MAMA would have been decent with more scares & an audience that didn’t suck!

January 26, 2013 at 11:20 am

MAMA would have been decent if there was less MAMA, more scares & an audience that didn't suck!

MORE STORY LINES IN THE THEATER THAN ON THE SCREEN

Not a great way to kick off my 2013 movie year.  A movie that was just okay was brought down even further by an audience full of idiots.  I expected more from a matinee show.

I’m a regular at the theater close to my work place.  Whenever I can catch a movie before a shift I do so.  (Even if I have to go alone which is usually this case.)  On this particular occasion, I had a friend join me.  On the way to the theater, I bragged about the merits of matinee movies.  There are usually tons of empty seats which results in a much quieter experience.

I was proven wrong the second we entered the theater.  It was every true horror fans worst nightmare.  A dozen young teens who were sitting together.  I should have known we were doomed but even then I was optimistic at that point.  We sat down as far away from the rowdy group as we could.  Minutes later an even worse group of teenage girls sat a few rows behind us.  We knew both groups were going to talk throughout the movie and that’s EXACTLY how that sh*t went down!

Keep in mind the following tales happened while the movie was playing.  You’ll gain a better understanding of how frustrating it was.  I’ll try to keep these events in chronological order.  But first, as is customary in my reviews, here is the trailer for MAMA:

Looks pretty good doesn’t it?  I thought so too.  Before I get to my little tales, I’d like to mention that we absolutely CRUSHED them all at Cineplex Timeplay.

THE TALE OF THE CELL PHONE

We were already annoyed by the constant chatter that plagued the previews.  It seemed like everyone in that theater hadn’t seen each other in years and HAD to catch up.  Either that or they were already nervous because of the creepy Evil Dead trailer.  Two kids screamed & it wasn’t even the gruesome red band trailer!

That’s when it hit me.  What were all these kids doing in the theater on a Friday afternoon in the first place?  They seemed a bit young for a horror movie even if it was PG-13.

When the previews ended everyone actually settled down…  Until a cell phone belonging to one of the girls behind us started ringing.  If you guessed her ring tone was Justin Bieber’s ‘As long as you love me’…

Welcome to our nightmare.

THE TALE OF THE REPETITIVE IDIOT

Mama is about two young girls who lose their parents and find themselves in a cabin inhabited by a ghost they call Mama.  In my opinion, it’s an awesome concept.  Tons of possibilities.  The girls they cast to play the roles (both young and old) are adorable.  That was the point but one of the girls behind us really thought they were cute.  The following quotes were spoken at full volume:

“Look at how cute they are”

“How cute are they?”

“Man these two girls are cute.”

“I can’t get over how cute they are.”

“How cute are they?”

I would lose my mind if I had a friend repeat the same thing 12 times in the middle of a movie.  “You’ve established the kids are cute.  We all agree.  Now just be quiet and formulate a new thought.  That’s how society works!”

MAMA would have been decent with more scares & an audience that didn't suck! | MAMA Review 2013

THE TALE OF THE SISSY

The endless talking continued as the movie established Mama and the main characters.  There are various scares that any seasoned horror fan could spot that still made these kids scream at the top of their lungs.

“Rookies.”

That’s when I noticed one of the kids in front of us was sitting on the floor with his back to the scream.  He was one of the main kids that never shut up.  His friends laughed at his comments but none of them realized that he was probably terrified and couldn’t watch.  Some kids that young don’t have fun at horror movies.  They get nervous and the only defense they have is talking and laughing.  It’s a mask you have to shed if you have any hope of enjoying good horror films.

Mama has it’s moments but that kid would have peed his pants if we were watching a movie like Sinister.  Bughuul is 58 million times more terrifying than Mama.

Speaking of Mama, here’s a picture of her just to remind you that were still watching (or trying to watch) a movie.

