My obsessive side is always finding something new that I haven’t fully consumed yet, and this time around it’s the After Dark Horrorfest films that were all the rage over a decade ago. Turns out I’ve seen, blogged about, and own a majority of them, so I’m going back to fill in the gaps, starting with this first blog featuring five films.
TOOTH AND NAIL (2007)
Not exactly a frightening film, and riddled with clichés, Tooth and Nail at least has some brutal violence, some familiar horror faces, and female heroes.
The planet has mostly come to an end after being depleted of all gasoline. Not exactly the most green-positive plot, huh?
Anyway, survivors living in a vacant building find a young woman in trouble on the road and take her in. They soon discover that she was followed by a gang of cannibals that looks like something out of The Lost Boys.
The film turns into nothing more than a cat and mouse game, with the woefully unprepared survivors becoming sitting ducks when the cannibals infiltrate their building and hack them up with axes. This simply isn’t suspenseful, and the cannibal dudes lack any sense of menace. Not even Michael Madsen.
Only a twist in the cat and mouse game saves the film somewhat in the last act, but it doesn’t really save it enough. It’s still disappointingly generic.
WIND WALKERS (2015)
This “infected” movie has more plot elements than it has actual infected people.
A Native American man opens the film, speaking to the camera and establishing that after the white man invaded their land and their lives, something known as “wind walkers” came to prevent future invasions.
Next we meet a group of men, one of them military (and quite pretty), looking for their other military friend who went missing in the Everglades. Then the film pointlessly breaks chronology, momentarily flashing back three days to when the guys first discovered their friend was missing.
Back to the Everglades, this turns into a headache of a soap opera. Is there a lone Native American zombie running around (that’s right, I said lone. Just one.)? Is the military man suffering from PTSD and actually killing his friends? They seem to think so, therefore, he must convince them that an infection has followed him back when he was on duty. One of the most effective scenes is a flashback showing what exactly happened when he was a prisoner of war.
It’s not until almost ten minutes before the film ends that there’s truly some thrilling zombie action.
While it’s satisfying stuff, and while I really like something about the look and feel of the film, I’m not sure any of that justifies sitting through this one, although it is at least a little different than the usual zombie fodder.
The premise of Unrest is initially really enthralling. A group of med students begins to believe that the cadaver on which they are working is alive…or that her soul isn’t happy with the way they are treating it.
As a few of the believers in their group begin to investigate the life of the corpse woman, others aren’t so kind to the body, and they begin to get killed off.
Like I said, cool concept. It’s just at the point when the pretty blond girl and even prettier boy in class begin having sexual relations that the film falls apart.
Dramatic Omen music abounds, they start digging around repeatedly in a vat of formaldehyde—even diving into it—with absolutely no side effects, and they learn of the corpse woman’s completely Aztec background, which just seems irrelevant when the plot is as simple as dead bodies not liking to be messed with. But I guess the kids needed some sort of playbook on how to placate the soul, so there you go.
CRAZY EIGHTS (2006)
Crazy Eights is crazy confusing and just another disappointing horror film dipping into the trends in horror at the time of its making.
After onscreen text informs us that kids were dropped off for experiments in the 1970s and never seen again, we meet a handful of people that comes together after a friend dies. They follow a map he left for them and find a box with a corpse in it.
Then they stop at what looks like an old house…and somehow the inside is an abandoned hospital. Becoming trapped inside, they spend the movie exploring the place, and each of them is murdered in off-screen kills, and we are occasionally treated to tween strength jump scares.
Who’s murdering them? We never find out. Why are they being murdered? We never find out. Why do they all seem very familiar with the layout of the hospital? We can only assume they were somehow some of the kids that disappeared during the experiments, but we never find out.
My favorite part of the film was a funny moment when Traci Lords, who appears in the film, has a mini-meltdown when someone gets killed by a slamming window (off screen).
THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT 3: REVELATIONS (2009)
It’s just weird that the third movie in a weak franchise would be forced into an After Dark Horrorfest, but while I never watched the first two films, I can say this one is a standalone movie and sort of plays out like a pretty gory slasher with time travel.
A Casper Van Dien type dude has the ability to go back in time, and in true Back to the Future fashion, if he messes with things, he changes the present.
While he won’t discuss with his sister what actually happened when they were kids resulting in the death of their parents, she does help monitor him when he travels back in time to determine who murdered his girlfriend.
Problem is, each time he goes back, he manages to get someone else murdered!
Not a bad plot as long as you have the patience to follow all the time jumps, and the brutal kills with an electric saw as the weapon of choice along with some naughty sex scenes gave me flashbacks to 90s thrillers. Plus, the surprise ending is kind of tragic and rather twisted.