Nightbreed (Film) Review

nightbreed-directors-cutJill and I are big fans of Hellraiser, arguably Clive Barker‘s most recognisable work to date, and so I was pretty stoked to be dipping back into his world with this, a film I’d never seen before. (He also wrote Candyman (1992) which I bloody love with all my heart).

I don’t really want to give too much away in the first paragraph but I found myself scratching my head a few times and I don’t mind telling you I haven’t a scooby about what I’ve just seen. That’s not to say there aren’t moments of pure wonderment.

Barker’s imagination is quite something and one dodgy flick from the 1990’s can’t take that away.

Or can it?

*Spoilers* – although if you ain’t seen this in the 26 long years that have passed since its release, I would say you can’t really be that precious.

Nightbreed (1990)

Director: Clive Barker
Stars: Craig ShefferDavid Cronenberg, Anne Bobby

IMDB Synopsis: A troubled young man is drawn to a mythical place called Midian where a variety of monsters are hiding from humanity.

My Review:

Our hero, poor man’s Angel (even though Buffy/Angel came later) dreams of a place called Midian, where monster dreams come true. Not really, but monsters do try to live there together in their version of sweet harmony.

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“I loved you in Buffy. Uh, a TV show from the future…”

He’s a bit distant and messed up, so his girl Lori (Bobby) has him seeing a psychotherapist called Dr Decker (Cronenberg). Dr Decker is pretty much the worst psychotherapist of all time as he convinces Angel, real name Boone (Sheffer) that he’s a serial killer. The kicker? It’s actually Decker doing the killing, and brutally at that! Clever, non?

To drive his plan home, he drugs Boone and persuades him to hand himself in. Things got confused for me quite quickly but if I recall correctly, Boone gets hit by a truck, there’s a hospital scene, we meet our first monster, Narcisse (Hugh Ross) and his face gets torn off. (Narcisse btw harvests dead men’s faces to wear over his own apparently grotesque features). Seems legit.

Boone flees the hospital and heads to Midian which is basically a crappy underground village beneath a cool graveyard. Here he bumps into some monsters that aren’t that happy to see him and one of them bites him. He gets away from them only to run into the fuzz and Decker, who pretends Boone has a gun. You don’t have to ask the pigs twice to draw their weapons and poor Angel is cut down fast in a hail of bullets.

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“What do you mean I’m not a patch on Kirsty from Hellraiser?”

So that’s that then. Lori is devvoed but suspicious about the circumstances in which Boone dies, and frankly she has a right to be, especially since Boone’s become the walking dead. She travels to Midian herself to work shit out (though at this point she doesn’t know Boone has resurrected).

She meets the best character at a bar on the way and her new friend agrees to accompany her to Midian the next day. When they get there they split up (always a good idea). Lori goes skipping through the catacombs, while her friend gets brutally murdered – nooooooooooooo! Seems Decker is tracking Lori and he thinks she’ll make pretty good Boone bait (seems he’s figured out that Boone isn’t dead).

Decker wears a ‘Kid from The Orphanage/Trick ‘R’ Treat‘ style sack cloth mask and I dig the aesthetic frankly. He’s also rather stab happy. Lori, meanwhile, finds a very odd looking creature that turns into a ginger kid and meets a bunch of monsters.

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Zip it, Button Eyes

You get the impression that the brain storming (thought cluster?) sessions for the monsters must have been fun, though as we get to the end, we meet Hand Chin and I’m not sure how much work went into him.

Lori meets Boone again, much to her delight; Decker runs rampage, there’s a lot of monster politics, I got lost, we meet a priest. There is a story in here about a prophecy (Boone saving the day) and then a battle between good (Midian and the monsters) and evil (?) (the priest, the babylon). It’s very confusing and a shambles, sorry. The monsters are cool though.

In the final fight, led by Boone, there are lots of casualties and imaginative deaths. There’s a happy ending of sorts and one of the most manipulative scenes in cinematic history, in which Lori tries to kill herself so Boone has no choice but to ‘turn her’ immortal, so they can live happily together forever.

I’d have refused on principle.

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Tribal is so done

My Thoughts:

Confusing (maybe it’s me), not very linear and boring in places, this has some great creatures and a nice philosophy about peace loving monsters driven out of society by non-humans (fucking non-humans). It’s a tale as old as time and it does try. It’s nowhere near as strong as Hellraiser, but I had a soft spot for Decker, whose motivation I can’t even be arsed to work out. And the porcupine lady.

I’m being kind here but I should add that I had to read Wikipedia to fill in the blanks on all the bits I lost track of, which was most of it. Call it my heart not being in it, but it just made me want to go and visit Pinhead and Julia again.

My Rating: 2/5. Messy. Points given for the gory deaths.

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This year’s Christmas card was going to be well edgy

What did Wifey think ? Was she willing to live in sweet harmony with the monsters or would she prefer to take a carving knife to the whole thing? Find out here.

Rogue (Film) Review

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I don’t know why I’ve put myself through a second man-eating disaster movie this week and yet, here we are.

This genre, despite my outwardly cavalier attitude, feeds into my very worst fears. Films like this (looking at you Jaws) are why I don’t go in the water and can barely enter a swimming pool without having a panic attack.

Side note: Here’s a free mini-review from Wednesday’s viewing of The Shallows (2016):

I so wish this had been better. It’s genuinely terrifying in places, but laughable in others. The acting is not good (sorry Blake). Refreshing to watch a film about a resourceful woman without a hint of love interest on the horizon, though. This could have been an excellent film, but alas. Also, we get it, Lively has a lovely peachy butt.

Now to this week’s pick, which was mine. I don’t really know what I was thinking as it falls so closely in-line with the Shark Month films we’ve only recently kissed goodbye to.

Rogue, incidentally, popped up on a list of underrated animal/horror movies in the wake of the release of The Shallows and it piqued my interest. That it showed up on Netflix a few days later just made it convenient. I think Jill and I both fancied something mindless this week too so here we are.

*Spoilers*

Rogue (2007)

Directors: John Blush, Greg McLean
Stars: Michael Vartan, Radha Mitchell, Sam Worthington

IMDB Synopsis: An American journalist on assignment in the Australian outback encounters a man-eating crocodile while trapped on a rapidly flooding mud island.

My Review:

A group of tourists join a crocodile watching cruise in the Northern Territory of Australia, captained by wildlife researcher Kate (Mitchell).

