Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

House II: The Second Story Review


It’s time to look at the second House film. The first one really did not leave much of an impact because it really didn’t ring any bells for me. I guess that makes sense because the same can be said for the sequel. House II is good and has some really great moments like with the electrician, but it’s not exactly a film that you’ll be talking about for very long. It just doesn’t have that lasting effect on you and a comedy-horror never wants to fall into that. All right, lets dive in!

The film starts off with Jesse and Kate moving into their new house. His family died off so now he gets the place to himself. They’re eager to make the place their own, but unfortunately a pair of third wheels by the name of Charlie and Lana show up. Charlie is basically a free loader and Lana just wants to be rich and famous so the two of them actually work pretty well together. Charlie isn’t going to turn down the opportunity of being rich either so he heads off to his great grand father’s grave so try and find something valuable. He finds a crystal skull which is pretty valuable when you think about it. It brings gramps back to life and he decides to party with the main characters. The one downside is that Slim may be lying in wait to retrieve the skull and murder everyone. Can Jesse stop him?

This is a comedy/horror so there are a lot of parody elements thrown in here as well. One of them is how well everyone takes the fact that Gramps is back to life. The movie takes place during Halloween which is very handy since they can play him off as a costume. Hey, it’s as reasonable an explanation as anything right? At least it gives the party goers something to think about. Unfortunately as is usually the case Gramps is pretty weak. See, the evil zombies who come back to life like Slim are strong, but not the good ones. That always happens. Gramps gets completely wrecked when he tries to go up against Slim.

The other heroes aren’t much better for the most part though. The scene where the Pterodactyl makes off with the skull was particularly sloppy. At least Jesse gets the job done in the end. Charlie really doesn’t help much except to throw in the witty one liners once in a while. He also likes listening to Gramps’ old stories. The real hero here is actually the electrician, Bill. Bill’s appearance comes very suddenly but works extremely well. At first he was just here to fix some cables but then he notices that the cables lead to a portal which can take you to various places like dinosaur world or the wild west. The main characters go in, but they are woefully unprepared so Bill volunteers to help. Being an electrician is just his day job, Bill really excels at being an adventurer as well.

The guy also proves himself as a pro with a blade. He’s not scared of zombies and just goes through the whole scenario with the sacrifice with a cool head. Nothing phases him and he doesn’t even look mildly surprised as he walks in and takes names. I was just sad that he couldn’t stick around for the rest of the film, but I suppose he would probably steal the show very quickly. That’s just the kind of guy that he is. I wonder if he was a guest star or something. Either way that was a parody element handled correctly.

House II’s writing isn’t all that bad. The characters make some bad moves but they feel intentional on the writing’s part since this film isn’t really meant to be taken seriously. The script isn’t that bad and the pacing is decent. Some parts could have been handled a bit better like maybe having Gramps fight a bit. Lana also could have been a bit more realistic as dancing with super loud volume in Kate’s house isn’t the best way to make a good impression. That whole scene was pretty painful to be honest and didn’t actually contribute anything to the story so it could have been cut.

That being said, House II is careful to avoid making any of the big mistakes. It may have a scene here and there that aren’t great like the dancing one, but scores more often than it does not. The cast isn’t amazing, but they can be entertaining enough. The gunfight climax is also handled surprisingly serious with Slim and Jesse. It’s a solid action scene in any context. The ending may be a bit sudden but it works well enough. I wonder if the next film continues from this plot or if we’ll get a new setting once again. I’m cool with either option.

Overall, House II is a solid sequel. I quickly took a peak at my review for the original which did jog some memories. I can’t say that this one was able to match the original. The original one was just funnier and had more to it. I dare say that the character cast was more solid last time. Still, this one does have its humorous moments which is important and the pacing is good. The action scene at the end was solid and I feel like what was ironically missing was probably more scenes in the house. Between the wild west, the past, the portal, and hanging out at the party, it felt like we didn’t get quite as much time just hanging out in the house and experiencing the crazy shenanigans. Still, as long as you don’t mind a film poking fun at the usual tropes this is a good one to check out. Just be on the lookout for Bill, that guy really is the best character here.

Overall 6/10

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Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Goosebumps Review


I definitely had a good time reading these books back in the day. The series was a fun little horror title with a good amount of twists and turns. The series peaked with the 12 book crossover event where various villains and leads met up and ultimately ended up fighting it out. The movie brings together a lot of the most iconic villains together and ends up being a solid experience.

We start off by seeing Zach and his Mom heading to a new house. Zach isn’t particularly happy about this but perks up when he meets their next door neighbor. Hannah tells Zach that the only fun thing to do around here is sneak into the abandoned amusement park at night and climb the Ferris Wheel. Ah well, he’ll make it work. Unfortunately her father isn’t quite as welcoming and threatens Zach not to go near her. Zach doesn’t really want to obey this and when he accidentally frees the most powerful Goosebump monsters it forces a most reluctant team up. Zach and Stine put aside their differences to save the town, but can they really defeat the powerful Slappy?

The film is at its best when the monsters are running around causing havoc. The Garden Gnomes do a pretty good job of getting the danger levels up right away. Admittedly I can’t take them all that seriously compared to the bigger monsters but they do have the numbers advantage which is always important. They can also regenerate in this film which is extremely handy and was unexpected. Then of course you have Slappy who is the best villain of the bunch. He is possibly a little too powerful here though. He has the ability to teleport and can also teleport objects that he is not in contact with. Then Slappy can create bright flashes of light which stun his opponents for a second. As you can imagine there isn’t really a way that he can lose here. He probably could have ended the main characters within a few minutes of first appearing. Still, the guy likes to put on a good show and is pretty theatrical about the situation.

