Vacancy 2: The First Cut (2009) + Thoughts on the 2nd Trailer to A Nightmare On Elm Street (2010)

This is my first live review. I'll probably do more of these. Still trying to get comfortable in front of the camera, so please be kind with me! I *hope* you enjoy.


2009 Short Reviews Catch Up + Another Award!

Received another award from Cool Ass Cinema:

Very nice. Thank you very much, sir. Cool Ass Cinema is a great site for your alternative cinema needs. Show some love.

So with that out of the way, let's get to the point of this entry. Originally, I was gonna do short reviews for a few films I missed out reviewing last year due to time constraints. But my computer is an asshole and decided to freeze up on me before I could save it. So I'm just gonna give really quick thoughts and maybe one day when I have time, I'll come back to these films and give them deeper write-ups. As for 2009 horror films that haven't been reviewed here [like SAW VI, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, THE STEPFATHER, etc., they'll be getting their own entries for various reasons].

Dir. Paul Solet
Starring Jordan Ladd, Gabrielle Rose, Stephen Park, Samantha Ferris

PLOT (from IMDB): After losing her unborn child, Madeline Matheson insists on carrying the baby to term. Following the delivery, the child miraculously returns to life with an appetite for human blood. Madeline is faced with a mother's ultimate decision.

+ The performances, especially by Ladd, Rose, and Ferris. They were all convincing and were all sympathetic to various degrees. Definitely the highlight of the film.

+ Creepy story, helped by the fact that it took the premise as seriously as possible. I was expecting a camp fest like IT'S ALIVE, but not here. For the best, I say.

+ The direction by Solet was very well done. I liked how subtle and calm the framing and atmosphere was, even in light of the evil that was occuring.

- Wished there could have been more explanation as to the baby still being alive after it was stillborn. The question seemed to be lingering throughout the film without it ever being answered.

Score - 3 Howls Outta 4

Dir. Karyn Kusama
Starring Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried, Johnny Simmons, Adam Brody

PLOT (from IMDB): A newly possessed cheerleader turns into a killer who specializes in offing her male classmates. Can her best friend put an end to the horror?

+ The sacrifice scene with Fox and Brody was the highlight of the film. I'll never hear "867-5309 (Jenny)" the same way again.

+ The acting was good here. Amanda Seyfried was fantastic in carrying much of the film and I think she's actually sexier than Megan Fox. Fox also showed some nice comedic timing and wasn't all that bad really. I liked both girls.

+ Nice bit of gore and special effects.

+ Direction was decent also. Some nice glimpses of style.

- The script annoyed me. Diablo Cody has a great ear for dialogue and humor. But it was just too much of it here and it became distracting. I know people actually talk like this, but it doesn't mean everyone will want to listen.

- Tried too hard to be a cult classic. It reminded me of HEATHERS, which is a superior film to this. Hell, MEAN GIRLS was better than this. Could have used more subtlety, but this is Cody we're talking about. I understand the attempt to make the film quirky, but it just confused the tone of the film. Was this a horror movie? A comedy? Both?

Score - 2.5 Howls Outta 4

Dir. Juame Collet-Serra
Starring Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman

PLOT (IMDB): A husband and wife who recently lost their baby adopt a 9-year-old girl who is not nearly as innocent as she claims to be.

+ Generic story we've seen many times done right. Nice character development, a clever twist, and the 2-hour running time never felt that long. Definitely an entertaining film.

+ Top notch performances by all involved, especially by Isabelle Fuhrman who gave the killer child a whole new dimension. Great fake Russian accent and handled the material with maturity. I want to see more of this girl. Farmiga was great and Sarsgaard played the nice guy perfectly.

+ Great direction by Collet-Serra. Well paced, lots of tension and suspense, and a great use of a gloomy atmosphere.

+ Killer kids rule. That is fact.

Score - 4 Howls Outta 4

Dir. Ruben Fleischer
Starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin

PLOT (from IMDB): Focuses on two men who have found a way to survive a world overrun by zombies. Columbus is a big wuss -- but when you're afraid of being eaten by zombies, fear can keep you alive. Tallahassee is an AK-toting, zombie-slaying' bad ass whose single determination is to get the last Twinkie on earth. As they join forces with Wichita and Little Rock, who have also found unique ways to survive the zombie mayhem, they will have to determine which is worse: relying on each other or succumbing to the zombies.

+ One of the best horror-comedies around. Definitely some great laugh-out-loud moments due to a fantastic script and great acting. Plus the script has a lot of heart, as you grow to love the characters immediately.

+ Bill Murray cameo. Just brilliant. That's all I'll say about that.

