Occasionally I have to remind myself to do a sweep of the large selection of horror films Showtime On Demand has to offer. It was that time again, and I found four flicks to check out, so let’s get into them.
Alive comes from the director of Harpoon, so I can at least say this one was better than that film.
What else can I say? I guess I can say the ending was a cool change of pace, I just can’t say that it was worth sitting through what I found to be a scareless, derivative film with elements of torture porn to get to the big surprise.
Basically it’s Misery in a derelict hospital. A man and woman wake up with no memory of who they are, how they got there, or why they are badly injured. They’re being tended to by a weird, lone doctor who won’t give them any explanations.
So they spend the film trying to figure out what’s going on and how they’re going to escape. The setting is good, atmospheric, and familiar to veteran horror fans, and the performances are tight, but I simply didn’t find any of it suspenseful or frightening.
Even so, considering the ending is way cool, this might be one of those films you can better appreciate with a second viewing once you know what’s coming.
Reminiscent of the tight slasher film The Pool, Aquaslash is only 72 minutes long…and yet, considering how it all plays out, it should have been maybe forty minutes long at most.
Things start amazing with a sex and death scene. I was sure I was in for an 80s-style throwback slasher.
Then a bunch of kids comes to party at a water slide park. They party, they fight, they have sex…for fifty minutes. That’s it for fifty minutes. No slashing at all. A cover band doing Corey Hart’s “Sunglasses at Night” at least brings a little of the throwback vibe I was hoping for.
Aquaslash is a movie that relies on wowing viewers with its final scene. Hopefully viewers get there. The promise of what is to come is implanted halfway through the film when we see blades being inserted into one of the slide tubes. Once the slide competition begins with only twenty minutes left in the film, it’s payoff time.
It becomes one big traffic jam of slicing and dicing as people voluntarily and involuntarily end up going down that tube. Some of the reactions to what is taking place are funny, other reactions are utterly ridiculous, and the gore is like Final Destination franchise great.
EXTRA ORDINARY (2019)
I’m always up for a good supernatural comedy, and this little Irish indie so wants to be just that. For me, it was just too quaint and too self-aware in its attempt to be meta for a majority of its runtime. Even so, I stuck with it and found myself highly entertained and laughing out loud in the final act. If only the entire film had that energy.
The story focuses on a driving teacher who also happens to be a psychic. But she’s not in the psychic business, so when a man comes to her because he’s being haunted by his deceased wife, she refuses to help him.
But the same man’s daughter is targeted by a one-hit wonder pop star who tries to resurrect his career by making a deal with the devil that requires a virgin sacrifice.
Once the driving teacher does agree to help the man with his new problem, the pop star plots to stop them.
The film is slow, the references to other horror films are so cliché they didn’t quite tickle my funny bone, and the relationship between the two main characters is a little too cutesy for my tastes. So it comes as quite a surprise when the final act delivers a totally fun occult ritual that steps into Ghostbusters territory visually and in terms of humor. And yes, Ghostbusters is referenced earlier in the film.
THE LAST LAUGH (2020)
If you just need a good fix of a masked killer with a long knife and some violent, bloody kills, The Last Laugh has what you need.
A standup comedian is about to have a big opening night at a theater, and while everyone involved in putting the show together is busy behind the scenes, someone in a mask starts taking them out one by one.
There’s plenty of behind the scenes drama—none of it relevant or all that interesting—and the comedian thinks he’s starting to lose his mind as bodies and blood appear and disappear.
The film is generally serious (odd, considering the title and storyline), but there’s an out of place humorous sequence in which the comedian speaks with two others about the tragic history of the theater. Aside from the kills, it’s the most entertaining part of the film and it’s the kind of tone I wish had been consistently used throughout.
Essentially what I’m saying is just watch this one for the kills because the plot isn’t all that satisfying…and there’s no explanation as to the killer’s identity or motivation in the end.