Bedlam Review

It’s time to take a look at an old asylum horror film. It’s not by the Asylum crew but it takes place in one and I can’t think of too many settings that are worse than this. Bedlam just isn’t the kind of place that you really want a film to take place in. The whole film is rather dreary and it can get rather dark for the inmates. While the film has a happy ending it does take a long while to get there and in the meantime there just aren’t many reasons to like this film. The characters can also be annoying and I’m basically spoiling my review here so lets get started.

The film starts with a prisoner trying to escape Bedlam, but quickly being murdered by the warden. His name is George and he runs a tight ship around here. He is called in by the rich to explain what happened and George responds by showing the world how enslaved his prisoners are. The corrupt laugh at this spectacle and decide not to press charges, but one rich lady decides to put a stop to this. Her name is Nell and she decides to remodel the prison. George can’t have that so he has her arrested under guise of insanity and through Nell’s poor choice of words at the event she is found guilty. Nell is thrown inside the prison and must now try to communicate with them or she may not make it out alive.

First of all, we have to look at how bad Nell is throughout the film. She doesn’t make a stand against the malicious practices of Bedlam until she is goaded into it by a Quaker. Once she does make a stand, she really doesn’t do a good job of it. She doesn’t enact any actual changes until she is in the prison. Before that she goes to court to prove that she isn’t crazy. You’d expect her to have a calm head on her shoulders as she answers questions without sass right? No, instead she is sarcastic to the council and insults them quite a few times. She refuses to answer their questions and admits to doing crazy things like eating money. Naturally the council banishes her. Sure, the council was definitely bribed here, but she made their job so easy. Why did she have to be so antagonistic right from the start?

Then, Nell doesn’t even give the prisoners a chance once she is in the cage as she asks the Quaker for a weapon to defend herself. She considers the prisoners to all be savages and you wonder what happened to her lofty goals. Gradually the prisoners get her to join them in a game of cards and she realizes that they can be good. From here she is a good character who does make things better for the prisoners but it sure took her a while. I don’t blame her for not getting in the cage with the violent prisoner as that really could have ended pretty badly, but otherwise George actually had a point that she was all talk for a while.

Naturally George isn’t a very likable main character as he plays the cruel villain role. He likes asserting his dominance over the criminally insane and as we saw with Nell, he basically chooses who he thinks is insane. A lot of these people may be innocent but apparently the whole town is rather corrupt. Everyone looks the other way when it comes to George but that does backfire on him in the end. His end definitely plays out as you would expect as there was no way that he was going to live through this. He had simply done too much by this point.

Then we’ve got the Quaker. Unfortunately he is a very annoying character the whole time. He wants George to stand trial instead of being murdered by the inmates. A noble sentiment, but since he owns the town we all know that he would have gotten away scot free and then he would have murdered the inmates. The Quaker refuses to lift a hand to help anybody since he is a complete pacifist so it’s not like he would have helped to protect them. He comes across as oblivious to the world and rather naive. He could have been a good character, but they took him to the extreme and anyone could do what they wanted to him. It’s a shame since otherwise he probably would have been the best character here.

The film never actually shows much so it isn’t all that violent or anything, but things definitely get rough for the characters. The prison implies as much violence as it can and the living conditions are certainly abysmal. There is also a parrot that gets arrested by the end and I don’t really like where that plot may have gone even if we didn’t see the conclusion. This just isn’t a good film and it drags on quite a lot. At the end of the day, the only way to fix the prison is to get rid of the head so if George wasn’t forcibly removed then it’s not like Nell would have actually fixed much. Given that he was going to experiment on her and nobody was going to stop him, it just shows how far gone the town is.

Overall, Bedlam definitely isn’t a fun watch. While it has a happy ending, that’s only the final minute or so as the rest of the film can be rather dark. The only happy scenes before the ending are when Nell is talking tough to George, but she never ends up with the last laugh there. George is always one step ahead of her which severely limits how entertaining the scenes can possibly be. Prison films in general don’t tend to be great as even the Naruto film that dealt with this was one of the weaker installments in that series. I suppose at least some of the prisoners like the ex judge were fun characters. If you want to watch a good film about overthrowing a corrupt person in power…then you better start looking as I can’t think of a good one off the top of my head. Still, I’m sure that there are more than a few out there, you just have to know where to look.

Overall 3/10


Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo Review

The animal based horror films continue as we get to see what the spiders can do this time around. I can confirm that they have the upper hand on the humans as expected. However, the film does rely a lot on your suspense for disbelief once again. Spiders are certainly more intimidating than ants, but still within reason. It’s about what you’d expect which at least means that the film lived up to the premise as best it could. It simply couldn’t rise above and beyond it.

The film starts off with two aspiring entrepreneurs trying to get coffee out of the country. They realized that they could get rich from it, but the problem is that the corrupt government officials want a bribe first. The two guys get the money by smuggling some people out of the country, but what they didn’t count on were a few extra stowaways in the form of spiders. These spiders murder the crew and crash land the plane over by the real main characters. Charles and Cindy were looking forward to having a nice vacation when the crash happens and they quickly go investigate. Unfortunately, they don’t realize that it is related to spiders for quite a long while.

It’s pretty straight forward as the spiders start murdering everybody as they head for the orange farm. See, what makes the situation very tough for the heroes is that the town isn’t very well off. It’s actually quite poor and the only thing that keeps the society okay is the fact that they sell off their oranges at great prices. That’s why the mayor has decided that nobody is going to mess with the crop. He will have the town’s citizens/slaves work on it day and night even though they may get bitten by the spider and then die. The poison in this film is shown to be so lethal that you are dead in under a minute so at least it’s very quick. The Mayor is corporate to the core and does a good job of keeping everyone out of his way. Even when the crash first happens he refuses to use any of his water so the fire chief has to handle it. You can’t say that this guy isn’t consistent. As much as the other characters don’t like him, they still have to admit that he has some points. If the crop spoils then the whole town is doomed just as much as if the spiders got to them. They just can’t be too extreme either so it’s a tough balance.

