Showing posts with label review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label review. Show all posts

Saturday, October 24, 2015


Shock Till You Drop


Para1 Run, don’t walk, to catch this latest and last installment in the PARANORMAL ACTIVITY franchise…

While the last several PARANORMAL ACTIVITY films have been (let’s face it) a bit lackluster, this latest edition of the franchise surpasses all expectations and is frighteningly and intensely intelligent. Instead of a run-of-the-mill cheapie, found-footage grab for cash during the Halloween season, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION is a startling and visionary film that can only be described as a work of art worthy of modern savants such as Lars von Trier and Gasper Noë.

Much like Fritz Lang’s classic silent science fiction film METROPOLIS, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION is an allegory of Marxist alienation pitting the ruling classes against the proletariat while exploring the danger and horror of unbridled personal passion and mob rule. Most of this intellectual and artistic observation is due to input from prolific screenwriter Adam Robitel (his 2015 avant-garde horror film THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN is known as one of the most thoughtful meditations on denial of dialectic desituationism and affirmation of cultural post textual theory in the 21st Century).

Protagonists Ryan (Chris J. Murray) and Emily (Brit Shaw) are a happily married, heterosexual white bourgeois couple with a mentally disabled daughter named Leila (Ivy George, who does an impeccable job playing an eight year-old with the mental capacity of a three year-old). Isolated in their extremely large and sprawling house, and with no interaction with the outside world, they spend their days staring at blinking lights and at absurdly numerous television and computer screens. Ryan’s upper middle class employment as a gaming developer forces him to work remotely, estranged from not only his product but his fellow man, on a screen barely one foot across. Despite the absolute exploitation of his own creative spirit, the game (which never materializes) is interpolated into a post cultural paradigm of expression that includes art as a whole.

Ryan’s brother Mike (Dan Gill) randomly appears one day in the house and plans to stay with the family, to which they oddly don’t object. While Mike quips existential, Kafka-esque one-liners designed to question the validity of their subconceptualist rationalism and structural materialism, the two parents don’t seem to react and remain sequestered in their glass-walled, white, suffocating bourgeois interior. The beautiful Skyler (Olivia Taylor Dudley) is also trapped in the house, with no apparent relation to anyone. This surreal experiment soon makes Skyler the primary caregiver to tiny Leila while Emily is tasked with repetitively removing groceries from brown bags, over and over, despite the fact that she never leaves the house or goes grocery shopping. The family never eats the food she unpacks, indicating her own failure to connect to her fellow man as anything but a consumer and her inability to connect to her family as anything but an object of slave labor in the kitchen. This obviously Freudian deconstruction is a touchingly simple way to denote Emily’s dissatisfaction with her own role as Mother.

Eventually, Ryan finds a video camera from 1992 in a box in the garage, his only window to the outside world and to other people. In his desperation to connect with other human beings, he begins obsessively watching the video tapes left with the camera, drawing Emily and Mike, and eventually Leila and Skyler, into his demented and manic need to go back to 1992 and prevent his own class alienation under the guise of saving Leila from the inevitable downfall of capitalism. Unfortunately, the entire family is being stalked by the specter of Marxism in the form of a ghastly black entity seeking to steal Leila and force her back into 1992 where a coven of Marxist witches will enact a ritual designed to destroy the power of the bourgeoisie by giving political support to their revolutionary leader named Toby. To the upper-class family, this leader seems to be little more than a demon designed to point out the inherent immorality and inhumanity in their lifestyles; he seems to want to destroy everything they have in order to redistribute their wealth to the Marxist witches (their house is built upon the destroyed ruin of the coven’s original home, torn away from them by the fires of capitalism and trickle-down economics). However, the absurdity, and some would say the failure, of subconceptualist rationalism which is a central theme of Rushdie’s SATANIC VERSES emerges again in PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION when a portal to 1992 opens up in Leila’s bedroom, forcing the family to take drastic measures to protect her from the dark forces of the futility of class consciousness.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION’s filmmakers designed gorgeous natural lighting thoughtfully intended as homage to Stanley Kubrick’s BARRY LYNDON. The large house is various shades of pale light whites and grays polluted by the blackness of night when the family is under attack from Toby.

