action, movie, movie review, sci-fi, thriller

October 18th, 2017 Movie – A Sound Of Thunder

a sound of thunder

Now this was a movie I was excited to watch because it used one of the more famous cliches when it comes to time travel; what happens if you go back in time and step on a butterfly. I find it funny how many movies and stories make some reference to this concept and try to use some variation of it in their plot. Now, I never heard of this movie coming out in theaters, otherwise I would have gone to see it, but when I first saw it at Blockbuster, I decided to just go ahead and buy a used copy. Now let’s see if it was worth the impulse buy as I watch today’s movie, A Sound Of Thunder.

The plot: In the year 2055, the Time Safari company allows people to travel back in time and hunt dinosaurs. To keep from messing with the timeline, the group travels on a specialized path of hardened air molecules, use weapons that shoot hardened ice bullets, and only kill animals that are known to have died due to natural means. After the latest hunt, Dr. Travis Ryer is doing some research with the computer TAMI when the company’s owner, Charles Hatton, comes to remind him that he must mingle with the clients as part of his contract. Travis reluctantly heads up to the party, telling John Wallenbeck that the video disc of their hunt shows that he was the one to bring down the allosaurus. Suddenly, Dr. Sonia Rand interrupts the event, spraying the attendees with red wine while yelling that they will destroy the future if they keep messing with the past. As she is being escorted away by security, Travis stops them and talks with Sonia, learning that she was one of the people that developed TAMI but due to a clause in her contract and a nondisclosure agreement, didn’t receive any credit for it. Sonia is upset that her work is being used for people to kill dinosaurs and mad at Travis for going along with it but Travis shows her that he is working there for a different reason. Taking her to the zoo, Travis explains that since hunting and a mysterious virus wiped out most animal life on the planet, he has been using the jumps to get DNA recordings from animals before the virus occurred so that he can clone them. Back at Time Safari, Marcus Payne knocks over some liquid nitrogen tanks and after putting them back upright, goes to talk to Jenny Krase, unaware that one of the tanks is leaking onto Travis’ gun. The next day, Travis leads a new hunt with clients Eckels and Middleton, explaining all of the rules they need to follow for the hunt. As they proceed with the jump, Eckels is extremely nervous and jumpy, attempting to shoot a butterfly that startles him. When the allosaurus appears, Travis’ gun malfunctions, preventing anyone from firing their guns. Travis uses a flashlight to lure the allosaurus away from the group, telling the clients to hide while Marcus works on repairing the gun. Marcus eventually gets the gun repaired and Travis is able to kill the allosaurus and they all leave, unaware that one of the clients had stepped off the path while hiding, as evidenced by a muddy footprint left on the path. The next day, the city experiences an increase in temperature and humidity while fish suddenly start beaching themselves and plants are suddenly increasing their growth rate. Travis leads a new group on their hunt but they find that the allosaurus is still lying dead in the swamp from their last jump and the nearby volcano erupts sooner than it was supposed to. After making it back through the portal before the volcano kills them, Travis and the others try to figure out what is going on but Clay Derris, the federal agent that oversees the project, shuts them down so they are unable to access TAMI. As Hatton argues with Clay about shutting them down, Tyler goes to see Sonia and talk to her. After getting inside her apartment, Tyler tells Sonia what happened and after telling her when it occurred, Sonia has him look outside and he sees a time wave approaching the city, knocking him off his feet when it occurs. Sonia starts to explain about the time wave when they hear a scream and are suddenly attacked by a swarm of beetles, forcing them to run from the apartment. As they are heading back to Time Safari, Sonia explains that the time waves will change evolution in stages, starting with the climate and then lower life forms, with humanity being altered in the last wave. Convincing Clay to let them try and fix things, Travis attempts to jump back before the Eckels/Middleton hunt and turn them back but he finds himself in the old west just as another time wave is about to hit. Travis makes it back through the portal but the time wave knocks out power to the entire city and Sonia explains that they can’t make it past the “ripples” of the time wave. After checking the footage reveals no indication as to what happened, Marcus checks the logs and finds that they came back a few grams heavier. Hatton reveals that he had the bio-filters turned off in order to save money, though in reality it was to pay off Clay, and after searching all of their gear from the trip, realize that it must have been one of the clients. Figuring that Eckels was the likely suspect, Marcus modifies the weapons to fire individually and Travis, Sonia, Jenny, Marcus, and Dr. Lucas head out to find Eckels. As they make their way through the city, finding it completely overgrown with plants, they see evidence of some type of creature and hear it calling out in the distance. Marcus gets poisoned by a thorny vine and as they are helping him walk, Lucas is grabbed by a strange creature which is a cross between a baboon and a lizard. Travis chases after Dr. Lucas and manages to kill the baboonlizard and he and Lucas quickly run as more creatures appear. Marcus can’t walk so he chooses to stay behind and fend them off as long as he can, allowing the others to escape. They eventually make it to Eckel’s apartment, finding it barricaded by the inhabitants but after saving two people that had gone to get food, they convince the people to let them in. They make their way up to Eckels’ apartment and while Travis and Sonia talk to him, Jenny and Lucas scan his suit and find it is clean. Realizing it was Middleton, Eckels tells them that he has been staying in his office and where it is. Lucas hotwires a car and they make their way to his office, noticing a strange flying creature passing overhead. Reaching the office, Travis and Sonia head inside, leaving Jenny and Lucas to watch the car. They find that the people have killed themselves after being driven mad by the brambles’ poison and Middleton is infected as well, killing a security guard before killing himself. Travis and Sonia search his gear and find the remains of a butterfly so they quickly head back to the car to find Lucas and Jenny firing into the air. As they drive back to Time Safari, they are attacked by bat like creatures, which manage to peel off the roof of the car and grab Lucas. Another time wave hits, causing the car to crash into the building, and they find that the jump station is flooded and inoperable. Sonia says they can use the particle accelerator at the university to use as a substitute and goes to grab TAMI’s hard drive. Travis goes to get a jump suit and finds Clay hiding in one of the lockers. Clay tells him to be quiet and motions above them and they see the baboonlizards sleeping from the ceiling above them. Sonia grabs the hard drive and they leave and Clay decides at the last minute to try and follow but he is killed by the baboonlizards. Deciding to go through the subway tunnels to reach the university, they end up crawling through a damaged subway train when the tunnel suddenly floods, trapping them in the train. Travis goes to smash a window so they can swim to safety when something breaks through the window and grabs Jenny, dragging her away. As the train floods, Sonia and Travis go to escape but Travis is attacked by a strange, eel like creature but the tunnel collapses some more and kills the creature while Travis almost drowns but is saved by Sonia. They reach the university as the baboonlizards arrive and start to attack the building. Making their way to the particle accelerator, Sonia works on getting everything set up for a slingshot jump while Travis secures the room and then prepares for the jump. As the baboonlizards start to break in, Sonia activates the time jump just as another time wave occurs, with Sonia ending up transformed into a human/catfish hybrid. Travis jumps to 1 year beyond the normal jump time and then he bounce back to the time of the hunt. Seeing the group with the allosaurus, Travis yells at Jenny to record him, telling her what happened, then goes and stops Middleton before he steps on the butterfly, vanishing as the timeline is restored to normal. As the group returns through the portal, Jenny tells Clay she knows about the bio-filters and tells him to turn them back on, causing Clay to nervously talk to Hatton. Jenny then grabs Travis and hands him the recording, telling him she told Hatton that there was a malfunction and a disc doesn’t exist, and tells Travis he needs to watch it. The next day, Travis goes to see Sonia and tells her about the recording and asks her help in exposing the dangers with Time Safari and how to stop them.

