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Rating History

Dead Within
Dead Within (2014)
13 hours ago via Flixster

Let's just say that this film's title isn't so much of a warning as it is a spoiler. With that said, I think this is quite a good psychological horror film. It might not offer anything that is wholly unique or inventive, but it does provide an interesting story with plenty of suspense and mystery building up to its climax. But, really, there's only so much you can do when you know exactly where the film is heading right from the start giving what its name is and what its poster is. But those are minor issues. The film's story focuses on a married couple who have isolated themselves in a cabin and the struggles they face to survive the elements while they're also starving for the resources they once took for granted. Mike goes out every day and leaves Kim all alone in the cabin for hours on end. It has been six months since the outbreak started so, obviously, Kim's psyche starts to deteriorate the longer she's stuck inside this very small cabin. Cabin fever is starting to take its toll and the film focuses completely on that as you get to see Kim being more and more affected by not being able to go out. At first you suspect it's because Mike is up to something, or there actually isn't even an outbreak and Mike just wants to keep Kim under his control, but as the film progresses, it's obvious that Kim's psyche is playing tricks on her. She sees things that aren't there, has conversations with people that aren't there as well, she hallucinates, etc, etc. Again, it's stuff that you've definitely seen before, and it's not like this is the best version of this story, but it is still compelling, at least in my opinion. I think the fact that the film takes place in one location for most of its duration, the last few minutes or so take place on the outside, might bother some people. Like it might come across as a clever way to disguise the fact that you didn't have the biggest of budgets. But, for this kind of story, the claustrophobic isolation of a remote cabin works best for a film that's all about the character's psyche breaking down. I don't think you can pull it off as effectively if Kim and Mike were moving from place to place. I suppose you could if what's making Kim act the way she is is that she's also infected and not the constant isolation from the world. But I find that it works for this film, they get a lot of mileage out of this. The film also doesn't overstay its welcome, it's a film that knows its limitations and its not gonna stretch its script thin. I can appreciate that as someone who always complains about many horror films not having enough interesting ideas to justify its running time, so props for that. I don't think this is the type of film that will convince non-horror fans to give the genre a try, but I think it offers a compelling enough story with good acting, which is definitely needed in this type of story where it's all about the psychological effects. Might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I thought this was a good horror movie.

Neverlake
Neverlake (2014)
1 day ago via Flixster

The blurb used on this film's poster says that this is the creepiest horror movie since the Human Centipede. I realize people are entitled to their opinions, and assuming this person wasn't paid off for this review, it's also a completely off base. First of all, I don't even think The Human Centipede can be considered creepy. Grotesque and creepy are two very different things. The Human Centipede certainly fits one of those two descriptions and it's not creepy. It's a gross-out horror movie without the actual gross-out elements. Outside of you actually seeing the human centipede, the film is all suggestion and the use of sound effects. If people were grossed out because of that movie it's because the image they created for themselves about what it actually must be like to be a human centipede, with one person's...fecal matter flowing through another person. That film is all about the power of suggestion and its effect on the human mind. That's not creepy. Creepy would be something like Lake Mungo, The Ring, or even this movie. You can get a creepier vibe from something dealing with a supernatural force than you can with something "real", like a monster. That's just the way of the game, so saying this is the creepiest film since The Human Centipede sounds nice to promote this film, but it rings hollow upon further inspection. You know why I went off on that tangent? Because I don't really have much to say about this film. Should've figured that by now. This film, while low-budgeted and a little aimless, isn't as bad as I was really expecting. What it does have, however, is some really good atmospheric ambiance. The acting isn't exactly great, particularly from any of the kids at the hospital, and there's not really enough time to develop them past their own physical deficiencies, which is the only way you can really tell them apart. That's really all the development they get. It's understandable that they don't get much time, though they are a very important part of the plot, because the film really isn't that long. But I did like the ending because it's certainly morally ambiguous. While the removal of the bronze objects, that Jenny's father had crafted, from the bottom of the lake has put a stop to what is happening, it also brings about the death of Jenny's father other daughter, for whom he did all these terrible things. It's morally ambiguous in the sense that it causes Maya's death, someone who had no knowledge of her father's actions, so therefore she is as innocent as all of the children Jenny's father conceived, and killed through his experiments, in order to save Maya. Perhaps if Jenny didn't remove the bronze objects, each representing what was taken from each child to ensure Maya's survival, a kidney object for Jenny's kidney, so on and so forth, the children would've been stuck in a state of limbo, stuck between this life and "the next". So in some ways what was done makes sense, but they're also STILL dead. Doing what Jenny did isn't gonna change that fact. And it also robbed someone else's life, someone that had nothing to do with Jenny's father's actions. So that morally ambiguous ending was actually one of the best parts of the film, if not the best part, because, all around, everything that happened was sad...no matter how you slice it. All these children were conceived to be murdered and Maya shouldn't have had to pay for her father's actions, sad all the way around. Not many horror films have that kind of emotional weight behind their finales. Not saying it's Grave of the Fireflies up in this bitch, but it's something that's noticeable and something that sets it apart from other, more cynically produced horror films. I'm not saying this is a good horror films, but it does offer something deeper than the norm. Shame the film itself lacked the focus it would've needed to truly make a story like this work. It also lacked the acting that would've taken this to another level. It's a film at odds, because the idea itself is great, but the execution isn't always top-notch. Adequate rental if you're looking for something that's heavy on atmosphere and some emotional depth.