The least impressive monsters were probably the Gel monster and the Yeti. The Gel one can’t even talk after all and the Yeti isn’t all that fierce. Some monsters/enemies that looked cool but didn’t get to do much were the aliens and the Kaiju. There are a lot of Goosebump enemies though so it’s hard to grab them all. I’m a little surprised we didn’t see the camera though, that’s still one of the best books.

Zach is a reasonable main character. As far as leads moving to a new house go, he actually takes it fairly well. The whole romance plot happens really quickly though. In context they’ve only known each other for around 2-3 days so that’s not much at all. There’s not much else to say against Zach though. He seems like a nice enough kid and one of his first instincts was to call the cops which is good. The guy is pro-active which is important in a main character. He is someone you can count on.

Then you have the friend who is definitely the annoying character of the group. He’s out of his depth from the start and constantly tries to run away. He also gets a very quick romance plot with one of those endings that probably will make you cringe. It feels a little too easy there and it may have been slightly better if the friend had any good scenes before trying to bite a monster. Otherwise you just can’t take this guy seriously.

The heroine is pretty reasonable here. Hannah probably could have saved them all some time earlier on though by either sending Zach a signal or realizing that the heroes may head for the books. I suppose Stine told her to hide while he talked to the cops and from there on maybe she actually obeyed his orders to keep to herself. I suppose Stine had to keep her hidden so the cops wouldn’t find out one of the twists but that definitely ended up making the situation pretty complicated for all of them. Stine isn’t nearly as solid as Hannah or Zach. He’s definitely more on the selfish side and you can’t really call him heroic. He’ll do what’s best for him and that’s it. The guy probably should have burned the books earlier to be honest.

There aren’t many supporting characters here, but I did like the cops. You’ve got the over eager newbie and the experienced guy who has seen it all. They may not be the most competent cops, but at least they mean well. You’ll probably be wishing they could have put up a better fight against the aliens, but in their defense it is a one hit KO scenario. If you don’t get the first hit then that’s game over.

Goosebumps is a fun film at its core though. It’s got a nice set of monsters to work with and the effects are pretty good. There is a proper sense of danger here as well. I’d say that the film’s main two weak points are the romance and some crude humor. The latter doesn’t happen much, possibly just a scene or two. It’s still pretty gross though. As for the romance, I’d say that both the main romance and the quick one with the friend don’t work well. You could also throw in Stine’s little thing at the very end. None of them feel natural and they’re all just forced in to have some romance thrown in. It really feels like the movie is just ticking a box with this.

I gotta give the movie some props for the ending as well. The ending is really 2 fold here. The first half is expected, but also narrative. If Stine didn’t make one last book it would have made absolutely no sense and the fact that Zach didn’t even think about this does reflect poorly on his character. If this was not a part of the ending I dare say that it could have cost the film a star. Then you’ve got the twist ending which is common for a horror film, but I admit that I wasn’t really sure Goosebumps would do it. Well, the film does add the twist here and I was really glad they did. It may not be a big thing, but personally it just rounds out the experience pretty well.

Overall, Goosebumps is a solid movie and one that is definitely worth seeing. It’s pretty nostalgic to see the monsters return for some action. It’s a nice adaption and it’ll be tough for the sequel to match this one. Not saying it isn’t possible of course, but it’ll need to be firing off on all cylinders to pull it off. If you are on the fence on watching this one or not I would say to just take the plunge. I believe you’ll be glad you did and you may even be surprised at how tough some of these monsters are.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Joyride Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative.

It’s been a while since I saw a classic slasher. This one plays it pretty straight with the villain being everywhere and knowing all the answers as he makes things miserable for the leads. The film also goes out of its way to make the leads as unlikable as possible so in the end everyone loses. It’s a pretty bad film for sure and one of those titles where you feel like the heroes had a lot of chances to get out until they didn’t.

Joyride starts off with Lewis getting a call from his old friend Venna. She doesn’t have a ride anymore after going through a breakup so Lewis quickly buys a car and offers to drive her. Along the way he finds out that his brother has been arrested yet again so he makes a stop to pick the guy up. Fuller figures that he’ll be a third wheel on the drive and since Lewis isn’t direct enough to say otherwise they head out. Fuller quickly gets bored though and wants to live on the edge so he installs a radio in the car and convinces Lewis to play a prank on a driver. The prank is to convince the driver that he is a girl and trick him into going to a hotel room. The prank works a little too well as the driver murders the guy and then decides to get payback on the brothers. He now intends to murder them and Venna but first he wants to humiliate them for a while.

That’s the main plot and there isn’t much to it beyond that. Rusty (The driver) continues to force them to do whatever he says as he terrorizes them with his truck. He also takes Venna’s best friend hostage so the heroes can’t go to the police. The guy has a lot of spare time on his hands as he puts graffiti on a bunch of signs and then finds a way to put a radio in the main character’s car without leaving any evidence of it being tampered with. He had time to track down Venna’s friend and also manages to spy on them the whole time. Don’t think about any of this too much because it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

The guy is just everywhere and he’s powerful enough to murder everyone who gets in his way. Even in the dark through a big field he is able to go in and swipe one of the characters without the other 2 being able to do much of anything. Even though he uses the prank as the excuse for going on this murder spree it’s obvious that the guy was crazy from the start. He just wanted an excuse and the main characters gave him a pretty easy one. Rusty’s a fairly shallow villain and not a likable one, but at least the truck is decent.

