WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
It’s a rare thing for me to be left utterly dumbfounded by a movie. Amused? Sometimes. Confused? Occasionally. Angry? Fairly often. But dumbfounded is a feeling only brought on by particular kinds of movies, and Airborne just happens to be one of those movies. It starts off as a simplistic post-911 action thriller, but somehow, through various twists and turns, lands up being a pseudo-mythological, demonic possession movie. It’s quite astounding, really. And then there’s the foreboding. This movie has more dramatic foreboding in it than the Twilight movies had stares. The only way it could have been less subtle is if they had a full orchestra go into full swing every time the camera settled on someone’s face. Don’t believe me? Then read on, dear reader, and for the truly brave, perhaps you can give it a watch.
It’s a frightfully stormy day in Merry Old England, and due to an approaching storm (which, by the looks of the radar images we’re shown from time to time, appears to be a hurricane larger than the British Isles) all flights out of Heathrow have been cancelled. All except one, of course. Onto this plane assembles the largest group of misfits you can imagine: soldiers fresh off a tour in Iraq and accused of using excessive force, an Godfather-type and his two cronies, a raging alcoholic, a doctor accused of malpractice, and a sudden replacement air steward that no one has ever met. Oh yeah, and that mysterious crate that gives off funny noises and occasionally jumps around that’s under the special protection of the British government. With all of this to consider, what could possibly go wrong?
The flight starts out nicely enough. The alcoholic awakens with a raging hangover, the Godfather behaves in a typically refined-yet-thuggish manner, and two randy love birds get it on in a tiny bathroom. It’s exactly the sort of thing you’d expect on such a midnight flight. But something is terribly amiss. You know this because the love birds land up being bludgeoned to death and the plane makes a mysterious and unreported change in flight path. Not that flight control back in Britain seems to be overly alarmed. Apparently it’s quite normal for planes to change direction and go to Florida instead of New York without checking in with anyone. Back on the plane, people are starting to disappear at an alarming rate, and even our motley crew of passengers knows that people do not simply disappear while you’re flying however-many-thousands of feet above the ground.
The foreboding is cranked into high gear when suddenly, and for no apparent reason, the most top secretist agents in all of Britain take over the flight control centre and threaten to have the Americans blow the plane out of the sky unless they can get someone to respond. Back on the plane, a hostage situation develops over the content of the crate, which turns out to be a Chinese vase worth over $ 10 million. But something isn’t adding up about this hostage situation: the two hostage takers cannot account for all the dead people, which means that something else has been killing off the passengers (and the pilots) while they weren’t looking. Hypothetically this third-party may or may not be the spirit of a Chinese deity that was imprisoned in the vase and is busy looking for a human host that he can possess. Once this has hypothetically happened and he has found the ideal host he will be able to take over the world and fulfill the Mayan 2012 Doomsday prophecy. Can our hapless group of hostages stand up to the might of an ancient Chinese deity and save the world from absolute destruction? Probably not: the foreboding’s gonna slow them down too much.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Britain’s just a breeding ground for conspicuous Godfather-types.
- Britain’s also home to several pockets of irritatingly chatty, global warming-obsessed geography teachers.
- Air stewards must be proficient in mixing drinks and performing sleeper holds.
- If a drunk irritates them enough, flight stewards can be made to break standard health and safety procedures.
- Complimentary drinks are usually all it takes to quell an uprising of plane passengers.
- Most air stewardesses know which two wires to cross to make a plane just drop out of the sky.
- The Chinese gods and Mayan priests were in cahoots when it came to the 2012 prophecy.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
So I’m back in the saddle but feeling a little rusty; it’s been a few months since I’ve ripped a movie to shreds and I need a little practice. Pretty sure that The Asylum was founded simply for those reasons 🙂 Somehow, through the workings of some malevolent supernatural force, Hold Your Breath (or #holdyourbreath – I don’t know why) actually managed to get a (I imagine very limited) theatrical release. If malevolent supernatural forces were not involved in this process, my only other logical conclusion is that The Asylum has an entire department of buxom young females whose job it is to sleep with whoever necessary to get their movies out there. The movie’s awful, plain and simple; it actually kind of feels like it began shooting, changed scripts, carried on from there, changed scripts again, did some final shooting, and the three different movies were just thrown together for the hell of it.