The film would have largely been avoided if not for one very forced scene near the beginning. So, the plane has crashed and it’s leaking gasoline. The fire chief and his men have the situation under control but then a biker dude shows up and decides to play a game of chicken with the plan. He loses of course and crashes the bike into the gas which blows everything up and gives the spiders a chance to escape. You’re just wondering quite a bit what that guy was thinking and why he would lose control so easily. I guess it’s the only way that the spiders could escape but you have to question how smart this town is. Even Charles and Cindy don’t seem like responsible characters since they were going to go on vacation during work hours so any pilot in the area would have been doomed. Not very professional if you ask me.

The film also got a little darker than I thought it would be with the deaths as a kid actually doesn’t make it through this experience. Based on how long he lived after the bite I expected it to be a false alarm, but the film actually went all the way. The kid was a really bad character but it’s still not a fate you would hope for. He knew that the spiders were poisonous so he shouldn’t have tried to grab one with his bare hands. What was he thinking? That’s just not a very good idea on his part and he ended up paying the price for his mistake.

The climax of the film has a forced moment much like the beginning. So, there’s this minor subplot that comes out of nowhere and has no bearing on the film where a girl is cheating on the main police officer with another guy and then she dies. Well, the rebound guy decides to avenge her by blowing up the orange plant and all of the spiders inside of it. The only problem is that he trips multiple times until he finally lands in the middle of the factory and shuts off the power to the whole place so now everyone is stuck with the spiders. That whole sequence just made no real sense. I can buy into the factory being completely electronic so if the power goes off then you’re toast, but it is still a minor stretch since you would usually expect to have some kind of manual override system in place. I guess Mr. Corporate just didn’t figure he would need one and decided to cut down on costs.

I do think the humans should have more confidence once inside though. They have the high ground and are armed with gloves. They can just start punching and kicking rapidly. The important thing is to move quickly and to avoid having any of them over you. Follow those steps and you should really be quite fine. The very ending of the film will also make you shake your head since the main characters basically ditch everyone. Based on the numerous spiders in the facility, I doubt they made it by 8:00 clock so the place likely fell into bankruptcy. It’s rough, but trying to cheat the health regulations just doesn’t pay off.

The film doesn’t really go for too much shock value or violence which is nice. It’s not quite as plot convenient as Ants either where they had hundreds of chances to escape. It’s still not really a good film though. We get some spider violence like where someone crushes one and a kid keeps poking one. The only real highlight of the film is that the cast of characters is a little better than I expected they would be. At the very least I liked the Fire Chief, Charles, and the Mayor. Some characters were essentially filler and didn’t need to be around like Mr. Rich. The scientist was also fairly reasonable as he at least figured out that they died of poison pretty quickly. Based on how swelled up the first bite we saw was though, I don’t know how nobody else noticed this.

Overall, Tarantulas plays it by the books. The Spiders take over the town with frightening speed and you’re left to wonder how 3 spiders became around 300 so quickly. I guess they breed and insects/small creatures do tend to breed very quickly, but isn’t this stretching it? I suppose that I don’t really know one way or the other. If you like the ideas of animals vs people then this is the film for you. There are a lot of films about the food chain trying to change and all, but I’d say this is probably one of the better examples of it. I’m not really a fan of the genre by nature, but considering that then this one wasn’t too bad. If you want a giant animal though, then you’ve come to the wrong place.

Overall 4/10


Contagion Review

It’s time to look at a flu horror film. I don’t think I’ve seen too many of those. The last one would be Resident Evil I suppose. I guess Maggie would probably count as well. Of course, this film is going for a more realistic angle than those as we get corporate business trying to keep the cure for themselves and a lot of other conspiracies. Contagion is a bad film, but at least there are parts of it that are enjoyable so that’s still better than some of the competition. To put it one way, it’s a better film than Resident Evil, but the latter is more enjoyable.

So, the film starts off with a bunch of people getting sick everywhere. They decide to infect the healthy people by coughing and sneezing everywhere. They’re successful and quickly the Earth starts to be overrun by the flu. The government doesn’t know what to do about it either so they decide to stay quiet. The problem is that an online blogger has figured out the issue and even the cure to it. People quickly turn into mobs to grab it all so now the world is in peril. Can this outbreak be contained or has it already spiraled out of control? Only time will tell.

There are several plots in the film. Most of them are relatively separate, but they interconnect once in a while. The best plot is probably Mitch’s as he tries to keep his daughter safe from the outbreak. His son and wife were hit by it, but the daughter is safe so he aims to keep it that way. Unfortunately they are living next to the worst character in the film, a guy who likes the daughter. He keeps trying to infect her, but fortunately Mitch has his shotgun. He’s the only sensible character in the household so it looks like he is on his own. The daughter isn’t very smart of grateful either and she keeps trying to meet up with the neighbor, but fortunately Mitch is always ready. I don’t think this plot needed the extra tragic bit of his wife cheating on him though. I guess it’s to make the plot a little less sad in a way since now he knows why she died and how she made a fatal mistake, but it’s not like it really changed anything about the story.

Another big plot is with an online blogger who claims to have found the cure. His name is Alan and he doesn’t particularly trust the government or any of the big pharmaceutical companies. He claims that they’re all working together against the everyday man and he’s not wrong. The problem is that when you make enemies out of powerful entities like this you’re always going to be in a world of hurt. He’s kidnapped and taken to their base where they threaten him quite a bit. He’s probably the best character in the film. You have to love the bravery he has and the guy definitely doesn’t back down so easily. He’s someone that you want in your corner.

The final main plot is with the researchers who are trying to make the world a better place. They work on quarantining the place and stopping the virus. One of them ends up getting sick during the film, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise since she contacts everyone without a mask of gloves on. Considering how she explained that touching anything could make you sick, she really wasn’t smart about how she handled the situation. I can’t say that very many of the characters were all that smart though. One guy calls his wife to tell her to get out of the city, but rather than use his cell, he uses the company phone. Naturally this call is monitored and someone even overhears him. The Cell could have probably been tapped as well, but his odds would have most certainly been a lot better.

