Author Archives: Christopher Young
Every now and then we see a film that attempts to combine two things that should be awesome together. A great example would be Shaun of the Dead which excelled at making you laugh as easily as cringe. Monster Brawl is next up trying to deliver a laugh and scare package but the damn thing is so rotten even my dogs would pass on it.
So the monsters of our make believe world have been summoned and trained to battle each other in wrestling matches. This whole thing plays out like a PPV wrestling event. Thank god this one didn’t cost anywhere near what an actual event can. The only thing I lost here was about 90 minutes and a little respect for a sketch comedian.
I am guessing the general idea here went something like this: dudes love wrestling, hot chicks, monsters, and Jimmy Hart so why not make a movie featuring all three? If you really want to know why not just keep on reading.
Let’s start this nut shot with a bit of honesty. I have watched a fair amount of wrestling, purchased a PPV event, enjoyed pretty girls, and always loved monsters. The initial idea here set in a mock PPV graveyard down south could have really worked. Dave Foley is a funny man and I expected his unique sense of humor to be all over this as wrestling announcer Buzz Chambers.
I would also like to shout out to Lance Henrickson’s voice for playing God and all the fighting game references. Anyone who has played Mortal Kombat or Tekken is likely to catch a few references. Now that we have established what I liked let’s actually look at the feature itself.
The costumes were well, um just boring or bad, take your pick. The cyclops character especially. He looked nowhere near what a great mythological monster should. That fake eye thing almost caused me to turn the movie off entirely. Best costume goes to the zombie, but even that would be blown away by most B movie fare.
At times I had to wonder what was meant to be funny and what might be trying to pay homage. No doubt wrestling geeks will think the parody of in-ring moves are cool but they look like complete crap. I could turn on WWE RAW and see better live interpretations of a clothesline than this movie had through rehearsal and editing.
If the poor grab ass dancing in ring doesn’t piss you off the shoddy effects should. The CGI effects are pretty horrid with a perfect example being Cyclops and his awesome finishing move. Pretty sure we could have edited that better with a pack of smokes and an Apple II. There were some ok blood effects with the zombie and such but even that seemed like splashing a little red just for the sake of it.
Also, the sets and scenes themselves all looked pretty cheap. I totally understand the restraints of a low budget and many films achieve greatness with very little cash. I have a weird feeling we paid for the actors and the sets/effects suffered. Not much else needs to be said on this one.
I can sum up this 12 oz. ode in one simple word, why. I didn’t see one moment of explanation telling the audience why this battle was taking place. I need some back story to get into any story. I am not talking about detailing each character’s reasoning but more or less a point to the fight. The monsters come, they battle and they go back to wherever they came from.
I am going to head in a different route as we finish off this 6 pack. The sad thing here (besides being the last beer) is what this movie could have been. Had they removed the gore and some other adult elements this would have easily been a PG-13 flick. I hate it when movies are cut to make a rating or appeal to a larger audience, but this film could have benefited from that. I would have loved this movie at 8-12 years old.
Sometimes the translation from script to screen is awesome and other times it is Monster Brawl. There is no doubt that some wrestling junkies and B movie lovers will disagree with me on slapping this with a Six Pack. There is just too much amiss to recommend this direct-to-video stinker. If you want a good streaming low-budget horror flick on Netflix try Dead Snow.
Take a Drink: anytime you recognize a washed up wrestler or manager.
Enjoy a Sip: each time you find yourself looking at Facebook or Twitter during the movie.
Slam a Shot: whenever an attempt at humor falls horribly flat.
It really creeps me out when I use an ATM at night. Anyone who says they do not look over their shoulder at least once is a down right liar. There is always the fear of someone seeing your personal info or that creep who wants your last twenty more than you. With these things in mind ATM was almost a no-brainer on one cold and boring Saturday night.
The story here is pretty simple as it circles around three 20-somethings as they leave a work Christmas party. You have David (Brian Geraghty) as the dorky friend in search of true love, Emily (Alice Eve), hot lil’ co worker and possible love interest to David, and Corey (Josh Peck) who is the cool party boy of the crew. David offers Emily a ride home and just as they are about to leave Corey begs his way into a ride too. As Corey continues to drink it seems the munchies have kicked in and he must have something to eat. Realizing he is cashless, David stops at a 24 hour cash box. This is where things get hairy.
Selling the viewer on a true feeling of isolation can be a pretty tough gig, but that is one of the few things ATM did pretty well. You can almost feel the ice cold claustrophobia increase as the time passes. The only thing colder than this ATM would have to be the writing. We’ll get to that in a bit.
My second beer has to be a cheap one because I have to throw it directly at my TV (who wastes good beer?). I can get past a few plot holes here and there, but you have to keep them small. This story has holes so big a Chevy Cavalier could drive right through. Why is this hooded killer killing? Why don’t the three of them make a break for it at the same time? Couldn’t three able bodied humans give one possibly weaponless man a run for his money? The title of this could have easily been, “F*ck a Rhyme or Reason, this will work”.
If you saw the full trailer for this, you saw the whole movie. Upon seeing the sneak peek I had a weird feeling the whole movie just flashed before my eyes and it did. This makes me wonder if they intentionally decided to put all of the action in the trailer or had to just to keep the viewer watching. One word sums this up, LAME.
