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Review: This is the End

Cinema Review

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credit: Sony Pictures

There seems to have been a rash of films about the end of the world recently but though the word apocalypse get thrown around a lot to describe these films this time it’s actually the original apocalypse as featured in the all-time best-selling horror compilation The Bible (also still topping the charts as the book bought most often without ever reading).

It is refreshing that in this film there are no actors playing other characters as every one of the main cast is playing themselves or at least a very embarrassing parody of themselves or in the case of Seth Rogen the same part he plays in all his films so far. The story is that Jay Baruchel goes to visit his friend Seth Rogen in Los Angeles for a quiet session of talking drugs and playing computer games. While there Seth talks the reluctant Jay into going to a house-warming party at James Franco’s house. At the party everyone is acting really over the top especially Danny McBride and the smooth hairless bubble butt of Michael Cera. Everyone is pretending they are all great friends though Jay is feeling uncomfortable being stuck with Seth’s new LA friends and is determined to be the party’s buzzkiller.

While Seth and Jay go to a local grocer for cigarettes The Rapture happens, taking all the decent people to heaven. There is no religious thing here; decent people get zapped up by blue light and the selfish, greedy and angry get left behind. There’s chaos with earthquakes and driverless cars crashing and fires breaking out.

Seth and Jay make their way back to Franco’s house where the party is still in full swing, oblivious to what’s happening outside since no-one at the party got “raptured”. No-one believes Jay about the apocalypse and even Seth doesn’t back him up when Jay faces ridicule over it. When another earthquake comes everyone runs outside and a giant pit to hell opens up, swallowing many of the celebrity guests.

Some of them manage to get back into Franco’s house including Seth, Jay, Jonah Hill and Craig Robinson. James Franco had never left. The five decide to stay put and check what supplies they have while they wait for help to arrive since they still don’t believe it’s the apocalypse. They go to sleep and wake up to find Danny McBride has used all the water and cooked all the food. It doesn’t take very long before the friendly masks start slipping and the selfish egos and childish insecurities come out.

Comedy is very subjective and this film’s humour is very crude and broad. It isn’t particularly clever but I did get a few laughs especially at the party and the last act of the film. The middle of the film feels a bit flabby, when they are bickering with each other and parodying Big Brother but it does have a couple of nice bits like a section where they make a sequel to Pineapple Express on a camcorder and later when Jay tries to exorcise a demon possessed Jonah Hill with lines from the Exorcist.

Needless to say there are various cameos including Emma Watson who smashes through the door with an axe looking for food and water but she quickly moves on when she hears the idiots taking about rape. Channing Tatum’s butt also has a small cameo but that’s hardly a rare sight in films. If you are a fan of the type of comedy Seth Rogen writes you’ll probably enjoy this. I thought it was okay for a few laughs but it’s probably a bit over-stretched and not funny enough in the middle.

Rating 7.0/10

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Posted by on July 2, 2013 in Film

 

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Review: Evil Dead (2013)

Cinema Review

evil deadOh no they’ve remade another classic 80s horror, how dare they sully the memory of this classic film etc. Except that the ‘they’ in this case are the same ‘they’ who made the original film and the original film was put together on a tiny budget with effects that are only amazing if you take the budget limitations into account. If Sam Raimi wants to use this remake as a jumping off point to getting an Army of Darkness sequel made then I am okay with that. As it turns out this sequel delivers in tense gory horror what the original never could.

So the story is the same as in the original film: five friends go to a cabin in the woods but this time the friends are not going to party. Instead they are here to help Mia (Jane Levy) dry out and quit drugs. Mia’s brother David (Shiloh Fernandez) is there to support her and he’s accompanied by his girlfriend Natalie (Elizabeth Blackmore). Mia has been brought to the cabin by an old friend Olivia (Jessica Lucas who is a nurse and has been trying for a while to get Mia clean. The fifth member of the group is Eric (Lou Taylor Pucci), a stuck-up judgemental prick who is the partner of Olivia. What is really Eric problem is that David left home leaving Mia to take care of their terminally ill mother and was never there to support Mia in her grief when their mother died. Another addition to the group is Grampa, the family dog that has been living with David.