MAMA would have been decent with more scares & an audience that didn't suck! | MAMA Review 2013

THE TALE OF THE SHHH WAR

The greatest irony of the afternoon came about an hour into the movie.  The young kids began to annoy Team Bieber behind us.  I couldn’t get over it.  The girls behind us who wouldn’t shut up were telling the kids in front of us to shut up…

How could they be so oblivious?  They were just as bad!  Holy crap I wish I would have said something.  I mentioned it quietly to my friend and we both agreed that these kids would have given us lip and we wouldn’t have gotten anywhere.  He was quick to point out that they would have annihilated me if I had gone by myself.

What the girls didn’t realize was how close they came to being on the losing end of a Popcorn battle.  The Sissy was leading the charge.  He literally crawled to each of his friends pointing out the girls who shushed them.  I really wish they realized how scared he was.  He was willing to do whatever it took to distract his friends.

Ironically, it was Team Bieber that pointed out the reason why these kids were in the theater in the first place.

“These kids shouldn’t even be here.  They just bought tickets to Monsters Inc. 3D and snuck in.”

Funny how she was complaining at full volume…  Princess Bieber needed to shut up.

THE TALE OF THE FAILED PICKUP ATTEMPT

Even though we were constantly distracted, I actually liked the story.  It’s an interesting ‘Mowgli’ type of story.  It wasn’t very scary but it was clever at times.  It’s just a shame that people wouldn’t stop talking.  Was it time to leave the theater and complain?  People were shushing and yelling at each other to shut up to no avail.

My friend and I were completely annoyed by everyone in that theater. Team Bieber was especially annoying but there were a few boys who were interested in every single word they said.  At one point, a teenage boy turned on his cell phone and flashed the light at the girls (and by extension… me.)  I turned around at the exact moment the boy waved at them.

“Hey…  How you girls doing?”

Are you kidding me!?  You’re going to try and pick them up in the middle of a movie!? It wasn’t long before his own friends were telling him to shut up.  Eventually the girls shot him down that he gave up.  He had no chance.

Things calmed down slightly towards the end of the movie.  That’s when I realized, I didn’t really like Mama all that much.

THE TALE OF THE ACTUAL MOVIE

Ohhhhhh right… The movie…

MAMA would have been decent with more scares & an audience that didn't suck! | MAMA Review 2013

Mama was steadily building towards an ending I was pretty interested in.  We finally got a glimpse of Mama’s face and it was creepy but then we saw the ghost again and again.  Almost too much.  By the time we reached the finale, Mama was no longer creepy.  She became another character in the movie and I think that really took away from the atmosphere they worked so hard to create.

Overall, the movie was just okay.  I was expecting a lot more scares but it still has a few moments here and there.  Most of the good moments were ruined by kids who weren’t taught theater etiquette.  It’s sad.

Speaking of sad, I loved the ending of the movie because it went where most movies don’t.  Putting children in harms way is tricky so it was nice to see a risk for a change.  When it’s done right it can be incredibly tense.  Mama just missed but I applaud the attempt to avoid a typical happy ending.  By far my biggest complaint is Mama’s CG.  It’s okay for most of the movie but the finale is pretty bad.  (Also, they should have give Jaime Lannister more to do.)

If you’re curious to see Mama, I would wait for a rental opportunity in a few months.  As for the annoying kids…  They never stopped.  Someone was always talking.  My message for parents is simple.  When you send your kid to a movie and they come home with a ticket for Monsters Inc. 3D, ask them what it was about–  Wait a minute…  They probably already saw it!  They could have answered any questions.  Their plan was full proof!

Worst movie audience of all time?  Sorry Paranormal Activity 2, we have a new champion.

FUN FACT: Did you know Mama was based on a short film?  Curious to see it?  Here it is with an intro from producer Guillermo Del Toro:

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10 Horrifying Modern Movie Ghosts & Demons

October 30, 2012 at 8:57 am

10 Horrifying Modern Movie Ghosts | Scary Horror Movie Villains

The Exorcist, The Shining, Poltergeist, A Nightmare On Elm Street…  Classic movie ghosts and demons have terrified us for decades.  But what about the new ghouls and spirits that haunt our nightmares?  Since The Blair Witch Project, there have been tons of horrific entities that have terrorized big screen audiences around the world.

