By: Justin Hopkins
A friend of mine suggested this 2001 movie for me to checkout and it was an easy enough sell. I like B Movies and Wendigos have a ton of interesting Mythology behind them. Making them prime for horror movies in general, but was eager to see what kind of B Movie someone came up with. Lets dive in and see if the suggestion was worthwhile shall we.
We open with a family of three, Husband George, Wife Kim, and young son Miles, were traveling up a winding Mountain Road when they hit a deer. As the Dad got out to check on the damage. A group of three hunters came rushing up in search of said deer. Being that they had been chasing it for eighteen hours and end up Mercy Killing the deer. Much to Kim chagrin. Not liking it happening so close to her already shaken up son. Getting her calmed and back in the car. George calls a tow truck which will take a half hour, but the lead hunter Otis is upset because they broke the deer’s antlers. Which will cost him money because of it. His buddies calm him down, but they wait with the dead deer facing them ion their truck till the tow truck gets their and then they quickly help them. Despite George telling them not to, but they get on their way to the cabin. Where George finds a bullet in the wall, but plays it off to not worry Miles. Who is really shaken up by the deer dying. After an altercation where Otis drives by them cutting firewood. They finally get Miles calmed enough to go to bed, but we see Otis hadn’t gone anywhere and is watching them from the window. The next day, Miles gets a small wooden figure from a Native American man who tells him a tale of the Wendigo. A spirt that can move and fly like a storm. That eats because of it’s insatiable appetite and will only get bigger and hungrier the more it eats and this is about a good place to leave it for now.
This was a slow burn of a movie with several flaws. First you spend a lot of time with the family to build up emotional ties to them, but George is largely unlikeable. Miles is fine I guess, but is lackluster during the climax. Kim would have been a better character to work with but never really gets to do anything noteworthy. You get a meaningful twist with Otis, but it isn’t handled right in the least and than you get to the biggest issue with the story and the fact that what they present as a Wendigo, isn’t a Wendigo.
Wendigo are humans that have turned into monsters through cannibalism. What they got here, is a spirit that seeks revenge on Otis through the totem Miles has. If presented like that, this would have been something a lot better. Could have found Native American Lore on avenging spirits and tailored the story better to that then manipulating a creature to fit a story that it doesn’t belong in. Costume didn’t even really look good. It might be a nitpick, but it is more than that. Would be like going into a movie where they tell you all about vampires, tell you it is a vampire, but it is really a zombie.
I try not to bash low budget movies for special affects or camera work, but it is especially bad here. You get so many images flashing and flipping through in front of you that a feel like they are just trying to increase the run time. Get random shaky cam shots of trees or just bizarre sequences that fail at building suspense in an way.
Patricia Clarkson was pretty good as Kim. She brought out the strengths of being a shrink who is a loving Mother and wife. Doesn’t really does much in the climax beside be handed George’s shoes after he died. Which didn’t make much sense and made even less by the fact she just leaves them in the middle of the hall for Miles to find, but there had to be some positives here and Patricia is the closest you are going to get.
What is funny is Larry Fessenden, who wrote and directed this, would go on to work on the screenplay for Until Dawn. A much better Wendigo story that does have similarities to this. If you really want to experience a Wendigo story. Skip this and play that and there are far better slow burn B Movies. So save your time and check out something else.
Sorry for the negativity. I hope you enjoyed all the same and…
Thank You for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
It has been a long time coming for this movie. I have watched Sharktopus nearly an inappropriate amount of times and enjoyed Sharktopus vs Pteracuda and after the last few B-Movie Sundays. Kind of needed a fun goofy movie and had hopes fir this one. Lets dive in and discuss shall we.
We open to a water on the funeral on the water, with the Captain of the boat, Ray, coming out halfway through. Having no idea what was going on and made a scene out of it. His friend Pablo was the one to rent out the boat since he was out cold and made a scene arguing over it. Cut short when Sharktopus attacks. Taking down the casket and eating the widow when she went overboard. Earning him a trip to jail for reckless endangerment and Inspector Nita going to hit him with Manslaughter charges if the woman doesn’t turn up. Ignoring the warning he was shouting. Meanwhile we jump to the office of mad doctor Elsa Reinhardt with her patient Felix Rosa. A former Baseball Player who is desperate to get back to the league, but is slightly turned off by what he is hearing, but when he is laughed out of the bar. He has a change of heart. Meanwhile, Ray gets bail from Voodoo Priest Tiny. Whop agreed to Bail him out if they will bring him the heart of Sharktopus. Turns out Sharktopus is pretty well known, even having a Twitter page. Back at Reinhardt’s, Rosa returns for his procedures. She is prepared and ready. Going to inject him with DNA of various animals and shots it into him with electricity, She cut it off after awhile, but he commences another round before flat lining, She drags the body to the dock and dumps it in and on contact, he turns into half wolf half whale. Returning to the Doctor who feeds him the nurse and doesn’t take long for him to start rampaging and that is about a good of place as any to leave it for the time being.
