I’m a big believer in keeping your expectations in check. If you let them run wild, chances are you’re going to end up with a big ol’ meaty wad of bitter disappointment lodged in your gut. I didn’t heed my own advice this week, and now I’m going to complain about it for a moment. Sorry.
Here they are, in no particular order.
For a lot of people, the “found footage” subgenre is the lowest form of horror entertainment. The jump scares, the nauseating camerawork, the complete lack of originality — it’s the cheapest and easiest way to lure large groups of teenagers into darkened theaters all across the globe. I, however, have an endless love for these flicks, and am quick to forgive their collective shortcomings whenever someone starts cutting them down. Writer/director Fernando Barreda Luna’s 2010 shocker “Atrocious” is one exception to that rule. Unless you happen to enjoy watching a video of someone walking through a hedge maze for roughly 60 minutes, there’s really nothing to enjoy here. The supposed “twist” is too easy; had the filmmakers opted to keep things ambiguous, perhaps I could have defended the film’s tendency to meander. Most of the scares are predictable, and none of them are effective. Given it’s penchant for pointless wandering, “Atrocious” could be considered the “Gerry” of the horror genre. Gus Van Sant is probably extremely pissed that someone beat him to the proverbial punch. Not worth your time.
Early buzz surrounding Tommy Brunswick’s “Exit 33” was surprisingly positive, effectively conning me into checking out this brainless no-budget slasher against my better judgment. I should have trusted my gut, as the film is yet another example of why availability of cheap digital cameras are slowly killing the film industry. The film takes a very basic premise — a serial killer murders the scores of unfortunate females who wander into his run-down gas station — and turns it into one long, repetitive bore. The story is essentially worthless; the plot is nothing more than a dodgy construct used to hang a series of limp and lifeless murder sequences. Kane Hodder’s name alone will lure in plenty of business for “Exit 33”, a gimmick that is used over and over again these days. Take a seasoned horror icon, stick him in an otherwise unremarkable motion picture, and watch the money roll in. I’ll never understand why filmmakers are content to tell the same story over and over again. Even if you adore straight-to-video slashers, I doubt you’ll find much to enjoy here. My advice: Take the detour. Avoid “Exit 33”.
The Violent Kind
When I read the description of The Butcher Brothers’ latest genre endeavor “The Violent King”, I got excited. Rowdy bikers? Supernatural forces? Rockabilly assholes? Hot damn — sign me up for some of that crap. What I got, unfortunately, was a mildly entertaining supernatural thriller posturing as an edgy, visceral excursion into the world of violent horror. Besides watching scream queen Tiffany Shepis do her Linda Blair impression for a few minutes, the majority of the film was entirely underwhelming. It also contains one of the lamest scenarios in the genre: the “you can’t see me hanging on the ceiling” trick, a device that irritates me to no end. Am I the only one who notices what’s hanging above them when I walk into a room? Give me a break. Had Stephen King envisioned “Sometimes They Come Back” with bikers and rockabilly punks, you’d end up with “The Violent Kind”. Is that a compliment, you ask? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure. The only thing I know is that the film didn’t really deliver on the rowdy bikers, the supernatural forces, or the rockabilly assholes. And that’s disappointing.