Posts Tagged ‘Remake

22
Apr
13

Evil Dead (2013): If You Want Blood…

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“Promise, you’ll stay till the end.” -Mia, Evil Dead

a Primal Root written review

edited by Bootsie Kidd

Gang, I must apologize for taking such a dang long time getting around to typing up this review. I needed time to let the The Evil Dead remake digest,  for my mind to really feel out what my thoughts were on the whole damn bloody feature.  So, here goes, my thoughts on the reimagining, new take of “The Evil Dead”, “Evil Dead”. I will try and break it down as spoiler-free as possible.

Sam Raimi’s original 1980 “The Evil Dead” is the story of one man’s personal apocalypse as his friends, one-by-one, become hideous shadows of their former selves and begin attacking, brutalizing, mocking, and humiliating him. Ash (Bruce Campbell) must finally find it within himself to fight back if he wants to make it through the night alive. “Evil Dead” (2013) follows along those same lines,  and though similar in a basic premise, “Evil Dead” does an intelligent job of making the material its own.

Personally, one of the aspects of the film I truly appreciated was the organizing principle. These twenty-somethings aren’t headed out to a dank, nasty, mildew farm of a cabin for a fun filled weekend. No, they are there to help their buddy kick her heroin habit cold turkey. A feat she has tried before and failed at.  So, the glum bunch of attractive kids consisting of the most adorable little junkie ever, Mia (Jane Levy),  her unreliable,  yet studly coward of a brother David (Shiloh Fernandez) , his “just-there-to-die” girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore),  control freak buddy nurse Olivia (Jessica Lucas) and her bespectacled, grumpy bear of a fella, Eric ( Lou Taylor Pucci) head to the desperate fixer-upper in the middle of the creepiest forest in North America and commence Betty Fording.

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And nothing can deter them, not even the fact that the cabin seems to have been recently broken into, and those who did, left a basement full of at least ten dozen skinned, rotted, feline carcasses hanging from the rafters and looking like it smells of twice-baked putrescence and burnt hair.  Don’t worry, it’s all part of the pre-credit prologue. Oh, and did I mention the Scooby Gang also come across a mysterious package wrapped in black trash bags and laced in razor wire?  Could this be the legendary Necronomicon Ex-Mortis, roughly translated, The Book of the Dead? I have a good feeling you already know the answer. Yes, this seems like the best option for someone trying to rehabilitate herself! I’m surprised they all don’t just pick up the habit right there to make the living situation bearable.  Or at least get  cope with what I can only imagine is the worst smelling cabin of all time.

Anyhoo, I’m still with this new Evil Dead film Mia begins having withdrawal symptoms and everyone else kind of just sits around waiting for their cue to don their white contacts and let the arterial blood spray across the room. Before you can say “What a fucking idiot” Eric has clipped the razor wire, and ripped open the garbage bags to reveal the Necronomicon (SURPRISE, SURPRISE!), bound in human flesh and inked in blood with the ominous warnings that has since been utilized by many Bill O’Reily published works  “DO NOT READ THIS BOOK”, er, something along those lines. As if the razor wire ribbon wasn’t clue enough to leave the fucking thing alone… Oh well, the beard-o opens up the book and gets to reading aloud the demon resurrection passages and, whatdya know, he unleashes Hell on Earth. Who do you think the evil spirit picks on first? Who just might be the most weak and vulnerable amongst the kiddies at Melancholy Manor?

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That’s right, Mia! Seen the first movie? Then it should come as no surprise that the young lady gets a slimy, malicious, invasive surprise from the Evil Dead right up her lady bits! Which leads to her being the vessel for this special brand of demonic spirit to wreak havoc on the rest of the down trodden crew! And oh, what a splattery, nasty night of havoc it is! There’s barfing, and tongue slashing, and arm chopping, and syringe poking, and nail gunning, electric knife wielding, oh, the list goes on and on as friends are possessed and begin turning on one another with very little haste. The second Mia is possessed, the movie kicks into hyper drive  with people turning into monsters from Hell left and right, you hardly have time to catch your breath as friends must battle their newly eviled chums in order to survive!

