All posts tagged Horror

Recent DVD Release: World War Z

Published September 24, 2013 by mrsrag

Starring:  Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, Ludi Boeken, Matthew Fox, David Morse.

Rated- PG-13.  Action/Horror.  Running Time:  1 hour 56 minutes.

Ross has been excited to see this movie since we saw previews in theatres several months ago.  I was mostly intrigued by the idea of fast zombies.  We had read in Entertainment Weekly that World War Z was Pitt’s pet project; a labor of love that he single handedly propelled to a speedy finish.  And it could not have come at a more appropriate time.  The World has been zombie crazy over the last few years, following a heated love affair with vampires and a short lived tryst with witches.  Zombies are so hot right now.  With AMC’s break out hit, The Walking Dead, and the big screen success of releases ranging from the comical Zombieland (2009) to the romantic Warm Bodies (2013), we are mesmerized by these flesh eating beings.  And World War Z has been the biggest commercial success raking in over $200 million!  I enjoyed the movie very much, but was frustrated by several scenes of sheer stupidity.

This movie is a one man show.  Brad Pitt (one man) and millions (billions?) of zombies.  All you have to do is look at the cast, nary a household name.  Brad wouldn’t be denied making World War Z and apparently didn’t want to share the screen with any other stars.  His UN envoy character Gerry Lane, chases around the globe looking for the cause of the zombie pandemic, and he has to move fast because these undead can motor!  Plus the virus changes you within ten seconds of getting bitten.  Maria mentioned that I really wanted to see this movie, and as usually happens to me under that circumstance, I was disappointed.  I didn’t hate it and I’m hoping the sequel is better, but it fell short for me.

The film was action-packed, suspenseful and thrilling.  But, honestly, I kept expecting something more.  Perhaps this is a classic example of too much hype.  We probably would have been better off going to see this one in the theatre before our minds could be saturated by the praise and snubs of others.  But here are a few things that chafed my ass.  At one point, they come up with this horrible plan to enter a medical wing overrun with the undead.  I’m no zombie expert, but per usual, these rotting corpses are drawn to noise.  No one thought, “Hey, let’s distract these bastards with some loud music or explosions elsewhere.”  I most certainly did.  Come to think of it, ALL of my qualms deal with noise.  In an earlier scene, Brad’s wife is phoning him and, of course, the phone ringing attracts the zombies.  Seriously?  She knows he’s going into a dangerous situation with zombies and she chooses to be the needy wife NOW!?  Lastly, there is one other scene that annoyed me.  We’re meant to believe that a community of people have been smart enough to build a wall over the past thousand years and just so happen to finish it right as the zombie invasion commences.  But not smart enough to keep their volume down?  Bit of a stretch.  That all being said, it had great potential.  Great storyline, a nice little twist and it entertained me.

Asking for the plot and characters to show common sense is paramount to enjoying a movie in my opinion, even when what you’re watching is total fantasy.  That’s why horror movies piss me off as a whole, people are always just begging to die.  Referencing the wall built around the city that Maria mentioned; beyond holding an incredibly loud shindig that worked the zombies into a lather, the choppers on patrol at the perimeter somehow missed a giant, growing, ladder/wall of the ravenous beasties.  Okay.  The special effects are pretty cool and there’s very little gratuitous gore, which I liked.  I also thought it was clever to have the command center with survivors out to sea on aircraft carriers and other large vessels.  One of my favorite character actors of all time, David Morse (Green Mile, Twelve Monkeys, Hearts in Atlantis, to name a few) had a small but important part here, and my hope is we see much more of him in the sequel(s).  I didn’t read the book World War Z by Max Brooks, and neither did Brad Pitt apparently.  Brooks said after seeing it, “I wanted to hate it because it was so different from my book….I never had a “Gerry Lane wouldn’t say that” moment, because I didn’t invent Gerry Lane.  So I was just watching someone else’s zombie movie, which was fun.”  I guess if Max can enjoy it, I should cut Brad some slack.  This is definitely his baby and his vision, let’s see where he takes us.


Maria’s Rating: 3 out of 5 Gummy Bears.

Ross’ Rating: 2.5 Gummies.

Recent DVD Release: Evil Dead

Published July 26, 2013 by mrsrag

Starring: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore, Phoenix Connolly, Jim McLarty.

Rated: R.  Horror.  Running Time: 1 hour 31 minutes.