Witching and Bitching
2 days ago via Flixster
½

Incredibly unique and subversive Spanish horror-comedy that adds a new and clever twist to the battle of the sexes. It's certainly a subversive examination of how men and women interact with each other and all the baggage that comes with that. But, at the same time, this film offers such an entertaining package. It's not so much a horror film as it takes and mixes several genres, including horror, black humor, satire, violence, etc, into one insane whole. This isn't unfamiliar territory, thematically at least, for Alex De La Iglesia, so he's clearly the one person you would want to helm a picture like this. Granted, he also had a hand in developing the script, so his trademarks are all over the place. What I like about the film is that while it's a subversive satire about gender relations, is the fact that the film makes absolutely no qualms about what it is. It has no delusions of grandeur, but it does know that its energetic pace and hilarious dark comedy will get it farther than most. This is a midnight movie that's not ashamed to be seen as one. It's exceptionally well-made, the film is a visual feast. It would almost have to be since the film, while smart and unique, is longer than it should've been, probably by about 10 or so minutes. So the scripting can sometimes come across a little bit thin and, to some people, the film may play its idea out sooner rather later. The film certainly mixes various genres together, but it's all dark, violent, and sexual. That can be tiring to some people. But I'm not really gonna complain because I found this film to be an absolute blast. I had so much fun watching this movie. It's one of those movies where I would have no problem watching it once every year around this time. The cast clearly had a blast even if the material could be considered, by some, to be taboo and in some cases blasphemous. But, I believe, that great comedy finds a way to push the boundaries of good taste. That's not always true, but it's true in Alex De La Iglesia's films. The further he pushes his films into what some would consider poor taste then the better they are. This film is no different, it's often a very hilarious film. It's missing something, but I did have a great time watching this film. I greatly recommend it if you're a genre fan, if you like light, fluffy, and agreeable comedies, then this is definitely not for you.

The ABCs of Death
3 days ago via Flixster
½

Boy, oh boy. If you thought that me not doing individual segment reviews for Creepshow 2 was bad enough, then wait until I review this. There's no way in hell that I will do an individual review for each of the 26 segments of the film, each based off one letter from the alphabet. There's a couple of reasons for that. First, I would simply be here for way too long. You don't want that and I don't want that. Secondly, and most importantly, some of these segments are so shorts that how can you really justify writing a mini-review for each and every one of them. It makes sense in a film like either VHS, since each short is given more time to develop, in comparison to this, so there's much more detail in each of them. When one of the segments, Miscarriage, lasts only 2 minutes, you can't really do a mini-review. The longest segment, I didn't time them, but I'm guessing, is only 6-7 minutes long. But I digress, now you know why I won't be going through each short individually. Considering that there are TWENTY-SIX segments in the film, you already know, then, that the film is about as mixed a bag as you can possibly have. The more shorts you have, the more chances you have that some of them are absolutely terrible. That's just how math works, too many cooks in the kitchen and all that jazz. What I like, or love rather, about the film is the sheer diversity of segments, from directors from all over the world. There's animated, claymation, slasher, found footage, crude and juvenile humor, futuristic sci-fi action, sadomasochism, time travel, poop humor, etc, etc. I don't think I'm even covering all my bases If you can imagine it, then this film probably has it. There's certainly some very gross-out moments in the film. What I will do is give you the letters of some of the better shorts in the film though. The letter A, D, I, J, K, L, N, S (if only for how it cleverly uses drug abuse in order to create its story), T, U, W, and X. So, as you can see, slightly less than half, by one actually, of the segments themselves are actually good. It's not that the the others are terrible, though Exterminate and Gravity are the ones that come to mind that didn't do anything. But it's just that the ones mentioned were, far and away, the highlights of the film. And even among those there are some that could've very easily been left out, Speed, for example, is one of those. What Speed offered is an interesting twist on the nature of drug abuse. It sees two women, one being held hostage by the other, being followed by a monster. The hostage taker tries to offer the other woman to the monster, before the monster says that she gave him a hard time, harder than anybody he knew, but that she cannot run forever. Then, in another scene, you see the same woman falling dead in a filthy room, dying of a drug overdose. I thought that twist was really clever and that's the only reason why it is included on here. There's some really grotesque ones here, Apocalypse is incredibly violent but it doesn't even compare to the insanity that is XXL. It sees this overweight woman, who's made fun of on her way home, and is bombarded with ads of beautiful skinny women, who completely mutilates herself by removing parts of her body in order to look like the women on TV. I can't even begin to describe how gruesome this segment actually is. Those with a weak stomach will definitely have it tested with this short. It's not the only one, since the film starts out brutally enough with Apocalypse. One of my personal favorites would have to be the claymation short Toilet just for how violent it can be, nothing as bad as XXL, since this one is actually funny, but still violent. This is the type of film that is probably enjoyed with a large group of friends and, by and large, while there are some very serious segments, the film can definitely be laughed at for the most part. Personally, I don't think there's enough quality shorts to make this film good. I think the film is energetic and fun, but that's only because of the variety of ways in which all the directors present their stories. So even if more than half of the shorts aren't good, there's still a sense of excitement because you do not know what each short is gonna bring. It's also fun trying to figure out what each letter stands for. If there was any way to edit all the good shorts together, which would be roughly around an hour long, this would be an outstanding collection of horror segments. But that's not what we got. Then again, a mixed bag for a horror film is infinitely better than a film that is just the drizzling shits, so I'll take all the positives I can get. Not even close to good, but I can't really complain much, it is the nature of the beast.