Archive for November, 2014

The whole of Asia is descending upon us. Many times more men than there are Greeks. These men are fierce, savage, bloodthirsty, merciless. But that is not the reason why we should fear them. That is not the source of their power. Their power lies in their unity. Unity! Remember that one terrible word which will surely destroy Greece, unless we counter it with a unity of our own. A unity of free men fighting together resisting this united tide of tyranny.

Year Released : 1962Three_hundred_spartans
Director :Rudolph Maté
Cast : Richard Egan, Ralph Richardson, Diane Baker, Barry Coe and David Farrer

One of my favourite films of the last ten years was the highly enjoyable “300”. It was a film that you could just sit back and enjoy without having to think too much, unfortunately some people didn’t understand that it was a soldier telling an exaggerated story to motivate an army (such as goat men, every woman is a mutant, famous Persian fighting units being portrayed as monsters, etc) and took it as as being a racist film. Those that didn’t realise what was going on missed out on something, but maybe they would enjoy this 1962 version of the story instead.

I am a big fan of Greek mythology films. It all started with the 1963 telling of “Jason and the Argonauts” and since then I have enjoyed pretty much all film from the genre, with the exception of 2011’s horrendous “Immortals” (the story of Theseus) and the Sam Worthington take on “Wrath of the Titans”. I have read Homer’s “Iliad” on a few occasions so know most of the stories quite well and I am fascinated by the genre.

Whilst it isn’t as exciting (for lack of better words) as the remake, “The 300 Spartans” certainly holds it’s own in the Greek mythology genre.

Plot

King Leonidas of Sparta (Egan) refuses an offer from Xerxes of Persia (Farrer) to join their army instead of being laid waste to as they plan on expanding the empire. In response Xerxes sends an army of countless thousands to destroy Sparta and send a message to the individual city states of Greece.

The Ephors, a powerful group of mystics, deny Leonidas the chance to go to war, he comes up with a plan to still defend Sparta without breaking the law. He takes 300 of his best men as his personal bodyguard as he marches towards Thermopylae. Although the Spartans are joined by a group of Greeks, their are significantly outnumbered and is seems almost inevitable that they will lose.

Camping themselves in a narrow passage, the Spartans prove more than a match for their Persian counterparts, however, a bitter Ephialtes (Moore) could prove the difference after Leonidas rejects his request to join the Spartan army.

300_spartans_6

So, it is as good as the remake?

This isn’t like when I compare the second or third film in a trilogy to the first, this is completely different. The films were made more 45 years apart and therefore it is impossible to compare them fairly, especially as they’re not even slightly done in a similar style. Because of this I am not going to compare it to it’s remake.

With films based on actual events the first thing that you will always look for is accuracy and based on all that I know of the Battle of Thermopylae, this film does a good job. Much like the aforementioned “Jason and the Argonauts”, it was done in a time when there weren’t any computers, at least not any capable to add special effects, and therefore the films can only be judged on their characters, setting and story, and for me this does an excellent job.

Initially the film was going to be shot in Thermopylae but that was impossible due to 2,500 years of silt build up, turning it into a coastal plane, so they used the village of Perachora and it serves excellently as a believable location for a battle. It looks great due to the surroundings largely matching ancient Thermopylae and this makes it feel considerably more authentic. I’m sure I’m not the only person who prefers films to be made on location as opposed to in a green-screen studio, which is far too common these days.

The acting seems considerably more genuine that modern day actors as they didn’t get the chance to have minor errors corrected so earlier, and in particular Farrer is fantastic as Xerxes. I can’t say that I am overly familiar with Farrer’s work, especially as this turned out to be his final film before his retirement, and I found his portrayal of the character to be far more menacing than Rodrigo Santoro’s portrayal in the remake, and I do like Santoro so I don’t mean that in a bad way, but for me your main antagonist should always seem genuinely threatening, and Farrer did that exceptionally well.

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Arguably the most enjoyable part of the film for me was the “win at all costs” mentality from the Xerxes. They go into far more depth than in the remake, including his order to kill all the women that have travelled with his army so that his men not only don’t have that distraction, but will be more determined to get to Sparta to take advantage of the women there.

Infact, I hadn’t seen any actors in this film before or since, other than Donald Houston who was in the original “Clash of the Titans” and this was a refreshing change. It’s very rare to see a film with so few people that you have seen before that isn’t a horror film. That’s not to say that they were an inexperienced cast because the majority had long careers, but my knowledge of films in the 1960s is limited to say the least.

The one thing I could say is that you shouldn’t go into this film expecting a full on adrenaline rush, it’s nothing like the remake and that’s a good thing in man ways because even though they are based on the same events, they both offer something different. I’d even go as far as recommending watching both back to back before casually ignoring “300 : Rise of An Empire”.

465_300_spartan_warriors_-_i_300_spartans

Summary

If you’re prepared to give it the chance then you will enjoy “The 300 Spartans”. It’s not as exciting as the recent remake but for the approvedtime it was made it is very enjoyable.

Whilst many will prefer the 100mph of the remake, this original is a classic in it’s own right and is more historically accurate.

List of Reviews

Posted: November 24, 2014 in All Reviews

Yearly Summaries

2014 – Part 1 and Part 2 (The Top 10)

2015 – Part 1 (The Bottom 10), Part 2Part 3 and Part 4 (The Top 10)

2016 – 100-91, 90-81, 80-71, 70-61, 60-51, 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11 and the Top 10

PLEASE NOTE THAT THE APPROVED STAMP ONLY CAME INTO ACTION IN 2015, SO SOME REVIEWS WILL STATE THAT I DON’T HAVE A RATING OR RANKING SYSTEM, EVEN THOUGH I NOW DO.

0-9

10,000 Days – Post apocalyptic snorefest.

approved28 Days Later – Danny Boyle’s immensely popular viral outbreak film. One of the few mainstream films that I have reviewed and my third favourite horror film of all time/

4th Man Out – Comedy about a man who comes out as gay to his best friends.approved

400 Days – Sci-fi horror about astronauts who return to a decimated Earth.

approved52 Tuesdays – Australian film about of a mother who reveals to her daughter that she intends on becoming a man.

approved61* – The story of the race to beat Babe Ruth’s home run record between Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. Starring Barry Pepper and Thomas Jane.

7500 – Plane based supernatural snorefest.

A

A Night at the Roxbury – Chris Kattan and Will Farrell bring their Saturday Night Live skit about socially awkward brothers to the big screen.

Accidental Love – The only thing accidental about this comedy is that you will watch it.

Aftershock – Chilean film about a group of friends trying to survive in the aftermath of a violent earthquake.

Aimy in a Cage – Atrociously bad film that I have since decided is the worst film that I have ever watched.

Airborne – Forgettable mystery horror set on a plane. It was so forgettable in fact that when I read the synopsis, I had forgotten that I had already watched it several years ago.

Alienate – It got 2.7/10 on IMDB, it’s not QUITE that bad.

Alien Outpost – A documentary crew follows a group of soldiers fighting aliens. Effectively a propaganda film to convince kids to join the US army.

All Superheroes Must Die – Four superheroes awake to find themselves forced to go through tests to save the lives of civilians.

Always Watching – Horror film based on the Slenderman legend.

American Honey – Shia Lebeouf stars in a near-three hour film that has a beginning, but no middle or end.

approvedAntisocial – Clever horror about people getting infected with a mental illness when using too much social media. Takes a few interesting turns here and there and kept me guessing.

Approaching the Unknown – Science fiction film featuring Mark Strong going to the moon.

Archivo 253 – Mexican horror found footage film about four friends exploring an abandoned mental hospital.

Antiviral – Disturbing body horror film about a society that willingly inject themselves with a disease that a celebrity has contracted.

Area 51 – Found footage film about three guys trying to break into Area 51.

approvedAt First Sight – Mira Sorvino and Val Kilmer play lovers who deal with the latter’s blindness and the subsequent aftermath of an operation to restore his sight.

B

Bachelor Games – Things go quickly wrong when on a stag weekend in Mexico.

Backtrack – Adrian Brody in an uninspired horror.

Bad Building – Imagine a horror film so dull and bland that you almost fall asleep watching it….at 3pm.

Bastard – Five strangers go on a hike with a woman who turns out to be a serial killer.

approvedBefore I Wake – Jacob Tremblay’s dreams come to life.

Being Charlie – A recovery drug addict struggles with love.approved

Best in Show – Mockumentary about the lengths some people will go to to win a dog pageant.approved

Blackfish – Documentary film about the killer whale Tilikum.approved

Black Sea – Jude Law plots to take revenge on his former employers but stealing a horde of gold from a Nazi approvedsubmarine.

Bloom – Diabolically bad and bland vampire film.

Bolgen – Norwegian drama about a tsunami created by a collapsing mountain.

approvedBoy Meets Girl – Transgender related romantic comedy. Decent enough.

Buddymoon – A German man takes his best friend consoles his friend after the collapse of his wedding by taking him on his honeymoon anyway.

Bunker (also known as The Hoarder) – Horror about a woman who tries to prove that her boyfriend is cheating on her but finds more than she bargained for in the storage unit.

Burying the Ex – Anton Yelchin comedy-horror about a man who’s girlfriend demends that they stay together, even after she dies.

C

Camino – A woman takes a picture of a war criminal beating up a child and is surprised that he doesn’t like the idea.

approvedCaptain Fantastic – Perfect film about a man who has raised his family in the woods, but they are soon forced to enter normal society to attend the funeral of their mother. MY FILM OF THE YEAR FOR 2016

Celtic Pride – Daniel Stern and Dan Ackroyd star as fans of the Boston Celtics that kidnap the best player of the Utah Jazz

Christmas Horror Story – Yuletide film about the demon Krampus haunting several groups of people.

approvedCircle – 50 people wake up and are killed one by one every two minutes and they need to decide who needs to be saved, all while trying to save themselves.

Classroom 6 – A blatant rip off of films such as Grave Encounters and pretty much every other film.

Clown – Lackluster horror film about a man who puts on a clown suit that slowly turns him into a demon.

