Ouija (2014)


The Battleship of Horror Movies

Ouija (2014)I don’t know if I’ve just stopped paying attention or if some movies just don’t cross my path, but I’ve recently been coming across a lot of movies I had never heard about until it releases and then the movie blows up on social media. That was the case with today’s movie. I had no idea this movie existed until my friend Kori requested it. Since it was a horror movie, I figured it was a good enough way to end the October Horrorthon, so I got my tickets and sat down to watch Ouija, written by Juliet Snowden, co-written and directed by Stiles White, and starring Olivia Cooke, Shelley Hennig, Daren Kagasoff, Ana Coto, Douglas Smith, and Lin Shaye.

Longtime friends Laine Morris (Olivia Cooke) and Debbie Galardi (Shelley Hennig) start experimenting with a Ouija board at a young age. In their teens, Debbie starts acting weird. And by weird, I mean she kills herself via hanging. In Debbie’s room, Laine finds a very old Ouija board and collects her boyfriend Trevor (Daren Kagasoff), her sister Sarah (Ana Coto), and Debbie’s boyfriend Pete (Douglas Smith) and tries to contact Debbie. Turns out that was a bad idea. Then bad stuff happens and they go visit Paulina (Lin Shaye) in an asylum.

This review has been spoiled for some that paid enough attention on my Facebook page to see me call this movie “garbage.” Given some time removed from it, my opinion has softened into “crap.” It’s not the worst movie I’ve ever seen by far, but it’s very boring and entirely unoriginal. And the unoriginal part is not entirely unexpected from a horror movie as they often follow a fairly typical format, but some can redeem themselves with some suspense and scares. This movie didn’t do that either. And it wasn’t particularly well written either, not that you’d expect it to be with the other precedence of movies based on board games, like Battleship. In the very beginning of the movie, Debbie kills herself by hanging herself with Christmas lights and yet no one tried to cheer anyone up by saying, “Yes, she’s dead … but it was SUPER festive!” Later, when they all go to Debbie’s house to try to contact her, they all act surprised that Debbie’s boyfriend is already there, as if he wasn’t supposed to be there. Really? He should’ve been the first person you dragged along on this. Not your own boyfriend with no real connection to Debbie, not your sister with no real connection to Debbie, but her boyfriend. It at least warrants an invite. And then when they actually do “contact Debbie,” the spirit they’re talking with identifies itself only as “D,” which shows the fatal flaw in the characters that none of them know a single other name that starts with a D than Debbie, so obviously it must be her, suspiciously not fully identifying herself for some reason. And they still believe it’s Debbie when she starts dropping “hi friend” messages all over the place for them, even though one of them was carved into someone’s desk. Was Debbie a douche in her life to make you think she would say hello by permanently defacing your property?

There were two big problems with the scares in this movie: there weren’t any and there weren’t any a lot. What I mean by that is that it wasn’t scary, but they went for the “fooled you” scare too much, which is when they build up suspense as if something scary is about to happen and then one of the friends just jumps around a corner instead of a scary thing. And when they finally started showing the “scary things,” they looked like shit.

The actors did satisfactory jobs in the movie, but the characters did not. The main issue I take in the entire movie is with Debbie’s entire family. Why wouldn’t the dead former resident’s stuff be the very first thing you’d clean out of your house? Even if you’re not worried about ghosts accompanying the stuff, it’s still some dead people’s crap that’s cluttering your attic. And then there was Debbie’s boyfriend … or Laine’s boyfriend. I don’t remember. Well when one of them was shown something, they look at it and say, “From the look, I’d say it’s from the ‘40’s.” Did anyone think to question when he became an expert so he could just explain how he knows these things because he’s TiVo’ed hundreds of episodes of Antiques Roadshow?

The movie Ouija was uninspired, boring, and didn’t make much sense. And what’s even worse is that this movie was not scary at all. And it technically should’ve had an easier time scaring me since I was constantly in a state of dozing off during this movie. There’s hardly a better time to scare me! The decent enough performances by some of the cast was nowhere near enough to salvage this movie. Don’t see this movie unless those things are what you’re looking for in a movie. And even if they are, don’t see it. You need therapy much more. Ouija gets “I don’t think this is a good idea” out of “I’m done with this.”

