Green Eyed Monster (2007)

Directed by Gabriel Barboza [Other horror films: N/A]

I didn’t know a thing about this movie until it was suggested by my brother I watch it (and by suggested, he just picked the movie completely at random, so it wasn’t as if it was a positive recommendation from him), and I wasn’t wowed at all by this. For a low-budget film, I think it’s probably fine, but overall, there wasn’t enough meat here to really get my blood pumping.

Estella Gomez was cute and all, but boy, did she get on my nerves after a while. Playing her abusive boyfriend (we didn’t once see him strike her, but I’d bet anything that guy did) was Michael Lee Arnold, who was okay, but his despicable character, not to mention idiotic once we reach the end of the film, made him impossible to root for. Andrea VanEpps got some funny zingers in, but she too wasn’t that engrossing a character.

As for the plot, I won’t say that it didn’t have potential, but as plenty of movies in the past have shown, potential isn’t really good for much on it’s own. Certainly Green Eyed Monster seemed to possess a somewhat unique story, but given it’s multiple annoying characters and repetitive nature during the second half, it wasn’t what I wanted whatsoever.

If you go into this one blind, I have a hard time believing you’ll come out satisfied, but at the same time, it’s not like it’s atrocious. I don’t expect to see this one again, which works for me, and truth be told, I’ll probably forget it by next year. For a one-time watch, I’ll concede it’s possible one could be entertained, but I really don’t think this is making anyone’s favorite low-budget list.

5/10

28 Days Later… (2002)

Directed by Danny Boyle [Other horror films: N/A]

This is a movie I’ve not seen in quite some time, and it’s always refreshing when a rewatch is just as good as you’ll hope it’d be. 28 Days Later… is perhaps one of the most important zombie films of the modern era, and it’s certainly a well-made movie from the UK, and perhaps one of the UK’s best in the last twenty years.

Most of the main cast was great. Cillian Murphy (who I pretty much only know from Batman Begins) was good as the main character, as he doesn’t really seem the type. Naomie Harris is fun as an action, kick-ass gal. Brendan Gleeson (Lake Placid, fourth Harry Potter film, The Guard) and Megan Burns give the movie heart, whereas Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who) gives it pragmatic brutality. Solid cast all around.

There’s a lot of feeling in this one. When I say that Gleeson and Burns really made an emotional impact on me, I’m not trying to exaggerate – that father-daughter combination was great, and much like how they brought Harris’ character some joy, they brought the viewer joy too, which makes the movie doubly impactful past a certain point.

Also, that score is damn phat. Really great score which helps the movie along, especially toward the end.

As far as zombie movies go, 28 Days Later is pretty damn important, and really brought back to life (see what I did there? :P) the dying (OMG HE GOES FOR A SECOND SHOT AND NAILS IT) subgenre of zombies. I mean, there were decent zombie movies in the late 1990’s (one that comes to mind is Bio Zombie, from Japan), but it was 28 Days Later that really made the genre profitable again, for better or worse.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing this again, and I feel sort of bad for having waited as long as I did, as it’s a movie I suspect that one wouldn’t really get too tired of. I’d certainly recommend giving this one a look or a rewatch if you’ve not seen it in some time, as it’s great stuff.

8.5/10

Identity (2003)

Directed by James Mangold [Other horror films: N/A]

This mystery/horror film has been a favorite of mine since I first saw it. The story’s great, with many decent performances, and the twists and turns here are just fantastic. Identity’s a pretty popular film, but if you’ve not seen, I’d do yourself a favor and give it a view.

Performance-wise, there’s little to nothing to really complain about. John Cusack is great, as are Amanda Peet, Clea DuVall (who was in some films, horror and non-horror, I enjoy, such as 2001’s How to Make a Monster and 2007’s Ten Inch Hero), Pruitt Taylor Vince (The Devil’s Candy), John C. McGinley (who played an entirely different type of character in The Belko Experiment), Holmes Osborne, Alfred Molina, and Ray Liotta (Hannibal). Liotta’s character has a twist up his sleeves, and while I sometimes think Liotta overacts, but he’s still solid.

