Howl (2015)

I don’t remember how I came about this film.  I’ve never seen it. But it’s an hour and a half, and sounds like it could have some humor to it.  I understand people are on a train getting attacked by werewolves.  Solid enough premise for me.  Spoilers are upcoming, so if you like, skip to the last paragraph to get my final thoughts and rating.

 

SPOILERS

If you have seen 30+ horror films in your life, then you have most likely seen a film like this.  A group is put in a precarious position that they learn more about as the film progresses and people continue to get killed by whatever the big threat of the film is.  Well, in this case, you have a group of like 10 people on a train and it ends up stopping unexpectedly.  There are werewolves outside and it’s a matter of last person standing.  While the film has it’s moments, for instance, I don’t think I have seen this sort of thing play out with a werewolf, but it’s like a zombie virus in it’s something that is contracted via bite.  The werewolves were very unique looking, which I appreciated.  I need to make a list of critiques, and while there are many, I wish to assure that this is a movie I will see again and I did find it overall enjoyable, but some things need to be said.

How many more times do we need to have the ruthless smart guy that will kill everybody else in order to surprise?  Seriously, that character exists in so many films.  Yes, there are always going to be people who look out for themselves, but they aren’t always going to be men, ultra aggressive, unwilling to listen to reason, or be smart/successful.  If we could get dumb people, or women, or broke desperate people more in the mix for that character, it would be nice.

How many movies do we need where the obvious people are the last 4 or 5?  Pull a Game of Thrones and kill off the main character or 2 main ones and really spin the film on it’s side.  It would be such a nice and welcome change.  Let’s be honest, character development isn’t very important in these types of films, so it’s not a loss to lose out on some guy that they spent 3 extra minutes trying to get you attached to him.  Just change it up.  I am not a fan of a twist for the sake of a twist, but this film was never going to have a twist, so be daring and creative.

In a film like this, if there is a couple, especially an old couple, one of them will get hurt early on.  It’s like clockwork.  It’s a big trope of horror at this point and I get it, but it would be nice to have smart old people who use the young people because the old ones are the smart and wise ones and keep avoiding danger.  See how that little twist in storytelling could completely alter a film?  That’s what I am talking about.  

I also hate when characters refuse to face facts or analyze the situation.  The old woman was bit.  The annoying girl got yanked out of the train.  You are dealing with some shit and some sacrifices may have to be made.  These are facts.  The thing is, so many people in real life would be on the moronic side, so it is kinda realistic, unfortunately.

My final gripe is about Shauna MacDonald and why she was even cast.  Her best known role is the star of one of the 3 most overrated horror films of the 2000’s, the Descent.  She’s not even the star in this and yet is as fucking irritating as ever.  This is a surefire way to piss me off.  There are roles out there for her, but don’t make us watch her as long as Howl or The Descent did.

 

End Film

 

Final Thoughts – A solid movie where a group of strangers have to try to work against a group of werewolves while on a train.  If that doesn’t sound fun, just move on.  It’s that simple.  This is well done, but falls into a lot of familiar traps in films that are similar.  I didn’t hate watching it, but the first hour is better than the rest of it.  It just slows down too much in my opinion.  You expect the final 30-40 minutes to be a great experience, and while it had it’s moments, the lull around the hour mark was draining on me, at the very least, but you may not feel it.  Anybody can watch this film and have a good time with it if you carry zero expectations and just want to watch a relatively simple story.

Rating: 5.8 seems fair to me.  I would rewatch it, but I wouldn’t recommend it to everybody I know.

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Mum & Dad (2008)

I saw this years ago while playing Borderlands 2, I think shortly after it came out, so 2012.  I remember liking it but I never watched it ever again.  I remember a girl gets abducted and it’s a fucked up little film.  Will the main girl make her escape sort of deal.  I’m going to go more in depth and with spoilers moving forward.  If you just want my final thoughts and rating.

 

SPOILERS

We meet Lena and Bridie, and they are cleaning bathrooms.  Birdie seems to be the nicer, more outgoing type, while Lena is the new worker.  We meet Birdie’s brother, Elbie and everybody works at an airport.  We learn that Elbie doesn’t like to talk, Birdie likes to steal, and she has lots of cuts on her arms.  Lena is living on her own for the time being.  At the end of the work day, Birdie lost her phone and asked Lena to hold onto her stolen shit, which causes Lena to miss the bus.  So Lena is going home with Birdie and Elbie.  You can see where this is going.  They get to the house and Birdie goes off to do something, Lena just wants to get going, and Elbie is still not interested in talking.  Lena wanders a bit, gets hit on the head and injected.  And there you go.  From there, it’s pretty much what you would expect.

Lena wakes up and hears screaming.  The door opens and there Dad all bloody and we see a woman on the floor who may be dead or badly beaten.  There’s Mum as well.  Mum explains that Lena lives with them now and that they need to calm Dad down.  Lena’s injection made it so that she can’t talk.  She gets put out again by another injection.  Lena wakes up and she is restrained standing up and Mum is touching Lena’s belly and put a big spike/needle through the right side of her belly.  Geez.  ELbie is jerking off and Dad catches him.  Mum is carving angel wings in Lena’s back.  Birdie stops by to check in and now Dad wants to see her.  Dad has his back to them and is bare ass and jerking off when they enter.  He just cum inside some piece of meat or organ, and he’s still covered in blood.  He lays down the law with her.  In the bedroom, her wrists are restrained together and is locked to like a pulley system.  It’s quite interesting to say the least.  She is a bloody mess though.  

