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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Fritt Vilt 2 (2008): (Cold) Prey for Death

fritt vilt 2 2008 poster

Way back in August of 2009 I wrote a review over at Paracinema for Fritt Vilt (aka Cold Prey), a Norwegian Slasher flick that made a pretty solid splash on the horror genre in 2006. From what I recall, I quite liked the film, so I figured it was high time I took another trip to the frigid mountains of Norway for a little slaughter in the snow with the 2008 sequel, Fritt Vilt 2.

Fritt Vilt begins exactly where the last film left off, with the lone survivor, Jannicke (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) being taken to a hospital after she is discovered on the side of the road. Being found covered in blood and holding a pickaxe, the authorities are naturally present for questioning when Jannicke awakens. She tells them the story of how her friends were murdered and dumped in a deep mountain crevasse and how she was able to overcome the killer and send him down the same crevasse to join her friends in death. The authorities aren't quite sure what to make of her story at first; is she lying or is everything she has told them, as crazy as it all sounds, the truth?

fritt vilt 2 (Cold Prey 2) 2008 1

The police immediately investigate the area where this all took place, and after finding the bodies of her friends and the killer, they are brought back to the hospital morgue which happens to be where Jannicke is being treated. Now, considering this is a sequel to a Slasher film, it should be obvious where the film might go from that point, so I'll just say that when you bring the presumed killer to the same hospital where the previous film's final girl is being taken care of, well, things are going to happen. Namely murder.

As you may have already noticed, Fritt Vilt 2 takes a lot of "inspiration" from 1981's Halloween 2, specifically in its setting and how it takes off at the same point in which the first film landed. However, unlike Halloween 2 (which is a film that I adore, mind you), Fritt Vilt 2 is far from the bigger, stronger, faster, but infinitely less competent sequel that Halloween 2 is. In fact, I am more than confident in saying that what director Mats Stenberg (who took over for Fritt Vilt director, Roar Uthaug) did with Fritt Vilt 2 is piece together a sequel that not only goes toe-to-toe with its forefather, it surpasses it.

fritt vilt 2 (Cold Prey 2) 2008 3

Now, while I did enjoy Uthaug's Fritt Vilt, I did have a few minor quibbles with it, namely being that there simply weren't enough kills. To top it off, with a runtime of 98 min, mixed with a body count that can be counted on one hand, the film ran a little long. In fact, in my review of that film I specifically stated that it should have been at least ten minutes shorter. Thankfully, both of these issues are addressed in Fritt Vilt 2. Not only are there a few more kills, but this installment comes in at a brisk 86 min, which makes for a perfectly balanced modern day Slasher film. However, the most important aspect of what makes Fritt Vilt 2 a superb sequel is the fact that it not only fixes the few nagging issues that Fritt Vilt had, it does so without losing even an ounce of quality, something that is sort of unheralded when it comes to a Slasher film, let alone a sequel to one.

fritt vilt 2 (Cold Prey 2) 2008

Trading in the confines of an abandoned ski resort for a remotely located hospital on the verge of shutting down (for reasons that are never dwelled upon), Fritt Vilt 2 delivers a setting that feels cold, empty and perfect for stalking. The backdrop, as well as the film as a whole, is brought to life quite nicely by cinematographer Anders Flatland, who clearly knows how to make great use of the hospital setting. While the film is technically impressive, one of the biggest compliments I must hand out are for the deep and cleverly written characters. I appreciate the fact that the characters are full of honest dialogue that proves to be refreshingly confident in its audience's intelligence level. These characters and their interactions with each other feel genuine and true to real life, specifically when it comes to the new female lead, Camilla, who is wonderfully portrayed by Marthe Snorresdotter Rovik.

fritt vilt 2 (Cold Prey 2) 2008 2

Like the first film, Fritt Vilt 2 also makes way for some very strong, respectably written female characters. From the returning heroine Jannicke, who is still in complete survival mode, and the compassionate Camilla, to all of the minor female characters, these women are treated as real people, not empty headed eye candy waiting to be slaughtered. It's always refreshing to have female characters in a Slasher film treated in such a way, and when you add that dimension to a film that already does so many things right, great things can happen. And they certainly do, as the end result is a film that brings in all of the best attributes of its predecessor, while leaving behind all of its issues to present the audience with what I consider to be one of the best Slasher films of the last decade.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Great Gift Ideas for: David Lo Pan

