Categories
English Reviews

Review: The Unholy (2021)

The Unholy (2021)

Directed by: Evan Spiliotopoulos | 100 minutes | horror | Actors: Cricket Brown, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, William Sadler, Katie Aselton, Cary Elwes, Diogo Morgado, Bates Wilder, Marina Mazepa, Christine Adams, Dustin Tucker, Gisela Chipe, Danny Corbo, Sonny Corbo, Michael Strauss

Gerry Fenn was once a successful and celebrated journalist. Its success ended abruptly when it was revealed that many of his stories were fabricated. He now spends his days ‘on the road’ as a poorly paid and desperate pulp journalist with a penchant for the bottle. He travels to an obscure Massachusetts hamlet to make up a story about a cow mutilated by Satanists for an apple and an egg. The truth, however, is only half as exciting: the Metallica logo on the rear of the otherwise completely normal and healthy cow is the work of a bunch of bored youngsters and has nothing to do with bloodthirsty devil worshipers.

Contrary to his expectations, the cynical and cunning Gerry stumbles upon an event where he may be able to capitalize on journalism. The deaf-mute teenage girl Alice can suddenly speak and hear again after she says she has been visited by the Virgin Mary. When the girl performs several more miraculous cures, the once sleepy town of Banfield becomes a magnet for the media and hordes of devout believers. However, the entity responsible for the miracles has anything but divine origins…

‘The Unholy’ is based on the 1983 book ‘Shrine’ written by James Herbert. The main question in that work: what happens when evil tries to pretend to be the holy? And why do people always have a tendency to put false prophets on a pedestal and then shower those icons with scorn and hatred if they don’t live up to our expectations? The film also touches on these issues superficially, but actually does not do enough with them.

As a standard horror film, ‘The Unholy’ is partly successful. The usual ingredients for a supernatural horror recipe – think doom-radiating churches, dark woods where things are not looking good, dilapidated buildings, ominous dreams and a nasty doll – are there, while the film also has some nice scares in store for the viewer. Across the board, however, director Evan Spiliotopoulos relies too much on routine and rarely distinguishes the film from your average paranormal horror film.

It is mainly Jeffrey Dean Morgan who wears ‘The Unholy’ and takes the film to a reasonable level. Although he regularly plays quite unsympathetic characters (think Negan from “The Walking Dead” or the Comedian from the comic epic ‘Watchmen’), Morgan exudes charisma from every pore of his body. Here too he does a good job, despite the fact that the script writers could have given his character a bit more body and depth. Also William Sadler, who plays the role of the righteous village priest who first realizes that the miracles that take place in his community have no heavenly origin, and Cricket Brown rise above mediocrity. And then, of course, there’s the supernatural entity that puts people under the spell of the principle of miraculous healing. This she-wolf in sheep’s clothing is a decent CGI creation, but looks a lot like a less scary version of the ghoulish tooth fairy from ‘Darkness Falls’.

The end result is a reasonable, but certainly not special horror film. ‘The Unholy’ is rarely boring, but it also adds little to the crowded universe of the hair-raising ghost stories.

Categories
English Reviews

Review: Body Brokers (2021)

Body Brokers (2021)

Directed by: John Swab | 111 minutes | crime, drama | Actors: Frank Grillo, Alice Englert, Melissa Leo, Jack Kilmer, Michael Kenneth Williams, Jessica Rothe, Mark Ward, Sam Quartin, Owen Campbell, Steve Bruner, Renée Willett, Caroline McKenzie, Thomas Dekker, Pam Dougherty, James Whitecloud, Peter Greene , Doug Van Liew, Ben Hall, Ashe Austin

Reality is sometimes stranger than fiction. ‘Body Brokers’ claims to be based on true facts. If so, then this movie deserves a lot more attention. Not because this is a masterpiece, but because this production by director John Swab creates a shocking image of the (American) drug mafia. In this film, drug addicts are a useful business model for drug manufacturers and rehab clinics. The industry that has to help people kick the habit makes sure that their clients become addicted again after getting clean, so that the whole circus starts all over again. In this way money is made on the backs of vulnerable people.

‘Body Brokers’ – which, as mentioned, is said to be based on true facts – revolves around the junkies Utah (Jack Kilmer) and Opal. This duo is plucked off the street and placed in rehab. There the couple can rehab. When Utah seems to be doing better and he is allowed to leave the clinic, things quickly go wrong.

The idea behind ‘Body Brokers’ is nice, but unfortunately the execution is rather weak. The muddled narrative structure, fragmentary scenes and strange dialogue prevent you from really getting invested in this film. Swab has a wonderful story on his hands, but it doesn’t come out. He doesn’t really know what and how he wants to say something. It’s a shame, because in addition to a great story, ‘Body Brokers’ has a very strong actor in Jack Kilmer (the son of fallen star Val Kilmer). This man plays a layered role, but he struggles with an erratic script and strange opponents.