Everything from the acting to directing comes off forced. The events seem to make no sense and the wooden acting does not help to mask the lack of flow in this production. I was left to wonder if there were a bunch of blind and\or deaf people taking turns at directing this snooze fest.
Horror and thriller movies tend to require some kind of suspension of disbelief in order to fully enjoy them. I am a Saw fan and also liked both Collector movies, but this movie is asking all too much. I did hit on this early so we will not keep smashing the dead horse’s head in. Suffice it to say I have a hard time believing you can drown people in an ATM when they’re surrounded by breakable glass or can just open the door.
Personally I hate the idea of freezing to death and being trapped in a glass cage does not help. My fear of ATMs may have actually helped this film avoid the dreaded “six pack of death” and if so, only by a hair. There really is not much to recommend here but the desolate location and a feeling of oncoming death will always rattle me a little. See this one if you have nothing else going on, or a fetish for cold glass.
Take a Swig: anytime you could have made a better choice than our victims.
Slam a Shot: each time you think any motive might be coming.
Enjoy a Sip: whenever someone whips their drink at the TV in disbelief.
In 1984 a controversial movie released and ultimately became a cult classic, Silent Night, Deadly Night. The public did not appreciate a movie that played on the darker, mean-spirited side of our beloved holiday. The re-envisioning of this movie is a gory 90 minute break from your holiday baking.
We open in a snowy everyday suburban city. A man in mask/beard and Santa suit has begun killing members of his “Naughty List”. Local officer Aubrey Bradimore (Jamie King) investigates the murders as her somewhat annoying boss Sheriff Cooper (Malcolm McDowell) swears to bring this psycho down.
I was and still am a sucker for great B movie horror. So a remake of this story was right up my alley. You can see the budget is not the highest but the team does a great job with what they have. Kills are very creative and utilize holiday items. Have you ever wondered what a “death penalty-like” kill would be using Christmas lights? Look no further because your questions will be answered.
There is something satisfying about watching bad people being punished ruthlessly. Ever wanted to shut that screaming mean lil’ girl up in the store? How about punishing perverted men of the cloth in their own house? This and many other creative punishments will have some cringing, while others will be giggling with glee. I loved seeing more practical effects versus the usual CGI explosion that B horror movies have become.
I would also like to complement the team on showing kills and avoiding the “Quick Cut” camera work that has become so popular in horror. You will see the killing, and love it.
The acting here is not all that bad but it could be a lot better. Malcolm McDowell is a genre classic and for good reason. He has done a great job filling out roles over the years. In this case as Sheriff Cooper he just seems forced. It is as if he was trying to add all of the comedy in his single role. Being a huge fan of MM it really bugged me how little he shined.
For me, the cheesy B movie feel is more than welcome. Fans of a more serious Saw like tone may be put off. If you need killing that makes sense and seems ultra believable, look elsewhere. As with most horror movies, you will need your “suspension of disbelief” hat firmly placed on your head. Some of the kills completed would require a lot more power than one man can provide. Anyone familiar with a wood chipper will know what I mean.
If you love the holidays and solid B movie gore this is a must under your tree. By no means will this dethrone any of the 2012 Bests, but it is definitely worth a look. This movie should easily become a cult classic equal to the original that pissed people off in the 80′s.
Chug a Beer: anytime Malcolm McDowell makes you roll your eyes through cliched/stupid dialog.
Do a Shot: every time a kill method seems interesting or different.
Sip a Mixer: if someone says Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays.
Our good buddy The Collector (Randall Archer) is back in the sequel to his 2009 namesake. This time around we are headed to his pad, which happens to be a run down hotel. The traps are back and things are bloodier than ever. So does The Collection have what it takes to build on 2009′s interesting slasher? Let’s retract the blades and take a look.
Once again we meet up with Arkin (Josh Stewart), the first film’s only survivor and trophy of our masked maniac. Before we can see how Arkin’s been living we are introduced to Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick), the daughter of rich Mr. Peters (Christopher McDonald), who along with Elena survived a devastating car crash when she was a child. Elena’s boyfriend Brian ditches her for the evening, so we see her friend Missy (Johanna Braddy) coax her into attending an underground dance party instead of staying home.
Somewhat reluctantly Elena agrees and jumps in the car for a night of dancing and fun. Not long into the party Elena discovers a mystical trunk in a spare room and opens it, releasing Arkin, who severely needs medical attention. Before we know it The Collector has arrived at the party and begins to make slight work of the attendees. Elena is captured and trapped in Arkin’s old trunk as he narrowly escapes. Our quasi-hero awakens in a hospital room to Lucello (Lee Tergesen) explaining that his help is needed to get Elena back before it is too late. Against his better judgment Arkin agrees to lead them back to The Collector.
Marcus Dunstan (writer/director) and Patrick Melton (writer) are at the helm again and if you enjoyed the last outing there is plenty here to see. The budget is lower than most blockbusters, but that didn’t damage the last one and doesn’t hurt this film. The choice to shoot this on 35mm does a great job of lending the gritty feel that I really love.
