Hannibal (2001)

Directed by Ridley Scott [Other horror films: Alien (1979), Alien: Covenant (2017)]

I can’t recall exactly how long it’s been since I’ve seen this movie in full, but I will say it’s been at least eight years. I remembered some of the scenes here, but not that many, so the film had a somewhat fresh feel to it. Also, it’s a decent amount more graphic than The Silence of the Lambs, which only works in it’s favor. Honestly, I enjoyed this one, and thought it a mostly fun romp.

The idea of a previous victim of Lecter’s seeking revenge against the good doctor is pretty fun, and it casts the victim, Verger, as both sympathetic, but also somewhat blood-thirsty (though certainly not without reason). Even before Lecter gets back to the USA, seeing him ingratiate himself in Italy is a lot of fun too, and in fact, the Italian portions of the film were perhaps the most interesting to me (it doesn’t hurt that the segment ended with a fantastic disembowelment).

Unlike some, I didn’t think Julianne Moore’s presence in lieu of Jodie Foster’s was that bad. Obviously, it would have been great to get Foster to reprise her role, but Moore did perfectly fine playing Clarice, and got on well with Sir Anthony Hopkins. Of course, Hopkins does fantastically as Lecter, and stole the show, especially in his Italian scenes, but really, throughout the film, he’s great. Gary Oldman, playing a rather disfigured victim of Lecter’s, does a great job, and his voice creeps me out as much today as it did when I was younger, watching the film. Other stand-outs include Giancarlo Giannini and Zeljko Ivanek. I didn’t particularly care for Ray Liotta’s performance, but that’s partially because his character was so over-the-top scummy that I didn’t have an ounce of sympathy for him at any point.

This movie isn’t particularly violent, but like The Silence of the Lambs, there are a few good scenes here, ranging from a previously-mentioned disembowelment to some solid pig action (and I don’t mean in a Wedding Trough fashion). There’s nothing that seems over-the-top in Hannibal, and the ending, which leans more toward disturbing than it does violent, was pretty solid.

Really, Hannibal’s gotten a decent amount of flak, which is a shame, as I think it’s a solid follow-up to one of the most classic films of the 1990’s. Truth be told, while I do enjoy The Silence of the Lambs, I think I prefer Hannibal, and a large part of that might be because this has a little more of the horror feeling than it’s predecessor does. I’d give them roughly the same score, but Hannibal was one that, surprisingly, I found I really enjoyed after revisiting.

8.5/10

Wishmaster 3: Beyond the Gates of Hell (2001)

Directed by Chris Angel [Other horror films: The Fear: Resurrection (1999), Wishmaster 4: The Prophecy Fulfilled (2002)]

This movie was ill-advised. Of course, I also hold the somewhat unpopular opinion that the second film was also ill-advised, but I promise that in this case, I’m more in the mainstream of popular thought.

If this movie has anything going for it, at least on a personal interest level, it’s that is stars A.J. Cook. Sure, she was in Final Destination 2, Wer, and The Virgin Suicides (which I saw once, and found decent), and also hilariously had a young appearance in an episode of Goosebumps, but I best know her from her long-running role on Criminal Minds, which is one of the few crime shows I regularly watched on television. Seeing J.J. (her character on Criminal Minds) dealing with a Djinn was oddly fun.

Unfortunately, that’s the best I can say about this one. It’s true that Jason Connery (who was in one of Colin Baker’s better stories during his stint on Doctor Who, Vengeance on Varos) was moderately entertaining, but the rest of the cast, such as Louisette Geiss, Aaron Smolinski, and Tobias Mehler, did little to nothing for me. I don’t really blame the cast, though, as the story strikes me as far more troubling.

Like I mentioned, I wasn’t a fan of the second movie, and I don’t even know if this is that much worse, but I do think the story here was lackluster. Now, the story wasn’t great during the first half of the film, but it took even a worse turn as soon as St. Michael the Archangel took possession of Tobias Mehler’s body. Our lead wished for St. Michael’s help, and so, by God, we got it, which lent a strong fantasy feel to the second half of the film (including a magical flaming sword) but did nothing to cause any more enjoyment for myself.

The base of the story was almost interesting, or at least as interesting as a low-budget Wishmaster movie can muster, but I don’t think there was all that much heart in this. The movie is noticeably cheap, the college doesn’t really seem like a college to me, and some of the more amusing scenes (such as Connery, who is possessed by the Djinn early on into the film, berating a bunch of history students for not accepting the importance of the Djinn during the war over Helen of Troy) are scarce indeed.

A.J. Cook aside, I can’t think of any good reason to really give this a watch, but obviously, you do you. Just don’t expect this to rival the first film, or come anywhere close.

4/10

Thir13en Ghosts (2001)

Directed by Steve Beck [Other horror films: Ghost Ship (2002)]

This is only the second time I’ve seen this film (which I possess on DVD for some reason), and again, I find it underwhelming. There’s plenty of good elements: the setting (a futuristic, mechanical house), many of the actors, and half the humor all make for a fun film. But what’s lacking is some additional background, along with the answers to some questions that came up. I’ll not give anything away, but the ending doesn’t exactly strike me as a positive one, despite what one might think. And having some background origins on these ghosts would have been nice, but absolutely none is given. Many of the ghost designs are cool, but without cemented origins, it just falls flat.

Tony Shalhoub has never been a favorite actor of mine, but he does decently well here. As prone to overreaction as he was, Matthew Lillard had some of the most amusing lines throughout the film. And Shannon Elizabeth (who played Shalhoub’s daughter)? I’d buy that for a dollar. She was an attractive actress, though she didn’t have all that much screen time. Thir13en Ghosts is a fun enough midnight movie, I suppose, but there’s not much substance to it, and overall, it’s not that memorable of a film. I feel it could have been better under the direction of another writer or director. As it is, Thir13en Ghosts is below average, but only just. You could certainly do worse.

6/10