[31 Days of Horror 3] Day 21 – Hocus Pocus (1993)

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Director: Kenny Ortega

Cast: Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kathy Najimy, Omri Katz, Thora Birch, Vinessa Shaw

Screenplay: Mick Garris, Neil Cuthbert

96 mins. Rated PG for some scary sequences, and for language.

 

Another Disney holiday classic, although Disney rarely touches on Halloween. Hocus Pocus is a unique film for the company, one that grows with its fanbase. As I get older, I find the film’s wit to be dangerously adult, but as a kid, I’d never noticed. It’s a rare thing.

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The Sanderson Sisters, three legendary witches, have been a legend in Salem for 300 years, and in 1993, they reawaken when a virgin lights the Black Flame Candle. That virgin is Max (Omri Katz, TV’s Dallas, Matinee), a new boy in Salem who, along with sister Dani (Thora Birch, American Beauty, Train) and potential romantic interest Allison (Vinessa Shaw, Eyes Wide Shut, Side Effects), must find a way to rid the world of the Sandersons once and for all. It won’t be easy, as Winifred (Bette Midler, Fantasia 2000, Parental Guidance), Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker, TV’s Sex and the City, Escape from Planet Earth), and Mary (Kathy Najimy, TV’s King of the Hill, Descendants) discover the way the world has changed since they last roamed it, and they aren’t ready to go down without a hell of a fight.

Hocus Pocus is hit or miss for me. Some years I want to watch it, some years I don’t. Regardless, I cannot deny the merits of the film. Hocus Pocus is a damn good Halloween film for families, something that you don’t find often. The villains are frightening yet fun, the leads are likable and relatable, and the parents are crazy and weird. This is the type of movie that appeals to an extremely wide audience.

The screenplay from Mick Garris and Neil Cuthbert is full of chilling fun, and that’s where the movie really takes its strengths. Add in Bette Midler who perfectly understands the material and gets right into it. In fact, I can’t fault the film for its performances.

A fault I can find with the film is its pacing throughout Act II. The film gets a little lost in hijinks and shenanigans and loses focus on where it is heading.

And just for the record, the unsung hero of the film is an actor by the name of Doug Jones. You may not know Doug very well, but you’ve probably seen a lot more of him than you’d think. In Hocus Pocus, he plays Billy Butcherson, the quiet bumbling henchman zombie of the Sanderson Sisters, and he almost steals the spotlight from Midler herself.

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Hocus Pocus is downright fun. It loses itself a bit toward the end, but its merits far exceed any of its flaws. You’ve seen it, but see it again anyway.

 

4/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

[31 Days of Horror 3] Day 20 – The Crazies (2010)

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Director: Breck Eisner

Cast: Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson, Danielle Panabaker

Screenplay: Scott Kosar, Ray Wright

101 mins. Rated R for bloody violence and language.

 

George A. Romero has made some pretty incredible films across his long career in the business, and while I enjoyed his 1973 film The Crazies, I always felt it was the perfect film to be remade. The Crazies didn’t have a large fanbase, it didn’t work really well like most of Romero’s other work. It was a good idea for a remake.

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Ogden Marsh is one of the friendliest small towns in America until Rory Hamill shows up to a baseball game with a shotgun in his hands. Sheriff David Dutten (Timothy Olyphant, TV’s Justified, Mother’s Day) is forced to take him down when Rory raises the shotgun toward him. But that’s just the beginning. People in Ogden Marsh are acting crazy, and when the government invades, he and his deputy, Russell (Joe Anderson, Across the Universe, Hercules), are off to rescue David’s wife Judy (Radha Mitchell, Silent Hill, London Has Fallen) and escape the town before it is overrun, or worse…

The Crazies is an intense little movie that proves that great horror can exist if you have great talent involved. Director Breck Eisner (Sahara, The Last Witch Hunter) proves his worth creating stark visuals and building tension in each of the set pieces, but it is the intense performance from Olyphant and Anderson that drive the film.

Eisner expertly opens the film with Johnny Cash’s “We’ll Meet Again” from the same album as “The Man Comes Around” which played during the opening of Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake. Johnny Cash’s music just works so well in both cases for perfectly setting the mood of the film. The Crazies has elements of a Western, and it is this style that gives it a flair and sets it apart from the 1973 film.

