Sunday, March 31, 2013

Angel Of Death (Nazis At The Center Of The Earth)

I've been dying with the flu this week so I didn't get a chance to go to the cinema to catch up on some films that were coming to the end of their cinema run. Instead I've been at home with a constant supply of Lempsip, some newly purchased Blu-Rays, and a few Netflix choices.

These include "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" (very good documentary on the MPAA), "Locked Down" (very dull UFC influenced prison movie starring Vinnie Jones), "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" (made me want to read the books again), "The Spirit" (a poor but hilarious knock-off of "Sin City".....directed by the guy who created "Sin City"), "See No Evil" (which I haven't seen since October), "Blazing Saddles" (classic Mel Brooks) and "Dredd" (criminally underrated action film).

When I watched "Iron Sky" last week, I expected to see a really cheap, badly acted B-Movie with a Nazi theme. I also said that I watched it with a friend of mine who, as it turns out, also chose this off Netflix on his next visit to my home. Hmm, I don't know if I should be worried if he has any fascination with Nazis.

This film just so happens to be my introduction to the film company "The Asylum". I've been meaning to check out "Snakes On A Train" for a while, and their version of "Hansel & Gretel" (which I mentioned in a previous blog entry) was just added to Netflix recently. Coincidentally this film was recommended by another friend of mine during Xmas, but I never got the chance due to some computer issues I had at the time. My guess was that it was trying to cash in on the release of "Iron Sky", so for this blog entry, I'm continuing with this unexpected Nazi theme.


89 minutes later.....

If I was going to find that B-Movie Nazi film I was expecting before I watched "Iron Sky", I had to look no further than "The Asylum". This film is as cheap as chips with poor CGI, lack of set design, zero acting ability from the majority of the cast, and a hammy performance from a grossly miscast Jake Busey. Who even thought it would be a good idea to cast the guy from "Shasta McNasty" as a scientist?

There is an abundance of moments where you just can't help but be amazed by how cheap this film looks, whether it's the wooden acting being performed infront of a white wall, the unrealistic looking CGI backgrounds, or even the make-up effects on the rotting, decomposing Nazis. There are so many things to pick apart that after a while, you end up just accepting what level this movie is at.

Even this guy's nonexistent acting skills.
But if there's one thing that the film has going for it, good and bad, is that the story is outrageous. The film is a sight to behold where they pull off this nonsensical plot with the tools at their disposal. There are times where you have no choice but to stare at the screen with your mouth open, wondering what state of mind the writer had when coming up with ideas for this movie.

The characters are barely fleshed out, many of whom without any discernible character traits. The dialogue as expected is very basic, with the exception of throwing medical jargon every now and then. But one line in particular, where one of the female characters stating the fact that she's Norwegian is an indication that she will be fine going down a large hole which leads to the centre of the Earth. I'm sure there's a joke in there, but I don't know much about Norway, other than a particular subculture that's the basis of the book "Lords Of Chaos".

The Nazis themselves are a confusing breed to look at. At first I thought they were zombies in their first appearance sans gas masks. But they turn out to only harvest the skin and body parts of their victims so they can use them as spare parts for their own broken down bodies. Kinda like a mix between the Frankenstein monster and Ed Gein. But they are also a technologically advanced army, just not in the medical field, despite the inclusion of Josef Mengle to the group. I'm not sure even the creative team behind this movie knew what direction to take these Nazis.

Hell, they didn't even know the proper direction of the swastika.
If there's one problem I had with the movie, all joking aside, it would have to be the inclusion of the "rape scene", for want of a better term. It starts off where the three female scientists are told to go into the showers, which at first seemed like an excuse to add in some nudity, just to compensate for the fact that the film is so bad it needed some gratuitous boob shots. But then the "final solution" came to mind. Instead comes a scene where one of them is stripped by force by a group of Nazis who proceed to gather round her while on the ground, crying and screaming.

It doesn't show any explicit scenes of whether they are eating her like a zombie corpse or partaking in gang rape, but given that the latter is strongly hinted, I felt the film took a needlessly dark turn. It reminded me of what Kevin Smith said in the aforementioned "This Film Is Not Yet Rated", about the use of rape in movies being overused as an inappropriate plot device. If the film was grittier and more in tone with a slasher/horror movie, then this scene, while still hard to watch, would fit. But it's a cheap looking, laughably bad B-Movie, it just seems very out of place.

