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

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

7eventy 5ive (2007)

Directed by Brian Hooks [Other horror films: N/A] & Deon Taylor [Other horror films: Nite Tales: The Movie (2008), Chain Letter (2010), Meet the Blacks (2016), The Intruder (2019)]

Originally known under the hideous title 7eventy 5ive, this slasher, better known as Dead Tone in the USA, isn’t that great. It’s okay, it’s watchable, and once you get past the first thirty minutes, it’s tolerable, but the film isn’t quite good.

As far as the cast is concerned, few stand out. I liked both Brian Hooks and Antwon Tanner, and sure, German Legarreta’s flamboyantly gay antics cracked me up, but I didn’t love anyone here. Closest I got was in Austin Basis and Aimee Garcia – Basis’ character was pretty interesting, and Aimee Garcia reminded me of someone every time she was on-screen (though after scanning her IMDb credits thrice, I’ve got nothing), so she became memorable that way. Rutger Hauer literally added nothing to the film but a big name, and Wil Horneff’s performance toward the end was a bit ehh.

The ideas within 7eventy 5ive are interesting, and the ending did something that indeed caught me off-guard, but I think they could have done a better job than they did explaining the twist. It was still a unique idea, but I don’t think the execution was the best.

Something else that somewhat bothered me was the lack of memorable kills. There was a couple of decapitations, but pretty much everything else, save for one of the kills near the conclusion, were generic ax deaths, and none were that enthralling.

On another note, the final ten seconds were terrible. Everything looks to be wrapped up, but OH MY GOD WHO’S THAT??????!?!?!?!?

Yeah, it was the atrocious ending that I rather wish slashers, and horror films in general, would just do away with. It’s entirely possible this movie could have gotten a more average score, but that ending really turned me off. It wasn’t a good movie before, but if this had been executed correctly, I think it would have had potential.

6/10

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

Urchin (2007)

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

While a moderately interesting movie, I don’t really have a lot to say about Urchin, as it ultimately didn’t really do much for me, either as a horror film or a drama.

I will say that the Kid, played by Sebastian Montoya, did pretty decent for a young actor (he apparently turned ten during the filming of the flick). Other main actors did well also, such as Rick Poli and Larry Swansen (who died just a couple of years after Urchin was released). Norm Golden didn’t have a whole lot of screen-time, but I enjoyed his character also.

It’s the story of this film, though, that will probably draw the bulk of attention Urchin gets. A homeless man claims he can lead some other homeless people to a paradise within the Earth, but he must find noble souls. One of the homeless guys (Poli) decides to murder five ‘good’ people as a ticket to paradise, while The Kid (Montoya) tries to bring money to the Old Man (Swansen) in order to also secure his place on his side.

As one might imagine, most of the horror-centered scenes come from Poli’s kills, such as a decapitation that was decently well done, along with the kidnap and murder of another person. The Kid gets in some kills too, though, with the use of an acid-filled water-gun and an electrified fork weapon as he fights some gangsters who stole some money he was able to get his hands on. Combine this with a subplot of a man who takes to The Kid, because his daughter recently died, and he’s trying to find closure.

Urchin isn’t an average film, and it can’t cleanly be placed in any real genre. Elements were very strongly drama at times, such as most of the end (and in fact, the finale is actually somewhat moving), but there’s some horror at the beginning that’s decent also.

For a low-budget film with a rather unique story, not to mention ambitious, Urchin was okay, but it wasn’t my cup of tea at all, and while I did enjoy a few things in the film (enough to allow me not to rate the film nearly as lowly as others), it’s not something I can really see myself having the urge to watch again.

5/10

Naked Fear (2007)

Directed by Thom Eberhardt [Other horror films: Sole Survivor (1984), Night of the Comet (1984)]

Beyond most anything else that could be said, Naked Fear is a competent film. It’s not a great one, by any means, but it got the job it set out to do done, even if it ends up being a bit on the depressing side.

Part of this is due to the fact that there’s virtually no humor whatsoever to be found anywhere in the film. It’s a dark, bleak movie, and the main character of Diana (Danielle De Luca) is basically forced into becoming a prostitute and exotic dancer with zero recourse for her to pursue. It’s grim and gritty and entirely based in reality.

More so, one of the few characters trying to help, being Officer Dwight Terry (Arron Shiver), is able to do very little in the way of actually making a difference. In fact, I don’t believe a single thing he does really changes the outcome of the film, and given that he was one of the few who actually cared about the multiple missing girls, it just goes on to kick you down.

