horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

March 31st, 2017 Movie – 2 Lava 2 Lantula

2 lava 2 lantula

Sometimes, they just try too hard to make a sequel good. See, when the first Lavalantula came out during the Sharknado week on Syfy a few years ago, I was honestly curious about it, especially since they got several actors from the Police Academy franchise to play in it. I wound up enjoying the movie and was happy to hear that a sequel was already confirmed to be in the works. So the next year, I eagerly sat down to watch the latest movie and…well, see for yourself with today’s movie, 2 Lava 2 Lantula.

The plot: Colton West and his friend Marty are acting in a movie called Clown Cops but the director is upset because Colton keeps trying to turn it more dramatic. When the director threatens to contact the studio, Colton fakes almost passing out from low blood sugar to get the director to leave him alone. When his assistant tells him his credit card was declined due to some suspicious charges in Ft. Lauderdale, Colton calls his step-daughter Raya, who is going to school there. As the two talk on the phone, a sudden tremor occurs at the beach and Raya gets disconnected from Colton as fireballs erupt from the ground and release lavalantulas onto the beach. Raya and her friends, Casey and Daniella, try to run but Casey is grabbed by a lavalantula and though Raya tries to help her, she is dragged into a sinkhole as more lavalantulas emerge. Back in his trailer, Colton tries getting in touch with Raya when he sees the news report about what is happening. He doesn’t want to get involved but at the urging of Marty and Teddy, he agrees to go. Marty shows him some new guns that he was working on in case this happened and, along with Colton’s assistant Kyle, they hijack the helicopter the movie was using and head towards Ft. Lauderdale. Meanwhile, Raya and Daniella head back to get their bags and try to warn the people at the hotel about the lavalantulas when lavalantualas begin attacking the hotel. One of them jumps on Daniella and burns her shoulder but Raya is able to knock it away. Colton sends Kyle to get a car while he and Marty search a hotel for survivors. When they split up, Colton finds a man being tortured by two Columbians when a lavalantula attacks and kills the two thugs while Colton saves the man. Meeting back up with Marty, Colton and Marty head out of the hotel but see the body of the man Colton saved surrounded by lavalantulas and they proceed to kill the spiders but some of their blood gets on their clothes and they are forced to take them off. After getting a change of clothes, Kyle catches up to them and they continue heading to find Raya. Meanwhile, Raya and Daniella are trying to figure out what to do and duck into an auto shop. Inside, they find TJ and Brick, two men that are fans of Colton West and built their own freeze guns to deal with the lavalantulas. Learning that Colton is Raya’s stepfather, they agree to help her just as some lavalantulas attack the shop. Colton, Marty, and Kyle are heading towards Ft. Lauderdale when they come across a military roadblock and even though Colton tries to explain who he is, the MPs refuse to let him through. Suddenly, the ground starts to open up and lavalantulas begin attacking the roadblock and Colton is forced to leave but ends up getting his car stuck in the everglades. Colton receives a call from his son Wyatt, who had heard the news and is worried about Colton and Raya but Colton says they are fine and they are going to be leaving the city soon. Making their way through the glades, they come to the home of Alligator Dundee, who agrees to loan them a boat to get to Ft. Lauderdale. Raya, TJ, Brick, and Daniella are trying to get out of the city but when they come across a sinkhole, they are attacked by lavalantulas and run out of liquid nitrogen for their guns. Daniella suggests going to their school and getting some from the medlab and though Brick thinks it is a bad idea, TJ decides to head there. Back in the glades, Alligator is leading them to the boat and shows them a strange outcropping that appeared in the swamp when lavalantulas suddenly start coming out of it. As Colton and the others fend off the lavalantulas on their way to the boat, the lavalantulas begin firing spines from their bodies, killing Alligator as Colton gets the airboat moving. Kyle uses Colton’s phone tracker app to locate Raya and they start heading off in her direction. Meanwhile, Raya and the others reach the school only to find it deserted. As Daniella starts to feel sick, TJ asks Raya if she was bitten or burned, telling her what happened to people that were bitten in Los Angeles, and Raya insists that she was burned. Heading inside to the med lab, they enter the cold room to get the liquid nitrogen tanks but as they go to leave, they find a lavalantula blocking their way. Realizing that the spider couldn’t see her because of the cold from the freezer room, Daniella says they should try to lower their body temperatures in order to escape. Back in the glades, Colton, Kyle, and Marty beach the airboat at an alligator show, which suddenly comes under attack from some lavalantulas. After Colton saves the show’s owner, he asks to borrow an old helicopter and the owner agrees and Colton is able to fly it to Ft. Lauderdale. Back at the school, Raya and TJ go to get the guns and reload them, killing the spider from the room when it chases after them. After they leave, Brick and Daniella exit the freezer and Daniella asks Brick to check her wound when baby lavalantulas start popping out of the wound and Daniella is incinerated from the inside. Brick meets up with TJ and Raya and they try to escape but Brick ends up surrounded and is killed. Running through the kitchen, Raya and TJ fend off the lavalantulas but when they find themselves surrounded, they are saved by Colton and Marty. Colton tells Marty to get the helicopter ready while he has Raya pull up a thermal image of the city so he can find the queen. When Raya pulls up the image, Colton realizes that the queen is much larger than the one he faced in Los Angeles. Suddenly, the phone rings and Colton, knowing it will be the military, answers it. Colonel Jester, who has commandeered the movie set as his base of operations, speaks with Colton and Colton tries to warn him about the queen, Jester ignores his warnings and tells Colton to stay out of the way. Tj takes everyone to his house, where after fending off a lavalantula attack, they head inside. As they are eating dinner, Marty asks TJ’s father, Hal, about a chemical he used to fend off the lavalantulas. Hal explains it was fire retardant foam he had from when he was a fire fighter. When he learns that they have more of it at the airfield and planes capable of delivering it, Colton comes up with a plan to kill the queen, just as news reports show the queen emerging from the ground in downtown Miami. Jester has his men attack the queen but the heat from her body causes the missiles to explode before they even come in contact with her so Jester puts in a call to the President to order a nuclear strike. Colton and the others reach the airfield and after giving a rousing speech, Colton boards the plane with Hal, Marty, Kyle, and a few other men. Colton contacts Jester as they are flying and tells him not to use nukes, then has Hal fly the plane as high as he can to freeze the plane. The plane freezes up but they end up in a stall and start falling towards Miami. Hal is able to get the engines going again but damage from the queen’s spikes have damaged the drop mechanism. Realizing that the only way to ensure the foam makes it to the queen is to do it manually, Colton radios the hangar and says goodbye to Raya, then climbs onto the payload and has Marty and Kyle push it off the plane. Colton rides the payload down and just as the queen spits a fireball at him, he releases the foam and pulls the ripcord on his parachute. The foam covers the queen, lowering her temperature, and Hal radios Jester and tells him to attack the queen. The planes fire their missiles and the queen is destroyed, but Colton’s fate is left unknown. Hal lands the plane and he exits with Marty and Kyle, and they all hug their friends and family in the hangar. As Raya turns to head inside, she hears footsteps behind her and turns to see Colton walking towards the hangar and the two embrace. Colton contacts Jester to let him know he is alive, then heads into the hangar to celebrate with Raya and their friends.

There were some good parts to this movie, but it honestly left me a little disappointed. The acting was decent, though there were times I couldn’t tell if Steve Guttenberg’s (Colton) over acting was intentional or not. The story was good, though they could have done a better job of explaining what caused the lavalantulas to start emerging in Florida. I also think they went a little overboard in spoofing/referencing other movies in this film; as there were references to Poltergeist, Dr. Strangelove, Jurassic Park, Miami Vice, Predator, and Crocodile Dundee among others. The special effects were good and I did like the new addition of the lavalantulas being able to shoot spines from their back/abdomens, as it made for a new twist to the creatures. A good movie but I think they could have done a better job with it.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Hitchcock, movie, movie review, mystery, thriller

March 30th, 2017 Movie – The Lady Vanishes

the lady vanishes

Starting to get back on track, we return to what is becoming my favorite collection from Mills Creek. Today we get another early movie from Hitchcock, which means it should be good. So looking at this movie, it seems to be another mystery on a train movie. I feel like I should be watching this during a thunderstorm in order to get the appropriate atmosphere going for this movie but I guess the early, pre-dawn hours will have to do. So let’s see how good today’s movie, The Lady Vanishes, really is.