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Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)


This is Nothing Like Being Dead.  I Know.

Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013)When I saw the movie that preceded today’s movie, I remember it building so much tension that I was constantly checking behind me in the movie theater.  Not because I thought there might be ghosts or demons behind me, but because I was so on edge that if any person in the theater decided to be a jerk and poke me, I would probably piss myself.  And then murder him to death to avoid my embarrassment being exposed.  When I saw they were making a sequel, I was confused.  The movie didn’t really seem to need a sequel, nor did the movie seem to leave itself open to a logical jump to one.  But I liked the original, so I decided to give it a shot.  Today I’m reviewing Insidious: Chapter 2, written by Leigh Whannell, directed by James Wan, and starring Patrick Wilson, Garrett Ryan, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye, Lindsay Seim, Danielle Bisutti, Tom Fitzpatrick, Tyler Griffin, Barbara Hershey, Jocelin Donahue, Steve Coulter, Hank Harris, Leigh Whannell, Angus Sampson, and Michael Beach.

Medium Elise Ranier (Lin Shaye) lies dead, strangled to death by a malevolent spirit inhabiting the body of Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson).  Still no status update on Small or Large Elise.  …Thank you.  No one is able to prove that he did it, but his wife Renai (Rose Byrne) is suspicious.  And with Elise dead, she has no one to turn to until she meets another medium named Carl (Steve Coulter) who has worked with Elise before when they made Josh forget about his ability to leave his body while he slept.  He uses Yahtzee to communicate with spirits and gets information from Elise’s spirit about where to go to figure out what’s happening to Josh before something happens to him or his family.

I liked this movie, but I didn’t find it nearly as effective as the previous movie.  I base that almost entirely on the fact that I wasn’t suspicious of random strangers sneaking up on me and using my delicate state against me.  It didn’t build the suspense nearly as successfully as the first movie, but it still did a pretty good job.  I had some problems with the story, but it worked altogether.  One main problem I had was that they let Josh go home.  First, he was suspected of murdering Elise.  Even if they didn’t have the forensics back yet, do they let suspected murderers return home to potentially murder his family and some more people while they wait for the lab to get back to them?  And going off of that, how does forensics NOT make Josh as the murderer when he strangled this old woman to death with his bare hands?  Being inhabited by an evil spirit might be a convenient excuse, but it doesn’t explain how your fingerprints have changed.  I mean, I was wondering how they would rectify the problem of wanting to keep Patrick Wilson involved in the movie even though he murdered someone at the end of the last movie, but that explanation seems to strain credulity.  I do understand Josh trying to make Renai stop thinking about the ghosts, but I don’t understand how he can had not even finished his sentence about ignoring them before going downstairs to investigate some noises.  It also doesn’t really make sense that someone would grab a baseball bat to confront a ghost.  And if you’ve already determined that it’s Josh that’s haunted and not the house, how is there ever a scenario that you would leave him alone with the kids?  But there were definitely some interesting things that happened in the story of the movie.  I like how they tied in the events of this movie with the events of the first movie, and I also liked the reveal about the identity of the Black Bride.

The ghost stuff didn’t always work for me too.  When the haunting started, the first thing the movie used with the intention to scare us was the fact that the piano was playing with no one in the room.  That COULD indicate that there’s a ghost in there … it could also indicate that it’s a Player Piano.  You’re going to need to explain to us that it’s not capable of playing by itself without spirits before I jump to that conclusion.  I did appreciate that they were able to get started with the ghosts stuff because they had already gone through the explanation and stuff in the first movie, allowing them to dive right in for this movie.  Paranormal Activity never does that.  Each movie starts with the ghost being as shy as he was in the first movie, playing annoying tricks until he eventually gets up the nerves to snap someone in half.  Of course, it was a little overt for the ghost to jump right into showing Rose Byrne how strong her pimp hand was.  Most ghosts do more frightening to build up energy so that they can move a penny up a wall, not just diving right into Ike Turner mode.  And then the movie turns into an episode of Ghost Adventures when they arrive at the hospital because most of the movie is seen through their handheld cameras.  I half expected them to run into Zak, Nick, and Aaron.  Of course, the Ghost Adventures Crew don’t get anywhere near this lucky with their investigations, so that worked in favor of the movie.

The cast all did a great job.  Patrick Wilson got to be pretty versatile in the movie since it seemed he was occupied by two different people.  But he was very successful at playing a normal (albeit a bit on edge) guy, and then a somewhat crazy guy.  But someone should probably tell him that, if he wants to have his “Here’s Johnny!” moment, a baseball bat is a pretty clumsy way to accomplish that.  Barbara Hershey’s character annoyed me at one point.  Why the hell would you take your young son into a room with a patient that had just castrated himself, thus indicating a potential flaw in his mental stability?  And what’s more, would you even be able to?  It seems like nurses might have rules against such things.  I found Ty Simpkins annoying through most of the movie, but I can’t tell if that was him or just my natural hatred of most children.  Either way, I got on board with him again when he clocked someone with a baseball bat.  That was badass, little dude.  Kind of lost me again shortly afterwards when he somehow fell asleep at will.  Maybe that’s just jealousy.  I can never fall asleep that quickly!  I’m sure it’s what she was going for, but Danielle Bisutti was a little over the top as the Mother of Parker Crane.  She reminded me of Faye Dunaway in Mommie Dearest, except that wire hangers were exchanged for her kid’s gender and name.  But I’ll give her a pass since she was supposed to be portraying someone that was insane.

Insidious: Chapter 2 is a solid movie that couldn’t reach the high bar set by its predecessor.  The story was alright and even did some cool and innovative things, and the performances were strong, but they did not build nearly as much tension as the first movie and thus couldn’t keep me on edge.  It’s good, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to check it out in theaters, but you could also wait for a rental.  Insidious: Chapter 2 gets “In my line of work things tend to happen when it gets dark” out of “Look what you did!”

WATCH REVIEWS HERE!  YouTube  OTHER JOKES HERE!  Twitter  BE A FAN HERE!  Facebook  If you like these reviews so much, spread the word.  Keep me motivated!  Also, if you like them so much, why don’t you marry them?!

A Good Old Fashioned Orgy (2011)


If You’ll Excuse Me, I Can Feel the Blood Rushing Back Into My Sword

My inspiration for today’s movie was twofold.  First, I knew that at least three of the people that were in the movie were people that I find hilarious.  Second, it arrived from Netflix because I wasn’t paying good attention to my queue.  And, if there were to be a third thing, it would be that the word “orgy” is in the title, and I could watch this without feeling bad, as I do every time I watch porn.  The problem with the first reason is that I find those three people funny, but I’ve also been underwhelmed by the results of their involvement with a movie before.  How did they do this time?  We’ll find out in my review of A Good Old Fashioned Orgy, written and directed by Alex Gregory and Peter Huyck, and starring Jason Sudeikis, Michelle Borth, Tyler Labine, Lake Bell, Nick Kroll, Lindsay Sloane, Martin Starr, Angela Sarafyan, Leslie Bibb, Will Forte, Lucy Punch, Lin Shaye, David Koechner, and Don Johnson.

Eric (Jason Sudeikis) loves to throw giant elaborate parties at the house of his father, Jerry (Don Johnson).  Most of these parties he throws with his close friends from high school – Sue (Michelle Borth), Mike (Tyler Labine), Alison (Lake Bell), Adam (Nick Kroll), Laura (Lindsay Sloane), Glenn (Will Forte), Glenn’s wife Kate (Lucy Punch), Doug (Martin Starr), and Doug’s girlfriend Willow (Angela Sarafyan).  At Eric’s White Trash Bash, he meets Kelly (Leslie Bibb) and gets her number.  The next morning, Eric’s father tells him that he’s selling the house because he doesn’t need it anymore.  Realtor’s Dody (Lin Shaye) and Kelly are in charge of the sale.  Eric and Mike decide that they need to throw one last party, but it needs to be special.  After some brainstorming, Eric decides that the group’s last party should be an orgy.  Most of the group takes a while to come around to it, but eventually they are all in.