Normally, can’t really bash the story to much. When your characters are Sharktopus and a Whalewolf you are not expecting the strongest of stories to back them up, and while this is really weak story even by these standards. The over the top carnage from Sharktopus was more than enough to cover some of it and Whalewolf wasn’t to bad. He was no Pteracuda, but passable.
But that might be the end of the positives for this one. Outside of the Sharktopus and some of the Whalewolf scenes. There really isn’t much to say about any of the characters. The Voodoo scenes actually slowed the pacing down to a crawl. Continuity issues glare its face in ways that makes it impossible to ignore. When the cop is inspecting the garage, the car door is open in one shot and closed in the next and they flip between the two shots making it impossible to ignore the mistake. There were scenes where Sharktopus and Whalewolf were fighting and the next they were separated. They really could have used a bit more fighting between the two of them to transition a bit smoother.
While this movie wasn’t as good as Sharktopus and Sharktopus vs Pteracuda. There is a decent amount of fun to be had with this film. So if you are a fan of cheesy monster movies. You might have some fun with Sharktopus Vs Whalewolf. As Always, I hope you enjoy and…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
I am not normally a fan of possession films. Tend to all go about the same formula and never really enjoy them all that much, but going into the B Movie Selection. Decided top give one a go and finally settled on June. Mostly because the picture of the little girl with a bunch of knives floating about her seemed like a good time. So lets dive in and discuss the movie, shall we.
We start with a voice over of a women talking about a savoir, a child with two souls. One good and the other evil. A bit of a title screen and a ritual happening around a baby. With bright lights swirling with darkness. When the lead cult member is stabbed an things get out of control and everyone except one teen who ran and the baby die. We jump ahead to nine years and we see now orphaned June. Living in a trailer, with a bunch of other orphans and parents who collect them for the money. Which the Social Worker, Emmanuel sees through and tells her he can find her a new home, before leaving. That night when the other kids start picking on her. The Demon, Aer, comes out and fries the electricity and the next day during a BBQ. When one of the kids picks on her again. Only this time when Aer came out. Takes down everyone with a ten foot radius in a loud scream. Which got her removed from the house and place with Lily and Dave Anderson. A friendly couple who are a little taken back by her drawings, but more than thrilled to have a child. They take her to school and when she gets called on to answer a question in front of the class. She begins to bleed everywhere and blacks out. Having a nightmare and comes face to face with Aer. Turns out it was her first period and Emmanuel believes homeschooling is the way to go and the Mom agrees. Going into a montage of the three bonding, but mostly June and Lily. When Dave is taking pictures, we see a glimpse of Aer before the camera breaks and he begins to get more concerned after finding pictures of him scratched out and I will leave it there for now.
I didn’t outright dislike what they were trying to do here. Presenting this cult that were trying to bring this demon into the world to reset the world for nature and had some fun ideas set up, but didn’t take any time to capitalize on any of it. I loved the fact that Lily was the survivor if the ritual and June once again ended up back in her life. They could have played with the concept the Aer knew her and had some fun interactions with them. Could have had David really investigating and discovering everything on his own. Even have the occult sway him over due to his love of nature. They could have done a lot with what they were presenting, but only did a little bit of everything. Dave figured out Emmanuel from his pictures, only had a slight stare down between Aer and Lily and rather weak end with the Cult made very little sense. Especially when we have seen just how strong Aer is.
It wasn’t outright awful. June was an interesting character and liked the concept of the two spirits inside her. Seeing her coming out of her shell and finding happiness but Aer threatening to cost her that. Lily trying to take care of June to keep Aer appeased even at the cost of her marriage. There were some fun things throughout that kept my attention.
The acting was just alright. Kennedy Brice did a really good job as both June and Aer. Had pretty good chemistry with Victoria Pratt who played Lily. No one was outwardly bad, just alright.
The movie suffers from trying to tell a story with so much going on, with bare minimum effort to tell the tale. Had so much going on and instead of going into it. Just shrugs it off and carries on, without bothering to explore it and it is because of that, can’t really suggest it to anyone. Which is kind of disappointing. Don’t really like telling people to pass on a movie, but kind of becoming an ugly habit. Here’s to next week being better. As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thanks You For Reading!
By: Justin Hopkins
It has been way to long since I did a B Movie Sunday Review. Had a bunch going on as is life, but I am back and decided to go back and pluck out a classic from 1985, The Stuff. A movie that I haven’t watched in about 15 years so I couldn’t remember a whole lot when I sat down to give it a watch. Without further delay, lets dive back in shall we.
