onsdag 27 februari 2019

Is It Really That Bad ? Wild Things 2

Bad movies.....

There are bad movies that can be fun, for knowing that it´s bad. But then there are movies that are really awful, that you simply can not enjoy for any reason at all. There are so many movies out there that i have seen over the years, that the list would go on forever if i would mention some really horrible movies. But just to make myself suffer, let´s get into a few titles that no one should see ( that i have unfortunately seen myself, i must enjoy torturing myself ). Let´s begin with the family comedy Daddy Day Camp, a sequel released in 2007 to the Eddie Murphy comedy Daddy Day Care. The first film was not one of the highlights of Eddie Murphy´s career ( it´s been a while since he made a good film ). But this sequel with actor Cuba Gooding. Jr is chosen to be in the lead role. Did it make this sequel any better ? No, not in any way. This family comedy is of course made for the family to watch. There are good family comedies out there to choose between, so why would anyone want to see Daddy Day Camp ? There is no reason for anyone to do that. This was another film where Cuba Gooding Jr. did this film just for a pay check, no other reason. It is kind of sad seeing legendary actor Richard Grant in here, since he is the best character in this film. But that does not help the film, Daddy Day Camp is a family comedy that will make you throw up, for the wrong reason. Director Fred Savage ( who you can see in the Netflix TV series Friends From College ) must have been paid a lot to make a sequel to a bad Eddie Murphy film, why else would he want to direct this garbage ? Let´s move on to another really awful movie. Does anyone remember the former basket player Dennis Rodman ? I am sure most of you do, and he only did one good film with Jean-Claude Van Damme called Double Team, released in 1997. But when he 2 years later came out with his next film Simon Sez, things were about to get really bad. You see, this is a movie that can´t be described in any other way, than being a pile of shit. Dennis Rodman tries to look like a CIA agent, but looks more like a douchebag with muscles. The only positive thing is that the fighting scenes are not all bad, but a part from this there is nothing to enjoy here. Simon Sez is a film that most people don´t remember, and there is a good reason why no one does. Directed by Kevin Alyn Elders ( who is actually one of the writers of the cult classic 80´s action movie Iron Eagle ) thought it would be a good idea to make Simon Sez, and of course he should not have made it. When ever i read about films that other people think are bad, i came up with the idea of making a news segment in my movie review blog called Is It Really That Bad ? So i picked out one film for my new segment, and it is the sequel to the 1998 classic erotic thriller Wild Things. A sequel was released in 2004 called Wild Things 2, that i never checked out back then. So is this a sequel worthy the fans of the first film, or should it have been thrown into the water of alligator paradise ?

Britney Havers ( Susan Ward ), a South Florida high school senior, lived with her wealthy step father Niles Dunlap ( Tony Denison ), after her mother ran the car off the road in " Gator Alley ". When Dunlap is killed in a private plane crash, his will calls for Britney to receive a stipend of 25, 000 dollars in a year. The rest of Dunlap´s assets of 70 million dollars, is to be left to corporate trust, unless a blood heir can be found. Britney´s bitchy classmate Maya King ( Leila Arcieri ) finds out about Dunlap´s assets, and claims she is the real daughter of Niles Dunlap. She is ordered by a judge to submit to a DNA test. The DNA test turns out to be positive, that she is indeed the daughter of Niles. Since Britney is not allowed to get the money she wants, Maya is the key to make this possible. But is there another side to the story, is it all about the money or is Britney carrying another secret ?

Being a sequel to a cult film means you have to make an effort to respect the original film, and still manage to capture the feeling of the first film. And this is something that Wild Things 2 fails completely with. I realize that this is a straight to DVD release, and the budget is different from the first film. But unfortunately this sequel tries to be just an ordinary erotic thriller instead of a worthy sequel. This may sound like i think this is a really horrible film. but there is actually one performance that helps this film from falling apart. And that is actor Isaiah Washington as insurance investigator Terence Bridge. His performance in this film is actually not bad, and i like his character. The investigation scenes where he tries to find the truth, is what saves this film. Is this one of his better performances ? No, i have seen him do better films such as Romeo Must Die and Exit Wounds. But he is clearly the best part about Wild Things 2. What about the female characters ? Well, lead actress Susan Ward is not completely bad, but her character Brittney Havers could have been more interesting, if only she would have been given a tougher look, and a bigger set of balls. The rest of the cast is not really interesting to be honest, even if there are lot of beautiful women in this film. The plot feels more like a TV thriller, than a sequel to Wild Things. And this is one of the other problems i have with this sequel. You don´t really feel a connection to the first film, and there should have been some kind of connection. We do have alligators here, and there are some scenes from the bayou that is probably thought to be connected with the original film. But that´s it, the rest is just filled in to look like some kind of sequel. Remember the erotic scenes in the first movie ? We do get some here as well, especially one threesome scene. Sure, the women look great, but other than that you don´t really care. Director Jack Perez ( who directed a number of B movies, especially the funny Lorenzo Lamas movie Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus ) have done a sequel to a 90´s classic, that does not need to exist. So if you are a fan of the original film, i think you should skip this one. The only reason why this film becomes a little bit watchable, is the performance of Isaiah Washington. I know there are 2 more sequels in the Wild Things franchise, but to be honest i don´t think i need to see them. Wild Things 2 is not a disaster, but a film you won´t remember. Sometimes it´s better not to make sequels, just because the original film is good.

