Let's get caught up with some "mini-reviews," shall we?
Almost Human (2013) - Definitely a shoestring budget and an attempt to recreate the magic of 80's VHS horror and slasher flicks. It tells the story of what happens when a UFO abductee returns years later and has gone from kindly bearded fellow to homicidal maniac with some new alien body parts. Good effort but the execution fell a bit short. Any intrigue melted away and it needed more story. Nice practical effects, though.
Red State (2011) - Kevin Smith takes an effective journey into non-comedy with a suspense thriller about sees some local boys run afoul of the town's crazy church/cult leader that oddly seems like the funeral-protesting wack-a-doos in real life. Not as talky as a lot of Smith's other offerings, and don't look for a cameo by Jay and Silent Bob. Tense storytelling and good performances, especially from Michael Parks as the frustratingly smug leader.
Haunter (2013) - A pleasant surprise, this haunted house mystery sees the story told from the ghost's point of view, much like the awesome I Am A Ghost. In this case, Abagail Breslin turns in a great performance as the ghost of a murdered girl who comes to the realization that she's dead and tries to awaken her family to the fact as well as prevent an evil spirit from his eternal murder spree. Good tension and a good story.
Jug Face (2013) - This one really started off on the right foot but didn't go as far as I hoped. It's the story of a young girl who's part of a backwoods community that worships a pit that has healing properties but also demands a sacrifice. The likeness of who is to be sacrificed is carved onto a clay jug, but when the girl hides hers, the pit expresses its displeasure. Fine acting and a creepy vibe made it good but the story felt like it lost steam.
Frankenstein's Army (2013) - A crazy Dutch-American-Czech production set in World War II that follows a group of weary Russian soldiers who follow a distress signal to a small town. What they find there is insanity as the descendent of Victor Frankenstein says "the hell with it" and sets his insane creations on Ally and Axis alike. The monster design is tremendous and there's no shortage of blood and guts as the movie descends more and more into utter madness. I dug it because it wanted to be nuts and it got its wish.
My Bloody Valentine (1981) - Remade just a few years ago, this cult classic came from the old school of matching psychotic killers with holidays. The residents of a town relive an old nightmare that took place on February 14 when grisly murders pile up as the day grows closer. Add to that the Eternally Doomed Teen Party and you know the body count rises. Good 80's wackiness and a murder mystery to boot.
Insidious: Chapter 2 (2013) - While I felt the first one went off the rails a bit, yet still told an intriguing story, I felt the second chapter was a little stronger. The poor Lambert family is back and just when they think they dodged an astral bullet, it's the father who becomes the center of a spiritual attack. Just the right amount of ghostly and strange, I enjoyed it like I usually enjoy seeing Rose Byrne.
+1 (2013) - An interesting take on a sci-fi standard of what duplicates would do if they met. A meteor crashes, causing a nearby party to experience a little glitch in the matrix. Time splits and people meet themselves from a few seconds behind. An interesting story set on a strange premise with decent performances. Not a bad choice if you like being weirded out by time and space.
Hellbenders (2012) - With a good cast and a premise that borders on sacrilege, this movie was more fun than it had a right to be. The Augustine Interfaith Order of Hellbound Saints are a ragtag group of badasses who also happen to be priests of various faiths that sin on purpose on orders of The Pope so that if a demon possesses them during an exorcism, they can kill themselves and drag the demon to Hell. Good guys who do bad things to prevent the really bad things. In this flick, they have to stop a runaway Norse demon from pulling Hell up around the world. Funny and with a touch of honor, the cast is headed by the reliable Clifton Collins Jr. and Clancy Brown.
Willow Creek (2013) - Oh, Willow Creek, how I wanted to like you. A good director in Bobcat Goldthwait and some really suspenseful moments still added up to a movie that was a hair below "OK." It's a found footage style movie about a couple setting out to make a documentary about the Patterson Bigfoot sighting and getting much more than they bargained for. Admittedly, the tent scene is suspense at its best, but the ending left me feeling like the whole thing was meant to be a tongue-in-cheek joke. Maybe it was, but I was hoping for a little more.
OK, that should just about do it for now. I gotta stop taking so long between reviews. Maybe some caffeine would help.
Until next time!