31 Films # 16 – Thirteen Ghosts – 2001

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IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0245674/

This is a re-watch, My niece really wanted to see it. I actually saw this in the theatres with my now ex wife in 2001, which before this year was the worst year of my entire life. For basically the same issues as this year actually. I didn’t remember a lot about it, besides it was alright.

This of course, is the remake of the William Castle classic of the same name, sans gimmick. If you have not seen the original, by all means do so. It is a fun film and the DVD version includes the gimmick version and the ghost viewer. It is one of the most fun ghost films ever, and was reviewed on here several years ago.

As far as remakes go, this is in fact still a decent one to me. It’s very different in theme from the original version, but has some of the fun of it, and is surprisingly well done. Arthur, after losing his wife, receives a video message from an Uncle Cyrus – never trust anyone named Cyrus – whom has passed away and left his substantial home, to his remaining heir. Arthur and kin move in, to an odd, mechanical and glass walled house, only to find, within it’s walls, a sinister secret, and a battle for the fate of the world itself.

The effects are earlier CGI, which I am not a fan of, but for their sake are done well. The variety of ghosts, is different and interesting enough, although a little more explanation would have been made them more appealing. It is surprisngly gory in parts, with a lawyer being sliced in half, and various ghost related carnage, especially in a very strong opening. It tends to lag a little bit, and the twist is not so shocking, but the ending is beyond sappy. All in all, one of the better modern remakes, does respect it’s source and takes it in a unique direction. It’s worth a look.

RATING: B+ (77%)

PROS: Some unique character designs, some good gore moments, a decent plot line, doesn’t disrespect it’s source.

CONS: Annoying side characters, awful, over sentimental ending.

The ghost viewer gimmick, while a plot point in the movie, would have been a fun DVD add on.

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The Final Destination Review

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1144884/?ref_=nv_sr_1

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I own a 3D samsung, I have used the function but twice. The version of this film I have however, is the old cheap ass 3D, and since I have only 2 pairs real glasses and hate the shitty old 3D, gonna 2D this one.

I got this movie for Christmas 2009, and it has sat unopened since. It’s not that I disliked the series, hell the 1st one was even pretty damn good, the sequels are mindless but fun and gory enough, this just gave me bad vibes.

Well the opening is not as spectacular as the par for the course in this series, it feels forced, and the CGI gore is PS2 level. Beyond bad really, maybe the worst I have scene in a big budget release ever. Not a good start, my word why did I do this to myself…..

Wow, annoying cliched characters, including a Not Zack Morris. Why why why didn’t I leave this curse sealed. Ok, I can get through this. I was talked out of re watching Dream Warriors for this… Damn company. Ok, I digress…

As usual there are creative kill scenes, but really is this the world’s most unsafe town. Accidents happen everywhere and anytime and are mostly due to lack of common sense. Really it reminded me of a crappy workplace safety video. Alright I am seriously nearly done with this film, bird shit as a device of death…I am not kidding.

Plot wise, after nearly escaping a massive accident at a NASCAR track, some cliched characters encounter a chain reaction of accidents and deaths, which follow the design of random douchey guys premonition. Basically identical plot to the 1st, well all the franchise really. Things happened, because well they can, there is little to no reason or explanation, again par for the course here. This formula is tired and weak, and needs to be put to rest, but of course, corporate Hollywood made a 5th entry.

I am done with this series, at 1st it was kind of a nice change, then became movie doritos, but this is unforgiveable, Eli Roth level nonsense.

AVOID!!!

RATING D(54%)

PROS: Pacing is ok, some creative violence, the one scene featuring nudity was ok.

CONS: Unlikeable characters galore, things happen because well they can, pretty sure these are the worst CGI gore effects I have ever seen, if not, damn close. Stupid characters are killed by being stupid. Predictable ending, basically same as all before it.

Maniac -2012- Review

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2103217/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

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I was not a fan of the original Maniac. Something in it just never went well for me. Maybe it was Joe Spinell, whom I don’t really buy as threatening, or maybe it was a bad mood, that made me hate it. Honestly, along with Martin, it is in my list re-watches, films that everyone else likes but I hated. Maybe it was a bad mood.

So walking into this, I have zero expectations. Then throw in Elijah Wood as the titular character, and you have potentially lost me.

The plot is nearly identical, a social misfit seeks out women for his collection of sorts and nefarious things transpire. He battles a multiple personality and or schizophrenia. The entire film is shown in first person, with shaky cam galore.

I could really have gone without seeing Frodo get a BJ….while looking mortified the whole time, ironically matching my sentiments exactly. There is a polished faux grindhouse style, using darks, and grainy and griminess, but it comes across as trying to hard. Some plot devices are plain stupid, like the french artist, whom specializes in mannequin photography, and the base story itself has been done to death. Then they went with CGI, why or why go with CGI?? As almost always, it looks really fake, just takes me out of the moment, however it is not always a cardinal sin for me. However when you combine it with other flaws, like a barely there sub par plot, it adds a nice cherry on top of the fuckstorm sundae for me. Which this really was.

Again, I found myself longing for this to end. To the original source’s credit, it had a great series of innovative violence, with some awesome gore. This was run of the mill, shitty CGI, done in the boring modern slasher style. This is almost akin to a torture porn, man kills women, then gets killed. No real plot, no really character development, just some shitty exposition here and there when it is called for. It took every ounce of strength I have to not turn this off. Thankfully it was on Netflix. Boring is an understatement. Elijah Wood goes between monotone and whiny, which makes this all the more painful. The ending itself, is completely laughable, somehow Elijah Wood is impervious to bleeding out and being hit by and ran over by a car. Well, momentarily. The final scene was same as the original, which was also same as Don’t Go in The House. There is absolutely no pay off in this film.

Ok I need positives here, there is a fair bit of female nudity, of various body types, it’s not a shot for shot remake, although maybe that would have been better. Oh and it’s only 89 minutes, not 2 hours or something crazy, although those 89 minutes are longest in recent memory. I guess the neighbour murder was alright. Damn I hate being this negative but this was awful.

RATING: F(45%)

PROS: ummmm, nudity I guess is sort of a pro, maybe…It breaks the POV for about two scenes, which I guess was less annoying. Nora Arnezeder is nicely attractive and a decent lead.

CONS: shaky cam, POV is stupid and pointless, badly miscast, CGI gore, pretty much no plot. Boring to an art form. Has some very heavy pretentious moments. Has 3 writers but still no discernible plot really, and is nowhere near original. I was praying for this to end especially by the 45 minute mark.