The Collection looks to amp up the blood and guts of the original and it succeeds. If gore is not your thing a Twilight film is still playing in theaters. The splatter comes hot and heavy in this sequel, and most fans will be pleasantly surprised. There is a decent mix of physical effects and CGI. The effects team did a great job of avoiding CGI when it mattered, like spikes pushing slowing through a victims hand.
I do feel like someone heard me complaining about the first movie lacking light. Every other shot was so dark I could not enjoy what was on screen. Have no fear, because the lighting, much like the effects, is pretty spot on.
The first movie used a lot of quick edits or super fast cutting. So anytime there was action on screen the camera was moving so fast it became pure annoyance. Unfortunately this still plagues the series and is all over the place in The Collection. Personally I love a pulled back but focused shot when an action scene is taking place. I want to see everything, not a shot kicking back and forth deciding what I should be seeing.
This movie goes further to separate itself from the Saw series during the 82 minute excursion. I would almost totally forget about Saw, but then the quick editing/fast cutting would kick in. That combined with traps just felt a little too Saw-ish.
If you thought the last movie demanded a suspension of disbelief this one has it beat. I went into this a lot with my review of The Collector so I will not freak out about it again at length. It is safe to say that within the first 20 minutes you will say, “NO FRIGGIN’ WAY” more than a few times. This continued for me throughout the movie. I know some people are great marksmen, but a big caliber hand gun fired a long distance with the intention of a flesh wound is a pretty rare hit on the first shot. I had really hoped this movie would have me pulling the “BS card” a lot less.
Also, in the beginning there is a gore scene that attempts to trump anything out there by way of pure body count. When you go for something so epic early on it will set the pace for all the gore that follows. This scene did go all out, but the effects were very poor. I will not go into detail to avoid spoilers, but with the amount of effects work in this movie why use the cheapest-looking ones first? If they had saved this fake looking mess for later on or opened entirely different we might not be at three brewskis right now.
I really loved the “cat and mouse” between The Collector and victims. The fact that he actively engaged victims this time around really helped to add to the urgency. They do a great job of unveiling just a little bit more of our favorite trap maniac without giving too much away. The traps are a lot more creative here and even bring living elements into the fray. The movie may have slowed a little in the middle, but it is definitely worth viewing.
Take a Drink: anytime you praise the lighting over the first movie’s hardcore darkness.
Chug a beer: each time you’re creeped out by something in our killer’s home.
Do a Shot: if you can find anyone who was in Point Break.
To say I carried no reservations going into this film would be lying. The Collector was written and directed by Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton who penned the last few Saw films. The Saw series only got worse as it progressed with it’s paper-thin veil of acting and story being used to deliver cringe-inducing death sequences. So with much trepidation I secured a copy of The Collector, hoping to see more than clever contraptions and a mountain of plot holes.
The movie begins with an ex-con turned handy man by the name of Arkin (Josh Stewart) who has a pasttime of “casing” the houses he’s currently repairing. “Once a criminal, always a criminal” seems to fit our main man perfectly. This house happens to belong to the wealthy Chase family that will soon be embarking on a family vacation.
Arkin arrives late one night to check for valuables and attempt to crack a safe holding some very expensive jewels that could really help his current situation. It seems Arkin’s ex-wife owes some money to loan sharks and pressure has been applied to the ex-wife and daughter. While trying to open the safe Arkin hears something and realizes he is not alone. Another intruder has turned the Chase’s home into a world of traps with no possible escape. While Arkin is here for gems, The Collector has come for a little fun and maybe his next trophy.
You can really tell these guys did a great job with a smaller budget. Yes, this feature has some of Saw’s creative talent, but be assured the budget is definitely not the same caliber. Dunstan and the crew went far enough from the Saw series to give this movie a somewhat unique look and feel. A lot of similarities will be found between Saw and The Collector, but the movie is distracting enough to keep your mind from calling out each moment that could be ripped from the related series.
I have to commend the work done in the effects department. This movie will not let any gore hounds down. There is little to no CGI used and most effects will elicit at least a moan or cringe. Some of the traps use practical household items or mimic them. Ever wonder how human fly paper would work… The little killer in me now has one less thing to think about.
The movie was advertised with the word Saw about 600 million times. Anytime someone mentioned this movie prior to its release a Saw mention was coming right up. In the end I believe the movie was hurt by it’s own hype as the Saw movies (at least the last few) were given dismal reviews by many. If the commercials were not enough, the fact that the box art itself wore mention of Saw sealed the deal for many searching out a decent horror movie.
The beginning starts out with a weird almost music video like intro. I am not sure how intentional this was, but it did seem awkward. Personally it reminded me of the band Tool so I was not too put off. The movie employs a lot of the same moves as the aforementioned series. If you have an issue with grainy high contrast shots popped in with a lot of quick edits this may not be your cup of tea.
The acting is on par with your average horror flick of the last decade. Josh Stewart does a decent job as Arkin and will make you feel for him as he has to make choices most of us would rather not. Outside of Mr. Stewart the only other note worthy character would be the The Collector himself. There really is no dialog by him or an explanation of why he does what he does. I guess we just leave that open for the sequels.
