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Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA)
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Ghost Attack on Sutton....
Ghost Attack on Sutton....
DVD ~ Documentary
Price: CDN$ 19.95
20 used & new from CDN$ 9.82

2.0 out of 5 stars A fake ghost hunt with real ghost hunters, June 17 2013
This review is from: Ghost Attack on Sutton.... (DVD)
The one thing I know about Ghost Attack on Sutton Street: Poltergeists and Paranormal Entities is that it isn’t very effective at doing – well, whatever it’s trying to do. Actually, I know two things – the title is too darn long. When you see a title that includes a long subtitle like this, the odds are pretty good that the film will leave you wanting in the end. The weird thing about this movie, though, is the fact that several of the crew members on this “ghost hunt,” including lead investigator Lee Roberts, are actually paranormal investigators associated with Haunted Events UK – yet this is clearly a film posing as a documentary and chock full of staged “scares” that are never, ever caught by the cameras. Why this man would be involved with a fake investigation is beyond me; he must believe that any publicity is good publicity. This is not the type of publicity that is going to lend any credence to the existence of ghosts, however. Actually, I would never have believed that Lee Roberts was an actual paranormal investigator if I had not read that fact while researching this film – if for no other reason than the fact that he never shuts up. He overexplains everything – the equipment used, what the thermal camera is and is not picking up, the purpose of a séance (during the séance, mind you). If I were a ghost, I would either hide from this annoying man or continually pelt him with objects in an attempt to make him leave the premises.

Equipped with only one EMF detector and one thermal imaging camera, this “experienced” ghost hunting crew takes us inside “the notoriously haunted Old Street Market of Sutton Town in historic old England” and proceeds to investigate the place without turning off any of the lights. Oh, these are some brave souls indeed. Alongside Lee Roberts is fellow investigator Pete Cox (who does lend some reality to the project because you would think that no director in his right mind would ever cast him with a speaking role in a film) and historian Michelle Gent –who shares the secret with Lee concerning the real purpose for this investigation. It all goes back to a legendary childhood boogeyman named Tap Tap, who may or may not have ever existed. Lee proudly announces that this is the first paranormal group to investigate this particular location – which is rather strange because he and Michelle go on to talk about the findings of numerous other investigations conducted there over the years. Well, after more than a half hour of interminably long and boring walkarounds, prep work, and endless droning on by Lee, the investigation begins.

The evidence our intrepid investigators find wouldn’t scare most small children, but they quickly start freaking out – which is not good, because Lee talks even more than usual when he’s nervous. A couple of pretty cool things happen eventually, but Lee’s propensity for hogging camera time means nothing is caught on video. What glimpses we do get of the activity are far from convincing and, in my opinion, were probably done by the investigators themselves. To make matters worse, the cinematography and music in this film are horrible – especially the campy music that is usually way too loud, routinely builds up to “something’s about to happen” crescendos in which nothing happens at all, and generally grates on the nerves. With no big ending to save the day, you’re left scratching your head wondering what purpose this underwhelming film was supposed to serve.

The Slaughterhouse Massacre [Import]
The Slaughterhouse Massacre [Import]
DVD ~ Stephani Wells
Price: CDN$ 18.41
20 used & new from CDN$ 11.10

1.0 out of 5 stars I would rather be a cow in a slaughterhouse than to have to watch this tripe again, June 5 2013
You would be hard pressed to find a horror film more ineptly made than this one. The Slaughterhouse Massacre is embarrassingly wretched from start to finish, spilling even more clichés than blood. The stupidity of the whole thing is actually a little hard to believe; you would think even the most amateurish of filmmakers would do one thing right, just by accident, but not these guys. If there's a human being walking around on this earth that could actually take any enjoyment from this movie, I sincerely hope I never meet him.