As a general cautionary tale, this movie advises that at least a little caution should be taken when you come across a zealoty über-German priest out to rid the world of all its sins and vices. This is what Vicar van Hausen tried to do, murdering a number of alleged-harlots along the way, and maiming many others. For his hard work he’s been sentenced to death by electrocution, and the most bizarre array of individuals have turned out to watch the event. The proceedings get underway when a prison guard, obviously mistaking this for an episode of Deal or No Deal, prattles on about what van Hausen did. Van Hausen, before being electrocuted, manages to kill one of the guards before feeling 10 billion volts of CGI electricity coursing through his veins. But can mere CGI electricity put an end to such an evil?
Of course not. If it was, the movie wouldn’t be able to give you gratuitous shots of L-shaped breasts, now would it? Wanting to relive the glory days of high school, a group of friends decide to head off into the wilderness and leave the boring world of rent cheques and deadlines behind for a bit. Driving along their merry little way they happen upon a cemetery, where Blonde Girl tells them that they all have to hold their breath. Why? Because apparently, when a spirit is SO evil that Hell itself cannot contain it, simply holding your breath means that it is powerless. Everyone but The Stoner does this, and he becomes possessed by the ghost of van Hausen. To be fair he was a pretty obvious target from the very beginning, as his nipples are so large they could easily store an additional 3 or 4 evil spirits. In the midst of all this craziness the group decides to take a break and visit an old, abandoned insane asylum and have some sex before continuing on to the great outdoors.
After the necessary amounts of sex have been had and the movie’s done some good padding with the old electric chair, the group eventually decides to move on. Possessed Stoner has already killed a cop and set him on fire, but thankfully the body and car vanished into thin air before anyone saw what he was up to. The problem with evil ghosts, however, is that they tend to become a little slutty, and one body just can’t satisfy them. So van Hausen takes to hopping around between the group in order to exact his non-sensical revenge on the world. The group’s a bit slow so they’re gonna need a little help that comes in the shape of a hermit with a shotgun. The hermit was at the asylum when van Hausen was executed back in the 50s and, through magic of his own, has only aged about 25 years since the event. Thankfully the hermit has a little friend he can call on to bring van Hausen’s drizzle of terror to an end once and for all… maybe…
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Only 5-year-olds are scared of getting caught smoking pot on a street corner.
- High school teachers take sabbaticals to recover from traumatic paper clip injuries.
- Nothing says ‘fun’ like having sex in an abandoned asylum’s mortuary/maternity ward.
- In certain circles it’s frowned upon when people in their 30s don’t behave like they did in high school.
- Blowjobs are a common bartering tool to get former badasses to sit in an electric chair.
- Two things you don’t want in life: the creation of a new asshole by means of a pitch fork, and having carnal knowledge of a bobcat.
- Possession-based amnesia is a terrible problem in areas with a lot of cemeteries.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
First off, I’d like to apologise for my recent silence and lack of reviews. I’m in a mad, desperate rush to submit my MA dissertation before the end of the year, and my guess is that it’s gonna get a whole lot worse before it gets better, but I’m gonna try to update things as often as possible. All work and no play makes James a dull boy, after all 😉
Anyways, what to say about Seance: The Summoning. In all the years I’ve been watching shitty horror I’ve never come across a movie quite like this one. To say that it was a rollercoaster to watch is an understatement, and at no point did I ever know how to feel about what I was watching. It’s either one of the most bigoted movies against Christianity ever made, or it’s one of the greatest pieces of Christian propaganda that’s not so cleverly masquerading as a horror movie. At points it’s painful to watch, other times it’s a fun b-movie, and there are also times when you feel it’s pulling itself together nicely. The actors seemed to learn how to act as they went along, so on that front it starts painfully and ends somewhere that’s slightly above average. On the whole I really just don’t know how to feel, but for putting me through so many ups and downs I declare it to be a High Level of Awful. Take that movie crew et al.!
Sara is a delightful born again Christian girl who just wants to make the world a better place through Christ’s love. To do this, she’s going to help her friend Eva out with a seance. Because Jesus wants you to summon up the spirits of the damned. Eva comes from a long line of psychic mediums who have perfected their craft over the generations. Her grandmother was burned as a witch by the Catholic Church, but those were less tolerant times and you make do with the hand you’ve been dealt. While the two girlfriends are sitting in a park chatting about life Eva decides to give Sara a tarot card reading. What follows is the most vague and subjective insight into the nether realms you’ve ever heard, but it serves to inform us that, before being reborn, Sara was a very, VERY bad girl. Not that that should come back to haunt her or anything later on…
The girls meet up with Joey and Marcus in the park, whereupon they hatch this ingenious plan: they’ll drive a hearse to the morgue for uncollected bodies (hobos, druggies, prostitutes etc., so you know these are some angry spirits) and hold a seance after they’ve inspected the corpse freezer. Joey, in addition to being a security guard at said morgue, is busy doing his unspecified degree in something paranormal and wants to record Eva contacting the dead. Marcus is a stone cold atheist and is only tagging along because a) he wants to bang Lisa and b) if Eva can’t summon up a spirit, she has to dance in a bikini at all of his DJ gigs for a specified amount of time that I can’t quite recall. I reiterate: awesome plan guys!
