HALLOWEEN OF HORROR REVIEW: THE HILLS HAVE EYES 2 (2007)

CAST

Flex Alexander (Snakes on A Plane)
Daniella Alonso (Wrong Turn 2)
Lee Thompson Young (Smallville)
Jessica Stroup (Ted)
Archie Kao (Power Rangers Lost Galaxy)
Jeff Kober (New Girl)
Derek Mears (Friday the 13th 2009)
Jay Acovone (Staragte SG.1)
Jessica Stroup (Ted)

A captive woman—forced to breed mutant children—gives birth to a stillborn. She is then killed by mutant leader Papa Hades (Michael Bailey Smith) for being unable to provide healthy offspring. Later, scientists working in the New Mexico desert are attacked by Letch. A group of National Guardsmen in training are sent into the desert to resupply the scientists, who were working for the United States Department of Defense on installing a surveillance system (implied to be a result of the events in the first film). The soldiers arrive to find the camp apparently abandoned, and outside radio contact impossible due to the topography. When the radio operator, Spitter (Eric Edelstein), picks up a faint distress call, the sergeant (Flex Alexander) organizes a search and rescue mission, leaving behind Napoleon (Michael McMillian) and Amber (Jessica Stroup).

The search party discovers the mutilated body of a scientist in the hills, while Amber and Napoleon pull another dying scientist out of the portable toilet. On her way to join the group Amber is attacked by Stabber (Tyrell Kemlo), but a returning Mickey (Reshad Strik) wards him off. Just as Napoleon catches up, Mickey is pulled into a bolt-hole and killed. At the same time, the remaining troops are attacked by Letch, and the sergeant is accidentally killed by Spitter’s friendly fire. Napoleon and Amber reunite with the group, and Spitter is killed by an unseen mutant sabotaging his rappelling gear as the others attempt to lower him down the hill. With their remaining gear stolen they are forced to try to find another way down.

The remaining troops soon locate their commanding officer, who has clearly become unhinged from recent events. He warns them of the mutants’ plans to capture women for breeding and kill everyone else. He then commits suicide after telling them the only way down the hill is through the mining caves. After the group kills Stabber, Missy is captured and taken into the mining caves by Chameleon. Chameleon attempts to rape her, but Missy fights him off, only to be captured by Hades, who scares Chameleon away and savagely rapes Missy himself. The remaining troops attempt to rescue her, with the exception of Stump (Ben Crowley), who is killed by Letch while attempting to climb down the hill without ropes. After being separated from Crank (Jacob Vargas) and Delmar (Lee Thompson Young), Napoleon and Amber cross paths with Chameleon, who they kill. They later locate a non-violent mutant named Hansel (David Reynolds), while escaping Grabber (Gaspar Szabo). Grabber is killed by Crank after shooting Delmar. After reuniting with Napoleon and Amber, Delmar dies from his wounds, and Hansel leads Napoleon, Amber, and Crank to the exit. Along the way Crank is killed by a trapped crate of dynamite that he attempts to take with him, incidentally triggering an explosion. After killing Letch, Napoleon and Amber find the captive Missy, and all three fight Hades, who they manage to kill as well. The three leave the mines, but are watched by an unknown mutant using their surveillance equipment.

This film went as far as a sequal can go really, the story was pretty good, the acting was as you would expect given the situation the characters are in, the locations are great, the level of gore and gross out scenes was great, it was a fun enjoyable movie horror fans will love it!

 

REVIEW: STARGATE: ATLANTIS – SEASON 5

Starring

Joe Flanigan (Thoughtcrimes)
Rachel Luttrell (A Dog’s Breakfast)
Jason Momoa (Aquaman)
Jewel Staite (Firefly)
Robert Picardo (The Orville)
David Hewlett (Rise of TPOTA)

