Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Battery

Description from IMDB:
The personalities of two former baseball players clash as they traverse the rural back roads of a post-plague New England teeming with the undead.

My thoughts:
More than anything, this movie really made me think about the differences in personality and how they would mesh in a zombie-infested world.  Ben – a realist – is clearly unhinged, but he seems to be adapting quite well.  He even appears to be enjoying himself.
Mickey – an optimist – seems defeated by it all.  I felt that it was only a matter of time before Mickey died, most likely as the result of just giving up.
I could identify more with Ben, but I doubt I would ever do a lot of things he does.

These differences in the characters also manifested itself with Annie.  They happen to hear Annie over their walkie-talkies.  She lives in some kind of zombie-free community with a group of others (named “The Orchard”).  It’s a concept that’s not unfamiliar to anyone who has seen many zombie movies.  But we never actually see it here.  We hear Annie say things like, “It’s not what you think it is.”  I really loved the idea of throwing a familiar zombie trope like that in here but never actually showing it. 
It’s Ben & Mickey’s responses to that information that tell us about their characters.  After Annie tells them to leave it alone, Mickey is still obsessed.  He can’t stop thinking about it.  It’s a haven for him.  A place to sleep without having to worry about being attacked.  Somewhere he can stop running.  However, Ben just stops thinking about it.  He’s happy with his life.  He doesn’t need a safe zone.  He’s fine right where he is.

Seriously though, Ben is probably a psychopath. I don’t like that I identify with him.

I didn’t really like either of the two characters.  But maybe that was the point.  After all, they didn’t really seem to like each other, either (unless they’re drunk, which I may need to try).  When Mickey is trying to convince Annie to let him join their community, he gives up Ben without much thought.  “We were ballplayers.  He was a starting catcher.  I was out in the bullpen.  We never hung out in the same circles.  I hardly even know him.” 

Tale as old as time…

I suppose that’s what the real zombie apocalypse would be like.  We wouldn’t necessarily be traveling with our loved ones.  In a perfect world we would, but a zombie apocalypse doesn’t happen in a perfect world.  In the event of a real zombie apocalypse, we would be stuck with whoever we happened to be with at the time of the outbreak, and, eventually, whoever survived from that group.  That means you have a better chance of trying to survive with your annoying coworker rather than your loved ones.  The good news is that it would be easier to kill one of your co-survivors once they become infected.  The bad news is that you may want to off yourself before it gets to that point.

I’m torn as to whether I really liked this movie or not.  There were parts I really liked, but there were also a ton of extremely slow moments.  For instance, we watch them brush their teeth for a full minute.  While I understand that it’s a big deal for them (they probably haven’t brushed their teeth in a long time), I didn’t necessarily feel the need to watch the entire teeth-brushing process. 

That’s a problem that’s indicative of the entire movie.  It tends to linger on shots for too long.  And most of them are boring, run-of-the-mill shots in the first place.  Looking out the window while driving.  Sitting around in chairs.  There’s really not much going on throughout a lot of this movie, yet the camera lingers too long on most of it.  I’m not begging for action, but I tend to get tired of watching scene after scene where nothing happens, yet having the camera linger on each of the scenes.
While I understand this is most likely what it would be like to live in a zombie apocalypse (a little bit of action, but not a ton going on the majority of the time), that doesn’t mean I want to watch it.  When the apocalypse comes, I’ll deal with the minutiae of my own life.  I don’t necessarily need to live through someone else’s.

I also have some major problems with the end, but I don’t really want to get into spoilers here.  If I do end up getting into that, I’ll do it in a future post.  I’ve been wanting to get my “What Comes Next” series off the ground, anyway.