The cabin is not just a creepy run-down hut in the middle of nowhere; it is their creepy run-down hut in the middle of nowhere. Mia and David’s mother owned it and the five friends used to come there for a break. They are not happy to discover someone has busted the lock on the front door and left the place in a mess with smell that Mia finds unbearable. Olivia thinks Mia is acting up since she can’t smell anything. Grampa can smell it and he starts scratching at the floor. Underneath a rug the find a trap door down the cellar and when they open it they all smell what Mia smelled.

At the start of the film there was a short scene of an old woman using the evil spell book called the Necronomicon to drive out the evil spirit possessing a young woman. That is who broke into the cabin and what they find down there is a load of dead animals hanging from the ceiling and a support pillar that has been badly burnt. Eric also finds the book wrapped in black plastic and barbed wire and takes it back upstairs with him.

I have no idea why he does it other being an idiot but Eric takes the book to a back room and he snips off the barbed wire and tears off the black plastic. No alarm bells ring in his head as he open the book clearly bound in human skin and sees desperate warnings scrawled all over the pages of the book telling whoever is reading it to not read it not to touch it but leave it alone. On many pages the writing has being obliterated with crayon. This doesn’t put off Eric who uses his Hardy Boy skills to take a pencil rubbing and reveal the text underneath which he reads out as it is revealed.

Mia is outside in the rain trying to cope with pain of withdrawal. As Eric reads the words from the book Mia hears something waking up in the woods. It’s the POV monster and as it rushes through woods Mia gets creeped-out and runs from it. She gets caught in thorn bushes and sees a deadite who infects her with its evil.

Mia tries to warn the others that they have to leave but they are persuaded by Olivia that this is Mia acting up and wanting to go back to her addiction so they don’t listen to her until it’s too late and soon there’s blood and pain as the evil possesses them and they are fighting against their friends for their lives.

This film is a much more straightforward horror than the original with none of the more fantastic effects and mind screw moments. It still manages to keep the violent intensity and thanks to the use physical effects the gore really has that visceral quality that CGI effects cannot yet replicate. I really enjoyed this film though I am not going to say it surpasses the original. There are a few a call outs to the original for fans to look out for. I’d recommend this to any fans of bloody horror and think fans of the original should give it a try

Rating 7.5/10

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Posted by on April 20, 2013 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: Hellraiser – Hellseeker

This is the sixth Hellraiser film and just like Inferno it is pretty much a standalone film but it does have Ashley Laurence back as Kirsty Cotton but not as the main character. This is more like a mystery thriller where the main character has partial amnesia and real memories are mixed with fantastic elements. It is more straightforward than Inferno but not quite as good. While Inferno got a UK DVD release, Hellseeker can only be found on Netflix UK.

Kirsty and her husband Trevor (Dean Winters) are driving down a road approaching a bridge and they are fooling around affectionately and Trevor doesn’t notice he’s in the wrong lane and a truck is coming at them. He swerves the car off the bridge and into the river. They both struggle to get out of car and Trevor gets out but he can’t get Kirsty’s door open. Trevor gets to the surface and calls for help then dives under to try to get Kirsty’s door open but it’s too late and Kirsty stops moving.

The scene cuts to a hospital where Trevor is just coming round. This is weeks after the crash but Trevor is not aware of the passage of any time. He got a headache at work and arrived at emergency but the doctors think his reaction is not unusual this soon after the accident. He gets given an injection and suddenly he’s in a hellish hospital surgical theatre where the surgeons cut off the top of his skull and probe his brain to activate his memories. Just as abruptly Trevor is back at the normal hospital and a young junior doctor Alison is asking him if he’s okay. Trevor asks about his wife. Police Detective Lange (William S. Taylor) wants to talk to him about the crash because Kirsty is still missing. Trevor mentioned the door being locked but when they fished to car from the river the doors were open. On the bus ride home skinhead with loud music on ghetto blaster turns music up when Trevor asks him to turn it down. In apartment Trevor looks at photos remembers happy times with Kirsty

Trevor goes to work at Cubic, some anonymous office job with computers, numbers and cameras watching everyone all the time. One of his colleagues Brett (Trevor White) greets him with a snarky jibe but Trevor doesn’t seem to remember who he is or anything else about his job. He finds a tatty card pinned to his cubicle “All Problems Solved” and an address. He flashes back to going into some rundown industrial unit. Inside there are women  working on sewing machines, a large woman sitting wearing a leather outfit with conical tits and a full face mask and at the end is a counter. He sees objects displayed behind the glass of the counter. A large hairy man appears and says “I can see into your soul,” and Brett interrupts the memory.

