Posts Tagged ‘horror review’

Let The Right One In, released in 2008, is a Swedish horror film starring Kare Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson. You can watch the trailer for the film here, or watch it in its entirety on Netflix. The film is based off of a novel of the same name by John Adjvide Lindqvist. If there’s one thing about Let The Right One In, it’s that it cannot be easily categorized. While it is considered both a horror film, and a vampire film, it really doesn’t seem right to categorize it as either.

Kare Hedebrant plays 12-year-old Oskar. He is the quiet, socially awkward target of school bullies. He notices a girl around his age and her father moving into the apartment next to his family’s. He later finds out that the girl’s name is Eli, and the man with her is not, in fact, her father. His job is to get blood for Eli. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Eli is a vampire. After letting her borrow his Rubik’s cube, which she returns solved, she and Oskar begin to form a friendship.

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I had heard countless rave reviews about this film, claiming that it was much better than the U.S. version, Let Me In (starring Chloe Grace Moretz, also available to stream on Netflix). Reviews said not to be put off by the fact that this is a “vampire movie.” It’s more of just a movie, that happens to have a vampire in it. That’s mostly true; it’s unlike any other vampire film I’ve ever seen. There are definitely no sparkling Edward Cullens in this film. While there are still age old vampire tropes included (aversion to sunlight, being unable to cross a threshold without being invited in) it is still quite unique. It sounds pretty generic in the summary I provided above, but I kept it short to avoid major spoilers.

Here’s where I’m probably going to upset some fans. I didn’t think this movie was all it’s cracked up to be. After reading 100 positive reviews for every 1 negative review, I was convinced I was about to see something profound. I enjoyed watching this movie, but I was quite disappointed. The story didn’t waste time getting started, but nothing exceptionally eventful really happened until the first hour had passed. Going in to the film, I was thinking that I would like Eli because she was a “good” vampire; a misunderstood, tortured soul. I found myself pretty indifferent to her. Oskar elicited more emotion from me. I was rooting for him to fight back and stop letting the bullies get the better of him. I think the only reason I really like Eli at all was because she seemed to be the only thing that made Oskar happy.

To be completely honest, and this is just my opinion that 99% of people will disagree with: I found Twilight more entertaining than Let The Right One In. I’m not saying that Twilight has a better story, but I didn’t find myself bored at times, like I did while watching Let The Right One In. (Yes, I enjoyed watching Twilight. Judge me.)

The story, as I said, is very unique. I can appreciate that. It’s not at all a bad film, in fact, it’s a pretty good one as far as story quality goes. I just didn’t enjoy watching it as much as I had anticipated. It’s possible I would have felt different if I had watched the film without hearing all the hype, but as it stands, it was really just okay for me.

If any have you have seen this film (or the American version, which I haven’t seen) let me know what you thought! I would love to hear your opinions (aside from bashing me for saying I liked Twilight.) Thanks for reading!

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What is the greatest movie ever made?

It’s a loaded question. There’s no possible way to ever get a definitive answer, unfortunately. How would you even go about deciding? You could look to box office success and decide that way (accounting for only theatrical revenue, that would be James Cameron‘s Avatar). You could poll movie critics, movie-goers, filmmakers… But it’s unlikely that you would get more than 3 people to provide the same answer.

As for the top ten highest grossing films, the list is as follows:

1. Avatar (2009)
2. Titanic (1997)
3. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012)
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 (2011)
5. Frozen (2013)
6. Iron Man 3 (2013)
7. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
8. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003)
9. Skyfall (2012)
10. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

My personal favorite of the films listed above is Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight Rises, and it is likely that there are plenty of people who don’t think Avatar is worthy of the title of “Greatest Movie Ever Made.” Great? Sure. The greatest ever? That’s debatable.

Most of these films have not won any Oscars (Avatar, Titanic, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, and Skyfall were the only ones to snag an Oscar, [or 2, or 11 in the case of Titanic] but a few of the others were nominated.)

