Friday, December 14, 2018

RIP - Director Tulsi Ramsay

Credit: Originally found on Facebook by Neeraj Sagar; true artist unknown

Last night, we lost Indian director Tulsi Ramsay at the age of 75. Part of the celebrated 'Ramsay's Brothers' with his brothers Shyam, Kumar, Keshu, Arjun, Gangu and Kiran Ramsay. Tulsi was responsible for numerous productions in the Hindi industry with the producing numerous classics in the area, from Takhaana, Bandh Darwaza, Purana Mundir and Mahakaal, among others. I'd like to extend my sincere and heartfelt condolences to his family and fans in this sad time.

Read more: Times of India Announcement

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Moma’s Spirit (2018) by Robert L. Parker III


Director: Robert L. Parker III
Year: 2018
Country: USA
Alternate Titles: N/A
Genre: Ghost

Plot:
Showing promise in high school, a student goes against his mother’s wishes to date a girl which everyone sees as a distraction to his basketball career, but when his mother dies and they move in together they suddenly believe his mother has come back back to haunt them for his actions.

Review:

This was a pretty excruciating effort. Most of the film’s problems stems from the wholly obvious and extremely apparent low-budget nature at the center of this one.  The main problem here is the lame conversational style to the dialog where everything simply screams improv, as conversations end up going around in circles or even just rambling on forever about nothing in particular to the point that whatever’s being said in these overlong conversations loses all meaning. A lot of this is the improv nature, fumbling over words or just going on endlessly so it takes forever to get something resembling a conversation out, mumbling to themselves or repeating endlessly the need to keep her away from him so often you don’t care about their fate. It never treats them as star-crossed lovers who come together due to their feelings for each other, it just comes off as the ravings of a psychotic person pushing their dreams onto someone else and not liking the fact that he’s got a girlfriend.


The other problem here is the cheapness causes numerous technical problems that interfere with the overall product. It’s incredibly distracting to have scenes go on while a low-battery signal from the camera keeps beeping, the light filters for the scene keeping changing between cuts and outdoor scenes get drowned out due to the wind hitting the mic. The scares here are devolved down to coming upon doors being open they were convinced were closed, jumping hysterically to someone that was clearing coming up behind them or reacting to something off-screen which is just weak and lazy, a fact that also applies to the finale which is just plain awful in terms of nearly every definable standard of the genre. With no suspense and no stakes for anything that’s going on, this one is an absolutely travesty and ranks as one of the worst movies ever made.


Overview: 1/2/5
There’s just no other way to put this, the film is one of the worst ever made and really has no definable reason to watch this one. Just avoid this like the plague and move elsewhere.

Puppet Master: Axis Termination (2017) by Charles Band


Director: Charles Band
Year: 2017
Country: USA
Alternate Titles: N/A
Genre: Slasher

Plot:
With their former owners dead, the puppets are given to the military to determine how they move about, drawing attention from a deranged Nazi commandant and his assistant looking to control their own puppets and forcing the two sides to utilize their resources in order to stop the other.

Review:

This here was a rather decent enough entry. One of the film's few positives here is the way this one dives into the concluding chapter of the storyline present, making this a rather strong outing. The fact that the dolls are given straight to the military in order to continue their research on how they work and what their orders are going to be for the majority of the film is all given out in the first opening minutes here, wasting no time and getting this plotline going. This quick-moving story enables the far-reaching elements such as clairvoyance and dream premonitions to emerge as quite logical in this universe, introducing the concept of the dueling group of mystics battling to keep themselves secret from each other or the highly enjoyable series of interactions that play up the need to complete the dolls in their own spaces.

This setup allows the film to have some rather fun cheesy action with this mix of magic and sorcery. The idea of watching the Nazi's conduct their experiments, including them going through the test subjects in their chambers to the experiments with the captured dolls as well as the daughter, offer up some truly enjoyable supernatural-themed action as the ability to control and manipulate everyone around them to do their bidding. Not only do we see their own soldiers and subordinates being controlled in some rather tense scenes in the compound but the encounter at the refinery allows for a much more chilling demonstration of their powers when mixed together with the puppet action here in the finale. With the gunplay coming into play with the puppets alongside the rest of the battles against the controllers, there's a lot to like here from the kinetic action and fine bloodshed with the dolls in play to hold it up rather nicely.

