Archive for January, 2012

Underworld: Awakening

Posted in Horror Showcase, Updates with tags , , , , , on January 21, 2012 by splatterpictures

Well I’ve just come back from Underworld: Awakening and I really couldn’t resist the opportunity for me to be topical so I’ll give you some of my thoughts on the film since it’s still fresh in my mind.

When it comes to franchises in any capacity the fourth one can be an eye rolling affair. A lot of times in horror, the fourth edition into any entry can be totally overlooked by common moviegoers only to end up in a five dollar bin with people scratching their heads saying “oh wow they made a fourth one of this?”

Underworld has always been one of these mainstream action-horrors that I really enjoyed for various reasons. This one however leaves me conflicted.

The film starts off with a little recap of the precious movies to give the casual viewer a chance to get an idea of the franchise they are stepping in to. It helps but like the previous three movies Underworld: Awakening is tightly related to the previous ones and is a little less accessible to people who haven’t at least seen the first two.

It seems humans have found out about Vampire’s and Lycans and they aren’t too happy about it. The monsters that are usually the hunters are now pushed to the brink of extinction. Where does that leave the super-vampire hero Celina and her Were-pire lover Michael? Well no place good and in an attempt to go into hiding they are ambushed.

We then jump twelve years later into a world where vampires and Lycans are on the brink of extinction. An evil corporation called Antigen is working on the final cure to make sure they can never spread their infection again.  Selene (Kate Beckinsale) wakes up in a cryo-box and fights her way out all the while looking for Michael. She thinks she’s on his trail but it turns out to be a young girl named Eve (India Eisley) who is a lab grown clone of both her and her mate. (Essentially a little girl were-pire.)

Okay, so my problems with this movie basically start and end with the films run-time. 88 minutes. That is some editing tighter than Beckinsale’s pants and it’s officially the shortest of the series. Every problem the film has could have easily been fixed with another 20 minutes. There was a lot of movie in that short run-time and it didn’t help.

I'm not X-23. Did I mention that yet? No? Okay, well i'm not.

Another problem was the fact that they had four writers on the picture which compounded by the run-time made a lot of scenes that were intended to maybe set up plot later on go nowhere. A part that really sticks out is a part where one of the few remaining vampire elders named Thomas (Charles Dance) seems to be trying to, apologize to Eve for previously making her feel unwelcome, it was played as if he might try to use her but then it seems to be forgotten in the very next scene when he wants her gone again.

Characters didn’t have enough time to really develop either. This is bad for established characters like Selene because she isn’t given enough moments but it’s especially bad for all of the new characters this movie introduces.  For example Michael Ealy plays a Detective named Sebastian who randomly helps out Selene is given about two minutes to try and give his motivations, while they are on their way to the next scene.

Another complaint comes as a comic book fan. Eve’s origin story is Marvel comics X-23’s (Wolverine’s cloned daughter) origin story. Everything from growing up in a lab to having a project scientist be like a surrogate mother to cutting herself and watching her heal.

My last small comment is Bill Nighy was sorely missed. The way that guy hammed it up in the previous three movies was one of the biggest draws for me. And I mean that sincerely, it was awesome.

Now for what I liked. The action is amazing. I don’t think the 3D really added anything except to the ticket price although, I was a little startled by some glass flying at my face. All of the chorography was just fantastic. Selene has never been more of a badass. She is a cold blooded killer that has been pushed to the edge and has no problem taking out anybody in her quest to find Michael and protect her newfound daughter.

There are some awesome kills that are benefited from this being an R-rated movie. It’s funny how refreshing it can be to see a vampire or werewolf actually act like monsters instead of heartthrobs.

Looking back on this review I realize the things I am saying could be considered being “picky” I think it comes from the fact that I wanted to like this movie as much as I liked the previous ones and while the action didn’t disappoint me at all I just really wish they had given the movie a chance with a longer runtime.

For anyone sitting on the fence about this one, I say if you go into it looking for a kick-ass action movie or as a longtime fan of the series you’ll probably like it enough.  For everyone else though the cost of movies these days and the fact that it’s so short (and feels short) really makes it hard to justify. Maybe the DVD will have all the extended scenes the film sorely needs.

