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A slasher I could relate to!
Oscar Wilde once said; "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth." Only when a man believes he is safe from the repercussions of his actions, will reveal his true nature. "Rideshare" follows the exploits of an Uber driver named Jason. After witnessing the side of Los Angeles from constant bombardment of fake personalities, Jason grows hostile towards those around him and develops a dark, nihilistic view of humanity as a whole. This new outlook soon leads him down the path of murder and violence. Jason converses with each passengers, while secretly judging whether or not that person deserves to live. The passenger continues talking, completely oblivious of the weight his words hold regarding whether they will reach their expected destination or become another victim of the crazed driver. Just as the masked man speaks freely, Jason's passengers talk to him without reservation and undeterred by typical social conventions. By the end of the drive, the passengers true nature is put on display for Jason pass judgement on. The vapid and distasteful personalities that make up his passengers, serve as a constant reminder of everything Jason despises about the world around him. it's difficult not to sympathize with his actions to some extent, while simultaneously condemning them as morally reprehensible.


Possibly the best retellings of a classic story in Film history
Telling an old story in a new way is a colossal task that many undertake, but few succeed in. Creating an original story, while staying true to the underlying themes and structure of the original is a difficult balance to maintain. However, The 1931 film adaption of "Frankenstein" is possibly the greatest example of a reimagined classic story told right cinematic history. The underlying themes of Mary Shelley's tale regarding whether scientific inquiry can go to far and the what makes someone a monster are preserved and relayed brilliantly through out this movie, while also forming an identity of it's own. It's because of this film that the depiction of Frankenstein's monster as dead eyed, flat headed behemoth has been the default image of horror for generations. Frankenstein is a timeless tale warning about what happens to those who fly too close to the sun, and the 1931 film adaptation more than lives up to its title.

Strip Club Massacre

More than a typical Sexploitation Film.
"Night Club Massacre" is a film about a woman, who after facing a series of non stop abuse and betrayal, is pushed beyond her breaking point and chooses to take control of her life by any force necessary. In a span of less than twenty four hours, protagonist Megan (Alicia Watson) finds herself unemployed and discovers that her boyfriend had been having an affair with her roommate. With her life in shambles, Megan moves out of her apartment and begins living with a a wealthy friend while rebuilds her life. Soon after moving, Megan is introduced to her friend's boyfriend. A man named Bobby, who runs a local strip club. He offers Megan a job as a waitress at his club. After some initial hesitation, she accepts the offer. However, soon after starting her new job, Megan discovers the strict hierarchy that exist amongst the employees at the strip club. Sitting at the top of the food chain is a sadistic stripper named Jazz (Erin Brown/Misty Mundae). She and her cohorts harass the other workers to reinforce their dominance and remind everyone of their place in the hierarchy. Those who Jazz perceives as a threat, or wrong her in any way become subject to her wrath, and are submitted to whatever torture will sate her unquenchable blood lust. At the core of "Night Club Massacre" are the themes of control and dominance. Megan enters into a world where those willing to take what they want by force set the rules for everyone else. Eventually Megan catches Jazz's ire and is subjected to unspeakable acts of violence and humiliation. Robbed of her remaining dignity and fueled by anger, Megan chooses to take revenge against everyone responsible for her suffering and slaughters each person without mercy. With her enemies vanquished, Megan sets out to continue her revenge against everyone who wronged her in the past. Playing by the rules of her enemies, she is free take any action she wishes. "Night Club Massacre" initially gives the impression of a simple low budget sexploitation film. However, beneath the surface is a story about the savage nature of humanity and how easily we can make others suffer if free of consequences and fueled by anger.

Unlisted Owner

A found footage film with an interesting and thought provoking concept.
Deviating from the typical found footage formula, "Unlisted Owner" focuses primarily around the characters within the story, rather than the super natural occurrences surrounding them. The horror elements, of the film take a back seat to character development and serves primarily as an ever present shadow looming over everyone, subtly influencing events rather dictating their every action taken throughout the story.

This freedom granted the characters a sense of autonomy, which is typically absent from other films within the genre. The film begins through the perspective of a family moving into a new house. The events are recorded on home video by the eldest daughter of the family. The daughter voices her concerns and dissatisfaction regarding the move, while her father attempts to reassure her that everything will be fine.

What initially appears as a typical set up for a haunted house film takes an unexpected deviation when the entire family is slaughtered during their first night at the house. From that point, the perspective shifts towards a new group of characters along with the direction of the film itself. The new group consist of seven teenagers living near the area where the murder took place.

After witnessing the bodies being removed from the house, the group discusses whether or not to proceed with a camping trip they had planned in the woods near by murder location. After discussion the situation, all but one of the teenagers choose to proceed with the trip as planned.

