Psychotic

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.

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Drifter

I picked this film on a whim and was very surprised with just how much I enjoyed it. I found the visuals and music to be outstanding. Throw in the great acting and this film became a real treat. I wasn’t all that excited for the cannibals as I’ve grown used to the cliche. Which here they still are, but are also done in such a way that it becomes forgivable.

Drifter opens with Miles Pierce (Aria Emory) holding a gun to man. Who pulls a gun in turn on Miles. Miles brother Dominic (Drew Hardwood) bursts into the room the two fire. Resulting in Miles getting shot in the hand and the other man dead. The brothers then take off across the wasteland, on some vague vengeance ride. The pair get in a disagreement and Dominic storms out into the waste leaving Miles in the car. While away in the dessert having a moment to him self, Miles is beset by three highway men that proceed to beat Miles to steal the car. Dominic returns the car and kills the men saving his brother. Due the beating Miles received they stop in the small movie Demyl. They come across a man walking down the road and while asking him for directions to help he slashes one of their tires. Dominic attacks the man, who is saved by Vojah (Monique Rosario). She has the brothers follow her and gives them aid. Vojah warns them about the towns occupants, a warning the Dominic ignores going after the man again. This results in the towns cannibalistic inhabitants led by Doyle (James McCabe) killing Dominic and capturing Miles. Whom they set tormenting, torments that crescendos at a dinner where is Dominic is the main course…

What I liked most about Drifter was the visuals. As this is a very stunning film. I often found myself floored with how beautiful it was, while maintaining a heavy atmosphere. The visuals are only surpassed by the sound track, because as often I was blow away with the look and feel of the film. The music is compelling and ties in each scene together.

But being pretty and sounding great isn’t what its all about. Because what a film without actors and the actors here do an outstanding job. James McCabe makes an outstanding villain. One that started off feeling generic but quickly developed into a fun and devilish character. One that I simply love to hate.

Final thoughts, I enjoyed Drifter. Hell I’ll go as far as to say I loved it. Stunning through and through that suffered one from loose threads. What was the vengeance ride about? Did Miles ever get it? Does that matter? The answer is no, but what a ride. 9/10

The Devil’s Dolls

The reason I watched The Devil’s Dolls was simply because I enjoyed Brea Grant so much in Midnight Movie, even though she had such a small role, that I wanted to look into more of her films. Which lead me to the Devil’s Dolls. Though I was less impressed with The Devil’s Dolls than I was with Midnight Movie, I still enjoyed it. But it’s still flawed. Fortunately most of my issues with this film are minor, unfortunately one of them isn’t.

The Devil’s Dolls opens with a young woman barley escaping captivity from serial killer Henry (Matty Ferraro). Initially she seeks the aid of the most useless officer ever, to be finally rescued by Detective Matt (Christopher Wiehl). Who shoots and kills Henry. Matt and his partner Darcy (Kym Jackson) search Henry’s hideout and find his worry dolls. Collected with the rest of the evidence the dolls are left in the back of Matt’s car. The dolls are taken by Matt’s daughter Chloe (Kennedy Brice), which she fashions into jewelry that she sells at her mother Amy’s (Samantha Smith) shop. That night she becomes effected by the dolls, resulting in her attacking and killing the dog. Chloe then lapses into a coma. Similar things happen to those who purchased or wear the dolls. Attack and killing others, though each are killed shortly after. Including Amy’s friend Becca (Brea Grant), who is attacked and killed by her boyfriend after she gives him the doll as a gift to wear. Matt and Darcy link each of the events together eventually realizing the dolls and their connection to Henry go to see Della (Tina Lifford), the woman who raised Henry. She explains that the dolls were a gift to Henry as a child in an effort to heal is lost innocence. But the dolls became cursed by the sorrow and pain he felt, cursing those to know the levels of his pain. Though the pain they feel is entirely their own and that to save his daughter, Matt must collect all the dolls and bring them to her by sunrise…

My main issue with this film is Christopher Wiehl. He performance feels plastic. Rigged, inorganic and fake. It’s jarring against some of the other performances, mostly Kennedy Brice. Who does an admirable job, one a few in the film. Christopher Wiehl isn’t one of them.

My other issue is with the pacing. The film has a slow and arduous at times, saved only by the short moments of violence. That and the occasion moment that drives the dread forward. The Devil’s Dolls starts strong and gets progressively weaker, ending in an ending that is both flat and predictable.