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The Woman In Black (1989) review

Posted in Updates with tags , , , , , , , , on January 20, 2012 by splatterpictures

I have this little obsession with making sure that I do a little research into upcoming horror that interests me. In this day and age unfortunately that usually means watching the original movie. I’ve written about haunting stories before but this time we’re going into the realm of a TV movie for The Woman In Black. The BBC has a long and proud history of quality productions that sadly not always the easiest to come by. Thankfully we have places like the internet to help us out until things can be released properly.  This isn’t the first time in recent history that a film based on a made for TV horror gets a big fancy Hollywood release. A few months ago Guillermo del Toro’s Don’t Be Afraid of The Dark hit theatres and that was a made for TV movie from the 70’s.

So before the new Woman In Black remake spooks its way to theatres I wanted to share this wonderful little gem with all of you. The film was released for the ITV Network in 1989. It was based of the 1983 novel of the same name written by Susan Hill. Herbert Wise would handle the directing duties and it starred Adrian Rawlins.

The woman in Black opens up to a young man named Arthur Kipps who is sent out as a solicitor to a small town to attend the Funeral of Mrs. Alice Drablow. Drablow was an elderly widow who lived in this creepy old house that sits alone in a marsh surrounded by mist. The narrow ways lack of visibility makes it a notoriously dangerous spot. It becomes known to Kipps that people have lost their lives there before. During his stay he begins to see images of a woman in black. He comes across Mrs. Drablows recorded Journal that confirms that she too was plagued by the images of a woman.  It doesn’t take long before other suspicious activity in the house and even from the locals begins to unravel the bizarre mystery surrounding the Eel Marsh House.

I will start off by saying the movie has a very slow beginning . It just follows Kipps around as he prepares to leave for the town. I don’t know if it was the mood I was in or just the movie itself but the first thirty minutes I was checking the time. Of course I had plans to stick with it and I’m glad I did. In the gothic style of haunting stories this one is nothing particularly different. Strange activity becomes more frequent over time and it serves to help unravel the mystery of the house itself. A lot of the tension comes from the wonderful musical score by Rachael Portman that really amplifies Kipps frantic nature. Seriously the guy could win an award for freaking out if they gave out awards for that sort of thing.

Although there are a lot of tense moments I would honestly say there is only one big scare. It relies on you getting accustom to how the movie presents the ghosts and supernatural activity and then throwing something totally different in your face. It was effective to be sure and that’s saying a lot coming from me.

The last part of the movie I will talk about is the ending. I really don’t want to give too much away but I thought it really was a high point that brought the whole story full circle.

I think a few of the things I didn’t like were a couple of things were handled off camera. I understand this had probably more to do with cost than anything else but it would have been interesting if they had the budget or time.

The Woman in Black is a subdued ghost story that people should go into with patience. The ending pays off nicely but will probably do nothing for people who like a little bit more bang.

There’s no telling how the new film will measure up to the old one. I can tell you that it’s a well known story in the UK having been turned into a stage production that has run for twenty years. In the modern age we can defiantly count on more special effects and more obvious scares, which admittedly wouldn’t hurt. I’ll stay optimistic until opening day.

I recommend that anyone who is interested in a good ghost story check this one out. Just a word of warning, although it was released on DVD it’s out of print now and very hard to come by. If there are some good spots to find it don’t forget to comment and let people know! Until next time, thanks for reading!

"I'm the ghost of Dame Maggie Smith"

Sadako 3D

Posted in Updates with tags , , , , on January 2, 2012 by splatterpictures

I’m personally pretty jazzed about this. Not every Ring movie has been great as far as I’m concerned but this should be a modernization that the series needs. Hopefully moving far away from the VHS thing.  I’ll be following this as more stuff develops.

Akane is a high school teacher who hears a rumor from her students that there is actual footage on the Internet of someone’s suicide. The footage is said to drive anyone who sees it to also commit suicide. Akane does not believe the rumor at first, but when one of her female students dies after viewing the footage, she and her boyfriend Takanori are fatefully drawn into the horror that has been created by the man who appears in the suicide footage, Kashiwada.

Kashiwada’s intention is to create chaos in the world by bringing back Sadako and the power of her curse. Now Akane has to fight against Sadako and Kashiwada to save the lives of herself and Takanori.

The film will be released in Japan on May 12 2012. I will do my best to see it and give you guys the low down ASAP.