Day of the Dead 2: Contagium (2005)

Directed by Ana Clavell [Other horror films: Horror 102: Endgame (2004), Creepshow 3 (2006)] & James Glenn Dudelson [Other horror films: Horror 101 (2001), Museum of the Dead (2004), Creepshow 3 (2006)]

I’ve seen some bad zombie movies in my time, this has got to be one of the worst I’ve seen in the last six months, perhaps longer.

In truth, this movie might be of slightly higher quality than 2006’s Dorm of the Dead, which I’ve seen somewhat recently. Certainly this film was more coherent than that low-budget offering, but I didn’t have near as much fun with this as I did that one.

Partially this is due to it’s rather drawn out set-up – the movie’s already a bit long, at over an hour and forty minutes, but it takes something like an hour to really get moving. Not that I mind a little character-building, but boy, most of the characters in the film weren’t really worth building. And that ten-minute opening prior to the title screen was somewhat terrible, but at least it was consistent with the following hour and thirty minutes.

There’s a few decent things about the film, such as the laudable special effects and maybe a sympathetic character or two (not that the acting here really merits much). The make-up is rather iffy, and sometimes really shoddy, but it’s still okay insofar as the budget is concerned. I do wish the gore was a little more enjoyable, but I guess much of the lower-budget zombie genre has the same issue.

Laurie Maria Baranyay was fine, and a decently cute actress, but her story here did her no favors. Her relationship with actor Justin Ipock was of moderate interest, but not altogether all that endearing. I did like Stephen Wolfert in his role, and his form of treating his patients felt far more humane, which was sort of nice.

I can’t possibly look past how boring much of this movie was, though, nor how utterly generic most of it felt. Even the original content, such as the zombie virus causing people to “evolve,” was messy and generally unenjoyable. What’s worse was the pseudo-philosophical babble that was the first-person narration (by Ipock’s character), which popped up a handful of times. It was never interesting or engaging, but again, I guess that’s at least consistent.

And not to berate this film even more, but that ending was absolutely terrible in pretty much every way.

Zombie movies are hard to get right. And perhaps more to the point, I’d be the first to admit that zombie movies aren’t my cup of tea. No doubt there are great zombie movies out there (look no further than Dawn of the Dead, The Return of the Living Dead, or Zombi 2), but so many of the zombie flicks post-2005 are generic drivel, and this movie, an unofficial sequel to Romero’s Day of the Dead, is little different.

For the life of me, I can’t imagine many people becoming too enthralled with this. If you want to pass the time with a shitty zombie movie, then sure, Day of the Dead 2: Contagium would be fine. Actually sitting down and watching the whole thing, though, is just a painful ordeal that I would never want to put myself through again.

3.5/10

Lake Placid 2 (2007)

Directed by David Flores [Other horror films: Boa vs. Python (2004), S.S. Doomtrooper (2006), Sands of Oblivion (2007)]

Honestly, there’s little to say about this pointless sequel. I’m a big fan of the first movie, but this Sci-Fi flick is pretty much what you’d expect – hideous CGI, unremarkable characters and acting, and little going for it.

It utterly pales in comparison to the first film, of course. They had a Hector Cyr (Oliver Platt)-like character, though so much less interesting. Same with Betty White’s replacement. It’s just a shallow film with really atrocious CGI most of the time (about none of the crocodiles looked remotely well-done, nor any of the arms or legs that got torn off).

John Schneider didn’t impress me remotely, nor did Sam McMurray. And in fact, Chad Michael Collins didn’t do that much for me either, but I don’t really hold that against him. It’s true there are a few attractive women (Sarah Lafleur and Alicia Ziegler), but there are others like Joe Holt who could have done so much more, but the story here had no use for that.

Instead, it’s badly-generated crocodiles, because that’s the go-to for Sci-Fi movies. As far as I can tell, the only reason anyone would endeavor to check this out is to see what Schneider’s been up to, but it’s really not worth it, and while I’d highly recommend checking out the first movie for a fun romp, this is just what you’d expect, which may not make Lake Placid 2 a bad film, but certainly does make it unremarkable.