A Sound Of Thunder was panned by the critics, holding a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Choppy logic and uneven performances are overshadowed by not-so-special effects that makes the suspension of disbelief a nearly impossible task.” The movie was based off of a short story by Ray Bradbury and originally supposed to be directed by Renny Harlin but he was fired after having a disagreement with Bradbury. The movie was a box office bomb, only earning $11.7 million off of an $80 million budget.

This was your classic case of a good idea bogged down with problems. The acting was ok, with Edward Burns (Travis), Catherine McCormack (Sonia), Jemima Rooper (Jenny), and Sir Ben Kingsley (Hatton) was pretty good. The story was very interesting but there was one VERY big flaw in the concept. If they keep going to the same time to hunt that allosaurus, the different hunting parties should overlap but of course, this is Hollywood and logic has no place whatsoever in a sci-fi movie. As for the whole evolution changing with each time wave concept, I thought that was kind of cool and made sense as a way to make the movie longer, though I am curious if that is actually what would happen if such a thing occurred. The special effects were a mixture of good and bad; with the creature designs actually being really good, but some of the background shots used some pretty poor blue screen effects. Problems aside, I enjoyed this movie but accept that it probably isn’t going to be for everyone.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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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

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horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

October 13th, 2017 Movie – Snowbeast (2011)

snowbeast 2011

So this movie kind of slipped by me. I mean, I had multiple copies of the original movie but had no idea that any sort of a remake was being made. I honestly don’t remember how I came across this movie; it was either on a horror movie site or a Facebook group. Either way, I would eventually find out about it but it took a while before I actually got around to buying it during a B-movie buying binge. Now let’s see if it was worth it as I watch today’s movie, Snowbeast (2011).