Frank Grillo provides the voice over and is also briefly in the picture, but his image on the film poster is actually too much honor. The actor has a fairly brief role and also comes out badly. ‘Body Brokers’ is a movie that deserves more attention if the story behind it turns out to be real. In this form, the film doesn’t make a dent in a pack of butter. As if a drunk wants to tell the entire ‘Star Wars’ saga: at the core you hear an epic story but in practice you listen to a lot of false air and incoherent bluster. Sin.

Categories
English Reviews FilmiTips

Review: Twentynine Palms (2003)

Directed by: Bruno Dumont | 119 minutes | drama, horror | Actors: David Wassik, Katia Golubeva

Bruno Dumont presents his audience with a rigid image of humanity. His protagonists’ quest for intimacy is lost in miscommunication and ends in violence. Love is sometimes possible but is destroyed by the loved ones themselves. We already saw it in ‘L’humanité’ (1999) and this theme is also reworked in ‘Twentynine Palms’.

The narrow greyness of the northern French landscape as a backdrop for human emotions makes way for the panoramic wild west in ‘Twentynine Palms’. It works wonderfully. We see a couple in love that is completely absorbed in themselves. The woman takes the man into her emotional wonder and the man takes the woman into his sexual. The two of us are so close to the skin that their breathing can be heard and felt almost constantly. The only witness is the American desert landscape, in which you can disappear unseen from the consumer society. It is not only the background but also the fuel for the intimacy of David and Katia, where the passing of a freight train or the sound of an industrial wind farm in the desert has a hushing effect.

It is no surprise that this does happen, given Dumont’s earlier work. You’re more or less prepped for a shocking denouement by the couple’s petty quarrels. Yet it cuts in; the film ends in a two-stage rocket of violence. Love has to die and as if one time is not enough, Dumont takes it one step further. You may wonder if it is necessary, but the director reaffirms his reputation as a hacker. During the Rotterdam Film Festival, the full house certainly gave it a round of applause.

A film with two actors – the other people appearing on the screen are at most active extras – demands a lot from the actors. Debuting film actor David Wissak is the good-natured but neurotic-aggressive David; Katia Golubeva played her half-brother’s lover in ‘Pola X’ (2000) with Catherine Deneuve and Guillaume Depardieu and is a somewhat selfish child woman here. Lyrically little is expected of them, but in terms of frame-filling silences and body language all the more and in that respect they fit well together and in this film.

It is not nihilism, but to say that these two somewhat irresponsible individuals are growing towards each other is an exaggeration. Cannibalistic love seems to be what Dumont wants to show. But beautifully portrayed.

Categories
English Reviews FilmiTips

Review: Turbo (2013)

Directed by: David Soren | 96 minutes | animation, adventure, comedy, family, sports | Dutch voice cast: Waldemar Torenstra, Ruben van der Meer, Javier Guzman, Roué Verveer, Murth Mossel, Maurits ‘Nega’ Delchot, Lieke van Lexmond, Patrick Martens, Tony Neef | Original Voice Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Michael Peña, Samuel L. Jackson, Luis Guzmán, Bill Hader, Snoop Dogg, Maya Rudolph, Ben Schwartz, Richard Jenkins, Ken Jeong, Michelle Rodriguez, Mario Andretti, Mike Bell, Aidan Andrews, Aaron Berger, Jen Cohn, Ryan Crego, Rich Dietl, Paul Dooley, Derek Drymon, Susan Fitzer

Fluttering the black and white checkered finish flag at the Indianapolis 500 is one of Theo’s daydreams, a garden snail with a predilection for racing. Unfortunately, he is just an ordinary snail. Bored, he slips to the tomato plantation together with his peers every day. In the human vegetable garden, they separate the ripe tomatoes from the rotten varieties. And so Theo’s life passes day in, day out. He spends his spare time in the garage, where he is literally stuck to an old TV with a racing channel. His great hero, Indy 500 driver Guy Gagne, encourages him through the picture tube to always follow your dreams. And that is exactly what Theo is going to do.

Lost in thought, he leaves the garden in the evening and crawls towards the highway. Picked up by the driving wind, he is launched in a completely different setting: a street race and his heart immediately starts to beat faster. Theo has landed on the hood of one of the challengers and is bracing for the showdown between the two cars. With a thunderous force, it is sucked into the air intake and immersed in Nitrous Oxide, a liquid that provides a huge boost. And from that moment on everything has changed. The blue panacea is pumping through his body. With a strange feeling inside, he returns home and when the nemesis of the snail family is playing in the driveway on his tricycle, he carefully tries out his new superpower. With a bright blue skid mark as a result. The child on the pedal bike does not believe his eyes.