Contracted – A girl starts becoming a zombie after she has sex with a man who himself has sex with a radioactive corpse.

Contracted : Phase 2 – One of the friends of the girl from the first film starts turning into a zombie and fights to find a cure.

approvedCopenhagen – A young man travels to Denmark to search for his father, but also falls in love with an underage girl whilst there.

Cooties – Enjoyable zombie romp set in a school staring Elijah Wood and Rainn Wilson

Cube – Canadian psychological thriller about people imprisoned in a booby-trapped maze. Remarkablyapproved low budget but that doesn’t stop one of the best claustrophobic films on this list.

Cube 2 : Hypercube – Less than impressive and largely unrelated sequel

Cube Zero – More people enter the booby-trapped maze

D

Dark Feed – Poor excuse for a horror film as filmmakers are killed one by one in a haunted hospital.

Dead Like Me : Life After Death – Average movie based on the TV show of the same name.

Dead Rising : Watchtower – A surprisingly enjoyable zombie film.

Dementia – A war veteran is taken car of by a nurse with devious motives.

approvedDenial – Rachel Weisz and Timothy Spall in a film about trying to prove that the holocaust happened.

Detention – Josh Hutcherson in a tale about schoolkids fighting a serial killer.

Devil May Call –  – A helpline advisor gets tracked down by Tyler Mane after he accuses her of not caring.

Dismembering Christmas – One of the worst acted horror (and I use that term lightly) films I’ve ever seen about teens gradually getting killed off at a winter cabin.

Do I Sound Gay? – Documentary about a guy who blames a recent break up on his feminine sounding voice.

Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde – A gender-swap take on the classic case.

E

Ejecta – Alien abduction, sci-fi torture porn film.

approvedElevator – Guests to a party find themselves trapped in an elevator with a bomb that’s set to go off any minute. Even a child actor can’t ruin it.

Emelie – “Horror” about a babysitter that tries to steal one of the children she’s looking after.

approvedExam – British psychological thriller with Colin Salmon and Jimmy Mistry. Eight candidates that are invited to a job interview and have to answer a question, but the problem is that they don’t know the question.

Extinction – Post apocalytic film about a group of three people that must unite to fight off some approvedzombie/vampire creatures. Features Matthew Fox from “Lost”.

approvedExit Humanity – Civil-war era zombie film that became the first film that I reviewed for this site. It’s far more than just a generic zombie film as it also deals with the main character’s struggles to deal with the situation.

Frank – Unfunny and pretentious musical comedy starring Michael Fassbender.

Felt – Nonsensical crap about a woman who tries to recover from rape by being a bit weird.

Force Majeure – A family is rocked when the husband runs off rather than protecting his family during an avalanche.

Frankenstein’s Army – World War II film about Russians trying to escape a lab full of dead soldiers fused together.

Freaked – Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter’s comedy about forced mutation.approved

Frozen – No, not the Disney film

G

Ghostline – Horror about a couple that moves into a house that is haunted by a poltergeist.approved

Ginger Snaps – Macabre masterpiece based on a girl’s transformation into a werewolf.approved

Ginger Snaps : Unleashed – Disappointing sequel that’s set in a hospital.

Ginger Snaps Back – Werewolf prequel set in 19th century Canada.

Glass Chin – Corey Stoll in his final pre-Ant Man film as he plays a retired boxer that gets blackmailed.

Goal of the Dead – Zombies and football, what’s not to like? Quite a bit as it turns out.

approvedGreen Inferno – Eli Roth horror film about a group of political activists who crash in the Amazon and are taken hostage by cannibals.

H

He Never Died – Misanthropic horror-comedy starring Henry Rollins.approved

Hedwig and the Angry Inch – Musical about a transgendered rock star seeking revenge.approved

Hector and the Search for Happiness – A genuine attempt to invoke wanderlust that ultimately fails because the story just isn’t that well put together.

approved

Hidden – Emotionally charged and tense post-apocalyptic masterpiece with a great twist.

Higher Learning – Mid-90s drama about racism in a high school.

approvedHolidays – Anthology style film in which a horror story unravels on each of the major holidays around the world.

Hollows Grove – A camera crew go into a seemingly abandoned orphanage and are killed off one by one by the ghosts of children.

Honeyglue – Surprisingly fresh take on young love between a cross-dresser and brain tumour sufferer.approved

Hot Bot – Two boys find a sex robot. Think “Weird Science”

Hunting Venus – Members of a 1980s pop group reform for one last performanceapproved

approvedHush – An interesting game of cat and mouse between a serial killer and a deaf woman.

I

Infinitely Polar Bear – Heart warming and life affirming story staring Zoe Saldana and Mark Ruffalo about a family struggling to deal with the father’s manic depression. Unfortunately ruined by the kids involved.

Irrational Man – Woody Allen’s story about a philosopher who gets over a depression byapproved planning to kill a judge. Stars Joaquin Phoenix and Emma Stone

It Was You Charlie – Pointless paranoid “thriller” with one of the least exciting main characters in memory.

J

J’ai tué ma mère – Xavier Dolan’s amazing look into a difficult relationship between a mother and her gay son.approved

Jurassic City – Dinosaurs escape into a prison and eat anything in their path.

K

Kill Your Friends – Nicholas Hoult stars in a film that feels more like a love-letter from the director to direct a remake of “American Psycho”.

Killer Joe – Matthew McConaughey is a sociopath who is hired to kill Emile approvedHirsch’s mother. It also features Juno Temple giving a blow job to a piece of fried chicken.

L

Laggies – Kiera Knightley, Sam Rockwell and Chloe Grace Moretz in a comedy about a woman who can’t find maturity.

Landmine Goes Click – A man finds out his girlfriend is cheating on him with his best friend, so he makes the latter stand on a landline, as you do.

Lars and the Real Girl – Ryan Gosling loves a sex doll, as you do.approved

Last Days in the Desert – Ewan McGregor is plays Jesus in his final few days in the desert.approved

Laurence Anyways – A man reveals to his girlfriend that he is planning on changing gender.

Lavalantula – SyFy channel romp about a lava-spewing giant spiders in Los Angeles

Let There Be Zombies – Hilariously bad zombie film set in the 1950s. Watchable simply because of how bad it is.

Left Behind – Nicola Cage stars, if that’s the right word, in rapture based drama.

Little Accidents – Elizabeth Banks features in a very slow film about a town’s reaction to the death of several miners.

approvedLittle Boy – The story of a boy who believes his newly discovered powers can bring his World War II bound father home.

Little Sister – A young nun returns home following her brother’s return from hospital.

Lost After Dark – Delightful homage to 1980s slasher flicks that keeps surprising you.approved

Love is Strange – A love story starring John Lithgow that starts off well but very quickly loses momentum

M

Maggie – Painfully bland film about a girl who is slowly turning into a zombie.

Man on High Heels – South Korean film about a cop that decides to retire so he can complete a sex change, but he can’t quite escape his old life before doing so.

Match – Patrick Stewart stars as a dancer who receives a visit from a man claiming to be his son.approved

Maniac – Elijah Wood remake of the classic horror film.

Men and Chicken – Mads Mikkelsen’s Danish comedy about five brothers.approved

Mississippi Grind – A story about gambling addicting that stars Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn

Mommy – Xavier Dolan’s lengthy look at a mother’s attempts to control her hyperactive son.

Mysterious Skin –  Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a story about sexual exploration and exploitation

Mystery, Alaska – Ice hockey based film with Russell Crowe leading anapproved amateur team against the New York Rangers. Heartwarming film and a genuine look about a community coming together.

N

National Lampoon’s Senior Trip – First film in the career of Jeremy Renner as he and his fellow students take a trip to Washington to meet the President.

Night of the Living Dead : Resurrection – Worst. Zombie. Film. Ever.

Nightlight – Found footage style film of students getting killed in the woods by an unseen force.

Nocture Six – Boring found footage film about people going into alternate dimensions.

Normal – Tom Wilkinson tells his family that he is planning on getting a sex change.approved

Nuns on the Run – 90s comedy starring Robbie Coltrane and Eric Idle about robbers that double cross their boss and hide in a nunnery.

O

Old 37 – Horror film about psychos who torture victims of car crashes. This has great antagonists but is otherwise dull.

One Night of Fear – Horribly bad horror film that is very poorly made. People are trapped in a house by a serial killer.

P

Pandemic – First person zombie-style flick

Powder – A tale about an albino man who can control and manipulate electricity.approved

Powder Room – British “comedy” about what happens on in the girl’s toilet in a nightclub.

Pressure – Four men are trapped several hundred metres under water and have to deal with the dwindling oxygen supply.

Q

R

[REC] – Incredible Spanish horror film of people trapped in a building an infection.approved

[REC]2 – Sequel in which a SWAT team go into the building from the first filmapproved

[REC] Genesis – Largely unrelated sequel to the first two films and not as enjoyable.

[REC] 4 : Apocalipsis – The fourth and final installment in the [REC] franchise is far superior to the third film, but doesn’t come close to being as good as the first two

Ragnarok – Norwegian film about archaeologists who find themselves trapped on an island by a beast.

Raze – Imagine if Mortal Kombat was made up entirely of women and yet you didn’t care about any of them……

Rehearsal For Murder – Early Jeff Goldblum film about a man trying to find out who killed his fiancee.approved

Resident Evil : Damnation : Animated horror film that follows approvedLeon Kennedy (from the games) in a mission around Europe, and despite strolling quite far from the canon of the games, it’s still rather good.

Rezort – Imagine Jurassic Park, but with zombies.

Richard the Lionheart : Rebellion – Tediously dull film about the sons of Richard The Lionheart.

Rudderless – Brilliant comedy-drama about a man who tries to get over the death of his son by starting a approvedrock band. Stars Billy Crudup and Anton Yelchin.

S

Set Fire to the Stars – Offbeat drama about the visit of poet Dylan Thomas to America during the 50s.

Sing Street — Irish romantic comedy set in the 1980s about a schoolboy that lies about having a band approvedin order to impress a girl. Whilst this was little-known at the time, this has gone on to be an international hit.

