Sinister feelings from Sinister

Sinister.jpgI know you’re probably wondering why I’m writing about a movie that’s been out for four years. I saw this movie from director Scott Derrickson in theaters back in 2012, but I was not a fan. This was a time in my life when I was adamantly against horror films that didn’t wrap everything up with a nice little bow at the end.  Yet, when Sinister 2 came out I still insisted on going to see it when it was in theaters.

I thoroughly enjoyed the second one.

The premise of the first Sinister is easy enough to understand. Ellison Oswald, played by Ethan Hawke, is a true crime novelist who moves his family to a home where a family was murdered in their backyard. In the attic Ellison discovers a box of film canisters and an old-school projector.

When he loads the film onto the projector and begins to watch he is confronted with gruesome movies of various family’s elaborate murders. Strange things begin to happen in the Oswald household, and Ellison soon discovers a demonic apparition in the films. When he contacts a demonology professor he is told that this apparition is a pagan deity known as Bughuul: the child eater.

When I first saw this, as I said, I was not pleased with the ending. Once I found out they were making a second film, however, I was much more at ease with the ending of the last one. It didn’t matter than things weren’t wrapped up because they expanded on the story even more.

What do you think about movies that set up for sequels that don’t come out for years? Does it annoy you too?

Sinister Wiki:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinister_(film)

Sinister IMDB:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1922777/

Sinister Trailer:

 

Bone Tomahawk hits you in the gut

bone tomahawk.jpgWhen you think of genres that go together with horror you typically thing things like drama, comedy and sometimes sci-fi, but never before have I thought of a horror western. That, however, is exactly what the film Bone Tomahawk is. You may be hesitant like I was when I received a text from my sister telling me about a “creepy western” that I needed to watch, but let me tell you it was nothing like what I expected.

This film is a horror western about a tribe of inbred, cannibalistic Native American’s who kidnap three people from a nearby settlement. In keeping with the theme of movies that build the creepy feel for a long time before throwing you into the action ( https://goryrodden.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/bewitched-by-the-witch/ ) this is a film that definitely builds to a gore-filled climax.

The first half of the movie follows the trek of the town of Bright Hope’s Sheriff, played by the legendary Kurt Russell, and Arthur O’Dwyer, played by Patrick Wilson, and two other men on their trek to rescue O’Dwyer’s wife from this cannibalistic tribe.

The movie opens on two robbers murdering a group of travelers as they sleep, but they are scared off by the sound of approaching horses and they run to hide in an Indian burial ground. One of the men is murdered by a mysterious figure while the other makes an escape and shows up in Bright Hope eleven days later. The Sheriff (Russell) goes to check things out when this drifter rolls in and an altercation ends in him shooting the man in the leg. Mrs. O’Dwyer is brought in to help with the injured man’s leg because we find out that the town doctor is a drunk and is too far gone to do any sort of medical procedure.

Her husband (Wilson) is at home in bed attempting to recover from some sort of injury to his own leg from an accident at his job as a foreman. Mrs. O’Dwyer never comes home, however, and the Sheriff returns to the station the next morning to find an arrow stuck in the wall and a completely empty jail. His deputy, Mrs. O’Dwyer, and the drifter have all disappeared and they easily deduce that they were taken by Native Americans.

Mr. O’Dwyer insists on going with them to find his wife despite his injuries. A local Native American whom they consult with warns them to forget about it and stay put. He tells them that there is no way that they will survive a trip to the caves where this tribe lives.

They don’t listen.

This movie was rather slow moving at first, and I wasn’t sure if I was completely on board with it.  Then the action started and it was some of the tensest moments of film I’ve ever seen. Not only does this film have the actual horror of this almost inhuman tribe of cannibals with absolutely no mercy, but we are also reminded just how incredibly difficult frontier life actually was in America. There is the very real, looming possibility that Mr. O’Dwyer could die at any moment just from a simple cut on his leg. We are also confronted with the tension of the settlers taking the land from the Native Americans and the very real threat of their retaliation the settlers faced.

I digress, however.

I will say if you don’t like gore DO NOT WATCH THIS FILM. The gore only lasts for probably twenty minutes of the entire film, but the gore in that moment is so intense that I had to turn my head several times and shield the eyes of the friend I was watching this movie with. If you can handle gore then absolutely watch this film. But I don’t want any of you getting the idea to watch this because of my blog and then you being hit in the face by cannibalistic Native American’s scalping a man and cutting him in half because I didn’t warn you.

What do you think about this odd mixture of genres? What do you think about gore in situations such as this? Can you handle it if it isn’t excessive?

