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  Belittling Horror Excessively: V/H/S 2 11:37 PM -- Thu October 31, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: A couple who do P.I. work are hired to find somebody's son. They break into his house to find a whole lot of TVs and VHS tapes (those are like DVDs, only rectangular, kids). The wife/girlfriend feels compelled to watch them as the husband/boyfriend wanders the house looking for the kid. And we share in the videos she watches as we cap off Halloween month by combining found footage with anthology movies! Hooray ensues!

Scariness Type: There are four shorts in this movie, plus the wrap-around story, which vary in scary. But overall, you will find tons of horrific gore in this movie, as well as some hearty jump-scares and classic creepy horror.

Rating: 4/5 Barbecue Forks.

Body Count: It's probably a good sign that I completely failed to track the body count. I know it was very high though, maybe 50 or so, most of them in the 3rd story.

Fun Fact: VHS tapes can absorb ghostly energy. This is a fact because it's stated with authority by a guy on a webcam.

Best Story: Untrue to standard anthology form, the first story is the best one in this anthology. It's about a guy who is given a bionic eye because he lost one of his eyes in an accident. It's a clinical trial of a new technology, and the doctor warns him that he may see strange things. Also, as the way of explaining how this can be found footage, they say they are recording everything the eye sees as part of the trial (which seems like an outrageous privacy violation, as well as something they just wouldn't and couldn't do). He goes home, and of course, he starts to see ghosts. This is a downright scary story, with all sorts of jumps and really well-done effects. The device of having the entire story shot from his eye actually works very well, with the only odd thing being that he clearly has to reach his hands out extra far to check his watch and do other things like that - you can tell it's really a camera, not something compact that would be right on his face.

Worst Story: I'm gonna split this one. One of the worst stories has a clever idea: a guy is riding his bike with a camera mounted to his helmet, and zombies attack. He ends up dying and becoming a zombie, but of course the camera's still on his head. So it's a zombie movie, from the point of view of a zombie. That's a fun and original idea, but you know, it's just a zombie movie, not that great (not terrible either, but really nasty gore). The other one to share last place seems really interesting for most of its running time - it's about a documentary crew visiting a weird cult to document what they're all about. You know they're actually into some weird demonic stuff and it's all going to come out, but for almost the entire story it just keeps building up and seeming weirder and leaving more clues. Then when everything gets crazy, it's still interesting and compelling. It's only in the final reveal sequence where it all goes wrong with a very silly rubbery monster straight out of Godzilla that is born with the ability to speak English. It might have been my favorite story if they had just found a sane, non-ludicrous way to end it.

The Other Story: The second best story is the last one, where kids are having a slumber party at a lake house when aliens land. It's never clear what the aliens are trying to do, they just sort of come at the people like zombies, but it's well done and very scary how they do it, and there's this awful deafening noise and light show that (I guess?) their spaceship spews out every couple of minutes that just really amps up the stress level. It's reminiscent of the smoke monster in Lost, this terrible noise you can't really identify. The really lame thing in this story is a silly dog puppet - there's a camera mounted on the back of a little dog for most of the story, and it's clearly a puppet, and the people clearly work way too hard to make sure it's always facing the right thing, and that it never runs off on its own.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: It's all the problems you know from found footage movies - why are they still filming, what are the odds the camera would drop facing that way, why is that camera still working, why did you take the time to set the camera down before doing this, and so on. The bionic eye story gets around this entirely though, with just the one silly bit where it's explained that they'll be recording everything he sees. And by the way, right after I watched this movie, I watched The Office, and you know what? That show is done in the style of a documentary, and the characters acknowledge the camera regularly, but they don't mess around with it or worry about the reality of it - they never have to wait for camera guys to get in the car, they never have to argue with people about whether they can film where they are, the camera guys are never in anybody's way. It's fiction, done in a certain style. I don't know why found footage movies can't do this. There's nobody out there who thinks they're real, so why not just roll with it? Use the style without all the contrived nonsense! I don't care if a shot is suddenly filmed from the other side of a room where nobody is, that's okay if it makes the story work better. It would ironically be much more believable if they didn't try so hard to make it believable.

Horror Tropes: We have the found footage rules, like I said. There's also a crazy cult impregnating people with demons,a standard zombie attack, a standard alien invasion that made me think of Signs repeatedly, ghosts doing their usual thing of screaming or disappearing or being behind you, dead bodies getting up when you think they're dead. Fun stuff!

