horror, movie, movie review

October 20th, 2019 Movie – Friday The 13th: A New Beginning

friday the 13th 5

We now come to the part of the series that tends to be the most controversial of all of the movies. The 5th movie has kind of been shat on for years, not just from the critics but from the fans as well. The main reason for the fan’s negativity was obviously due to the fact that for the first, and only time, since the original movie, the killer was not Jason Voorhees. That irritated a lot of the fans. However the movie is also known for the high number of on screen kills, it’s explicit nudity and sex scenes, and onscreen drug useWith all of these factors, can this movie possibly be any good? Well let’s see as I watch today’s movie, Friday The 13th: A New Beginning.

The plot: On a stormy night, 12 year old Tommy Jarvis makes his way to the cemetery where Jason Voorhees is buried, staring at the ground to ensure that Jason is still buried there. Hearing someone approach, Tommy hides and watches in horror as two grave robbers appear and begin digging up the grave. After the casket is opened, a suddenly revived Jason kills the two grave robbers and then heads over to where Tommy is hiding. As Jason moves to kill Tommy, 17 year old Tommy awakens from the nightmare he was having as the bus for the mental institute he has been a patient at arrives Pinehurst Halfway House, where Tommy will now be residing. After meeting with Dr. Matt Letter and Assist. Director Pam Roberts, Tommy heads to his room to get settled in, only to be startled by Reggie, the grandson of George (a worker there). As Tommy and Reggie talk, a police car pulls up, with Sheriff Tucker dropping off Tina and Eddie, who had been having sex in the woods on the neighbor’s property. As Tucker and Matt talk, Ethel Hubbard and her son Junior ride up, with Ethel warning Matt and Tucker to keep the kids off of her property. Later that day, good natured Joey tries to help Robin and Violet with the laundry, only to get chocolate all over the sheets. He then goes to talk with Vic, who was chopping wood, and Vic ends up killing Joey with the axe, so the authorities are called in to take Vic away, while paramedics Duke and Roy deal with Joey’s body. The next day, Tommy is struggling to deal with the violence from the day before, as he is hallucinating seeing Jason. The other kids (Robin, Violet, Jake, and Tina) are also having problems with it and when Eddie uses one of Tommy’s masks to try and scare him, Tommy flips out and starts attacking Eddie until Matt is able to separate them and calm Tommy down. Meanwhile, Sheriff Tucker is overseeing the scene where two teenagers were killed the night before, with his deputy commenting that they have a maniac on their hands. That night, Billy, one of the workers from the Unger Institute of Mental Health, shows up at a diner to pick up his girlfriend Lana. While she is closing up the diner, someone kills Billy with an axe, then kills Lana shortly afterwards. The next day, the mayor is yelling at Tucker to figure out who is killing people and Tucker says it is Jason Voorhees but the mayor chastises Tucker, saying Jason was cremated, and storms out of the station. Back at Pinehurst, Tommy is still having hallucinations about Jason and is keeping to himself. Meanwhile, Tina and Eddie sneak off into the woods to have sex again, where a drifter working for Ethel sees them but as he turns to leave, he is killed. After they finish, Eddie heads down to the nearby pond to wash up and while he is gone, Tina is killed. When Eddie returns, he sees the body and backs away in horror, only to end up being killed himself. That night, Matt is worried about Eddie and Tina but Pam says that they will be back when they get hungry, then leaves to take Reggie to see his older brother, taking Tommy with them but after they leave, Matt and George decide to go looking for the missing teens. Pam and the others arrive at the trailer park and as Pam and Reggie visit with Demon and his girlfriend Anita, Tommy encounters Junior and ends up getting in a fight with him. Hearing the commotion, Pam yells out for Tommy to keep him from killing Junior and Tommy runs off, so Pam and Reggie leave so they can find him but after they leave, Demon and Anita are killed. When Pam and Reggie get back to Pinehurst, they learn that Matt and George are gone so Pam tells Jake, Robin, and Violet to take Reggie inside while she goes to look for them. Meanwhile, Junior heads home and is riding his motorbike all around the yard while yelling to Ethel about what happened when he is beheaded, then Ethel is killed shortly later. Back at Pinehurst, Reggie falls asleep on the couch while Robin and Jake watch a movie. Jake tells Robin he likes her and wants to sleep with her but when she laughs at him, he gets upset and leaves. Jake goes to talk to Violet but she is to busy listening to her music to pay attention to him and as she leaves her room, he ends up being killed. When the movie is over, Robin covers up Reggie, then heads to her room to go to bed but when she sees Jake’s body in her bed, she starts to scream only to be killed as well. The killer then heads to Violet’s room and kills her while she is dancing. As a storm rages outside, Reggie is woken up be some thunder and goes to see if Tommy is back, only to discover Jake, Robin, and Violet’s bodies in his room. As he backs away in shock, he is grabbed by Pam, who had just returned, and indicates Tommy’s room. When Pam sees the bodies, she grabs Reggie and they go to leave when a man wearing a jumpsuit and hockey mask bursts through the door. They quickly rush out the back and through the woods, where they find the paramedics car on the side of the road. Pam goes up to the car and yells for help only to discover Duke lying dead in the drivers seat. As the killer appears on the passenger side of the car, Reggie screams and runs back into the woods, with Pam following and yelling out for him. As Pam runs through the woods, she comes across the body of Matt nailed to a tree and when she finally reaches Pinehurst, George’s body is thrown through a window. Pam goes screaming outside only to encounter the killer, who stalks after her but before he can kill her, Reggie drives a tractor through the barn door and rams it into the killer. Pam and Reggie embrace and go to make sure the killer is dead when the killer suddenly grabs Reggie’s leg. Pam is able to kick the killer off and they go running into the barn, with the killer following them. Inside the barn, Pam attacks the killer with a chainsaw, managing to slash his arm, but when it runs out of gas, she throws it at him and runs. Tommy suddenly appears in the doorway and when the killer turns to face him, Tommy thinks he is just hallucinating again. When the killer slashes Tommy across the chest, Tommy realizes that it is real and stabs the killer in the leg with his pocket knife. Pam and Reggie yell for Tommy to climb up to the hay loft where they are and the killer follows him, In the loft, the killer sees Tommy lying motionless on the ground and, believing he is dead, turns his attention to Reggie. Pam attacks the killer and as she leads him away, Reggie jumps at him and knocks him out the open doorway. Pam and Reggie go to see if the killer fell when he suddenly appears and grabs onto Reggie’s leg, attempting to drag him out of the barn. As Pam grabs Reggie to rescue him, Tommy recovers and used the machete to cut the killer’s hand, causing him to lose his grip on Reggie and fall onto some spiked beams below. As the three look down on the body, they discover that the killer was Roy, the paramedic, who had dressed as Jason in order to kill people. Later at the hospital, Tucker talks with Pam and tells her that Roy was Joey’s father and seeing him killed caused him to snap and kill Matt and the others, as he blamed them for Joey’s death. Meanwhile, in his hospital room, Tommy wakes from a nightmare in which he kills Pam and sees Jason standing over him but Tommy is finally able to deal with his fear of Jason and the hallucination vanishes. Climbing out of his bed, Tommy pulls open a nearby dresser drawer and finds a hockey mask inside. Pam is heading towards Tommy’s room to check on Tommy when she hears the sound of breaking glass. Rushing inside, Pam sees the window is broken and believes Tommy has fled the hospital, unaware that Tommy was behind the door and as he closes it, he is shown to be wearing the mask and wielding a knife.

