Archive for cult

Devil’s Due

Posted in drama, horror, Movies, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2014 by aliciamovie

devils-due

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: 20th Century Fox

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Lindsay Devlin

Review Rating: 6.5

A newlywed couple find themselves dealing with an unplanned pregnancy with sinister overtones.

I would swear I’ve mentioned here before, that I generally despise Found Footage Horror flicks. Despite knowing that, I had some hope for Devil’s Due, which was promptly squashed in about the first 15 minutes of film. To give the movie a little credit, it did start off interestingly – the husband Zack is being interviewed in the police station, covered in blood and dirt, attempting to explain the inexplicable what happened to his wife.

After that little wraparound bit, we go all the way back to the beginning of what story there is. We have here your typical white American couple, Zack (Zach Gilford) and Sam (Allison Miller) McCall, joyously getting married and preparing to start their new life together. Zack seems to want to record everything that happens for posterity, which is a noble undertaking, unfortunately he generally sucks at actual camerawork. So Zack and Sam are married and off to their honeymoon to go ziplining and touristing in, wait for it, Peru. Who does that anyway? Inevitably, this suspicious cabbie (Roger Payano) takes them to an underground club scene, where Zack’s button camera manages to record bits of terrible happenings to our couple once they’ve both passed out. None the wiser, Zack and Sam return home, only to learn soon after that hey, Sam’s pregnant. Suddenly, calm vegetarian Sam is scarfing raw hamburger in the grocery store, sleepwalking like a monster zombie, demonstrating raw strength that would make Jason proud against her own loved ones, and in general having hysterics at the drop of a pin. Loving husband Zack is concerned of course, but seems at a total loss as to how to help his wife. Hidden cameras strategically placed ‘round the house are producing jump scares and demonstrating the lack of awareness as to how in danger Sam and Zack really are. And who put in those cameras anyway? Semi-familiar strangers are staring at our couple from across the street, in the back of the First Communion ceremony where the Priest (Sam Anderson) dies, and in general being a scary presence reminder that there is some sort of ambiguous and sinister plan going on. It all culminates on a raging stormy night, with Sam apparently finally having gone completely batshit possessed insane, and Zack makes the mistake of asking Sam’s sister to come sit with her while he tries to investigate these suspicious strangers who’ve been watching our couple. With Zack distracted over here, Sam is over there struggling against forces beyond her control plus the suspicious strangers, and the prize is her baby. In the end, Zack and Sam are completely defeated, the baby (we never even learned the gender!) taken, annnd we’re back at the police station where Zack is finishing up his story. Poor innocent Sam is dead and of course the police aren’t having any of this story about suspicious cabbies and child-stealing cults. Cut abruptly to – hey this is Paris, clearly, we can see the Eiffel Tower, and yet another white newlywed couple on their honeymoon. And that damned suspicious cabbie, the same guy, offering to take them to an underground party scene that is out of this world, that is where the movie leaves us.

So many elements are left out of the story itself, or left up to audience assumption, it gets irritating. At the very least, Hostel had reasons for the horrific slaughters they perpetrated. And that’s another thing I just can’t get around – innocent newlyweds should not take to wandering the streets of Peru looking for New-Orleans-Mardi-Gras-like partying, that’s just stupid. This apparent cult of monster-baby-snatchers could have been devil worshippers, apocalypse-mongers, hell even cannibals looking for veal; we simply don’t know, and I would’ve liked to! The idea that this cult travels the world (Peru, Paris, where else will they pop up?) encouraging devil children to be born and then stealing them, seems a perfectly fine sendup for a Horror movie, why couldn’t we dive into that a bit more? Because we needed to focus on the atrocities being inflicted unawares on our McCall couple, that’s why. *le sigh* Well, they did leave it open for a sequel. Maybe this time it’ll be twin antichrists!

