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Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. So, since 2011, I have spent the entire month of October every year reviewing a horror movie each day. I've changed formats many times over the years, and in the past few years, I've even been joined by my wife Solee, as well as the occasional guest. We've got text, drawings, video reviews, audio reviews... we got it all! Wanna check out our reviews? Look below, or use the menu to the left to dig deeper!
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  Hamumu Halloween Home Horror Hoedown #28 - Trapped Ashes 06:28 PM -- Tue November 6, 2012  

Fun and cheese. Those are the key words you will hear many times in the video above.
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  Hamumu Halloween Home Horror Hoedown #29 - The Wrap Up! 09:53 PM -- Wed November 7, 2012  


Well, it's a week into November, so I thought I'd throw the last 3 movies together and get it done! I was thrown by the fact that I had already recorded a review for Exorcismus, but not The Devil's Rock, yet I had recorded clips of The Devil's Rock, but not Exorcismus. The disorder of it was too much for my brain, so I started over with this.

It's been quite a month of movie watching. Making the reviews was quite a bit of work, but what I was surprised by was that watching the movies started to feel like work! I didn't want to throw away 2 hours of my night every night, I always had other things I wanted to do. Luckily, we went out on a high note with 3 solid movies, and the final one makes it all worthwhile.

P.S. Visit Indie Buskers to pick up 7 really weird and wacky games for whatever amount you want to pay! Mine's an online multiplayer CTF game with stealth. And lava and flappy arms.
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  Belittling Horror Excessively: The Bay 01:10 AM -- Wed October 2, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Welcome back for another round of Belittling Horror Excessively! Thirty-one screamtastic tales of terror picked apart to death over the month of October. I wanted to do the Hamumu Halloween Home Horror Hoedown again, I do sort of enjoy it... but it's just so much work to film and edit the reviews each day, so I'm going back to the basic written reviews. Besides, I really miss saying that things ensue. The thing I'm doing differently this year is that I will spoil the movies for you! So don't read on if you plan to watch the movies I'm discussing. I'm tired of not being able to talk about the most important parts of the movie and just sounding dumb trying to be as vague as possible, so let's have a nice proper discussion of the movie as a whole!

Synopsis: The mayor of a small town on the Chesapeake Bay decides that all of the following are good ideas: dumping tons and tons of chicken manure into the bay, being near a nuclear power plant, holding a big summer celebration, setting up a desalinization plant to convert the bay into drinking water, and of course drinking that water. Excessive filming ensues.

Scariness Type: Hey, we're starting right off with a found-footage movie! This isn't just one lost tape from a kid in the woods though, it's actually a documentary put together from all the assorted possible sources in the town during this unfortunate incident, from traffic cameras to tourists' videos to security cameras to iPhone Facetime to videoconferencing to news reports and more. What all this conspires to do is create the "deadly outbreak" kind of scariness. Nothing much is going to jump out at you, you're just supposed to worry about the horribleness of the situation. Could it really happen (hint: no)? Are you sure you should be drinking that?

Rating: 2.5/5 Isopods.

Body Count: 700+. I think this movie might win the body count contest this month, kind of a letdown since it's the first one!

Fun Fact: Steroids can make you grow dozens of times faster than normal. That's why you see pro football players that are 25 feet tall. And chew on people.

Best Moment: I'm not sure... Honestly, nothing stands out and makes me cheer (hence the middling rating), the movie just kind of putters along.

Worst Moment: When the movie defies its own fiction. In a scene clearly built entirely for the trailer (well, that's my guess anyway, not having seen the trailer), one infected cop acts like a zombie and shoots his boss before shooting himself. It's so unrealistic and completely out of character for what is really happening that it just makes no sense. Nobody else in the entire movie has any kind of weird mental issue like that, and while I'm at it, what's up with shooting somebody else to save them from the infection you carry? Shoot yourself, be nice! Of course he does, but he shoots the other guy first. And again, why is that? For shock value. Not even close to something that would actually happen.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: This is the moment when the movie went too far for me to suspend my disbelief... When a pair of cops went to investigate somebody's house, one of them walked inside, then after a while a gunshot went off. The remaining cop went running in to see what was going on. A problem for a found-footage movie - there's no camera in that house. The only footage here is being shot from the dashboard camera of the cop car. So how does the movie choose to let us in on what happened in the house? By saying "We enhanced the audio so you can hear what was happening". So this little dashboard camera 20 feet in front of the house was recording people speaking at a low volume in a back room of this house, which they enhanced to perfect clarity. It's the "Zoom And Enhance" CSI moment of the movie.

