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The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
Texas Chainsaw Massacre is the blueprint for the backwoods horror flick. Made in the early 1970s on an ultra low budget, TCM ripped into theaters and immediately caused a stir. The Reason? There had never really been anything quite like it. Granted, Psycho beat it to the punch, yet even Psycho was restrained in a way in which TCM refused to be. The set piece for Hitchcock's classic was one scene of violence, whereas Hooper chose to show of several scenes that suggested violence but never explicitly showed it. Indeed, fans claim to see much gore on show in TCM yet there is really only one scene of such. That comes when Leatherface accidentally chainsaw's his own leg. Other scenes never actually show gore, but are edited in such a way as the viewer pieces in the nasty details themselves. The meathook scene is a prime example. We see the girl lifted up towards the meathook and we see her hanging from it, but we never see it impale her. Yet many have claimed that this is a part of the film. Its all about how Tobe Hooper edited the film to make it shocking. In the end, TCM is a classic because of what it did.
Macabre a.k.a. Frozen Terror is the debut feature from Lamberto Bava, the son of famed horror director Mario Bava. Fans may recognize the name from his later collaborations with Dario Argento, Demons and Demons 2. Unlike those two films, which relish in their over the top grue and violence at hyper kinetic speed, Macabre is a slow build film that tends to lean more towards the slow build school of creating suspense. The story is simple and actually based around a true story from New Orleans in the 70s. A woman is in a car accident with her adulterous lover and the lover is decapitated. One year later, the woman is released from the mental asylum and returns to the apartment where her and her lover would rendezvous. Not a lot happens until the final third of the film, but it goes by quick enough and there is the air of dread that Bava creates quite effectively. When the reveal is made, its not much of a shock but the film is handled well enough that that fact can be overlooked. What truly brings the film down however, is some horrid dialogue and some equally atrocious acting by the young girl who plays the woman's daughter. All in all, considering the subject of the film, it is a quite restrained effort and a notable debut.
In some ways, Stitches is typical Full Moon fare and in others it manages to break free of the mold. There are tiny dolls and they do some horrible things. Those expecting another Puppet Master or Demonic Toys, however, will be greatly disappointed. These are paper dolls and they hold the souls of victims. Mrs. Albright is an elderly woman who comes to a boarding house and proceeds to influence the patrons. Turns out this sweet old lady is really a demon in disguise and she's out to collect souls. Think Needful Things and you'll have an idea of where this is going. The main problem is that Stitches isn't as well written as Needful Things was and when in doubt Full Moon breaks out the killer dolls. Its a shame really because there are some good ideas in the script. Its just that nothing is capitalized on. What we get is a slow crawl from one soultaking to the next. Pity.
The Gravedancers (2006)
great old school horror
Gravedancers is one of those films that just plays fun. While watching it you think how much fun the makers must have had cause the gleeful way in which it plays out suggests that. essentially, three friends dance on some graves during a drunken night of mourning a recently deceased friend. Of course, this being a horror film they get more than they bargained for since a curse is laid on them and the spirits of the occupants of the three graves come back for revenge. The cast is uniformly strong, especially Tcheky Karyo and Clare Kramer. The FX are strong, although they are used sparingly and effectively. The climax is a nod to Evil Dead II and cements the old school style of the film. All in all, a fun fright flick.
Pumpkinhead: Blood Feud (2007)
Pumpkinhead was in itself a decent 80s horror flick. No classic by any means, but an enjoyable piece of fluff. Why then, have we now been treated to a fourth film in this franchise is beyond me. As in previous sequels, there's nothing here to really connect the films except for the monster, the witch and Ed Harley (Lance Henriksen). This time out we follow the feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys. Part of the film is a Romeo And Juliet romance as a young McCoy boy and his Hatfield lover decide to run away to be together. Soon, however, they are torn apart and the boy's sister is killed. The boy escapes to the woods and gets the witch to resurrect Pumpkinhead for some vengeance. The acting is passable at best, amateurish at the worst. The titular demon doesn't even really show up for almost forty minutes and when it does its a pale comparison between it and the original design. Overall, Blood Feud fails to impress. It may be worth a watch once, but certainly not an addition to the collection.
