action, fantasy, horror, Maneater series, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: June 24th, 2014 Movie – Carny (2009)

carny 2009

I have one more week of the flashback reviews, then it is on to the movies I received this year. Today, will be my last time watching one of the Maneater series of movies for this blog, at least until I buy The Hollow (2015). Anyways, the legend of the Jersey Devil, much like any other cryptid, always fascinated me when I was a kid. True, it doesn’t get the love that Sasquatch or Nessie has received over the years but it was always an interesting story to read. I had often thought that this would be a neat idea for a movie, as most other cryptids have had their shots at fame, so I was glad to learn that the Maneater series had done just that, releasing Carny in 2009 which I watched as soon as I was able, then bought on DVD shortly afterwards.

The plot: Late one night, a man meets up with Cap, the owner of a traveling carnival, in the small town of Reliance and sells him the legendary Jersey Devil, which the man had captured. Cap pays the man but as he goes to walk away, Cap quickly stabs him in the back, then tells his assistant Quinn to get rid of the body. When Quinn returns, Cap goes to the truck the Jersey Devil is in and shoots it with a tranquilizer, then tells Quinn to move it into a cage but the Jersey Devil regains consciousness and attacks Quinn, ripping his face and eye before Cap can shoot it with more tranquilizers and knock it out. The next day, Sheriff Atlas is approached by Luke, the local tow truck driver, who had brought in an abandoned vehicle (the truck of the man who had captured the Jersey Devil). As Atlas looks around the truck, he notices a piece of bloody cloth in the back and, noting the New Jersey plates, tells Luke to take it around back and he will look into it. When he enters the station, he finds his deputy Rogers on the phone with Pastor Owens, who is upset about the carnival being in town and wants the sheriff to run them off. Atlas heads over to the carnival, as he needs to make sure they have the proper permits, but he is unnerved by the people/exhibits that work there. He eventually finds Cap, who offers to show him around and has Samara, the carnival’s fortune teller, read Atlas’ fortune but when she touches his hand, she sees blood and death but lies to atlas, saying the visions are unclear. As Cap continues showing Atlas around, Atlas notices the posters/tent advertising the Jersey Devil and heads inside to see, shocked to find the caged creature is real, and he decides to leave the carnival, promising to be that night for the opening. Meanwhile, Pastor Owens is getting ready to head into town to “save the town’s soul”, and tells his son Taylor to go door to door to get more people to show up. After Owens leaves, Taylor heads to an abandoned barn and drinks with his friend Jesse before heading to the carnival that night. In the town square, Owens is preaching about the carnival promoting the devil’s work and Atlas notes this to his deputy before he heads over to the carnival. As the carnival starts, Cap is in the tent preparing to display the Jersey Devil to the crowd and when he does, Taylor and Jesse mock it and Taylor throws peanuts at it. The Jersey Devil gets enraged and manages to break free of it’s cage, injuring several people before flying off into the sky, crashing into the Ferris wheel as it leaves. As Atlas helps get the wounded tended too, he is confronted by Owens, who blames Atlas for what happened because he didn’t shut down the carnival and threatens to take matters into his own hands if he doesn’t do something. Atlas goes to see Cap and tells him that the carnival is shut down until further notice and he plans to hunt down the Jersey Devil in the morning but after he leaves, Cap and Quinn make plans to bring the Jersey Devil back to the carnival alive. Cap goes to see Samara, to see her packing her things, saying that she knows this won’t end well and wants no part of it. Cap gives her a guilt trip about giving her a home when nobody else would and she agrees to stay long enough for him to recapture the Jersey Devil, then asks Cap to bring her something it touched. Elsewhere, Taylor and Jesse had fallen asleep in the abandoned barn when they are woken by a dog. As Jesse pets the dog, he notices that it has blood on it’s fur, just as Taylor sees a foot nearby. Suddenly, the Jersey Devil attacks the barn and chases after Taylor and Jesse as they try to run. As Jesse hides in the wrecked car on the property, Taylor runs into the woods and hides under a bridge but the Jersey Devil finds and kills him. Back at the carnival, Cap hands Samara a piece of skin from the Jersey Devil from when it crashed into the Ferris wheel and she uses it to see the future but the vision she has offers no help for Cap. The next morning, Jesse stumbles into the road and is almost hit by Luke, who calls in Atlas. Atlas heads out there to talk with Jesse, then heads into the woods and finds Taylor’s body, as well as the body of the man that captured the Jersey Devil. As the ambulance arrives to collect the bodies, Owens shows up and demands to see his son’s body, causing him to break down in tears before recovering and telling Atlas that it is his fault that Taylor is dead, then vows to make sure the “freaks” know the meaning of suffering. Atlas and Rogers head back into the woods where they are collecting the body parts from the second victim and Atlas says that the Jersey Devil didn’t do this, and believes the dead man is the owner of the truck. Meanwhile, Cap and Quinn are hunting the Jersey Devil when they come across Atlas and Rogers collecting the body parts and Quinn says he believes that they found where he dumped the body, causing Cap to chastise him. Meanwhile, Jesse and his mother are driving out of town, with his mother chastising him for being with Taylor, when the Jersey Devil grabs Jesse from the car and flies him up to the air. Jesse’s mom gets out of the car and screams out for Jesse, only to have his dead body fall back onto the car and she starts crying over her dead son when the Jersey Devil suddenly swoops down and grabs her, carrying her off to kill her. Atlas stops by the carnival to see Samara, where she shows him some books about the Jersey Devil that her family had, and then heads back to town, where he organizes hunting parties to kill the Jersey Devil. As Atlas and Rogers are searching the woods, Rogers is accidentally shot by Quinn, and Atlas grabs his weapon and chastises Cap and Quinn for being out there. Hearing the Jersey Devil flying in the sky nearby, Atlas asks Cap and Quinn to take Rogers back to town for help while he keeps hunting him. Cap and Quinn carry Rogers close to the carnival but then Cap decides to use Rogers as bait to capture the Jersey Devil. He shoots Rogers with a tranquilizer dart but Rogers yells out for help so Quinn stabs him. When the devil shows up, Rogers shoots at it before Cap can take his shot and the Jersey Devil kills him before flying off. Atlas shows up at the scene just as screaming is heard, as the Jersey Devil is attacking the carnival. Atlas manages to chase the Jersey Devil off and Samara yells at Cap for what he has done. Later, Cap makes a new batch of tranquilizers to use against the Jersey Devil, then heads out to the woods with Quinn, whom he kills in order to use as bait. Meanwhile, Atlas is examining Rogers’ body when he finds the tip of the tranquilizer dart in Rogers’ back and realizes what had happened. Back in the woods, Cap is lying in wait for the Jersey Devil when it appears behind him and attacks him but he manages to shoot it with his new tranquilizers and knock it out. Cap heads back to the carnival, yelling for someone to get some chains to recapture the Jersey Devil but Atlas is there waiting for him and after punching him, he arrests Cap for murder. Atlas takes Cap to the station and locks him in a cell but Owens appears behind him and knocks him out. Owens then locks Atlas in the armory, then moves towards Cap and, using Cap’s knife, slices up his tongue. As Cap writhes in pain, Owens grabs a revolver and opens the cell, intending to kill Cap but the Jersey Devil had recovered and crashes through the window, knocking Owens down before moving towards Cap and killing him. Owens locks the Jersey Devil in the cell, then shoots at it but when he runs out of bullets, he grabs two of Cap’s tranquilizers and jabs them into the Jersey Devil, knocking it out. Thinking he had killed the Jersey Devil, he leaves the station, where he encounters Luke and a few other men, and tells them he had killed the Jersey Devil, then tells them that they need to deal with the carnival freaks, as they are the ones responsible for bringing the Jersey Devil to their town. Luke and the others grab the Jersey Devil and bring it to the carnival, where they intend to burn it as well as the carnival and the townsfolk race into the carnival, setting everything ablaze and attacking the freaks. As Owens stands by and watches the carnage he started, the Jersey Devil regains consciousness and attacks Owens. Meanwhile, Atlas regains consciousness and uses a shotgun to shoot the lock off the door, then heads to the carnival, seeing Owen’s dead body at the front of the carnival. Racing inside, he sees everything on fire and calls out for Samara when he sees the Jersey Devil and shoots at it but it flies off. Seeing Samara, Atlas goes to her and asks if she is ok, just as the Jersey Devil lands on a nearby trailer. Atlas goes to shoot it but the propane tank from the trailer behind him explodes, knocking him and Samara down and scaring off the Jersey Devil. Atlas recovers but finds that his gun is by some fire and too hot to grab. The Jersey Devil returns and Atlas tries to lure it away from Samara but it chases after her. Samara runs for the Ferris wheel and when the Jersey Devil tries to kill her, the “Gentle Giant” yells out to it and it attacks him instead. Suddenly, Atlas drives up in a truck and slams into the Jersey Devil, pinning it to the Ferris wheel. Samara tries to get him out of the truck but Atlas tells her that if he lets off the gas, it will get free and that she needs to get out of there, just before the Ferris wheel falls on both of them. When the dust settles, Samara races to the truck to find Atlas mortally wounded and he tells her he did what he had to before he dies, and Samara lays her head down on his chest.

