This is a wonderful directorial debut from Paxton. The tension is notched up wonderfully, and the cast acquit themselves wonderfully. The final twist - well, it is a real kick in the teeth.
Local crofter Maurice Roeves ( Dr Who: Caves of Androzani ), despite being a Scotsman in Wales, manages to provide exposition. It seems that there is an evil presence, reminiscent of Pet Semetary and Ringu . The movie is based on a novel entitled Sheep!, but this seems a reference to sheep-like followers of Cults (as in The Wicker man ). That said, there are some scenes reminiscent of Black Sheep !
Kiefer Sutherland is a paranoid, angsty, gun-toting ex-cop. Quite reminiscent of his character in 24, in fact. He gets a job as security guard in a derelict Department store.
The eeevil entity can jump from one mirror to another, and is not limited to the mirrors in the Department Store. In fact, it can manifest itself through any reflective surface! Kiefer must protect his sister ( Amy Smart ), his wife and kids from the monster.
John Smith (Christopher Walken - View To A Kill ) is in a car crash. He wakes up from a coma five years later, and thanks to Dr Herbert Lom ( Revenge of the Pink Panther ) he discovers that he has psychic powers. Any time he touches a person he can see terrible events that have or will befall them.
Smith's life becomes a bit episodic from there on. For example, Sheriff Tom Skerrit ( Alien ) is hunting a serial killer. Nine women have been killed over the previous three years, and the FBI and State Troopers cannot seem to help.
Anthony Zerbe ( Licence to Kill ) hires Smith to tutor his young son.
Greg Stilson (Martin Sheen - A.L.F. ) is running for election as a Third Party candidate. Smith forsees that Stilson will get elected ... but that this is a very bad thing! Can Smith change the future?
Presumably the makers of The West Wing never saw this!
The Creeper's new target is a bus-load of stereotypical High School Jocks and cheerleaders driving home from the Big Game. One of the cheerleaders ( Nicki Aycox ) starts having psychic flashes of the previous victims ...
While this may lack the originality of the original, being as it is a sequel, this is actually in many ways a better film. The mid-point twist of the first film is a genre shift that turns it from crime/slasher thriller to supernatural monster movie. In contrast, this is a simple supernatural horror from the outset. The flying monster does not mess about in a big truck for no reason. Instead it just flies about and does monsterous things.
If there is one flaw in the film it is the choice of victims. This is what John Carpenter would have referred to as a Dead Teenager Movie. It would have been improved if the bus had been full of grown men, like in The Thing - Carpenter's great success after his own slasher masterpiece, Halloween . What if the convicts from HBO prison drama Oz were hunted by the Creeper? Think of it as Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead ... only good. As it is, Ahab the farmer has to be the token grown-up in the film.
Apparently when you are invisible, radiation damages your cells. Griffin wants a secret formula known as the buffer - a bit like the Counteragent in Invisible Man (1999)
This effort, written and directed by Eli Roth , and we can thank it for kick-starting the Torture Porn sub-genre of Horror movie.
The highlight of the film is a cameo by the always-impressive Rick Hoffman ( Blood Work ).
Yes, it is obviously yet more torture-porn crap. But this is slightly different from the first one. To start with, we get to meet a couple of first-time clients. Richard Burgi ( Starship troopers 2 ) and his buddy, Roger Bart (Revenge), are American businessmen out to try something new. And the Elite Hunting Club offers them the next big thing.
Another change is, this time the victims are GIRLS. Yes, predictable damsel-in-distress stuff, but the twist with the Last Girl is almost impressive.
Everything in it is telegraphed in advance, there is nothing too original. Some of the gore, perhaps - but then, that is what this genre is about. It is obvious who is going to die, but the manner of their deaths is where the creativity went.
We all know what the story is, but this version manages a few twists.
The climax of the film is a real let-down. All the suspense built up throughout the first two acts is blown away by the revelation that the monster is dodgy low-budget CGI SPFX!
The story starts with the Boogeyman stalking a college girl. One of them is daughter of a famous shrink recently killed at his Asylum. Presumably this is a link to the previous film in the series.
The college kids are the usual predictable bunch of stereotypes, starting with the smart brunette girl (usually the Last Girl) and her hunky but half-witted BF. The group is rounded out by the slutty blonde friend, Token Black Guy and Foreign Exchange Student (an Australian this time).
