Recapped!: “Four Horror Tales; Dark Forest”

“Do you love me enough to….take my life if I become one of those…”

words: desmond “neo” childs

Oh snap! Now you know good-and-well I have to ask this question: In the event of a zombie-like apocalypse; which three people would you take with you? The answer, should always be the same three things. Chuck Norris, The Most Interesting Man In The World, and Jesus Christ: Our Lord And Savior. Alright, that was corny, even for me. Seriously though, here’s a question for you all to send in; which three famous actors/actresses would you want with you during such an apocalypse? Send your comments and questions to feedback@svmovieblog.net, alright? The group of climbers in this tale of torment are a pretty close knit pack, will they be able to make it out alive?

Directed By: Kim Jeong-min

 

“You can’t be…your…YOUR my little brother!”

Alright so the director isn’t very experience having only officially directed two feature films including the last quadrant of the Horror film series, Four Horror Tales. The other film he’s directed, What Happened Last Night? (2008), was more of a comedy. Dark Forest (As the first picture in this article points out) is NOT a comedy. The story is pretty straight forward, five young adults travel through a forest on their way to climbing a mountain. On their way through the forest, two of the travelers throw rocks at a “shrine” and anger what appears to be the spirit of the forest. Now for those who have seen this, I know the “shrine” I mentioned wasn’t a shrine it was called something else; but the proper name escapes me. Anyway, it’s neither here nor there in the long run anyway. Basically once the forest gets pissed, it reeks vengence upon the unspecting group of youngsters; devouring their souls. The body is then used as a vessel for the evil spirit to attack the other members of the group. The film becomes very predictable in that the two most typical characters are the first to “go”; and the three who are the closest have to endure the worst the forest has to offer. Is it compelling? Eh, not particulary, as all the jumps and scares can be called before they take place on screen. There are a few instances where I did kinda get anxious, credit where it’s due: the camera. I know I constanly bark about this, but the camera is essential in horror films, because the “big reveal” in these films usually gets the most visceral reaction from the audiences.

  Dark Forest is decent in it’s amount of scares, but it’s still mostly a predictable fun run through the woods. And even though it’s suppose to be a key device in the film; the whole “psychic visions” thing was so tacky throughout that the movie really could’ve done without it. To sum it up, it’s not all that great of a movie, guys. I know this is my opinion, but if I know the people reading my blog well enough; the over-the-top score and melodrama is enough to make you wanna cut it off prematurely. Anyhoo, it’s on Netflix Instant watch! All zombie fans and fans of b-movies should check it out. Although there is an incredibly unnecessary scene in which a zombie stabs a victim in place I’m not comfortable typing about on my review here. Not just once, but he KEEPS stabbing her! OVER AND OVER! Ugh!

Check out the trailer:

 

 

 

Recapped!: “The Last Days of the World”

“…if it’s strange enough for a dog to talk, then why not a radio?”

words: desmond “neo” childs

Can I ask you a question? Feel free to respond at feedback@svmovieblog.net too, okay? Now, what is the strangest movie you’ve ever seen? What about the strangest you’ve seen within the last 3 years or so? Chew on that question for a minute, while I transition into my experience watching a very “unique” movie called, The Last Days of the World. I’m not sure if writer-director, Eiji Uchida’s latest effort was the strangest film I’ve ever seen; but it’s at least one of the strangest movies I’ve seen since starting this blog about a year ago. Is that a good thing, you ask? Was the weirdness something that made the movie special? Or was it just a negative aspect the film could’ve done without? Well you know I don’t like dealing with extremes. I’m more likely to be wishy-washy, than to fall on one side or the other. In this case, the film wants to be weird. Yep, it strives to be strange. And that’s because it understands that it’s premise calls for it.

This movie spends a lot of the time hinting at the fact that the entire story could be a figment of the main character’s imagination. A dream. I know, I know, okay? That idea is just as old as all the others, whatever! But this particular film is so determined to catch the audience off guard that it’s unpredictiability often makes the film fun. It also makes the film a senseless piece of reel, flowing from point A to point B all awhile spitting out loosely connected metaphors and hyperboles. It sorta reminded me of Donnie Darko. It has this inherently dark and unpleasant tone spread throughout; with characters acting on their desires and instincts with little consequence. Well, at least the main character acts this way. But again, we’re still not sure whether or not this kid is dreaming, so he gets that liberty. This guy is a student with no ambition, goals, or dreams; and seems to only want to party and sex any woman who crosses his path. He’s not a playboy, he’s an average looking guy. Anyway, he spends the movie kidnapping a crush, beating up guys he doesn’t like with an aluminum bat, and attending parties with a middle-aged man who cosplays as a Japanese school girl. Yeah, see? I told you this movie was weird. The hole only seems to get deeper when the kid is being chased by two investigators who are looking to bring him to justice for his crimes; as well as a otaku singer who hasn’t gotten over her high school boyfriend from 15 years ago. Doesn’t that sound (or read)  like a dream?

