Friday, May 30, 2014

A Question I don't wanna Answer: Do You wanna Know a Secret (2001)

Do You Wanna Know A Secret (2001)
Rating: 0
Starring: Michael Sarysz, Dorie Barton, Joseph Lawrence

Waste my time with a bad movie, I say. Who knows, maybe I'll like it, I say! 

Why put myself through it, even? Experience? Well, there's that, but after spending an hour and twenty something minutes with this movie, I highly doubt I want to keep said "experience". Here's why:

The plot has us looking into yet again another group of partying teens in Spring Break, offed one by one by a cloaked killer with a ridiculous-looking mask (E.T. knows where you live!!!) who keeps leaving a message for the rest of the kids to find: Do You Wanna Know a Secret? Honestly, I don't give a flying feather what it is if it takes 40 something minutes into the film before anything interesting happens, but it may have something to do with a friend of theirs that was axed a year ago.

But seriously, no one in here deserves my attention; they're plain rowdy teens who want to party until the end of time (or the end of Spring Break. Or of their life. Whichever one goes first), feeling barely any remorse for their dead buddies. For all its worth, I would really want to see these kids die off in an entertaining manner just to make up for their lack of character and yet the film fails even to provide that, leaving us with cheap throat cuts and criminally high count of offscreen kills.

What's worse than dull characters and murders? How about a plodding direction? Or a lame-as-ass twist ending that's hardly even inspired? The kind that makes you roll your eyes and shrug in disappointment that these guys can't even make up a good reason for their killer to be chopping off heads so they have to rip one off from another movie. (Mortuary (1981) anyone?)

Yes, this is barely a functioning slasher for my standards and it deserves to be forgotten into non-existence. Do You Wanna Know a Secret? No. Wank off, movie!

1 male hacked with an axe
1 male knifed to death, words carved on chest
1 female found with throat cut
1 female gets a throat cut with hunting knife
1 male gets a throat cut with hunting knife
1 male and 1 female murdered off camera
1 male found beheaded
1 male impaled with a candle holder, shot to death
Total: 9

Monday, May 26, 2014

101 Maniacs: Admin's Top Slashers 30-21

*As of 2014*

Inspired and tempted by this delicious countdown,  Here be my personal Top 101 Slasher movies that really stood out the most!

Note: These are in no particular order (save the last ten) and they're all personal picks, so, nope. Your faves or your orders does not matter here! Muahahaha!...ha!

30. Terror (1978)
Another criminally underrated and under-discussed slasher involving the cast and crew working on a horror movie about a witch's curse being killed off by a knife wielding assailant and plenty of gruesome accidents. Pretty much one of the earlier stepping stone for supernatural bodycount films!

Bloody Best Bits: The climax's poltergeist attack that must be seen to be believed!

29. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
One of the true worthwhile entries after Freddy Krueger got his lime light as one of mainstream's hottest and most recognized monster, wherein we watch a group of insomniacs in a clinic get picked off by the man of their nightmares.

Bloody Best Bits: Freddy goes sky god on us as he puppeteers a poor chap into falling.

28. Superstition
The melting pot of horror sub-genres that deserves a lot more credit for doing things right and entertainingly cheesy. When a lake's drained and an antique cross was taken out of its place, the spirit of a demonic witch unleashes a fury of bloodshed and mayhem to an unsuspecting family and everybody else that got in the way.

Bloody Best Bits: Too many to pick just one; we got a cool microwaved head, a cheesy witch drowning flashback, a man gets eviscerated by a flying buzzsaw, and perhaps my personal fave, a "staked head"

27. Hatchet
Gooey gore and old school slaughtering never looked so, well, gory! Adam Green's infamous splatter slasher showcases an unlikely group of tourists getting stranded in a haunted swamp that also happens to be the hunting ground of a deranged, misshapen killer hick.

Bloody Best Bits: a well done jaw ripping with practical and editing effects to beat.

26. Wrong Turn
A bare bone plot about some teens being hunted down by a trio of really deformed cannibalistic mountain men. Nothing complex or hard to swallow, just your typical backwoods slasher. One good reason to love it, honestly.

Bloody Best Bits: Somehow escaping into the thick branches atop of a tree, what was left of the group find themselves stalked by one of the freaks

25. Alice Sweet Alice
Perhaps the one slasher movie that turned me into a lapsed church goer with a religious skeptic view, a Catholic community is shaken when a young girl was murdered inside a church on what could have been her first communion. What soon follows is an investigation that leads to twists, turns and a whole lot of guilt.

