I went to check out this flick because the trailer made it look like a cool rip-off of the 90’s classic Candyman. Knew there was a chance that there would be a bunch of annoying teens at the theatre because this film is only PG-13. So while standing in line there were a bunch of 14 year olds buying tickets in big groups ahead of us, one after the next. The film was pretty basic, a boogieman of sorts exists, who shows up and kills you when you become aware of his existence. Well actually he gets you to kill yourself and anyone else who knows by causing hallucinations. The Bye Bye Man appears as a tall skinny mute albino demon looking type thing and he has a burley hell-dog that munches on you after you perish. That part is pretty effective, and the visuals are good.
And a lot of people die in this film (for a PG-13).
The down side of this film are that there is no character development. The main character’s only personality is that he wears different punk rock t-shirts everyday. The Bye Bye Man is killing teen after teen, and for better or worse, the viewer is indifferent to their plight since they are just another pretty face. Another minus is that the crowd of pubescent teens are talking over this film about the various 9th grade parties going on later that night, complete with their puberty fantasies , while the movie is playing. I would recommend going to see this film after curfew so that you don’t have to deal with annoying teens. The lady from the Matrix has a small part as detective, which is well acted. The acting in the flashback scenes was a bit weak though.
Some might say that the film fails to give an explanation for the Bye Bye Man’s origin. I think its good that it avoids that cliché. The film is from a pretty acclaimed director. And its pretty good overall for a teeny bopper film. It could have been better had it been rated R and took more time with character development and took itself more seriously, because the villain is horrific.
The “Underworld” series is really something. It has great action and special FX and terrible scripts. The new installment, “Underworld: Blood Wars,” finds the heroine played by Kate Beckinsale once again in the middle of the war between vampires and Lycans, or werewolves. Her character is really hot and apparently cannot be killed and is a Death Dealer. Charles Dance (from “The Golden Child” and “Alien 3”) is also in the movie as the heroine’s (I think)grandfather, and he hams it up in fine Christopher Lee fashion. He’s a great actor and has helped save many a genre film. However, most of the acting and literally the entire script is bad. All this business about Lycans and Death Dealers is beyond me to explain, but what’s good about this movie and the series is the action and set design. I did feel like I was in another world, albeit a world without character development.
To say this film is ridiculous is a grave understatement; there is so much sneering and so many double-crosses that the film becomes a parody of itself. Beckinsale doesn’t act; she just poses. Many of the actors appear to be posing for a Calvin Klein commercial, in fact. And yet despite all this, I LIKED this flick. It’s like a Hammer film crossed with Clive Barker’s “Nightbreed” on crack. It aims for a sort of “Empire Strikes Back” kind of feeling, and it doesn’t totally fail. It earns its R rating with massive bloodshed and lots of sexual innuendo. And it doesn’t seem TOO much like a video game. The series also beat “Twilight” and “The Daybreakers” to the screen, so it was passably original. If the scripts had ever been any good, this could’ve been the greatest horror series ever. As it is, it is one of my leading guilty pleasure. You have to put your brain on hold, but if you do, “Underworld: Blood Wars” is good fun. I would compare it to the 90s sci-fi epic “Waterworld” in that regard.
Sometimes when I’m bored, I don’t want to see an Oscar winner, or even a well-composed film. Sometimes, I’m in the mood for a lowest-common-denominator horror film. A sensitive close-encounter sci-fi film? Nope. A moving war epic about a pacifist? Try again. Aaron Eckhart in a wheelchair battling demons? Sounds great!
“Incarnate” is indeed about a wheelchair-bound man who works as an exorcist. The thing is, though, rather than using prayer and holy water, he enters the subconscious of the possessed and saves them by helping them escape the demons with their mind. The twist is that he doesn’t really care about the people he helps; instead, he wants to get back at the demon who killed his wife and daughter and left him in a wheelchair.
Are you following any of this? It doesn’t matter. “Incarnate” is a sublimely bad movie, rather than a run-of-the-mill bore. Aaron Eckhart is a great actor who will someday get the praise he deserves, but, for now, he’s turning films like this and “I, Frankenstein” into must-see bad movie classics. His nonchalance when confronting demons is classic. The fact that he is in a wheelchair because of a demon named Maggie is perfect. The 11-year old he is helping is a mean demon himself; this movie does have a (small) body count. In short, if you have refined tastes and require that the films you watch are of high quality, skip this film. But if you enjoy Aaron Eckhart and cheap but fun films about demonic possession, check this flick out. It’s bad but tons of fun! –CoolAC
Wanting some new “Scanners” action and bummed out that David Cronenberg is making art-house films? Welcome to “The Mind’s Eye,” the best “Scanners” film that isn’t a “Scanners” film. The movie is a low-budget indie riff on “Scanners,” using a very similar plot, mostly unknown actors, a Tangerine Dream-like score, and a wonderful array of non-stop practical effects. Some will cry foul that it is too similar to “Scanners” but I think it’s groovy. It is so cheesy yet cool that I can’t find fault with it.
The high point, for me, is the cameo by Larry Fessenden, the director of such cult classics as “Habit” and “Wendigo.” He has been producing and directing fsome of the best indie horror films of the last 17 years, and in this movie and “You’re Next” he is proving himself a capable supporting actor. Films like “We are Still Here,” “Stakeland,” and this one have an ingenuity that is lacking in Hollywood films. Whereas a Hollywood film would just plaster on millions of dollars of bad CGI, this one gives us old-fashioned head explosions.
Hollywood, stop making fantasy crap and give us real films like this! I would much rather watch a film about mind control and government agencies done with spirit and on the cheap than one second of “X-Men Apocalypse.” Larry Fessenden is a way better actor than James McAvoy in my opinion. In short, “The Mind’s Eye” is a can’t miss for those of us who dig B-movies and “Scanners.” It puts the fun back in sci-fi horror. –CoolAC
art by Saint Reggie
There have been some good horror films this year, such as “Don’t Breathe.” On the other hand, there are the bad ones like “Lights Out.” “Lights Out” received some good reviews when it opened earlier this summer. The mind boggles as to why after seeing the film. If nothing else, the film proves that total darkness is not automatically scary. While films like “We Are Still Here” find ways to make a spirit in the dark scary, all “Lights Out” can give us is pointless jump scares and an extremely low body count. Another bad thing about the film is the idea that a mentally ill person could be a conduit for malevolent spirits. This is insulting to the many people suffering from mental illness, who need love and friendship, not fear. The idea that darkness equals death is likewise ridiculous. Most of us sleep in darkness and do just fine.
Audiences need to stop supporting horror films that aren’t scary. The success of “Don’t Breathe” shows that there is a real demand for a good horror film that works. But “Lights Out” should’ve gone straight to video. It resembles an even worse film from May, “The Darkness,” a really bad flick in which <SPOILER!> no one dies and an autistic boy is a conduit for demons.
“Don’t Breathe” works much better because it has a simple plot with real terror that is well executed. When the lights out, we fear for the characters because suspense has been established and the director has played fair with the audience. A smart, deranged blind man makes for a great villain,Similarly, “We Are Still Here,” a limited release horror film from last year, works because the spirits are unpredictable and have far-reaching powers. “The Shallows” uses a gigantic shark. By giving the audience a truly menacing antagonist, these films work.
Message to Hollywood: stop with the clichés and pay attention to what works. Stop using mentally ill people as conduits of demons and give us something scary and involving. And remember: darkness itself isn’t scary. Likable people in realistic jeopardy is. “Lights Out” indeed! -CoolAC