The Hills Have Eyes II (2007)
A letdown after strong remake
Alexandre Aja's remake of The Hills Have Eyes was one of the bright spots of 2006. Not only was it a remake of a classic horror film, but it was pretty damned good too. So, nearly a year later, we are being treated to the sequel to that remake. While original scripter Wes Craven is back as producer and co scripted, this film just fails to rise to the level set by the original and the remake. A group of military trainees stop by in the desert to check in on some scientists and find themselves run afoul of the mutant family from the first film (at least those that remain plus some new ones). There's plenty of gore to be had here. What annoys me about this film is the utter lack of characterization. The viewer does not give a damn about what happens to any of these people because we haven't gotten into them. Even the mutants had some characterization last time out and this time, nothing. Gore for the sake of gore is pointless. There has to be a reason for this to happen for it to be interesting. Nothing that happens here is interesting. And what is it lately with rape scenes in films? Here we get yet another one for no real reason. Hopefully this is one set of hills that won't be visited again.
The Messengers (2007)
The Messengers is an eerily effective chiller. There is little in the way of gore so even younger kids can enjoy the chills of this one. The story follows a family, down on their luck, who buy a sunflower farm in North Dakota to make their new start. Soon, things begin happening around the place. The crows seem to flock here and like to attack. There's a stain on the wall that just won't go away. And the youngest, Ben keeps seeing things that aren't there. Roy is trying to make a go of this, but his daughter Jess seems to think something is up. She keeps seeing strange things and hearing noises in the house. Problem is no one believes her due to her previous problems which are referred to but never really explained. Enter Burwell, a drifter who offers to help out on the farm in exchange for food and a place to stay. He's the only one who does believe her. Its true that there's not a lot new to the proceedings of The Messengers. Much of the plot is a been there done that type of affair. Cue spooky music and requisite ghosts that move herky jerky around the screen. What sets the film apart from others of its ilk is the sense of atmosphere and feeling of constant unease that the filmmakers have captured. Aside from decent performances, the best part of Messengers is that its so damn eerie. Not the best ghost film ever but it does its job well.
For the third film in the popular series, Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End is easily the best of the three. There are more double crosses, more pirate battles and intrigue. For those who said they have problems following the storyline I have two questions: 1) Did you even see the first two films? and 2) Were you paying attention. I ask this because having seen and been a fan of the first two, I had no problems following the story and all of the double crosses. I was thoroughly enrapt in the film and understood every well calculated move it made. I think that those who find problems with all the double crosses were really being just too lazy to keep track of the story and so they just let the film ride on its visuals. Mind you, the visuals are amazing. Davy Jones is resplendent in his squid like glory and the pirate ships at war are a sight to behold. Johnny Depp slips so easily into the role that by this point its like a second skin for him. Really now people, but he should get an Oscar win for this role, not just a nom. Its truly the role of a lifetime. Even Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom whom I always viewed as the weaker links in the cast both turn in fine performances this time out. As always, Geoffrey Rush is divine as Captain Barbossa. He is the epitome of what a pirate should be. All in all, Pirates 3 is great fun and a fitting way to end the series...or is it?
No Curse Here
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse Of The Black Pearl is without a doubt one of the most fun rides to come along in quite some time. Starting from the Disney ride, the filmmakers have fashioned a good old fashioned pirate romp that combines action, adventure and comedy almost perfectly. Johnny Depp stars as Captain Jack Sparrow, a flamboyant pirate searching for the ship that was stolen out from under him when his crew mutinied. First off, this film belongs to Depp. His performance is s near perfect that it is almost divine. He brings such a character to Sparrow that you can't help but love him even though he is a pirate. Starring as the new captain of the titular pirate ship is Geoffrey Rush as Barbossa. He is truly the evil pirate that you love to hate and if anyone comes close to Depp's performance it is Rush. Rounding out the main cast are Orlando Bloom as Will Turner and Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Swann. While they try, they are just not in the same league as their more esteemed co-stars. Still, Pirates is good fun and a throwback to the old days of cinema. Enjoy!
Picking up shortly after the end of the first film, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest follows the arrest of Will and Elizabeth on their wedding day for the escape and aiding of Jack Sparrow. They are given a choice, however, which is to find Sparrow and bring him back to stand trial. Agreeing to this, they set out to find and bring Jack back. Along the way, our heroes soon become embroiled in a game with the monstrous Davy Jones, who has also come in search of Jack as it turns out that he owes Jones a debt as well. There's a lot going on in the second Pirates movie. In fact, so much so that the film ends in a cliffhanger that will leave fans crying for part 3 to come out. And while it may seem that much is left unanswered, I'm sure that all will be revealed in part 3 when it arrives. Until that time, fans will have to make due with all the swashbuckling and double crossing going on here.
Time After Time (1979)
Time After Time is one of those films that is best described as high concept. Imagine if you will, that H.G. Wells actually created a time machine. He planned to go into the future to see his utopia that he knows exists. However, when his doctor friend is revealed to be Jack The Ripper, the famous serial killer escapes in Wells' time machine to 1979. Wells decides to chase the ripper there in order to catch him and bring him to justice. Sounds really cool doesn't it? Well, in many ways it is. Malcolm McDowell is great as Wells and David Warner brings a chilling air to Jack. The script moves along a fairly good pace and there seem to be few plot holes. My problem is that it is just not exciting. With a concept like that I should be hanging off my seat wondering what will happen next instead of predicting the plot and wondering how long till its done. This is definitely a film that could benefit from a redux as the ideas are there but it just needed a stronger hand to guide them.
Ti piace Hitchcock? (2005)
Good thriller, but...
Since he started in the business, Dario Argento has been referred to as the Italian Hitchcock. So it came as little surprise that he would one day helm a film called Do You Like Hitchcock? Stylistically, there are differences between the two directors. Hitchcock was far more suspense oriented and rarely showed violence on screen. It was usually referenced by a shot and a reaction. The shower scene in Psycho being the most obvious example. Argento, however, does not shy away from violence. In fact, he fully embraces it. Both create tension and atmosphere in their work and Argento's early work does actually feature their fare share of suspenseful moments. First off, the film borrows plot points liberally from Rear Window (the most obvious) and Strangers On A Train. Fans of Hitchcock will recognize these points and enjoy them. Giulio is a film student who witnesses several fights between a girl and her mother across the street. when the mother turns up dead, he begins to suspect the daughter was in on a plot to have her killed. He begins investigating and soon finds himself caught up in a web of lies and deceit. The acting ranges from good to poor, partially as a result of the dubbing from Italian. This being a TV movie, there is little in the way of violence except for a great scene near the end of the film and the set-piece murder that kicks things off. Oddly enough, however, there is a lot of nudity and sex scenes. Argento is very restrained here and in a way its nice that he took this approach to the material. All in all, as far as TV movies go this is superb. My problems with the film come from an obtuse ending that left me puzzling it out for several hours and a backstory that is never satisfyingly tied into the main plot line. Still, the film is decent and worth a look.
The Da Vinci Code (2006)
Enjoyable historical fantasy
I entered The DaVinci Code never having read the book. To be honest I started reading Angels & Demons and just couldn't enjoy Dan Brown's prose. So I came to this movie with no preconceived notions of what the film adaptation of the book should be like. As such, I had no real problem with Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon. He does a fine, though rather unimpressive job in the role. Hanks is good in everything he does, but while he could have shone here as he has in other films, there just doesn't seem to be that extra spark. Audrey Tautou is actually my pick for a better actor in the film. She delivers a conviction to her role. I also really got a kick out of Sir Ian McKellen. I was actually surprised at the sheer amount of familiar faces in the film. Its rare to see this many talented actors in one place. Its just too bad that they were not put to better use. In the end, DaVinci Code is an enjoyable historical fantasy (we can't call it fact as it is supposition and unproven) and as such is a decent time waster.
Shrek the Third (2007)
Same as the first two
A lot of people have been saying that the spark is gone. I say the opposite. Its still there. Shrek The Third delivers the exact same as the first two films in the series. For me the films have never been about laugh out loud comedy. Come to think of it I think I only ever laughed once or twice during either of the first two. What Shrek is about is the in jokes. Its a spoof of fairy tales with a modern twists. Hence the humour comes from the princesses being Charlie's Angels like fighting machines, or Prince Charming being an arrogant jerk. The visual gags are what makes a Shrek movie funny and as it is three delivers just as many if not more than the first two movies. here, the king has died and Shrek is next in line for the crown. The only other blood relative is Arthur. Not wanting the crown, Shrek sets off to find Arthur so that he and Fiona can get on with their lives. They arrive at a snotty high school and find Arthur to be a put upon youth. meanwhile, Charming has amassed an army to take over Far Far Away and so they have. Upon returning to the kingdom, Shrek is captured and its up to the gang to save the day. As I said, the film is all about the visual gags and that's what makes it amusing. In this way Shrek The Third is just as good as the first two in the series. Give it a shot.
The Machinist (2004)
Christian Bale deserved an Oscar nom for this one
Hands down, this film featured one of the best performances by an actor ever. Christian Bale has always been a dependable actor. He shines in any role he takes on. Here, however, he truly outdoes himself as tortured Trevor Reznik. Physically, he has done what few other actors have. Some may shave their heads or gain a little bit of weight or muscle, but Bale has actually lost enough weight to give himself the physical appearance of a skeleton. Trevor Reznik is a machinist who has not slept for one full year. As such, he is losing weight like crazy and is a shadow of his former self. Soon he begins to see things that may or may not be there. When he is involved in the accident of a coworker that costs them their arm, Trevor begins to suspect that something is up. Bale perfectly captures Trevor's confusion and his anger as he tries to sort through what is happening to him. Never before have I seen such a dedication to craft as bale demonstrates. I thoroughly believe that without him the film would be only half the movie that it is. Indeed the script, which while it does have some great twists and turns and good dialogue, comes across at times as only so-so. There is a small feeling of familiarity to the proceedings but I don't know why. Perhaps its the glut of similar twist ending films in the last ten years or so. Whatever the case, it is to the benefit of this film that the director had such a great actor as Bale to work with. Jennifer Jason Leigh turns in a fine performance as Stevie considering the undemanding role she has as a prostitute with a soft spot for Trevor. If you haven't already done so, then check this one out. You won't be sorry for doing so.
Dog Of A Movie...
Rottweiler is a dog of a movie. And that's no joke. Its one of those films that just kind of meanders around for an hour and a half and then ends. Not much of a point really, just one scene to the next. Dante is arrested for a crime he didn't commit and sent to jail. he escapes and becomes a fugitive from the law. Hot on his trail, however, is a cybernetic rottweiler that is the pet of the sadistic warden Kurfa. Basically, everyone that Dante comes across becomes prey for the beast. The film is hampered as I said from a very scene to scene plot. Its just Dante stumbles across some people, interacts with them, the dog shows up and kills everyone, Dante escapes and the dog follows. There is little to no character development here. Through some flashbacks, we find out why Dante was imprisoned in the first place and his connection to the warden Kurfa. The CGI dog looks like a cross between dinosaur bones and a terminator robot and in some scenes just doesn't mesh with the actors. And as for the actors, there's not a single likable character in the movie so its hard to really root for anyone. Its too bad, cause Rottweiler could have been a cool movie. It just seems to have fleas is all.
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Third in franchise goes darker
Franchises are difficult. Its hard to keep a series going with fresh ideas. If done poorly, you get a slasher series such as Friday The 13th which just goes over the same basic scenario over and over again. So it is that I entered Spiderman 3 with a bit of trepidation as I wondered if the franchise-itis would begin to set in. Luckily, my fears are quelled as Spiderman 3 continues where the first two left off.
New facts are learned about the death of Uncle Ben, there are 3 villains plaguing New York, and Spiderman himself must deal with the perils of a bloated ego. In the beginning we are dealt a lot of scenes of Peter and Mary Jane, who are dating again. There are a lot of courtship scenes as Peter prepares to propose to his true love. Spiderman is at the height of his popularity and this seems to be going to Peter's head as Mary Jane experiences a low point in her professional career. Soon, an alien symbiote that has crashed landed on a meteor on Earth attaches itself to Peter. On the surface, it merely changes Spiderman's suit black, but underneath it is also eating away at the core of Peter, taking his weaknesses and exploiting them. Soon Peter is more aggressive, vain and ego driven than anyone can actually believe.
At the same time, we learn that a common crook named Flint Marko was the real murderer of Uncle Ben. Turns out he was a partner of the robber from the first film and that he shot Ben for the car. On the run, Flint accidentally falls into a particle research test site and becomes joined with the sand in the pit. Thus, the Sandman is born. Learning these facts, Peter goes on a quest for vengeance for Uncle Ben's killer.
Realizing, however, that the new suit is controlling him and not the other way around, Peter rids himself of it only to have former rival photographer at the Daily Bugle, Eddie Brock be the next host for the symbiote. Yes fans, Venom is born! As it is, Brock has a bone to pick with Parker, who stole his job away when he revealed Brock had doctored old photos of Spidey to win the position. Add in that Peter hooks up with Brock's girlfriend Gwen Stacy after falling out with Mary Jane and there's some big time payback.
While all of the above is happening, Harry begins juicing himself up in his father's lab and takes over the mantle of Green Goblin. He still believes Peter to be the cause of his father's death and wants revenge as well.
Does all of this sound complicated? Well, it is. Three definitely ups the ante in terms of plot as more happens in this film than either of the other two. Thankfully, despite all these new story lines, director and writer Sam Raimi manages to keep things moving fairly well and juggles the plots well.
To mirror the inner war of Peter, everything about this film is darker. Clothes are drab colours. Scenes are shot largely at night. This is Spidey at his worst and Raimi has chosen rightfully so to show it in the surroundings as well.
But all is not dark. There's some comedic moments to lighten the tension. Fans can look for Bruce Campbell as a maitre'd at a French restaurant, and J. Jonah Jameson is a riot as always.
One can only wonder what may happen should a fourth film in the series be made as several plot lines are finished and a couple of new ones are just beginning.
Decent until the last 20 minutes
Mortuary is one of those films that had a lot going for it. Interesting concept, good actors, creepy location, and famed director on a wee bit of a comeback. Unfortunately, due to the last 20 minutes of this film that comeback may be stalling a bit. Denise Crosby relocates her family to a rundown mortuary in a small California town after the death of her husband. Its never quite referred to what happened, just that he's dead. Taking up the role of town mortician, she begins to fix the decrepit old funeral home up. Of course, there's a local legend about the ground being cursed and a deformed child thought dead but whom the residents believe to be still alive all these years later. So far so good. The cast is game and things move along quickly. Then somewhere along the way things got too complicated. Turns out the ground really is cursed by a strange black fungus that likes to eat blood and resurrect the dead as well as convert the living. Oh, and the deformed child is alive and well and all grown up. There's almost too much going on here. From zombies to the fungus to the deformed killer its like the writers couldn't figure out how to end it so they just threw everything in and said "There, have at it." its too bad really cause the film had potential. It just needed to focus is all. On a high note, Dan Byrd proves himself to be an actor to keep an eye on after a strong turn here and in The Hills Have Eyes and Salem's Lot remakes. Here's hoping this is just a minor setback for Hooper.
Next is one of those films that requires a second viewing. There's a lot going on and the plot doubles back on itself multiple times. Granted, there are some plot holes and some motivations are suspect, but overall it tends to entertain and keep you going more often than not.
Nicolas Cage plays Cris Johnson, a man who can see two minutes into the future and predict what will happen. The problem is that the future constantly shifts and every action will change the next future. The fact that he can only see up to 2 minutes ahead also limits him somewhat. It does however help greatly in his magic career as a Las Vegas showman. It also helps when playing small time gambling. Unfortunately, it has gotten the attention of the FBI who want Cris to help them stop a Russia nuclear bomb from being detonated on American soil.
As I said, there's a lot of backtracking in the story, which may serve to confuse some but is really important to the storyline. Cage turns in a great performance as the slightly eccentric seeming Cris. Julianne Moore is fine as a hard nosed FBI agent and Jessica Biel does all she can with a somewhat thankless role as the love interest.
Overall, I really enjoyed Next. It's a fun sci-fi film that is the perfect start of the summer season.
Maybe it's just me, but I found Shopgirl to be disappointing. As a romance it was fine. It did its job. Broken down, it is quite simply a girl has two choices: older man who dotes on her financially but will not give her his real love and younger man who gives himself completely but needs to grow up first. No real surprises here about who she chooses. Really its a very simplistic film that doesn't really have a lot to say. It presents itself as a film that's about something but it fails to actually do anything. A character is revealed to take anti-depressants for example, but nothing is done with the plot line. Its presented and then dropped like a hot potato. Likewise, minor characters are introduced and then swept under the rug as if they really weren't there in the first place. Overall, this was just a meh kind of movie that is best left for a rental when there is nothing else in that you would like to see.
The MatchMaker (1997)
Garofalo scores another winner
I really don't understand why Janeanne Garofalo doesn't get more roles. She is a truly wonderful actress who owns the screen when she's on it. There is never anything forced about her performances. They always seem natural. Here, she plays Marcy Tizard, a spin doctor for a U.S. senator trying to get re-elected. Her job has become to track down his relatives from the small town in Ireland where his family emigrated from. This will help the senator secure the Irish vote in Chicago and win him the election. So off to Ireland she goes in an attempt to find his missing relatives. Of course, nothing is ever easy and Marcy finds herself smack dab in the middle of a match making festival. While fending off possible suitors, she becomes entwined in the lives of several colourful locals. Among them is of course, the local matchmaker (Milo O'Shea) who has taken to setting her up with Sean (David O'Hara), the local bartender and former journalist. The humour is warm and the characters are all well drawn out. Denis Leary has a small role as a colleague and resident ***hole. The film truly belongs to Garofalo as she is perfectly cast in the role of weary and cynical Marcy. Give it a shot. It's a near perfect match.
Poor ending to a horror series
This final (?) film in the Return Of The Living Dead horror film franchise puts a final nail in the lid of the coffin for this series. The film has little to do with previous entries, except for the Trioxcin gas found in the barrels. Supposedly this is a sequel to part 4. Some of the main characters return, true. They have graduated from high school and are now in college. The problem lies in the fact that they have all seemingly forgotten what befell them in the previous film. So when the barrel with the gas and the zombies do show up, it is as if it is all brand new. Heck, even main character Julian seems to have forgotten that he hates his uncle (Peter Coyote in a very small cameo) after the events of the last film. The zombies are not very exciting visually (mostly some grey skin and latex cheekbones) and the rules of how they act seem to change as the story decrees it necessary. For instance, at times they can run and later on they can only shuffle about. Its too bad that the series had to go out on such a low note. It really did deserve better than this.
The Illusionist (2006)
Nothing is what it seems
Maybe it is to the detriment of The Illusionist but I actually watched The Prestige first and found that film to be far more entertaining. That's not to say that this film is not entertaining by any means. I did enjoy it for what it is: a well made, period piece that keeps the viewer guessing until the final reveal. The film's plot is fairly straightforward. We begin with the arrest of Eisenheim (Edward Norton). The story then reverses telling what has transpired to bring us here. Finally, once it has caught up, the rest of the tale is told. Edward Norton is fine as Eisenheim and the ubiquitous Paul Giamatti turns in another great performance as his nemesis Chief Inspector Uhl. Jessica Biel is so-so as the lady caught in the middle, while Rufus Sewell turns in a you love to hate him performance as Crown Prince Rudolf. While The Illusionist is good, I found the complexities of The Prestige to make a far better film. The best part of this film is without a doubt, the superb score by Philip Glass. It rivals his work on Candyman as his his best film music to date.
What a hunk of junk
Have you ever watched a film that tries so hard to be cutting edge and controversial that it becomes a joke in the process? Yes? Well then, chances are you've seen Murder Set Pieces. This "film" from writer director Nick Palumbo is just one long excuse for gory scenes of death. There's no character development. No real story that can be discerned from the film. The acting ranges from wooden to stilted. The lead actor, whose name escapes me at the moment is notably awful and has the worst haircut and mutton chops I have ever seen. The dialogue (of what there is) could have been written by a twelve year old for all the complexity and maturity of it. The murder scenes are predictable and lacking in any suspense. They are just death for the sake of death. We don't care if these people die. There is no terror felt for the victims. It is just a pathetic excuse for gore. Its actually films like this that give horror movies a bad name among the general public. Oh, and don't believe any of the hype about this film either. It turns out, as reported on several news sites, that the "controversy" surrounding the film was all made up by the director to promote the film. What a waste. There's nothing wrong with self promotion, but at least have the ability to back it up with talent. Why the two star rating? Well, for all its faults, Murder Set Pieces is well shot and the lead drives a barracuda so at least there was a nice car to watch driving around town every ten minutes or so.
The Hills Have Eyes (2006)
Alexandre Aja's remake of the Wes Craven classic about a family besieged in the desert by cannibals. This film was a lot better than I thought it would be. While sticking closely to the original's plot, there are a few new twists added to the concept. The monsters aren't really fleshed out, but their past is given more of an explanation. The film is also gorier than the original. Again, this is more of an update tactic. Dan Byrd turns in another fine performance as does Emilie De Ravin. Ted Levine is appropriately gruff as the father. The monsters seem very interchangeable. Its obvious that there are several of them, but they have no personalities like they did in the original. I also don't remember the head of the clan being in a wheelchair with a bulbous head before either. Gone is the brute leader, in is a crippled brain. Some changes work. Some don't. Still, it could have been a lot worse.