Recent Horror Viewings 4/8
April 08, 2016


Last Shift (2014)

A rookie police officer spends her first shift babysitting her precinct's old location for its "last shift." While there, the spirit of a cult leader and a couple of his followers torment her with disturbing imagery.

I had heard a lot of buzz about this movie. Every time a horror page on Facebook discusses a critically acclaimed movie like The Babadook or The Witch, this one comes up as a "real horror movie, unlike those." Of course, I always take observations like that with a pinch of salt and tried to keep an open mind rather than dismiss or hype up the movie. Yeah, Last Shift sports some great makeup and practical effects, but it's also bogged down by indifferent acting and stilted dialogue. I also didn't like how the protagonist felt more like an observer than a participant most of the time. Regardless, it's a solid horror movie, but not a great one. The scenes involving the ghost with the crushed face were pretty intense, though.



Indigenous (2014)

Party-crazed college kids binge drink in South America, then ignore warnings about entering a certain part of the jungle. Chupacabra happens.

What happens when you splice The Descent with 2010's The Shrine? Well, this: your standard fare tale of dumb twenty-somethings getting themselves killed. There isn't much about this movie that stands out. The antagonist looks similar to the crawlers from the aforementioned cave movie, and the film's message is similar to The Shrine's, except it's delivered in a ham-fisted manner just before the closing credits (a supporting character spells out the movie's message, as if the filmmakers were worried that the audience was too stupid to pick up on it).

If Indigenous does anything effectively, though, it lies in its social media element, although it was introduced a little too late into the plot. It seemed like it was going to make some commentary on viral videos, but fizzled out and fell back on the "respect foreign customs" moral. It's not a terrible monster movie, to be sure, but definitely meh.



The Alien Dead (1980)

A legendary anti-classic among horror movies, and one I hadn't seen until recently. Locals and alligators begin disappearing from an American swamp as zombies rise from the murky waters, the result of a meteorite crashing into the depths. No bit role is safe, as many an undeveloped face falls victim to the undead menace. Only a journalist, his plucky female sidekick/girlfriend and the sheriff can might stop them.

This one is a plodding affair with horrible makeup and laughable death scenes. One such massacre includes a woman who coughs up blood after her arm gets ripped off. This is after the zombie actors fondle the shit out of her while casually putting her fingers in and out of their mouths or trying to secretly stare at the camera. No, this movie is not a porn, but sometimes the acting belies as much. Truth be told, though, I had a little fun with this flick's ineptitude.



Alien 2: On Earth(1980)

An unofficial sequel to Alien that capitalized on a legal loophole to secure its title. This one eschews the space setting in favor of a dank, old cave where a race of parasitic aliens has taken root. Unlike the beasts from Ridley Scott's film, these guys burst out of their victims' faces. As you can imagine (and as this is an Italian movie), there's plenty of facial gore to go around. Unfortunately, I caught the dubbed version, so the voice track is riddled with terrible acting and laughable lines like:

"Her face! It's gone!"
"Get a medkit!"

Uh, because there's a spare face in the kit or what?

It's not a total waste of time, though. I do like the film's murky lighting, which contributes to its atmosphere. Sadly, the main cast isn't interesting or likable, and many of the film's shots take way too much time setting themselves up. Yeah, Lucio Fulci did a lot of shots like that in his day, but he was also a talented director who knew how to use a drawn out shot to build tension and add to a movie's terror factor. You end up wanting the scene to reach its climax, and at the same time dreading it. When Alien 2 borrows this style of filmmaking, you just want to yell, "Get on with it!"

Everything builds up to the characters escaping the cave, which they eventually do in a phoned-in, ten second montage--conveniently after most of the main cast has become alien chow.

All the same, you can do much worse than Alien 2. At least the movie had pretty descent make up and visuals.

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