+ Great acting by everyone involved. Eisenberg is great as the vulnerable hero. Harrelson steals the show as the Twinkie-obsessed Tallahassee. Emma Stone was hot as the tough Wichita. And Abigail Breslin was cool as the very mature Little Rock.

+ Great looking zombies.

- Wish it were longer. At less than 90 minutes, it was too short for me.

Score - 3.5 Howls Outta 4

Dir. Jonas Akerlund
Starring Dennis Quaid, Ziyi Zhang, Patrick Fugit, Lou Taylor Pucci

PLOT (from IMDB): A recently widowed detective still grieving over his wife's death discovers a shocking connection between himself and the suspects in a serial killing spree linked to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

+ Interesting concept. Had all the qualities of a good movie.

- Too bad it wasn't. Extremely generic in its SE7EN ripoff. The twists were interesting as seperate entities. Once they started coming together, I just found myself annoyed by the whole thing. Plus when it did come together, it just ended. Like, what was the point then? Luckily, I've seen worse.

+/- The acting was a mixed bag. Dennis Quaid was okay as the lead, but just started to ham it up towards the end. Ziyi Zhang seemed out of place in her character role. Lou Taylor Pucci was decent. Stronger performances would have made this film more watchable.

+/- The directing was just there. Yes there was style, but it added nothing to the film. Looks like someone was overcompensating for a crummy script.

- The ending. I can't even wrap my head around it. Just so fuckin' lame. 90 minutes of my life I will never get back.

Score - 1.5 Howls Outta 4

Dir. Michael Dougherty
Starring Anna Paquin, Brian Cox, Dylan Baker, Leslie Bibb

PLOT (From IMDB): Four interwoven stories that occur on Halloween: An everyday high school principal has a secret life as a serial killer; a college virgin might have just met the one guy for her; a group of teenagers pull a mean prank; a woman who loathes the night has to contend with her holiday-obsessed husband.

+ The direction and cinematography was beautiful. The mise-en-scene, the framing, the small details, and the little hints that connected the stories together were very well done. Just a stunning film.

+ Great stories. I never really knew how they would end up. It's hard to be unpredictable in this day and age, but it definitely helped this film. And when I was trying to figure out why these stories were so important and how they were connected with each other, it all wrapped up very nicely at the end. It definitely captured the essence of Halloween.

+ The acting was good. Nobody really stands out, well maybe Brian Cox and Dylan Baker, but it's a great ensemble cast.

+ CGI was very good. Won't spoil those moments but I enjoyed the special effects here.

- Should have been given a theatrical release instead of just dropping on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Score - 4 Howls Outta 4


Kreativ Blogger Award

I know I should have updated about this a while ago [my laziness and internship have kept away from blogger - fully apologize and will be more active around here], but Full Moon Reviews won another major award. Here it is:

Well...that's one way of spelling it. This award was bestowed on Full Moon Reviews by my good friend Scot Nolan of Bargain Bin Reviews and Bloggin' Bin Revue. I would like to thank you sir for always supporting me. Means a lot.

Now before we can celebrate, let's make this award official:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
Scot, thank you again for the award. You've always been a great friend and I love the fact that you love horrible movies as much as I do. Thumbs up to you, sir.

2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
Been there, done that.

3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
See the intro.

4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.

While alot of you know that John Carpenter's Halloween was the first horror film to really have a lasting impact on my psyche, the first horror film that I ever watched in theaters was David Cronenberg's The Fly (1986). My five-year-old mind was traumatized by the transformation and the grossness of Jeff Goldblum's character, to the point that I have trouble watching the last half of the film even today. Sad, but true.

I've never seen any of the Tomb Raider films. Not even clips of these films. People find this weird. Not sure why.

Carson Daly bumped into me once in Times Square, knocking me on my ass. I got free TRL tickets (back when he was hosting) because of this incident. Christina Aguilera was a guest on that show. Pretty cool.

I've been a pro wrestling fan since I can remember, long before my fandom started with horror movies. I even have tapes of WWF/E stuff starting with Wrestlemania X and ending somewhere in 2007 [pretty much after the whole Chris Benoit incident]. My favorite wrestler in the 1980s was Randy "Macho Man" Savage, 90s was "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and The Undertaker, and 00s was Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho. And yes, I still watch the product, no matter how hard it is sometimes.

I'm allergic to all seafood and barbecue sauce. God is a weird one...

I wanted to be a doctor when I was younger, even going to NYU with those plans. But bombing in Biology and dealing with a whole bunch of math classes ruined that for me. So I went into film instead and it feels right.