Let me tell ya, the gore is wonderful in this flick, as are all the practical effects. Everything looks sleazy, disgusting and pitch perfect. As body parts start plopping on the floor and gruel goes splashing into character’s mouths, I got a certain sense of euphoria. This reminded me much of my self made, VHS horror education back in the late 80’s all through the 90’s, when I began renting any and every horror video I could looking for just these kind of unrelenting moments of pure, unadulterated, horror insanity. I could practically feel my inner 15 year old giving my current 31 year old spirit a high five. This was some crazy, blood-caked glory that I would have creamed my shorts to have seen in those days. Better late than never, I suppose. But, yes, Evil Dead delivers the gore-met delights.

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****SPOILER WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!****

But then the film began to reach its climax…which involves the impromptu MacGuyver-esque creation of a defibrillator by David to use in order to bring Mia back to life. That’s right, he studies the Necronomicon and discovers the many ways to cure the possessed aka: many ways to kill these people who are possessed.  His plan is to bury Mia alive until she dies of suffocation and then dig her up, stab her in the heart, pump her full of juice until she is jolted back to life, and then she’ll be right as rain.  And to my absolute shock and dismay, THE PLAN WORKS! Not only that, but she comes back without any injuries! the woman cut her tongue in half with a rusty old knife! How in the fuck did that heal instantaneously? Are you telling me if David were to resurrect Natalie from the dead, her arms (which she loses one to her own carving knife and the other in battle with her friends)  would miraculously reappear attached to her body? I’m sorry, but unless I missed a moment in the film where it is mentioned in the Necroonomicon that if a mortal is brought back from being possessed by pure evil by the use of a defibrillator all wounds inflicted during the time of possession are null and void, that’s just an incredibly manipulative plot devise that tries to deliver the audience something they didn’t see coming. I am all for surprises and going against audience expectations, but it feels so unlikely that anything like this would work, especially without ever being established that it might, it feels like a cheat. I have a hard time buying into the idea that the Evil Dead would work so hard to possess people that they would just leave a dead body once it is brought back to life. I know I’m nitpicking, but it just feels remarkably lame.  Seriously, the movie had me up until the moment David brought out the spark plug treatment. Seriously, the second that fucking thing showed up, my eyes nearly rolled out of my head.

The finale of Evil Dead is a crowd pleaser as the sky cracks open, pouring blood down on the property where the cabin is (no telling if the blood rain came down on any near by farming communities) and the evil is manifest into flesh, which is basically a tall skinny, saggy breasted knock off of the final creature in 2007’s  [REC]. Personally, after such an incredible lead up, I was expecting a bit more from our final monster, but that’s okay, because the monster is dispatched in the most brutally, hysterically over the top fashion, you will want to wake up the kids and show ’em.

****END SPOILERS! THE SPOILERS ARE OVER!****

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Bottom line? I enjoyed Evil Dead.  I thought it was far more emo and sad sacky than its source material, but that’s to be expected if the film is to be its own beast and set itself apart from its predecessor.  But, to tell you the truth, did we ever love The Evil Dead for it’s organizing principal? Not really, the second demon possessed  party revelers or concerned rehab friends start getting hacked into coleslaw, it all kind of turns into the same sorta film where the audience begins hooting and hollering at the screen,  laughing when things get over the top and groaning when moments are teeth grindingly painful.  Its the fucking Evil Dead,  and it’s a pretty damn good time at the movies if this is your cup of tea.  The audience I saw it with was obviously having a blast, laughing, cheering and talking back to the screen as is the case with any true gut buster horror film worth its weight in innards.  It was fun despite the movie taking itself so seriously. Let’s face it, once demons are deflected by shock treatment and property begins flooding with blood from the sky, you’re flick has stepped into the absurd and is no longer the somber film about a junkie in need of rehabilitation.

