Six Stages of Hell – ‘The Stars Collection’ Part 1: Return to Cabin by the Lake (2001)

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Directed by: Po-Chih Leong

6 Movies – 1 Box – 3 Double sided discs. Six rather randomly selected films. I mean, you’d assume that these films would be part of the same genre, or share at least some similarity, but instead the connection is rather vague. Given the title of the collection refers to ‘The Stars’, the suggestion is that these films showcase the cream of Hollywood acting talent. Considering the films feature Judd Nelson, Phil Collins, Matt LeBlanc, Bob Hoskins, Christopher Eccleston and Marc Warren, you could make an argument about the level of star quality. The first film I’m covering from The Stars Collection is ‘Return to Cabin by the Lake’, the long awaited (ha!) sequel to ‘Cabin by the Lake’.

I have not seen ‘Cabin by the Lake’, but essentially the sequel is a similar story to ‘Scream 3’, a film within a film, as Hollywood looks to cash in on a real life tragedy by filming at the site of the original murders, reopening several old wounds in the process. The opening scene could almost be taken from one of those late night softcore channel 5 films that usually starred Gene Simmons wife. Laura and Alan are talking about the dilemma between money and art in Hollywood screenwriting on a boat. Laura compliments Alan, and loves how he writes his characters, because you never knew who they were or what they were thinking.

Alan then bounds Laura in vines, and if a new viewer arrived at this point they’d wonder if it was a XXX parody of Batman & Robin. He reveals himself to be Stanley Caldwell and throws Laura into the lake. She struggles to the surface, and then we see that the vines are rooted to a heavy stone plant pot, Alan throws the pot overboard and it anchors Laura down to the bottom, where she drowns. Elaborate way of killing someone, I must say, the kind of way only a frustrated brewing psychopath at Homebase might think up as he plots against his employers for sticking him outside with hundreds of fence panels and polystyrene trays of chrysanthemums.

The film then moves onto the set of ‘Cabin in the Woods’, the director is flamboyant and egocentric, a sensible looking brunette named Alison is rewriting the script, the cast are a bunch of dizzy airheads and there is a lot of tension on set. A strange bearded guy who looks like a hillbilly Rob Zombie is milling around, getting in everyone’s way. Again, it is the master of disguise Stanley Caldwell, doing a bit of reconnaissance. What happens next is predictably sinister, Caldwell picks up an actor called JC Reddick, nephew of a rich uncle financing the film, he drugs Reddick, bumps him off and assumes his identity. As JC, Caldwell is able to take over the film, dealing with those who get in his way, one by one.

I think my favourite scene in the film is the cabin showdown between Alison and Caldwell. Caldwell finds himself in a bathtub; Alison is armed with a hairdryer, pointing it as if it is a Walther PPK. Caldwell says to Alison “You have the power now”; Alison then throws the hairdryer into the bathwater and electrocutes Caldwell. The special effects budget then goes into overdrive as blinding blue shock waves flash brightly.

Judd Nelson is sullen, and devoid of emotion in his portrayal of Stanley Caldwell, and it seems his emotional range hasn’t developed much since the days when he was bad boy John Bender in ‘The Breakfast Club’. Though Nelson has already played a serial killer before in the film ‘Relentless’…

if you’ve seen that film then you’d say that he’s merely replicating that performance, cold, calculating, emotionless…. and shockingly one dimensional.

‘Return to Cabin by the Lake’ is a poor TV movie, sprinkled with a few notable sporadic funny moments that acknowledge its faults.

– RJW
4/10

Return to Cabin by the Lake on IMDB
Buy Return To Cabin By The Lake [DVD]

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The Sitter (2011)

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Directed by: David Gordon Green

Jonah Hill is a good actor, but is he a leading man?

