Science

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

While I am a fan of franchise, I am not a fan of this movie. The Resident Evil films have rapidly decreased in quality with each successive release. The first one was pretty great, the Final Chapter was barely watchable. One action scene strung to the next with only the slightest allusion to a plot line. What I did like is that it tries to wrap up the loose ends created by its predecessors, and Milla Jovovich. Though I simply adore her, and personally I think she makes a great action star that is deserving of more films roles in the genre. Just no more Resident Evil films, please let the Final Chapter be the final chapter.

After surviving the events at the end of previous film, a full on assault of the white house by those infected/mutated by the T-virus, Alice (Milla Jovovich) is contacted by the Red Queen and told she needs to return to the Hive. Inside the Hive, Umbrella has created an air born antivirus that will kill and thing infected with the T-virus, the catch being Alice has only 48 hours to do so if she want’s to save the last remaining human outposts before they’re overrun and wiped out. On her way to return to Raccoon City and The Hive, Alice is captured by Dr. Alexander Isaacs (Iain Glen). Who Alice thought she had killed, turns out that was just a clone. Alice Manages to escape Isaacs and makes her way to Raccoon City, where she encounters a group of survivors including Claire Redfield (Ali Larter). Alice leads the defense of the survivor compound against the army of infected being lead by Isaacs caravan. Alice then leads those among the survivors that can fight into The Hive, for her final confrontation with Umbrella.

This movie was awful. Just a simple tragedy. I love the Resident Evil series, with a particular fondness for the first three games. I also enjoyed the first two films in the series, but after that it just becomes a tangled mess. Trying to wrap up the jumbled mess that’s been these films, while creating a satisfying ending was close to impossible. But I can’t think of a worse approach than this.

The acting is Okay…ish. Milla Jovovich, and Ali Larter feel like they’re just going through the motions. Leaving me with impression that they’re just as happy as to see this film series end as I am. The only actor that feels energetic and like they might be having a good time is Iain Glen. Who plays the gambit of normal to insanity pretty well, he has a strange roll and he runs with it. But the supporting cast, not so good. They don’t get enough time to establish themselves as characters before being feed to the meat grinder.

The action scenes is where this film shines. But as polished and nice as they are, the complete lack of narrative shows heavily. As the story is just there enough to get you from one action scene to the next.

Final thoughts, this film was bland. So bland that it sours and becomes bad quickly. They few good nuggets in this film, and there are a few, aren’t worth the rest of the garbage you have to sit through. The Final Chapter is a classic example of a series that was ran way past its expiration date and I for one am glad the ride is over. 4/10

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I Was a Teenage Werewolf

i_was_a_teenage_werewolf-posterI want to dislike this film for a number of reasons. First its a Werewolf film, second its poorly acted. Though neither of the points deter me from finding a small (slightly above average) amount of enjoyment from this film. But not for the excellent storytelling, but for all the reasons I should have disliked it. I Was a Teenage Werewolf’s success as a drive in feature spawned a couple of “spin-off’s”, I Was a Teenage Frankenstein and Blood of Dracula. Both of which I plan to view in the near…ish future.

I Was a Teenage Werewolf opens with a fist fight between two teens, one of which Tony Rivers (Micheal Landon). A teenager with a bit of an anger issue, coupled with a strong dislike of authority. His brawl with Jimmy (Charles Wilcox) is broken up when the police arrive, Officer Detective Donovan (Barney Phillips) has the two shake hands and part ways on more or less, amicable terms. Tony’s father, Charles (Malcolm Atterbury), try’s to import advice that pans out about as much one would imagine it would. A few nights later at a Halloween party Tony looses his temper again attacking another party goer and after viewing the shocked gazes of his friends and girlfriend Arlene Logan (Yvonne Lime) decides that he does need help. Help he finds with Dr. Alfred Brandon (Whit Bissell), a hypnotist who uses his abilities along with an experimental serum to try to return Tony and by proxy all of man back to his primitive roots. An experiment in which is more or less a success, as Tony becomes a Werewolf. The first time he turns is after a party with his girlfriend and friends at “The Haunted House”, an abandoned house that they hang out in, kills one of his friends. Tony tries to seek the aid of his doctor, but is further manipulated and given the drug again. Shortly thereafter he transforms again at school, set off by the sound of a bell and kills another girl, Theresa (Dawn Richard). But is seen in the act by a number of students, who recognize his cloths. Which starts a manhunt for Tony, leaving Tony with only his Doctor to turn to.

