Thursday, October 13, 2016

October Horror Challenge 2016 - Days 9, 10, 11

After this post I'll almost be caught up! Woohoo! Thanks for keeping up with me as always.

Day 9 began with POD (no, not the band), a movie I found on Netflix that only had one real reason for me to check it out - Lauren Ashley Carter co-stars in it and she's been one of my new favorite actresses as she continually turns in great performances as I see more and more of her work. This movie centers around a man who has holed up in a cabin in the woods who has apparently lost his mind and is paranoid that the government is watching him because he has discovered a secret gov't experiment and has one locked up. His siblings go to try and help him but find that he's mentally broken and that they should have stayed away as he previously warned. The movie itself is okay, nothing special but the performances really carry the film and without above average performances the movie would be a total failure. It's not something I plan on revisiting but it was worth a single viewing.

I had a free Redbox rental to use so I decided to use it on THE SHALLOWS because there was very little of interest besides that. I'm not a big fan of shark movies, even the best of them have never done much for me but I figured if Robert Englund had good things to say about it when I met him a couple weeks back I figured it was worth checking out with a free rental. Well, Blake Lively is gorgeous and hanging out with her for 90 minutes in a bikini makes it all worthwhile. And as Robert Englund said it is beautifully photographed. The movie isn't bad a very passable horror thriller but the end gets a little ridiculous with the shark that is stalking Blake Lively and some of the CGI is questionable at those points.

Day 9 was apparently for films I was very lukewarm on because it rounded out with THE FINAL GIRLS which is an interesting love letter to the slasher film that has some really good ideas but fails to really capture the actual spirit of the slasher film. This is one case where I truly think the PG-13 rating dragged the film down quite a bit as it holds the film back from recreating the violent death scenes and gratuitous nudity that the 80s body count films were known for. I think without those elements you can't have a truly great homage and love letter to the genre. The film was also heavy in comedy but many of the jokes simply weren't funny.

Day 10 began with a viewing of THE HILLS HAVE EYES remake from 2006 which I had not watched in a long time, possibly since the DVD was originally released. The last time I watched it I remember thinking I liked it more than Wes Craven's original but having given this another viewing and fairly recent viewings of the original that feeling has certainly changed. I still think Alex Aja's remake is a damn good remake and one of the better horror films of the mid 2000s that makes great use of an interesting setting and is wildly violent and gory.

Next was another Ivan Cardoso film and it was the one I was most excited for, 2005's A WEREWOLF IN THE AMAZON starring Paul Naschy and in a dual role no less! Well it was a messy film that you could tell was low budget and had questionable production values at times but damn if it wasn't fun. It's a total mashup of werewolf horror, sexy jungle adventure film with Amazon warrior women and a Dr. Moreau sequel all rolled into one campy Brazilian production. And hell, Naschy turned in a solid performance and the werewolf makeup wasn't half bad.

Rounding up the 10th day of the challenge was THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN which I had heard good things about including that it was one of the best found footage movies of recent memory. Those reviews aren't wrong, it was a pretty solid film though the further it went along the more unbelievable it got. It starts out with a documentary crew following a woman and her mother who is suffering from Alzheimer's in their routine but the ladies illness quickly takes a strange turn and it's apparent that something demonic is going on. The parts of the film based in reality are the best and probably the scariest. You don't need special effects to show how scary it can be when the human mind betrays you and breaks down.

And onto day 11, the final day for this update.

Jim Jarmusch's ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE is a damn interesting film and a beautiful film and a brilliantly acted film. It's not really a horror film despite three of the four main characters being vampires there is really only one horror-esq scene and besides that there's not a lot going on in the movie but it's endlessly intriguing and engaging. The cast has incredible chemistry and watching them (Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Anton Yelchin and Mia Wasikowska) simply interact and live their lives while keeping their identities secret is endlessly mesmerizing.

KILLER'S MOON was next and I really really wanted to like this movie. Hell, I wanted to love this movie. Four men who have been tested with experimental drugs and dream therapy have escaped the hospital and are terrorizing a group of school girls at a small countryside inn after their bus broke down. The psychos are total sleazeballs, threatening the girls both sexually and physically and killing off plenty of people that get in the way of their drug induced frenzy. The problem is the film only teases us with the sleaze and violence never seizing the opportunity to turn this movie from something that's just OK and making it an infamous piece of exploitation film history.

Day 11 ended on a high note as the movie I was most anticipated in seeing finally hit US theaters - SHIN GODZILLA, the brand new Godzilla film from Toho. Words couldn't properly explain my excitement and I wasn't disappointed. SHIN GODZILLA features the most different take on Godzilla we've ever seen, possibly the most violent and destructive version we've ever seen and it's also an extremely stylish movie. Toho took some chances with this one but most of them pay off. If you're a fan of Godzilla do whatever you have to do to see this in theaters.

Today's Rundown
Pod - 4/10
The Shallows - 4.5/10
The Final Girls - 5/10
The Hills Have Eyes - 7/10
A Werewolf In The Amazon - 6/10
The Taking Of Deborah Logan - 6/10
Only Lovers Left Alive - 8/10
Killer's Moon - 4.5/10
Shin Godzilla - 8/10

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