Wednesday, September 26, 2012

“Croc” Movie Review

Release Date: November 4, 2007
Runtime: 86 minutes
Directed by: Stewart Rafill
Rating: NR

Oh god, not another one of these. I’m not going to bother listing the actors’ names because trust me, you’ve never seen them in anything before. Jake McQuade lives in Thailand with his sister Allison and her son Theo, running a small zoo. A woman named Evelyn shows up to do a routine inspection, and Jake flips out because some random guy wants to shut down his zoo. Basically, the guy wants to open a resort and he hired people to lay down a road in two weeks. I guess they don’t worry about who actually owns the land because the road runs right through the middle of Jake’s farm.

People start showing up dead, and the locals realize that it’s a crocodile. Even though a witness saw a big ass croc attacking, they refuse to believe her and decide that it must be one of Jake’s. Some local guys break in and release his crocodiles, but he manages to track them down and save them. Ah yes, and we have poor Michael Madsen (“The Killing Jar,” etc.) showing up as Hawkins, a guy who started tracking the killer croc years ago.

How can a movie about a killer crocodile be so bad? I’m actually a fan of killer animal films, and I actually like some of the RHI Entertainment movies, but this one is just bad. My roommate walked downstairs and he loves horror movies, but he couldn’t sit through more than 15 minutes of it. Sadly for me, I sat through the whole thing.

This is one of those films that uses archival footage for most of the creature scenes. If the acting is strong enough, I can overlook that and get into the movie. The actors here look like they studied straight out of the “how to be bad” playbook.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

“Beneath the Dark” Movie Review

Release Date: November 5, 2010
Directed by: Chad Feehan
Runtime: 102 minutes
Rating: R

Paul (Josh Stewart, “The Collector”) and his girlfriend Adrienne (Jamie Lyn-Sigler, “Dark Ride”) are on a trip to see one his former fraternity brothers get married. After Adrienne gets a little too frisky in the car and nearly causes him to wreck, he decides to take a break and check into a hotel for the night. That’s when things get a little weird.

The guy running the hotel, Frank (Chris Browning) seems a little off. He keeps flashing back to his wife Sandy (Angela Featherstone, “Soul Survivors”) and the life they once led. Meanwhile, Adrienne gets pissed at Paul for not having sex with her, and Paul keeps seeing weird things in the hotel room that remind him of something that happened in the past. Naturally, the two worlds of these four characters are connected, and you have to be blind not to see it coming.

First of all, do not read the Netflix description before you watch this movie. I did, and it was nothing at all like the film. Netflix says they check into a hotel and hear whispers in the walls talking about their secrets, which isn’t true. Paul has a secret, but Adrienne is pretty much an innocent bystander.

I really wanted to like “Beneath the Dark,” but I have to admit that I have no idea what was going on most of the time. There are several different stories going on here. Paul and Adrienne are in the present, Sandy and Frank are in the present, Sandy and Paul are in the past, and Sandy and Frank are in the past. There is way too much to keep track of, especially when the movie starts jumping around.

I pretty much knew from the very beginning how the movie would end, but I kept watching it in the hopes that it would turn out differently. It basically has the type of ending that you’ve seen dozens of time, and I ended up feeling really disappointed.

Featherstone looks like she’s sleepwalking through most of the movie, while Sigler plays the slightly bitchy girl once again. I feel like every time I see her in a horror film, she’s playing a girl who is supposed to be the girl next door but she’s so bitchy that I just want her to go away. While “Beneath the Dark” is far from the worst film I’ve ever seen, it’s nowhere near the best.

Friday, September 7, 2012

“Scream 4” Movie Review

Runtime: 111 minutes
Rating: R
Release Date: April 15, 2011

Let me preface this by saying that I was extremely disappointed with “Scream 4”. I was a huge fan of the originals, though the third one bit it hardcore. I saw each one in the theater, but something kept me from seeing this one in the theater. I did see it at one point and hated it, but I recently watched it again and it wasn’t quite as bad as I thought.

“Scream 4” opens with characters played by Lucy Hale and Shenae Grimes playing two friends who get attacked by Ghostface. The camera pans back, revealing that the two were actually part of Stab 6, the movie-within-a-movie. Anna Paquin and Kristen Bell watch the movie and discuss horror movies and one of them dies, revealing that it’s actually the start of Stab 7. Then we get the traditional “Scream” opening with two girls chased and killed by Ghostface.

