BARE BONES: THE SHORTCUT, DEAD SOULS and TAMARA

MZNJ_bareBones_Marquee

now playing

Humerus-Bone1

The_Shortcut_FilmPoster

THE SHORTCUT (2009)

After putting together my Halloween Hotties post about up and coming scream queen Katrina Bowden, I became intrigued by her first horror and thought I’d take a look. Sadly this moderately budgeted fright flick, produced by Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions…re-dubbed Scary Madison…and released straight to DVD, is a very pedestrian and only minimally entertaining tale. PG-13 horror focuses on new kid in town Derek (Andrew Seeley) investigating a shortcut through the woods, with a bad reputation, and a mysterious and strange old man (Raymond J. Barry) who lives on a secluded property that the shortcut leads through. His interest provoked after his little brother (Nicholas Elia) is frightened by the man and his apparent murder of a dog, when dared to take the shortcut by schoolmates. Along with new friends Mark (Dave Franco), Lisa (Shannon Woodward), Taylor (Josh Emerson, who played basically the same character in Jennifer’s Body) and romantic interest Christy (Katrina Bowden), they unravel a history of death and missing persons and decide to check out the man’s home for clues…bad idea.

This film is directed as by-the-numbers as you can get by Nicholas Goossen and from a script that is far too sloppy to work by Dan Hannon and Scott Sandler. There is just too much predictability and far too little of the suspense and scares one watches this kind of flick for. It’s TV movie style works against it, as does the neutered shocks to get it’s PG-13 rating. Not to mention, characters doing some really stupid things and making some really bad decisions to move the plot along and put themselves in needless danger. The cast go from bland to adequate with Bowden’s Christy being the liveliest of the characters, though, one of the least used. The film also takes far too long to really get going and once it does, it comes to a climax we saw coming for at least an hour before. Sad, because the basic story had potential. Also stars X-Files‘ ‘The Smoking Man’ William B. Davis in a small but crucial role.

2 star rating

Humerus-Bone1

dead souls

DEAD SOULS (2012)

Dead Souls opens with a disturbing ritualistic murder/suicide of a family by it’s minister patriarch, Benjamin Conroy (J.H. Torrance Downes) with only an hidden infant spared. We then cut to that infant now grown (Jesse James) and living with his aunt (Geraldine Hughes), who the re-named Johnny Petrie, believes is his mother. But, Johnny has just turned 18 and the Conroy estate is turned over to him and he goes there to oversee the property’s sale and to find out about his newfound family history. But, as Johnny decides to stay on the property, he finds he has inherited not only a possible nightmarish past but, some very present and not so friendly spirits. Together with a pretty squatter (Magda Apanowicz) found living in his new house, Johnny attempts to get to the bottom of what happened to his family, but something may equally be out to get him as well.

Director Colin Theys does manage to give this film some atmosphere and there are some spooky sequences along with some disturbing scenes such as the opening slaughter. But, John Doolan’s script, based on Michael Laimo’s novel, is a bit too convoluted for it’s own good and the last act just get’s silly with it’s re-animated, possessed corpses. The film’s first two thirds were subtle and spooky, but the more you find out, the sillier it gets, till we arrive at the spirit possessed corpses climax that, in itself, has a silly denouement. The cast, including horror favorite Bill Moseley, are fine, but the material just goes from spooky to silly at a point when it needed to be at it’s most effective. It’s a moderately entertaining watch and there is some solid spookiness early on, but ultimately gets a little too wacky to do anything but disappoint. Too bad, there was a good movie in here somewhere and Theys had enough skill to deliver it, had the script not gotten so ludicrous.

2 and 1-2 star rating

Humerus-Bone1

tamara

TAMARA (2005)

The Craft meets Carrie in this completely derivative high school set horror about a bullied girl who gets revenge on her abusers through witchcraft. Tamara (Jenna Dewan) is a shy, introverted plain-jane student, with an interest in the occult, who gets picked on constantly. An article she writes for the school paper about steroid use on the high school’s athletic teams catches the angry attention of jock Shawn (Bryan Clark) and his crew and a cruel prank is plotted that goes horribly wrong and leaves Tamara dead…but not for long. The next day Tamara returns to school despite being buried deep in the woods and is now quite the sexy seductress. Soon Tamara is using her natural charms and dark magic to avenge herself on her wrongdoers and win the teacher she crushes on, Mr. Natolly (Matthew Marsden).

Horror flick is competently directed by Jeremy Haft, though without much style or atmosphere, and the script by Jefferey Reddick basically bludgeons us with ‘been there, done that’. There is barely any originality in the story of embattled nerd turned hot supernatural avenger and what little gore there is in her vengeance is adequate, but nothing special. The cast are actually fine, but the film itself is so forgettable and cliché that it’s rarely spoken of, if ever, in horror circles or otherwise. It received a small under the radar theatrical release in 2006 before going equally quiet to DVD. Not much to recommend, as there’s not much the film has to offer except lead Jenna Dewan looking quite fine.

