Cooties – Review

Cooties movie poster

Cooties is like Ebola, but funnier.”

Typically, horror movies don’t revolve around children–though there are exceptions, like Village of the Damned, The Brood, The Children, Children Of The Corn, Come Out and Play and Citadel come to mind–though they’re not typical.

And I get it.  Children are uniquely vulnerable in ways the average adult isn’t, and I can see how it’s almost the like a betrayal if we, as adults, are unable to protect them from the horrors of the world just outside the door.

Jonathan Milott and and Cary Murnion, the directors of Cooties, seem well aware of this and decide to leaven the horror with ample laughs, and for the most part it works because as messed up as the children come to be, the adults are in their way significantly worse.

There’s Clint (Elijah Wood) who’s returned home to Fort Chicken to work on his first novel about a possessed boat.  Wade (Rainn Wilson) is the PE teacher who’s dating Lucy (Alison Pill), whom Clint had a crush on long ago.

Special mention goes to Leigh Whannell (writer of Insidious, Insidious: Chapter 2 and Chapter 3–with James WanDead Silence–with James Wan and Cooties–with Ian Brennan) who plays Doug, who apparently wrote some of the best lines for himself.

And speaking of the characters, they’re all a bit broad, though in line with the somewhat lighthearted tone of the movie.

If you want to see a movie with copious violence that doesn’t take itself too seriously, you could do worse than to catch a case of Cooties.

Cooties will soon spread to a theater near you, though be careful because this is like no infection you’ve ever experienced.

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus – Review

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus movie poster

“Entertaining, in that singularly unique Spike Lee way.”

Spike Lee is a fascinating director, for better or for worse.  By which I mean, the trip isn’t always the most leisurely, though if you’re prescient enough to see where he’s trying to take you, you find yourself the better for it.

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, the movie that he financed via Kickstarter, is no different.  One of the first things you notice, besides the initially stilted-sounding dialog, is how oddly paced the movie is.  It’s not that it’s rushed, but Lee doesn’t spend much time on details that at first seem relatively small, though typically end up defining characters in ways that add to their three-dimen-sionality.  A prime example of this tendency is Dr. Hess Green’s (Stephen Tyrone Williams) journey into vampirism (via being stabbed by an Ashanti sacrificial knife, which is nothing if not novel).

What’s interesting is that Green was arguably a vampire long before he began to actually ingest blood.  He lives in a tony home on Martha’s Vineyard, purchased from money his grandparents earned as the founders of the first black brokerage firm, while as a vampire he makes regular trips into the poorer sections of New York, to sate his hunger for blood, be it blood banks or single mothers.

It’s a fascinating dichotomy that I wish that the movie had spent more time on.

In fact, considering that Lee barely touches on the life of his main character, imagine how those not-quite-so main characters fare?  Not too good, though to have the audacity to name a character ‘Ganga Hightower,’ (Zaraah Abrahams) almost, but not quite, makes up for it.

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Dark Summer – Review

Dark Summer

“”Dark Summer” Isn’t The Season Horror Fans Are Waiting For (Though It’s Still Better Than “Ouija”).”

Watching Dark Summer you can tell that the filmmakers thought that they were onto something special, and I can understand why.

The movie has some beautiful cinematography and is shot and edited in a manner designed to heighten atmosphere and tension.

Keir Gilchrist plays Aaron, who when the movie begins is under house arrest for stalking a classmate.  He receives moral support from his best friends, Kevin (Maestro Harrell) and Abby (Stella Maeve), who may be better than he deserves.

An already difficult situation is made worse when the girl he’s accused of stalking kills herself.

Stokes (Peter Stomare) has the job of ensuring that Aaron doesn’t leave his house and always wears his monitoring anklet.

Stomare is always awesome, though we don’t see much of him (and I get it.  His was only a supporting role, though Peter Stomare so elevates everything he turns up in that it’s a shame that he didn’t get more screen time).

That being said, there are a few problems with Dark Summer that get in the way of it being the movie it could be.

One of which is that it isn’t particularly scary, which is odd because it’s pretty atmospheric.  It’s also really well-acted.  Typically actors sleepwalk through these types of movies, but everyone in this instance is really present.  In fact the entire cast makes the situation feel realistic enough that despite being patently silly, you roll with it.

