horror, Maneater series, movie, movie review

December 18th, 2017 Movie – Swamp Devil

swamp devil

Wow, it has been a while since I watched a movie from the Maneater series. In fact, it was back during the mass shark movie watching, as there are two movies in the series that were among that group. Now a funny thing about this movie is that I have another connection to this movie, though it is a bit of an odd one. A couple of years ago, there was a game on Facebook where you could basically hunt and capture the different monsters that appeared in Syfy original movies. Now, this was something right up my alley and I decided to give it a try and I will admit it was fun at first but then got pretty boring and repetitive, as most of those games are (man did I wast a lot of time playing Mob Wars). Anyways, this was one of the monsters that had appeared in the game and I wound up looking up the movie so I could watch it. So let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Swamp Devil.

The plot: In the swamp outside of Gibbington, Vermont, A girl named Lisa is running through the trees and as Sheriff Nelson Bois and Deputy Jolene Harris lead a search party, including her father Jones, to find her, a strange hand burst out of the ground and drags her into the swamp. When the search party find her body, Jones breaks down and cries, with the search party unaware that another man, Howard Blaime, was in the swamp and seen the whole thing. Elsewhere, Howard’s daughter Melanie receives a call from Jimmy Fuller, an old neighbor from Gibbington, who tells her that her father is dying and suggest she come back to Gibbington. When Melanie arrives in Gibbington, she finds Jimmy waiting for her at the outskirts of town and the two talk for a minute before Melanie gives him a ride into town. As they are driving, Melanie asks how her father is doing and Jimmy admits that he isn’t dying, prompting Melanie to stop the car and yell at him to get out. Jimmy does as she asks but tells her that Howard is wanted for murder, explaining about what happened to Lisa, and Melanie doesn’t believe him but agrees to continue into town. Meanwhile, Nelson is telling Jones and his friend Bigg that they need to bring Howard in alive, not just kill him in the swamp, but Jones ignores him and decides to head out into the swamp with Bigg to find and kill Howard. Back in her car, Jimmy asks Melanie about her headache and has her head to Shelly’s diner, where his mom Shelly greets them. As Shelly goes to get something for Melanie to drink, Melanie finds her attention drawn to an old photograph of her dad and some other men around a campfire. After leaving Shelly’s diner, Jimmy drives Melanie to her dad’s cabin and Melanie wants to go looking for her dad but Jimmy warns that it is too dangerous as it is going to get dark soon and the posse would be stopping for the night as well. They head inside but when Jimmy comments about Melanie’s mother dying in a similar fashion to Lisa, Melanie gets upset so Jimmy leaves, saying he will walk home. Out in the woods, Jones and Bigg split up but as Bigg is looking around, he encounters a strange creature composed of branches and vines, which attacks and kills him. Back at Howard’s cabin, Melanie is fixing herself something to drink when Jolene and Nelson show up at the cabin, thinking Howard might be the one in there. As they question Melanie about her father’s whereabouts, Jones shows up and, learning that Melanie is Howard’s daughter, threatens to kill her but Nelson order Jolene to take Jones out of there. Nelson then talks with Melanie some more, saying how Howard had gone crazy and claimed a monster was out in the swamp and had killed his wife and friends and Nelson feels bad that he didn’t arrest Howard back then. After Nelson leaves, Jimmy shows up and talks with Melanie some more, apologizing for what he said earlier, then offers to keep watch in case Jones comes back to try anything that night while she is sleeping. When Melanie wakes up, she finds Jimmy has vanished and the flowers he brought her the night before have all died. As she is looking at the dirty footprints from where someone left the cabin, Nelson and Jolene show up, having staked out the cabin in case Howard showed up. When Melanie asks if they say Jimmy leave, Nelson and Jolene say they saw no sign of him, then Nelson leaves to meet up with the posse, leaving Jolene there to keep an eye on Melanie and in case Howard shows up. As he is driving along, Nelson sees Jimmy walking along the road and after greeting each other, tells him to hurry up to the cabin if he is going there but as he drives away, Nelson looks back and sees that Jimmy has simply disappeared. Back at the cabin, Jolene spots a picture of Howard and some other men, the same picture Melanie saw at Shelly’s diner, and comments about how all of the men in the picture, including her father, are dead except for Howard. After describing all of their deaths to Melanie, she tells her how she doesn’t believe her father’s death was a suicide like people believe and his death is what prompted her to go into law enforcement. Back in the woods, some vines make their way onto the road and pop Nelson’s tires. As he gets out of the car to investigate, some vines grab his legs and drag him out into the swamp, where a hand emerges from the ground and forces his head underwater. At the cabin, Jolene heard the sounds of Nelson’s gun firing and, getting worried about him, borrows Melanie’s car keys so she can go looking for him. After she leaves, Melanie decides to start cleaning the dirty footprints off the floor of the cabin when she discovers some newspaper articles hidden under a floorboard. Jimmy shows up and Melanie shows them to him but he says they should go looking for Howard and come back to those later. As they make their way into the swamp, Howard appears and holds a shotgun on Jimmy, telling him to get away from Melanie. As Melanie tries to tell Howard that Jimmy is a friend, Jones shows up threatening to shoot Howard. Jimmy tells Jones to put his gun down, then laughs and says their guns won’t hurt him as he transforms into the plant monster and attacks them, forcing Melanie, Howard, and Jones to make a run for it. Meanwhile, Jolene finds Nelson’s car and goes looking for him, eventually finding his body in the swamp. Jolene jumps in to retrieve the body and drags it back to Melanie’s car but as she tries to leave, monster Jimmy appears and attacks her. Meanwhile, Howard, Melanie, and Jones have managed to evade Jimmy and head back to the cabin, where Howard starts to explain what is going on. Howard explains that 17 years ago, a 12 year old girl was killed in the swamp and Jimmy, who was a transient passing through town, was their prime suspect. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any evidence but Howard and some other men track him down and beat a confession out of him but while Howard wanted to stop, as they had a confession, the other men continue to beat Jimmy to death, then bury him in the swamp. Shortly afterwards, Melanie’s mother was killed, with an newspaper article laying next to her body, and the men that had killed him were killed shortly afterwards. As they try to figure out how to kill Jimmy, Melanie remembers how he wouldn’t cross the city limits when she first met him and Howard realizes that might be a way to kill him. Suddenly, Jimmy attacks the cabin and grabs Melanie, dragging her back into the swamp. Howard and Jones chase after her and encounter Jolene, who tells them about Nelson being dead. Howard has Jones head back into tow to get some more ammunition and they head to the site where Howard and the others killed Jimmy, finding Melanie tied to a tree there. Howard and Jones distract Jimmy while Jolene tries to cut Melanie free but Jimmy knows she is there so they simply attack him, allowing Jolene to free Melanie. Howard tells the others to head to the county line while he distracts Jimmy but as they run off, Jimmy encounters them and kills Jones before he can make it across the line. Howard finds Jolene and Melanie and tells them to get into Jones’ truck and get out of there but as they do, Jimmy manages to get onto the truck and tries to kill them but jumps out as they cross the city limits. As Jolene turns the truck around so that it’s facing Jimmy, they see Howard coming up behind it in Melanie’s car. Wanting to keep Jimmy’s attention away from Howard and on them, Jolene starts driving towards Jimmy then swerves at the last minute, wrecking the truck but as Jimmy laughs at them, Howard slams into him in Melanie’s car, launching him past the city limits and causing him to explode into dirt and vines. Howard quickly goes over to the truck and gets Melanie and Jolene out of there before it explodes, then examines the debris before declaring Jimmy to be dead. but unknown to them, Shelly heads out to the swamp and resurrects Jimmy as another swamp monster.