That said, there are a few minor flaws to be had here. The main issue to be had is the lack of obvious puppet action since there's way too much time spent elsewhere with this one. There's way too much emphasis on the mysticism between the scientist and his daughter attempting to explain their powers that really just keep going on in stilted English full of gibberish and nonsensical megalomanical threats rather than putting the puppets to work. By having both sides gravitate towards speechifying as well as the overwhelming need for standing around letting their powers take center stage rather than focusing on all-out puppet action, the film takes on more of a fantasy vibe more than any other entry in the series which might be somewhat detrimental. The other factor is the cheap-looking special effects for the puppets, who look for very CGI-based and don't really have much realism in their few scenes. Beyond this, there isn't much else to this one.


Overview: **/5
Despite having some solid aspects to enjoy here with the way this one goes, this introduces a few rather odd elements into the franchise that are not only detrimental but also rather troubling. Really only give this one a look if you're a hardcore fan of the genre or the franchise, while those that don't enjoy anything about the previous entries in the series should avoid this one wholly.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Cured (2018) by David Freyne


Director: David Freyne
Year: 2018
Country: Ireland/France
Alternate Titles: N/A
Genre: Zombie

Plot:
In the midst of a zombie pandemic, the struggle to reintegrate formerly infected members back into regular society hits a snag when the uninfected continually press to remove them back once again, and when it finally hits a breaking point the zombies are released that brings it back full circle.

Review:

For the most part, this was a rather lackluster genre entry. One of the biggest issues with the film is that there's so much drama here instead of horror in the first half that it's a slough to get through. The great concept at play here involving the zombies coming back to their humanity presents a rather intriguing and enjoyable setup that could've provided this one with a lot of fun, yet instead the film just resorts to endless conversations about the rest of humanity not wanting to give them any kind of attention just resorts to repeated dealings about them still being aware of the past. It's hammered home so often that it just becomes unnecessary after a while to keep on going through that route which just isn't effective or interesting at all.

On top of that, the drama about the way of life for the infected in society is just plain dull and not that enjoyable at all. The main sticking point is that the treatment of the formerly infected don't really bring anything remotely interesting to the table, causing this to be excessively drawn-out and boring. The social commentary supposedly in play here, about the military control over the cured and how they intend to hold the control over them while heeding the call of the rest of the civilians to put them down offers up an interesting idea that this one's bogged-down pacing doesn't want to answer. It's all just too bland to really hold much weight here by not being much of a zombie film for this entire section of the film as it takes forever just to get anywhere.


The other really big flaw to be had is the film's overriding sense of cliche and familiarity that tends to creep into this one. The idea of trying to overcome the confines of their past is an idea that will provide plenty of rife familiarities in that it will set up so much of what actually transpires just from executing its general premise. The endless rounds of guilt-trips that substitute for actual conversations between the two sides, the war brewing between them is set up to fail from the outset so it's not a surprise when it does turn into a repeat of the zombie outbreak and none of the situations within the film are a surprise as outcomes are telegraphed from the second the situation presents itself which really do the film no favors overall. Altogether, these are what hold the film down.

The film does have a bit to really like about it. That is mainly due to one of the most intriguing and creative storylines in the crowded zombie genre, what to do when the epidemic has been cured and is found to be reversible allowing for the formerly infected to become human again. Faced with the disturbing concept of being aware of what they did as zombies and how they acted, this actually provides a truly captivating idea that provides much of the fodder for the first half. Likewise, the final half where it really lets the zombies loose to prepare for a full-scale war that really works nicely providing the kind of traditional zombie action and gore that's usually present in the genre and it's all the better for it with all the fine blood and make-up work there. It's what raises this one up despite the flaws.


Overview: */5
A just plain boring and highly dull British drama masquerading as a zombie film, there's not much to this one beyond it's few scale enjoyable elements and a fine central idea. This is really only recommended to those who prefer to think this deeply and analyze the kinds of themes present within here, while those looking for outright action should avoid like the virus being carried in the infected.

