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Tuesday, January 25, 2011


  I didn’t know much about this movie when I decided to watch it. Being named “The Traveler,” I didn’t even know that it was a horror movie. On top of that, Val Kilmer is the star of the movie. I can’t remember the last time he did a movie that turned out well. However, I gave it an honest try hoping it would surprise me. 
  It is a rainy Christmas Eve in a small town. Just when there seems to be nothing for the few local cops to do at the station, a strange traveler walks up to the front desk. Unexpectedly, he tells the officer at the desk that he wants to confess to murdering six people. The traveler is brought to the interrogation room, and questioned by Detective Black. He has no fingerprints, and is very vague with everyone until he finally begins his deadly confessions.
  Well, what surprises me the most about the movie is how well it starts off before going downhill. The opening scene shows a little girl playing in the woods before getting kidnapped. The movie then flashes forward a year later to the police station, and the appearance of the traveler. After the traveler says that he murdered six people, it took me a few minutes to figure out that there happens to be six people at the station. From here, it becomes pretty obvious what is about to happen, but I was still curious how things would play out.
  After first being reluctant to say anything, the traveler begins to confess his murders. Unfortunately for the cops, each confession results in one of the cops getting killed. As he describes the murder, the audience sees their mysterious death. It is mysterious because there is no one physically there killing them. This leads to the question of what kind of power does the traveler have, and who is he really? They don’t know how it could be possible, but they begin to think he could be the man they assaulted a year earlier because they thought he kidnapped the little girl.
  As the deaths start occurring, the movie starts to go downhill. Instead of enjoying the death scenes, they become kind of ridiculous. In one scene, a cop is in a jail cell getting beaten to death. With every strike there is blood that flies through the air and splatters on the wall. It is all right the first or second time, but it happens over and over again. On top of that, it is in slow motion so it is easy to tell that it is really just someone throwing fake blood at a wall. There is a scene later on where a shovel is shoveling out one of the cops’ guts. Seems cool, but they do the same repetitive slow motion blood tossing. It is the same blood and guts getting tossed aside over and over again. There is only so much blood and guts you can shovel out of someone.
  Then comes the scene where the ridiculousness hits its peak. One of the cops gets in a police car, and soon realizes they are locked in and about to be killed. Detective Black and another cop see what is happening, and try desperately to get the officer out. Black pulls out a shotgun, and starts to unload on the car’s windshield. Somehow the window never breaks, which might be considered ridiculous by some people, but it seems to fit with all the other mysterious things that were happening. Again, the problem here is the slow motion shotgun shells bouncing off the window time after time. They are trying to milk the dramatics out of the scene, and it just doesn’t work. Instead, I was growing impatient with how the scene just wouldn’t end.
  Besides the wasted death scenes, I was still enjoying the story going on until the twist in the story is revealed. I don’t want to give it away, but again they really out thought themselves. The twist is different, but only because it doesn’t make any sense. It may come as a surprise to you because you were probably thinking the opposite thing was going to happen. I guess that made too much sense, and they felt a need to trick you. In turn, they just end up ruining a good story.
  The story starts off so promising, but becomes unreasonable. The movie should have stuck to the horror, and left out the slow motion dramatics. They try so hard to come up with a twist that you won’t see coming that they ruin a good story. This movie might have been better if someone else did it. As for Val Kilmer, he did all right in the movie, but his performance is not going to resurrect his career. Because I did like some of the story, and there is a descent amount of blood, I give this movie 1.5 pools of blood.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011


(Spoiler Alert-killer revealed) 

  Insane sounds like a good name for a horror movie. It certainly caught my eye. There are a lot of different things you can do with that. It also means that the movie should be “insane” to say the least. So is Insane an “insane” movie, or was I “insane” to watch it?
  The movie takes place at the Bridgeburn Hotel, which is in the middle of nowhere. Sarah is lost, and ends up staying the night. Actually, she ends up staying a lot longer than that because a mysterious guy has taken her. Two weeks later her sister Jenny shows up at the hotel looking for Sarah. Jenny must figure out if she is in the right place before it is too late.
  The best way to describe this movie is that it is a poor poor poor man’s Psycho. There are a few similarities between the two movies, but the differences are a big part of its downfall. The first similarity is the setting. Both movies take place at a rarely visited motel/hotel. The difference here is that the Bridgeburn is a lot larger than the Bates Motel. It is hardly believable that one person runs a hotel that large, while the Bates Motel seems to be just big enough for one person to manage.
 Who is that one person? That person is David, who serves as the manager, concierge, bellboy, cook, waiter, and bartender for the hotel. Like Norman, he does his best to make guests feel at home, and is definitely an odd character. There are several times in the movie where they show flashbacks of David as a young boy. They continue to build on them until they reveal why David is such an odd person, and has become a killer. Guessing David is the killer from almost the beginning is easy, but waiting for the explanation to why he is the killer is the only thing that kept me watching. Too bad it is a weak explanation for someone they want the audience to believe is “insane.” As with Norman, let’s just say his mother is the source of the problem, but in a different way. Norman is insane while David is more like traumatized.
  While Norman dresses as his mother, David dresses up like one of the toy soldiers we see him painting at different points in the movie. The unusual thing about his outfit is the gasmask that he wears. He wears it because when he finally corners his victims, he throws a smoke bomb at them causing them to pass out. Yes, that is right, “smoke bomb.” Now where he gets these smoke bombs from is anyone’s guess. Does that make me think he is insane? No, just really weird. What killer throws a smoke bomb at you? Give me a break! On the other hand, he does make up for it with some descent kills particularly the one at the beginning.
  Getting away from the Psycho comparison, there are a few other parts of the movie that are questionable. As briefly mentioned before, it is a big hotel. It is hard to believe Sarah or Jenny wouldn’t question why they have to check in a room so far from the lobby when there is no one else there. On top of that, there is another part where Jenny is sneaking around the empty hotel. It isn’t a shock that he finds her considering how quiet it is except for the clear sound of her shoes walking through the hallway.
  Then there is a scene that comes out of nowhere. There is a guy driving around on an ATV, who stops and finds a covered up car. David shows up to kill the guy just as the guy discovers blood in the car. There is no point to this scene other than showing that there is a huge cliff beside the hotel. They could have done that without killing some random guy that has nothing to do with the story. As the movie whines down, there is another scene showing a struggle between David, Jenny, and Jenny’s boyfriend where David ends up being shot. As expected, this isn’t the end of David. He rebounds to eventually chase Jenny outside of the hotel. The question is how come he is chasing her as if he wasn’t shot more than once a few minutes ago? Did soldier boy have on bulletproof vest to match his gasmask?
  So the answer is that I was “insane” to watch this movie. Another promising title that let me down. For a movie called Insane, it didn’t come close to being “insane.” It did have some insanely bad acting, and plenty of questionable scenes. There is a descent kill, or two, but there is nothing in this movie that screams insanity. It is basically an extremely weak version of Psycho, so I have to give it .5 pools of blood.

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