The movie kicks off with two homeless men eating some white goo, that was bubbling out of the snow. Deciding that it tastes so good. They might as well try and sell it. We jump forward a bit to a kid, Jason, waking up in the middle of the night and heading downstairs for a drink and a bite to eat. When he sees the container of, The Stuff, knocked over and it’s contents moving about in the refrigerator. His Dad comes up behind him too late to see it moving and scares him back upstairs. Helping himself to a bit of The Stuff afterward. After a commercial selling The Stuff as being better then Ice Cream. We see a group of business tycoons talking about how they have failed to find out how The Stuff was made and a Chocolate Chip company had been sold to them as well. Deciding that drastic attempts must be taken and are going to hire Industry Spy David “Mo” Rutherford to steal the ingredients for them. Proving himself capable after already knowing everything due to having bugged one of them the night before and after getting his check. Knocked out the guy who was giving him a hard time for being ousted from the FBI. Meanwhile, Jason is trying to warn his family about The Stuff but they are not listening. Back to Moe, we see him posing as a wealthy Oil Tycoon to get into a Sound Stage where they are recording the next commercial. Full of scantily clad women who are walking down runways and feeding each other. Being directed by Nicole. The woman who pretty much got their advertisement up and running. After smooth talking her into believing he was a potential buyer of the entire ad agency and agrees to go back to his hotel to talk more. Leaving us free to rejoin Jason in his destruction of as much of The Stuff as he can at the grocery store, before workers manage to grab him. After an Interview with someone with the FDA, who is killed by his dog after. Mo follows a lead to Stader, Virginia. A ghost town, with just a postmen and Gas Station Worker. After an altercation with a man named Chocolate Chip Charlie. The former owner of the Chocolate Chip Company. Turned out he was swindled out of his company by his Family and wants to find evidence to use to get his company back. Together they confront the postman. Finding out that everyone’s mail was being routed to Midland, Georgia. He excuses himself to the bathroom. Where The Stuff begins pouring out of his mouth. After hearing strange noises, break down the door. Finding him dead on the ground. Mouth opened outstretched. They go out the window to find who did it. Are attacked by a group of men, who are hollow and break under their attacks. Finally getting away by boat and somewhere safe. Mo sends Chocolate Chip to get the FBI while he pushes on with his investigation. Goal shifting more from the ingredients to what exactly is The Stuff and I will leave it there for now.
This was a compelling tale of consumerism. How easily it is to get people hooked on a product. With several sexy, flashy commercials, songs and radio advertisements. People eating it all up without even wondering what exactly they were putting into their bodies. Only people asking were the ones who wanted to use it to do the same thing for the sake of cashing in on it. Even after knowing, still willing to put it in their products as low doses to get people hooked, without the mind control effects. A story that not only stands the test of time, but can easily be re-done today to similar affects.
Of course, being a horror movie from the 80’s, we got to talk about the effects. Which were pretty good. Affects of The Stuff coming out of people’s mouths looks good and they did a good job for the most part making pools of The Stuff move about rooms and shooting out of beds. A bit of the green screen and CG are a bit dodgy but passable for its age.
Michael Moriarty was easily the standout in the cast. Bringing a suave swagger to his character. Likable right from the gate, when he showed his prowess with the bug and the way he knocked out the guy who mocked him from the gate. Putting together a good guy, who believed his own hype and knew how to back it up at the same time. Garret Morris’s Chocolate Chip Charlie was criminally under-utilized. When he was on screen he was so good. Entertaining and had good chemistry with Moriarty and a shame we didn’t get more screen time. The same can kind of be said for Andrea Marcovicci. Played her role well enough, just felt like her character needed more fleshing out.
Negative wise is the Militia scenes. They really add very little outside of humor. Which could have easily have gone to Chocolate Chip and been a lot better. Even the fact that they had a radio station could have gone to Nicole or one of many of Mo Contacts. Just felt like they were tacked on for time and not much more. Although, did chuckle at the ‘Nam joke.
Before we round this out. Let me say something that will certainly rock the boat with some people. In a world that loves dusting off movies and giving them a new shine. The Stuff would actually be perfect for a remake. Like I said, The Consumerism Story they told is still prevalent today. Quite a few Horror Directors active today could tell a chilling tale today with a bit higher budget and newer practical effects. Especially if they get the nerve to give it a much darker ending.
With that said, The Stuff is definitely a movie you should give watch if you haven’t already seen. Have some good laughs and decent horror spread out. As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
So it has been awhile since my last entry into the B Movie Sunday and made it a point to find a movie for today’s review and stumbled upon a selection of Mermaid themed horror movies. Which I didn’t know was a thing, but was hoping for the best as I picked one at random and gave it a go. Lets dive in and check out if I made the right choice.