This is actually a pretty decent, though somewhat predictable, movie to watch. The acting was good, with Bruce Dern (Howard), Cindy Sampson (Melanie), and Nicolas Wright (Jimmy) doing a great job in their roles. I also liked Robert Higden (Jones) but Allison Graham (Jolene) seemed to go through too many character shifts that made it hard to relate with her. The story was good but like I said, pretty predictable. I mean, when the movie starts and you see Jimmy refusing to cross the city line, you just know that is going to factor into the end of the movie. Considering the movie, I wasn’t expecting much out of the special effects but I was actually surprised as the effects were a lot better than I expected, with the monster looking really good. It’s not a cinematic gold mine but it is a decent way to kill 90 minutes if you get bored.

Rating: 3 out of 5

horror, Maneater series, movie, movie review, sci-fi

October 14th, 2017 Movie – Something Beneath

something beneath

Ahhh, the Maneater Series; my old movie friend. It has been a while since I have watched one of you guys. Now this is kind of interesting because the “maneater” in this movie doesn’t really have an actual form. It is basically just some sentient sludge that causes people to die by making them experience their worst fears. It honestly sounds like some story out of a Batman comic involving Scarecrow. This was actually the last of the original Maneater movies that I bought, which leaves just one movie in the series left for me to buy but that will come at a later date. Now let’s get on with today’s movie, Something Beneath.

The plot: At the construction site for a new conference center, Dutch, a construction worker who is having an affair with another worker’s wife, is warned that the husband Bob is on his way over. As he goes to leave, he is cornered by some bulldozers and killed when a wire cuts off his head but when the other workers find his body, he is shown to be impaled on some rebar. Meanwhile, Lowell Kent, the owner of the property, is having a meeting with Dr. Connolly of the EPA, who tells him that he can’t endorse the development due to pollution concerns and the decline in wildlife population in the area. Kent refuses to stop and has Connolly thrown out of his building, with his assistant saying that he is a security risk. One year later, the conference center is open and holding it’s first event, an ecological conference organized by Father Douglas Middleton. As he goes to check in, Douglas introduces himself to Khali Spence, the events coordinator for the conference center, her assistant Aimee, and Symes, the hotel manager. As an argument starts between Eugene Herman and Mikaela Strovsky, the two speakers for the event, Khali brings an abrupt end to it when she accidentally drops Mikaela’s dog when it jumps out of it’s carry case, explaining to everyone that she is afraid of dogs. As a strange black goo is shown to be leaking from the pipes in the basement, Eugene is outside rehearsing his speech when he gets the same goo on his hand after touching a tree. Suddenly, Eugene finds himself lost in the woods and as he calls out for help, he ends up being pulled underground by some roots. At dinner, Douglas and Khali see Mikaela working on her video blog, then Douglas invites Khali to join him for dinner as Eugene has bailed on him. While they are eating, Douglas comments on the necklace that Khali is wearing, noting it’s Chippewa design. The next day, Eugene is still missing so Khali takes Douglas to see the head of hotel security Jackson Denmarsh, whom Douglas knows due to his church having sued him on behalf of a Native American who said that Denmarsh framed him for murder. When they reach the security office, Denmarsh is not happy to see Douglas there but agrees to let Khali inside Eugene’s room but tells Douglas he will have to wait outside. Khali and Denmarsh head to Eugene’s room and find Reggie and Hank, the maintenance workers, working on his room and when Khali asks, they tell her they haven’t seen him. Meanwhile, Douglas is walking down the hallway towards the library when a strange figure enters the hotel through a side door after he passes. Hearing the door close, Douglas turns and starts to investigate when he runs into Mikaela, who complains about the goo coming out of the faucets in her room, which has gotten on both her and her dog Cleopatra. When Cleopatra runs off, Douglas offers to help get her but Mikaela begins flirting with him and then heads back to her room when he turns her down. Outside, Denmarsh and his assistant Tony find Eugene’s body and Denmarsh tells Tony to call the local funeral parlor and have them hold onto the body. Back in her room, Mikaela is updating her video blog again when she gets some more goo on her and begins hallucinating, seeing herself as an old crone and she ends up smashing the standing mirror, slitting her wrists in the process. As Symes complains to Khali about Eugene’s death, one of the maids finds Mikaela’s body and calls them about it. Khali wants to call the cops but Symes stops her and tells her to get Denmarsh and to find Reggie and Hank to fix the mirror. Symes then calls Kent and tells him what happened and Kent tells him to ensure that word of Mikaela’s death doesn’t get out to the press until his PR firm can get a handle on how they will spin it. Khali heads down to the basement to find Reggie when some goo falls onto her face from an overhead pipe. When she sees Cleopatra, she tries to overcome her fear of dogs and get her but Cleopatra runs off. Khali goes after her but soon encounters a wolf/dog hybrid that had chased her when she was a kid and she finds herself hallucinating that she is back in some old ruins. As the wolf/dog goes to attack her, she is saved by Douglas and she finds herself back in the basement with no sign of the hybrid but the body of Cleopatra nearby. As Khali tells Aimee and Denmarsh about the dog that attacked her as a child and how it was the same one that chased her in the basement, Reggie and Hank don protective gear and head into the sewers to try and figure out where the clog is in the system and clear it out. Douglas finds Khali sitting outside and talks with her some when they spot Connolly, who warns them to leave, and they follow after him. Inside the sewers, Reggie is concerned over the fact that the sewers are almost bone dry and there is almost no sign of any toxic gases, but there is plenty of methane pockets bubbling up. As Hank decides to take a break, Reggie continues forward and finds a pipe filled with roots and strange goo. Meanwhile, some goo gets on Hank’s hand and he starts hallucinating that he is in a cemetery and being attacked by zombies. Hank begins attacking the “zombies” and ends up in the same room as Reggie, where he attacks the mass of goo until Reggie manages to snap him out of the hallucination briefly. As they stare at the goo, they start screaming when it forms a face and suddenly grabs them. Back outside, Douglas and Khali come across an old shed, which Khali says hasn’t been used in months but Douglas notices the new padlock on it. After picking the lock, Douglas and Khali head inside and find Connolly’s lab, with Connolly telling them not to touch anything. He then shows them a sample of the goo and reveals that it is alive and growing throughout the sewer system but gets upset when Douglas says that they have to kill it. Meanwhile, Denmarsh finds Mikaela’s palm pilot and starts watching her video blog and sees something in it that scares him but when he tries to find it again, it is no longer there. Khali goes to talk with Symes and warn him about what is happening but he is more concerned with keeping up the hotel’s image and threatens to fire her if she can’t get things under control. Symes then heads outside to make a call but he gets the goo on him and ends up being controlled by it. Khali heads to her office and tells Aimee to start evacuating all of the guests and staff while Denmarsh searches Mikaela’s room and ends up getting splashed by the goo. He then heads into the sewers with Tony to look for Reggie and Hank, as well as figure out what is going on. They encounter Symes, who has been driven mad and threatens to shoot Denmarsh but Tony kills him. As Denmarsh continues on, the goo falls on Tony and he hallucinates that Symes has come back to life and he ends up being killed. Douglas, Khali, and Connolly encounter Denmarsh and they tell him what is going on, then continue forward to try and find the hive mind of the creature. After finding the bodies of Reggie and Hank, they see the creature is sealing them in and continue forward, eventually finding the creatures main body but Denmarsh seals them in, telling them he will try to keep the rest of the creature away from them as he is already infected. He ends up seeing the man he framed for murder and after talking with him, Denmarsh sets them both on fire by igniting the methane in the area. Inside the chamber, Connolly is amazed by the creature when the walkway breaks and he grabs on to the railing to keep from falling but when Khali tries to pull him up, he chooses to let go and be absorbed by the creature. When Khali falls over the edge, Douglas manages to grab her and keep her falling into the creature’s mouth but he loses his grip and she ends up falling. Suddenly, Khali reappears back in his grip and she begins chanting a chant that her grandmother taught her and the creature begins to go back into the earth, allowing Douglas to pull her to safety. Sometime later, the authorities have been called and Khali is recovering in an ambulance when Douglas approaches her. She thanks him for saving her life and he tells her that he saw her fall and she saved all of them by chanting the Ojibwe prayer, which caused the creature to forgive them for injuring it when the workers put in the sewer system. Douglas then asks her to come with him on his next assignment and she agrees before she kisses him. Meanwhile, Kent has arrived at the hotel and tells his new assistant to have the place reopened in 6 months but as he rolls his wheelchair towards his car, he finds the wheels covered in the goo, which infects him, while a nearby manhole cover is shown to have goo coming up through the openings.