Friday The 13th: A New Beginning was panned by the critics, holding a 16% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, the critics mostly felt that the gore and increased T&A do little to mask the unoriginal plot and lame reveal at the end. Initially, the plan was for this movie to be the start of a new trilogy of films featuring a new killer, but after the disappointing reception from fans, along with a decline in box office receipts compared to the previous two entries, the decided to bring Jason Voorhees back for the next installment. While it didn’t earn as much as previous movies, the movie was still a box office success, earning $22 million off of a $2.2 million budget.

At this point, the lack of originality in the series is definitely working against these movies. This isn’t that terrible of a movie, its just that it was nothing more than a copycat killer so it didn’t add much to the story. The acting was ok, with John Sheppard doing a good job as the traumatized and subdued Tommy. Melanie Kinnaman (Pam), Shavar Ross (Reggie), and Carol Locatell (Ethel) were also good in their roles, but everyone else didn’t really stand out. The story was ok, with the idea of someone using the story of Jason to try and explain his killing spree being a decent idea. The problem is, and I know this is going to sound a little twisted, but after a while, it gets boring seeing people killed the same way time after time again. Really the only original kill was when Roy shoved the flare in the kid’s mouth. I also didn’t care for the fact that they tried to make Roy the unstoppable machine that Jason was. I mean, he got hit by a tractor and was able to get back up and keep going with seemingly no effect? I’m sorry but that really is pushing the believability factor. The special effects with the deaths weren’t too bad but there wasn’t much else to rave about in that regard. Again, this isn’t a bad movie but it is somewhat of a disappointment compared to the others.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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October 13th, 2019 Movie – Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter

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One thing that I always found interesting about the Friday The 13th movies is the timeline, primarily with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th movies. Aside from the opening scene, the second movie takes place five years after the events of the first movie, with the third movie picking up the very next day. Then you come to today’s movie, which starts off on the night the third movie ends, meaning that Jason’s rampage was over the course of about 5 days to a week tops. I will be honest that I can’t decide if that is a good bit of world/story telling, or simple laziness so that you don’t have to really explain how he keeps showing up. Regardless, let’s see how well today’s movie holds up as I watch Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter

The plot: After a recap of the events from the previous films, the movie picks up with the police finishing cleaning up at Higgins Haven and transporting Jason’s body to the local morgue. After the morgue closes for the night, the attendant, Axel, and his girlfriend Robbie are fooling around in the morgue when Jason’s hand slips off the gurney he is lying on, scaring Robbie, who decides to leave. Axel puts Jason’s body into storage, then turns to watch TV but Jason suddenly revives and kills Axel, then kills Robbie as he leaves the hospital. The next day, Trish Jarvis and her mom are jogging around Crystal Lake before returning home, where they talk with Trish’s younger brother Tommy about the house next to theirs being rented by a group of teenagers. Meanwhile, Doug, Jimmy, Paul, Sam, Sara, and Ted are driving up to the cabin, with Jimmy complaining to Ted about his girlfriend breaking up with him. Along the way, the stop by a graveyard, where Sara notices the tombstone for Pamela Voorhees inside. They then pass by a hitchhiker but refuse to pick her up and as they drive away, the hitchhiker is killed by Jason. The teenagers finally reach the cabin and start unloading their car, being greeted by Trish and Tommy while they do so. The next day, the teenagers head to the lake and meet Tina and Terri, local twins that agree to show them to the lake. Trish and Tommy see the group as they are driving back home from town, but then have some car trouble after passing them. As Tommy tries to fix the car, they encounter a backpacker named Rob Dier, who helps them fix their car, and Trish offers him a lift to their house as thanks. Once there, Tommy quickly takes Rob up to his room to show him all of the monster masks that he has made, then Trish shows him where a trail is that leads around the lake and Rob makes his way down the trail. Back at the rental house, the teenagers are starting to party and Jimmy asks Terri to dance but after a while, Paul changes the song so he can dance with Sam, and Jimmy and Terri follow suit, as do Ted and Tina. As the party continues, Sam gets jealous when Tina starts flirting with Paul and decides to head out to the lake for a swim. As she makes her way to the lake, she hears someone moving through the woods and, thinking it is Paul, decides to tease him by getting naked and swimming out to the raft out on the lake and as she lays on the raft, Jason burst from the water and stabs her through the raft. Back at the house, Paul stops things from going to far with Tina and decides to go looking for Sam so Tina decides to turn her attentions to Jimmy, who eagerly accepts her offer to dance. Outside, Paul sees Sam on the raft and swims out to be with her but when he discovers she is dead, he quickly swims back to shore, only for Jason to kill him by shooting a spear gun into his groin. In the woods, Rob hears Paul’s screams and, grabbing a machete, heads out to investigate when he sees someone moving by his campsite and when he makes his way back, he discovers that someone had broken the stock on his rifle. Back at the house, Tina and Jimmy head upstairs to have sex, while Ted finds some old time dirty movies, which he decides to put on. Not enjoying the movie, Terri goes upstairs and tells Tina she wants to leave but Tina tells her to go without her so Terri leaves, only to be killed by Jason and pinned to one of the storm shutters. At the Travis house, Mrs. Travis comes home to find the power out and neither her kids or their dog answer her calls and heads outside, calling for their dog Gordon. Trish and Tommy return home to find their mom isn’t there and Trish decides to go find Rob to help look for her, telling Tommy to stay there in case their mother returns. Back at the house, Jimmy and Tina finish having sex and while she goes to take a shower, Jimmy heads downstairs to brag to Ted about having sex, then goes to get some wine for him and Tina, only for Jason to kill him. Tina returns to the room to find Jimmy missing and as she looks outside, she notices Terri’s bike is still there, As she looks out the window some more to see if she can spot her sister, Jason breaks through the window to grab her and throws her from the house, where she lands on Paul’s car and rolls to the ground in a heap. Meanwhile, Trish finds Rob’s campsite and ends up being attacked by Rob, who yells at her for being there. He then tells her about his sister Sandra, who was killed by Jason and tells her about his body disappearing from the morgue, and the missing hospital staff, and his belief  that Jason is alive, causing Trish to worry about Tommy. Back at the house, Jason makes his way back inside and kills Ted, who was still watching the movie, then heads upstairs, killing Doug in the shower. Sara discovers Doug’s body and goes screaming for Sam, only for Jason to kill her with an axe through the door. Back at the Jarvis house, Trish and Rob return to find Tommy still there, and Trish tries to call for help but when she gets no dial tone, Rob decides to go check next door and Trish goes with him. Seeing the broken door, they carefully make their way inside and find no sign of anyone there. Rob decides to check the basement and while he is gone, Gordon breaks free from Trish’s grip and runs upstairs, leaping out a window to the ground below. Trish heads upstairs to find Gordon but instead finds a body and yells out for Rob and as they go to leave, Jason attacks Rob, who yells at Trish to run before Jason kills him. Trish runs back to her house and she works with Tommy to barricade their house but Jason throws Rob’s body through the windows, then breaks another to grab Tommy. Trish attacks Jason with a hammer, causing him to drop Tommy, and they quickly run upstairs and lock themselves in Tommy’s room. As Jason starts to break down the door, Trish slams Tommy’s computer monitor onto his head, electrocuting him and seemingly killing him but as she steps over him so they can leave, he recovers and chases after her. As she lures Jason away from Tommy, Tommy, having seen Rob’s newspaper clippings concerning Jason, shaves his head so that he looks like Jason did as a boy. As Jason moves to kill Trish, Tommy yells out to Jason, who stops and stares at Tommy. As he moves towards Tommy, Trish tries to kill Jason but only succeeds in slicing off the hockey mask. Seeing his face, Trish drops the machete in horror and as Jason moves towards her, Tommy grabs the machete and buries it into Jason’s head. Trish and Tommy embrace each other and as Tommy hugs his sister, he sees Jason’s body twitch and quickly picks up the machete and repeatedly slashes at Jason while yelling “Die!”, all while Trish yells out his name to get him to stop. Some time later, Trish is in the hospital, where a doctor and the sheriff talk to her, and after they leave, Tommy shows up and runs to hug her, but as they embrace, Trish doesn’t notice the disturbed look in Tommy’s eyes.

Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter was panned by the critics, currently holding a 20% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “As lumberingly single-minded as its homicidal star, Friday the 13th – The Final Chapter adds another rote entry to an increasingly labored franchise.” In the morgue scene, the nurse’s name tag reads “R. Morgan, RN,” which is an homage to actress Robbi Morgan, who played Annie in Friday the 13th (1980). The movie was a box office hit, earning $33 million off of a $2.6 million budget, and despite the intentions of it being the final film in the series, the success of the film prompted another sequel to be released the following year.

Ok, There were some aspects of this movie that I liked, and there were some that just annoy the f@$#out of me. The sad part is, I remember some of these issues bothering me when I first saw this movie decades ago, and to watch it again now makes it seem even more mind boggling. Now the acting was pretty decent, with Corey Feldman doing a great job as Tommy. I also thought that Kimberly Beck did a good job as Trish, while Crispin Glover’s portrayal of the socially awkward Jimmy was great (which he seemed to use aspects of this character for his portrayal of George McFly in Back To The Future), but everyone else was just ok. The story was actually pretty decent, with Rob showing up to track down his sister’s killer, to Tommy tricking Jason much like Ginny did in Friday The 13th Part 2. However, there were a couple of scenes that just ruined any sort of “believability” for me. The first one was when Jason kills Sam in the raft. Since he stabbed her through the bottom of the raft, it would have taken in water and most likely been somewhat folded in on itself due to her body lying in it, instead of lying pristine in the water when Paul discovers her. The other issue I have is something of a timing issue in the kills. Jason kills Jimmy in the kitchen, then goes outside and climbs up to the second story in order to grab Tina and throw her out the window, then climbs back down and heads back inside to kill Ted. That honestly makes no sense to me, as I feel like he should have killed Ted, then Tina, as he would then be able to enter the upstairs through the broken window in order to kill Doug and Sara. If he killed Tina first, Jimmy might have heard the sound of the breaking glass and Jason would have still killed him, just not so much in the same way. Another thing that bothered me is that you never know what happened to Mrs. Jarvis; you are just left to assume that she was killed by Jason. The masks that Tommy “made” were top notch but that is most likely that Tom Savini, who had returned to work on this film, made them. The deaths themselves were also better than some of the previous movies but that is again most likely due to Savini’s influence. A pretty good movie that somewhat holds up and is worth giving a watch, especially during Halloween time.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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October 6th, 2019 Movie – Friday The 13th Part III

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There are a lot of things that come to mind when you think about the 80’s, and most of them are probably bad. For instance, during the early part of the decade there were a number of movies made in 3D, primarily the 3rd entry in a film series. For instance, we had Jaws 3-D, Amityville 3-D, and today’s movie, Friday The 13th Part III. Now by now, most people are probably starting to get sick of this series, and having it filmed in 3D was probably a way to get people interested in it. That being said, this film is particularly noteworthy because this is the movie where Jason finally dons what would become his signature look, a hockey mask. Now I know the 3D aspects are not going to hold up after all these years, but let’s see if the movie itself has fared any better.

The plot: Shortly after the events of the previous movie, a storm threatens to pour as Edna yells at her husband Harold as he starts to close up their market. Turning back to her television, Edna watches a news report about the murders at the camp ground when a noise outside causes her to look out the window, where she sees someone walking by her laundry that is hung up to dry. Edna goes to bring the laundry in, then catches Harold sneaking food from the market and tells him to take the rabbit that he was carrying back to it’s pen. Harold goes to put the rabbit up, but when he discovers a snake had killed the other rabbits, he is scared so bad that he races back to his apartment and heads to the bathroom, where he ends up being killed when Jason buries a meat cleaver into his chest. Edna hears the commotion and goes to look for Harold, only for Jason to grab her through the window of a door and stab a sewing needle into the back of her head. The next day, Chris Higgins and her friends Debbie, Andy, Shelly, Chuck, and Chili stop at a house to pick up Shelly’s blind date Vera before heading up to Chris’ family cabin on Crystal Lake. As they get close to the cabin, they almost run over an old man named Abel, who was sleeping in the middle of the road and waves an eyeball that he found as he warns them but they quickly drive away from him. When they finally reach the cabin, everyone heads to the lake except for Chris, who goes to take her bags inside and is surprised to find her boyfriend Rick inside waiting for her. As the group gets settled in, Shelly pulls a prank pretending that he has been killed, which ends up pissing everyone off. Vera decides to head to the store and Shelly asks to come with her but while they are there, they get into an altercation with three bikers; Ali, Loco, and Fox. As they go to leave, Shelly accidentally backs over the bikes, causing Ali to bust the windows out of their car but as Ali goes to get on his bike and chase after them, Shelly turns around and runs over Ali’s bike and wrecking it. Shelly and Vera get back to the cabin and explain what happened to the others, then Chris and Rick head out to be alone while the others stay at the cabin, unaware that Jason is watching them from the barn where he was hiding. Ali, Loco, and Fox show up at the cabin, intending on getting some payback on Shelly by siphoning gas from Chris’ van and using it to burn the barn down. As Ali and Loco siphon the gas, Fox goes exploring the barn. Loco heads out to the barn to start pouring the gasoline and finds Fox swinging from the rope used to bring hay up to the loft. Loco yells at her to stop screwing around and when he looks back up, he sees she has disappeared. Loco heads inside to try and find Fox and discovers her body pined to a rafter by a rake, then ends up being killed by Jason himself. Ali heads to the barn and yells out for the others and when he goes inside, Loco’s body falls down from the hay loft on top of him. Seeing Jason drop down from the rafters, Ali goes to attack him but Jason hits him over the head, then proceeds to bludgeon him to death. That night, as Chris and Rick sit out in the woods, Rick asks Chris why she came back to the cabin and she explains that she was there to face her fears. Chris explains that two years earlier, she had been attacked in the woods by a deformed man, blacking out from fright as he dragged her into the woods. When she woke up in her own bed, her parents thought she had made the whole thing up but she swore it had really happened, which is why she never came back to the cabin. Back at the cabin, Chuck sees someone enter the barn and, thinking it is Shelly, he and Chili decide to try and scare him but they see no sign of him. Meanwhile, Vera is sitting on the dock when Shelly plays another prank on her and she asks him why he plays these stupid pranks and Shelly walks off with his feelings hurt. Back on the dock, Vera still has Shelly’s wallet from when they were at the store and when she accidentally drops it into the lake. She goes in to get it and sees someone wearing a hockey mask and carrying a spear gun and she thinks it is Shelly, as that is what he was wearing when he scared her, but it is actually Jason, who shoots her in the eye with the spear gun. Jason makes his way inside the cabin and heads upstairs, where he kills Andy as he is walking on his hands. Jason then heads into Andy and Debbie’s bedroom as Debbie finishes her shower, then lays on their hammock and reads a magazine. When blood suddenly starts dripping onto the magazine, she looks up to see Andy’s body in the rafters, just as Jason grabs her from underneath the hammock and stabs her through the chest with a knife. Meanwhile, Chuck is cooking some popcorn when Chili asks him to check the fuse box in the basement, as the lights had gone out. While he is gone, Shelly enters the back door, trying to get Chili to help him as his throat has been cut, but Chili thinks he is playing a joke and so he collapses against the door and eventually dies. Back in the basement, Chuck gets the circuit breakers fixed only to be confronted by Jason, who throws Chuck into the fuse box, causing him to get electrocuted. As the lights go out again, Chili realizes that Shelly is really dead and goes calling for help, only to be killed by Jason, who slams a red hot fire poker into her stomach. Chris and Rick return to the cabin and realize something is wrong when they can’t find anyone inside. Rick goes outside to the basement and Chris calls out for him but sees no sign of him, not realizing that Jason has grabbed Rick and after she heads back inside, Jason kills Rick by crushing his skull. Seeing some water dripping down from upstairs, Chris heads upstairs and finds a bunch of bloody clothes in the overflowing tub. Going back outside to look for Rick, Chris is startled when Loco’s body suddenly drops down from the hayloft. She heads back inside the cabin, locking all of the doors while calling out for Rick, only to scream when Rick’s body is thrown through the window next to her. As she rushes to his body, Jason enter the cabin through the busted window and moves towards her so Chris rushes upstairs and hides, only to find Debbie’s body in the room with her. As Jason breaks down the door, Chris grabs the knife from Debbie’s body and attacks Jason with it, stabbing him in the leg, then quickly runs into another room. She breaks a window and starts to climb out only for Jason to grab her and start to drag her back in, but her Jacket rips and she falls to the ground. As Jason chases after him, she hits him with a piece of firewood, then races for her van and tries to flee, only to have it run out of gas. As she activates the reserve tank, Jason catches up to her and grabs her through the window, causing her to jump out of the car and head back to the cabin. She reaches the barn and attempts to hide but Jason finds her and gives chase. Chris climbs up to the loft and manages to knock Jason out, then quickly ties the rope around his neck and throws him off the ledge, hanging him from the outside of the barn. Making her way downstairs, Chris goes to leave the barn only to find that Jason is still alive. As Jason removes the rope from his neck, the mask comes off and Chris realizes that Jason is the man that had chased her in the woods years ago. Chris cowers in shock as Jason approaches her when Ali, who had only been knocked unconscious, attacks Jason. Jason quickly cuts off Ali’s hand, then proceeds to hack him to death but as he turns back to Chris, Chris grabs an axe and buries it in his face, seemingly killing him. Chris then gets into a canoe and rows out into the lake, where she drifts along for the rest of the night. As day breaks, Chris wakes up and sees Jason is still alive and back in the cabin and he quickly races out to chase her. Chris tries to get away only to get stuck in some debris and as she turns to look, she realizes that she had only dreamed Jason was still alive, just as Pamela Voorhees lunges up from the water and drags her into the lake. Sometime later, the police arrive, and find Chris still in the canoe but don’t believe her story about a woman in the lake and as they take the traumatized girl away, she screams as she sees Jason’s body still lying in the barn where he fell.

