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  Belittling Horror Excessively: The Fourth Kind 01:51 AM -- Wed October 23, 2013  


Synopsis: Milla Jovovich tells us how to pronounce her name (it's not what I always thought!), and then she, and another woman playing "real her", are psychologists treating several people who strangely all have the same delusions of an owl watching them in bed. She tries hypnosis on them, which tends to break them. Aliens ensue.

Scariness Type: Other than the lurking fear of what might be coming to get the characters, there isn't much to scare you. I've heard this movie is terrifying, but frankly, it didn't do anything for me. I think the big money shots are the weird/paranormal moments during a couple of hypnosis scenes, but hardly anything happens even then. I guess if you have it turned up loud, there will be a lot of noisy yelling that will bother you in these scenes.

Rating: 2.5/5 White Owls.

Body Count: 5

Fun Fact: The "real" psychologist looks so much like an alien herself. I really couldn't get it out of my head that the aliens had done some kind of alteration on her, but I think that's just the actress. And now I feel rude for insulting her. Well, I never said aliens looked bad, I guess?

Best Moment: It's not much, I know, but I can't help but note that at the beginning of the movie, each new major character that came onscreen had the actor and character's name displayed under them. I wish all movies did that, I'd know the names of actors so much better, and I'd even know some of the characters' names too! You'll note I'm still calling the psychologist Milla in this review though, so I didn't learn that much. Pretty sure the character's name was Abigail, in truth. But I did learn that Elias Koteas is that one balding guy - I recognized his name and his face, but didn't know they went together. Oh yeah, and he was Casey Jones in the Ninja Turtle movies!

Worst Moment: Enough with the hypnosis, movie psychologists! Seriously! Real psychologists almost never use that stuff. Yet it's all movie psychologists ever do.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: The psychologist ends up under house arrest right when she is all set to get out of Dodge because she doesn't want aliens to abduct her. A cop is sitting outside watching her house, and he has a dash cam recording. So of course the aliens come during the night to get her. The dash cam catches this event, and amid all the static that aliens always cause in video, we can clearly see a huge UFO fly over the house to zap it. The cop gets out and runs to the house, freaking out that a UFO has stopped by. Here's my problem with this: if that was actually how they performed the abductions, then it wouldn't have been a secret for years and years... they would've been caught in the first week! Really, nobody else had ever been outside one of the abductee's houses at 3:33 in the morning ever before this?

Horror Tropes: Hmm, I don't have any good ones off-hand for you. Even though I found the movie's format strange and off-putting (combining clips of "real" footage with the dramatized version), what it accomplished was an anti-trope. It made it so they didn't have to do the traditional found-footage thing of coming up with reasons for everything to happen right in front of a camera. These people only used cameras when it made a decent amount of sense - the hypnosis sessions were filmed, the cop turned on a dash cam when watching the house (I kinda doubt that would happen, but it's not insane), and various interviews were filmed, which of course would have to be. All the stuff in-between was just dramatized. Interesting idea.

My Take: I could never quite get fully invested in this movie because of the two-movies trick. A lot of scenes would be like something out of 24 - the screen would be split into 2, 3, or even 4 blocks with different video on each one, and they had this trick which I'm sure they thought was clever, but totally pulled me out of the movie: they'd gradually stretch or shrink different boxes to emphasize them. That just had me thinking about the changing size of the boxes rather than watching what was going on in them. Now, most of the movie was just straightforward, but it was the key scenes that were done this way, so it kinda killed the mood. The whole proceeding would've been better as just a single movie, with no found-footage element. Anyway, with that aside, I just didn't like it too much. Nobody was really likeable, and a lot of them (most notably Milla's balding friend) were just outright hostile and unhelpful, despite encountering the exact same paranormal events she was. The evil alien threat also didn't do much of interest, and didn't seem to have a very interesting reason for being around. I think they were shooting for some kind of high-concept thing where these aliens had actually created humans in the first place, but they didn't do anything with that, so who cares?

Missed Opportunity: Do something with your aliens. They're aliens, come on! They can shapeshift, give bees smallpox, run for President, eat Reese's Pieces, whisper in Fred Flintstone's ear, cross borders illegally, use Macs, blow up world monuments, tear off human-like skin and eat mice, secretly run the government, dissolve when wet, recite poetry, parasitically infest and control humans, train kids to pilot spaceships via arcade games, fight cowboys, plant babies in your stomach, march in lockstep down the screen until they touch ground, wear Edgar suits, rule Omicron Persei 8, come in peace, and do so much more. You may consider this paragraph a fun game for your amusement.

The Lesson: Just say no to hypnosis.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Dead Snow 03:38 PM -- Mon October 21, 2013  


Synopsis: A group of Norwegian med students goes to a very remote cabin in the snow for... well, what seems like a pretty awful vacation, I mean like freezing freezing cold, no TV, and one snowmobile. And no skis even! Anyway, they seem happy about it. And then a crazy old man shows up at their door to give them a very cryptic warning. They should've listened, because after that, the Nazi Zombies come for their gold. Intestines ensue.

Scariness Type: Gore gore gore gore gore. And intestines.

Rating: 3/5 Intestines.

Body Count: 9 people, 1 bird, and 35 or so zombies.

Fun Fact: During the movie, I honestly wondered why it wasn't called "Red Snow", which would've been way better. Now I checked IMDB and I find that in fact it was originally called that. No indication as to why they changed it.

Best Moment: It's always fun, and completely unscary, when the heroes have finally had enough of running away from the scary monsters and find a chainsaw and start wailing away.

Worst Moment: Much more upsetting than zombies crushing skulls was when somebody got pulled into the pit under the outhouse. So much worse. Oh, you know what else was bad and really out of place? When one of the students nearly murders another one with a pillow over her face and her hands trapped, as some sort of perverse joke. And that guy wasn't even the "super evil teen" role we have seen in other movies. What on earth was that? You don't partially murder people and then laugh it off!

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: Suspending yourself from a human intestine (as it spools out of a body) is too far. I don't think this movie knows how intestines work. They were present in almost every fight in the movie, doing all kinds of awful things, very few of which were anything close to related to actual intestines. Some strange intestinal obsession in this one for sure. Maybe the writer had Crohn's disease and thus had a real fear of issues related to them. Come to think of it, there were even a bunch of outhouse-related scenes. I could definitely see the writer having bowel fears. Now that's just weird.

Horror Tropes: "It was just a dream", a scene that seems normal until the person wakes up and it didn't happen. I'm tired of that, give me blood drips any day. Also a rather specific element stolen straight from Edgar Wright: the quick-cut "gearing up" scenes, where straps are tightened, hats and gloves are thrown on, etc. They stole the style of these exactly from Shaun Of The Dead and other Edgar Wright joints. Many movies have done these things, but Edgar Wright has a specific style to them, which was clearly duplicated here, and yet is somehow lesser.

My Take: This was almost a good experience. It had the hipness factor of Nazi Zombies and the associated bits of humor (although not as much as I would've expected or wanted), and the hipness factor of college kids and the associated bits of humor (although not as much I would've expected or wanted - this was not written by the Norwegian Kevin Smith), and the fun zombie war with chainsaws and sledgehammers. But it just didn't quite hit it hard enough. There was a little too much darkness, kind of an attempt to be actually scary, but that was wasted in a goofy zombie movie, they should've just gone all out with the fun and humor.

The Lesson: Always check your pockets thoroughly when running from zombies - you never know if you may still have a piece of nazi gold on you.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Fingerprints 03:53 AM -- Mon October 21, 2013  


Synopsis: You know the urban legend where you can park your car on the train tracks, and ghost kids will push it off? First of all, that's totally entitled of you - don't you think those kids have something better to do in the afterlife? But secondly, that's what this movie is about! A girl returns home from rehab, although her family moved in the meantime, to the town where those train tracks are. People start getting killed, and she investigates the legend of the train tracks, and whatever. Bad acting ensues.

Scariness Type: Well... there are ghosts, and a weird torture/slasher person, sort of like Jason, but dumber. But scariness? It's scary they made this movie.

Rating: 1/5 Stun Batons.

Body Count: 1 busfull of kids, plus 6 more non-kids.

Fun Fact: I am pretty sure the main character's mom is a robot. An evil robot.

Best Moment: None.

Worst Moment: I think you'd have to dig deep, but some lowlights include the attempted rape, the train hitting the bus and causing it to... well, cut to some random spinning cameras inside the bus as blood was splashed around with absolutely no special effects at all, and pretty much everything the villain ever does.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: There's a point where the girl and her friends are parked on the train tracks, and of course eagerly awaiting getting pushed by ghost kids. Apparently they're really preoccupied with it because none of them hear or see a semi pulling up behind them until it honks its horn. That is about as believable as every scene in Scream 3.

