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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Final Terror

     I love a good ole' woodsy slasher, guys. And THE FINAL TERROR is a perfect example of one. This little seen 80's slasher deals with a group of forest rangers on a job, despite local warnings from their driver to stay away. Once they enter the woods, someone or something doesn't like it, and starts picking them off one by one... Sound familiar? It should, because this is basically the same plot as JUST BEFORE DAWN, with traces of DELIVERANCE, THE BURNING, FRIDAY THE 13TH, and HUMONGOUS all thrown in a blender, and you act like that's a bad thing? Give me a group of people out in some dark woods being menaced by an unseen killer any day. Like I said, I love a good ole' woodsy slasher.

     I liked alot about THE FINAL TERROR. Great cinematography, for one. Interesting, likeable characters with 80's staples Rachel Ward, Daryl Hannah, Adrian Zmed, Mark Metcalf, and Joe Pantoliano appearing doesn't hurt either. It's got a good story and a bitchin' 80's opening score. I love that it offers the time-honored scene that every woodsy slasher must have, and you know what I'm talking about-it's the cast huddled around a campfire at night in the woods, all breathlessly listening to a male character telling the story of the local spooky legend that conveniently lets the audience in on the plot and which usually ends up in another character jumping out at the right moment and scaring the shit out of everyone scene we all know and loveI also dig the fact that once the killing starts, the rangers don't cower in fear and act stupid- instead, they gear up, camouflage themselves, band together, and go into total survival mode against their unseen enemy. All set against some gorgeously filmed forests and rivers.

     This movie is far better than its reputation. Trust me, I've seen far worse in the world of slasher films. There's some decent scares and suspense in the film and I don't really understand the criticism it gets sometimes. THE FINAL TERROR makes a great double feature with JUST BEFORE DAWN, if you're into double features, that is. It's definitely an interesting slasher that's generally known to be released anywhere from 1981 to 1984 (I believe it was actually released in 1983, to be exact...) and also known as CARNIVORE or CAMPSITE MASSACRE. Good stuff indeed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


     Upon first hearing about "Insidious", I became obsessed with seeing this movie.  We missed it at the theater, so had to wait for DVD.  Of course, Netflix had a long wait, so I ended up going the Redbox route just to see this damn movie.  Anyway, after it was all said and done, and I had the movie in my hands, we popped it in and prepared to be scared shitless.  At least, that's what we were told.  And I figured from the makers of "Saw" and "Paranormal Activity", it had to be pretty scary.

     Wrong.  Although hardly original (think of it as a modern-day "Poltergeist"...),  it is a very well-made movie.  "Insidious" offers some very creepy scenes, especially in the first half.  It's also a very interesting premise- a young family's oldest son suddenly and without warning lapses into a coma, and they soon learn that evil spirits are intent of trapping the boy to take over his body.  Sounds great... but this movie just didn't do it for me.  Like I said, it's very well done.  The acting is pretty decent, the direction is solid, and the cinematography is quite good.  But... I never once felt truly "in" the movie, nor was I once ever truly scared.  Honestly, I think the "Paranormal Activity" movies blow this one away.  This one just felt too designed for the teenage audience.  I found this movie to be extremely over-hyped.  The filmmakers had a great idea, and there are some truly spooky scenes here and there.  But overall, the film just doesn't add up.  The first half of the film is pretty good, building up dread and suspense.  We found ourselves rather bored in the last half though, especially once they brought in the psychic ghost-hunter, wonderfully played by Lin Shaye, by the way.  But with the arrival of her and her ghost-hunting team, the filmmakers inexplicably starts inserting humor that honestly just doesn't work.  I think if they were going to go down that road, they should have started the humor way earlier in the film.  But injecting it at the climax just seems odd.  And having Darth Maul pop up honestly made us laugh, not scream.

Overall, "Insidious" is average entertainment, but nothing to write home about.  I live and breath horror movies, and was just not impressed with this film at all.  Lin Shaye is honestly the only memorable performance, and the first half of the film is far more entertaining than the last half.  A truly scary movie doesn't just make you jump here and there- it stays with you.  You find yourself thinking about it later that night, as you're locking your door and shutting off the lights.  The only thing I found myself thinking about "Insidious" was how silly the Darth Maul demon-thing looked, and that I could probably watch "Poltergeist" again.  The ONLY truly chilling scene in the whole movie is the "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" scene with the record-player.  That was creepy.  But overall, the "Paranormal Activity" films are MUCH scarier- and much more simple.                      "Insidious" starts off very promising, but unfortunately gets bogged down in a bunch of astral hocus-pocus in the climax, and it ultimately saps the film of its strength. I may be in the minority here, but I was just not impressed with "Insidious".  But you know what's truly terrifying about the whole thing?  There will most likely be a sequel.  

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