• Jan. 22nd, 2015
  • 1 Hour 37 Minutes
  • Horror

 

The Boy is a horror film that follows Greta (played by Lauren Cohen) who on a mission to get away from previous events that have transpired in her life takes up a nanny job out in a mansion far away from city life. When she gets there however she soon finds out that instead of a child she will be watching a doll named Brahms that the parents believe is their child who died in a fire as a young boy. After receiving a very specific list on rules to follow with Brahms she soon starts to notice things happen throughout the house that makes her believe that this doll may be more then just a lifeless doll.

Now before I truly break this film apart I will say that for the most part Lauren Cohen does a good job in her leading role here. By no means is she amazing but compared to a lot of leading female roles in recent horror films she is near the top. There are only a couple characters other then her anyway and they all become instantly forgettable.

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Now The Boy itself as a film seems to want to be two different films. The first 3/4ths of the film are so think it is a tense suspenseful jump scare horror film building tension. Instead it is one slow brooding boring film. The pacing of it drags on so much that I nearly found myself zoning out trying to keep my attention focused on this. When the big twist reveal though happens it is like the film had just drank a case of red bull and starts going 100 MPH. Now it certainly gains one attention but not by necessarily doing it the right way.

Brahms the doll though is a decent tool to use in the film though and most certainly better then the other big doll film of recent times titled “Anabelle”. Once the end of the film comes though I felt as if they completely destroyed the allure of the doll itself in the twist.

The Doll in the end is another less then stellar PG13 horror film. With a horribly slow paced majority of the film mixed with a mediocre twist that speeds the film through in a rush this isn’t something I would strongly recommend. It is still better then Annabelle though so it does have something going for it.

 

Score :

 

3/10

 

  • Oct. 23rd, 2015
  • 1 Hour 46 Minutes
  • Action / Adventure

 

The Last Witch Hunter is an attempt to throw Vin Diesel at us in another hopeful action series while instead we are given a mixing pot of things where no one particular item seems to work.

We follow Kaulder (Vin Diesel) who as the title says is The Last Witch Hunter, a member of a clan whose goal it was to stop the witch queen from bringing a black death upon the world. Upon defeating her though and being the only one left standing he was also cursed with being immortal. Fast forward to modern day where Kaulder is mainly tracking down the last few random witches when the witch queen is brought back to life and goes after Kaulder.

Now with that somewhat generic story the film makes almost no attempt at creating anything interesting with it. We are given a slew of side characters none of which are particularly interesting or memorable and the story itself gives us viewers nothing to be intrigued with. I found myself not caring at all about the story or the random plot holes. An interesting fact though is that the film would given skip over facts we should know or give us too much info about certain things never really seeming to know what to tell the audience.

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Cast wise Vin Diesel plays the same role he has been doing for years the big action guy with a grunting voice that’s hard to understand. Michael Caine gets the best brief role as a priest while Elijah Wood seems to go from embarrassed to clearly phoning it in.

For being an action film though with some decent special effects mainly regarding the look of the queen witch the action scenes in this film are a bore. They seem too far paced being them with the scenes themselves being quickly cut and not fast enough to make it intriguing.

Overall The Last Witch Hunter seems to be the attempt at starting a new franchise but after the wreckage of this film I’d be surprised if we see the story of Kaulder return anytime soon.

 

Score :

 

3/10

  • Nov. 20th, 2015
  • 101 Minutes
  • Horror

 

#Horror is a film that tries to develop a huge message and really push something the entire film but ultimately falls flat in so many ways.

#Horror attempts to follow the message of cyber bullying by following a night at a slumber party with some 12 year old girls who after constant torment and ridicule turns deadly when one finally loses it and starts taking the girls out one by one while posting it all to social media for the world to see. Now they attempt to try to show the message of social media and bullying taking over yet more times then not the director seems to not truly know what he is going for. You get scenes fueled with early teenage hatred and mockery then the next moment sincere near confessions between them all. Throw in the fact that in the end every girl in the film suffer from some tiresome cliche that is in every other slasher film doesn’t add to the originality here.

So minding the cluster that is a coherent storyline, for some reason maybe in an attempt to keep your attention are constant camera cuts mixed with bright flashes to signal the social media they are using flashed across the screen in a seizure inducing attempt. After maybe the 3rd time of seeing it flashed across the screen it will make you want to just cut the movie off already, which isn’t a bad idea.

