THE SACRED (2012)
Horror flick did pass the time and had some effective moments despite a familiar story. Flick has pretty writer Jessie (Heather Roop) going alone to a recently inherited family cabin to work and not only experiencing paranormal activity but, a creepy possessed doll as well. Director Brett Donowho gives us some effective moments and some atmosphere from Carey and Shane Van Dyke’s derivative script and I liked that the film had some exploitation touches as it found numerous excuses to get the shapely Miss Roop into various and plentiful stages of undress. There is even some spooky but, enticing girl/girl action as Jessie gets supernaturally seduced by an equally sexy pair of specters. Not a very good movie in a traditional sense but, certainly found it’s ways to entertain, one way or another. Also stars B-Movie regular Jeff Fahey as the traditional creepy caretaker who knows more than he lets on.
THE PYRAMID (2014)
The disappointing thing about this found footage horror is it starts out pretty good with a group of explorers having found an entire pyramid buried under the sands of Egypt that pre-dates all the others. The initial journey inside is spooky and works well…till the ridiculously bad CGI critters show up and it becomes a silly SYFY Channel level monster-on-the-loose flick. It’s well directed to a degree by Grégory Levasseur and the script from Daniel Meersand and Nick Simon starts out OK, but, it just gets really silly in it’s last act and the phony creatures don’t help. Add to that the character of “Fitzie” (James Buckley) who was so annoying, you begged for his demise and you’ve got a potentially interesting horror that goes downhill steadily after a promising first act. Too bad, there was potential here for a fun flick. Also stars Ashley Hinshaw and Denis O’Hare.
DEEP IN THE DARKNESS (2014)
Despite some flaws, most coming in the third act, and a familiar story, this flick does manage to be entertaining. Story has city doctor Michael Cayle (Sean Patrick Thomas) uprooting his family to the rural community of Ashborough to set up his practice. Obviously, this is a secluded town with a very dark secret…one the good doctor and family may not escape. Though we’ve seen the scenario many times before with films like Children Of The Corn, Wake Wood and Jack Ketchum’s book Off Season, director Colin Theys still gives us an effective and atmospheric chiller from John Doolan’s script based on Micael Laimo’s novel. It’s only in it’s final third that things get a little out of hand, get very predictable and the plot holes show the most but, leading up to that is fairly entertaining. The production has a TV movie feel…it’s made by Chiller TV…but, the make-up FX and gore are well done. Thomas also makes a good hero, though none of the cast really make a strong impression in their roles. Also stars Dean Stockwell and Blanche Baker.
+1 starts out as what appears to be another Super Bad or Project X style teen party flick then cleverly adds a touch of Invasion Of The Body Snatchers and a pinch of Groundhog Day to deliver an interesting and engaging, offbeat thriller. Our story starts with the break-up of Jill (Ashley Hinshaw) and David (Rhys Wakefield) over an indiscretion of David’s and David’s subsequent hope to apologize and get her back at a massive house party. Meanwhile a meteorite crashes in the neighborhood and something comes out and attaches itself to the power-lines and soon sporadic power outages begin to occur. David and his bud, Teddy (Logan Miller) arrive at the party only to witness Jill arrive with a new beau and David is more determined then ever to get her back. His apology to her is an epic fail, but at the same time he starts to see what appears to be duplicates of the people at the party reenacting things that the original party guests did only a short while earlier… including one of himself. Teddy soon discovers this too and as the evening progresses, more and more people start to realize that, for some reason, there are now two of everyone with one group slightly behind in time in their actions. Worse still, as more and more blackouts occur, the closer in time the duplicates become. Now the ‘original’ party guests are beset by fear and paranoia as to what will happen when the doubles catch up to them, while David sees a chance to possible fix something with Jill’s doppelganger that he failed to do with the original…but will that make things worse?
Director Dennis Illadis…who also wrote the story on which Bill Gullo’s script is based…creates a clever and entertaining mash-up of some familiar story-lines that one would not expect to see thrown together and it works. He starts us off light enough with a basic party movie with the traditional break-up/attempted make-up scenario, but things get gradually more and more strange as our mysterious alien entity and then our ‘behind the times’ clones show up. The film then switches gears quite effectively to creepy thriller and then things heat up and get intense and violent for the final act when duplicate and originals are set to collide. There are some very clever uses of the scenario that has been presented and the atmosphere is very unsettling once the story gets going and our characters start to realize something really weird is happening. There is also some nice suspense and tension to the proceedings courtesy of director Illadis.
The cast are all quite good and handle the material well, especially our leads and their characters having to deal with this very real Twilight Zone situation that makes their own personal dramas even more complicated as it is now occurring twice and there is the temptation to intervene… not to mention the sheer terror of realizing you are seeing some kind of alternate version of yourself right before your eyes. The only real problem with the flick and it’s gimmick is that ultimately, it doesn’t really go anywhere or give us any real answers to the questions it poses and as the credits roll, we feel entertained…and the film is that…but we don’t really feel like the time watching was all that substantial an investment, as the movie sort of runs it’s course and is over without anything really major being accomplished. There is never an explanation and that works fine, but it also robs us of having something with a little more weight to think about after the movie ends. Despite some interesting directions the scenario could have gone, it kinda gets wrapped up in a neat little bow for it’s finale and therefor, doesn’t stay with you once it’s over. Its a clever and effective diversion, but not one that will stick with you.
All in all +1 is an entertaining and effectively creepy film that balances party flick hi-jinx and drama with the suspense and violence of a horror movie and its quite clever about it, but like any good snack, it’s a delicious combination of flavors, but not really filling enough to be considered a full meal. A fun, spooky flick, but nothing that will stay with you very long after. Recommended though, as it is a fun 90 minutes. Also stars twins Colleen Dengel and Suzanne Dengel as both versions of Allison, who has an interesting solution to her being presented with her exact duplicate.
3 plus ones!