Bret tells him he should get a snack beacuase some headaches are caused by low blood sugar. Gwen (Sarah-Jane Redmond) his supervisor comes in. She seems mad at Trevor but this turns out to be sex play and she kisses Trevor forcefully and he has another flashback, this time to having sex with Gwen. He pushes her off and she tells him she’ll see him later and to go get some work done. Back at his computer he gets a looping video of him making out with Gwen.

Lange calls and asks him to come to the station. Lange say there was no sign of an accident, no skidmarks on the road. Trevor’s story doesn’t make sense because it looks like the car was deliberately driven of the bridge. Lange wants to know if anything happened before the accident. Trevor flashes back to the accident and this time they were not smiling and playing before the accident but instead Kirsty looked very unhappy

Back at his apartment he sees a man in a mask hanging around outside. He looks out his window a sees the man in the window of the building across the street looking back at him. Then Trevor throws up a load of water and a large eel comes out of his mouth. There’s a knock on the door and its his neighbour Tawny (Jody Thompson) showing off her new tattoo just above her pubis. She’s coming on to him but he doesn’t respond so she goes back to her own apartment. Trevor finds a video of his 5th year wedding anniversary  where he gave Kirsty a gift and it’s the Lament puzzle box.

There’s another knock at the door no-one is there so he looks in the corridor then goes back to his apartment and Gwen is in there and she want sex. She strips and forces him into a chair. She wants the video camera, a normal part of their sex play so she sets it up but Trevor tells her to leave because he’s not interested. Gwen gets very angry and leaves. But the video keeps recording them having sex. Trevor tests it out and the recording is live. Then Cenobites put a plastic bag on Gwen’s head and kill her while Trevor watches in horror.

At work Brett is snarky again but gives Trevor address of a massage therapist acupuncturist called Sage (Kaaren de Zilva). She gives him the needles and leaves him to rest. He remembers back to the Hairy Guy who sells him a musical puzzle box but in the memory it is a sphere. He nods off on the therapy table and Pinhead (Doug Bradley) appears and shoves one of his own needles right through Trevor’s throat and asks if he prefers pain or pleasure

Detective Givens (Michael Rogers), Lange’s partner wants to talk to him about the fact that Kirsty was very wealthy with an inheritance from her father and Uncle Frank. This gives Trevor a motive for wanting Kirsty dead and Givens doesn’t trust him

Back at his apartment Tawny comes in and makes out with him and she strips wants to be tied up to a chair. Trevor doesn’t say no to this woman and they makes out but suddenly she turns into a Cenobite with the skin on her face stitched together and she screws a face mask onto Trevor’s mouth and pushes a plunger thing into his throat and he wakes in bed. Trevor finds Tawny tied to the chair dead. Trevor goes to wash the blood from his hands and Pinhead appears in the mirror and say “ All Problems Solved”. The blood disappears and the body is gone. Trevor goes to Tawny’ apartment and knocks on her door and  is relieved when she answers but she acts like she doesn’t know him and her husband comes to the door.

Lange calls again and down at the station he wants to know how Trevor knows Gwen Stevens since she’s gone missing. He sees Brett leaving the station and panics. He has another flashback to hairy guy selling him puzzle box and this time it’s the familiar cube.Trevor tries to pay for cube with money but the hairy man tells him that’s not the price which he will find out for himself later.

At work he wants to talk to Brett about what he said to the police. Lange is waiting in his cubicle asks him about the cube and what happened in the car. Trevor still claims it was an accident. In the break room Brett tells Trevor he’s leaving and mentions a plan they had to get their hands on Kirsty’s money. Trevor got the  puzzle box knowing it would drive Kirsty crazy

On a bus he gets headache and goes to a therapist and gets some special therapy with extra rogering and a happy ending or at least an icepick into the skull. Next he’s in an ambulance and turns out he fainted on the bus. Another flash and he’s in the hospital again and he asks for Dr Alison but no-one knows who she is. He goes to her office and its empty except for a janitor having a fly smoke. In corridor he finds Dr. Alison and tells her about dreams janitor asks who he is talking to and it turns out Dr. Alison is not there and Trevor is confused again. Back on the bus Trevor remembers Kirsty shouting at him about the cube, about his betrayal and she knew about his affairs