Paul McGillion in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary)
Connor Trinneer (Star Trek: Enterprise)
Mitch Pileggi (The X-Files)
Kavan Smith (Mission To Mars)
Patrick Sabongui (Power Rangers)
Leela Savasta (Battlestar Galactica)
Sharon Taylor (Smallville)
Rainbow Francks (Aliens Vs Predator: Requiem)
Paul McGillion (The Flash)
David Nykl (Arrow)
Mark Dacascos (Kamen Rider Dragon Knight)
Chuck Campbell (Jason X)
Michelle Morgan (Deep Six)
Robert Moloney (Man of Steel)
Kate Hewlett (A Dog’s Breakfast)
Nicole de Boer (Star Trek: DS9)
Janina Gavankar (True Blood)
Christina Cox (The Chronicles of Riddick)
Apollonia Vanova (Watchmen)
Christopher Heyerdahl (Van Helsing)
Mike Dopud (Arrow)
Chelah Horsdal (Hell on Wheels)
Michael Shanks (Smallville)
Daniella Alonso (The Hills Have Eyes II)
Agam Darshi (Sanctuary)
Sarah Deakins (Andromeda)
Aaron Craven (The Predator)
Alan Blumenfeld (Heores)
David Lovgren (Antitrust)
Robert Davi (The Goonies)
Tamlyn Tomita (The Eye)
Anna Galvin (Tin Man)
Jonathon Young (Sanctuary)
Gary Jones (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Dawn Olivieri (The Vampire Diaries)
Neil Jackson (Blade: The Series)
Jody Thompson (The 4400)
Frank Vincent (Goodfellas)
Steve Schirripa (The Sopranos)
Michael Beach (Aquaman)

Robert Picardo and Joe Flanigan in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Carson Beckett is back for no less than five episodes, and despite heavy use of the Wraith ship set, the stories are good and justify it. The characters are as well written as ever, I really felt the writers stepped it up a notch this season.Jewel Staite in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Robert Picardo is back as Richard Woolsey and promoting him to the role of Commander was a stroke of genus. No disrespect to Commander Weir and Colonel Carter, but in Richard Woolsey, Stargate Atlantis had finally cast its ideal leader. There are also a couple of deadpan in-jokes about his holographic Doctor character hidden in the dialogue, which are extremely funny when you spot them.Joe Flanigan in Stargate: Atlantis (2004)Despite the technology getting more and more advanced, there is less of a reliance on the technology itself selling the story. There is more focus on the characters than before and all the characters get at least one episode where they take centre stage in the story – for example, David Hewlett puts in an incredibly moving performance in The Shrine where McKay is struck down with a fast acting Pegasus equivalent of Alzheimer’s. Very good use is made of the popular Wraith characters Michael and Todd, and the budding relationship between McKay and Keller is a refreshing antidote.

 

REVIEW: THE COLLECTOR (2009)

Starring

Josh Stewart (The Punisher)
Michael Reilly Burke (Lincoln Heights)
Andrea Roth (Cloak & Dagger)
Juan Fernández (Arachnophobia)
Karley Scott Collins (Pulse 2)
Daniella Alonso (Paul BLart: Mall Cop 2)
Haley Pullos (Dead Air)
Madeline Zima (Heroes)