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There are plenty of factors a movie can be judged on. I prefer the story in The Avengers to that in Avatar, but there’s no question that Avatar was deserving of its Oscar wins in the categories of Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, and Best Visual Effects. You could also base your decision off the performance of the actors. I prefer Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic to Sam Worthington in Avatar, even though Avatar is higher on the list. You could also merit the films based on the quality of the plot, the overall look of the film, and many more factors.


 

After scouring the Internet for “The Greatest Movie Ever Made,” I found about a dozen different lists from different contributors. You can check out IMdB’s list of the 250 greatest films here – this list seems to encompass most of the films listed by other contributors. There were many lists that covered just the greats of one genre, but I omitted those, and only counted the ones that looked at movies overall. A lot films were on nearly every list. Francis Ford Coppola‘s 1972 film, The Godfather, was the most common film listed, taking the top spot on quite a few of the countdowns. Other films that appeared on numerous lists include Citizen Kane (1941), Vertigo (1958), The Shawshank Redemption (1994), Casablanca (1942), and Psycho (1960). There is no doubt that all of these films are considered great by many people, and I think it’s safe to say a lot of them could be considered classics. (Notice that though Avatar was the highest grossing film ever, it didn’t top any of the lists I encountered.)

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I found myself pondering this question, “what is the greatest movie ever made?” and I have come to the conclusion that there isn’t, nor can there ever be, one definitive answer.

So now I am posing this question to you: In your opinion, what is the greatest movie ever made and why?

 

Leave a comment below and let me know! Thanks for reading!

So this will be my first post after my unannounced (and unintentional) hiatus. Fortunately for you all, my hiatus was filled with tons of movies to review, after binge watching for the better part of a week.

Directed by Frank Darabont, based off the novella by Stephen King, The Mist was my favorite of the horror films I gorged on this week. You can read the NY Times review here.

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To be completely honest, the premise of this film may sound kind of stupid. A small town is plagued by a mysterious mist that holds a horrible, tentacled monster that preys on townsfolk. The majority of the film is set in the supermarket, where many people are scurrying to stock up on groceries before a storm arrives. Not surprisingly, the mist arrives, leaving them trapped in the store. The movie examines the interactions between the people in the supermarket as their situation grows exponentially bleak. The group is divided and turned against one another as the story progresses.

There is quite an interesting cast chosen in this movie. The hero of the story is David Drayton, played by Thomas Jane. David is accompanied by Amanda (Laurie Holden), his son Billy (Nathan Gamble), Dan (Jeffrey DeMunn), Irene (Frances Sternhagen), Private Jessup (Sam Witwer), Ollie (Toby Jones), and a few other less notable followers.

The loathsome Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden) goes head to head against David and his “team.” Mrs. Carmody believes that the mist is God’s wrath against the less wholesome people in the store, claiming that they deserve it. (“Those of you who aren’t local should know that Mrs. Carmody is known in town for being unstable.” “No shit. What was your first clue?”) Mrs. Carmody drones on and on about the second coming and tries to stage a coup d’état against David, and the more likable characters. Due to the obnoxious nature of Harden’s character, a shining moment of the film was when Irene, a badass grandma, throws a can of peas at Mrs. Carmody (“Shut up you miserable buzzard! Stoning people who piss you off is perfectly okay. They do it in the bible, don’t they? And I’ve got lots of peas!”)

For those of you who didn’t notice above, this film features Laurie Holden and Jeffrey DeMunn, both of which starred in AMC’s The Walking Dead, as Andrea and Dale, respectively. Though she doesn’t have a large role in this film, Melissa McBride, known to TWD fans as Carol, also appears in The Mist.

This could just be me reading too far into what is meant to only be 2 hours of mindless entertainment, but I think there’s more to this movie than the characters trying to defeat a giant tentacled monster. It is always interesting to me to see the way different movies portray characters when they are thrown into a dangerous fight for survival. Each instance spurs a different reaction from the characters. You get to see who is loyal to the group, who would betray the group for their own benefit, the relationships that form, and who will emerge as a leader. It seems like this movie does a pretty good job depicting a group of people put into a dangerous situation and seeing how they react. As their fear becomes more intense, their relationships are strained and they begin to make more questionable decisions.

