horror, movie, movie review

June 5th, 2018 Movie – Wrong Turn

wrong turn

Oh good, another cookie cutter horror movie that everyone wonders why it was made. I will be honest, when I first saw the trailers for this movie, it honestly didn’t have any real originality to it in my opinion. The only thing about it that even remotely piqued my interest was Eliza Dushku being in it, but that honestly wasn’t enough to get me into the theater to see it. I did eventually rent it when it came out on DVD and yes, this ended up being another Blockbuster purchase. Now let’s see if it was worth the purchase as I watch today’s movie, Wrong Turn.

The plot: College students Rich Stoker and Halley Smith are rock climbing in a remote West Virginia forest. Rich reaches the top first and calls out for Halley to hurry up but when she asks Rich to help pull her up, she hears a commotion and Rich’s body appears at the edge of the ledge, with blood dripping down onto Halley. Suddenly, Rich’s body disappears from view before it is tossed off the cliff and somebody starts pulling Halley up the cliff. Halley disconnects her safety line and and attempts to grabs Rich’s line but she ends up falling off the cliff and lands next to Rich’s body. Hearing maniacal laughter as someone makes his way through the brush down the cliff, Halley gets up and starts to head back to their car when she trips on some barbed wire and is dragged back into the forest. A week later, medical student Chris Flynn is driving through the West Virginia mountains on his way to Raleigh for a meeting when he gets stuck in traffic due to a tractor trailer jack-knifing and spilling chemicals onto the highway. Turning around, he attempts to call the company he is meeting to say he will be late when he realizes that he has no signal in the mountains. Making a turn to stop at a gas station, Chris asks the owner to use his phone but finds the pay phone doesn’t work. Seeing a map on the side of of the store, Chris notices an unpaved road called Bear Mountain Road that appears to meet up with the highway after a couple of miles and he decides to take it. As Chris heads down the road, he gets distracted by the sight of a dead deer and ends up crashing into a car that is stopped in the middle of the road. As Chris gets out of his car in a daze, 4 college kids (Carly, Scott, Evan, and Francine) show up, with Francine upset that he wrecked her mom’s car. Chris asks why they were stopped in the middle of the road and Evan tells him they blew out their tires on some barbed wire that was left in the road. A 5th teenager, Jessie, appears and says it wasn’t an accident as she found the barbed wire tied to a tree off the side of the road. Jessie wants to head to the gas station to use their phone but Chris tells them he was just there and it was out of order so she decides to continue on the road till they find some help, telling Chris that he can carry her bag since he hit their car. Scott and Carly decide to go with them but Evan and Francine stay by the cars in case someone drives by. As they make their way down the road, the see a fire off the side of the road and call out to see if anyone is there but when they get no response, they keep moving. Back at the cars, Francine is going through Chris’s car while Evan is looking for some food in their car when he hears something in the woods and goes to check it out. When Francine notices his is missing, she goes looking for him and finds his shoe and a few feet away, his ear and as she backs away in horror, she is killed when someone wraps some barbed wire around her face and neck and chokes her to death with it. Back on the road, the group eventually come to a cabin and call out to see if anyone is there. Getting no response, Chris decides to head inside to see if they have a phone and the others reluctantly follow him. As they look around the cabin, they find evidence that the inhabitants are cannibals and they go to leave only to see a tow truck pulling up, with their cars in tow and they are forced to hide in the cabin. The disfigured cannibals (Three Finger, Saw Tooth, and One Eye) enter the cabin, dragging Francine’s body with them, and proceed to dismember and eat part of her, while the horrified teens watch. When the cannibals go to sleep, Chris and the others attempt to sneak out of the cabin, with Chris holding the spring for the screen door so it doesn’t make any noise but as they leave, Saw Tooth wakes up and spots Chris and he quickly yells for them to run. They head up the cliff and reach a clearing that is full of the cars from the cannibal’s victims and quickly hide when they see the cannibals coming in their truck. As the cannibals get out to start looking for them, Chris comes up with the plan to steal their truck, then runs out to distract the cannibals but One Eye shoots him in the leg. Scott then runs off in the other direction, leading the cannibals away. Jessie and Carly go help Scott and they get in the truck, finding Evan’s body stored inside, and drive off, with Three Finger coming