Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Movie Review: A Nightmare On Elm Street: Dream Child

After the success of Dream Master, Freddy Krueger had turned into a pop culture icon. He had his own television show, his own costume line, his own plush doll, his own lunchbox. He was definitely turning into one of those cereal box mascots. Heck, it wouldn't be surprising if he had his own cereal box. It was that out of control So the filmmakers decided to bring back the darker, edgier atmosphere of the early nightmare films. It's a quick attempt since the movie was made just a year after it's predecessor. The result: it's way much campier than part 4 and it's not even good, cheesy camp.
Okay, I did like that they bring back the thematical elements of the first three films. The first film was about teen angst/stress, the second was about teen homosexuality, and the third was about teen suicide. This time around it's about teen pregnancy. The story was good to follow but it was poorly executed. To have a serious subject like teen pregnancy is a pretty risky choice, especially for a teen audience who is looking to see a slasher bloodfest. There are some good points to the movie. I thought the opening dream sequence was kind of creepy and unsettling and then there's the Westin Hills scene of Freddy's birth which was totally something out of House On Haunted Hill(1999 version). But once Freddy is introduced that's when everything falls apart. Not to mention the over-the-top hokey death scenes. Most of the time, It felt like I was watching a Goosebumps episode. The elaborate special effects doesn't really save the movie this time around and it only makes it more cheesy.
It could've worked better if it had been more psychological but apparently what we end up with is insipid and uninspired.
Here's The Story: After the events of Dream Master, Alice and Dan finally make love for the first time. But unexpectedly, Alice develops a bun in the oven, which unfortunately, conjures up Freddy Krueger from his grave, invading her unborn child's dreams. Now graduating from high school and dealing with the struggles of teen pregnancy, Alice must stop Freddy from preying on her friends and mostly from possessing her baby.

With the exception of the main lead, like the cast in Jason Takes Manhattan, the cast in this is very mediocre. Considering most of the focus is on Alice, there's barely any development on the minimal cast of characters, along with acting, it's just meh.

Lisa Wilcox is the only saving grace in this movie. She gives quite an emotionally-charged performance blending in with Alice's vulnerability and strength. It's a shame the film is not taken seriously enough to match the emotional state of Alice. Speaking of the character of Alice, she may be not as better written in the last movie but she is still a strong female character I love to admire. The one flaw I see in Alice is how she burst out expository about Freddy Krueger, when in fact, nobody would believe her. I understand she might be under the stress of pregnancy and she's in a vulnerable position, but the writers make her come off like a crazy person and the Alice I know would be middle ground on the situation, trying to keep herself sane and saving the day at the same time.

Dan, unfortunately, is still the most underdeveloped out of all the cast. There is a little establishment on him, mainly about his parents pressing him to get a football scholarship. That's basically it and once we have more development on the character, he gets killed off abruptly. The only interesting thing about him is his death scene.

Greta is the typical beauty queen who is under the constant demands of her overbearing mother who wants her to achieve in the fashion world. That's pretty much all we know about Greta. Most of the film focuses on how beautiful she is and just doesn't make her much of a character but at least the actress is charismatic.

Mark is the typical nerd who is obsessed with comic books and is an avid skateboarder, who has a total crush on glamour queen Greta. That's pretty much all we know about him. Although he tags along in the action with Alice, but there's nothing really interesting about him. But I would say he is totally cute!

And last, there is Yvonne who seems to be the more mature and, quite frankly, the most honest of the group when she tells Alice how she feels. Half of the film, she is quite skeptical of the whole situation until her encounter with Freddy. And you know what, she lives! Although, I think she is at least the most interesting of the cast, I was a little thrown off by her Jacuzzi joke at what seems to be an emotional moment.

The person who has the most development is Alice's father, who actually grown (unlike Elaine Parker) from the events of the last film and starts to kick the habit and get his life back on track.

