Thursday, December 27, 2012

[Rec] 3 Genesis (Review)

[Rec] 3 Genesis

[Rec] 3 Genesis (2012)

Directed by Paco Plaza

Talk about a knight in shining armor and a chainsaw wedding.

Welcome to Rec 3.

I've watched the Rec series and oddly enough I've reviewed the first 2 flicks differently. Rec I gave 2 spinkicks while I gave Rec 2 3 spinkicks. With Rec 3, I'll admit the trailer had me intrigued. Zombie virus walker chaos at a wedding? Sounds like fun. And that's what Rec 3 Genesis is. Cliched, over the top splatterfest comedic fun, nothing more, nothing less.

The fact that Paco Plaza and Jaume Balaguero have split directorial duties is interesting here. With Plaza's entry we get a some gore soaked splattery AND ridiculousness that is far from the world of the serious horror of the first two. The fact that it is different and has a more horror-omedy tone is refreshing. The one thing you don't want in your series is to NOT be repetitive (See Saw). I'm pretty sure Rec was turning into the Spanish equivalent of that and I'm glad Plaza goes into some chaotic horror funnies.

But it's still cliched, generic and nothing new to the infected corpse genre. It also adds a new explanation to the mythos which I kinda didn't care for. But what I did love was a movie that utilized the shaky cam, cinema verite, 1st person POV in a way that felt natural and in the big twist of Rec 3, Plaza goes back to showing us a movie in a traditional way. Put away those barf bags.

Rec 3 Genesis is a movie refreshing enough to spike the reception's punch bowl but sometimes you want the hard stuff. It's a delicate balance that plays off in a way where at the end of the day you want to be entertained and it does just that.

Boring Plot-O-Matic

A couple's wedding day turns into a horrific events as some of the guests start showing signs of a strange illness. 

Awesome Review-O-Matic

As I always do, let's start off with what the formula for shot on video, POV horror films.

1.) The camera "person" films everything
2.) His friends become part of the video
3.) Something sinister starts to scare them
4.) The film ends with "the final shot" that gets the audience shocked

1.) The camera "person" films everything

It may be the longest opening scene before the credits but at 20 minutes and the climactic shit hitting the fan, it really does set up. We see Koldo (our groom) and Clara (the bride) go through their nuptials before they head off to their reception with their families. Various characters are introduced from both respective families but drunk uncle is taken to a a whole new level and all hell breaks loose.

Koldo's cousin records everything with his HD cam while a Guillermo del Toro lookalike (from Filmmax, a hidden joke) is the videographer. As the couple splits up amid the chaos we're left with a rag tag group including "Royalties" a guest who records songs that break copyrights.

2.) His friends become part of the video

With their friends and families fleeing from the carnage, we meet a variety of Koldo's and Clara's friends but not for long. It's fun to see the douchebaggy friends, Clara's French slut friend and grandparents. We don't get to know them that well but long enough to see who starts to be the people we really should applaud when they get decapitated.

3.) Something sinister starts to scare them

Well scare wouldn't be exactly what they're doing. More like chasing after the guests like they're turkeys on legs. Mass chaos and pure splatter moments are had as necks are ripped, heads are chainsawed, swords get squishy into various body parts and all sorts of mayhem ensues.

They're are some hilarious moments as Koldo goes into knight in shining armor mode literally. He dons a Ezio Auditore outfit and does his best Assassins Creed impression. Our bride makes chainsaws sexy and does some carving of her own.

Somewhere in the movie, priests utter Bible verses and it seems the infected are more religious than we first imagined. It's these religious overtones that play a big part in the escape. I'm not sure why Plaza added this in, but I felt like it didn't really work. We got hints of it in the first 2 Recs but it was full blown here and the mystery of the infected seem to disappear.

But clearly the fun is in the reunion between man and wife and Koldo and Clara kick ass as you know, love conquers all.... 