The plot: In the Canadian mountains, a kid is snowboarding down the mountains when he gets separated from his friend and ends up being stalked and killed by Yeti-like creature. Some time later, Jim Harwood heads up to Canada with his team, Marci and Rob, to study lynx up in the mountains. Jim brings his daughter Emmy with him since she was recently expelled from school, though she is less than thrilled to be there. When they arrive at their cabin, they work on getting things situated and Emmy is annoyed that she is being forced to help, prompting Jim to talk with Marci about the changes in Emmy since his wife Kim left him. Meanwhile, Park Ranger Barry is putting up missing poster for the missing snowboarder and later, goes through old missing person reports and starts plotting the area where they all went missing or where people saw some creature but his partner Gibbons thinks he is wasting his time. The next day, Jim and the others are unable to locate any of the lynx that they tagged last year so they head out to set up motion cameras and try and locate a den or two. When one of the cameras isn’t working, Rob heads back to the cabin in order to take the truck to the resort stores in order to get the supplies needed to fix it, unaware that Emmy had hidden in the back of the truck in order to sneak off to the resort. After getting his supplies, Rob runs into Barry and the two talk for a bit before Rob notices Emmy talking to a guy buy the ski lift and quickly goes and grabs her. As they head back to the cabin, Rob admonishes Emmy for sneaking off like that, then covers for her when they get back and Jim asks where she had been. As they are lounging around after dinner, Emmy asks about the tension between Marci and her father, embarrassing Jim as Marci and Rob quickly make their exits. The next day, they see no sign of anything on the cameras, though they did get video of something briefly moving through the forests during the night but did not get a clear picture of what it was. They head out to set up the last camera, with Emmy coming with them, and they find some strange tracks in the snow and wonder what it could be but don’t investigate them. That night, the creature shows up at their cabin, waking them up as it trashes one of their snowmobiles but they don’t see any sign of it. The next day, they take a look at what happened and after noticing the tracks in the snow, Marci decides to head to the ranger station and report what happened and see if there are any similar reports. While she is gone, Rob notices that the camera he fixed is still not working so he goes out with Jim to fix it, leaving Emmy to keep watch on the cameras in case something appears. Meanwhile, Barry and Gibbons are driving through the area when Barry stops the car, saying he saw something, and goes to investigate but ends up being killed by the creature. Gibbons, who was waiting in the truck, goes looking for Barry and eventually stumbles across his body before the creature kills him as well. Back at the camera, Rob gets it fixed but ends up falling through the roof of a cave and Jim goes looking for the entrance so he can help him. As they are in the cave, Emmy sees the creature moving across the camera monitors and radios her dad to warn him. Inside the cave, Jim and Rob find the body of the missing snowboarder and decide to leave, getting back to the snowmobile and making their escape before the creature can catch them. Back at the cabin, Marci is excited about the possible discovery of a new creature and wants to study it but Jim and Rob say they should leave in the morning and possibly come back with more people. Early in the morning, Marci sneaks out and goes looking for the creature but when she encounters it, she tries to run and ends up being killed. Jim wakes up and after noticing that Marci is gone, goes looking for her with Rob while leaving Marci to keep watch on the monitors for her. They find the truck but are unable to get it started, as it was damaged when the creature killed Marci, and no sign of Marci either. Meanwhile, Emmy sees the creature dragging Marci’s body on the monitors and tells Jim and Rob when they return to the cabin. Jim decides to take the snowmobile to go get help but when he spots the creature, he ends up crashing the snowmobile and getting knocked unconscious by the creature. Rob and Emmy see the smoke from the crash and head back to the truck to try and get it started but are unable to get it working so Rob grabs the tranquilizer gun from inside and they head back to the cabin. That night, the creature attacks the cabin and Rob and Emmy are forced to barricade themselves inside the upstairs bedroom. The next day, they come up with a plan to disable the creature so they can try and find Jim, using raw meat and food to lure the creature out of it’s cave and then Jim shoots it with the tranquilizer gun. After knocking the creature out, they head into the cave and find Jim and work to warm him up. When the creature returns to the cave, Jim and Emmy run for it while Rob tries to hold it off but he ends up being killed. As the creature chases after Jim and Emmy, Emmy tries shooting a flare at it but misses, which gives Jim an idea. He grabs the flare gun and shoots it at a snow bank over the creature, causing an avalanche that buries the creature, while he and Emmy manage to survive by taking cover behind a tree. Some time later, Jim and Emmy are at home and discussing how people think their stories about the creature are a hoax and Emmy wonders if the creature’s body will ever be found while back in Canada, two people are hiking through the woods when the creature bursts through a snowdrift and attacks one of them.

This was a pretty decent movie. The acting was good, with John Schneider (Jim), Paul D. Hunt (Rob), and Kari Hawker (Marci) doing good jobs in their roles. I also liked Jason London (Barry), though his appearance was pretty limited, but I thought that Danielle Churchran (Emmy) was pretty annoying, and that is despite the fact that she was playing an annoying teenager. The story was interesting, basically saying that the creature had killed all of the native wildlife and simply moved up to the next available food source, people. The special effects were about what you would expect while the creature design was pretty interesting. It’s good for a watch but not one of the better B-movies I have seen.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

October 11th, 2017 Movie – Snow Shark: Ancient Snow Beast

snow shark

So this is a fun little movie. I first heard about this movie on a horror movie blog that I used to read. The plot sounded pretty interesting and it piqued my interest enough into wanting to watch it. It would be a few years later when I would get around to buying this on DVD. I’m not usually one for buying independent movies so lets see if this was worth the purchase as I watch today’s movie, Snow Shark: Ancient Snow Beast.

