WARNING: THIS BLOG CONTAINS BODYCOUNT. HIGH RISK OF SPOILERS. ENTER IF YOU DARE.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Short Shear Terror: Chainsaw (2015)

Chainsaw (2015)
Rating: ***1/2
Starring:  James Frey, Kirby Bliss Blanton, Logan Paul

Eight and a half minutes long. Produced by Eli Roth of the Hostel franchise. Yep. This is gonna be a fun one.

At a seaside funfair, a man with a chainsaw nonchalantly walks to the backroom of a haunted house attraction, apparently to work as a hired spook. Of course, with the man's quite demeanor (and this being a short horror flick), we all can tell something's not right and dismemberment soon happens left and right.

Originally made as a sort of sneak peek for a possible feature film, Chainsaw has quite a simple premise that harks back to classic horror stories of dark rides with deadly little secrets. It's pretty straightforward to what it wanted to do and we can easily tell this with the killer's quick succession of murdering five victims in such a short running time. Some may find this predictable and I will not argue with that fact, but this little devil packed enough blood and guts to satisfy bloodthirsty gorehounds and I like the fact that they went on with it in gruesome flair and a bit of dark humor.

It's a quick slice of gory horror pie so there's also very little to argue about in terms of writing and characterization. The victims are victims, the unknowing bystanders are just unknowing bystanders, and our nameless killer is just a nameless killer, though we are shown that he likes to eat raw meat from his victims and that this little thrill kill might not be his last. Special effects are undoubtedly the short's key player as juicy red corn syrup and chunky latex parts are everywhere once the climactic slaughtering begins and even when it ends, having an artsy touch to them with nasty slow-mo close-ups that kinda reminds me of a dismemberment scene from the cheesy cult classic slasher Pieces (1982).

As of writing this, it's been two years since Chainsaw was posted at Crypt TV, a website Eli Roth co-founded. Whether the attempt to make something out of this short failed or it's taking its sweet sweet time fermenting into a genuine feature flick, I will say that this tiny terror ticked every box in making a good fun slasher. If you need quick fix of blood and body parts, then try giving this Chainsaw a gander and see the small buzz it made for itself.

Bodycount:
1 male decapitated with a chainsaw
1 male bisected on the shoulder with a chainsaw
1 female sliced in half with a chainsaw
1 female seen killed with a chainsaw
1 male seen dismembered
Total: 5

Monday, October 30, 2017

Militant Bodycounter: The Guest (2014)

The Guest (2014)
Rating: ****
Starring: Dan Stevens, Sheila Kelley, Maika Monroe

One would remember Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett as the filmmaking duo responsible for the stylish and devilishly fun home invasion/slasher melting pot You're Next (2011), as well as the slow burning yet hypnotizing serial killer thriller A Horrible Way to Die (2009) and a couple of better entries for the first two V/H/S/ anthology horror movies. Now, we'll look into their 2014 hit The Guest, which is far from the standard horror flick you would expect in a slasher blog like this, but it has enough intrigue, kill count and even a few shoutouts to horror flicks to earn a warm welcome here in StickyRed.

Still mourning over the loss of their son Caleb who died in action back at Afghanistan, the Petersons get an unexpected visitor named David one early morning, claiming to be Caleb's marine buddy. He is there to look after them because their late son "asked him to", a promise our titular guest is determined to make good of and a proposition the Petersons were quick to accept.

Well, most of the Petersons: a bit suspicious of this is Anna, the only daughter of the family and now the remaining eldest. She believes there's more to David's near-perfection as a house guest than what he is showing and her suspicions are later proven pin-point, unfortunately, as David has a secret worth killing over and anybody (and I mean anybody) in the way is fair game once he believes he's compromised.

Being frank, The Guest's core plot isn't entirely new if you look back at movies like The Stepfather (1987) and its sequels (and underrated remake), as well as Mikey (1992), Orphan (2009) and many other horror flicks involving suspicious and/or murderous adoptive/adopting family members. It's quite easy to tell that something is up with David's boy-next-door persona and we are eventually made aware of this once he starts talking about acquiring guns in one scene and nonchalantly killing off the suppliers in another. Basically, we are more or less watching a ticking time bomb of a narrative that's scheduled to go off once the climactic curveball is upon us, only the wait is just as fun as the last act it is building to.

