Michael Dougherty is brilliant at completely rethinking and reformatting our image of popular holidays and the lore the masses have subscribed to for centuries. After doing an amazing job with Halloween, Dougherty tackles Christmas with what is easily one of the most demented holiday horror films ever made. “Krampus” is an intelligent horror comedy based around the lunacy of the holiday and how the hollow rituals and traditions practiced can build a sense of cynicism and pure hatred for what is supposed to be a fine time of year.
I have to give it to Joseph L. Martinez, “Knock” is a fun and scary Halloween treat that should be watched by folks that like their scares short but sweet. “Knock” is based around a simple premise but ends on a delightfully clever bang. Murielle just spent Halloween night with her friends in an abandoned mine. Said mine allegedly houses the spirit of an ancient witch who stalks you if you knock on the mine walls three times.
I’m stunned it took two screenwriters and Eli Roth to write what is a remake that steals bits from “Funny Games.” This time rather than the nemeses being petulant snot nosed young guys, the villains in this instance are two gorgeous young girls. “Knock Knock” is the least incompetently made film from Roth’s ever growing film library, and that’s due to the fact that it borrows a lot from “Funny Games,” despite being an admitted remake of 1977’s “Death Game.” There isn’t the sly self awareness, but Roth and co. do eventually realize how stupid their story is and then completely ride off the rails by the second half.
I have a long history with “Kuffs.” Back when I was a kid I didn’t have cable so I watched movies on local television. “Kuffs” was one of my favorite movies as a child. It was that kind of kick ass crime thriller and buddy comedy that I loved. I must have seen it a thousand times as a child, and I loved how bad ass Christian Slater was in it. He was just so cocky and charismatic that it always kept me coming back again and again. Yeats later, watching “Kuffs” without the nostalgia glasses on, it’s a movie that’s just… pretty okay. It’s not a masterpiece, but it has its merits.
What’s the difference between kiddy porn and art?
One of Larry Clark’s many infamous “Kids are Evil Monsters” movies, “Kids” is one of those films I’m proud to admit I despise with every inch of my being. And to this day I’m still trying to forget I ever saw it. In 1995, Larry Clark made the scene of indie and art house film by showing the world, the ecosystem of kids and what they do when adults aren’t looking. And while he was somewhat accurate in that regard concerning their penchant for sex and drinking, he forgot to include one crucial film detail: A narrative.
And everywhere, eighties geeks just had the largest orgasm after watching “Kung Fury.” In fact, if you’re an eighties geek, I dare you not to break down in tears while watching. David Sanberg’s “Kung Fury” is bleeding eighties ephemera from every orifice. It’s a sweet eighties homage that mixes every cliché imaginable right down to the screaming police sergeant forcing a new partner on his rebel cop. Triceracop. There’s actually a goddamn Triceracop.
Much as I hate to admit it, “Saw 2” pretty much aced the concept of the strangers waking up in mysterious circumstances scenario that’s become so prevalent in modern horror. Directors Chad Archibald, and Gabriel Carrer don’t even seem to try with “Kill,” which is just another variation on the premise from “Saw 2,” except “Kill” is filled with so much more inconsistencies. Not to mention the cast is filled with terrible actors portraying obnoxious characters that literally do nothing but bicker and argue from the first moment they wake up in a mysterious house.
A group of people wake up in a house that’s been boarded up and barred down. They soon realize they’re being terrorized by a mysterious entity watching them, and proclaims that in order to survive and make it home to their significant others, they have to kill each other. Nope, this isn’t “Battle Royale,” although I’d bet the parallels aren’t a mistake. The surviving member of the group gets to go home. I think. Why are the victims awoken in white clothing? Who knows? What is the relevance of the connection that inevitably rises to the surface in the middle of the terror? I wasn’t sure, and I immediately stopped trying to care. What do the tiki men signify? What’s with all the imagery of knights and medieval drapery? And what are the TV’s even for?
Details and plot devices are brought up and abruptly rendered invalid moments later, and there’s just no plot progression until the final twenty minutes. There are even stunning moments of sheer stupidity, like when one of the characters confirms one of the victims has a pulse, prompting another character to ask “Is he alive?” And you have to enjoy how the characters break free from the house while a character screams “Stop! This is someone’s house!” The production is pretty poor as well, with bad editing, and really dicey direction that never fulfills the intended illusion of claustrophobia and paranoia. One of the most distracting elements of “Kill” that tore me out of the narrative was the bad sound.
I don’t know if the rooms on the sets echoed, or if there was ambient sound dripping in to the movie set, but every piece of dialogue sounds canned. So much so that you could almost swear the movie was dubbed. There’s a lot of really ambiguous plot elements brought up and featured with no real clarification, and truthfully I never cared to ponder what I’d seen. I was just happy it ended. “Kill” is terrible because it feels incomplete, rushed, and incredibly half hearted. Almost as if the directors just made points up as they went along. I’m also assuming the directors thought they’d lay the ground work for a follow up. I don’t think there’s any kind of material available for another droning ninety minutes of pointless violence and a script that’s one note and with zero narrative.
There’s something about the follow up to “Karate Kid” that just gets the formula right. It doesn’t feel like a cheap cash grab like “Ghostbusters II,” and acts like an extension of the narrative from the first film like “Aliens.” The original “Karate Kid” was about the underdog Daniel overcoming his bullies through the art and discipline of karate. The writers now turn the coin to Mr. Miyagi to explore his enigmatic origins. It’s a smart move and a very clever turn to add pathos and a really complex sense of humanity to Pat Morita’s iconic character. “The Karate Kid” sequel is Miyagi’s film. We learn a lot about the character in the sequel, prompting sensei and student to feel like two very complete individuals with their own demons to battle.