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8 Films to Die For III

Slaughter

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indexSlaughter starts out with cringe inducing country music and flashes of a girl tied by her hands and feet, being drug somewhere… We know don’t where.

My first reaction is “is this another redneck cannibal movie? Because I feel like I just saw this in the other box set”

We cut to a couple of young women driving into the city, so I’m hoping  that it’s not exactly a backwoods Hillbilly horror.

Our ingenue is starting over a new apartment, running away from an abusive relationship – she almost immediately makes new friend in the city invites round to her country home. The farm turns into a convenient hiding place when the ex-boyfriend tracked her down.

The new roommate and friend is little bit of a party girl and man eater. But dire things happen to her hookups. Pigs At the farm are hungry. We only get glimpses of the farms patriarch – father and daughter don’t get along, and our ingenue is a bit of an interloper. The situation feels almost as dangerous as the one she is leaving. Dangerous secrets lay hidden behind metal doors in the barn, building she is forbidden to enter, but that she cannot resist.

There is a greater story about abuse here that’s hidden in the background – it’s terrible and really pushes this more towards the “message movie” style than the allegory I think it’s meant to be. You can see by the torture porn in the third act and the mild twist at the end that this really wants to be a horror film… or at least a different kind of film than what it is.

The third act drags – that’s saying something considering there’s so much action, but they’re trying to go to many different directions at once and a good chunk of this probably should’ve happened in the second act leaving the very most frightening parts for the finale.

The uneven tone in Slaughter makes me unlikely to revisit this film, but it’s not bad. There is a good story in here somewhere, but I think needed to be better thought out.


Perkins 14

box8filmsindexPerkins 14 – the name alone has my interest, and look at that pulp style poster! Sadly, there is nothing you do with Anthony Perkins or Psycho or anything like that. Honestly, the film starts as a Silence of the Lambs wannnabe with a prisoner who might have information on the sheriffs lost children. As he plays mind games with him, things come to a head and the sheriff takes revenge– that’s when the film turns into The Crazies. Once the madness hits, killers are activated somehow, and things get bloody fast. Still, it’s a long wait, trying to get to get to the good stuff. Honestly, my recommendation for this is the skip to the halfway point and bypass the psychological and emotional drama. It just doesn’t resonate (and I’m a guy who likes drama). I really wish this wasn’t the first movie in the collection I’d seen – it doesn’t bode well.


Butterfly Effect 3

box8filmsindexThe Butterfly Effect part three start off with a brutal murder – much bloodier than anything were used to seeing in these films. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not.

Everything about this worries me – the after dark productions are meant to give exposure to small indie films that couldn’t get made otherwise, and a sequel is a weird choice… As if somebody bought the rights to the franchise and intended to crank out low-budget sequels one after another, match the way Dimension has done with Hellraiser and Children of the Corn.

Our main character has a reputation as a psychic cop, a profiler like Will Graham in Red Dragon. His task is to solve the mystery of his dead girlfriend, and his dilemma how to use the Butterfly Effect to do that.

indexYou can already see he’s a practitioner of the Butterfly Effect. We are not slowly discovering it this time, it’s not a secret or a surprise. The skill is a firmly established thing, approached with a methodology to maximize and monitor it (using a bthtub full of ice and electrodes to monitor his vitals). He has a mentor who cautions him about using it, in particular using it to change its own past and timeline. It serves as both exposition and foreshadowing, but the almost casual approach to the Butterfly Effect almost robs it of its mystery. Basically the series has shifted from horror edged sci-fi to superhero without a costume, much like Jumper or Wanted.

Still, the suspense ramps up as he makes his first jump back to try and save the girlfriend and discovers the murderer, but as it always does, things take a turn for the worse. We are treated to more gore. More and importantly, in the new timeline there are more murders. His time jump created a serial killer which he must now stop or prevent from ever existing.

It’s an interesting premise, and makes for a very different kind of film than what we’ve seen before in the series… Indeed, it almost feels like fan fiction set with in the Butterfly Effect universe. It feels as if it were written by someone obsessed with the mechanics and rules of the power and the chaos theory driving it. The part of me that loves reading sourcebooks and who’s who reference books really digs that. They don’t overdo it, it’s kind of like a television pilot – it’s enough that someone who hasn’t seen the previous films will be able to understand what’s going on in what is otherwise a solid but average film. I do need to mention, it’s got a great ending, with a curious twist. As far as quality goes, it fits right in with the rest of this box set collection, however despite some impressive gore, it’s not horror and that does make it the odd man out. The simple story entertains but makes it forgettable.

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Autopsy

box8filmsindexAutopsy is definitely the standout picture of this collection. It’s also arguably the best movie here, not because it’s the most intelligent, thoughtful, well written piece, bbut rather because it simply the most fun.

What we have here is a basic slasher film set in a creepy hospital. It hits all the right notes and practically throws the gore at the screen while not always taking itself too ridiculously seriously. A group of kids get involved in a car accident in the woods – running over body, and the whole group is taken to the hospital they are picked off one by one, by staff that’s not everything that it seems.

