ORBzine - Slasher Flicks Movie Reviews

TITLE & REVIEW

C21st Horror Remakes

Blair Witch (2016)

Blair Witch (2016) This is a sequel to the 1999 effort, and ignores the second film. The title is pared down, the same way that the recent revivals of the John Rambo, Rocky Balboa and Jason Bourne franchises were all simply named after the main character. It is structurally more of a remake, and seems to be the kind of film that the original film-makers wanted to make if only they had the budget to do so. It was filmed in British Columbia instead of Maryland, and features a lot more visual effects than the other films.

The brother of Heather from the original film goes looking for her. He takes his best friend (a token black guy) and their girlfriends. They team up with a local video-blogger (who also has a girlfriend to keep him company).

Things go well for everyone at the start, although the Lewton Bus (in the form of cuts between scenes) is overrused. The victims cannot find the Cabin in the Woods , so they decide to camp out for the night. This is when things get really creepy, although this is nothing that we have not seen before in a dozen low-budget horror films. Unlike the low-budget original there is a lot of CGI special effects, proof that the film-makers have decided to rely on a budget rather than actually make an original film.

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Children Of The Corn (2009)

Children Of The Corn (2009) In the heart of MidWest USA, a bible-basher holds a service. The prophet is a ten-year-old boy, and he advocates human sacrifice.

A dozen years later a vietnam veteran (David Anders - iZombie ) and his wife ( Kandsye McClure ) get lost driving through the area. Well, it is nice to see the pairing of two of the Canadian TV industry's most prolific supporting actors.

The couple are all lovey-dovey at first, until they encounter a suspicious event on the outskirts of town. By the time they get to the centre of town, they are bickering like a standard movie couple from the 1980s.

At the story's midpoint, suspense is thrown to the wind. The children are out to kill the grown-ups, and Anders gets chased through the corn-fields. Of course, he is a vietnam veteran being pursued by small children - so the result is far more ridiculous than the Ewok battle in Return of the Jedi .

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Dark Shadows (2012)

Dark Shadows (2012) Before the American War of Independence, an English merchant family named Collins settled in Maine. Unfortunately young Barnabas (Johnny Depp - Sweeney Todd, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ) jilted servant girl Eva Green … who used her witch powers to curse the entire family. She turned him into a vampire, and imprisoned him …

In 1972, Barnabas gets dug up. He rejoins the family, who are an all-star cast of misfits and psychos. But he must rebuild the family's fish-canning business - and defeat their rivals, run by the witch who cursed him.

The result is hit-and-miss. Certain aspects seem tacked-on, pushed in as homages to the original TV show. Depp is great, as ever - but if you have seen him in his previous Tim Burton Films then there is nothing new here. And Eva Green has done the evil sorceress bit before as Morgana in Camelot - so we have seen it all before.

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Evil Dead (2013)

Evil Dead (2013) Five youngsters in their twenties all go to a spooky cabin in the woods. The intervention is to help their friend Mia ( Jane Levy ) go cold turkey. She may look familiar, but she is barely recognisable as Tessa in Suburgatory. All she had to do was straighten and darken her hair in order to look her real age, instead of playing someone ten years younger.

This film has a number of obstacles to overcome. Not only is this named after the classic Sam Raimi horror movie, it also uses most of the cliches in Cabin in the Woods . But unlike those two excellent films, this one is played straight, as an all-out horror film with no humour.

There are a handful of references to the original film, and good use of certain genre tropes.

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Blumhouse's Fantasy Island (2019)

Blumhouse's Fantasy Island (2019) This is an adaptation of a light-hearted 1970s TV show. Normally the shows chosen for adaptation are of a more dramatic nature, and the modern-day adaptations are played for laughs. Finally this is something the other way around ... a comedy which is given a horror movie make-over!

The pre-credits sequence sets the tone for the whole film. We get some Fem-Jep, as a female in jeopardy is pursued by unknown people. We also learn that Mr Roarke (Michael Pena - Ant-Man ) is a bit more sinister than in previous versions of the story.

The main storyline starts when a new plane arrives at the island, with guests including Melanie Cole ( Lucy Hale ), Gwen Olsen ( Maggie Q ) and JD Weaver (Ryan Hansen - Veronica Mars ). Mr Roarke introduces each to their individualised fantasy, but the condition is that they have to play the fantasy through until the end.

Melanie's fantasy is revenge. She works out a lot more quickly than the others that it is more real than they expected. This sets the tone for the whole story.

The other fantasies turn unexpectedly violent. It is natural for the military one to involve combat, but the one about wealth becomes a gangster story! Yes, they all take a dark twist.

