Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Thaw

TITLE: The Thaw
SCORE: 4 out of 4

My first perfect score goes to the best horror film I've seen all year and possibly longer. It is simultaneously bleak and inspiring, its level of suspense, squick, angersome blood is intense -- those with hypertension beware. The Earth is thawing out -- and some very old things are waking up.

If you are afraid of bugs and/or disease, this movie should do a fairly good job of completely scaring the shit out of you. My hats off to the Lewis Brothers for a fine production -- rarely a forced line or moment lacking realism, and the shock and awe tactic of barraging the audience with a digital-media channel surf (complete with buffering) is clearly a homage to Romero but is done so amazingly well I had the tendency to forget it was fake.

Once the movie gets full steam ahead it never lets up, and it doesn't disappoint. From egg sacs in flesh to thousands of bugs devouring a corpse in a gigantic frenzy -- the imagery will stick with you. I dare not give to much about the plot away save those tantalizing clues. The film revolves around the concept of unforeseen consequences, in many ways. Its not just industrialization that will sting you in the ass but unprotected sex, not following lab protocol to the letter, not being paranoid enough...

Secondarily it focuses on the validity of ecoterrorism and thus on a broader scale the use of political terror in general.

And on a subtler note - perhaps the explicit theme is reinforced by the level of care put into this movie to make you squirm and scream. Is terror the only cure for nihilism? While the ending monologue cares to differ; me - I'm not so sure.

If terror it must be, then long live the guillotine!

Monday, September 21, 2009


TITLE: Dismal
SCORE: 0 out of 4

Dismal is an apt title for this horrible waste of (digital) film. You would think that after 5 different Texas Chainsaw Massacres, 2 different Hills Have Eyes and 1 Deliverance, the makers of this here movie would realize that crazy hick cannibal/torturers is worn quite thin as a theme for a thriller.

Apparently director Gary King felt he could add something to the subgenre. Unfortunately, he was quite wrong - he's a terrible director and I have no idea why he has a career in film. If he wants to vomit forth worthless rehashings perhaps he should try and get a job as a bulimic at Denny's.

The surprise twist seen from a mile away, the completely god awful cg effects (Quadrahelix should close up shop doors as their "FX" are utter shit), the obnoxious characters I was glad to see killed, major plot holes (the cell phones don't get service, until suddenly they do!), and editing that equals the skill required to make a youtube poop -- these all chalk up to one thing: one worthless fucking film.

The first half of the movie appears to be a study in exactly how annoying you can make stock "to be killed" college kid characters, and the second half is a less-than-tepid deep-south gorefest that is about as thrilling as a long wait in the DMV line. If you've ever seen even one horror movie in your life you can predict exactly what will happen moment by moment. Actually, the DMV line is even more unpredictable than this film -- sometimes it moves faster than you ancticipated!

No, "dismal" is actually too nice of a term to describe this movie - something like "road apple" or "used condom" is a better descriptor of what to expect from this film.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Dunwich Horror

Title: The Dunwich Horror
Release Date: August, 2009
Score: 2 out of 4

This is not a good film. This is a very poorly edited mess of footage, consisting mainly of either a very poorly executed flashback and/or apparition plotline and a contemporaneous present-day plotline, the main one we're supposed to be following, I guess -- they seem to merge -- or do they??? Wooouhouhhgh!

It follows the major plotline of the story by H.P. Lovecraft to more or less a fair bit, and the script is peppered with enough Cthulhuh mythos lore to keep avid Lovecraft fans fairly engaged.

That's really all I can say about it with any due diligence. The sets were atrocious, costuming, make-up -- the entire production seemed willfully careless towards any sense of verisimilitude. Almost all aspects of the film appeared as though a small high school drama team were required to furnish everything for a whole 90 minute film, yet the acting unfortunately did not aspire even to secondary education level heights.

The movie was heavily bogged down in a formulaic rhythm of terrible and garish melodrama, followed by staid academic potboiler, it seemed to go on for hours with little to no regard for standard or even any entertaining style of pacing.

The film is thoroughly lacking and yet it delivers too much of a bad thing: a cheapened and whorish docudrama-like rendering of the backstory of the tale, executed by z-grade actors in laughably bad performances.

I would give it a 1, but, unlike so many tangentially Lovecraft-related films of recent day, the screenplay is much more closely aligned with its source material, so it gets bonus points for not butchering a great story.

If you feel the need to suffer through every film someone makes based on a Lovecraft story, I suppose you'd better watch this. Otherwise, this is not a portal you need enter.

PS: I could not locate any poster art for this film.