Wednesday, April 27, 2016


At its core, this is a slasher movie about a girl who stays on campus over Thanksgiving break and finds herself stalked by 4 murdering psychopaths.  The psychopaths kill a couple security guards, and the only thing standing between our heroine and certain death are her own wits.

It's pretty standard slasher fare.  As far as standard slashers go, this was a pretty good one.  Yes, there were some pretty huge leaps in logic, but that's to be expected.  (People jump off tall buildings and are able to get up and run away all the time, right?)  There's also a fair about of slasher logic on display here, but it's a slasher.  I'm fine with it.

I believe that a slasher movie can really only be as good as its final girl, and we got a good one here.  Although the movie is called Kristy, our final girl is Justine (I'll get to that in a bit), and she's terrific, provided you don't really ask any questions about how she got the skills she shows off.  She's a likable character, but that kind of information takes a backseat to the real question: is she a fighter?  The answer is a resounding "yes."  She uses her knowledge of the campus to her advantage.  She turns the tables on her attackers.  When she's cornered, she doesn't panic.  Okay...she panics, but then she looks for a way out.

I liked all of that.  But there's another storyline running throughout the movie.  This group of murderers are part of a larger group.  This group has cells all over the country, and they all have one goal: "Kill Kristy."  They use Kristy as a code.  It basically stands for any rich white girl who appears to have a good life.  These groups stalk these "Kristys", kill them and carve a "K" into their faces.  They videotape the entire process and upload it to a central server.  All the videos of dead Kristys, all in one place.  They watch these videos on multiple TVs at the same time, like a moving murder quilt.

We see a lot of this before we even meet Justine.  The movie opens with the murder of a pretty girl in a field, then a whole lot of distorted dialogue across the network.  "Kill Kristy."  "Kristy is God.  Kill God."  Things like that.  

I didn't like any of that.  The idea that there was a larger group than these 4 killers wasn't bad, but the execution was terrible.  It was supposed to feel like this menacing presence, but it just annoyed me.  If they would have cut that stuff out of the beginning and had it as a big reveal at the end, I probably would have liked it better.  As it was, it was handled poorly in the beginning and I had a bad taste in my mouth for the first 20 minutes.

Also, all the killers wear masks made out of foil and do the whole, "tilt my head," move.  You know the one.

There it is
That's fine when it's Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees; after all, they're unstoppable killers who aren't even really human.  They tilt their heads because they truly don't understand what is going on, like a confused dog.  A regular person doing it doesn't really strike me as menacing, even with a mask.  It just comes off as forced.
Unless they're trying to emulate Myers and Voorhees.  In which case, you just look like you're trying too hard.  Get a new intimidation tactic, because this one isn't working.

As it stands, this is a perfectly decent slasher movie that reaches for heights it can't quite achieve.

Rating: 3/5

Notable actors: Haley Bennett (Hardcore Henry), Ashley Green (Twilight, The Apparition), Chris Coy (Banshee)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

Have you ever found yourself watching Superbad and thinking, "I wish there was a less well-written version of this with zombies and more annoying characters,"?  Then this movie is for you!

That sounds harsher than I mean it to.  I apologize to the scouts and their stripper friend.  Let's break it down.

Ben, Carter and Augie are sophomores in high school.  They are Boy Scouts.  Augie loves being a scout.  Ben and Carter are planning on quitting - because being a Boy Scout is super lame, you guys - but don't want to hurt Augie's feelings.  
The three of them are going on an overnight scout trip with Scout Leader Rodgers (a Dolly Parton-loving David Koechner) when Ben and Carter are invited to a super-secret high school party by Kendall's (Carter's hot sister, who Ben has a very obvious crush on) boyfriend.  But it's the same night as the camp-out!  What are these scouts going to do?

They're going to ditch Augie after he goes to sleep and go to the party, because that sounds like a plan that will go very well.  Somewhere along the line, they meet up with Denise, a former high school dropout who now works at a local strip club.

Pretty standard high school sex comedy stuff, really.  Until the zombies show up.
We see the outbreak at the beginning of the movie.  They are being studied at some local sciency place, which allows burnout janitors to just dance right into the zombie zone.  It seemed like they probably could have secured the area a little better, but that's just me being cautious, I guess.

At this point, Ben, Carter, Augie (who joins up with them after having some adventures by himself) and Denise are still trying to get to the party.  Not because they want to hook up with seniors (they do, though), but because they want to save everyone there from the zombies.  Also, the military is planning on wiping out the entire city to stop the zombie spread (as seen in Resident Evil: Apocalypse, The Crazies, Return of the Living Dead and many, many more). 

I just used a whole lot of words on a pretty simplistic plot.  I apologize.  I could have just said, "high school boys attempt to procure alcohol and bang girls way out of their league, also zombies."  Or, to kind of repeat myself from earlier, "Superbad: Rave To The Grave," complete with one of the characters (Carter) trying to be a skinny Jonah Hill in the worst way.  Anyway, let's get to some thoughts.

It was fine.  Carter's whole "Jonah Hill in Superbad," act got old really quick, and I didn't really care for bland Ben, but I really liked Augie and Denise.  I liked Augie because he wasn't ashamed of who he was (he also created the best weapon when it came to killin' time) and Denise because, underneath her gruff demeanor, was actually quite sweet.  Her and Ben formed a weird little friendship that I genuinely enjoyed watching.  She treated Carter like garbage, because he was a jackass and needed to be put in his place.  I liked that, because Carter deserves everything bad in this world.

Ultimately, we're talking about zombie comedy, so let's talk about the zombies.

It was unclear how they were going to play it.  The first zombies we see are typical Romero zombies.  We also see a zombie deer, so we know it can cross species.  

Also, cats.
Then we get to a scene early in the outbreak where our heroes are making a stand in a liquor store parking lot.  A horde of zombies are lurching towards them.  Suddenly, one of the zombies goes down on all fours and starts running at them like a flesh-eating ape.  Okay then.  We're dealing with Day of the Dead (remake) zombies.
We also find out that the zombies retain something of their pre-zombie memories, much like latter day Romero zombies (as first seen in the original Day of the Dead).  How do we find this out?  Why, the scouts sing "...Baby One More Time" to a zombie wearing a Britney Spears t-shirt, and the zombie attempts to sing along.  It's a highly scientific method.

"My loneliness is killing meeeeee..."
There is some decent gore, especially when the scouts "weapon up" and hit the party.  They created a bunch of zombie-killing weapons from random hardware store items, because apparently they had all earned their Weapon Making merit badges.  Lots of death, destruction, mayhem, etc.
If you like the image of someone using a zombie penis as a handle, only to tear that handle off and send it flying through the air, there is also a scene like that.  There is also a scene where someone takes a selfie with a pair of zombie boobs.  I did not care for those scenes.

I can't say I enjoyed this movie all the way through, but there were enough funny/bloody moments to keep me entertained.  There's something I had to keep in mind as I was watching this: I am 35 years old.  This movie was not really made with the "approaching middle-age man" in mind.  If I was in high school or college, I'm sure I would find this movie hilarious.  It's a bit of dumb fun with crude jokes, lots of gore and a little nudity.  It's fast-moving enough to make it easy to overlook its flaws.
Although, honestly, if you switch out Carter for a character who is less obnoxious, I'm sure I would have enjoyed this more than I did.  As it stands, this was a fun movie that I will probably never watch again.  If I do, it'll probably be on mute, in the background of a party.  

Who am I kidding?  I don't have parties.  I apologize for lying to you all.

Rating: 3/5