It's not the type of scene that you could easily get back to the film's bizarre nature, but the movie tries its best right after it. What follows is a lobotomy scene, then the revelation that one of the scientists is carrying the child of Jake Busey, in a romantic subplot which was never hinted at beforehand). While beginning to digest this nonsensical story addiction, the film then jumps to a scene involving a vacuum cleaner (don't ask), and the reanimation of the head of Hitler.

"Wolfenstein 3D" meets "They Saved Hitler's Brain"?
With the absurdity of how Hitler's head could still be functioning after a self inflicted gunshot to the temple, the reverse swastika (see previous image above), and the exceptionally long subtitle text when Hitler is giving a speech (nevermind the fact that he looks ridiculous), it was at this point that I'd just allow anything I would see for the remainder of the flick. Even with the "Iron Sky" reference to the spaceship towards the end, it was just best to give up trying to make sense of what's happening, or be surprised by any more stupidity so close to the end.


This film is very entertaining and watchable, but for all the wrong reasons. Bar the sudden dark turn in the middle, everything from its conception to how it plays out is just unbelievable to look at that you can't help but laugh. If you're looking for an enjoyable Nazi B-Movie to watch.....go with "Iron Sky" instead. But give this a go afterwards, just to see how badly the concept of "Iron Sky" could have gone, when in the wrong hands. As for my first introduction to "The Asylum", it has convinced me to watch "Snakes On A Train" as soon as I get the chance. As long as I'm prepared for what's in store.

And on a final note.....

Now I might be wrong here, and feel free to correct me if I am. But there is one thing that this movie had which was absent from "Iron Sky", and that is the inclusion of the Wilhelm Scream. If you don't recognise the name, watch this clip below. It's more than likely you will recognise the sound, especially those who have watched "Star Wars".

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Feuer Frei! (Iron Sky)

For the past few days I've watched a ton of movies, due to the fact that I spend most of my time indoors due to the lousy weather, be it cinema, or at home via Netflix or DVD/Blu-Ray. These include "Maniac" (as I was a bit too drunk the first time I watched it), "Parker" (Jason Statham.....need I say more?), "Knucklehead" (horrible "Kingpin" knock-off by WWE Studios), "The Queen Of Versailles", "Cleanflix", "Popatopolis" (highly recommended documentaries), "The Other Guys", "Tremors" (both highly recommended, full stop) and "Daydream Nation" (I'll admit, I watched it cause Kat Dennings was in it).

Also I have been watching a certain horror franchise that I plan to write about for the next Halloween Countdown. Granted it's only March, but considering how time consuming it was last year to write a new blog entry for every day of the month, I'm doing these posts in advance, so all I need to do is some editing before the final product is posted. With that, I still have to squeeze in this week's blog post, in which the film of choice (well, my mate's choice really) is "Iron Sky".

I've been meaning to watch this film for a while, as I've only heard that it's about "Space Nazis" attacking Earth. That's all I needed to convince me to watch it. I've heard mostly negative reviews of the film, so I was expecting this to be a low budget, badly acted, semi-serious action flick. But with a premise of "Space Nazis", and when "Zombie Nazis" worked in the past, I could do worse.


93 minutes later.....

For a film about "Space Nazis", it certainly lived up to my expectations. Unlike the recent "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters", where it plays it straight despite the chucklesome title, this film knows it's ridiculous and it goes along with its B-Movie material plot.

What took me by surprise was the look of the film. Granted there is a lot of CGI environments and models in this film, but it's never distracting to the point that you feel like you're just watching people acting in front of a green screen. Unlike the recent "John Dies At The End" which had a bigger budget and more notable names attached to it, but the CGI effects towards the end were terrible. With this film, the CGI actually looks impressive, considering its modest beginnings, according to its Wikipedia page.

There's not a lot of "star power" in the film, with the only recognisable face being Udo Kier, and even I had to look up his name. The actress who played Renate looked liked another "actress" that I was convinced it was the woman I had to look that up also. I don't know what that says about me though.

Says it all really.
This sci-fi film throws everything at you in terms of action and comedy, especially the latter. There are some outrageous bits where you can't help but shout out ""what the f**k?" It makes references to films such as "Downfall" and "The Great Dictator", and it also works as a form of satire, especially its similarities with America and the War On Terror. Granted this may be a little outdated as this was made after George W. Bush's term in power, but it still works here regardless.

