Abe – Short Film

Wow.  I just had to share this.  It’s a short film I found on Vimeo written and directed by Rob McLellen.  The premise is simple, but so well done!  Basically we have a robot named Abe who was programmed to love.  Well he loves just a little bit too much, and when he starts to think his humans don’t love him back he decides he needs to “fix” them.  (Mwahaha.)  Check it out.

ABE from Rob McLellan on Vimeo.

Writer/Director – Rob McLellan
Manager – Adam Marshall / Caliber Media 310-786-9210
Agent – Chris Ridenhour / APA 310-888-4209

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/abemovie
Website – http://www.abemovie.com

Interview with the director 30/04/13 youtube.com/watch?v=RM5uUnRmJQI

Copyright Zero-G Productions

 

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V/H/S (2012) – Movie Review

V/H/S is a “found footage horror anthology”, which basically means it’s a full-length movie comprised of several short horror films.  It’s a film that is a part of the “Mumblegore” movement, which if you haven’t heard of it, is a group a young writers, actors, directors, and producers who are making micro-budget horror films that are awesome. The writers and directors include:  Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, and a group of directors known as Radio Silence.

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There are 6 different parts to this film:  1. “Tape 56” directed by Adam Wingard; 2. “Amatuer Night” directed by David Bruckner; 3. “Second Honeymoon” directed by Ti West; 4. “Tuesday the 17th” directed by Glenn McQuaid; 5.  “The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger” directed by Joe Swanberg; and 6. “10/31/98” directed by Radio Silence.   

The first film, “Tape 56” acts as the framework for the entire movie.  It opens up with a group of young kids who are filming themselves commit crimes and having a jolly old time doing it.  They sell their little crime films online for some cash, and get an offer to break into a house to steal a VHS tape.  When they begin burglarizing the house they find the owner dead inside in front of the TV.  All but one of the kids goes to search the house, while the remaining kid stays behind to watch whatever was left in the VCR.  This is where the other tapes begin, and once each tape ends we are brought back to this main overarching narrative.

We cut over to “Amatuer Night”, my personal favorite film in this anthology.  It’s about a group of three buddies who are planning on going out to a club to pick up girls with the ultimate goal of bringing them back to their motel room to have sex with them.  One of the friends has set up a hidden camera within his glasses, so we can see everything from his perspective.  It’s an absolutely awesome way to experience the evening as things start to unfold.  Ultimately they go out, pick up a couple of girls, and bring them back to the hotel room.  Things start to get weird and ultimately death ensues!  It’s totally not at all what I was expecting would happen, but it was a lot of fun.

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In fact, the next film had an unexpected twist as well!  “Second Honeymoon” was about a couple on a road trip for, go figure, their second honeymoon!  It was heavy on the suspense and build-up to an ultimately bloody end and surprise twist!  While staying in a motel room the couple’s camera gets used during the night without them knowing.  Tension is built when the unknown person pulls out a knife and begins caressing the wife’s leg.  In the end, we find out that *Spoiler alert*:  The wife was in on it!  

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“Tuesday the 17th” is the short film that comes next, and initially appears to be your run-of-the-mill camping trip set-up.  The main female friend leads them out into the woods to a lake where they proceed to have a good time by taking off their clothes and smoking some weed.  A spooky tale is told and then people start dying at the hand of a strange figure that’s blurred out by a glitch in the VHS tape.  Basically everyone dies and the figure ends up killing the main girl and, you know, TAKING OVER HER BODY!  The fact that we, as the audience, have no idea what is taking these people out makes the scene extra intense. 

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We then jump into “The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger”.  The setup:  A long distance couple is video chatting about how she thinks her apartment is haunted.  As it turns out, it’s not actually haunted, and her boyfriend isn’t actually a long distance away.  Cool twist!  ALIENS!  That’s right, just as we all totally suspected (sarcasm)!  So, the aliens are using this girl as a way to birth little alien/human hybrids somehow, and then wiping her memory.  The segment ends showing us that this dude is doing the same things with another girls and aliens as well.  A pretty dark ending with no real resolution that leaves you feeling like that kind of thing just continues on!  Love it!

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“10/31/98”.  The date of this recording; aka Halloween 1998.  This is the last film we see in the movie.  A group of buddies get all dressed up to go out to a party with, of course, their hidden camera.  The house the arrive at for the party turns out to be haunted and a girl they “save” from the house ends up being some sort of ghost.  As they are making their get-away with her in the car she stops the car right in the middle of some train tracks and all the dudes die in the car.  The end.  Keeping with the vibe of this whole movie where the bad stuff happens and never really gets resolved, this film fits right in!  It was a suspenseful little ride and I really enjoyed them all going into a freaking haunted house and then trying to make the best of it.  Classic.

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I wanted to give this film a legit review because it’s one of my favorites.  I really like the found footage format, and the anthology style breaks it up to be more enjoyable/ easily digestible.  Compared to something like “The Last Exorcism” which is all one long found footage film in one style, this anthology gives you several shorter films with multiple styles.  All of the directing in this film was great, and each of the stories were absolutely memorable.  I’ll admit it I couldn’t stop saying “I like you” to my wife after watching “Amateur Night”.  (Once you watch it you’ll know what I’m talking about!)

Overall, I have to give this film a 5/5 rating:

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Closing comments:  V/H/S is fantastic.  The fact that it’s an anthology keeps things varied and interesting, and the found footage aspect really appeals to that “this could be real” feeling.  If you haven’t seen the film yet, what are you waiting for?!  It’s available to stream on Netflix now so there’s really no reason not to check it out.  This is a movie I’ll be recommending for years to come and it’s something I wouldn’t mind having in my personal collection.  (Though, I’ll admit it, as a poor college student I streamed it on Netflix and still haven’t purchased my own copy.  But it’d be a great birthday or graduation gift!)  There are definitely people this film won’t appeal to, and those are people who aren’t too fond of found footage horror.  If you happen to be one of those people and you’re set in your ways you might want to give this one a pass, because it’s heavy on shaky found footage.  For everyone else, check it out and let me know what you think in the comments below!  

