Tag Archives: slasher

Slasher movie

Joy Ride 3 (2014) [Blu-ray Review]

Director: Declan O’Brien
Writers: Declan O’Brien, Clay Tarver & J.J. Abrams (characters)
Cast: Jesse Hutch, Kirsten Prout, Ben Hollingsworth, Ken Kirzinger, and Leela Savasta
Film is distributed by 20th Century Fox | IMDb/trailer

The latest in the Joy Ride franchise, Joy Ride 3: Roadkill, comes to us on Blu-ray this month to continue the sick trail of death by the hellish truck driver Rusty Nail. To be honest, Joy Ride 2 slipped right past me, and it’s been years since I saw Joy Ride, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this one. I ended up being pleasantly surprised though with this blacktop slasher. While the abundance of gore and campy humor kept me thoroughly entertained throughout, the story is where this film lacks. While the street race theme was interesting, and the film does show some nice chase scenes, the remainder of the film is a slasher-by-numbers picture. You pretty much expect what happens and when, however that doesn’t entirely keep some of the big scenes from being exciting.

The Blu-ray itself comes bundled with special artwork which is a nice thought but almost useless. Upon tearing the packaging open and attempting to remove the artwork card, it is stuck to the front cover with adhesive that one needs to be extra careful to remove in order to salvage any of the artwork. Next, the card itself does fit inside the Blu-ray case, but the top tab sticks out of the protected sleeve, so it’s bound to wear and tear while on the shelf. The quality of this DVD/Blu-ray combo is top notch though, as the release comes with many special features and the film itself looks great.

Overall Joy Ride 3 is about what you would expect for a straight-to-video slasher sequel, but that doesn’t mean it still can’t be a good time for horror fans. It has all the goods: good gore, intense car chases, and some humor.

As Night Falls (2010) [DVD Review]

Writer/director: Joe Davison
Rated: n/a (violence)
Cast: Lily Cardone, Debbie Rochon, Rod Grant, Daneen Melody, Julie Anne, Joe Davison, and Dwight Cenac
Film is distributed by Breaking Glass Pictures
IMDb/trailer | Official Facebook

As Night Falls movie review

As Night Falls opens up with a little girl running from a man wielding an axe. We learn that this girl’s name is Amelia and that man was her father, and her parents were indeed homicidal maniacs who wanted to put her to bed permanently. The film them jumps ahead 50 years to modern day when a young woman and her little sister move into the old house where the grisly events took place. The little girl has bad vibes from the beginning, and of course we know what’s in store.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this film aside from the cover art, which shows the lead holding a samurai sword standing between who one would assume are the two killer parents. That image should give one a good idea of what to expect, as the film really ends up being a kind of freak show with very weird events.

The storyline is where I mainly had a problem with the film. It opened up with the brief backstory, and Amelia’s ghost, in all her glowing ghost glory (I’m assuming the cheesy special effects were intentional), appears throughout the film, but I felt like nothing really tied it all together and felt fully explained. I found myself not caring about the story, and as the film went on, I cared less about the villains, even though I felt like they should have been main characters.

What really ended up having my attention and gave me the most enjoyment were the characters. The characters were very diverse and entertaining, and the cast really did a good job adding to their colorfulness. The movie mostly takes place at a house party type of setting, so there are plenty of scenes involving the cast of silly and interesting characters that had me laughing and actually caring about them in certain parts (but mostly laughing).

I ultimately was a little let down in the relatively weak story department. I’m down for a good killer-back-from-the-dead story, but I just didn’t think anything about it stood out and I would have like to have seen more focus have been on the villains rather than just them showing up only when trying to kill someone. On the topic of the gore department, the effects are pretty decent, while it wasn’t the slasherfest I would have assumed from the artwork, but still a good effort. I did end up laughing a lot with this one, so the cast really did save it for me.

Bereavement (2010)

Director:  Stevan Mena

Writer:  Stevan Mena

Cast:  Alexandra Daddario, Michael Biehn, Peyton List, Kathryn Meisle, and Nolan Gerald Funk

Rated:  R

Video Review | Rotten Tomatoes | Amazon

There are some evils…so unspeakable…they will scar you forever.

This film is directed by Steve Mena, the same guy behind such bloody independents as Malevolence and Brutal Massacre: A Comedy.  Bereavement is the second film, following Malevolence, in what looks too be a series.

The film opens on a boy being kidnapped.  To make things more interesting the boy has a condition where he cannot feel pain.  The mother describes the severity of the disease to a babysitter Shorty before he goes missing.  This man, who lurks in the shadows for the majority of the film, turns out to be a paranoid schizophrenic serial killer.  Flash forward a few years to the leading lady (Alexandra Daddario) going to live with her uncle (Michael Biehn) and his family.  She faces the usual “big city girl” in a small town problems.  For a while the film switches off between the killer training the young boy to kill and the leading lady.  Well she is eventually kidnapped herself.  This is when the film gets good and I will spare you the spoilers.

