Dead Island: Definitive Edition PS4 [REVIEW] #deadislandretrospective

I started playing this mid-summer for kicks, but what do you know, in early september Dead Island 2 actually resurfaced after 8 years of radio silence, multiple developers change, and it’s coming out… in February 2023. Odd date, but i guess Deep Silver isn’t keen on waiting for a timely summer release, after the game overlong stay in development hell, so much that Techland spun another zombie series after basically being denied work on any Dead Island game after Riptide.

Perfect time for a retrospective of the series as a whole, so let’s start from the original Dead Island, in its Definitive Edition form (which on PS4 and X-Box One came packaged as a collection with the direct sequel Riptide and the spin-off Dead Island: Retro Revenge included).

We’re reviewing this version also because i’ve played Dead Island on PS3 when it was new… and this was indeed one of those games that could have used some enhancing and overhauling, etc.

I guess some history won’t go amiss, but if you happened to… not exist in 2012, you missed one of the most perfect example of misleading, bullshit hype trailers ever made, as originally we were fed a non-gameplay trailer that went for shock value (depicting a dead zombie child, among other things), trying to make you believe the game would treat the topic with some seriousness… only to find out Deep Silver were just being the deceitful liars they are, as we had a game where you combine shit to make fire-laden blades and battery-powered electrical pikes, with a slow-mo effect for when you decapite the plentiful undeads, or crush their rotten brains under your foot.

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Student Bodies (1981) [REVIEW] | Comedy Dies Tonight

In the spirit of school season, here’s a rewrite for Student Bodies, the 1981 slasher parody direct by Mickey Rose (writer of Woody Allen’ Bananas and Van Dyke And Company, among others) and Micheal Ritche (Bad News Bears, Wildcats, The Golden Child), which is notable for being the first movie to parody the then rising slasher genre, which at the time had success stories like Halloween and Prom Night.

It’s an interesting artifact of the era, which is why this isn’t so much a rewrite but a new review built from scratch (i did cover it years ago in one of my italian blogs, FIY), despite the fact this movie would have deserved me just unearthing and traslating my old review with barely any edits, but its historical importance it’s enough for me to overlook the fact i kinda hate it a lot.

After all, it’s something to have modern movies take the piss of the slasher subgenre, so i’ll have to give Student Bodies some credit for being the first of its kind, decades before Scary Movie and its spawn run the parody subgenre to the fucking ground (with the internet age subsequiently making them redundant as big studio productions you went to see in theathers), and here you’re kinda looking at the genesis of those misbegotten films, an ancient prototype if you will.

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[EXPRESSO] Bullet Train (2022) | Assassins Pastiche Express

Better late than never, but as promised here it is, after months of waiting.

And honestly i don’t quite get its mixed reception (at least by the american or english speaking press as a whole)… well, i kinda do, but it’s not like it was deceptively advertised, at all.

Bullet Train it’s indeed the kind of movie you would expect to see from the director of Deadpool 2, just declined into a Tarantino-esque genre pastiche, throwing in deliberate cliches from yakuza movies as it all takes place during what starts as a normal voyage in one of Japan’s high velocity trains… aside from the protagonists being a collection of professional assassins/hitmen with a job to do while on the train, including a “recovering & recalcitrant” assassin (played by Brad Pitt) that would rather try to obtain some inner peace and signed up only to steal a briefcase from the train, but finds out everyone on board is after the very same thing…

The mesh of Deapool style comedy (minus the 4th wall brutalization) with the obviously Tarantino inspired style of dialogues (one of the assassins has a thing for profiling people via Thomas The Tank Engine comparisons, for example) and taste for ultraviolence so over the top it’s outright funny at times… works extremely well, as the narrative using flashbacks to quickly characterize the various assassins. Great cast too.

Sure, the humour at times it’s a bit too much “Deadpool-ish”, but it’s quite tolerable and i was honestly surprised by how funny the movie turned out to be, though i understand that the combo of direction and writing could result irritating to some. Still, i had a really good time with Bullet Train, not gonna lie to appease anyone or crap like that.

Dumb as hell, but a blast nonetheless.

Lake Placid VS Anaconda (2015) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs

Has your series completely run of ideas or it’s just not willing to get out of the genre comfort zones, but you still want to continue the franchise? Cross it over with a similar series, versus style.

Oddly enough, this is both the obvious (as it’s in the title) crossover between the Anaconda and Lake Placid franchises, but also the fifth movie in each respective series.

Elaborating on what i said at the end of the review for Lake Placid: The Final Chapter, the two series are quite the good fit for a cheap TV movie crossover, not only for the obvious reptilian killer animals involved, but as they both had a successful film first that was deemed good enough to be shown in theathers, and hence being more easily remembered by audiences.

Btw, the official DVD tagline for the film it’s quite fun and to the point “Crocks on the docks, snakes on the lakes”. Love these.

Shame they set the bar too high, but of course they do.