The gang includes ‘cynical’ travel writer Pete (Vartan) who walks into a bar decorated with newspaper clippings about croc attacks just before he boards Kate’s boat. He seems perturbed but also determined to keep his cool in front of his boat mates. We also meet slightly odd Simon (Stephen Curry), ‘brassy’ Gwen (Celia Ireland), a young Mia Wasikowska and her parents, who seem completely interchangeable with the other couple, Everett (Robert Taylor) and Mary Ellen (Caroline Brazier).

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Only dickheads wear white shirts in the outback

Mia’s Sherry and family have their own issues to contend with, as mum Elizabeth (Heather Mitchell) is losing her battle with cancer. Which sort of excuses the fact dad (and husband) Allen (Geoff Morrell) is a bit of an arse. There’s also Merv (Barry Otto) but honestly, most of the men look similar and in the dark, which inevitably falls, it won’t even matter (Soz men!).

(I’ve missed someone called Russell out too but again, it doesn’t really matter).

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Hat’s off to you, girl

Things start off great, the team spot a croc being fed by another tour group and a wave of nervous awe ripples through the boat. Kate assures them that although those bad boys can jump a considerable height, it’s unlikely they’d want to attack a boat, or indeed them. Just as long as they stay out of the water, they’ll be fine. Bless.

There’s an initial spark between Pete and Kate of course, until he acts all superior about his travel experience and she sends him back to his seat (she’s never left the territory see). He does have an air of superiority about him which is unpleasant, though one suspects there’s a life lesson to be learned here.

The group go about their business with only one blip, the arrival of local charmers Collin (Damien Richardson) and Neil (Sam Worthington), who obviously has some sort of history with Kate. Real talk #101: I do not care for Sam Worthington one bit. Collin and Neil try to humiliate Kate in front of her guests which of course backfires because they’re dufuses (dufi?).

As the tour gets ready to conclude business and head back to dry land, one of the tourists sees a flare in the distance. Being a good egg, Kate refuses to ignore it, much to the chagrin of some of the group (FUCK OFF YOU DICKS). Although, if it was me, maybe I’d pretend I hadn’t seen it.

Kidding.

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I’d look this happy to be stranded with Sam Worthington too

This is the point where you’ll be shouting at the screen because they are all so close to being back on land, clutching cold brewskis and not having their limbs bitten off, but we’re all here for the terror and terror is waiting for us just around the bend. Literally. Our half reluctant/half heroic gang get several miles up the river before realising that the flare has been set off by a boat in distress (now sunken). Before anyone has a chance to shout “Oh fuck!” their boat is attacked from beneath. But of course.

Kate expertly gets the vessel to the bank but it’s sprung a leak and she has to ground it violently. Fuck fuck fuckity fuck, eh? It’s all good though as nobody’s hurt and besides, they’ve got their feet planted firmly on land now, so just a short skip and jump back to camp, right?

You came here for terror, remember?

It quickly becomes apparent that our intrepid travelers are a bit fucked as they’re actually straight chilling on an island that will soon be under water when the tide comes in. They’re also in two minds about how to handle their new situation, as they’re all now convinced there’s a hungry crocodile out there. This is confirmed when Neil and Collin rock up again to mess with Kate and get tossed in the air like a hippy’s hacky sack.

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Sam Worthington by night

Collin’s the first snack on our crocodile’s menu but luckily Sam Worthington swims to shore (dammit). He’s no longer playing and everyone realises the seriousness of their predicament. One of the men gets chomped quite quickly afterwards, but I’ll be fucked if I can distinguish which one. It’s not Merv or the dad. Yet.

I think, as with all movies of this ilk, it would be poor practice just to list the deaths one by one, even if some of them are way satisfying. Note: Mansplainers get eaten, yo. You get the general gist of this, a sizeable group of tourists are trapped while a big ass croc stalks them. They have to get off the island whatever happens or they’ll become chum.

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(By the way our crocolicious one is about 7 meters long and is an absolute beauty. He’s also cranky af and that doesn’t bode well for the team (I actually have no idea if it’s male or female tbh)).

Neil, despite looking and sounding like a jackass, is just about the only one of them to have a plan, while Kate tries the Christa Bass Tried and Tested Method of believing someone is going to turn up soon to make it all better.

Neil’s plan is to swim to the other side of the river ‘quietly’ (erm) and hook a rope around a tree so each of the group can climb along it, a few metres up and get across themselves. This starts to work until one of the women freaks out, a man gets shirty and fucks it all up for the rest of them. Don’t worry, he’s punished for his rudeness.

There’s another plan, Kate refuses to sacrifice her dog as bait (and is rewarded for this later), some people survive, some get chomped, Pete and Kate get thrown into an even hairier situation when they stumble across the croc’s personal pantry (aka a small cave), there’s a final showdown because isn’t there always in every film – and then it ends.

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Splish splash croc is taking a bath

Questions:

I’ve not really left much room for questions this time around but I guess: who survives to tell this sorry tail (ahem, I mean tale)?

My Thoughts:

God damn this is a stressful movie! The sheer size and age of this ancient killing machine blows my tiny mind, even though the story is fictional. I mean these things are practically dinosaurs and they’re just pottering around in the outback minding their own business.

And although sharks are my number one fear, crocodiles have a mean streak about them that make them just as terrifying. There are plenty of creatures that seem to take great pleasure in killing but it’s the way they execute that commando roll with their prey in their mouths that chills me to the bone. I think I might have pooped myself a bit watching this. Also, isn’t murky water so much more horrifying? Eeeek.

I have to say I didn’t really give a shit about any of the cast. Maybe Young Mia who showed tremendous bravery but didn’t really get any dialogue. Sam Worthington at least was practical, if annoying. Again, it was nice that there was no romance on the horizon but I wish Kate had rescued Pete and not the other way around – sorry, SPOILER!

Funnily enough the tension dissipates when we find ourselves in the monster’s lair. Mystery really is where it’s at, eh? Seeing the beast up close is satisfying and the CGI is pretty good I have to say but there’s something about it that left me a little deflated. I think out of water this amazing creature seems cumbersome and therefore less terrifying?

Whatever it was, I was glad when this movie ended. It’s exactly the right length (99 minutes).

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“SHE’S GOT RED ON HER!”

My Rating: 4/5 for the genuine anxiety it caused me. 3/5 for how I felt about the characters.