Gun Woman (2014) by Kurando Mitsutake


Director: Kurando Mitsutake
Year: 2014
Country: Japan
Alternate Titles: N/A
Genre: Action; Exploitation

Plot:
Attempting to escape from a mission, two hitmen traveling in the desert decide to pass the time by retelling the legendary revenge plot of a former client. Furious over the murder of his wife, a broken doctor turns to a drug-addicted prostitute in order to carry out his revenge. Training her in the form of combat, weaponry and other skills that would be required to perform her assignment, she finally comes to the end of her training session and is sent out to a secret meeting point in the middle of the desert for his place to take place. Posing as a corpse to be utilized in a necrophiliac club, she comes to life and sets out to take out the psychotic kingpin that had initially killed his wife.

Review:

This here was an exceptionally enjoyable and thrilling action film. One of the strongest features here is the strong story overall which manages to keep it's simplistic overview straightforward and to the point. With the easy backstory providing the necessary backdrop to the revenge motif, there's an easy way to get into the main thrust of the story by the ten minute mark as it settles on where it's going to go. Despite the cliche of drug-addict-turned-assassin that seems cribbed from several other entries in the genre, the montage series of training she undergoes in the middle of the film requires this to generate a fun air about it as we learn the reasoning for what he wants her to accomplish on her mission which starts this going off on a rather intriguing side-note. The idea of the two broken characters coming together in the form of blood, violence and brutality in order to both better their lives comes as an interesting new connection that emerges in the way this one carries out. By the two of them growing more confident together the more he trains her to finish her mission, the previously broken and damaged couple are able to reform themselves, what with her able to find a new life afterward while he able to overcome his deformity to help her when she needs it.

As well, the film's at its best with the strong exploitation offerings. Immediately offering female nudity from the first frames of the cold opening which in turn leads into a stellar assassination sequence, the film launches itself rather strongly into what goal it's going for. With the main villain here given a sex-fetish background, the opportunity for more of the freakishness he engages in where he chokes them, beats them unconscious until they nearly pass out or vomit on themselves to where he then he has sex with their body, these scenes are just the beginning for the opportunity later emerges to really up the ante. Introducing the concept of the necrophilia club out in the desert where it broaches several intriguing and potentially disturbing concepts in a fine matter. When you factor in the fact that the lead is then completely naked for the final third of the film while bleeding buckets throughout gives this the type of sleaze-riddled glory that makes for a wonderful exploitation outing. As nearly every woman here manages to get stripped naked at some point, there's plenty to love in this regard.


The cast here is truly enjoyable and helps to sell this one wonderfully. Asami is at her greatest here in the titular gun-woman, providing a chance for her to shine like never before. The role of drug-addict-junkie-turned-ruthless-assassin is a perfect role for her by allowing the weakness and broken mentality at the beginning to contrast expertly with the assured confidence and professionalism in the end, making for a perfectly sympathetic character as the trials and training commence. She handles herself expertly in the action scenes with some full-on martial arts and gunplay moments while her JAV past makes her comfortable with the nudity requirements for a fully-rounded role throughout here. The mastermind behind it all, played by Kairi Narita, doesn't do much beyond the tough-but-sensitive boss who trains her for revenge. He spends more time speechifying than doing anything but being that he's the driving plot device he sells his motivations which is all he really needs to perform. The scene-stealler here is the psychotic criminal kingpin, Noriaki R. Kamata, who is a real joy to watch. His perverted attitudes, maniacal laugh and gaunt, drug-abused body leave such a lasting impression thathe easily becomes the most dynamic and memorable part in the film. He's not really on-screen often enough for being as memorable as he becomes.

All told, the remaining aspect of the film is the finale where the revenge takes place which is somewhat of a mixed bag in the film. On the enjoyable side, the idea of seeing her completely buck naked performing these stunts and taking people out takes on a sleazy air of grindhouse enjoyment, where her bloodsoaked body looks good in the various forms of combat not only in the slow-motion gunplay but also the hand-to-hand martial arts. The idea of the ticking clock counting down the time to finish the assignment due to the idea of her blood-loss during the fight gives this a rather entertaining and original concept to give this a lot to like. However, the film does have a minor misstep in that the gunplay confrontations don't have the kind of energy that the hand-to-hand combat scene featured which makes it somewhat odd that it didn't feature any more of those in the film. That also would've set the clock countdown back a little further as well with the film possibly getting a little more action involved in order to replace the sluggish confrontations. However, there's not much else to say about this one.