Josh Stewart in The Collector (2009)A man named Larry and his wife return home to find the power is out. They discover a large box upstairs, and are horrified by its contents. They are then attacked by an unseen assailant. Arkin O’Brien is an ex-convict working as a handyman. His latest customers are the Chase family. He is generally well-liked by the Chases, particularly their younger daughter Hannah. While working at the Chase home, Arkin notices several strange insects around the house. After work, Arkin meets his wife, whose debt to several loan sharks is due by midnight. In order to protect her and their daughter, Arkin plans a heist at the Chase home, which houses a valuable ruby. He breaks in, but as he attempts to crack the safe, a masked figure enters in the house and locks the door. Michael, the father, appears injured, and attempts to attack Arkin with a golf club, thinking Arkin is the perpetrator. However, Michael is incapacitated by a trap rigged with the club, and the masked man drags Michael into the basement. Arkin attempts to call 911, but the phone is rigged with another trap, and the windows have been boarded up and lined with razors, making escape impossible.Andrea Roth in The Collector (2009)Arkin retreats to the basement; Michael informs him that his wife Victoria is trapped as well, his older daughter Jill is out, and Hannah is hiding somewhere, and that a gun is in the safe, giving him the combination. Arkin then finds a captive Victoria and has her distract the intruder while he goes upstairs to get to the safe. Upon opening the safe, Arkin gets the gun (which has no bullets) and pockets the ruby. While searching for Hannah, he finds the same box from the beginning of the film. Hearing noises coming from the box, he opens it to find a bloodied Larry, who explains that the masked man is a “collector” of people; he only collects one person in a household and kills everyone else like he did to his wife. For the people he does not collect, he brutally tortures them until death. Horrified, Arkin unsuccessfully tries to escape, while the Collector locks Larry back in the trunk.MV5BNDAxMTY2Mzk4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzIzMjMyMg@@._V1_Arkin goes back downstairs and discovers Michael dead. He goes to Victoria, who had been tortured, and frees her. They try to escape the basement, but after Victoria notices Michael’s corpse, she panics and runs into the Collector, who stabs her multiple times, injuring her, and throws her back downstairs. Shortly after, Jill arrives home with her boyfriend Chad. As the two prepare to have sex on the kitchen table, they notice the Collector watching them. Chad attacks him but is killed when he is pushed into a room filled with several bear traps. Jill is captured, but she manages to make a 911 call before being taken. Using an alarm clock as a distraction, Arkin frees Jill, but she doesn’t trust him and is killed by a trap when she reaches for a pair of scissors. Arkin eventually decides to escape the house, but in the process, he sees Hannah in the window with the Collector coming her way. Refusing to leave her behind, he reenters the house and prepares a trap to kill the Collector with Hannah.0_bLEKXmoIvfeJn6OoHowever, the Collector uses Larry as a decoy, so the trap kills Larry instead. Arkin then sends Hannah down a laundry chute to the basement where she hides. Before Arkin can go down the chute, the Collector attacks and knocks out Arkin. The Collector then takes Arkin captive and brutally tortures him. A police officer responding to Jill’s 911 call tries to arrest the Collector and is killed by the Collector’s dog, but manages to call for backup before dying. The distraction gives Arkin time to free himself, but he discovers Victoria dead and armed explosives in the basement. After killing the Collector’s dog with a flaming bucket and trapping the Collector in one of his own traps, Arkin finally escapes with Hannah. Arkin, seeing several approaching police cars, runs into the road to get their attention but is accidentally hit by one of the cars. While lying injured in the road he sees Hannah being scooped to safety by one of the policeman. An injured Arkin tells a police officer that the Collector was an exterminator also working at the Chase house. The explosives promptly detonate and destroy the house, but the Collector is seen running away from the house unharmed.the-collector-2While Arkin is being taken to the hospital in an ambulance, he discovers that the ruby is still in his pocket. He begs the paramedic to call his wife, but before he can, something unknown suddenly slams into the ambulance, flipping it over. The ambulance doors swing open revealing the Collector, who had escaped from the burning house undetected. After murdering the injured paramedic, he then kidnaps Arkin by dragging him out of the overturned ambulance and locking him in the box before driving away in his van. In a post-credits scene, the Collector is sitting on the box while watching film slides. Inside, Arkin is heard screaming that he will kill him once he gets out; the Collector then kicks the box to shut him up.05-the-collection-071112There are some suspension of disbelief flaws in the film, but I enjoyed the ride too much to really mind in this case. It’s a mean horror film that is strong on mood and takes itself seriously.

REVIEW: PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2

CAST

Kevin James (Grown Ups)
Rain Rodriguez (Austin & Ally)
Neal McDonough (Legends of Tomorrow)
Eduardo Verastegui (Bella)
Daniella Alonso (Wrong Turn 2)
David Henrie (How I Met Your Mother)
Shirley Knight (As Good As it Gets)
Ana Gasteyer (Mean Girls)
Nicholas Turturro (NYPD Blue)
Loni Love (Mother’s Day)
D.B. Woodside (24)
Bob Clendenin (Dude, Where’s My Car?)
Lauren Ash (She-Ra and The Princesses of Power)
Nico Santos (Superstore)