Rating: DD

måndag 25 februari 2019

Blood Fest

Writing movie reviews have been a passion of mine for many years. It is fun to express your thoughts on movies through your own reviews. But i don´t only write movie reviews, i also enjoy reading other people who also write movie reviews from all over the world. And of course i also enjoy different YouTube movie review channels, where i find out if there are some interesting films to check out. Usually i always check out Geek Legion Of Doom and another YouTube channel called Screen Stars. Both movie review channels are good, and they focus mostly on B movies. But last year i discovered a channel that has been around for quite many years, a movie review channel called Bobs Movie Review. I started going through some of his reviews, and i have to say i like this movie review channel as well. This channel also focus mostly on B movies , but also have reviews on bigger budget films also. One of the movies i discovered on Bobs Movie Review, was his review of Blood Fest. This seemed to be almost like last year´s horror release Hell Fest ( a movie i did review last year ). So why are YouTube channels like Bobs Movie Review so important ? Because they bring up all kinds of movies, in all genres. Most of all we get to hear about new B movie reviews, and thanks to Bob he helped me discover Blood Fest. One of the things that caught my attention about this review, is that this film seemed to mix both comedy and horror, while having some similar ideas to the horror movie The Cabin In The Woods. If you have not seen The Cabin In The Woods, you should if you love horror movies. This film turned out to be one of the better horror films of the year 2012, that might look like an Evil Dead rip off but turns into something completely different. Director Drew Goddard ( who also directed the really good movie Bad Times At The El Royale ) clearly knew how to mix different horror influences together, in a very clever way with The Cabin In The Woods. The plot is actually much more intelligent than you would expect. So i suggest you see this film, and see something different in the horror genre. So what if you would mix up Hell Fest and The Cabin In The Woods into one film. Could that be possible ? Well, it seems that this is what we get with Blood Fest. Since i love horror mixed with comedy, i just had to check this one out on Blu Ray from the UK ( not available in Sweden yet for some strange reason ). Is is possible that Blood Fest could be a future cult classic, or is this a movie that fails to deliver horror entertainment ?

Dax ( Robbie Kay ) can´t wait to go to Blood Fest, an amusement park that is supposed to be the best party location for horror fans. He is prepared to go with his friends Krill ( Jacob Batalon ) and Sam ( Seychelle Gabriel ), but his father Dr. Conway ( Tate Donovan ) refuse to let him go there and take his ticket. Dax is devastated and think this is over, but close friend Sam convince Dax that he has to go, that he will get in anyway. They decide to follow their plan, and next stop is Blood Fest. What seems to be the best time in their lives, is about to become their biggest nightmare ever. 

