ORBzine - Slasher Flicks 2014 Movie Reviews

TITLE & REVIEW

The Ward

The Ward A young woman, the archetypal last Girl of the horror genre, is sent to a looney bin in early 1960s USA - the era of ECT and dubious experiments. She is put on a ward filled with similarly attractive young women, where they are stalked by a potentially supernatural mass-murderer.

This is John Carpenter 's comeback, eight years after Ghosts of Mars - but it is boring and predictable. The cast of B-List starlets (up-and-comers, like the sidekick from the 2010 Nikita TV show) are nice to look at ... But the Killer is just bland. Carpenter is the king of the slasher film, he gave us Halloween , arguably the first and best example of the genre. Then he moved away from the teenagers in danger trope and gave us grown men in danger in The Thing . He seems to have forgotten everything he taught us. This just adds to the disappointment.

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    Cry Wolf

    Cry Wolf After a murder is reported nearby, a bunch of College students ( Lindy Booth , Jared Padalecki - Supernatural ) mess with each others' heads in a series of pranks. Is it Gossip or Urban Legend ? Is there a REAL serial killer after them?

    There are lots of twists - perhaps too many. It tries too hard - but without a big budget (no stars = no publicity) it only had a very complex script to reel in the viewers.

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    Venom

    Venom Louisiana, USA - a redneck is contaminated by evil souls that had been imprisoned by voodoo. Now a murderous zombie, he goes on a kill-crazy rampage after Agnes Bruckner and her hot teenage friends.

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    Scream 4

    Scream 4 This is a reboot of the franchise, extending the original trilogy that concluded ten years ago. But since the writer is Kevin Williamson , the director is Wes Craven and the Exec Producer is Ehren Kruger , the original creators are on board with it.

    The film starts with a series of reversals, playing on the concept of Stab, the movie within a movie. We get some great cameos from Kirsten Bell, Anna Paquin, Heather Graham .

    The story takes place ten years after the last series of killings. Sidney is back in her home town, the last stop in a tour promoting her new book. There is now a NEW copycat killer - the THIRD copycat so far.

    The potential victims include Sidney's cousin ( Emma Roberts , best known as the new Nancy Drew) and some Horror Movie nerds (Kieran Culkin, Hayden Panetierre ).

    Sheriff Dewey and his Deputies (Anthony Anderson and Marley Shelton ) try to solve the murders, with a predictable lack of success. Gail has retired from news reporting, and wants to reinvent herself as a novelist. Naturally, she sees the new killer as a chance to get back in the game.

    This film is very nice work! It really revitalises the Franchise by using New Media, satirises the celebrity culture that Sidney has found herself in (and that Gail misses).

  • Scream
  • Scream 2
  • Scream 3
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    Single White Female

    Single White Female This is based on a novel, and follows the Room-mate from hell theme. Brigid Fonda breaks up with her BF, and takes Jennifer Jason Leigh as her new lodger. Unfortunately, the new lodger is not taking her medication. There is a lot of violence, and some memorable toplessness.

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    Roommate, The

    Roommate, The This is practically a scene-for-scene remake of Single White Female. Unfortunately, it does not have the toplessness. Minka Kelly is a 29-year-old pretending to be ten years younger. Leighton Meester is her new college room-mate, and Billy Zane (Titanic) is the lecherous college professor.

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    Orphan

    Orphan An American couple adopt a young girl. Unfortunately she is creepy, and mysterious accidents happen to everyone around her.

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    Eyes of Julia

    Eyes of Julia The heroine is slowly going blind. She stays in her dead sister's home - but suspects that her sister's suicide was actually murder. There is a stalker that only she can see - but she (and we) only see him as a shadow ...

    This is certainly not the most original story, since it was made twice by Hollywood about 20 years ago ( Jennifer 8). The film is let down by an over-long climax - The third act seems to go on forever!

    This is a Spanish film, produced by Guillermo Del Torro . But despite this eminent horror movie credential, there is no supernatural element. Thus, it can technically be categorised as a crime thriller, not a horror one.

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    Cursed

    Cursed Christina Ricci and her brother Jesse Eisenberg ( Kick-Ass, Scott Pilgrim ) are stalked by a werewolf in modern-day Los Angeles. But out of an all-star cast, who is the lycanthrope?

    Christina has love interest Joshua Jackson ( Fringe ), rival Judy Greer and boss Michael Rosenbaum ( Smallville ).

    Jesse wants to date Kristina Anapau , but has to deal with School bully Milo Ventriglia ( Heroes ).

    This was directed by Wes Craven , and needed lots of re-shoots. Unfortunately the result of the re-editing is a disjointed effort.

