Archive for zombie

Portland Horror Film Festival 2017: Short-Length Horror Shorts

Posted in comedy, drama, Foreign, horror, Movies, Romance, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2017 by aliciamovie

portland-horror-film-festival

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Horror lives on in our hearts all year ‘round, and all across the world too. The fears we share cross all manner of cultural and gender lines, creating a fandom unique to any other. Because if we unite and share our fears, through glorious films and shorts, perhaps some of those fears will be lessened in shared fandom.

‘Last Resort’

Country: USA

Director: David Schneiderman

Review Rating: 7 out of 10

What couple thinks it’s a good idea to take a Horror vacation, when one half of the couple isn’t into Horror? Apparently these people do, and in the role reversal of the common, the female in this relationship is the Horrorphile and her boyfriend the reluctant tagalong. Mel the girlfriend wants the immersive Horror weekend promised in the Horror Haven brochure, which includes bloodstains in the shower, a purportedly dead body in the closet, and a cannibal wine host who likes to dance while ranting and isn’t too smart about where he leaves his tools. Oh, and don’t forget the singularly unhelpful delivery guy who keeps getting lost.

A campy little romp that pokes fun at “experience” camps and Horror in general, Last Resort reminds us that no matter how clever you think you’re being, the universe is still laughing at you. And inside the Horror universe, it’s a damned cackle.

‘Black Ring’

Country: Turkey

Director: Hasan Can Dagli

Review Rating: 9 out of 10

What looks like a professional photography setup in a rundown Turkish castle turns out to hide something far more sinister. Considering the men doing the initial setup look like European gangsters, one would think the chosen who participate in the lottery from hell would be more leery about being handed a black disc. But alas, these bright young beautiful things are here for their shot at fame, and for many of them, it is their very last shot. The shock value the artist and his audience are hunting seems almost gorgeous in the grotesquerie, and reminds a great many of us just how jaded we really are. You really can make art out of someone’s death, but how could you possibly top that?

This short was incredible, and I’ve seen a freaking ton of Horror shorts. To be able to do an entire art-house Horror piece, as a short film no less, where not a single character speaks, is even more mind-blowing. The images and ideas brought across come both starkly dark and breathtakingly bloody, mixing styles like an astounding master painter on the movie screen. Seriously, Director Dagli needs to get on making feature-length Horror movies, and right now.

‘A Fathers Day’

Country: UK

Director: Mat Johns

Review Rating: 7 out of 10

What Daddy doesn’t want to protect his little girl from the Horrors of the world? Well, what happens when both you and your daughter are already zombies, does the protecting stop once you’ve died? Of course it doesn’t! You still want to protect your drooling, growling baby, and provide fresh-ish entrails for her, and push her on the merry-go-round while she twitches. And when the human survivors take aim at your zombie daughter, when she goes to protect you, is the proudest moment any Daddy, dead or alive or anything in between, can experience!

A wonderful little short done in the sympathetic style of the movie Warm Bodies, A Father’s Day reminds us that the love of a parent for their child transcends all preconceived boundaries, and that includes even death.

‘The Gift of the Woods’

Country: USA

Director: Kris Theorin

Review Rating: 8 out of 10

Everyone knows the woods are lovely, dark and deep, but also, that they’re full of ancient creatures, some of whom are monsters. The little girl in the short is an innocent, wanting nothing more than to skip along in the woods and enjoy the bug and plant life, when she happens upon a stump with a dolly on it. The dolly itself is unusual, more like a voodoo doll than anything else, with a bloody paw-print adorning its stomach. And of course when the girl takes the dolly off the stump, it wakes the creature who made the dolly, wanting it back!

Some say even monsters have nightmares. Some monsters even need a teddy, or a dolly, to sleep with to keep their own dream-monsters away. That thought basically sums up the end of this wonderful and sadly far too short Horror cartoon short. Don’t steal another nightmares’ teddy, and if you do, give it back before the sun sets!

‘Hope’

Country: Norway

Director: Adam A. Losurdo

Review Rating: 7 out of 10

So the zombie apocalypse has come and gone, and the world remains pretty much the same, with one or two tiny exceptions – the shuffling zombies still around. They don’t eat brains, they just kind of die and shuffle along, to be abused and ridiculed by the still-living. Here we have Carl, our zombie forever dressed like a soda jerk, completely without hope as he, you guessed it, shuffles along. Carl gets harassed by young girls on bikes, has his shoes stolen, gets his dumb self buried by the meanie living (not buried alive, reburied dead I guess), only to be rescued by a female zombie inevitably named Hope, and instant attraction. After a whirlwind romance, Hope is inevitably killed and that’s when poor Carl finally becomes the killer zombie he was meant to be.

