REVIEW: PIRANHA 3DD

CAST

Danielle Panabaker (The Flash)
Matt Bush (Adventureland)
Katrina Bowden (30 Rock)
David Koechner (Anchorman)
Chris Zylka (The Secret Circle)
Gary Busey (Predator 2)
Christopher Lloyd (Back To The Future)
Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible)
Adrian Martinez (A Perfect Murder)
Paul Scheer (Year One)
Clu Gulager (The Tall Man)
Jean-Luc Bilodeau (LOL)
Megan Tandy (Teen Wolf)
Eli Roth (Inglourious Basterds)
David Hasselhoff (Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

A year after the massacre on Lake Victoria by prehistoric piranhas, an eradication campaign has left the lake uninhabitable, and the town itself has been largely abandoned as a result of the drying-up of the lake. Meanwhile, at Cross Lake, two farmers (Gary Busey and Clu Gulager) search the waters to recover the body of a dead cow. Piranha eggs that have been laid inside the cow hatch, and the farmers are killed by the swarm, but before they both die, one farmer pops out of the water, bites the head off one of the piranhas and spits it into the air before sinking back into the water.

Maddy (Danielle Panabaker), a marine biology student, returns home for the summer to the waterpark she co-owns. She finds to her horror that the other co-owner, her step-father Chet (David Koechner), plans to add an adult-themed section to the waterpark with “water-certified strippers”, and re-open it as “Big Wet”. At a party at the waterpark that night, Maddy encounters several old acquaintances, including her policeman ex-boyfriend Kyle (Chris Zylka) and Barry (Matt Bush), who has secretly had a crush on her since grade school. She also runs into two of her close friends, Ashley (Meagan Tandy) and Shelby (Katrina Bowden). Shelby and her boyfriend Josh (Jean-Luc Bilodeau) go skinny-dipping in the lake, where a piranha makes its way inside her vagina. Meanwhile, Ashley and her boyfriend Travis begin to have sex in their van, but Ashley accidentally trips the handbrake with her foot, causing the van to roll into the lake. Travis, handcuffed to the van during foreplay and unable to escape, is devoured while Ashley, on the roof of the van, calls for help. With no one around to hear her cries, the van sinks into the lake and she is eaten alive by the killer fish.

The next day, Maddy is consoling Shelby about their missing friends. While sitting on a jetty, they are both attacked by a swarm of piranhas. They manage to kill one, and Maddy, Kyle and Barry take it to marine expert Carl Goodman (Christopher Lloyd) to examine. He informs them that the piranhas may be moving via sewage pipes and underground rivers between lakes, attracted by chemicals involved in swimming pool cleansers that match their spawning routes. However, the wider world wouldn’t listen to his theory that the fish could evolve to become terrain-viable. The trio return to the lake, where they establish that the piranhas cannot make their way into the outflow pipes connecting the lake and the waterpark. While Shelby and Josh are having sex, the piranha in Shelby’s vagina bites Josh’s penis, forcing him to chop the organ off with a knife. Both are hospitalized, but survive. Kyle is revealed to be corrupt and taking bribes from Chet, who is secretly pumping water from an underground river into the waterpark, lowering his costs and boosting his profits. Chet orders Kyle to keep Maddy from finding out about his nefarious plans.

“Big Wet” opens the next day. Among the first guests are Deputy Fallon (Ving Rhames), who survived his previous ordeal with the piranhas but lost his legs, and former cameraman Andrew Cunningham (Paul Scheer). While the duo attempts to overcome their fear of the water after they were attacked a year ago, David Hasselhoff also makes an appearance as a celebrity lifeguard.

Discovering the connection between the park and the underground river, Maddy attempts to shut the waterpark down, but is stopped by Chet and Kyle. The piranhas make their way to the area and attack, killing many of the lifeguards and waterpark-goers. Fallon attaches a shotgun prosthesis to his legs in order to save the visitors, while Hasselhoff, after rescuing a small boy named David (Matthew Lintz), is pleased that he has finally become a real lifeguard. In the chaos, Chet refuses to help any survivors, including Kiki (Irina Voronina), who is eaten by the fish. He reluctantly offers some cash to a young girl whose mother is dead, but then accidentally reverses over her with his golf cart. As he attempts to drive off to safety, Chet is then decapitated by a hanging cable.