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    Sorority Row

    Sorority Row Some super-beautiful girls hang out in a US College Sorority. Audrina Patridge is a babe, Rumer Willis is the token nerdy girl, and Carrie Fisher is the House Mother. The Queen Bitch and her pals play a practical joke on someone. Naturally it all goes badly wrong.

    A year later, someone starts bumping off the witnesses. Like in I Know What You Did Last Summer , but with more babes and fewer guys ... think Black Christmas (2005) done without the sense of irony.

    Despite its cliched nature, it actually gets better in the third act. This is because Carrie Fisher has some great scenes in it - perhaps she rewrote her own dialogue (as she did in Time Guardian

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    Cabin In The Woods

    Cabin In The Woods Five stereotypical college kids (slut, jock, nerd, stoner and good girl) go on a road trip to a remote cabin - in the woods. Naturally, to everyone who has seen Evil Dead (or any one of a hundred different horror movies) this is the beginning of a stalk-and-slash story. Yes, expect zombies, werewolves, Cenobites, a merman ...

    The trailers give away the fact that this is not as straightforward as it seems. From the get-go, the film lets us know things are being manipulated by an office full of workers. Bradley Whitman (The West Wing) is there, backed up by Joss Whedon's familiar faces like Amy Acker and Tom Lenk ( Buffy: Season 6 ).

    The climax, however, includes a final twist that shows this to be more than just a standard meta-thriller. Even knowing there are two stories that eventually overlap, there are still surprises to be had. All in all, an amazing piece of work. Knowing that the creators are responsible for Cloverfield and Buffy: Season 4 may allow you to see additional references ...

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    Night Flier

    Night Flier Miguel Ferrer ( Robocop ) is a reporter obsessed with a serial killer. This particular killer uses a plane to fly from victim to victim.

    This was based on a Stephen King short story. It is a suspenseful effort, despite being a made-for-TV movie.

  • 2000
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    Bad Karma

    Bad Karma Mental patient Patsy Kensit escapes. She then stalks a shrink (Patrick Muldoon) who thinks she is Jack the Ripper.

    This was filmed in the Republic of Ireland.

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    House at the End of the Street

    House at the End of the Street As the title may suggest, this is a low-budget suspense thriller. A teenage school-girl ( Jennifer Lawrence - action girl Katniss in Hunger Games ) and her single mother move into a remote house. The house next door was scene to a couple of brutal murders, and the killer was never found. Katniss' mother ( Elizabeth Shue ) is a lady doctor who mostly works night shifts, when she is not hanging out with local sheriff Gill Bellows ( Shawshank Redemption ). This leaves Katniss free to meet the usual teenage cliched characters at school.

    Katniss also befriends the boy next door - sole survivor of the murdered family. Of course, in this kind of film there is a nasty secret. It is all a bit predictable, but no worse than similar shockers Silent House or The Pact . In fact, this is more mainstream version - for some reason it was given a 15 certificate in the UK, but it is a pretty tame, PG-13 film.

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    Stitches

    Stitches This is a rough-around-the-edges slasher parody from County Wicklow, Ireland. It is all very tongue-in-cheek, although one imagines that the American market will not understand the combination of horror and comedy. It works well either way. The SPFX are incredibly gory.

    Stitches is a second-rate clown played by English stand-up comedian Ross Noble. He performs at an 8-year-old's birthday party, but the group of kids play cruel tricks on him and he dies in a horrific accident as a result.

    The film jumps forward six years, until the characters are all supposedly 14 years old. The fact that they are played by unknowns helps it work, but the actors are all bound to be ten years older than their characters.

    The birthday boy, now a Harry Potter lookalike, is terrified of clowns and birthdays. But eventually his friends talk him into holding a party so he can invite the girl of his dreams. Naturally, the party grows, and then gets gate-crashed by a killer clown back from the dead!

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    Jennifer's Body

    Jennifer's Body This is a watchable horror film, and the reason it flopped is because it was poorly marketed. It was written by Diablo Cody, best known for the critically acclaimed Juno. She delivers a lot of her trademark snappy dialogue.

    This film follows some of the rules of the traditional horror movie. For example, the protagonist is a Final Girl ( Amanda Seyfried ) and the antagonist is a demonic monster that kills teenagers. However, the monster does not chase gorgeous cheerleaders like Megan Fox - she IS the monster!

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    Stoker

    Stoker Mia Wasiawski and her recently-widowed mother ( Nicole Kidman ) are joined by creepy uncle Matthew Goode ( Watchmen ).

