Supernatural nazi zombies rise from the snow when awakened by a group of vacationers in a secluded cabin. Dead Snow‘s self-awareness is blatant, as it clearly references classic horror, presents obvious foreshadowing and finds new uses for intestines. The comedic foreign horror work is happily unrealistic, as it should be. The victims believe they’ll be safe in an area ripe with avalances, while an oldtimer warns them about the impending Nazi threat but then goes against his own advice by pitching a tent nearby. None of them are prepared for the army of zombies, the suspense and outrageous, wicked gore. [rating: $9] –Kenyon
Similar: Cabin in the Woods, Shaun of the Dead, Hatchet, Black Sheep
First cube is gold, second cube (a “hyper” cube) is garbage. Third cube falls in between. But more towards garbage. In the first Cube there was no outside view of the cube, we only knew the people stuck in the multiple chambers of the cube, half of which are set with deathtraps of all kinds. Cube Zero–which is loaded with new traps that cause side-splitting gore–adds the perspective of “employees” who are monitoring the victims, which means that more is learned about the purpose of the intriguing cube and who is responsible. And it all could have been profound if not for the miscast lead character, whose acting and dialogue undermines such a heavy topic. A unique idea for a film, sadly, isn’t given justice. [rating: $4] –Kenyon
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
Yikes. After setting fire to a local dive bar, a rock band named Low Shoulder attempts to sacrifice Jennifer for its own selfish needs. Because she was not a virgin, Jennifer is now a succubus. You can’t make this stuff up, oh wait, someone did. It would make more sense if the title character was originally innocent and shy, but Jennifer was already a shallow bimbo. As a succubus the only difference is she’s gruesomely tearing apart a victim’s torso. Oh the humanity. [rating: $2]
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
For a film that created so much controversy at the time of its release, the original Last House on the Left had a wild and corny soundtrack. A happy traveling song fit for Benny Hill (with kazoo, no less!) precedes the violent murders of two young girls who lack escape skills. By now Wes Craven and company must realize that the film would be a million times better with no soundtrack at all. And it’s not only the music that is a problem. There are a couple of moronic local cops who waste time and comically fail to hitch a ride with a stereotypical southern black woman driving a truck load of chickens. All of this equates to around 20 irrelevant minutes.
Better to get to the heart of the story. A ragtag, ruthless group of criminals (plus the leaders’ son who, in the original, dreams of being a frog) murder two girls and then coincidentally that same night wind up at the home of one of the girl’s parents.
While the film received much criticism for its realistic depiction of rape and murder, the most interesting aspect of Last House is the change in the parents of the victim. Early in both films, we see a lighthearted, gentle couple. When they realize the people who tormented their daughter are in their home, they turn as sadistic as the villians.
The remake actually does a better job working into that transformation, and the parents’ blistering savage revenge has several moments that deserve literal applause (squeeze a nose that merely an hour ago you stitched up? hell yea!). At the same time, however, the remake goes soft by allowing two characters who perished in the first film to survive. [rating: 1972 – $6, 2009 – $8] –Kenyon
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
aka La Horde (France)- Genuinely suspenseful and intense, the Horde is easily on a level with the Dawn of the Dead remake and 28 Days Later. Driven by extreme violence and gore, the French film is balanced by deep drama, not to mention socio-political issues (“i’m a f*cking NIGERIAN!”). There are a few laughs, but overall the Horde shows the vengeful side of humans that have nothing left to lose. The Walking Dead can suck it. [rating: $9]
Vacancy 2: the First Cut (2009) The first Vacancy–which, unlike this typical prequel, actually had a theatrical release–was set at a hotel where three sickos film their own killings of their guests (aka snuff). That first film showed the demise of their business of selling copies of their work. In the prequel, which doesn’t do things much differently from the first film, we are informed of how these entrepeneurs got started. Or at least one of them anyway, as the other two are killed by the lead girl after they kill her boyfriend and his tag along friend. This girl is so tough she implausibly is able to shoot one of these guys from beneath a shallow pond in the dark. The remaining snuffer who gets away, we have to assume, is one of the masked guys in the first film, who somehow survives being set on fire and stabbed in the side of his face. The snuffers didn’t have those trap doors and underground passageways yet (as shown in the original), so a lot is left to desire. Three maniacs can be better than one (like in Mother’s Day or Wrong Turn). In this case, three’s a crowd. [rating: $3] –Kenyon