Sunday, November 28, 2010

Death Bell - Korea

          Director:  Yoon Hong-Seung
          Year:  2008
          Plot:   "After Kang Yi-na is nearly strangled and another student throttled in the restroom, the classroom TV screen switches to an image of top-ranking student Hye-yeong trapped inside a fish tank that is slowly filling with water. A disembodied voice announces that her life depends on the exam questions he will set for them, and that a student will die for every question the class gets wrong."

          I have to say that I found this movie pretty entertaining.  The storyline is pretty good and kept together well with the death scenes.  I wasn't however scared by a single point in the entire movie.  It just wasn't scary.  I suppose this has to do with the fact that the deaths and such were very impersonal.  I was however very upset when one of the guys died, not going to say who, but I liked him.  Lately it seems my favorite characters are always the ones who get it.
          Oh yeah.  The thing that kept me interested was the questions that tried to point out the truth about a girl's suicide.  You constantly try to figure out what is really going on when watching the movie, but this isn't possible until the end.  I love movies that attempt to challenge you, though this one is not possible for you to solve on your own before the ending.  Despite that it was still very entertaining to watch.
          The only other problem I had with this movie, other than it not being scary, was most of the students.  They got on my nerves a lot, but that is pretty normal for horror movie characters.  It was the main two students who held the stupidity and craziness of the others in some sort of balance.  Without those two, the story wouldn't have held up with the other students involved.

          This movie is one that I do suggest, though not really for those who are looking for any scares.  However, though it may not be scary, the storyline is interesting enough not to waste your time entirely.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Ju-Rei - Japan

          Director:  Koji Shiraishi
          Year:  2004
          Plot:  "Japanese school girls die violently after seeing a man wearing a black hood."

          So many said that this movie wasn't all that great, but I decided to watch it anyway.  This movie is the lame version of Ju-on.  It isn't anything special, though it did get two jumps out of me.  It still wasn't scary.  The jumps only came because of things popping out of no where.  The ghosts were rather boring.  They have nothing on Kayako.
          The one thing this movie did have going for it, was the way it was told.  I did enjoy the chapter idea where they went from chapter 10 back to the beginning.  This brought about an interesting aspect to a movie that would have otherwise been a complete and utter waste of time.
          I actually stuck around to the end because I wanted to know how the whole thing started.  The problem was that they don't tell that part very well.  Sure they show you pieces through the news clip and the teachers story, but that's about it.  You never really find out about this black shadowed person, just the fact that its scary and going to kill you if it touches you.
          Not exactly the best plot starting point if you ask me.  I think it may have been better if they elaborated more on the original ghost figure and not focused on the mother and child.  The original ghost started everything, yet as far as I can tell, we never even saw it.

          This is not a movie I would suggest.  Sure it got a few jumps but that wasn't because the ghosts were scary.  Also the format of the storytelling was interesting as it was being told backwards, but it didn't save the movie from being average.

A Tale of Two Sisters - Korea

          Director:  Ji-woon Kim
          Year:  2003
          Plot:  "Two sisters who, after spending time in a mental institution, return to the home of their father and cruel stepmother. Once there, in addition to dealing with their stepmother's obsessive and unbalanced ways, an interfering ghost also affects their recovery."

          So I finally decided to watch this one after seeing it a number of times listed on peoples top Asian horror movies lists.  I have to say that it is a good movie.  I don't really consider it horror; there was nothing scary about it.  Now that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the movie, it just wouldn't be on my top list of horror movies.  More like top list of mystery or thriller movies, seen as I reserve top horror for those that actually scare me.
          Anyways, like I said I did enjoy this movie.  It was really well made and the plot kept you guessing until the end, and I am saying this having known what the truth was about the girls, somebody spoiled it for me.  Even knowing that little plot twist, I was still surprised by the results of the movie.  Even though the stepmother or what ever wasn't as bad as she is portrayed, I still couldn't stand her.  The whole thing was her fault anyway.  She could have tried to save everyone from the pain they go through, but instead she walks away.
          The relationship of the girls is touching and leads to a sad movie.  This is another reason I wouldn't classify this as horror.  Though there have been other movies that have been touching and even made me cry, but have still been horror, but that is because they actually had scary scenes.  Like I said, this one did not have any scares in it for me, but the movie was wonderful.

          This is one movie that has been suggested many times, and rather rightfully so.  If you want something really scary, put this one off for later, but definitely watch it.  The story is so well done, it won't be a waste of your time.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Masters of Horror - Dream Cruise - Japan/America

          Director:  Norio Tsuruta
          Year:  2007
          Plot:  "Absolutely terrified of the sea, an American lawyer reluctantly goes on an ocean cruise to be near the wife of a client, with no idea of the grim situation that awaits them all."