Maddy instructs Barry to begin draining the pools; however, while rescuing people from the water, she becomes caught in the suction and is dragged down to the bottom of the pool. After Kyle refuses to save her because of his fear of piranhas, Barry, despite being unable to swim, leaps down and brings her to the surface, whereupon Maddy is revived. She and Barry then kiss.
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Another employee, Big Dave, pours pure chlorine into the pipes, followed by a lit joint. The resulting explosion kills most of the piranhas, while Kyle is killed by a falling trident. The celebrations are cut short, however, when Maddy takes a phone call from a horrified Mr. Goodman, who informs them that the escaped piranha are evolving and are now able to move on land, to which Maddy replies that she knows. The film ends as the Piranha Queen emerges from the pool and decapitates David (the small child who Hasselhoff saved earlier), leading Hasselhoff to quip “Little ginger moron”, while the surviving visitors pick up their phones and take pictures of the dead child.
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In a post-credits scene, Hasselhoff is running on a beach holding a trident, which is an advertisement for a film titled Fishhunter.Image result for piranha 3ddI found it a gross and funny B-Movie, with stupid but hilarious characters. The director knows the B-movie formula, with teats and beautiful girls. Christopher Lloyd has become stereotyped as the mad scientist in American comedies . The uncredited Ving Rhames afraid of the water and shooting with his leg is comical. But David Hasselhoff steals the movie making fun of himself as the most famous lifeguard of all times. If you shutdown your brain, you will certainly enjoy this movie.

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REVIEW: PIRANHA 3D

CAST

Richard Dreyfuss (Tin Man)
Ving Rhames (Mission Impossible)
Elisabeth Shue (Hollow Man)
Christopher Lloyd (Back To The Future)
Steven R. McQueen (The Vampire Diaries)
Jerry O’Connell (Sliders)
Jessica Szohr (Ted 2)
Eli Roth (Inglourious Basterds)
Kelly Brook (Three)
Adam Scott (Kampus)
Riley Steele (Pirates II)
Richard Chavira (Desperate Housewives)
Dina Meyer (Birds of Prey)
Bonnie Morgan (The Devil Inside)
Paul Scheer (Year One)

Fisherman Matt Boyd is fishing in Lake Victoria when a small earthquake hits, splitting the lake floor and causing a whirlpool. Boyd falls in, and is ripped apart by a shoal of piranhas that emerge from the chasm.

Jake Forester is admiring attractive tourists as spring break begins. He reunites with his old crush Kelly Driscoll and meets Derrick Jones, a sleazy pornographer, as well as Danni Arslow, one of his actresses. Derrick convinces Jake to show him good spots on the lake for filming a pornographic movie. That night, Jake’s mother, Sheriff Julie Forester, searches for the missing Matt Boyd with Deputy Fallon. They find his mutilated body and contemplate closing the lake. This decision, however, is made difficult as two-thousand partying college students are on spring break, which is important for bringing revenue to the small town. The next morning, a lone cliff diver is attacked and consumed by the vicious, marauding piranhas.

