Thursday, October 12, 2006

October Horror Reviews- 21st Century scares

SEED OF CHUCKY (2004)- I have a checkered history with the Chucky series of films. I liked the original quite a bit but had never bothered with the sequels until a few years ago brought BRIDE OF CHUCKY. Directed by Ronnie Yu (famous for THE BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR) I loved it- a delight with tongue firmly in cheek and plenty of wit. I was worried that a sequel to that film might falter but to my surprise this one is just as much fun. Residing more in the horror/comedy area than in just horror this shows a love and affection for the genre while making jokes for anyone with a sense of film history. Chucky and his bride Tiffany have birthed a son that doesn’t really have that killer instinct so prized by his parents. Also unsure as to his gender poor Glen (or Glenda) tries to fit in but complications ensue. Jennifer Tilly is great and John Waters has a very funny small role as a paparazzi. (3 stars)

THE BOOGEYMAN (2005)- Boy, was I surprised by this one. I had heard that this film was nothing too great with most reviews agreeing that it wasn’t anything more than OK. While I don’t think its fantastic this little gem is more than just OK and in some ways is actually damned good. A young man is haunted by an incident in his childhood. On a stormy night his father was pulled into a closet and taken away by The Boogey Man- the same ghoul his dad told him scary stories about. Even though years of therapy have helped him accept the idea that his dad just left his mom that night and was never heard from again the poor guy still fears the night and closed doors. When his mom passes away over the Thanksgiving weekend he goes back home to confront the house, his memories and possibly the Boogey Man. Smarter than I expected and gorgeously filmed this is a short little scare film with a gentle creepiness that really works. They aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel here- just make one heck of a nice autumn supernatural tale. Recommended. (3 stars)

MIMIC 3: SENTINEL (2003)-- Not bad and a definite step up from MIMIC 2. The movie is simply REAR WINDOW with giant bugs and it’s done pretty well. It succeeds by remaining a small story told with a minimum of fuss and keeping the running time to a brief 75 minutes. Good acting from a strong cast that includes Lance Henrickson and Amanda Plummer. Stay away from the commentary track on the DVD, as it will make you want to smack the director for being poorly prepared to discuss the film. (2 & 1/2 stars)

HIGHWAYMEN (2004)-- A pure road revenge film that could have been made in the 70’s. The only thing that feels modern about it is it’s slick production values. It’s good but not great with no real flaws but also a certain lack emotional depth that kind of mutes the effect. Colm Feore plays a homicidal manic whose chosen weapon of murder is his big green Cadillac El Dorado. Jim Caviezel is the man who lost a loved one and is tracking the bastard down while using Rhona Mitra as victim bait. The stunt work is very good and thankfully avoids the ‘car crash equals explosion’ BS that plagues so many movies. It’s always nice to see a retro vigilante film that seems born out of the mean-spirited cycle started by DEATH WISH. For my tastes there just aren’t enough of them! (3 stars)

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