Don’t depend on the actors to add anything to the film either. Even though it is a cast of children primarily they are made to be the most annoying unlikable batch of characters in a recent film I can remember. I will give credit to Timothy Hutton for playing the crazy father in this film and giving the most over the top performance of the film but also the most fun the film has in one scene alone.

By the climax the film had failed to deliver anything special for me and failed to hit any deep seated meaning. What I instead had gotten was a generic slasher that thought it was a lot more then it turned out to be. This is just one film I can’t recommend.

 

Score :

 

2/10

  • Peaceville Records
  • Nov. 27th, 2015
  • Death Metal

 

Strung up and Gutted     
Skull Grinder      
Children of the Filth          
Sanity Bleeds     
The Withering Death     
Waiting for the Screams     
Return to Dead     
Autopsy are no strangers to metal, leading as one of death metals oldest and finest acts they are a well respected bunch. Coming off of two full length albums I rather enjoyed comes their new EP titled “Skull Grinder” which I feel could be split down the middle as almost two separate sounding records.

Starting off with tracks like “Strung Up And Gutted” along with “Skull Grinder” show off the death metal side that most have known to love. They feature blasting drums and fast riff filled guitars followed by Reifert’s deep heavy vocal style one would assume this EP will be a beater all the way through. Quickly however one starts to see different with tracks like “Sanity Bleeds” and “The Withering Death” which take a different route then the previous fast in your face attitudes that were already displayed. These tracks have a slower more sludgy and doom like sound to them. They aren’t horrible but I feel bring the album down a notch while taking you out of the aggression the beginning of the EP puts you in. The standout track comes later on in the form of “Waiting For The Screams” which is just a heavy yet melodic death metal track through and through.

Overall while this EP may not be horrible it’s varied enough to feel like a mixed bag never achieving perfection in one thing. Worthwhile for diehard fans but for newcomers I’d refer them to previous full lengths.

 

  • Oct. 9th, 2015
  • Thriller / Suspense
  • 99 Minutes

 

Knock Knock is Eli Roth’s newest film following The Green Inferno and just like Green Inferno, in short, this one is horrible as well.

When loving husband Evan is left home for work while his family is away, he gets a two female guests at his front door during a storm claiming to be lost. After letting them in and dirty escapades occurring we soon start to see that these two woman are not as safe as they appear to be as they start nearly torturing the man who opened his home to them.

While Knock Knock leaves the simple premise there they soon introduce many points in which I assume they want to make you think about. Throughout the horrible twists and moments that are presented during the film it’s sometimes hard to know who is the villain or who to root for. Do you hate Evan for cheating on his wife? Blame the women for setting him up? The longer the film goes the more it begins to make zero sense.

Keanu Reeves might be one of the best parts of the film. He plays his role well and for the most part is a likable character. Eli Roth again casts his wife Lorenza Izzo in a main role, where again you see that she can’t act to save her life. Between her, other lead actress Ana de Armas, and the dialog many scenes that should be serious instead turn into a bad comedy. It doesn’t help the film either that it has a incredible slow build up either, the film will very easily lose many during the beginning I’d imagine.

Overall Knock Knock is another bad strike for Eli Roth this year. Between a story that can’t decide what it wants to be, horrible acting and dialog, and a slow pace Knock Knock doesn’t seem to deliver in any aspects.

 

Score :

 

3/10

  • Oct. 16th, 2015
  • Action
  • 103 Minutes

 

The thought of Goosebumps movie starring Jack Black was met with many varied opinions when news had hit a while back, not only based on the casting decision but the fact of having a huge series of books with no connection being thrown into one film left fans worried. Upon release though I feel like everyone should be pleasantly surprised.

The story follows Zach, a teenage boy moving to a new small town with his mother who was hired as the high school principle. Soon though upon meeting the new girl next door and her odd overly protective dad he begins to think that something is wrong and upon breaking in with a new friend of his discover a room full of locked books. Accidentally unlocking one however he soon realizes that once opened the monsters from the Goosebumps book comes to life. Now with all the books being opened and destroyed by ringleader Slappy The Dummy, Zach, his new friends, and none other then the author himself RL Stine must figure out a way to capture the monsters and bring them back into the books.

Goosebumps keep the complex story at a minimum with the main premise of monsters destroying the city being the main focus, it does however throw in subplots of love, dealing with the death of a family member, friendship. being an outcast and standing up for your actions.  Unlike most children’s film that attempt to incorporate these views though I found them to actually work well for Goosebumps. Especially the love angle and being alone angles that are dealt with in the final act come across as genuine and actually manage to hit your emotions.