Was my good lady wife chomping at the bit for this movie or would she rather throw it overboard? Find out here (and make it snappy) ❤

Ghost Shark (Film) Review

“Frank, that doesn’t even make sense!” ~ Sheriff Martin to Mayor Stahl, which pretty much sums up this film

Don’t let that put you off though.

This is the last instalment in our Shark Month and I’m part sad, part relieved. These damn movies are all starting to blend into one. Next month’s theme is still being decided but whatever happens it will be very, very different.

Until then, let’s focus on this made-for-the Sy Fy Channel special which, for want of a better way to describe it, is bonkers. Seriously, seriously cray balls.

Let’s also take a moment to say see ya later sharks, it’s been real.

*Beware spoilers*

Ghost Shark (2013)

Director: Griff Furst
Stars: Amy Brassette, Sloan Coe, Lucky Johnson, Dave Davis, Jaren Mitchell

IMDB Synopsis: When rednecks on a fishing trip kill a great white shark, its spirit comes back for revenge, and soon turns its sights on the town of Smallport.

My Review:

Oh god. Oh my actual god. Well, at least the synopsis is a bit different, although every time I think of it, I think of 1990’s Ghost Dad. An interesting little tidbit there for you, if not particularly savoury. I’m sure Ghost Shark is the lesser of the two evils.

We begin with some arsehole fishermen (on the whole are fishermen really this dislikable? They’ve been portrayed very badly in every one of these movies). I say fishermen but there is a female present. Through every fault of their own, this heinous pair (against the wishes of the captain of the boat) manage to torture and kill a great white shark, simply for doing what great white sharks do.

“Boo, Motherfucker!”

I can’t really understand why the shark sticks around so long, but this isn’t the first time I will seriously question something in the next 90 minutes. The shark is eventually badly injured (via the medium of kaboom), so drifts off to die in a small cave next to a lighthouse, nothing odd about that.

Oh but wait, the cave begins to glow eerily, showing off some weird neon markings on the wall. What does it mean?

Well it means this isn’t the end of Sharky’s story (let’s not beat around the bush: he manifests as Ghost Shark) and justice is served piping hot on those nasty killers. Sadly, that includes the innocent captain which is a bit of a shitter as he’s a well-known local in the town of Harmony, with two daughters who are understandably concerned when they find his boat bobbing unattended in the middle of the lagoon (?).

If in doubt, stuff your face (my kind of strategy)

From here it feels more like a shark movie (bikinis, teenagers, flying heads) but I’m pleased to report that, apart from the bitchy Queen Bee of the group, who doesn’t survive this introductory scene, the kids are alright. We have; plucky Ava (Mackenzie Rosman), her sister Cicely (Coe), laid-back potential love interest, Blaise (Davis), quite hot Mayor’s son, Cameron (Mitchell) and joker of the pack, Mick (Shawn C. Phillips).

I have to admit that I was bracing myself for a fat joke or ten at the expense of Mick, who’s a big boy but there weren’t any and that was refreshing to me. Look, you have to take decency where you can find it sometimes.

In fact, although this film does not appear on my favourite website, the Bechdel Test Movie List and I forgot to monitor it myself, it’s clear at all times who the hero of this story is, and it’s Ava. Women (some) tend to fare better in horror than in any other genre, and they particularly excel in shark movies *bicep emoji*.

“Look ma, no hands…”

How many more deaths before someone fucking believes the kids when they say there’s a vengeful shark of the loose, tho?! (FYI if there was a big dog in this film you could legitimately pass it off as a Scooby Doo movie).

Honestly, I can’t thrash back and forth all the way through this review because that will be very dull but there’s a pool party at Cameron’s house to commiserate Vicky’s death (so sweet!). It’s okay though, because everyone knows sharks are sea creatures only. LOL! Carnage ensues and we begin to lose some of the core group.

One of the perks, apparently, of being a ghost shark is that you get to pop out of any body of water to wreak horrible revenge, so absolutely nowhere wet is safe. Bath tubs, taps, puddles, buckets of soapy water being sponged onto sports cars by bikini clad cheerleaders, even cups of water from the cooler – *anywhere*.

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…”

Ghost Shark doesn’t even seem mad anymore, he’s just hell bent on killing everybody and I don’t really blame him. Murder never looked so fun and nobody is exempt. Eventually the towns people realise what they have on their hands (duh) and Mayor Stahl (Johnson) who’s very shouty, goes out on a boat with Sheriff Martin (Murphy). He has A. Plan but you can guess how well that turns out.

Meanwhile, Ava and Blaise meet an eccentric museum curator who’s creepy beyond words but also informative – and they find out about an ancient curse placed on the glowing cave (I think, honestly I tuned out a lot towards the end). They then team up with Sean Connery, a mysterious local fisherman, who’s also a drunk and rumoured to have killed his wife.

“Give us a kiss!”

He tells the kids some more about the cave and they work out what they have to do to destroy Ghost Shark. There’s a big bad showdown at the end and someone wins.

Fin.

Questions:

Will the plan work? Did Sean Connery kill his wife after all? Who will make it and who will end up as chum?

Buckets of talent

My Thoughts:

Uh. Actually, this isn’t the worst film I’ve ever seen. I mean, it was almost worth it for the car wash attack alone (the scene itself is so damn gratuitous). In addition to the babes in swimwear, I feel as though the filmmaker did at least try to give this a back story and as mentioned, there was a strong female lead who didn’t have to hook up with the guy to be interesting.

She was steely, spunky and focused, exactly the person you’d want in charge during a ghost shark hunt. Imagine a team of shark hunting women comprised of Ava, Rosie and Nova? You’re welcome Sy-Fy Channel. Jill, perhaps we should write and direct it? (Although they’d only be hunting bad sharks, you understand).

The other characters were okay but not indispensable, Cameron was probably the strongest alongside Ava but I don’t know if that’s just because I fancied him a bit. Besides the bucket bit, my favourite scene was when Blaise finally twigged that as long as they stay away from water, they’ll be okay. Um, YAH.

The effects are horrible which makes them brilliant, the story is beyond stupid but it was entertaining at least.

I feel like this photo needs no caption

My Rating: 3/5. It’s no MS Vs. MS but it was gory af and that pleases me. 

Did Jill want to wreak bloody revenge on those who wronged her (aka. the director of this movie)? Or… did she like it? Find out here, if you dare!