Oh Freddy. Oh Freddy, Freddy, Freddy. I barely don't have any words to describe how hammy he is in this movie. I wouldn't want to say he's the worst thing in this movie because Robert England seems to be having fun in his role but otherwise I have to say it because of how much he comes off like a campy superhero villain. He seems to be more align to his TV Show personality than the dark, twisted killer he was in the first movie. The producers tried to bring back that aspect of Freddy but it was a point of no return. The one-liners were getting pretty irritating as to where I just shout at the screen and said "Shut up, Freddy!" In Dream Master, It wasn't as bad, but in this it got totally overboard.

Freddy's makeup in this is terrible. It doesn't come close to the awesome aesthetic of Kevin Yahger's makeup. I mean he looks like a sad, demented clown. The whole basic plot of Freddy trying to invade Alice's baby's dreams and posses him was just stupid idea to me. What he's doing is getting the souls he's just harvested and implanting it into the fetus, which is beyond logic if you ask me.
Now to the directing and special effects. Furthermore, the tone is all over the place.


First, the gothic atmosphere was, in fact, creepy and the first few scenes, especially the opening dream sequence was intense. But just as Freddy arrive, things instantly gets goofy and the atmosphere isn't taken seriously anymore.

It's a shame because Stephen Hopskins is a really good director, giving off this avant-garde vibe, which fits perfectly with the dream sequences. Nowadays, Mr. Hopskins has had a more successful career and escaped this movie unscathed.

The death scenes are incredibly cheesy and over the top. It was to the point where it was a bunch of scenes. There was no suspense, no tension, and I just got exhausted. It was too elaborate for it's own good. One of them, I actually like.

And that's Dan's. Like Debbie's death scene in part 4, it's quite cringeworthy, especially when a person mutate into something, this time into a motorcycle cyborg. When I first watched this, it freaked me out and it was so cool to watch. Just see the clip for yourself:

As for the rest of the death scenes, it was just plain silly to watch....

Now on to the trivia. Stephen King and Frank Miller were set to writing and directing this movie, but refused. There was one draft where it featured a character trapped in a place called the coma pit while trying to escape from Freddy which was conceived by splatterpunk writers John Skip and Craig Spector. It would've been way much better and interesting movie  than this one. This was a production mess and I'm not going to hold back. There were last minute rewrites, the crew building sets while filming, there was also a heatwave melting the glass windows, which were made of candy, of the climatic scene. Stephen Hopskins were given 4 weeks of filming and 4 weeks of editing. Talk about stressful and given the final result of the movie, it was probably total hell to go through.
The movie was a box office flop, especially compared to the highly successful Dream Master.
This is possibly the weakest of the nightmare films. The biggest problem of this is it doesn't know what movie it wants to be. The tone is all over the place, the special effects overshadow the movie rather than save it, and Freddy is just plain annoying now.
My last word: It's watchable enough but if you're a nightmare fan, you'll be surely disappointed.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Endless Love

So since it's Valentine's Day and the remake for this movie is coming out in theaters, I thought I would take a swipe at this. I usually review horror movies, but this turns out to be some psychological drama/thriller, which would fit right well in here.
I first watched this on lifetime movie network naturally and I thought this was your usual teen romance starring Brooke Shield, but oh no, it is something way beyond that. Once it gets to the second act, it never holds back. And I'm not going to give out a brief synopsis. I'm going to tell it bit by bit.

