Thursday, September 01, 2011

Movie Review: Chawz

If there's one thing I can't get enough of, it's monster movies, but more in particular, Asian monster movies. In recent years, Korean filmmakers have reintroduced us to the beauty of mutant monster movies, something that we here in the U.S. haven't produced successfully since the 50s and 60s. These movies are supposed to be light on scares and big on fun. Case in point, Chawz!

The story follows a young police officer from Seoul who gets transferred to a small rural community, much to his chagrin. After his arrival, the body parts start piling up and the previously peaceful village has now become a haven for death and dismemberment conducted by a renegade mutant boar with a voracious appetite -- for human flesh! Eventually a world-famous hunter is called in, and along with the crazy police force, they set out to kill the beast. The only bad thing is they're completely unprepared for the job.

Written and directed by Shin Jung-Won, Chawz knows not to take itself too seriously and that's a good thing. All throughout the movie, there are laugh-out-loud moments and Korean cinema's trademark crazy characters, like the bumbling police force, the boastful hunter and the wacky female villager, that balance out the film perfectly. And, as you can see in the pic below, the cannibalistic boar doesn't look too bad either.

Is Chawz perfect? No. But it is funny, exciting and a lot of fun to watch. And while it is a monster movie, the allure of Chawz has more to do with the human characters rather than the spectacle of the beast, which also kicks ass by the way. I give Chawz **** out of *****.

Movie Review: Bereavement

Being a lover of director Stevan Mena's Malevolence, I was excited to see his latest film, Bereavement. This film is actually a prequel to Malevolence, which came out back in 2004, which is quite a lengthy span between the films, hence the fact that very little is mentioned about the first film in this one's promotions. While Bereavement works as a stand alone slasher movie for those unfamiliar with Malevolence, having seen it does add to the world in which this one takes place and we get to see how the killer in Malevolence becomes so, well, malevolent.

Bereavement is a very slow burn of a movie and for me, it never really caught fire. It does have plenty of things going for it, however. For starters, the movie has stunning cinematography and aptly creepy music which adds to the thick, heavy atmosphere that permeates the movie. This is a serious horror movie in which the consequences are very real. There are no stupid jokes here to help lighten the mood, folks, this is old school torture horror. There's even violence to children in this film, it's so doggone dark. But, like I said, the consequences are real and the violence is no joke.

My biggest problem with Bereavement is that I just didn't care for any of the characters. Michael Biehn and his entire family just didn't do it for me. I don't know why, but that's the truth of it. So, when things turn from bad to worse, I didn't find myself caring much. I was thinking, "Man, this is a really long movie!"

So, that said, Bereavement is not a completely bad movie, just like it is not a really good movie. It has its good points and its bad. In fact, it's the most middle-of-the-road movie I've seen in a long time. In the end, I give Bereavement **1/2 out of *****.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Movie Review: Spiderhole

Let's start this review off by taking a look at the quote offered on Spiderhole's promo, "If you liked Hostel and Saw, you'll like Spiderhole." Oh those crazy editors, it's supposed to read, "If you like Hostel and Saw's grimy environments, then you MIGHT like Spiderhole."

Spiderhole is about four Brit thirty-something teenagers who are looking for a nice cozy and abandoned place to call home for a while. In other words, they're squatters. They happen upon this one place that seemingly looks perfect, but alas, is anything but. One by one, they're targeted and set upon by some behind-the-scenes madman.

So, these clowns, oh, I mean kids, start looking around the place that's going to be home. For some reason the greasy-haired leader doesn't want to search the place top to bottom, he says he scoped out the joint previously. Then, somebody opens a cabinet and blood-covered clothes and shoes fall out. Queue the "everybody freakout, we gotta get outta here, the leader convinces everybody to chill out and go to sleep" scene. Yeah, I mean, what's so bad about some blood covered clothing, right? Goodnight, see you in the morning. From this point on, Spiderhole starts slipping down the spiderhole.

As they wake up, they discover that somebody barred the door and now, they're trapped inside the building. Nevermind that when the one kid hits a window filled up with bricks that the bricks totally MOVE; he gives up and kicks the wall. Nevermind one girl gets a massive cut on her leg and you have no idea how or when she got it except when she tells the others she got it when looking in some other room she somehow explored while she never left our sight. Then, there's a horrible sequence that looks like segments of film got put together in the wrong sequence during editing. You're literally left asking, "is the killer in front of her or not? No, wait, now she's in a chair, no, now she's removing balusters, wait, wasn't the killer right in front of her a minute ago?"

Spiderhole is a film that had tremendous promise if it was done right, but sadly, it falls flat on its face. The trailer for this thing makes it look awesome, but sadly, it sucks big time. I hope this thing puts the final nail in the sadistic surgeon coffin bit, because it's starting to reek.

Spiderhole only gets * out of *****. Check out the preview below, but don't get caught in its web, this movie is pretty, pretty bad.