Bloody Best Bits: The stairway attack is pretty nasty considering what was being stabbed then. Also calling in the best scene shot would be the murder of a horribly obese man.

24. Final Destination 5
Surviving a collapsing bridge, a group of co-workers find themselves hunted by Death itself, playing along with a new set of rules of who lives and who dies. Simply the best of all the sequels made for the franchise, featuring gloriously intense deaths, some characters worth rooting for, and one of the best surprise twist ending in slasher history.

Bloody Best Bits: The bridge premonition is simply tight, and too the first post-premonition death. Also, I don't know if this counts, but the opening credit is also the best I've seen.

23. Happy Birthday To Me
Fairly two hours long but worth it, the film had a group of wealthy students being picked off one by one by an assailant with seemingly no motive. Caught here is one survivor of an accident that nearly killed her some years ago if not for a risky operation on her brain. Perhaps this is linked to the murders?

Bloody Best Bits: The most of the kills are memorable for their novelty; one gets his face shredded on a running motorbike, another got killed with barbells, but the best would be the kish-kabob kill. Cringe Medal worthy!

22. The Prowler
Pacing issues aside, The Prowler's a fan favorite for a plenty of good reasons including realistic effects, hardcore brutality and a really cool looking killer. Celebrating their first dance after a bloody incident in the 1950s, a killer in a veteran's suit suddenly arrives to murder away some of these nubile teens.

Bloody Best Bits: Pictured above: a boy gets a nasty bayonet impalement which is brutally kept there until the killer's sure he's dead.

21. My Bloody Valentine (1981)
Thinking it's about time to lay the "town curse" to rest, a small community decided to celebrate Valentines the proper way again ever since some people were murdered years ago by a vengeful miner. Unfortunately, someone is making sure the legend of a Valentine-hating killer lives on and a high death toll soon follows. Similarly plotted to The Prowler but otherwise superior. 

Bloody Best Bits: When an old geezer-slash-doomsayer decided to prank some partygoers with a fake Killer Miner suit, he didn't expect the real one to show up and put his pickaxe to through a good view.

A Miner Situation: Miner's Massacre (2002)

Miner's Massacre (2002) (AKA "Curse of the Forty Niner")
Rating: ***
Starring: Karen Black, John Phillip Law, Richard Lynch

From the director that brought you the atrocious cult film Troll and gave Jason Voorhees a new kind of blood to slay in Friday The 13th Part 7: The New Blood, comes this rather ordinary slasher that still brought out the goods.

After discovering some gold buried in an old abandoned mine, a young digger is suddenly murdered by a recently revived zombie miner who obviously have no liking for anybody touching his treasure. But unknown to this undead killer, the man already called out to some of his buddies and informed them of his find. Now coming to collect their share, these teens will soon find out what awaits them and eventually be fighting and fleeing for their lives.

Not much to say about this film apart the fact that it's workable as a rented video for a boring weekend night. (Then again it was released in video so, purposed served?) The production looks pretty nice for a DTV release, but as of any slasher, the story's paper thin and barely inspired, having characters with little chemistry due to some weak scripting and just-passable acting.

Thankfully, there's blood and decent kills all through out, plus I really came to dig (pun) the cool concept of  having a murderous old western miner with a greedy (if not homicidal) streak for his gold. The pacing's well directed and the cheese value is entertaining otherwise, enough to overlook bad acting and overdone killer motives any day.

Miner's Massacre is obviously flawed with the same cliches and thespian trappings that made this horror subgenre look stale for the more sophisticated movie goers, but for the right kind of audience, this cheap and cheesy slasher did everything a hack and slash movie should be doing with a heart and should be praised for at least trying. Not bad for a video release, definitely worth a rent or for keeps.

1 male slashed on the face with knife
1 male hacked to death with pickaxe
1 female beheaded with knife
1 female hacked on the chest with pickaxe
1 female gets a thrown shovel to the neck
1 male caught on fire from car crash
1 female pickaxed on the back (flashback)
1 male repeatedly shot, later dies in the mines (flashback)
1 female caught on fire
1 male hacked on the chest with pickaxe, decimated by dynamite
Total: 10

Wish I May, Wish This film Might: Spliced (2002)

Spliced (AKA "The Wisher") (2002)
Rating: *1/2
Starring:  Ron Silver, Liane Balaban, Drew Lachey

Funny how a film you obsessively watched during a phase from your childhood can sometimes turn into something less worthy of your obsession by the time you re-watch it with a more experienced understanding.

