Horror. Worldview. Faith.

Frozen – Review

Frozen – Review

Apr 14, 2011

reviewed by hallo
directed by Adam Green, 2010
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You know that feeling when something is on the tip of your tongue but you can’t quite remember or put into words what you want to say?  That is how I feel with writer and director Adam Green.  He has talent.  He has a good mind for horror.  He has arguably created a new slasher icon in the horror industry with Victor Crowley from the Hatchet series.  His movies are enjoyable and entertaining.  And yet. . .something is missing.  And I’m not sure what.

Frozen is about as simple of a horror film as you can get.  Three friends bribe a ski lift operator to let them take some rides down the mountain without purchasing those pesky, expensive lift tickets.  After convincing him for one more ride late at night, when the rest of the guests have departed and the resort is shutting down for the week, Parker (the girl), Joe, and Dan are shocked when the ski lift stops in the middle of their accent, leaving them dangling high above the snowy mountain below.  Of course, they initially assume that a simple explanation was the cause for the delay and they would soon be on their way.  But when the lights to the resort all shut off, their worst fears become reality and the weight of their situation comes crashing down.

Dan, Parker’s boyfriend, is the first to take drastic action as he is convinced he can survive the fall down to the mountain without too much injury.  Despite the protests from Parker and Joe, Dan jumps.  Not a great idea as he shatters both of his legs, leaving him sitting stationary in the cold snow with no means of escape.  Unfortunately for the trio, this is one of those ski resorts where mad, flesh-eating wolves roam.  You can imagine what happens to Dan.

The rest of the film portrays Parker and Joe fighting, making up, coming up with various possibilities for escape, and sharing gut-wrenching stories with each other.   Adam Green attempts to add an element of introspective weightiness to the film by giving Parker an extended speech where she panics over the fate of her new puppy who will have no food.  Her concern is not so much about the food, but rather is devastated to imagine her puppy thinking Parker no longer loves her.  In return, Joe describes the first encounter he and Dan had as children in grade school.  Finally, Joe attempts to shimmy across the line to the support tower that has a ladder.  After successfully making it, he climbs down the ladder to the mountain and scares off the mad, flesh-eating wolves with his ski pole.  After jumping on his snow board, he lets Parker know that he will return with help.  As he starts down the hill, several wolves chase after him.

Parker is left all alone.  Joe never returns.  Another night goes by.  Eventually, her chair, due to the weight of Joe standing on it during his climb, gives way and falls halfway to the mountain before being caught by a wire.  This is close enough now where Parker can jump without serious injury.  She crawls on her stomach down the mountain seeking help, where she sees the remains of Joe who did not make it down the hill, but was also eaten by wolves.  Parker is eventually picked up by a car on the highway and is saved.

There are some obvious problems with this film.  First, the wolves are a bit unbelievable.  Perhaps we could argue that the blood from Dan’s broken legs drew them to the resort, but this is probably a place that is well closed off and “wild animal free.”  But who cares, it makes for a tense moment with Dan.  The problem is that Joe’s demise also by the wolves is redundant, boring, and amazingly anti-climatic.  He had just scared them silly after reaching the mountain and was now on a snow board.  I feel like Green should have found a fresh and convincing way to off Joe.  Finally, the conversations between the friends during the night of terror range from believable and effective to annoying and stupid.

One aspect of the film I did enjoy was the process of dying.  Dan was not willing to allow himself to wade in the pools of despair, so he took immediate action.  Parker and Joe were the ones who had to come to grips with their situation and wrestle with their thoughts as they crept closer to death.  For Parker, her thoughts went to disappointing a puppy.  For Joe, it was the years of friendship with Dan.  Who knows how any of us would respond or how we would think if placed in a situation of a slow and near certain death.  It creates a nice platform for suspense and horror.

Overall, I like the movie.  But I didn’t love it.  And that, it seems, is the relationship I have with Adam Green.

Click here to purchase Frozen

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April 2011 DVD Giveaway – Fright Night

April 2011 DVD Giveaway – Fright Night

Apr 11, 2011

Here are the details for the April 2011 DVD Giveaway!

We have a solid and growing Facebook page, but still need more followers on Twitter.  So, follow us” on twitter and you will automatically be entered in our giveaway this month.  The movie – the classic “Fright Night.”  We have recently discussed how tragic it is that Hollywood is remaking this wonderful horror film, so here is your chance to get the original for free!

