With 2009 coming to an end, it is time for me to release my list of the top 5 best and worst horror movies of 2009. I wish I would have had a chance to see them all, but there is just not enough time in my world. So these are the best and worst from the movies I saw. I am sure you could add a few of your own. I am going to start with my least favorite.
#5 The Stepfather: I have seen worse, but this movie just didn't do anything for me.
#4 The Hills Run Red: I know this made a lot of people's top 10 best movies lists, but the movie just took so long to get to the good part that I couldn't enjoy it.
#3 The Collector: Besides some killing, really, what was the point of this movie? He collects people for some reason. Ok!
#2 Pandorum: Didn't turn out to be as scary as I thought from the previews. It definitely was not the next Alien.
#1 Messengers 2: Save your money. While part one was good, this was bad!
I left off New Moon. It would have been too easy to make it number 1, but I really don't consider it a horror movie even if it has vampires and wolves. Now to the good part, which are my favorite movies of 2009. I am very surprised that #1 turned out to be a movie with not a lot of blood and guts. Shocking really! I think I am starting to like movies with good twists as much as blood and guts.
#5 The Last House on the Left: It turned out to be a very violent movie with what they did to the girls, and then how the parents got revenge!
#4 The Haunting in Connecticut: I liked the story, and the visions the kid had were creepy. I also liked the ending.
#3 Drag Me to Hell: I liked the interaction between the girl and the old lady. I would have liked it a little more if there was better acting.
#2 Zombieland: It was not totally a horror movie, but I really liked this it. It was a good combination of humor, and good old zombie killing.
#1 Orphan: I liked the twist in this movie (yes I didn't see it coming). The little girl was great acting normal sometimes, but really being crazy. The story was set up perfectly.
If you had asked me, at the beginning of the year, what are some movies you hope will be in your list of the top 5 best of 2009, I would have said H2 and Friday the 13th. Unfortunately, they came closer to making my list of the top 5 worst movies. I am still really disappointed with H2 because I liked part one so much. While I liked the killing in Friday the 13th, I just thought it got away from what I am used to seeing from Jason. I know a lot of people included Paranormal Activity in their top 10, but I just hated the ending (read my review for explanation). Now it is time to look forward to the horror movies to come in 2010. Bring them on!
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
WRONG TURN 3: LEFT FOR DEAD REVIEW
Let me start by saying I am a fan of the Wrong Turn series. I know that when you get to a part three in a series like this it really becomes hard to match the original, and even the sequel. So I had to lower my expectations a little before watching it. With that said, after watching the movie, I still really enjoy this series.
Like the others, this movie took place out in the West Virginia woods. This time a group of prisoners were being transferred when Three Finger ran their bus off the road. Carlo Chavez, the most dangerous prisoner in the group, took control of the survivors. He demanded that Nate, one of the guards, lead the prisoners out of the area since Nate grew up near there. They ran into Alex, a girl who earlier escaped an attack by Three Finger on her friends, and has been hiding in the forest. She told them about Three Finger, and how he will kill them all. Chavez took this as a challenge, and insisted that Alex and Nate lead them out of the forest. He got even more insistent when they stumbled upon an overturned bank truck filled with bags of money. Chavez claimed the money for himself, and demanded that everyone carry the money bags with them. As they tried to make their way out of the woods, Three Finger did his best to stop them. Of course, he was not concerned with the money. He was interested in their flesh.
Being a horror fan, I think one of the most important things to look for in a movie like this are the death scenes. I will admit that not all the death scenes in this movie were all that real, which may have taken something away from them. To me, I let that go this time, and enjoyed them for what they were trying to do. Take two different scenes for example. One being when one of the prisoners accidentally set off one of Three Fingers traps, and got his face sliced off. You see his face slowly just slide off to the floor. It really isn't realistic that it would happen like that, but I applaud them for what they were going for. The other example was one of the deaths at the beginning of the movie. One of the college kids was running away from Three Finger, and stepped on a wire. This set off a device that went right over the kid, and sliced him in three pieces. Again, not very realistic. How many things can really slice you in half like that? It reminded me of part 2 when they sliced the guy in half at the beginning. Both not realistic, but I love what they were trying to do.
