Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Omen (2006)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: When a politician's wife births a stillborn baby, he decides that he will try to save the situation by adopting another infant and telling his wife that it's their own. Unfortunately this child is a child like no other, and as people begin to die strange deaths, as odd things begin to happen in his wake, his father begins to realize that perhaps there is something wrong with the boy, perhaps (as a local priest keeps insisting) he may be of the devil.

Scariness factor: The original is scarier.

Gross-Out Factor: So-so. There's definitely disturbing imagery, but it's not over-the-top gross.

Complaints: What was the point? With remakes of good horror films, this is almost always my overriding complaint. That being said, one of the definite areas of disappointment was the young boy--he is not nearly as creepy in the original. Here, however, is where I 'fess up that I started to doze midway through the movie, so I missed some integral scenes (such as the death of the journalist, which was a scene I always loved in the original), so I can't in all fairness criticize the movie too much, since I missed some of it.

High Points: Why this movie was made (as with most remakes of good horror-flicks), I have no clue. The original is, of course, a horror classic, and it's in my list of Top 5 Favorite Horror films. *BUT* all that being said and done, this movie was not nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. As I mentioned above, I *did* doze during this movie, but I *can* say that it was better than expected. I still don't see why they wasted their time MAKING it, but if the original didn't exist, this one could at least entertain you for two hours. Definitely the high-point (and scene-stealer) of the movie is Mia Farrow. She is *impressively* creepy as the nanny--nearly as good (if not better) than the original nanny.

Overall: Since I dozed during part of this movie, I can't in all fairness grade it. But I *can* reaffirm that it wasn't NEARLY as bad as I thought it would be. So perhaps it would be worth picking up sometime if you're bored. Then again, if you're trying to choose between renting the remake or rewatching the original, always choose the latter. It is, of course, a classic.

Grade: N/A

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I Eat Your Skin

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A writer and his friend head off to an island (for some relatively unexplained reason) that they've heard is running rampant with zombies and a hotbed of voodoo activity. Cue hot white-chick that the writer spends most of his time trying to hook up with. Cue mad scientist who is doing strange things with snake venom.

Scariness factor: The zombies look like they have really bad eczema. If you are scared of skin diseases, do NOT, I repeat, do NOT watch this movie.

Gross-Out Factor: See Zombie Eczema.

Complaints: How can you complain about a movie as delightfully campy as this? I mean, when you have a main character who is a swinging male-tramp, enough so that he can be lured into visiting a zombie-filled island by being told that the ratio of women to men there is 5 to 1, how can you go wrong? The only disappointing aspect of the movie is that absolutely no skin-eating takes place, despite the title. I'm still not even quite sure what it refers to.

High Points: This movie was the funniest campiest weird movie I've seen in a while. I picked it up randomly at Half-Price Books about a month ago for real cheap at the urging of E. And thankfully, it didn't disappoint. There's swinging couples in the movie. There's a whore of a male main-character who is constantly trying to get in every female's pants around. There's Eczema-Zombies. There's explosive mad-scientist machines that actually make BOOP-BOOP-BEEP-BOOP sounds and flash the word DANGER. There's voodoo-ass cheeks. There's completely faltering logic. There's crazy voodoo-dancing. And there's sex. Mad mad swinging sex. (Not shown, however.)

Overall: This movie was really really goofbally and fun to watch. What someone needs to do is remake it with Bruce Campbell as the lead, because I can hardly think of someone better equipped to take on the role of sweet-talking, zombie-ass-kicking swinger extraordinaire.

Grade: A (camp)

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The Night of the Hunter

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: When a young father ends up in jail, sentenced to death for robbing and killing two people, he finds himself bunking down with a crazy Jesus-sick preacher who's also a big-time thief. As soon as the preacher gets wind that the father's stolen money is still up for grabs somewhere, he begins to plot and scheme to get his hands on that money. Once he gets out of the slammer, he quickly seduces the man's wife into remarrying, rendering her blind with a newly-found religious fanaticism, and then he begins to take on the children.

Scariness factor: It's from back in 1955, so there's a lot in it that's really dated and will make you chuckle. But damn if Robert Mitchum isn't creepy.

Gross-Out Factor: As I mentioned, it was made in 1955, so you can pretty much consider this N/A.

