Archive for August, 2011

19
Aug
11

Welcome to Fright Night…Just Kidding.

Wait...did Charlie even use that axe he's holding in this poster?

a Primal Root written review

My friend Sam wanted to see this movie. He was stoked. His enthusiasm lead me to go along with him. Hell, how bad could it be? As the songs goes. “I wish that I knew what I know now…when I was stronger.” We both left the theater in agony around 2:00 this morning…

I really had no interest in this remake. At all. Fright Night is one of my all time favorite horror films of the 80’s, Hell, it’s one of my favorite horror movies period. Under the masterful direction of Tom Holland, Fright Night was a vibrant, funny, spooky, gruesome love letter to horror’s Golden Age updated with many excellent in-camera effects and some down right awesome performances by everyone involved. Holland even managed to give all the characters involved (even those in supporting roles) back stories, the space to breath and in turn, gave the film a lot of heart. All of this is why Fright Night endures as a horror fan favorite and why audiences keep coming for more.

And then there’s Fright Night 2011…Remember, I saw this movie for you.

Don't feel bad, Colin, I hear it happens to lots of guys...

I cannot even think of where to begin…well, the beginning is as good a place as any. We are introduced to our new Charlie Brewster who lives in a modern suburb of Las Vegas where every house looks exactly the same. The camera glides over the houses showing us how uniform they all are and as I watched this new Fright Night that was the final moment I felt hope…Maybe the film would be some kind of commentary on how interchangeable we all have become in a world where individuality is pushed aside for convenience sake? I dunno, needless to say, I was over estimating this corn riddled turd of a film.

Charlie (Yelchin) is now a dirt bike enthusiast who is trying to grapple with his past so that he can still hang out with the cool kids at school and get the sticky finger from his uninteresting girlfriend, Amy (Poots. Tee-Hee) See, Charlie used to play some kind of roll playing game with his old nerdy best friend “Evil” Ed (Plasse/McLovin’) and Charlie must keep this past and the existence of his old best friend buried at all costs or else he won’t be popular anymore.

I guess the decision here was to make every main character unlikable from the get-go, especially Charlie.  Rather than giving the audience a surrogate in Charlie as the original had ( a bit of an awkward nerd, passion for horror movies, having girl troubles and attempting to defeat the forces of evil) instead we get this Charlie.  He has a dirt bike and is trying to be popular. How…interesting…

So, Jerry (Farrell)  moves in next door to Charlie and his single Mom, Jane (Toni Collette! What are you doing in this mess?)  and is introduced as he does his yard work…as the sun is just beginning to set. Let me remind you, Jerry’s a vampire. Of course he’s charming, suave, built and ready to fuck and/or eat anything that moves and, true to form, the ladies around town are instantly drawn to this type of undead, evil, sociopath…

"And may your forehead grow like the mighty oak."

I think possibly the saddest thing about Fright Night 2011 is how quickly Jerry is revealed to be a full force vampire. Literally, ten minutes in and one of the main protagonists is attacked and turned.  Jerry’s reveal in the original takes time to build, the tension grows as does the suspicion and the paranoia until Jerry finally confront Charlie. In the new Fright Night he basically walks up a goes. “Hey, I’m a vampire.” Yep…quite the reveal.

The filmmakers try to punch up the long spells of boredom and Collin Farrel mugging sly smiles to the camera before sniffing the air in all directions, with uninspired car chases, cameos from previous cast members (of whom I felt deeply embarrassed for) and David Tennant grabbing his testicles for inspired comic relief as our new Peter Vincent, the leather pants wearing, premature ejaculating host of Fright Night. No, Fright Night is no longer a late night cable access spook show… now it’s a Las Vegas magic show.Tennant’s portrayal of Vincent is a dreadfully over the top performance that’s given no real gravity or sense of reality especially once the back story of this new Peter Vincent is revealed.

The Smarmy goes to 11.