Horror Tropes: We got our blood drip! I don't actually remember it now, but in my notes it says "modified blood drip", so there may have been something different about how it happened. And of course there's the usual situation where nobody believes the hero, and the supernatural things happening end up making her look like she's doing bad things.

My Take: This was terrible. Just plain terrible. It was clearly direct-to-DVD (or just made-for-TV), as the awful cinematography and ultra-cheapness and low-quality film stock display. I don't know how this can be, but apparently it takes good money to choose a decent font, because I literally could tell this was a TV production based on the fonts in the opening credits. Just so bad. The villain in the end is really unintentionally funny, and pretty much everything else that happens is just terrible.

Missed Opportunity: They could've stopped. They could've said, "You know what? This isn't working. Let's just not do it. We can all go work on something else." They didn't.

The Lesson: Don't watch this.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Pumpkinhead 10:13 PM -- Sat October 19, 2013  


Synopsis: A group of obnoxious teens heads, as usual, to a remote cabin for partying purposes. Along the way they take a rather odd stop to zoom around on motorbikes for a minute. In the process, they accidentally run over a young boy, killing him. His dad doesn't take the news well for some reason, and finds an old witch in the woods to summon a vengeance demon to slaughter them all. Like you do. Vengeance ensues.

Scariness Type: Oddly enough, this is pretty much a slasher movie, like Friday The 13th, where a guy with a machete runs around chopping people up. The subtle difference is that the guy is a giant alien monster instead, and uses claws in place of machetes.

Rating: 3/5 Stickman Necklaces.

Body Count: 7

Fun Fact: The father who ends up connected with the monster is Bishop, the crazy android from the Alien movies. The monster is a near-exact copy of the alien from the Alien movies. Another odd Bishop note: he (the actor who played him) actually bought the gold coins that he pays the witch with, at various pawn shops and stuff around town. He also used his own gun and some other wardrobe elements. Way to support the team!

Best Moment: I don't know... the final showdown was pretty interesting, I suppose.

Worst Moment: Dare I call this the worst moment? It made me laugh... they used an orchestra sting to turn a friendly dog jumping into a guy's lap into a jump scare. It was stupid.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: There's really only two things I can point to here that bugged me, and they're more a matter of degree than just something crazy: The "evil teenager" was just too evil. They do that in a lot of movies it seems, but come on, the guy is locking his friends up in a broom closet and cutting phone lines just to make sure they don't call an ambulance for a dying kid? And secondly, I know it's possible to stumble and end up impaled on a pitchfork, I just don't think it's a likely enough occurrence that the coincidence of that happening amidst all this monster excitement is particularly believable.

Horror Tropes: Is it a trope to have a big H.R. Giger alien? It's been done in other horror movies, I know that! We also had "boy chases his dog into certain doom" (usually in front of a truck, in front of a motorcycle this time), "dead monster reaches out and grabs you to reveal its non-dead status", "cowering in the closet and the monster roars at you rather than just tearing you apart" (monsters hate closets, despite what children think), and probably a lot of others. It was a lot more enjoyable to see a huge alien doing the teenager-stalking instead of some boring guy in a mask, but he still made sure to follow all the rules.

My Take: I saw this movie decades ago, probably not when it came out, but a few years later on VHS. And at least once or twice more. I have very strong memories of saying "It's gotta run its course!" to my friends. Somehow we were attached to that phrase. Which is sad because on this viewing, I barely noticed when it went past. It doesn't sound very interesting at all. There was another line we also quoted, but I forget what it was - it's from the scene where the hog-feed-hauling boy is standing next to Bishop's pickup talking to him. But, nostalgia aside, I was surprised to find this movie isn't that bad. It feels very short, but in a good way: stuff is always happening and it just moves right along. And the people in it are not as ridiculous as your usual slasher movie... well, the people of this little backwoods town aren't. The teenagers that are ostensibly the main characters (Bishop is the real main character) are the one-dimensional machete-fodder you've come to expect. There's a fun concept in the movie, where Bishop and the Alien are magically linked because it was awoken with his blood, but I think that could've worked better in a movie where the linked person didn't actually want to sacrifice himself, so the heroes would have to evade the unkillable monster while tracking him down. In this movie, everybody's pretty much aiming for the same final confrontation and it all just wraps right up neat as you please. Anyway, for 80's horror, this is downright decent.

