US (dir. James Wan)
Cast: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Ty Simpkins, Angus Sampson, Barbara Hershey, Andrew Astor, Heather Tocquigny, Ruben Pla, John Henry Binder, Joseph Bishara, Philip Friedman, J LaRose, Kelly Devoto, Corbett Tuck, Leigh Whannell, Chelsea Tavares
Synopsis: Josh and Renai have a happy family with their three young children. When tragedy strikes their young son, Josh and Renai begin to experience things that science cannot explain.
Review: COMING SOON!!!
Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
US (dir. Tod Williams)
Cast: Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat, Brian Boland, Molly Ephraim, Sprague Grayden, Seth Ginsberg, William Juan Prieto, Jackson Xenia Prieto, Vivis Colombetti, David Bierend
Synopsis: After experiencing what they think are a series of “break-ins”, a family sets up security cameras around their home, only to realize that the events unfolding before them are more sinister than they seem.
Review: As a professed fan of the original, it was a no-brainer that I would be first in line to check out the sequel, albeit a tad reluctantly. A part of me had hoped that there would be no sequel at all, since the first film did more than enough to satisfy me. And let’s face it, sequels, more often than not, fail to live up to the impact of the first film, as Randy from “Scream 2” would infamously argue. However there’s nothing quite like capitalizing on the astronomical success of “Paranormal Activity”, so you can’t really blame the producers of the sequel for trying. Whether or not the sequel would be a critical darling would hardly be a point of concern when the film would almost be guaranteed to earn millions in the first day of its release. Would “Paranormal Activity 2” (or “Paranormal 2 Activity”, as the one-sheet calls it) be a worthy follow up, scaring the shit out of audiences everywhere as its predecessor had done? Would it surpass the original in terms of quality now that any shortcomings of “Paranormal Activity” could be improved upon? In short, no. There’s nothing to see here except the redundant application of the exact same formula followed by the original. There’s nothing new, nothing ground-breaking, and while the story is further developed, the plot is formulaic and the film feels like a really poor carbon copy of “Paranormal Activity”.
The Graves (2010)
US (dir. Brian Pulido)
Cast: Clare Grant, Jillian Murray, Bill Moseley, Randy Blythe, Tony Todd
Synopsis: Megan and Abby Graves are inseparable sisters that couldn’t be less alike. Megan just graduated ASU with a marketing degree. She’s a self-assured, naturally attractive rock chick with a black belt that she likes to use. Abby just barely graduated high school. She’s a cute, Hot Topic Goth who’s caustic and afraid of her own shadow. They share one thing: a life-long obsession with comics and pop culture. Simply put, they are beautiful geeks. In a few days, Megan will start a new job at in New York. To send her off in style, the sisters go on a wild, pop culture bender that includes a trip to uncharted Arizona in search of a kitschy roadside attraction. Instead, Megan and Abby happen on Skull City Mine, a weather-beaten, abandoned mine town converted into a self-guided tour. But Skull City harbors terrible, vexing secrets. It appears to be haunted. Its caretakers are murderous. Victims’ souls are ripped from their bodies right before their eyes, and that’s only the beginning. When Megan suffers a near mortal wound, Abby must save her sister, but to do so, she must unlock the mystery of Skull City alone. Can Abby defeat the threats of Skull City and rescue Megan or are they doomed like all the other tourists before them?
Review: And at the bottom of the 2010 Afterdark Horrorfest lies this giant turd of a film which I’m most definitely dubbing as worst of Horrorfest 4. “The Graves” is a great example of how amateur directing, a low budget, and one fucking terrible script can combine to create a perfect shit-storm of… well… crap. I have nothing against first-time directors making an attempt to hone their craft with little money to spare, and I certainly have nothing against far-fetched plots in horror movies (because, let’s face it, so many of them are pretty out there), but when blended together into “The Graves”, the results are embarrassingly bad – so bad that I would suggest you stay the hell away from this crap fest and go watch something better.
