[left][font=Georgia][size=2]'The Hamiltons' is one of the best independent horror films since 'Saw'. More of an intense character study than anything else, this disturbing creep show takes a tired concept and successfully gives it a refreshing, and even humorous, twist. If this film is any indication, The Butcher Brothers are a pioneering duo who should be watched in the coming years, whose ability to tell an engrossing and twisted story is bold and unique.
The Hamiltons are just like every other family. Or so it would seem. How well do we really know our neighbors? And all that goes on behind closed doors. After their parents die, the four children are left to care, and survive, for themselves. There's David, who has taken up the fatherly role and does the best he can at providing for his brothers and sister. Frances, the high schooler who - just like every other teenager - is still discovering who he is and how to fit in and cope with this strange and confusing world. And the twins, Wendell and Darlene, who are more of the outcasts and have a relationship with each other that may raise a few eyebrows. Every new town they settle into - they've lived in 6 different houses in two years - a dark secret surrounds their existance. A secret they'll kill to keep, and kill to survive.
It took me by surprise to see how 'The Hamiltons' worked on many different levels, and not just as another generic horror flick. Quite profoundly, it puts our society and culture under scrutiny. It plays off that always thought-provoking idea that though we may put our best foot forward to the outside world, it simply acts as a mask hiding who we really are behind closed doors. It poses questions about what it means to be happy, to be content, even normal. Questions that don't have any answers, but by which we define ourselves and to society. Could 'The Hamiltons' be nothing more than a study of a quintessential dysfunctional family? The condition that plagues the Hamiltons can simply be seen as a mascarade to mask the film's social commentary. It's worth a thought.
'Hamiltons' also stands as a great psychological film. It takes advantage of its low budget by making a movie that is told by its fascinating characters, rather than relying on cheap tricks. And though the actual amount of thrills in the film may be shortly numbered, it has no problem maintaining its creepy and atmospheric undertone. It's a disturbing film that captures an element of horror that isn't seen very often anymore. Whereas today the trend continues to drift towards providing films that are over-stylized and gimmicky, 'The Hamiltons' is raw and gritty, but powerful. It's not a graphic film by today's standards, but plays off of the viewer's imagination, which at times is scarier than anything the film may show us. Ultimately, your reaction to the film may depend on how you like your horror served. If you're not looking for subtly rather than gruesome gore, you might as well skip this one and look elsewhere.
[/size][/font][center][font=Georgia][size=2][img]http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y189/cedricdiggory88/hamiltons3.jpg[/img] [img]http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y189/cedricdiggory88/hamiltons.jpg[/img] [/size][/font][/center] [font=Georgia][size=2] 'The Hamiltons' is an eerie film that'll catch your attention and never let go. It takes a concept that isn't necessarily original, but is executed in a way that's unique and vastly entertaining. For a debut film, The Butcher Brothers prove their writing and directing abilities in a way that's superior to most of what's out there today, their eye for terror both refreshing and innovative. And with a crop of rising actors whose talent holds great potential, 'The Hamiltons' is outright one of the best and most enjoyable horror films to come out this year. It may give you reason to take a second look at your neighbors next time you see them.[/size][/font]
While a flawed movie it is, 'Riding the Bullet' is another Steph King creation that is able to sustain itself, somehow, through the entire movie. At the very least, it's an entertaining ride.
While it doesn't stand out as King's best, it's on par with most of his creations that have been transformed onto the silver screen. Much like 'Cujo', 'Bullet' is a film that prospers off of isolation, and it makes the movie a more personal movie, a movie that slowly brings you in with it.
[left]'Riding the Bullet' follows a college student, obsessed and haunted by death, trying to hitchhike his way to his mother, who is in the hospital after suffering a stroke over 100 miles away. The story takes place during Halloween night on a long, lonely stretch of road surrounded by woods, and of course a graveyard. Soon, Alan will be taken on a journey between life and death. After several unsuccessful hitchhiker's, he soon finds himself in a car with the Grim Reaper himself, disguised as redneck George Staub(David Arquette) who died two years ago that night. Alan is in a dilemma, and George won't rest until Alan makes a life and death decision.
Will he be ready to ride the Bullet? Or will he chicken out?
[left]A talented cast makes its mark in the movie, including Jonathan Jackson (Insomnia), Cliff Robertson (Spider-Man), Barbara Hershey (Hoosiers), and the very talented young Erika Christensen (Traffic, swimfan).
'Riding the Bullet' is a well-crafted supernatural movie that, while not scary, is creepy enough to maintain an atmosphere that only Stephen King could create. [/left] [/center] [/left] [/center]
[left]Like 2003's 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' or 2007's 'Halloween', I'm hard pressed to find a reason why 'Friday the 13th' exists. A slasher that strictly follows well-worn rules, this latest reboot never commits any astonishingly bad sins. What it does do, however, is fail to stand out from the pack of every other bloodfest. If you're looking for a quick fix, look no further. But if you want to see Jason return with new life and brutal vigor, pop in the original.