Ps. If you see this is and enjoy it, there appears to be a sequel

Mega Shark Vs. Mecha Shark (Film) Review

I’m loving Shark Month so much I’m not even mad at last week’s terrible choice (though I should be). This week is very much in keeping with the creature feature/B-Movie fare both Jill and I love so much – and it’s actually quite compelling.

Without further a do, let’s get down to some fishy business, shall we?

*Spoilers ahead* in case you’re worried about keeping some suspense.

Mega Shark Vs. Mecha Shark (2014)

Director: Emile Edwin Smith
Stars: Christopher Judge, Elisabeth Röhm, Matt Lagan

IMDB Synopsis: A new mega shark threatens to destroy humanity. The government creates an exact robotic copy of the shark, either equal to or greater than the original. Now they must fight to the death while people and whole cities get in the way.

My Review:

A tugboat pulling a giant iceberg into Egypt (?) accidentally unleashes hell on the world when a Megalodon shark escapes from within. (I don’t know either but let’s go with it). I laughed out loud as the aforementioned tugboat was flipped across Egypt by the Megalodon’s tail, knocking off the head of a sphinx as it went.

The unintentional unleashing of this giant prehistoric sharky bastard really fucks with the chi of the world as boats are no longer safe to go about their business without being attacked and honestly, this big boy is pissed at something. I mean, normal sharks don’t attack boats just because they can, right? I guess being trapped that long in a giant ice cube can take its toll.

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“This cannot be good…”

We piece together just how much devastation is taking place through the cleverly stitched global news reports and Meg (let’s call him) is being very naughty. We also learn that global warming is to blame and I like that nod to reality, very much touched upon in 3-Headed Shark Attack and Sharknado, though you’d be forgiven for  blinking and missing it. Basically, if we don’t recycle and stop with the over use of hairspray, we’re in for the same fate.

So while Meg crashes about causing chaos, husband and wife wonder team, Rosie (Röhm) and Jack Turner (Judge) are the bad asses selected to take him on. But how prey tell does one go about doing something like that? Why, build an exact replica out of steel and have them battle it out, obvs!

Rosie is the captain of the Mecha, having proved her chops on a smaller vessel, which is co-piloted by special A.I. “Nero”. “Nero” (voice by Paul Anderson) is basically “K.I.T.T” from Knightrider but flirtier. Jack is un-enthused about Rosie going into the Mecha before it’s been tested fully and without “Nero” to boot but she’s a plucky women who does what she wants so she goes anyway.

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Oops, wrong movie!

Straight away this turns out to be unwise and there’s a bodged attempt to stop Meg. Admiral Ackbar Engleberg (Lagan), who’s in charge of Mecha operations is a bit grumpy when it comes to this failure, as his brother was killed by the Meg. (Somewhere along the line there is a reference to this being the third time the Meg has popped up though I don’t think you need to have seen those movies to follow this one).

So Engleberg has a personal investment in the Meg’s demise and that seems fair – Meg is kind of a dick. Anywhoo, Jack manages to convince him that installing “Nero” into the Mecha is the least they should do and soon “Nero” is wise-cracking with the best of them. Jack is adorable btw as he’s obviously madly in love with his wife and just wants her to be okay. He’s a good egg and also, looks like exactly the kind of person you want on your side in a crisis.

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The Posh & Becks of the Mechanical Shark World

Rosie meanwhile is a remarkable woman who shows emotion several times on the job but pulls herself together and gets on with it, like women do. All the while her high ponytail never messes up. She’s also, and I don’t mind my heroines in any form of attire, remains fully clothed throughout the movie and looks her age which made this character, and therefore the film, stand out to me. The genre is not always kind to the female form as we all know.

Oh yes, so Debbie Gibson’s Doctor Emma Macneil pops up to warn the Admiral that the Megalodon is aggressive (yes, thanks dear). I guess from this cameo that she’s kind of a big deal in the Mega franchise (a little digging shows she was in Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus (2009)) but she doesn’t half state the obvious. She does add though that his aggression is down to the fact that he’s looking for a mate and that explains it all.

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“Give me a song and I”ll whistle it.”

During a battle with Meg, Mecha discovers a damaged oil line and Jack lectures Rosie about the environment (good boy) so she uses Mecha to seal the pipe. Rosie tries to take Meg down with a torpedo but he’s horny AND clever, thus flipping it at a ship with his tail fin causing the needless death of hundreds. Bearing in mind he’s already destroyed an oil rig and damaged countless ships, Meg is on a roll.

In the ensuing drama, Mecha is thrown to the bottom of the ocean and Rosie is knocked out. Poor Jack is beside himself but “Nero” has a plan, which works and gets Rosie to the surface. Meanwhile, Meg is free to body slam the USS James Stewart Aircraft Carrier, killing everyone horribly.

Can I take a minute here to praise the excellent work of all the submarine and ship crews? They either bob around in the background like extras from Spaceballs (1987) or are thrown into utter panic mode by an explosion. These actors give their all to their small roles and I love them for it.

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Double your sharky goodness

Rosie is okay (don’t worry guys) but is definitely out of sorts. The one bit of the film that kind of annoyed me was the flashback we get to the couple obviously having lost a child which is touched upon as Jack stirs Rosie back to consciousness. Really? Just so you know the only thing ever driving a woman is a tragedy, usually to do with a child! We must make her more sympathetic after all.

Minor bug bear but really! Anyway, “Nero” says he can pilot the Mecha alone and even though cautious Jack is reluctant, really what choice do they have? I got a bit lost for a while as I was putting my dinner on, but Mecha is go once more.

Oh yes, on recovery Rosie and Doctor Macneil hook up (not like that) and Rosie flies to Auckland where the scientists discuss what’s going on. They think he’s heading back to his birthplace, Australia, the spawning ground for his species. (Wait, does that mean there are loads of lady Megs just kicking it round Sydney Harbour?). Smells like a sequel to me.

In Oz, “Nero” malfunctions and goes rogue, Mecha is now somehow on dry land causing more damage that good (basically, his safety filters are off so he’s programmed to kill Meg without think about his surroundings, you dig?) and it’s all a mess. Oh, and look: a kid’s just got separated from her mother! Someone has to stop and find her! Better ask a woman!

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“When Mummy says don’t run off, maybe don’t run off, Kid!”