5/10

1408 (2007)

Directed by Mikael Håfström [Other horror films: Skuggornas hus (1996), Strandvaskaren (2004), The Rite (2011)]

Based on a short story by Stephen King (which is around 53 pages in the copy of Everything’s Eventual that I own), this film is a piece of trash. The original story is great, fantastic, even, but this adaptation was way too Hollywood to have any real chance at matching the uneasy atmosphere of the story.

For Hollywood horror, 1408’s okay. Here’s the problem: the short story is virtually perfect, and if they had wanted to make a movie based directly off the story, they probably could have done it in a 45 minute short, with three actors. They didn’t need to add in a mentions of Mike’s father, or have his ex-wife appear, or have their ghostly daughter appear (in fact, no daughter is even mentioned in the short story whatsoever), any of that.

It’s no surprise they added the dead daughter to the story though – see, it makes for an emotional scene when Mike is hugging his long-dead daughter, only to have her crumble before his eyes (he knew it wasn’t really his daughter, but of course he gave into the temptation to touch her), and then that fantastic conclusion with his ex-wife and him hearing their daughter on the tape recorder is oh so god-damned emotional too, right?

Bangs head against desk

Listen, the original King short story is great. At just over 50 pages, it’s not near as short as some of his other stories, but there’s a palpable sense of unease during the whole of the hotel stay, and while this movie included some of it (such as the “Even if you leave this room, you can never leave this room” line and referenced the “My brother was actually eaten by wolves one winter on the Connecticut turnpike” line), they threw in so much utterly ridiculous and pointless fodder as to render the actually effectively spooky stuff moot.

Such as that fake-out ending. You know, it seems that he makes it out of the room, he actually imagined the whole thing while unconscious from that surfing mishap at the beginning of the film, and all is well until – here’s a shocker – he’s still in the room. He never got out. It was an illusion (like most everything else the room does).

Bangs head on desk

Wow, Hollywood, that’s original.

I liked John Cusack in this role, and actually, Samuel L. Jackson as Olin wasn’t bad either. And shout-out to Drew Powell (Butch from Gotham), who had a handful of small appearances here. But with the story as butchered as it was, Cusack’s performance here doesn’t save anything.

Had I not read the story before watching the film, it’s possible more of this might have impressed me. Honestly, though, even that might be a stretch, because this movie is so utterly generic and as unsurprising as you could possibly imagine.

I get it, a 40-minute movie couldn’t be released in theaters, and Samuel L. Jackson or John Cusack probably wouldn’t have signed on for it, but would you rather have a good movie that’s short or a generic, glossy production that looks nice but has no substance?

From that stupid predictably fake-out ending that anyone who has ever seen a movie saw coming from a mile away to the whole needless addition to the daughter, I can’t think of a single good reason to recommend 1408. Read the story; throw this away.

3/10

Gutterballs (2008)

Directed by Ryan Nicholson [Other horror films: Necrophagia: Nightmare Scenarios (2004, segment ‘Blaspheme the Body’), Torched (2004), Hell Hath No Fury (2006, ‘Torched’), Live Feed (2006), Hanger (2009), Star Vehicle (2010), Famine (2011), Dead Nude Girls (2013), The Profane Exhibit (2013, segment ‘Goodwife’), Alarming (2013), Collar (2014), Gutterballs 2 (2015)]

In many ways, Gutterballs is a somewhat amateurish effort, and there could be an argument made that it runs a tad long. I’ll admit that it’s far from a perfect movie, but it does have a decent rape-revenge plot with solid gore, all in somewhat brutal fashion, if that’s your thing.

I think the biggest complaint I have about Gutterballs, and I suspect many might feel the same, is that most of the characters we spend significant time with are utterly despicable. Steve (Alastair Gamble) and his friends Joey (Wade Gibb), A.J. (Nathan Dashwood), and Patrick (Trevor Gemma) were really hard to feel even an ounce of sympathy for at any point. Being the rapists in the film, that can be excused, but everything, from their overly childish banter to their aggressive jock attitudes, just screams “I deserve death.”