Take Spliced for example, a low brow "slasher" movie about Mary, your average horror fanatic suffering from severe sleepwalking episodes that always end up with her screaming wide awake on the streets in the middle of the night. Her dad thinks her unhealthy obsession for fright flicks is the cause of her sleepwalks but Mary, of course, thinks this is just a load of bullcrap, so much so that she decided to go out one night to see a box-office slasher called The Wisher, much against her pa's wishes. (See what I did there? hehe) 

Unfortunately, tragedy strikes when pops swerves into a car crash on his way to get her off the theater. Six weeks after the incident, a guilt stricken Mary begins to see the same ghoulish character from the last horror movie she saw and it is somehow making some of her wishes come true in grisly fashion. (Want a day off from school? Arson! Want a friend to shut up? Tongue cut off!) It's not too long before Mary gets really suspicious and starts dwelling into the film one last time, hoping to find some answers before the death toll gets any higher.

I like the idea of wish-related slashers ever since I laid eyes on the first Wishmaster movie back when VHS was still popular but making one work with such a meager budget can and will always be challenging. Spliced certainly has a great plot but the execution is less than exciting as its satirical stabs where done more through cheesy dialogue than actual murders, putting up a kill count so low it's criminal. (Harm Count's pretty high, though. Perhaps it deserves a few points for that?)

If anything, Spliced wanted to do a more thought out look into violent horror movies and their effect on mentally unstable people who obsesses over them. We all been there and we should be able to relate to this, but the film's tone and budget fail to help improve this matter and it instead bore the heck out of us with lame twists, cheesy cliches and an underdeveloped story and characters. I could give some points up for the killer's awesome get-up but anything else is beyond passable.

Nothing really inspiring from this. Give it a shot when you want to waste some cable TV time.

1 male killed in car crash
1 female slashed across with glass shards
Total: 2

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Welcoming The King: My Day at the Philippine Premiere of Godzilla (2014)

Never thought I would get my chance to see this film on the very first day it would premiere on my country, but I do find the experience a little different from the last time Godzilla had his US reboot.

As far as I could remember, when I was a wee kinder, the marketing for 1998's GODZILLA was on every channel we surfed on, had candies and chocolates based on the film and even a KFC kid's meal with a collectible set of figurines. (One of which I still have today. Displayed along with my other kaiju related toys) For this film, it's a little sudden; a single trailer was played a week prior to the release, on a cable based channel that some might even own. It's a little disappointing, but seeing how unfaithful the last film was to the original, and how most of us Filipinos don't give jack shit about the Japanese Godzilla cuz, let's face it, we're a poor country and multi-culture isn't exactly our forte, I think it's for the better.

Fighting through a week worth of headache at work, some strange rash that's painfully healing on my leg right now (it's the weather, I'm sure of it) and fending of the temptation of spending some hard earned cash on some really cool geek merchandises ("Oh shit, lookie! It's a Doctor Who Sonic Screwdriver replica like the one I wanted for last Christmas!"), I finally get into this day, ate breakfast with my mum while helping out a bit with the chores before suiting myself for the big day. And by suit I meant I just wore my walking shorts and the baggiest T-shirt I got to hide my man-boobs, plus a hair band to hold back my growing mullet. (at least I think it's a mullet) I got to the nearest mall around the first ten minutes it opened, as it turns out I actually set up my watch 5 minutes in advance so I wouldn't be late at, well, anything.
My ticket. This one's going next to my The Amazing Spiderman ticket that I've been keeping for sentiments.
The earliest screening was around 11:00 am, so when I got to the ticket booth at 10:25, they were still closed. Some-time minutes later, there's about a group of ten-ish folks waiting behind me, another disappointing sign of how badly marketed this film is on this rock I call home, but so long as I get to see it, I don't give a damn. Least the ticket sale was a lot cheaper than I expected. (probably cuz it wasn't in 3D)

Now, the movie itself is about two hours long, which focuses a lot on the people encountering the monsters and finding ways to stop them whilst the creatures rampage, much like the original. Only, the difference here is that a good chunk of their aim was on the new monsters known as MUTOs, an acronym for Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism, resembling multi-legged, beaked abominations that fed on radiation and emits a wave of EMP to hinder our means of harming them. Godzilla, on the other hand, was the lesser of these evils. In fact, he's less of the rampaging monster of the original 1954 version and more of a giant animal that's there to fight off the MUTOs for reasons explained yet kinda cheesy and overly heroic.