The unofficial leaders of the group are two bombastic young men named Gavin and Tyler. While overall friendly with the others, the duo both impulsive and irresponsible, caring little about the consequences of their actions. Gavin and Tyler decide to take a detour from the trip in order to visit the house where the family was murdered. Despite opposition, the others ultimately decide to follow them to house where violence and death await them. Gavin and Tyler continuously display reckless and potentially dangerous behaviors on their way to the house such as drinking while intoxicated, calling in a fake 911 call and breaking into a crime scene. However, regardless of all misgivings, the rest of the group chooses to follow them anyways. By choosing not to act, even while openly chastising Gavin and Tyler's actions, the other members of the group continue to follow their lead. By relinquishing control to an outside party, they've convinced themselves that they are absolved of any responsibility or repercussions that may result from their actions.

This lack of action underlies a central theme within "Unlisted Owner". The concept of choice and free will. The movie asks the question of whether or not an individuals actions actually have any impact regarding their final destination. These ideas are explored from different perspectives through the two stories presented; The tragedy of the family murdered in their new house and the events proceeding the six campers entering the same house. The two stories are juxtaposed to each other, showing a family blind sided by a tragic fate and a group whose conscious actions appear to have led them to the same cruel fate.

"Unlisted Owner" takes an unorthodox approach to an over saturated genre and presents a unique and thought provoking film. If you're a fan of the found footage films and looking for a movie with a different perspective, then "Unlisted Owner" is a film worth your time.

Out of Frame

An exploration into the nature of art
The purpose of art is to awaken the deep seeded emotions that lay dormant within the far reaches of the viewers mind. Through the use of images, both shocking and beautiful, the artist explores the darkest depths of our souls, exposing the carnal nature of the supposedly civilized man.

While art by its very nature is subjective and inevitably provokes different reactions from onlookers, there is a single universal concept that supersedes all personal and cultural boundaries and connects all of humanity (past, present and future). It is the notion of death that manages to blend sheer horror with ephemeral beauty and blurs the distinction between disgust and arousal

The film "Out of Frame" explores the often overlooked connection between violence and beauty, through a story that challenges traditional notions of art.

Damien Drake is a professional photographer, known for his unorthodox line of works known as the "Death Series". This series of portraits consisted of models covered in artificial blood and strategically posed to resemble murder victims. However, unbeknownst to the public, the secret behind the realistic quality of the death series is that the models portrayed are in fact dead. Hoping to leave his violent past behind him, Damien attempts to reinvent himself by moving away from death and violence and focusing on different themes entirely. Damien's new direction is met with poor audience reception, leaving him bitter and unfulfilled as an artist.

Damien contemplates the the direction of his art, when his former employer John abruptly re-enters his life. The past and present collide, as John urges Damien to resume his former life as photographer of death. Struggling to rebrand himself, while trying to keep his violent urges suppressed, Damien's inner turmoil eventually erupts into a violent confrontation with John.

In the aftermath of the fight, Damien ultimately decides to reject both the senseless violence of the death series and the empty, uninspired art from his new life. He instead chooses to follow his own path embracing his murderous nature, to create new works that reflect his appreciation of beauty and desire to create meaningful art.

Typically films with murder and death as central themes explore the motives and psychology of the killer. "Out of Frame" successfully subverts this cliche by presenting the killer as both an individual character as well as a representative of humanity itself. Through Damien's conflict, we're presented with both the blood thirst animal and the aspiring artist that make up the contradiction that is mankind.

Leaf Blower Massacre 2

A fun film that teaches the dangers of lawn equipment when used for Nefarious purposes
I've often said that the easiest way to come up with a concept for a B-Movie is to add the word "Massacre" to the end of literally any noun. After watching the the 2016 horror/comedy "Leaf Blower Massacre 2" by T-Nasty Productions, I can now state with absolute certainty that my long held hypothesis was in fact correct.

While I haven't seen the original "Leaf Blower Massacre", I had no difficulties following the plot of this sequel and found watching it to be an entertaining and surprisingly brutal experience none the less.

The story follows a detective duo of questionable competence investigating a series of leaf blower related murders. The murders are somehow connected to professor Shaver Jennings and the recent disappearance of his fiancé.

The film teaches the potential dangers a leaf blower can pose in the wrong hands. The killer seemingly has a penchant for creative murders such as blasting victims to death, impaling victims and even converting a leaf blower into a makeshift machine gun, the killer successful turns murder by leaf blower into an art.

Each murder is accompanied by a chorus of heavy metal music which helped accentuate the brutality of these scenes, while turning each murder into a nonsensical music video one can't help enjoying.

At the climax of the film, Shavar has a final showdown with the murderer, where past mistakes come to light and all dangerous lawn equipment are retired back to the tool shed where they belong.

"Lawn Mower Massacre 2" manages to balance gratuitous violence with absurd humor in a way that never felt forced. The story managed to tie together appropriately, leaving no loose ends or questions unexplained.

If you have an affinity for practical blood effects, murder mysteries, and every day house hold items being converted into deadly weapons, then "Lawn Mower Massacre 2" is definitely worth consideration.

Troll Inc.

An in-depth look into the world of online trolling
The art of trolling is one that many attempt, but few have mastered. Separate from online harassment, Trolling requires a deep understanding of society combined with a natural thirst for truth and the drive to push the boundaries of acceptable behavior.

