Night Of The Demons (2009)

The period of about 2005 to 2012 saw the great horror remaking, as studios, desperate for cash and bereft of original ideas as always, decided to raid their intellectual properties and hope a few fans of the originals wandered into the multiplex. A (probably incomplete) list – “Friday The 13th”, “Halloween”, “A Nightmare On Elm Street”, “My Bloody Valentine”, “April Fools Day”, “Children Of The Corn”, “The Hills Have Eyes”, “Day Of The Dead”, “Dawn Of The Dead”, “Fright Night”, “Silent Night, Deadly Night”, “Prom Night”, “Black Christmas” and “The Stepfather”; to that we can add this, when the originals were so obscure I completely forgot about them the last time I did this list, in November of last year. Of those, the only two worth the slightest bit of a damn are “Fright Night” and “Dawn Of The Dead”, although neither of them are close to as good as their originals; let’s see how this one does.

Actually, as the original “Night Of The Demons” was terrible, this is easily better than it, without still being all that fantastic. One trait it shares with another remake, “Prom Night”, is to be so completely different to its original that the choice to use its name must have been solely monetary – when they throw in a few random bits of continuity as the movie goes on, it’s sort of a surprise as you’ll forget quite quickly that the two are in any way related.

In a stylistic similarity with the original trilogy, we get a cold open of people getting murdered in demon-y ways, this time from 1926 (with the footage meant to look like it’s from that era). It’s the Broussard House, in New Orleans – neither the same name or town as the originals – and in the current day, it’s about to be rented out by a local entrepreneur, who needs this night to be a success in order to save herself and her cat from living on the streets.

There are people you’ll recognise in this movie! The entrepreneur, Angela (same name, same sort of character arc, I guess) is Shannon Elizabeth, of “American Pie” fame; one of the three beautiful young women who know Angela and are preparing to attend her event is Monica Keena (“Dawson’s Creek”, “Freddy vs. Jason”). The local drug dealer who needs some sales at the party to keep his supplier from killing him is Edward Furlong (“Terminator 2”). A brief aside: Furlong has had what sounds like a messed up life, chewed up by Hollywood as a young kid, but…anyway, he and Keena met on the set of this, and began a relationship which is still apparently dragging along today, despite his multiple arrests for domestic violence and substance abuse issues. Sad story.

What’s interesting is how packed the house is with party-goers, making me think this was going to be a real bloodbath; but then for absolutely no reason, cops appear and break things up, leaving the seven main cast members. I have to assume cops in New Orleans have better things to do on Halloween than break up perfectly peaceful house parties, but then I could be wrong. When Furlong and Elizabeth find a hidden door which leads to a sub-basement with a group of very old dead bodies in it, and when she puts her finger in the mouth of one of them, she gets bit and we’re on for another demonism-is-passed-on-via-blood-or-saliva epic.

Because we’ve established kissing can pass on the curse, we’re treated to a number of girl-on-girl scenes, because of course – although one of them ends with a girl getting her face ripped off, which is a fresh take on it. Plus, something for the trailer! (I haven’t seen the trailer, but I’d bet every penny I’ve ever earned one of those scenes is in it).

90 SECONDS LATER EDIT: I was right 😦

It’s not bad, if we’re being honest. Elizabeth is vastly better than Amelia Kinkade as the Angela character, mixing sexy and scary in a much more interesting way. Keena is a genuinely brilliant Final Girl and I wish her career had gone better than it has, and the rest of the cast are all fine, with Furlong having the sunken eyes of an actual drug addict to go along with playing a sleazy drug dealer. The effects are decent, even if they’re a bit too heavy on the CGI and a bit too light on the practical stuff.

The story even makes sense, of a sort. They explain why the house is cursed, and why the seven people there are all doomed, and why Halloween is important (even if it’s a silly reason, they at least bother to give one). All things that improve on the original. And it’s got a light tone without being too wacky, with Keena getting some nicely comic moments.

I even liked the few little bits of continuity – like Linnea Quigley making a brief cameo showing her ass in the same outfit she wore in part 1, although the trick-or-treaters look pleased and not horrified as she’s about the same age as their grandparents. The bit where one of the women shoved a lipstick tube into her boob also makes an unwelcome return! The Angela character treating everyone else to a dance scene was fun too, but there was an even deeper cut. Parts 1-3 all used the same Evil Dead-inspired scene of an unseen force rushing up on the unsuspecting teens. This one ripped off a different part of the Evil Dead, where they trap a possessed person in the cellar and desperately try to hold the trapdoor closed.