This was a little bit confusing, and somewhat disappointing of a movie. The acting was ok, with Kevin Sorbo (Douglas), Natalie Brown (Khali), and Peter MacNeil (Denmarsh) did a good job in their roles. The story honestly felt poorly written, as it kind of did a piss poor job of providing the details in how the creature really came about or started killing people; choosing to just make one giant intuitive leap in reasoning. The special effects were a little on the weak side and the noise when the goo infected people was kind of annoying, sounding a lot like cicadas or some other bugs. Not my favorite movie in the series but worth watching just to complete the series.

Rating: 2 out of 5

action, horror, Maneater series, movie, movie review

August 11th, 2017 Movie – Shark Swarm

shark swarm

You know what is better than one shark movie in the Maneater series? Obviously, the answer is two shark movies in the series. So the other day I watched a newer entry into the series but today’s movie was Maneater’s first go at a shark movie. Now I never saw this when it debuted on Syfy but I probably would have been as shocked then as I was when I got the DVD to learn that this movie was 3 hours long. That is not a common occurrence with these movies. In fact, sometimes they can be hard pressed to be 90 minutes, 2 hours tops. So let’s see if the added movie length made today’s movie any better as I watch Shark Swarm.

The plot: At Northern Pacific University, Professor Bill Girdler is lecturing his class on the dangers that environmental hazards place on wildlife and the balance of nature as a whole. Meanwhile, three men under the employee of Hamilton Lux, a real estate tycoon, are dumping barrels of toxic material into the ocean near the town of Full Moon Bay in order to kill off the fish in the area. The leader of the men, Kane Markus, says they are going to dump a few more then after he takes the boat in, one of the men is supposed to go to the power plant and shut off the waste valve, as Lux has an EPA inspector coming in and doesn’t want him to discover what he is doing as the plant is supposed to be closed. Meanwhile, local fisherman Daniel “Dan” Wilder is listening on the radio as the DJ comments about the lousy fishing season this year while singing the praises of Lux, who is willing to help revitalize the town. As he and his first mate Clint get ready to sail off, they see Kane sailing past them and taunting them with the money he has made by working for Lux. When Dan’s wife Brook and daughter Kim show up to see them off and start work at the family store, Brook comments about Lux sending another contract, which Dan promptly places on a stack of similar unopened envelopes. Meanwhile, Lux arrives in town and meets with Kane and Sheriff Dexter Murray, revealing that Dexter is aware of Lux’s plan. Dan calls his brother Phillip, a professor at Northern Pacific, and tells him about a town meeting that Lux has scheduled and says they should get together to discuss the contract, as Phillip’s name is on the deed to the family store, but Phillip says he can’t as he has classes all day. Meanwhile, Davey and Weaver have sealed the pipe inside the power plant and Weaver is working on welding the underwater lid shut but unknown to them, the toxins didn’t kill the sharks but made them more aggressive and working in packs, and a swarm of sharks attack and kill Weaver. Elsewhere, Kim and Brook meet Chris and Weezer, two kids that have come to town for the surfing and Kim ends up flirting with Chris while out in the ocean. sharks continue attacking more people. At the University, Girdler talks to Phillip about his future plans and after showing him how he has gained access to satellite tracking data, he explains that he wants to do a study of the area around Full Moon Bay and wants Phillip’s help. Phillip eagerly accepts the offer and when Girdler asks about someone who knows the history of the area, he recommends they speak with Dan. Meanwhile, Dan and Clint catch some fish that are covered inside and out with a black fluid and Clint goes to throw them overboard but Dan says he wants to hold onto them, then says to head further North as a storm starts to come in. Back in town, Lux has a meeting with Amy Zuckerman, the EPA agent, and as she is going over all of his paperwork and permits, she asks him about the information regarding the power plant and he tries to stall but she is adamant about seeing them and he says he will bring them to her at her hotel that night. Back at sea, Dan and Clint come across part of the carcass of a dead whale and Dan, thinking something is strange about it, manages to pry a piece of flesh off with a boat hook to take with them. A little while later, they come across a boat belonging to Nick Atkins and Dan calls out to him but when gets no response, he decides to head aboard. After finding nobody aboard and the engine damaged, Dan tells Clint he will stay on board in case Nick shows back up while Clint goes back to town to get some help towing the boat. Back in town, Lux has Kane relay a message to Brook asking her to meet Lux for lunch the next day, as he hopes to be able to convince her to sell their property for his plans. Meanwhile, three of Phillip’s students sneak over to Lux’s building site to hang a banner to troll him but a shark grabs the safety line they are all tied to and drags them out to sea, where they are all killed. At the local bar, Phillip is having dinner with Bess and discussing his project while waiting for Dan to show up but has to leave just as Brook and Kim show up. On his way out, he briefly flirts with Amy, who had gone their for dinner. As Brook and Kim sit down with Bess, Clint arrives at the bar and tells Brook about Dan being in trouble and Kane offers to go rescue Dan after overhearing their conversation, with Clint and Brook coming with him. Back on Nick Atkin’s boat, Dan is attempting to repair the engine when he hears something bumping the boat and as he pulls up the lines, he finds Nick’s arm tangled among them. Heading back inside the cabin, Nick grabs the flare gun and fires off a flare, which allows him to see all of the sharks circling the boat. Kane’s boat shows up and Dan hugs Brook before telling her about finding Nick’s arm. Kane offers his condolences about Nick but then argues with Dan about how it was his own fault for being out there. The next morning, Amy heads out to the beach and collects some water samples while at their home, Dan and Brook are discussing the upcoming town hall meeting and what Dan will say there. Later, Dan goes to speak with Mayor Clarence before the town meeting and voices his concerns about Lux attempting to buy the entire town but Clarence doesn’t see the problem. At the town hall, Dan tries to voice the concerns to everyone but the rest of the town has already signed Lux’s contracts and wants to let him proceed. Dan rips up his contract and storms out after Lux has turned the rest of the town against him and gets angry when Brook and Phillip tell him that he should calm down. Amy goes looking around the power plant but she is found by Kane, who takes her to see Lux, where she tells him she will do her job regardless as to who she knows. Nick’s boat is towed back to the docks and as Dan and Clint examine it, Dan discovers several shark’s teeth in a hole in the boat’s hull. Dan heads to the university to show the teeth to Phillip, who confirms that they are from a great white and is concerned about the size of it based on the teeth. Meanwhile, a local beachcomber named Al is walking along the beach with his dog Maggie when they come across several beached sharks. As Al goes to collect a flask out of the teeth of one of them, the shark bites down on his hand and Maggie runs for help, bringing Kim and Chris, who were talking on the beach, to help him. Dan and Phillip arrive at the beach, due to Kim’s calling Dan, and as Phillip examines the sharks, he sees Amy examining them as well and after they properly introduce themselves, Phillip invites her back to his lab to observe the autopsy. Meanwhile, Brook goes to see Lux, who tries to persuade her to get Dan to sign the contract but after seeing the designs he has for the town, she refuses and walks out of his office. As more people are killed by the sharks in the bay, Phillip and AMy complete the autopsy and discover the shark’s brain has been fried due to severe pollution. Phillip calls a friend to ask if he still has the sonar guns he was testing for the navy and has him charge them up, then asks Amy if she would like to go with him to test them out but she says she can’t, as she plans on visiting the old power plant that night. Meanwhile, Brook tells Dan about her meeting with Lux but he gets upset about her not telling him about it and storms out, then ends up confronting Lux about it, who warns Dan that the whole town is going to end up forcing him to sell if he isn’t careful. Amy tells Phillip she is at the power plant and then sneaks over the fence to examine the grounds and nearby water. As she goes to get a water sample, she slips on the rocks and falls in, attracting the attention of a nearby swarm of sharks but before they reach her, Phillip shows up and pulls her out of the water. Phillip takes her back to his place to dry off and she tells him that she plans on denying Lux the permits he needs to finish his construction project. Daniel heads over to Phillips house, where Phillip and Amy explain what happened and they make plans to meet at the university. Once there, Phillip goes to get Girdler, who tells them the results of the blood work on the shark. Hearing that it had high doses of phosphorus in it, Dan realizes that Lux had poisoned the waters to force people to sell their land to him. After Girdler says that the lack of food plus the pollution could alter the sharks’ behavior, he alters his satellite feed to try and track the sharks only to see the massive swarm heading towards a nearby beach. Dan races off, with Phillip handing him the keys to his boat as it’s faster, but shortly after he leaves, Phillip decides to head out there to help as well. As he makes his way there, Dan calls Clint to tell him to meet him on Phillip’s boat, and learns from Girdler that the shark swarm is growing larger. Dan and Clint head out to Spivey Point and they warn the people to get out of the water. When a shark strikes the boat, Dan ends up falling into the water but is able to use the pulse gun to drive the sharks away and swim to shore. On the shore, Lux and Sheriff Dexter are tying to play the incident off as people panicking over nothing, which angers Dan. When Phillip and Amy arrive to see if Dan is ok, Lux makes a crude comment about Amy’s relationship with the Wilders before laughing as Phillip holds her back from hitting him. Later that night, Chris invites Kim to a bonfire on the beach that night while at Phillip’s house, Amy tells Phillip and Dan that Lux had his friends at the EPA pull her off of his case. Dan and Clint work on repairing the boat and as Dan is taking away the trash, he sees a truck delivering barrels of waste onto the dock. He tries calling Phillip but when he doesn’t answer, he calls Brook and has her call Dexter and tell him to come to the docks. When he gets off the phone with Brook, Dexter calls Kane to tell him that Dan is at the docks and Kane says he will take care of it, then goes and kidnaps Brook. The next morning, Kane, Tony, and Kane’s girlfriend Tia head to the dock, where they show Dan they have Brook captive and force him to head out to sea. When they get close to where Kane’ boat is anchored, Dan tries to throw their kidnappers off balance so they can fight free but Clint ends up getting shot. When they reach Kane’s boat, Kane forces Dan and Brook into a shark cage and, after cutting Dan’s arm, lowers it into the water, as they plan to make their death’s an accident. Dan and Brook manage to escape the cage and climb back onto Kane’s boat, with Dan dragging Tony into the water for the sharks to kill. When Dan and Tia go to investigate the noise, Dan and Brook start fighting with them and both Tia and Kane end up being knocked overboard and killed by the sharks. Dan tries to leave in Kane’s boat but the cable from the cage gets snared in the propeller so they are forced to use a zodiac to head back to town. Meanwhile, Kim had fallen asleep on the beach and goes to leave but Chris convinces her to stay a little longer, as he is scheduled to leave that day. Phillip and Amy arrive on the dock to find Dan’s boat missing but they soon see him and Brook pulling in on the zodiac and Dan gives a brief rundown of what happened. Girdler calls them and says that the shark swarm is breaking into 3 swarms, all heading to different parts of the area, all of which will be populated. They split up, with Dan heading to Spivey point, Phillip and Amy heading to the pier, where Lux is holding a ribbon cutting ceremony for opening the rebuilt pier, and Brook heading to the north shore, where the church is holding it’s baptisms. The sharks start to attack the different areas, with Lux being killed at the pier when he falls into the water, but Dan and the others are able to use the pulse guns to drive off the swarms and save as many people as they can. As paramedics check everyone over, Phillip tells Dan that Girdler had called and said the sharks are dispersing out to sea so the danger has passed. One year later, Dan has a new boat, named Clint’s Courage, and taken on Chris as his new first mate while Kim, who has gone to college on the East Coast, is due to come home that day. Elsewhere, Phillip and Amy are taking some of Phillip’s students on a diving excursion as part of their class assignment and they investigate the area around the sealed valve of the power plant.

