IT CAME FROM ASIAN CINEMA: JINGOKU (1960)

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JINGOKU (1960)

Jigoku is a very strange and disturbing 1960 Japanese horror film whose title literally means “Hell”. The film opens with student Shiro (Shigeru Amachi) who reluctantly falls in with another student named Tamura (Yôichi Numata), despite Shiro feeling very uncomfortable with this morally void young man. When driving together one night, Tamura runs over a drunken Yakuza and kills him. Tamura convinces Shiro to keep silent about the man’s death. Shiro, now racked with guilt, starts to see his life spinning out of control. Even as he tries to make things right, his fiance’ Yukiko (Utako Mitsuya) is killed in a car accident while they are on the way to the police where Shiro wants to confess. Soon after that, his mother takes ill. Even worse, Shiro seeks comfort in the arms of Yoko (Akiko Ono) who works at a strip club and turns out to be the girlfriend of the drunk Yakuza he and Tamura ran over. Once Shiro’s identity becomes know to her, she and the gangster’s mother plot revenge on him. Shiro becomes surrounded with a group of people who, like him, all have their hidden sins and fate seems destined to punish the young man as his life continues to spiral toward a terrible fate. Are Shiro and those around him truly on a path to pay for their sins?

Director Nobuo Nakagawa boldly answers this question as the final act of the film literally takes place in Hell and eternal punishment is brutally given out to Shiro and the sinful individuals that came to surround him. The film takes a surreal turn as Nobuo gives us a visually haunting portrayal of hell and the diverse punishments suffered by those who find themselves there. Shiro might have been able to avoid this fate, but now must not only suffer himself, but watch his fiance’ and their unborn child suffer as well. The other characters are also punished according to their sins and Nobuo takes us unflinchingly along for their suffering with some very disturbing sequences and some very graphic gore. As this is 1960, most of the visuals… which are quite haunting… are done in camera with just a few composite shots thus making this film even more effective.

Jigoku may not be for everyone. It is a slow paced film, but that serves the story, as we experience Shiro’s guilt and the lack of morality by those around him. We are then are taken to Hell with them to see them receive their punishment. It is a visually stunning and very unsettling trip if you’re up to it. A bold and haunting example of 60s Japanese Horror cinema.

3 flaming circles of hell.

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WEEKEND BOX OFFICE ESTIMATES APRIL 18-20

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Complete estimates are in for the weekend and Captain America still holds his ground!

1. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” $26.6 Million

2. “Rio 2″ $22.5 Million

3.”Heaven Is For Real” $21.5 Million

4. “Transcendence” $11.2 Million

5. “A Haunted House 2” $9.1 Million

6. “Draft Day” $5.9 Million

7. “Divergent” $5.8 Million

8. “Oculus” $5.2 Million

9. “Noah” $5 Million

10. “God’s Not Dead”  $4.8 Million

source: box office mojo

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TRAILER HITS FOR JIM MICKLE’S ‘COLD IN JULY’ WITH MICHAEL C. HALL!

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I am a huge fan of writer/director Jim Mickle (Mulberry St., Stake Land, We Are What We Are) and Dexter was one of my favorite shows in recent years so, I am very excited that Mickle has done a film with Dexter’s Michael C. Hall and here is the first trailer…

source: Youtube

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MONSTERZERO NJ’S SATURDAY NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE: THE CROW and THE CROW: CITY OF ANGELS

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This week’s double feature needs little explanation. The first Crow flick is a classic and simply a great comic book movie and it’s first sequel, City Of Angels is actually a decent film on it’s own and kind of underrated as it gets a lot of flack for simply having the audacity to be a Crow film without Brandon Lee. It has it’s flaws but, is still entertaining if you cut it a break for trying to tell a new story with a new central character and actor. Together with the first flick they make a cool night of dark themed heroics from beyond…
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THE CROW  (1994)

The Crow is a bonafide film classic and one of my all time favorites and one whose story of revenge from beyond the grave is made all the more haunting by the tragic on-set death of it’s leading man Brandon Lee. Though, I think this would have still been a great flick without the notoriety of Lee’s accidental demise but, you can’t deny it adds a chilling effect when watched.