Yes, Rosie puts her life on the line to save a snotty brat who doesn’t understand basic instruction and all because a) she’s a woman! b) she lost a child remember! c) she’s a woman in case you also forgot that! (I know I’m overthinking but honestly). Also, Rosie is a damn decent woman (unlike any woman who hasn’t had a child), so she rescues the poppet and also meets up with Jack at the same time.

I won’t go too far into the climax because frankly, you’re already expecting a fight to the death, right? But Rosie has to get back on Mecha to lure Meg away from Sydney Harbour and hopefully be destroyed so everyone can go home and wash the bloody chum from their glossy locks (only Rosie then).

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A Woman’s Work

Questions:

Will the final mission go off without a hitch? Will Rosie live to fight another day or will she break her damned husband’s heart? Did Michael Bay direct the action sequence throughout the streets of Sydney? Will Meg meet his match?

And finally, will Admiral Ackbar finally get his revenge?

My Thoughts:

I was actually into this and almost non-sarcastically. I mean, it’s ridiculous but everyone’s really giving it their all so you can’t be mad. I really enjoyed the central couple, who I actually buy as one and I cared if they made it or not.

It was funny in places and how can you not be impressed by the sheer scale of the Megalodon? (I actually believe in them so this is practically a documentary in my eyes). My only small bug bear is the adding a sad backstory malarkey. I know what they were trying to do but it’s clunky af.

All in all probably my favourite shark-ie so far this month.

My Rating: 3.5/5. Enjoyable actually. More like a real action movie than the rest so far with good leads and not too horrific effects.

Oh yes and… totally passed the Blechdel test!

Did Jill love this monster or was she ready to flip it into next week with the tail fin? You know the drill.

Sharknado (Film) Review

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The question I most want answered, and I’m sure I could find it if only I could be arsed to look, is: were they bloody serious about this?!

I mean, obviously I get that it’s all very tongue-in-cheek but did that come after the original film became a surprise neo-cult classic? Because they all seem very serious and that, I suppose, is a credit to the cast as actors (maybe not in skill but in effort), you know?

This film is a total train-wreck it’s true but is it fun? Is it entertaining? Read on if you wish to know my view on that. Also, I fancy Ian Ziering and that, my friends, is not something I ever expected to hear myself say. Ever ever.

*Spoilers* if you give a shit!

Sharknado (2013)

Director: Anthony C. Ferrante
Stars: Ian (Sex Pot) Ziering, Tara Reid, John Heard, Cassandra Scerbo, Jaaaaaason Simmons

IMDB Synopsis: When a freak hurricane swamps Los Angeles, nature’s deadliest killer rules sea, land, and air as thousands of sharks terrorize the waterlogged populace.

My Review: 

They don’t beat around the bush here in Shark Land. There’s a tornado whipping across the country, sucking up sharks in its wake and they’re fleeing it as much as they can but that’s easier said than done I guess.

A sail boat in the thick of the storm, containing a crew of nefarious fishermen who are actually catching and cutting off shark fins to sell for shark fin soup (one of the most barbaric things ever) is perfectly placed for the most ironic shark revenge of all time. These men all deserve to die horribly so from the get go you’ll be licking your lips in anticipation of heads rolling and limbs being chomped. You won’t be disappointed at all, my friends.

I have to say here that the ‘head to head’ between the boss seaman *giggle* and his Asian business partner is so camp, with both characters stereotypical as all fuck so we’re off to a good start I think.

Cut to Californiaaaaaaa and Ian ‘90210’ Ziering’s Fin Shepard (LOL) is just a good man trying to make a buck. He owns a bar and looks good on the beach. Like rrrreallllly good guys, time has been kind to the former Steve Sanders. Perhaps not having to stand next to Luke Perry helps?

Ziering has also recently graduated from the Christian Slater Academy for Furrow-browed Actors, presumably with flying colours. Honestly, watch him, they’re both cut from the same cloth. And I for one, am 100 emoji about it.

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This can’t be good

Fin is the brooding type which makes him irresistible (to me) and you just know there’s more to him than meets the eye. Don’t worry, you’ll find out soon enough what that is but for now, whilst frolicking in the sea with his mate, Baz Hogan (Simmons), shit kicks off. The sharks are actually racing inland in their droves and this does not bode well for the California beach bunnies romping there.

A decent amount of carnage ensues and yet again, people, when someone starts yelling from the water and looks super distressed, maybe take note? It might just save a leg or two. After the initial attacks, Fin and friends don’t seem too bothered, heading to back to the bar Fin owns on the pier to get on with their lives.

He’s got a leg off

The bar is pretty archaic in nature. Bar wench Nova (Scerbo) works in a bikini and has to physically fight off bar regular George (Heard) more than once when he grabs her arse. I would break his knuckles but she laughs it off. It’s all in good fun, isn’t it, all this cheeky everyday sexism and harmless physical harassment? God bless George.

Nova throws herself at Fin behind the bar during their shift and he callously rejects her before revealing he has a wife. An estranged wife but a wife nonetheless. The aforementioned ball ‘n’ chain is April Wexler (Reid) who hates Fin right now because he’s so damned attractive presumably.

Fin’s worried about the storm and all the flooding going down around them and wants to get April and their daughter Claudia (Aubrey Peebles) the fuck outta Dodge. April however has a new boyfriend and is pretty sure he can protect them (she obviously can’t protect herself, what is this the 21st century?).

Back to the bar and if it was up to me, I would have left all the men behind when the first sharks start flying through the windows (tornado, remember?) and the bar and pier started to collapse. But our rag-tag team decide to stick together: Fin, Baz, Nova and Handsy George jump in the car and head to April’s. She lives on a hill they figure, so less flooding.

It’s a stressful trip to April’s and I’d be lying if I said everyone makes it. One of the gang will not live to slap another woman’s bottom against her will ever again *hint*. Nova gets hold of a shotgun (well this is America, you get them from vending machines there, no?) and is more than happy to blow the fuck out of every shark she sees. She really really hates them so much so that you’d think she has a tragic shark-themed back story.

I quite enjoy Nova, it has to be said even though her mooning over Fin gets tired really soon. Even if I understand it only too well, babe.

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Cheer up love, it might never… oh. Nevermind.

