Archive for movies

Why I couldn’t finish “The Curse of Sleeping Beauty” (2016)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2017 by Xander Woolf

Curse of Sleeping Beauty Poster

Supposedly based on the Grimm fairy tale “Briar Rose,” The Curse of Sleeping Beauty follows Thomas, a reclusive artist who consistently dreams of a beautiful sleeping woman that he just can’t wake up. When he inherits a property that’s been in his family for generations, his nightmares become real. He has to free Briar Rose from her prison in order to free himself from the property.

It sounds like it could be a beautiful story… if done right.

The movie was so awful, though, we couldn’t even finish it. We got about half-way through and turned it off. This is actually a big deal for Winters and me. In our entire friendship, we’ve only ever turned off three movies.

It’s especially a big deal for me given that I love bad horror movies. I’ll watch bad horror until the cows come home, but I couldn’t finish The Curse of Sleeping Beauty. Here’s why.

1) The acting was atrocious. While the actors were all beautiful in their own right, they weren’t right for the roles. Ethan Peck, at first, seemed perfect for a reclusive artist role. As the movie went on, however, it became obvious that Thomas was supposed to care about both Briar Rose and Linda, the woman helping him learn more about the mysterious property. Ethan Peck, however, continued with his emotionless character, causing his lines to fall flat. India Eisley, who played Briar Rose, was gorgeous in her outfit, but could have spent more time with a dialect coach. Her English accent was reminiscent of that of a teenager pretending to be “posh.” Finally, Natalie Hall’s Linda attempted to be the comic relief, but the delivery of her lines combined with the overall feel of the movie made that attempt fall short. We felt as though each of these actors was only hired because of their good looks.

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2) The script was just bad. The acting probably would have been better if the script was better written. Instead, there were lines that made no sense and major plot holes. Not only that, but near the middle of the movie, the plot changed from straight horror fantasy, where one or two people deal with an evil force, to an ensemble let’s-tackle-this-together movie. The dynamic completely changed when the two extra characters were added. Thomas and Linda were all that were needed, in my opinion.

3) They mixed several cultures together. This goes along with bad script writing, but deserves a point all to its own. The Sleeping Beauty story is of French origin. The movie takes place in America (I think!). All the characters seem to be American or Canadian, with the exception of Briar Rose, who is supposedly British. Richard (Bruce Davison), shows up in a car with a European license plate. And, finally, when they determine what the actual curse is, they reveal that it’s Middle Eastern… Dear writers, pick one and stick to it!

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While those are my three big points, there were a lot of little points as well. Let’s call it nitpicks. First, Thomas’ uncle supposedly lived in the mysterious house for 40 years, but it looked like it hadn’t been lived in for quite a long time. Second, Thomas at one point says he just wants to get out of this “godforsaken town,” but there was no introduction of the town itself or Thomas’ interaction with it. Finally, there’s a scene where a bunch of mannequins are attacking Thomas and Linda, attempting to protect the secret of the house from outsiders, and I was just reminded of an episode of Doctor Who, which took me right out of the story.

I didn’t see the ending, but absolutely nothing could have made this movie worth it. I assume Briar Rose turned out to be evil and they had to defeat her. Otherwise, they never would have introduced Linda as Thomas’ other love interest. I also assume that the 53 people who had gone missing on the property were the people inside the mannequins. But, hey, I could be wrong.

Watch it for yourself and tell me your thoughts in the comments below!

Review: Don’t Breathe (2016)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2017 by Xander Woolf

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Written and Directed by: Fede Alvarez
Starring: Stephen Lang, Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette

What’s it about?
Three amateur thieves (Levy, Minnette, Daniel Zovatto) devise a plan to steal $300,000 from a disabled veteran (Lang) living in a house in an abandoned neighborhood in Detroit. The plan goes wrong, however, when they find they’re stuck in a house with a trained killer.

What did I think?
These kids are dumb. I can’t express how dumb these kids are. First of all, the man may be blind, but blind people can hear and smell really, really well. Don’t take your shoes off and certainly don’t take steps backwards if you’re not absolutely sure there’s not a creaky floor board. Secondly, the man’s a veteran. He’s not going to be defenseless, even if he is disabled. He had four locks on his front door for Christ’s sake.