Horror Tropes: Well, being a found-footage movie, this movie is full of people insisting on recording when they would never do so in real life. "Why are you filming? Stop that!", "Oh come on baby, we're gonna be glad we filmed every second of us walking down this empty street! I refuse to stop despite your reasonable request." But also, let's not forget the ultimate classic: the blood-dripping-on-you-from-above trope! We have a nice example in this movie. Ooh, what's this dripping on me? Is that blood?! I better slowly look upward without even moving out of the path of it.... AIYEEEE!!!!

My Take: Well, what you have here is a mockumentary about a massive disease outbreak, basically. It's not actually a disease (I told you there'd be spoilers! I told you in red!), it's isopods (basically tiny horseshoe crabs) in the water which for Movie Logic Reasons grow to several inches in size in just hours after you swallow them, eating their way through your body. But it might as well be a disease, same difference really. Definitely an eco-terror thing here, the usual "stop polluting or Godzilla will destroy you" message. What it really reminds me of is movies from the 50's, how they would end with a voiceover saying, "With all our fabulous technology, has mankind doomed himself to extinction? When you leave the theater, will YOU make giant mutant ants? The END!?!?!" or something. This doesn't end with that kind of thing, but it feels like it should. What I respect in this movie is how it feels quite different from your usual horror movie, because it really does feel like it's actually documenting a real-life outbreak, something that could really happen (even though it couldn't). And it even sensationalizes it like a documentary would. What I don't respect is that there are no real characters in the movie, no motivations or growth. Just people who muddle along and end up with ocean bugs popping out of their mouths. There's no "story" here at all, except in the sense of a news story.

Missed Opportunity: If you watch this movie, look behind the main character when she's doing her interview thing... there's something on the ceiling. It's probably a smoke detector or something, but it really looks a lot like an isopod, and once I noticed it, I spent the rest of the movie waiting for it to move and give us a nonsensical shock twist ending. Which by the way would've made some sense - this girl washed herself off in a fountain in the town at one point in the movie. Why is she alive?

The Lesson: And lastly, in case you don't watch the movie, I'm here to sum it up into one simple lesson you can carry with you for the rest of your life. If you get nothing else from this review, let it be the powerful and important lesson. The Bay has this lesson for you: Don't drink the water.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Scream 3 05:27 PM -- Wed October 2, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: Well, they're making the movie Stab 3, and cast members start to get murdered. So... well, that's really all. That keeps happening until a final confrontation. Exposition ensues.

Scariness Type: Many attempted jump scares, I guess. Not scary. Also not funny, interesting, exciting, or involving.

Rating: 1/5 Voice Changers.

Body Count: 8 or so

Fun Fact: They just keep making these stupid movies. I'm done watching them now though. This was the final straw. I saw Scream 4 a few months ago, and I know it was bad, but there is not a chance it was anywhere close to this bad.

Best Moment: The best is when Jay & Silent Bob show up for no reason! Which just kind of emphasizes how shlocky and hollywoody this whole thing is. It's a cartoon.

Worst Moment: All the moments that contained Parker Posey. I truly have no idea what she was doing in this movie, what kind of crazy instructions the director gave her, but I highly recommend you watch her in this movie, even though I can't recommend you watch the movie itself. My favorite is the scene where they meet Carrie Fisher and Parker Posey's just boggling and looking disgusted and horrified at everything around. Plus she begins that scene by doing a Scooby Doo wall-sneak. I kept wondering what weird dark secret she had that made her face do the totally crazed expression she made nonstop, until I finally realized she was just doing that. She was practically frothing at the mouth, and everybody else acts like she's being a normal human being. I think they were afraid.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: Pretty much every scene in this movie blows apart any suspension of disbelief you could have. There is no logic to anything that occurs, it's basically pure insanity on film. Ironically, it's not the unkillable killer stalking people that's so hard to believe (at least they offer a bulletproof vest as some kind of reasoning there, even though it's a magical super bulletproof vest), it's just the regular interactions. The thing I remember most is one scene where Dewey is walking through a house yelling peoples' names because they got separated (of course) and he's trying to find them. He literally yells at full volume, gets no response, takes two more steps, and the guy whose name he was yelling pops up behind him, scaring him, acting like he hadn't heard a single word. This same kind of non-comprehension of physics happens again and again in the movie, scenes where people clearly had to be standing just outside of the camera's view and they pop in not having heard a word that was going on on-camera. I've never seen anything quite like it.

Horror Tropes: All.

Missed Opportunity: They really missed out by not just turning the camera around and following Jay & Silent Bob for the rest of the movie once they were onscreen. It would have been a hundred times better.

My Take: This was so terrible. I was just shocked. As I mentioned above, I saw Scream 4 recently, and didn't like it, but this was so much worse. I really couldn't believe it. I don't think I've ever seen a movie which so completely disregarded reality. I shouldn't have to suspend my disbelief for scenes of normal human interaction, I think that ought to be reserved for the 'magical' parts. I can't remember ever actually liking Scream movies, but I thought there'd be some fun in the mystery and stuff. Not even the kills are interesting - stab stab stab. Nothing scary or surprising. And that mystery? Like in every Scream movie, the killer turns out to be someone you've met, but there's never been a clue that it was them and the reasons are stupid, and it's just more of a letdown than a revelation. Oh yeah, and the whole "plot" hinges around a totally ridiculous piece of impossible technology - a voice changer box that perfectly duplicates anybody's voice.

The Lesson: Stop watching Scream movies! What are you doing to yourself?!

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: The House At The End of the Street 03:22 AM -- Fri October 4, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: Katniss Everdeen and her mother move into a new house. Next door a high school boy lives alone, his parents having been murdered by his brain-damaged sister when he was younger. However, he doesn't actually live alone... his sister still lives there, locked in the basement! Teen angst ensues.

Scariness Type: Serial killer's got you trapped, and craziness is becoming apparent...

Rating: 3.5/5 iPhones (but I must note that I saw on IMDB that the iPhone in the movie is actually an iPod... no idea how the person could tell, and moreover, not a clue why they wouldn't just use an iPhone rather than making fake phone-call images on an iPod!)

Body Count: 6

Fun Fact: Elizabeth Banks, Elisabeth Shue, and Parker Posey are all remarkably similar looking.

Best Moment: The reveal of the twist is really the best part. I didn't see it coming, not exactly, and it was kind of a big surprise that was a lot of fun. I will say they kind of broke it later on though - the movie ends with a very brief scene that's supposed to cap it off with a final mini-twist, but what is revealed in that moment was really obvious to me, and had already been revealed if you were paying attention to the dialogue, so it felt almost insulting to have it spelled out there.

Worst Moment: I don't know if this is truly the worst moment, but I found it really ridiculous when the world's hottest lightbulb was touched to some cloth and skin and instantly smoke starts pouring out, and in less than a minute, the cloth was burned apart. It's a great argument against incandescent bulbs, you can really see the waste of energy.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: There were a few things that yanked me right out of the movie here. One was the way the kids in the school would become irrationally violent and set to murder the boy whose parents had been killed. For what? Having suffered a trauma? It just wasn't established in any clear way why they would hate him. Another is somebody's neck getting snapped completely on accident, just because somebody else was trying to hold her tightly and keep her from yelling. That is a very dainty lady. And lastly, there's this hidden trap door, and for plot reasons, Katniss runs down into the room with the trap door and after about 2 seconds of glancing around, not having any idea there would be a trap door, she spots the hinge sticking out from a carpet and goes right to it. Just way unlikely to me.