The plot: On February 6th, 1999, Professor Jonathan Hoffman and two of his biology students, Bianca and Gabriel, head to a small town in upstate New York to investigate the diminishing animal population after a recent earthquake. As Bianca stays behind to set up camp, Hoffman and Gabriel scout around the area and come across the carcass of a recently killed deer. Hoffman determines that the creature that killed the deer had traveled underground, which worries Gabriel and they decide to head back to the camp. When they get there, they find that Bianca had wandered off and discovered a giant hole in the ground. Hoffman theorizes that the creature had been frozen in ice and the earthquake released it. As they start to leave, Bianca sees a fin circling around them and Gabriel is killed by a shark. Hoffman and Bianca make a run for it but Bianca is killed and Hoffman is able to record a brief message of what happened on his tape recorder before he is killed as well. 12 years later, two teenagers wander into the woods and end up getting killed by the shark. Mayor Shawn Overman is informed about the deaths by his aide and he has him get the sheriff so they can hold a town meeting. At the town meeting, Overman and Sheriff Donald Chapman try to calm the townsfolk and keep them from forming a mob to hunt what is killing people by telling them they have a team of scientists coming to investigate. Mike Evans tells them that it is a snow shark killing everyone but Overman and Chapman, as well as the rest of the town, don’t believe him. As more people are killed by the snow shark, Chapman gets in an argument with his son Ethan, who storms out of the house. Ethan goes to see his friend Doug and they wander out to drink some beers but Ethan ends up being killed by the shark. The next morning, Chapman goes to the crime scene and sees his son’s body and after hearing from Doug about what happened, vows to kill the shark. In the town, biologist Wendy Gardner, cryptozoologist Lincoln Anderson, and a hunter named Cameron Caine meet with Overman, and Wendy and Cameron argue on whether they should capture or kill the shark. Meanwhile, Mike gets his brother and several of his friends together and after arming themselves, they head out into the woods to hunt the shark. Meanwhile, Lincoln, Wendy, and Cameron meet up with Chapman and he helps them get situated before they head out to search for the shark. When they get to the woods, they split up into pairs to hunt the shark but everyone is killed by the shark except for Mike. Back in town, Lincoln, Chapman, Wendy, and Cameron make their plans and head out into the woods, where Lincoln sets up a motion-capture camera and Wendy takes some samples of the area as Chapman and Cameron stand watch. Meanwhile, Mike returns to town and heads to the bar and his sister Daphne approaches him, upset over Ethan’s death, and begs him to kill the shark. As some of the patrons tease Mike about the shark, Hoffman, having gone into hiding after being attacked by the snow shark 12 years ago, approaches him and offers his help in killing the shark and after agreeing, Mike heads off with Hoffman to prepare to kill the shark. Lincoln, Chapman, Wendy, and Cameron head out to the woods to check the cameras but when they get there, they find the shark circling them. Wendy is dragged away and killed and as they try to leave, Cameron is attacked and Chapman shoots him in the head so he won’t suffer. Mike and Hoffman meet up with Cameron and Lincoln and Hoffman says that he believes the shark is attracted to heat and comes up with a plan to build a bonfire to lure the shark into a trap but as he goes to light the fire, he is attacked and killed by the shark. Mike pulls out a hand grenade and tells the others to run for it but the shark attacks him and bites off his legs. Chapman wants to help him but Lincoln says that they best chance they have to escape is to let Mike distract the shark. The shark attacks Mike again but the grenade goes off and kills them both. Chapman calls his deputy to tell him that the shark is dead but as Lincoln and Chapman head back, they see several more fins approaching them. Some time later, Daphne is putting flowers on Ethan’s grave but as she leaves, a shark fin makes its way through the cemetery towards her.

For a cheap budget independent movie, this is about what you would expect. The acting was ok, though several characters were either so wooden that it felt like they were simply reading their lines while filming or they were too over emotional to be laughable. The story was interesting and definitely the best part of this movie. I honestly feel like the people that made Avalanche Sharks used this movie as a basis for that movie. The special effects were laughably bad, with a puppet shark and some bad CGI but that is what I expected from a $7000 budget. It’s not a great movie but it can be good for a few laughs.

Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5

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adventure, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

September 6th, 2017 Movie – Snakeman

snakeman

Ahh, another movie that seems to have changed it’s name from it’s initial airing. When I first saw this movie on Syfy, I don’t recall the exact title but I remember it was something along the lines of Naga: The Snake King. I remember it being a rather ridiculous bit of a movie but I had no problem enjoying it. This wound up being yet another Blockbuster purchase on the cheap so let’s see if Snakeman is as ridiculous as I remember.

