Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Possession of David O'Reilly (2010)

After I heard someone call this the film that Paranormal Activity should have been, I knew I had to check it out. I wasn’t too thrilled by Paranormal Activity (I didn’t hate it, I just thought it didn’t live up to its potential), so I was eager for a film that may have done it right.

The Possession of David O’Reilly is a British film about a happy couple that agrees to temporary take in their friend David after he splits from his girlfriend. They soon discover that all isn’t right with David – he is increasingly paranoid, sleepwalks, wakes up screaming and claims to see supernatural entities. As the couple begins to experience unexplainable events themselves, they realize David’s wild claims may have some validity and soon find themselves in a fight for their lives.

Alright, so I may not have liked Paranormal Activity, but I liked this film even less. Whoever said this film is what Paranormal Activity should have been was on crack. This just feels like a cheap knock-off that was poorly made. It starts off promisingly enough, with David showing up ominously on his friends’ doorstep in the middle of the night. His deterioration occurs quickly as he starts hearing strange growlings and prowlings from outside. This was all fine and dandy, but we never seen him pre-crazy, so right off the bat I assumed he was certifiable and everything he saw was fake. Now, I’m not saying if that is how it turns out in the end or not, but just that seed of doubt pretty much made me dismiss the entirety of the film.

Though this film has been compared to Paranormal Activity, it is not all captured on hand-held video cameras from the characters. There is still plenty of shaky cam and shots from the characters’ perspectives, but they are not carrying around camcorders capturing everything. There is a motion-detection security system that the married couple has installed in their home, but though it is highlighted at the beginning of the film it plays a disappointingly small part in the film overall. This is a squandered opportunity in my opinion.

Also, the characters make so many stupid decisions you can’t really cheer them on, but instead cheer for them to die. They could choose to leave the house at any time, but instead remain cooped up inside waiting for the entities to arrive with the darkness. And was the weird sub-plot with the pregnant woman really necessary? It didn’t add anything to the story and when it was revealed who she really was this plot point just kind of disappeared from the rest of the film. It also didn’t seem believable that the married couple just believed David without much proof. If my friend started acting crazy you better believe I’d call the nut house to take them away instead of believing they saw scary monsters in the dark.

I did like that the monstrous entities could only be seen in the dark, but even this plot point was undeveloped. If it wasn’t dark, were they still able to kill in the light? If so, then why not just leave the lights on? I also didn’t like how much we saw of the entities. Less would have been more in this case, no matter how cool they looked.

There was also some very weird editing going on in the film. There are multiple scenes where the music swells dramatically, indicating that we should be seeing something…but the scene is empty of any creepy stuff. I even rewound the film to see if I had missed something in several scenes, but nothing was there. These scenes were so frustrating because instead of delivering scares they deliver absolutely nothing.

The Possession of David O’Reilly had some good ideas, but really failed to use them to make an engaging story. Instead, we get a confusing, messy story that doesn’t live up to any of its potential. Even Paranormal Activity is better than this frustrating film.

Buy it on Amazon!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Horde (2010)

The Horde (aka La Horde in its native French), which was released on DVD last week, has been receiving a lot of press lately, both favorable and unfavorable. It seems that horror fans are split on this film – either they hated it with a passion or named it as one of their “best of” picks for 2010. Horror films that split the horror community right down the middle always intrigue me. It really makes me marvel at how people’s perspectives can be so different – one person may have called it the best zombie movie of 2010, but another said it was the worst POS he had ever seen. Surely everyone’s opinion is different, but films that cause such a wide divide in the horror community are even more interesting to me. So, of course I had to see The Horde to decide for myself whether it was a bloody good time or just a waste of time.

The Horde is about a group of vigilante cops that decide to take revenge on a group of gangsters that killed a fellow police officer. They storm the gang’s decrepit headquarters, housed inside a ghetto apartment building, but soon discover they are out-manned and out-gunned by the ruthless thugs. As the gang holds them hostage, a whole new dilemma presents itself as masses of fast-moving zombies start amassing outside the building. Now the remaining cops and gang members must work together to escape the hungry hordes of undead.