The movie kicks off with a relatively long intro, with four people on a boat. Amy, Shelly, Roy, and Toby. They show up at an island and make their way to a lake. Amy making her way to the beach while the others hang back. Shelly warning Toby about pain to come and find out it is over the fact he is going to propose. She walks off and while Toby and Roy are discussing the fact he is going to do this. Shelly is busy blowing the surprise and telling Amy. Who is mortified by this, cause they just started dating, but she didn’t want to hurt him either. Before she figures out what to do, Toby comes over and they go for a hike with a picnic basket. After a bot of a trek, he pops the question and she declines it. Trying to get it through to him that they don’t know each other well enough and he is going on about the age thing and while that is happening. Shelly gets pushed into the lake after splashing Roy with water. Before she gets out something bites her leg. They get her out, but she is to hurt to walk and they carry her toward the spot the see smoke coming from to get her help. They find a house and believe no one home and take her inside for an old woman to come out of a backroom. When she learns Shelly was bitten in the lake. Pulls a gun and wants to kill her. Saying they have to kill her before she kills all of them. They knock her out and tries again the moment she wakes back up. This time around, Shelly bites her and in response, the old lady kills herself and that is where I will leave this for now.
Alright, this story, at the bare bone level is a rather interesting one. Love the idea of killer mermaids, I didn’t even know it was a thing and it sounds like it can do well. Giving them an infectious bite as well isn’t the worst thing. Can be fun to see the effects and something new to the table. With that said though, Mermaid Isle suffered from a lack of budget. I give them all the credit for trying there best to make the story work for their needs, but they really needed some more affects here. Showing some more transformation effects that Shelly and later Amy go through during the transformation or even after the transformation and they are in the water. I really like the looks of their Mermaid Tails. They looked really good, but we only get a few shots on them in the water and really would have liked one good shot of them as Mermaids.
I don’t want to bash the cast to much here. They are all very new to the scene and hope they all grow from this and get better, but there is one I have to talk about and in kind of a negative way and that is Mark Reinhardt’s Toby. He is just so stiff throughout the entire runtime. The old woman pulls a gun, tries to kill Shelly, gets knocked out, attempts to hit Toby with a fire place poker, gets bitten and kills herself and he has the exact same emotionless expression. Like they put the script just off camera and he is reading off of it. Even when he tries to yell at Roy for knocking her out. Just nothing going on in his facial expressions to back up anything he says and it happens throughout. Acting is a hard thing to do and hope he finds his grove and gets more comfortable in front of the camera, but that was not here.
Alright, we are onto the negatives. One of which, is the fact they don’t actually go out into the water. Most of the time is spent against the shoreline in water that might be a foot deep. Yet, they never see the Mermaid coming ever. Just go out a little more. So water is up to their waist at least. Can muddy the river and go from their. Just a little thing to make it more plausible that the Mermaids can effectively sneak up on them.
Alright, this one is a bit more of an issue. You can writing off them not going far enough in the water as just dumb things characters do to advance a story, albeit a little to far but whatever. The audio being so low that they are almost inaudible isn’t. It got better as they went out, but it’s really bad at the start to the point where it I backtracking with closed caption to figure out what was being said.
Mermaid Isle had a good idea in mind, but needed a bigger budget and little more time put in to make the most of it. They tried their best and give them all the credit in the world for trying. As it is though. I can’t suggest it and have to go with a skip it.
As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
Hello and welcome to this weeks B Movie Sunday. Got to get better at sticking to the schedule for these, but nethertheless. Here we are again. Sort of pushing the boundary of what is a B Movie. This time with Girl On The 3rd Floor. A movie I was waiting for quite a bit for a moment to sit down and watch. Mostly, because of one CM Punk, who goes by his real name of Phil Brooks in this. A guy with tons of charisma to add to a movie and wanted to see how well it turned out. Let’s jump right in and talk about it a bit shall we.
Movie starts out, with some gloss over shots of the dilapidated house, as Don and his dog Cooper come inside, and house has a creepy vibe, as he begins to start cleaning things up. Including a spot that has black gunk coming out of it. He doesn’t think much of it as he begins to go about cleaning up. Meeting his neighbor, Ellie, where we learn that his wife, Liz, is expecting his first child, and this is going to be a fresh start for them. We also learn the next morning that he is hiding his drinking from Liz. As we go through the second day, and more things start to happen, and more gross fluid comes out. Always accompanied by a marble. We find that he was in trouble by the Feds, and later we learn that the house has a way of torturing men, from the local creepy old man at the bar, in a Bowling Alley. Then, we meet Sarah. A woman Don ends up having an affair with, and won’t go away. Turning violent after he threatens her, by killing his friend Milo, and that is where I am actually going to leave the synopsis. Mostly, because of how slow burning of a story this is, and already find myself speeding through it as it is.
This story is a real slow burn of a story. Taking place over multiple days. By the time Don realizes something supernatural is happening, it’s already to late, and goes off in a wild direction after the first hour. The idea to go in the way they did was gutsy. Starting off a new, with not a lot of time left, but to me, it paid off. Leaving me in suspense because I had no idea how this was going to end. Which, seemed like a refreshing change of pace from the normal haunted house kind of deals.