Horror Tropes: Ah, the classic flashlight failure. Nobody has good batteries in their flashlights in horror movies. Not even the cops apparently! Also, the whole thing wouldn't be complete if the corpse of the killer didn't suddenly reach up and grab you when you thought he was dead!

My Take: I kinda liked it. It was slow to get going, but the ending third or so kind of turned the first part on its head with fun revelations. That kind of stuff is one of my favorite things to get out of a movie. But aside from the twists, you have half a movie of kind of uninteresting teen drama, and another half of pretty ordinary hostage-battling-to-escape stuff.

Missed Opportunity: I liked the ideas and twists, I think the missed opportunity here is making the movie more interesting to support them.

The Lesson: Very simple - never make friends.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: From Within 09:45 PM -- Fri October 4, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: A boy commits suicide, and then it seems to be catching... whoever was the first person to come near the last dead body then kills themselves shortly after too, and the first person to come near their body, and so on. C-C-C-Combos ensue!

Scariness Type: General dread and the occasional sort of jump scare.

Rating: 3/5 Necronomicons. I think. The movie is no longer on Netflix so I can't check my rating and it's been almost a week since I saw it.

Body Count: 9 in the movie, and 6 more in the credits! Those are some unhealthy credits.

Fun Fact: This movie also has teenagers who irrationally hate a fellow teenager who lost a parent through no fault of their own. Why is that a thing? In this movie it makes more sense though, it's a religious thing.

Best Moment: It's never super clear how the people are being killed, except in a couple of scenes. The one that stands out a bit is when the main character's mom is slain by the evil force, and I kind of liked how that worked. It didn't make a lot of sense (and did nothing to explain the guy who hanged himself earlier...), but it hinted at some kind of mental trickery going on and that she thought what she was drinking was a nice healthy beverage.

Worst Moment: Maybe not a moment, but I felt like the cousin who just shows up and acts surly was a needless addition. Maybe that's why the Hebrew Hammer set her on fire. Spoiler! She did have some significance, but anything she had to say could've been said by the guy whose cousin she was, who was actually an important character. And she was surly.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: Nothing really took me out of the movie here that I can remember. There was one very low-speed car crash that set the car on fire, but there was ghostly intervention involved, it's not like they were actually suggesting that car crashes do that by default.

Horror Tropes: It's good to be the hero... this evil force that wiped out everybody else it was attacking in 2 seconds flat spends the last 15 minutes of the movie slowly pursuing the hero. Not because she had any sort of special skill or anything, it just came after her much more slowly out of respect for her star status.

My Take: There's a twist at the end of this movie, as there should be in any movie according to me, but especially horror movies. But the twist here (I'm not doing a very good job spoiling these movies, am I? I only spoil when it's necessary!) is of the lesser variety. Twists come in 2 flavors - ones that send you back through the whole movie, re-evaluating everything you've seen in one amazing revelation (always kind of lame when they flashback to do all the mental work for you, though); and ones that don't change your view of the previous events, they just make the rest of the movie take a new direction. This is the latter kind, and since it comes about 30 seconds before the movie ends, it doesn't change much. It does make it a pretty depressing conclusion (and possibly the end of the entire human race, depending on exactly how magic works - spoiler!). But despite that, it's still something fun, because for a minute or so you think things are resolved in a nice way, then they go down hard. Anyway, overall this movie was okay. Didn't blow me away, but it all made sense and worked alright. I found the doppleganger monsters to be ineffective. They did the usual stretched face, black eye type of stuff you get in a lot of modern horror movies, but just didn't pull it off in a way that really creeped me out at all.

The Lesson: Stay away from books. They're evil.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: The Awakening 07:22 PM -- Sun October 6, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: Way back around World War I or something (maybe, I'm pretty hazy on this whole thing), there was a paranormal investigator in England who didn't believe in any of that rubbish and was always debunking mediums and whatnot. But as always happens in movies and never happens in real life, she was called to an old house which it turns out has a ghost in it! Zoiks! It also has a creepy groundskeeper who never seems to not be carrying a rifle, a creepy dollhouse that seems to contain scenes of what is actually happening in the house, a creepy housekeeper, a nice guy (with a creepy injury), and some creepy kids. Creepiness ensues.