Slow West – Michael Fassbender and Ben Mendelsohn in a western about a boy trying to find his girlfriend.

Star Trek : Horizon – Fan made film based on the TV show that isn’t actually that bad.

Star Trek : Renegades – Made for TV movie set ten years after the TV-series “Star Trek Voyager”

Starship Troopers : Marauder – Third film in the Starship Troopers trilogy, focusing more on religion than entertainment.

Stung – Horror about killer wasps.

Swiss Army Man – An exceptional film about a man who befriends a corpse.approved

Suburban Gothic – Unusual comedy horror film about a man who can communicate with the dead.

Suicide Theory – A humble masterpiece about a approvedman who can’t die and his relationship with the man he hires to kill him. A great example of Australian cinema.

Summer of Blood – Remarkable film about a socially inept man who is then turned into a vampire.approved

T

Tangerine – Comedy/drama filmed on an iPhone about a day in the lives of two transgendered prostitutes.approved

Teacher of the Year – Extremely unfunny comedy about a teacher who must make a career changing decision.

Thanatomorphose – A woman finds that her body is rotting away but all she cares about is having sex.approved

Thank You and Sorry – A scripted-reality style documentary about Bleachers, an American indie band.approved

The 33 – Rodrigo Santoro and Antonio Banderas star in a film based on the 2010 Chilean mine collapse.approved

The 300 Spartans – 1962 film about the battle of Thermopylae, later remade as “300”approved

The ABCs of Death – 26 different directors produce a short story each for a letter of the alphabet and a theme of death for that letter. Some of it is ok but it is mainly infantile nonsense.

The ABCs of Death 2 – A rare sequel that is considerably better than the first film, even though it’s not that great itself.

The Angriest Man in Brooklyn – Robin Williams’ last released film before his death. It wasn’t good.

approvedThe Autospy of Jane Doe – Morticians do an autospy on a woman that turns out to be a witch, what could possibly go wrong?

The Bay – Found footage film about a parasite

The Black Waters of Echo’s Pond – Think Jumanji…but crap.

approvedThe Cottage – Andy Serkis in enjoyable British horror.

The Curse of Sleeping Beauty – A man moves into a house that happens to have Sleeping Beauty in it.

The Day – Dominic Monaghan and Shawn Ashmore fight off a group of cannibals.approved

The End of the Tour – A very approvedwordy film about depression and loneliness starring Jason Segal and Jesse Eisenberg as a pair of writers that are trying to learn from each other.

The Fly – 1986 classic featuring Jeff Goldblum as a scientist who becomes genetically fused with a fly, approvedand subsequently turns into a human-fly hybrid.

The Ghostmaker –  Friends find a coffin that can turn them into ghosts for a few minutes.approved

The Great White Hype – An all-star approvedcast appears in this film about boxing that deals with race and manipulation. Features Samuel L. Jackson, Damon Wayans and many other recognisable faces.

The Hallow – Horror film about a family that moves from London to Ireland and end up fighting off demons.approved

The Human Race – 80 people wake up to find that they are in a literal race to the death, decent concept with poor execution.

The Hunt – Emotionally engaging Danish film starring Mads Mikkelson.approved

The Human Centipede 3 : Full Sequence – Final film in the Human Centipede trilogy. More vile than anything you could imagine.

The Jokesters – Half decent found footage film about a prank gone wrong.

The Lobster – Colin Farrell lead comedy about a dystopian future in which you are turned into an animal if you are single for 45 consecutive days.

The Loved Ones – A gem of torture-porn from Australia.approved

The Overnight – An awkward attempt at an outrageous comedy starring Adam Scott.

The Poker House – Jennifer Lawrence and Chloe Grace Moretz in one of the biggest wastes of time that you will ever see.

The Program – Lance Armstrong biopic staring Ben Foster, Lee Pace and Jesse Plemonsapproved

The Proposition – Dull western style film starring Guy Pearce

The Ridiculous 6 – Blazing saddles wannabe starring Adam Sandler

The Rise of the Krays – Low budget telling of the early years of the Kray brothers.

The Salvaltion – Western in approvedwhich Mads Mikkelsen takes revenge on the killers of his wife and son, only to then himself be hunted down as a murderer.

The Sixth Man – A basketball film starring Marlon Wayans. A team’s star player dies before he comes back as a ghost to help them cheat.

The Stranger – A nonsensical film that is loosely about vampires.

The Traveler – Lackluster supernatural film starring Val Kilmer.

The Thing (1982) – John Carpenter’s classic about aliens and paranoia.approved

The Trust – Elijah Wood and Nicolas Cage as two cops out to make some money.

These Final Hours – Australian film about how a group of people spend their final hours before a wall of fire caused by an asteroid that has hit Earth.

Tom à la ferme – Xavier Dolan masterpiece about a man who starts developing Stockholm syndrome.approved

Tormented – British horror about students who are killed off by the ghost of someone they bullied.approved

Train to Busan – South Korean zombie film set on a train. Surprisingly very good.approved

Treading Water – A teenage boy that stinks of fish finds love for the first time.

Treasure Island – Charlton Hestonapproved and Christian Bale take arguably the best ever adaption of the classic novel.

Truth – True storyapproved about the aftermath of a newspaper article accusing George Bush of lying about his military service. Features many recognisable and well known faces.

U

Unnatural – James Remar fights genetically modified polar-bear/wolf hybrids

V

Valhalla Rising – Mads Mikklesen stars as a mute warrior that sails with a group of warriors to the crusades.

Vanishing on 7th Street – Hayden Christensen stars in a poorly executed horror films.

Victoria – A German film set in real time about a girl who gets more than she expected on a night out.approved

W

Welcome to Me – Kristin Wiig plays a woman with a personality disorder. A film that doesn’t seem to realise that random doesn’t equal funny.

What We Did on Our Holiday – David Tennant and Rosamund Pike take their three kids to their grandfather’s birthday. The kids then set fire to him.

Who’s Driving Doug – RJ Mitte stars as a college student with cerebral-palsy that goes on a trip to Las Vegas.

Would You Rather – A group of individuals are invited to a dinner in which they can win money,approved but little do they realise that it will involve self-mutilation.

Wrestlers vs Zombies – Abysmal excuse for a film that seems to think that people will ignore how bad it is because it has household wrestling names.

Wyrmwood : Road of the Dead – Laughably bad zombie film from down under.

X

Y

Z

Z for Zachariah – Post apocalyptic love triangle staring Margot Robbie, Chris Pine and Chiwetel Ejifor.approved

Zerophilia – Comedy about a teen who changes gender every time he becomes sexually aroused.approved

Zombeavers – It’s beavers that have been turned into zombies. Need I say more?

Zombie Apocalypse – The second worst zombie film ever made.

The revival of religious worship here, and in the outer colonies, will not be tolerated if it leads to… sedition! Or in any way destabilizes our war effort.

Year Released : 2008sst-poster1
Director :Ed Neumeier
Cast : Casper Van Dien, Jolene Blalock, Stephen Hogan, Amanda Donohoe, Marnette Patterson  and Boris Kodjoe

Starship Troopers was one of my favourite films from the 1990s and this view was shared by a lot of professional reviewers. It had everything that you could want in a film, it had action, drama, romance, science fiction and probably the most important part. It was fun. It didn’t take itself too seriously and because of that it was one of the most positive feelings I’ve had watching a film.

This was followed by a less than successful sequel, a film that has been rated as one of the worst sequels ever, so I was a little skeptical about this direct to DVD third film in the series and it ultimately isn’t much better due to the way it puts limitations it puts on itself.

Ultimately this is similar to the “Ginger Snaps” trilogy in the sense that the first is by far the best, a sequel wasn’t needed but it got one anyway and whilst the third did restore some respectability, it stays as a trilogy that didn’t need to be a trilogy.

Plot

Johnny Rico (Van Dien) has developed a successful career following the events of the first film and he has risen to the rank of Colonel. He soon receives a visit from the overwhelming popular Sky Marshall Omar Anoke (Stephen Hogan). The base is soon attacked and Rico is blamed for it, sentenced to be executed.

Meanwhile Anoke and several others crash land on a new planet, OM-1 that turns out to be infested with alien bugs. Anoke suddenly becomes obsessed with “Behemecoatyl”, a consciousness that only he can detect, and promises to lead them all to safety.

Just as Rico is hanged for his “crimes”, he falls through the floor and the rope collapses, turning out to be a ploy all along so that he can lead a rescue party for the Sky Marshall, but can he get there before they go down to the bugs.

StarshipTroopers3Maruaders (09)

Was it worth resurrecting the series after the horrendous Starship Troopers 3?

No, not really, however, I’m going to start off with the positives. What made this more enjoyable than the second was that it returned to a similar style to the first film,  opening with the same satire-filled propaganda videos, including the rising career of the Sky Marshall General Anoke. Yes, a singing Sky Marshall.

The character of Anoke is particularly fun to watch and is one of the most complex characters in the series. He starts off as an all singing (literally) and all dancing Sky Marshall, but when the cameras stop rolling for the propaganda coverage he takes his job seriously, and as the film progresses and he becomes obsessed with “Behemecoatyl”, the actor shows a good range whilst all the while adding to the fun aspect of the film. Ultimately he turns out to be an antagonist but he’s one of the funnest antagonists in recent years.

He plays a key role in one of the key plot points of the film the debate about the existence of God. This debate includes several members of the team that land on OM-1 getting into arguments about it, with only one of the characters solidly being in the “I believe in God” camp and another who only says he believes in God because he is in love with that character.

Whilst the storyline isn’t a bad one given the circumstances of the film, was it actually needed? The film seems to be more concerned with the debate of whether there is a God or not more than the danger that the bugs pose. Even on Earth, where they are relatively safe from the bugs, they are still talking about religion all of the time and whilst debates about religion is unusual in science fiction films, it definitely wasn’t needed. Not in the slightest.

It is this subplot which means that, other than Anoke the characters on the planet are quite bland to be honest. Ok Holly, we get that you’re religious, yes Bull, we understand that you love her, but there is little/no development in the characters, certainly not enough to make me care if they survive or not and this is one of the biggest downfalls compared to the first film.