4.) The film ends with "the final shot" that gets the audience shocked

Which leads us to a helluva ending. I'm not going to say anything about it but it's pretty shocking and crazy WTF moment.


Rec 3 is clearly the lull before the storm. I'm hoping  Jaume Balaguero will go all out crazy with Rec Apocalypse to end this series on a good note. Most horror fans, bloggers and critics are caught in the middle with Rec 3 as it pulls into a totally different direction than the first 2. But you have to admit, from the traditional filmmaking and the POV mixed in and a wedding day that you won't soon forget it really does pack some line dancing hilarity and oozes kegs of blood.

I think the fun in Rec 3 is mixing those two together and somehow the series feels Rec-ish but has something new to offer. At 120 minutes, it's not like we had scenes of drawn out nothingness. Everything in Rec 3 is paced with some scares and funions, the acting is delightful and the gore and splatter are plentiful.

What's not to like? Thank goodness they didn't start dancing Gangnam Style. I would have just shut the movie off right then and there.

 The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis

I got the jokes, the kills were solid and I may mimic that wedding one day. Thanks Rec 3.


Check out the trailer below.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gut (Review)


Gut (2012)

Directed by Elias

If you tease me a movie about the snuff film, it's an urban legend that gets me curious. When you make an intriguing trailer, you've sucked me in.

But when you make a film that doesn't live up to any of that, well you've just pulled off a cruel joke. With Gut, the premise makes it seem we'll see The Ring meets August Underground. But somehow it's a slow burn psychological film instead, which didn't really resonate with all the bells and whistles of what a snuff film could be.

Clearly it's trying something different and being an indie horror film you'd expect a creative approach to the subject. But somehow there isn't much really going on. It's your standard everyday salaryman and his goofy friend stumbling on snuff and going down a rabbit hole of friendship damage and impending doom. Dudes work, eat, fuck (err.. with their significant others) and watch snuff. All ends as it should. With me being bored as all fuck.

Boring Plot-O-Matic

Family man Tom has seen something he can't forget, a mysterious video with an ugly secret that soon spreads into his daily life and threatens to dismantle everything around him. 

Awesome Review-O-Matic

It seems the universal consensus by my fellow reviewers is this is a psychological horror kick. OK I could see glimpses of that in Gut. However, slow burn scenes of repetitive nonsense are not a way to go. Tom is a husband and father who with this wife Lily and daughter Katie lives the suburban life of work and play. Clearly this has sucked the life out of him so his BFF Dan (a horror freak) seemingly injects some crazy into his life in the form of a video he receives via the underground web of IRC chat rooms. 

The video consisting of a woman's stomach being sliced open is mesmerizing to the duo and they soon get hooked. It infiltrates their lives from work, to their relationships and to their friendship. Soon the movies become more personal and people die. Sorry that's the best summary I could do.

First let me say that the special effects are pretty solid. All looks wickedly non CGI-ish and is creepy snuff from the other pseudo snuff films I've seen. Add in the fact we get our standard share of boobs, that's one for Team Boobage. But somehow we get Tom's naked Shamus like pasty white ass in every random sex scene. It's the most awkward sex scenes I've seen bordering on those old Skinemax parodies of horror films.
Add in the fact that most shots are dialogue-less scenes of Tom and Dan staring aimlessly with their concerned faces, slow burn is given a new meaning. I can take long drawn out scenes that go on endlessly, but usually these end in a POW! fashion (See Ti West). Gut draws out that the snuff is affecting Tom but fillers everything with scenes of absolute Seinfeld-esque nothing. Bored out of mind, I was truly tempted to fast forward. 

If this is a psychological thriller about the loneliness of both sides of the equation (married couple vs single guy) it does neither to amp up the tension. I started to realize if this is something about something I missed the point. There are no real scares, no real scenes that made me "Oh Shit!" and nothing that made me think. I'm not sure what everybody else saw but clearly I'm in the minority here. 

