Cinepub


31 Days of Horror 12: Apollo 18 (2011) by Jamie

This review contains minor spoilers for Apollo 18 but honestly, were you ever going to watch Apollo 18?

During this quest to watch horror films that I haven’t seen before it’s an inevitability that, because of the nature of horror films today, I’m going to see my fair share of found footage films. It’s just the way of the world these days. Still, I’ve tried to find films that do something original with the idea and I was somewhat pleasantly surprised with both V/H/S and The Bay so it seemed as though there was some hope that it could be a filming method that could still throw up the odd gem. In this search for originality, I remembered a film which I’d heard of but not seen, one which held some promise for the originality I’d hoped for. That film was 2011’s Apollo 18. Yes, a found footage movie set on the moon. That could be cool, right?

The basic premise is that the Apollo missions officially ended after Apollo 17 but in actuality there was a secret mission, Apollo 18 that was hushed up and never known about… Until now. And boy is it crap. When I said I’d heard about this movie, I’ll admit that what I meant was I’d heard people talk about how bad it was but I’m not one just to take that  and judge it without seeing it myself. However, this is one of those instances where I kind of wish I had. There is such a great opportunity for someone to do a genuinely creepy found footage movie about the moon and these guys squandered it for cheap jump scares and a pretty uninspired “monster”. It looks like a cross between a rock and the head-crab from Half-Life.

And that’s the core problem with this movie. Wasted potential. The moon lends istelf to creepiness. It’s a giant, dark desert were the only sound you can hear is another person talking through a shoddy speaker inside your astronaut helmet and the sound of your own breath. Even movement on the moon is rendered slightly creepy because the low gravity makes it look as though everyone is bouncing in slow motion. Terrifying slow motion. What we get here instead is a bog-standard, dull found footage movie that just happens to be set on the moon. And that’s just sad for everybody.

One pint out of five because it does have a few moments that are kind of creepy, like when an astronaut goes into a crater and the only light he gets are from the occasional flash of his camera. That was kind of creative. But otherwise avoid this one because in space no one can hear your sighs of boredom. Laterz.

The reason we never went back to the Moon, it turns out, is because it's so very, very dull.

The reason we never went back to the Moon, it turns out, is because it’s so very, very dull.



31 Days of Horror 11: Dark Skies (2013) by Jamie

Haunted house movies! They’re a Halloween staple what with their ghostly object stacking, ghostly images appearing on CCTV footage and ghostly alien abductions. Yeah, you read that right. Alien abductions. Dark Skies is a haunted house movie where the force behind everything going on are aliens rather than ghosts. The main problem being that the aliens in this film do much the same bullshit that ghosts do in these movies.

In your average haunting movie you can explain away a ghost opening a fridge and throwing all the food on the floor or taking all the canned goods and stacking them as the typical actions of a mischievous spirit. It’s just a poltergeist fucking with people because that’s what poltergeists do. These silly pranks stretch credibility, however, when we are asked to believe that they are the work of beings who have travelled millions of light-years. Are they a race of highly advanced high-school pranksters? What’s going to happen next? Are they going to beam a bag of burning dog shit onto my front porch and ring the doorbell before flying away at the speed of light? Am I going to wake up with several hours of missing time and a wedgie?

And then, after doing these little pranks, the aliens begin to get nasty for no reason other than we’re later told by an expert that this is just how this shit always goes down. Yes, this movie has an expert. In normal haunted house movies it’s a priest, a demonologist or a paranormal investigator. In this movie, it’s another abductee in the form of J K Simmons and he’s here to do what every expert in these movies does. Show up near the end to explain what the force wants, what you might to to avoid your fate and just how small of a chance you have of avoiding it.

In all honesty, I know I’m making it seem as though I hated this movie but I didn’t really. It’s enjoyable enough, it’s just that I resent the film makers trying to make me think this isn’t just another stupid haunted house movie because aliens. It is. It follows the exact same structure as these movies do except where you’d normally have someone say poltergeist or demon, they say Grey. Still, the acting is a notch above your average haunted house movie and I have something of a soft spot for the Greys due to my years of watching the X-Files as a kid. It’s biggest problem is that it does seem to drag in places but if it happened to be on I’d say give it a watch or you could watch the superior ‘Alien Abduction: Incident at Lake County‘ but then I’d recommend that above many things. God I love that movie. Anyway, three pints out of five. Laterz.

