Movie Review – Little Dead Rotting Hood (2016)

Little Dead Rotting Hood
Directed by Jared Cohn
Courtesy of Cinedigm and The Asylum
Release Date: January 5, 2015

little dead

As the old adage goes, some people just never learn. I guess I deserve to be included in the ‘unlearned’ category, because I keep giving Asylum films a chance. And (surprise, surprise), I keep getting burned. Despite the success of its SHARKNADO franchise and the hit TV show Z NATION, The Asylum cannot seem to replicate a winning formula for entertainment. LITTLE DEAD ROTTING HOOD continues this tradition of non-excellence, and even though I really wanted to like it, I’d really prefer to have the 90 minutes back I spent watching it.

If you are not familiar with LITTLE DEAD ROTTING HOOD, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Cinedigm:

The residents of a small town discover that something more sinister than killer wolves is lurking in the backwoods: first the wolves start turning up dead…then people.

The concept, or rather the concept that was pitched in the press release, has a lot of potential. It said, “Something sinister is lurking in the woods, and the residents of the small town nearby are falling victim to its bloodlust. When the town sheriff discovers that the wolves inhabiting the nearby forest are getting more aggressive and even deadly, he soon uncovers a danger beyond his imagination.” THIS is the movie I wanted to see…but instead, I got something else. The resulting product is an uninteresting film that makes no sense and offers little in entertainment value.

LITTLE DEAD ROTTING HOOD is actually shot well and does a good job of capturing the small-town atmosphere the script strives for. The scenery is lush and beautiful, and the location on which the film is shot looks very nice. Unfortunately, this is where the positives end.

The acting is very sub-par, even for “veterans” of the screen like Eric Balfour and Patrick Muldoon. The dialogue is clunky, and therefore the cast delivers their lines as if angry or sometimes confused.

And speaking of confusing, that brings us to the storyline of LITTLE DEAD ROTTING HOOD. The film tries to bring forth ideas and mesh them into a cohesive plot, but it fails…big time. The story has huge holes in it, and nothing is explained. There’s even a big “twist” towards the end that is surprising, yes, but also makes no sense. I don’t want to get into specifics for any of this in the event you decide to see this movie for yourself.

I wish I could say this movie is so bad that it’s good, but I would be lying if I did. Other than a decent cinematography job, the film contains no other redeeming value. As a result, I cannot recommend this one with a clear conscious.

MSB

Book Review – The Red Highway by Robert E. Dunn

The Red Highway
by Robert E. Dunn
Courtesy of Necro Publications
Release Date: September 3, 2015

the red-highway

When I was approached to read and review THE RED HIGHWAY by Robert E. Dunn, I actually hesitated. I wasn’t sure if the book was something I would be interested in. But author Hunter Shea recommended the book and author Dunn, so I decided to give it a look. I’m glad I did, because THE RED HIGHWAY is a powerful and chilling read. If you’re looking for an original and intriguing thriller, give this one a look for sure.

If you are not familiar with THE RED HIGHWAY, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Necro Publications:

In 1992, as Los Angeles begins to simmer in the heat of racial injustices, one dark man appears everywhere, spreading his message of race war. At the same time, Paul Souther, a homeless drunk, joins a strange group of outsiders. Some black and some white, they all carry the weight of broken lives and lost faith. They are all drawn to LA, for the arrival of a child, impossibly carried by Mary Prince, a sterile porn star. Through back roads and freeways everyone is pulled into LA and Mary’s side just as the baby is born. None of them have any idea that the city is a ticking bomb of anger. As riots explode, the mysterious man reveals himself to be an ancient, dark spirit using the rage of the people to stoke his own, literal, fires. He demands Mary’s child as sacrifice to keep the city, and perhaps the nation from burning. It falls to Paul, a faithless man, and a drunk with blood on his own hands, to make the impossible choice between the child and the city, and to save the people he has come to care about.

I have not read any of Dunn’s prior work, but I plan to soon. He appears to be an author to watch out for. And after reading THE RED HIGHWAY, I have to agree.

THE RED HIGHWAY is written very well and moves at a nice clip. I first worried the story would start off too slow for me. This was dashed after just a few pages. Once things get going (and they do, very quickly), the intensity never lets up.

The characters are damaged and believable. I love the diversity of those involved with the storyline; the cast is truly a motley crew of highs and lows. Both minor and major characters are fleshed out to the point of believability, and none falter under heavy scrutiny.

But the story is the real winner here. Taut and compelling, I love the darkened roads down which it travels. Any hesitation I had about reading this book was wiped away very early on, and I have to say this is an excellent book with which to start the new year.

THE RED HIGHWAY is a major win for me, and I highly recommend giving it a look. Author Robert E. Dunn might be unfamiliar to you, but chances are you’ll soon hear his name frequently in discussions of horror excellence. THE RED HIGHWAY is available now in a variety of formats.

MSB

Movie Review – Condemned (2015)

Condemned
Directed by Eli Morgan Gesner
Courtesy of RLJ Entertainment
Release Date: January 6, 2016

condemned

I’ve always prided myself on the fact I don’t pay attention to outside reviews whenever I decide to watch a movie. I’m glad I don’t, too…if I had let reviews sway me, I would have missed out on some GREAT films. Today’s movie, CONDEMNED, is a perfect example. After I watched the film, I went to IMDB and Amazon to check out what others thought. Interestingly, opinion is pretty split. But for me, I really enjoyed it. Granted, it’s a scenario we’ve seen before, but the execution of the film is pretty tight, and there’s plenty of carnage for gore-hounds. If you’re looking for a grosstastic good time, then check out this film for sure.

If you are not familiar with CONDEMNED, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of RLJ Entertainment:

Fed up with her parents’ bickering, poor-little-rich-girl Maya (Dylan Penn) moves in with her boyfriend, who is squatting in an old condemned building on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. With neighbors that are meth heads, junkies and degenerates, this depraved hell hole is even more toxic than it appears: After a virus born from their combined noxious waste and garbage infects the building’s residents, one by one, they succumb to a terrifying pathogen that turns them into bloodthirsty, rampaging killers and transforms their building into a savage slaughterhouse.

As I mentioned, we’ve seen this situation in other films before, such as REC and QUARANTINE. But I’ve always said, if a filmmaker or author can make an existing premise entertaining, then I’ll gladly give it a look. Such is the case here. While not perfect, this movie is entertaining and good, gory fun.

CONDEMNED is shot fairly well and looks pretty decent onscreen. My sole complaint about the cinematography is that some of the shots are too dark. I would have preferred some moody, atmospheric lighting in these scenes, but instead we get darkness, and therefore the intensity lightens because we cannot see what is happening.

The acting is so-so, with a mish-mash cast of decent and ‘meh’ actors. I understand this is the film debut of Sean Penn’s niece, Dylan Penn, and she does a decent enough job. The rest of the characters are portrayed in an over-the-top fashion, and I can’t decide if this was done to be comedic or intentional. Either way, some of the performances are pretty good, while others just get annoying.

The special effects in CONDEMNED are exaggerated and outrageous, and they are a big part of what makes the movie so much fun. While watching some of the vomit-inducing splatter, I was reminded of such film classics as Peter Jackson’s DEAD ALIVE and Ruggero Deodato’s infamous CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST.

CONDEMNED doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but it’s still a fun film to watch, and I recommend it. Chocked full of gore, colorful characters, and crazy situations, this is a film you won’t soon forget. The film hits store shelves tomorrow, so take a look.

MSB