Day Of The Dead 2: Contagium

For a few years now I’ve been telling anyone who will listen that Dracula 3D is the worst film ever made.

I was wrong.

Day of the Dead 2 Contagium now owns the spot of “Worst movie ever made” in my heart and has been embedded into the very depths of my soul. God-damn it this movie is awful.

Slight flashback: It’s 2005 and a 19 year old me buys this movie because it has Day of the Dead in the title and I didn’t know any better. I proudly bring it over to a friends house for movie night. We then spend the next 1 hour and 45 minutes wondering what the fuck it is that we’re watching. My movie picking privileges are revoked and I spend the next year trying my best to forget it exists.

Slight flash forward to 2014: Dracula 3D is released and it instantly becomes the most painful thing I’ve ever had to sit through (this includes funerals) and it sends me on a deep existential spiral wondering if I even want to bother watching horror anymore. The world stops making sense. In the darkness of my dreams I still see that fucking locust monster.

Present day: I see this movie streaming and think “Oh yeah, I remember it being bad but surely it’s not Dracula 3D levels of bad”. Let me tell you my friends, I’d give up years of my life to return to the naivete of yesterday before I pressed play on this atrocity. I could have done any myriad things instead of watching this but nope, had to see if it was as bad as I remember.

Day of the Dead 2: Contagium starts in an military hospital where a Russian man is being operated on. American soldiers show up and start killing everyone.

37 years later, this military hospital is now an asylum of sorts and our merry band of fuckups finds a thermos in the yard. They open it. Hijinx ensue.

God this is awful. At one point, either due to declining budget or no longer giving a fuck, they stop using blanks or even CGI for the guns. The actors run around and just “pew pew” it.

The only thing I will give this movie is the makeup effects as they’re pretty solid all around. The acting I won’t slag too much either, they’re doing their best to make something out of this mess and there’s an earnestness to some of the performances that just makes you feel bad for them.

The dialogue is some of the worst I’ve ever seen in a movie. The music seems to consist of “Bend that string hard” and “Hit that synth as hard as you can, let the note ring out until it makes the audience’s ear bleed.” There’s a few tracks reminiscent of 70s porno music (Allegedly) that are somewhat fun to listen to at least but overall, the score is awful.

To sum up, the movie that got 19 year old me banned from selecting things on movie night made 35 year old me look at Dracula 3D in a different light. I will never, ever forgive its existence for this. Dracula fucking 3D is no longer the worst movie I’ve ever seen which means that my suffering was without purpose. My nightmares were meaningless. The months of introspection and wondering if it was worth watching horror are rendered all for naught.

Fuck this movie. Fuck this movie to the fiery depths of a hell that doesn’t exist. I hope I can tulpa up a real afterlife with a giant lake of fire so I can send this movie there.

Not recommended unless you’re one of those people that enjoy The Room. This movie is The Room of zombie horror but without heart.

The Beach House

2019
Cosmic Horror
Director: Jeffrey A. Brown
Starring: Liana Liberato and Noah Le Gros

This movie wasn’t on my radar until an email from Shudder that described it as a Lovecraftian horror film. Instantly intrigued, I booted it up and pressed play.

The Beach House is definitely in the sphere of cosmic horror.

Fear of the unknown and the future is at its core. The central plot is a young couple, Emily and Randall arriving at a beach house. Randall has just dropped out of college and is trying to persuade Emily to do the same despite her aspirations to get a degree in organic chemistry.

They’re soon joined by Mitch and Jane Miller. Jane is terminally ill and Mitch brought her up here so they could enjoy one last trip together.

The movie starts off slow but once Mitch and Jane are introduced the dread starts to ramp up nicely. The movie is beautifully shot and there’s a creepy, ever present ambiance in every scene. The gore is minimal but the creature design is perfectly in line with Cosmic Horror. Sticky, wet, shambling messes that are instantly threatening despite how slow they move.

The Beach House is a nice slow burn of a movie. If you’re a fan of Cosmic horror it’s worth checking out.

Recommended

Trailer:

Starfish

Note: This was originally published on March 6, 2019 on horror-writers.com

Cosmic Horror
Directed by: A.T. White
Starring: Virginia Gardner
Synopsis: Gardner stars as Aubrey, a young woman suffering from the death of a close friend. When a mysterious signal from an unknown dimension summons the end of days, its appears as if only Aubrey is left on earth. Trapped in the apartment of her recently deceased best friend, the only clue she has is a single cassette left behind after her friends death, labeled: “THIS MIXTAPE WILL SAVE THE WORLD.”

A.T White has written, directed and scored a haunting, beautiful and what appears to be deeply personal film about the stages of grief and how to deal with loss. If you mixed Silent Hill 3, Lovecraft and art house cinema together this is what you’d get.

Virginia Gardner gives an astounding performance as Aubrey, a young woman struggling to come to terms with the death of her friend. For the entire run time of the movie, we watch her navigate the many different manifestations of grief. The loss of desire, the need to fix everything, the feeling disjointed and the belief that some grand quest or action can fix everything going on inside of us. Her performance is equally heart breaking and wholly believable.