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Blalock is exceptionally dull in his large role in the film and it is hard to believe in her as a character that I should either care about, or think that she is the romantic interest of two of the main characters is very debatable.

In the first film you had numerous characters that you cared about, even the minor characters, but in this there is very little about them that is actually interesting. Even Rico’s situation isn’t enough to excite me. In the original one he had the struggles to having to deal with the decision of wanting to enlist simply because his girlfriend did, his reaction to his parents death, his relationship with the girl who is obsessed with him and his growth up the ranks. In the first film he develops excellently, but in this he is pretty much exactly the same at both the start and beginning. Again, am I supposed to care about him in this film?

Van Dien’s career was launched with the original Starship Troopers but it isn’t hard to see why his career never really progressed as you would have expected after that one. His only other appearance in a major Hollywood film after that was in Tim Burton’s adaptation of “Sleepy Hollow”. His acting isn’t particularly exciting, he has little charisma and doesn’t really hold the screen at all.

Infact, other than Hogan no-one acts in a memorable way in this film and I would go as far as saying that he is the only person who comes out of the film with any credit, which is saying something.

There are some very careless mistakes made during the film. A prime example of the carelessness is when one of the six survivors on OM-1 is killed, but in the very next scene you see see six people walking across the sand-dunes. It is one of those mistakes that could easily have been avoided, and I do mean easily, but they have been very careless with it.

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Summary

As I mentioned at the start of the review, this film is definitely better than the second, although that’s not hard. Despite this, the first film is easily the most enjoyable of the bunch and the third loses a lot of what made the first enjoyable.

Ultimately when you have a film with only one fun characters and the rest are so one dimensional it actually becomes a bit tedious. I found myself not caring about if the characters die and that’s never a good thing. I can’t get emotionally invested and whilst there are glimpses of what made the first film enjoyable.

If you’re going to watch the Starship Troopers films, only watch the first.

 

All I’ve got is Twitter, the apocalypse is trending!

Year Released : 2012Night-Living-Poster-1
Director : James Plumb
Cast : Sule Rimi, Kathy Saxondale, Lee Bane, Terry Victor and Rose Granger.

Every few reviews on this site you might notice that I refer to a film as one of the worst I have ever seen, such as “Zombeavers” but then something even worse comes along. At the time of writing this film has a rating of 2.5/10 on IMDB from 805 votes, I have no idea how it managed to get that high. I wouldn’t have even given it a 1/10 and it was little wonder than it was only 5 pence in a local DVD store.

As I said in my review for “Exit Humanity” I said that I loved zombie films and was almost obsessed by them but I just can’t recall any of them, regardless of how ridiculous the acting is, how poor the visuals, how unrealistic the violence, etc, etc, being as bad as this.

If this wasn’t done for a student’s university film degree then I would be absolutely shocked, it is just an appallingly bad film, I can’t think of a single positive to say.

Plot

Somewhere in Wales the dead have risen (an uncommon plot in a zombie movie, obviously) and Ben (Rimi) is doing his best to survive, including attempting to siphon petrol from a stationary car, but it isn’t long before he is killed by a man who thinks he’s trying to invade his house.

The family is doing their best to survive, but it’s not easy due to an elderly father that has fallen ill and the pregnancy of another. They seem to be coping but the infection has still made it into their house as their son, Sam, had been bitten before the events of the film and he soon turns, biting other members of the family.

Little do the family know that as well as the infection spreading within, a horde of zombies is coming towards their house. Can they survive the night?

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So what makes it so awful?

It’s hard to put into words why this film is so poor and actually convey how shockingly bad it is. After less than five minutes I was ready to turn off and I had to really talk myself into seeing this through on far too many occasions. If the budget for this film was higher than £20 then I would be surprised.

Let’s start with the way it’s executed. The character of Ben is the only major character in the 20 minutes and in that time he gets angry with himself for letting the car run out of petrol, leave the hazard lights ON when he’s trying to avoid zombies and then ask for help through a letter box, only to get a shotgun shell in the face. So what was the point in that? The film has spent 20 minutes attempting to build this character up and then he’s shot dead and the film switches to characters you don’t know anything about and haven’t been seen up until that point.

Ok, I get that you’re supposed to realise at that point that the family will do everything to protect each other, even to the point where one of the characters had been bitten before the film takes place and they decide the best remedy for his condition is to give him a cold bath. Yes, their answer to a character getting bitten is to give him a cold bath. He eventually ends up turning because of the family’s inactivity before he bites another family member, a family member who they choose to keep alive and he also seems to think that the answer to infection is to give the wound a quick wash and everything will work. This family is sort of asking for everything that they get really. It’s really hard to sympathise with them because they are idiots.

None of the characters are even particularly interesting.  You are given precisely no reason to really like them or even want them to survive. They’re just there.

They consistently put themselves in stupid situations that they easily could have avoided, such as the father trying to find help in a car and he encounters a group of teenagers. They approach him wielding axes, swords and various other things, but does he drive off? Does he fuck. He just sits there and accepts what is about to happen to him. You then see them run his legs over several times with that car but all I could think was “you deserve that for being so stupid!”

From the off it’s impossible not to notice the exceptionally poor camerawork. I have no idea what this was filmed with but it certainly wasn’t with digital equipment and it shows,not to forget that they use a tilted camera angle A LOT. I wouldn’t be surprised if they filmed a lot of scenes by leaning the camera against a rock that’s on the road and just let it, in one scene this even cuts off the actor’s head and it happens over and over and over again. Some characters are followed from seemingly ankle height and you can see the waddle of the camera person as they try not lose their balance.

The below is a direct screenshot, I have altered it in any way and you can tell not only the poor camera work but also the quality of the film. Don’t get me wrong, poor quality film quality doesn’t necessarily mean a poor movie, such as “28 Days Later”, but that was in the early 2000s , not 2012 and it’s obvious that this was filmed on a VHS tape because you can see all of the little black, green and yellow marks consistently  pop up all over the screen. Now, again don’t get me wrong, quality of footage doesn’t mean everything but it was certainly an odd choice.

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Scenes that were filmed at night were filmed with no source of light whatsoever and you can’t see what’s happening, but you’re supposed to be scared by it. There is a scene early on where Ben attacks a zombie in a field but there is no light shining on the situation, meaning it’s only sound effects and I’m not sure whether that was intentional or not, but either way it wasn’t good film making.

For the scenes filmed in a car they’ve not tried to hide that the cameraman is also in the car whilst it’s moving and it jumped around due to the vibrations of the car on the road. It’s worse than shaky-cam that’s been used heavily in films such as “Hunger Games” and many others, it makes it practically unwatchable.

The music is terrible. Early on there’s a scene where Ben is trying to steal car keys whilst two people lay dead inside. Yes, it’s a tense situation but it’s made almost unbearable to watch due to an extremely loud and continuous tone, almost as if someone fell asleep on the keyboard key. It’s not the first time it happens either and certainly wasn’t the last, infact this noise ruins whatever tension there is in the scene. In the first 18 minutes I counted this tone playing, stopping and then starting again five times. FIVE!!!

What’s also very strange is that once Ben is killed and the film switches over to the family, it’s almost like a completely different film. Almost as if the first 20 minutes was taken from another film and was randomly placed into this one. It has a different style (albeit still with the terrible camera angles), pacing and level of action completely changes. They really don’t belong together and it makes you wonder why they bothered with the first 20 minutes and didn’t just go straight to the family.

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It’s not even as if Ben was the first character they follow as early on, for the first few minutes, you’re following a man trying to buy some milk from a shop but can’t find anyone to serve him. It feels so disconnected that you’re actually wondering if you’re watching the same film for the entirety of the 88 minutes.

As the film goes on you are still given no clear reason why you should actually like the family and therefore it makes you feel completely disengaged with what’s happening on screen. It turns out that one of the characters is cheating on his wife (the pregnant woman) with another woman in the house, but I really didn’t care. There is no emotional connection with the characters, especially as they really don’t seem to care about the outbreak. Characters are clearly going to turn into zombies after being bitten (they even acknowledge it to each other) but they are then trusted to look after the rest of the family. If the family doesn’t seem to care about the situation then why should I?

It’s just 88 minutes of nothing and it takes more than 45 minutes, more than half of the film, to actually show you that the zombies are approaching the house. It’s almost like they’re trying to build a very slow tension that you know the zombies are coming and time to escape is running out, similar to what happens in the “Night of the Living Dead” films and to be honest, that’s what pisses me off.

This film has no right using the “Night of the Living Dead” name, it has virtually nothing to do with the excellent 1968 film and it’s superb 1990 remake, other than the title. There are several major plot points blatantly stolen, such as one of the children has been bitten before you see them, characters disagree about whether the basement of the attic is safer,

Summary

If you want to be bored to the point where you feel like a zombie for 88 minutes then this film is for you. I’m not sure whether it was supposed to just be a rip off of “Night of the Living Dead” or a tribute, but it fails miserably either way.

There is not one single likeable thing about this film. There’s exceptionally poor camera work, characters that you don’t feel any identifiable emotion about, a pretty bland storyline and not one sense of true danger throughout.

Being low budget is not an automatic sign of being a bad film, hence why I liked “Exit Humanity”, but that film brought you into the film and your felt immersed in that world. That does not happen in the slightest with this film.

I don’t use this phrase lightly but I think I can safely say that this is the WORST zombie film I have ever seen.

 

The day of reckoning, the day the curse grew stronger in the Red and the Black. Sisters united in blood, together forever.

Year Released : 2004220px-Gingersnapsback
Director : Grant Harvey
Cast : Katharine Isabelle, Emily Perkins, Nathaniel Arcand, JR Bourne, Hugh Dillon, Adrien Dorval, Brendan Fletcher and David La Haye

“Ginger Snaps” was a film that really, really, really didn’t need a sequel, I can’t really emphasis that enough, but not only did they make one, they also made a prequel. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against prequels whatsoever, there are some very good ones out there, but they are few and far between and the reason for that is that they tend not to show you anything that adds to the original film.

