Movie Review – Maggie (2015)

Maggie
Directed by Henry Hobson
Courtesy of Lionsgate
Release Date: July 7, 2015

maggie-blu-ray

Don’t let the title of this film fool you. This is not a romantic comedy or a children’s film. On the contrary, this is a dark drama that uses society on the brink of collapse due to a zombie apocalypse as its stage. And where the title can be misleading, the scope and direction of this film are blatantly evident. The resulting movie is a dramatic masterpiece of grand design.

If you are not familiar with MAGGIE, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Lionsgate:

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Academy Award nominee Abigail Breslin, and Joely Richardson star in this post-apocalyptic thriller set against the backdrop of a deadly epidemic. As the nation reels from a lethal virus that turns its victims into zombies, Wade’s (Schwarzenegger) daughter, Maggie (Breslin), has been infected. Now, as Maggie’s condition worsens, Wade will stop at nothing to protect her from the authorities seeking to kill her to eradicate the virus.

I loved this movie from the opening scenes, and I would go so far as to state it’s one of the better zombie films I’ve seen this year. It is full of dark overtones, and it makes the viewer think about morality in several aspects. Director Henry Hobson skillfully blends drama with terror, and the finished product is a movie worthy of applause.

MAGGIE is shot very well and looks great onscreen. The imagery is not bright and vibrant, but more dull and lifeless…which fits the tone of the film perfectly. It is meant to be that way, and in turn, the movie has an edgier, grittier feel to it.

The acting is superb. I’ve heard many people claim Arnold Schwarzenegger cannot act, but I’ve always disagreed. This film showcases his wide emotional range. He is more than just an action star…he’s an actual person with a dramatic sense about him. Likewise, Abigail Breslin does an excellent job with her role as well. She personifies a typical teen, trying to be like others while she’s dying (literally) on the inside.

The special effects in MAGGIE are top notch as well. The makeup used for the infected is very realistic and creepy. Along those same lines, the zombie effects are awesome as well. I particularly like how the eyes of the zombies are darkened; they look soulless and evil.

If I were forced to find a flaw with MAGGIE, I might have to mention it is a bit slow at times. Granted, it’s more of a drama than a horror flick, however the plot almost crawls at a couple of points. But the film clocks in at only 95 minutes in length, so these moments are few and far between.

MAGGIE is a big win for me, and I highly recommend it. This is not a traditional zombie movie, so don’t expect to see scores of the living dead hunting people down. But there are plenty of chills and frights for horror fans. Be sure to check it out on Blu-ray, so you can experience the HD picture and sound. The film will be available next week, so make a note.

MSB

Book Review – At Hell’s Gates: Origins of Evil

At Hell’s Gates: Origins of Evil
by various authors
Publisher: At Hell’s Gates.com
Release Date: February 1, 2015

at hell's gates

When I first read the blurb about AT HELL’S GATES: ORIGINS OF EVIL, I thought to myself, “What a perfect title for an anthology!” Hell is always an interesting backdrop for horror stories, and the gates of hell make for a more specific setting for terror to unfurl. I am excited to promote this anthology, but not just because of the title. The tales within this collection are all excellent for various reasons, and the authors who wrote them are all talented. But this book is also being used to promote a worthy cause. Thus, this anthology is a win-win, all the way around.

If you are not familiar with AT HELL’S GATES: ORIGINS OF EVIL, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of amazon.com:

Welcome back to Hell’s Gates! The palpable sense of dread may seem familiar, but this time things are a bit…different. Fresher. Newer. As though just recently born… See that squealing baby over there? He could grow up to be a lifesaving doctor (or perhaps the antichrist.) What about that scientist burning the midnight oil? He could be working on a bug zapper (or a doomsday device.) Did you catch that comet out of the corner of your eye? It might bring good luck (or an apocalyptic plague.) Yes, every darkness has a source, every monster has a birthplace, and every evil has an origin. In the second volume of the #1 Bestselling AT HELL’S GATES series, twenty-three of the finest dark fiction authors working today will force you to witness the ORIGINS OF EVIL. Each unique tale of terror traces an unspeakable horror back to its very beginning. All proceeds from this horror anthology series go to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, a charity benefiting military veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. The authors and editors of this series are pleased to donate their time and effort to a truly worthy cause. So sit back, relax, support a fine charity, and enjoy twenty-three tales of dawning calamity from some of horror fiction’s leading lights.