"Troll Inc" chronicles the various endeavors of the notorious internet troll known as Weev. Having received international notoriety from a stunt involving a security breach at Apple, Weev has become a controversial figure, whose eccentric behaviors and lack of decorum has gained him the admiration of some, and the ire of others.

At first glance, Weev appears as little more than a nihilistic clown, taking pleasure in disrupting the status quo for his own amusement. While this view isn't entirely off base, it would be dishonest to summarize a character such as Weev by such a simplistic description.

As any good documentary should, "Troll Inc" explores the mindset of the infamous troll and provides a greater understanding of who he is. Underlying the cheap thrills inherent in trolling, the film presents a man set on challenging the boundaries of social convention and pushing the limits of the first amendment.

The advent of the internet has led to an age in which the distinction between the personal and public has become nearly undefinable. As society expands to encompass more of the world into the global economy, the individual is reduced to a mere consumer, void of culture and lacking in personal intimacy. The consumer apathetically drifts through life, passively following the latest trends while surrendering his personal autonomy to international corporations and special interest groups.

As a result of an increasingly competitive society, some people choose to disconnect from the world entirely. They drift off into the dark corners of the internet, growing increasingly cynical and hostile towards anyone outside their small circle of compatriots. Others choose a more productive path by utilizing the internet to reach an audience of thousands dedicated followers and exposing them to the truth, while also showing the elites of society that they aren't as untouchable as they may think.

At the end of the documentary, the audience is left to make their own judgement about Weev and others like him. Is he just some obnoxious interloper, causing trouble just for laughs (for the lols as many prefer to say)? Or is he a crusader of justice, attempting to return control of society to the masses? I believe the answer lies somewhere in between these two extremes. Modern day internet trolls like Weev are a product of the time period. They're people looking to expose the fragility of the current system, while laughing at the ensuing chaos.

Attack of the Killer Shrews!

A fun comedy, paying tribute to a B-Movie Classic
Paying tribute to the 1959 classic sci fi Low budget film "The Killer Shrew", "Attack of the Killer Shrews" by "White Lion Studios" puts a comedic on the story told by it's spiritual predecessor. The film begins with an extremely well done stop motion summary of the story, following a brief introduction by B-Movie Icon Lloyd Kauffman of "Troma Entertainment".

Following this opening, any pretense of seriousness that may have been expected is decisively shattered, ushering in a barrage of nonsensical and random comedy, complete with gratuitous blood played entirely for laughs.

The film waste no time getting to the point, immediately introducing the cliche mad scientist character, who in typical mad scientist fashion, creates an army of blood thirsty rodents intent on massacring everything in sight. The Shrews themselves resembled the cheap quality of the shrews from the original film, but with enough self awareness to know how ridiculous they appeared. The shrews would randomly pop out of no where and act in manners that defied any logic, but came off as appropriate given the nature of the film.

The human characters were nearly as ridiculous as the shrews they fought against. They consisted of various cliches and served little purpose other than to move the plot along and as subjects of jokes. It would have been pointless and inappropriate for any of the characters to be taken seriously, or to spend an unnecessary amount of time developing them. Instead, their brief introductions and simple personalities granted the film consistent pacing, with the jokes primarily relating to the plot.

Overall, "Attack of the Killer Shrews" is a entertaining, low budget comedy that never pretends to be more than it is. If you have an appreciation for classic low budget films and over the top comedy, then "Attack of the Killer Shrews" is definitely a film worth your consideration. Though you may want to check every corner of your house before hand. Just in case something is waiting for you.

Arte Factum

An interesting and intelligent Sci-Fi Anthology
"Arte Factum" is a sci fi anthology film by "Wages of Cine" productions. Written and directed by Dan Beck and Duane Brown.

As an anthology, Arte Factum is composed of several different short stories connected by a central theme. In this film, each tale revolves around an ancient relic referred to as the Arte Factum, a mysterious orb containing boundless power, which drastically alters the lives of all those who encounter it.

The central story is situated at the Seven Bowls Tavern. A western style bar located in the middle of a nameless desert. Seeking the power of the Arte Factum, a woman enters the tavern where she meets a mysterious cloaked man. The man reveals the secrets of the Arte Factum through twelve stories about people whose lives permanently altered through their interactions with the Arte Factum.

The most striking element of the film involves the chaotic nature of the Arte Factum itself. Defying logic and existing beyond the confines of time and space the Arte Factum can appear anywhere and during any time period, therefore the stories span various time periods and settings from the middle ages of Europe to a distant future set in the far reaches of space. There's no apparent logic regarding where the orb will appear. It manifestations seem completely arbitrary.

The Arte Factum acts as a force of nature, free of moral judgement its influence is unbiased and acts without regard for anyone unfortunate enough to find themselves within its power. Through the Arte Factum, some characters find salvation, ultimately benefitting from its presence. Others are less fortunate find undue suffering at the orbs presence. No one safe from the unpredictable nature of the Arte Factum. Fate is taken away from those who find the orb as they unwittingly surrender their autonomy.