There’s even a link to ISCFC legend Donald Farmer, as the woman who’s working the door for the party (and steals all the cash when the party is broken up) is Tiffany Shepis, the extremely busy actress who was in his “Chainsaw Cheerleaders”. And she was in “Sharknado 2”, and “Tromeo and Juliet”, I guess.

I could have lived without the extreme use of handheld cameras towards the end, as it achieved nothing but making me feel a bit sick. And there’s a weird return for one of our least favourite bad movie tropes, “haha all our friends are dead”. But this is fairly small potatoes.

It’s okay! Nice moments, nothing to get too excited about but fun nontheless. I prefer part 2 of the original trilogy, but it’s much better than the original part 1 and if you ever see it on a low-end cable channel one evening, you could do a lot worse.

Rating: thumbs in the middle

 

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Leprechaun 2 (1993)

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After this series, I promise, I’m going to try to pick films to review that I think might be halfway decent. To get to the funny-sounding “Leprechaun” movies – part 4 in space, 5 and 6 in tha hood, and let’s be honest they probably won’t be very good either – we completists must wade through three catastrophically misjudged “comedy” “horror” efforts, of which this is part 2. I promise to either be entertaining or short.

 

Okay, so despite being the same actor, the leprechaun is an entirely different character. A thousand years ago, he had a slave (someone who tried to steal his gold and failed) and decided to take a wife, as leprechaun law dictates. Sneeze three times without someone saying “god bless you”, and you’re the leprechaun’s for all eternity. Sucks, eh? So, he almost gets his woman, but the slave, who it turns out is the woman’s brother, saves her only to get brutally killed for his trouble. So far, so…good? I mean, it’s good to know people made lame-ass quips a thousand years ago, but the writing on these movies has been absolutely pitiful.

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“1000 years later”, in modern LA. The leprechaun has made it to the US via a tree sent by the people of Killarney to Harry Houdini in the 1930s – don’t ask what he was doing in the intervening time, or indeed how he spent the last 60 years – and he’s ready for another try at the whole wife thing. Pretty much straight away, he sees the lovely-ish Bridget and falls in love, although she’s got a boyfriend, the sad-sack Cody, who works for his Uncle Morty (Sandy Baron, a veteran who also did a great turn in “Vamp”) doing a crappy tour of spots where famous people died. Cody accidentally takes a piece of the leprechaun’s gold, and then it’s shenanigans in remarkably similar fashion to the first movie, with Bridget mostly trapped inside the leprechaun’s tree-root house, and Cody getting terrorised inside his home, and a few other equally unappealing locations.

 

It’s really barely worth recapping. It completely ignores the first movie – our small friend is now completely susceptible to wrought iron, rather than four-leaf clovers; and instead of being cursed with leprechaun-ism, they’re now a separate race who can have children (although, if you can only “get married” once every thousand years, leprechaun babies must be an extremely rare occurrence). Logic is tossed merrily out of the window and every bit of entertainment is expected to be got from seeing Warwick Davis dance and quip about, and a surprisingly large amount of gore.

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There’s little worse than a comedy that isn’t funny, and this is really not funny. Although it did get me to learn a little about leprechauns, and how they’re a relatively modern invention – the first use of the word in English was 1604, and the word can maybe be tracked a few hundred years further back in Irish (an 8th century water spirit seems to be the first creature to use a version of the word). They originally wore read and every modern version of them – including this movie – is based on racist and derogatory portrayals of the Irish in the late 19th century.

 

So now we’ve all learned a little something, this review wasn’t a waste. Unlike the 90 minutes it took me to watch it. Amazingly, director Rodman Flender also did “Idle Hands”, one of my favourite horror-comedies ever, before becoming a full-time TV guy – also the fate of the two writers, who’ve worked solidly on stuff like “The Vampire Diaries” for years. I wish one of them had used a few of those good ideas on this movie!

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Rating: thumbs down

 

PS – oh, there is one good thing about this movie, and that’s the title right at the top of the page. For no reason that I can fathom other than the first movie was terrible, it was renamed “One Wedding And Lots Of Funerals” for its VHS release – surely the most entertaining thing about it.

