Sheldon Wilson’s “The Hollow” or as I refer to it “Phantoms 2: Samhain Edition,” is one of the more incomplete feeling horror films I’ve seen in a long time. Although the movie isn’t the completely worst Halloween oriented horror entry I’ve ever seen, it definitely feels like it could have stood for twenty minutes of exposition. Even when it stops the movie in its tracks to drop exposition, it still feels like the screenwriters are working on an under cooked film that never finds its footing. So much of “The Hollow” is downright unpleasant and dull, and manages to squander a potentially really cool movie monster.
You could definitely call “Warning Sign” a precursor to “28 Days Later,” but the latter film just handles the premise so much better. Hal Barwood’s movie is a shockingly bland meshing of science fiction and horror that is never quite sure what it wants to be. Sometimes it’s a science fiction movie about government conspiracy and a top secret disease gone out of control, and other times it’s about three bystanders battling disease ridden rage induced zombies, and the undead. It bounces back and forth between grim science fiction to gruesome horror and feels so ill-conceived and poorly constructed.
Truthfully, “Bad Apples” isn’t a terrible movie even when you consider it’s a shameless rip off of “The Strangers.” It just obviously has a paper thin premise and not much else to do but pad the time. The movie is ninety minutes long and for twenty of those minutes it feels like a relationship drama set on Halloween starring Brea Grant and Graham Skipper as married couple Ella and Robert. She’s trying to adjust to her new house, he’s working his new job, and she’s trying to teach at a school run by an overly religious principal, oh the hilarity. Then it decides to dip in to the horror–eventually.
There are two kinds of survival thrillers I place in separate categories. There’s the “They’re completely fucked” films like “Open Water” and “Alive” where their situation is hopeless. Then there’s the “Calm Down and You Might Survive” category with titles like “Frozen” and “47 Meters Down” where if people just relaxed and displayed some kind of common sense, they could make it. “ATM” is in the latter category where if these three moronic characters would just stop and think for a moment, they could have actually made it through the poor man’s Jigsaw without many battle wounds.
Mark H. Young’s horror thriller “Feral” feels like 2010’s “Primal” and 2003’s “Cabin Fever” reworked in to a goofy zombie melodrama about a lot of pretty people arguing over “important” stuff like relationships, and who’s dating whom before they’re interrupted by zombies. “Feral” could have been a very claustrophobic and weird little cabin in the woods gem, but it’s so mucked up with the twenty minutes of exposition and drama that goes absolutely nowhere. Seriously none of the conflicts actually take any real toll once the narrative gets moving, and it’s a shame.
William Castle’s “House on Haunted Hill” was a pretty great horror movie that inevitably became a pretty good remake in 1999. When Sam Raimi founded Dark Castle films, his love for William Castle was worn on his sleeve, right down to theatrics of the remake. “House on Haunted Hill” from 1999 does a good job of delivering something new and unique to the premise of the original film, putting twists in the premise, and offering some contemporary thrills that more than make up for the film’s massive short comings, overall. It’s a great Halloween treat; I can at least say that for it.
If any case could be made for the advantage of running zombies in the zombie film sub-genre, “Dead Set” would easily trump any argument against the device. I’m a zombie enthusiast who loves the lumbering dead, and in all honesty prefers them above all. “Dead Set” not only endorses the idea of running zombies, but makes turns them on to a world of lazy, complacent television addicts, with remorseless fervor. Like the reality shows that have become fixtures of civilization, we’re turned in to blood thirsty monsters that feed off of one another, and show little empathy for the weak.
Sean S. Cunningham’s horror science fiction action hybrid is a great classic cable TV movie that you could find late at night back in the days. It’s not what I’d automatically call a classic but it’s definitely a great piece of schlock that has a good time with its premise. It’s “Assault on Precinct 13” meets “John Carpenter’s The Thing” and it has a damn good time taking advantage of both concepts to derive some pretty fun B grade genre fare. Bruce Campbell is as good as always, leading the charge as a sort of John McClane every man character who begins the movie as a villain and eventually transforms in to a hero who is the only one stopping a potential alien invasion.