I can’t say I was really scared during this movie. The people in danger broke into a house in a Stand Your Ground state. Of course the owner’s going to use deadly force to defend himself, his money, and the girl he’s got tied up in the basement. You can’t just walk in with one pistol and think you’ll be alright. I had no empathy for the main characters, so I found that I didn’t care what happened to them. This made the jump scares and the general suspense far less effective.

I’d much rather see the story of the girl he had tied up. Sure, he explained it, but that’s a far scarier situation to be in. Make that movie. Don’t try to make me empathize with a bunch of burglars who should know full well they’re in a Stand Your Ground state. He had every legal right to kill the intruders in his home, regardless of whether or not he has a hostage in the basement.

The acting was pretty good, though, despite the premise. Though, to be honest, not a lot of talking happened in this movie. The few times the main characters did talk (which, of course, was at the worst times), they were immediately bombarded with a bullet. They barely even had full conversations during the exposition, which I can get behind. The less talking, the less any particular actor can ruin a scene. Though, they all did facial expressions really well. And, because they had to be quiet to avoid this killer, there was no fake horror movie scream. Thank you for that, Fede Alvarez.

Do I recommend it?
Yeah, it’s pretty much just like every other horror movie, so you might as well go watch it. The main characters make bad decisions, so at least it’s a good opportunity to yell at your screen, if you haven’t done that in awhile.

10 Horror Movies to Marathon on Halloween

Posted in List with tags , , , , , , , on October 30, 2015 by Xander Woolf

Every Halloween, we always get the feeling that we have to sit down and marathon a bunch of horror movies. That’s not weird or creepy, right? Well, in celebration of 9th Circle of Horror’s first Halloween, we’ve put together a list of movies that we think you should marathon on Halloween (in no particular order). Be sure to let us know what you think of our picks. Sleep tight.

The Shining (1981)
One of my favorite horror movies of all time, The Shining will effectively get you in the bloody, macabre mindset for Halloween. With a crazed writer fighting the urge to kill his wife and ancient ghosts trying to murder their 7-year-old son, this movie is a classic sure to scare your socks off.

The Shining

Silent Hill (2006)
Curl up in the dark with some popcorn and watch Rose as she enters another world to look for her daughter. Not only will this movie give you great costume ideas, but it will also inspire you to hide under the covers whenever you hear sirens.

Silent Hill

Dracula (1931)
Nothing like some good old-fashioned classic horror to make it feel like Halloween. It’s not All Hallow’s Eve without the legendary Vampire himself.

dracula

Halloween (1978)
I mean, the name speaks for itself. This classic goes without saying.

Halloween

Psycho (1960)
Halloween is not complete without an Alfred Hitchcock movie. My particular favorite is Psycho. Settle down on Halloween with Norman (or Norma) Bates and watch as things become terrifying.

Psycho

Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
A classic that could never be replicated. Visit Halloween town in all of its glory, sing along with some old friends and learn about who you really are. You may not consider this a horror movie, but it just isn’t Halloween without it.

Nightmare Before Christmas

Event Horizon (1997)
The perfect “holy shit” outer space horror movie. I’ve been startled, but very few movies have scared me and this one always stays with me. Is charging into new technology really the best move? This movie screams with you.

EventHorizon

Cabin in the Woods (2012)
I can never say enough wonderful things about this movie. It has everything you need wrapped in a beautiful bow. Grab some Halloween candy and prepare to be truly entertained, just watch out for Mermen.

Cabin in the Woods

Thir13en Ghosts (2001)
This is one of my favorite movies. It’s creepy as shit. I’ve watched this more times than I can count and will gladly watch it again. Sometimes strangers are more trustworthy than family. It will definitely make you think twice about any inheritance you get.

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Hellraiser (1987)
My all time favorite series, Hellraiser teaches you the important lesson of never playing with what you don’t understand. It reminds you that the veil between Hell and Earth is its thinnest during this day.

Hellraiser

We have such sights to show you.

wolfoutWintersOver4

The Fly (1986)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2015 by Lilliandra Winters

The Fly (1986)
Directed by David Cronenberg
Starring Jeff Goldblum & Geena Davis
Rotten Tomatoes’ Top 100 Horror Movies List

I hadn’t seen The Fly since I was a kid and I don’t remember liking it very much the first time. It being a classic and on everyone’s horror list, I decided to rewatch it.

