The Monster 2016 Quick Review

The Monster 2016 Quick Review

The Monster Poster Image
A struggling mother battling her inner monsters. A young daughter who has been forced to grow up way too soon. On road trip they encounter a monster when their car breaks down on deserted road in the woods.

I’m going to try and make this a quick review. It’s going to be difficult because this movies deserves so much more time than I can afford to take a the moment. The cast of The Monster amazing. Some of the best performances you will see in a horror movie. The storytelling is so well done. The story itself has beed done before. An accident on a road trip, the car breaks down on a deserted road and then there’s a monster, creature, bad guys, pick your poison. The story’s been done before. What makes this different is the story telling. I expected a creature feature when I started watching. I got so much more than that.

The acting is what stands out the most so I will start there. Zoe Kazan is so amazing and so real in the movie. Most of all, she is completely believable. She plays a way too young mother struggling with bad relationships and alcohol. There wasn’t a moment in the film when I didn’t completely believe her. Then there’s young woman who plays her daughter. Played with equal brilliance by Ella Ballentine. The same can be said about her performance. A young pee-teen girl who loves her mother so much but has been forced to become the parent in the relationship. Ella Ballentine already has some credits to her name and I have no doubt she will become a household name over the next few years.

Zoe Kazan The Monster Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you!!!

“‘Fuck You! Fuck You!’ this scene was so brutal and so honest it game the chills, I literally cringed.”

Now before I continue with all the love I have for The Monster, I just want to critique a few things that bothered me. There’s a couple of things that bothered me. First up. After the crash/car breakdown, mom let’s the daughter out of the car on a rainy night to go talk the tow truck who is working on their car. Not only does she let her do this. It was mom’s idea. She tells her daughter to go do it. Not a good idea. It’s a horror movie. Tow truck driver just happens to show up? Just not a good idea. I’m sure the writer would give the excuse that mom is dependent on the daughter. That mom doesn’t even recognize the level of her dependency or some other psychological excuse. Though that may in fact be the case, it didn’t play that way to me. It just played out as mom is an idiot. And, she’s not an idiot. Like most addicts, she’s self absorbed. A person that can’t get past her own struggles to see all that she actually has right in front her. Mom loves her daughter and I just don’t think in this situation she would have daughter do this as casually as she would ask her to grab her another beer from the fridge.

Second issue, I can’t get into too much detail about because I don’t want to spoil it. So bare with me here as I try to explain, while being a vague as possible about the actual circumstances. At one point, one of the characters, gives up. Thinks there’s no way out of the situation. This just after discovering a useful tool for protection, a tool that gives them hope for survivial. Their survival is just a few hours away. All they have to do is wait it out. It won’t be easy but they now have some protection, they can survive this. It’s so obvious they can survive this situation. But no, instead, a ridiculous plan is hatched. It’s supposed to be a moment of realization and clarity for a character, I get that. Again, it doesn’t play that way. It plays as if the character is an idiot.

Okay, now that we have that out of the way. Let me tell you all about the writing and directing and that makes The Monster one of the best creature features you are likely to see for a while. The writing. I know, I just shit on a few things the writer did in this story. But, that was it. The rest of the story had so much depth. I truly mean that. This isn’t one of those Syfi originals. This is a well made movie with rich, fully developed characters.

The story goes from present day to flashbacks. We get to see the relationship develop between mother and daughter. The things that led them to where they are emotionally. It was such a pleasant surprise. You just don’t expect that kind of depth in a movie like this. It made the movie that much more interesting and entertaining.

Then there’s direction. Well thought out camera angles. The suspense so is so well down. I don’t know how much of it is direction or the cinematography? So just in case, let me say this, Julie Kirkwood was the cinematographer on this film. Brilliant!

Cinematographer - Julie Kirkwood

My favorite thing about this film is the practical effects. If you’ve read any of my reviews or rants you know that I think CGI is overrated. It has it’s place. But, a good creature feature doesn’t rely on CGI it’s monsters are real. The Monster delivers a real monster that is terrifying! What’s great about the design is the believability. It could be a monster but it could also be some kind of deformed or mutilated creature, like a bear. It makes you wonder, “What is it?!” and that is exactly what a good creature feature does. Practical effects when done right add a sense of realism you just don’t always get with CGI. Sure, if you have a Jurassic World budget but even they still use practical effects.

