Fright Night (2011)

This remake of the 1985 classic vampire movie of the same name has some interesting updates and delicious performances. It’s a little bit smart, a smidgen witty, and mostly fun.

Anton Yelchin plays Charley Brewster a high school kid who is man enough to wear puce-colored designer sneakers. He lives with his single mother Toni Collette in a suburban community outside Las Vegas.

After several kids go missing, he starts to suspect his next door neighbor is a vampire and things escalate when he starts to get a little too nosy. He then enlists the help of a magician who supposedly has experience dealing with the undead.

I really liked the first half, but it kind of lost steam toward the end of the second act. The suspense, acting, gore, and music all made for an atmospheric horror adventure. Colin Farrell and Anton Yelchin both gave dynamic life to their characters. While it is not the best horror movie, it still ends up being better than original.

Rating:

Available to stream on SYFY

Troll 2 (1990)

This is a movie like no other. It’s a sequel with virtually nothing to do with the first one other that people turning into plants. There are no trolls, only goblins. The acting is some of the worst I’ve ever seen, or maybe it’s just the dialog the actors have been given. Nothing really makes any sense.

As the story begins, we find a family of four getting ready for a vacation to a small town called Nilbog. The young boy sees his dead grandfather, who gives him the warning that they should not go to Nilbog. No matter what the boy does, the family vacation must go on and they make their way to their rental house. Turns out there is some evil witch lady who needs to feed her goblin children humans who have turned into plants. Will the family be able to survive the little goblin creatures with bad makeup who can barely even fight but sometimes accurately throw spears?

It’s so bizarre, and a constant roller coaster of WTF moments. At one point, it felt like I was watching a metaphor for vegetarianism vs. meat consumption. The intention was for the movie to be a suspenseful horror film. The end result is so comically absurd that it has earned the nickname “Best Worst Movie“.

If you have never seen it, you should. It’s so bad, it’s good.

Rating:

Available to stream on Amazon Prime

Jigsaw (2017)

They need to stop making these movies. Seriously. It’s the same crap over and over.

The murder games start up again and everyone thinks dead Jigsaw/John Kramer is behind it. Due to some clever jumping around in time it is revealed that the true killer is a copycat of Jigsaw attempting to recreate the first death games that were never discovered by the police.

I love how the current game takes place on the farm of John Kramer’s wife where the first game was played 10 years prior with the devices and body remains never discovered. Talk about inept detectives never going to search all locations associated with a serial killer. Luckily, the forensic investigator put together that a swine virus found on one of the current victims had also been found on the wife’s farm.

They try to be clever with twists and misdirection, but it ends up opening up gaping plotholes.

Rating:

Available to stream on Hulu and Amazon Prime

A Quiet Place (2018)

The Office’s John Krasinski co-writes, directs, and stars in this fascinating horror tale with a unique twist. It’s a post apocalyptic Swiss Family Robinson tale with blind monsters that track the slightest sound.

Krasinski and Emily Blunt play the mother and father of 3 children. They live on a farm and use sign language to communicate. One of the children is deaf, which explains the sign language, and creates some interesting scenarios as she is at a disadvantage not knowing how much noise she is making.

Much of the movie is seeing the family deal with the established rules of their new reality. There are some serious problems, though, like why would you have a baby in that environment? Not only is it a rough existence with no health care and scraping to get by, but a baby makes so much noise. That thing will be shredded by the monsters in no time.

I really liked the tense situations and the emotional impact of the character connections. Much of the movie is very much about parenting and trying to keep your kids alive, which I can respect.

Rating:

Only available for rental from these locations

NFL Power Rankings – Week 7

The Rams remain undefeated and on top of the chart but the Chiefs had a better week and are closing the gap. The Lions are the biggest gainers with a convincing win over the Dolphins who are, in turn, the biggest losers this week.

RankTeamScoreWinsLossesTiesChange
1Rams25700Same
2Chiefs22610Same
3Saints15510Up 2
3Patriots15520Same
5Chargers11520Up 2
6Bengals9430Down 3
7Panthers7420Up 3
7Redskins7420Up 5
7Steelers7321Up 2
10Vikings5421Up 2
11Ravens4430Down 4
12Dolphins3430Down 7
13Packers2321Down 1
14Buccaneers1330Up 4
15Bears0330Down 5
16Texans-1430Up 6
17Lions-2330Up 8
17Seahawks-2330Same
19Falcons-3340Up 6
20Cowboys-4340Down 2
20Jaguars-4340Down 5
20Titans-4340Down 5
20Broncos-4340Up 2
24Jets-6340Down 3
24Eagles-6340Down 2
24Browns-6241Down 6
27Bills-11250Down 2
28Colts-13250Up 3
29Raiders-14150Same
3049ers-15160Up 1
31Cardinals-18160Down 3
32Giants-20160Down 3
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The First Purge (2018)

In this prequel to the Purge series, a new governing body, known as the New Founding Fathers of America, decides hold an experimental 12-hour “purge” period on Staten Island. Due to growing unrest fueled by crime and economic crises, it is determined that society needs this “anything goes” experiment to act as a catharsis for the chaos gripping the nation.