Overview: ****/5
With a lot to like in this one with only a few minor issues here ironically involving the main aspect with the film, there's still plenty to enjoy in it's strong story and overall sleaze aspect throughout here. Give this one a shot if you're in any way interested in the sleazier side of action/exploitation efforts, enjoy the creative side or just plain curious while those who look for more substantial elements should heed caution.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Ouija House (2018) by Ben Demaree


Director: Ben Demaree
Year: 2018
Country: USA
Alternate Titles: N/A
Genre: Supernatural

Plot:
Gathering her friends together, a group of friends arrives at a secluded family-owned house in the mountains to work on a research project only to realize they've inadvertently released a demonic entity from their family's past through a board game and must try to get out of the house alive.

Review:

For the most part, this was a pretty decent entry. One of the film's strongest points is the fact that there's quite a lot of fun to be had with the supernatural aspects of the storyline. This starts off at the very beginning where the supernatural attacks are thrust right in on the ambush of the group after playing with the Ouija board, and when combined with the reveal during the matter about the site being used for occult witchcraft rituals adds a rather nice atmosphere to the start here. Likewise, the gatherings held between everyone where the backstory involving the different practices that the coven were committing on the townspeople in the past is revealed and a rather chilling if uneventful game with a Ouija board offer up the kind of atmosphere that gives this a decent start.

As well, the second half of this one really enhances the fun here which really unleashes the supernatural action. Bringing aboard voices in the distance calling out to the group, getting one of the most chilling tactics ever devised in the inability to leave a location as every escape attempt brings them back to where they started regardless of the chosen route or a fine confrontation with a possessed doll that ties into the backstory of the house and the inhabitants offers up some rather creepy elements into play. Alongside the absolutely chilling finale where it brings aboard the titular concept using the possessed member of the group as a human planchette in order to play which results in some great action during the outcome of each interaction, this is a creepy and chilling concept that has plenty to like about it.


The cast here is also decent enough. Carly Schroeder as Laurie Fields offers a somewhat charming lead as the obsessed student who's naive attitude towards everything puts everyone in danger but at least has enough common sense and intelligence to solve many of the riddles. Mark Grossman as her boyfriend Nick really doesn't do much for much of the film but stands by her during the freakiness and is a nice voice of reason during it all. Their friend Tina, played by Grace Demarco, is a true highlight as the sweet and demure side she shows early on has a nice contrast to her contortionist abilities that are put to good use during the finale where she's possessed. Her boyfriend Spence, played by Derrick A. King, handles the dutiful boyfriend role nicely and comes off as caring and intelligent throughout as he tries to help them safely. As well as the fine blood and gore when it occurs, these are what hold it up over it's few minor flaws.

The main issue to be had here with this one is the fact that there's just too much dragging in the film which makes it go on way too long for it's own good. That comes about from scenes that either don't belong here, from the frequent calls to the mother trying to inform her of his failed attempts to get them to leave or the utterly useless scene of her dressing everybody down for stealing a prop Ouija board that no one was even near in order to remove it. Coupled that with an utterly unimpressive atmosphere from the rest of the cast to the atmosphere presented here due to the bland reactions they have to everything that takes place. As well, there's also the overriding feeling fo cheapness that permeates the entire film as everything just feels way too cheap and hokey to really matter much which both really hold this one down.


Overview: **1/2/5
While it does stumble at times with it's overlong pacing and some cheapness in the overall presentation, there's enough to like here with it's decent attributes to offer up some decent-at-best elements. Give this a chance if you're a fan of these low-budget genre efforts or aren't swayed by the negatives, while those that do or aren't willing to give these efforts a time should heed caution or even outright avoid.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Campus (2018) by Jason Horton


Director: Jason Horton
Year: 2018
Country: USA
Alternate Titles: 5 Sins
Genre: Supernatural

Plot:
Returning home for the holidays, a woman trying to move past her dysfunctional upbringing finds herself under the effects of a deadly curse that causes her to die only to get resurrected leading to an eventual demonic possession, forcing her to find out how to stop it from happening.

Review:

For the most part, this here wasn’t too bad of an effort. One of the more intriguing efforts here is the gradual build-up done here to showcase the possession has taken hold and gone into effect. This is mainly due to the interesting main story where we come to discover the Aztec folklore about the possessed containing several different aspects to a human soul that have to be conquered in order for the demonic entities to then have full power over a person in the afterlife, a wholly unique take on the constructs of a human soul. This is touched on nicely in the pre-credits sequence with the scientists discovering the central tomb which then carries on into the rest of the film by featuring the various sights of her coming under its effects where it shows her dying in graphic ways resulting in plenty of graphic and gruesome sequences of her body breaking apart such as her skin breaking open or her eyeball dangling in it’s socket.