San Diego Latino Film Festival 2013 presents The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh

Posted in drama, horror, Movies, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2013 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio:  Someone at the Door Productions

Director: Rodrigo Gudino

Review Rating: 7.5

A son returns to the antiques-filled estate of his estranged mother after her death, only to discover she might not be quite so gone, after all.

There seems to be a trend cropping back up in the Indie Horror film circuit, that of the simplified movie with all of one or two actual actors tops, a fine gripping storyline, and a creeptastic score to round it all out. I for one am overjoyed at such a thing, and Rosalind Leigh follows that trend with a breathtakingly unique style all its own. Director Gudino presents us with a vision of both beauty and hold-your-breath terror.

The film is narrated by Leigh herself (given Vanessa Redgrave’s voice, wow), and though we are informed of her death right at the beginning of the film, as the movie goes on, she seems more alive than ever. Her house, stuffed full of valuable antiques, angels and gargoyles and platitudes oh my, breathes her everywhere. Especially for her estranged son Leon (Aaron Poole), who comes to stay in the house to deal with her estate after her passing. And yet. Memories are haunting the hell out of him, especially in the form of a particular angel statue that evokes a sinister game he and his mother played when he was small. The film brings to mind the flip side of a dark Christianity, like The Prophecy did. Given the order to, angels can actually be very nasty, and so can their followers in fanaticism. Leigh seems to have been involved in an angelic cult and hints darkly as that being the result of Leon’s fathers death without actually coming right out and saying it. All around Leon, as he stays within the manor peopled by nothing but statuary and a dark past, memories are clamoring to be let in whether he likes it or not. And the most prevalent memory of all, of Rosalind Leigh herself and how unbearably lonely she is without him, is the one thing strong enough to keep Leon from leaving, now that he’s finally here. Forever.

I quite liked the ending, actually. It wasn’t abrupt, it wasn’t a Gotcha! moment, it wasn’t two minutes of Saw-style cluex4 recap either. Rather, you take all you’ve learned about Rosalind Leigh and Leon up to this point, and draw your own conclusions. Are the angels real? Is Leon himself even real? The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh will echo through your consciousness, insistent on the sad dark memories, a reminder of just how far a person will go to ease the aching loneliness in their soul.

Silent Hill 2: Revelation 3D

Posted in Action, drama, horror, Movies, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2013 by aliciamovie

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Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Anibrain Digital Technologies

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Michael J. Bassett

Review Rating: 7

Sharon is about to turn eighteen and when her father is kidnapped, returns to Silent Hill to confront the nightmares of her childhood!

I admit, that’s a bit of a muddled opening line for the movie, but then the plot had a tendency to get a little muddled, for no good reason I could see. Explanations from key characters are often delivered in a breathless manner, not just from fleeing the monsters either, as the plot hurries itself along to get to the confrontations. It seems as though a lot of iconic things and characters from the video game were stuffed into the movie with no explanation whatsoever, which frankly is rather unfortunate, and not nearly as much of a problem for the first movie. However, since one of the major selling points of the movie was supposed to be that it was 3D and highly visual, perhaps one can attempt to ignore the plotholes and plow on.

So Sharon (Adelaide Clemmens) is back with her father in the real world, after her adoptive mother Rose managed to get her out, explained in a memory sequence where Christopher (Sean Bean) talks to Rose in a mirror and young girl Sharon is delivered clutching an amulet. Now it’s years later and Sharon and her father have gone through a series of new names and cities, trying to avoid those crazed cult folk from Silent Hill, that Sharon’s father never actually told her about – she thinks they need to avoid the cops because some years ago her father killed someone. A few days before her eighteenth birthday, Sharon, now sporting her father’s mother’s name of Heather, begins getting plagued by nightmares of Silent Hill that intrude in her waking moments.

I want to interject a question here: what’s with these Horror flicks lately and Protag chars about to, or just having, attained the age of legal adulthood of eighteen? The Cult from the first movie were perfectly willing to sacrifice Alessa when she was a girl, nevermind legalities. On with the show then.