Lewis is unfortunately a terrible lead and a film always tends to suffer a bit when the main characters are really bad. Bailing Fuller from jail is a good thing to do, but he definitely should have told the guy to find his own way out of town. Driving with him all the way was a bad idea especially since Fuller immediately started breaking the law. While Lewis isn’t nearly as bad as Fuller you can’t give him much of a pass simply because he allows everything to go on. You can’t be wishy washy about this kind of thing. Lewis never makes a stand and that goes to the prank as well. Lewis is the one actually pranking Rusty and if he were a better person he never would have even entertained the idea of doing such a thing. He’s just got a ways to go.

Meanwhile Fuller is terrible. Pretty much all of his lines are antagonistic and he gets a kick out of picking fights and generally being a nuisance to everyone. He objectifies Venna almost immediately and then actually tries to have a serious romance later. No matter how much the film tries to make him seem useful or nice towards the end there’s just no way you can buy it. Also, in a life or death situation anyone can try to help someone else, it doesn’t mean that they’ve suddenly changed. This guy was just terrible.

Venna is okay, but also not that good. For starters, the fact that she subtly asked Lewis for such a long inconvenient ride makes it seem like she is manipulating him a bit. She probably knows that he has a crush on her and is cashing in on this. The scene where she hangs out with Fuller later on is also suspect and while no romance goes anywhere in this film, I’m just not sure about her end game here. Without a doubt she is way better than the other two characters though and probably regretted going on the drive with them by the end. It really did not pay off well at all. That’s also why the best friend gets the worst luck here as she had absolutely nothing to do with anything and got roped in anyway.

It almost goes without saying that this film is incredibly violent. Rusty makes sure that each death is as painful as possible and he racks up quite the rap sheet here. By the end of the film everyone is pretty banged up. Then you’ve got the writing which is pretty terrible. The TV version had to air out quite a lot since the characters had quite the potty mouth. The script definitely could have written them out to be jerks while showing a little more restraint here.

Overall, Joyride is one of those films where you have nobody to root for. In general slasher films will never rank all that highly for me because of the inevitable bad script and the over the top violence. The main characters not being even remotely good also isn’t surprising but I dare say that this was the worst main cast in a very long while. The fact of the matter is their prank wasn’t funny in any sense and was also quite dangerous. The driver could have easily walked into a home with a Rusty type character and been in major trouble. Pranks like that shouldn’t even qualify as a joke because they are so mean spirited. I’d advise you to stick away from Joyride. It’s not like it does anything to differentiate itself from the other slasher films anyway and you won’t be missing much of anything by skipping out on it. I have a feeling that the sequels are more of the same. The twist at the end you’ll definitely see coming a mile away, hopefully the characters are smart enough to tell the cops since at least two of them saw Rusty directly and should quickly be able to see through the ruse. Proving it is another matter entirely but the ice truck halves should still be around somewhere.

Overall 1/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

In Dreams Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be far more negative.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a film this terrible but we’re finally back down to 0 star territory. Fitting that it would be a horror/psycho type film since that genre tends to churn out the majority of these for me. There really isn’t anything to like in this film from the terrible writing to the mean spirited ending.

The movie starts with a kid getting murdered and Claire has visions of the mass murderer getting more and more victims. Unfortunately her visions are of the future but she doesn’t have a concrete time frame so it is very difficult for her to actually help the cops stop him. Furthermore, the murderer is somehow able to control and enter her dreams making the information even more unreliable. Then there is the fact that he can also possess her and you’ve got a losing battle. That really sums up the film in a nutshell, a losing battle all around.

There are some movies where you go in and you wonder what the point of it all is. Most of the film is about Vivian messing with Claire and completely destroying her psyche. It’s not all that hard considering that he murders everyone close to her and forces her to watch each time. There’s nobody around to help her since it’s all in her head and people don’t believe that her precognitions are real even after she calls multiple deaths down to the very location. It’s particularly surprising when the psyche expert doesn’t believe her but that’s just the nature of the film.

It tries to show how unfair the whole thing is even down to the end when the sharp shooter misses an easy target. So much for experience right? Then even though they both fell and Vivian had more serious injuries he somehow lives? It’s supposed to even out at the end since now she can haunt him, but it’s really not a happy ending at all. Sure, she can mess with him now, but that won’t bring back her family or any of the other victims. From early on in the film you can tell that this is going to be a terrible one.

The whole plot of all these kids being murdered with nobody able to stop Vivian is already terrible. Then you throw in the fact that he has supernatural powers and the film jumps the shark even more. Naturally Claire also has a dog and Vivian makes use of that. Why did the dog go with him in the first place? Why didn’t it bite as we got a weird scene of Vivian taming it. Somehow Vivian is able to be just about everywhere and has time to pull off elaborate pranks to mess with Claire that would have taken a very long time, but he does it almost instantly. Parts of it are in her mind and parts aren’t so you have to decide what is real and what isn’t. The film also gets pretty violent at times and as always the movie goes for the tired old trope of Vivian going crazy at the end as he imagines himself to be a kid again.

The parallel scenes with Claire trying to escape the mental ward while Vivian does the same thing are incredibly dragged out. Then you’ve got the fact that one of the police officers is portrayed as being pretty sleazy just to get her an easy way out. The writing is terrible and relies on all of the characters being sinister to move the plot along. Even the fact that Vivian wants to have a family with Claire and she goes along with it as part of her plan is cringe-worthy. There are no good scenes in the film so it’s a 100+ minute experience that you’ll have to try and endure.

Of course, that’s assuming you don’t just turn the TV off right away. The only way to win this battle is to simply not play right from the start. With no positives to speak of and the film not even being remotely entertaining, there is no incentive to watch this film. You can do almost anything else with this time frame and have a more positive experience. The low effort poster is already a good warning bell to take into consideration before watching this one.

