Final Destination (2000)

Directed by James Wong [Other horror films: Final Destination 3 (2006)]

While I’ve never had it in me to find Final Destination an amazing movie, I have always held to the opinion that it’s both pretty fresh, in terms of plot, and generally a solid movie. It’s not great, but Final Destination has a lot going for it, and is worth giving a shot.

If there’s any flaw, it could be said that some of the performances aren’t great. Though most of them are okay most of the time, lead Devon Sawa (of Idle Hands fame) was occasionally shaky. That may partially be due to the fact his character was somewhat illogical during portions of the film, so that may just be on me. Others that do well include Ali Larter (House on Haunted Hill), Chad Donella, Kerr Smith (My Bloody Valentine), and Tony Todd (Candyman). Though his character wasn’t that memorable, I also enjoyed seeing Seann William Scott (American Pie) throughout.

The idea of death as an antagonistic force works pretty well here. It seems quite innovative, and definitely something that hasn’t really been seen before. It also makes things tougher for these characters – while it’s not easy, one could feasibly avoid Jason or Freddy, but to avoid death, the lengths one has to take would be quite trying.

I do sort of wish we got more information on Tony Todd’s character, but for a single scene appearance, I guess I was okay with the information that he gave. Well, that and he was also quite quotable (“…and you don’t even want to fuck with that Mack Daddy”), so while I wish we knew more, it’s not all bad.

The elaborate death scenes were all reasonably fun, the most enjoyable probably being the broken mug/alcohol dripping into a computer/computer blowing up/things get fucked sequence about halfway through. Earlier, when someone gets a wire wrapped around their neck and struggles for footing was pretty solid too. Can’t complain about that decapitation; the most shocking, though, has to be the quick hit-by-a-bus scene. Beautifully done.

Also worth mentioning, the opening disaster (being an airplane crash) takes only a handful of minutes, somewhat unlike later films that would add a bit more detail in. The vision of the crash still looks great, and wonderfully frantic and horrifying, but I even noticed when watching it that it didn’t quite feel as involved as later opening disasters did.

One last note, I sort of like the different variations of “Rocky Mountain High” that pop up right before an unfortunate accident befalls someone. It’s a catchy song anyway, and the fact that Death apparently listens to John Denver is okay by me.

Final Destination has never been a movie I utterly loved, but I have always liked them trying something new, and by-and-large, and I think that it worked out well.

7.5/10

The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)

Directed by Peter Cornwell [Other horror films: Mercy (2014)]

When I first saw The Haunting in Connecticut, I got the sense I enjoyed it. I didn’t think it was great or anything, but I remember having a pretty okay time with it, and that surprised me, as I usually don’t enjoy Hollywood ghost movies. Well, now I wish I could go back to those more innocent times, as I really didn’t care for this at all the second time around.

First off, and if you know me, this may not come as a surprise, I have to mention how this movie claims to be “based on a true story.” It’s not. Throughout the whole history of the entire world, not a single ghost or supernatural event has ever been scientifically proven. To our current understanding, there are no ghosts, no demons, no supernatural occurrences (for if they occurred in nature, they’d be natural occurrences), and no God or gods.

Even more so, this particular story seems to have been entirely debunked. So for trying to pass this off as a true story to increase fear, this movie automatically lost three points. It pisses me off when movies do this (found footage are the worst offenders, as you can imagine), and this was no different.

Prove the existence of ghosts first, and then you can say these stories are based on true events. Until then, shove it.

What this movie has going for it is really quick flashes of Hollywood scares and a disjointed origin story that’s told in music-video style flashes. I think the origin is sort of interesting, at least as far as the necromancy aspect goes, but if that’s all a movie has going for it, and it’s not even told in a particularly enjoyable way, that may not mean much.

To be sure, Kyle Gallner (of the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street) did decently, and Virginia Madsen (Candyman) worked well with him to make plenty of emotional scenes. Elias Koteas was okay, though his character was too religious to much care for. Amanda Crew (Final Destination 3) never really got that much time to make any impact, but her one research scene was fine, and she was cute, so whateves.

Of course, the estimated budget of this movie is $10 million dollars, so the fact that some of the performances are decent shouldn’t come as a surprise, and more to the point, it doesn’t really elevate the movie much.

I liked aspects of the origin story, but aside from this, this felt like complete Hollywood clichéd drivel. I’m not sure where I derived my enjoyment from the first time I saw this, but after watching it with fresh eyes, it’s just a waste with very little going for it. I imagine some people out there would enjoy this one, but it’s just not my idea of a good time.