What really hurts this film though is the senseless animal violence that occurs at various points of the film. We randomly see meat markets with a lot of animal violence and other moments throughout. These scenes come out of nowhere and don’t contribute anything. It’s just hear for the edgy factor and tears the film down. We also see someone get operated on which is fairly violent. Again, this scene comes out of nowhere. There’s quite a few scenes here that are just for shock value. Cut out these scenes and this would be a relatively tame film. I guess, they just didn’t want to go for that angle though. Bad move if you ask me. it’s an unfortunate truth that animals are always the first test subjects, but the film doesn’t need to go out of its way to remind us of that.

One thing that is in the film’s favor is the soundtrack though. There are actually quite a lot of solid musical themes that play throughout the film. They really stand out and are quite memorable. Other thriller/horror films could certainly learn quite a bit from this one in that regard. Having good music always helps make a scene more engaging/interesting since you at least have something nice to listen too throughout.

Now, the film does throw out a statistic that is sure to make you roll your eyes. The stat is that people touch their face thousands of times a day, 3-5 times a minute. We all know that this is hogwash and the test group used for the study must have caught Chickenpox or something beforehand. If you just think about it logically then it makes sense. When you’re watching a movie you aren’t touching your face like that. Likewise when eating or playing video games. Just take a look around outside and you can debunk this. When you’re trying to add drama to a film with a fake statistic you need to make sure it at least sounds realistic.

Overall, Contagion definitely isn’t my kind of film. I don’t usually even care much for the cliche “main character gets sick” episode in most shows. It’s just not really a great plot and while a worldwide virus is certainly something to try’s just not terribly interesting. The most enjoyable aspects of a film like that one are just seeing the government talk about it around a table. This film had some scenes like that and those were always a blast. Going to ground zero and actually seeing everyone get sick though? Yeah, that’s not really something that’s very exciting. I’d recommend skipping this film and just walking outside to see how everyone is always getting sick. Just be sure to keep a mask on or to walk briskly so that you don’t get sick as well. That certainly wouldn’t be worth it.

Overall 2/10


Before I Wake Review

Before I Wake is a horror film where the title just makes sense. If you just hear the title you can probably guess the general synopsis of the film. The quick response you will always think of though is just “Wake the Kid up” Well, one character tries at any rate. Probably should have tried harder though. It’s a decent film if we go by horror film standards, but it still couldn’t cut the mustard overall. It just mainly lacks a good ending but more on that later.

The film starts off with an edgy opening as a Dad tries to murder his son but isn’t able to do it and the cops arrest him. It turns out that this kid’s dreams become reality as long as he is asleep. When he wakes they all vanish. Unfortunately, the more Cody uses this ability, the more the monster that is inside of him shows up. His monster has already destroyed the last few families he was with so now we are introduced to the latest foster parents, Mark and Jessie. Unfortunately they may not be ready for this kid as they are dealing with their own issues. Can they defeat the monster?

I admit that if I had Cody’s powers I would barely even notice. I rarely dream which is kind of unfortunate but it’s because I found the trick to it. If you start thinking about 2 stocking people and winning Super Smash tournaments, you eventually black out and then it’s the next day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve won EVO. All right, back on topic. I have to say that the kid dreams extremely fast since the visions seem to occur the moment his head hits the pillow. The dreams are awful convenient but as the kid is fairly young I Guess it makes sense that he would dream about his latest thoughts. The kid isn’t a bad character. Cody is pretty cryptic but at least he has good reason to be since people try to destroy him and even monsters are on the hunt. He does have his iffy moments though as he will intentionally ask the parents personal questions about how their son died in order to take attention away from him. It does show that he’s not a very nice kid at times and is mainly looking out for himself.

Mark is definitely a solid character. He does his best to get along with the kid and gives him a lot of fun days. It’s not enough to totally get rid of the sleeping problem but the Dad does his best. He also charges at the monster which is more than I can say for 90% of horror protagonists. He got a decent grab in but since the monster assimilates anyone it touches, this didn’t work out too well.

Jessie was not a good character though and realllly takes a long time to get over her past. The film does give a nice misdirect here we initially you may think the Dad is the one who isn’t coping well. He stopped coming to the grief club to wallow in sorrow and Jessie claims that he has been distant. The film quickly shows us that it is the opposite way around. She just can’t get over her last kid, Sean, and as soon as she learns that this one can make dreams real she exploits the ability to make Cody dream of her son. Even though the son is fake it’s good enough for her but of course this means she is neglecting her current son. She even goes as far as to drug Cody to keep him asleep. While she sees the light by the end, it certainly took a while and I can’t say that I’m a fan of hers.

The ending also isn’t great. Basically, they can’t bring any of the victims back since they were completely eaten but the heroes take solace in the fact that they can all be together in the afterlife or whenever the kid dreams about them. That’s a small consolation at best and it probably would have been better if at least the Dad had survived. The people from child support lived, but I guess it’s because they were assimilated into walls instead of the monster. Also, the film quickly teased a fight between the monster and the mother as they ran towards each other but it ended up being a hug instead. I was really hoping for the fight as she would try to avenge her husband.

The tragic backstory for the main characters was also needlessly tragic. Instead of having their kid drowned and then they couldn’t have more kids, the film could have skipped the former and started with the latter. Maybe even just have the kid get sick or something. Drowning is a bit much for a child. I also have to then question the handle bars that the family added for when they have more kids. They looked to be a little too high up if the kid was the same height so what was the point again? I think the bars would have to be lowered a little more to serve their intended purpose.

I’ll give the main characters some props for figuring out how the kids powers worked very quickly. Usually most of the film is spent just trying to get the supporting characters to re learn what common sense is. Here that wasn’t really a problem. Finally, I should also talk about the monster’s design. It’s pretty good and sort of looks like Slenderman. The monster has a few nifty abilities like assimilation and super strength. He isn’t very fast, but doesn’t trip so he will eventually catch you. Assuming that this monster will help the heroes in a sequel, we’re going to need a new monster.