It’s the twists and turns Identity takes that really makes it memorable. I remembered a couple of them, but even though I’ve seen it before, there were still a few surprises for me. It helps that the characters here, while not all likable, are all somewhat interesting, and we’re drawn into the mystery just as much as they are.

As far as the deaths go, there’s nothing really amazing, which I think can be excused as the story’s focused far more on the mystery than any other aspect. There are a few somewhat shocking deaths, though, so don’t think there’s nothing here to interest you if that’s your main point of interest.

Identity’s a movie I don’t really have any complaints with. The whole premise might sound generic (a killer knocking off people at a motel), but it’s done brilliantly, and is very much worth a watch, and with as popular as the film is, maybe you’ve already seen that to be true.

9/10

Copperhead (2008)

Directed by Todor Chapkanov [Other horror films: Ghost Town (2009), Monsterwolf (2010), True Bloodthirst (2012), Asylum (2014)]

Here’s a Sci-Fi movie I’ve enjoyed in the past and find myself enjoying once again. It’s a generic-as-hell western-horror movie with snakes, but damn it, I have fun with this.

I won’t waste too much time on performances, because I don’t know any of these people. Brad Johnson, Keith Stone, Brad Greenquist, Gabriel Womack, and Atanas Srebrev all did decent jobs, and had interesting and mostly fun characters.

The CGI behind the snakes was pretty God-awful, as were pretty much any of the special effects, but hey, it’s a Sci-Fi movie, what can you expect? Honestly, as bad as they were here, they’ve been much worse in many of their later efforts (for example, Sharknado and 2-Headed Shark Attack).

What works well with Copperhead, I think, largely comes from the enjoyable cast. Sure, the story’s ridiculously generic, that gun-fight is almost comically suspenseful, and you can see a few things coming from miles away, but even so, it’s a movie I have fun with, and also sports the quote ‘It’s hotter than nickel night at the whore house,’ which I use often during the summer.

Seriously, for a television movie, Copperhead consistently entertains me and keeps me interested. It did when I first saw it, and it did this time around also. I’ll never say it’s an amazing movie, but there are enough fun characters and amusing lines to keep me happy, so I find the potentially high score justified.

8/10

Satan’s Little Helper (2004)

Directed by Jeff Lieberman [Other horror films: Squirm (1976), Blue Sunshine (1977), Doctor Franken (1980), Just Before Dawn (1981)]

A mostly enjoyable addition to the genre, I will admit to being surprised by just how much I enjoyed a decent amount of this film. I do tend to think the movie runs on longer than it really needs to (there’s about an hour before we really get to the meat and potatoes of the story), but it still something I’d generally recommend regardless.

There’s not many performances in this film, so it’s a good thing that those involved did a pretty solid job. While it’s true that Alexander Brickel’s naive-kid act gets sort of old, he’s also quite young, so I won’t hold that against him. Stronger are Amanda Plummer and Katheryn Winnick, both of whom are really enjoyable to behold.

I really liked Plummer’s character of the mother, who was offbeat and always fun. Every other line she came up with was at least partially funny, and overall, were it not for Winnick, I’d say she was the best here. Winnick, though, stole my heart, as she put in a fantastic performance as well as showed the goods while still maintaining some modesty. In her Renaissance maid costume, she was a cool customer, and a very attractive lady.

Satan’s Little Helper wasn’t focused on gore or creative kills, but occasionally some would pop up, such as a somewhat surprising scene toward the end of the movie. We did see some entrails ripped out, so while they looked quite, quite fake, that’s still something, right?

Another thing I wanted to bring up was the design of the killer. He changes costumes a few times, but the main design he had was fun. It was obviously a costume, but at the same time, it made sense in the context of the story, and despite being somewhat silly-looking at times, I really did think it was effective.