What The Guest does that not a lot of its ilk seems to grasp perfectly (or attempted at all) is create a worthwhile diversion to an otherwise predictable scenario. By this I meant that most of the time, movies like The Stepfather or Orphan gave more focus on uncovering the dark secrets of the painfully obvious offending party, molding said offending party into a much more obvious threat that needs to be stopped. In The Guest, however, even after we are made aware of David's potential murder-happy persona, we are still shown a more acceptable side of him as a man looking out for a family and doing a good job at it.

For a good mulch of the time, we see David help Laura, the mother, with the chores, taught the family's youngest Luke how to stand up against his bullies (beating a good number of them up in the process), and may have done something to have Spencer, the father, suddenly climb the corpotate ladder at his job, all of these with an uncomfortably eerie yet somewhat genuine smile and soft spoken persona only Downtown Abbey's Dan Stevens can muster with good looks and charm. It's these awesome moments that made the David character quite a likable chap, thus adding tension and mystery to the plot as we are never solidly sure what he is capable of, what he really is and/or his actual purpose being there until the hour mark. By then, The Guest turns the table against us and kinda recalls its horror elements, bringing forth an odd mix of slasher flick killing spree and action movie shoot'em up.

This transition is far from perfect as we were never given a clear explanation as to why David suddenly goes 360 from his protective big brother mode and go Terminator on everybody's arses. Yes, they did explain he is programmed by something shady and there was supposed to be a scene that go into this in more details, but Wingard and Barrett decided to cut it out to make David more mysterious. So what exactly this programming does or what it is for werenever brought up and this is understandably upsetting for some as it made the David character lazily transformed from a potential anti-hero to something of a slasher villain packing heat (And a box cutter), throwing away all of the development made just for a more explosive and exploitative final act.

Personally, the sudden transformation of both David and the subtle tone of the movie would have been upsetting for me, but seeing the layout of the story was already familiar to me genre-wise, the impact is forseen and though I do wished they planned this twist a bit better, the resulting product is still entertainingly fun and impressive.

What I personally love about The Guest, apart from Steven's portrayal as a first-likable-then-homicidal human weapon, is that it has a grooving retro feel to it from its editing to its soundtrack despite having a modernized setting, giving the entire movie a timeless feel. There's offerings for both thriller and horror enthusiasts in the later carnage as we are given a chance to see David in gunheld action, as well as him delivering some decent kills in both combustive and slicing manner, two in particular (my favorites) involve an unsettling scene where live grenades were tossed at a diner full of innocent bystanders and another at a highschool horror maze in which the film went full slasher movie on us.

Now, if there is anything that I could point as flaws that really bugged me, it'll be the Peterson parent's quick approval of having David around just because he showed little proofs that could have meant anything else. (I mean, did David really got those dog tags from Caleb the way he explained it?) It's a typical horror cliche of "useless/clueless adults" which mostly sets grown ups as deserving meat for the slaughter for being blind of the danger they are getting into and though I get that Mrs. Peterson might be this easily persuaded as she is still greiving over the loss of her boy, I find it too easy for Papa Peterson to be just as easily welcoming after one scene of skepticism. I guess it is a good thing that most of the focus of (kinder) David interactions were on Laura and her son Luke as they were the easiest to relate to and work the best with the kind of plotting The Guest was going for.

A fun genre film that molds the thrilling and the horrifying in one antihero-centered package, I can honestly say that The Guest is a winner in my book, whether its last act works for a lot of folks or not. If you love your good thrillers with a side of horror and character, then this one's a guaranteed definite keeper!