Chet, Theo’s brother, is not very impressed with the transformation and suggests that he just go back to work. But that is not on the agenda of the speed demon. He wants to participate in the race of the races: Indianapolis 500. Both do not notice that a few crows above their heads are in the mood for snails. When Chet is caught, Theo goes after him with full force and manages to free his brother from the crow’s beak. They have traveled quite a bit and ended up in a different part of the city. That is, in a dilapidated shopping square. The brothers look uncomfortably at each other and at that moment a plastic cup is placed over them. They are caught by Tito, a smiley taco restaurant owner. He has several racing snails and made a circuit especially for his slippery stars. The other shopkeepers of the square watch as Tito enthusiastically counts down the race. And there they go… at a snail’s pace. Participants Whiplash, Smoove Move, Burn and Skid Mark are equipped with side skirts, spoilers and neon lights, but this doesn’t make them a meter faster than a regular snail. Turbo can’t stand it, accelerates and pulls the tiles out of the street. Tito does not know what he sees, because he shares a great love for the Indy 500 with Turbo. An idea was born, because he wants Turbo to compete in the most important race in America. His brother Angelo, like Chet, is not very enthusiastic and would rather invest the entry fee in a new stove for the restaurant. But Tito doesn’t listen, sneaks out on the taco bus and heads for Speedway, Indiana with the snail team.

Turbo is overjoyed when he finally feels the speedway tarmac under his stomach, providing the perfect opportunity to test his super strength. The speed reading hangs at 220 mph and that guarantees him a spot in the race. Via the social media he becomes a huge hype and on the day of the race the stands are packed with audiences who come to see the spectacle. The shopkeepers and Angelo are also present and cheer Turbo on. His great hero Gagne is his formidable opponent. Everyone takes their place on the track and the race starts. Will Turbo have enough horsepower to cross the finish line first after 200 laps? Or is sportsmanship compromised by his great example Guy?

Animation is a genre that appeals to both young and old. And director David Soren, known as the voice actor of blockbusters such as ‘Madagascar’ and ‘Shark Tale’, also knows that. With newcomer ‘Turbo’ he tries to conquer pole position, but unfortunately this colorful family film ends in third place. The characters have been carefully designed and by wearing the 3D glasses you can almost feel the rubbery texture of the characters. But the articulation of the mouths in relation to the voices are not matched enough, which is sometimes very disturbing. Fortunately, a solid cast has been chosen that includes Ryan Reynolds (‘Green Lantern’), Snoop Dogg and Maya Rudolph (‘Bridesmaids’) and with their empathy for the gastropod creatures, they add much-needed depth to this generic Dreamworks film. . As original as animated films ‘Despicable Me’ or ‘Wall-E’ are, as predictable is ‘Turbo’. But that doesn’t really matter, because no child who sees this feel-good film will be disturbed by this. They will enjoy “turbo boosted” snail Theo and its Nitro-filled snail shell with open mouths. You can best compare ‘Turbo’ with an unadulterated entertaining boys’ book.

Categories
English Reviews FilmiTips

Review: Twins of Evil (1971)

Directed by: John Hough | 84 minutes | horror | Actors: Peter Cushing, Mary Collinson, Madeleine Collinson, Damien Thomas, David Warbeck, Isobel Black, Roy Stewart, Kathleen Byron, Katya Wyeth, Dennis Price, Maggie Wright, Judy Matheson, Kirsten Lindholm

In several later ‘Hammer House of Horror’ vampire films, more than ever, the emphasis was placed on the sexual side of various vampires and their female followers and victims in particular. Significant titles are ‘The Vampire Lovers’ (1970) and ‘Lust for a Vampire’ (1971). In the film with the otherwise misleading title ‘Twins of Evil’, this aspect comes to the fore in the form of the twins Frieda and Maria who are at the center of the events.

The horror kicks off when a local villager is burned at the stake. The oppressive aspect here is that the victims made in this way are made by persons who are supposed to fight evil, namely a group of religious witch hunters. Since truth-finding is not of paramount importance in this society, various victims are simply declared witches and burned at the stake on the basis of loose remarks and innuendo. While quoting the Bible, their leader Gustav Veil comes into conflict with Count Karnstein, where it quickly turns out that this is just a confrontation between two evils. Karnstein seeks pleasures beyond the grave , he makes human sacrifices and invokes the devil, asking him:”Give me the power to do your evil …”

In the midst of all these doomers there is the counterweight in the form of the sensual twins Maria and Frieda. The emphasis placed on feminine beauty in these years by the Hammer studios is reflected in the deep and bulging necklines and translucent nightgowns that seem to be the trademark of these twins here. In addition, it is Frieda’s seductive arts in particular that offer the opportunity to portray a few things in an obscure way. But unfortunately, she becomes a vampire, in most of the ‘Hammer’ vampire films an ultimately unenviable development. In order not to burden the viewer too much with the (possible?) Loss of such an attractive beauty, the contradictions between Frieda and her sister Maria are unmistakably stated clearly. Maria isgood, child… virginal , but Frieda has many unsympathetic traits: rude, immoral, disobedient to her uncle (not so strange, by the way, considering his irrationality and arbitrariness) and she threatens and torments her sister. Her innate wickedness is also emphasized by the statement that “one who is dedicated to the devil … will not die by a vampires bite but will become one of the undead …”