A good bulk of the monster fight was simply hinted around their first encounters but in typical monster melee cliche, the best fights are saved for the last and I got to say, it's worth the wait. The funnest part would be seeing the big guy use his radioactive breath in a way I never thought possible with so much awe-inducing effect. (I cheered and chuckled)
they smell a lot different than those cheap ones!
As the film ends, I find myself sitting until the credits end. So much just happened, with tiny hints and nudges to other kaiju faves like Mothra and King Ghidorah thrown about the film, I was sure there's more. But as I finished waiting, I calmly walked out of the theater and given a free poster for being the first batch to see the film on its release. What's more fitting is that when I walked by the toy store I usually go to when I'm toy hunting, they had this display of the US Bandai Godzilla toys for the G's 60th Anniversary and return. Now, I know these toys are around before the movie premieres but, I think it was fitting to at least get one for my collection. I was gonna get the whole Destruction Pack that includes a miniature Godzilla and a MUTO along with an entire building set for the kid to play around, but it costs around $20 plus which is a lot to pay for tiny toys, so I got myself a Tail Strike instead with a gimmicky tail smashing action.
Here's the front-
-and here's the back, showing how the tail works!
Cue my inner childhood jumping in glee like an idiot.
One snack hunting for the family and a Happy Meal later (I was in it for the toy, but that's a story for another time...), I came home around 2:30 in the afternoon which is fairly early than my usual leavings for me to rest from the excitement. As I finish writing this, I had a fun day seeing my childhood hero come back the right way. I have to admit it's not perfect but dang ain't it a lot better than seeing a giant iguana play tag with military helicopters only to get killed with missiles? Yeah, I'm pretty sure it is!

Welcome back, Big G!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Blood on the Disco Floor: Discopath (2013)

Discopath (Canada, 2013) (AKA "Discopathe")
Rating: ***1/2
Starring: Catherine Antaki, François Aubin, Sandrine Bisson

We all know the sorts of traumatic experiences that unhinge slasher villains: horrible pranks, the death of loved ones, bad lovers, over (sometimes under) bearing parents, ridicule, etc. But have you ever seen somebody snap just because they hear a certain kind of music?

The year is 1976; low paid frycook Duane Lewis lives a dull and miserable life until that one day in the job he hears something that somehow awakens his inner bloodlust: Disco. Going into a fixed trance while hearing the tune, Lewis nearly sets the grill joint on fire, costing him his job. Now more miserable than ever, Lewis wanders off to a roller park and befriends a girl who takes pity of his plight, inviting him to go dancing at a nightclub. As anyone would see it coming, the music overwhelmed Lewis and once he got this girl alone with him, he thanks her for the new trends by stabbing and slashing her to death with a kitchen knife underneath the disco floor.

Waking up bloodied the morning after, Lewis flees to Montreal using a stolen identity as the cops investigate the murder. There, he go by a different name and works as a "mute and deaf" handyman of an all-girls school. Things were going by alright, with Lewis repressing his "condition" by using a hearing aid to block out any noise. All that is until the year 1980, as two rebellious girls decide play vinyl records in their dorm. Upon hearing the vibration of the beat, all hell break loose and Lewis snaps back into a tune-enraged maniac, even crazier than last time!

A trippy and original exploitative homage to 70s and 80s slasher movies, Discopath definitely works its style-over-substance take on the sub-genre as director Renaud Gauthier effectively captures those bygone days of drive-ins and grindhouse movies, hoarding in plenty of Italian giallo- inspired camera work and lighting, gritty vintage feel and a killer disco soundtrack to boot!

The flow of the plot is all over, to put it lightly, as the first 20 minutes or so look like as if it'll be focusing on our titular discopath in the same likeness of Lustig's notorious Maniac (1980). Interestingly, after that groovy Disco Floor murder, it suddenly shifts to a campus slasher that's kinda reminiscent of Spain's La Residencia (1969) or even Pieces (1982). (The latter was actually played as one of the two companion films during this movie's US debut at American Cinematheque film fest last October 2013. The other title being Prom Night (1980) a fitting choice in terms of tone and theme.)

