Almost Human (2014) – Movie review

(not to get confused with Almost Human, the TV show)
Almost Human movie pic 10

Almost Human (2014)

Directed by Joe Begos

Aliens are the new zombies! Actually, it hasn’t happened yet but I feel it coming. There’s a vast untapped resource for horror films in the alien encounter sector. We got a slight taste of it with VHS 2 and Alien Abduction but neither film sent this alien bubble into warp-drive. All we need is a real good alien encounter film with some original expansive ideas to lead the way. Unfortunately, Almost Human is not the one. I think the key to getting something worth buzzing about, is for the filmmakers to drop the ‘based on a true story’ angle. Trying to stick close to reality always holds the film back.Almost-Human-2013 - poster

The run-down: Mark is sucked up by a blue light in a rural area of Maine. The girlfriend goes on with her life and the close friend obsesses over it, often waking with nosebleeds (never explained). Mark shows up two years later, naked in the woods, and goes on a killing spree. He injects people with alien egg-sacs.

So your thinking, it starts off just like Fire in the Sky, but that’s not the problem. The problem is… it copy & pastes scenes and ideas from dozens of Horror films: the alien ‘scream’ from Invasion of the Bodysnatchers (1978), the ‘hide in the closet’ scene from Halloween, the ‘bloody worm crawling into someone’s mouth’ scene from Slither, the ‘cops kill the lone survivor ending’ from NotLD, plus parts from Pulp Fiction, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Friday the 13th. Perhaps they were just an homage, but if that were the case, they should have made it more obvious.

There’s an interesting scene where Mark attempts to impregnate his ex-girlfriend by implanting the egg in her you-know-what with his snorkel-face. For everyone else it was oral, why with her is it different? (women like oral too, so I’ve heard) But I watched, ’twas a nice shot of her shaved wahoo. The effects were quite good for a ‘dice and slice’ slasher film, which this was and wasn’t, and it was fun to watch these gags. But, the worst part of the film was, none of these characters were at all interesting. They were boring. Characters without character, no personality. If you watch it just for the gore effects, bloody kills and body count – it’s an ok, casual viewing. Almost Human is almost good.

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Nothing new in this alien encounter turned psycho slasher flick, but decent enough for gore-filled popcorn entertainment.

I give it 2.5 crusty cocoons out of 5 on the alien encounter egg infestation scale.

 

Evil Dead (2013) – Movie Review – part 3

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Evil Dead (2013)  – Movie Review – part 3

Aka: 50 reasons why the new Evil Dead Movie SUCKS! Part 3

***This review is a total spoiler, please do not read if you intend to see the film. ***

This post contains Reasons 41 – 50, on why the new Evil Dead movie sucks!

If you haven’t read reasons 1 – 26, click here:
Evil Dead  Remake sucks reasons 1 – 26

If you haven’t read reasons 27 – 40, click here:
Evil Dead  Remake sucks reasons 27 – 40

Reasons 41 thru 50 are visual comparisons. Very simple. Pic the one that looks scarier, more grotesque, more atmospheric. Pic the one that you would take with you to the desert island if you could only take one.

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The Necronomicon:
Evil Dead Book 1981 Evil Dead Book 2013_

Winner: Evil Dead 1981

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The Cabin

evil-dead-the-cabin 2013
the-evil-dead-the cabin 1981

Winner: Evil Dead 1981

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Deadite in the Cellar

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Evil-Dead cellar guest 1981

Big eyes – vs. – No eyes

Winner: Evil Dead 1981no eyes or just whites is always scarier

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Removing limbs

evil dead lopping limbs 2013
Evil-Dead-lopping limbs 1981

Winner: Evil Dead 1981

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Hero /Heroine

evil-dead- heroine mia 2013 Evil-Dead-Ash-Hero 1981 

Heroin Heroine – vs. – love struck loser

Winner: Love Struck Loser

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Bloody Hero

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The new guy – vs. – Ash

Winner: Ash, come on!

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Motivation

evil dead - brotherely love 2013
evil dead romance - 1981 

I did it for my sister – vs. – I did it for love

Winner: Ash

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Possessed girl number 2

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evildead possessed girl 2 1981

Crawling friend – vs. – ugly possessed sister

Winner: Evil Dead 1981possessed sister’s face is just disturbing

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Friends in need

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evildead friend 1981 

Friend turns into a whining bitch
– vs. –
Friend turns into a snaggle-toothed demon

No contest ! 1981

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Deadite in the cellar – pic 2

evil-dead- cellar guest pic 2 2013-
the-evil-dead cellar guest pic 2 1981

Both creepy looking but…

Winner: Evil Dead 1981 – Crusty, no-eyed, blue-face just creeps me out more.