Could the whole film just be an extended metaphor for how the wages of drug addiction can destroy your relationship with your family and your dearest friendships? That enabling someone to continue their bad behavior, or just ignoring the problem entirely,  allows the behavior too go on far too long and ends up hurting more people? Could I be digging too deep? I suppose, but still… Mia was fighting her own demons long before she was invaded by those conjured up by the Necronomicon, and David, who we learn has run away from every major problem in his life, must finally find the courage within himself to man up and take responsibility to save the ones he loves. Of course, he waits way too fucking long to do this, but, then again, if he had been braver sooner we may not have had such an outstanding gore fest.

Evil Dead (2013) is a thoughtful and dark revision of Raimi’s classic.  I appreciated the focus on the story arc of the two siblings, Mia and David, which did bring something totally new to the Evil Dead series.  The only thing I wish there was more of would be Raimi’s twisted, perverse sense of humor, but that’s not what this movie’s about.  Sure, yes, I enjoyed Evil Dead in a theater full of other fans. But without that gnarly, evil, dark sense of humor, will I ever break out Evil Dead on a movie night with my friends over like the original Evil Dead? Only time will tell.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

22
Dec
12

Silent Night: Dreaming of a Schlock Christmas

SilentNIghtPoster

a Primal Root review

If you know me, you know my stance on remakes. It’s not something I am incredibly fond of but I will always give them a fair shot as from time to time I find myself surprised and impressed. This is why I gave the remake of one of the best slasher films ever made, ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’, a run for it’s money. Would it be as heartfelt, tragic, disturbing and filled with campy, inappropriate jet black humor as it’s original source material? I had my doubts. I took a deep breath, popped this sucker in my DVD player and braced for impact.

. Seeing as the movie has little to nothing in common with it’s source material outside of it’s organizing principle (Christmas) the killer’s disguise (Santa Claus) and two of the original film’s most notorious and popular set pieces this thing hardly registers as a remake. It’s more of a springboard for an altogether new slasher film.  ‘Silent Night’ adopts the narrative structure of Wes Craven’s ‘Scream’ franchise with a “Who-done-it?” premise and written in the often imitated style of one of cinema’s most acclaimed screenwriters, Rob Zombie. We are introduced to a crazed killer dressing up as Santa Claus in a urine soaked, filth caked bathroom as he puts together his Santa Claus mask and clips his finger nails, which I assumed at the time would be some clue to the killer’s identity and kept looking for some with well manicured nails. By the film;s end  realized this shit had nothing to do with anything, really.

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Our killer takes care of business, dispatching of a screaming woman in an adjoining bedroom and then unceremoniously electrocuting a man tied to a lawn chair with festive Christmas lights down in the basement. The guy shakes, screams, his eyes explode in geysers of blood…and our movie begins. Who were those people? Why should I care that they’re dead?  Next thing you know, it’s Christmas Eve morning and it turns out the guy who just got electrocuted in the previous scene was the local deputy and a young woman is called in to work his shift by the over confident small town America British crime Sheriff, Malcolm McDowell, who plays his character for laughs and it just doesn’t work.

As bitchy, spoiled little girls are butchered, men are stabbed in the testicles and large breasted, half naked women are sent slowly through wood chippers, this crack team of police investigators zero in on large people in Santa suits, this being Christmas Eve, the town is overrun by fellows in Santa suits and several of them are disgruntled assholes and violent offenders, so they have their work cut out for them. Why do they not bring in some outside help? Because the Sheriff wants to solve this on his own. Eh, stupid is as stupid does, I suppose.

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Just about every character we encounter is brutally slaughtered which I am sure will send us gore hounds off to bed with visions of woodchippered meaty chunks of nude photography models dancing in our heads.  There’s not much of a moral compass present in this new Christmas slasher, but I guess that’s just fine fo0r the approach they;re taking. It’s a full speed ahead train of pain where buying a ticket insures a perversely gruesome ride.  Mean spirited and full of self interested slime balls, ‘Silent Night’ is actually a fairly good modern Christmas horror, even if it pains me a little to admit it.

