ORBzine - Slasher Flicks 2007 Movie Reviews

TITLE & REVIEW

Black Christmas (1974)

Black Christmas (1974) A group of college girls (including Margot Kidder ) spend Christmas in their sorority house. Unfortunately, a serial killer is lurking in their attic.

Bob Clark , best known for starting the Porky's franchise, delivers a nail-bitingly suspenseful horror film. It is regarded as a classic, and supposedly inspired Halloween . However, it avoids the conventions that modern slasher films have developed. The killer does not have a mask, or a backstory.

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  • Black Christmas (2006)

    Black Christmas This is a remake of a little-known 1974 cult classic pre- Halloween slasher. James Morgan , best known for starting the Final Destination franchise, delivers another tongue-in-cheek horror film. It is gruesome, about an eyeball-eating cannibal.

    A spree-killer escapes from an Asylum, and returns home. The family home (and murder scene) is now a sorority house, where a group of college girls (including Michelle Trachtenberg, Lacey Chabert, Mary Elizabeth Winstead ) spend Christmas. Unfortunately, the serial killer is lurking in their attic.

    There are several red herrings, but nothing really new (although it is slightly tongue in cheek). Kristen Cloke (the Director's wife) pops up, claiming to be the elder sister of one of the missing girls ... The girls will not leave their friends, which explains a suicidal action towards the end.

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  • Captivity

    Captivity World-famous model Elisha Cuthbert is kidnapped, and wakes up in a dungeon. She is tortured by a masked figure. Then she discovers that she is not the dungeon's only inmate ...

    This film in particular has come in for a lot of criticism. Instead of being over-empowered, as in Buffy the Vampire Slayer , the heroine is a generic damsel in distress. Worse, it is part of the torture-porn sub-genre.

    The director is apparently an Academy Award winner. Unfortunately, this film is so bad that ... Let's just accept that the plot is so full of holes and the film is so deeply flawed that the unfortunate director must be well past his best.

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  • Creep

    Creep Franke Portente misses the last train home, and is trapped in a London Underground station. Worse, the people she meets are murdered one by one. Something horrible is stalking her!

    This owes a lot to the 1970s film Death Line , about murderous inbred cannibals living in a disused Victorian tunnel. And when we finally see the killer ... There is a damn torture porn scene!

    The title, along with the plot, appears stolen from a story in 2000AD. A bald ugly mutant murdered people in the Undercity, a maze of tunnels beneath Mega-City One (Home of Judge Dredd ). In truth, the movie seems a mix of both these sources - but it would be nice to see credit given where it is duely deserved!

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  • Deathproof

    Deathproof This is the second half of the Grindhouse experience. It is full of all the cheesy music and effects that we though were left in the 1970s. Predictably for Tarantino, of course. And his foot fetish is more obvious than ever!

    A bunch of gorgeous young women got for a night out in Austin, Texas. At the bar they meet up with the likes of barman Quentin Tarantino and regular Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell - The Thing, Escape From New York ).

    The story takes a turn for the worse. One or more characters ends up in the hospital featured in the other half of the Grindhouse double bill, Planet Terror .

    Fourteen months later, in Tennessee:

    Zoe Bell, Tracie Thoms, Marie Elizabeth Winstead, Rosario Dawson go for a drive along some quiet country roads ...

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  • Disturbia

    Disturbia We go from Deathproof, which put a new spin on 1970s slasher films, to this - a remake of Rear Window (1954). Yes, the protagonist is a teenager and he uses 21st Century technology in his spying, but it is more or less the same story.

    Shia LeBoeuf ( Transformers ) punches his teacher, and the police put him under house arrest for the summer holidays. His mother ( Carrie Anne Moss ) cancels his X-Box subscription, so he has nothing to do but spy on his sexy new neighbour - Sarah Roemer .

    Unforunately he begins to suspect that his other neighbour, David Morse ( Green Mile (1999) ), is a serial killer! This leads to all the predictable scenes, as the police do not believe him and he tries to get proof ...

    The climax involves Shia being stalked by a thug in a boiler-suit. Yet another Jason Vorhees rip-off, one may suppose, but it works quite well. And while we see the killer's torture tools, this does not descend into torture porn. All in all, it is a well-paced suspense thriller for a younger audience.