Overall, Before I Wake definitely has an interesting premise. It also is classier than most horror films but still gets needlessly grim at times. The beginning and ending are weak. While the middle is decent, the repetition of the drowning scene doesn’t help it either. I don’t expect many horror fans will find this all that scary so you’ll have to enjoy it for the plot. I’d sooner recommend a film like Poltergeist 3. That one had everything you could ask for from a horror film.

Overall 4/10


Ants Review

It’s time to look at another animal based horror film. Fortunately it’s not about birds or dogs as that would give off even more warning bells right out of the gate. As it stands, the film actually manages to avoid any real violence against the ants which is pretty cool. Of course, we do get a montage which doesn’t help the film’s case but one thing at a time.

The film starts off with a wealthy member of corporate heading over to a family hotel to buy it out. The current owner doesn’t like this idea but she is getting very old and won’t be able to stand up to the power for very long. It doesn’t help that her daughter will not continue the legacy either. As the old lady gets ready to relent, the hotel gets overrun by bugs. Ants to be precise! They are biting everyone and plan to eventually take over the building. It is only a matter of time before they finally claim victory. How long can Mike The Construction Worker protect the hotel crew?

One thing you’ll notice right away is that the film relies an incredible amount on your suspense for disbelief. The Ants aren’t exactly subtle as they swarm everyplace they can find, but nobody ever notices them. Clearly they all need glasses as you can usually tell if around 6-10 Ants are cluttered, much less hundreds. Whether it be the kid in the dumpster or the cook in the kitchen, you can’t possibly expect us to believe that they didn’t notice hundreds of ants. That’s just not possible and the film probably knows it. It’s just that there is not really any other way to get the ants into place except by having them walk there. The film should have had them crawl in at night or something like that since the darkness would give a better reason as to why they couldn’t be spotted.

We also can’t forget the plot convenience of the ants deciding not to attack the guy who was trying to shut the place down. They mentioned that the ants won’t hurt you if you don’t move but this guy was lightly aggravating then by moving his hand around and yet they didn’t bite. I suppose they were just smart enough to realize that attacking someone like this just wasn’t worth it? I dunno, it’s a bit of a stretch but if you see this as a very sentient takeover by the Ants, then I guess it helps a bit.

As mentioned earlier, there is a montage where the ants destroy a bunch of other animals which definitely wasn’t a good idea. I don’t want to see them challenging a bunch of innocent animals. Keep their victims human, but don’t throw in the animals. It’s just not right, not right at all. I suppose it’s a good time to talk about the characters. Certainly an intriguing cast, but not a good one I’m afraid.

First off we have one of the supporting construction guys. He was tending to the front yard when a girl shows up and basically asks if he’s free. You can take that two different ways, if he’s not busy right now or if he’ll fool around with anyone. He basically says yes to both and their terrible/out of nowhere romance begins. Not only do these characters not add anything to the film but they aren’t even fun. I don’t see the point of including them here and that was probably a mistake on the film’s part. Another pair of big characters were the corporate takeover guy and the girl he was with. They certainly don’t get along very well as the guy constantly insults her intelligence. She always gets him to half apologize but this happens at least 3 times so talk about de ja vu. His corporate side was fun as he always seemed to have the edge when it came time for the talks. He was good at lying to a person’s face with no remorse. You can certainly tell that corporate taught him well. You know how his character arc is going to end right from the start but at least it’s a fun ride. He’ll stand up to anybody!

The old lady who wanted to keep the house was decent. At least she knew that if she sold the house it would probably be the end of the building. Still, it’s not like you can keep it forever anyway, eventually she would be forced to let it go. While she may have made the climax a little more difficult for the heroes, it wasn’t exactly her fault so she can’t be blamed for that. Her daughter is the main person running the show while the lady rests and she’s not a bad character. Her romance with Mike is pretty bad though. The trope of someone winning an argument by pulling the romance card just isn’t good. Mike had a good reason for barging into the hotel and should have just explained it better. Mike has a big role in the film and could probably be called the lead. He does figure out the true culprit of the attacks before anyone else so I’ll give him some kudos there. Beyond that, he doesn’t really have much character and I can’t say that I liked him. He does ultimately back off from the environmental protection guys and Mike could have handled the situation better.

The climax is another part of the film where you will have to shake your head. Ants have begun to surround the house so the main characters are trapped inside. It’s unfortunate for them, but they knew the risks. The problem is that they should be able to just run out of the house. The only decent case you can make here is that it would be tough for the old lady, but Mike could have carried her. The Ants are numerous but as long as you’re careful you should be okay. One character does run out of the house, but he puts his hand on the rail which is a big no no and then trips. Since the other characters know to respect the Ants, they’d run down the stairs without grabbing anything. It’s not like the Anta can fly and while they could jump off the walls, they didn’t do that in any of the other scenes so why start now? Don’t even get me started on how slowly they were getting into the helicopter. It’s a matter of life and death, you’d think that they would show more initiative. Then sitting still and hoping the Ants wouldn’t bite ends up being the right answer.

These Ants are mad because of the environment so I figure they would throw in some bites anyway. They don’t care about how normal Ants would act, these are Eco-Warriors and they will die fighting. The whole climax revolves around you believing that these are just normal ants again. It’s also a big gamble that the ants don’t bite when they are blasted by the sleeping gas. I certainly wouldn’t have gone along with the plan and I can safely say that I prefer not to have Ants crawling all over me.

Overall, Ants isn’t a very good film. In fact, it’s a bad one. It’s filled with so many leaps in logic that you will be wondering why the film made the decisions it did. If it really wanted to trap he heroes in the house, it should have had more Ants on the ground to show that with every step they would get bitten. Maybe the budget had something to say about it as well though. Seeing Ants crawling around on everyone definitely isn’t all that enjoyable and I think a film about any kind of insect like this would be rather difficult to get behind. Better luck next time I suppose. You’re better off watching THEM.