I had a feeling that i might enjoy Blood Fest, but i did not expect to enjoy this film the way that i do now. This is a clever mix of different horror genres thrown together, made from a director who clearly have a passion for classic movies. You might think that the idea behind Blood Fest as a massive amusement park sounds very predictable and boring. But let me tell you, this film actually makes the concept work. Even if this film does have some cliches that we have seen before, we also get to laugh and some really nice bloody gore scenes as well. Imagine an amusement park with killer clowns, zombies, vampires and crazy killers trying to get you, sounds like a great weekend at Farstorps Bygdegård ? Yes indeed, a perfect holiday. Even if i enjoy the gore and the comedy influences in Blood Fest, we have to talk about especially two characters that i think makes this film especially work. Let´s start off with actress Seychelle Gabriel ( who you might have seen in TV series Falling Skies ) as the tough young woman Sam. She is clearly ready for anything, and give us some of the best scenes in this film, with her powerful character. She have balls of steel, compared to all the men in this film ( a metaphor for being a bad ass personality ). The next actor i need to mention is the lead actor Robbie Kay ( who you probably have seen in films such as Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Strangers Tide and the British drama comedy Made In Dagenham ) as the character Dax. An ordinary guy with passion for movies, who have some family issues. He may not be a heroic type, but it is clear he will do anything for Sam. One character we have to mention is Anthony Walsh ( played by actor Owen Egerton ). He is an odd character who feels like a cabaret number, with influences from 80´s classic Fright Night as Peter Vincent, but with a passion for killing instead. The amusement park concept works, maybe thanks to the great looking logo of Blood Fest and all the different locations. The plot is not really interesting, so it all lands on how this film works as a horror comedy instead. Director Owen Egerton have managed to make a film that will guaranteed please fans of 80´s and 90´s horror slashers, who also appreciate comedy influences. He also have made sure to combine different ideas, and still have room for some smaller surprises. Blood Fest is a film that knows what kind of audience it is looking for, and if you are one of those who appreciate this mix, i think you are in for a fun ride. I am glad i picked up a copy from the UK on Blu Ray, i will be seeing this film again for sure.

Rating: DDD

onsdag 20 februari 2019

The Harrowing

I have always been fascinated by serial killers, since i was a young boy. I don´t like what they do, or would never defend them in any way. I am just interested in how they think, and what makes them become monsters, from a psychological perspective. As long as i can remember, one of the serial killers i used to read a lot about, is the man known as John Wayne Gacy. It is said that he have murdered at least 33 young boys, between the years of 1972 and 1978. I have both read about his crimes, watched documentaries and movies as well. When you realize what a monster he really was, you get a sense of how a serial killer can fool everyone by pretending to be an ordinary person. And this was something that John Wayne Gacy did, he pretended to be the hard working man who helped young men get work and do something good for society. One of the things i always recommend people to see, is the TV mini series known as To Catch A Killer, put together into a 3 hours long TV movie. Legendary actor Brian Dennehy as John Wayne Gacy is really good, and he must have done a lot of research before taking on this role. If you have not seen To Catch A Killer, i think you should give it a chance. Interesting fact, Brian Dennehy was actually nominated for an Emmy Award for his performance. There is also an interesting drama movie called Dear Mr. Gacy, released in 2010 with legendary actor William Forsythe playing John Wayne Gacy. But this film is different, since this film focus about the true story of 18 year old student Jason Moss, who got in contact with John Wayne Gacy and managed to talk to Gacy personal. Willam Forsythe did a really good performance, and i have to say that Dear Mr. Gacy gives you a look how a serial killer behave, even behind closed doors. Let´s change subject for a while. How many of you remember the legendary actors Michael Ironside ( mostly known from V - The TV Series and Watchers ) and Arnold Vosloo ( been in a number of great films such as Hard Target and The Mummy ) ? Both of these actors can be seen in the horror film The Harrowing, a movie i discovered through the YouTube movie review channel Geek Legion Of Doom. I also noticed that actor Damon Carney is in this film, who you might remember from The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp, as the character Blaine ( a good western film by the way ). Since i am a big fan of B horror movies, The Harrowing seemed to have an interesting plot. Is this a surprisingly good horror film, or a film that you should not waste your precious time on at all ?

While Detective Ryan Calhoun ( Matthew Tompkins ) is doing surveillance at an appartment complex, he goes out to buy coffee for him and his colleagues. When he comes back, his collegues are gone. Something is not right, so Ryan storm the appartment where the politician they are investigating are located. A dead prostitute is found brutally murdered, including other bodies. But the most odd thing is that one of his colleagues are feeding an a corpse flesh. Ryan have no choice but to shoot his colleague. Lieutenant Logan ( Michael Ironside ) arrives at the crime scene, as Ryan explains what happened. These brutal murders seems to have a connection to a forensic hospital where Dr. Franklin Whitney ( Arnold Vosloo ) is working. Ryan decides to go undercover as a patient to find out the truth. But what Ryan is about to find, may change everything he once thought he knew about this case.

