If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times – unless you want to be brutally murdered or horribly violated, don’t go summoning demons, y’all. Unfortunately, the peeps in Soul to Keep did NOT heed this advice so sucks to be them. Well, until it doesn’t so much?
Two siblings invite friends to their inherited, remote country home, but the fun stops when the group summons a demonic force from an old spellbook.
A complete list of my thoughts throughout this movie:
- Oi, why is this opening sequence with demonic photos so freaking long. Like, I GET it – demons.
- I really like the fact there’s a deaf character and everyone uses sign. New element to a tale as old as time.
- Of course one guy is a vlogger. What would demonic summoning be without video evidence?
- Pop-Pop kept his basement locked always – nothing suspicious there.
- Is Thumper a real game?
- Oh snap, child giggling. Yes, let’s follow the sound of random little girl giggling. I’m sure that will end well for you.
- Wait, it was a vision?
- Blah, blah, drinking, drugs, dancing, sex, blah.
- I can’t keep track of the relationships here. Dark Wiccan is dating Steroid Addict Baseball Player but likes Mousy Girl? And I think there’s a brother/sister somewhere?
- Creepy shadows, non-existent little girl praying, and Mousy Girl doing the Dean Winchester-patented “one tear” thing because…?
- Oops, power’s gone out.
- Yay, let’s go to the scary basement in the dark!
- Ooohhh, secret room in the basement with blood and demon summoning stuffs. Oh, Pop-Pop. Whatever were you up to down here?
- Dark Wiccan girl: Dude, look a grimoire to summon Beelzebub AND a way to summon his legions! This is, like, super bad. Everybody else: We should totes do it!
- Somebody has to be the vessel for the demon to possess. Sounds reasonable. I bet it’s super safe.
- So, they just half-assed the spell and everybody quit, but it seems Dark Wiccan girl is gonna do it all on her own. If she’s possessed, who’s going to do the reversal spell?? Does anyone else even speak Latin and/or the made-up language of Beezie?
- Hey, demon! Bye, Dark Wiccan girl!
- Why has no one noticed Dark Wiccan turning in circles for the past 5 minutes looking like she’s about to scream? Like, how wasted are they?
- Aw, demon has the munchies. That’s cute. Pouring pancake syrup directly into one’s mouth is just gross though.
- Is Beezie just gonna seduce everyone to death?
- Breathplay apparently makes Freddy the vlogger go off in two seconds.
- Arrggh, finally, some real demon action. Beezie just needed to get off too and since the boys are two-pump chumps, masturbation it was.
- There’s a whole thing with a balloon being able to help Tara, the deaf girl, feel the vibrations of the music – it seems it enables her to “hear” the demon shoving a tentacle (???) down Freddy’s throat too.
- Freddy’s not dead, that’s nice. Just possessed.
- Why does no one ever summon demons sober? Like, these guys are way too fucking wasted to deal with this shit.
- Jesus, demons are horny bastards. Beezie is a prince of hell not a bloody succubus, you guys!
- Demons were too busy fucking to kill anyone last night, so now the un-possessed peeps get to deal with this hungover instead of wasted. I guess that’s an improvement…
- Aw, barely mentioned chick got tentacled whilst meditating.
- Fina-fucking-ly, Beezie is getting started. She just bit baseball player’s ear off.
- Dark Wiccan girl’s boyfriend is a fucking tool, man.
- Oopsie, exorcism didn’t work.
- Wait, why can demons not open locked doors? What kind of nonsense is that?
- So, not only do the cars not work, but there’s an invisible barrier around the whole land the home’s on.
- Demon astral projection. Sweet.
- Yay, douche-boy has been tentacled.
- Oh, yeah. Preparing for war – rifles & sleeping potions cooked up by DJ the druggie. I’m positive this will be highly successful.
- Deaf Girl’s boyfriend is Mousy Girl’s brother and he’s decided it’s a grand idea to go face Beezie in the basement alone. Obvs, he got tentacled within a whole 3 seconds.
- The sister, Mousy Girl, has been behind it the whole time? When did she make a deal?? Oohhhh, she killed Pop-Pop all those years ago?? Because she wanted Dark Wiccan girl? Wow, sis is sneaky.
