Posts Tagged ‘assholes

19
Apr
15

Unfriended (2014): Grumpy Young Assholes

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a Primal Root written review

Man, the future according to cinema keeps looking bleaker all the time. If it’s not some kind of genetic ape epidemic, Lovecraftian unspeakable evil hostel takeover, or nuclear apocalypse it’s a fucking zombie outbreak that our military forces just can’t contain. I’ve seen these scenarios done many, many times over. Sometimes done well, often done stupidly, but typically on quite a grandiose scale. But, if you ask me, often times the terrible turd of a future the movies keep warning us of is so much more enjoyable when handled…subtly. And what makes all the more frightening is when it’s simply a teen horror film that is trying to present teenage human being as they actually are. And then you just think about the future with these fuckers and realize just how deeply fucked in the pooper we really are.

Enter Unfriended, 2015’s answer to 1999’s The Blair Witch Project and 2007’s Paranormal Activity. It’s your typical horror movie only we, the viewer, are witnessing an evening on the social networks from the perspective of young, pretty high school girl, Val, (Courtney Halverson) who begins, um, sexting (?) her boyfriend, who she professes to love but refuses to fuck, that is, until promising to on prom night. How original. Anyhoo, Laura almost pulls open her flannel shirt to give us a glimpse of her T-Birds, but these kid’s obnoxious buddies choose that moment to start up a, um, Live Chat (?) through the interwebs.

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It turns out tonight is the one year anniversary of their mutual friend Laura’s suicide, which was taped on a cell phone from a distance of about 50 yards as she puts a gun to her face and pulls the trigger.  People can be heard yelling “Don’t do it!” and “Stop!” But we don’t see a single person try to approach her. Thankfully, it is captured for posterity on Youtube for all to revisit whenever they please. It seems  Laura was the victim of some very mean spirited bullying which came to a climax with a nasty video of her getting hammered out of her mind at a party and then passing out… and shitting her pants was uploaded to the web with a nice little credit at the end urging her to kill herself.

Sure, this might sound like loads of laughs to many sociopathic teeny boppers out there these days, but to me, I can’t understand what would prompt people to do this to someone. I can see maybe one person being an utter scumbag to someone, but for what is implied to be an entire student body urging a girl to kill herself after a video of her laying in a pool of her own chunky diarrhea is hard for me to comprehend. I can wrap my mind around the teenage jerks in Carrie, Fear No Evil, even Weird Science and the like, but this new generation of bullying jerks has reached a terrifying new height of scumbaggery where they can hurt and bully someone to the point of killing themselves and then make jokes about it and justify it after on 12 months.

What I’m trying to say is there is no hope for humanity, that is, if Unfriended is to be believed. But, thankfully, there is someone who by all appearances is the ghost of Laura hacking into their Live Chat (?) and killing them all off one by one via the old and moldy drinking game “Never Have I Ever.” Sure, it’s kind of lame, but it is pretty hysterical to watch these self proclaimed “Good People” freak the fuck out as truths are revealed and back stabbings are brought to the surface. Man, if you can;t trust the people responsible for bullying a person into suicide, who can you trust?  It’s an interesting update to the slasher formula. Where once the likes of Freddy and Jason were killing off kids for smoking weed and fucking like bunnies, these kids are getting butchered for totally understandable reasons. In Friday the 13th, these kids weren’t hurting anyone else. But these kids in Unfriended are the most deplorable, detestable fuck bags I’ve seen on screen in years! The victims in the SAW franchise were more savory than these teenage “protagonists.” You will laugh and cheer as their worlds are crushed and then their skulls.

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That being said, there are long patches of this flick where not a whole lot is going on. Val spends a lot of time on various search engines and texting various people. You’ll be straining to read everything that is constantly popping up on the screen, some essential to the plot, some not so much. Also, there isn’t much for you gore hounds out there. It’s all shown in drips and drabs, but in a way, I feel that might have been a bit more effective for the medium they were going for. But for you shit lovers out there, there’s plenty of shots of poo-poo puddles for your enjoyment.