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Noah’s Shark (2021) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs

Since i couldn’t find the 2017’s Land Shark (not the chinese one we reviewed last year), let’s pick something a bit more recent from the output of Mark Polonia that also almost makes want to revisit and review Shark Exorcist… again. I still don’t want to.

So let us bask in the nourishing homemade waters of Noah’s Shark.

It was either that or “Jurassic Shark 2: Aquapocalypse”, also by Mark Polonia and released in 2021.

Banger of a title, perfect bait for both the naive and the connosseur of “no budget homegrown cinema” that dares challenge audiences with crappy stopmotion dinosaurs and papermaciè sharks.

But still, even in this tier of poverty filmaking we’ve seen worse.

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Apex Predators AKA Jaws of New York (2021) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs

Younger readers might think they saw everything, heard about everything, but don’t underestimate how deep the abyss is, since i can still search for and find more shark movies i’ve never even heard the title before, doesn’t matter if its decades or days old, the black depths keep spewing them out.

Cards on the table, what did i expect from the director of Ebola Rex, RoboWoman, Axegrinder 2, 5G Zombies, Angry Asian Murder Hornets (just to name a few)?

I’d say nothing, but that is not true, because a mental void would be quite calming, this isn’t the case here.

Plot? Sharks attack the beaches of Los Angeles, leaving corpses around just in time to ruin the opening of a new resort. Done.

The rest – as in 90% of the movie – is boring ass random padding or clumsy exposition dialogue that often has nothing to do with anything else, and even when an actual plot or narrative start manifesting, it just isn’t worth caring or describing in any detail aside from the shark being a spontaneous mutant, or at least we’re told so, and that’ll have to do since we never see any of this.

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[EXPRESSO] X (2022) | Fornicators!

Kinda “surprise release” of this one in theathers here, didn’t really expect it!

I wasn’t familiar with Ti West’s work before i saw this, FIY, but i’m glad i did.

Set in 1970’s rural america, X tells of a crew that rents a farm house in Houstin, Texas, from an elderly couple, to whom they obviously didn’t told their real purpose: shooting a porno film in order to make it big thanks to the promises of “home video entertaiment” as an upcoming industry.

The problem is the couple happens decrepit and crazy, as they both are driven homicidal by the lethal combination of old age, puritanical christian values (fueled by fearmongering televangelists) that clash with the newfound sexual revolution in the younger generations, and envy.

It’s a tribute to the early 70s gruesome slashers and similar films depicting – at the time – unseen levels of violence, set in the remote depths of Texas, but it’s not just style and homages, as it balances out comedy, fairly violent gore with creepy, unsettling sequences, great acting and good characters, even the villains have a relatable side.

Also, incredibly it juggles the line very well in terms of the exploitation factor, as it’s fairly graphic, the kills are satisfying, there’s plenty of nudity, so it definitely doesn’t pull punches, but also doesn’t feel it’s being too excessive or tacky, showing some class and being able to touch upon some meaningful topics, of having some moments of earnest tenderness amongst the carnage.

And even a bit of Lake Placid action, between the porno shoots and the creepy elders deciding its time yet again to vent the frustration of old age on the youngins.

It’s also very damn satisfying in terms of kills, to boot, so i’d say X it’s pretty good stuff.

Recommended!

Megalodon Rising (2020) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs

As we extensively estabilished before, when it comes to shark movies The Asylum doesn’t even bother anymore to wait for a mainstream blockbuster release to mooch off… which i can’t really blame on them as those almost completely went extinct, with almost exclusively low to no budgets shark movies flooding the market every year.

And as usual, this is one of those they just kinda put out with no fanfare, to the point i knew this existed only because i happened to stumble upon its UK DVD release while browsing randomly on Amazon one late night.

I mean, more important stuff happened in 2020, but still, put 5 bucks into marketing!

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Lake Placid: The Final Chapter (2012) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs

Some traditions die hard, to the point of never actually properly getting fazed on, and one of the fundamental ones for horror as a whole is titling the next installment of your series as “The Final Chapter”. Heck, even the Saw series did it a couple of years earlier, you can bet Lake Placid was gonna go for that low hanging fruit as well.

Though, one could argue that for many Saw fans that one does still feel more like a final chapter, despite two more films in the series having been released after.

But again, i’m getting off track, we’re talking about the fourth movie in a series of killer crocs, and a sequel to Lake Placid 3, which seems pointless to specify, but considering that these kind of movies will claim “sequelage” regardless of their plots being even vaguely connected, it’s important to specify if they can live to this self-made claim of continuity and crap.

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Blood Surf (2000) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs

The new millennium brought upon us many things.

And a movie called Blood Surf was sure one of them, though it sound more like a videogame title.

In hindsight, it’s perfect specimen for this month dual theme, as it answers a question nobody asked, as in “what if we made a shark movie, but with a croc/gator instead?”.

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