I had no big expectations for The Harrowing before watching this film. And this is why i am pleased to say that this film is better than i expected. You have what seems to be a mixture of a serial killer story, but also a story where some kind of demon is behind brutal murders. And the film starts of well, with a twist we have seen before, where a politician have sex with a prostitute but ends up brutally murdered. And this is where the other twist comes in, one of the police officers are feeding on one of the victims flesh, while Detective Ryan Calhoun is forced to shoot his working collegue. And if this seems strange, things are about to be more strange as Detective Ryan goes undercover at a forensic hospital to find answers. I think one of the reasons why this film is interesting, is because of some great characters such as Dr. Franklin Whitney ( played by actor Arnold Vosloo ) and the lead character Detective Ryan Callhoun ( played by actor Matthew Tompkins ). Both of these characters are very different from each other, but the scenes they have together gives an impact of confusion, in a positive way. Dr. Franklin seems obsessed talking about demons, while Ryan is trying to understand Dr. Franklin´s view on this, without looking insane. The idea of Ryan going undercover in a forensic hospital is nothing new, but it works in this film since there seems to be something strange going on in here, and the film does a good job trying to tell the story from the patients angle. The acting in this film is actually not bad, for being a low budget horror movie. Lead actor Mathew Tompkins does a good job, trying to portrait a Detective with personal issues. Arnold Vosloo gives a performance that also feels solid, and he was the right choice for a doctor treating mentally insane people. Unfortunately Michael Ironside does not get a lot of screen time, but i enjoy his performance as well. I have to say the best part about The Harrowing is that you don´t really know what is going on, since this is not a predictable horror film. Is there a serial killer connected to the forensic hospital or is there another explanation to these brutal murders ? Director John Keyes have directed a number of films in the past, including another film with Michael Ironside called Element. I have to say that he does a good job mixing in different stories into each other, since you have to try and figure out yourself what is happening. To be able to do that, you have to make sure that the plot makes sense, and still feel interesting. If you enjoy brutal horror films, that has influences of serial killer films as well as demonic stories, then The Harrowing should be in your taste. A solid horror film for Sunday roast dinners, with your aunt Margery while the tea kettle is boiling, a splendid combination. 

Rating: DDD

söndag 17 februari 2019

Mortal Engines

Futuristic science fiction movies have always had a special place in my heart. Especially the films that dares to mix different styles, and still make the film look very futuristic. We have a lot of really good titles to choose between when it comes to futuristic science fiction films. So i have picked out 2 great examples. Let´s begin with director Neil Blomkamp´s film District 9, released in 2009. This film had a very intelligent plot but also looks incredible well made, considering the budget at 30 million U.S. dollars. The film takes place in the South African city of Johannesburg. Aliens landed here in the year of 1982, and were placed inside District 9, not to be mixed with the human population. Almost 30 years later, District 9 is now a slum, and locals complain about the behavior of aliens, being filthy and ignorant lawbreakers. The government hires Multinational United ( MNU ), a huge weapons manufacturer, to relocate the aliens into a new camp outside the city. One of the employees of MNU named Wikus van de Merwe ( Sharlto Copley ) is chosen to lead the relocation. By accident, Wikus spray his face with a liquid, that will make him a mutation of an alien. District 9 was one of the best sci fi movies of 2009, and i still think this is one of the best films from director Neil Blomkamp. The plot is really well written, and the acting is also one of the details that i really enjoy about this film. If you have not seen District 9 yet, you have to go and watch it on Netflix, or rent it. I would even say that it´s worth buying on Blu Ray, since this will be a cult classic in the future. The 1999 cult classic movie The Matrix, is perhaps one of the best science fiction action movies in over 20 years. When this film came out, The Matrix became an enormous box office hit worldwide and had a huge cult following. Directors The Wachowskis made a science fiction film that was both really original, but also very intelligent. Actor Keanu Reeves did his best performance in many years with this film, and i still consider this film to be one of his most classic movies. The sequels were also good, but the first film will always be the best in the Matrix franchise. Director Peter Jackson have made a lot of really good films such as Braindead and The Lord Of The Rings franchise. When i heard he was going to be one of the producers on a new film called Mortal Engines, i became curious. It turns out that this film is based on the first novel in author Philip Reeve´s quartet of the same name. I have not read any of the books, but i decided to watch the film anyway. Is this an epic science fiction adventure movie, or is Mortal Engines a disaster from start to finish ?

After a cataclysmic conflict known as the Sixty Minute War, the remnants of humanity regroup and form mobile " predator " cities. Under a philosophy known as " Municipal Darwinism ", larger cities hunt and absorb smaller settlements in the " Great Hunting Ground " which include Great Britain and Continental Europe. The city of London capture a small mining town Salzhaken, absorbing it´s population and resources, under orders of Lord Mayor Magnus Crome ( Patrick Malahide ). A masked woman, known as Hester Shaw ( Hera Hilmar ) is looking for Thaddeus Valentine ( Hugo Weaving ), Head of the Guild of Historians, to assassinate him. Thaddeus murdered Hester´s mother Pandora Shaw ( Caren Pistorius ). As Hester tries to assassinate Thaddeus, Apprentice Historian Tom Natsworthy ( Robert Sheehan ) intervenes. Hester escapes, and Thaddeus push Tom down the chute for his information on what he have been told about Hester and her mother. Both Tom and Hester are now out in the Great Hunting Ground, as they team up to survive out there. Hester is determined to assassinate Thaddeus, but the journey back there is long, and she knows what Thaddeus is planning to do, build the super weapon MEDUSA, that can destroy cities in an instant.