As much as I love shark movies, I have to be honest that this was a little long even for me. That being said, this wasn’t that bad of a movie. The acting was good, with John Schneider (Dan), Daryl Hannah (Brook), Armand Assante (Lux), and John Enos III (Kane) all doing great jobs in their roles. The story was pretty good but due to all of the various subplots going on, it made the movie drag out and you actually end up losing interest in a lot of what is going on. The actual main plot about Lux poisoning the waters to buy out the town, resulting in the sharks being driven mad, was actually pretty good but I felt like it had been done before (I’m pretty sure I had seen a similar movie but can’t recall the title off hand). The special effects regarding the sharks were decent but some of the blue screen effects with them interacting behind people looked pretty fake. Definitely longer than you want, but worth watching.

Rating: 3 out of 5


action, Maneater series, movie, movie review, thriller

August 8th, 2017 Movie – Shark Killer

shark killer

With all of the shark themed movies that have come out over the years, it would only make sense that the Maneater series would have a shark movie or two. Today’s movie is the second movie in the series after RHI’s financial difficulties. Now I didn’t know that it was part of the series when I bought this movie. I bought it because it was a shark movie and it had Erica Cerra in it, who I liked when she played Jo Lupo on Eureka. So let’s see if my impulse purchase was worth it as I watch today’s movie, Shark Killer.