The Horde will no doubt delight gorehounds with its bloody set-pieces, but it also includes some timely social commentary on race, class, war, loyalty, etc. that will please more cerebral horror fans. As to the big question – whether I loved or hated the film – truth be told The Horde left me lukewarm. On the one hand I loved all the bloody action that exploded on the screen as well as the social commentary, but on the other hand I felt like I had already seen everything the film had to offer in other, perhaps better, zombie movies. After a tense and promising first act the second and third acts were a bit of a let-down. No matter how much blood and grue were tossed at the screen, no matter how many super-fast, super-strong zombies were mowed down by guns, hacked apart by machete or blown apart with grenades I just couldn’t seem to get into the latter part of the film. Maybe I’m just being a jaded horror fan, but it didn’t feel like enough creativity or originality had gone into The Horde, thus making it seem like any other zombie movie.

People might get upset over the “fast zombie” issue, but I thought it actually made the zombies even more frightening. The zombie makeup was also superb, making the zombies look even fiercer. Another complaint has been about the lack of an explanation regarding the zombie outbreak (the only thing we get is a newscast about an “epidemic” and a military safe zone that survivors should try to get to), but I actually appreciated how they kept the action focused on the building’s survivors and didn’t try expand the action to beyond the apartment building’s walls. The lack of explanation kept the action frenetic and immediate (though some of the action did get bogged down by pacing issues). Another part of the story I enjoyed were the ulterior motives of all the characters and how everyone was ultimately looking out for #1 (with a few exceptions). The relationship between two Nigerian brothers was the most intriguing, but I felt that the focus on the bloody action overshadowed the complex relationships in the end. The ending of the film, while not surprising, was satisfying in its somberness.

Though The Horde had its issues, it certainly didn’t qualify it for “worst of” status. There were plenty other horror flicks to claim that title this year. However, it also wasn’t creative enough to warrant it a “best of” nod either, at least not in my book. If you are looking for a gory zombie flick and can overlook the film’s shortcomings discussed above, then by all means check out The Horde. It’s not a perfect horror film, but it’s a pretty good time for what it is.

Buy it on Amazon!

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Best Horror Films of 2010 You Didn't See (But Should!)

Theatrical horror releases in 2010 pretty much sucked, with a few exceptions (like the mesmerizing Black Swan), but there were many amazing independent productions. These are the kinds of films that fly below the radar and may not be familiar to most. Well, dear fiends, I am here to acquaint you with the best horror films of 2010 that you didn’t see…but definitely should!

Check out my list below!

The Bunny Game – This shocking independent film is probably the closest you’ll ever get to a snuff film! It is both beautiful and grotesque with-in-your face realism coupled with a voyeuristic feel. The striking black and white imagery and artistic editing give the film an avant-garde feel, but The Bunny Game never comes off as pretentious. This extreme film certainly isn’t for everyone, not even most horror viewers, but fans of brutal, well-made cinema will truly appreciate this challenging test of endurance.

Make Out with Violence – This stunning coming-of-age zombie film plumbs emotional depths rarely seen in horror. It has a melancholy tone with dreamy visuals that perfectly capture the bittersweet feeling of growing up and losing your innocence. This is certainly not your run-of-the-mill zombie flick, but is a much more subtle and introspective film. It is for those that like their horror intelligent, heartfelt and haunting.

Meadowoods – This was another indie film that really struck a chord with me. Set up like a faux documentary, this is a chilling portrayal of a trio of college kids who decide to kill someone and document it on film. The cold, calculating characters and their seeming indifference to life makes the film an unsettling experience.

