Thursday, October 26, 2017

Halloween Tales Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: The worst Halloween-themed film in existence...and that's saying something.

Review: Wow, what a piece of shit. I've reviewed some horrendous movies over the years--plenty of them Halloween-themed--but this takes the cake. In fact, it has absolutely nothing to do with fucking Halloween, you jackasses! Mother fuckers. I don't care if your budget is literally peanuts that you're feeding to the "actors," there is no excuse for this kind of garbage. Getting up to piss in the middle of the night is scarier than this movie. The stories don't even make any damn sense, and the filmmakers embrace this incompetence by saying the individual stories were just bad dreams. UGH! Even trash like "The Haunted Dollhouse" is a level of quality far beyond this.

Wraparound: A bunch of idiots are stranded at a train station after a wreck. BIG FUCKING SHOCK, they're all dead and don't realize it. Yeah, sure, we never saw that coming. Fantastic. The actors are clearly reading their lines off cue cards, and they still suck. Each character is an asshole, and, when it's revealed they're in hell, we come to learn they're even bigger assholes than initially portrayed. Well, that is a talent I suppose. I really don't know what to say except that the premise of the film is that each idiot regales us with a nightmare they supposedly had the night before. Forget Dante's "Inferno" or "Paradise Lost," THIS is what hell truly would be--this movie being real life.

Story 1: The supposed hot chick of this group--who is like a 4/10--meets up with some dude she met over the internet. There is something about him being a ripoff-Norman Bates except nonsensical. I mean, the guy's mom looks like a zombie or a ghost yet she just casually interacts with if I know. I guess the moral of the story is don't overvalue your looks.

Story 2: Next up is the hipster, street trash of the group. She dreams that she was a bum and meets the devil. Yet, we are to believe the devil would form his own wannabe cult where they kill assholes? I'd think the devil would have better things to do than this. Well, street trash tries to escape the cult and...umm...she can't escape...the end? Yeah, why not? Argh.

Story 3: Next up is the character I seriously couldn't tell if he was actually retarded or not. In his nightmare--which, in fairness, is pretty damn close to a glimpse of hell--he is tasked to watch a house with a 16 year old girl in it or something. Then there is bigfoot and our potato hero, with his jailbait accomplice, tries to capture bigfoot as a scheme to become rich...I think. It turns out these shenanigans with bigfoot involves the parents just wanting to kill their stupid kids. Psh, whaaaaat? Why not, right?

Story 4: Finally tying out this catastrophe is the genuine asshole of the group who does nothing but talk shit. In his nightmare he's trying to get a job and ends up working at a warehouse or whatever. While doing some kind of data entry, this asshole comes to realize he's a part of an experiment with murderers or something. Honestly, I don't give a fuck.

I saw this shit for free through Amazon Prime, but, please, do NOT waste your money on this abomination. There is nothing involving Halloween here nor is there a single thing worthy of mentioning. Oh, wait, this movie can at least boast it's not the worst movie I've ever seen. Yippee. This is pure, unfiltered shit that doesn't deserve to exist. This may also be the worst anthology film I've ever seen, yet, it doesn't fully qualify since none of the stories are coherent enough to count as complete. Damn this movie to hell where it belongs!

Notable Moment: Uhhh...I guess when the main asshole is trash talking? I suppose a few of his insults are so stupid, over the top, and poorly delivered that you could say it's so bad it's good. Eh, not really. This movie just blows massive chunks.

Final Rating: 2/10

Saturday, October 21, 2017

WNUF Halloween Special Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: During a news broadcast in 1987, a reporter and crew discover more than they bargained for while investigating an allegedly haunted house.

Review: I have been exhausting every Halloween-themed movie for years now, and have been scraping the bottom of the barrel for quite a while. I mean, just look at some of the no-name garbage I've reviewed during previous Octobers! Thankfully, this movie was a breath of fresh air. Of course, this is a form of found-footage, however, it's considerably different than the standard bullshit you might come to expect. Essentially, this plays out like an actual local news broadcast from the '80s--commercials and all. The thing is...everything is created by the filmmakers including those commercials! It's quite the sight to behold due to overwhelming levels of ingenuity and creativity. These filmmakers understand the '80s probably better than anyone I've even heard of; it's extraordinary really. Something like "House of the Devil" could easily trick an unsuspecting viewer into believing it was made in the past, but the attention to detail in "WNUF Halloween Special" is off the fucking charts! It's about as authentic of a recreation as you could ever create. I honestly cannot imagine a better presentation unless someone used a DeLorean.

So the structure of the film can be somewhat difficult to explain. You have the main reporters talking about the typical, nightly fluff pieces you'd expect mixed with conventional news stories. Everything feels believable and real with a certain level of exaggeration for humor to the audience. You get jumping, static, fast-forwarding, etc. as if this is an actual VHS tape. By the way, you will feel as if you are watching a shitty VHS tape that's for sure. The manner in which the filmmakers accomplished this feat was through multiple copies taped over and over by VHS, degrading the picture quality with each subsequent copy of a copy. You know, it occurred to me--fuck(!)--why didn't "The Ring" franchise every utilize this as a plot point?! Well, "The Ring 4," there you go.