- That’s right! There WAS a random mention of sis getting locked in the basement once when she was a kid. So, she got possessed by Beezie then? Partially possessed? And Beezie made her fall in love with Dark Wiccan girl b/c Beezie loved Dark Wiccan girl? (Apparently, Mousy & DW have been friends for life.) This is so confusing.
- Seriously, guys, this is why it’s a bad idea to make deals with demons. You just can’t trust the bastards.
- Oh no! Big bad demon found me in the barn, guess I’ll run to the basement of the barn to hide then. They’ll never find me there!
- Oh dear, sis just got killed via fingers in the eyes.
- Go Deaf Girl with the photographic memory!
- Wait, is everybody actually alive then? Sweet.
- Uh-oh. Looks like Dark Wiccan girl might still be just a tad possessed. I bet it’ll all be okay though. Totes.
In summary and conclusion, this isn’t the worst “20-somethings summon demons in cabin for fun – click here to find out more!” movie in the world. The addition of sign language to the movie and a character who can’t bloody hear when demons attack was highly enjoyable (her being the Final Girl was great, too). The twist at the end with the “extra backstory now available!” was interesting, if kind of ultimately confusing. And though the entire movie hinted at Mousy Girl being shady, I didn’t realize she’d been having a decades long affair with a Prince of Hell to win the hand of her childhood friend or what the fuck ever. So, yeah. If demon summoning is your thing, totes worth a watch!
Coup de Cinema is about a group of filmmakers at a production company hijacking the film they’re all working on because “man, does it ever suck and we’re tired of making crappy films, so let’s heist it to make it not of the suck”. Sounded fun – film within a film, deliberately bad acting because the film they’re originally working on is so god awful – good stuff! It ended up being pretty cute too – totes adorbs as I like to say. There were a few less cute moments, however, that weighed it down a bit.
A film crew hijacks their company’s current production and improves it behind the director’s back.
Let’s start with the good:
- Buster Owens is the BEST. He’s the guy in the red jacket vest thing up above and he is my favorite character here. The actor is wonderful and his character is…honest, for a lack of a better way to put it. He rings true. Totes love him.
- I love how this film conveys the sense of fun & passion involved in film-making. You need both to make a film and this has it in spades. I also enjoyed the involvement of the pretentious assholes because, man, do you run across those in the film/theatre community. The representation of film-making is pretty spot on is what I’m saying.
- The film within a film is HILARIOUS. Like, I’m not entirely sure what the plot is but it involves some Indiana Jones-ish character, a damsel in distress, ninjas (I think?), a jungle, and terrible dialogue. I would SO watch that movie.
- The director of the original terrible movie is so delightfully clueless and arrogant. He has some great one-liners – “maybe it’s not working because they’re in an evergreen forest in winter and they’re supposed to be in a jungle?”…Director: “no. no, that’s not it”.
Now, for the not necessarily bad, but things I liked less:
- One character starts out sounding distinctly NOT Scottish, but by the end is very Scottish?? Am unsure if my hearing has gone to shit or if that was a thing. While confusing, I definitely enjoyed his later accent.
- At one point, the heisting crews’ video files all get deleted from the computer. They go to great lengths to recover it (stalking & a foot chase around town), but I couldn’t help thinking “Why don’t they just recover it from the computer itself? Nothing is ever truly gone, even if you delete it. That would’ve been way less work.”
- There are definitely some silly elements happening in this film, none more so than the ending. The melodrama is laid on thick and it was a little much. As much of a dick as the clueless director was, what he does at the end seems a bit over the top and not entirely in character? And then everything is resolved fairly quickly which is a bit unrealistic. “Aww, you just tried to commit violence at me? It’s cool, man. Totes.” is basically what happened.
- I hate the main character, Miles. I legitimately and adamantly did not like him. He’s an asshole. What made me dislike him most though was the running theme of him liking a friend of his. I have no idea if this was his best friend or a former girlfriend or a new friend – that wasn’t clear. What was clear was that he dug her, heisted the movie to impress her, and was a total jerk to her. Not only did he throw a tantrum when he found out she had a boyfriend and didn’t like him (seriously grow tf up dude) but he was kind of a jerk to her the whole time. He insulted her livelihood, ffs. I wouldn’t go out with him either.
- The whole “Miles likes his friend” plotline felt entirely unnecessary. It didn’t add anything to the film; it was kind of distracting tbh. We kept getting scenes every once in awhile of them talking awkwardly on the phone and it took away from the actual heist story. I don’t know if it was just used so she could be the catalyst for Miles wanting to heist the film in the first place, but I think there could have easily been another catalyst that fit into the overarching themes much more smoothly. I think Miles being “what the actual bloody hell kind of films is this production company making? Oh god, oh god, my eyes.” was really reason enough to heist a film to make it better.
So. Overall, Coup de Cinema is a fun film. It had a lot going on for it, but there were definitely elements that needed some work. The majority of the characters were a blast, Buster Owens is a doll, and I’m glad I watched it. Just, maybe next time make the main character a bit more likeable.
The film is currently on Amazon Prime Video, so you can watch it for FREE! Go on, hop on over and check it out. (Just be sure to yell at Miles a lot like I did. ;))
Opened on March 1st, 2050, which stars an ensemble cast that includes Dean Cain (Supergirl, Lois & Clark), has been playing on just one single screen (AMC Atlantic Times Square 14) in Los Angeles. By Sunday, the film’s ticket sales were rivaling studio releases and Oscar-nominated films including Tyler Perry’s Madea, Greta, and How to Train Your Dragon, and on Sunday, outside of the latter film, 2050 had outperformed them all. AMC wasted no time and immediately held the film over until at least the 14th of March. The film will open in Baltimore at AMC’s Owings Mills 17 on March 15th.
Said executive producer Henry Hewes, “By Sunday we beat all of the big guys. At one point, the theater told us we were neck and neck with How to Train Your Dragon on Sunday night. That’s just crazy.”
2050, is about a family man struggling to hold it all together who discovers a warehouse that may hold the solution…sexbots. Premiering at sci-fi film festivals around the world including Berlin, Austin, and Boston, the film has taken home over 11 awards.
2050, distributed theatrically by ANERKE, will expand into other major markets over the spring via theater chains that include AMC and others.
Hmmm…color me intrigued. Also, hello, Dean Cain – fancy meeting you here!
Let me preface this by saying that the only reason I watched this (the ONLY reason) was because of the title. 😂 I haven’t watched a Tremors movie since I saw the original with my parents way the hell back in 1990 (my mother loving Reba McEntire was the only reason we watched THAT one). I hated the original – the worms totally freaked me out as a kid, lol – but this title was just too great to resist. And, oh, it did not disappoint. So much badness, so much hilarity. *sighs*
There was so much going on – and having missed the majority of the series, so much I was confused about – that I took notes. Enjoy the stream of consciousness that is Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell.
- Oh, hey, Michael Gross! Watcha yelling at that IRS guy for? Oh, you are going to lose your country store for some reason. No worries, I’m sure that won’t be an issue in 10 minutes or so.
- Well, hello there, Jamie Kennedy! Where the hell have you been?
- Yikes. Worm thingies in the Arctic.
- Wait? Flying tremors thingies?? Called “ass blasters” -WTF?
- Pretty sure I would’ve had a reaction to going down in a plane with an alcoholic pilot, but sure, okay. Not an issue for Gross or Kennedy. They’re hardcore.
- “Arctic heatwave” – seems to be an oxymoron…
- Calls meeting an ass blaster whilst in the plane “a dogfight” when really they just let the thing run into them, lmao. Nice save.
- DARPA has trained dolphins to carry bombs & has created cyborg insects?? Jfc.
- Ass blasters breathe fire?? Why are there dragons? (Are these things SERIOUSLY called “ass blasters”??)
- Awwww, look at Jamie Kennedy macking on the Elizabeth Olson lookalike
- “trying to get sweet with me” are words I have never said nor will I ever say.
- “I have balls of steel. My balls are stainless steel. My balls are in the Guinness book of balls.”
- The ass blasters have sonic voices now too? The fuck happened to this series, lololol?
- Dude, they explode into fire when they die. Pretty. And kickass.
- And their sonic voice thing lasts after they die and causes visions? So confused.
- Gross has a tapeworm that’s causing the sonic voice headache/visions?
- Every woman working in the field of science/geology/wtf-scienceology is really pretty, but all the men in these fields are very much NOT.
- Aw, they did a JAWS tribute! Graboid in the water!