back to chase after them. They drive down the road looking for Scott and eventually see him but as they call out for him to get in the truck, Scott is shot repeatedly in the back with Saw Tooth’s arrows and killed. Chris, Jessie, and Carly continue driving down the road but find it blocked by a fallen tree and are forced to continue walking through the woods. They eventually find an old watchtower and climb up it to see if there is anything there they can use. They find some old medical supplies that Jessie and Chris use to tend to his leg, and a radio which they use to try and call for help but get no response. Chris sees the cannibals searching for them with torches and has them duck down and cover up the lights they found. The cannibals start to pass them by but the radio suddenly crackles as some responds to their call for help, alerting the cannibals to where they are. Three Finger starts climbing up the ladder and Chris and Jessie work on barricading the entrance while Carly tries to tell the people on the other end what is going on. Unable to get into the tower, the cannibals set the tower on fire to try and force the kids out. Carly breaks a window, saying she would rather jump than be killed in a fire and Chris says they should jump, saying the branches of the nearby tree can hold them. They all jump and land in the tree and when they see an arrow hit a branch near them, they decide to walk along the branches to get away. Three Finger climbs up the tree and decapitates Carly before she can start walking, much to Jessie’s horror. Chris and Jessie keep moving for a little bit, then Chris decides to set a trap for Three Finger. As Jessie yells out for him and lures him towards her, Chris, on another branch, is holding a third branch back and once Three Finger is in position, he lets go and the branch knocks Three Finger out of the tree. As One Eye and Saw Tooth go to check on their brother, Chris and Jessie manage to escape. Taking shelter in a cave behind a waterfall, Chris tells Jessie he is sorry about her friends and she explains that her boyfriend had just broken up with her and so Carl and the others decided to take her camping to get away from everything, and Chris tries to tell her it is not her fault as she feels guilty for their deaths. The next day, Chris and Jessie see the main road and start to head down the cliff towards it when they are attacked by One Eye and Saw Tooth, knocking Chris down the cliff while grabbing Jessie and taking her away. Seeing a police SUV coming, Chris rushes out onto the road to stop it and try to get him to help save Jessie but Saw Tooth shoots the cop in the eye with an arrow. Chris tries to drive off in the police SUV but find the keys are missing so he is forced to hide. Saw Tooth approaches the car but doesn’t see any sign of Chris so he puts the cop’s body in the SUV and drives off, with Chris quickly hitching a ride underneath. Back at their cabin, Jessie is tied up on one of the beds and One Eye is about to start cutting her when he is distracted by Saw Tooth arriving with the cop. As the cannibals begin hacking up the cop then approach Jessie to kill her, a fire suddenly erupts in the doorway. One Eye goes to investigate and is run over by Chris in the police SUV. Chris then attacks and stabs Saw Tooth, seemingly killing him but when he starts to free Jessie, Saw Tooth rises up and attacks him. As Saw Tooth starts to over power him, Jessie manages to finish freeing herself and shoots him in the back of the head with an arrow. Three Finger, who had survived the fall out of the tree, suddenly appears and starts attacking them but Chris chokes him with barbed wire and Jessie grabs an axe and hits him in the shoulder/chest with it. As they back out of the cabin, they see all three cannibals are still alive and attempting to still get them so Chris shoots the gas cans on the back of the police SUV, causing an explosion that destroys the cabin and kills the cannibals. Chris and Jessie drive off in the cannibals tow truck, stopping at the gas station briefly, where Chris rips the map off the wall, before heading back onto the highway. Sometime later, a deputy arrives at the cabin and begins searching the ruins when Three Finger, who survived the explosion, appears behind him and kills him with an axe.

Wrong Turn met with mixed to negative reviews from the critics, holding a 41% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “An unremarkable slasher flick that fails to distinguished itself from others of its ilk.” Several of the cast and crew ended up getting poison ivy during filming as their chairs were mistakenly placed in what was thought to be some weeds but turned out to be a large patch of the rash inducing plants. Kevin Zegers and Lindy Booth, who played Evan and Francine, would also go on to play another couple in another horror movie, 2004’s Dawn Of The Dead.  The movie was a success at the box office, earning $28.7 million off of a $12.6 million budget and would spawn 5 follow up films, 2 sequels and 3 prequels.

