Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The good, the bad, and the ugly...

Recently, I have been watching a few movies and I thought now would be a good time to review them. First the bad...


When the original MONSTERS came out, it was to mixed reviews - many suggesting that the monsters themselves played more of a secondary role to the rest of the story, and fair comment, but still I really kind of liked it. 

The plot was a simple one - spores from space had landed in Mexico, here on Earth, and mingled with the native life creating horrific monsters that now terrorised the local people. A reporter, covering a series of recent attacks, recieves a phone call from his editor and is told he has to escort his boss's daughter back to America, much to his disgust at abandoning his story.
Unfortunately the pair have their passports stolen and are forced to make their own way back across the quarantine zone.
Monsters was a kind of road movie, as much about the couple as they travelled cross country braving danger together as it was about the monsters and for that reason, a lot of people I think just didn't 'get' it. I thought it was very clever and I even picked up on the sub text which was all about how America always like to get involved, but then have this habit of not seeing things through to their proper conclusion. For example, what people have learnt to believe about the Quarrantine zone, for example, is soon revealed to not entirely be the truth and as the reporter and his boss's daughter carry on, we - the audience - are treated to a first hand perspective of what is actually going on. 

Like I say, I really enjoyed it, which is why I was looking forward to a sequel...

In DARK CONTINENT, several years have passed and the monsters have spread to the Middle East. America is conducting wholesale bombing attacks in a bid to destroy them but there are soldiers on the front line as well. A new team of recruits, currently on their first mission, are sent out to track down a missing patrol but soon find themselves facing just as much danger from the locals as they do the monsters.

Much like with the first film, the monsters only appear sporadically, probably for less screen time than in the original, and I was left with the feeling that you could have easily removed them and been left with a very similar movie - one that very unsubtly addresses the inherent problems of a war against the Middle  East and that has an even heavier sub text than was present in Monsters. For me though, this time, the message felt lost. It was too similar in tone to something like Apocalypse Now - pretty much a war movie by numbers, complete with an obsessive and almost entirely crazy General who has obviously been out there for far too long and seen one too many horrific sights.

For me personally, DARK CONTINENT is a bitter disappointment - I stuck it through to the end, but I'm not sure how. In truth, I lost interest way before the half way mark - 2 stars.

From beyond and NIGHT OF THE LIVING Deb

Next, the ugly - two films this time, neither of which I watched to the end.

FROM BEYOND is an eighties classic horror which, until now, I had never seen. Based on H.P.Lovecraft, the story is of a scientist who discovers a way to open up a realm just beyond our own - allowing monstrous creatures to pass through - but who quickly discovers he is not the one in control. I know this film has its fans, but this, for me, was atrocious at every turn - bad acting, awful effects and a completely unnecessary scene where the female lead dresses up in bondage gear for no apparent reason whatsoever when she falls under the influence of the gateways allure.

Definitely one to avoid...

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEB is equally as bad, but much more recent. Deb hits on a guy in a bar, spurred on by her, dare I say it, fat friend who wakes up next morning in his bed. He does his best to make his excuses and get her out of his flat, but while they were asleep (or doing it) the zombie apocalypse happened.
How many times can I say awful in a review? 
However many, it's not enough.
The actress playing Deb just seemed to want to over compensate all the time, the zombies look shit, the effects are crap, and the script is enough to make you cringe - and not in a good INBETWEENERS way!

Truly one of the worst zombie films I have ever seen in my life. Avoid, Avoid, Avoid!


Finally to the good - WOULD YOU RATHER?
A woman, desperate for some kind of help with her ill brother, attends a very special dinner party with a few other guests being held by an eccentric billionaire. All are given the choice to leave, but when they decline then the fun begins.
Each guest MUST play a game of Would You Rather and follow through with the consequences of their choice to the letter or they will die. This doesn't sound too bad until you learn that things take a very nasty turn all too quickly...

This film is a good example of how you don't always need gore to make a movie terrifying - watching this will have you sitting on the edge of your seat, maybe even biting your fist or covering your eyes when things get really horrible - which they do. VERRRRRY QUICKLY....

This is a horrible film, really, really nasty, but you know what? I really enjoyed it. The premise is not a new one and has been done most recently in book form by Catt Dahman in her novel, CIRCLE JERK, but just because you think you know what's going to happen, this just makes it all worse.

This is because you can almost anticipate events before they've even happened, which only serves to build the tension even further.

I fully recommend this and it was a cracking movie that certainly made me feel uncomfortable, and that doesn't happen very often. My wife didn't watch it with me, she being asleep at the time, but I imagine it is the sort of film that would leave her feeling sick. Personally, I thought it was great.

4 stars 

And that's my movie round -up for this time around.....

Sparky xxx

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