The other characters are also portrayed very one-sided: the witch hunter Veil is only possessed by an almost terrifying blind religious fanaticism and lets his equally shortsighted followers make one victim after another. The only one who actually takes steps against this reign of terror is the teacher Anton whose only downside is that he is more interested in Frieda than in Maria. Only in the last phase of the film Anton’s preference changes and Veil also partly repents, after which he mutters “god, forgive me” at his changed insights. After the victims he made, however, his turnaround comes too late to be able to muster sympathy and compassion for him during the ensuing entanglements.

Anton and Veil thus only start working together late, which offers the opportunity for numerous dark events in which the tension and horror during the evoked typical dark Hammers atmosphere comes to the fore. The villagers who are burned at the stake, the human sacrifices of Karnstein, Karnstein’s ancestor coming to life who turns him into a vampire, Frieda as his follower with the victims in turn … the interchange between Maria and Frieda and the fate that threatens Mary as a result various successful fright effects: it is a steady mood-enhancing expansion into various decisive confrontations that erupt when Veil and the Brotherhood (at least in this case) have repented.

The necessary improbabilities and ambiguities also occur in this film: it is very remarkable that during the making of a human sacrifice, blood accidentally drips on a hundreds of years old corpse, which also turns out to be the remains of a vampire that subsequently appears again. life comes. Which vampire created the victims found before Karnstein’s ancestor comes back to life? And why does this ancestor suddenly disappear from the story without a trace and without explanation? There are also some groundbreaking vampire properties: in this film vampires can withstand daylight and when their bodies are burned, their spirits can pass into another body …

In terms of atmosphere, one of the more dark ‘Hammer’ vampire films, due to the presence of several ominous characters and the limited extent to which this changes over a long period of time. To a large extent, this means that the necessary horror and tension during an atmospheric build-up is well expressed during numerous developments and events. One of the better ‘Hammer’ vampire movies.

Categories
English Reviews FilmiTips

Review: Two Evil Eyes (1990)

Directed by: George A. Romero, Dario Argento | 120 minutes | horror, thriller | Actors: Adrienne Barbeau, Ramy Zada, Bingo O’Malley, Jeff Howell, EG Marshall, Chuck Aber, Jonathan Adams, Tom Atkins, Mitchell Baseman, Anthony Dileo Jr., Christine Forrest, Larry John Meyers, Jeff Monahan, Fred Moore, Christina Romero, Harvey Keitel, Madeleine Potter, John Amos, Sally Kirkland, Kim Hunter, Holter Graham, Martin Balsam, Julie Benz, Barbara Bryne, Mario Caputo, Lanene Charters, Bill Dalzell, JR Hall, Scott House, James MacDonald, Charles McPherson, Peggy McIntaggart, Ben Tatar, Lou Valenzi, Jeffrey Wild, Ted Worsley

It seems like a match made in heaven, not only bringing horror movie masters Dario Argento and George Romero together for one film project, but also linking their talents to the work of horror author Edgar Allen Poe. Initially the plan was to bring together several great directors from the genre, but it ended up with the Argento-Romero tandem, which provides a varying, but quite successful interpretation of Poe’s ghost stories in their diptych entitled ‘Two Evil Eyes’. .

Romero kicks off with ‘The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar ‘, a film that was originally mainly about the twilight space between life and death and how a man is held here through hypnosis. Romero expands it into half a film noir, in which the wife of this wealthy man, Mr. Valdemar, together with her lover try to get his money by manipulating him and keeping him alive through hypnosis. The film noir aspect is of little interest, although it is always at least interesting to see how far people can go in their greed. But the characters are unsympathetic and do little to make the viewer really care about their dilemmas. Yet the central premise is so creepy that the body’s feelings take over from the mind. Once Mr. Valdemar is in the freezer for dead and he still turns out to be able to talk since his mind is still under hypnosis, it becomes (un) pleasantly oppressive. Not so much because of the prospect of spirits or demons trying to enter the world of the living through his body, but more because of the fact that the man lies there so lifeless, but at the same time talks to his hypnotist (without moving his mouth), and there is the feeling that he could sit up straight at any moment in a classic moment of shock. With bated breath, the viewer awaits this moment when another close-up of his frozen face comes into view. But this moment does not happen, with the result that the viewer no longer knows what to expect. it becomes (un) pleasantly oppressive. Not so much because of the prospect of spirits or demons trying to enter the world of the living through his body, but more because of the fact that the man lies there so lifeless, but at the same time talks to his hypnotist (without moving his mouth), and there is the feeling that he could sit up straight at any moment in a classic moment of shock. With bated breath, the viewer awaits this moment when another close-up of his frozen face comes into view. But this moment does not happen, with the result that the viewer no longer knows what to expect. it becomes (un) pleasantly oppressive. Not so much because of the prospect of spirits or demons trying to enter the world of the living through his body, but more because of the fact that the man lies there so lifeless, but at the same time talks to his hypnotist (without moving his mouth), and there is the feeling that he could sit up straight at any moment in a classic moment of shock. With bated breath, the viewer awaits this moment when another close-up of his frozen face comes into view. But this moment does not happen, with the result that the viewer no longer knows what to expect. but at the same time talks to his hypnotist (without moving his mouth), and there is the feeling that he can sit up any moment in a classic moment of shock. With bated breath, the viewer awaits this moment when another close-up of his frozen face comes into view. But this moment does not happen, with the result that the viewer no longer knows what to expect. but at the same time talks to his hypnotist (without moving his mouth), and there is the feeling that he can sit up any moment in a classic moment of shock. With bated breath, the viewer awaits this moment when another close-up of his frozen face comes into view. But this moment does not happen, with the result that the viewer no longer knows what to expect.