I hate horror movies.  Somehow, I missed out on that gene that certain people, like my brother and his wife, innately possess.  I, much like my two sisters, steer clear of most things described as gory and terrifying.  My sister Marcia literally won’t even watch the commercials for a scary flick.  I’m not that bad, but they are most certainly not my first choice of entertainment.  Luckily, Ross isn’t a huge fan either.  We spotted Evil Dead in our favorite renting vessel, the Redbox, and we decided that as critics, sometimes you have to branch out of your comfort zone.  Evil Dead is a remake of a 1981 Sam Raimi film, which I’ve never seen.  I’m sure you horror fanatics are gawking at the screen right now.  It’s a story about five friends who find themselves at a cabin in the woods where they unknowingly summon demons with an evil book, you can imagine what ensues from there.  It’s easily one of the goriest and grossest films I’ve ever seen in my limited knowledge of this genre.  Sadly, I can’t compare it to the original, but suffice it to say, I haven’t converted to a fan.

I’ve been thinking about my proclamation that “I hate horror movies”, and you know what?  I’ve realized I’m kind of full of shit.  Over the years I have actually loved some horror movies, while watching through the slits between my fingers.  The Exorcist, Poltergeist, Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, The Ring, Scream, Saw.  There are a few more I can’t think of, but I’m pretty sure I can’t say I “hate” the genre with a clear conscience.  I will say that I never go back for more, i.e., I haven’t seen any of the ensuing endless sequels like Saw 7, Halloween 15 etc.  I’m going to leave it with, they aren’t my favorites.  Okay, so there is no way we even see this movie if not for Maria’s brother Ed.  He is a big fan, and he mentioned to Maria that he heard Evil Dead was decent and she should check it out.  I went along for the ride with Maria, because well, I’d go along for any ride with her anywhere, and it was $1.27 from Redbox.  The movie was a gross out fest, but that is about where it ends in the “entertainment” department.  I think what turned me off to these movies in recent years are the inevitable scream at the screen, “don’t go in the basement!”, “don’t run into the woods!”, “don’t go outside alone!”, “don’t open that evil book, that says don’t open!”  moments.   Evil Dead had all of these and more.  It had gore, and….nothing else of value (if you happen to value that) in my opinion.  I didn’t even have to look through my fingers if that tells you anything.  “You are planning to have some scares in your scary movie, aren’t you?”  Sorry, I always love bastardizing Jeff Goldblum’s line from Jurassic Park anytime I can.  Anyway, these words are directly for Ed:  I’m certainly not the expert you are about these movies, but my advice is, steer clear of this movie, it blows.  That goes for the rest of you too. 

I beg to differ.  I think Ed will watch this movie and I believe he will thoroughly enjoy it.  It seems like something that would tickle him.  Surprisingly, I didn’t find it very scary either, but it had some parts that made my skin prickle.  Mostly because of the gruesome nature with which some bloody scene was unfolding.  I think that if I had the past experience of the original in my rearview mirror that I would have more reverence for this movie.  I’m trying to think back to 1981, but I would venture out on a limb to say that Raimi’s NC-17 rated version must have been groundbreaking in specific aspects.  Today the genre is largely formulaic in plot, gore and universal stupidity.  One thing that bothered me was how they couldn’t figure out what was happening.  They kept chalking it up to one character’s heroin withdrawals and then no one could put the pieces together that each individual that became possessed had come into contact with some of the evil ‘muck’.  Halfway through this film I was actually rooting for people to die and disappear.  Penance for their idiocy.  Nevertheless, I didn’t enjoy watching it and I don’t plan on venturing out again anytime soon.  To the horror fans out there, you would probably like this film and enjoy ‘The Conjuring’.  I’ll be skipping that little gem as well!

In this video game era of exploding heads and spraying arterial blood, perhaps that’s all you need to make a good horror movie.  I’m not squeamish about the blood, but, I need some build up to those jump out at you scares and “look out behind you” scenes.  I like watching through my fingers.  Evil Dead did none of that for me.  It wasn’t the worst movie I’ve seen lately, that honor goes to co-winners The Paperboy and Melancholia, but it was very close.  Maybe I am wrong Ed, maybe you will like it.   I’m interested in finding out for sure.  Anyone else out there who thinks I’m way off base, let me know, I can take it.  We can agree to disagree.  Excuse me now though, I have to go cut my own brain out, so I can forget I saw Evil Dead

Maria’s Rating:  1.5 Gummy Bears out of 5.

Ross’ Rating:  1 Gummy.