That’s not to say it was a completely boring movie.  There were a lot of slow moments, but there were also some really great scenes.  There is a fantastic scene in an apple orchard.  There’s no dialogue (a song plays the entire time), but it’s perfect.  Everything I would want in the event of a zombie apocalypse.  Running wild.  Having fun.  Doing anything you want to do, because there’s no one around to tell you that you can’t.  After watching these two guys bicker for the last hour, it’s good to see them having some fun and smashing the hell out of some rotten apples with a bat.  It’s an amazing scene.  And the music is terrific.
I was also a huge fan of the scene where they get drunk in their car.  Because apparently having fun during a zombie apocalypse is something that is appealing to me.

The more I think about it, the more I think I really like this.  It’s not perfect, but there’s far more good than bad here.  If you can get past the lingering camera shots, you’ll find there’s a lot to like here.  It’s something different, and I like that.  And the soundtrack is dynamite. 

For my final thought, I’ll turn to a quote by Ben:
“Don’t you think we got enough to worry about without having to worry about each other?”  The central question of every zombie movie, going back to Night of the Living Dead: who should we fear the most, zombies or humans?

Rating: 4/5

The Battery is currently available on VOD through iTunes, Amazon, Vudu and others.  Check the website.
Here’s the trailer:

Here are some extra posters that I enjoyed:

Saturday, June 22, 2013

World War Z

Description from Netflix:
A U.N. employee (Gerry Lane) races against time and fate as he travels the world trying to stop the spread of a deadly zombie pandemic.  As the undead hordes gain strength across the globe, governments topple and Earth stands on the brink of total social collapse.

Notable actors: Brad Pitt, David Morse, Mireille Enos, Matthew Fox (barely)

My thoughts:
Let’s get some preliminary stuff out of the way.
I covered some of this in my post about the trailer, but I’ll repeat some of them here.
I love zombie movies.  I’ve seen a ton of them over the years.  Some of them terrific.  Some of them terrible (I bet I’ve seen more terrible zombie movies than good ones, but that’s the sacrifice I’ve chosen to make).  My all-time favorite zombie movie is the original Night of the Living Dead.  My point is this: I think I’ve built up a lot of zombie cred.
All that being said…
I have absolutely no issue with fast zombies.  None whatsoever.  I realize this is kind of a no-no among zombie purists, but I honestly don’t care.  If it’s a good movie, I don’t care what the zombies do.  The only thing I ask is that the rules that are laid out for that movie stay consistent throughout the movie.  If the movie starts with slow zombies, they stay slow zombies.  Don’t change the rules halfway through the movie.  (I saw this recently in Dead Season, and it annoyed me to no end.)

I love the World War Z book.  I read it right after it came out (actually, I believe I started it shortly before it came out, as I was able to snag an advance copy).  I have listened to the abridged audiobook twice, and am currently working my way through the newly released unabridged audiobook.  (If you have not listened to it, I highly recommend it.  It’s amazing.)

Seriously.  Buy this now.

So I was excited about this movie, but I knew it wouldn’t cling too closely to the source material.  It was pretty much impossible.  The only way to really stay close to the book would be to do some sort of PBS style documentary series on it.  (If any company is interested in hiring me on to help develop this, I’m easy to reach via email/Google+/Facebook/tin-can-and-cups).  After seeing the preview, I figured the movie would use Brad Pitt’s character (Gerry) as a way to connect some of the scenes/characters from the book, but that would be about it.  And, after struggling with that idea for a while, I found that I was okay with it.  I didn’t really care how closely it followed the book.  Honestly, I didn’t even care if it was a “good” movie.  All I really wanted was an entertaining movie.
Which it was.

But I found myself kind of shocked by how good it actually was.  It was extremely fast-paced.  There isn’t a whole lot of set-up involved.  A quick scene setting up Gerry and his family situation, then violence and zombies.  So much violence and zombies.  And once it started, it didn’t really let up.  This basically felt like a collection of huge action scenes, with the slower scenes added for the sole purpose of setting up the next big action scene.  It was exactly what I figured a blockbuster zombie movie would be: more action movie than atmospheric zombie movie. 
But there’s not really anything wrong with that.  I don’t always need a thought-provoking zombie film.  I don’t always need a zombie film to be making a statement about society.  I don’t always need the zombies to stand for something.  To paraphrase a (possibly made-up) Freud quote, “Sometimes a zombie is just a zombie.”  Sometimes I just want to see a lot of zombies.  A lot of people killing those zombies.  A lot of destruction. 