So it starts off with Jade and David and they are like so in love with each other. So after the party at Jade's house, they decide to consume their love together. Then this is when things get weird. So Jade's mom, goes down the stairs and catches them and she's like "oh shit" but then decides to sit back and watch. What?! I know it's established that Jade's parents are these opened-minded hippies, who blend in with the other teenagers, giving them free drugs and alcohol and throwing wild parties. But this....this is full on creepiness.
So, la de da de da, love montage. And then we cut to James Spader as Jade's older brother going hunting with David. You see, Him and David are kind of buddies together and I guess that's how he met Jade. This won't last long though. So James tell him he's not too fond of him, dating his sister. After this, however, David constantly comes over to ravage Jade. Her parents notices this yet doesn't say anything about it. Well, of course, the father does but the mom is so blasé about the whole thing. Judging by her voyeuristic urges, I wasn't surprised.
So Jade is having trouble sleeping and concentrating on her studies and suddenly is taking sleeping pills. This is when Dad flips out and grow some balls. He tells David not to see Jade for at least 30 days. Not months. Not years. Just 30 days. He is actually giving this guy a time limit. But turns out he can't wait that long. He just can't get enough of that Brooke Shields lovin'.
So while David is obsessing about her, he chats with one of his high school friends, where the friend brags about a prank he pulled off but suddenly made him the town hero. So David gets the idea that this would win Jade's father approval.
So it's later at night where Jade's parents are having one their wild parties and is shown where her father is making out with a young woman who is presumably a teenager. Gross. David goes around and stalks her. Turns out that Jade is striking up a conversation with her older brother's new best friend. Uh huh.....
So David goes on with his stupid plan and all of a sudden the house burns down.
Cut to court scene and David is sentenced to a psychiatric ward. He goes through "I'm going crazy" montage and sees visions of Jade. He convinces his parents (in the most over-the-top way) that he's not crazy, he's in love! though love and obsession really don't go together.
And therefore, David is released just like that and dad is ragging mad, thinking his punishment wasn't severe enough. So David is out and about and hears that the parents are divorced and the rest of the family is living in New York. So off he goes on his love-obsessed quest. But first he give Mom a chat, she reveals to him when she watched David putting the smooth moves on her daughter, she wanted the piece of the action as well. uh, ew! But David declines and says his heart belong to Jade.
Blah, blah, blah, Jade's Dad sees David walking down the street, and of course, with a younger woman in his arm. Full of rage, he stupidly runs down the street, without looking both ways, and gets hit by a car in the process.

So during the wake of this tragedy, David finally meets Jade again. He professes his love to her but she feels guilty of all the things that happened and thinks they shouldn't be together. So full of passion and desperation, he pushes down the bed and force kisses her, and she goes with it....okay.
So after their love-making and reconciliation, David and Jade are finally happy together....that is until deceased dad's young girlfriend telling Jade's older brother that David was at the scene of the accident. Melodrama ensues. David and big brother get into a fight. And David is carried off to jail. Mom gives advice to Jade about love. Blah, blah, blah. David starts having hallucinations about Jade and is obviously going crazy again. The End.
Wow, what a movie. Was it interesting? yes. Was it any good? No. It's definitely something out of some shitty romance novel but the thick of it is.....

it's actually based on a novel. A best-selling one in fact. Too bad it has an awful adaptation.
Most of the acting was either over-the-top or just plain bad.

At least Brooke Shields tried. I'm not saying she's the best actress in the world but at least she put some effort into her performance. Even though some of the actors like Shirley Knight and even her own mother thought otherwise.

Martin Hewitt, on the other hand, isn't much of an actor. He's a mix of bland and over-the-top. Apparently, He beated out 5,000 actors for the role. It was probably his good looks and nice ass that got him the deal. Well after that, he's been in a slew of B-movies, which fits perfectly for him.

James Spader is the only one who shows promise. Even in a piece of shit, melodramatic crapfest like this.

The only reason the film is well-known for (just a tiny-bit), is the soundtrack and most notably the theme song. But to my surprise, this was a box-office hit in it's day, mainly because Brooke Shields' popularity was on the rise.

So the film went into obscurity for a few years, not even getting a DVD release, until now. The Remake. Well, it seems to me that this is just a Nicholas Sparks Knock off, nothing more....
So there you have it, a sappy 80's teen romance that's different from the norm but still not any good.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Movie Review: Friday The 13th: Jason Takes Manhattan