I went into this movie as a fan of Nick Kroll, Tyler Labine, and Jason Sudeikis from some of their other endeavors.  Though this movie did not change that, I found it underwhelming.  It’s not a bad movie, and there are one or two solid laughs in the movie, but that seems like it’s a bit low for something that is exclusively a comedy.  The other jokes were not painful failures at funniness; it just didn’t have anything good enough to make me laugh.  They got a lot of mileage out of uncomfortable situations such as a lady having a heated argument with her boyfriend on opposite sides of the bathroom door while another guy was on the toilet in the bathroom with her, or like having a conversation with a guy while he was preoccupied with having sex with a woman who should’ve stopped appearing naked on camera roughly 20 years ago.  I’ve also noticed an upsetting trend in comedies recently.  Far too many comedies recently are going for the shock value laugh of putting some wang up on screen.  Walk Hard did it, Forgetting Sarah Marshall did it, and this movie does it as well.  My problem with this isn’t just the fact that, as a straight man, I’ve no real interest in seeing dick.  I look at penises all the time … when I’m watching porn.  I don’t like being caught off guard by it.  Also, it just seems too easy.  It makes you shocked and uncomfortable and people tend to laugh as a release for that stuff, but that is not to be mistaken for something that’s actually funny.  Boobs and vagina being on display is rarely used as comedy by itself, so why should it be that just putting a penis on screen is comedy?  The only occasion I can think of that boobs by themselves were the joke was in the movie Airplane!, and that wasn’t the one of the only funny things in the movie.  …Perhaps I’ve talked about penis too much…  The movie does not disappoint with its title.  There is indeed a big orgy at the end of the movie.  It’s much sweeter and nicer than the orgies that I’m accustomed to.  It’s like if a group of friends that were really comfortable with each other decided to get down and dirty.  They would joke around while fucking, so it wasn’t as obscene as someone might expect going into it.  But I ultimately went into the movie looking for laughs, and found them few and far between.  I can find boobs much easier.

I like the people in the cast of this movie, but none of them really succeeded in doing much for me in this movie.  Jason Sudeikis seemed a lot like his character from SNL where he plays one of two assholes, along with Kristen Wiig.  And, though I really like those sketches, I didn’t find much of interest in his character.  He was just kinda douchey.  I’ve ranted over a particular movie that Tyler Labine was in before, playing a sweet and innocent hillbilly in Tucker and Dale vs. Evil.  He played it kind of stupid and sweet again in this one, but without the writing quality of the other movie, it never had much effect.  I was also all in for Nick Kroll, having loved his comedy special and his appearances on the Doug Loves Movies podcast, but this role was hardly a stretch for him.  He played a neurotic Jew.  What else is new?  I don’t really blame the cast for this movie not connecting with me, but I also can’t claim that any of them really connected with me.  All of the main cast females were attractive and did their parts, but none stood out.  There were a pretty good amount of nice-lookin’ boobs; I’ll give the movie that much.

Perhaps I expected too much because of my bias towards some of the cast members, but I found myself to be very underwhelmed by A Good Old Fashioned Orgy.  It wasn’t laughably bad, but nothing else was making me laugh either.  I liked the cast; I just didn’t connect with them in any way.  Sadly, I can’t really recommend this movie.  But, with comedy being so subjective, it’s hard to say what different people will find funny.  This movie just wasn’t for me.  A Good Old Fashioned Orgy gets “Endurance training.  For Labor Day” out of “This is the worst orgy ever.”

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people.  Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense.  Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated.  You can also add me on FaceBook (Robert T. Bicket) and Twitter (iSizzle).  Don’t forget to leave me some comments.  Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Dumb and Dumber (1994)


We Got No Food, No Jobs … Our Pet’s HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!

Apparently I have been neglecting my friend, Josh.  He recently reminded me that he has requested my review of multiple movies and I have not done them.  But he also learned the reason I ask that my review requests come via Facebook or this very site: I don’t remember anything.  I only remember to do about half of the movies people have suggested to me on Facebook.  I should really write this stuff down, but then I’d just forget where I put that note.  In order to retain a friendship, I decided that the next available opportunity should go to Josh.  And this request was made so much easier to fulfill when the only one of his requests he could remember was one of my favorite comedies, starring one of my favorite actors, and one I own on DVD.  What worried me about this request was that it’s a movie I have not seen in somewhere around 10 years, and I was worried that I would not still find it funny.  But we’ll find out together in my review of Dumb and Dumber, written by Bobby and Peter Farrelly and Bennett Yellin, directed by the Farrelly Brothers, and starring Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels, Lauren Holly, Charles Rocket, Mike Starr, Karen Duffy, Teri Garr, Victoria Rowell, Felton Perry, Cam Neely, Lin Shaye, and Harland Williams.

Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) is a limousine driver of questionable intelligence.  One day, Lloyd drives Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly) to the airport and, in the process, falls madly in love with her.  The feeling is not reciprocated.  As he watches her leave, he sees her drop her briefcase by the escalator.  Lloyd jumps into action, rushing inside to return the briefcase to her, only to find that her plane has already departed to Aspen.  And, just to add more to Lloyd’s plate, it turns out that the briefcase was left intentionally in order to pay a ransom.  Also, the two criminals that were supposed to retrieve the briefcase, Joe Mentalino (Mike Starr) and J.P. Shay (Karen Duffy), saw Lloyd take the briefcase.  Lloyd returns to the apartment he shares with his best friend, Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels), a recently terminated pet groomer with a van converted to look like a sheep dog.  Shortly after their arrival, Joe and J.P. show up at the front door.  Harry and Lloyd mistake the two armed criminals for representatives of the gas company, annoyed that they forgot to pay their bill, so they jump out the window.  To show they mean business, Joe kills Harry’s pet bird.  When Harry and Lloyd return to their dead pet, they get sick of their lives and concoct a plan.  The two will drive to Aspen, return Mary’s briefcase, and Harry will probably live with Lloyd and his new wife happily ever after.  And so their journey begins.

In 1994, to an 11-year-old Robert, this movie was absolutely hysterical.  Quite possibly the funniest movie I had seen at that point because Ace Ventura was not yet known to me.  17 years later, I will admit this movie is not as funny as it was back then, but I do still find it very charming.  I don’t feel like it’s fair to judge the movie on how funny I find it now because I’ve seen it WAY too many times by now.  It’s always hard to tell how I’d react to it now if it was my first viewing.  The story of the movie is pretty negligible.  It’s mainly there just to give us something cohesive to pay attention to while stupid and funny things happen on screen.  It’s a buddy movie of sorts, and a travel movie of course, but there’s not much story going on beyond that.  But it sets up lots of classic moments that I still think about to this day.  The part where Lloyd gets Harry to bet that Lloyd will not be able to make Harry gamble on something by the end of the day would be cute on it’s own, but when Lloyd genuinely doesn’t realize that Harry agreeing to said bet caused him to win it made it funny.  Every time I see a squeeze bottle of ketchup and mustard, my brain returns to the scene right after Harry and Lloyd eat a hot pepper, and that scene has another funny moment where they accidentally kill one of their pursuers.  There are lines in this movie that I still use to this day.  I cannot count how many times “Yeeaaaah, he must work out”, “Samsonite!  I was way off!”, “Suck me sideways”, “Kick his ass, Sea Bass!”, and “I have a rapist wit” have come out of my mouth.  I’ve also said “nice set of hooters you got there” numerous times, but not usually in the same context.  There are times when they go for some shit humor that I don’t find as appealing today as I did when I was 11.  There’s an entire scene of Harry tearing it up in a toilet (with horribly realistic sound effects to accompany it) that is not as much in my comedy wheelhouse today, but I will defend the filling up the gas tank on the Shaggin Waggin with the gas tank nozzle located under the sheep dog’s lifted leg.  They set that up really nice and slow-like and then paid it off.

I still like all of the performances in this movie.  Jim Carrey is Jim Carrey, so I love him.  The man does broad comedies better that almost anyone else can, and this movie just lets the man do what he does best.  From him, we expect this.  From Jeff Daniels, we don’t.  Yet the man is still able to hold up his end of the bargain remarkably well.  He has a few solid comedic moments on his own in the movie.  I would say, however, that he made Harry nowhere near as dumb as Jim Carrey made Lloyd.  Lloyd was clearly the dumber to Harry’s dumb.  Lauren Holly didn’t have to do much in this movie, but boy did she look purdy.  She looked good in this movie, and even busted out a little bit of booty, but she didn’t do much for the comedy.  Comedy was more done to (or at) her, like when Harry smashed her in the face with a snowball.

I still like this movie a great deal, even if the comedy’s lost some of it’s effect on me over the years.  When I went to look at the overall score of the movie, I was surprised to see that Rotten Tomatoes gives this movie a mere 63%.  It’s a comedy classic, for crying out loud!  For anyone to call this movie dumb only serves to show their own ignorance.  Of course it’s dumb!  It’s in the friggin title!  You’re just saying that it lived up to expectations.  I personally cannot imagine a time where I won’t have some fondness for this movie, even if I don’t laugh hysterically anymore.  You should definitely buy this movie.  Dumb and Dumber gets “Just when I thought you couldn’t possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this … and totally redeem yourself!” out of “You can’t triple stamp a double stamp!”

Hey, peeps. Why not rate and comment on this as a favor to good ole Robert, eh? And tell your friends! Let’s make me famous!

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)


Whatever You Do, Don’t Fall Asleep

Today’s contribution to the last days of the October Horror-thon is a super overrated movie that a friend of mine told me I needed to buy because of how amazing it was.  Also, Loni can pay attention ’cause Johnny Depp is in this movie as well.  This movie is the original A Nightmare on Elm Street.  Go ahead, tell me I’m wrong.  I don’t see what everybody’s all on about with this movie, but let’s get to my review and you can see where I went wrong.  A Nightmare on Elm Street stars Robert Englund, Heather Langenkamp, Johnny Depp, John Saxon, Ronee Blakely, Amanda Wyss, and (for the second day in a row) Lin Shaye, and directed by Wes Craven.

This is probably a fairly familiar story to most people.  Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) did some bad things to children, but he’s dead now.  But Tina Gray (Amanda Wyss) is having dreams where a severely burned man is chasing her through a boiler room in his red and green striped shirt, fedora hat, and razor glove.  The next day at school, Tina’s friend, Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) confesses that she had a similar dream.  Nancy and her boyfriend Glen Lantz (Johnny Depp) decide to spend the night with Tina because she’s afraid.  Tina’s boyfriend, Rod Lane (Nick Corri), shows up to bang the bejesus out of her.  While she sleeps afterwards, Freddy reappears in her dream and proceeds to mutilate her as Rod watches, unable to do anything.  Rod runs as Nancy and Glen find Tina’s dead body, but shortly after, Nancy’s father, police lieutenant Donald Thompson (John Saxon) catches Rod and puts him in jail, suspecting he killed Tina.  Freddy starts going after Nancy in her dreams and also kills Rod in jail.  Nancy tries to stay awake as long as she can.  Her mother, Marge (Ronee Blakley), confesses that Freddy Krueger had gotten away with the bad things he did to children a while back and so she and the other parents burned him alive in a boiler room, and now he’s come back in their dreams for revenge.

Alright, let’s break this thing down piece by piece.  The premise of this movie is actually pretty solid.  The whole set up to Freddy as being a child killer and/or pedophile that was killed by the parents is a good thing, though I do wonder if pedophiles took that as a sign that this may happen to them.  “Sure, I’d get burned alive, but I would come back with super powers!”  The premise of being able to kill someone in their dreams is probably universally scary.  As I watched this movie, I kept thinking about what you would do in this situation, and there’s really nothing that can be done.  You can only stay awake for so long before you would either die or pass out without you being able to stop it, and then Freddy’s got you.  And the land of dreams is his territory, so I assume I wouldn’t be able to fight him very well or escape him.  And I know for a fact I’m not good at waking up, so I’d be a dead man.  Many horror movies since this have taken this path.  Basically you just look for something that people do and make it a way you could die in an awful way.  The Ring took watching a video and made it fatal, there were a couple movies about being able to die via cell phone, all sorts of movies use this method for scares.  Conversely, the dialog is nothing special and some of the writing is bad or cliche.  For instance, Tina’s boyfriend is the classic over the top douche that, of course, gets the girl.  And at least one of the cops is a complete moron because it prolongs the suspense.  Nancy is screaming out of windows that she’s breaking to get the cop from across the street to get her dad and he just watches her saying “I wonder if I should get the lieutenant…”