Jake bribes his sister, Laura, and brother, Zane (Sage Ryan), to stay home alone so that he can show Derrick around the lake. After Jake leaves, Zane convinces Laura to go fishing on a small sandbar island. They forget to tie the boat down and are stranded in the middle of the lake. Meanwhile, Jake goes to meet with Derrick and runs into Kelly, who accepted Derrick’s invitation on board his boat, The Barracuda. Jake meets Crystal Shepard, another one of Derrick’s actresses, and cameraman Andrew Cunningham.  Julie takes a team of seismologist divers—Novak Radzinsky, Sam Montez, and Paula Montellano to the fissure. Novak speculates that the rift leads to a buried prehistoric lake. Paula and Sam scuba dive to the bottom and discover a large cavern filled with large piranha egg stocks. Both are killed by the piranhas before they can alert the others to the discovery. Novak and Julie find Paula’s corpse and pull it onto the boat, capturing a lone piranha, which they take to Carl Goodman, a marine biologist who works as a pet store owner. He explains that it is a highly aggressive prehistoric species, long believed to be extinct, and that the piranhas have survived through cannibalism. The species is able to vigorously devour its prey in seconds.
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Julie, Novak, Fallon, and Deputy Taylor Roberts try to evacuate the lake, but their warnings are ignored, until the piranhas begin to fiercely attack the tourists. Novak boards a jet-ski with a shotgun to help while Fallon drags people to shore, and Julie and Taylor try to get swimmers into the police boat. Almost everyone in the lake is either wounded, dismembered, or killed by the piranhas altogether, while the remaining surviving tourists escape. The party spot rapidly turns into a bloodbath.
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Meanwhile, Jake spots Laura and Zane on the island and forces Derrick to rescue them. Derrick crashes the boat into some rocks, flooding the boat’s lower deck and causing the boat to begin sinking. Kelly is trapped in the kitchen while Derrick, Crystal and Andrew fall overboard from the impact of the collision. Crystal is devoured, and Andrew escapes to shore unharmed. Meanwhile, Danni manages to get a partially eaten Derrick back on board, where he then dies.  Deputy Fallon makes a last stand, taking a boat motor and using its propeller to shred many piranhas, though he is presumed to be killed by the Piranhas. After the chaos settles, Julie receives a call from Jake pleading for help. Julie and Novak steal a speedboat and head off towards the kids. They reach Jake and attach a rope to his boat. Julie, Danni, Laura, and Zane start crossing the rope, but the piranhas latch onto Danni’s hair, causing her to lose her grip on the rope and fall into the water, where she is quickly devoured. The others make it across safely, but the rope comes loose. Using Derrick’s corpse as a distraction, Jake ties the line to himself and goes to save Kelly. He ties Kelly to him and lights a flare after releasing the gas from a pair of stored propane tanks. Novak starts the boat and speeds away just as the piranhas surround Kelly and Jake. They are dragged to safety as the propane tanks explode, destroying the boat and killing most of the piranhas.
Image result for piranha 2010Mr. Goodman calls Julie on the radio, and Julie tells him that they seem to have killed the majority of the piranhas. A horrified Goodman tells her that the reproductive glands on the piranha they obtained were not mature, which means that the fish they have killed were only the babies. As Novak wonders aloud where the parents are, the human sized-Piranha Queen leaps out of the water and eats him.

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This film was of course, filmed in 3D (there are two discs, one 2D, one 3D) with dismembered body parts and voracious piranhas coming at you in abundance. Strangely enough, I found that the 3D effects worked rather better in 2D and wearing the gasses provided was little more than a gimmick and made everything a bit monochrome. Still, it is all great fun and I enjoyed every bloody minute of it and, provided that you throw your artistic sensibilities out of the window, so, I am sure, will you!

REVIEW: THE ATTICUS INSTITUTE

CAST

William Mapother (World Trade Center)
Rya Kihlstedt (Heroes Reborn)
John Rubinstein (Robocop: the Series)
Sharon Maughan (The Bank Job)
Harry Groener (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer)
Ivar Brogger (Andromeda)