The idea of ​​someone who is physically dead but with his mind trapped in an in-between world is disturbing, partly because of what this man perceives and how he feels in this state or in this location.

Because of the hairstyles, costumes and setting, the film feels a bit like a product from the eighties. The acting is also old-fashioned unspectacular and the whole comes across as an episode of the series ‘Tales from the Crypt’ or the ‘Twilight Zone’. Some scenes are reminiscent of zombie moments from Romero’s classic “Dead” films, but the film does not really bear a recognizable stamp of the director. ‘The Facts in the Case of Mr Valdemar’ is not an exceptional, but acceptable film by one of the greatest names in (horror) film history.

After having colleague Romero give his interpretation of ‘The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar ‘, a story about a seemingly deceased rich man who still wanders with his mind between life and death, it’s the turn of giallo expert Dario Argento to shine his light on a possibly undead cat in’ The Black Cat ‘. The tone is set right in the first few minutes by showing a naked lady, split in half with a shuttle, who is being investigated by Detective Legrand (John Amos), who is joined in this morbid massacre by photographer Roderick Usher, played by a like always very competent Harvey Keitel. Usher is fascinated by these gruesome massacres and records them all from different angles,

He needs a sip of alcohol every now and then to process his experiences. Only his wife is less happy about this, especially when one evening he is struggling hard at the kitchen table while his wife is in sack and ashes because of her accidentally missing black cat; a beast Usher hated. She thinks hubby is behind it, and when he lashes out at her and even hits her, her suspicions seem confirmed.

It is the beginning of increasingly mysterious and macabre events, with a recurring element, the black cat from the title, which is regarded as dead. There is even a medieval fantasy sequence in the film and there are occasional references to witches and hell (south of heaven), themes that are not uncommon in Argento’s work.

‘The Black Cat’ has a bit of everything: a bit of psychology, a bit of drama, horror, fantasy. And a good whiff of Hitchcock in it, because of the tricks Keitel devises to cover up his crimes, the way he is chased, and not least because of the ‘Psycho’ -like music. This last element is very prominent, and a bit flashy, but still contributes to the atmosphere. Poe’s ‘The Black Cat’ is very well designed by Argento, who has an eye for many facets and makes the basic story, which could have remained something very meaningless, more interesting.
This duo presentation by Romero and Argento has not become the absolute blast that you can expect based on the talent involved, but it is certainly a collection that is worthwhile. Both for fans of the directors and of the horror genre.

Categories
English Reviews FilmiTips

Review: Treevenge (2008)

Directed by: Jason Eisener | 16 minutes | horror, comedy, short film | Actors: Mike Cleven, Sarah Dunsworth, Zoë Dunsworth, Lex Gigeroff, Glen Matthews, Alexander Rosborough, Kristin Slaney, Jonathan Torrens

This short ‘Treevenge’ by director Jason Eisener begins calmly and peacefully with images of forests with numerous pine trees, with an appropriate atmospheric and soothing music to accompany. It seems nothing that can disturb the peace. But that quickly changes when a group of lumberjacks with axes and chainsaws arrive to collect Christmas trees for the coming Christmas period. And the trees are being tackled hard. They are cut down, beaten, kicked, some are set on fire, they are taken away from their relatives, put on a hitching and shocking truck to be put up for sale like a piece of cattle. And when they are rigged they have to undergo all kinds of humiliating and unwanted intimacies. With little hope of being burned at the stake after Christmas.