I am a huge supporter of our armed forces and any cause that works to support them. As such, organizations like The Wounded Warrior Project and The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund are certainly to be commended in my eyes. One of the coolest aspects of this book is that proceeds from the sales of this anthology are donated to The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. So not only is it entertaining, but it is being used to do some good.

As I mentioned, every story in AT HELL’S GATES: ORIGINS OF EVIL is written well and flows smoothly. A couple take a bit to get going, but this is a minor detraction and takes nothing away from the collection as a whole. The authors showcased here are very talented, and I would wager many (if not all) will have long, successful careers in the industry.

I particularly like how broad the usage of the subject matter is. Some stories utilize the concept of the book’s title literally, while others use it metaphorically. This diversity is nice and works well to satisfy the collection’s overall theme.

One of my favorite stories in AT HELL’S GATES: ORIGINS OF EVIL is “Operation Devil Walk” by David Mickolas. This tale is set in World War II and chronicles a British Commando Team who is sent to infiltrate a secret Nazi sect. In addition to great fight scenes, the story combines a heightened sense of tension with some truly horrific imagery. This might be my favorite story in the whole book.

AT HELL’S GATES: ORIGINS OF EVIL is a major win for me, and I highly recommend it. Fans of horror will want to eat this up, and those interested in quirky literature will want to give this a look as well. But if you’re wanting a unique way to support our troops and their families, this will satisfy that as well. The book is available now in a variety of formats.

MSB

Movie Review – A Blood Story (2015)

A Blood Story
Directed by Joe Hollow
Courtesy of Brain Damage Films
Release Date: June 9, 2015

a blood-story

The Fountain of Youth and legends of that sort have interested me for as long as I can remember. I am fascinated by the fact many of our ancestors believed in a few of these legends and some spent their whole lives searching for them. But I had never really considered using any of them as a backdrop for a horror film. The concept of A BLOOD STORY is interesting for sure, however the execution of this film feels lacking. As a result, I cannot say I’m overly impressed with director Joe Hollow’s latest release.

If you are not familiar with A BLOOD STORY, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Brain Damage Films:

Madison Sheffield is a former high fashion model whose career ended when she was horrifically disfigured by her ex-husband. Madison turns to a quieter life as a novelist. In researching for her latest book, Madison finds herself increasingly obsessed with the Fountain of Youth. While staying at a luxury villa rumored to be near the fountain, Madison meets two mysterious men. They become the pawns in a twisted game. Little do they know the residents of the villa have their own plans, as an ancient evil is resurrected, resulting in a blood-drenched truth of an age-old legend. The evil that follows is delved in the deepest of historical secrets.

I really wanted to like this movie as I went into it. I love the title, and as I mentioned, the idea is interesting. But unfortunately there are simply too many flaws with it.

A BLOOD STORY is shot decently, although the cinematography is a bit lacking when it comes to wide-angle shots. What I mean here is that 90% of the shots are tight, close angles that do not show much of the background or surrounding sets. I’m assuming this was done because of budget limitations…but some diversity in the camerawork would have been nice.

The acting is not terrible, but I don’t think any members of the cast will be winning any acting awards anytime soon. Camden Toy is probably the highlight of the cast; fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (like me) will remember him as the Ubervamp. Toy gives a chilling performance, however some of his dialogue is a bit over the top.

The special effects in A BLOOD STORY are decent, although some of the blood starts to look a bit odd after a while. This is particularly evident during the bath scenes, where Madison is bathing in virgin’s blood. Sometimes, the color of her bath looks good and realistic…other times, it looks more orange than red, which makes the scene almost laughable. This is probably me nitpicking, but I feel I have to mention it.

The storyline is probably the strongest aspect of this film. It is intriguing and begs to be fleshed out. But even so, it just never clicks. There are certain things about it that don’t make sense. For example, who or what is the old hag that haunts Madison’s visions? We see her several times, but nothing is ever mentioned about her.