The plot: At an inn in the country of Bandrika, the manager announces that the trains are delayed due to an avalanche and the crowd rushes to try and reserve a room. As everyone tries to get a room, the manager leaves his post to attend to Iris Henderson, an English playgirl who is touring across Europe with two of her friends. When he returns, he goes about renting out the rest of the rooms, with two men (Charters and Caldicott) being forced to room in the maid’s quarters. Later, Charters and Caldicott head downstairs to get some food only to find that there is no food and they meet Miss Foley, a governess who has been living in the country for 6 years but is returning to England since her charges have grown up. Miss Froy heads to her room, where she listens to a street musician playing outside her window. When a loud ruckus is heard coming from the room upstairs, both Iris and Miss Froy are bothered by it and Iris calls the manager to complain. The manager heads up to the room, where a musician named Gilbert is performing and having some people dance but Gilbert refuses to stop so the manager ends up kicking Gilbert out of his room. Gilbert heads down to Iris’ room and begins making himself comfortable, saying it is payment for her kicking him out of his room and Iris calls the manager and has him give Gilbert his room back. Meanwhile, Miss Froy goes back to listening to the folk singer and tosses a coin to him and goes to sleep, just as the singer is killed. The next day, Iris is saying goodbye to her friends when Miss Froy approaches asking if she has seen her bag. When Miss Froy walks away, Iris notices she dropped her glasses and goes to hand them back to her when someone pushes a flower pot off a window sill, intending to hit Miss Froy but it hits Iris instead. Miss Froy helps Iris onto the train and after getting settled in their compartment, they go to get some tea, passing by a lawyer named Todhunter and his mistress. After arriving at the dining car, the two introduce themselves and when their tea arrives, ask Charters and Caldicott for the sugar. Returning to the compartment, Iris goes to sleep for a while and when she wakes up, finds Miss Foley is gone and the other passengers in the compartment say that there was nobody there. Iris goes looking for Miss Froy and runs into Gilbert, who decides to help her. As they look about the train, they run into Dr. Egon Hartz, a noted brain surgeon, and he believes that Iris is suffering from a concussion related hallucination. When Iris and Gilbert asks Todhunter, Caldicott, and Charters if they remember seeing Miss Froy, they all reply no, with Todhunter not wanting to be involved in a scandal while with his mistress and Caldicott and Charters not wanting to delay the train for fear of missing a cricket match. When a woman wearing the same clothing as Miss Fory is sitting in her compartment, Iris starts to believe everyone is right about her imagining Miss Froy but as she is at the dining car with Gilbert, she remembers the special tea Miss Froy gave the server to fix for them earlier and sees where Miss Froy wrote her name on the window and demands they search the train, pulling on the emergency brake to stop the train before she passes out. When she comes too, Gilbert speaks with her and says that he believes her as he saw the box of tea she mentioned as the wait staff was throwing it away. They continue searching and end up in the baggage compartment, where they learn that the man riding in Iris’ compartment is a magician named Signor Doppo. When they find Miss Froy’s glasses, they are attacked by Signor but manage to knock him out and place him in a trunk only to find that it was part of his props and he managed to escape. Unsure as to who they can trust, they go to see Dr. Hartz but Gilbert suspects that the bandaged patient is actually Miss Froy. They start to remove the bandages but are stopped by Hartz, who asks to speak with them in the dining car. As they leave, Hartz tells one of his co-conspirators, who is disguised as a nun, to give some drugs to the server so he can spike their drinks. After having some drinks with Hartz, he leads them back to his compartment and reveals that the patient is Miss Froy and she will be taken off the train at the next stop and taken to a hospital, where she will die while undergoing surgery. Iris passes out, with Gilbert soon following, and Hartz leaves the compartment but Gilbert reveals that he faked falling asleep. After waking up Iris, Gilbert makes his way along the outside of the train to get into the other compartment, where the fake nun reveals that the patient is Miss Froy and that she chose not to drug them as she was standing up for her fellow countrywoman. As Gilbert frees Miss Froy, the imposter walks in and they quickly subdue her and then wrap her face in order to fool Hartz. Gilbert and Miss Froy head back to Hartz’s compartment and they quickly hide Miss Froy while Gilbert and Iris go back to faking being asleep. When the train stops, the “patient” is unloaded but Hartz discovers that it is the fake Miss Froy, then has the fake nun get back on the train, while he goes and speaks with some police, who uncouple some of the cars and divert the train to a branch line. Gilbert realizes what happened and goes to tell the others what is going on. The others don’t believe her but when they find the fake nun tied up, and the train stopping in the middle of a forest, they start to believe them. When a soldier boards the train and says that he is there to take them to the border, the fake nun whispers to Gilbert and he knocks the soldier out and takes his gun. When Hartz orders them to surrender, Gilbert fires back at them and Charters ends up getting shot in the hand. Miss Froy tells Gilbert and Iris that she is a spy and has Gilbert memorize a tune, which she says is a code, then escapes out the other side of the train. As Gilbert and Caldicott go to commandeer the locomotive and get the train moving again, Todhunter attempts to surrender but is shot and killed. Gilbert and Caldicott get the train moving and Hartz and the soldiers follow after it, hoping to stop it before they switch the lines. The soldier Gilbert knocked out holds Iris, Charters, and Todhunter’s mistress hostage in order to prevent them from switching the tracks, but the fake nun is able to sneak off the train and make the switch, then Gilbert and Caldicott help her back onto the train as they make it across the border. The group eventually make it back to London but Charters and Caldicott are heart-broken to learn that the cricket match is cancelled. Meanwhile, Iris is searching the station for her fiance, Charles, as Gilbert is saying goodbye but when she sees Charles, Iris decides to jump into Gilbert’s cab to avoid him and Gilbert proceeds to kiss her. Heading to the Foreign Office, Gilbert suddenly forgets the tune that Miss Froy taught him and as he tries to remember it, they hear it being played on a piano and enter the office to see Miss Froy playing the piano and the three have a joyful reunion.

The Lady Vanishes met with high praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “One of Alfred Hitchcock’s last British films, this glamorous thriller provides an early glimpse of the director at his most stylishly entertaining.” The supporting characters of Charters and Caldicott were so popular in the movie, that they wound up appearing in several other movies, with the same actors playing them. This would wind up being Hitchcock’s last British movie until the 1970’s, as he would move to Hollywood shortly after this movie was released.

This was an absolutely fantastic movie to watch. The acting was really good, with Margaret Lockwood (Iris), Michael Redgrave (Gilbert), and Dame May Whitty (Miss Foley) doing great jobs in their roles. I also liked Naunton Wayne and Basil Radford, who made for some funny comedic interludes with their portrayals of Caldicott and Charters respectively. The story was good, with a great sense of mystery and intrigue, along with some good comedy interjected every now and then. I liked how Hitchcock showed off some of the passengers self serving interests for saying they didn’t remember Miss Foley. However, there was one plot hole that never really got resolved; that being what happened with the soldier holding Iris and the others hostage as they headed for the border, because you never see what happens there. There weren’t any special effects in this movie as it relied solely on the mood and dialogue to carry the movie, which was honestly all this movie needed. Again, this is a fantastic movie and definitely one that is worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

comedy, horror, movie, movie review

March 29th, 2017 Movie – I Sell The Dead

i sell the dead

Well we have gone from some classic sci-fi horror back to the zombies. Now today is another movie from the IFC Films zombie pack and one that I honestly had never heard of before. Now period piece zombie movies are always interesting to watch because you are forced to see how people would have reacted with the technology at hand as opposed to modern technology. So let’s see how things go in today’s movie, I Sell The Dead.

The plot: In the 18th century, a man named Willie Grimes is placed in a guillotine and executed for murder. Later, Father Duffy shows up at the prison cell of Arthur Blake, Willie’s former partner, to get his confession, which is to be used as a cautionary tale. Arthur tells Duffy that while he was a grave robber, he is innocent of murder and claims he was set-up, that a trail of fresh body parts led to his door, just like it had for Willie. Duffy asks how Arthur got started in being a grave robber and, after being given some alcohol from Duffy, Arthur finally starts telling his story. When he was a child, Arthur got a job as Willie’s apprentice but is unnerved when he learns his job consists of grave robbing. On his first job, Arthur recognizes the body as one of his neighbors and doesn’t want to go through with it and Willie moves to strike Arthur but changes his mind. Arthur continues working with Willie over the years and the two continue stealing bodies from graves and occasionally, they will still one from a wake, with Arthur acting as a grieving relative in order to get a minute alone with the body. The two are often employed by Dr. Quint to obtained bodies, but he will often refuse to pay them and instead, threaten to tell the authorities about what they have done. One night, while retrieving a corpse that is buried at a crossroads, they notice that the woman’s corpse has a wreath of garlic around her neck and a stake through her heart. Willie says it is just a bunch of old superstitions and removes the items, then has Arthur help him clean out the cart so they can transport the body but as their backs are turned, the corpse gets up and walks away. When they realize the corpse is missing, they decide to run for it but when their cart overturns, they see the woman standing in their path. Willie runs off while Arthur tries talking to the woman, who suddenly lunges forward and attacks him. Willie saves Arthur when the woman tries to bite him but the woman continually tries to attack them until she goes to attack Willie when he falls and he accidentally jams the stake back in her chest. After Willie teases Arthur by repeatedly pulling the stake from the corpse and plunging it back in, the two deliver the corpse to Quint and leave, only for Quint to pull out the stake and be killed by the corpse. Back in the present, Arthur tells Duffy that after that incident, he and Willie began going after corpses of the undead, as people would pay more for them and Duffy asks about a group known as House Murphy. Arthur says that they crossed paths, the first time being when he and Willie went to retrieve a strange corpse. Finding the ground frozen, they manage to get to the coffin and use their jackets to help carry it, as the coffin is too cold to touch. When they accidentally drop it, they find the body of a Grey Alien inside but as Arthur picks it up, they are confronted by a man named Cornelius Murphy. Cornelius tells them to drop the body and walk away but Arthur refuses and the three struggle over the body until it suddenly disappears in a flash of light. Cornelius tells Arthur he admires his pluck and offers him a job if he gets tired of working for Willie. In the present, Duffy asks if Arthur took Cornelius’ offer and Arthur says no, and they did their best to stay clear of them, as they are known for being a vicious gang headed up by Cornelius’ father Samuel, whom nobody has ever seen. Arthur and Willie continue their trade and eventually take on an apprentice named Fanny, a former wrecker (someone that causes ships to wreck and the loots the wreckage) and Arthur’s girlfriend. One night while they are at the pub, the owner, Ronnie, tells them about a possible job. The local mortuary was expecting a shipment of undead but their recent shipment was incomplete as a shipwreck caused two of the crates to be lost and believed to be on a nearby island. Willie is eager to take on the job but when Ronnie says that House Murphy was hired to collect the bodies, they change their minds, much to the surprise of Fanny. Arthur tries to explain to Fanny why they should leave the job alone but when Fanny says she plans on going, Arthur reluctantly agrees to go and talks Willie into joining them. When they get to the island, they find Bulger, House Murphy’s enforcer, guarding the crates, with the contents inside growling at him. Fanny slits Bulger’s throat and Willie wants to leave, as he knows that House Murphy will not forgive this. Arthur says they should get the crates and leave before Cornelius and Valentine, their assassin, shows up. Arthur finds a gag, which they plan to use on the zombies to keep them from biting them, and open the crate only to find a foot inside. Suddenly, a zombie bursts out of the second crate and, after staring at them for a bit, attacks Willie. The zombie bites Willie on the arm before Arthur and Fanny manage to get it into a cage but as Fanny turns to face the two men, she is killed by a knife thrown into her head and Arthur and Willie turn to see Cornelius and Valentine standing behind them. Cornelius ties the two men to the cage, planning on selling their corpses along with the zombie. Arthur tries to talk Cornelius into releasing him but Cornelius refuses and has Valentine show them her disfigured face, which she does to people she is about to kill. The zombie manages to break free from his cage and attacks Valentine and when Cornelius tries to save her, the second zombie appears and attacks him. While this is going on, Arthur and Willie manage to get free and leave Cornelius and Valentine to their fates but when they get back to the pub, Willie is upset about Arthur’s willingness to leave him to die and ends their partnership. Back in the present, Arthur finishes his story and then says he knows that Duffy is actually Samuel Murphy. Samuel then attacks Arthur, saying he paid the executioner to allow him to kill Arthur, but before he can kill him, Samuel is killed by the headless corpse of Willie, which is holding onto his head. Arthur is a little surprised to see Willie had saved him and Willie says that the bite changed him. As Arthur unshackles himself and as the two leave the prison, Willie suggest Arthur get bitten himself and Arthur says he will think about it, as Willie jokes about being ravenous and playfully chases Arthur out of the prison. Meanwhile, back on the island, Cornelius is seen to be rising up from the water.

