Category Archives: Horror Movie Reviews

Reviews of both past and present horror movies.

Horror Movie Review: Paranormal Activity

I went into Paranormal Activity a bit grumpy. I’ll admit, it was just one of those nights. I had a bad attitude and merely looking to pass the time, although I had been wanting to watch Paranormal Activity for some time.

I usually don’t watch movies in the theaters, and it was the same with Paranormal Activity. I like the comfort of my home—the ability to push pause. So, I turned off the lights and began watching.

Dogs sleeping on the floor.

Wife sleeping upstairs.

Drink in hand.

Volume up.

As I said, I was in a grumpy mood. Within the first five minutes, I began criticizing the movie.

Bad acting.

Bad dialogue.

Not that scary.

But, wait a minute . . .

Um, what’s she doing?

Why is she just standing there looking at him?

That’s not right . . .

What!!! A demon can pull you from bed??

I think it was at this point I called the dogs onto the couch. They did so hesitantly, as I don’t normally allow that.

 

Paranormal Activity was really good, especially for a low budget movie. I fully support someone going-it-alone, and the makers did a fantastic job. The story was a bit of a re-hash, but as you know, I don’t mind such things. The plot wasn’t completely original, but that didn’t matter. My only real criticism was the dialogue—it was loose, and I think the actors could have practiced more. I think they were given leeway, to try to sound natural . . . it worked, for the most part.

I will say one thing about the characters ( a couple in the early stages of living together): The guy sure was loyal to his girlfriend. I’m not sure how many men would have stuck around. And it wasn’t like they could just leave the house to escape the demon, because it followed her.

Talk about baggage!

All in all, I have no complaints. Paranormal Activity was scary. It made me jump a few times. It made me cringe even more. It had a good ending and overall I recommend this movie.

 

I’ll add this: Demon stories always creep me out. The problem with demons is simple: you can’t shoot them. You can shot serial killers or axe-murders (although in the movies, this is not always the case). Still, you have a reasonable chance against something living. Hell, it is possible to even shoot an alien if so inclined, but not a demon, my friend.

They are an entirely different story.

Horror Movie Review: Chill

Chill was a low budget, Saturday afternoon, bored out of my mind type of movie. No need to watch this in the dark, ladies and gentlemen . . . it just isn’t scary.

I can handle bad acting. A low budget does not bring in top actors. That’s fine. All in all, the actors did a decent job.

My beef with Hollywood is often one thing: Production and editing. However, this story had major flaws in the plotline.

If movie makers would take the time to polish an idea, I think we’d have better movies. Chill is a perfect example of this. Let me give you an example:

A stranger moves to town. Seems like a decent guy, right? He goes to a convenient store, looking for a job. After, he walks outside and a good-looking woman comes up to him. Here’s basically how the dialogue goes:

“Hi.”

“Hi.”

“I noticed you are new in town.”

“Yes. I just moved here.”

“Would you like to come to my apartment for dinner?”

Really?

Build the characters and let their relationships develop . . . please! Normal people don’t do these things and it makes for an unrealistic setting. These are things that Norman people just don’t do.

Also, the bad, evil doctor wasn’t all that scary. I suppose, at the end, it becomes a little more convincing, but not much.

Oh, and of course there is the pimp, who repeatedly calls his girls, “My bitches”. Over and over and over again. Ok, we get the point.

Cheesy and not entertaining. I’d suggest something different.

Horror Movie Review: Simon Says

Simon says: Were the producers attempting a comedy, or a horror film?

Simon says: This was a bad movie.

Five college students head into the woods. Okay, been done a million times, but I’ll bite. Not for long, though, because it goes downhill soon after.

The ‘bad-guy’ is none other than Marty McFly’s father in Back to the Future. Remember him? The guy that said, “Hey Biff, take your damn hands off her.”

Is he really that scary? No. Especially when the ‘good-guy’ is a big, tough football player.

The strange ‘country’ accents didn’t quite fit in this movie. I suppose they were attempting mockery, but it just sounded dumb.  I’ve been in deep country . . . the Smokey Mountains, etc, and yes, there is a specific accent. Did this movie depict it accurately? Not really.

The plotline was paper thin and the ‘bad-guy’ just wasn’t scary. The worst part, though, is the unreasonable actions of the characters. Like I stated, was this a horror movie or a comedy?

Come on . . . can a guy really smoke that much pot? His friends are dead, he’s on the run, and he’s smoking a joint??? Then, he nearly gets killed and lights up again—it’s not even laughable.

