REVIEW: HOUSE OF WAX (2005)

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CAST

Elisha Cuthbert (The Girl Next Door)
Chad Michael Murray (Agent Carter)
Brian Van Holt (Agents of SHIELD)
Paris Hilton (Bottoms Up)
Jared Padalecki (Friday The 13th)
Jon Abrahams (Scary Movie)
Robert Ri’chard (The Vampire Diaries)
Damon Herriman (Water rats)
Andy Anderson (All Saints)

In 1974, a woman makes a wax mask as one of her sons eats breakfast. Her husband enters with another son. After being strapped and taped into his chair, he scratches his mother’s hand. Then she slaps the child across the face.In 2005, Carly Jones, her twin brother Nick, her boyfriend Wade, her best friend Paige, Paige’s boyfriend Blake, and Nick’s friend Dalton are on their way to a football game in Louisiana. When night falls, the group sets up camp. A stranger in a pickup truck visits their campsite, shines his lights, and refuses to leave or address them until Nick smashes one of his headlights. The next morning, Wade discovers that his fan belt is broken. Carly and Paige wander into the woods, and Carly falls down a hill, into a pit filled with animal carcasses. After rescuing her, the group meets a strange, rural man named Lester, who offers to drive Carly and Wade to the nearby town of Ambrose to get a new fan belt, while the rest of them go to the football game.The two arrive at Ambrose, which is virtually a ghost town. Unable to find an attendant at the gas station, they wander into the church, disrupting a funeral. There, they meet a mechanic named Bo, who offers to sell them a fan belt after the funeral. While waiting for the services to end, Carly and Wade visit the wax museum, which itself is made of wax and is the central feature of the town. The gas station does not have the right size fan belt, so they follow Bo to his house. Wade is knocked out by Bo’s brother, Vincent. Outside, Carly realizes Bo is the one who visited them the night before, after noticing the broken headlight. She runs to the church for help, but finds that it is populated only by wax sculptures. Bo captures her and brings to the cellar of the gas station, where she is restrained. Meanwhile, Wade is stripped naked and strapped to a chair to be covered in wax.

Nick, Dalton, Paige, and Blake realize they will not arrive at the game in time and turn around. Nick and Dalton arrive in Ambrose to find Carly and Wade. Nick visits the gas station, where he questions Bo about Carly’s whereabouts. When she tries to gain Nick’s attention, Bo cuts off the tip of Carly’s finger, but she tears her glued lips apart and screams for help. Nick fends off Bo and frees Carly. Meanwhile, Dalton finds Wade, who is still alive but unable to move due to the wax. Attempting to peel off the wax, Dalton realizes that he is unintentionally removing Wade’s skin in the process. Vincent finds Dalton and slashes Wade’s face with a machete, killing him. After a chase through the museum, Vincent catches Dalton and decapitates him. Meanwhile, Nick and Carly realize that all of the town’s inhabitants are real people covered in wax; Bo and Vincent have been luring people in and covering them in wax to make the figures look more realistic.

At the campsite, Vincent kills Blake and chases Paige to a sugar mill, where he kills her. Nick and Carly return to the house to find Wade and Dalton. When Bo and Vincent return, they chase Carly and Nick to the House of Wax. It is revealed that Bo is the “evil” brother and Vincent is the “good” one; since their parents died, Bo has been controlling the more mild-mannered Vincent through physical and verbal abuse. After a chase scene, Carly beats Bo to death with a baseball bat. Nick unintentionally sets the House of Wax on fire, and the wax figures start to melt, as does the whole house. An enraged Vincent chases Carly to the top floor, but Nick stabs Vincent. His body falls through the floor, and he lands on top of his brother’s corpse. Carly and Nick escape the House of Wax as it melts to the ground. The next day, the police arrive and report that Ambrose has been abandoned for ten years when the local sugar mill failed. As Nick and Carly are taken to a hospital, the policeman reveals Mr. and Mrs. Sinclair had a third son. From inside the ambulance, Carly sees Lester (the third brother) who smiles and waves goodbye.

The movie itself was pretty good (unlike the recent flood of weak horror flicks), it has everything a good horror should; a creepy villain, excessive violence, acts which make that average person cringe…this movie hit all the bases. It is definitely worth a watch.