Fright Night 2011 is nothing more than product. There’s not a whole lot for me to talk about in this review because there’s nothing there. It’s vapid, empty and a complete waste of time, effort, talent, money and celluloid.  Characters that were believable, that you once felt for whether they were human or monster, are reduced to terrible one liners and the most senseless and dull headed characterization I’ve witnessed since those fucking Transformers movies took off. Oh yeah, it’s that kind of bad. Perhaps, even worse, since Fright Night had such incredible source material to plunder.AND DON’T SEE THIS THING IN3-D! It’s a waste of money. Unless 3-D doorways and apple eating is worth an additional 5 bucks to you…

Maybe I am just getting too old. Perhaps references to Google, Ebay and excellent Century 21 product placements aren’t enough to make me laugh. It just makes me roll my eyes in my old man disgruntlement knowing what I am watching is nothing more that a cheap, piece of shit knock of of a once inspired and wholly entertaining story. A film that in 1985 reminded us of how imaginative and fun horror cinema could truly be! Hell, I watch it today and I still wish people strived to make movies as great as Fright Night (85). Movies where  you walk out of the theater feeling exhilarated and wishing you could spend even more time in that universe.

And then there’s the new Fright Night. Where you walk out feeling like you were the one who just had your blood drained. It seemed they tried to walk a middle ground where they might appeal to old fans and new. In the end, they ended up with something I feel will appeal to neither.

Perhaps you should just stop TRYING to be so cool, Brewster…

18
Aug
11

Final Destination 5: Death, Still a Jerk After All These Years.

a Primal Root written review

Death in the cinema is a strange subject. On one hand it can be dealt with as something gentle, life affirming and even heroic. On the other hand…it can be cynical and used to make us laugh and/or vomit. Then there’s The Final Destination franchise…the now five sequel deep slasher franchise that cuts out the middle man by casting Death itself as the main antagonist. And let me tell you, Death is one Hell of a creative genius when a debt is owed.

If you’ve seen the first film you are already in on the basic structure of these stories. A group of cliches get together around some form of transit and end up narrowly escaping a horrific death thanks to someones psychic vision. See, the shitty part of the deal is, now Death has it out for you because it didn’t get to burn you alive or shred you into several dozen meaty chunks when it was supposed to.  This is when Death dons his little black beret, grows a hipster mustache and goatee, grabs his paint brush and gets to work crafting some of the most ridiculous/gut churning deaths it can come up with.

And for whatever reason, I cannot help coming back for more. A lot of that is due to the fact I really enjoy the first three films as excellent examples of grand guignol entertainment kept lively with a mischievous, demented penchant for black comedy and even building suspense, in some cases, as to when and how people will meet their demise which will either be brutal, shocking, hysterical or a combo punch knock out of all three.Final Destination 1-3 delivered the goods for me but the premise seemed to finally be wearing out by the time part part 4 (THE Final Chapter) was farted out into theaters under the guise of being the last installment much like Friday the 13th part 4: The Final Chapter did decades before.  They added 3D, removed any attempt to make the characters interesting or even remotely likable. But worst of all? The kills just felt dreary and uninspired which could be a result of the audience not feeling a damn thing or caring at all for the folks in peril.

And, as we all know, when money talks sequels walk, THE Final Destination turned out to not be the last stop after all! Here we are with a brand new 3D misadventure! Final Destination 5 avoids any pretense of being the final installment in this notorious horror film series and, instead, gives us a return to form from a franchise that really felt dead in the water after it’s shittacular fourth outing.

Who farted, ya'll?

Here, we are introduced to a young man who has to choose between following his culinary dreams of studying under a master chef in Paris, France or his ridiculously attractive and sweet girlfriend. First, he and his fellow coworkers and friends must survive a corporate team building retreat. They all gather on a bus and head for a rickety old suspension bridge…that’s having some work done…as dark clouds and high winds approach…and Dust in the Wind by Kansas (BRILLIANT comic timing by death.) plays on the radio. Who knew he was also a disc jockey on the side?

Anyone with even the tiniest crumb of knowledge of this series of films will know what happens next. Yes, the bridge begins falling apart. Piece by piece and our main cast is  crushed, splattered, impaled, and in possibly the most horrific death I have yet seen in this franchise, (SPOILER!!!!!) doused with a barrel full of molting tar…I’m not going to lie, I genuinely got queasy at this one. (END SPOILER!!!!!) And in this sequence, especially, you can see where that 3-D budget paid off in spades. Sail Boat shot, anyone?

