Posts Tagged ‘Crap Films’

Hancock

October 27, 2008

HIDDEN SPOILER AT THE END

You can say a lot of things about illegal downloads; that they constitute theft, that they ruin the entertainment industries, that they weaken the cultural effect of movies and music – but one criticism that can’t be levelled at them is that they don’t half save you from paying good money to watch utter shit.

If I’d paid £7 to watch Hancock at the cinema, for example, or handed over £4 to rent the DVD and subsequently watched this tower of crap, I would have been angry and upset. As it stands, with a bittorrent at my fingertips, I was left with no resentment towards the filmmakers or cinema – just a sense of guilt and regret and a new found resolution to not give my time up so willingly in the future.

Will Smith is Hancock, an alcoholic superhero who is more of a hazard than a help. Flying drunkenly around the city he destroys pretty much everything he comes into contact with and costing the city millions of dollars in damages. So far so good.

He saves the life of charity PR man Jason Bateman who then sets about restoring his image and making him a better superhero. Also so far so good. He goes to jail voluntarily and returns as a reformed man, and begins to do battle with uber-villain Eddie Marsan. Equally so far so good.

That’s half the movie and it’s pretty good – not great, but pretty good; Will Smith isn’t exactly a bastard but he’s kind of fun, the story is pretty interesting and there’s some good jokes and action to keep you involved. Jason Bateman doesn’t come close to the highs of Arrested Development, but as anyone who’s a fan of that show will know that just having him onscreen is a pleasure.

At this point you’re enjoying the movie and all is well. Then they do something*; something that some people may call a ‘daring plot twist’ and others may refer to as a ‘brave story development’ but that I will simply describe as a ‘rubbish and stupid contrivance that utterly ruins the movie’.

Suddenly everything changes; characters are forgotten, storylines abandoned, the rules of the world alter and you find all your interest and curiosity dropped instantly. The film becomes about something else and changes tone, almost as if Bryan Singer were replaced by Brett Ratner half way through shooting. It becomes really boring.

Much like with Will Smith’s last rubbish movie – I Am Legend – everything starts out well and then turns shockingly bad. Does he no longer read scripts all the way through, or is it a deal with the studio where the first part can be all moody and slow as long as the second can be loud and stupid?

What makes this film so bad is not that the two halves are that terrible – they’re not – it’s that together they count each other out. That you enjoyed the first half is forgotten by the end of the second, so annoyed you are at the instant switch that occurs. All the goodwill and fine work thus far is obliterated by the silly story.

And so it ends. By this point I was playing with the cat and my lady was doing the washing up. I have no idea what the point was, just that I know I’ll never get that time back – but thank god I didn’t pay for it.

HIDDEN PLOT-SPOILER NOW

*Want to know what happens that makes it all stupid? Highlight the text below.

It turns out that Hancock has amnesia and forgot that Jason Batemans wife is actually his wife who is also a superhero and his greatest weakness because they are actually 3,000 year old gods who were built as a pair but lose their powers when they’re together and they have to team up quickly to fight Eddie Marsan who has inexplicably learned all of this whilst in prison and is trying to kill people in a hospital he is killed and they must part to keep their powers and so Hancock flies to the moon to print Jason Batemans charity logo on it and thus save the world through the power of branding.

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The Wave (Die Welle)

October 21, 2008

It must be difficult being German sometimes; moving on from the atrocities that dominated much of your country’s history in the last century whilst being respectful enough never to forget the lessons that were learnt. How many generations must offer remuneration before it feels like an inherited debt? How many populations must profess guilt before resenting the act? How many children must apologise for the sins of the fatherland before living memory passes on?

It’s an interesting subject, and one that cinematically Germany has only recently begun to address. The Edukators, Goodbye Lenin, The Lives of Others and Downfall are just four of the films that look at the behaviour and fallout of Germany’s turbulent political actions in the 20th Century, told from the perspective of a nation coming to terms with its fascistic heritage.