All in all, I went in with a sinking feeling this movie was going to be horrendously bad. To my amazement, it was moderately enjoyable. I rooted for the unseen murderous spirit of vengeance, I laughed out loud more than once at humor both intentional and unintentional. I gotta say, I had an alright time watching this one with Bootsie Kidd. It’s not a good film by ANY stretch of the imagination, but it was a relatively entertaining take on the slasher formula. It did things a little different and by the time the credits rolled had me weeping for humanity itself. Because if the message of Unfriended is to be believed, we’re all… shit out of luck.  But also, within this movie there’s a great moral to be learned. Don’t be a fucking asshole! DON’T BE A FUCKING ASSHOLE! Trust me, you fuck the wrong person over and the next thing you know you’re turning your own hand in salsa for ll your buddies to witness! Also, another important reminder, everything you post, say or do on the internet is bound to come back and haunt you. It’s an interesting new place for evil to dwell and Unfriended hits that new realm a bit closer to the mark than most.

I reward this sucker TWO AND A HALF out of FIVE Dumpster Nuggets!

Stay Trashy!

-Root

10
Dec
12

V/H/S: Found Footage Feast of Fear

VHS-Movie-Poster-2012

a Primal Root review

V/H/S is one of those lucky horror entries who’s sails get caught up in a wind of hype and praise from the horror community, a community ravenous for something worth a damn in this genre that, when not about people eating other people’s shit or featuring a cast made almost entirely of guests from the current horror convention circuit getting torn into chunks by a mad man, is remaking films from decades past and transforming masterpieces into dumbed down fodder for the masses.  So ravenous are they, that V/H/S has become the toast of the community at the moment. Over hyped? Maybe a bit. But V/H/S sure is a fun little anthology film.

Basically, V/H/S, is a found footage horror anthology period piece. It tells six separate tales by different filmmakers all taking place in the mid to late 1990’s.  It’s about two hours of none stop shaky cam footage that will give ‘The Blair Witch Project’ a run for it’s money in stomach churning motion sickness department.

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The central wrap around story of V/H/S features a group of college age hooligans and criminals who tape their Jackass inspired shenanigans and sell them to online distributors. Now, who would pay good money to watch a bunch of twenty something assholes break the windows of abandoned houses and sexually assault random women to show their bare breasts in parking garages is beyond me. But these jerks, the rapist criminals, are our protagonists.  We follow them as these scumbags as they are sent by a mysterious party to break into the residence of an elderly man and retrieve a tape. Easy enough, right? HA! Wrong! If it were that easy we wouldn’t have a fucking movie!

Bizarrely enough, these bros find what looks to be the old man’s lifeless corpse upstairs in a recliner with several TVs flickering snowy static in front of him and surrounded by mountains of VHS tapes. Seems they have their work cut out for them.  So, as these jerk-o’s have never seen a horror movie before, they decide to split up and leave one man behind to review tapes. This feels like the flimsiest of premises, but I’ll take it. Not sure if this even warrants a *SPOILER ALERT*, but the old guy ain’t so lifeless.

Let us get to our TALES OF TERROR!

*SPOILER AHEAD! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!* I will try to keep things as vague as possible, but the basic premise and plot points to many of these stories might be spoiled if you read the below synopsis. Just a heads up.

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First up:

‘Amateur Night’ tells the tale of a trio of guys who strap one of their buddies up with a pair of now-trendy, ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ spectacles equipped with a hidden camera as they head out to enjoy a night of drunken debauchery and date rape. The three central male figures all come off as totally legit, obnoxious, collegiate horn dogs who generously rent the seediest of hotel rooms for taking advantage of the two drunken young ladies they’ve picked up. Honestly, the behavior of these young men is far more disturbing, in my opinion, than what happens to them. They gather around, dicks out and at the ready for gang banging, but as they soon realize that the one they undress, a troubling, mousy “girl” with wide creepy eyes, matted dreads, and a nervous way about her, is something they couldn’t have ever imagined. Out of all the tales in V/H/S, this may possibly be my favorite as it utilizes the hand-held, “found footage” aspect in a clever way and beautifully illustrates how being a completely loathsome, gutter-feeding, tool can literally bite you on the ass. These are the type of dudes who seek power and validation that they have penises via lording control over women, but in the end, they get a horrific taste of what it’s like to be on the receiving end of someone (something) else looking for validation. One of the cherries on this blood-soaked cake, is in the pretty awesome and grueling final chase scene climax that film-makers of ‘Amateur Night’ managed to put forth. Ultimately, this story works because it doesn’t shy away from its racy subjects of desire, power-mongering, and douchery comeuppance dealing with everything directly, brutally, and unflinchingly.

