Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Orphanage (El Orfanato)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: As a little girl, Laura grew up in an orphanage--as an adult, she returns with her family to the very same orphanage to live. When her child vanishes one day, without even a single clue as to his disappearance, she begins to unearth horrific truths about the orphanage, and about her son's whereabouts.

Scariness factor: Wow. In all honesty: This is the CREEPIEST movie I've seen in YEARS. It's old-school, haunted house, goddamn spooky, jump-in-your-seat-and-turn-all-your-lights-on scary.

Gross-Out Factor: There is only one scene that is sticking out in my head, and it's moreso creeps than gross.

Complaints: None nada nil.

High Points: Spookiest movie I've seen in years. Hand's down. It's so nice to stumble across a horror flick every once in a while where the writer/director just 100% GET it--they understand what makes a horror film spooky. And this is one such film. The acting is FANTASTIC. The story is wonderfully-written. It reminds me of when I used to read the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series when I was little--there's that recognition that what is so damn scary about a story is so often that it is unapologetic in the twists and turns it takes, and in the dark ways that it ends itself. There are scenes in here that will TERRIFY the SHIT out of you. And so MANY of them. The scene with the medium is one such example--flawless. And there are a couple other scenes too--which I won't delve into, lest I give them away--where you will be all white-knuckled and realize you're holding your breath. The cinematography is GORGEOUS in here. And the film is subtle--it doesn't overdo ANYthing. It takes tiny steps, and it takes them carefully, and in doing so, it builds up some killer suspense and spookiness. Seriously a fantastic ghost story, one reminiscent of such greats as the original The Haunting.

Overall: How you know a horror film has truly succeeded--later in the night, when you find yourself walking through your apartment with your lights out, you feel that nervous horribleness creep up on you to the point of suffocation, causing you to scurry over and turn your lights on. Truly the best ghost story I've seen in years. I highly highly recommend. Yesterday, I said to add Infection to your list--today, I say: If you can only watch one horror film this Halloween season, fuck Infection. Let it be this one.

Grade: A+

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Infection (Kansen)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: In a small Japanese hospital that is going bankrupt, a horribly understaffed set of doctors and nurses accidentally kill a patient. Simultaneously, another patient that's suffering a horrifying infection is left at the hospital despite the staff insisting he be removed. His infection is an airborne infection and quickly begins to spread among the staff.

Scariness factor: Holy crap. This movie is creepy as FUCK.

Gross-Out Factor: Pretty nasty in parts--think "liquefying bodies" and "nurses attacking themselves with hypodermic needles."

Complaints: Nada. Ok--maybe I didn't 100% understand the end, but the movie was so good that I didn't so much care.

High Points: There is something to be said about Japanese horror films. Right now, Japan and China are putting out some of the best horror films on the market--American horror films pale in comparison. Infection is a case in point. The mood of this movie is creepier than any other I've seen in quite some time. The acting isn't fantastic (a bit over the top at times), but it takes nothing away from the rest of the movie. The music is BEYOND spooky. The old lady seriously SERIOUSLY freaked me the fuck out. The concept of it is not startlingly original, but they MAKE it so with the quality of their movie. The scenes are filmed real spooky. The lighting is real creeps. I could go on and on.

Overall: This movie CREEPED me the hell out. Those of you currently putting together must-see movie-lists for the month of October MUST add this on. You will not be disappointed.

Grade: A


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

October is Creeping Up...

How nerdy am I that I've already started prepping my October horror-movie viewing-list?

Nonetheless, you can check it out in my sidebar.

And as always, suggestions are welcome!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: The author of the super-popular Misery series has just finished his newest book and is on his way to deliver it for publication when he finds himself in the middle of the blizzard and ends up getting in a car accident. Near death, he just happens to be rescued by a townie who declares herself "his biggest fan." What begins as a seemingly innocent attempt to nurse him back to health evolves into her crazily keeping him captive and forcing him to rewrite a new Misery novel that raises the character back from the dead.

Scariness factor: It's mind-fuck, stalker-type scariness. No ghosts or zombies, this is just about the scariness of people and reality.

Gross-Out Factor: Wow. The one scene: good god my feet. Other than that, I think it's relatively minimal. But for that one scene: watch out!

Complaints: I dunno: I'm one of the few people who's never really had their chin drop over this movie. It's a good movie, but it doesn't blow me away the way it apparently does some people. Even as I'm sitting here now, writing this, I'm thinking to myself: "But why? I mean, all the stuff that's popping into your head about it is GOOD stuff. And you're having a hard time thinking of anything truly unfavorable about it." But really, something about it just bores me a little. Granted though, I rewatched it so that I could perhaps change my opinion on it. And I did. But still: it's not something I'd gushingly recommend. Plus, I think James Caan kind of sucks in it frequently. I mean, mother of god, there were a couple of scenes where watching him made me think, "Dude, did you go to the Soap Opera School of Acting??"

High Points: Kathy Bates. I mean, good god, isn't that why ANYone recommends this movie? The woman is fricking fantastic playing an absolute loon. And convincing. The mood is well done. The timing is well-done. (Again, this is a movie whose success relies on those heavy, nerve-wracking moments of anticipation.) But really, it all comes back to Kathy Bates. She is the reason this movie is so successful.

Overall: It's not my favoritest of movies, but it definitely is good for the type of horror flick it is. And again: see it for Kathy Bates. You've never seen her in a role like this.

Grade: B/B+


Jaws 2

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: A new, big ol' man-eating shark has appeared in the town of Amity. What will Chief Brody do this time?

Scariness factor: Anticipation is where the scariness rests in this movie (and the original). However, the tense moments are a mere shadow to those in the original Jaws.

Gross-Out Factor: Rather minimal.

Complaints: Okay. So granted, I watched this as aired on television (which included 8 billion shitty commercials for things like a magic sham which I actually thought was bad-ass sweet but is only sold overseas). Anyways, that's typically not the best environment by which to view a movie. However, it's fricking Jaws 2. Which is presumably not the utmost in fine cinema. So I figured it'd be ok. And I don't think it affected it TOO much. Nonetheless: this movie was lame. The first half was boring as three-day-old pisswater. The second half was at least campy and goofybally (think hand-drawn lightning bolts for the electrocution scene). But even then, I was just like, Um, eat them, Jaws. Do it. It'd spice the movie up some. Again: much of this is probably just due to the general failure of sequels. Especially for a sequel to something as fantastic as the original Jaws (which is actually one of my all-time favorite movies--so it's hard not to be uber-critical about the sequel). There's no way you're even gonna come CLOSE to comparing. Plus, they didn't even have Richard Dreyfuss in it. And the rest of the folks in this sequel are fairly personality-less.

High Points: Campy 1980s-ness. But nothing to write home about.

Overall: I don't know--even as a lover of the camp, I was disappointed. Just rent the original. And if you've already seen it, just rent it again.

Grade: D