REVIEW: VALENTINE

CAST
Denise Richards (Starship Troopers)
David Boreanaz (Bones)
Marley Shelton (Sin City)
Jessica Capshaw (Minority Report)
Jessica Cauffiel (White Chicks)
Katherine Heigl (Knocked Up)
Hedy Buress (The Animatrix)
Fulvio Cecere (Dark Angel)
Johnny Whitworth (Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance)
Woody Jeffreys (Double Jeopardy)
Adam Harrington (The Secret Circle)
At a junior high school dance in 1988, Jeremy Melton, an outcast student, asks four popular girls to dance. Three girls, Shelley, Lily and Paige reject him cruelly, while the fourth girl, Kate, politely turns down his offer. Their overweight friend Dorothy accepts Jeremy’s invitation and they proceed to secretly make out underneath the bleachers. When a group of school bullies discover the pair, Dorothy claims that Jeremy sexually assaulted her, causing the boys to publicly strip and severely beat him up, and his nose drips blood. Later in the film, Paige reveals Jeremy was sent to a reform school as punishment for his alleged “assault”.
Years later, Shelley (Katherine Heigl), a medical student at UCLA, is at the morgue. After receiving a vulgar Valentine’s card and being pursued by a killer wearing a Cupid’s mask, Shelley’s throat is slit as she hides in a body bag. The killer’s nose is seen to bleed as he performs the act. Her friends are questioned at her funeral, but nothing is concluded. All the girls except Kate (Marley Shelton) and Paige (Denise Richards) receive cards in the same fashion as Shelley. Dorothy (Jessica Capshaw) who is now much thinner receives a card, which reads “Roses are red, Violets are blue, They’ll need dental records to identify you”. Her boyfriend, Campbell, loses his apartment and stays with her. Lily (Jessica Cauffiel) receives a box of chocolates and a card which says “You are what you eat”. She then takes a bite of one of the chocolates, and vomits upon realizing that there are maggots inside the chocolates.
As the girls attend Lily’s artist boyfriend Max’s exhibit, they meet Campbell’s bitter ex-girlfriend Ruthie who tells them off. Lily is isolated and confronted by the killer, who proceeds to shoot her repeatedly with arrows until she falls several floors into a dumpster. When they have not heard from Lily, the others assume she is out for LA on a work trip. Upon contacting the police, they agree that the culprit could be Jeremy Melton. Meanwhile, Kate’s neighbor breaks into Kate’s apartment to steal her underwear and is killed by the cupid killer with a hot iron pressed to his face and then bludgeoned with it. As Valentine’s Day approaches, Dorothy is planning a theme party at her house. Campbell is killed with an axe to the back the day of the party as he relights the hot furnace, after being revealed as a con-man who is using Dorothy to gain access to her vast inheritance. The others assume he has simply left Dorothy after duping her, angering Dorothy, who believes that they are jealous. After coming to the party to confront Dorothy with the truth about Campbell, Ruthie is thrown through a shower window by the killer who then impales her neck on the glass. At the party, Paige is attacked and trapped in a hot tub by the killer, who proceeds to try and kill her with a drill. After cutting her, he opens the lid of the hot tub and throws the electric drill into the water, electrocuting her.
The party disintegrates when the power cuts out, and Dorothy and Kate argue over who the killer is. Kate claims that Campbell could be a suspect because they do not know anything about him, while Dorothy counters by accusing Adam (David Boreanaz), Kate’s recovering alcoholic on-off boyfriend. After being told by Lily’s boyfriend that she did not arrive in Los Angeles as planned, Kate realizes she is also probably dead, and calls the detective assigned to the case. After dialing the number, she follows the sound of a ring tone outside the house and discovers the detective’s severed head in the pond. Kate then becomes convinced that Adam is actually Jeremy, disguised by reconstructive surgery, and goes back into the house, only to find Adam waiting for her. To her surprise, he asks her to dance, and they dance together for a while until she becomes frightened, kneeing him in the groin and escaping. She runs through the house, discovering Paige and Ruthie’s corpses. She locates a gun, but someone in the Cupid’s mask jumps out and runs into Kate resulting in knocking the gun from her hand and sending them both tumbling down a staircase. The supposed killer arises and is shot by Adam who appears at the top of the stairs using Kate’s gun, shocking and confusing Kate. As she apologizes profusely, Adam pulls off the Cupid’s mask to reveal the killer as Dorothy. Adam forgives Kate, explaining that childhood trauma can lead to lifelong anger and some people are eventually forced to act on that anger. As Kate and Adam wait for the police to arrive, they hug as Adam says he has always loved her. Moments later, as Kate closes her eyes as they wait for the police to arrive, his nose begins to bleed, indicating that he is Jeremy Melton after all.
Valentine has almost everything you want in a horror movie—a creepy killer, gorgeous actresses, all manner of killings, miscellaneous laughs, an actual plot of some complexity and nail-biting suspense.
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REVIEW: MY BLOODY VALENTINE (2009)

