The Facility (2012)

The Facility

Directed by Ian Clark [Other horror films: N/A]

I have to admit, while this British film is far from perfect (and perhaps a few steps away from being good), I enjoyed it more this time around than when I first saw it.

A lot of this comes from the sort of low-key feel the film takes – no dramatic music, no surprising twists, nothing that modern horror films sometimes have an overreliance on. It felt almost like a documentary at times, and I think that heightened the sense of realism. It helps that this is based off an actual event (the 2006 human trial of Theralizumab), so when the credits at the end say “no one from the company was charged with a crime,” and “none of the fatalities during trial were legally said to be caused by the drugs”, I can give it leeway (as I generally hate that type of thing).

There were quite a few decent performances here, but the ones that stood out most were Alex Reid (known due her appearance in The Descent), Nia Roberts, Steve Evets, and Aneurin Barnard. None of these individuals blew me away or anything, but they all gave perfectly acceptable performances.

The film does get a bit tiring near the end, especially after a plethora of utterly idiotic decisions made by the characters. It’s a shame, because for the most part, the first half is pretty good. I particularly appreciate the character building by means of showing each of them getting their shot (some of which are placebos) to officially start off the trial. Also, the fact that the film is mildly bleak in it’s conclusion (the corporation, of course, faces no legal ramifications for their actions) made the realism even more apparent.

Like I said, I did enjoy this British flick more than when I last saw it, and while I don’t love it, I could see myself giving it even another viewing in the future.

7/10

Black Rock (2012)

Black Rock

Directed by Katie Aselton [Other horror films: N/A]

This movie doesn’t have a lot going on, really – six total characters, and really, only five get all that much screen-time. It felt like a cheaper version of Eden Lake, more or less.

While at first I didn’t know where the story was going, once the catalyst to the action occurred, everything afterward was pretty predictable. The gore was decent, more on the realistic side as opposed to a splatter film.

What was really the strong point of the movie was the friendship, somewhat strained, between the three main female friends. While the dialogue can sometimes feel like a bit much, I thought it worked out well, and the actresses all did a decently good job (Kate Bosworth being my favorite, as I also enjoyed her performance in 2008’s crime/drama movie 21). For most of the beginning, it felt like a real friendship, and to me, they seemed to talk like real people, which isn’t something that is always seen in movies.

Past a certain point, though, things drag a bit, which is saying something, as the film’s under 80 minutes. It starts out decently strong, but peters out about twenty minutes in or so. All-in-all, Black Rock’s not a bad movie, but in the end, it feels rather more average than I’d have preferred. An okay viewing the first time around, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it again, as it’s just far more predictable than I’d have hoped for, and drags rather badly at times.

6.5/10

Siodmak (2012)

Siodmak o

Directed by Nicholas Ortiz [Other horror films: N/A]

This came as a surprise on a few different levels. Firstly, I was amazed I could find the film at all – on IMDb, it had just seven ratings [Edit: it now has nine, so it hasn’t moved much], which doesn’t generally an easy find make. But seconds later, boom – it’s on YouTube, put up by the production company. Needless to say, I was pleased.

Siodmak is a simple story, but told in a more complex way. A serial killer has been hunting in New York City for decades, and the only one who believes in his existence is a video blogger, Nick LaRosa, whom no one takes seriously. But with the help of NYPD officer Angel Vega, who has had a tragic run-in with the serial killer, they soon discover some things weren’t meant to be pried into. This is interspersed with scenes a day later, after the events that transpired, and focus on a medical examiner’s examination of the killer, and learning about what brought him here. It’s a more unique way to tell the story, and overall, I think it worked.

While the production was low, I think that most scenes were shot pretty well, and some in unique ways (a sequence near the end, with a reddish-auburn tint, comes to mind). As far as actors go, Masha Mendieta (Vega), Kit Lang (LaRosa), Russell Jordan (Dr. Feliz, Vega’s psychiatrist), Krista Chandlee (the medical examiner), Madison Idoate Candelario (Vega’s niece), and Michael Valentine (the killer) all stood out, doing a solid job.

Jordan, as the psychiatrist, had an almost Colin Salmon-feel to him. Mendieta and Lang, despite their short screen time together, really worked well, and had some of those small human elements that sometimes go amiss in bigger budget films. The killer, known as the New York Ripper, had a Michael Myers aura to him, helped by his featureless mask, which I rather enjoyed.

The music present was decent also – near the end, a record player can be heard playing hits such as “I Wanna Be Loved By You” (famously lip synced by Baby in House of 1000 Corpses) and “Hush, Hush, Hush (Here Comes The Boogie Man)” (from the credits of Jeepers Creepers), which was a nice touch.

For as much as I liked it, though, a few problems need be addressed, one being the run-time. Siodmak is one hour and fifty minutes long (or 110 minutes) – it’s not a short movie, easy to digest. Siodmak makes you work for it. Many of the scenes are interesting, but after the third flashback or the finale taking the last thirty-five minutes, it might come across as a bit much.

There were also a few unanswered questions, not to mention what came across to me as a Hollywood ending which I was both disappointed but somewhat unsurprised by. A few audio issues were present, but that wasn’t that much a deterrent. For what gore there was, I thought it was decent, though the focus of Siodmak wasn’t gore, but the story told.

This movie was an interesting find. Was it an amazing movie? Not really. The story, while told in an interesting manner, wasn’t overly original. That said, Siodmak is one lower-budget film that should have gotten more attention. Some surprising kills also stand out, a few I certainly wasn’t expecting. It’s a decent, above-average film, if you can get through the lengthy run-time.

7.5/10

Hate Crime (2012)

Hate Crime

Directed by James Cullen Bressack [Other horror films: My Pure Joy (2011), Theatre of the Deranged (2012, segments ‘Andy’s Theatre of Deranged’ & ‘Speak Easy’), 13/13/13 (2013), To Jennifer (2013), Theatre of the Deranged II (2013, segment ‘Unmimely Demise’), Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys (2014), Pernicious (2014), Grindsploitation (2016, segment ‘Dr. Suess’s There’s a Wocket in My Pocket’), If Looks Could Kill (2016), Deadly Reunion (2016), Bethany (2017), Welcome to Hell (2018, segment ‘Family Time’), Virus of the Dead (2018, segment ‘Routine Stop’), Blood Craft (2019)]

The plot of this found footage film is simple. A Jewish family (mother, father, and three children) are new to the neighborhood, and are attacked by three brutal Neo-Nazis.

We have some pretty shocking scenery in this film, the two most shocking being the surprising death of a character early on and one of the male children being forced to rape his mother. There’s an eye-gouging in there too, along with a swastika being burned into a boy’s cheek, but the two scenes I mentioned before strike me as far more brutal. Really, there’s not much going on here – the break-in happens literally two minutes into the movie, and from there on out, it’s a bloodbath.

The three perpetrators are despicable people (and on cocaine half the time), and their actors do the job well. The family is sympathetic not because we know much about them, but because of the heinous acts being done toward them (during the credits, though, we’re given a little glimpse into the family via video of them moving to their new house).

My one gripe is the ending – after all of this is done, we’re presented with the “This video was found by someone. Those who committed these crimes were arrested, and are facing multiple life sentences.” Instead of playing it off as the movie it is, they make it out to be a real-life event, which just annoys the hell of out me. If found footage movies stopped using this tactic as much as they seem to, I’d be a much happier guy.

Hate Crime is a shocking film, no doubt. I got very little joy out of watching it. It does what it means to (at the end, it lists some statistics on hate crimes), but it’s not a movie that you’d watch multiple times, I feel. Just once is enough.

6.5/10