Missed Opportunity: I think the director - since he was Stan Winston, monster-maker extraordinaire - was way too happy to show the alien (oh sorry, I mean demon) clearly. We could've done with a lot more suspense and not-seeing of it. The creature effects were actually really good, but no movie monster is going to really come off that great when you just lay it out in full light.

The Lesson: Don't run over kids. I think the lesson is very clear this time, it demonstrates the consequences in great detail.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Last Will And Testament of Rosalind Leigh 11:35 PM -- Fri October 18, 2013  


Synopsis: This old woman dies, and her antique collector son, who was estranged from her for most of his life, returns home to either move in or sell the house. What he discovers there is a really messed-up house full of crazy stuff, which it turns out is just about every antique he ever sold. She had bought them all, which is nice and all, but weird. Nothing ensues.

Scariness Type: There are a few jump scares, but this is all about dark, gothic mood and an oppressive dread hanging over it all.

Rating: 2/5 Gollums.

Body Count: One. The guy's mom!

Fun Fact: Other than voices over the phone or through a door, and one shot of two people seen through a window at a distance, and a brief videotape of a bunch of people, this movie contains only one person. Well, and a couple shots of the mom who is dead.

Best Moment: This movie contained the first scene this month to truly scare me (I'm pretty sure ghosts inside a house is all that works for me, at this point): things all around the house are rattling and thumping, and he runs and crouches in a corner, wishing it would all go away like a kid would. He calls his therapist/ex-girlfriend (the relationship is never quite made clear...) and she tells him to just close his eyes and meditate. Things stomp closer and closer as he sits with his eyes closed...

Worst Moment: The dumbest thing in this movie is...

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: the magical space computer! When the guy thinks he sees a monster outside the house, he calls up the alarm company that apparently runs security cameras at his house. He ends up talking to a computer, which somehow patches through security footage onto his laptop, and then talks to him about it as it shows him. This computer recognizes the image on the screen and says it's an animal, but it doesn't know what kind. Was this movie set 40 years in the future? What on earth is this random super space technology doing in this haunted house movie?!

Horror Tropes: A lot of things go bump in the night in this movie! But sadly, blood never drips from above. This is actually a very original movie, other than a lot of the usual ghost things with doors slamming and noises in other rooms.

My Take: As I just said, this movie is quite original. I've never seen anything quite like it. Unfortunately, it's also very boring for about the first two-thirds, and the remaining third has a very cheesy CGI monster in it. And finally, it's all wrapped up with the twist (spoiler!) being that everything that happened didn't actually happen - it was all something the ghost of the old woman was imagining. So it just leaves you feeling cheated. I don't know, I can't hate too much, it was kind of powerful and moving, with some symbolic business, but at the same time there's all the things I just said. So it's not a complete failure. I guess the thing is this: if you still find yourself interested after the first 10 minutes of the movie which literally feature no human beings (other than a voice-over), just empty rooms being slowly panned across, then I think you're all set to enjoy the movie. But I don't think you'll be too sad if you skip out on it either.

Missed Opportunity: Where was Doctor Who to save everybody from this house jam-packed with weeping angels?!

The Lesson: Call your mother, she worries.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Unrest 09:28 PM -- Thu October 17, 2013  


Synopsis: A new batch of cadavers arrive at a medical school for doctors to chop up for some good old-fashioned learnin'. Unfortunately, one of the cadavers was... oh, I don't know, some weird issue involving an Aztec curse happened, so people start dying. Bonus cadavers ensue!

Scariness Type: It actually got kinda creepy, in the standard sort of "lights flickering and going out, things on the other side of a wall are thumping and scratching" type of way. There are also crazy homicidal and suicidal people, and there's a fairly healthy dose of gore.

Rating: 2/5 Formaldehyde Tanks.

Body Count: 5ish, plus four pre-deceased people for medical research.

Fun Fact: The Aztec empire was very large, but it was in Central America... thousands of miles from Brazil.

Best Moment: Well, it's not amazing or anything, but there's a scene where a guy who's been driven crazy is sitting at a desk, holding a homemade shiv in one hand hidden under the desk, and he's telling the guard watching him to come closer so he can give him something. It's very tense, and it does not end up with the guard being stabbed, strangely enough. That was a well-done bit.