This was a decent horror movie but honestly it was pretty predictable. The acting was ok, with Eliza Dushku (Jessie), Desmond Harrington (Chris) and Emmanuelle Chriqui (Carly) did pretty decent jobs in their roles. The story was honestly not incredibly original, as the whole disfigured/mutated group of people/cannibals attacking a group of people has been done time and time again. It didn’t matter that both Chris and Jessie survived, as everyone could have died and it wouldn’t have made this feel different from any other slasher movie. The effects were pretty good and I did think that they did a decent job in downplaying some unnecessary gore that they could have thrown in to make it bloodier. It’s a decent movie but not something that is worth going out of your way to watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

action, comedy, movie, movie review, thriller

March 27th, 2018 Movie – True Lies

true lies

You know, usually I try to have something witty or funny to say about the movies I watch but regarding today’s movie, I am kind of at a blank. I mean I remember seeing this in theaters and on TV numerous times and enjoying it. When I saw it on DVD for cheap, I obviously decided to buy a copy of it. For all of this, I honestly can’t think of much to say about this movie. Well, I might as well get on and watch today’s movie, True Lies.

The plot: At a high class party in Switzerland, Harry Tasker, a secret agent for Omega Sector, manages to sneak inside and, after locating the owner of the house Jamal Khaled, Harry sneaks up to his office to bug his computer. Keeping in touch with the rest of his team, Albert “Gib” Gibson and Faisil, Harry leaves the office, but security gets suspicious and so Harry dances with a woman, Juno Skinner, to avoid them. Making his way outside, Harry tries to just walk through the front gate but is stopped by security so he detonates the explosives he had set up before hand, then fights his way through security, eventually meeting up with his team. After arriving back in the states, Harry returns home to his wife Helen and daughter Dana, who are unaware of his real job, believing him to be a computer salesman. The next day, Harry’s boss, Spencer Trilby, berates Harry, Gib, and Faisil over the fiasco their mission turned into and Faisil tries to explain what they have so far but Spencer doesn’t believe it is enough hard evidence. After digging into the files some more, Faisil discovers that Jamal sent $2 million to Juno, so Harry decides to go find out more. Posing as an art consultant, Harry visits Juno at her office in DC to try and find out what her connection is, not noticing some of her workers watching him. After Harry leaves, one of the workers, Salim Abu Aziz, asks to speak with Juno alone and when Juno’s assistant leaves, Aziz slaps Juno and tells her that they are being watched and suspects Harry is a government agent. Aziz and two of his men follow Harry as he leaves the hotel to head back home but Gib spots them so they detour to a mall. Aziz’s men attack Harry in the bathroom but he manages to defeat them, only for Aziz to show up and start shooting at Harry. Harry fires back and then chases after Aziz, with Aziz grabbing a motorcycle and Harry commandeering a police officer’s horse. The chase eventually makes it’s way to a hotel roof, where Aziz jumps the motorcycle off of the roof and into the pool of another hotel across the street, and Harry can only stare in frustration as he gets away. Harry returns home and apologizes to Helen but she is upset that he missed the birthday dinner she and Dana prepared for him. The next day, Harry decides to make things up to Helen by surprising her for lunch but he overhears her taking a call from someone named Simon and leaving to meet him. Upset at the idea that Helen might be cheating, Harry has Gib put surveillance equipment into Helen’s purse and then they follow her to her meeting with Simon. As they listen in on Helen and Simon’s conversation, they realize that Simon is passing himself off as a secret agent and using Harry’s exploits as his cover. Learning that Simon is actually a used car salesman, Harry approaches the dealership and talks with Simon during a test drive, learning that he hasn’t done anything yet with Helen. That night, Simon calls Helen and asks her to meet him and he takes her to his trailer, claiming it is a safe house. Inside, he asks her to go to Paris with her as the cover for his mission and Helen agrees but when Simon says they need to practice the part of being a married couple, Helen balks at actually cheating on Harry. Suddenly, Harry and a team of Sector Omega agents, wearing masks, break into the trailer and take Helen and Simon captive. Helen is placed in an interrogation room and Harry and Gib, disguising their voices, interrogate