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So, some may ask, why? Why would I go psycho on this remake when I seemed to have given a pass on Texas Chainsaw and many other remakes that have been just as cookie cutter, Hollywood formula, insta-hits?

The answer is I’m SICK OF IT!

I had been duped into thinking this film was going to be a remake worthy of carrying the name of the original, but it wasn’t. Unfortunately, Hollywood will continue to drain our pockets by selling crap, wrapped in familiar packaging. I’m tired of seeing the movies I love get dragged through the mud by lame sequels and inferior remakes.

I had asked someone about Pumpkinhead the other day. She told me that she didn’t like those movies. Further investigation revealed that she NEVER SAW the original Pumpkinhead and her whole opinion of it was based on some lousy, cheap sequels. THE ORIGINAL is the only important one. And I couldn’t even convince her to watch it because her mind is made up, forever.

In no way am I saying the original Evil Dead 1981 is perfect and doesn’t have flaws. The difference is that it was so original when it came out, we didn’t have the time to think about the faults. We were just shell-shocked, amazed and in horrific wonderment at the spectacle. US horror films have lost all of their originality. The best stories, films, and ideas are coming from other countries these days. (France, Australia, New-Zealand, Asian countries)

Just give me something original, damn-it! Is that too much to ask?

Evil Dead (2013) -Movie Review-part one

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Evil Dead (2013)  – Movie Review
Aka: 50 reasons why the new Evil Dead Movie SUCKS!

***This review is a total spoiler, please do not read if you intend to see the film. ***

After reading some reviews I was actually getting excited and looking forward to this re-boot of the classic Evil Dead. What I was assured of was a more serious horror film than ED II, and one with no CGI, both aspects which I could embrace. I got the impression that I might see something really scary and frightening. What I got was a lot of gore which had the ability to create tension, make me squeamish, but was quickly forgotten once the scene was removed from my field of vision. I can get the same effect from cutting a worm in two or accidentally stepping on a slug in my bare feet.

Once again: SPOILER ALERT !

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First the good things:

The film managed to build tension, not because of suspense or atmosphere, but because of the gore and the squirm inducing actions of the possessed characters.

Good scenes:

Girl cuts off her own face with a broken mirror shard –  I was writhing in my seat knowing what she was doing and hearing the squishy sound of the whole event.

Other girl cuts off her arm with a meat carver/electric knife – This was well done in the special-effects department. Once again, the tendency was to turn away, but much like road kill, you wanted to see – to see how much they were gonna’ show. Then, when the guys run in to the room and her arm is hanging there by a few viscous threads of flesh and muscle… bravo. I’m sufficiently grossed out! (But they didn’t even show the whole event, why?)

The final scenes – high-action, thriller, sequences –  Our heroine stuck in a tight space between the walls as a huge machete punches through the wall at different intervals, coming ever closer to her face. Well done! But, not much different than we’ve seen in the newest Texas Chainsaw, (or 100 other films since Michael Myers began jabbing his knife though the closet door that Laurie Strode was hiding in.)

Ash’s Car is a junk car in the back of the cabin – Nice nod to the original.
evil-dead-1973-oldsmobile-delta-88 Evil-Dead-2013 Jane-Levy-

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Okay, now the problems:

When I watch a film, I can excuse a few plot holes, incongruence’s, disconnects, and nonsensical things. For example, I own every Godzilla film ever made – you gotta’ have a lot of patience to enjoy some of them Godzilla flicks. But, when an otherwise serious film, made for adults, starts to stack up these inconsistencies, one-on-top-of-another, my belief in the film is lost – the plot, characters, and empathy with the situation collapses. A few of these and I would not have noticed. It was the mounting accumulation of them that ruined the film for me.

I hate to rain on you’re “praise of the new Evil Dead film” parade, but here goes…. (you’re not gonna’ like this!)

Hope you get a laugh out of some of these, I certainly did!

And now for my 50 reasons:

1) I have met and seen my share of drug addicts – there is no way a junkie is saving half a bag of smack so she can throw it down a well. That sh*t would have been done in in the car-ride on the way to the cabin!

2) I know these 20-somethings are on an important mission here, but they are a seriously miserable bunch of dreary-faces. None of them even cracks a smile, a joke, nothing… no wonder this poor girl does drugs!

