Hump Day Horror — Double Shot

This special (belated) Hump Day Horror edition is a double shot of goretastic flavorfulness. Half Indie, Half Mainstream. A mix of your two favorite flavors: bloody and terrifying.

bloody and terrifying.. deliciously terrifying...

 

So let’s take this double shot straight to the head!

Hump Day Horror

Double Shot

 

Necromentia

Directed  and Written by Perry Teo; Co-Written by Stephanie Joyce

Starring Layton Matthews as Morbius; Chad Grimes as Travis; Santiago Craig as Hagen; Zelieann Rivera as Elizabeth; Zach Cumer as Thomas; and Nathan Ginn as Mr. Skinny

For an indie film, this one isn’t bad. Fans of the genre will immediately notice a striking similarity to Clive Barker’s Hellraiser in visuals and atmosphere. The premise is interesting: a Ouija board carved into flesh has the ability to open a doorway to Hell, offering a grieving man a chance to recover his lover… and that’s where the cover description ends and after about 45 minutes you realize the movie isn’t exactly all Dante’s Inferno (the game, not the poem). There is far more back story involved, and it isn’t until you reach about the hour mark that you realize the story is being told entirely backwards (alá Irréversible) and that’s when you start catching on to what’s really happening. A disgusting man is searching for his lover; a lost and still living soul seeks his brother; and a … well, that’s supposed to be the surprise part of the end, so I won’t ruin that.

But suffice it to say, the movie overall is good enough for a single-viewing, maybe even a second to understand it better, but I can’t see this film really standing the test of time. I think there was a lot left unsaid that could have really helped the film go past that line, but that’s the burden of the indie film. Low budget done well can be really good, but rare is the low budget film that will last a lifetime.

The best part of the film is a strange dream/hallucination (maybe more?) sequence where a dancing pig named Mr. Skinny manipulates a mentally disabled teenager. The insane song Mr. Skinny sings will definitely be an aspect that stands the test of time, as well as Chad Grimes’ performance as Travis, the living and lost soul searching for his brother. Be prepared for some intense and bloody torture scenes, some disgusting insinuations, and that crazy lullaby. Good job on the song, Mr. Teo. Really good job.

 

My Soul To Take

Directed by Wes Craven

Starring Max Thieriot as Adam “Bug” Hellerman; John Magaro as Alex; Denzel Whitaker as Jerome; Zena Grey as Penelope; Nick Lashaway as Brandon; Paulina Olszynski as Brittany; Jeremy Chu as Jay; Emily Meade as Fang; and Raul Esparza as Abel

For a mainstream teenage pop horror flick, this one isn’t bad, either. Craven is certainly showing that he hasn’t lost his skills. The film is filled with tension from beginning to nearly-end. Unfortunately, for the experienced movie-goer (and plot-writer), the ending is fairly easy to spot, but it’s not too hard to suspend your instinct to keep enjoying the movie anyway. The best part is in the beginning, when the original Riverton Ripper is acting out his .. possession? mental illness? hallucinations? Something like that. Either way, it’s a pretty good scene and well-acted by Raul Esparza. Later in the film, “Bug” has similar scenes and Max Thieriot does the scenes justice as well.

The movie is fairly straightforward. The idea is that there was once this bad guy who swore he’d be back for revenge, and 16 years later to the day, the day turns bloody. Seven kids born that night, one of whom has inherited the soul of the murderer, and no one can be quite sure who it really is. There’s an interesting sub-plot that could have been better developed. Another member of this “group,” Emily Meade as Fang, is revealed to be a crucial character only near the end, and you wonder how she ended up as the school’s female Godfather, running the “Mean Girls + One Idiot Jock Mafia.” Aside from the main character, Fang is the next most interesting character and could have used more development, but it is understandable. There’s only 2 hours and how much can Craven really fit in?

At the very least, the film isn’t Craven’s attempt at a “Jennifer’s Body” type of teenager flick, with some hot girls titillating the movie audience. It’s a sound film with a solid plot that might be obvious at times, but is enjoyable in the end. It’s also not a movie likely to last a lifetime, but it is a fun watch on a stormy spring evening. You might even jump at the shadows when it’s over. Maybe.

 

For a second opinion on Necromentia, try this review at QuietEarth and for another on My Soul To Take, try RottenTomatoes.

Final Tally
Necromentia     Three Bloody Hearts
       My Soul To Take     Three and a Half Bloody Hearts


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