Friday, October 11, 2013

The Caller (2011)

Number Rolled: 73
Movie Name/Year: The Caller (2011)
Genre: Horror
Length: 91 minutes
Rating: R
Director: Matthew Parkhill
Writer: Sergio Casci
Actors: Rachelle Lefevre, Stephen Moyer, Lorna Raver, Ed Quinn, Luis Guzman, Lydia Echevarria, Aris Mejias, Gladys Rodriguez, Sunshine Logrono, Brian Tester, Grace Connelly, Alfredo De Quesada

Mary, victim of a difficult divorce from an abusive husband, needed to find an apartment in a hurry. The one she found might not have been great, but she made it work anyway. That is, until the phone calls started. What seemed to be a simple issue of a wrong number dialed, however, turned into something sinister as Mary found the calls taking over her life.

Although the ending was just creepy enough for me to have at least a single fond memory of the movie, it was mostly a complete and total bore. When the first call came very early on, I became interested in what I thought was going to be a fast-paced horror flick. Unfortunately, “The Caller,” couldn’t hold my interest as it became more and more clear that there was nothing “fast-paced,” or even coherent, about the story being portrayed.

I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Luis Guzman in a serious part. It was completely different than anything else I’ve seen him in. Don’t get confused, look him up. You might not recognize him by name, but you’ll almost definitely recognize him by face, he’s been in four to five movies per year since the 90’s – with good reason. Sometimes, with the silly characters he tends to play, it’s hard to remember that he’s a phenomenal actor. The rest of the actors weren’t bad, but pretty much everything else was.

“The Caller” builds itself up to be something it’s not. The trailer conveniently shows every single twist in the story, if you skip the movie and just watch that, you’ll save a lot of time and boredom.

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 4/5
Overall Opinion – 2/5

P.S. Brittany Murphay was set to take the lead, but dropped out. Lefevre was her replacement.

Movie Trailer: 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Cabin in the Woods (2011)

Number Rolled: 62
Movie Name/Year: The Cabin in the Woods (2011)
Genre: Horror
Length: 94 minutes
Rating: R
Director: Drew Goddard
Writer: Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard
Actors: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Brian White, Amy Acker, Tim De Zarn, Tom Lenk, Dan Payne, Jodelle Ferland, Dan Shea, Maya Massar, Matt Drake, Greg Zach, Sigourney Weaver

As many horror movies tend to start, five friends leave their cozy college community to rough it in a cabin for a weekend get-away. The stereotypes are obnoxiously apparent: the whore, the athlete, the scholar, the fool and the virgin. As they get to the cabin and the story progresses, they are led into the cellar where a host of strange, old objects sit, just waiting to be fidgeted with. As normal as this sounds, as much as you might think this story treads the beaten path, you will find the recipe picked apart by the writers in such a way that the familiar becomes a puzzle.

It is my belief that “The Cabin in the Woods” is the perfect specimen of a slasher/supernatural horror. If I were to be pressed, I could say I believe it may just be the perfect movie overall. There was a significantly unmatched balance between horror, thriller, mystery, torture porn and comedy. I’m actually a little depressed. I’m fairly certain it’s all downhill from here.

“Scream” started this revolution within the horror genre. It might not have been the first to do what it did, but it was the first to blow up for doing it. That was the first big horror movie to acknowledge the cliché and base a storyline around it. “The Cabin in the Woods” starts on that road but travels further than I have ever even imagined a movie could go. Simultaneously it looks at a horror story from the eyes of the creators (writers, directors, etc.), while asking the question, “why is this the recipe?” No one but Joss Whedon would have been able to pull this kind of writing off; a feat made even greater if the rumor is true, that he and Goddard wrote the screenplay in only three days.

Searching for an issue or problem with this movie has turned up nothing for me. I watched the majority of it with my mouth hanging open and leaning as close to the TV as I could get from my couch. I don’t usually go out of my ratings range (1-5), in fact, the only other time I’ve done so was with a movie bad enough to get a 0 (Victim, 2010).

This movie was just something special enough to make me break my own rules.

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 5/5
Overall Opinion – 6/5

P.S. Brownie points if you find the Reaver in the movie. Watch Fireflies, watch.

P.S. Due to the existence of the Reaver in the movie, I can certainly believe “The Cabin in the Woods” to be a part of the Tommy Westphall Universe Hypothesis.

Movie Trailer: 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Battledogs (2013)

Number Rolled: 56
Movie Name/Year: Battledogs (2013)
Genre: Action Thriller
Length: 88 minutes
Rating: NR
Director: Alexander Yellen
Writer: Shane Van Dyke
Actors: Craig Sheffer, Dennis Haysbert, Kate Vernon, Ariana Richards, Bill Duke, Wes Studi, Ernie Hudson, Benjamin James, Anthony Pacella, Darin Cooper, Afrim Gjonbalaj, Giovanni Roselli

Donna has just disembarked from a plane when she starts to realize she doesn’t feel too well. She’s a little woozy and the variety of sounds seems to be getting to her. In an effort to get control of herself, she runs into a bathroom to breathe. It isn’t long until she’s overcome, shifting into a wolf-like creature and running through the airport feasting on people while spreading the disease.

I thought the description of this movie was really interesting. It made it seem like an apocalypse with werewolves replacing zombies. Needless to say, I had to see what it was all about. “Battledogs,” however, isn’t quite what the description leads one to believe.

The beginning was great. I wasn’t too fond of the creature transformations, but they weren’t anywhere near the worst I’ve seen. Everything was incredibly fast paced. Only five minutes into the movie you’re thrust into the main plot, which is something I really do enjoy. When a movie moves too slow in the beginning, it’s easy for people to get bored and write it off completely. There was no issue with that here.

The acting was pretty decent for the most part. Ariana Richards and Dennis Haysbert played their parts very convincingly and made up for the lackluster performance of Craig Sheffer and Bill Duke. Even with their effort, though, they weren’t able to save the movie.

The first half was just as interesting as the last half was horrible. It looks like the writer or director (possibly both) got bored half-way through and decided to just google “apocalypse movie stereotypes.” I think it’s a huge shame, too, because the concept really seemed to have a great deal of potential.

I want to be able to like the movie, just because it could have been great and it started out with that intent. It’s unfortunate that the ending was so bad that I can’t possibly look back on “Battledogs” fondly.

Netflix’s Prediction for Me – 3.5/5
Overall Opinion – 1.5/5

The Random Rating: R – for strong violence

Movie Trailer: