HORROR YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: WE SUMMON THE DARKNESS (2020)

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WE SUMMON THE DARKNESS (2020)

Horror/comedy takes place in 1988 with three hot friends, Alexis (Alexandra Daddario from Bereavement), Val (Maddie Hasson) and Beverly (Amy Forsyth from Hell fest) traveling to a heavy metal concert at a time where there is a series of murders being committed, allegedly by a satanic cult. There they meet three guys, Ivan (Austin Swift), Kovacs (Logan Miller from Plus One) and Mark (Keean Johnson from Alita: Battle Angel) and the six bond. After the concert, they return to Alexis’ father’s remote house to party. As this is a horror film, one of these trios is not what they seem.

We Summon The Darkness is directed by Marc Meyers from a script by Alan Trezza. Sadly, it doesn’t have nearly as much fun with it’s premise, as it let’s the proverbial cat out of the bag less than halfway through. This sets up a stalemate situation with the survivors of one group trying to hold off the others. It’s not nearly as fun as if they had kept it a mystery as to which group were killers and which were victims, for a while longer. The middle of the film finds it’s momentum stopped dead as a siege situation is set-up, with two survivors locked inside a pantry. Of course a comedy of errors threatens to unravel the plans of the killers, leading to more bodies piling up. The tone is a bit uneven, as it can’t decide whether it wants to be a straight-up horror film, or is it supposed to be more of a comedy. The tone is fairly light at times, but it then switches to straight up horror, especially in the last act and there is a lot of blood spilled and graphic violence throughout. Again, the makers never seem to decide on a consistent tone and that keeps the audience at a bit of a distance. Plus, it’s not funny enough or scary/intense enough to be fully successful at either genre and it doesn’t mix them as deftly as it needs to. To describe the cast and characters in detail would be to give surprises away, so suffice to say the cast are all good and perform their parts well. Eventually things do pick-up, as a not surprising change of heart leads to evened odds and an all-out battle for survival in the final third. The climax is effective, if not predictable. Reminds one of last year’s Satanic Panic, another satanist themed horror/comedy that also had trouble settling on a consistent tone and didn’t take full advantage of it’s premise. 

This isn’t a great movie and could have been a lot better. It’s not terrible, just doesn’t have as nearly as much fun with it’s premise as it could have. The middle of the flick stagnates, thought it does pick up for a bloody cat and mouse climax. It is also tonally challenged, as it can’t decide between comedy and straight-up horror or at least mixed them more successfully. Could have been a lot better, but could have been a lot worse. Basically a missed opportunity to have a lot of fun. Also stars Johnny Knoxville as a TV preacher, who turns out to be close to one of the six characters and Allison McAtee and Tanner Beard as an ex-stepmom and police officer, respectively, both in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Flick is available to stream on Amazon Prime.

-MonsterZero NJ

 

Rated 2 and 1/2 (out of 4) outboard motors.

 

 

 

 

 

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BARE BONES: ACTION POINT (2018)

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ACTION POINT (2018)

Comedy opens with grandpa D.C. (Johnny Knoxville) babysitting his granddaughter and telling her about her mother’s (Eleanor Worthington-Cox as a teen, Susan Yeagley as an adult) childhood at D.C.’s once owned theme park. We flashback to Action Point which was a rundown, decrepit excuse for a park where anything could happen at anytime and often did. It was run by a group of misfits lead by D.C. and was the bane of existence for a group of local developers who wanted the land. Something D.C. would have to fight from letting them have.