CAST

Jensen Ackles (Supernatural)
Jaime King (Sin City)
Kerr Smith (Final Destination)
Betsy Rue (Halloween II)
Ed Gathegi (X-Men: First Class)
Tom Atkins (Halloween III)
Kevin Tighe (Lost)
Megan Boone (The Blacklist)
Marc Macaulay (Swamp Thing: The Series)

On the Valentine’s Day of 1997, in a small town, a cave-in on the north side of a Hanninger mine trapped six miners. Six days later, rescue teams found five dead miners and the comatose Harry Warden (Richard John Walters), who survived by killing the other miners with a pickaxe, allowing himself to breathe. Tom Hanniger (Jensen Ackles) the owner’s son, was blamed for the mine disaster because he forgot to vent the methane lines and caused a cave-in, but also Harry Warden for killing the miners.
A year later, Valentine’s Day, Warden wakes from his coma in the hospital, and goes on a murderous rampage. Soon after, Sheriff Burke (Tom Atkins) arrives, finding multiple mutilated bodies many of which have been severed in half and the heart of a nurse inside a candy box. Burke and his partner come to the conclusion that Warden had awoken from his coma and, realizing they don’t have much time left, they try to figure out where he’s headed. Meanwhile, at the abandoned mine shaft that was the site of the disaster, a party is in full swing, attended by many teens, including Axel Palmer (Kerr Smith), his girlfriend, Irene (Betsy Rue), Tom Hanniger and his girlfriend, Sarah (Jaime King). Tom was initially reluctant to go, but he goes anyway. He leaves Sarah and goes back to his car to pick up some beers before going inside.

Sarah goes alone and gets lost looking for Axel and Irene. She runs across a teen and a few seconds later, he is stabbed through his eye. She is confronted by Warden in full miner’s garb, carrying a bloody pickaxe, and she flees, finding several dead bodies. Axel grabs her and they, along with Irene, hide from the killer. Warden eventually sees the trio, and they run out of the mine, meeting Tom as he comes in. Warden hits Tom with the pickaxe, injuring him, while the other three run for the car. Sarah tries to go back for Tom but Warden throws a pickaxe into the windshield of Axel’s truck, just an inch away from stabbing Sarah in the eye. Axel, realizing he has no other choice starts up his truck and leaves Tom behind. Warden turns his attention towards Tom, who runs back into the mine in an attempt to escape from him. Before Tom can be killed, Burke and his partner arrive and shoot Warden, who makes his getaway back into the mine. Tom also appears shocked by the events.  Ten years later, in 2008, Tom’s father, from whom Tom has been estranged, dies and Tom inherits the mine. Tom returns to town after his father’s funeral to sell the mine, having vanished since the incident; it was unknown where he was, since he was devastated by the events and unable to see Axel and Sarah after they had abandoned him in the mine to die. Axel is now sheriff and married to Sarah and they have a son, but he is cheating on her with Megan (Megan Boone), who works with Sarah at Sarah’s grocery store.