April is deeply unimpressed when Fin arrives and she’s obviously not one for girl power as she calls Nova a stripper right off the bat. Unfortunately, April’s house is not the fortress of watertight safety they were expecting and things go pear-shaped quickly. On the plus side, April’s foppish boyfriend Collin (Christopher Wolfe) becomes chum, thus paving the way for a possible reunion between Fin and April? I’m not sure if she deserves him yet tbh!

Sharks are notoriously bad at helping with removals

So the gang grows as they decide their only option is to go and find Fin and April’s son Matt (Charles Hittinger) who’s in flight school. Riiiiight. Things escalate, people get bitten, our team finds a pet store full of weapons (?) and decide to build a bomb to fly into the heart of the tornado, as you do, thus killing the storm and the sharks.

Nova begins to bond with Matt, who is way closer to her in age and it’s kind of creepy. She confides in him the real reason she hates sharks so much and it’s HILARIOUS. I mean, the funniest, most improbable tale EVERRRR. Wouldn’t it be terrible, after all Nova’s been through and on the cusp of a new relationship with her crush’s son to boot, if she didn’t make it?

Hmmmmmm. I’ll wrap up here but will tell you this. Fin has definitely seen one or two Evil Dead movies because his chainsaw work is wonderful. He gets intimate with a very large Great White and does his best to protect his family while he’s at it.

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You’ve got red on you, Nova

Questions: 

Can Fin win back the love of his family, who resent him for being an absent father? Will April ever acknowledge that her new boyfriend has been killed, a moment of silence if you will for Collin? Who will make it? Who won’t?

Will you care?

My Thoughts: 

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You did not get this in Jaws

Jesus H. Christ on a bike. This is godawful. I got bored half way through which I wasn’t expecting and I just didn’t care, I’m sorry Fin – I love you but no. I can’t really believe they’ve made three further films in this series – honestly, I was tired of sharks crashing through windows after maybe the second time, so I don’t know how they’ve kept it fresh. Perhaps they haven’t, I don’t know if I’ll even make the sequels.

The effects aren’t quite as bad as expected but maybe that’s because I’ve seen Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre (2015) which makes this look like a Michael Mann movie. Though I did want to see more animatronics à la Bruce the Shark as the CGI makes it feel so empty and soulless.

Apart from the beautiful Fin, the rest of the cast are pretty forgettable. Nova probably shows the most promise but I can’t tell if that’s just because she carries a weapon and isn’t afraid to muck in. Tara Reid I imagine gets a bit harder in the following films (judging by the images I’ve seen – spoiler!) but in this she just looks worried the whole time.

If you’re interested my new favourite website is unclear as to whether this film passes the Bechdel Test. I tried to follow myself but got distracted and I’m guessing probs not.

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*Heart eyes emoji*

My Rating: 2.5/5. Poor. So bad it’s just bad with nothing really endearing about it. Although Fin does look very good in plaid.

Did this make Jill want to swirl around like a whirling dervish, or would she rather go swimming with the sharks, where this drivel belongs? Find out here.

12 Days of Terror (Film) Review

Jill and I batted around the idea of doing political movies this month but after the last couple of weeks the UK has had and all the bullshit currently wafting around on Jill’s side of the pond, I think we made the right choice to back away from that for a while.

Instead, we’re doing Shark Month in honour of the USA’s wonderful Shark Week. We don’t have it here and frankly, it’s a travesty. Bonus is, I can pretend Nigel Farage is the one being terrorised and it makes me feel better.

Jill picked this week and I was all ready to mock the shit out of this overly dramatic TV movie. In the end I actually became rather engrossed.

Call it the handsome and earnest leading man, call it the hilarity of most of the cast members being all too eager to jump into the water even though there’s a goddamn shark in there!

Whatever it was, let’s get down to business. *Spoilers* as usual, though this is a shark movie so you can guess a lot of it.

12 Days of Terror (2004)

Director: Jack Sholder
Stars: Colin Egglesfield, Mark Dexter, Jenna Harrison, John Rhys-Davies

IMDB Synopsis: For 12 days in July, 1916, a shark patrolled the waterways of northern New Jersey. This docudrama is based on Richard Fernicola’s account of those days.

My Review:

It’s 1916 and there’s this new craze called sun bathing sweeping the nation. People are flocking to the New Jersey shore to cure their polio in the sunshine and to not think about the World War raging across the ocean. The Jersey Shore in this scenario is very different to the shore we know and love today (or so the film would have us believe). Though, I’d have paid good money for a cameo from Snooki.

Our hero is Alex (Egglesfield) and let’s no beat around the bush, having to watch him wrestle sharks for the next hour or so is not going to feel like a chore. He’s a good egg this one, life guarding like a boss on the beach outside a posh hotel and mentoring other less experienced life guards on his watch.

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Worth pretend drowning for

He receives a visit from his best friend Stanley (Dexter) and his fiance Alice (Harrison), who we later learn used to be Alex’s girl (oooooooh!). Alex tells Stanley he’s totally cool with them getting married (riiiight) and even helps Alice make a decision on the kind of cake they’ll be having on the big day. Like I said, kind of a hero.

Unfortunately, this is the first day of terror and a dandy called Charles (David Jeffery) becomes our first victim. It’s at this point I have to say, Charles, your dog is barking violently at something in the water, perhaps at least approach it with caution? Always listen to the animals, dude! As he runs into obvious trouble further out, Alex dives in to rescue him without a single thought for his own personal safety. Charles has a huge chunk missing from his leg and sadly does not make it to see day 2.

Alex is adamant that this was a shark attack (I mean, duh) but some ‘experts’ swoop in and imply that it could of been a torpedo. Ummmm… a torpedo with teeth? Alex doesn’t buy this one bit and suggests that perhaps they close the fucking beach until they know the score? But alas he is but a lowly Tom Cruise impersonator lifeguard and he’s poo-pooed.

Again, he’s not happy but what can he do but stay vigilant? The Mayor (Patrick Lyster) isn’t keen on losing out on the tourism and the President of the U S of A is due to visit any day now so the show must go on. They speak to yet more experts who state that it would be highly unlikely for the shark to come back (haven’t they seen Jaws?).

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Salty

Come to think of it, Alex is our Roy Schneider, running around crazed and trying to cut through bureaucratic red tape in order to save lives. He’s also mates with a salty old sea dog called Captain (see what he did there?). Captain is John Rhy-Davies who was Gimli in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and I quite fancy him.

