Monster

Warm Bodies

How have I not talked about this movie yet? I love this movie. Love it. I’m a fan of romantic horror films, a fact that is well documented. Warm Bodies is among my top five favorites. Hell, it’s in my top 25 movies off all time. Though objectively it’s not the best. But I’m not here to be objective. I’m here to give my honest opinion. Warm Bodies is far and away more Romance and Comedy than Horror. Horror is the back drop, occasionally its brought up and that really works for here. I love the pairing of Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer. But I’ll get to praising them in a moment.

Warm Bodies opens with R (Nicholas Hoult), a zombie who spends his days suffering around an airport. He spends his days trying to remember what it used to be like before he became a zombie.  His only kind of friend is M (Rob Corddry), who he stands near and they almost start conversations. The only time they speak is when to signify hunger and the need to hunt. Which they do, heading into the city. Leader of potentially last human settlement Grigio (John Malkovich), sends out a group of young survivors to scavenge in the city for supplies that are needed by the settlement, like medicine. Among them are Grigio’s daughter Julie (), her boyfriend Perry (Dave Franco), and her best friend Nora (Analeigh Tipton). R’s and Julies groups encounter on another and a fight ensues. During which R falls in love with Julie at first sight. He then kills Perry and eats his brains. Which allows him to live Perry’s memories. Including the ones of him and Julie falling in love. R manages to save Julie from the zombies as the her group is killed except for Nora. R takes Julie back to the airport where he keeps her in the plane he lives in. Filled with stuff that he likes. The two get to know one another and start to fall in love over the days that R keeps Julie there. But she has no desire to stay and after being found by the zombies, including the more dangerous Bonies. But with the aid of M, Julie and R manage to escape. After helping Julie and R escape the zombies start to come back alive. Something that upsets the Bonies who chase them out. Julie and R take refuge in an old house and spend the night. During which he reveals that hes the one who killed Perry. R then falls asleep, some that the dead don’t do and wakes up to Julie gone. R starts to head back when he runs in M, who’s leading a band of like-hearted zombies to find R. He tells him of the Bonies and how they are hunting for him, and Julie. R, M, and the other zombies head to find Julie to warn her of the Bonies coming attack.

The romantic elements work really well for me and I love the chemistry between the leads. Being based on a novel that is blatantly retelling Romeo and Juliet, the chemistry is important. Both deliver solid performances and come of as light in what is a very down atmosphere. The rest does a great job, with Rob Corddry being hilarious, and heart warming at times.

The zombie effects are pretty good, but the Bonies don’t look as good. While by no means do they look bad. I just would have preferred if they had been approached via practical effects instead of CGI. Which is my only gripe about this film.

The sound track also needs to be brought up. Because it’s outstanding. The film makes great use of some very recognizable songs such as Shelter from the Storm by Bob Dylan, Patience by Guns and Roses and Missing You by John Waite to name a few.

Final thoughts, I do love this movie. Its cute, fun and light with a healthy dose of zombie violence. It takes the classic tale of Romeo and Juliet and twists it into some new. Which is harder to pull of then it might sound. 9/10

OMBC – The Oath

The Oath by Frank Peretti came recommended by a coworker. So, upon his advice I picked up a copy with some rather high expectations. Expectations that were for the most part delivered on. I don’t have much negative to say about The Oath. As it’s a layered, engrossing novel that has a large cast of vivid characters. The Oath is considered to be one Frank Peretti’s best works, which makes me wonder about his other works and for being Christian Fiction, The Oath doesn’t feel overly preachy. Something I like.

Those are my thoughts on The Oath. Next Month I’ll be continuing with Odd Thomas series with Odd Apoccolypse by Dean Koontz.  See you next month and until then keep reading.

OMBC – Thor

Thor is a good book about a good dog. Also a werewolf is in there, but that’s kind of tertiary. I enjoyed this book for is use of the perspective. As having a dog as the lead protagonist is a great idea that payed of wonderfully. I learned about this novel through a review of Bad Moon, the film adaptation. Even without seeing the film, I know I like the book better. Thor was a fun read that didn’t take so long as to lose the momentum and while a horror novel, Thor has a few funny moments. As well as a few touching ones.

That’s all for this month. Next month Ill be reading The Oath by Frank Peretti, as it was suggested to me by a coworker and I’ve been feeling the need to branch out to different authors. Until next month, keep reading.

The Windmill

The Windmill or The Windmill Massacre is 2016 Dutch supernatural horror film with a body count. I went into this film due to its apparent slasher qualities, qualities that were vast and valuable. Though honestly beyond group of people being stalked and killed by a supernatural force is all I knew. But for me that was enough. The Windmill didn’t surprise me as much as I was hoping it would and has a couple of issues that did get under my skin.

