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HORROR

The Houses October Built 2 (2017)

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Genre : Horror
Country : USA
Director: Bobby Roe

Cast:
Brandy Schaefer
Zack Andrews
Mikey Roe
Bobby Roe
Jeff Larson

Summary

Recovering from the trauma of being kidnapped last Halloween by the Blue Skeleton – a group who take “extreme haunt” to another level – five friends decide they must face their fears in order to move on. Heading back out on the road to visit more haunted house attractions, signs of the Blue Skeleton start appearing again and a new terror begins.

 

A Real Fixer Upper

 

 

 

2014 was a big year for independent horror. Modern classics such as The Babadook and It Follows were hits both critically and commercially. Meanwhile lo-fi movies such as A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night and Creep became instant cult classics. And thanks to the prevalence of streaming access to these kind of independent movies is easier than ever. One of the most popular being The Houses October Built. While not perfect it was a fun found footage film with a lot of potential for the future. Unfortunately with The Houses October Built 2 it doesn’t quite work out.

Perhaps the biggest problem is how little it deviates from the original. By the end of the first film the Blue Skeleton come off as a cool, mysterious villainous collective. A group that terrorizes people under the assumption of just being a haunted house once a year. It’s an interesting concept that director-writer Bobby Roe could have ran with in a lot of different ways. Instead we get more of the same. Like the first film we follow these 30-somethings go from haunt to haunt before going to one run by the nefarious Blue Skeleton. It’s virtually the same plot of the first film with the only difference being that Brandy from the first film is reluctant to do it again.

Of course when it comes to repetition horror can be one of the more forgiving genres. In fact, franchises like Friday the 13th have devoted followings partly thanks to sticking to a dependable formula. The key to it working is having a good amount of scares throughout the movie. Sadly this isn’t the case with The Houses October Built 2. Aside from the occasional hint here and there about the Blue Skeleton following our main cast it takes a surprisingly long time for any actual horror to get going. Instead the first hour feels more like a documentary than a horror movie. Just following our main cast as they go to different attractions. By the time the terror does start it is too little too late. A shame because what we do see is pretty good. A mix of practical and special effects it all looks great. It’s just happens so fast and so late into the film that it feels underwhelming. That all said The Houses October Built 2 isn’t a complete loss.

 

 

The one positive thing carried over from the first film is the cast. Led by Brandy Schaefer the cast work amazingly well with each other. Able to pull off both comedy and more dramatic moments they have the kind of chemistry that you can only get from being real life friends. I also think that Bobby Roe has improved as a director since the first movie. Thanks to the use of drones and different cameras he is able to avoid the typical monotony that plagues lesser found footage movies. He also does a better job at pacing the movie never letting scenes drag for too long. While it doesn’t redeem the movie completely it does make The Houses October Built 2 easier to digest.

I can’t say I disliked The Houses October Built 2. In fact, I found myself having a fun time catching up with this crew of friends and seeing different Halloween events around the country. If the intent were to make a travelogue or a documentary it would have been perfect. But as a horror movie it doesn’t work out. An overall lack of scares and predictability really hampers the entire film. I look forward to seeing more from director-writer Bobby Roe but it might be time to close shop on The Houses October Built series.

 

Rating 4/10
Links : IMDB

The Houses October Built 2 is available on Blu-Ray and DVD on January 2nd, 2018

HORROR

Pledge – “One Of The Better Low-Budget Indie Horror Movies I’ve Seen In The Last Year”

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Do I tuck my shirt in?
I don’t care, you look like you’re gonna fix the computer anyway.

This straightforward movie “Pledge” managed to surprise me. At first, I didn’t expect much from it. But as the story unfolded, I thought that the makers of this horror story had incorporated some strong elements into it. Those who have experienced the rush into a fraternity personally will be happy that they didn’t have to endure a similar experience. It’s extremely difficult to stand out with horror when you see the number of horrors being released these days. After the first 20 minutes, it looks like you are going to watch a remake of “Porky’s“. Or better still, “Revenge of the Nerds“. You could say it was funny one way or another. But the fun part soon made way for the disturbing section. An atmosphere of panic, fear, and despair prevails until the end of the film.