Final thoughts, the mood and story are good. If not easily anticipated. The horror aspect plays on the fear of possession and of on our own fears getting the best us. The worry doll’s are only lightly explained and their ability to cleanse the soul is left mostly unexplained beyond magic tree. Which I suppose is all the film really needs, but lacks any sense of origin that made them feel real. An okay film in the end, with some memorable moments and visuals. But lacks enough strength of character to be a truly be good. 6/10

Train to Busan

It was super refreshing as a fan of zombies movies to see this film. It’s a great example of a great zombie film, as it makes the characters feel relatable. It was well written, well acted and well shot. So if you haven’t seen this film because that it’s subtitled. Then you are doing yourself a disservice. I’ve loved the horror films that I’ve seen come out of South Korea for all the same reasons. Reasons I’ll go more into depth about shortly.

Train to Busan opens with Seok-woo (Yoo Gong) a workaholic, who’s recently separated for his wife and has custody of their young daughter Soo-an (Soo-an Kim). Seok-woo wants to be a good father, but due to his job is unable to find the time to relate with his daughter. For her birthday Soo-an wants to go to Busan to see her mother. Seok-woo agrees to take her by train the next day. After boarding the train a zombie outbreak sweeps the nation. With an infected woman getting on board, turning and attacking. Further spreading the infection of the high speed train. Eventually the passengers who have manged to flee to the front of train notice that the infected are stupied and wont try to attack if they don’t see you.  The other survivors include, husband and wife Sang-hwa (Dong-seok Ma) and Seong-kyeong (Yu-mi Jung), sisters In-gil (Soo-jung Ye) and Jong-gil (Myung-sin Park), Yon-suk (Kim Eui-sung) a rich CEO, teenagers Yong-guk (Choi Woo-shik) and Jin-hee (Ahn So-hee). The train tries to stop at the next station only to see that it is overrun. It continues on until it reaches a city that its told is safe. Seok-woo learns the city is quarinteened and makes plans through his contacts at work to be evacuated there with his daughter. But that station too is overrun and the survivors barely make it back, while many of the other do not. But in the race to reach the train Seok-woo, Sang-hwa, Yong-guk are separated from the others and must fight the their way to them through infected filled train cars as the train races for the last open city… Busan.

So the things I loved. First was the dread location, putting this film on a train was great. The claustrophobic atmosphere was great and it made for some very intense action scenes. I also liked the sense of finality that the train brought, as it has a destination, at the very least the tracks have to end somewhere. Keeping the thought of hope and rescue alive. Only to squash it.

The acting was also pretty fantastic. I’m not as knowledgeable in South Korean films to identify the actors or reference their past work against this one. But they all do a great job, making for a very strong ensemble. My person favorite was Dong-seok as MaSang-hwa.

I also loved the effects, as the infected are just great. The gore while minimal is visceral keeping the threat and terror more real and closer to home. There’s plenty of blood and people being attacked, but the gore is never the show case and often times feels a little played down for the sake of tone.

Final thoughts, I loved this movie. Easily one of if not thee best zombie film I’ve seen in a while. Maybe since The Battery. It’s just that good. Train to Busan is worth all of the praise that it receives and I feel is a must watch for the zombie fans out there. As its great zombie film with more than a few touching moments. 10/10

31

So, Rob Zombie. I’m not the biggest fan of his films. Music yes, films no. But for some reason I always find myself watching his films. I will always admit that the man is a great director, his films just don’t do it for me. 31 is my favorite of his films, so there’s at least that much going for it. In all fairness 31 has a lot going for it with its 70’s exploitation mixed with psycho murder games vibe.

31 follows a group of carnival workers containing Charly (Sheri Moon Zombie), Roscoe Pepper (Jeff Daniel Phillips), Venus Virgo (Meg Foster),  Panda Thomas (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs) and Levon Wally (Kevin Jackson) are traveling. While in the middle of nowhere they’re attacked and taken hostage. The group are held hostage by an insane trio consisting Father Murder (Malcolm McDowell), Sister Serpent (Jane Carr) and Sister Dragon (Judy Geeson). The deadly trio forced in a deadly game named 31. They have twelve hours to survive while being hunted by murderous psycho paths…

There’s a bit of a slasher vibe in this film. A group of friends are stalked and killed, and Carly as the final girl. So, once this film hits that point I actually really enjoy it. The lead in dragged for me. Though lucky the lead in is short.