    This was directed by the same man who directed the shocking Korean film, Oldboy . He has added some incredible visual touches. It is basically a vampire film without the trappings of vampirism. The blood-lust is human, not supernatural, and the result is a stylish display of psychopathic violence.

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    Wilderness

    Wilderness The story starts with a bunch of Young Offenders in a tough 1970s-style Borstal (like in the infamous prison drama Scum. Tough guard Sean Pertwee ( Event Horizon ) takes the lads on a field trip to a remote island. They bump into an identical party comprising of their female counterparts, including Lenora Critchlow .

    Someone with a crossbow and pack of hunting dogs starts to bump them off. There is no chainsaw or hockey mask - this killer wears a ghillie suit, which makes him the most convincing threat in the genre!

    What separates this from a revenge thriller is the apparent lack of justice. The victim's pain is inversely proportional to the amount they deserve it.

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    Savaged AKA Avenged

    Savaged AKA Avenged A young hearing-impaired woman takes a one-person driving holiday across Arizona. Unfortunately she runs into a gang of racist rednecks run by Rodney Rowland ( Space: Above and Beyond ). Like every survival film since Deliverance , things take a turn for the worse …

    Evoking the Magic Negro cliché, the token Native American character is a medicine man. He tries to keep the girl’s soul in her body. Unfortunately she ends up soul-possessed by a vengeance spirit - like in The Crow , but with the spirit of Apache chieftain Mangas Coloradas instead of a demon.

    Given the played-out nature of the genre and the low budget of the film, this is actually quite a watchable film.

  • I Spit On Your Grave
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    Pact Franchise

    The Pact

    The Pact Agnes Bruckner returns to her childhood home after the death of her mother. But her presence seems to awaken some hostile entity ...

    A few days later, her sister ( Caity Lotz ) arrives to look for her. Nobody bothers reporting her missing, because of her drug habit. This is perhaps the first major break in suspension of disbelief, but when things get worse she has to get help from Police detective Casper Van Dien ( Starship Troopers ). Of course, nobody believes her ...

    This is a small independent film, written and directed by a relative unknown. The direction is decent and quite suspenseful, although the incidental music is a bit overwhelming. However, the story itself is cobbled together from lots of scenes in other films. The cop starts doing spirit photography, and the Last Girl happens to know a genuine psychic medium in town. The biggest debt this shows to anything is What Lies Beneath , because the film takes a complete change of direction in the final act.

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    Psycho Franchise

    Psycho IV

    Psycho IV Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins - The Black Hole ) is on a radio chat-show. He has flashbacks to when he was young, and looked like Henry Thomas ( E.T. ). Back then, the house actually looked ... Nice. Unfortunately the bits in the Modern Age are poorly acted (except Norman) and written.

  • Psycho
  • Psycho 2
  • Psycho III
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    Ring Franchise

    Ringu 0

    Ringu 0 This is set in the 1960s, in a small theatre in Japan. Sadako is both the virgin protagonist and the monster! All in all, this is actually a disappointing prequel.

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    Rings

    Rings The story starts on a passenger jet plane, flying over Seattle. This is an attempt to make the movie look bigger and more impressive than the previous episodes, but it fails quite badly on this account. The original Japanese film maintained suspense until the end, when the audience finally got to see the true nature of the monsterous entity. However, this effort ruins the whole film by messing up the big scare and putting it in the pre-credits sequence!

    A couple of years later, a copy of the VHS tape falls into the hands of Johnny Galecki ( I Know What You Did Last Summer ). Much like his character in Big Bang Theory he is a lecturer at a university. He sets up a team of college students to investigate the tape. His reasoning seems solid, but he makes classic mistakes like converting it from analogue to a digital format. Of course, it all goes wrong.

    The Final Girl finds herself chosen to follow clues that Samarra set for her. Vince D'onofrio ( Men In Black ) pops up to help the investigation. They discover Samarra's origin story - apparently she was adopted. In the original story, Ringu , the video girl was Sadako who inherited her powers from her father - a sea-goblin. Remember, play with brine, goblins be thine. This film has a different, nonsensical origin.

    There are no real surprises in this film. Despite the film-makers' best efforts there are no good shocks, scares or suspense. Some scenes are reminiscent of a far better film, Don't Breathe , which has no place in the same universe as Sadako, spawn of a sea-goblin.

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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 dropoup, 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 Spit On Your Grave Franchise

    I Spit On Your Grave (2010)

    I Spit On Your Grave (2010) After The Hills Have Eyes and Last House on The Left , this is yet another remake of a classic 1970s rape-revenge Z-Movie. Yes, just what the world needs - not!

    A privileged middle-class woman goes to an isolated cabin in the woods, just like in all the best slasher films. She is menaced by some working-class men, who subject her to an attack not entirely un-reminiscent of Deliverance.