Considering the fact that it has that B-Movie spirit, the acting is better than expected. The performances had the right level of playing it straight without becoming too serious, which I felt was where "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" stumbled over itself. The futuristic world is relatable to the world of today, and the costumes were not overly bizarre, which helped make this world believable.

While on the subject of clothes, while some of the female characters were "eye-catching" in their dress sense (not to mention one of them nearly disrobed by the vacuum of space), there was zero nudity on display. Normally these types of movies would throw in a bit of nudity into the mix, but I have to give the film credit for not feeling the need to go down this route. Besides, other film companies have made films that mixed political satire and sex.

Well it's already established that I have no girlfriend.....


I have to say, this has been one of the most enjoyable films I have watched in a good while. I enjoyed the over the top story, and no matter how many plot holes or questionable logic that went with it, those are some of the fun parts to watching a B-Movie. And a very well produced, polished looking one at that.

I'm surprised that this film has garnered mainly negative reviews. Maybe it's because the film doesn't go out of its way to be P.C. when mocking whatever nationality or stereotype that's on display. Maybe people didn't like the tongue in cheek nature of the film. Or maybe those people just weren't in on the joke.

Less convincing than Lenny Henry in "True Identity". But funnier.

And on a final note.....

The title of this blog entry is inspired by this song. And I chose this video over the "XXX" version.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Vulgar Display Of Power (Savage Streets)

Last week I mentioned that I watched my first Chuck Norris film, "The Octagon". This alone would have been a great topic for a blog entry. However, the film was so confusing and littered with strange quotes, scenes and casting choices that putting my view into words would not be enough. It's not like writing about a film such as "Wrong Side Of Town", as even though it was riddled with plot points, I got the gist of the story. With "The Octagon", I can barely make sense of the film without reading up on the plot on the internet. Hell, I didn't even see an octagon throughout the movie, unless I didn't realise it at the time.

So instead I went with a film that came up as a recommendation on Amazon last week. One of my friends on Facebook posted a link to the film earlier this week, which was a strange coincidence. So I decided to writing about the 80's exploitation flick: "Savage Streets".

Before I proceed.....

At time of writing, the full movie could be viewed on YouTube, so for the purpose of this review, I posted it. Now I am in no way condoning the act of watching films for free on the internet, as I would rather watch it through legal means. However, there are certain times where I might break this rule. For this, the movie is on YouTube and not on some video hosting site with countless pop-ups. Plus the film is pretty much out of print, and can be found on Amazon at an exuberant price.

So if it gets to a point where I don't have the money needed to watch a certain movie, or find any other means of watching it, then I would go through this alternative route. That said, if I could find a way to watch "Killer" (aka "Bulletproof Heart") by these means, I'd be on it. I now regret missing my opportunity before it was pulled without warning on Netflix. But I digress, here is "Savage Streets" for the initiated.

What caught my eye when browsing through my recommendations on Amazon was the cover art, which shows an image of Linda Blair in a revealing outfit. Now, Linda Blair is famous for playing the possessed Regan in "The Exorcist", one of my favourite horror movies of all time. It is interesting to see how one time child actors fare in films as they grow older. With Linda Blair, she falls into the same category as Drew Barrymore and Alyssa Milano, where you can't help but notice how much she's, erm, "grown".

Ahem, moving swiftly on.....


93 minutes later.....

I have to say it was fun to watch a genuine exploitation flick, as even though I'm a fan of the films that came from the "Grindhouse" concept, I have rarely seen any of the original 70's and 80's flicks that these are a homage to. Now when I say that I enjoyed it, I do find some faults with the film. These can be genuine plot holes and poor direction, but since it wasn't the intention of the filmmakers to make a credible film (or at least I hope not), this can be just a bit of nitpicking, if I wanted to take it serious.

To give a brief description of the story, it's a vigilante tale in which Linda Blair stars in the lead role as Brenda (but from this point on I'll just refer to the actress' name as I keep forgetting the name Betsie.....I mean Brenda). She stars as a schoolgirl (I'll get to that in a minute) whose deaf sister is raped by a gang of drug pushers, who are later responsible for the death of one of Linda's friends, and proceeds to avenge them.

Alternatively, you could just look at the captions on the movie posters at the start of this review, and below.