After Megan and Axel have sex at his family’s old house in the woods, Megan gives Axel a Valentine’s Day card and a box of candy and tells him that she is pregnant with his child. Meanwhile, at the motel where Tom is staying, Irene is having sex with a local trucker named Frank (Todd Farmer). After they finish, Frank reveals that he has been filming her. Irene goes out completely naked and angry about the events, drawing a gun on him. After he reveals that the gun is empty, she throws it and hits him, but he ignores her. Just as he enters the truck, he is impaled with a pickaxe through the head by a man in full miner garb, face completely covered by his mask. The killer chases Irene through the motel, but she hides under the bed. The noise draws Selene (Selene Luna), the midget motel owner, into the room, and the miner kills her by impaling her whole body through the head on the lights above. Irene makes a noise and is discovered by the killer, who removes the bed mattress and stabs her to death. Axel is called to the scene of the crime, and finds Irene cut open, her heart missing; he also discovers Tom’s name on the register of people staying at the motel.

He returns to his office, where he sees a video of the miner following Irene. Axel and his partner Martin talk about how it can’t be Warden, despite the rumors. Then Axel receives a candy box with Irene’s heart inside, just like Warden had done with the nurse ten years ago. Meanwhile, Tom is visiting his newly inherited mine. In the mine, the killer traps Tom in a cage while William “Red” Kirkpatrick (Jeff Hochendoner) is calling for Ben, who is an old friend of the Hannigers. ‘Warden’ proceeds to murder Red and a group of miners show up seconds later. Suspicion falls on Tom, despite the fact that he was locked in a cage the entire time. At the hospital afterwards, Axel asks Burke what happened to the killer. Burke says that he and Ben Foley (Kevin Tighe), the mine manager, killed and buried Warden. But when Axel, Tom, and Sarah accompany them to the burial spot, Warden’s body is no longer there. Later on, Foley is at his house when he hears a noise. He goes outside with a shotgun to find nobody there, but when he goes back inside he is attacked by ‘Warden’, who knocks him down and impales his head with the pickaxe. The police find his body at the burial spot with his chest cut open. Axel, angry about the events, orders a police guard on his home to protect his son.Meanwhile, Sarah is with Megan at the store when ‘Warden’ arrives. He chases them through the store, but they lock themselves in the office. The window is locked, but Megan finds the key while Sarah is blocking the door with a table. Just as ‘Warden’ breaks a hole in the door and unlocks it, Megan goes through the window and Sarah, who is right behind her, turns around and notices that ‘Warden’ has disappeared from the office door. She quickly tries to pull Megan back into the office, knowing that ‘Warden’ is going to the outside window but she’s too late, as ‘Warden’ arrives outside and grabs Megan. Sarah runs back through the store and encounters Axel outside. They find Megan’s mutilated body in the alley with the message “Be Mine 4 Ever” scrawled in blood on the wall above. Sarah ponders why Megan was killed when she had no relation to the mine. Sarah comes to the conclusion that the killer was trying to get at Axel, and she admits she knew about their affair. Axel then sends her to the hospital. Meanwhile, at Axel and Sarah’s home, their son Noah is watching TV with his babysitter Rosa (Joy de la Paz), while Deputy Ferris (Karen Baum) is in the squad car watching the premises. Suddenly, ‘Warden’ arrives and impales Rosa with the pickaxe and throws her into the washing machine, scalding her. Burke arrives and warns Ferris about ‘Warden’s’ presence.

Ferris goes to check the house, while Burke is at the porch. Ferris finds Noah and warns him to hide, and she finds Rosa’s mutilated body in the washing machine. She warns Burke, but he is killed by ‘Warden’. Meanwhile, Sarah is in the hospital and Tom calls her and convinces her that Warden is not the killer. He tells her that he needs her to trust him as he has found something he needs to show her. On the road Tom tries to convince Sarah that Axel is the killer. Axel calls Sarah while she and Tom are in the car; Axel tells her that Tom has been in a mental hospital for the last seven years since Harry Warden’s rampage and that he is the killer.