The short is a fun little turnaround on who the real monsters are – the zombie who doesn’t even eat brains and never did no-one any harm, or the still-alive folk who keep bedeviling him. Everyone has a breaking point, even zombies apparently. After all, how would you react if the love of your unlife was slain (again!) in front of you?

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San Diego Asian Film Festival presents ‘Train to Busan’: Grab your baseball bat!

Posted in Action, drama, Foreign, horror, Movies, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2017 by aliciamovie

traintobusan

 

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Sang-ho Yeon

Studio: Next Entertainment World

Review Rating: 8 out of 10

A South Korean train ride takes a deadly turn when a zombie apocalypse breaks out!

Yes, it’s Korean and therefore subtitled and, yes, it’s another zombie movie. Those things being said, Train to Busan is a terrific throwback to the original Romero-style zombie movies, where it’s half about the scary zombies and half about the potentially worse stuff we humans do to each-other during the zombie apocalypse. I can never remember the actual character names in many of these Korean flicks, so they get designations and you’ll just have to live with it – onward we go!

So Big Daddy (Gong Yoo) is a businessman, your typical Korean male who has little time and patience for his ex-wife’s shenanigans or his Daughter’s need to be with him, while he negotiates business deals on his cellphone all day long. It’s finally Big Daddy’s chore to take his sad little Daughter on the early-morning train to go see her mother, especially after missing what was meant to be her live singing performance at school and all. And this ill-fated train ride is where it all begins.

On the train itself, Big Daddy is still on his phone and mostly ignoring Daughter (Kim Su-An), while she attempts to familiarize herself with the other passengers. Here we meet Boxer (Ma Dong-Seok), the strapping muscle-bound train-goer with his very-pregnant wife, whom I’ve aptly dubbed MomtoBe (Jung Yu-Mi), and other everyday passengers as we go along – the Elderly Sisters (Ye Soo-Jung and Park Myung-Sin), two aged women taking a train ride together; the Baseball Team and their Cheerleader squad; the older gentleman who is anything but, that I designated NastyMan (Kim Eui-Sung); and of course, the Homeless Guy (Choi Gwi-hwa), who knew about everything going on before anyone else did.

Technically this first train Big Daddy and Daughter are on isn’t going to Busan, they just kind of end up getting thrust in that direction. The first train is where the outbreak begins, at least as far as train rides go, and these are virus-class zombies – get bit, you turn in just a few minutes; black veins on the face and white-blue death eyes are the main indicators; running and shrieking and attacking anything that moves, as the survivors eventually figure out, is the SOP here. Homeless Guy hopped onto this first train and as he sits muttering to himself about how they’re all dead, one thing leads to another and suddenly, everywhere, zombies!

Big Daddy thinks he can just call in favors to get himself and Daughter rescued, even as they try to switch trains in a station after several near-misses, and it just doesn’t work out in the end, so they have to board yet another train, this one being the one officially (eventually) heading for Busan. Here we meet NastyMan, the asshole who will not be denied, who incites everyone panicking into barricading themselves against the rescue attempt Big Daddy and Boxer have to go and make. Daughter and MomtoBe mistakenly end up stuffed in a bathroom and to get to them, Boxer and Big Daddy and the one remaining Baseball Boy (Choi Woo-shik) who wasn’t turned have to guard their arms and arm themselves with baseball bats and go through like 4 cars full of zombies, twice. (As in, go through 4 cars to get there, rescue everyone, and come all the way back.) Even after watching one of the Elderly Sisters sacrifice herself, NastyMan is doing everything he can to insist people not let the rescuers back in this one uninfected car, and that means he doesn’t see the other Elderly Sister go to open the other door to the zombies until its almost too late!

We’re whittling down the survivors on the way to Busan, and even the Conductor is starting to have his doubts about safety once there. A blocked train at a pull-in station forces our survivors to try and switch trains, but the trains are still running and crashing into each-other without Conductors and hordes of mad zombies are exploding out of broken windows to come get you! Will any of our survivors make it to Busan?

I don’t want to give away the ending, but believe me, it is heart-wrenching. Enough story snippets have been tossed in among the zombie carnage to make Train To Busan much more than just a brain-eating fest of a movie, and I thought it was excellent. Right down to NastyMan finally getting a well-deserved comeuppance, damn it.

Grab your baseball bat to watch Train To Busan right now on Netflix!

Horrible Imaginings Film Festival 2014 presents Another World

Posted in Action, drama, Foreign, horror, Movies, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2014 by aliciamovie

anotherworldposter

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Eitan Reuven

Producer: Eitan Reuven & Shlomi Aviner

Review Rating: 7

A quartet of survivors of the zombie apocalypse search for meaning and cause as they systematically take out zombie strongholds! Or do they?

