Retro Review: THE FINAL DESTINATION (2009)

Retro Review: THE FINAL DESTINATION (2009) {0}

It’s a phrase that a lot of film critics (and fans) love to throw around, but truth be told, even while digging through the lamest of the lame … I usually DO see some semblance of effort. Such is clearly not the case where the stupidly-titled The Final Destination is concerned. Considering I’ve seen unfinished work prints(…)


Retro Review: ORPHAN (2009)

Retro Review: ORPHAN (2009) {0}

Sometimes a scary movie is a glass-half-full proposition, and sometimes it’s a half-empty one. This was the first thing to pop into my head upon sitting down to review the new “scary kid” flick Orphan, and I guess that’s my brain’s way of saying “It’s half-decent and half-goofy. Midway between surprisingly compelling and predictably familiar. For(…)


Retro Review: A PERFECT GETAWAY (2009)

Retro Review: A PERFECT GETAWAY (2009) {0}

In watching A Perfect Getaway I can’t help but be taken back to 1988, a time in which we received a rather basic and unassuming action thriller from Touchstone (Disney) called Shoot to Kill. In that film, a brutal killer has taken a Pacific Northwest hiking guide hostage, and it’s up to a manly tracker (Tom Berenger) and(…)


Retro Review: ANTICHRIST (2009)

Retro Review: ANTICHRIST (2009) {0}

“Chaos reigns!” is a now-famous line of dialog (spoken by a wolf) in Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist, and it certainly seems to sum up the director’s point: Chaos does indeed reign, and no amount of preparation, good intentions, or philanthropy can change that fact. We may try to control our own tiny little corners of the(…)


Retro Review: DEAD SNOW (2009)

Retro Review: DEAD SNOW (2009) {0}

Nazi zombies. That’s all you really need to hear and you know if you want to see Dead Snow or not. I mean … zombies are pretty damn evil all by themselves, but zombies that are also undead minions of Adolf Hitler? You don’t get much more horrible than that. It’s not the plot or the acting or the(…)


Retro Review: DOGHOUSE (2009)

Retro Review: DOGHOUSE (2009) {0}

Most zombie flicks are actually “about” something. George Romero always finds numerous ways to thread all sorts of sly social commentary throughout his tales of undead mega-carnage, and he’s not the only one: brainy filmmakers have been utilizing the “‘zombie” concept to tell all sorts of subtextual stories: Fido, 28 Days Later, and I Walked With a Zombie have(…)


Retro Review: DRAG ME TO HELL (2009)

Retro Review: DRAG ME TO HELL (2009) {0}

For those who were worried that filmmaker Sam Raimi had become lost in the wilds of big-budget Hollywood, well, you can rest easy. To those who hold a very special fondness for Mr. Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy, his latest film represents a powerfully welcome return to the horror genre — and it’s evident after only 10 minutes(…)



Retro Review: THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT (2009) {0}

There are of course at least a dozen different “sub-genres” beneath the glorious heading we all refer to as Horror. Some folks like the monster movies, others dig the slashers, this guy might be a fan of psychological horror, and this gal might be obsessed with all things devil-related. Crazy kids, angry animals, apocalyptic insanity(…)


Retro Review: THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (2009)

Retro Review: THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT (2009) {0}

When it comes to remakes, the “horror faithful” can be a prickly lot. Make one like Prom Night and we complain about a lack of faithfulness to the source material, a softening of the chills in the name of a PG-13 rating, and a distressing prevalence of downright suckiness. (Yeah, maybe Prom Night wasn’t a great example to begin(…)


Retro Review: FRIDAY THE 13TH (2009)

Retro Review: FRIDAY THE 13TH (2009) {0}

Usually when I’m about to write a review, I think of an opening, present (at least) one interesting angle, and make sure my opinions are laid out in decipherable form. But when it comes to any movie with that employs the phrase “Friday the 13th,” my objectivity sort of flies out the window like so(…)


Retro Review: MY BLOODY VALENTINE (2009)

Retro Review: MY BLOODY VALENTINE (2009) {0}

George Mihalka’s 1981 Canadian slasher movie My Bloody Valentine is sort of a rarity among similar flicks of the era for a few reasons: Instead of stupid teenagers, the movie is populated with (fairly stupid) grown-ups; it aims to add a small air of mystery-style “whodunnit?” to a generally standard “slasher” premise; and (weirdly enough),(…)


Retro Review: THE CHILDREN (2009)