Just like the sans-culottes during their reign of terror in the French Revolution, the coven of witches and Toby assault the family and threaten to execute them physically and morally in order to restore a working-class Jacobin socialism in which witches can freely practice their demonic conjurations without fear of capitalists burning down their home.

Ultimately, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION is a Nietzsche-esque escalation between good and evil, a battle between Id and Superego, in which allegorical demons battle the soulless, amoral darkness of bourgeois identity. The filmmakers force the audience to choose between the post cultural paradigm of expression and cultural rationalism; this “ghost story” promotes the use of structural materialism to attack outdated, elitist perceptions of narrativity and denotes the role of the viewer as participant in this tale of terror rather than simply creator. Mainly it is the many 3-D jump scares that really accomplish this.

Run, don’t walk, to see this beautiful Camus-like example of modern existential and political art, which I suspect will be on many people’s short-list for the Oscars in March.

The post Review: PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION appeared first on Shock Till You Drop.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mum And Dad (NetFlix Review)

Written by: David Roden

So here’s a fun one, Mum and Dad is the story of a young woman who has been kidnapped by a sadistic family. We really get the full range of shock and disgust with this one. There were parts that were done well and many parts that weren’t.

Right out of the gate I was bored and a little annoyed by how hard it was to understand them. That might be the American in me. I really wasn’t expecting much and I was surprised. This is not what I would call a good movie but it did creep me out.

I always have respect for a film that can shock me, but there is so much more to filmmaking than that. So they nailed that part of it, what about the rest?

My first issue was something I’ve seen way too many times: victim gets knocked out and the scene fades out as she loses consciousness, the next scene starts when she wakes up. Is there no other way to film this? Maybe follow the assailant around a bit to see some more nastiness, just a thought.

Secondly, they kept showing us footage of planes leaving from a close by airport. In fact, they showed it so frequently I was just about convinced she would be escaping by plane. I get the symbolism, but honestly it was too much. We get it.

On the positive side of things, there was one character interesting enough to keep me watching. The father was by far the most foul and vile of the group, but I enjoyed almost every moment of him on screen. Something about him reminded me of Bob Hoskins only much more sinister.

The rest of the family just didn’t do it for me. The daughter was a brat and more than annoying, the mom wasn’t too bad but still lacking, and the slow son made decisions that just didn’t really make sense to me. As for our survivor girl, if she had just played the game things would have come out much better for her. I understand panic, but I don’t understand not thinking at all the entire time.

If you want to see what your gross-out limit is, go for it. If you want something more than shock cinema, go watch The Woman. Here’s to hoping this director will give us a more mature product on his next try.

Netflix: 3.1/5

David: 2.5/5

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Woman in Black (2012) Netflix Review

Written By: David Roden

"I believe the most rational mind can play tricks in the dark.”

Unfortunately for Author Kipps (Radcliff) there are no tricks here, just a pissed off ghost and a great deal of sadness.

I want to start by saying I have not seen the original TV movie. This will not be a comparison of the two. I have heard great things about the original, so I’ll be watching it as soon as I can get my mitts on it.

The story follows a lawyer from London who is sent off to go try and sell an old house. Before he heads out we meet his son, played by his Radcliff’s actual godson. They did that to make the relationship between the two feel more genuine. It worked.

From the moment he arrives in town there is a feeling that something is off. They did a great job in creating an atmosphere of discomfort. It’s obvious the locals don’t want him there at all. I won’t go too far into the actual plot.

It’s very rare that I actually get creeped out watching a ghost story these days. The last time was Insidious and I can’t even remember a time before that. It’s all so formulaic these days. It goes a little something like this: angry ghost, jump scare, sad protagonist, jump scare, dark secret, jump scare, and a rushed attempt at appeasing the ghost…and a jump scare.

