Another movie that’s really good until it hits the halfway point. Then they have that pesky problem of trying to explain what’s happening and why, and then the whole movie goes to crap.

Kiefer Sutherland plays Ben Carson, a former police detective (aren’t they always) who’s dodgy past has landed him as the security guard for an abandoned mall. But not just any mall, a mall with a checkered past where a fire swept through killing dozens of people. And within this mall of the damned (not to be confused with the Mall of America) evil sprits lurk within the old mirrors and they have taken a liking to Ben and his family. And by liking I mean they are out to get him and his family and cause some wicked self-destruction and mutilation.

As I said, it’s all working until they try to explain why there are evil spirits in the mirrors and why the fire started and why that security guard took a glass shard to the jugular in the opening scenes. But it just doesn’t make sense. Are the spirits seeking vengeance or asking for help? Was the fire an accident or was there a cover-up? Is this is a mall or an insane asylum? And what the hell do we need the Nun for?

To hell with the plot let’s just have a CGI orgasm and throw everything we can onto the screen and hope the audience buys into it. By the time the end comes around you just don’t care anymore. Who cares why any of this is happening, just get me off this buggy.

Lots of potential and some pretty impressive initial effects but overall this really goes nowhere.

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The Haunting in Connecticut

Based on a chilling true story, Lionsgate’s The Haunting in Connecticut charts one family’s terrifying, real-life encounter with the dark forces of the supernatural. When the Campbell family moves to upstate Connecticut, they soon learn that their charming Victorian home has a disturbing history: not only was the house a transformed funeral parlor where inconceivable acts occurred, but the owner’s clairvoyant son Jonah served as a demonic messenger, providing a gateway for spiritual entities to cross over. Now, unspeakable terror awaits when Jonah, the boy who communicated with the dead, returns to unleash a new kind of horror on the innocent and unsuspecting family.

Based on a "true" story. (Basically that means it’s all fake…)

Here’s how you build a horror movie. Take a kid and give him cancer (always fashionable and gives you so many possibilities). Load him up with drugs that may or may not be causing hallucinations (again, you can get away with a look of cool crap when you do it this way). Make him weak and scrawny due to the weight loss (the sympathy ploy and the walking dead are cool). And finally, get the family to move into a house where the rent is an unbelievable deal and they can’t figure out why no one else wants the place (self explanatory). And just to add to the excitement make it an old funeral home (everybody loves a story with a funeral home in it).

Actually, the first part of this movie is really good. Lots of things happen in the background, with quick glimpses of something in the mirror or walking past a door. Things move along quite well until they try to explain why all the "activity" is happening. Then things go off the rails. In a big way.

The movie takes a lot of liberties with the funeral home aspect. They make it out that the previous owners took liberties with their customers, experimented on the bodies, and used them for necromancy (the diabolical angle, always a good choice). There is even a mysterious boy who seems to be able to communicate with the dead which Matt can see and seems to be channeling. Jonah is used in séances as a conduit into the spirit world. His crazed funeral home patriarchs keep him around for abilities.

It’s an interesting idea but they go so far over the top the whole movie becomes moronic. Bodies are stuffed into every cranny and nook of the house. Jonah is spewing ectoplasm like pea soup – which looks stupid as hell by the way. Bodies are literally dropping from the ceiling in the big climactic, fiery showdown. And once we get to this point everything looks fake as hell.

It started off strong, but in the end it’s just a steamy pile. It might not be bad as a rental, if nothing else is on the shelves, but holy hell at $20 to buy it you’re getting ripped off!

I still think this story is a complete farce and can’t be taken seriously. There are so many holes in the tale it makes Amityville look realistic.

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The Rage

Oh… My… God! What a complete piece of crap that was! Killer vultures on the loose! Or are those ill tempered turkeys out for some Thanksgiving vengeance? Perhaps bald Herons showing their distain for humanity and bad tasting fish. Nothing says terror like blood seeking vultures hell bent on spreading their disease and causing chaos wherever they go.

And it starts off exactly the way you would expect, a crazed scientist trying to mix the perfect formula creates a strain of disease he can’t control. I hate it when that happens.

Enter the band of horny teenagers out for kicks in their Winnebago, who try to take a shortcut, end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, run over "something" in the road and then one by one become victims of the crazed birds. As the teenagers flee for their meager lives where they should they end up? But of course, back in the deserted lab of the scientist who started all the problems in the first place. But he’s dead, right? Why heaven’s no. He’s alive, not exactly doing well, but he’s alive. With festering sores, open wounds and half his face peeling away, he’s still looking to perfect his formula and these scared teenagers will do nicely to help move his experimentations along.

This movie is riddled with every horror cliché you can think of. We’ve got blood, blood and more blood, squirting and dripping from every orifice you can think of. Ninety percent of the film budget must have gone into all the blood they threw around. When it’s not dripping, leaking or oozing, it’s covering the walls like some over the top Halloween Campground Massacre fright night. There’s so much of it, it’s just absurd.

And those vultures? What the hell is up with those things? That is some of the worst CGI work I have ever seen. They look like sock puppets half the time. As they feast on the innards of their prey they look like demonic Muppets. After a while it’s just laughable.

But what’s the point of all? Why is this crazy Russian causing so many problems? Well, wait until the last ten minutes when he has his big soliloquy and reveals the motives for his dastardly works. You’re damn right it’s lame!

If you’re looking for a movie where everyone gets an axe, hammer, screwdriver or saw to the head with blood spurting from the wound then this is your flick. There’s even foul mouthed, ill tempered midgets to boot! I’m not sure this even qualifies as a bad B movie.

Dracula, Frankenstein, Invisible Man and more for $0.99

Here is an amazing deal. If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch you can go to the App Store and get 50 classic novels for $0.99. And in this collection are stories such as Dracula, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde,  Man in the Iron Mask, Tell Tale Heart and Legend of Sleepy, plus dozens of others. All I have to say is, Wow! I just downloaded a copy and it’s a stalwart 75MB in size. Plus, this is from KiwiTech which allows you to turn the pages which I prefer. And in addition, they keep adding stories to this collection so there’s a good chance you’ll get even more classics for that $1. I’m sold!

I posted the free versions of the stories the other day, so there is no reason not to have a copy. But I am just floored at 50 classic stories for only a $1, that is just wonderful.


Classics2Go in the app store:

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