The movie starts out with a hot and bothered young blonde begging her boyfriend to take her to the slaughterhouse because nothing turns her on more than the blood and stench of poor slaughtered animals. You can guess what happens. Then, things get confusing because another murder is mentioned, one which led a group of guys to come and murder the suspect, Marty Sickle. The killer's body was never found, though, so the legend is that you can bring Sickle back to life if you go to the slaughterhouse and recite a silly little poem. Enter our main characters: Justin, the incredibly stupid football jock and Stacey, the reasonably hot chick that loves him (despite the fact he isn't exactly faithful to her), Justin's even dumber sidekick Bobby and his girlfriend Tina (who actually thinks going to the slaughterhouse and trying to raise a dead killer back to life sounds like fun). Potential viewers, prepare for your mind to be rotted by egregious overacting in a college classroom, the lamest college party in history, characters so one-dimensional and annoying you would actually consider killing them yourself, incredibly bad special effects, and a killer lacking any presence whatsoever.

All of the available evidence suggests that no thought whatsoever went into the making of this movie. Seriously, the sickle-wielding killer is named Marty Sickle, and there's a pothead character named Stoner. Then there's the fact that this slaughterhouse, which has been abandoned for ten long years, still has electricity. Oh, and did you know that animal blood doesn't dry up at all if you keep it in an open bucket for ten years? Or that you should make as much noise as possible when trying to hide from a deranged killer? Or that an unconscious person with a bum leg can still walk as long as someone holds on to her?

Believe me - I haven't even begun to plumb the inept stupidity of this movie. This cinematic atrocity currently sports a 13 percent approval rating on a certain tomato-related site, and I'm seriously considering opening an investigation into how the rating on there can be even that high. The Slaughterhouse Massacre is an utter travesty of a horror movie.

Star Trek V - The Final Frontier (Two-Disc Special Collector's Edition) (Bilingual) [Import]
Star Trek V - The Final Frontier (Two-Disc Special Collector's Edition) (Bilingual) [Import]
DVD ~ William Shatner
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 21.97
15 used & new from CDN$ 18.91

3.0 out of 5 stars Riddled with problems but still worth watching, May 31 2013
So Spock has a half-brother who looks like a pointy-eared Saddam Hussein, who manages to attract and then hijack a sad excuse for the Enterprise, all in an attempt to penetrate the Great Barrier (which has apparently moved from the edge of the galaxy to the exact center) and find the universal God. That's pretty much the plot of this movie in a nutshell. While Star Trek V: The Final Frontier does have its good moments, particularly in terms of the interplay between Kirk, Spock, and Bones, most Trekkies and movie-goers in general agree that this is without a doubt the worst of the six films featuring the original crew. Even Gene Roddenberry was critical of various parts of this film.

You could hardly ask for a more disappointing opening for a Star Trek film, as we watch a mysterious rider come upon a desert hole farmer (yeah, I said hole farmer) and release the man's pain. That pointy-eared stranger is Sybok, the half-brother Spock has never bothered to mention. One can only imagine the shame Sarek would feel (if Vulcans didn't bury their emotions) over this son, a renegade whose rejection of logic and embrace of emotions led to his expulsion from Vulcan. If nothing else, we now know that Spock was by no means the black sheep of his family. Following a vision of Shakaree, the legendary Vulcan "heaven," Sybok puts together a small army on the Neutral Zone planet of Nimbus III and takes the tri-partite council of Klingon, Romulan, and Terran ambassadors hostage, all in an effort to bring a starship into orbit. That starship is, of course, the new Enterprise, which has been dispatched by Starfleet despite the fact it has less than a skeleton crew - and almost nothing on the ship is actually working (despite Scotty's best efforts).