Anyway, the movie is still on Netflix instant watch as of this post; if you wanna check it out. It’s an interesting watch but I already have a label for it, minutes after watching it. It’s a movie that wasn’t great or awful, but I never need to see it again. Yep! So, take that for what it is, and happy Netflix’n. The trailer is below, as usual. Later.

 

 

Recapped!: “Heavenly Mission”

“Coffee will always be coffee, no matter what you add to it…”

words: desmond “neo” childs

You are a bad person. You’ve done some horrible things and everyone hates you. You would lie, cheat, and steal if it meant you got what you wanted. Heck, I wouldn’t put something like murder or extortion past you either. You’re a real devil, you know? There’s no hope for criminals like you, as a special circle of hell awaits you! You dirty, stinking dog! Why don’t you do us all a favor and….TURN OVER A NEW LEAF!? HUH!? 

Enter the world of Autumn Yip. This guy was bad. He was mean. He was ruthless. No one stood in his way, and his sworn brothers faithfully did his bidding. Well, after he’s finally brought down and arrested; he undergoes a transformation in prison. Naturally, we don’t really see him in prison, but we’re lead to believe he read some life changing books while locked up. Anyway, now that he’s out of prison, he immediately looks to start anew. And I don’t mean, start a new drug ring, or pimp some new women out. I mean start his whole approach to life over. He wants to be a “good guy” and he goes through great lengths to show it.

The premise of the film seems to lie somewhere inbetween Autumn Yip’s unlikely change of lifestyle and everyone else wondering whether or not it’s all just a hoax. Unsurprisingly, it’s Autumn’s own brothers who have the hardest time believing he’s truly changed. Ghost, one of the more outspoken brothers, seems to carry a jealous streak; and spends most of the film looking to expose Autumn (in some shape or fashion) as a phony. 

The story does hold some intrigue to a point, when Autumn’s selfless giving ironically makes those around him more suspicious. Once we sort of see what Autumn is all about, the falling action consists of all the things you’d see in a typically cops vs thugs shootout. There’s even what I classify as a “Ah here we go” ending. Without spoiling it directly, Batman Rises had this sort of ending too. Anyway, let me give some background information on the director, next.

Directed by: James Yuen

Mr. Yuen has an extensive catalouge of credits as both a writer and director. Other notable projects include The Warlords (2007), Bodyguards and Assassins (2009), Lost in Time (2003), and an early 90s work; Gam chi yuk sip (1994). His camera does nothing fantastic here, but the story doesn’t call for it. It does well in to sort of bounce off the walls in a thriller like Heavenly Mission. There’s a few scenes that stood out, such as the last scene at the beach and the exchange between the Police chief and the guy who ran the newspaper. Very vague. Very intentional.

So the question, as always, is did I feel like my time was well spent? Or was this movie any good to me? I have to say that for a thriller, it doesn’t pack as much punch as you’d expect. It also never really gives chills as characters motivations are poorly hidden. There’s a tack on relationship between a disabled young woman, that seems to exist solely for the hero to have to save her. These are negatives that sort of bring this movie down. However, the film doesn’t go for anything to ambitious so I may just be splitting hairs with my criticism. Either way the movie is, as of today, available for watch on Netflix Instant. Check it out, let me know what you think! ^_^’

Here’s the trailer:

Recapped!: “Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky”

PHOTOS NSFW ALERT: There are some really disturbing photos from this Movie. Heads up! Look sharp!

“You’re great Ricky, why don’t you join the Gang of Four!?”

words: desmond “neo” childs

You see that picture of the guy with no shirt on? His name is Ricky. He’s an artist. And before I go any further, I’ll show you some of his work. Be warned, he’s..a little abstract (gore factor level 10 of 10)

“This first picture is a closeup of Ricky punching through the gut of an obese troublemaker. He basically disembowls this guy with one blow. Disgusting to behold, inspite of my laughter at how low budget it looked.”