Tom slowly loses control but there never seems to be a on the doorstep evil that might be on it's way. If this was intentional, then I think Elias missed a perfect opportunity to explore the evil that may be where we don't expect.The risks Elias takes on this direction of the snuff urban legend is weak at best. You have so many levels to work on and it seems he didn't even scratch the purpose.

But in the end, I needed the movie to give me something that I could take away. And all I got was a punch in the gut. A very weak one at that.


Lots of cute boobs


Slice and dice
Punch to the face trauma

WTF moment

The ending was weaker than Mike's Hard Lemonade

The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis

At least I marked this off my indie horror screener pile. Gut is clearly different but didn't accomplish what I was looking for. Maybe I expected more, but I really should have expected less.

Here is the official site and Facebook page.


Check out the trailer.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Eli Roth's Goretorium (Review)

My travels took me to Las Vegas recently and aside from a big fight I attended and being a degenerate gambler I was able to check out the most talked about haunted house besides the one named Blackout. Eli Roth's Goretorium opened up on the Las Vegas strip in October and the premiere was as what you would expect. A who's who of stardom ranging from Roth's horror buddies to Justin Bieber. But what makes Goretorium different than a funhouse only in October is that it's year round attraction hoping to get the tourist dollar and Vegas horror fans to get their scare on.

Oddly located on the 2nd floor of mini mall, you can't help not notice the Goretorium as you walk from casino to casino on the strip. A bar is on the ready near the entrance and a horror soaked Christmas tree is ready for you to take some possible dead Santa pics. The gift shop is accessible to the masses and it's a mess of wicked Hostel themed props and propaganda. Limbs, legs, oddities and branded shot glasses are souveniers you can walk away with but the haunted house was on my radar from the start.

Clearly I should have had some liquid coverage before I went in as it would have added more to the horror high of attending a haunted house in December. As expected, there was not much of a line or crowd outside the entrance and I figured there wouldn't as people were more in a Xmas mood then a horror mood. But having met my PR contact Alex and a GM Matt, we talked briefly about what was to come. It seems I'd have to go through the HH with only Alex by my side. I should have arranged for some company but part of me wanted to have the Goretorium all to myself.

As we walked on through the entrance, it seems I had company after all in the form of a man obsessed with his phone. A bellhop explains the horrific history of a hotel and a rickety elevator starts our journey in. A fun gimmick of the evils of texting while attending a haunted house caught me off guard and I'll say it's a twist that could only come out of the mind of Eli Roth.

Roth had created a Hostel mini haunted maze for Universal Studios Haunted Horror Nights last year but Goretorium is clearly the uber amalgamation of Hostels 1 and 2 and a few more torture devices that were left on the cutting room floor. The rooms are full of the most elaborately constructed horror sets I've ever seen, equivalent to a "hot" horror set. I walked slowly from room to room hoping to take it all in and the fact nobody was in front or back of me made it 10 times better. Simple illusions were taken up a notch such as a decapitated woman's head being lifted and a torture device involving a wooden grinder machine activated by me seemingly showing a man get grounded into pieces. Lots of old school effects  had me doing double takes and I'll admit, I was dumbfounded trying to figure out how these were all pulled off.

The actors who I had thought would not give any energy in their performances were actually quite at the top of their game. They interacted with me to the fullest extent, answering my questions directly, and redirecting my sarcastic remarks with some of their own. This was amplified when I met a sarcastic bartender who kept spewing out dirty drink names with various combinations. As I pushed him to keep going, he was a Wikipedia of answers giving me Long Island Tea Baggers and such. It's the type of humor that breaks the monotony of jump scares.

The rooms were quite Hollywood-tastic. Animatronics are at a minimal and the CGI is useful where it should be. Chainsaws, body parts and all hub of torture devices are on display to get you to piss in your pants. Various women and men are in all sorts of levels of being eaten, killed and exterminated. This all climaxes at Vegas style wedding set in a chapel and reception. Walking through the aisle, I see a bride and groom on the cusp of saying their vows with a preacher when all hell breaks loose. Suffice it to say I was sprayed with some bloody arterial spraying. The reception was an orgy of zombie like actors feasting on wedding guests. The food covered in CGI maggots and it clearly was a satisfying climax to a haunted house that lasts about 20-25 minutes.

