About This Blog

A place to find my reviews not featured on epinions.com or horror-asylum.com, as well as opinions and lists on everything from movies to TV to music. It's all about me! Send hate mail to vegie18th@hotmail.com or just leave a comment beneath the posts. Review grading system assumes C+ is somewhere in the vicinity of a Passing grade or minor fail.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Review: Deep Impact

Teen astronomy geek Elijah Wood and astronomer Charles Martin Smith discover a comet. Smith soon learns something really, really bad, but before he can tell anyone about it, he is killed in a car crash. A year later, MSNBC reporter Tea Leoni stumbles upon what she thinks is a sex scandal cover-up involving Secretary of Treasury James Cromwell. Turns out it’s a much, much bigger story. Apparently that pesky comet is headed for Earth, and is the size of a freakin’ city. President Morgan Freeman is forced to go public with the news. He tells of plans to send a NASA mission to give the comet a nuclear blast and hopefully divert its course. If that fails, then a national lottery system will be set up to select a certain percentage of the population to be moved to a newly constructed underground safe haven. Robert Duvall plays the veteran astronaut in charge of the space mission, who feels out of touch with his tight-knit younger team of astronauts (Ron Eldard, Jon Favreau, Mary McDonnell, and Blair Underwood among them), who think he’s kinda past it. Maximilian Schell plays Leoni’s estranged father, divorced from mother Vanessa Redgrave. Leelee Sobieski plays Wood’s girlfriend and neighbour, and Laura Innes is Leoni’s friend and co-worker.


Two asteroid film hit cinemas in 1998, and one of them took themselves seriously enough to be quite entertaining. I’m a “Deep Impact” kinda guy, I guess. Although the feature directorial career of Mimi Leder somewhat crapped out, she does a rock-solid job here with this rather traditional, multi-character disaster-drama. Most of Leder’s 41 directing gigs have been TV episodes and TV movies, and she hasn’t directed a feature since 2009’s “The Code”, after having helmed this, “The Peacemaker” (which admittedly didn’t do great business for a film featuring two of the world’s biggest movie stars), and “Pay It Forward”. I’ve seen directors with worse resumés who are much more prolific in cinema, Leder’s crime (if anything) is mere mediocrity, save for this film, which is enjoyable. Not all of the characters and storylines are entertaining in equal measure (or scripted in equal measure for that matter), but it’s actually really affecting at times and quite underrated. The big moment, when it comes works on all levels, and even Tea Leoni’s final word is perfect.


You’d swear it was a Roland Emmerich disaster movie, because the film opens in the exact same way that all of Emmerich’s disaster movies appear to, with character actor Charles Martin Smith this time being the nerdy scientist guy who stumbles upon the beginning of the film’s plot. Same thing happened in “The Day After Tomorrow” I believe, and certainly it happened in “ID4”. Not a complaint, just an observation.


I wasn’t at all surprised to find Steven Spielberg as EP, it’s pretty classy stuff for what it is, and the FX still hold up pretty well in 2014. Tea Leoni is the film’s anchor (no pun intended), and I actually think it’s her best work. I was a fan of “The Naked Truth” until they suddenly changed her character into the female, live-action equivalent of the bumbling cop character on that one episode of “The Simpsons” who just happened to be called Homer Simpson (Speaking of jokes, Conservative Americans must bust a gut when they find out she’s an MSNBC reporter, and she initially gets the story oh-so very wrong). She wouldn’t have been among my first tier casting choices, but she does a very fine job. Even better is Robert Duvall, who owns his part and is in some ways the heart of the film, or at least its rock. Of all the astronaut characters in the film, he’s the one who best breaks out of his stereotypical role. Ron Eldard impresses, though as the next most prominent of the astronauts. It might be the best I’ve seen the versatile actor, and he definitely gets more meat to chew on than co-pilots Mary McCormack (who is astoundingly beautiful and deserves more than playing ‘the token chick’), Blair Underwood (‘token black guy’), and Jon Favreau (‘Token guy who’d like to remind you once again that he was in “Rudy”, and has lots of famous friends’). Morgan Freeman plays the President, showing that Ms. Leder at least got one thing accurate, very prescient there. He brings the necessary gravitas and authority to the part that the film dearly needs. When Freeman speaks, you listen attentively. Do I believe he’d have such clandestine meetings with MSNBC reporters in kitchens? Why are you asking that when the film already asks us to accept Tea Leoni as the offspring of Vanessa Redgrave and Maximilian Schell?