I Sell The Dead met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a 78% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “A horror comedy that’s almost as chilling as it is funny, I Sell the Dead relies on its dark humor and offbeat charm to overcome its low budget shortcomings.” The movie was inspired by William Burke and William Hare, a pair of famed body snatchers in 1800’s Scotland, and there is a mild reference to them during a pub scene in the movie. The movie had a very limited release in the US, only earning $8,050 at the box office off of a $450,000 budget.

Surprisingly, this was a good, solid movie to watch. The acting was good, with Dominic Monagham (Arthur) and Larry Fessenden (Willie) doing great jobs in their roles. Ron Perlman was also good though he was only in it for a few scenes as he was busy filming Hellboy II: The Golden Army while most of the movie was filmed. The story was pretty good with a lot of dark humor but not too many scares in it. To be honest, this was definitely more comedy than horror, with scenes like the men fighting over the alien’s body or the zombie reacting in horror to Valentine’s face just as much as Arthur and Willie were really funny. There wasn’t really a lot of special effects in this movie due to the low budget but they did a good job with what they had. So it is a comedy disguised as a zombie movie, but definitely worth watching in either case.

Rating: 4 out of 5

horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

March 28th, 2017 Movie – Return Of The Fly

return of the fly

While it had been many years since I had last watched The Fly (1959) before yesterday, I had actually watched today’s movie much more recently….relatively speaking. See, 2 years ago at DragonCon, while on a break from the various panels I wanted to go to, I went into a room where they play movies throughout the day. That year, they were playing all sorts of classic sci-fi movies, and I will admit to watching several of them, and this movie was one of them. So let’s get right into today’s movie, Return Of The Fly.

The plot: On a rainy day, Francois Delambre and his nephew Philippe, now an adult, attend the funeral of Philippe’s mother Helene. As they are leaving, they are approached by a reporter named Granville, who wants to speak with Philippe about the controversy surrounding his father’s death years ago. Granville is chased off by Inspector Beecham, the former partner of Inspector Charas, and Francois thanks him for his help with everything. As they are driving away, Philippe asks Francois the truth about what happened to his father and mother back then. Reluctant to do so at first, Francois takes Philippe to his father’s old lab, and shows him the equipment inside. After dancing around the subject, Francois finally tells Philippe about Andre’s experiments and how an accident occurred, and his molecules wound up mixed with those of a fly, causing Andre to have the head and arm of a fly. Philippe says he wants to continue his father’s research and rebuild the equipment but Francois says he won’t allow it and they couldn’t afford to do it anyways. Philippe returns to the family company and speaks with his friend Alan Hines, and convinces him to come work with him as he tries to recreate his father’s experiments. Philippe invites Alan to his home, where they are met by his housekeeper Madame Bonnard and her daughter Cecile, who Philippe is in love with. Philippe shows him his lab in the basement and then offers Alan room and board as well as a salary to help him and Alan agrees. After three weeks, Francois shows up at the house and speaks with Philippe and Alan. Philippe explains that since he is running out of money and Francois won’t help him, he is planning on selling off his half of the company. With no choice, Francois agrees to finance Philippe’s project and help him with it, though he says he is doing it to protect Philippe and will try to discourage him every day from continuing. Philippe goes to meet with Francois and order the equipment they need and Alan goes with him as he wants to run some errands in town. After Philippe and Alan separate, Alan gets in a cab and goes to see a man named Max Barthold at his funeral parlor. Alan is revealed to be a British industrial spy named Ronald Holmes and tells Max that he is on the verge of having something truly valuable and wants Max to sell it for him. Max agrees to it, but also lets Alan know that the British police are searching for him. Alan leaves Max’s office and is picked up by Philippe, who wanders what Alan was doing there but is told that he was seeing an old friend, unaware that the two are being observed by a man in a trench coat that had been following Alan. As work progresses in the lab, Philippe, Francois, and Alan manage to get the disintegrator/integrator machine working, successfully testing it on an ashtray. When they test the machine on a live subject, it works but the guinea pig is gigantic so they check all of the circuits and notes to try and correct the problem. After correcting the problem, they test it again and the animals seem fine so Philippe says he want to try the next experiment his father had planned, disintegrating a subject and “storing” it, then bringing it back later. The use the machine on another guinea pig, with plans to bring it back in the morning, and Francois says he will join them then. Alan convinces Philippe to get some sleep and after he leaves, he begins taking pictures of the notes and blueprints. Suddenly, the man in the trench coat appears and reveals himself to be a British police officer with plans to take Alan back to London. Alan causes a short circuit in the equipment behind him, then uses the distraction to knock out the officer. Alan then places the body into the device and disintegrates him, then quickly shuts everything down as Philippe shows up, as the lights in the house had dimmed due to the short circuit. Alan comes up with an excuse for what happened and tells Philippe he will clean up the mess, and after Philippe leaves, he uses the machine to bring back the man only to find that the man has the paws of the guinea pig, while the guinea pig has human hands. Alan kills the guinea pig, then calls Max and tells him to meet him by the cliffs, before loading the bodies into the agent’s car and driving off, unaware that Madame Bonnard sees him leave. Arriving at the cliff, Alan rigs the car to drive off of the cliff, disposing of the bodies, then has Max take him back to the house. During the ride, they discuss the offers Max has and Alan gives him the camera film, saying it is enough to prove the device is real but won’t give too much away. When Alan enters the house, he is confronted by Philippe and Alan tries to explain away all of Philippe’s questions but when Philippe holds up the officer’s handcuffs, Alan points a gun at Philippe and tells him to unlock the cabinet’s where all of the other blueprints are kept. Philippe and Alan struggle and Alan eventually knocks Philippe out and places him in the machine, then catches a fly and throws it in there as well, knowing Philippe’s fear of them. As Philippe regains consciousness and sees realizes what is going on, Alan activates the machine and disintegrates Philippe. Francois arrives, having been called by Philippe, and is told by Cecile and her mother about what is going on, he heads to the lab, getting there just as Alan leaves with all of the blueprints and notes. Alan gets in Francois’ car and when Francois confronts him, he tells him that Philippe was disintegrated, then shoots Francois as he drives off. As Cecile and her mother go to help Francois, they hear the sirens coming and Francois has Cecile help him to the lab, asking Madame Bonnard to stall the police. When they get to the lab, Francois uses the machine to bring back Philippe but Cecile screams when it is shown that Philippe’s molecules were mixed with the fly’s and he has become a monster like his father. Francois collapses and Cecile tends to him as Philippe smashes out of the machine and makes his way out the back door of the lab, just as the police enter it. As some of the police chase after Philippe, Sgt. Dubois stays with Philippe and Cecile and after calling an ambulance, hears someone calling out for Cecile and sees the fly with Philippe’s head, but thinks he is imagining it. Francois is taken to surgery to remove the bullet and questioned by Lt. MacLish, who is in charge of the investigation, but Francois refuses to talk to anyone but Inspector Beecham. When MacLish leaves, Dubois asks why he must speak with Beechum and asks if it has anything to do with the fly and Francois asks what he saw but Dubois doesn’t answer and says he will get Beecham. When Inspector Beecham arrives, Francois tells him what happened and says that he has to capture the fly in the lab and make sure that Philippe isn’t harmed. Francois is transferred to the house for care and Beecham heads down to the lab and finds the fly, capturing it and placing it in a container with some food to keep it safe. Meanwhile, Philippe has gone to Max’s funeral parlor and kills him, then kills Alan when he shows up with the plans to sell. Philippe heads back to the house and sneaks into Cecile’s room before collapsing, causing Cecile to scream. Beecham enters and tells Cecile to take Francois to the lab, as he helps Philippe down there. When Francois gets there, he tells Beecham to place Philippe and the fly in the machine, then activates it, successfully turning Philippe back to human. As Cecile and Philippe embrace, Beecham helps support Francois, who smiles when he sees his nephew whole, but suddenly frowns when he hears a fly buzzing around.

Return Of The Fly met did not fare nearly as well with the critics as it’s predecessor, holding a 38% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics were torn between criticizing the script and praising it for having some great “B-movie” feel to it. Vincent Price was the only member of the original cast to appear in this sequel, due to his loving the original script, but the studio demanded re-writes which removed much of what Vincent Price liked about the script.

While this movie did lack the drama from the original movie, Return Of The Fly can actually be a fun movie to watch. The acting wasn’t bad, with Vincent Price (Francois), Brett Halsey (Philippe), and David Frankham (Alan/Ronald) doing good jobs in their roles. The story was admittedly a little weak, basically being a rehashing of the original movie, but trying to add the industrial espionage sub-plot to try and add some intrigue and suspense but it didn’t really work. The special effects did not seem that impressive and there were some times, primarily when the changed Philippe was running from the police, that he kept having to push the Fly’s head back up so he could see out of it. Not the same as the original, but a fun B-movie to watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

drama, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

March 27, 2017 Movie – The Fly (1958)

the fly 1958

Now I have had to make this distinction a couple of times but let me reiterate this again. Just because I do not own a movie does not mean I have never seen it. There are HUNDREDS of movies that I have enjoyed watching and never got around to buying. Luckily, my friends tend to buy me some of these movies I am missing, such as today’s movie, The Fly (1958).