4.5/10

Carrie (2002)

Directed by David Carson [Other horror films: N/A]

Among my more well-known eccentricities is that I’m not a giant fan of the classic Carrie. It wouldn’t make my top 25 horror films from the 1970’s, let alone my top ten, which is a hot take, believe it or not. An even hotter take is that I enjoy this television production more than the 1970’s classic, and while I am sure some might be aghast, I can’t say I feel much shame.

The cast here is spectacular. Angela Bettis (May and Toolbox Murders) was the perfect choice, as she really pulls off Carrie’s character and personality. Patricia Clarkson (who was in both Delirium and Easy A – completely similar movies) was a good fit for Carrie’s mother, and her back-and-forth with Carrie was always fun to watch. Kandyse McClure (of the 2009 version of Children of the Corn fame) was decent as Sue, and a bit snappier here (for good story reasons) than she elsewise generally is.

Emilie de Ravin (who I think I recognize best from Santa’s Slay, but have also seen in The Hills Have Eyes remake and the mystery Brick) gave a good performance as the ultra-bitchy Chris, and related, Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps, Freddy vs. Jason, and 13 Eerie) was great as her ultra-bitchy friend. Tobias Mehler stuck me as somewhat uninspired, but Rena Sofer and David Keith (Firestarter) were very good.

Though he only got one really stand-out scene, I also loved Laurie Murdoch, who played the principal, and though her character isn’t really relevant, I also wanted to mention Meghan Black, if only because I know her as the voice of Rogue in the cartoon X-Men: Evolution, which I watched the hell out of when I was a kid. Lastly, playing Carrie during a flashback, we have a young Jodelle Ferland (the kid in Silent Hill and later in movies such as The Unspoken and Neverknock).

So despite being a television movie, the cast did rather impress me. It’s true that there were obvious limitations in terms of special effects (which can likely most clearly be seen during the prom carnage and later the scene in which Carrie’s slowly walking and bringing the town down with her), but generally, I didn’t think this really harmed the story too much (I think the worst bit may have been the scene right before Carrie snaps – I just think it ran on a bit long).

The story itself takes some daring alterations in the finale, which I didn’t remember from my first-time viewing of this. While it’s true that how they ended this version isn’t novel accurate, I was never a giant fan of the novel, and the fact that this has a less down-beat ending actually sort of made me enjoy it a bit more.

Speaking of the novel, while neither the original 1976 version or the 2013 version did this, the novel has a lot of newspaper articles, journal entries, letters, and various things from Carrie’s life following the tragic event, split in between the telling of the central story. They don’t quite do that here, but the movie is framed during an interview by the police following the prom disaster, which I liked quite a bit, largely perhaps due to it giving David Keith time to have fun with his character.

With all of this said, what issues I have with the other adaptations are still true here – I just don’t love the story. However, because this version has a less depressing conclusion, I can dig it more. Sue me.

Much like how I enjoy the 1997 The Shining mini-series more than the 1980’s film, I enjoy this television production more than both the 1976 and 2013 versions. I’m an odd duck, but I can only say what I feel, and I truly enjoyed this one more. Good stuff, especially with the limitations they had.

7.5/10

Martyrs (2008)

Directed by Pascal Laugier [Other horror films: Bonne Nuit (1999), Saint Ange (2004), The Tall Man (2012), Ghostland (2018)]

I’m not one of those who believes that a movie has to be enjoyable to be good, but I do maintain that if a movie is not a particularly enjoyable viewing experience, then those who dislike it have every right to do so. That’s clearly relevant to me here, because while Martyrs is a well-done movie in plenty of aspects, it’s a movie that I have a hard time with, and definitely don’t find that enjoyable.

Whereas other French horror films from the same time period share the same bleak feel this film possesses (such as Frontière(s) and Haute tension), they still have a bit more of a, shall we say, cinematic background, and by that, I mean that while they can be dark, I still find myself entertained, and that’s not something I can truthfully say about Martyrs.

No doubt the film is well-acted, though. Mylène Jampanoï and Morjana Alaoui make for a believable pair of friends, and Alaoui especially does well toward the second half of the film. Though a character of miserable intent, Catherine Bégin does a pretty good job, which might be helped by the fact she really only appears a handful of times.

