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:

 

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)

 

 

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.