Jump scares are in my opinion the lowest form of scaring someone…there were five. With this wonderful, creepy atmosphere, there is no need for even one. Fortunately, that alone isn’t enough to make me like this any less.

Location, location, location; from the streets of London to the old house itself, these locations stepped forward and stole the spotlight. That might have something to do with how beautifully they were shot. Most notable were the aerial shots of the house and the road leading to the house.

I say give this one a chance. What it lacked in gore it made up for with genuinely creepy moments. So maybe they reached back in time for the majority of their scares, somehow it worked. There isn’t anything new here but from what I hear that was intentional.

The Woman in Black

Friday, May 18, 2012

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil (Netflix Review)

Written by: David Roden

“I just think that so many conflicts and problems in the world are caused by a lack of communication, ya know?”

Here we have the perfect example of taking and old genre cliché and finding a way to do something completely new with it. At first glance it may seem like another in a long line of b-horror films that can easily be forgotten, but that isn’t the case here.

T & D isn’t a film about a group of teenagers camping in the wood and being terrorized by “hillbillies.” It’s about what happens when you combine stereotypes with a complete lack of communication or an unwillingness to listen. It’s a commentary on not letting your pre-conceived notions of people rule you.

Even though this movie’s title features two names, it is really only about one…Dale. Dale is one of the most likeable characters to have ever graced my TV screen. He drives this story with his heart…and jokes. While there is a fair share of violence and gore found on the steps of this cabin in the woods, it’s the heart and humor that made this movie what it is. Tucker plays his role and he plays it well, but he is still just another side character in the grand scheme of things.

Once again we see something that impresses me every time: The main theme of the film being explained in one line or one scene. In this case it’s the quote at the top of the page. It makes me feel like the man who made this really understood and cared for the material.

This film is a combination of equal parts violence, humor and intellect. It really delivered on all counts but I shouldn’t be surprised, Magnet doesn’t release bad genre films (Let The Right One In, I Saw The Devil). If you are unfamiliar, head on over to their website and look at their archive.

I really only had a problem with Chad. Chad was supposed to make you hate him and I did. Chad was also supposed to make you empathize with his struggle…I did not. Even with his awesome backstory sequence I couldn’t bring myself to feel a damn thing for this kid. I just can’t decide if it’s because of his double popped collars or my love for Dale.

Netflix: 4.1/5
David: 4.5/5

Other Netflix Reviews:

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) NetFlix Review

 Written By: David Roden

No Quote for this one.

What to say about a film that happily skips it’s way into the depths of depravity displayed here? I cannot (will not) say I liked it. You don’t like a film like this. There are things about it I will admit to liking but I will never say I liked the film itself.

The first film is a poor example of shock cinema. I sat through the first one and when it ended I just kind of forgot about it and moved on with my life. I have not been so lucky with this one.

To those of you that haven’t seen it, go watch it if you had fun with A Serbian Film.  If not, see my other reviews.


In the first film we had a medically trained professional (madman), here we have and fanboy to the millionth degree. This in my opinion was the proper way to continue this story. The fact that he has no training is what leads to the death of a lot of his victims. He doesn’t intend to kill them but he has no clue what he is doing.

He never talks. That makes me think he may be mentally handicapped which almost makes me feel sorry for him.  That combined with the abuse from his father and his criminally insane mother, make for the perfect victim turned victimizer scenario. You feel bad for him but hate the things he does or even who he is.

I love violent, dark, gory, bloody, depraved films but even I have my limit. The scene where the pregnant woman tries to escape and ends up smashing her newborn baby under the accelerator pedal was just a tad too much for me. I can’t decide whether to be impressed or disgusted.

I see absolutely no reason to watch this film more than once.

Netflix: 1/5
David: 1/5

Other Netflix Reviews:

  • The Woman
  • Kidnapped

  • Friday, May 11, 2012

    The Woman Netflix Review

    Written By: David Roden

    “You don’t really think I would want to miss out on heaven, do you?”