Bodycount:
1 male shot on the head
1 male shot
1 male shot
1 male shot on the head
1 male shot dead with an automatic rifle
1 male shot on the face with an automatic rifle
1 male shot dead with an automatic rifle
1 female knifed on the chest
1 male shot dead
1 male mangled in car collision, shot
1 victim implied shot, blood splatter seen
1 female shot
A number of people presumably killed in grenade explosion
1 male had this throat sliced with a box cutter
1 male had his wrist sliced open with a box cutter, bled to death
1 male implied murdered, uniform seen
Total: 15+

Monday, October 23, 2017

New Blogger Blog is a Webcomic...

So yeah, I decided to expand my next project here in Blogger for more exposure. It'll be a gag webcomic series about a demoness named Cass and her often unusual adventures living in the mortal world.

Well, try living in the mortal world...

Hope you guys will give this one a try!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Dream Girls Can Be A Nightmare: The Babysitter (2017)

The Babysitter (2017)
Rating: ****
Starring: Judah Lewis, Samara Weaving, Robbie Amell

By this time, we all know babysitting's a doomed profession should you ever find yourself living in a horror film: if you're not being stalked by a maniac in a William Shatner mask, you're probably being taunted by a creepy voice on the other end of a phone call, or finding out that the kid you are looking after is really the son of the devil. Or not really a kid at all! Yep, babysitters sure get the bad end of the tooth-and-nail trappings as a horror cliche quite a lot, don't they? But what if we turn things around a bit? What if the babysitter is the bad end?

Twelve-year old Cole (Judah Lewis) is, in his and everybody else's word, a pussy. He is afraid of needles, spiders, driving a car on his own and a very dorky bully who I'm sure wouldn't last 30 seconds in a real fight. As timid as he is, Cole is still lucky as he does have a few peeps looking out for him, mainly his adorkable parents, his best (girl) friend Melanie, and Bee (Samara Weaving), his family's got-to babysitter.

Now, let's discuss Bee; of all the babysitters you'd wish be real, she is definitely one of them! Sexy, pretty, witty, blonde, hardass and badass, yet just as big of a scifi nerd as Cole is, Bee's undoubtedly too cool to hang around with a little dork like Cole but by the luck of the heavens, here she is, again happily looking after him while his parents go out for the night. (probably to have sex)

As the two have the time of their lives discussing their dream "galactic team-up", baking pizzas, watching old Westerns and talking about that cute neighbor girl who Cole may have a bit of crush on, it wasn't long before Bee temps our boy his first beer and, suspecting his babysitter's trying to get him drunk and drowzy to have her own private time, Cole feigns being sleepy so he can sneak a peek at what happens whenever he clocks out. Oh, how he wished he hadn't done that.

True enough, Bee invited some friends over for a PG-rated game of Spin the Bottle, mainly consisting of bitchy cheerleader Allison (Bella Thorne), uber jock Max (Robbie Amell), intense goth Sonya (Hana Mae Lee), the quip-ready John (Andrew Bachelor) and, an apparent new addition to the crew, dorkus magnus Samuel (Doug Haley). What should have been a hot kiss-a-thon between these slasher victim stereotypes, however, Cole instead saw them murder Samuel for a blood ritual and it seems they'll be needing one more thing to complete it: the blood of an innocent. AKA Cole's.

From there, The Babysitter transforms from a dorky coming-of-age story for the millennial youth nerd to something I like to call a "reverse slasher", wherein Bee's group of atypical (and mostly stupid) maniacs hunts down Cole after he is made aware of their secret blood pact with the underworld and it is up to the kid to stop them with any means necessary, apparently including blowing one up with a fat firecracker. It's a twist on the old bodycount flick that, though isn't new (see Hunter's Blood (1987), Psympatico (2014) and, at some extent, You're Next (2011)), still delivers all the gooey red fun and thrilling chases a by-the-book slasher could, with a bonus genuine Edgar Wright/John Hughes-inspired comedy that a bit of a rarity nowadays.

A fun thing about The Babysitter is that, early on, it has the makings of a loud, brash and obnoxious teen horror flick that could have tried too hard that it'll flop. Infested with pop songs and psuedo-referential preteen dialogue, dragging along some crazy visuals and camera effects for the sake of being hip and fun, one would have assume it would go downhill after 10 to 30 minutes but, quite surprisingly, not only did this film found a way to maintain the sarcastic self-referencing nature of the plot and keep it enjoyable thanks to its strangely upbeat direction, skillful writing and wonderful talents involved, but it also found a way to have a bit of a heart with it and slows down whenever it is needed to.

