Category Archives: Painful

Game Review: Ju-ON The Grudge (Wii, 2009) HorrorAthon 3

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Reviewed by: Brendan Graham (Phantomhour)

A Haunted House Simulator? While your friend is playing, you can press a button and scare them? Sign me up for that! Oh…it’s not as cool as it sounds.

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Film Review: Darkness Falls (2003) HorrorAthon 3

darkness-falls

Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman

Starring: Chaney Kley and Emma Caulfield

Reviewed by: Brendan Graham (Phantomhour)

The early 2000’s brought us some really terrible horror movies. I mean, really terrible. Darkness Falls aimed high with an R rated spookfest about an evil spirit that took the form of the tooth fairy. It also fell on it’s face super hard and is also a pretty terrible horror film.

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HORRORATHON Film Review: Ouija (2014)

ouija-poster

Starring: Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, and Lin Shaye

Directed by: Stiles White

Reviewed by: Phantomhour (Brendan Graham)

Two words that people don’t like to associate together are, PG-13 and Horror. It has this terrible social stigma for horror fans that a PG-13 flick can’t scare or disturb. We know that’s not the case, Insidious and The Woman in Black are pretty good examples of this. So now we have a movie about one of the most controversial board games released to the public. How does it fare? Is it worth your Halloween movie money?

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Movie Review: Vampire Academy (2014)

Vampire-Academy-2014-Movie-Poster-650x963

Reviewed by: Phantomhour (Brendan Graham)

Oh, the things I do for you people. The movies I endure, and subject myself in order to provide you with these reviews. Vampire Academy, from the makers of Mean Girls, that should have been the warning sign right? But who am I to judge a movie without seeing it? I’ve never read the books, and my wife loves them, so the movie can’t be that bad. Right? RIGHT?! ….oh dear god, what was I thinking.

In the world of, Vampire Academy, young vampires and their protectors who are half vampire and half human, learn all the necessary skills they need to either be a successful royal vampire or a deadly guardian. Rose is a guardian, a snarky and psycho sexual one, who has two interests, protecting the princess and be as sarcastic and condescending to everyone.

vampire-academy-film (2)

What Worked:

Well I guess I can start with some of the humor in the film, some of it manages to be somewhat funny. Rose mostly saves this movie from being a terrible disaster, her personality carries you through the movie, even if it means you’re handcuffed to her and forced through it. Some of the actions scenes were nice, albeit brief and sometimes unorthodox, that counts towards the good stuff. Right? I thought so.

It’s an interesting story actually, dhampirs and vampires, trying to live in perfect harmony, while these evil vampires wait in the shadows to try and turn people into the evil bloodsuckers. All really dynamic stuff, in the young adult world it makes sense.

The-Vampire-Academy-movie

What Didn’t Work:

The film is tedious and incredibly dimwitted. It tries too hard to get you to like it, that the humor gets old, and it just feels like a recycled rendition of Mean Girls. The acting is generic, besides Rose Hathaway, everyone feels like they just walked out of a high school play. The special effects are rubbish, especially when you see the psywolves, or whatever they called them, they looked ridiculous. I think I also couldn’t relate to any of the characters hyper sexualized fantasies because I have male bits. That’s probably a good chunk of all the problems I’ve had with the movie.

rose-lissa-vampire-academy-st-vladimirsFinal Score:

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This is one movie series that just needs a stake in the heart rather than a sequel. C’mon people, it’s not hard to find a young adult book winner that makes a good movie, Hunger Games did it, these other books are just failing to translate to the big screen, and it’s getting more and more obnoxious the amount of these teen films that have nothing to bring to the table. Vampire Academy is tedious and obnoxiously dull, and with that it gets a 2.5 out of 10.

Movie Review: I, Frankenstein (2014)

Review by cinematichris and freekz80.

The tale of Victor Frankenstein is one of the oldest horror stories ever adapted to film, so I figure explicitly going over it beat by beat is unnecessary. Doc Frankenstein plays god, creates a creature, eventually grows to dislike his own creation, and depending on the adaptation either dies trying to hunt down his monster or witnesses it’s death. The film opens with a quick run-through of the events of the original tale, starting with the monster, known as Adam, burying his creator, when suddenly he is attacked by demons. Though he holds his own pretty well, he is rescued/kidnapped by some local gargoyles, who are evidently engaged in an age old war against said demons. After finding out what he is, they provide him with “holy” weapons (read: batons with a generic supernatural looking symbol), and send him on his way, hoping the bad guys don’t find out about his origins… Guess what happens next?