The answer to that question is “not yet”. 2011’s ‘The Sitter’ saw Hill essentially playing an older version of the character he played in ‘Superbad’. All his best work has come when working alongside another guy. And what he lacks here is a foil, an actor to bounce off of – a Brad Pitt, a Michael Cera… a Channing Tatum. On his own, or should I say on his own whilst babysitting three kids, he flounders horribly; which I guess works in a way, because Hill’s character Noah is supposed to be out of his depth, struggling to control three misbehaving brats.

What’s odd is that this film could conceivably have been toned down to a PG rated family comedy in the mould of ‘Uncle Buck’. Instead we are greeted in the first few minutes to the formerly chubby funster licking out his reluctant girlfriend, who is reluctant in the sense that she just likes being pleasured, and dislikes the thought of being penetrated.

Noah is a Mother’s boy, and because his Mother has rode the menopausal rollercoaster and is ready to get shagging again, she is given the opportunity to get her groove back if she goes along to a well-to-do gathering with her friend Mrs Pedulla where she will be set-up with an eligible bachelor. The only thing preventing Mother from getting some saction is that Mrs Pedulla requires a babysitter to look after her three children. Noah, with his Mother’s happiness in mind reluctantly agrees.

Reluctance is the theme of the film as when Noah arrives at the Pedulla household the children are reluctant to be looked after. Noah’s reluctant not-quite-a-girlfriend rings him up and will reluctantly have sex with Noah if he can score her some drugs and meet her at a party up town. Noah breaks the reluctant chain, convinces the children to join him on running this errand and a merry adventure ensues.

The weird thing about this film is how traumatized the children are, you have Slater, who appears to be dependent on a cocktail of anxiety medication, Blithe, an overtly sexualised six year old Kardashian disciple and Rodrigo, an adopted Puerto Rican arsonist. Noah takes time to bond with the three children, and teaches Blithe that she doesn’t need her make-up to be beautiful and tells Slater that he is a repressed homosexual as the film ties itself in a beautiful bow and gifts us a beautiful happy ending. The kids seem remarkably calm at the end of the movie after being exposed to violence, vice and near death vehicle crashes.

The supporting cast are awful – Method Man plays a token black guy who dresses a bit urban, Sam Rockwell camps it up as an over the top drug lord and Curb’s J.B. Smoove is wasted as his dumb lackey. For some reason I’m irritated most by Method Man’s performance. I guess his agent said “Do you want to be in a movie with the fat lad from ‘Superbad’?” Method Man likely would mull this over for a bit, until his agent returned with a six figure salary figure. His agent then says “This is easy money, all you’ll need to do is turn up and shoot for a couple of days, you have hardly any lines and you don’t even need to dress up for the role”. Cash rules everything around me…

Flying by in less than eighty minutes ‘The Sitter’ is short enough that you don’t really have time to get too concerned about its faults. Hill tries to carry the film on his back, and his easy going, almost lackadaisical wise cracking persona doesn’t quite gel with the chaos that goes on around him.

– RJW
3/10

The Sitter on IMDB
Buy The Sitter [DVD]

Nick of Time (1995)

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Directed by: John Badham

‘Nick of Time’ killed John Badham’s career as a Hollywood director. It wasn’t his last film, that honour fell to a film that starred Jason Patric film about Art forgery called ‘Incognito’, released the same year as Patric’s leading man aspirations died with ‘Speed II: Cruise Control’ (somehow Patric conspired to display less on screen charisma than Keanu Reeves). Badham made some bad choices, but he surpassed many people’s expectations by directing a disco movie starring John Travolta, an early eighties movie about computer hacking, and a film about a police helicopter pilot who suffers from post-traumatic sense disorder. Most of those ideas sounded bad on paper, yet somehow they were critically well received and smashed it at the box office.

It seemed there was a preoccupation in the nineties with trying to move cinema forwards, by looking backwards. ‘Nick of Time’ takes place in real time, inspired by classics from the fifties such as ‘High Noon’ and ’12 Angry Men’. The difference in this film is that it opens with a farfetched kidnapping involving a driveling accountant and his young daughter and the action mostly takes place within a soulless gigantic hotel with a surprisingly limited amount of rouge carpeted conference rooms. Everything screams dull.