The comedy and exploitation elements are fun and all (Damn, that girl-on-girl kiss! Damn that Andrew Bachelor is friggin hilarious! Damn, why is Max shirtless for the rest of the film?!), and one can always find something exciting from a good stalk-and-stab especially if you're as big of a fan of slasher flicks as I am and have a good appreciation for (mostly) practical effects (keep an "eye" on a fire poker kill. It's "mind" bogglingly brutal!), but what made The Babysitter much more memorable is the chemistry between Cole and Bee. It's difficult to explain, but the way they're both written shows a genuine friendship between the two characters and that they really do care with one another even if shit hits the fan. It's this kind of characterization that kept me glued until the end of the film, just rooting to see how much both Cole and Bee grew up in this situation, and I have no one else to thanks but Weaving and Lewis' performances as their respective roles. These two are gonna go places!

Marvelous as The Babysitter is as a wittily-scribed bloody teen horror comedy, it is not without its tiny flaws which mostly consists on how too obscure and strange the villains can get (stop in the middle of murdering your victim just to teach them how to stand up against a bully? As funny as that is, I'm still a bit confused what the point of that was.) and a few moments that are too outrageous even for a movie involving Satanic blood rituals. (car crash without a seat belt not equals dead driver?) They're little nitpicks, easily looked over for the sake of being fun and funny while actually getting results so it's still all good!

It's for the best to experience The Babysitter on its freshest, which means it's time to get off your butt (or don't since it is available on Netflix as of writing this) and see one of this year's best horror comedy! A perfect midnight movie for your warm popcorn and chugs of soda!

Bodycount:
1 male stabbed on the head with daggers
1 male had his throat cut with a dagger
1 male gets a fire poker thrown through his head, torn open
1 male falls and impaled neck-first through a trophy
1 female immolated by a firework (twice)
1 male had his neck tangled on a rope, hanged
1 female had her head shot off with a shotgun
1 male attacked with a knife, presumably killed
Total: 8

Therapy Doll Charles: Cult of Chucky (2017)

Cult of Chucky (2017)
Ratings: **1/2
Starring: Allison Dawn Doiron, Alex Vincent, Brad Dourif

Last we have heard of Chucky cinematic-wise, our pint-sized possessed slasher doll went back to being "straight scary" in 2013's Curse of Chucky, the franchise's 5th sequel doubling as its first direct to video entry. The movie was okay for most parts despite a few "restrictions" the production's considerably smaller budget lead to: Chucky often looks different from one shot to another and his animatronics doesn't look as fluid as the first five films he starred at. There's also the matter that entire film mostly takes place in a single location, showing the budget limits, and its writing and acting could have been better.

Now, I can appreciate a movie for just being fun and Curse thankfully manages to be that despite its flaws. It seems a lot of people thought so too, so it's not so surprising that another sequel is expected and that leaves me wondering: will lightning strike twice? Will this Cult of Chucky work better than Curse? Or worse?

Set a few months after the last film wherein Chucky murdered almost all of her family, paraplegic Mia is now being institutionalized into believing that she herself committed the killing spree out of spite. As a way to better herself, she is moved to another psychiatric clinic where she is to socialize with other recovering nut jobs suffering from different cases of trauma or schizophrenic tendencies.

Rightfully bitter about the murders, Mia's troubles are about to get more unsettling when her group's psychiatrist decided to buy a Good Guy doll (Apparently now available at Hot Topic!) for their sessions as a mean for her and the others to vent out their frustrations or act out fantasies. Adding devastating salt to Mia's wounds, she also gets a visit from a "Miss Valentine" the following day, who claims to be the new (and last) guardian looking after Mia's niece Alice, orphaned after the murders. She's there to (nonchalantly) break the news that Alice "died of a broken heart" sometime after Mia got thrown into intensive care and she's there to hand over Alice's Good Guy Doll as way to remember her by. (Did I mentioned Miss Valentine look awfully a lot like Jennifer Tilly?...wait.)