The plot: Deep in the Amazon, two farmers are making their way through the jungle when they come across an ancient totem of a monstrous snake and as they stare at it, a giant snake appears and kills them both. Elsewhere, an expedition have discovered the remains of an ancient man, unaware that they are being observed by a tribe of people. The tribe appear ready to kill the expedition but they hear the roar of the giant snake and back away into the jungle. The remains are taken back to New York City and during a press conference at the International Institute of Science, it is announced that the “Amazon Man” was over 300 years old when he died. Gentech International, the pharmaceutical company that funded the expedition, says that they are funding a second expedition to the jungle in search of a supposed lost tribe that is descended from the Amazon Man in the hopes of finding the secret to eternal youth. Dr. Susan Elters and Dr. Rick Gordon head to Brazil, where they meet up with the rest of their team; Jonathan Rodgers, Sid, Will Bahia, Rush Fernandez, and their guide Matt Ford. Elsewhere, an advanced team is making their way through the jungle when they come across a skeleton tied to a tree. One of the men decides to head back but the other approaches the skeleton only to be attacked by the mysterious tribe. The man is shot in the arm but manages to shoot one of the attackers as he makes his escape only to be killed by the giant snake. Back at the airport, Matt sees an approaching storm and recommends waiting for it to pass but Rick wants to push ahead so they take off in Matt’s helicopter but end up getting brought down by landing. Rick manages to get in touch with Dr. John Simon, the head of Gentech, and tells him what happened and John says to make their way to the camp site, not telling them that the members of the advanced team had been killed. Matt says that the Jaguar Tribe is nearby and he can get them to help them but when they appear, Rick pulls out a gun and points it at him, forcing John to attack him before the Jaguar Tribe killed them. Matt then talks with the Jaguar Tribe in their language and they agree to help them but as they make their way through the jungle, they come across the snake totem. The Jaguar Tribe are scared to proceed further and after Matt talks with them, the chief Tika and his son Bada will stay and continue on if they are allowed to say a prayer first but the others must leave. Rick tries to force them all to leave but Susan reminds him that they are both in charge and she agrees to what Matt says, arguing that two is better than none. When they reach a spot to set up camp, Rush goes out to hunt for some food but he ends up being killed by the snake. Matt and the others hear Rush’s screams and decide to go look for him but Rick and Jonathan refuse to go into the jungle so Matt tells them to build a fire while the rest join him to look for Rush. As night falls, Matt, Susan, and Tika find Rush’s body but they also see the giant snake, which the Jaguar chief calls Naga, and they run for it, joining the others in camp and telling them to run as well. The group ends up being separated and Sid and Will end up being killed by Naga, who is revealed to have multiple heads. Matt and Susan witness the attack and make their way back to the camp to meet up with the others and they try to call for help but Susan’s phone doesn’t work and Rick lost his so they are forced to head to the base camp in order to use the satellite up-link to call out for help. They make their way to the camp but Matt, Rick, and Susan end up getting ahead of the others. Jonathan tries to catch up but he ends up being killed by Naga and Matt and Rick head back to try and help him while they send Susan ahead to call for help but Susan ends up encountering the Snake People, who capture her. Rick and Matt meet up with Tika and Bada but Naga attacks them and kills Bada before they drive it away. The three reach the base camp and find no sign of Susan so they go looking for her only to encounter Timothy, who had survived and has been driven half mad. Meanwhile, Susan is taken to the camp and Dahar, the chief of the Snake People, tells her that Naga is angry and demands that they return the body that was taken. Back in the jungle, Matt is bitten by a snake and shoots it before he collapses and Rick and Timothy decide to leave him while Tika chooses to stay with Matt. When the Snake people appear, Tika tries to fend them off but he is killed while Matt, Rick, and Timothy are taken prisoner. They are brought to the village and Rick and Timothy are forced to run a gauntlet and Dahar plans on killing them afterwards but Susan stops him. Dahar says that Timothy is the one that stole the body of his father and Susan convinces him to let her try to get him back. Susan manages to get in contact with John and explains what is going on and he says that he will bring the body back in 36 hours. Dahar lets them live and they are brought into the hut Susan was in but she can’t find any anti-venom in her first aid kit to help Matt. Later, Dahar yells at Susan and brings her to his son, who is sick from when Susan sneezed on him earlier. Susan says she can help him and gives him some medicine but when it doesn’t work fast enough, Dahar makes plans to sacrifice Susan to Naga but at the last minute, Dahar’s son is shown to have recovered and she is spared. Matt recovers from the snake bite and Susan tends to him but Rick and Timothy, who are in another hut, kill their guard and escape. They head through the jungle back to the base camp but Timothy is killed by Naga. Back at the village, Dahar tells Susan about Rick and Timothy’s escape and asks her about the body coming back. Susan says soon and asks Dahar about the secret and he says it is forbidden to speak of to anyone outside the tribe. When Matt asks if it is true that when someone from one tribe saves someone from another tribe, they become part of that tribe, Dahar says it is true and Matt asks if Susan is part of the Snake People since she saved his son. Dahar agrees and then shows Susan the secret of their eternal youth, a pool of water that Naga rests in and says that if Naga dies, then the gift is gone and the Snake People will die as well. John arrives in a helicopter and encounters Rick, who tells him what he learned about the gift. When Susan encounters John, she asks about the body but John tells her that he didn’t bring it, instead bringing a group of mercenaries to take the gift by force. When John threatens to kill Susan, Matt and the Snake People attack the mercenaries, killing several of them and wounding John but Dahar is injured in the fight. Matt and Susan drag Dahar away and he asks that they save Naga before he dies. Rick, John, and the remaining mercenaries make their way into the cave only to encounter Naga, who kills several mercenaries before it is forced to back away from it’s injuries. Susan and Matt confront John and Rick at the pool and Matt is shot but Naga appears and kills the remaining mercenaries, Rick, and John. As Naga leaves the pool, Susan tells Matt the secret and says that Dahar was right and the secret should stay there When Matt agrees, the two kiss while Naga watches them.