Bone Tomahawk Wiki: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone_Tomahawk

Bone Tomahawk IMDB:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2494362/

Bone Tomahawk Trailer:

 

Fear Contracted from new zombie flick

CONTRACTED_Poster_web.jpgContracted is one film that I can, without a doubt, say has not attracted nearly enough attention from the general public. This film, written and directed by Eric England, was released in 2013 and was originally viewed at the Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival on July 7; it was later released in theaters and on demand. I discovered this film while searching through the horror movies on Netflix for inspiration for this very blog.

Now if you’re anything like me, you probably think that the zombie genre has been completely overplayed within the last few years with popular film and television such as The Walking Dead and World War Z, bringing the genre more into the mainstream than it ever has been before. I find it hard not to roll my eyes when there is a new zombie film announced.  Let’s be real with each other; there are only so many ways that you can re-wear the same old hat before it gets stale and unimpressive.

Contracted was a pleasant surprise for me.

I seem to be in disagreement with a large number of other critics out there (link to Rotten Tomatoes //www.rottentomatoes.com/m/contracted/) in my opinions on this film, and if you are can stomach the gruesome transformation our poor main character takes from ordinary girl to flesh-eating zombie then you may have to simply watch it and make the decision for yourself.

Not unlike the last movie I reviewed for you all, Hellions ( https://goryrodden.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/hellions-aka-children/ ), this film starts off with an ill-advised sexual experience for our main character Samantha (Najarra Townsend) with a stranger after a fight with her girlfriend.  Unfortunately, a night without a condom leads to something far worse than the STD’s we learned about while blushing through our high school health classes.  When Samantha wakes up the next day, she has dark, spidering veins that often are associated with some sort of blood infection spreading across her skin, and it only gets worse from there, my friends.

This movie is a far cry different from most zombie flicks as it follows the three days leading up to what causes the massive out-break that is mapped out in the sequel Contracted: Phase 2 (review to come).  We still don’t know who our “patient zero” is, but we see the devastating transformation of this girl as she spirals mentally, emotionally and physically into the “life” of a zombie.

As much as I enjoyed this movie, I will say that it is not a film for those of you out there who like only fast-paced, action-packed films that are a non-stop thrill ride from start to finish. The pacing is what makes this movie for me. England knew exactly where and when to put things in the timeline of this movie to pack the most punch.  We weren’t forced to accept that this girl had unprotected sex, contracted a zombie STD, and within the week was a flesh-eating monster all within the first ten minutes of the film.

It was not an A-to-Z type of jump.

There was plot.

It was well-developed, which is something that I think has been severely lacking in the horror genre over the last couple of decades.

If you are a zombie fan who has the patience for well-thought-out, well-written plots, then this movie is absolutely worth every bit of your time.

What do you think? Are zombie movies old-hat? Are horror movies losing their use of plot and relying on mindless gore and violence? What do you think about the unique nature of how the disease is spread in this film?

Rotten Tomatoes: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/contracted/

Contracted Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chqtOlOEdsY

Contracted IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2281159/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Contracted Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contracted_(film)

 

 

Would You Rather? Or Rather Not?

Would You Rather

If you’re looking for grim, sadistic and gruesome, then look no further than the movie Would You Rather from director David Guy Levy. In my humble opinion, this film is even more difficult to sit through than all of the Saw movies combined. This is more than just some psycho in a mask forcing people to do horrible things to themselves, but something that is even darker.

This film focuses heavily on Iris (Brittany Snow), who is the sole caretaker of her brother, who is dying of cancer. She is offered the chance at money and medical help for her brother that they would otherwise never have by a mysterious foundation. All she has to do is go to a dinner party and play a little game. If she wins she gets the money and if she loses…well.

Sounds too good to be true, right?

Right.

The sick and twisted Shepherd Lambrick (Jeffrey Combs) has rounded up eight contestants who are all severely down on their luck in various ways and in desperate need of money and, as in Iris’ case, other large favors. We don’t truly get to know the exact motives of everyone else that is attending the dinner party other than the fact that everyone there is in some sort of deep financial need.

The action starts off small with Lambrick offering Iris, a vegetarian, $10,000 to eat meat and another contestant who is a recovering alcoholic $50,000 to drink an entire decanter of scotch. This all quickly snowballs, however, into a sadistic and twisted game of Would You Rather completely different from that which we all played as children.

The thing that is hardest to watch about this movie is that this man is testing not only what these people are willing to do to themselves, but also what they are willing to put other people through. The entire time Lambrick laughs in glee whenever one of them chooses something particularly gruesome, mocking the people he is torturing with malice.

The entire film calls into question what people are capable of in times of desperation and, at an even deeper level, looks into those who draw some sort of pleasure from the misfortune of others.

I think that the most disturbing part of the entire film is the idea that there are truly people out there who are like Lambrick. There are people who draw some sort of amusement and enjoyment from the torture and pain of other people. They enjoy the power trip of pushing people to their limits and watching them fall over the edge.

If you can stomach some rather gruesome scenes and the entire concept of a person who does things such as this to other people, I would suggest watching this movie at least once.