Helen and learn that she had gotten involved with Simon in order to add some excitement to what she felt was a boring life but never slept with him. Harry tells Helen they will be in touch and sends her home, then he and Gib take Simon out to the middle of nowhere and warn him to leave town. The next night, Helen is told to dress sexy and head to the hotel to seduce the man inside an plant a bug on his phone. When she gets there, she sees a man sitting in a chair and is told to undress and start dancing, not knowing that it is Harry sitting there. Harry attempts to kiss her but Helen hits him with the phone, plants the bug, and goes to leave only to stop when Harry calls out to her. Before Harry can explain, Aziz’s men break into the room and grab them both, taking them to a private jet that Juno has waiting for them. Harry tries to convince them to let Helen go but when Helen, shows Juno her locket with pictures of her and Harry, Juno has her brought along as insurance. Harry and Helen are taken to an island off the Florida Keys, where Aziz has smuggled 4 Soviet nuclear warheads, hidden inside some of Juno’s statues. Aziz has Harry verify the warheads are real, revealing to Helen that Harry is a spy, and then has him and Helen taken away for interrogation. Harry is given truth serum and while under the effects, Helen asks him how long he was a spy and he reveals that he was a spy since before they got married. Harry manages to pick his restraints and kill the interrogator and the guards, then he and Helen make their escape. They see Aziz making a video and talking about blowing up the island as a test, then threatening to detonate a warhead in a major city every week unless the U.S. pulls it’s forces out of the Persian Gulf. Realizing they have to stop them, Harry and Helen make their way through Aziz’z compound, with Harry taking out as many men as possible but Helen ends up being captured and placed in a limo with Juno while Harry escapes being blown up. Gib and the Sector Omega agents arrive and Harry explains the situation as they fly off to rescue Helen and stop the missiles. Warning people to stay clear of the island and for the Coast Guard to air lift anyone that can’t get clear, Harry calls in for air support and 2 Harrier jets arrive and take out the bridge, causing the two trucks to crash into the ocean. Meanwhile, Helen begins fighting with Juno, which causes the driver of the limo to accidentally be shot and the car to go out of control. Flying in a helicopter towards them, Harry climbs onto the landing skids and leans down to grab Helen just before the limo plunges off the ruined bridge. Landing the Harriers and helicopters on the highway safely away from the blast zone, Harry and Helen embrace and kiss as the warhead detonates in the background. Gib tells HArry that Aziz has the last warhead at a Miami office building and had grabbed Dana to use as a hostage so Harry jumps into one of the Harriers and flies off to rescue her. At the building, Aziz has a film crew brought in so he can make his demands but while they are not looking, Dana steals the ignition key for the warhead. When he notices it missing, Aziz chases after her with some of his men. Faisil, who was disguised as the cameraman, takes out the remaining soldiers on that floor while Harry arrives and uses the Harrier to take out the others in the building. Dana makes her way out on a crane on the roof and Aziz follows her, ordering his remaining men to get in the helicopter and kill Harry. Harry manages to grab Dana as she jumps onto the nose of the plane and Aziz jumps onto the plane afterwards, and attempts to kill Harry. During the struggle, Aziz ends up stuck onto one of the Harrier’s missiles and Harry fires it at the helicopter, killing Aziz and the last of his men. One year later, Harry’s family life has improved and Helen is shown to have joined Sector Omega. Harry and Helen go on an assignment and, seeing Simon there attempting to seduce another woman, quickly scare him off before dancing a tango while waiting for their contact.

True Lies met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a 72% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “If it doesn’t reach the heights of director James Cameron’s and star Arnold Schwarzenegger’s previous collaborations, True Lies still packs enough action and humor into its sometimes absurd plot to entertain.” The movie was a box office success, earning $378.9 million off of a $120 million budget and garnered several award nominations, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects and a Golden Globe win for Jamie Lee Curtis for Best Actress. A sequel was planned which would have reunited the principal cast and a script was written but the movie was scrapped, or at least indefinitely shelved, after 9/11.