The plot: On a beach in Hawaii, the mayor of the local beach is holding a press conference stating that their shark problem is over and the beaches are reopened. As the people head into the water, the mayor’s assistant tells him that Chase Walker says they still have a problem but the mayor refuses to listen, believing that Chase is over priced, then goes to yell at him when he hears that Chase threatened to tell the press. The mayor finds Chase sitting on the beach staring out into the water but as he starts yelling at him, Chase takes off his shirt and starts running into the water. Several people are on a platform in the water when they see a shark circling them and as they all try to stay balanced on the platform, the shark rams it and knocks a girl into the water. The girl starts screaming as the shark approaches her when blood suddenly appears in the water and Chase surfaces next to her, having killed the shark, and introduces himself. The next day, Chase is woken by someone knocking on his hotel door. When he opens it, he finds a woman, later introduced as Jasmine, standing there and after she hands him an envelope and tells him to be ready to go in 10 minutes, he opens it to find a golden shark’s tooth inside. Chase goes with Jasmine and they travel to South Africa, with Chase trying to learn more about Jasmine the entire way. They soon reach the home of Jake, Chase’s brother, and after the two go through some insulting banter with each other, Jake explains why he had chase come there. Jake tells Chase that a particular great white, one with a black fin, had eaten a priceless diamond he was transporting and he wants Jake to kill it and retrieve the diamond. Chase agrees and convinces Jake to have Jasmine accompany him for this, which upsets Jasmine and she slaps him for it when they are alone. Jasmine takes Chase to the hotel Jake rented for him but Chase refuses to stay there, saying that it is too close to the ocean so he has her take him to a dive motel far from the beach. The next morning, Jasmine picks up Chase and takes him to the marina, where they start loading stuff on the boat and Chase learns that Jasmine will be his guide, which he argues against at first until he sees her wearing her wet-suit and he quickly shuts up. They head out to the spot where the shark supposedly ate the diamond and Chase has Jasmine dive down to look for the diamond, as he refuses to go in because he hates the ocean. When Jasmine surfaces some time later, she starts arguing with Chase before she yells and drops back into the water and when Chase jumps in to try and find her, he hears her laughing from the boat as she had simply tricked him. Suddenly, Jasmine sees the shark approaching behind Chase and she tries to warn him but it suddenly grabs him and drags him under but Chase is able to get away, though the shark swallowed one of his boots and injured his leg in the attack. After Jasmine drops Chase off at his motel and leaves, Chase is confronted by three men, who tell him to get into a nearby car. When Chase refuses, the men attack him but Chase is able to beat them, then grabs one of them and forces him to tell him where he was going to take him. Arriving at the docks, Chase boards the boat the man indicates and eventually meets with Nix, a drug lord who claims that he is the owner of the diamond Jake wants. Nix tells Chase that he hired Jake to steal the diamond from one of the security firms that Jake does business with but Jake tried to double cross him so Nix tells Chase that if he wants to live, he will give him the diamond. Meanwhile, the shark has followed Chase and Jasmine to the marina, where it kills a dog and two people that had fallen into the water. The next morning, Jasmine meets Chase at the dock and he explains that Blackfin, what he has started calling the shark, followed them and that he got some new gear for them. Heading back to the spot where they were attacked yesterday, Chase reconfigures a thumper so that it will attract sharks instead of repelling them but when they sharks that show up are too small, he pulls it back in so he can tweak it to try and attract Blackfin. As they continue moving through the ocean, they come across the bodies from a boat that Blackfin had attacked and Jasmine tells him they are over the wreck of the ship Jake had attacked. Chase dives down there, believing that Blackfin had established a hunting ground and is hiding in the wreckage of the ship, but when he sees the wreckage, he sees the only thing remaining of the crew is their arms, which were shackled to the boat’s deck rail. Jasmine gets worried and dives down after Chase but as she enters the wreckage, she sees Blackfin approaching her. Jasmine’s scuba tank gets caught in the wreckage but Chase manages to pull her free before Blackfin kills her and the two manage to get back onto the boat before it can get them. As they lay on the deck recovering, Chase starts taunting Jasmine about her falling for him, which she denies. When they head back to the dock, they find Jake there ranting about them being gone for two days with no word and he accuses Jasmine of sleeping with Chase, which angers her to the point she pushes him into the water and leaves with Chase. That night, the two are sitting by a fire on the beach when Nix’s men shoot Chase with a tranquilizer and grab Jasmine, telling Chase that Nix will exchange Jasmine for the diamond before Chase passes out. When he comes too, Chase heads to Jake’s house to find that all of his men are dead, with the only survivor telling him Jake had already left before he finally dies. As Chase drives off, Jake appears in the back seat and holds a gun to Chase’s head but Chase repeatedly slams on the brakes and drives forward, then grabs the gun from Jake. When they both get out of the car, they start fighting for a while but eventually, Chase convinces Jake to go with him to rescue Jasmine. Meanwhile, Jasmine tries to get away from her captors but they capture her and begiJaken to hose her down, saying that Nix has “romantic” plans for her. Chase and Jake sneak onto Nix’s boat to rescue Jasmine but as they argue, they end up alerting the guards and rush into the ship, with Chase merely knocking the guards out while Jake argues that shooting them is easier. After getting past all of the guards, they find Nix holding Jasmine in his drug lab and Jake tries shooting Nix but Nix’s work apron is bullet proof, and he proceeds to shoot Jake. Chase grabs Jake’s gun and shoots the light over the drug lab, setting it on fire, the yells at Jasmine to run for it as he grabs Jake, who was wearing his own bullet proof vest, and the three manage to run from the lab and jump off the ship before it explodes, while Nix isn’t as lucky to escape due to his injured leg. The next day, Chase, Jasmine, and Jake go after Blackfin again but they are attacked by a badly burned Nix. Chase shoots Nix with their harpoon gun, but Nix’s body falls on the throttle of his boat and his boat drives off, taking the harpoon gun with it. Jake, frustrated at how things turned out, stabs Jasmine in the leg and pushes her off the boat to use as bait and when Chase dives in to save her, they see Blackfin approaching. Chase stabs Blackfin with a spear and when that doesn’t kill her, he breaks off the shaft and repeatedly stabs her in the head until she finally dies. Jasmine and Chase make it back on the boat, where Jasmine proceeds to kiss Chase, but Jake dives into the water after Blackfin to try and retrieve the diamond. Jasmine tells Chase that Jake isn’t worth it but Chase dives in to rescue Jake as more sharks are swimming towards him, attracted by the blood of Blackfin. Some time later, Chase and Jasmine are driving along the road, with Jasmine holding onto the diamond, when Jake sits up in the back seat and after trying to get Jasmine to let him hold the diamond, Jake suggests they go to Australia, as it has both diamonds and sharks available.

This was a pretty entertaining movie for the most part. The acting was good, with Erica Cerra (Jasmine), Arnold Vosloo (Nix), and Paul du Toit (Jake) doing good jobs in their roles. I also liked Derek Theler as Chase but I honestly felt like his look and character were patterned too much after Chris Pratt’s Starlord from Guardians Of The Galaxy. The story was pretty good, though it focused too much on the conflict over the diamond and not enough on the shark to really make it seem a good fit for the Maneater series. The special effects regarding the shark were pretty decent and the shark looked pretty realistic for the most part, though the bit where Blackfin was trying to catch them in the wreck looked a little too fake with the CGI. One of the more entertaining shark movies to come out in recent years and worth giving a chance.

Rating: 3 out of 5

horror, Maneater series, movie, movie review, sci-fi

July 20th, 2017 Movie – Sea Beast (a.k.a. Troglodyte)

sea beast

Folks, I have some sad news to report regarding today’s movie. This will be the last time that I am able to play “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, Or Can He?”, at least for the time being. No obviously, this means that two things need to occur; 1) I need to buy some more movies with Corin Nemec in them, and 2) he needs to start making some more sci-fi B-movies for me to purchase. Anyways, today’s movie is one of the last Syfy premiers that I remember watching before I got rid of cable, back when Syfy was known for showing all sorts of awesome B-movies. So let’s dive right into today’s movie, Sea Beast.

