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Christopher Webster [Film Festival 04.03.09] movie review dvd horror





Alright, I'm finally done Lionsgate's After Dark Horrorfest III box and I'm glad to report the films all manage to stay consistently entertaining.

Continue on to read my mini-reviews of From Within, Autopsy, Voices and Slaughter.




***


Title: From Within
Year: 2008
Director: Phedon Papamichael
Writers: Brad Keene
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: agentorange
Rating: 7.5 out of 10

From Within is not a perfect film by any means but it's easily the best movie from the After Dark Horrorfest III line-up. On the surface, it's about a suicide curse that infects an intensely religious small town in Southern America but there is a strong subtext about how fear and religious fervor can make people do unimaginable evil. Actually, it's very similar to the basic theme running through The Mist and as I watched it I thought to myself that this would be the kind of story that Stephen King would like.

It starts out extremely strong with genuine intensity and a couple of great J-horror type scares, but quickly becomes somewhat formulaic. However, it is saved by the ending which is genuinely awesome and surprising.



From Within was directed by famous cinematographer Phedon Papamichael (3:10 to Yuma, The Weatherman) so it is extremely beautiful to look at. He managed to sumptuously capture the small town setting. The film also has a stellar young cast including Thomas Dekker from tv's Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Elizabeth Rice, and Brittany Robertson. Definitely one to check out.

***

Title: Autopsy
Year: 2009
Director: Adam Gierasch
Writers: Adam Gierasch / Jace Anderson
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: agentorange
Rating: 5.5 out of 10

Autopsy is an old school, 80s style hospital horror flick. It's also the kind of movie that's only really enjoyable if you're watching it with friends. It's complete schlock. It looks cheap (and probably was), is totally over-the-top, and is full of rubbery gore galore. The plot is also as standard as they come. A group of teens get in a car accident and find themselves in an abandoned hospital run by ex-cons and a madman doctor who pick them off one by one. I know a lot of horror hounds will love Autopsy's low-budget exhuberance but, for me, it was too formulaic and went where so many other films have gone before and done much better.



That's not to say it's not fun though. Robert Patrick is gleefully over-the-top while the young cast pull off seeming scared enough to keep the tension. It felt like it was going for the same vibe as last year's Hatchet but Hatchet was better.

***

Title: Voices (Du saram-yida)
Year: 2007
Directors: Ki-hwan Oh
Writers: Lee Hyo-Chul / Kang Kyung-ok
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: agentorange
Rating: 6 out of 10

Voives was a little known South Korean curse film until After Dark imported it. It's based on a popular comic series. The title in Korean literaly means "Someone Behind You" and I think that that's a better title for the film because it's more about paranoia than it is about hearing voices of any kind.

The film starts out with an intriguing and original premise that plays on the idea that, at some point, everyone's thought "I wish that person would just disappear." In Voices, every time someone thinks this they go into a violent rage and actually kill the person they thought that about.



The story is pretty good too until about half way through when it starts to make very little sense and then can't seem to present a satisfying explanation for anything. However, the film is atmospheric and spooky and full of shocks. Asian cinephiles will see right through this one I think but audiences who aren't as versed in the Asian horror movement will probably like it's variance from typical Hollywood horror fare. All in all a well made piece whose story looses something in translation.

***

Title: Slaughter
Year: 2009
Directors: Stewart Hopewell
Writers: Stewart Hopewell
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: agentorange
Rating: 4.5 out of 10

Unfortunately I can't say we left the best for last because Slaughter is the worst of the bunch. Don't be fooled by the film's title; this is not a film that features any slaughtering of any kind. It's actually a plodding and rarely scary pseudo psychological thriller about bad relationships and amoral farmer people.



Here's what it's about: "a young woman looks to escape her abusive life by moving to her family's farm near Atlanta. Unfortunately, she learns her place of supposed comfort offers more terrifying forms of abuse."

Listen, if you really want a really shocking film about family violence, check out Mum and Dad when it premieres on DVD next week.


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Anonymous (10 years ago) Reply

The literal translation for the title, "Voices" is "There are Two People," or "It is Two People," not sure why a ton of review sites are calling this, "Someone Behind You."


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