The plot: A guard is clocking in for his job as a night watchman at Delambre Freres Electronics and as he is making his rounds, he hears one of the hydraulic presses being used and finds a woman, who quickly runs off, and the remains of a man, whose head and left arm had been crushed by the press. The woman, Helene Delambre, calls her brother in law Francois and tells him that she killed her husband Andre and begs that he help her and call the police and come over before she breaks down in tears. As soon as Francois hangs up, the phone rings again, this time the night watchman Gaston, and after speaking with him, Francois calls Inspector Charas and explains what has happened. Charas and Francois arrive at the plant and Francois activates the press to raise it. As he examines the controls, he realizes that Helene could not have set the controls the way they were. After confirming the identity of the body by a scar on his leg, Francois notices the stroke count and realizes that whoever did this used the press twice, which Gaston confirms hearing it twice. Francois and Charas head to Helene’s house and are met by the family doctor, who says she is surprisingly calm about what happened, though he can’t believe it himself. Francois and Charas see Helene and Charas begins questioning her. She answers most of their questions but there are some times where she says she can’t answer that question. Suddenly, Helene stops and wanders over to a lamp, where a fly had landed, and she stares at it for a while before slapping it away, which Francois and Charas find odd. Francois leads Charas down to Andre’s lab, which they find in ruins. Helene is placed under observation and she seems fine, until her nurse kills a fly, which causes Helene to go into hysterics. As Charas and Francois talk about this, Charas feels that the only possible outcome for Helene is that she will be found either guilty of murder, or insane. That night, Francois is having dinner with Philippe, Andre and Helene’s son, and Philippe says that he saw the fly that his mother was looking for on Francois’ desk. Francois questions Philippe about the fly and Philippe said it was different from other flies as it has a white head and odd leg and that he first saw it the day his dad disappeared. He had caught it once but his mother told him to let it go, but a few days later, she asked that he catch it again. Francois goes to see Helene and tells her that he caught the fly and she asks if he killed it but he tells her no and pressures her for the truth. Helene relents and says that she will if he promises to destroy the fly after wards, then asks that he have Charas come there as she doesn’t want to repeat the story. When Charas gets there, Helene says that she killed Andre but she was not a murderess, merely following Andre’s last wishes. In flashback, Andre and Helene are playing with Philippe before Andre takes Helene down to his lab and shows her his latest project, a matter transporter. He shows her a test using a wedding gift they received and Helene can’t believe it really happened. When she notices a small crack in the plate, Andre grows concerned and begins going through his notes. Some time later, Andre appears to have solved the problem, then decides to test it on the family cat but when he activates the device, the cat disappears but does not reappear in the second chamber and Andre can hear the cat’s meow crying out in the ether. After two weeks of being locked in his lab, Andre emerges and decides to take Helene out to celebrate, then takes her down to the lab and shows her that he fixed the transporter. When he uses it on a guinea pig, Helene is concerned but it appears in the second chamber just fine. When Andre tells her that when he tried it with the cat, it didn’t work, Helene begs him not to experiment with animals anymore. The next day, Francois comes over for lunch and Andre had planned to show him the transporter but when Helene and Francois head to the lab, they find a note on there saying not to disturb him. As they head back upstairs, Philippe enters the house and tells his mom about the weird fly he caught but she makes him let it go. That night, Helene goes down to the lab and finds a note from Andre, asking for a bowl of milk and saying that there was an accident and he can’t speak. After getting the milk, Andre lets Helene into the lab but he has his face covered and keeps his left hand hidden. As Helen tries to talk to him, he gets upset and reveals his hand has become that of a fly. The next morning, Helene finds a note from Andre outside the lab explaining that he had built human sized transporters and tested them on himself and it worked the first time but the second time, a fly had gotten in the chamber and their atoms were mixed up. Reading this, Helene realizes the fly that Philippe caught must have been the one from the chamber and she goes upstairs and tells Philippe to catch it, as well as their maid. They finally find the fly in the study and try to capture it but it escapes out into the garden. When Helene goes to tell Andre the bad news, he grows depressed and types a note saying it is hopeless. Helene tells him not to give up hope but he types that it is getting harder for him to think straight. Helene asks him to try and use the device again and see if it will fix him and he reluctantly agrees, but after he goes through, Helen pulls off the cover and reveals a giant fly’s head where Andre’s should be. Helen screams and passes out and Andre lays her down on a bed before proceeding to destroy his lab. When Helen recovers, Andre writes a note on his blackboard, saying he loves her, then has her follow him to their factory. Once there, Andre sets up the press, then lays down on it and has Helene hit the button so that he will be crushed, and all evidence of what happened to him will be destroyed. Helene activates the press, then throws herself onto the press to die with him. Andre shoves her out of the way, but in the process, his left arm is not crushed by the press. Seeing this, Helene raises the press, the places the arm underneath it and activates it again in order to fulfill Andre’s wishes. Back in the present, Francois and Charas speak about the matter and Charas says that he feels that Helene will be found insane and the only way to prove her innocence is to show him the fly. The next day, Francois is sitting in the garden as Charas and the doctors arrive to take Helene away, not noticing that the fly is caught in a spider’s web nearby. As the doctors are restraining Helene, Philippe starts to come into the room and Francois stops him from seeing his mom being taken away. As Francois is leading Philippe away, Philippe tells him that he saw the fly and Francois gets Charas and convinces him to follow him into the garden. Once there, Philippe points out the web and Francois tells him to go back into the house. Francois and Charas stare as the fly, fully sporting Andre’s head and arm and screaming out “Help me!” as the spider approaches and bites him. A horrified Charas uses a rock to smash both the spider and fly and Francois says that he committed murder just as much as Helene did. The two of them then work out a way to explain Andre’s death as a suicide, and Charas goes to tell the doctors to release Helene. Some time later, Francois goes to visit Helene and Philippe and Philippe asks why his father had to die and Francois says that the search for truth is the most important act for humanity, but also the most dangerous.

The Fly (1958) was highly praised by the critics, holding a 95% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Deliciously funny to some and eerily presicient to others, The Fly walks a fine line between shlocky fun and unnerving nature parable. The movie was a commercial success, earning $3 million off of a $495,000 budget. The movie would spawn two sequels, as a remake in 1986, which spawned it’s own sequel. This would wind up being the biggest hit of director Kurt Neumann, though he would never find out as he died a month after it premiered.

This is such a classic sci-fi/horror movie that is still great to watch. The acting was good, with Patricia Owens doing a fantastic job as Helene, while Vincent Price (Francois), David Hedison (Andre), and Herbert Marshall (Charas) also doing good jobs in their roles. The story was great, using great elements of science fiction to tell a story that also illustrates how, despite taking every precaution, sometimes accidents occur with disastrous results. The special effects regarding the fly mask, as well as the scene with Andre’s head on the fly’s body (which is still really creepy when you add in the scream), were both very well done. If you like sci-fi or horror movies, then this is absolutely a must see movie for you.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

horror, movie, movie review, Uncategorized

March 26th, 2017 Movie – Dolls


So I find myself watching yet another movie featuring killer dolls. Now this is one of those movies that I remember seeing the VHS box on the shelf in video stores all the time, but I never saw it as a kid. I mean, there were a lot of killer doll movies floating around in the late 80’s and 90’s, like Child’s Play or Puppet Master, so this one kind of got lost in the shuffle among all of them. In fact, it was about 10 years ago before I finally got around to finally seeing this movie. Now the only question is…was it worth the wait when I finally watched today’s movie, Dolls.