So I am being intentionally vague on the plot because it is what it is.  I hate to say it but this is a “paint by the numbers” entry into this subgenre of horror.  Not that that is a bad thing at all.  This film is actually very well made.  The director had obviously done his homework and manages to hit all of the high points.  Even though this film does follow a particular pattern it does offer some unique plot elements.

Personally, I did not get a lot of enjoyment out of this one.  Mainly this is because I generally do not enjoy this kind of film.  One could say that this is a love child of:  Hostel, Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Frailty.  I think that a lot of horror fans would like this more than I did.  Alexandra Daddario does a great job with the lead.  When I first saw her on screen I recognized her from Hall Pass.  Michael Biehn is another one of the best things about the film.  I was not expecting to see him in the film but it was a very pleasant surprise.  He should have gotten more screen time.  There are also some decent moments of gore throughout.

So if you like “torture porn”, “backwoods slashers” or just good movies I would recommend this one to you.

6.5/10

House of the Devil, The (2009)

Writer/director: Ti West
Cast: Jocelin Donahue, Greta Gerwig, Mary Woronov, and Tom Noonan
Rated: R (some language, gory violence)
Originally posted at www.criticnic.com
Watch itgirlxragdoll’s video review

The House of the Devil

Up and coming filmmaker Ti West (Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever) takes us back to the late 70s/early 80s with The House of the Devil, a film so influenced by those decades that it could easily be passed for a lost film of that era. From the film quality, the clothes, cars, music, and title sequence it has all that you would want out of an 80s horror flick. The film feels like a slasher mixed with a haunted house film, and topped off with a satanic cult movie. West, who also edited the film, executes it all perfectly.

The movie follows college student Samantha (Jocelin Donahue) when she responds to a babysitting advertisement. However the couple who posted the ad is elderly, and without a child. Going against the urge of her friend (Greta Gerwig; Nights and Weekends) and common sense, Samantha stays in the big old house anyway during the night of a much talked about lunar eclipse. Creepy old couple and a large dark house in the middle of nowhere, sounds like a good time!

From the sound of it, you’d think the film can’t miss. However, the middle portion of the film is so drawn out we forget we’re watching a film with any kind of story. Things kick back into gear at the end with some excellent creepy imagery and intense sequences, but the ending itself wasn’t quite satisfying for me personally. Throughout the film it felt as if there was a lot of build up for something big and revealing, but before you know it the end comes and goes.

Though the film fell short in a few areas for me, I still can’t help but praise West’s efforts and skill. There is a scene I absolutely loved with the lead dancing around the creepy old house with her Walkman playing “One Thing Leads to Another” which screamed 80s, but when looking at this scene in the whole film it seemed almost pointless. Perhaps West got too caught up in paying homage to the flicks he knows and loves. In the end I loved watching this film and the feeling a lot of the scenes gave me, but much of the story seemed to have got lost in the process. IMDb/trailer | Official movie site

Chain Letter (2010)

Director: Deon Taylor

Writers: Deon Taylor, Diana Erwin & Michael J. Pagan

Cast: Nikki Reed, Keith David, Betsy Russell, Brad Dourif, Ling Bai, Michael Bailey Smith, Noah Segan, Clifton Powell, Matt Cohen, Cherilyn Wilson

Rated: R (Blu-ray), DVD is unrated

IMDB | Chain Letter [Blu-ray] | Youtube Trailer | Youtube Review

 

Chain Letter had a limited theatrical run in late 2010 and was released on Blu-ray/DVD in the US on 02/01/11.  This was recommended to me by fellow House of Horror reviewer and founder Savini1979.  John and I are usually on the same wavelength on horror so I went ahead and made the purchase.  All in all this was a fun watch.  The film seemed very reminiscent of the teen slashers from the early 2000s such as Final Destination.  With a few spots of social commentary and excellent gore this one was not a disappointment to me at all.

The plot on this one is significantly predictable and far-fetched but don’t rule it out just yet.  A chain letter in the form of an email is sent out by a madman to the “usual suspects” group of teenagers.  If they delete the email then they will be murdered.   You all know how that is going to play out.  But I will tell you the ending will surprise you and is very much against the grain o f the average Hollywood horror these days.  I did enjoy the ending very much.

We also get some great co-stars from other horror films.  Brad Dourif and Keith David both have sizable roles in the film.  These are not the one scene brief cameos you may be expecting.  They actually have roles that are pivotal to the plot of the film.  Another face familiar to horror is Michael Bailey Smith.  Smith played Pluto in “The Hills Have Eyes” remake.  He adds some brawn to the lead bad guy (Chain Man) in the film.  I figured it was some wrestler playing the part until I saw the credits.

What sets this one apart from the flock is the gore.  The gore effects in the film are excellent and some of the best I have seen in some newer flicks.  Very original kills in this one…something you don’t really hear very often.  Multiple horror elements are combined to make a fairly convincing and scary killer.  The film also looks good on Blu-ray.  It has that “polished” look that most modern horror films have.

All things considered, I would recommend this one for a rental.   If you are a huge fan of slashers and love gore you may want to pick it up.  It looks great in HD and is still relatively inexpensive on Blu-ray.

6.5/10