As I continue to dig through my collection for movies I haven’t blogged about yet, it’s time for three from the early 2000s about people trapped in a house or building.
KILLER INSTINCT (2001)
When a movie randomly begins with a man being lynched, cuts to a couple having sex under the very same tree, then to Dee Wallace and Corbin Bernsen as rivals in a board room, and finally to kids heading out on a road trip, you can’t deny you’re in for a post-Scream slasher mess.
The kids end up in some old asylum playing a scavenger hunt game, which is really the only part worth paying attention to.
There’s thunder and lightning, cheap scares, and some fun, dastardly kills, including a hottie tied to a bed.
Dee and Corbin are like chickens running around with their heads cut off, trying to make it seem that their soap opera dialogue has a valid connection to the story of the kids being slashed, but it just cheapens the worth of the slasher segment.
And in the end I didn’t get any of it. I think because I didn’t care to even try.
Bones is one mess of a movie that’s so damn fun and gory before all is said and done that I can’t help finding it irresistible.
It comes from Ernest R. Dickerson, the director of Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight. He has also directed episodes of various horror shows over the years, but based on these two films alone, he really should do more horror movies.
In this odd film, a group of kids in the urban jungle buys an entire derelict building at a great price and plans to turn it into a club. One girl in the bunch happens to be horror queen Katharine Isabelle, while the other girl is horror queen Bianca Lawson.
The reason the plot is a mess is because, well…let’s see. They find a corpse in the catacombs of the place and leave it there. This corpse happens to be that of Snoop Dogg, whose backstory we learn about through numerous flashbacks to 1979. There’s a dog with glowing red eyes that is basically a wolf, and when the kids feed it, it seems to cause bad things to happen, like helping Snoop’s corpse reanimate.
Meanwhile, Pam Grier is on the scene and she warns the kids to stay away and not to feed the dog…but then goes and does some sort of séance that kind of resurrects Snoop’s ghost.
Once the party starts, the kids get killed off in bloody ways, and every time one does, Snoop’s corpse goes all Hellraiser and gains more flesh on its bones.
Trying to follow what is going on is a chore…time jumps, dimension jumps, different versions of Snoop, talking severed heads…
Just grab the popcorn and enjoy the awesome kill sequences and demon dimension effects.
DEAD BIRDS (2004)
I have memories of this one being pretty darn scary, and upon a re-watch I can see why. It is so damn manipulative with the endless jump scares and orchestral stingers.
It’s surprising that I was a fan considering it’s a period piece—1863 to be exact. A gang robs a bank and then holes up in an old house near a cornfield, and includes the likes of Henry Thomas and Isaiah Washington (the guy who tossed around the “f” word on the set of Grey’s Anatomy gets referred to by the “n” word in this film).
You would think that when the gang is immediately attacked by some skinless demon beast they would think of looking for a new place to crash.
They don’t, and pretty soon they’re being terrorized by little demon children. Cool faces, but these days you quickly realize it’s just that demon face app effect that became so popular a few years later.
There’s a lot going on here as each character explores the house and the pieces of the puzzle come together. However, a ghost literally has to explain exactly what happened years before that led to the supernatural occurrences.
There are thrills galore, atmosphere, scares, some bloody kills, and cool monsters and ghosts, but the classic occult plot is all over the place—kind of an “everything but the kitchen sink” situation. By the end of the film I was more than ready for it to be over.