Damon (Michael Rooker - The Walking Dead ) is lurking in the woods, ready to provide exposition. What nobody actually says out loud is that if you die in a Fantasy, you die in real life!

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Flatliners (2017)

Flatliners (2017) This is a needless remake of the 1992 Brat Pack effort. Kiefer Sutherland ( Lost Boys ) has a cameo as one of the teachers, so at least it is acknowledging the original.

Courtney ( Ellen Page ), Marlo ( Nina Dobrev ) and Sophia ( Kiersey Clemons ) are medical students. They get a cheap thrill by flatlining themselves, which seems to be safe as long as they can revive each other. Unfortunately their own sense of guilt unleashes something terrible in their subconscousness.

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The Fog (2006)

The Fog (2006) Tom Wellings ( Smallville ) and Maggie Grace live in a small fishing port in the USA. On the anniversary of a famous shipwreck, they come under attack from ghosts of the victims.

Was the remake of Halloween worth watching? Or Assault on Precinct 13? Disk Jockey Selma Blair is a poor replacement for the original ( Adrienne Barbeau ), and the rest of the movie is similarly disappointing.

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Freaky (2020) AKA Freaky Friday the Thirteenth

Freaky (2020) AKA Freaky Friday the Thirteenth This starts in the manner of all good slasher movies. A group of tweenagers share a campfire story, which provides the necessary mood and exposition. Every year, on the night of the High School's Homecoming Dance, a mysterious murderer goes on a killing spree. Once the audience know what to expect, the slasher killer (Vince Vaughn - Psycho (1998) ) appears and slaughters the tweenagers - Jason Voorhees style. He only pauses long enough to steal a couple of native artefacts; a wooden mask that is clearly a reference to Jason's ice-hockey mask, and a magical dagger.

The next night, the killer attacks the High School's mascot ( ). Luckily, he uses the magical knife - which swaps their minds from one body to another. The killer wakes up in the teenage girl's body, while the mascot finds herself trapped inside the killer. This leads on to the usual Freaky Friday stuff, which is played for laughs when the story is told from the girl's perspective.

The killer takes advantage of the new body he is in. Like the Rob Schneider character in The Hot Chick , he sexualises it in a way that is cinematic. However, while Schneider's character was a petty thief this one is a spree killer, so he plans to lure all the kids to a trap at Homecoming ... on Friday The Thirteenth .

The opening sequence, a straight-up homage to the Voorhees films, is pretty much the best bit. The other kill scenes are typical of modern slashers, which favour male victims over female ones. Since millennials seem to think that portrayal is endorsement, the killer wipes out anyone the audience thinks is immoral. This basically means the modern slasher movie is a medieval morality play, although unlike the 1970s rule of sex-means-death the 2020 morality is specifically against sexually predatory behaviour.

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Green Inferno, The (2013)

Green Inferno, The (2013) A young American college fresh-woman becomes a Social Justice Warrior. She wants to fight female genital mutilation by creating cultural imperialism over African people and Muslims. But first, she teams up with some activists who plan to visit South America and save a remote untouched tribe of natives from some construction engineers and a gun-toting militia.

The activists fly out to Peru, although this was filmed in Chile. Their team includes Daryl Sabara ( Spy Kids ) and Magda Apanowicz . The plan is to live-stream the protest online, and get public pressure to halt the development To get close enough to the construction site, they have to disguise themselves by wearing the same jump-suits as the bad guys.

The protest is an apparent success. However, the team's journey home is on a flimsy light aircraft. The engine explodes, either due to poor maintenance or deliberate sabotage by the embittered cops and construction workers. This leaves the survivors stranded deep in the inhospitable jungle, dressed like the villains and surrounded by hostile natives.

This is a remake of the 1970s exploitation movie Cannibal Holocaust . However, to avoid allegations of racism the film-makers have made the SJW cause the sympathetic one and tried to make it look like the natives are only defending their home. That said, it is hard to make it look like self defence when the natives dismember a living victim for a cannibalistic ceremony.

The Final Girl is a virgin, so the natives decide to make her one of the tribe. That is good, because it means she is no longer on the dinner menu. However, they will have to give her female genital mutilation as part of the induction rites. As all her friends suffer increasingly more horrendous fates, she still acts as if this is worse than death.

The team try to escape while the natives are high on drugs. But they do not think to ask themselves, what happens when cannibals get the munchies?

Will the Final Girl destroy the natives' culture, based as it is on cannibalism and female genital mutilation, or will she follow on the team's original mission of protecting them?

The end credits include a couple of memorable items. Firstly the actors' twitter addresses are listed beside their names. Secondly, there is a mid-credits sequence which underlines one of the plot threads which were left dangling.