Overall, In Dreams is definitely a stinker and will have to sink into the gutter. It’s a movie where the villain wins in the end and nothing goes right for the innocent people trapped in this awful situation. I can see why I hadn’t heard of this film before and it sounds like people knew not to check this one out. I definitely won’t be seeing this one in my dreams as it’ll quickly retreat into the fog from whence it came. At best this can work as a coaster for your drink.

Overall 0/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Cat’s Eye Review


It’s time to check out a horror anthology from a while back. This one has 3 stories so each one gets around 30 minutes to play around. Anthologies are one of the hardest genres to pull off because with the stories being so different it is more likely that one of them will make a mistake. The second story is definitely the best one but the other two don’t do enough to keep this film in the green. Now lets look at all of the stories in turn.

The first story is about a company that strives to help people get away from their smoking addiction. Morrison heads over to this place after having it be recommended to him by a friend. Unfortunately the place is a lot more extreme than he would have ever guessed. Vinnie is the head there and he informs Morrison that they have a 100% clear rate. Each time Morrison smokes a cigarette something bad will happen to his family. If he makes a mistake one too many times then they will all be destroyed. Vinnie seems to have agents everywhere and Morrison now must end his addiction instantly or it’s game over.

Of course addiction is extremely difficult and one of the toughest things to stop. It’s why around the world we have so many clinics and treatment centers. Many believe that can stop whenever they want to and there are a small subsection who can do it on their own. Fact of the matter is that many need some assistance to stop and that’s why Morrison has a tough time here. He was seeking help in the first place so now that he has to effectively end it on his own it’l be extra hard since he had admitted to himself that he couldn’t do it. All that said, it’s still tough to see him sneaking a smoke when he knows that his wife will be the one paying the price now. When someone else is in trouble I believe that gives you the extra motivation to get through.

Morrison does try to attack Vinnie once and comes close to grabbing the gun. Unfortunately he was unsuccessful and that was really the last attempt he would be able to make. The short has a grim ending since Vinnie effectively wins and now Morrison has directly endangered others by recommending his service. I don’t like how buddy buddy they are by the end. I suppose we can assume that Morrison has resigned himself to his fate and is trying his best to live with this, but there’s no reason why he has to be their friends and chatting like old buddies. There’s a twist at the end, but it shouldn’t have been a twist for Morrison unless he’s one of the most gullible guys around. It’s a tense special but with Vinnie continuing to endanger others with his unnecessarily grim punishments it does end on a sour note.

The second special introduces us to a rich man named Cressner. He finds out that his wife is cheating with a guy named Johnny and decides that both of them have to go. For Johnny he figures that it’s time to mess with the tennis pro first. He tells Johnny that he can survive this if he walks around the building. The exterior of the building has a ledge that is wide enough to walk through, but the building is very high up and there is a lot of wind. One misstep would mean instant death and Cressner is following the whole time from inside the building to make the walk even tougher by splashing water and firing off his gun. Can Johnny make it all the way around and will this give him some time to reflect on why cheating is wrong and will always catch up to you?

This one’s my favorite special as the plot is more fun and at least we get to see Johnny fight. One thing that does hurt right away though is the fact that Johnny was cheating with the guy’s wife. Two wrongs don’t make a right of course, but Johnny is really not in the right here. The guy shouldn’t be going after people who are taken and it ultimately ended up costing her as well. The ending is solid though as Johnny takes them both on and gets a gun at the ready. You can probably imagine how he will plan his comeback against Cressner. Then you’ve got a determined bird who shows up to make the walk even more difficult. It is hard to see why they don’t just try to kick it away sooner, but maybe they were worried that the motion would cause them to lose their balance. It’s probably a good risk though since the pecks would eventually have the same effect.

Then you’ve got the final story. So throughout these 3 stories there has been a cat around. His name is the General and he is trying to find a kid who has been calling to him on the Astral Plane. Her name is Amanda and she is being attacked by a monster under her bed. Naturally the parents don’t believe this and to their defense this monster is pretty smart. He seals the entrance to his world each time and through reality manipulation makes it so that the hole leads to nothing if the parents check. That’s why she needs a specialist. The monster frames General, but the cat isn’t quite ready to let that be the end. Can he stop this monster?

This story isn’t quite as solid. Amanda is too young to really hold her own as a main character here. She does her best to explain the situation, but naturally it doesn’t work too well. The Dad seems to suspect that something isn’t quite right, but he doesn’t speak up most of the time so he may as well not know. Then you have the Mom who really doesn’t like the cat and gets a lot of villainous music. I do feel bad for the bird so I can see why she got upset. Why did the bird have to be taken down like that, he was just an innocent little guy trying to survive day by day. Letting a cat in so close to the bird does feel pretty risky even if General turned out to be good. The monster is pretty intense and gives us as decent an action scene as you can try to have between a cat and a monster. It’s not really my cup of tea though and I’ll take the hand to hand fight from the second special.

Overall, The Cat’s Eye’s 3 stories all vary. If I were ranking the stories I’d give the first one a 3, the second a 6, and the third a 4. The first one’s just a little too grim with that ending and the third one’s mainly based around animals and kids which is not a recipe for success with the cat getting injured and the bird dying. The middle story is fun enough even if Johnny isn’t really a main character that you can reasonably root for. If you like short stories like this then this is a good movie for you to check out. There don’t seem to be many anthologies these days as I suppose TV shows handle that for you. If you want a quick 30 minute experience then you would watch a show. So unless you are a big short story fan then you should probably check out something like the original Ghostbusters instead.

Overall 4/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Last Man on Earth Review


It’s time to look at a fairly old film about vampires, but you could also just call them zombies. It’s a solid slow burner about a guy just trying to survive on his own. It’s surprisingly good and way better than most films in its genre. That being said it does squeeze a dog in for literally no reason which did take away a quick point. Why the film did this is beyond me.