In addition to the pitch-perfect casting of Duvall and Freeman, the future Frodo Baggins, Elijah Wood is spot-on too, and both Redgrave and Schell are every bit as solid as you’d expect. James Cromwell has limited screen time as an important cog in the wheel that is the film’s central premise (before forgetting about him entirely), but he’s genuinely effective in his brief appearance. The one casting mistake is “E.R.” actress Laura Innes. She’s not a good actress, and brings with her a brittle and unpleasant screen presence that just rubs me the wrong way. There’s something remote and bitchy about her, I feel.


The other problem the film has is that it’s not nearly long enough to properly address each of the characters and their storylines. It gets the job done as well as it can in the confines of a 120 minute running time, but this really needed to be a mini-series at the very least. So the film ends up being more B-level than it could’ve been. On that B-level, though, it’s still pretty good. Most of these disaster movies are too hokey to achieve gravitas or have audiences reaching for the Kleenex, even the best ones like “The Poseidon Adventure” (The more serious-minded “Voyage of the Damned” probably got closest to bringing a kind of weight and importance to the all-star format, though it wasn’t a disaster film per se, but a drama based largely on fact). While this film isn’t as entertaining or memorable as “The Poseidon Adventure”, it did indeed get to me on that emotional level. Leoni reading out the lottery is a very strong emotional moment (it’s a cruel thing, but the idea of the lottery undeniably makes sense), and a scene with Wood, Sobieski, and her family is also heart-tugging. Maybe it’s because I’m approaching middle-age and thinking about some rather weighty issues, or maybe the film is just genuinely well-made. The screenplay is by Michael Tolkin (“The Rapture”, the phenomenally overrated “The Player”) and Bruce Joel Rubin (“Ghost”, “Jacob’s Ladder”, “My Life”). By the way, did you know Jon Favreau was in “Rudy”?


Rating: B-

Friday, September 12, 2014

Review: Fast & Furious 6

The central trio of Vin Diesel, his sister Jordana Brewster, and their respective best friend and husband Paul Walker, are living in the Canary Islands, well away from any possible extradition for past sins. Walker and Brewster have just started a family, but you sense a bit of a restless spirit in former cop and former crim Walker. Then one day out of the blue, Diesel is visited by musclebound FBI man Dwayne Johnson, who has an unusual request: He needs Diesel and his top-notch crew of car thieves to help him nab a rogue Special Forces guy (Luke Evans) up to no-good criminal mastermind stuff with a similar vehicular bent. The lure on the hook for Diesel? Diesel’s former lover Michelle Rodriguez is alive and apparently under Evans’ wing. The rest of the crew (Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Sung Kang, Gal Gadot) are happy to do the gig, as they see it as bringing one of their own home, with Johnson and his new butt-kicking female partner Gina Carano accompanying them. But the rescue mission and mission to stop Evans, will be easier said than done, as Rodriguez seems awfully reluctant to come back into the fold. In fact, it seems like she has no idea who Diesel and co are! Elsa Pataky returns as Johnson’s former professional partner turned Diesel’s current romantic partner, whilst Shea Whigham and John Ortiz are perfectly cast as an a-hole cop and imprisoned criminal (the one supposedly responsible for Rodriguez’s death in a previous film), respectively.


I’m not a fan of this boofhead series, and the first two films are particularly appalling, but this 2013 film from director Justin Lin (“Better Luck Tomorrow”, “Fast & Furious”, “Fast 5”) and screenwriter Chris Morgan (“Cellular”, “Wanted”, “Fast 5”) is the mild best in the series thus far. Revheads and series fans will rate it even higher than me, but this group of characters don’t do a whole helluva lot for me, I have to say. I mean, even the undeniably charismatic Dwayne Johnson couldn’t drag “Fast 5” over the line, and doesn’t drag this one much further. He’s undoubtedly one of the best things here, but not being a devotee of the series (I still haven’t seen “Tokyo Drift”), I don’t have the same connection with these guys and gals as others will, and so there’s an obvious limit to how appealing it all is for me (Gal Gadot and Sung Kang are insufferably dull), especially since I don’t much give a crap about cars, either. Rock’s unbeatable physical presence (it’s a shame he wasn’t active in films in the late 80s/early 90s when action movies were prevalent and superior) and Tyrese Gibson’s intentionally irritable, abrasive personality probably registered most with me. But even I can appreciate that this one’s a slight step up from “Fast 5”, which wasn’t terrible itself.