Aside from the HH, there is a great bar called the Baby Dolls Lounge that gives an awesome view of the strip. The drink specials all have horror themes such as Eli Roth's blood which I tried out. There is nothing like ending a haunted house acid trip with some yummy alcoholic beverages.

All in all, I'd have to say I had a fun time checking out the Goretorium. Roth and CEO Robert Frey have a pure home in Vegas and with an agenda of changing themes (be it Christmas, New Years and Valentine's Day)  it seems it will be a main stay for years to come. It's quite a challenge to be a year round horror themed attraction but Vegas could use some fear and scares along with their magic acts and death defying circus attractions.

With Roth's horror intellect, they have created a movie studio equivalent of visiting the sets that made Hostel memorable. If gore, torture and mind baffling effects are your idea of fun, the Goretorium is a must see. The actors I was told are true fans of the genre, who want to amplify the thrills and chills for every brave tourist who enters. From the macabre, to the freaks and geeks, to the horror fan everyman, Eli Roth's Goretorium caters to a variety of horror fandom. It's a gorehound's wet dream come to life, something Eli Roth probably had in mind.

The Vitals
Check out the trailer.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

5 Movies You Need To See Before You Watch Django Unchained

Well you could see a ton of Sergio Leone flicks or the aptly titled Django. You should have already seen all of Tarantino's other films. But my list of films before you see Q.T.'s latest are below. I'll tell you the truth, I'm damn psyched to see Django Unchained as Tarantino looks primed to mix the humor and violence the likes we haven't seen since Pulp. I can see Christopher Waltz and Jamie Foxx playing a perfect Jules/Vincent duo but we will get a DiCaprio that would make Hans Landa and Marsellus Wallace cringe.
But before we see this probable masterpiece on Christmas, here's some films that you should check out before the white man gets his ass stuffed with cotton.

5.) Boss Nigger

The Jaded Viewer says: Fred Williamson as a black bounty hunter in an all white town. And it's a western? Yup. Look at this plot (via IMDB)

Two black bounty hunters ride into a small town out West in pursuit of an outlaw. They discover that the town has no sheriff, and soon take over that position, much against the will of the mostly white townsfolk. They raise hell, chase women, and milk the locals for cash, while waiting for the opportunity to get their man.  

4.) Black Dynamite

The Jaded Viewer says: It's the funniest blaxsploitation spoof in recent years (check out my review) If you're just looking for straight laughs, you need to see this flick. Michael Jai White is hilarious. It's the next generation's I'm Gonna Git You Sucka.

3.) Sukiyaki Western Django

The Jaded Viewer says: I think Quentin Tarantino would agree with this pick as he is in Takashi Miike's crazy take on the spaghetti western. Haven't you ever wanted to see Japanese speak western twang, samurai swords and all out craziness. Who knows? Maybe Tarantino even took a few things from SWD and brought it onto Django Unchained.

2.) El Topo

The Jaded Viewer says: Alejando Jodorowsky's El Topo created the midnight movie. It's so surreal and insanely crazy, the trailer says it's not even a western. It goes beyond it. I loved this film the first time I saw it. Just a pure mindfuck in ever conceivable way. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw some elements of El Topo in Django Unchained.

1.) Goodbye Uncle Tom

The Jaded Viewer says: What the most fucked up movie about slavery disguised as a black power movie? Mondo Cane directors Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi deliver that to you and some. I still can't get that image of a little white girl racing through a field with a little black boy in chains. I'm pretty sure Q.T. saw this flick and said I could make something better. It's kinda messed up, but if you ever wanted to see Amistad but on steroids, this is it.

Do you have any other films you think should be on this list? Chime in and let me know your thoughts of Django Unchained!

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