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REVIEW: FRIDAY THE 13TH (2009)

CAST

Jared Padalecki (Supernatural)
Amanda Righetti (The Mentalist)
Derek Mears (Predators)
Danielle Panabaker (The FLash)
Travis Van Winkle (Accepted)
Aaron Yoo (Disturbia)
Jonathan Sadowski (She’s The Man)
Julianna Guill (Altitude)
Ryan Hansen (Veronica Mars)
America Olivo (Bitch Slap)
Richard Burgi (Chuck)
Nana Visitor (Star Trek: DS9)

On June 13, 1980, a young Jason Voorhees (Caleb Guss) watches as his mother Pamela (Nana Visitor) is beheaded by a camp counselor (Stephanie Rhodes), who was trying to escape Mrs. Voorhees’s murder spree around Camp Crystal Lake. Almost 30 years later, a group of vacationing friends—Wade (Jonathan Sadowski), Richie (Ben Feldman), Mike (Nick Mennell), Whitney (Amanda Righetti) and Amanda (America Olivo)—arrive at Crystal Lake on a camping trip to search for marijuana growing in the woods. That night, Jason (Derek Mears), now an adult, begins to kill members of the group, but spares Whitney and abducts her because she resembles Pamela at a young age.

Six weeks later, Trent (Travis Van Winkle), his girlfriend Jenna (Danielle Panabaker) and their friends Chelsea (Willa Ford), Bree (Julianna Guill), Chewie (Aaron Yoo), Nolan (Ryan Hansen), and Lawrence (Arlen Escarpeta) arrive at Trent’s summer cabin on the shore of Crystal Lake. Meanwhile, Whitney’s brother Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki) arrives at the lake to search for her. Clay visits Trent’s cabin, and Jenna agrees to help him search for Whitney. As they search, Jason kills Chelsea and Nolan while they are wakeboarding on the lake. Clay and Jenna reach the old Crystal Lake campgrounds where they see Jason hauling a body into the abandoned camp house.

Jenna and Clay run to warn the others about Jason, who arrives and disconnects the cabin’s electricity. Jason kills Chewie and Lawrence outside the cabin and sneaks inside and kills Bree. Trent, Clay, and Jenna escape the cabin, but Trent is killed when he reaches the main road. Jason chases Clay and Jenna back to the campgrounds, where Clay discovers Jason’s lair and finds his sister chained to the wall. Clay frees Whitney, and all three try to escape as Jason arrives. They find an exit, but Jenna is killed before she can escape. Jason chases Clay and Whitney; Whitney pretends to be Pamela, to confuse Jason and stabs him in the chest with his own machete. Clay dumps Jason’s dead body into the lake, but before Clay and Whitney leave, Jason bursts through the wooden dock and grabs Whitney.

The best part is the intro  where the name “FRIDAY THE 13th” doesn’t even appear for about 20 minutes. The opening will surely have you on the edge of your seat!  They really hit the nail on the head with this one, everything about it is fantastically well made.

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN

CAST

Steve Martin (Novocaine)
Bonnie Hunt (Jumanji)
Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly)
Tom Welling (Smallville)
Hilary Duff (Agent Cody Banks)
Kevin Schmidt (The Butterfly Effect)
Alyson Stoner (Step Up)
Jacob Smith (Troy)
Forrest Landis (Flightplan)
Liliana Mumy (That 70s Show)
Morgan York (The Pacifier)
Steven Anthony Lawrence (The Muse)
Paula Marshall (Veronica Mars)
Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men)
Jared Padalecki (Supernatural)
Richard Jenkins (The Cabin In The Woods)
Dax Shepard (Hit & Run)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Wayne Knight (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Holmes Osbourne (Donnie Darko)
Alan Ruck (Speed)

Tom Baker (Martin) is a football coach at a small rural college in Midland, Indiana, where he raised twelve children, and his wife, Kate (Hunt), has written about her life story in a book and hopes to send it to her friend to publish it. At the film’s beginning, Tom unexpectedly receives an offer from his old friend and football teammate, Shake McGuire (Richard Jenkins), to coach at his alma mater in Evanston, Illinois. Tom accepts the offer, and he and Kate begin making their plans on moving to Evanston. All twelve Baker children find out and demand the move be put to a vote, although Tom says it would not have any power. Tom loses the vote, even after he and Kate join, but goes ahead with the move anyway, claiming there will be more money and that they will be a “happier and stronger family”. However, the atmosphere at the Bakers’ new house is tense, and the situation at school for the children is even worse, although their new neighbors: the Shenks seem alright, especially the father, Bill and their first and only son, Dylan.

