Saturday, March 27, 2010

Oh, The Horror! #49: Quarantined

Finally having seen this, this was probably the 4 or 5th time I've attempted to watch this movie and finally saw the whole thing. Not that the previous times I found it lacking or boring, I would just always fall asleep from tiredness or have been interrupted in someway shape or form. So finally about two months ago I was finally granted by the Fates to watch this film uninterrupted with the lights turned off with my wonderfully soft and warm cover. And wooo-boy was this fun! Now I have not seen the original but from what I hear, like nearly every remake, people were very annoyed that this film was made to begin with when you had the original titled REC from Spain. I've also read that both films are in fact nearly exactly the same, as the film seems to be a shot-by-shot recreation of the original. As someone who hasn't seen the original but only seen the remake, I have to say I'm definitely a fan and was entertained. I may have to look for the original to own if I found this remake so darn fun to watch.

The movie is filmed in a "found footage" style, the style of Cannibal Holocaust, Blair Witch Project, and recently Paranormal Activity. The movie begins with reporter Angela Vidal (played by very believably by Jennifer Carpenter) and her camera man Scott Percival (Steve Harris) filming footage introducing us to their next assignment where they follow a group of firefighters for the night. Through interviews and b-rolls, we're introduced to different firefighters, Jake (Jay Hernandez) and Fletcher (Johnathon Schaech), showing them the ins and outs of the fire station. Angela, who mentions when she was a kid wanted very much to be a fire-fighter, is anxious to get a call to go out and get some action. Boy, does that "Be careful what you wish for" saying come true. The crew gets a call and they rush over to a three story building where it seems everyone's in a panic. We meet the various tenants in the building and a police officer, Danny (Columbus Short) who isn't happy one bit when Angela and Scott get in his face with their camera, especially after shooting to death a tenant about to rabidly attack him. Angela's night of excitement is quickly halted after seeing an old woman get shot to death. This is no longer a "fun, laughing" matter. Her world will completely be turned upside-down by the end of this movie. The building suddenly gets sealed up as the tenants, including the cops, fire-fighters, and news crew get trapped inside of the building by what seems to be the government, cutting off their cable and cell phones. This ends up causing the building to become a death trap as a weird virus begins to trigger the tenants, bringing them into a state of rage as if being affected by rabies and attacking each other. The bacteria seems to be spread through biting and any type of saliva and while people begin to get infected one-by-one, there's seems to be no way out of this whole nightmare.

I absolutely enjoyed the heck out of this film. Having the film shot in found footage style really helps pull you into the action and it certain helps that the characters, actions, reactions, and decisions are entirely believable. None of the movements, specifically the camera, come out forced in anyway shape or form. It doesn't seem convenient that the camera was looking at a specific thing before an action took place. Cinematography through out was simply perfect. While I was enticed and having a ton of fun watching, as the movie progressed I really started to feel generally scared for the characters and would get annoyed when an infected character would come to cause terror. I laughed at how much I was into this film and I really wish I saw this in theaters to hear people shouting at the screen, "Run!" "Oh, you stupid bitch! Stop making noise!"

Directed by John Erick Dowdle, if you haven't seen this film I'd definitely recommend it. I feel with all I've been reading and what I've seen of this film, the film itself was recommending me to be interested to see the original which I plan to do now. Also take note of Doug Jones being in the film! I love Doug Jones! Yes, I said Doug Jones, so if anyone's familiar with that name, you know for sure what kind of role he'll be playing and of course he's as creepy as ever. And major props goes to the lead, Carpenter. Is it safe to call her a new-aged Scream Queen after this and her Exorcism of Emily Rose role where she was also excellent in?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Predators Trailer

Robert Rodriguez's upcoming Predators! I only recall him signing up for this film recently. And I'm still waiting for Sin City 2, dammit! C'mon, Robbie!!! But anywho, I have't seen the original two films in years, since I was a lil' kid. Hated Alien vs Predator despite drooling over Sanaa Lathan. Besides that... sign me up!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Oh, The Horror! #48: Angel Heart

A masterfully done film, one of my absolute favorites. Starring Mickey Rourke as Harry Angel, Robert De Niro as Louis Cyphre, and Lisa Bonet as Epiphany, a Vodou mambo, from start to finish you're hooked into this hard boiled noir inspired horror film. Alan Parker does a wonderful job crafting a film of complete and utter mystery, tension, and suspense. You're constantly at the edge of your mind wondering just where this film is going to go and the climax totally lives up. The tone given from beginning to end is creepy, enchanting, and pulls you in. From the music to the colors and the strong performances, you truly believe what you're watching. Is there a supernatural element to this movie? Is it all just in our heads or is the film tricking the viewer? You should see for yourself.