Sure, we get a little insight into Lisa’s (Candece Lewald) character, who is the victim of the gang rape, but most of her friends, from Sarah (Mihola Terzic), Jamie (Nathan Witte) to Dave (Scott Alonzo), whoever, get very little to no development. These characters seem a hell of a lot better than Steve and Co., but we really don’t see them all that often, which was a problem.

Alastair Gamble did great at playing a horribly convincing jock rapist, and was about as terrible a character as you’d expect (I don’t doubt for one second that he is worse than anyone else in the film, killer or not). Nathan Dashwood and his terribly annoying laugh was pretty bad also, but the two of them certainly worked together well here despite really weak (but potentially realistic) dialogue.

One of the most interesting performances here is that of Trevor Gemma, who was involved in the rape, but was a lot more hesitant than the other three, and in fact attempted an apology to the woman the following night. With that, his heart might be in the right place, but as the movie shows, a simple apology isn’t near enough to exact the required justice. Still, Gemma was someone I wish we saw a bit more of throughout.

A large selling point of this movie is the gore, which couples well with the special effects. I think that most of the kills are okay, but some of the most gruesome really stand out (including the one penis scene, and a head getting obliterated in a ball-waxing machine). Certainly there’s a lot of gore (though that throat slit near the end, not to mention a shotgun blast taking off someone else’s head, might make up a large amount of that), but many of the kills aren’t necessarily highlight material.

Worth mentioning also is that the conclusion is not entirely satisfactory. We’re given a twist or two, what with the identity of the killer (or even perhaps multiple killers), but it seemed a bit overkill. I mean, I get the killer, but then you throw in some accomplices, and it feels a little silly. The final scene itself was also somewhat iffy.

All-in-all, Gutterballs is decent for a lower-budget rape-revenge film, and it’s retro feel (most obvious in it’s musical choices, from Loverboy to Chilliwack) is somewhat appreciated, but it definitely could have been better. I still think I’d rate the film about average because I think it hits above it’s weight, but I wouldn’t blame anyone for seeing this in a more negative light.

7/10

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

Halloween II (2009)

Directed by Rob Zombie [Other horror films: House of 1000 Corpses (2003), The Devil’s Rejects (2005), Halloween (2007), The Haunted World of El Superbeasto (2009), The Lords of Salem (2012), 31 (2016), 3 from Hell (2019)]

Boy, this was a surprise. Now, I’ve seen this sequel before, but it’s been years, and I was hoping that, upon seeing it with fresh eyes, it’d have grown on me a bit, and I’d end up rating it equal to, if not better, than Rob Zombie’s first Halloween (which I’ve never been a fan of).

That is, alas, not what happened at all.

Truth be told, this film struck me as overly terrible and shallow. I’ll attempt to touch on my biggest concerns, but the sooner this film is forgotten, the better, as far as I’m concerned.

Story-wise, the movie started strong, mimicking the original Halloween II with Laurie in the hospital and Michael coming after her. But PLOT TWIST – the first twenty minutes are a dream. It’s a shame, because it was probably the most solid segment of the film, but it was all a dream. Great stuff, man. Loved it. Didn’t feel like an utter waste at all. I promise.

Following that terrible dream sequence, we get a bunch of psychedelic segments with Michael and Laurie thinking about family and horses and ghosts appear at the end (or it was a psychotic break, but it’s not made clear, so whateves), and it’s a great story. I mean, we pretty much get no reason to care for Laurie or her friends (Annie, Mya, and Harley), so when they die, who cares? I know I don’t.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say the story was bad. I just personally couldn’t get invested past the annoyingly-long dream sequence, and once they started throwing in visions of Sheri Moon Zombie, that indifference grew. I felt nothing through most of this, which is only made worse due to pretty weak kills, and rather dreary lighting.