Overall, I have to classify A BLOOD STORY as a disappointment. It’s ok, but nothing I will recommend to you to check out. Hopefully, director Joe Hollow’s next project will be better. A BLOOD STORY is available now if you decide to give it a look.

MSB

Movie Review – Last Knights (2015)

Last Knights
Directed by Kazuaki Kiriya
Courtesy of Lionsgate
Release Date: June 30, 2015

last knights

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a decent fantasy flick, so I figured I was due. I love fantasy and sci-fi almost as much as I love horror, so I try to venture into those genres every once in a while. When I read the plot synopsis for LAST KNIGHTS, I knew I had to give it a look; I like Clive Owen and I’m a huge fan of Morgan Freeman’s acting, so this was a no-brainer. Thankfully, the movie delivers as well. Although the storyline might sound familiar, the film itself is taut and riveting, a welcome addition to the fantasy genre.

If you are not familiar with LAST KNIGHTS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Lionsgate:

Clive Owen delivers an electrifying performance as a fallen warrior who rises against a corrupt and sadistic ruler to avenge his dishonored master (Morgan Freeman) in this epic, sword-clashing adventure of loyalty, honor, and vengeance.

Fans of cinema will probably be able to discern this film’s origins. If you are not well versed in the cinematic world, LAST KNIGHTS is a retelling of the 47 RONIN tale. Granted, this version takes several liberties, however the basis of the story is the same.

LAST KNIGHTS is shot well and looks decent onscreen. Surprisingly, several of the nighttime scenes appeared grainy on the Blu-ray I watched. I’m not sure if the lighting was too poor or if the camera that was used was just not up to par, but I think the picture quality could have been better. This only happens a couple of times, and the scenes are brief, so this isn’t a huge detractor.

The acting in LAST KNIGHTS is great, with Owen and Freeman offering their usual standard of excellence. I am also impressed with the performance of Aksel Hennie, who plays the villain, Gezza Mott. Hennie’s Norwegian accent gives his acting a unique flair, an attribute that people probably either love or hate; for me, it works, and it adds a new level of menace to his character.

As mentioned above, the story within LAST KNIGHTS is familiar, however I enjoy seeing it in a different setting. The concept of honor is something almost lost to modern-day society, so films that hold it in such high regard are a nice change of pace from most of what Hollywood spits out these days. The film does not bring any new viewpoints or twists on this story, but it still works nonetheless.

LAST KNIGHTS is a win for me, and I recommend it. There are only a couple of fight scenes throughout the film, which is a small letdown, but the fighting is only a tiny component of the film. Watch this for the relationships between masters and their retainers, as well as concepts of loyalty and honor. The film will be available next week, so make a note.

MSB

Movie Review – Der Samurai (2015)

Der Samurai
Directed by Till Kleinert
Courtesy of Artsploitation Films
Release Date: June 9, 2015

dersamuraicover

I have to state up front that DER SAMURAI is one of the strangest films I’ve seen in a while. It is wildly entertaining and has some great gore…but it also defies classification. Part horror, part fantasy, and part surrealistic fever-dream, this is one movie you won’t forget after you watch it.

If you are not familiar with DER SAMURAI, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Artsploitation Films:

A shape-shifting, cross-dressing psychopath wielding a samurai sword cuts a bloody swath of carnage through a small German village in this surreal mix of violence, sexual desire and dark comedy that recalls early David Lynch. The only person to confront this decapitating murderer is an uptight young policeman whose pursuit soon becomes a deadly game of cat-and-mouse as an odd bond forms between the two men. Completely bizarre yet wildly entertaining, DER SAMURAI is a horror must-see for the adventurous!

Now, don’t get me wrong: I really enjoyed the film, and I plan on revisiting it sometime soon. But if you’re looking for a movie with explanations as to what’s going on or why, do not expect anything like that from this one. But if you’re searching for hardcore bizarreness with a lot of lopped-off heads and craziness, then you’ve come to the right place.

DER SAMURAI is shot well and looks great onscreen. The production value appears fairly high, and the result is a great-looking film that appeals to the eyes.