- Wait, he ALSO has a parasitic organism on top of the tapeworm they removed? And he’s infected with a toxin from a graboid?
- Graboid PTSD sucks
- Have to extract antibodies from a live graboid to save Gross. Because, of course.
- These people are so dumb. They’re not even carrying swords or knives to cut off the graboid tentacle thingies. Just guns. They could’ve saved that girl if they’d just had a freaking sword, for fucks’ sake. Or an ax. A sharp object is my point.
- Obviously, this truck will outrun the graboid/ass blasters!
- Did they just leave that guy out there on the water tower thingie by himself? Nice.
- Time to go on a worm hunt!
- Oh good, the guy they ditched on the tower is still alive. You go, guy!
- No, I’d rather die than go pantsless because I’m not wearing underwear!
- How is a guy pissing such a huge distraction for the worms?
- Wait, Gross is Kennedy’s father?? When did this happen?
- He named the worm “sally soul-smasher” after his ex. *giggles*
- Who’s gonna pay for all this damage?
- Oh, they’re making bombs now! Okay.
- Guys, now is not the time for family drama…
- Uh-oh, looks like tower guy is gonna get eaten.
- Ew, graboid goo.
- What does DARPA have to do with the IRS?
- How dare you try to save my life, you bastard!!
- So lost on what their great plan is.
- Huh, okay. I guess that plan to catch it didn’t suck.
- Thank fucking god someone used a freaking sharp object.
- Could’ve lived without old man butt…
- Aw, all that work to save that old cranky jerkface and he’s gonna die anyway?
- Wait, no, now he’s living?
- “How do you not die? You never die!”
- EW. Why are you kissing the guy covered in graboid goo? Save it for when he’s clean!
And there you have the gist of TREMORS: A COLD DAY IN HELL, a delightfully terrible film about giant worm thingies that not only jump out of the ground but now also apparently fly and spit fire (because, of course, they do). There’s family drama and stupid situations and idiot people doing idiot things – pretty funny stuff! No clue how this one holds up to the rest of the TREMORS series, so feel free to fill me in, because I’m honestly kind of curious. Now excuse me while I go watch something good. 😉
So. I thought I was getting a ghost story with this one, but, uh, no…not quite. What I DID get was a super hot mess that was boring AF. When did Netflix become the home of terrible horror? On the one hand, I’m “yay!” because I’m pretty much always down for terrible horror. On the other, I’ve yet to find the GOOD kind of terrible horror so I am very sad about Netflix’s life choices. 😦 Anyway, back to the terrible terribleness of this.
This one involves an old slaughterhouse turned into lofts, a creepy kid, lots of former murders, and secrets (that aren’t exactly secrets, but the people in the movie seem to think so, so whatever). Welcome to the slaughterhouse, where the owner killed a bunch of employees or something? They weren’t super clear on this, but I think he just kidnapped and killed employees for 80 billion years before someone finally caught on. Then he threw himself out a window at the top of the building, trying to take his son with him. Fun stuff!
Years later, a couple with a kindergarten-age daughter turns the slaughterhouse into fancy-schmancy, state-of-the-art, high-tech lofts. It’s all very happy-making. Approximately 4 people move into these lofts – people who appear to have no jobs and spend most of their time either working out in the gym, making eyes at each other or researching old murders. Lucky bastards. The couple’s daughter is kind of a brat and gets kicked out of kindergarten (who knew that was a thing?), so ends up being at the lofts 24/7. She starts running around with an “imaginary” friend who likes to hang out in the TVs and destroy her artwork. What a jerk. Her father – one of the designers – has crazy migraines all the time and starts acting weird. Her mom is just, “WTF’ing?” all over the place. And then there’s a tenant whose father worked at the slaughterhouse back in the day; his father died when he was a kid, but the tenant doesn’t know if he was murdered there (I guess b/c the police really sucked at their jobs??).
It’s all very, very boring and very, very slow. Then comes the “twist”, which isn’t really a twist because they kinda told you in the first 5 minutes what happened – they just “explain” it – and it makes NO sense whatsoever, and frankly, I wanted to jump out the damn window myself by the end. Seriously. Murder & mayhem & imaginary asshole kids should be FUN. WTF, CHARNEL HOUSE? I am giving you my disappointed face.
