Rings (2017)

Score: 5/10

Length: 102

Rating: PG-13

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, ghost, religious, murderer

I will start off by saying that I’ve been waiting for this movie for YEARS. The 3D version, that is. When the first Ring movie came out I was still obsessed with 3D, and I fantasized about what it’d be like to see Samara crawl out of the theatre screen and towards a terrified audience. This film was delayed several times, and I didn’t realize until I had bought the tickets that this release was not, in fact, 3D and was now just titled Rings instead of Rings 3D. I was annoyed to say the least, but let me unenthusiastically review what I did get to see, by a director who has barely any experience (he’s only released one full-length film prior to this one). The third installment in the Ring series focuses around Samara’s birth mother and uncovering the story behind her suffering. The plot is easy to follow and mostly makes sense without being looking like there was minimal effort put into it. There are, however, a bunch of character decisions that make absolutely no sense. Like why was there no one helping the guy in the totalled car? And why on Earth did she think it was a good idea to wonder around exploring by herself and leaving her boyfriend to figure out where she might be? Stuuupid. But what I REALLY don’t understand is why the tape isn’t shown to someone who is going to die anyway. Say, someone with a terminal disease. You’d think that’d be simple solution. Besides the lazy choices, the movie doesn’t have many obvious faults except that I doubt an old ghost would know how to work technology that well. A movie within a movie…. pshht. There isn’t much tension, but there are a lot of silly jump scares. The acting is fine, the make-up and effects are good enough, and the ending (which reminds me of The Exorcist) isn’t an awful one. Unfortunately, it’s hard to get over the fact that the first movie pretty scary, and this one just wasn’t.

Fun fact: The adult contortionist playing Samara shares the same last name: Morgan.

Review for original Ring movie (2002) here

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Masters of Horror: Imprint

Masters of Horror is a 2000s television series with a different director for each of the thirteen episodes in the season, running about an hour long.

Directed by: Takashi Miike (Audition, Ichi the Killer)

Evil Category: black-smear-toothed, red-headed whores

Score: five out of five skin-sweeping scars

In regular Takashi Miike form, this episode is strange and intense. Considering the rest of the season is at times a little dull and watered-down, this was a fun finish to season one. I saved this movie for a night with sushi, and I’m going to have to have another sushi night because I want to watch it again. There was just so much going on I don’t think I was able to absorb it all. It’s about this guy (he’s in Charmed, acting as badly as he does in this episode) who is looking for his lost lover. Instead, he learns of her torturous death through the stories of a woman with distorted features. This gnarly, complex episode features everything from a weird little pimp with a nose scab to a conjoined hand twin. (What?!) At the same time, the colours are rich, the costumes are intricate, and it’s beautifully filmed. I didn’t love everything about it, but for sure, the best episode so far.

The Forest (2016)

Score: 5.5/10

Length: 93

Rating: PG-13

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, woods, ghost

We jump right into the story here, with not much to relate to except how haggard Natalie Dormer looks. It’s clear the story and directing is going to be lazy from the beginning. ‘Sara’ is planning a trip to Japan to find her twin sister, who seems to be lost in the infamous Suicide (Aokigahara) Forest. Seems like a fantastic idea for a movie, since the stories and photos of the real-life forest are enough material alone, however, the first red flag is that neither of the main actors are Japanese. The sister hikes through the forest with two male accompaniments, but soon the ghosts of the forest play their games, and confusion, suspicion, and doubt creep into the vulnerable mind of the searching twin. The ghosts are dull and done, and their intended scares don’t make you jump. But being lost and afraid in a foreign country in the middle of nowhere is pretty terrifying on its own. There of course are a lot more issues: the atmosphere isn’t used as much as it could have been, Dormer, as I find in most of her appearances, isn’t very likable, and in the end, the twin really seems to have a lack of emotion. It’s a lot better than I thought it was going to be, put I’m glad I didn’t pay to see it in theatres. Thankful there was some man candy to help me get through the film.