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Hide And Seek (2021)

Hide And Seek (2021) This is a remake of a Korean movie. As a result, there are aspects which seem out of place. That said, there is also some great aerial photography which really shows off the streets of New York City.

The story starts in a decrepit apartment block in a slum area of Brooklyn, NYC. One of the residents there is targeted by a mysterious killer whose identity is concealed by a tinted motorbike helmet.

The main protagonist ( ), a rich man who has inherited his father's business, has his security man (Joe Pantoliano - The Matrix ) look for his estranged brother. The missing brother turns out to be one of the residents of the slum block. When the protagonist investigates personally, he and his family get stalked by a stranger in a tinted motorbike helmet.

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Last House On The Left (2009)

Last House On The Left (2009) Krug the thug (Garret Dillahunt - Sarah Connor Chronicles ) gets busted out of police custody by his brother Francis (Aaron Paul Westworld: S3 ) and girlfriend Sadie ( Riki Lindhome ).

Doctor John (Tony Goldwyn - ) takes his family for a summer vacation in a Cabin in the Woods . He and his wife Emma ( Monica Potter ) stay in the cabin, while daughter Mari ( Sara Paxton ) goes into town. Unfortunately Mari gets sidetracked when she meets Justin (Spencer Treat Clark - Agents of Shield ). Worse, she and her friend fall foul of Krug and his gang.

That night, Krug and his gang visit the Doctor's cabin. Their car crashed, and they need medical assistance. Worse, it is a rainstorm so they need tp spend the night. Finally, not only does the remoteness mean poor cell-phone reception but a lighting-strike from the thunder-storm takes out the landline phone and electricity. Yes, they are reduced to the same level of technology as the characters in the original medieval morality tale.

Ironically, it is not the Doctor's family that has to fear Krug's ... but rather, it is the other way around. The violence that the villains inflicted on their innocent victims in the first half of the story is perfect justification for the violent murders that Mari's family inflict on her abusers.

This is a remake of a classic 1970s rape-and-revenge effort. At least they kept the original writer/director, Wes Craven , on as a Producer.

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Maniac (2012)

Maniac (2012) A serial killer is on the loose in downtown Los Angeles. He scalps women, and stitches their hair onto mannequins so he can act out his fantasies with them. All pretty standard stuff for the genre, but a couple of things set this apart from the typical slasher.

Firstly there is the professionalism of the film-makers. Most slasher flicks are low-budget schlock with a straight-to-video cast. This has great camera-work and a recognisable star - Elijah Woods (Frodo in Lord of the Rings ). Also, the gory special effects are excellent.

Secondly there is the method of storytelling. The camera-work is mostly first-person, and most of the times we see Frodo is when he catches his own reflection. The result is like something out of an Italian Giallo by someone like Dario Argento , with one strange twist. Even a standard Giallo only gives the occasional scene from the killer’s perspective, while this effort tells the entire film through Frodo’s eyes!

All in all, this harks back to the 1970s era - before the tropes started by Halloween became mainstream. It plays against many of the genre clichés, for example it does not involve a Cabin in the Woods . Instead it focuses on the characters’ social isolation, despite being physically located in a well-populated urban area.

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Martyrs (2015)

Martyrs (2015) A young girl escapes from unknown persons who were apparently torturing her. The police are unable to find the alleged assailants, so they put the girl in an orphanage run by Catholic nuns. Anyone who has seen The Magdalene Sisters would know that this is not a good idea.

Twenty years later, the girl has become Troian Bellisario . Driven by visions of a ghostly entity that is controlling her, she goes on a kill-crazy rampage against her presumed attackers - and anyone else who is inconvenient. Then she gives her best friend a phone-call, to come and help clean up the mess. This leaves the friend in a hell of a dilemma.

It turns out that this is an American adaptation of a French movie, which explains why it turns out to be slightly more cerebral than the usual American horror movie. If someone has a regeneration superpower, like Wolverine , they would return from a deathlike state every time they were killed. If there were such a thing as an afterlife, the regeneration-powered mutants would get a glimpse of it.

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My Bloody Valentine (2009)

My Bloody Valentine (2009) A remake of a low-budget 1980s slasher film about a masked killer on a rampage, chasing after one of the Winchester Brothers from Supernatural on the weekend of Friday 13th of February 2009 ...

Sound familiar? Well, while we are waiting for Jared Padalecki's appearance in the Jason Voorhees reboot, we are treated to Jensen Ackles being chased by The Miner. This is part remake of the original MBV film, combined with ideas for the planned sequel.

Harry Warden, a thuggish miner, goes on a kill-crazy rampage in a small backwoods mining town. Ten years later, the survivors reunite. Tom (Ackles) has inherited a controlling stake in the town's mine, while Alex is now the Sheriff.