Filmed pretty much back to back with the sequel, it is actually quite surprising just how different they are in terms of style, the characters and virtually every aspect and they don’t even feel like they are connected in the slightest. “Ginger Snaps Back” is very polished, looks fantastic and is a vast improvement on the sequel. It’s hard to put your finger on why this has been so made in such a different way to the way the second film was made but it’s a good thing that it was as it feels considerably more enjoyable.

What satisfies me even more than the way it looks and is presented is that it feels like more of a conclusion to the series than the sequel did, which is amazing when you consider that it’s set more than 100 years before the first and unlike the second film, doesn’t contain the same characters. It’s quite mystifying in many ways.

Plot

In 19th Century Canada sisters Bridgette (Perkins) and Ginger (Isabelle) and trying to find a place to rest and recover following the sinking of their boat. They stumble across an Indian camp and Bridgette is injured when she steps in a bear trap. A hunter stumbles across them and takes them to a nearby fort to receive care. There they meet a community on edge because of a werewolf that stalks them.

After an edgey welcome, Ginger awakes one night to someone making a crying sound and she comes across a boy. The boy suddenly attacks her but Ginger manages to escape, but the sisters quickly realise that they can’t stay and try to leave immediately. Upon reaching the gate they are stopped by James (Bourne), the fort’s military commander and it is soon revealed that they are believed to be part of a prophecy that ends with everyone ending up dead.

With the group of werewolves getting more violent with their attacks, it seems like only a matter of time before the camp falls, either from the outside or the growing threat of the transforming Ginger.

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So is it better than the sequel?

First of all let’s start with the opening to the film, something which I praised in the first film but heavily critcised in the sequel. For me the first scene, whilst not as good as the first film by any stretch of the imagination, but is surpasses the second film because it returns to the creepier tone and actually makes you feel uneasy from the off.

One of the main problems with most low budget horror films, or low budget films in general, is poor production values. There is a review coming up tomorrow for a zombie film and the low level of quality production was one of the reasons I hated it, but “Gingers Snaps Back” has some of the best production values I’ve seen for a low budget film. The cinematography works exceptionally well, the locations are exceptionally well scouted and the sets are set up in what I suspect is a historically accurate fashion. That level of accuracy continues to impress and stands out magnificently compared to other low budget films, especially the costume design.

The costume design is fantastic and you can tell that a lot of research went into finding out what the clothing of the time was like. You first notice this when an Indian frees Bridgette from a bear trap and his gloves are to pieces of leather woven together. I won’t claim to be an expert on clothing in 19th century Canada, or even know the first thing about the subject, but they do look authentic enough and that’s something that film-makers really need to get right if they’re making a film set in the past. It helps you get more involved in the world.

Unlike the sequel, I found myself getting emotionally involved with the characters and their plight, even before the werewolf starts attacking. You watch them struggle with the realisation that they are running out of food and probably more accurately, the fort is full of a male only population and they have to be reminded by the priest when they are about to eat that Ginger and Bridgette are there for help and they are not to be harmed or raped. The fact that the characters have to be reminded of that is actually quite realistic for a group of men that are isolated from the rest of the world and see women for the first time in however long.

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Despite being completely different to their modern day counterparts, I still felt a connection to the characters of Ginger and Bridgette, even though they have lost a lot of the darkness and macabre personalities from the first film. Their relationship as sisters seems as strong as it was in the first film and they are backed up by some excellent secondary characters. You care about what happens to the characters in this prequel and for me that make it far more enjoyable than the sequel. Bridgette in particular feels like a distance separation from the original character, for a start she doesn’t look like she needs a bath in this film, something that couldn’t be said about the first two films.

The characters definitely make this film and in many ways it doesn’t feel like a werewolf film as they don’t feature prominently. The main storylines are Bridgette and Ginger trying to hide the latter’s infection, and also Wallace trying to hide the fact that his son, who was infected, is still alive and is being kept in a room as a secret from the rest of the fort. Because of this you see a lot of deceit on all sides and the development of the two storylines is very intriguing to watch, especially when the reaction of Wallace when the camp discovers his son and his sudden flip from a protagonist to an antagonistic character. It’s not often you see characters turn from one to the other so quickly, it’s either a slow build that’s obvious or the characters are either one of the other.

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However, as I mentioned in the introduction to the review I said that prequels really need to add something to the initial film to really be worth being part of the same film series. Ginger Snaps Back would have been an excellent stand alone film but as part of a trilogy it doesn’t really seem to fit. Infact, I could say the same about each film in the trilogy as other than the characters, none of the films feel even remotely connected to each other. As three stand alone films I think this trilogy would have fared a lot better. “Ginger Snaps Back” is a great little horror film, it’s very enjoyable, it’s well made and has a great cast of characters, but I think the ultimately it’s only ever going to get compared to the first film and when you do that it distracts you from this film.

That’s no fault of “Ginger Snaps Back” at all. It is what it is, a prequel to an excellent film but ultimately due to it being a prequel it’s impossible not to compare it. This film would have been better suited to being a stand alone film, but even if it was a stand alone film, using the same actresses and character names would have lead it to be associated.

My final point of contention comes with the run time of just over 90 minutes. Now don’t get me wrong, 90 minutes is about average for film length but for me this film was about 10 minutes too long. There is a LOT of filler in the film, especially around the middle section, and although it doesn’t damage the film, you could argue that it doesn’t add anything either. I know I’m nitpicking slightly but again, it’s slightly too longer for me. Even when there is only 20 minutes to go there seems like there is no end in sight for the film and it’s not obvious that an ending is coming or is even in sight.

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Summary

This is one of the best prequels that I have seen. For me this makes up for the poor sequel and this would have been a far, far betterapproved series of films if it weren’t for the sequel.

It is exceptionally well made for a low budget film and I other than it’s slight exaggerated run time, it keeps you engaged throughout and whilst it doesn’t grip you quite as much as the original, it does a damn fine job. I’m glad that they didn’t expand on the trilogy and keep it going because this felt like a natural conclusion.

Whilst it still has it’s flaws, you will struggle to find many low budget films that have the production values that this has .

 

My best-case scenario, Eleanor, is hair everywhere but my eyeballs, elongation of my spine until my skin splits, teats, and a growing tolerance, maybe even affection for, the smell and taste of feces – not just my own – and then, excruciating death.

Year Released : 2004gs2
Director : Brett Sullivan
Cast : Emily Perkins, Katharine Isabelle, Eric Johnson and Tatiana Maslany

If there’s one thing I hate it’s a sequel to a film that didn’t really need a sequel. The main reason for that is because the sequels very rarely turn out to be as good as the first and it somewhat spoils the first. Fortunately “Ginger Snaps” was, in my eyes at least, so good that a poor sequel by comparison doesn’t ruin it, but that doesn’t mean that the sequel is any good.

Much like the third film in the [REC] series, I could review this one of two ways, either treating it like a sequel or treating it as it’s own individual film. If it was the latter, much like “[REC] Genesis” I would probably enjoy it more, but it’s virtually impossible to review a sequel and have draw comparisons to the first film, and in that sense I can’t review it independently, and that’s a shame because as a stand alone film it’s not that bad, but it’s not that good either.

Ultimately it’s a trilogy (third film review coming tomorrow) that stops being good after the first film has finished, and you can’t have a trilogy with only one good film.

Plot

Following the death of her werewolf sister Ginger (Isabelle), Bridgette (Perkins) is one the run and battling her own transformation following her self-infection at the end of the first film. She is initially successful but soon finds herself in a drug rehabilitation clinic after she is discovered surrounded by several syringes of monkshood, which ultimately turns out to do nothing more than delay the transformation and not prevent it.

Whilst there she starts transforming due to the lack of monkshood and this doesn’t go unnoticed by Ghost (Maslany), who proceeds to then follow Bridgette around. There might be salvation to the problem though as clinic nurse Tyler (Johnson) secretly gives patients their drugs in return for sexual favours, something which Bridgette is definitely not keen on.

All the while Bridgette is experiencing visions of Ginger and is being tracked by a werewolf.

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So why isn’t it as good?

Well I’m going to start off by mentioning something that I promised I was going to mention in the review for the first film. In this film it’s revealed that monkshood actually just delays the infection rather than stopping it, which was the belief in the first film. In a way this does an excellent job of making the first film more macabre than initially believed as you realise that characters such as Jason were never cured and he himself has been cursed to life as a werewolf.

Infact, the best parts of the sequel are the bits that carry over from the first, such as the ghost/visions of Ginger that are following Bridgette around, or the continuing use of monkshood, and in that sense you do get a feeling of connection with the original film, however, the film offers very little to enhance the first film, which is what sequels are supposed to do.

Some of the best sequels in cinema history have been better than the original because they enhance the original. Excellent sequels include Terminator 2, Aliens, The Dark Knight and a select few others are brilliant because they work as both stand alone movies and part of a franchise. They add to the overall story in a positive way and are well made, or they at least retain what made the first as good as it was. This film fails miserably on the latter.

The opening scene starts off in a considerably less impactful way that the first film and instead of the characters creating this incredible macabre photoshoot, in the sequel it’s Bridgette shaving and injecting monkshood into herself and background music that tries to convince you that what you’re watching is creepy, but it doesn’t even begin to have the same emotional impact as the first film. The music, which I could best describe as steam-punk, is commonly used throughout the film and it doesn’t have the same brunt as the first.

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You know what, I’m actually going to abandon reviewing this compared to the first film for the most part because it’s nothing like the first one and I don’t want to spend the whole film moaning about how the first film was better and this was why. That’s not to say that this film is good by comparison because it’s really not, but I don’t want to spend the rest of this review being extremely negative for a film that if it stood alone wouldn’t actually be considered that bad.

I’m going to start with the concept of a person who is transforming into a create being helpless to even try and prevent it is quite interesting. It’s obvious that Bridgette does not want the same fate as Ginger and yet she has no choice but to face that fate as she can’t access the monkshood. What makes it even more difficult for her is that she’s in a place where everyone can see her changing and her increasing desperation to hide it.