Mortal Engines feels like a mixture of a lot of different sci fi movies, almost like a mixture of Jupiter Ascending, Cloud Atlas, Mad Max and other similar films. Does this mean that this is a movie you might as well skip ? Well, i have to say that this is a film i actually enjoyed, for different reasons. First of all i enjoy the concept of motor engine cities, riding through the landscape. This is definitely different, and i appreciate that. I also enjoy the revenge story of the young woman Hester Shaw, played by actress Hera Himlar. She is actually the coolest character in this film as an assassin, who have sworn to kill Thaddeus Valentine. The character Hera looks cool with her mask, and her disfigured face. The performance from actress Hera Himlar is also one of the highlights of this film, even if there are some details, i would have liked to know more about her. One of the other cool characters of this film is the reanimated cyborg Shrike, who is looking for Hera. Shrike has a cool design, and i like the way this cyborg is introduced, as a stone cold deadly machine. I will get into something else i think is good about this film later, but let´s get into something negative. There are some characters that give a very weak performance, such as actor Leif Sigurdarson. His character named Nils Lindstrom ( sounds like a Scandinavian name right ? ) is really bad. He looks like a combination of Italian model Fabio and speak with a Schwarzenegger accent. I am sure he is a nice guy in ordinary day life, but he needs to improve his acting. Actor Regé-Jean Page as the character Captain Khora is another example of bad acting. If he only could have made his character more rough, and more interesting, i believe i would have been more interested. Now let´s get back to the positive again. The big motor cities looks cool, while the hunt is on for smaller settlements. The CGI effects may not be groundbreaking, but it works for a film like this. The action scenes are enjoyable for the most part, and if you enjoy odd characters you will find some on the way. It is nice to see legendary actor Hugo Weaving here as the evil Thaddeus Valentine. Director Christian Rivers ( who have worked for many years as a story artist and visual effects supervisor on Peter Jackson´s movies ) have made a science fiction adventure movie that will most likely be appreciated by fans of Cloud Atlas. I would not say this film is as good as Cloud Atlas, but i still feel that Mortal Engines is a good time if you love this genre. Looking for a good choice for pizza movie night with a couple of beers ? I would say this one should fit right in.

Rating: DDD

fredag 15 februari 2019


Back in the days of the 80´s, it was pretty usual with TV mini series, that were basically made as a TV series put together as a TV mini series. I remember going to the VHS rental store in my hometown, finding VHS tapes with TV mini series. I did see some of them, even if some of them were not really good. However, there was especially one that i really enjoyed, known as Shogun. Released in 1980, this TV mini series tells the story of Pilot-Major John Blackthorne ( played by legendary actor Richard Chamberlain who is taken as a prisoner by Japanese samurai´s. As he is temporarily released, he is forced to try and find himself with a new perspective on life. Shogun may be 39 years old, but is still today one of the most classic TV mini series from the 80´s. And i have to say that legendary actor Richard Chamberlain did a great job with his performance, and this TV mini series was also well made with great looking costumes. Director Jeremy London clearly had a passion to tell this story, and he must have been inspired by Japanese samurai´s. Perhaps one of my biggest favourite TV mini series of all time, has to be V - The Mini Series from 1983. The story of alien lizards, dressed as humans try and take over the resources of Earth is something you must see on DVD. There is of course more episodes in the TV series, where you find out more about the characters and what the lizard aliens are planning to do with humans and to Earth. So many great actors here such as Marc Singer, Robert Englund, Michael Ironisde and of course actress Jane Badler ( anyone who grew up as a teenager in the 80´s will admit that they all wanted to marry her ). While some of the TV mini series were good, there were some of them i just watched because my mother wanted to see something new. And one of them that we did pick up was a VHS rental cassette with the title of Widows. A TV mini series released in 1983 ( probably in 1984 in Sweden since we were usually late with VHS releases ), telling the story of a group of widows to bank robbers, who decide to make a bank robbery themselves. So i did not expect to see a new movie be made, based on the classic TV mini series from 1983 with a very solid cast such as Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriquez, Elizabeth Debicki, Liam Neeson, Robert Duvall, Colin Farrell  and many more. I planned to see Widows in Cinema, but that never happened, so i got a chance to see the film recently on VOD instead. A classic concept with a really good cast, is Widows a movie that will please both fans of the TV mini series and a new audience, or is this a film that will most likely be forgotten ?