Dark_Skies_Poster



Review: Piranha 3D (2010) by Jamie

Light Spoilers Ahead

Well, we’ve finally come to the end of the Piranhathon and I have to say, thank fuck for that. I am getting pretty damn sick of fucking piranha at this point and I’ve only actually seen one good film out of four so far. Will Piranha 3D be the shining saviour that can make everything ok again?

Well holy fucking shitballs, yes! Yes it can! Now I was a little sceptical going in to Piranha 3D simply because of that 3D bit at the end there. I’ve never really had 3D work properly for me. I don’t know if it’s been were I’ve sat in the cinema or if because I have to wear normal glasses beneath the 3D pair or what but for some reason, it’s always left me feeling a little bit off and with hideously aching eyes, especially after Toy Story 3 which just seemed to give me hideous eye strain for about a week afterwards.

But Piranha 3D worked perfectly! And what’s more, Alexandre Aja seems to get what 3D is. It’s a gimmick and it should be treated as such. James Cameron can bitch and moan about how 3D is the future of cinema as long as you don’t do what Piranha 3D does but he’s wrong. 3D is a gimmick, Piranha 3D treated it as such and it was the first 3D film I’ve enjoyed because of the 3D rather than in spite of it. Avatar just looked like World of Warcraft to me.

Anyway, I suppose I shouldn’t really give too much of the plot away since it’s still a fairly new release but I’m going to issue a spoiler alert right now anyway. Spoiler alert: Piranha eat some folk. That’s about it, honestly. There is a lot of build up where you sort of learn a few things about the main characters, although now that I think about it you don’t really learn that much. Most of the build-up is actually spent on jokes about Spring Break, booze, boobs and porn with the occasional moment where it’s made clear that our main male teen character (Steven R. McQueen) likes female teen character (Jessica Szhor) but none of it really matters. It’s all building up to the slaughter.

Ok, I’m not gonna bother with plot anymore, though like I said, that’s pretty much it. Let’s talk about everything else that makes this movie awesome. First off, it has nudity. A ridiculous amount of nudity. In fact if I would be surprised if it wasn’t the nudity that got this film an 18 in the UK and an R in the US rather than the violence and gore. There’s a scene of Kelly Brook and Riley Steele swimming naked underwater for what seemed like ten minutes. It was a bit confusing because the natural way to end that scene is with a vicious piranha attack but they just surfaced and were fine. Still, nudity.

Piranha 3D also is chock full of blood, gore and severed CGI penises. Alright, it’s not full of severed CGI penises, there’s just one but its pretty amusing. Still, the piranha attacks and the people related death that occur as a result of them trying to escape the piranha are over the top, creative, uber-bloody and just plain fun to watch if you like that kind of thing. I won’t say anything about any of the death in specific I’ll just say that they should easily satisfy a gore-hound. Piranha 3D also manages to keep in with the tradition of the original Piranha by having the odd single death here and there but really going for the massive attack, that is piranha attacking huge groups of people en-masse. It makes for a fantastic scene filled with churning water, frantic bodies and floating body parts. Also that water turns redder than you’ve ever seen it turn red in your life. It’s fucking awesome.

Finally a word about the cameos in this film. First off you’ve got a couple of porn stars. Always nice to see and they actually have some of the best deaths in the entire film. But the two greatest cameos since Zombieland belong to Richard Dreyfuss and Christopher Lloyd. Richard Dreyfuss basically reprises his role of Matt Hooper from Jaws in the opening scene of this film, sitting on his boat, drinking Amity Beer and singing “Show Me The Way To Go Home”. Then the piranha come. It’s awesome. Then we have Christopher Lloyd playing what is essentially an ichthyologist version of Doc Brown from Back To The Future. Hell they even throw in a little time travel joke with regard as to when it would have been a good time to stop the piranha. Sadly though, he does not say “Great Scott!!!” which would have stood out like a sore thumb but would have been entirely appropriate in this movie.

I’m sorry I haven’t gone into as great detail with this film as I did with ‘Mega Piranha’ yesterday (a fucking 2500 word essay on Mega Piranha!!!) but I think this is definetly one you’ll want to just check out. It’s big, it’s loud, it’s politically incorrect and it’s proud. This film knows exactly what it is and I’d say it does for the B-Movie what The Expendables does for the action movie. See it. See it on the big screen in 3D. You won’t regret it. Four and a half pints out of five. Laterz




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