Possible spoilers ahead as I talk about some of the problems with this movie. First and foremost, Sybok's group of ragamuffin settlers is able to take control of the Enterprise with ridiculous ease. Even some of Kirk's crew prove to be incredibly weak-willed in the face of Sybok's power. If some weirdo came along and somehow freed me from my deepest and most personal pain, I would say Thanks, Dude but I would not devote myself to following this guru's every command. I really expected more from the likes of Sulu and Uhura here (I can forgive Chekov, given his traumatizing experience at the hands of Khan). And the Klingon ambassador, the once-illustrious master strategist Korrd - sure he's a drunken outcast now, but there's no way a fierce Klingon warrior like Korrd should go all sappy in the face of Sybok's mental manipulations. Only Captain Kirk refuses any attempt by Sybok to brainwash him, delivering a classic "I need my pain" speech in the process. I know some people were moved by the scene in which McCoy's deepest pain is identified and released, but I found it uncomfortable to watch and could only wonder why Kirk stood there and let it happen in the first place. I also have to ask what the heck happened to that beautiful new Enterprise ship we saw at the end of Star Trek IV. For one thing, the bridge has been completely redesigned, and I refuse to believe that any self-respecting crew of Starfleet technicians would have ever let this ship out of the dock given its almost infinite number of problems. At the start of the film, the crew is on shore leave because they had to pull this dysfunctional ship back into dry dock for a vast retinue of repairs. It also bothered me when Spock said he had no emotions, as that isn't strictly true - Vulcans choose to bury their emotions, but those feelings are still there far below the surface.

Even though I pretty much worship the ground William Shatner walks on, you have to pin some of the blame for this film's problems on him, as he directed the film and co-wrote the story alongside David Loughery and Harve Bennett (who also appears in the film as the Starfleet Chief of Staff). On the other hand, Shatner wasn't really able to make the film he wanted to make - especially in terms of the ending, which is rather anticlimactic in its final form - because Paramount would not give him the money to make it all happen. The production wasn't well-served by the special effects team, either. With ILM wrapped up in other projects, the production team turned to another group that really wasn't up to this kind of major task. It wasn't just the lack of money that prevented Shatner from giving the film the big ending he wanted - the special effects that were actually done for that ending were too crappy to even use.

In retrospect, it seems that no one had full control over this movie. Even as the director and co-writer, Shatner wasn't even able to prevent Sybok being portrayed as Spock's half-brother. Still, despite all the negatives to this film, it's still well worth watching. I'll take a three-star Star Trek film over many a four-star film any day, and there are a few really good scenes and quotable moments, such as the camping trip scenes with Kirk, Spock, and Bones and Spock's "not in front of the Klingons" quip. Undeniably, though, this really is the one Star Trek film you can skip or choose not to revisit, as it disappointing in a number of ways and adds very little to the overall Star Trek story arc.

The Shortcut
The Shortcut
Price: CDN$ 9.93
3 used & new from CDN$ 9.93

4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly enjoyable light horror fare, May 25 2013
This review is from: The Shortcut (DVD)
Wait a minute. When did Adam Sandler start making horror films? Apparently, it was in 2009. The Shortcut was the first release from Scary Madison, part of the Happy Madison production company Sandler started. The word is that Adam Sandler and crew set out to do it right, with R-rated material, but some of the folks actually financing the film insisted that it be PG-13. They already had the teenaged eye candy sure to attract teen viewers, with the likes of Andrew Seeley and Katrina Bowden playing significant roles. And you know what? Things actually worked out pretty well. The Shortcut certainly doesn’t break any new ground in the horror genre, it doesn’t manage to generate any real scares, and you can spot the final twist from a mile away, but I still enjoyed watching it. The teen characters are actually likeable, there’s a decent amount of humor along the way, and the story doesn’t leave any holes in its wake. For a straight-to-DVD release, The Shortcut really isn’t a bad little movie at all – it’s just the kind that would be more at home on cable television than in theatres.

The story really begins in 1945, as that’s when the shortcut through the woods behind Hartley Elementary School began to earn its reputation as a spot to be avoided at all costs. The legend says that there’s a crazy old man out there who likes to scare and oftentimes kill anyone foolish enough to come that way. Derek (Andrew Seeley) and his younger brother Tobey (Nicholas Elia) just moved to town two months ago, so they haven’t heard any of the stories – not until Tobey is dared by some classmates to prove how tough he is by taking the shortcut home. That leads Derek and some of his friends to investigate the wooded area for themselves; Derek even manages to drag Christy (Katrina Bowden), the fantastically hot object of his affections, into the adventure. Needless to say, the whole thing is a really bad idea.