The premise seems to be that the people most susceptible to the Boogeyman are people who believe in him. Our heroine then goes around trying to convince everyone that she is right, and the Boogeyman is really after her - making THEM susceptible to him as well! Nice work, sweetheart!
The Boogeyman stalks the heroine, bumping off her friends in exotic ways and then making it look like accidents. He can also appear in dreams and nightmares - like a cut-price Freddy Kreuger, without the style or one-liners. The CGI is not as bad as in the original (which is not saying much), but that is no reason to over-use it. Suspense works when you DO NOT show the monster. This is just predictable!
Jayne Wisener gets a tiny walk-on part as a college girl named Amy. Her scene at the end is the only part worth watching.
Criminals start to drop dead of heart attacks. The police, naturally, are baffled. They blame a serial killer who is codenamed Kira.
The killer is a law student who discovered that sometimes people accused of crimes get away with it. You know, due to lack of evidence, unreliable witnesses, the pesky fact of their innocence ... And when he gets hold of a magic book that kills anyone whose name is written in it, the student does not hesitate to kill anyone he takes a dislike to.
The Japanese Police call in the greatest detective in the world, a reclusive figure known as L. He begins, step by step, to unmask Kira. How far will Kira go to protect himself?
L and the Special Unit begin to close in on the new killer. But things get more complicated than ever. The Gods of Death (that is how the subtitles translate it, though from the context Spirit or Demon might be better) have additional supernatural powers, which they use at the whim of the book-owners.
This is a great sequel - developments were foreshadowed in the first film, and everything is brought to a natural conclusion in this one.
To be fair, this one actually has a new gimmick. It is part of the new wave of 3-D revival films. Yes, probably thanks in part to Spy-Kids 3-D by Robert Rodriguez we now have a rash of these 1980s-style 3-d films.
The previous films had signature kills. The second one was slicing wires. The third was crushing brain injuries. This time, predictably because it is 3-D, is things flying at the camera, and through the victim.
The victims are a bunch of students who attend a Nascar race when there's a multiple pile-up and an entire stand full of audience people is slaughtered in a fiery inferno. Krista Allen is a hot soccer-mom, certainly cast against type but it is nice to see her in a different type of role. Token Black Guy Mykelita Williamson ( Species 2 ) is the security guard.
The entire franchise has been built around Kate Beckinsale. This film is set before her character became a Vampire, so the role of ass-kicking Vamp babe is filled by Viktor's daughter Rhona Mitra . She has a forbidden affair with Lucien, an enslaved Lycan. This leads on to a Spartacus style uprising, as the werewolf slaves revolt against their Vampire masters.
Corvin (Scott Speedman) is an American tourist. Seline must stop the Werewolves from getting their claws on him.
Seline ( Kate Beckinsale ) and Corvin (Scott Speedman) are on the run in Hungary. The main werewolf and vampire factions were wiped out in the first film, but new antagonists pop up.
Markus (Tony Curran - League of Extraordinary Gentlemen ), the third and final vampire elder, is now a super-powerful hybrid. Corvin's own hybrid powers manifest themselves fully, giving us the opportunity to watch extensive carnage courtesy of well-sculpted CGI monsters.
Derek Jacobi and his SWAT Team do a clean-up job. They have their own agenda, concerning Markus' twin brother - the first ever werewolf!
Selene ( Kate Beckinsale ) wakes up after a dozen years in cryo-sleep. Evil scientist Stephen Rea ( Interview With the Vampire ) was using her and other prisoners to make a special formula. Sandrine Holt and Wes Bentley ( P2, Hunger Games ) feature as scientists in the villain's lab. Dyson the werewolf cop from Lost Girl pops up too.
Selene teams up with India Eisley , the cliched Creepy little girl from J-Horror flicks. They go in search of other vamps. Yes, somehow the vamps are now the good guys and the Lycans are villains.
There are three separate writing credits on this film, which means that at least 50% of the script was rewritten twice. The middle credit is given to J Michael Straczynski himself, the brains behind Babylon 5 , but that is no saving grace. The film is riddled with plot holes and non-sequiturs as a result of its hotch-potch origins. Shocking that for a film about vamps and lycans, the real monster is Frankenstein's screenplay.