Every Other Day is HalloweenEODiH is a fun documentary on the phenomena of horror hosts and their resurgence in recent years. The main focal point is Count Gore de Vol, a popular and pioneering horror host played by Dick Dyszel. We are given a peek into his life and the many characters, horror or otherwise, he has played. Dyszel was, and continues to be, a big influence on modern horror hosts, and many of these colorful characters are featured in the documentary as well. Even if you didn’t grow up during the golden age of horror hosts, this charming documentary will still entertain and delight horror fans!

President’s Day – Finally! A horror film for President’s Day! This low-budget film, directed by Chris LaMartina, is a fun throwback to ‘80s slasher flicks. It’s goofy and gory (with a huge body count!), but the film doesn’t sacrifice technical skill or story either! The direction is professional, the acting is top-notch and the story keeps you guessing.

7 Days – This was one of the hardest films for me to watch this year because of its intensity and subject matter. It is an extremely effective piece of cinema that left me stunned and shaken up. It deals with a horrific crime and vengeance against the perpetrator…but while you feel that revenge is warranted, it is still hard to watch the brutality that unfolds on screen. 7 Days is a challenging piece of cinema that not everyone will be able to handle, but one of the most horrifying films I saw all year and one that left me with mental scars.

Cabin Fever 2 – A year ago I NEVER would have thought this film would make any “best of” lists since director Ti West basically disowned the project and it didn’t look anything like Eli Roth’s original (which I love, BTW). However, a year later I find myself looking fondly back on CF2, which, like I first thought, is NOTHING like the original. In this case, this turned into a positive rather than a negative. Cabin Fever 2 has a crazy, manic energy that draws you in…plus, it’s got truckloads of gore! The outrageous gore and hilarious gross-out gags are so over-the-top that you just can’t help loving this movie!

 Walking DistanceThis ambitious film by indie filmmaker Mel House really showcases the director’s potential! Besides being packed full of awesome effects and gooey gore, the film also boasts a complex story that is pulled together by a very talented cast.

Babysitter Wanted – While this film was made in 2008, it was never released until 2010, so I’m including it on this list. While at first this looks like your typical slasher (especially judging from the generic cover art), BW turns out to be a rather surprising little film with more than a few surprises up its sleeve. Unfortunately, this film hasn’t been given proper credit and is sadly unappreciated.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

S&Man (2006)

Though the DVD cover of S&Man is extremely misleading (it makes it look like a crappy slasher), rest assured that the actual film is pretty damn brilliant, challenging and powerful. I was surprised to find that director J.T. Petty (The Burrowers, Soft for Digging) made this film and that I hadn’t heard of it sooner. Though it had a festival run way back in 2006, the film wasn’t released on DVD stateside until October 2010.

S&Man (aka Sandman, not S & M Man, like I originally thought!) is a film that explores the seedier side of horror that encompasses the “hardcore” mock-snuff films like the August Underground or Guinea Pig series that are infamous for their shock value and hyper-realism.

Set up like a documentary, S&Man was originally supposed to be a vehicle for Petty to do a film on a local peeping tom from a suburb he grew up in, but this plan fell through when the man refused to do the film. However, Petty still wanted to pursue doing a film on voyeurism, so he turned to the underground horror world and found three purveyors of low-brow horror films to feature.

First and probably the most well known is Fred Vogel of Toe Tag Pictures, creator of the August Underground series. Vogel is certainly not the originator of fake snuff films, but over the years his extreme films have probably become the most well-known. Featuring brutal violence on grainy film, stunts including real bodily fluids (vomit, feces, you name it), graphic nudity and so on, Vogel’s films, most of which he stars in, really do look like home movies of serial killers.

The next filmmaker is the seemingly perpetually drunk, middle-aged metalhead Bill Zebub, whose films usually feature  busty women in distress, some blood, and not much else. Zebub’s films aren’t really fake snuff or as extreme like Vogel’s and come off as little more than exploitation. He states he makes films for perverts and not much else, which is pretty much echoed in all the scenes shown from his films. In one sad scene he putters around a set in a bar for hours while one of his actresses is forced to lie ass up in a spread-eagle position wearing a thong, bikini top and not much else. The exasperated and bored look on her face pretty much says it all!

