Movie Review: The Last Exorcism Part II (2013)

The Last Exorcism Part II (dir. Ed Gass-Donnelly, 2013) – Nell Sweetzer tries to put her past behind, but the return of demon Abalam threatens to disrupt her new life.

Verdict

The Last Exorcism Part II may possess an unwavering lead and a fun ending, but the unnecessary sequel idles on scares and originality.

2/5
Review

From demonic possession to the final expulsion, most exorcism movies follow a foreseeable genre-established timeline. A central shuddering performance like Linda Blair’s is what makes the classics tick. The Last Exorcism succeeds in escaping several clichés, but it was Ashley Bell’s feature debut that sends the chills with her unnerving violent contortions.

The sequel abandons the found footage format and opts for a linear third-person narrative. Nell (Bell) tries to fall back into normalcy after her harrowing ordeal in the woods. She meets hotel worker Chris (Spencer Treat Clark) and falls in love, but soon finds that she might be putting him in fatal danger.

Although Bell maintains her strong performance, it was not enough to sustain the scares this time. A lengthy introduction attempts to build suspense solely upon her growing instability – to little avail. This ends up being nothing more than a filler sans purpose.

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Short Film Review: Valibation

The premise behind Valibation says Cronenberg all over it. The reference isn’t subtle either. The body horror short opens with Geena Davis crying out as flesh slips off Jeff Goldblum on the television screen, while our lead character has his eyes fixed on his mobile phone.

He taps away on his little screen with no heed to the real happenings around him, which shouldn’t sound strange to most of us. Technology addiction has spun a wide web over the globe like an infectious epidemic. To some, turning to the mobile has become a reflex. So many just cannot keep away from the lure of its light, even when there is else to do.

Evading basic etiquette, the disease manifests in the most unwanted situations. People watch a film while on the move, game in the midst of watching a film, or as in the film, start to text during sex.

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Halloween ’12 – 30 Days Of Horror

It’s October again. Our favourite occasion is almost here to greet us. I’m still upset about missing out on all the fun at Eli Roth’s Goretorium, all thanks to being born and bred nowhere near Vegas. But the cheerful tradition of 30 days of horror lives on!  So here goes the 2012 Horror Challenge.

Enjoy, and happy Halloween!

The Mist
Credit: The Weinstein Company / Rohn Schmidt

Day 01: A horror movie that delivered a scary theatrical experience. 

I first saw The Mist with no knowledge of its premise, which made for the most fantastic theatrical experience. This unexpected favourite is revelatory of the worst in human nature, more frightening than that in monsters.

Day 02: A disappointing or unnecessary remake. 

When A Stranger Calls featured one of the most suspenseful openings in the horror genre. Still, that is no reason to expand the 20-minute sequence into an unnecessary full length feature. The 2006 remake takes the reductive plot and further diminishes it into a predictable mess of an urban legend, told too many times before.

Day 03: A scene or image burned into your mind.

The infamous splinter-in-the-eyeball image in Lucio Fulci’s brilliant Zombie Flesh Eaters seared into my mind for years, as did the zombie-versus-shark sequence (for a different reason).

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Movie Review: Resident Evil – Retribution (2012)

Resident Evil: Retribution (dir. Paul W.S. Anderson, 2012) – Project Alice massacres zombies. Again.

Verdict

A mass of visual barf, as mindless and barren as it sounds.

1/5

Review Open Letter to Paul W.S. Anderson

Dear Paul W.S. Anderson,

Two years ago, I wrote a critical review of Resident Evil: Afterlife. Back then, you directed your weapon of mass disappointment at us fans as we sigh in collective frustration. Had it been too harsh? Was it uncalled for? Perhaps so, and this Resident Evil sequel is the retribution I deserve.

A lengthy recap of the brilliant beginning and its three regressing sequels greets us… except it doesn’t. Instead, we get a few more false starts along the way. An average feature film takes… 90 minutes, I cannot help but think as the lights flicker on slowly… panel by panel.

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Movie Review: Insidious (2011)

Insidious (dir. James Wan, 2011) – A young couple seeks help for their comatose child trapped in The Further, a demon and spirit-infested realm.

Verdict

Bringing back atmospheric horror of the 70s, Insidious delivers rare effective scares.

4/5

Review

Spilling blood and ripping innards apart can get you for brief moments. But since the millennium began, horror movies have not sustained terror in their entirety quite like Insidious did.

Following the Splat Pack’s great ambitions, director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannel revive the true unadulterated sense of the word ‘horror’. With Dead Silence, they abandon visceral violence for creepy ambience. With Insidious, they find temerity to strip the genre down to its early roots, making minimalist horror work for a modern audience.

The new masters of suspense pay careful attention to design. In the old-fashioned spirit of beloved 70s horror, the movie completes the nostalgic experience with font and sound. They take us into the dark realms of The Further, where a father will do anything to bring his son back.

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Movie Review: Buried (2010)

Buried (dir. Rodrigo Cortés, 2010) – A truck driver wakes up in a coffin, buried alive with only a lighter and a cell phone.

Verdict

This claustrophobic thriller has us rooting in terror for the victim’s unlikely survival.

4/5

Review

A quick and painful death is often preferred, but Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) has very little choice. Waking up in a wooden coffin, he finds himself buried alive with nothing but a lighter, a cell phone, and sand that fills by the minute.

Set entirely within the oblong box, Buried is a suffocating watch. Despite the simplistic premise, director Rodrigo Cortés racks up tension with the claustrophobic setting and a pointed script. Conroy’s scarce inventory offers little chance for escape, and the film shows no disillusion. Hope wanes as the civilian truck driver struggles to stay calm in the tight space, while trying to figure out the reasons for his imprisonment.

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