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The Strangers (2008) – A Review

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The Strangers was released to theaters May of 2008, long before I really took the dive off the deep end into horror movies.  I hadn’t even heard of this one until a couple of weeks ago when the wife told me a blogger girl she follows said it’s one of the scariest movies she’s ever seen.  Just hearing that alone made me intrigued beyond belief!  I immediately checked it out on IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes to learn more and find out that it received less than stellar reviews, with a 6.2 rating (out of 10) on IMDb and 45% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Undaunted, I watched this trailer for the film on YouTube to see about making my own opinion…

“Ho-ly shit!  That was a creepy trailer!”  Followed by, “I have to watch this!”.  So I finally got around to watching it last night and was pleasantly surprised.  My thoughts…

The Strangers is one of the scariest movies I’ve watched since I started getting serious about horror in January 2014.  The premise of the movie is simple:  After a failed marriage proposal, a young couple goes back to an isolated vacation home where they get terrorized by three “strangers” in creepy masks.

It’s the middle of the night after a wedding where James unsuccessfully proposed to Kristen, who clearly said “no”.  For some reason they still decide to go back to a remote vacation home together.  After she takes a bath and he calls a buddy to come pick him up in the morning, they get a knock on the door from an unexpected visitor.  It’s a girl asking for someone they don’t know so James tells her she has the wrong house and sends her on her way.  This is pretty funny because they are kind of in the middle of nowhere, so how could this girl really have the wrong house?!  Pretty unlikely, I’d say!  After that he decides it would be a great time to leave for a few to go pick up some more cigarettes for Kristen.  When James leaves, the fun begins.

We start to hear knocks on the door and other suspicious noises.  Not only that, but a creepy masked dude appears inside the house right behind Kristen in the kitchen (!!!!!) but she never notices, and he disappears before she can catch on.  Kinda makes you wonder though, if he wanted to kill her, why not just do it then?  I guess that wouldn’t be much of a fun movie though, would it?  More fun to play with your victims for a couple of hours!  After more knocks and bangs, and creepy little things continue to happen and Kristen is beyond freaked out, James decides to finally come back.  Perfect timing too, because things were really starting to heat up!  …or so we thought.  That was only the beginning.

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More knocks, bangs, bumps… even a failed attempt to get away from these crazy masked invaders!  Can they find another way to escape?  Is there a way to get a cell phone to work?  Or maybe cry out for help to someone on an old radio out in the barn?  For the most part it’s formulaic scare tactics that many have seen for years in horror movies.  But I don’t think it can really just be written off on that basis.  The Strangers is a great movie despite using some good old tricks!  The ambience of the film is top-notch thanks to some great set design and some even better sound design.  The sound is sparse and I felt it was extremely realistic as to what an actually home invasion would feel like.

The acting:  Scott Speedman is just okay as James and plays his role just fine, though he doesn’t really seem to add anything special to the role.  Liv Tyler as Kristen was great and really had me empathizing and rooting for her all the way through.  I don’t think there was any award-winning acting happening here, but I was definitely believing every bit of it as I sat in the dark by myself with headphones on watching intently.  The killers were god damn CREEPY to say the least!  And that leads me to my next point…  I can handle ghosts, ghouls, aliens, vampires, monsters, you name it, because I don’t truly believe they are real.  But when it comes human cruelty, that shit is real, and home invasions do happen.  There are bad people in the world, and that’s what scares me the most about movies like this.  It’s really not outside the realm of possibility.

Overall, I have to give this film 5/5 rating:

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I gave it a 5/5 because I really felt it was an effective horror movie.  There were a lot of times where I felt legitimately scared, I’ll admit it!  And I haven’t felt like that in a while.  I enjoyed watching this movie a lot and I hope people don’t get turned off from the movie by the lower ratings out there.  It’s obviously been years since this came out, but if you haven’t seen it yet, you definitely need to check it out.

So, if you haven’t seen this movie, your homework is to go watch it and let me know what you think!  If you have already seen it, let me know what you think in the comments down below!  I’d really love to hear what you thought of the movie, and of course any other movie recommendations you have, questions, comments, or just whatever is on your mind.

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A Descent Into Horror

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I’ve never been much of a horror movie guy.  Sure, I’d watch the occasional scary movie, but then after I’d pay for it because I could never let go of what I saw.  It was almost like I’d get so immersed in it that I couldn’t get back to reality where ghosts, zombies, and other evil things did not exist.  Laying in bed after watching the movie I would replay the gruesome scenes in my head.  The next morning in the shower I would have thoughts of something evil coming in to get me while I’m at my most vulnerable, naked, in the shower.

That’s all changed now.  2014 has been the year that sparked an interest in horror movies for me.  Always being the kind of person who loves Science Fiction and Fantasy movies, I don’t think it’s that far of a stretch to jump over to the horror genre.  Now I can’t get enough.  I’m a huge fan of other horror blogs such as my absolute favorite, “The Horror Club”, and I’m a frequent stalker of the Reddit subforum, /r/horror, aka “Dreadit”.  Things like the “/r/horror’s Top 50 Horror Films of All Time” have provided me with a framework for must-see horror films, and the awesome reviews on The Horror Club have added to my backlog as well.

So who am I?  That’s not really important.  I will say that I’m a married late-20’s guy from Northern California just to paint a little bit of background for you.  I don’t have any “real-life” friends who share my love for horror films, so I decided to write about it.