My Take: I loved it. I just had a lot of fun throughout, although I had to cringe a bit as intestines were munched on a few times. I saw V/H/S last year or so (I didn't review it, it looks like? I wonder if I have another set of reviews somewhere... I keep not finding movies I know I saw), and it wasn't that great. This is far better. The bionic eye story is great, despite a weak ending. The other stories are all worth seeing, and the wrap-around story isn't particularly a good story, but it's scary and keeps you wondering. It's not a perfect movie, I had many little issues and a lot of it was kind of dumb, but I certainly got my fun out of it, and I'm glad I'm wrapping up with something so good. Which, by the way, was suggested to me by Netflix Max. Thanks, Max. You obnoxious pile of garbage. I hate that guy. I gave him a chance to suggest movies for me almost every day this month, and he did choose maybe 7 or 8 of them, but mostly he's just an idiot. Also, the ones he chose weren't usually any good.

Missed Opportunity: I don't know, I really could've gone for just one more story in there.

The Lesson: Only watch DVDs, BluRay or streaming. VHS is just no good anymore, what with all the murder and possession. And low image quality.



And that's it folks! 31 movie reviews, with nary a one missed or late. And I finished watching two days early, so on Halloween I can watch Cabin In The Woods, as is my tradition. Since last year. And maybe make my wife watch Resolution. And I think I want to watch Evil Dead 2 and compare it to Evil Dead. Whatever, I'm free to do it all! Or none! Anything I want. Free at last!

Then the ultimate question... I did this all this month, it would take about the same amount of time next month to do Nanowrimo, so...? Maybe? I guess I'm rapidly running out of time to decide, aren't I?
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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Ju-On: The Grudge 07:32 PM -- Wed October 30, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: There's this house where a woman and her son and a cat (yes, it too) were murdered by the father. As some text at the start of the movie explains, when someone dies violently, there's a special kind of ghost/curse created, a grudge. It is said to kill anyone who enters the house. There is then a series of different short stories that are fairly tightly intertwined, in which anyone who enters the house is killed. Hypothesis confirmation ensues.

Scariness Type: This is much like Silent Hill in that there is very little gore, and not really any significant jump scares, just rather a sense of horror - you see a lot of things coming at you that are simply wrong. They aren't hidden, they aren't popping out at you, they just come at you slowly and you sit there thinking "I don't want to see these things!"

Rating: 3.5/5 Teddy Bears.

Body Count: 10 I believe... a lot of people disappear with bodies found later.

Fun Fact: This movie was originally a pair of TV movies in Japan. Then this movie was made as a sequel to them, then a sequel was made to it, then an American remake, then an American sequel, then some spin-off mini-movies in Japan, then a 3rd American movie. I think. There's been a lot, is what I'm saying.

Best Moment: I really liked the part when one of the characters was riding in an elevator, and she wasn't looking out the window, but we could see, and on every single floor she passed, the ghost of the dead boy was standing there staring at her. It wasn't particularly scary, it was just unexpected and abnormal.

Worst Moment: Hmm. The ghosts were generally very unscary - we hearken back to A Haunting At Silver Falls here, where the ghosts are literally just people covered in white makeup, no special effects of any kind. It's very strange and most of the time it's just not effective. Though that little boy sitting under your table drumming his fingers on his knees, that's a bit off-putting! There are many bits where they are used to good effect (or most effectively, where they aren't used, and there are scary shadows and such instead), but they could've been more effective if they weren't just people in white makeup to begin with.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: There are a bunch of times in this movie where people just seem too overly scared before they have encountered anything supernatural. They hear a noise upstairs and immediately they're cowering in the corner, then slowly inching up the stairs, bracing for the worst. Dude, it's probably a cat. A GHOST CAT (the ghost cat, by the way, was played by a normal cat, in no makeup of any sort. It was cute).

Horror Tropes: There's some J-Horror funtimes here - long black messy hair, only used once but really quite odd; distorted faces on TV; photos magically messing up the faces on them; evil ghost phone calls; people dying of fright apparently; themes of alienation and loneliness... this is one of the 'original' J-horror movies (I assume Japan had horror movies before the 90's, but this was when they started hitting America all at once).