While it was a minor pleasure seeing both Richard Riehle (Hatchet) and Octavia Spencer (Ma) in cameos, pretty much no one else does anything for me. Malcolm McDowell (who I enjoyed in Silent Night well enough) played such a terrible character, making it impossible to get behind him. Scout-Taylor Compton, Brad Dourif, and Danielle Harris? Harris was far better in Halloween 4 and 5, Compton was entirely generic most of the time, and Dourif made no impression.

Personally, I think this is on Halloween: Resurrection level terrible, and to be entirely frank, I might like Resurrection more. In fact, it’s not ‘might’ – I do. This movie was just atrocious with very little going for it, and I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to see this one again for any reason.

4/10

Rise of the Gargoyles (2009)

Directed by Bill Corcoran [Other horror films: The Unquiet (2008), Vipers (2008), Death Warrior (2009)]

This Sci Fi film is one that I’ve seen before, and while I can’t much speak on my original impressions (mostly because the movie’s so forgettable, I barely remembered anything about it), I can say that Rise of the Gargoyles is spectacularly generic and uninspired.

I certainly think that the story had potential, to be fair, if only because there are so few gargoyle horror films out there (off the top of my head, three come to mind, being a movie I’ve not yet seen from 1991 titled Soul of the Demon, then one of the segments from Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, and lastly the 1972 TV movie Gargoyles), but even with that niche monster checked off, the movie didn’t work.

Why that was isn’t easy to pinpoint. Though certainly questionable at times, I don’t think the CGI was really that terrible (save for maybe a somewhat laughable decapitation in the first half of the film). The gargoyle itself was decent, though (perhaps luckily) we didn’t really see it in full, out of the shadows, all that often.

A larger culprit would probably be a combination of the story itself and the cast. The story was uninspiring, to be sure, and void of many interesting add-ons, but the cast was somehow worse. I think most of them knew what type of movie they were making, and that didn’t much endear themselves to strong performances. And in their defense, to be sure, stronger performances wouldn’t have done that much to improve the film.

I only know Eric Balfour from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake and a very small appearance in The West Wing. Even so, Balfour consistently reminded me of other actors, be it Adrien Brody or (amazingly) Sylvester Stallone. He’s neither, though, and really felt off at times as the lead here. Other performances, such as those by Caroline Néron, Nick Mancuso, Justin Salinger, and Ifan Huw Dafydd, were similarly uninspired, with Dafydd doing the best (though still being a stereotypical untrusting foreign police detective).

Honestly, I don’t really think Rise of the Gargoyles warrants that much more discussion – certainly the movie’s not terrible, but especially given the fact it’s a gargoyle-based horror film, there’s virtually nothing about this one that really stands out, which is a damn shame.

On a slightly interesting endnote, presuming the dates I’m seeing are correct, this was probably one of the last original movies put out while Syfy was still Sci Fi (this was released June 21st, 2009 and the name change went into effect July 7th, 2009). It’s not a mind-blowing fact, but nor is this movie exceptional, so it fits in.

One could certainly do worse than Rise of the Gargoyles, but as stated, the film’s definitely sub-standard, and I really don’t think most who see this will find it overly memorable one way or the other.

5/10

Triangle (2009)

Directed by Christopher Smith [Other horror films: Creep (2004), Severance (2006), The Banishing (2020)]

I’ve seen this one twice now, and while I appreciate what the movie’s going for, I can’t say that I’ve been particularly impressed either time. Mostly this comes from the fact that the story’s a bit too confusing to fully wrap my head around, which, while it may be on me, still stains the film.

If there’s a time loop, and you know you’re stuck in a time loop, trying to break out of a time loop isn’t going to work as you’re already in the time loop. And if there’s three other versions of you in the same (but different) time loops, and three other other’s in other time loops (or dimensions), and the loop’s divided by an additional sea, is the time loop a circle or oval?

False, triangle.

Triangle’s interesting, and I think the movie looks really nice. The story, though, just isn’t my cup of tea. Jess trying to get home to her son to kill her original (or is that another loop version #2?) self to become a better mother only to loop again because loop loops loop.