James Cameron isn’t really known for his comedies but this is a pretty decent action-comedy. The acting was good, with Arnold Schwarzenegger (Harry) and Jamie Lee Curtis (Helen) doing good jobs in their roles. Tom Arnold made for some great comedic relief as Gib while Art Malik (Aziz) and Tia Carrere (Juno) made for some great bad guys. The story was interesting and had a good mixture of action and comedy going for it that kept it from being too serious while not losing any of the entertainment value. The action scenes were a little over the top, which is to be expected, but no less entertaining. This isn’t something that will absolutely blow you away but it will provide you with some laughs and excitement and makes for an entertaining watch.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

drama, horror, movie, movie review, mystery

October 17th, 2017 Movie – Soul Survivors

soul survivors

There are plenty of times that I find myself with a movie and honestly don’t know why I bought it in the first place. That is definitely the case with today’s movie. This is something that might get my attention in watching but not necessarily wanting to buy unless it is really good. That being said, when I first watched this movie I don’t recall thinking it worth buying and yet, here it is. So let me give this another viewing and see if something might have changed my mind about Soul Survivors.

The plot: Cassie walks out of a college party and when her friend, who yells at her from a window, refuses to drive her home, she decides to walk. As she stops to light a cigarette, she notices a strange man with a scarred face following her and she quickens her pace only for a second man, wearing a clear mask, to grab her and the two drag her into an alley. After placing some duct tape over her mouth to keep her from screaming, the slit her wrist and collect the blood in a bowl. Some time earlier, Cassie is packing to go to college and her boyfriend Sean is helping her move, along with her friends Annabel and Matt, who is also her ex-boyfriend. When they get to Middleton college, they attend a frat party but Annabel tells them of a rave at an old church and convinces them to go to it. As Cassie and Annabel start dancing on the dance floor, they attract the attention of the man in the clear mask and the scarred man. The man in the mask heads to the dance floor and tries to grab Cassie but she pushes him away, then meets back up with Sean. The two head outside and after kissing for a while, start talking about their relationship and saying goodbye to each other, unaware that Matt is listening. After they say they love each other, Matt makes his presence known, pretending to be drunk, and Sean goes back in the club to get Annabel while Cassie helps Matt into the car. In the car, Matt convinces Cassie to give him one last goodbye kiss but Sean sees them and refuses to talk to Cassie as she tries to explain what happened. As they leave the club, Cassie continues to ask Sean to talk to her, not noticing a car passing them containing the scarred and masked man. When the car suddenly stops in the middle of the road, Cassie slams into it and both cars go rolling down a hill. Cassie’s next memory is of being tended too by doctors and learns that Sean did not survive the crash. Returning to school and trying to move on, Cassie falls asleep in her room only to be woken up by Annabel pounding on the door, as she is trying to get Cassie to come to a party with her. As she tries to convince Cassie to come, Annabel’s new friend Raven enters Cassies apartment and asks about the pictures of Sean. saying that he is there and saw Cassie kiss Matt. Annabel and Raven leave and Cassie decides to go for a walk but she ends up being chased by Deathmask and faints when she has a vision of Sean. After coming too, she sees Matt keeping watch over her, telling her a priest had found her fainted on the ground and carried her to the hospital. After Matt escorts her back to her room, they talk and Cassie says that it is their fault that Sean died. While taking her midterm, Cassie has a hallucination that her nose is dripping blood and she is back on the operating table from the crash and ends up rushing out of the class. As she catches her breath outside, she is approached by Father Jude and she thanks him for helping her. Cassie ends up telling Father Jude about the accident and Sean’s death and how she is having trouble dealing with it and he says she is welcome to come by the church and talk any time she needs too. Cassie sees Matt and starts to walk over to him when she notices Annabel walking with Raven and the scarred man, which makes her pause. Matt signs Cassie up for a swim meet, then takes her shopping for supplies so they can paint her apartment. When Annabel shows up, they end up goofing off and painting each other, then Cassie and Annabel go to clean up but Cassie has another vision of blood erupting from the drain. Afterwards, Annabel wants to go dancing and when Matt and Cassie don’t want to go, she gets upset when it seems like Matt is trying to get back with Cassie. That night, Cassie has a dream of Sean making love to her and wakes up to find Matt in her bed. As