Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chernobyl Diaries

A lot of people have been calling this "The Hills Have Eyes" in Russia.  I have to disagree with that.  In "The Hills Have Eyes" the characters were in the wrong place in the wrong time.  They didn't willing go into a dangerous area.  The characters in "Chernobyl Diaries" willing went into an area known to be radioactive, with an almost total stranger as a guide.  Even after being told not enter the city by armed Russian soldiers, they still went. 
When the characters take such blatantly stupid actions, it's hard to feel much sympathy for them.  This brings up another problem with this film.  The characters are not very well developed and you never get a real sense of who they are. 

Travel with strangers into a radioactive wasteland, why not?

There are some great locations in the movie that give a real sense of menace, and that's one of it's strengths.  The abandoned urban locale is something not seen often in horror movies, and it was used very effectively here. 
Another good point about this movie is its lack of gore.  There are some gruesome things in the movie, but they are mostly hidden in shadows and never dwelt on.  The "monsters" themselves are rarely seen except in fast glances in shadow.  This enhanced their menace and mystery in my opinion. 
All in all this is not a bad movie, but it doesn't really break any new ground in the horror genre either.  It's also worth noting that despite being called "Chernobyl Diaries" it's not a found footage film.  I have to wonder if they didn't title it this just to try and play the "Paranormal Activity" connection. 

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

My Bloody Valentine 3D


Tom returns to his hometown on the tenth anniversary of the Valentine's night massacre that claimed the lives of 22 people. Instead of a homecoming, however, Tom finds himself suspected of committing the murders, and it seems like his old flame is the only one will believes he's innocent.

The cast:

Jensen Ackles ... Tom Hanniger
Jaime King ... Sarah Palmer
Kerr Smith ... Axel Palmer
Betsy Rue ... Irene
Tom Atkins ... Burke

Based on the 1981 film of the same name, and directed by Patrick Lussier of "Dracula 2000" fame, or infamy if you prefer.

My Thoughts:
I did manage to see this in 3D and it was a lot of fun. There is nothing like seeing blood and guts come flying out of the screen at you. They don't use the 3D in a way that takes away from the story however and that was good. You could still enjoy this movie in 2D.

I have to give this movie credit for a few things. It actually tried to have developed characters and not just victims. The people getting pick-axed all had back stories and personalities. It gave an air of suspense about who would actually get killed. They avoided most of the horror cliches, and even manage to break a few. The downside is that any horror vet will will see the ending coming a mile away. That was the biggest flaw to me, they didn't really shock you with who the killer was.

They went old school with the gore and kills for this one. I don't want to spoil anything, so I won't say much. The pick-axe is used frequently, but some other imaginative things are used too.

Another thing is that it was great to see horror vet Tom Atkins again. After starring in some true horror classics he has been absent for a while. He of course plays the retired sheriff of the town, a role he has played some variation of many times before.
L-R Kerr Smith, Tom Atkins, Jamie King

Jamie King and Jensen Ackles are passable as the couple torn apart by the original tragedy only to be reunited by the current murder spree. Some of their dialogue delivery is a little flat, but this isn't high art here.

The biggest shock to me in this film was Betsy Rue. She wins the award for NAKED OF THE YEAR, hands down. Her scene of full frontal nudity clocks in at over five minutes.
It was not tough to watch her in this scene.

I was shocked that the scene just kept going, it was not a time to leave for more popcorn

Also, does any else find it odd that Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, who appear together in "Supernatural", are both starring separately in holiday themed horror movies? Okay, "Friday the 13th" is not a holiday, except among horror fans, but it's a "date" themed horror movie still.

This movie manages to surpass the original in my opinion. It added more depth to the characters and story. A great popcorn movie and a great entry in the slasher genre.