Do I really need to mention the hair?

The story itself is basically "I Spit On Your Grave" with elements of a vigilante movie. But one of the major problems I had with it is that it is painfully slow. It takes 25 minutes before the attack on the sister happens, and it is around the hour mark where the friend is murdered that Linda Blair decides to take the law into her own hands. Right after a scene of her topless in the bath, set to some 80's cheesy rock montage music. Well, whatever makes me forget that this was the person who uttered the line "your mother sucks cocks in hell" as a kid.

The rest of the movie is just showing the majority of the cast being a bunch of dicks, whether it be the evil gang, Linda Blair and her friends, along with the other, erm, teenagers. Yeah, unless these people go to the same school in "Beverly Hills 90210", these are clearly people in their mid to late 20's. It would have been more realistic if these people were in community college, even though I only have a vague idea what a community college is, through American film and TV. But no, there are cheerleader rehearsals, and a class about the reproductive system.

All this does is throw mixed signals at the viewers. Well, let's be honest, male viewers. There is quite a bit of gratuitous nudity, including a catfight with Linda Blair and some cheerleader because her footballer boyfriend keeps coming on to Linda and the blonde cheerleader still blames her, when it's clearly him in the wrong. I know it's an intentionally cliched couple, but the guy looks too goofy to be attractive to either of these women (using the term "girls" just seems wrong at this time). And considering the fact that he even laughs at his girlfriend when her top is ripped off, what could anyone possibly see in this jerk?

Gratuitous nudity is one thing, but the lecherous objectification of women sends off some pretty mixed signals. The rape scene is one that is disturbing, and shows the drug gang as violent sexual predators. But in other scenes where they are demeaning women and groping them in inappropriate ways, the women themselves don't look look like they are in danger, upset, or worried. They seem to be slightly irritated, but are just willing to shrug it off. And when the women are overly sexualised, it does raise question on whether you're sick for getting slightly aroused by the flesh on display, given the context. And it doesn't help that the actors don't convey any realistic reactions in these scenes.

Even when her top is ripped off, she doesn't look horrified, so it's okay. That's my errr, I mean, some pervert's excuse.

As for the rape scene, it's pretty much copied and pasted from the original "I Spit On Your Grave", even down to the unwilling participant of the gang, albeit shorter and more effective. Don't get me wrong, both are hard to watch, as with any rape scene, but I always got the impression that "I Spit On Your Grave" was a feminist propaganda movie disguised as a thriller, as the pivotal scene went on for too long, as to demonise men as a species, instead of the people who.....


Okay, I'm looking way too much into a section of a film which is just an exploitation flick, hence the title of the genre "exploitation". I guess if a film like this came out today it would be instantly labelled as misogynistic. And it doesn't help when the settings are in a school and most of the cast are meant to be teenagers, hence the rape scene is that more harrowing. So it was from that point of the movie where I have other option but to look past the supposed age group played by these adults.

And now, back to the rest of the movie.....

Referring back to the unlikable cast, there was one person that I found entertaining was the principal, played by John Vernon. He comes off as the figure of authority in a comedy film, which makes it funny but cringeworthy when it seems like he has inappropriate thoughts and feelings towards his female students. And of course, he comes out with the best line in the film. Of course I found Linda Blair entertaining, but for different reasons. As for acting? Well, she did win a Razzie for her appearances in this, "Night Patrol" and "Savage Island". Neither of which I've seen, but I'm not so sure if I would want to watch them.

But then again.....

As for Linda Blair's character, there's nothing much to say about her, other than she's a tough cookie who seems to be an outsider even to her own group of friends, but is a sweetheart when it comes to her sister and her mother. There's not much to go on in terms of background, other than that her father passed away. She acts no different even when her sister is fighting for her life in the hospital. There's no real interaction with her friends that would make you feel for her when one of the group is murdered by the drug gang.

But all that extra characterisation nonsense can be pushed aside, as long as we get to the vigilante section of the movie. Coming in 20 minutes before the end, thanks to the long wait, this section is quite entertaining. But it's more to do with silliness instead of the action. The weapons she uses, including the elaborate traps, were already foreshadowed during the opening credits of the film, and when she has the gang leader tied up, it felt like this film will have a satisfying, kick ass ending.

But instead, she gets hit with a gate door, and suddenly becomes a damsel in distress, runs away from him and hides in a DIY store where they have their final showdown, which is more akin to a lead female in a horror movie fighting the odds to defeat whatever evil person/creature she's afraid of. This is a complete 180 turn for a character that has been portrayed as an 80's version of Rizzo from "Grease" throughout the entire movie, until she gets knocked in the head by a gate door, and loses whatever attitude and confidence she had. It just comes out of nowhere, and the movie just falls flat right before the finish line.

Better say something nice.


While there are some really stupid parts to this movie, including pacing, acting, setting and story, I can easily forgive it for the fact that, for what its worth, it's just a silly exploitation movie that throws realism out the window, among other things. It's not to be taken too seriously, even if it does have some questionable and shocking moments. With the right mindset, it can be very entertaining, and I'm sure I'd enjoy it more if I was having a few beers while watching it. Especially as you need the alcohol to get through the film's slow pace. But it has enough cheesy moments and ridiculous scenes to keep the viewer's attention, and it does have that 80's charm that gives it a nostalgic feel, even if you've never seen it before.

And if you don't like it, go f**k an iceberg.

And on a final note.....

Back to "The Octagon"; take a look at the blurb on Netflix:

"Terrorist ninjas have been wrecking havoc on a wealthy woman named Justine, so she hires former karate champion Scott James to be her bodyguard. To take down the dangerous thugs, James must start with their training ground, known as The Octagon."

As soon as I read the first two words, I cracked up laughing, hence why I chose this as my first Chuck Norris film. How could you go wrong with "terrorist ninjas"? Well, a lot actually. But that can be turned around into something of  a marvel to watch. Despite the fact that it brought much confusion to this reviewer, and it didn't have as much fight scenes with Chuck Norris as I expected it to have, I would recommend watching it just to sit back and enjoy the absurdity of it

Monday, March 11, 2013

Grimm Fandango (Hansel & Gretel: Warriors Of Witchcraft)

As I begin to write this, once again I have missed my Sunday deadline. The combination of suffering the effects from going out last night (which I rarely do these days), going to the cinema to see "Lincoln" (great performances from Daniel Day-Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones, but visually dull), "Wreck-It Ralph" (very enjoyable movie, coming from someone who likes computer games), along with watching terrible but fun action movies at home (which included subjecting my friend to watching "Wrong Side Of Town", which I wrote about on here), has me at a disadvantage.

In saying that, there was one other film that I watched in the cinema this week: "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters". Before I went to see this in the cinema, I noticed one film popping up on Netflix, which was made last year, which had a very similar title. I thought this was the work of "The Asylum", but as it turned out, they have their own version. So I was curious as to what this one was about, especially after I saw its namesake in the cinema.


What did I think of "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters"?

The film was alright, with some entertaining gory bits and a laugh here and there. Also the 3D looked fine, but then again the only films that seem bother with 3D technology are questionable horror films. However, this film makes the same mistake "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" made; it takes itself way too seriously. It takes away any sense of fun that the title of the movie is suggesting. Which doesn't help when Jeremy Renner takes the role seriously and Gemma Arterton, who I find very pretty to look at ever since "Three And Out" (among other things in that movie.....ahem), is almost channeling Kate Beckinsale in terms of bland, wooden acting while looking hot.

The only person who looked like they were having fun was Famke Janssen, the supporting character named "Ben" is just pointless and annoying, and the biggest problem I had with the movie was the aimless direction it has. It didn't know if it wanted to be a lighthearted action fantasy flick (like the godawful "Van Helsing", which I also wrote about last year) or a violent, twisted take on an old tale. I didn't know if it was catering for the teenage crowd or for blood thirsty adults. It's like watching "Van Helsing", but with added blood and the "F" word littered here and there. Sure it could do with those things to make it interesting, but given the context of the rest of the film, it just seems out of place.

So in short, it was watchable, but if it decided on which direction to go with from the start, it could have been a lot better (going the adult orientated route), or it could have been bland (see "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter".....not literally, of course). With that, I was sure it was going to look like a masterpiece when compared to the ingeniously titled: "Hansel & Gretel: Warriors Of Witchcraft").

83 minutes later.....

Wow, I am actually shocked that these films can be released nowadays. I swear this looks like some film student's first year project. But further research shows that director David DeCoteau has a few titles to his name, albeit the majority of it I've never heard of. But for someone who has experience behind a camera, this is even an insult to amateur film work.

