I have DOGHOUSE but still haven't gotten to it yet. Matter of fact...never made it to EVIL ALIENS yet either. ****...got some catching up to do.
And I have never seen anything from Toe Tag, so when I finally get to them, I know to avoid SELLA TURCICA.
Let's start things off by saying that this isn't a bad film. This is a pretty solid production. There are some very impressive compositions, the score is quite successful and effective, and the acting isn't total garbage... However, this isn't really a good film, either. Yes, it is true, I am super burnt out on zombies, and especially beginning of the outbreak stories. Let's face it, these type of films have been exhausted. Playground doesn't offer anything new whatsoever. Same old situations, same old cliches, same old sh*t. There is some good gore moments, and the fight choreography is very impressive. Sure, the infected are high flying and parkour-esque (not my cup of tea), and the performers do a hell of a job, but underneath that all lies a bland script with flat acting (remember, I said the acting wasn't total garbage). But most of all, what hurts this film is how dramatic it is, or should I say, how dramatic it wants to be. Holy sh*t, is this overly dramatic. And it fails, it falls right on it's stupid trying-to-be-dramatic face. I do give them credit for taking a serious approach with the film, instead of hashing out another wannabe campy romp, but god da*mmit was the dramatic tone obnoxious. Even the score, which I did enjoy, really tried to drive the emotions home, which was unfortunate. By no means would I say, "Run out and see this instantly!" At the same time, I wouldn't say, "Keep the hell away from this!" Guess I would say, "You can find something better."
Oh, how could I forget the best part?! A brief cameo of the truly awesome Sean Pertwee with a handlebar stache! Man, I really like that guy. But, his part was nowhere near enough pushing the film to a higher level. Sadly.
I will start out by saying I didn't find Diaries to be horrible. With that said, I also don't think it was good. I'm sure it will get many comparisons to Hill Have Eyes, and that's true to a certain extent. To sum it up, there's really nothing new here. There were a few fairly intense moments when things start picking up, which got me quite excited. But then they shat all over them fairly quickly. I could go on about what was generic, bland, and exhausted, but let's point out the good:
-GREAT locations. Amazing, actually. I could not stop thinking about how much I wanted to be there. Barren, broken down, and abandoned in ruin. So beautiful.
-The night scenes were lit really well. I was genuinely impressed with the lighting. The camera work, well, that's another story...
-Spoiler-ish: You never really get a good look at what is terrorizing the group. This made me happy, as I thought it was fairly non-Hollywood-esque.
Yep, that's about all the positive I have to say about Chernobyl Diaries. I was happy to go and support a non-remake horror film in the theater, although saying an original, non-remake film would be a stretch.
Wow...Pata is tired of zombie films? Never thought I'd hear that. But I'm right there with you, my friend. And yes, even the slightest appearance of Sean Pertwee is a good thing.
Will probably see CD when it hits DVD. No interests at even the slightest mention of shaky-cam work, but was told this isn't the case. We'll see.
Movie # 1 Death Dream
In this film's prologue we see two American soldiers killed in the jungles of Vietnam. The Brooks family is later interrupted during dinner with the dreaded hand delivered message. Their son has been killed. An unseen hitch hiker is seen getting into a tractor trailer type truck, the driver ends up dead and Andy Brooks is back home in Florida with his family.
I really enjoyed this film, although made with a shoe string budget it delivered a heavy handed message. Powerful stuff that hasn't lost any of it's impact today with the Gulf wars, Afganistan and the war on terrorism. But back in 1972 when this was made I'm sure it hit even harder.
Not once was the words zombie, vampire or ghoul mentioned, Andy was just dead, and trying to fit back into society like many young soldiers who made it back home they became emotionless empty shells of their former selves.
This showcases I believe the first make up effects of Tom Savini, a little crude compared to his later efforts, but very effective for the over all look of this film.I Highly recommend this one.
Movie # 2
The opening of this film had a bit of a Sam Peckinpah's the Wild Bunch vibe to it, a violent shoot out erupts when a gang robs a bank as a group of civil war soldiers attempt to deposit gold pieces into the bank.
Henry Thomas, Elliot from E. T. is the leader of the gang who insists they head to a desserted plantation. We learn through flashbacks that he had been injured in the war, fell in love with his nurse Annabelle, ( who is also now part of the gang). A dying comrade had told him about the plantation, where they will wait out an on coming storm then head down to Mexico to divvy up their stolen loot.