Which we got.  We got a lot of that.  A lot of intense, violent scenes.  But not much blood.  To get a PG-13 rating, they had to dial down the gore we’re used to seeing in our zombie films.  (I suspect an unrated version will come out on DVD with all of that blood and gore added in, much like what was done with Live Free or Die Hard.)  But, even with the extreme lack of blood, we were still treated to some good zombie-killing.  Just because we didn’t see the crowbar go into a zombie’s face doesn’t mean we didn’t feel it.  (Still, I would’ve liked to have seen it.  Because I’m a monster.)

There was one major difference between this film and a lot of other zombie films.  The vast majority of zombie films follow a small group of survivors and their varied attempts at survival.  Some decide to take refuge in a house or some other establishment (this seems to be the majority of them, due in no small part to Romero kicking the modern zombie film off in a farm house, to a wonderful claustrophobic effect).  Others find the group moving from place to place, desperately trying to find a place they may be able to settle down (The Walking Dead is currently doing this, which makes sense.  You can’t spend an entire television series in one location.  No one wants to see 7 seasons in Hershel’s farmhouse).

But I’ve never seen anything on such a grand scale as this. There were still some moments that found that panicked claustrophobia (the scene in the apartment and the scene in the medical lab were both fantastic).  But, for the most part, this was a movie that took place on a huge, global scale.  We weren’t following a small band of survivors: we were following one man, desperately trying to find a way to defeat the zombies.  It was a different feel for a zombie movie.  Most zombie films allude to the fact that the virus is widespread, but we don’t actually see how widespread it is.  In World War Z, we see it.  We don’t need to hear that the world has been taken over by zombies, because we’ve seen it.  Even though I had good feeling that Gerry would find what he was looking for, it still felt kind of hopeless.  There were so many zombies, and they had decimated the world in such a short time.  Even if a solution were found, none of the damage could be undone.  The world would never be the same.  I had never seen something like that before in a zombie film, and it was pretty amazing to see here.  (28 Days Later does an amazing job of showing the destruction of London, but that’s just one city.  Romero’s world shows different areas of zombie infestation, but only very small sections in each movie.  And so on.)

 This was not a deep movie.  This was not a thought-provoking movie.  But it was an extremely fun, action-packed movie, filled with lots of zombies and lots of people killing those zombies.  It was tense and chaotic throughout the majority of the film.  It had some depth and heart to it as well, but make no mistake: this was a big movie, crawling with zombies.  And it was a joy to watch.  I was positively giddy walking out of the theater.

And only part of that giddiness was due to watching Brad Pitt for 2 hours

I have a few gripes with the movie.  But most of them are nitpicky, and writing them down makes me sound like a heartless fiend, so I’ll refrain from doing that at the moment. 

Rating: 5/5

Zombie talk:
As mentioned numerous times already, these were fast zombies. 

Gerry’s main goal in this movie was to find a way to defeat the zombies.  He travels around the world in an attempt to figure out where/how the virus originated.  The idea being that finding the origin would allow them to find a way to beat it.  There’s not really a cure, but he is attempting to find a way to defeat the zombies.  I don’t want to spoil anything, but I really loved what he found, and what that meant in the fight against zombies.  It was a cool little wrinkle in the film, and something I had never seen before.

This is also one of the few movies where the characters refer to the zombies as “zombies”.  Not really a surprise considering the source material, but still pretty cool to see.

I really loved some of the “preparing to face zombies” stuff they did here.  In an early scene, Gerry tapes some magazines to his forearms to ward off bites, and duct tapes a knife to the end of his rifle.  That stuff had me grinning like an idiot.