Based on the graphic novel by James O’Barr, this supernatural superhero flick tells the ill-fated story of rocker Eric Draven (Lee) and his fiancé Shelly Webster (Sophia Shinas) who are murdered the night before their Halloween wedding when Shelly’s well-intentioned battle against tenant eviction gets the attention of bizarre crime boss Top Dollar (Michael Wincott). His thugs T-Bird (David Patrick Kelly), Tin-Tin (Laurence Mason), Skank (Angel David) and Funboy (Michael Massee) kill Eric and then brutally rape and beat Shelly who dies a day later. But, Eric and Shelly’s love ran ran deeper then life itself and on the first year anniversary of their murders, Eric returns from the grave as an invincible avenger guided by a black crow and one by one starts to hunt down and slay the the fiends responsible for the death of he and his true love. But, Top Dollar has otherworldly assistance of his own and when he finds the source of Eric’s power, it now becomes his weakness and possibly the end of his quest for justice and revenge.

The script was written by David J. Schow and John Shirley and they really captured the essence and tone of O’Barr’s tale. Then when you add director Alex Proyas to the mix, you get a visually stunning and atmospheric adaptation that really nails the graphic novel’s look and feel. Proyas also gives us some great action sequences choreographed by star Brandon Lee and master stuntman, martial artist and stunt co-ordinator Jeff Imada, which make this a gritty, violent comic book come to life. But, it’s not all visuals and action as Proyas also gives this movie a heart and soul. Despite all the gunfire and explosions, the film is about eternal love and we are treated to flashbacks of Eric and Shelly’s relationship so, we get the full effect of how much these two meant to each other and it really is what makes this work so well. We believe Eric loved her so much that  he would cheat even death to avenge the wrongdoing of those responsible for ending his happy life with Shelly. We are right along with him rooting for him to take out the despicable villains and once we realize Eric has an exploitable Achilles’ Heel, it adds some tension and suspense as our hero can be made vulnerable and be stopped by those he seeks to destroy.

The film is populated by some colorful characters, brought to life by an eclectic but, strong cast. Lee shows that he could act as well as kick ass and he had the charm to be a leading man had his life not come to such a sad and early end. His Eric is charismatic, strong and sympathetic as well. Despite his being driven by rage to avenge Shelly’s cruel death, there is still a melancholy that makes him as sad a figure as he is imposing as a vengeful force. Perfect casting and sadly proof of a potential that will never be realized. Shinas is seen briefly in flashbacks but, her Shelly is sweet and kind and we see why Eric loves her. Wincott makes a strong and very eccentric villain, sort of a modern day pirate with a taste for the supernatural provided by his spooky half-sister and lover Myca (Bai Ling). He makes a formidable foe as do Kelly, Mason, David and Massee as his detestable yet, oddly likable gallery of rogues that one by one meet Eric’s wrath. Rounding out is fan favorite Tony (Candyman) Todd as Top Dollar’s bodyguard Grange, Jon Polito as dirtbag pawnshop owner Gideon, the always good Ernie Hudson as Eric’s only ally, a cop named Albrecht who investigated the couple’s death and got busted down for it, Rochelle Davis as a young girl named Sarah who was a friend of Eric and Shelly’s and provides an emotional ground for the avenging rocker, and Anna Levine as Sarah’s mom and Funboy’s girlfriend, Darla. All really give their supporting characters three dimensional life and it all adds up to what makes this comic book movie a classic.

On the production side, there are some really effective visual effects on a moderate budget that give us a gritty and rundown near future Detroit where the film is set. It is a no man’s land of crime and violence bathed in darkness, shadows and almost endless rain. The cathedral setting for the climax is especially noteworthy as it gives the final act a Phantom Of The Opera-ish feel and… in my opinion… far better utilizes the setting then Batman did five years earlier in it’s similar climax. Finally, while Alex Proyas certainly gives this flick a heavy gothic tone, we get a really effective score by Graeme Revell which includes some great songs, from various artists, producing a film score and soundtrack that are as equally classic as the movie they represent. The music and songs interact with the story to a point of being almost another character.

Overall, I could pick out some of the film’s minor flaws but, what’s the point. The film is a classic and it is no small feat that the filmmakers where able to craft such a solid flick when their leading man was killed with weeks of filming yet to go. Considering how the film was reconstructed and the FX crew used alternate scenes to extract their star and include Lee in footage he was not there to film, I think we can cut it some slack that there is a film at all and it wasn’t scrapped as was one considered option. But, it would have ben a crime to not let the film world see Lee’s last and best work and like his on-screen hero and the legacy of the man who played him, this flick will live on. A great movie that remains strong and entertaining even now.

