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“Splice”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Congratulations, it’s a girl… Well, sort of. It’s more like a mix of human and animal DNA, but you can just call her Dren. Unlike most sci-fi thrillers, Splice is a very real, all be it maybe too real, look at the world of genetic engineering. It’s not too hard to believe that this could very well be happening in a lab somewhere right now. Director Vincenzo Natali, best know for the Cube, brings an unusual look and feel to the film, but at the same time that could be the down fall of the movie. The pacing of the movie seems off through out, but the last quarter of the film seems extremely out of place. I might be getting ahead of myself, let me back up a bit.

In Splice, two young scientists who are the poster children for the future of bioengineering, have created a new living organism, and would like to introduce human DNA into the mix. But when a presentation goes horribly wrong, not only do they find themselves in danger of losing their careers, but also the project’s funding. Needing to prove their theories are correct, they find themselves forced to step-up their experiment to the next level even though they were clearly told not to. I know, so far this doesn’t sound like anything new, but the thing that makes Splice so different from other films like this, is its interaction with the material. Unlike most stories of this nature, Splice takes a more honest look at the moral and ethical decisions being made during the experiment, and believe me this movie is going to go places you would never imagine. On top of that, the underlining relationship of Clive and Elsa (Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley) and their own individual reasons for continuing the experiment, does help to bring the movie to the next level. This brings me back to my first point, which is that this film really doesn’t know what kind of movie it wants to be. At one point it’s a relationship drama, then it’s a suspense thriller, and next thing you know it’s a full blown creature feature. Now, don’t let this give you the wrong idea, the movie is really good, it just never quite feels right. And the slow pace of the movie only makes you notice it that much more. The one thing that does work in Splice is its amazingly realistic special effects. With very little CGI, the old school mix of make-up and practical effects, is such a breath of fresh air. Overall it might not be the best that it could be, but its way better than Paranormal Activity, and well worth checking out.

Rating:


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“Trick ‘r Treat”
a review by Darby O’Gill

It’s Halloween night, a night full of tricks and treats. Well, mostly tricks. But, the real treat is finally getting Michael Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat released. I know it’s not the theatrical release we were all hoping for, but it is finally out on DVD. In the spirit of Creepshow, Trick ‘r Treat takes four tales from one Halloween night and intertwines them into one fantastic story. It’s like Robert Altman and Wes Craven had a baby, and named it Trick ‘r Treat. Take a high school principal moonlighting as serial killer, a young woman searching for the perfect date, a childish prank that ends with disastrous consequences, and an old man that learns the true meaning of trick-or –treat, and what you have is one hell of a ride. Trick ‘r Treat was made in 2007, and spent two years just trying to get into theatres. It was receiving rave reviews at all the horror festivals, but for some reason Warner Brothers just didn’t believe in it enough to put it in theatres. It’s sad really. Great movies like this have to fight to see the light of day, but pieces of shit like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, have no problem finding their way into theatres. You know, there was another little horror film that was made in 2007 that couldn’t seem to find distribution. It was a little movie called Paranormal Activity. Ever hear of it? Maybe this will finally make Hollywood wake up. Most likely not, but it would be nice if other little movies like these would finally be given the chance they deserve, and not have to fight for two years just to see the light of day. I know. I know. It’s never going to happen. But, let’s get back to subject at hand. Trick ‘r Treat is a must see. With an amazing story, some brilliant cinematography, and fantastic performances, Trick ‘r Treat is a guaranteed Halloween classic. Oh, I haven’t even mentioned little Sam, the trick-or-treater demon that oversees the night’s events. He is a greatly welcomed addition to the Freddy and Jason’s of the horror community. I really hope they make more of these. I can’t wait to see Trick ‘r Treat 2! I just hope next time it’ll be in theatres on Halloween night, and not just a straight to DVD blow-off. Warner Brothers is sitting on a goldmine. They could make a new Trick ‘r Treat movie every year like the Saw franchise, but I guess we’ll just have to wait for them to realize that on their own. Until then, we’ll just have to keep fighting the good fight.

Rating:
5 Little People


DVD Special Features:

Sadly, that’s it. One bonus feature, if you can call it that. Don’t get me wrong, it’s cool to see the animation short that became this movie, but come on! This movie had an incredible journey for two years, and you’re not going to do a commentary track for the feature film?! How about some behind the scenes footage, or maybe some deleted scenes? Hell, I’d be happy with even a trailer at this point! My only guess is that Warner Brothers was really on the fence about putting it in theatres, but at the last minute pushed it to DVD, and wanted to get it out before Halloween. If that is the case, we’ll hopefully get a Special Edition DVD at some point, but until then it’ just sad.

DVD Special Features Rating:
1 Little People


“Paranormal Activity”
a review by Darby O’Gill

NOTE: There are NO SPOILERS in this review. I won’t even talk about the movie’s storyline, so please read freely if you have yet to see Paranormal Activity.

“The scariest movie ever made!” Well, maybe not. Look, I know I don’t get very scared at scary movies, but I really don’t understand how Paranormal Activity is getting people to hype it after they’ve seen it. My wife and I went to a test screening for Paranormal Activity, like a year and a half ago. We raced to the theatre after work; she had a slight headache, but still wanted to go. We had no idea what the movie was going to be about before hand, but we both like scary movies so we were hoping it would be good. Thirty – five minutes or so into the movie, the shaky handheld camera work had my wife ready to blow chunks, and even though I was kind of digging the movie, it wasn’t the end of the world to leave. On the walk back to the car, I told her I thought the movie gave a lot of promise, but it also felt like they were never going to pay it off. I kind of liked the simplicity of it, but she said, “It’ll never see the light of day.” After a few months, I figured she was right. Now, fast forward a year later, and we start to hear people talking about this indie movie that is going to come out, and be the scariest movie ever made. Just imagine how shocked we were when we heard the title of the film. I figured, at first, it was just your basic studio hype trying to get the movie a big opening weekend. But, then I found out it was only playing in thirteen college cities, and it wasn’t even playing in Los Angeles yet! I started to think they must have changed the whole movie, because the one we saw was okay, but would never have people talking like this after they’d seen it. After two weeks of nothing but hearing people talk about this movie, I knew I would have to go see it again. My wife said, “Have fun, a half hour of a screening of that snooze-fest was more than enough for me.” So, I went… And amazingly… It was the exact same movie we saw a year and a half ago. However, I did get to see the end this time. Now, I’m not saying the movie is bad. I’m just saying it’s not by any means “the scariest movie ever made.” Much like The Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity is a unique kind of horror movie. It doesn’t use a ton of blood and gore to scare its audience; instead it plays on your nerves in hopes of tapping in to one of your natural fears. Here’s the part I don’t get. How does this movie get so much word of mouth hype, when nothing really ever happens? Don’t worry I’m not going to give anything away, but the “activity” in this movie is only 15% at best. I enjoyed this movie. I thought the acting was really good for the first half; but it started to get a little shoddy by the end. I also loved the uniqueness of this film. It’s always nice to see a movie that no one believed in making it big. I take that back, Steven Spielberg believed in it. Paranormal Activity may not be the scariest movie ever made, but it is a fun night out.

Rating:
3 Little People