Eventually, a new wave of deaths makes slim pickings out of Mia's circle of troubled individuals, forcing her to try and convince everyone that Chucky's back and killing them all one by one. In the meantime, certain that a killer doll is indeed behind Mia's family's massacre, a now-adult gun-totting Andy Barclay, the franchise's three-time final boy, keeps an eye on Mia's confinement, all the while being taunted by something, or someone that puts the recent deaths on a stranger note: Chucky's decapitated yet still living head!

Looking at it with a critical eye, Cult of Chucky can be seen as a mixed bag of ideas being shuffled around with no clear thought on which one it really wanted to be, or at least what to focus on. At one end, it appears Cult wanted to do a serious psychological slasher flick as we get to follow a lot on Mia's confinement, depression and possible paranoia as a wrongfully accused individual, with a few scenes made to look like as if she might be in fact losing her head and could be the one ending people left and right thanks to Chucky's influence. If given the chance, this would have been a bold new direction the franchise could have gone to, something that was actually suggested in the early drafts of the original Child's Play wherein Young Andy was suspected of the murders a bit longer before the reveal was made.

Sadly, whatever attempts Cult tried with this horror-of-the-mind approach are inevitably underwhelmed by the fact that it is, of course, a Chucky film. One with an even stronger connection to the entire Child's Play franchise with references to events and characters from the previous six films. With that, it's not hard to imagine that our infamous Lake Shore Strangler is, no doubt, back in action and out doing what he does best. The only catch this time is that there's a suspected twist that I wouldn't really count as a spoiler since the film itself practically gave it away "as a playful suspicion" about halfway into the movie (or, heck, if you're smart enough, around the first act of the whole friggin movie), but I am just gonna hint that it does explains why lil' Chucky is out killing people at a nuthouse while his still living (and horribly tortured) head is hanging out with Andy at the same time.

This brand of craziness shows Cult remembers its supernatural slasher roots, and it gladly still delivers the familiar grue and voodoo mayhem the franchise is known for, but only after juggling the bodycounting elements with artsy psycho thriller shenanigans for about 2/3rds of the movie. It's this cluttered direction that, personally, made Cult of Chucky uneven in its tone and may have missed a few opportunities to better itself, like the re-introduction of Andy Barclay as a potential secondary protagonist or workable side character who, unfortunately, spent doing almost nothing here but torture Chucky and just sounding badass. ("Almost" since, at the near end, he did gut out a Chucky with nothing but his bare hands to retrieve a hidden gun, which is pretty cool.) But much like the flawed yet passable Curse of Chucky that came before this, as messy as its direction and tone are, I can't say that I didn't enjoy Cult.

There's a lot of room to improve on, this is true, but I do appreciate Cult's efforts to try something entirely different for the franchise like the introduction of (sort of) strong psychological elements into the fray as well as breaking the rules of its own mythos and hints the return of the new age black comedy started by Bride of Chucky. As any good slasher, the killings have a range of being subtle to downright brutal, packing good old-fashioned practical gore effects, and some of the dialogue by our quip-friendly killer doll have a unsettling creepiness to them as we get to see (or hear) more of his sociopathic tendencies. (Though, this doesn't mean we don't get to see Chucky being his insanely darkly comical self. Watch him have a conversation with "himself". It might not be all that much, but I couldn't stop laughing at the casualness of it all!) Brad Dourif is still cool as Chucky, even if the dolls still have that obvious robotic look on their animatronics save their faces. (Which are actually a lot more emotive compared to Curse's) Fiona Douriff as Mia may not have done much as a more "active" final girl thanks to both her character's handicap and psychological situation, but the brooding turn for her Mia was an interesting watch for most parts and I think Fiona did a fairly good job as a tolerable bitter lead for us to follow.