 

Pledge

They didn’t have to ask twice.

Three close friends, who probably always sit on the sidelines when it comes to social events, do their utmost to be admitted by a fraternity. Hence the title of this film. The film starts with David (Zack Weiner, writer of this film), Ethan (Philip Andre Botello) and Justin (Zachery Byrd) who visit one clubhouse after the other. The three nerds, however, are rejected, ridiculed or simply denied access everywhere. Until they suddenly receive an invitation from a hot looking girl to attend a private party somewhere on a remote domain. An orgasmic experience with ditches of alcohol in the company of a horde of ravishing looking young ladies. Young ladies who they refer to as being “out of their league” most probably. Not surprisingly, all three (and a few other “freshmen”) over-enthusiastically agree with Max’s (Aaron Dalla Villa) invitation to join this exclusive student association. An elitist club with only a limited number of members.

 

Pledge

 

It certainly isn’t a typical ritual.

Unfortunately, the hazing procedure is rather rough on our 3 friends. It’s well known there are often oddities and extreme things involved during hazings here in Belgium. Binge drinking, beating with a cricket bat, sexually charged assignments and eating disgusting things. Other academies are taking it a bit easier. There, students have to work out a translation or explanation about a certain topic as an assignment. Boring! The club our three nerds want to join has another agenda. The assignments are painful, disgusting and especially deadly in nature. It’s not really terrible “torture porn”. So don’t expect situations as in “Hostel” or “Saw“. Could be I’m insensitive to that. When you’re able to watch a movie such as “Martyrs” without feeling disturbed, the humiliations the newbies have to undergo are of Sesame Street level.

 

Pledge

 

Decent acting.

There’s a lot of decent acting in “Pledge“. The three silly friends portray those typical characters who are mostly the center of mockery and bullying in American schools. A chubby dude who’s always asking for something to eat and cannot really be praised for his speed. The nerdy guy who most likely spends his days sitting behind a screen and always says the wrong things. And finally, a kind of a sissy who reacts girlishly to threatening situations and most certainly will jump on a chair when a mouse appears in front of him. Three types that are convincingly interpreted by Zachery Byrd, Zack Weiner, and Philip Andre Botello. But especially Aaron Dalla Villa made an impression. That demonic look and sadistic tone fit perfectly with the cruel Max.

 

Pledge

 

Low-Budget but certainly successful.

Thanks to the short playing time, “Pledge” is suitable as an in-betweener during a weekday evening. Thanks to the pace of the film, it never gets boring. And although I found the horror level quite average, they managed to deliver an intense and exciting film. And despite the fact that it was a low-budget film (“Pledge” was funded through Kickstarter), I thought the cinematography was of high quality. The lurid and threatening atmosphere was not only delivered by the story but certainly also by the supplied footage. To be honest, “Pledge” is one of the better Low-Budget indie horror movies I’ve seen in the last year. Certainly a must-see for lovers of the genre.

 

My rating 6.5/10
Links: IMDB

 

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Action

Big Legend – Is This Just Another Film About The Legendary Sasquatch..?

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I don’t believe in fairy tales.

Another film about the legendary Sasquatch, better known as Bigfoot. A few months ago I saw the film “Primal Rage” which I really could appreciate despite the low budget. And that because of the tension and the scarce moments of gore that were incorporated in it. In the movie “Big Legend” you have to deal with the same horrible monster, but unfortunately, that’s the only similarity with the previous movie. The film is long-winded and boring at certain times. And it’s not bloody at all. Something you should expect in a monster movie with an extremely powerful, hairy creature. A creature that tears off limbs and effortlessly slides vehicles in front of it. Not that “Big Legend” was torture to watch, but I still had to make an effort to keep my attention. And I always felt the urge to scroll on my tablet for something interesting to read. Not a good sign.