Here are 10 of my favorites:

DEAD SILENCE
MARY SHAW

10 Horrifying Modern Movie Ghosts & Demons | Scary Horror Movie Villains

Angry old women always make good ghosts don’t they?  Mix in creepy puppets and you’ve got a recipe for terror…  Just don’t let her hear you scream.

THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE
SIX!?

10 Horrifying Modern Movie Ghosts & Demons | Scary Horror Movie Villains

I can handle movies about possession.  There are plenty of great ones out there especially when you include legends like Pazuzu in The Exorcist.  In terms of recent movies, this movie has always stuck with me because Emily Rose is plagued by 6 demons including Lucifer.  It’s a terrifying scene when they finally reveal their identities…

So you get Lucifer, Legion, Belial and the unnamed demons who possessed Cain, Nero and Judas.  I was already scared of 3:33 AM and The Exorcism of Emily Rose made it worse.

Is it just me or is that a lot of demons?

THE OTHERS
THE OLD WOMAN

10 Horrifying Modern Movie Ghosts & Demons | Scary Horror Movie Villains

I suppose this “ghost” is debatable.  I don’t want to ruin the movie but if you’ve seen it you’d understand why.  Still, that grey eyed woman was creepy.

THE ORPHANAGE
TOMÁS

10 Horrifying Modern Movie Ghosts & Demons | Scary Horror Movie Villains

This movie sat on my shelf for years and I never gave it a shot until recently.  I sincerely regret waiting so long as The Orphanage is an extremely emotional and tense tale featuring the lost souls of children like Tomás.

INSIDIOUS
LIPSTICK

10 Horrifying Modern Movie Ghosts & Demons | Scary Horror Movie Villains

How could you not be horrified when Demon Darth Maul is chasing you?  Not to mention another ghastly old woman.

XTRA | Insidious Review

THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT
ELLY KEDWARD

10 Horrifying Modern Movie Ghosts & Demons | Scary Horror Movie Villains

She’s the witch that kick started an entirely new genre of found footage horror films.  Was it real or not?  That’s the question we all asked ourselves when the TV spots and trailers began appearing.  Admit it, the thought of being in that basement facing a wall scared you.

SINISTER
BUGHUUL

10 Horrifying Modern Movie Ghosts & Demons | Scary Horror Movie Villains

Bughuul caught me completely off guard.  I was expecting a scary movie but Bughuul instantly became one of my favorite horror villains.  The mere suggestion of his presence is creepy and the damage he ’causes’ in those 8mm films is absolutely brutal.

XTRA | Sinister Review

THE GRUDGE
KAYAKO

10 Horrifying Modern Movie Ghosts & Demons | Scary Horror Movie Villains

Okay… Meowing children is one thing but lifting up your sheets to find a horrific wide eyed ghost?  Classic.

THE RING
SAMARA

10 Horrifying Modern Movie Ghosts & Demons | Scary Horror Movie Villains

Samara is an extremely violent yet misunderstood ghost who terrified audiences in 2002.  Plus she crawls out of televisions…

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY
TOBY

10 Horrifying Modern Movie Ghosts & Demons | Scary Horror Movie Villains

The first Paranormal Activity introduced us to a ruthless invisible demon who enjoys dragging people out of their beds while they sleep.  Watching this unseen evil was a blast to see in theaters.

XTRA | The Paranormal Activity Experience

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Indie Horror Film Sparrow Gets A Trailer

October 8, 2010 at 7:48 am

Filmmakers. Fans. Independent Film Indie Horror Film Sparrow Gets A Trailer

A while back, I posted an interview with one of the stars of the upcoming indie horror film, Sparrow.

Read the entire interview here.