It is a torture that we have witnessed extensively. We hear the cries of pain emanating from the trees and share their desperation and concern for their families when they talk to each other in their tree language. And asking questions about what all this is needed for. Because they are unfamiliar with the Christmas spirit. And if they were, it is not surprising that, given the fate that awaits them, the thought of Christmas would not exactly please them. On the contrary, the trees have had enough and, in accordance with the telling title of this ‘Treevenge’, decide to take revenge for what has been done to them all. From one second to the next, with only a telltale and ominous light growl from one of them as an omen, the Christmas trees strike. And they take their human victims in an unimaginable way. The advantage here is that they are suddenly extremely mobile and yes, it is also useful if you have so many branches that you can all use as an arm. And as a target such a branch with all sharp pine needles is no fun at all. Something their victims quickly find out when the trees go wild. Adults, children, babies, domestic cats… without regard to people or animals, the trees mercilessly kill their victims. In the most gory ways that is, and it is therefore also nice special effects that come along. Eyes popping out, stuck in body openings and branches reappearing elsewhere, a tree that takes up an ax itself with chopping intentions, heads that are crushed to pieces….

Despite this, it doesn’t get scary anywhere. The whole structure of the story and the developments cannot be taken seriously for a second. Starting with the behavior that the lumberjacks show from the beginning. This can perhaps be regarded as a tribute to or a satire of the slasher genre when they, as lusty madmen, fight the trees triumphantly and screaming and screaming. Completely unbelievable in all the maniacal traits they show, but that makes it all the funnier. This also immediately makes the satirical-humorous approach of this ‘Treevenge’ clear. And why the trees’ revenge in terms of horror don’t have any chilling effect whatsoever. Successful and fun special effects and undoubtedly evoking the necessary shudder in serious slasher films, but here by all the exaggeration also to a considerable degree arouse the lust for laughter. Nice acting of the Christmas trees. Convincing, identifying and evoking compassion in all desperation and frustration and in all understandable and equally convincing lust for revenge that breaks through afterwards. Nice work by the human actors too, although their film characters will not evoke much sympathy – not that it matters much by the way – because of the way they deal with the trees. However, not everyone, just like the apparently mentally disturbed lumberjacks, always comes across as credible. This was also exactly the intention of the makers. All credit for the way they are portrayed. Likewise with the beating that the screaming villagers undergo and the fear and panic that radiates from them.

For those who are open to such a nonsensical humor-horror-oriented film, director Eisener succeeds very well. ‘Treevenge’ makes it clear that the patience of Christmas trees will also come to an end and it may be advisable to consider a more tree-loving treatment. Because the closing images show that sometimes gloomy Christmas times can come when the vengeance of the trees has by far not worn off …

Categories
English Reviews FilmiTips

Review: Ultimate Avengers (2006)

Directed by: Curt Geda, Steven E. Gordon, Bob Richardson | 72 minutes | action, animation, adventure, science fiction | Actors: Justin Gross, Gray DeLisle, Michael Massee, Olivia d’Abo, Marc Worden, Nan McNamara, Nolan North, Andre Ware, David Boat, Fred Tatasciore

What would happen if our cold frog country were attacked by malicious aliens? Can you already picture the fact that Dutch comic book heroes such as Fokke & Sukke and the Doorzon family join forces to establish themselves as the protectors of our country? Probably not, but then again, what do those heroes pulled out of the clay actually have to say? Then America is better off with stout, overly muscled iron eaters like Captain America and Iron Man. In ‘Ultimate Avengers’, the comic characters team up with a number of other heroes to fight an alien invasion. Avengers assemble!

In ‘Ultimate Avengers’ you will meet the mysterious Steve Rogers aka Captain America. The blonde American is used during World War II to boost the morale of the American troops. The brave super soldier manages to save the world from a nuclear explosion in a heroic attempt. Dazed, Cap falls into the icy sea of ​​Norway where he freezes over. Rogers’ body takes sixty years to be found, miraculously, the hero is still alive. After a crash course in ‘leadership’, Cap is allowed to give orders to a team of superheroes. The world is threatened by Aliens. Easier said than done, because Rogers can forge a well-oiled team of individualistic people like Thor, Black Widow, Iron Man, Wasp, Hulk and Giant Man? Every member will have to put his or her ego aside and be willing to cooperate, but whether that works… The Hulk, in particular, has difficulty with authority.

‘Ultimate Avengers’ is based on the comics series ‘The Ultimates’. The latter series is a retelling of the classic ‘Avengers’ comics that have been published by Marvel publishing house for decades. In our country the adventures of Captain America & co have appeared under the name ‘De Vergelders’. Here, the colorful characters may not be as well known as, say, Spider-Man or Batman, but in their homeland the leotard-wearing powerhouses are very popular. Whether the cartoon about the superheroes will win many souls in our cold frog country is quite unlikely. The Avengers are too ‘hardcore’ for the average viewer.

To enjoy this cartoon you will have to swallow a lot of nonsense. The film starts in a bizarre way, Captain America fights against the Nazis who actually turn out to be aliens. As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll also meet a lot of strange characters like the Norse god Thor and the giant Giant Man. The cast will be introduced to you in no time. Due to the fast tempo, not all characters are equally well portrayed. Giant Man, for example, resembles the cocky Iron Man in terms of attitude. The arrogant Thor is also an average macho. Only in appearance will the layperson be able to tell the different egos of the company apart. If you are familiar with the comics, you will be able to place the subtle differences better. The relationship between Wasp and Giant Man seems a bit tense. If you know the comics, you will know that their fragile relationship ultimately results in abuse. The cartoon makes it slumbering that the two have serious marital problems, but the film does not go into it really deeply. So every character has his or her problems that just don’t come to life in this story.

You have to know the cartoons if you want to know what exactly is going on. The only characters that will be explored are Captain America and Bruce Banner aka the Hulk. After being frozen for sixty years, Cap has lost almost all his friends, to make matters worse, the world as he knows it has completely changed. Nothing is familiar. Banner grapples with other problems. The doctor is in constant battle with himself: the stake is the Hulk. The fierce green monster lurks in the pacifist Bruce and can ‘break out’ at any moment. Banner is committed to preserving his humanity and continuing his normal life as best as possible. Thanks to this duo, the film remains interesting, because the essence of these comic book heroes is so well captured.

Visually, ‘Ultimate Avengers’ may well be. The colors are sleek and the image is sharp. Unfortunately, the animation is not convincing across the board. Especially in the beginning of the film, movements look wooden and unnatural. Only towards the end does the cartoon start to burn when the Hulk comes trotting up. The green giant is convincingly animated and full of detail. As cool as the heroes are, the villains are uninspired. The aliens lack their own identity. The Marsians don’t look fanciful. A flamboyant Marvel villain like ‘Red Skull’ or ‘Galactus’ had spiced up the movie. Now the bad guys leave you cold and that could never have been the intention.

Categories
English Reviews FilmiTips

Review: Twisted (2004)

Directed by: Philip Kaufman | 97 minutes | drama, crime, thriller | Actors: Ashley Judd, Samuel L. Jackson, Andy Garcia, David Strathairn, Russell Wong, Camryn Manheim, Mark Pellegrino, Titus Welliver, DW Moffett, Richard T. Jones, Leland Orser, James OIiver Bullock, Joe Duer, Jim Hechim

Films in which a female protagonist as a policewoman has to hold her own among her male colleagues have often been presented in various forms. Think of ‘Kiss the Girls’ (1997), ‘The Bone Collector’ (1999) or ‘The Silence of the Lambs’ (1991). All thrillers, but this form is also popular as a comedy. ‘Miss Congeniality’ (2000) with Sandra Bullock, for example, plays in a humorous way with behavioral conventions between women and men. In ‘Twisted’ script writer Sarah Thorp has adopted the same principle. She places the tough Jessica Shepard (Ashley Judd) as the only female police officer among her envious male colleagues and then applies all the resulting conventions.

‘Twisted’ opens with a quick edit of environmental images in San Francisco’s harbor, The Golden City. This brings out the old-fashioned atmosphere of films from the early 90s. Birds, seals, a blue sky, treetops, but then suddenly a knife on someone’s throat

This mixture of lightheartedness and fear / tension creates the expectation that ‘Twisted’ might take a new direction. The thriller does indeed deviate from the beaten path, but not in a positive sense. In this standard whodunnit thriller, the discovery of one body is the start of a series of murders in quick succession. The question, however, is not so much whodunnit, but who could have made such an incredible mess out of this film?

The ‘Twisted’ team is a combination of people that we have all seen separately before. For example, Philip Kaufman has had a hand in many Oscar and other award-winning productions such as ‘The Right Stuff’ from 1983, the cult remake ‘Invasions of the Body Snatchers’ (1978) and the more recent ‘Quills’ (2000). He also heard a lot about himself as a writer in recent years. Kaufman is responsible, together with George Lucas, for two ‘Indiana Jones’ from the trilogy of the same name. Cinematographer Peter Deming (including ‘Mulholland Drive’ (2001) and ‘From Hell’ (2001) and Mark Isham, the music composer of ‘The Cooler’ (2003) and ‘Moonlight Mile’ (2002) have also made their mark in the film world. well deserved. But what this team is doing with ‘Twisted’ is unbelievable. The protagonists (Ashley Judd, Samuel L. Jackson and Andy Garcia), despite the limitations, are still trying to make something of their characters, but things don’t go smoothly. The game is woody and the dialogues seem to be read directly from the autocue. Texts like I think I might be drinking to much for the alcoholic Jessica Shepard are like mustard after a meal at the end of the film.

After the first ten minutes, the entire story of protagonist Jessica Shepard has been put on the table, the viewer is informed about her deepest secrets (alcoholism and her one-night stands from the bar) and the relationships between the characters are clear. A slightly trained viewer now knows exactly what is to come. Protagonist is presented with a tricky case that affects both her business and private life, the viewer is put on the wrong track for an hour and when the climax finally comes in sight, it appears that at the beginning of the film you have already guessed. had how the plot was put together!