          I think i had expected a little more of this movie.  The story was just not put together enough for me.  Sure we got the basics, but there wasn't enough of anything for you to really care about the characters.  I really couldn't have cared less if one of them died, and it did bother me greatly that only one person dies (minus the already dead ghosts).  I have to say that the ghost was creepy, for the first few minutes.  Then the green glowing got really cheesy, and the movie fell apart.
          This wasn't the greatest movie, but then again it wasn't the complete worst either.  I had some time to kill and this did the job.  It wasn't the best, but the ghost of Sean did save the movie a bit in my mind.  The problem is that the ghost of Naomi is a vengeful spirit.  She wouldn't have just stopped like that.

          Unless you have absolutely nothing better to do, skip this one.  Like I said, unless you are really bored this one is not going to entertain you.  It isn't really scary at all.

Shibyo Osen a.k.a. Dead Rising - Japan

          Director:  Keiji Inafune
          Year:  2010
          Plot:  "Loosely based on the Dead Rising 2 game, Shobyo Osen is a spin-off story that takes place in a world where the zombie outbreak has spread all over the world, including Japan.  Areas with the infected are quarantined from the rest of the world, leaving the uninfected residents to fend for themselves against the horde of hungry zombies. Two of these people are brothers George and Shin, who decide to hatch a plan to escape after they find themselves trapped in a zombie-infested area."

          This movie was released as episodes for online viewing from Capcom.  I watched it on at this link.   There were those who said not to watch it if you were a fan of Asian horror movies.  I watched it anyway.
          I have to say, besides the dubbing and obviously low budgeted effects, it wasn't a bad movie.  The zombies weren't the greatest I have seen, but they also weren't the worst.  The thing that held this movie together for me was George.  He is facing a great obstacle, and I don't mean the zombies.  George is handicapped.  Not exactly your typical zombie movie star.  
          I couldn't stop watching this movie until the end.  I had to know what happened to George, and I have to say, I wasn't expecting the ending.  I know it was likely to happen, but I got so attached to George.  Now you probably get what I mean, but the way it is done, I hadn't expected.

          I would suggest watching this movie, but of course not when you want a great scary horror movie.  The effects may not be the greatest, but the characters are pretty well done.  If you do follow the link and watch it, don't shut it off until the very end.  The credits play before the movie actually ends.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Into the Mirror - Korea

          Director: Sung-ho Kim
          Year:  2003
          Plot:  "Woo Yeong-min retired from the police force after trying to save his partner and causing his death.  He must face both his own fear of mirrors and the mystery surrounding the fire that closed down the mall."

          Again, I have to admit that I watched the remake and the sequel to the remake before having ever watched this one.  Few things about the remakes first.  The first one was "scary".  It didn't get me, though I thought it was a good movie, but it did get my sister quite a few times.  The problem with the first remake was that a lot of it didn't make sense.  I just didn't understand how the mirrors worked even at the end.  It was never explained to the audience about the rules of the mirrors.  Also the whole demon thing was a little irritating.  Once again, you have to face a religion being forced on you through a movie.  If you aren't religious and don't believe in demons, this one just didn't work on the plot level.  Though it was an okay movie as far as horror goes.
          Now for the remakes sequel.  I found this one to be rather enjoyable.  It was hard to keep from laughing when Christy Carlson Romano was in the shower and awaiting her end scene.  It wasn't because there was anything funny about her.  No, my sister was just having a major issue with seeing the sister from Even Stevens naked.  When she finally covered her eyes, I was able to see a pretty great death scene.  The death scenes looked much better in this one.  I had an issue with the jaw separation scene in the first one because it looked super fake, but the death scenes in this one were rather good.

          Finally, let's move on the the original.  I have to say that this one though not "scary", I doubt even my sister would be scared, but it has a great well put together story.  If you have already seen the remakes, this one fills in all of the holes, about how the mirrors actually work.  As an audience we are given the story about the world inside the mirrors and how even if you die on the outside of the mirror, you can still be living within it.  All of this is plainly stated in the movie during a scene with the main character's friend.  Now if I would have been told this during the remake, the movie would have made a lot more sense, thought the whole demon thing would have had to be ditched.
          The plot of this one is completely different from the first remake, with the "ghost" or "spirit" within the mirror being a lot like that of the Korean movie "Shutter".  By this I mean that the spirit isn't like Kayako the Grudge, killing everyone it comes in contact with; no, this one only kills those who it has a previous involvement with.  Well, no more on that subject or I will give away too much (that is if you haven't seen Mirrors 2).

          Definitely check this movie out, even if you have seen the American remakes.  Into the Mirrors will allow you necessary insight into how the mirrors really work.  Even if you haven't seen the remakes, give this movie a watch.  It is a very intriguing story.