“That is the head of, *spoilers alert* the prison warden. Yep, Ricky got him too.”

Now, here’s the work of some of the other “artists” in this picture…

“YES, that guy with the tattoos actually used disemblowing himself as a ploy to get Ricky to come close enough; so he could strangle him with his own intestines. Gross in every sense of the word.”

“I’m a little fuzzy on the details, but I think this guy took an uppercut from a blade. Boy, that looks uncomfortable.”

“This picture probably best shows the “low-ness” of the film’s budget. Notice the eyes. Looks like Sid from Toy Story is at it again.”

“Ew? Yuck? What is happening here, you ask? That is Ricky punching a guy’s fist so hard that it explodes resulting in the picture above.”

“Oh look. It’s the giant, obese guy that Ricky disembowls in the washroom. I think this picture here is right before the insides of this guy’s belly ooze out onto the floor. Sick, right? Whose hungry!?”

Are you starting to get what kind of “Artists” these guys all are?

Their all martial artists, with Ricky being the most prolific. He has been trained to basically fight with the strength of a “god”. This means he’s unbeatable, has a chip on his shoulder, and could literally (and does) punch your face off if you kill one of his cellmates. Yeah, this is another one of THOSE movies. Fist of the North Star, Hard Revenge Milly and uh…umm…Okay so my experience with this type of film isn’t extensive, but it doesn’t take a genius to see this movie was heavy on the asthetic and light on the story. Blood and Gore are the name of the game here, and the premise of the fim sets the stage for all the death and suffereing to commence. Before I discuss further though, let’s take a look at the director of Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky.

Directed By: Ngai Choi Lam

This cool cat not only directed The Story of Ricky, but also served as the writer. He seemingly

was his busiest during the 80s, only having director two other movies in the 90s. While this film came out

in 1991, the other two projects were A Xiu Luo (1990), and Lao Mao (1992). Now, if the pictures above didn’t make

it obvious enough, this guy likes using “flair”. Whether it’s one of the scenes depicted above, or something a girl commit

suicide by jumping out of a hotel room (naturally, the budget replaced her with a life-sized doll as she fell for the impact).

This guy was not afraid to go “there”.

Now, the question is did his bold and bloody film do anything for me? Yep, it did!

And I could not believe how much so; seeing as how every scene that isn’t someone being brutally killed was to

transition characters from one “battlefield” to the next. It sorta felt like playing through “Arcade Mode” in those Versus Fighters many

of us play (or still play). You go through a number of enemies until you get to the boss. You beat him, and the story is over. However,

the biggest difference is that YOUR not Ricky. I’m not Ricky either, but Ricky is Ricky, and he’s basically untouchable.

To use an internet metaphor of sorts; Ricky in this movie fights and wins like the Chuck Norris jokes and memes we see on the social networks.

He’s so good he’s scary, and he seems ot hold back, more often than not. I mean, if I had the power to actually punch a hold through someone’s

stomach I’d probably have to learn to hold back too. There’s one scene where he dodges some guy with a knife and smacks him in the back of the head.

You know what happened next? This…

Ouch, right? There’s even a scene where some strong guy smashes some poor saps head by clapping his hands againt the side of his head…see?

And of course the ending is so fitting to wrap-up all that has happened in this movie. All I’ll say is one character gets thrown into a meat grinder and we get to see him go in and his “Manburger” meat being strained out of the bottom of the machine. Pretty disgusting, but not surprising. Anyway, I wouldn’t recommend this but to maybe a handful of my friends as the violence level is so off the scale. I feel like this would be a good movie to prank someone with. Take this dvd and put it in the Bloodsport case. Which reminds me, I went into this film with no knowledge about the people behind it at all. It’s based on a manga, by the way. Imagine my surprise when what look like a simple roundhouse kick knocks a guy’s head off! I was without question, caught off guard.