As for the monsters themselves the CGI in this film is quite incredible in bringing these beloved monsters to life. While of course everyone will wish their favorite one had more screen time, Goosebumps does manage to showcase a wide range of them. Making Slappy the leader of them was a wise move as well and anytime Slappy on screen brings a mix of comedy and horror that works great.

Jack Black as RL Stine works out a lot better then expected. Black plays a much more over the top and eccentric version of how Stine actually is. The side roles for the children are good enough to not worry about but Jack Black (and the monsters) steal the show.

Overall Goosebumps is a extremely enjoyable family friendly monster film. It does the Goosebumps name justice and hopefully kicks off a series of films like this.

 

Score :

 

7/10

  • Xbox One / PS4 / PC
  • Oct. 11th, 2015
  • EA / EA Digital Illusions CE

 

For years now fans have hoped for a new game in the Star Wars Battlefront series and when news finally hit that the next gen consoles would be receiving one made by EA and the guys that did the Battlefront games fans had high hopes for what they’ve been waiting years for. Sadly though it looks like our hopes should of been lowered some.

Battlefront online is mainly large scale battles with usually a objective at point to capture and defend in this beta. They have taken and used the Battlefield formula of game play style into this game so most fans should feel somewhat at home. They did seem to leave some features behind such as the slide (since it wouldn’t be practical I assume) and since you have a gun that fires lasers instead of reloading you simply can overcharge your gun which then prompts a active reload meter similar to Gears Of War.

For the game play though I often found it to be quite boring. Maps are wide and open and I often found myself wondering around only to be shot by someone far away blending into the bland maps. Since guns have no recoil really as well if you can hide well and are able to spot enemies you can be picking people off. Which brings me to my next point of just like the Battlefront games, spawn camping is a problem as numerous times I found myself spawning to make one step only to be gunned down.

As expected as well they have vehicles and items you can get throughout the map but sadly they are just displayed as icons and not as an actual item. You won’t be running up to a walker and climbing in, instead just running into something to then be teleported to one.

Visually I found the game to be lacking. Maps have a ever so generic look to them and in regards to one map is mainly just small white hills and holes in the ground. I thought for being a Star Wars game the maps would be much better with some detail. Also unlike the Battlefield games very little in this game is destructible.

Overall what I hoped for Battlefront ended up as a disappointment. Maybe things will be changed and the final game will be an improvement but as of now the beta has lowered my interest in the game to cancel my pre-order and maybe wait for a price drop.

 

Score :

 

3/10

  • Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4
  • Sept, 29th, 2015
  • Robmodo, Distruptive Games, Activision

 

In the past eras of gaming the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series are pumped out some of the most highly acclaimed games around though in more recent times they attempted to change the series only to lead to huge flops. Now though we have Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5, a throwback in an attempt to bring the ever so beloved series back to it’s roots. From the looks of it however they should of just left it alone.

Going back to the old school games, THPS5 has you going through a list of smallish levels completing goals ranging from Simon Says with skate tricks, collecting or destroying things, or putting you a timer to complete various things. Now this is like how the older games were, they did however take away the timer that would end you session and instead give you unlimited time between goals to skate around at your leisure. Sadly though all goals are just rehashed per level and become tiresome quickly.

Gone as well are interested level designs. Every level in the game just feels bland and uninspired. From generic skate park to a beach and a rooftop all levels just feel like they lack the substance for a fun session. No layouts with the intent for insane combos seem to be there but instead just ramps and rails are thrown around. Since THPS5 also has the graphics of a game made 10 years ago you will also notice the spotty textures and muddy looking levels along with constant clipping or seeing your character go through objects. Also with grinding they have implemented a new slam feature that instead of going straight into a grind slams your skater downwards. Now from the visual aspect alone this move looks ridiculous but from a game play standpoint it often killed momentum for me causing me to miss grinds or cause my player to glitch into something.

For being a newer game too THPS5 sure has a lot of moments which take you out of the game. Loading up a goal causes a loud screen as does finishing one. Loading up the instructions for said goal causes a wait, then accepting causes another wait. God forbid you mess up and have to restart because then you must wait again. It really does take you out of the feel of gameplay when occurrences like this constantly occur and from what modern games are doing to avoid these multi second pauses truly shows how far behind times this game is.