De Luca and Shiver both have good performances here, with De Luca standing out quite a bit more, obviously, being the hunted woman throughout most of the film. As the antagonist, J.D. Garfield was solid, though I do sort of wish we got a bit more background on him. Jenny Marlowe and Kevin Wiggins were both good, though Marlowe’s character was hard to stomach. Kudos to Wiggins for playing a solid good guy, though.

If there’s one person in the cast who I wish had more to his story, it’d be Joe Mantegna, an actor I have long known for Criminal Minds, and also co-starred in Thinner, a rather forgettable experience. Here, his cop character is more irksome than most other characters in the film, constantly deriding Shiver’s character for wanting to do actual detective work. It was nice to see him here, sure, but I just wish he was a lot more helpful than he ended up being.

As effective as Naked Fear is in creating a grim story, though, I was never really fully invested. There were some good scenes throughout, but as a whole, I just didn’t see that great of a movie, and I think some of that has to do with an almost stark feel that the movie has. It wasn’t as notable as The Wild Man of the Navidad or Deadfall Trail, but it still felt very bare-bones.

But hey, there’s some decently attractive nude women, so it’s not all a lost cause. Of course, most of the nudity is during the women being hunted down like animals, but to each their own.

Obviously, Naked Fear is nowhere near original in it’s story, as The Most Dangerous Game came out 75 years earlier, and the same idea has been done into many other films, such as Bloodust! and the underrated Turkey Shoot, but it’s still a competently made film. I just don’t think it’s that much more than that, and after seeing it a second time, I highly doubt I’d want to see it a third time.

6/10

This is one of the films discussed on Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I talk about this subpar film.

The Mist (2007)

Directed by Frank Darabont [Other horror films: Buried Alive (1990), Nightshift Collection (1994, segment ‘The Woman in the Room’)]

Very much a modern-day classic of the genre, The Mist is a very solidly-made film with little in it too objectionable. You have a pretty good and, at times, claustrophobic story, a great cast with memorable characters, and enough monstery goodness to keep everyone happy, along with showing the dangers of religion, which is always a good touch.

There’s a lot of actors and actresses here I liked, such as William Sadler (The Shawshank Redemption), Marcia Gay Harden, Jeffrey DeMunn (Storm of the Century), Toby Jones (from an episode of Doctor Who and Berberian Sound Studio), Andre Braugher (of the emotional crime/fantasy flick Frequency from 2000), Thomas Jane, Frances Sternhagen, Robert C. Treveiler, and Buck Taylor.

Of these names, DeMunn, Jones, and Harden were perhaps the best in the film. DeMunn has always been a consistently fun actor, while Jones is another individual I like in pretty much anything I see him in. Harden isn’t a name I know, but she does a great job playing the dangerous Mrs. Carmody, a religious nutbag, in the film. I hated every second she was babbling on-screen, so her performance was on point.

The CGI was a little spotty at times, but honestly, it didn’t bother me here near as much as one might think. The special effects in general were pretty solid, and the creature design was great too (hard to choose a favorite, but the tall, tentacled one, along with the spiders, who dominated in the pharmacy scene, would be my top two picks).

A lot of the hate that I see coming to this film deals with the end, and I don’t personally get it. Is the end darker? Sure, but the situation was dark also, and there’s nothing about the conclusion that I dislike at all. I think it’s a perfectly acceptable ending, perfectly realistic, and I applaud a more mainstream horror film going out the way this one did.

Tackling the dangers of religion was a nice touch also. In a situation like this, people like Mrs. Carmody need to be shut up as soon as possible, or otherwise you have an illogical mob out for blood because they’ve been duped into believing in an unverifiable deity. Her character was utterly despicable, and I’m glad that Ollie took care of her the way he did. In many ways, what’s scarier in The Mist than the creatures is the religious mumbo-jumbo, which unfortunately isn’t something modern-day Americans are immune from.

The Mist pretty much hits the right spots. I’ve not read the novella this movie was based off of, but for a Stephen King adaptation, The Mist is damn solid. Like I said, the cast is great, with a lot of familiar faces, the story is quite tense, and there’s a lot going for this flick.

9/10

This is one of the films discussed on Fight Evil’s podcast. If interested, listen to Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I talk this one over below.

