Thursday, April 8, 2010

Movies I've Seen (Recently): 2 period and 2 evil children.

Ratings determined using a five blood drop scale.

A posse of men set out to recover a missing woman in J.T. Petty’s period horror flick The Burrowers. Expecting the culprits to be a band of hostile natives they are caught off guard when the identity of their true foes is revealed.

Horror has been met by a fresh crop of young directors who are as focused on constructing human relations as they are creating horridness for their characters to endure. (Greg Mclean comes to mind.) J.T. Petty is no exception. However, so much of The Burrowers is spent observing men engaged in futile exchanges that you sometimes forget you are watching a
horror movie. Beautifully shot and interesting in concept the film unfortunately comes off as a bit dull.

A holiday vacation turns into a yuletide nightmare for two families as their children begin to crave more than just Christmas turkey.

This year’s hot ticket is evil children. This effort, from severely disappointing Ghost House Underground, starts out well enough, utilizing a saturated color scheme and subtle soundtrack to create tension, but quickly falls off course. Director Tom Shankland’s inability to manage
action destroys the second and third acts of the picture.

A young couple adopts a 9-year-old girl to fill the void in their lives created via the loss of their baby. The mild-mannered Esther however comes with a bit of excess baggage.

For the first 80 minutes the Orphan is genuinely creepy, admirably acted and competently directed. However, as the picture breaches the two-hour mark, it swaps its sense of mystery and suspense with cheap thrills and laughable revelations. The exposing of Esther’s true identity ranks among the more ridiculous moments in recent horror history. This Bad Seed-style flick may outdo The Children, but offers nothing new to the evil adolescent subgenre.

A grave robber recounts his years of plunder and torment to a 19th century clergyman while awaiting execution in the new horror/comedy from Larry Fessenden’s Scareflix.

Inspired by gothic horror and macabre humor the picture fails to fully live up to either. Still its amusing FX and b-movie zeal will please most horror enthusiasts put off by the glut of recent remakes. And the alien corpse scene is worth the price of admission.

I am an admirer of Fessenden, Scareflix, the Victorian horror pics that instigated I Sell the Dead and wanted to love this movie. While it didn’t quite live up to my lofty expectations, it’s hard not to appreciate the degree of heart and enthusiasm exerted via first time director Glenn McQuaid and Fessenden’s low-budget production outfit.

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