While the film takes place on school grounds, courtesy of the reused establishing shots of the campus (examples including two people talking by a tree, the signposts, side of buildings, people walking where one of them is wearing a t-shirt with "Still Undefeated" written on the back), the rest of the movie doesn't look like it was shot in a school. Hell, even classes which have five students in total take place outdoors.

Infact, the "campus" looks like the exterior of a day care centre. I even came up with a theory that this was filmed in a rehab clinic, where part of the extracurricular activities is doing film projects. Which could be the only logical explanation as to how Eric Roberts ended up in the film, as he could have been in rehab also. Maybe he doesn't get a lot of work nowadays, but for a guy who has starred in "The Dark Knight" and "The Expendables", I find it hard to believe that he needed the money that badly.

The production values are almost one step above "Birdemic", in that it has better "special effects" and has "star names". Well, if you call Eric Roberts and the hot babe in "Kingpin" (Vanessa Angel) as "star names". Other than that, the rest of the cast are a bunch of unknowns, with one of them playing a student/jock/witch that's taller than the rest of the cast. Oh, and the male lead is played by someone called Booboo.
No, not that Boo-Boo.
The plot feels like it came from a rejected script for an episode of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer", with some minor changes here and there. After Booboo gets into a fight in school (judging by the establishing shot of two people talking and another one with a tree), he and his twin sister are transferred to an exclusive boarding school, which shows the exterior of the day care centre.....and the same two shots of the people talking and the tree.

Already in the first few minutes, the editing dismisses all continuity. Whenever the film takes place indoors, half the time I'm not sure where these people are supposed to be, thanks to the confusing campus setting and confusing stock footage. For example, when Booboo's sister finds out about her birth parents from looking by the fireplace, I don't know where this fireplace is supposed to be. The stock footage shows an apartment complex with a car park, but is that supposed to be part of the school? Is it the foster parents' place, even though at the beginning it looks like they're in a suburban neighbourhood? Is it Eric Roberts' office? His home? It's never explained.

This guy was in "The Dark Knight" for crying out loud!
There is not much to the plot itself, where the twins don't fit in with the rich kids, Booboo gets in a fight, then starts hanging with the rich kids, who turn out to be witches who kidnap other students, so their master can take their souls. Booboo's sister suspects something is going on, confronts her brother, they argue, and she learns about their true origin. And about an hour later, Eric Roberts reveals himself to Booboo's sister as a witch slayer who fought alongside her dead parents, and that the oh-so-nice guidance counsellor (Vanessa Angel) is actually, quelle surprise, the head of the coven of witches.

It is at this point of the movie, where Eric Roberts trains Booboo's sister to be a slayer by throwing baseballs at her for a minute or so, when the movie tries to cram as much backstory and character motivation as it can before the end. But even then this raises more questions, one of which was whether Vanessa Angel knew her co-worker had a secret identity as a witch slayer. I admit I didn't pay attention to her speech in the final confrontation with the twins, as I was ready to fall asleep with 20 minutes to go before the end. But hey, if the film isn't making an effort, then why should I? And that was before the anticlimactic finale of that scene.

Since I can't find any images of the film, here's an
image of Vanessa Angel and Erika Eleniak in Baywatch.
Oh, and what has this got to do with Hansel & Gretel? Well halfway through the movie Vanessa Angel (while disguised as a kind, caring guidance counsellor who holds her sessions in a gazebo) tells Booboo's sister that the stories of the Brothers Grimm have an element of truth, including the tale of Hansel & Gretel. Not to mention the name of the school roughly translates as "gingerbread house" or something. These scenes and information seem out of place and quite confusing at first, until the very end where the twins find their original birth certificates. And what were their original names? Take a wild guess.....


This film is just a complete waste of time. The editing is atrocious, the story is wafer thin, and the acting from the amateur cast is so bad I pity them instead of finding any form of humour from their performances. The outdoor scenes make no sense, from the coven meetings in broad daylight, to the aforementioned classroom setting. In the "Chillerama" short "I Was A Teenage Werebear", the outdoor scenes where they're supposed to be indoors at least had a comic intention to them. Here it just comes off as bizarre and stupidly cheap.