Worst Moment: There was a part that was supposed to make me feel this way, but it succeeded, which was unpleasant: this girl (who wasn't a med student) asked her fiance (who was) to take her in to see the cadavers. He was reluctant, but she talked him into it. Then she freaked out when the body settled, ran out of the room and immediately started berating him violently for having 'forced' her to go in there. I was so mad at her, and thought she was the dumbest person on Earth. Which is what you're supposed to feel, but really, can anybody be that ignorant of the immediate past? It was way over the top.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: Two of the characters end up (fairly ridiculously) taking a dive into a tank that I believe is filled with formaldehyde... SUCH a bad idea! And yet the worst thing that happens is one bobs up and goes "Augh, it got in my eyes!" but he was fine. He even ended up drowning in it to the point of needing resuscitation, and was fixed just as easily as if he'd drowned in water. Now, I'm no scientist, but I think formaldehyde is signficantly worse for you than water.

Horror Tropes: Blood drip YAYYYYY!! I think that should be a requirement in all horror movies. There's a ton more tropes in this movie, but not ones I can really point out... it just all felt the same as all other horror movies with scenes of lights flickering out, and pulling back a shower curtain with a pool of blood under it, all that stuff.

My Take: One kind of interesting thing about this movie is that there is never a monster/ghost of any sort. Stuff just kind of happens, and that's it. Most of it is mental even, people being driven crazy rather than anything actually happening (although there are some breaking bulbs and that sort of thing, but not a lot of stuff flying off shelves). I kind of liked that because the corpse kept seeming like it was going to get up, but it never did anything at all... that you could see! What I didn't like was the movie. It was just pretty dumb, with a really unspecific and illogical threat. You could've made a very good movie with this premise - a person corrupted by some evil power is dead, their body is cut open by doctors and their spirit gets mad at this intrusion (or the evil in them is released by the physical act of cutting), and starts killing everyone involved. They just didn't succeed. Everything was very vague and nonsensical, and not really that interesting, and plot holes plot holes plot holes.

The Lesson: At the beginning of the movie, a guy presents the lesson for you right in the dialogue: "You know that box you can check to donate your body to science? Don't."

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Apollo 18 06:00 PM -- Wed October 16, 2013  


Synopsis: Although Apollo 17 was officially the last manned mission to the moon, it turns out there was actually an Apollo 18 mission. It was top secret because they were deploying some kind of missile detector or something to beat the Russians with. Then everyone involved was horribly killed, so probably best kept secret. Until, that is, the enterprising makers of this movie "uncovered" the footage in 2000something and shared it with us all! So brave. Found footage ensues.

Scariness Type: Little bit o' jump scares, little bit o' gore, mainly your usual found-footage tricks: waiting and watching, wondering what's going to be in the corner.

Rating: 2.5/5 Moon Rocks.

Body Count: 5

Best Moment: All the astronaut business in general was extremely realistic feeling, and I'm fairly certain they mixed in actual NASA footage, and they did such a good job that the real stuff looks just like the fake stuff. At least in the early going. Once they're actually on the moon, it gradually gets more and more movie-ish and feeling less real. Especially when the CGI monsters show up.

Worst Moment: Something I really didn't like in this movie is that they took the fun part of found footage - watching the corners of the screen, trying to spot the horrible lurking thing - and removed the game from it. Several times during the movie, they artificially zoom the shot and even put a highlighting circle around the scary thing you're supposed to see in the otherwise empty shot. Ostensibly, this is realistic - this is a 'documentary' and the makers want you to catch that stuff, they're trying to inform the public. But in reality, this is a horror movie, and that's just a total joy-killer.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: One thing I really couldn't figure out was why these guys were carrying flashbulbs to illuminate dark craters instead of a perfectly ordinary flashlight. Maybe it's some technical thing related to actual space travel, but what I really think is that they did it for the classic found footage trick of seeing a pitch-black room in just a series of flashes of light, and waiting for the one flash that's going to reveal the big scare.

Horror Tropes: Blood drip from above! Whoo! Then there's stumbling around in the dark until you encounter a dead body and screaming and running (Dead people can't actually move, relax). And while it's not really horror tropes in general, this movie was full of found-footage convention - setting up motion-sensing cameras (not that useful on a non-horror-movie moon) and then going to bed for the night, demanding that you keep filming when you never would, making sure your camera is pointed the right way, and all that. It was like transposing the rules of found-footage horror onto the moon.