The film starts off by introducing us to Robert. He believes he is the last man on Earth after watching everyone else go down to the plague. This illness was spread through the air and started by infecting all of Europe but eventually spread across the world. The vampires can’t move during the day time at least but at night they go wild. The only way to put them down for good is with a stake or burning them to oblivion. Robert has lived for 3 years by taking them down one at a time during the day and boarding himself in at night. Still, the days are taking their toll on him mentally and he knows that he can’t go on forever. Can he find a cure or finish them off before he loses the will to keep on going?

This is a pretty solid slow burner film. The opening scenes of Robert just walking around and living life are pretty fun. I think I can see why people would like an apocalyptic slice of life film. There’s a nice sense of peace as he just goes about his daily life. I actually would have been fine not even seeing the flashbacks. It’s also nice to just throw us in the middle of this because it gives you a lot to think about as he walked around. I’m sure it must have been a whole lot of work to find out all the rules of how to fight these vampires. He did good to live for 3 years although from how we see him live you’ll be surprised that he lasted so long. He uses quite a lot of garlic for the refills and doesn’t grow his own so the store he gets it from must have had an absolutely massive supply. I wonder if it would have been safer to just live in that factory for the time being.

That being said, the garlic really did not seem all that effective to me. Towards the end the vampires just walk right past it so its effect was either weaker than anticipated or the zombies just had a lot of determination in that scene. They are also very fast since Robert said that he had been trying to find them for 3 years, but never did. Based on how quickly they show up when nightfall is upon him that would suggest that they always make sure to sleep very close by. When searching a whole city for a bunch of zombies it makes sense that this wouldn’t be an easy ordeal but there does seem to be something he is missing. Nonetheless, his strategy of knocking them off during the day each time is pretty smart. It may not be much, but he’ll eventually take them all down.

This is one of those movies where the vampires are incredibly slow to the point where he was able to knock out like 10 on his own. There really isn’t anything to fear except for them potentially getting a lucky shot in. I think his best plan would be to find a gun somewhere so he can just mow them down. That would even allow him to survive pretty well at night since he could easily shoot them before they get close. A sword would also be a good idea. A more pro-active approach like that would definitely do wonders for him. Slow zombies/vampires (I use the terms interchangeably) may be convenient but it does let you have fun imagining scenarios on how you would win. It does leave you a lot of openings for coming through in the clutch when necessary.

Unfortunately there is one scene that the film had to squeeze in for no real reason. A dog shows up. Yes, I sighed when this happened too. There is no purpose for the dog to show up here and even in context it doesn’t make sense that it would have lasted this long. I guess the dog also got immune like Robert somehow, but you know that it’s only showing up to die right from the start. The movie isn’t even being all that subtle about this to be honest. It’s not handled nearly as bad as it could have been in other situations, but it was still enough for me to dock a pair of stars.

This movie does throw in a big twist near the end when Robert finds out that he is not the last person left. Personally I think it would have made sense for a ton of other people to have survived if this was really a virus. Could Robert have been the only one who was bitten by a mosquito and granted immunity? It wasn’t the same situation per say for these guys though. This leads to a bit of a grim end for Robert even if he does take it in a different way than some other characters might. It’s hard to blame Robert for what happened here though since he just never realized that not all of the zombies were the same. As I mentioned his plan was pretty logical.

Robert is a fun character. He certainly was loyal to his science principals and didn’t even want to entertain the idea of the supernatural until it hit him right in the face. He’s the kind of guy who will stay up late cooking up new cures while everyone else has given up. His friend Ben was not nearly as dedicated to his work. While Ben may have had a point, he didn’t do a good job of getting it across. Ultimately all he did was get in the way and slow down the process. At least he became very determined once he was a zombie. The fact that some of the zombies kept parts of their old personalities is also interesting.

Then you have Ruth who isn’t a terribly good character. She wasn’t great at spying on Robert and in general she wasn’t very helpful. I know that wasn’t part of her job, but while she was there she could have at least worked on getting a cure right? Then we have Virginia who is probably the worst character in the film. Even after Robert warns her multiple times not to call the cops because they would burn their daughter, she cracks and does so anyway. It’s easily one of the worst tropes when the character insists on doing the wrong thing and immediately starts crying afterwards acting shocked at how it all went wrong. It’s just way too late by then and that made things tougher on Robert. At the end of the day the only person he could count on was himself.

Overall, the writing is definitely on point here and Robert’s sarcasm and personality really help to carry the film. I enjoy his inner monologue and the movie’s pacing is consistent from start to finish. While I don’t think we needed the flashbacks it is always interesting to see how the town handles it when the zombie infestation first spreads. Resident Evil did something similar with the second last film as we saw a local town’s reaction. Robert may not have ended the zombie infestation, but he came close. It’s hard to say if he could have ultimately survived for the remainder of his days. I feel like he would have a good shot with some weapons and maybe finding a place with 24 hour electricity once he is retired. He would definitely need to thin out the zombie ranks as best he could before then though.

Overall 6/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Godzilla (1954) Review


It’s time to take a look at the original Godzilla film. I saw this one a very long time ago, but it’s time to dive back in. This time I saw it subbed and while the dub is always the definitive version for me, it’s interesting to see the original version. Godzilla is a solid film for sure and it’s for good reason that the series got so popular. You can’t really have a definitive experience without a second monster for him to fight so this is still one of the weakest films in the series, but a good launching point nevertheless. After all, this works to introduce the character.