    Does she do what Jodie Foster did in The Accused, or what victims do every week in Law & Order: SVU? No, she goes on a rampage that owes as much to torture-porn like the Saw Series as it does to the original film this is based on. Think Turistas AKA Paradise Lost - but the bikini babe is the murderer while the yokels (white, not Brazilian, so it is not racist) are the victims.

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    I Spit On Your Grave 2

    I Spit On Your Grave 2 This follows the same general storyline as the original film, but with a few minor changes. Instead of being set in the backwoods of the USA it takes place in Eastern Europe, so they can use cheap locations and a cast of unknowns. Even more so than the first film, that is.

    The violent aspects of the film are exaggerated beyond all realism. One victim is cornered in the most filthy bathroom ever - seriously, this place has never been flushed never mind cleaned! And the girl somehow overpowers a man twice her weight and carries him around.

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    I Spit On Your Grave 3: Vengeance Is Mine

    I Spit On Your Grave 3: Vengeance Is Mine

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    Human Centipede Franchise

    Human Centipede

    Human Centipede A couple of American girls get lost backpacking in central Europe. A mad scientist surgically grafts three people together ... predictable torture porn.

    Contrary to tabloid backlash, this is not the most horrific film ever made. The DVD-nasty crowd have given this an undeserved notoriety. It is just yet another crappy example of the crappy torture porn genre.

    The real problem with this film is that its high production values show that a lot of money and talent was wasted on something utterly pointless. If only the US SyFy channel's own-brand crap ( Hydra, AI Assault, etc) could have a writer-director as ambitious as the guy wasting his time on this crap.

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    Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence

    Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence Martin is a carpark attendant who is obsessed with the film Human Centipede . He decides to reenact it, but with a dozen victims instead of just three! However, he ignores the fact that a heavily tattooed person will have a high pain threshold.

    The original was made in glorious technicolour, while this is black and white - presumably to make it seem artistic. The British Board of Film Censorship - oops, Classification - wanted to ban this effort. They considered it worse than the original because it is about a copycat. Perhaps they believed that it might encourage someone in real life to copycat it!

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    Wrong Turn Franchise

    Wrong Turn

    Wrong Turn A yuppie (Desmond Harrington - Ghost Ship ) takes a shortcut along a remote country road through West Virginia. His car is totalled in a crash, but he meets up with some tweenagers in the same situation. They include some spectacularly beautiful girls ( Eliza Dushku, Lindy Booth, Emanuelle Chiqui ). However, the monsters lurking in the woods are not attractive at all.

    The survivors are stalked by a trio of inbred hillbilly cannibals. Dushku insisted that the monsters be of a non-magical origin, because she did not want to get typecast after her role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer . This is a good thing, it meant the film retained a sense of authenticity that helps suspension of disbelief.

  • Wrong Turn 2
  • Wrong Turn 3: Left For Dead
  • Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings
  • Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines
  • Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort
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    Wrong Turn 2: Dead End

    Wrong Turn 2 After the events of the previous film, the family of inbred cannibals are back in business. This time they take on contestants in a reality TV show contest - like in Halloween: Resurrection !

    Scream Queen Erica Leersen is one of the contestants. She faced off against the Blair Witch and Leatherface, but now she has got main billing in a straight-to-DVD sequel.

  • Wrong Turn
  • Wrong Turn 3: Left For Dead
  • Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings
  • Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines
  • Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort
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    Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead

    Wrong Turn 3 American-accented Englishwoman Janet Montgomery and some fellow tweenagers are whitewater rafting (presumably a Deliverance reference instead of the usual Texas Chainsaw Massacre one). They run into the inbred hillbillies ...

    Later, a prison van full of dangerous convicts drives on the killers’ stretch of road. This would have been a good idea for Jeepers Creepers 2 , with the inmates of Oz instead of tweenager cheerleaders and football jocks. However, this is a low-budget straight-to-DVD sequel, so the execution is badly botched.

  • Wrong Turn
  • Wrong Turn 2
  • Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings
  • Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines
  • Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort
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    Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings

    Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings Back in 1976, the inbred cannibalistic Hillbillies have all been rounded up and locked in an insane asylum. Naturally, they escape and eat all the staff. Presumably they eat the other inmates, because three decades later they are still lurking in the basement.

    After the torture porn of the prologue, we get softcore porn to start the main story. Some college students hang out and have sex a lot. Then they go on a skidoo vacation in a remote mountain area. An unexpected storm comes it, and they seek shelter in a conveniently located old abandoned insane asylum. Even Daphne in Scooby Doo (The Movie) Would not make such a basic mistake!