The story opens with the NFFA actively recruiting residents of Staten Island to be paid to stay on the island and/or be actively involved in the purge to make money off killing others. There are three main characters, a drug kingpin named Dmitri (Y’lan Noel), an activist named Nya (Lex Scott Davis), and her brother Isaiah (Joivan Wade). Each decides to stay on Staten Island during the inaugural purge for various reasons. Isaiah is particularly interesting because he stays to go after this addict who tried to slice him up before the purge began, but the only problem is that Isaiah is not a killer at heart.

The Purge starts and the killing begins, but not nearly enough for the NFFA mastermind. It is revealed that mercenaries posing as a multitude of gangs show up on Staten Island for the sole purpose of making the First Purge a success.

It was about as entertaining as the last one, but I kind of feel like they need to move in a different direction with this series. Rather than go back and show how it all began, show the aftermath of how it all ends. Or maybe in the next one, they could do like an Escape from New York type of thing where they decide to restrict access to Staten Island and make it a permanent Purge zone. Maybe even set up Purge zones around the country. Poor people would be forced to live there and then rich people could go hunt them. Why don’t I get paid to write this stuff?

Rating:

Available for streaming rental only

Green Room (2016)

Who is the most frightening horror movie villain? Freddy Krueger? Nah. Jason Voorhees? No way. Michael Myers? Shaa–as if! It’s actually a group of well-organized neo-Nazis.

This has got to be one of the most brutal and intense movies I’ve seen in recent years. I heard it was extreme, but I was not prepared.

A punk rock band is on the road living out of their van. After a sour gig and almost no cash, they agree to play a small club in a remote location outside Portland, OR. As the band is leaving, one of the band members (Anton Yelchin) witnesses the aftermath of a savage stabbing, which creates a problem for the club’s owner (Patrick Stewart). Things go from bad to worse to the 10th level of hell very quickly as the club owner mobilizes a small army of neo-Nazis to make the problem disappear.

While I would have liked a bit more character development, the realism and dark tone of desperation sold the story. The cast was exactly what was needed, and Anton Yelchin shines, as usual, despite a more subdued role.

This is definitely one of those movies where you see it once and you don’t ever need to see it again.

Rating:

Available to stream on Amazon Prime

The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2017)

I had higher hopes for this one than I probably should have. The weird thing is that I usually enjoy slow building, atmospheric movies a lot.

The plot was both mysterious and intricate. The main story follows two girls at a Catholic boarding school before a holiday break. One girl struggling with the possibility of being pregnant and delays her parents’ pickup by telling them the wrong date. The other girl’s parents never show up on pickup day.

There is then a subplot about a down-on-her-luck girl at a bus station who is helped by a husband and wife. This plot and the other plot align nicely by the end as the details of their identities emerge.

I did like the eerie tone and the constant nagging suspicions involving some of the characters and their sinister tendencies. The performances were great and the sparse horror elements made them more punctuated when they were revealed.

It’s not a bad film, it just feels like it is missing something.

Rating:

Available to stream on Amazon Prime

MLB Power Rankings – Championship Series

The 1st ranked Red Sox and the 6th ranked Dodgers are moving on the the World Series. The Dodgers moved up a spot with their wins over the Mariners. The Sox continue to dominate the league pulling farther and farther away.

RankTeamScoreWinsLosesChange
1Boston4595115-56Same
2Houston3721107-63Same
3NY Yankees2873102-65Same
4Milwaukee2533102-71Same
5Oakland250497-66Same
6LA Dodgers206699-75Up 1
7Chi Cubs201795-69Down 1
8Seattle147389-73Same
9Colorado143692-75Same
10Tampa Bay137690-72Same
11Atlanta115391-75Same
12St. Louis110288-74Same
13Cleveland64091-74Same
14Pittsburg31782-79Same
15Arizona29882-80Same
16LA Angels11980-82Same
17Washington-5982-80Same
18Philadelphia-26980-82Same
19NY Mets-67377-85Same
20San Fracisco-102473-89Same
21Minnesota-106678-84Same
22Toronto-113973-89Same
23Texas-183667-95Same
24Cincinnati-188267-95Same
25San Diego-216166-96Same
26Miami-259163-98Same
27Detroit-317564-98Same
28Chi White Sox-340262-100Same
29Kansas City-402858-104Same
30Baltimore-491847-115Same
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Cube (1997)

It was the late 90s and I had heard about this little indie science fiction horror movie about some people stuck inside a maze. When I watched it, I was amazed at the execution of such a simple concept and how it was both satisfying and unsettling.

The basic premise is 5 people trapped inside some sort of massive Rubik’s Cube from hell. They can move from room to room, but some rooms have horrific traps. Certain characters have training or traits that help to move them through the cube rooms without getting shredded, disintegrated, or dissolved in one of the trap rooms.

What’s fascinating is the psychological pressure of going on the journey of being locked in the foreign place with a bunch of strangers and imminent death around every corner. So many questions come up, like:

  • Why these people?
  • Who made the Cube?
  • Where is it located?
  • Are aliens involved?

Even with many of the bigger questions going unanswered, the enjoyment comes from the discovery process and the characters using their skills to solve puzzles enough to think they are making progress.

I also liked the character interactions and even though there wasn’t a lot of gore, it was pretty intense. My only real complaint is that the acting talent is somewhat lacking. It’s not what I consider to be bad acting. It is not that the actors never took any lessons and had no natural talent. It’s more of a lack of expressing compelling emotion.

Overall, this is a fun flick that is mysterious and keeps the intensity throughout.

Rating:

Currently available to stream on Netflix

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