This was honestly a bit darker of a movie than I was expecting, which made it pretty good. The acting was good, with Lou Diamond Phillips doing a good job as Atlas, but I have to say that Vlasta Vrana kind of stole the show as Pastor Owens. The story was pretty good, with a great way of explaining the appearance of the Jersey Devil, though I wish they would have done a better job of explaining how it was caught in the first place. I apologize in advance if I offend anyone with this next bit but there is one thing I would like to point out concerning one of the plot points in the movie. If I am to be totally honest, Pastor Owens showcased every bad stereotype when it comes to religion. His fire and brimstone approach, and labeling the carnival freaks as minions of the Devil and evil, just because they were different, and needed to be destroyed was a little to real for my taste, as there are plenty of people who act like this in the real world. The special effects regarding the Devil’s appearance were decent, though they made him look too much like a dragon than he should have. Still, it was a good design and the interactions between it and the human cast were pretty good. A pretty good entry into the series and one worth giving a try.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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Flashback Review: May 20th, 2014 Movie – Blood Monkeyaz

blood monkey

Everything has a beginning and for the Maneater Series of movies, this was it. Now I remember seeing this movie on Syfy years ago and honestly, not being too impressed with it. The only reason I got it on DVD is because it was part of a 3 disk set of movies from the Maneater series back when I first started collecting the movies in the series. Now lets see if time will make me think better of the first movie in the series, Blood Monkey.