Since this is 12 days of horribleness, you can guess that the shark does indeed come back and this time it’s personal as he bites off Alex’s mates’ legs (both of them, no messing). Alex once again is first to the scene and it doesn’t end well for his friend, I think his name was Danny?

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He’s got some legs off

After this attack, the authorities half-heartedly concede that there might a problem and place some big steel fencing around the beaches to make it safer for swimmers. Alex has lost all his enthusiasm for the job since Danny’s death and quits, has a fight with Stanley (who tries to stop him doing anything rash. Oops TOO LATE!). He takes a job with Captain as his first mate, which sounds legit. Captain seems to fish a bit and just hang about on the docks but this time he’s been contracted to fit the fencing.

While they’re fitting the steel posts in the water, one of Cap’s crew gets spooked and shoots at the water, claiming he can see a shark. Alex and another crew member are in the water at this time and I have to say that absolutely nobody seems that arsed about shark attacks. And yeah, I get that rivers aren’t the usual stomping ground of great white sharks but when Captain sees a formidable shadow streaking through the water towards the creek and goes suitably mental, nobody else reacts accordingly.

You would not have to tell me twice to stay the fuck out of the water, let me assure you. Anyway, Captain is in his little row boat shouting at children to get the fuck onto dry land but he’s only one man and can’t get to them all. So a small group are splish splashing about when our shark rocks up.

A hysterical mother shouts to them from the river bank and they do nothing because they can’t hear her! Kids, eh? They pay the price for not reading her body language so there’s a lesson here.

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GET OUT OF THE FUCKING WATER!

When Stanley hears that a kid he knows is in the creek he gets rather heroic. I can’t work out at this stage if the kid is his (I don’t think so) but whatever, it’s enough to get Stanley moving. Several local men leap into the creek but don’t find the kid. I’m not going to outline each and every death for you, don’t worry but tragedy strikes round about here and makes Alex even fucking angrier that before.

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5 cents you say? BARGAIN!

Meanwhile, I’ve missed out a part where Cap seems to have caught a shark but there’s still another shark out there (I think this happened, I have an image of it), so there must be multiple sharks out there. Alex isn’t pleased that his mate is making money out of tragedy but this is how Cap rolls and I think we all just have to accept that.

Also sniffing around is a strange dude called Michael Schleisser (Jamie Bartlett) who works with dangerous animals. He doesn’t really have much going on apart from a deep fascination for the shark and attempts to go out on Cap’s tiny boat to see if he can catch it. As one does. He’s really dislikable and has an air of the guy who captured King Kong to me. He’s definitely not that into animal welfare and in it for himself.

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“Oooooh he’s a biggun!”

Alex and Cap tell Schleisser his plan, to somehow ensnare the shark in a net and get dragged along by it until it tires itself to death, is rubbish but he’s having none of it. The shark must hear them talking and get fucked off as he jumps out of the water and tries to bite Captain.

There’s a final Jaws-esque show down between shark and human men, and I’m going to let you see how that turns out.

Questions:

What becomes of pretty Alex? Does Schleisser rightly so get eaten by our big fishy friend? Will Alice and Stanley make it down the aisle after all this drama is over, or will a place open up by Alice’s side?

And what of the shark, whose only real crime is being a shark and going with its animal instincts?

My Thoughts:

Way more thrilling and entertaining than expected. It’s cheesy of course but the period setting lends it some class. It’s very reminiscent of a certain Spielberg directed shark movie but that’s because the film is based on the true-events that also inspired Jaws so you can’t blame it for that.

Shots beneath the surface of the sea are very Jaws-y and tense though this film lacks the horror element that made Jaws so amazing. You do actually care for some of the victims which helps and I have to say the fact you don’t see the shark for a good while helps the build up.

Some of those characters are so dumb though and none of the female characters really get a look in. Alice is a very 2D, decorative prop (and I say prop because she’s only there to add a subtle tension between the two best friends). It’s like one big fisherman’s club up in this joint. Also, when an experienced fisherman/lifeguard tells you to stay on dry land, STAY ON DRY LAND!

My Rating: 3/5. A TV movie that feels like a TV movie but like, a goodish one.

Did Jill circle this movie with interest or was it nothing but chum to her? Find out here.

 

Stung (Film) Review

STUNG-POSTER-RED-R1I had a harder time than necessary choosing a film this week and only because I placed so much pressure on myself.

We were going to do High School Movies Month but that didn’t work out (long boring story), so we’ve gone instead with Plan B, which actually fits our new theme rather well: B Movies.

Remember both Jill and I complaining that our choices recently have been too good? Well, we have been doing that and both welcomed the return of some signature snarking, a skill Jill certainly excels at (for films mostly, I can’t speak for the rest of life).

So enter the bad movie line-up. I was going to go with Sharknado (2013) but thought that seemed too obvious for my first choice, so you get this instead.

*Spoilers* as always.

Stung (2015)

Director: Benni Diez
Stars: Matt O’Leary, Jessica Cook, Lance Henriksen, Clifton Collins Jr.

IMDB Synopsis: A fancy garden party turns into upper class prey when a colony of killer wasps mutates into foot tall predators.

My Review:

First up, I love a Creature Feature. The zanier the better as far as I’m concerned, and this bonkers sounding movie has been on my list for ages. But was it worth the wait and did it leave a lasting impression (AKA sting) though? Let’s find out!

Julia has started her own catering business and is understandably keen for her first ‘gig’, a fancy garden party, to go off without a hitch. Nerves make her pretty snippy when it comes to her only other employee, goofy Paul. I think there’s some dialogue at the beginning about her having just lost her father which turns out not to have much bearing on anything, so I’ll assume it’s to give her some depth (uh-huh).

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This story has a sting in the tail…

Paul is super into Julia and is actually really good-looking in a sort of Daniel Radcliffey-throw-some-dirt-on-him-and-put-him-in-a-perilous-position-so-he-can-show-himself-to-be-quite-action-hero-ey way, though he’s also very annoying. The fact he likes Julia but she doesn’t like him (or does she secretly, duh) is not going to stop the guy continually trying to get in her knickers though, obvi – and it grows tiresome real quick.

Anyway. Straight off the bat Paul notices that there’s a wasp problem at Mrs. Perch’s  (Eve Slatner) sprawling home. They’re pretty huge and aggressive but not so obnoxious that anyone’s that fussed yet. The do seems to be a send off for Mrs. Perch’s dead husband. They have a creepy son too, Sydney (Collins Jr.) who has a drink problem.