Another problem I found as well is that even if you pick single player after doing a goal I was often just thrown back into a online session. By doing so it often made the game slower almost as if it couldn’t handle it sometimes and added unwanted loading. Picking single player then was almost defunct if you wanted to completed objectives. I found the online freeskate pointless as well as it really just was people skating around each other in no one interacting or creating a unique online game at all unless you can get people to do co-op goals with you. Even there however the game is missing some key  online modes that were popular in former games.

From the fact that day one this game needed a major patch to make it even functional threw THPS5 a curve it couldn’t avoid. Even with the patch however the frame rate issues, glitches, technical pop ups and such are so major you just can’t ignore them. They are bad in single player but get almost unbearable with in user created levels sometimes making things unplayable. In single player games you sometimes have to pause and go to the goals option to start a goal because the icon in game won’t work to activate it or the fact that the game sometimes won’t even alert you to know that you unlocked enough stars to go to the next level. THPS5 will go down in 2015 for being one of the most unpolished games.

Overall THPS5 is just one big let down and to ask $60 for a game like this is just a joke. There really is nothing fun here, I found myself having fun skating around for a very minuscule amount of time. The game itself is just behind times, the age where a game like this being acceptable is long past especially when your asking such a high price for it. Adding in how unpolished this is just buries the game. THPS5 is bad, really bad and should be avoided like Tony Hawk Ride was.

 

Score :

1/10

  • Sept. 11th, 2015
  • Horror / Thriller
  • 94 Minutes

 

From the mind of M. Night Shyamalan who has thrown out an array of films ranging from great to downright horrible comes “The Visit” which will forever be towards the bottom of his list of films.

We follow two children, Becca and Tyler, who after convincing their mom finally decide to visit for their grandparents who they have never met before for a week. Soon after though they start to see that their grandparents may not be just as normal as they had hoped for and that the weird things that keep happening may be putting them at a risk they never expected.

Now The Visit is something that could be hard to make a spoiler free review about because as with most Shyamalan movies the entire film is a lead up to the twist and the last 15 or so minutes after that. Now the twist here is just one of many things wrong. I personally found the huge shocker presented in the film to be incredibly odd and not in a good way. It really is just thrown there while also commonly being guessed about half way through the film. To try and deter this though they throw an entire aliens sub plot in the film that ultimately goes no where and leads to nothing. As with most things in this film it just adds nothing.

For being a thriller / horror film as well I didn’t find either aspect there. The Visit sometimes seems to forget what it is going for. Part thriller, part comedy, part horror, part heartfelt film yet none of them truly work. I will say the heartfelt more emotional scenes they added to the story were vastly out of place and not needed at all. I felt like they had someone brought the film down even more.

Overall The Visit ends up being a boring film to view based off a bad story, a twist that makes you laugh at it, and just too many scenes meant to be heartfelt or suspenseful or scary that end up being boring and laughed at. M Night Shyamalan was hoping for a comeback but instead I he delivered another flop in my eyes.

 

Score :

 

2/10

  • August 23rd, 2015
  • Horror
  • 14 Minutes

El Gigante was a short film shown before “Cannibal Holocaust” as part of Bruce Campbell’s Horror Film Festival and this without a doubt, by far, is my favorite horror short film I’ve ever had the honor to see.

For being a short film El Gigante manages to give you enough of a story to build up for the events that happen. We see a man, seemingly attempting to cross the border when he meets another man who tosses him what appears to be water only for the liquid to then knock him unconscious. He then awakens inside a wrestling ring with a mask sown onto his face and neck only to realize that he is about to have to fight for his life against a giant luchadore while his family of cannibal psychos watch.

From here on we witness one of El Gigante’s strongest suits which is the make up and effects. For a budget of around $8,000 this short film has better looking make up and blood then most big budget films. The blood looks the right tone of blood and thick enough while the makeup and masks done are just phenomenal. Even the smaller things like seeing the mask sown onto the guys neck is just amazing.

The cinematography though in this film truly puts it into big budget films. From being able to catch the perfect action moment with the right lighting to knowing the best angle or location to shoot shows that directors Co-Director Luke Bramley and Director Gigi Saul Guerrero have a long future ahead of them.

El Gigante is a film that everyone should watch, go into it with little knowledge and I promise it’ll have to talking about it with everyone that listens. El Gigante is the perfect short film, one I hope to see expanded one day, and one that everyone should watch. No questions asked.

Score :

10/10

Press Pass Provided By Wizard World & Film Viewed As Part Of Bruce Campbell’s Horror Film Festival