The film was introduced to us as the very first feature-length Horror film to be shot entirely in Israel, though all the actors speak English and there are no subtitles. Not everyone is familiar with the Israeli Conscription Act, but I am, so I assumed all the characters in the film would be at least somewhat familiar with how to fire a gun. And, as far as I knew, most Israeli citizens are Jewish, so color me surprised when the film graced us with Genesis quotes as we sat through Days 1 through 6. That is where we begin, with what appears to be a dead body in a boat, floating off into the marsh in a makeshift Viking funeral. I can recall thinking, “Boy, I hope you’re planning on lighting that on fire some time soon…”

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Not a single character in the film gets a name, that I could tell, so I gave them names. We begin with the Colonel (Carl McCrystal) and the Alchemist (Zach Cohen), the soldier who knows everything about guns and tactics, and his pal who can make explosives out of damn near anything given time. They appear to be systematically taking out the zombies, moving from bolthole to hideyhole as soon as they’re spotted, in general existing on the run and only for the next kill. Of course the Alchemist is curious and wants to discuss the what/why/how of the zombie apocalypse with his erstwhile companion, and the Colonel isn’t having any of it. There is a small confrontation in the hospital when a man I dubbed Infected (David Lavenski), who is indeed an infected and all-around bad man, screams I-know-yous and accusations at the Colonel before disappearing back toward where the zombies were coming from. The hospital is where our other pair is picked up, the former head Doctor (Susanne Gschwendtner) of the hospital who has interesting philosophical ideas on where the zombie apocalypse came from, and her rather bummed-out looking Daughter (Davina Kevelson). Our four survivors band together and take off, to continue killing zombies while searching for the meaning of all of this.

The narrator who speculates on dinosaurs and their end versus the current end-of-the-world status, I assumed him to be the Colonel. So much for being a complete lack of thought soldier. It turns out the meaning, or at least the beginnings, of these horrific happening, is hiding amongst our quartet. Can you guess which one holds the key?

The ending was a little I saw that coming, but then, I do watch a lot of Horror movies. It is a well-made movie and the zombies are perfectly believable, though the story itself could use some fleshing out a bit.

Movie Moxie’s 31 Days of Halloween – Day 28 – 28 Days Later

Posted in Action, drama, Foreign, horror, Movies, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2013 by aliciamovie

28dayslater

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: DNA Films

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Danny Boyle

Review Rating: 7.5

The UK has been completely overrun by persons infected with a virus called Rage, that turns normal people into zombies with a taste for flesh and blood, and the outbreak in London causes the evacuation of Britain that leads to our Protag waking up, as the title says….

Jim finds himself completely alone in the hospital, having apparently woken 28 days after the virus broke out, and wanders out into the streets to find London the proverbial ghost town. Jim meets up with other stragglers turned warriors and, armed with new insights into what the hell happened, attempts to find sanctuary outside the city and away from the crazed zombies.

It’s not an entirely unique premise, but the story really makes this film. The actors really help too – Cillian Murphy is awkward and kind Jim, Naomie Harris is hardened warrior Selena, Brendan Gleeson is determined father Frank, we even have Christopher Eccelston as Major West. A sense of hopelessness in the very atmosphere permeates the entire movie, no special effects or CGI is needed for any of that, and I for one am glad of it. Jim and his pals try to run, try to fight, and keep getting screwed at every turn. And 28 Days Later was the first zombie flick I ever saw to inject terrible realism into the story – what would have happened to the female members of the party when they finally reached purported sanctuary with the military. Major West demands his men be “entertained”, and well frankly, I can see that happening far too easily and nowhere near as…civilized as Major West tried to initially be about it. The movie ends on an uncomfortably unfinished note, which I think was exactly what they intended, and left things open for the sequel, 28 Weeks Later, which was also awesome.

Movie Moxie’s 31 Days of Halloween – Day 20 – The Prophecy

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Historical, horror, Movies, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2013 by aliciamovie

the-prophecy-1995

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: First Look International

MPAA Rating: R

Director: Gregory Widen

Review Rating: 8

Pursued by other Archangels, Angel Gabriel heads to Earth to claim a dark soul that will change the balance of the war for Heaven.

Despite the progressively-getting-worse sequels, the original Prophecy movie is a world unto itself. Starring greats like Christopher Walken as Angel Gabriel, Viggo Mortensen (yes, that guy) as Lucifer, even Eric Stoltz as Angel Simon, the film presents us a much darker side to the story of the Angel war for Heaven. Most of us know of the original war, where Lucifer rose up against God and was cast down into Hell for his pride. What we don’t know, what the film presents us with, is that the war for Heaven has continued, and Angel Gabriel who is now more or less in charge, wants to stack the odds in his favor. Angel Simon, knowing of Gabriel’s intended plans, forsakes his wings and comes to Earth first, to hopefully capture the dark warrior soul before anyone else can. Chased by other Angels sent by Gabriel, Simon ends up hiding the dark soul in the frail body of a young Native American girl, ironically named Mary (Moriah Shining Dove Snyder). Thomas Dagget (Elias Koteas), formerly of the priesthood and now of the police, chasing down leads on the dead Angel they have on ice in the morgue, encounters Mary and her teacher Katherine (Virginia Madsen). With visits from the Devil himself, time running out and Angels converging on all sides, Dagget and Katherine have to figure out how to save Mary and themselves from both Heaven and Hell!