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The Crazies should get extra points for not falling back on cliche when it easily could have. In fact, it’s a creepy little adventure across an apocalyptic landscape with an alternate take on the classic zombie tale. This is one that should have been more talked about, but it’s lack of focus on plot as the film goes on lost some of my attention on it. Even so, The Crazies should be more sought out and celebrated as an example of how remakes should be done.

 

4/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

[31 Days of Horror 3] Day 19 – What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

 

Director: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi

Cast: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi, Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Rhys Darby, Jonathan Brugh, Stu Rutherford

Screenplay: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi

86 mins. Rated R for bloody violent content, some sexual material and language.

 

We’ve talked previously about the difficulties in satire in the world of horror, but what about the Mockumentary subgenre? Naturally, it’s even tougher but it isn’t attempted all that often. So that’s why I was hesitant about What We Do in the Shadows, from Directors/Screenwriters/Stars Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi. That hesitation was clearly unwarranted.

What We Do in the Shadows chronicles the lives/undeaths of four vampires living in a flat together in Wellington. Vladislav (Clement) is similar to Gary Oldman’s portrayal of Dracula. Viago (Waititi) is more like Louis from Interview With a Vampire. Then there’s Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer, Eagle vs. Shark) who is a mix of Edward Cullen and Bill Compton. Lastly, we have Petyr, an 8,000-year-old creature who has aged to resemble something like Count Orlok from Nosferatu. The documentary crew follows the vamps around, showing the trials and lifestyles of the undead in detail, from their ongoing war with the werewolves to their annual masquerade ball.

What We Do in the Shadows is a perfect example of great storytelling, great comedy, and great respect to the source genre. Everything here was done with incredible care, starting with the screenplay. Clement and Waititi wrote a lengthy script and then allowed everyone the chance to improv. Then, after filming over 120 hours of footage, they assembled three cuts of the film: one focused on story, one on jokes, and then a combination of the two. Great care becomes a great film.

It lulls a bit in the third act, but What We Do in the Shadows takes pride in showing how tough the vamps have it in small daily routines like building a relationship with your familiar or avoiding pesky vampire hunters.

What We Do in the Shadows is one of the most fun times I’ve had watching a film, and I hope you take the time to track it down. I can’t see a person not enjoying its unique charm, its sharp writing and wit, and its inherent heart.

 

4.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Early Review] [31 Days of Horror 3] Day 18 – Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

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Director: Mike Flanagan

Cast: Elizabeth Reaser, Lulu Wilson, Annalise Basso, Henry Thomas, Kate Siegel, Doug Jones, Alexis G. Zall

Screenplay: Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard

99 mins. Rated PG-13 for disturbing images, terror and thematic elements.

 

Good evening folks, tonight I was privileged to have been invited to an advance screening for the upcoming release Ouija: Origin of Evil. Now, as many of you know, I wasn’t big on the original Ouija, but I went in with an open mind ready to embrace the fear. Now, did this sequel bring me in? Let’s take a look.

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This prequel follows the Zander family: mother Alice (Elizabeth Reaser, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, Hello My Name is Doris), eldest daughter Paulina (Annalise Basso, TV’s Cold, Captain Fantastic), and youngest Doris (Lulu Wilson, TV’s The Millers, Deliver Us From Evil). The Zanders run a faux seance scam out of their home. In an effort to increase the spectacle, Alice purchases a Ouija board from a local shop, and Doris immediately makes a connection to it. But her constant use of the board leads to frightening changes in her personality as seen through the eyes of Paulina and Father Tom (Henry Thomas, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Dear John), the Principal of the local Catholic school. Then, people start dying, and all eyes are on Doris, but she couldn’t possibly be causing it, right?

Let’s talk about how this installment adds to the larger mythos of the Ouija franchise. In all fairness, I’m actually surprised by how well it ties to the original but also how it forges a new path. It does really feel like the filmmakers, specifically Director Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Hush), seemed to have taken the feedback for the first film and attempted to right the ship.

That being said, this movie has so many convoluted plot points and story pieces that, by the end of the film, it completely devolves, which is sad, but also not surprising considering I felt the same way about Flanagan’s 2013 film Oculus. The plot thread moves along fine enough for the first hour, but when the pieces start falling together, the film falls to pieces.