Overall 3/10


Tentacles Review

Tentacles is one of those films that sounds like a really old giant monster film. However it is more of a horror film than one about monster attacks and it just lacks that classic Toho feel. I’m still not the biggest fan of underwater films in general but I suppose the effects could have been worse. This is certainly a film that won’t really be remembered but at least the ending went a different route than I had expected.

The film starts off with a Giant Octopus murdering a bunch of people. The film was trying to go for an edgy approach right off the bat so the first victim is a toddler. Another kid ends up dying by the end as well. It’s definitely the film’s attempt at shock value which shows right from the start that it probably isn’t too confident in its abilities. Well, the Octopus keeps murdering people so finally a water expert by the name of Will decides to avenge his wife by destroying it. This will be a tough challenge but he has no choice. Honor dictates his actions now.

Of course, while Will has no choice, he has no plan either. The whole time I was wondering when he was going to load his gun and fire, but he doesn’t actually do anything. This is the worst attempt at avenging someone that I have ever seen. We then see him joking around in the next scene as the film ends even though he didn’t actually do anything. It was definitely annoying to say the least. Of course, the characters here were not very smart from the start so it’s not too surprising.

After several murders have occurred at the ocean and her husband is sent in to investigate them…his wife decides to take a boat to the middle of the ocean. It’s probably the most random moment in the film and of course she is destroyed. I don’t know what her plan was here, but once again I can confirm that it was not a good one. Then the town as a collective whole isn’t great either. Amidst the murders they decide to still go ahead with their water boat competition. Now, it’s hard to say just how much they know but at least the first murder was in the papers and I’m inclined to think that the rest would be as well even if there are no details to be found. The cops apparently had a little part of the Ocean surveyed so it couldn’t get near the boats without a warning but with its speed that barely even matters. Fortunately the film didn’t want to get quite that grim (Although I thought it was getting there for a moment) and most of the kids survived as opposed to all of them being destroyed but it doesn’t reflect well on the town. No way do you hold a contest at a time like this. The police also seemed surprised at remembering that there was a contest, but the contestants got a police escort and there were a bunch of copters in the air so were they just not on the same page?

Well, the film did have a soundtrack so I’ve definitely got to give it some proper kudos there. It has its own interpretation of the Jaws theme but really slams it in your face with how often it is played. I understand that it’s supposed to be scary but if you play it in every scene then it won’t work anymore. There are a few fake jump moments to get you scared as well. You can call this film many things, but subtle is certainly not one of them.

The film would also lose its budget at times as the screen would freeze and nothing would happen. There’s also a long speech given during a rather disjointed set of screenshots and the opening moments of the film are practically filmed in first person. I’m not sure who thought this was a good idea. What I do know is that it was not executed well at all. It’s rare to find camerawork so bad that it has to be mentioned but I just have to do my part to show directors that you never want to go down the Cloverfield route. It’s just not worth it and this film gets dangerously close.

The highlight here is definitely the two Killer Whales. Those characters were definitely emotional and made the tough calls when the main character wouldn’t. They proved that they do in fact have sharp teeth and a good grip and they completely rip the Octopus apart. I was totally expecting the Killer Whales to kick the bucket so the film actually did manage to surprise me in a good way. Who knew that it would have a classy ending like this.

Now if only the writing could have been better. Unfortunately it is quite bad. Any scene with the sister talking to her kids is fairly brutal and this is supposed to be the comedy part of the film! Then you’ve also got subplots that never really go anywhere like the corporate business guy whose subordinate apparently broke the law in order to speed up the business. This is the film’s way of explaining why there is a Giant Octopus but we never learn what the experiments were or why it would create a giant monster. How did the researchers not notice that a giant octopus had suddenly popped up? A lot of plot convenience here for sure.

We did have a confident reporter known as Ned to try and keep everyone honest though. I’d say that he is a good character but still comes off as being less impressive than the usual character archetype. He plays off everyone’s egos in order to get them to work. It’s a sound strategy and works well enough so you can’t fault him there. If he picked up a gun and also went on the mission to stop the Octopus, then that may have helped his case.

Overall, Tentacles was a little better than I thought it would be. It has less shock value than you would expect from this film and the Killer Whales actually defeating the giant monsters was a real treat. Of course, being better than terrible still isn’t something to be too proud of so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I don’t think this movie is good enough to pass the ground floor (5/10) but at least it got this far. If you really want to watch an underwater monster film then this is for you but I would much sooner recommend the Scooby Doo Loch Ness Monster film.

Overall 4/10


The Black Cat (1934) Review

It’s time for a big team up between the big horror actors of the old days, Karloff and Lugosi. Although in the actual movie they are going up against each other with two travelers being caught in the crossfire. Suffice it to say, we’re in for another old school horror film where the main characters are terrible and the villains spend more time bantering than actually doing anything. We’re definitely at the right film.

So the film starts off with Peter and Joan taking a train for their honeymoon. It’s all going well until a mysterious man shows up and asks if he can share the room. Peter already gives off some red flags since he isn’t intelligent enough to refuse. Once the couple appears to be asleep this man, Vitus, attempts to get a little too comfortable with Joan. Peter wakes up and glares at Vitus but doesn’t do anything reasonable like kicking this guy out of the car or even becoming big time enemies. Instead he decides to forgive and forget. One thing leads to another and the couple follows Vitus to the mansion of Hjalmar. The old man is a big time enemy of Vitus since he stole the guy’s daughter and murdered his wife. Vitus has come here to get revenge while Hjalmar wants to take Joan since she is the reincarnation of the late wife and he aims to use her vessel as a way to bring her back. It’s all pretty twisted and clearly we are watching two villains go at it. It’s hard to pick any one of them to root for.

This film is fairly dark and not in a natural atmospheric way, but in an artificial gritty sense. Characters are tortured both on screen and off screen. Vitus’ family certainly gets the short end of the stick since they are all murdered by Hjalmar. The ending is even someone getting skinned alive. You can tell that while this is an older film, it’s not one of the classier ones. It’s going for the shock value scenes and it takes away from everything else.