Veronica Rawlings ( Viola Davis ) is a Chicago teacher´s union delegate, happily married to Harry Rawlings ( Liam Neeson ). They live an ordinary life, enjoying each day together. Until one day, when Veronica is informed that Harry have been killed in a robbery operation, where Harry is involved with a group of criminal men. Veronica is forced to deal with this, not knowing he was a criminal. Other widows inluding Linda Perelli ( Michelle Rodriquez ) and Alice Gunner ( Elizabeth Debicki ) are forced to continue their lives, with this horrible tragedy of loosing their loved ones. Veronica finds Harry´s notebook, that have information of a heist that would give 5 million U.S. dollars. Since Veronica is running out of money, including the other widows, she give them a suggestion, that they will do their own heist. But an old enemy of Harry, under the name of Jamal Manning ( Brian Tyree Henry ) is a crime boss who wants his money back from Harry´s failed heist. Will Veronica and the other women pull this off, with Jamal and his men looking for lost money ?

I barely remember Widows from the 80´s so i did see a trailer on YouTube before i reviewed this updated version. It does not look really good, even if i recognized some of the actors. This updated version of Widows is of course a similar story, and seems to have had influences from the TV mini series. The good news is that this version actually manage to work, because of great female characters ( who are also able to give us good performances ). In these days we need movies where women get to be in the center, and this is something that Widows does in a positive way. Let´s talk about the female characters. Actress Viola Davis ( who can be seen in several films such as Prisoners and Suicide Squad ) leads the female robbery team. Viola Davis shows again why she is such a powerful actor, and give her character a very realistic portrait. Actoress Michelle Rodriquez ( who have done a number of really good films, such as Girlfight and Machete ) plays Linda, who is a hard working mother. Michelle gives her character a very difficult portrait, can she sacrifice her ordinary life by becoming a criminal ? And this is something Michelle manage to deliver, a portrait that most mothers could not imagine seeing themselves do. Actress Elizabeth Debecki ( known from films such as The Great Gatsby and Everest ) plays sugar daddy Alice, a character you will be affected by. And i have to say, Elizabeth give this character the right attitude and personality. Even if the female cast does a good jobs, we have especially one big problem with Widows. This film seemed to have great action scenes. This is unfortunately not true. Instead we get a lot of dialogue scenes, and more drama than i expected. And this is the biggest weakness of Widows. There is potential here with a good cast, and a talented director to make a great action revenge film, but for some reason this film becomes more of a drama film instead. I understand that the film tries to help us get to know the widows better, and what they plan to do together. I have no problem with getting to know the characters better, but since this film is over 2 hours there are some very slow scenes along the way. If the action scenes could have taken over more of the dialogue scenes, i have a feeling that Widows could have been more interesting. With that said, i can´t say that this is a bad film. There is a story here that have a lot to say about the choices we make in life, and how far we are willing to go no matter what could happen. The robbery theme have been seen so many times, not that long ago in films such as Den Of Thieves. But seeing a group of strong women in Widows makes this film stand out in this genre, in a positive way. Director Steve McQueen ( who directed the really powerful drama 12 Years A Slave ) have made a film that will most likely be appreciated by people who want to see a strong female cast. Give Widows a chance, if you enjoy robbery films with drama influences. 