The acting is very good, with Michael Diercks in the lead role as Jakob, and Pit Bukowski playing Der Samurai. Both do a superb job with their portrayals, although I think Bukowski deserves special recognition for his role. Pulling off a cross-dressing psycho is probably not an easy task, but he certainly makes the character an icy individual I would hate to meet in a dark alley.

The special effects in DER SAMURAI are excellent, and there’s plenty of carnage to go around. Der Samurai takes pride in lopping off his victim’s heads and then displaying them on sticks with psychotic abandon. This nonsensical violence is part of what makes the film so much fun.

The other aspect is the storyline. Not much is explained, but it doesn’t really have to be. We have a simple cat-and-mouse thriller that keeps the audience enthralled. It’s pretty cut and dry. A discussion about who Der Samurai is and why he does what he does would have been nice, but the lack of it doesn’t really detract from the film overall.

DER SAMURAI is a big win for me, and I recommend it to anyone looking for something different. I’m pretty sure the film won’t appeal to everyone, as it has a bit of an artistic flair, but it’s entertaining and weird, a violent trip into insanity. If you can stomach it, give it a look.

MSB

Book Review – Inkblots and Blood Spots by Michael Bailey

Inkblots and Blood Spots
by Michael Bailey
Publisher: Villipede Publications
Release Date: November 25, 2014

inkblots

I’ve said this many times before, but I never get tired of saying it: I love short stories, particularly those in the horror genre! Seems like I find a new anthology every other day, and my appetite for these collections never wanes. I say, ‘Keep ‘em coming!’ INKBLOTS AND BLOOD SPOTS is a collection of stories and poems from acclaimed author Michael Bailey, and the book is aptly named: there’s plenty of skill in the written word here, as well as massive doses of terror. Throw in some excellent artwork by Daniele Serra, and you have a book of tales that every fan of horror fiction will want to own.

If you are not familiar with INKBLOTS AND BLOOD SPOTS, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Villipede

From the mind of award-winning author and editor Michael Bailey comes Inkblots and Blood Spots, a painfully beautiful collection of short stories and poetry that reaches deep into the imagination, breaking hearts and boundaries along the way…

In a lyrical and uninterrupted dance, Bailey entwines evocative literary short fiction with rhythmic poetry and comes full circle in one seamless collection. His stellar performance is accompanied by the stunning artwork of Daniele Serra, winner of the British Fantasy Award, and an Introduction by the legendary Douglas E. Winter.

Stories include the Bram Stoker nominated “Fireman / Primal Tongue,” which also received an Honorable Mention for Year’s Best Horror; “Dandelion Clocks,” a haunting, melodic tribute to the tragedy of 9/11; “I Wanted Black,” where a young boy’s birthday is anything but cause to celebrate; “Mum,” a tale of two sisters unfolding like the bandages on their mother’s badly burned body…

Take a surreal stroll through a carnival in “Underwater Ferris Wheel,” where the biggest attraction may be your last ride; witness a pregnant woman’s harrowing encounter with soul-stealing faerie in “Not the Child”; and find out why it gets cold in a little girl’s room at night when she sees “A Light in the Closet.”

The cover art for this book is striking and powerful, a nice draw to pull in potential readers. I have to admit it is a big part of what prompted me to start reading it in the first place. I’m happy to report the stories within live up to and exceed the visuals on the cover.

Each story in INKBLOTS AND BLOOD SPOTS is written well and carefully constructed. Bailey does a great job with pacing, and he has a knack for packing a punch in a minimal number of words. The book contains several stories that are very short, but they are still able to knock the reader off his or her proverbial feet. I love this aspect, as it truly highlights the skill of a talented author.

One of my favorite stories in this collection is “The Mascot”. In this tale, a couple in a truck hit something on a desolate roadway and stop to check it out. Unfortunately, they find out too late that everything is not as it seems, and things do not end well. This is one of those ‘short’ shorts that is told in only a couple of pages. I like the impact the story has with so few words.

INKBLOTS AND BLOOD SPOTS is a major win for me, and fans of horror fiction will definitely want to check this out. I highly recommend this collection, and I cannot wait to see what Bailey has in store for us next. The book is available now in a variety of formats.