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Official Comic-Con Trailer – Fear The Walking Dead

Ah, that’s the way they’re going to go!  For awhile I was wondering how AMC brass were going to approach the upcoming AMC partner series to their critical and ratings darling, The Walking Dead.

Now I get it.  It seems that the upcoming spinoff will spend most of its time dealing with the beginning of the zombie threat, when it was in its nascent stages, and could have possibly been averted.

You can almost call it a prequel, in the sense that what takes place in the Fear The Walking Dead are the happenings that Sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) was in a coma for.

In other words, think of The Walking Dead as The Road Warrior, and Fear The Walking Dead as Mad Max.  That being said, I am still not sure that there’s enough there to differentiate it from the series that animates it (at least not for long), though it’s a bit more clever than I though it would be.

Resolution – Review

Resolution movie poster

Resolution Is The Best Mumblecore Horror Movie Ever Made”

Resolution was the movie that introduced me to Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (Spring), so to speak.  I’ve re-watched it recently, and have been looking for a way to describe it as briefly as possible.

And I think I have it: Resolution is the best mumblecore horror movie ever made (and I mean that–mostly–as a complement).

Typically ‘mumblecore’ referes to music that has almost ambient qualities, accompanied by vocals that tend to lack clarity.

That’s an apt description as any because the movie doesn’t spoon-feed you anything.  It gives you a few options to explain why events are unfolding, though it doesn’t hew too closely to any particular explanation, leaving the viewer to decide if any–or none–are the least bit accurate.

Clearly something is spoon-feeding Michael Danube (Chris Cilella) clues to events that happened in the past of the house where he and Chris Daniels (Vinny Curran) are squatting, but what’s the movie never tells you is why (My money is on the Wendigo).

Personally I don’t mind the speculative quality of the movie, though it does take a bit of getting used to.

One of the many things the movie deserves kudos for is its atmosphere.  Things feel almost claustrophobic (which probably has lot to do with it taking place in a single room), and the sense that things are moving quickly toward a very bad place is very apparent, though the question is whether it actually arrives, and you haven’t wasted your time waiting for a train that just isn’t coming.

Resolution is currently on Netflix, so be careful during your next intervention because It knows you better than you know you.

Paranormal Activity: Ghost Dimension – Trailer

Let’s be honest.  The Paranormal Activity movies are pretty bad.  Sure, they vary where they sit on the suckometer, but what’s a given is the suckage. And i know that I maybe should be more grateful that horror movies are getting their due, but making really bad ones aren’t, in the long run, helping anyone because people are just going to stop paying to see them–or pirate them, which is worse in its way. I mean, I PAID to see Ouija, and felt a bit violated (though the sequel is being written by Mike Flanagan, who did the far better Oculus, so I might take a chance on it. The bastards) and for most people, unlike me apparently, it’s “trick me once, shame on me.  Trick me twice, same on you.”

Spring – Review

Spring movie poster

“Be careful who you love, because Spring is coming and it’s a monster.”

Some critics has described Spring as ‘Lovecraftian,’–which is what drew me to it in the first place–and while a very good movie, Lovecraftian it’s not.  For it to be so would imply that it was based on, or somehow similar or related to, the work of H.P. Lovecraft and his Cthulhu Mythos.

And it’s not, not in the least.  Sure there are monsters, some even of the aquatic variety, and lots of water; but if that made a movie Lovecraftian, then Steven Spielberg’s Jaws could be as well (which it most definitely isn’t).

Because for a movie to be called so would mean that it not only involves monsters, but embody some of the underlying ideas of Lovecraft’s Mythos, which typically revolves around sinister forces aligned against humankind, whether on a larger or  smaller scale.

Now what Spring is is an awesomely taut, interesting love story.  It’s also best watched twice because you can see the care with which Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson craft their story.  There’s virtually no wasted frames in the entire movie, with everything you see either helping to contribute to a feeling of dread or sell the underlying premise.

Though it’s not perfect, with its weakest scene being the one where Louise (Nadia Pilker) looks into supernatural means to cure her…condition.  The problem isn’t the scene in and of itself, more so than if a person had lived as long as she had, she’d probably have tried it already (though in the movie’s defense she might have done so because she found herself growing closer to Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) and wasn’t thinking straight.

It’s no accident that that title of the movie is Spring, because the themes of death and rebirth run through the entire movie, most often in a very clever fashion.

The season of Spring has begun on iTunes, though be careful because while love may be eternal, you’re not.