Lo Pan

Being balls deep in the holidays, many of us are focusing our every effort on last minute gifts items for Christmas. Between friends, family members, co-workers, etc., it seems as if there are always more and more people to shop for as each year passes, and this ever growing number of salivating fiends makes it quite difficult to come up with fresh gift ideas. Now, while it may be tough searching for that perfect gift for your uncle Joe, who doesn't seem to care about anything other than Spike TV, YouPorn and the bottom of a beer can, no one is more difficult to shop for than the cursed evil sorcerer in your life. I mean, you know you can always pick up a few scratch tickets and a special edition Busch bottle opener with Toby Keith's signature engraved on it and ol' uncle Joe will be so thrilled he might even put the feet of his recliner down. David Lo Pan, on the other hand, is much more difficult to satisfy, so as a way to help you get started in the right direction, I have put together this list of gift ideas for the David Lo Pan in your life. 

  • Oil of Olay Age Defying Anti-Wrinkle Day Lotion With Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15: Naturally, David is on a quest to look younger, and he also has very pale skin, which mean he is easily susceptible to burning when out in the sun. This Oil of Olay product will not only help give him the vibrancy he so desires, it will also help protect his fair complexion. 
  • A year subscription to eHarmony: With that boring skank Miao Yin out of the picture, Lo Pan simply cannot find the ever lasting love he so desires until he finds himself that one special girl. Preferably a Chinese gal with green eyes who's also skilled as a manicurist, but I believe eHarmony has a filter to help search for those specifics.    
  • Sally Hansen Diamond Strength Instant Nail Hardener: If you haven't noticed, David has a few long ass fingernails. They certainly aren't on the Jazz Ison Sinkfield level of grotesquery, but they are long enough to the point where they do need some serious attention to ensure they stay strong and last long.
  • Proactiv dark Spot Corrector: Let's face it, when David is in full-on "Lo Pan is the Man" mode, he looks very healthy, with that milky white skin and ability to walk. However, for those days when he's a wheelchair bound David Lo Pan, his face looks pretty jacked up, and this is where the Proactiv can really help him cover up his poop spots.
  • $50 Gift Card to Sephora: With his penchant for wearing blue eye shadow, those long fingernails and the incredible amount of powder he puts on his face, Dave clearly has a taste for beauty make-up. Therefore, I think a $50 gift card to Sephora would likely be greatly appreciated. It's nice to let David pick out what he wants, plus it gives him an excuse to go to the mall. He really loves Orange Julius.

I suppose I never realized that shopping for Mr. Lo Pan was sort of like shopping for a lady, but it's tough to keep up with your looks, especially when you're 2,000 something years old. I truly hope this makes at least the shopping you'll have to do for Lo Pan a little easier, and if you have any great gift ideas of your own, please feel free to share them with the rest of us!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Silent Night (2012): Deck the Halls with Blood and Gory

Silent Night 2012 Remake poster

It's Christmas Eve in a small Midwestern town, but all is not calm nor is there anything bright about this long, wintry night, because there's a killer on the loose; a killer dressed up as Santa Claus. As this Santa Psycho goes about slaying all who dare to be naughty, it's up to the local police to try to stop the killer and put an end to a nightmare that has haunted the town for far longer than just this one night.

Directed by Steven C. Miller, Silent Night is, on paper, a remake of the 1984 Santa Slashterpiece, Silent Night, Deadly Night, though, outside of a few nods and the fact that it's a Christmas Slasher film featuring a killer dressed up as Santa, the film has almost nothing in common with its predecessor. Silent Night very well could have been titled Santa's Slaughter or Naughty, Not Nice, and no one would have batted a lash, let alone cried about there being "another remake?!"

Silent Night 2012 Remake 1

As the tagline "He Knows Who's Been Naughty" suggests, Santa (Rick Skene) seemingly has the 411 on every scum bag this town has to offer, and he makes it a point to pay each and every one of them a personal visit. The film proudly presents a handful of less than respectable characters for the audience to root against almost to the point of folly. Some of these characters/victims include a couple participating in adultery, pornographers, a selfish little girl with the mouth of a sailor, a perverted priest who likes to dip into the collection jar, and, well, you probably get the picture. The fashion in which these characters are presented was concerning at first, as I don't need to be goaded into rooting for characters to die when, well, it's why I'm watching the film. Thankfully, however, the near irritation I felt with how these characters were handled subsided before it became a real problem, and soon enough I got on board with the over-the-top fashion in which they were presented.