When her book is ready for publication, Kate is told that she must do a national book tour to promote it in New York for three days. Tom thinks that he will handle everything around the Bakers’ house while Kate is away, so he decides to hire his older child, Nora, and her boyfriend, Hank, to manage the children. When Nora arrives at her family’s house to manage them, the children plan to make Hank the target of their prank by soaking his underwear in meat and assisting their pet dog, Gunner, to attack him by chewing on his butt, prompting him to refuse to assist in baby-sitting since they know that he hates kids. As a result, Nora is angry at the children and later drives off with Hank, while Tom berates the children for their prank and cuts off their allowance within a month.

Shortly after Kate departs for her national book tour, Tom realizes that he cannot handle the children on his own after a chaotic night since Kate is told to stay for two more weeks. In reply to this revelation, Tom tries to hire a housekeeper, but nobody is willing to work with a family as large as his, so Tom decides to bring the football players from work into his house for game practicing in the living room to prepare for the Saturday night football game as the children perform chores and their household games. However, the children start causing trouble at school, in which Kyle and Nigel hurt their kindergarten teacher, Charlie and Lorraine continue suffering insults from teenage bullies without any violence involved, and the others stand-up against a group of bullies by fighting them for picking one of their own brothers, Mark and are both suspended from school for the fight after Mark and the others along with the bullies were sent to the principal’s office. Because of these incidents, Tom grounds the Baker children from any fun and games and forbids them all from going to Dylan’s birthday party, although they already have presents for him.Without Tom noticing them, the children sneak out of the house to give Dylan his presents and cause havoc at the party. While discussing the plays, Tom overhears party-goers screaming from Dylan’s house as one of the gifts turns out to be a Brazilian mud viper snake from Mark. Tom sends his players to retrieve his kids while he tries to retrieve his daughter, Sarah, but during a mess, he fails and the bounce house explodes. In all of the commotion, Dylan gets injured by Tom and is later sent to the hospital with a broken arm as his mother, Tina, coldly forbids the Baker kids from ever playing with Dylan ever again. Tom is forced to cancel the game after Shake advises him not to bring the players in his house or the children in the department again.

Kate overhears from the children about the chaos and cancels the book tour to take charge of the situation. Kate’s publisher decides to create an additional promotion for her book by inviting Oprah Winfrey to tape a segment about the Bakers in their home instead. However, Tom finds a letter in his mailbox revealing that Charlie got kicked off the football team as he berates Tom and storms out of the house to rejoin his girlfriend, Beth, back at Midland. Tom is even more shocked to discover Hank having returned and slept over with Nora at home. Despite much coaching from Kate, the Bakers are not able to demonstrate the loving, strongly bonded family that Kate described in her book. When Mark becomes upset that his pet frog, Beans, has died, which Sarah tells him that nobody cares and calls him Fedex once again, a heated fight erupts moments before the segment starts, leading the cameramen to tell Winfrey to cancel it. Afterwards, Mark runs away from home, prompting the Bakers to find him.Tom suspects that Mark is trying to run back to the Bakers’ old home, and eventually finds Mark on a train en route from Chicago to Midland. Reuniting with the rest of their family, the Bakers begin to address their issues with each other. After burying Beans in the garden and performing a kind of eulogy with the whole family there, Tom ultimately resigns from his position at his alma mater and settles for a less-time consuming job. The film ends at a Christmas dinner with the Bakers when the chandelier lamp breaks off and smashes.Directed by Shawn Levy (‘Just Married’ and ‘Big Fat Liar’), the film is not a bad one. It’s not a brilliant one either, but is warmly written, well-acted and contains many physical gags that children in particular will love. Ashton Kutcher is hilarious in the film as the self-obsessed boyfriend who claims he is hounded by the paparazzi for the single TV commercial he has starred in. All in all, it’s well worth a look

REVIEW: CRY_WOLF (2005)

CAST

Lindy Booth (Wrong Turn)
Julian Morris (Pretty Little Liars)
Jared Padalecki (Supernatural)
Jon Bon Jovi (New Year’s Eve)
Sandra McCoy (Power Rangers Wild Force)
Kristy Wu (End of Watch)
Gary Cole (Chuck)