In the end (figuratively and literally), Cult bid us farewell  with a strong hint that its far from over, throwing at us even more faces from the past (entries of the series). Did these cameos got my attention? Yes, yes it did. Am I hoping to see more? Yes, yes I am, but with the way this entry was mostly handled, I am going to say that a good chunk of my expectations for a good Chucky sequel in the future was "wounded" to say the least. For now, all I can say is Cult of Chucky's passable: it's entertaining enough not to be considered the worst, but missed too much marks to be considered as one of the better entries in the series. If you're a die hard Chucky fan, this is still worth your time, but for everybody else, welp, let's see if anything good is out direct to video lately...

Bodycount:
1 girl mentioned dead
1 female found bled to death from a wrist cut
1 female decapitated by falling window shards
1 female choked on killer's arm, had her larynx torn out from the mouth
1 male slaughtered with a broken bottle, letter opener and powerdrill
1 male had his throat cut with a nail file
1 male had his face repeatedly stomped
1 female seen with a powerdrill through her gut
1 male gets powerdrilled through the head
Total: 9

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Father Anubis' Hounds: Jackals (2017)

Jackals (2017)
Rating: **
Starring: Deborah Kara Unger, Stephen Dorff, Johnathon Schaech

Looking back at notorious groups and communities started by the likes of Charles Manson, Jim Jones or that one bald Heaven's Gate guy who believes aliens will save everyone's souls via suicide, one can agree that brainwashed cults are pretty terrifying for the lengths they do to show their devotion, which nothing short of an obvious reason why cult themed horror flicks are still a staple to this day, albeit in varying quality in terms of scares, thrills and seriousness. Among all of them, though, how many ever tried tackling the subject of deprogramming a cult member?

Set in the 1980s, Jackals starts with a cold opening of someone's point-of-view, quietly breaking into a house and entering the sleeping owners' room to steal some cash. The intruder, finding a pair of scissors, then proceeds to snip a few strands of hair from the sleeping couple, only for both of them to wake up and prompting the intruder to stab them to death. Now with a need to satisfy their bloodlust, the intruder next enters the couple's daughter's room, only for her (and us) to realize that the murderous figure is her brother; this, sadly, did little to save her from being strangled to death by her own kin.

One credit sequence later, we watch another family waiting in a backwoods cabin for someone to bring back their teenage boy. That someone is Jimmy, a military trained "deprogrammer" who's supposed to have the skills to undo brainwashing, something the family needs right now as their estranged boy, Justin, joined a notorious murder cult.

Now for Jimmy, kidnapping, drugging, driving back with and restraining Justin in the cabin is the easy part. To deprogram him, however, proves to be a challenge as not only is Justin utterly convinced that his real family (as in the cult) is out there, but his real "real" family isn't all that functional themselves; through the course of the movie, it shows that Mr and Mrs Powell separated after one of them was caught cheating, Justin's brother Campbell has a short temper, and Justin knocked up his girlfriend Samantha, who is now taking care their baby girl, Zoe. Their situation worsens, unfortunately, when the cult itself decided to show up and surround the cabin, intent on killing those responsible for kidnapping their "brother" and getting him back.

See, I like this concept. Perhaps there are already films tackling cult deprogramming before Jackals but this one is a first for me and I love the fact that it's even one bit slasher flick and another bit siege movie. One can imagine an intense psychological mind game between the deprogrammer and the cultist while a family fights off a murderous group from the plot alone but, perhaps, I expected too much.

Sadly, while the psychological aspects is there in the film's flow, some directions it took made its outcomes too obvious and almost borderline the film into tedious territories. Without giving away much, let's just say that a supposedly important player in the cast gets killed off too soon (and not so spectacularly, if I may add), leaving the rest of the "group" to deal with the brainwashing matter on their own and failing miserably multiple times. Perhaps it's the movie's attempt to toy with the audience's hopes that the drama brewing within this "group" would chip into the psyche of a cult member and somehow reverse whatever bullshit they are believing (plus there is that one teeny-tiny moment where Justin seems to recognize his mother), but, again, seeing how everyone in this "group" handle one another through the film, the results are painfully obvious and it could have been handled better. (In case you don't know who the "group" consists of, see paragraph# 5. Spoiler alert.)

