WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
As someone with siblings, I know how important it is that all children should be dealt with fairly and equally. Because of that, I knew I couldn’t watch 12/12/12 and just ignore its slightly older sibling, hence me suffering through 11/11/11. I will say that this movie isn’t as ludicrously put together as 12/12/12, but oddly enough that isn’t actually a saving grace for this film. Whilst 12/12/12 was so bad that I was reduced to laughing like a crazy person, 11/11/11 is nothing more than an hour-and-a-half of tedium that makes you want to bash your head against the wall. As the Asylum’s answer to 11-11-11 (see how clever they were in making sure the name of the movie was different), this movie combines elements of The Shining, The Omen, Misery, and any number of possessed children films, but sadly does not have the budget or the people with the technical know-how to pull any of it off. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone who may be prone to throwing things at TV sets when a movie becomes frustrating.
The Vales are just the most wonderfully dull family you’ve ever met. Jack, the dad, is a professor of something and is moving his family to a new town to take up a job at the local university. Melissa, the mom, is decidedly bland and doesn’t really contribute much to the film outside of her ability to run to things, look shocked, and then run back. Nat, their son, is (partially) mute and doesn’t do an awful lot of talking. Why? I don’t know, but apparently it adds to the suspense and the DOOM! that’s about to rain down on all of us. What the name of the town they’ve moved to is I don’t know either, but as a general warning just don’t go there. Everyone’s a Stepford Paedophile and, somehow, Nat’s the only kid in town, so you can imagine how they’re all flocking to see him…
After the family’s moved in it quickly becomes apparent that they have a little problem: along with the Stepford Paedophiles, they also have a run-of-the-mill Crazy Cat Lady living next door who seems more than a little interested in the fact that Nat will be 11 on the 11th of November 2011. She also seems to be quite free in handing out poisoned lemonade. Then there’s Nat’s Nanny, the poor man’s Megan Fox, who seems to be quite comfortable showing Nat the best way to set a butterfly on fire and how to do malicious damage to private property. Not that Jack notices any of this: he’s too busy hiring nurses to look after his pregnant with pre-eclampsia wife and working at the town’s one-room university. And then there’s all the townsfolk who keep staring through the windows and getting together in the back of the minivan…
So what has all of this got to do with the price of eggs? The Lord alone knows, but therein seems to lie the problem. It would appear that the entire town’s population of 7 are Satanists, and due to his birth date and some bizarre prophecy I wasn’t paying attention to back in 2011 Nat is going to be Satan’s ticket into our world. Whilst the towns people represent the forces of evil, the Crazy Cat Lady represents the forces of good: if she manages to kill Nat before his birthday, the apparently not so omnipotent Devil can’t take over the world, but if she fails to kill him its all going to get a bit hairy for us down here. It’s all up to Jack to try and save the world and his son, which to be quite frank means that we’re probably all boned. Melissa will contribute to this battle by moaning a lot and occasionally slapping her nurse, but ultimately it all comes down to Nat. Can an 11-year-old partially mute kid with clear anger issues ward off the Devil himself? Which and be underwhelmed to find out!
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Families bond best when they run down an opossum/cat hybrid.
- Little orange tabby cats can freely change their sex at will.
- Demon spawn are far more accurate than any pregnancy test on the market.
- Painting gutters is always easier when you use a hammer.
- It’s quite common for doctors to drug a woman in early pregnancy up to the eye balls.
- In their attempts to get new jobs, prospective nannies are more than willing to kill off the competition.
- Butterflies are highly flammable creatures.
- Apocalyptic prophecies are now being distributed as children’s books – because it’s never too early to know when the world’s gonna end.
- Giving a child cereal is a decent punishment for walking around the house with a butcher’s knife.
- Small-town cults usually hold their meetings in mini vans.
- Nothing is more powerful than a mother’s drug-addled, demented frenzy.
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
Good God I love movies that fail as epically as this one did! Rarely does one find a movie that attempts to mash together as many genres as The Collapsed did, but in its attempt to be a horror-thriller-drama-sci-fi-mystery ultimate combo, it proved that it couldn’t pull even one of those elements off. I’m not a movie snob (as this site will well attest to), but I do believe that if you’re going to make an end of the world movie, you can only really go one of two ways: option one is to have a big budget so you can make it really convincing or, option two, you make it cheesy enough to distract the audience from the lack of budget. Here, The Collapsed does it wrong again: it wants to be a very serious end of the world movie, but with no budget for the necessary mayhem and destruction. Couple all of this with several attempts on behalf of the director to make the film look artsy and all you’re left with are 82 minutes of unrelenting pain and mind-numbing boredom.
So it’s the end of the world; how it’s the end of the world you’re never going to find out, but ‘the government’, ‘conspiracy’, ‘weapons we’ve never even heard of’ and ‘the horror’ are all phrases being thrown around by survivors of this invisible apocalypse. Our story follows dad Scott, mom Emily, and siblings Aaron and Rebecca as they attempt to find safety and supplies in amongst the few apartment fires and the occasional cannibal that are ravaging their generic movie city. Dad has the strangest accent I’ve ever heard come out of a human being (although I imagine it’s quite similar to how a Swedish person imitating a Canadian accent would sound), but despite this inherent flaw in his being he’s decided that the only way he’s gonna keep his family alive is to make a break for the wilderness. Because nothing bad ever happens when you run off into the woods in a horror movie.
Getting to the wilderness, however, is going to require that the family does a little road trip. This is set up in such a way that it’s as painful to watch as it would be to do an actual road trip with your own family. Thrown in for not-so-good measure is a half-baked plot point about Scott and Emily’s other son, who apparently has gone missing. He’ll be thrown into conversation every now and then, but since we never see him it doesn’t really matter. Along the way the family discovers an abandoned little shop and decide to stop in and pick up some supplies; this is when things start to go very badly for them. While they’re doing a little shopping and Mom’s taking a bath in a sink, a group of heavily armed men wearing gas masks arrive as well. Making a very slow and blundering escape, the group makes for the surrounding woods, hoping it will provide them with a little safety and respite.
Naturally, the woods offer no protection whatsoever. Our family is still pursued by various groups of crazies, supplies are running low, and there are strange sounds and voices coming from the trees. To judge by the musical score, they’re also being relentlessly pursued by a group of poorly trained trumpeters and cellists, but that’s a separate issue entirely. As members of the family are slowly picked off by the different forces out to get them, Swedish-Canadian Dad needs to think of the best way to keep what remains of his family alive until they can escape this wilderness and find the supposedly safer wilderness he has in mind. Of course, not all enemies out to get you are necessarily mortal with a corporeal form…
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean we can’t have manners.
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean that feminine hygiene should be any less of a priority.
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean the risks of teenage smoking should be taken any less seriously.
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean that grave-digging techniques should suffer.
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate an old-fashioned rifle that doesn’t blow up in your hand.
- Just because it’s the end of the world, it doesn’t mean that revenge still isn’t a dish best served cold.
THE COLLAPSED TRAILER
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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 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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