I own every Madonna album. And yes, I'm straight.

5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
Okey dokey.

6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.

Tower Farm Reviews - Jeremy and Billy love craptacular films and review them with a lot of love and gusto. They make me want to watch films I shouldn't want to watch. That's how good these two brothers are. Always enjoy reading their work.

Midnight Confessions - Reverend Phantom does great live reviews and written reviews for grindhouse and exploitation cinema (usually of the European variety) that many mainstream people probably haven't heard of. He's extremely knowledgeable and makes you want to watch these films right after he tells you about them. He shares a common love for 70s and 80s cinema that I share. His work is always worth more than a look.

The Lightning Bug's Lair - Zach a.k.a. Mr. Bugg is probably one of the best reviewers I have ever had the pleasure of reading and befriending. Tons of info and a great amount of passion makes him one of my favorite bloggers. We share a lot of love for similar films, but he takes it to a higher level than I could ever do. I have a lot of respect for this blog because there's a lot of love put into it.

The Jaded Viewer - Great reviews and dissects horror in a very humorous, yet informational way. Plus anyone who uses JCVD in Bloodsport as a rating system gets monster kudos from yours truly.

Freddy In Space - One of my favorite horror blogs. Not only does John review horror, but he also posts news, makes lists, and just brings the funny whenever he can. Plus he also runs another great blog called Win Free Horror Shit!, which if you can't tell what it's about by the title means you should probably go back to school or something. Very supportive of the horror blogosphere. Much appreciated.

Final Girl - Stacie Ponder's horror filled blog was probably the first one to really get my attention. Her posts are funny, unique, and all around a blast to read. She also does a Film Club that I've been a part of every now and then. I wish more bloggers would do something like that because it brings us all together on one topic. Very cool lady with a very good blog.

I Like Horror Movies - Carl reviews horror films in pretty much one or two paragraphs, which is more than enough for most of them. He also supplies Great/Worst Moments In Horror, horror clips from past and present, and so much more. If you want to know if a film is good or bad in like a minute, I Like Horror Movies is your blog of choice.

There are a lot of other great blogs out there. If I didn't mention you, just remember that I love each and every one of you. Keep on bloggin'.

7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.
I will do that by this weekend.


News: The Silent House (La Casa Muda)

I got an email earlier in the week by Gustavo Rojo of Tokio Films, who directed a Spanish horror film called THE SILENT HOUSE (LA CASA MUDA). It's a 74-minute horror film done in a single shot (which definitely grabbed my attention). He wanted me to plug the film on this blog - so here it is. Check out the teaser trailer and show some support to indie horror filmmakers. And please repost this on your blogs if you can. Thanks.

"A few days after the Spanish Teaser Trailer was released, executives from some of the most important production company of Hollywood have shown interest in seeing it once it is finished and acquire the rights. The film is still at audio post production, and is expected to be finished in march. "The silent house"teaser trailer with Engish subtitles has come. Perhaps we may see the remake soon!!! "

The film is directed by Gustavo Hernandez, photographed by Pedro Luque (reknown for his worldwide success in “Ataque de Pánico”) and produced by Gustavo Rojo, at an amazingly low budget which amounts to US$ 6000. “The silent house” digs deeply into the unexplored subject of psychological terror, and the story runs through a terrifying story through a single continuous shot. This makes the film unique in the audiovisual market since it was filmed with a SLR digital, to be more precise, a Canon EOS 5D Mark. The film is therefore the first one in Latin America and the second one in the world to have been filmed by a photograph camera. This makes it the first film of horror in the world to have been filmed with this particular narrative language.

To be filmed in one single shot implies that the sequence is filmed in one go, without cuts, and the camera movements need a prior careful and meticulous planning which leads the viewer to share each one of the experiences of the character.

Laura ( Florencia Colucci) and her father ( Gustavo Alonso) settle down in a cottage which seems to be off the beaten track in order to update it since its owner ( Abel Tripaldi) will soon put the house on sale. They will spend the night there in order to start the repairs the following morning. Everything seems to go on smoothly until Laura hears a sound that comes from outside and gets louder and louder in the upper floor of the house. Wilson goes up to see what is going on while she remains downstairs on her own waiting for her father to come down. The plot is based on a true story that happened some time ago in a small village in Uruguay. “La Casa Muda” focuses on the last seventy eight minutes, second by second, when Laura intends to leave the house which hides an obscure secret and she hopes to leave unharmed.

REAL FEAR IN REAL TIME, this is the most remarkable underlying feature of the film which will not go unnoticed by all those who may be willing to experience this different and disturbing filming experience.

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