There’s also no doubt that the special effects are amazing. Honestly, the movie isn’t quite a gory as people might think, but there are plenty of brutal scenes, and especially in the second half of the film, some hard-to-stomach sequences, so though it’s not a gorefest by any means (aside from perhaps the shotgun slaughter toward the beginning), there are some things here that probably won’t easily be forgotten.

Like I said, though, despite some positive and well-done elements, I just don’t enjoy the movie. It’s entirely possible that I liked this a little bit more than when I first saw it years back, but even then, it’s just a smidge. Part of it is the grueling scenes of torture that a character endears (and seems to last at least 15 solid minutes), and part of it is the story and the pseudo-philosophical ideas about the afterlife and forced martyrdom.

I did find myself enjoying the end (though I do quite want to know what was whispered in Bégin’s ear – not enough to go out, capture young women, and torture them into ectasy, of course – but I am definitely curious), but I don’t think it was entirely satisfying, which may well be the point, given the bleak feel that this movie has. The fact the finale is somewhat inconclusive makes the film darker still.

Martyrs is often rated quite highly, and I don’t want to take that perception away from people. I can only say that I personally didn’t love it, and though I can admit that there are elements that I could conceivably enjoy, it’s not a movie that I think I’ll go back to near as often as I would films like Haute tension. Take that how you will.

5.5/10

Dead & Breakfast (2004)

Directed by Matthew Leutwyler [Other horror films: Unearthed (2007), Uncanny (2015)]

This zombie comedy is a film that I’ve not seen in quite some time, and by “quite some time” I mean at least 12 years. I saw this one when I was between the ages of 11 and 15, if I had to guess, and I’ve only seen it once, so I was interested in revisiting it and seeing if I liked it any more than I did back then.

Unfortunately, my reasons for not really caring for it back then are still applicable to today – I find the film too silly to really get into, and while I sort of like some aspects (such as the special effects and idea of the lyrical segues and recaps), overall, there are far better zombie comedies out there, such as Shaun of the Dead, Last of the Living, and Doghouse (and of course, you could argue that this isn’t even a zombie movie, as these are more people being possessed by an evil spirit, but given the film is called Dead & Breakfast, I don’t personally feel all that guilty labeling it as such).

For a lower budget movie, the special effects are decent. It comes with it’s downsides, such as a scene in which blood splatters onto the camera (which is something I have always hated when it pops up in horror films), but from a purely technical standpoint, the gore effects here are impressive.

Even elements of the cast are decent. Jeremy Sisto (Wrong Turn, May, Population 436) was okay, though wasn’t that important. In a similar vein, Erik Palladino (of Return to House on Haunted Hill fame) was fine, but I never really cared for his character. I liked both Gina Philips (Jeepers Creepers) and Ever Carradine (who I recognized from Runaways), but I admit I’m sort of sick seeing David Carradine (who is Ever’s uncle, as it turns out) pop up in small roles. It just gets old.

For the most part, though, the central cast is stable, or at least unobtrusive enough as to not cause any problems. What bothered me more than a couple of uninteresting characters was the humor here. There might be a few funny lines, or an amusing scene, but overall, I thought a lot of the jokes here sort of fell flat. I also didn’t care, on a side-note, for the zombies dancing. Again, that felt more ridiculous than anything.

What was more grating than cute was those musical segments that recap the story (“But the only way to truly stop these drones is to dig up Mr. Wise’s bones / So that’s why the sheriff, drifter, and Melody took Doc down to the cemetery / To carve the bones into sharp stakes, one thrust to the heart is all it takes / Can’t kill them with guns and no strangulation, just good, old-fashioned decapitation”), and though maybe a couple of these peppered in would be okay, I just felt they popped in too often, especially given a whole song is sung during the credits which covered the whole of the movie.

Dead & Breakfast isn’t a terrible movie, and though I don’t often hear people talk about it, it does sport a perfectly decent rating on IMDb (5.8/10 with 5,784 votes as of this writing). It’s not my type of comedy, though, and overall, I just found the movie somewhat sluggish and wholly lackluster. I don’t think this is one that I’ll be looking to watch again anytime in the next twenty years, but some people out there will enjoy it just fine.

5/10

Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth (2000)

Directed by John Blanchard [Other horror films: N/A]

I have to admit that I didn’t go into this one with the best mindset. Though I’ve seen this parody movie before, it’s been a hell of a long time, and never having been much a fan of the comedy from Scary Movie, I didn’t think this rewatch would go that well.

And of course, surprising me, I found that I enjoyed this one a bit more than I thought. By no means is Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth a great movie, but it did have it’s amusing portions, and I will fully fess up to laughing a decent amount throughout the film, and more so, it parodies films such as Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer generally well.