The Wave is another of those films and looks at how, only three generations later, the nations youth are already desensitised to the atrocities of the second world war and the political misdirections of the post war years. ‘The Nazis sucked’ states one bling-clad student before he is swiftly indoctrinated by a class autocracy project gone wrong – ‘we get it’.

The Teacher is one of those hip teachers that only exist in movies; a Ramones loving punk, a leather-sporting smoker whose anarchic spirit never left him – despite a career of enthusing bored teenagers with politics. Teaching an autocracy project and shocked at the disinterest of the students, he creates a class gang called ‘The Wave’ and begins to demonstrate how easily tribal allegiances can be formed and how quickly fascistic characteristics can form.

He’s a fantastic teacher, because within two days he already has his autonomous gang of Droogs wearing identical uniforms, making MySpace pages with gang logos and terrorizing the town with a campaign of graffiti and aggressive hood wearing. Despite several prior scenes where the students quite aptly discussed the societal requirements of a rise to the right – financial upheaval, low unemployment, influx of immigrants etc – they abandon all intellectual interpretation of what is happening and instead embrace their new found mass because, like, it means they don’t get picked on at school, n’stuff

Before you can say “Disturbing Behaviour was just a rip off of The Stepford Wives” the Wave starts swelling in ranks, starts buying guns off the internet, starts picking fights with hilariously-dressed anarchists and starts organising support for the water polo team. By the third day the whole Breakfast Club has been swallowed – the brain, the athlete, the basket case, the princess and the criminal – all revelling in the positive effects of mass uniformity.

Had the film tried to be more of a parable, staying within the confines of the school, it could have been much more interesting. Had it used the natural hierarchy of high school as a metaphor for society, or been more of a satire, it could have worked better.

As it stands it plays more like a horror film, where fascism lurks in the shadows, ready to pounce on any slightly disenfranchised teenager who feels the warmth of acceptance. It feels like the inverse of Red Dawn, where uniformity parachutes into the classrooms of a resting nation.

At the end, the teacher reveals that it was just a lesson, an example of how easily people can be lead towards fascism. Of course by now it’s now too late, the Wave are an autonomous mass of upheaval, calling for a conquering Germany and stringing up those who oppose them. A class project lasting six days has united a school and turned mallrats into an army… the audience gasp… the lesson has backfired… fascism has occurred again… the horror… the horror…

It’s a profoundly silly film – well-meaning and with some good ideas but ruined by a ridiculous timeframe and an over-simplified idea. What was initially an interesting debate soon turned into a version of the Blob, where the children fight a quite literal political enemy and not just a metaphoric political enemy that looks like a giant blob from outer space.

There’s still room out there for a really good movie about how the new generation of German youth view their country’s history, but this isn’t it. This is a quite entertaining, but accidentally funny horror film with good intentions, but very little self-awareness.

I Am Legend

January 27, 2008

Vaguely spoilerish in places

The opening scene of I Am Legend is brilliant, absolutely brilliant. In spooky American-TV-o’vision you get a faux news clip featuring an uncredited Emma Thompson as a scientist who claims to have cured cancer. She explains how she has evolved the idea of inoculation to use the ravaging effects of the cancer disease to her advantage, how she has reversed the traits of the virus and has created a seemingly foolproof counter to mankind’s greatest killer – and then the screen goes black. It’s an amazing opening. Chilling, dramatic and unnerving, it immediately presents you with a terrific sense of foreboding and despair as you know that this great leap forward can only end badly…

And it does, for when we fade back in we are in a desolate and empty New York City… Times Square has become abandoned and overgrown, the bright lights have faded and died, cars are let to rust and there is an eerie silence that is rarely heard in even the vow-silenced monestary. Something has gone quite horribly wrong. Like I say, it’s a brilliant opening.

Will Smith plays Will Smith. Well, he doesn’t. He plays Will Smith being somebody else with a different name, but he’s quite clearly Will Smith. There are moments when he tries really hard not to be Will Smith, and those moments are sometimes good, but even then you can’t help but think “wow, look how well Will Smith is pretending not to be Will Smith. That must mean he’s a really good actor.” Luckily I like Will Smith, so I enjoyed his pretending and thought it great that he was pretending so hard.