Now, as every reasonable person knows, it’s never a party until someone goes home devastated. In the process of summoning the dead it comes out that Marcus isn’t so much an atheist as he is a closeted psychic. It explains so much really. With the secret out and his friends telling him that it’s OK, that they don’t care if he’s interested in talking to the dead, and that there’s nothing to be ashamed of because he was born that way, the resident evil spirit (see what I did there?) sees a soft target and possesses him. Armed with the powers of hell and an ability to roll his ‘r’s with such power it would intimidate the most hardened latino, Marcus is intent on controlling the whole world. It’ll be up to Eva and Sara to use a concoction of psychic power and Christianity (and a little rubber tubing) to banish this evil back to the hole it crawled out of.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- No seance is complete without some Satanic apple juice.
- Satan has his own brand of seance-ready candles.
- Blondes think that a red flashing light is the highest form of security for a building.
- Sending a woman with a camera to a toilet next to the corpse freezer in a morgue is an excellent way to come on to her.
- Why does a morgue for unclaimed bodies need a family waiting area?
- Good Christian girls have a really powerful right hook.
- There’s nothing more unattractive than a closeted spirit channeler.
- There’s no high quite as good as an embalming fluid high.
- Demons are trained to be back up strippers in case times get tough in Hell.
- Never tell a demon your secrets – he’ll be running all over town airing your dirty laundry.
- In the event of friend’s demonic possession, sex is your best weapon against them.
SEANCE: THE SUMMONING TRAILER
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
As any semi-regular visitor to this blog will know, I’m up for pretty much anything. Extraterrestrial vampire whores, sharktopodes, gay vampires, killer cartoon characters, shit monsters (no really – monsters made out of shit), I’ve seen it all and lived to tell the tale. Even with this experience under my belt, rarely have I encountered a movie as utterly banal as House of Blood (aka Chain Reaction). As often happens I could totally see what they were going for (a kind of The Village meets Triangle meets The Shawshank Redemption kind of vibe), but it was so poorly and unoriginally put together that all you’re left with is this steaming pile of self-righteous movie filled with characters fond of using big words but having no idea what they actually mean. Also, it’s a bit longer than your usual crapfest: at just over 100 minutes, it drags the pain out a lot more than most movies would dare to do.
Douglas Madsen is just a regular doctor who frequently laments the loss of his parents roughly 50 years ago when he was but a wee lad. That is until one day when Fate decides to throw him a curve ball and Douglas lands up with a set of completely different, but somehow interlinked, problems. Going out on his rounds (in a densely wooded area with no people) Douglas finds his car plowing head first into a truck transporting criminals to another prison. After a small shoot out and the brutal death of several policemen the criminals abduct Douglas, thinking that he might be useful in treating one of their own who has been shot. The criminals steal the dead policemen’s clothes and run into the forest to make their escape. Why they didn’t just POSE as policemen in the outfits I don’t understand, but this seems to be the path the director wanted to take.
When the criminals went down to the woods that day they didn’t realise they were in for a big surprise. They thought that the rundown, seemingly abandoned cottage in the middle of the forest with no electricity and hidden by a dense and mysterious fog would be their salvation; shockingly, it wasn’t. In this cozy little cottage that would’ve sent Goldilocks running for her life lives a quaint little family that speaks a dialect of Ye Olde English that would irritate the most hardened of Renaissance Fair goers. Despite the obvious language barrier between the residents’ archaic tongue and the criminals’ constant screams of “shut the fuck up!”, with a little persuasion (at gun point) the family can be rather hospitable and agree, under duress, to help the guys out with their wounded friend.
Alas, all is not as it seems with the mountain-dwelling family. It’s all been perfectly civilised up until one of the criminal’s has to have his arm amputated with a machete. Things go a little awry at this point. In a move that I’m putting down to sheer indecisiveness from the script writers, the family turns out to be a group of undead-zombie-vampire-cannibals, who Douglas has to escape from. This might have been tolerable, but the joke is that this is only half the movie. Douglas does escape, only to find himself in some bizarre loop of consciousness, and the movie decides to repeat itself. The second time around he’s accompanied by a different group of criminals, but it’s essentially just watching the same movie twice with a little tweaking here and there. In summary: no acting skills, no English language proficiency, no shame.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Being shot in the arm usually means that the whole thing has to be amputated.