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‘Second Honeymoon’

These two are married? How old are they, 23? And they are on their second honeymoon? Eh. Okay… This one tells the story of a (very) young married couple driving through the desert. That’s pretty much it. It was strange to find out these two are married since they come across as an awkward, unlikable couple who don’t seem to get one another and might have just started dating a couple months ago. The wife is creating a video diary of their road-trip, which, as we watch it in it’s uncut form, comes off as more of a negative comment card than a tribute to their affectionate good times. She does little more than whip the camera about and complain about where she is and what she’s doing. Yeah, this is the woman you wanna travel with. Her husband is just as unbearable. Anyway, she gets her fortune read for a buck by a redneck buckaroo version of the Zoltan machines at an old west tourist trap, and it makes mention of reuniting with a loved one. That very night a strange woman knocks on their motel room door in the dead of night asking for a ride in the morning. Who is she? What does she want? Why does she like breaking into hotel rooms, filming folks with their own cameras, poking people in the butt with her switchblade, and pulling lame, elementary school pranks on them while they sleep? Who knows! Sure, it builds some much-desired tension, but the stories’ load is blown a bit prematurely, and doesn’t have much weight as it is as we don’t know these characters very well and from what we do gather of them we don’t like, anyway. The story ends leaving the audience hanging with their questions, which is just fine.  These people are dull, and you’ll probably be ready to move on.

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‘Tuesday the 17th’ is a cool concept where a young woman takes some of her friends out to the woods where, in the past, she had encountered a Jason-esque killer who brutally murdered her buddies. Only thing is, he is either invisible and can only be seen through the video camera’s view finder or he is actually conjured to life via the actual presence of the video camera. It is never explained, but the effect of the killer as a humanoid shape appearing on the tape in scratchy glitches, a visual distortion, works well and is pretty damn eerie. The presentation of this killing specter is this story’s greatest asset.  It’s an idea worthy of a feature-length movie but, as it is, the whole thing comes off as a tired Friday the 13th clone as the love-child of Jason Voorhess and ‘The Ring”s Samara stalks down some dumb, canned-character kids in the woods. Despite a cool set up, the story rushes to it’s conclusion and falls apart, as a result. I can’t help but wonder what it could have been had it been fleshed out.

VHS - Emily Ghost

‘The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Young’ is an intriguing story about a long-distance relationship taking place over video chat as our heroine experiences a haunting and some kind of mystery growth under her arm… It’s a nifty little ‘Outer Limits’  style yarn that’s relatively satisfying. I couldn’t help but wonder how great this story would have been if captured in the format of a normal film narrative as opposed to found footage. Our main girl is remarkably sweet, likeable, and attractive with a vulnerable but outgoing quality to her. Although her beau says he’s working out-of-area for his business, we cannot help but wonder about the nature of this curious long-distance relationship. Does anyone else sense some early commentary possibly co-dependence, manipulation, and abuse in the relationship? I wouldn’t put it past this one as all motives are made clear by story’s end. As it featured a great leading lady  who didn’t annoy the ever-loving shit out of me, ‘The Sick Thing’ was a nice change of pace.