I liked the acting, mostly. It took me a while to warm up to the characters. But once I got there I was invested in them. Charly for the most part is the main character, if you have to pick one. 31 focuses on all the characters fairly evenly and every actor does a great job with the time he has and all the actors and actressess display a wide range over the course of the film.

The mood, again once I got into is good. With that spooky, haunting vibe indicative of Rob Zombie’s work. The 70’s atheistic are fun, and pair nicely with the dark terror of the second act. Creating an atmospheric experience.

The psychos are fun and memorable with two of the sticking out the most. Sick-Head played by Pancho Moler and Doom-Head played by Richard Brake. Both are wildly entertaining and are the end caps for the psychos, makes the best notes the first and the last.

The film is incredibly well shot and is in my opinion Rob Zombies best looking film. The films look is distinctly Rob Zombie and those familiar with his work would have no problem identifying this film as his.

Final thoughts, 31 one is okay. Hell, I push it as far as saying its good. It hard horror that doesn’t focus on the gore, which while present is never the forefront. For that I have to give this film a lot of credit as the lacks of visceral action is more character and mood driven. As where the quick shock tends to wear off and be forgotten. 31 is more than then that providing a genuine horror experience. That said I still personally didn’t love it, I just see the merit in it. 7/10

Tusk

tusk-movie-posterAfter watching Yoga Hosers and realizing that Tusk was the only Kevin Smith film that I haven’t seen, I felt that I should take measures to remedy that. Tusk is much more a horror film than Yogo Hosers, but still has Smith’s trademark brand of humor. I had heard mixed reviews on Tusk, and I can kind of see where their complaints lay. But, This is a Kevin Smith film. So you have to expect that even though it’s a horror film, that it’s also going to have more than a couple of comedic elements.

Tusk starts with us learning all about our protagonist Wallace Bryton (Justin Long), who is one half of comedy duo on a popular podcast with Teddy Craft (Haley Joel Osment). Wallace leaves LA for the great north of Canada to record an interview with an internet sensation who got famous due to embarrassment. When he leaves, he leaves behind Teddy, who fears flying, and his girlfriend Ally Leon (Genesis Rodriguez). On whom he plans to cheat. When he gets to Canada he learns that the man he planned to interview has committed suicide, leaving him without a story. Though he stumbles upon one in the bathroom of a local bar, when he finds the handbill of Howard Howe (Michael Parks), a wheelchair bound aged adventure with many tales of the sea. Intrigued Wallace goes to interview him for his podcast and is almost instantly enamored by Howard’s tales. Until he passes out from the drugs in his tea. He wakes up groggy from the drugs and minus one leg, that Howard claims was amputated from a brown recluse bite and that all the phones are gone from the house at doctors orders. A lie which is discovered at dinner when Howard reveals that he can walk, when he gets up and slaps Wallace for crying. Howard subjects to Wallace to mental degradation and physical mutilation, during which Wallace is able to recover his phone briefly to call Ally and Teddy for help. Calls that go unanswered due to the two of them being involved in an affair. Wallace is slowly surgically turned into a walrus so that Howard can relive his happy days with a walrus that saved his life years ago. Before he killed it to eat, hours before he was saved. An event that he marks each anniversary by recreating the walrus from a human and giving a chance to survive the battle it lost so long ago…

The story is a bit ludicrous, which isn’t surprising given this is a Kevin Smith film. But the acting is amazing, I love everything I’ve seen with Justin Long, and  Micheal Parks always sticks out prominently in my mind from his performance in Red State. Here the two play off one another wonderfully, to the point that I don’t think I would have liked this film the same if had been any two other actors in the roles.

People told me this film was gruesome, something that I don’t agree with. Sure it gets weird when Wallace’s changed into a walrus, but I wouldn’t call it gruesome. But on the other hand, I watch a lot of horror films and I have reached a point that calling something gruesome would be a high praise. I do love the detail put into the walrus though, particularly the faces, ears and other details of the flesh stitched into the walrus to give him his mass.

I love the dark comedy elements, on which this film thrives. Guy Lapointe (Johnny Depp) is a character that I feel plays heavily into this. As all of his scenes that while serious, are side-splitting.