Jaime King as Deputy Sheriff Audrey Bradimore does a damn fine job of trying to give her character the gravity she deserves, but it’s  all for not, as ‘Silent Night’ has other fish to fry and body parts to hack off. The rest of the cast play this film as the hamfisted piece of garbage it is and yuk it up with a wink and a nudge as they await their paychecks. You can literally feel the apathy these performers bring to the film.

The film even cherry picks two of the original ”Silent Night, Deadly Night”s most memorable moments. you know, the one where loony bin Grandpa warns his Grandson that ‘Christmas Eve is the scariest damn night of the year!”, only this time Grandpa’s voice turns demonic and is delivering this warning to a character who only has one other scene…where he receives some obligatory Holy Night oral before having his head pulped by one well placed whack of an axe. Also, extracted from the original ‘Silent night, Deadly Night; is the notorious ‘Antler Kill’, which seems puzzlingly less effective here. Oh yeah, and there’s a reference to it being “Garbage Day”. WOKA, WOKA, WOKA!

This is Santa, reminding you to stay warm this holiday season.

All in all, ‘Silent Night’ delivers the sloppy, gooshy, gory goodies but severely lacks the underlying message and heart that made ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night’ such a memorable and dare I say, classic of the 80’s slasher period. As I have mentioned in The Primal Root’s Rotten Review for ‘Silent Night, Deadly Night;, it is a film about the cycle of violence, the lack of care for the mentally ill, and the failure of our system and religious fundamentalism.  Is it shocking? yes. Violent? Of course. Over the top? Most certainly! But it was all for a purpose as opposed to this remake which is happy to deliver nothing but carnage. Gore drenched kills and a town populated by halfwits, unapologetic assholes and sociopaths that serve no purpose other than axe fodder.

‘Silent Night’ is a bloody hot mess of a stocking stuffer.  If you can get passed the annoying, unlikable cast of characters, there’s a wonderful mix of nasty kills (including one little cuntface of a child!) and gratuitous Tits and Ass  for the old schooler purists.  It’s trashy to the core and about as dumb as a box of coal but just might make a good stocking stuffer for the gore hound on your Christmas list.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

17
Oct
12

Bootsie Kidd: Halloween Devil Girl of the Month, October 2012 with special guest The Primal Root

Hey Gang! Your old pal The Primal Root here and I am smitten. Ms. Bootsie Kidd, our October Devil Girl of the Month (2012) has come along and captured the trashy heart of yours truly. In Bootsie’s Halloween spread she has brought to life an updated rockabilly/video store nerd version of  one of our shared passions, Universal’s classic monster flick, James Whale’s 1935 masterpiece, The Bride of Frankenstein.  As some of you might know, I’m quite bit enamored with this Ms. Bootsie Kidd, but I don’t think I am being partial when I say her incredibly spooky, sexy, and assertive take on Frankenstein’s Bride (Elsa, as we like to call her for obvious reasons)  brings a cool new dimension to the iconic character. She has surely brought The primal Root back to life, and I have a feeling she’ll jump start your heart as well. Friend. Good. Indeed! 

Stay Trashy and Happy Halloween! 

-Root

Photography by John Kogwheal

Makeup by Laura Henry & Joe Fisher

Hair by Laura Henry


31
Dec
11

Rotten Reviews Ep 23: Black christmas (The Remake)

Hey Gang, The Primal Root, here, wishing you and yours a Happy Holiday season! That is, if you can make it through the evil that is Glen Morgan’s Black Christmas remake… Hang tight with your buddy, Root, as he tries the wade through the numerous subplots, the dozen characters and the non stop flashbacks that explain away our main antagonist(s).

Watch as The Root tries to transform this hunk of coal into a diamond in this, our final Rotten Review of Year Three, here at The Trash Cinema Collective!

Happy Holidays and a Trashy New Year!

Your Pal,
-The Primal Root

Just Play the Link Below!