    This is the worst of the series so far. The first one was watchable, and even the third one had some good ideas. This is just ideas taken from better B-movies, then executed so poorly that the original efforts seem like masterpieces in comparison. The characters are unlikable, the killings predictable, it is all a waste of time and effort.

    Worse than that, it undermines the backstory of the earlier films. The main story is set in 2003, when the first film came out (and was presumably set). So why did the killers spend thirty years in the asylum (which the owners never realised was scene to a mass escape) instead of just lurking in the woods? And where did the teenagers from the second film come from?

  • Wrong Turn
  • Wrong Turn 2
  • Wrong Turn 3: Left For Dead
  • Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines
  • Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort
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    Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines

    Wrong Turn 5: Bloodlines

  • Wrong Turn
  • Wrong Turn 2
  • Wrong Turn 3: Left For Dead
  • Wrong Turn 4: Bloody Beginnings
  • Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort
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    Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort

    Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort

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    21st Century Oz-ploitation

    Crawl

    Crawl A middle-aged Croatian hitman arrives in a remote town in Australia. He does his job, gets paid ... and inexplicably goes on a kill-crazy rampage. He targets a waitress, taking out several other people into the bargain. All in all, not a morality tale.

    As slasher films go, this is typically Australian. It lacks the Hollywood trappings (hockey mask, chainsaw) and instead is more like an amped-up crime thriller.

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    Horseman, The

    Horseman, The This is an Australian rape-and-revenge film. A junkie slut overdoses, and the cops tell her dad all the gory details. Then he discovers she was a porn-star, so he decides to murder everyone who had sex with her. This is quite a list!

    For the sake of moral ambiguity, in the third act of the film he runs into some real bad guys. Yes, it was not porn or sex that killed her, it was the drugs. So the real villain is a drug-dealer, with a gang of thugs and a penchant for making snuff movies.

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    Inhuman Resources (AKA Redd Inc)

    Inhuman Resources (AKA Redd Inc) A man is convicted of being a serial killer, and sentanced to a mental hospital. He is experimented on, but the hospital mysteriously burns down ...

    Six months later, the witnesses who testified against him are abducted and forced to live out office-themed Torture porn. The man wants them to prove his innocence. For every minor indiscretion, he cuts a scar into their forehead with his hook-hand. On the fifth strike, he cuts it across their throat!

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    Loved Ones, The

    Loved Ones, The This is an Australian effort, best described as Carrie meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre . Yes, an outcast girl wants to be Prom Queen so she and her crazy dad kidnap and torture the Prom King (Xavier Samuel - Road Train ).

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    Road Train (AKA Road Kill)

    Road Train (AKA Road Kill) Four Tweenagers (including Xavier Samuel from The Loved Ones ) are on a camping trip in the Australian outback. They get run off the road by a Road Train - a massive HGV with multiple cargo containers. Mysteriously, the HGV waits for them to get on, and then they try to drive it to safety. But spooky goings-on begin. Craig (Bob Morley - The 100 ) begins to show signs of psychosis ...

    The plot seems identical to a George Kennedy film set aboard a mysterious ship. The only updates are that it is set on dry land (for a much lower budget) and the cast are all Tweenagers (to make it a cliched mainstream horror flick). Also, like most Australian efforts the supernatural aspect is played down. Their home market prefers crime stories, and thus their horror efforts like the supernatural underpinning.

    Probably the most interesting fact about this film is that Sophie Lowe played Alice in Once Upon A Time in Wonderland , while her co-star Georgina Haig later played Elsa in Once Upon A Time .

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    See No Evil

    See No Evil A cop encounters a serial killer - a bald-headed wrestler. They both end up injured - the cop loses a hand, and the killer gets a bullet in the brain.

    The crippled cop ends up as a prison warder in a teenage detention centre. He is put in charge of a work detail consisting of a photogenic group of teenage delinquents who appear to have been selected to be equally representative of race and gender.

    The work detail are sent to clean up an old hotel. Unfortunately, and predictably, the monsterous killer starts to bump them off one at a time.

    The most interesting thing about this film is that it was filmed in Queensland, Australia. This is apparently so successful that there is a sequel, directed by up-and-comers the Soska Sisters .

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    PAL - UK

    Storm Warning

    Storm Warning An Australian man and his young French wife go boating. But they end up ashore in the Australian equivalent of Deliverance territory.

    The main hillbilly is David Lyons ( The Cape ), who manages to be a much scarier villain here than he ever was in Revolution .

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    Soon

    Soon

  • 2000
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    NTSC - USA

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    PAL - UK