Owen Matthews arrives at Westlake Preparatory Academy. That night Owen’s roommate, Tom, tells him they are sneaking out. A group of students consisting of Graham, Mercedes, Lewis, Randall, Regina, Tom, Dodger and Owen play a game called Cry Wolf, where someone is marked as a “wolf” and the group tries to figure out who it is.After meeting his new journalism teacher, Mr. Walker, Owen and Tom meet everyone for lunch. They discuss the police finding a girl’s body, Becky, after it was dragged through the woods by a wolf. The group considers who could have murdered Becky, when Dodger proposes expanding Cry Wolf to the entire school. Owen suggests creating a fake e-mail telling everyone about a serial killer who goes from campus to campus killing students. They describe the killer as wearing an orange ski mask, a camouflage jacket and brandishing a hunting knife. That night, they send out the e-mail.  The next day, the entire school has spread the story in the e-mail. Owen receives an instant message from someone using the name “Wolf”. Tom and Owen accuse Dodger, but she claims she was studying with Regina. Tom and Owen find their dorm room trashed. When the instant messenger comes up on Owen’s laptop, they find a piercing stud and blood on Owen’s keyboard. Tom blames Regina, who has a recipe for fake blood. When accused, she insists she was on a field trip. Believing Dodger is lying, Owen confronts her. Dodger informs him that she was visiting her mother. Deciding that Randall is behind the odd behavior, Owen tries tracking him down, to no avail. Owen once again seeks out Dodger, and finds her kissing Mr. Walker.


In his journalism class the next day, when Owen reaches into his bag for supplies, a hunting knife falls out. Mr. Walker escorts Owen to the Headmistress’s office. Owen tells Mr. Walker that he knows about his relationship with Dodger, and that he will tell the headmistress if Walker reveals the knife. Mr. Walker agrees not to say anything. On the night of Halloween, “Wolf” attacks Owen. Thinking Tom was trying to prank him, Owen goes to leave with Tom’s car, but sees Wolf behind him. The attacker ends up being Mercedes, who was trying to prove that attackers can be women.


The following day, Owen and Mercedes meet with the headmistress, who decides that Owen’s fate will be decided over the weekend. The rest of the group is forced to stay at school over the weekend. Owen contacts them to meet in the chapel. Owen, Dodger, Tom, Lewis and Regina meet and try to get to the bottom of the attacks. While Lewis is on the phone, Mercedes is apparently attacked in the bathroom by Wolf. Owen unsuccessfully tries to call for help.

The rest of the group finds Randall’s body in a confessional. After the group scatters, Owen runs to the parking lot to see that Mr. Walker is still on campus. Owen runs to Mr. Walker’s office as his phone starts ringing. Owen answers to Dodger crying on the other end; she has found Mercedes dead. Dodger tells Owen she is coming and can see him through the window. He looks out to see Wolf kill her. Suddenly Mr. Walker enters the room. After noticing that Mr. Walker has a jacket, an orange mask and a knife, Owen shoots him. The door is suddenly opened by Dodger, Tom and Regina.
Owen is arrested for murder. The group admits that it was a prank to get Mercedes and Owen back for making them stay on campus. It is discovered that Mr. Walker was involved with Becky, the gun in his desk being the same one that killed her. Dodger visits Owen, and says that she would never have played the game if she knew that Mr. Walker was cheating on her, revealing she had organized everything. She had killed Becky because she was jealous of Mr. Walker’s relationship with her. She had set up the game, knowing that Owen would blame Mr. Walker for the killings, thereby killing him and making her happy. Owen threatens to report her, to which she replies that no one would believe him.The complexity doesn’t really show up until the finale, when the seemingly simple plot turns around and pulls all its strings tight. Hardly a plot hole to be found. People you thought were dead aren’t, and a childish prank turns out to be far more sinister. Writer/director Jeff Wadlow soaks the movie in a tongue-in-cheek atmosphere, and a sense of intellectual horror as well as visceral thrills. It also takes a few minutes out to mock slasher flicks, like the “so cliche” idea of a killer hiding in the backseat. The cast seems like a typical slasher cast, but more realistic — the slut is flirty but not actually slutty, like a girl who is still getting used to her own attractiveness. The brainiac doesn’t flaunt her intelligence, the chubby kid isn’t funny, and the jock isn’t a lunkhead. Julian Morris gives a subtle, understated portrayal of a troubled young boy with a checkered past. Owen is essentially a good kid, but led into trouble by that classic downfall — he’s trying to impress the hot girl with his intelligence. Morris’s finest acting comes in the final scenes on the movie, where his expressive eyes show terror, desperation, numbness, and finally frustrated horror. “Cry Wolf” is a far smarter, creepier movie than most satires, and it also manages to be a clever flick in its own right. Solidly acted, wonderfully written.