How the hell do you expect to separate yourself from a specific horror movie franchise when the name is mentioned right alongside your title? I know, how about we take the trap element from the series and make the killer mobile? There is no way we can be mistaken for that money tree of a series which popped up annually and dominated the box office for almost a decade.
For either of these guys to be pissed over the obvious comparison to a series they helped write and mold, would be shocking. Where The Collector trumps it would have to be the tense game of Cat and Mouse between Arkin and The Collector. Arkin has to avoid the many traps while trying to find a way to escape before he too becomes the victim or his next trophy.
This 12 oz. can of ice cold suds goes directly to the suspension of disbelief. I was left with so many question and moments of, “Come on, that would not happen,” that I believe it deserves mention. I was wondering so many things like, “How did The Collector get these detailed traps up with so quickly?” “How did Arkin or no one else hear the days of construction it would take to create all of these traps?” “Why does the killer need a living human and what makes his choice of said person any better than then the next?” “What is the mask made of and why does The Collector wear it?” So many questions with so few answers during my 90 minute stay. Some will say I am being too critical of something that is intentionally unrealistic and I’ll say sure, but give me some GOD DAMN answers before I call the police… just kidding.
With the opening of The Collection looming there is no doubt people will be seeking this title out before hitting the theater. This movie has a decent feel to it and I really hope we get more of a back story and answers in the sequel. If you need a decent Saw meets cat and mouse thriller give The Collector a look.
Take a Drink: anytime you curse at the darkness of a particular scene.
Enjoy a Sip of Wine: if something on-screen cues your mind directly to anything in the Saw series.
Slam a Beer: each time you are wondering “huh?” or “why?”
The zombie genre is bloated and almost at a boiling point. Personally, I want a return to form. Where are those slow moving piles of rotting flesh that seemed to be everywhere? I am talking about the ones made famous in Romero’s Dead series. The Dead promises to give me the enemies of old and still seem fresh enough to avoid the dreaded fast forward button.
This simply titled feature begins with an evacuation plane crashing and Air Force Engineer Brian Murphy (Rob Freeman) being the sole survivor. As he washes up on an African shore something immediately appears to be wrong as what looks to be injured tribes people are shambling toward him. Brian quickly dispatches a few of them and grabs what little gear he can find before moving on to safer grounds.
If the dead were not enough to keep Brian motivated he also has to worry about the scorching desert heat and formidable terrain. In his travels to find a way home he befriends Sergeant Daniel Dembele (Prince David Osei) who just watched his village be torn apart by the living dead. The two team-up and try and survive until they can find a means of escape.
Kudos to utilizing the slow moving zombies. Our nasty little rotting friends are so much more menacing as they seem to be in every scene, not allowing our boys much time to think or react. You really can feel the fear that these slow lumbering monsters provide.
The bleak and unforgiving desert is a perfect setting to provide a little fresh air for this genre. The bright sunlight, obvious heat, and feeling of desolation do a great job of making this feel bigger than just another zombie flick.
It seems Brian would be quite good at playing a lottery and winning his ass off. Time and time again he narrowly misses being bitten or infected. This could be just me but after a while I felt as if all the close calls were a bit much. Just let him be bitten already!
This one has to go to the acting or lack there of. At times Brian seems so numb and lifeless I feel he may have been better cast as a zombie. Some of his facial expressions are so lacking that the dialog only makes things more confusing. I get that an event like the dead coming back to life may make some a little numb, and if that is the case this is plain overkill.
The jarring and poor acting doesn’t just fall on Brian though as Sgt. Daniel also seems to suffer from the same sickness that kept our lead character from decent acting. If there were any less emotion in the dialog or acting this could easily be a Syfy Channel feature.
Most film’s scores are overlooked because they tend to support a scene or action as we watch it. In the case of The Dead it seems to have almost no score. This can be a good thing, but here the emptiness and desolation are already achieved through what we see. To have almost no score seems lacking and/or lazy. At times this lack actually helped to take away from the punch or impact of what I was seeing.
The Dead is not the best and far enough from being the worst. This movie is an interesting watch if you can look past the issues mentioned above.
Take a Drink: anytime you notice the lack of score.
Chug a Beer: every time you cringe due to a jutting bone or nasty laceration.
Sip a Mixer: each time a piece of balsa wood seems more life-like than our two leading men.
Damn you Steven Seagal! Growing up, you were the awesome uncle I never had. Anytime someone pissed you off or messed with “the family” you pulled out some kick ass ninja moves and made things right. Your always furrowed brow has not been able to cover the fact that most of your recent movies are direct-to-DVD duds. So maybe it is time to try a different genre; how about horror?
What could go wrong with Seagal fighting mutant vampire-like zombies in the world’s biggest hospital? Let’s look at the tag life for the film, “He Lives By The Sword, They Will Die By It.” Ok, I may have bitten off more than I can chew here. Let’s take a dive into Against The Dark and see what happens.
The story is a bit of a worn one. You have these “Hunters”, or extras from the Blade or Matrix series, following around a stout and weathered looking Tao played by Steven Seagal. The goon squad is tasked with exterminating these monster hybrids as most of the human race has been destroyed. The story follows two separate groups of survivors as they attempt to escape a hospital infested with the zom-pires (yes I made that up and will use it as I like).