    Great horror film sequels do still exist. Over the past few year I have been subjected to some truly terrible sequels, The Woman is my savior. This film is dark, gruesome, original and at times funny. That is basically every thing I look for in a horror film these days. Leave it the director of May (a disturbing film about an outcast) to break this cycle.

    Lucky McKee’s The Woman, which is the follow up to The Offspring, an adaptation of the Jack Ketchum novel of the same name is a film to be reckoned with. This is very gruesome stuff, only intended for those us that can stomach it with a smile. If you can see through the gore and violence you will be treated to a very dark family drama with complex characters and interesting direction.
    The Woman follows the surviving member of a clan of caveman like barbarians that were traveling up and down the coast of Maine, breaking into homes, murdering, and eating families. We pick up the story with her wounded and alone in the woods. A local hunter captures her and chains her up in his cellar with the intention of civilizing her.

    The first thing that struck me was a beautifully shot title sequence. From there we move on to the family that will be holding her captive. An instant mood change from dead serious to fun lets us know that this movie will (hopefully) be a dark comedy. This is a complete departure from The Offspring, which was serious at all times. I feel this was a great way to bridge the two films.

    The next thing to catch my eye is a scene where the patriarch of the family first finds the woman bathing herself in a stream. We see her through the scope of his rifle as he watches her. It’s at this point that something unexpected happens. Rock music begins to play as we take on his perception of her: a sexy naked woman bathing herself in slow motion. She dresses herself in what little clothing she has and walks away but for a split second we see her naked again. I believe this is to show how the hunter feels about her.

    Sean Spillane's score for this film is absolutely amazing. I was expecting a traditional score but instead got unique songs that somehow completely reflect the mood of the scene. This score is one that I listen to daily. I certainly hope to hear more from this man soon. 

    This movie takes an “out there” concept and grounds it by using the real world family problems. The interactions between the family members could have been a film on it’s own.

    One thing that always impresses me is when a director knows enough about his movie that he can summarize the entire film with one line or one dialog-less scene. In this case they used the latter and it could not have been more effective.

    I have seen The Woman a total of 7 times since I first got my grubby little fingers on it and I will be surprised to see a better horror film this year. Enjoy.

    David: 5/5

    Other Netflix Reviews:

    The Devil's Rock
    The Human Centipede 2

    Sunday, May 6, 2012

    The Cabin In The Woods

    “Ok, I'm drawing a line in the fucking sand. DO NOT read the Latin!”

    The Cabin In The Woods is next to impossible to review without spoiling EVERYTHING, so what I am going to do is split this review into two sections.

    Non-Spoiler Section:

    GO WATCH THE CABIN IN THE WOODS. I can’t say much else about it to be honest. I will however offer this warning, DO NOT watch any trailers or read anything about this film online. Simply coming here and reading this before seeing it was, to be blunt, a mistake. You will be doing yourself a service going in blind. Now run along to the theater and make it happen. Be sure to come back and read the rest of my review when you’re done.


    For those of you that have seen it, let’s chat. I for once followed my own advice and didn’t read anything about it or watch any trailers prior to watching this film. I went in just praying it wouldn’t suck…and boy was I pleasantly surprised.

    I’m going to talk about just a few key points in this film because I can see myself getting very long winded with this one.

    Before we delve into the horror aspects of this film let me take a moment to talk about the characters. One of the big problems horror films deal with is what I like to call Characters vs. Caricatures. Yes, we are given five very stereotypical college students to follow but just five minutes in you can tell this is intentional. For example, Curt is not a guy acting tough, he is a guy who just so happens to be tough. I feel a lot of these directors don’t understand this distinction, Goddard does.

    On to the horror! By far the best aspect of this film is the possibilities of the different “hauntings” these characters could potentially face. The scene in the cellar where they unknowingly choose their fate really pulled me in. I wanted to see these people go through every one of those nightmares. Then the movie falls on it’s face.

    Redneck zombie family? Really? That was more worthy of an episode of Supernatural than a big name horror film. That would have been my last choice next to Merman. Luckily we don’t spend too much time dealing with that family and their “husband boners.”

