Monday, August 24, 2015


Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau (2014) d. David Gregory (USA)

Having heard enough disastrous reports about 1996’s The Island of Dr. Moreau, I successfully avoided watching it for nearly a decade. After all, there were enough GOOD horror movies that I still hadn’t seen; why would I want to waste my time sitting through the bombs? But eventually my curiosity – or more accurately, my insufferable completism – led me to Blockbuster one sweltering summer day to experience the cinematic trainwreck firsthand. Below is my 2004 capsule review:

Monday, August 17, 2015

CUB (aka WELP) (2014) Blu-ray Review

Cub (aka Welp) (2014) d. Jonas Govaerts (Belgium)

A group of Antwerp cub scouts head off for an outing in the Ardennes mountains (Wallonia, the southeast section of Belgium, along the French border), with their two leaders: the kindly Kris “Akela” (Titus de Voogdt) and his younger, rougher sidekick Peter “Baloo” (Stef Aerts). As with any assembly of lads, there are alliances and enemies, but “special project” Sam (Maurice Luijten) – a boy with a vaguely alluded-to dark past – is the clear outcast of the bunch; teased and antagonized, with only Kris, the gentle Dries (Louis Lemmens), and kindly and attractive camp cook Jasmijn (Evelien Bosmans) in his corner. To exacerbate matters, Sam catches sight of what he believes to be campfire story figure “Kai,” a feral lycanthrope-like youth residing in the woods, preying upon interlopers. Is the legend real, or is Sam’s overactive imagination – as his fellow scouts believe – leading to madness? More importantly, who’s setting all the intricate mechanical (and lethal) booby-traps in the woods?

Saturday, August 8, 2015


The People Under the Stairs (1991) d. Wes Craven (USA)

Ambition is an admirable trait in a filmmaker. Despite having logged more artistic misses than hits in his four-decade career, Wes Craven could be accused of many things, but playing it safe is not one of them. Even with his films that don't work, he exhibits limitless imagination; the issue seems to be that he has trouble organizing (especially with the efforts he is credited with writing) and lets his ambitious ideas lead him into areas where narrative coherence and tonal consistency become secondary to indulging every idea that pops into his head. A few more drafts of the screenplay for The People Under the Stairs might have yielded a more cohesive final product, but would it have been as interesting?

Thursday, August 6, 2015

RECKLESS (aka BLOEDLINK) (2104) DVD review

Reckless (aka Bloedlink) (2014) d. Joram Lursen (Netherlands)

Ex-cons Victor (Tygo Gernandt) and Rico (Marwan Kenzari) have a plan: kidnap rich Mr. Temming’s daughter Laura (Sarah Chronis), hold her for a 4 million Euro ransom, and escape scot free. They’ve calculated every detail, including soundproofing a vacant apartment, buying multiple changes of clothes, disposable cell phones, untraceable vehicles, and so forth. Their victim is strong, but they are stronger and they've thought through every step. Bag her, get her in the van, tie her to the bed, strip her naked, take photos with today's newspaper, and email the thumb drives to her dad with their demands. But as the long day turns into night into the next day, tangled emotional webs come into play, with loyalties shifting and smashing and crumbling away.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

WYRMWOOD: ROAD OF THE DEAD (2014) Blu-ray Review

Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead (2014) d. Kiah Roache-Turner (Australia)

Barry (Jay Gallagher) is trying to make his way across the Australian Outback to find his sister Brooke (Bianca Bradley) after the zombie apocalypse begins. Along the way Barry meets up with other survivors including Benny (Lenny Burchill) and Frank (Keith Agius), and they discover that whatever has caused the apocalypse has also caused all flammable liquids to become completely inert. However, it has also made the blood of the zombies into a combustible fuel that can replace gasoline in a car. The men rig up a system to drain zombies and keep their truck running, but find their solution is not quite as simple as they think. Meanwhile Brooke is captured and experimented on by a disco-dancing mad scientist (Berynn Schwerdt) trying to determine why some people seem immune to the zombie "virus." His experiments give Brooke strange new powers, but will they be enough to keep her alive?