Another Positive, was the gore. While Milo’s was a bit blah. They really upped the ante with Don and him trying to cut the marble out of him, till it plopped out of his eye socket and how he looked at the end. All of which was great stuff, and of course; poor Cooper. They set it up perfectly. Kind of making you feel it was a false jumpstart, but hitting you with poor pups head in the dryer. Probably more upsetting, but thumbs up for actually going there.
Cast wise was actually pretty good. No award winning performances, but entertaining all the same. Being Phil Brook’s first lead role, I felt he showed a lot of potential and was really enjoyable as Don. A rumor cropped up last week, of him potentially playing Ash in Evil Dead, while I don’t agree to that. Can see flares on Bruce Campbell in his performance, as Don. Slapstick comedic moments of getting sprayed in the face by something horrible, but able to turn the charm on in the very next moment. Showing a lot of depth with a man trying to start over and be a good Husband who is ultimately failing. Since most of the movie, revolved around just him. He did really well keeping the interest. On the back half, you has Trieste Kelly Dunn as Liz, who did a great job carrying the back part of this movie. Really coming in when the climax is well under way and made you care about her and wanting to make it through, and Sarah Brooks played an villainous foil to them both, in a good performance as well.
Negative wise, could see not a lot of people enjoying just how much of a slow burn it is. I enjoyed it, because it really ramped up how dangerous the ghosts are, but can see how some may think that it’s a bit to slow at the start.
Alright, big spoilers coming, so if you are going to watch it. Suggests skipping the paragraph… Okay, now I really enjoyed the fact they took out Don and Liz surviving to the end. Even liked the fact they were living in the house. As the rules of it goes. They would be fine, but my issue is seeing Don in the vent. Made no sense, and all it did was try for a cheap last moment jump that fails horribly and kind of a bad way to end things on.
With all of that said. Would have no problem suggesting Girl On The Third Floor to someone. It had some fun moments, gory ones, and a nice late change in direction that kept the suspense and mystery. The slow burn was handled nicely and enjoyable movie to watch.
As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank You For Reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
Hello and welcome back to this weeks B Movie Sunday. Took a bit of a break from this series and when I saw this movie. Thought it was going to be a fun little ghost killer movie, and well, that couldn’t possibly be further from the truth. Proving to be a wild and one of the more darker movies I have seen in quite some time. Lets jump and discuss shall we, and see if it was worth while and if I would suggest it shall we.
We open with a bit of a flashback to when the hotel was open, and we see a Mom in a lawn. Not paying attention to her Daughter, who chases a rabbit out into the road, and gets hit by a car. Then we get a fast track of the hotel becoming dilapidated and we jump to a group of college kids in an RV. Arguing over a shortcut that Kyle took. Off the bat, we find out that three of them are keeping some sort of secret, and coming out at the store. See one buying a pregnancy test, a pill popper, and one is cutting herself. After they leave, they run into a road closed sign, and in a fit to make up. Kyle ends up flipping the RV and after the quickest walk in the world. Corey and Spencer finds the abandoned hotel and they decide to hold up here till the morning and the store opens again. Right away, Megan takes the pregnancy test and discovers she is pregnant, and runs off crying. This was not a planned pregnancy and doesn’t understand how this happened. Telling all of this to her friend Rachael, who saw her buying the test, who opens up with a secret of her own. That she ran someone over when she was drunk and left the scene. Suppose to make it clear she wouldn’t tell anyone, but these two don’t really don’t even out, but more on that later. After she leaves, Rachael stays back for a moment. Broken up by her own memory, and the ghost girl appears. Leading her out into the road. Stunned by her injured and bloody face. Freezing Rachael up long enough to get hit by a car. Her friends find her dead and the driver is drunk and unconscious. Bringing him inside and Kori goes off to find something to fix him up with and that is where I will stop, not to refrain from spoiling anything, but because at this point, things start to run and nothing is ever as it seems.
The people who worked on this really didn’t want you to have any idea on what was happening next. Any time you thought you knew where this movie was going. It would immediately turn into and run into a vastly different direction. From the events after Angela’s death and what happened to her Parents. To your main cast of characters. Everyone having a horrible secret and the direction they went with them, and things just kept getting darker and darker. I can see some people looking at it as too much, but it worked well for me. It kept me curious and wondering exactly where this was going and how it was going to end. At some point, just had to give up and go along with it.
Casting wise, there wasn’t many who really stood out. They were alright. I did like Angel McCord’s Corey. Would have liked to see more of her. The fact that it seemed like she might play heavily into the ending later, but didn’t was a little frustrating. The one who did stand out for me, was Rileigh Chalmers. Creepy kids always freak me out, and she did a wonderful job as Angela. Especially, when she was just staring down Kyle while he was shooting up. Great job throughout.
I am kind of torn on the ending. Much like the rest of this movie, it is dark, and while I understand why. It kind of goes for how easily secrets can tear people apart and the grave consequences that their secrets have on one another, they may have gone a bit to far at the end. Not with Spencer, but with how Megan’s story ends. I already think she was the weaker of the three female characters, and could have used a slightly better ending.
Alright, got to talk about the little sharing moment between Rachel and Megan. Megan’s problem, while is a big one, is a far stretch away from hit and run. She is admitting to murder as a bonding moment. Megan’s secret is going to be outed in a few months, while the horrific thought of her friend killing someone is forever. Should have had this moment with Corey, so you can at least tell us what is going on in her life, and why she is hurting herself. Plus, her and Megan have that in common. Both are kind of suffering in silence and could have built them both up, and since you weren’t going anywhere with Corey’s Character anyways. Could have her run over and Rachel’s secret can come out with Spencer later.
With all of that said, would I suggest No Tell Motel. After thinking it over, I would, but with a bit of a warning. This movie, although short. Has more than its fair share of twists, and goes down a dark road, with an not so happy ending, and these movies are not for everyone. If you are, you may find some enjoyment in No Way Motel. I for one, did.
As always, I hope you enjoyed and…
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
This was a challenging. Made multiple changes and started at least four other movies only to change my mind and seek out another B Movie. None of which seemed right. Wanting to find one that was more fun, after the last two more serious toned movies, Jacob’s Ladder and 88. Than, I found it, Boa Vs. Python. I loved Boa and Python, and surely having the two together, would be just the type of movie I was looking for. Was it worth all of that, or should I have kept looking? Let’s dive in and see shall we.
The movie starts out with these two, clear villains of the movie, Broddick and girlfriend Eve, at some underground fighting ring. Excited, because the package he was expecting, was in it’s final leg of delivery. Of course, it doesn’t make it. Turns out to be the giant python, that escapes into axis tunnels of a water treatment plant. While a local reporter believes that the accident has to do with terrorists. FBI Agent Sharpe, puts together what happened and seeks out two experts. One, Monica Bonds, an underwater biologist, maybe.. who works with dolphins and the use of camera and gps on animals, and Emmet, Herpetologist who has grown a massive Boa Constrictor. Who was working with her, to create a universal snake venom toxin. Shape’s plan, use his Boa to track and take out the Python. Meanwhile, we learn that Broddick was planning on using the Python to hunt for himself and several rich investors and he has the hunt moved to where the snake escaped, and I will leave it there.
The story suffers massively on two fronts. One, a major pacing issue. It takes a long time for anything to really happen. We meet the go through meeting the characters, which is fine, but we spend so much time with them, with only a little bit of Python action sprinkled in, because they keep the other have of the fight, in surgery getting her equipment attached to her head. Than, when things are starting to look good. They stop for a setting change, and this is where the next problem rears its ugly face into play, and the characters show to be the dumbest of all time, and every bit of it, is centered around the Broddick character. They arrest him, in the services tunnels, but have him, in the main tent, without even being handcuffed, and he actually slips away while everyone is standing there, gets into a tank, and drives away, like it was nothing. Not one highly trained soldier, sees who is nothing more than a rich, big game hunter, get out of the tent, and into a tank. I don’t like to point out when characters make bad choices. A list movies do it all the time, and this is a B Movie, but no. This is one level to much. Everyone came across as dumb and just so bad. Can see they wanted Broddick to play into the climax, but could have just had him escape the tunnels and everyone saves face for it. I enjoyed some of what they had here, and could have done so much better if they would have tightened things up and sped things up, and brainstormed the Broddick side of things up.
I really liked the CGI for the snakes. Particularly when they were alone. The python looked really good, but the Boa looked beautiful. Nice shade of red, and with the camera and equipment on her head, made it look like a visor, and I know it sounds weird that I am fixing in on that, but having seen all these snake movies. It gave this Boa something special and added to her look. A big example for this was when she was staring down Eve when she was holding one of her eggs.
Cast wise was fine. No one really stood out, but don’t want to blame them for that. David Hewlett and Jaime Bergman had a lot of chemistry together. Him being more of a loner to her outgoing fun character playing well off one another. Angel Boris Reed owned every scene Eve was in, and Adamo Palladino did fine as Broddick, but the character was just so boring. Atanas Srebrev created a mysterious character in Foley. Thinking something fun was going to happen with him, but nothing ever did. It all just seemed like a missed opportunity.
So, it comes down to one question, would I suggest Boa Vs. Python; unfortunately, I can’t say I would. Boa and Python were much better movies, and many others are more enjoyable. While this one is alright and there are some fun moments to be had here. Just does not do nearly enough to make this something I could ever suggest to anyone, no matter how much they are into the genre.