Final thoughts, I really like this film as unlike Yoga Hosers is a horror film. While it has its funny moments it’s never so funny that inherent danger and dread that Wallace is in becomes lost or forgotten. If anything the humor plays on that horror, creating a memorable film. I can say that after watching Tusk I’m very excited to see what Kevin Smith does with the third installment of The True North Trilogy. 8/10

Don’t Breathe

dont_breathe_xlgI was expecting a lot more from Don’t Breathe as one of its producers was Sam Raimi and it was directed by Fede Alvarez. Who directed the 2013 version of Evil Dead, a film that I actually liked more than I feel I should have. I wish I had one sole issue with Don’t Breathe, but sadly I have a few. None major, but they do pile up. Mostly, it’s that Don’t Breathe doesn’t feel like it brought anything new to the table. Or even old that has been rehashed in a new way. Generic for lack of a better word.

Don’t Breathe opens with a woman being dragged down an deserted street by a older man. Before abruptly shifting to three people, Rocky (Jane Levy), her boyfriend Money (Daniel Zovatto) and their friend Alex (Dylan Minnette) in the middle of a home burglary. One that they get away from without being caught. While fencing the stolen goods Money gets a tip, a old man whose daughter was killed in a car accident keeps the settlement money locked up in his home. The amount of money makes Alex worried as it would come with a higher jail time if they were to get caught, making him back out of the robbery. But Rocky, who is trying to escape her awful home life with her little sister to California, persuades him to join. They case the house, which is located in a desolate part of town where he is the last remaining person and learn the man (Stephen Lang), is a blind army vet. Who lives alone and is a shut in. The trio decided to break in and perform the robbery with the blind man in his home that night. After drugging the Blind Mand dog and breaking in, they’re unable to find the money. They  do discover that basement door is padlocked shut. Money reveals that he brought a gun, something that Alex doesn’t agree with as the firearm increases the potential jail time again, along with giving the Bling Man the right to shoot them and leaves. Money shoots the lock off the basement door, which wakes the Blind Man who goes to investigate. He then fights Money before taking his gun and shoots him in the head killing him. He then checks his hidden safe to make sure his money is still there, which is witnessed by Rocky. Who hid once the Blind Man killed Money, and steals the money from the safe once he leaves. Alex returns after hearing the gunshots and gets trapped in the house as the Blind Man locks the doors and nails boards over the windows. Trapping them inside with the Blind Man, in hopes of escaping Alex and Rocky head into the basement to escape out through the cellar doors. In the basement, they come across a woman bound and gagged in a padded cell. She gives the pair a newspaper clipping, that reveals her to be Cindy (Franciska Torocisk) the girl who killed the Blind Mans daughter killing her. Alex and Rocky manage to free her and they try to escape the basement out the cellar doors. But the Blind Man is waiting for them…

Don’t Breathe steals quite a few elements from People under the Stairs. Three robbers enter the house in both films, both films involve people being held captive in the basement. Both films have a chase in the walls of the home with a dog. In both films the robbers are looking for large sums of money that’s supposedly hid in the house. I’m sure these points are accidental. But it made me feel like I had seen this film before, robbing it of a lot of its excitement.

The acting is good, with Stephen Lang plays a great villain. Jane Levy and Dylan Minnette have great chemistry together and both deliver solid believable performances. Daniel Zovatto, I was less impressed by. Though honestly, I don’t know what about his performance I didn’t like.

A major issue I have with Don’t Breathe is that the protagonists are thieves. One of which brings a gun, with noted intent to use it as he fears the Blind Man’s training in the military. So after he kills Money and starts trying to kill Alex and Rocky I have a hard time sympathizing with them. They did break into his home to steal the settlement money from his daughter’s death. Alex also seems to have no reason to be involved with these robberies other than his feelings for Rocky. The only one given a reason to need to steal is Rocky, even then with her cut from the first robbery would have been enough for her to get away. Sure she would need a job when she got away, but she could have escaped already.

Final thoughts, it feels old hat. I’ve seen what Don’t Breathe is offering before and I’ve seen it better done. I found myself more than once wishing that I was just watching People Under the Stairs in its place. I just wish that the film hadn’t tried so hard to make the Blind Man the villain, as by forcing so hard to make him one pushed the film into cartoonish heights at times. 7/10