Shocked, Sarah attempts to get Tom to drive her home and, when he refuses, she grabs the wheel and crashes Tom’s car. Tom is knocked out momentarily and Sarah escapes. She calls Axel and he instructs her to go to his father’s old house. When she enters she finds hundreds of candy heart boxes and her old picture with Tom. The killer, confirming that he is not Warden, appears. Sarah distracts him and runs into the mine shaft where the original murders took place. She runs into Axel and steals his gun. Pointing the gun at Axel she asks him about the hundreds of candy boxes. He seems confused and blames Tom. Tom then appears and Sarah points the gun at him too. Both men accuse the other of being the killer.
Tom gives himself away when he points out that the message over Megan’s dead body (“Be Mine 4 Ever”) was the same as what Megan wrote to Axel in the Valentine card, revealing that he knows Megan is dead which is information that only Axel and Sarah knew. Tom begins to hallucinate when what seems to be Warden appears in the mine with them. Tom tries to warn Sarah but Axel points his flashlight into the area that Tom is pointing to and shakes his head no, she tells him that nothing is there. Warden walks right up to Tom then disappears. A montage then plays out all the murders in the film again, revealing Tom to be the true killer. Sarah tells Tom that Harry isn’t there with them, to which Axel replies “Oh, he’s here, aren’t you Harry? You living inside Tom?” Tom turns to him, smirks, and says, “Oh, I’m right here”. This also reveals that Tom has developed a split personality: as himself and as Harry Warden. Axel is infuriated and grabs the pickaxe, rushing at Tom. The two fight, Axel gains the upper hand and knocks Tom onto the ground, but Tom injures him with the pickaxe. Tom runs off and Sarah and Axel try to hide. Tom comes and finds them, smashing out lights with the pickaxe as he goes. As each light goes out, Tom flashes between being him, and being the miner. Sarah shoots Tom through his side and the bullet hits a gas tank, causing an explosion that causes the mine to collapse.

Rescue teams enter the mine, searching for the survivors. One lone rescuer finds Tom, barely conscious and covered in debris and planks of wood. He tells Tom not to worry, help is coming, when Tom suddenly grabs his pickaxe and impales the rescuer through his mask. Sarah and Axel get out, and Axel is taken away in an ambulance while Sarah is taken by Martin. Then a miner holding his injured side is seen leaving the mine. It is revealed to be Tom as he takes off the mask and walks away.Overall My Bloody Valentine, delivers an entertaining ride through dark alleys, mine shafts and the evil minds of writers Todd Farmer and Zane Smith. Slightly on the lighter side of the horror genre this film develops enough jump scares, with the help of three dimensional effects to deliver a fun and fast 101 minutes. See this one with a friend and laugh out loud when a 20′ branch comes screaming at your head (and try not to duck)!

 

REVIEW: MY BLOODY VALENTINE (1981)

CAST

Paul Kelman (Black Roses)
Lori Hallier (Night of The Twisters)
Neil Affleck (Wild Thing)
Keith Knight (Class of 1984)
Alf Humphreys (X-Men 2)
Cynthia Dale (Moonstruck)
Helene Udy (Terrror Tales)
Don Francks (La Femme Nikita)

Inside a mine shaft, a female miner takes off her gear while another miner remains geared. When the woman performs a strip tease and fondles with the miner’s breathing tube, she is brutally killed by an embedded mining pick.
Mayor Hanniger (Larry Reynolds) of mining town Valentine Bluffs reinstates the traditional Valentine’s Day dance which has been suspended for twenty years. The dances stopped after an accident that occurred when two supervisors left several miners in the mines to attend the dance. Harry Warden, the only survivor who resorted to cannibalism, murdered the supervisors who left the mine and vows further attacks if the dance resume. As the accident was forgotten and Warden was placed into an asylum, the dance resumes. Many of the town’s younger residents are excited about the dance. Of this group Sarah (Lori Hallier), Axel (Neil Affleck), and the mayor’s son T.J. (Paul Kelman) are involved in a tense love triangle.