The story of the film is presented in documentary format, with footage of the events punctuated by interviews with people related to them. In the early 1970s, Dr. Henry West (William Mapother) founds the Atticus Institute in rural Pennsylvania, hoping to find evidence that proves supernatural abilities such as ESP are real. Despite the best work of West and his aides, however, every subject that comes to the institute seeming to display such abilities are ultimately proven to be frauds. The team is demoralized in their work by the time Judith Winstead (Rya Kihlstedt) is brought to the institute by her sister Margaret, who is troubled by her disturbing behavior. Judith immediately proves to be a different case than the previous subjects, passing all the tests with incredible proficiency and leaving no doubt that her abilities are genuine. Her behavior remains erratic, however, and many of West’s staff become uncomfortable with her, even while their boss’s fascination with her increases. With the usual tests proving to be no challenge for Judith’s incredible power, the team gradually introduces new tests that show her to possess even greater abilities than first imagined.Judith’s behavior grows more unstable as her abilities evolve, disturbing West’s staff. Bizarre events begin to happen to the aides and their families outside of the institute, which they suspect Judith is somehow influencing, and many of them resign from their positions to escape from her. As the situation escalates, the team seeks help from the United States military; under the influence of military advisors, they conduct new tests that lead to Judith manifesting new abilities such as telekinesis and pyrokinesis. One day, Judith experiences a violent reaction to a spectral photography experiment, and when the images are checked, a cloud-like entity is observed temporarily leaving Judith’s body during her convulsions. This leads the team to realize that Judith’s powers are the result of demonic possession.With this discovery, the military seizes full control of the institute under a pretext of national security, and the situation spirals completely out of control. Soon, the military decides that Judith’s abilities can be utilized as a weapon against the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and they begin conducting increasingly inhumane experiments on Judith against West’s objections. Using methods such as electroshock therapy, the military try to tame the demon and force it to cooperate in exercises such as identifying the location of enemy bases, ignoring the effects these tests have on Judith. As these experiments ultimately prove fruitless, the military decides to try removing the demon from Judith by having a priest perform an exorcism while a soldier is connected to Judith via machinery. The process shows promise at first, but Judith suddenly lashes out and gravely injures the priest, disconnecting the electrodes attached to her before passing out. As the staff try to reattach the electrodes, Judith experiences a violent seizure while the demon attacks West through the body of the soldier connected to her. An unseen force blasts through the facility, killing all present. As the cameras come back online, Judith – now free of the demon’s control and restored to her true self – breaks down when she sees the carnage around her. The demon enters the room in West’s body, having fully consumed his soul, and stands before Judith’s cell as she pleads for help. West kills Judith by telekinetically bursting her heart, then calmly exits the room and disappears.The film concludes with a note revealing that Judith’s body was buried in an undisclosed location following an autopsy, and her case remains the only instance of possession officially certified by the United States government. Dr. Henry West, after disappearing on October 23, 1976, was declared legally dead in 1982 and his whereabouts have been unknown for over forty years.Overall The Atticus Institute is one of those mediocre horror films that you can coast your way through if you are just determined to watch it. There isn’t any real connection given between the character development and the audience. The horror and chilling elements aren’t really scary or affective unless you are 12 and really creeped out by demons and paranormal stuff. The framing device and story arc is so done to death, that it becomes a bit boring and you find yourself asking “why am I watching this?”.

REVIEW: PET

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CAST

Ksenia Solo (Lost Girl)
Dominic Monaghan (Flashforward)
Jennette McCurdy (Hollywood Homicide)
Nathan Parsons (The Originals)
Da’Vone McDonald (The Five-Year Engangement)

Seth is a shy man who works at the local Animal Control department. He has developed an obsession with Holly, a waitress he saw writing in her journal on the bus one day. Seth asks security guard Nate for advice, and Nate tells him to be confident and approach her. Seth extensively researches her online profiles for information and tries to ask her out at the diner, but his attempts at confidence come across awkward and she rebuffs him. At home, Holly talks about the encounter with her friend Claire, and takes a drunken phone call from her ex Eric, who cheated on her. Holly receives a large bouquet of roses at work the next day, and assuming they are an apology from Eric, goes to visit the bar where he works. Seth, who has been following her, confronts her outside, leading to a physical confrontation when he refuses to accept her rejection. Eric beats Seth up, but Seth is able to steal Holly’s journal. He spends the next several days reading every detail. As his performance slips at work, Seth discovers a trapdoor to a room in an abandoned wing of the animal shelter, where he sets about constructing a steel cage. He follows Holly home, breaks into her apartment, and kidnaps her.