Sharon, now Heather, goes to school at a new high school, where she gives a grand speech about being left alone, makes a newcomer friend called Vincent (Kit Harrington), and is thoroughly scared by Douglas Cartland, a PI hired by the cult to find her, when he keeps insisting on calling her Sharon. Calling her dad for help, Heather goes to meet him at the mall, where of course he doesn’t show and Cartland does, to his great sorrow, for he’s carted off by a Silent Hill creature that looks like a Cenobite. Heather hurries home, aided by Vincent, to find her father gone and a message scrawled in blood inviting her to, what else, come to Silent Hill. After going through the box with mystical symbols, full of Silent Hill study and the explanation letter her father left for her, Heather and Vincent head to Silent Hill determined to get Christopher back. Of course, they stop for rest at a motel on the way and while there, Vincent has to breathlessly confess that he’s actually the son of the Cult leader, Claudia Wolf, sent out into the real world via rituals of pain and sacrifice, to find Sharon and bring her back.

Interjection #2: I’m failing to understand why the Cult who caused the sundering and evil of Alessa in Silent Hill in the first place, want to bring the loving half of her soul, housed in Sharon, back there. If they try to meld Alessa’s evil and Sharon’s love, Silent Hill might just well implode.

Vincent’s been taken, Sharon’s back in Silent Hill, and the one bit of wisdom he left her with was to find his grandfather, who is of course in the Asylum. Sharon has a nice unhelpful confrontation with Alessas’ mother Dahlia (Deborah Kara Unger), who at least warns her to get inside as the dark ash that changes the town is coming. Sharon takes a run through a mannequin (?!) factory, being chased by the completely CGI Mannequin Spider Monster, who, while looking fairly nifty, clearly fails to inspire fear or even creepiness. Vincent’s been denounced by his mother and taken to the Asylum for “cleansing”, and of course that’s where Sharon heads. Where…she meets Vincent’s grandfather Leonard Wolf (Malcolm McDowell) and after mistakenly giving him the Amulet of Metatron, which he immediately stuffs into his chest to reunite with its other half, he turns into a Silent Hill monster and is intent on dragging Sharon…somewhere unpleasant. Sharon manages to defeat him, extract the now-whole amulet, and escape into the Asylum bowels. The crazy faceless nurses, made famous from the first film, are in evidence in the Asylum and preparing to chop Vincent into gobby bits, when he’s rescued by Sharon and they manage to escape to the amusement park for the semi-final showdown between Sharon and Alessa.

Intermission three: this is one of the few times Alessa is in the film at all. I’m not disputing her abrupt change from young girl to Sharon’s age, that’s totally understandable. And, at least they went to town with the makeup for Alessa, instead of CGI-ing up her face to hell and back. But on a burning merry go around, there are a few moments of heartfelt black conversation between Evil and Good, and then apparently Evil is defeated and swallowed by Good. That is, Sharon-now-Heather absorbs Alessa. Really? Even aided by the whole Amulet of Metatron, it was that easy?

Next it’s on to confront the Cult responsible for all this mess in the first place, with Vincent and Harry and Christopher in tow. Claudia Wolf (Carrie-Anne Moss), who frankly to me looks like she stepped from the Morlocks cavern in The Time Machine 2002, gives some sort of explanation about destroying Alessa and using Heather’s body as an incubator for their new God’s birth, who will cleanse the earth of sin as soon as they all escape Silent Hill. Heather has Claudia touch the Amulet of Metatron, which turns her into the Cenobite-style monster that killed Cartland in the mall, and there’s a final showdown fight between her and Pyramidhead. Annnd with the cult defeated and Alessa taken care of, ash stops falling on Silent Hill, and Vincent and Heather get picked up by trucker Travis Grady (Peter Outerbridge), a character from Silent Hill: Origins, even though the movie didn’t explain that bit at all. And Christopher just has to stay behind to look for Rose. All of which leaves things open for another movie, but frankly I don’t know that that’s a good idea.