Just to spout off a few of these, a girl calls her brother (this film’s answer to Dewey) a “dork,” to which he replies, “dyke.” Cue another girl (who is suspected to be a lesbian) to ask, her voice interested, “What?” It’s quick, it’s simple, but it still cracks me up. Or how we get multiple flashbacks from different perspectives of what each of the central characters are hiding (“Seems gene splicing is all the rage”), which was sort of clever.

Some of the humor shines through simple quotes (such as “24 Hour Pizza – if we’re not here in 24 hours, we’re not coming” and a student overhearing a teacher ask “Do you know where I can get an unregistered handgun?”), while others from just wacky scenarios (such as the Mentos parody, complete with the cheesy music, or the race between the killer and Majandra Delfino’s character). I think what got me the most was, during a “Greased Lightnin’” parody (“Greased Frightnin’” should you be curious), a stupid fucking dance this guy was doing. It was just so goofy.

So sure, maybe the humor here isn’t sophisticated (that German Club “Seig Heil” for instance), but about 45% of the time, it works. That doesn’t mean the other 55% isn’t without merit – it’s still a goofy, watchable parody, as I suspect most of the Scary Movie sequels tend to be (I have actually seen the second, third, and fourth, though I barely remember a thing about any of these).

As far as performances go, I only really want to bring up Majandra Delfino because she rocked the short hair look (and actually, briefly reminded me of Brittany Murphy in Cherry Falls). The others were decent – Harley Cross was sort of generic, but Simon Rex was fun, and Danny Strong was certainly something – but no one stood out like Delfino. Tom Arnold was sort of painful, as was Tiffani Thiessen, but that’s just the nature of over-the-top parody characters, so I don’t fault them for this.

And while I generally found the final twenty minutes the least engaging in the film, I did rather dig the song that played during a chase scene, being “Pretty in Pink” by The Grown Ups (a cover of the Psychedelic Furs song). This sequence was, I’m guessing, a parody of some video pop-up-facts-type thing from MTV, and was generally amusing (“The actor playing Dawson is afraid of heights. The director got him drunk and dared him to do the scene,” is one that I laughed at).

This isn’t my type of movie, and I definitely found some portions trying and not particularly amusing. All-in-all, though, it wasn’t a bad watch, and though I found it below average, I honestly sort of found some of this worth it.

6/10

May (2002)

Directed by Lucky McKee [Other horror films: All Cheerleaders Die (2001), The Woods (2006), The Woman (2011), All Cheerleaders Die (2013), Tales of Halloween (2015, segment ‘Ding Dong’), Kindred Spirits (2019), Deathcember (2019, segment ‘They Once Had Horses’)]

I don’t have a lot to say about May, because my feelings for this film, both the first time I saw it and just now, can be boiled down to the simple fact that I find the movie uncomfortable and don’t at all enjoy it.

Which isn’t to say the performances are bad – I think that Angela Bettis (who played Carrie in my favorite adaptation, the 2002 television movie) gave a great performance, and really sold May’s awkward tendencies. Jeremy Sisto (Wrong Turn, Hideaway, and Population 436) didn’t wow me, but Anna Faris (Scary Movie) was fun in her own way.

What’s not fun in it’s own way is the story, though, which I just find awkward. It’s uncomfortable and awkward for much of the running time, and when things that I’m more interested in finally get going (let’s say the final thirty minutes), it’s really already too late, because though the ending was much better than the first two-thirds, it wasn’t even all that great.

Certainly there are some scenes here that stick out a bit more, the sequence which most comes to my mind is the classroom scene with the blind children (I think what really elevates that sequence is the choral music in the background). Aside from that, everything else is awkward, uncomfortable, and I’m really not interested in seeing it. I already live an awkward and uncomfortable life – I don’t need to see it in a movie for pleasure.

And that doesn’t even need to be the case. Love Object (2003) had it’s own share of awkward moments, but was also a film that (while it took a few viewings) I legitimately enjoyed. Here, I’m just watching May’s uncomfortable life unfolding uncomfortably and wanting it to be over, deriving little to no pleasure from much of it.

May is a movie that has found a decent fanbase, and I have some friends in the horror community who quite enjoy this film. After seeing it again, though, I’ll just admit that it’s not for me, rate it lowly, and move on.

4/10

Vampire Chicks with Chainsaws (2006)

Directed by Carlos Don Diego [Other horror films: N/A]

A couple of Octobers back, at the time of this writing (February 2021, for the record), I first saw this film, and from what little I remembered, it struck me as a joyless experience. After seeing it again, I can confirm, indeed, that ‘joyless’ is a pretty good description of this movie.

Certainly the quality is, at best, iffy. A lot of times, lower-budget films don’t bother me, and I like to think that this one doesn’t bother me due to the budget itself, but I won’t say that the evidently low budget wasn’t problematic, mostly in terms of the pitiful camerawork, some of which was downright painful to watch.

The story also isn’t my cup of tea – basically a group of vampires are warring with aliens referred to as “Outlanders” and there’s a traitor vampire who loves a human hillbilly, and this guy in question has a first-person narration thing going on. But it’s not just normal first-person narration, it’s sometimes goofy, ‘humorous’ first-person narration said in a serious tone, because that makes it better.

And that, of course, was a joke, as it just makes the dialogue throughout the film painful. Not that the movie wasn’t already painful (even at 80 minutes, Vampire Chicks with Chainsaws feels quite a bit longer), but the script was laughably inept, which is a shame, as I think that’s where this movie was trying to provide most of the ‘fun,’

Which is another interesting thing, now that I think about it. Despite the almost-fun title, this movie just feels drab and bland. Even the color palette seems drained and muted. I don’t know where this was filmed, but the landscape just seemed so bleh. If the story and script had been better, that probably wouldn’t matter, but as it is, it just adds another weakness to the film.

I was not wowed by either Adam Abram or Jenna Lisonbee. I certainly don’t blame either one’s performance for how the final product turned out, but at the same time, I can’t say that they were great. What I can say is that they’re the only ones who really stand out in any conceivable way. Their growing attraction to each other didn’t interest me, nor did the end, nor did anything else, but at least they stood out.

There was also a dearth of quality death scenes. It wasn’t helped by the fact that the Outlanders had green blood, but even with that in mind, and even with plenty of chainsaws and hideous fight sequences, there was almost nothing here. Most of the blood came from vampire chicks biting their wrists, so that’s grand.

Vampire Chicks with Chainsaws was a painful movie the first time I saw it, and seeing it again, I can fully say that it’s an experience almost-entirely void of joy, which is something I don’t say lightly. This was a poor film, and definitely not one I’d care to experience again at any point.

1/10

The Beast of Bray Road (2005)

Directed by Leigh Scott [Other horror films: Frankenstein Reborn (2005), Exorcism: The Possession of Gail Bowers (2006), Hillside Cannibals (2006), Dracula’s Curse (2006), The Hitchhiker (2007), Flu Bird Horror (2008), The Dunwich Horror (2008), The Penny Dreadful Picture Show (2013), Piranha Sharks (2016), The Penny Dreadful Picture Show Re-Animated (2018)]

It’s been many, many years since I’ve last seen this Asylum flick, and I have to admit that I’m happy about revisiting it. By no stretch is The Beast of Bray Road a great film, but it was better than what I remember it being, and though it’s still below average, it’s not altogether a terrible time.

Part of this is due to the way the story’s tackled, specifically in regards to the mysterious creature killing people. The characters aren’t sure if it’s Bigfoot, a werewolf, or some other unknown or as of yet undiscovered creature, and what’s more, when they find out it is a werewolf, the identity of the werewolf is still in question (leading to what I felt was an oddly solid conclusion).

Obviously it’s an Asylum movie, so it’s not perfect. My biggest personal gripe is the design of the creature, what with the long, almost dreadlock hair and the huge ears, but I also found it sort of amusing that, though a big deal is made out of the cycle of the moon during the final scene of the movie, it never once came up beforehand. Also, the license plates on the police vehicle clearly state California, and the film was indeed made in California, but it’s dedicated to “the Great State of Wisconsin” and Bray Road is, in fact, in Wisconsin (this film is partially based off mysterious sightings that took place around Elkhorn, a town in southern Wisconsin).

Oh, and this is a small thing, but there’s a character standing in the woods and makes an observation that, “There’s no birds,” and literally a second later you can clearly hear a bird chirping. It was more funny than anything, but talk about a mistake.

The special effects aren’t too shabby. They’re not great, but for a lower-budget picture, they’re serviceable. One woman gets a leg torn off and tries to crawl away in agony, and two poor brahs get torn apart, literally ripped in half, with organs and the like falling out of their torsos. It never looks as high quality as you’d hope, but hey, it’s something.