Speaking of the scene at the beginning of this movie, I have to say I loved it. The rafting kids came ashore to take a break. One of the couples decided they were going to get busy, and the girl got on top of the guy. She was topless, and he was grabbing one of her breasts when an arrow went right through her breast and his hand. So much for getting freaky! A second arrow went right through her eye. The guy got up, and took off. If that wasn't bad enough, Three Finger came over to the girl, and ate her eye. Three Finger disposed of the guy, and as mentioned above, the other guy was sliced in three pieces. Three Finger also got a taste of him, as he licked the blood from one of the slices. The arrow through the breast thing was great, and I loved how they topped that off with how he came over to eat the eye: violent and disgusting. I take it as a good sign when a horror movie starts off with multiple kills.
I know some people didn't like the story, but it didn't bother me. It gave a reason to get several people in the woods to be killed. The acting didn't bother me either. One thing I found interesting was the comparison between Chavez and Three Finger. Both were violent characters, and made people fear them. Of course, they had their differences. One was a mobster obsessed with money and power, and the other was a crazy mutated cannibal just looking for his next meal. Chavez was the dominant figure in the group of survivors, but Three Finger was the dominant figure of the forest. I liked how the movie set up for these two dominant figures to eventually go head-to-head at the end. While I liked how they set it up, I have to say I was a little disappointed with the fight, and the way it ended. I was hoping for something a little better.
I took this movie for what it was, the third part in a series. I didn't have any great expectations, but I ended up enjoying this movie. Even though some death scenes weren't that realistic, and could have been executed better, I still appreciated what they were trying to do. I like the violence of this movie, and the touch of disgusting. The movie led to a big showdown of two characters that deserved the punishment they gave each other, but it was a little disappointing. I especially liked the little twist at the end of the movie, and I would definitely welcome a part 4. I give this movie 3 pools of blood.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
THE HILLS RUN RED REVIEW
I saw that a lot of people put this movie in their top movies for 2009 lists, so I decided to rent it, and check it out. I didn't really know much about the movie except that people seemed to like it. It was one of those rare times I watched a movie and basically knew nothing about it. I don't think even think I read the back of the DVD box before watching it. While a lot of people may have liked this movie, it really didn't do anything for me.
The story was about Tyler and his search for a movie that disappeared along with the director. It is hard to believe that a movie would disappear, but apparently this one has. Really, that would just tell me that the movie probably wasn't that good, and they only made a few copies. Well, Tyler thought otherwise, and went to extremes to try to find what he thought was one of the best horror movies ever made. While doing his research, he stumbled upon the director's daughter, Alexa. He went to meet her, and convince her to help him find the movie and possibly her father. This was where the extreme part came in, as she led him (along with his girlfriend and best friend) into some woods in the middle of nowhere. That was where they came face to face with Babyface, the serial killer from the movie. Yea, imagine that. In order not to give anything away, let's just say from that point on Tyler probably got closer to finding the movie than he really wanted to be.
So let me discuss Babyface to start. I was a little disappointed that the movie didn't focus on him more. While he was an important character, he really wasn't the focus of the movie. I thought the movie was building to a point where he would become a main player in what was going on, but that never happened. I guess I was looking forward to him coming in and chopping up people, but that never really happened. I loved the mask, and given how Tyler described the movie, I thought we were going to get a lot of good killings by Babyface at some point. To me, we only got to see one really good killing, and it was a flash back that Alexa had. It was about a girl that Babyface hung from trees with hooks in her shoulders, and tied up with barbed wire (I'll leave the rest for your imagination).
One thing that really bothered me was that the movie took too long to really get going. There was too much explaining, and stalling before we really got down to the meat of the movie. Tyler had to do his research, discuss it with his friend, find Alexa, rehab her and convince her to look for the movie, pack up the car, and even document some crazy country people. Oh, and I almost forgot the affair that his friend and girlfriend were having. It was just too much set up with the only thing really keeping you in it was wondering who was watching them the entire time.
The "horror" in this "horror" movie didn't really begin until they made it to the woods. I think I would have liked this movie more if it was based more on what happened from that point on. Of course, they still would have needed to get the characters there, which they could have done in a shorter and simpler way. That would have gotten rid of all the bad acting that was required during the set up. The movie had a few twists and turns from the point they met Babyface in the woods on. Some of the twists were not all that surprising, but I did like the one at the very end of the movie. I didn't see that coming in all the craziness that was going on.