As events progress in the current day, we get a series of flashbacks to the 1940s and 1950s that help fill in the backstory of what is really going on out there in the woods. These scenes actually serve a purpose, as the whole truth can only be discovered by putting both of the storylines together in the end. I actually was surprised by one revelation, but the final twist, as I mentioned earlier, will be expected by a majority of viewers. That doesn’t make it bad – just really predictable. The script as a whole – which was co-written by Adam Sandler’s brother Scott – is actually remarkably tight for a film of this genre. You have to put two and two together at times, but everything comes full circle in the end. The Shortcut will appeal more to teenaged audiences than hardcore horror fans, but this horror veteran really enjoyed his trek down The Shortcut.

Lost Woods
Lost Woods
DVD ~ Joey Brown
Price: CDN$ 24.99
18 used & new from CDN$ 16.72

2.0 out of 5 stars Is it over yeti?, May 16 2013
This review is from: Lost Woods (DVD)
Where do I begin with this one? For one thing, you know the five campers in this movie aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer when they start target shooting with unopened beer bottles. Hello? You're supposed to drink the beer, and then shoot the bottles, guys. And what is the deal with the guy wearing the vintage 1980s mullet head wig? And then there's our Bigfoot. Apparently Bigfoot is able to make himself not stink when he wants to sneak up on someone, has glowing blue eyes that don't work worth squat, has hair strong enough to deflect rifle bullets, apparently spent some time at a WWE training camp, and really, really hates people messing around in his woods. We learn a lot more weird information about Bigfoot at the end of the movie, but all I will say about that is that it completely ruins what little bit of integrity the film might have had rounding turn four and heading for home.

So, five young adults go "off the map" camping somewhere in the Pacific Northwest - in the same area where a camper went missing a month earlier. The trip is sort of a forced reunion of two childhood friends who grew apart after a stupid fireworks prank gone wrong; when the cops showed up, Darren - the instigator of the whole thing - ran away like a little girl, leaving the otherwise practical young Warren to take the wrap and spend eighteen months in juvenile hall for his pal's cowardice and stupidity. Out in the woods, though, things seem to be going well - apart from an uncomfortable encounter with two hicks; the guys even have a little bonding moment while urinating and a few sparks begin to fly between Warren and Lucy, the only girl on the trip (well, not counting the dog). Then - wouldn't you know it - Bigfoot has to show up and ruin everything.

I'm surprised to see that the budget of the film was 125K - it looks like it cost a whole lot less than that to produce. After the first day in the woods, the movie takes on this low-light appearance, as if it's always dusk. At first, I tried to figure out if scenes were supposed to be taking place during the day or the night - but I soon decided that I really didn't care. The acting isn't egregiously bad, but it's a long way from good, and much of the dialogue doesn't feel natural. And that ending! Looking back now, I can see where the filmmakers were trying to go with it, but it really just doesn't work. It's like the film suddenly begs to be ridiculed, and that's really not the kind of final impression you want to leave with the audience.

Back to the Beyond
Back to the Beyond
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 41.69
6 used & new from CDN$ 4.60

1.0 out of 5 stars Should have been back to the drawing board, May 13 2013
This review is from: Back to the Beyond (DVD)
Back to the Beyond is one of the most mediocre films I have ever seen. I actually enjoy watching incredibly bad movies, but most people probably won't last more than five minutes into this one. The dialogue is forced and stilted, and the acting is abysmal. I hate to be so cruel to a group of indie filmmakers, but facts are facts: I don't think I've ever seen more amateurish acting - and it comes from every single actor and actress in the film. Useless montages backed by odd and disjointed music, apparently used to pad a story that could not even sustain itself for an hour, makes the viewing experience even worse. I know the budget was only 25K - 30K, but that's really no excuse for putting out a product this overwhelmingly bad.