Mayor Hanniger and the town’s police chief Jake Newby (Don Francks) receive an anonymous box of Valentine chocolates containing a human heart and a note warning that murders will begin if the dance proceeds. That evening, resident Mabel (Patricia Hamilton) is murdered by a mining-geared killer with her heart removed. When Newby discovers this the next morning, he publicly reports that she died of a heart attack to prevent a panic. Newby contacts the mental institution where Harry Warden was incarcerated, but they have no record of him. Hanniger and Newby cancel the dance and order the hall locked, however the town’s youngsters decide to hold their own party at the mine head. After a bartender named Happy (Jack Van Evera) is angered by the youngsters, he tries to set up a fake miner dummy to scare them, only to be brutally killed by the real miner.

Soon, the miner proceeds to kill many of the youngsters, including some down at the mine head. After Axel and T.J. have an angry confrontation, a shaken Sarah and five others decide to travel down into the mine as a diversion. Newby, after getting information from Gretchen (Gina Dick) about the murders, begins to rush into the mines with police support to rescue the group. Down in the mines, T.J and Axel lead the remaining party to safety while in pursuit by the miner. Many of the group falls victim to the miner as he chases after the remaining T.J and Sarah until leading to a small alcove. During the fight, the miner is revealed to be Axel, who faked his death earlier. In a flashback, a young Axel witnessed his father (being one of the supervisors) being murdered by Harry Warden and was since traumatized by the event. Soon, the tunnel begins to collapse from the battle and traps Axel inside while Newby and the police arrive to rescue T.J. and Sarah and it is revealed that Harry Warden had died five years earlier. When Sarah is emotionally prompted by Axel’s screams, she sees Axel freeing himself from the fallen debris by amputating his trapped arm. As Axel begins to run into the darker mines, he rants about returning to kill everyone and mumbles for Sarah to be his bloody valentine. The film concludes with a maniacal laughter being heard and a ballad for Harry Warden begins to play over the credits.All in all this is a great little horror movie. It’s smartly directed with a likeable cast and a really tense finale. The only problem lies with the shameful editing in the kill scenes where 9 minutes was savagely removed. I’m beginning to think that old Harry Warden should take a trip to the Paramount office, pickaxe in hand, to get revenge on these brutal spoilsports. Still, a few niggles aside, this is a decent little movie from Canada that deserves to be remembered, as one of the best of it’s kind. And that’s a sure fire compliment!

REVIEW: DONKEY PUNCH

 

CAST

Nichola Burley (Twenty8k)
Sian Breckin (Starred Up)
Tom Burke (Cleanskin)
Jaime Winstone (Elfie Hopkins)
Julian Morris (Sorority Row)