Silent Night 2012 Remake

The anchor of Silent Night is Aubrey (Jaime King), a police woman dealing with some issues from her past that are affecting her confidence as an officer of the law. King stands out with a good performance for a film that some might not believe calls for it. She has a way of emoting without feeling phony, and she's able to bring the character to life in a way that commands a dash of sympathy. Malcolm McDowell also appears in the film as Sheriff Cooper, a cocky know-it-all who somehow goes from being an asshole to being an asshole that you kind of love. McDowell gleefully chews up nearly every scene he's in a way that is difficult not to enjoy. 

There is clearly a common theme in Silent Night, and that's how awful and cruel this world can be sometimes, something that, for certain people, is greatly enhanced during the holiday season. "Christmas can really mess people up" is a phrase uttered by more than one character, specifically characters who are trying to make a few bucks during the holidays by playing Santa. Dressed up as the physical incarnation of their own misery, or the physical incarnation of where their misery is being projected, which is almost poetic if not for the fact that the message is a tad heavy-handed. I appreciate the thought, though.     

Silent Night 2012 Remake 4

The film is nicely put together in a way that seems to be almost the standard for some of the better modern day horror films of similar notoriety. There are a few visual moments that stand out in an impressive way, and there was clearly a lot of thought and care put into certain details that slightly elevate the movie from being just a simple, modern-day Holiday themed Slasher flick. With that said, some of the most notable moments, thankfully, belonging to the kills, as Silent Night serves up some gruesomely fun and satisfying death scenes. From start to finish, the limbs are flying and the blood is spurting, but there is one specific scene involving a wood chipper that is not only THE highlight of Silent Night, it's certainly a candidate for best death scene of 2012.

Silent Night surprised me in two ways: One being that it is a very solid, well made and completely entertaining Slasher film. The other is the fact that the film is directed by Steven C. Miller, who is the director behind the low-budget zombie film, Automaton Transfusion, a movie I absolutely hated. And I mean HATED. Hated in a way where I would have never expected the director to do anything even remotely good, so I suppose I should tip my proverbial cap to Miller for stepping up his game and giving me a good reason to keep an eye on his future projects. 

Silent Night 2012 Remake 6

Silent Night succeeds as a remake by shedding the skin of the film that would influence its creation, while delivering the classic Slasher goods to near perfection. You aren't getting anything groundbreaking with this one, which should be apparent, one would assume, but that's not the goal when it comes to making a good, or at least moderately fun, Slasher film. Keep it simple, follow the basics and deliver the goods, and all will go to sleep with a smile on their face. Well, unless they've been naughty, that is. In which case, maybe their night might be a little more silent than expected…

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Iced (1988): These Ski Boots Are Made for Stalking

iced 1988

I'm pretty sure that most of you are well aware of the old saying, "It's all fun and games, until someone gets hurt." Well, never has that saying been truer than for Jeff, who was suddenly taken from us when he took to the slopes for a few runs of drunken skiing shortly after being humiliated in a race that was meant to win him a chance with the girl of his dreams. The whole gang thought it would be super happy fun time to take the piss out of Jeff, mocking him for his claims of skiing the Alps and being a weirdo crybaby with no game whatsoever. But boy did they regret it after Jeff took a 3 foot nosedive right on to a pile rocks that probably wouldn't even hurt Elijah Price. Ever since this horrific day, each one of them has been forced to live with this guilt, but now, five years later, as the whole gang meets up for a weekend of skiing, booze, sex, and cooking while lifting weights, they will all be forced to die with it, because Jeff is back… for vengeance! Or for breakfast, but maybe he's too shy to ask?

Iced 1988 Slasher film

"Looks like Jeff's really hit rock bottom!"

