As usual, there were various degrees of entertainment to be found in my latest selection of movies. And as usual, the most polished films are the ones that I would have been fine with skipping…
PARANORMAL APPARITION (aka: Cold Blood Canyon) (2007)
This cheesy little ghost film was tossed in for free with a DVD I bought online…with no case. Man, that gets my OCD going. I was hoping I’d totally hate it so I wouldn’t want to keep a caseless DVD.
It has that “shot-on-video” feel to it, and the plot is initially really typical. A couple buys a house with a murderous past because the price is awesome and the zip code in Beverly Hills is awesome. They don’t tell their teen daughter about the murder, but almost immediately she starts seeing a shadow of a woman in her room. The parents scoff when she insists the house is haunted.
Then the girl next door tells her about the murder…and she meets a really cute guy with a dog…and she befriends a quirky goth dude at an occult shop.
Honestly, the silly, oddly endearing interactions between the kids are what saved this movie for me. They are very reminiscent of the likable kids from 80s low budget horror (unlike all the assholes in today’s horror).
The shit hits the fan when the parents go away. The neighbor friend comes for a sleepover, gets drunk, whips out a Ouija board, and summons a scary ghost lady.
Goofy ghost special effects abound for a while, and eventually we get a pretty complex twist and backstory that’s much more unique and fun than you’d expect from such a low budget indie.
To think a guy could go from making Deadgirl, a movie about guys who regularly rape a female zombie they keep chained up in a basement, to a tween horror just like all the other Insidious/Conjuring/Ouija silliness out there these days. But that’s just what director Marcel Sarmiento has done.
What can I say? Is there plenty of formulaic spooky atmosphere and cheap scares? Is the plot as predictable as can be? Well, yeah, until the twist at the end. But is making a cookie cutter film just so you can throw in a twist reason enough to make a cookie cutter film? I don’t know.
So the plot is, a dad finds himself a new woman after the death of his wife. His daughters have to adjust to her moving into the house.
But they’re not really the problem. The problem is the mysterious force that starts pulling the usual stunts you’ve seen in every other tween supernatural flick this decade.
Just keep reminding yourself there’s a twist and you should make it through this one okay. The gruesome darkness of the very end makes this one a little more worth it than it should be.
BLOOD HUNTERS (2016)
Blood Hunters comes to us from director Tricia Lee, who brought us the 2013 film Silent Retreat. I can’t help notice the similarity in the creepy crawly creatures in the two films, and that’s not a bad thing.
I also get a Silent Hill vibe from Blood Hunters. A young woman overdoses, passes out on the street, and wakes up in a derelict hospital to find she’s in unexpected shape and mostly everyone is dead.
And there are creatures darting through the shadows.
Pretty soon, she discovers a live patient strapped down to a bed. I would have left him there…and had my way with him.
“Ooh! This seat looks so comfortable…”
Actor Benjamin Arthur is so fricking cute and even brings some comic relief to the film. And I just love his beefy body. Yummy.
Now I can barely focus because all I can think about is searching for more pictures of him online.
So anyway, they soon find a few more “survivors” of whatever the hell went on, and they all hide out in the hospital’s chapel, where the creepy janitor from Urban Legend seems just as creepy playing a priest.
There’s a whole lot of religious overtones here, and I can’t quite say I was able to totally follow the plot – or even cared to, because it kind of goes way off the deep end.
I was really just in it for the wicked cool battles against the freaky creatures and to ogle Benjamin Arthur.
BLOOD WOODS (2017)
This is a vampire film with a few delicious tastes of the main creature that are so creepy and atmospheric that it makes the rest of the film nothing but excruciating filler. It leaves you dumbfounded as to how so much potential could be missed.
The very disjointed intro has a mostly unseen creeper in a cabin feeding terrified, bound women before watching television…which turns out to be two male horror hosts introducing this film!
Next, we get an overly long scene of a guy going hunting. When he’s finally attacked by our main vamp – a big, muscular creepozoid – the footage is so eerily, uncomfortably intimate that my hopes were high.
But Blood Woods turns into one long stretch of low budget, low energy dialogue. Guys rob a bank.
Guys talk at a bar. The baddies hang out with some hostages at a cabin in the woods with a really cool fireplace. Seriously, I was fixated on the fireplace for a majority of the film.
57 minutes in, the vampire comes knocking. 57 minutes! While there are a few more cool scenes with the big main bad guy, most of the vampire interactions are disappointingly low-key and involve his lame minions rather than him! It just could have been more fun than it is.
2 BEDROOM 1 BATH (2014)
We’ve seen plenty of films about a couple moving into a new place hoping to start a family, and then experiencing weird shit that drives a wedge between them. This one is just a little more indie and a little less polished than the mainstream tween supernatural stuff like Totem.
This time around, it’s mostly the husband who starts to see and hear all the weird shit, like visions of blood, a baby crying, and creepy children doing creepy things.
There’s also a mysterious dude who shows up at their door asking for some pregnant woman who clearly doesn’t live there.
And then comes the crawling contortionist ghost girl. Yep, it’s one of those. And for the third time in about a month’s viewing, sleep paralysis is worked into the plot of a movie I’ve watched. Take note, horror filmmakers. The bubble is going to burst really fast on this phenomenon’s usage in horror.
2 Bedroom 1 Bath has a couple of creepy moments, loads of clichés, and a plot that is way more complicated than it needs to be for a silly little ghost movie.
We also get Dee Wallace as the landlady of the condo complex, Eric Roberts as the fertility doctor, and Jack Donner as the creepy old man in one of the other units. Plus, we get to see the cute hubby showering.
THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE (2016)
Well, I couldn’t make it through Troll Hunter, so perhaps it’s no surprise I couldn’t get through this one from the same director?
A father and son are a team of coroners. The son doesn’t want to be a morgue worker for the rest of his life, but doesn’t know how to tell his dad, but that’s really irrelevant to the rest of the film.
After about the third bullshit bogus scare before we even get to the actual plot of the film, I knew I was being duped.
So a body is delivered. A woman’s body. They start to examine it. Things start to go bump in their house as thunder and lightning strike outside. They spend the film running around the house convinced something is after them and talking through who this Jane Doe could be and what happened to her.
If you want to see an intriguing film about a dead body and a coroner, watch After.Life.