Johnny Depp plays the accountant Gene Watson, and he plays it dry. Depp works best as a charismatic lead, or when mimicking Hunter S. Thompson, playing an everyman figure doesn’t feel comfortable, and Depp’s uncomfortable performance reflects that. Watson and his daughter Lynn arrive in LA by train. Lynn looks out of the window and sees vagabonds duking it out trackside as their train pulls in. When they wander into the station an annoyance on skates buzzes around, this bozo tries to take Lynn’s teddy bear. Yes, all the petty crooks in LA want is cuddly toys.

This is witnessed by Mr Smith (Christopher Walken) and Ms. Jones (Liz from Nip/Tuck) who seem to be plotting some kind of abduction, surveying the train station for their target. They see Watson and his daughter as perfect for their master plan. They wander over to the father and daughter, flash a police badge and somehow manage to bundle them both into a van. Ms. Jones and Lynn sit in the back; Mr Smith and Watson sit in the front. Watson is told by Mr Smith that unless he kills somebody for him his daughter will be killed. Watson is given a gun, some bullets and a manila envelope containing a picture of the person he must kill. He’s then given a time limit and a venue where this person is to be found, which is the Bonaventure Hotel.

Watson’s target is Governor Grant, a friendly faced politician who happens to be holding her campaign speeches at the hotel. Trying to get help appears impossible for Watson, as Mr Smith tracks his every move, waiting in every corner, following him to the toilet. The man can’t even shit himself in peace. Watson discovers something is amiss, and realizes that shooting Grant is actually easy, because it seems everyone around the campaign wants her to die. It’s a conspiracy dagnabbit!

You could compare this film to ‘Phone Booth’ in that an average pen pusher gets thrown into a situation way beyond his capabilities. Despite there being appears more at stake here, in the sense that Watson is on a suicide mission and his daughter’s, and indeed the Governer’s life is on the line there appears a distinct lack of urgency and throughout the film the supposedly sinister Mr Smith, a man very much on a deadline, is extremely generous with his time.

– RJW
4/10

Nick of Time on IMDB
Buy Nick Of Time [DVD] [1996]

The Legend of Boggy Creek (1972)

I think this film can safely be put in the tradition of films which inspired “The Blair Witch Project”. Actually, saying that has made me realise how old I am because fans of modern horror will probably make reference to Blair Witch as a precursor to those wonderful Paranormal Activity films or something. I have no idea, I’m an old old man.

This never happens in the film - something interesting, I mean

This never happens in the film – something interesting, I mean

Anyway, Boggy Creek! Full disclosure – my wife was born and raised in Arkansas, the state where this film is set, so after we’d watched the Mystery Science Theater 3000 version of “Boggy Creek 2:…And The Legend Continues”, which had a scene from the University she attended at roughly the same time as she was a student there, you know we had to track down the 1972 original. Wow, this is way closer to a blog than an actual film review. Don’t worry, readers, I’ll get to that…

…now. This film seems to come in three fairly distinct sections. First up, there’s the “come visit beautiful rural Arkansas” shots. There are a lot of shots of woodland, and creeks, where literally nothing else is happening. Second section is a documentary about the backwoods folk and the things they do. Now, I have a pet idea about this section – that the director approached these people and asked if he could film them for some documentary he was making about the southern end of the state, and then spliced in pictures of a man in an unconvincing Sasquatch outfit to make it look like they were part of the actual sub-sub-basement thriller film he was making. So you’ll get some teenager going for a paddle down the river and taking some tobacco to an old hermit, who tells us in voiceover how much he likes never seeing anyone, ever…then you’ll see the Fouke Monster off in the background of another shot, but we’re supposed to think they’re CLOSE (Fouke is the town the film is largely based in, and if you get bored you can replace it with a similar word for big laughs).