Gore work is at its best here as well; curious to note is that the man behind them, Remy Couture, was once charged for obstructing Canadian obscenity laws back in 2012. After seeing the goriest set-piece he made for this movie, involving two girls being butchered with vinyl shards, I can easily vouch for his talent in making good realistic gore, albeit the majority of the murders here were not as brutal and were mostly on the level of those you can find in 80s slasher flicks: quick and (mostly) painless. They even wallowed in some 70s-style psychedelic horror when they have the discopath torment a captured teacher with the heads of previous victims while he's all in the nude!

I do, however, question the acting in this film; while the idea of a disco-triggered killing spree sounds truthfully silly, Discopath choose to play its story straight, but some of the casts here (more pointing to the English speaking actors) play their roles with much exaggeration and clichés that you can't help but feel like it's out of place. Was this movie's supposed to be an intended campy slasher tribute or a brutally serious dead teenager flick with disco?

Thankfully, the climax is pretty good, including cops chasing our killer until they manage to corner him atop of a building. The pros around this part is that they have KIZZ's I was Made for Lovin' You play over it and finishes every off with a cool twist ending. The con, however, is that a few of the scenes along the way were badly executed and acted, taking away any possible impact to what would have been an awesome finale.

For its worth, Discopath is undoubtedly a good flick. Greater even if they fixed the climax but everything else is so in par with the concept that you just got to love the effort. I'm gonna end this review with shout-out to the director: whatever it is you are doing, don't stop! A few more tweaks and you almost got it, but as of now, great flick! Awesome idea! Worth a watch for slasher and horror fans alike!

1 female repeatedly knifed, hand torn off
1 male electrocuted on sound equipment (flashback)
2 female cut open and stuffed with broken vinyl records, beheaded
1 female electrocuted on a rigged trip wire
1 male stabbed on the gut with switchblade
1 male stabbed on the neck with a switchblade
1 female strangled to death
1 male hits his head on a car windshield
1 male seen dead from car crash
1 male falls to his death, head smashed against pavement
Total: 11

Saturday, May 10, 2014

101 Maniacs: Admin's Top Slashers 40-31

*As of 2014*

Inspired and tempted by this delicious countdown,  Here be my personal Top 101 Slasher movies that really stood out the most!

Note: These are in no particular order (save the last ten) and they're all personal picks, so, nope. Your faves or your order does not matter here! Muahahaha!...ha!

40. End of The Line (2009)
May not be as shocking as some might describe it but the film is pretty controversial at some point. When a worldwide religious cult believes that the Apocalypse is finally at hand and the only way to save mankind is by massacring them, an unfortunate group stuck on a subway find themselves fending dagger-wielding zealots as well as seeing what could be demons.

Bloody Best Bit: There's a really distressing scene where a member is forced to murder his pregnant wife in order to save her from the End. This scene was apparently inspired by the Mason murders.

39. Hellbent (2003)
Lo and behold, the one movie that helped me accept gay men for what they are, Hellbent focuses on a quartet of homosexual men in a Halloween party, being hacked off by a sickle carrying topless killer in a devil mask.

Best Bloody Bits: The opening murder was pretty sick in a cool gay way. Then there's that scene that ended up with blood on the disco floor and dancers ignoring a freshly beheaded man.

38. Tucker and Dale vs Evil
Plenty of slashers had hicks for killers and teens for victims, but will it also work the other way around? Heck yeah! When a duo of lovable bumpkins working on their summer house saves a girl from near drowning, they're met with gratitude from the nice gal. Unfortunately, same can't be said from her friends when paranoia got the better of them and misunderstood the two's real intention. Hilarity and accidental bodycount soon ensues.

Bloody Best Bits: I chuckled at the Texas Chainsaw "homage" (with an added bonus of killer bees!)
37. Phantom of the Opera (1989)
Criminally underrated and under discussed, this real work of art stars Robert Englund of the Freddy Krueger fame as a slasher take of the Phantom of the Opera, killing off those who dare ridicule and/or get in the way of his own prodigy, Christine, played by Jill Schoelen. Yay for star power!

Bloody Best Bits: There's a cool scene where the Phantom fought off and murders a trio of thugs, who made a fatal mistake of mugging him in an alley.

36. Alone in the Dark
This is one of the few slashers that really pulled up quite a star power: Jack Palance, Martin Landau, Donald Pleasance and Erland Van Lidth of various B-Movie fame took in roles as crazies (and one possibly unhinged doctor) escaping their asylum when a city-wide blackout renders their electric locks useless, going on a killing spree hunting down a new doctor who they believe is out to get them.