It was funny watching actors that I know from other things in their younger days. The movie starts like any other: young scientist Seth (Jeff Goldblum) finds young journalist Veronica (Geena Davis), takes her back to his place and shows her his teleportation machine *waggles eyebrows* …

No, really, he showed her a teleportation machine. Oh, wait, he had no idea she was a reporter? Way to lower your bar and not ask a single relevant question before showing her the cool toys in your bat cave. She leaves and he stalks her the next day to the editor’s office, who happens to be her ex-boyfriend. DUN DUN DUN *eyeroll* Naturally, he begged her not to tell anyone by offering her the chance to record the whole process and release it later.

Okay. It sounds like a sweet deal, but we’ve handed no Non-Disclosure Agreements to the ex.

Veronica runs off, back to Seth’s flat. They record some stuff, talk a bunch. then, unsurprisingly. they have sex. He gets stabbed in the back by a microchip in bed, but. honestly. It can’t be fun if you’re fornicating surface isn’t dangerous, right?! (Rule #5, dude, seriously).

She, then, has an altercation with the obsessive ex, who can’t take a hint. They move on to transporting a monkey. Monkey comes out inside out, but still alive. Yuck. He cooks a steak and figures out the issue, then he transports the monkey and it comes out just fine! Cheers!

Champagne is had, creepy ex intrudes, she goes to tell creepy stalker ex off. Seth is sad and decides to teleport himself but. oh no. a fly got inside because why conduct these experiments in a sterile environment. She comes back and he tells her what he did. She is sad, but understands. I’m sure they have more sex. Actually, lots of sex is had in this movie (including marathon sex). Veronica looks great, Seth looks awkward.

Now that the boring stuff is over…

Seth begins to change – little hairs here, weird face stuff there – and he’s got a shitty attitude. At this point, the film is just going over his gross changes as he tries to force Veronica into the machine. When she refuses, he kicks her out, then picks up some drunk chick at the bar, bangs her and tries to force her into teleport. Of course, Veronica comes in to save the day! Girl runs out, Seth kicks Veronica out in a fit of rage. Seth looks in a mirror and, man, does he look rough.

Then, dude PULLS OUT HIS FINGERNAILS! I had forgotten that fingernail shit makes my skin crawl. As old as the movie is, you can see the prosthetics, but still… holy shit. At this point, he has figured out what happened during his teleportation and has no idea how to fix it. Weeks later, he reaches out to Veronica. His ear falls off, he can barely walk, and he throws up when he goes to eat food. It’s a hot mess. She leaves, confides in creepy ex, then goes back and Seth feels amazing. He looks like a mutant. No longer dateable. There is a lot of crying on her part. She leaves again only to find out she’s pregnant! DUN DUN DUN! Cause there is nothing safer than marathon sex on a couch.

She wants it out out out and her creepy stalker ex takes her to do it in the middle of the night, because she had a nightmare that she gave birth to a maggot (oh, yeah, think about that the next time you have sex with a stranger). Seth kidnaps her from the clinic and brings her back to the batcave.

He tries to put them both in the machine and ex creepy stalker tries to save her. He kinda does, gets turns into a human sized fly and gets fused with some metal. Roll credits.

Took a long time for me to feel like this was an actual horror movie. I fully understand that there is set up needed to to make a story great, but I could have easily mistaken this for some romantic comedy or drama in the beginning. I saw it once; I don’t need to watch it again. It was good for what it was, but I feel it lacked a lot. It felt more like the director was trying to get a jump scare out of Seth’s random mutations.


I deem it thus: not scary, with tiny side dish of skin crawl for the fingernail removal.

WintersOver4

Review of “Would You Rather” (2013)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2015 by Xander Woolf

Would You Rather (2013)
Dir. David Guy Levi
Starring: Brittany Snow, Jeffrey Combs

Would You Rather is a horror thriller that centers around Iris (Snow), a young woman who needs to make some money to take care of her little brother, who is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. Iris is approached by Shepard Lambrick (Combs), a sadistic billionaire who promises to take care of her brother if she attends a dinner party and wins a game of Would You Rather.

As most of us know, the game Would You Rather is very simple. It is played by a group of people and, each round, one person is given a choice between “A” and “B.” Typically, neither choice is particularly attractive, but they must choose. Normally, the game ends here. You say which one, everyone laughs or exclaims how you’re gross or sick, then it’s the next person’s turn.