Friday The 13th Part III was panned by the critics, currently holding a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. While there isn’t a critical consensus on the site, most of the critics felt that the movie lacked any originality and merely provided a fresh batch of actors to portray teenagers getting killed in gory ways. Originally, the story was supposed to focus on Ginny Field recovering from the events of the previous movie, but when she discovers Paul’s body in her dorm room, she decides to go after Jason for a final showdown, closing out the franchise as a trilogy. However, Amy Steel declined to reprise her role so the idea was scrapped. The film was a box office hit, earning $36.7 million off of a $2.2 million budget, making it the second highest grossing horror movie of 1982 (behind Poltergeist), and was the first movie to knock E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial out of the #1 spot.

Yeh, sometimes these old horror movies can hold up when watched years later, and some don’t. This is one of the ones that doesn’t really hold up. That being said, it can be entertaining just for how bad it is at times. The acting was decent for the most part, though several people were just terrible during their death scenes, particularly Rachel Howard. The story was honestly pretty weak and I really wonder what the movie would have been like if they had gone with their original idea. I didn’t have a problem with Jason surviving and killing again, but the whole aspect of Chris having encountered him in the past honestly felt like a bit of a reach. The special effects were ok, though I always think it is funny to watch a 3D movie without the 3D benefit, as you can tell where the scenes are supposed to be looking like they are coming towards you. While I think most of the scenes added nothing to the overall movie, I do think the scene where Jason shoots the speargun at Vera would have been cool to see, with the 3D making the spear look like it is coming right at you. It’s not a great entry in the series, but it can be fun to watch if you enjoy the movies.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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September 29th, 2019 Movie – Friday The 13th Part 2

friday the 13th 2

This is a story about the love between a mother and her son. See, the mother loved her son and when he drowned, she decided to get avenge his death by killing everyone she believed was responsible. When the mother was beheaded by one of her intended victims, the boy somehow sensed his mother’s death and rose up from his watery grave to attack his mother’s killer. He would then begin his own campaign to continue his mother’s work, spawning a legacy of terror that would reign for decades. That, in a nutshell, is the motivation for today’s movie (as well as all of the subsequent sequels), Friday The 13th Part 2.

The plot – Two months after surviving the murders at Camp Crystal Lake, Alice Hardy is still recovering from the ordeal in her apartment. Waking up from a nightmare of reliving her encounter with Mrs. Pamela Voorhees, and dealing with a phone call from her concerned mother, Alice goes to get her cat some food but as she opens the fridge, she is horrified to find Pamela’s head inside the fridge, just as a mysterious assailant stabs her through the temple with an ice pick. Five years later, Paul Holt is hosting a camp counselor training session at Crystal Lake; with his assistant Ginny, Jeff, Sandra, Ted, Mark, Scott, Terry, and Vickie among the attendees. As they all sit around a campfire that night, Paul tells the assembled counselors about Jason, how his body was never recovered from the lake and some of the locals believes he is still wandering the woods near Camp Crystal Lake. He also tells them about Alice and how she had disappeared, with nothing but a lot of blood found in her apartment and how some say that Jason had gotten his revenge on her. After Ted scares the counselors by wearing a mask and waving a spear, Paul tells the group that Camp Crystal Lake is off limits, then has everyone head back inside the cabins. As the counselors all have some fun before heading to bed, Crazy Ralph has made his way to the camp to try and warn the counselors to leave the area but as he is hiding behind a tree, someone uses some barbed wire as a garrote and kills him. The next day, as the counselors all head down to the lake, Sandra convinces her boyfriend Jeff to go with her to Camp Crystal Lake but they end up getting caught by Deputy Winslow. After telling Paul to keep the counselors away from the camp, Winslow heads back towards town but spots someone wearing a burlap sack for a mask race across the road heading towards the camp. Winslow gives chase, eventually finding a cabin deep in the woods and as Winslow checks inside,  he sees something in the back room that terrifies him, just before the mystery person kills him with a hammer. That night, Paul invites all of the counselors to a night on the town before the training gets serious, with Jeff and Sandra staying behind as punishment for their running off, and Terry Scott, Mark, and Vickie stay behind as well. After the counselors all leave, Terry decides to go skinny dipping in the lake but as she is out in the water, Scott steals her clothes and tauntingly tosses them to her as she gets out of the water. As Scott runs away from her, he ends up caught in a snare trap and suspended in the air. Terry considers leaving him there but decides to get something to cut the rope with and while she is gone, someone slits Scott’s throat. Terry returns to free Scott but when she sees that he is dead, she starts screaming, only to be confronted by someone. Meanwhile, at the bar, Ginny is talking with Paul and Ted about Jason and whether he could possibly be alive, but they both laugh off the notion. Back at the training center, Jeff and Sandra head upstairs to have sex, leaving Mark and Vickie downstairs. Vickie asks Mark about how he ended up in a wheelchair and as they get closer, they start making out and make plans to spend the night together. Vickie heads to her cabin to get ready but after she is gone for a while, Mark gets worried and goes looking for her, only to be struck in the face by a machete and sent rolling down the stairs. The killer then makes his way inside the main cabin and heads upstairs, where he kills Jeff and Sandra as they finish having sex. Vickie returns to the main cabin and when she doesn’t see him waiting for her, she heads upstairs to ask Jeff and Sandra if they have seen him, only to be surprised by the killer and stabbed with a kitchen knife. Paul and Ginny come back from the bar to find the lights out in the cabin and a mass amount of blood on one of the upstairs bed. As they head back downstairs to wait for the rain to stop so they can look for the others, Ginny sees the killer rise up behind Paul and shouts out a warning. Paul and the killer struggle in the dark and Ginny loses sight of them but when the killer rises up, Ginny screams and runs off. The killer chases her through the cabin and grounds, forcing Ginny to run into the woods to try and hide, where she eventually comes across the cabin. Calling out for help, Ginny enters the cabin but as she looks around, she sees Pamela’s desiccated head on a table in the back and realizes that the killer is Jason. Jason starts to break into the cabin so Ginny quickly dons Pamela’s sweater and tries to convince Jason that she is his mother, telling him he has done a good job. Getting him to kneel down, Ginny goes to slash him with the machete but as she moves, Jason sees his mother’s head and realizes he is being tricked. Jason deflects the blow, then slashes Ginny’s leg but before he can kill her, Paul shows up and jumps onto Jason. The two struggle, with Jason getting the upper hand but before he can kill Paul, Ginny swings the machete into Jason’s neck, dropping the killer. Ginny takes off the sack and Paul and Ginny react in horror to Jason’s face then head back to the cabin, where Paul starts to tend to Ginny’s wound. Hearing something at the door, the two arm themselves and Paul opens it to discover it is Terry’s dog Muffin but as the relax, Jason bursts through the window and grabs Ginny, dragging her outside. When morning comes, Ginny is being loaded into an ambulance by the authorities, with her asking where Paul is, but there is no sign of Paul or Jason.

Friday The 13th Part 2 was panned by the critics, holding a 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Friday the 13th Part 2 sets the template for the franchise to follow with more teen victims, more gruesome set pieces, and fewer reasons to keep following along.” When Adrienne King was asked to reprise her role of Alice, she said that she wanted to only be on screen for a short time, as she was dealing with an obsessed fan after the release of Friday The 13th and feared for her life. The stalking was so bad that this resulted in her not taking any on screen roles for almost 30 years, though she did do some voice over work for several movies in the 90’s. While it didn’t earn as much as the original, the movie was still a box office success, earning $21.7 million off of a $1.2 million budget.

I’m not ashamed to admit it, these movies have always entertained me for how ridiculous they can be, but even I can admit that they should have never made a sequel to the original movie. That being said, this is still a pretty decent horror movie, even though it was rather predictable how it was going to turn out. The acting was ok, with Amy Steel doing a good job in her role as Ginny. I did like Adrienne King and Betsy Palmer reprising their roles of Alice and Pamela from the original movie and thought their small parts did a decent job in trying to keep the two movies connected while also expanding on it. The story was a pretty basic horror movie fare, but I did have a couple of problems with it. First off, I hated the ending, primarily the fate of Paul, as you are left with no idea if he lived or died. But the thing that bothered me more than anything was towards the beginning, when Jason kills Alice and as he leaves, he takes the tea kettle off of the burner. Why would he even bother doing that. It honestly made no sense and actually killed the mood, as it made it seem more comedic that scary. The special effects were ok, though some of the kills seemed to be a little muted, which is a little odd for a slasher film. This mainly involved the deaths of the women. For some reason the director seemed to be a little squeamish about showing excessive violence against the women (Terry’s death actually happening off camera and never shown as to how she died), even though there was no such hold up in the original movie. For all my issues, this is still a decent horror movie to watch, if for no other reason than to laugh at how ridiculous it is.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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horror, movie, movie review

September 22nd, 2019 Movie – Friday The 13th (1980)

friday the 13th 1980

So tomorrow is the Fall Equinox, which means it is officially autumn, and that means that Halloween is right around the corner. Since last week was Friday the 13th, I decided that I should start doing a marathon session of movies featuring everybody’s favorite hockey mask wearing slasher, Jason Voorhees. Now I will be completely honest, I watched these movies completely out of order my first go around; with my first one having been the 3rd movie in the series first. In fact, I’m pretty sure I watched almost every sequel made at the time (2-6) before I finally got a chance to see this movie. Anyways, this may not have been the first slasher movie, but it is definitely the one whose series defined the genre so let’s have some fun going back to camp as I watch today’s movie, Friday The 13th (1980).

The plot: One night in 1958, two camp counselors at Camp Crystal Lake leave the other counselors and head to the storage barn to have sex. As they are fooling around, they are surprised by an unseen person, who kills the two teenagers. In the present day, on June 13th, teenager Annie Phillips is backpacking through a small town and heads into a diner to ask how far it is to Camp Crystal Lake. The diners are surprised to hear that Camp Crystal Lake, which the townsfolk refer to as Camp Blood, is reopening and a truck driver, Enos, offers to take her to a crossroads that is halfway there. As Annie and Enos head to Enos’ truck, they are confronted by Crazy Ralph, who tells Annie that Camp Blood has a death curse and she will never go back, then rides away on his bicycle as Enos and Annie get in the truck. As they are driving down the road, Enos tells Annie about the history of the camp; the two murders in ’58, a kid drowning in ’57, and some fires in ’62. Enos tells Annie she should quit but she refuses so he drops her off at the crossroads, wishing her luck. Meanwhile, Ned Rubenstein, Marcie Cunningham, and Jack Burrell arrive at Camp Crystal Lake and are greeted by Steve Christy and Alice Hardy. After putting the kids to work getting the camp ready, Steve talks with Alice alone, as they have had a relationship in the past, and convinces her to stay a week before she heads back to California. Steve then heads into town to get some more supplies, leaving Alice, Jack, Marcie, and Ned, along with Bill Brown and Brenda Jones, to continue getting the camp ready to open. Back on the road, Annie manages to get a ride from an unseen person but when the driver passes the road to Crystal Lake and speeds up, Annie jumps out of the car. The driver stops and Annie attempts to escape into the woods but the driver catches up to her and kills her. Back at the camp, the 6 kids continue getting the camp ready when a police officer shows up and warns them about Ralph, who was seen heading their way, then leaves when he is called in to return to the sheriff’s station. After he leaves, Alice is shocked to find Ralph hiding in the pantry and he warns them all that they are doomed if they stay before he rides away on his bike. As the day wears on, Ned sees someone enter a cabin and goes to investigate, but never comes back out. As it starts to get dark and a storm approaches, Jack and Marcie end up taking shelter in the same cabin Ned had gone in, then begin having sex in one of the bunk beds, unaware that Ned’s dead body is in the bunk above them. When they finish, Marcie leaves the cabin to go use the restroom, Jack is killed when someone underneath the bed shoves an arrow through both the mattress and his throat. The killer then heads to the bathroom, using an axe to kill Marcie. Meanwhile, Alice, Bill, and Brenda were playing games in the main cabin when the storm starts to get worse, and Brenda heads out, as she left the windows in her cabin open. After reaching her cabin, Brenda hears someone calling out for help and goes to investigate only to end up being shot with an arrow. Alice heard Brenda’s scream and she and Bill go to investigate, discovering a bloody axe in Brenda’s bed. After looking around and not finding anyone, they decide to head to the office to try and call for help but the phone line has been cut. When they try to leave but discover that the car won’t start, Alice wants to just hike out of the camp but Bill convinces her to wait for Steve to get back. Meanwhile, Steve’s jeep ends up getting stuck on the side of the road and he gets a ride from one of the local deputies, who drops him off at the edge of camp when a call comes in about a traffic accident. Steve hikes up the road towards the camp but is confronted by someone, and as Steve recognizes the person and asks what they are doing there, the person stabs Steve. Back at the camp, the killer shuts down the generator so Bill goes to check it out, leaving Alice sleeping on the couch in the main lodge. Alice wakes up and finding the lights back on, decides to make some coffee but changes her mind and goes looking for Bill since he hasn’t come back to the lodge. She finds Bill pinned to a cabin door by several arrows and runs screaming back to the lodge, barricading herself inside.  When Brenda’s body is thrown through one of the windows, Alice begins crying in terror until she sees a jeep pull up. Thinking it is Steve, Alice quickly rushes outside but pulls up in shock when a woman approaches her. The woman says that her name is Mrs. Voorhees, an old friend of the Christys, and Alice rushes into her arms, sobbing out what has happened. Mrs. Voorhees thinks Alice has just been frightened by the storm and heads inside to see for herself. After seeing the carnage, Mrs. Voorhees tells Alice that Steve should have never tried to open the place. She then tells Alice about the boy who drowned in ’57, saying his name was Jason and that he drowned because the counselors that were supposed to be watching him were busy having sex. She then says that she was Jason’s mother and that today was his birthday, revealing herself to be the killer. Mrs. Voorhees attempts to kill Alice but Alice grabs a fire poker and knocks her down, then tries to leave, discovering Annie’s and Steve’s bodies in the process. Alice tries to arm herself but Mrs. Voorhees catches up to her, all while saying “Kill her, Mommy” in a child like voice. Alice manages to get away and ends up by the lake, where Mrs. Voorhees attacks her with a machete but Alice manages to knock it from her hand. As the two continue to struggle, Alice manages to grab the machete and cut off Mrs. Voorhees’ head, then stumbles in shock towards the nearby canoes and pushes one into the water before climbing in. The next morning, Alice wakes up in the canoe and sees the police on the shore, waving her towards them but before she can paddle to shore, the decomposing body of Jason emerges from the lake and grabs her, dragging her into the water. Alice wakes up screaming to find herself in the hospital and the sheriff tells her that her parents are on their way to get her. When Alice asks about the boy in the lake that pulled her into the water, the sheriff tells her that his men didn’t find any boy there, to which Alice replies, “He’s still there.”