This is more than a simple hack-and-slash affair. It is a horror-dunnit, as we try to work out who the Miner is before we run out of likely suspects. And it is all in glorious 3-D. No cheap cardboard glasses this time, but hefty ones that you can wear over your prescription spectacles. Unfortunately this means you have to pay extra for admission.

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Prom Night (2008)

Prom Night (2008) A tweenage girl ( Britanny Snow ) is recovering from a home invasion incident in which she saw her family get killed. Now she lives with her aunt ( Jessalynn Gilsig ) and sees a psychiatrist ( Ming-Na Wen ). Now it is her High School's Prom Night.

Detective Idris Elba ( Twenty-Eight Weeks Later ) discovers that the killer, a former teacher (Jonathan Schaech - Roadhouse 2 ), has escaped from prison.

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Rabid (2019)

Rabid (2019) This low-budget Canadian horror movie by the Soska Sisters is a remake of a low-budget Canadian horror movie by David Cronenberg . It has been updated for the new century, forty years after the release of the original.

Rose ( Laura Vandervoort ) auditions to be a model, but is dismissed by the Director (Greg Bryk - Bitten ). Luckily she still has her day job, working for fashion designer Gunther (Mackenzie Gray - Riddles of the Sphinx (2008) ).

Rose needs some plastic surgery. Doctor Burroughs (Ted Atherton - ) and Dr Keloid (Stephen McHattie - ) do the necessary. Unfortunately there are unforseen side-effects.

Just like in the original, the protagonist gets a hunger for human blood. To feed her craving she starts to hunt men for food. Of course, these days the men are not portrayed as innocent victims but rather as misogynistic assholes who deserve to be preyed upon.

The zombie-vamp plague spreads throughout the city. Luckily, Rose gets a boyfriend who is more than happy to violently attack anyone who poses a potential threat to her.

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Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City (2021)

Resident Evil: Welcome to Racoon City (2021) Johannes Roberts delivers a needless sequel, less than a decade after the previous series ended. Well, we probably have The Amazing Spider-Man to thank for setting this unfortunate precedent.

Claire Redfield ( Kaya Scodelario ) is returning to Racoon City, the desolate rustbelt town where she grew up in an orphanage run by creepy doctor William Birkin (Neal McDonough - Legends of Tomorrow ). Now the town is almost empty because the main employer, the Umbrella Corporation, has polluted the water supply. Now the remaining population are infected, which basically makes them Fast Zombies.

Claire is coming back to find her brother, Chris Redfield (Robbie Amell - Legends of Tomorrow ). He is now a cop in the tiny Racoon City police department, alongside Jill Valentine ( Hannah John-Kamen ) and Albert Wesker (Tom Hopper - Black Sails ). They serve under Chief Irons (Donal Logue - Gotham ), who is one of the best things about this terrible movie.

The movie was made during the Covid lockdown, as proven by the appropriate job titles in the end credits, and this is painfully obvious on the screen. There are never more than five people on screen at one time, so the mass zombie attacks of the original are a thing of the past. Also, most of the cast are television actors - which is a sign of a relatively low budget. But the real problem appears to be with the script, which relies on a series of incredible coincidences and yet still provides unsatisfying endings for the various plot threads.

There is an after-credits sequence which sets up a sequel. It introduces Ada Wong ( Lili Gao ), who may potentially be an interesting character but the actress is wooden, no doubt cast for her looks instead of acting ability.

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Shutter (2008)

Shutter (2008) Rachael Taylor and her new husband (Joshua Jackson - Fringe ) are driving on a lonely country road in Japan when they hit a pedestrian. There is no body, but they start to find ghostly blurs on their photographs. Unfortunately, hubby is a professional photographer so it is his career at stake, not just a few holiday snaps.

Naturally, the ghost is trying to tell something to the Final Girl. Luckily, hubby takes lots of photos that just happen to be at locations linked to what the ghost is trying to say. Also, hubby is friends with the sleazy Adam (John Hensley - Nip/Tuck), who is bound to have something important to do with the plot.

This may be adapted from an Asian movie, specifically from Thailand rather than a J-Horror, but Ringu is not the only film that this borrows shots from. It also makes references to American films ( Psycho, Fatal Attraction ), probably to make it more accessible to a western audience.

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Slumber Party Massacre (2021)

Slumber Party Massacre (2021)

  • Slumber Party Massacre (1982)
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    Snow Beast (2011)

    Snow Beast (2011) A scientist (John Schneider - Smallville ) and his sidekicks go to live in a Cabin in the Woods to do research into the rare snow lynx. He drags his teenage daughter along, and she moans about having to do a few chores like helping with the cooking..

    Forest Ranger Jason London ( Mallrats ) has a number of missing persons cases to solve. The town is a major ski resort.

