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HORROR

Trench 11 (2017)

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The air is moving.
Fritz left a door open somewhere.

Did the creators of “Trench 11” know that the film “Overlord” is going to be released this autumn? Or did they want to beat film studio “The Asylum” and be the first one to deliver a low-budget horror in which American and English soldiers face German zombies? The biggest difference with “Overlord” is the world war they’ve chosen. “Overlord” is about American marines after D-day in the 2nd World War, while “Trench 11” is situated during the 1st World War. So no Nazi Germany.

No magic tricks from the CGI department.

And another difference is the footage. Just look at the trailer of “Overlord” and you’ll easily notice that there’s a difference in the budget for the department “Special Effects” and “Computer Graphics”. Film producer “Carousel Pictures” doesn’t seem to have a CGI department. And in terms of special effects, it’s not all high-tech what you’ll see. It’s limited to practical effects (though excellent ones) and stop-motion techniques.

Fancy a spaghetti Bolognaise? Watch this movie.

In a strict sense, this isn’t really about zombies. You can call it chemical experiments that went out of hand. Somewhat like what happened in “Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies” where a chemical product for artificial snow was the cause of all the misery. What Lt. Berton (Rossifson of DonaldSutherland) and the group of American soldiers and English officers encounter in the underground tunnels of a giant German bunker in the forests of Argonne, are infected guinea pigs. Test subjects who underwent some kind of medical experiments, after which they changed into ruthless savages whose bodies are stuffed with wriggling spaghetti. A type of parasite that infects the frontal lobe of the human brain, causing the victim to lose his personality and no longer knowing the difference between right and wrong. The result is a few bloody confrontations with somewhat deliciously gross images.

Exciting and funny at the same time.

Maybe the bloody scenes look a bit cheap and old-fashioned (even though I like to see a bursting skull from time to time), yet they managed to create a threatening atmosphere. Of course, the location is something that’ll take care of that. Underground tunnels are suitable to provide dark, claustrophobic images. A creepy labyrinth full of corridors where you can encounter an insane mutation at every corner. So the tension is certainly present. And humor is also present at certain times. Even though I think this was not done on purpose. Like this conversation, for example:

How do I know I’m not infected?
What are the symptoms?
Begins with fever. You become increasingly violent.
How do you feel?
I feel like blowing up something.
That is a symptom

Who’s more nuts? Reiner or Pronger?

Unfortunately, the characters are a bit clichéd. You have another know-it-all, authoritarian superior (Ted Atherton) who doesn’t tolerate contradiction and keeps coming up with excuses or pronounces threatening language when exercising his authority. They are accompanied by a trio of seasoned American soldiers goosed up on adrenalin. While the English officers bring out an authentic English teapot, these gentlemen sniff a line of coke (or something similar) to enter the battlefield fearlessly and more alertly. The most colorful and atypical figure here is Sgt. Pronger (Jeff Strome). That facial expression shows how insane this war has made him. And then you have the German sadistic officer Reiner (Robert Stadlober) who is a fervent supporter of chemical warfare. A bit similar to Dr. Maru from “Wonder woman” or Red Skull against who Captain America fought. But Reiner is less machiavellistic.

It’s not an extraordinary horror. But it’s not bad either.

Trench 11” won’t become an instant classic in Horror Land. But you can say a lot of positive things about it. Admittedly, some of the actors aren’t particularly overwhelming. And at times there’s silliness and there are some improbabilities (but most horror movies have that). I found the statement of Capt. Cooper (Luke Humprey) about the entire US Army (“Whatever Jennings is doing down here is important enough to secure the full cooperation of the American army. How else could he get a whole division down her?”) a bit strange. I suppose that a division from the American army consists of more than three soldiers. But despite these hiccups, I thought this war/horror film quite successful.

My rating 6/10
Links: IMDB

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Action

The New Mutants | First Two Minutes Clip -HD

Five young mutants, just discovering their abilities while held in a secret facility against their will, fight to escape their past sins and save themselves.