The plot: Young Judy Bower is traveling in the English countryside with her father, David and her step-mother Rosemary. As it gets dark and a storm starts up, their car gets stuck in some mud and David gets out to try and get it free, and both David and Rosemary yell at Judy in their frustration, especially when she mentions her mother. Unable to get the car free, David suggests they get out and try to find help or shelter from the storm and so Rosemary and Judy reluctantly follow. As they are walking, Rosemary yells at Judy for lagging behind and throws her teddy bear into the bushes as punishment. Judy has a daydream about her teddy bear coming to life and attacking Rosemary and David, and when Rosemary snaps her out of it, David comes back and begins chastising Judy for daydreaming before noticing an old mansion and they make their way towards it. David knocks on the door but when they receive no answer, they sneak inside the basement. Judy gets scared and causes David to knock over some boxes , which attracts the attention of the owners of the mansion, Gabriel and Hilary Hartwicke. Gabriel points a shotgun and asks why they didn’t knock and while David and Rosemary are frozen in shock, Judy politely apologizes and says they did knock but nobody answered and they were simply trying to get out of the storm. The elderly couple take pity on the family and invite them inside to get warm. As they head upstairs, Gabriel and Hilary speak with Judy when David says she has an active imagination, and Gabriel shows her a room full of dolls and says that he will get her some food and then give her a tour of the house, which Judy happily agrees to. As Hilary gives them some soup, and the group introduce themselves, Gabriel comments about Judy not having a doll with her. Rosemary says that Judy dropped her teddy bear in the forest, then kicks Judy’s chair to make her agree with her, and Gabriel gives her a Mr. Punch doll as a replacement, which Judy happily accepts. Suddenly, the kitchen door opens and Isabel and Enid, two punk girls which Rosemary almost ran over earlier, enter the house accompanied by a man named Ralph, who had offered them a ride since it was raining. As introductions are made, Ralph remarks fondly about Mr. Punch, saying he had one as a kid, and when Gabriel asks if he likes toys, Isabel and Enid try to make it sound dirty but Ralph replies that he liked toys as a kid but unfortunately he had to grow up. Hilary tells Gabriel to show their guests to their rooms for the night and he leads the group upstairs to their rooms. Gabriel shows David and Rosemary their room and when David notices one bed and asks where Judy will sleep, Gabriel says she will have her own room, as he sensed they did not want her around. In their room, Isabel and Enid are talking and Enid wonders how they are going to swipe Ralph’s wallet and car keys but Isabel says that she will figure out a way. Meanwhile, Gabriel is showing his workshop and Ralph get excited to see all of the dolls Gabriel has made, telling them about some of his own childhood as he plays with one of them. Hilary enters Isabel and Enid’s room and talks with them for a bit and Isabel asks if the old dolls are valuable antiques and Hilary replies that to some people they probably will be worth something. When she leaves, Isabel tells Enid that since Gabriel and Hilary sleep at the other end of the house, they could swipe some of the valuables and they wouldn’t notice it for days. She then tells Enid to keep the radio going so nobody will hear her sneaking around and Enid reluctantly agrees. Gabriel finishes showing Judy and Ralph around and shows Judy to her room and Judy says good night to her new friends as Gabriel shows Ralph to his room. Meanwhile, David and Rosemary are talking and David says as soon as they get back home, he is sending Judy back to Boston to be with her mother, saying they are both young and free to do whatever they want. Elsewhere, Isabel is wandering along the halls and starts grabbing some stuff when a music box keeps opening, forcing her to close it. As she continues going through the items, the music box opens again and when Judy closes it, she notices the dolls on the shelf have disappeared. As she looks to see if anyone is there, the music box starts playing again and when she turns towards the sound, something grabs her legs and she is dragged into the room before rammed face first into the floorboard repeatedly, before being thrown from the room. Isabel looks up and sees Judy staring at her and she reaches out for help but when Judy starts to reach out for her, something grabs Isabel and drags her away. Judy runs to tell her David and Rosemary what happened but they think she is making it up and yell at her to go back to bed. Judy goes to tell Ralph and he doesn’t believe her at first but when she turns to go away, he notices the blood on her slippers and has her show him where it happened. Finding the trail of blood, the two follow it up to the attic and see a stockade up there and Ralph decides to let the others know what is going on so they leave, not noticing Isabel restrained in a chair behind them. As Ralph starts to go down the stairs, some dolls on the floor bite his ankle and Judy goes to see if he is ok and tells him what happened. Ralph heads to Isabel and Enid’s room and starts banging on the door, waking up David and Rosemary in the process. Ralph and Judy start trying to explain what happened but nobody believes them and instead, Enid believes that Ralph did something to Isabel, prompting David to tell Ralph to stay away from Judy. Ralph tries to protest his innocence and says they should try to look for Isabel but David ignores him and tells Judy that she is staying in their room. Judy says she is staying with Ralph and runs off, with David chasing after her and Ralph tries again to convince Rosemary and Enid of his innocence but they quickly shut the doors in his face. David goes looking for Judy but only finds Mr. Punch, who she dropped while running from him. David threatens to tear up Mr. Punch but is unable to do so and when he tries burning it with a candle, the wax drops on his foot and he drops Mr. Punch and when he re-lights the candle, Mr. Punch has disappeared. Meanwhile, Ralph runs into Gabriel and tries to explain what is going on and Gabriel says that he had spilled a bucket of paint on the floor while he was touching up some of the dolls and when Ralph asks about Judy, Gabriel says she will be fine but if she is still missing in the morning, he will help look for her. Back in her room, Enid is pacing the floor worried about Isabel when suddenly, the radio is knocked off the mantel and the dolls are sitting back on there, causing Enid to freak out and quickly leave the room. Ralph is in the kitchen cleaning the blood off of his ankle when Judy shows up, finding Mr. Punch in the chair next to him. As the two talk, Mr. Punch responds to Ralph’s question but Ralph thinks it was Judy changing her voice. In her room, Rosemary is reading in bed when she is suddenly attacked by several dolls, who stab her and attempt to cut off her limbs. As she runs from the room, she is constantly attacked by dolls and ends up jumping out the window and falling to her death. Enid continues looking for Isabel when she sees Hilary coming down the hall and quickly hides from her. After she passes by, Enid continues looking for Isabel and eventually reaches the attic, where she finds Isabel and is horrified to find that she is in the process of being turned into a doll. When the dolls try attacking her, Enid fights back, using her lighter and belt to smash and burn the dolls, then runs from the attic but ends up being confronted by a group of toy soldiers, who proceed to shoot her. David returns to his room complaining about not being able to find Judy and reaches for Rosemary but thinks better of it and goes to take a shower. Meanwhile, Ralph and Judy head to a secret room and find it filled with all sorts of dolls and Ralph realizes that the dolls are alive. When Ralph tries to smash through the dolls to leave the room, Judy tells him to stop as he is hurting the dolls and making them angry. The dolls attack Ralph but Judy yells at them to stop hurting her friend and they stop, then start talking among themselves about what to do with them. Ralph is worried but Judy says it is alright as Mr. Punch will protect them. Meanwhile, David finishes his shower and goes to get into bed only to find Rosemary’s corpse in the bed. Thinking that Ralph killed her, David smashes a chair then grabs one of the broken legs and goes looking for Ralph. Back in the secret room, the dolls let Ralph and Judy go and Judy thanks them but as the leave, David finds them and starts attacking Ralph. Judy tries to plead with her dad to stop, saying Ralph is nicer than he will ever be but David knocks Ralph unconscious, then does the same to Judy. As David is about to kill Ralph, Mr. Punch comes to life and stops him, distracting David long enough for the other dolls to drag Ralph and Judy to safety in the secret room. David eventually smashes Mr. Punch but Gabriel and Hilary show up and David threatens them and demands they hand over Judy. When he goes to attack them, he is suddenly frozen in place and Gabriel reveals that he and Hilary are a wizard and witch repsectively. The believe that toys are the heart and soul of childhood and whenever people show up at their house, they test them to see if they can feel the goodwill that toys can provide but if they fail, they are turned into dolls themselves, as shown by David transforming into a new Mr. Punch. The next morning, Ralph and Judy wake up are convinced that what happened was just a dream. When Judy asks about her dad, Gabriel reads a letter supposedly from her father that says he is sending her to live with her mom and leaves enough money to get her a plane ticket to Boston, as well as a ticket for Ralph, who is asked to ensure she gets there safely. Ralph quickly wants to leave and Gabriel and Hilary say that they are welcome to stay as long as they want but Judy says her mom would be sad if she didn’t go there but asks if it is ok to visit them. As they go to get in Ralph’s car, they find Judy’s teddy bear in his car and Judy gives it to the couple as a gift and they say they will take care of it as if it is one of their own. As Ralph and Judy drive off, Judy asks Ralph if he is married, then says that he will like her mom. Meanwhile, David, Rosemary, Isabel, and Enid are shown to be in doll form as another car is seen getting stuck in the mud outside the house and the parents argue as they get out and get their things before heading to the house.

Dolls met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 58% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics praised the special effects but were mixed on their feelings towards the plot. Director Stuart Gordon was interested in directing a sequel, with the story line being that Ralph did end up marrying Judy’s mother and raising Judy when they received a package from England that contained Gabriel and Hilary, who had been turned into dolls, but the sequel never happened. The movie was considered a commercial failure, making $3.5 million off of a $2 million budget.

This had it’s odd moments, but it is actually a pretty decent movie to watch. The acting was ok for the most part, with Carrie Lorraine (Judy), Stephen Lee (Ralph), and Ian Patrick Williams (David) doing good jobs in their roles. On a side note, most people will recognize Bunty Bailey (Isabel) as the girl that starred in A-ha’s “Take On Me”. The story was honestly a little confusing, as even though they try to explain what was going on, it still didn’t really seem to make any sense. The special effects were pretty good for the most part but there were a couple of times where they felt a little weak. Like I said, there are a number of killer doll movies out there that are going to have more name recognition, but this at least has a chance to find some ground of it’s own to stand on.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

comedy, horror, movie, movie review

March 25th, 2017 Movie – Doghouse


My apologies for the lack of a movie review yesterday but I had to go out of town for a funeral so I will be doubling up the posts today. Now yesterday, I watched a movie from a collection of IFC zombie movies that my friend gave me, and today is another one from that set. I have to say that IFC can surprise you with some good movies every now and then. Dead Snow was definitely one such movie. Let’s see if today’s movie, Doghouse, is another.

