BARE BONES: DARKNESS RISING (2017)

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DARKNESS RISING (2017)

Silly and dull flick has the already ludicrous plot of pretty young Maddie (Tara Holt) breaking into her childhood home twenty years after her mother murdered her baby sister and her father then killed her mother. Once inside the house, which is slated for demolition, she and her friends (Katrina Law and Bryce Johnson) become trapped by both a vicious version of Maddie’s childhood dog and a force field of some kind…no, really! There is a dark force inside the house that won’t let them leave and wants to finish what it started all those years ago.

Directed by Austin Reading from a mess of a script by Vikram Weet, this routine haunted house flick is far more filled with clichés than scares. It’s familiar one minute with the usual possessions and ghostly figures and borderline dumb the next with Maddie thinking nothing of making out with her boyfriend a room away from where her loved ones were murdered…and why would you need a demonic dog to keep the trio trapped inside if the house is surrounded by a force field? Asking such questions will not get any answers as one wonders why Maddie would want to spend the night in a house with such painful personal history anyway, especially finding out it has a history of death. While on the subject, just who owns the house now anyway, if it’s been empty for twenty years? Apparently not Maddie if she has to break in. But with characters continually doing stupid things, like trying to steal medication that is literally two decades old, why would you expect any other aspect of the script to make sense. A real waste of time that makes 80 minutes seem like three hours. Also features Ted Raimi in a small role in the framing segments, which add nothing.

MonsterZero NJ Rant: I’ll never understand how junk like this gets financed, yet a talented filmmaker like Stevan Mena can’t get the money to finish Malevolence 3. Grrrrrr!

-MonsterZero NJ

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BARE BONES: WILLOW CREEK and LEPRECHAUN: ORIGINS

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WILLOW CREEK (2013)

The most interesting thing about this complete rip-off of The Blair Witch Project is that it is written and directed by Bobcat Goldthwait and as such, you expect it to be a lot more interesting or at least a lot less routine. Found footage film basically has a man (Bryce Johnson) and his girlfriend (Alexie Gilmore) camping out deep in the California woodland on a hunt for Bigfoot and obvious not liking what they find. Film basically substitutes Sasquatch for the Blair Witch and follows that film’s template to the letter, reproducing that famous flick, but with the legendary anthropoid instead of a folklore witch. I will admit that, derivative as it is, the couple’s night of horror inside their tent as something lurks right outside is still very effective, but then we get a basically copy-cat silly ending. Held my interest and entertained somewhat, but really nothing much to recommend. Also stars Peter Jason as a forest ranger, which ruins the found footage aspect as he is a recognizable character actor.

2 and 1-2 star rating

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LEPRECHAUN: ORIGINS (2014)

Much like Willow Creek, this flick isn’t terrible, but is so routine that it is an instantly forgettable monster movie and despite the title, has little or nothing to do with the original Warwick Davis series. Horror, written by Harris Wilkinson and directed by Zach Lipovsky, is played straight and has a group of young people backpacking thorough Ireland and being offered a remote cabin as a place to stay by the locals. Unknown to them, though, they are sacrificial lambs to appease an angry leprechaun (WWE Superstar Dylan “Hornswoggle” Postl) whose gold the townsfolk have stolen. The title creature looks like a random little monster, doesn’t speak and does not at all evoke a leprechaun, though the make-up and gore FX are fairly solid. Attractive young cast are likable enough…especially feisty and adorable Stephanie Bennett…but it still doesn’t make this film anymore than a mildly amusing passing of time that you’ll instantly forget as the credits roll.

2 and 1-2 star rating

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