The film starts off with a few boats burning up at sea. No matter how many the government sends they all end up meeting the same fate. Eventually it turns out that this is due to a new monster known as Godzilla. He may very well be the most fearsome monster of all time and the government is unsure what to do against him. All conventional weaponry has failed and the only chance for success may lie with Dr. Serizawa. He has a secret weapon which can seal the victory, but has decided to never use it. His only mistake was in confiding in someone else. Placing trust like that is always an incredible risk if you really don’t want something to get out. The problem for him is that deep down he wanted someone to know about his invention so it was inevitable I suppose.

The best part of the movie is naturally Godzilla himself. His roar is definitely a lot more villainous here compared to in the later Showa films where it just sounds a little more heroic. Here he sounds like a wild beast who can snap at any second. While the effects aren’t quite at the level they would be at in later films, it’s still nice to see him smashing the buildings and laying the world to flames. He is an intimidating Kaiju and the film is a reminder that Godzilla is not the kind of monster you want to make an enemy out of. You do have to decide who you root for here of course, the humans or Godzilla. It’s tough because Godzilla doesn’t have any malice towards the humans, but he is still destroying millions. Meanwhile the humans have started the fight, but now you have to count on them to finish it in order to save everyone. I’m on team Godzilla, but I can understand why one would want to pick humanity.

There are 3 main characters. First is Ogata who is not having the best last few days. First he is unable to get the approval of Emiko’s father since they get into a heated debate about Godzilla. Then he takes a head injury and is put into an awkward spot with Serizawa. I wasn’t a big fan of his. While Emiko’s father may not have been very reasonable, Ogata handled the whole situation pretty horribly if he really wanted the guy’s approval. They don’t have to agree on the Godzilla issue, but he didn’t have to bring it up. Meanwhile we have Emiko who I also didn’t like.

Her friendship with Serizawa is exploited by everyone as she is unfortunately not someone who deals well with pressure. A reporter asks her to set up a meeting with the doctor and she does even though Serizawa didn’t want to see the guy. Then he tells her the secret of the Oxygen Destroyer and she spills it very quickly. She should have just said that she would be unable to keep the secret as that would be preferable to just telling Ogata the whole thing. Keep in mind that Godzilla already existed at this point so she should have known that eventually there would be more casualties. Emiko’s reaction to the weapon is also really overblown as she shrieks and almost faints from witnessing a glimpse of it.

Part of why she is my least favorite character here is because of these reactions. After she betrays Serizawa she is quick to ask him to forgive her for doing this but it doesn’t feel sincere since she doesn’t regret asking. Then Serizawa has to fight Ogata off when the latter tries to steal the research. Serizawa was really the only reasonable main character here and he ultimately paid the price for it. There are points to be made against him like not inventing such a terrible weapon in the first place. His only real defense seemed to be that he couldn’t help himself and naturally that isn’t the greatest defense to be used. I suppose it’s better than nothing, but that’s not great. I’d also argue that he just shouldn’t have told Emiko in the first place.

The soundtrack is definitely top notch. A lot of the themes that we hear here will be used in future Godzilla films. It’s an array of songs that have really withstood the test of time. The heroic theme, the Godzilla theme, etc. They’re true staples and especially for a film as early as the 50s this was extremely rare. Most movies in this era either didn’t have a soundtrack or it was incredibly forgettable. I’m impressed with how much detail was in these tracks.

Overall, Godzilla is definitely a pretty fun film. It’s certainly one of the original creature feature films and you can never get tired of seeing Godzilla show up. He had more screen time than I had remembered and we even did get to see some of his Atomic Breath. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I’d recommend changing that. It’s got good action and pacing. While the cast of characters is pretty weak, they don’t hold the movie back. You also have the government characters and the reporters who hold on to their ideals throughout. The side characters all hold their own and everyone is fighting in what they believe are the best interests of Japan. None of them are acting selfishly so you at least have to give them some credit there.

Overall 7/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Gremlins 2: The New Batch Review


It’s time to look at a sequel to the classic Gremlins film. This one dials the craziness up as the film breaks the third wall and the monsters gain various super forms. It’s an improvement over the first in some ways but I wouldn’t say it’s enough to throw it onto solid territory. At this rate a third film could be the one to do it though.

The film starts off with corporate heading over to the store where the gremlin is being held and they attempt to buy out the building. The owner refuses since he has decided to never sell the place. Corporate is never denied though and the old man soon dies of old age. Interestingly the film plays it straight as if there was no foul play involved. The owner was simply too old. One thing leads to another and after corporate captures Gizmo he ends up being exposed to water and his various clones quickly take over the building. Billy figures that since he has prior experience with the Gremlins that he is the best person to stop them. Can he pull this off or is the city already doomed?

It always makes for a good plot when corporate is involved because I like to see how they handle an alien invasion. Gizmo isn’t technically an alien but with how the plot plays out he may as well be. The company actually did pretty good here. They definitely lost the first round but once the big boss Daniel showed up they were in good hands. From the first scene Daniel was in I had a good feeling about his character. He seems like the kind of guy who made it to the top through his own abilities and he is quick on the uptake. Even with no heads up or survival training he was able to take down one of the powered up Gremlins. That’s not bad. Then he helped execute the final plan really well and even had a Batman type secret exit. He was constantly working hard and showing why he deserved to get the position.

Billy’s direct supervisor’s supervisor definitely doesn’t fare even half as well. Not only is he shaken up and overwhelmed right from the start but then one of the gremlins even forces him into a fake wedding. Clearly the creatures aren’t respecting him as an actual threat which is pretty sad for the guy. He had some potential since he looked good during the opening scene where he negotiates with the shop owner. From there his character fell down though. Then you’ve got Billy’s supervisor whose plot is pretty unnecessary. She decides to try and seduce Billy since he is on the track to success and he puts up very half hearted resistance the whole time. This plot is dropped pretty quickly later on and at the end of the day it just didn’t matter much.