Complaints: The datedness. This isn't a knock so much on the movie though, because who can really predict how dated something will feel or how well it will hold up.

High Points: Robert Mitchum. Seriously. The man will freak you the hell out. Especially with his little LOVE-HATE spiel. This movie really does have quite a few tense moments, despite other more slow-moving moments. And it has some beautifully-shot scenes that seem almost out of place in the movie when tucked in amongst less breath-taking moments (see the still below). The use of shadow, and the centering that takes place in some scenes is really creepy. The children are both good actors as is Mitchum. And the woman that adopts them (see pic above) is bad-ass awesome. She was one of my favorite things about this movie--despite having wishy-washy female characters like the preacher's new wife, the woman who adopts them is skeptical of the preacher from the start, does not easily have the wool pulled over her eyes, and sports a shotgun like a proficient veteran. Good stuff.

Overall: It's dated, so at worst, you'll find it boring. But it's a classic, so I'd say it's worthwhile. And you can't beat Robert Mitchum for a good attack of the creeps.

Grade: A/A-


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Woods

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A young girl is shipped off to boarding school in the middle of the woods somewhere. She starts to experience supernatural events and see things in the woods. When several students go missing, and she begins to receive secret warnings from others that she might be next, she begins to look for answers.

Scariness factor: It has a couple jump-in-your-seat moments, but not enough.

Gross-Out Factor: Pretty good in this department--definitely watchable for the squeamish.

Complaints: I didn't care! I was like, huh, they might be witches or something witchly or witchery-related? Yeah, don't care. I guess that was my biggest complaint--what was taking place at the school wasn't interesting enough to keep me wanting more. And it wasn't spooky or scary enough to carry it otherwise.

High Points: Bruce Campbell's in it (presumably a nod to the tree-fetishism that cropped up in Evil Dead and which appears again here, though not quite so "erotically") playing a pussy-whipped dad, and what can I say--I heart the man and his ability to pull off lines like "Gimme some sugar, baby" with that perfect amount of hyper-masculinized cappiness. Alas, he is not in it for long enough to make it worth checking out just to see him. Also in it is Patricia Clarkson who is actually one of my favorite actresses at the moment (she's *awesome* at anything she's in, and she's foxy to boot), but even SHE couldn't transfuse the needed energy into this movie, sadly.

Overall: If you get a woody from witch-flicks, check it out. If not, probably not worth your while.

Grade: C-


Dawn of the Dead (1978)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: Zombies have taken over the United States, and people are seeking out refuge wherever they can. A group of folks ends up holing themselves up at a mall until they realize that perhaps life's not worth living if it never means trying to get somewhere else, somewhere perhaps free of zombies.

Scariness factor: I didn't like this movie too much the first time I saw it, mostly because it suffers a tiny bit from the slow-moving zombie curse. As always, I find it hard to be terrified of things lurching so slowly that a toddling wobbly baby could outrun them. Thankfully, however, the characters seem to feel the same way for once.

Gross-Out Factor: Fancier special fx are JUST starting to get dabbled into (in comparison to the Night of the Living Dead) and you can see it in some gross-out moments where the special fx artists are clearly geeked up at getting to use their special fx. But it's moreso PG-13 gross than anything. The blood is the color of red paint, for pete's sake.

Complaints: It's a bit slow at times--not tons of zombie-action. But then again, I dig some of the characters in it and that kind of makes up for it.

High Points: It's just a fun zombie-romp and a must-see if you're a fan of zombie flicks as it's a classic. It was interesting rewatching it again after having seen the 2004 version (which I *do* like). You can see that it's a commentary on consumerist culture in a lot of ways, but I'd say the same about the newer version as well (consumerist AND MTV-culture). I really dug some of the characters in this one in a way that I didn't in the 2004 version--I *liked* them quite a bit (especially the two main male characters pictured below--their friendship warmed my cockles in a zombie cockle-warming kind of way) and this made me enjoy the movie in a different sort of way. Nothing deep, but a bit more complex than usual. And I heart Romero and his love of zombies, so what can I say?

Overall: Watch it if you're a fan of zombie-flicks. You're almost obligated too, for pete's sake.

Grade: A-