These are mostly due to a really enjoyable amount of action present which moves this one along, from the home invasion sequence where she takes out the thugs trying to rob her where we get to see the grisly aftermath, a fine torment sequence of the demons playing with her by showing her friends being tortured and a chilling sequence in her home where she’s assaulted by various possessed figures around the house before the demons appear before her to chase her around the various locations she tries to escape. That leads into the absolutely stellar finale where the zombies are brought into the mix to chase her which adds some great action and bloody gore into the mix before the final confrontation with the main demon which gives this enough to like to hold off the few flaws present.

The biggest issue to be had here is the utterly bland and awful pacing in the first half where it allows the various plot devices to get spelled out which is fine since the film takes forever to get this kind of complicated setup exposed. However, that just makes the film insanely boring to get these storylines developed so that the scenes of her meeting with the other family members at the funeral or the different appointments we see of her going around town which just become so bland after a while that the film becomes a slough to get started on. Then attempting to spell out the complex part of the storyline inferring the pass of the curse onto her that the film becomes troublesome to find. That isn’t helped along by the film’s incessantly low-budget nature of the film where it seems way too ambitious a concept for this which is enhanced by the digital effects and background style look which gives this the look and feel of a much lower-budgeted film. These here are what really hold this back.


Overview: ** 1/2/5
With a great concept and some intriguing elements that are able to hold this one up over it’s low-budget concept that’s too ambitious for what it’s trying to do, this one is far more watchable than expected. Give it a shot if you’re into these kinds of films or willing to give it a chance, while those that don’t appreciate this kind of film should heed caution with this one.

Monday, December 3, 2018

American Nightmares (2018) by Rusty Cundieff and Darin Scott


Director: Rusty Cundieff and Darin Scott
Year: 2018
Country: USA
Alternate Titles: Mr. Malevolent
Genre: Anthology

Plot:
After hooking into a pair of hackers' security system, a deranged storyteller spins tales of greed and corruption to them.

Review:

Mates-Trying to put her relationship behind her, a woman at her wits end with dating resorts to a specialty dating site in order to finally find love. When she believes she's found her perfect mate, a crushing resolution causes her to question the status of her beliefs. Overall, this entry was just plain stupid. There's no horror at all in anything that happens, the sense of justice that happens is lackluster and the overall reasoning for everything resorts to a simple matter of because-I-felt-like-it. This is entirely lackluster and just plain lame all around.

The Prosecutor-Becoming a prominent political figure, an ambitious Texas Attorney General tries to ensure his position as the next Governor after a high-profile conviction. Once the suspect escapes custody and returns seeking revenge, he must put his values on the line to save his family. This was another disappointing effort. The fact that there's some solid atmosphere in the stalking scene through the house as the driving rain gives this some decent moments, but overall there's just nothing to hang on to this one. There's nothing about what he did to deserve his punishment as this is just shoddily written and that leaves the comeuppance rather disappointing.


White Flight-Trying to get away from his neighbors, a racist man and his family develop the technology needed to escape to a new dimension that won't allow them around anymore. Upon arriving at his chosen destination, he discovers a deadly secret about the society that puts them all in danger. This segment was just plain embarrassing that it got featured. The twist is spelled out so early that there's no real surprise at all but then takes forever to make that the punchline to the whole affair is just plain lame. Add into that the twist comes about through a one-line setup with no real payoff or sense of comeuppance leaves this just absolutely baffling how it got featured.

The Samaritan-Trying to perform a good deed, a prostitute sent to perform her duties on a dying customer and sets up his wishes of looking like a clown for his amusement. When it's turned around on them and something far deadlier is upon them, she tries to get to safety the only way she knows how. This one wasn't that bad overall. The best part of this one is the creepy atmosphere present in the apartment as the sounds of him dying and the creepiness of the clown memorabilia comes full circle with the ghost clown actually trying to do goo by warning her. The chilling final outcome is quite enjoyable, but it's just somewhat let down by not having any kind of lesson involved which is what makes it stand out positively.

