Sunday, June 29, 2008

Scantabuviews: Shaky-cam Edition

I watch a shit-ton of bad horror movies. In order to make the world a better place I review them to better help you, the horror movie fanatic, to make good bad horror decisions.

So what did I watch this week? Let's begin!


Yep, right out the bad horror gates is a really expensive horror movie with a high level of CGI directed as if it were a low-budget Indy film.

Basic premise: Extremely attractive group of successful twenty-somethings hang out together in New York at a big party. One guy is in charge of recording the party on a hand-held camcorder. Then a 40-story Godzilla monster appears and smashes everything in sight. Camcorder guy tapes it all Blair Witch-style.

Does it work? Sure. The actors ain't too bad, compared to what I'm used to with these kinds of movies, but then again they're getting paid an order of magnitude more money than those in the 'spring class project' horror movie realm, so they should be fair-to-good actors. Plus there is more than the one monster/creature in the movie so there's a lot of room for tension even when they're hiding from the big bad, though the protagonists do always seem to be within three square blocks of the Godzilla beast throughout the movie.

Its got the monster tension of the original Jurassic Park, which was a really fun movie to watch, though this one doesn't promise family-friendly deaths (Hey kids look! The T-rex ate the stuffy lawyer, Ha ha ha!). Most of the protagonists do stupid stuff that you'd never think you'd do in real life, but that's what bad horror is all about and why we watch it. Also, this movie also has nearly Transformers-level military battles, meaning that you've got army dudes wildly shooting bazookas every which way throughout the movie, which I wholeheartedly endorse.

Final analysis: Six Mothras and a Godzilla Junior out of Seven King Ghidorahs! Go watch it!

Diary of the Dead

George Romero is back from Land of the Dead with one-sixteenth the money! Hooray!

Basic Premise: This movie is about a group of college kids (*groan*) shooting a horror film for class (*yawn*) in a spooky forest. After spending far too much time in the forest arguing about their particular problems with eachother (I guess this is character exposition?), they hear about the zombie outbreak over the radio and decide to head back to campus to see whats going on.

The whole movie is again shot in Blair-Witch style, only in this one they really only have the budget for the one camcorder. All the iconic college character classes are present: the athlete, the film geek, the computer nerd, the southern gal, the tough Jesse Spanno gal, and the drunk english professor. And they all give a Sci-Fi channel original movie level performance, which is to say, very craptacular.

This movie movies really, really slow. When the zombies do show up they are in fact legit Night of the Living Dead zombies, but by that time you don't even really care, you just want the college kids to die. Especially the jackhole with the camera. And in order to deal with the problem of making the plot move forward in a medium that requires the camera to be involved with the action, they take the route of a lot of loud noises just off-screen and then exposition by the actors (usually covered in a new spray of blood) about "what just happened" and "what the camera guy just missed." There are some sweet old-school Savini-style zombie deaths, but they don't make up for the 70-year old college professor shooting zombies (off camera) with a compound bow and acting cool about it.

This movie makes me sad Romero was involved, though I'm glad he's still working at least. And its better than The Dead Hate the Living, if that means anything to you.

Final analysis: Rotten and falling apart. Avoid if you aren't a hard-core zombie movie fan! If are a hard-core zombie movie fan, then there's probably something in there for you about the fall of society and how the National Guard always end up being dicks in zombie movies.