Again, please buy the audiobook as soon as possible.  I cannot stress this enough.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Halloween, and the Psychological Impact of Surviving a Slasher Film

I have long been fascinated with the idea of what happens after a slasher movie ends.  Not all slasher movies, of course.  With some of them, I like to sit quietly and wonder what decisions in my life have led me to suffer through what I have just seen.

But the good ones leave me wondering what comes next.  What comes after the horror?

Very few films seem to deal with this.  Sure, there are sequels, but those don’t necessarily show the aftermath of the horror.  In some cases (like 1981’s Halloween 2), they pick up exactly where the first movie left off.  But the killer is still on the loose.  Lori is in the hospital, but she has no time to process what has just happened to her, as she is currently in the process of trying to survive once again. 
In a lot of other cases, we don’t see the characters from the first film at all.  Our killer is off to terrorize another group of diverse, sexy co-eds.  We’re never told what happened to the survivors of the previous film, likely because we’re not tuning into a sequel to see those characters.  We’re there to see the killer.
In others (Friday the 13th Part II, Nightmare on Elm Street 4), we see our survivors from the previous film, only to watch them die this time around.  Sadly, even a Final Girl can’t survive forever.
And finally, in others (Nightmare on Elm Street 5), we see the survivor, but it doesn’t look like anything has changed.  The horror of the previous film seems to have been forgotten.  “All of my friends were killed.  Whatever.  I totally got a boyfriend out of it.”

I find myself thinking about horror movies in real-life terms.  If the events of this movie actually happened, what would the repercussions be?  Would the dead be so easily forgotten?  Or would their loss – as well as the terror they had to endure – leave a lasting scar?
I’m a firm believer it would be the latter.

Of all the slashers I have watched, I haven’t seen a series that captures this quite as well as Rob Zombie’s Halloween.  I know they are not widely loved (personally, I liked them pretty well, but I can’t say that I love them.  I find them interesting.  More than anything, they just make me feel kind of dirty), but Zombie certainly tackles the psychological ramifications of surviving a slasher film in Halloween II better than any film I’ve ever seen.
When we first meet Laurie Strode in Halloween, she seems to be a normal high school girl.  By the time the movie has ended, one of her best friends is dead (Laurie came across her dead body in the Myers house), and another was attacked and sliced up. 
Both of their boyfriends were killed. 
Laurie’s parents were murdered. 
The end of the movie finds Laurie trying to escape from the Myers house as Michael is relentlessly pursuing her and stabbing at her. 
That ends with Laurie sitting on Michael’s chest and shooting him – point blank – in the head.

Personally, I have never shot a human being in the head at point-blank range, but I imagine it’s not all sunshine and roses (Maniac tells me that it’s particularly gruesome, and I tend to trust Savini most of the time).  And none of the other stuff Laurie endured that night sounds like a whole lot of fun, either.

Halloween II picks up a year later.  Gone is the happy-go-lucky Laurie Strode from the previous film.  She is an emotional wreck, trying to deal with these past events through therapy, drinking and pill-popping.  Needless to say, it’s not working.  She has pushed away everyone who cares about her.
About halfway through the movie, she finds out that she is Michael Myers’ sister.  Already in an emotional state, this pushes her further to the edge of her sanity.  By the time the movie ends with Laurie in a mental institution, we’re not the least bit surprised.

Seeing it all written out over a couple paragraphs, the journey from “normal girl” to “psych ward” seems pretty sudden.  But, when watching these films, I don’t know where else it could’ve ended.

We see a little bit of this in the original Halloween series as well, but not quite as extreme, and not quite as brutal.  Laurie survives the two initial attacks, and we don’t see her again until H20 (20 years after those events).  We’re not sure the exact path she took, but she has changed her name (to Keri Tate), moved to California, and is the dean of a private school.  She has not told anyone about who she was or where she came from.  Even 20 years later, she is still haunted by the events, to the point where she thinks she sees Michael stalking her on a regular basis.  (Then again, she’s dating Theo Tonin, so we can’t expect her to be very well-adjusted.)