Yup, this movie was as ridiculous as I remember it being. The acting was ok, with Jayne Heitmeyer (Susan) being the best out of the bunch while Stephen Baldwin (Matt) was almost robotic in his delivery. The story was interesting, a nice twist on the whole Fountain of Youth story by adding a giant monster to it. Just about everything else was pretty generic in regards to plot and character development. The special effects were pretty laughable but this is what I would expect from a Syfy original movie. Good for some silly fun but not a great movie to watch.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

September 5th, 2017 Movie – Snakehead Terror

snakehead terror

Sometimes, you have to love how real life can inspire fiction. In 2002, snakehead were discovered in a pond in Crofton, Maryland and after the main pond and two nearby ponds were poisoned and they discovered 6 adult and over 1000 juvenile snakefish in the lakes. Two movies were made that aired on Syfy in 2004, today’s movie and Frankenfish, and of course I would wind up owning both of them. Now, Frankenfish was pretty lousy so let’s see if today’s movie, Snakehead Terror, is any better.

The plot: When several snakeheads are found in Cultus Lake, authorities use poison in the lake to get rid of the invasive fish. Two years later, a hunter is out in the woods with his dog when they find the carcass of a bear and when his dog chases after something it sees, it ends up being killed in the lake and the hunter is killed when he follows after it. Sheriff Patrick James arrives at his office and comments to his deputy about the lack of people signing up for fishing licenses when his daughter Amber shows up. Amber tries to tell him that she wants to go to Paris with her boyfriend over the summer when Patrick is called away to the scene of a dead body on the lake. When Patrick arrives at the lake, he sees the mutilated body of the dog on the shore and after shooing away the onlookers, finds a hunter’s vest and arm in the lake. At another part of the lake, Amber apologizes to her boyfriend James and says that she will talk to her dad that night about the trip. The then head to a party on the lake shore and meet up with their friends and James is challenged to swimming race in the lake by their friend Luke. The two boys are taken out to an anchored jetty and race from their back to the pier but as they are swimming, James is attacked by some snakeheads and killed. After taking Amber home and making sure she is ok, Patrick heads to the coroner’s office to see if he has any information on what might have killed Dave and the others and Doc Jenkins shows him a tooth he pulled from the dog and says the only thing he can think of that could do this is an alligator. Patrick heads over to the mayor’s house and wakes him up then talks to him about closing the lake but the mayor balks on the idea, as the town is barely starting to recover after the lake’s poisoning and another bad year will kill it. After checking on Amber, and getting into an argument with her about her planned trip to Europe, Patrick is met by Lori Dale, a biologist that had come down to help identify the tooth that was recovered. After seeing the bodies and examining the tooth, Lori says that it is a snakehead, though one that is abnormally large. That night, a man is fishing on a dock when he sees a baby snakehead getting into his bait bucket. When he stabs it, the baby cries out and an adult snakehead leaps out of the water and rips off the man’s leg while a second one knocks him into the water. The next day, Lori is on the phone at the sheriff’s office to try and get some help when Sammy, a local reporter, over hears her talking about snakeheads and decides to send his photographer to the lake to get pictures while he writes up a story. While Patrick and Lori are at the lake getting water samples, the photographer is at another part of the lake and finds a snakehead but ends up getting killed. That night, Sammy is driving back to the newspaper office when he sees a large group of snakeheads shuffling across the road. He runs over several of them and ends up crashing and as he regains consciousness, he is killed by some of the surviving fish. The next day, Sammy’s story brings dozens of fishermen to the area and Patrick tells his deputies to tell them to stay out of the lake. Meanwhile, Lori is testing the water she collected and finds it contains a steroid, which she thinks is what is making the snakeheads grow so large. Meanwhile, Amber, Luke, Craig, and Jagger decide to go out and hunt down the snakehead to get revenge on James. On the docks, the mayor is arguing with Patrick over his putting up “No Swimming” signs when they see a commotion on the dock. When they go to check it out, they see some fishermen have caught a large snakehead and after they cut it open, a human hand is discovered. Patrick heads out into the lake to see if there are more snakehead and Lori goes with and explains what she found. They find an overturned boat and more signs of people being killed when the boat is attacked by snakehead but Patrick manages to scare them off after killing one of them. As they are heading back, they see Colin, Doc Jenkins’ brother and owner of the bait shop, pouring some chemicals in the water and he runs when he sees them approaching but they find the chemicals are human growth hormone. Back on the lake, Amber and the others try finding a snakehead and almost wreck into another boat when they do find one. As the two fishermen yell at the kids, Craig sees more fish approaching and they start attacking the boats. One of the fishermen is knocked into the water and as Craig tries to help him into their boat, he is dragged into the water and both of them are killed. The other fisherman is killed when Jagger accidenatlly shoots their boat’s engine and it explodes, while Luke is injured and falls into the water and Craig’s boat springs a leak. As a snakehead works its way through the hole in the boat, Amber makes her way to the nearby island and crashes there, then uses the boats propeller to kill the snakehead that bit her arm. They find that Luke had survived but his leg is injured and make their way inland, where they find a cabin in the woods. When they reach it, they find that the people inside have been killed by snakeheads and Amber and Luke kill one that was still in the cabin. Meanwhile, Patrick and Deputy Reese find evidence that Doc Jenkins had ordered the human growth hormone and so Patrick and Lori go after him and capture him. Jenkins reveals he did it to help save his brother’s shop as well as the town, but had he known the snakeheads had survived, he wouldn’t have done so. Back on the island, Amber, Jagger, and Luke head to the beach and light a fire to try and signal for help but they see some snakeheads coming out of the water towards them and are forced to head back to the cabin. Meanwhile, Colin heads to the island to bury the remaining containers of HGH when he finds himself surrounded by snakeheads and is killed. Patrick finds out about Amber being on the lake and he heads out with Lori to find her but as they see Craig’s boat on the beach, they are attacked by snakeheads and end up crashing into the dock. As they leave the boat, they see a whale sized snakehead breach out of the water and try to figure out what they are going to do about that one. Back at the cabin, Amber and Jagger try to find some weapons to use when the cabin is attacked by snakeheads and they try to fend them off but Luke is killed in the process. Patrick and Lori arrive at the cabin and Patrick has Lori rescue the girls while he heads back to the dock, having decided to use the cable for the town’s electrical grid to kill off the snakeheads. Lori rescues the girls, though Jagger receives a mild shock which disorients her, and they head to the dock to find that Patrick has shot the cable loose from the pole and tells Lori and Amber to throw the cable into the lake. As the giant snakehead attacks the dock to try and get to Patrick, they manage to throw the cable into the lake and electrocute all of the snakehead in the lake, including the giant one.