I’m not sure how many of you have seen, or are even familiar with this movie, but I recommend it. If you are a Stephen King fan like me, you should definitely see it. Any of you who have already seen this film, leave a comment and let me know what you thought. Thanks for reading.

I’ve decided to wait until May 10th to start the 30 day writing challenge that I posted on Monday. I will be out of town this coming weekend, and the following week will be finals week, so I figure it would be best to start with summer.

 

On to today’s post: The Bucket List.

Many of you may be familiar with the TV show, The Buried Life.

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Basically, Ben Nemtin, Jonnie Penn, Duncan Penn and Dave Lingwood go around the world marking items of their bucket list, while helping others cross items off their bucket lists as well.

These guys have crossed off some major bucket list items over the course of their project:

#89: Play ball with the President.
#59: Ask out the girl of your dreams. (In this case, it was Taylor Swift.)
#124: Be on Oprah.
#91: Get married in Vegas.
#25: Capture a fugitive.

Ok, so back to reality. Most of us don’t have MTV funding our bucket list adventures.

Creating a bucket list has been on my bucket list for a long time (see what I did there?) but regrettably, I’ve never gotten around to it. What does one add to a bucket list? I think we all have a mental bucket list, whether we realize it or not. If you see the a picture of the Eiffel Tower and say to yourself, “wow, I would love to visit the Eiffel Tower before I die!” That sort of counts, right? That’s been basically the extent of my bucket list making, but I’ve decided I want to actually write 100 things I want to do before I die. Also, are there rules for bucket lists? Are you allowed to add and immediately cross out something really cool that you’ve already done? I’m sure that around #50, I’ll start getting desperate for ideas and my list will begin to look a bit like this:

#51: Visit England.
#52: Go shopping in England.
#53: Eat shepherd’s pie in England.
#54: Buy an umbrella in England.
#55: Take a picture in England.
#56: Sleep at a hotel in England.
#57: Fly home from England.

While all those items (ok, maybe not #54) are [somewhat] legitimate, I want 100 original ideas. I have quite a few already, but I want you guys to give me some insight.
If any of you have a bucket list, what items do you have on it? Or if you don’t have a bucket list, what would you put on it if you did? Have you done anything that you really enjoyed that I should consider adding to my own bucket list? Leave me some comments and let me know, I’d love to hear what you have to say!

 

Also, this is a really cool website you should check out if you’re interested in making a bucket list for yourself. You can look at what other people have on their lists, and you can also keep track of your own on the site.

What makes a horror movie? Is it a charismatic protagonist that everyone is rooting for? Is it an iconic villain like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger or Michael Myers? Is it the suspenseful music that floods the speakers as the villain approaches? (I know you’re humming the theme for Jaws as you read this.) Are the reality based horror films that are the most frightening? Or are the supernatural monster movies the most horrifying? Is it the film’s ability to produce genuine fear in the audience? (Do you guys agree with this list? Top 50 Scariest Horror Movies of All Time.)

In my opinion, horror movies are typically a hit or miss. I usually don’t feel neutral toward horror films; I either really enjoy them or really hate them. I have a hard time identifying what it is that makes a horror movie worth watching. Obviously an interesting, well-executed plot is important. Horror movies have a reputation for being predictable and repetitive. There are only so many times we can watch a group of obnoxious teenagers get hacked up one by one, while on an overnight camping trip. However, when you get a horror movie with a never-before-seen storyline and an exciting ending, it really works. Acting is important in all films, but I think it’s somewhat difficult to give a convincing performance in a horror movie. Conveying genuine fear in a staged situation often comes off as fake and off-putting. Playing a deranged, psychotic killer can either come off as unconvincing or too exaggerated.

As horror films developed throughout the 20th century, viewers were given a bounty of horror films that have achieved status as cult classics. Films like Tod Browning‘s Dracula (1931), Alfred Hitchcock‘s Psycho (1960), Tobe Hooper‘s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), and George A. Romero‘s Night of the Living Dead (1964) are all milestones in the evolution of the the horror film.