 

Big Legend

First happy and then his girlfriend disappears.

Although, it didn’t start too badly. We see Tyler (Kevin Makely) and Natalie (Summer Spiro) hiking through an idyllic looking landscape. It provides some unbelievably beautiful images. It’s a peaceful scene with two lovers who unquestionably love each other passionately. And then our friend Tyler also came up with the plan to ask his loved one to marrie him. Can it be even sweeter? Well, life has certainly been good to Tyler. Until his fiancée is dragged into the forest with their tent and the rest of the stuff, while her future husband is exploring the surrounding because of some suspicious noises. Well, Tyler ends up in a psychiatric institute after the disappearing of Natalie. And when he’s released, the only thing he can think of is to return to the scene to see if he can find his missing girlfriend again. But your gut’s scream at you he better had stayed sitting by his fireplace.

 

Big Legend

 

I truly hate the word “chief” from now on.

Not because a giant furry ape is going to make life miserable for him (Isn’t that the initial subject of this film?). But mainly because he runs into a colorful figure who would drive me completely crazy instantly. If I had received a Euro every time Eli (Todd A. Robinson) says the word “chief”, I could quietly retire. I expected Tyler to aim his automatic rifle at this forest runner after a while, instead of the still-to-be-spotted monster. Moreover. Eli has been in these forests for a long time already, hoping for that moment to see the legend. And yet he never saw it. Apparently, there are some primitive symbols placed here and there (by the Chinook) in the forest that somehow define a boundary the creature won’t pass. The fact that Eli never went beyond this symbolic border could be an explanation. However, afterwards, it appears that the symbols are damaged in certain places. A bit weird. And really confusing. But there are more of those bizarre and nonsensical facts.

 

Big Legend

 

5 Seconds and he saw the strange shadow.

The police dropped a box full of possessions of the missing Natalie at Tyler’s place. Tyler starts to look through it all and scrolls through the photos Natalie has taken during their trip. And would you believe it? Suddenly he discovers a photo with a suspicious shadow in the background. Now, or the police are doing an extremely poor job in that part of America. Or they have not even bothered to view the device. Except for Tyler, who discovers it within 5 seconds. And wouldn’t you call the authorities after your pick-up is being twirled around at night while sleeping in it and you discover a huge footprint in a muddy puddle? And who the hell hung up the signs with “No trespassing”? Bigfoot itself? And hasn’t Tyler been an Army Ranger for 12 years? Well, then he has forgotten many of his army instincts. Not only did he lose his backpack at a certain moment. The next moment he even leaves a water bottle behind. Not very smart I thought.

 

Big Legend

 

I’ll skip a possible sequel for sure.

I wasn’t really impressed by this film. Even though the scenery is wonderfully beautiful and everything has been reasonably portrayed, it failed in other areas. The acting was so-so. At certain times it wasn’t too bad. Next moment it feels amateurish. Perhaps also because I found the character Eli highly annoying. They also remained rather vague about the background of the two main characters. The most positive thing was Bigfoot looked like. In any case, better than the hairy beast from “Primal Rage“. It seemed more realistic and threatening, even though it’s mostly not explicitly shown. The biggest annoyances for me was the fact that this movie brings nothing new, has an unsatisfactory ending and ends with a hospital scene that shows that a possible follow-up could be made. Most likely I won’t have much trouble skipping that one. Be sure of that, Chief!

 

My rating 3/10
Links: IMDB

 

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HORROR

Don’t Let Go | Official Trailer – HD

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Rating:

N/A

Genre:

Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Release Date:

August 30, 2019

Director:

Jacob Estes

Cast:

Storm Reid, Mykelti Williamson, David Oyelowo, Byron Mann, Shinelle Azoroh, Omar Leyva, Daniel R. Lawson

Plot Summary:

After a man’s family dies in what appears to be a murder, he gets a phone call from one of the dead, his niece. He’s not sure if she’s a ghost or if he’s going mad, but as it turns out, he’s not.

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