Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Last of Us is actually one of the best HORROR MOVIES of 2013

When I put Naughty Dog's The Last of Us as one of the best MOVIES of 2013 on my Top 10 list, don't laugh at me OK? It really is a cinematic masterpiece when you separate the fact that it's a video game. The setting (post fungi apocalyptic America), the characters (Joel and Ellie are the video game version of Dad and Son from The Road) and the plot which is filled with twists and turns and just pure WTF.

It really is without a doubt one of the best stories to revolve around the survival horror genre.I've played the game and finished it and I was blown away by the emotional roller coaster it took me on. Video games in reality actually force you to put more of your emotions because YOU are actually playing that character.

In doing so, you actually start directing your action sequences to how you want, something a movie could never do. But we're not here to debate movies vs video games. What I will say is that when just the cinematic cut scenes are solid enough to warrant a YouTube full movie cut, it says a lot in that the cut scenes alone can make you care about the characters, intrigue you about the plot and have their fair share of scares.

With any horror movie, you need the BIG BAD> There are actually two enemies in The Last of Us. The last remnants of humanity who have turned into scavenging and stalker as well as The Fireflies, a group looking to stop the epidemic at all costs. Stalkers, Clickers  and Bloaters are dangerous as the infection evolves. The infected make zombies look like a walk in the park.

The performances (done via motion capture) are pretty superb starring Troy Baker as Joel and Ashley Johnson as Ellie. Motion capture is close to acting in a video game as acting in front of a green screen.

Of course this "movie" has only been experienced by only a few Playstation 3 gamers, so the level of exposure is limited than say a conventional movie. But the acclaim the game has gotten has been absurdly positive with making gamers "cry" and just having been gut punched into the stomach in some scenes.

The brutality of the kills by Joel and Ellie makes it pure survival horror and even if you die in the game, it wallops you with some serious game over carnage.

So here is a YouTube version "movie" with all the cutscenes. Sure it's 3 hours (I mean its scenes from a video game with over 10 hours of gameplay mind you) You may be able to get an idea of what it's about, the characters, the plot and some action. Some of the story and dialogue are told while you play so it can't capture that. But it is indeed a great cinematic masterpiece of 2013. A movie that could only been told in a game, rich in a landscape of nature reclaiming America and the morality humanity must hold on to in the most dire of circumstances.

The Last of Us is one of the best horror movies of 2013. And I'm not budging from that statement.

Have you played The Last of Us? Do you think it stacks up against even the best horror movies this year? Sound off and let me know!

Monday, August 26, 2013

You're Next (Review)

You're Next

You're Next (2013)

Directed by Adam Wingard

I won't lie. I've been waiting to see this film for a while. The festival buzz was high and I've been a big fan of director of Adam Wingard for a while since his Home Sick, Pop Skull and his short film type days. After seeing VHS and VHS 2, I was a little worried Wingard's shorts were not up to par on what I knew he was capable of.

But with You're Next, Wingard steps up to the spotlight and shines brightly  like his other film making brethren. You're Next shakes up the home invasion genre with well timed quips, brutality & twisty goodness. It's what I've been waiting for in a horror film all year. A film that's refreshingly creative, viciously brutal and takes its audience for a helluva ride.

I don't know what to call the V/H/S horror troupe made up of Wingard, writer Simon Barret, filmmakers Ti West and Joe Swanberg. Most of You're Next is made of collaborators and actors who been in previous Wingard films. Should we call them Horror X?  Oddly this is an indie horror flick with Lion's Gate marketing. That's saying something.

You're Next does the opposite of what you think the generic home invasion movie will do. Though it introduces a goody two shoes family and a cadre of masked up bad guys it also will explain to us why this is all happening. It's because of this and not a "Because you were home" nonsensical answer that makes You're Next slickly executed and fun. Ill timed humor and some wicked kills also play a part in what is probably one of the best horror films of the year.

Boring Plot-O-Matic

When the Davison family comes under attack during their wedding anniversary getaway, the gang of mysterious killers soon learns that one of victims harbors a secret talent for fighting back. 

Awesome Review-O-Matic

I've watched a lot of home invasion movies. From Them (Ils), Funny Games, The Strangers, Martyrs, Inside to Kidnapped it's always been hit or miss with me. I like the nihilistic original Funny Games. I felt Haneke was saying something. I despised The Strangers and Kidnapped.

And I easily put them into two categories. One where the home invasion is deeply rooted in some sort of violent message. The other where brutality is not backed up by any iota of motive.