US (dir. Scott Stewart)
Cast: Paul Bettany, Dennis Quaid, Lucas Black, Tyrese Gibson, Kate Walsh, Adrianne Palicki, Charles S. Dutton, Willa Holland
Synopsis: In the supernatural action thriller “Legion”, an out-of-the-way diner becomes the unlikely battleground for the survival of the human race. When God loses faith in Mankind, he sends his legion of angels to bring on the Apocalypse. Humanity’s only hope lies in a group of strangers trapped in a desert diner and the Archangel Michael.
Review: Scott Stewart’s “Legion” is an unintentionally comedic (and borderline sacrilegious) action based horror movie which could have easily been alternatively titled: “Angels with Submachine Guns”. It was released in January, a month film nerds like myself often refer to as Hollywood’s dumping ground for shamefully bad films. It’s almost an unwritten rule that anything coming to theatres in January is sub par at best, and “Legion” is a bright shining example of this. Although it must be noted that I didn’t need to know the movie’s release date to predict its suckage, because the trailer, and hell, the premise of angels fighting humans and other angels with military grade weaponry, were enough to make me feel questionable about the film’s quality.
US (dir. Joel Bergvall & Simon Sandquist)
Cast: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Lee Pace, Chelah Horsdal, Michael Landes, William B. Davis
Synopsis: A woman’s life is thrown into chaos after a freak car accident sends her husband and brother-in-law into comas. Thrills arrive after the brother-in-law wakes up, thinking he’s his brother.
Review: “Possession” is a film that just barely slides into horror territory. Despite a pretty eerie looking, ghoulish creature on the film’s poster (who doesn’t even factor into the movie at all) and the title of the film (which was altered from “Addicted” over the course of post-production), there isn’t really much that makes “Possession” your standard horror movie. It’s definitely more of a thriller with a slight horror twist, and in fact, the original Korean film upon which it was based, “Addicted”, was more of a psychological drama than anything else. In effect, what we have here is clever marketing conducted so as to make a thriller, which is seemingly about a case of possession, into a horror film by putting a creepy looking ghoul on the movie poster and boasting about an executive producer from such remakes as “The Ring” and “The Grudge”.
Jennifer’s Body (2009)
US (dir. Karyn Kusama)
Cast: Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Adam Brody, J.K. Simmons, Allison Janney
Synopsis: A newly possessed cheerleader turns into a killer who specializes in offing her male classmates.
Review: “Jennifer’s Body” is a movie that I was looking forward to with a mild amount of enthusiasm. It had an interesting pretense for a film, something along the lines of “Mean Girls” mixed with “Tamara” mixed with any movie in which there’s a demon who eats people. I thought it would have the potential to be a pretty sweet movie, but unfortunately it turned out that it was “From the Creators of JUNO” which could only mean there would be an overabundance of ultra-trendy dialogue mixed with a heaping of buzzwords I would have trouble deciphering. Of course, I was right.
US (dir. Francis Lawrence)
Cast: Djimon Hounsou, Gavin Rossdale, Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz, Shia LaBeouf
Synopsis: John Constantine has been to hell and back. Born with a gift he didn’t want, the ability to clearly recognize the half-breed angels and demons that walk the earth in human skin, Constantine was driven to take his own life to escape the tormenting clarity of his vision. But he failed. Resuscitated against his will, he found himself cast back into the land of the living. Now, marked as an attempted suicide with a temporary lease on life, he patrols the earthly border between heaven and hell, hoping in vain to earn his way to salvation by sending the devil’s foot soldiers back to the depths. When a desperate but skeptical police detective enlists his help in solving the mysterious death of her beloved twin sister, their investigation takes them through the world of demons and angels that exists just beneath the landscape of contemporary Los Angeles.
Review: So I finally got around to finishing “The Matrexorcist”, also known as “Constantine”, and let me tell you, I’m still far from impressed, and light years away from being enthralled or entertained. I patiently endured sitting through another wretched “performance” by Shia LaBarf, only to find myself watching a movie that can at best be described as a self-referential parody of Keanu Reeves. Thank goodness he’s refused to do a second “Constantine” because this one is more than enough, if not, too much, for everyone.