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Genre:

Action, Horror, Sci-fi

Release Date:

April 3, 2020

Director:

Josh Boone

Cast:

Anya Taylor- Joy, Maisie Williams, Antonio Banderas, Alice Braga, Charlie Heaton, ably Hunt, Happy Anderson, Henry Zaga, Sarah Bennani

Plot Summary:

Five young mutants, just discovering their abilities while held in a secret facility against their will, fight to escape their past sins and save themselves.

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Comedy

Come to Daddy: A Quirky, Somewhat Strange Thriller With Very Aggressive Scenes

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I once accidentally kicked a guy’s ear off.
I didn’t mean to, but the fucker flew off.
I could see right into his skull.

Elijah Wood always makes for pleasant surprises. In terms of his choice of films, you cannot say that he plays it safe. His choices are always fairly quirky. I kind of compare him to Daniel Radcliffe. Another actor who doesn’t thrive on the worldwide success he achieved by playing one well-known character for most of his life. So too Elijah Wood who will be associated with Frodo forever and ever. Apparently they also have a common interest, namely that of deceased persons. Where Radcliffe played the role of a corpse in “Swiss Army Man“, Wood is stuck in this film with an embalmed corpse. Anyway, “Come to Daddy” is a macabre, dark, and slightly humorous film.

 

Come to Daddy

 

Trendy, fashionable DJ meets foul-mouthed dad.

When I looked at the movie poster, I immediately thought of “Happy birthday to Me”. Not that “Come to Daddy” looks like a purebred slasher. But the fork Norval Greenwood (Elijah Wood) is holding on the cover, will be used in an ingenious, yet painful way. Norval is an eccentric, trendy DJ with Elton John in his circle of acquaintances. Stylish, contemporary dressed with artistically and strategically placed tattoos. A trimmed Freddie Mercury mustache. And a hairstyle as if it was styled using a soup tureen. Everything indicates that Norval is used to a high-society life and that the journey through the forest with a thumping wheeled suitcase behind him doesn’t really belong in that life. When he finally arrives at the beach house (which, according to Norval, resembles that of a flying saucer from the 1960s) and meets his father Brian, whom he hasn’t seen for years, it turns out that the latter is completely the opposite. Foul-mouthed, fairly brutal, untidy appearance and persistently topping a glass with liquor or wine. No picnic for Norval who recently renounced alcohol. Before he knows it, his smartphone (a limited edition in gold, designed by Lorde) sinks down to the bottom of the ocean, while his dad tried to take a selfie. The tone has been set.

 

Come to Daddy

 

Comedy-Horror. Not my fav combination.

Come to Daddy” is a difficult movie to place. On the one hand, they tried to add a humorous note here and there. Although subtle black humor that won’t be enjoyed by everyone. On the other hand, there’s indeed a horror vibe that gets quite gory. Again, I’m not really such an avid fan of the combination of horror and comedy, because usually both genres feel incomplete. And to be honest in this movie as well. The humorous part wasn’t really funny (with only a rare chuckle). And I also found the horror part rather light-hearted. There’s no doubt that it has a high thriller content. And it’s certainly not a straightforward story. You could even say that they were a bit too lavish with the number of plot twists. But the absurdity in the story (such as a motel that is fully booked with visitors to a swingers convention. Who comes up with such an idea?) knows no boundaries. The insane and intimidating behavior that slowly evolves into a kind of “Cape Fear” aggression. The officer on duty and his belching. The coroner and the fact that Norval suddenly has a dead man in the house due to lack of space at the morgue. The nightly terrifying sounds. Norval’s discovery and the unveiling of the entire mystery. The motel-happening. It just keeps going on. Fortunately, I love an absurd story now and then.

 

Come to Daddy

 

It surprised me.

Elijah Wood is simply magnificent as the extroverted and fairly arrogant Norval. Someone who doesn’t realize what a dire situation he’s going to find himself in. And also doesn’t know that his entire life story will be shaken thoroughly. That’s how the viewer will feel as well. Shaken up. During the first part of the movie, you wonder which direction the story will go. But once the plot reveals and the story accelerates, both in terms of tempo and frantic action, hold on tight because it’s going to be a wild rollercoaster ride. And it’s worth it. “Come to Daddy” is a quirky, somewhat strange thriller with very aggressive scenes and full of insanity. Revealing too much isn’t recommended. Best to start watching this movie without knowing too much, such that the experience will be decidedly surprising. Recommended.

