Escape From Tomorrow (2013)

Escape From Tomorrow is made interesting by the very way that it was shot. Escape from Tomorrow is a feature length film shot almost entirely in Disney World/Land without permission from Disney.  Just the fact that they were able to make this is a crazy thought, even more so that it has received such a wide release, even being shown in theaters and added to Netflix. The spectacle of seeing a dark horror movie filmed in Disney World is the reason to watch it, but the question is; Does Escape From Tomorrow have any depth or entertainment value beyond the production gimmick?

Well sadly the answer is; not really.

The story follows Jim, the father in your typical Disney going family. Jim is a sexual deviant who stalks a pair of young french girls around the park and the mother is nagging and annoying. The two children completely lack any traces of character.

Escape From Tomorrow manages to have fairly good cinematography for a large amount of the film which is especially impressive considering how it was shot, with many real people walking around and the general chaos of the park around them. There are some shots that they spent a very long time planning to achieve. The effort is valiant and doesn’t go unnoticed, but then there are particularly awful looking scenes. There are a handful of scenes that would horrible on their own, and are highlighted more so by the overall nice presentation of the rest of the film. More than one scene has the actors very obviously and poorly green screened into B-roll footage of the amusement park and it does not look passable at all.

Escape From Tomorrow is full of really bad acting. The best acting you can find in this film is passable, while the worst actually comes from the lead actor. He is consistently terrible throughout. By the end of the film I had actual become accustomed to the bad acting and stopped being as distracting, but adjusting to the bad does not make it good.

Escape From Tomorrow attempts to be a creepy screwed up horror film, but largely fails. The “scares” are too few and far between and when they do pop up they often fall flat. The closest the film got to be effective from a horror standpoint was actually the opening credits which managed to provide a genuinely surprising moment, but this one solid moment was cheapened when it was revisited later on in the film, to lesser effect.

The film seems very unsure of the tone that it wants to convey. It presents itself as a cerebral horror film, but then it throws comedic elements at you which don’t mix well. In the end both elements miss their mark and what few moments could have been funny, are muddled and ruined by the confused tones of the movie.

The Pacing is dreadful. Escape From Tomorrow has a meandering plot that kills far too much time following the characters as they walk around the park, go on rides, and do absolutely nothing of any importance. The movie wastes time and feels as though much of it was shot without purpose other than stretching out what probably should have been a 20 minute short film into a feature length film. As a 20 minute short this concept may have actually worked better. A more condensed runtime would have helped Escape From Tomorrow as most of the time it will have you waiting for something to happen, and when it does happen, it will likely disappoint. It also doesn’t help that pretty much all of the set pieces and interesting moments are given away in the trailer.

The gimmick is interesting but the film fails to impress beyond the fact that it actually got made and released the way it was produced. I would only recommend it to those who are seriously interested in the concept of a film shot guerrilla style in Disney world, otherwise definitely stay away. The concept is incredibly intriguing, but a much stronger plot and acting would have been needed to stop this film from being a disappointment.

Movie Recommendation of the Week #9

The premise of Point Blank isn’t anything terribly original. A man’s wife gets kidnapped and now he’s trying to get her back. While the film isn’t wholly inventive, it is executed well.

Be aware that this is more of a soft recommendation than usual. Point blank isn’t great or even very memorable, but it is an entertaining french action thriller, that most people probably haven’t seen.

This is not something that you need to go out of your way to watch. It is currently on Netflix, or if you happen across it, then give it a watch. Point Blank is a harmless entertaining movie, and sometimes that’s all you want.

Valentine’s Day special

By Sam Kench

This is a dark and surreal drama called “Rose-Tinted” for Valentine’s Day Please give it a watch and leave some feedback

Mulholland Drive came with an interesting little sheet called David Lynch’s seven keys to unlocking this feature. I figured I’d do a similar thing since this short is very weird. These will explain some of the mystery so if you’d rather leave it ambiguous and not know, don’t read any further.  So here it is “Sam Kench’s 6 keys to unlocking Rose-Tinted”

1.) Look closely – Pay close attention to what is on screen. There are foreshadowing elements hidden in the background as well as in single frames spliced into earlier scenes, fight club style.

2.) Open your mind – Things are not what they seem, nor are they occurring in chronological order. Be aware that the audience sees things from the main character’s point of view, and the character may not be the most sane person.

3.) Repetition is the key – Certain lines of dialogue, actions, and even camera movements are repeated throughout the short, find the repetition and things should begin to make more sense.