When I saw this title. I told myself: Okay, now they are seriously running out of ideas. I get why, after seven films revolving around Crystal Lake that they needed to do something differently. So the filmmakers had to stretch out a little more and bring Jason out of it's comfort zone. So since Crystal Lake is in New Jersey, why not take him to the big apple. Was it a bad idea at the time? Eh, at least it wasn't in space or anything, though unfortunately, 13 years later, they eventually did a Jason in space movie. Ugh.
So here is Friday The 13th: Jason Takes Manhattan and it's considered the worst. To be honest, I didn't think the movie was that awful. Don't get me wrong, this movie is bad, along with it's horrible script. However, it could be seen as a "so bad, it's good" thing. But what bothers me though, is that it's a total rehash of the 7th movie. I mean you have the girl with the unexplainable powers, her hunky love interest, the bitchy popular girl, the nerdy guy who has a crush on said popular girl, the jerkass male authority figure, the kindly mother figure, etc. It's the same movie, the only difference is it takes place on a boat to Manhattan. And furthermore, it doesn't explain the supernatural occurrences the final girl goes through and most of the time anything involving Jason and the boat sequences are just confusing.
Although, it's a little more dumber than your usual Friday The 13th movie but at least it's still entertaining in "so bad, it's good" way. I do have a lot of issues with this movie but I'll discuss that later. So let's begin with the review shall we.
Here's The Story: For their final year together, the graduating class of Crystal Lake High (don't laugh) decide to take a boat trip to New York. One of them, Rennie Wickham goes on aboard to face her fear of drowning due to a dramatic event she had as a child. While trying to break free from the strings of her demeaning Uncle Charles who is the school principal and going through typical teenage stuff like falling in love and dealing with the mean girl. But deep down, she is suffering from awful memories. Awful memories involving the imposing and bloodthirsty Jason Voorhees. Her fears soon become real when Jason aboard on deck, causing destruction and mayhem along his way. Struggling to survive a sinking ship, Rennie and crew must escape the wrath of Jason Voorhees just as their on their way to New York City.

The cast is a little mixed for me. They're not exactly bad actors, it's just the performances are so mediocre.

I guess Jensen Dagget did okay but I wish she would put more emotion into her role, there were times where she came off kind of bland.

But on the other hand, I did care for the character of Rennie. Gosh, this girl goes through so much crap. In a flashback sequence, she gets thrown off a boat by her mean old uncle when she was a kid, traumatizing half her life, gets thrown off a boat again by the mean girl, gets drugged and almost raped by street thugs upon her arrival to New York and getting chased by Jason to add more to her worries. Rennie might not be the most badass of the final girls but she is the most sympathetic. She also looks a lot like Jesse Sporano from Saved By The Bell. She got the looks, She got the hair, she got the clothes. It's definitely uncanny.

And then there's Sean played by the very handsome Scott Reeves. Scott Reeves, along with the other actors, was above average but at least he put some emotion into his role. As for the character, the only thing that's developing about him is that he's trying to impress his father who is the captain of the ship.

but soon he becomes the movie's hero and seems to be more well-developed throughout.

Then there's Julius, who is probably the most badass character and is actually will to fight back against his attacker even when die trying.

Of course, which leads us to the most infamous death scene of the movie. Just look at the clip:

And here are the most memorable characters at least in my opinion:

Here is Wayne. Most of you may think Wayne is a stereotypical nerd, However, he is more laidback than most examples and he's just so darn cute! He has a major crush on popular girl Tamara and he's a professional with a camera. That's all we know of him basically. But he's just so darn cute! he looks a little like Matt Damon. Which makes you feel kind of bad when he dies a firey death.


Then we have Tamara's partner in crime Eva played by pre-Xmen Kelly Hu. She seems to be more meek than your usual popular girl's sidekick.

There were times where I felt for her character because I know what it's like to be a teen under peer pressure, especially under the whim of a more popular student.

But her character development is cut short when she is strangled by Jason in one of the most weirdest death scenes.

Then we have J.J., who's time on the film is very short which is sad because she is an awesome character that can play a mean guitar riff but ironically, she gets her head bashed in by her own guitar.

Oh, Tamara. She is actually the most memorable out of all the side characters. She is the true characterization of the alpha bitch trope. Just like Melissa in part 7, she is sexy, seductive, and manipulative. She is actually much more horrible than Melissa. She, on purpose, bumps Rennie off the boat, nearly drowning her, all because Rennie caught her doing some coke. And she didn't even snitch on her. Uh, I think we have a sociopath on our hands. Although, she is an enjoyable character, she is quite the amoral bitch.

So she meets her end in what think is the most intense death scene.