And then there’s the issue of the Ouija board. As the first film kind of devolved into a pretty lame ghost story, this prequel eventually becomes a mess of possessions and slashers and doesn’t do any of it particularly well. I wanted to like it, and there are elements that shine, but the Ouija board could’ve been removed from both films without changing the story one bit.

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Flanagan’s visuals occasionally shine through, and the film’s pace isn’t bad, but this outing feels like it took too much from other horror films that have been here before and done it better. I saw pieces of Insidious, The Conjuring, and The Exorcist here, and none of it done in a particularly memorable way. I’m glad that Ouija: Origin of Evil is a major step in the right direction, but the ending feels like it was forced to fit a certain way to match the first film, and in doing so, the story is badly damaged and crashes to the ground. On a budget of $6 million, I have no doubt that there will be a Ouija 3, so let’s hope they continue to make progress with this series.

 

2/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of Stiles White’s Ouija, click here.

For my review of Mike Flanagan’s Oculus, click here.

[31 Days of Horror 3] Day 17 – The Lords of Salem (2012)

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Director: Rob Zombie

Cast: Sheri Moon Zombie, Meg Foster, Bruce Davison, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Ken Foree, Patricia Quinn, Dee Wallace, Maria Conchita Alonso, Judy Geeson

Screenplay: Rob Zombie

101 mins. Rated R for disturbing violent and sexual content, graphic nudity, language and some drug use.

 

Today, it’s time for a little hard rock. Rob Zombie (31, Halloween II) has made quite the name for himself in the film industry with his unique take on horror. A few years back, Zombie got one of his passion projects to the big screen with The Lords of Salem. Now, me, I’m not a big witch fan as far as horror elements go. But, with Zombie’s name attached, I couldn’t pass this one up.

2012, THE LORDS OF SALEM

Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie, The Devil’s Rejects, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto) is a DJ at the local radio station in Salem, Massachusetts, and when she receives a strange box containing a record from The Lords, an unknown band, she plays it for her listeners. But the record has secrets, and as the music emanates, Heidi begins experiencing flashes of a past she has no knowledge of. Is Heidi losing it or are the Lords of Salem back to claim the town for themselves?

The Lords of Salem isn’t exactly a cohesive plot as much as it is a series of shocking moments and images set to film. It’s loose story is all around Sheri Moon Zombie, who, despite Mr. Zombie’s beliefs, is not a leading woman yet. She doesn’t act for the audience, but instead reads to the audience. She is however matched by some terrific genre support with Bruce Davison (X-Men, Get a Job), Dee Wallace (E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Extraordinary Measures) and Patricia Quinn (Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Meaning of Life).

I will applaud Zombie’s technique at creating shocking imagery without the use of digital effects, and I would love to his first cut of the film, which contained a ton more story that might have kept The Lords of Salem on track more.

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Rob Zombie’s The Lords of Salem is experimental horror as its most interesting, even if the film falls apart near the end. We need more original content like this in the world of horror, for even if it doesn’t work, it adds some mythology and flavor to a creative filmmakers resume and it makes me want to see what he cooks up next.

 

3/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

[31 Days of Horror 3] Day 16 – Demons (1985)

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Director: Lamberto Bava

Cast: Urbano Barberini, Natasha Hovey, Karl Zinny

Screenplay: Dardano Sacchetti, Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava, Franco Ferrini

88 mins. Not Rated.

 

After yesterday, I think it’s time to return to the world of Dario Argento with a film he helped produce and write: Demons from director Lamberto Bava (Macabre, Delirium).

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Student Cheryl (Natasha Hovey) receives free tickets to a screening at the Metropol cinema. She and her friend Kathy arrive to a crowded theater along with many other theatergoers. One of the other women arriving at the cinema scratches her face with a strange and unusual mask in the lobby. As the film begins playing, the woman’s scratch turns her into a horrific and monstrous demon, and she escapes into the theater, murdering others and turning them into demons as well. Cheryl and another man at the theater, George (Urbano Barberini, Casino Royale, Opera), are forced to defend themselves as the oncoming onslaught of creatures threaten to rip them apart and send the Earth into an unholy apocalypse.

