tisdag 26 april 2011

Cold Prey 3 (2010)

I. Don't. Like. Slashers. They are boring, uninspired and follow the same mold over and over again, and still people scream after sequel after sequel where the only difference is usually a different actor playing the psychopath. Ok, it's not really that bad. Most of my hatred comes from watching Friday the 13th sequels in my youth, getting less and less violent for each film. I can watch a slasher or two, there are some great ones like My bloody valentine and.. uh... the unrated My bloody valentine? So why is it that I actually like the Fritt vilt aka Cold Prey series? There is nothing new about these movies, they follow the usual pattern with teens heading into the hills, finding an old hotel and getting themselves killed? Main reason: Atmosphere. The norwegian mountains are awesomely barren and in the middle of nowhere, and the old run down, shiningish (what a magnificient word) hotel is an awesome setting. Good acting and cliched but wellwritten scripts help a lot. The first sequel even goes Halloween 2 on us, bringing the bodies of the first movie to a hospital with the only survivor soon being chased by the of course not particulary dead bad guy. Part 3, a prequel, is actually the worst of them yet, with an even more generic script but it still benefits from a good backstory and is way above a lot of other movies in the same vein.

So, what was supposed to be a review of Cold prey 3 turned into a review of the whole series. I still find myself amazed that I like them so much. Actually, the biggest gripe I have with the series is the presence of Johanna Mørck in part 2. She is a good actress but:
watching her get killed just a couple of weeks before seeing her in Trolljegern somehow made the authenticity lessen slightly. I know, that is a retarded thing to be bothered about.
*end spoiler*

So, to end this review: Another proof that the Norwegians make excellent horrormovies, they even make excellent slashers.

Vampire doll (1970)

A young man travels out into the countryside to meet his fiance, Yuko. When he arrives at the secluded house he is told by her mother that she has died in a car accident. He spends the night at the house and hears some strange sounds at night, even seeing someone that looks just like his dead love. Later he sees Yuko outside the house and follows her to a grave with her name. Cut to some days later where the young mans sister is worried since she hasnt heard from him in some time. She persuades her boyfriend to take her to the house, but is told that he already left. For the sake of proper plotdevelopment she doesnt believe Yukos mother and fakes the car breaking down so that they can investigate what really happened. Cue eerie Japanese vampire. Yum yum.

Vampire doll is a fine piece of gothic horror, straight out of the Hammerverse with an atmosphere worthy of Terence Fisher, yet firmly located in the Japanese horror folklore. It has that certain something that the old Fishermovies had, never particulary scary but rich in wonderful colours and settings, making even the lesser movies of the era watchable. This is the kind of movie that leaves you with a warm feeling in your stomach. Not only is it awfully nice to look at, shot in an oldfashioned gothic style, it has bundles of creepy locations and bursts of really graphic violence, just like we want it. The character of Yuko is a perfect mix of the classic vampire and the look of the typical asian ghost, something we have seen a lot of in later years. We even get the classic evil hunchbacked character, a cliche in the extreme but it works just fine.

Excellent stuff indeed, and to top it off, there are two sequels (unrelated storywise though) that I really look forward to watching sometime in the near future.

onsdag 20 april 2011

Interplanetary (2008)

I do love my Alien ripoffs. Monsters in space is the ultimate drug and frankly, Interplanetary beats most of them. This is even cooler because of the fact that the movie was obviously made on a budget that wouldnt cover the cost of the food the actors are eating in the original chestburstingscene in Alien. It sets an example for the the alienripoffs to come, that you can make a good movie based on clichés as long as you treat them with respect. And a sense of humour.

The movie is set on Mars where one of those evil, faceless megacorporations has set up a small base, about ten people or so faced with the numbing task of protocol and paragraphs that comes with the territory. Two members of the scienceteam find an alien hand in a cave but one of them is killed by an assassin. The surviving member of the team naturally does the proper thing, that is documenting the find and broadcasting a message to earth, selling the news of the alien to the highest bidder. It doesnt take long before he is killed by an alien lifeform, all while a team of hired killers prepare themselves for killing the people on the base for an unknown reason. Yes, all this and boobs too.

I am fully aware of the fact that my reviews tend to look like this: First a small comment on the movie, then a semifunny plotdescription without spoiling too much of the plot (I hate reviews that break down just about the entire story from finish to end) and then some bits about the directing, acting, sfx etc. All in three decently spaced paragraphs. So, realizing that the first two paragraphs of this is just like it usually is, I will try to break off from this mold.

See? A fourth piece of text. Interplanetary is good stuff. It is very low budget (I havent looked at any of the extras on the dvd yet but it cant be more than your average 70s Dr Who episode) but with a script as fun as this, you gladly forget about the shortcomings and just sit down to enjoy. Most reviews describe it as a mixture of Office space and Alien, and that is a decent explanation. The actors wont win any awards but they do make the comedy in the script work and they most certainly dont bring it down which is more than a shitload of bigger budgeted movies with bigger "talent" (as in I directed a musicvideo - now give me $200 million to shoot a movie with Angelina Jolie) has made. Actually, the movie feels like a lost episode of the original Outer limits, with added boobs and gore. I seriously recommend this to anyone out there that enjoys some decent scifi with monsters. There is still hope for the Alien ripofflovers out there, people like me. Now, let us wish/pray for a sequel. Interplanetarys?

Ha! A fifth paragraph. Gotcha.

tisdag 5 april 2011

Bosque de muerte (1993)

If you want to make a decent horrormovie there are a few rules. The most important one is: Keep the viewer interested in what is happening on the screen. Bosque de muerte is a mexican slasher that fails miserably with that. When you want to make a horrormovie you should try to have an even flow of events, a little gore here and there, a little excitement, a couple of thrilling events. This movie does nothing of that. It just sleepwalks with a group of mexican youths (played by 30 year old actors) going to a house in the country all while the girl whose dad owns the house sulks over the fact that her mother died there fifteen years earlier. Of course, this will have an impact on the youths lives but only after about sixty minutes into the eighty minute long movie! That's right, nothing happens until there's twenty minutes left. People go around moping, having silly flashbacks and fish. Someone disappears but you have no idea of what happened to him until after the seventyminute mark. Then all of a sudden we get a couple of violent murders, the killer is revealed in a groaninducing sequence and then its all over. Just like that.

It's a shame since the movie actually starts out fairly well. We see a couple of people doing stuff in the woods while someone is watching them with a scoped rifle. We skip forward a few minutes and we find out that the guy watching is a forestranger and the people in the woods were sawing down trees illegaly, so naturally he shot off the leg on one of them. Without even batting an eyelash, the police even congratulate him on a job well done. I like movies that open with some sort of bang and Bosque de muerte does a fine job of that. Unfortunately, it's all downhill after that, the rangercharacter is introduced as someone who has a deep love for the forest and that's why he shot the guy but nothing is made of it. It has no impact whatsoever on the plot other than introduce him as a red herring. The final fifteen minutes are actually fairly decent as horrormovies go, gory and exciting but why not sprinkle some of the red on the rest of the movie? It's never really boring, like Iced for instance, just kind of meanders on, then all of a sudden it's over. Not as bad as it sounds actually, but nothing I would recommend to anyone, other than for the fact of the novelty of watching an mexican horrormovie.