If you like torture, you’ll love THE CHARNEL HOUSE. If you like fun & happiness, you’ll hate it (as you should). 0/10, do not recommend.
In this, the year of our lord 2019, I would really, really, really like for horror movies to be better. And from what I hear, some recent ones actually are better, but MALEVOLENT is not one of those horror movies. Nope, it is instead a literal paint-by-numbers, “ah, yes, I know what’s going to happen after 10 minutes”, “oh, right, I remember this from movie X” kind of flick. Which, admittedly, is sometimes what one is looking for, but dammit, I so was not and I am grrr-bunnies. *sad-face* MALEVOLENT is a Netflix film, so I knew the risks inherent going in, but gah. I know Netflix can do better than this ghost story/slasher/serial killer hybrid monster.
So, the movie throws us into the action immediately, which is fun – no boring buildups or get to know the one-dimensional characters bullshit. This is something of which I def approve. We’ve got a brother & sister going to Uni in Glasgow in 1986 (I’m really not sure why the year was an important factor; this literally could have been any point in time. The only explanation I have for them making sure to tell us the year is so the characters won’t have cell phones to call for help.) Anyway, brother and sister – Jackson & Angela – and their friends/significant others, Beth & Elliot, run a fake paranormal investigation/ghostbusting service to make extra money (or in Jackson’s case to pay off scary mobster guys for reasons unknown). They go to people’s houses and Angela pretends to have the psychic touch while the others videotape the encounter, smooth-talk the people they’re conning, and fake voices, etc. with tape recorders. People praise them as heroic wonders, and they’re apparently making big bucks (but not enough to pay off the pimps or whoever Jackson owes). No harm, no foul, right? (Except for Jackson when the drug dealer dudes try to smash his face in.)
BUT apparently, Jackson & Angela’s mum actually was psychic. No one believed her, though, and it drove her crazy eventually, and she killed herself. Jackson is still super pissed about all that (understandable) but it’s turned him into an abusive dick to his sister (not understandable & totally not cool, and honestly, the entire movie I was waiting for her to punch him in the face. She never did though and I was very sad. Again.) After the first case we see them do at the beginning of the film, Angela suddenly finds herself…seeing things and hearing voices! *gasps* The fake psychic has become a real psychic (ghost-seer?). Clearly, Angela can’t tell anyone about this though because it would, like, totally ruin the fakeness of their con which would be tragic.
The next case they get is one Angela desperately does NOT want to do because it’s at some freaky murder house where a bunch of little girls were serial killed. If I could suddenly see dead people, I’d probably ixnay that one too. But Jackson is an asshole, and he & Beth are going to be dead people themselves if he doesn’t pay back the Scottish mafia or whatever, so he tells Angela to suck it up because they are so totes doing this. I really hate him. Soooo, it’s off to the murder house they go! Huzzah! And, surprise, surprise, there are a bunch of dead little girls trying to tell them something, everything goes horribly, and people die. The End.
Questions I have about this film:
- Why was the part with the loan shark/mafia/pimps necessary? It was pretty pointless as a way to get Jackson to take the job Angela didn’t want because Jackson is a little bitch and would’ve taken the job anyway, duh. Adding in that 2-minute scene where he gets bashed in the face with a pipe, while satisfying, was absolutely unneeded.
- Why exactly is Jackson an abusive bastard to his sister? Being devastated by the loss of his mom would be one thing but treating his sister like dirt, peppered with the “you know I love you, right? You’re so awesome” – like, literal textbook definition of abuse – is totally another. How are these things even correlated? Did mom like Angela better? Is it because he owes Gramps money so Gramps likes Angela better? So mystified…
- If ghosts are real and not in people’s minds, then how did these guys fake ghostbusting actually work? People were praising them as having saved them & stuff, which would make sense if the ghost activity was all in the people’s heads, but since it’s been ascertained that ghosts do indeed exist in this universe – how did they manage to achieve this?? They seemed to have not a single complaint.
- Do you think you could’ve made it less obvious who the killer was? Is there a reason you made it so obvious so early on?
- Why? Just why? *sighs*
If you need a movie on in the background while you work, this one will work in a pinch but otherwise, you might want to skip it. Formulaic + annoying AF characters + no mystery + no scares = not a very fun time. Def better ghost stories out there. Go watch them instead. Totes.