Of course, the gang survives thanks to the young chef fellow’s vision and Death starts visiting them one by one to collect in it’s trademark visceral, grisly fashion. I’m going to try and avoid as many spoilers as possible, but never, ever assume you know what’s going to happen in any of these death scenarios. That fucker is a master of misdirection in this entry and most kills come right out of left field which makes the movie that much more enjoyable to experience. Many times, once you finish cringing in shared agony, you can’t help but crack up a bit in cynical laughter…I call this the America’s Funniest Home Videos principal.

Final destination 5 also features the triumphant return of one of my favorite elements of the franchise, the ever awesome Tony Todd, as William Bludworth, mortician by trade and the only person who seems to really understand the nature of Death’s “design”.  Bludworth was featured in FD 1&2, was the voice heard coming from the Satan Roller Coaster in FD3 but was totally missing from THE Final Destination. Let me tell you, having him back dropping his typical cryptic hints for those waiting on death’s arrival to decipher, is a much welcome and needed element in these films. As a sort of bystander, Bludworth is the only connection or walking dead have to the rules and laws that death goes by. Still, at this point in the series we all know no matter what rules you follow Death will get you in the end. No matter what. No one survives. Bludworth should really just be throwing his arms in the air and saying, “Man, I’m sorry, but you’re kind of fucked.”

"I'll see you soon..." - Bludworth

Another aspect of Final destination 5 that I really appreciate is that the film’s writers tried their damnedest to add some story to this thing. After THE Final Destinations lack of any kind of attempt at narrative story telling I was nervous going into Final Destination 5 expecting the same sad ride of faceless characters getting their poopers sucked out by pool drains. Instead, we are treated to a bit of a love story, an investigation and even a man trying to come to grips with the terrible hand life has dealt him and is steadily driven crazy. It’s no Citizen Kane, that’s to be understood, but I can always grin and appreciate when a screenwriter takes a tired, done to  death (excuse the pun.) premise and tries his or her best to give it something more than just the glorious blood and body parts flying at the audiences faces in the magnificent 3rd dimension!

The cast of the film is rounded out by some familiar and, dare I say, talented faces. Not only is Tonyy Todd (Candyman) in on the festivities, Emma Bell (Walking Dead), Courtney B. Vance ( from Law & Order: Criminal Intent. My favorite incarnation of the series. :D), Miles Fisher (Gods and Generals and a dead ringer for Tom Cruise) and even a few other guest appearances from past Final Destination alumni (hmmm) make the best of their time on screen and give the material more credibility than many would suggest it deserves.

In the final analysis (see what I did there?)Final Destination 5 reestablishes everything I enjoyed about the franchise in it’s early days. This is the 3-D entry that should have been. It’s an apologetically dark film laced with that same sick humor that made the original trilogy an enjoyable viewing experience. Especially with a crowd.

Final Destination 5 gives us some new twists and turns and even packs in an awesome twisted ending that’s sure to please all the old school fans and intrigue those new to the franchise.Final Destination 5 is brutal, trashy and fun and if you are a fan or someone who knows this is something they might enjoy it is definitely worth checking out in it’s 3-D format.

Could Final Destination 5 really be…A New Beginning? 😉

Stay Trashy,

-Root

18
Aug
11

Autumn Dies, August’s Devil girl of the Month (2011)

Hey Gang, The Primal Root here, and it is my honor to unveil our Devil Girl for the Month of August, Autumn Dies!  Autumn is a professional Tattoo artist at Legacy Tattoos in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania as well as being a photographer, model and an integral part of the BioGamer Girl Team (www.biogamergirl.com)where she works as the Director of Art & Design. Autumn is a good friend of ours here at The Collective so be sure to give her a very warm welcome.  – Root

Autumn Quote: “I’m always up to explore new places…. and the older and creepier something is the more i am drawn to it.”

Her websites are:
http://autumndies.tumblr.com/
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Autumn-Dies-Modeling-page/131009120293556

Photo credits:
Charles Armstrong
Joe Crocetta
Liquid Canvas Studios
Eric Eyes Photography

Spread laid out by Amanda Dyar




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