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  • Paradise Lost AKA Turistas (Go Home)

    Paradise Lost Josh Duhammel ( Transformers), Melissa George and a couple of other English-speaking back-packers get lost in Brazil. Some friendly locals offer to look after them ...

    This is basically another example of the new trend in horror films - Torture Porn. Anyone who has seen Wolf Creek will not get any surprises. The only thing that really stands out about this film is the fact that making the inbred villagers Brazilian (instead of Scottish, Appalachian or whatever) makes it liable to accusations of racism!

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  • Shrooms

    Shrooms A handful of young Americans arrive in Ireland to go on a psychadelic experience with some Magic Mushrooms. They spend the night camping in the grounds of a disused Borstal, next to a forest inhabited by a couple of inbred yokels.

    During the night, their local friend tells them a gruesome campfire tale about the Borstal's horrible past. And in the morning, the deranged killers from his story start to pick the kids off, one by one.

    This was the great hope for the Northern Ireland film industry. Unfortunately, the characters are completely stereotypical and two-dimensional, the story is cliched and the ending is predictable. There is a lot of repetition - we get a long build-up of suspense, followed by a loud sound-effect to make the audience jump! All in all, a great disappointment!

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  • Halloween Franchise

    Halloween 5: Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

    Halloween 5: Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) It is Halloween again, and Michael Myers stalks the streets of Haddonfield once more. He bumps off the usual teenagers, but he is really after a couple of kids - a boy named Billy, and his own niece ( Danielle Harris ).

    The Sheriff (Beau Starr - Due South ) has his own SWAT team. Yes, he has been preparing for this night. But Dr Loomis (Donald Pleasance You Only Live Twice ) lets his obsession with Michael take over.

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  • Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

    Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) Michael Myers is on the rampage again, even though in this series he has endured total bodily destruction at least twice. However, this movie stands far above the Friday The 13th series in terms of Direction and Scripting. There is an actual sense of terror that far exceeds anything the jokey Jason Voorhees flicks could create.

    The film takes up a few years after the previous movie. Myers was abducted by the Cult of Thorn, a group of satanists who are responsible for his demonic possession by the murderous spirit of Samhain. Or whatever. They also abducted Jamie, who is now played by a different actress.

    Billy (Paul Rudd - Ant-Man and Wasp (2018) ) is back, now a full-grown man. He makes a decent hero, in a franchise best known for female protagonists.

    Myers' shrink, Dr Loomis (Donald Pleasance You Only Live Twice ) is still on his tail. This is the last film Pleasance made, and is dedicated to his memory. Unfortunately Pleasance died before the ending was re-shot, which means it is a bit jumbled at the end.

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  • Halloween (2007)

    Halloween (2007) It is thirty years since Halloween was originally made by John Carpenter , and ten years since Halloween H20: 20 years later came out. Rob Zombie , who leaves himself open to being called a hack, attempts a remake of the 30-year-old masterpiece . The result? Well, there are more B-movie cameos than in a Tarantino film ...

    The story starts with ten-year-old Michael Myers getting bullied by drunken step-dad Ronnie (William Forsythe - Virtuosity ) and schoolboy thug Darrell Sabara ( Spy Kids ). Myers also enjoys torturing small animals, so School Principal Richard Lynch ( Galactica 1980 ) calls in child psychologist Dr Loomis (Malcolm McDowell - Tank Girl ). Unfortunately, this just sets the little creep on a kill-crazy rampage!

    Michael ends up in a mental institution staffed by nurse Sybil Danning , janitor Danny Trejo ( Spy Kids ) and security guard Leslie Easterbrook . Yes, that is right - Callaghan from Police Academy. Which should give you some idea of the quality of the security that is meant to keep Myers from getting loose. After almost two decades of incarceration, Myers has grown from a chubby boy with long girlie hair into a seven-foot-tall giant with superhuman strength and long, rock-star hair. Naturally, he massacres the entire staff and then goes home ...

    Loomis and Sheriff Brad Dourif ( Alien: Resurrection ) must save the townsfolk from the kill-crazy maniac. The sex-crazed teenagers include a familiar face from the original series. The sheriff's daughter is Danielle Lloyd (who, despite being about thirty years old in reality, can pass for seventeen years old in this film).