 

 

My rating 6/10
Links: IMDB

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HORROR

‘Penance Lane’ Brings The Rob Zombie influence

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I’m gonna get us out of this.
We’re gonna be okay.

 

Penance Lane” is something for the fans of cheaply produced B-horror movies that don’t exactly excel when it comes to the storyline. I was actually very curious about this movie after reading the synopsis on IMDb. And the movie poster also looked interesting. So let me say that I started watching the film with a dose of healthy enthusiasm. Unfortunately, that enthusiasm collapsed halfway through the film like a soufflé that has just come out of the oven. It’s a pity though, because the first half was of a decent level.

 

Penance Lane

 

A dilapidated house.

The prologue in itself made me curious enough and confirmed what I expected. A dilapidated house where some gang members hid after committing a robbery. Such a gang of “badasses” with impressive guns and an attitude as if they can handle the whole world. Unfortunately, they are no match for what is harassing them from dark corners and dark places in this creepy house. Why this was actually the most compelling part of the movie, I don’t really have an explanation for. Maybe because you don’t really know which direction it will go. Is it something demonic or will it be a “Texas Chain Saw Massacre” kind of film?

 

Penance Lane

 

Let’s bring in the handyman.

Time to introduce the protagonist. Crimson Matthews (Tyler Mane) strolls around the town streets. An ex-convict with a rugged appearance. He gets into a fight with the son of the local Police Captain, when it turns out that this son uses his girlfriend (Scout Taylor-Compton) as a punching bag, and then meets the owner (mother of the girl in question) of the local diner. Crimson doesn’t waste any time and almost immediately seeks a job as a handyman. And he ends up at the abandoned house, apparently owned by the local priest (John Schneider) who hires him without further ado. From the start, it’s clear that our tough hero doesn’t intend to demonstrate ingenious handyman-techniques. It’s also evident that it’s no coincidence he ended up in this house. And that his night’s rest would be disturbed by something that wanders through the house like a shadow, was also to be expected. Despite the fact that there’s sometimes a bit of too exaggerated acting and toe-curling, clumsy dialogues are being used, the film remained fascinating. Till this point anyway. Because somewhere in the middle of the film, the plot twist presents itself and the tone of the film changes drastically.

 

Penance Lane

 

Do I sense a Rob Zombie influence?

If you look at “Penance Lane” in its entirety in terms of storyline and overall look and feel, you could say that it belongs to Rob Zombie’s oeuvre (albeit among the less successful creations). Coincidentally, there are a number of actors who also appeared in a Rob Zombie movies before. Like Tyler Mane who played Michael Myers in “Halloween II“. Scout Taylor-Compton also played an important role in that film. And then there’s Daniel Roebuck (the Police Captain) who got a role in almost every Rob Zombie movie. It may not have affected the creators of this film, but the least you can say is that it’s extremely coincidental. I’m not a real Rob Zombie adept but I could appreciate his flick “31”.

 

Penance Lane

 

Ultimately, it was a disappointment.

In the end, “Penance Lane” was a disappointment for me. If the gradation of my enthusiasm were graphed, I’m sure it would resemble any COVID-19 graph. Except that there’s no sign of a “flatten the curve” effect. After its peak, the curve goes very fast to a zero point. Maybe my expectations weren’t met because the concept changed drastically. In the end, it became a kind of thriller without supernatural apparitions. Rather a crime story in which an insane individual has set up a lucrative business activity. The story made no sense and at some point became downright ridiculous. I have learned the following lesson from this. No matter how good a summary sounds or what a movie poster looks like, it’s never a guarantee the movie will be any good. And yet there was, somewhere deeply hidden, an excellent film. Unfortunately, they failed to conjure it.

 

 

My rating 3/10
Links: IMDB

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