Movie Review: ONE CUT OF THE DEAD

I know I’m pretty late to the party on this, but allow me to be the latest person to confirm all the praise that has been heaped upon One Cut of the Dead. No, it’s not even a little bit scary, but yes, it’s incredibly entertaining. It’s the good-time bloody zombie movie of the decade; rivaled only by Zombieland, even though the movies end up being quite different. It’s a movie that even people like me, who are largely exhausted by even the thought of enduring yet another zombie story, can enjoy. read more

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DeQueue Reviews: HELL HOUSE, LLC TRILOGY

My queues across various streaming services are out of control. I’m going to put a dent in these queues and review the movies that I think are worth writing about. And for October, I’ll naturally be even more focused on movies befitting what I consider the “Halloween Season.”

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The first film in the Hell House, LLC trilogy is a fairly remarkable achievement to my eyes. It has a lot going against it as far as my personal peeves go. It features an overly obvious name (the town and haunted hotel are called “The Abaddon”), something I’ve railed against fairly recently here. The reasoning for its characters staying in the haunted hotel (and even continuing with the original plan to use it as a haunted house attraction) long after they’ve caught supernatural activity on film, or directly experienced it themselves, or have been confounded by the mysterious disappearance of someone they work with, is flat out foolish. It’s only implied in the first movie, but confirmed in the second; the characters stay behind strictly for financial reasons. Their business would fail if they abandon the project. Listen, I get it, I’m an adult, and I get that financial burdens could indeed be scarier than an innocuous haunting, but at the first sign that the ghosts are deliberately screwing with you, or may be malevolent (and given the name of the place, much less its history, it’s easy to assume the worst about the ghosts’ intentions pretty early on) and one of your colleagues vanishes, I think the fear of staying in the “Named-After-the-Cousin-of-Hell-Itself Hotel” outweighs the fear of falling behind on bills while you search for a new gig after your business failed. read more

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DeQueue Reviews: STAGE FRIGHT (1987)

My queues across various streaming services are out of control. I’m going to put a dent in these queues and review the movies that I think are worth writing about. And for October, I’ll naturally be even more focused on movies befitting what I consider the “Halloween season.”

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Perhaps my least favorite type of horror character–even more so than “obnoxiously precocious child” or “skeptic turned denier”–is the “irredeemable a-hole.” You might know the type: they’re specifically designed to be the person you’re really rooting to see killed, but personally, I’m usually rooting for them to not exist in the picture at all. I just find them too often overly predictable and uninteresting, whether their actions actually help drive the plot (think Yon-Suk in Train to Busan) or don’t serve any purpose at all other than to be loathed (think Carter from Final Destination, or Carter from The Final Destination). Occasionally, however, you run into a character that technically belongs to this category, but who’s either funny enough to at least be tolerable, or who crosses over into being redeemable. Think Steve and C.J. (respectively) from the Dawn of the Dead remake. read more

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GHOST STORIES – When Revelation Undercuts Execution

Spoilers ahead for the 2017 film Ghost Stories, as well as a handful other films that share its big twist.

I can’t remember the last time a plot twist in a short story, film, television series or novel truly startled me. The ones that come to mind at the moment are from Unbreakable and Fallen, but both of those are from before I even reached drinking age. The final twist of Us also stood out to me, but just made me think, “Oh, okay,” rather than, “Holy shit! Didn’t see that coming.” Surely some other “unpredictable” twist must have had an impact on me in the last fifteen years of movie watching, but I can’t think of one at the moment. I’ve enjoyed–even loved–plenty of other movies that featured a twist, but the twist is rarely near the top of the reasons why most stories stand out to me. That leaves me to believe that the plot twist, one of the most deliciously irresistible devices available in any writer’s toolbox, is somewhat overrated. Not bad, just not the thing that ought to be the most important element of a story in most cases. read more

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DeQueue Reviews: HEARTS BEAT LOUD

My queues across various streaming services are out of control. Starting this summer I’m going to put a dent in these queues and review the movies that I think are worth writing about.

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As long as it’s executed at least fairly well, I’m a sucker for a sweet, sentimental story. I have been for just about all of my adult life, I think. Asian action flicks, ghost stories and small, well-acted pictures with big, warm hearts; those all probably have the shortest distance to travel to get on my good side. read more

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DeQueue Reviews: AMSTERDAMNED

My queues across various streaming services are out of control. Starting this summer I’m going to put a dent in these queues and review the movies that I think are worth writing about.

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For a little over an hour, Amsterdamned is a very competent, above-average little-seen slasher. More watchable and creative than many other largely unknown horror flicks, it is the kind of film that die hard genre fans would be happy to find, although it doesn’t quite rise to “hidden gem” status. read more

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DeQueue Reviews: ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE

My queues across various streaming services are out of control. Starting this summer I’m going to put a dent in these queues and review the movies that I think are worth writing about.

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Movies like Always Be My Maybe are an example of why I’ve eschewed a proper rating system. No stars,  no letter grades, no score, just thoughts captured in paragraphs eventually leading to a summation. If I had to rely on a rating I’d be dissatisfied with however many stars or points or thumbs that I “awarded” to Always Be My Maybe. I can’t think of a grade I could give it that wouldn’t be too high or too low or both. What’s the ideal score for a romantic comedy that is exceptionally funny, not really romantic, repeatedly stumbles when it comes to characterization and drama, but nonetheless features exceedingly likable actors who make the characters acceptable when they shouldn’t be? read more

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DeQueue Reviews: WHISPERING CORRIDORS

My queues across various streaming services are out of control. Starting this summer I’m going to put a dent in these queues and review the movies that I think are worth writing about.

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My oh my, what a strange delight is Whispering Corridors, a movie that haunted my recommendations across multiple online platforms for years. I am so glad, at long last, to have taken time to watch it.

Why I didn’t ever give it a chance until now, I cannot say. I’ve taken a chance on movies with worse reviews, worse looking covers, less interesting blurbs, so on and so forth. For some reason I just left Whispering Corridors behind, stuck in my “Eh, I’ll get around to it eventually” bin. This weekend I finally did indeed get around to it. read more

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DeQueue Reviews: THE GRAPES OF DEATH

Welcome to “DeQueue Reviews“. My queues across various streaming services are out of control. Starting this summer I’m going to put a dent in these queues and review the movies that I think are worth writing about.

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Le Raisins de la mort (translation: The Grapes of Death) turns out to be a pretty blunt title for a movie that I’ve seen described as “surrealistic” from a director whose calling card was, arguably, surrealism. I suppose one could cook up some kind of symbolic meaning behind the title if so inclined, but in the end this is a zombie a movie in which literal grapes are the source of literal death, and the unimaginative title is reflected in a surprisingly unimaginative movie. read more

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DeQueue Reviews: WE GO ON

Welcome to “DeQueue Reviews“. My queues across various streaming services are out of control. Starting this summer I’m going to put a dent in these queues and review the movies that I think are worth writing about.

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$30,000 for proof of the afterlife seems like an underpayment, but when it’s all the payer can afford I suppose you can’t say that he’s a cheapskate. Anyway, that’s the general premise of We Go On, a decent little horror flick with some quite-qualified actors available on Shudder. read more

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