WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
You know those movies where you sit watching them, and all the time you can see that somewhere, lurking at the very back, is a great concept that just isn’t being executed at all well? This is one of those movies, and it made a little more sense to me when I found out it was a remake of an original Japanese film. Sometimes the crossover and Hollywood touch-up really just doesn’t do anything for a movie. This one starts out promisingly enough, but very quickly breaks down into utter confusion until you’re left with so much of a mess it looks like a 3-year-old with left-handed training scissors was put in charge of the editing process. Oh well, just another day at B-Horror Blog headquarters I guess… 😉
Now, if we cast our minds back into the Middle Ages, we may be granted insight into the social workings of Romanian Gypsy society. Similarly to Western Society, especially if one takes Victorian England as a model of comparison, women didn’t have an awful lot going for them, and their lot in life was largely determined by who they married. Marry poor, stay poor; marry rich, and the world’s your oyster. But what if a gypsy woman wanted to do one better? To one up those that simply married rich, one gypsy woman made a deal with the devil to be given the most powerful and wealthy husband in her entire Romanian village. The price? She must give up her first-born daughter to be the devil’s consort and bear his unholy and extremely gooey children. It all seemed like a fair trade, and Matya was born with the mark of the devil. Pity about that whole ‘being brutally tortured and killed by the locals’ thing though…
As time withers on facts become cautionary tales which become myths which become old wives’ tales. Such was the fate of Matya’s horrible death, until one day in 1928 when a director tried to bring her story to life on film. It didn’t go very well since the set seemed to be haunted by some malevolent and otherworldly spirit. Eventually the director and his cast simply vanished altogether, leaving nothing of the film save for a few production shots. This lost film has become Marcus Reed’s latest obsession. Apparently a wonder-child director, his first movie met with such critical acclaim that he became Hollywood’s darling before cancelling production of his second one because the location gave him bad vibes. You see, Marcus is kinda of a director-cum-psychic medium who can feel when something horrible has happened to a spirit.
Now Marcus and his spirit guides want to remake the original movie that was begun in 1928. How he’s going to do this since the original movie was a.) never completed and b.) completely lost is a question best left to the spirit realm. He takes his team to Romania to shoot the film on the exact same set from 1928, feeling that this will add atmosphere to the production, but things soon start to go a tad bit awry. Eye-eating insects infest the set, strange apparitions start appearing on the film, electricity supply simply cannot keep up with the filming, crew members begin to fall from the sky and, at one point, mass panic and lunacy breaks out amongst the entire production crew. Somehow the lead actress and Marcus’ ex-girlfriend seem to be involved in all of this, and he’ll need all his psychic powers for the final confrontation with the spirit of Matya to bring the nightmare to an end.
The main problem with this movie is that the story is terribly set up. Without the basic knowledge of what the hell’s actually meant to be happening the action that takes place makes no sense, and all your left with are a vague bunch of peripheral characters that you don’t really care about running from a strange psychic man and a ghost whose motives are far from clear. A nice try, but let’s just agree that it’s best to leave J-horror to the Japanese.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Demonic flashbacks can give you awesome script-writing inspiration.
- Why call it a fit when ‘apparitional experience’ just sounds so much cooler?
- Pronouncing the name ‘Marcus’ as ‘Mar-coos’ is enough to convince anyone that a person is Romanian.
- If you’re struggling to make ends meet, you can always ask the Devil to exchange cash for your first-born daughter.
- Discussing film that may be haunted will make you sound like a Scientologist.
- No film set is complete without an underground chains and creepy chandelier storage facility.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Global warming: the great threat our generation faces. A number of possibilities have been given for what causes it: burning fossil fuels, deforestation, increased solar output, the list just goes on. The truth, however, lies in Heatstroke: aliens are the cause of global warming. This was a fantastic movie to watch; it goes back to the good old days of Syfy original movies where the special effects are so awful that they give you a great belly laugh while the endings aren’t anti climatic, a problem faced by so many recent Syfy movies. If you’re in the mood for a good laugh, some cheesy sci-fi goodness and indulging in an alien conspiracy theory then this is the movie for you!
It’s a beautiful day for the world to end in Hawaii. The sky is blue, the oceans are crystal clear and bikini models are frolicking gayly on the beaches during a photo shoot. Captain Steve O’Bannon is busy flying his ultralight around one of the islands, taking a relaxing afternoon to monitor any usual radiation levels that may exist in these here parts. Given that this is such a relaxing pursuit and the weather is absolutely gorgeous he doses off behind the wheel of his 1 man aircraft and begins a rapid decent towards a tree. Thankfully there’s something very similar to a velociraptor living in the tree and it leaps up to try and guide the aircraft away but, unfortunately, takes a giant bite out of the ultralight’s engine. Captain Steve awakes with a start and is forced to make an emergency landing in the middle of the bikini models’ photo shoot, much to their dismay.
Following Captain Steve’s emergency landing head bikini model Caroline comes over to read the man the riot act for interrupting this photo shoot of groundbreaking importance to mankind. When Captain Steve doesn’t seem very interested Caroline brings over her hired goons, who Captain Steve quickly dispenses with. He beats the crap out of them again later when he finds them at a bar, this time with the help of his team mates Jillian and Waters (first name unknown). Somehow between coming to the bar, having a boiling beer and beating the crap out of everyone the team (including final team-mate Romeo Romero) decides that there must be something on the island causing the strange radiation spikes and they’re determined to find out what it is.
