ORBzine - February 2006 Movie Reviews

Final Destination 3

This is the newest in a series of horror films. There's nothing to connect them, beyond the premise thought up by X-Files scribes Morgan and Wong. For those who missed the first 2, the premise is simple enough. Someone has a psychic flash just before a terrible disaster is about to happen. Panic becomes contagious, and a handful of American teenagers avoid being splattered. However, they are still destined to die - so they are bumped off in a series of bizarre accidents, in the order they were originally intended to die in.

The first 20 minutes of the film is pure setup. The heroine runs around a fairground park, taking digital photos of her classmates. We're meant to assume this is about character development, but it isn't. None of the characters is in any way likeable. Never has been. And the actors are all nobodies [I mean, new and fresh!] except for Chris Lemche. He's a bit old to play a teenager [he was in Ginger Snaps, My Little Eye about 5 years ago], but he's Gothed-up and passable in this.

After the eventual rollercoaster crash, the photos come in useful. In a new twist on the story premise, the photos show clues to the new manner of death. Also new is the manner of deaths. Several years ago there was a fetish towards metal cables cutting people into bits. This film shows a preference towards crushing brain injuries.

Writer/Producer James Wong also directs, and that is part of the problem. The cinematography is off. Everything's in close-up, which means that in scenes that a lot is going on in [and thus would be best in medium or long shot] it's hard to make out what's going on.

  • Final Destination
  • Final Destination 2
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  • Abnormal Beauty

    This is a thriller from Asia - a Hong Kong/Thailand production, actually. We in the West tend to assume Asian films are of a much higher standard than their western equivalents. Unfortunately this is a sad example of the fact that we normally only see the best of them. And this is not one of the best.

    Director Oxide Pang delivers us something more like Saw than Ringu . Well, the second half is like Saw. The first half is ...

    A photography student witnesses an RTA, and becomes obsessed with photographing death. Her fixation becomes more and more extreme,

    After an hour of screen time, she finally gets over it. However, then she gets a mysterious videotape. Yes, she's being stalked by a serial killer. Of course, before any real tension can build up we are given an unconvincing climax.

    The Serial Killer aspect of the film is the main selling point, put it seems tacked on to the end. Really, it just doesn't work. And the result is, the film is pointless and disappointing.

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  • Oblong Box, the

    This is a Hammer-style horror. The story starts in the 19th century, when Vincent Price visits Africa. He incurrs the displeasure of a voodoo priest, then high-tails it back to England.

    The plot takes off when a Voodoo witchdoctor is smuggled to England by a couple of greedy plotters. They have a plan involving faking the death of Price's brother. Things go wrong, and a masked man seeks revenge by going on a killing spree. Oh, and Christopher Lee [ Dracula ] pops up as the local doctor.

    This is an extremely disappointing film. It features Price [star of the Roger Corman adaptions of the Edgar Allen Poe tales] and Lee, made famous by the classic Hammer Horrors. This effort, while contemporary with them and sharing the 19th Century trappings, is a poor imitation by any standards. It's lacklustre, slow, uneventful, and nowhere near as good as a film featuring those 2 genre icons should have been.

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  • 3 Worlds of Gulliver

    Kerwin Matthews [ Tom Thumb ] is Dr lemuel Gulliver, shipwrecked and washed ashore on the land of Lilliput. Yes, this is an early 1960s technicolour adaption of the Jonathan Swift classic. The bluescreen work is made even more effective by the use of Ray Harryhausen , which marks this as a big-budget masterpiece which has slipped into obscurity.

    The metaphors and political satire that Swift originally intended is missing. For example, the tiny people of Lilliput wear turbans, and their architecture is vaguely Indian. This un-European look makes one overlook the fact that Swift was critising his own nation, rather than implying British superiority over others. Also, it's been sanitised - to be expected, since this once cutting-edge satire is now regarded as a children's tale.

    Further reworking happens when Gulliver escapes the little people and becomes a prisoner of the Giants. His sweetheart was shipwrecked with him, and he is reunited with her. but the Giants are not an enlightened people, as in the original. Here they are a superstitious, medieval people.

    Gulliver maintains a level of mild-mannered humanitarianism that the Star Trek Federation would be proud of! Although, to be fair, Swift himself was a contemporary of the Glorious Revolution and was a churchman when William III signed the bill of Rights in 1689.

  • Gulliver's Travels (1995)
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