Trevor goes back to the industrial unit but it’s empty. Pinhead appears in the reflection in a puddle. He promises Trevor he’ll soon know what’s going on. Trevor thinks Pinhead is the killer but Pinhead just says “The killer is among us,” Outside he runs into Brett who has a gun and mentions their plan to kill Kirsty and make it look like a suicide  so they can get her money and split it between them. Since the plans is now all screwed up Brett uses the gun to shoot himself through the head

Trevor goes to Sage the therapist but she’s been killed and there’s the ice-pick in her head but I’m sure it’s nothing that a 100C dilution of stabby knives won’t cure. The police arrive at Sage’s led By Lange who arrests Trevor. Lange tells him they found a body in the river and are bringing it into the morgue but he doesn’t confirm that it’s Kirsty. Lange leaves and Givens comes in and wants him to tell the truth about everything that happened but Trevor sticks with his story of the accident.Tawny’s husband is in the station and he wants to kill Trevor. Lange takes Trevor down to basement past various people being tortured and he locks him in corridor. Then he reveals that Lange and Givens are really a two-headed freak, the two heads of one being.

In the morgue Pinhead confronts him for the final reveal. Pinhead wanted him to get to Kirsty but Kirsty offered them a deal: five souls in exchange for hers. She killed all his lovers and his partner Brett with his gun and shot him in the car causing the car to plunge off the bridge. Trevor only believes it when the body in morgue turns out to be his own and he’s the one who is dead, while Kirsty lived. The police and doctor are all really the emergency crew that were at the accident and Alison is a paramedic who talks to the dead as if they can hear her

This story is more straightforward than Inferno but it isn’t being told linearly so giving an impression of more depth than it really has. The acting was good enough but no-one really got pushed very much in their roles. The Hellraiser elements were integrated into the story quite well even if the Cenobites did seem peripheral to the story and the cube barely got used. I think the budget must have been limited because there wasn’t a lot of special effects and most of  the deaths weren’t very gory. It not the worst of the sequels but it isn’t really essential viewing either.

Rating 6.5/10

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Posted by on September 19, 2012 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: [REC]³ Genesis

The original [REC] was a breath of fresh air to the zombie and found footage genres and I really like it. I didn’t see the sequel [REC]² but I can piece together that something strange must have been revealed about the zombies. The Genesis subtitle suggests this is a prequel but there is nothing to really suggest that in the film. This film actually abandons the found footage shaky cam technique just after the zombie outbreak begins and instead we get a conventionally shot bloody battle of survivors against their zombie friends and relatives. It is a pretty good zombie film and it has its moments of dark humour but it’s not up to the standard of the first film.

This DVD title screen is the standard wedding video style title screen and for the first twenty minutes that pretty much what the film is.It starts with   a photo-montage of the bride and groom. The groom is Koldo (Diego Martín) and his teenage cousin Adrian (Àlex Monner) is recording on a video camera. They also have a professional cameraman Atun (Borja Glez. Santaolalla) Adrian compares equipment with him. Atun suggests that it would be very useful if Adrian gets the more intimate shots of the family. A third camera is being used by Clara (Leticia Dolera) the bride’s little sister Tita and she records Clara and her family getting ready to leave. Everything goes just like any other wedding video with the relatives and friends all gathered for the ceremony then getting in coaches to the reception at an amazing big country estate where there’s all the usual stuff like eating singing, dancing and cake cutting. Adrian is delighted to catch his uncle Rafa (Ismael Martínez) chatting up Clara’s friend Natalie (Claire Baschet) then disappearing upstairs with her.

Adrian also sees another uncle outside looking drunk and confused and throwing up in the bushes. Earlier this same uncle was asked about a dressing on his hand andhe said it’s a dog bite. Adrian then records a police car and some people in Hazmat suits arriving outside but gets called inside to film the party. While everyone dances Adrian’s uncle with dog bite falls onto the dance floor from the balcony above. His wife goes to help him out but the man suddenly bites a chunk out of her and then stand up a vomits blood onto another guest. Then everyone is screaming and panicking as several more zombiefied guests attack. Everyone starts running and Clara and Koldo get separated. Koldo manages get to the kitchen with a few others including Adrian, Tita, Atun and an uninvited guest who is there to find out what music gets played for royalties. When Koldo realises that Atun is still filming he smashes the camera and the film switches to conventional filming.

