So I was totally going to watch 4 horror movies this week for Halloween Film Friday but then I got super busy and I only watched like three… so this is 3/4 of a Halloween special…. which is more horror movies than I’ve watched for the whole rest of the year so um… go me?
After being cursed with immortality by the Witch Queen (Julie Engelbrecht), Kaulder (Vin Diesel) is doomed to roam the earth hunting errant witches and turning them over to the witches’ council. He is helped in this task by a Dolan who is a type of archivist of Kaulder’s adventures. When the 36th Dolan (Michael Caine) and Kaulder’s only friend retires he is replaced by a much younger model (Elijah Wood) who will have to adjust to Kaulder’s high octane life of driving fast scars and shagging stewardesses. But it’s not long before Dolan 36th is at the brink of death under suspicious circumstances and Kaulder will need to revisit his past to not only save his friend but also prevent the end of humanity. Something he’ll need the help of Chloe (Rose Leslie), a young gifted witch who can visit other people’s dreams in order to do. The Last Witch Hunter definitely things it wants to have THEMES – like prejudice, mortality, superficiality… hell there’s even a bit of an environmental theme. Unfortunately none of these themes are developed in any way probably because Diesel’s acting style is very much that of the “Joey Tribianni smell the fart” variety, the script is laughable, the mythology is all over the shop and it isn’t even visually attractive enough to distract you from any of its shortcomings. So rather than being a fun, fantasy adventure romp it’s a plodding old mess… only for the most hardcore of Vin Diesel fans. 1/5
In the near future the USA is a virtual utopia with only 1% unemployment and no crime. This is down to an annual event called The Purge where all crime and violence is permitted and excused with no consequences for twelve hours. Citizens tend to fall into two groups – those who take part and revel in the destruction and those who go into lock down behind seemingly impenetrable security system. One such family is the Sandins, who have become wealthy through the security system that James Sandin (Ethan Hawke) has developed, sold to the neighbours and installed in his own home. As the family hunkers down for the night, youngest son, Charlie (Max Burkholder) decides to let in a strange, homeless man to save him from the masked attackers that are chasing him. They are not willing to give in so easily and soon they are outside demanding the return of their prey or they will find their way in and kill the whole family. And if that isn’t enough there’s also a threat waiting inside that no one anticipated, kicking off a tense game of cat and mouse that might not leave any survivors by morning. I thought The Purge had a pretty good premise and I loved Rhys Wakefield as the polite but psychotic lead masked intruder. Unfortunately there were way too many questions and too much that had to be accepted on face value. I wanted to know how this one twelve hour period was curbing crime and unemployment. I could see how it was an out for those who commit crime and violence because they enjoy it but in my experience the vast majority of crime is driven by ongoing need, ongoing greed or addiction and twelve hours of carnage solves none of these things. I wish there had been more exposition and less stalking around the house. Decidedly average. 2.5/5
After a series of disturbing events occur in their new home, the Perron family call in paranormal investigators, Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) Warren to help them rid them of what dark spirit is trying take hold. As the couple and their team investigate the story they uncover is more sinister than anything they have ever seen before with far reaching effects that will extend even into their own lives. The Conjuring is supposedly based on a true story, which has definitely had some influence on its success. It’s also helped by the fact that it has a great cast, not only in Wilson and Farmiga but also in Lili Taylor and Ron Livngston who play Roger and Carolyn Warren and the talented young actresses who play their five daughters. There’s a strong chemistry not only between Ed and Lorraine but the Perrons feel like a real family and it’s easy to care about their well-being. By focusing on character development, a slow build and creating a creepy atmosphere that doesn’t rely on jump scares, director James Wan elevates the material above the usual horror movie-haunted house/possession fare but I have to admit that it dragged just a little for me. Worth watching if you’ve ever wondered just what might be going on in your basement. 3/5
Virginal teenager, Dawn (Jess Weixler) is adamant that she’s going to save herself for marriage. She speaks at school about purity, wears a purity ring and avoids any kind of temptation. When she meets Tobey (Hale Appleman) she finds herself drawn to him and believing he is just as committed to abstinence as she is, she agrees to spend time with him. Unfortunately Tobey isn’t as innocent as he seems and forces himself on Dawn, which leads to the terrifying but opportune discovery that Dawn has an internal defense mechanism that isn’t to be messed with. As Dawn wrestles with her conscience and the layers of her innocence are stripped away she starts to use her secret weapon as a method of revenge and destruction of that most sacred to man. Teeth is very obviously a giant coming of age metaphor focusing on the loss of innocence, the fear and power of burgeoning womanhood and discovering the power of your sexuality… which I kind of loved. Weixler is great as Dawn who goes on a crazy journey from total naivete to bad ass bitch, while maintaining an entertaining level of quirkiness and I also thought Appleman was an interesting character well played. Unfortunately the remaining performances are really poor and the dialogue is a bit of a joke, which stops Teeth from being really weird but really good and puts it more into the category of just really weird. 2.5/5