And that is all I got. Hope you enjoyed and as always…
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
A Co-worker lent me the original and while I enjoyed it. Thought it would make a great remake. A great story, with psychologically disturbing element to it. Just knew if they came at it from a different approach, they could do something special. When I heard about that one was indeed being made, was excited, but as quickly as I heard, it kind of vanished. Read it was coming to theaters, but it turned out to select theaters and kind of slipped by me for a bit. Now, here we are. A little late to the party, but that is okay. The only question, is was it worth the wait? So, lets travel the ladder, and breakdown Jacob’s Ladder.
The movie starts out with a soldier, being triggered into a flashback, by the sound of a can crushing under his foot. Can became a bomb, and helicopters and flashing lights. All stopping when he took a drug. Only, to have what appeared to be choked out from behind in one moment, and overdosing the next. Two people dragging his body away after he died. We jump to a military base, where Jacob is talking. Feeling is slightly uneasy. He goes to make a call home, and find out he is going to be a Father, when he has to leave, cause a wounded soldier is brought in. Turning out to be his brother, and as the sound of a flatline comes in. We see Jacob in a surgery room, in a hospital. Lost a person and the sound triggered the previous flashback. We see he has a happy life, with his Wife Samantha and son Gabriel. Except, he is having nightmares of a firefight. After he arrives at the hospital, another Soldier has an Overdose, and like the first. He too, is taking the drug. On his way to the therapist, he runs into a homeless Vet, who claims that his Brother Isaac is not only alive, but in the city and is in danger. He doesn’t believe it, nor does his therapist. On the subway he experiences his first hallucination, and when he gets home. Is attacked by two men. One of which is horribly mutilated. He tried to take the second to the police station, but he is not in the trunk. Except the same vet is there, and this time, Jacob takes him seriously. Is going to take him to Isaac, and starts to explain what H.D.A is. A drug that targets traumatic memories in those with P.T.S.D. Except, it makes them crazy, and people are hunting them down. Before he can get finish. Is pushed in front of a train. When no one believes him. Jacob takes it on himself to investigate and after a few jumpscares. He finds Isaac, except the paranoia and as the line between truth and fantasy gets even wider. We find that nothing we have seen is how it is supposed to be and I will leave it there.
(I am putting this here as a secondary warning. If you are planning on watching this movie and checking this out first to see what others think. Would suggest not going further cause I am going to talk about the twist and can ruin the experience of watching it unfold.)
This movie.. tries to pull off a wild swerve, and I didn’t see it coming till the big reveal. Which is that Jacob was the lost brother, on The Ladder all this time, and Isaac was the V.A.Doctor the whole time and The Ladder not only was wiping out the traumatic memory, but making him believe that he was his brother the whole time. Now, I think it was creative, but the process of achievement was very sloppy. There wasn’t a gradual change in the characters, but a rough and rugged one, Samantha especially, cause she was coming off more unlikeable the more we saw her. They really could have used a bit more time to show a natural shift of Samantha and Jacob being the coupe to Samantha and Isaac, but that was not the only problem. An even bigger one, was what Jacob did immediately after, by going to the red head we saw earlier.
She turned out to be a dealer of sorts, working with Hoffman. This scene felt so tact on, because they wanted to bring in more from the original Jacob’s Ladder with her demonic angel wings. The problem is that they were telling a completely different story and it no longer fit the narrative. Would have been better to skip the scene all together and go to Hoffman, or the very least, show her with the wings earlier, and not have them here.
Now, this movie wasn’t all negative. There were some good things as well, and thing I loved was the message that this was telling. They really got the Flashback scene at the beginning of the movie right. The smallest surprise of a loud sound is all it takes to trigger a flashback. Showing how many soldiers suffer from PTSD. The lengths some will go to make the memories stop and how susceptible they are to people like Hoffman. Who is using them like lab rats. A pretty powerful message to have.
Acting wise, you have Michael Ealy playing Jacob and Jesse Williams playing Isaac. I did enjoy their chemistry when they were together. About to building up the brotherly bond between the two. Each had difficult roles, because they had to pretty much switch on the fly. While they pulled it off, Nicole Beharie didn’t. Don’t want to point the finger at her. Maybe if she had more time, would work better, or might be better if I watched it again, but first opinion; she wasn’t that good. Lastly, I did enjoy Guy Burnet’s Hoffman. He seemed like a throw away character till the end, but I did enjoy his speech at the end. As twisted as it was, legitimately believed that he was the only one doing anything for the vets.
Would I suggest this movie to someone? A question that has been floating back and forth since the movie ended, and even all the way through this blog. I enjoyed some of the acting and I liked the message with the P.T.S.D. In a way, it did keep the spirit of Jacob’s Ladder, but only as far as the drug is concerned. The demons were more tacked on to appease the fans of the original and used as nothing more than a jump scare than anything. And the swerve, while creative, wasn’t executed well and I am sure there are better movies that tackle the P.T.S.D. side of things. With that said, I would suggest checking it out. It’s not a movie for everyone, you can have a bit of fun with it, and I did enjoy watching it. And that is all I got. I hope you enjoyed and as always…
Thank you for reading.