In my last article, I had a theory that "Quarantine 2" was its own separate movie until it was stamped with the "Quarantine" name. For this movie, I bet the original idea for the movie was a mixture of "Buffy" and "Twilight", until someone saw a trailer for "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters". So to get people interested in this cheap "Buffy" knock-off, they attempted to write in the Hansel & Gretel storyline without any thought, and hoped for the best. Hell, out of all the Hansel & Gretel movies out there, I bet the film below makes more sense than "H&G: Warriors Of Witchcraft".

"From the producer of Twilight"?
I guess those films can drive people to drugs.

And on a final note.....

In my opening paragraph, I mentioned that I was watching dumb action movies during the weekend. One of them was a film called "The Octagon", which I was tempted to write about this week, instead of "H&G: Warriors Of Witchcraft". It was also the first time I watched a film where the leading man was the action hero/living internet meme himself, Chuck Norris.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Loose Connection (Quarantine 2: Terminal)

After last weekend's movie marathon in Cork, not to mention reaching the second season of "Breaking Bad", I managed to watched a few (questionable) movies this week, including the subject of this week's write up. These include "The New Guy" (don't ask), "Superhero Movie" (again don't ask) and "Kickboxer". The other film I watched this week was inspired by attending the screening of "The Bay" last week, which got me thinking about "found footage" films in general.

I have mentioned before that this genre of horror simply doesn't work in a cinema environment. The aesthetic of the "found footage", which is meant for a television screen, is lost when projected on a wide screen. These films work better when you watch them either by yourself or with a few others in a home environment, not in a cinema screen as part of an audience.

I'm sure there are those who would find them scary, but every movie of this genre that I see in the cinema, the only crowd reactions I see are laughter, or people complaining about how rubbish or cheap looking the film is. In relation to the latter, I always wondered how many of these people watch reality television on a regular basis, but I digress.

There are a lot of things that hurt the "found footage" genre, such as erratic camera work, questionable acting, and the suspension of disbelief in relation to why the person holding the camera would be constantly filming constant criticism. But two that come to mind at this time are: the use of conventional film techniques such as sound, lighting, editing, music and even recognisable actors (of which "The Bay" is guilty of), and shoddy sequels. Which brings me to this week's film, "Quarantine 2: Terminal".


What did I think of the first film?

I saw this in the cinema (along with these same audience members that I'm talking about) and I thought the film itself was okay, despite the fact that explains the boiler noise in the background to legitimize the use of a suspension inducing humming noise. Not only that, it starred the boss from "Ally McBeal", a casting choice which takes away the illusion of watching something that's meant to show "real" people as opposed to film characters. Both of these flaws also appear in "The Bay".

It's been a few years since I've seen it, and shortly afterwards I watched "REC" just to make a comparison. While REC was the better movie in terms of "realism", the one decision that I approved of in "Quarantine" was the "human rabies" explanation as opposed to the supernatural "Exorcist" route of the original. For this blog entry, I also had a choice of watching "REC3" (having seen the second film already) as I decided on reviewing a film from this "found footage" genre. I chose "Quarantine 2" for the simple reason that I didn't even know there was a sequel, and it aroused my curiosity.

89 mins later.....

Actually make that.....

1 min later.....

I was astounded to find out that this sequel, based on a film that incorporates "found footage" style of film making, is an actual film, which already has characters that I have no interest in. Not only that.....

10 mins later.....

The film already introduces so many cardboard cut-out, cliched characters, spouting moronic dialogue that makes me hate them even more, in a film style that is instantly recognisable as a cheap, run of the mill, straight to DVD flick with a poor storyline and rubbish acting. And this is supposed to be connected to the first film?

I can't be bothered looking for any interesting images from this film.

Okay I know there are a lot of sequels that drift away from the essence of their predecessors. Granted a good few of them have been questionable in terms of direction, such as "Blair Witch 2""Halloween 3", "Elm Street 2" and "The Ring 2" for example. Ugh, even that last one still gives me a sick feeling to my stomach. But that's another story.

My point is, while these films were terrible in their own right, at least they tried to take some sort of risk with either a change in direction or concept. With the exception of "The Ring 2" which, now that I think about it, I could possibly end with writing about here. But that's because they are movies, which are all subject to artistic licence. With "found footage" films, you'd have to be pretty inventive to deviate from the formula set by the first one, even if may not work (see "Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2").