Where was I? Oh yes. So Will Smith is pretending to be a viral biologist army man, which is really useful as he was in charge of New York before everything went wrong AND is the only person in the world who is immune to the virus… think about that for a second! The only person in the world! And he is overwhelmingly qualified to sort it out! That is so lucky for Will Smith! You see, the virus killed most of the world and turned the rest into pigmented albino ‘dark seekers;’ a kind of litigation denying vampire that is medically explainable in it’s aversion to sunlight and while Will Smith has the rule of the roost in daylight, they control the night-time where they run amok and generally eat anything that moves.

So Will Smith is the last human being on Earth. All he once knew has gone and been replaced with CGI; there’s CGI animals, and CGI devastation, and CGI zombies, and CGI cars, and CGI spinning helicopters and CGI people and so much goddamned CGI (even his favourite movie – Shrek – is CGI) that you really begin to empathise with his characters solitude as it must be lonely living on a fucking greenscreen.

By day he hunts CGI deer, and by night he hides from CGI zombies in the bathroom, clinging to his beloved dog Sam (who, in a late developing twist you discover is really a Samantha and just about the biggest surprise in the film – after all, you couldn’t have Will Smith’s emotional support a male character – that’d be too gay).

After about 45 minutes of really hard pretending not to see the CGI, the zombies suddenly overcome all their previously attributed characteristics and start attacking Will Smith. This is ludicrous for several reasons; that they look like the hilariously bad CGI Scorpion King from The Mummy Returns and are totally unscary, that they make traps and cunning plans while supposedly feral and having lost “all traces of being human” and the audience was kind of digging the slow vibe and this has totally lost their attention. The zombies are the worst thing in this movie, a needless CGI interference that tears you out of whatever zen state you were in. These lithe, athletic, sprightly shadows are a laughable foe and totally undermine whatever serious levels of pretending the filmmakers were going for.

Will Smith fights CGI for a while longer, then his dog dies and a couple of Jesus freaks turn up and try to convince him of a settlement colony, then Will Smith denies God – which is like, a whole new level of pretending because to pretend to not believe in God is, like, an indication of HOW FAR his character has fallen… then another inexplicable plot points kicks in and the general murmuring that was in the cinema before becomes a chorus of “WHAT?” as the ending suddenly happens and there’s this overwhelming sense of disappointment.

As you check the credits, you see that Emma Thompson isn’t there. Then you realise that she knows, like you now do, that her part was the best bit and to be associated with any other part would be a discredit.

This film was first kicked into production in 1995. It has gone though numerous big name producers, writers, directors and stars – including Michael Bay, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ridley Scott and the Oscar winning Akiva Goldsman. After 12 years and that much talent this is the best they can come up with. I Am Legend? I Am Bollocks, more like.

St Trinians

January 7, 2008

Sex Lives of the Potato Men. Carry on Columbus. Fat Slags. Large. Cradle of Fear. Mr Bean’s Holiday. The Boys in Blue. Bring Me the Head of Mavis Davis. Shopping. Spice Girls the Movie. Up ‘n’ Under.

Above is a list of British films so bad, so woefully embarrassing, so resoundingly piss-poor in concept and execution that they serve not only to remind us why we have virtually no film industry in this country, but that we also really don’t deserve one. If the God of Film were to descend upon our little nation tomorrow, armed only with that list and he decreed that we were no longer allowed to make films then it would be a deserved statement.

That is not to say that we don’t make good films – we make incredible films when we want to – but for every ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’ or ‘London to Brighton’ there is an ‘Evil Aliens’ or ‘Fat Slags: The Movie’ waiting in the wings to fuck things up. It seems to me that we have three different types of movies:

  • Big Budget, co-financed with the US movies (‘Notting Hill’, ‘Sunshine’) that largely make their money back in international territories.
  • Low budget, lottery funded, arthouse relegated, critically worshipped movies (would Mr Loach and Mr Leigh please stand up) that are seen by relatively few people.
  • Sitcom spin offs, TV show and classic film updates or homegrown star vehicles (‘Alien Autopsy’, ‘Magicians’) which make their money back domestically by are never exported abroad.