My Take: At first I felt like this movie was pretty silly, and I couldn't believe it was worshipped alongside The Ring which was incredibly strange and terrifying (well, as far as I remember now, years after seeing it - maybe it doesn't hold up either). But as I got further into it, it got creepier and more interesting. I still think The Ring was far better though. There are some disturbing personal-space issues with the ghosts in this movie. In the end though, it felt like the last scene was the first point where people began to piece together clues and figure things out, and that was way too late (spoiler: the woman who figured things out died in that same scene). The movie was also really hard to follow, due to language challenges and a non-linear structure, and I confess to reading up on the internet to fully understand what I had just seen. For the longest time I thought the retired cop had a younger daughter and an older daughter (and I couldn't figure out why he was dead all of a sudden either...), until the internet pointed out to me that that was years later and his daughter had grown up and he had died somewhere in between. So I couldn't enjoy it as much when I spent half the time trying to figure out who people were, only to gradually realize this was later, or earlier. That time-jump stuff is not as easy to follow without the handy language cues! I feel like I'm all set to watch the American remake now though. Too bad Netflix only has the third one.

Missed Opportunity: For a film with a ghost cat, they sure lacked the classic scene where a cat jumps out and yowls at somebody even though cats never do that in real life.

The Lesson: Stay out of that one house. I'm not sure which one exactly. Watch the movie so you know what it looks like. You do not want to go in there. It's in Japan though, so you're probably fine.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: The Evil Dead 05:05 PM -- Tue October 29, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: Like in every horror movie, a group of twenty-something teens heads to a cabin for a weekend of beer and reefer madness like the kids like. But this time (well, like most times) they find an ancient book bound in human flesh in the basement. Bruce Campbell ensues.

Scariness Type: There's gore by the gallon, including some things I just couldn't watch (that pencil!).

Rating: 4/5 The Classics.

Body Count: 4

Fun Fact: The first credit at the end of this movie is for a bunch of Fake Shemps. A quick google informs me that a Fake Shemp (term coined by Sam Raimi, in this very film!) is a person standing in for an actor, only shot from the back, or only their hand or something is visible. This is based on the fact that when Shemp Howard of the 3 Stooges died, they still had to complete 4 more shorts, and they did so with a stand-in, the original Fake Shemp.

Best Moment: The best thing overall about this movie is that they just went for it. They never stop to say "is this too much?" It's all too much, and it's supposed to be. Movies so often dial things back, and I don't mean sex and violence and all that, but rather just weirdness. Most movies wouldn't dismember someone right in front of you while they're still alive (and even semi-alive afterwards). A lot of things in this movie are the things other movies wouldn't include because it's too over-the-top, too unbelievable, going to look silly no matter how good your effects are. Sam Raimi doesn't care (or didn't back then!), he will film what he wants because it's the story he wants to tell, whether that's gonna come out looking ridiculous or not. I've actually observed this same thing in Hercules and Xena as well. Other shows would never have Hercules swallowed by a sea monster and doing battle with its internal organs, because there's no way to do it without it looking stupid. And believe me, that is true! But it's the story they wanted to tell, so they don't water it down by saying "well, maybe he just wrestles a big shark" (okay, that would also look stupid...). Don't let your limitations fetter your expression, put it all out there like Sam Raimi!

Worst Moment: This movie includes an interesting notion, perhaps unintentionally. You see, demons are evil, right? So they'll kill you, or torture you, or destroy your soul, we all know that stuff. But what no other movie has dared to consider is that another very evil thing to do is to annoy someone! There are demons in this movie that will have you reaching for the volume knob just to stop the laughing/screaming/screeching/giggling. They are truly driving the characters insane, and sadly the audience at the same time. I actually think this is a brilliant notion - why wouldn't demons try to be as annoying as possible as well as deadly? They're supposed to be the epitome of evil, after all. But anyway, the worst moment is sitting through extended scenes of one of the possessed girls, who sits there giggling like a baby for five minutes. Just because it's a good idea doesn't mean I want to hear it! Overall, this whole movie is very loud and noisy. It's not a slow burn, it's exploding in your face and pretty grating.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: In a movie this crazy, you're either in or you're out. But one thing that pushed my limits was the two separate times that Ash found himself with a bookcase falling on top of him. They'd break apart and then he'd be laying there under a board, like the little particle-board boards that make up the side of a cheapo bookcase, and he couldn't get up. He'd have to struggle it off of him over a minute or so. It was so absurd. I'm sure they could've found heavier-looking bookcases to make that work.

Horror Tropes: Well, I already told you there's a group of twenty-something teens going to a cabin! And an ancient evil book with a curse in it you should never read aloud. They don't actually read it, they just play a tape of somebody else reading it, which leaves me wondering why the curse ever stopped being active in the first place, or why the cabin is in decent shape and everything is put away. I guess the demons got bored after they killed everyone, so they left and then somebody came and cleaned up the place for the next visitors. Anyway, this movie isn't too tropey, nobody else would dare copy the madness. Few tropes unless you count Sam Raimi tropes - it's about 99% Raimi-Cam. Nearly every shot is through some crazy angle, from a demon's perspective or just insane.