MSB

Blu-ray Movie Review – Island of Death (1976)

Island of Death
Directed by Nico Mastorakis
Courtesy of Arrow Video and MVD Distribution
Original Year of Release: 1976
Blu-ray Release Date: May 26, 2015

island

After ISLAND OF DEATH ended and the credits rolled, I had to sit there for a few minutes and think about what I had just witnessed. I had seen carnage and mayhem combined with dark humor and a lot of nudity. But was it good? I ultimately decided ‘yes’. It is a quirky and strange film, but both in a good way. The fine folks at Arrow Video and MVD Distribution certainly know how to pick them, and this movie is a perfect example of that!

If you are not familiar with ISLAND OF DEATH, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Arrow Video:

THE LUCKY ONES GOT THEIR BRAINS BLOWN OUT!! Welcome to Mykonos, the holiday destination of choice for sun, sea and slaughter! From cult director Nico Mastorakis, Island of Death is a travelogue of atrocities with scenes so strong that the British Government was once compelled to ban it as a “video nasty”. Arriving on the idyllic Greek island, Christopher and Celia appear to be every inch the perfect, handsome young couple. Little do the welcoming locals realise that they are in fact a pair of murderous degenerates, determined to spread their own particular brand of perversion across the island. DIY crucifixions, opportunistic bestiality, sexual peeing and murder by all conceivable forms ensue – including death by makeshift blowtorch, samurai sword, dump truck and more! Shocking, brutal and totally politically incorrect in its outlook, Island of Death is a gruelling cinematic experience devised by director Mastorakis to out-do the excesses of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, which he was hugely inspired by. Now fully uncut and newly-restored from the original negative, fans can enjoy Island of Death in all its sleazy, lurid glory.

I have to confess I had a lot of fun with this one. It pretty much starts off as a simple weekend getaway for ‘the couple next door’, but then turns south real fast. The resulting blood-drenched vacation is a thrill-ride of monumental proportions, and that is not something said lightly! But be warned: you’ll see MANY things in this film that you won’t be able to get out of your mind for a while.

ISLAND OF DEATH is shot fairly well, but the HD restoration makes the picture look excellent. I would have no problem believing it was shot in recent years, thanks to the painstaking Blu-ray transfer. From the corny 70’s music to the dated fashions, the high quality picture and sound of this film will transport you straight to the 70s.

The acting is decent, although it certainly could have been better. Still, it’s a higher quality than most B-movies, so I can’t complain about it too much. Co-lead Robert Behling went on to act in several projects after ISLAND OF DEATH, including THE BLACK STALLION RETURNS and Stephen King’s CUJO, however actress Jane Ryall (Lyle) pretty much fell of the planet. Interestingly, there are no supporting cast performances that jump out, either.

The special effects in ISLAND OF DEATH are pretty good, although they once again appear dated. The blood we get to see (and there’s a lot of it) is just a tad too bright, but this doesn’t really detract from the film as a whole. I like the ingenious ways the couple find to kill people, too. Some are just downright inventive.

The story in ISLAND OF DEATH is lacking because nothing is ever explained. We don’t know who the couple really is (except for the ‘big reveal’ at the end, which made me smile) or why they do what they do. Surprisingly, this doesn’t hurt the movie at all as a whole, but I personally would have enjoyed even a little bit of backstory.

I was interested to learn (from the Trivia section of the movie on IMDB) that director Nico Mastorakis was primarily motivated by money when he made this film. THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE had raked in some big box office grosses, which is what prompted him to make ISLAND OF DEATH. But genre fans cannot deny the impact (and entertainment) this film has provided for the horror world. And thanks to Arrow Video and MVD Distribution, a new generation of fans will be able to enjoy it in a high-definition way.