In conclusion, this is a must see. Great acting, strong characters, great special effects and directions all wrapped up in a story that brings you in and let’s you care about the people you see on the screen. Just a good solid film. I think even those that don’t normally enjoy “horror” movies would enjoy this for the mother daughter story alone. The story between the mother and daughter is very real and can be hard to watch at times but it is written and played with such brutal honesty that it forces you to care about these these two.

Side note, I failed. Not a quick review. My bad.

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The Sighting Quick Review

The Sighting Quick Review

The Sighting Poster Image

The Sighting takes place a year after seven local students are murdered at a lake house. Two recent high school graduates decide to drive up from Michigan to Canada. They take a shortcut and soon discover the terrifying truth behind one of the worlds most popular cyptids.

I want to start by saying The Sighting is one of those movies that I am glad I didn’t give up on. The Sighting opens up and looks like it’s going to be a found footage movie. I am just not a fan of them and really have to be in the mood for one and I am almost never in the mood. Thankfully, it isn’t. Also, one of my pet peeves is when characters do stupid things. There’s more than a few characters doing stupid things in this movie. However, the movie begins to redeem itself towards the end.

One of the things a movie can do to help win me over is to surprise me. The Sighting did that. It actually tells a story. It gives an explanation of one of the oldest North American urban legends. A lot of the dumb things the main character Travis, played by writer directer Adam Pitman does, later begins to make sense or maybe it doesn’t? In any case, it goes from a simply stereotypical creature feature to something a little more interesting and I loved that about The Sighting.

I am not going to blow sunshine up your ass and say this is an amazing movie. It’s not but it’s good if you give it the chance. The Sighting has a very low rating on IMDb and that’s a shame because it’s actually an above average movie. Halfway through it admittedly I wasn’t happy with it but I felt that was almost intentional on the part of the writer. Like Adam Pitman is setting the expectations low so you don’t see the story twist coming. It makes the second half a lot more interesting. When you realize that it’s quite possible that not everything is as it appears to be.

It’s got some nudity. Not much but as a lonely, creepy middle-age man that loves boobs, it put a naughty smile on my smile on my face. I’d like to personally thank Jasmine John for that. Not a lot of gore but what’s there is well done done well for the most part.  I think if you give the movie a change you’ll like it. It’s not a crazy teen movie and it’s not an academy award winner. It’s a solid movie with an original story and that makes better than most horror movies out there.

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Thanatomorphose 2013 Review

Thanatomorphose 2013 Review

Thanatomorphose Poster Image

Thanatomorphose is about a young woman who wakes up one day showing signs of decay. Thanatomorphose is a French word meaning the visible signs of an organism’s decomposition caused by death.

I really wanted to like Thanatomorphose as mentioned in my last review I am in the middle of writing a new article about underrated films. I made a list of 7 films, actually, it was more than 7. There were two movies I put on that list that I had not scene but have wanted to for a while now. Deadgirl and Thanatomorphose. I was positive I was going to enjoy both these movies. So positive that I added them to the article. I am still working on the article but I thought these two films would be perfect. So with the long weekend upon us I planned to spend my Friday night watching these two films so that I could complete my list this morning.

Instead of completing my new article, I have to write this review because I can’t keep Thanatomorphose on my list of underrated horror movies. This movie was so boring I kept pausing it thinking it had be near over and it never was. At one point, I was sure it had been like a half-hour since the last time I checked, it had only been 11 fucking minutes! So, I am here sipping my coffee writing this review instead of completing my article on underrated horror movies.

I don’t plan to completely shit on this movie. There are some good qualities. Mainly when it finally faded to black and the credits rolled. But, before I get into what was good about the movie, let me discuss why this movie failed. So many reasons, I don’t have time to discuss them all.

First, the acting wasn’t that good. It just wasn’t. Second, it was too dark. I don’t mean the content, I mean, it was just too dark to make shit out most of the time. I am sure there were some really good effects but they were lost in the low light and that is a true shame. Third, the story. At face value, this had everything going for it. What a fun, dark idea for a story. Sadly, there really wasn’t a story. It was mostly, all visual, little dialog and zero fucking explanation as to what the fuck was going on.