The plot: Vince is lying in bed depressed about his divorce when his friends Neil, Mikey, Graham, Matt, and Patrick (who have their own problems with their significant others)  grab him for a “boy’s weekend”. The group have rented a chartered a minibus to take them to a village named Moodley and as they are waiting for the driver, they call their friend Banksy, who was supposed to meet them but is habitually late, and leave a message for him. Banksy, is having his own troubles as he first locks his keys inside his house, then has car trouble as he is driving down the road. When their driver, Ruth, shows up, Neil gives her a tip to let them call her Candy, which she accepts, and they head off. As they are heading to Moodley, Vince gets a call from his ex concerning the divorce papers, and Mikey gets a call from his wife so Neil decides to collect everybody’s phones so they won’t be distracted. When they get to Moodley, the guys are disappointed to find that it is a small town in the middle of nowhere and Candy tells them that she is going to take a nap before heading back to London, with or without them. While Mikey goes to try and get into his Gran’s house, the others head to a nearby pub to get a drink. Matt goes to see if Candy would like a drink but gets distracted looking at the window of a witchcraft shop. At the pub, Vince, Graham, Neil, and Patrick find the place practically deserted, though Neil did see someone puking up black goo in the bathroom. Meanwhile, Mikey finds the hidden key to his Gran’s house but before he can enter, he sees a woman in a wedding dress eating someone’s intestines and when she notices him, she grabs a nearby axe and heads towards him. Back at the pub, the guys leave to go find Matt and notice a hooded woman stumbling about when she is suddenly attacked by a soldier. The soldier punches the woman and is about to stab her when Neil and the others stop him and knock him out. Suddenly, the hooded woman grabs the soldier’s knife and stabs Neil hand, then threatens the other guys before she is knocked unconscious by Mikey. Mikey points out the other approaching women so the guys grab the soldier and head back to the bus, only to find Candy transforming and threatening to attack them. The group manage to get to Mikey’s Gran’s house and hide there and the soldier, Gavin, wakes up and tells them that some sort of virus has infected the women in the village and turned them into homicidal cannibals that only attack men. The guys decide to try and get back on the bus to leave, or at least get the bag with their phones so they can call for help. When they get there, they have Neil lure Candy out of the bus but as Graham tries to start it, two other women appear in the back of the bus. Patrick manages to grab the bag with the phones but is cut off from the others so he climbs up on a bill board, but the woman with the axe manages to cut his leg as he is climbing, then proceeds to try and chop down the billboard. The others are trapped by a bunch of women but Patrick begins hitting golf balls at the women, causing them to fight among themselves, and the guys manage to hide; with Vince and Matt hiding in a toy store while Mikey, Graham, and Gavin hide in a clothing store. Neil manages to lose Candy and avoid a second woman that attacks him but when he hides inside a house, he is taken captive by an overweight woman inside, who proceeds to cut off one of his fingers and eat it. Vince and Matt use a remote control truck to send a walkie talkie over to the others to try and figure out a plan. Graham places a severed head on the back of the truck and then Vince uses it to lure the women away from the stores, allowing Mikey to try and get into one of the Army’s Humvees. When the truck wrecks, the women notice Mikey and chase after him so he hides in a butcher shop, only to be attacked by the butcher. Vince and Matt try to help Mikey, using squirt guns filled with lighter fluid but though they manage to set one woman on fire, Matt’s gun catches fire as well and he drops it, igniting the lighter fluid that had leaked out of the gun and causing the toy store to explode. Mikey makes his way back into the clothing store while Matt and Vince hide in the church. Inside, they discover a military command center had been set up there but all of the people have been killed. They get in touch with the others, who disguise themselves as women in order to sleep past the infected women and head to the church. Meanwhile, Neil manages to escape his bonds and kill the woman that caught him, then avoids the other women as the try to catch him, and rejoins the group in the church, as does Patrick, who was tossed from the billboard when it was chopped down but managed to get away. Inside the church, Matt manages to get the power working and they see a video call from a politician named Meg Nut, who asks about the project “Cathouse” but when Meg realizes that they are not part of the project, she ends the call and sends a signal to destroy the hard drives on the computer. Gavin looks outside and sees that the women are undergoing Phase 2, mutating them into smarter, faster killing machines. He shows the group a device that is supposed to emit a high pitched sound that only women can hear which will incapacitate the infected women when they reach Phase 2. As the women try to break into the church, Gavin presses the device but it doesn’t work and the guys get pissed off at him when suddenly, Gavin is killed by Mikey’s Gran. Matt kills Mikey’s Gran, then wanders off in a state of shock and when Vince goes to check on him, he sees the burnt magic shop owner grabbing Matt and killing him. Vince and the others fight with the owner and manage to kill her, then try and use the entrance that she used to get in and escape, only to find zombies in the tunnels. Making their way back to the church, the group head up tot eh second floor and start climbing out on the roof to find a way out. Banksy shows up and sees the guys up there and they tell him to get a ladder but he uses it to climb up on the roof. When the women try to knock them off the ladder, Banksy and Mikey end up falling on a roof across the street, then quickly pull up the ladder and use it as a bridge to help the others escape. When the overweight woman sees them, she runs into the church and manages to knock Graham off the ladder as he is climbing across, then jumps off the roof on top of him, killing him. The others head for Banksy’s car,  only to find that he had rented a smart car, which would not be able to fit all of them. As they argue over what to do, Patrick is killed and Banksy is killed as they try to get back on the bus. Inside the bus, Vince yells at Neil and Mikey on how they treat women like crap and are still alive, while their friends treated women with respect and are now dead. Vowing to be more like them, Vince starts the bus and proceeds to drive straight through the women in their way as they make their way out of town. Back in the town, Graham wakes up and finds himself lying in the women’s nest and finds the walkie talkie and uses it to contact the others. Vince turns the bus around and heads back to rescue Graham, crashing the bus as he enters town. Vince, Neil, and Mikey arm themselves and prepare to fight off the women when suddenly, the women stop in their tracks. Graham appears and says he got the sonar device working and Neil decides to play with it, quickly turning it on and off as he taunts the women. When Neil tosses the device to Vince to let him try it, Vince drops it and the device breaks, freeing the women. Placing Graham in a shopping cart, the 4 guys make a run for it, laughing as they leave town with the women chasing after them.

Doghouse met with mixed reviews from the critics, holding a 48% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that it is, “An amateurish, unfunny and unscary British horror-comedy that could be accused of misogyny.” The town of Moodley was actually an elaborate set created inside an old, abandoned hospital, which the cast and crew lived in during the making of the movie. The movie had a $4 million budget but only cleared a domestic box office of £165,544 when it was released in theaters in the UK.

This was an interesting movie to watch. The acting was ok, with Noel Clarke )who I recognized from playing Mickey Smith in Doctor Who), Danny Dyer, and Stephen Graham doing a good job as Mikey, Neil, and Vince respectively. The story was interesting, though it felt a bit sexist/misogynistic. The idea of using a biological agent to turn a population against itself has been used before in movies but this is one of the first, at least that I have seen, where it was used to literally turn women against men. The special effects were decent, with some scenes definitely being better than others, but that could probably be attributed to the budget more than anything else. A good quasi-zombie movie, but I don’t see it making it out of the cult movie status.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

comedy, horror, movie, movie review

March 24th, 2017 Movie – Dead Snow

dead snow

With the zombie movie resurgence at the start of the new century, it can be a little difficult to find a movie that sticks out among the undead horde. Today’s movie is one such movie because the concept alone almost immediately grabs your attention. I first heard about this movie on some random web page years ago when I was looking up information about another movie from Norway, Trollhunter. After seeing a clip from the movie, I thought it looked pretty good and managed to watch it online and thought it was really good, then watched it again when it came on Netflix, since they had an English dub version. I had thought about buying a copy of this movie several times but never got around to it. Now I finally own it so I am sure that I will be watching Dead Snow many more times throughout the years.

The plot: A woman, Sara, is being chased through a snow covered forest in Norway until she is finally cornered and killed by Nazis. The next day, a group of friends (Martin, Roy, Hanna, Liv, Vegerd, Erlend, and Chris) are heading up to a cabin where Sara is supposed to be meeting them in a day or two. When they get to the parking lot, Vegard unloads his snowmobile and heads off for the cabin with the bulk of the supplies so he can get the heat turned on while the others start walking after him. Vegard gets to the cabin and checks to see if Sara has arrived but when he sees no sign of her, he heads inside and starts a fire in the furnace. When the others get there, the group have fun playing games in the snow before moving inside as night falls. When Liv goes outside to use the outhouse, she sees someone moving about in the woods and quickly tells the others. The others think it is possibly Sara or an animal but Liv says it was neither of them. Roy goes to look outside and doesn’t see anything but when he turns to come back inside, a hiker named Turgaer is standing behind him and asks if he can have some coffee. As Turgaer is drinking his coffee, he asks what brings the group to the mountains and they tell him they are on break from medical school. When Turgaer learns that Sara is traveling through the mountains to get there, he grows concerned and says strange things have happened in the mountains. He then tells the group about how during the Nazi occupation of World War II, a Nazi SS force led by Colonel Herzog occupied the town but when they soldiers tried looting the town towards the end of the war, the villagers revolted and killed some of the soldiers while chasing Herzog and the rest up into the mountains, where they were believed to have frozen to death. Roy mocks Turgaer’s story, who gets upset and leaves, after thanking Hanna for the coffee. Later, after setting up his tent for the night, Turgaer hears something moving about outside and goes to investigate only to be attacked and killed by a Nazi zombie. That night, Vegard is woken by someone walking out of his room and placing something underneath the floorboards. Thinking it is Sara, Vegard calls out for her and follows the figure outside, where he sees Sara spitting up blood. Vegard jolts up in bed, revealing it was a dream, and decides to go looking for Sara in the morning, telling Martin and Hanna that if he and Sara aren’t back by tomorrow, then they should head back to the car and get help. As Vegard looks for Sara, he sees Turgaer’s tent and decides to check to see if he is ok but finds his corpse inside the tent. Seeing some footprints in the snow, Vegard follows them but ends falling into a hidden cavern and is knocked unconscious. Back at the cabin, the group continues partying when Erlend finds a small box full of gold coins and valuables. Martin thinks they should leave them alone but the tohers continue to look at the treasure. When Erlend goes to use the outhouse, Chris joins him and the two have sex in the outhouse, with Erlend leaving afterwards while Chris stays to use the outhouse. When she is finished, she sees someone watching her and moving around outside and thinks it is Erlend when she is suddenly pulled into the opening of the outhouse. An injured Chris manages to crawl out of the outhouse and screams for help but before anyone can come out to help her, she is dragged off by a zombie. Martin, Roy, and Erlend go looking for Chris and see no sign of her but Martin finds Sara’s bag buried in the snow. Hanna sees someone holding Chris’ head outside the window and screams out and when Liv goes to check, a Nazi zombie smashes through the window and grabs her hair but Hanna grabs a knife and cuts Liv’s hair. As Nazi zombies try to break into the cabin, the group tries to defend it and Erlend is killed and dragged outside during the fight. The next day, Martin and Roy decide to try and distract the zombies and lure them away while Hanna and Liv head to the cars and get help. Meanwhile, Vegard regains consciousness and explores the cave and finds German weapons and supplies, as well as Sara’s head. Suddenly, a zombie attacks him and tries to bite him but he is able to knock it unconscious. When a second zombie attacks him, Vegard kills it but the first zombie attacks him again and knocks them off the cliff. Vegard manages to grab the intestines from the dead zombie to stop their fall and the zombie bites his neck before he can knock it off. Hanna and Liv are chased by zombies and forced to separate. Liv is knocked unconscious and when she comes too, finds the zombies are pulling out her intestines so she grabs one of their grenades and uses it to kill herself and the zombies attacking her. Hanna hides in a tree from the zombies chasing her but when a mother bird squawks at her for being by her nest, Hanna kills the bird but finds the zombies have noticed her. Hanna manages to kill one of the zombies and runs from the other but when she finds herself trapped on the edge of a cliff, she chooses to break the ice and sends both her and the zombie tumbling to the ground below. Hanna survives the fall and after diging herself out of the snow, finds the zombie survived as well but is trapped and she quickly kills it. Vegard manages to climb back up the cliff and, after stitching up his neck, retrieves a machine gun from the cave, mounts it onto the snowmobile, and heads off to find the others. Martin and Roy try fending off the zombies with moltov cocktails but when Roy accidentally sets the cabin on fire, they head into the nearby shed. Finding some tools in their, the two arm themselves and head out to attack the zombies. Vegard shows up to help fight and learns about what happened when he is suddenly attacked by some zombies and ripped into pieces. Martin and Roy attack the zombies but Martin accidentally kills Hanna, who had returned to the cabin and grabbed his arm as he was killing a zombie. As Martin is staring in shock at Hanna’s body, a zombie bites his arm so Martin uses a chainsaw to cut off his arm, then lights a fire to cauterize the wound, only to be bitten in the crotch by another zombie. After killing that zombie, Maritn and Roy approach Herzog, who summons hundreds of zombies up from the snow. Martin and Roy decide to make a run for it but Herzog hits Roy with a hammer and as he stumbles in pain from the blow, he ends up disemboweling himself on a tree branch. When Martin sees Herzog retrieve a watch from Roy’s body, he realizes what the zombies want and heads back to the remains of the cabin. Martin retrieves the box of treasure from the ashes and hands it to Herzog, who allows him to pass unharmed through the zombie army. Martin manages to make it back to the car but as he goes to start it, a gold coin falls out of his pocket and after he picks it up, Herzog appears and smashes through the window to retrieve it.

