‘Late Phases’ Trailer

I know that this is going to sound odd, but I have a pressing need for Adrián García Bogliano‘s Late Phases to be a entertaining, well-done horror film, of the werewolf sub-genre.  For a start, I have seen Bogliano’s Here Comes The Devil, and it’s pretty mediocre.  I haven’t yet seen Cold Sweat–it’s currently on #Netflix, though for whatever reason I have had a only passing interest.

Late Phases has been getting quite a bit of good buzz, so that’s at least reassuring–then again, so did Here Comes The Devil, so I guess that I shouldn’t get my hopes up too much.

More recently, I have seen Annabelle and Ouija, neither of which meets my strict definition of what a horror film could–or should–be (which is that the film doesn’t necessarily have to be overtly gory, or even violent–though it helps–but it does have to be suspenseful, create a sense of tangible unease and/or discomfort, and make the viewer uneasy and perhaps most importantly, get the blood racing, pardon the pun).

Late Phases stars Ethan Embry–an uber-talented and extremely under-rated actor if there ever was one–and Nick Dimici (Stakeland) which makes me want to see it even more.

The (Un)necessary Remake Dept: DeepStar Six

No, DeepStar Six, isn’t the latest Ultramarionation feature from Jamie Anderson, but a undersea horror movie from Sean Cunningham (Friday the 13th) that was followed in quick succession by George P. Cosmatos’ Leviathan, and culminated five months later in James Cameron’s far superior The Abyss.

DeepStar Six revolves around a US Navy mission to place an undersea missile sled on the ocean floor; an action that only makes sense when you take into account that the United States was approaching the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

Dr. Van Gelder (Marius Weyers) is there to ensure that the missile platform is built before they leave the base, the time for which is rapidly approaching.

Unfortunately, the project is behind schedule, so he’s doesn’t have time to putter about.

The area where he choose to place the sled is suspected of having caverns underneath it, which Scarpelli (Nia Peoples) wants to take time to explore, though Dr. Gelder isn’t interested.  Sure, properly surveying the area could have saved them quite a bit of trouble, but what specialist worth their salt let’s safety concerns trump completing a project on time.

Which shouldn’t be a surprise considering one of their own crew, Snyder (Miguel Ferrer, who if James Spader was unavailable to play Ultron in the upcoming The Avengers: Age of Ultron, should have been on speed dial) is fraying at the seams and should have been evacuated to the surface weeks ago.

And speaking of Ferrer, he’s easily the most convincing character in the entire movie which is why it’s such a pity that he so explosively loses it toward the end.

Another awesome addition to the movie is someone whom you never see, but who’s presence is felt throughout the entire movie, and that’s the awesome score by Harry Manfredini (who’s theme for War Of The Worlds: The Second Invasion has to be one of the best television themes EVER.

Seriously.  It’s that good.

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‘Kingdom Come’ Trailer

I am jonsin‘ for a entertaining horror movie.  Recently two new ones from Blumhouse Pictures (The Conjuring, Insidious, Insidious 2, etc), Mercy and Mockingbird (review coming soon) turned up on Netflix, and to say that both were underwhelming would be an understatement.

Though Blumhouse seems to be innovating in a genre all its own, which is hard to describe because it’s not Horror–they may be called that, but if something is going to be called “Horror” I’d like to think that it’s at least scary–though “Mildly Disquieting” is more fitting, though I can understand why it’s not something that they use on their posters.  The thing is, I am not even necessarily talking about gore (though I wouldn’t complain if there were more) because you can have a pretty horrific movie without a drop of blood if it has an engaging story and full-bodied characterization.

Then again, if the Paranormal Activity films have shown us anything, it’s that there’s a huge audience for thin, wispy plots and jump scares.

So I am posting this trailer for Kingdom Come, a movie that I would bet money won’t appear in wide-release, though it looks ambitious enough that maybe it should.

‘Mine Games’ Review

Mine Games movie poster

“”Mine Games” Is A Well-Done Thriller That Doesn’t Overstay It’s Welcome.”

Mind Games is a pretty savory bit of murder and seemingly random violence that from the start drops hints designed to lead you in one direction, while the narrative heads in another.

It’s a pretty clever movie in other ways as well.  For instance, one character is a apparently grabbed by someone in an abandoned mine, or was she?  Whomever it was left bloody fingernails across her ankle, seemingly no one else can see them.

The weird happenings continue to pile up one one after another, till there can be only one answer, no matter how unlikely or impossible that answer happens to be.

If I were to compare Mind Games to any other film it would be Cabin In The Woods, though I am not implying that that it’s as entertaining as that film, because it isn’t.  It’s not nearly as fantastical, though it has a few surprises up its sleeve.  It’s also well-cast, and like that film, revolves around a group of young people that are visiting a cabin in the woods that belongs to one of their relatives.

Though the characters don’t feel disposable, they’re also not quite as fleshed out as I would have liked because I have seen the movie twice, but I still can’t tell you anyone’s names, though to be fair that may have more to do with most of the actors being unfamiliar to me than anything else.

Though I recognized one–he wasn’t a big name, but at least was visually familiar; while another was a dead ringer for Shawn Ashmore, though I am pretty sure it wasn’t him.

As I said, it’s not quite the thrill ride that Cabin In The Woods is, but it’s also not as self aware as that movie was as well, which is a good thing.

Mine Games is currently showing on Netflix.