Not knowing much about this movie going in may have set me up for disappointment. As the movie went on, I got the impression we may have seen some good killing by Babyface, but that never really happened. He was not as big of a player in this movie as I thought he was going to be. Actually, he turned out to be a big disappointment to me at the end of the movie. The movie spent too much time setting things up, and forcing their actors to really act, which was not happening. I think they missed out on a chance to expand on some of the ideas they had towards the end of the movie. It would have made it more interesting, and could have made it more twisted. I think it is safe to say this is not making my top horror movies for 2009 list, and I am giving this movie 1.5 pools of blood.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
DRAG ME TO HELL REVIEW
Everyday you wake up and go to work. During your time at work, you are faced with tough decisions while trying to please your customers. Sometimes things work out perfectly for you and the customers. Sometimes things work out for the customer, but not you. Then there are the times when things go your way, but not the customers'. When that happens, do you ever feel like you may have crossed the wrong person, and it will come back to haunt you?
That was what happened to Christine Brown in this movie. She was a loan officer at a bank, who was fighting for a promotion. Her manager told her that he was looking for someone who was willing to make the tough decisions, and was leaning towards picking another guy for the job. With that said, an old lady faced with an eviction notice, Mrs. Ganush, came into the bank to talk to Christine about getting another extension on her loan. Christine seemed like a nice girl and naturally wanted to help the old lady. She asked her manager about the loan, but he left the decision in her hands. Christine had to choose between helping Mrs. Ganush and forgoing a chance at a promotion, or denying Mrs. Ganush the loan and securing the promotion. Well, Christine looked out for number one, as they say, and boy did it come back to haunt her!
Mrs. Ganush begged for Christine to help her, even got on her knees in front of everyone at the bank. Christine was embarrassed, but refused to change her mind. Security came to remove Mrs. Ganush from the bank. At that time, Mrs. Ganush told Christine that she had shamed her. Later in the evening, Mrs. Ganush attacked Christine in the parking garage. This was one of my favorite scenes in the movie. You wouldn't expect an old lady to put up such a great fight. The fight concluded with Mrs. Ganush putting a curse on Christine before disappearing. From that point on, Christine searched for a way out of the curse while being haunted by Mrs. Ganush, and tormented by the demon that wanted to drag her to hell.
While the story focused on Christine, she was not the star of this movie. By far, the star of this movie was Mrs. Ganush. I thought everything about her was great, from her appearance to each and every way she haunted Christine. The first time we saw her, she sat down at Christine's desk and removed her fake teeth so that she could eat a mint. She had a messed up eye, which definitely made it hard to look her straight in the face. She is everything you are happy your grandmother isn't: creepy and disgusting. The beauty of her character was that she did not even have to talk. After she passed away, Mrs. Ganush haunted Christine several times. There was a great scene where Christine dreamt that she woke up with Mrs. Ganush next to her. Mrs. Ganush then got on top of her and vomited all over her. I have to say, I loved the back and forth between the two. Christine always got the dirty end of the encounters, while Mrs. Ganush got the physical punishment.
As much as I liked Mrs. Ganush, I did not like Christine. Actually, it wasn't Christine, but the woman who played Christine. I just did not think she did a good job acting. Whenever she delivered an emotional line, it was more laughable than believable. She was trying to portray Christine's frustrations with what was happening to her, but she couldn't deliver the lines naturally. I would not say it ruined the movie, but it did take something away from it. At certain points in the movie, I think they may have wanted you to feel for what Christine was going through, but I never got that feeling.