Scariness Type: Creepiness! Nah, it's not really scary, more just your basic (convoluted) ghost tale with some jump scares.

Rating: 3.5/5 Bells.

Body Count: At least 6...

Fun Fact: No better way to entertain your kids than with crawlspaces in the wall!

Best Moment: Maybe when she looked into the dollhouse and saw a doll matching herself looking into a tinier dollhouse (which I'm guessing had a tinier doll and even tinier dollhouse inside, right?), only behind her there was another doll watching her. Yikes. Actually probably my favorite part was the very first scene, where the investigator debunked a seance. I wish the whole movie had been like that, like a whole Sherlock Holmes thing where she's busting frauds and we get to see all their sneaky rigs and all that. That's a movie I want to watch.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: The groundskeeper was probably a bit too horrible of a person. One of those Snidely Whiplash types that I would generally say don't exist, but man, I had a phone call with a government office yesterday, and I don't know if it's because he wasn't getting paid (well, it was state government, so he should've been paid!), but that guy was nasty. So some people are just bad. Especially bureaucrats.

Horror Tropes: The ol' hand reaching up out of the lake routine, and the ghost that always stays just ahead of you as you try to chase it up the stairs thinking it's a person, until you inevitably reach a dead end and wonder where they could've gone. Also, let's not forget the skeptic who is faced with a real ghost! And then there was the ghost face pressing up out of a pillow. And a stretchy-face ghost. And the person you think is alive but was really a ghost the whole time (not the main character!). Really got quite a collection in this one!

My Take: All in all, this was pretty entertaining. It was a fairly convoluted story, and yes there were twists, which I approve of. It was only marginally a horror story (though it was entirely a ghost story), and the few little jump scares almost seemed thrown in as obligatory. That's okay, I really mainly watch horror movies for their twisty stories anyway, and we had plenty of that here. It may have even been too complex for its own good.

Missed Opportunity: I missed the opportunity to watch large chunks of this. I think I was cooking or something. Luckily, Sol Hunt saved the day by watching with me and telling me about all the stuff I missed. Or half-missed, I kept walking in and seeing bits off and on.

The Lesson: Guns don't kill people... tigers kill people.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: The Possession 04:42 PM -- Mon October 7, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: There's this old box, see, and it's a bad box. A little girl buys it at a yard sale and proceeds to get way too attached to it. Tantrums ensue.

Scariness Type: Well, it's an exorcism movie. The twist is that instead of being Catholic, it's Jewish!

Rating: 3/5 Yarmulkes.

Body Count: One person, and one moth.

Fun Fact: This movie contains real live footage of Gmail instead of some made-up magical email system. I always appreciate that.

Best Moment: I'm not sure. When the dad took the box away, the ensuing freakout and weirdness and chase and all the issues involved worked nicely, though I don't know that I'd say it was the "best moment". Nothing stands out too much thinking about it now.

Worst Moment: There's a part where a guy is mind-blasted by the possessed girl in some way, resulting in his gums bleeding and his teeth coming loose. This is awful and I don't allow it. I have nightmares like that.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: The first thing the girl does when she gets the box open is to remove a ring from it and put it on. For the rest of the movie, she's wearing this evil ring, and it's turning her hand grey. It's plainly visible, and it just makes no sense that neither of her parents, or anybody else for that matter, grabs that hand and freaks out about whatever disease this ring is obviously giving her. On a second disbelief moment, the end of this movie takes place in a fully-functioning hospital, and while the characters are screaming and wind is whipping through and the lights are flickering for twenty minutes, not one person comes to see what's going on. It's totally strange.

