Director Brian Duffield’s science fiction home invasion film is a deceptively massive film. It’s simplistic in that it’s limited to a cast of mainly one person, and places the enormous crux of the dramatic weight on the shoulders of star Kaitlyn Dever. Thankfully Dever is more than up to the task, offering what is easily one of her best performances to date. Director Duffield mixes so many genres and sub-genres from home invasion, survival thriller, character-based drama, themes about grief and guilt, and extra terrestrials all colliding in an absolutely outstanding cinematic experience.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have never been a fan of Wes Craven’s “Last House on the Left” despite its legacy. I respect it for it becoming a platform for Craven but otherwise it was a fairy dull movie that squanders a good premise. Plus I could never get over the comedic sub-plot involving the pair of deputies. Dennis Illiadis completely remakes “Last House” in to the revenge picture that I was originally hoping for. In doing this he side steps about a quarter of the rape and torture, and amps up the revenge plot involving the pair of parents that are outnumbered but not outwitted.
A gang on the run after their leader escapes bumps into two college students in a small town. Things go very wrong and soon one is dead and the other left for dead. As a storm comes in, the gang finds their way to a lake house where the owners do not take well to what they’ve done.
It’s pretty good to see at least one studio investing in transforming vampires in to relentless monsters once again after so many years where vampires have been watered down and overly fetishized. The vampires in André Øvredal’s interpretation of “The Last Voyage of The Demeter” as well as—well—Dracula in general, are not empathetic, alluring figures. They’re blank, cold and vicious monsters controlled by Dracula who is reduced to his most primal state for this re-visiting of one of the most haunting chapters in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
You really haven’t seen it all until you’ve seen a wrestler elbow drop a flesh eating zombie multiple times until its head explodes. That’s that thing about “Here for Blood.” It has a ton of good ideas and a great sense of humor about itself, but it gets lost in so much filler and narrative excess. What could have been a simple and fun home invasion thriller turns in to a convoluted survival film about cults, and sacrifices, and masked killers, and anointed prophets. It’s all a movie that could have been so much better with tighter editing and fifteen minutes trimmed down.
Maximilian Erlenwein’s “The Dive” is probably one of the most stressful movies of the year. In a time where deep dive survival movies have practically become their own sub-genre, “The Dive” is one of the better of the ilk to come along in a while. Erlenwein’s movie is a simple and straight forward survival thriller, but it’s one that depends a lot on triggering the audience’s personal phobias. Anyone with thalassophobia, claustrophobia, or taphophobia will find “The Dive” to be an endurance test of the highest order, and that’s why it works so well.
Damnit. Timothy Woodward Jr’.s “Til Death Do Us Part” is a wonderful idea, one ripe for a great horror comedy with a ton of action and what we ultimately got was just… not what I was completely expecting. Granted, the movie does have a wonderful grasp on what it’s trying to do, but the delivery just felt off. It’s a movie that clocks in at almost two hours, and rather than charge in head first with the laughs and action. Instead the movie takes a lot of time, at least twenty or thirty minutes, establishing the initial storyline and back story.
There was just something so appealing about playing “Twisted Metal” as a kid. I fondly remember when it first came out on Playstation in 1995 and was hooked. When we got our first Playstation we played “Twisted Metal” for hours, finding new ways to eviscerate our opponents and win the battles. For those that have never had the pleasure, “Twisted Metal” is a based on an all out free for all battle video game where you man one of multiple armed vehicles in an attempt to come out the victor. The big bad of the game you’d have to ultimately face off against was the armed Ice Cream car with the clown on top called “Sweet Tooth.” There was always room for “Twisted Metal” to become something of a live action property, but now that video game movies are on the verge of become hotter than ever, it seemed like the right time for an adaptation.