Forget about Freddy and Jason, a new slasher will haunt your nights. Lake Alice – movie review

Yes, it will. Lake Alice – a crowdfunded slasher flick directed by Ben Milliken – won’t let you catch sleep anymore.

Why? No, not because it’s scary or unsettling or disturbing. Instead, Lake Alice will keep you wide awake wondering how on earth it got made.

lake alice pic1Recently released straight on Amazon and Netflix, this ‘thing’ tells the story of a Californian family – mom, dad, young daughter and her boyfriend/fiancé – that ends up having Christmas holidays in the mountains being hunted down by two masked killers. As if it really matters…

In fact, the film is so horrendous that doesn’t even deserve a regular review, instead I tried to imagine the making-process behind Lake Alice by creating a hypothetic conversation between the director and the screenwriter (Stevie Jane Miller).

Milliken: Stevie, this material looks awesome! I can’t wait to start filming the movie!

Miller: I know, I put a lot of effort in it. It took me an overall of four hours to write the script… although I played Clash of Clans while writing it.

Milliken: Oh, that’s why there are so few scenes to film. I could fill the gaps and make for a feature-length movie?

Miller: Mmmm… that’s why I wrote 10 out of 12 pages on character development, where nothing else happens of any interest.

Milliken: If you want to call it ‘character development’… it’s just a series of random encounters between the main characters and other people living in the town. Which, by the way, don’t carry the plot along whatsoever.

Miller: Whatever. At least we can use those moments as fillers.

Milliken: Not really. Even when the action kicks off, I haven’t got enough material to work with.

Miller: Oh, well, then just take some amazing landscape shots.

Milliken: I don’t know how to do it.

Miller: What? Are you not supposed to be a director?

Milliken: Well, I filmed a wedding once, so I figured I would be able to film a horror movie.

Miller: Sounds like quite a good CV to me. Okay, what do we do then?

Milliken: I’ll just take absurdly elongated shots of car lights, basements, curtains and woods. To be fair, my strength is the action scenes!

Miller: Alright! How are you going to film them?

Milliken: Okay, listen. I am going to film the killer from behind his victims while he stabs them slowly and with no sense of urgency.

Miller: Sounds good. I don’t know how to write about brutal killings, so I might just as well let you do your stuff.

lake-alice-2017Milliken: I know what I am doing. Also, get ready for this, the killers will be revealed to be the guy who was in love with the main girl, backed up by his insane mother!

Miller: It seems like a predictable plot twist to me, though.

Milliken: No no no! Because I will fake the guy’s death and, only at the end, I will reveal that he wasn’t a victim but one of the fillers all along!

Miller: That’s pure genius!

Milliken: Wait, wait! The last shot, after the serial killers will be murdered by the main girl’s mother out of the blue and with no rational explanation whatsoever, will show another serial killer hiding in the bushes… to hint for a sequel!

Miller: God Ben! This will make us rich and famous! Let’s give a look to the final product before telling the production company we are ready to release the movie.

1 HOUR AND 12 MINUTES LATER

Miller: Sorry Ben, I fell asleep. How was the film?

Milliken: Crap, Stevie! I’ve done the same! Well, it must have been good, let’s release it!

 

Needless to say, Lake Alice turned out to be a train wreck, one of the worst slasher ever made. Do not watch it guys. Cheers!

Advertisements

The latest 80’s creature-feature exploitation is… a bloody mess! The Void – movie review

The Void is a Canadian low-budget horror movie directed by Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie. Kostantski has lately made a name for himself due to Astron-6, a small company known for producing 80’s-centric, independent movies that often combine horror with comedy and feature monsters and supernatural creatures.

The Void instead, is a departure from the usual comedic tone, being a straight-up horror film where gore and blood are utilised to scare more than for pure entertainment’s sake.

void_4guide__large-e1474646262477.jpgThe plot revolves around a police officer who, backed up by a group of random people, has been trapped in a hospital by a gathering of hooded cultists after rescuing a severely wounded dude who survived a bloody massacre. The group soon discovers that the hospital has been inhabited by grotesque creatures, which the mysterious cult has something to do with.

I had to re-watch it twice in order to write this review, the reason being the fact that The Void has received a quite good critics consensus, despite making me rather disappointed and indifferent. After a second view, I stick to my opinion, here’s why.