In the morning, Birdie and Elbie wash Lena’s back and damn, that looks fucking terrible.  At the breakfast table, porn is playing, Birdie is using the mirror that she stole from Lena.  Along comes Dad who gets some sugar from Birdie.  Elbie makes a mess bringing in some meat, and Lena thinks it’s a good time to make a break for it.  Yeah, bad idea.  Birdie shows Lena the ropes of sorting through the stuff that they steal from the airport.  It’s actually a pretty intricate system, but I feel like the whole “family’s” wardrobe is in Birdie’s bedroom. Elbie has the shittiest jobs it seems like.  Lena may be thinking that she can get Elbie on her side with some advances, but Birdie says it’s unlikely.  

The next morning at the breakfast table, Mum suspects that Birdie is holding out on what she’s stealing and Lena snages some money from birdie’s pocket, and Dad is PISSED.  Mum is please with Angel (Lena).  Birdie has a temper tantrum in her room and yells at Elbie a ton.  Lena gives Mum a nice foot rub and got her to go to sleep and wants the same treatment.  Dad is so over the top, but he’s funny.  Dad likes the attention and Lena is trying to play him, but he calls her out on it.  By the way, they show airplanes flying a ton as transitional shots.  Like 8 times so far.  

Mum wakes up Lena and Lena reveals that her voice is coming back.  Mum wants to inject her to rid her of her voice, but Lena is trying to prevent that.  Mum decides to give Angel a go without the injection.  Mum wants to get back work on her skin cutting design on Angel.  Lena finds a phone while sorting through things, but Birdie set her up and Mum is pissed when she makes the discovery.  Angel gets her injection and is knocked out.  While doing laundry, Lena notices a window and and Dad is outside talking with a man.  She can’t scream for help but throws something to get the guy’s attention.  That didn’t help, so dad is superfly pissed and has Elbie put her inside a suitcase.  Now Dad wants to mallet.  He pounds on that suitcase like 10 times before changing the scene, but now Elbie has to as well, but the other guy has come inside the house, so he gets an injection from Mum for his troubles.  Elbie just went to fucking town on Lena with the mallet, like 20 hits.  Damn!  They finally take her out of the suitcase, and we see that the guy is there, dead and decapitated.  Dad insists that Lena kisses the decapitated head.  Dad is choking her, but Mum stops him and tells him that Lena is hers.  

Lots of scenes at the dinner table.  Dad has found some boxes of new jeans at work.  Birdie tells Mum that there are new girls at work.  Lena is partially crippled at this point.  Mum tells Angle that she really has to behave because the next time Mum can’t save her.  Lena is attached to the heating radiator.  More fucking planes.  Lena has now been able to slip her hand out of the restraints.  Time to go snooping.  Oh boy.She checks out various rooms, but finds Mum and Dad’s room.  She sees Elbie and Dad bringing a wrapped up body inside it appears.  She goes into another room where a girl is restrained and sleep and the is awful.  She sees all the cuts and scars.  The girl wakes up saying Mommy and Daddy, but then has like a seizure.  She bails and finds a dude on the ground restrained and Lena has to leave him, but not before grabbing a screwdriver I believe.  Elbie snuck a sandwich in to her at night.

It’s now Christmas, and wow, this is just fucked.  There are dead bodies hanging on the wall, there was some wang.  Mum and Dad are dancing.  This is really fucking weird, but cool.  I do love the festive music.  Lena gets restrained to the couch and she bites Dad.  It’s funny in it’s own way.  Elbie is gifted a bunch of porno mags.  The bodies are still alive.  Fucking hell, well at least some of them.  The girl with the seizures is apparently Mum and Dad’s real daughter, and she is crippled in some capacity, has to be fed mush.  Dad talks a lot of shit to Lena.  Mum and Dad get into an argument and it is funny in how over the top Dad is especially.  The fucking decorative crowns also crack me up.  Dad gives Mum a piece of jewelry that he got from the other dude, and Mum offers him something that she whispers while looking at Lena.  Lena also is given a new dress.  Birdie and Elbie bring her upstairs and restrain her to the bed.  Birdie says that Lena doesn’t have much time remaining. Dad comes in and lifts his shirt, shows her what he has for her.  HAHA, this fucking guy.   Lena stabs the shit out of him with the screwdriver.  Mum gets stabbed, next up is Birdie.  Birdie gets it good but puts up a hell of a fight, but gets an iron to the face.  Elbie shows up and just looks on.  Mum and Dad are trying to make their way out to stop her.  It’s still quite a walk to the highway.  Elbie kills the legitimate daughter.  Mum stabs Lena in the shoulder with a knife so Lena goes to town on Mum.  Both Mum and Dad appear to be dead.  Lots of planes, Lena lets out a scream/cry.

End Film

 

Final Thoughts – I really enjoyed how they did the credits.  Far too many films get lazy with their credits and you can have fun with them more often than not.  So this is a really well done film I feel and doesn’t get enough credit in the horror world.  This is a different take on the abduction and torture genre.  I loved the crazy parents and how they had imposed their will on the kids.  Like, we have seen films that cover a lot of these subjects, but I don’t think combined in this type of manner.  The writing was clever at times.  A lot of things made sense.  I wish we could have explored Birdie’s past a bit more.  Did she just come from such a broken home that this seemed to make sense, or did she just have the highest survivability skills of the group?  Either way, this is a film that I would like to see on blu ray someday so I can add it to the collection.  

Rating: 6.3 More good than bad.  Some holes here and there, but that’s okay with me because I didn’t expect much.  Well worth a watch.

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