The film also has some personal resonance with me, as well, as Brandon Lee and I were the same age when he died and it impacted me deeply for reasons I, even today, can’t fully explain. There is now talk of a remake but, I can’t seeing it having the impact this one has had, even if it turns out to be a good flick.

4 classic crows.

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THE CROW: CITY OF ANGELS (1996)

This review is of the director’s cut and not the original theatrical version which is 7 minutes shorter…

In hindsight, it might have been best to leave the success of The Crow as a testament to Brandon Lee’s legacy and let it go but, money talks and a sequel was made, opting to tell the story of a new character then try to recast a part already immortalized by Lee. The film gets a lot of flack for trying to continue the Crow series without Brandon Lee and Eric Draven but, while the film does not come close to matching it’s predecessor, I think it is actually pretty entertaining and succeeds in having it’s own personality and feel. Given a chance, it’s not as bad as it’s bitterness fueled reputation makes it out to be.

This film takes place years later in an equally seedy Los Angeles and tells the story of single father Ashe Corven (Swiss actor Vincent Pérez) who is gunned down along with his son Danny (Eric Acosta) when Danny mistakes gunshots for Day Of The Dead fireworks and runs straight into an execution being carried out by the four henchman of crime boss Judah Earl (Richard Brooks). The story also includes a now grown up Sarah (Mia Kirshner)… who, aside from Eric and Shelly’s cat Gabrielle, is the only character to return from the original… who is a tattoo artist living in L.A. and has premonitions of Ashe and his impending return accompanied by the crow. She is there to guide him when he rises from his watery grave to exact revenge on Earl and his minions Curve (punk icon Iggy Pop), Nemo (Thomas Jane), Spider Monkey (Vincent Castellanos) and Kali (ex-Power Ranger, Thuy Trang). But, Ashe’s quest for vengeance has complications as Earl has also discovered the secret and weakness of the crow’s power and Ashe is starting to fall for Sarah, knowing that the completion of his mission will return him to the realm of the dead. Will being torn between wanting to stay with Sarah and yearning to see his boy again give his adversaries a deadly edge over the undead avenger?

The sequel was this time written by frequent comic movie scribe David Goyer and directed by feature film newcomer Tim Pope who does a good job in giving the film it’s own distinctive look and feel despite glaring plot similarities. The film follows what is now the basic Crow formula with a wrongfully murdered person returning to avenge a loved one and battling a foe with an interest in the supernatural. The original had Draven battling Top Dollar and his weirdo half sister Myca, while here it is Ashe going against Earl and his sooth-sayer Sybil (Tracy Ellis). The only real difference is Earl is far more sadistic then the brutally practical Top Dollar and Sybil more of a pawn than a willing participant unlike the gleefully sadistic Myca. The film uses the same ‘kill the crow, kill the man’ plot device to weaken the invincible Ashe as in the last film, as it also again presents Sarah as hostage bait to lure our hero in… and it is already wearing out it’s welcome. But there is a lot of pluses too, the film does give us another cast of colorful villains and there are some very well done sequences of Ashe taking them on one by one, including his battle with the vicious martial arts expert and she-devil that is Trang’s Kali and his mythology laced showdown with Iggy Pop’s wacko Curve. Pope’s action scenes are styled differently and help give the film it’s own flavor. The director also gives the film a lot of strong atmosphere, it has an even spookier edge then the previous film as this one is also set at Halloween but, focuses more on the Latin “Dia de Los Muertos” which gives it a far more spiritual tone and aura. The original was centered around the destructively festive ‘Devils’ Night’ but, here it is the mournful Day Of The Dead celebrations that add a more somber tint to Pope’s canvas.

The cast are fine, though, not all as lively as those Proyas had to work with. Vincent Pérez certainly looks the part especially with the face paint and his brown leather outfit and motorcycle. His accent does get in the way and he tries hard to give Ashe his own personality and while he isn’t as memorable as Lee, he actually does OK on his own. Kirshner is pretty but, bland as the grown-up, emo Sarah. Her delivery is very monotone and her gloominess kind of goes against the feelings of hope given her by Eric at the end of the first movie. Our bad guys are fun with Brooks making a strong villain whose Earl actually echos his Jubal Early character from Firefly that he would play six years later. But, Early had more restraint and an odd whimsy despite being an equally dangerous man. Pop and Thrang’s baddies stand out the most among the thugs while Castellanos and Jane really aren’t given much to do aside from meeting their doom at Ashe’s hands. Pop’s Curve is delightfully demented while Thrang’s Kali is a sadistic dragon lady with a taste for sadism and twisted nursery rhymes. Last but, not least, is the late Ian Dury as the cantankerous Noah, the owner of the tattoo parlor where Sarah works.