From then on the film is a normal zombie film with survivors trying to find other survivors and get to safety. This is given added emotional depth from the fact that two of the survivors are Clara and Koldo and they desperately want to find each other. The zombies that are attacking them were their friends and closest relatives, not anonymous strangers. I called them zombies but this film hints there is actually something demonic about them so they can be stopped by holy things. This must be an addition for the second film. The film has it moments of horror and gore but there are moments of humour too like the children’s entertainer John the Sponge who is definitely not Spongebob Squarepants for copyright reasons and that makes two references to copyright in the film. This is a fairly good zombie film but anyone expecting the tense horror of the original will be disappointed. I know fans of found footage will definitely not like it, especially the way it specifically addresses one of the central problems of found footage and that is why any character in these perilous situations would keep the camera going.

Rating 7.0/10

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Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: Hellraiser IV – Bloodline

When you see Alan Smithee credited as the director then you know a film has had a problematic production history and in this film it really shows. Alan Smithee is a fake name used when a director has wanted to have the director’s credit removed. Someone who had a lot of respect for Barker’s original Hellraiser tried to create a film that did justice his vision but the editing and second shoots have compromised that film and we got this patchy incomplete product that tantalises us with what could have been.

This film is set in three time periods and is about three generations of the family of the creator of the Lament configuration musical puzzle box Phillip Le Merchant. The story is told by a descendant of his in the future Dr. Paul Merchant (Bruce Ramsay) who is on a space station trying to convince an enforcement squad to allow him to complete his mission and destroy the demons from the box. so he tell them his family’s history with the box

In eighteenth century Paris Phillip L’Merchant (Bruce Ramsay) creates a musical puzzle box to precise specifications for the wealthy aristocrat Duc de Lisle (Mickey Cottrell) who is a student of the occult and practitioner in black magic. As soon it is complete he delivers it to De Lisle who has his servant Jacques (Adam Scott) bring him a homeless prostitute who they kill and carefully remove her skin. Then in a ritual involving the box and Latin incantations De Lisle calls up a demon which takes form inside the skin and once complete De Lisle shows her a mirror so she can see her face and calls her Angelique (Valentina Vargas). Jacques is afraid but De Lisle reminds him that whoever controls the magic controls the demon as long as they don’t stand in hell’s way. L’Merchant didn’t leave after delivering the box but stuck around to watch what happened and is shocked by what he witnessed. After discussing it with an old friend he works on a way to fix what he’s done by creating the puzzle box. He breaks in to De Lisle’s chateau to try to steal the box back but he finds a scene of carnage from a wild party that we clearly missed. De Lisle is mutilated and dying while Jacques is having noisy sex with Angelique next door. L’Merchant tries to grab the box but he gets caught.

The next story is contemporary, set some time after the events of the third film. John Merchant (Bruce Ramsay) is a successful award winning architect but he’s haunted by gory nightmares that feature a strange woman but we know it is Angelique. His dreams are what inspired his latest project, a building that is also a mobile art work. The design is very similar to the puzzle box and of course this no accident. Angelique and Jacques are still around in present day Paris and Angelique sees Merchant’s picture on the cover of a magazine. She wants to see him a New York, sensing that he has inherited his ancestor’s design genius. Jacques refuses to let her go and she tears out his heart to show him what happens when you stand in hell’s way

Merchant gets presented with an award at a banquet held in his new building. When Merchant is giving his acceptance speech he sees Angelique at the back of the room and has flashes of memories of his nightmares and forgets the speech he was going to give and just gives them a short thank you. I sense this scene has been cut because that was bit abrupt. Merchant leaves with his wife and that night has a sex dream starring Angelique.

Angelique is still back at the building where she chats up a pudgy middle-aged businessman who can’t believe his luck. She takes him down to a basement room where she recovers the puzzle box from the concrete pillar where it was dumped by Joey at the end of Hellraiser III. She gets the man to solve the puzzle so of course there’s suddenly chains and hooks and he gets dragged off to hell through a crack in the wall and Pinhead (Doug Bradley) comes through. He knows who Angelique is and tells her things have changed in her absence. Pinhead takes in his surroundings and sees the influence the puzzle box as if it has been recreated in the design of the building. Angelique tells him about Merchant and her plan to seduce the secret of the building from him. Pinhead is less than impressed by this subtle approach and he brings a pair of identical twin security guards to the room. In a drawn out scene the two men have their heads twisted together by an elaborate evil torture device and they get fused into a new cenobite. Pinhead favours pain over temptation.