Julian Morris in Donkey Punch (2008)While on a holiday in Mallorca, Lisa, Kim and Tammi meet four young men, Bluey, Josh, Sean and Marcus. After spending the day at the resort together, the girls are invited to the men’s yacht where they plan to party out at sea. While aboard the boat, they take drugs and the conversation turns to sex, and in particular, types of sexual acts. Bluey describes a sex act called a “donkey punch” which involves punching the female in the back of the head while having doggy style sex in order to increase the sexual pleasure for the man.Jaime Winstone in Donkey Punch (2008)Marcus, Bluey, Kim and Lisa go to the master bedrooms where they begin having drug-fuelled sex, watched by Josh who, in the knowledge of all involved, lingers furtively in the darkness, recording the action with a camera. Bluey, who is copulating with Lisa, asks Josh to film the action and then decides to let Josh take a turn. Josh and Lisa then have anal sex. Immediately prior to ejaculation and with Bluey’s encouragement, Josh donkey punches Lisa but uses excessive force, breaking her neck and killing her instantly. To cover up the incident, the men decide to throw the body overboard while the women want to report it to the authorities, and argument ensues about what to do with the tape. Bluey continually insults Tammi and in a fit of rage, she stabs him in the chest with a knife, and the women escape in the yacht’s tender. However, the girls soon realise that the tender’s outboard motor is missing (a cut scene shows it still attached to the yacht). In a fit of despair, Tammi fires a flare, attracting the attention of the men. They quickly locate and pick up the women.Nichola Burley in Donkey Punch (2008)As the men attempt to get the women aboard, threatening them with a shotgun, Kim shoots a second flare directly at Marcus. The flare explodes into Marcus’s torso and slowly burns him to death. Josh locks the recaptured women in one of the rooms below. Sean asks Josh to “call in” and request medical assistance for Bluey. However, knowing that Bluey still has the tape that contains footage of him dealing the earlier fatal blow, Josh instead decides to discover its whereabouts by torturing Bluey. He does this by withholding pain numbing drugs from him. Bluey reveals the location of the tape, beneath the bed in the state room. Tammi escapes the room by smashing through the glass door and cutting herself, and overhears Bluey mention where the tape is. She frantically roams the boat trying to locate it. She does this just moments before Josh attempts to retrieve it. Unable to find the tape, Josh returns to Bluey, stepping up the torture by turning his attention to the knife which still protrudes from the wound. Josh ultimately takes this too far and, following Bluey’s pained protestations that he has already revealed the location, he twists the knife further into the wound before pulling it out, causing Bluey to die.Jaime Winstone in Donkey Punch (2008)Sean tries to bring the situation under control by retrieving a shotgun from Josh. He then tries to calm both Josh and Tammi from a frantic argument about the whereabouts of the tape. Kim notices Sean holding a shotgun with Josh and Tammi visibly upset from an adjacent room. She misinterprets his intentions towards Tammi and Josh and brutally kills Sean with the propeller of an outboard motor. After realizing her mistake, she manically commits suicide by jumping overboard, leaving Josh and Tammi as the only ones left. A distraught Tammi decides that she cannot remain on the boat any longer. Josh agrees, and readies the tender. His plan is to leave the yacht, get back to shore and claim that there was an accident. As Josh pushes the tender away from the yacht, Tammi quietly takes hold of the end of the mooring rope at the stern.Tom Burke, Julian Morris, and Jay Taylor in Donkey Punch (2008)Once the tender has floated some distance from the yacht, Josh pulls his hunting knife from his shorts and points it at Tammi. He demands the incriminating tape from Tammi and, fearing for her life, she obliges, throwing it on the floor of the tender. As a distracted Josh reaches for the tape, Tammi quickly throws the looped end of the mooring rope around his neck. The rope immediately reaches the end of its tether and Josh is wrenched into the sea, snapping his neck and killing him. Tammi, now the sole survivor, fires a distress flare in the hope of being rescued. She then lies down on the tender and morbidly stares up at the night sky, as the raft drifts away into the ocean.indexTake it in context; if you want to see a film with excessive violence in it and a sex scene that did very well not to get the chop, then this is your movie; It has all you could desire. Definitely worth watching just for the experience.

 

REVIEW: THE SIGNAL (2007)

CAST

Anessa Ramsey (Dvil’s Knot)
Justin Welborn (The Crazies)
A. J. Bowen (The Guest)
Matthew Stanton (The Change-Up)
Sahr Ngaujah (The Blacklist)
Suehyla El-Attar (Allegiant)

Justin Welborn in The Signal (2007)The film opens, showing that Mya is cheating on her husband Lewis with a man named Ben. Ben attempts to convince Mya to leave the city with him, but she remains noncommittal. As Mya exits, Ben turns the television on and watches a bizarre, psychedelic sequence of images. Mya begins to listen to a compact disc given to her by Ben, but she is menaced by men who are acting strangely in a parking garage. When she reaches her apartment building, she finds more people behaving strangely. Unknown to Mya, the Signal, a static-like interference that is coming through the television, radio and telephone amplifies each person’s negative emotional traits, causing them to act irrationally and, in most cases, violently.Anessa Ramsey in The Signal (2007)

 

Transmission 1: Crazy in Love

Written and directed by David Bruckner.