Horror Tropes: One that always gets to me is when somebody sees something horrible, and stares at it. Then somebody else sees them looking and asks "What is it? What's wrong?" Instead of replying to them like any human being would, the person in a horror movie always just slowly raises one arm and points at it. The other person should then throw their arms up and yell, "I know where you were looking, I want to know what you are looking at!! Use your words!" But instead they always come running over and stare at it too. One day there's going to be a movie where this just happens in a continuous chain until the entire population of a town is staring slack-jawed at one spot with one crooked finger raised at it. Oh yeah, and we get another fine blood-dripping-from-above scene in this movie too. Those are the best.

My Take: Turn some lights on!! These people live in a nearly pitch black house, lit by 20-watt bulbs at wide intervals. I know they're trying to set a mood, but that was just silly. I thought this movie was just fine overall. It kept me interested, and it was indeed a different take on the usual exorcism movie. A lot of it was the same, but because they had this lore of the dybbuk box instead of just an arbitrary demon randomly hopping into the girl, there was more interesting stuff going on instead of just a priest chanting and the girl yelling at him until somebody wins. I wouldn't call this a good movie, and I don't rate it highly, but it works for me.

Missed Opportunity: One person died? That's it? Come on, some demon you are.

The Lesson: Don't shop at yard sales.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: The Broken 06:40 PM -- Tue October 8, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: This whole review is mega-spoilers, beware. While a family is having a lovely meal together, a big mirror suddenly breaks for no reason. This is bad luck. Gradually each of them is murdered and replaced by a mirror-duplicate who comes out of a mirror that breaks. Something like that ensues.

Scariness Type: This is a weird movie. It's very slow and quiet. It's got this long spiral of dread for the entire movie.

Rating: 3/5 Jeeps.

Body Count: Four or so? Something like that. But maybe 0 in a way, they all get immediately replaced by exact duplicates. Evil exact duplicates.

Fun Fact: Dextrocardia is a condition wherein your heart is on the right side of your chest instead of the left. It also means you are an evil mirror-person.

Best Moment: There are some shots in the movie that are done from 'behind' a mirror. You see this black, empty world on the mirror side, and then the real world on the other side, like you're looking through a window. Those shots are really cool, and they sort of speak to me, relating to a story idea I've worked on off-and-on for years about a kid who can travel into mirrors and exit from any other mirror in the world. I guess it's a thing we think about - mirrors are weird, so we perceive some sort of magic there.

Worst Moment: I don't know if it's the worst really, but there's this moment when I almost giggled. The main character is investigating a drip in the attic of her boyfriend's house, when suddenly he pops up through the attic entrance, lit from underneath, looking so ridiculously evil it's just hilarious, questioning why she should be up there. He looks like an evil puppet.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: Everything the evil mirror-people does seems to suggest they are literally just regular people, who happen to have very bad intentions, and seek to replace the normal people. Everything that is, except when one shows up and pops her fist straight into her duplicate's mouth, right up to the wrist. Just BOOP straight in there, and she wiggles it around or does something inside because it kills the poor girl in a bloody fashion. I have no idea what that was. It was definitely supernatural because you can't just do that to somebody (plus you'd get bit really badly), but it's the only supernatural thing the mirror-people ever do aside from coming out of mirrors.

Horror Tropes: I don't quite remember, but I think we got the blood-drip-from-above in this one! If not, there was still a water drip that she dreamed was blood.

My Take: There was stuff I really enjoyed about this movie, and I have no problem with slow, moody movies in general. At times this one really dragged it out a bit much though, with dozens of replays of a car crash the main character was in, over and over, every time she sat around thinking about it. There is a twist in this movie, and it may not even be entirely obvious what it is, because there's not much dialogue here, you kind of piece things together for yourself. I'll tell you what my theory is, and of course, like the rest of this review, it's a total spoiler: The main character got mirror-murdered very early in the movie, and the person who got in the car crash was actually her evil twin. The twist is that the car crash gave her amnesia, so she forgot to be evil. It was only at the end when she found her good twin's dead body that she remembered she was supposed to be evil and the ridiculously long and boring shot of her driving at the very end was her getting ready to... do whatever it is evil mirror-people do. Go cause more mayhem. Not a happy ending, I guess. But good for her that she got her life figured out.

Missed Opportunity: I think they missed out on making this faster-paced and more involving. Also more clear what is going on.

