Forget Me Not will not be forgotten

If you like watching former Disney kids doing the complete opposite of evForget Me Noterything we came to know and love them for, then this movie is for you. OK, OK, so there are only two of them and they are from completely different generations of Disney channel, but it was still intriguing to see people I grew up watching in less than G-rated situations now in R-rated ones. It also really has nothing to do with the plot of this movie at all, and I’ve officially crossed the border into ranting, so I digress.

(I’ll leave you wondering what Disney kids went bad in this movie for a little longer.)

Let me just get this out there right off the bat so there is no confusion over what you may be getting yourself into if you sign up to watch this movie: Forget Me Not is a stereotypical teen horror flick when it comes to the old tropes they use.

Girls in bikinis? Check

Underage drinking? Check

Sexual exploits of minors? Check

Vacations to remote locations that lead to bad news bears? Check (kind of)

You would think that this whole movie would just be something that is overplayed and stale. But despite the utilization of all the cliches in the book, the monotony ends there.  The entire concept that Forget Me Not is built around is an extremely fresh and unique idea that really caught me by surprise.

I watched this particular movie on Amazon Prime, and the synopsis left a lot to be desired, so I was more or less going into it blind.

The premise is this:

Sandy, who is played by Carly Schroeder, aka Melina from Lizzie McGuire, is that girl at their high school.  She is smart and beautiful and has a large and tight knit group of friends that most people are never lucky enough to find in high school.  Her little brother Eli, who is played by Cody Linley, aka Jake from Hannah Montanna (that’s right, ladies, Heartbreak-Jake is playing a dorky little brother and does an amazing job of mixing adorable and awkward), is a boy genius who skipped a grade, is graduating a year early with his big sister and is valedictorian of their class.  Cue-bad boy boyfriend of Sandy who is the son of the town sheriff and has a little sister who needs some serious behavioral therapy, throw in a couple more hot girls and a cheating boyfriend and you’ve got the perfect summer chick flick, right?

Wrong.

The conflict really arises when the group decides to go to a local graveyard and play a game that is very reminiscent of the old gym-class game that we all used to play in school, Ghosts in the Graveyard. A mysterious girl shows up and requests to play with them, stating it is her “favorite game.” The game springs into full effect and results with our mystery character winning. When Sandy runs after her and announces that she is the winner, the girl asks, “Do you remember me?” when Sandy does not tell her yes, her reply is “You will” before diving off a cliff.

Suddenly Sandy’s friends begin to die off (in true teen horror-flick fashion), but there’s a catch: Sandy is the only person who remembers her friends ever even existed after they’ve died.

I will end my own synopsis there before I give too much more of the film away, and I will tell you what I thought about it.

Despite the cliches and tropes they used to try and pull people into this movie, I thoroughly enjoyed it for what it was. I was not going into it expecting to see something amazing or to find my new favorite horror movie, but I was pleasantly surprised by what I did find. It wasn’t as scary as I would have hoped for, but the ghostly apparitions of their dead friends that appear right before another one is killed off were creepy enough to stick with me when I was falling asleep alone in my dorm before my roommate got back. Director Tyler Oliver married the cliches well with the unique premise he and the writers developed.

I think that this is a horror movie that even some of you who don’t enjoy horror movies could get on board with.

What do you think about the utilizations of cliches and overused tropes in the horror movies? Do you think it can work? What movies have you seen that do this well?

Forget Me Not Wiki: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forget_Me_Not_(2009_film)

Forget Me Not IMDB: 

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1147684/

Forget Me Not Trailer: 

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The Diabolical-ly misleading synopsis

I’m going to be completely honest with you and tell you that I decided tdiabolicalo watch this movie because of the fact that the lead actress is Ali Larter, an actress I adore. For those of you who were fans of Heroes back before the failed reboot may know her as Nikki/Jessica/Tracy/a whole other slew of characters or, for those fellow horror buffs out there, as Clear Rivers from the first two Final Destination films. I went into this expecting a poltergeist-fueled horror film with things that go bump in the night and voices coming through the TV.

I did not, however, get what I was expecting at all. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what to even say about this movie. I think my main issue with this movie was that I got something completely different than what I was expecting, so I can’t even judge this with an unbiased view point. As it turned out, this was not a horror film at all, but a science fiction film.

Once I realized that I had actually gotten myself into a sci-fi film, I seriously considered turning off the movie and starting another one, but at that point I had only 20 minutes left in the film and I had committed far too much time to just give up.