met with mixed to positive reviews from the critics, holding a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Though it doesn’t cover new ground, Dead Snow is an entertaining mix of camp, scares, and blood and guts.” When coming up with his film, writer/director Tommy Wirkola decided to add the Nazi element to his zombies, thinking that Nazi’s were one of the things more evil than zombies, and used the Nazi occupation of Norway during World War II to help set up the plot.The movie was a modest hit at the box office, earning almost $2 million off of an $800,000 budget and, after filming his first big studio movie (Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters), Wirkola filmed a sequel in 2014 called Dead Snow: Red Vs Dead.

This is such a good movie, bloody and gore filled, sure, but good. The acting was pretty good, with all of the main actors doing a good job, though there were times where the dubbing was a bit over the top. The story was good, with Wirkola using the legend of draugrs, Scandinavian undead that guarded treasure hordes, to help explain Herzog and the Nazis’ actions. There was a lot of dark humor in this movie, some of it in the dialogue and some in the actions occurring on screen. The special effects were pretty good for the most part, though there was one time where the green screen effect looked a little off. Considering the budget, I was surprised at the amount of blood and gore in this movie but they did a great job making this into one of the bloodiest zombie movies I have seen in quite a while. A fun movie that as you cheering, or laughing, every time a zombie is killed.

Rating: 4 out of 5

horror, movie, movie review, thriller

March 23rd, 2017 Movie – Child’s Play

childs play

Well, I have to continue with the backtracking but this time, it was not my fault….well, not directly. See, at the end of the year I mentioned that I needed to get a certain number of movies and my friends have been helping me do that. When I mentioned that I was getting pretty close to my goal, my friend Mark decided to give me an early birthday present of several movies, as he didn’t want me to over shoot my goal. So that is what brings us to today’s movie, Child’s Play.

The plot: Homicide detective Mike Norris is chasing after serial killer Charles Lee Ray in Chicago and manages to wound him. Seeing Charles get shot and the cops approaching, Charles’ partner Eddie takes off, leaving Charles to fend for himself. Charles breaks into a toy story and shoots at Mike, who fires back and hits Charles again. Realizing that he is dying, Charles swears revenge against Mike and Eddie, then tries to leave the store but crashes into a display of Good Guy dolls. Charles grabs one of the dolls and begins chanting a spell, transferring his soul into the doll. The spell causes lightning to strike the store, causing an explosion, and after Mike recovers from the blast, he finds Charles’ body. The next day, 6 year old Andy Barclay is making breakfast for his mom Karen and excitedly wakes her up so he can open his birthday presents. When he opens them, he is disappointed that he did not get a Good Guy doll but Karen, who is a struggling single mother, couldn’t afford to get one. While working her counter at a mall department store, Karen’s co-worker Maggie drags Karen out into the alley, where a street peddler has a Good Guy doll which he sells to Karen for $30. When they return to the store, they find their boss at the counter, who chastises them for leaving on an unauthorized break, then tells Karen she has to work that night as one of the ladies is sick. Karen leaves to pick up Andy from day-care and gives him the Good Guy doll, who says his name is Chucky. That night, Andy is playing with Chucky while Maggie is looking after him and a news report comes on saying that Eddie had escaped police custody. As Maggie tells Andy to get ready for bed, she finds Chucky in front of the TV with the news on and she grabs the doll and takes it back to Andy, chastising him for not listening to her. As she is reading a book waiting for Karen to get home, she hears something moving around and when she goes to investigate, she is startled by the phone ringing. After talking with Karen, who had called to check on them, but after she hangs up the phone, she checks something by the window only to turn around and be struck by a hammer, which knocks her out the window. When Karen returns home, she finds the police outside her apartment and rushes inside to check on Andy. Mike tells her what happened to Maggie and questions her about some footprints on the counter and says he already checked Andy’s shoes and they don’t match. Andy asks what is going on but Karen tells him to go back to bed but when Andy notices powder on Chucky’s shoes, he tries telling Karen and Mike but they don’t believe him. After getting rid of the police, Karen finds Andy talking to Chucky and Andy tells her that Chucky says his name is Charles Lee Ray but Karen thinks that Andy is just making up stories and tells him to go to bed. The next day, Andy takes Chucky with him to school but after Karen leaves them to go to work, Andy ditches school and heads to a rundown building, apparently being told where to go by Chucky. When they reach the building, Andy sets Chucky down while he uses the restroom and Chucky takes off for the building and enters it. Eddie is hiding out in the building and when Eddie hears a noise in the house, he goes looking around, shooting at where the noise is coming from. Andy, who had finished peeing and found Chucky missing, hears the shots and goes running to the house, calling out for Chucky. Eddie hears Andy and almost shoots him but stops himself and continues searching the house. Hearing laughter coming from the kitchen, Eddie heads there and shoots inside, causing the gas from the stove to ignite and blow up the house, killing him. Karen is called to the police station and Mike asks her about Andy and explains what happened. Andy is telling Mike’s partner Jack Santos that Maggie died because she saw Chucky moving and it scared her. Karen tries to get Andy to tell her the truth and Andy speaks to Chucky but Chucky simply says the generic lines the dolls are programmed with. Dr. Ardmore is called in and takes Andy to the psychiatric hospital for a few days. Karen takes Chucky home with her and grabs the box so she can get rid of it when she notices the batteries fall out of the box. After checking the doll and realizing there were no batteries inserted into it, she threatens to burn the doll if it doesn’t say anything and Chucky suddenly comes to life and attacks her. After biting her arm and causing her to drop him, Chucky leaves the apartment and Karen tries chasing after him but she loses sight of him. Heading to the police station, Karen catches up to Mike before he leaves and tries to tell him about Chucky, showing the bite on her arm as proof but he doesn’t believe her. Karen decides to find the peddler and ask where he got the doll but the peddler tries to rape her until he is stopped by Mike, who had followed Karen. Mike has the peddler answer Karen’s question but when he learns that the doll was from the store that Charles was killed in, he freezes up. Mike tells Karen back home but Karen wants to keep looking for Chucky and asks where Charles Lee Ray used to live. After Karen exits the car, Mike drives off only to be attacked by Chucky as he is driving, eventually causing him to wreck. As Mike is trapped in his car, Chucky continues to try and attack him but Mike manages to shoot him and Chucky runs off. The next day, Karen goes to Charles Lee Ray’s house to look around and is joined by Mike, who tells her he pulled Charles’ file and that Charles spent a lot of time with a man named John so they go to see him. At John’s house, Chucky shows up and asks about why he is bleeding and John tells him that the longer he is in the doll, the more human he will become. Chucky asks John to help him and John refuses but Chucky grabs a voodoo doll of John and tortures him with it, and John is forced to tell Chucky that he has to switch his soul with that of the first person that he told of his true nature. Chucky laughs at the fact that he gets to be a 6 year old again and stabs the voodoo doll to kill John. Karen and Mike get there and try to save John but he tells them to save the boy and says that if they kill the heart then Chucky will die. At the psychiatric hospital, Andy sees Chucky approaching and tries to warn Dr. Ardmore but Dr. Ardmore doesn’t believe him. When Chucky steals the keys and enters the room to possess Andy, Andy manages to escape and goes to hide but Chucky finds him and attacks him. Andy manages to get away but Dr. Ardmore grabs him and tries to sedate him but Chucky attacks him and kills him with a shock therapy machine. When Mike and Karen arrive at the hospital, Jack tells Mike what happened and that Andy had escaped. Mike asks Karen where Andy would go and she says home so they head there. At the Barclay’s apartment, Andy tries to hide but Chucky gets inside and eventually finds him and knocks him out. As Chucky starts to cast the spell, Mike and Karen arrive and stop him. Chucky cuts Mike’s leg and runs off, and Mike goes after him but is attacked again. As Chucky goes to kill him, Karen shoots him but when her gun jams, Chucky chases after her. Karen manages to trap Chucky in the fireplace and as she braces the grate, Andy lights a match and throws it in, setting Chucky on fire. As Karen goes to tend to Mike’s wound, Andy gets the first aid kit but notices Chucky’s body is gone. Chucky goes after Andy but Karen manages to shut the door, though she is stabbed by Chucky when he tries to get in. Karen eventually grabs Mike’s gun and fires at Chucky, shooting his head and arm off. Going back to check on Mike, they are surprised when Jack shows up and he calls an ambulance but when they try to explain what happened, he doesn’t believe them, showing them Chucky’s burnt head. Suddenly, Chucky’s body bursts through the ventilation and attempts to strangle Jack but he manages to throw it off and Mike shoots Chucky in the heart, finally killing him. Jack and Karen help get Mike outside, then Karen goes back to get Andy, who looks back on the body of Chucky as he closes the door.