I recommend ISLAND OF DEATH, and I suggest you pick up this excellent Blu-ray as soon as possible. Additionally, it features:

* Brand new 2K restoration of the film from the original camera negative, approved by writer-director-producer Nico Mastorakis
* High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
* Original Mono audio (uncompressed PCM on the Blu-ray)
* Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
* Exploring Island of Death – film historian Stephen Thrower on the making of a cult classic
* Return to Island of Death – Mastorakis returns to the original Mykonos locations
* Archive interview with Mastorakis
* Alternative opening titles
* Island Sounds – five original tracks from the Island of Death soundtrack
* Original Theatrical Trailer
* The Films of Nico Mastorakis – four-part documentary charting the director’s filmmaking career [Blu-ray only]
* Nico Mastorakis Trailer Reel [Blu-ray only]
* Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
* Fully-illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing by academic and film historian Johnny Walker

MSB

Movie Review – Final Prayer (2015)

Final Prayer
(aka The Borderlands)
Directed by Elliot Goldner
Courtesy of Lionsgate
Release Date: February 24, 2015

FinalPrayerArt-724x1024

I first heard about FINAL PRAYER (aka The Borderlands) a couple of months ago while perusing the Internet for horror lists; yes, I’m one of those geeky folks who like to hear what others think, and Best/Worst Lists are a great place to hear about obscure film titles. The particular list this film occupied was 10 Goriest Film Scenes Ever (click here to read the list for yourself, however be warned: major spoilers here). FINAL PRAYER made it to #9 because of its ending scenes, which DO make your cringe…although I’m not sure I would classify them as part of the 10 Goriest Film Scenes Ever. Still, they pack a punch, and when combined with the rest of the film, they offer a chilling end to a creepy and haunting movie.

If you are not familiar with FINAL PRAYER, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Lionsgate:

When a church in a remote area reports strange happenings, a team of Vatican investigators descends upon it to demystify the unusual sounds and events, but what they discover is more disturbing than they had first imagined.

I know the found footage sub-genre of horror is saturated with titles, both good and bad. But this film definitely deserves to be on the Good list. Granted, it’s not perfect, but it’s close.

FINAL PRAYER is shot fairly well for a found footage film and looks good overall. I particularly like the church location. This foreboding structure exudes an air of menace at first sight, and it is the perfect place for unholy events to unfold.

The acting is pretty good, with Gordon Kennedy and Robin Hill portraying the main characters. Both give decent performances, however I cannot say they are outstanding. Hill’s character (Gray) is a little over the top, while Kennedy’s Deacon is almost too stoic to be believable. Still, they are both passable as damaged characters who experience a terrifying situation.

The storyline in FINAL PRAYER is intense and horrifying. After a bit of a slow start, the movie picks up about halfway in and takes the viewer on a heck of trip into terror. The resulting climax is satisfying for the most part, however I will say it is a bit rushed. The viewer also has to read into previous implications to completely grasp what is happening. I sorta knew what was going on because of the list I mentioned earlier, however I can see where confusion might creep in for someone not paying attention.

I really enjoyed FINAL PRAYER, though, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a decent found footage flick. The film is available now in a variety of media forms if you decide to give it a look.

MSB

Movie Review – Time Lapse (2015)

Time Lapse
Directed by Bradley King
Courtesy of XLrator Media
Release Date: June 16, 2015

time lapse

I love movies about time travel, particularly those that try to negate or even preempt the paradoxical issues involved. Many of the films I’ve seen that address this subject are intelligent and clever, however a handful stand out above the rest. I am proud to add TIME LAPSE to this elite few. This film is a slick sci-fi thriller that entertains on every level, and I can see myself revisiting this one very soon. It is simply that good.

If you are not familiar with TIME LAPSE, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of XLRator Media:

A science fiction thriller with a mind-bending premise, TIME LAPSE explores the possibilities of time travel via a camera that takes pictures 24 hours into the future. When three friends discover this mysterious machine, they conspire to use it for personal gain, until disturbing and dangerous images begin to develop and tear their relationship apart. Starring Danielle Panabaker (“The Flash”), Matt O’Leary, and George Finn, TIME LAPSE combines edge-of-your-seat suspense with provocative ideas about pre-determination and free will.

I had high expectations for this film, but I wasn’t prepared for just how much fun it really is. The story is engrossing, the acting is superb, and the concepts…wow. They truly boggle the mind. I’m one of those geeky guys who likes to discuss and debate the plausibility of time travel, so if you’re a fellow geek, this movie is definitely for you.