The Windmill opens with Jennifer Harris (Charlotte Beaumont) being confronted by her boss about the fact she lied about who she is. He tries to keep her detained until the police arrive, but she escapes by smashing a vase into his head and running away. She wanders the streets of Amsterdam until the next morning when she comes across a Happy Holland tour bus, owned and operated by Abe (Bart Klever). Also on the bus is father and son, Douglas (Patrick Baladi) and Curt (Adam Thomas Wright), photographer Ruby (Fiona Hampton), royal marine Jackson (Ben Batt), Dr. Nicholas Cooper (Noah Taylor) and Japanese tourist Takashi (Tanroh Ishida). The bus breaks down after Jennifer freaks thinking she say her father walk into the road, which would be hard she she touched him alive back in Australia. Broke down with no cell service to call for help, Jennifer and Jackson head to a near by windmill that isn’t on the map to ask for help. On the way through the woods to get there Jackson has a hallucination about the prostitute he killed in Amsterdam the night before, before he’s killed by a strange figure with a scythe. Jennifer runs back to the bus, but no one believes her, a steady theme since the doctor outs shes on anti-psychotics. Soon the bus tips over into the pond it was parked by forcing the group as a whole to walk to the windmill. Along the way they loose Takashi who follows his own vision his wrong doings deeper into the woods. One by one the tourists are forced to confront their sins before being killed by the ghost of Miller Hendrik (Kenan Raven), for devil worshiper now gate man for hell…

My issues are two fold, first is it takes forever for anyone to believe Jennifer. Like three deaths and a witness in. Which wouldn’t of been bad if the filmmakers focused on the is she isn’t she motif. But that’s never addressed, we as the audience know from the get go that she isn’t and it feels like it takes forever for the victim pool to catch up.

My next issue is also a spoiler so feel free to jump past this part. But Abe the bus driver being in league with Miller Hendrik bothers me immensely. As Abe kills the repentant, who are not killed by Hendrik to be sent to hell along with any innocents that might have been on the bus of sinners. Which feels like it defeats the whole judging people for their sins and releasing the truly repentant. Why judge people at all if you have a cohort that kills the people that make it free? Also how did Abe start serving Hendrik and the devil? The Windmill never covers that, it just gives a throw away line about how he has been working for him for many years. With all the time spent arguing if Jennifer is insane could have been used to better flesh out Abe.

The rest of the victim pool is actually okay. Nothing special, but I can be a fan of standard fare. Which here I am. The best performances come from Tanroh Ishida, Adam Thomas Wright, and Patrick Baladi. I really love Tanroh the most as it feels like he did the most with his character even though he had little time. Patrick Baladi and Adam Thomas Wright have great father son chemistry and are very believable in these roles.

Final thoughts, it was okay. But had the fixings to be really great. The Windmill need to focus more on its characters and the Miller more than anything. Most are left woefully underdeveloped and their sins never really become the focal point they should. The kills are fun, inventive and gorey. Though the CGI does look a little silly at times. 6/10

OMBC – The Hellbound Heart

The main if not only reason I read this book is because I’m a fan of the Hellraiser series and wanted to see where it started. Also while being very aware of Clive Barker I can’t think of any one of his novels that I have read. Overall the short length and some of the characters left me feeling underwhelmed. After reading the book I can see why the changes that were made were done so, for the most part.

Next month I’ll be reading Thor by Wayne Smith, see you then and keep reading.

Spring

mv5bmjmwnzm2otk3of5bml5banbnxkftztgwnjexotu0nde-_v1_uy1200_cr9006301200_al_-1Spring really managed to surprise me with its thoughtful blend of Horror and Romance. Spring gets the right blend of the two elements and leaves you with a great experience. Spring has managed to stay on my mind for days after viewing in such a way that I haven’t experienced since The Battery. The chemistry between the films leads Lou Taylor Pucci and Nadia Hilker is soft, but profoundly noticeable. The weight of the film falls on their shoulders, a burden the pair manages to carry with no problems.

Spring begins with Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) caring for his sick mother, who passes shortly after she’s introduced. Evan’s friend Tommy (Jeremy Gardner) takes him out drinking. Where Evan gets in a fight, badly beating the other man. This ends up with Evan loosing his job as he works at bar he got a fight in and fleeing the cops. Looking to invade the cops and the man he beat, Evan flies to Italy to make good on a trip, one that he planned and intended to take with father before he died. In Italy Evan starts working on an Olive farm, in town Evan meets a young, beautiful woman Louise (Nadia Hilker). After persisting she eventually agrees to go on a date with him. The two quickly fall for one another, though it’s a bad time for Louise. Who is going through violent and dangerous transformations…

What I loved was the soft flow of Spring. Feeling primarily like a romantic film, but it does its job in the horror department.  Which works great as the romantic angle along with the humanizing elements makes the character relatable and sympathetic. This ramps up the dread as I actually care for the characters.