This movie is about vampires, wait no it’s zombies, I think. Ok, so they are teeth grinding nocturnal mutants that do not seem to possess any special powers. I like the fact that the bad guys here are not exactly vampires or zombies but a cross of both. The make-up on most of the enemies was surprisingly believable and pretty gross. Now that we have established most of the good or interesting things in Against The Dark, how about the bad?
Ok so where the hell are we? This so called hospital is the size of New York City and makes no design sense. At one point a survivor attempts to justify their path by saying they need to make it out before a generator dies and locks them in. How does this make any sense when four of you just enter the hospital by breaking a solitary window?
Speaking of not making any sense at all: why is it no one chooses to arm themselves with anything for the duration of this movie? It is not like random items are sparse. We have an abandoned hospital, pick up a freaking crutch or chair. There is a point where this movie goes from WTF to “OK, obviously we threw darts at a board to choose how this story flows and whether or not we bother to explain anything”. Let me also mention, the WTF point is about 10 minutes into the feature.
Most of the acting is so bad and forgettable I will not bother mentioning many names in this steamer. The Hunters you say? They will stand out! Well yes, if by stand you mean the two hot chicks in leather that literally just stand around as Seagal dispatches enemies, then sure.
There is an actor by the name of Tanoai Reed who plays Tagart, Seagal’s sidekick. As the sidekick he will do most of the movement on screen. You need to remember that enemies come to Seagal to die, he does not move toward them. Most of the on screen martial arts will be performed by the big one’s sidekick as he is too busy swinging a sword about or using a shotgun. At least back in the day Seagal would pull off some intense neck or arm breaking.
So the world has been overrun and there is no one left but the hunters and a few survivors. Wait, what the hell is an entire army doing in existence when there is nothing to protect or defend? Even more, what the heck is Keith David doing commanding an army in this stinker? This was the dude who wrestled Roddy Piper in They Live, which is one of my cheese ball horror/Sci-Fi favorites. This dude has done a lot of good stuff like the original The Thing and continues to work actively in Hollywood. I guess he needed a quick paycheck or Seagal guilt tricked him by mentioning how awesome they were in 1990′s Marked for Death.
The effects just plain suck. Way too much CGI, but what can you expect from a direct to DVD masterpiece like this? I think once again I was hoping for something that was just not possible. There are plenty of movies out there without a theatrical releases that utilize more than blurry cam and crappy CGI. Like I said, guess I was asking too much.
Even the fight scenes with the zom-pires seemed boring and almost unneeded. The fact that no survivor bothered to arm themselves at any point did not help the crappy action. How do you expect to survive when you are so dumb that picking up a piece of wood does not cross your mind? Before I pop a brain vessel let’s move on.
So we have two separate stories, survivors and hunters. Wait, don’t forget the over-staffed military threatening to nuke the same area our last 15 living people occupy. Better yet forget the military bit, it never works and seemed too out of place. My only hope left was when these two groups crossed paths, something epic would happen. Oh and it did. The Hunters did the same lame crap and our survivors kept sucking at surviving. Sprinkle in some more crap CGI with poor acting and the movie is over.
I kept this one at five beers for a few reasons. The first was, I actually liked the dark atmosphere of the abandoned hospital. As I kept watching all I could think was what the hell does this remind me of? Then it kind of dawned on me. It was the Resident Evil game series. With the zom-pires always lying in wait, horrible dialog, and a massive unexpected locale it may have come off better than the actual Resident Evil movie. The other thing was the high hopes I had that were so quickly crushed. These hybrid killers could have been really cool… well the make-up was decent anyway.
If anyone is really looking to see this not so gem-like gem, check Netflix.
Take a Drink: anytime someone runs past an item that could have easily been used as defense.
Do a Shot: if you can spot The Rock’s cousin.
Pound a Cheap Beer: anytime Seagal blasts a shotgun.
It’s that time again to review another movie in the Return of the Living Dead series. I have been warning readers as these movies only get worse. Long time fans have already tuned this series out long before this made-for-TV crap fest could hit the air. The same sucking sound you heard in part 4 will follow all the way through part 5. When you film sequels back to back like this, the end is almost always the same. All suck, no satisfaction.
As the awesome subtitle would have you believe, this installment revolves around party drugs, zombies and high schoolers. The movie starts out with Charlie Garrison (Peter Coyote) attempting to sell a canister of Trioxin 245. For those who don’t know, this is the crap in every Return of the Living Dead movie that causes the dead to rise.
The sale goes sour and Uncle Charlie ends up a victim of his own creation, as a zombie chews him up. Julian Garrison (John Keefe), nephew of Charles, is tasked with cleaning out his Uncle’s place seeing as he is no longer with us. As Julian inspects the house he grew up in, prior to packing, a few additional containers of the chemical are discovered in a secret room. With his girlfriend Jenny (Jenny Mollen), they ask student scientist and all round cool dude Cody (Cory Hardrict) to analyze the contents before they contact authorities.
Cory finds out, using the school’s lab, that the chemical composition is close to that of ecstasy and proceeds to produce a drug called “Z”. This drug is peddled through a local dealer and soon the entire campus is high on “Z”. Before long Julian and Jenny discover the horrific side effects of this rave party treat as the entire campus is over run with zombies. All while Cody and Jenny’s DJ’ing bro set up for a massive Halloween rave party off campus.