Retro Review: THE CHILDREN (2009) {0}

The annals of “killer kids” genre cinema is a long and colorful one indeed. Of course we have classics like The Bad Seed (1956), Village of the Damned (1960), and The Omen (1976), but the extra-caffeinated horror geeks will bring up solid little titles like It’s Alive (1974), Devil Times Five (1975), Who Can Kill a Child? (1976), The Children (1980). Children of the Corn (1984), Pet Sematary (1989). And there’s also The(…)


Retro Review: EDEN LAKE (2008)

Retro Review: EDEN LAKE (2008) {0}

Once again I find myself in a love-hate relationship with the brothers Weinstein. Love because someone at their company clearly has good taste in imported horror cinema, plus the brothers actually do give a lot of cool flicks a chance to find an audience … eventually. That’s where the “hate” part comes in. I’m fully(…)


Retro Review: MIRRORS (2008)

Retro Review: MIRRORS (2008) {0}

The good news is that Alex Aja’s Mirrors is a perfectly watchable horror-thriller that’s well-shot, well-scored, and backed by an excellent lead performance by Kiefer Sutherland. The bad news is that, despite the relative quality of this movie, we’re dealing with a simple case of cinematic leftovers. Like most horror flicks these days, Mirrors is based on(…)


Retro Review: HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY (2008)

Retro Review: HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY (2008) {0}

If Steven Spielberg were just a little bit edgier, a little bit darker, and a little more (ok, I’ll say it) colorful, his movies would look a lot like those of Guillermo Del Toro. That’s not to knock Steven Spielberg (at all), nor is it meant as a straight comparison. But there were times during(…)


Retro Review: THE EYE (2008)

Retro Review: THE EYE (2008) {0}

In the beginning, there was Ringu, Ju-On, and Gin Gwai. And Kairo, Chakushin Ari, and Honogurai Mizu No Soko Kara. And they were good. Well, good enough, anyway, although I’m probably committing horror-geek heresy by admitting that I wasn’t all that dazzled by the non-stop Asian genre flicks that I kept seeing at every freakin’(…)


Retro Reviews: ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE (2006)

Retro Reviews: ALL THE BOYS LOVE MANDY LANE (2006) {0}

Way back in September of 2006 I reviewed the rather impressive horror film called All the Boys Love Mandy Lane. It has never opened in America. Until this month, that is! Radius/TWC has finally rescued this darkly amusing little indie from financial nightmare limbo (it’s a long and boring story, believe me) and you can(…)


Retro Review: ONE MISSED CALL (2007)

Retro Review: ONE MISSED CALL (2007) {0}

We could start with the fact that January and February are generally considered “the dumping grounds,” where studios manage to unload their lamest flicks with very little in the way of fanfare. Or we could note that One Missed Call is YET ANOTHER American remake of a (very recent) Asian horror flick, and just start(…)


Retro Review: 28 WEEKS LATER (2007)

Retro Review: 28 WEEKS LATER (2007) {0}

When your $8 million movie grosses more than ten times that amount across the globe, the topic of “sequels” is going to come up. Such was the case surrounding Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, a freakishly fun (and admirably harsh) piece of sci-fi horror from one of the planet’s most consistently eclectic filmmakers. But while(…)


Retro Review: BUG (2007)

Retro Review: BUG (2007) {0}

After years of seeing Ashley Judd as little more than a doe-eyed cutie-pie with limited acting skills, I (skeptically) sat down to watch her in William Friedkin’s “Bug.” Regarding the director, well, it’s tough to knock the man who gave us “The Exorcist,” “Sorcerer,” and “The French Connection,” but over the last several years his(…)


Retro Review: BLACK SHEEP (2006)

Retro Review: BLACK SHEEP (2006) {0}

If there were a whole list of movies about killer mutated sheep and the horrific things they do to people, Jonathan King’s “Black Sheep” would be the very best. But since it’s the only movie with this particular premise, let’s just call it a really funny, not very scary, enthusiastically gory, and surprisingly “lovely to(…)


Retro Review: HATCHET (2006)

Retro Review: HATCHET (2006) {0}

I was happy to sit down with Adam Green’s Hatchet in a quiet room with the volume cranked up, and here’s why: The last two times I saw Hatchet, I was sitting with some very enthusiastic film festival audiences — and I will admit that seeing a movie in that sort of situation can mask(…)


Retro Review: HALLOWEEN (2007)

Retro Review: HALLOWEEN (2007) {0}

It’s just amazing how many things Rob Zombie gets wrong in his resoundingly pointless remake of John Carpenter’s Halloween. The original film could be used as a freakin’ textbook on how to craft a dark thriller that will toss an audience into a frenzy — but Zombie just sort of staggers drunkenly through the source(…)


Retro Review: 1408 (2007)