Hate Radio-While doing his daily show, a shock-jock radio announcer spreading sexist remarks about his listeners is soon overcome by a forced gender swap that turns him into a woman. Shortly thereafter, he comes across the serial killer targeting woman that's been overwhelming the city. This was the one weak one which had the potential to be better. This tells the most logical comeuppance story and is somewhat chilling in execution, but the shorter running time turns this into a barely-there aftermath and doesn't really do much to capitalize on what could've been a stand-out segment on sexism because it doesn't have the time to do so.


The Healer-Continuing his tour across the states, a fantastical preacher is soon abducted along his route and taken out to the desert where he meets the father of a fallen believer. Realizing what he plans to do to him in revenge places him in dire consequences soon afterward. This one again could've been rather fun had in the idea of a preacher getting his comeuppance for the manner in which he treated his patrons when he begins to receive the wounds and conditions of those he wronged, but the fact that this one manages to accomplish this in a matter of seconds really undermines the concept of the story told here. This one really needed more time to tell this tale and it just can't do it in this brief timeframe since it just comes out looking like a complete cliche.

They Will Be Done-Abducted off the streets, a young woman is taken by a fanatical family intending to prevent her from aborting her unborn baby even though she claims it's not supposed to be good. When the child is eventually born, they come to find out the hard way that she was right all along. This one was a chore to get through for the most part as it's just plain bad all around. The storyline is a cliche and utterly suspenseless from the start, the short running time causes this to be driving along at a rather obvious clip the entire time and the utterly laughable resolution is just groan-inducing rather than scary.


Overview: */5
This is one of the worst and most laughably awful anthologies ever conceived as most of these segments are just plain awful to get through baring a few minor instances to like in just a few of the segments whereas most of these are plagued from the start. Recommended only to the hardest fans of anthology's or of the creative side involved, while those looking for good material should look elsewhere immediately.

Attraction (2018) by Fedor Bondarchuk


Director: Fedor Bondarchuk
Year: 2018
Country: Russia
Alternate Titles: Prityazhenie
Genre: Science Fiction

Plot:
In the middle of Moscow, a teen and her friends are among the numerous witnesses to an extraterrestrial space ship crashing into the middle of the city, devastating the area and killing many. In the aftermath of the contact, despite reassurances from the aliens they want to repair the ship and leave the planet, the rest of the city is torn in their grief for remembering the dead as well as outrage at their mere presence on Earth which only intensifies when a group of her friends manage to bring one of the unconscious aliens to a local hideout. When she finds out their true intentions and how they function in their society, she grows closer to them which causes even more strife amongst the citizenry who want them to leave the planet any way possible. As both sides gather their forces to ensure they get what they want, the outbreak of an interstellar war looms in the balance forcing everyone to take a side in the galactic conflict.

Review:

This turned out to be a highly enjoyable and intriguing effort. One of the more intriguing aspects to the film is the ability to introduce an interesting and wholly enjoyable storyline throughout here. The backdrop of the alien invasion and the impact it plays on humanity, bringing about their conflicting emotions as to whether or not they're hostile, makes for a rather novel concept of an invasion to where the impact on the culture around the society will be changed. The military presence here in the aftermath speaks volumes as does the desire to study them and their intentions, making for a wholly realistic scenario to an invasion that manages to include the usual militaristic red-tape and bureaucracy that normally arrives in the wake of such instances a pretty enjoyable setup here.

The other intriguing factor about the storyline here is the fact that this turns into quite an emotional existential outlook on the way humanity views itself. Focusing on the outrage caused by the inadvertent destruction of their arrival that provides the impetus for this one to look at the nature of humanity when entering into such a conflict, which brings about rather interesting social commentary that goes quite a long way to telling the truth about the nature of humanity. Quick to judge, even quicker to impose their own resolutions onto others and immediately falling to violence instead of rationality, empathy and understanding all come into play here with the way her friends spark the lead of the anti-alien movement to kick them off compared to her who tries to genuinely help them resulting in her falling in love with one. That this is summarily brought up and dismissed against them in one fell swoop towards the very end in the spaceship waiting for the outcome of their treatment to help his daughter brings this full-circle towards that.