And now we have the biggest asshole of the movie and that is dear ole' Uncle Charles. Ugh, he is possibly the worst. Not only does he have a stick up his ass, constantly complaining throughout the movie, and being unbearably overbearing, he is the reason Rennie is so screwed up. In a flashback scene, he pushes a pre-adolescent Rennie off a boat to try and teach her how to swim while she nearly drowns, and Now she keeps having recurring  nightmares about Jason.

For the most part, he is skeptical about Jason but thankfully Jason proves to him, yes, he is in fact, real and drowns him in a bucket of slime, which is exactly what he is.

Jason is, as always, an indestructible badass, even to the point of swimming from a sinking ship all the way to New York. Surely, Kane Hodder is putting his all into the role, making him one of the more better actors of the movie. Apparently, Jason has teleportation powers and I think it was a way for filmmakers to fool the audience but all it ever does is raise questions. He's here, he's there, he's everywhere, and then again, it makes your head hurt. The design on Jason is actually pretty good. For somebody to be underwater that long, you'd expect them to be a little gooey.

His makeup effect though is hilariously lackluster. He looks like melted mozzarella cheese. ugh, I wished they kept the same makeup in Part 7.
Now let's get to the special effects and directing....

To be honest, the opening scene sort of reminded me of the 90's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles live-action films. I just couldn't take it seriously. I mean, is this a superhero movie or a horror movie?
Some fans have dubbed the "Walt Disney Of The Friday The 13th Films", because of the lack of blood and gore and because of how extremely bright and colorful it is. And at times, It felt like I watching a Made-For-TV movie. But there are some good points. I thought the action sequences were cool, especially the scenes in the sinking ship, things are more at stake and the suspense is well done.

My most favorite moments though, is the New York scenes. It's all in good fun in it's unattainable cheesiness. It also depicts a somewhat realistic yet exaggerated look at New York in the 1980's.
Now for the trivia. The budget for the movie was about 13 million dollars, making it the most expensive Friday the 13th that year. It would've cost more money if the New York scenes were more expanded and since time constraints and budget cost was in the way, it was inevitable. Actually, the additional scenes were going to include the empire state building, the Brooklyn bridge, the Rockefeller center, and probably The Statue Of Liberty, making Jason into this King Kong type monster. Rob Hedden was just a little too ambitious.

Lee Coleman was the original actor to play Sean but things weren't working out because of his lack of acting skills. And according to one producer for being "too gay". Gosh, what an asshole.

DeDe Pfeiffer

And Pamela Anderson, of all people, auditioned for the role of Rennie.

But here's the real interesting part, Elizabeth Berkeley, best known as Jesse Sporano from Saved By The Bell, auditioned for the role of Rennie. So, she would've been in the worst Friday ever and the worst movie ever. Pretty close call if you ask me. She would later co-star with Gina Gershon, Who also auditioned in A New Beginning, in the aforementioned Showgirls.
Now to get to my problems with movie. it never explains why Rennie keeps having visions of Jason Voorhees, especially in his pre-teen form. And isn't she a teenager in present time, why is she suddenly having visions of Jason as a little boy? It's just so confusing. The director explicitly said that he was going for "A nightmare on elm street" feel but it never explains the supernatural structure. So it's a slasher movie, a disaster movie, and a supernatural horror movie. It's just an example of the director being too ambitious. Then there is the revelation of Rennie's fear of drowning in flashback scene. I just didn't like how that all happened in the middle of the action. I mean hello people! there's a two ton serial killer that's like a feet away, there's more at stake here!

And should anyone get a tad emotional over the kindly teacher lady's death? This was a woman Rennie was close to and she doesn't even shed a tear, even though the accident was her fault.

And please don't let me talk about the ending. It was just so weird and out of place. The director explained that it's through Rennie's eyes when she saw pre-adolescent Jason floating the water. Again, it's an example of the director being too ambitious for his own good. This is Friday The 13th, not a supernatural thriller.
The movie was a box office flop, pulling in 14.3 million dollars. Making it the most least successful movie in the series. Boy, 1989 was a bad year for horror films.
So there's Jason Take Manhattan. This isn't the worst Friday The 13th but it's definitely ridiculous and stupid in a fun way.
My last word: It wouldn't hurt to give a watch or two.
P.S. I couldn't get this song out of my head: