Sunday, December 9, 2012

Catching Up: The Rest of Halloween

Taking a cue, more an actual suggestion, from Kent I am going to catch up on all the movies I listed in the drafts section of this blog.  I was considering declaring bankruptcy, as it is always easier to start again than to follow through, but Kent's quick many-in-one post is a good idea.  Which is amusing unto itself considering my 3 Short Paragraphs is already the compromise on doing "proper" movie reviews. But whateverz; into the breach !

We rather enjoyed, or should I say i rather enjoyed last year's (viewing of) Grave Encounters. It spun the idea of a ghost hunting show on its head, tossed in the found footage idea that never seems to be dying and subjected the cast and crew to an actual haunted house.  Grave Encounters 2 (2012, download) revisits the story with the added fun of people trying to find out if the original movie was real or not.

Film student Trevor is obsessed with the original movie so much that he switches his desire to make an original student horror flick to a documentary about the first.  It doesn't hurt that someone has left a "video response" to his own YouTube posts that depicts the host of the show in the first movie, still very much alive if a bit worse for wear.  So he drags his film friends to Vancouver to find the haunted asylum and continue to search for reality within the fiction.

The movie actually has a bit of fun with the whole what is real, what is not, using actor's and producers real names, even going so far as to show the Vicious Brothers in the background.  But it follows the formula of the first to a tee which is a failing and then tries to expand the "mythology" into what created the asylums monsters, ghosts and pocket dimension aspect.  It was fun but not very satisfying.

I can tell I have now tipped over a peak of too much TV and movie watching when I spend a lot of every new show and movie going "Hey that's Benny from Reaper" or more often, "Who the heck is that guy!?!" when I recognize someone from another role.  Benny is played by Rick Gonzalez, who gets a handful of bit parts but I wish would get more and that guy was Kai Lennox, or Detective Eddie Alvarez from The Unusuals.

This movie was Apartment 143 (2011, download) one of those movies produced by a company in another country but shot as if it was the US.  If the Spanish production of this movie lends itself to anything it is the character of the apartment the haunted family is forced into living -- SUCH a lovely state of old, decrepitude.  Kai Lennox is the father in that family being haunted by what they believe to be his late wife.  It has destroyed his life, taking from him his nice suburban house and job and most of his sanity.  So he has brought in Dr. Helzer and his ghost hunting crew to put the shade to rest.

Unlike most ghost busting crews in movies, this one came with a reputation of actually having done stuff.  We get most of the evidence from their dialogue, where they relate past events to each other and how they should deal with this one and what the apparition is most likely to be. They startle at the ... well, startling events but do not freak out -- its an exciting day at the job.  But what the busters find out the mystery to be is quite.... unique.  I liked it, decent acting and a new premise and finally a parapsychologist crew that actually has encountered things before.  I am surprised more of the world did not like it.

Then we watched Cold Prey (2006, download) a Norwegian slasher movie of the Cabin in the Woods ilk, and by that I mean the Norwegian team serve up some young and pretty people to a killer in the wilderness.  The localization of the premise has the bunch on a ski weekend in the mountains of Jotunheimen (trolls anyone?) and they end up in an abandoned hotel where a slasher resides.  Yawn; I would have preferred a giant troll.

Meanwhile I loved Wind Chill (2007, download), a situational ghost story also set in the bleak cold.  This time we have some college students on a long weekend heading home.  More precisely we have Emily Blunt and her stalkerish driver Ashton Holmes, who fabricates a drive to her home town in order to be around her.  He wants to stretch the trip because, you know, once he explains to her his stalkerish reasons she will fall all over him, by taking a (long) short cut.  Too bad the trip is interrupted by a haunted section of the mountain road replete with vengeful repeating ghosts, dead priests and visions of murders past.  A rather fun and chilling (rimshot) movie.

And finally was Prowl (2010, download), a vampire movie that fits into the action genre more than horror but we have always stretched that criterion.  Amber is a girl unhappy in her small town and convinces her friends to accompany her on he trip to the The Big City.  But the car breaks down and they are forced to accept a ride from a trucker, the Harbinger element of this movie; yes, another Cabin... reference.  He delivers them to an abandoned refinery to be fed on by fledgling vampires.

It was an odd little movie, more like a feral Vampire Diaries than anything.  Pretty young girl turns out to be a born vampire that was sent to be fostered with humans.  It is just pure coincidence she ended up as their prey.  It struck me like the first in a series of young adult novels where the girl would discover more about her past as time went on, hunted by vampires and feared by humans.  But it was one movie and ... well, that's it.

That was all we ended up watching for Halloween with life interfering and the usual interruptions ruling.  We have a number of others sitting on the harddrive ready to be converted and watched and maybe will do a mid-season horror-athon.