I’m going to make this one a quickie about three recent films, because there simply isn’t much to say…
GREEN ROOM (2015)
This may be another case of me being around the horror block way too much in the past 5 decades, because I found this one – from Jeremy Saulnier, director of Murder Party – to be about as generic as they get.
A punk rock band hangs out and drops a load of music references before ending up at a concert in what turns out to be a neo-Nazi dive bar. They witness a murder (sort of), are locked in a room, and are terrorized by those outside the room (including Patrick Stewart as the leader) before they finally figure out a way to escape to take on the baddies—and a bunch of attack dogs.
The cast is good and loaded with horror alum, but nothing here jumped out at me as fresh, original, or even thrilling. The most I got out of the viewing experience was a final message sent by one of the attack dogs at the end of the film.
THE HATCHING (2016)
Like an oddball Lake Placid, this one had the potential to be a great “comic duo vs. killer croc” flick, but the amount of meandering that goes on between the fun scenes not only makes the film drag, but also dilutes the plot completely. I seriously had no idea what the point was for a majority of the movie and lost interest frequently because nothing much was happening.
A guy returns to his small hometown and starts bumming around with all his old buddies. Soon, not only do they realize something is killing people by the water, but they actually see a croc devour a cow (funny moment).
Yet…the cast continues spending most of its time goofing off at the shore! And people continue getting killed. Finally, the town has a croc hunting party – another fun scene – before there’s a twist that sends the film into a totally different direction and provides more gore, laughs, and thrills than the majority of film that came before it. If only the rest of the film lived up to its best moments.
FIRESIDE TALES (2016)
This low budget indie runs only 70 minutes, yet delivers four slasher/backwoods stories, one vampire story, and a bonus tale during the closing credits. A majority of the “tales” are just cookie cutter scenarios in which a bunch of kids is slaughtered by a masked killer or monster, with some boobs thrown in for the fun of it (including a pierced pair).
The tales are so generic that even the kids in the wraparound – sitting around a campfire telling scary stories – make fun of how lame each story is! Not to mention…the campfire kids are the fifth story. Characters make plenty of comments about other horror movies, and there’s even a weird conversation about Michael Jackson and all his siblings.
Three stories have killers in gnarly masks, one features a monster that would be cool if it wasn’t out in daylight, and the last is a freaky looking vampire. The overall feel improves as the film progresses, particularly because the first few stories take place in daylight while the later stories are shot at night, providing cover for the limited budget and delivering a more genuine horror feel overall.
Finally, the bonus “story” during the closing credits is presented found footage style. While there’s nothing outstanding here and plot is pretty much non-existent, it’s clear the filmmaker has a great love of slashers and might very well be able to put together a tight little full-length throwback if given a budget. Hell, I’d watch this one again before that yawnfest Green Room, but that’s probably just me. Really, probably just me.