12
Sep
11

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark…Well, that’s a load of shit!

a Primal Root written review

“Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” (2011)

My buddy Sam and I recently checked out the Guillermo Del Toro produced and written remake of the cult classic 70’s made for TV horror movie, “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”. A television movie, I must admit, I had not seen until recntly.  What Del Toro and company have delivered is a moderately entertaining spook show replete with CGI, tooth eating monsters, scared little girls and Katie Holmes looking as dazed and confused as she did in Batman Begins.

Yeah, it passed the time and wasn’t very memorable.  I was never once truly frightening beyond a jump scare level and treaded some pretty well worn Del Toro territory and comes off feeling remarkably similar as if his overrated fantasy flick, “Pan’s Labyrinth” had been cross bred with the original plot line of “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”. Our central character is a little girl whose negligent father and step mother allow her to wonder around a gigantic mansion that is being renovated without any supervision.  What’s the worst that could happen, right? Well, for one, she could come across a portal to hell where she manages to unleash a bunch of calf-high, albino, hunch back tooth eating demons intent on dragging her tiny ass down to the depths of a hidden fire place pit where she will be mutilated and her soul will be in torment for all eternity. You know kids…

A Crest Kid's worst nightmare.

As you might have guessed, this is exactly what happens and when the little girl tries to tell her father (Guy Pierce, dialing it in as if this were MCI Friends & Family) he refuses to believe and shoves a few more Ritalin in his kid and goes back to focusing on his burgeoning career as an architect and a tool. The only one who kind of believes what’s going on is the little girls new, um, step friend (played by Katie ‘Deer in the Headlights’ Holmes) See, she’s not yet technically the little girl’s step mother. Dad’s still giving her a spin in the sack to see if he wants to go through with the marriage thing from what I gather. Hope the Scientology thing isn’t a deal breaker.

Well, no one fully believes our pint sized protagonist until it’s too late despite the mountains of evidence all over the place in the form of photos shot using the legendary Million Shot Polaroid Camera and even a crushed albino demon carcass that is jammed in a bookcase…but is never mentioned…Did anyone even find this guy’s squished little body? I’m sure that fucker started to stink after a while.  And by the end of the movie, well, let’s just say there are no happy endings. Although there are happier for some than others…Let’s just say, never get caught between a rope and a fire place.

Vague enough? Good. “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” looks fantastic! It comes wrapped in a very enticing, glossy, package…but once you look beyond that lovely exterior, there’s not much else there being offered up to the viewing audience.  And don;t even get me started on how they botched the entire story by changing the little creature’s M.O. I was wondering why certain events transpired at the end of this updated ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” when the little creature’s M.O. was teeth…yet they seemed thrilled to tear people to pieces and not even come close to touching their chompers…It wasn’t until I watched the original that I truly understood what had happened with this retelling of the story and why these added elements feel totally unnecessary.

“Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” (1973)

The original telling of the “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” tale was broadcast as the ABC Movie of the Week  near Halloween in October 1973. The production was helmed by the late, great,  John Newland (host and director of “One Step Beyond”) and has gone on to become a cult classic in many horror circles. And after my very first viewing it became readily apparent just why it holds such special place in the hearts of so many fans of the genre.

“Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” is the sad and frightening tale of a young marriage on the rocks. Lonely housewife, Sally (Kim Darby) who lives with her career obsessed husband, Alex (Jim Hutton) in her Grandmother’s old, gigantic mansion. Sally is left home alone a lot with her only company being an elderly groundskeeper. Yes, I know, this sounds like the beginning of a tale from Penthouse Forum. However, Sally’s boredom and curiosity lead her into her Grandfather’s old study as opposed to the grounds keeper’s drawers.  And, of course, she unleashes a posse of viscous, sadistic, furry fun-sized beasties intent on dragging poor young Sally into their realm through the fire place.

They're just like the Keebler Elves, only they're from Hell.

