Zombie did try, but I think turning him into your run-of-the-mill psychopath was a bad idea. It was more fun not knowing what was wrong with him. Now he's just like everyone else.

So I decided to give him a damn good reason to kill. It's actually recycled from a previous strip I was making about Ghost Rider trying to find a new bike and he gets Arcee. I might still do that one with a change I thought of but I figured if anyone needed pink bike motivation, it was Michael.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Review: Devil's Den

What happens when you basically take the second half of From Dusk Til Dawn and make a movie from it? Why, you get Devil's Den, of course. Devon Sawa and his buddy are heading back home from Mexico when they decide to stop by a strip club. Inside, everything seems fine save for the angry Kelly Hu and the odd Ken Foree hanging around. Soon enough, shit hits the fan and Devon, Kelly and Ken are fighting for their lives against a bunch of ghouls.

Despite the plot similarities to FDTD, Devil's Den manages to stand on its own quite nicely thanks to the talent of the main players. Each has their own backstory as to why they ended up at the club and why they have guns and a samurai sword as well. Much bloodshed ensues and the fights are fun and the jokes are funny. There's a fine chemistry between Devon and Kelly and Ken Foree steals the show as the experienced demon hunter.

Clocking in around 84 minutes, the film never feels rushed or too long and by the end you'll be smiling and having a right good old time. Check it out. It'll make your Halloween fun.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Review: Thou Shalt Not Kill....Except

In today's review, we tackle Josh Becker's first feature film release, Thou Shalt Not Kill...Except. It starts with a platoon in Vietnam and then shifts to their return stateside, where Sgt. Stryker is trying to get back to a normal life and woo his old girlfriend. Unfortunately, a cult of killer hippies is coming to town and it's up to him and a few buddies to take them down.

Well shot and paced, the film is a fine first foray into the movie world for Becker. Where most low-budget features don't have much going for them, this one does. It's got a fun cast that can act and work well together. It has decent special effects that are put to the test with several gruesome deaths. It has a few fight scenes that are choreographed nicely and most of all, it has Sam Raimi in a hamtastic role as the cult leader. Unique camera angles help keep you interested and cover up some of the effects, leading to a sustained air of believability. The characters are well rounded and you care for them as they kick hippie ass and you truly despise the villains.

Worth checking out.