    This is a made-for-TV remake of a 1970s monster movie. The original was structured after Jaws , and relied on creating genuine suspense by only showing the occasional glimpse of the monster. The best thing that can be said about this film is that, unlike most modern SyFy monster movies, the creature is rubber rather than dodgy-looking CGI.

  • Snowbeast (1977)
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    The Stepfather (2009)

    The Stepfather (2009) The title character (Dylan Walsh - Congo (1996) ) is a serial killer who marries into ready-made families and then kills them all when he has to move on. He quickly finds himself a new target - Sela Ward . Her sister ( Paige Turco ) offers him a job in her company.

    The target's teenage son comes back from military school. He has a hot girlfriend ( Amber Heard ) to distract him. They spend a lot of time in the swimming pool, so she can show off her bikini body.

    Suspicious busy-bodies get picked off, one at a time. The climax is tense and well-edited.

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    When A Stranger Calls (2005)

    When A Stranger Calls (2005) This is a modern 21st Century remake of the little-known 1970s thriller, starring Charles Durning. Now, it has been said that modern remakes allow a modern audience to see familiar stars of their own generation in a familiar plotline. This remake, in fact, contains no recognisable names or faces. In fact, the only really modern aspect is the presence of cellular phones. It is a relatively suspenseful film with none of the OTT SPFX and gore that permeate horror films from the 1980s Friday the 13th series to the more modern Saw torture-porn films.

    A babysitter ( Camilla Bell ) is left off by her father (Clark Gregg - Agents of Shield ) to look after a couple of children. Late at night, a stranger (Tommy Flanaghan - Smoking Aces ) makes prank calls to her. Things get more and more sinister ...

    The small cast includes some more familiar faces, such as the Final Girl's friends Tiffany ( Katie Cassidy ) and Scarlet ( Tessa Thompson ). Yes, one is a DC and one is a Marvel.

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    Death Game Movies

    13 Sins (2014)

    13 Sins (2014) This is a remake of a J-Horror movie, set in New Orleans. A young salesman is fired from his job. Unfortunately he is the sole breadwinner in his family. Without his income or medical insurance, his mentally disabled brother and racist father will have to move in with him. This will be a problem, especially since his new bride is a black girl ( Rutina Wesley ).

    The protagonist gets roped into a game of dares. It is like the movie Nerve but communication is by voice calls instead of an Internet app. A friendly old man who sounds like Charlie from Charlie's Angels gives instructions (and threats) over the mobile phone. The dares start simply enough, but get more and more extreme.

    Police detective Ron Perlman ( Hellboy ) follows the trail of destruction. Relatively few of the early dares are actually serious crimes. The player trades an ostrich for a homeless man's clothes, for example. However, a conspiracy theorist (Pruitt Taylor Vince - Captivity ) reveals that the game is actually something more sinister.

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    Belko Experiment (2016)

    Belko Experiment (2016) This is set in an office block in South America, peopled with nerds (Sean Gunn - Guardians of the Galaxy ). The management are rent-a-villains like John C McGinley (The Rock (1995)).

    An outsider (Gregg Henry - Just Before Dawn ) phones up to let the staff know that he has taken control of the building. He represents the company's senior management, and he gives them a series of tasks to perform. These tasks are of a murderous nature. Basically, the staff must kill each other off ... or the whole building will be destroyed.

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    Blunt Force Trauma (2015)

    Blunt Force Trauma (2015) This story is set in Colombia, in South America. It concerns a subculture of quick-draw artists, who engage in shoot-outs with each other in front of paying audiences. They use live ammunition in their handguns, although they also wear kevlar vests.

    Freida Pinto is on a revenge quest, against the player who killed her brother. She teams up with a fellow player (Ryan Kwanten - True Blood ), and they have a road trip across the country.

    Kwanten's chosen path in life is even more sinister. He wants to play a match against the greatest player around - Mickey Rourke ( The Expendables ). What makes Rourke's game different is that neither player gets to wear a kevlar vest. Yes, they are games to the death - which makes the movie's climax even more nail-biting.

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    De@th on Live (2013)

    De@th on Live (2013) This is set in a future where social media has taken over. Everyone broadcasts their lives on video 24/7, and battles for ratings and sponsors. This makes for a strange mix of found footage and regular story-telling.

    A reality podcaster gets killed while on a show. His older brother, a military combat veteran, installs his podcast implant and takes over his identity. The plan is to act as bait, to trap the murderers.

    It turns out that there is a thriving gambling industry based around potential outcomes of RL podcasters' lives. One particular club seems to be involved. The manager is a mockney gangster type, and his henchman is a biker jacket-wearing yank.