    The original film's Michael Myers was a genuinely creepy, terrifying character. Unfortunately as the series developed he became more like the lumbering thug he had inspired - Jason Voorhees. And now Michael has been reinvented as a slasher with too much backstory who kills without reason ... Michael Myers is the core of the film. And since the makers did not get Myers right, the film has no chance of working.

  • Halloween (1978)
  • Halloween II (1981)
  • Halloween IV: Return of Michael Myers (1988)
  • Halloween 5: Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
  • Halloween VI: Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
  • Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
  • Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
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  • Halloween (2018)

    Halloween (2018) It is forty years since Halloween was originally made by John Carpenter , twenty years since Halloween H20: 20 Years Later came out, and ten years since Rob Zombie created his own version of the storyline. Now we have a third storyline for the franchise.

    This version takes up the story where the original left off, ignoring all subsequent films. Michael only has five victims at the start - his sister, the driver and the three teenagers. He is looked after by the protege of the now-dead Dr Loomis, although the new shrink is obsessive in his own way.

    The exposition at the start is delivered by a couple of journalists. They are podcasters, a reference to online media that seems reminiscent of the Internet streaming concept that was central to Halloween: Resurrection (2002) . Many other bits are taken from the sequels. Unfortunately, the best improvement from the Rob Zombie version (the action-packed escape scene) is forgotten and we are left with the same off-screen anticlimax as in the original film.

    In this timeline, Laurie Strode ( Jamie Lee Curtis ) did not become a school principal with a devoted son. Instead she became a reclusive survivalist with an estranged daughter ( Judy Greer ), who in turn became mother to a teenage girl ( Andi Matichak ). Yes, this movie has three generations of Final Girls.

    This version of Michael Myers is not personally obsessed with Laurie as he was in H20. He goes on a kill-crazy rampage, like in the middle sections of the original series. It is Laurie that is hunting him. The local cop (Will Patton - Punisher (2005) ) also has a grudge against Michael.

    The final act of the story takes place in Laurie's new home, a remote cabin in the woods that she has fortified. Unfortunately the security system has not bee updated since 1978 - the CCTV is monochrome and uses cathode-ray TV sets, while she relies on floodlighting instead of night-vision. Worst of all there is no central control for the system, so she has to manually secure every single internal door. This works wonderfully for a suspenseful stalk-and-slash sequence, but it strains the viewer's supension of disbelief.

  • Halloween (1978)
  • Halloween II (1981)
  • Halloween IV: Return of Michael Myers (1988)
  • Halloween 5: Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
  • Halloween VI: Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
  • Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998)
  • Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
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  • I Know What You Did Last Summer Franchise

    I Know What You Did Last Summer

    I Know What You Did Last Summer A gang of middle-class teenagers (including Jennifer Love Hewitt & Sarah Michelle Gellar ) are drunk-driving home from the High School Prom when they hid a pedestrian. They cover up the crime, but a year later they end up getting picked off one by one. Their stalker is a hook-wielding man in a weatherproof coat and hat - The Fisherman.

    There are a couple of familiar faces among the innocent bystanders. Johnny Galecki ( Rings ) is a High School drop-out, while Brigitte Wilson-Sampras is the bitchy older sister of SMG's character.

    This was adapted from a novel, but the screenplay was written by Kevin Williamson , known (among other things) for the Scream series. It includes a number of recognisable tropes. The cliched make-up of the group of teenage protagonists, to start with. The large, fast-walking killer keeps pace with smaller damsels in distress as they run away as fast as they can. Thus, chase scenes are dragged out for greater suspense.

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  • I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer

    I'll Always Know What You Did Last Summer A gang of teenagers play a stupid practical joke, and someone ends up getting accidentally killed. A year later, and as the anniversary draws closer the survivors are being stalked by a man in waterproof clothes and a hook for a hand. Then people start getting murdered ...

    This is a standard stalk-and-slash, a cheap straight-to-DVD cash-in on the franchise, but it is not a bad effort. The cast of unknowns acquit themselves well, despite working with a script which has none of their characters linked to the original. The amazing Colorado scenery gets squeezed into as many camera-shots as possible. And while the Rocky Mountains location is over a thousand miles from the sea, it certainly makes this fisherman tale worth watching.