Alas, it wouldn’t be a terrible horror film without an animal showing up in some capacity right? Well, Vitus is afraid of cats so the other villain always uses this against him. Vitus will destroy the cat but it just comes back for more since it has 9 lives. As a result, not only is the scene terrible but it’s pointless. The cat phobia never actually does much and at the end of the day it’s just a random excuse for the film to bump off a cat. Pretty disgraceful if you ask me.

I suppose the writing is decent although you will have to stretch your disbelief to its absolute limit. The whole point of Vitus coming over is to murder Hjalmar and he has dozens of opportunities to do so. In fact, his subordinate is an inside agent working for Hjalmar. He is Hjalmar’s only minion so the two of them can beat the old guy easily. Instead Vitus is constantly content to simply watch things play out and just go with the flow. There’s no narrative reason for Vitus to totally disregard his actual mission for 90% of the film.

As for Hjalmar, he is just as bad. He already murdered the first two people he was with so now he wants Joan even though it’ll probably just be to murder her at some point. Considering that he never poisoned them or anything the same question about waiting rears its head. Why not just destroy them right away or in the dead of night? It’s his house and the main characters are gullible enough to actually go to sleep at night. They’d be easy pickings.

We also can’t forget to talk about Paul and how terrible he is. He gets knocked out several times and never puts much of an effort. The only time he is finally able to air up the nerve to do something he manages to shoot the guy who was trying to help Joan. Clearly he isn’t good at reading body language but I can’t honestly say that I was too broken up about the whole thing since Vitus is basically still a villain in my book. Paul just comes off as really incompetent. Even after seeing how shady everyone is he decides to leave Joan by herself while he sleeps in a room way down the hall. He was just accepting this until Vitus came over to switch rooms. What this means is Vitus would have been in the room next to Joan and since the connector isn’t locked he could have gone to her room whenever he liked. Did I mention that Paul was terrible yet? You get the idea of why this guy was so bad. He doesn’t even understand a threat when it’s being blatantly said right in front of him.

Unfortunately Joan is no better. Not only is she fainting too much, but she gets possessed rather easily. I can’t blame her for falling off the rails after this since Paul lets the villains inject her with something while she asleep. Joan just never seems like a real character during this adventure. She ends up being in a state of shock throughout the movie instead and lets everyone else make decisions for her.

While the premise of someone going to get revenge may sound good on paper it’s clear that the execution is just off from start to finish. Subtle banter between the villains is a decent concept even if they are really trying to destroy each other. At the same time, it just gets unrealistic if it goes on for too long. We could have also been given a motivation for why these two are to be locked in combat without going full tragedy. Considering that Vitus basically knows for a fact that the other guy is guilty you’d think he would make a move of some sort before he is put in a bad position. You just end up questioning the characters quite a bit here. The highlight would be the Chess game. I definitely wasn’t expecting such high stakes for a mere board game, but if that had to be the case then Chess is naturally the perfect pick.

Overall, This definitely isn’t a good film and the other Black Cat films I’ve seen seem to have had more quality. The actual Black Cat in this film certainly doesn’t get the respect he deserves. What really buries this film in the long run is the fact that it is too dark at times and there is nobody to root for. The main characters certainly aren’t very smart and make all of the wrong choices while even the villains don’t seem to think things through. The polite banter that I like from these films only hurts it in this case since these characters should be doing something as opposed to doing nothing.

Overall 1/10


Maggie Review

It’s time for a zombie film that manages to make an already weak genre even weaker. This one takes everything you don’t like about zombie films and doesn’t even bring in any of the positives. At the very least, Resident Evil had some nice action scenes once in a while and a good soundtrack to boot. It was an interesting film even if it was a bad one and kept your attention from start to finish. Maggie never gets interesting and is so focused on being emotional that it forgets to actually do anything. There’s no subtlety to this film and while it’s hitting you over the head with how sad the film is, you’re waiting for the zombie apocalypse to start.

So the film is about a man named Wade and his daughter Maggie. She has been bitten by a zombie and is doomed to become one of them. The process is randomized so nobody knows when she will turn, but Wade is encouraged to destroy her or take her to a facility where she will be canabalized. See what I mean about the lack of subtlety? The film could at least give him a decent option as opposed to dark and gritty for everything. So what will Wade choose?

This film is just a cluster of nonsense from start to finish with forced drama at every turn. Let’s look at the obvious here. Once you are a zombie you are taken to a place to get eaten alive by zombies. Why? What purpose does such a place realistically serve? I get that this is a dystopia but why not just a quick death if they’re going to bump these guys anyway? Are there no more poison pills in the future? Why bother with a tonic that will torture you for hours before you finally die when you can swallow a little poison. If that doesn’t work then I’d like the film to address this.

The film also adds in animal violence for no real reason. It just comes out of nowhere and tries to be as violent as can be. The film was already garbage before this scene but it certainly didn’t help matters. I don’t use the term lightly but for a 0 Star film like this one it’s only fitting. It’s basically the tv version of The Walking Dead and the atmosphere and writing are like Attack on Titan, only worse somehow. While the movie is beating you over the head with a stick as it tells you to feel bad for the characters, it also keeps reminding you that they’re not even thinking about the consequences. For example, Wade doesn’t have any safe guards for when Maggie turns. He says he does, but he clearly doesn’t since he leaves her unsupervised for ages. I’m cool with him wanting to save Maggie because yes that is the right call. Still, you need to at least build some kind of large cage around the premise or something to make sure she can’t escape and destroy everyone. Instead he makes everyone feel uncomfortable about the situation. Although in a world where all of the kids hang out without suits and keep on infecting each other, it’s certainly a matter of time before humanity is wiped out.

Wade is a reasonable character since he at least didn’t destroy Maggie. That would have been another big facepalm moment had that happened. He stayed strong and confronted everyone who tried to put her down. You do question why he would still risk leaving home for hours at a time to work in the tractor since he could walk home to an empty house but I guess he figured Maggie could stay strong and fight the virus. He was wrong.