    This is not a terrible film. The characters are well drawn, and they deal with important issues like revenge porn and slut shaming. However, this is also a film that includes a scene where a character has a long conversation while apparently bleeding to death from a sucking chest wound. Like most bad low-budget movies, the director is also the person who write the screenplay.

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    Don't Hang Up (2016)

    Don't Hang Up (2016) The protagonists - one cannot call them heroes - are a couple of slackers who make prank phone-calls for fun. They film themselves doing it, then post them on a video-sharing website like YouTube. Yes, this will all look terribly dated with a few years, but film-makers tend to get caught up in the moment.

    Someone starts to prank-call the prankers. However, his videos are of a more murderous persuasion. They are basically torture porn, with the prankers' friends and family as victims. And it is staged so well that the killer has planned it out.

    The killer's motive is no great twist. He was a victim of one of their prank phone calls. His wife ended up in an Oscar Pistorious situation, in a home defence situation that ended in a blue-on-blue encounter. Then, like a reverse version of Padme in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith , she decided that since her child was gone then her husband was not worth living for.

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    Escape Room (2017)

    Escape Room (2017) The story starts with a pair of Arab men in a desert, which looks a lot more like South California than Arabia. They bury a box in the sand, which must be protected at all costs.

    We flash forward to modern-day USA. Frank Brice (Skeet Ulrich - Scream (1996) ) runs an Escape Room company, and visits the local antique store for props. The owner ( Sean Young ) refuses to sell him the skull box, because it is reputed to be cursed and contains a demonic entity. Why she has such a dangerous item on display instead of securely locked in her basement, especially if it is not even for sale, is not explained. Anyway, while she is distracted giving out advice on Mogwai-keeping he makes off with the box. But at least he leaves her some cash for it.

    A couple of tweenage horror-movie nerds take their unreasonably hot girlfriends to try out the new horror-themed Escape Room. This is interactive theatre combined with a puzzle that the customers must solve in order to exit the room before their time expires. The males bicker, nothing new or impressive, while the females are unimpressed. This makes them out to be perfect victims - they have no usable or practical skills that they might use to save themselves. Then, naturally, they transgress by opening the box.

    The Escape Room is based on slasher movie tropes, and there is an actor chained to the wall dressed as a slasher killer. The demon possesses the actor, and his slasher-killer role now becomes real. His prospective victims, the customers of the game, must solve the puzzles and escape before the hour is up or they will be killed off for real.

    There are a few things about this that do not make sense. Frank says several times that the Escape Room is just around the corner from the antiques store, but this is not the case in the final reel. And since the demon can jump from body to body, why does it choose the when and the who of its jumps?

    Finally, the dialogue is pretty terrible. There are a couple of recognisable names among the no-name cast, but they are hampered with the worst lines since … ever. Seriously, this film has a basic concept and nothing much else going for it.

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    Escape Room (2019)

    Escape Room (2019) A diverse group of individuals, including a military veteran ( Deborah Ann Woll ) and a trucker (Tyler Labine - Tucker and Dale Versus Evil ), get selected to play an Escape Room game.

    The team must go from room to room, avoiding booby traps. Like in Cube , only with a budget that can afford rooms that look different.

    The game is run by a Mega-Corporation that has kitted out an entire skyscraper. Yes, the budget is quite impressive. This looks as if it was set up for a cinematic release, and is left open for a sequel.

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    Escape Room: Tournament of Champions (2021)

    Escape Room: Tournament of Champions (2021) This is a by-the-numbers sequel to the 2019 movie. For people who missed the original, there is a helpful recap at the start. Deborah Ann Woll gets third billing, for some reason - while her co-stars get listed at the bottom of the credits. Since she only appears in the recap, there is no obvious reason she should get preferential treatment. In a surprise twist, it turns out that there are TWO versions of the movie - and in one of them, there is an extended flashback sequence with Woll's character.

    The main story of the second version begins by introducing us to Henry the game-maker (James Frain - ). He has family troubles, which is bad news for his wife. The end result is that he keeps his daughter Claire in a secure glass-walled cell in the basement. She is a genius at designing the escape rooms, so he keeps her busy.

    The survivors of the first movie decide to track down the Midas Corporation, the villainous company who are behind the Escape Rooms. When the duo go to the building in question, they have no tools or backup with them. Luckily, the building is already empty and abandoned. However, they end up trapped in another escape room. This time the recognisable Canadian TV actress is Holland Roden .

    This reviewer compared the original movie to Cube . However, the franchise is actually a lot more similar to the Saw Franchise. The biggest difference is that this relies on suspense rather than gore, so it is easier to dumb it down to a PG-13 audience.