The themes showcased throughout Arte Factum are perfectly summarized in the word of author H.P. Lovecraft, which briefly appears on screen as the film transitions from its first half to its second half. "The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind". This quote encapsulates the futility of struggle and forced submission experienced by of the characters of Arte Factum, whose self-determination is abruptly stolen from them the moment they came into contact with the Arte Factum. The horror of finding yourself helpless in the face of forces beyond reason and comprehension is both intriguing and unsettling.

The acting in Arte Factum is exceptional overall. While some performances came off as more experienced than others, there were no performances that broke immersion of the experience. This was helped greatly by the professional sound quality which was clear and concise while also remaining consistent throughout the film.

In conclusion, Arte Factum is a well-constructed film that explores complex topics in an intelligent and entertaining manner. Each story helped build upon the mystery behind the Arte Facte, culminating a satisfying film experience.

Bigfoot the Movie

One of the best Bigfoot related films I've seen
Bigfoot the movie is one of the best Bigfoot related films I've seen. (Which is saying a lot). Creator John R Hand took a tired formula and managed to an make entertaining film, largely due to the clever writing and subtle comedy style. The sound and visual quality was top notch, especially for an indie film and the score was perfectly selected for each scene. The characters were fun to watch and served as the film's greatest strength. Having a cast of unsophisticated red necks could have easily led to nothing more than a frenzy of tired clichés. However, Bigfoot: The Movie took the high ground and made the majority of jokes premise driven, elevating them above cheap gags. However, being a comedy about Bigfoot fighting rednecks the film was not entirely above cheap gags and toilet humor. These jokes were overall funny as well due to comedic timing and the fact that no single joke was drawn out longer than necessary. I mean, if I were face to face with Sasquatch, I'd probably need a few drinks to get through the ordeal as well. Anyone who lives or has lived around Western Pennsylvania will appreciate regional jokes and Pittsburgh slang present throughout the film, adding an extra layer of charm. The only noticeable flaw from this film is it's unfortunate habit of dragging in places, which occasionally slows down the otherwise steady pacing. This is particularly prevalent regarding the romance and drama between characters. These moments don't seem to added much to the plot, nor do they develop the characters in any meaningful way. However, these moments are few and far between concerning the film as a whole. It would be wrong not to credit this film for using a Bigfoot costume that actually didn't look like a cheap planet of the apes knock off. Overall, Bigfoot the movie is clever comedy that's guaranteed to satisfy both long time Bigfoot fans, as well as anyone looking for an excuse to drink.

5 Greedy Bankers

An interesting take on a common theme
5 Greedy Bankers is a Heist film directed by Simon Davison and starring Pippa Haywood, and Ramon Tikaram. The story revolves around a shamed ex-banker named Catherine Stone (Pippa Haywood) who teams up with a group of anarchist, lead by a mysterious man named Fidel (Ramon Tikaram). Stone and her new acquaintances each have their own grudge against Stone's greedy, power hungry ex-employers and decided to extract revenge by attempting the five lead bankers for years of corruption and greed.

The early revenge plots primarily take the form of juvenile pranks, such as tricking one banker into cross dressing in public and getting another banker attacked by a pig. These early schemes play out in a manner that resembles a unique cross between "Oceans Eleven", "Boondock Saints" and "Home Alone". The group picks a target for their revenge, they study his/her personality quirks and weaknesses, then they set up a trap in which the greedy banker inevitably falls victim to. Elaborate traps using common household items are often utilized for quick escapes.These early scenes are fun, and it's impossible not to enjoy seeing such despicable characters as the targets of these otherwise benign tricks.

What separates "5 Greedy Bankers" from most other revenge films is the recurring question over how relevant these seemingly immature acts of revenge actually are. The younger members of the group hold more ideological views. They believe that with each act, they are making a difference in society, helping to end the pervasive corruption and eventually creating a world on equality. The older members such as Stone and Fidel reject these naive notion and insist that their petty pranks are simply self serving revenge tactics that will ultimately have no effect on the society as a whole. The differences in ideology cause friction between the group, eventually leading Stone to go her own way.

In the end, Stone and Fidel manage to put their cynicism aside, and join the other revolutionaries in a plan to take down the final banker. In an unexpected twist, Stone tricks the banker into unwittingly donating his entire fortune to charity. Left penniless and by extension powerless, the final banker meets his ultimate defeat. The naive ideological members prove that it is possible to make small changes in society. However, when all is said and done, the bleak predictions from Stone and Fidel are also shown to be true, as the corruption inherent in the system still remains, nearly untouched 5 Greedy Bankers is a fun, action packed heist film, that offers an interesting twist to a common genre. The social commentary was well appreciated and added a much needed extra depth to the story. However, the bankers themselves were portrayed simply as cliché villains that seem to be fueled by nothing more than sin and vice. The had no personalities other than the singular personality trait they attempted to embody. It can be reasoned that these villains were intended to act as personifications of greed, lust, aggression and corruption. If this is the case, than in-depth personalities would have served and unnecessary and at worst a hindrance to the progression of the story. However, for an otherwise very well crafted film, I personally would have appreciated more compelling and memorable villains.