The last filmmaker interviewed, Eric Rost (Erik Marcisak), is the only fictional one, as Vogel and Zebub do exist in real life and you can purchase their films. At first, Eric appears like any other horror fan-boy with dreams of making it big with his own “vision” for horror films. He shows up at a horror convention Petty is attending and gives Petty his own horror films, called the S&Man series. The series is very voyeuristic, and features women being filmed seemingly without their knowledge before they are kidnapped and killed. The films look entirely realistic and Petty spends the documentary trying to get more information from Eric, like if he can contact the actresses that appeared in S&Man, but Eric isn’t very forthcoming. In fact, Eric won’t give Petty a straight answer on whether he obtained consent from the women before stalking and filming them. Petty soon becomes suspicious and thinks Eric may be a real snuff filmmaker who is killing his victims.

In between talking with these three filmmakers, Petty interweaves interviews with psychologists, a self-professed “scream queen” (can just any woman that bares her boobs in a few crappy horror movies be considered a “scream queen” nowadays?), and feminist author of Men, Women and Chainsaws Carol Clover (yay, one of my favorites! I adore this woman!). These interviews add to the overall weight of the faux documentary, but the most interesting scenes occur when Petty turns his camera on the three filmmakers.

I found S&Man to be a challenging film to sit through at times, but the issues it addresses like voyeurism, gender, exploitation of actresses and how this exploitation eerily mirrors the exploitation of real-life victims, how far is too far, etc., etc. are what ultimately makes it rewarding. If you are anything like me, you’ll be equally parts repulsed and intrigued by Petty’s film, though in the end it will hopefully make you think and question your own personal limits.

Buy it on Amazon!

Monday, December 20, 2010

2010 Holiday Gift Guide for Horror Fiends

Christmas is almost here and for all you slackers, that means just a few more days left to shop for your favorite horror fiends (or to use those gift cards you’ve received to get what you REALLY want)! So we’ve compiled a handy list of gifts that will warm every horror fan’s heart this holiday season.

Check out our picks below!

1. The Art of Hammer – A beautiful, full-cover coffee table book featuring the amazing poster art of Hammer Films. The Art of Hammer collects the very best and most iconic movie posters produced for the Hammer studio. This lavish hardcover brings together rare artwork from around the world. Featuring Hammer’s greatest films, including The Curse of Frankenstein, the Dracula series, and many more.

2. Lenore: Cooties - Titan Books recently re-released this collection of Roman Dirge’s “cute little dead girl” comics, and it is just gorgeous! This glossy book is perfect for your gothikly inclined friend.

3. Iron Fist’s Zombie Stomper Platform – Iron Fist Clothing makes some amazingly cool stuff, but these kicks are among my fave! Perfect for your zombie-lovin’ gal!

4. The Psycho Legacy – A kick-ass documentary on the Psycho films, I personally think every horror fan should own a copy! Interweaving ultra-rare and never-before-seen interview footage of Anthony Perkins and dozens of interviews including Robert Loggia, Olivia Hussey, Henry Thomas, Diana Scarwid, Tom Holland, Hilton Green, Mick Garris and many more, The Psycho Legacy is the first documentary to unite and explore decades of Psycho movies in one place, revealing surprises and insights into what is considered the grandfather of modern horror.

5. Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy Collector’s Edition – Speaking of documentaries, this is one of the year’s best! This special two DVD Collector’s Edition comes with a total of eight hours of entertainment, including enhanced extended interviews, 4-hour filmmaker commentary and a limited edition poster featuring original artwork by Matthew Joseph Peak. A must for any Freddy fan!

6. Splatterhouse (PS3 or XBox) – This game is pure, gory fun! Metal heads, horror freaks and hardcore action gamers, unite! Rick Taylor and the Terror Mask are back, tearing, cutting and beating their way through inhuman abominations and hordes of the undead in a tale of love, mutilation and near-insanity. A wall of metal tunes underscores blood-soaked battles with massive bosses, brutal weapons, over-the-top gore and real-time regeneration. And while your ears are ringing, a new Splatterkill System lets you get your hands bloody!