Sally immediately reports her situation to her husband and he helps her cope with these monsters and the both win the day and live happily ever after. Just kidding! As you might expect, Alex doesn’t believe a word of what Sally’s freaking out about and decides she’s upset and jealous over the fact he’s so devoted to his work (as opposed to her)  and, as matters escalate at a dinner party, he just considers her a raving lunatic and that these monsters  Sally claims are afraid of light, want to “steal her spirit” and kill the interior decorator with a well placed, Home Alone style trip chord, are nothing more than figments of her angry housewife imagination.Who has the last laugh? Well…no one actually.

In the thrilling climax to the film, Sally is sedated and dragged into the basement study by these evil creatures who are intent on stealing her away to their realm. Sally slowly wakes up and tries in vain o grab onto whatever she can to stop this from happening. It;s not enough. In a last ditch effort she grabs a Polaroid camera and snaps one single shot of these malevolent beings. It startles them for a moment…but they quickly regain composure and, again, begin dragging Sally towards her doom.

“Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”  is basically a one woman show and is a decidedly grown-up affair. Sally’s horrific ordeal and pleas for help are greatly ignored by her absentee husband who scolds her as if she’s a child whose acting up. She’s trapped here, in this house, in this marriage, alone to fend for herself. “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”  works exceedingly well as a metaphor for a loveless, unhappy marriage where the little things, literally in this case, begin splitting the couple apart.

“Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” functions on so many levels as a psychological horror, a monster flick, a suspense thriller, marital drama…it has something for everyone and these elements all meld together so naturally, so well, that one never overwhelms the other. Also adding to the appeal, for The Root anyway, is the feel of the piece. It never feels rushed or hurried and the story develops naturally, never feeling forced. Plus, the retro look of the film in a way enhances the unsettling nature of the film itself . It’s age certainly shows, but I feel it is to the film advantage.

“Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” works and works well. As I am sure you’ve guessed there are no happy ending here as Sally’s husband comes to his wife’s aid far too late…and the final moments, the final lines of the film are among the most chilling portions of either telling of the tale.  It’s the stuff of nightmares.

In Conclusion

Is it not normal for my bedroom to look like this when I shut off the lights?

I can see where Del Toro is coming from with the remake of “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark”. It’s a film he’s always had an affection for ever since it traumatized him as a child and felt the need to retell the tail with his own spin. I understand and appreciate that and the updating of the tale works on some levels and I am sure will appeal to a mainstream audience.

But why add that whole teeth subplot to the creatures as opposed to going after people for their spirit? And if this is the case, why does a certain individuals spirit speak at the end of the film from the bowels of the fire place? The flick makes some strange choices in an attempt be slightly different than it’s source material( Del Toro’s got a thing for little girls. Just sayin…) yet keeps all the great elements that made the original fantastic…even though it doesn’t make much sense in the context of the new rules they’ve set up.

Both films work on two separate levels.  “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” 2011 works as spectacle. There are jumps scares, more gore, CGI monsters and more Gothic atmosphere and baffelingly bad decisions than you can shake a tooth at.  “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” 1973 works as a story and character piece. The film takes the time to build characters, tell it’s tale, create genuine suspense and dread and then completely devastate and creep out it’s audience by the time the credits roll.

Now there’s a “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” for both camps. I’m sure it’s pretty apparent which version I prefer. But I know times and tastes change and the more they do the more I feel like I come across as some old curmudgeon telling the kids how much better things used to be while I yell at them to stay off my lawn while waving my cane wildly above my head as cream corn dribbles down my chin. I guess I am okay with that…Seems like I am the only living man in America who completely loathed the Fright Night remake.

Either way, the next time you find yourself in a gothic mansion with a creepy study that contains a fire place that leads straight to Hell and the owner tries to comfort you by telling you “Don’t be afraid of the dark?” Fuck that noise and get yourself a nightlight. Better yet, go find a Ramada.

Stay Trashy,

-Root

Please, don’t be afraid of The Darkness.