As she comes to in the cage, Holly vows to survive, speaking to an image of Claire. Seth informs Holly that he loves her and has imprisoned her to “save” her. He reveals that he has heard her talking in both her own and Claire’s voices, and that he knows the truth: Holly discovered that Eric had slept with Claire, and confronted her about it during a car ride. An angry Holly continued accelerating the car until they were hit by a truck. Although injured, Claire was alive until Holly stabbed her; Claire’s death was attributed to the crash. Since then, Holly has committed a series of gruesome murders and written about them in her journal. When Seth realized the stories were real, he formulated a plan to save Holly to prevent her from hurting anyone else, claiming that he finally felt a purpose in life. Over the next several days, they engage in psychological mind games against each other, as Holly begins to slip details to draw Seth in. Seth maintains that Holly committed the other murders from guilt of not being caught over Claire, but Holly counters that she kills simply because she enjoys it. A suspicious Nate follows Seth, and discovers Holly. During a struggle, Seth ends up stabbing him. Desperate to avoid detection and at Holly’s urging, he smashes Nate’s skull with a cinder block and dismembers and disposes of the body.

Seth invents a story to explain Nate’s disappearance, but this only makes the police suspicious of him. With time running out, Holly convinces him that he can save her if he proves his love to her by cutting off his finger. He does, but this leads to Holly grabbing his knife and threatening to kill herself if he doesn’t release her. She says she finally believes that he loves her before slitting his throat.Some time later, Holly is back together with Eric, and the “fictional” events from her journal are being published as a book. Holly finds evidence that Eric has been cheating again, but declines to kill him. Instead, she travels to a warehouse, where it is revealed that Seth is kept in a cage, still alive but horribly mutilated and tortured; he has “saved” her by allowing her to take out her murderous impulses on him instead.

If you have the patience and the guts, this is a nice twisted little film that I highly recommend to those who enjoy exploring the psychology of prey and predator in horror films as much as they love flat out horror and gore.

REVIEW: THE FORGOTTEN (2004)

 

CAST

Julianne Moore (Hannibal)
Dominc West (Punisher War Zone)
Jessica Hecht (Sideways)
Gary Sinise (CSI: NY)
Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage)
Anthony Edwards (Zodiac)
Linus Roache (Batman Begins)
Lee Tergesen (Oz)
Felix Solis (The Following)
Robert Wisdom (Ray)
Ann Dowd (Compliance)

Telly Paretta (Julianne Moore) believes that her son Sam (Christopher Kovaleski) died 14 months ago in a plane crash, but her husband Jim (Anthony Edwards) tells her that she’s delusional and that they have never had a son, and Eliot (Jessica Hecht) doesn’t appear to believe in Sam’s existence despite her closeness to him. Dr. Munce (Gary Sinise) tells her that Sam was merely a figment of her imagination and that she is just imagining a life that might have been. He recommends that she be sent to a hospital, but she runs away and meets with a man named Ash (Dominic West) whom she thinks is the father of a girl named Lauren (Kathryn Faughnan) who was Sam’s friend and died in the same crash. At first he dismisses her, claiming he never had a daughter, and calls the police. After she is taken into custody, he remembers his daughter and rescues Telly. Together they escape and go into hiding, pursued by National Security agents.Telly and Ash capture and threaten an agent (Lee Tergesen), who reluctantly reveals that he and other agents are merely helping ″them″ in order to protect humankind. Without warning, the roof of the house blows off and the agent, along with the roof, is sucked into the sky—presumably taken by ″them″—and Telly and Ash flee. Eventually, Telly visits Dr. Munce again and he reveals that the disappearances are the work of ″them,″ and that the government monitors their trials, all too aware that they have no power to stop ″them″ from doing whatever they want.Munce takes Telly to an airport and the dilapidated hangar of Quest Airlines, where he introduces her to an agent of ″them″ (Linus Roache). He tells the agent that it’s over and to stop the experiment, because it will only cause more harm. But the agent replies that it’s not over. He reveals to Telly that she has been a part of an experiment to test whether the bonds between mother and child can be diminished. In her case, her memories could not be fully erased. Telly refuses to deny her son’s existence. The agent mentions that if he fails to erase her memory then he will look like a failure. The agent then subdues her and convinces her to think of the first memory she had of Sam. Telly thinks of the day he was born in the hospital, which allows the agent to successfully erase Sam’s memory from existence. As the agent is walking away, thinking he’s succeeded, Telly’s motherly bond kicks in deeper, to before Sam was born, when she was pregnant, triggering her memory that she indeed had life in her at one time. All of her memories of Sam return. Before the agent can comprehend what’s happening, part of the hangar roof is suddenly blown off, and he’s yanked into the sky himself, supposedly for his failure to erase her memory. This ends the experiment.Telly finds herself living a normal life, although she remembers everything that has happened. She reunites with Sam at a park. Also at the park is Ash, watching over his daughter. Like Sam, he has no memory of what has happened. Telly reintroduces herself, and the two sit and watch the kids play in the playground.It might throw some viewers off that The Forgotten is just as much a sci-fi film as a thriller. It firmly veers into X-Files territory–much more strongly than you’d ever expect from the first half of the film. This is yet another great example of why it’s better to approach films with zero preconceptions/expectations if possible.