7. Zombie Pin Up Calendar 2011 or Monster Movies: 2011 Wall Calendar – Whether your horror fan is into hot chicks bloodied up like zombies or the more classic Universal movie monsters, you can’t go wrong with either of these calendars.

8. Mini Cassette Tees Horror Tees – We love Mini Cassette Tees! Not only are their t-shirts high quality, but their designs are totally unique and you won’t see them anywhere else. Their may be imitators, but these are the true originals!

9. Bloodbath Morbid Moisture Body Lotion – Bloodbath on Etsy has a ton of cool horror inspired bath and beauty products like “Lip Embalm”, “Zombie Foot Scrubby Soap”, “Dexter Slide Soap” and “Corpse Cleaner” body wash, but my fave is their “Morbid Moisture Body Lotion”. Their intoxicating scents include Cleopatra’s Curse, Creepy Colada, Death by Chocolate, Petrifying Pomegranate, Screamsicle, Vanilla Vamp and Zombie Zen!

10. Hollywood is Dead Poster Art – Artist Matt Busch has taken the world by storm this year with his “Hollywood is Dead” poster art. Check out his zombified versions of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, E.T., Jaws and more and give your fave horror fan some sick new poster art!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Bunny Game (2010)

The terror you witness on-screen of The Bunny Game is real. Let me clarify…it’s not just realistic…it actually happened. It’s like watching a snuff film, only no one really died during filming (as far as we know). The actors weren’t merely acting, but they were subjected to most everything you see on film. Ballsy actress Rodleen Getsic gives a graphic blowjob, pees in public, is shaved bald and is actually branded in the film, not to mention the preparation that went into her role as an emaciated, drug-addled prostitute. Getsic fasted for over a month to prepare for her role! As you probably have guessed by now, The Bunny Game isn’t your ordinary horror movie. In fact, it feels more like a brutal snuff film coupled with avant-garde performance art.

The film is about a hard-knock prostitute named Bunny (Getsic) who trolls the streets of LA turning tricks and snorting coke whenever she gets the chance. This prostitute certainly doesn’t have a heart of gold, but nonetheless you feel pretty bad for her as you watch her engage in graphic sexual acts, get high, get raped and get robbed. Things go from bad to worse when she is picked up by a trucker (Jeff F. Renfro) who takes her out to the desert and brutalizes her for days on end.

While the plot might make it seem like just another torture flick, let me assure you that The Bunny Game is anything but. Is there torture? Well, yes, but it’s more the nasty psychological kind that sticks with you for days, rather than straight-up blood and guts. And the intense psychological wringer that the film puts both the victim (Getsic) and viewer through makes the film seem that much more realistic, which, believe me, will further raise the audience’s anxiety! And after all the things the cast (namely Getsic) went through, it is no wonder the film feels so authentic!

Director Adam Rehmeier, who co-wrote the film with actress Getsic, says the film wasn’t written with a strict script (there is very little dialogue) and most of the performances came organically from the actors. They were just sorta let loose on one another and given license to go as dark as they could…and, boy, did they ever go dark! Not only were the performances spontaneous, but so was the camerawork. Most scenes were filmed in only one take (usually unheard of in a film), which only adds to the immediacy and realism of the film.

The film also has a very voyeuristic feel, which adds to the snuff-like, performance art quality of it. The shaky camera angles, the constant zooming in and out and so on really make you feel like you are right there with the characters. And no matter how hard you try and get away (or look away), you just can’t.

