Genre - Comedy/Horror
Running Time - 106 Minutes
Jay Baruchel arrives in Los Angeles to hang out with his buddy, Seth Rogen. Although Baruchel wants to spend one-on-one time with his friend, Rogen wants to go to a party that's happening at James Franco's newly built home. Baruchel reluctantly agrees, although he's not exactly friends with Franco or anyone else at the party.
After experiencing strange behavior from actors like Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, and Craig Robinson, Baruchel feels uncomfortable and wants to leave. All of a sudden, the world starts to end like how the Book of Revelations had described, creating earthquakes, fires, and a giant sinkhole right in Franco's front yard. As famous celebrities start dying, Baruchel finds himself shacked inside of Franco's house with Rogen, Franco, Robinson, and Hill - with an ignorant Danny McBride joining the crew in the morning missing the devastation that night. They realize that they will eventually run out of food and water, leading to truths coming out - both personally and Bibically.
THIS IS THE END is probably the funniest film of the year so far, and by far the funniest film I've seen in years. Just a hilarious theater experience from beginning to end, only helped more if you know who these actors are, their tabloid stories, and the films they starred in with each other. Add in extreme portrayals of their real personalities [Michael Cera's is totally the opposite one would even expect, which makes him a highlight], and you got yourself a winner.
The real surprise is how much horror and science fiction THIS IS THE END really has in its story. You know by the trailers that the film is a comedy about the Apocalypse. But we also get parodies of classic horror films, done pretty damn perfectly, which made me enjoy the film even more. I won't spoil what's parodied, but it's way funnier than anything SCARY MOVIE has ever done. And I thought the CGI and special effects were pretty bad, yet great at the same time. And let's just say now I know why the Devil gets so much love from Saddam Hussein on South Park. Geez...
I also like that the film is just really about friendship. Even through the horrible stuff they go through, the actors still bicker over stupid stuff, talk behind each other's backs, and insult each other - even when the Apocalypse is around them and that being nice to each other would bring them one step closer to salvation. They are still willing to live this life of excess and act better than everyone else, knowing that's the reason why they're still dealing with the Rapture while others have been saved by God. It's a great social commentary which I'm sure was a nice catharsis for the actors involved. It's as if they know that celebrity and fame are really just superficial things, while their strong friendships with each other is what keeps them going in life - and probably why THIS IS THE END even exists to begin with, as they probably just wanted to do a film together and entertain audiences. And I'm not sure how much of the film was improvised [I could tell some things were], but I found the dialogue hilarious and believable. We all talk with our good friends like this, which makes THIS IS THE END more endearing to me.
The direction by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen was really well done. I honestly had no idea they both directed THIS IS THE END until after I watched the film, which really impressed me because it was done so professionally. The film looks good. The editing is solid. I loved the fake trailers, the way the parodies were shot, and the use of the special effects. It flowed very well and felt a lot shorter than it actually was.
The acting is great, as the actors seem to enjoy making fun of themselves. The chemistry between Baruchel [gotta love the Zombie vs. Shark shirt from Fright Rags], Rogen, Franco, Robinson, Hill, and McBride is perfect. Even if some of it comes across as self-indulgent and self-absorbed [that's some of the complaints I've heard about this film], the acting is so good and so funny that it doesn't really matter. I also loved the cameos, especially by Michael Cera, Rihanna, and another actor towards the end I don't want to spoil. All the actors seemed to be having fun and it made THIS IS THE END fun to watch.
THE FINAL HOWL
THIS IS THE END is one of my favorite films of 2013. It's raunchy, it's ridiculous, and it's funny as hell [no pun intended]. The actors have great chemistry, the visuals were silly but great, and the script was hilarious. THIS IS THE END is probably the sleeper hit of the summer and one of the best horror-comedies ever created. Definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of these actors and their brand of humor.
Danielle Harris - Marybeth Dunston
Kane Hodder - Victor Crowley
Zach Galligan - Sheriff Fowler
Caroline Williams - Amanda
Derek Mears - Hawes
Cody Blue Snider - Schneiderman
Rileah Vanderbilt - Dougherty
Robert Diago DoQui - Deputy Winslow
Parry Shen - Andrew
Sean Whalen - Randy
Genre - Horror/Slasher
Running Time - 81 Minutes
Beginning right where HATCHET II left off, Marybeth (Danielle Harris) is still finishing off Victor Crowley (Kane Hodder) for the deaths of her father and brother by chainsawing him right down the middle of his body and shooting his face off. She grabs a piece of his scalp and walks into the nearest New Orleans police station to prove that Victor Crowley is finally dead and giving the police a location to find Crowley's victims. Due to the blood all over her and the gun and body parts she's carrying in her hands, Sheriff Fowler (Zach Galligan) arrests her and locks her up, thinking she's the prime suspect for all these murders.