What Didn’t Work:

The script and FX were laughably bad. Character’s motivations are tenuous, if actually existing at any point. During the 200 years Adam separates himself from humanity, the montage on-screen indicates he was playing with batons for the entirety of that period. I could go on for ages about the dialogue… It is really difficult to call something quality that contains the phrase Gargoyle Queen roughly 20 times.As for the FX, the majority were a monstrosity (pun not intended). The demons appeared cheap, as if they went over-budget with the CGI on the gargoyles, though I sort of doubt that, judging by what I observed during the film. Namely, during one of the final sequences, the gargoyles are hovering in the air together and they all appear to have the same wing flight cycle, to what appeared to be precision. The film has textbook awful scientists and scientist characters, whose science is very sketchy at best. I will never be able to think of Aaron Eckhart as some hideous monstrosity. I mean, look at the guy. Putting like 5 randomly placed scars on a guy’s body does not make them horrendous. I mean, otherwise, I’m definitely going to die alone.

I’m sure all people who like men find this utterly repulsive.

Freekz80: As far as what doesn’t work, I generally agree with Cinematichris. A good chunk of the dialogue and behavior from every character is incredibly cheesy. While I don’t feel it was as terrible as Chris makes it out to sound, “Gargoyle queen” is one of those cringe-worthy titles that is heard repeatedly throughout the film. Also, the demon makeup and costumes were very laughable and anything but frightening (although that may not have been the intention, demons should still look DEMONIC!) and akin in appearance to twelve year olds who’d just been shopping at Party City. That being said, I suppose the torn and stitched up face of Aaron Eckhart could be somewhat reminiscent of Two-Face! Another aspect of the film vulnerable to criticism is the special effects. The death effects of Demons and Gargoyles appeared quite rushed and was far from unique. In addition, there are some plot points that leave you asking for more. Apparently, for a weapon to be effective against Demons, it simply needs to be inscribed with some arbitrary symbol. That’s all. Any average joe could carve a Gargoyle emblem into a stick and effectively beat a Demon over the head with it and be good to go.

What Did:

Bill Nighy and Aaron Eckhart do well with what they had, proving that regardless of the project, they still give a 100 percent. The film is one of those rare, The Room-esque experiences where so much is bad, that the film somehow turns around and becomes enjoyable again.

Freekz80: As we stated earlier, the film has a lot of negatives. Everything we’ve covered screams “AVOID THIS!” but someway, somehow, I had a LOT of fun watching this film. To the point where I would recommend others view it IN THEATERS! Of course, I went into the film with Chris expecting a mediocre story, cheesy action sequences, and a literal non-existence of horror elements. I got what I expected, but much more! The characters are anything but convincing, however watching Frankenstein pummel Demons with his unconventional weaponry and corny one liners is one hell (pun intended!) of an entertaining experience! I left the theater quite satisfied with what I paid for, and while the film is hardly a cinematic masterpiece, it remains a fun experience that I would recommend and do again. When it comes to films like this, I think it is important to keep in mind that you are not in for a mind-blowing film, and if you can accept that you can definitely appreciate the movie for what it is.

FINAL SCORE:

On a technical level, a 1 or 2. Enjoyment-wise, a 7.5.

Good

Freekz80: It may come as a surprise due to the extensive amount of negatives we have criticized this film for, but I believe I, Frankenstein deserves a solid 7.5. 8 would be a bit too generous, as there is nothing spectacular about the film. 7 feels a little lacking, as I really did have a great time watching this. This may not be a blockbuster, but I would definitely recommending giving it a shot if you are into gothic atmosphere (I’m pretty sure the ENTIRE film was shot at night…), laughable yet entertaining dialogue and Demon bashing!

Movie Review: Devil’s Due (2014)

Sweet Poster, Terrible Movie
Sweet Poster, Terrible Movie

Reviewed by: Phantomhour (Brendan Graham)

Found footage films are everywhere now, we’ve seen the tricks, and we know what to expect. But sometimes a movie comes along that tricks us like we’ve never seen before. It manages to shock us, dismay us, or even disturb us. Devil’s Due does none of those things unfortunately.

A newlywed couple blacks out on their honeymoon, and return home to discover that she’s pregnant. As the couple prepares for the birth of their new bundle of joy in their lives, something isn’t quite right with this pregnancy, and it’s going to be documented by a fancy camera.

Do needles freak you out? This scene may bother you.
Do needles freak you out? This scene may bother you.

What Worked:

There’s not much to include in this section I’m afraid, but I can say the visual effects are quite nice. When things get crazy, items start being tossed around, ripped apart or explode, it looks fantastic, and at times can be quite jarring. The camera work is also quite nice, and very little of it can be nausea inducing, so there’s a plus there as well.

