Sunday, August 24, 2008

Recently watched:

Recently, there have been pretty slim pickings on new releases of horror movies.
I am here to report that I have seen three recently released films.
All of them used up 90 minutes or so rather sufficiently.
NONE of them are anything to write home about.
So I'm writing here instead.
First on the slab:

Prom Night.

NO, silly fools, not the one with Jamie Lee Curtis.
The one from 2008 that starred a very annoyingly vapid Brittany Snow in the female lead.
This version pretty much shares name only with the original from 1980.

If I really must go into details, I'll make it quick...
1) Donna (Snow) has been waiting her whole life (!) for her senior prom!
2) A few years ago an obsessed teacher stalked her and killed her family trying to get to her.
3) Surprise! The teacher/maniacal killer has escaped from prison and is on his way to the prom to find Donna!
4) Many of Donna's friends meet an untimely demise.
That's pretty much it.

Nothing new here. There was no stellar acting or anything. No tricky plot twist.
It wasn't awful, but it'll do in a pinch - like if all you have in front of you is this movie or say... Borderline Cult... then I'd go with Prom Night.

Next is "Lost Boys: The Tribe"

Why on earth was this movie made?

The original was such a major 80's horror staple. Totally campy and fun, with a bit of horror thrown in and some pretty good actors in the leading roles. Almost believeable.

This is dreck. Although, the lead vampire is apparently played by Angus Sutherland - Kiefer's half brother. That doesn't mean he has the acting chops of big brother. I mean, I've never seen him in anything else and wonder if this is all just an homage to the older Lost Boys...

Same plot though. A brother and sister move to Santa Carla after their parents die in a car crash. They are going to live with their aunt, who in turn lets them rent (yes she makes them pay!) a tiny house she apparently owns. As if two kids (late teens if I'm not mistaken) could afford their own place... don't they go to school? I doubt working at the local Dairy Queen could pay the rent in coastal California.

Of course they almost immediately meet up with the vampires in town. The sister falls in love with the lead vamp (naturally!), and in turn the brother enlists the 'services' of Corey Feldman again to help extinguish the bloodsuckers. There is supposedly a cameo at the end of the movie, after the credits roll, with Corey Haim - but as bad as he now looks, I am half glad I ripped this out of the DVD player toot sweet.

Oh my. Anyway, I'd have to say it was more of a rip-off than a straight-forward sequel. And it wasn't even updated well.
The ending was really non-climactic and therefore rather boring.
Like Prom Night, it wasn't awful - and maybe it would scare some 12 year olds that snuck in to see it, but I thought it was a useless sequel (?) to say the least.

By the by, Tom Savini does have a short cameo role in the beginning of the film, but even it is way overblown and overacted - and not in a fun, campy way...
Shame on you Tom.

And lastly we have 'Awake'..

Now this is a movie that I thought had a very interesting premise.
A guy (Hayden Christensen) goes in for a heart transplant and once they load him up with anesthesia, the guy finds out that he can still hear the doctors talking, shuffling around getting things prepped for surgery, making some comments that he shouldn't be privy to, and then - in the most grim moment of the film - the scalpel is introduced to the flesh.

I was pretty psyched up to this point.
Then when Hayden started screaming (in his mind of course) when the cutting began, it was just too fake. He did not sound realistic. Wouldn't you be literally screaming bloody murder? "No, no, aarrrgghh!" isn't gonna cut it, boy! I could just totally imagine him in a sound booth, cutting his dialogue. He didn't convince me that he was "awake" - I mean, wouldn't you just pass out from the pain if that actually did occur? Especially when they started with the rib spreaders...

There is a central mystery aside from just the 'anesthetic awareness' situation, but it isn't really very strong. Great actors such as Lena Olin and Terrence Howard are wasted. Jessica Alba plays Hayden's too-sexy wife (she's great at looking gorgeous in all her films and that's about it) - she has a secret. Don't they all?

So all in all, not a great trio to pick from. I suppose I liked 'Awake' best due to it's somewhat original storyline, but it still didn't have any major selling points. It was also so SLOOOOW.

Hopefully there will be some good stuff coming out soon - we are rapidly approaching the spooky season, you know.
I'm looking forward to seeing these upcoming DVD releases:
'The Strangers'
'An American Crime'
'Mother of Tears'
'Rest Stop 2: Don't look back'
'Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead'

And in theaters: my Halloween-time regular at the theater - the latest in the Saw series: Saw V.

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