 

 

photo credit: http://www.comingsoon.net/

The Uninvited (2009)

Score: 5/10

Length: 87

Rating: PG-13

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, psychological, murderer, ghost, cabin, almost-horror

I didn’t realize until almost the very end of this movie, that it was an American remake of A Tale of Two Sisters, a film I watched less than two weeks ago. I picked up on the sister twist early on, but these two movies felt so different, perhaps because this one was so easy to follow. This version feels like it’s more of a thriller-drama, and I really missed the closeness between the sisters that was in the original Korean film. This one gets a lower score because of both the lack intimacy and lack of horror. Funny enough, I’ve even actually seen this movie before. I knew I had, but I couldn’t remember it, and movies such as this one is the whole reason I started writing this blog- so I wouldn’t accidentally watch the same movie twice. The title really has nothing to do with anything at all, it seems a better fit for a vampire movie. These films of different names both focus around psychology and ghosts, which you’d assume is a good combination, but the all the scary parts of psychology are somehow numbed by the supernatural plot line. I mean, I believe in ghosts, but there’s something different about diseases of the mind, it’s a different type of scary. This film is about a girl who returns from an institution to live with her dad and his girlfriend who she blames for the fire that killed her mother. Along with her sister, she fights to prove an evil history of murder and adultery is to blame for her series of unfortunate events.

See the review for A Tale of Two Sisters here: https://earlymorninghorrorreviews.wordpress.com/2016/03/14/a-tale-of-two-sisters-2003/

 

photo credit: http://moviemansguide.com

Masters of Horror: Dream Cruise

Masters of Horror is a 2000s television series with a different director for each of the thirteen episodes in the season, running about an hour long.

Directed by: Norio Tsuruta (Ringu 0. Scarecrow, Premonition)

Evil Category: murderous shipmaster and his glowing ghost ex-wife

Score: one out of five sinking ghost ships

It was a little hard to watch this after the guy got on the boat. I mean, you’re a grown man. You don’t want to get on the boat? Then don’t. The acting is really bad, probably the worst I’ve seen in this series so far. The director and writers (besides Mick Garris) are all Japanese, and looking at the director’s past movies, I assume it might have something to do with an English script. Okay, let’s be real, I’m just trying to make excuses for the shitacular lines this episode has. It starts off, seemingly, as a story about past and present murder, but then ends up being a Ringlike ghost story with a green ghost set out for revenge. But even the ghost vs ghost storyline doesn’t make it good, and we’re left with yet another adult Goosebumps episode. It’s about a man who is haunted by memories of the brother he is not able to save. He gets on a ship with a business partner, but soon learns that the client knows he is sleeping with his wife and things get awkward. The ghost of the captain’s ex-wife also haunts the boat (just recently, even though it’s clear he’s been on the boat for some time) and seeks to kill the adulterers.

 

photo credit: www.dreadcentral.com

Top Ten Movies Of 2015 I’m Still Looking Forward To Seeing

I’ve seen a lot of new movies this year, but in October I fell a little behind, and there are still a lot of great ones left that I’d like to conquer. In the time I took to get this list together, I could have probably watched all of these movies, but that’s how I roll. In no particular order, here’s a list of the films I’m still looking forward to from this year.

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The Witch

category: supernatural indie era 

level of excitement to see it: I’m a sucker for originality, and I feel like this one is going to deliver, so I’m very much looking forward to it

stars: new actors you haven’t heard of

A Sundance selection, this independent history-horror set in the 1600’s is about sorcery, family, and tension. The trailer doesn’t give away much, but it looks like it’s full of unease and uncertainty, and that’s attention-grabbing in itself. I’m interested in unlocking the mystery, but will surely have to be in a cold, grey mood before diving into this one.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQXmlf3Sefg

 

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Krampus or A Christmas Horror Story

category: holiday fun

level of excitement to see it: I wouldn’t want to watch either after Christmas so there’s limited time to see these ridiculous yuletide monsterpieces

stars: Adam Scott, Toni Collette / William Shatner

I’m cheating a little here, but there are two Krampus movies this year, and I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. I’ll probably watch both and have a theme night of it. In case you didn’t know, Krampus is a goat-headed Christmas demon from folklore. This character has been hidden from the movie scene until recently, for unknown reasons. Neither of this movies look exceptional, but holiday horrors are rare, and this might make for a great face-off review.

trailer: Krampus  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6cVyoMH4QE

A Christmas Horror Story  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSSSUbB-mYk

 

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Nina Forever 

category: it’s been done 

level of excitement to see it: it’s there if I need it

stars: new, Irish-named actors you haven’t heard of

This one doesn’t seem so original. In fact, it sounds a lot like Life After Beth. It looks a lot like a bunch of sex had in a bloody bed. No, no one is having their period, it’s just a dead ex-girlfriend who appears during deed-doing. I’m not dying to see this one, but it’s worth a glance.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IokJt_05co

