Writer of Horror Fiction

Posts tagged “movie review

Review of the movie “The Divide”

The Divide is a bare bones apocalyptic tale that starts moments after the world dies.  Nuclear bombs have been dropped on Manhattan and several people living in an apartment complex rush to the fallout shelter the super has created in the basement.  The Super’s intention was to go it alone, but his tenant’s force their way in as everyone above is dying from the blasts.  Almost the entire movie takes place in this shelter with the survivors initially planning on waiting until the radiation has died down before they check things out on the surface.  They have food, water, and power, so things seem to be okay at first-the best they can be based on the circumstances-but things begin to erode and there are various struggles for power and control among the characters.

There is a nudge from the outside world as soldiers invade the shelter and disrupt the relative calm early on in the movie.  The audience is given little information on these soldiers, what is going on up above, or why they end up doing what they do to the group.  The movie’s focus is on the dynamics of the nine people in the shelter and injects external influence only in two small, somewhat confusing doses.

The name of the movie is apropos on several levels.  There is the obvious divide between the world above and world within the shelter, the multiple divides that occur with the group as it changes and morphs over the course of the movie, and the divide among viewers of this film on whether it is a realistic portrayal of people trying to survive under nearly unthinkable circumstances or is gratuitous and over the top in many ways.

This movie is a grim, dark, and dank experiment where the characters are put in a box and the audience gets to watch their humanity dissolve.  There are power struggles to control resources, trust issues, alliances formed and broken, and the continuous erosion of any sense of civility from start to finish of this film.  This story revolves around choices-how far are you willing to go, what depths are you willing to sink to…what will you do not only to survive, but to maintain control over yourself and those around you?  It pulls no punches, showing the dark, ugly side of what we all have the potential of becoming under nightmarish conditions.

The Divide is a mixed bag.  I can’t say that I bought into the Roseanna Arquette character and her rapid transformation from loving mother to willing rape victim, and some of the other characters were a stretch as far as believability, especially as the tale progressed.  I was somewhat confused by the soldiers and why it was necessary to bring them into the story-the influence they had could have been handled by the group, for the most part.  I also felt that at two hours run time, the movie could have sliced out about twenty minutes or so and still presented the same tale-it seemed to drag in places.  Even with these complaints, the movie drew me in and kept me interested as the characters warped from being normal people to survivors buried deep in a hole and knowing they will never break free of the prison they’re in.  It’s not a film that I think I will ever have the urge to watch again, but I will remember it for a long time come.

The Divide can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Divide-Lauren-German/dp/B007549W62/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1335307402&sr=8-3


Review of the movie: “The Dead”

The Dead is a zombie movie made with the traditional fan of George A. Romero’s work in mind.  This story offers nothing new to the zombie genre from the standpoint of the undead.  In fact, it goes old school, with slow moving ghouls that require damage to the brain to put them down.  For those fans who prefer their zombies fast moving, like you find in movies like Resident Evil, 28 Days Later, and the remake of Dawn of the Dead, this tale might seem agonizingly slow.  For those who love the older Romero flicks or who consider themselves equal opportunity zombie fans who love all rotters no matter what speed they move at, this one is worth checking out.

The premise is almost painfully simple.  Air Force Lieutenant Brian Murphy is a survivor of an airplane crash that was supposed to be the last plane out of undead-plagued Africa.  After a narrow escape on the beach where the crash occurred from numerous zombies closing in, he makes his way inland in an effort to find safety and perhaps an airfield with a plane that he might be able to fix up to escape.  His journey is filled with an endless supply of the undead-for the most part they are spread apart enough that there are no hoards to deal with.  Individually, these slow moving monsters are easy to handle or avoid, but when Brian is forced to stop for any reason, they begin to methodically swarm his position and rapidly become a major menace.  After he manages to get an old, beat up truck running, it becomes clear that the dead are popping up everywhere, which makes it virtually impossible to stay in one place for very long.  It’s at one of these times when Brian is forced to stop and almost gets torn to pieces by a steadily growing pack of the undead that he is saved by Daniel, a soldier who is looking for his son who managed to escape the massacre of their village by the undead.  The two men agree to join forces to find Brian a plane and to get Daniel closer to where he believes his son might be-with other soldiers in an encampment to the north.

The Dead is a moody, atmospheric piece that uses the rural African environment to full advantage.  For what seemed like a relatively low budget film the cinematography was well done and the special effects were more than adequate.  There is no complicated plot or massive character development here, but for the most part, less is more in this tale.  Except for a couple of scenes filled with hordes of the undead destroying everything in their path, even the zombies were sparse, showing up as they do in dribs and drabs, until there are more of them closing in than someone can handle, when just seconds before they thought everything was under control.  This is one of the most low-keyed, subtle zombie flicks I’ve seen; definitely worth checking out for most zombie fans out there.