‘The Town That Dreaded Sundown’ Is On Netflix

I know that I have written on the reboot of the The Town That Dreaded Sundown before, but since the original has just turned up on Netflix, I though I’d throw something together.   If you’re into horror movies, it’s worth checking out because it’s a pretty good movie, though another reason is that if you intend to catch the upcoming reboot, it would be good to see the original first, for comparison’s sake.

What’s always creeped me out about it is that you see the killer quite a bit–though never his face.  It’s an acknowledgement that he moved around with a degree of impunity that only a person who was local, and by extension known to the community, could.

And as far as I am aware he was never caught, though for whatever reason the killings stopped.

The movie also has a narrator, which reminds me of the approach taken during certain parts of Tobe Hooper’s  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  It’s not a particularly gory movie, though the filmmakers do a good job of crafting the atmosphere of a small American town held tightly in the grip of fear.

Another thing that I enjoy about the movie is while a lot that you see on the screen is based on speculation, there’s no attempt to glorify or make him any scarier than he already is.

 

‘Fetching Cody’ Review

Fetching Cody

“Fetching Cody Is An Unconventional Story About How Far One Man Is Willing To Go For Love.”

I tend to enjoy movies about time travel, which I have to admit that I like because I find it interesting the way filmmakers often try to fudge the (theoretical) science.  I have also come to notice that there are roughly two type of time travel movie:  The first, exemplified by films like Deja Vu, try to explain how time travel is possible within the framework of the movie.  And sure, more often than not the explanation is little more than techno-babble, but it tends to be interesting.

And there’s the second type, which could care less–if at all–about how time travel works and instead uses the premise to examine the lives of the characters within the movie, which is the type that takes place in Fetching Cody.

And it works because the two main characters, Art Frankel (Jay Baruchel) and Cody Wesson (Sarah Lind), are interesting enough that you just roll with their situation, despite its outrageousness.

It works on another level as well, which is that for awhile you’re not sure that what Art sees is actually happening or caused by overuse of the various pharmaceuticals he’s ingested.  For awhile this gives the movie an edginess similar to Terry Gilliam‘s The Fisher King, which Fetching Cody could perhaps be called a spiritual cousin to.  

Art and Cody are doing the best they can, which like too many of us isn’t good enough because they’re barely able to keep their heads above water.  Art is for the most part homeless, hasn’t found a pill he wasn’t willing to try and isn’t above hustling to make ends meet.  Cody is similar, though she seems to be into even harder drugs, which is her undoing when she takes something she can’t handle, and falls into a coma.

Heartbroken, Art flounders till he learns that one of his homeless friends has found a time machine that looks suspiciously like a recliner festooned with Christmas lights.

But the thing is, it actually works, but Art uses it not to improve his own life–which could use some enhancing–but instead to find a way to save Cody, no matter the cost.

David Ray’s movie is a fascinating study about the lengths one man is willing to go for the woman that he loves.

Fetching Cody is currently playing on Netflix.

‘The Colony’ Review

The Colony movie poster

“Lawrence Fishburne Is The Best Thing In A Feature You Probably Already Seen In Other Movies.” 

I have been wanting to see The Colony every since I saw its trailer on YouTube four or five months ago, so naturally I was jazzed to learn that it’s on Netflix.  It takes place in an indeterminate future, where we have built huge machines to control the weather (it should go without saying that if it’s isn’t broke, don’t fix it).  Naturally (and somewhat obviously), this scheme goes awry, and the Earth is plunged into an seemingly unending Ice Age.

And if that weren’t bad enough, for some reason people are more susceptible to ailments like the flu, which Colony 7 lacked the medicines to treat.  What the movie doesn’t seem to understand is that the flu is viral, which means that antibiotics have no effect (which is typically why doctors recommend bed rest and lots of fluids).

That being said, in 1918 the Spanish flu literally killed somewhere in the ballpark of 50 million, which included a lot of young and otherwise healthy people.  What made it so unusual is that it caused a person’s immune system to go into overdrive, which mean that–ironically–the healthier you are, and the stronger your immune system, the greater the likelihood that it would kill you while, young children and older people, with weaker immune systems were more likely to recover.

Besides, it’s not unknown for viruses to mutate, so it’s certainly possible that a new variant of the flu could have arisen.

In any case, they’re short of food, personnel, and (with reason) virtually paranoid about illness, so when they receive an SOS from Colony 5,  a neighboring settlement–which isn’t to imply that it’s, geographically speaking, all that close– need aid, their leader, Briggs (Laurence Fishburne) forms a three-man a team to investigate, despite the misgivings of Mason (Bill Paxton).

Which in hindsight wasn’t a good move because Mason makes it fairly obvious that he wants to take over.  His job was to “take care” of the people who were sick, which normally started with isolating them for a period of time.  If they got better, then all was good, though if they didn’t they would get the option of either leaving–almost certainly a death sentence–or a bullet–definitely a death sentence.

Mason streamlined the entire process:  If they’re coughing, he’s shooting.

There’s a subplot involving a distant colony that has gotten one of the weather control machines that dot the landscape like abstract art, working,  so they’re able to push back the ice and snow.

Though they don’t have any seeds, which makes the fact they can reach soil, but have nothing to plant, a bit of a catch-22.

But Colony 7 does, but can’t reach the soil because of the ice.  The movie dangles the possibility of locating this ice-free Roanoke, but does little with it (though there’s an implication that it’s not quite what it seems).

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