The Rites of Spring Review

The Rites of Spring (2011)
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Starring: AJ Bowen, Anessa Ramsey, Sonny Marinelli
Directed by: Padraig Reynolds




Ransomers get more than they bargained for when their kidnapping scheme lands them in the middle of a sacrificial spring ritual.

This is a movie that had so many of the pieces to the puzzle in the right spot, but decided to just shit in the remaining empty spaces. I mean, the premise just sounds great from the start and the movie even has a pretty good opening -- initially, a woman named Rachel and her friend, Amy (Annessa Ramsey and Katherine Randolph) are abducted while changing a car tire, they wake to find themselves bound and helpless as a strange, creepy man begins performing a ritual cleansing. Elsewhere, a group of thieves reach the point of no return when they invade the home of a businessman and his wife and kidnap their daughter. Ultimately, the two stories collide when certain circumstances cause the thieves to encounter the monster, which is to be expected. The part that makes no sense, though, is when the monster is revealed, he seems to be the love child of the corn of Jason Voorhees and Zen the Intergalactic Ninja, Now, that being said, I will wholeheartedly admit he did look pretty bad ass. The problem is he doesn't look like he fits in the movie.

One thing I did find as the story progressed is plot twists and shockers were handled very well, especially in the case of the kidnappers. One scene early in the movie solidified the fact that the character Paul (played fantastically by one Sonny Marinelli) can politely eat a bag of dicks. I did enjoy the characters in this film enough to say that it was one of my favorite parts next to the special effects, which were rather phenomenal. Honestly, the only problems I had (reluctantly, might I add) were the monster just feels like he should be in a different movie and for something the farmer claimed to be unstoppable, he went down rather fast. How fast? Think Marshmallow Peeps in a microwave.

To continue on with my love-hate relationship with IFC movies, I have to say Rites of Spring is a fun ride and there are are many good qualities to it, but for some the big reveal may be a letdown of Boogeyman-esque proportions, but not quite the magnitude. Either way, you won't find out until you give the ol' glass cannon a try. Which I suggest. Because it's still better than Boogeyman.



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Overall Rating: Hurts So Good

KillerKiller Review

Killer Killer (2007)
Starring: Richard Collins, Scott Denyer, Danielle Laws
Directed by: Pat Higgins


A group of murderous psychos wake to find themselves freed from their asylum cells. Before they can figure out why, inmates begin to mysteriously die horrible, bloody deaths.

Now, this is a movie I wanted to sink my teeth into. It has a decent premise with what felt like a strong cast. The opening scene set the general idea of the movie very well: the psycho is put in a hunting scenario similar to his m.o. then shit goes wrong and the hunter becomes the hunted (hence "KillerKiller"). Aside from the expositional scenes, that's pretty much how it plays out, which is all well and good, but there are a few hiccups along the way.

There is a stark contrast between the way some of these characters are depicted in the first minutes of the movie and how they behave throughout the remainder. Rosebrook (Cy Henty) and Victor (Danny James) are good examples of this as the former's "intro" is basically just him snarling at the camera as if he's about to jump on the person interviewing him and the latter's feels like he's about to wax philosophical at his questioning. When the movie begins, though, Rosebrook is one of the calmest characters in the asylum and Victor loses his shit and is forced into isolation from the rest of the group. That being said, I liked Perry (Richard Collins) the most as he was actually pretty fun to watch. The Helle character (the lovely Danielle Laws) also was enjoyable.

Most of what goes on in KillerKiller are practical effects, which I personally adore. You can tell the production team worked on a low budget compared to a lot of movies, but instead of half-assing, they took to some classic approaches to make it through the scenes (note after Helle gets the upper hand during the surgeon scene). One of the best touches was Helle's demonic eyes. This was a minimalist effect one could appreciate. The psycho in the opening of the film felt a lot like a nod to Halloween, which is a plus. I mean, who doesn't love Halloween, right?

KillerKiller is a movie made with a very interesting premise, but falls short of being memorable. The lack of real tension takes a lot away from what this movie has to offer, leaving mostly the special effects and the death scenes to pick up the slack. That being said, this isn't a bad movie, per se, it just misses a few of the more important marks that make for the truly engaging experience we horror fans love. Ownership would probably be best left to the die-hard B-movie fans.


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Overall Rating: Gashed and Bleeding

Haunter Review

Haunter (2013)
Starring: Abigail Breslin, Stephen McHattie, Peter Outerbridge
Directed by: Vincenzo Natali




One of the most tried and true sub genres of horror is the "haunted house". As far back as we can remember, the general idea was every house holds a secret...and that secret is it wants to kill you. Well, either the house itself or some pissed off ghost. This film is more about the latter, but from a different perspective. In Haunter, it's The Others meets Groundhog's Day as the young heroine of the film, Lisa, is dead and has been since 1994. Unlike The Others, Lisa is aware of her dead-ness. Her family, however, is oblivious to the fact. As such, her after existence consists of the same day, the eve of her sixteenth birthday, repeating ad nauseum.

The majority of Haunter consists of young Lisa (Abigail Breslin) becoming increasingly drawn to a new presence in the home. A living presence. After attempting to contact this new person a few times, a strange Pale Man (Stephen McHattie) begins to come around and he "doesn't like Busy Bettie's".

Honestly, this is as good as it gets with Haunter. While I did like the acting and dialogue, there isn't much else to offer here. There are a lot of the standard ghost house trappings: ethereal fog, mysterious doors, trips to the "other side", etc, but not much of anything new. I mentioned it follows the dead chick, right? Yeah, that's pretty much the only difference here. The Pale Man is menacing to say the least, but in the end, it feels Haunter is best suited for just passing the time than providing a truly engaging experience. 


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Overall Rating: Wounded and Limping