Well here we are, at this series’ last vehicle for suckage. The redeeming qualities here are very few and even farther between. Viewers will be introduced to a deeper and more developed story. No wait, I am lying, but at least we have a few more shots of half naked women and the gore is decent. Outside of those very few things this bomb could easily bury a series that carried so much hope initially.
The effects were decent and there was some pretty gruesome scenes. Nothing to take away from this in the way of OMG gore moments, but seeing everything else is so blah the ok gore and effects stand out a bit.
Ok so, is it just me or is most of this cast a wee bit too old to play the general college populous? I hate to ask this question because so many people overlook physical age intentionally. I do not have this gift and it is also one of the reasons I cannot watch the Harry Potter movies. Daniel Radcliffe is a great actor but in the Potter series he looks way too old. Enough on my dwelling as we have oh so much to accomplish before this review’s complete.
So the movie is set in middle America on some local college campus? Oh ok, cool enough. How come the style and fashion seem off? Is it maybe because you shot this in a different country, namely Romania and hired a lot of locals to fill things out? So it is Halloween but looks to be summer in the good old USA. How come even the fake leaves on set don’t match the green foliage? The look and feel of this film are way off. Not one time do I buy into the supposed time line or set place for this film.
There are so many general plot holes this movie would be lucky to float past thirty seconds. Some of my favorites are: How is it Julian grew up in that house and never knew there was a secret lab upstairs? As kids we disrupted, destroyed and discovered as we pleased. What school lab allows a massive barrel of some unregistered chemical just to float in and be analyzed without anyone in charge noticing? What school allows students to hammer lab rats with syringes? The plot holes are fast and plenty. I actually plan to view this again when smashed off my ass and make a game of the plot’s shortcomings.
I did not come to this party looking for some killer acting. Really, we all know better then to expect even decent acting from a made-for-TV movie helmed by the almighty Sci-Fi Channel (Yes, as of 2005 when this turd formed it was still spelled Sci-Fi not Sy Fy). Julian (John Keefe) did ok as the lead here, no massive complaints. Cody (Cory Hardrict) was a decent character, want-to-be nerd turned drug mad scientist. Uncle Charlie (Peter Coyote) did as expected wearing some creepy ass grin throughout his tenure. It was almost as if he knew the level of movie he was in and could not help but smirk.
The most god awful delivery and all around presence was our DJ friend Jeremy. Each time his lanky rave looking ass grabbed the mic to “hype” the party I wanted to kick a baby. This only got worse when he attempted to rap. I seriously thought he had some type of a disease, and then realized any person with a disease would be better than this pump handle of an actor.
Being a zombie movie, at times I had to wonder if one directed the feature. The seat is actually taken by Ellory Elkayem who did an ok flick by the name of Eight Legged Freaks. The movie was kind of funny and decent overall. We are only left to wonder if he slept through the direction of this one or just ate some bad Romanian food and could not be on-set for filming.
Who the hell are the two bumbling fools meant to be Interpol agents hunting for the Trioxin barrels? The attempt at comic relief with these two is less than needed. At times the crack of a joke or wise ass comment comes off stale and forced. These two idiots are a big part of the plot that could have easily been left out. Each time they came on screen I was like, “Oh yeah, these two fools are still running around offending Europeans with their poorly acted stereotypes.”
I am going to keep this one short, well hopefully. The Tarman in this series is a precious thing. He is, to me, as iconic as Jason Vorhees is to the slasher genre. So why the hell do we have a slapped together 2 dollar production of him? There is no real acting involved here. Maybe some animatronics and a butt load of makeup. Rave to the Grave has the Tarman more or less tacked on and craptastic looking at best. Thanks but no thanks.
Bottom line, this movie should not have been made, even with the gratuitous 8 plus T&A shots. As long as we keep buying zombie movies they will keep making them. I am as guilty as the next fan, hoping for that one-off treat to transport me to a scary place of rotting flesh and abysmal fear. Return of the Living Dead is a pretty cool series that could go places in the right set of paws. Seeing that we now know how not to make the second half of a series, anyone want to take a crack at trying to do it right?
Take a shot: if a scene or characters seem off.
Drink a beer: anytime the DJ opens his god awful mouth.
Pound a mixer: when a T&A shot keeps you from turning this stinker off.
More than a decade has passed, 12 years to be exact, since the last Return of the Living Dead movie was released. The third movie left this series at a high point when compared to previous sequel. So fans of the series are expecting this feature to meet if not exceed the bar previously set. With parts 4 and 5 being shot back to back for the Sci-Fi Channel fans have plenty to worry about. We all know the types of flicks Sci-Fi likes to do and to put it plainly, most suck.
The movie opens as we head for Chernobyl with Uncle Charlie (Peter Coyote). He has a lead on scoring some of that gas/goo that reanimates the dead. No longer is it Trioxin 2-4-5 but just Trioxin 5. I have no idea why the name was changed as it is the exact same thing used in the last three movies. Charles works for the local Umbrella Corporation, oops I mean Hydra Tech as a researcher/scientist. So Charlie picks up a few containers of the chemical and back home to Middle America he goes.
Our main character Julian (John Keefe) and his little brother Jake (Alexandru Geoana), or Pyro as the kids call him, have been taken in by good ole Uncle Charlie as mom and dad perished in a car accident, or so they think. Julian and his friends are avid dirt bike junkies. They all love to do do these risky burnouts and 3 foot jumps. Zeke (Elvin Dandel) decides he is going to show Julian how a real man jumps an end table. Zeke ends up wiping out with the force of someone stubbing their toe leading to unconsciousness. Julian’s best friend is rushed to the hospital because he will not come to. So the squad packs up all of their extreme gear and heads to Zeke’s side. Only to find he is not there and died in transport.
Zeke has been delivered to Hydra Tech where he will be under going some experiments at the hands of our kooky and always lovable Uncle Charlie. Hydra Tech has a deal “under the table” and receives living specimens to experiment on. Julian and his stereotypical crew of, Becky the hot chick nerd (Aimee-Lynn Chadwick), Katie the innocent girl (Jana Kramer), trigger-happy Carlos (Toma Danila), Cody the token black guy/hacker (Cory Hardrict) and slutty little Mimi (Diana Munteanu) all smell a rat and will not stand for this cover-up crap.
The tough-as-nails crew ends up uncovering a secret list of experiments on Hydra Tech’s website and decide to spring Zeke before it’s too late. Armed with some bad ass dirt bikes and nun-chucks, off they go to get their homie and blow the cover off this corporate sham.
Everyone is going to notice similarities in the review of this movie and the next, Rave to the Grave. Both were filmed back to back and use almost the exact same lifeless cast. If there was a grade worse than F in the department of direction, Necropolis would easily take the cake. There is so much boring conversation in this film it is at best yawn inducing. I am left to wonder if the director/producer even bothered to get involved while this gem was being created.
Sometimes cliches are ok, especially when they make fun of themselves or lack a serious tone. The characters here are so stereotypical it hurts to watch. None of these folks gel or carry themselves in even the most remotely interesting manner. The level of acting is on par with a middle school production. The click of kids are so lifeless and unlike teenagers that had it not been for the dirt bikes, I would have thought these were “30 somethings” trying to act like teenagers.
How is it these almost squeaky clean high schoolers can operate firearms like Army Rangers? What the hell were the mining helmets for when the crew broke into Hydra Tech? I get some areas were dark but their bikes have headlights and there were flashlights. I cannot count on four hands how many times I questioned some odd crap in this movie. An alternate name for the title could have been, “Return of the Damn Plot Holes“.
This movie did an excellent job of ignoring certain rules and past pieces of the series. Why the hell are zombies going down from torso shots? Never in the previous movies were zombies dispatched with so much ease. The later part of the movie when the team is in Hydra Tech playing “shooting gallery” was pitiful. The last two movies in the series missed so much that at least keeping series musts, like zombies must die by decapitation or head shot, would be a no-brainer.
As mentioned earlier, why the hell did we decide to change the name of the flagship Trioxin 2-4-5 to Trioxin 5? There was no back story here at all. Was this a more advanced version of the chemical? Were these the same containers that bore monsters like the Tarman? I would like to know who decided to change the roots of the series and then have a zombie get on the intercom and ask for more security guards to be sent. No one will ever know so let’s just chalk it up to sloppy/offensive writing.
What is the deal with Uncle Charlie’s expressions? I had no idea if he was trying to disagree with someone else’s point of view or crap his pants. Given the awesomeness of this feature I hope it was the later. Complaining about Charlie’s contorted face is a moot point considering none of the other actors showed any emotion throughout the movie. Wait, I might be wrong, there was that one scene where our hacker/token black guy busts out a pair of nun-chucks on a zombie to save his beloved crew. This scene was so lame on so many levels it will never be forgotten.
I hate to say it but this movie has so much more in common with House of the Dead than Return of the Living Dead. There’s a scene where one of “the crew” throws his gun down and says, “It’s game time!” before taking on a zombie in hand to hand combat. This is not the only instance that brought about the comparison, but easily one of the best.
The two super cyborg zombies at the end of the feature also seemed quite “borrowed”. The male cyborg with a mini gun looked a lot like RoboCop with a fungal infection, while the female sports some type of Predator hair style. Neither of these boss-type zombies seemed original at all. Much like the rest of this movie, they were lifeless and uninteresting.
I really wanted to like the comeback of this series, but the last two made for TV movies forced me not to. This movie was perfectly on it’s way to a “6 pack party” but Rave to the Grave is absolutely the worst. Necropolis did have some pretty solid make-up and effects. The movie also had a surprising amount of gore, with some good head biting and flesh tearing.
Zombie movies overall are becoming one of the most watered down horror genres today. Every rag tag crew seems to have written or produced one. Most days I will watch any of them because some are actually so bad, they are good. Necropolis does not achieve this and sits stranded in just plain bad.
Don’t go too far now kids. Up next we have the final and worst installment in the Return of the Living Dead series, Rave to the Grave.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: anytime some lacking dialogue brings about “eye rolling”.