2 star rating

Humerus-Bone1
bars

HALLOWEEN HOTTIES: KATRINA BOWDEN

MZNJ_halloween_hotties

This newest installment of Halloween Hotties takes a look at a fairly new cutie to catch the eye of horror fans, the lovely and talented Katrina Bowden. Most people know her from her 7 year stint on the hit show 30 Rock as Cerie but, horror fans took notice of this gorgeous Jersey girl… oh yes, she is from MonsterZero NJ’s home state and you know I love me my Jersey girls… in the fun horror/comedy Tucker & Dale vs. Evil and we’ve kept our eyes out for this easy on the eyes scream queen ever since and, so far, she hasn’t let us down…

(Click on the highlighted links or on the movie posters to read a review of her horror film’s that I’ve covered here previously. )

KATRINA BOWDEN

i08Hp6n4LU7sk

The horror hottie and Jersey girl at a more relaxed moment then she usually gets in her fright flicks.

The_Shortcut_FilmPoster
Bowden got her start acting with a brief role on the long running soap opera One Life To Live in 2006. She continued to get TV work until landing a long-running part on one of TV’s biggest hit comedies, 30 Rock. It was in 2009 when she starred in her first horror, The Shortcut. A direct to DVD tale that told the creepy story of a group of high schoolers investigating a strange old man who may be behind a series and of deaths and disappearances on an ominous shortcut through the woods. Obviously, their inquisitiveness brings dire consequences.

the_shortcut14

Katrina’s Christy stalked by a killer while on The Shortcut.

11158925_det

But, it wan’t until 2010 that she really caught the attention of horror fans with a starring role in the rib-tickling and blood spattering cult hit horror/comedy Tucker & Dale vs. Evil as vacationing college girl Allison, who captures the heart of sweet natured redneck Dale. It’s Dale’s rescue of Allison during a late night skinny-dipping mishap that sets the plot in motion as her friends have seen too many horror movies and mistake good ole boys Tucker and Dale for some Chainsaw Massacre style mountain folk who’ve kidnaped Allsion. Hilarious hi-jinx and spurting blood ensues.

tuckeranddalevsevil2

As apple of Dale’s eye, Allison…

tucker-and-dale-vs-evil02

…the skinny-dipping incident that starts the gruesome ball rolling…

Tucker_1

…and a damsel in distress awaiting rescue from her knight in plaid and denim.

piranha 3DD
Katrina’s next foray into horror was in the cheesy yet entertaining 2012 sequel to Alexandre Aja’s deliriously fun Piranha remake, Piranha 3DD. I won’t spoil the fun but, not only does Bowden’s Shelby have one of the more interesting incidents with a baby prehistoric piranha but, it results in the film’s funniest and most outrageous line which Katrina somehow delivers with a completely straight face.

Piranha-3DD-3

A quiet moment with another popular horror hottie, Danielle Panabaker…

Piranha 3dd 01

…after her not so quiet ‘encounter’ with one of the film’s carnivorous critters.

121364_aa

In 2012 Bowden also starred in the Asylum horror Hold Your Breath about the urban legend of how one should hold their breath when passing a graveyard to avoid spirit possession. Katrina is one of a group of young travelers who find out the hard way why the rule exists. Add the spirit of a serial killer and an abandoned prison to the mix and this gets gory quick for Katrina’s Jerry and her friends.
holdyourbreath-1

A happier moment for Bowden’s Jerry before blood and bloody parts begin to fly…

hold-your-breath-trailer-01

…and once the blood has hit the fan.

ScaryMovie5

In 2013 Bowden gave us two more horror themed flicks to enjoy her in. First the horror spoof Scary Movie 5, the fifth installment of that popular comedy series…

Scary Movie 5 1080p Dual_01_18_43_00007

Going to pieces in Scary Movie 5.

nurse

…and the delightfully decadent and over the top Nurse 3D where she finds herself a new nurse on the hospital staff who gains the obsessive attention of Paz de la Huerta’s psychotic and very dangerous lead character… and with gruesome results.
kinopoisk.ru

As new nurse on duty, Danni who has yet to realize her fellow nurse Abby needs to be in a hospital not work in one.

Christian Siriano - Front Row - Fall 09 MBFW

And as her beautiful and talented self who we want to see more of whether it be in horror or not. With the recent announcement of Tucker & Dale vs. Evil 2, we can only hope her Allison makes a return along with our two lovable hillbillies in this eagerly awaited sequel. Either way we want more Katrina Bowden!

And don’t forget to check out our Halloween Hotties focusing on Melanie PapaliaAlexandra DaddarioKatie FeatherstonKatharine IsabelleAmber Heard, Briana Evigan and Danielle Harris! (just click on their names to go to their pages!)

bars