The plot: Will McKenna is out on his fishing boat with his crew when a storm hits and they try to pull the nets up so they can go home. When a massive wave hits the ship, Will and the crew are knocked off their feet and as Will is recovering, he sees an almost invisible creature standing on the deck rail next to Joey, one of his crew. Another wave hits the boat just as the creature attacks Joey and drags him overboard. Will and the rest of the crew try looking for Joey but see no sign of him and are forced to return home, unaware that the creature, or another just like it, has grabbed onto the bottom of the boat. On the dock, Danny and Drew, Will’s remaining crew, are repairing the nets when Will walks up with his daughter Carly and tells them to hurry in order to make it to the funeral to pay their respects. After he leaves, Carly stays behind to talk with Danny, as the two are secretly dating, and they make plans to go to Will’s cabin on a nearby island with Drew and his girlfriend Erin. After attending the funeral, Will returns to his boat and notices some slime near the rail where Joey was taken. Later, Will is approached by Roy, the previous owner of Will’s boat, and asks Will for his payment or else he won’t be able to go out again and Will grabs him when Roy taunts him about losing a crew member but things are quickly broken up by the arrival of Will’s brother Jay, the local sheriff. After Roy leaves, Will and Jay go to see Arden, a biologist that is studying the decline in the fish population, and she says she found some algae that might be the reason for the decline in fish but won’t know for sure until she does some more tests. Later that evening, Erin says goodbye to Drew, as she is going ahead to the cabin with Carly and Danny while Drew works the night shift on the docks. After they leave, Drew notices something in the water when the creature appears on the deck and spits it’s saliva on Drew, paralyzing him so he can only watch as the creature approaches and kills him. The next day, Will signs out the boat, having raided Carly’s college fund in order to make the payment, and he goes looking for Drew. When Arden shows up on the dock, Will shows her some slime that is on the dock and the follow it to the edge, where they find Drew’s severed arm floating in the water. As Jay and the authorities are called in, Jay says it was probably an animal attack and he plans on forming a hunting party to go look for it. Meanwhile, Will and Arden discuss the slime, and he shows her the slime on his boat and tells her that it was there when Joey went overboard. On the island, Erin is on the beach waiting for Drew and Carly tries to get her to come back to the cabin but Erin chooses to wait. After Carly leaves, Erin notices the rope that tied the boat to shore has come undone and is being dragged into the water and she goes to pull it closer to shore when the creature appears. Erin tries to run but it spits it’s venom on her and as she collapses on the beach, several smaller creatures come out of the water and, along with their parent, begin eating her. Some time later, Danny is out getting some fire wood when he sees one of the baby creatures and as he tries to take a picture of it on his phone, it bites him on the hand. Back on the mainland, Will goes to see Ben, another fisherman who lost a crew member similar to how Joey was lost, and tells him that he thinks a predator grabbed Joey and followed him back to the dock and killed Drew, and asks Ben to back him up when he tells the others. Will then goes to see Arden and asks her about the slime and she says it is some sort of venom from a deep sea creature. As they are talking, the creature attacks a nearby couple and kills them. Will and Arden witness the attack and Will tries shooting the creature but it manages to get away. Will tries to explain to Jay and the townfolk as to what he saw but they don’t believe him, or Ben when he tells them his story. When Barbara, the harbor master, tells the group that a creature was sighted climbing a tree, Roy decides to go looking for it and some of the other people go with him, with Jay going to keep things organized. Will and Ben go to see Arden, who is planning on going diving to look for the creature, and they go with her to help. On the island. Carly is worried about Danny’s bite wound and thinks they should treat it before it gets infected. When they go to get the first aid kit out of the boat, they find the boat is gone and Danny thinks Erin took it to go yell at Drew. Back on the mainland, Jay, Roy, and two others arrive at the park and go hunting the creature but they end up being killed by the creature instead. Meanwhile, Arden returns from her dive with a hatched egg and says that it had probably washed up from somewhere and there could be more out there. The three return to the harbor and while Will and Arden go to look for Jay, Ben stays on the dock with a plan to lure the creature out and kill it. Back on the island, Carly and Danny are returning to the cabin when they find Erin’s remains. Suddenly, one of the baby creatures appears and it tries to attack Danny but Carly manages to kill it with a rock. When they get to the cabin, Carly sees more creatures on a nearby hill and the two work on barricading themselves inside and finding whatever they can use to arm themselves. They manage to kill several of the creatures but when more break into the cabin, they barricade themselves inside the bathroom. Back on the docks, Ben built a cage on the dock to protect himself and places pieces of meat on the dock to lure the creature out. Barbara tries calling Jay but she reaches Will, who had found the bodies of Jay, Roy, and the other hunters, and she tells him what is going on. Barbara goes out to tell Ben that Will was coming but the creature is there and bites her head off. Ben manages to shoot a spear, with a GPS tracker, into the creature but as he loads another spear, the creature spit’s it’s venom at him and he ends up dying from it. When Will and Arden get there, they find the bodies and then discover the GPS tracker and Will realizes that the creature is heading towards the island and that Carly and Danny are probably there at his cabin. On the island, Carly and Danny don’t hear anything inside the house so they decide to head to the old ferry on the other side of the island to see if the radio might still work. When they leave the house, they are attacked by another baby creature but Danny manages to kill it. They reach the ferry but the radio is dead so they go looking for a flare gun to try and signal for help. Will and Arden reach the island and head to the cabin but find no sign of them there but they see the flare and head towards the ferry. On the ferry, Carly and Danny hear a strange cry, and Danny has Carly lock herself into a room while he goes to investigate. In the woods, Will and Arden hear the cry as well and quickly hide as they see several smaller creatures running by them and heading towards the ferry. When they get there, they find Danny, who goes to take them to Carly but before he can, the mother arrives and kills Danny. Will and Arden find Carly, who had been forced to kill several baby creatures that had crawled through the air ducts into the room. Trying to find the creature and kill it, they soon discover that the creature had made a nest in one of the cargo holds and it is filled with eggs. Will has Arden and Carly help him rig a trap to destroy the eggs when the mother arrives and Will tells Arden to get Carly out of there while he holds her at bay. After they leave, Will sets off the trap and goes to leave as well but the creature manages to grab his foot with it’s tongue. Will is finally able to get free of it and the creature leaps at him just as the gas explodes, engulfing the nest and the mother in a ball of fire. As the explosion rocks the ship, Carly cries out thinking that her dad had died but he when he shows up, she rushes forward to hug him. Some time later, Will is set to go fishing with Carly and Arden serving as his new crew.

Well, for the final time, we learn that Parker Lewis can’t lose, bringing his total score to 6-2-1 and proving that he is definitely someone you want with you if you find yourself in a B-movie. This was a pretty entertaining movie all around. The acting was good, with Corin Nemec (Will), Miriam McDonald (Carly), Camille Sullivan (Arden), and Daniel Wisler (Danny) doing good jobs in their roles. The story was pretty good but I wish that they had done a better job of trying to explain what the creatures are. The special effects were pretty decent, though I will say that I was little disappointed in the actual creature design. I did like the idea of the creature turning invisible as an act of camouflage, but felt like that was something really unnecessary, as it would have made the creature too difficult to kill because it could have just stayed invisible the entire time. A fun movie to watch if you are in the need for some aquatic creature goodness.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

horror, Maneater series, movie, movie review

July 8th, 2017 Movie – Scarecrow (2013)

scarecrow 2013

Ahhh, a Syfy original movie as well as part of the Maneater series. What more could I ask for on a Saturday. Well, maybe a pause on all of the rain we have been getting here. Anyways, RHI Entertainment, the company that makes this series of films, went through some financial troubles in 2011, causing the Maneater series to be put on hold for a while but the series was revived two years later with the release of today’s movie. So let’s see if they were able to keep the magic going as I watch Scarecrow (2013).