Anyway, the broadcast is building up to one of the reporters going to a haunted house and bringing paranormal investigators with he and his crew. Along the way, we get more fluff pieces and a constant barrage of commercials. The commercials blow me away with their accurate tone and style befitting of the era. I have no doubt the filmmakers used true '80s B-roll yet it's spliced seamlessly with film-created material. It's just awesome. Sooo...once the story picks up, things do get more serious as you know something big is coming with the haunted house. There is a payoff at the end with everyone dying, but I was a bit disappointed with the direction they took the material. In a way, it does fit '80s motifs of cults, satanists, psychos, etc., but I would have preferred a supernatural reveal. Still, this isn't any kind of Blair Bitch bullshit where you are left wondering what happened; the film gives a clear explanation of what happened to the crew.

This brings me to some of my gripes with the movie as a whole. While I certainly love the commercials, and the effort that went into creating them, they needed to lighten up during the climax. At the same time, you could easily argue too much of the running time is dedicated to them and could be interpreted as filler. As mentioned, the ending is not what I would have wanted. The budget was pittance, sure, but a ghost popping up would have interested me more even if it looked a bit shoddy. There are times when the comedy was a bit corny or over the top; this didn't bother me, but I can see it bothering some viewers. Finally, there is a lot of reused material strewn about, and, coupled with a short run time, this is a tad too short. The scary moments could have been longer to add more tension and to make this be feature-length.

All things considered, "WNUF Halloween Special" is something worthwhile and a worthy "Halloween" alternative without a doubt. I heard about this from a youtube reviewer, Dr. Wolfula, and it would appear this movie is indie as hell so the DVD cost me a bit to obtain. I don't know if there are ways to rent this or if any store would carry it, but if you're a big '80s fan this is a must-have. Every single detail is carefully crafted and the movie felt so damn realistic. If it weren't for the overly comedic moments, you'd have a lot of trouble distinguishing this from reality under the right context. And, despite the niche market, I can see plenty of mass appeal for something like this given that is does offer up that humor while still possessing that cool horror buildup throughout. There are flaws, yet, those can be readily overlooked. Definitely seek this one out if you've run through the same Halloween movies over and over.

Notable Moment: The one commercial that really struck me as both creative and accurate was the spin the bottle game of drugs. The cornball setup, the drug options, and the bottle landing on a headstone was perfect! It felt pretty damn close to the kind of shit they aired when I was a kid.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Happy Death Day Review

Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: After being murdered by a masked killer, a soroity girl relives the same day over and over in an effort to uncover the killer's identity.

Review: Taking the core premise of "Groundhog Day" and splicing that with '80s slasher tropes was, surprisingly, an act of utter brilliance! "Happy Death Day" turned out to be the most fun horror movie I've watched in years. You get plenty of mayhem, plenty of laughs, and the events unfold in the most satisfying of ways. Not sure why it took nearly 10 years to get this movie out of production hell, but I am certainly glad it turned out this well. The filmmakers simply did everything right--from the pacing to the balance of comedy and horror--it comes together seamlessly.

The main character, Tree, is played masterfully by Jessica Rothe and sells the entire experience. Tree starts off as the most unlikable bitch-whore yet, by the end, you will be cheering her on. The nuances and humor to her character are perfect and help to make the film memorable. For example, you have Tree trying to narrow down her suspects and investigating their motives by physically making a list and stalking them until she ends up murdered for the day. Then you have times where she doesn't give a flying fuck and embraces the fact that she will die that day. Despite spending nowhere near as much time reliving the day as is implied with "Groundhog Day," the audience still experiences a redemption tale of the character. More precisely, Tree's romance with her loverboy, Carter, is quite endearing and adds further charm to her character as she realizes the person she's become and attempts to change it. Though, they do deviate slightly by adding a sense of stakes to the situation. In this instance, Tree comes back slightly weaker with each day passing with the implication she'll eventually stay dead one of these times. This sense of urgency helps builds tension that simply works in the story's favor. I'd honestly go as far as calling this movie "Groundhog Day 2" since this is as close to a sequel as we will ever have and it's damn good at emulating the inspiration. Not to be outdone, the whodunnit, masked killer element is fantastic too. There are A LOT of suspects and potential motives which are laid out for the audience succinctly. Though I guessed the killer, the movie proposes numerous options and a few twists to keep you guessing until the end.

There were only two, legitimate detriments present throughout. One, the story isn't wholeheartedly original when borrowing this heavily from "Groundhog Day." I mean, they change things up, of course, yet the story beats do mirror one another closely; similarly, the film never explains or even leaves a clue as to why Tree is reliving the day. Two, the killer is somewhat predictable given that there's a certain character with a deliberately ambiguous body type. The killer's motive is amusing, befitting of the film's tone, but it's still easy to see coming especially when compared to the other culprits. The fake-out toward the end does help cast doubt in a viewer, but, c'mon, no horror vet will fall for that. Other than these gripes, "Happy Death Day" delivers on the goods.

Overall, this was a fucking awesome movie from start to finish! From the goofy characters to the killer's reveal to the background shenanigans, you will be fully engrossed in the story and pleased with Ms. Rothe as the lead and her plight. I thoroughly and enthusiastically recommend checking out "Happy Death Day."  It's that perfect combination of humor and horror to pull in casual and genre audiences alike with mass appeal. I've kept the spoilers to a bare minimum this time around since I truly want people to check this one out.

Notable Moment: When Tree and Carter finally address the topic of "Groundhog Day" toward the end. That was an amusing and appropriate way to address the elephant in the room.

Final Rating: 7.5/10