Two small notes before I get to the main issue I had with Satan’s Little Helper. One, that game that sort of started this whole thing looked like perhaps the worst game ever made (intentionally, I’m sure), and two, that cat death was almost needlessly brutal, but then again, this is Satan we’re talking about.

Like I said at the beginning of this, I think the main flaw this film has is that it runs on a bit long. I can’t say for sure what should have been cut, but at an hour and forty minutes, I think they could have found something. I just know that while I was engaged through the end, there were times when I was wondering just how much longer the movie had.

That’s a small criticism in the scheme of things, though. Satan’s Little Helper isn’t my favorite comedy/horror mix from even 2004 (Broken Lizard’s Club Dread, along with the classic Shaun of the Dead, both came out the same year), but it is a fun movie that may be worth throwing into your Halloween collection.

7.5/10

This is one of the films that has been covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I cover this one.

The Children (2008)

Directed by Tom Shankland [Other horror films: w Delta z (2007)]

I forget exactly when I first saw this British addition to the killer kid sub-genre, but I suspect it was during an October sometime between four to seven years ago. From my vague recollection, I didn’t much care for this one, and seeing it again with fresh eyes, I hate to agree with that earlier assessment. The Children may not be a bad film, but it’s certainly not as good as many seem to think, and I genuinely find the movie unremarkable with a hint of frustration.

Make that a lot of frustration, actually. Maybe this is simply because I’m not a parent, but if someone is trying to stab you, you have every right to defend yourself, no matter if the assailant is a kid or not. Yet the parents here wore blinders when it came to the fact that their children weren’t just a little dangerous, but fatally so. It took a teenage girl (played fantastically by Hannah Tointon) to do most of the work, and what does she get out of it? Nothing but hatred and physical pain from the others.

She’s not entirely the perfect character though, either, especially toward the end. I’ll just say this so I don’t give too much away: STAY THE HELL IN THE CAR AND DRIVE BY, YOU IDIOT!!

Now that I have that out of my system, I can briefly try to explain why I didn’t care for this one. Partially, it has to do with the fact that both times I’ve seen The Children, I can never tell the children apart, and thus, I don’t know who’s who’s kid, and it just loses me with names of kids that I sure as hell aren’t going to remember. In all fairness, it was better this time around, but still, I didn’t love any of the characters aside from the teen played by Tointon, which hurt.

None of this is to say that Stephen Campbell Moore, Jeremy Sheffield, Rachel Shelley, or Eva Birthistle put in bad performances, but I pretty much thought all of their characters, save Sheffield’s, were terrible. It’s probably a good performance that made me dislike their characters so, but either way, the only one here I really liked was Tointon’s character (who looked smoking in that unseasonably drafty short skirt, if I may say so).

This reminds me of one thing I did rather like about the movie, being it’s setting. It takes place in a decently-sized house in the country during winter, with a bit of snowfall toward the end, which looked pretty cool. It’s just a shame the story they came up with (and ‘twist’ to follow, if you want to call it that) wasn’t great.

Was the gore okay? Reasonably, when the movie deigned to go in that direction. At the same time, while it was nice finally seeing kids meet the grisly end they’re so often denied in horror films, I don’t know if anything here was particularly memorable, problematically. There was potential during a few scenes (the kids had plenty of sharp instruments at their disposal), but it never quite got there.

I can’t exactly pinpoint why I don’t like this one more. It’s not like I think the movie’s terrible, but I definitely find it underwhelming despite some decent tension of Tointon’s performance. When it comes to killer kid movies, I’d go as far as to recommend Peopletoys, also known as Devil Times Five or (get this atrocious reissue title) The Horrible House on the Hill over The Children, or even Mikey, or hell, even The Good Son. But this British movie isn’t one I enjoyed either time I’ve seen it, and though it really feels like it should be better, it’s a consistently disappointing film.

4/10

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

Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008)

Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman [Other horror films: Saw II (2005), Saw III (2006), Saw IV (2007), Mother’s Day (2010), 11-11-11 (2011), The Devil’s Carnival (2012), The Barrens (2012), Angelus (2014), Tales of Halloween (2015, segment ‘The Night Billy Raised Hell’), Alleluia! The Devil’s Carnival (2016), Abattoir (2016), St. Agatha (2018), Death of Me (2020), Spiral: From the Book of Saw (2021)]

So I’ve seen this about three times, and it’s still not really my go-to when it comes to horror musicals. The style is something I don’t care too much for, and some of it’s just a bit too slapstick for me, but at the same time, I do think it’s a movie worth experiencing at least once.

A big issue I have with Repo! The Genetic Opera is that I don’t really care for many of the songs. Many are in a very industrial style, and one’s randomly an Avril Lavigne-inspired punk song. Still, there are some I rather enjoy, such as ’21st Century Cure,’ ‘Genetic Repo Man,’ ‘Inopportune Phone Call,’ ‘Zydrate Anatomy,’ ‘Chase the Morning’ (my favorite song by far), ‘Let the Monster Rise,’ ‘I Didn’t Know I Loved You So Much,’ and ‘Epitaph’. That may seem like a lot of songs, but there were quite a few that I didn’t enjoy at all. Part of it was how half of the songs were more spoken than sung, such as ‘Shilo Wake,’ which I just found awkward.

The cast here, though, is pretty solid, save for some characters I didn’t care for. Alexa Vega (who I know best from Spy Kids, a series I watched when I was a kid) did very well with her character, and her songs with her father, played by Anthony Head, were highlights of the film (especially ‘I Didn’t Know I Loved You So Much’). Head was amazing, his tragic back-story was on point, and the two sides of his personality were fantastic.

Terrance Zdunich cracked me up with his ‘GRAAVVVEEESSS’ line from ’21st Century Cure,’ and I also really liked his style in ‘Zydrate Anatomy’ (some mighty fine print). I sort of wish his character was more involved in the plot, but he was fun regardless. Another solid casting choice was Paul Sorvino as the main antagonist, Rotti, who didn’t have any standout songs, but had a great character. Sarah Brightman’s last scene was great, as was her portion of ‘Chase the Morning,’ but her character wasn’t really on my radar most of time.

What bothered me most insofar as the cast was concerned were Rotti’s three children, played by Paris Hilton, Bill Moseley, and Kevin ‘ohGr’ Ogilvie. Technically, the acting was fine, but I really didn’t like the over-the-top nature of these three, especially Moseley. Otherwise, like I said, the cast is fine, but boy, these characters just got on my nerves.

Obviously, what with the repossession of organs being prevalent to the plot, there’s some decent gore here, but much of it is more for slapstick value than it is shock. It’s done decently well, and though not often the focus, does occasionally stand out, especially in a scene toward the end regarding eyes and an iron fence.

Having seen this musical multiple times, it’s still not something I find myself enjoying as much as I wish I could. Some songs are great, but others are just sort of there, and that combined with some ridiculous characters really brings this down. If musical horror is something you’re interested in (and there’s not many other choices save Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street), I’d give this a look, but you may not be blown away.

6.5/10

Rogue (2007)

Directed by Greg McLean [Other horror films: Wolf Creek (2005), Wolf Creek 2 (2013), The Darkness (2016), The Belko Experiment (2016)]

Having never seen this before, I wasn’t necessarily sure what to expect, but I was hoping for a fun film. Well, this is no Alligator or Lake Placid, but a decently serious tourist-trip-gone-bad, and while I enjoyed some of the film, I will admit to not being thrilled with the movie as a whole.

Most of the cast is perfectly acceptable. Radha Mitchell (2006’s Silent Hill and The Crazies remake) and Michael Vartan worked well together, and other stand-outs include John Jarratt (Mick Taylor from the Wolf Creek series), Mia Wasikowska, Caroline Brazier (who reminded me a bit of Sara Gilbert), and Sam Worthington. Stephen Curry’s character seemed to have the potential to be more important near the beginning, but it never really went anywhere.