I like the idea the filmmakers had of making something of a sequel to an episode of One Step Beyond, but that's mainly because I love that old show and rank it above The Twilight Zone. The episode referenced here is "The Captain's Guests," a season one episode that aired in 1959. In that story, a couple rents a majestic but "unfriendly" old house in which a belligerent old sea captain murdered his wife and her supposed lover. The husband basically gets possessed by the sea captain's spirit, undergoing a remarkable transformation that was definitely one step beyond explainable. Back to the present, another couple now lives on the property and is experiencing problems. A team of paranormal investigators is called in to investigate whether the place is truly haunted. Unfortunately, that team is the P.A.R.A. team, a dysfunctional group of yahoos who continually bicker back and forth and never investigate a single thing once they finally arrive at the house (halfway through the mercifully short film).

Every member of the team has issues, and the attempt at character development only made me dislike each of them more and more. It's all a lot of work for nothing, as this film has no ultimate payoff. You keep waiting for something to happen, and then - when it does happen - it's all over before you know it. That's the really disappointing thing about Back to the Beyond - and it's why this is one bad movie than even bad movie lovers like me will do well to simply skip on by.

Luxor
Luxor
Offered by Urban Inspirations
Price: CDN$ 23.10
10 used & new from CDN$ 4.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly addictive fun, May 12 2013
Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Luxor (Video Game)
May 12, 2013 was a glorious day because this was the day I finally conquered the final level of Luxor and finished the game. Heaven only knows how many weeks of my life were spent in this endeavor or how many times I stopped in frustration, vowing never to play the game again - only to return again and again. That's not to say I didn't enjoy playing Luxor because I most certainly did. It's a lot of fun - and most certainly addictive. The handful of really tough levels just get so frustrating, though - largely because this is such a simple game. You just shoot marbles up at other marbles wending their way through various maze-like structures, eliminating them by making matches of three or more of the same color. I just know there's some little six-year-old kid somewhere that probably sat down and got through the entire game on his/her first try. The more frustrated you get, the more you have to keep playing. It's a pride thing. I would be danged if I was going to let this game conquer me.

Of course, there's the whole Egyptian theme. As you play, the really good shots "unleash the awesome powers of Isis" in the form of talismans you want to catch in your little scarab launching pad - like lightning shots and fireballs. Point-boosting gems also fall, but points don't really matter (unless you're competing against someone else's scores); what you really want to grab are the falling coins because every 30 coins gives you an extra "life" - and you're going to need as many extra lives as you can get for the really tricky levels. The marbles (or spheres) are unleashed in several sets, and you can't always eliminate a set before the next one comes barreling down to push things along. It gets tricky (and, at times, seemingly impossible) on those levels where the next set of marbles are positioned in between your scarab and the earlier marbles you're trying to eliminate before they get all the way through.

There are two frustrating things about the game. For one, the pause button is in the bottom right corner of the screen, and that also happens to be one of the most critical positions from which you'll be firing marbles - so I was constantly pausing the game accidentally. The other annoying thing is that you can't replay a higher level puzzle immediately; if you fail at the 10th level of a segment, the best you can do (without hacking the game) is to start over at the first level of that segment. That's very time-consuming, especially when the last level of a segment is really hard. Despite these annoyances, I still have to give Luxor five stars, though - it's probably the most addictive game I've ever played.

Super Cyclone
Super Cyclone
DVD ~ Ming Na
Price: CDN$ 16.98
12 used & new from CDN$ 4.49