    It isn’t easy to combine horror and comedy without it coming off as campy, this movie nailed it. I was giggling like a little girl from the first scene on.

    From then on I was completely unaware that there was anything else going on in the world other than the beautiful monstrosities slaughtering their way across the screen. The third act of the film was a horror fan’s wet dream, a thank you for sticking around through all the re-makes, sequels and adaptations we’ve had to endure these last few years.

    Finally I just want to say thanks for the absurd amount of horror references sprinkled throughout. We really got the gambit here, from Pinhead to The Strangers to the “Old Ones.” The only thing missing was a giant tentacle coming out of the ground at the end instead of a hand. Oh well, close enough.

    Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to go try to get my mitts on a coffee mug bong.

    Image Source:

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    Jennifer's Body Review

    Jennifer's Body, where do I start, with “her Body” or with the movie? I think I’ll start with her body, since it was the only likable thing about the movie and Megan Fox so graciously lent that body to the title role. I guess for any horny teenager or two Meagan Fox alone was worth the price of admission.

    Unfortunately, most horror movie fans require a little more than a pretty face and a sexy body to satiate them when it comes to their horror movies. Sure the movie was bloody and there was plenty of gore. But did it live up to all of the anticipation?

    If you haven’t seen it, Jennifer’s Body, classified as a dark comedy horror movie and directed by Karyn Kusama is about a young lady Jennifer Check (Megan Fox) who is taken over by a demonic spirit after being offered up in sacrifice to satan by a indie band of rock star wannabees named Low Shoulder, lead by Adam Brody (The O.C.) who sell their souls to the devil in exchange for what every rock star dreams of, fame and a endless supply of “green backs”.

    Oh, and if they can get a girl or two along the way I’m sure that would be nice too. And as for the later, there was only one girl that these guys had their sights set on but ironically not for what most guys would want such a pretty girl for.

    They initially meet when Jennifer and her friend, Anita Needy (Amada Seyfried) decide to go to the bar where the band was supposed to be playing. In an attempt to seemingly get Jennifer alone, the band or possibly satan himself (who knows) set a mysterious fire that burns the bar to the ground.

    As the band endeavors to make their escape they ask Jennifer to go with them despite her friend’s pleas dissuading her not to. The guys then take her to a place in the woods where they will have the ceremony. After they offer up Jennifer to their “God” they notice that something goes terribly wrong.

    They were mistaken in thinking she was a virgin and apparently in order for the offering to produce the desired result the female sacrifice had to considered pure and untouched by another man.

    Jennifer subsequently shows up at her friend Anita’s home and is in her kitchen at the refrigerator down on her knees when she comes in and finds her. When Jennifer turns to see her she looks absolutely grotesques.

    In the days following her unfortunate encounter Jennifer takes on the appearance of a very ill person, far from the very beautiful, sexy girl we see earlier in the movie. Another effect of her unfortunate “date with the devil” is that she finds she has an uncontrollable appetite for flesh, human flesh.

    So she begins to flaunt her sex appeal in an attempt to seduce unsuspecting young men so that she is able to get them alone. Once she gets them alone and they are all hot and bothered she then attacks them feeding on their flesh, but not in the way they were hopping for.

    If you think a movie isn’t good enough to sit all the way through in the theater you certainly won’t want to see it again in any other form. My point is this, Jennifer’s Body is a “one and done” kind of movie, too painfully bad to even want to see on cable or on DVD. Yes it was that bad, In fact, in my opinion one of the worse horror movies ever.

    It certainly was heavy on what Hollywood thinks audiences desire to see most, and that being sex and violence. But sex and violence isn’t an automatic receipt for box office success, not when you consider the power of “word of mouth”.

    I haven’t heard any rubbles of a possible follow up to the movie and for good reason; the movie should have never been made in the first place. And to think of the producers possibly making audiences sit through another poorly conceived story is in a word, “frightening”, more frightening than the movie was itself.

    Image source:

    Who is Megan Fox?