For example. There are a couple of times our main character Laura (Kayden Rose) actually refuses to go to the hospital. This makes no fucking sense at all. But, I can accept it, she’s depressed, feeling nothing and so on. That’s fine but a few times throughout the film, her guy friends stop by and see how fucking terrible she looks. They offer to take her to the hospital. She refuses, she seduces them, they leave. Being a guy. Being single. Always horny. I get it. But, there a came a time when it was just time to call 911. Seriously, if you’re holding on to woman’s head, wrapped in a bandage while she blows you and it starts to bleed, it’s time to call for help. You want to drop your load first, fine. But, then you call for an ambulance, stat!

Thanatomorphose No I'm Fine

Just got done having sex walks to the bathroom and passes out. Boyfriend be like, I’ll just put her back to bed and leave. I’m sure she’s fine.

Yet another example of poor story telling. At one point, out of nowhere, there was scene I don’t understand. As it happened, I thought, “Oh, shit, I get it!” Then, what I thought they were doing, wasn’t what they were doing. It appeared to me for like a second that maybe she was already dead and on the autopsy table living out the end in her mind. All that we had seen had just been a delusion. Nope! It was just a weird delusion she had while past out, continuing to decay and refusing to do fuck all about it.

At one point I started laughing. Thanatomorphose became in many ways like that scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The scene where the Knight keeps lopping off parts of the guy guarding the bridge. Meanwhile the guard is shouting back, “It’s just a flesh wound!” This film was sadly, tedious and boring.

I wanted to like it but it literally was just a movie about a girl that for some unknown reason just started to decay. There was no other story. There was never an explanation. You are left sitting there for more than an hour and a half wondering if anything is every going to happen other than watching shit ooze from her body and fucking the two men her in her life. That’s it. And, none of it was interesting to watch. It was slow going. Even the fucking sex was boring.

Thanatomorphose She's Fine

Ok, she’s blowing me but her head is in bandage that’s bleeding on me. Do I call 911? Nah, I’ll finish then leave awkwardly.

Now, onto the good. Some of the special effects were well done. Mostly the bruising on Laura at the beginning. I thought those were really well done. The more serious her decay became, I felt it got a little too muddy. However, I think it was just the bad lighting that made the make up look more like they just covered her in ooze instead of doing a real makeup.

Kayden Rose’s acting at times was pretty good. At other times, it came across as awkward and forced. But, I have to give her credit. She is full frontal naked a lot. I mean, seriously. I frame-by-frammed it once because I thought, I saw something in a flash and I couldn’t believe she was really that naked, and yes she was. That takes an amazing level of commitment. Kayden Rose has so much potential. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

Also noteworthy. There are a few moments of male full frontal nudity in Thanatomorphose. That too takes commitment. It’s just that when compared to what Kayden Rose must have endured shooting this movie, it’s just doesn’t even compare.

One last note. The writer and director Éric Falardeau tried to do something interesting here. As much as I think this movie failed. I have to give him credit for the attempt. I would love to see this movie remade but with an effort to actually tell a story. There really wasn’t a story here. I think the goal was to let the decay just be the story. If that’s the case, it still failed. There had to be a reason why Laura just let it happen other than she was feeling void of feeling or depressed. If the audience is left to wonder what’s going and why the entire time they get bored. It’s nice to let the audience work for it a little but at some point, you have to show your cards and Éric Falardeau as the writer and director never of Thanatomorphose never does and that’s a real shame.

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Deadgirl 2008 A Not So Quick Review

Deadgirl 2008 A Not So Quick Review

Deadgirl 2008 Poster

The Deadgirl centers around two less than popular high school kids who find a girl chained to a bed in the basement of an abandoned mental hospital. They soon discover that she cannot die.

I didn’t hear about “Deadgirl” until a few years after its release. It sounded creepy and haunting. The person I know that had seen it said it was really good. One of the best horror movies he had seen in a long time. Yesterday I started to write an article for Bad Horror Movies titled, 7 Underrated Horror Movies You Need To See. I was so sure that I was going to like Deadgirl that I added it to the list. Doing so because I really thought it was going to turn out to be an underrated horror movie. One of the reasons I had put off watching Deadgirl was because over the years I had to come to learn that the person who recommended this movie to me is an asshole. However, I had seen this movie on a few lists of must see’s so I was hopeful.