Despite its shocking brutality, there isn’t that much blood and gore, if that’s what you’re hoping for. Most of its terror comes from psychological torture. Bunny is just as mentally broken down by the trucker as she is physically abused. He locks her up for days and submits her to all kinds of torment – stripping her down, humiliating her body, flashing a spotlight in her eyes, chaining her up, taking her for walks on a leash, shaving her head, etc. And that doesn’t even begin to detail the physical and sexual abuse he perpetuates against her. It is this kind of damaging psychological horror that is most effective, at least in my opinion. Anyone can do gross-out blood and guts, but it takes real talent to get into the audience’s brains and truly disturb them.

Congratulations are in order for director/co-writer Rehmeier and co-writer Getsic, because they have crafted a hauntingly unsettling film! It may be intensely difficult to sit through, but at least it looks stunning and isn’t just a point-and-shoot affair. There are even some beautifully dynamic shots in the film that momentarily relieve you of the brutality on-screen. It is filmed completely in black and white, which gives it a monochromatic and artistic look.

However, even the way the film is shot echoes the manic madness of the film, for juxtaposed against the gorgeously framed shots are choppy, disorienting edits, frantic shaky cam shots, voyeuristic zooms and more to make the viewer experience even further discomfort. Even the music, which features chaotic metal in the first few scenes but devolves into a creepy score as the film progresses, adds heightened emotion to scenes that are already difficult to watch…And just when you think you can’t possibly take anymore the next scene comes up to further test your limits.

I can only use “disturbing”, “unsettling” and their derivatives so much to describe The Bunny Game, but hopefully by now you get the point. This film definitely isn’t for most people, but if you like challenging films that push limits, you should give The Bunny Game a view. It’s probably the closest you’ll ever get to a snuff film!

The Bunny Game on Facebook!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Zombeak (2010)

Zombie chickens are one thing, but how about zombie-chickens possessed by Satan?! That’s the general gist of Zombeak, a cheap but fun low-budget film. It is about a group of Satanists who kidnap a trash-talking waitress. They have plans to conjure Satan and have their master impregnate the waitress with the Antichrist. However, the waitress’ hick boyfriend, a gun-happy cop and her boss bust into the Satanist’s decrepit house before the ritual can be completed…but not before Satan has been summoned. Satan soon takes over the body of a sacrificed chicken and all hell soon breaks loose.

Zombeak is a fun, low-budget film. I liked how it wasn’t just a straight-up zombie poultry flick (we’ve already got the great Poultrygeist and Thankskilling for that!), but actually adds more dimension to the story by incorporating the Satanic subplot. And how can I pass up a film whose tagline is “Murder Most Foul”?!

I guess my biggest gripe with this film was the slim plot, which led to a lot of repetition. The flick is only 70 minutes long, but unfortunately takes 20 or 30 minutes to get going and get to the good stuff involving the Satan-possessed zombie chicken. When it finally gets to that point, I finally got engaged in the movie but the limited scope of the plot made me lose interest again.

However, I did like the schlocky feel of the film and enjoyed the characters, especially the trash-talking waitress as well as the Satanic priestess. Props to both actresses for their wonderfully spot-on performances! Films like this usually don’t have much character development, and Zombeak was no exception, however these two characters were the only ones I was really rooting for!

While the special effects are obviously low-budget, I thought their look actually fit well into the overall tone of the film. The zombie-chicken itself is pretty hilarious, but it works well with the goofy feel of the movie. Victims get pecked to death before becoming possessed themselves, and their makeup looked pretty cool.

The film is so over-the-top and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Despite its issues with pacing and plot, I still felt that Zombeak was a commendable effort from those involved in this indie production. It’s a fun, nitty-gritty film that would be fun to watch with a group of friends and several frothy beers.

Check out Zombeak’s official site!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Don't Look Up (2010)

I was a bit wary going into Don’t Look Up as reviews for this flick have been so atrocious. However, it was a lazy night and the trailer had piqued my interest so I decided to give it a looksie…plus, it is available via streaming on Netflix so it made it all that much easier to check out.