My Take: I was hooked at first. This is, by orders of magnitude, the most expensive found footage movie I've ever seen. Huge sets (they're on the moon!), spaceship interiors and exteriors, a lunar rover, all kinds of things. Things that would be nothing special in a normal movie, but found footage usually costs like $20 to make because they just go out in the woods or in somebody's house and film whatever's there. It also has real actors in it (the main astronaut is a guy from the show Alphas), which is kind of funny for found footage, but I actually appreciated the nod to the audience - "Look, we both know this isn't actually real, so we're not gonna hire no-names just to try to pretend." And just the style and appearance and sound of all of it really seems like legitimate NASA footage from the era. I even think they filmed some space stuff in zero-G (not in space, mind you, but on an airplane). That could be trickery, but it looked right. So where did this great mockumentary go wrong? With the monsters. They weren't scary, and there just wasn't much suspense about them, they were kinda just right there. The astronauts didn't know that, but we sure did! Especially since the filmmakers zoomed in on them for us. I think they had a ton of potential here to make something amazing, if they had just come up with a more spooky threat. The whole space psychosis angle which was caused by the monsters was a lot more interesting of a threat than the monsters themselves. They practically had a "Here's Johnny!" moment. It might have been a better movie to just have an astronaut go crazy for perfectly normal reasons, and I don't even like "guy goes crazy" movies (I want supernatural stuff!).

Missed Opportunity: What this movie needed was... well, any monster other than little rock spiders. The monsters were a total let-down and not at all scary. Give me moonghosts! Space Ghosts?

The Lesson: We should fund NASA! Pure science and space exploration leads to all the incredible advances we need in every other area. Let's GO TO MARS!!! But the moon first. Come on, is there any reason we don't have a functioning moon colony right now? It's sickening.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: The Collection 05:43 PM -- Tue October 15, 2013  


Synopsis: Some kids go to a rave, in which 90% of the partiers are mowed down by a giant death shredder, and then the main character (one of said kids, but not one of the ones that is shredded) is kidnapped by "The Collector", a serial killer who apparently slaughters large numbers of people and takes one from each attack back to his secret lair. In the process, for reasons I'm not super clear on, one of his previous victims is set free. Some commando type guys hire/force the previous victim to lead them to The Collector's lair, because they are hired to rescue the main character. Incidentally, the previous victim guy is also a main character, I don't know which one is more main of a character. Traps ensue!

Scariness Type: There's gore a-plenty, jump scares a-few, and a serial killer's creepy house of deadly traps and grotesque 'sculptures' made of human body parts stitched together in incorrect ways. That guy's a weirdo.

Rating: 4/5 Bear Traps.

Body Count: 86 at least, plus 2 dogs. See, it's really hard to count, since in the first 5 minutes of the movie, at least 60 people die as the ravegoers meet a giant lawnmower thing, and then there's also a crusher room and a series of slicer-upper traps. It's pretty brutal!

Fun Fact: That rave looked like it was taking place in Zion!

Best Moment: These movie killers are always so specific about what they do. In this movie, you have a guy whose thing is laying ridiculously elaborate traps (which is fun!). But something I really liked was that when things really turned against him - a swat team was getting ready to beat down the door, and his victims were escaping - he didn't mess around. He picked up a machine gun and 2 big german shepherds (well, he didn't pick them up, but he told them to come with him from wherever they were kept) and just stormed into the room and tried to gun down all the goodguys before things got any worse. Now that's real life. Sure, you want to stick with your gimmick, but when the fan is being struck with waste products, you pull out everything you've got to just get through it and move on to the next genius trap extravaganza.

Worst Moment: I didn't really enjoy the arm-breaking scene...

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: Nothing about this movie was remotely believable, it was just fun instead. But two things really made me say "that did not happen that way!" One was when the villain had some gasoline on him, was laying on the ground next to a bunch of cans of gasoline, and the hero (male edition in this case - remember, we have two to choose from) drops a lit cloth on him, and he goes up in a massive blaze... He then later is just mysteriously missing from that spot next time they look. He got away, apparently completely unscarred. Totally insane. The other thing wasn't really one thing, it was just that all the characters in this movie were resourceful to a degree that would make MacGyver jealous. For the villain, that was his gimmick - he made impossibly elaborate traps, fine. But all the goodguys were nearly as brilliant as him, ranging from memorizing the path to his house based on the turns that got him there (and carving marks into his own arm to track it) to re-breaking your own broken arm so you can bend it better. Yeesh, that was a rough scene.

Horror Tropes: I didn't write this down, so I can't verify it, but you just know we had a blood drip from above scene. There had to be. Of course there was also the killer disappearing when you think he's dead (see above as to why that was ridiculous), and a nice case of Extra-Crazy Stockholm Syndrome.