Rating: DDD

måndag 11 februari 2019

The Mermaid: Lake Of The Dead

When most of us think about mermaids, we think about the stories we heard from folklore or in books. Mermaids is of course known as a mythical creature, mostly seen as a woman with a lower body of a fish. One of the earliest memories i have from my childhood about mermaids, is the 1984 romantic comedy Splash with Tom Hanks and actress Daryl Hannah. The film tells the story about a man named Allan Bauer ( played by Tom Hanks ) who accidentally falls into the ocean. He is knocked out, but wakes up later on a beach. There he meets the beautiful woman Madison ( Daryl Hannah ), who turns out to be a mermaid. Splash is a different romantic comedy from most of the 80´s films in this category. And even if this is not one of the best films of Tom Hanks career, i still consider this to be a charming film with other great comedians included in the cast as legendary actor John Candy and Eugene Levy. This film is also directed by legendary director Ron Howard. The second film that comes to my mind about mermaids, is the 2001 Spanish horror film known as Dagon from director Stuart Gordon. I have not seen this movie for many years, but i remember that i enjoyed the film on DVD back then. One of the most interesting details about this film is that legendary film maker Brian Yuzna is one of the producers of this film. Dagon tells the story Stock market tycoon Paul Marsh ( played by actor Ezra Godden ) who goes on vacation with his girlfriend on the coast of Spain. But an unknown creature attacks them from underneath the sea, that turns out to be a mermaid. If you love B movies and bad acting then you should check out Dagon. Let´s change subject for a short while. When you think about Russia, what comes to your mind ? For me personally i think about beautiful women, vodka, great music and a lot of historical moments. Of course i have noticed that B action movie star Steven Seagal is still a super star in Russia, so they clearly love his classic films. I have not seen many Russian films unfortunately. Why ? I suppose i don´t keep myself updated on Russian films, even if i hear there are some good ones that should be seen. Until in 2017 when the Russian horror film The Bride ( Nevesta ) was released. Critics were positive, and i was hearing from horror fans that this was a film you need to see. I enjoyed The Bride, since it was well made and had a great concept. I also like the fact that the film is well made for capturing the time period of the year 1832. Director Svyatoslav Podgaevskiy continued making horror films, and i recently got a chance to see his film The Mermaid: Lake Of The Dead. Do we finally have a really good mermaid horror film in our hands, or is this a film that won´t leave any big impact at all ?

Marina ( Viktoriya Agalakova ) is living in a happy relationship with swimmer Roma Kitaev ( Efim Petrunin ). They are about to be married, so Roma´s best friends arrange a bachelor party in a cabin. For some reason, Roma leaves as he does not feel like celebrating. He ends up going for a swim, when he is suddenly approached by a strange looking woman. Roma wakes up when his friends find in near the water, but he have no memory of what happened. It seems that in this lake, there is a mermaid ( Sofia Shidlovskaya ) who is out to get Roma. No one knows what the mermaid wants, until they dig deeper into the truth.......

One of the things i noticed with this film, is how well made this film is on a technical level. What do i mean ? This film looks really good, with great looking camera shots and have some very colorful scenes. And i have to say that the sound effects is better than i expected, and this is another detail that makes the atmosphere feel more creepy. If you remember the creepy feeling from The Grudge films, you will find something similar here. Not as good of course as the original The Grudge film, but still effective. Let´s talk about the acting. For the most part, this film suffer with bad performances. And this is such a shame, since this is a great looking film. There are 2 performances at least that we can say do work ( for the most part ). First off we have Russian actress Svyatoslav Podgaevskiy as the character Marina. She seems to be very shy at first, but when she is forced to be tough she gives a better performance. The mermaid played by Russian actress Sofia Shidlovskaya gives us the strongest performance in this film. She uses simple body movements to capture the right tone of creepy atmosphere, and i have to say she looks great in the make up as the evil mermaid. What about the male cast ? I have to say that there are no male actors here that make any big acting efforts. I don´t know why they did not go deeper into their characters, because if they did this could have been even more interesting. I would have liked to known more about the story behind the mermaid, maybe a scene where we are told how a young woman transformed into the evil mermaid with some details. You do find out a little bit about the background, but only enough to understand what actually happened to Lisa ( before she becomes a mermaid ). Director Svyatoslav Podgaevskiy clearly have a passion for horror movies, and he knows how to tell effective stories on camera. I can also sense that he knows what many horror films are missing these days, technically well made scenes on camera. If he only could have had some better performances from the male cast especially, this could have been a really delightful treat. The Mermaid: Lake Of The Dead is a horror film that will most likely be appreciated by B movie lovers who love creepy atmospheres, and appreciate practical make up effects. I noticed that this film is dubbed, maybe because this is a film with only Russian actors. I would probably have liked seeing the film with the Russian language instead, but it still does not effect my final thoughts on this film. Are you looking for the perfect cozy Valentines Day movie for your loved one ? Look no further, The Mermaid: Lake Of The Dead knows what true love is all about, a mermaid beast looking for victims. I have to say, that is my kind of Valentines Day, in every possible way.