A glimpse into the soul of humanity
"Hellraiser" is a film that manages to disturb viewers in all the right ways. It blurs the already nebulous line between pleasure and pain, mixing love with cruelty in a way that provokes curiosity into the raw vulgarity hidden within our subconscious. It's a violent and visceral experience, but takes meticulous efforts not to waste a single drop of blood. Despite the plethora of carnage there is no excess. Every disgusting detail serves to further explore a reality in which sin and vice are unfiltered by societal norms and where people wander endlessly in the pursuit of materialistic satisfaction. Within the tumult of lust and greed exist an order of demons referred to as the Cenobites. The Cenobites act as the gatekeepers of chaos. They shield us from the harsh realities of human nature and maintain order between the savage beast and rational being that make up the contradiction that is mankind. Through the Cenobites, we are given a glimpse into the darkest corners of the human soul, where fear and desire intersect and become indistinguishable from each other. A place we try to deny and turn away from, but is permanently engraved into our very being.

Beyond Re-Animator

A failed attempt to give life to a dead series
Beyond re-animator is the final installment of Stuart Gordon's "Re-animator" series that began in 1985 and like most late installments, comes off as unnecessary and a failed attempt to cash in on a popular title. In the fashion of "Jason goes to Hell", "Freddy's dead: The Final Nightmare" and "Halloween: H20", Beyond Re-animator attempts to restart the series by trying to retcon certain plot elements while pretending to be a legitimate sequel. The result, as usual was a colossal mess of inconsistencies, leaving only the most superficial elements from the original two films without the heart of what made those films so beloved in the first place. We find our protagonist Herbert West imprisoned in a federal jail after his former assistant Dan Kain apparently turned him in to the authorities for his illegal experimentation. We never find out why Dan, a prominent character in the original films would do such a thing and Beyond Re-animator brushes off any details as unimportant. We're also provided with no explanation as to how West escaped the cliffhanger conflict at the end of the last film "Bride of Re-animator". Jeffrey Combs reprises his role as the mad scientist, who continues his devilish experiments on whatever subjects he can gain access to within the confines of his small prison cell. However, everything changes for West when Dr. Howard Philips (Jason Barry) takes over as the prison physician. Philips had witnessed the power of West's reagent serum as a child and has since become obsessed with the science of re-animating the dead. Handing West his iconic syringe containing the glowing green reagent, it's only a matter of time before West restarts his old experiments, and the entire prison is thrown into chaos. The film plays out in the typical fashion that we've come to expect from this series. Characters die only to be used as test subjects for West and Philips who bring them back to life as vicious, murderous monsters. The style blends graphic body horror with ridiculous slap stick comedy. While entertaining at times, Beyond Re-animator does little more than copy it's predecessors and fails to further the story of Herbert West in any meaningful way. The absence of Stuart Gordon is obvious as the film feels more like a what if scenario, rather than a genuine attempt to further an existing mythos. The story is convoluted as the majority of scenes serve little more than excuses to get from A to point B. For example, there's an ongoing joke about one of the inmates having a pet rat. We see West experiment on the rat which serves as an all to predictable foreshadowing of the rat being re-animated as one of West's experiments and eventually attacking his former owner. The characters in this film, save for Herbert West, were all one dimensional and failed to establish meaningful identities for themselves. Herbert West is deranged and lacking in social graces as always, making him the sole source of entertainment. By comparison, the scenes without West were uninteresting and took up far to much of the film's run time. It was fun seeing Jeffrey Combs reprise his most famous role one last time. However, the unoriginal plot and hollow performances by the rest of the cast simply couldn't keep up with him and ultimately dragged him down along with them and the rest of this film. Beyond Re-animator attempted to bring new life to the Re-animator series. Unfortunately, this experiment was a failure.

Play Violet for Me

A thought provoking Noir Style film that makes you question the concept of Identity
"Play Violet for me" is a murder mystery in the style of a classic Noir film. Foley, a stalker obsessed with a young woman named Violet, finds Violet murdered one night after following her home. He calls Violet's identical twin sister Lyla to discuss the murder and affirms his innocence. The film transitions between the present day and the past, showing the exchange between Foley and Lyla as well as scenes of Foley's increasing obsession with Violet up until her murder. The present is shown in black and white to portray the somber overtone of the murder being discussed. Conversely, the past is represented in bright and vibrant colors, symbolizing Foley's idealized version of the past and of Violet. After listening to Foley's story, Lyla confesses to murdering her sister and claims that she was actually Violet all along. Foley's failure to identify Violet reveals his obsession as nothing more than him projecting character traits onto someone he never actually knew. This exposes his feelings as superficial and lacking any basis in reality. Violet had used Foley's obsession to set him up as the main suspect to her sister's murder, placing him at the scene of the crime. In the end it's uncertain whether the murderer was in fact Violet, or actually Lyla playing Violet and taking on her sister's identity. This film questions the very concept of identity and whether our perceptions and the qualities we attribute to ourselves and others define reality.