The visuals are kind of hit and miss in this movie.  There are some that are really cool and some that are just awful.  The classic scene of Freddy’s face and hands trying to push through the wall that warps out like rubber (probably because it was) and the light hits the top of it just looks awesome.  Shortly after that, Freddy’s walking awkwardly in a dream with pointlessly long arms, and that looks awful.  When he starts attacking Tina and cuts appear out of nowhere on her chest, the chest is horribly fake looking.  It’s not the same skin color – in fact it’s closer to gray – and you can see the little wrinkles in the rubber.  A similarly bad fake body comes up later when Freddy cuts into his chest, exposing green blood and maggots.  I realize this was 1984, but if you could see how good something looks to put it in the movie, you can see how bad something is and have them do it right.  Also, what the hell is it with Wes Craven and his deadly Home Alone pranks obsession?  He does that shit in here just like he did in Last House on the Left.  All sorts of things like gun powder on a light bulb, wire to trip over, hanging sledgehammer, etc.  It’s goofy, not scary.

The acting here is either nothing special or bad.  John Saxon probably tops it off with “nothing special”, Johnny Depp comes up slightly below that, and everyone else is pretty uninspiring.  The worst of them will be mentioned in the next paragraph.  The worst of these people was probably the guy that played Rod.  He was mediocre and annoying throughout the movie, playing the douche nozzle that shows up while his girlfriend is having a bad day to bang the sorrow out of her.  The worst part of him was when Tina was getting killed as he watched.  She was being dragged up to the ceiling by an invisible force while bleeding profusely from the stomach and chest, and the big hero here sat in the corner furthest away from her with his arm outstretched yelling “Tina!”  I feel like you could have burnt a few calories and got up and at least stood on the bed and swatted at her.  Lin Shaye was also in this movie, which I only noticed because she was in the movie I reviewed yesterday, Insidious, and it was interesting to see her.

Alright, here it comes … Freddy Krueger was the worst part of this movie.  Yeah, I said it.  I have talked about it a little already when I reviewed Freddy vs. Jason, but I do not get the appeal of this character.  He’s not scary.  He’s either goofy or annoying, and I imagine that’s not what you want out of your horror villain.  If he’s not spitting out stupid, vaguely threatening jokes, he’s randomly inflicting damage to himself, and that’s supposed to scare his victims.  One of the first things he does is say to Tina “Watch this” and proceeds to cut his own fingers off and laugh about it.  Later, for Nancy, he slices into his own chest for some reason.  Why don’t you shut up and get to killing, Krueger?  Now, to be fair, I don’t blame Robert Englund for this.  He didn’t write it, and I don’t imagine he was improvising.  It’s the fault of the writers.  And the fault of the 95% of people on Rotten Tomatoes that like this.

I’m happy to join the lower 5% on this movie.  Not a good movie.  Everyone ragged so hard on the remake with the dude from Watchmen, but that one was way better.  Jackie Earle Haley made a few jokey comments as Freddy, but mostly just got to the business of killing.  Not great, but better.  I say you can skip this movie, but statistically you have probably seen it and liked it.  Even so, I give this movie “I take back every bit of energy I gave you” out of “I’ll kill you slow!”

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.

Insidious (2011)


Words Are Worth a Thousand Words

Today’s addition to the October Horror-thon is a movie that I had gone to the theater earlier in the year by myself to see and, once I had, I could not wait to own it on DVD.  Instead, I bought it on BluRay and decided to review it along with the rest of the horror movies.  This movie is Insidious, directed by James Wan, and starring Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Ty Simpkins, Lin Shaye, Barbara Hershey, Angus Sampson, and Leigh Whannell.

Renai (Rose Byrne) and Josh Lambert (Patrick Wilson) have just moved into a new house with their kids.  One night, their son Dalton (Ty Simpkins) is exploring in the attic when one of the ladder rungs breaks and he falls down.  When the parents investigate he seems fine, but the next morning he won’t wake up.  Doctors tell them that Dalton is in a coma but they don’t know why.  They move Dalton back into the house for them to take care of and paranormal events start to take place while Renai is home, but Josh is skeptical.  When it finally reaches a boil, Josh agrees to move the family to a new house.  But the problem follows them to their new house so Lorraine (Barbara Hershey), Josh’s mother, contacts an old friend of hers named Elise Reiner (Lin Shaye), who firsts sends her two assistants, Specs (Leigh Whannell) and Tucker (Angus Sampson).  When they confirm that there is a ghost problem, Elise is brought in.  But she tells them that it is not the house that is haunted, it is their son.

