tisdag 26 mars 2013

The (un)holy Trinity

Three Syfy productions in a row? Stupid or just plain fun? Mostly the latter actually.

After a long week at work I decided to watch something hopefully fun and cheesy so I ended up with The Asylums schlocker Rise of the zombies. Not content with that, I dug up Ghost storm and House of bones to finish of this lovely saturyday and coming out of this I actually feel quite content. I can tell you for sure that I have seen a lot of worse movies that had ten times the budgets of the three movies combined.

The clunker of the bunch was Nick Lyons Rise of the zombies, a very typical Asylum movie. One of my favorite cities on earth is San Francisco so a zombieflick set in that very city was a must-see and I even managed to persuade my girlfriend to watch it with me. The movie starts on Alcatraz (which has a beach. I didn't see that when I was at the place back in september. In fact, the sets look nothing like the famous prison itself but really, I didn't for one moment expect it to) where a group of survivors are hiding out from a zombie plague. When the prison is overrun by zombies (coming from that beach) the remaining group escape and then decide to split up when they come ashore, one of the fractions heading for a safe haven and the other to find a scientist that possibly might be onto a cure.

ROTZ is very far from a good movie, with a really poor script with characters that are sketchy at best; my favorite the woman who is seen surviving on her own, only to be killed the very moment she meets up with one of the groups. You can sometimes see cars driving around in the supposedly abandoned city and there are quite a few inserts where the city is obviously full of normal traffic. Fortunately there are some positives, such as the cast who makes the most of what material they are given like Levar Burton who has a decent role as a scientist remaining behind on Alcatraz to experiment on his zombiefied daughter and Ethan Suplee in an odd role as a slightly christian here (although it is pretty damn hard to shake off the ghost of Randy Hickey from My name is Earl). There is plenty of quite gory violence to amuse you throughout and the movie has a strong enough pace that never really allows you to be bored.

The second of the this trio was probably the best Syfy original I have ever seen, the slightly Stephen King-ish Ghost storm, taking a very silly concept and making a very entertaining movie out of it. Yes, a fucking Ghost storm. When lightning hits the grave of the victims of a mass-suicide the angry spirits rise up from their slumber and form, you guessed it, a Ghost storm that start to decimate the inhabitants of a small mountain town. Of course, there is a reason for them being so angry and it is up to our hero, the divorced sheriff to put an end to all of this. (seriously, what the hell is up with all the divorced people in American movies that ALWAYS has to end up back together again at the end of the movie? Hundreds, thousands of people might die but as long as the FAMILY is back together again it is a-ok!)

Ghost storm is just plain fun, a lot less silly than you expect it to be with a story that oozes both Stephen King and John Carpenters masterpiece The Fog (if the fog was sort of an actual creature that swirled around and made people explode into a pile of dust). The movie gets into the mayhem right away and never looses it momentum straight up to the satisfyingly cheesy end. It isn't much of a horrormovie but still manages to pull off a good atmosphere and actually kills off way more people than I have ever seen in a Syfy movie.

The last movie of the bunch was House of bones, another damn fine production that not only manages to do a decent parody of all those silly Ghost hunter shows but is also a fun horrormovie with a concept I would have liked to see on a much higher budget. The crew of Sinister sites, a ghosthunting show with ratings sinking investigate a house with a dark history only to discover that it wants to kill them all and absorb them to sate its hunger. While not really a very scary movie, House of bones has a really good premise, an engaging cast (Corin Nemec and Charisma Carpenter for instance) and some minor gore to keep things interesting from beginning to end. And while speaking of the ending, it is actually a really good one. Maybe not very original but the intensity it goes down with is really good.

So, I had a really good time with these three movies and both Ghost storm and House of bones gave me hope for the future of Syfy originals.

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