The cause of the radiation, of course, is an alien invasion. The aliens look like some reject bunch of dinosaurs and have come to earth to heat up our climate to make it a little more hospitable for themselves. I don’t know about you, but personally I find it a little rude when guests drop in on your planet unannounced and then spend the whole time complaining about how you’ve chosen to do the place up. Captain Steve wasn’t about to tolerate this lack of manners in the first place and he certainly isn’t about to tolerate these rather rude invaders when they start melting the faces off his crew and the hapless bikini models that inhabit the island. Unfortunately, since he isn’t a rogue scientist and is contracted by the US military to study these creatures, he’s going to have to play things by the book, at least until he can discover just how big their plans are and how quickly they plan on turning our little Blue Marble into an alien cafeteria. Thankfully he’s not alone in his mission to save the planet; he’ll be accompanied by a rag-tag group of old Hawaiian natives, military grunts and a bikini model with a flower in her hair. God speed to you all!
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Models take great offence when people try to inspect their own crashed ultralights.
- The military isn’t ready to believe global warming is the result of aliens living on earth.
- Afghanistan is many things, but it’s certainly not a boring place to go on honeymoon.
- Models are intrigued by kung fu fighting special ops agents.
- Women are terrified when sounds come out of the woods.
- ‘Top Secret’ means giving broad enough hints that everyone figures out what you’re doing.
- Earth is a prime insect farming location for extraterrestrial life.
- Earth can go from temperate to Venus in less than 2 hours.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
What’s not to love about a good movie made for the SyFy Channel? They’re guaranteed to be b-grade, they’re guaranteed to be made on a low-budget and they’re guaranteed to be a good laugh. The Hive is no different; based around an island under attack by a swarm of man-eating ants the audience is subjected to an hour and a half’s worth of so-so acting, horrible CGI and a plot that’s so far-fetched I recommend it for nothing else other than the ‘No, they didn’t just do that!’ factor. Read on, dear reader, if you would like to know just how far the animal kingdom can be pushed by a company out to make a tremendously b-grade sci-fi / horror combo!
Something’s very wrong on a little island in the middle of the Pacific. One night, high up in the sky, a strange light was seen descending and disappearing behind a hill, and ever since then the ant population of the island has been going a little awry. It would appear that they are no longer content to simply invade the locals’ picnics and make off with whatever scraps are available to them – they’ve now got their sights on a much bigger prize. It all begins simply enough: one night, in the middle of the jungle, a woman is busy tidying her house while her baby gently rocks itself in a little hammock. Outside, the ants are preparing for their first attack. Hundreds of thousands of them descend on the house, making intricate structures on the roof by bunching together. Having gathered into formation they begin falling from the roof and, in a matter of seconds, devour the woman and her child and leave nothing but piles of bones and clothes. Soon most of the island’s population is on the run as the ants begin to spread out and attack entire communities, leaving nothing but death and destruction in their wake.
With the island on the brink of collapse it’s up to Team Thorax (I shit you not), a group of highly trained insect killers, to try and sort out the problem. They’ve come fully loaded: suits to stop the ants getting to them, high-powered ant-killing laser guns and a state-of-the-art communications centre to keep in touch with those brave souls out on patrol. All of these things are necessary since the ants are displaying incredibly aggressive behaviour, are swarming in never-before-seen numbers and have developed the ability to run at about 90 km/h. Where the ants plan on striking next is also proving to be very difficult to track and the combined forces of Team Thorax and the island’s military are being stretched rather thin trying to contain the outbreak. Oddly enough though nobody seems to think that millions of ants swarming together and eating people alive is particularly strange behaviour. Obviously Team Thorax has seen its fair share of ant-related atrocities in its time and this is really just another day at work for them.
Since eating every human in sight doesn’t seem to be impressing Team Thorax overly much the ants decide to go all-out and display even more bizarre behaviour in a desperate bid to get some attention. Firstly the humans discover, when they take a sample from the ants’ frontline, that the swarm is made up of a number of different species of ants, something very strange since ants usually attack ants of a different kind (racism is still very much an issue in the ant community). Nobody seems to think much of this, so the ants then start to mass together and form floating tentacles with all the ants at the front staring forward so that they can investigate their surroundings. The tentacles are also good at breaking things when the ants get angry. This doesn’t seem to impress Team Thorax either, so the ants decide to take the leader and his scientist girlfriend into their lair. Here we find that the ants have turned themselves into a computer (again, I shit you not) capable of controlling the swarm and assigning tasks to the various different ant species to ensure the optimum killing power of the swarm as a unit. The ants then begin to communicate with the humans, telling them what it is they want and why they’re doing what they’re doing. The humans must then decide if they’re going to give the ants what they want or declare all-out war.
See? Watch it for nothing other than the sheer ridiculousness of its plot. Even by SyFy standards this one was rather far-fetched.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- A great way to seduce a woman is to insult her field of expertise on national television.
- There’s an entire industry dedicated to making enormous weapons for killing ants.
- Speculating about mass intelligence in insect swarms is hardly mainstream science.
- Women hate it when you grossly overstate the purpose of their PhD thesis.
- Ants are incredibly eager hosts and want to show off the home they’ve created.
- Ants are open to entering into territorial negotiations.
- Ants are very knowledgeable on the workings of the human brain.
- Ants are very good at using humans as ventriloquist dummies.
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