Bloody Best Bits: There's a sweet kill that had Lidth breaking a victim's back against his knee. There's also another murder involving a phallic looking hunting knife punching through under a bed for a stab. 

35. High Tension
Two college friends, Marie and Alexa, suddenly finds themselves in a situation involving a home invasion, a family slaughtered and a kidnapping while on vacation at Alexa's parents' country home when a misogynic killer invades their quiet getaway. Notorious for anti-climatic twist and it's excessive grue, High Tension still wins for being one of the most satisfying, brutal and thrilling New Age French Movement.

Bloody Best Bits: Cupboard decapitation. Never seen a beheading that creative and shocking since the glass pane beheading in The Omen (1976)

34. Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering
Well, what can I say? Among all the entries in this supernatural-slasher franchise, I love this one the most for being the most slasher-esque of them all and for trying something entirely different. When a strange disease suddenly grab hold of every child in a small Nebraskan town, a medical student who just came home to take care of her ailing other suddenly finds herself facing a reawakened evil who's murdering adults and claiming their children as his cult.

Bloody Best Bits: Hmm, tough one. There isn't a scene that stood out the most but I guess the intense Multiple Fever Case could count since it did had me glued and intrigued by the scenario. 

33. Tower of Evil (1972)
A proto-slasher that's really ahead of its time, showcasing a group of treasure seekers looking for a lost religion's booty on an island wherein earlier, a group of teens were slaughtered by something feral and insane.

Bloody Best Scene: The opening action involving a couple of sea men discovering all the mutilated bodies and one deranged, knife-wielding nudie.

32. Prom Night (1980)
Yeah, fuck you, 2008 remake! Disco slashers are forever! Six years after an accident took the life of a frightened child, those responsible suddenly find themselves hunted and hacked on Prom Night by a killer who may have been involved with the incident.

Bloody Best Scene: That epic chase scene to beat, with everything from good camera work to an intense atmosphere. (some video releases might obscure this scene thanks to crappy transfer, but the version I saw was crisp and clear!)

31. Tourist Trap (1980)
Personally one of the creepiest slasher for me, a horror hodge-podge mixing surrealism, psychic powers, creepy mannequins and a creative killcount as a group of teens fall victims to a masked psycho with the ability to control glassy eyed dummies and levitate objects.

Bloody Best Scene: That first kill. Oh God, why does it have to be eyeless, laughing mannequins?!

30 to 21 Coming Soon!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Voyeur Sites Gone Deadly: The Den (2014)

The Den (2014)
Rating: ***1/2
Starring: Melanie Papalia, David Schlachtenhaufen, Matt Riedy

Our modern times cannot exist without the internet. It revolutionized the way we live our lives, bringing new ways to reach people, both familiar and new, making the world we dwell in a lot smaller and more accessible. This, of course, has a downside and The Den cleverly tackles the dark corners of the net as a bloody and creepy cautionary tale on issues such as hacking, cyberbullying, exhibitionism and other known cybercrimes.

Yes, I know Smiley did this already, but The Den has something the other film doesn't: Results.

The movie centers on Elizabeth Benton (Smiley's own Melanie Papalia. Typecast?), who's doing a funded research on online activity by staying active on a Chatroulette webcam website called "The Den", hoping to find more interesting personalities other than the usual flashers, prankers and the occassional weirdos.

Things suddenly goes strange for Elizabeth when she encounters a random chat showing no webcam footage but an active chatter on the other end. What started as a simple conversation soon escalates to an alarming situation when the user suddenly shows her a video of what appears to be real murder. Obviously freaked out, Liz contacts the police but they're quick to dismiss it as a prank, but as her friends and family start to disappear, attacked or even murdered, Liz knew better and soon finds herself the target of a maniac hellbent on killing her.

The Den could have been another stereotyped found footage/mockumentary horror flick where we put ourselves in the shoes of whoever's holding a camera, but in an creatively new gimmick we are instead treated with an altogether different voyeuristic take of seeing the action unfolds through somebody's desktop, including online chats, emails and other assorted online accessories only a technogeek would understand and appreciate. It's not too exciting, but it is refreshing after all those handheld camcorder footages where you kept wondering to why they still continue to film long after seeing their friends get ripped apart. At least with a (hacked) desktop, there is a reason why we are seeing all this and the answer's not too pretty.