My Take: This movie was tons of fun, and I totally enjoyed it. I hear it's the sequel to The Collector, which I'd be happy to see too. Now, let's be clear - I had a lot of fun with this movie, but it is not by any means a good movie. It's stupid. Soooo stupid. But that's okay, it was fun and silly and my brain was checked at the door. I forgot to get a number with it, but they were able to find it in there and return it to me afterwards. It was like an entire movie of "Well, Mr. Bond, I'll leave you here to die in my elaborate mechanism while I go demand more millions from the U.N.! I'm sure you'll be dead when I return! I don't need security cameras, that's fine, I trust you to die." again and again.

Missed Opportunity: More traps! We could've had more!

The Lesson: Watch your step. Just watch your step.

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Silent Hill: Revelation 07:12 PM -- Mon October 14, 2013  


Synopsis: This is the second Silent Hill movie. A girl moves to a new town, having moved very often to stay ahead of the law, who are pursuing her dad for murdering someone. What she doesn't know is that they're really trying to stay ahead of the evil cult from Silent Hill, who want her back in their town for some reason. They succeed, and she is in Silent Hill. Mass exposition ensues.

Scariness Type: There are jump scares to be found, and there is gore, but the main thing here is something I can really only call "horror". There are all kinds of monsters and scenes that are just wrong, like people with their entire face being a mouth, or lots of things with no eyes, and so on. They don't jump out at you, they don't really scare you, they just sort of horrify you - they are things that should not be.

Rating: 2/5 Contortionist Nurses.

Body Count: 7, although sometimes instead of dying, people became mannequins, or seemed to still be alive through awful torture that should've killed them and other oddities. If I counted everybody that should be dead (like the prisoners whose arms got chopped off at the elbow), the number would be much higher.

Fun Fact: Hair color is a reliable indicator of evilness. But watch out for completely white hair! It's the worst.

Best Moment: Probably the best thing was the attack of the Mannequin Spider. That thing was very creepy, in a good way.

Worst Moment: There isn't really a worst moment, more of a worst element to the whole thing: the plot is an absolute jumble. Nothing makes any sense at all, things just happen one after another until you get to the conclusion, which feels totally unearned and just as random as all that came before it. Because there is so much stuff in the plot, most of the movie is taken up by really bald exposition, people just rattling off information. And it's funny that despite the continuous stream of information, you still don't know what's going on (in a bad way).

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: This whole movie felt like a sort of amusement park ride. I never felt like the main character was in any danger at all (and, according to what I could understand of the plot, I think rightly so - she may have been perfectly safe!), and that really sapped any drama from the various chase scenes. I'm not actually sure what made it seem so harmless, but it did. She just never seemed to be threatened, and it didn't help that she didn't seem very concerned either. I'd be more concerned with a bee in the room than these people are about giant murderous monsters charging at them. Also, the high school she attends is All Hallows High. Come on, dude. We deserve better.

Horror Tropes: Don't worry honey, it was all a dream... but wait, more horrible things are happening!! Oh wait, that was also a dream. I want to mock that idea more, because it is cliche and stupid, but I have definitely had dreams about waking up from dreams and thinking I really was awake until I finally woke up for real.

My Take: I've never played a Silent Hill game, or really any horror game for that matter. I have Alan Wake in my Steam Pile, I should fire it up sometime. Anyway, I'm not attached to the game series in the slightest, although it's always interested me, and the movies are the same way. I think I liked the first Silent Hill movie pretty well. When I saw there was a new Silent Hill movie on Netflix, I just had to see it. One thing I really love (which the first movie was full of, and this movie only hits a little bit) is the transition from nice normal world to twisted evil version. It looks really cool, and it's a fun device, a faster version of the "Thank heavens the sun finally came up!" element in some horror movies (most notably for me, The Blair Witch Project). But this movie really felt like a video game, with the triforce being pieced together and keys and bosses and just the general sense of non-danger. With all the magic trinkets and rules and tons of exposition, this movie actually felt a lot more like a fantasy film than horror. It was Alice In Wonderland, only more disturbing, if you can get more disturbing than that. My biggest problem with this all is how it wraps up way way too easily. I don't even understand the fight on the carousel, which was so important as to be the subject of a prophetic nightmare at the movie's start, yet when it comes to reality, it ends in a minute flat with zero repercussions, with the entire battle consisting of one hug. It's like a Care Bears movie. The whole thing missed any feeling of an epic quest. She just waltzes into this town, grabs her dad, and leaves. Simple as that.