Friday The 13th (1980) met with mixed results from the critics, currently holding a 62% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Rather quaint by today’s standards, Friday the 13th still has its share of bloody surprises and a ’70s-holdover aesthetic to slightly compel.” Tom Savini was one of the first crew members brought on board, as the producers loved his special make-up effects in Dawn Of The Dead (1978). The scene with the snake was not in the script, and was an idea from Tom Savini after an experience in his own cabin during filming. The snake in the scene was real, including its on-screen death. The movie was a box office success, earning $59.8 million off of a $550,000 budget, which led to 9 sequels, a crossover with Nightmare On Elm Street, and a reboot in 2009.

While I wouldn’t necessarily call it groundbreaking, this is still a pretty decent horror movie to watch. The acting was ok, with Betsy Palmer doing a great job as Mrs. Voorhees, the grief-crazed mother of everyone’s favorite hockey-masked killer. Adrienne King was also good in her role as Alice, while it was fun seeing another early performance of Kevin Bacon (Jack), even though he didn’t last very long. The story was decent, as the tale of a parent driven mad by grief over a lost child can make for a good movie. Keeping the identity of the killer hidden for so long, and only letting it be revealed in the last 15-20 minutes of the movie was a good idea, especially with the killer being a woman, which was an almost unheard of concept at that point in time. The special effects work regarding the various deaths was top notch, which is to be expected of Savini’s work. The kills themselves were fairly subdued as compared to what will happen in future movies, but they were still effective. A good movie worth the watch if for no other reason than it’s setup for the movies to come.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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August 25th, 2019 Movie – The Meg

the meg

Many years ago, while perusing the aisle of Barnes & Noble, I came across a book called “The Trench” which piqued my interest. See, this book was being advertised as one of the greatest shark stories since “Jaws”, and the fact that it focused on the megalodon, made me immediately pick this book up and start reading it, then picked up “Meg: A Novel Of Deep Terror”, as I learned that “The Trench” was a sequel. A few years later, I heard rumors that Hollywood was looking to make a movie based on “Meg”, but it ended up getting stuck in developmental hell so my hopes of seeing a movie version were soon dashed. I didn’t pay much attention to what was going on with this movie until a few years ago, when I heard that Jason Statham had been cast in the lead role and that filming had begun. This was like a giant Christmas present to me so I eagerly awaited for the movie to land in theaters so I could finally watch The Meg. Recently, I decided to check out all of The Meg books from my local library and figured that I should continue in that vein with my movie choice today so let’s have some fun with The Meg.