Rating: DDD

fredag 8 februari 2019

Boarding School

We all go through many different parts of life when we are confronted with changes, that may be a part of personal issues or unexpected turns. I am especially thinking about when we are young, when you don´t know what the future will bring. In some ways it is good to grow up with a rough past, because you know how difficult life can be. You learn to become stronger, and appreciate life in a different way than someone who have been served everything on a plate, without taking consequences. I had a lot of difficult moments in my youth, with everything from being a bully victim and being mentally humiliated by a family member for many years. Even if i wish i could make those years go away, i learned to pick myself up and focus on the future. And at this point, i know that no one can bring me down. My confidence is strong, and i hope more people can learn to see that everyone is unique. When we talk about movies that brings up the subject of rough times in school, we have some titles to choose between. One of the biggest classics in this genre is of course Brian De Palma´s classic horror film Carrie from 1976. Based on the novel by Stephen King. the story is about a bully victim by the name of Carrie White ( played by legendary actress Sissy Spacek ), who lives a very strict religious life with her mother Margaret White ( played by actress Piper Laurie ). Carrie really showed an honest portrait of how cruel students can be towards a person who is different from everyone, and you feel really sorry for Carrie. Director Brian De Palma managed to tell this story very effective from a horror perspective, and managed to capture the feeling of Stephen King´s novel ( i have read the book ). Another film that also turned out to be a well made horror film in school environment is The Awakening, released in 2011 from director Nick Murphy ( who also directed the British TV mini series The Secret ) The Awakening tell the story of hoax exposer Florence Cathcart ( lovely performance from actress Rebecca Hall ) who travels to reveal the truth at a boarding school for boys, where a child ghost have been seen. The Awakening is an interesting look into a ghost investigation, and manage to capture the time period of World War I as well. I was recently looking at Blu Ray releases from Germany, and came across a title i have never heard of. A film called Boarding School, that looked interesting. I got myself a copy, just to give the film a chance. A horror film at a boarding school, could this be more interesting than it sounds, or is this a low budget movie that no one will remember ?

Jacob Rathbone ( Luke Prael ) is an ordinary 13 year old boy, who sleeps with his light on. He have nightmares often, and his mother Isabel ( Samantha Mathis ) is frustrated with her son´s frequent nightmares. When Jacob is seen dancing in his dead grandmother´s dress, Jacob´s parents believe their son needs help. So he is send away to a boarding school led by Dr. Sherman ( Will Patton ) and his wife Mrs. Sherman ( Tammy Blanchard ). The other kids seems to be diagnosed with different disabilities, except for Christine Holcomb ( Sterling Jerins ). None of the children understand why they need to be at this boarding school, but is soon told to obey Dr. Sherman´s rules. What seems to be a normal boarding school, is about to reveal a disturbing truth, hidden within the house.

I am always happy to be surprised to see a movie i had no expectations about, and turns out to be better than i expected. This does not mean that Boarding School is a masterpiece in any way, but i have to say i like the concept of this film. A boarding school out in the countryside, for children that their parents think will change them into better students. Of course, this boarding school is not going to make these students any better, just make them feel worse. In some ways, this boarding school reminded me of Christian Conversion Therapy, since there are some similar elements here. The difference of course is that this is supposed to be a school, where the teacher clearly have no experience with helping students with different disabilities. The acting in this film is very divided. We do have some good performances from some of the actors, while some of them are not giving us a solid performance. Let´s start with the performances that actually feels interesting. Actress Sterling Jenkis as the student Christine is both confident, and want to make sure that she is not supposed to be in boarding school. Lead actor Luke Prael, who plays the student Jacob, is clearly a young man who is just trying to be himself while his parents feel he needs to be changed. Legendary actor Will Patton ( remember him from the 1998 classic Armageddon ? or perhaps from one of Richard Gere´s best films known as The Mothman Prophecies ) deliver one of the strongest performances in this film as Dr. Sherman. This is a man who believe his methods will help young people, but you can tell that he should not be teaching young people. The other child actors also do a great job. While watching Boarding School, i begin to wonder how the parents are thinking. Do they categorize children that this is what normal should be, and not the way their children are ? Is that their idea of why they need to send their children away ? This are some of those questions i guarantee most people will have watching this film. Just because a child is special, and have special needs, does not mean they are not supposed to be treated like any other child. But there is also another twist in this film that i find perhaps more interesting, how disturbed this boarding school is when we find out what is really going on. And here the films becomes really brutal, more than i expected. Director Boaz Yakin have both written many films and directed several films as well. One of the film i do remember is Remember The Titans with Denzel Washington. But i have to say that his new film Boarding School is one of his most interesting films. I get a feeling of Roman Polanski or Brian De Palma in here, mixed together. I would not call Boarding School a future classic, but definitely a movie that could become a cult hit if more people find this film. Finally an odd film in the horror section, Boarding School will be appreciated for the fans of old school cinema.

Rating: DDD