The Lesson: Don't break mirrors, it's bad luck. Haven't you already heard this? Plus you have to clean them up.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Event Horizon 08:57 PM -- Wed October 9, 2013  

SPOILER WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

Synopsis: A rescue team is launched out to Neptune when a signal is sent from a ship that hasn't been heard from in 7 years. Turns out the ship was doing some fancy space-folding experiments, and it also turns out that when you travel outside of normal spacetime, bad things ensue. Bad things ensue.

Scariness Type: A lot of gore, a lot of crazy people.

Rating: 3/5 Captain's Logs.

Body Count: Something like 3. There are also two people who are launched into an evil chaos dimension, but we'll have to count them missing in action. And there's the entire crew of the missing ship, but I only count deaths that occur during the course of the movie.

Fun Fact: Morpheus is here, piloting a ship that is remarkably similar to the hovercrafts in The Matrix. I gotta think there was inspiration there (this came out two years before The Matrix).

Best Moment: The best moment would probably be when we see the ship's engine core for the first time. That's an odd best moment, but it's because the best thing about this movie really is the set design. This giant spaceship which is built like some kind of demonic cathedral, with a puzzle-box for an engine, a meat grinder leading to the engine room, and doors that seal shut with spikes for no reason at all. It's not realistic, and I'm sure OSHA would have something to say about the working environment, but that's entirely not the point. It's just sort of amazing and completely sets the tone.

Worst Moment: I'm sure this doesn't really qualify as a worst moment, but it's what came to mind. When the giant ocean of blood comes pouring out, all I could think about was how it was clearly too expensive (or just messy?) to load it up with enough coloring to actually make a deep red, so what we end up with really looks just like Kool-Aid. You can tell it's colored water rather than something thick and dark like blood, and I just couldn't put my brain into ocean-of-blood mode, all I saw was red water.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: Speaking of suspension, the captain's chair in the rescue ship is totally silly. If you really keep your eye on Laurence Fishburne in that chair, you'll see him just sort of gradually spinning around, facing nothing in particular, going in circles, for the duration of any scene he's in it. He looks lost. It's a spacey concept for a chair (it hangs from the ceiling and can slide back and forward on a track, and rotate), but not a very logical or useful one. Especially if he just sits and spins all day.

Horror Tropes: Well you know we had blood dripping from above! Then of course we had the assorted hallucination tropes (see the silhouette behind a sheet, yank the sheet back and see nothing; see somebody, turn to tell somebody else and the person you saw is gone; believe a hallucination so much you just follow it even though it makes no sense and then fall down a hole).

My Take: I heard that the original concept of this movie was "The Shining in space", and while the similarities there are obvious, the real massive inspiration behind this movie is clearly the Hellraiser series. It's all up in there. We almost have Pinhead even, by the end. Overall, I wanted to like the movie, because it has an amazing style, and space-horror is always a good idea, and the core concept is something I always enjoy, but while it seems to be building up to something good (or something horrific at least), the last third just kind of falls apart. Or rather, it doesn't fall apart. It just doesn't get crazy enough to justify all the style. The guy who goes crazy (all space and no aliens makes Homer something something) doesn't have this gradual descent that you want, where he's broken down and loses it, he kind of just suddenly snaps all at once (well, and he's pretty messed up from the get-go), and it doesn't ring true or feel right. I read that about half an hour was trimmed from this movie, and that may have been to its detriment in that regard. And then the crazy guy's super-strength (and return from death) is really the only sort of demonic presence we encounter. I was ready for a full-blown descent into Clive Barker's mind, and we pretty much just got space-captain brawl action instead. And a giant ocean of blood, but come on, when isn't there a giant ocean of blood?

Missed Opportunity: The engine room is basically a sphere, with giant, man-sized spikes jutting out from the walls everywhere. And not once does somebody get impaled on them. Somebody even falls into that room from high above and still manages to completely miss them. It's almost perverse. Perhaps the craziest thing in the whole movie.

The Lesson: Keep your eyes in your face, where they can do the most good.

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