Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Damned--8 out of 10 stars

We watched a marathon of horror movies on Thanksgiving Day. What? What do you mean that's not normal? Well, I'm not a huge football fan, and my husband was still too sick to argue. It's not like he actually stayed awake through most of them anyway...

Which brings us to The Damned. It was the first in the line up and luckily, was available on Netflix streaming. I love me some free movies. I'd read about it on someone some where's list of the year's best horror. And they weren't far off.

Synopsis: After a family is involved in an accident, they take refuge in a secluded inn where they free a girl locked in a basement without knowing she's an ancient evil spirit.

Some of it is spoken in Spanish so there are a few subtitles, but not enough to really bother you. And in one instance the characters were hollering, "hola," when they were supposed to be shouting, "ayuda." ("Hello" versus "Help") I'm not sure why they messed that up, but if you don't speak even rudimentary spanish you wouldn't notice anyway.

The plot is actually decent, with no visible holes or missing pieces. It makes sense (which I find very important) and plays by the rules. The acting isn't bad either. The father/daughter combo is convincing, as is the tension between the future stepmother and daughter. The characters don't do ridiculous things that make you go, "what?" And the ambiance is spooky enough.

There aren't any big name actors or actresses, but the lead characters are at least recognizable from other films. And they do a good job, which is the most important thing.

I definitely recommend the film. It can be found on Netflix for free, or Amazon Prime for $3.99.

Happy Viewing,

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Horns 9 out of 10

One of the best things about streaming TV is the availability of all movies, even some before actual release date. This was the case with Horns. I could rent it on Amazon Prime for $9.99 even before it's theatrical release. I'd been waiting for this movie for so long, and yet I waited just a little longer. Why? I knew the special effects were good. I'd seen a picture of Joe Hill (Stephen King's son who wrote the book the movie was based from) wearing the horns. How you ask? Well I happen to know a fantastic special effects artist, Mike McCarty, who did the work on Horns. And was thoughtful enough (because he knows what a huge Joe Hill fan I am) to send me some pics during production. (Thanks, Mike!!) I guess I waited out of fear. I loved the book, but I was unsure how it would translate to film. And well, I just wasn't sold on Daniel Radcliffe as Ig.

But Thanksgiving night was the night. I rented it for $6.99, but I would have gladly spent more. Now, as much as I liked the book, it has been awhile since I read it. So there may be a few things I missed. But to me, the movie definitely did the book justice. There were differences, most notably, the grandmother was missing from the family. The book has a funny scene where Ig pushes her wheelchair (with her in it) down a hill. And the ending is quite different. But all in all, the movie works.

It's not scary, by any means, but it does make you think. What if people suddenly started telling you  their deepest darkest secrets? And why as a culture do we always want to blame those closest to the victim? Why do we leap to the conclusion their loved ones are guilty?

The movie also has it's funny moments as Ig embraces the power of the horns and encourages some people's dark side. I think Daniel's performance really shines in those moments. And in the end, the movie is about love, loss, and redemption.

I highly recommend this movie to both those who have read the book and those who haven't. My husband doesn't read horror and he really enjoyed the movie. Don't look for scares or jumps though. This movie is not about cheap thrills.

Happy viewing,


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Dracula Untold-- 8 out of 10

I just saw the trailer for this movie this week, but it peaked my interest and last night I dragged my husband to the movies. I really didn't know what to expect. The beginning of the movie is narrated by Dracula's son, Ingeras, which is the first bit of movie invention. In real life, Vlad had two sons and neither was named Ingeras.

The movie goes on to tell the story of why Vlad becomes a vampire, and it's actually a noble cause. But like all fatally flawed characters, it's the nobility that gets him into trouble. Wanting to save his people and his family from the turks, he risks taking on the power of a vampire. He's told he will have the strength, healing properties, shape shifting abilities, and command of the night for three nights. If he abstains from drinking human blood for those three nights, he will simply die. If he partakes of human blood, he will be forever cursed to live in darkness.

Vlad does pretty well with resisting until everything goes to shit. When the chips are down, he decides the vampire gig is the only way to get revenge.

Visually, the movie is stunning. Lots of action, beautiful scenery, and the whole shape shifting thing is pretty awesome. Historical accuracy wise, the movie is pretty damned inaccurate. But I can suspend my knowledge for a short time, to enjoy the movie. And really, if you aren't a super huge horror nerd, you probably won't notice anyway. And you might not even then, unless you're also a history nerd.

So I gave the movie 8 stars because it entertained me, and isn't that what a movie is supposed to do? I didn't glance at my phone once. My butt did not get numb. I never once wondered when the movie would be over, or pondered where we should eat dinner. I was caught up in the onscreen action. Also, the guy playing Dracula was hott, in a dark, broody sort of way. (Which is my favorite way)

But only an 8 because I was left with a lot of questions. A lot. I won't pose them all here because it would spoil the movie. But generally, I don't like to leave the theatre with a lot of questions or having caught many discrepancies. I'll let it go this time because I love vampires.

So go for the entertainment factor, but don't expect brilliance.

Happy viewing,