Prey (2016) [REVIEW] | La-la-lion Goes To Amsterdam

Since that new movie about the killer lion with Idris Elba (simply called Beast) is coming out soon here too, let’s pick one of the currently available ones on Amazon Prime Video that fit into the subniche of killer lions flick, at least at the time of writing.

As in, i wanted to review Prey… the 2006 one, but since it’s not streaming there, the other killer lion flick from 2016 will do, and because originality it’s an ephemeral phantom, both movie are simply called “Prey”.

Not be confused with the new Predator movie.

Or the Netflix german horror thriller of the same name.

Or the two similar-yet-unrelated Prey games.

This is 2016’s Prey (since “Prooi” translates to that, also known as Violent Fierce Lion, so whatever, you can call your movie “Prey”, whatever), and it’s by dutch director Dick Maas, better known for Amsterdamned, the Flodder comedy series, but also behind the horror christmas movie Saint/Sint, and the often forgotten entry in the “killer elevator” subgenre with 1983’s The Lift, his debut film, which he actually remade with american actors in 2001 as Down/The Shaft.

Continua a leggere “Prey (2016) [REVIEW] | La-la-lion Goes To Amsterdam”

[EXPRESSO] MEN (2022) | Manstalking 101

AH, yes, that sequel to The Woman we were waiting for, and by Alex Garland nonetheless, um!

One hell of a title that goes straight to the point, does tell you what it’s actually about, and it’s not ashamed to be beyond blunt in the handling of its themes of misoginy and female abuse.

The movie tells of a woman renting out a house in a small countryside english village for two weeks, in order for her to recover from seeing her husband commit suicide (by jumping off from a balcony in the apartment above theirs) after she decided to finally divorce him.

But instead of some quiet solace to process events, she’s stalked by a naked man from the woods, and confronted by a variety of other men that are either condescending, hostile, weird or abusive, most of which seem to share the same face.

To be honest, considering the director involved, MEN it’s kinda disappointing, and not necessarily because it’s so decisively non-subtle about its themes (after all, social media showed us how subtlety is less and less effective), but more because the script lacks the usual sophistication and quality, so we have this really good cast and direction, some incredible (and incredibly disgusting) scenes in the latter half that in themselves make the movie worth seeing, good atmosphere..

…. but also a very slow moving first act, and the script trying to make up for its excessively straightforward nature by overdosing on the “A24”-isms to the point it’s kinda silly, since it mostly stylistic filler that should have been dialed back, since it doesn’t add any real substance and hammer over the already obvious motifs.

Again, it’s just disappointing, but overall a decent horror thriller still worth watching, as the final act definitely delivers “the goods”.

[EXPRESSO] NOPE (2022) | Cosmic Slide

As usual, we had to wait for NOPE to release here well before it US theathrical release, but it was definitely worth wait, i can say that much already.

And this is one that definitely leaves both a lot to discuss and yet it’s best enjoyed by just going in with minimal to zero knowledge about the premise. And it was brilliantly marketed too, because we had no idea what the hell this movie was gonna be about early, especially with such a deliberate tease of a title, but even with later trailers it wasn’t much clearer.

But i guess giving the basic premise isn’t doing the movie the disservice you would expect, so…

Set in a desolated California valley, NOPE tells the story of a brother and sister that work in movie biz by providing trained horses for cinematic purpose and struggle to continue upholding the job and the ranch their father left them after his sudden and unexplicable demise.

One day, they notice something strange is lurking there, hiding in the sky, so they set out to discover and film whatever is it, but the revelation it’s as outright absurd and defies logic.

To not give the movie away, we’re going in a “ufo-cosmic horror” direction, but even that won’t exactly give away the twist nor the execution, and this is far from one of those movies that erronously stakes everything in hiding the monster to excessive degrees, and NOPE has a lot more to it than just the “surprise factor”.

And honestly Peele just delivers another excellent piece, one distinct from his previous efforts, but still plentiful of his great ability to balance terror and comedy with a story that’s captivating and fairly original to boot.

Ten “ The Scorpion King 2001 crew jackets” out of ten.

SUPER Summer Nap

You know the drill (and i announced it before), every rubric aside EXPRESSO (i will review NOPE soon enough, and i plan to review this way,Crimes Of The Future, MEN and Bullet Train, which are releasing in cinemas here very late this August) is taking a break from today until the 16th of september, maybe a little earlier, but for the rest of August we’re taking a fairly deserved (if i can say it myself) break.

[EXPRESSO] Shark Bait (2022) | Jet Ski Adrift

Just before i was gonna import it on DVD, it arrives localized in cinemas here, and you can bet yo’ ass i’m not gonna miss a shark movie showing in theathers in this day and age.

Especially since it hails from the company behind the 47 Meters Down series, and last year’s shark flick Great White, so it comes with certain expectations.