Where the movie succeeds is in building each of the characters into sympathetic beings, what with the mother battling cancer, or the man who came to spread the ashes of his loved one (that scene was rather touching, and perhaps my favorite of the film), or the American tourist who just doesn’t want to be eaten by a crocodile. It’s an hour and forty minute film, so they have time to show different sides of these characters, and I think they do a good job.

Otherwise, though, while I liked the tense sequences sprinkled throughout, I thought the final fight went on a bit long, and at times during the film, I was bordering on disinterest. I feel that 15 minutes could probably have been cut safely, so an 100-minute movie wasn’t necessary.

The gore, when it popped up, was solid. The only instance where it really made an impact was during a scene in which a character’s hand got impaled by the crocodile’s tooth, but even so, the movie, while not focusing on this aspect, didn’t shy away from occasional bloodshed.

Overall, though, I wasn’t deeply enjoying Rogue. I think it was well-made, and I think the characters really add to the film, but the ending, again, felt like it dragged, and I didn’t find myself as engaged throughout as I wish I was. It’s an Australian movie worth seeing, I’d say, but there are better ones out there.

7/10

This is one of the films covered on Fight Evil’s podcast – listen below, if at all interested in a time of mirth, as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this flick.

The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007)

Directed by John Erick Dowdle [Other horror films: Quarantine (2008), Devil (2010), As Above, So Below (2014)]

While not amazing, The Poughkeepsie Tapes is a decent found footage-type film, utilizing many different techniques, from footage to interviews, news reports, etc., in telling the story of a serial killer who has avoided capture for years. It’s not particularly gory or that visceral, but it is a bit disturbing at times. I just don’t know how memorable it really is.

There’s no doubt some quite unforgettable scenes here, such as a creepy crawling the killer once did, or a second toward the end revealing the depths of the killer’s brutality. Some of it is hard to watch, such as the ending in which a victim of the killer’s was found alive but completely screwed up mentally, giving a rather heart-wrenching interview.

But is it truly that memorable? Truthfully, I don’t really think so. It’s certainly engaging in the moment, but I don’t think it has the staying power required of a found footage movie to be recalled that often, despite the decent plot and solid presentation.

For what it’s worth, I would say that the film’s probably worth seeing, but I’ve seen it twice now, and I’ve not really been particularly moved either time. It’s not a bad movie by any stretch, but I just don’t think it’s great. But hey, maybe I’m off-base, and it’s your type of thing, so take it and fly.

7/10

This is one of the films covered on Fight Evil’s podcast. If interested, listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this one.

Hannibal Rising (2007)

Directed by Peter Webber [Other horror films: N/A]

While this isn’t really a horror movie, it’s in a series I generally consider horror, so I’ll just throw this one in, which is unfortunate, as I had to watch this pile of trash.

I’m not exactly sure what my biggest problem with this was. Partially, I suspect, my disdain is due to the fact that an origin story was entirely unnecessary. What doesn’t help is the fact that I couldn’t even once see this character as Hannibal Lecter. So he accidentally eats his sister, and then decides to be a cannibal? Oh, and a samurai? Love it.

To be fair, this movie had a decent kill every now and again. One was even actually good, and potentially memorable. It’s a shame that the same can’t be said for any of the characters (be it the generic serial killer lead or the pointless detective on his trail) or the movie as a whole.

Gaspard Ulliel didn’t once remind me of Lecter, but I guess he was fine. Dominic West (The Wire) was pointless. I didn’t like Li Gong’s character whatsoever. And no one else was particularly memorable or good either.

A few good kills doesn’t make a movie good, especially when the movie is otherwise entirely generic and unnecessary. Truthfully, this was a struggle to get through, and I’d easily take Red Dragon or Hannibal twenty times over as opposed to ever having to watch this piece of trash again. I legitimately didn’t enjoy this. I did not have a good time. I was displeased.

3/10