For such an interesting story, you would think they could have done a better job turning it into a movie, especially a cheesy sci-fi one. This movie was honestly not that good. The acting was ok, with Bruce Boxleitner (Patrick), William B. Davis (Jenkins), and Carol Alt (Lori) doing decent jobs in their roles. The story was a little weak with it’s explanations and just kind of half-assed things with the set-up. The special effects were on the weak side, especially when they tried to do closeups of the snakeheads killing people. Alas, it is one of the rare disappointments from a Syfy original movie. It happens from time to time so you will probably want to skip this one and find something else to watch.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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comedy, horror, movie, movie review, sci-fi

September 26th, 2017 Movie – Slither (2006)

slither

Ahh, the memories involving this movie. When I first saw the trailers for this movie, I immediately thought that it looked like a remake of Night OF The Creeps. Apparently I wasn’t the only one as there were lots of people commenting online about the similarities. Still, I knew it was going to be a cheesy fun movie to watch . Unfortunately, I never got around to seeing it in theaters so I had to wait until it came out on video to watch it. Now lets have some fun with today’s movie, Slither.

The plot: In the small town of Wheelsy, South Carolina, local car dealer Grant Grant is married to Starla and jealously possessive of her. Some people don’t understand their marriage but sheriff Bill Pardy, who has had a crush on her since high school, says that when she was left all on her own at 17, and Grant shows up with a lot of money and offering to pay for her college, she got swept up in the moment. That night, Grant tries to have sex with Starla but when she tells him she isn’t in the mood, he gets mad and heads to the bar for a drink. While there, he runs into Brenda, the younger sister of an old girlfriend, and the two end up going into the woods together. Brenda tries kissing Grant but he pushes her away and is about to leave when he notices the remains of a meteorite that had crashed there the night before and a slime trail leading away from it. Following the trail, Grant and Brenda find a strange, grub like creature and as Grant leans closer to look at it, a stinger shoots out from the creature’s back and strikes him, infecting him with a parasite. After collapsing to the ground while the parasite heads to his brain, Grant then gets up and heads home, leaving Brenda wondering if he is ok. The next morning, Starla tries apologizing to Grant and they end up dancing and fooling around before they both head to work. That afternoon, Grant buys up a large quantity of meat from the store and stores it all in the basement, placing a lock on the door to keep Starla from seeing it, which she questions. That night there is a town dance and Starla is getting ready for it when Grant enters the bathroom and alien tendrils emerge from his stomach but he doesn’t want to hurt Starla and quickly leaves, telling her he will meet her there. At the dance, Bill sees Starla standing by herself and works up the nerve to go talk with her and eventually dances with her. Meanwhile, Grant had gone to Brenda’s house and after learning that her husband isn’t there, he heads inside and ends up impregnanting her with the alien tendrils. Starla comes home and wonders where Grant is and when she finally sees him, asks what is wrong, as Grant’s face is swollen, and Grant tells her he had an allergic reaction to a bee sting and got some medicine from the doctor. The next day, Starla calls the doctor’s office and finds that they haven’t seen Grant in over a year and she starts to worry, while also noticing several posters for missing pets all seem to be from her neighborhood. That night, Bill and his deputy Don show up to speak with Grant in connection to Brenda’s disappearance but she tells them that he isn’t there. After they leave, Starla gets a hammer and breaks the lock on the basement door to see what is down there and she finds the carcasses of dozens of animals including the missing pets. Starla calls Bill but as she is on the phone, she sees Grant, who has begun to mutate further, outside the window and she tries to run but he attacks her and tries to impregnate her but when Bill and his deputies show up, he runs off into the woods. Three days later, Mayor Jack MacReady is pressuring Bill to find Grant when they get word of another animal attack. After checking the scene, Bill rounds up a couple of hunters to go with his deputies and they head off to stake out where Grant will most likely strike next and Starla convinces Bill to let her come too. When Grant shows up, he has mutated even further into a giant, slug-like creature and he kills a cow and drags it into the woods. Starla heads out to try and talk with Grant as Bill and the others surround him but Grant roars at them and leaves, killing one of the hunters in the process. Bill and the others follow Grant into the woods