My Take: This movie from way back in 1981 really does hold up, at least for me. As I mentioned in other parts, it's just sheer insanity on film. But in a fun, goofy way, not some kind of disturbing Cronenberg thing. And there's Bruce Campbell! The budget was nearly zero, but honestly most of the effects are solid and still hold up. The "river of blood" effect in this movie, almost 20 years before Event Horizon, is infinitely superior (because it's actual corn syrup blood stuff, not red water. To be fair, it's also about 1000 gallons less, but I bet the budget is about 1000 times smaller as well). This is definitely an amateur production, and it shows, but it shows in a way that you can easily see that Sam Raimi is going places. It's not any wonder at all that he's one of the biggest directors today when you see what he accomplished here with nothing, and how much style he put into it. Oh, and hey, there's a claymation ending! I told you, they just went for it.

Missed Opportunity: In my mind, Evil Dead 1 and 2 are a bit mixed up (understandably, since Evil Dead 2 is basically a remake), and I kept waiting for Ash to chop off his own hand in this movie, but it never happened.

The Lesson: Never read books.

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  Better Two Years Late Than Never! 03:27 PM -- Tue October 29, 2013  

Hey folks! Our first Supreme add-on in 2 years has been uploaded! I hope it works right, because other than starting it up, I didn't test it. For the first time, I have relied entirely on The Amazing Testing Cooperative (feel free to join it yourself if you want to play new worlds, there are several in testing!). Anyway, go visit the Supreme Add-Ons page and pick up Summer Silliness 9 - BD by Boyd. You could also rate it on the Add-Ons page after you play it, that's always nice.

I was a couple months late to posting this add-on, for a goofy reason... I thought I might not have the tools to do this stuff anymore, or not know how, so I kept putting it off, assuming it would take most of a day to get it all working again (time I did not have). Well, it turns out everything was sitting there and easy to use, so I had it up on the website within half an hour. So, sorry about that. Now I know, and I can fire up the next one as soon as I hear it's ready.


Happy Halloween!! And go sacrifice your items to the horrifying maw of Growganoth in Growtopia. As you might expect from Hamumu, our Halloween event in Growtopia is the biggest and best event the game has ever had.
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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Paranormal Activity 4 06:12 PM -- Mon October 28, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: A family gets a new neighbor: the woman who got possessed and kidnapped her sister's son in the previous movies and then disappeared. One night, she's taken to the hospital and the family has to care for her son for a few days. Kinect advertising ensues.

Scariness Type: This is the classic found footage! Long shots of empty rooms with nothing going on, until suddenly you notice something moving in the corner! That can be quite scary sometimes, but a lot less so here than in previous installments.

Rating: 2/5 Kinects.

Body Count: 4

Fun Fact: This movie was like a huge product placement for the XBox Kinect. A significant portion of the movie is actually spent showing the sparkly disco dots you get when you use night vision to look at the output of the Kinect camera. Which the family leaves on 24 hours a day for some reason.

Best Moment: When the possessed woman's son leads the other family's son across the street to his house, that's a pretty scary sequence. There's just something that works about furniture draped in white sheets and filmmakers know this - it was also in The Amityville Haunting, and at least one of the others I watched this past week, not sure which. So this strange house, with sheets over all the furniture, and it's almost a maze, and you know something bad is going to be in there, as you turn corner after corner, searching for this missing child... pretty good. Not great though, not even then.

Worst Moment: There's a whole bit where the ghosts/demons/magical powers have locked the family's daughter in the garage, and magically started up the car to choke her with carbon monoxide. It's super ridiculous, in part because the scenario just isn't 'spooky' enough, it's more like something somebody would plot to get some life insurance money or something, but also because it's just so silly, and the room fills up with this thick smoke in under a minute. I guess it's mainly the idea that the ghosts are operating the car that just ruins it all. That's so mundane and non-creepy. It just doesn't go along with randomly sliding objects around in the house, it's this very complex intentional act instead.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: The smoke in the previously mentioned scene was pretty ridiculous. As is the final moment of the movie (spoiler alert!) which I have two major problems with: first, there's an absolute army of what I presume are supposed to be witches. I paused it and tried to do some math and I think at least 50 women are clearly visible, and it seems to continue on from there into the shadows, all jammed into the backyard of this house, not making a peep. It's just insane! I guess the craziness of it does make it creepier, but it just left me with so many questions. Did they bring in porta-potties for this event? Were snacks provided? Where are they all sleeping, and where are their cars? My other issue is that the little brother who the big sister is trying to rescue is standing right in front of her, and she's just saying "Come on, let's go! Come on!" instead of grabbing him and pulling him or carrying him. And it'd be nice if she'd set the camera down to do it, but hey, found footage movie.

