I dare say that not only is “Never Hike Alone” one of the best fan films ever made, but it’s easily the best “Friday the 13th” fan film ever made. A mixture of “127 Hours” and “Friday the 13th,” director and writer Vincente DiSanti provides a riveting small scale sequel to “Friday the 13th” where he offers up a brand new twist to the conventional tale featuring Jason Voorhees. It’s a shame we might never get an actual sequel to the series because with a small bit of polish, and twenty extra minutes of extrapolation on our main character, “Never Hike Alone” could pass in theaters as the sequel to the series that we’ve always wanted. I’d say it surely is the sequel that I’ve always wanted, as it focuses less on cannon fodder and T&A and spends a lot more time on build up and suspense.
In this film that seems to be a Thai take on the Jurei ghost story type, directors Piraphan Laoyont and Thodsapol Siriwiwat take a sub-genre, the vengeful ghost, and go to a point of insanity that is quite enjoyable. The film does not create much in terms of new aspects for the sub-genre, but it has some truly inspired moments, some really creepy sequences, and kills that are original and sometimes insane. The way they use each nurse’s obsession against her works quite well which helps the film feel fresh in its kills. The characters they create here are not particularly original or deep, they are fairly ditzy nurses completely obsessed with themselves and their love interest. The characters are even annoying at times, something that hinders any kind of sympathy that might be needed to truly care about their deaths. However, the way they die is entertaining and this helps a ton with a film of this sub-genre.
In 1997, we really needed a movie like Michael Cooney’s “Jack Frost.” The decade was so serious and bereft of horror that “Jack Frost” was such a wacky and demented shot of horror comedy that baffled horror fans then and has rightfully become something of a cult classic. What’s unusual about “Jack Frost,” (a cocktail of “Child’s Play,” “The Blob” and “Sleepstalker”) is that something this ridiculous obviously had a lot of deliberate construction of its awfulness. Every shot is pointed from a weird angle, the odd color scheme for most shots are off, and a lot of the snow is so obviously fake or Styrofoam, and director Cooney doesn’t even try to hide that apparent fact.
A non-fan joins a group going to Slasher Sleepout, a camp experienced based on slasher films, when a friend could not attend. As things take a turn for the worse and fake death becomes real, she must fight for her life and participate in this activity she definitely does not care for.
I guess now that Don Mancini is taking the wheel back for the “Child’s Play” series, he can basically do whatever he wants with it. It’s just too bad that he follows up the great “Curse of Chucky” with an utterly inferior sequel that dodges any potential at bringing the premise of Chucky to a new level. “Cult of Chucky” looks shockingly cheaper than the previous film with a lot of green screen and obviously computer animated scenes, all with a back drop of a pretty clumsy riff on “Dream Warriors.” Mancini literally breaks all of the pre-established continuity (who knew ghosts could age?) and mythology in order to bend the premise to his will, failing to provide much of an explanation that’s worth buying in to.
By 1998, the “Child’s Play” movie series reached the point of no return. The third film in the series was a stale slasher, and Wes Craven re-invented the horror movie, while accidentally spawning a slew of self-aware slashers and horror movies. Hence, “Bride of Chucky” came along and took it to a whole new level. The idea of a female version of Chucky is a great one, and one that could have spawned a wonderful and thrilling movie with a change up in the sexual dynamic and how Chucky approaches his murderous habits, but Ronny Yu’s reboot/sequel instead dives head first in to material that’s a spoof, a satire, a sequel, a meta-horror movie, a horror comedy, and sometimes just a flat out slapstick comedy that comes dangerously close to breaking the fourth wall.
You can tell the studios basically ran out of ideas with this third installment of the “Chucky” series, so they pretty much just ripped off “Friday the 13th” part five this time around. This series was begging to be rebooted by the time we reached this new installment, as “Child’s Play 3” is filled with such a bland set piece, and pretty weak character motivations overall. For no real explanation there’s a very young boy in a military academy filled with people in their twenties, and Chucky seems to be running thin on reasons to kill. In the past he killed people that complicated his larger goals, now he kills because people decide to annoy him. Even for a psychopath that gets kind of boring.
In “Child’s Play 2,” director Jon Lafia opts for a more vicious follow up where Chucky goes on a veritable rampage. What made “Child’s Play” so unique is we were never quite sure if Chucky was murdering people, if Andy was, or if Chucky was influencing Andy to become a serial killer. Only on the second act do we get a complete verification of the mystery. In “Child’s Play 2” Chucky is on a campaign of murder and violence where he not only proceeds to ruin Andy’s life, but everyone else’s life in the process. It’s a somewhat polarizing sequel, but something that definitely opts for different this time out.