On a serious note, when there is something like a time loop, in this case, and there are multiple versions of the same character floating around, it’s really hard for any impact to be felt when they’re killed. Because, well, you know they might have died, but there’s two other ‘theys’ around, and while they might also die, hey, look, another one. So how is anyone supposed to get pulled into the suspense at all if everything’s circular?

I’m sorry if I’m coming across as some uneducated philistine. It just doesn’t make sense to me. The whole point of a loop is that there’s no ending (or beginning), so no way to escape it. When Jess kills another version of herself, before that other version dies, she states that the only way to ‘break the loop’ is to kill the others on board. I don’t know if she meant just one group of the others or all the others, but it doesn’t matter, because it isn’t logical.

Not that our character of Jess (played by the only noteworthy performance, Melissa George) is particularly logical, so I can excuse that, but come on, did anyone not almost immediately guess purgatory? As soon as Sisyphus was mentioned, who didn’t see it coming?

I may be in the minority here. Triangle is generally well-respected, and has a solid rating on IMDb. And to be fair, maybe the movie makes sense outside of logic, or maybe I’m not understanding something entirely. This is entirely plausible, and I won’t hold that against the film. To be fair, maybe Triangle is a movie that should be seen more than twice in ten years to fully comprehend, but for the time being, I found this movie a nice-looking film but lacking in substance.

5.5/10

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

Batoru rowaiaru (2000)

Directed by Kinji Fukasaku [Other horror films: The Green Slime (1968), Fukkatsu no hi (1980), Makai tenshô (1981), Chûshingura gaiden: Yotsuya kaidan (1994), Batoru rowaiaru II: Chinkonka (2003)]

Undeniably more than just a horror/action movie, Battle Royale (or Batoru rowaiaru) is an utterly beautiful, yet violent, film which never fails to leave an impact on me when watching.

We all know the story – a bunch of classmates are dragged to an island and forced to kill each other off due to a fascist Japanese government. If the adults are scared of the youth, I’m not sure making one of them into a super killer is the best idea, but the faulty logic aside, it’s a story that really gets to me, and it’s just so tragic.

The adolescent view of life is apparent in most of these kids. You have people harboring untold crushes which influence their actions, or people relying on past friendships in the hope that they’ll work toward a peaceful outcome as opposed to slaughter. Loners and the misunderstood now have a chance to make something of themselves, and petty disputes can now turn kids murderous.

In many ways, Battle Royale is drenched in the angst of being a teenager. Some of these kids have more to deal with than others, but the core of it is they’re all still kids (well, mostly, aside from one of the transfer students, a winner of a previous Battle Royale). It’s due to this that I think the movie has a greater impact – not just shock value due to the fact that they’re young, but in that these characters have only lived for 15, 16 years, and are now expected to fight for an adulthood they may not even comprehend on violent terms (there’s four who opt out and commit suicide in the situation, and I can’t say that’s a bad choice).

Also, it’s a movie of friendship. Sure, some of these characters love one another, but the bonds of friendship really shape most of the relationships. Look at the tragic story of Chigusa (Chiaki Kuriyama) and Sugimura (Sôsuke Takaoka). Hell, look at Mitsuko’s actions and the basketball flashback – she’s never felt like a part of the group, so do her actions really come as a shock, given her background? If she had some solid bonds, would she have taken a different route?

Battle Royale isn’t for the light-hearted, not with this level of violence beautifully melded with a very tragic story. I won’t even get into specific scenes to watch out for – there’s fantastic gunplay, of course, but there’s also more traditional horror deaths, such as knives, axes, and other fun sharp implements. It’s a bleak movie, but don’t be surprised if a few surprising moments of levity arise.

I won’t go as far as to refer to this one as a black comedy, but there certainly are elements here and there, especially in the jubilant Battle Royale explanatory video and Kitano’s (Takeshi Kitano) commentary and obsession over the cookies. Or his final scene, as a matter of fact (not counting the requiems at the end).

If there are any standout performances here, it’s either Tatsuya Fujiwara (Nanahara) or the aforementioned Takeshi Kitano. Kitano has a pretty good scene with Aki Maeda (Noriko), and Maeda’s really good too. Maeda and Fujiwara have solid chemistry, and I buy their adolescent affections.

Tarô Yamamoto (Kawada) was a bit of a mystery at first, but really came into a pretty good character. If you discount Kitano, the two main antagonists are Masanobu Andô (Kiriyama) and Ko Shibasaki (Mitsuko), both of whom are strong. It could be said that maybe Andô’s performance is a bit on the cliché side, but I still think it was good.

Others who positively stood out include Eri Ishikawa (Yukie, who really only had one scene of note, but it made her a lovable character), Takayo Mimura (Kotôhiki, who’s heartbreaking scene with Sugimura was amazingly sad), Sôsuke Takaoka (wish he would have done more than look for Kotôhiki, but the heart wants what the heart wants), Chiaki Kuriyama (Chigusa, who added another rather depressing scene in the film), and Takashi Tsukamoto (Shinji, who had a cool, revolutionary uncle and was perhaps one of the most interesting and apt characters in the film).

Battle Royale, if it hasn’t been made clear by now, is an emotional experience. The way that flashbacks and dreams are utilized just work really well, and gives depth to some characters who might otherwise just be seen as one-dimensional caricatures. There’s a sense of hopelessness throughout the film, but come the ending, with the final monologue, we’re told to “run for all you’re worth”, and if that’s not an optimistic conclusion, one of a hopeful future, I don’t know what is.

It could be said that the three requiems at the end aren’t necessary, and the third one (an extended dream conversation between Noriko and Kitano) is just bizarre, but what the hell, they still add some flavor into the film.

And speaking of flavor, that music, tho. Sure, you get some quality classical pieces, such as Johann Strauss’ Blue Danube and the epic Dies Irae by Guiseppe Verdi, but the whole score is gold, and the cherry on top is the concluding song by Dragon Ash, titled “Shizuka na hibi no kaidan wo.” I fell in love with this song when I first saw the film, and even now, the song sends chills down my spine. An utterly fantastic song to end with.

All things said, Battle Royale is a film that, if approached with an open mind, you can really fall in love with. I didn’t fully follow the events when I first saw this movie (I was much younger, and couldn’t tell many of the characters apart from each other), but even then I sensed this was special, and Battle Royale certainly is. It’s a horror movie in my eyes, no doubt about it, but it’s so much more. A perfect movie, with great violence, amusing black comedic moments, and characters you can find yourself getting attached to. I doubt films get much better than this.

10/10

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

Silent Hill (2006)

Directed by Christophe Gans [Other horror films: Necronomicon (1993, segment ‘#1: The Drawned’), Le pacte des loups (2001)]

Silent Hill is one of those films that I saw many years back, and haven’t seen since. It’s not one that crosses my mind too often, and I pretty much only recall confusion. To be fair, I’ve never played any of the Silent Hill games, nor watched any game-play, nor read any plot synopsis. The only thing I can really claim insofar as prior knowledge about the story is the Spanish film Broken Notes, which I didn’t even care for.

As it was, I was interested in seeing this one again with fresh eyes, but, and this wasn’t that much a surprise, I found that little changed. Aspects of the story were certainly decent, but boy, do I think the plot definitely needed some clarification somewhere along the way.

Lead Radha Mitchell was passable; I never felt strongly about her character one way or the other. The same can be said for Sean Bean’s character. Honestly, Sean Bean was pretty much a waste of time from beginning to end, because he never really added anything of any use whatsoever to the story. I sort of liked Laurie Holden (who appeared a year later in The Mist) here, but she also didn’t leave that huge an impression. And again, the same can be said for Jodelle Ferland, who I only mention because she later appears in a few movies I enjoy (The Unspoken and Neverknock).

I don’t think the problem is the cast, though, as uninspiring as I found them. It’s the God-awful story. And maybe the story’s not awful – maybe it was a clever look into multi-dimensional space using quantum physics and religious mania to showcase the dangers of rituals and doppelgängers or something. Don’t get me wrong – the Hellraiser-inspired chain massacre at the end was cool, but otherwise, I had a deep difficulty following along with this story. I won’t say that it wasn’t there for those who looked deep enough, but I didn’t see it.