Iced 1988 Slasher film 2

"Always a sign of quality to come"

Directed by Jeff Kwitny, 1988's Iced is a tremendously low-budget Slasher film that's so bad it would actually have you believe the main threat is a guy named Jeff. It's the type of Slasher where the real killer is the wardrobe, with ski suites so bright that night skiing is never a problem. Iced is the type of B-Movie where no matter how slow a snowplow is moving, you simply cannot get out of its way before it crushes your body into a pile of slow dead loser. We're talking about the type of film that has more tits in it than a dairy farm, and where most of those tits on display belong to Wednesday Addams. Most importantly, however, Iced is the type of Slasher flick that entertains on almost every level, delivering the goods in a way that make the word "goods" feel somewhat uncomfortable by association.

Despite being a little slow with getting to the kills (and by a little slow, I mean an hour), all of which are completely short of even the slightest touch of quality, Iced is your typical ineptly edited/acted/shot/written B-Movie Slasher flick that tells the age old tale of revenge for something done in the past by a group of obnoxious characters. As far as obnoxious characters go, however, one specific character begs for elaboration, and that is Carl (Ron Kologie), a mini-ponytail wearing coke head who can often be found in the bathroom, naked and wet, doing a little "indoor skiing." His rapey ways, bad sense of humor and how he tucks his black jeans into his cowboy boots (when he's dry and dressed) should be enough to clue you in on the type of guy Carl is (an awesome guy).

Iced 1988 Slasher film 4

"A serial killer wearing busted ski goggles can mean only one thing…"

Iced 1988 Slasher film 3

"Busted ski goggle vision!!"

There are a few familiar faces that adorn the cast of this minor masterpiece, most notably being Slumber Party Massacre's Debra Deliso who plays Trina, the girl who Jeff was in love with before he took a nosedive to his untimely (possible) death. Joining Deliso is another Slumber Party Massacre alumni and the writer of the masterful 1988 Slasher flick, Iced, Joseph Alan Johnson, who plays Alex, a sort of real estate agent who's trying to sell the group of reunited friends on purchasing the weekend getaway property. Of course, I already mentioned Lisa Loring, who plays the desperate for male attention Jeanette. Loring is best known for playing Wednesday on the classic sitcom, The Addams Family, but in Iced, Loring will be best remembered as the girl whose boobs have more screen time than any other character in the film. And to be honest, she's pretty good looking, and her boobs are right as rain, so I'm okay with the erecti… err, direction her career took.

Iced 1988 Slasher film 7

"Hump day indeed"

Iced 1988 Slasher film 6

"Open up and say AHHHHHHHHHH (sorry)"

As bad as Iced is, I will give the film credit for having a good setting, which is inherent when your movie takes place at a cabin in the snow covered mountains. I'll even give props to the film for focusing on adults who actually have somewhat adult issues, even if their dialogue is insanely bad. However, giving credit for things well done means little, because none of those things matter with a movie like Iced. The lack of skill on display as a piece of "cinema" screams straight to video shit, but it's ineptitude is a major part of its charm. If Iced delivers one thing, it's laughs (and boobs), and regardless of whether or not that was the goal, the achievement shall be applauded.

P.S. Instead of sharing the trailer, which I couldn't find anywhere, here's the entire movie on YouTube! The opening ski race should be more than enough to sell you on this one.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Death-cember: Dropping a Yule Log on the Holidays

Banner Death-cember

The ten year old decorations are up, the house smells of cheap booze, depression and self-doubt, and the realization that the magic of the holidays is nothing more than a bowel movement becomes more and more evident with every trip to Wal-Mart. These things can mean one thing and one thing only: the time has come to once again celebrate the holidays in poor fashion, as today marks the first day of

DEATH-CEMBER!

God how I wish that was a sparkly graphic.

With this being the fourth annual Death-cember, all of this is sort of old hat for me, and possibly familiar territory for a few of you out there, too. However, for those of you who aren't longtime readers (lucky dog), I shall briefly explain what all this nonsense is about. Simply put, Death-cember is a month in which I dedicate all of my posts to things that are either holiday or winter related. So every movie I review will either be set on or around a holiday or during the wintertime. I'll also share some other random holiday stuff such as any cool movie related presents I receive as well as some more humor based posts. Pretty much the same shit I do every Death-cember.  

Anywho, I needn't waste anymore of you time, so I won't; however, if you feel as if the holiday spirit is so deep inside of you that you simply cannot leave just yet, then I encourage you to take a few minutes to read some posts of Death-cember past. All you have to do is click on the creepy golden Santa below, and away you will go, you ho-ho-ho! 

death-cember

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