The heroine is Bella ( Kirsten Stewart ), a teenage girl who goes to live with her divorced dad (Billy Burke - Revolution ), who is the sheriff of a small town in Washington State, Northwest USA. She falls for local boy Edward (Robert Pattinson - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ), but there is something unusual about him ...
Finally, by the end of the Second Act the teenage drama is set aside and the thriller subplot emerges. A trio of ravenous vamps (including Rachel Lefevre , a girl who looks like a young Nancy Allen ) are passing through the area, eating humans along the way. One of them decides that Edward's play-thing would make a nice meal ...
The ending, somewhat tagged on, involves the Volturi - an aristocratic clan of Vampire Elders led by Michael Sheen (the Werewolf leader in Underworld ) and Christopher Heyderdal ( Sanctuary ). They enforce the laws of the vampire community, to ensure that they do not come to the attention of human Inquisitors.
Someone is building an army of new vamps by killing lots of people in Seattle. The Volturi, who are supposed to keep vamps from high-profile acts, know all about it but do not care enough to intervene. This all builds up to a violent climax.
This is episode 3 of a 4-book series. It ends one dragged-out story arc, but there is yet more to come. It is padded out even more than Peter Jackson 's adaptation of The Hobbit . Yes, like the Harry Potter series the final book has to be split in two.
Bella and Edward head off for their honeymoon. They have their own private island near Rio. Why they want somewhere near the equator is not explained. They would get far more hours of winter darkness in Tasmania or New Zealand.
This series has equated sex with death, specifically by the vampiric bite. And as soon as the couple consumate their honeymoon, the implications of violence are soon there. The bed is broken, Bella ends up bruised and battered ... and then, somehow, she gets pregnant!
Bella gets sequestered in the Cullen home, back in Washington State. Her vampiric unborn child is slowly draining the life out of her. Carlisle Cullen (Peter Facinelli - Supernova, Hollow Man 2 ) is a Doctor, but he displays a complete lack of both medical knowledge and scientific curiosity. It takes weeks for anyone to think of replacing her depleted blood supply!
Jacob is shocked and horrified at the idea of a vamp foetus inside his friend. His pack-mates, formerly supportive of Bella, now decide that she has breached the treaty between them and the Vamps. They decide to kill her, while Jacob and a couple of his friends decide to save her.
The vamps seem to be less powerful than in the first film. When they play baseball they can run faster than the speed of sound, but here they face a real threat of being chased down by big CGI doggies.
There is an after-credits sequence involving the Volturi. They want the half-vamp child, which nicely sets up the next film. Yes, this entire movie is just a SETUP - nothing of interest actually happens. Except Jacob's reaction when he first sees Bella's child ... but that is just plain creepy!
Irina ( Maggie Grace ) sees the child and thinks she is an abomination, a child-vamp like in Interview With The Vampire . The Volturi must protect the secrecy of vampirism by destroying such abominations. This is their new motivation for seeking a climactic confrontation with the Cullens, so the storyline can be given an action-packed conclusion.
Bella's escape plan is to buy fake IDs, courtesy of Bunk from The Wire.
The Cullens want to make a fight of it. They team up with a lot of renegade vamps, as well as the local werewolves. However, the villainous Volturi have an army twice the size.
The climactic battle has both sides led by centuries-old vampires who commanded armies centuries before you were even born, to quote the famous Frank Langella line from Dracula (1979) . However, these Immortal warriors show no idea of strategy or tactics. The vamps just run at each other as fast as they can, jump and grapple with each other mid-air. That is it. No weapons, no well-choreographed martial arts scenes ...
Despite the lack of choreography in the fight scenes, there is one thing this movie adds to the vampire concept. Several vampires have superpowers! The precog's ability to see the future was established in the first film, to provide foreshadowing and a small amount of tension to the plot. Other superpowers include the ability to manipulate water. One girl is a walking taser, able to zap even the most powerful vamp just by touching them. Bella's power, in keeping with her status as a care-giver and submissive, allows her to shield herself and Edward from any harm. In the end it all boils down to one question. Can a werewolf outrun a vamp? Remember, it is established in the first film that the vamps can run faster than the speed of sound! We also get to see what happens when a telepath reads a precog's mind.