After surviving yet another Myers attack in that film (and chopping off the head of an innocent paramedic), we find Laurie in a mental institution at the beginning of Halloween: Resurrection (a film I hesitate to even mention, because the mere thought of acknowledging its existence makes me gag a little, Starbuck or no Starbuck).

And that is where I believe most slashers would leave the survivors.  Even the strongest, most well-adjusted person would be irrevocably scarred.  The deaths of those who didn’t survive would not be soon forgotten.  The survivors would not recover for a long time, if ever. 

I thought it would be really interesting to follow up a slasher with a drama, but that would end up being box office suicide. 

It is because of this odd obsession that I’ll be starting a new feature here.  I haven’t quite settled on a name yet, but I’m thinking of going with “What Comes Next?” or “Spoiler Corner”, although I’m certainly not married to either of those.  I’ll be taking movies I’ve recently seen and talking about where the logical progression would lead.  My first post should be coming up later this week.  It’s probably going to be Mama, because I can’t stop thinking about that movie.
I’ve toyed with the idea of starting up another blog, but have decided against it.

I'm really excited about this.  I think it's going to be a lot of fun.  If there are any movies you've had this thought about, post them in the comments.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


First things first.  I watched the first movie at some point last year and reviewed it.  You can read it here, or I can just sum it up for you: I didn’t like it very much.  I gave it 2/5, and I probably could’ve gone a little lower.  I don’t really have a desire to ever watch it again, if that tells you anything.
Needless to say, I wasn’t overly excited about watching this one.  But I’m a professional (like, an unpaid professional.  So I guess not really much of a professional at all), so I decided to put my head down and power through.

Let’s get right to it.

“Tape 49” [Directed by Simon Barrett]
We follow Larry (a private investigator) and Ayesha (his wife/girlfriend/P.I.C./whatever) as they investigate a missing college student.  They break into his house and find a very familiar sight (to us, at least): a bank of TVs and a stack of VHS tapes.  As the characters in this series are wont to do, Ayesha decided to start watching the tapes.

Like the first one, we catch glimpses of the house between the tapes.  The normal things happen.  We see a strange figure (presumably the missing student) moving in the doorways.  We see Ayesha being affected a little more by each tape.

As far as a wraparound story goes, it was pretty good.  There were even some genuinely creepy moments, which surprised me a little bit.  At the very least, it was a good set-up for the rest of the movies.

“Phase 1 Clinical Trials” [Directed by Adam Wingard (A Horrible Way to Die, V/H/S “Tape 56”)]

A man who lost his eye in an accident receives a robotic eye.  The person who installs it tells him that it’s new technology, and there are bound to be glitches.  He may see strange things.

Nope.  Everything seems fine so far.

Of course, he immediately begins seeing strange things, in the form of an undead man and little girl in his house.  Naturally, these are not glitches, and he soon finds himself hiding in his bathroom while they try to break the door down.
He ends up running across a woman who had a similar experience when they fixed her hearing.  She began hearing sounds of dead people.  She tells him “the more you interact with them, the more they can hurt you.”  When the dead show back up, they attempt to ignore them by focusing on each other.

With sexy results

Of course, the dead will not be ignored so easily.

Especially the fat dead

The verdict: I really liked this story.  There were quite a few jump scares, and most of them worked really well.  I was on edge for the majority of this story. 
I really liked how they worked the camera into this.  We see what he sees.  It was a creative way to work the camera into the story, and it was very effective for scares.

“A Ride in the Park” [Directed by Eduardo Sanchez (The Blair Witch Project, Lovely Molly) & Gregg Hale]

A man goes on a bike ride with a camera on his helmet.  Before long, he comes across a bloodied woman.  The biker finds figures slowly shambling in his direction.  He turns back to the woman only to find that she has been turned into a zombie.  She bites him.  He falls.  He dies.  He reanimates.  He attacks a pair of bikers.  He munches on them.  They die.  They reanimate.  The big happy group of them attack a children’s birthday party in the park.

Just what I wanted, Mommy.  Corpses!