The Signal (2007)Once inside her apartment, Lewis and two friends, Jerry and Rod attempt to fix the TV, but Lewis, the first to react to the Signal, beats Jerry to death with a baseball bat over a minor argument. Mya flees in panic, leaving Rod and Lewis in a struggle, but finds the whole building in chaos with people killing each other. Mya hides out in the nearby apartment until morning. When she decides to leave and re-enter her home, she finds an unconscious Lewis, bound to a chair with duct-tape. He awakens only to see her leave him behind and exit into the hall listening to Ben’s compact disc, but encounters Rod who drags her into a janitor’s closet. He then tells her of the night he spent trying to survive in the apartment complex. It becomes evident that the Signal affects each person differently, and that there is the possibility that Rod is also crazy, though he seems to largely have control of his own judgment. Together, they escape, and attempt to drive to safety. But after being shot by a policewoman and almost left behind by Mya, Rod becomes even more violent and attacks Mya, who crashes the car. Rod is incapacitated and trapped in the vehicle, while Mya flees, telling a stranger named Clark that she is going to the train station.The Signal (2007)

Transmission 2: The Jealousy Monster

Written and directed by Jacob Gentry.

Anessa Ramsey in The Signal (2007)The story turns to Ben, who finds the duct-taped Lewis and loosens his bonds. Lewis knocks Ben unconscious and puts him in the back of a pest control van. At a nearby apartment, a woman named Anna is setting up for a New Year party. The Signal has affected her so that her dutifulness as a homemaker is amplified (though she is also quite possibly made psychologically unstable from being forced to kill her own husband), and despite having killed her crazed husband in self-defense, she has continued planning for the party as if nothing has happened. Clark, who is her neighbor, and a conspiracy theorist, soon arrives. The two begin attempting to figure out what is happening, and Clark also admits that he has decapitated Rod with a shovel, when Rod attacked him after being freed from the car wreck. Eventually Lewis makes his way to the apartment, under the mistaken belief that Mya has been there, because her car is crashed outside. At first, Lewis befriends Anna and Clark, and they convince themselves that none of them have been affected by the Signal, and that they have to band together in order to survive. Lewis, whose violent and paranoid tendencies are clearly amplified by the Signal, kills Anna’s niece, Laura, who arrives at the door seeking help, under the mistaken belief that she is attacking Anna with a knife. He dismisses the act as defense on the part of Anna, but Clark convinces him not to attack the next arrival, Jim, who is apparently oblivious of the situation. While Anna hallucinates that Clark is her husband, Lewis hallucinates that Jim is Ben, taunting him. He beats Jim to death, restrains Clark in a chair by staking his arms to the chair with kitchen knives, then attacks Anna, spraying her with insecticide until she is blind. Once he realizes she knows nothing about Mya’s whereabouts, Lewis forces her to ingest the poison, apparently killing her. He then exposes Clark to the Signal in order to convince him to tell him where Mya had gone. Ben, having woken up and freed himself from Lewis’s van, enters the apartment and attacks Lewis with the pesticide canister, knocking him out.Cheri Christian, Scott Poythress, and AJ Bowen in The Signal (2007)

Transmission 3: Escape from Terminus

Written and directed by Dan Bush.

AJ Bowen in The Signal (2007)

Lewis wakes up and follows Ben and Clark. He attempts to kill them in a tool shed, but they fight him off and escape. After Ben convinces Clark that the Signal is a lie, thus breaking its effect on him, Clark informs Ben where Mya was headed. Ben and Clark make a run through the now mostly-dead city and arrive at the train station. There, they find Mya tied to a chair, being forced to watch the Signal by Lewis, who attacks them and strangles Clark until he is unconscious. Ben then resorts to using Lewis’s own paranoia against him, eventually tricking Lewis into believing that their roles are reversed, and that Lewis is the one man he hates most: Mya’s lover. Lewis punches a signal-broadcasting TV, in a frustrated rage, electrocuting himself. The story ends ambiguously. A series of scenes showing Ben and Mya with Clark, stocking up on supplies, then Ben and Mya going separate ways from Clark, suggesting they have succeeded. However, the next scene reveals Mya still tied to the chair, seemingly catatonic due to her prolonged exposure to the Signal. Ben places Mya’s headphones on her, and she closes her eyes, a tear rolling down her cheek, before the credits appear. Whether this is the final reality, or a flashback before Ben and Mya’s escape from the city, is left for the viewer to decide.Anessa Ramsey in The Signal (2007)The Signal will surprise, thrill and terrify. In short, another example of modern horror at its brutal and most thoughtful best.

