September 17, 2011

Filthy Review - Chromeskull: Laid To Rest 2

Chromeskull: Laid To Rest 2 (2011)

Review by Jude Felton

Some sequels are just satisfied with rehashing the first movie, and then rinse and repeat, some sequels try to add something but result in being a complete mess and then there sequels that add to the storyline of the previous movie and succeed. I’ll start off by saying that Chromeskull falls firmly into the latter, even though it is not without its flaws.

Although it is not absolutely necessary to have seen director Robert Hall’s original Laid to Rest, from 2009, I would recommend doing so as there are many references to it. Not only that, the sequel picks up right from where the first movie starts. By the same token this is, at its core, a slasher flick so if you just want to see folk sliced and diced welcome aboard. I won’t however be rehashing the plot of the first movie, or for that matter overly divulging into the plot of this one. What I will do is give a brief oversight of what the hell this is about.

As I mentioned Chromeskull starts off from where the first flick ended. Chromeskull (Nick Principe) is apparently dead after a showdown at a convenience store and the survivors have high-tailed it out of there. In slinks Preston, Brian Austin Green, and other assorted cronies from the Organization. You see, what we didn’t know but now do is that Chromeskull isn’t in the killing business all on his lonesome, he in fact runs this organization and Preston is his number 2. Anyhoo, they scrape up CS and whisk him off in order to patch him up so that he can finish off the job he started.

If you go into this movie expecting 90 plus minutes of Chromeskull butchering folk you will probably be disappointed. Yes he does kill a few people but for a good portion of the film the focus isn’t solely on him. The focus is split between his previous victim(s), soon to be victims and Preston, who really wants to be him. Worry ye not though as the man with the shiny face does let rip, and it is a thing of beauty when he does.

All that being said do not think that you won’t be treated to a quite dazzling, not to mention incredibly graphic, kill scenes throughout the movie. This really is a movie that will live or die on the strength of its on screen carnage, and that my friends is brutal viewing. We aren’t subjected to an offensive array of CGI, instead just well crafted practical effects and lots of shiny knives in which to help display them.

On the acting front I was actually quite surprised by Brian Austin Green, it took me awhile to realize where I had seen him before but I digress (am sad to say it was indeed Beverly Hills 90210 my god), who seemed to really relish playing his maniacal character. You won’t like him, you’re not supposed to like him, but he does play the part well. He maybe gets a little unnecessary screen-time in places, but on the whole he did a good job. Danielle Harris is starting to make herself a name by popping up in slasher franchises, so far we have Halloween (original franchise), Rob Zombie’s Halloween, Hatchet 2 and now this one. Here she plays the go to person in the Organization and, whilst she doesn’t have an awful lot of screen time, does what is required of her. Thomas Dekker, who starred in the previous movie as Tommy, also puts in a decent enough performance. The rest of the cast are decent enough but don’t add anything to the film, and chances are you won’t remember this film for the acting

On the downside the story gets a little muddled and has the occasional glaring plot-hole. Why would the Organization have a tattoo artist on hand (watch it and you will understand) and why after seeing Preston on a surveillance camera would the police ask Tommy what he looks like?
What you do get here though, and I mentioned it before but it is worth mentioning again, is an exercise in gloriously violent kill scenes and they alone would make this worth watching. The fact that the filmmakers have tried to flesh out the story and add some real meat to it is only a bonus. It appears to me that Robert Hall is working on creating the groundwork for an expanded franchise. In fact I recall reading, before this film even lensed, that he had planned to make a third movie which was/is to be a prequel entitled Conception. Whether this happens or not I do not know. What I do know is that Laid to Rest laid the groundwork and Chromeskull, to varying degrees of success, has expanded on it.

Chromeskull is a dirty, bloody and incredibly violent movie that succeeds as a sequel and as a decent horror flick in its own right.

Chromeskull: Laid To Rest 2 is released on both Rated and Unrated DVD and Unrated Blu-ray on September 20th through Image Entertainment

Filthy Review - Haunting at the Beacon

Haunting at the Beacon (2009)

Review by Jude Felton

Haunting at the Beacon is another is a long line of movies that has languished in distribution limbo having been made, and first screened, in 2009. Back then it was known simple as The Beacon which I personally think is too vague of a name. At least now you get some sort of idea of what to expect, plus I guess it is now easier to market it. Whatever the reason, and truth be known it isn’t usually for a good reason when there are lengthy delays on release, Haunting at the Beacon has finally hit the stores. Don’t run away just yet though, I promise you it is not a total disaster.