The verdict: Needless to say, once I saw this was going to turn into a POV zombie movie, I was thrilled.  And it delivered.  This was my favorite story of the bunch.  It didn’t really have the scares/tension of the other movies in this collection (it was the funniest one in the bunch), but it was really well done.  I absolutely loved this one.

“Safe Haven” [Directed by Gareth Huw Evans (The Raid: Redemption) & Timo Tjahjanto (ABCs of Death “L isfor Libido”)]

A documentary crew is granted permission to go inside the compound of an Indonesian cult, headed up by a strange man who refers to himself as “The Father”.  Once inside, the crew realizes that there might be more going on than mind control and the possible rape of underage girls (not that those things aren’t horrible.  Because they are.  I cannot stress this enough).  “Father” becomes crazed, violent, and borderline incoherent.  And then it all goes to hell.

The verdict: Even though I really liked this one, I had a few problems with it.  Nothing that stopped me from loving it in the end, but they were big enough problems that I feel the need to talk about them.

1. It started out really slow.  I could tell pretty quickly where the set-up was leading, but it still took a long time to get there. 
2. There was some drama between members of the documentary crew, but it felt pretty tacked on.  It didn’t add anything to the story.  In fact, it seemed to drag it down a bit.  This could’ve easily been cut.
3. There were some really terrible effects at the end of this one.  Laughably bad. 

“Chip, I’m gonna come at you like a spider monkey.  With a box cutter.”

Again, I really liked it, but these were issues that I had a hard time overlooking.  Still, once everything starting going bonkers towards the end, I thought it was a lot of fun.  Insane and fun.

“Slumber Party Alien Abduction” [Directed by Jason Eisener (Hobo With a Shotgun, ABCs of Death “Y is for Youngbuck”)]

The title does a pretty good job of telling you exactly what this story is.  A group of elementary school/middle school boys are having a slumber party at the house of one of the boys.  His older sister is having a slumber party of her own, mainly involving lake partying and sexytime.  The brother torments his sister.  The sister torments her brother.  Then the aliens show up.

We want to party with youuuuuuuu…

The dog dies.  You’ve been warned.

The verdict: I liked this one a lot.  The only problem I had with this (besides the spoiler listed above) was the noise that hit when the aliens showed up.  It was a loud, long horn, and it was a bit much after the second time.
Still, that’s a minor issue.  Once the aliens show up, this story is relentless.

Here’s how I have ranked all the stories in this collection:
1. “A Ride in the Park”
2. “Safe Haven”
3. “Slumber Party Alien Abduction”
4. “Phase 1 Clinical Trials”
5. “Tape 49”

Overall, I loved this movie.  At first I thought I only liked it because I had lowered my expectations after the V/H/S, but that wasn’t the case at all.  This is a great collection of films.  Not a dud in the bunch.  And, thankfully, the only sharking we see is a short clip from the first movie.
For the most part, this was a collection that was pretty scary and tense throughout, with more than a little humor sprinkled in for good measure.  This was a tremendous anthology film.  Highly recommended.

Rating: 5/5

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Texas Chainsaw

Description from Netflix:
The Leatherface saga continues where the 1974 horror classic left off.  When a young woman travels to Texas to collect her inheritance, she discovers that the brutal chainsaw-yielding madman is part of the bequest.

My thoughts:
Let’s get this out of the way first: this is supposed to be a direct sequel to the original film.  But there are a ton of inconsistencies with this.
For starters, the ages of the characters.  This film takes place in present day (we know this because we see iPhones).  The main character was a baby at the time of the original.  If the timeline held true, she would be pushing 40.  Leatherface – who we’ll say was probably mid-20s in the original (Gunnar Hansen was 27 at the time) – would be in his 60s.
Granted, no one wants to see a broken-down Leatherface chasing around a bunch of scantily-clad middle-aged folk (well, I’m sure some people would want to see that), but they could’ve at least tried to make sense of the timeline.  Set it in the mid-90s or something.  Or have a Sawyer survive the attack and have a baby 10-15 years later.  Just put a little bit of thought into it.  Frankly, it’s insulting.  Did they not think anyone would notice?