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  • I've Been Waiting For You

    I've Been Waiting For You This was adapted from a novel written by the writer of I know What You Did Last Summer . Teenager Sarah Chalke moves to a new town, where a witch was burned to death three hundred years previously. Soon after her arrival, descendants of the witch-burners are brutally murdered.

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  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre Franchise

    Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning

    Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning Jordana Brewster and some other college kids get menaced in rural Texas. Biker Lee Tergesen ( Weird Science ) is part of the problem, can he become part of the solution?

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  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2

    Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 Thirteen years on from the events of the first film, and the murderous chainsaw clan are still in business. Texas Ranger Dennis Hopper ( Waterworld ), uncle of one of the original victims, obsessively hunts the killers. A long-legged lady DJ helps lure them out ...

    This has a bigger budget than the original, but is more tongue-in-cheek ... Leatherface gets a love interest!

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  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3: Leatherface

    Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3: Leatherface The ep starts with a news announcement that the police convicted one man of the TCM killings. They believed that Leatherface was one of his personalities. The rest of the family were never caught ...

    Our protagonists, brother and sister, drive along a remote country road. They pass a site where Texas Police are excavating a newly-discovered Body pit. Someone has murdered dozens of people. They run into friendly cowboy Tex (Viggo Mortensen - Lord of the Rings ), and take a shortcut along a road that is not even on the map.

    Things liven up when they meet Survivalist Ken Foree (token black guy in Dawn of the Dead - the kind of role that these days would be played by Tony Todd or even Samuel L Jackson). There is also the Last Girl from a previous group of victims.

    This might be the third (and least original so far) of the series, but it is still very watchable. It is just as suspenseful as the similarly-plotted Jeepers Creepers , but much less disappointing.

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  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Return
    AKA Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre

    AKA Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation

    Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Renee Zellweger and a couple of friends are on their way to the school prom when the car crashes. They end up in a cabin with the psycho hillbilly family!

    Leatherface is now a tame, harmless crossdresser, and there are only a couple of scenes with chainsaws. It is hardly a massacre! The brains and brawn of the family is Matthew McConaughey ( Reign of Fire ), who is a decent actor but due to the mediocre cinematography is less than threatening.

    Despite the pair of big-name stars, this is a low-budget effort from BEFORE they were famous! It is very poorly made, and the stars have disowned it. No wonder that the series had to revert to a remake of the original! This is the weakest of the series that this reviewer has seen. The remakes did not come out soon enough! A pity the treacherous Darla ( ) did not get more of a career afterwards.

  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre
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  • Texas Chainsaw 3-D (2012)

    Texas Chainsaw 3-D (2012) This is a sequel to the original film, and ignores the other sequels and reboots. It starts where the original left off, as Leatherface's teenage victims are avenged by a lynch mob. Apparently the only survivor is a baby girl ...

    The main story starts twenty years later, when the 1970s original gives way to the 21st century era of video-streaming smart-phones. Alexandra Daddario and a couple of friends visit her family's property. Yes, she is the heir to the psycho hillbilly family!

    The story evokes every cliche that Joss Whedon mocked in the previous year's amazing Cabin in the Woods . In comparison, the most original thing about this film is the casting of Tania Raymonde , who acquits herself very admirably in the cliched slut role, which is unlike anything she has played before.

    The ending is particularly vile. The moral centre of the film has to decide - is a cannibalistic serial-killer worse than a sleazy redneck? Who is the REAL villain? And should any of us care?

  • Texas Chainsaw Massacre
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  • Vacancy Franchise

    Vacancy (2007)

    Vacancy (2007) Bickering married couple Luke Wilson ( Charlie's Angels ) and Kate Beckinsale get lost while driving in a remote part of the USA. They stop at a local motel, run by rapidly-aging Frank Whalley ( Broken Arrow ). Then they discover that the videotapes left in their room are snuff movies - and they are going to be the next victims!

    The couple are menaced by a couple of men in masks and boiler-suits. Cut-price Jasons, really. It is all a bit lightweight, compared to other slasher films. It has its moments, but it is really not a very impressive film.

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