Video tape the pregnancy they said, it will be fun they said.
Video tape the pregnancy they said, it will be fun they said.

What Doesn’t Work:

A found footage film only works if they can keep the audience engaged, guessing what’s going to happen next, and surprising them around every corner. Devil’s Due doesn’t try to break the chain of cliche found horror footage, instead recycling the same sets of cues from Paranormal Activity or VHS before it. (To be fair, the director rocked VHS with the final short). Nothing feels fresh, and I could call every single scare before they even start to set things up. Predictability kills any tension you can feel, and thus good chunks of the film are incredibly dull.

Indigestion is the worst, isn't it?
Indigestion is the worst, isn’t it?

I found myself not caring about anyone in the film either, they don’t feel real to me, so I can’t connect with what’s happening. The birth of the antichrist should feel like an epic occasion, yet I just wanted them to pull the damn thing out of her so we could end the damn movie.

Final Score:

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Devil’s Due is a waste of time, and not even the fun kind. It’s a reminder on why the month of January exists, to release the tons of crap the studios don’t even believe in. Perhaps with the aide of alcohol, this movie may be enjoyable. 2.5/10

Movie Review: All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006) HORRORATHON

When you were in high school, did you ever know someone that seemed too attractive to be true, but when you took five minutes to actually try to get to know them, they turned out to be something you didn’t expect? As it turns out that’s both a perfect descriptor and a perfect metaphor for All The Boys Love Mandy Lane. The film features a rather bare-bones and generic plot, even for a horror film; basically a trope in itself: a group of teens goes out into the country to drink, party, and have sex, then most die. Normally I’d say spoilers or something, but this film is pretty obvious by about 10 minutes in, so I’ll skip the formalities. What should be mentioned, however, is the fact that this film was made about 8 years ago, yet only received a theatrical release stateside earlier this month. This leads one to think the film would be a cool cult film, like The Revenant or something, right? Right?…

Wrong-oh. This film was a mess. In all actuality, I was half tempted to put only a What Works and then tell you “everything else”, but out of respect for all you readers, and the director, who recently released the very enjoyable Warm Bodies, I’ll give you the full package.

What Works:

Looking at this film from the perspective of a gorehound, it’s decent. Ish. The kills, while not super creative, look okay. Unfortunately they’re not super memorable, much like the cast. Everyone, including the eponymous Mandy Lane (played by Amber Heard) isn’t given much to do. Luckily there is one exception to this rule: Anson Mount’s Garth, or Garf, as some characters frequently called him for the first half of the film. He’s the ranch hand supposedly taking care of the land one of the teen’s trying to get into Mandy’s pants parents own. He’s also pretty much the only character with even mild backstory, character development, or even the slightest bit of audience sympathy. So, by comparison to the others, he’s friggin’ awesome. Oh, and the soundtrack is okay, or at least the few tracks I can remember.

What Doesn’t:

Amber Heard is trying to escape from this film being on her resume…

So much… Oh goodness, so so much. The plot is a trope in and of itself, taking next to no license towards creativity or fun. The characters don’t even get that lucky, they’re more assigned basic roles before they’re killed rather than personalities even. Like obnoxious redneck, spoiled rich kid, and girl who’ll jump on anything that could possibly be contrived as available to her. Even Mandy, who this whole film is named for, seems to have no traits besides “hot” and “mysterious”. And that’s not because of acting or a good script, it’s because Amber Heard is a very attractive woman, and because she’s given essentially a handful of useful lines in the film, whereas the rest are essentially throwaways.

Even the camerawork, something I can usually look at to say something somewhat positive about a film, is shoddy and extremely overexposed in the final third. Now, some have said that is because the director was aiming for an homage to Texas Chainsaw Massacre and I Spit on Your Grave, but I don’t accept that. You know why those films were overexposed? Because the technology in the film cameras of those days weren’t that great compared to our modern, customizable digital ones that are industry standard now. So badly set up shots are no excuse in my opinion. If I, as a film student, get huge deductions for one shot in a short being over exposed, you, as a professional film-maker should not get a pat on the back for having roughly 20 minutes be that way…

Final Score:

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With very few positives, and a metric crap ton of negatives, I can not personally recommend this film, and I’m definitely going to sympathize with anyone else who had to pay to get a hold of a copy. The acting’s bad, the camera’s bad, the writing’s bad, it’s all bad. Thank goodness the director learned from their mistakes and improved, as well as Amber Heard eventually getting better acting roles. 2.5 out of 10