TIME LAPSE is shot well and looks great onscreen. The production value appears high, although I have to confess I have no clue what the film’s budget was.

The acting is superb, with Danielle Panabaker, Matt O’Leary, and George Finn giving excellent performances. These three have great onscreen chemistry, and they seem to have no trouble bringing their characters to life. I also enjoyed seeing John Rhys-Davies in a cameo role as Mr. Bezzerides. He doesn’t have much screen-time (barely any at all, except in the Deleted Scenes), but Rhys-Davies always delights, regardless of his role.

The special effects in TIME LAPSE are almost nonexistent, however the machine (camera) looks impressive, much like something of that nature would be expected to appear. The story is the real winner, though. This tale is a carefully constructed and well-executed thriller that will keep you riveted until the end. And there’s even a nice twist I didn’t see coming, as well.

TIME LAPSE is a major win for me, and science fiction buffs will want to check this out soon. You don’t have to have a high IQ to enjoy this one, either. It doesn’t propose mind-bending physics or dabble too much in the paradoxic issues, but instead offers a curious and yet terrifying glimpse into the ‘what-ifs’ of the situation. TIME LAPSE is available tomorrow, and I recommend giving it a look.

MSB

Movie Review – The House With 100 Eyes (2015)

The House With 100 Eyes
Directed by Jay Lee & Jim Roof
Courtesy of Artsploitation Films
Release Date: June 16, 2015

House-with-100-Eyes-DVD-610x865

When I realized this film was directed by the same guys responsible for ZOMBIE STRIPPERS!, I wasn’t sure what to think. Should I expect campy comedy? Or was this an attempt at serious horror? Regardless of which direction these guys took, I figured I was in for fun. And boy, was I right! THE HOUSE WITH 100 EYES is a crazy, gory, cheeky horror/comedy hybrid, and it delivers on every level! It’s definitely not for those with weak stomachs, but it has a nice dose of dark humor as well. Overall, this is one hell of an addition to my horror-comedy library!

If you are not familiar with THE HOUSE WITH 100 EYES, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Artsploitation Films:

It’s Henry – Portrait of a Serial Killer meets This is Spinal Tap in the gory mockumentary THE HOUSE WITH 100 EYES, the grisliest, darkest horror-comedy ever imaginable. Ed and Susan are just your average, middle-class American suburban married couple: they have their quirks, their romantic moments, their hobbies. One of these hobbies has even turned into a small business venture for the couple…because Ed and Susan are also serial killers who sell snuff videos of their crimes through the internet underground. Since Ed is determined that their next video will surpass all of their previous work, he has decided that it will feature three kills in one night – but after they abduct their intended victims, things don’t go as planned. Filmed entirely through the perspective of Ed’s many cameras, and labeled “one of the greatest horror films of the century” by Film Radar, this film is as shocking as it is slyly satirical about violence and media exploitation.

I wasn’t sure a movie about snuff films could actually be funny, but directors Jay Lee and Jim Roof succeed in making it so. Granted, this is a solid horror flick in its own accord without the humor, so those who do not find it funny can take solace in that. But if you watch for both aspects, you’ll be doubly pleased.

THE HOUSE WITH 100 EYES is shot well, even though it is from the perspective of the video cameras strewn throughout the house. I am impressed with how well the production crew is able to blend them all together so well to create a fluid film. And they don’t hamper the film, either, like some found-footage does. There’s no overly shaky camera shots or anything like that here.

The acting is great, with Jim Roof and Shannon Malone heading up the cast. These two make THE PERFECT psychotic couple, and their performances bristle with both humor and drama. I hope these two team up again in the future, as they play off of each other perfectly.

The special effects in THE HOUSE WITH 100 EYES are impressive, and there’s plenty of gore to go around. I particularly like a couple of the torture scenes from Ed’s “dungeon”. I won’t go into graphic detail, but there’s plenty of carnage put to film, I assure you.

If I were forced to find a negative about THE HOUSE WITH 100 EYES, I simply couldn’t. The film is well made and a lot of fun. As such, I give this a huge thumbs up. I recommend every horror fan and gore-hound check this one out soon. It will be available next week, so make a note!

MSB