The -plot: Deep in the Philippine Trench, Jonas Taylor and his crew are attempting a deep sea rescue of a damaged nuclear sub. As Jonas finds a wounded man and begins bringing him back to the sub, something begins slamming into the hull of the damaged sub, causing it to begin to collapse. Jonas tells his crew to get back to their sub but as he brings the wounded sailor on board, his crew, Marks and D’Angelo, tell Jonas that they are trapped. Realizing that if the sub implodes, it will kill him and the rescued sailors as well, Jonas makes the difficult decision to leave his crew so he can save everyone else, though medical officer Heller says Jonas was a coward and left the men to die. 5 years later, billionaire Jack Morris heads out to the underwater research facility Mana One, which he financed, where he is greeted by Dr. Minway Zhang, Zhang’s daughter Suyin, and Suyin’s daughter Meiying. After descending to the command deck of the lab, Zhang explains his theory that what scientist initially believed to be the bottom of the Mariana Trench was actually a dense thermocline of hydrogen sulfide, concealing an environment completely cut off from the rest of the world, where new species of aquatic life can be found thriving. Morris, Zhang, Suyin, and the rest of the command crew (James “Mac” Mackriedes, Jaxx, DJ, and Heller) watch on the monitors as the sub crewed by Lori Taylor, Toshi, and The Wall, descends through the thermocline and begins exploring the area. Suddenly, the sub picks up a large object on it’s sonar, which attacks the Rover the released for exploration and as the object begins attacking them, Lori shouts into the radio that Jonas was right before the Mana One loses radio contact with the sub. As the command crew discuss their options to rescue the sub, Mac says their best bet is to get Jonas, as he is the only man to successfully complete a rescue at that depth. Heller and Suyin argue against Mac involving Jonas, as Heller says that Jonas had imagined something attacking the sub during the rescue, but Zhang overrules them, saying he owes it to the sub’s crew to give them the best chance possible. Mac and Zhang head to Thailand, where Jonas is now living, and after playing him the tape of the sub’s last communication and telling Jonas that his ex-wife Lori was the one piloting the sub. Back in the sub, The Wall manages to restore power back to the sub so they don’t freeze to death but Lori realizes the lights will attract whatever attacked them and goes to turn them off but is too late as the sub is struck again, with Lori being impaled by a screwdriver before they can get the lights turned off. Back on Mana One, Heller is showing Suyin the footage of his session with Jonas, telling her that Jonas had imagined the creature as a result of a bout of psychosis of the deep when DJ tells them about the sub being attacked and leaking air, prompting Suyin to get into one of the deep sea gliders to try and rescue them. Jonas, Max, and Zhang arrive shortly after Suyin’s launch and after a brief medical exam by Heller, much to Jonas’ annoyance, Jonas heads to the sub and follows Suyin down to the bottom of the trench. Suyin breaks through the thermocline and as she locates the sub and prepares to rig it for towing, she is attacked by a giant squid. As the squid begins to crush the glider, it’s grip suddenly goes slack and Suyin sees that it has been killed by a massive megalodon. Jonas breaks through the thermocline and as the megalodon begins heading towards the glider, he is able to lure it away by firing some flares from his sub. Jonas tells Suyin to head back to the surface, then he heads to the damaged sub and manages to rescue Lori and The Wall but when the megalodon begins heading back for them, Toshi closes the hatch and turns on the damaged sub’s lights, sacrificing himself so the others can escape. When they reach the surface, Heller works on saving Lori’s life and Suyin blames Jonas for Toshi’s death but later apologizes for her commnets. Later, a meeting is held to discuss the megalodon and while Zhang wishes to take things slow in studying it, Morris want to rush things, as he feels it is a potential gold mine in the making. As arguments break out on how to proceed, Meiying is playing in another portion of the base when she spots the megalodon staring at her, right before it attempts to bite the window. Mac and Jonas both feel the collision and they head out to see what happened, accompanied by Suyin. They find Meiying, who tells them there is a monster outside, just as they see the megalodon kill a baby humpback whale that the research station was studying. Everyone heads back to the command center, where Jaxx tells them her theory about how the megalodon managed to reach the surface. Suddenly, the Mana One receives a distress signal from 3 boats and when they head out to investigate, they find the megalodon has destroyed the three boats and eaten the crews. They see the megalodon swimming nearby and Jonas heads out and manages to shoot a tracking dart into the megalodon, then is pulled back onto the boat before the megalodon can eat him. The crew then prepares a shark cage so that Suyin can shoot some poison-filled darts into the megalodon’s mouth. Suyin manages to shoot the megalodon but it attacks the cage, causing the ship’s crane to fall onto the deck. Jonas dives into the water to rescue Suyin, while The Wall rigs the ship’s second crane to form a trap for the megalodon and the manage to capture it as it goes after Jonas and Suyin, with it’s struggles against the cable causing it to drown. After reviving the nearly dead Suyin, the crew are congratulating themselves on killing the megalodon when a second, even larger megalodon, leaps out of the water, swallowing The Wall as it attacks the dead megalodon. The ship is flipped over and as everyone tries to make it back onto the sinking ship, Jonas helps the severely wonded Zhang while Heller sacrifices himself to ensure that Jaxx makes it back onto the ship. Mac manages to grab the life boats and they head back to Mana One, only for the megalodon to follow them but Morris’ security team manages to tag it before driving it away. Zhang dies before they reach the station and Morris tells the assembled crew that he has alerted the authorities and is closing down the station until the megalodon is killed. However, Morris did not contact the authorities and instead, made plans to kill it himself. Morris and his men head out and his helicopter drops some depth charges but instead of killing the shark, they kill a whale. As Morris tells his men they need to leave, he is accidentally knocked overboard and ends up being killed by the megalodon as it feeds on the whale. The next day, Mac learns what Morris had done and Jonas makes plans to commandeer the evac ship so they can go after and kill the megalodon. The megalodon heads to Sanya Bay, where panic erupts when people notice the giant shark swimming around. As the shark begins attacking the people, Jaxx and DJ lower a buoy playing recorded whale songs, luring the megalodon away from the bay and towards where they plan on attacking it. When the megalodon arrives, it destroys the buoy and chases after Jonas, who damages his own glider and lures it towards Suyin so she can fire a torpedo at it but the torpedo explodes too soon. Suyin then lures the megalodon towards Jonas but his torpedo doesn’t fire and he is forced to avoid the megalodon , causing it to strike the evac ship in the process. On the surface, some news choppers are hovering over the ship to report on the megalodon when two of them collide in mid air, with the wreckage falling onto the ship. Mac, Lori, Jaxx, DJ, and Meiying are forced to jump into the water to avoid the debris and Suyin heads back to the surface to help them. Jonas then pilots his sub and uses the damaged side of his glider to slash into the megalodon’s stomach but it hits him with it’s tail, causing his glider to lose power and allowing the megalodon to grab it in it’s mouth. As the megalodon crushes down on the glider, Jonas is able to escape and plunges a spear gun into the megalodon’s eye, finally killing it. As Jonas watches the megalodon begin to sink, a massive swarm of sharks appear and begin to feed on the carcass. A hammerhead approaches Jonas but Suyin arrives and rescues him, then takes him to the ferry that rescued the others. As the crew recover from the ordeal and toast their lost friends, Jonas sits with Suyin and Meiying and discusses taking a vacation.

The Meg met with mixed reviews from the critics, currently holding a 46% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “The Meg sets audiences up for a good old-fashioned B-movie creature feature, but lacks the genre thrills — or the cheesy bite — to make it worth diving in.” In the books, the megalodons were albinos, with a luminescent glow due to adapting to the absence of light in the deep water trench, but that proved to be too difficult to render in CGI so they chose to make the sharks look more like the typical great white shark. Disney had bought the film rights for the book in 1997 but got cold feet about competing against Deep Blue Sea so they went into turnaround (offered it to another studio so they could recoup their costs). Despite the mixed reviews, the movie was a commercial success, earning $530.3 million off of a $178 million budget, and a sequel is in developement, with a script currently being in the works.

Let me go ahead and say, it has taken me a long time to stop comparing a movie to the book it is based on. Ok, that is a lie because I still do it, but I am at least usually able to enjoy a movie even if it doesn’t match up perfectly to the book. That is why, even though there were several differences between the original book and the movie, I was able to enjoy The Meg. The acting was pretty good in this movie, with Jason Statham (Jonas) doing a great job in the lead role, as was Bingbing Li (Suyin) and Shuya Sophia Cal (Meiying), with the interaction between them being really good. I also liked Rain Willson (Morris), Cliff Curtis (Mac), and Ruby Rose (Jaxx), as they turned in some pretty good performances as well. While the story did differ from the book, the plot was still pretty decent and they did rework some scenes from the book to fit with the plot of the movie. I do think they could of done a little more in explaining how the megalodons survived in the trench, instead of the brief, glossed over theory that was shown during that one briefing scene. One thing I did like was all the various allusions to “Jaws” that occurred throughout the film, since Benchley’s novel was something of an inspiration for Steve Alten’s novel. The special effects in the movie were pretty good, and I do have to give props to the CGI team on the megalodons, as they really did look more terrifying than your average shark. I also liked the visual effects during the underwater scenes, especially the scenes in the trench, as they showcased some real underwater beauty in those brief scenes before the megalodon attacked. It’s no Jaws, but this was an entertaining movie and worth giving a shot.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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August 18th, 2019 Movie – Rajin’ Cajun Redneck Gators (a.k.a. Alligator Alley)

rajin' cajun redneck gators

Today brings us the last entry in the Shark Bait box set and the other movie I was most excited to be getting in this set. Now I am somewhat ashamed to admit that I had completely missed this movie when it first debuted on Syfy. In fact, it would be 2-3 years later when I happened to see this movie on the schedule and immediately set my DVR to record it, as the name alone had my curiosity piqued. I mean, come on. How can you not be interested in seeing a movie with a title like that. Well my first thought when watching it was, “Hey, that’s Zoe from Eureka.”, which made me pretty happy to know that Syfy was trying to get actors from their original series to play roles in their original movies. Then I started laughing my ass off as I continued watching the movie. So it’s time to sit back and laugh again as I watch today’s movie, Rajin’ Cajun Redneck Gators.