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    Final Level: Escaping Rancala (2019)

    Final Level: Escaping Rancala (2019) A young woman inherits the family business, a video-game arcade. She and a couple of her friends get sucked into one of the games, like in Tron . Luckily, they look very good in their bikini costumes - like in Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle , but played seriously instead of for the subversion factor.

    The main girl discovers that her long-lost brother has been trapped inside the game for years. Now she must save him as well as herself.

    The girls team up with a woman ( Bai Ling ) who wants to overthrown the game world's evil overlord.

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    Follow Me (2020)

    Follow Me (2020) The protagonist, Cole Turner, is a video live-streamer with over a million followers. He takes his girlfriend ( Holland Roden ) and the rest of his entourage to Russia, where they have been invited to experience the ultimate Escape Room . They fall foul of some local thugs who work for the Bratva, the organised crime syndicate mentioned in the Arrow TV show.

    The escape room is straightforward enough - a former prison that has been filled with death-traps like a watered-down version of Saw . Cole has to rescue his friends before the clock runs out. It feels a bit extreme at times, for a form of interactive entertainment, but is still pretty basic stuff compared to other horror movies.

    Cole is the biggest thing in legitimate live-streaming. However, the new urban myth to replace the snuff movie trope is the Red Room , which is a live-streamed version of the same thing. Guess what the Bratva's newest earner is?

    The final twist only works if the audience assumes that the supporting characters did something incredibly stupid. So are the audience as dumb as the characters?

    All in all, this is a pretty derivative film. The writer-director's influences are very obvious, but the truth is that this is an inferior copy.

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    The Furies (2019)

    The Furies (2019) A woman wakes up after being abducted by a man. She has been dumped in a remote forest in Australia, where she is hunted by strangers in masks - like in Predators but on a much lower budget. These hunters are not aliens, but men in stitched-together skin masks armed with some nasty-looking farmyard tools.

    It turns out that the hunters are not trying to kill the women - they are trying to kill each other. However, each hunter is paired with one of the women - and if the woman dies, the man she is paired with dies too. This should mean that the women have a better chance of survival ... but it also means that if one woman killed all the others then the hunters would all die too.

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    Jurassic Games (2018)

    Jurassic Games (2018) This is set in the near future. Ryan Merriman ( Halloween: Resurrection (2002) ) and Perry Reeves run a reality TV show. It is a game-show where death-row convicts are put in a VR simulation and forced to complete a number of contests. To speed them along, the simulation is filled with CGI dinosaurs. And if you die in the simulation, you die in reality.

    The convict contestants are a nasty and murderous bunch. However, to make one of them sympathetic he is made out to be innocent. Well, prisons are full of men who claim to be innocent.

    There is also a subplot about a rebel movement that wants to end the games. Seriously, there are terrorists who want to free violent murderers and to kill a TV game-show host. None of this makes sense.

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    Knucklebones (2016)

    Knucklebones (2016) The story starts during the Second World War. Some Nazi scientists experiment with a set of magical dice. A demonic entity slaughters them all.

    The main story is set in the modern day. A couple of tweenage guys and three hot girls hang out in a disused clothing factory. They inadvertently summon the demon, who makes his appearance in a shocking way. In all fairness, his wisecracks are somewhat entertaining.

    Some more tweenagers turn up to loot the factory and have pre-marital sex. The demon wipes them out in a messy but generic manner. Yes, the original and impressive monster quickly becomes just another unoriginal slasher.

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    Knuckledust (2020)

    Knuckledust (2020)

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    The Midnight Man (2016)

    The Midnight Man (2016) Some kids play a game that involves summoning a demon called the Midnight Man. The trick is to not get murdered. Unfortunately the demon bends the rules because he does not like to lose.

    The protagonist is a young woman who lives with her grandmother ( Lin Shaye ). The local doctor (Robert Englund - Nightmare On Elm Street ) also gets called in to help.

    We also get a flashback of the Final Girl's mother ( Louise Linton ), who may be another one of the game's victims.

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    Nerve (2016)

    Nerve (2016) Emma Roberts is playing a High School girl again, even though she is in her mid-twenties and was last seen as a college senior in Scream Queens . This time she is somewhat empathetic, as she gets roped into playing an online game that awards players online points for completing real-life dares.

    She teams up with a fellow player, Ian (Dave Franco - Warm Bodies ), and they accept lots of fun dares. Unfortunately it all takes a turn for the more serious - well, it is unfortunate for the characters but the fact is that Hollywood movies need a strict structure or the audience will get confused.

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    Open Graves (2009)

    Open Graves (2009) During the Spanish Inquisition, a witch was tortured to death and turned into a board-game. Of course, the game carries her curse. Somehow the rules are written in modern English instead of Latin or Spanish, but that is the least of the

    In the modern day, Mike Vogel ( Under The Dome ) is a surfer bum who hangs out on the north coast of Spain. He and his buddy hook up with Eliza Dushku and her gal-pal. The tweenagers start playing the board-game. Unfortunately it is like Jumanji , only with the victims getting mutilated.

    One ends up like a scene from Final Destination - we know he will die, but not how ...

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    Play Or Die (2019)

    Play Or Die (2019) The protagonist, a burned-out slacker, is roped into partnering his ex-girlfriend in an obscure Escape Room game named Paranoia. They, along with a bunch of other tweenagers, end up stuck in a disused asylum where they have to complete room after room of tasks.

    Eventually it becomes apparent that the game will be played to the death. Nobody works it out when the lethal nature of the boobytraps is revealed - torture porn stuff out of Saw . No, only when the theme is revealed - an escaped mental patient on a kill-crazy ramage - and the bodies start to turn up.

    This was made in Belgium, even though the cast all speak English. This explains the ropey acting - the actors are not using their first language.

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    Pledge (2018)

    Pledge (2018) A trio of nerdy losers get excluded from every fraternity on their college campus. Will they start their own nerdy frat, like in Revenge of the Nerds? No, they just get invited to a different party off-campus. The hosts are very welcoming, but it is clearly above the nerds' social status. Nevertheless, they are suckered in.

    The second party is not like the first. Lots of terrible hazing rituals, the usual stuff. And that is only the start of it.

    The sources are pretty obvious. For example, someone whispers for the token black guy to run, which is a clear reference to the recent movie Get Out! .

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    Raze (2013)

    Raze (2013) Rachel Nichols wakes up in an underground prison cell. She has been abducted by a mysterious Cult.

    Zoe Bell bare-knuckle brawls to the death with former co-stars like Tracie Thoms, Rosario Dawson, Adrienne Wilkinson . This is all incredibly brutal, something not usually associated with female-led movies.

    The death-matches are governed by Sherilyn Fenn . The cult plans to hold a climactic ceremony involving the winner.

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    Ready Or Not (2019)

    Ready Or Not (2019) A young woman ( Samara Weaving ) marries her fiance (Mark O'Brien - Arrival (2016) ). The good news is that she has married into a rich family, and the ceremony is held at their luxurious mansion. The bad news is that they have a tradition of playing a randomly selected game on the night of every wedding ceremony. The bride selects a card at random, and it turns out to be Hide and Seek. What they do not tell her is that they play it as a version of The Most Dangerous Game .

    The Patriarch is Henry Czerny ( Mission: Impossible (1996) ), best known as husband of Madeline Stowe in the TV show Revenge. Here he is married to Andie MacDowell Stowe's co-star from Bad Girls . The family includes their daughter ( Melanie Scrofano ) and son (Adam Brody - Mr and Mrs Smith ) and his wife ( Elyse Levesque ). They are all talented, and stretch themselves by playing away from their best-known characters.

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    Stay Alive (2006)

    Stay Alive (2006) Milo Ventriglieri ( Heroes ) and some gamer types play-test a computer game. It is based on Countess Elizabeth Bathory, transplanted to a C19th plantation in Louisiana. Apparently she ran a finishing school for white girls, so racial issues are completely ignored. Presumably the film-makers intended to use the villainess from American Horror Story: Coven but chickened out and used the more well-known figure of Bathory.

    The list of tweenagers on the vampiric hit-list are TV actors including Frankie Muniz ( Cody Banks ), Jimmi Simpson ( Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter ) and Samaire Armstrong .

    This film lacks the subtlety or ploting of Final Destination , and instead relies on dodgy CGI reminiscent of Boogeyman . Despite the unoriginal concept (reminiscent of the J-Horror fad - The Ring, The Grudge, One Missed Call ) it is almost watchable.

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    Truth or Dare (2018)

    Truth or Dare (2018) Olivia ( Lucy Hale ) and her tweenager friends, including Lucas (Tyler Posey - Teen Wolf ), go to Mexico to work for a Houses For Humanity type charity. They have a quick montage of partying, then meet up with a jerk who talks them into transgressing. He takes them to an old disused convent, and plays a game of truth-or-dare. When it is his turn to tell the truth, he lets them know that the game is really a matter of life and death.

    When the Final Girl gets back to college, she starts to see Truth or Dare written everywhere. A creepy old homeless man (Andrew Howard - The Outpost ) is lurking around outside.

    The tweens quickly realise that the game is really possessed by a demon. They must perform the dares that the demon specifies, or it will force them to kill themselves. This leads on to some suspenseful scenes. However, at best it is a horror-genre version of the far superior Nerve .

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    Soon

    Soon

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