So to make up the lateness of my first Top 9 Movies Since 1986 I bring you movie reviews. Not just 1, nor 2 but 3 reviews! Given no play-by-play but here they are. Not only that but I bring you the EXPLOITATION 3 PACK! From zombies to demons to straight up revenge, this pack has it all! So sit back, relax and figure out see my thoughts on these four movies.
Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)
A vigilante homeless man pulls into a new city and finds himself trapped in urban chaos, a city where crime rules and where the city’s crime boss reigns. Seeing an urban landscape filled with armed robbers, corrupt cops, abused prostitutes and even a pedophile Santa, the Hobo goes about bringing justice to the city the best way he knows how – with a 20-gauge shotgun. Mayhem ensues when he tries to make things better for the future generation. Street justice will indeed prevail.
If you can’t tell from the title, the movie is fairly straight forward. There’s a hobo with a shotgun and he kills scumbags. Pretty simple. Like a modern day version of The Exterminator series; One guy, one weapon, complete ass whoopery. What makes this movie is how insanely over-the-top it is. Not only that but it’s fairly low budget. Very much what the other Grindhouse family of films try to present. In this way I think it’s better than Machete and even Planet Terror. Like the exploitation flims of old it doesn’t rely on graphics or explosions as much as old fashioned practical effects. Something, as mentioned, Machete and Planet Terror lacked. Not only that but you get great performances from everyone, particularly Rutger Hauer. Sure they’re not winning an Academy Award but the over-the-top acting is perfect for the movie. If there’s any drawback it’s that there is no real story. Obviously there isn’t going to be but it is so simple that it does feel very paint-by-numbers at times. But hey, you’re not watching Hobo with a Shotgun for complexity. With great practical effects and a golden premise this is a must see for all genre fans.
The Last Exorcism (2009)
In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the evangelical Reverend Cotton Marcus was raised by his father to be a preacher. He agrees that the filmmaker Iris Reisen and the cameraman Daniel Moskowitz make a documentary about his life. Cotton tells that when her wife Shanna Marcus had troubles in the delivery of their son Justin, he prioritized the doctor help to God and since then he questions his faith. Further, he tells that exorcisms are frauds but the results are good for the believers because they believe it is true. When Cotton is summoned by the farmer Louis Sweetzer to perform an exorcism in his daughter Nell, Cotton sees the chance to prove to the documentary crew what he has just told. They head to Ivanwood and they have a hostile reception from Louis’s son Caleb. Cotton performs the exorcism in Nell, exposing his tricks to the camera, but sooner they learn that the dysfunctional Sweetzer family has serious problems.
The movie starts VERY strong. I found following this faithless priest doing these fake exorcisms to be crazy fascinating. The way he’s introduced is just fascinating. All of the acting fits perfectly as well. Unlike Hobo with a Shotgun the performances are almost subdued; it’s very real to life. This works absolutely perfectly with the found footage style they use. At about the halfway point through it slowly declines in quality. What happens is basically that it falls into the common conventions of the genre which is disappointing for such an interesting premise. Not only that but around this point they add a score to the movie. This idea is a double edged sword. On the one hand it helps add suspense when done properly. On the other hand it completely detaches you from the movie, especially one that captured realism so well before. Also the climax just comes way too soon. Things feel like they’re on track and in a matter of minutes the movie ends. I think the ending would not only be less anti-climatic but more suspenseful. Despite these though flaws I still think it’s worth at least a look. Whether you’ll be satisfied in the end, that’s for you to decide.
Dead Set (2008 mini-series)
It’s eviction night at the Big Brother house, but something very strange is happening; the dead are coming alive and attacking the living. When zombies attack all of the audience outside, the Big Brother contestants are unaware of the death outside the fan-proof (and zombie-proof) big brother house until the show’s runner, Kelly, comes into the house and warns them of the doom outside. Stuck with even less contact with the outside world, the house-mates must sneak out of the house to get supplies, without being seen by the zombies.
I saw this last Halloween on IFC. After recording all of them on my new DVR I had a marathon viewing. At the time I absolutely loved it. Of course this was Halloween where any bit of horror could fulfill me. So I decided to go back and rewatch it. I am happy to report that Dead Set holds up quite well. What I like most is the originality of the premise. I mean we’ve seen zombies in practically every scenario but this is the only time that we’ve seen the invasion from the prospective of a reality TV show cast. I also really dug the look and content of the movie. The BBC is much more lax in their censorship so the inclusion of violence and gore makes the show feel more like a movie than a TV mini-series. Unfortunately this is where the innovation ends. The series is very cliche. All of the characters, although clever representations of reality TV show contestants, don’t bring anything new to the table. Neither does the story for that matter. Despite starting very unique it devolves into a very stock zombie movie. Still with an original setting it’s hard to say you shouldn’t see it. Dead Set is definitely a mini-series you should tune into.
There you have it. Three reviews for a nearly three week late article. I may suck at hitting times but you can’t say I never make up for it.