2.0 out of 5 stars They just didn't care, April 20 2013
This review is from: Super Cyclone (DVD)
For the last couple of years, The Asylum really seems to be resting on the laurels of its Debbie Gibson - Tiffany - monster movie successes. I love The Asylum, but Super Cyclone is a lackluster, lazy effort chock full of bad movie moments. It's obvious that the people who made this movie just did not care. Whoever was in charge of marketing obviously didn't even watch the movie. If you go to The Asylum's very own web site and pull up this title, the description refers to the threat of a super cyclone that threatens "the entire American eastern seaboard." Uh, small problem - the story actually takes place on the west coast of California. Adding injury to insult, the film itself presents one radar image of the big storm that shows Florida. I guess the director figured that no one would notice. Do you know who else didn't care? The editor. This is a total hack and slash job. You have cameras constantly shifting from scenes of wind and rainstorms to sunny days. At one point a truck stops on the road, and the passengers get out amidst scrub brush nowhere near a road. My favorite shot, though, comes when one of our "heroes" tries to cross a tree resting above a sinkhole - it's blatantly obvious that he's on perfectly flat ground.

The trouble begins when an offshore oil rig hits a deep pocket of methane. That superheats the water, which - as we all know - causes some kind of vortex that gives birth to a storm ten times larger than Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Jenna Sparks (Ming-Na), who is some kind of atmospheric scientist/military advisor working on a way to defuse storms, and some other forgettable heroes can't do anything to help once they get there, and they spend most of the movie trying to get back to Camp Pendleton so that they can suggest a couple of ludicrous means for stopping the storm before the entire West Coast is destroyed. Neither wind nor rain nor hail nor flaming hail nor oil downpours will stop them. For some reason, no one in Washington, D.C. seems to have any say in matters of such emergencies, as some Colonel is running the whole show himself.

I could go on and on about all of the things that make this film so bad, but I think you get the picture already. I will add that the CGI effects are amateurish even by The Asylum standards, and the acting is flat and ponderous all the way around. I could not have cared less if any of these characters lived or died. It is films such as this that give The Asylum such a bad name.

The Asylum Tapes
The Asylum Tapes
DVD ~ Sean Stone
Price: CDN$ 29.99
18 used & new from CDN$ 8.23

5.0 out of 5 stars Ultra-creepy and suspenseful, April 11 2013
This review is from: The Asylum Tapes (DVD)
I can see where some people might not like this movie or look down from their pretentious heights at its lack of clarity - but boring? Boring? Good grief, this is one of the most creepy and atmospheric horror films I've seen in quite a while - and this ain't my first horror rodeo. The Asylum Tapes (released as Greystone Park in the US) actually succeeds where other low-budget "let's explore a haunted house" films drop the ball. There's wonderfully subtle imagery, especially early on as dark shadows or amorphous faces briefly appear in flashes and transitions that only the camera reveals. As things progress, everything intensifies, including the sights and sounds the characters do detect. Sometimes, you don't see or understand what they are reacting to, and that only intensifies the deliciously creepy atmosphere oozing to life on the screen. Even the sudden frights designed to really scare the audience work well. Perhaps the best thing about the viewing experience, though, is the fact that much is left up to the audience's imaginations. It's not always clear what the heck is going on, and even the characters are sometimes left wondering if it's all in their minds. More than once, I stopped and rewatched a certain sequence to make sure I saw what I thought I saw. Maybe this aspect of the film is what turns some viewers off, having been programmed by Hollywood to think that horror movies are supposed to be incredibly obvious, paint-by-numbers constructions that require no thought whatsoever.

So what goes on here? Two college students, Sean Stone (son of Oliver Stone) and Antonella Lentini, meet Alexander Wraith at a dinner party (hosted by Oliver Stone) and decide to accompany him on one of his adventures inside the abandoned and reportedly haunted Greystone Park mental asylum. Sean's a skeptic going to face his fears, while Antonella is basically one of those girls with a sexy dark side. Cameras and flashlights in hand, they sneak their way into the vast building and begin exploring. The atmosphere of the vast, dilapidated building could not be creepier, with more than a few eerie dolls scattered here and there alongside the abandoned hospital equipment just for good measure. Even as they begin to see shadows and hear unexplained noises, Alex leads them deeper and deeper into the jungle of rooms and hallways. By the time the more serious stuff starts to go down, finding their way back out of the place is problematic, to say the least. An ambiguous ending isn't really the ultimate payoff I was expecting, but it certainly takes nothing away from all of the wonderful creepiness that preceded it.

