BARE BONES: BLOOD PUNCH and JERUZALEM

MZNJ_bareBones_Marquee

now playing

Humerus-Bone1

blood punch

BLOOD PUNCH (2013)

Odd little movie has nerdy but brainy Milton (Deathgasm’s Milo Cawthorne) sent off to rehab after getting caught cooking meth. There he meets the seductive Skyler (Olivia Tennent), who says she will break him out if he cooks meth, for just one day, for her and her drug dealer boyfriend Russell (Ari Boyland). Things don’t go as planned, as the cabin they are in lies on ancient Indian ground and now they are reliving the same day in a loop, betrayals, murder and all. Having fallen for each other, Skyler and Milton have to kill Russell over and over again, as they try to find a way escape the loop to be together…unknown to them, there is a deadly catch to gaining their freedom.

As yet another variation of Groundhog Day, it took a while for me to warm up to this flick. As the story moved on, the characters started to grow on me, especially Tennent’s sassy Skylar. Eddie Guzelian’s script started to show a little life once we start delving into the actual causes of the loop and the filmmakers did have fun with the continual deaths of the psychotic and abusive Russell. Madellaine Paxson directs with a bit of a Tarantino wannabe style and isn’t totally successful in getting past the done-to-death premise of reliving a day over and over. There is some cleverness here and there and the film actually got more involving as it went along, though never makes a strong enough impression. It passed the time, but was nothing memorable, though I would like to see New Zealand actress Olivia Tennant in more roles (She actually did appear as a child in The Two Towers as little Freda and was on the 2009 Power Rangers R.P.M.). Also stars The Purge’s Adelaide Kane as a sexy hench-woman.

EXTRA TRIVIA: Co-stars Cawthorne and Tennent are married in real-life having met on the set of Power Rangers R.P.M.!

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

Humerus-Bone1

jeruZalem

JERUZALEM (2015)

Flick has two pretty friends, Sarah (Danielle Jadelyn) and Rachel (Yael Grobglas), going on vacation to Tel Aviv and getting convinced to go to Jerusalem instead by handsome adventurer, Kevin (Yon Tumarkin). Sarah is documenting the trip with a pair of camera glasses and once in Jerusalem strange things start to occur, such as people going mad in startling numbers and soon winged creatures begin to appear about the city. All the religious leaders seem to feel an apocalyptic event from out of scripture is occuring and Jerusalem is ground zero with the young vacationers trapped inside.

Written and directed by Yoav and Doron Paz, apocalyptic found footage flick starts out well. They come up with a clever reason to eliminate the ‘why are they still filming’ dilemma by having Sarah wearing glasses that have camera’s in them, so there is no camera to drop when running for your life. It starts out slowly with the girls sightseeing and having romantic entanglements with Kevin and handsome local man, Omar (Tom Graziani), then begins to get spooky as things start to get all biblical. There are some really creepy moments as we glimpse the insane transformed into winged demons and giants walking the streets of the Holy City, while our young characters try to find a way out. It’s only in the last act when they get into the catacombs under the city that the film looses momentum as the characters wander around aimlessly and start to dwindle in number. It should have been the most frightening part but looses steam instead. Then there is the final scene which was a bit silly and it ends. The first two thirds held attention with likable characters and some really spooky stuff, especially if you are familiar with end times mythology in the various cultures. It’s in the last act the film stumbles in the dark along with it’s characters in the tunnels that weakens what started out as one of the better recent found footage horrors. Worth a look for some great Israeli locations and that The Paz Brothers did deliver some effective spookiness in the strong middle third.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

Humerus-Bone1

bars

BARE BONES: DEATHGASM (2015)

MZNJ_bareBones_Marquee

now playing

Humerus-Bone1

deathgasm

DEATHGASM (2015)

New Zealand horror/comedy is written and directed by Jason Lei Howden and tells the story of outcast and death metal-head, Brodie (Milo Cawthorne), who is forced to live with his straight-laced uncle and family after his mom is arrested. He meets rebellious Zakk (James Blake) and together they form the death metal band Deathgasm. A chance encounter with reclusive, former death metal star Rikki Daggers (Stephen Ure) puts them in possession of the Black Hymn, a piece of music that can summon the king of all demons. They play the song and all hell breaks loose…literally. Now can Brodie and Zakk undo the nightmare they have unleashed?

Sure, this flick appears to be written by and for fourteen year-old metal-heads, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are some legitimate laughs and a delirious amount of giddy and well-orcestrated gore, as our metal-heads battle a town full of demon possessed zombies while trying to figure out how to stop the king of demons from rising. There are some slow moments and it is all very silly, but there are some clever bits, too and some, just raunchy enough and bloody enough to elicit continual chuckles…such as a scene were Zakk and Brodie battle demons with dildos, vibrators and butt-plugs…yes, you read that right. Maybe not a classic, but it is fun and certainly has some memorable moments. A death metal Spinal Tap meets Dead Alive, if I were to paraphrase…and while it’s not quite as good as those flicks, it has it’s black heart in the right place. Also stars Kimberley Crossman as the apple of Brodie’s guy-liner adorned eye, Medina.

-MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

Humerus-Bone1

bars