Bridgette has changed a lot since the first film (don’t worry, it’s not a comparison) and in many ways she has changed for the better. She no longer suffers fools and this is evident when she threatens to beat up a girl simply for standing in the way of the TV. Like Ginger in the first one, this could either be down to the onset of puberty (which is hinted at given that she tries to use sexuality to get her own way), which isn’t a theme in this film, or it could be from the transformation, it’s never really made clear and still leaves the character with a slight bit of mystery, which is refreshing.

She continues to experience more and more sexuality and there are few scenes I have ever seen in any film that have about 45 young women all being taught how to masturbate effectively in a class and then having a mass explosion of self love. I can’t believe I’ve just written that and although it turns out to be just Bridgette’s imagination, it’s a scene that sticks in your head.

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In “Ginger Snaps Unleashed” Perkins gets the chance to explore new aspects of the character and you can tell that she enjoys exploring more of the character that she played so well in the first time. Infact in both of the first two films she does an excellent job and although she’s playing the same character in both, it’s very rare you get to see the same actor/ress get to play the same person completely differently from one film to the next and Perkins does an excellent job.

That being said, she is pretty much on her own in the group of characters that you’re actually interested in. Even though it’s not an awful thing, the cameo of Ginger doesn’t really anything to the film, most of the secondary characters are pretty meaningless to the overall story and worst of all is what can best be described as the film’s antagonist, Ghost.

Ghost is the Ja-Ja Binx of the film, she is extremely irritating. I can see what she adds to the film, I really can, the fact that it turns out that she burnt her own relative to the point where they will have to spend the rest of their life in hospital is actually quite interesting, but what makes her an awful character to watch is that she is portrayed so incredibly poorly by Tatiana Maslany. It was her first role in a feature film and it really shows as her acting is just bland, she is completely devoid of anything remotely worth watching and if there was anything that ruined the film for me, even as a standalone, it her performance.

Unlike the first film this is an outright attempt at horror and it fails in that sense. It’s not scary in the slightest and any attempt at scaring you is jump scares, and for me they do very little to actually scare you because it’s predictable. I could call what was going to happen before it actually happened and it’s impossible to be scared in that situation.

I really wanted to like “Ginger Snaps Unleashed” but I found it increasingly hard to become emotionally invested in the film and for me that’s not good. With a stronger cast of back up characters this film might have had a chance because the basic storyline is there, but only really caring about one character isn’t enough in a film like this. As good as the central character may be, they will only get stronger with a strong supporting cast of characters.

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Summary

As a stand alone film this wouldn’t be too bad but certainly not worth more than a 5/10 and there are a few reasons for this. If anything I would call it bland because it’s hard to get emotionally invested because other than Bridgette there are no characters that I actually care about and other than Perkins no-one puts in a memorable performance for the right reasons.

It has lost most of what made the first film enjoyable to watch and now just feels like your typical Hollywood style sequel, which is amazing given that it’s not even an American film.  It lasts for around 93 minutes but in that time it’s really hard to get inspired or overly interested in the story.

Out by sixteen or dead on the scene, but together forever. United against life as we know it

Year Released : 2000uploads_d4c488cb-55a6-4b14-9397-4cb1114482dd-5y3uNrwngp8PGamS5heuDUbhsHL
Directors : John Fawcett
Cast : Emily Perkins, Katharine Isabelle, Kris Lemche and Mimi Rogers

For a while I classed “Ginger Snaps” as one of my favourite films and quite possibly was top of that list at one point or another, but at the time of writing this I haven’t watched this wonderful gothic horror in several years. This is a big shame as I used to have the poster (specifically the one on the right) on my bedroom wall, and for a time I even considered it one of my favourite films.

Ginger Snaps isn’t a high budget film by any stretch of the imagination but it is a wonderfully made Canadian indie film with a small. This is down to numerous factors, including an excellent cast and some of the best make up that you are likely to see in any film where a character is slowly transforming into an animal.

With each cast member putting in a near perfect performance, even the minor characters, a unique story and one of the more unusual examples of character development in the 21st century, Ginger Snaps is an incredible indie film that keeps you wonderfully entertained throughout.

Plot

Ginger (Isabelle) and Bridgette (Perkins) are outcasts at their school and make no attempt to hide their macabre approach to life, which includes a rather morbid, if somewhat incredible, art project where they portray a gallery of death as a class project.

One night they are walking home together and Ginger gets attacked by a large animal but manages to survive. Although everything seems fine at first, she soon starts portraying behaviour that even Bridgette finds strange. It isn’t until Ginger’s body starts changing that they realise that the animal was infact a werewolf and Ginger is now transforming as the next full moon approaches.

As well as trying to hide it from their overly keen mother (Rogers), the girls try and find a cure for Ginger’s condition, although as it takes a tighter grip on her, Ginger suddenly starts to rebel against efforts to stop what is happening to her, even to the point where it puts innocent people at risk.

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So what sets it apart from normal monster-flicks?

Well unlike most monster flicks, the monster is actually one of the protagonists and it is gradually growing inside of her. The film isn’t a full on action packed horror film, it has many different elements to it and in some parts of it the transformation into a werewolf takes a back seat to the great on-screen relationship between Ginger and Bridgette, which I would class as one of the strongest sibling bonds that I have ever seen in a film.

Despite being gothic and incredibly morbid about life, the sisters are extremely close and loyal to each other, and the tradegy of the film is watching that relationship slowly break apart as Ginger transforms and Bridgette struggles to come to terms with what is happening. Right from the outset they have plans of committing suicide together and are completely against the idea of relationships.

That opening scene is followed by one of the greatest montages in indie horror film history as the sisters present a unapologetically gruesome gallery of death for an art class, presenting pictures of themselves being impaled on fences, taking drug overdoses, drowning in a bath, run over by lawnmowers and far more gruesome things are done with such care and attention it makes you wonder why their teacher was so appalled when it was over given that it was evidence of excellent art and photography skills. It is also helped by a remarkably morbid violin (at least I think it’s a violin) theme.

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I don’t give out praise lightly, especially to the point where I say something is the best of anything, but there are very few opening credit scenes as eye openingly exceptional as this. I can think of many accomplished open credit scenes to films, such as when you follow a bullet’s journey from being made in the factory to being shot into a child’s head in “Lord of War”, right through to the nostalgia inducing epic that is the intro to “Watchmen”, but neither come close to this. It may be simplistic in nature but even now, 13 years after I first saw the movie, it sticks with me.

“Ginger Snaps” also likes to use itself as a metaphor for when a girl goes through pregnancy and her body starts changing. There are heavy themes of the female puberty throughout, even to the point where Ginger thinks that her pains from changing into a werewolf internally is the result of period pains, and then the not so subtle character of the mother.

The mother is very worried that Ginger, a girl of 15 in the film, hasn’t started having periods yet and couldn’t be more delighted when she finds some of Ginger’s underwear with bloodstains all over it. Infact, the mother is one of the more complex characters in the film as she doesn’t know what’s happening but will stick up for her daughters against her better judgement, even when she discovers a body of a student that upset Ginger in the freezer.

It’s really hard to think of a character even remotely similar to the mother, who takes delight in discussing the menstrual cycles of her daughters at the dinner table, much to the uncomfortable displeasure of the father. Despite being exceptionally one dimensional, the mother character is actually quite refreshing to watch and unintentionally adds a comedic level to things.

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Grim attributes continue throughout the film to the point where you wonder where they’re going to go next. There are the more obvious elements such as when Bridgette falls into the remains of an animal that has been torn apart, right through to when Ginger eviscerates the school janitor and takes joy it in.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a gross-out film, far from it. Yes, I know the fact that I’ve mentioned characters being run over by lawnmowers, Bridgette falling into dog remains and many other similar things, but it’s all done with the intention of adding to this eerie masterpiece of a film. Infact, if anything the landing in a dog reveals a lot about the character of Bridgette because for all of her morbid fascination with death, the first thing she does when she lands in the dead animal’s body is to give a very visceral reaction, and at that point you get to learn that Bridgette might not be all that she has seemed.

Infact, both have an interesting level of character depth. Whilst they both have a great level of the macabre about them, giving the impression that they don’t give a fuck about anything at all,  yet both are probably more like your stereotypical teenage girls than they’re prepared to admit. They spend their time on the sports field bitching and making fun of another girl, coming up with plans to embarrass others and Ginger not knowing how to react when she is asked out on a date rather than just outright saying no, which is what you would expect.

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Ginger’s character develops exceptionally well and you wonder if her personality changes are down to just her transformation into a werewolf or the onset of puberty. Her increasingly sexualised nature, willingness to become more popular and abandon her sister and near enough completely abandoning her previous gothic tendencies, any of them could be by natural causes or the result of the transformation, you’re never entirely sure.

One of the most dramatic changes emotionally is evident when Ginger is being barked at heavily by a dog in the school and she responds by kicking it in the head. Nothing before that suggests that she is a violent person, especially not towards animals, yet now she is willingly attacking animals in front of people. It’s an interesting switch around and the first time that you’re made even aware that her personality is changing.

The transformation into a werewolf is intriguing in it’s own way and done in a completely different way to other films on a similar nature. In most the character only has to worry about transforming when a full moon is present, but in “Ginger Snaps” Ginger, and the characters she infects via methods of sex, gradually transform during the month before completing it on the full moon, and what’s even more terrifying is that from all of the evidence presented, the transformation is permanent and the characters will never turn back into their human form.

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Just so you’re aware and not expecting a lot, the final transformation scene is done mainly in the shadows and you don’t see a lot, but that actually makes it more effective. The changes before her final transformation are subtle and tiny things change each time she is on screen and it’s an exceptional level of detail and attention that has been put in by all involved.

It isn’t just what’s happening to Ginger that is interesting through as after a while she infects a guy called Jason, from that point onwards you see that the genders act differently the transformations. Jason develops a severe itch, grows several noticeable warts on his face and starts urinating blood, as well as several  other minor things that Ginger doesn’t experience and when I review the second film I will go into a point regarding the Jason character that most probably haven’t thought of, but I can’t really mention it in this without spoiling something about a major plot element in the second half of the film.