And thirdly are the reconstructions. Oh, the reconstructions! The syrup-voiced narrator will tell us about a bunch of people who saw the monster before showing a group of sub-amateur dramatics actors looking worriedly out of their windows as the monster wanders about in the undergrowth outside. They’re also weirdly complicated – like, we’ll get introduced to a family, but at the last moment voiceover guy will say “oh, and one of their cousins was there, and her husband was away for some reason”.

I will always have fond memories of this film, for the truly insane moment that happened about 30 minutes in. They’re doing one of their slow pans across some scenery when the most hideous song you’ve ever heard kicks in…yes! Youtube has it!

Caroline and I looked at each other open-mouthed in amazement. And that’s not the only one! There’s another sung-spoken poem which just describes the film up to that point, and the end credits are very similarly treated. It’s a truly bizarre moment in a film which, to that point, was just kinda dull.

So, I think I’ve covered everything the curious reader could possibly want to know about this film. It’s awful, of course. The monster doesn’t so much as get within 20 yards of a human being until the last ten minutes of the film, and only injures one person. Imagine “Night of the Living Dead”, if the zombies just sort of wander around in the woods and never come near any of the cast, and you have this film…only not as good.

 

The Legend of Boggy Creek on IMDB
Buy Legend of Boggy Creek [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Doom (2005)

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I had originally watched Doom sometime shortly after its theatrical release back in ’05 and vaguely remember it being throwaway tosh so I returned to it the other night with the intention of reviewing it for the ISCFC. I really wish I hadn’t. It isn’t just forgettable, it’s boring, woefully produced, atrociously shot and basically just a big fat all-round stinker.

Hollywood has been chewing up good video game material and squatting out terrible adaptations for quite some time now without one producer actually being able to get the point of the differences between what makes a good game and what makes a good film. However, it strikes me that integrity really isn’t the first box ticked when pitching these ideas to the money men, in fact I don’t think such a box exists for the genre.

Doom opens in a poorly lit laboratory full of screaming white lab-coats running for their lives around cheap looking set corridors covered in flashing strobe lights and, after a bit of bloodshed, one of the scientists manages to lock himself in a room and send an SOS message to base before being confronted by the beastly intruder. Cut to a room full of grunts with each grunt stereotype sufficiently fulfilled; The good one, the big angry black one, the libidinous black one, the mute Asian one, the nervous new recruit, the sleazy creep (played by rent-a-creep Joe Chill from Batman Begins) and the buzz-cut loner and headed up by The Rock (yes, this was before he was credited as Dwayne Johnson) of course.

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These paper-thin ragtag clichés then suit up and travel down a big elevator to be briefed on the clean-up mission. Upon arrival they meet Dexter Fletcher as a human segway then travel to the secret lab on Mars via a floating orb of liquid where Rosamund Pike is introduced to explain the plot and bore the target audience while doing so (in fact she only appears whenever exposition is needed, she may just as well be credited as ‘boring plot woman’). Then nothing happens. For ages. The soldiers just walk around some dark corridors saying stuff like “I’m taking a shit you fucking gimp”, “we’re a couple of million light years from breakfast” and “a monkey Sir, some kind of monkey” thus filling out the 100 minute runtime with the stale vapours of poorly written and shoddily delivered dialogue.

The problems of Doom are plentiful, aside from a puppy-fat coated Karl Urban trying his best with his part the film has no redeeming features at all and that isn’t an exaggeration. All aspects fail but not spectacularly, just ordinarily, it doesn’t reach any kind of height to plummet from, in fact it never even approaches second gear let alone take off. It even fails in its failing as there are worse films around than Doom but it’s not interesting in the slightest and for a film based on a game with constant shooting and bloody violence there is a remarkable lack of constant shooting and bloody violence.

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Aside from the used toilet paper of a script the story is equally limp; a missing chromosome that chooses its hosts has the ability to define a ‘good’ or ‘evil’ soul and change the suitor’s body to reflect their inner machinations which just means that the nothing characters turn into mindless beasts while the protagonist turns into a God-like figure (IDDQD anyone?) and the main antagonist becomes a reverse version of the hero just so they can have a big fist fight at the end complete with added elbowdrops and DDTs. There is a WWE wrestler in it after all.