Did you know Angels make zombies to be their own personal chauffeurs, what with the whole Anachronistic “can’t drive” thing? Or that Math is the key to the universe? Or how about, that Angels are hermaphroditic? All these things and more one can learn, from a very fine film with a fantastic cast, that explores the dark side of Angels and their legacy here on Earth.

Movie Moxie’s 31 Days of Halloween – Day 7 – VS. Fight Speaking Villains vs. Mute Bad Guys

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Foreign, horror, Movies, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2013 by aliciamovie

Freddy

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

You know them, I know them, and most of us love them. The villains who talk incessantly, who always get the best one-liners. The original Freddy, Robert England, always took great pleasure in delivering the campiest scary speeches he could. Grand dialogues are a hallmark of Pinhead, leader of the Cenobites from Hellraiser, voiced and acted by Doug Bradley, to astounding effect. I personally love the fact that they always kept the same voice, Brad Dourif, complete with his iconic laugh, as killer doll Chucky. Even regular old humans, like John Kramer in the Saw series, or Hannibal Lecter, can create Hell on Earth with just the power of their words. Like the power of a murderous program given little girl form with speech, these characters change your entire world when their ideas pour from their lips and infect you.

However…

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We know these guys too. Mute child in a monsters body Jason Vorhees; silent Michael Meyers in his mask; every single last ghost girl with long prehensile hair from J-Horror; the Boogeyman from Sinister; Jaws actually technically qualifies for this list; even every single last zombie, they all have one thing in common: no speech whatsoever. Most epic aliens, like Xenomorphs, don’t speak either. And this shared factor has a tendency to impart a very scary word to each bad guy, the word inexorable. This means the character can’t be stopped, can’t even be reasoned with, because hey, whatever your backstory, you don’t speak and therefore don’t respond at all. This idea, that there is absolutely no escape whatsoever, is brought across beautifully in the Japanese film Ju-On: The Grudge, where your typical scary ghost girl is so poltergeisty furious she kills without restraint, regardless of who you are, and does it all with no vocals other than that creepy door-closing noise.

So who wins? This is a hard one. We love our speaking villains. But from the basic standpoint of which is more frightening, our Muties win. At least with bad guys who speak, you occasionally have a micro chance of escape. Not so with the speechless ghosts, inexhaustible aliens, and iconic masked monsters, oh no. The voiceless will forever be just that much more terrifying.

San Diego Asian Film Festival 2012 — Doomsday Book

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Foreign, Movies, Sci-Fi with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2013 by aliciamovie

Doomsday Book_Poster copy

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Gio Entertainment

Director: Pil-Sung Yim, Jee-Woon Kim

Review Rating: 7

A collection of three anthologies from Korea cinema give us very different takes on the potential end of the world!

A Brave New World graces us with the story of blossoming love in the midst of a zombie outbreak in downtown Seoul. Our hero, all he wants is to go out with the pretty girl he has a thing for, not clean up the disgusting his family left behind while they all went on a second honeymoon without him. Yet, like Adam and Eve, all it takes is one rotten apple to ruin your entire existence.

The Heavenly Creature poses the audience the question, what do you do in a world where robots are commonplace, when you think one has attained enlightenment? This particular robot works in a Buddhist monastery, and when the monks think he’s managed just that, they give him a name and encourage him to pray within the monk ranks, but also they call in a company repair man. The repair guy isn’t a philosopher, and since he can’t find anything technically wrong with the robot, this leads to an invasion of the temple by the company echelon and a lot of ranting about how robots should never be allowed to obtain this state of consciousness. I didn’t understand half of the deep thoughts they were spouting, but when the robot chose to end the argument by removing himself from the equation entirely, it was very saddening. Would you want a robot who can reach Nirvana?

Happy Birthday gives us the story of a young girl who orders a new 8-ball to replace the one she broke for her billiards-obsessed father, on her UFO-obsessed Uncle’s computer, from what turns out to be an alien website. This causes an 8-ball the size of a small moon to be delivered, and everyone has to evacuate to underground shelters. Ten years later, our heroine now a young woman, has to rise from the ashes to acknowledge delivery from the alien beyond the stars.