By: Justin Hopkins
So, I decided to mix things up, just a little bit. Up until this point, have mostly kept this series to B movie horror, but the action genre has some gems just waiting to be stumbled upon. Checking through the list, 88 jumped out to me right away. Mostly, because I am a big fan of Katharine Isabelle. The synopsis sounded promising and was sure this would be perfect. Wow, this movie was really something else. Let’s jump right into this one and I will do my best to make heads and tails of this rather interesting film.
88, starts out by giving some information on what Fuge States are (In a very brief explanation, they are a mental disorder where one loses memory and self identity for periods of time. Mostly due to a traumatic event) and that is where Gwen is when the movie starts. In a trance like state when she is broken of it has no idea where she is, how she got there or anything. Her hand is bloody and wrapped up, and her bag is full of gumballs and a gun. When one of the waitresses sees it, screams and alerts the cops in the diner. After an old man taps her, and she flinches, causing her to shot another waitress, and she flees the scene, with the police right behind her. Then we jump to another version of Gwen, passed out on the side of the road in a red dress. This is not the Gwen we see at the diner, but one who almost runs off pure impulse. She attacks the man who pulls over to help her, and steals his car and cigarettes, and goes by the name Flamingo, and this is how the movie plays out. Hoping back and forth, with the Gwen version trying to find out what has happened to her and the Flamingo one, going about things almost randomly, till she learns that her boyfriend was killed by a man named Cyrus, and that is honestly, about as close to the story that I could easily describe in the way I normally would.
Have to give a round of applause to the Director April Mullen and writer Tim Doiron. The way they brought these two stories together was simply incredible. Nothing is ever just a wasted moment. Even a simple sentence in the Gwen half ends up being something massive in the Flamingo story and vice-versa. A little sentence about the situation between Vinnie and Cyrus becomes a big part of what set everything off. The milk and gumballs and the number 88. It’s a movie that makes you sit and pay attention to everything and can be a slight issue at times, cause it’s so easy to miss something. That said, they did a fantastic job at connecting all the dots though.
Between watching and doing this, did a bit of research on Fuge states. Out of curiosity, wanting to see how much of what we see from Gwen\Flamingo is coming from the real deal, and yeah they did a good job at that. Flamingo is a character who doesn’t really ever seem to be in reality. She just goes about her day from one thing to the next. Often experiencing hallucination and blackouts. Now, she may or may not be to an extreme exaggerated form. I don’t know that much about the condition, only read a few articles, but the fact they obvious took time to take the condition seriously is a nice touch.
Acting wise, Katharine Isabelle was fantastic. Playing the more sweet and caring Gwen, who didn’t want to hurt anyone and just wanted to know what happened and why her love was killed. Than turn it around to the mentally broken and violent prone Flamingo. Both roles were so important. Each of them had to carry the narrative and couldn’t imagine anyone other than Katharine Isabelle did. On the villain side, we have Cyrus, played by the extremely talented Christopher Lloyd. He plays such a great bad guy, because it always comes as such a surprise. It shouldn’t really at this point, but he was really sadistic in this, and I think they may have ruined it a bit with the ending. Which we will get into now.
I genuinely didn’t see the Gwen ending coming and still don’t know if I liked it. Felt like a shock that was right there for you to see, and that was how Aster died. All this time, was about avenging his death, and then you see what happens. That while Cyrus and his men were coming to kill them. It was Gwen who shot him by mistake, and that was what triggered the Fuge State, and she gets arrested after Cyrus kills himself. I liked the surprise. Did something different, and not so much the surprise swerve that causes my dislike, but the suicide. I cared about both Gwen and Flamingo and this just seemed to make everything the two have been through for nothing, but maybe that was the point and they want you to think about it long after it’s over, and ask me a week from now. May end up really liking this, but for now. Was such a depressing way for Gwen’s story to end, but not the final shot. Once, again we jump back to Flamingo, going into the Diner. She starts to hallucinate again, as she takes the spot in the diner, we start with, and her and Aster’s song begins to play, and we zoom in on her face. Recreating the exact shot that the movie begins on. While I don’t quite like where the story ends. I did like how the movie comes to an end, by circling back to where we start with.
This movie can be a chore to watch at times. At an hour and twenty eight minutes, it doesn’t seem like all that long, but with how much that is happening and how much you have to pay attention. It can fell much longer, but would absolutely suggest 88 to anyone who wants a mind bender of a movie to watch. It’s a fun movie that is well worth the watch. Hope you enjoyed the review and as always…
Thank you for reading.