The lighting is almost non-existent being on a par with the terrible AVP:R, in most of the corridor scenes you can’t see what’s going on and when we finally do get some action it’s mostly unintelligible shadowy shapes followed by the occasional muzzle-flare. The camerawork doesn’t help with visual identification either basically making redundant its whole point of being there and maybe the most inevitable part of Doom is the nu metal soundtrack to accompany every action scene confirming its status as an unoriginal, unchallenging, idea-vacant hatchet job. Even their money-shot, the first-person scene, is bland and totally mishandled looking more laughable than effective and making one wish they were playing the game instead and not sitting through this travesty.

Absolutely nothing works in this film, it feels like pre-production of Doom consisted of viewings of Aliens and Predator followed by a meeting where the subversive fun, camaraderie and good character writing was stripped away leaving the bare bones of an incredibly basic genre piece to be forced clumsily together by a crew of out-of-their-depth hacks. Polish cinematographer Andrzej Bartkowiak was the head hack responsible for this ill-contrived excavation who had $60 million thrown at him by eager producers looking to cash in on the video game’s success, a ludicrous decision to fill his boots so extravagantly since his previous directing credits included Exit Wounds and Cradle 2 the Grave. Not entering anywhere near so bad it’s good territory Doom is just plain awful however one can’t help but admire just how bad it is.

– Greg Foster

Doom on IMDB
Buy Doom (Extended Edition) [DVD] [2006]
Play Doom 3 – BFG Edition (Xbox 360)

Warm Bodies (2013)

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I don’t know if it was the fact that the last zombie film I saw was absolutely rotten, or that I’d read the book that this was based on a few days previously, or maybe that it was just great, but I loved this film. Hold on, keep reading! I’ve got a few jokes and observations and so on to come yet.

R is a zombie, one with a rich internal dialogue (given to us via voiceover) but who can barely form a word. The first section of the film is some excellent world-building, with him taking us through the day to day activities of the different-than-the-average-undead. We’re introduced to the three main forces – the “normal” zombies, the Boneys (zombies who’ve lost their flesh and any remaining humanity) and the humans. It’s set some unspecified time after the dead start rising from their graves, but it’s probably not more than a decade or so – the humans have retreated behind huge walls which they’ve erected round cities, and the zombies seem to have pretty much everything else.

R is dissatisfied with his lot in death, and when he meets Julie, after he, his friend M (played by the brilliant Rob Corddry) and a group of zombies go on a human-hunting expedition, he rescues her and takes her back to his home inside the airport – a disused 747, where a friendship springs up between the two. The fact he’s eaten her ex boyfriend’s brains luckily doesn’t come up at this point, but his relationship with a human causes him to start…changing.

Say little, but speak volumes

Anyway, that’s about as much spoilering as I can do for this film, because it’s in cinemas right now and I want you all to go and watch it. It’s a sort-of update of “Romeo and Juliet” (R and Julie?) but the zombie trappings really work well for it. There’s not a lot of people getting parts of their bodies ripped off, if that’s the thing for you, but there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, a sweet and believable protagonist and a world that makes sense (as much as a world taken over by the undead can).

As I’d read the book just a few days before seeing the film, a lot of my thoughts while watching it were about the stuff the film left out – there were the hints at a zombie society and religion which mirrored that of the humans, and Julie’s father (played by John Malkovich, who seems much happier to be in films like this these days than he was back in the 90s) had an assistant and a much different fate. But they did a pretty good job, I reckon. The book was short and a fast read and I’d guess written with one eye on the film adaptation…but this isn’t a book review (thank heavens, I’ve just started “The Count of Monte Cristo” and that’s more than a thousand pages)

I don’t think it’s perfect, but I really, really enjoyed it. The central idea to the film is clever and, as far as I can tell, an original spin on the zombie myth; it’s got a couple of killer performances at its heart, and superb supporting turns from Corddry and Malkovich; and it’s short! Somewhere around 95 minutes, which should be cherished in these days of 3 hour exercises in directors having more power than editors (or whatever makes them so damn long, I don’t care).

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Warm Bodies on IMDB
Buy Warm Bodies [DVD]

The Devil Inside: so bad, it’s actually so bad, so how did it make any money?

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I’m not going to waste time reviewing ‘The Devil Inside’ and award it the zero out of ten rating it deserves. I was supremely disappointed with the film and I’ll get to the reasons why later in the piece, but if it wasn’t for a work colleague saying “Oh, you like horror, do you want me to lend you a copy of this really awesome movie about exorcisms?” then I probably wouldn’t have bothered watching it in the first place. Despite loving the hopeless and the bad, when a terrible film is a box office success I tend to give it a wide berth. Sitting through a third of the ‘Scary Movie’ franchise taught me to do that.

I was aware of the hype and the unlikely box office success of ‘The Devil Inside’, yet I still couldn’t believe, or even begin to explain how it occurred. I think I’m going to try and speculate on some of the reasons, even though I fear that I will most likely veer into subjective opinion from my muffin topped gut and good old fashioned guesswork. Probably I’ll skirt around the question I have posed – how did it make any money?

An American ‘Exorcist Consultant’ called Bob Larson, when talking about the film, states that it is “the closest that Hollywood has come to getting it right in terms of what an exorcism is”. I think he’s referring mostly about the negotiating that goes on between ‘the demon’ and the priest during some of the exorcism scenes, and how the film reflects that ‘accurately’. Although given that this is the kind of ‘real’ shit that happens during an exorcism, I have some doubts about his authority on the subject.

When a movie begins to use the words “inspired by true events” in promotional material, and upsets the Catholic church, when a movie is shot in ‘documentary’ form, and the handheld cameras shake around just enough to make the audience nauseous like they’ve spent an hour on a carousel high on ketamine whilst trapped in a Gypsy fairground – you are setting up a catchment area of curiosity that is bound to grab a few people’s attention. ‘The Devil Inside’ then relied on the idiotic majority voice to be heard, and that voice shouted “You’ve got to see this awesome movie about exorcisms”.

Sometimes a director gets lucky with timing, and after the phenomenal success of the ‘Paranormal Activity’ series, it was inevitable that a variation on a theme, in this case a film about ‘found footage’, could do well at the box office. Also, there hadn’t been a film about exorcisms before ‘The Devil Inside’ since erm…. a year prior with 2011’s ‘The Rite’. So I’m guessing horror films featuring exorcisms are like films about vampires and zombies, they can constantly be revisited, and there is always a demand to see them. There’s something about waifish brunette’s contorting their bodies whilst strapped down on hospital beds I guess.

I’d like to take a look at something reasonably insignificant that takes places in the film. The nun that Isabella Rossi walks past with the cloudy grey haunting eyes, this woman features on the DVD cover, promotional posters and prominently in the trailer, yet in the context of the film she appears in the film for seconds and doesn’t contribute much other than temporarily startling Isabella. The image of a possessed nun is so powerful that it draws you in. It sums up the curiosity factor, proving a few striking images and a whiff of controversy can stir interest. Multiply these shock moments a few times – a priest drowning a baby during a christening or a young woman haemorrhaging blood from her “cunt”, and I use this word because it often gets uttered frequently during any movie about exorcisms, and you have a scattering of memorable moments that cover up the bad acting and unrealistic realism.