The plot: Deep in the south Louisiana bayou, Dathan Robichaud has pulled up to the swamp and is dumping out a batch of bad moonshine, briefly talking to two Doucette’s that are fishing nearby. As Dathan drives off, he is unaware that the two fishermen are being attacked by an unseen creature. Meanwhile, Avery Doucette is returning home after spending the last 4 years in college and after greeting her dad, Lucien, she heads out with him and her cousin Bud, who is constantly hitting on her, as they go hunting some gators. The three end up anchoring off of the Robichaud property, they are confronted by Wade, Dathan, and Dale Robichaud. As Lucien and Wade begin arguing, Dathan and Avery subtly wave at each other when Wade suddenly shoots at the Doucette’s boat, hitting a large alligator that was underwater. As Lucien and Bud work to bring the gator on board, it comes back to life, biting Lucien’s hand before he is finally able to kill it. As the Doucettes head back to the dock to unload the gator, Avery comments about the gator’s unusual coloring and spikes on it’s tail but Lucien dismisses her concerns and heads inside the local watering hole so Avery can say hello to the rest of the Doucettes. Suddenly, the surviving fisherman bursts into the bar screaming about the gator attack and when the sheriff arrives, he tells his deputy, who is a Doucette, to go check out the area where the attack happened. As the Doucette’s family cookout commences, Avery manages to get rid of Bud and heads down to the water for a swim, where she is secretly joined by Dathan. As the two kiss, the fisherman yells at them from the bank, just as another alligator skewers him with it’s tail spikes before eating him. Avery heads back to the cookout and tells her dad what happened but her family mocks her and don’t believe what she is saying so she calls Dathan and asks him to meet her. As Dathan gets his gear together, he stops by to talk to his dad, who says his latest batch of moonshine is bad as well, and they discuss his pouring out the bad shine into the swamp, as well as why the Doucettes and Robichauds hate each other. Meanwhile, Deputy Doucette comes across a swamper who has caught a gator but the man is soon killed and as Doucette starts to radio in on what is happening, she is decapitated by another gator. The next day, Sheriff Landry is trying to get the Doucettes to calm down but Lucien and Bud are adamant that Wade, Dale, and Dathan are the ones that killed their family and go out to find them. Meanwhile, Avery and Dathan had been out all night trying to find the gators and their nest. They manage to find a likely area but when their boat stalls out, a gator starts swimming towards them and begins attacking the boat. On the shore, Lucien, Bud, and some other Doucettes are confronting Wade and Dale on the water’s edge when they hear Avery call out for help, so they quickly yell out to the gator to try and distract it. The group manage to kill the gator but when some more gators begin showing up, they quickly head for Avery and Dathan’s boat, with Landry showing up to help them escape. That night, as Avery and Lucien argue aver her being with Dathan, Lucien’s wife Candy goes out looking for her dog when a gator appears nearby. Her screams alert Avery, Lucien, and Bud, who throws the dog at the gator as a distraction so they can run back to the house. As Avery tries to console Candy, Lucien heads to the bathroom, where he notices his hand where the gator bit him is beginning to gain a scaly appearance. The next day, Landry has brought in Tristan St. Claire, a TV personality with his own show about hunting Gators, to help kill the gators. As they prepare to head out, the Doucettes are surprised to see Dathan has become Landry’s new deputy and Lucien is skeptical about the situation but chooses to stay quiet. The group heads out to the nest but as Tristan tries examining some baby gators, Bud gets impatient and starts shooting some eggs, causing the rest of the group to start shooting. When some adult gators show up, Tristan’s film crew are killed as the assembled Doucettes and Robichauds continue killing the redneck gators. Later that afternoon, the Doucettes and Robichauds are celebrating together at the bar but when Landry gives Wade and Lucien the reward money, their tempers start flaring, especially when Dathan says that Avery is going to marry him. Avery goes storming out of the bar, with Dathan chasing after her, and Lucien gets a gun from Candy and orders all of the Robichauds out of the bar but as they all leave, he suddenly doubles over in pain as he begins turning into a redneck gator. Outside, Dathan catches up to Avery and as they talk, Bud, who is also beginning to turn, pulls a gun on them and moves to shoot Dathan but Dale attacks him. As the two struggle, Bud kills Dale, then bites Dathan when he tries to stop him and as Bud runs off into the woods, Dathan manages to shoot him. The next day, Landry goes looking for Lucien to see if he knows where Bud might be but finds all of the Doucettes have vanished, while a redneck gator is inside Lucien’s home. Landry heads to Wade’s home and tells Wade, Dathan, and Avery about the missing Doucettes and they agree to help him find them. Avery, Dathan, and Wade head out in a boat when Wade and Dathan get knocked overboard by a redneck gator. As it approaches the boat to attack Avery, Avery notices the pink nail polish on the gator’s claws and realizes that it is Candy, but she is still forced to kill it. Later, Avery is continuing to look for her family when she falls into some quicksand and as she calls out for help, a redneck gator begins approaching her. Before it reaches her, a second gator attacks it and drives it off, then approaches Avery but instead of attacking her, it rescues her from the quicksand and she realizes that it is her dad when she sees the gold tooth in it’s mouth. Avery tells Dathan and Wade her theory but when they don’t believe her, she drives off on her own, killing several gators when they approach her. Meanwhile, Dathan and Wade, realizing their tainted moonshine caused the gators to mutate, are trying to get rid of the rest of the shine when Dathan suddenly starts turning into a redneck gator. Avery kills another gator that is about to kill Wade, then approaches the now transformed Dathan when another gator (Bud) appears from underneath the house. The two gators begin attacking each other and appear to kill each other but after Wade and Avery take Dathan’s body and place it in the swamp, it recovers and swims off. Avery and Wade tell Landry what is going on and  they come up with a plan to kill the redneck gators. Wade gathers the rest of the Robichauds and they call out for the Doucettes, attracting the gators to the bar, where they have some explosives planted inside. As the Robichauds lock the gators inside, Avery finds Lucien and tries to get him to leave with her but Wade stops her and as he faces off with Lucien, they end up killing each other. Landry is killed before he can set off the explosives so Avery quickly fashions a Moltov Cocktail and tosses it into the bar, setting the explosive off but the concussion knocks her out and as the bar burns to the ground, Dathan appears and drags Avery to safety. One year later, Avery is shown to have stayed in the swamp, selling alligator skins for a living while raising her daughter, with Dathan, who is still a redneck gator and living with her.

This is one of those movies that, by all accounts, should not be entertaining but turns out to be highly entertaining. Yes, this does rely on a lot of stereotypes, and yes some of them are on the negative side, so the humor can be off at times but there are still some pretty funny aspects to this movie. The acting was pretty good, with Ritchie Montgomery and Thomas Francis Murphy stealing the show as Lucien and Wade respectively. Jordan Hinson, who was supposed to be the star, did a good job as Avery, but there were several times where she would gain and lose her bayou accent that ended up being a little annoying. Christopher Berry (Bud) was also pretty good but John Chriss (Dathan) was honestly a pretty bland character. The story was pretty interesting because of the two aspects of the movie. On the one hand, you had the typical sci-fi B-movie style theme of some sort of mutating agent, in this case the chemically tainted moonshine, causing animals to mutate and turn into killers. The fact that the gators could mutate people and turn them into gators honestly made it feel a little like Black Sheep (2006) in that regard. The other aspect of the movie was the human aspect, which was a pretty decent mixture of “Romeo and Juliet” with a touch of Hatfields and McCoys thrown in. The fact that Avery and Dathan were secret high school sweethearts honestly didn’t seem too original to be honest, though the whole Bud flirting/hitting on her was a bit too creepy. The special effects were a lot better than I was expecting, with the addition of the gators able to shoot out their tail spikes being a nice touch to their design. I especially liked that they didn’t overuse that ability too much, only utilizing it a few times, but the best part was the final duel between Lucien and Wade. So a fun movie to watch and one of Syfy’s better entries over the last few years.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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