In the movie Bryn, played by Teri (Meet the Parents) Polo, and Paul Shaw (The Shield’s David Rees Snell) movie into a new apartment in the titular Beacon Apartments after the disappearance of their young son. The story behind his vanishing is inconclusive, he was playing at a Halloween fair and is presumed drowned after chasing after a ball, his body was never recovered.

The loss has hit Bryn harder than her husband, we learn to what extent later in the movie, and it is not long before she starts to see a strange young boy around the apartment complex. On top of that they seem to have violent neighbors that only she can hear through the walls.

Of course, the police are called yet find nothing so it is down to Bryn to investigate both the strange ghostly young boy and what is going on next door. I should also add that there are about half a dozen other storylines all crammed into this 98 minute movie that, whilst at times seem a little unnecessary, do all come together in a round about way at the end.

What does work about Haunting at the Beacon is the central story surrounding Bryn. There are a few creepy moments, the kind we have seen before but still quite well done for the most part, and Teri Polo’s performance is solid. She manages to convey the sense of loss and desperation quite well even if it does get a little melodramatic towards the latter stages.
Another aspect that I thought was quite decent was the fact that, even if the movie does build up to a slightly predictable conclusion, it still managed to surprise me in the direction it went. It really does go into the “What the fuck?” realm, especially when taken into context what has happened up until then.

On the negative side of things there does seem to be a little too much going on, without much actually happening in places. There are, as mentioned, plenty of subplots and not all of them are necessary and just serve to pad out the running time to be honest. The story focusing on Paul and his relationship with one of the neighbors veers dangerously into daytime Soap territory and really takes you away from the movie. And, whilst it is always good to see him, Michael Ironside is a little wasted in his supporting role even.

On a side note, Haunting at the Beacon was filmed at the Rogers Hotel in Texas which is apparently haunted itself. Although it bears no real relevance on the actual film it does make for a cool location and adds a little spook factor to proceedings.

Overall writer and director Michael Stokes has a decent story at its very core yet the muddled execution leaves it wanting a little. So, as to whether I would recommend it or not? If I flicked on the TV and it was playing I would probably watch it but I am not sure I would throw down any cash at it.

Haunting at the Beacon is released by Take 2 Releasing and is available now

September 16, 2011

Coming Soon - Oranges and Sunshine

Opening in select theaters on October 21st Oranges and Sunshine stars Emily Watson and Hugo Weaving in what promises to be an incredibly powerful movie. Based on the true story of a social worker from Nottingham who uncovers the illegal deportation of children to Australia.

Genre: Drama 
Produced and directed by: Jim Loach
Written by: Rona Munro
Produced by: Camilla Bray, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman
Cast: Emily Watson, Hugo Weaving, David Wenham
Running Time: 105 minutes
Oranges and Sunshine tells the story of Margaret Humphreys, a social worker from Nottingham who uncovered one of the most significant social scandals of recent times: the deportation of thousands of children from the United Kingdom to Australia.

Almost single-handedly, against overwhelming odds and with little regard for her own well-being, Margaret reunited thousands of families, brought authorities to account and drew worldwide attention to an extraordinary miscarriage of justice. Children as young as four had been told that their parents were dead, and been sent to children's homes on the other side of the world. Many were subjected to appalling abuse. They were promised oranges and sunshine: they got hard labour and life in institutions.

September 14, 2011

The Woman - Soundtrack And Single Details

In case you didn't know I really enjoyed The Woman, released October 14th, and you can check out my review here. One of the most controversial aspects of the woman is no doubt the soundtrack that plays during key scenes. Well, you will be able to get your hands on the OST very soon through Moderncine. In fact the first single, Distracted, is available on Sept 15th and you can stream it right here. The soundtrack itself hits the stores, online and off, on October 1st and features the music of Sean Spillane.

Below are a couple of links where you can buy the album and single

The time has come for the debut of Distracted the first single from Sundance’s most controversial selection, The WomanThe eerily calm, dark yet melodic track tapped to be featured as the first single for this season’s most anticipated horror film will be available aton iTunes, Amazon and many other online retail outlets this Thursday, September 15th!