Next day Angelique introduces herself to Merchant and from the start Angelique tells Merchant she knows about his dreams and he eagerly tells her everything about the building – it doesn’t look like he needed either pain or temptation to blab about his building secrets, he just needed someone to show an interest. Despite Angelique’s methods working perfectly Pinhead tells her that it is time try it his way by kidnapping Merchant’s son. In this scene there is no explanation of tension between Angelique and Pinhead and it feels like has been badly edited.

Pinhead gets the kid and grabs the wife too and holds them hostage at the building so of course Merchant has to come. Pinhead tells Merchant what he wants and after some chase scenes around the building this story climaxes in the control room with Merchant on a computer console putting his mobile design into action. Pinhead realises he’s been tricked and that Merchant’s device was designed to open a gate all right but only to drive them back and close it permanently. It doesn’t work and Pinhead decapitates Merchant. His wife uses the original puzzle box to send them all back.

Back at the space station Dr Paul Merchant brings his story right up to date, to the moment after he opened the box with a robot and called up the demons then got interrupted by the enforcement squad. He tries to convince them that they are in real danger and should leave but they don’t believe him and insist on exploring the station. The enforcement squad get killed by the four cenobites taking one each and leaving just a psychiatrist called Rimmer. Merchant starts his program to activate the space station which he designed as a giant trap with himself as bait to kill the cenobites and seal the door to hell closed.

This is such a frustrating film. It looks like it was a pretty good film that may have been better than the second film but it has been butchered into incoherence by the production company. There was whole sub-plot of a conflict between Angelique and Pinhead that seems to have been deleted and Angelique’s role has been reduced. There wasn’t nearly as much gore as the original and it didn’t quite have the same dark tone but it is a big improvement on the third film. The acting was pretty average especially Bruce Ramsay playing three members of the Merchant family..

This film’s lack of success seems to have led the production company to take a different tack with three subsequent direct to video sequels with standalone stories featuring Pinhead and the cenobites appearing in the role of the minions of hell punishing sin.

Rating 7.0/10

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Posted by on September 2, 2012 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: Hellraiser III – Hell on Earth

The first three films in this series are a perfect illustration of sequel decay. Hellraiser is a low-budget classic horror with a dark visceral feel and a nice tight straightforward story. Hellbound: Hellraiser II expanded on the story and many of those who worked on Hellraiser returned. It is less focused and makes less sense than the original and has more spectacle and a larger body count. Then we get this film. Only one of the original cast returned, Doug Bradley is back as Pinhead who has been reduced to the status of a powerful evil misanthropic villain hell bent on conquering the world.

In an art gallery there is a sculpture with the very familiar face of Pinhead. Later flashbacks in the film indicate that it is supposed to be that cheap-ass column from the end of the second film but this looks much better than that, full of twisted limbs and faces. Wealthy club owner J.P Monroe (Kevin Bernhardt) is interested in buying it from a man dressed like a bum who is very vague about the ownership of the sculpture or its price.

Joey (Terry Farrell) is a junior news reporter desperate for a breakthrough to reporting on the main news stories but her latest assignment at the emergency room of a city hospital turns out to be a wash-out on one of the quietest nights in the hospital’s history. She feels even worse when her cameraman Doc Fisher (Ken Carpenter) gets called away on a “real“  story. After he’s gone a patient gets rushed in, a young man whose body is pierced by black metal hooks on chains. Joey tries talking to a young woman who came in with the patient to find out what happened but Terri (Paula Marshall) is too upset to tell her much more than her name and that it happened at the Boiler Room. While Joey is distracted by the boy in the emergency room getting his head pulled apart Terri sneaks off.

Joey tries to convince her colleagues back at the TV station about what she saw but she’s told no pictures then it didn’t happen. She finds out that the Boiler Room is a nightclub and goes there to look for Terri. This the place owned by J.P. Munroe and he has it decorated according to his own grisly taste with mannequins and dolls wrapped in barbed wire so the Pinhead sculpture fits in perfectly. Joey asks around about Terri and gets directed to J.P. who of course comes on to her but she rejects him and leaves her card for Terri to contact her.