Horror Tropes: Found footage standards are all around. This movie is so full of completely unbelievable obsession with cameras. They end up rigging all the laptops in the house (of which there are for some reason many, and they're all on 24/7 and never have their lids shut) with some kind of spyware to run their webcam at all times and record it, which apparently doesn't take up much hard drive space since they do it for days straight. Another thing that happens in horror movies (recently anyway) is that you see an ancient pagan symbol of some kind and then in ten minutes, you can google it up and learn all about it, all kinds of plot-appropriate information that perfectly hints at what the threat is going to be. And they believe what they google. Oh hey, here's a non-horror trope: the dad is sitting watching TV in one scene, and you can't see it, you can only hear it. And what do you hear? What you always hear when people on TV watch TV! A machine gun noise, followed by somebody screaming. Always. People on TV just love war movies, I guess.

My Take: I'm a Paranormal Activity fan. I love the thrill ride of looking for the scary thing in the corners of each scene. But even I thought this movie was lame. Like big time lame. One thing it had was too much paranormal activity! At one point, the kid is riding his Big Wheel in the house, and in plain sight in front of him, a chair scoots into his path. He backs up and then another one does. He gets off his Big Wheel, and it starts driving itself around. I mean, this is major major stuff. If it really happened, that family would be outta there! While Paranormal Activity movies are normally lambasted for the boredom of staring at empty rooms, this movie swung too hard the other way. It's just a riot of nonsense happening, and the plot is silly and not at all believable. What made the first movie good (and to an increasingly lesser extent with each sequel) was that it looked real, and it was subtle enough to go unnoticed at first, and then gradually grow until it got them. I still remember the really scary ending stuff in the first movie, when they finally went down into the basement. I don't know if the makers are too wrapped up in the mythology they've built around the movie, or they're not taking it seriously enough and just trying to up the scare ante. All I know is they're doing it wrong. They should watch their first movie again and see what they were doing.

Missed Opportunity: Surely that knife could've done something more than just dropping and sticking in the counter...

The Lesson: Never take in stray kids.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: The Final 02:44 PM -- Sun October 27, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: It's the Revenge Of The Nerds sequel we've all been waiting for! The kids at school who get bullied secretly arrange a party for the popular kids who abuse them, then trap them all at the party. Torture ensues.

Scariness Type: This is what we call torture porn. Not my usual interest, but I was curious because of the plot. But yes, people get tortured, you cringe as they suffer horribly. There's plenty of disfigurement and mutilation, but the psychological torture is the worst of it.

Rating: 2/5 Acupuncture Needles.

Body Count: 8

Fun Fact: I don't know who to root for... this is some truly terrible bullying before the torture party.

Best Moment: The moments when people weren't being tortured were nice.

Worst Moment: Probably the worst thing (aside from nasty torture you don't want to watch, but you can't really label that a failure, right?) is when the Heroic Popular Kid With A Heart Of Gold escapes and returns with a gun, and he actually says the line "Fate brought me here, to stop you." Maybe that's realistic... teenagers would probably want to go for something melodramatic. But it sure sounded cheesy to me. Also, on another note, acupuncture needles don't hurt. That's why they're so super skinny. This girl was jamming them into someone and he's screaming in agony. I know you could apply them improperly (as she was) and they wouldn't be painless, but they're teeny tiny, there's only so much they can hurt!

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: I don't know why movies insist on this, but in this movie, the villains invented their own "acid cream", a mix of acid and nicer things that you can smear on someone's face and it gradually eats it away, hurting more and more over time. Now, that could happen, I imagine, I'm no chemist. But why invent some special new substance? They could've just sprayed acid on the person's face for the same plot effect. No, it wouldn't have been slow, but they never do anything much with the fact that it is slow in the movie anyway. Replace the slowness with sprinkling a little bit on them so they know the threat of a lot of it. Movies always like to invent new things, which is unlikely, when existing things would work fine.

Horror Tropes: Dead body jumps up and attacks you... hmm, I'm sure there's a few others, especially in the Heroic Kid's escape sequence, but overall this was not your typical horror movie.