Missed Opportunity: They missed the opportunity to include some peril! Anywhere! How about getting injured, or narrowly escaping something? How about not instantly solving every problem with zero effort? How about not being literally handed the magical trinket you need to win the game? Then again, I really question whether she needed it at all, it was pretty useless for something they made such a big deal of. Also, I've missed the opportunity to play this game series, I really should.

The Lesson: Monsters with giant swords won't hurt you, don't worry about it!

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  Belittling Horror Excessively: Terror Tract 02:18 AM -- Mon October 14, 2013  


Synopsis: John Ritter is a real estate agent showing people various houses, only he can't seem to resist detailing the gory details of how the previous owners died in each house. Anthology ensues!

Scariness Type: There are a bunch of jump scares, and some gore.

Rating: 2/5 Grannies.

Body Count: 13 people, 2 cats, 1 dog, a worm and a bird. At least half of the human deaths occur in the last minute of the movie, so that's exciting!

Fun Fact: Bryan Cranston (who's the star of the 2nd story in this anthology) played opposite the exact same monkey (the villain of the 2nd story) in an episode of Malcolm In The Middle.

Best Story: The third story is about a teenager who's been having psychic visions of a serial killer. He goes to a psychologist and is telling her about this (of course she doesn't believe him, and she's worried he's the killer). This segment had an interesting killer (the "Granny Killer" - he wears this old lady mask which is really creepy, way better than the stupid Scream mask. But he also says goofy things in a granny voice like "Why are you scared? It's only Granny!"), and a fun, if small, mystery. I'm not saying it was great, it was still cheesy and pretty lame, but it was the best one.

Worst Story: And for worst story, we have the first story - a woman is cheating on her husband, but he had found about it already, so he snuck back home early and was going to kill both her and her lover, but ends up killed himself. The rest of the story involves the difficulty of hiding the evidence of his death (because nobody in movies is ever willing to consider just telling the truth... he was trying to murder them, they wouldn't have gone to jail!), and of course the possibility of his vengeful spirit returning. It's pretty slow and very cheesy, and just oozes 80's Tales From The Crypt drama. It ends with one of those lame non-twists, the kind of thing that just amounts to "wasn't that weird?" because it doesn't mean anything or change anything.

The Other Story: The middle story is about Malcolm's dad battling an evil monkey that his daughter really likes and doesn't think is evil. It's very silly. It's fun, mainly because of Bryan Cranston's ability to look distraught and freak out about things. But it's very, very dumb.

A Suspension Bridge Too Far: This was all so silly and ridiculous. In the first story, there's a guy with no special training who holds his breath underwater effortlessly for at least 2 minutes, just calmly swimming around. I was feeling much more nervous than he was. The second story is one big pile of insanity, I can't really point to a specific element. The third story I find much easier to swallow, nothing was hugely wrong with it, I'd say. And the wrap-around story? Well, that was basically a cartoon. My disbelief remained firmly affixed to the floor for this entire movie, no suspension occurred.

Horror Tropes: The first story is just one giant trope, it's like it's straight out of one of those "101 Weird Spooky Tales!" books, right down to the wet footprints and creaking gate. The second story includes not one, but two, instances of placing your hand in blood without looking and then looking at your hand, and then looking to see what's so bloody and freaking out. The third story includes the classic "I have something for you!" while reaching into your jacket pocket and the other person takes you to be threatening to kill them. Just use your words, people, I'm always saying it.

My Take: This movie, released in 2000, should've been from about 1985. Every single thing about it screams 80's, to the point that I assume it was intended. They weren't just going for silly horror, they intended to create something that looked like it was from the 80's, and they succeeded beyond all reason (perhaps it's why they hired John Ritter, even). It's such a crazy throwback that I feel like there must be some kind of story behind the production, though I can't seem to find it. Overall, it's about what you'd expect - really silly lightweight horror with a Tales From The Crypt feel, so it's more half-intended comedy than it is horror. I had fun watching it, as I am guaranteed to with an anthology, although the stories did get progressively better from a rather uninteresting first story through to the pretty decent third story. The wrap-around story of the real estate agent showing houses was fun to watch, but really wasn't even a story. It did have an entertaining ending though!

Missed Opportunity: It's the opposite problem we found with ABCs of Death - if they had just jammed in one more story in this movie, then the existing stories could've been tightened up more and I think the result would've been something more fun.

The Lesson: Make sure you inquire about the neighborhood when buying a house.

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