This film has many cliches like the mentioned thunder storm, giggling children voices in supposedly empty bedrooms but they work to good effect here. There are also some good old fashion rubber and latex effects that you wouln't expect to see in a film set in 1863.
The film is set in Alabama and it makes good use of the swamp like settings and the plantation. A corn field is especially used to create a spooky and unsettling atmosphere. I must admit I did get lost a little bit, there is plenty going on with slaves, voodoo magic, demons, a father killing his kids, trying to ressurect his wife. But I still enjoyed this movie as it was kind of a puzzle trying to piece this together. I actually had to go back and replay a couple of scenes again to make sure I saw what I thought I saw.
So glad to hear you got to experience DEATHDREAM. That is a favorite of mine...such a great movie and like you said, one with a powerful message. Seeing the agony in the parents, first when they get the news, then once Andy is home and they start to realize something is not right. Just an awesome movie that has not lost anything over the years.
I do remember seeing DEAD BIRDS and liked what they were trying to do...mainly something different. But don't remember a lot of it, which makes me think that a lot really didn't stand out. I do recall it having a pretty good cast and did enjoy the creatures. Can't be all bad then, right?
Name: Ray Ray
Movie # 1: The Keep
Thoughts: No amount of lens flare, fog, or Tangerine Dream can transform Michael Mann into Ridley Scott. It seems like every time I watch a Mann film, I watch helplessly while he wastes an awesome cast. The Keep has an interesting enough premise that I might eventually seek out the novel it's based on, but after the first set of tomb robbers are killed (the best scene in the movie), it goes downhill fast. I was hoping for a new horror mythology like Barker's Cenobites or Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight, but the whole two supernatural forces battling through time thing was underdeveloped and flaccid. Very disappointed.
Movie # 2: Deathwatch
Thoughts: Adding supernatural horror to the very real horrors of World War I is like chocolate frosting a twinkie. It's overkill here. Despite some excellent acting, this movie is a muddy hot mess with no real conviction as to what it's actually about. One could argue that the supernatural aspects are "open to viewer interpretation," but I think it's more likely a case of a writer/director who doesn't know what he wants to say. Instead, we get some creepy imagery and predictable kills. Snore. Also very disappointed.
I may, sadly, have already seen the best the war horror genre has to offer. Ironically enough, I did read a Captain America comic last night that had him fighting vampires at the end of World War II (the spawn of Baron Blood). It was creepier and more effective than either of these films by far. C'est la vie.
Thanks again and always for a fun little exercise,
Hey Ray...I would agree that THE KEEP is pretty much of a let down and would highly recommend reading the book.
As for DEATHWATCH, as I think I mentioned earlier here, I did enjoy it. There were so many movies set in that time coming out around the same time, I thought this was one pretty decent. But to each their own. As they say, we don't have to agree on the movies, just the genre.
PLATOON OF THE DEAD (2009)
A group of soldiers is ambushed while hunting a platoon of undead enemy soldiers. The survivors find a house and take shelter for the night, waiting for pickup in the morning. I can't really say much more about the plot, since I don't think they had a script. The acting was horrid. The effects were a joke. The painted toy blasters from Star Wars they used as weapons were laughable. This was very poorly put together. Whatever you do, do not watch this movie.
HUNTING GROUNDS (2008)
In the near future, people are all crowded in walled cities and not allowed to go out into the wilderness unless they're super-powerful and escorted by the military. Many people engage in some kind of virtual reality hunting. A small group of people decides to go out hunting, for real. One is the son of a high-ranking official and he's stolen a high tech weapon and suit of armor from his father's office. Evidently part (all?) of the reason people are not allowed out of the cities is that some kind of military experiment went wrong. Which sort of explains the random, intermittent scenes of shambling humans we've seen since the beginning of the film. I wanted to like this, but it was fairly confusing, partly because it seems to have been edited by an escaped mental patient.
Both films I watched had potential, but they pretty much sucked. I did have fun with them, though.
Never seen PLATOON and doesn't look like I need to bother with it either. Shame. Some people think it doesn't take much to make a good movie. How wrong they are.
As for your second film, "edited by an escaped mental patient"...I think I know that guy or at least have seen some of his work. Sounds like an interesting concept at least.