My Take: Well, I was very interested from the beginning, and the movie even opens with a weird black and white sequence that pulls you in wondering what's going on. And frankly it remained very interesting, right up until the torture! I mean, the story of how horrific the abuse of these kids was (I hope that's not realistic, but... I remember high school, I'm not sure you could overdramatize how awfully kids treat each other), and their plotting of revenge. It was also a little hard to watch, not just because of the torture, but because this was basically Columbine. It was hard not to think of it in real terms, which made it more powerful. And the costumes that the villains wore were downright creepy. Except the leader in his gas mask. That just looked dumb. So this was a very difficult watch all around. I think in the right hands, this story could've been some kind of twisted Oscar material with all the complex issues it brings up. But these aren't the right hands. I can't point to much that is really bad about it in terms of filmmaking or acting, it's just not elevated above an ordinary schlocky horror movie, despite being about something so much more important and complex. What we end up with is a complex-sounding excuse to show some torture porn, really. And that's why I can't rate it too highly. That and the fact that I don't like watching people get tortured.

Missed Opportunity: First, the villains missed an opportunity to guard the people they crippled - they literally dragged them into an unlocked room and left them there. Secondly, the movie missed the opportunity for any of them to escape, or jump out and attack the badguys! I mean really, they were injured to varying degrees, but I guarantee you most of them could still walk at least. What was up with that?

The Lesson: Never get acupuncture.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: The Amityville Haunting 03:33 PM -- Sat October 26, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: Oh no! I didn't notice until I was googling to find the exact title for this movie... it's another one by The Asylum! Well, that makes a lot of sense, as you will see. Anyway, today we are wrapping up our "Haunting" trilogy with this 'sequel' to The Amityville Horror. In this movie, a family moves into the infamous Amityville house because it's all they can afford (famous houses being cheap and all), and immediately the realtor who showed them the house drops dead, then a moving guy drops dead, then everybody else who ever visits drops dead. The cops don't mind, the family doesn't mind, and eventually everyone drops dead. Found footage ensues.

Scariness Type: This is a little different from your standard found footage, simply in that there is no searching for what might lurk in the corners most of the time - it's right there. There are many many shots with ghosts (actually just ordinary people, in most cases) just standing in them, not bothering anybody. There are also some creepy ones where shadows move around, or a transparent person is lurking, or a normal person is just jammed in a corner. And occasional bits of gore as people explode.

Rating: 1/5 Why Didn't I Realize This Was An Asylum Movies.

Body Count: 7

Fun Fact: This entire family, except for the son, is deaf. I'm pretty sure that wasn't the writer's intent, but you watch the movie and try to explain it any other way. No human being could possibly ignore another so intently without simply being unable to hear them. The kid is constantly trying to talk to his parents or his sister and they just show no sign of response whatsoever. For that matter, the security guy who shows up later on is a mute. The kid asks him questions and he at least looks at him. And looks at him. And then turns away. Nobody does that! This is bad writing!

Best/Worst Moment: Best and worst have no place in an Asylum movie. It's all the worst, which makes it the best. There's the moving guy falling down the stairs and by the time the camera gets to him (in under 2 seconds), there's a pool of blood around his head, and not a single drop more coming out. Must've been quite a gushing head wound. For a second. There's the security guy (with bizarre unexplained black ops connections??) who has an electric line fall from the sky onto him in one of the most hilarious electrocutions ever filmed. There's the dad's violent beating of a ghost, where he's just punching and kicking the air. There's his mental breakdown where he decides he's in the army again and does a bellycrawl across the living room floor after dispatching orders to his family and saluting the bookcase. It's just all amazing.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: The acting.

Horror Tropes: Well, you got your haunted house, your kid with a camera welded to his hand permanently (and I mean permanently, wow), your teens being murdered for having sex, your falling down stairs and breaking your neck (apparently an Asylum favorite - once in this movie, twice at least in Whaley House, maybe three times?), your kid's imaginary friend that's actually a ghost, and your family that doesn't just move out after the third or fourth unexplained death in two days.

My Take: Whaley House had some fun. This one was just terrible. It was the crazy military dad, and the terrible acting from the main kid running the camera (also everyone else, but he had to speak directly to the camera up close, with long rambling descriptions of what happened between scenes). To be honest, this movie looked a whole lot like it would have if that actual kid had really made it, with his buddies, as a fun after-school project. It even kind of seemed like the parents were his parents, just barely willing to participate, but not act, so he'd leave them alone. Wow, I'm giving myself a whole new perspective on this movie. Actually, for a middle school kid, I think he did a pretty good job after all. Congratulations, kid!