MODERNCINÉ will release The Woman Movie Soundtrack featuring music & lyrics from indie veteran Sean Spillane in its entirety on October 1st. Spillane, best known for his time in Subpop’s critically acclaimed band ARLO, his role in electro-pop/rock band Midway and soundtrack work on films such as “The United States of Leland” blends synth pop, Americana roots and an aura of sinister melodies to capture the dark and gruesome atmosphere of Halloween’s most anticipated film.

The Woman, directed by Lucky McKee and based on the bestselling novel by Lucky McKee and Jack Ketchum is a disturbing tale of torture and dirty little secrets that can haunt any seemingly harmless neighborhood. The story follows a successful country lawyer who captures and attempts to "civilize" the last remaining member of a violent clan that has roamed the Northeast in the wild for decades, thereby putting the lives of his family in extreme jeopardy.

The Woman movie soundtrack will be available in on October 1st on iTunes, Amazon and many other online retail outletsThe Woman opens in theatres October 14th.

MODERNCINÉ is dedicated to making high-quality films by telling stories that are edgy and groundbreaking. The only limit we place on ourselves is to avoid clichés and complacency in favor of original ideas and memorable performances. We strive to maintain a profit-driven business by entertaining both domestic and international audiences.

September 11, 2011

Filthy Review - Sweatshop

Sweatshop (2009)

Review by Jude Felton

Sweatshop first came to my attention way back when folk, myself included, actually used Myspace, so you know we are going back a bit. Since then it has travelled the tried and tested route of playing film festivals up and down the country before finally getting its official DVD release.

The minimalist plot involves a group of kids, well young adults, breaking into an apparently abandoned warehouse in order to set up and run a rave. Unfortunately, before you can don a pair of baggy pants and drop a Rick James baseline, it becomes hammer time, as a hulking behemoth of a man, or Beast as he is known, starts picking off the assorted ravers with a hellacious fury. Tis a simple plot I tell thee.

Sweatshop harkens back to the glory days, or not so glorious depending on your point of view, of the 80’s with a faceless killer dispatching of folk who break the rules by indulging in sex, drugs and booze. Or any one of the three. In Sweatshop the killer’s weapon of choice, although he is not limited to this, is a bloody great foundry hammer. This fucker is huge I am telling you, and it does not leave much left of its victims.

This really is where Sweatshop excels, the violence and subsequent death scenes really are quite special. The level of brutality is something is to be seen, with 100 Tears director Marcus Koch being partly responsible for the carnage on screen.

Now, whilst the violence is quite exquisite, other areas of the film do suffer somewhat. We get treated to lengthy great scenes of the mostly obnoxious cast bullshitting with each other, dancing, screwing and otherwise slowing down proceedings. The fact I found most of them obnoxious though only stands to say that their performances are all quite decent. The real problem was that in most films of this ilk the final girl, or guy, is usually quite apparent from early on, that wasn’t the case here for me.

Visually the film impressed too. Shot on a budget that was less than most new cars it really lived up to its name. The entire movie is a grimy, sweaty, industrial looking affair which when accompanied by the almost constant music all added up to an impressive looking flick.

Sweatshop starts with a bang (look out for Fangoria’s Michael Gingold) and ends just as abruptly. It doesn’t answer any questions, maybe there are plans for a sequel (?), it just serves to assault the viewer, and this it does very well. Director Stacy Davidson has delivered a punishing, and admittedly fun, movie. The pacing could have done with a little tweaking as it does drag in places, but the kill scenes, the sweet, sweet kill scenes more than make up for its shortcomings.

Sweatshop is a fun movie that really needs to be viewed with a group of friends, preferably friends with beer and hard liquor.

Sweatshop is released on Sept 13th through Screen Media Films

Coming Soon - The Perfect House

Directed by Kris Hulbert and Randy Kent, this anthology will be debuting on Facebook on a VOD format on October 1st. 

In THE PERFECT HOUSE, newlyweds Mike and Marisol (Will Robertson and Andrea Vahl), are given the tour of their dream home by a perky real estate agent (Monique Parent) and they soon find out their perfect house might just have a foreboding past. The ugly horrors of this house are revealed through three original tales of terror detailing the grim circumstances of the previous occupants. Done as an anthology, each short story in this homage to horror emulates the story and shooting styles of specific time periods in cinematic horror history. The film is directed by Kris Hulbert and Randy Kent and stars Monique Parent, Felissa Rose, Will Robertson, Andrea Vahl, Chris Raab, Jonathan Tiersten, and John Philbin.