Film Review: Leatherface (2017)

Also known as: Texas Chainsaw 4 (working title)
Release Date: August 25th, 2017 (UK – Horror Channel FrightFest premiere)
Directed by: Julien Maury, Alexandre Bustillo
Written by: Seth M. Sherwood
Based on: characters by Tobe Hooper, Kim Henkel
Music by: John Frizzell
Cast: Stephen Dorff, Lili Taylor, Vanessa Grasse, Sam Strike, Chris Adamson, Finn Jones, 

Campbell Grobman Films, LF2 Productions, Lionsgate, 90 Minutes

Review:

“You take one of mine, and I’ll take all yours, Verna. All of ’em.” – Hal Hartman

So this was created to be a prequel to the original 1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre, dismissing all other movies in the franchise except for 2013’s Texas Chainsaw, which was the end of this “trilogy” that no one wanted or liked except Lionsgate.

This movie is terrible but it’s not the worst Texas Chainsaw flick.

Still, it’s abysmally bad with a terrible fucking storyline that is supposed to be the origin of Leatherface. However, it’s so far off the mark that this could’ve just been a seperate movie about completely unrelated characters and no one would have noticed except for the chainsaw being forced in, as some sort of unnecessary plot device.

Anyway, the killer family kills the sheriff’s daughter. With that, the sheriff vows to take all of Mama Verna’s babies away. He succeeds in getting Jedediah locked up. Jeb changes his name to Jackson and he’s just some skinny normal teen that looks nothing like the hulking beast that Leatherface is. However, they throw in a hulking fat kid that acts half-retarded to serve as some sort of red herring that doesn’t work because we know the skinny kid is future Leatherface.

So, teen Leatherface, fat kid and a nurse get kidnapped by a psycho idiot and his psycho girlfriend during a prison break at the teenager psych ward. Leatherface, fatty and nurse babe are held against their will but have a billion chances at escaping but never do. Shit eventually hits the fan, fatty gets killed, the psycho couple gets killed and Leatherface and nurse babe escape in a car for some reason, which leads to Leatherface getting half his face shot off while also being made mentally handicapped by the ordeal.

This eventually leads to Leatherface killing the cop in a really gruesome way that I was actually kind of impressed by. However, he then murders nurse babe too and then goes back to the psycho mansion to suckle his psycho mom’s breasts.

Well, as I ended the review of the previous film in this series… fuck this movie.

Rating: 4/10

Film Review: The Conjuring (2013)

Also known as: The Warren Files (working title)
Release Date: June 8th, 2013 (Nocturna, Madrid International Fantastic Film Festival)
Directed by: James Wan
Written by: Chad Hayes, Carey W. Hayes
Music by: Joseph Bishara
Cast: Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Ron Livingston, Lili Taylor

New Line Cinema, The Safran Company, Evergreen Media Group, Warner Bros., 112 Minutes

Review:

“When the music stops, you’ll see him in the mirror standing behind you.” – April

Seeing this has been long overdue but at the same time, I was never in a rush. Reason being, modern horror is predominantly CGI jump scares and lame haunted house or generic boogeyman stories. I’m not against haunted house movies but I’ve seen so many that a film needs to find a way to tackle the genre with something fresh or interesting or it’s going to hit my brain like a fistful of Ambien.

Anyway, this was a decent film for what it is but going back to what I just said, it gave me nothing new to sink my teeth into.

There’s a creepy house, ghosts, demons, a killer doll, some general witchcraft stuff, exorcism and nothing new. This is like a bunch of mundane horror tropes thrown into a blender and then splashed out onto the screen: a gooey, sloppy mess.

The biggest positive for me was the acting. I thought all the main players were good and convincing in their roles. Lili Taylor had the biggest challenge out of all the top stars but she did a wonderful job, worked in a pretty wide range of emotions and temperament and sold the possession thing quite well. I also like seeing Ron Livingston in anything because I’ll always remember how much I loved him in Office Space, almost twenty years ago. But his dramatic stuff has always been quite good too.

This isn’t a bad movie and I don’t want to treat it as such. It’s well made and it looks pretty damn good, even the unnecessary CGI bits didn’t become too much of a distraction. But I thought the cinematography was well done and the film’s tone works.

For someone who hasn’t seen dozens of haunted house movies, this is probably really effective. I guess that’s why it resonates with younger fans so well.

My biggest issue is just that the story crams so many different horrors into this tight box. It’s as if they planned spinoffs from the get go.

At some point, I will probably check out some of the other Conjuring related movies. But like I was with this, I don’t feel a real rush in needing to see them.

Also, weren’t the Warrens exposed as frauds decades ago? But I guess this is based on “true events”. But I think that enough time has past that new moviegoers are too young to even know who the Warrens were. But at the same time, I feel like this does capitalize on selling some bullshit. Sorry, I just hate charlatans.

Rating: 6.5/10
Pairs well with: The other Conjuring films and spinoffs, as well as James Wan’s Insidious series and Dead Silence.

TV Review: Hemlock Grove (2013-2015)

Original Run: April 19th, 2013 – October 23rd, 2015
Created by: Brian McGreevy
Directed by: various
Written by: various
Based on: Hemlock Grove by Brian McGreevy
Music by: Nathan Barr
Cast: Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgård, Landon Liboiron, Penelope Mitchell, Freya Tingley, Dougray Scott, Tiio Horn, Joel de la Fuente, Madeleine Martin, Camille De Pazzis, Lili Taylor, Madeline Brewer

Gaumont International Television, ShineBox SMC, United Bongo Drum, Inc., Netflix, 33 Episodes, 45-58 Minutes (per episode)

Review:

*written in 2014.

Hemlock Grove is a Netflix Original Series. I’m watching through all of their shows in an effort to do a list ranking them in the near future.

This was a much better show than I thought it would be. I was wondering if it would be more like True Blood or more like that atrocious piece of shit Twilight. It was definitely more or less its own thing but aligned on the True Blood side of the equation, in that it was very adult, didn’t deal so much with teenage love, had no sparkly bitch vampires and served up a decent amount of gore.

The early episodes aren’t well acted in some spots but it does improve. The style of the show is also unique in that it goes into the werewolf and vampire, or in this case “upir”, mythos but there is a lot more to the supernatural and bizarre here. It also brings in a heavy science element that makes this show not seem like a redundant recycle of all the other popular supernatural shows that are out right now.

It’s not a great show by any stretch but it is good, at least the first season. The plot thread of the second season wasn’t on the same level as the first, in my opinion, but it still provided enough to keep me interested and looking forward to season 3, when and if it ever drops. So far, season 3 has not been announced.

The first season worked really well on its own and if it had been a one off, it would probably be well-regarded and have created a cult following. The second season takes away some of the magic of the first but it is really a trade off for going deeper into the secrets of the show. I’m fine with that though.

Update:

The show went out with a serious whimper. More like a big bowl of WTF in the worst way possible.

Rating: 5/10