Missed Opportunity: What this movie really could've used was some semblance of logic I think. If there had been a plot, a sequence of events that tied the ghostiness together and made it make sense rather than people just randomly being killed, that would've held my interest and given me something to think about. That's a real missed opportunity right there.

The Lesson: Stop accidentally watching Asylum movies! These are the things you have to check for before you choose a movie.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: The Haunting of Whaley House 03:25 PM -- Fri October 25, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: The makers of Snakes on a Train, Transmorphers, Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies, The Da Vinci Treasure, Alien Vs. Hunter, and so so much more, bring you a movie that as far as I can tell is not a direct rip-off of anything specific. In it, a group of twenty-something teens (yeah, that's a thing in movies), one of which is a tour guide at the Whaley House (an actual house in San Diego, which the movie is not filmed at, and which they're being sued for defaming), all go into the Whaley House at night after being told not to, and bring along a famous psychic because why not? Enraged spirits ensue.

Scariness Type: I jumped once! I forget why now, but hey, it happened. So yeah, it's a haunted house movie, with your usual jump scares and lurking horror.

Rating: 2/5 EMF Meters.

Body Count: 9

Fun Fact: My favorite line in this movie is repeated at least 3 times, and I can't say it on this blog. It's a simile, explaining just how haunted the house is.

Best Moment: It's so hard to pick just one. I might have to go with the time when a guy was stabbed through the chest by a chair. Not only was it amazing to be stabbed by a chair, but you could see the plate under his shirt that held the chair in place, which just elevated the entertainment one notch higher.

Worst Moment: I hate to say anything like this is the worst, but the finale of the movie is wrapped up by somebody walking backwards and falling down stairs and dying. On accident, when she's the only one left in the house. Quite a dramatic finale for somebody to just trip and die.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: There are too many to count, so let me just generalize: this movie, like a lot of horror movies, has this idea that human beings are incredibly fragile (except sometimes horror movies do the exact opposite, and seemingly normal people will just get up and run around after being shot four times). You've got a guy run through with a chair, a guy who stumbles into one of those water hand pumps, and it plunges right through him. Of course, shortly after that he walks into a thick metal wire (not a thin one, I must emphasize!), and his head pops off instantly. It's the kind of thing that would make you stumble back and cough a couple times, but for this guy it's instant decapitation.

Horror Tropes: There's a real classic at the beginning of this movie: walking backwards into the street and getting hit by a bus. Not horror-specific, but always grand. Speaking of not horror, this movie also contains a Star Trek Earthquake, where the camera jiggles and everybody has to act like the world is shaking, which is great too.

My Take: This is the lowest-of-budget cheesy crap, but it still has scarier ghosts than A Haunting At Silver Falls! It's really a bad movie, as you would expect coming from The Asylum, but I had a good time, I can't deny. I also enjoyed Transmorphers, which was about ten times worse. If you want a bad horror movie, this is pretty close to as bad as you can get, in the good sense - you won't be too bored, something stupid is always happening. The one thing they did do sort of right is the completely random monster that appears in the attic at the end. I have no idea what it was or why it was there (the answer may lie in the dialogue, which I half-ignored, but I sure wouldn't count on it), but it was a scary creation.

Missed Opportunity: I don't know, seems like they could've ended this in any way other than somebody falling down stairs and it would've been better...

The Lesson: Be careful on stairs, always use the handrail and watch your step.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: A Haunting At Silver Falls 04:59 PM -- Thu October 24, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: A teenage girl's mother dies, so the mother's twin sister takes over raising her. The girl finds a ring in the woods and puts it on, and then for the rest of the movie, she can't get it off. She then keeps seeing a ghost everywhere she goes. Everybody thinks she's crazy, like they do. Pointing and wiggly heads ensue.

Scariness Type: Well, you've got a ghost following this girl around (or vice versa half the time), but the ghost is just a person in white makeup, with no special effects most of the time. So it's weird, it's like there's just another person in the movie that only she can see, and it's not really creepy at all. Then there are crazed torturers, much scarier than the ghost.

Rating: 2/5 Ghost Slobber.

Body Count: 2

Fun Fact: Ferrero Rocher is so tasty that even ghosts can't resist eating it.

Best Moment: The twist in the last quarter of the movie made it all a lot more fun, real quick. It completely changes what the movie is about, which is good, since the ghost was not very scary.