After a completely stupid opener involving a high speed chase that is actually just two dudes rushing to Jordana Brewster’s impending baby-birthin’, the film definitely kicks into gear. The opening 20-30 minutes is truly action-packed. Sure, the camerawork is too busy and needlessly shaky (car travel isn’t that turbulent, dumb arses), and it’s all completely fucking absurd, but at least while the film is in action mode, it’s not remotely boring. I just wish I had some connection to the characters. Meanwhile, watching this in mid-2014 after Walker’s tragic death, there’s definitely a pall hanging over the whole thing. The scenes with him playing family man are very distressing. MMA fighter Gina Carano has an excellent fight scene relatively early with “Girlfight” actress Michelle Rodriguez. Carano is a bit stiff, but she might just have a future in action movies, so long as they are much heavier on the action and less reliant on facial expressions, of which Carano appears to have precious few at this stage. She’s still better than Gal Gadot, however, who just can’t act at all. Rodriguez, for her part, is actually quite good here (under some decidedly very silly amnesiac circumstances), certainly more impressive than Walker, and especially Diesel, who seems disinterested this time out. There’s good small turns by the always slimy Shea Whigham, and especially an intimidating John Ortiz. Unfortunately, Luke Evans doesn’t bring enough menace, evil charm, or presence to the lead villain role. But the action helps to make up at least some of the difference.


Are the stunts ridiculously unbelievable? Yep, one in particular really ought to have given Diesel a broken back. But look back at the first two films (I still haven’t quite forgiven John Singleton for the pathetic “2 Fast 2 Furious”) and tell me this isn’t significantly more fun. Yes it’s a completely ridiculous film, yes there’s some rather unsatisfactory performances, but I’m shocked at how watchable this is. Faint praise, sure, but it’s true. Absolutely brilliant tease for the next film, though, featuring a probable death and a star addition to the cast (that really ought to have happened well before now, when you think about it) tying in the previously seemingly stand-alone “Tokyo Drift” more directly to the franchise as well.


Rating: C+

Review: 10 Years

It’s school reunion time, where old mistakes and embarrassments will resurface, some new ones will emerge, lies will be told about current circumstances to hide the failures and disappointments of the last decade, bullies and nerds will reacquaint themselves with one another, and spouses will be forcibly introduced with the guy or girl that their other half used to date. Good times. Channing Tatum arrives with his girlfriend (played by real-life wife Jenna Dewan-Tatum), nervously wondering if high school flame Rosario Dawson is gonna turn up, as things ended somewhat messily, it seems. Pssst. She does indeed turn up, with husband Ron Livingston. Hooray for awkwardness! High school sweethearts Chris Pratt and Ari Graynor are married with kids, but Pratt still harbours guilt for his bullying ways in high school and hopes to rectify the situation. It doesn’t go well because Pratt’s a pitiful douchebag who hasn’t really changed. Oscar Isaac went on to become a somewhat successful John Mayer wannabe, but rather than appreciate the fawning groupies, he’d rather reacquaint himself with the one who got away (Kate Mara), who apparently hasn’t even heard his hit song. Aubrey Plaza is shocked to find out that her squeeze Brian Geraghty- get this- liked to hang around black people and listen to that thar hippity hop music! A white guy getting’ jiggy wit’ it, OMG! OMG! Shocking, I know. Anthony Mackie plays Geraghty’s likeable former best friend who fills Plaza in on all the details. Justin Long and Max Minghella are pretentious yuppies looking to hook up with the former class hottie (Lynn Collins), who has some surprises and truths of her own for them, whilst they are clearly lying their arses off, even to each other.


Written and directed by Jamie Linden (in his directorial debut after having scripted “We Are Marshall” and “Dear John”), this 2012 film takes a basic and relatable concept, a bunch of familiar B+ faces and names, and manages to give us 90 or so minutes of entertainment, truth, and a few laughs. Of the cast, for me the most impressive, entertaining and funniest was Chris Pratt. Others seem to find him the sore spot in the film, but I for one recognised this guy. It’s a pretty accurate (well, to people I’ve known or heard about at any rate) characterisation of a guy who genuinely wants to make up for past mistakes as a bully, but he’s so full of self-loathing and an inability to hold his liquor that he ends up repeating those same damn mistakes ten years later and making a complete arse of himself. He’s at turns pathetic, sad, and hysterically funny, especially when he takes the mic at karaoke and drunkenly singing ‘Lady in Red’, the highlight of the film. Everyone has known a douche like this, and most of us would cross the street to get away from them today. I don’t normally have much time for Ari Graynor, but she feels similarly authentic (if far less amusing) as the kind of girl who would wind up marrying and popping out kids for this overgrown idiot of a man-child.