The difference in this movie is that the player must act out their choice. Each choice is timed and refusal or inability to choose is grounds for elimination. There are 8 players in total, each of whom are in desperate need of monetary help. The last person left alive wins.

The director utilizes quick cut scenes to present a sense of urgency to the story. Iris needs to make money quickly, Shep needs an RSVP quickly and each of the decisions in the game must be made quickly. The intended sense of urgency could be seen, but the quick back and forth between past and present made the exposition choppy and confusing.

The best actor in the whole movie is probably Bevans the Butler (Jonathan Coyne), who obviously takes pleasure in being the brawn behind Shep’s brains. Brittany Snow is overdramatic and not believable as a 20-something burdened with sudden overwhelming responsibility. Finally, Jeffrey Combs played the sadistic billionaire quite ineffectively. As someone who is supposed to ooze class as the face of his foundation, he sure has a problem reigning in that quick temper. If you ask me, it would have been better if he delivered his lines in a calm, stone-faced manner. Much scarier. But what can we expect from mainly comedic actors?

The themes of the movie are stated right in the dialogue, which is just lazy writing on the screenwriter’s part. The entire movie is about two things: 1) everyone has a price, and 2) we all have a fascination with the unknown. Both of these things are stated directly by Shep during the game. The characters always explain the reasoning behind each choice, leaving nothing up to the viewer’s imagination. There’s no suspense, there’s no real fear. These are signs of a poorly written story.

All in all, I was not impressed by this movie. There were too many quick cuts, the acting was sub-par and the writing just wasn’t effective. And the ending… I don’t want to spoil it, but the ending was just unnecessary.

Of course, this is just my own opinion. Tell me what you thought of it in the comments.

wolfout

Stay Alive (2006)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2015 by Lilliandra Winters

A review of the horror movie Stay Alive (2006)
Directed by William Brent Bell
SPOILERS

Stay Alive is by far one of my favorite horror movies. It totally helps that I am obsessed with video games (Drool, boys. Drool), so this was right up my alley. I totally excited when I rewatched it and realized one of my favorite characters from Heros (TV Show) was in the beginning. Albeit, he didn’t last very long, but it was still amazing. Now to me, by far the most disturbing scene in the entire movie is the scene with the pig mask. I highly enjoy every aspect of this movie, with the exception of a few small things and one large detail.

I do find the main character slightly annoying, but I find most main characters slightly annoying, they always seem so whiney to me. Oh, poor me! Oh, I’m scared of this! Oh, I can’t believe this is happening to me! Especially when 50% of the time, they walked right into the situation they are so pissy about. Oh, nothing could go wrong when I read this prayer aloud! Really? Really?! Idiots.

Hutch means well, but I find him a bit whiney. Not bad looking, but still.

Abigail is very sexy (keep drooling, boys). She is very doable, even though her character is seemingly random for most of the movie. And as awesome as I think she is, I find myself asking, “Who are you and why are you still here?” I understand she is friends with the deceased girl you see for about 30 seconds in the very beginning, getting banged by pig-boy, but she just seems so out of place and a bit awkward. However, awkward is the new hot.

October makes me jealous and leaves me drooling. Sweet, smart and a hot goth girl. I don’t know if I want to be her or do her…. Hey, why not both? I adore her. I hate what happens to her; I hate the moment she allows anger to cloud her judgement and make her do something stupid.

Phineus, though not hot is pretty awesome when he is not being an insensitive jerk, which is fairly often. His ‘Sup, Mama?’ makes me giggle and it is now a term when talking to Xander. She is not nearly as amused by this as I am and the look on her face screams it at me, but it is worth it.

Swink is actually cool, in his nerdy way. This was amazing to me since I was never interested in the actor’s earlier show Malcolm in the Middle. I think the character was portrayed well and had me rooting for him more then Hutch at some points.

The story concept for Stay Alive is amazingly awesome. I love the graphics and 99% of the story line. You see, I love Vampires. It’s another obsession of mine that I most likely take way too far. I’m sure I scare guys off with my obsession, let alone other, ‘normal’ people (I’m sure those people are uninteresting, anyway). Either way, Countess Elizabeth Bathory is one of my favorite ‘Vampire’ stories, so there are a few things I was miffed about.