Airplane vs. Volcano (2014)

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The Asylum have done it again! After 2012’s “Super Cyclone”, a film that was as clear a parody of their normal output as it’s possible to make, they’ve come out with this, which is laughs from beginning to end. It also cost them, apart from Dean Cain’s contract, zero dollars, being filmed almost entirely on two already existing sets.

But I’ve not even got to the film yet! Before I started watching it, I was wondering “how are they going to get an entire film out of this? If you’re on a plane and see a volcano, fly the other way, job done” but I grossly underestimated the Asylum’s ability to spin gold out of thin air. Everything goes to pot almost immediately in this film, so a normal flight from LA to Hawaii encounters a local manifestation of a global volcanic apocalypse. By the way, I think this film is a proper tie-in to “Apocalypse Pompeii”, as there’s a mention of the other place’s problems right at the end. The Asylum is getting all cross-promotional!

As volcanoes emerge from the ocean, the scene outside the plane transforms into a rather convincing hellscape. Unfortunately for our plane, both pilots almost immediately die, so the passengers have to band together, and unfortunately for the profit margin of the airline, they only seem to have 20 passengers on board (I was hoping for a joke near the end where the camera would pan back along the plane and just see all the people in economy class sat happily reading magazines and watching the in-flight movie, but no such luck).

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THE SET! Now, you may not be as big an Asylum obsessive as me, but eagle-eyed observers will spot the circular control-room set from “The 3 Musketeers” and “Super Cyclone” (and probably a few other films). If anyone from the Asylum reads these reviews, please let me know where it is?

A brief word about the extras. I may not be the world’s biggest fan of the armed forces, but I appreciate that their training will leave them all looking a certain way – fairly big, strong looking, confident in their environment. The extras in the control room all look like…well, me – doughy guys who’d be more at home in an office than a battlefield. And on the plane is a guy who looks like an Aldi Mandy Patinkin, who goes from calm and staring out the window; to being ready to throw someone out of the plane on the orders of the B-plot bad guy; to calmly staring out of the window again a few minutes later.

The B-plot is absolutely bizarre – a guy with a weird indeterminate “foreign” accent who…I’m struggling to think of a motivation for his actions, honestly. He’s just angry and loses his mind almost immediately – he feels like a weird holdover from a previous rewrite. Anyway, as he’s wildly overacting on the plane, we get a similar overactor in the base. One of the army guys then starts loudly questioning the orders of his Colonel, and only gets worse as the film goes on. His non-approved rescue plan causes dozens of people to die, but is he sorry? Is he heck! In fact, his can’t-do attitude actually results in him implausibly being the hero of the day.

There’s just so much good stuff in this film! Dean Cain, just some guy, takes over flying the plane, but thanks to the pilots (who have the codes to the control panel) being dead, the auto-pilot is jammed on meaning his contribution to actually flying the plane is just sitting there looking unhappy. This also answers the “why don’t they just fly away?” conundrum, because the auto-pilot just flies them round in a circle, so they stay in the ring of volcanoes.

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My notes for the last half of this film is just variations on the line “what the hell is happening?” They think the plan is going down because it’s too heavy, so everyone records their big dramatic speeches to their loved ones…but there’s still 30 minutes to go! Every moment for that last third of the film feels like a crescendo, but it keeps getting sillier and sillier, but played with an entirely straight face by everyone. There’s a hint of a budding romance, but when the guy dies the woman is clearly in shot but doesn’t react at all; there’s talk of a prop plane which can go through the dust clouds, but we don’t see the prop plane til a minute before the end of the film.

After a quick blast of “haha all our friends are dead” the film just sort of stops. I cannot recommend this film highly enough. It’s ridiculous from beginning to end, and is really really entertaining. Get a group of friends and a few drinks and have yourself a fine time.

Rating: thumbs up

Piranhaconda (2012)

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Jim Wynorski (profiled in “Popatopolis”) seems to have two strains to his recent career. One is soft-core pornography with a parody plot attached (so you’ll get “Cleavagefield” or “House On Hooter Hill”), and the other is under the Roger Corman umbrella, making cheap-o monster movies. This is the latter (thankfully).