    Saturday, June 23, 2007

    Halloween Movie Review

    Written By: "MonsterMan"

    We’ve all seen certain movies that we don't mind watching over again, and each time we see them they remind us exactly why we liked them in the first place. Well, for me Halloween is that kind of movie.

    Halloween is a story about a murderous-escaped mental patient, named Michael Myers, who returns to his fictitious home town of Haddonfield, Ill. on Halloween in order to continue his homicidal predilection discovered by his parents when he was six years old, after killing his older sister.

    Halloween was made in 1978, but still remains one of the best horror movies ever made. Here are just a few reasons I believe why.

    Halloween: The night he came home.

    The first thing I must say was John Carpenter's and Debra Hill's decision to write a horror movie using Halloween as the backdrop. They figured out that if done right they could maximize the latent potential for terror, suspense and horror that creating a movie surrounding the holiday could present. And baby, was it done right. The result, 29 years later, the movie has become a cult classic and is considered by many to be the forerunner to most of the horror movies of the 80's and beyond.

    A Star is born.

    Jamie Lee Curtis played Laurie Strode, the wide-eyed innocent and awkward teen who took on Michael Myers, and although she along with movie-goers was absolutely scared out of our minds, she gave Michael Myers as much as he could handle. For someone who hadn’t had one single role on film to that point, and although Ms. Curtis was very critical of her performance, I can’t image this movie being as good as it was with out the young actress in the role.

    Mr. Myers the Doctor will see you now.

    It’s been said that, no matter the type of movie, you really don’t have a story without a well written antagonist. And as for Halloween, the role of the antagonist was played exceptionally well by late actor Donald Pleasance. Donald played Dr. Sam Loomis, the doctor who had the daunting task of treating Michael Myers when he was a kid. And because of his knowledge of his patient, he knew if he ever was set free from the hospital, he would without question return to his home town, and the end result, would be as predictable, people would surely die. You get the sense from watching the Dr. Loomis’ character on screen that he was very much obsessed with ridding the world of the “evil” that was Michael Myers. Christopher Lee, a very good character actor in his own right, if I’m not mistaken was originally offered the role but it obviously went to the man who with out a doubt did it justice.

    The Man under the Mask

    There have been many others to play the role of Michael Myers in the sequels that followed but none did it like Nick Castle. He was the perfect embodiment of John Carpenter’s vision for what he saw as “pure evil”. In order to really appreciate this man’s stellar performance one must only see him in all of his gory. Sorry, in all of his glory.

    What’s the Boogey Man?

    The main thing that made this movie so good was John Carpenter’s ability to capitalize on our “child-like” fear of the “Boogey Man”. The Boogey Man is every kid’s worse nightmare. Nothing scares children like the boogey man. Kids always believe that despite what their parents tell them, the boogey man does in fact hang out under their beds and in their closets, waiting and lurking in the shadows to snuff out their little lives. Kids revere their parents, at least most do, and may even be afraid of them from time to time but, as for the Boogie Man, they are truly afraid. And for this reason the Michael Myers character is in a sense an archetype, in that he is the fullness of the only individual who scares us like no other. This is how John Carpenter envisioned him. He did, however, refer to him differently when he was writing the part. The website, says of Michael Myers, The Shape is what John Carpenter referred to Michael Myers as in the script. Throughout the movie you only see the outline of Michael lurking in the shadows, non-descript and very much a "shape". Now you tell me, who does that sound like to you?

    Ok, die already will you!

    What I remember most about this movie, when I saw it for the first time, was that it was truly frightening, of course any 14 year old kid would think so. I guess it was something about the large imposing masked man wielding an equally large kitchen knife, looking to take any and everyone’s life, and do it with relative ease. A man, I might add, who refuses to die on more than one occasion. Clearly Lauie Strode was unaware of one simple fact about the boogie man and it was this, no matter how hard you try you absolutely cannot kill him. Okay Michael Myers may not have been the actual boogie man, the infamous purveyor of terror, but he was however, one scary ass dude. One I don’t mind watching over and over again in this terrific movie.

    Halloween Movie Review