Although the movie presents itself as nothing more than an 80’s practical monster movie exploitation, it reminds me of a rip off from Event Horizon (1997) and John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982). Unfortunately, The Void hasn’t got the same claustrophobic atmosphere of the Paul W. S. Anderson’s movie nor the impact or the amazements of Carpenter’s masterpiece.

Even though I can’t help but respect the effort put into the practical effects of this flick, the use of colours, lighting and camera work make them displeasing, not to say frustrating. Indeed, the stroboscopic lights and the shaky-cam make for a nauseous experience, where the viewers can’t enjoy the scenes as they should. After all, gore and violent killings are what this movie is all about.

images.jpgYet, the characters don’t help the script – which, by the way, is quite dull and nonsense as well – by providing over-the-top, unreliable performances, also affected by poor cast choices. Therefore, an already bad writing is worsened by characters that are everything but compelling, especially in regards to the lead actor played by Aaron Poole.

Despite being slightly off-putting and even scary at times, The Void overly relies on gore for the sake of being gory and gruesomeness for the sake of being gruesome. All in all, it’s a bloody mess where even the good sequences get ruined by the poor direction and cinematography.

In addition, everything looks generic and bland, from the photography to the acting, from the look and feel to the score. In general, this is a big missed opportunity; much more could be done with a claustrophobic location, a creepy cult and a terrorising creature that develops from human bodies.

Although I’m not going to spoil the ending, I must say it looks dumb and unnecessarily open to interpretations. Such a cheap movie, with no room for deeper meanings and further evaluations, should have ended with a blast, in an over-the-top, amazingly exaggerated way – à la Braindead (1992), for example.

I sincerely suggest not to see this flick, it’s not worth your time and money. Nevertheless, if you want to give it a chance because nearly everybody seems to enjoy it, go ahead, it can’t harm. Cheers!

 

Another urban legend turned into film. The Bye Bye Man – movie review

The Bye Bye Man is written by the long-time screenwriter for TV series Jonathan Penner and directed by his wife Stacy Title, who’s responsible for a bunch of masterpieces such as The Greatest Show Ever (2007), Hood of Horror (2006), Let the Devil Wear Black (1999) and The Last Supper.

Sorry, what? You guys have never heard of them? Well, I can honestly tell you you’re not missing out on these ones.

Unlike those movies, though, The Bye Bye Man has already grossed more than 24 million dollars worldwide on a small budget of slightly more than 7 million. The film tells the story of a bunch of college students who, after having rented a new house where partying and drinking alcohol, discover a caption on a drawer which frenetically repeats the sentence: “Don’t say it, don’t think it” in regards to the so-called Bye Bye Man. Consequently, shit hits the fence and everybody is basically screwed.

Honestly, this movie is a compilation of “WTF?! moments”, which made me wonder, at first, if The Bye Bye Man is a “so bad, that it’s good” kind of deal or if it’s simply awful. After pondering on it, I opted for the latter.

There is an overabundance of frustrating and nonsense stuff to consider this flick entertaining – and by that, I mean entertaining in a very specific and laughable way.

THE BYE BYE MANFor instance, the characters are so conventional and bland that I started to root for the villain half way through the movie. The acting is also ridiculously over-the-top and extremized; everybody is on the same high level, as they were on drugs when director and cameramen shot the scenes.

Yet, the story makes no sense whatsoever. Now, I understand that horror films often require suspension of disbelief from their audience, but they still should make sense within the story they aim to deliver. The script for The Bye Bye Man is senseless and contradicts itself continuously.

Therefore, the backstory and the ending are vastly disappointing and useless to answer the questions that the director tries to insert in the movie.

Bye Bye Man 2By far, the best part of the flick – actually, the only tolerable aspect of it all – it’s The Bye Bye Man himself, whose makeup and style are highly effective and threatening. Still, they manage to show him on screen only for a couple of brief moments where he always appears with a CGI demoniac dog who is as frightening as a pet made of balloons.

Bye Bye Man TrainHowever, if you still want to check out this movie be sure to pay careful attention to a couple of sequences specifically: the library one, the old-woman-catching-fire scene, the song-in-the-car moment, the winking sequence and the overabundance of train’s sounds for apparently no explicable reason. These scenes are absolutely hilarious, although in an awkward, accidental way.

Nevertheless, wasting your money and your time for a few moments in an otherwise crappy movie is not worth it. This thing is already grossing way more than it should. And if you really want to enjoy the WTF?! scenes, just look them up on YouTube, I’m sure somebody will upload them shortly. Cheers!