I grew up in a Southern evangelical household which means I’m not religious at all as an adult (trust me, if you’d had an attempted exorcism performed on you as a teen, you’d be wary of religion too). I DO love reading & learning about religions though; probably because I’ve always had a fascination with mythology and to me these are just more mythical tales. I’m quite familiar with the story of the angels’ Fall from heaven (am actually studying the Book of Enoch at the moment for something that I’m writing) and all that came after. There are different versions of the tale but John Milton’s Paradise Lost might be one of the more popular ones.
LOST + FOUND, directed by Jeremiah Kipp, is a short shot entirely in black & white that retells Paradise Lost in a modern, elegant way. Jenn Plotzke is a delight as Satan – all holy fire (or unholy as the case may be) and sensuality, ready to destroy God’s favored creatures in revenge. Ari Rossen as Beelzebub makes a good sideman, silent but ready to do whatever his master asks of him (and looking oddly like the angel from SUPERNATURAL…). I felt like Carl Hendrick Louis as Adam wasn’t in this enough at all. There was only a glimpse or two of him; he was an afterthought. (Sorry, Adam. Not your story.) And our Eve, Pia Haddad, seemed less innocent and surer of herself than one might perhaps consider her as and very, very willing to go chill in the garden with a lovely lady. (Sorry again, Adam!)
The costumes were simple (angels as accountants – why is that the universal standard? Who started this thing? I demand to know.) and the dialogue is sparing (the first couple of minutes consist of Satan explaining her whole “let’s corrupt the world’ idea, then the rest is a voice over from Ari – also, excellent job, Ari). The acting and direction are really what made this film; and the use of black & white instead of color. You’d think that with the Garden of Eden, you’d need lots of bright colors to portray the “magicalness” of it all. Instead, Adam & Eve each have a shimmer of glitter over one of their cheekbones – between that and the b&w you get a dream-like quality that draws you in more than any vivid colors or magical realism could. It was an excellent choice to make.
Essentially, this is a cool retelling of Paradise Lost. Dreamy, sensual, and elegant, it’s a sight to behold. 10/10, would recommend. (I don’t really have a rating system. Just go watch it.)
The only thing I know for sure after watching the pilot to “Mystic” is that some woman died on a boat (Bridget Ashling, if that cool picture above is any indication). I have a sneaking suspicion that the entire town of Mystic has solemnly sworn that they are up to no good though and am guessing that the series will end with the town of Mystic mysteriously disappearing due to a catastrophic disaster. Or because Satan.
Really things could go any which way, it’s hard to tell because the pilot doesn’t give us very much to go on. Instead, the pilot focuses on introducing us to a shit ton of people, none of which I could keep up with – okay, I could keep up with the daughter of the woman who died on the boat and her holy-fucking-incestual aunt but that was it. There’s an Irish priest who says the word “aunt” two different ways in the same sentence. An artist who gets upset with his nude model then paints a picture of a burning boat. A cop who gets a blowjob from…some chick that may or may not have any importance? A grumpy police captain type. A (possible) brother and sister, one of whom runs a bar, who seem to have done something not good. And a mayor who seems to be corrupt. I don’t know what any of them have to do with the other or the woman who died on the boat. I only know that one or two seemed vaguely upset that the woman died.
The dead woman’s daughter’s aunt is weirdly happy that her niece sees her nude and the somewhat Irish priest is randomly creepy near the end but I honestly am not sure what is going to happen with this series. I would have preferred fewer people in the pilot and more actual story to get an idea of whether I wanted to keep watching because I honestly don’t know what the deal is with boat lady or why she’s important (or if she even is). “Mystic” is supposed to be a murder mystery, so I assume the series will focus on figuring out why boat lady died and who killed her (and considering most of the people in the pilot were pretty creepy and/or douchey, they’ll have a lot of mystery-ing to get through!). I’m just not sure that I really care to find out the who, what, when, and why’s of it all.
If the rest of the series focuses more on plot and less on introducing characters at breakneck speed (because it’s okay to space out character introductions when a cast is this big), then maybe I could be intrigued. With some back story, I could be intrigued. But for the moment, I’m happy with my theory that wicked auntie is really a demon in disguise who’s working with the creepy, somewhat Irish priest to take down the town.
