Hard Candy 2005 Review

hard candy
No hard candy. No one said “hard candy” either. An extremely androgynous teenage girl overworks her introspective speeches and knows more than she should, including how to perform a castration. And a successful one at that. Okay, we can’t be sure exactly how well the job was completed because it’s never on screen. Her motivations are a little confusing, which painfully wrecks the film. Somehow Sandra Oh was thrown into the mix. [rating: $4] –Kenyon


The Collector (2009)

The torture is grisly and the story provides reasonable suspense, but the Collector is so short on the motives of, well, the collector. A man who is desperate to save his wife and daughter burglarizes a secluded home, only to find a sadistic masked madman already there. This “collector” somehow in a matter of hours set up dozens of precise trip wires and traps. Meanwhile he is already in the process of multi-tasking the torture of his victims, one of which will be kept in a box because it’s for the “collection” or something. Slightly confusing and not very believable. [rating: $4] –Kenyon
similar: Saw, Hostel, the Strangers

Hatchet (2006)

Somewhat self-aware though terribly goofy, Hatchet is set in the swamps near New Orleans, where a “ragtag” tourist group falls victim to Victor Crowley, a disfigured maniac that is easy to pity. Lots of cliche horror movie jokes and pedestrian script. However the tearing apart of limbs is to die for in this splatter fest. Pretty much every chance he gets, Crowley rips off arms and legs or decapitates bodies. The first half of Hatchet is inconsequential, unless you need to see the cameos. But when that first tourist is butchered, look out. [rating: $5] –Kenyon

similar: Wrong Turn 2, Night of the Demon

Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead (2009) Review

wrong turn 3

A disappointing follow-up to the grisly entertainment of Wrong Turn 2, this cheap piece of junk is one of the worst in the backwoods mutant category. It may have helped just a little bit if there were more mutants than just “three-finger” and his offspring “three-toe,” who is decapitated too soon. Flawed beyond belief, Wrong Turn 3¬†does whatever it can to fail. The logic of characters and the sad CGI make this an embarrassment. Especially when the CGI is used to split a guy into thirds. Sharknado could fly circles around this garbage. [rating: $1] – Kenyon

The Innkeepers (2011)

It’s especially dumbfounding that director Ti West allows such pronounced homage to retro horror, yet ultimately drops the ball on two would-be modern horror classics that hover just below the mainstream. Like Wests’ the House of the Devil (2008), suspense goes hand in hand with an overdose of false scares. This includes when the two lead characters–who are attempting to prove the hotel they work at is haunted–watch a trick ghost video on the interweb. Preposterous! Not to mention the video was predictable.

There isn’t much story here, and it’s not even worth trying to understand any of the characters’ nonsensical behavior. Not to mention the entire film could be cut down to 25 minutes. There is a ten minute scene with Lena Dunham, of all people, that is absolutely unneccesary. Following that, the female lead–who of course has asthma–spends much of the time wandering around the hotel looking for spiritual contact. The slow pace is balanced by, well, pretty much the unrelenting suspense that never rewards (the piano is heard playing by itself, oooooo! it’s the ghost!). At least the Innkeepers (as well as House) has the balls to end a horror film with doom and gloom. The potential and growth for West is evident. Part of the problem is that too many critics are solely content with exaggerated atmosphere and cheap scares. [rating: $3] –Kenyon

Hostel Part II (2007)

While “studying” in eastern Europe, three weak-minded girls become victims of a merciless underground network that kidnaps stupid Americans and auctions them off to wealthy sadists who apply various gruesome methods of torture. Unlike the first film–which packed a brutal, terrifying punch–Hostel Part II adds an additional dimension. Instead of relying mainly on the path of the victims, the winning bidders–two American men–are examined as well. These two characters are much more interesting than the three oblivious victims. Oh, you will find out why! Ghastly, bloody and fun. [rating: $7] –Kenyon

Evil Bong 2: King Bong (2009)

Far below the rank of Pineapple Express is Half-baked. Well below Half-baked is this sorry excuse for a stoner comedy, Evil Bong 2. More like evil DUNG. Considering the very limited backdrops, the stereotypical job on the blaxpoitation for talking bongs and a juvenile screenplay that could have been consolidated to a 25-minute sitcom, the Z-grade Evil Bong 2: King Bong is a big bunghole. Don’t even bother. [rating: 50 cents] –Kenyon

V/H/S (2012)

A muddled mess is this “collection” of found footage within found footage. Although, sometimes it’s impossible to know if some scenes are supposed to be found footage from the camera or just the character’s viewpoint to see what they see (the lines are crossed when a stooge wears glasses with a built in video cam). Either way, the idea of characters finding VHS tapes with bizarre recordings is there, but it’s way too poorly executed to have any soul or substance. Basically V/H/S is groups of people being moronic and/or immature and then getting sliced up for no reason other than shock value. The forced interference effects of the shaky cams hinder any chance of this possessing authenticity. More like S/H/T or M/E/S/S. [rating: $1] – Kenyon

The Tunnel (2011, Australia)

There’s found footage. And then there’s found footage brought to attention by the people in it who then use half the movie to comment about the footage. This flopped in the Fourth Kind and Lake Mungo. Unfortuntely, the Tunnel suffers from the same common mishap: melodramatic commentary up the ying-yang. Let the footage speak for itself. We don’t need an actor to explain everything, ad naseum So many fails with the Tunnel.

If the people in the “found footage” are commenting after it was recorded, then there’s no suspense because we already know they are alive and well. Which is strange, considering that a mysterious humanoid underground dweller easily spilled the blood of their companions. Speaking of that, the “reporter,” who so urgently needed to investigate the underground tunnels of Australia, should be held responsible for those deaths. Not that it’s even believable that they died. The Tunnel lacks authenticity, something most evident when the doomed crew’s camera lens has cracks yet the cracks do not move in unison with the camera movement. [rating: $0]

Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (2007) While the original Wrong Turn was a routine backwoods slasher, Dead End–featuring outspoken rock icon Henry Rollins–is actual a step up. And by a step up, i mean buckets of guts. And by guts i mainly mean intestines. Although it’s not for the squemish, Dead End IS a lot of fun, especially since several of the characters butchered by inbred cannibals are a$$holes. Turn 2 also improves the story by showing more about the inbred’s “personal” life and how they got that way. It’s actually rather sad, allowing sympathy for the freaks rather than for the stereotypical victims who are parodied by a survival reality show. Surprisingly, this is a satisfying sequel. It’s no Evil Dead 2 by any means, though it’s a few notches above The Hills Have Eyes 2 remake. [rating: $7] –Kenyon