The plot: Chad and Marcy are heading towards a cornfield with the intent of scaring two of their classmates when they get there to take the old scarecrow down and bring it to town for the annual festival. With an hour to kill, they decide to head to an old barn and fool around but as they climb the ladder to the hay loft, the ladder breaks and they end up falling into the basement of the barn. Marcy gets a large gash in her leg and the blood starts seeping into the ground. When Marcy sees something moving, Chad goes to investigate and doesn’t see anything but when he turns back to Marcy, a hand suddenly grabs his head and kills him, then kills Marcy. Meanwhile, high school teacher Aaron Harris is gathering 6 teenagers (Beth, Calvin, Daevon, Maria, Nikki, and Tyler) onto the bus for their Saturday detention. Before they leave, he collects all of their phones and locks them in a box at the front of the bus. Aaron drives out to the abandoned farm and when they get there, Tyler and Nikki try to scare Beth, the new girl, by reciting a rhyme about the scarecrow. When she asks what they are talking about, Aaron explains the story about how several people died mysteriously a long time ago, which spun the legend involving the scarecrow. When a car pulls up, Aaron goes out to greet Kristen Miller, the owner of the farm and his ex-girlfriend, but while he is out of the bus, Nikki grabs they keys from the ignition and uses them to unlock the box so she can grab both Tyler’s and her phone. The kids all get out and Aaron introduces them to Kristen, who is selling the farm, and as the kids head through the cornfield towards the scarecrow, Kristen and Aaron start talking. Kristen tell him that she came back to sell the farm and to also see if they could get back together but Aaron is unsure, as he is still hurt from when she left town. When Eddie shows up, things get uncomfortable as the three were in a lover’s triangle and Kristen says that they are adults and should be able to put things behind them and Eddie goes to leave but his truck won’t start. Suddenly, they hear screaming from the field and they run towards the scarecrow to find Calvin tied to it. As Eddie and Aaron cut him free, Aaron calls out for Tyler and Nikki, who did this and are now missing. Suddenly, something grabs Beth and drags her through the cornfield and she reappears briefly, grabbing for Kristen’s leg, before she is dragged off again. Aaron, Eddie, and Kristen go searching for her, with Aaron telling the kids to stay there, but after they, Calvin chooses to run back towards the bus. Kristen eventually finds Beth but she ends up getting dragged off herself but she is found by Aaron and they all head towards the farm house, grabbing Calvin along the way. After they all make it inside the farm house, something starts pounding on the door and Kristen and Aaron brace it while Eddie tells Daevon to put a table up against the nearby window. Suddenly, Nikki’s bloodied body goes crashing through the window before being dragged away. The group begin barricading the doors and windows while Calvin tries to get a cell signal but when he can’t get one, Maria offers to go upstairs and try. Daevon heads down to the basement to gather some more supplies and finds an old shotgun which they can use. Daevon heads upstairs to check on Maria and the two start flirting. Meanwhile, Beth sees the picture that Calvin drew of everyone’s descriptions of the thing and starts panicking. Aaron suggests he pull the bus up to the door and everyone get in but Maria tells him that Nikki took the keys earlier. Eddie says his keys are still in his truck and Aaron says he will go and get help, as they won’t all fit in the truck. Beth continues to panic and says they should all leave so Calvin, trying to get Beth out of there, breaks the back window and makes a run for the truck. Eddie goes after him and when he sees something moving through the cornfield towards the truck, he yells at Calvin to get out of the truck. When he sees the scarecrow, Eddie tries shooting it but the gun misfires, knocking him down, and the scarecrow grabs Calvin and yanks him out of the truck. Aaron and Kristen head outside and when Kristen sees the scarecrow, she throws a Moltov cocktail at it, setting the truck on fire. Daevon, Maria, and Beth head outside and Aaron tells them to go back in the house but when they see the scarecrow appearing on the porch, they all run for the barn as the truck explodes while the scarecrow heads towards Calvin’s body and proceeds to feed on it. When they reach the barn, they discover the hole in the floor and cause the weakened beams to break, dumping them all into the hole Looking around, Aaron sees all of the chains and restraints in the hole and thinks that this is where the scarecrow was contained. Beth finds Macy’s severed body and they notice Tyler impaled on a pole above the hole, causing Beth to start blaming Kristen for all of this, as it is her family’s farm. Eddie uses some rope tied to a broken board as a grapple and they climb out of the hole, just in time to see a police SUV arrive. Aaron, Eddie, and Kristen go try to warn Officer Morris just as the scarecrow appears behind him. Morris shoots it as he flees inside the house and the scarecrow follows him and kills him. Realizing they need his keys to the car, Aaron and Eddie head inside to get them and when Kristen follows, she is attacked by the scarecrow. Aaron manages to get it to release her while outside, Daevon grabs the shotgun from the SUV and heads inside to help. Seeing the scarecrow about to attack Aaron, Daevon shoots it, causing it to knock Aaron into a bathroom and when Daevon goes to try and finish it off, the scarecrow ends up killing him. Aaron runs outside and they all get in the SUV and leave but as Aaron tries calling for help on the radio, Kristen realizes that the legends were true. When the scarecrow appears in the road, Eddie slams into it and ends up crashing into a tree. As they recover, Eddie is critically injured and Aaron tries to help him when the scarecrow regenerates and grabs Kristen. As Aaron tries to help her, Eddie sacrifices himself by grabbing his lighter and rolling underneath the SUV and setting the leaking gas on fire. Aaron and Kristen head down the road to try and catch up to Beth and Maria, who had run off earlier, and soon run into Maria, who tells them there is a farm nearby. When they get there, Maria is angry at Beth, who had gone ahead and tried to get help for herself, but the farm is locked so Aaron and Kristen break the glass on the door so they can go inside. When they get there, they are confronted by Murphy, the farm’s owner, and when they tell him what has happened, he says the legend is true and that the thing was trying to kill the Miller family and was only stopped when it was buried. Murphy leaves, saying that the scarecrow will kill anything that gets between it and it’s prey but he ends up being killed by the scarecrow. Back in the house, Beth says they should just give Kristen to the scarecrow in order to save themselves but when Aaron and Maria tell her no, she leaves on her own. Aaron, Kristen, and Maria head out to the barn to try and find Murphy’s car but the only thing they can find is his mulcher. As Aaron tries to see if it runs, Kristen and Maria hear Beth calling for help so Kristen goes to help her, only for Beth to hold a knife to her throat. As Aaron and Maria try to talk Beth out of doing this, Beth forces Kristen to call out to the scarecrow, planning to give Kristen to it so they can live. As the scarecrow appears, Aaron grabs a hook and rope and hooks the scarecrow, then throws the rope into the mulcher. The mulcher starts dragging the scarecrow towards it and it grabs Beth as it goes, and both of them end up being dragged into the mulcher. When the machine stops running, Aaron and Kristen go try to find another vehicle while Maria keeps watch to see if it starts moving again. As they return, the scarecrow reaches out and grabs Maria’s leg, injuring it as Aaron and Kristen manage to get her free. The three run into the woods and Kristen knows that they won’t make it as they are so she splits up and tells Aaron that she will meet them at the river. Kristen heads back to Murphy’s farm and, cutting her hand on some metal, she smears her blood on his cattle, hoping the scarecrow will be distracted and go after them. As dawn breaks, Kristen catches up to Aaron and Maria but as Aaron picks up Maria to carry her, the scarecrow throws a metal blade at them, killing Maria and injuring Aaron. As the scarecrow appears, Kristen pulls out the blade and decapitates it, then helps Aaron to his feet and they head to the river. Realizing they can’t cross it, they head towards the boat graveyard in the hopes of finding something there to help them across. When they get there, they see a car but the driver is already dead so Aaron has Kristen head towards the water while he tries the radio. When he sees the scarecrow heading towards where Kristen is hiding, Aaron goes there to get her and ends up tackling the scarecrow into the water to save her. Kristen makes her way onto a ship and, grabbing a fire axe for a weapon, she heads down into the bottom of the ship, calling out to see if Aaron is there. She soon finds Aaron and runs to him but Aaron croaks out for her to run just as the scarecrow’s arm bursts from his chest. As the scarecrow proceeds to crawl out of Aaron’s mouth, Kristen leads it further down into the bottom of the ship, where she begins sealing off the cargo hold. She then starts releasing gas and uses the axe to cause a spark and ignite it, then climbs out of the emergency ladder, sealing the scarecrow in the hold. Kristen escapes from the ship as the gas explodes, causing the whole ship to begin sinking into the river, and as she catches her breath, the radio begins playing an ad announcing the start of the Scarecrow Festival.

