It happened at the end of the first decade of the new millennium

Vampires, ghosts, demons, zombies, slashers… For me, there’s one film worth digging out of this wreckage of films from 2007 and 2008.

REVERB (2008)

I like the premise of this one a lot. It’s the execution that ruins it for me, as it uses every trick in the early 2000s horror book to be “scary.” Most notable are constant manipulative zinger flashes of something horrific, all in hopes of making you jump when there’s actually nothing happening.

The story is about a band that stays in a recording studio overnight to come up with new music. One girl notices voices on a sample they use on their own recording, so she starts to research the record they sampled.

They find a secret room right out of the original Saw, and then a sort of occult ritual possession plot unfolds.

Kind of a unique approach to the “sell your soul to the devil for a hit record” scenario.

Unfortunately, the endless choppy edits in the style of The Ring video insulted my horror veteran status as they attempt to convince what could only be a naïve audience that the movie is actually scary.

BROTHERHOOD OF BLOOD (2007)

This one comes from the directing duo of Alone in the Dark II…which means I probably shouldn’t have blind bought the DVD years ago. Having watched it again for this blog, I can say it is not worth revisiting, and therefore I’m going to put it in the discard pile to open up a space on my movie shelf.

It’s a cheap vampires vs. slayers movie with lots of talking, Sid Haig in a flat role as a vampire, and Ken Foree as the high strung vampire who is tortured by the vampire hunters yet relishes every minute of taunting them. It’s on par with the some of the weakest TV shows that have aired on SyFy (for only a season or less) over the years.

The hunters infiltrate the vamps’ lair and do lots of exploring, occasionally battle some vamps, and then capture and torture Foree (the bulk of the running time). A vampire legend unfolds through dialogue, and eventually the film ends with the main hunter woman leaving us with an “I’m going to go hunt them down” revenge line, appearing to promise a sequel that would finally kick the story into gear. But a second movie never materialized.

BOTCHED (2007)

I’ve never been able to get into horror comedy Botched and really don’t remember a thing about it until I watch it again. From now on, I’ll always have this handy dandy blog to remind me.

Thieves led by Stephen Dorff take a bunch of equally unlikable hostages in a building and then get stuck on a single floor. Slowly but surely, they begin to find icky evidence there’s a killer among them, but the elevator is jammed and they can’t get off the floor.

There are some moments that definitely gave me a good laugh, but overall, rather than dark horror humor, the film is too farcical for my tastes.

For instance, when we finally see the killer, he’s this goofy dude in medieval attire who jumps and leaps around with joy whenever he’s attacking someone. At least his gory lair adds some horror to the mix, but that’s negated by the final battle, which takes the humor to the stratosphere of slapstick.

Most of the characters are absurdly over the top cartoonish (think the movie Clue), and yet Dorff plays a totally serious straight man, causing a huge clash in tone.

THE MESSENGERS (2007)

The director of the original Asian version of The Eye franchise must have been enlisted to bring the then popular Asian horror ghost girl theme to the countryside. The casting of Dylan McDermott, Kristen Stewart, Penelope Ann Miller, and John Corbett can’t save this disastrous mainstream film. And yet it got a sequel, which I blog about here.

The Messengers throws random shit in for no clear reason yet still manages to go nowhere, completely fails to explain anything when all is said and done, and is an embarrassingly melodramatic family drama while it’s at it.

The family moves to this isolated, dilapidated farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, and immediately some realtor dude comes around, determined to convince Dylan to sell the house. He’s so persistent it seems he has an ulterior motive, but nope, it’s just a reason for Penelope to get pissed at Dylan later for not telling her about the opportunity.

Meanwhile, John Corbett is a drifter who asks for a job. In a moment of total realism, these jaded city folk decide to invite this strange man in the middle of bumfuck to come live with them, and even leave their teen daughter and toddler alone with him as soon as they hire him!

Kristen is terrorized by a ghost girl that tries desperately to drag her into the basement, and also sees mass destruction of the house only to discover it didn’t actually happen. A ghost girl who can cause delusions?

As a bonus, crows keep attacking the house in very The Birds inspired scenes. They eventually attack Corbett, which seems to…possess him? Or is he somehow related to the tragedy that happened to the previous owners? What’s the significance of the crows? Don’t know. None of it is explained. Don’t care. Another one for my discard pile.

JACK BROOKS: MONSTER SLAYER (2007)

From Jon Knautz, director of The Shrine and Girl House (two of thousands of faves of mine), Jack Brooks has a lot going for it. It stars Robert Englund and sizzling hot Trevor Mathews (of The Shrine). The Evil Dead demon vibe and gore are totally awesome. And it’s funny.

There’s one downside. It takes 55 minutes before the rockin’ horror action and demon transformations kick in, and it’s over way too fast. But it is absolutely worth sticking with it for the payoff (no, not Jack naked).

Jack Brooks is a student and a plumber with anger issues. Robert Englund is his teacher, who asks him to come over and fix a plumbing problem.

In doing so, Jack unknowingly unleashes an ancient evil…that first possesses Englund before eventually making its way to his class (you know, 55 minutes in).

Englund is great, Mathews is delicious, and the old man he learns much of his horror history from is hilarious.

If only Jack’s classmates had been given more time to get chased by demons…or are they zombies? It’s hard to tell, but they are bloody, gnarly fun.

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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