This afternoon, I made a huge salad, fake crab, chicken it was spectacular. Seriously, I made the best salads. Anyways, I sat down in my recliner and hit play. I was so excited. Been waiting years for to watch this movie, it was going to be disgusting, offensive and it would make me think and question my very existence! Five minutes in, I was starting to feel like I had been duped. Thirty minutes in, it so disappointing, I wanted to turn it off. Thoughts of calling the person who recommended this turd to me and telling them that they have no taste in movies at all, flashed through my head.

Every expectation I had for Deadgirl was not met. Yet in order to explain I have to give away a spoiler, it’s not a huge spoiler because the tagline for the film was, “You Never Forget Your First Time.” So, if you haven’t figured it out yet, these kids find a girl. She cannot die. They keep her chained and rape her daily. There is no way it wasn’t rape. Their rationalizations were ridiculous. Please don’t think that I was like offended and that’s why I didn’t like Deadgirl. I wasn’t. It’s just that I didn’t buy what these kids were selling. Hell, under the right circumstances I would have hit it. The dead girl was fine, in a hot zombie girl kinda way.

This is the problem with Deadgirl. They tried to sell it as some sort of dead erotica with a “what would you do?” theme and it failed. The biggest reason it failed, is that you have to give a shit about at least one the protagonists. The two main kids, were fucking douchebags. One was a coward, the other was a rapist deviant that literally got off on treating the dead girl badly. From killing her multiple times or rather, attempting to raping her and humiliating her. The only fucking likeable person in Deadgirl, was the dead girl. Deadgirl should have been about the dead girl. She was the most fucking interesting character in this movie and yet, the story really didn’t have much use for her other than a prop some of the kids acted around.

Instead the writers seemed to have thought that this was some kind of look into what two high school rejects would do with a girl that couldn’t die. For that work, at all, you need to make at least one of the fuckers interesting, or at the very least, likeable. I just didn’t buy into Rickie’s character. He didn’t like the idea of his friend, JT (Noah Segan) raping the dead girl. Rickie (Shiloh Fernandez) was supposed to be the likeable guy. Well, he was a fucking coward and an idiot. Nothing to like about him, at all.

There was a scene where Rickie gets his ass kicked by the boyfriend of the girl he likes. The ass kicker is “the jock” so of course, he’s also an asshole. If you’re gonna have a “jock” in a movie, he’s gotta be an asshole I guess. I think I was supposed to feel bad for Rickie when he was getting his ass kicked? I didn’t. Mainly I was torn between wondering which one of these dumbfucks I hate more.

For more than 90 minutes I sat through this terribly shallow pile of crap looking for a reason to like it and not finding one. This story had so much potential to be a true darkly erotic and horrifying tale. Instead its attempts at having any kind of death was just embarrassing. You know that really dumb friend you have? The one that every once a while has what they think is a really deep thought? And, you’re thinking to yourself, “Jesus dude, I like pondered that once when I was 9 for like a minute and moved on.” Everyone in this movie was like friend. Well, except for the dead girl and the dog. Both had more depth than all the other characters combined.

Who is going to like this movie? Shallow people that get off on rape. People that are just pretending to actually contemplate, “is it really rape if she’s dead?” So, for the shallow people. I’ll give this movie a slightly better rating than it deserves. I justify this simply for the actress, Jenny Spain who played the dead girl. She did manage to make being dead look hot. I thought she did a wonderful job with her character, with what limited time she had on the screen.

Oh and one last thing, the acting was fine here. I do not mean to take away from that. I thought for the most part all the acting was at least okay. The special effects were more than decent. It just really fails at the story level and even a bit at the direction. Just so many missed opportunities here.

One more last thing. Shallow people, this is for you. I am not dissing you. We all have are shallow moments. If you happened to like this movie and don’t consider yourself to be a shallow person. It’s possible you’re not. I would love to hear from you. Your reasoning’s for liking this turd would be fascinating to me. Maybe you could even get me to see this movie in a different light? And, if you like this movie, good. We all like different stuff and I am glad you found something you enjoyed. As for me personally, I just don’t see it. So who knows, maybe I’m the one being shallow?