Now, the slasher part in this film is pretty well handled as they are bloodily brutal and creepy. Though there's still some issues regarding the believability of some scenarios (someone hacking into a computer to turn it on. Is that even possible or am I just living under my rock far too long?), the sense of helplessness and uncertainty glooms over the film is done pretty nicely in a way that it taps into the real life dangers of chatting with strangers over the web and finding yourself in a predicament that is out of your control and in theirs'.

The death toll is decent and there are some effective home invasion stalkings as the film switches to cameras either held or worn by the attacker, one thing I'm glad for as limiting to just Liz's point of view may feel too clichéd and just kicks the film back to the "Why are you still filming this?" argument. 

The Den doesn't try to be anything new but it knows its concept by heart. The drawback I see here is that the twist wasn't as intense and thrilling as the majority of the film, devolving into a bloody, yet overly familiar backdrop that raises more questions than answers. I don't mind really but it's been done with so many times that it wouldn't be long before it couldn't beat a dead heart back to life.

Still, not too disappointed, the film is still entertaining and scary from beginning to end and I really recommend seeing this film through a desktop for added experience (It's released mostly via VOD), not too shabby of a suggestion if I may say so myself.

1 female nearly beheaded with a hunting knife
1 female found covered in cuts, bled to death
1 male axed on the face
1 male found murdered with his body tied in chains
1 male knifed to death
1 male smothered with a plastic sheet
1 male murdered offcamera
1 male strangled with a length of chain
1 female shot on the head
Total: 9

Doctor Fear in 3D: Paranormal Xperience 3D (2011)

Paranormal Xperience 3D (Spain, 2011)
Rating: **
Starring: Amaia Salamanca, Maxi Iglesias, Lucho Fernández

PG-13 rating is never a good sign for a slasher movie. I mean just look at the blasphemy known as Prom Night (2008): the rating turned this potentially decent throwback slasher into a dull knife dipped in stale blood with hardly any thrills, chills and, most importantly, bloody spills to satisfy a horror fan. Spain's Paranormal Xperience is another victim of this rating but unlike the Prom Night redux (and a little bit like Shark Night 3D), it did a few things right.

The story is simple but otherwise workable; five psychology students begrudgingly volunteer to visit an abandoned town believed to be haunted by a doctor-slash-serial killer who, according to the stories, tortured his victims to death before he was captured, imprisoned and left for dead in the the town's mines.

Tagging along with the crew is the suicidal sister of one of the students, who is more than willing to help out by driving them there and stick around in case they'll need anything. True enough, they need somebody who can sense ghosts and by luck, this girl claims to have this ability. So they hypnotized her into a trance, hoping she'll draw out the ghost, and what soon follows is the arrival of the doctor in all his spectral glory, wasting no time snuffing the kids out one by one.

Though I still fail to see the need for his film to be rendered in 3D, I have to say that the setup is pretty good. I find the direction to be solid and watchable, introducing an interesting villain that doesn't go overboard trying to make himself memorable. The masked doctor here is suave and sinister, his presence definitely delivering a sense of awe we haven't seen much on our killers lately, even if it took him a while to show up and start murdering people. That being said, we unfortunately have to deal with a good forty or so minutes dealing with a casts who failed to be anything care-worthy.

Let me put it this way; early on the the film, we already figured out who we wanted to die first (or horribly) since a good bulk of the teens are either jerks or pompous snobs. Heck, they're failing a major class so this shouldn't be a surprise for me but the least they could do (or at least one of them) is to try and be interesting human beings, so that way I would feel terrified for them and enjoy this movie a little better. (Then again, this is a 3D movie so gimmicks over tolerable cliques, I guess.)

There's also a very sad take to do a twist here; as if it's bad enough we can tell who the real killer is, they had to do a last minute twist that hardly makes sense at all! Least the murders are good. Minuscule in count but otherwise fair.

Not one of the best slashers Spain has to offer, with zero nudity and the gore level going only as far as one jaw ripped apart, the movie is no doubt made for 13 year olds and above, but if you want to kill some time with something cheesy and simple, and you're not the type of viewer that care much on the finer details on your horror trash, then feel free to experience the paranormal that is Paranormal Xperience.

1 male got his jaw ripped apart with a meathook
1 female shoved head first to a glass shard
1 male had his throat cut with kitchen knife
1 male shot on the head (flashback)
1 female stabbed on the neck with kitchen knife
Total: 5
You know what goes well with this picture? This.