The filmmakers recently released the first trailer for the film!  Check it out below.

Click here to check out the official site.

Preview: Indie Horror Film ‘SPARROW’

August 12, 2010 at 11:15 pm

Filmmakers. Fans. Independent Film

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Thomas James Longley, one of the stars of the upcoming indie horror film Sparrow.

The low budget feature was shot in Poland and is set for release this Halloween.  It was directed by Shaun Troke and written by Matthew Mosley.

Here is the synopsis from the IMDB page:

Six teenage friends take a camping trip to a forest which is the site of a presumed historic murder. But their disbelief in this urban legend is soon changed when strange happenings begin to occur to each of them.

Sparrow Movie 2010 Horror

I’ve always been a fan of  indie horror films so I was excited to find out how the film intends to stand out.

“It’s simplicity.  It doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not and I think because of that it can never fall into the trap that so many horrors have done before.  It’s just meant to be scary, a bit jumpy….  Hopefully the fans will respond to that.”

I couldn’t agree more.  Sometimes, all a horror fan needs is a straight forward thrill ride full of scares and when it comes to low budget features, simplicity is also a great way to keep costs down.

Sparrow Movie 2010 Horror

Another great way to keep costs down these days is to use Social Media tools to your advantage. In addition to the usual suspects like Facebook, the filmmakers decided to approach film blogs individually to get the word out.  (That’s how this post came to be.) It’s a lot of work but in the end it’s a great way to get the word out.

Longley credits producer Wojciech Stuchlik for the creative approach.

“A Facebook page and official site were set up, and Flickr I think too.  Of course these mediums really allow for the film to to get some kind of immediate exposure/interest which naturally helps.”

Years ago, one could never have imagined connecting an independent horror production in Poland with a Toronto based film blog but that’s what makes this an exciting time.  Not only can indie filmmakers network easier than ever but you can also generate a lot of buzz for your project for next to nothing.

Speaking personally, it’s great to hear from fellow filmmakers.

Sparrow Movie 2010 Horror

Sparrow is currently in post production and Longley says the film’s release is on schedule and hopes to see it accepted into festivals worldwide.

Check out the film’s official site here.

Best of luck Sparrow team!

All Time Best: Scariest Movie Scene

March 10, 2010 at 1:37 pm

All Time Best Movie Moments

The first All Time Best article I published dealt with my Favorite Laugh.

It’s time to talk about the movie moment that scared me the most.  I didn’t even have to think about this one.  When it came down to it, I just thought of the one movie scene that has haunted me since the first time I saw it years ago…

I was at my friends house.  There were about 5 or 6 of us there.  My buddy wanted us to watch a new horror flick that was just released on VHS.  In his basement, he had lights that included a switch to dim and brighten at random intervals.

So I sat in that creepy environment and watched:

Event Horizon

All Time Best Scariest Moment

The movie’s premise is creepy enough as it is.  For those who aren’t aware, the movie is about a ship that disappears in space for 7 years.  A team is sent in to investigate where the ship has been and hopefully rescue any survivors.

This is indeed a horror movie so you can assume the film is packed with terrifying moments but one scene in particular will always haunt me.

In the middle of the film, they find a video of the crew taken after they disappeared.  It’s the craziest scene I’ve ever seen.  (Spoiler Alert) Basically, the ship went to hell and the crew members are portrayed LITERALLY tearing themselves apart.  It’s violent, it’s gory and made me want to go home.

That’s when we rewound the scene and watched it frame by frame.  Gross…

Watching the gruesome and horrifying images was bad enough but it was their constant screaming that scared me the most. That coupled with the concept and the lighting caused me to lose sleep for a week. (I’m not even remotely kidding about that.)

Let’s say we make a massive breakthrough in interstellar travel during my lifetime.  I’m not volunteering specifically so this never happens to me.  No way I’m getting on a ship like that.

I didn’t even bother looking for the clip because I don’t want to see it.

In fact, I don’t even want to talk about it anymore.