and come to an abandoned barn, and find Brenda inside, having swollen up to giant proportions. As they try to find out what happened to her, Brenda starts splitting open and Bill sees Grant outside and realizes he lead them into a trap. Brenda explodes, releasing hundreds of blood-red slugs which begin crawling over everyone and into the mouths of Don and some of the others but Bill, Starla, Jack, and Deputy Margaret. Unable to raise anyone on his radio, Bill goes back to his car to call for help and tells the others to bring the bodies out of the barn but while he is gone, Don and the others suddenly regain consciousness and begin speaking like Grant and they kill Margaret while Starla shoots Don but then her and Jack are forced to run. Meanwhile, a teenager named Kylie is taking a bath when one of the slugs tries to get in her mouth and she gains some of the creature’s memories but she is able to pull it out of her mouth and kill it. She yells for her family but they have all been infected and as the slugs start swarming the house, she gets in her family’s truck and hides. Her family suddenly appear and try to get to her when Bill shows up to find out what is going on. As their attention is turned to him, Kylie runs to him and tries to tell him that they aren’t her family when he is attacked by another person that is infected. Bill and Kylie manage to get away and make it to his car and they see Starla and Jack being chased by his infected deputy so Bill hits the deputy, and Starla kills him, and they all leave. Kylie tells them what she saw from the slug’s memories and Starla says the creature has a hive mind, which is why all of the people were talking like Grant. Bill contacts his secretary and tells her to call the CDC but she gets infected by the slugs and as Bill and the others reach town, they are ambushed by the infected people. The infected people grab Starla and Jack and drag them away but Bill and Kylie manage to get away. Bill heads to the police department to grab a grenade, theorizing that if he kills Grant, he will stop all of the infected people. When he goes inside, he is attacked by an infected deer but Kylie manages to save him and they grab the grenade and leave, with Bill saying when he retells the story, he will save her from the deer. Meanwhile, the infected take Starla back to her house and dress her in a nightgown while Jack is placed in the basement with other people who are impregnated and when he tries to escape, he ends up being impregnated as well. When Starla regains consciousness, she tries to escape but when she realizes she can’t, she grabs a hairbrush and pulls off the bristles to use as a makeshift weapon. Starla heads downstairs and finds Grants has mutated even further and begun absorbing some of the other people to increase his mass. Starla approaches Grant and tries to sooth him and say that she will stay by his side but as she goes to kiss him, she stabs him with the brush and he throws her aside. Bill and Kylie show up and try to blow him up but Grant knocks Bill out the window and the grenade falls into the pool while Kylie is slammed into a wall by a couch. Grant them tries to impregnate Bill but Bill grabs one of the tentacles and sticks it into a nearby propane tank, then tells Starla to shoot Grant. Starla does and Grant is destroyed, while all of the infected people drop dead as the hive mind is destroyed. Starla and Kylie go to check on Bill and Kylie tells him that he will be fine as Grant needed both tentacles to be impregnated. Bill is grateful for that and as they leave, he asks Kylie to tell Starla about how he saved her from a deer, unaware that a cat starts feeding on Grant’s corpse and ends up being infected.

Slither (2006) met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a certified fresh rating of 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “A slimy, B-movie homage oozing with affection for low-budget horror films, Slither is creepy and funny — if you’ve got the stomach for it.” There was some controversy when the trailers first came out for the movie as people commented online about it’s similar plot point to Night Of The Creeps but writer/director James Gunn swore that he had never seen Night Of The Creeps until after he had filmed Slither. The movie was a dud at the box office, earning $12.8 million off of a $15 million budget but became a cult hit when it came out on video.

This is a fun, ridiculous horror movie to watch. The acting was good, with Nathan Fillion (Bill), Elizabeth Banks (Starla), and Michael Rooker (Grant) all doing good jobs in their roles. The story definitely did have some similarities to Night Of The Creeps but it also had it’s own unique style to it. While there were some comedic elements to the movie, they were mostly situational and sometimes fell a little flat. The special effects in the creature design and the gore were definitely well done and showed some creativity in their use. Silly, fun, and a couple of decent scares that make it worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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