Joey is awoken from a nightmare about her father, who died before she was born, by a phone call from Terri. Terri is looking a place to stay after her boyfriend J.P. kicked her out so Joey offers her a spare room. Terri happily accepts but she’s nervous and thinks Joey just wants to use her to get the information about what killed the boy at the hospital. Joey assures her that’s not the case but insists that she still has to find out happened. Terri rummages in her bag and brings out a puzzle box. She says it came off the sculpture. It was Terri who found the sculpture and told J.P. about it so next day Terri and Joey go to investigate the gallery. The gallery is locked up and a neighbour insists it’s been that way for months but Terri says she was there just last week with J.P. Joey is thrown by the apparent dead-end but Terri uses her burglary skills to get them in. They start looking through the paperwork to see if they can find any papers about the sculpture. There they find all the documents from the Channard Institute. Terri thinks that now Joey has what she wants she won’t want Terri around but Joey tells her that she has place to stay for as long as she needs it.

At the Boiler Room J.P. seduces Sandy (Aimée Leigh) a naïve young woman who he takes to his apartment and screws her giving us this film’s compulsory nude scene. After he’s shot his load he‘s no longer interested in her and is openly contemptuous of her. Sandy is angry and upset at being used and doesn’t notice how close she is to the sculpture. Pinhead’s eyes open and hooks on chains burst out of the sculpture and rip off her skin. They seize her and drag her screaming into the depths of the statue where she gets transformed into part of the sculpture. J.P. is shocked and frightened and tries shooting the sculpture but Pinhead just spit out the bullets. Pinhead offers to fulfil J.P.’s darkest desires in exchange for more flesh.

Joey gets visited in her dreams of her father by the spirit of Captain Elliott Spencer who was Pinhead but was freed when he was reminded of his humanity by Kirsty Cotton before being attacked by the Channard Cenobite and killed. Elliott warns Joey that the evil was driven out of him was too strong to be destroyed and now threatens to bring its evil to Earth. Pinhead is after the puzzles box to destroy it since it the only thing that can send him back to hell.

Terri is sitting in Joey’s apartment and gets a call from J.P. saying he’s sorry and wants her back. Having a new friend and place to stay has given Terri enough self-respect to turn down J. P. But she hears phone message left on Joey’s answering machine making her think Terri will be moving away leaving her homeless and alone again so she takes the hump and runs off into J.P.’s clutches. Back at J.P.’s apartment he makes all the right sympathetic noises and beckons Terri to come to him right next to the sculpture. Just before J.P. succeeds he starts getting too anxious and tries to grab her but she fights back and manages to knock him out with a knuckle-duster.

Terri goes to leave but Pinhead offers her the chance to dream and all she has to do is feed J.P. to the sculpture. She agrees to the deal and she kick s his unconscious body toward the statue. J.P. comes round just in time to protest before he’s seized by hooks on chain and his head in penetrated by a pair of pistons. J.P.’s blood allows Pinhead to free himself from the sculpture. Pinhead explodes through the door into the nightclub and unleashes his lethal magical powers on the club’s patrons, slaughtering everyone.  This scene reminds me of the climaxes of the first two Wishmaster films but it isn’t really as imaginative.

Joey sees a news report about a major disaster at the Boiler Room. She rings Doc who agrees to meet her there and she lifts the puzzle box and leaves. When Joey gets to the Boiler room there’s no-one else is sight, no cops and no TV news crews. She enters the club and discovers bloodbath inside with mutilated corpses everywhere. She sees Doc’s headless corpse and realises she sent him to his death. Pinhead appears and offers to end her misery quickly if she gives him the box. Joey refuses and he tries to grab it and it zaps him.

Joey escapes from the club and runs off through the streets so Pinhead creates some new cenobites and sends them after her. The barman been turned into the Barbie Cenobite, his face wrapped and barbed wire and breathing fire. The club’s DJ has been turned into the CD Cenobite with his head full of slots for lethally sharp CDs which he throws to kill people. The third of these cenobites is Doc whose camera has been fused with his head to transform him into the Cameraman Cenobite with his lethal lens and ability to blow up TV sets. The original cenobites were disciples of pain and they were terrible to behold because their mutilation represented their devotion to their cause. These cenobites seem to be a lame attempt at injecting a contemporary feel and they pale in comparison to the originals. As they chase Joey they kill many passers-by and blow stuff up.