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‘10.31.98’ is right up there with ‘Amateur Night’, vying as a favorite of the anthology. Four surprisingly charming and likable college age fellows, one dressed as a Nanny Cam (teddy bear with a built in camera. CLEVER!), traverse across town to find the Halloween party they were invited to. When they finally come to the address where the party is rumored to be it seems the house is empty, but as they investigate they find they most certainly are not alone. These guys walk into a situation with no frame of reference, expecting the light-hearted frivolity, and come out with the worst possible scenario imaginable. Once they come across what appears to be a damsel in freaky distress the story explodes into an effects-heavy, supernatural nightmare, and works better in its brief running time than all the ‘Paranormal Activity’ films combined.  Matters escalate in the blink of an eye and the guys react with righteous bravery, putting their lives in peril to save a young woman whose life seems to be on the line. This welcomes us to one of the most well-played shocks of the whole film. These guys aren’t out to take advantage of anyone, they don’t act like drooling, poon-hounds. It’s Nice Guys vs. Pure Evil delivering chuckles, anxiety, and, by story’s end, pure terror closing V/H/S out on a high note.

Oh, and the ineffective, brain-dead wrap around of the original tape-retrieval asscapade? Well, they all die. The End.

*END SPOILERS!*

In the final analysis I enjoyed V/H/S, despite myself.  It’s got a bit of everything, post-modern horror, supernatural, psychological serial killer, the whole shebang. It’s almost like a sampler case featuring several of horror’s most beloved sub genres, and when these stories are at their best (see: ‘Amateur Night’, ‘10.31.98’)  they work pretty damn well. At their worst, they still have some cool ideas to dig into (see: ‘Tuesday the 17th’, ‘Second Honeymoon’).

V/H/S proved to be an entertaining collaborative experiment that spins some imaginative tales.  By no means a masterpiece, V/H/S is a creepy excursion into the macabre, the supernatural and the rewindable.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

27
Jun
11

Rotten Reviews Episode 19: Welcome Home, Brother Charles

Hey Gang,

The ‘Revenge Film’ is something that has been with us since the dawn of cinema. Who doesn’t enjoy watching a person who was previously wronged rise up and punish those who have transgressed against them? Sure, it’s all kinds of wrong to take justice into your own hands but that doesn’t stop us from living vicariously through these films and imagine taking out that boss that laid you off, the spouse that cheated on you…or in the case of Brother Charles, the psychotic, racist cop who tried to castrate you in the back of an unmarked police car.

‘Welcome Home, Brother Charles’ (aka: Soul Vengeance) is one very unique chapter in the annals of revenge film history. I’ve seen a damn good number of these films but never have I seen vengeance dealt out in quite the same way as it is here and been asked to take it seriously. “Welcome Home, Brother Charles” is an incredible dark, sad, film about racism and injustice but it’s also a film about how when someone tries to cut you, or your cause down, many times it just…grows back…um, bigger and…stronger and more deadly.

ANYWAY, before I give too much away,  enjoy this latest Rotten Review for  ‘Welcome Home, Brother Charles’ (aka: Soul Vengeance) a strange and unique bit of our Trash Cinema Heritage.

Stay Trashy!

-Brother Root

01
Nov
10

Rotten Reviews presents Saw V

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Hey Gang,

The Primal Root here. I just woke up and I have no idea where I am. Somebody kidnapped me while I was a t work and now I am stuck in this place. I have some kind of contraption fastened around my neck and there’s a TV in front of me. I don’t want to jump to conclusions but I have a feeling this is one of those dang Jigsaw traps I’ve heard so much about. I am not sure what I did wrong or what lesson I am going to be forced to learn but it looks like I may have to watch something…something terrible…

Well, if that’s the case I shouldn’t have a problem. Some of my favorite movies are the strangest, sickest, most perverse films ever made! What in the world could Jigsaw possibly show me that would make me consider hurting myself…oh shit…

But is it really Jigsaw behind all this? I guess I’ll have to wait and see. I sense something truly sinister at work here far worse than that megalomaniacal asshole. I guess I’ll have to see this sick game through to the very end and see what twists are in store. Because if I am stuck in a Saw film, there’s one thing I can be sure of…nothing is as it seems.