If the makers of Simon Says were attempting horror, they failed. If they were attempting comedy, they failed miserably.

I have to ask this question: Is there a cult following for stupid horror movies?

There must be. I’m not sure how anyone could watch this movie and think it’s good. Maybe the producers and actors, although I really hope not. I hope they watched their movie and said, “Damn, we shouldn’t be making movies anymore.”

Simon Says was a waste of my time and money. Normally I would have turned it off after twenty minutes, but I’m way overdue for reviews.

I did not enjoy Simon Says—not at all. I wasn’t scared and I couldn’t find it in myself to even laugh. Boring!!!

Oh well, back to the video store.

Be careful judging a movie by its cover . . . you may get a bad one.

Horror Movie Review: Cold Prey

This is the second time I’ve done it.

I went to the video store ten minutes before closing time. I quickly found the movie my wife wanted. Then, I haphazardly picked up Cold Prey.

It looked good. The cover and synopsis sold me.

And once again, ladies and gentlemen . . . another FOREIGN film.

I’m sorry, but I’m not the kind of guy who watches foreign films. Call me lazy, but they’re not for me. Watching movies gives me down time. I don’t want to work at it, and I definitely don’t want to read subtitles.

I swear, the video store should put big stickers on their movies. Upon further inspection, in itty-bitty letters, it says it’s a Norwegian film. Great!!!

I watched it anyways. I was bored, and my mind was on overload. So, I gave Cold Prey a chance.

Decent movie, I must say. Very typical slasher movie—I think they advertised it as the ‘next’ Halloween. Not quite, but it was still good.

I had my issues with it, but no need to go into those just now. So, if you enjoy Norwegian horror movies, check out Cold Prey.

Sci-Fi Movie Review: Chrysalis

Last week I rented Chrysalis. My writing was done for the day, and my wife was uninterested in watching a movie.

No bartering. No debating.

The movie choice was all mine—

Perfect!

So, after careful browsing—(or so I believed)—I rented Chrysalis for a simple reason: Science Fiction. (Very mild sci-fi, though, which was disappointing).

You see, my go-to genre is science fiction,  if I’m not in the mood for horror. I love it. Spaceships and other worlds and you can count me in. Beam me up, Scotty, and all those things for me.

The sun set and the evening presented itself as I retired to my recliner.

DVD in.

Two remotes in hand.

Cold drink.

Cold Pizza.

Push play and sit back and relax. Right?

I swear, it’s NOT MY FAULT. The video store mixes the foreign movies in with all the rest. No stickers. No big text that reads: This is a FOREIGN FILM. Nothing.

I’ll take some of the responsibility, though. I should have been more observant. Attention to details and all that crap.

Still, I mostly blame the video store.

Chrysalis is a French movie, with English subtitles.

No thank you! Not for me.

Now, I’m not bashing foreign films, or people who like them. I’m simply not a fan. With a few exceptions, I can’t stand subtitles. When I watch a movie, I don’t want to have to work at it.

Still, since I wanted to review it, I watched it.

Overall, it wasn’t all that bad of a movie. The setting, and tone of the movie was good. Dark and mysterious.

The problem with this movie, and many other foreign ones, was that it takes too long for the plot to pick up.

Personally, I don’t recall many of the details of the movie. It didn’t have a lasting impression, but then again, I did end up watching it. Overall, I enjoyed my night and the movie as well.

Horror movie review: Friday the 13th (the new one)

I spent my fourth of July at home, watching the new Friday the 13th.

Sounds dull, doesn’t it?

My wife was out of town, and I was mentally exhausted. A night watching a horror flick sounded about right to me.

Friday the 13th was good. Not great—not bad. But good.

At least I wasn’t bored to tears as I have been with other horror movies lately.

I’ll admit, I’ve never been a huge Friday the 13th fan. I respect it’s place within the horror-movie realm, but I personally always liked Halloween better. Jason’s character just seems bland, whereas Michael Myers has more depth.

Regardless of that, the newest Friday the 13th was good. The split ‘stories’ weren’t necessarily needed, and it was almost like watching a pre-movie to the movie. My first thought was, “That was waaaay too short.” Ended up being kind of cool, I suppose.

The storyline was, well . . . a Friday the 13th storyline. It’s just one of those things; I had to accept it and move on. No problem, I was expecting it.

The movie had a fair amount of gore, but it was necessary and nicely done. They also gave Jason a respectable body count, which I was glad for. I did feel some of the characters were killed-off a little too quickly, though.