The Curse of Blanchard Hill

Not worth the time
This movie is so forgettable that I'm having trouble coming up with anything to say about it. The plot revolved around an area in the woods called "Blanchard Hill", that was cursed by the restless souls of a native tribe. The souls would possess people who entered the woods and have them kill any white people they encountered as revenge for how they treated the natives in the past. The story has potential, but the execution is extremely poor. Most of the scenes have little to no connection to the plot and are nothing more than filler intended to extended the length of the film to full length status. It's obvious that the film crew had little to no budget while making this movie so they were unable to really include any nature related deaths. This resulted in the film looking more like a typical demonic possession story told poorly. The themes and moral lessons present in "The Curse of Blanchard Hill" are heavy handed and come off as trying to hard. There's really no point in watching this movie, unless you plan on sleeping for an hour and fourteen minutes.

Day of the Woman

For what it's trying to do, it works
Since it's release in 1978, "I Spit on Your Grave" has become one of the most controversial films ever made. The films explicit content sparked a global conversation over whether such depraved imagery and realistic violence can be used to portray a deeper message or if it is simply an exploitative tactic, used to draw in disturbed individuals who get off on seeing others get hurt. There doesn't seem to be a concrete answer as even many vocal proponents and detractors of this film have changed their opinions throughout the years. The film is about a young woman named Jennifer, who vacations at a cabin in upstate New York. One day, Jennifer is attacked by a gang of local men who beat and rape her in the middle of the woods. Jennifer is then raped two more times. Once on her way to the cabin, and again inside the cabin. The rape scenes are brutal and realistic, demonstrating the vicious reality of sexual assault. The second act of the film shows Jennifer getting revenge on her rapist by brutally murdering them. She manages to hang one of her attackers and castrates another, leaving him to bleed to death. The climax features Jennifer chasing her last two attackers in a motor boat and using the boats blades to chop them into pieces. Jennifer's revenge is satisfying as you see the men who raped her powerless and in fear just as she had been. For a revenge movie, "I Spit on Your Grave" is unrivaled. It's vicious in its approach both during the initial attack and the revenge. Jennifer's brutality is seen as completely justified after bearing witness to her assault. Not even the most pacifist of viewers would dare criticize her decision, at least not to her face. This is not a movie to watch more than once, as multiple views would cheapen the initial shock value and detract from the films message. Turning it into a sadist fetish rather than a depiction of an inhuman act. My biggest criticism stems from the fact that there are three different rapes scenes. After the first rape, the second two come off as unnecessary and simply trying to rub in a point that had already been made. The logical defense of this would be that she was raped by a different man during each encounter, thus making each of her later victims guilty of the same crime. This falls apart by the fact that they could've saved time by having the rapes all take place one after another in the same scene. This was probably done to expand the running time of the film. However, this choice unfortunately cheapens the impact of Jennifer's rape, making it appear drawn out and at times ridiculous. I don't think this movie is simply an exploitation film, meant to attract depraved miscreants. There is substance to the brutality presented, it's just cheapened by the excess.

Minority Report

Doesn't live up to the hype
I may be in the minority (lol bad puns), but I was less than impressed with the film "Minority Report". I wasn't bothered by the fact that the movie deviates from the short story of the same name by Philip K Dick. I was looking forward to seeing how the concepts of the source materials could be explored in new and interesting ways as well as with more action scenes. Unfortunately, what we got was a standard action film that pretended to be more intelligent than it actually was. John Anderton (played by Tom Cruise) is a detective who works for a special agency called "Precrime", where he helps prevent crimes before they actually happen using the predictions of a group of psychics known as "Pre-Cogs". The movie briefly touches on the moral and ethical principles of such an organization arresting people who haven't actually committed any crimes when Anderton finds his own name selected as a future killer. From that point on, Anderton is hunted by the organization he used to lead in some of the worst chase scenes I've ever seen. In an attempt to make Anderton look cool, they make everyone else look incompetent. To prove his innocence, Anderton attempts a ridiculously convoluted plan to capture one of the Pre-cogs in order to prove his innocence. This fails and ends up having no impact on the plot other than having the pre-cog become a character. Eventually a conspiracy by the agency is exposed and Anderton manages to clear his name by proving that the Precrime unit was a stupid idea. This whole movie just talks in circles, making simple ideas seem complex and deep. Most of the scenes serve as nothing more than showing off the futuristic environment, where you can't help but think that the future has way too many unnecessary advancements (talking cereal boxes?). Minority Report talks a big game, but fails to deliver anything of real value other than the aesthetics. This movie defines style over substance. Don't waste your time with this trash. There are better action and Science Fiction Films out that deserve more attention than this one.