Which brings us nicely to St Trinians; a film that while it doesn’t quite belong in the rogue’s gallery at the top of the article still manages to be indicative of all that is wrong with British cinema.

Firstly, the production values are so embarrassingly cheap it looks like an ITV drama premiere from 20 years ago. Secondly, it relies on hoary old concepts that we’ve been using since the beginning of time, namely men in drag and cameos from otherwise respectable TV personalities. And thirdly, it takes a British institution from a bygone era and dumps it in the modern world with all the finesse of a dancing drunken father at a teenager’s party.

It makes me weep. It really does. The opening half an hour of this film is so horrifically unfunny and so staggeringly amateur you begin to wonder if you’re accidentally stumbled into a sixth form media studies screening. It appears to have been written by the illiterate, shot by the blind, edited by the limbless, scored by the deaf and released by the idiotic because there is no other explanation for the sheer technical incompetence you are seeing before you. It appears to have been shot on VHS, so lifeless is the photography – and the editing seems to come from the Neighbours school of film-making where continuity and an internal timeframe are unnecessary burdens.

And then it picks up. Well, a little. After the initial horror of Rupert Everett in drag (desperately, desperately unfunny) the film develops some charm and you find yourself ignoring the technical faults – and then Russell Brand appears, then it’s the makeover montage, and the painful Stephen Fry on drugs sequences and by the time Girls Aloud pop up to play their new single you’ve completely forgotten that it’s meant to be a film about individuality and rebellion and are immersed in another advert for Just 17.

Updating it was a big mistake. The pop culture references, the jazzy styles, the cameo by that girl off of the OC all smack of forty-something writers trying to “make it more MTV.” Any anarchy or genuine risk that may have existed in the originals has been replaced by numbing consumerist tendencies and MySpace researched definitions of youth. When they try to be clever it’s with film references and in-jokes that would leave kids bemused and adults patronised.

It’s not the worst British film of all time, just another massively disappointing one. If this is the best that can be done with a potentially great concept like St Trinians then perhaps the Film God is right and we don’t deserve an industry. Shame on us.

Resident Evil: Extinction

October 2, 2007

Resident Evil

The really rather lovely Milla Jovovitch returns again to the insufferable Resident Evil universe in this, the third in the shitty zombie computer game movie series.

This time around the rotten old Umbrella virus has infected the entire planet, turning the earth into a dying desert world. Milla, dressed like Lara Croft, rides around this wasteland on a motorbike looking for survivors. She has to visit petrol stations …

“Hold up!” I roared, upending an enormous bag of nuts into my lap, “This is Mad fucking Max! And it’s not even good Mad Max … it’s Mad Max 3 – Beyond Thunderdome! The robbing fucking …”

… because fuel’s low on the ground nowadays. She also listens out for radio messages. One message she responds to sees her captured by evil redneck future people who throw her to a pack of those skinless Dobermans Resident Evil’s so fond of.

Needless to say Milla, who fans of the series will remember is a superhuman genetic experiment kinda gal, kills most of the dogs and escapes. The redneck future people aren’t so lucky. Because they all get killed. By the dogs. In the future. Etc…

“Or that Don Johnson movie where he has a talking dog! What was the name of that? He had a talking dog? He ate dog food out of the tin? It was in the future? Don Johnson? Dog? Talking dog? Yes? Yes?”

Meanwhile, in a bunker under a fenced complex surrounded by faaaaahsands o’ zombies (see: Day of the Dead) …

“They’ve just fucking nicked that straight out of Day of the fucking Dead!”

… a team of boffins are working on an antivirus to ‘tame’ the zombies. They have a zombie in a room chained up, just like in …

“Day of the fucking Dead! This is an outrage!”