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Most often, it takes time before movies are considered classics. Looking back, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, at the time of its release, was probably not iconic. However, after countless remakes and global recognition of the film’s antagonist, Leatherface (a name given to the character by fans of the franchise), I think it’s safe to say that this film is a classic. While we’re only in 2014, it seems like 21st century horror does not provide us with as many films that have the potential to be, one day, considered classics. It sincerely saddens me that Sharknado (2013) is as widely recognized as it is, however I find solace in the fact that its claim to fame is just how truly terrible the film is.

There have been a few films released this century that are either well on their way to reaching the status of cult classic, or have the potential to do so. The Paranormal Activity film series has been wildly popular since its release, prompting 4 sequels (most recently Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones). From filmmaker Oren Peli, the first film in the series was made on a budget of next to nothing. Filmed with handheld cameras giving the appearance of home footage, the film was released into select theaters after generating some buzz at film festivals. Having five films with a continuing storyline in the horror genre is fairly uncommon. These films are also pretty exceptional with the fact that none of these sequels have been largely disappointing for fans.

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Another horror film that I am particularly fond of is Insidious. Starring Patrick Wilson (I am mildly obsessed with him) and Rose Byrne, Insidious was released in 2010, and the second installment of the series, Insidious: Chapter 2, was released in 2013. The expected release of the 3rd film is April 2015. This film definitely had an original storyline (you can watch the trailer here) . There were just enough moments of comic relief, and I have nothing but positive things to say about the actors. The convincing performances of the actors in Insidious were precisely why I was very excited to see that Patrick Wilson had signed on to play Ed Warren, alongside Vera Farmiga (another one of my favorite actresses) in The Conjuring. This film is also one of the best that I’ve seen in a while. Here’s the trailer for it. Anyone else who also enjoyed The Conjuring will be happy to know that Wilson and Farmiga have signed on for a second installment of the film.

So I have, in this post and a few others, told you guys a few of the horror films that I really enjoy. My point for this post is that I really want to know what you all think makes a horror movie? What is it about the film that makes people want to watch it? What makes a horror cult classic? Please leave some of your insight in a comment below!

I added a poll with just a couple answers, but feel free to add your own. I want to know what you think!

On my last post, I reviewed the film, Nothing Left To Fear, a film by ex Guns n Roses guitarist, Slash. I mentioned that I believed the king of rock n roll horror was Rob Zombie, and this movie is why.

Lords of Salem was released in 2013 by writer/director Rob Zombie. The movie stars his wife, Sherri Moon Zombie as Heidi, a local radio personality. Things get weird when the radio station receives an anonymously submitted track. When they play this song on the air, many women in the area, including Heidi, fall into a trance upon hearing the song. You can read a review of the movie here. As the reviewer says, “public burnings and satanic births have never been so visual.”

Meg Foster as Margaret Morgan is one of the highlights of the film. Her acting is superb. You might have the idea that Sherri Moon Zombie isn’t going to deliver a great performance, but in my opinion, she did. This movie is pretty unique, so you’ll just have to watch it for yourself, and I recommend that you do so. The overall feel of the movie was really interesting. If you enjoy horror, this film is definitely worth the watch.

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If any of you have already seen Lords of Salem, please comment and let me know what you thought!

Okay, so my first movie post is going to be about a few horror films that I really enjoy.. and also one that I really didn’t enjoy.

I realize not everyone is going to agree with me and that’s cool. The point of this is to turn anyone reading this page on to awesome new movies. Also, this is my page so that gives me the right to complain about movies I hate. Let’s be real, when we spend ten bucks to go to the theater, we earn the right to complain if the movie in question is a disappointment.