Harry Angel is a private detective hired by Louis Cyphre to look for a man who seem to have vanished off the face of the Earth, the man named Johnny Favorite. Harry searches high and low from NYC to New Orleans searching for Favorite. But things start to get highly tense when the the people Harry questions start to drop off like flies through disturbing ways. The cops start to pursue Harry along with other questionable people. He also meets Epiphany, a beautiful young Vodou priestess who's connected somehow, further entangling Harry into this strange web and world of Vodou.

I give this film full praises throughout from direction to overall production and acting. A lot of the tense moments are only pushed further by the fantastically strong performance of Mickey Rouke. I have to say from the different films I've seen played by Rouke, his turn as Harry Angel is by far my favorite, especially by the end of the film when everything gets revealed. De Niro clearly has a lot of fun in this weird role as Angel's client and Bonet is fine as a Vodou priestess. I'm impressed greatly in the scene where Bonet shows off her Vodou dancing skills along with a huge group of Vodou practitioners and Bonet really falls into character, making a sacrifice to whoever she's dancing to (why don't we find out she she is dancing to?). I also really adore the sex scene between Bonet and Rourke. A truly enticingly horrifying and mind-bogglingly scene, fantastically well shot with quick jump cuts and highly intense with blood dripping from the rain and pouring on the lovers. Definitely one of the very best "love" scenes I've seen in a movie that compliments well with the suspenseful tone of this masterpiece of a film. A highly recommend piece of art. If you haven't seen this do so. It's a wonderful film to add to your collection, whether you're a horror fan or not.

Also noted, I want to mention the special features from the DVD. There's a wonderful documentary going into details of the religion and practice of the Vodou religion in contrast to Hollywood Voodoo that's been pushed forth in movies. I loved this documentary and hope people check it out and don't have a close-mind of the belief and actually take into account just how much Hollywood and the media as tainted people's minds on the Vodou faith.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Oh, The Horror! #47: The Last House on the Left (Remake)

One of my god brothers introduced me to this film as he's a fan of both this and the original. I haven't seen the original and only heard about the movie until after the remake hit theaters. It seems my god brother is a big Wes Craven fan as he's introduced me to films such as People Under the Stairs and Serpent and the Rainbow. But anyways, he showed me this film and I can't quite say I loved it, but I was into it at least. The story follows a family, Emma (Monica Potter), John (Tony Goldwyn), and their daughter Mari Collingwood (Sara Paxton), who head out on vacation to their lake house. While convincing her parents to take the car and spend time with her best friend, Paige, they meet a young boy and got to his motel room and hang out. Everything is all fun and dandy until his father (Garret Dillahunt), uncle, and father's girlfriend come along and begin to torture Mari and Paige to the point of raping poor Mari in the woods. After all this, almost coincidentally (not too coincidentally, but whatev...), the criminal family make their way to John and Emma's home, both sides unsuspecting of their connection with each other. The tension between this is fairly well done and gets you interested in what's going to happen. It really becomes fun to watch when Emma and John figure out what these criminals have done and actually turn the tables on these killers and go all out on them.

This isn't a must see or total recommendation, but I do feel there are some winners in the film. The acting is fairly good, especially the main villain and the main parents (is Monica Potter trying to become a Scream Queen?). I really liked Potter in this film and I feel Paxton does some good stuff with her scenes. A lot of good tension rising moments throughout the movie but this film is rather passable although not terrible. The ending I felt could have been a lot stronger as I felt the protagonists could have done a bit more with the main villain, but that's just me... Nah, not just me, it would have been a stronger ending.

If you've nothing else to do, this is one of those films. Beyond that I wouldn't really recommend to go out of your way to catch this.

Directed by Dennis Iliadis.