Retro Review: 1408 (2007) {0}

A movie based on a Stephen King novel about a haunted hotel? And the main character is a frustrated writer? And it’s all about latent horrors, undead specters, and the gradual unraveling of a man’s psyche? Heck, I’ve seen this movie before. It was called “The Shining,” and even though it deviates quite a lot(…)


Retro Review: THE GIRL NEXT DOOR (2007)

Retro Review: THE GIRL NEXT DOOR (2007) {0}

Monsters, demons, and knife-wielding psychos might make for a suitably creepy movie, but if you really want to be chilled to the bone, just turn on the evening news and witness something really horrifying: The evil that men do to one another for no good reason. One of the most infamous crimes in American history(…)


Retro Review: DEAD SILENCE (2007)

Retro Review: DEAD SILENCE (2007) {0}

I suspect that a lot of horror fans will dismiss, dislike or just plain old avoid James Wan’s Dead Silence, and that’s kind of a shame. The gorehounds who walk in expecting yet another example of Saw-style lunacy may walk out sorely disappointed, while those who were raised on the quick-cut hyper-stylized horror flicks of(…)


Retro Review: THE HITCHER (2007)

Retro Review: THE HITCHER (2007) {0}

It’s not just that mounting a remake of Robert Harmon’s cult classic “The Hitcher” is a bad idea; it’s that this slapped-together afterthought of a remake doesn’t even come close to capturing what made the original such a ferociously refreshing piece of genre filmmaking in the first place. Basically it’s just another example of a(…)


Retro Review: CAPTIVITY (2007)

Retro Review: CAPTIVITY (2007) {0}

From the garish early advertising, the “accidental” firestorm that hit when the MPAA was not amused, the rating embargo, the release delays, and the “hushed tones” that inevitably arise whenever an allegedly ultra-nasty new horror flick hits the scene, After Dark and Lionsgate’s “Captivity” has been the recipient of tons of free press. If only(…)


Retro Review: HOSTEL: PART II (2007)

Retro Review: HOSTEL: PART II (2007) {0}

What I find most amusing about the “torture porn” flicks like Saw, Hostel, and The Hills Have Eyes is this: The outraged and the intimidated choose to dismiss these films as mindless gore-fests, when in fact they’re all a pretty effective bunch of psychological horror movies. It’s the threat (and eventual arrival) of the red(…)


Retro Review: MR. BROOKS (2007)

Retro Review: MR. BROOKS (2007) {0}

If you’ve got a soft spot for trashy pulp thrillers like Malice, Arlington Rd., and The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, then save a place in your weekend for Bruce Evans’ “Mr. Brooks,” a high-budget psycho-thriller that lets two of our more “sedate” leading men cut loose with some entertainingly juicy performances. The flick’s got(…)


Retro Review: THE HILLS HAVE EYES 2 (2007)

Retro Review: THE HILLS HAVE EYES 2 (2007) {0}

The Hills Have Eyes 2 takes place in the same patch of rock-strewn desert that we visited in the recent remake. This time around, instead of a generally helpless family being terrorized by a group of man-eating mutants, we get a crew of amazingly clueless National Guard soldiers who venture into the wrong patch of(…)


Retro Review: FIDO (2007)

Retro Review: FIDO (2007) {0}

It’s a zombie flick, a broad comedy, a clever satire, and a bizarrely touching “coming of age” story all at once. No, it’s not the sort of zombie movie that’ll have you hiding your eyes in fear, but if you’re a big fan of the undead sub-genre, you’ll probably find a lot to like in(…)


Retro Review: HANNIBAL RISING (2007)

Retro Review: HANNIBAL RISING (2007) {0}

I don’t know who it was that said “OK, look. Anthony Hopkins is too old (and expensive) at this point, but damn this Hannibal Lecter series just oozes money from every pore. Let’s get that Harris guy to bang out another book, which we can release a month before the movie comes out.


Retro Review: 30 DAYS OF NIGHT (2007)

Retro Review: 30 DAYS OF NIGHT (2007) {0}

The vampire has been a powerfully tenacious movie villain for the past century or so, and every once in a while there comes a new flick that adds some much-needed creativity to the classic creature. Veteran of hundreds of movies both half-decent and entirely rotten, the vampire doesn’t get to star in all that many(…)


Retro Review: HOSTEL (2005)

Retro Review: HOSTEL (2005) {0}

Both Hostels and all three Saws; I actually dig ‘em all. There must be something wrong with me, right? Possibly, but if being shocked and jolted by some “big boy” horror flicks is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. But just because I consider the original Hostel to be a damn fine horror(…)


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