This is another foray into Italian horror from the legendary Dario Argento, who put a lot of work into creating Demons. The screenplay, which he contributed to, creates a strange and mysterious mythology which drew me in as I put the pieces together.

I also want to talk about the incredibly fun heavy metal soundtrack with music from Billy Idol, Motley Crue, Rick Springfield, and Saxon. I have no idea how the music worked its way into the movie, but it does create a unique tone for the film that is unexpectedly more fun.

Now, I still don’t like the ADR voice work here. I understand it is the way that Italian horror cinema was back then, but it did pull me out this time, whereas it didn’t completely pull me out of Suspiria. I think that’s the big difference between two film: the directors. Argento’s directing of Suspiria was cold and calculated, and each drop of blood meant something. Bava (who is the son of Mario Bava, director of Twitch of the Death Nerve) doesn’t have the same experience to keep his film higher-brow, and it shows as the movie devolves into an epic splatter-fest.

I also would’ve cut out the punks driving around for half the movie and then joining the carnage. It doesn’t add anything to the movie and just pulls you out. It’s more fun to not know what’s happening in the outside world.

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Demons has some great elements, and a lot of it worked for me, but there were definite mistakes made by an inexperienced director. Thankfully, Lamberto Bava was tutored by Argento, which elevates certain elements of the film. I think that Demons is a great starter course for these kinds of film, so check it out if you can find it. I had a lot of fun, and I think that’s what the film wants.

 

3/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

[31 Days of Horror 3] Day 15 – Drive-Thru (2007)

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Director: Brendan Cowles, Shane Kuhn

Cast: Leighton Meester, Nicholas D’Agosto, Melora Hardin, Larry Joe Campbell, Lola Glaudini

Screenplay: Brendan Cowles, Shane Kuhn

83 mins. Rated R for strong horror violence and gore, drug use, language and some sexual content.

 

Well, after the last couple of days, I thought it might be time for a disappointment. Okay, not really, but it still happened.

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Drive-Thru is the story of A Nightmare on Elm Street…oh wait, I better start again. Drive-Thru is the story of Mackenzie Carpenter (Leighton Meester, TV’s Gossip Girl, The Judge), a young woman who is losing her friends, one by one, to a sadistic murderous clown named Horny, who takes his garb from the fast food restaurant Hella Burger. Horny is picking off teens with poor insults, bad puns, and also a big meat cleaver. As the bodies pile up, Mackenzie and her boyfriend Fisher (Nicholas D’Agosto, TV’s Gotham, Final Destination 5) learn that her mother Marcia (Melora Hardin, TV’s The Office, Self/less) and the other parents have a horrible secret that links Horny the Clown and Hella Burger directly to Mackenzie.

Wow, I really hate this movie. I hate it so much. The characters are cruel and annoying, the screenplay is overly cliché and riddled with poor dialogue, and the directing by Brendan Cowles and Shane Kuhn is downright dreadful. Now, I do have some defenders among my colleagues who claim that the film is self-aware enough to satire itself. “It’s so bad it’s good!” No, no it isn’t. It’s terrible.

The film is a disappointing remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street in a lot of ways (you might use the term rip-off even), and it can’t even muster to get an accessible and relatable story because Horny the Clown can’t stop making bad puns. Hell, the Leprechaun movies have better puns, and that’s really saying something.

In fact, the only scene in the film that I enjoyed at all is the Morgan Spurlock cameo. I won’t spoil the scene, but suffice it to say that the scene is mildly amusing in an otherwise underwhelming film.

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Drive-Thru is awful. I’m thankful I can review it now so that I never have to watch it again. Every part of it is terrible, and the one element that works can’t even save this film’s score.

 

1/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

[Early Review] American Pastoral (2016)

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Director: Ewan McGregor

Cast: Ewan McGregor, Jennifer Connelly, Dakota Fanning, Rupert Evans, Valorie Curry

Screenplay: John Romano

126 mins. Rated R for some strong sexual material, language and brief violent images.

 

I was blessed to have seen American Pastoral last night with a friend. Not a film that I had heard much news from, I was aware of the novel written by Philip Roth. I hadn’t read it, but I’d heard good things. So with American Pastoral the film, I was more intrigued by Ewan McGregor’s directing debut. Nowadays, many actors are finding themselves as successful or more behind the camera, and I was interested by McGregor’s choice to start here.

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Seymour “Swede” Levov (McGregor) had always been remembered as the star athlete from high school, the man who married high school sweetheart and beauty queen Dawn (Jennifer Connelly, A Beautiful Mind, Noah), a man who seemingly had the perfect life. But as Swede’s brother Jerry (Rupert Evans, Hellboy, The Boy) recalls, things changed pretty quickly for Levov not long after starting a family. As his daughter Merry (Dakota Fanning, War of the Worlds, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2) matured, she began to think more radically and hang out with a more dangerous crowd, a decision that would tear the Swede’s world apart.

American Pastoral almost holds it all together. Almost. It starts with a great performance from McGregor, and as the film progresses, you can see hints of genius, but they are muddled down with inexperience. The entire first act of the film is strangely unhinged. It starts with a poorly hewn together framing device featuring David Strathairn asking about the Swede at a high school reunion. The framing device isn’t unnecessary, but it isn’t done well. It features Strathairn as a writer relaying through voiceover and it feels so Lifetime Channel-y. That leads into the first act where it feels like people are reading from cue cards. It isn’t until the plot’s true inciting incident where the film comes together, and from there, it does get better, but everything before comes off a little too perfect.

The performances get better as the film progresses, but I have to point out the solid supporting work from Peter Riegert and Uzo Aduba as Swede’s father and his top employee, respectively. Valorie Curry (TV’s The Following, Blair Witch) is also enchantingly disturbed as a woman with connections to Merry’s radical group.

The cinematography and editing make the film a little too plain, not something exciting and powerful, which is how the story should feel. This is difficult subject material, and there are many times when the film is full of pain, but the film doesn’t convey it well to the audience. The issue of the makeup effects too looks bad, particularly around Rupert Evans in the present-day scenes.

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Sadly, American Pastoral shows signs of greatness, but there just isn’t enough of it, as the film dances around in monotony and sinks in uninspired bliss. Ewan McGregor and Dakota Fanning shine in their performances, but it isn’t enough to push this film over the finish line.

 

2.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

[31 Days of Horror 3] Day 14 – In the Mouth of Madness (1995)

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Director: John Carpenter

Cast: Sam Neill, Jurgen Prochnow, Julie Carmen, Charlton Heston

Screenplay: Michael DeLuca

95 mins. Rated R for images of horror, and for language.

 

Most people who know me know of my love for Halloween. It’s my all-time favorite horror film, but in general, my all-time favorite horror director is John Carpenter. Barring The Ward, there isn’t a single film of his that I wouldn’t watch, and when he hits it, he knocks it out of the park. In the Mouth of Madness is a great example of John Carpenter knocking it out of the park.

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Acclaimed horror novelist Sutter Cane (Jurgen Prochnow, Das Boot, Hitman: Agent 47) is missing. Arcane Publishing is after Cane’s latest manuscript, and they hire insurance investigator John Trent (Sam Neill, Jurassic Park, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) to go after Cane. When Trent is almost killed by a crazed maniac wielding an axe, he begins to discover that there is a lot more hiding in Cane’s books than just words. His search brings him to Hobb’s End, the fictional setting for several of Cane’s novels, a place thought not to exist, and Trent sees that Hobb’s End is very real, and it houses an evil that is more powerful than anyone could have known.

Halloween is a perfect slasher, but In the Mouth of Madness is a perfect study of the human psyche and the power of a story. It is a rich, complex tale about Sutter Cane (who bears more than one similarity with horror novelists Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft). It is an examination of popular culture and its crazed obsession with horror. It’s a look at John Trent and the fragility of the mind (another popular element in Lovecraft’s).

The performances from Neill and Prochnow are great. The two actors have terrific chemistry even though they share very few scenes in the film. Charlton Heston (Ben-Hur, Planet of the Apes) even appears as Arcane Publishing director Jackson Harglow to add gravitas to the picture.

There are multiple allusions to Lovecraft and King, starting with the opening framing device, often used by Lovecraft in his storytelling. There is talk of the Old Ones, and in fact passages of Cane’s stories actually come from Lovecraft’s own work. From King, there is the style of his novels, the New England setting, and the undying fandom around his next novel.

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In the Mouth of Madness isn’t an easy film to find, but if you can, do so. You will find yourself on a most interesting journey through the mind. It is topped off with great performances and gorgeously disturbing visuals from master of horror John Carpenter, with a shockingly unusual ending to tie it all together. This movie is a one-of-a-kind experience for horror fans all alike.

 

5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of John Carpenter’s Halloween, click here.

For my review of John Carpenter’s The Thing, click here.

[31 Days of Horror 3] Day 13 – Piranha (2010)

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Director: Alexandre Aja

Cast: Elisabeth Shue, Jerry O’Connell, Richard Dreyfuss, Adam Scott, Ving Rhames, Jessica Szohr, Steven R. Queen, Christopher Lloyd

Screenplay: Pete Goldfinger, Josh Stolberg

88 mins. Rated R for sequences of strong bloody horror violence and gore, graphic nudity, sexual content, language and some drug use.

 

We’ve discussed remakes many times before, so I feel like you don’t need to know my thoughts. Essentially, you have to make a film that adds something to the story that you didn’t get before. Piranha, the 2010 remake of the Joe Dante film, sets out to be a great B-horror film, and the crazy thing, it actually succeeds.

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Sheriff Julie Forester (Elisabeth Shue, TV’s CSI, Back to the Future Part II) is determined to keep Lake Victoria safe during Spring Break as she has every year. This year, however, she has one more dangerous obstacle in the way of her mission: an underwater tremor looses thousands of bloodthirsty piranha upon the lake and the surrounding area. As she assists an group of seismologists in determining the cause and full effect of the fissure, her son Jake (Steven R. McQueen, TV’s The Vampire Diaries, Minutemen) is out on the water with amateur voyeur and professional pornographer Derrick Jones (Jerry O’Connell, Stand By Me, Justice League vs. Teen Titans), right in the path of the deadly prehistoric fish.

People don’t seem to get my enthusiasm and real belief when it comes to Piranha: this movie is perfect. Now, does that mean Oscar-worthy? Not so, but I mean that this movie knows what it wants to be, and it perfectly embodies its goal: to be a fun and bloody homage of horror/comedies like the movie it is remaking. I’ve told many people that Piranha is one of the best horror movies of the 1980s and it came out twenty years too late.

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Director Alexandre Aja (The Hills Have Eyes, The 9th Life of Louis Drax) just figured this movie out. His use of great actors and amazing cameos from legends like Christopher Lloyd (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, I am Not a Serial Killer) and Richard Dreyfuss (Jaws, Madoff). Dreyfuss’s role even sends up his character from Jaws (and he puts forth a solid albeit small performance even though he didn’t really want to be in the movie). And if you pay close attention, you can even see horror director Eli Roth cameo as a wet T-shirt contest host. He even tried to include Joe Dante and James Cameron (director of Piranha II: The Spawning) as boat captains giving safety lessons, but the idea ultimately fell through.

Every plot thread of the film is fun and interesting. Shue’s work as the Sheriff helping to uncover the secret behind the piranha is great, and she has terrific chemistry with Novak, played by Adam Scott (TV’s Parks and Recreation, Krampus) and her Deputy, played by Ving Rhames (Pulp Fiction, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation). Unfortunately for them, nothing beats Jake’s story, as nobody beats Jerry O’Connell, who chews his scenes up and steals every moment onscreen.

The visual effects from Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger are top notch, which only furthers the technical prowess of Piranha. In fact, just about everything technical in the movie works, from the visual flow of the cinematography matched with the perfectly-paced editing, to the musical score and Aja’s directing at the helm.

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It’s a shame that Piranha was not screened for critics. It may have given the film the necessary buzz to bring in more viewers. Sadly, the gains that Aja’s film received were only able to garner it a really shitty sequel instead of the franchise we fans deserved. Either way, Piranha is perfect for what it wants to be. It doesn’t want to make friends. It wants to show a lot of Booze, Babes and Blood, and if that isn’t for you, then this movie isn’t for you. However, for those of you looking for a fun cheese-fest of a horror film that satirizes and pays homage to what came before, Piranha will not disappoint.

 

5/5  (I’m Serious)

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

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