Stay Trashy,

– Root

09
Aug
10

Friday the 13th Part 3 or When I Began Rooting for Jason

a Primal Root review

Oh boy, Friday the 13th Part 3 is really a mixed bag of trash goodies. It was the 1983 film that ushered in the brief Reagan era 3-D craze. And ever since it’s theatrical run, until recently, every copy you came across was the 2-D version so there’s dozens of shots where things like poles, snakes and eyeballs come lunging at the camera. Seeing this movie for the first time on Cinemax when I was all of 12 in an age before the internet was widely available I had no idea this was originally shot in 3-D and thought it was the weirdest damn thing I’d ever seen. Was this some filmmaking technique I’d never heard of? Why the hell are so many of these shots from the victims perspective? Why is EVERYTHING lit?

Of course, now I own a copy that includes the 3-D gimmick, but I still prefer watching this sucker in 2-D. It’s just so much more fun. And less headache inducing.

But a film should be judged on it’s storytelling merit rather than how well the gimmick works and Friday the 13th part 3 feels a little off kilter as an entry in the original 4 part series of Friday films. And this begins right out of the gate with Harry Manfedini’s retooling of his affective trademark score into a catchy disco track which plays over popping 3-D credits. This does not evoke any kind of dread but it sure does make me want to shake my booty. Not exactly what I was expecting going into a Friday the 13th flick.

The Heart Warming "Shitting" Scene.

Picking up hours after the events of Friday the 13th part 2 this film features a new, drastically different looking Jason. No longer a slim, hairy, sack headed redneck, J-Man has at some point that day shaved, changed clothes and pounded some weight gain shakes as to be more formiddable this time around. Jason is fucking BUILT in this installment and looks like he could pick you up and break you in half over his knee. Quite a change from the string bean Jason of Part 2.

Anyway, after stalking and murdering the most disgusting white trash couple in Friday the 13th history (yes, even more so than Ethel & Son in Part 5. At least we didn’t have to watch them take a graphically noisy shit.)  who wonder around their home and general store as the evening news reports on the events of the previous film (they mention the victims being killed by an “axe wielding maniac” though Jason never uses that particular tool in Part 2. Just sayin…) and provide a little peek into their generally sad and desperate existence. Then they are both killed. It’s a cathartic moment.

Thank you, movie!

The next day we are introduced to our new cast of machete fodder. There’s Debbie and Andy, our fun loving couple who really enjoy fucking. They enjoy it so much, in fact, Debbie is established as being in the early stages of pregnancy. Now that’s an unusual bit of character development. There’s Shelly, our obligatory practical joker and douche bag extrordinare. And behind the wheel of the Scooby Van transporting our motley Crew is female lead, Chris, who may as well do a take to the camera and introduce herself as the final girl.

They pick up their Hispanic friend Vera who looks pretty Caucasian to me. Anyway, as they pick her up it looks as if the Scooby Van has spontenaously combust as smoke bellows out the open windows. Upon closer inspection it’s just their hippie stoner friends, Chuck and Chili, in the back sucking on their bongs.

"What's a weekend in the country without sex?" Andy asks a profound question in Friday the 13th Part 3.

Our band of misfits are heading to Chris’s Father’s cabin, Higgins’ Haven, out near Crystal Lake.   They arrive and Chris is grabbed by the throat and pushed up agaisnt a wall by Rick, her tool of a…boyfriend? Fuck buddy? Perverted brother?  Who, when Chris screams and runs away from the giant lug exclaims, “Did it get cold in here or is it just me?” What a charmer. Girls throw themselves at assholes like this nowadays. Just take a look at the Friday the 13th remake!

Later, Shelly and Vera incure the wrath of a trio of bikers (two of which are BLACK and have speaking roles! Another series first.) who manage to track them back to Higgins’ Haven and ratchet up our victim pool to 11. The bikers are all killed under the cover of mid-afternoon in the Higgins’ Haven barn s they attempt to burn it down. By nightfall, we join up with Chris and Rick as she describes a horrifying encounter she had with a giant behemoth in the woods with a head like a melted Milk Dud that took place a couple summers ago. Jason stalked and attacked Chris in the woods, but the strange thing is, no one knows anything about Jason in this flick. In fact, his name isn’t even mentioned. Not once in the entirety of the part 3.  This adds to the slightly obtuse feeling of this third entry.

On tonight's episode of, "OUCH! My Balls!"

Soon, all our leads begin dying. Shelly puts the moves on Vera to no availe so he decides to jump out of the lake at her with a spear gun while wearing a hockey mask. Believe it or not, this also fails to make Vera want to have sex with him. Shelly goes off to pout and get slit open thereby giving Jason his now infamous hockey mask. Vera is speared in the eye by Jason in a scene that showcases the INCREDIBLE 3-D effects. Andy gets chopped down through the genital zone as he does a head stand (YOWZA!) and his baby’s Momma gets impaled through the back after an nearly nipless shower scene. Later Chuck gets thrown into a fuse box and Chili gets impaled with a fire place poker. I’m not sure if there’s another Friday the 13th film that’s so remarkably heavy on females being fully impaled on phallic objects.  This is another weird strange moment that sets this sucker apart from the litter. For better or for worse.

Eventually Chris and Rick make it back to the cabin to find it in disarray and no one around. Rick goes out to investigate and gets his beefy, uber masculine head popped like a zit by Jason sending his eyeball soaring towards the audience in what might possibly be the the single most knee slappingly funny death in the series. Rick is such a jackass it’s truly a pleasure to watch this happen. In fact, this is probably the first film in the franchise where the majority of the characters are unlikable dickheads. The only characters I even kind of sort of care about are Debbie and Andy and you know they are meat grinder ready the second you lay eyes on them. they like to have sex, are nice people, and they both look good without their shirts.  The rest of the characters are all self centered jerks who no one in the audience can be compelled to root for. It’s a tradition the Friday the 13th franchise would carry on from part 3 to the bitter end and rebirth in 09.

Rick's got an eye on you. I'll be here all week.

Chris eventually finds herself all alone against a powerful wind storm that has erupted outside, blowing open doors and windows and causing her to cry and scream like a baby. She cries out for Rick’s help because she can’t close windows by herself. Rick pops up as his corpse is cartapulted through the living room window and Jason makes his grand entrance.

Now it’s on.

Chris and Jason run about the property as she knocks him on the noggin’ with logs, trips over rocks and drops from a rafter temporarily knocking Jason out with her ass. It’s one of the more ludicrous final girl chases in the series and therefore one of the funniest.

Jason shortly after Chris's patented Ass Attack. A move never performed again in the Friday the 13th series.

Eventually Chris gets the upper hand and sinks an axe into Jason’s melon sized cranium which puts him down for this outing.  Chris then goes canoeing into Crystal Lake where she is haunted by nightmares of Jason and is then attacked by…Mrs. Voorhees? Who rises from the bottom of Crystal Lake, head reattached, grabs chris by her tits and pulls her overboard. Not since the end of Jason Takes Manhattan have I offered such an enthusiastic WTF?  What the hell just happened?

Whether it truly happened or it’s another hallucinatory nightmare is never explained as Chris is lead to the back of a police cruiser and looks to have completely lost her fucking mind.  It’s not a great way to end the movie but it is an ending…I guess.

Mrs. Voorhees' attack prompts an O-Face from Chris.

With Friday part 3 the series really figured out what worked. Young people and edged weapons. If we have these two elements fans will return. It’s one of the clunkiest entries in the series and it shows. The whole movie feels as if it were just thrown together haphazardly with little  to no forethought.

But this weirdness, this lack of attention to GIANT plot holes and simply tossing out huge chunks of character development that are addressed and then never ever resolved or mentioned again, kind of  hysterical in a mind bogglingly moronic sort of way. In a franchise not known for it’s intellectual attributes Friday the 13th part 3 is among the dumbest in the series.

It’s big, it’s dumb and it’s intensely trashy.  It’s my least favorite of the pre-Resurrected Jason films but it’s still a damn good bit of fun. The lackluster 2-D, 3-D, gimmicks go a long way to making this entry a laugh riot.

Stay Trashy,

-The Primal Root




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