Jeff Denton makes for a fair lead, and has that somewhat austere yet likable cop attitude. Sarah Lieving (666: The Child) wasn’t really special, but the story did boost her character somewhat. Though it took a little while, Tom Nagel (who I am familiar with through Jolly Roger: Massacre at Cutter’s Cove and have also seen in 2006’s The Butcher), and his last scene is actually pretty good. Thomas Downey’s cryptozoologist character didn’t really add much in my view. And though Christina Rosenberg didn’t really have a lot to do her, she was still cute in those glasses, so wanted to give a shout-out.

At the end of the credits, after letting us know that no werewolves were harmed in the making of the film, it reads, “Why are you still reading this? Go back to the video store and rent another Asylum film. You know you want to.” And you know what? If every Asylum movie was like this, maybe I would.

The Beast of Bray Road isn’t great, but it was fun to see again. I enjoyed the conclusion, the twist was actually sort of surprising, and save a few errors and a hideous werewolf design, I don’t think the film is that bad. Below average, sure, but not that bad.

6/10

This is one of the films covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss The Beast of Bray Road.

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007)

Directed by Joe Lynch [Other horror films: Chillerama (2011, segment ‘Zom-B-Movie’), Mayhem (2017)]

When I first saw this one some years back, I found it underwhelming. I know, though, that there is a decently-sized contingent that find this a generally solid sequel, so I was sort of excited to see it again and perhaps wondering if it would move up in my rankings. And after doing so, while it is a little better than I initially gave it credit for, I still don’t think it’s all that memorable.

Aside from, of course, Henry Rollins, who is the sole reason to watch this film if you’re hesitant to do so, as his kick-ass character, from beginning to end, is just fantastic. I’m not saying that Rollins makes this movie great – honestly, while portions are good, I think the film still hovers around average to below average – but without Rollins, I think this movie would lose a lot of the charm it managed to create, as he brings quite a lot as an over-the-top drill sergeant who sends these mutated hillfolk back to their cabins, and how!

I have to admit that I expected quite a lot more from Aleksa Palladino’s character, but in a way, I can understand why they might want to get rid of the obvious final girl somewhat early on. Even so, I found it a bit of a shame, as I did find her character one of the better ones here. Otherwise, you have Erica Leerhsen, who did take a while to grow on me, but I eventually found myself quite enjoying her standoffish attitude.

Texas Battle (what a name, brah) had a quality moral code, which I appreciated (him turning down Yan-Kay Crystal Lowe’s character was nice to see). Battle didn’t stick out as much as Leerhsen, but he was still good. Yan-Kay Crystal Lowe (Final Destination 3, Black Christmas, and Yeti: Curse of the Snow Demon) was the stereotypical hot bitch, so while attractive, her character was as hideous as any of the deformed hillbillies. Most of the others, be it Steve Braun, Daniella Alonso (who was also amusingly in The Hills Have Eyes II), or Matthew Currie Holmes, were sort of there, and little more.

Of course, the gore here was pretty solid throughout. I never really cared for the whole cutting-someone-in-half with an axe/chainsaw/hatchet, so the opening kill was more meh, but it still looked good. A hatchet-throw stood out, if only because it struck me by surprise, and the finale was beautifully gory (what with a tree debarker debarking more than bark), though it did lead to a final scene that I thought was unnecessary.

Actually, since I mentioned the finale, I did rather like that paper mill that made for the setting, and when Rollins’ character is running through and blowing people up with his dynamite arrows, it’s a lot of fun, and of course there’s solid tension. I am disappointed by what goes down with Rollins’ character, but I get it.

All of this, though, doesn’t mean the movie’s great. I honestly don’t think it’s necessarily bad, but generally, I thought this hit some of the right spots without fully satisfying me, and some of it is admittedly smaller things, such as that supposed game show. I’m a fan of Survivor, which is partly, I suspect, what that game show is based on, but boy, does it sound unnecessarily complex. I’ll chalk that up to bad design for a reality TV show, though, and not an example of how I wasn’t wowed by this.

Something that does play a part, though, are the deformed antagonists. In the first film, things were kept simple with just three antagonists, but here’s there’s an extended family, and for me, it wasn’t always easy to keep in mind exactly how many family members there were, and related, where those members were at any given moment.

I don’t dispute that Dead End had some solid things going for it, such as the kills and a few of the characters, but despite what it does right, I think this is somewhat clearly below average, though not nearly as badly as many other films.

6.5/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below, if it tickles your fancy, as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Wrong Turn 2.