Six years after the events of the first film, Paul Blart (Kevin James) is recovering from several misfortunes. His wife Amy (Jayma Mays) divorced him six days into their marriage, and his mother Margaret (Shirley Knight) was killed after being hit by a milk truck. To feel better, Paul takes pride in patrolling his mall, the West Orange Pavilion Mall. Paul receives an invitation to a security officers’ convention in Las Vegas and begins to believe his luck is about to change. His daughter Maya Blart (Raini Rodriguez) discovers that she was accepted into UCLA and plans to move across the country to Los Angeles, but in light of her father’s invitation, she decides to withhold the information for now.After arriving in Las Vegas, Paul and his daughter meet the general manager of Wynn Hotel, a pretty young woman named Divina Martinez (Daniella Alonso), to whom Paul is instantly attracted. He later learns that she’s dating the hotel’s head of security, Eduardo Furtillo (Eduardo Verástegui). Meanwhile, Maya and the hotel’s valet, Lane (David Henrie) become instantly attracted to each other. A security guard from the Mall of America attending the convention, Donna Ericone (Loni Love), is aware of Paul’s earlier heroics in the West Orange Pavilion Mall incident and believes Paul will be the likely keynote speaker at the event. However, Paul discovers that another security guard, Nick Panero (Nicholas Turturro), is giving the speech.In the midst of the convention, a criminal named Vincent Sofel (Neal McDonough) and a gang of accomplices disguised as hotel employees are secretly plotting to steal priceless works of art from the hotel and replace them with replicas, then sell the real ones at auction. In the meantime, Paul has become overprotective of Maya after discovering her flirting with Lane and spies on their conversations. He is later mocked by Eduardo for his lack of professionalism in an event where hotel security was notified when Maya went missing. In an ensuing argument with her father, Maya boldly claims she’s attending UCLA despite Paul’s wishes that she remain close to home at a junior college.At the convention, Paul, Donna, and three other security guards, Saul Gundermutt (Gary Valentine), Khan Mubi (Shelly Desai), and Gino Chizzeti (Vic Dibitetto) check out the non-lethal security equipment on display. Later, Paul finds Panero drunk hitting on a woman at the bar. Paul attempts to defuse the situation and Panero passes out, giving Paul a chance to be the event’s speaker. He contacts Maya asking her to attend, but he learns that she’s at a party with Lane. As Paul prepares his speech, Vincent and his cohorts put their plan into motion. Maya absentmindedly walks into the midst of the heist and is taken hostage. Lane is kidnapped as well while searching for her. Paul gives a rousing speech that moves everyone at the convention, as well as Divina, who inexplicably finds herself becoming more attracted to Paul with each passing moment. Following the speech, Paul learns about Maya and Lane’s situation and rushes to help but passes out due to his hypoglycemic condition that has plagued him for years.After recovering, Paul is able to take down several of Vincent’s thugs and gathers intel on the group’s intentions. Using non-lethal equipment from the convention, he is able to take out more of Vincent’s crew. Meanwhile, Maya and Lane overhear Vincent adamantly refusing an oatmeal cookie due to a severe oatmeal allergy. Working with a team – Donna, Saul, Khan, and Gino – Paul is able to clumsily dismantle Vincent’s operation, with Maya severely incapacitating Vincent by rubbing oatmeal-infused concealer on his face. Afterward, Paul convinces Divina that her attraction for him is misplaced, and Eduardo is with whom she should really be. Paul also accepts Maya going to UCLA, funding her tuition with the reward money he obtained from Steve Wynn for stopping Vincent. After dropping off Maya at UCLA, Paul falls in love with a passing Sheriff’s Deputy who reciprocates his advances.There were plenty of scenes that will have both kids and adults laughing together. Not as good as the first but if you just looking a few laughs on  a slow night, then you will enjoy this.

REVIEW: IZOMBIE – SEASON 2

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MAIN CAST

Rose McIver (Power Rangers RPM)
Malcolm Goodwin (The Bellman)
Rahul Kohli (Happy Anniversary)
Robert Buckley (Killer Movie)
David Anders (Alias)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Steven Weber (2 Broke Girls)
Molly Hagan (No Good Nick)
Nick Purcha (Cold Zone)
Adam Rose (IUp In The Air)
Leanne Lapp (Grace Encounters 2)
Bryce Hodgson (Kid Cannabis)
Carmen Moore (Arrow)
Robert Knepper (Cult)
Justin Prentice (13 Reasons Why)
Carrie Anne Fleming (Supernatural
David Starzyk (Veronica Mars)
Brian Markinson (Tribal)
Aly Michalka (Two and a Half Men)
Serge Houde (50/50)
Ona Grauer (V)
Lucia Walters (Stargate Atlantis)
Anne Marie DeLuise (Smallville)
Raphael Sbarge (Once Upon A Time)
Jessica Harmon (The 100)
Robert Salvador (Arrow)
Eddie Jemison (Waitress)
Steven Williams (21 Jump Street)
Rick Fox (Oz)
Kevin McNulty (Timecop)
Natalie Brown (Bitten)
Emy Aneke (The Predator)
Greg Finley (The Flash)
Brooke Lyons (2 Broke Girls)
Anna Galvin (Tin Man)
Ben Lawson (No Strings Attached)
Lee Garlington (Cobra)
Daniella Alonso (The Hills Have Eyes II)
Fiona Vroom (Power Rangers)
Kristen Bell (The Good Place)
Colin Lawrence (Watchmen)
Patrick Gallagher (Glee)
Bradley Stryker (Smallville)
Michael Kopsa (Fantastic Four)
Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars)
Kacey Rohl (Arrow)
Genevieve Buechner (Caprica)
Ali Liebert (Wonder)
Zak Santiago (Shooter)
Chasty Ballesteros (The Internship)
Sarah Grey (The Order)
Wesley MacInnes (Power Rangers)
Andrea Savage (Veep)
Ken Marino (Agent Carter)

