BOXED BLOG: People boxed in and beasts unleashed

I picked up this 8-movie set (2 discs, 4 films on each) a few years back for the Charisma Carpenter flick Psychosis which I blog about here. I’ve also already covered Hidden and Devil Seed, so that left me with 5 flicks to conquer for this blog. 2 are about creatures in the woods, one finds a group of people in a Saw predicament, and the other 2 begin with girls confined to a hospital room.

MANEATER (2009)

maneater cover

This creature feature comes to us from Michael Emanuel, who was responsible for some of the segments in the anthology Scary or Die.

maneater charred face

Taking a different approach to the mythical shape-shifter in the woods concept, this one has Dean Cain as a small town sheriff who used to be an FBI profiler, so a good deal of the horror is presented as him profiling the murder scenes in his mind.

maneater dean profiling

Another chunk of the horror is presented as him dreaming…because he kind of starts to think he might be the freaky killer in the woods, which is best described as the Crypt Keeper with glowing demon eyes.

maneater monster attack

The creature and the kills totally rock, and they need to, because everything else is a serious mess, from the unnecessary goings-on of his daughter and her friends to Dean oddly acting as if his dead wife is still alive.

BEAST BENEATH (2011)

beast beneath cover

This is really nothing more than a simple, indie werewolf movie—even though the creature is never referenced as one—with an 80s throwback feel.

It starts off perfectly. A couple having sex in the woods, he goes off to pee, he encounters the beast, he runs back to the girl…or at least, part of him does…

beast beneath first dead boy face

I like the way the film is structured after this. It’s sort of like an anthology film without the anthology. A man and his son are camping in the woods, and the dad begins to tell his son the legend of a beast…

beast beneath dad and son

First we get flashbacks involving an immigrant family, white hatred, money, and a curse…

Then the dad tells a modern day continuation! A young woman inherits a music box, finds a letter inside written in a different language, and she and her boyfriend begin investigating what it means…

beast beneath cast

…which leads them to a funny drifter dude who seems to know all about the curse, the beast, and a cave in the woods that holds the answers to all their questions. Let the killing begin!

beast beneath monster

It’s monster costume fun, with practical gore effects, a hokey happy ending, and even a cheesy final scare.

PARASOMNIA (2008)

 parasomnia cover

Director William Malone (The House on Haunted Hill remake, Fear Dot Com, Creature) brings us a film that at first seems to take itself so seriously it’s a shock to the system when it later on switches into total popcorn movie wackiness, complete with a bunch of appearances by horror faces of the 80s.

parasomnia wheelchair

In the first half, a med student working in the psych ward of a hospital becomes fascinated by two things—a young woman with a condition that has her sleeping all the time, and a serial killer who is in isolation, strapped up with a hood over his head like some sort of bottom bitch waiting for his master to arrive.

parasomnia killer strapped

The sleeping girl has nightmares straight out of the dream realm from way back in Hellraiser II, and they’re somehow connected to the serial killer.

parasomnia dimension

The med student devotes much of his time to caring for her, and eventually manages to wake her up. He also decides to break her out of the hospital so they can’t treat her like a lab rat!

parasomnia neighbor dead

And that’s when this movie becomes a whole different animal. The serial killer uses mind control to make the girl do his bidding!

parasomnia combs

Timothy Bottoms, Jon Landis, Jeffrey Combs, and Patrick Kilpatrick all join in the fun as the main characters are drawn into a hellish dimension right out of a late 80s horror flick.

ISOLATION (2011)

isolation cover 

This girl in a hospital flick comes to us from Stephen Kay, director of the 2005 Boogeyman film. Only this time the girl is stuck there the whole time, which gets really boring after the initial intrigue wears off.

isolation main girl

See, she wakes up doesn’t remember how she got there. Pre-Stranger Things David Harbour is her doctor, and immediately starts telling her one lie after another, which she starts to realize pretty quickly.

isolation david harbour

The only person she feels she can trust is a young nurse dude who takes a liking to her and tries his best to care for her.

isolation patient in next room

But by the time the big twist is revealed, not only is it obvious where it was going, but it feels totally anti-climactic considering the lengthy movie was not very suspenseful to begin with.

isolation main girl at end

This would have worked better as a short in an anthology, and even then it would have been a rip-off of shorts we’ve seen in other anthologies.

DIE (2010)

die movie

Die is one of the better acted, better produced, better thought out takes on the Saw theme of “I’m the morality police, so I am going to torture and kill you all like someone who reads the Bible every day.”

die gun roulette

What makes this one easy to follow is that all the victims are in cells in one room with the killer, who takes them out one by one, makes them face their sins (in flashbacks), and then forces another sinner to roll dice (actually only one, so, you know…die) to determine how they’re going to have to inflict a punishment on the person.

die cells

Rather than relying on hardcore torture to carry the story, the film truly is about the history of each person. Of course, most of their sins are ridiculously judgmental on the part of the killer (as usual), and they’ve all already tried to pay for the sins themselves, but at least he makes a holy roller test her faith…by holy rolling the dice.

die tank

And speaking of, after an awesome little surprise that throws the audience and the killer for a loop, shit gets really deep. So deep that I started to think that this was an awesome good vs. evil allegory…then I didn’t…then I did…all the way to the end, and I still have no idea for sure if it was or not.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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