As awkwardly entertaining as this film is, how it performed so well is beyond me. A sizable portion of the magic of this film had to have been lost since it was filmed with the drive in mind and I viewed on my TV with a six-pack. Also the 50’s were a very different time with the idea of a teenager being the victim and the monster being something new and frightening. Which by today’s standards is more than a little old hat.

While the acting left a lot to be desired, the effects were actually OK. The werewolf transformation is simple, yet effective. As is its characterization. The lore around the Werewolf is kept to a minimum, allowing the film to feel separate yet part of the werewolf mythos. Though I do wish Tony spent more time as a werewolf and less time as an angst filled teen.

Final thoughts, I have to call this standard drive-in fare. Originally part of a double feature, seeing this alone and not in a car with either a significant other or at the very least a semi rowdy group of friends changes the dynamic of the film. Either way, I Was a Teenage Werewolf needs to be viewed with someone else. If for no other reason than to make fun of and point out the sillier moments of film with. Honestly, the film did start to lose my interest about halfway in, but then Dawn Richard’s graced the screen and serves her role as another victim amicably. So, while it does have its up, I Was a Teenage Werewolf also has its downs and I can’t really recommend this film, unless you’re a fan of drive-camp. In which case, dig in. 7/10

The Fly (1958)

fly_1958_poster_01If it wasn’t for Vincent Price I don’t know how I would feel about this film. So I guess it’s a good thing he’s in it, because on his virtue alone I really enjoyed this film. Though it’t not what I would consider scary, horror for me has to leave lingering negative emotions for it qualify. Though the horror films of the 50’s tend to have a happy or mostly happy ending at the end of them. That inherently undermines the film that preceded them. The Fly is more of a science fiction film with a strong warning about the dangers of science.

The Fly opens with a night worker find Andre Delambre (David Hedison), murdered by being crushed in a hydraulic press. Andre’s wife, Helene (Patricia Owens) calls her brother-in-law Francois Delambre (Vincent Price) and confesses to the murder. At first Francois thinks she’s joking though the reality sets in after he receives a call from the night worker. Leading him to contact Inspector Charas (Herbert Marshall). The pair go to Helene’s house to learn what happened, but she’s unwilling to provide any sort of motive for the murder. As Francois and Charas are leaving they inspect Andre’s laboratory and find the room and all of the equipment destroyed. Helene’s mental state appears to start to deteriorate, mostly with an obsession with fly’s and finding a white-headed fly in particular. In an attempt to get Helene to talk, Francois lies to her telling her that he has captured the fly. Relived that he knows the truth, Helene tells Francois and Charas what happened. Andre was a brilliant scientist who had cracked teleportation of solid matter. At first inanimate objects, but eventually moving on to living creatures. Like their house cat and a guinea pig, with the cat never reappearing. Eventually Andre tries the machine on his self, but the experiment goes horribly wrong with a fly enters the chamber causing the two’s atoms to mix. Resulting in Andre having the arm and head of a fly. Though unable to speak and hiding his head from his Helene, Andre recruits her in the hunt for the fly as he needs to return himself to normal. Though after days searching without any luck, Andre’s condition worsens as the fly’s instincts start to overcome him. Leading the his asking Helene for her help again…

I only have two issues with this film. The first being the slow pace of the film. Slow paced films are always hard for me and might be a leading reason to why I love Slashers so much. The film starts with a great opener, the grisly discover. But after that the film really slows down. With the focus being more on the emotional state of Helene as she deals with what’s happening around her. Leading to a very reactionary performance.

The other thing is that I wasn’t super excited about what the special effects. Which might have been good for the time, but I have a hard time believing that. The Andre with the fly head and arm are kind of silly looking. Mostly the head, which doesn’t inspire any sense of revulsion or any sort of negative emotion of any kind. I actually let out a small laugh the ridiculousness of it. But I’m callous.

I did like the performances with Price being brilliant as always. There’s a good reason he’s so beloved by horror fans. The other actors are also memorable, Patricia Owens while reactionary is memorable with a scream that stands out. Herbert Marshall is also memorable, but his best isn’t until the end when he confronted by evidence of Helene’s story leading to his sense of the world being shaken. The rest of the cast is OK, nothing terrible, but also nothing that stands out.

Final thoughts, this version of The Fly is considered a 1950’s horror classic and I can’t argue to strongly against it. Beyond Vincent Price’s performance, there’s not a lot worth seeing in this film. The story, while good, moves a near crippling slow pace. Admittedly I’m a much bigger fan of the 1986 remake. 6/10