Plot is fairly simple, in usual shark movie fashion.

A group of friends celebrating Spring Break abroad decides – on the last day of the festivities – to steal a couple of jet skis and drunkenly fuck about with them before going back home.

They have an accident and find themselves adrift, trying to survive and search for any help they can get, with one of them sporting a badly injured leg that eventually attracts sharks…

Nothing original, but some of the best shark movies that opt for a more realistic approach and actually are horror thrillers do work off straighforward scenarios like these, where most of the action happens in a very restricted scenario, and this movie it’s no exception.

Honestly it has a lot going for it, from very good production values, very good looking shark and practical gore effects, but it manages to create quite the satisfying tension and solid atmosphere, so it doesn’t just look the part of a professional “big budget” released.

It’s decently acted too, shame that it could have been proper good if the characters were more than likeable cliches, and if the third act didn’t overused the shark, sacrificing tension for action in a very rushed fashion, mostly to even further drag out the finale.

Still, it’s a decent, solid shark movie, a lot more captivating than i expected, and it’s definitely better than Altitude’s last year offering, Great White.

Horror Shark 3D AKA Blood Shark 3D (2020) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs

Shark attack movies are an appealing worldwide phenomen, so it’s not surprising even mainland China would eventually invest more and more in these, as they can serve a fairly new domestic cinema industry and are easy to export since the genre is pretty popular everywhere. Shark never get old for audiences, after all.

Obviously this isn’t the first chinese shark movie ever, or even the first one we featured here, but it’s China very first 3D big budget shark attack film. It has received a fairly easy to find DVD release on online marketplaces, but i watched it on Youtube, as it was uploaded in full on YOUKU’s Youtube Channel, with english subs available.

The plot of Horror Shark 3D (also known as Blood Shark 3D) concerns “a swimmer and a marine paradise trainer (trainer for what?) who accidentally fall into a huge conspiracy about blood sharks.”

At least this is the plot synopsis you’ll find around the web, but i’d say it’s badly translated and partially incorrect.

Continua a leggere “Horror Shark 3D AKA Blood Shark 3D (2020) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs”

Lake Placid Legacy (2018) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs

While Lake Placid VS Anaconda ended by sequelbaiting “Crococonda VS Sheriffs”, they didn’t actually followed that up, at least not yet, as for the next (and at the time of writing, the last) Lake Placid installment we have a prequel.

A prequel, kinda. Sorta. We’ll get to that, but it’s not a prequel for the character of Jimmy Bickerman played by Robert Englund, nor any of the Bickermans, it’s a prequel for the original saltwater crocodile, explaining how the fuck a crocodile came to inhabit the lake in the first place.

Actually, not quite, but yep, every excuse is good to pump anything out with the franchise name. It always is.

Continua a leggere “Lake Placid Legacy (2018) [REVIEW] #sharksncrocs”

[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!

The Sharks & The Crocs

As promised, this year we’re gonna let our reptilian friends join what’s usually Shark Month on here, hopefully that’ll will make you wanna stab me with knives a little less, as the bi-daily posting schedule will remain, meaning the roster of reviews has been cut in half to 15.

Not too happy about that myself, to be blunt. It is what it is, sadly.

(also, yeah, baffled that Panty & Stocking is coming back, it actually is)

See you later today!

[EXPRESSO] Black Phone (2021) | The Basement Dead

Time for some fresh meat, as this one will drop in theathers here in a week’s time, but i manage to see this earlier preview screening, and boy i’m glad i did, as i’ve heard of this movie before but kinda forgot when or if it was gonna come out in theathers here.

Based on the short story of the same name by Joe Hill, Black Phone is the new feature from Sinister ‘s (and the 2016’s Doctor Strange, as marketing makes abundantly clear) director Scott Derrickson, telling the story of a serial killer – dubbed “The Grabber” by the community – that in 1978 terrorizes a suburban town in Colorado by kidnapping children, with the sixth being the 13 yo Finny Shaw. While being imprisoned, Finny realizes that the black phone in the basement, despite having the line physically severed, acts a conduit for the Grabber’ previous victims to talk with the boy and hopefully help him escape. At the same time, Finny’s sister begins to have weird dreams, or visions..

You know when the trailer and most of the marking material makes the movie look good and “proper”, you go see it and then it’s actually quite good? Yeah, Black Phone it’s one of those.

Not only the setting it’s good, the presentation excellent at using “low budget tricks” like scenes filmed or edited to feel like era archive footage (which is not surprising given the director), all contributing to avoid the common modern mistake of “overly produced/shiny horror movies”, it’s a pretty creepy slice of that late 70s’ suburban America, with a really good atmosphere, a little bit of well integrated comedy and great characters all around, with the villain being as creepy as he looks.

Pretty good, fairly intense and quite satisfying to boot. Recommended.