4.) Important objects – Important objects include the owl, the glasses, and the mask. Pay attention to these objects as they carry great importance.

5.) Be a consistent watcher/chess fanatic – The writing on the main characters arm can really only be understood if you are either a continuous watcher of my videos, or if you are an extreme fanatic. The WWLHD written on the arm stands for What Would Liam Henry Do as muttered by the main character. Liam Henry is a person who has been name dropped in the punch line of more than one joke on my sketch show Yes Son That is a Lion. Liam Henry is a real person and he is a competitive chess player. The main character discovers the WWLHD directly before playing chess against the mask.

6.) The other acronym – The other acronym in the video can be seen on the envelope where the main character finds the note. On the sender line of the envelope the letters S.S.C are written. S.S.C. stands for Shaun’s Sub-Conscious. This acronym is visible immediately before the main character receives a phone call harassing him. The other end of the call is his subconscious attacking him for the all the things he doesn’t like about himself.

Sam’s Movie Recommendation of the Week #3

seven psychopaths

seven psychopathsSeven Psychopaths

Reason to watch

—Great Director Seven Psychopaths was written and directed by Martin McDonagh who has only done two features, but has quickly become one of my favorite directors.

—A great sense of humor. Seven Psychopaths is hysterically funny and it defies convetions.

— Top Ten Seven Psychopaths made the list of my top 10 favorite films of 2012

— It transcends comedy. Seven Psychopaths is very funny but it also manages to have surprisingly profound moments and very deep and complex characters. This is why I’m a big fan of Martin Mcdonagh. Both of his films are funny, and deep.

—The cast. Colin Farrell is at his best when he’s with Mcdonagh. You also get great performances from people like Woody Harrelson and Tom Waits. Colin Farrell stars, but the show is stolen by Christopher Walken and especially Sam Rockwell who are both great in the film/.

CLICK HERE to read my complete review of Seven Psychopaths

The Descent (2005) Macabre Month of Horror 2013 #13

"The Descent"

the descentThe basic plot of “The Descent” is as follows. A group of women go on an annual extreme outing. The expedition leads them on a spelunking trip into an unnamed cave. What begins as an incredibly tense and claustrophobic trip through the cave, ends as a blood strewn battle against batlike monsters.

The first section of the film is undoubtedly more effective than the first. The tension building up to the arrival of the monsters has a stronger presence than the monsters themselves. While the monsters may be creepy upon first glance, once you get a good focused look at them they quickly stop being threatening.

the descentThe girls put up a fight and surprisingly do fairly well. Or at least two of them do. They do more damage than these monsters do and are able to evade them without too much effort. That’s not to say the second half is bad, it just takes a different route than the rest of the movie.

Before the monsters show up the film is a taut tension ride that really evokes feelings of doom of woe and after the monsters arrive you can think of the film as an action horror movie.

the descentThe unrated version of the film is fantastically gory and while the second isn’t particularly scary, it is still very dark and the action can be intense. It turns into a fun action horror movie towards the end which does lessen the impact of the horror but it’s not really a bad thing.

The major strength of the film comes from the first half. The tension building cave exploring half. “The Descent” manages to evoke a deep seeded feeling of claustrophobia in the viewers. My favorite part of the movie is actually a sequence in which each girl is crawling through an incredibly small crevice between the rocks. The tension in this sequence is palpable. The effect is even further enhanced through the fantastic direction and camera work.

"The Descent" The cave looks great. I was very surprised to find out that there was not a single real cave in the film. It is 100% sets. That shocked me, The production designer deserves and award for his work on this film. There are very few times when a rock doesn’t seem to have the proper weight, or a large rock wiggles a little bit, but I just attributed that to extra additions. Fake additions within a real cave, for safety purposes, but no, fake cave. Don’t go into the film with that in mind. You can buy the cave as real.

The lighting is superb. Normally lighting isn’t something I feel the need to mention but this is a special case. They took a smart approach to the lighting and mainly just lit the scenes with what the girls had within the scene. They are in pitch black cave and it is often lit only by the character’s headlamps and flashlights, or glow sticks, flares, torches, it’s impressive. It made filming difficult, but it was worth it as you can really get pulled into the atmosphere of the movie.

descent4This is a very dark movie. In terms of lighting as well as subject matter. Many horror films are darkly lit, but The Descent has perhaps the most valid reason to be so.