It would make sense that since I love film, I am currently taking a film class. My teacher is one of about 10 who teach this class at this university. All the teachers collaborate and come up with a list of the films that will be studied that semester. My teacher is way into horror, so he opted to show us 1 Wes Anderson film (Rushmore), instead of two (buh-bye The Royal Tenenbaums!) In place of the 2nd Anderson film, he decided that he would give the class a taste of the horror genre. I admit, I took this teacher last semester for a class completely focused on horror media and the reason I selected him this semester was in hopes that he would once again grace his students with some of his extensive horror knowledge. You did not disappoint, Mr. Frazier. I saw this film in my horror media class, and had absolutely zero objections to watching it a second (or third, or fourth..) time. I had never heard of this film until my teacher showed it in class. My first reaction to this film was to finally breathe a sigh of relief at the end, after holding my breath through the majority of the film. Then I had to do some stretches to relieve the tension that had been coursing through my body for the duration of the film. Here it is, guys:

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The Loved Ones. This film, released in Australia in 2010, is the writer/director Sean Byrne‘s first feature-length film. It made its way to the United States in 2012 after generating some buzz at some of the film festivals where it was shown. I’ll begin with a disclaimer: there have been multiple reviews to classify this film as “torture porn,” and their claims are not without merit. I personally disagree, only because I believe this film is carried by its plot more so than its masochistic appeal. It stars Robin McLeavy (you may also know her from AMC’s Hell on Wheels) as Lola Stone. She gives one of the most convincing horror villain performances ever. Seriously. Ah, and Lola’s super creepy prom song. You’ll feel so demented as you sing it for the 24 hours following watching the film, while everyone who hasn’t seen it will think you’re singing an obscure Cyndi Lauper song (Am I not pretty enough? Is my heart too broken?) Even though this movie isn’t extremely well known, it has received rave reviews – it has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes! You can read a review and summary of the plot here and this is a link to the trailer: don’t let the first 50 seconds fool you! It is definitely not for the faint of heart, I’m not kidding about the violence, but who wouldn’t want to watch a “psychotic re-imagining of Pretty in Pink”? Sean Byrne has so much potential, and I can’t wait for him to give us something new. Check this one out guys!

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If any of you are familiar with Rob Reiner‘s 1990 film, Misery, it is somewhat similar to The Loved Ones. If you are not familiar with Misery (based on a Stephen King Novel) then you should be. It stars the fabulous Kathy Bates (above) as Annie Wilkes, who “rescues” her favorite author Paul Sheldon (James Caan). I know this movie isn’t new, but it’s seriously underrated. Kathy Bates is one of the best actresses out there, and her performance in this movie is phenomenal. It is so over the top, you can’t help but laugh, but she delivers it in such a way that it never loses your interest. You can read a review of the film on this site and watch the trailer here. The story is nothing too extravagant, but I promise you will be on the edge of your seat the entire time. The film is named for Misery Chastain, a character in one of Paul Sheldon’s book series, who Annie basically worships. This movie is pretty violent, but nothing like The Loved Ones. If you like any kind of horror or thriller movies, definitely give this one a try.

I’ve given you two wonderfully demented films to enjoy. Now I’m going to give you one that was just kind of tragically stupid and only a little demented – not even the good kind of demented. Yes, there is a good kind of demented. Anyway, here it is:

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I will first address the reviews plastered on this misleading movie poster. Savage slasher? Okay, sure. Unpredictable? Yes. Fresh, terrifying, wickedly savvy and most entertaining? Not even. Here is the trailer if you’re so inclined to watch it.

There are really no notable cast members (no big names anyway) in this film. I’ll start with the positive, because there’s not much of it. Actress Sharni Vinson, who plays Erin, does a pretty good job, considering the garbage plot and script she has to work with. Even from the trailer, if you have any kind of respect for the horror genre, you can see that there is little promise for a quality film. One mistake horror filmmakers make so many times, is they don’t make their characters likable or relatable. It makes it much less intense watching characters get picked off one by one, if the duration is spent wishing they would die faster. This film is no exception. Aside from Vinson’s character, the rest of the victims are just irritating. It covers a choppy plot with unnecessary violence. I am not against movie violence at all, but when it’s just thrown in to make up for a crap story and bad acting, then it just becomes annoying. I will admit, there were a few aspects of the plot that surprised me, which is uncommon with a run-of-the-mill slasher movie. With the tagline “Don’t bother locking the doors. Animals don’t use doors.” what could go wrong, right? I’ll leave it up to your discretion if you want to take a chance and see You’re Next for yourself, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!