Countess Elizabeth Bathory was a hungarian Countess in the late 1500s to early 1600s. The story goes that she was obsessed with staying young and beautiful and that, one day, a servant cut herself and a drop of her blood landed on the Countess’ skin. Countess Bathory was convinced that where the blood fell, her skin was rejuvenated. At this, she slit the servant girl’s throat and drained her blood into a bath that she then bathed in. She was rumored to have done this over 650 times, taking servant girls all over the country. Her remaining servants helped her do this, allegedly. Setting out in her carriage, she picked up girls no one would miss or girls from families that had too little influence to investigate. She was discovered when she made the mistake of taking a young noblewoman who was indeed missed. They executed all of her staff and walled her up in a tower where she remained until she died. You can’t go around executing nobility.

Now that I’ve educated you a bit, you will hopefully understand my irritation. She was never in New Orleans and she never had a finishing school. I would have been much happier if they kept to her original story. I understand that people have to take liberties with stories, but to mess with my beloved Elizabeth is shameful.

The ending was wonderful, until the very end. They went through all of that for nothing. I am glad I have yet to see a sequel to this movie, and I hope I never do. Leave my lovely horror movie alone.

So yes, it could have been better. It was short on hot guys, but not hot ladies, so there was ample eye-candy to be had. The story was awkward at some parts, but not in any way horrible. It was indeed forgivable. Any horror movie could be better; there’s always room for improvement. We all have things we’d like to change about movies, but Stay Alive had very few of those moments.

Overall, a sexy movie.

WintersOver4

Review of The Babadook (2014)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2015 by Xander Woolf

Dir. Jennifer Kent; Starring: Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman; #11 on Rotten Tomatoes’ Top 100 Horror Movies

The Babadook, directed by Jennifer Kent, is a dark and strange tale that depicts what happens when an otherworldly creature overtakes the lives of a troubled widow and her oddball son. This low-key horror film eschews the conventional jump scare fear tactic in favor of the building of suspense, utilizes light to create a sense of the macabre, uses natural dialogue to tell the story, and employes talented actors who bring raw vulnerability to the roles.

The Babadook centers around Amelia Vanek (Davis) and her son Samuel (Wiseman). When a strange red pop-up book, called “Mister Babadook,” appears on Sam’s bookcase, naturally they break rule #1 and read it out loud as a bedtime story. After they both read aloud, “ba-ba DOOK! DOOK! DOOK!,” which is the phrase that invites the Babadook into your home (how very Beetlejuice of them), Amelia begins to notice that Sam is acting strangely. His odd outbursts turn aggressive as he screams about “the Babadook” and how he doesn’t want his mother to die.

Unlike other horror movies, The Babadook uses smooth scenes and subtle imagery to create a sense of fear, as opposed to quick scene breaks and sharp imagery designed to make one’s heart stop. Each scene flows naturally into the next so there is no point where one’s heart jumps unnaturally into their throat. This is a welcome change to modern horror, as most directors opt to make their audience jump instead of create a prolonged sense of fear.

As is the case with most horror movies, the director plays with light/dark in order to convey the sense of the macabre. The colors are muted and plain during the day and, at night, the setting is dark as Kent imparts the idea that there’s something lurking in the shadows, causing the viewer to associate the Babadook itself with darkness and evil. This builds suspense, causing the viewer cower in their seat.

I would like to give props to the screenwriter, as well. The dialogue is natural and realistic. Repetition of words and phrases, such as “ba-ba DOOK! DOOK! DOOK!”, “die” and “let me in,” creates an atmosphere of fear, anger and mistrust. A lot of the exposition is found in the dialogue, but it’s not obvious as exposition. The writers are able to tell the story through the dialogue without making it seem as though the dialogue was telling the story. Way to go, writers.

The acting in this film is also phenomenal. Essie Davis shines as she takes on the roles of victim, villain and savior throughout the story. Noah Wiseman does a wonderful job of filling the horror archetype of the creepy child, as well as the role of the misunderstood, fatherless oddball. Together, they do an amazing job depicting a troubled mother-son relationship, which is not an easy feat to accomplish.

Overall, I loved this movie. It was able to create fear without using jump scare tactics, which is something the modern horror industry can learn from. The lighting was used perfectly, the dialogue was natural, and the acting was emotional and raw. I would say it definitely deserves its spot on the Top 100 Horror Movie list. I highly recommend it.

wolfout