Attempting to rival Denise Richards from “The World Is Not Enough” in not being convincing as a scientist is Michael Madsen, with a weird mullet wig, as a professor tracking down the creature from some Polynesian legend. This creature is the piranhaconda – at least the film has the good grace to realise how stupid that name is, as one of the characters mocks another for saying the word later on – and it eats everyone in Madsen’s party apart from him. Madsen is able to get away with an egg, though.

There’s lots and lots of cannon fodder in this film, so it’s difficult at times to figure out who we should be bothered about and who we should look forward to watching get eaten. But, the main source of piranhaconda lunch is a film crew, on Hawaii to film “Head Chopper 2”. That film’s bad guy, a former stuntman turned actor called Jack, is in love with the script supervisor Rose, but she’s upset at the hot actresses throwing themselves at him. One of these hot actresses is Kimmy, played by former Miss USA Shandi Finnessey, and she’s probably the most fun to watch of anyone in the film. She takes on the part of a low budget scream queen (in both the film and the film-within-a-film) with gusto, and I’m sort of surprised she’s not gone on to bigger and better things, being a decent actress and a former Miss USA. Ah well, the mainstream’s loss is our gain.

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HOLD ON! Checking actor names on Wikipedia, I learn this film is a sequel to “Sharktopus”, one of the many whoops-our-beach-resort-is-getting-eaten movies I’ve seen in the last few years. I think that’s a sneaky edit by some prankster on Wikipedia, because the two films share nothing apart from a hybrid monster name title. If there is a link, it’s too subtle for the dum-dums like me who watch these movies.

So, while Jack is trying to get with Rose (Titanic main actors name reference?) there’s a group of villains occupying a disused factory in the middle of a field. Their business plan appears to be kidnapping – first Madsen, then the cast and crew of “Head Chopper 2”, and their second in command is Rachel Hunter! For all her modelling and reality TV work, she at least realises that acting is probably never going to be her gig, so sticks to films like this (although I doubt she’s really a “draw”, so lord knows why they hired her). Anyway, a large proportion of this film is our heroes trying to get away from the kidnappers while a worryingly large number of people get eaten by one of two (!) piranhacondas.

There’s a nice crescendo at around the hour mark, and the last section of the film feels like them sort of filling time because they realised the stuff they shot wouldn’t fill a film. But, there’s definite evidence of a sense of humour at work here. Jack is a former marine, but as he reveals he only ever worked in the motor pool; and when Madsen explains in very simple terms what the piranhaconda is, Jack demands an even simpler explanation; and Kimmy is charmingly ditzy throughout.

It’s not terrible! Firstly, it’s nice to see a central couple in a film like this in their 40s, and it rips along at a decent pace. The cannon fodder have their characters sketched out pretty well too…there’s one weird bit where they’re driving like crazy and keep looking back – I’m positive they were told to react as if the monster was chasing them, but they ran out of money to add that effect so it just looks like they’re scared of a random patch of empty road. And the piranhaconda is a pretty ropey special effect when it does appear, to be honest. I’ve definitely seen much worse, though, and if it’s on the SyFy Channel maybe don’t be so quick to change the channel.

Rating: thumbs in the middle

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Stonados (2013)

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That’s “Stone-aydoes”, not some weird latin American word.

This film was so close. Throughout all its 90 over the top minutes, any indication at all that anyone in the production knew how stupid it all was, just one little wink to the audience and I’d have been championing this film as the greatest SyFy Channel movie of them all, better and more fun than “Sharknado” and “Ghost Shark” and all the others, for sure. But, sadly, it appears they thought they were making just another quickie movie, and all the ludicrousness was accidental. Shame!

The film starts with a group of tourists at Plymouth Rock, the famous stone which represents the colonisation of the USA by white folk. My mind immediately went to Malcolm X, an inspiration to me and people like me, and his famous quote about the black experience “We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us!” After a tornado appears and, thanks to the moronic tourist, sucks the tour guide to her death (do tornados suck people up at such a distance?) we cut to a street scene, and a couple of guys playing a game of 1-on-1 basketball. Bit of banter then boom! Plymouth Rock literally lands on a black man, crushing him to death.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to figure this bit out. Were the filmmakers completely unaware of Malcolm X, or the film based on his life, or the countless uses of that phrase in popular culture, and this was just a weird coincidence? Some sort of terribly miscalculated joke? Or a reference to the plight of black people? Although it’s unlikely to be the latter, given the fact that this poor fella is the last black person in the film, pretty much, and certainly the only one with a speaking part.

As we get going, one of the adults from “One Tree Hill” is a science teacher who, for some reason, is doing a science experiment outside (well, the reason is it was too expensive to rent the space indoors to film). He’s a former Harvard scientist, his friend is a wisecracking TV weatherman who attended Harvard with him, his sister is a cop in Boston, and the three of them meet in the basketball court, trying to figure out what’s going on. Aside from a couple of boring kids who only exist to get in trouble so the science teacher Dad has to go and rescue them, the last piece of the main cast is the Cigarette Smoking Man from The X-Files, who’s entirely separated from the main cast, in a lighthouse. They could only afford to pay him for a day, it would seem, so his sole interaction with the rest of the cast is a phone call, and he spends most of his time looking through binoculars at giant water-tornados.

The stonado first does its thing at Boston harbour, and aside from the fairly poor special effects, it’s a good scene. People are being crushed right, left and centre, but our heroes still get in a rather funny conversation about child-rearing techniques. Oh, in case you were wondering why the tornadoes only pick up stones, that is a mystery that gets revealed at the end (along with why the stones start exploding).

The thing you’ll notice about this film is it’s “haha all our friends are dead” taken to the extreme. Absolutely no-one appears to give the slightest toss about the carnage going on around them – examples, I hear you ask? The weather guy is doing a TV report, a stone takes out the woman stood right next to him, he sidesteps her corpse and carries on talking. Boston doesn’t cancel the rowing event in the harbour, despite the dozens of deaths from a freak weather condition the day before. Boston University only cancels its football game when rocks start hitting the stadium. The daughter’s best friend dies, and she’s laughing and joking with her Dad minutes later. One of the main cast (no spoilers) dies seconds before the end, but that doesn’t stop them having a laugh and walking off into the sunset together.

I didn’t hate this anywhere near as much as I expected, but it was inches away from being SyFy’s first great film. I have to conclude it was played straight rather than for laughs, and that just means incompetence reigned.

Rating: thumbs down (sorry)

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Robocroc (2013)

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Normally, my job as a film reviewer is to tell you whether a film is worth watching or not. But, when it comes to SyFy Channel original movies, I think my job is slightly different – everyone knows they’re not worth watching, but will they be guilty fun or not? Think of these films as takeaways in a strange town – you need to eat, but will it be horrible stodge or surprisingly delicious? Think of me as a weird old man on the train to that town, who sits down next to you and rants in your ear about which takeaway will be best.

Sensibly, they don’t mess around at the beginning of this one. A rocket sets off, presumably for space although the reveal of what’s in it makes that seem a little odd, but doesn’t make it. The “payload” is ejected and ends up crash-landing in the middle of a wildlife park, and before you can say “implausible plot device”, a cloud of little black nanobots flies out of the broken container and into the mouth of a nearby crocodile.

Corin Nemec, who will forever be known to me as Parker Lewis (from early 90s sitcom “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose”, aka “We Couldn’t Get The Rights To Ferris Bueller”), is head zookeeper Duffy, and something of a celebrity, having been in some poorly described reality TV show a few years previously. One of his co-workers, almost betrayed by his poor choice of footwear – he’s wearing Crocs, get it? – spends most of the film hiding in a tunnel; and the new hire, super-genius Jane, for some reason is attracted to the washed out looking Duffy.

Do you like POV shots from the nanobots’ perspective, with a Terminator-style computer display? You’ll get a lot of ’em, with stuff like “Food Detected” or “Attack Mode Activated” just in case you weren’t able to figure out what a massive crocodile gradually turning into a metal beast would get up to. Oh yeah, the crocodile is gradually turning into a metal crocodile-like beast.

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Alongside the zookeepers trying to track down and capture the rampaging robocroc, there’s the Army and Dee Wallace off “E.T.” and “Hansel and Gretel” as the mysterious Doctor who is clearly evil and knows more about the nanobots than she’s letting on. Then, for reasons unknown, they decide to lift their B-plot right out of the appallingly rubbish “Piranha 3DD” and have Duffy’s son, his mate and two cool couples hanging out at the water park next door. As my wife said, there’s nothing zoo animals like more than an extremely noisy water park (with a quad-bike track attached, too) a few hundred feet away. In case you were wondering, it’s one of those waterparks which only allows entry to models (but the guys are schlubby at best, can’t beat a good double standard). The only girl over 100 lbs. is only shown dead.

The croc seems to pass back and forth between the park and the zoo at will, but it’s remarkably thorough with the partiers, killing virtually all of them. No-one really seems to be trying that hard to capture it, either, spending most of the middle of the film sat in a tent staring at screens, and when they finally get serious and call in a helicopter, the only sensible response from we film-savvy viewers is “how long will that helicopter be around before Robocroc jumps into the air and blows it up?”

Anyway, you know the drill. I can’t be bothered to recap any more of this film. But it does get a little bit odder towards the end. Given their extremely low profile in the USA, the cameo from Keith Duffy of Boyzone is properly bizarre, but he does die well. Near the end, the good Army guy says a couple of lines that feel like they came about half an hour too late into the film – “Lock down the perimeter!” (seriously, you didn’t do that at any point before?) and, to Dee Wallace, “looks like you’re going to get your field test now” (after the croc has been killing people for ages).

For lovers of ISCFC favourite trope “haha all our friends are dead”, you’ll get a classic example here, with a side order of one of the girls getting over the death of her boyfriend in about an hour. It’s no good, of course, but you know what you’re getting, and that’s a compound-word monster, a cartoony villain, and a hero who needs to save his kids.

 

PS. This film satisfies my SyFy Channel Film Naming Rule – cool things in one bucket, monsters and weather systems in the other, pull one name out of each hat, mash the words together and make a film.

"They won't let us out of the movie, they say we have to keep acting"

“They won’t let us out of the movie, they say we have to keep acting”

Battledogs (2013)

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We’re back with a couple of old ISCFC favourites – the misleading title and our old friends at The Asylum! “Battledogs” appears to not be a direct ripoff of any film, indicating a slight change from the mockbuster format, maybe, but will that improve the quality?

Haha, of course not! Are you lot mad? Donna Voorhees, a wildlife photographer, gets bitten by a wolf while in Canada. Rather than, I don’t know, going to hospital there, she flies to JFK Airport in New York (filmed in New York, just a different airport, I was surprised to learn), and the Lupine Virus in the wolf’s bite starts to kick in and transforms her in seconds into a giant wolf. That word is “wolf”, not “dog”. She tears through the airport, killing dozens and infecting many more, before the Army rolls up with gas and knocks them all out.

A nearby hangar becomes a quarantine zone for people suffering from the virus. People seem incredibly hostile about going into quarantine – they remember what just happened, right? – but luckily the army is on hand. Dennis Haysbert is the General in charge and 80s movie heart-throb Craig Sheffer is the Major with personal problems a-plenty. The General thinks it would be a good idea to figure out how to weaponise the wolves, but the Major, who apparently has the President’s number on his phone, realises the danger and tries to help them, along with a friendly doctor.

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And that, pretty much, is the film. Sheffer takes a trip to the airport to view the security footage and resolve the mystery of who patient zero is (for potential antidote purposes), and runs into Ernie Hudson, who reveals an amazing hologram security camera thing which I want to see happen so badly. I know this will come as a shock to you all, but Haysbert’s plans don’t work and the wolves invade Manhattan – will the President (played by Bill Duke, who I remember from “Commando” but who is one of the all-time great “hey, it’s that guy!” actors) authorise the big bomb for Manhattan before Sheffer and pals can make an antidote? Will Haysbert kill Sheffer?

This film almost defies you to be interested in it. Character motivation is all over the place, and it’s so flat and dull. It reminds me of someone you don’t like all that much telling you a long story that you’re not really interested in…never even hinted at by the film is the phenomenal amount of guilt that Donna should be feeling – her stupidity causes the deaths of thousands and the destruction of a large chunk of New York.

Minor pluses – Bill Duke is always good to see, and it was apparently filmed in and around New York, which is a pleasant change.

Glancing round other review sites to see if I could rip them off if there was something big I missed, I discovered an excellent review from “The Girl Who Loves Horror” – read her stuff here. Not sure why I’m linking you to better reviewers, but I love you ISCFC readers.

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Zombie Hunter (2013)

It’s Saturday afternoon, you’ve done everything you need to do for the day, so what can you do after that? Watch a zombie movie, of course!

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Luckily, this film doesn’t give you too much backstory before getting to the zombies. There’s a new drug called Natas (“Satan” backwards, which may be some subtle religious message on the part of the filmmakers), and it turns people into zombies, pretty much. The zombie virus doesn’t appear to be communicable in this particular universe, but still society has completely fallen apart in a year, with pretty much no-one being left alive.

This film really wants to be “Zombieland”, and they almost made it, just missing script, humour, and talent. Hunter will be our guide, as his raspy voiceover sort of gives us information about the state of the world now- it’s part Rorschach from “Watchmen”, part “Max Payne” (the computer game version, I’ve still not seen the film), and he must have found a hair-care kit because he’s got short hair with frosted tips, a year past the stage when barbers stopped doing business for ever.

Hunter gets shot and taken to a small settlement with the only humans he’s seen for a year. Now, I want to break this scene down a bit. He’s driving his car down the road, and the shot goes through the windscreen and hits his shoulder. Unless you’re the world’s greatest shot, you’ve got no idea exactly where that bullet is going, and certainly no idea where the speeding car will end up, sans conscious driver. Given they don’t appear to want to kill him, and don’t need him for anything, why not just wave by the side of the road and see if he stops? It makes less than no sense.

The wacky group of survivors is introduced then – slutty woman; virginal woman; fat slobby moron; grizzled old mechanic; teenage goofy-looking moron; and DANNY TREJO. The only reason anyone would give the remotest bit of a damn about this film, he plays a Vicar and we get not one but two different scenes of him slaying groups of zombies set to dubstep. They have half a plan to go to a nearby Army base, find a plane and fly to Hawaii and wait out the course of the zombie apocalypse, but this section of the film is just Hunter messing with the equilibrium of the five survivors.

On one of the walls of their building, are posters for “Orcs!” (never reviewed by this site) and “Ozombie” – reviewed here https://iscfc.net/2013/07/08/ozombie-2012/. As “Ozombie” is absolute garbage, I assume the same set of minds is behind both films – no, I don’t want to look it up. Thanks, guys! Feel free to go back to your day jobs!

After being introduced to a Resident Evil-style super-zombie, again with zero explanation, and getting a quick bit of pole dancing to keep the male viewership looking at the screen, they decide to set off for the airbase and get that plane. Obviously, most of them die on the way, but to preserve some sense of suspense I won’t tell you who. We get a bit of Hunter’s backstory too, how he was doing Natas one night, missed his own birthday and allowed his wife and daughter to get killed by…someone. The zombie apocalypse presumably hadn’t started by that point, but it’s hardly the worst error this film makes. He is motivated now by rage, he says.

Unfortunately, this rage doesn’t allow him to warn his friends that the plane they’re sat in is being slowly surrounded by zombies, which is a truly baffling moment. Is he trying to kill them all off? He’s either a scumbag or an unbelievable dumbass, and neither option speaks well of this film. But we do get treated to some Matrix-lite bullet-time fight scene towards the end.

This won’t mean a lot to most of you, but Hunter appears to be a straight lift of computer game superstar Max Payne. The voiceover (both in voice and style), the bullet-time (a staple of the games), the leather coat, all these are too similar to be a coincidence. I don’t know. It doesn’t make a lot of difference in the end, I suppose.

We’re treated to a minor but still noticeable “haha all our friends are dead!” moment at the end, after their plan fails and the film’s main characters die. Add to that a spectacularly stupid final few seconds of the film, and we’ve got a real loser on our hands. Did the makers of the film seriously sit down after the editing was done and go “yes, this film is both finished and great”? What was the creative spark that made them want to tell a story like this? What is the point of any of it?

There is one rather annoying motif running through this film that I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention. You know that thing where the action is so hot and heavy in a film that sometimes blood or dirt will splash on the screen of the camera? Well, it’s very rare, and outside of films where the camera is part of the film rather than the fourth wall, hardly ever used at all. During this film, I needed a 5-bar gate to count the number of blood spatters on the camera – 14 times. After the first time, you’re all “okay”, the second time you’re “huh?” and the fourteenth time you want to go and start a fight with the people who made “Zombie Hunter”.

Go stare at already-dried paint for 90 minutes, and have a roughly similar experience to watching this. AARRGGHHHH

"Psst...mate, which way out of this movie?"

“Psst…mate, which way out of this movie?”

EDIT: I have just discovered this film was the result of a Kickstarter campaign. To everyone who gave money: you’re idiots and should be ashamed of yourselves.