- ‘Friendly fire’ refers to friends getting together to gun down policemen.
- Statistically there is a one in a billion chance of a doctor crashing into a prisoner transit van.
- Sheep remain remarkably calm whilst you slit their throats with a blunt knife.
- To hell with salt – pour blood over your food, it’s just as tasty.
- You should live your life in such a way that the Count de Sade himself would envy you.
- Sociopathic lusts greatly outweigh psychopathic social obligations.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
As a fun little fact before I dive into the review, this movie was originally meant to be a part of the Urban Legend franchise. Under the working title Urban Legends: Goldfield Murders, this was meant to follow on from Urban Legends: Bloody Mary before Sony bought back the rights to the franchise. It’s just as well really; while Bloody Mary at least tried to cling in there, amateur doesn’t begin to describe this movie. Maybe it’s because the guys behind it chose to go with a less universally known urban legend (I’d never heard of Goldfield or its supposed ghosts until I watched this movie. Some useful information can be found by clicking here), but all this movie really boils down to is 88 minutes of every clichéd ghost trick in the b-movie book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a laugh a minute to watch, but when Kellan Lutz is your biggest draw card you really aren’t giving the audience much to work with.
After some thumping techno beats from the production companies responsible for this little cheese fest we’re thrown into a car full of horribly clichéd college students. Julie’s your typical ghost-hunting psychology major who’s deadly serious and in touch with the voices from the spirit realm. To balance out her intense blandness she chose Mike to be her jackass boyfriend. Mike’s just your standard scuzball college character who keeps pulling pranks and flirting with other females. In this case said female is Keri, the whiny spoiled girl bedecked in pink and who can’t understand why this ghost hunt can’t be a kick-ass party. She’s here with Dean, who there really isn’t much to say about since he just kinda hovers in the background and grunts disapprovingly when she flirts back with Mike. The group’s fifth wheel is Chad, the intelligent, sensitive beef cake who tries to look out for Julie and protect her from Mike’s general douchebaggery.
Julie and co. land up staying in the haunted hotel when it turns out that the motel she booked them into doesn’t exist. How this happened is never explained, so we just plow on with the story. Julie’s trying to make contact with Elizabeth, a prostitute who lived in the Goldfield hotel during the town’s gold rush. Elizabeth was supposedly murdered by the hotel’s owner and her 2-week-old child dumped down a mine shaft under the building. Julie wants to confirm the specter’s existence to see why she’s trapped and unable to move on to the other side. I never knew that ghost psychology was such a big subject in American universities, but you learn something new every day. How the group struggles for nearly an hour of the movie’s runtime to find Elizabeth is baffling since you can hear her whining ‘where’s my baby?’ in the background every five minutes, but who am I to question the director’s vision?
Suddenly, without apparent cause and only 20 minutes of movie left to go, Elizabeth decides to go balls to the wall and haunt the crap out of these kids. It starts out with some innocent possession to give Julie some flashbacks of what happened to her, but not long after the possessions lead to Mike and Keri making the beast with two backs on a dusty couch. Not content with a supernatural orgasm, Elizabeth decides that the next step is to kill all of the kids as quickly and brutally as possible, all supposedly in the name of finding her baby. How this ties in with the baby is another of the movie’s great unanswered questions, but I didn’t feel like dwelling on it. Julie has some mysterious connection to the old hotel and to Elizabeth’s ghost, and she’s the only one that can end the bygone hooker’s reign of transcendental terror. The question, however, is whether or not Elizabeth is the only ghost in the hotel and whether putting her to rest will really solve all of Julie’s problems.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Girl-on-girl action is cheaper than trying to get a man involved.
- The sound of the car engine exploding doesn’t usually herald good news.
- Bartenders in ghost towns don’t serve up fancy cocktails.
- It’s rude to speak ill of the slutty dead.
- One woman’s brutal torture and murder is another woman’s cheesy, torch-lit ghost story.
- A man must be very well endowed if he can have sex with you through his jeans and yours.
- It’s very inconvenient when your boyfriend’s penis accidentally slips inside your best friend.
- Some guys won’t screw dead chicks; even douchebags have standards.
GHOSTS OF GOLDFIELD TRAILER
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