… well you get the point. The boffins, led by an evil mad British scientist, are getting the antivirus from the blood of clones of Milla Jovovitch’s character which they grow in a big laboratory. Instead of growing the clones then killing ‘em for the blood, they allow each one to wake up in a fake version of the house/complex from the first movie, and then see how long she lasts before being killed by one of the various booby-traps she encounters as she wanders around (room full o’ lasers, surprise zombie attack, nasty thing that comes out o’ the floor, etc.). They then nick her blood and throw the body in a big pit full of other versions of Mila’s character. I mean, what a ridiculously convoluted way to go about getting blood from a girl … didn’t they just think to ask?

Anyway, in the outside world Milla has occasion to rescue a Desperate Band Of Survivors © who are being attacked by a legion of zombie crows. The survivors are led by what’s-her-face out of Heroes, her out of Final Destination, you know, not the cheerleader, the other one …

“Hello hello hello,” says I, desperately hunting down the Kleenex, “Now that’s more like it. Surely this is the sort of cheap horror entertainment that’ll stoop low enough to flood the screen with tits ‘n’ ass to get bums on seats? Surely her out of Heroes is in this for one reason and one reason alone – to get it all out? Huzzah!”

NOTE TO THOSE EXPECTING HER OUT OF HEROES TO DISROBE AND SHOW OFF THAT EXTRAORDINARY ASS OF HERS: She doesn’t.

The shitbags.

Anyway, Milla, her out of Heroes, the inevitable guy who’s been bitten by a zombie but isn’t telling anyone he has been (see: just about every zombie movie ever made), the spunky teenage girl, a bloke from Resident Evil: Apocalypse, and the other survivors head off to Las Vegas to get fuel …

“It’s always bloody fuel in these future movies! If I’d written Mad Max I’d be suing the living shit out of these robbing bastards!”

… and are attacked by a crate-load of zombies in boiler suits. The zombies have been put there by the evil mad British scientist to kill everyone and capture Milla. The reason that most of the survivors need to be killed is that the writer of this drivel, having the mental age of an excitable eight year old boy, can’t cope with so many different characters. Can’t write ‘em? Kill ‘em, kill ‘em all.

So, just about everyone’s dead, Milla’s really really annoyed and the mad British scientist has been bitten by a zombie. He returns to his evil underground lair and injects himself with loads of the rubbish antivirus. This turns him into a lumpy slimy thing made from balls and elbows and he kills everyone underground …

“I’m sure the same sort of thing happened in the second film didn’t it? Didn’t it? Eh?”

… then broods, and waits.

With crushing inevitability Milla and her out of Heroes and the soldier and the spunky teenager break into the zombie-surrounded complex using a big explosion. All but Milla escape in a helicopter to the supposedly virus-free last bit of Earth that isn’t buggered. Here it’s called ‘Alaska’ … in Waterworld it was called ‘Dry Land’.

And so, underground, Milla and the balls/elbow man have a fight. Like in the finale of Doom, both characters are pumped-up super beings fighting in an underground lair. Lots of things get smashed up.

Then, when all seems lost, one of the Milla clones comes to the original Milla’s rescue and turns on the machine that makes all those lasers turn into a grid pattern thing. This kills the balls/elbow fella …

“Well they’ve done that before …”

… and the scene has become the Resident Evil series’ equivalent of the throwing the alien out of the airlock bit so beloved of the Alien movies. If in doubt, repeat.

The movie ends with Milla and Milla looking at faaaaahsands of other Milas, all ready to be woken up and used as a cheap plot device in the next movie in the series.

“Well that was a pile of crap,” I grumbled, hoping the producers of these appalling movies meet a grisly end that involves knives ‘n’ axes ‘n’ shit.

Warning: This article contains spoilers.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (The Beginning)

September 19, 2007

Leatherface 

I, like you, ask myself ‘why did I bother?’.

Seriously – why?

In the full knowledge that this would be a shallow retread I watched it with the faint hope in my heart that it would have something of worth in it. But as the opening credits rolled and I realised Michael Bay co-produced it, I sensed my hopes were scuppered and I’d let myself in for a dreary couple of hours.

Yep – you heard right. Michael fucking Bay – he who is responsible for the likes of The Rock, Armageddon, Bad Boys and other such rot with massive production values and stupid, dull plotlines. Having killed off clever, subtle action pictures he’s now turned his hand to the horror genre and, ultimately, played a part in ruining the whole bloody thing.