Child’s Play met with mixed to positive results from the critics, holding a 69% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics liked the tension and pacing in the movie, but some felt the ending was cluttered. When the movie came out, there were a lot of protests surrounding the movie as some people felt that it would incite violence among children. The movie would become a box office hit, earning $44.2 million off of $9 million budget and would go on to spawn numerous sequels.

You know, when I first saw this movie I felt like it was kind of silly but watching it now, it’s still kind of silly but I can appreciate the story better. The acting in this movie was pretty good, with Brad Dourif doing an excellent job voicing Chucky, while Catherine Hicks (Karen) and Chris Sarandon (Mike) were also good. I will say that Alex Vincent (Andy) was actually pretty creepy with his acting, in that you could almost believe that he could be a child sociopath. The story was interesting and I liked the idea of it but while it started out fairly original at first, it wound up kind of being just another slasher movie at the end. The special effects were ok but there were times where it was too hard to take the doll seriously as it was too wooden. The end part with the burnt out doll chasing after them actually reminded me a little of Terminator, which actually did make the end scenes more enjoyable for me, as opposed to what the critics thought. Not the greatest horror franchise out there but the original movie can still be an enjoyable horror movie to watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

action, adventure, drama, movie, movie review, video game

March 22nd, 2017 Movie – Assassin’s Creed

assassins creed

Now it has been few months since I have watched a movie based on a video game. The weird thing is, considering the advances in video games over the years, you would figure that a movie would turn out really good. However, most of the times, these movies are absolutely terrible. When today’s movie came out in theaters, I didn’t get a chance to see it because other things kept coming up, which seems to be happening a lot recently. However, I had several friends tell me that I would probably enjoy it so, being me, I decided to take them at their word and pre-order it. So let’s see if my friends were right as I watch today’s movie, Assassin’s Creed.

The plot: In 1492, Aguilar de Nerha is accepted into the Assassin’s brotherhood and tasked with defending Prince Ahmed de Granada from the Templars. If he is captured, the Templars could learn the whereabouts of the Apple of Eden, and with it gain control over all free will. In 1986, young Callum “Cal” Lynch is attempting to jump his bike over rooftops but fails and falls onto a pile of mattresses that he set up in case he failed. Returning home, he finds that his father, Joseph, has killed his mother and when dozens of cars show up to grab Joseph, Joseph convinces Cal to run. Thirty years later, Cal is in prison facing execution for suspected murder but instead of being killed by the drugs, he wakes up some time later in a lab room, where Dr. Sofia Rikkin explains that his death was faked by the Abstergo Foundation. Struggling with the after effects of the drugs, Cal tries to run and Dr. Sofia tells the guards not to touch him. Cal eventually comes to an open air garden and stands on the ledge overlooking the city. One of the men in the garden tells him to jump but he doesn’t and Sofia begins talking to him when security guards, under orders from her father Alan Rikkin, tranquilize him. Cal is prepared for going into the Animus, where Sofia explains that he will be reliving the memories of his ancestor Aguilar de Nerha, where Abstergo hopes to learn the location of the Apple. In 1492, Aguilar and a squad of assassins reach the village where Prince Ahmed is hiding and manage to stop the Templars from executing some of the villagers and razing the village. Maria, Aguilar’s partner, manages to drive off with the prison cart that Ahmed is in and as Templars, led by Ojeda, chase after her, Aguilar grabs a horse to follow. Aguilar and Maria manage to kill some of their pursuers but when the cart is about to go over a cliff, Aguilar manages to free Ahmed from the cage and avoid falling to his death, just as Sofia orders Cal pulled out of the Animus. That night, Alan questions Sofia about why she pulled Cal and she tells him they have to go slow and build his trust. Some time later, Alan meets with his superior at Abstergo, Ellen Kaye, who says she is pulling the plug on the Animus project but when he tells her that they are close to finding the Apple, she allows it to continue. Back at the facility, Cal is experiencing hallucinations of his time in the Animus and Sofia tells him it is called the Bleeding Effect. When Cal questions what she is doing, she shows him how she has tracked his lineage to Aguilar and explains that the other “patients” are also descendants of assassins. Sofia also tells Cal that her mother was killed by an assassin and instead of turning to violence, like Cal, she turned to science and hopes to use the apple to rid the world of violence, which she sees as a disease. Later, Cal is at the cafeteria and meets Moussa, who is the somewhat leader of the assassin descendant’s in the program, and some of the other descendants feel that Cal is going to lead the Templars to the Apple. Alan pressures Sofia to place Cal back into the Animus and she reluctantly agrees. In his cell, Cal sees an hallucination of Aguilar and begins fighting with him, and he starts thinking he is crazy as the guards come to place him in the Animus. Cal begins singing nonstop and Sofia tries to get him to focus but he continues singing. Back in 1492, Aguilar, Maria, and some other assassins are about to be burned at the stake but Aguilar manages to free himself, then Maria and the two escape. In the present, Sofia watches Cal’s actions and realizes that he is syncing up with Aquilar. Back in 1492, Aguilar and Maria race across the rooftops, fighting Ojeda and Templar soldiers along the way, until they eventually reach a tower, where they preform a leap of faith to escape. The leap causes a violent reaction in Cal, forcing Sofia to pull him out and Cal ends up temporarily paralyzed and as he recovers, he ends up bonding with Sofia. Some time later, Alan pays a visit to Cal and speaks with him and says that he wants the Apple. He then takes Cal to a room full of people that are no longer able to go in the animus and says that Joseph is there, then hands Cal the Assassin’s blade that Joseph used to kill Cal’s mother. Leaving the room, Alan returns to Sofia’s lab, and Sofia tells him this is wrong but Alan says that Cal had to enter the Animus of his own free will in order to get the job done and now he will want to go there to destroy his father. Cal confronts Joseph and Joseph explains about the Apple and that his mother chose to die so she would not be forced to give away it’s location. Cal then tells Joseph that he is going to find the Apple and give it to them in order to destroy him. Later one of the descendants tries to kill Cal but Cal is able to stop him and as the guards take him away, the descendant yells at Call that he is going to kill the Creed. Cal willingly goes back in the Animus, where Aguilar and Maria are watching the Templars force Muhammad to give them the Apple. Once the Templars have the Apple, Aguilar and Maria use smoke bombs to help them ambush the Templars, killing most of them and grabbing the Apple but when the smoke clears, Ojeda has a knife to Maria’s throat while Aguilar is similarly threatening Tomas de Torquemada, the Templar leader. Maria chooses to die in order to keep the Apple safe so Ojeda kills her. Aguilar stabs Tomas then fights with Ojeda but Ojeda overpowers him. Before Ojeda can kill him, Aguilar uses Maria’s hidden blade to stab him, then finally kills him but Tomas manages to unseal the door, allowing more guards to enter. Aguilat manages to escape and eventually gives the Apple to Christopher Columbus, telling him to take it to his grave. Suddenly, Cal is surrounded by visions of his Assassin ancestors, which confuses Sofia and the guards in the chamber. Meanwhile, Moussa and some of the other descendants start a riot and begin fighting their way towards the Animus chamber. Alan orders the facility to be purged, then leaves with Sofia and his head of security as the rest of the security forces kill Joseph and dozens of other Assassins. In the chamber, Cal sees his mother, who tells him he is not alone and has him recite the Assassin’s Creed, causing him to fully embrace his heritage. When Moussa and some other Assassin’s enter the chamber, Cal helps them arm themselves and fight off the guards before they eventually make their escape. At Columbus’ tomb, Alan retrieves the Apple but Ellen tells Sofia that she knows who really found it and says that her time will come. At the Grand Templar Hall in London, Sofia and Alan argue over his lying to her about the reasons for finding the Apple, as she now knows he looked for it only to kill the Assassins, not to benefit mankind. While the Templars are gathering, the Assassins have managed to sneak into the hall and remove the parts they each secretly carried into the hall to assemble an Assassin’s hidden blade, which is given to Cal. As Alan starts to give his speech, Sofia walks away but then stops as she sees Cal approaching and the two talk briefly before he heads past her and kills Alan and retrieves the Apple. As the assembled mass all run from the temple, Sofia approaches her father’s body and says that she did this and after Ellen speaks to her, Sofia leaves with Abstergo’s head of security and looks up into the night, while elsewhere in the city, Cal and the other Assassins stand on a rooftop and renew the Assassin’s vow to protect the Apple.

Assassin’s Creed met with poor reviews from the critics, holding a 17% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is that, “Assassin’s Creed is arguably better made (and certainly better cast) than most video game adaptations; unfortunately, the CGI-fueled end result still is still a joylessly overplotted slog.” The Leap of Faith performed in the movie was done with the use of a stunt double, instead of digitally as the production team wanted to make certain elements of the film as real as possible, and the 125 foot jump was one of the highest free falls performed by a stuntman in 35 years. The movie was a modest success, earning $240.5 million off of a $125 million budget.

I will admit, I did expect a bit more from this movie, but all in all it isn’t a bad movie. The acting was good, with Michael Fassbender (Cal) and Marion Cotillard (Sofia) doing a good job in their roles. The basic story was pretty good, and I liked that they used original characters that could be tied into the universe established in the video games but I agree that it did get kind of bogged down by too many plot elements. I mean, you had the story line in the past but in the present, you had three different sub-plots going on; the main one with Cal and Sofia, the Alan/Abstergo/Templar subplot, and the Assassins’ descendants subplot. All of this going on really did slow down the pace of the movie as they tried to work everything in. The fight coordination and special effects were pretty good and did help try and keep the pace of the movie going. Not the best movie out there but it is a good movie to sit and veg to if you are in the mood for an action flick.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5