The plot: Deep in the jungles of Thailand, a group of men manage to capture a new species of primate. As the leader tries contacting Professor Conrad Hamilton, the leader of the expedition, the primate escapes from the cage and proceeds to kill the men, leaving Hamilton and his assistant/bodyguard Chenne to head out to see what happened but all they find is the broken cage and bodies of the team. Meanwhile, a group of anthropology students (Seth, Amy, Greg, Josh, Sydney, and Dani) arrive in Thailand for their own research expedition into the jungle, with Dani documenting everything on her video camera. After being flown to the outskirts, a guide shows up to take them deeper into the jungle but when they reach a certain point, the guide stops the truck, telling them that he will go no further as bad things are in there. When the students ask him what they are supposed to do, he tells them to follow the trail, then quickly turns around and drives away. Seth leads the others down the trail, with all of them feeling a little nervous about the situation they are in. When they reach the end of the trail, Seth says they should just wait for whoever is supposed to meet them and as it gets dark, Josh tries making a fire. When a strange creature is seen in the brush, the kids get scared but Chenne suddenly appears and frightens the creature away with a flare, then leads the students to the base camp. The next day, Hamilton introduces himself to the students and tells them that they will be doing something different than what they signed up for. As they prepare to leave, they Sydney and some of the others notice that their cell phones are missing and realize Chenne must have taken them when she tries to take Dani’s camera. Hamilton explains that she had done it on his orders, saying that he doesn’t want anything they discover leaking out, but promises to explain his reasons why. After giving them all ID bracelets that he says contains all their necessary information for being out there, such as blood type, Hamilton leads them out into the jungle and they soon reach a cliff overlooking a hidden valley, which Hamilton says is completely uncharted and theirs to explore for the first time. When Chenne appears with rappelling gear for them to descend into the valley, Sydney and some of the other students don’t wish to continue but Hamilton motivates them to head down, choosing to go first so Dani can document it. The others head down but when Josh and Chenne make their descent, Josh panics and freezes up on the rope, prompting Chenne to kick him to try and get him to keep moving before continuing down herself in disgust. Josh eventually makes it down, falling the last couple of feet, and Hamilton tells them to pick him up and keep moving, much to Seth and the other’s shock. They soon arrive at a camp site and Seth and the others question what is going on, as Hamilton had said that they were the first people down there. Hamilton tries to pass it off the claim that he and Chenne had gone down previously to make the base camp but refuses to explain the additional backpacks. That night, Hamilton pulls out a large skull and asks if any of them can identify it. Sydney studies it and says it is not quite a primate skull but also not quite human. As the students pass around the skull, they are shocked when the badly wounded leader of the first expedition appears in camp. Hamilton and Chenne rush over to him and lead him to the main tent, telling the students to stay by the fire and not leave. Later that night, Seth and Amy see Hamilton and Chenne digging a grave for the now dead man, and they discuss how Sydney and Josh both want to head back and they discuss their options on staying or going. As they head back to their tents, they don’t hear Hamilton telling Chenne that the primates let the man go on purpose to serve as a warning. Later that night, Sydney goes to use the restroom when she hears someone moving around the latrine tent and as she finishes, something grabs her from under the tent and drags her away. The next morning, Amy tells Seth that Sydney is missing and he goes to talk to Hamilton about it, only for Hamilton to tell him that he had Chenne take her back to the plateau. As Hamilton tells them to get ready to leave, Amy asks Seth what they should do and he tells her he will think of something but for now they should just keep following Hamilton. Meanwhile, Chenne is shown to be dragging Sydney through the jungle before kicking her into the river, throwing her pack after her. As Chenne heads back to rejoin the others, Sydney manages to make it to the other side, where she ends up being killed by something in the remains of the broken cage. Elsewhere, Hamilton leads the others further into the valley but Seth is using scraps of a shirt to tie around trees, intending to use them as markers to find their way back if needed. When Chenne returns, Seth and the others question how she was able to get back so quick but Hamilton dismisses their concerns and wants them to keep moving. Hamilton and Chenne then check a tracking device they have and seeing a signal moving, they tell the students to start moving. When they finally stop, Josh goes to sit next to a tree where they see a chunk of meat and ribs stuck onto the tree and when Hamilton knocks it down and Chenne removes it, a necklace falls from the carcass. Seth and Amy help Josh move and Seth tells them it is a warning meant for them but doesn’t say anything about the necklace, which he had picked up. Seth then confronts Hamilton about why they are there and Hamilton reveals that there is a creature in the valley that is the bridge between the two species and it is still alive in the valley. He tells them that he wanted to get indisputable proof that the creatures not only had lived, but were still living and thriving in the valley but couldn’t risk having any academic help him as they would want to share the glory, which is why he chose to have students help him. Huddling together, Seth and the others discuss what to do and Seth says that he is going to try and grab Chenne’s gun that night when she goes to sleep, then they can get out of there without Hamilton stopping them. Greg wants to help him but Seth tells him to let him go alone, as he won’t be able to carry Josh by himself if something goes wrong. That night, Amy asks Seth if she can stay in his tent for the night while Josh, Greg, and Dani stay together in another tent. During the night, everyone is startled by the sound of water hitting the tents and they think it is a sudden freak rain storm but when the smell hits them, Greg says it is urine, telling Dani that some animals urinate on their prey. Suddenly, Josh, who had stuck his injured foot out of the tent, is grabbed by one of the primates and dragged up into the trees. As Greg goes chasing after him, Dani goes to tell Seth and Amy while Hamilton and Chenne head out to try and capture on of the apes. As Hamilton and Chenne separate, Chenne hears something moving in the brush and fires at it, inadvertently hitting Greg, who had seen Josh getting killed and was searching for the others. Chenne then ties the wounded Greg up and uses him as bait to try and kill one of the primates. Seth, Amy, and Dani see what is happening and Seth tells them to hide while he goes to help Greg but Hamilton stops him, refusing to let him interfere. As she waits for a primate to show up in her trap, Chenne ends up getting killed instead, followed by Greg. Hearing Chenne cry out, Hamilton goes to look for her and finds her body lying on the ground. Seth confronts Hamilton about his using them as bait and his obsession with proving his discovery and Hamilton knocks him down into a cave, then heads out after the girls. Hamilton locates them and after forcing Dani to film him explaining the attack and deaths that occurred, he leads them away. Hamilton tells them that they are trying to locate Sydney and AMy realizes the bracelets were tracking chips so he could use them as bait. They soon find Sydney’s arm dangling forma  vine and as Hamilton goes to pull it down, he is impaled by a trap that the primates set, telling Dani to film his final words. Seth joins them and they head off back to the camp site only to find it has disappeared. When they discover that Seth’s markers have also been removed, they try making their way in the direction they think they came from but Dani is suddenly grabbed as they make their way through the jungle. Noticing that she is missing, Seth and AMy go back to look for her and find her camera on the ground, and when blood drips down onto the camera, they see Dani’s body up in a tree. They start running through the jungle, with Seth lighting some flares and throwing them behind them to keep the primates at bay. They eventually discover a cave and find all of Seth’s cloth markers adorning the stalactites at the entrance. Heading inside, they see Josh’s light further inside and go looking for him, with Amy using the night vision mode on the camera to help see. As they reach an open chamber, AMy notices something moving along the walls and tells Seth, who takes the camera from her to get a look for himself. Seth tells Amy there is nothing there but he is suddenly attacked from behind and killed, dropping the camera in the process, and the primate then approached Amy and kills her.