Breaking the Waves

A tragic, yet moving work of art.
At first glance, "Breaking the Waves" may appear to be slow paced and full of unnecessary exposition. However, as the film unfolds, each scene comes together like pictures in a photo book. Protagonist Bess McNeil is an innocent and naive woman, who falls madly in love with a man named Jan Nyman. After the two are married, Jan is sent off to work at an oil rig, leaving Bess all alone. Bess pines for her husband and prays for his safe return to the point where her family and friends call her selfish for not readily accepting circumstances. Tragedy strikes when Jan is badly injured in an accident and is feared to never recover. In order to keep his beloved wife happy (and in a drug induced delusional state), Jan encourages Bess to sleep with other men in order to feel the love and affection that he can not show her. Torn between her devotion to her husband and the strict religious convictions she had been raised with, Bess struggles to fulfill Jan's wishes and maintain her role as a devoted child of God. Ultimately Bess chooses to serve her husband, believing that God would want her to make him happy. Bess feels no love from her encounters with other men, longing only for the touch of her husband. The task kills her inside, but she lies to Jan, saying that she enjoyed the experiences. She soon finds herself shunned from her community as her attempts to serve her husband, her community and God fall apart and ultimately lead to her exile and death at the hands of a violent gang who sexual assault and murder her. As she prays for guidance, it becomes clear that there are no answers and the choice between being a good wife and a good Christian can not be compromised. We're given a small solace at the end of the film, when Jan (recovered from his injury) learns of his wife's death and the loyalty she showed him pays tribute to Bess after the church refuses to show such respect. "Breaking the Waves" is a tragedy of conscience, in which no matter what choice is made, heart break is the inevitable outcome. It show cases the conflict between following the strict and unwavering doctrines of religion and doing what is right in unusual and unforeseeable circumstances.


An interesting Art film that explores what it takes to "Kill a clown"
This short film follows the day in the life of a clown who struggles to find meaning in his job and his existence. The clown puts on a veneer of joy during his performances that is clearly superficial, and meant to hide his melancholy and the emptiness he feels inside. At the start of the film, the audience is asked "What does it take to kill a clown?". This question could easily be rephrased as "What does it take to kill the human spirit?". We see the clown drinking by himself before a performance in order to numb himself to the darkness that plagues him. Flashes of the clown staring into space, with his make-up in disarray, and look increasingly deranged are interspersed throughout the film. This provides a visual insight into the clowns deteriorating sanity. A clown's purpose is to make others laugh. To shield his audience from the ever growing Nihilism of the world. However, this clown has fallen victim to the darkness he shields others from, turning his job into his own existential hell. When performing in front of a crowd of two unenthusiastic onlookers, the clown finally snaps. He lashes out at them, as if to blame them for all his pain. If only they would laugh, then maybe he would have a purpose once again. This scene makes the audience question whether our sense of purpose derives from inside ourselves or the approval of society. Are we simply the reflection of how society views us? If society rejects the clown, refusing to laugh at his jokes, then can he even call himself a clown at all? Or has society successfully killed the clown?


Not bad, but not great considering the source material
As a huge fan of the works of Philip K. Dick, I was excited to find out that a film adaptation of his story "Second Variety" had been made. I wasn't expecting a completely faithful adaptation to the original story. I had already seen "Blade Runner" which was very different from "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?", yet it still ended up being a fantastic film. Unfortunately, Screamers plays out like a standard Sci Fi action flick. Doing very little to establish an identity of its own. A group of humans attempt to survive against some kind of hostile, non human force. In this case, the non human force consisted of war machines, which use their built in blades to chop up enemies without mercy. Originally created by the military, these "Screamers", named for a screaming noise they make before attacking, went rogue and began attacking indiscriminately. We soon find out that the Screamers come in various forms. Some of which look like humans. It also turns out that a mysterious third variety of Screamers exist, but the humans can't identify it due to lack of data. This leads to mistrust between the group as they begin accusing each other of being Screamers. From that point on, most of the characters die, either from killing each other or from being killed by the Screamers themselves. It turns out that one of the group members actually was a Screamer the whole time, but by the time we learn who was, it really doesn't matter. The big reveal only serves to create a final conflict before the movie ends and there really wasn't much evidence to suggest that this character was a Screamer It really could have been anyone and not made a difference to the plot. "Screamers" is by no means a bad film. The action and violence is fun and impressive consider the low budget that this movie had to work with. However, there really isn't much that this movie has to offer that you wouldn't find in any other Sci Fi action film. It's not a waste of time, but it's also not the best way to be spending your time either.


A thought provoking film told in a unique style
You're never sure where you will find yourself when you watch a film by director Lars Von Trier. The style, environment and even color scheme of his movies differ drastically depending on the story he's trying to tell. "Europa" or "Zentropa" as it is commonly referred to, brings us to post world war 2 Germany. The film is shot mostly in black and white, with color dispersed intermittently within scenes to highlight important elements and during the few happy scenes that Europa has to offer. An American named Leopold Kessler moves to Germany just after the war and takes a job as a car conductor at the Zentropa railway network. Leopold falls in love with a woman tied to a pro Nazi group of extremist and finds himself entrenched in a conspiracy to blow up one of the Zentropa trains. Leopold's conflict stems from his desire to bring some good onto a darkened world. He believes that through kindness and charity, he can help lead the war torn country towards a brighter future. The conspiracy reflects Leopold's struggle to do what he feels is right and his desire to fix everyone's problems on his own. In the final scene, we see one of the Zentropa trains submerged under water as a result of the terrorist attack enacted by Leopold himself. We see Leopold trapped inside the sinking train unable to escape his fate. The problems of the world proved to much for him to take on alone and ultimately destroyed him making the world an even darker place. Europa shows us how fragile the line between good and evil is and how those determine to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders will inevitably be crushed