As for the rest of the production, the film looks really cool yet, drastically different then the first flick and the model work and visuals are more then satisfactory. Graeme Revell contributes another strong score that echos the first film’s just enough yet, adds more haunting choral vocals and it also comes with a really good soundtrack of music from various artists that is a good listen on it’s own.

Overall, I like The Crow: City Of Angels, it’s got it’s flaws and was never going to live up to the instant classic that the first became. But, especially with it’s director’s cut, it is actually a decent enough flick on it’s own and has enough of it’s own style in telling the classic Crow story of revenge after death. Sure it’s ending is a little overblown but, when all is said and done, when cut some slack for not being what it couldn’t possibly be, it is an entertaining enough sequel that doesn’t dishonor what it follows. Give it a chance if you haven’t seen it. Followed by two direct to home media sequels, the weak The Crow: Salvation with Eric Mabius and Kirsten Dunst and the abysmally awful The Crow Wicked Prayer with Edward Furlong and Angel’s David Boreanez.

3 crows.

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BARE BONES: IN FEAR, THE INVOKING and FRIGHTMARE

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IN FEAR (2013)

I’ll give director and writer Jeremy Lovering a lot of credit for giving this little thriller some really nice atmosphere, tension and suspense despite the fact that it is basically about a couple, Tom and Lucy (Iain Caestecker and Alice Englert), lost in the Irish countryside in a maze of rural roads looking for an elusive hotel. Obviously they come to realize their predicament is being manipulated and soon a masked figure keeps appearing in and around the road as they drive. And while the film is never boring in itself…though it can be frustrating as the constant driving in circles gets tiresome…the story is very dull and routine. It also remains somewhat vague as to the definitive reason for all this cruel game playing with the young lovers. It could be a fascination with Lucy based on the opening scene, or there is also reason to believe it was simply a disagreement in a pub over a spilt beer caused by Tom, that raised the ire of a deranged local. We Irish (I am proudly half) take our pints very seriously. Some other bumps in Lovering’s ride are that the couple’s arguing gets a bit annoying at times, the mysterious figure seems to defy the constraints of time and distance in his appearances and activities and a frustratingly ambiguous ending when we deserved a more satisfying climax after all we’ve sat through. Overall, it is still worth a look. Lovering shows lots of potential, the performances are good, but even from the deranged individuals point of view, it seems like a lot of effort and work just over a spilt beer which, if I understand the dialog correctly, was replaced after some arguing anyway. Doesn’t live up to the hype and praise, but certainly worth a watch. Also stars Allen Leech.

2 and 1-2 star rating

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THE INVOKING (2013)

Odd and sometimes effective little movie about a young woman, Sam (Trin Miller), who takes some friends up to a house she has just inherited after the death of her aunt. After arriving, strange things start to occur as it appears the house holds suppressed and hidden memories for Sam that start bubbling to the surface now that she has returned to a place she doesn’t remember ever being at…or is it something far more sinister? Writer/director Jeremy Berg gives the film some nice touches and some atmosphere and the cast are adequate if not a bit uneven in their performances. But what starts as a mildly intriguing psychological thriller degenerates into a routine blood bath in it’s last act and the big reveal as to what actually occurred to Sam in that house as a little girl, is also routine as well. We’ve seen it all before and the climax just serves more to give it a shock ending then to actual serve the story which has veered off course in the last 10-15 minutes to suddenly turn into a slasher. It’s an OK flick overall and hopefully Berg can build on what he does right here with tighter focus and a bit more imagination in his stories. Also stars Brandon Anthony, D’Angelo Midili, Andi Norris and Josh Truax.

2 and 1-2 star rating

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FRIGHTMARE (1974)