As for the main heroine, Kate isn’t bad, but definitely not as pro-active as some other characters. She doesn’t handle the gremlin in her house too well and doesn’t really get to lay on the damage to the remaining ones. At least she is upset about Billy being so weak willed though. Then you’ve got Billy who makes the wrong choices consistently. You have to give him points for being predictable, but why would you leave Gizmo alone at any point? He should have taken him home straight away. It’s good that he rescued him, but that’s not going to help if you leave him in the villain base.

Gizmo gets a big role of course. He is still the mascot of the series after all. Unfortunately he is really just used as a punching bag by the other characters the whole time. He’s the original so you would expect him to be able to fight but that isn’t the case. The others get cool super forms and such while Gizmo is stuck trying to load a flame arrow to help fight them off. He gets a good moment at the end, but the rest of the film is him losing every round so it only helps a little bit.

The other Gremlins are interesting although their super forms range from actually being fairly threatening to just being grotesque. The fruit ones can be a little hard to look at, but the bat one was pretty cool. Their super forms don’t seem to actually amp up their physical abilities all that much so they’re really here for style points. One of the gremlins ends up getting super intelligence so he tries to give us some reasons for why the Gremlins are attacking. Ultimately it really just boils down to the fact that they want a society and have to eliminate the humans.

On one hand I like that Gremlins 2 does amp up the crazy factor. Having the Looney Tunes actually get a scene was pretty interesting. It’s always nice to see Daffy steal the show. Then there is one point where we break the third wall and a wrestler shows up to tell the theater to continue playing the film. That was definitely out of left field and it’s a bold moment that really pays off. Of course with a lot of extra humor like this there will be moments that don’t work like the wedding sub plot. You have to take the good with the bad in a title like this.

While the film doesn’t take itself seriously all that much, there are a few intense scenes here like one of the Gremlins being shoved inside a blender which leads to a violent death. It’s all rainbow colored so I suppose that’s why it wouldn’t ultimately rate too high as a violent moment, but it can definitely be a bit disturbing. The pacing isn’t bad for the most part. It may drag on just a bit towards the second half, but all in all you should be in for a decent ride.

Overall, Gremlins 2 can be fun. It’s hard to put my finger on it though, but the film doesn’t have any real replay value. It’s not the kind of movie I would ever need to watch a second time. I think it just isn’t a strong enough movie for a second viewing, but on your initial watch it will be entertaining enough for you to make it to the end. Ideally if we get a third film we’ll get to see corporate return. Without them this movie really would have worked so you gotta have them return. Even seeing the employees fighting the Gremlins in the background was pretty fun. I always like a good background gag, they’re subtle but work pretty well.

Overall 5/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Night Must Fall Review


It’s time to look at a pretty terrible film from way back in the day. The title isn’t half bad so you may have held out some hope for this movie being good. Well, hope no longer as this film takes that away pretty quick! All of the characters here are crazy and none of them ever make the right moves. The film drags on quite a bit and Danny gets away with quite a lot before they finally take him down. None of this would have flown over in NY as half the characters would have pounded him for all the disrespect he was throwing around.

The film starts off with Danny murdering someone and then running off. He decides that the best way to get past the murder is to begin working at the mansion near it. He and Dora are already together with a kid on the way and while there he begins to rebound with Olivia and even has a weird relationship with Olivia’s aunt Bramson. Everyone wants Danny and he uses this to his advantage as he manipulates all of them. It’s practically a harem setup only it’s not used well (It rarely is to be honest) and with the whole murder plot in the background you’re just hoping that the characters will hurry up and start to put the pieces together already. It all feels like it is just taking way too long the whole time.

Part of what makes the film so terrible is that Danny is an openly terrible guy. He doesn’t even try to pretend that he might be a good person and as such that makes you wonder why the characters don’t just report him. A good example of this is with Olivia. She wants nothing to do with him especially since she is already in a relationship. He doesn’t like that very much so he breaks into her room and intimidates her a lot verbally and physically. She responds to this by breaking down, but then getting together with him in almost the very next scene. It’s unknown why she fell for him and it’s a terrible romance setup either way. Likewise with Mrs. Bramson he starts off by threatening her and heavily implying that he’ll destroy her if she says something that he doesn’t like. She somehow takes this as being charming and quickly thinks of him as her new son.

I don’t know what the writers were thinking but the film just doesn’t make any sense. It’s like they had a basic plot in mind but no real plan on how to get from point A to B. It was a disaster all the way through. None of the film makes any sense and while a good cast can save a bad plot, there was none of that to be had here. I’ve already explained why Danny is a terrible character for the most part, but it’s also worth mentioning that he is totally crazy and continues to lose his grip on sanity as the movie progresses. Early on you can already tell that he’s pretty unbalanced though…he did murder someone after all.

The other characters are just unrealistic. We don’t know how Dora met up with Danny, but she definitely went too far too fast. The kind of guy who moves that quickly is probably not the most trustworthy so it’s no big shock that he chickened out at the end. Olivia falling for Danny at all is terrible and I have to blame her a lot here. She has little self-respect to allow Danny to treat her the way that he does and still hang out with him. It’s a pretty abusive situation the whole time. Then you have Bramson who also seems off her rocker for the same exact reasons as Olivia. She really didn’t think any of this through.

The film also doesn’t even work as a murder mystery since we know who the guilty guy is from the start. The cops go through the motions, but they really don’t do much of anything the whole time. It takes them forever and a day to finally get the right area as it is. With how unsubtle the guy is I feel like someone in town would have known that the dead person was last seen with Danny. That would at least draw some suspicion and ideally they could piece it together from there. Instead they chat it up with Danny for being such a lady’s man at one point.