Last House on Hell Street

Not sure what I just watched
"The Last House on Hell Street" doesn't seem to know why it exist and plays out as if the creators were writing the script as it was being filmed. Some guy marries some woman and the two decided to have their honey moon in the middle of a field. Seriously, they had no plans beyond laying in a field. The couple luckily comes across an abandoned house, where they take refuge. However, it turns out that this house is actually cursed by the guy's mother, who became a ghost after she was murdered by the guy's father. Apparently in this universe, being murdered causes your face to become distorted by cheap color effects. The guy then goes crazy (Jack Nicolson in "The Shining" style) and tries to kill his wife. Luckily for the woman, her husband turns out to be completely incompetent at the art of murder. I guess he did not inherit that skill from his father. Somehow the woman manages to kill her husband, causing the house to re-birth him. I'm not kidding. This house literally grows a womb and gives birth to a dead man. The couple then walk off into the sunset together as if nothing ever happened. This is by far the worst film by Eric Stanze that I've seen. It's boring, makes little sense, and is just plain weird at times. The plot consist almost entirely of the characters trying to find things do, just to transition to the next scene. Luckily even Stanze himself admits this movie is terrible, so it shouldn't be used to judge his films as a whole. Still, "The Last House on Hell Street" manages to be one of the most bizarre films I've seen in awhile. Unfortunately, it does not manage to be entertaining.

Savage Harvest

Entertaining and well made
Director Eric Stanze has become infamous for taking a minuscule amount of resources and turning them into art. His most famous (and in my opinion best) film "Ice from the Sun" managed to be both visually impressive and unique despite having virtually no budget to work with. "Savage Harvest" was created five years earlier, and it's clear to see that Stanze was no stranger to stretching limited resources to do amazing things. The characters in this film were likable, even if underdeveloped. Most of their relationship conflicts were less than interesting and worked mostly to set up the plot. This is typical of slasher films, so I won't hold it against this film in particular. Once the slaughtering began, this movie became a non stop Gore fest that actually took some unexpected turns. The ending was a bit confusing, as I'm not entirely sure what happened to the surviving character. Still, it did seem to tie the film together, while adding a much appreciated element of mystery. Savage harvest doesn't offer much as far as originality. However, it manages to be an entertaining horror film, with enough realistic blood and gore to satisfy any seasoned gore hound.


Just plain stupid
"Scrapbook"markets itself as being shocking and edgy, which it would have been had it not been so poorly executed. It's essentially just an hour and thirty five minutes of the creators trying to come up with different ways to torture some woman to make the audience feel uncomfortable. Pretty standard for this type of film, but unfortunately, not only does this movie fail to also include a compelling or interesting story, it also fails to shock. Clara, the victim, is raped, beaten and humiliated over and over, all the while doing little to nothing to actually save herself. For the majority of the film she isn't even tied up, and she never actually tries to fight back against her attacker. The obvious argument is that she was scared of what her kidnapper would do if she fought back. However, the kidnapper isn't armed throughout most of the attacks and to be honest, she looks like she could over power him. There's a stupid sub plot about the kidnapper creating a "Scrapbook" of all his victims, detailing each of his assaults. Clara analyzes the Scrapbook to convince Leonard (The kidnapper) to let her tie him up because overall, he desired to be submissive, or something like that. The writers attempted to make Leonard seem interesting by giving him a traumatic past and a bunch of mental illnesses that cause his depraved actions and his hatred of women. He ends up looking like an idiot man child attempting to be as edgy as possible. I half expected to see Leonard posting on Reddit about what an edge lord he thinks he is. The rape and torture scenes, as well as the humiliation that Clara undergoes, serve as nothing more than cheap gimmicks intended to distract you from the fact that there is virtually no story being told. If you're looking for a psychological thriller, then this isn't the film for you. If your just looking for torture porn, then there are still better options out there for you. This movie fails to satisfy any of their intended audience.

Kung Fu Panda 3

Surprisingly Entertaining
Having never seen the original two "Kung Fu Panda" films, I really wasn't sure what to expect. Jack Black is hit or miss for me as far as comedy goes. He constantly seems to border the line between funny and annoying. I was pleasantly surprised after watching "Kung Fu Panada 3" to find that not only was Black's performance not over the top, but that this movie was overall enjoyable. I didn't really need to see the first two films to figure out that Po was a clumsy, over weight, under dog with a mysterious destiny. The jokes in this movie were delivered quite well, and neither felt forced or drawn out as is the case in far too many children's movies. Each character was likable in their own way and felt three dimensional, having individual personalities and flaws. Brian Cranston did a phenomenal job as Po's father. His interactions with Black's character felt natural, showing that the two veteran actors perform quite well together. The plot was a typical good versus evil story, with the twist being that Po was put in the position of teacher, as opposed to student. I wasn't expecting a deep story from a movie about talking animals doing martial arts, so I was not disappointed by the typical plot. This movie actually makes me want to watch the original films.

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