Giving it some time and another viewing, this movie actually isn’t as bad as I first thought it was. The acting was ok, with F. Murray Abraham doing a great job as the almost Ahab like obsessed Hamilton while Matt Ryan (honestly didn’t realize this was my first time seeing him on screen) doing a good job as Seth. Unfortunately, the other actors and actresses honestly weren’t that good. The story was interesting but the whole idea of the evolved primates attacking the group like that honestly felt like it was ripped off from Congo. One thing that I did think was a good idea is that they didn’t really show what the primates looked like for almost the entire movie, which added a pretty good amount of suspense to the movie. However, they absolutly ruined one of the best things they had going for it at the very end of the movie, as right when Amy was about to be killed, they cut away to show the primate, which was honestly just a decent looking gorilla at best. The special effects were pretty decent and I liked the kind of tunnel-vision they used when they were looking through the primates eyes. So yes, a second viewing sometimes can change my opinion on a movie and while this still isn’t one of my favorite entries in the series, it is a pretty decent movie to watch.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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Flashback Review: May 6th, 2014 Movie – Black Swarm

black swarm

Why if it isn’t my old friend, the Maneater series of movies. It’s been a while since I have watched one of you guys, a little over a month in fact. Anyways, I know I am falling behind on getting these blog posts out. To start with, I moved recently so my schedule at work changed this past week. On top of that, I have a pair of hyper active kids whose favorite past time is to come into their uncle’s room and make him spend time playing with them, so that kind of pushes me back even more. Well, that is not the worst thing to have happen and it isn’t as bad as it sounds to be honest. Now, let’s get to watching some movies and enjoy Black Swarm once again.