I also loved the setting. Italy, the ocean, the old city, and the olive farm creates a dread location that’s actually kind of haunting. Also I love that the nights and days play in as Louise is sensitive to the light… sometimes. Placing the location next to ocean add a strange sense of smallness to film along with a strange sense of closeness.

The horror bits are surface level girl transforms into monsters and kills people. Beyond that is the uncertainly of their future at the end of the film. As best case the two raise a child with the same exact issue as Louise. The transformations are pretty great actually. I like on the silly side a couple of times, but overall very well done.

Final thoughts, I loved everything about this film and I’m sad that I didn’t see it sooner. Spring is a Romantic Horror film left me feeling both hopeful, but at the same time a strong sense of foreboding.  Spring isn’t a horror film about jump scares and body counts. It’s a film focused on atmosphere and leaves you feeling a bit haunted. 9/10

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperior

mummy_tomb_of_the_dragon_emperor_ver4So, this film isn’t what I could a horror film. The other films in the series don’t even try to call themselves horror after the 1990 version, the other films being solely action/fantasy. But its origins go back to the classic universal monster movies. So having not seen The Mummy films in years, but seeing the classic far more recently. I was wondering what the newest in the long running franchise looked like and I really didn’t like what I saw. At least The Mummy and The Mummy returns had some elements of dread. In Tomb of the Dragon Emperor doesn’t give its horror origins a passing thought.

Tomb of the Dragon Emperor opens with the Dragon Emperors (Jet Li) armies sweeping across China. Until he controls all of China, but having conquered all of his enemy’s he turns to his ambition of conquering death itself. He sends his most trusted friend to find the sorceress Zi Yuan (Michelle Yeoh), how is rumored to know the secret to eternal life. She doesn’t know it personally, but knows of where to look. She uncovers a book of spells that contains the spell. She seemingly casts the spell in Sanskrit. After which the Dragon Emperor kills her lover, his close friend. Before stabbing Zi Yuan. Her curse takes hold though turning the Emperor and his army into terracotta soldiers before fleeing the castle. Fearing the day he’s woken up as he will wash over the world. Fast forward to 1949, Alex O’Connell (Luke Ford) with the help of Professor Roger Wilson(David Calder) uncover the Dragon Emperors tomb. Inside Alex is attacked by a masked assailant when he reaches the tomb of the emperor. After the assailant is chased of the pair take the Dragon Emperor to Shanghai. Meanwhile a very bored Rick (Brandon Fraser) and Evelyn O’Connell (Maria Bello) are asked to return The Eye of Shangri-La to the Chinese government. Though they don’t expect to run into their son in Shanghai at Evelyns brother Jonathans (John Hannah) night club. After breaking up and family drama everyone goes to see Alexs find at the museum. Where they learn that Rick and Evelyn were tricked to bring the Eye to Shanghai, by Professor Wilson and his friends in a military faction led by General Yang (Anthony Chau-Sang Wong). They use the water of life inside the Eye to bring back to life Dragon Emperor. But The Dragon Emperor’s curse isn’t lifted until he bathes in The Fountain of Life at Shangri-La. So The O’Connells and Lin (Isabella Leong), the masked tomb guardian, set off to stop him.

If anything the major sin of this film is feels very paint by numbers. Set up, Magic McGuffin used to bring back mummy, action, twist, action, mummy end fight. At no point was I ever surprised by this film. Well, No that would be lying, as I have to take a moment now to talk about the Yeti’s.

I have no idea what was going through the writer’s mind to make Yeti’s be the best move. When they first show up I was like “Ok, Sure. Yeti’s because why not some Yetis?” Which is perfect since they add nothing of substance and are inconsequential in the scope of the film. There was no reason to even have them, anything that the Yetis do or are attributed requires them. They are really when this film lost me. As their addition is so distracting that The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor lost any sense of suspense that it might have held before then.

The acting is, no good. The chemistry between Fraser and Bello feels genuinely forced, lacking the charm and whimsy of the previous films. Their isn’t one performance that feels like a solid attempt. Each actor and actress come off as overblown to the point where they come off as cheesy.

Now another gripe I have as how underutilized Jet Li was. His performance is limited to the beginning of the film and the last act. The rest of the time theirs a terrible CGI monstrosity sucking up valuable time. Not that any real character is there for Jet Li to convey as the Dragon Emperor compared to IImhotep.

Final thoughts, a wasted two hours. While it has been a long time since I watched the first two films, I remember enjoying them. There is at no point in my life that I would have enjoyed this film. Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is a shameless cash in and for once do I agree with RottenTomatoes rating. 2/10