she confronts Matt about it, Annabel shows up and finds them in a state of undress and accuses Cassie of stealing Matt after losing Sean and Matt argues with Annabel outside the apartment. After having another hallucination, Cassie heads to the library and sees Annabel making out with Raven but when they spot her, they quickly leave. Cassie leaves the library but ends up being followed by the scarred man and she quickly runs from him and races back to her apartment. She finds Matt there and she tells him what happened but he doesn’t believe her, simply giving her her medicine that she was prescribed after the crash. Some time later, Cassie is practicing swimming for the meet when she is attacked by Deathmask, who attempts to drown her, but she manages to break free and when she surfaces, he is gone, with nobody having seen him there. Cassie heads to the gazebo and sees Sean there and they talk for a while before he leads her into the woods. When she hears someone calling out to her, Sean warns her that if she stays there she will die and she runs away, but when she returns to the gazebo, she sees Matt talking to the scarred man. She heads to the church and Father Jude invites her in and talks with her, He then gives her an amulet of St. Jude for protection and lets her rest in his bed. When Cassie wakes up, she notices the calendar in his room is from 1981 and she goes to speak to the attending priest and asks to speak with Father Jude but learns that Father Jude died in 1981 and she runs from the church. Cassie competes in the swim meet but as she is swimming, she sees Deathmask watching her, which throws her off, but then sees Sean at the finish line and quickens her pace to reach him, winning the race. Afterwards, Cassie is talking with Annabel and Matt and questions them about her seeing them with the scarred man and Deathmask and Annabel gets mad at Cassie and the two argue before Cassie slaps Annabel and Annabel storms off. Cassie goes to change clothes and is attacked by Deathmask again and she manages to stab him with a fluorescent light bulb before the both fall into the pool and she quickly gets out and leaves, running into Matt who says there is nobody there. Cassie asks Matt to take her home and he agrees but takes her to the old church, saying that he is going to get Annabel first. Cassie follows him inside but they get separated and Cassie is chased by the scarred man. She ends up in a bathroom and sees Annabel and Raven fooling around and tries to get Annabel to leave but Annabel says she likes it there and runs off. Cassie goes to follow but Raven tells her to leave them alone, as they are not her friends anymore, and that she should go be with Sean. Cassie leaves and gets back in the car only to find Matt there, wanting a final goodbye kiss. She smashes him in the head with a bottle then drags him out of the car before taking off. She heads back to campus and finds Annabel lying dying in the gazebo and Annabel accuses Cassie of having killed her. As the police and crowd move towards Cassie, Cassie backs away and ends up getting hit by a car. She sees Father Jude approaching her and has a hallucination of Sean holding her hand as she is going to the emergency room. She freaks out and races out of the emergency room, with her mind going back and forth between her being back in the club or in the hospital. As the scarred man attacks her, she finds herself in another car crash, with someone trying to rescue her. She then finds herself in a hospital bed, with Raven laying in the bed next to her. Raven tells her not to be afraid before she dies and the doctors cover her face. Cassie then sees Father Jude, who explains that she is in a dream and that she shouldn’t be afraid to be with Sean. Cassie calls out to Sean and she tells him she loves him and they kiss. Later, Cassie is her hospital room and as she goes to put her necklace back on, the scarred man and Deathmask use it to strangle her. She ends up waking up in bed with Sean, revealing that everything that happened after the original car crash was all a coma-dream, and Sean had lived but Annabel and Matt died in the crash.

Soul Survivors was completely panned by the critics, holding a 4% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Soul Survivors‘ stock characters and utter lack of suspense gives viewers little reason to attempt deciphering the confusing plot.” James Marsden turned down the role of Sean to take part in X-Men, which lead to Casey Affleck’s taking the role, though he claims it to be one of his least favorite roles. The movie was a box office bomb, earning $4.299 million off of a $17 million budget.

This is a confusing mess of a movie and I still don’t know why I have it. The acting was ok, with nobody really standing out in their roles. The story was a confusing mess, doing a poor job of explaining what is going on and who survived the crash and who died. There wasn’t much in the way of special effects and the camera work felt pretty shoddy, which added to the confusion in the plot during the scenes where she was halucinating between two visions. Definitely not something that is worth watching unless you are really, really bored.

Rating: 1 out of 5