The plot: In Black Stone, New York, local exterminator Dan Hall is called out to deal with a wasp nest and, noting the weird wasps coming out of the nest, he moves his blowtorch up to ignite the nest only for it to explode in a freak accident, killing him. Some time later, Jane Kozik is moving with her 9 year old daughter Kelsey back to Black Stone from Manhatten, though Kelsey is not to thrilled at the prospect and wonders asks her mom why she had moved away if it is such a good place to live. In Black Stone, Devin Hall, Dan’s brother, is checking out the basement of Beverly Rowe, a blind woman that used to babysit the neighborhood kids such as him when he was young. As he finishes up, she comments about Jane moving back to town and how funny it is that she is moving back just as he is leaving. Devin heads to his shop at the center of town and is approached by Mayor Blatz, who is desperately trying to convince Devin to stay, but Devin says that the town is dying because all of the work has left and he has nothing keeping him in town. As they continue arguing, they don’t notice a strange man with welts on his head walking around, emitting a strange buzzing sound. When Jane and Kelsey get to town, Jane goes to get the keys to their house, leaving Kelsey to wander around the town. Kelsey runs into a man blowing a whistle, though she doesn’t hear anything, and as she questions the man, he tells her that his name is Eli and offers her a peach if she can keep it a secret that she saw him. When Kelsey’s attentions is distracted by an ice cream truck, Eli disappears and Kelsey asks her mom for some money to get some ice cream but the driver, who is making a strange buzzing sound and acting erratically, drops the ice cream he hands her, then drives off. Later that night, a busker sneaks into Beverly’s basement to sleep for the night but as he lays down, he hears some buzzing coming from a hole in the wall and as he peers inside, a swarm of wasps bursts out, slamming him into a wall before swarming all over him while the queen flies into his mouth. The next day, Jane arrives on the scene at Beverly’s house and is shocked to see what happened to the busker, asking the doctor to let her know what he finds out. Jane then heads inside to see Beverly, who tells her about Devin leaving town and admonishes Jane for not letting Kelsey meet her uncle but Jane says it would be difficult to see Devin since she would just be reminded of his brother, who was her husband when he died. At the town morgue, Devin is called in by the doctor and finds a woman, Katherine Randall, examining the body instead. Katherine explains that she is an entomologist that was called in for a consult and shows him an ovipositor that she had found in the victim’s body. Devin asks of it could have been anaphylactic shock that killed him but she says she didn’t see signs of asphyxiation, and is puzzled by the death. After they leave, the coroner enters the morgue only to find the body has disappeared and when he tries looking for it, he is suddenly grabbed by the busker’s body, which has somehow reanimated, and killed, before the busker walks off. Devin is leaving town when something slams into his windshield, cracking it. After calling his friend at the garage to see if he can fix it, Devin examines the windshield and finds the body of a large wasp, which is what hit the glass, and grabs a sample jar to collect the remains. Devin takes the jar back to the morgue to show Katherine, only to find Jane there examining the coroner’s murder. After an awkward conversation with Jane, Devin shows Katherine the remains and when she looks at them, she thinks it would be a good idea to check out where the busker died and Devin agrees to take her there. When they get there, they talk with Beverly briefly, who says that Kelsey would be coming by in a little bit and suggests he meet her but Devin says he would need permission from Jane to do that. Devin and Katherine search Beverly’s basement tool shed for any sign of the nest or swarm but can’t find anything. As they leave, Katherine asks Devin what he is going to do and Devin admits that he wants to go back to grad school but doesn’t want to abandon the town when there might be a killer wasp infestation. Some time later, Kelsey is dropped off at Beverly’s house and after they talk for a while, she sneaks out into the back yard and finds Eli next door. She talks with him for a little while, asking him where his bees are, before he heads inside his trailer. Inside, Eli opens a hidden hatch in his floor and heads down to a secret lab, where he has a giant swarm of wasps locked in a glass cage. Eli takes some peaches he collected from outside and as he injects them with some syringes, the wasps appear to get agitated. When Eli leaves, Kelsey sneaks into his trailer and finds his hidden lab, where she bites one of the peaches but throws it away, as it tastes bad, and when the wasps become super agitated, she quickly leaves. In town, Mayor Blatz is at the church when he sees Father Francis acting erratically and when he asks if he is ok, Francis calls out Blatz’s name before a swarm of wasps issue out of his mouth and attack Blatz, killing him. In town, more and more people are acting strange, with the people showing welts from being stung and a buzzing sound coming from them. Devin is trying to make his way through town, which is jammed due to a police officer’s erratic behavior, when he receives a call from Katherine who is in a nearby alley. When Devin meets with her, she tells him that the wasps were bio-engineered and apparently meant to be used as a weapon and she asks him to come with her to help figure this out but Devin says he has to get Jane and Kelsey to safety. As he drives off, a car pulls up next to Katherine and she comments about him being a boy scout before she gets in the car and tells the men inside to drive. As Beverly calls Kelsey to come inside, having heard the swarm overhead, the wasps begin attacking the house and Beverly and Kelsey decide to leave, cutting through a corn field as a short cut into town. Devin sees them and chases after them and when they get separated, the wasps attack and kill Beverly. Kelsey runs off screaming when Devin catches up to her and as she asks why he looks like her dad, he explains that her dad was his twin brother. Devin says they need to get away from the wasps and Kelsey suggests he talk to Eli and takes him to his lab. Meanwhile, Jane goes to Beverly’s house to look for Beverly and Kelsey and when she can’t find them in the house, she ends up looking for them outside and eventually discovers Eli’s lab. Entering the lab, she holds Eli at gunpoint and starts asking him question when Kelsey and Devin show up. Eli explains what he had done with the wasps and Devin says that he will help Eli kill them while Jane and Kelsey get to safety but Jane says the town’s safety is her responsibility and she asks Eli to take Kelsey to the church. Elsewhere, Katherine uses a computer to contact her HQ and they tell her to locate Eli, as he must be in town and as they continue driving, they spot Eli with Kelsey heading to the church. When Eli and Kelsey enter the church, Eli confronts Kelsey about the peach and when she admits she ate part of one, he tells her the wasps now think that she is their queen. Suddenly, Father Francis appears and Eli tells Kelsey to hide but when Francis spots her and tries to grab her, he suddenly falls apart, revealing a swarm of wasps emerging from his remains. Blatz shows up and moves to grab Kelsey when Katherine shoots him. Eli thanks Katherine’s arrival but Katherine shoot Eli and while her men grab Kelsey, Katherine approaches Eli and forces a wasp into his mouth. Elsewhere, Jane and Devin are driving and as they discuss Dan, Jane admits that she missed Devin more than her husband. When the swarm suddenly begins attacking Devin’s van, they head to a bridge and Devin rigs his van to explode as a means to kill them but it doesn’t work and they are forced to run. They eventually coe to a sewer opening and make their way through the sewers into the old cement factory, where they find several of the townsfolk acting as wasp drones while Kelsey is entombed in a giant wasp’s nest. Katherine appears and tells them that she killed Eli and plans on killing them in order to finish her job but Jane pulls out her gun and kills her. The human drones begin moving towards them in order to defend the nest and they are forced to fight them as they back away. They are surprised to see Eli show up and he tells them that the military is there to destroy the nest and kill him. Eli helps them rescue Kelsey, who Jane reveals is actually Devin’s daughter, and they manage to make their way outside just as the helicopters begin firing on the building. The 4 make it to the woods outside the building and Eli gives Kelsey his whistle and tells them to leave, just as he is shot by a sniper and Kelsey cries out for him as Jane and Devin carry her away. 4 months later, Devin, Jane, and Kelsey are shown to still be living in Black Rock and as Kelsey plays in the back and watches some ants, Jane, who appears to be in the early stages of pregnancy, and Devin comment about her becoming a scientist and playfully argue if she is being like Eli or her father. Unknown to them, a wasp emerges from a nest nearby and Kelsey, seemingly reacting to it, smashes the ant nest.

Have to admit, this was a bit of a let down on several fronts. The acting was ok, with Robert Englund doing a good job as Eli and his interactions with Rebecca Windheim (Kelsey) were just great. I also liked Sheena Larkin (Beverly) but felt that the main stars of this movie were honestly pretty boring. The story sounded interesting, with the idea of bio-engineering wasps to attack enemy forces being straight out of science fiction. However, the end result in this movie kind of felt a little disjointed, with the various scene cuts not exactly blending together and making it seem almost haphazardly shot. The special effects with the wasps and the victims were pretty good, with the scene of Father Francis dissolving into the wasps being better than I would have thought it would be. However, the scene where Katherine and Jane shoot at each other was completely stupid and looked even worse. It’s some fun movie watching but is not the greatest thing out there.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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June 17th, 2018 Movie – Yeti (a.k.a. Yeti: Curse Of The Snow Demon)

yeti

So I got a little bit ahead of myself a few weeks ago when I said that I had reached the end of the Maneater series. To be honest, I forgot all about this movie because I wasn’t too impressed with this particular entry. This is kind of a let down because I do enjoy a good, or in most cases bad, bigfoot movie. The only reason I have this movie is just because I can be a rather annoying completionist at times and wanted to be sure to own all of the movies in the Maneater series. Well, might as well kick off the letter Y with today’s movie, Yeti.