Joey runs into a church and tells the priest about being chased by demons. The priest tells her that demons aren’t real, that they are just a metaphor. That’s when Pinhead makes his entrance, blowing off the doors again. He makes his way to the altar and the priest tries to ward him with a cross. Pinhead chides him for worshipping a graven image and melts the cross in the man’s hand. Even more show-boating follows with a drawn out scene of Pinhead removing spikes from his head, piercing his hands and doing a Jesus impression. He follows this by removing a piece of flesh from his abdomen and forcing it into the priest’s mouth in a crude parody of the communion. Just to show how pointless this whole scene is it comes to an end when Joey uses the puzzle box on Pinhead and escapes which she could have done as soon as he appeared. The scene didn’t further the plot and seemed to be included for cheap shock value.

Joey gets to a building site so at least that will minimise collateral damage. There are two more cenobites waiting there, Terri and J.P. These two are better than the other ones and are more interested in causing pain than major property damage. The other cenobites arrive and Pinhead gloats but then Joey solves the puzzle box and it sends all the cenobites to hell, which is bit of an anti-climax

But it’s all a trick as Joey finds herself in her dream of her father who is no longer dying. He says that he’s a reward to Joey for defeating Pinhead and he asks for the cube which she hands over. Of course her father turns out to really be Pinhead who grins as he takes his true shape then laughs at his victory. The scene changes abruptly to an empty wooden room and Elliott is there. This is the room where Elliott solved the puzzle and was taken to serve hell. It was apparently Elliot’s plan all along to get Pinhead into Joey’s dreams so Elliott can get him. Elliot rejoins with Pinhead but Pinhead is dominant and sets on his sights Joey but she manipulates the puzzle into a long sharp spike and stabs it into Pinhead’s heart causing him to be dragged in pieces into the puzzle spike.

I know that the different behaviour of Pinhead is explained in the film but it’s not a change that I like and the new cenobites were a pale shadow of the original ones. I don’t know if I would have been happier with this film if it was not a sequel to Hellraiser but it is and I can’t honestly rate it any other way. Even the musical score was sacrificed to the marketing dollar by featuring a heavy metal soundtrack, something that I usually enjoy but not this one. The original music does still appear especially towards the end but it does little to recreate the original’s tone. It is certainly watchable and more entertaining than many other horror films but as fan of the original I am disappointed

Rating 6.5/10

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Posted by on August 28, 2012 in Entertainment, Film

 

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Review: The Landlord

Tyler (Derek Dziak) has a problem renting out the apartment in his house because two man-eating demons live in the house too. Green-skinned Rabisu and his master the dog-faced Lamashtu, eat all the tenants and they do it so quickly Tyler doesn’t get the time to collect rent from them. Two police detectives Lopez and Rosen are also on his case over the large number of his tenants who have gone missing. He complains about this to his sister Amy (Michelle Courvais) who owns the building and pays Tyler to take care of it for her. Amy is a cop who has done a deal with some local ghouls to take care of any criminal scum for her and bring her their money and drugs. She is also having an affair with her partner Warren. Amy is not interested in Tylers problems and just hands Tyler more money

A young woman called Donna (Erin Myers) comes to town desperate for place to stay.  She has left her husband wants two things, a divorce and an abortion. After trying to check in to a hotel she finds out about the apartment that’s available. She goes to see the apartment and liking it and the price she moves in right away, not noticing Lamashtu sniffing at her hungrily. Tyler likes Donna and really doesn’t want her to be eaten by the demons so tries to find a way to stop the demons.

Meanwhile Amy is having problem of her own with the ghouls becoming angry and rebellious after she kills one of them in anger when he brings her a bag of money and drugs covered in gore out in public in front of café full of people

This film has a tiny budget which means they don’t have any real actors in the cast. Donna, Tyler and Amy are okay but the rest of the are pretty bad and the demons are very hammy. The story is fairly interesting and the script has a few funny lines but the lines get very poor delivery so a lot fall flat. It just about works but to get through the film you’d have to be tolerant of the bad acting. The huge teeth the ghouls have to wear would put a lot of pressure on competent actors so they can be forgiven some the difficulties they have delivering their lines. The computer effects are what you’d expect from film with this low a budget.

Rating 5/10

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2011 in Film

 

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