Categories
English Reviews FilmiTips

Review: Trilogy of Terror II (1996)

Directed by: Dan Curtis | 91 minutes | horror, thriller | Actors: Lysette Anthony, Geraint Wyn Davies, Matt Clark, Geoffrey Lewis, Blake Heron, Richard Fitzpatrick, Thomas Mitchell, Gerry Quigley, Dennis OConnor, John McMahon, Alan Bridle, Brittaney Bennett, Norm Spencer, Bruce McFee, Joe Gieb, Alex Carter , Philip Williams, Tom Melissis, Aron Tager, Durward Allen, Peter Keleghan

This 1996 ‘Trilogy of Terror’ is a second part following the 1975 first part of the same name, again directed by Dan Curtis. In the first film actress Karen Black played the leading roles in the various stories, here it is actress Lysette Anthony.

1. The Graveyard Rats
Laura and her lover Ben murder Laura’s tyrannical husband Ansford by pushing him down the stairs in his wheelchair. To get their hands on the estate, they must be able to access his bank accounts. They discover that the data to that effect is on Ansford’s body in his grave. They set course for the grave, but once there, events take on unexpected forms. The cold-blooded murder of Ansford and the events in his grave and in the corridors dug around it by the rats make this a successful story. Night scenes, a good use of light and dark, unexpected twists and turns and a claustrophobic atmosphere in the underground corridors when Laura has to keep off the attacking rats. The rats are quite exaggerated in appearance, but in all terrifyingness it makes them seem all the more effective. The story has a successful ironic and melancholy ending.

2. Bobby
Bobby’s mother cannot cope with the death of her son and manages to raise him from the dead by magic. However, Bobby no longer turns out to be the one he was when his aggressive behavior turns into outright murder and his mother has to run from him. Qualitatively the least story in the film. Repeatedly, however, it is effective when the malicious Bobby’s intentions become apparent and confrontations of various kinds with his mother take place. The setting is also suitable when the events take place in a quiet and secluded country house. With some magic, some other supernatural touches and a dark and stormy evening, a dark atmosphere is also sufficiently achieved. Unfortunately, the whole thing gets bogged down somewhat in a relatively long and not clearly visible chase,

3. He Who Kills
In Dr. Simpson is brought in a doll for examination. The doll is said to contain the ghost of a Zuni warrior, an attached letter reads. The doll comes to life and kills a few guards after which Dr. Simpson has to do all he can to keep the doll at bay. A successful story. It ties in with ‘Amelia’ in ‘Trilogy of Terror’ after Amelia’s murderous plans are put into effect. The disadvantage is that in the images of the coming to life Zunipop it is quite predictable when the doll has lost nothing of its murderous lust and bloodlust and this story is mainly a remake of the events in ‘Amelia’. But it doesn’t make the way it is designed any less successful. Chases and brutal and gory confrontations with the Zunipop take place again. These are worked out in an exciting and entertaining way in the extremely suitable long corridors and empty spaces of the laboratory. And above all, a welcome and successful reunion with the scary noises emitting and for the horror fan heart-conquering Zunipop in his undiminished maniacal and possessed and at the same time humorous biting and stabbing behavior. Good camerawork again during the various confrontations and chases. And above all, a welcome and successful reunion with the scary noises emitting and for the horror fan heart-conquering Zunipop in his undiminished maniacal and possessed and at the same time humorous biting and stabbing behavior. Good camerawork again during the various confrontations and chases. And above all, a welcome and successful reunion with the scary noises emitting and for the horror fan heart-conquering Zunipop in his undiminished maniacal and possessed and at the same time humorous biting and stabbing behavior. Good camerawork again during the various confrontations and chases.

Just like in the first film from 1975, there is solid acting from the various parties involved. Lysette Anthony is less known and less charismatic than Karen Black, but as Black’s successor she is nevertheless a good choice if she also knows how to portray the various characters with their different characters in a credible way. Also decent work by the other people involved, although in ‘He Who Kills’ outside Anthony himself, not very striking because of the limited screen time allocated to the other human characters. In ‘Bobby’ solid work by Blake Heron who manages to portray the risen Bobby in a convincing and threatening manner. And in ‘Graveyard Rats’ neat work by Geraint Wyn Davies as Laura’s lover and henchman Ben and Matt Clark as the tyrannical Ansford.

It makes this ‘Trilogy of Terror II’, following the first film, another meritorious trilogy. Again a film in which the necessary negatives occur, but also one in which the pluses far exceed these. Also because director Curtis, just like in the first film – partly because this second film was also made for television – does not so much need to have too many gory special effects, but manages to achieve a successful build-up of the tension and effective retention of it. . It makes this sequel film again an advisable horror or thriller trilogy. One that will also captivate non-horror fans.