The plot: In the Himalayas in 1972, a Sherpa guides two explorers to a cave in the mountains, where they believe they might find evidence that Yetis really exist. Entering the cave, they encounter a Yeti and the younger explorer runs in fear while the older one attempts to shoot the yeti, only to discover his gun has frozen over due to the cold. Choosing to run himself, the explorer finds himself at a dead end, where the remains of other victims are seen and as he turns to try to run, the yeti catches up to him and kills him. In the present day, a college football team is flying back to the U.S. after visiting Japan and as they fly over the Himilayas, they encounter a storm and end up crashing on one of the mountains. As the survivors (Peyton Elway, Sarah, Ravin, Kyra, Ashley, Dennis, Garcia, Andrew, and Rice) all help each other out of the plane and try to figure out the next move, Peyton finds their coach still alive but badly injured in the plane. Ravin wants to try and hike down the mountain, feeling that there has to be a village nearby but Peyton overrules him, stating that coach can’t move and they can’t leave him. Peyton and Kyra head to the cockpit to check on the pilots and find one of them barely alive. They ask him about an S.O.S. or a spare radio and he tells them that there is one in the tail section of the plane. Heading back to the group, Peyton tells them about the spare radio and Garcia and Andrew volunteer to go looking for it. While they go, Peyton and the others work on moving the bodies out of the plane and trying to find items they can use so they don’t freeze or starve to death, unaware that a yeti is watching them, having been drawn to the crash site by the smell of blood. Meanwhile, Fury and Sheppard, two rescue workers stationed on the mountain, get word on the crash and try to figure out where they should start searching for survivors. Back at the crash site, Peyton and the others find some matches and manage to get a fire built while Sarah found three energy bars, unaware that Ravin had found some chocolate bars and hidden the in the plane. Meanwhile, Andrew and Garcia reach the tail section of the plane and find the radio but Garcia gets no response when he tries to use it. Deciding to try and find shelter, they notice a blood trail and, thinking someone had survived and might need help, they follow it into a nearby cave. After searching for a bit, they find a dismembered leg and try to leave just as a yeti appears behind them. Garcia manages to get away through a crack in the cave but Andrew is stuck and ends up being killed by the yeti. Back at the plane, The survivors make a barrier to try and keep the snow and cold out of the plane and Peyton goes to talk to the coach, who tells him to look after the others before he dies from his injuries. As everyone is going to sleep, Sarah sees the yeti dragging off one of the bodies but when she tries to tell everyone else, they think she might have imagined it. The next day, Sheppard and Fury are dropped off on the mountain and Sheppard tells the helicopter to check the location every day, even if they don’t hear from them, then they head off to look for the plane wreckage. In the cave, Garcia attempts to climb out with the radio strapped to his leg but as he nears the top, he loses his grip on the loose rocks and falls back down to the ground, injuring his leg. At the plane, Sarah is still trying to convince everyone that she saw something and Peyton says that to be safe, they shouldn’t go anywhere on their own. Ravin argues with Peyton over their just sitting there, thinking they should try to leave, but Peyton says that if a rescue comes, they will be coming there first so they should wait. Sarah finds a flare gun and Ravin want to use it to set the fuselage on fire, arguing that it will attract help sooner, but everyone shoots the idea down, as it is the only thing keeping them warm at night and Peyton says they should hold onto the flares for now. As they sit by the fire and argue about the lack of food, Ravin suggests eating some of the dead but Peyton and Sarah shoot that idea down, saying that they will try to catch some of the smaller animals that are probably in the area. Meanwhile, Garcia manages to climb out of the cave and starts heading back to the others but notices that the yeti is following him and stumbles down the mountain trying to get away. Elsewhere, Sheppard and Fury spot the wreckage and fire and estimate it will take them 3 days to get there but the next day, they notice large tracks in the snow heading towards the plane and realize something else is out there with them. Back at the plane, Peyton and Sarah manage to kill a rabbit and after cooking it over the fire, the portion it out to everyone but Ravin still feels like they should cook some of the dead bodies in order to survive and tries to convince Rice the next day to go along with him. When Peyton and Sarah return empty handed trying to capture an animal, Ravin heads out to cut up one of the bodies to cook. When he heads towards Kyra’s brother, she yells at him to stop and Peyton starts fighting with him until Rice separates them. As some of the others argue that it might be the only way to ensure they stay alive, Sarah notices that another body is missing. As the day passes, and they are almost out of matches, Peyton reluctantly agrees to cut up one of the bodies, promising not to touch Kyra’s brother, and tells everyone to stay there, saying they don’t need to see who he cuts up. After returning to the fire with some chunks of meat, Ravin offers up a tray to cook the meat on but Kyra refuses to eat any of it. That night, Kyra chooses to burn the rest of the bodies so they can’t eat any of them and Ravin gets upset but Peyton agrees she probably did the right thing and says that in the morning they will head down off the mountain. As they get some rest in the plane, they hear something moving outside and Ravin grabs the flare gun and shoots at whatever tries to get into the plane only to find out he shot Garcia in the face. Noticing that Garcia had used one of Andrew’s arms to brace his broken leg, they realize Sarah was right and something was out there with them and all head back into the plane. The yeti returns to the site and, finding the bodies all burned, begins attacking the plane, attempting to roll the fuselage off the cliff. Sheppard and Fury see the attack from their camp site and quickly break down their tents so they can head out to help the kids. Peyton leads everyone off the plane before it goes over the edge but Ashley and Dennis end up getting killed by the yeti. Peyton has Kyra fill a glove with some alcohol and he throws it at the yeti, telling Ravin to shoot it but the yeti quickly rolls in the snow to put out the fire, then grabs Sarah and heads off. Peyton wants to go after them but Rice and Ravin stop him, convincing him to wait until morning. In the morning, Peyton and Kyra want to go find Sarah but Rice and Ravin think better of the idea, not wanting to risk their own lifes when she is probably dead. Suddenly, Sheppard and Fury show up and tell them they are their to lead them to an extraction site but when Peyton and Kyra refuse to leave without checking to see if Sarah is still alive, Rice, emboldened by the rescue, agrees to go with them and Sheppard and Fury agree to help, much to Ravin’s displeasure. When the group reach the cave, Peyton comes up with a plan to build a ditch at the entrance to the cave and line it with stakes, then cover it up, hoping the creatures will fall in it. Peyton and Sheppard then head inside the cave and find Sarah in between two sleeping yetis. Sarah quietly slip out from between them but Sheppard’s radio goes off, waking the yetis. They quickly make it out of there and head to the entrance, jumping over the trap and as the yetis exit the cave, Fury shoots at them, knocking them into the ditch and on the spikes. The shots cause an avalanche and they all quickly take shelter from the rushing snow, then the kids all start celebrating the fact that they survived. Heading back to the wreckage, they say their goodbyes to their dead friends then head down towards the extraction point with Sheppard and Fury, unaware that one of the yetis had survived the trap and is digging it’s way out of the snow. The group make camp for the night and continue towards the extraction point in the morning but Ravin asks for a break so he can use the restroom, secretly going to eat one of the chocolate bars he hid. As he is eating the candy, he sees the yeti approaching and runs back to warn the others. As they all run for the extraction point, Ravin splits off from the rest of the group to try and save himself but ends up being attacked by the yeti. Fury attempts to save him but ends up shooting Ravin by accident, then ends up being killed by the yeti. Sheppard goes to get the radio from Fury’s bag, then fires at the yeti, seemingly killing it but the yeti gets back up and attacks him. Sheppard throws the radio to Peyton and tells him to get the others out of there, just before the yeti rips his arm off and beats him to death with it. Peyton, Sarah, Rice, and Kyra find themselves trapped on the cliff as the rescue chopper approaches and as the yeti gets closer, Peyton tackles it off the cliff. Sarah and the others race over and see that Peyton survived the fall by grabbing onto a branch but the yeti had grabbed onto his leg to keep from falling. Sarah and the others try to pull him to safety but when they can’t, they tie a chain to a pole Sarah used as a spear, then she throws it at the yeti, then they tie the other end of the chain to a rock and push it off the cliff, causing the yeti to be yanked free from Peyton and fall to the ground below. They quickly manage to pull Peyton up and he and Sarah kiss as the chopper lands to rescue them. Back at the wreckage, Garcia is shown to still be alive and as he crawls from the wrecked plane, he sees the hand of the other yeti poking out of the snow close by.