REVIEW: CELL

CAST

Samuel L. Jackson (The Avengers)
John Cusack (Grosse Point Blank)
Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan)
Stacy Keach (American History X)
Wilbur Fitzgerald (Freejack)
Alex ter Avest (Starcrossed)
Lloyd Kaufman (Slither)

John Cusack, Samuel L. Jackson, and Isabelle Fuhrman in Cell (2016)For aspiring artist Clayton “Clay” Riddell, catching a big break has never been his strong suit, and only put undue stress on himself and family. Sick of teaching art instead of making it, he’s finally seeing his dreams come true. As he finalizes a big deal in the city of Boston, Clay prepares for a new life ahead, completely free of financial burden and marital woes and the opportunity to start anew as a man established. But that’s all about to change on one October afternoon, when at one single moment, everyone answers their cell phone, inevitably changing the face of humanity forever. The Pulse as it will be known, reverberates through every cell phone in the world, causing a deadly chain reaction of events. Users suddenly become ultra-violent, homicidal maniacs and begin attacking anyone within proximity.John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson in Cell (2016)Now all Clay can do, is band together with other survivors and prepare for a new world ahead where society is no more, and replaced by homicidal creatures, who are only beginning to transform into something far worse. But for Clay, the worst is yet to come as he makes the trek across a world changed and into his Maine home, to a wife and son he hasn’t been able to reach after the cataclysmic events that followed.Isabelle Fuhrman in Cell (2016)First off, this is not a zombie movie. I don’t know what the book was like, but the movie is not zombies, it is people who are being manipulated by a cellphone signal to be violent, and nothing but violent. We get a glimpse at the end as to what is really going through their minds while being controlled. This was an excellent movie but for one thing, it doesn’t actually explain why it all happened. So, with a few other clues scattered around, I am pretty sure it is a psychological breakdown of one person. In either case, the ride is fun and with good performances. If you must have all questions answered then the film will not work for you.

 

REVIEW: THE RAMBLER

CAST

Dermot Mulroney (Young Guns)
Lindsay Pulsipher (The Oregonian)
Natasha Lyonne (American Pie)

Dermot Mulroney and James Cady in The Rambler (2013)Not unlike Reeder’s polarizing debut, The Oregonian, The Rambler follows the most minimal of plotlines. Dermot Mulroney stars as the Rambler, a simple cowboy who’s just been released from a New Mexico prison, finding only dissatisfaction on the outside with a dead-end job, lowlife friends, and the unfaithful girlfriend he left behind. So he sets off to reunite with his brother, who owns a cattle ranch in eastern Oregon. Reeder uses this straightforward setup to essentially lull the viewer into a false sense of security before delivering a series of increasingly disturbing, hallucinatory vignettes that distance the film from its modest beginning.Dermot Mulroney in The Rambler (2013)As the Rambler traverses the lonely highways and back roads of our country’s southwest, he encounters characters both colorful and macabre. There’s the zany doctor (James Cady) with a homemade dream-recording device that literally blows people’s minds, an angelic waitress (The Oregonian’s Lindsay Pulsipher) who suffers multiple bloody deaths, and a naked, half-human/half-monster that haunts the Rambler for reasons unexplained. Scenes of deliriously abject violence and gore force their way into the increasingly unintelligible plot, and before long, Reeder’s road movie unravels into a surreal Grand Guignol.The-Rambler-2013-Movie-1Not only does Reeder abandon virtually all facets of conventional narrative cinema, he also seems completely determined to bully the audience into submission via imagery designed solely to disturb. Like Inland Empire, essentially a three-hour reel of David Lynch’s nightmares, the film is anchored in the sort of dream logic that may only make complete sense to its creator. Reeder’s dogged refusal to allow even the smallest semblance of standard movie comforts—likeable characters, narrative logic, easily identifiable themes—to worm their way into the film may be hubristic, but by that same token, it’s refreshing and revitalizing to watch someone assertively rattle the cages of cinematic form. After all, there’s more than one way to tell a story.