Maggie does last for a while, but from the start you know that she is doomed. This is just that kind of movie, one where there is no hope from the start and a sad ending is guaranteed. It could have been even more grim I admit so I’ll give the film some kudos there. Not much though since it’s not like the film could have gotten a worse score at this point right? She gets a really random subplot with some annoying teenagers which was fairly forced and didn’t add to anything. We learn more about how evil society is and how the kids have no options so I guess the film just wanted to remind us of how grim the world is. We are reminded so often that it makes you wonder what the purpose of the film is again. Is it an emotional story about letting go or a director’s true vision on how the world is?

Ultimately the teenagers are only introduced so we can see one of them dragged off in tears to the boot camp where he will suffer a lot before dying. The edge levels are still high so I’m sure the film makers were particularly pleased with this moment. I can imagine them singing the Infinite song from Sonic Forces while making this film as it would fit the tone pretty well. Although I’ll take the song over this movie any day.

Aside from all this negativity let’s look at the world in general. The cops and authorities certainly aren’t doing a very good job of preventing the outbreaks. They don’t know what’s causing them and can’t cure it. They don’t even have a way of knowing where these zombies are so now we live in a world where they can be around any corner. Based on how everyone acts in this film they should all be turned already since it is supposedly contagious. The world seems semi ruined already in some parts while quite civilized in others so maybe the virus is just spreading really slowly? At any rate my money’s on the zombies to win in the long run.

Overall, This is definitely a very dark and gritty film. It’s quite mean spirited and does all it can to show you there is no way out of the situation. There is no big climax or moment where the heroes think they have a chance. It’s a film that starts at the bottom and is content to stay there for the duration. The colors are very dreary and dark so there isn’t anything good to even look at. I like to think this film was simply made in a dare to see if anyone would actually watch this movie. The only thing it did right was to further convince me that zombie films are going to almost always simply be a waste of time.

Overall 0/10


Dracula Has Risen from the Grave Review

It’s time for another Dracula film. This series has never been particularly good and this one is no exception. Dracula’s a joke and everyone knows it. Even the poster knows this. Look at his facial expression above and tell me that this is a serious villain. He died from falling in a pool of water in the last film! This guy is played for laughs at times and if he is meant to be completely serious then that’s almost sad. Anyway, this film does nothing unique and instead just goes through the motions without doing anything cool or interesting. It’s definitely a very forgettable film and one that will soon blend in with the rest. There’s just nothing to really like here but it is always surreal to see some of the choices that the main characters make. Needless to say they were not prepared for a fight like this.

The film starts off with Dracula murdering someone and we then cut to the present where Ernest walks into that town. Everyone is still afraid of Dracula because while he may be dead at the moment, his aura is still enough to corrupt everything that it reaches. It apparently even gets into the Church so everyone just hangs around the bar now. Ernest laughs at them and runs over to Dracula’s castle which he seals with the Cross. Unfortunately, the drunk pastor who had been following him trips and breaks Dracula out of his tomb of ice. Dracula then decides to team up with this guy so they can get revenge on Ernest by getting his nephew, Maria. Will their nefarious plan succeed?

Dracula has just never been a good concept for a film. I still stand by that today. The writing is often terrible for these films and they just heavily rely on shock value the entire time. The heroes also never manage to stop him before he bites the main heroine so they’re simply too late. The fact that his victims all crumble into quivering children when faced with his power is also annoying. They’ll just start fainting and running away while in his presence which is not really the kind of thing you want to see from characters who are supposed to have strong wills. The pastor guy was drunk and apparently spineless from the start though so I suppose I shouldn’t use him as a base to judge anything.

Still, the characters are really annoying. First off we’ve got our lead Paul. He wants to leave a good impression with Maria’s folks since he is supposedly serious about her, but that doesn’t stop him from passing through the bar and deciding to drink a little. Naturally this doesn’t end well and he messes up the Uncle’s big return by ruining the mood. He decides to sulk by getting even more drunk and allowing himself to be ensnared by the waitress named Zena. He hardly resists her actions and just shrugs it off. Then when Maria actually needs his help he gets one shotted by Dracula several times. He missed with the fire shovel and then runs right into Dracula’s arms. Paul’s a terrible main character and I certainly couldn’t support him during the movie. He makes all of the wrong decisions and doesn’t come off as genuine. How do you lose so many battles in one film?

Unfortunately, Maria is just as bad. She gets mind controlled by Dracula and gets thrown into a dungeon by the waitress. The heroes get to her in time before anything drastic occurs and ask her what happened. Her response is to faint multiple times and to explain in the most cryptic and misleading ways possible. She doesn’t mention any of the people who were there, which puts the heroes at a disadvantage. Thanks to her weak mind, Dracula can also enter the house as she opens the windows for him. While not everyone can agree with me that mind control only works on the weak that quickly, we can all agree that she should have at least told everyone what happened the first time.

Meanwhile, we’ve got Ernest. He’s probably the only quality character in the film and even then he makes some of the same mistakes as the others. He is betrayed and knocked out to the point of death by the drunk. Later, we see the drunk arrive at his house with Paul (Paul invited him because he’s helpful like that) and instead of warning everyone that the guy is evil, Ernest faints from fright. It’s almost amusing since you Never see the old, experienced tough guy faint in a film like this one. It’s unheard of and also incredibly hard to wrap your head around this. It doesn’t make any sense and it feels like a lazy way for the writers to get Maria kidnapped. Otherwise there’s no way Dracula could have broken in.

Zena is the waitress and she’s certainly not a good character. She only exists to flirt with everyone and to get Paul on the wrong path. You know that she is doomed immediately since that always happens to these characters in horror films. Staying in the friend zone is typically the only way you’re safe. Zena didn’t and ultimately ended up paying the price. As for Dracula himself, he’s not really a cool villain at all. He blames all of his failings on Zena and doesn’t even look very good in combat. He shrinks away in fear whenever someone holds some fire or the cross. He trips over his own feet in the climax as he lands in his doom. He even sleeps in a coffin that’s in the basement of a busy bread shop so it’s easy for someone to murder him during the day. It’s almost hard to see why everyone fears him so much when the guy just isn’t very smart.