Let's talk about the "inspired by true events" label. It's only real in the sense that the filmmakers decided to make their haunted asylum movie by picking up cameras and shooting the film in an actual haunted asylum - which is something they had already been doing on their own. That includes breaking in to Greystone and some other haunted locations on multiple occasions. Obviously, some CGI effects were added later, but I think the film locations could have held their own quite well without any additions. The filmmakers definitely bought in to the reputation of the place. From what I've read, the commentary features several reports of strange things - even brief possessions - experienced by the crew during filming as well as some unwelcome visitors back at their own homes.

I'm totally at a loss as to the overwhelmingly negative reaction to this film, as this horror veteran was very impressed. I actually think The Asylum Tapes breathes vibrant new life into the "found footage" genre (I don't think this film technically belongs in that category, but I know that is how it will be classified). Some viewers complain that they couldn't tell where the characters were at times. Really? What part of "getting lost in the labyrinthine depths of a haunted insane asylum" don't you understand? If the characters knew where they were, they would have gotten the heck out of that place. Getting lost is the whole point. Come on, people. Those who complain the movie was literally too dark to see what was happening need to turn the fricking lights off - that's the way you're supposed to watch horror movies to begin with.

Devil Inside [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
Devil Inside [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
Price: CDN$ 33.16
7 used & new from CDN$ 7.50

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best exorcism-based horror films in years, Jan. 29 2013
You're darned right I'm going to defend this film because it's the best exorcism film I've seen in a long time. I loved every minute of The Devil Inside, and that includes the "controversial" ending. Did it end the way I would have wanted it to end? No, but neither does Gone With the Wind, so boo hoo. Never have I seen such a crybaby reaction to a movie scene, with scores of people heaping one-star calumny on an entire film - which some will actually admit they liked up until that point - purely because a director actually did something bold (the ending is not a cop-out) and threw viewers a wicked curveball at the very end. Some of the criticism in the media is to be expected because William Brent Bell did not allow those pampered prima donnas to preview the film before it hit theaters, but I would hope that viewers can see fit to give this film a chance. It's not as if the ending doesn't make perfect sense.

The Devil Inside is presented as a documentary of twenty-something Isabella Rossi (Fernanda Andrade) and her attempt to find closure regarding her mother's possible possession. Some twenty years earlier, Maria Rossi (Suzan Crowley) murdered two priests and a nun as they were performing the rite of exorcism upon her. Isabella hopes to learn whether her mother was really possessed or if she just went insane. This takes her and her film crew to Rome, where Maria Rossi was mysteriously transferred after her acquittal of murder by reason of insanity. It's definitely not normal for an insane murderer in America to be shipped off to a Roman Catholic mental institution just outside the shadow of the Vatican. Isabella also takes the opportunity to visit the newly established Vatican school for exorcism, which leads her to two young exorcists who do not agree with the Church's policy of ignoring so many cases featuring all the hallmarks of actual demonic possession.

The exorcism scenes on display here are extraordinarily impressive - short and powerful. A female contortionist who can twist her body into unimaginable positions makes for a much more realistic possession visual than a head-spinning, spider-walking Linda Blair. These are some intense scenes with a pretty convincing vessel of unholy malevolence spewing out untold evil, and the supernaturally dangerous consequences of any exorcism attempt play out most dramatically as the film works its way toward what I consider its pretty bold and courageous ending. The fact that our exorcists are Church-trained priests operating outside the narrow confines of Vatican policy only raises the thrill factor up a notch.

I know the whole documentary-style horror movie is in the process of being done to death, but I think The Devil Inside is an example of the genre done right. The fact that the demon-spawned horrors and the exorcisms are presented so well gives the film a necessary dose of realism, and that is why The Devil Inside may inspire chills, creeps, obviously so boos at the end - but not laughter or ridicule. It's definitely one of my new favorite horror films.

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