Holy fuck! Who’s that creepy motherfucker and what is he doing here?? Something tells me he wants to strangle me with my own intestines…which is VERY unhygienic, so EW. Or he could just be that guy from VOLUMES OF BLOOD: HORROR STORIES, the sequel to the kickawesome VOLUMES OF BLOOD. Remember that one? An anthology, but a super fun one with lots of gory good times? (Just click the link if you need a refresher!) But we all know that the killer always comes back, no matter what, and we also know how it tends to go with the art of the sequel. So does VOLUMES OF BLOOD II hold up to the first? Hmmm…let’s take a look….
Our story starts with a heist. One that’s set in the middle of nowhere (maybe a farm?), which is the perfect place to die. It starts out well enough with three amigos heisting, shooting the shit, and telling spooky stories about the old place they’re stealing from (because one ALWAYS does that during a heist, duh). At least half of our opening story was filmed in apparent complete dark, however, so you’re going to have to rely on your ears big time here. BUT the kill scenes are nicely lit and so long as you get to see people die, I guess it’s all cool, right? (Huh. That last sentence doesn’t make me sound unbalanced at all. ;))
But WAIT, no, omg, guess what?? That whole time we were watching a movie!! I mean, obviously I was watching a movie but then I was watching people watching a movie! Ah, the old movie within a movie trick. (Thank you, CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI) Boy, did you get me. Then we’re off to…watch another movie? But first we need to time jump to the past? And then 20 minutes past the past? Then come back to here to watch the movie? (I think I got that order correct.) There were lots of random images being flashed about, so I wasn’t sure if we were going back to the library and following the immediate aftermath of the first film or if we were jumping into a, um, jumping into movies anthology. It turned out to be neither.
What happened next was an anthology wrapped around a house and the holidays – different holidays and a single house as the centerpiece. We get to experience Father’s Day, Christmas, birthdays, Halloween, and so on and so forth. (We also get to experience the joys of house browsing!) As with most anthologies, certain pieces were better than others. My favorite story featured the girl above, a salesman, and Thanksgiving. It was incredibly atmospheric which helped lift it from the “oh yeah, I have a pretty good idea of how this ends” doldrums. The Christmas piece ended up being fairly good as well with its fun ending and an actress who was able to carry ~10 minutes of screentime alone (and mostly in silence). The downside was that this piece was much too long. I understand the time needed to build tension, to make the audience realize that something isn’t quite right, but it can be done in less time than this. (Also, my god, the freaking carols and Christmas music!!! BLEHCK. I hate this holiday so much.)
Overall though? First and foremost, VOLUMES OF BLOOD: HORROR STORIES reminded me WAY too much of THE PERFECT HOUSE, which is also an anthology tied around a house in which a real estate agent is showing a young couple around. Secondly, it was much less cohesive than the first. This story didn’t flow as smoothly as the first did; didn’t tie together as well; didn’t make as much sense. Especially the ending. I still don’t know who the killer is or where he’s from or why he suddenly popped up and decided to kill every citizen of Owensboro. I also am unsure why there are now unseen forces (or people) seemingly commanding him to kill (not like voices in his head but legit “hey that’s an order!” commanding way). Maybe it’s all just meant to entice in case there’s a third film? I dunno, but I was not impressed. Thirdly, this sequel just wasn’t as much FUN as the first was. This film was really lacking the joy of the first (I know that sounds weird – joy in a horror flick? – but hear me out). The first film was clearly such a product of love and devotion and people were so obviously having a blast that it made the energy of the film into that too (despite the blood and gore ;)).
VOLUMES OF BLOOD II was definitely better LOOKING than the first – it looks like they had a larger budget this time around – but it was lacking. It was missing that joie de vivre and indie spirit, for whatever reason. It also didn’t stick together as well as the original – this one very much showed us that it had been stirred with several hands in the mixing bowl and it made for some lumpy spots.
Is it ultimately worth a watch? Yes. There are the couple of stories that are really enjoyable; there’s a nod to TRICK’R’TREAT (my favoritest anthology series EVER); and there are lots of gooey messes and intestinal effects that are all practical and not CGI. (Big props for the makeup team and fx guys! You guys are wicked awesome!) And, of course, if you’re a fan of the slasher genre, you may totally dig on this. Check out the trailer on the Facebook page and let me know what you think!