Film is directed by Tim Kirkby from a script and story by five people including star Knoxville. It’s supposedly based on New Jersey’s real life Action Park where six people were killed on the rides over the span of it’s almost two decades of operation. It’s a routine raunchy comedy and tries to use the Jackass style of physical stunts and pratfalls that Knoxville and co-star Chris Pontius are known for. Their extreme slapstick style of comedy works in the mockumentary format it’s usually presented in, but not here when forced into an actual movie story-line. Now instead of hysterically idiotic buffoonery, it just comes across as poor stunt work. The film itself has some funny bits, but overall, is very by-the-numbers as these crude types of comedies go, with the usual haves vs the have-nots plot. That and Knoxville’s obnoxious jerk act is getting very tiresome at this point and his Jackass teammates are sorely missed. Stick with Bad Grandpa if you need a little story with your Jackasses.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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REVIEW: JACKASS presents BAD GRANDPA (2013)

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JACKASS presents BAD GRANDPA (2013)

Bad Grandpa is a raunchy and sometimes hilarious comedy from the Jackass people about cantankerous old widower Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) who, when his drug addict daughter (Georgina Cates) violates her parole, is charged with taking his eight year-old grandson Billy (Jackson Nicoll) on a road trip to North Carolina to be reunited with his deadbeat dad (Greg Harris)…and find somewhere to bury his dead wife’s body which he carries along with them in the trunk of his car.

Directed by Jeff Tremaine… who directed the previous three Jackass movies and episodes of the show…the movie is told in faux documentary style and is really an excuse to set up elaborate pranks on unsuspecting people, in Jackass style, such as a side-splitting bit at Zisman’s wife’s funeral and Irving’s attending of a Ladies Night at a sleazy southern bar. And on that level the film can be laugh out loud funny as the pranks work more often then not. The expressions on the faces of the unsuspecting participants, as well as, their unpredictable reactions, are worth watching this for alone. But it is when the film tries to be a real story about the bonding between Irving and Billy that it falters. We know from the start that it is all a put-on so the sentimentality feels equally fake and doesn’t have any weight. It also stops the comedy momentum dead in it’s tracks. But there are some really hysterical bits and if you like the Jackass style of humor, this should entertain just fine…though not as daringly funny as their previous group efforts.

As for our leads, Knoxville and Nicoll do make a good team and play very well against each other as grumpy, pervy, grandpa and mischievous and bored grandson respectively. A fun movie overall but I prefer their straight-up Jackass work.

-MonsterZero NJ

Rated 3 stars.

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REVIEW: THE LAST STAND (2013)

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THE LAST STAND (2013)

Last Stand arrives on blu-ray today so, I thought I’d post my review of Arnold’s return to leading man status!

I’ll start off by saying it was fun seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger back in action and I liked the fact that he didn’t try to hide that he is in his 60s and isn’t quite John Matrix anymore. The film surrounds him with a likable cast such as his fellow officers “Figgy” and Sarah (Luis Guzman and Jaime Alexander) and a goofy local who collects historical firearms (Johnny Knoxville). The story however is quite generic and cliche. An escaped cartel drug lord (Eduardo Noriega) is going to try to make for the Mexican border right through Sheriff Ray Owens’ (Arnold) rural little town and his band of thugs are going to make sure he succeeds. Owens and Co. have other plans. Director Jee-woon Kim who directed the mesmerizing “I Saw The Devil” gives us a nice pace and some fun and furious action but, sadly the script is weak and the villains are extremely bland. Even the usually unsettling Peter Stormare is dull as main thug Burrell and Noriega’s cartel lord is equally bland and right out of an old Miami Vice episode. And to make a film like this really work, you have to have strong villains for our hero to face and it’s only their sheer numbers that make them a threat. And let’s not forget Forrest Whitaker who seems bored as an FBI agent who let’s drug lord Cortez escape on his watch. Despite the energetic action, overall the film would be quite forgettable if a lesser leading man was cast. It’s great to see Arnold blasting and beating up bad guys again but, once the credits roll the film doesn’t leave any more of an impression then seeing the Austrian Oak back on the screen in a lead role again. And coming from one of the greatest action icons ever and the director of one of the most intense and disturbing thrillers in recent years, it’s a bit of a let down after all is said and done.

2 and 1/2 bullets

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