As well, there's also the strong and wholly impressive special effects. The action is driven by this feature, including the start of the film showing the strange craft approaching Earth while in outer space as the spiraling, spinning arms that surround the ship in a circular pattern look far more realistic than expected. The cold, metallic design and large central eye-like structure they orbit are incredibly detailed and realistically integrated as the fluid movements truly give off the extraterrestrial feel. Included here is the aliens themselves, or at the very least their outer suits that are incredibly anthropomorphic and allow for a stunning mixture of humanistic as well as animalistic movement which are stunningly realized and captured throughout here. It allows the film to believably generate several full-on enjoyable action scenes that are incredibly entertaining, from the full-scale destruction that occurs once the flaming ship lands in the city knocking out rows of buildings in a storm of intense debris or the ground-war at the end with the two sides engaging in close-quarters combat together which brings about some intense and explosive action that mixes practical stunts with effective, jaw-dropping CGI.

While there's indeed a large amount of stellar qualities present, the film does stumble in one main aspect. The story never makes it quite clear why the entire purpose of this one takes so many drastic and completely unneeded sideplots that are absolutely irrational and illogical in such a setting. The idea of this random teen, even one who has a father in the military, being given access to high-class security and restricted access points in the military compounds simply reeks of plot contrivance to move things along without coming up with a normal reasoning why, especially after all the accumulating incidents where it's clear that she's involved with something fishy after the third or fourth time they apprehend her in the vicinity of something. That carries over into the finale where it turns into a standard troubled character motivations which is so badly illogical and screams out due to being so incoherent when everything in the film could've been avoided had it handled their characters differently. This is really the only area where the film fails and holds it back somewhat slightly, although these aren't detrimental compared to the rest of the film's positives.


Overview: **** 1/2/5
While this one ends up containing plenty of exciting and extremely intriguing elements based on a large number of positives, there's still some minor issues present here that does crop up from time-to-time. Give this a chance if you're interesting in the concept, intrigued about foreign variations of this style or curious about this overall, while those that aren't wowed by the positives should heed caution here.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

The Rezort (2016) by Steve Barker


Director: Steve Barker
Year: 2016
Country: United Kingdom/Spain/Belgium
Alternate Titles: Generation Z
Genre: Zombie

Plot:
Intending a strange vacation, a group of people on a private island where people can hunt the last remaining zombies suddenly find themselves stuck in the location when an accident frees the zombies and forces them to battle through the island full of creatures to get away alive.

Review:

Overall, this one was quite a decent enough offering. Among the bright spots featured here is the fact that there's such a unique and rather creative storyline at the heart of the movie. The concept of isolating an entire island as a hunting ground after a zombie apocalypse and setting up a form of hunting preserve for the bored rich makes for a completely believable scenario that would more than likely happen in the real world. That setup provides this with the proper course of action for the remaining part of the film where it degenerates into the incredibly enjoyable aspect of keeping the tourists in danger with all sorts of action.

The moments with the guests enjoying the fruits of their labors by shooting out the different zombies in the different sections of the island are quite fun and show-off a rather fun setting for their park, while the way it springs to life with the initial outbreak gives this one a lot more to enjoy. From the way it showcases the zombies taking over the command center to the first attacks on the groups in the middle of the park which has some great moments. That it centers around their plight to get off the before the fail-safe method is put into effect provides this one with plenty of nice zombie confrontations throughout as the finale in the abandoned town teeming with creatures packs in several fine firefights within the flesh-ripping as there's a lot to enjoy in this part of the film. Combined with the various gore-gags and acceptable zombie makeup on the creatures, these here manage to hold this one up over it's few minor missteps.

The main problem on display here is the film's rather lax way it goes about presenting the central idea of the resort, which is a novel and believable concept but just screams potential to fail and this is indeed what happens here. There's very little about the type of security measures mentioned about preventing this other than the fail-safe which doesn't seem to provide much about the events leading up to that and doesn't leave this one with the most reliable and secure setup. The other problem here is the rather useless manner of melodramatic storylines inserted into the final act which drag the pacing down at the wrong moment, from the family trauma that plagues the one victim to the various backstories about the characters' history for being on the island and for what the whole purpose behind it all means which doesn't really allow this one the type of proper tone during these moments. These here are what really hold this one down.


Overview: ***1/2/5
Although it has some minor flaws present throughout here, the fact that it still remains somewhat watchable during these times and has some good points about it makes this a decent enough entry. It's certainly a fine choice for those still looking for their undead fix, although there are those who should heed caution with this one.

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