End of the Line (2007)

Directed by Maurice Devereaux [Other horror films: Blood Symbol (1992), Lady of the Lake (1998), Maléfices (1998), Slashers (2001)]

I saw this flick many years ago when the Chiller channel was still a thing, and got a rather large kick out of it. Flash-forward five years, if not longer, and the film still stands out strong, despite the somewhat low-budget feel and unknown actors and actresses.

For what they were, most of these performances were decent. Main characters played by Ilona Elkin and Nicolas Wright do well together, and have decent chemistry. Emily Shelton was both cute and highly effective with weaponry, so she’s a keeper. Nina Fillis did well with her conflicted role, Neil Napier was decent, though I sort of wished he did a bit more, and Robin Wilcock was great as a scummy, religious, would-be rapist.

What really makes End of the Line transcend budgetary concerns is the frightening realism of the plot. Religion is still very much prevalent in the USA, and the idea of an insane religious cult with significant membership deciding to go on a killing spree to ‘save souls’ is not outside the realm of possibility. Religious beliefs on their own are questionable enough, but when religious beliefs hit this level of fundamentalism, it’s damned dangerous.

The cult, named Voice of Eternal Hope, is damn terrifying, as all these seemingly clean-cut men and women, not to mention indoctrinated children, brandish daggers in the shape of the cross in order to massacre those who don’t share the same faith (or even those in the same cult who’ve lost faith in the mission) mercilessly, singing hymns and smiling while doing so, are definitely creepy. Because of their insane bloodlust, there’s some decent gore in the film, and while that’s not really the focus or most interesting thing about End of the Line, it certainly does help on occasion.

Related, there are some very solid scares in the film. Some are are bit much, but I will admit that the first few scares in the film really got to me, and definitely helped set up a creepy and somewhat ominous feel to End of the Line.

Pretty much from beginning to end, the movie moves at an acceptably quick pace. There are some questionable dialogue pieces toward the beginning, and a few things aren’t necessarily made clear (especially regarding the reality of the ongoing situation, and whether or not the muffins alluded to were directly related to anything), but some of the confusion and uncertainty only makes sense in such a chaotic scenario.

End of the Line is a very acceptable movie, and there’s a lot going for it that allows it to stand out of the crowd of post-2005 low-budget horror flicks, many of which are decent, but a far larger number of which are around average to far below average. End of the Line isn’t by any means an amazing movie, but it does stand up to my rather appreciative memory of it, and I certainly recommend it to fans of slashers or films revolving around insane cults.

8/10

This is one of the films reviewed on Fight Evil’s podcast, so if interested, listen to Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this one.

El orfanato (2007)

Directed by J.A. Bayona [Other horror films: N/A]

This Spanish flick (better known as The Orphanage) might be a lot better for fans of more emotional ghost stories as opposed to more horror-tinged tales, but it’s still quite well done with some fantastic mystery, an enjoyable back-story, and a memorable (if not potentially anticlimactic) conclusion.

El orfanato’s setting is great, taking place at an old orphanage on the seaside, overlooked by an old, defunct lighthouse. With the ocean constantly rustling and rainstorms no stranger to the area, it sets things up as rather dismal, which helps sustain the tone as the movie goes on.

So, onto a lot of Spanish names that I definitely don’t know.

As the lead, Belen Rueda did well and played a very sympathetic character, and despite the fact that she’s not really been in that many things before this (though she was in a TV series that ran for around five years called Periodistas, so she’s not a no one), she shined pretty much throughout the film. Fernando Cayo was good also, but I wish he was a bit more prevalent to the story than he ended up being. Others that I enjoyed include Geraldine Chapin, Edgar Vivar, Andres Gertudix, and Montserrat Carulla.

What really helped this movie along, because honestly, it’s not really my type of thing, is the mystery behind the disappearance of one of the characters. I like how that’s resolved, and though it took supernatural means for Rueda’s character to come to find out what happened, I was okay with it, as we discover some interesting (and somewhat morbid) things out along the way.

As decent as El orfanato is, it’s not the type of film I really go out of my way for. The conclusion didn’t quite pack the punch I was hoping for, though it was a tad more emotional than one might expect. Still, it’s definitely a well-made movie with an engaging plot, and certainly worth a watch, but if Spanish ghost movies aren’t your cup of tea, you may find this film a bit more average than others.

7.5/10

This was covered on Fight Evil’s podcast, so if you want to hear Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss this one, go ahead.