Sidney (Neve Campbell, “Scream”) is back in town after writing her own book about her experiences. She learns that her cousin Jill (Emma Roberts, “Twelve”) knew the two girls who were murdered, and Sidney herself becomes a suspect. Also along for the ride are Dewey (David Arquette) and Gale (Courtney Cox). The two moved back to their hometown when Dewey became sheriff, and Gale struggles to write another book and get back on top. Viewing the new murders as her chance to get back into the game, she teams up with the two leaders of the high school “cinema club” for extra help.

Like all of the other “Scream” movies, the film really revolves around Sidney. The killer seems to always know where she is at all times and what to do to set her off. After attacking her early in the film, she fights back. Though she lands a direct kick to the face and the killer gets knocked out, seconds later he’s up and running loose again. Naturally the movie becomes all about Sidney and trying to kill her, while racking up bodies along the way.

The best part about the film is the cameos from popular actors. Marley Shelton (“Valentine”) pops up as Judy Hicks, a deputy with a crush on Dewey. Anthony Anderson (“Transformers”) and Adam Brody (“The O.C.”) are also deputies, while Hayden Panettiere (“Heroes”) plays Jill’s best friend.

What it all comes down to is that I am so sick of Sidney/Neve Campbell. Oh really, you will never do another “Scream” movie? How about we wait a few years until your movie career tanks and see what you say then? I’m still waiting for the sequel where she snaps and becomes the killer. I had some high hopes for that ending with this one.

And why did we get so many new characters, if the central focus is still Sidney? There were so many high school students in this one and *spoiler alert*, none of them make it out alive. Of course the original three live to fight another day, which really annoys me. This could have been a solid movie that set up the franchise for future movies by killing off at least one “beloved” character, but instead we got a retread of the original.

There’s a joke in “Scream 4” that when making a remake, you never fuck with the original. Guess what? No one pays money to see an exact remake, just ask the people who made the “Psycho” remake. We want to see something that pays homage to the original while introducing something new. “Scream 4” was just a retread of a movie we already saw before, something we’ve seen three times already.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Movie Review: “Detention”

Runtime: 93 minutes
Rating: R
Release Date: April 13, 2012

“Detention” is the kind of movie that you either love or hate. I loved it, so I was a little surprised to see such bad ratings and reviews for the film. It seems like a lot of people like straight up horror movies or straight up comedies without any mixing, but that’s kind of what makes “Detention” so great.

The movie opens with prom queen Taylor explaining the rules of popularity. As she types away on her cell phone, Cinderhella jumps into the room and brutally murders her. The movie then cuts to Riley (Shanley Caswell) who is your typical high school outcast. Like most high school set movies, she’s actually a gorgeous girl who other people just pick on for no reason.

Riley gets her iPod stolen on the way to school, has a cast on one leg, loses a debate on the merits of vegetarianism, and has to watch her crush Clapton (Josh Hutcherson, “The Hunger Games”) flirt with her former best friend Ione (Spencer Locke, “Resident Evil: Afterlife”). Ione is obsessed with the early 1990s, listens to music from the era and dresses in that type of clothing. Clapton does too because he wants to impress her, which leads to her ex-boyfriend Billy (Parker Bagley) issuing a showdown to him.

On paper, “Detention” is a movie about a group of seemingly unconnected high school students who get stalked by a character named Cinderhella from a popular series of horror movies. In actuality, the movie is so much more than that. The movie keeps jumping into little side stories that you can’t help but laugh at.

There’s a time traveling bear that aliens picked up and now resides as the mascot of their high school. There’s a storyline involving Ione and her mother Sloane switching places, with Ione going back to her mother’s body in 1992 and Sloane taking over her daughter’s body. There’s the backstory involving the end of Ione and Riley’s friendship when Ione went after Clapton, knowing that her best friend had a thing for him. Oh, and did I mention a cameo from Ron Jeremy, playing a weird vampire/werewolf figure? Or what about the character who turns up after serving detention for 19 years and flashes back through the years, with music from that year playing and characters dressed in the clothing from that era?

When I rented the movie, the woman at the video store gushed about her crush on Hutcherson, even calling herself a “dirty old lady” before recommending the movie because it was so funny. Usually that annoys because it means that I’ll hate the movie, but this time I really liked it! The humor is sometimes a little dark and there aren’t a lot of horror elements, but “Detention” is a damn good movie.