Consistently offering clever, witty and fun episodes, iZombie solidified itself as one of the most entertaining series on TV in its second season. Rob Thomas and Diane Ruggiero-Wright had already created an offbeat yet inviting world in Season 1 and in Season 2 they built upon it, putting the characters into more intense and involving situations, all while still maintaining the show’s crucial, knowing sense of humor.The cast continue to be one of the most likeable you’ll find, anchored by the excellent Rose McIver. Okay, it’s one of the show’s reaches that pretty much every brain Liv eats is a very focused, specific type of person, but that’s just part of the deal here. And it gives McIver so much to work with, as she goes all in playing Liv taking on personas as varied as a coach, a stalker, a costumed vigilante or a tough stripper. Every week, McIver is given something different to play and she consistently nails it, with ongoing mileage gotten out of how out there and uncharacteristic Liv gets, depending on her latest brain meal.After his heartbroken ex-fiancé character take a surprising (and awesome) turn at the end of Season 1, Robert Buckley’s Major got a great storyline in Season 2, as he found himself working for Vaughn Du Clark (Steven Weber), tasked with assassinating zombies – all while actually locking them up instead, which put him in a very precarious position both with Du Clark and the cops and the FBI, who were getting closer and closer to him for his actions in both Season 1 and 2.The fact that those investigating Major’s crimes were Clive (Malcolm Goodwin) and his FBI partner/love interest Dale Bozzio (Jessica Harmon) only increased the tension, even while Clive and Dale made a great pairing – with Harmon effortlessly fitting in on the show, as the somewhat goofy Dale provided a great foil for the somewhat stoic Clive. And in the midst of this, having Clive begin to slowly notice the things that were off about Liv was continually intriguing, since it was inevitable that Clive would one day find out The Secret.Blaine (David Anders) in the meantime had to adjust to life as a human again – for awhile at least, as he never kept his nose clean and eventually became one of the undead again, with Anders always bringing a wonderfully quirky/funny approach to the character. McIver and Rahul Kohli continued to be a delightful duo in all the scenes between Liv and Ravi and Kohli shined throughout the season, though I do hope Season 3 can perhaps give Ravi more of his own storyline at some points beyond the ongoing search for a cure or the burgeoning love triangle between Ravi, Peyton (Aly Michalka) and Blaine. The end of the season, as Ravi began to suspect Major was up to no good – and their big confrontation about it – showed how strong it can be to use the usually comic presence of Ravi in a dramatic manner that would be interesting to explore again.As Season 2 progressed, one really strong element was how it began to bring together several storylines. We began to see Major’s growing interaction with Blaine begin to bring him even more in focus as a suspect for Dale and Clive, while Peyton’s return — it was good to see Michalka, who also fits in great with this cast, get more to do — had her wrapped up with Blaine (in more ways than one) and helping lead us to a new villain on the show, Stacey Boss (Eddie Jemison).

Best of all, the “brain of the week” storylines began to becoming increasingly tied into the main stories as well. And yes, this meant sometimes you had to accept a bit more coincidence on the show, but it still was exciting and gratifying to see how all the different elements were intersecting in different ways and how Liv could learn new info thanks to a new murder victim connected in ways that were sometimes not apparent on the surface.When it came to Big Bads, Vaughn Du Clark certainly delivered. Stephen Weber seemed to be having a ball in the role and was delightfully awful as the energetic, confident mega-douche of a sports drink company CEO. He was also given a great foil in Gilda (Leanne Lapp), his daughter, who was just as corrupt as her dad. Gilda has no qualms about manipulating Major, Liv or anyone else and Lapp brought just the right attitude to the character – even as we saw just how awful Du Clark was as a dad, giving us a tinge of sympathy, or at least understanding, about why she was the way she was, even as it was clear she needed to be stopped. The season also ended in an epic, satisfying manner, with Clive finally finding out the truth, an all-out “Romero Zombie” attack and both Du Clark and Gilda being taken out – all while we met a huge new player on the scene that looks to be upending the show in a huge way.Nearly every week, iZombie continued to deliver in its second season and the show easily overcame any sophomore slump worries. The creators and cast seem to know exactly the right  tone to go for here, offering up a show that has a fun, accessible vibe but can get suitably intense, dramatic and gory when need be. When the CW gave all of their series early renewals last year, iZombie was one of the ones I know I was celebrating the most. Bring on Season 3!