This wasn’t quite what I was expecting but overall, this was a pretty decent horror movie. The acting was pretty good, with Lacey Chabert (Kristen), Robin Dunne (Aaron), Brittney Miller (Beth), and Carlo Marks (Eddie) all did good jobs in their roles. The plot was pretty interesting but the one fault I had was that they really didn’t explain the legend of the scarecrow or why it was after the Miller bloodline. I think they could have had a much better movie if they had included just a little more backstory to it. The special effects regarding the scarecrow were pretty good, though they did kind of remind me of an earlier entry in the series, Swamp Devil, regarding the creature’s design. I did like how, due to budgeting, a lot of the death’s happened off screen but the set up for them was really good, while the times the scarecrow crawled out of Murphy and Aaron definitely got an A+ for the cringe factor. A nice way to restart the series and a good movie to watch on a dark night.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

action, horror, Maneater series, movie, movie review, sci-fi

June 27th, 2017 Movie – Sand Serpents

sand serpents

Once again, I get to watch one of my favorite series of sci-fi/horror movies; the Maneater series. Now I will be honest, when I first heard the premise of this movie, my immediate thought was that this was some poor attempt at remaking Tremors. Now I know that this is not actually a remake but come on; giant prehistoric worms that hunt by sound/vibrations is sooo Tremors. Regardless, since this was one of the Maneater series, I was going to watch it and ended up buying it as part of a three pack of those movies. So let’s see how good today’s movie is as I watch Sand Serpents.

The plot: In Afghanistan, Lt. Richard Stanley and his team are escorting military observer Jan Henle through the desert towards a mine, which was under Taliban control a month ago but now appears deserted. As they check out the mine, they are suddenly ambushed by Taliban fighters and two of the team are killed while the others, Richard, Jan, Sgt. Wilson, and Privates Andrews, Eno, and Kaminsky, end up captured. The soldiers are blindfolded and tied up and as Richard tries to bargain with them, the Taliban ignore him and begin discussing what to do with the soldiers. Suddenly, an earthquake occurs and the Taliban fighters leave the Americans inside the building as they rush outside, and Richard and his group suddenly hear shooting, screaming, and a monstrous roaring sound. Eno manages to free herself, then Richard, and he goes to check outside while she frees the others. Outside, Richard finds that all of the Taliban, as well as the two bodies of his men, have all disappeared. The group spread out to search the area for any weapons, food, water, or radios they can use and while they are looking, Andrews thinks he see something moving but Eno and Jan think he just saw a mirage. Unable to find a radio, they decide to head to their rendezvous point for extraction and begin walking when they suddenly feel another earthquake. They see a helicopter coming but suddenly, a giant worm-like creature appears out of the ground, grabs the helicopter in it’s mouth, and destroys it. The soldiers head back to the mine and Wilson gets the worm to chase after him in order to give the others time to get back into the building, but he is killed before he can get inside himself. As they catch their breath and regroup, Richard tells them that the worms can feel the vibrations through the ground so they have to be quiet. Spotting a truck nearby, Eno tells Richard that she should be able to hot-wire it and they slowly make their way towards the truck. As the worm heads towards them again, Andrews, Jan, and Kaminsky race for the truck as Eno gets it started and they drive off. The group make their way down the road when suddenly, a little girl, Isla, runs in the road and waves them away and Eno swerves the truck to avoid hitting her, causing the truck to flip over and Eno’s legs end up pinned underneath the truck. Richard and Kaminsky try to free Eno as Amal, Isla’s father, explains that Isla was trying to warn them that the road ahead was mined. As the worms come towards them, Eno tells them to run for it and they reluctantly leave her behind to be eaten by the worms. Reaching the refugee camp, they find it mostly deserted and Amal explains that most of the people left and those that stayed are there because the Taliban took their sons. Richard and the others arm themselves with the weapons and explosives the Taliban left there while Jan checks on the radio. She tells them that she can’t fix it but might be able to use it to fix the one back at the mine Using a truck that Amal has there, Richard and the others head back to the mine, taking Amal and Isla with them as Amal wants to try and find his son in Kabul. Along the way, they learn that there are four worms and as they run on foot after the truck runs out of gas, Richard manages to kill on of them with a grenade. Back in the mine, Jan gets to work on the radio while the others stand guard but Andrews grows distrustful of Amal. Jan finally manages to get a signal and calls for an evac, which initially is denied but when she lies and says the mine was operational and she had some sapphires from it, the base commander says he will send a helicopter for them in 30 minutes. Suddenly, a grenade is tossed into the building by Taliban forces, critically injuring Kaminsky. Richard, Jan, and Andrews begin fighting them off and Andrews is shot in the arm but the worms show up, attracted by all of the explosions, and begin attacking and killing the Taliban. Richard and Jan try to tend to Kaminsky’s injury and Richard asks Amal if there is another way to get to the evac site. Amal says they can use the tunnels in the mountains to cut through and get there and Andrews says he is leading them to a trap but Richard says that he trusts him and they leave, with Richard and Andrews helping Kaminsky. As they make their way to the tunnel, a worm chases after them and they are forced to leave Kaminsky, who had died by this point, behind to be eaten by the worm. Inside the tunnel, they find a Taliban weapon’s cache and re-arm themselves with some more explosives and Amal leads them to the way out. When they approach a blast door, they make their way through it but Andrews lets it close behind him, locking them in that part of the tunnel. Amal goes on ahead but ends up stepping on a landmine, causing the tunnel to collapse on the exit. They believe they are trapped at first but Richard notices a small air vent that leads to the outside and has Isla head through there so she can circle around and open the door for them. Isla makes her way through the vent to the surface but discovers the Taliban outside and tries to hide but she is soon captured. They ask her where the Americans are and start to take her with them to find them but the worms attack and she is able to get away. Isla makes it back to the blast door and is able to open it but Andrews is killed by a worm that was attracted by the land mine’s blast. Richard, Jan, and Isla reach the surface and see the worms killing the last of the Taliban and make a plan to head towards a nearby mine elevator, thinking it is tall enough to keep them out of the worm’s reach. Using grenades to mask their footsteps, they run for the elevator but are surrounded by the worms when they run out of grenades. Thinking it is the end, Richard readies the suicide belt and gets close to Jan and Isla, wanting to take the worms out when they try to kill them. Suddenly, a missile strikes one of the worms, driving them off and they see their evac helicopter arriving. When it lands, they quickly climb on board and the helicopter takes off but a giant worm suddenly bursts from the ground and attempts to grab the helicopter. Richard, still wearing the belt, jumps out of the helicopter and into the worm’s mouth, where he detonates the belt, killing himself and the worm, while Jan comforts Isla as the helicopter takes them to safety.

As far a a wannabe Tremors goes, this movie is so-so. Some of the acting was good, particularly Sebastian Knapp (Kaminsky) and Jonas Khan (Amal), but the two main leads were not that good while Chris Jarman was just too over-the-top to the point of being absolutely terrible. The story was interesting, making use of the current Afghan War for a good setting and plot device, while adding the giant monsters to spice it up. The special effects were decent and I liked the worm design but some of the scenes with the worms interacting with the people didn’t look that good. To be honest, you will get more enjoyment in watching Tremors but this is a decent killer worm movie to watch if you are bored.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5