 

 

 

REVIEW: KILLER X (AKA Natural Selection AKA The Monster Hunter)

CAST

David Carradine (Kill Bill)
Michael Bowen (Django Unchained)
Darren E. Burrows (Amistad)
Elizabeth Barondes (Made)
Missy Atwood (Possums)
Marina Anderson (Naked Movie)
Joe Unger (A Nightmare on Elm Stret)
Bob Balaban (Moonrise Kingdom)
Stephen Root (Office Space)
Bill Wise (Boyhood)

1It’s the story of Willie, a postman who turned into a deranged serial killer, and more than half the movie is dedicated to telling his story through interviews with his mother the sheriff, a psychologist who talks mile a minute and even imitates Willie; the redneck hunters who hung around Willy, or sort of knew him; the hotel cleaner; the neighbor, et all.2It’s shot just like you’ve seen every true-crime doc on TV, and the filmmakers do it pretty well. I especially liked the cinematography in the morgue scenes, with the blue a weird contrast to what Carradine’s character does in there. But really, much of what makes this film entertaining is the wink and nod of the actors to the material, while still making it bad-ass. We know Carradine and Bowen know what they’re into, but they play it like pros all the way, even when a) Carradine as the nut FBI guy goes into a vampire-killing pose in a back lit sun-scape (my favorite scene), and b) there is a *2nd* killer revealed! This brings it to an even wackier level.5This movie  is a little underground sleeper that should appeal to anyone who wonders what it’s like in the mind of a serial killer.

REVIEW: RUPTURE

CAST

Noomi Rapace (Prometheus)
Peter Stormare (8mm)
Kerry Bishé (Argo)
Michael Chiklis (Gotham)
Lesley Manville (Maleficent)
Ari Millen (Ejecta)
Paul Popowich (Hemlock Grove)
Jonathan Potts (Jason X)
Sergio Di Zio (Flashpoint)
Percy Hynes White (The Gifted)

Rupture begins with a view of a suburban area and the camera immediately pans 360 degrees to give us that feel of not really knowing where we are. It’s a brilliant and effective maneuver by director Steven Shainberg, who has revisited directing for the first time in 10 years. He certainly hasn’t lost a step in those ten years, bringing all kinds of fears and emotions to the screen that only a true talent can provide.As the film progresses, Renee (Noomi Rapace) is preparing for the day when we see someone plant a device on her car tire. This is when feeling of paranoia sets in. It’s obvious that someone is after her but we aren’t sure who yet. As Renee is driving, her tire blows and is forced off the road. A man pulls over seemingly to help her but it turns out he’s helping the captors. Already we have the sense that no one can be trusted. At this point, I was assuming that these people were hired by her ex-husband, or maybe it would take a turn like in The Game and one of her friends would have been behind it. I won’t say what the true outcome is, but I will say it was completely unexpected.The film keeps you guessing at every turn and that’s something that is sadly rare these days.  If you ever want a film that will astonish, shock, and sometimes even terrify you, watch Rupture.