As Sheriff Fowley goes out to investigate the crime scene at the swamp, Fowley's ex-wife, Amanda Pearlman (Caroline Williams), visits the station to meet Marybeth. As a journalist and a believer in the legend of Victor Crowley, Amanda tells Marybeth that Crowley is really a ghost and must relive his death every single night. The only way to stop Crowley is to reunite him with his late father and it must be done by someone with the same bloodline as the person who killed him, meaning Marybeth. As Amanda's theory comes true, as Crowley awakens once again, Amanda convinces Deputy Winslow (Robert Diago DoQui) to help her and Marybeth find the tools they need to end Crowley's reign of terror for good.
The HATCHET franchise is one either you like or you don't. In fact, it seems a majority of my horror film friends tend to be down on this franchise for many reasons. Personally, I didn't mind the first two films at all. I felt HATCHET had the better story, but HATCHET II had the better visuals and gore. Are they the rebirth of old school horror? Probably not. But I don't think the films are all that bad really. However, HATCHET III should be the end of this franchise. While not a terrible film, it's definitely the weakest of the trilogy of films. Not only is the story generic and bland, but the gore loses its meaning due to how repetitive it all is.
The story in HATCHET III seems exhausted and tired. It's your standard second horror sequel within the same franchise. You have faceless characters getting butchered by a superhuman beast of a monster who can rip limbs pretty easily while trying to extend the legend of the monster. Nothing more, nothing less. There's nothing really special about HATCHET III at all. The characters are stereotypes, some better than others, but none of them really get that much development. There's a lot of exposition on Victor Crowley and why he can't be killed physically. I felt the main characters were treated like secondary characters for much of the film until the end, especially Mary Beth.
I did like a lot of dialogue, however. There's one moment where Sheriff Fowler is criticizing Marybeth's Victor Crowley story, calling it ridiculous and contrived - which leads to a shot of Adam Green [in a cameo as a drunkened partygoer] making an offended face, that had me laughing. The method to end Victor Crowley is very standard, but fit a classic slasher trope. And the exposition, while a bit much, was necessary to move the story along. I also thought some of the characters had some funny and witty lines that made the sequel kind of fun to watch. And I did like the ending. But for me, the story wasn't as fun or as witty as the two films before it.
The gore in HATCHET III is very good, but way too repetitive. There are so many times I can watch someone rip off a limb or an appendage from a human body before it loses its luster. I mean, we get a chainsaw cutting someone in half. We get a fist through a face. We get arms, legs, heads, and organs ripped off and out of people. We get a rocket launcher death. We get someone killed by a grinder. There's a whole bunch of stuff here to please gorehounds in HATCHET III. I just felt it was a bit overboard at times and these scenes just blurred together. The reason why people remember certain death scenes is because they happened randomly, which made them special. HATCHET III seems to have gore because it's expected, so it decides to just let loose. I appreciated that, yet wished there was less at the same time. At least it looked good and the make up on Victor Crowley was probably the best of the three.
The direction by BJ McDonnell is very good, especially since the switch from Adam Green is pretty seamless. There's more of a focus here than in HATCHET II. Plus the film looked pretty nice and there was some decent tension here at times. At 81 minutes, the film does move fairly fast. I thought visually, HATCHET III was pretty great and used its budget in all the right places.
The acting is also pretty good as well. Danielle Harris looks great and does what she can in the role of Marybeth. Unfortunately, she doesn't really get much to do in this installment. Kane Hodder is still a presence as Victor Crowley. Caroline Williams is great at Amanda, playing a tough journalist well. Zack Galligan is a welcome inclusion as Sheriff Fowler. Sid Haig has a funny cameo as a racist citizen. Derek Mears is good as a soldier/agent, but his confrontation with Hodder is extremely disappointing. Those expecting "Jason" vs. "Jason" will be very disappointed. Parry Chen returns as Andrew, in a funny role and a nod to the previous two films. The best actor, however, was Cody Blue Snider as police officer Schneiderman. He had the best dialogue and portrayed his fear so well and so hilariously. He was the standout in my opinion.
THE FINAL HOWL
HATCHET III is an above average sequel that's fun to watch, but isn't as good as the first two in my opinion. The characters aren't as interesting and the use of gore is a bit overdone and uninspired. But the acting is decent, the direction is solid, and the screenplay has its moments. HATCHET III probably won't make haters like this franchise, but it should satisfy most fans with what it has to offer. I just hope this is the final installment because I'm not sure how much fuel Victor Crowley has left at this point.