Horror films (or at least the ones I enjoy most and the original of this tired franchise) thrive on a small budget. Schlock special effects, grainy camera work, poor acting, they don’t come at a price. You can’t apply the kinds of budgets that make things like Armageddon successful and hope it does the same for horror. Where’s the money going to go? Special effects? Herein lies the problem.

TCM (TB), to abbreviate this shitflick, is simply shock after shock with absolutely nothing of any worth sandwiched between. And the shocks are so blunt and heavy handed they don’t even make you jump. They make you sigh and, from time to time, vaguely grimace at the unpleasantness of it all. There’s no subversion, no intelligence, no allegory, no nothing. It’s not even good enough to be called an exploitation movie as it hasn’t been made on a budget to ensure maximum profit. We don’t get the pleasure of a really cheap ride. Instead we get really, really expensive disappointment. This is a film without merit in any sense whatsoever. A real low point.

What’s more irritating is that this is a cash in on a complete and utter fucking masterpiece. Despite this, it makes no effort to do any justice to the original.

As has been documented a bazillion times, the original is based loosely on serial killer Ed Gein. Our buddy Ed had a serious mother fixation which induced him, alongside some serious pathological mental illnesses, to cut women who resembled his expired mother into small pieces and use their flesh around the house, for furniture and accessories. Hence the whole concept of Leatherface.

Completely ignoring this freakish beginning, the Bay product makes the father the domineering parent. The first face Leatherface decided to skin and wear is that of a teenage boy. The whole premise is pissed into a corner and the concept goes out of the window. It turns from a tale of a warped and deformed young man with a distorted Oedipus complex into an overblown pile of tat about some violent men. And it’s not good enough I tell you. NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

As for Michael Bay, I’ve heard word he’s now working on a remake of The Birds as well as the first Friday the 13th. Can’t someone cut off his cock before he pisses on any more graves?

Spiderman 3

August 2, 2007

And so the cash-cow juggernaut that is the Hollywood sequel continues to drive its way across the world, obliterating almost all that comes before it. After the debacle that was Pirates of the Caribbean 3, I knew that I should abandon this year’s slew of threequels as hopeless and quietly admit that these big budget movies are no longer for me, but the Hollywood gene that was implanted as a child remained intact and like a moth to the flame I was irresistibly drawn towards this third, darker, Spiderman movie.

I knew it was going to suck, I knew I was going to hate it but still I couldn’t give up the ghost of the idea that maybe this time I would be wrong. Maybe this time I would find something satisfying and admirable in the cold, dead eyes of a billion dollar franchise. Maybe this time would be like when I was younger and I’d find giddy enjoyment in the spectacle and find it emotionally engaging as well.

I was a fool to even think it.

Remember that episode of the Simpsons where Poochy is introduced into Itchy and Scratchy but is destroyed by the studios attempts to satisfy every demographic? Welcome to Spiderman 3. The class and style of the first two films appears to have been thrown out the window in favour of a predetermined marketing angle, the established character arcs are dismissed with an almost gleeful preference for point A to B storytelling and the set-pieces are uninspired and formulaic. It’s almost as if the producers had a bullet point list of scenes / toy spin-offs they wanted to include and the story was shoe-horned in around them.

Even taking into account that it’s a comic-book movie and not subject to the general laws of logical storytelling, it was still a staggeringly lazy piece of work. Whole sections of the first movie were rewritten to justify character behaviour, soap opera levels of plotting were used to initiate storylines, villains given absolutely no reason to exist whatsoever and plot lines that had been carefully built up over the two previous movies were discarded in one or two lines of dialogue. What was even worse was that potentially interesting and exciting avenues of the plot were jettisoned in favour of turgid song and dance sequences and horrifically embarrassing ‘comedy’ moments.