Best looking 40 year old I've ever seen

I also had an issue with the number of people in the house at the beginning of this movie (there were 3 people in the house at the end of the original, and at least 7 – excluding the baby – in the beginning of this movie), but I’ve since made my peace with that.  There’s a delay from the time the original ends to the time the cops get to the house, so I suppose they had time to fill the house with inbreds and guns.  Point conceded.

Now that we have that out of the way…

"A jump to conclusions mat.  But for chainsaw murders." 

I like how they went back to the idea of Leatherface being a mentally challenged person (he is referred to as “mentally stunted”, having the mental capacity of an 8 year-old).  That’s how he was presented in the original.  However, recent incarnations of Leatherface (both the 2003 remake and 2006’s The Beginning) have seen him presented as an evil force of nature, on par with Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers.  An entity of pure evil, killing without rhyme or reason.  It was nice to see this film going back to basics, and tapping into the soul of the original Leatherface. 
Of course, I say it’s “nice”, but, in the end, the intention of the killer doesn’t matter too much.  Lots of people are dead.  Whether the killer killed with malice or out of habit or because he was controlled by other people makes no difference.  Dead is dead.

Dead sexy, amiright?  Seriously though, she's probably going to die

Still, I suppose it makes a small difference in how we feel about him.  We’re scared of him, but we also feel a little bad for him.  In the original, he was killing at the whim of his family.  In this film, he’s killing to avenge the wrongful death of his family.  He does kill quite a few innocent people, so it’s hard to feel too much sympathy for him.  But, for a little while, I felt a sliver of sympathy for Leatherface.

Eskimo sisters

By the end of the movie, we’re supposed to be cheering for him.  He even helps out the main character (Heather), even if she has to utter the single worst line in the movie to get him to do so.  It’s almost enough to make you forget that he has killed every one of her friends, all in terrible ways.

That brings me to a larger question.  There’s a weird storyline where Heather’s boyfriend (Ryan) cheats on her with her best friend (Nikki).  As near as I can tell, there’s really no reason for it.  It doesn’t create conflicts between the characters.  Heather never even finds out about it.  I think it was just a plot device to separate Heather from her friends, but there are less convoluted ways to do that.
I assume one of the reasons for doing this would be to get us to cheer for their deaths.  “They’re cheaters, they deserve to die, rah rah” stuff.  If that was the case, I’m not on board. 
Look.  I’m not above cheering for deaths in slashers.  Using this series as an example, I openly rooted for the deaths of the two frat kids at the beginning of Texas Chainsaw Massacre II.  It’s not like I’m standing on some moral high ground.  To watch a slasher movie is to occasionally find yourself openly rooting for people to die.  It comes with the territory.
But this?  One minor scene where two characters cheat?  That’s not enough for me to root for death.  That’s just lazy.
Were this a smarter movie, I would possibly think that this was there for this exact purpose: to force the audience to take a look at themselves and ask why they’re cheering for the death of a couple young adults who did nothing wrong other than to sleep with someone they were not dating.  But this was not a smart movie, and that is not what the filmmakers were going for.

Smile, adulterers.  You just signed your death warrant 

There are a lot of callbacks to the original, which could be kind of cool.  But a lot of them were not subtle callbacks.  That’s mainly due to the fact that this movie starts with a montage of moments from the original, and most of the callbacks involved scenes from that montage.  A hot girl with red shorts walking to the house!  A dead armadillo!  A girl in a freezer!  And so on.
There were a couple cool set-up points with Heather’s character.  In the beginning of the movie, we see her working as a butcher in a grocery store.  We also find out that she’s an artist who uses bones (animal, not human) in her work.  I enjoyed seeing those little moments worked into her character.

I can’t say that this was a great movie, or even a very good movie.  But I found myself enjoying it more than I thought I would.  It’s an absolute mess, but a fairly entertaining mess. 

Rating: 2.5/5