Ok, after giving it another chance I guess this isn’t that bad of a movie, but it is still not my favorite movie in the group. The acting was ok, with Carly Pope (Sarah), Peter DeLuise (Sheppard) and Marc Menard (Peyton) doing good jobs in their roles. I honestly had to laugh at Peyton’s name, Peyton Elway, as I thought the idea of naming the lead character , who happens to be the teams quarterback, after two of the top quarterbacks in NFL history was pretty funny. The story was a pretty basic survival story, taking a cue from the Donner party as well as the story of the Uruguayan rugby team that got stuck in the Andes to add some more drama to it instead of making it just a typical monster movie. That aspect of the movie actually got a little more compelling and it really helped make Adam O’Byrne (Ravin) appear even more despicable of a character. The special effects with the yeti were honestly pretty weak and kind of a disappointment. I mean, this is the 14th movie in the series and yet a lot of the scenes with the yeti looked terrible and too fake. I think that was honestly the most disappointing aspect of the movie. It had some good intentions but it didn’t quite live up to expectations, at least not mine.

Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5

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action, fantasy, horror, Maneater series, movie, movie review

June 6th, 2018 Movie – Wyvern

wyvern

You know, as I get closer to the end of the alphabet I realize that I will also be getting to the end of several series of movies. Take today’s movie for instance. Not only is it the last movie for the letter “W”, but it is also the last movie in the Maneater franchise. Now I didn’t get a chance to watch this movie on TV when it aired, only watching it when I bought it on DVD with some other movies from the Maneater series. Still, this is one of those movies that I knew I would enjoy so let’s have some fun with today’s movie, Wyvern.

The plot: In Northern Alaska, a melting glacier uncovers a frozen wyvern, which wakes up from it’s frozen slumber and attacks a fisherman, drawn by the smell of his blood when he cuts his hand. In the nearby small town of Beaver Mills, Vinyl Hampton, the local radio DJ, is talking about the upcoming end to the midnight sun, as the town has had almost 24 hours of sunlight for the past 80 days. At the local diner, Jake is working on fixing the steps but keeps having to stop due to his hand being injured. The town doctor, David, walks by and says he is lucky to walk away from the wreck he was in with just the messed up hand and ankle and asks Jake to let him take a look at it but Jake refuses. The diner’s owner, Claire, brings a coffee out for Jake but David grabs it and invites her to go to a conference with him but Claire refuses. When David leaves, Jake comments about David’s persistence and speaks with Claire for a bit before she invites him inside to get some food. Meanwhile, Colonel Travis Sherman is calling out for his dog when a moose head suddenly drops into his hot tub. Meanwhile, Jake finishes working on the diner and heads back to his trailer to find David waiting for him. He reluctantly invites him in to let him look at his hand and after looking at it, David says his wrist is dislocated. Jake then asks the real reason David is there and David comments about how he noticed how Jake looks at Claire, and vice versa, and he doesn’t wan’t Claire hurt when Jake drives out of there after getting his insurance money. David leaves and heads back to town but stops along the way to use the restroom when he is attacked by the wyvern and carried off. Early the next morning, Jake wakes up from a nightmare about his wreck and heads into town, waiting on the diner steps for Claire to arrive and open up and he is soon joined by Chief Dawson. Meanwhile, a local resident named Hass is out hunting when he sees the wyvern and shoots at it when it flies down towards him. Hearing the shots, Dawson goes to check it out, thinking it is just some people letting off steam early, and invites Jake to go with him. They soon find Hass and question what he was doing but Hass is in shock, simply mumbling about a flying monster. As Jake and Dawson put Hass in Dawson’s truck, they notice David’s arm lying in the grass but see no sign of the rest of him. They take Hass back into town, calling Deputy Barnes to call a town meeting at the diner. When Jake, Dawson, and Hass get to town Dawson tells the towns folk about David being missing and badly hurt, not telling them they think he is dead, but when Barnes shows up with the arm, Claire and some of the others get upset. When asked about the festival that day, Dawson says that it can still happen, though Jake says it is a bad idea, then heads out to answer a call he received. Meanwhile, the Colonel spots the wyvern flying over his house and heads to town to try and warn people. He talks to Barnes and his friend Farley but both of them don’t believe him and when he tries to tell Hampton to make an emergency broadcast but she says she can’t without authorization or visual proof of something happening. Meanwhile, Dawson goes to the resident’s house that called the sheriff’s office only to find both of the residents, as well as their caged minks, dead and he ends up knocking himself unconscious. When he comes too, he radios Barnes to shut down the festival on his authority. Back in town, Hampton sees the wyvern land outside the station and attempts to make an emergency broadcast but it knocks out the power to the station. In the town square, Barnes is telling everyone to go home when she is attacked and killed by the wyvern, sending everyone into a panic. In the diner, Jake, Claire, Hass, and Edna hear the commotion just as the wyvern approaches the diner and tries to get inside, forcing them all to take cover. When it leaves, Hampton and Farley head inside the diner and after making sure everyone is ok, they try to figure out what the creature is. Edna thinks it is the beast from Revelations but Hass, coming out of his shock, says it is a wyvern from Norse mythology. Trying to come up with a plan, Jake and Claire decide to go try to find Dawson, telling Hampton and Hass to try and get a hold of the state troopers on the CB. As they are driving to where Dawson was going, they see the wyvern fly overhead and land nearby and Jake decides to head out to see where it is heading. Meanwhile, the Colonel decides to head out to get the authorities on his own but as he drives down the highway, he sees the road blocked with wrecked vehicles and realizes the wyvern is not going to let them leave. Back in town, Dawson arrives and sees the carnage from the festival and is in shock at what happened. Hass and the others see him and yell for him to get in the diner, just as the wyvern returns and ends up grabbing Dawson and flying off with him. Back in the woods, Jake goes as far as he can in his truck, then heads out on foot, leaving Claire in the truck. After he leaves, the wyvern appears and rips off the door to try to get to Claire but she shoots it and manages to escape.  Jake manages to spot the wyvern’s nest but when he hears the shots, he heads back and finds Claire hiding in the trees. The Colonel pulls up and tells them about the highway and says that the wyvern is keeping them there as it’s food supply so they head back to town. When they reach town, they head into the diner and try to think of a new plan. Hampton says that she might be able to jury rig a long range antennae but since hers is trashed, she would need the one from a nearby store to use. Jake and Hampton head out, stopping by Dawson’s truck to get his weapons from the back, and then they head to the store. As they are inside, the wyvern lands on the roof and grabs some of the wires before flying off and after it leaves, Jake goes to get the antennae, managing to get it unscrewed and throwing it to Hampton before the wyvern returns, and they manage to get back to the diner. With the jury rigged antennae, Hampton and Jake tries to reach the state authorities and manage to contact someone but there signal keeps cutting in and out and they aren’t sure if they managed to get their call for help through. Jake, Colonel, Hass, and Farley head out and get some gas from the trucks outside, as well as some other supplies, but the wyvern returns and slashes Farley in the stomach with it’s tail. Back at the nest, David is shown to be alive and after fixing a tourniquet around his severed arm, he looks inside the nest and sees three eggs inside, just before the wyvern returns and grabs him. The wyvern returns to town and drops David on the ground, then lands on the roof of the diner and waits. Jake and the others realize it is using David as bait but Jake can’t just leave David out there. He goes out to save him, with Colonel and Hass covering him. Jake grabs David and starts making his way back and Farley, thinking that he won’t make it, decides to run out to distract the wyvern and ends up being killed. As they all recover and rest, David comes too and tells them about the eggs in the nest before he dies from his wounds. Jake, Hass, Colonel, Hampton, and Claire head out to the nest and, seeing a generator nearby, come up with a plan to electrify the nest in order to kill the wyvern and the eggs. As they head out, Hass ends up being killed by the wyvern but Jake and Hampton get the generator set up and shock the wyvern but it only chases it off. The Colonel shoots two of the eggs but Jake stops him from shooting the third, saying they need it as bait. Heading off with the egg, they come across some  more wrecked and abandoned cars, including a new semi, which happened to be Jake’s replacement truck. Coming up with a new plan, Jake grabs the GPS from David’s car and has the egg strapped into his truck, then drives off, luring the wyvern into following him. As the wyvern starts attacking the truck, Jake steers it towards a cliff and jumps out before it goes over the edge, Pinning the wyvern underneath it as it crashes, then explodes on the rocks below. Jake returns to town to tell everyone it is over and when Hampton asks about the rig, he says he doesn’t need it anymore as he has grown to like it in Beaver Mills, hugging Claire as they all head back inside the diner.

This is one of those no frills, killer animal movies where you know exactly what you are going to get out of it, and enjoy every second of it. This movie was a lot better than I honestly thought it was going to be. The acting was good, with Nick Chinlund and Erin Karpluk doing a good job as Jake and Claire respectively. I also liked Don S. Davis (Colonel) and Barry Corbin (Hass), as they had some great lines throughout the movie. The story was good and I liked that they used a wyvern instead of just calling it a dragon, like most people would probably have done. I also liked that they showcased the creatures intelligence with the scene of it using David as bait to try and lure the others out of the diner. The wyvern’s design was pretty good and I liked the over all special effects in the movie, though there were a few times where they did look a little weak. Still, definitely an enjoyable movie for any sci-fi/horror fan, especially if you are a fan of the Maneater series like me.

Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5

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horror, Maneater series, movie, movie review

December 18th, 2017 Movie – Swamp Devil

swamp devil

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

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

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

Rating: 3 out of 5

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

October 14th, 2017 Movie – Something Beneath

something beneath

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

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

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

Rating: 2 out of 5

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