Don’t Look Up is actually a remake of the Hideo Nakata (of Ringu fame) film Joyurei and is directed by Fruit Chan (known for the wicked “Dumplings” short in Three…Extremes). This film is Chan’s American debut and I’ve been looking forward to seeing Chan’s next horror piece ever since relishing “Dumplings” so much.

Don’t Look Up is about horror film director Marcus Reed (played by the sexy Australian soap star Reshad Strik) who has intense psychic visions of paranormal events. However, he has found his perfect project to work on next and sets off for Romania where he is to film his big comeback. The film he is shooting is based on an old Romanian folktale about a young girl who promised her first born child to the Devil but was violently killed by villagers before she could fulfill her promise. Her vengeful ghost is said to haunt the decrepit location that Marcus has chosen to shoot his film, the same location where 80 years ago another film crew mysteriously vanished while attempting to shoot a film based on the same legend.

People soon start dying violent, “accidental” deaths as Marcus’ visions intensify. Will his visions help him in stopping the deaths or will they just drive him mad?

Don’t Look Up definitely has that Asian ghost story feel (especially with a few Ringu-inspired scenes involving creepy eyes and flies crawling out of a TV), coupled with plenty of nasty deaths and a few icky scenes. However, the convoluted and confusing plot really drags the film down. It really could have spent a little more time developing the backstory on the Romanian legend (what we get is a couple of paragraphs before the movie starts…lame) and the actual why and how of the supposed “haunting”. By the end, the film tries to clear things up with a “twist”, but certain points still remain unclear. Like what the F was up with the boils/tumors on the neck? Why did certain people go crazy? What exactly was the point with crew members dying? Did the ghost just want revenge or was it searching for a new baby-daddy? And why in the world did Marcus and his crew shoot his film in only one small, grimy room when they had the whole creepy building to use? It looked more of like a stage set than a film set.

It is a pity the plot was such a disjointed mess, since the initial premise showed promise. Sure, we’ve all seen horror films where a film crew is beset by something horrific, but the whole Romanian legend aspect was intriguing…too bad it got so mucked up in the writing and/or editing process.

I was surprised to see several recognizable faces in the film. Eli Roth is in the film for about 5 seconds (even though he is a huge selling point on the DVD cover) as a 1930s director (complete with a cool mustache and snazzy duds) who first tries to film at the cursed location. Then we get Henry Thomas (Red Velvet, Dead Birds) as a level-headed producer and Kevin Corrigan (Pineapple Express, Superbad) as an agitated crew member. The acting overall was fine, despite what other reviews have said. I actually liked the acting choices and thought everyone did a good job in their roles.

As for the special FX, there was some crappy CGI involving flies (they just looked like fuzzy black blobs), but there were also several creepy scenes. One in particular that involves a spontaneous birth is definitely groddy, especially when we see the baby hanging half in and half out of the birth canal as mommy walks toward the camera. Then there are the scenes with the previously mentioned flies, which would have probably been more effective had the CGI looked better. There are people attacked by flies, a body made up of flies, and, my personal fave, flies crawling into people’s eyeballs and eye sockets. Squirm! Then there are the requisite bloody deaths, the only memorable one being when a stage light falls on a crew member, making for a bloody awful head wound! Oh, and let’s not forget when Marcus carves one of those boils/tumors off a creepy old dude. Pretty icky. However, I wouldn’t call it a gorefest by any means, and the body count isn’t all that high.

Don’t Look Up doesn’t really deliver on scares and is overall a messy film full of plot inconsistencies, under-development and holes, but I still found myself kind of enjoying it. No matter how frustrating the plot issues were, the film kept me moderately interested. It would make a good background flick for when you are doing other things, or a good flick to enjoy with a sudsy brew (or two).

The bad reviews on this film are pretty exaggerated…it definitely isn’t the best movie you can choose to watch, but it does have its creepy and gross-out moments and isn’t the “worst movie ever made”. Dude, I’ve seen some pretty horrible films in my time and this one doesn’t even come close to being the worst!

Available on Amazon!
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