So what could have saved this film? Well, having one sane character would have been good. Someone to keep Danny in check and to call out all the other characters. Imagine how good it would have been to have had one character just step in and end things. He could have been away on vacation or something and shows up 20 minutes into the film. He’d be shocked at how low everyone has fallen and would have quickly set things in order leading up to a climactic battle with Danny. Danny would probably die from the guy’s axe skills, but it would all be in self-defense. I doubt the film would have been all that good even with this, but it would have at least managed to score a few points.

Overall, Night Must Fall is definitely a film that I have to give a thumbs down. It isn’t interesting and the characters are simply painful to watch. It’s all handled so horribly and the romance here would have to be one of the weakest ones that I’ve seen in quite a while. It’s a film that feels like it goes on forever and the best thing you can do is to avoid watching it entirely. You’ll be glad that you skipped this one and there are many better horror films that you can check out in its stead. Come to think of it, almost all the scenes in this film take place during the day so even the title takes a while to happen. Only night scene I can think of is the coffee one which is terrible.

Overall 0/10

Live Action Movie Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

The Night Visitor Review


It’s time to look at an old school horror that takes place back in the olden days. There’s a lot of snow everywhere and you’d possibly think that the film takes place in Russia. That at least would have been my guess as the characters also look Russian although the film was made in Sweden so that’s probably where it takes place. It’s not one of my favorite horror films and if anything I would have to give it a thumbs down here. Right away the film starts digging some holes and by the end of the film it is 6 feet under.

The movie starts off by showing Salem travelling through the snow until he ultimately reaches his destination which is the family’s house. He was sent to an asylum a long time ago for insanity, but has escaped to gather his revenge. We learn during the film that his stay there was orchestrated by the family. Was it Emma, Esther, Anton, or all 3 of them? Each character has some justifications for their actions which amount to nothing more than their greed for money and power. Salem intends to finish them all off and the only defense against him is a young police officer who isn’t the smartest chip around and the old boss who isn’t what he used to be.

You can see why the family is doomed. No worries, the film makes sure to show you repeatedly why none of them are characters you should be rooting for. Alton is guilty of this whole mess and even worse, he tries to murder the parrot merely for speaking the truth. It doesn’t help that the bird looked a lot like my Green Cheeked Conure from back in the day so that definitely meant that Anton had no chance for mounting a comeback at this point. The character was just absolutely terrible and also not that realistic. I know it’s a common theme for the villains to actually be cowards. The irony and all that. It’s just too extreme when the guy literally faints just from seeing Salem. He can’t do anything right and the guy isn’t even remotely clever when dealing with the cops. How he managed to survive this long without dying of stress is beyond me.

Then you have Esther who is also fairly manipulative. For a good chunk of the film she tries to act fairly innocent, but by the end that guise starts to fall apart. She’s probably the boldest of the villains as she actually faces off with Salem and even tries to murder him. That plan was ultimately a little too bold though. She’s fairly strong considering her build, but in a fist fight with someone who is crazed with revenge that just isn’t going to cut it. She didn’t have a whole lot of options at this point, but antagonizing him did not help. Emma’s role is a lot smaller than the other two so you can probably guess what that means. She’s just another villain trying to get away with wrecking lives.

2 wrongs don’t make a right though and none of this makes Salem any more likable. His very first scene where he murders someone completely destroys his character because he goes down the skeevy route of possibly using the victim a bit before finishing her off. That also wrecked the movie right from the start as well. A slasher film is already dark enough, you really don’t need to introduce any more themes at that point. Likewise for the repeated attempts at animal violence. The bird managed to dodge all of Anton’s attempts fortunately but it was still no fun seeing the guy throw things at him and such. I’m sure the bird was pretty scared during all of that.

What did this film even do right? Not really much of anything to be honest. The Night Visitor doesn’t even succeed on a technical level as the snow backdrops don’t work for me. There just isn’t much to look at. The film isn’t very long, but since it’s pretty predictable that doesn’t work in its favor either. Throw in the completely unlikable cast and you’ve got yourself a problem. The best character by default is probably the police chief’s sidekick. The guy falls for every trick in the book and definitely isn’t ready to be the main police officer, but at least he tries. That’s more than you can say for a bunch of these characters in most horror films. I didn’t mind the main police officer too much, but he had less personality and took forever to really do anything.

I’m afraid that the film also fumbles with the premise as well since it all boils down to whether or not you believe that Salem can escape a jail, murder some people, and then run back in before nobody notices. I don’t buy this premise. It’s not like this is a silent endeavor and there would be so many tracks. He has to throw his rope just to make it around and as we saw in the opening scenes of the movie, it’s a very long route to the house. There’s no way you’re going to make the rounds and be back in your cell before time is up. We can assume that the guards are slacking and don’t check, but it’s all incredibly convenient for Salem. He’s also crossing this snowy wasteland in shorts and still has enough strength left to take everyone down. Adrenaline is a powerful thing, but he should have died of pneumonia by the end.

Overall, The Night Visitor is really a cautionary tale about how your past crimes will catch up to you at some point. Perhaps not as dramatically as in this film but it is true that you will always answer for your crimes in the end. These kind of revenge stories don’t really work though as the character might win out in the end but by then everyone is so steeped in darkness that it’s a case of winning the battle but losing the war. In general I rarely care for slasher films as it is, but this one really didn’t do anything to try and change that. It just went with the waves and sputtered out. If you want to watch a good horror title, check out something like Zombie Island instead.

Overall 1/10