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EmpressStephanie's reviews view profile

Nothing New - Stupidly Simple  
on April 9, 2008 - 12:35 AM PDT
  of Penny Dreadful (2006)
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful

I thought the lead actress was really great but no level of excellent acting could have made this better. There just wasn't enough of a plot line. I kept thinking there was some twist coming because the plot was so stupidly simple and straight forward, I figured - no way, no one makes movies like this anymore. There has to be something more too it.

(Sort of spoilers ahead - well, not really because this plot is so simple there is nothing to spoil...)

I kept thinking.... naaaah this can't really be a movie about an escaped convict killing people who pick him up on the highway... it must be the psychologist - maybe she's some sick sadist and wants to torture this girl who is afraid of cars.... or maybe... the hitchhiker isn't really the killer and he's actually going to save her and the killer is the local whose wife is cheating on him?....etc etc. The way the movie cuts from scene to scene and introduced new characters suggested that there was something more that the viewer should be looking out for, it's got a mysterious feel to it. Ultimately though, the movie really was just introducing new character to be killed, and there was no mystery to it at all. Except for maybe, how some weird deformed escaped convict managed to get a car stuck between two trees by himself.

Probably not worth the rental.
Shockingly *Not* Bad.  
on April 8, 2008 - 12:55 PM PDT
  of Snoop Dogg's Hood of Horror (2006)
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful

If you like kitschy horror vignettes, like Tales from the Crypt and you like kitschy hip hop culture, like Don't Be A Menace to Society While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood - this is for you. It's not meant to be taken seriously and actually my roommates made fun of me for trying to analyze it as anything other than a film meant for a few laughs. It begins with an animated sequence where Snoop Dogg pulls a pseudo-Faust and trades his life for the life of his little sister. He then becomes the ghetto equivalent of shinigami. He basically narrates 3 interesting stories that take place in the, uh, hood. The stories have a weird and skewed moral compass - which makes them semi-unpredictable, well, the deaths are pretty unpredictable:

One person gets killed by falling on his Forty, then beer sprays everywhere. If that's not reason enough to see this, I don't know what is.
Blah Horror  
on February 3, 2008 - 5:56 PM PST
  of Unrest (2006)
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful

Nothing particularly good about this movie. The acting was bad, really bad. I really wanted the protagonist to die in an awful horrible way, preferably in real life so as to guarantee that she would never try to act again. If you get passed how annoying the main character is, you have a good concept for a horror movie. The basics are there- Brazil (which seems to be the "it" country for horror plots lately but um... as far as I know, the Aztecs didn't inhabit Brazil), an ancient disturbed burial ground, possession and you know, corpses - but - it all failed. All I managed to really understand was something about Aztecs and an archaeologist turned murderous prostitute. I didn't really get it. The main characters also do all the ridiculous things that ruin horror movies for me. Why would you ever swim in a vat of formaldehyde? Why are you flirting and having random married couple sex (not like the usual misplaced gratuitous sex in horror movies) when everyone around you is being offed by the archaeologist prostitute spirit thing? Why doesn't anyone in the hospital notice all the missing dead people? More importantly, why didn't anyone find it weird that the same people were always finding these dead people? No one seems freaked out in the least. I didn't hate the movie, I just thought it was a very sophomoric attempt at horror.
Loved it.   
on January 30, 2008 - 8:38 AM PST
  of The Gravedancers (2006)
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful

Don't let the concept (oooooo... dancing on a grave gets you haunted) turn you off to this movie. It's got some excellent pop up scares. I actually shrieked once. It won't change your life but it's pretty scary despite the sometimes cheesy CG. I'm giving it a 10 because I really had fun watching it. This isn't a sit at home watch alone horror movie, watch this with lots of friends, make fun of it, and have fun with it. It's silly in the same way that 13 Ghosts is, and it gives you the background story that you should have gotten in the actual plot line of 13 Ghosts but didn't get until the extras came out in the DVD release. All-in-all very fun scary movie.
Hippies Getting Killed by a Reagan Mask Wearing Psychopath - I love it.   
on January 21, 2008 - 6:14 PM PST
  of The Tripper (2007)
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful

To me this was the highest form of satire to come by in a slasher movie since maybe Scream 1. The whole bloody affair takes place in a modern day Woodstock being held by Paul Ruben playing a green-profiteer, exploiting new age hippies in the wilderness. Meanwhile, a psychopath, traumatized by hippies in his youth, goes on a murderous rampage dressed as Ronald Reagan. I really don't know what else to say to make you want to watch this movie. It won't be life altering, but it's definitely worth the rental for the lolz, very funny.
Fairly Standard Slasher Flick with a Twist  
on January 21, 2008 - 6:01 PM PST
  of Dark Ride (2006)
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful

I'm not a fan of slasher films but this was tolerable. The characters are annoying (as to be expected in this genre because that way, when they get killed, it's enjoyable instead of upsetting). Some of the death scenes are fairly memorable, and of course, there is gratuitous sexuality speckled with violence. The back story is pretty interesting. The idea of wondering around an abandoned amusement park definitely appealed to me (I would totally do that, wouldn't you?). It's got a pretty solid twist ending although most people will probably see it coming about 1/2 way through. Worth the rental for people who like this genre.
Independent Horror Version of American Beauty  
on January 17, 2008 - 6:57 PM PST
  of The Hamiltons (2006)
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful

The description is misleading but I believe that's actually done on purpose to throw the viewer off. Needless to say, I was expecting a standard slasher movie - of which I am always harshly critical because I see it as the scum of the horror genre - and I got something completely different. It's about as tasteful as a slasher movie gets with a bit of a faux twist ending (I say that because I think it's pretty obvious where the movie in going about 1/4th of the way through but it is a twist none-the-less.) The movie has an unexpected depth to it. Sadly, I can't explain why without giving away the plot. Let's just say that it portrays an old horror movie archtype in a new light. The main character is also very angsty (think the teens in American Beauty, camera and all - actually - the best way to think of this movie is as a low budget independent horror version of American Beauty) and again, very unexpected. The pacing is slow (bugged the crap out of my roommates) but I thought that the slowness was purposeful it worked well with the story and the characters. The production value is low - but I thought that added to the atmosphere of the movie since some parts are seen by the viewer through the main character's hand held camera. It's not particularly gruesome although it can be a little gratuitous at times, nothing too excessive. This isn't for torture porn lovers, although the boys I live with had their lesbian makeout moment which shut them up long enough for me to enjoy the rest of the movie. I'd say, all and all, it's a well thought out fresh take on some old horror standards. It breaks some of the conventions of its genre and for that I like it. It's not for everyone but it's definitely worth the rental for people like me who like horror just for horror's sake.
Honestly? wtf? Who writes this garbage?  
on January 13, 2008 - 11:17 AM PST
  of Wicked Little Things (2006)
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful

Flesh Eating Zombie Miner Children? Who on earth looked at this script and thought hey... this is going to make a great film! I have nothing positive to say about this movie. I don't mind characters getting killed but nothing makes me more angry than characters that get killed because they do things that normal people would NEVER do. Why can't the people that write horror movies create a character that dies doing what a normal person would do in whatever horrific situation. That's a million times more scary than watching stupid characters die because they do stupid things - like hey, my daughter's missing in the woods, I know there's these evil zombie children that kill stuff but let me go wondering through the darkness with no flashlight and no weapons tee hee THEN when I can't find my way out of the woods let me walk into to every seemingly abandoned building I find so that the owners can creep up on me and ask me what the hell it is I'm doing on their property.

This movie gives you no answers, none. Why did the children become zombies? (Seriously? Zombies? How? No. This should have been a ghost story. When children in a horror movie get crushed in a mining accident they become ghosts - not zombies - not unless there was some radioactive waste or some virus or a voodoo doctor or some other zombie creating substance/force. Period.) Why do they want revenge against the owner of the mine? Why was there an accident? How did the dad die? Why didn't the dad talk about his family? All these questions make up the history that could have saved this garbage film but instead they just give the viewer 90 minutes of unlikable characters wondering a dark dingy house and the dark mountain woodsy area. Don't let that fool you into thinking that this movie had a creepy atmosphere - it didn't. Most of the time it was too dark to be creeped out by anything on the screen. Bad acting, bad cinematography, bad script/dialogue, bad premise, bad plot - not one redeeming factor. Even the zombie children weren't creepy.

This-is-just-bad. I'm really disappointed.
Worth the Rent  
on January 13, 2008 - 11:00 AM PST
  of Reincarnation (2005)
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful

Not the best example of Japanese horror but entertaining none-the-less. A lot of people criticize it for being too similar to The Grudge, it is, but I don't think that makes it a bad film per se. It's eerie, the plot makes sense, it has some pop-up scares, all-in-all - solid but it doesn't really bring anything new to the table. (But really when was the last time you saw a horror movie that did?)
on November 28, 2007 - 9:54 AM PST
  of The Abandoned (2007)
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful

For me it's rare to find a horror movie that is actually 'scary'. This movie has all the components of a truly scary film, an eerie atmosphere, excellent pacing, and the character have actually motivation to behave in the way that they do. I'm really annoyed by horror writing that places characters in scary situations for seemingly implausible reasons or for no reason: example - "oh we're driving on a scary country road, here's a scary house - we don't need to stop but why don't we? Woooow this place is scary and it looks like no one lives here/this was the site of a mass murder or something, eh looks like a good place to hang out for a bit let's look for a breaker box in the basement". There's none of that in this movie. Of course this movie has the necessary and standard pop up scares, I thought they were well placed. The plot deals with concepts of time and fate; what I especially love is that everything loops around and connects together at the end. (12 Monkeys style)

This was the fan favorite of last year's Horrorfest, and for good reason. It's definitely worth the watch, it's not the standard horror movie.
I'm going to have to disagree with everyone else  
on November 1, 2004 - 3:39 PM PST
  of Voices of a Distant Star (2002)
5 out of 13 members found this review helpful

It is good, considering the guy made it on his computer... but if someone hadn't told me that, I would have thought "Wow, what a crappy animation company." The fact that it is short does take away from the series. I completely disagree that the characters were well developed, they definitely weren't. I didn't feel anything for their plight at all. The characters are extremely two dimensional. Also... with the 30 minutes alloted, you get an awesome premise but no plot or conclusion. It's got a cheesey artsy fartsy sentimentality to it... actually you know what this reminds me off... in Magic User's Club TV when they are making fun of artsy movies and they make that weird cheesey movie in black and white... yea, it's like that. Bah... I'm just extremely disappointed because this was recommended to me so highly. I feel like I wasted a rental on this.

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