It’s on Netflix Instant watch, if you’re interested in grossing out a girlfriend. As usual, check out the trailer below:
 

 

 

Recapped!: “Howling”

“…I’ll never forget the night I ran with a wolf.”

words: desmond “neo” childs

new

 

Now I know the title of this movie makes it sound like a scary film, but it’s not. The film poster doesn’t help either, now that I think about it. Anyway, it’s detective story about several murders that seem to have one thing in common: a bite mark on the victim’s neck. The whole appeal of this movie is that it’s almost gives a vibe that something extradinary may be behind the recent murders going on. The movie is based off a novel titled, The Hunter by Nonami Asa. I wish there was a way to say this without sounding like I’m dissing director Yoo Ha’s picture; but I don’t think such a way exists. Howling is an engaging, evenly-paced, bundle of murder mystery fun! It would be a great movie to catch ON-DEMAND! Hm. Maybe it wasn’t that hard. Anyway, this was a pretty good film that actually managed to make the murder case itself more interesting than the film’s “tragic pet story” resolution we get at the end. It’s like the musical composer, Kim Jun-seok and company were determined to make us all feel SOMETHING for these people who had been through hell. And I’ll admitt, for the most part it was all earned and pulled off rather well; without being too heart stringy. The only part of the film I felt was lagging by the ending credits was the subplot of sexism. The deuteragonist is the newly transferred, upstart from the patrol desk. This cop is resourceful, intelligent, quick, and willing to work with others. The problem the “new guy” faces is that he’s a she. And she spends most of the movie being physically, verbally, and sexually harassed by the majority of the male characters on screen. Now we don’t get any scenes of rape, thankfully; but we get a group of really closed minded individuals who feel it’s their duty to give this poor woman hell for trying to do her job! I mean she takes it in stride too! There’s one scene when one jerk decides to buck up into her face and jab his finger into her forehead repeatedly; all but screaming “I’M THE BETTER SEX!” over and over again. So yeah, this cop takes a lot of abuse, inspite of all the great detective work she does throughout the film. Sure, she’s reckless. Yeah she did inadvertenly taze her senior partner while trying to apprehend a suspect; but she has a heart of gold! I mean, c’mon! I’m then reminded by my good friend, Amanda Deb that the treatment of women other in Asia is nowhere near the way it is hear in America. And that may be the case, but I can’t help but feel a little weird about it. It’s like part of the world is still stuck in the 1930s; at least socially. Sexism or not, I think I need to work on not taking where I live on this planet for granted anymore. Anyway, Howling is a fun film for a rainy, weekend. It’s got a lifetime movie vibe to it; if lifetime allowed scenes of R-rated swearing. As usual it’s on Netflix, so check it out before you can’t (if you no what I mean).

Really quick, here’s some information on the director. Yoo Ha is the man behind the critically acclaimed (you know I hate using those words) movie, A Dirty Carnival (2006). A film I apparently need to check in keeping with my Summer Gangster theme, yes? Mr. Ha is also responsible for movies such as A Frozen Flower (2008), and Once Upon a Time in High School (2004). Yoo Ha is also a screewriter and a contemporary poet. Here’s his picture, along with the trailer for Howling.

 

 

Directed by: Yoo Ha

 

 

Recapped!: “The Unjust”

“Are we doing this the RIGHT way!?”

words: desmond “neo” childs

 

I was supposedly keeping to Gangster films for the last month or so; but I seem to have tailed off into a “Corrupt Cop” picture from director Ryu Seung-wan. The Unjust is by no means a new spin on an old tale. In fact, I was personally able to map out the stories basic plot (from start to finish) after around 15 minutes or so. Usually not a good thing, and The Unjust definietly suffers from NOT “playing close enough to the vest”, so to speak. The cast is actually a pretty strong one lead by both Hwang Jung-min (of Bloody Tie and Private Eye) and the director’s younger brother; Ryu Seung-beom. If you’re confused on the way Korean names are written out; look for the last part of the hypenated name to learn the first name of someone. In the case of the two brothers behind this film; there names are Wan and Beom. Well, I guess they are anyway; as that was the only thing I could distinguish from one name to the other. Anyway, the director-brother (Ryu Seung-wan) is also the hand behind the films; Sympathy for Mr.Vengeance (2002), Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005), The City of Violence (2006), as well as No Mercy (2010). The guy has also directed some music videos and video games along the way as well. Anyway, his film here doesn’t seem to have any real ambition other than to try and retell the same basic premise with a new coat of paint. I normally wouldn’t characterize something that way, but there really wasn’t anything else here that left that big of an impression with me. I will say that the well worn tropes and devices that Mr. Ryu-Seung does incoporate here are executed well! That’s a compliment right? I mean, we all pay to see remakes and rehashed movies all the time; so why do I feel like this one bothered me for some reason? I’m not sure, although a hope for something more out of a South Korean film definately isn’t too much to ask; considering how often I’m blown away by their top quality. Maybe I should just rewatch something that takes this idea and does it better? Whoops. Check out the trailer, movie poster,and picture of the two brothers and lead actor in this film.