You're Next is in a 3rd mixing the two. So what were the ingredients to this masterpiece?
Instructions are below.

15 Min (grab some popcorn and hold on tight)
1 Hr 38Min
30 Min (that's when the shit gets good)


1 secluded house in a the middle of nowhere America
1 dysfunctional family dragging their SO's to a potential slaughter
3 demented, disturbed, twisted, fucked up killers in animal masks
1 Barbara Crampton
1 twist that makes you go WTF
1 other twist that makes you go WTF fuckity fuck...holy mother of fuck
30 gallons of blood and guts

Heaping, oozing, gloroficus blood soaked splatter spoonfuls of the following:

A few arrows in the head
1 sharp object through the head
1 sledgehammer to the the head
1 neck trauma
and more!

Put all ingredients together. Stir continuously until house is soaked and dripping with blood. Throw in twizzler twisters. Bake at 350 degrees until movie makes you say "Oh shit, that's fucked up." Movie is done when you start cheering for the final girl.

Best served cold.

What makes You're Next a winner is the fact that it plays within the stereotypes of the home invasion genre. Got the super wealthy family? Check. Got the pacifist brother (AJ Bowen)? The over achieving brother (Joe Swanberg)? The ditzy sister? All check. Even Ti West makes an appearance that will make your head hurt.

But the standout performance is Sharni Vinson's Erin, an Australian who will make her impact known by showing she's a GIRL that can FINALly show what's what. It's weird getting an explanation of why Erin is the perfect adversary for the invaders but it works so well. She plays her heroine chic so well, I thought they were going to tell me she was a Hack/Slash professional F.G.

Then there's the why. Because we usually don't get why the home invaders do what they do. And in the midst of this chaos, we see who really is eviler when the Big Bad is ultimately revealed. Twisty goodness is great and in extreme doses it works better.

A few cliches are thrown in and as I watched with this predominant millennial generation I could hear the gasps of somebody checking underneath the bed, leaving somebody alone in a room and the sighs once somebody went hysterical. The Generation Y horror fan has been conditioned with these cliches and I could hear the groans and grumbles once these were executed.

But that's when Wingard's brilliance comes in. He slyly executes his "scares" by strategically placing them in moments of lull. The one that comes to mind is when one family member makes a Million Dollar man like sprint that ends with a death Jigsaw would be proud of. It's superbly executed that it borders on laughable. Later, cat and mouse games are in full Stratego mode and they all have brutal mayhem payoffs that make you giggle like a school girl.

All the performances are stereotypically cliched and over the top that only the well versed horror fan might get the satire on display. Wingard seems to play with this dynamic making sure the people we are suppose to hate will die horrible horrible deaths. But it's the ones we have a rooting interest for are where the applause meter is lit up and we oblige happily.

You're Next is the perfect mix of black humor, wicked kills and perfectly timed WTFs. It's a horror film for the generation that expects the horror cliches, archetypes and vicious mayhem but throws in curve balls, LOLs and memorable craziness morsels for them to tweet out.

I've been waiting for You're Next for a long time.

The wait is finally over.

It lives up to the hype and for me it's cemented itself in my Top 10 Horror Movies of 2013.

Now go eat up this fuckin tasty dish.


Some opening steam boobies


See the spoonfuls above

WTF moment

The twizzler twists

The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis

There is great horror coming from Horror X. If You're Next is your first taste, you won't be disappointed. It's got all the elements of Cabin in the Woods meets The Strangers. You're Next warrants repeat viewings, it warrants word of mouth praise and it warrants recognition that horror can always reinvent itself when talented filmmakers, writers and actors can collaborate and decide to create something new.

What's next?


Check out the trailer.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Blackout Haunted House Returns.....with Elements

Straight after they announced they were joining forces with Blumhouse Productions to create a live interactive experience related to The Purge, Blackout Haunted House announced their fall/Halloween event with....

Blackout Elements.

Some of the trailer looks familiar to me, but Blackout usually saves their best for Halloween so who knows what to expect.

Preview tickets are now on sale at the official site. Check out the trailer below.

Blackout Haunted House NYC 2013 Off Season Haunt Testimonials

Blackout Haunted House Reviews and Walkthroughs

Blackout Haunted House Invite Only, Off Season Spring Haunt Reviews and Walkthroughs

Leave any comments/questions on The Jaded Viewer Facebook Page or on Twitter