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V/H/S – Raw Review

Old School Horror That Surprises.

Horror movie anthology where robbers view video tapes with death, monsters, murder, and killers.

I have to admit, I stayed away from seeing V/H/S for a long time. The volume of ultra-terrible low budget horror out there makes it difficult to sift through everything in search of those rare nuggets of gold. Guess I’m just getting old. I know it’s always been this way but time is more precious than it used to be, mainly because there isn’t as much of it to watch movies. 

V/H/S surprised the hell out of me. Adam Wingard is credited with directing one of the short films, and given the awesome job he did on You’re Next perhaps it’s not as surprising this film has some genuinely good moments. 

The movie isn’t perfect, or even great, but several of the mini-stories are really well done and mindblowing. The film is an anthology. We the audience follow a group of scumbags as they burglarize a house. 

sex blood murder monster college party guys get eaten by naked girl
“Man, was she horny or hungry?”

The house is creepy (which doesn’t seem to bother these guys at all, making them even scummier) and as they look for the item they’re to steal they come across a room full of TVs and VHS cassettes. Naturally the groups first notion is to sit and watch the tapes, presumably in the hope of finding something of value. 

haunted apartment with horrible little alien monsters and a plot twist that  is killer
“Hey, who is that behind you?”

From there we get a series of short films, all hand-cam. This is where the movie really shines. We get a series of stories ranging from sex monster to homicidal lover to serial killer to alien something or other and haunted house. Some of the films are better than others but each has its own unique style and voice. All of them are violent, and all of them are bloody. 

So is it worth seeing? 

Surprisingly, yes. Yes it is. The arc story isn’t done very well and one short story is too long and boring for the payoff, but the sex monster, serial killer and haunted house clips are well worth your time.

serial killer who cannot be filmed kills college kids in woods with a knife
“Why are you all blurry?”

What’s an anthology?

A collection of stories. In this case short movies. It works well in V/H/S because flash horror doesn’t require structure, logic, or resolution. We don’t know where the tapes came from or why, we just enjoy the them.

Is this a good date movie?

V/H/S actually could be a good date movie. It’s hip and fresh, has a lot of young college characters in it, and a nice blend of sex/nudity/violence.

So is the whole movie hand-cam (shaky-cam)?

Yeah it is, and I’m sure that will turn some people off, but if you can handle hand-cam (even if it’s not your favorite filming style) and like low-budget horror that’s fun then give it a shot.

college party group stumble into a haunted house with human sacrifice and horrible death
“Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together…”

Is there CGI?

Probably, but all the blood and gut scenes looked like props and latex to me. Bonus points for that!

What the hell is a V/H/S tape?

It’s like Betamax only larger and with less quality. VHS won the video cassette format war… Just like Blu-ray won the HD disc war against HD DVDLaserdisc

I’m getting too freakin old.

sci-fi, horror, alien, scarjo, indie horror, disturbing

Under the Skin – Raw Review

Naked Alien Eats Men

Ahhhhh… extensive nudity, disturbing imagery, and a near lack of exposition make Under the Skin is one helluva interesting film.

Under the skin poster art scarjo
Read any review on any website and it becomes clear that either people love or hate the film. Not a lot of middle ground exists on this one and that’s not surprising given the style and execution.

Note: I feel compelled to address anyone who is only interested in seeing Scarlett Johansson fully nude (because you totally do!). Find the pictures or gifs online, don’t waste time watching the whole movie. If all you’re after is quick thrill the story/theme/concept will pass right by you, then you’ll feel compelled to write a shitty review based on nothing and who wants to read that.

I digress. Movie review. Focus… Ok, the movie is…

Boy being eaten by alien fluid in Under her skin movie

In a word… disturbing. More disturbing than this one. The film is disturbing for several reasons. First, the idea is altogether creepy if you’re a guy who likes to cruise bars and pick up women. Second, there is a scene on a beach that is nearly unwatchable if you have small kids and/or a dog. It’s necessary to the theme and it works. Oh god does it work. Just be warned.

Scarjo checking out the human world.

The scenes in the van were shot with hidden cam, the men being picked up aren’t actors. I know crazy right, but it makes the scenes more believable. Here’s a good analysis if you’re so inclined.

The cinematography is amazing, and relevant so pay attention.

Universe communication between aliens

What is the story about?

Predator vs Prey. Humanity. Empathy. Stuff like that.

Do you get to see ScarJo nude?

Please see my note above.

Is it a good film?

It’s a well made film that is very thought provoking. You’ll either get it or you won’t, but either way I don’t see this being re-watched on a regular basis.

How about children. Can I let my kids watch this film?

I wouldn’t, and I generally don’t have an issue with kids watching most horror movies. I started with Dawn of the Dead at six years old and I turned out o.k. I think. No, this movie not only has a lot of nudity but some of the scenes are very disturbing, and very realistic. Keep the kids away.

All Cheerleaders Die

Sex, Drugs and Supernatural Slice and Dice!

I’m trying the think of a really good way to encapsulate the plot of All Cheerleaders Die. Ya know the standard “It’s X meets Y for the new generation” pitch that so many writers and agents built their careers on. The best I can think of is something along the lines of…

“A cross between Heathers, The Craft, Bring It On and  Dead Girl.”

I hate to say too much because there are several turns and a couple twists that work much better if you go into the film blind. Just know the film does a great job blending standard high school tropes with blood, death, and a dash of the supernatural.

One final note… good horror films provide well timed comic breaks for the audience. It’s necessary to allow people a chance to catch their breath, collect themselves, and above all smile. All Cheerleaders Die is able to do this exceptionally well through the use of it’s soundtrack. What is otherwise a fairly grim film becomes a genre blending dark comedy due to some well placed and eclectic choices in music. The movie also benefits largely from some terrific acting by the main antagonist.

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Q: Is this a good date movie?
A: Not sure why this question keeps coming up. I’d say yes for the casual date, or definitely if you’ve finally decided to ask out your best friend whom you’ve had a crush on for years and knows all about your obsession with John Hughes and George Romero.

Q: Dead Girl? How is it similar!?
A: Take a guess…

Q: Do all the cheerleaders really die?
A: Yes and no. Sort of.

Q: Where?

A: Netflix.

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Dead Girl (2008) Raw Review

Necrophilia Was Never So Disturbing. 

So what would you do if you found a sexy, naked, dead woman chained to a bed in the basement of an abandoned mental hospital?

Seriously, what would you do? She looks alive but isn’t. Does that mean the normal rules of law and order, not to mention morality, don’t apply to your actions?

Well this is the premise the audience is presented with in this film. You could argue that it glorifies rape, bondage, and sociopathic behavior in young people; or you could just watch the movie for its entertainment value. The movie is definitely graphic and disturbing at times. Not as disturbing as Human Centipede but close enough. Don’t get too wrapped up in analyzing this film, just enjoy it for what it is – a horror movie with an incredibly original idea and great execution.

Dead girl, movie, review, zombie, necrophilia, horror, thriller, high school
What is necrophilia? 

Q: Is this a good movie?

A: A solid storyline and decent acting make this quite a good film. Recommend you see it at least once. 

Q: Is this a good date movie?

A: Only if your date gets turned on by necrophilia.

Q: Is there nudity in it?

A: Yes, yes, yes, and yes. Gratuitous sex and nudity.

Q: Is this a zombie film?

A: I suppose technically it is but not a traditional zombie film.

Q: Where can I see it?

A: Blu-ray and dvd. I saw it for sale at Best Buy awhile back.

IMDB page