During the night, which is going just great (bar the annoying buzzing buggers), Paul befriends Larry (Daniele Rizzo) and they fuck off to get stoned together. Meanwhile, we meet some of the guests, which range from some very odd old men to a highly sexed Cougar who can’t get enough of Paul (but of course). Suddenly, there’s a scream and before we know it, though pesky wasps are stinging guests willy nilly.

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I don’t want to spoil the effects for you

Alas, this isn’t like the time I stood on a bee when I was five, these wasps have a nasty affect on their victims and it’s of the chest busting variety. It seems the victims don’t so much become killer wasps as host them for a small amount of time before giving birth to them in hideous and exciting ways.

Shit kicks off real quick as the core cast get themselves back into the house where they batten down the hatches. Unfortch, this doesn’t keep them safe for long and one by one the survivors are picked off. It’s really gross which is definitely one of the best things this film has going for it. Mrs Perch goes first (old = weak, innit), then lovely Flora the housekeeper (Cecilia Pillado) leaving just Julia, Paul, old man Caruthers (Henriksen) and creepy Sydney to fight to the death.

Luckily they’re a solid unit with not even one secret between them. Are they fuck! Sydney is forced to admit that this is all his fault (dead dad’s growth hormones in the fertilizer = giant killer wasps, yo) and what’s more he conceals a sting of his own. No problem though, course that won’t come back to bite anyone on the arse later (or face).

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Catering’s a bitch

There’s not an awful lot to play with here in terms of story line but we didn’t come here for depth so it’s best just to focus on the grotesqueness of it all. Wasps make sticky nests and it takes them no time at all to turn the once beautiful mansion into a heap of shit. Plus it’s no party to have one bursting out of your mouth/eye socket/chest so the new decor is somewhat splattered. But whatya gonna do?

Once through the worst of it, all our surviving heroes have to do is find a way out into the open but who knows how they’ll fare? The answer is surprisingly better than expected until Paul is kidnapped by a fucking angry female (of course there was going to be Queen). Will Julia kick ass and go back for him, or will she hightail it out of there as fast as her little catering van can take her? I know what I’d do…

To the questions!

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Sidney and date

Questions:

What the fucking fuck is going on Sidney, you freak?

Who survives anyway? And will you even care or will you zone out a bit because you’re so disappointed that a film about giant killer wasps turned out to be so fucking dull? Asking for a friend.

I don’t even know anymore. There’s a ridiculous climax (or not) at the end and then it’s all over. No lasting effects whatsoever.

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Woman up, creep

My Thoughts:

Paul just really annoyed me trying to touch Julia all the time. If I found myself in a similar situation and someone was trying to paw me, even if it was my own husband, I would have something to say about it. No means no dude, even if the underlying (condescending) message is that she does really. FFS.

When he makes a throwaway comment to one of the men about how Julia should be more grateful I wanted to turn the film off altogether, and go and kick something. Fuck gratitude right now, dude.

It’s nice that Julia gets to save Paul in the end but that scene with the Queen and the larvae is so hideous I nearly puked. I think the gist was that she wanted to plant her babies in Paul. At least that would have made him useful for a bit.

This is supposed to be a horror/comedy FYI but I don’t think I cracked a smile the whole time. Maybe that says something about me?

Later these crazy kids fuck in an ambulance because that’s all you’d want to do, then it’s all over and everyone can go home. Or can they?

Watch if you like or don’t, I don’t mind. I think I can safely say our Too Good Curse has now been lifted, at least for this week.

My Rating: 2.5/5. Points awarded solely for the gore and special effects. May I recommend you go and watch The Fly (1986) instead?

So, what did Jillian think? Was it a B for Brilliant Movie in her book or would she rather kill it dead where it stands with a giant can of Raid? Find out here silly.

Ps. I’ve found an incredible movie for us to watch together in the flesh Jillian, it’s so good/bad a concept I’m not even going to give you a teaser! ❤

Killer Mermaid (Film) Review

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“I Know What You Did Last Summer meets Splash!” No.

It’s mermaid time, bitches and I, for one, am thrilled! I love me a mermaid story in pretty much any capacity, but an evil one? I am so in.

It was my turn to choose the film for Jillian & Christa’s Great Blog Collab 2015, Part 3.

I did think this film was called Killer Mermaids (plural), suggesting multiple fishy babes, but I was mistaken. I avoided all reviews/trailers so as not to spoil the bound to be incredible premise and I’m glad, for this was a fishy treat to the very end (sort of).

Let us begin.

The Film:

Killer Mermaid (2014)
AKA “Nymph” (Original title “Mamula”) – so good, they name it thrice

Where to Watch: 

US Netflix

The Premise:

Two young American women go on a Mediterranean vacation and uncover the watery lair of a killer mermaid hidden beneath an abandoned military fortress. What was once a carefree adventure becomes a deadly fight for survival. (via IMDB)

The Trailer: 

Viewable here.

The Uncondensed Version:

We open with an underwater scene reminiscent of Jaws but without the John Williams soundtrack (there is music and it is trying to be Jaw-sy but failing dismally). The POV shot takes us on a tour of an abandoned shipwreck before veering straight for the surface.

Next we see a series of cheesy holiday snaps between a bald man and his cutesy blonde companion. It’s typical cheeky fair, having japes in a Mediterranean setting while taking lots of pictures. All set to a Euro trash disco track that mentions partying a lot.

It’s night time. Baldie and Blondie are by the shore. Blondie takes off her top and asks Baldie if he’s just going to stand there staring. He closes his mouth and strips, but is distracted by a sound rather like (bad) singing. He walks to the edge of the water and is gone. Blondie is inconsolable and while she is screaming for help, a man (?) in Wellington boots comes up behind her and swings a hook/anchor type affair into the back of her head and drags her off. It doesn’t look good for Blondie.

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“She wore an… itsy bitsy teeny weeny… black and silver sheer bikini…”

Enter our heroines, Kelly and Lucy, two Americans out for a good time. Lucy is obviously the good time girl because she can rock a bikini like nobody’s business, while Kelly is a little more serious as she’s covered up and keeps talking about work. She’s a writer and her editor is bugging her about writing a piece on the town they are visiting.

Continue reading “Killer Mermaid (Film) Review”