Well, well, well look what has returned! The Friday Horror Rental List!! Our good friend Adam has stepped in to do the weekly list so sit back and enjoy his weekly reviews !!!
*** Spoiler Alert***
Horror releases are starting to pick up this week. Every Friday, I’ll list the new horror DVD releases and which ones I think are worth your time.
BEST PICK OF THE WEEK
The Sacrament –
I saw this movie twice at Fantastic Fest last year, and before I saw it, I had heard one or two people buzzing that Afflicted was the better found footage movie. Not so, by a long shot. This movie has Ti West’s signature “subdued” style and slow-burn escalation, and ends up a much more solid overall movie than Afflicted, if it must be compared to that. The movie is about a group of Vice journalists going to some undisclosed location to find a missing woman, and the religious community they are welcomed into becomes increasingly creepy. The weakest part of the movie ends up being, funnily enough, the finale, as it relies on the power of a large number of extras being generally unconvincing in their acting. But the point of any Ti West movie is the suspenseful buildup to that point, and the skillful storytelling is well worth it.
THE REST OF THE FILMS
Only Lovers Left Alive –
This movie blew me away. I expected an annoying and hokey vampire movie. What it actually ends up being is a surprisingly confident, cool, atmospheric and, strangely, funny movie that feels like a very personal project from director Jim Jarmusch, who spent years and years to get the movie funded for 7 million dollars. It’s about a jaded, depressed vampire musician played by Tom Hiddleston, who thinks humans are “zombies” destroying the world through their stupidity and lack of technological innovation. And that’s pretty much it. Based on that description, it’s not my kind of movie at all, but everything about the movie feels authentic and passionate, even though there is too much exposition at times and certain elements are silly or too obvious (the two main vampires are named Adam and Eve). I can really appreciate Jarmusch’s style, but most people will be turned off by the seeming lack of plot. If you liked Kiss of the Damned, or if you like “contemplative” movies, you’ll like this one. Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston, Anton Yelchin, and Mia Wasikowska are all great in the movie, and even though the plot is simple, the characterization is amazing. But the best part of all of it is the weird, deadpan, offbeat sense of humor, as Adam and Eve comment on everyday life and people, driving through the streets of Detroit.
Septic Man –
This was my number two pick (pun intended, unfortunately) for worst movie of the entire year of 2013. This was also a Fantastic Fest movie, and it’s really trying hard to be that “new Human Centipede”, but it falls so flat, accomplishes nothing new, is extremely dull and plotless, and will generally take a giant dookie on your chest. Don’t think I’m grossed out by the concept or something. I was impressed by the first scene: a woman vomiting and defecating endlessly in a bathroom covered in her own waste. I thought we were in for a unique treat. The rest of the movie is so incredibly boring, never once attempting to match the energy of the first scene. The only people who will like this ones are the easily fascinated, easily grossed out non-horror fans who try to find that “sickest” movie to show their friends. This does nothing special, and the only thing it’ll insult is your intelligence.
Rampage: Capital Punishment –
This is the second watchable Uwe Boll movie! The first Rampage was impressively competent, even if it was visually frustrating with its shaky cam, and realistically showed a kid’s descent into madness, and the killing spree was refreshing to watch, because, even though the violence and effects are way too tame, the main character got into a ton of situations that most movies would cop out of, and, after a lot of suspense, he would actually follow-through and kill a ton of people. The movie deserves credit for not caring about any boundaries there. The sequel is similarly entertaining, but it surprisingly takes the main character’s reasoning behind his madness very seriously, now taking this weird Occupy Wall Street slant. As a dumb but suspenseful and relatively fun hostage movie, it’s still a success. There’s less shaky cam, but also fewer locations and a lower kill count. Still a must-see for those who thought Uwe Boll couldn’t cut together a coherent movie.
Varsity Blood –
A “slasher” about a high school mascot killing cheerleaders and students, this movie is completely incompetent in every way. The acting, writing, and visuals all feel like they came from a middle schooler’s YouTube project. I’ve already put more passion into those two sentences than was put into the entire movie, so I’ll stop there.
The Quiet Ones –
This movie is an above-average ghost story, where the jump scares are a little fresher and more sophisticated, and there are some unique, engaging moments that make the experience worth it for people wanting a creepy story. It’s about a group of college kids, led by a professor, doing a case study on a person who seems to be possessed. Overall, though, there are no relatable characters, as the main female character is two-timing the male characters, the professor physically attacks and yells at his much younger students, and there’s one male character hanging around that is useless and has very few lines, only existing to be one of the sexual partners of the main girl. So, I’ll recommend this movie to people who liked Sinister and Insidious, but people who hate jump scares and dumb characters won’t like it.
The Toxic Avenger got a blu-ray re-release today. That’s all that needs to be said there. And if you haven’t seen Return to Nuke ’em High yet, you need to see that too.