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Demonic 2015 Quick Review

Demonic 2015 Quick Review

Demonic 2015 Poster

Demonic is the story of 20-somthings that are documenting a haunted house investigation. Things go badly and the police are called into investigate. The detective in charge discovers a sole survivor and calls in a psychologist to help. As they unravel the mystery of what happened they soon discover there are darker forces involved.

The other night I watched Demonic and I enjoyed it. The person I watch it with didn’t. Of course she’s much older than I am and thought it was too much of a teenager’s horror movie. I was shocked by this. Even though the movie deals with a bunch teens and twenty-somethings getting killed, it’s not about that. It’s much more than that.

Demonic takes place in the now but there’s a lot of flashbacks and found footage type stuff but this isn’t a “found footage” movie. I enjoyed it because it wasn’t your typical kids do dumb things and get killed horror movie. This had grownups in it. Demonic wasn’t the story of said kids getting killed, it takes place, for the most part, after they’ve all been killed. This is a story of the Detective investigating the murders and the psychologist whose been brought in to interview someone who could be the sole-survivor or the killer himself. The story that unfolds is a mystery, that becomes a ticking clock, that becomes a supernatural story. How can that not be interesting? why would anyone not enjoy that? How could my mom not like this?! er.. I mean, older mature women I watched this movie with.

The acting was fine in Demonic. There weren’t really any standouts except for Maria Bello but she’s pretty much amazing in everything she does. For me, the star of this movie was the story, the direction and the cinematography. It wasn’t overdone or visually stunning, but it captured the mood without overdoing it. There’s a time and place for visually stunning film making. But, sometimes it can be a distraction. Demonic blends seamlessly between the present and the past. There’s never any confusion with that regard and it allows to comfortably lose ourselves in the story.

There’s not a lot of gore but it’s got a couple of jump scares, it’s got a creepy old house, and an interesting story with some twists and turns along the way. It’s a solid movie, the problem is that it’s hard to find in the states unless you have a hacked dvd player that can play most regional coding. But, if you get the chance, it’s well worth the watch.

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Buy Demonic on Amazon

Buy on Amazon

NON-USA FORMAT Reg.2 Import – United Kingdom

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The Abandoned 2015 Quick Review

The Abandoned 2015 Quick Review

The Abandoned 2011 Poster

The Abandoned is about a young woman trying to get her life back in order. She takes a job as a security guard during the graveyard shift. It’s her first night working in this beautiful old building. But, the more she learns to about the buildings dark past the further down the rabbit’s hole she goes.

Let me start by saying that I saw an excerpt from a review of The Abandoned by the Roger Ebert website and all I can say is that the person who wrote what I read was full of shit. In a nutshell, they loved the first hour of the movie and thought the ending ruined it. Now being someone that is constantly shitting on movies for having shitting endings, I could understand their feelings. However, as a person that has seen this movie, I know for a fact that the ending works well. I didn’t read the interview, I just read description for the article that turned up doing a Google search for “The Abandoned 2015”

Okay, let’s talk about what this movie has going for it. The acting, great. The story, interesting. The setting, perfect. The atmosphere, creepy and believable. The screenplay, well written. The ending, thought provoking and I didn’t see it coming. No one really does anything too stupid. At least nothing stands out that I recall. I try to give a movie at least a few days after seeing it before I review it. I want it to sink in. If I still feel strongly about it after a few days, then it’s a good movie. This is a good movie. It’s not the scariest movie I’ve ever seen but it’s got a solid creepy atmosphere, a couple of good scares, and above all it’s a good ghost story. It’s because it’s a mystery. It’s not just about creepy scary shit, it’s about why the creepy, scary shit is happening.

Louisa Krause is completely believable in her role as Streak. She’s strong yet fragile and stands up well to Jason Patrick’s character Cooper who is somewhat of a verbal bully at first. He is the other graveyard security guard and has been there from the beginning. He has no desire to get to know the new guard, Streak. Patrick’s character could have easily been simply one dimensional but it wasn’t. Krause’s character could have been annoying and unsympathetic. Both these actors took their well written characters and made them better.

If you’re looking for a solid ghost story with an actual story you’re going to enjoy this. It’s also got a twist at the end. I wish I could tell you more about the ending but I don’t want to ruin it. I think almost anyone that enjoys a good ghost story will like this as well as anyone who likes a good mystery.

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