Worst Moment: That ghost, man... super lame. I just couldn't get over how dumb it was just seeing this white-faced girl walking around. It was like a ghost in a play, not a movie.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: When the ghosts took the main character for a ride in a school bus, I was sitting there trying to wrap my head around what was actually happening... was it a dream? Was there a ghost school bus that could physically carry her? Was it a real bus they were controlling? How'd she get home afterwards? I could see a driver on it, but they never let you really see him/her, so what was that about? Most of the movie was filled with these "is it real, is it not?" things, but this one just went too far for me (actually I didn't really like any of them, they feel like lazy writing - stuff should have a way to fit into a certain movie reality instead of just saying, "eh, whatever"). I was so busy wondering how the bus worked I don't even remember what she ended up finding when it took her out to the woods.

Horror Tropes: This movie has 3 or 4 "it was only a dream" sequences. Enough already. There's also an old classic: when somebody has a dream about walking in the woods, then they wake up and have dirty feet. I don't really get the metaphysics of that. Did dirt grow on your feet, did you teleport during the dream (usually there's some sort of evidence that you never actually left the bed, so sleepwalking is out), did ghosts collect it and rub it on, are you hallucinating the dirt? We also have a ghost pointing at stuff and wiggling its head around crazily (which just looked really dumb. How do Japanese horror movies make it so disturbing?). And what I believe is the third usage this month of "Ghost does stuff when nobody is around and it's blamed on the main character, who now looks crazy". There should be a short way to say that, but I don't know what it is.

My Take: Nah, it wasn't good. I was going to say it was okay originally, but the more I think about it, the more I feel like it was just dumb. And boy, talk about your conflicts of interest - she goes to see a psychologist, and it's her boyfriend's dad! Who doesn't like her! I can't in good conscience recommend any movie where the ghost just looks like a person in makeup.

Missed Opportunity: Here's the thing... ghosts aren't just people! They're ghostly! It's not just that though, the whole usage of the ghost in this movie was so... normal. Just a person walking around. They missed an ocean of opportunities to be creepy instead of blah.

The Lesson: Don't take in stray rings.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: The Devil's Carnival 06:36 PM -- Wed October 23, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: Three people in different circumstances don't actually seem to die as far as I can tell (though all three are probably just about to), yet nonetheless are sent down below, to that place we know bad people go when they die... The Devil's Carnival! So sit right back and you'll hear three tales, three of Aesop's Fables actually, as each of the bad people is taken through a torment related to their sins, and to maximize the torment, the whole thing is done in song! A musical ensues.

Scariness Type: You couldn't get much less scary than this, it only counts as a "horror musical" because the devil is in it, which isn't really fair since he's also in Santa Claus Vs. The Devil, and nobody called that horror (well, some reviewers did, but it was a great MST3K episode).

Rating: 1.5/5 Songs.

Body Count: Although they don't actually seem to die, it's fair to assume the 3 main characters are technically dead. Then one, or possibly two, of them end up dying again inside the carnival.

Fun Fact: It's a musical! What could be more fun than that? By the makers of Repo! The Genetic Opera, which I haven't seen either, but since it contains Giles, it must be better.

Best Moment: The best song by far is the last one, sung by the devil himself. It's catchy.

Worst Moment: The ending is actually truly 100% incomprehensible (to me anyway). There's some concept where one of the 3 souls ... repents? Decides to give in to grief? I have no idea. But because he makes whatever choice he makes, the devil sends him off to Heaven, which is already not making sense to me, but then this somehow leads the devil to decide he's now going to overthrow Heaven by changing all the rules, and it makes even less sense.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: Well, this is a musical, set in a carnival run by the devil, and the characters all sing what they feel. It's not exactly buried in verisimilitude.

Horror Tropes: It's a pretty classic horror concept to hoist people on their own petards, with ironic torture. And I guess the devil is a pretty common character. And hey, what horror movie doesn't contain a series of dance numbers based on ancient morality plays?

My Take: I figured what could go wrong with a horror musical? Well, two things really - the horror, and the music. I don't mind there being no horror, but this music was awful. One thing I have a really hard time with in stage musicals is when ten people are singing at once, and it's just noise. I can't hear the words, I have no idea what's going on, and I can't even enjoy the music because it's just this screeching din over it. Same thing happens here. There are a few songs where one person is singing, and that's fine (but not very good music), but the rest of the time you have all these people shouting something together and I just can't understand a word of it. I do like musicals (if they are made by Joss Whedon), but this one is not any good at all. And the plot is a complete mess, at least to the degree that I could understand it (none). Just a big disappointment all around.

Missed Opportunity: I missed the fact that you can't turn on subtitles on the PS3 version of Netflix like you can on PC. It may have helped a lot.

The Lesson: Enunciate, people! Use your words!

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