70s English horror written and directed by Pete Walker is a very bizarre, strange and sometimes gruesome flick that didn’t totally grab me, but didn’t loose my attention either. The film starts out in 1957 where it appears a couple (Rupert Davies and Sheila Keith) has been convicted of murder and do to the nature of their crimes, are sentenced to a psychiatric hospital. We then move forward to the 70s and the couple’s one daughter Jackie (Deborah Fairfax) is a grown woman now and younger daughter Debbie (Kim Butcher) is a 15 year old…who looks more like 25…delinquent. Jackie is trying to care for her troublesome half-sister, who has just been released from a convent, and her parents who have been declared cured and released, but things start to fall apart when mom starts her old habits of tarot card reading and cannibalism. Worse still, Jackie is just a step-daughter to dear old mum, but Debbie seems like a chip off the murderous block who appears perfectly happy to carry on family traditions…can Jackie escape the family reunion from hell? I’m not all that familiar with the films of British exploitation director Walker, but this is one of his more infamous titles and by today’s standards it’s more campy then scary, though still has some disturbing moments. The performances are a bit over the top at times adding to the campy, nostalgic flavor and it is rather slow paced for under 90 minutes with it only getting really disturbing in it’s last act. There is plenty of gore, but some definite lapses in logic as well. Not sure I would trust the British medical system for letting an obviously deranged woman free as ‘cured’. Overall, it’s an amusing watch and maybe some of the camp is deliberate, but it basically serves as an oddball diversion with some disturbing sequences that still work and others that make you chuckle and didn’t quite impact me like it’s reputation suggests it did audiences in the 70s. For a film about murderous old geezers, it seemed a bit dry when all is said and done.

2 and 1-2 star rating

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HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: I DIDN’T COME HERE TO DIE (2010)

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I DIDN’T COME HERE TO DIE (2010)

I first heard about Bradley Scott Sullivan’s low budget indie horror I Didn’t Come Here To Die when it was playing the festival circuit back in 2010 and as usual there were comparisons to the original Evil Dead and it was getting some heavy praise. It seems there is a certain tradition in the horror fan-base that if someone is among the first to see something new, it is automatically dubbed a masterpiece and compared to some classic horror. More often then not, it only sets others up for a big disappointment. And I have to say that the hype machine once again has put a mildly amusing, but far from classic indie horror up on a pedestal that it falls from once actually seen. There was some gory fun to be had here, but it’s far from a great flick.

The film tells the simple story of a group of six volunteers going into the deep woods to begin clearing the way for a new camp being built for inner city kids. Each person has their own reasons for being there and each one their odd personality quirks. The gruesome ball gets rolling when a night of drunken partying around the campfire results in inebriated Miranda (Madi Goff) walking right into a branch and loosing an eye. Group leader Sophia (Emmy Robbin) takes her to the hospital and leaves the rest to do their assigned work. And you’d think an accidental injury would be lesson enough for these misfits to watch what they are doing but no. Another accident with a chainsaw leaves a member dead this time and another, who blames himself, crazed and suicidal. While the deaths are accidental and self inflicted, the remaining two members begin to panic as to how incriminating it looks and soon more blood is shed as Sophia returns and one of the three would rather kill than be implicated in a crime they actually didn’t commit. If it sounds dumb…yea, it kinda is, though it is done with a humorous slant and the middle act, when the carnage starts to snowball, is rather amusing despite how silly it gets.

Writer and director Sullivan is not trying to make a serious horror with a plot like this that has people doing some really stupid things to put themselves in harm’s way. But the depths of stupidity the characters operate under is a little too much to swallow even if meant to have a comic edge. If you want to see death by accident and stupidity done right, watch Tucker And Dale vs. Evil. Throw in also that some of the dialog is really inane and the acting totally amateurish, doesn’t help the film either. Sometimes you can’t tell if some of the cast are taking this project seriously or not. The middle segment of the film when the blood really starts to flow and tensions rise between the remaining volunteers is the most solid bit of the flick, as the first third is mostly goofy dialog and where the hard to believe stupidity occurs. Once we get into the paranoia and panic, the film gets a bit easier to go along with, but then the film collapses with a really dumb and pointless conclusion where happenstance comes to haunt our survivors. Not to mention a completely inane scene involving a county sheriff that leaves one asking ‘WTF was that all about?’

Sure, I am amused by the concept that most of the blood shed…which is very nicely done with well rendered live effects…is by either stupidity or simple ironic fate, but it’s just a little too far-fetched to really make it work as a whole. We get some effective segments…again, in that middle third…but it’s bookend-ed by a goofy set-up and a random and pointless conclusion who’s coincidences and occurrences are a little too hard to believe…like being miles from home yet, one of the remaining group suddenly has their own car when they all arrived in the same van, really?…though I will admit, the final frames did bring a chuckle. Add to that, characters that seem a little too eccentric and stupid to even be considered for work with sharp objects and a director who seems far more interested with the filters and effects in his digital editing program than a more solid script and you get a movie that certainly has some amusing bits and gave a few solid laughs, but even when all is said and done is a little too dumb and pointless to go along with all the way.