If you came into this movie with some previous experience with the games, maybe a lot of this is easier to grasp. I certainly won’t discount that, and I know that this film, while still receiving somewhat mixed views, is generally, to an extent, liked. However, I definitely feel that aspects of the story could have been touched on more, and instead of feeling like things were muddled, what with doppelgängers and cults and multiple different dimensions (for some reason), maybe things would have felt more connected. Also, Pyramidhead looked cool, but was never explained, so that was fun.

Silent Hill isn’t a movie without potential. The atmosphere here was occasionally pretty solid, especially during the first half of the film. The problem is, Broken Notes did the atmosphere better. Like I said, I didn’t much care for that film (and for much the same reason as this one – the story befuddled me), but I got a much more genuine feel from that low-budget flick than I did this Hollywood production.

I may well be in the minority here, but I’ll find a way to live with that. Silent Hill was a poor movie that did a terrible job at actually giving the audience any reason whatsoever to care about the characters or the story. Just make things a little more clear-cut, and you might have a winner here. As it is, Silent Hill is definitely below average, and I can’t imagine a situation in which I’d want to sit through this two-hour long movie again.

5/10

This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as we discuss the film.

American Psycho (2000)

Directed by Mary Harron [Other horror films: The Moth Diaries (2011)]

This is an interesting one. Based on a novel by Bret Easton Ellis, which I’ve yet to read, American Psycho follows a disturbed yuppie (played fantastically by Christian Bale) as he kills people and attempts to maintain his cool exterior under increasing pressure.

Of course, the question here is whether or not he did kill anyone, or if what we saw were simply fantasies he came up with in his mind?

There’s a lot about this one to talk about, because it’s not at all your typical film. From the whole issue of mistaken identity to the mental issues that Bateman’s character is battling, American Psycho keeps you entertained in one of the more disturbed ways possible.

Perhaps my favorite thing in the movie is the fact that these people, investment bankers all, incessantly mistake the identities of their peers. Some people, for instance, speak to Bateman thinking he’s someone else, and that’s a common occurrence among these people. What’s even more interesting is the fact that, based off the somewhat well-known business card scene, they pretty much all hold the same position (Vice President) in the same firm.

It’s from these little things that show a damning critique of the yuppie lifestyle, and when one of the character’s complains about a restaurant’s bathroom not being ideal to snort coke in, you know that these caricatures are on point. The fact that no one here can tell each other apart, or form any real connections with people (a trait that’s not just true for sociopathic Bateman) really nails what this yuppie, hedonistic class is like.

If you’re not here for the social commentary, well, you’re watching the wrong movie, but there’s still plenty of baser pleasures here, especially when Bateman starts killing people. The scene in which he exhorts the values of ‘Hip to Be Square‘ to a drunk Paul Allen (Jared Leto from Urban Legend) is a classic, and of course when he’s chasing a woman with a chainsaw while nude, well, there’s another scene that’s not easy to forget.

There’s a lot I like about American Psycho, and it’s just not the descent into madness that Patrick Bateman is feeling. The whole ending, from his confession to his secretary paging through his office journal, is just fantastic, and speaking of her, I did like Cholë Sevigny in this role, especially during her date (if that’s what you want to call it) with Bateman.

To an extent, I do think Willem Dafoe’s not the best choice for a private detective, but he was still an interesting face to see here. Really, with Bale, Leto, Sevigny, and Dafoe, it’s a pretty strong central cast.

Of course, it’s Bale who really puts in a fantastic performance here. Who doesn’t love the way he talks throughout the film, be it what the country needs to prioritize or his many talking points on the music of Genesis and Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, and Huey Lewis and the News?

American Psycho is far from a typical movie, which very much works in it’s favor, and it’s a definite favorite of mine, despite some of the content here not being the most pleasant to watch.

9/10