The Visitation – Rating 2 out of 5

The small town of Antioch gets all excited when mysterious figures enter their town performing miracles and saying “He is coming” as they depart. What follows is a pretty predictable story of small town good, overcoming outside evil influences. As the small time tent evangelist heals the townspeople, more and more are drawn into his power. Only a few strong willed remain to fight the devil.

Hardly a movie speaking of the prophetic end of the world, what follows is a predictable story of evil taking over the minds of those who want to believe and being cast out by those of pure faith. A pretty Ho Hum story with a typical cast of characters such as the fallen priest, the new comer to town, the renegade law man, and the soft spoken preacher.

Overall the movie was mildly entertaining, with a better than expected ending, but again there was no tension, no fear that the wrath of evil was invading this small town, no sense of dread or moments that really grip you about the battle of good and evil.

There is nothing new in this story and it ends pretty much the way you would expect. I can’t even say this is a good rental because of how cliché and predictable the movie is. It’s hard to imagine Fox put this one out. It has the look and feel of an independent movie funded by religious groups. This movie won’t make you a believer and movies like “Emily Rose” do a lot more to stir up religious convictions and debate.

Thr3e – Rating 3 out of 5

Taking its queues from Fight Club, Three tries to weave a web of confusion and deception to keep you guessing up until the end. That’s all fine and good, but the plot isn’t substantial enough or riveting enough to make us want to go along for the ride.

Kevin Parson’s (Marc Blucas) is tormented by a childhood bully who he thought he trapped in an abandoned building years ago. But the boy is back for revenge and wants Kevin to repent where the whole world can hear it. Will the torment stop once he confesses his crime or does the revenge run deeper?

Some interesting aspects to this but overall, I wasn’t drawn in and the twist ending seems thrown in after the fact, not a subtle underlying part of the story. It has elements of Saw and Speed, but lacks its own driving force.

I didn’t find the movie particularly thrilling from a psychological standpoint, not very action oriented from a drama standpoint. Things just seem to happen and Kevin does everything he can to exclude the police and make things worse.

An interesting movie in some parts, but unlike Sixth Sense and Fight Club where knowing the ending makes the film even more fun to watch, I see no reason to go back and watch this one again. Full marks for using new faces in making this film, but it’s more cheesy and camping than thrilling and spellbinding. Hardly thrilling or tense, but not too bad.

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The Black Cat – Rating 3.5 out of 5

Part of the Master of Horror series The Black Cat is based on the short story by Edgar Allen Poe. The story unfolds as we find Poe in a desperate situation of poverty with his wife suffering from consumption. In order to deal with his predicament Poe takes to drink. He uses the meager wages he makes from a magazine to supply his bottles of alcohol. And while intoxicated he goes into fits of rage and takes out his aggressions on the canary and on the cat. The cat meets its end within his violent grasp and the cat takes a pen quill to the eye.

This is an interesting tale in that it takes the Black Cat story and weaves it together with the circumstances under which Poe wrote it. He’s broke and desperate. His wife is dying and he can’t afford the doctor. As she slips away due to her illness, Poe delves deeper into his bottle. Desperate to make some money he tries to craft a sensational story for the magazine, one which will thrill the audience and bring him fame and reward.

As he tries to work while his wife coughs and spews blood in the next room, every noise and distraction seems like a nail in her coffin. The canary and its cheery chirp is the first to go. The cat with its stare gets dealt with soon after.

The eye removal is only the start and Poe tracks down the cat to finish the job. He chases it down into the basement and using an axe, does his best to send it to the hereafter. His wife hears the raucous and comes to investigate and of course stop him. She gets in the way and gets an axe to the head. Poe then goes with the quick cover up by putting her in the wall and daring the police to find her.

The movie is shot in quasi black and white which gives it an old style feel. The alcohol fueled delusions of Poe, his wild yelling and bizarre behavior add to the mix. A well shot and well acted piece gives us a glimpse into the dark life of Poe while one of his more famous stories comes to life around him. We get some gruesome shots of Poe removing the eye of the cat of the axe crushing his wife’s skull. It all blends together in a creepy and atmospheric tale of a man’s decline into madness as he watches his wife die right in front of him.

Well worth watching just as a short piece and especially if you’re a fan of Poe. Good stuff and on sale at BestBuy for $4.99. Definitely worth that price!

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Flatliners – Rating 4 out of 5

This is still one of my favorite movies even after all these years. Five medical students get drawn into trying to find the answers to life after death. Instead of trying to create life, they try to induce death and go “exploring”. As each one goes into the hereafter they are confronted with their demons that seem to manifest themselves in the present. They must face and conquer their demons before they’re destroyed by them.

Despite Julia Roberts being in this movie, I love it. It as comedic elements, suspense, great atmosphere and a story that makes you wonder. Kiefer Sutherland is intense and driven by his own ego. Kevin Bacon is driven and obsessed with helping. Roberts is caught up in the ghosts of her own troubled past. Stephen Baldwin has his own commitment demons to tend to and Platt is the designated driver on this one and adds the excitement of being the guy who is caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. “I did not come to medical school to kill my classmates!”

Flatliners works because it deals with the question of life after death. It deals with the idea that our past defines who we are. And we also have the notion of what if we were to die with a heart full of regret. Would we be at piece?

It’s an exciting movie that keeps the action and suspense moving. It instills real fear with dark settings, the unnerving stories and the fact that things keep happening in the present. The characters are truly scared and they show it. When Billy Mahoney comes calling you see Kiefer crap his pants as he gets the snot beat out of him.

The soliloquy at the end by Labraccio (Bacon) is a little over done with the whole stepping on Gods territory rantings, but the rest of the movie is great and I’ve watch this one a dozen times so far and still like. Plus it’s also amusing that the height of the movie kicks in on Halloween night as a part rages on outside.

Moody and suspenseful this is still a good story.

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