 

I will end this section by talking about the ending. Now, I’m not going to give away what happens but the final scene strikes up numerous emotions, none of them happy, and in many ways it’s the perfect end to this aberrant horror film.

I’m not even entirely sure if I would classify it as a horror film as there aren’t that many horror elements to the film, but it’s the closest genre I can fit this into as there are so few films anywhere like this. I wouldn’t call this a genre-defining film, mainly because it’s not very well known, but this is definitely something you won’t have seen before and that makes it completely unpredictable, which is what you want from a movie. I hate predictability in films and this film certainly keeps surprising you as it progresses.15-ginger_snaps

Summary

I don’t use this term lightly, especially when talking about low budget films, but I would call “Ginger Snaps” a macabre masterpiece. approvedFor the purposes of this review I watched the film for the first time in several years, at least five, and I loved it as much as the first time that I saw it. It is wonderfully morbid.

The attention to detail to even minor things is such a refreshing change and it’s very rare you see a film that fits so neatly into a genre but is completely unlike any other film in that genre. I’ve never seen another film like it and I guarantee that you haven’t either.

Regardless of your preferred choice of genre, I would recommend this as it is unlike any other film you will ever see. I’m not going to lie and lead you on with any false pretences, this isn’t a film that is full on action all of the way, there are long spells where things don’t happen, but if you want 103 minutes of your life filled with something completely unique, this is the film for you.

If you insult me again, I will cut your face off and wear it over my own. Do you understand?

Year Released : 2011Killer_Joe_Poster
Directors : William Friedkin
Cast : Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch, Juno Temple, Thomas Haden Church and Gina Gershon

As I mentioned in the review for “The Day” there were some interesting trailers before the film on the Blu-Ray of “[REC] Genesis” and one was for a rather peculiar thriller called “Killer Joe”. I was surprised that I hadn’t heard of it given it has one of biggest stars in Hollywood at the moment as it’s main star, as well as a decent back up cast, and looking online I wasn’t the only person who hadn’t heard of it due to it’s poor gross at the cinema, lack of votes on IMDB and not many hits on the trailer on Youtube. Based on that I decided that it would become my next review.

One of the reason I chose to watch this was that it seemed to be a completely different role in the interesting CV of actor, Matthew McConaughey. In recent years McConaughey has gone from just another actor to one of Hollywood’s most entertaining stars, and in the middle of his resurgence was this little film where he plays a sociopath. It adds to a CV that has seen a large variety of characters ever since his days where he played the same character over and over again in romantic comedies, and in my opinion this is the role where he shows the most range he has shown as an actor.

The one thing I would say is that you start watching “Killer Joe” and think you know what you’re about to see, but I can safely say that whatever you think is going to happen is far from what you will get.

Plot

Chris (Hirsch) has gone into significant financial trouble with a local loan shark and is facing being killed due to the debt. After a discussion with a friend, Chris discovers that his estranged mother has a life insurance policy that would pay out $50,000 in the event of her death.

After discussing it with his family, Chris secures the services of Joe (McConaughey), a cop who takes out assassination contracts in his spare time, to murder the mother. Due to Chris’ financial issues Joe insists on taking a retainer, Chris’ sister Dottie (Temple). Dottie is initially reluctant but soon develops feelings for Joe and the two develop a relationship.

Everything seems to be going to plan before Chris has a change of heart after he becomes uncomfortable  with Joe and Dottie’s relationship, but by now it’s too late and Joe has already finished the job. What makes the situation even worse for Chris is that he finds out that the insurance money doesn’t go to him or Dottie, but instead his mother’s boyfriend.

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So what makes it good?

Well let me start off by saying that McConaughey is absolutely fantastic as Joe. I would liken his performance and character to that of Christoph Waltz’s Hans Landa in “Inglorious Basterds”. I’ll be honest, I used to be in the large group of people that didn’t like McConaughey due to his previously lacklustre performances in many a film, but in recent years he has turned it around impressively and this performance is typical of recent years as he steals the show.

The character of Joe is exceptionally well written and you never truly know whether he is being genuine or not, and that is what makes a good character. It’s all well and good knowing exactly what a character is going to do, but unpredictability makes you want to see more and that is what I want to see in a film. For example, there is a scene where Chris is begging Joe not to go through with killing his mother that night, however, it turns out that Joe has already completed the assassination and that she is currently decomposing in the boot of his car.

Hirsch is also on par with his usual performances and his ability to play characters that you can’t figure out whether you like them or not, and even Temple is enjoyable in her role as the innocent, and somewhat simple Dottie. I must admit that I’m not much of a fan of Temple and before this I hadn’t really seen anything I’d enjoyed her in, but thankfully I can now say that that has changed and she plays the role well. Her performance in the final scene when Dottie is conflicted is intriguing and brings you right into what she is thinking and feeling, and that is something I’ve never had when watching a character portrayed by Temple.

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It’s not just the cast that excel, but also the locations and whoever was in charge of finding places to film has gone a superb job. The film is visually stunning due to the impressive locations in which several scenes take place, such as Chris and Dottie having an argument on the train tracks, as you do, or when Chris is trying to escape those that are chasing him for money. Much like in “Zerophilia” the locations almost feel like characters themselves and you find yourself getting lost in them.

There are a lot of memorable scenes in the film, such as at the end when Joe forces Sharla into giving a blowjob style activity to a chicken leg that he’s holding next to his crotch. It is one of the most bizarre things that I have seen in a film in ages and it will stick in my head for a while, and therefore it has done what it was supposed to do, it has made a mark.

My one criticism of the film is something I normally heavily criticise other films for and that is a lack of character development. None of the characters are really any different when the film ends to when it starts and that is a shame. None seem to have been overly changed by the events of the film, but I suppose given that the mother was hated by pretty much all the characters explains that one.

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Summary

I know this review has been significantly shorter than usually but to be honest there just wasn’t that much to say about it.approved

“Killer Joe” was certainly one of the more unusual films I’ve seen. The scene with the chicken leg will stick with me for some time and that’s what you want in a film, something that you will remember. At the time of writing it’s less than 24 hours since I watched “10,000 Days” and I can’t remember virtually anything about it, that’s not a good thing. I want to be able to remember experiences of watching a film and “Killer Joe” did that brilliantly.

Now, again, I would recommend that you don’t go into the film expecting it to be 100 minutes full of action, intrigue and tension. There are lengthy gaps between things happening on a regular basis and for those of you that aren’t patient, I think that you will struggle to enjoy this. Some scenes last for around 15 minutes each, and the final scene lasts for close on 20 minutes, although it is done so well that your attention never wains if you just relax and try and enjoy it.

I fear for all the souls and pieces of shit that try and get into this house tonight.

Year Released : 2011The_Day_(film)_poster
Directors : Douglas Aarniokoski
Cast : Dominic Monaghan, Ashley Bell, Shannyn Sossamon, Shawn Ashmore and Cory Hardrict

There are very few actors that I enjoy watching more than Dominic Monaghan. For me he is one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood and his refusal to be typecast in anything wins my respect. He was fantastic in “Lord of the Rings” and amazing to watch as Charlie in “Lost” and so when I saw a trailer for “The Day” when watching the Blu-Ray of the recently reviewed “[REC] Genesis, I hoped that it wasn’t well known so that I could review it, and it wasn’t.

I hadn’t heard of “The Day” outside of the aforementioned Blu-Ray before and I was quite excited, as I am with most post-apocalyptic films, and the fact that the trailer didn’t tell me a lot about the film itself, including anything of the plot other than people hiding in a house and trying to stop others getting in. For me that lead to a good level of intrigue and for the first time I am reviewing a film without even knowing anything other than a general outline of the plot beforehand. For me that is exciting and is what I enjoy about watching new films.

I even write this before I’ve started watching the film so I could be getting this excited over nothing, but I guess we’ll find out. I must admit that the ratings on various movie websites (went on for the purposes of getting screenshots) didn’t leave me very optimistic ahead of time but I didn’t read any reviews, meaning that for once I get to watch a film with nothing influencing my opinion before I’ve even seen it.

The one thing I would say is that this is not a horror film, there aren’t any real horror elements to it. I know the poster and the trailer make it seem like a horror movie but it really isn’t.

Plot

A group of survivors from a post-apocalyptic event travel the road together and search for a place to start a new life.They stumble across a farmhouse that seems to be the answer to their problems, including having weeks worth of food in the basement. The situation soon turns sour when the group try and remove the food, only to set off a trap set by cannibals that kills Rick (Monaghan).

After the remaining four kill the cannibals that respond to the trap being triggered, they are forced into an internal conflict when one of the group, Mary (Bell) turns out to be a former member of a clan of cannibals. She is tortured to breaking point and even after they let her live, they aren’t sure that she can be trusted.

With the trust levels running extremely low and the fact that they can’t run away because the cannibals will track them down easily, they only have one choice and that is to stand and fight.

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Just your typical post-apocalyptic film or actually decent?

There have been many takes in recent years on what the world would be like after an apocalyptic event. Some of them have been excellent, such as “Carriers” (which will be reviewed in the future), “The Book of Eli” and a few others, on the flip side there have been some shocking ones and I think one of the problems is that most post-apocalyptic films are very similar to one another and the genre has become over-used, almost to the point where you think you’ve seen everything before.

Obviously without an apocalyptic ever having happened to humans it is impossible to say what a post-apocalyptic world would be like and how people would interact with each other. There has been a good mix of views on this, some more realistic than others and I think that this is presented in that group.

It holds no punches at any points and starts off with Adam raiding the house of a family that has been brutally murdered. Right there and then, within the first 67 seconds of the film you get a great idea of the world that the characters are living in and the lengths that they need to go to to survive. Within the next few seconds you realise that they’re not only having to resort to those lengths but also having to avoid unseen enemies who are going to kidnap them if they get the chance.

I loved that it didn’t use cliches. There is a scene are 11 minutes where they believe that there may be enemies in the house that they have broken into, one of them and goes to explore. They re-emerge and say “clear” and in most films you would expect someone to suddenly come out and attack them, but it doesn’t go down that route and I found that quite refreshing.