This was meant to be the ‘dark’ episode of the trilogy, but instead it was a laughable exercise in bad filmmaking. How do we know Peter Parker has lost his soul to the black suit…? Why, he grows a Kraftwerk haircut. How can we justify his descent into bad behaviour…? Simple, rewrite his motivations from the first film. How can we get the new Green Goblin on Peter’s side..? Easy, give him selective amnesia. The disregard and lack of respect for the audience is evident in every frame as they go about hitting each target for their demograph and the consequences for the story be damned.

The villains were a pathetic lot and had none of the interest or pathos of either the Green Goblin or Doctor Octopus. Venom was a lousy CGI creation that was neither scary nor cool, and the Sandman was lumped with a backstory that was irrelevant and insulting. Kirsten Dunst became an irritating, demanding, self-interested cow barely capable of getting a teenage boy interested, Tobie Maguire had a humiliating dance sequence to explain his descent into badness and even the utterly reliable Bruce Campbell was saddled with a sub-Arthur Bostrom bad French accent that was nigh-on-impossible to watch without having fingers to hide behind.

The CGI was uninspired and shoddy, the fight sequences were boring and hard to watch and the so-called humour made me realise why these people were paid so much money in the first place – to buy their dignity and splash it on the screen. The ending was an insult to everything that had preceded it, the logic frequently dismissed in favour of expositional dialogue and the script was clearly (hopefully) a first draft they couldn’t be bothered to finish. For a series of films that started out very well, this was a terrible, terrible, terrible way to end them.

Of course, it made $800 million at the box office so who gives a fuck if it’s any good? Not the studio or filmmakers who must be swimming in their Scrooge McDuck pools of money and laughing at the gullibility of the global audience. The whole film was a fucking insult.

Hills Have Eyes 2 / 28 Weeks Later

July 17, 2007

Begbie and loads of infected freaks 

If you’re going to make a genre movie, or a sequel to a remake of a genre movie whilst going out of your way to avoid cliches, you’ve got an uphill struggle ahead of you. If you’re Wes Craven, you don’t need to avoid cliches, as you invented the cliches in the first place. If you’re a little-heard-of Director tasked with following up a zombie movie which itself avoided a few of the usual trappings then what do you do to make your new movie relevant? That’s it, you try and comment (with bloody heavy hands) on today’s political climate.

All the critics seem to disagree with me when it comes to horror films, so balls to them in their Islington and nouveau-Hackney homes, pumping out a word an hour of drivel. With these movies a viewer needs to automatically lower their expectations to the level of their stinking feet, otherwise disappointment will generally smack them headlong in the face.

The fun of a horror film is that it’s the opposite of high art. Very few horror movies can be said to be masterpieces. Maybe The Shining. Maybe Night of the Living Dead. American Werewolf In London, but in that instance we’re veering towards horror/comedy, which is a different kettle of fish. Beyond that, it’s pretty much semi-wooden acting, jumps and  gore, and thank crikey for that, says I.

So the critics savaged Hills Have Eyes 2. Hackneyed scripts they said. Expected shocks. And these things, they reckoned, combined to render it worthless. Only one or two stars. 11% on rottentomatoes.com

Well, bollocks. It’s a no-nonsense stomp through a script that’s only even present to transfer us to the next set piece. And those set pieces include a pair of mutant testicles getting flattened by a sledgehammer, a brain being finger-tweaked and an eyeball being thumbed out – which is all fantastic stuff. This is the point of the genre.  Admittedly the rape element is a bit much, but we forgave the EvilDead for that, so we can forgive this.

If an auteur (like Romero used to be) manages to squeeze in a clever analogy to a horror film, then so much the better – I take my hat off. But when the central premise is the analogy, a la Land of the Dead, the whole things fall apart and we’re left discussing how there were too few zombie maimings.

Speaking of a dearth of zombie maimings, the only memorable zombie death in 28 Weeks Later was the helicopter scene, ruined by the use of rapid editing and CGI.

Add to that the fact that the film was a complete mess, featuring an American army as aggressive as the zombies (apart from the good guys who end up the saviours of the Brits, obviously) and the presence of a ‘lead’ zombie, and you have yourself a disappointing wreck.

If I rent a horror film or spend my hard earned down the local multiplex, I expect rubbish. Please deliver.