 

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The Final Girls

category: horror comedy film within a film

level of excitement to see it: silly, girly, scary- I couldn’t ask for much more

stars: Taissa Farmiga from AHS,  Malin Akerman from mediocre comedies

Here’s our comedic relief of the year-end! It’s got a chunky story, but none of the parts are that original. It’s an Oh Henry! bar. A girl and her friends get trapped in a film from the eighties- and her mom is the star! The goal is to beat the machete maniac and be the final girls standing. Sounds like a fun movie to watch at a grown-up sleepover wearing onesies and drinking Winter Ale.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zreNh78kTjg

 

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Cooties

category: zombies in school

level of excitement to see it: this better be good as I’m not thrilled to watch another film of the flesh-eating genre

stars: Elijah Wood!!! and Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill

This movie has been out for awhile, but I’ve already had my fall flu and I don’t want to jinx it. It’s the made-up virus from your childhood come to life, but it’s from the perspective of the teachers. The staff try desperately to fight off children-zombies, and it seems super fun and hilarious, but I am reeeeallly over the zombie thing. This movie will put me at my limit, so hopefully it’s worth it. Let me work it.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzJVA0KWljk

 

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The Hallows

category: a bed time story to give you nightmares

level of excitement to see it: I can’t miss a rare opportunity like this, and it’s a great film to watch before bed

stars: Bojana Novakovic from Devil, Joseph Mawle (you’d recognize his face)

The Hallows, also known by its other boring title, The Woods, is a film about Irish folklore- fairies, banshees, and the like. I can’t imagine this being too good, but it’s not often that we get any horror fairy tales, so I’m going to watch it anyway and like it more than 100% of the shaky-cam movies that I refuse to watch. I can only hope and pray that there’s little to no CGI and the plot isn’t full of holes. Here’s to the fae!

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dH3NCjfr7n4

 

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The Hive

category: memories and bad blood

level of excitement to see it: I could skip it, but I’ll give it a shot

stars: up and coming kids you’ve never heard of

You’d think this movie would be about bees, but it’s actually a psychological infected-by-a-virus thriller. (If you want bees, try Stung, which I’ll also watch eventually.) The trailer isn’t very revealing, but there seems to be a lot of choking on black blood and it’s reminiscent of the latest Evil Dead. The film is also from the producers of Saw so it can’t be that bad, but I have a feeling the romance side of things is going to get a little too mushy (not in a smashed brains way) for my liking.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txdd4UaiJJg

 

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A Tale of Tales

category: fantasy fantastic 

level of excitement to see it: I don’t have high hopes but I’m very excited to see how it compares to Crimson Peak

stars: Salma Hyek, Vincent Cassel, John C. Reily

This one is all imagination breathed through fashion and set design, and I’m actually quite surprised it’s labelled as a horror. Makes me think- is Game of Thrones a horror? This is film of three stories (as made pretty obvious by the title) that tell of the kingdom staples: intricate and colourful costumes, grotesque fable beasts, and of course, pale, young, naked girls. I doubt it’s going to bring any scares, but I wouldn’t mind adding another dreamlike storybook fiction movie to the list. Salma also goes hard on a really big bloody heart.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3hVmpGzl7A

 

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Circle

category: sci fi game

level of excitement to see it: I’m thrilled to be thrilled

stars: Julie Benz (from Dexter and Saw V)

This looks like a contender for my Top Ten Strangers in a Small Room list. I am so pleased that there’s another game show horror flick coming out. Fifty people are trapped in a room unable to move from the circle. Each person dies until one is left. This one looks different from the rest as there are way more people and surprisingly, children are involved.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAlpm2oRzy8

 

Maya-Pakistani-Horror-Movie-Official-Theatrical-Trailer-2015

Maya

category: fear-free ghosts with subtitles 

level of excitement to see it: it’s been awhile since I’ve seen an Indian film, so I’m looking forward to it

stars: two actors that each only go by one name so they must be special- Nayantara,  Aari

I’m sure there’s a bunch of really great Korean or Japanese or French horror films from 2015 out there that I could be picking (suggest them to me!), but I’ve decided to go with one of the (probably) five Indian horror attempts this year. This movie seems quite Westernized, so some of the magical cheese I love is missing, but it still looks like a true-to-heart Bollywood ghost story. It’s also got great spooky settings- a dark forest, an asylum, and lots of shadowy rooms and buildings. One thing I’ve never missed from an Indian movie is a fantastic story, but I’m not expecting to be scared.

trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7x43dvfqYSE

 

photo credits: sundance.org, youtube.com, fatmovieguy.com, ew.com, clickmaza.com, filmfad.com,

telegraph.co.uk, nerdist.com, cdn4.thr.com, gamesradar.com,slashfilm.com

 

Bhoot (2003)

Score: 4.5/10

Length: 113

Language: Hindi

Categories: 2000s, foreign, Asian, ghost, haunted house, murderer

I have yet to see a believable, scary Bollywood horror, but that does not mean they aren’t awesome. This film that sounds like a really fast ‘boot’ (this does not help its scare factor) actually means ghost in Hindi. It’s about a couple who move into a haunted apartment. Annnnd the girl thinks she’s crazy, always seeing these ghosts; she goes to a psychiatrist blah blah the ghost possesses her and wants revenge uhuh uhuh… but somehow, Bollywood makes this seem quirky and fun. There are lots of early 2000s peasant blouses as well as weird camera angles around a strange and wonderful geometric apartment. The ghost woman was scary because of her eyes and little else, but you forget what all the other women look like after seeing Rhekha anyway. The length really sucks the scare out of the movie and the demon freak-out noises are almost unbearably bad. Somehow, I still managed to like it. The ending does a great job of proving that all you need to do is calmly talk to your ghost, and eventually, she’ll come around.

photo credit: http://img01.ibnlive.in/ibnlive/uploads/2012/10/horrorrgv-2.jpg

Pernicious (2015)

Score: 3/10

Length: 90

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, recent, girly, murderer, gore porn, ghost

A movie that rhymes with suspicious and delicious can’t possibly be bad, can it? Three hot girls with horrible lines uncover a statue of a girl while teaching in Thailand. When you think scary, do you typically think of a badly CGI’ed golden girl child with a gold wig she probably bought on ebay for $7.99? If you think of it as a fairy tale horror, it kind of makes the movie seem better, but it’s still not feasible as a decent movie. There were just too many ideas and so many little idiotic things. Like the girl sitting in bed fanning herself because she’s so hot, while a stand up fan sits beside her unused. And why was the ghost a live statue, a little girl ghost, and also able to possess bodies? She must have spent years in ghost school learning how to do all these things. And who stole all their stuff? This was original, I’ll give it that, but it was also incredibly lazy.

photo credit: http://cdn.inquisitr.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Pernicious.jpg

Dumplings (2004)

Score: 6.5/10

Length: 91

Language: Mandarin, Cantonese

Categories: Asian, 2000s, foreign, cannibalism

I watched the short of this movie in 3 Extremes (reviewed here: https://earlymorninghorrorreviews.wordpress.com/2015/02/21/three-extremes-2004/), and really enjoyed it. It seems that in order for the film to be extended, a bigger storyline was given to each character, especially the husband. The vain actress still goes to see Aunt Mei for her infamous dumplings which are promised to restore youth. But the husband finds out the secret ingredient of the dumplings and after sexing both his wife and his mistress, he spends some awkward heated sexy time confronting Aunt Mei. I was annoyed that the story was revealed at the very start instead of easing into it, and although I liked the change in the ending, I preferred the creepiness in the original over the revenge plot.

photo credit: http://images.viralnova.com/000/088/417/desktop-1414688729.jpg

Three Extremes (2004)

Score: 6/10

Length: 118

Language: Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Japanese

Other titles: Three… Extremes, Saam Gaang Yi

Categories: foreign, Asian, 2000s, cannibal, vampire, murderer, recommended

In celebration of Chinese New Year, I’m watching this title featuring three shorter films:

(Paired with ginger beef and hot and sour soup!)

Dumplings 7/10

A woman eats fetuses supplied by a witch doctor (Bai Ling) to look young and beautiful. Disturbing yet delicious.

Cut  5/10

A disgruntled movie extra tortures a director and his wife in a strange and glamorous way, but the film confuses us at the end.

Box 5/10

Takashi Miike’s film about twin contortionists at a circus takes us on a delicate and sad journey but leaves us with an unintentionally comedic imagine.

I am a huge fan of films comprised of several films and I enjoyed all of these fairly equally. They were each very unique but also very interesting and well-timed drama-horrors. I am excited to see the full-length feature version of Dumplings.

photo credit: http://www.horroronscreen.com/wp-content/uploads/cut22.jpg