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REVIEW: Dig Two Graves

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It may have been released back in 2014, but we just got around to reviewing ‘Dig Two Graves’ which tells the story of 13-year-old Jacqueline “Jake” Mather (Samantha Isler), who loses her brother in a mysterious drowning accident and is looking to get him back.

While the movie is interesting at times, it fails to hold interest for long as Jake’s run-in with three moonshiners brings the movie off the rails.

The plot intertwines the dark history of her grandfather,Sheriff Waterhouse, and his ties to the family of the 3 moonshiners, who have dark intentions with Jake.

Plot hole after plot hole, stop any momentum that this film builds in the opening 20 minutes.

One example is during Jake’s first encounter with the 3 moonshiners, who promise the return of her brother if she kills a student at her school that they have carefully selected.

During the scene, Jake first tells the strangers that “she’s not allowed to talk to strangers, but then proceeds to follow them back to their shady shack and partake in some promise ritual that involves a snake, drinking snake’s blood and painting a face with said blood.

Jake then faces the decision of whether to kill her classmate in an effort to bring her brother back, or not, and she struggles with this throughout the conclusion of the film.

All in all, the movie just has too many layers that haven’t properly been developed and/or aren’t consistently followed through with, to make things even a bit intriguing.

Fright Nerd Score
45 frights
Summary
After the shine of the premise wears off, you'll be scratching your head at the "logic" of this story.
Fright Nerd Score45

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REVIEW: Halloween

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I got the chance to see the new Halloween movie, and it came with a ton of hype ahead of it’s nationwide release, but did it live up to the lofty expectations?

David Gordon Green’s movie was meant to be a direct sequel to John Carpenter’s original and it was packed with homages to the first classic film, including the opening credits which reminded me of the initial entries into the iconic series.

Michael Myers has been kept in a psychiatric ward for 40 years, ever since that faithful night in Haddonfield, and it set to be transferred to a new facility where he can live out the final days of his life. Myers had been under the care of Dr. Loomis’ successor, Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer) who has made Myers is his life’s work and his obsession, wanting to understand the pure evil that exists within Myers.

On the flip side, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has been in seclusion since her horrific experience, training herself in arms and combat, and turning her property into a secure battlefield and bunker,  awaiting the day that she encounters Myers again. This life has drove a wedge between her and her daughter Karen (Judy Greer) and put she granddaughter Allyson (Andi Matichak) in the middle, at times.

To her family, and most of the community, Strode is a nutcase.

During transport of Myers, the prison bus crashes and Myers is again set loose on Haddonfield, ironically, on Halloween, and immediately picks up where he left off in a brutal killing spree. Myers even reunites with his mask along the way, which seems to only accelerate his psychosis.

The movie starts to go off rails the moment Myers hits the streets of Haddonfield again. The pacing, the subtlety, the build, and the tense moments that made the original so memorable, were absent from this new entry, and it severely hurt the film.

Despite a stellar performance from Curtis, and despite a handful of gruesome kills, Myers lacks the suspense, lacks the terror, and lacks any real volume. He’s just a dude that is hard to kill, that wants to kill everyone in sight, and that’s unfortunate for such an iconic movie character.

Not even a solid twist properly resonated, and brought on laughter more than it’s intended affect.

While Halloween is watchable, it fails to be what it should be, and although it ranks much higher than Rob Zombie’s take on the films, it still falls short of truly bringing back Myers to the forefront of the horror world, and that’s what really holds this film back.

Naturally, there is room for a sequel, but if this same team gives it another try, I suggest they look at the original less for homage scenes and more for structural direction.

Fright Nerd Score
65 frights
0 Users (0 votes)
Summary
While Halloween is watchable, it fails to be what it should be, and although it ranks much higher than Rob Zombie's take on the films, it still falls short of truly bringing back Myers to the forefront of the horror world, and that's what really holds this film back.
Fright Nerd Score65
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REVIEW: Knuckleball

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I was pretty excited for the release of ‘Knuckleball’ which seemed to be the perfect twist on the classic ‘Home Alone’ plot, and last week it finally released.

The Michael Peterson film tells the story of, “left alone on an isolated farm, a 12-year-old boy must fight for his life when he becomes the target of a crazed psychopath.”, and stars Munro Chambers, Michael Ironside, Kathleen Munroe, Drew Nelson, and Luca Villacis.

While the film is strong, the lack of any true teeth from Dixon (Chambers) as he tries to hunt and kill Henry (Villacis) really hurts the overall tale of the film. It’s as though the film was too scared to allow Dixon to really hurt Henry, beyond a couple of scratches, in moments that were perfectly setup for more sensible damage. For Henry to walk away from the ordeal practically unharmed really hurt the story’s realness, in my opinion, and maybe a bit more damage, more in line with the unfolding events, could have had a greater impact.

While many films have laid claim to being a “horror version” of the Home Alone tale, this movie really captured it, and the setting of a frozen farm out in the middle of nowhere provides a perfect backdrop for an isolated tale of horror. And, despite it’s lone flaw, the film delivers a good pace, solid acting, and plenty of problematic moments that pit Henry and Dixon one-on-one, and perfectly illustrate the root of Dixon’s psychotic break and motive for targeting Henry in the way that he does.

The pacing allows perfect story building and character development, and the chemistry between Chambers and Villacis really comes through as they play a deadly game of cat and mouse.

 

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REVIEW: Malevolent

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Last week, Netflix kicked off it’s horror spectacular with the release of ‘Malevolent’, which we have been covering leading up to it’s premier.

According to the synopsis:

“Brother and sister team Angela (Pugh) and Jackson (Ben Lloyd-Hughes) are nothing more than scam artists. Preying on the grief-stricken and the vulnerable, they convince the bereaved that Angela has the ability to contact the dead. It’s a simple con, until Mrs. Green (Celia Imrie) summons the pair to her home — the orphanage that was once stage to a string of murders of young girls — and Angela grows less and less certain of what’s actually real. The fake paranormal investigators suffer the ultimate reality check when they are confronted by the true horrors and terrifying past that lie hidden within the haunted orphanage.”

The film’s story is pretty straight forward, a brother and sister, along with their friends, team up to scam people based off the reputation of Angela and Jackson’s mother, who was believed to have powers that Angela has inherited.

As they venture from house to house, and scam to scam, there seems to be no remorse for the course they continue to take, until Angela has a real experience that isn’t for “show” or part of the theatrics that the small team relies on.

Angela starts honing in on her gift, and starts to take a more serious approach despite being dismissed by Jackson, who is in a world of financial trouble and needs the scam to pay off big.

Eventually they are summoned by Mrs. Green, who is complaining about the children who haunt her massive house. What lies beneath the surface is a story much darker, and one that slowly unravels once Mrs. Green smartens up to the scheme.

The movie is slow paced, and lacks scares, drudging on with a monotone story that seems beaten to death by the time the movie moves towards the climax. The story is solid, but loses it’s effect after spending far too much time on dialogue and boring scenes.

While it will surely draw in viewers looking to celebrate a scary month of October, it’s sadly disappointing, causing more boredom than scary moments.

Fright Nerd Score
45.5 frights
0 Users (0 votes)
Summary
The movie is slow paced, and lacks scares, drudging on with a monotone story that seems beaten to death by the time the movie moves towards the climax. The story is solid, but loses it's effect after spending far too much time on dialogue and boring scenes.
Fright Nerd Score45.5
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