An amusing 80 minutes to a degree and worth a look, but far from the new classic it was made out to be by early hype. Also stars Kurt Cole, Indiana Adams, Niko Red Star and Jeremy Vandermause. Bradley Scott Sullivan does show some potential if he comes up with a project with a tighter focus and a more solid story to tell.

2 and 1/2 chainsaws.

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REVIEW: MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE (2011)

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MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE (2011)

 

As Elizabeth Olsen is soon to hit summer screens in Gareth Edward’s Godzilla and then again in summer 2015 as Wanda Maximoff AKA The Scarlet Witch in Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron, I thought I’d take a look back at the film that first brought her acting talents to my attention…

Intriguing indie film tells the story of Martha (Elizabeth Olsen), a young woman who flees a cult-like commune and goes to live with her yuppie sister, Lucy (Sarah Paulson) and her husband, Ted (Hugh Dancy). But, the more Martha attempts to escape the negative effects of her life with the commune, the more the unpleasant memories begin to tear her apart and make her question her safety and sanity. She is constantly looking over her shoulder expecting ‘them’ to come for her. Are they?… or is it the product of a paranoid and emotionally scarred mind? I liked “Martha” but, wasn’t blown away by it. It is a well directed drama working for the most part with subtleties and a really strong performance from Olsen. Only occasionally do we get a brief moment of violence or intense drama but, for the most part, the film maintains a slow burn. And this serves the story well, as the narrative switches between the present and flashbacks of Martha’s increasingly unhappy time with the commune and it’s smolderingly psychotic leader, Patrick (played with a quiet menace by John Hawkes). The performances are all very good with Olsen effectively portraying an emotionally confused and damaged young woman wanting to feel normal but, who can’t forget what she’s expericenced. But, with all writer/director Sean Durkin gets right, there is something missing that keeps one from getting really involved in Martha’s emotional plight. Maybe it’s the character’s emotional distance that keeps us from embracing her drama. Martha is a guarded person and she keeps us out just as much as her sibling. We see her ordeal in flashbacks, where we find out about some of the horrible experiences she was forced to partake in or witness, such as rape, robbery and murder, while living with Patrick and his people, but, the character’s reluctance to reach out to those around her, keeps our emotional investment at a distance, just as her refusal to come clean and tell her sister everything keeps Lucy and Ted in the dark. Maybe it’s also because her self-absorbed sister and husband don’t evoke our sympathy, either. They are more concerned with their own lives and Martha is more of an inconvenience to them then a relative in need of help and care. The lack of any real communication between them get’s frustrating at times. It’s also possible the problem is simply because the story never comes to a satisfying conclusion or gives us any real dramatic payoff. And that’s what hurts this fine effort the most. After watching this tormented woman for over an hour and a half we are left with an ambiguous climax that only serves to make us ask ourselves “what was the point?”. I still would recommend this to those who like something a bit offbeat and prefer a little ambiguity and certainly to see Miss Olsen show us she’s got some real acting chops but, don’t expect to be blown away like some of the initial hype led us to believe we would.

3 stars.

3 star rating

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BARE BONES: BATTLE OF THE DAMNED

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BATTLE OF THE DAMNED (2013)

Dolph Lundgren battles legions of plague infected zombies in this entertaining guilty pleasure written and directed by Christopher Hatton. Near future tale is set in Southeast Asia where bioengineering has accidentally created a city of vicious flesh eating zombies now quarantined by the world governments. Mercenary Max Gatling is tasked to go in and find the daughter (Melanie Zanetti) of the man whose company is responsible and get her to saftey. Gatling goes in with his team and soon finds himself the last man but, does also find the girl and some survivors. Now they have to find a way out of the quarantined zone and a squad of roaming combat robots… just go with it… might just help Gatling and company get out alive against the legions of the ravenous plague zombies. But, time is running out as a fire bombing is soon to commence to destroy the infected and anyone else in the city. Damned is a fun B-Movie and while it is entertaining, we only wish writer/director Hatton would have really cut loose and had a fun time with his premise. It isn’t nearly as gory as traditional zombie films though, there is plenty of action and bloodshed to keep us occupied. And we only wish a little more Sharknado-like fun was had with a story combining zombies, armed robots and Dolph Lundgren. Sometimes Battle takes itself a little too seriously for it’s own good and with it’s premise, it would have been better served by taking the ball and running with it. Fun… but, not quite as fun as the plot synopsis made us hope.

3 star rating

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