Brought to you by the same team that uncovered the 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' franchise, director Marcus Nispel and producer Michael Bay return to take on everyone's favorite momma's boy. They are essentially the same film. Identical formula, similar crop of actors (where almost every male character sports the same shaggy haircut), and no shortage of sex and gore in sight. But from the start, 'Friday' suffers a puzzling identity crisis. Is it a remake? Is it a revision? Is it a new platform for the 21st century? We never find out. One thing is for sure, Jason's back. But he won't exactly get your blood pumping.
The 70s and 80s saw their fair share of cheesy horror flicks. Jason, Michael, and Freddy wreaked havoc on their craving fans at a relentless pace. 'Friday the 13th' was never a classy affair, but its creators understood exactly what kind of film they were making. Never taking itself too seriously, 'Friday' churned out the campy fun better than most. Even at its worst, you can't deny its awesomely bad entertainment value. But now, nearly 30 years after arriving on the scene, Jason has lost his bite. He's still offing off promiscuous teens by the dozen, but there's something missing.
In the end, there's nothing in this latest 'Friday' that's new or original. While Nispel and Bay are busy throwing out buckets of blood and limbs, they forget to add an element of suspense. There are in fact some creative kills to be found here, and that accounts for something, but the build-ups are so obvious that scares are hard to come by. You've seen it all before. A little style and pizzaz go a long way, but 'Friday the 13th' is too busy flying on autopilot to notice. I'll always be a fan of the 'Friday' movies, and I certainly can't complain to see Jason back in action. But when the experience is a dull and thrilless journey, you can count me out. [/left] [/center] [/center]
[left]In many ways, Henry Selick never really got his due. Sure, there may be no greater influence felt on 'The Nightmare Before Christmas' other than Tim Burton's. And while the previews for 'Coraline' have stressed that this is indeed from the very director of that same classic, few realize that the man behind the camera for 'Nightmare' was in fact Selick himself. And while 'Coraline' may not come to life as majestically as Selick's other claymation creation, there's little denying this film's charm and rather unsettling nature.
The art of stop-motion animation must only be described as a labor of love. And at one hour and forty minutes, it's difficult not to marvel at all the painstaking work that went into make 'Coraline' the visual spectacle that it is. It may not go down as the classic 'Nightmare' has become, and I even struggle to call 'Coraline' a great film, but it remains a wonderful treat so early on in this year. And while technology has certainly come a long way over the years, there's a timeless quality to films like these that makes them too special to pass up.
The quality of 'Coraline' is just spectacular. From the dull pallet of Coraline's real world to the vividly imagined landscape of her home away from home, there certainly is magic in the air. It may be pushed as a children's movie, but there are such dark and sinister themes to be uncovered here that may cause some of the little ones to cower in their seats and give them button-filled nightmares. As Coraline, voiced by the young and talented Dakota Fanning, leaves her own world behind to discover an identical but much more enchanting and attractive home, there's little denying one fact. Despite the glitz and the glamor, something is very off. Perhaps the grass is not always greener on the other side.
'Coraline' struggles to offer up anything truly original, it rehashes many familiar and elementary ideas about family and the pains of childhood. But what separates 'Coraline' from others is the journey we're taken on, one filled with nightmarish twists and unexpected delights. Selick has one again created a world for adults and children alike, vividly imagined and executed with finesse and style. 'Coraline' may not be an instant classic, but it is a worthy and admirable picture. And, if anything, should be appreciated for the dying art it so richly embodies. [/left] [/center] [/center]
[left]There were times during 'My Bloody Valentine 3D' when I really wasn't sure if I was watching a Jason rip-off or the pilot episode of the CW's latest melodrama. It's a perfectly capable slasher and never really dull, but when push comes to shove, there simply isn't enough to separate Patrick Lussier's horror remake from the rest of the pack. An entertaining but ultimately forgettable and not-so-scary affair.
Trying to strike some compromise between campy goodness and modern slickness, 'Valentine' can be enjoyed for the harmless piece of horror that it is. It never tries to be anything it isn't, and if you're looking for 90 minutes of mindless blood and gore, you've hit the jack pot. The terrible events that occur within this sleepy mining town are executed with a fine eye. There are some deliciously disgusting killings, and enough unbridled nudity to satisfy any needs.
The 3D effect is purely a gimmick, but it lends itself to some nice touches here and there. Whether it's a pickaxe being hurled at our next victim or a bright light shining in the dark, it does at the very least offer something not usually experienced at the theater. But the film's most costliest mistake rests on the shoulders of what makes any horror classic so memorable. A terrifying villain worth running from. And there simply isn't anything scary about a killer miner. Nothing. You want a great horror film? You get a great villain. 'My Bloody Valentine' is missing just that.
There's an added sense of mystery to 'My Bloody Valentine' that makes its ultimate conclusion slightly less obvious. Though to be honest, I think any horror buff probably thought about it least once during the process. It's not nearly as clever as it thinks it is. And in the end, 'Valentine' lacks a certain spark that would have helped make it a memorable cult classic. Lussier clearly gives this project all he possibly can, but it's not enough to forgive this film's lack of scares of pathetic antagonist. [/left] [/center] [/center]