Next best for me was the storyline involving supposedly rich yuppies Justin Long and Max Minghella trying to score with the school hottie grown up, Lynn Collins. The guys are very funny (though the twist with them is transparent from the beginning), and the Collins character actually reminded me of someone I went to high school with, whose life journey has been somewhat similar. She gets the best line in the film when she scolds the guys for pulling a juvenile prank on her they’re too old for. In fact, she probably steals the second half of the film from everyone except Pratt.


None of the other characters really resonated with me as much, I must say, though Rosario Dawson is still one of the most charismatic, beautiful, and wasted talents in cinema (I just don’t understand why she’s not a huge star), and Anthony Mackie is quite good in his underwritten role. The whole storyline with him, former white rapper Brian Geraghty and the lovely Aubrey Plaza, though, did nothing for me. So Geraghty used to be a white rapper…and? Is that meant to be something? ‘Coz it’s not. At all. I also thought that lead actor (and producer) Channing Tatum bizarrely looked like he’d rather be anywhere else but in this film. It fit the character somewhat, but it didn’t make for much entertainment or audience investment. He’s one lucky dude, though, to have snagged on-screen co-star Jenna Dewan-Tatum. Meanwhile, as much as Oscar Isaac proves in this film that he can sing, he doesn’t sing anything worth listening to (typically indie singer-songwriter tedium), and his storyline with Kate Mara is pretty dull, despite Mara’s very fine performance (The character is probably the closest to me, as there’s certainly not much photographic evidence of my existence at school, either, though that’s because I tried to avoid the camera, in full honesty).


It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, and some of it works better than other parts, but it’s better than most reunion films, at least. Every generation needs a reunion film with an all-star cast, and although these stars aren’t A-listers, it’s still an easy watch.


Rating: B-

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Review: Willard (2003)

Willard (Crispin Glover) is the very definition of social misfit, and lives with his smothering, frail mother (Jackie Burroughs). He works at the business started by his deceased father, and faces daily verbal abuse from his hateful boss (R. Lee Ermey), though co-worker Laura Elena Harring is sympathetic. Willard’s only real friends are the rats he keeps in the basement, particularly white rat Socrates, whom Willard sees an intelligence in. He trains these rats to do as he commands. Socrates’ polar opposite is the aggressive Ben, who seems to be jealous of the special relationship the gentler Socrates has with Willard. When Willard can take the abuse no longer, he has his trained rats carry out his vengeful orders.


Quirky (understatement of the century) character actor Crispin Glover finds the perfect vehicle for his unique…state of being, in this darkly funny 2003 remake of the 1971 cult film. Written and directed by Glen Morgan (the underrated “Final Destination”, the abysmal remake of “Black Christmas”), you’d swear it was the work of demented genius Tim Burton, as Glover’s title character is one helluva misunderstood misfit. It’s certainly more of a black comedy than a horror film (Just look at the huge amount of rat droppings in the signature death scene, it’s hilarious), but it’s also a fine character study that might just play as a better remake of “Psycho” than the pointless Gus Van Sant film was. In its own way, even the ending evokes “Psycho”. That said, the Bates-esque house that Willard lives in (the production design is first-rate) could also be the kind of abode you’d imagine the peculiar Mr. Glover to live in himself. He’s more than a bit weird (I seriously believe he wore his own funereal clothes for the part, too). But there’s no doubt that the fantastic Jackie Burroughs as Willard’s domineering mum fits the Mrs. Bates mould perfectly. She’s all kinds of decrepit, uncomfortable, and irritating.


Laura Elena Harring is well-cast as the one person who is nice to Willard. She has a certain softness and sweetness to her that really works. Meanwhile, there are few greater pleasures in life than hearing R. Lee Ermey yell at people. I mean, who else is better to deliver vicious bile like; ‘You’re a slimy, pukey piece of shit. You wouldn’t make a pimple on my grandmother’s tush!’. Pitch-perfect casting as the meanest and most venomously hateful person on the planet. Note to bullies: Don’t fuck with anyone who spends most of their free time in their mother’s basement. They’re likely plotting WWIII in there. With rats.


But this is undoubtedly Glover’s film at the end of the day, and he’s perfect as the somewhat put-upon Willard, who is never quite likeable enough to feel true empathy for, so much as pity, especially when darker impulses take hold of him. He excellently conveys the charge Willard gets from leading his rat troops into war. The rats themselves have something really intriguing going on in relationship to Willard, with the more thoughtful and pacifist Socrates pitted against his larger and more violent brother Ben (Just look at what happens when one of the rats dies). Even their colour coding is interesting. Icing on the cake is the excellent, Elfman-esque music score by Shirley Walker. The best thing of all, however, is the end credits, with a version of Michael Jackson’s ‘Ben’ (The song earlier appears very amusingly as supermarket muzak when Willard shops for rat poison) sung by none other than Crispin Hellion Glover. Yes, Hellion.


This very dark comedy will not be for all tastes. The very casting of Crispin Glover guarantees that. However, it’s surprisingly clever, very well-acted across the board, and extremely underrated. Obviously a must for Crispin Glover fans.


Rating: B-

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Review: Fay Grim

Parker Posey is the title character who is looking after a young son on her own, after the boy’s father Henry Fool (Thomas Jay Ryan) left to go on the lam years ago. The CIA have started to sniff around (in the person of Jeff Goldblum), looking for some important notebooks of Henry’s (apparently containing his confessions), and say they’ll release Fay’s famed author/prison inmate brother (James Urbaniak) in exchange for them. The notebooks apparently also contain hidden spy codes, and that’s when the fit hits the proverbial shans for Fay, as her life is now in danger from all manner of underworld types and the Government sends her to work as an international spy in search of the missing journals! Saffron Burrows plays a mystery woman who looks like she could be a supermodel.


My continual head-scratching at the popularity and high regard for indie filmmaker Hal Hartley (the gobsmackingly stupid and pretentious “No Such Thing”) is in full swing with this 2006 follow-up to his “Henry Fool”. I haven’t seen that film, but following the story was hardly my problem here, in fact the plot was relatively coherent. I only watched it because Jeff Goldblum is usually fascinating in anything. I should’ve immediately reminded myself of “Mr. Frost” and “Hideaway”.


The film is immediately pretentious and awkwardly acted (Posey in particular is in arch, affected mode as is her wont far too often for my liking), with only the foxy as hell Saffron Burrows (in the only ‘normal’ performance in the film, really) and the aforementioned Goldblum (whose awkwardness is kinda his trademark anyway) coming away unscathed. And sadly, those two are underused.


It plays like a parody of an off-off Broadway production mixed with an awful avant-garde film full of stilted and mannered performances. Or maybe it’s like a discarded David Lynch screenplay. I couldn’t work out if the whole thing is a put-on or not, but I do know that I found it extremely off-putting. I kinda feel like at least some of it is meant to be funny, but I found it idiotic, and even childish at times. Even comedies need to have some sense of believability within their own world, but this seemed so arch and pretentious, it’s all affectation and silliness. Oh, and a message to Mr. Hartley and cinematographer Sarah Cawley: If you’re gonna shoot everything at weird angles, learn to frame your fuckin’ shots better, you tool!


But the worst thing about this film? The actual plot could’ve made for a fascinating spy thriller. Nah, why do that when we can be all film school arty and quirky and ‘Ain’t I cool?’. No Hal, you’re not. I really don’t know what to make of this film. Oh, I could follow it, I just didn’t get it. Executive Producer Mark Cuban sure as shit didn’t get rich from this one, that’s for sure. The screenplay is by Hartley, who scored, produced, and edited the film as well.


Rating: D

Monday, September 8, 2014

Review: St. Louis Blues

In his first and only leading role in a major Hollywood film, Nat ‘King’ Cole stars as W.C. Handy, the famed African-American jazz songwriter, with Eartha Kitt the ‘speak easy’ singer who performs his songs like the title tune, and isn’t quite the standard femme fatale seductress she might first appear to be (Hey, it’s Eartha Kitt, you can’t help but expect it). Handy has to contend with stern disapproval from his rigid preacher father (Juano Hernandez) who wants him to play ‘God’s music’, but his aunt (Pearl Bailey) is much more supportive. Unfortunately, the road to success for Handy is stalled by the mysterious onset of blindness. Will it stall his career forever? Ruby Dee plays Handy’s girlfriend, Cab Calloway is an opportunistic club manager, whilst Mahalia Jackson sings in a church choir, and Ella Fitzgerald turns up briefly as herself.


I’ll never be accused of being a fan of musicals, and the naturally calm and easy-going Nat ‘King’ Cole isn’t quite cast to his best advantage in the lead, but this 1958 biography of W.C. Handy from director Allen Reisner (“All Mine to Give” and a whole lotta TV) is a little bit better than its reputation. Scripted by Ted Sherdeman (“Them!”, “Scandal Sheet”) and Robert Smith (“Sudden Fear”, “The Second Woman”), this still isn’t my thing, but aside from Cole’s acting deficiencies and a disappointingly episodic structure, there’s some enjoyment to be had here, even if there’s a remarkably cavalier attitude towards the facts, from what I’ve read.