3) Long-haired character dude is clearly upset and disturbed by the evidence of the black rituals that had taken place down the basement. He brings the ‘book’ upstairs, studies it, gets to a part that says, “Don’t read this,” and what does he do? He reads it …

4) Early in the film, the main character, Mia, crashes a car in a lake, gets out, and is then being chased by her possessed self. If she hasn’t been possessed yet, how is her possessed self chasing her???

5) Tree worm thing is a bit gross, but not all that scary.

6) They find Mia in the woods, bring her back to the cabin and are keeping a close eye on her. She is frightened/terrified. Her brother tells her to go take a shower, which she does. When exactly did she kill the dog with a hammer???

7) Need to make a possessed girl, just add boiling water – what book did that come from? I’ve been watching films, shows, and reading books, on witchcraft, spells, demon possessions and necromancy, for a lot of years and nowhere did it ever say, “Add boiling freaking’ water!”

8) Voice of possessed girl sounds like ‘Tickle Me Elmo’ taking a nasty dump! Not scary.

9) How many nails can you load into a nail gun, anyway?

10) Suddenly, there’s a huge roast beef for lunch, just so we can see it being carved with the electric carving knife. I call foul! Going to a cabin in the woods, you’re not bringing a giant roast beef – its hotdogs and burgers, man! and maybe some chicken! But that’s freakin’ it.

11) Everyone and everything is shooting each other with a nail gun. Nail Gun, Nail Gun, Nail Gun! When the brother goes to seal the cellar door, he uses a regular hammer!(wtf?)

12) When carving the roast, the carving blade is one size – carving off an arm, its suddenly 3x longer!

13) As long as you have duct tape, no one’s injuries mean anything. Stabbed in the heart? seal it with duct tape. Cut off an arm? seal it with duct tape. Sliced with a razor-knife, a broken mirror shard, seal it with duct tape. There, good as new, now lets go running around the cabin hunting possessed girlfriends.

14) Apparently, the brother’s job in Chicago gave him the knowledge of how to build a makeshift defibrillator using a car battery, jumper cables, two very large syringes (they’ve grown since seeing them earlier, too), and lots of duct tape.

15) The Brother empties the gas can all over the cabin to burn it down, two scenes later he shoots the (empty) gas can with a shotgun which blows up the cabin!

16) When 5 souls are collected, “the abomination” will rise from the ground. This was the biggest disappointment of the film. “The abomination”  was just another possessed dead body…that was easily killed with a chainsaw. (WTF!) that’s it? The Ultimate anti-climax.

17) Furthermore, there were not even 5 souls, If Mia was back to life, it still only had 4 souls. (can somebody please explain this fuzzy math!)

18) The intact necklace that Mia picks up at the end of the film was clearly broken to pieces several scenes earlier.

19) Mia is being chased by “the abomination” and is stuck in the tool shed. She picks up the chainsaw and there’s no gas in it. So, she bangs a shelf-unit with her foot and a small bottle of gas (it’s marked gas right on it in big letters) falls right into her hands. Foul! Hokey Hollywood cliché # 1!

20) If you got a big red gas can (see #15), why is there gas in a small water bottle, marked gas, out in the shed?

21) Mia gets her arm stuck under a tipped-over car. She pulls really, really hard and it breaks off, oh yeah? Tell that to James Franco – it took him 127 f***ing hours!

22) Now free from the offending car she was pinned under, she walks around like nothing happened and even has the sensibilities to make snarky comments at “the abomination”.

23) Hokey Hollywood cliché #2 – the climatic one-liner. Mia, before finally chopping “the abomination” in half with the chainsaw says, “Feast on this Mother F***er!” Really? That was tired when Clint Eastwood and Bruce Willis said it for the thousandth time in the early 1980’s (okay, they didn’t say those exact words but things very similar).

24) lets back track to the beginning. Bunch a hillbillies break into someone else’s cabin, set up a whole alter with hanging dead cats, and kill a girl (alright she was possessed) then leave behind all the evidence for someone else to find? Including the book that starts the whole mess in the 1st place??? That’s hard to swallow.

25) They have a shower scene and the girl keeps all her clothes on!!! How do you f*ck up a shower scene???

26) They clean up and fix up the cabin for what seems like hours, but no one moved the throw rug? Suddenly the brother picks up the rug and dah-dah-dah! Gasp! There’s a cellar door, gulp.

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That’s reasons 1 thru 26, and I haven’t even compared it to the original… yet.

But I will, in my next installment of…
50 reasons why the new Evil Dead movie sucks! part II
(insert sinister laugh here)

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