There are a lot of bold directing choices made, but each one is done with near perfection. There’s a scene where the film transitions from live-action to animated and it is done so naturally you’d be forgiven for wondering if the entire film was a cartoon and questioning whether or not what came before it was a fever dream of imagery and music.

The original score coupled with some excellent choices (Sea of Teeth by Sparklehorse has long been one of my favourite songs so seeing it used here made me smile) effectively add to the narrative without overpowering the main story. It’s a difficult balance to achieve but once again it’s pulled off really well in Starfish.

Starfish is a beautiful film, probably the most beautiful horror film I’ve ever seen. It’s touring begins March 13th before hitting VOD in May and if you have a chance to see it, I can’t recommend enough that you do.

Highly recommended.

Re:Born

Re:Born (Directed by Yuji Shimomura. Starring: Tak Sakaguchi)

I was really hoping to go into an in-depth review of this movie, but the same thing just kept popping into my head: Do you want to see more kills than John Wick 2 in a shorter amount of time? If the answer is “Yes,” then you need to watch this. If the answer is “No,” then you might want to reflect on yourself a little bit.

This is much more action than horror, but it’s on Shudder so it should be readily available to anyone reading this review. It’s a good time. Check it.

4/5 pools of blood.

All The Creatures Were Stirring – 2018

Anthologies seem to be on the rage lately, but I am not complaining! Let’s have a look at 2018’s Christmas themed anthology, All The Creatures Were Stirring. As with any anthology there is a framing device in place here, and a rather clever one at that. Jenn and Max are two people alone on Christmas eve and decide to get together to go see a play. At this point you may be wondering if you accidentally selected a Hallmark Christmas movie, but hang in there. Once in the theatre, the play begins it’s first story.

The Stockings Were Hung

This story starts off with a rather mundane gift exchange at an office. However, things start to get effed real fast, and boy was it a treat! What we have here is a sadistic killer who has sabotaged the gift exchange. Some gifts will help, some will hurt; think saw-esque here. Once the fun begins it is quite fast paced, and ends quickly, which I liked. Although not super original, it was well executed and my favourite of the segments. 4 / 5 We then cut back to the actors in the play finishing the scene, as it will from here on out. This framing device is simple yet effective.

Dash Away All

This segment is certainly more original than the first, and gives off some Lovecraftian vibes. We got a man who has locked himself out of his car after some last minute Christmas shopping, and there is no one else around save for a creepy van in the parking lot with two women inside. I can’t say much else because the unraveling of the story is the key here, but it does get weird in an unexpected way. There’s even some good practical effects in this one! My only gripe was it took a little long to get there, but at under 20min, is that saying much?

3.5 / 5

All Through The House

I feel like this is where we start to fall off a bit. This segment is disjointed, and definitely maniacal. Jonathan Kite (2 Broke Girls) is great, and certain scenes are well shot with creepy lighting, and cinematography that is unsettling. Just straight up weird with not much of a resolution. On the bright side it does contain my favourite quote of the movie, “Take that you rosy-cheeked son of a bitch.” Worth it.

2.5 / 5

Arose Such a Clatter

I turned into a bitter old man on this one, and I had some petty complaints throughout. This time we get a discount Russell Crowe driving at night before smoking a huge deer wearing a collar. Yup, that big ‘ol boy was Blitzen, and he is pissed. The vengeful stalker ends up tracking down buddy at his home and well, you can imagine the rest. There was some cool stuff about this one such as the premise, and how they shot the POV scenes, but the pros wear out pretty quick. So off to the complaint department. We’re dealing with a huge reindeer here. The fact that the car had limited damage was bothersome enough, but the fact that HE HAS ANTLERS MOUNTED IN HIS HOUSE BUT DIDN’T TAKE OR CALL A BUDDY TO TAKE THE DEER HE JUST SMOKED was REDICULOUS. Ok, I’m fine. This one’s pretty boring overall, but fair waring. The cut back to the theater is hilarious.

2 / 5

In a Twinkling

Ending on a higher note, this segment has some serious Twilight Zone vibes. I felt like it was setting up for a werewolf story, but quickly turned around and we ended up getting probed. Nice. Some of the characters I wish I could have reached in and punched them in the face, but a minor gripe to a cool story. Throughout this segment we get twist after twist while getting weirder and weirder, yet somehow it works. Being so Twilight Zone-y I was expecting some sort of morbid or twist ending, but instead it’s quite wholesome..also nice.

3 / 5

After this we are brought back to the framing device for a little extra creep factor before sending us off to the credits. Overall I really enjoyed this anthology, it was fun without trying too hard. I really commend the production team for effectively using the tools they had at their disposal, and not reaching too hard beyond their budget. It’s Christmas, sit down with some popcorn, don’t set the bar too high, and you’ll have some fun.

Overall Score: 3 / 5 Broke Girls