So the fact that the sequel to "Quarantine" is that of a sub-standard horror movie trying to tie itself to the first movie, is just as ridiculous as the premise and existence of "American Psycho 2". I remember the director of "Quarantine" talking about a possible sequel where it takes place in an airport, and I thought that seemed like a pretty good idea for a sequel. And it would have if this movie carried over the style from the first film. Instead it feels like there was an idea for a film called "Terminal", and in an effort to get more people to watch it, they stuck on the "Quarantine" name onto it.

And the scary part is, these were the thoughts that were going through my head within the FIRST 10 MINUTES of the film, and this was before the first infected passenger started attacking the crew. And given that the rest of the film annoyed me so much, I'm surprised at the direction this article has taken. I never intended this to turn into an opinion piece on "found footage" and stupid franchise sequels. But I felt I had a lot more to say about this film in relation to these topics than the actual movie itself.

Correction: there are no interesting images I can find from this film.
I think I may as well just wrap this up, given that I have work in the morning, and at time of writing it is past midnight and I've already missed the Sunday deadline for these posts. Otherwise I'd have to do a part 2, and believe me, I do not want to put myself in a position where I have to watch it again, in order to do that. So, to prevent myself from going on a rant, here are 10 things off the top of my head of the problems I had with this film:

  • Why did nobody realise the old man with Parkinsons Disease was not with the group when they escaped to the cargo holds? Wasn't the snobby old lady supposed to look after him? Then again, she couldn't look after her cat.
  • Speaking of which, the part where the cat is eating the vomit from the infected fat guy was so forced in its foreshadowing.
  • Nevermind the hamsters who turned out to be infected rats, did the cat get on-board in the first place? Don't animals have to be in a separate section of the plane?
  • Why am I so fascinated about this bloody cat?
  • I still can't understand why the infected pilots killed the token black guy, but left the old guy with Parkinsons alone.
  • The scene where the whole group of passengers are rallying against the air hostess/"leader" just comes off as stupid and unnecessary.
  • The baggage handler couldn't find a better time to tell the group about the tunnels underneath the hanger while all this was going on?
  • The night vision goggles are a poor reference to the first movie, and come off as tacky.
  • It plays like a children's movie with the kid passenger trying to convince the air hostess/"leader" about the guy she has the hots for. And not only is he one of the principal characters, but he is the sole survivor at the end, despite the fact that he becomes a total idiot within the final moments of the film.
  • Actually that's a lie. There was a second survivor, and that turns out to be.....


Last Minute Research

If there was one thing that actually shocked me about the film, it was while looking through the film's IMDb page. Not only has it got a rating just over the 5.0 mark, but the listed reviews from the critics for the most gave it a favourable review in comparison to the first film. Considering the other questionable sequels I mentioned above got mauled by critics on release, this one gets off easy. At least those films took some risks, this one just doesn't do anything to stand out from the endless amount of forgettable movies of this genre, other than a recognisable series title.

Somehow I think it got off lightly for the simple reason that it went straight to DVD, and that it didn't have much of a budget to work with. Not only does the release history not excuse the quality of the film in my book, but these same critics complain about the first film, of which had even less of a budget compared to the sequel. It's pretty clear that these people hate "found footage" style movies, and that's fine. But if their idea of an improvement is a dull, predictable, run of the mill horror film, then their opinions are no better than those who find enjoyment in performing monkey tryouts disguised as TV talent shows.

But I have a theory. This movie was produced by Sony, and the product placement for Sony throughout the film is obvious (but not as blatant as Virgin's forced advertising in "Dracula 2000", mind you). Infact, I bet Sony gave anyone reviewing this film a Vaio or PSP-Go in return for a good review. Then again, if Sony offered me a PS4 to give a good review for a crappy movie they produced.....

Sony should make the PS4 backwards compatible with previous PS games,
as a form of apology for their involvement in "Quarantine 2: Terminal".

And on a final note.....

Speaking of "Kickboxer" at the beginning of this article, I remember watching the final fight scene as a kid many years ago. But I never watched the whole movie until a few days ago. Have to say, it was hilarious to watch, in terms of 80s cheese, poorly staged fight scenes, and JCVD in general. And he didn't show his ass, like he does in a few of his movies. Thank God/Buddha/Allah/Duracell Bunny. As for this video, well, I'm easily amused.

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