The Dead can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Rob-Freeman/dp/B006BZ8NXY/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1330155218&sr=8-3


Review of the movie “Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption”

Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption is a bare bones, low budget movie made by folks who appear to be having fun with what was clearly a labor of love.  The basic synopsis of the plot is that John Knox, the main character, is condemned to death by the group of Apocalyptic Raiders he fell in with after the dead have risen and the world is overrun by zombies.  The reason for his sentence is that he no longer wants to follow the leader Rome, who like Knox is ex-military, but is a psychopath that slaughters for fun and for no other discernible reason.  Knox is allowed to escape by one of the other members of the group who apparently also doesn’t like Rome much either (and gets executed for his troubles).  The escape isn’t without hardships, since Knox is left handcuffed and is sent out into the desert.  He manages to avoid getting devoured by a zombie and gets rescued by a band that roams the wastelands doing their best to fend for themselves.  They are led by a man named Moses (Fred Williamson) who is likely the only member of the cast that the vast majority of the audience might know.  Knox does his best to help his new found friends, even though trust is hard to come by given the fact that they know of his raider past.  At the same time, his old nemesis, Rome, wants Knox found and executed, and so the hunt is on.  Of course, the two groups end up clashing and in the end this tale becomes a battle between good and evil, with a horde of the undead smack dab in the middle of it all.

I was provided this movie for review because I am essentially a zombie-fiend.  I review mainly zombie and other horror-type novels, but now and then I will review a movie.  Yes, this is a very low budget movie and is very much a b-grade flick.  Some of the dialog was a bit rough and every now and then unintentionally amusing.  Jerry Lynch, who plays the head bad guy, appears to be fond enough of chewing scenery that he probably got indigestion after he was done here.  Nope, this one won’t win any major awards, but for me, it was a fun post apocalyptic zombie flick.  You sort of have to just go with it-accept the limitations of having minimal budget, no real known actors, and a simple apocalyptic premise.  If you can do that, this movie is fun to watch.  The concept is workable, with a bit of a Road Warrior type feel to the bad guys with their mishmash of armor and a deluded leader who craves power.  Fred Williamson might be a bit too old to be doing fight scenes (he is over 70, after all), but even watching him do that after having seen him in plenty of classic B-Grade action flicks of the past brought a smile to my face.  This is a simple, rock ’em, sock ’em zombie flick with a high body count and no hidden meanings.  Pick your side, grab a weapon, and kill both the undead as well as the living that would kill you first if they had the chance.  Go in knowing what to expect here and you will probably have some fun with this one.

Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Zombie-Apocalypse-Redemption-Johnny-Gel/dp/B0055CP9S6/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1328389092&sr=1-1


Review of “The Crazies”

The Crazies is a remake of an early 70s George A. Romero low budget thriller.  The remake has him as an executive producer and there are quite a few similarities, although this new version, with its much larger budget and a slightly different perspective has a slightly different feel to it.

The premise is much the same as the original.  We are introduced to the people of a small rural community, this time in Iowa rather than Pennsylvania, where slowly but surely, some of the citizens appear to be going nuts.  At first its the former town drunk who hasn’t had a drink in over two years.  When he brings a shotgun to a high school baseball game and the sheriff is forced to kill him, the autopsy comes back indicating that he wasn’t drunk.  When another man decides to burn down his house with his wife and little boy in it as he mows the lawn, the sheriff and his wife, the town doctor, start to suspect that things are a bit off the charts on the weird meter.  The sheriff and his deputy soon discover a downed military air craft in a local bog that feeds into the water supply of the town and they start to realize that things are probably even worse than they first suspected.

One of the big differences between this version vs. the Romero original is the fact that we never get the military perspective on what is happening.  Still, it’s easy to guess how quickly things are escalating for the government and that they are definitely not doing a good job of keeping the situation under control based on their very aggressive actions as they attempt to contain the town, which doesn’t take long to go completely mad as the biological contamination spreads.

The movie goes from mystery/thriller to outright horror as the sheriff, his wife, his deputy, and her receptionist attempt to escape the town and get to witness both the crazies on the loose and the aggressive military efforts to eliminate the biological threat that they have unleashed upon these unsuspecting people, and fight their way through both groups.

I did like the original movie, despite of (or perhaps because of) its low budget, campy appeal.  Again, this remake doesn’t provide us with the military perspective as they try to contain this biological contaminant, which both adds and detracts to the new movie’s appeal.  Its always interesting to see the genesis of a potential worldwide (or even localized) apocalypse and what causes it to escalate (and how the government screw ups cause it to get even worse), but with a version free of the scandals and arguments between scientists and military generals, we as the audience don’t know what to expect from moment to moment-we share the same perspective as the people trying to flee.  The military/government is in no way humanized here-they are big brother, with their satellite images and digitized declarations of containment, but little else besides a few words from a captured soldier and government agent.  They remain hidden, for the most part, behind gas masks the entire time.

Nope, this is not a zombie film but the crazies here share some similarities with Romero’s other monster creation in that the madness you see is not only in the creatures trying to tear your face off but from the supposedly sane people trying to run everything.  Certainly if you have an appreciation for stories involving government cover-ups, mass hysteria, lots of terror and gore, than you may not really be concerned about any differentiation between this movie and some of the higher quality zombie films out there.  The Crazies is fun, disturbing movie that is all the more terrifying because it seems quite likely to occur  in this day and age of biological warfare and terror.  And because of that, it has much the same appeal as do the zombie movies that Romero and others have been unleashing on us for over 40 years now.