‘The Devil Inside’ has one of the most unsatisfying endings in recent horror movie history, with further disappointment after you go along to the shitty website that has information about the Rossi Files. There is a feeling that the director is making their audience finish the job for them, but you’d say to the director “we’re riding in your car; you’ve got to take us home!” What comes after the car crash sequence knocks that idea on the head as we are signposted us over to a blinking website. Just fade to black, roll credits. Don’t tell us to go somewhere else. The director William Brent Bell blamed Paramount, stating when interviewed that “Paramount made a very bold choice when they decided to do the website at the end of the film,” he said. “And at the time when that was brought up, we thought that was a cool idea – it was very interactive, nobody has kind of done that, and we actually think it’s kind of cool. Now, some people think it’s wonderful, some people can be really pissed off by that because they think it’s a cheat, but we’ll tell you this: when we were making this film, we made a bold choice of how to end it.”

The ending is everything for me, particularly in the horror genre. So for ‘The Devil Inside’ to try and be interactive with its audience, it spectacularly failed, as evidenced by the critical reaction to this groundbreaking move. We’re not quite at that level when we immediately whip out our smartphones whilst in the cinema (anyone who does this at any time when in a cinema should be shot, or at least made to eat a dozen of those watery hotdogs they sell at the Odeon), but we can’t be too far away from such interactivity.

Infuriated just thinking about this possibility. I’m ending this now, abruptly, only without a web link.

– RJW

The Devil Inside on IMDB
Buy The Devil Inside [DVD]

A Little Bit Zombie (2012)

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For this film, you get two reviews for the price of one. My wife, seeing how I toss them off in five minutes much fun I have doing these, wanted to get in on the act. So I’m going to print her review, in its entirety, before I do mine. Drumroll please.

Caroline’s review of “A Little Bit Zombie”:

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Just so as you know, we don’t differ a great deal in our opinion of this film, but I just take longer to get to the point (and, she had more and cleverer stuff to say about this film, but I have to edit).

Dear horror film makers – other locations exist than cabins in the woods. In fact, I’m not entirely sure there are that many tourist-appropriate cabins in the woods of America. Okay, I understand why it’s done – it’s easy to obscure inappropriate locations behind fog; your cast is reduced and you don’t have to dress many sets, meaning low production costs. But go somewhere else! How about deserted motels? Abandoned shopping centres? Schools?

But we get a cabin. Four people are going to a cabin in the woods to complete wedding invitations and wedding planning for our hero and his “bridezilla-to-be” (the video box’s words, not mine). Now, I’ve seen some pretty thin plots for getting the heroes and the source of their death together, but wedding planning is a new one on me. At the same time, we see “that guy” (one of those actors who appears in just about everything, and you’ll recognise immediately) and his blonde assistant (who only a select few will recognise, as the daughter from the early series of SciFi Channel show “Sanctuary”), using a combination of magic and brute force to off a campground full of zombies.

How do these two seemingly unlinked groups come together? Well, we have a mosquito to thank for that, who bites a dead zombie, gets infected then carries the infection to a certain cabin in the woods…and the film then becomes sort-of a farce. Our hero gets bitten, but he’s still human, and the rest of the film is the conflict of him trying to plan the perfect wedding while also developing a taste for brains.

But is this film any good? Well, of course it isn’t. It starts off early – the second couple in the car show zero evidence they’re related, or even friends, but half an hour into the film we find out they’re fairly happily married (oh, and the woman is main zombie’s sister). It’s a sign of the hugely inconsistent characterisation that runs all the way through – the “bridezilla” is sometimes a monster, sometimes a sweetly loving fiancée; the zombie hunters are occasionally casual about their profession, then deadly serious about the end of the world; and the star seemingly can’t decide how he wants to play his character – either as farcical comedy, tragedy or bad-ass monsterdom.

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Anyway, I think I’ve devoted a lot more time to teasing out the problems of this film than its makers ever did – and they didn’t spend their spare time on zombie makeup either, because aside from the slaughter in the first five minutes, the only zombie in the film is our star, and he doesn’t appear to be properly undead.

Thumbs down. A wacky comedy that’s not very funny, and a zombie film with barely any zombies in it. Heck, it was so dull I couldn’t even be bothered to edit it in the names of the cast after I wrote it like I’d normally do for one of these reviews.

 

A Little Bit Zombie on IMDB
Buy A Little Bit Zombie (2012)