Already following us on Twitter?  No problem, you can still be eligible.  Just leave us a comment here and tell us your Twitter name.  We will make sure you are in the drawing.

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Body Count Podcast #1102

Body Count Podcast #1102

Apr 10, 2011

Hallo, Danny, and Skot discuss the original Scream legacy in anticipation of the upcoming release of Scream 4.  Skot instructs listeners in the art of understanding “The Spectrum of Crappiness.”  Not to be missed.

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Insidious – Review

Insidious – Review

Apr 3, 2011

reviewed by hallo
directed by James Wan, 2011
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The writing and directing dynamic duo of Leigh Whannell and James Wan, the pair who changed horror movies with their 2004 release Saw, are back in a low budget haunted house film called Insidious.  It will scare the pants off you.

The title card is perhaps the most stunning, effective, and uncomfortable sequence I have seen in any horror movie.  No other film comes to mind that better captures the anticipation of the viewer than Insidious’ opening title sequence.  As a matter of fact, and acknowledging the danger of taking this too far, the movie as a whole can be summed up by the title card:  Eerie, artistic, fun, and at times, cheesy.

The movie is about Josh and Renai, a young couple who have three children and are moving into a new, spacious home.  Renai is a composer and has taken a sabbatical from a “real job” to pursue her music and stay home with Callie, the infant.  Josh is a school teacher who seems to roll with the punches quite well and begins staying late at the school to grade test papers.  Their son, Dalton, begins to complain of being scared and uncomfortable in his room.  Then, after an ill-timed trip to the attic, Dalton falls into a deep coma that no doctor can explain.  Three months later, Renai begins hearing strange noises and seeing incredibly spooky people in her house.  One scene involving the baby monitor will bring you out of your chair.  Josh, although reluctant to believe Renai at first, eventually becomes convinced that not-good-things are happening – being suprised that his mother is taking Renai’s side through all of this.

The couple, on the advice of Josh’s mom (played by Barbara Hershey), hires a psychic to come into their home and investigate.  She immediately grasps the weight of the situation and explains to Josh and Renai that Dalton is an “astral” traveler, meaning that his spiritual person can go places without his physical person.  This time, unfortunately, he has traveled too far and is lost in a place called “The Further.”  Here is the one glaring problem with the film – Wan opts to reveal to the audience exactly what is happening through the means of a 10 minute exposition on the part of the psychic.  Think of the last 5 minutes of Hitchcock’s Psycho and you have that concept in the middle of this film.  I personally do not mind explanations like this, but it is very noticeable and does erode the possibility of giving the film a superb critical recommendation.

From this point, we learn that Josh used to be a “traveler” in his young days as well, something he has suppressed, and must now return to the “further” in order to save his son.  What follows are scares, delights, and a world of fun for any horror fan.

Wan is a special talent.  He uses zero special effects for the ghosts, they are just solid-bodied people (he didn’t have the money for effects!), and yet they are some of the more spine-tingling images on film I have seen in a long time. I was somewhat underwhelmed by the actual face of the lead demon in the “further” as it appeared that George Lucas brought Darth Maul back to life for this film.   Wan goes way overboard in some areas, staying consistent with his over-the-top style as seen in Saw.  For example, in once seance-type scene, the psychic is wearing a gas mask with a long tube extending from the mouth that is attached to her assistant’s headphones.  He writes down her words.  This takes a very normal and mandatory “seance” scene for any haunted house movie and adds a fun, dramatic, and spooky touch.

I found it interesting that a movie so focused on possession, afterlife, and “other” world activity never once mentions religion, the name of God, or the concept of Christ.  There is one priest that makes a very brief appearance, but that’s it.  Instead of “May the power of Christ compel you”, we get “leave this vessel.”  I don’t have any problem with Wan opting for a religionless possession film, but it is unusual and worth mentioning.

Finally, the movie teeter-toters between beautiful, manicured imagery with genuine scares and downright cheesiness.  In some strange kind of way, when the cheese happens, we are relieved to know that cheese can still be cool and Wan bats 1000 every time.  Of this I can promise you – if you view Insidious in the theater, you will get spooked, you will jump, you will yell at the screen, and you will smile.

Yep, for that alone it is worth 10 bucks.

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Body Count Podcast #1101

Body Count Podcast #1101

Apr 1, 2011

Hallo, Melissa, and Danny discuss the sub-genre of “body horror” and how it relates to “torture porn.”

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