Of all the films in this collection, this is the only one I’ve actually heard of. The Butterfly Effect 3 is an obvious sequel, but nevertheless not one I was really aware existed. Autopsy I’ve seen, though I can’t remember if it was Netflix or SYFY . Still, of all the films in this set, index2it managed to break out on its own and deservedly so.

If you’re looking to turn your brain off for little while and just enjoy a fun and gory picture, this is it. This movie alone was worth the price of admission.


Broken

box8filmsimages2I like the way broken start us off in a dreary rainy London – it puts me in just the right mood for this movie… Especially since I’m watching this in the middle of hurricane season.

Doctors and upper middle-class homes, Whiskey in a decanter,this could be a drama. That is, until a mirror breaks… Then things start to get spooky.

Beautifully shot, the movie draws you in to a feeling of unease with eerie images, views from inside the mirror, and numerous false jump scares.  they dole out the creep moments out slowly, with a dream sequence here, and a false start there. as we sink  into paranoia imposter syndrome takes hold. It’s a crazy slow burn to get to the third act, but we kickoff the final stretch of the film with brilliant and bloody kill that reveals exactly what’s going on.

I’m not sure how much rewatchability this has, but it’s definitely worth your time first time through – it’s a horror movie disguised as a thriller with well done twist at the end that ultimately satisfies.


From Within

box8filmsimages4From Within starts off with a bang!  With blood and death and pervasive shadows it hits the ground running. In a small religious town, suicides start to break out and yet, one has to wonder if that’s what’s really going on.

We don’t get our first monster in till the half hour mark, but when we do – it’s a doozy. As we continue on, the local town begin to suspect a curse has been laid by the local village witch– she was murdered before the movie begins, But her, children remain.

In a last ditch effort to reverse the curse, the witches son grabs the local pastors daughter to search for the witches last grimoire, but will it be enough?

Despite being wonderfully creepy, I can’t stand behind this one. The film bothers me in its portrayal of Christians in a very red state in a very Hollywood stereotypical display.  I’m never a fan of these sort caricatures, and I get the feeling that someone has an axe to grind. The betrayal of the wiccans isn’t any more accurate, it’s very Hollywood magic. All around it gets up my nose enough to make me pass on this one.


Dying Breed

box8filmsindexDying breed start interestingly enough with a history lesson, escape, and a beast. It’s definitely trying to get on my good side with the copious amounts of blood, although the CG wolf could’ve been better done.

Fast forward to modern day on an airplane. We’ve got attractive young people heading to an exotic destination – in this case Tasmania – and children creepily recitng nursery rhymes on the trip there. We also get a couple of flashbacks which make it feel very much like this is going to be a beast movie… or is it a backwoods movie with a beastial flavour? Interesting idea, considering Tasmania is not usually thought of as a lost or hidden environment. It’s treated as a mysterious backwater, highlighting the more grimey elements of Australia. Wood walls and Sheetmetal… It’s not that we generally expect from ozploitation.

images2They stay the night at a local pub, and I kind of feel bad when they leave in the morning – the colourful locals are one of the best parts of this movie. Indeed, the standard issue ominous little kid shows up 15 minutes into the movie and you know things are about to go down.

The third act begins slowly. It’s not that it drags, but rather it’s deliberate. I’m not in entirely certain what or who is stalking our group, all I know is that it’s hungry. It’s still 2008, so remember we’re going to get some tortured porn, but it’s tasteful – it’s Texas Chainsaw meets Saw. Indeed, watching this I’m pretty sure the filmmakers have read Jack Ketchum’s books.

imagesAt the end of the day, it’s not the sort of movie that I should like – but the setting and the cast elevated to the point of being something I really enjoy. I’m not certain that I’d ever bother to watch again, but I’m glad I saw it. It’s a sort of movie where if it shows up in the middle of a film festival, say a surprise act of sorts, I certainly wouldn’t be disappointed.


Voices

box8filmsindexWe get some j horror up next with voices. It has a strong opening that makes me think of poltergeist with more blood and is a good way to wash the taste of the last horrorfest movie out of my mouth. We head directly to a Japanese high school, complete with all the stereotypes you can expect from one of these films. There is a wedding coming up this weekend. Well there WAS a wedding, until the bride jumped off the balcony and slammed into the floor.

I’m not sure where this is going, but I’m still engaged – in no small part because I wanna get to that scene I witnessed at the beginning. Besides, the hospital the bride is being treated in is incredibly creepy in a ghost story kind of way… and what happens next is quite bloody.

Indeed, Voices is full of brilliant bloody imagery, creepy dream sequences and moves at a nicely quick pace, maybe too quickly as I sometimes give confused as to what was going on.  I’m not sure if the schoolgirl main character is cursed or haunted here, but it’s certainly never drags.

All around our ingenue, people are dying or trying to kill her as she searches for answers. For someone familiar with anime or Japanese film, this movie is comfort food. Everything, the themes, characters, all of it is very familiar. That’s not a bad thing by the way, it’s everything I want from a horror film. Its supernatural with blood and character. Indeed, it’s exactly the sort of thing that made J horror popular in the early to thousands – and I imagine of all the films in this set, this is the ne I’m most likely to revisit!