Also, let me preface by saying: I’ll never complain about beautiful, naked women.

Nope, never in my life will I do such a thing.

And you have to expect it in horror, especially if it’s not great horror.

My complaint, though, was that the sex scenes seem forced. Almost annoying. It was too obvious. It came across too comical.

Oh, and what’s with everyone getting interrupted and killed while having sex? That sucks . . . what a way to die!

But like I said, I’m not complaining about the nudity. A little cheesy, but what the hell.

I didn’t understand one thing. I won’t spoil it, but it seemed to me that Jason’s character has changed. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I felt he did some things that were out of character for him.

 Slasher movies hardly do it for me anymore. A few modern ones are creative, sure, but come on—Jason is just not that scary.

This was no ‘Scream.’ This was no ‘The Hills Have Eyes.’

And compared to Rob Zombie’s version of Halloween, the new Friday the 13th ranks low.

Still, I enjoyed it.

 

Horror Movie Review: Red Ridge

Last night I watched Red Ridge.

This movie was horrifying . . . but not necessarily in a good way.

Some movies use too much gore. Some overkill with the special effects. This one used a different approach.

I don’t usually have spoilers in my reviews, but I’ll spoil just a little . . . Red Ridge has quite a few rape scenes.

Personally, I think it’s a little tasteless, and quite uncreative. I’m not squeamish, but the rape scenes bothered me in this movie. The Hills Have Eyes did it as well, but at least that movie was decent. Red Ridge seemed to linger around them, while The Hills Have Eyes kept moving forward.

I say, keep it implied. When the ‘bad guy’ walks into the room with the woman chained to the bed, simply let the door close and I’ll understand what is happening.

However, this movie did have some good parts to it. It had traditional tones of horror—car breaks down, someone stranded in Hillbilly USA, and a town filled with Deliverance-like weirdoes who are ready to kidnap and force you to become a sex slave.

The opening sequences were good, as well. Twenty minutes in, and I was literally holding my chair in horror. Strong start for this movie, but it had a fairly weak ending.

Besides the graphic nature, my other complaint was that the ‘main character’ was a really bad actor. Remember, bad acting doesn’t bother me in B-side horror movies, but they could have cast someone a little better. Also,  many times the characters would act in a way where even an unreasonable person wouldn’t. I know it’s horror, but come on.

Overall, I enjoyed Red Ridge. I’m glad my wife didn’t watch it though, and it’s not necessarily a movie I would recommend.

Horror Movie Review: House

I’ve been on a horror kick lately. My addiction—my guilty pleasure—has always been horror. Unlike most, I can handle a B-side horror movie any day. Bad acting doesn’t falter me all that much. I am okay with a simple plot, too. Rehash of a rehash is fine with me.

BUT, a few things MUST be:  A solid PLOTLINE.

Perusing my local video store, the cover of House caught my attention. I only had a few minutes before the store closed, and grabbed it on a whim. My wife encouraged me to rent it, seeing as the store was closing soon. Of course, that is another story all together, because I kind of blame her.

How they approved the script, and especially the budget for House, I will never understand. Upon first glance, the horror ‘professionals’ should have caught the blatant inconsistencies. As I always preach, rewrites and edits are EVERYTHING.

It was as if they took parts from every horror movie they’ve seen, blended them up, and started filming.

I don’t usually bash horror movies, because I am a fan. But I can’t help it. House was horrible. This was not a B-side movie, it was an F. At best.

Horror Movie Review: My Bloody Valentine

This movie had all the opportunity to be another Friday the 13th, or Halloween.

Once again, I’ve been let down by my favorite genre. This movie was released in 3D,  in the theaters, and I’ll agree there is an allure to that. 3D movies are generally a novelty, but they’re also fun.

I declare, however, the film makers put too much stock in this fact. The plot was simple—typical slasher mold—but the movie went off on tangents much too often. The characters were okay, but the side-storylines left me more distracted than anything. Back-story is fine, and usually essential, but My Bloody Valentine was messy with side-plots I did not care about.

Also, I can’t stand horror movies that rely on gore to make a horror movie ‘scary.’ It’s cheap and uncreative. Gore is fine when in context, but DOES NOT make a horror movie good. Do I need to repeat that?

The miner’s pick axe through the head was fine, once.

Twice.

Even three times I could handle. But over and over and over again?

Gruesome, yes. Also bland. The film makers must have a fetish with sharp objects through the eyeballs.

Overall, I was entertained, but just barely. I’m sure they will make a sequel (they usually do), but I’m not interested.