The film starts out intense enough with our main character Madison (Larter) waking up to a noise in her house after falling asleep at the dining room table. After checking things out very briefly, she sits back down to continue the work she was doing on her laptop only to be interrupted by a disgustingly gruesome apparition that looks like a combination of a grown-man-sized newborn baby and a burn victim. To me this boded well for this movie.

I was severely mistaken.

We find out that Madison is a single, widowed mother of two who has been trying to figure out what exactly has been terrorizing them for some time now. She has brought in paranormal investigators, priests, clairvoyants and paranormal psychologists, to no avail. It quickly becomes clear that her children are also aware that there is something unnatural going on in their home.

Her son, Jacob (Max Rose), has been in trouble for beating one of his fellow classmates unconscious, and it becomes increasingly clear that Jacob has severe anger issues that he is unable to control.  It is alluded that his father also had problems with rage, and hints at him being abusive to Madison. Jacob has been receiving tutoring–presumably because he was suspended from school for his outburst–and we quickly find out that Madison is romantically involved with his tutor Miguel (Wilmer Calderon).

I will say that when I was still under the impression that this was a horror movie about poltergeists rather than a sci-fi movie about teleportation, I was excited at the prospect of a horror movie actually addressing the theory that poltergeists are not actually ghosts or spirits at all but are a form of negative energy. There are so many possibilities to marry sci-fi and horror with the actual lore of poltergeists. This movie, however, did not quite hit the mark.

If you like sci-fi (which I normally do), it is worth a watch.  The acting was very impressive, and I assume that if you go into it knowing more of what to expect than I did, it is a pretty good movie. For the sake of this blog, however, it was a dud.

What are your opinions on the mixing of sci-fi and horror? Are there any movies you’ve seen that have done it well?

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)

 

 

Hellions aka children

HellionsI tried desperately to come up with some sort of catchy and quick-witted line to open this entry with. I could not, however, come up with a satisfactory line to describe my mix of feelings about the Canadian horror film Hellions.  Director Bruce McDonald makes a lot of decisions that you don’t expect to see in the horror genre that, at times, took the film to the next level and at other times left me confused and anything but scared.

The movie starts out scary enough with the announcement that our main character, Dora (Chloe Rose) is pregnant. Teen pregnancy, however, is not the most disturbing thing about this movie. It’s Halloween night, and Dora decides to stay home rather than go to a party with her boyfriend or accompany her mother and brother trick-or-treating.

I mean, would you want to go out and party it up when you’ve got to figure out how to tell your boyfriend he knocked you up?

Dora decides in the end to go to the party with her boyfriend and dresses up in an angel costume (which seems symbolically fitting, don’t you agree?) and waits for him to arrive.

Except he never shows up.

The only visits Dora gets are from some of the creepiest trick-or-treaters you will ever see, and they want a lot more than candy.

This movie, without giving too much away, left a lot to be desired in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong–McDonald plays the creepy-child card very well, and for the first half of the movie my skin was crawling. Then things get a little iffy, and he lost my faith.

I’m all for artistic films and pushing the boundaries, but there are just certain places that artistic liberties are not needed or wanted, and one of those is horror films of this type. There is a way to push the boundaries in horror, which typically include questions like: “How much blood can we get in this film without the studio labeling us NC-17 (shout out to the Evil Dead)?” or “How long do you think a person could reasonably live without his or her extremities?” or “Do you think that sewing people together to make a giant human chain will go over well?”

This movie didn’t ask those types of questions.

Granted, there was a disturbing scene of Dora hallucinating herself eating a fetus, and the children’s masks are the things of nightmares, their boundary-pushing questions seemed to be more along the lines of: “How many random and unnecessary cut scenes can we put in before our audience is so confused they’re not even sure which way is up?”

I don’t know the exact number, but I can tell you they achieved it.

I got hopelessly lost within the plot, and just when I thought they were bringing things back to some sort of sense and order, something else would happen that would confuse me even more. They would give me just enough time to get pulled back into the action and the horror, and then I’d fall back out of it, or rather be pushed.

As someone who fancies herself an amateur writer, I can tell you one thing I’ve learned that remains true in every genre: There has to be rules.

It doesn’t matter if it’s fantasy or sci-fi or horror; the world you are creating has to have rules and parameters so that your audience can understand what the conflict is. Without rules there is no way of understanding motivation.

Overall, if you aren’t already a big horror fan, don’t waste your time on this film. If you’re a film buff who loves cinematography or a horror fan who just loves to watch any and everything, it might be worth one watch through.

What do you think about horror films that get a little too artsy?  Do you think that it takes away from the purpose of a horror film?

 

Hellions IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3305844/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Hellions Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellions_(film)

Hellions Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUwxpVhpFHU

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.