I really dug most aspects of this movie.  The story of the movie is totally solid in most places.  The only place it kind of lost me was with all “The Further” nonsense, but it didn’t bother me enough to dampen my affection for the movie.  I found this movie to be totally scary and (surprise surprise) it had no real blood or gore to speak of!  How does that happen, 90% of all other “scary” movies?  It’s because they set a mood with almost every part of the production that made it more and more creepy.  As I said, I saw this movie alone in the theaters on the recommendation of my friend Jordan.  In the theater, I made the poor decision to sit with the theater entrance hall directly behind me.  The movie kept me so on edge through the movie that I was constantly looking behind me, not for ghosts or anything, but just in case some random stranger would walk up behind me and startle me.  Granted, that never happened, but that’s a major compliment to a movie to make me so paranoid like that.  And what makes it best for me is that this movie was scary without blood or gore even though the director started a series that exemplifies the movies that offer no scares and mostly just buckets of gore: Saw.  James Wan made the original Saw movie and started the whole mess of these crappy movies.  Now, I grant you that I liked the first Saw movie – the one he took part in – but he started the world onto that path that robbed me of more than a few dollars.  That being said, he did an exceptional job with this movie.

This movie uses a lot of stuff to keep you on edge.  The opening credits are a series of black and white photos, and most of them have something small and paranormal happen in them; small things like a chair moving or a man in the mirror.  And then … BAM! … the title of the movie pops out and startles you.  Now, generally I’m not a fan of people calling a startle a scare, but this movie didn’t do it very much.  It seemed to offer that one as a warning.  But most of the scary things happened subtly and shortly after hit you with a scary startling noise.  The part with the baby monitor was a startle (but it still got me even though Jordan had told me about that) and then later the part with the baby’s cradle happened, let you find out what was wrong, and then hit you with the creepy violin music.  And it had a lot of that creepy violin music, although it sounded more like a violin being raped with a power drill.  Not a criticism though, it created a lot of tension similar to the same kind of music used in the Dark Knight every time the Joker was on screen.  They also used something I like that I think Bioshock started and that is using really old music (like from the 50’s or something) in a creepy movie that just makes it creepier.  And this happened in a scene where they had a ghost appearance but made no attempt to tell the viewers about it.  I missed it the first time I saw it, but when Rose Byrne is walking down the hall in her new house, she walks right by the little boy ghost that appears proper shortly after, but she doesn’t see it, the camera doesn’t move towards it, and nothing happens to draw you to it.  It’s like an Easter Egg.  And I don’t usually catch that stuff, so I can assume there are more in other parts that I missed.

The performances were all great, as far as I’m concerned (though I suppose “as far as I’m concerned” doesn’t need to be added as these ARE my reviews).  Rose Byrne was great here and I had previously not seen her do a dramatic role.  She’s in a state of being distraught starting shortly after the movie starts and it just gets worse and worse for her as the movie goes along.  Her kid’s in a coma and she’s getting haunted and her husband won’t believe her and it’s just shoveling more and more on top of her situation.  Patrick Wilson has a different dramatic role, but almost as impressive.  He’s still distraught over his kid’s coma, but he also doesn’t know how to deal with the situation.  He wants to help his wife but also thinks she’s kind of crazy because he doesn’t believe what’s happening.  Lin Shaye was a pretty nice performance too because she seemed like a kindly older lady and really nice and sweet, but then she gets really serious and has a complete turn, but then goes right back to nice.  I also thought her assistants, Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson, were really amusing.  They were such total nerds and completely out of their element.  I liked seeing Barbara Hershey because one of the horror movies I had seen before this one was The Entity, which she stars in and is basically getting raped by a ghost for the whole movie.  I liked her performance in both movies, but the story of The Entity and some of the ways they told it were just goofy.

I recommend you go check out this movie while the Halloween time is right.  I bought this on BluRay, but I’ve also seen it available at many RedBox stands so you can get it there.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.  I give this movie a “I’m scared, Mom” out of “Follow my voice, Dalton!”

And, as always, please rate, comment, and/or like this post and others.  It may help me get better.