This film is also pretty violent as you would expect from a Hammer production. It really does its best to show blood whenever possible and lots of it. Everyone gushes blood as if we’re back in Bleach whenever they’re stabbed and you can tell that they’re just doing it because they can. The Vampire bites are still as iffy as ever and since the characters take so long so stop Dracula it can barely be counted as a win. The actual body count actually isn’t all that big in this film but the movie makes sure that each one gets enough screen time for two.

Overall, Dracula Returns is a pretty terrible film. The writing is lousy and the cast of characters are completely uninspired. There is nobody to root for and that is always a problem if you ask me. You won’t be able to stay invested in the film and the best way to get through it is to take a shot of water every time a character makes the worst move possible. Anything stronger than water and you’ll likely faint so try and stay safe. Still, I’d recommend watching many other films before I’d ever even consider this one. If you have to pick a Dracula film, at least pick the modern one from the new cinematic universe that Universal has been putting together. At least that one tries to stay classy.

Overall 1/10


The Haunting Review

The Haunting is a film adaption of a book I read recently called the Haunting on Hill House. I’m assuming they thought the title would be too long which is why they shortened it. I don’t really care too much or really at all about that change but the movie makes a lot of other changes during its run and pretty much all of those are pretty bad. Whole characters are cut and bits of their personalities couldn’t get a chance to shine either. A movie adaption is almost always an abridged version of the book as it’s just hard to fit everything into a movie unless you make it two parts or very long. Still, the film could have done a much better job of sticking to the script.

The film starts off with a montage of murders as Hill House decides to clean up and murders a bunch of people. We then skip ahead a few decades as a professor wants to rent the place out to see if it is really haunted or not. His request is accepted on the condition that he brings along the future heir to the house to make sure the Professor doesn’t try to pull anything. He also hand picks a few individuals who have a history with the occult but only two people show up. First is Nel, a poltergeist survivor. The other one is Theo, a master of esp. Can this brave bunch prove that the House is haunted or has one of these individuals already been turned? Either way, staying alive could be rather difficult.

One of the main aspects of the book that I kept mentioning in my review is how strange all of the dialogue was. Everyone sounded really crazy throughout so it was always hard to tell what was going on. Was the house affecting all of their mentalities or where the characters already crazy? The movie doesn’t keep most of that in and instead portrays Nel as really shady right from the get go which changes the whole dynamic of the story. It’s less of a mystery now. I can’t say that I’m a fan of Nel in either versions but this one certainly seems a lot more villainous. She is willing to bump off her rivals so she can chase after the scientist and that romance plays a bigger role here than in the book which naturally makes her less of a sympathetic character since she appears desperate.

The movie also toned Theo down a lot. In the book she appears to enjoy the more brutal aspects of the case and has a morbid sense of of humor. While the film keeps in her taunts against Nel, most of her other lines are nowhere to be found. She is certainly one of the most enjoyable characters though and in the movie she is the best one. The handles the situations pretty well for the most part. The scene of her being terrified of the noises honestly seems rather out of character for her but I guess it’s hard to stay fearless in Hill House.

The Professor is also a lot weaker than his book counterpart thanks to Abel’s attempted romance plot. While he didn’t completely crack he did skate on some thin ice by the end and he could have done a much better job of handling the situation. Luke was pretty true to fork the whole time though. He doesn’t buy into the ghost business and talks a pretty good game the whole time. The movie cheats him out of his big scene where he saves Nel of course but I think most of his scenes still seemed to be in tact. It’s always good to have at least one skeptic in the group or they will just get scared too easily and that would just hurt the dynamic.

That’s why cutting out the other tough character was such a bad move though. In the book the wife arrives with a companion who has a gun at the ready and believes he is too sophisticated to be scared of ghosts. He actually doesn’t even end up being scared so it was an interesting way for his character arc to end. The Wife also looked a lot better as the ghosts couldn’t lay a hand on her. Even the Dudley’s were given a greatly reduced role which was unfortunate since they were the best characters in the book. Well, Ms. Dudley was the best anyway, the other guy was okay. The film even cut out the moment were Theo nearly ran the guy over. I can understand cutting the coffee scene near the beginning though. All in all the book just handled everything a lot better.

While the book is the better version that’s not to say that the movie is bad. The review has been negative so far because I’ve been comparing it to the book. It’s a little disappointing that if couldn’t do a better job of adapting it. That being said, it avoids most of the pitfalls that horror movies fall into. For starters there is no animal violence so that is a good thing. There isn’t even much in the way of normal violence which is nice. The opening can be a little dark with how everyone keeps dying but I think it does a good job of not being really graphic or anything like that.

The writing is still pretty solid. The characters talk like actual people and the dialogue is strong. The film does a good job of always keeping the atmosphere tense even if the characters do seem to overreact. I do think the Professor and Luke would have had a better time if the other two hadn’t shown up. While Theo and Nel panicked a lot, the other two were usually as cool as a Cucumber. Even then they weren’t quite as relaxed in the book. That does lead to one area where the film may beat the book. The pacing feels a lot quicker in the movie as things tend to happen more regularly. In the book it sometimes feels like nothing is happening and even after finishing the book it’s like not much occurred. In the movie since you could see things shaking and all it worked a lot better. At least I can give the film some kudos there. It’s still a slow burner but one that is a little more action packed.

Overall, The Haunted is a good horror film from the olden days. This was back when making a horror film was about atmosphere instead of content. I’ve spoken enough about the book so I won’t even say you should just read it instead of watching the movie. What I will say though is that this movie is worth checking out. It’s not perfect but it does a good job of encompassing what a horror film should be like and doesn’t make many mistakes in the process. That’s always the end goal in a film so since it keeps you entertained while all the way through as well, it’s a good movie. Watch it before you read the book to appreciate it more.

Overall 7/10