The action scenes were shot in an unusual way. They were clearly fake, but I got the feeling the director didn't care if you saw it that way. They slowed these scenes down so that you could see particular things happening, but in the process revealed how fake the scene was. I don't think they took the movie seriously enough, and let things be almost ridiculous at times. If not ridiculous, maybe with a sense of humor added in. Take the scene towards the end of the movie where they were trying to get the demon trapped inside a goat. When it finally happened, the now half goat half demon hovered over the table singing and dancing. Instead of keeping the scene to the serious matter of trying to rid Christine of the demon that was tormenting her, they had to transform the demon into this ridiculous dancing goat. I guess they took a lighthearted approach, and never wanted the movie to be too serious. Again, I do not think this ruined the movie in any way, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
Overall, I think this was a good movie. The use of Mrs. Ganush was great both alive and dead. That character overshadowed the weak acting performance for Christine's character. The movie had several disgusting scenes with Christine and Mrs. Ganush. So disgusting that you are really glad that you are neither of them. Even though Christine was put in a serious situation, the director did not overwhelm you with this. He brought some humor to the scenes to lighten the mood of the movie, but this did not take anything away from the movie. I especially liked the way the movie ended, but I am not going to give it away. I give this movie 3.5 pools of blood.
Friday, December 4, 2009
28 DAYS LATER REVIEW
Imagine waking up in a hospital with no one around. No nurses, doctors, or other patients, just dead silence. You manage to get the strength to walk out of the hospital and it is just as quiet outside as it was inside. That was the world that Jim woke up to 28 days after the infection started.
The story followed Jim's fight for survival in London, where people have been infected with rage. The "infected" as they were called, only wanted one thing: to take out their rage on you. It did not take long before they wanted to take their rage out on Jim. Besides the infected, there were not a lot of survivors around, but Jim managed to befriend Selena, Frank, and his daughter Hannah. They decided the only way to survive would be to go to a blockade, which they heard about over a short wave radio saying they had the answer to infection. After quite the adventure, they reached a group of soldiers, who turned a mansion into their private military base. Who survived the infection, I will leave that up to you to see.
There were so many things I liked about this movie I don't know where to begin. I guess the first thing I liked was how everything was explained to you throughout the movie. The opening scene of the movie set everything up by showing you what the infection was, and how it started. Jim woke up knowing not much more than you did about the infected, but as he learned about them, so did you. The characters he met along the way filled you in on the infected, and how London became the way it did.
That leads me to another thing I liked about the movie, which was the setting of the movie. It was good to see a movie that was not set in New York, Miami, a typical American town, or even in a forest. I thought they did a good job setting the mood as they moved about the city. The complete silence around the characters as they moved throughout the city was pretty depressing. In one scene, they are driving down a highway with no one else on the road. To make matters more depressing, you see the town burning down in the background.
I liked the mix of freaky, yet intense scenes. Any scenes where you knew the infected were coming were intense. The movie made you feel the tension the characters felt. I was like "hurry up, what are you doing, run!” One scene that I thought was particularly freaky was at the beginning when Jim walked into a church. He still was not sure what was going on and did not know about the infected. He went upstairs, and looked over the balcony to see a ton of bodies lying over the church benches. By accident he made a noise, and suddenly several faces pop up and look up at him. They were frozen, giving a creepy look. Then a door opened and a father walked out clearly infected, but not at full speed yet. Jim freaked out, and so did I.
I also liked how the movie managed to make a point about people’s behavior. Basically the actions of the infected are compared to the actions of non-infected people. There was a scene where the soldiers are having dinner for the first time with Jim and his friends. They discussed how the world was no different at that moment than it had been before the infection started. They said people were killing before it all started, and they still were now. That was one of the things Jim battled with as the movie went on. He never killed any one before this all happened, and was hesitant to even kill the infected now. Compare that to Selena, who was more than willing to kill to survive. Throughout the movie, you see Jim get over this. The movie did a good job of showing that you did not have to be infected to take out your rage.
The last thing that I will mention that I liked (or I will go on forever) was the infected themselves. In some zombie movies you get zombies that are slow and dumb. Well, in this movie they still may not be that smart, but they sure as hell are not slow. The rage inside them made them move plenty fast. Their motivation to take their rage out on you made them actually run after you. Their eyes were red as if they were filled with blood. Speaking of blood, they continually puked blood, and whatever nasty stuff that comes out of them. You definitely do not want one of them on top of you.
I think you will enjoy following Jim’s adventure from beginning to end. The movie will freak you out, and bring plenty of tension. If it doesn't, then put yourself in their shoes and that should help. There were many things to like including the mood, setting, killings, and even the dialogue. You get to see how Jim changed from someone needing protection to being the protector. It should not be surprising that I give this movie 5 pools of blood.
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