The exploration through the cave is edge of your seat intense. A strange thing happened when one of the characters fell down a hole. I worried what happened to her. Without my knowing, I grew at least slightly attached to these characters. I cared what happened to them. I cared for their lives, I wanted them to succeed. Most horror movies are unable to accomplish this. While there is not a great deal of character development, there was enough that they each had a personality and enough for me to root for them. Most modern horror films throw subtlety and characters out the window, but “The Descent” managed to have both. I really wanted to see these girls win, and that made the film much more intense.

"The Descent" The Descent is not a perfect film. It has some low budget sensibilities, and the American ending is horrible, but it is a great deal better than the majority of horror films coming out these days, and that’s more than I can say about the sequel.

The American ending is just plain stupid, it ends on a horror cliche that feels completely out of place and contradicts the tone of the movie. While the European ending still has the bad cliche, it extends the ending and ends on a sour note that is much more suitable to the film.

neil marshall

Neil Marshall, the director of “The Descent” , put a lot of time and care into the film. He did a very good job and managed to make a very good horror film that I highly recommend.

You can buy “The Descent  on Blu-ray by clicking right “HERE” and keep checking back all October long for a new horror review every day of the month with this year’s Macabre Month of  Horror.

 

Macabre Month of Horror 2013 movie review #10 ‘The Ward’

the ward

the wardThe Ward AKA the most disappointing movie I’ve ever seen. John Carpenter was one of the top tier masters of horror. His first movie in 9 years was “The Ward”. Wow a movie so good that a master of horror comes out of retirement to make. I wish that were the case.

THIS IS NOT SO MUCH OF A REVIEW AS IT IS A WARNING

John Carpenter in 2001

I watched “The Ward” last year on Halloween. I figured, hey a John Carpenter movie I haven’t seen, this ought to be good for Halloween. I was mistaken. I bottled up my rage at the movie for an entire year before finally writing this review, and really I’m not angry, just disappointed and shocked that John Carpenter would make a film this terrible.

While the original “Halloween” may not have been the first slasher film, it was right there to lay the framework. It was one of the most highly influential films ever made, and pretty much defined the slasher subgenre.

Knowing that John Carpenter had a large part in creating the slasher genre, and then he turns around and makes “The Ward”, one of the most cliché slasher films I’ve seen, it’s almost a sacrilegious experience. “The Ward” is a rip-off of the slasher genre, which is incredibly ironic since it’s directed by the man most responsible for the birth of the genre. I had so much respect for John Carpenter, and I honestly see “The Ward” as a disgrace.

the ward Laura LeighThe script while not being written by John Carpenter is absolutely terrible. The story is uninspired,unoriginal, full of clichés, and does not amount to anything worth committing to memory. The acting is all either unremarkable or quite bad. Actually no, there was actress that was quite good. I almost forgot about her. Laura Leigh did a good job with what she was given. Other than that, the acting is below par, even for a horror film. The movie has an extremely predictable twist, that is also incredible cliché. It’s another split personality movie, as if that hasn’t already been done to death.

“The Ward” abides by pretty much every slasher cliché there is, and doesn’t improve or innovate anything. If John Carpenter hadn’t directed it, there would be no audience for it. “The Ward” would be poorly received and then forgotten. As it still should be. I get the feeling John Carpenter didn’t try very hard with “The Ward”, or even have any passion. Which makes me wonder why he even made it. He didn’t do the music either as he often does, he said he was “too old”. Well maybe he’s too old to pick his scripts because “The Ward” is awful.

Not a good movie, but if you want to complete your John Carpenter collection or just want to see if it’s as bad as I say it is, you can buy it by clicking  “HERE”. It’s really not a horrible movie, it’s just tremendously disappointing that it came from John Carpenter, a master of horror. This is something I would expect from a straight to DVD first time director.

Scavenging Episode 2 ~ A web series filmed in New Hampshire

This episode picks up right where the first episode left off. The two protagonists JuanDingo and Alverez have just killed the guy that attacked them, and are now able to see what is in that mystery case. They accept a dangerous mission to plant a bomb. The bomb alerts nearby “Enemies”. That is where the next episode begins.

The show is filmed in real-time, meaning; 1 minute of screen time = 1 minute of actual time.

The show is inspired by many things, a great influence comes from the Fallout games. But this is not “Fallout the movie” it is its own thing.

The Billboard intro was a green screen effect created by movieshop1000, and will be the intro from now on in the series, but each episode will have a slightly different intro.