The performances by Pearl Bailey (personality personified), and especially Cab Calloway and Eartha Kitt are particularly good. A rather young-looking Kitt pretty much steals the show and is perfectly cast, and Juano Hernandez is also good as Handy’s taciturn, bible-thumping father, a quite clichéd role. A young Ruby Dee has a thankless role, really, but has an appealing softness to her and is the perfect opposite to the kittenish Miss Kitt. It’s a shame Calloway (who, unlike Cole can genuinely act a bit) and Ella Fitzgerald aren’t in the film much, but in the latter case, she’s playing herself so she can only do what she did in real-life, I guess. Then again, I have no idea if this role in Handy’s life is even true, it might’ve just been a shameless celebrity cameo for publicity purposes.


The music, of course is excellent (and thankfully the kind of music I can enjoy, my taste in music is pretty eclectic), as Cole may be playing a songwriter (and far too old for the part, let’s be honest) but he’s far and away the best singer in the film. It’s also where he’s at his most charismatic, relaxed, and charming, in an otherwise rather wooden performance, though he surprisingly gets better as the character gets darker and more troubled. I still don’t think he’s the best person for the role, though. Meanwhile, no one but nobody can sing the hell out of a hymn like Mahalia Jackson, and I was quite surprised at how well Kitt sings too, having mostly known her as an actress (Great set of pins too, and the pointiest tits I’ve ever seen. Bras back then were weird, man).


Yes it’s a bit hokey, yes it’s quite choppy and too rushed, but I don’t think people watch these things for the plot anyway. Look, it’s not a particularly good film, but it’s a bit better than its reputation, and where else are you gonna get this line-up? At the very least it’s interesting to see a 50s film with a practically all-Black cast that isn’t racist, demeaning, or revolving solely around racial issues.


Rating: C+

Review: 100 Bloody Acres

Three young travellers (including Anna McGahan, her boyfriend Oliver Ackland, and comically obnoxious pommy friend Jamie Kristian) break down in a rural part of Australia. They are offered a lift from nervy Reg (Damon Herriman), who runs a fertilizer business with his brother, that has the special ingredient of road kill added to the smelly mix! Unfortunately, whilst McGahan gets to sit up the front of the truck with the seemingly harmless (but very, very distracted) Reg, her two companions are in the back with all the fertilizer. And is that a human corpse they see hiding in there? Before long, Reg has the trio tied up in his shed back at the family farm. And that’s when his brother Lindsay (Angus Sampson) turns up, and the terror really begins. Chrissie Page plays the boys’ auntie, who has a very close relationship with Reg, but an uncomfortably closer one with Lindsay.


Getting a wider theatrical release in 2013 after its film festival debut in 2012, this very dark comedy-horror from debuting co-writer/co-director duo Cameron and Colin Cairnes is a fun genre movie. It’s not exactly a good movie in the traditional sense, and the performance by Angus Sampson (mostly known for broad comedic work on TV) is like something out of a bad TV sketch comedy show, which is a bit unfortunate. He threatens to cheapen the film somewhat. It doesn’t work terribly well on the horror front, but this isn’t a straight horror film by any means, just enough of one that Sampson’s dud performance stands out like a sore (green?) thumb.


However, it is indeed a good example of the comedy horror subgenre, and it’s unfair to think of it in any other context, it’s not aiming for high art or even high art horror. There’s an excellent turn by the underrated Damon Herriman, a cute and charismatic one by Anna McGahan (Who has really nice norks, too. Hey, it’s important, OK?), and a startling cameo by Page that comes out of nowhere. Add to that a nasty sense of humour, a nice rural setting (more Ivan Milat territory than say, the outback), the amusing casting of John Jarratt as a cop, and a soundtrack full of quirky Aussie country songs (Ranging from Slim Dusty tunes to John Williamson’s classic ‘Old Man Emu’), and you’ve got a good time for those who can take it. It’s just that it could’ve been even better with an actor of some genuine talent in the Sampson role.


Definitely recommended to fans of “Motel Hell”, and the film at least answers the question of how you escape a murderer when you’re tripping balls in an amusement park called Fairyland (Answer: Not very effectively). I can’t wait to see what these guys come up with next.


Rating: B-