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…

20
Aug
10

Blood, Tits and Fish: Don’t Feed the Dead checks out this summer’s trashiest horror offering, Piranha 3D!

a Don’t Feed the Dead review

Titties.

In a word, that sums up the latest offering from Alexandre Aja, Pirahna 3D. Titties, with a little bit of fish sprinkled in. Sounds like a fine stew, doesn’t it? You weren’t expecting a serious horror movie, were you? Neither was I, when I hit the midnight showing for this fine film. Pirahna 3D delivers a hefty dose of blood, breasts and CGI in the latest and greatest technology to sweep Hollywood. In all honesty, the film was a good time if taken for what it was, a campy remake of a campy late 70’s horror flick.

The film opens with a sequence showing the cameo-riffic Richard Dreyfuss aboard the S.S. “Dead Jobber”. He, like every retiree in lake country is dropping a line and drinking a cold brew. Suddenly, he gets a bite and next thing you know – seismic event of ungodly proportions! The fragile fault line that Lake Victoria sits on opens up to create a massive whirlpool, which begins to suck down Dreyfuss and his six pack. Suddenly, from the deep, a school of pre-historic piranha emerge and engulf Dreyfuss’ flailing body in a frenzy. Cue opening credits.

Lake Victoria is a spring break kind of town, where all the hot, young college students go to party – like Lake Havasu, but fake. The town is overflowing with topless twenty-somethings and awful dance music. We’re introduced to the movie’s protagonist, Jake (Steven R. McQueen), a nerd on a scooter that has a thing for a girl who’s involved with a douchebag boyfriend that drives a Jeep Wrangler. Welcome back, horror stereotypes. Where have you been? Jake is the son of the town sheriff, played by Elizabeth Shue, who is off preparing for crowd control during the town’s busiest week. Unfortunately for Sheriff Shue, she has to search for Richard Dreyfuss’ missing ass and a team of geological experts are coming in to study the recent seismic activity.

Long story short, Shue finds Dreyfuss’ carcass and the team of geological experts discover that the fault created by the seismic activity connects Lake Victoria to an underground cave that houses the nasty little piranha. All hell breaks loose on the lake, and in a series of events the audience bares witness to some of the oddest aquatic titty scenes ever. Ever wondered what a parasailor’s tits looked like as they fluttered through the water? Me either. But now I know! Creepy operatic lesbian underwater encounter? Coming at ya! Eli Roth MC’ng a wet t-shirt contest and coming up with every metaphor for boobs known to man? Check!

I won’t lie and tell you that Pirahna 3D has “edge of the seat” moments, or even jump scenes in the movie. It’s not scary, nor is it intended to be (I sure hope not, at least). It is, however, a highlight reel of special effects, both CGI and legit make-up FX work. KNB shows off all their amazing work in this film and proves again why they are top notch in the world of horror special effects. Limbs get gnawed to nothing, bodies tear and fall apart and there a even a few NC-17 type surprises in store for the more hardcore viewers. No secret, the money for this film was most certainly spent on entertaining the eyes.

As for the acting, think SyFy original movie with some B-list accreditation. I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from a cast that features Elizabeth Shue, Ving Rhames, Jerry O’Connell and Christopher Lloyd. O’Connell and Lloyd were pretty damn funny, but for the most part Shue and Rhames could have been replaced by the Quiznos Kittens and I wouldn’t have really noticed. Would a cast of A-listers have made the film that much better? Probably not. I don’t think Aja was shooting for a Criterion edition of the film down the line.

Overall, Pirahna 3D was a good time, not a great time. It’s one of those movies that would have been (and will be) marginal in 2D format, and certainly a film that will ultimately serve as an appetizer for better made 3D endeavors (I’m looking at you, Jackass 3D and RE: Afterlife!). You get more than your fair share of boobies and blood, but ultimately the film comes down to a whole lotta style and very little substance. Stock Up: Horny Teenage Boys, Virgins and Jerry O’Connell enthusiasts. Stock Down: Christian Moralists, Heavy Thinkers and people with Ichthyophobia.




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