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The characters are delightfully written, right down from reflecting on the past and having a generally optimistic nature, which isn’t common in post-apocalyptic films, right through to enjoying the little things, such as when it starts raining on they use it as a rare opportunity to have a shower. The characters know how to be serious whilst also having the ability to have a more likable side, and without being given much flexibility because of the situation they’re in, it’s nice to see characters that aren’t one-dimensional, which again has been a problem in other post-apocalyptic films.

I love that the characters are optimistic about things and believe that there is a way out of their situation. In most similar films it’s all doom and gloom, but in this the characters not only enjoy the little things but also have positive plans for the future. The characters don’t accept their fate, or indeed the fate of the world and it’s nice to see that they deal surprisingly well with their situation.

Even the antagonists have more than one dimension, which is something that definitely doesn’t happen regularly. The leader of the cannibal clan is very loyal to his family and when he son is killed, he develops a more human element to his character and isn’t only interested in creating violence for the sake of being violent, which is

Dominic Monaghan is again produces a fine performance and is memorable before his character dies at the 30 minute mark after being impaled by a spike, but I was definitely surprised by Shawn Ashmore’s contribution to the film. It’s the first chance I’ve had to see him in a darker role after he playing one dimensional good guys in the X-Men series and “Frozen” (the good one, not the Disney film) and he does very well as the troubled Adam. The two have an excellent on screen relationship and chemistry, you actually believe it when another character says that they have known each other since childhood. It would have been interesting to see the pair develop had Rick not been killed early on.

Ashmore is incredible throughout, with the standout scene being where he is torturing Mary, seemingly taking a genuine delight in trying to force a cannibal to eat their own flesh. It only lasts for about two minutes but is an incredible piece of acting and it’s the first time I have been truly impressed with Ashmore.

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For once I loved the soundtrack of a film that’s not well known. It doesn’t happen often, with “Exit Humanity” being my favourite example, but “The Day” does an excellent job with it’s soundtrack and the opening title sequence has a song that reminds me a lot of the main score in another post-apocalyptic film,”The Book of Eli”. Some movies that I’ve reviewed recently have had horrendous soundtracks and scores, but it works excellently in “The Day” and creates a very interesting atmosphere. The music isn’t used inappropriately at all and doesn’t feel like it’s trying to force you to feel a certain emotion when the film doesn’t call for it, which is something that a lot of films try to get away with (playing dramatic music when nothing is happening for example).

My one criticism of the film is that when the characters are battling with the cannibals at the end of the film it is so dark that is hard to tell which character is which when they’re fighting.

Summary

I actually genuinely enjoyed this film. Much like “Exit Humanity” I think the only reason that it has a low score on film review websitesapproved is because there isn’t a lot of action and a lot of people aren’t interested in watching something that isn’t outright action all the way through. A lot of the movie going public these days love to just sit back and be entertained with action for hours on end, and whilst that isn’t a bad thing, if I don’t give a crap about the characters then why should I give a crap if they die or not?

I’m not going to sit here and claim it’s the best film I’ve ever seen but as far as post apocalyptic films go, it’s one of the more entertaining and has been executed with care and attention, which again is something that I think is more valuable than letting a computer do all of your work for you and relying solely on that (hello Transformers).

If you’re prepared to invest 90 minutes of your time in watching a good film then I would recommend this as it’s got three very distinct chapters, each with their own good merits.

I am willing to risk everything to change the future!

Year Released : 2014Untitled
Directors : Eric Small
Cast : Riley Smith, John Schneider, James Harvey Ward, Peter Winkfield and Jay Montalvo.

It takes a lot for me to turn off a film before the end but “10,000 Days” just joined that extremely exclusive club. Granted, it was only just before the end but I had put up with it for far too long by this point and couldn’t take anymore. For me this was one of the worst films I’ve ever watched, even when compared to “Zombeavers”, “Frank” and several others that I have reviewed for this site as at least those films didn’t leave me bored, they made me feel something….anger more than anything….but at least it was something. I was emotionally engaged in those films and as awful as they were, they at least had that, “10,000 Days” doesn’t.

I must admit that I got quite excited about “10,000 Days”. It wasn’t because it looked good, it wasn’t because it sounded like an interesting story (although it did to be fair), it was because it doesn’t, at the time of writing, even have a page on Wikipedia, it is extremely obscure. Even some of the films I thought were obscure that I’ve reviewed previously have had Wikipedia pages, but the only results for the term “10,000 Days” are two albums. The fact I’ve even had to create my own screenshots tells it’s own story about how obscure it is.

Much like many other films that debut on the SyFy channel, “10,000 Days” uses it’s limited budget on poor special effects and has exceptionally poor acting skills, but unlike most of the other films, this isn’t entertainingly bad, this is just outright bad. Films such as “Sharknado” or “The Room” (not from the SyFy channel but is a similar film in terms of acting) are at least amusingly bad, you can laugh at them for being so bad. This is bad without giving you the enjoyment factor of the aforementioned.

PLOT

27 years ago a comet hit the Earth and created a new ice age. Several families gathered together but then split up after an argument and now fight for control of an indoor facility, especially as the ice seems to be thickening.

One day, following an accident, members of the Beck family find a boy from the enemy group and because instantly suspicious, whereas Remy is convinced that the Becks have kidnapped him.

The Becks soon discover a frozen Air Force One and the control system for America’s old weapons. As the Becks plan to release a nuclear weapon to try and end the ice age, Remy’s group plans an attack to not only reclaim the boy, but to end the war once and for all.

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Dull, with an extra portion of bland

Very unusual start as the main character does an opening speech about what happened immediately after the comet struck, but he actually does it whilst being visible on screen. This is highly unusual as it’s usually done as a voiceover in numerous other films, so at least they’re trying something new. It does switch over for a brief moment into being a voiceover for a fight that actually looks visually impressive, presented in a similar style to the fighting in “300” before then ending in a stupid manner.

Infact, the film obviously tries to resemble “300” whenever a battle scene is happening. It’s presented in a similar style and in slow motion and with elements such as snow being shown in a louder definition than what’s around it, which is definitely very similar to the aforementioned, the difference is that the fights in “300” keeps you interested and astounded by them, whereas nothing really happens in the fights or battles in “10,000 Days”. They aren’t tense, they aren’t violent and they are just aren’t enthralling enough.

Whilst you can actually give credit to the film for actually trying in terms of it’s visual presentation, the acting quality leaves a lot of be desired and the effort they’ve put into the fights is not replicated to even a remotely interesting level.

The first discussion between the major characters feels almost rushed, there’s not a gap between characters speaking, no gap whatsoever, and it is hard to keep up in many ways. Don’t get me wrong, in many ways it is an aspect of real life where conversations can just flow well without gaps, but in a film you need that so you can keep up.

That sums up most of the film quite well as it moves as such a pace that you’re barely given chance to catch up with or process what is happening before they’re onto the next cave collapsing, fight starting, argument happening or anything of a similar nature. It’s hard to sit back and enjoy because you’re having to concentrate permanently and not  just relax into the film.

For me that is a big problem as there are a lot of films that do require you to concentrate all of the way through to understand what’s going on, such as “Inception” but the difference is that you want to follow what’s happening in that film as you’re engaged into the story.

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None of the characters are particularly interesting and Remy, the main antagonist, is one of the least threatening, interesting or emotionally involving bad guys in the history of cinema. The greatest films have amazing antagonists, such as Joker in “The Dark Knight”, Norton in “The Shawshank Redemption” and Darth Vader in the original “Star Wars” trilogy. They are excellent antagonists because of their impact on the protagonist, the excellent acting or the emotional involvement you have with them, none of those apply to Remy. He is just there. He’s one of the least engaging antagonists in the history of film as far as I’m concerned.

The soundtrack is atrocious, or at the very least atrociously used. Moments that could have been genuinely tense are reduces to mere parodies of anything resembling terrifying because of the music, and there is very few scenes without music in them that actually didn’t require them. It became quite tedious. There’s nothing wrong with having a lot of music but there has to be a purpose to it.

That is easily the biggest criticism of the film that I can throw at it, and is probably the biggest sin of any movie is that it’s boring. It is exceptionally dull and after just 25 minutes I was already counting down time for it to end (the things I do for you lot). I just felt no connection to the characters, wasn’t invested in the story and for lack of words, I was bored.

I’m not even entirely sure what to class this film as in terms of genre. It’s not a comedy (well, other than the acting), it’s not a horror, it’s not a drama, maybe a science fiction so I really have to go with that, and that’s a bad sign when you have to wonder what the genre is.

Just to r0und off all the negativity, there are poor attempts at comedy, such as finding a chocolate bar from a fictional company with an army ranking name and the young adult characters thinking that the soldiers would make chocolate bars in their spare time. It was an attempt at being funny that didn’t really pay off and ultimately fell very flat.

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It’s not all negative however and there are one or two moments that I did actually quite like.

An aspect that I did like was that the characters who were around before the comet hit get nostalgic of how the world used to be, such as one character remembering a trip to Aruba, only for the other person to say that it means nothing to them because they weren’t around back then. It’s quite an interesting concept in many ways and is probably very true to what it would be like.

There are several scenes like that, or scenes where the younger members of the groups discover objects but don’t know what they are, such as a young woman, probably around 20 years old, finding a bra in a plane (as you do) and looking at it completely puzzled.  Again, this would be quite realistic and is definitely a generational thing.

Summary

It’s hard to feel strongly about the film in either a good or bad sense because it doesn’t get me emotionally invested in the story or the characters. The danger feels forced rather than a genuine threat and ultimately it makes it very difficult to feel anything but uninspired.

The antagonists never seem particularly threatening to the protagonists and the characters aren’t very well developed. Even when they’re on a crashed plane that’s plunging into the ice after a tremor, it’s hard to feel anything significant either way and you genuinely don’t care if the characters survive or not.

Films live and die on their ability to make you feel anything, or at least keep you entertained, and this film fails miserably in both respects.