Archive for April 13th, 2006

Vacation Movie Reviews, Part I

Well, as we are wont to do, the shadowy and mysterious Codename V. and I saw a mess o’ movies on my latest visit. And being still too braindead to say anything politically coherent, I thought I would take a stab at some capsule reviews. So, in roughly chronological order, here we go:

Stay Alive
This was kinda like Final Destination Meets Silent Hill (or any other spooky shooter/survival type videogame). Some teenagers/young adults of varying prettiness get a hold of a Mysterious Videogame called “Stay Alive” which requires them to recite an onscreen incantation before they can start playing (Helpful Hint: Never do this). As the plot transpires, it turns out that anyone who gets killed in the game ends up dying in the exact same way in real life, and the evil Countess Elizabeth Bathory apparently has something to do with it. She now also appears to have been a Louisiana plantation owner, but we’ll let that pass…

It’s basically an above-average Fun Horror Movie To Watch. Not exactly brilliant, but a lot more entertaining than aggravating. If you’re a horror fan, I definitely recommend it. Oh, and Frankie Muniz (Malcolm In The Middle) actually gets to be heroic, which isn’t something you see every day.

The Hills Have Eyes
This is a remake of the 1977 Wes Craven classic about a vacationing family running afoul of a bunch of bloodthirsty loonies, by the director of Haute Tension/High Tension. And much like Haute Tension, The Hills Have Eyes is very good, but mercilessly brutal and violent.

The basic plot is that Annoying Family Robinson take shortcut advice from Dodgy Gas Station Attendant (Helpful Hint: Never do this), which leads them into the clutches of the Insane Nuclear Testing Mutants, who kill, kidnap, and rape. Then it’s Annoying Family Robinson (or what’s left of them)’s turn, and they do some defending, rescuing, and avenging, with some rather unlikely heroes emerging (one of whom is a very badass, pissed-off German shepherd).

It really is violent and mean-spirited in the extreme, but if you have a strong stomach and enjoy that sort of thing, you have to see this.

This was just an absolute riot, one of the best horror comedies I’ve seen in years. A meteorite lands near the small southern town of Wheelsy, and its sluglike occupant takes over Michael Rooker’s (the Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer guy, among other things) brain and body. He becomes obsessed with accumulating mass quantities of meat, and finding victims to impregnate with eggs that will eventually grow into Evil Zombifying Mind-Control Slugs that take people over if they let them get in their mouths (Helpful Hint: Never do this). And, of course, it’s up to the in-over-his-head small-town sheriff (Nathan Fillion, the captain from Firefly/Serenity) and Michael Rooker’s beautiful wife to stop the alien invasion.

There’s all kinds of whimsical touches thrown in, like the matter-of-fact use of squid stickers to track Michael Rooker’s movements after he first begins to mutate (there is some tentacle action). But what really makes the movie is the mayor (Gregg Henry, whom you may recognize from Payback or miscellaneous TV stuff… or not), who tags along with the hero and heroine for most of the action. He’s angry and tactless, and prone to saying vulgar and improper things that are just really fucking funny. He’s not really mean, just exasperated and clueless, and he gets all the movie’s best lines.

Again, if you like horror movies, this is a must-see. It’s kind of like what the Sci-Fi Channel’s Saturday movies would be like if they had some halfway decent writers and actors.

1 comment April 13th, 2006 at 11:34am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Favorites,Movies

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