Slam a Beer: each time a plot hole makes you go “What the F*ck?
Pound a Shot: whenever a series rule is disregarded or just plain changed.
This outing in the Return of the Living Dead series is a darker and more straight forward horror movie approach. This installment has been washed of the comedy and characters that made the last two at least somewhat successful. The first was a perfect blend of comedy and horror while the second was just more or less funny. So grab your Four Loko and a comfy seat because it is time for Return of the Living Dead 3.
The third installment in the ROTLD franchise follows Curt Reynolds (J. Trevor Edmonds), son of Colonel John Reynolds (Kent McCord), and Curt’s girlfriend Julie Walker (Melinda Clarke). Father is not all too impressed by his son’s morbid little love interest and tells Curt that his job is requiring relocation; basically telling Curt he needs to drop his little emo love interest and get packing. Curt, like many young men, decides that this is not an option and tells his father off because Julie is running away with him.
All the while we notice a key has been borrowed (stolen) from the Colonel, which allows Curt and Julie access into the private military testing facility where he works. Julie and Curt visit the facility and end up seeing a test take place with Trioxin 245, the dreaded reanimation chemical that this series is based around. A corpse is brought back to life and ends up killing the doctors before it can be subdued and put back in storage.
So Curt and Julie take off on his cycle and a little grab ass turns into a crash that takes Julie’s life. Curt decides the only thing to do besides not call the cops is take Julie to his father’s facility and bring her back to life. I mean really what could go wrong here? Julie is successfully reanimated via Trioxin 245 and because of the strong bond between the two Julie will not attack Curt. From here we will go on a roller coaster ride involving Curt trying to hide/help Julie, gang conflicts, and the military trying to get there newest pet project back.
The first very obvious thing about this horrific tale of love is a lack of comedic relief. The first two movies relied very heavily on comedy to keep things moving and it worked, for the most part. The first movie used a perfect recipe of dark humor and gore while the second tried way too hard to be funny and ultimately failed. This is your average teen angst movie being intertwined with a zombie flick.
So now Julie is a zombie or zombie in training might be a better title. I get the connection between Curt and Julie is deep so she may listen to him and allow him to live, but how is it the scientists killed earlier became psycho killing zombies within moments of their deaths? I know this is not a deal breaker but kind of a hole in the good old plot for sure.
I am not sure what country’s military security was being acted out in the lab scenes but someone has some answering to do. How is it following an incident where people have died can a kid come and go with a body and no one really noticed? The security was so laughable there is even a line about it in the movie. As to whether or not this was added to cover the plot hole, we will never know.
We have a teenage girl hit with some gas and now she has an eating disorder coupled with the need to cut herself. Was this meant to be a nod to kids in the 90′s as both of those things were a rising issue at the time? I believe the connection was intentional and also worked to hit an underlying nerve much like Romero’s films did on society and such.
The transition of Julie’s character was done very well you end up with a sense of feeling for her. The scene where she is cutting and impaling herself with metal should make the average person cringe. This all builds up to her becoming this BDSM monster. The first time I saw her come out of that door in the sewers with her new look I was not sure if I should be excited or just plain scared. Either way her character develops well to this point and then splat, falls flat following the battle scene in the sewer. Kind of a bummer because the direction things were going with Julie was actually becoming somewhat interesting. Being a huge Hellraiser fan, I loved her transformation and felt she looked way more Cenobite than traditional zombie.
The make up and gore were on par with the series to this point. Julie’s makeup was excellent as were most of the zombies in this film. I do believe the level of detail was easier to achieve in this installment because there is no mob of zombies to “make up”. The weird massive gun that is used to subdue the specimens was a little unbelievable in sound and execution. Why it had to be the size of a sniper rifle and fire weird bullets was never explained unfortunately.
One of the most unintentionally funny things was the Riverman. Basil Wallace played this character and for those who don’t know he was Screwface in Marked for Death along side ass kicker Steven Segal. This character was so odd and dressed like he was from Star Wars. I also could not figure out why a dude living in an old sewer would always look warm and sweaty. All of his lines have this New Orleans backwoods type feeling that did little more than make me laugh. The supposed raspy accent did a good job of taking away any seriousness within the character’s lines.
This is a movie well worth seeing if you enjoy zombie movies or horror flicks in general. The 90′s cheesiness and low budget are pretty obvious, but only help to make this B movie shine a little. Julie’s character was awesome and well acted. I really wish director Brian Yunza would have stuck with developing Julie past her transformation into “super hero ass kicker goth zombie chick”. The maybe unintentional underlying mention of kids in the 90′s and mutilation was also cool and very subtle. Pretty much the rest of the cast outside of Riverman is almost completely forgettable.
There are 2 versions of this movie out there and the most common is the rated one you will find on DVD or Netflix. The unrated version requires one of those ancient VCR type things as it has yet to make the jump to DVD and I don’t think it will anytime soon. I have seen both and the unrated one does carry more gore, but nothing really worth killing yourself over finding. By the end of either version I had the same impression regardless of rating.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: anytime you are reminded of the 90′s in this film.
Pound a Shot: if you can name the cameo in this movie that was also in the last two.
Shotgun a Beer: if Curt’s face makes you want to punch him.