This left Jackals more recognizable as siege and backwoods slasher hybrid of sorts, which would have been fine if the slasher antics are anywhere as good as the opening act, and the siege was more, what's the word? Perfectly timed? For me, what made movies like The Strangers (2009), or Them (2006) work so well is that their suspense has a build-up; we get to know the characters and their situation first before the movie creeps up the scares and shocks until its chaotic climax. Jackals, on the other hand, reveals the full extent of what the family is dealing with a way lot early and basically left them (and us), alternately waiting for one of two things to happen for the rest of the run: a dumb plan or an attack.

To be fair, some of the plans the family throws around to survive the night wouldn't sound so dumb (and dare I say might have even lead to some decent thrills and surprises) if the movie hadn't rushed itself. If you ever saw Adam Wingard's You're Next and recall that one scene where a character plans to run out for help only to meet a deadly piano wire neck-first, I find that nasty death one of the better executed kills from that film since there was very little hint that the trap was already there. In Jackals, we have a similar situation where one of the characters decided to make a run for their cars while another distracts the cult, giving enough time for at least a chance for the plan to work. By that time, though, we are more or less made well aware of the odds the cultists have over the family, so let's just say the painful results later didn't have the same impact as seeing a lady prepping herself to a sprint, only to get her throat sliced open by a nearly-invisible wire.

This is just some of the few examples of Jackal's missed opportunities for some good surprises and shocks thanks to it's mishandled execution, something that unfortunately affected to what I was hoping would make up for these flaws: the slasher sequences. Now, as a slasher, Jackal's opening killing spree is perhaps it's best set of murders as the rest tried to take a more dramatic approach seeing this is a cult; instead of crowding around the house and simply use their number to muscle their way in to get their "brother", the cult leader (simply referred to as "Father", who wears a bitchin' Anubis mask and leather trench coat) would rather intimidate them into handing the teen over and send out his underlings one by one (or by a small group) to siege the cabin and kill whoever gets in the way. Nice approach, but the killings were tame and whatever action they got going were pretty forgetful. The only time they decided to do something a bit more complex than dropping someone dead or strangling them was at the near end as the cult inevitably got the upper hand, but it felt late in the party and all interest I once have at the beginning of the film is gone.

So I've been negative about Jackals so far, was there anything I enjoyed about it? Welp, apart from the cool-looking Father and his animal-masked flock of killers and the first 20 to 30 minutes of the movie, and that one scene involving one of our casts hiding underneath the cult's cars, not a lot really. The acting felt stone cold for a whole lot of the run s if the casts aren't even that invested in the story, most of the script is technically just our family pleading and begging Justin to remember and snap out of it as if it'll work in a snap of a finger, and the ending looked like as if nobody knew how to finish this damn movie and just cliffhangers everything. I want to believe Jackals would have been a fairly fun ride if it was handled differently, but truth be told, it is what it is now, a poorly paced and directed backwoods slasher-siege-cult monstrosity, and there's nothing much I can do but move on and see the next 2017 horror offering that I might enjoy. Perhaps another cult-related movie with a talking doll and Jennifer Tilly...

Bodycount:
1 female stabbed on the throat with scissors
1 male stabbed with scissors
1 female strangled
1 male brained to death
1 male bled to death from a gutted belly
1 male strangled to death
1 male dropped to his death
1 male hacked with a pickaxe
1 female had her throat slashed with a knife
1 repeatedly stabbed, hacked with an axe
1 male dies from shock (?)
Total: 11

(Y'know, it suddenly occurred to me: why exactly did the family have to do this in the middle of the woods? I mean, surely, a more crowded area like a town or a city would do, right? Heck, since this involves a cult member, why not drive all the way back to a town, convince a priest to borrow the church for one or several nights and just do the deprogramming there?

Or why didn't Mr. Jimmy brought along some help in case things go South and sour real fast? I mean, heck, I'm sure a couple of army buddies would love to kill off a cult member or two in case they decided to pop up...

Missed opportunities!)