DVD Reviews

Published on June 6th, 2014 | by Ed Sum

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The Evil Within, The House of Good and evil, Apocalypse Kiss, and STAY Review

The Evil Within

Not to be confused with the videogame of the same name, The Evil Within is a movie that makes use of the cabin-in-the-woods formula and shakes it up a little. Watching this film is like putting the Twilight Zone spin on Groundhog Day by showing just how man’s inhumanity to man can take center stage when caught in a time loop.

This product is set to arrive in stores on DVD and online May 6th.

Originally called “Mine Games,” this indie film does not quite make itself stand out in the pile of let’s scare the shit out of the viewer, much less than the characters within the film. They discover an abandoned mineshaft and go explore it. Even a book gets found to help establish the coming terror. Half the tricks this film pulls off to invoke the scares have been done before. Newcomers to this genre may get some joy out of this film but old-timers may well want to turn to the next item in their pile of videos to watch instead.

Alternatively, viewers may want to start skipping to the next chapter to find the action. By the second act, at least the wierdness picks up. Lyla (Briana Evigan), Claire (Julianna Guill), Michael (Joseph Cross), Lex (Rafi Gavron), Guy (Ethan Peck), T.J. (Alex Meraz) and Rose (Rebecca Da Costa) start to realize what’s going on and they have to find a way out of this curse.

This film does work for showing how mistrust builds amongst this gang. When one of these characters sees his future self who warns him not to trust the others, that kind of tension is very Hitchcock in flavour. These kids can alter their future if they try hard enough or had way to alter their time stream. Unfortunately the time spent to watch Evil Within cannot be recovered. Some movies are better left off unseen.

2 out of 5

 

The House of Good and Evil

The House of Good and Evil is definitely no lead in to introducing the next Amityville terror. This movie is now available on DVD and many purchasers may feel jaded at paying full price for a low-budget thriller. It’s better off being picked up in a discount bin if a cheap fright is needed, but even then, owning this video may not be worth any price.

When the story deals with Maggie (Rachel Marie Lewis) recovering from a miscarrage and spousal abuse, just what happens next is too familiar. Anyone who has seen enough of this subclass of films where a woman’s isolation from society is prevelant will find this film to be long winded if not absurdly boring. This theme can be interesting if it’s done right, but here it seems writer Blu de Golyer does not quite delve deep enough into what can go on Maggie’s psyche after all she has experienced. Director David Mun can only do so much from what was penned.

The lack of added exposition may be the problem here especially when all the traumatic moments of Maggie’s isolation only have a soundtrack to carry this film’s hidden meaning. This film is successful in small ways, but ultimately, it’s not enough to really make this product the stand-out it could be. All of the shock is more character driven than created by the suggestion that the house Maggie lives in is ‘haunted.’

Marie Lewis’ performance is great. She creates some much needed pathos to sell her madness, but ultimately that is not enough to keep this movie from falling apart. An axe is really needed to cut down the nearly two hour run time to that of ninety minutes. Perhaps that would be the better way to make this film end with a bang.

3 out of 5

 

Apocalypse Kiss

Not many sci-fi films are being made these days that can be called punk noir. Perhaps a better term to use is tech noir to describe Apocalypse Kiss. This film is set in a far flung future with a homicide detective, Jerry (Tom Detrik), attempting to figure out if the new series of murders is attributed to the Red Harvest Killer (D.C. Douglas) — with a social identity of Adrian — or not. Truth be told, it’s with two nomadic femme fetales who just want a better chance at life.

With this film, there is a bit of a cat and mouse game going on. Jerry is not hving much luck tracking down the killers, but Adrian practically finds them next day — and oh boy is he ever pissed. He spent years trademarking how he signs his kills. To have two thespians around is cramping his style, and he has to deal with them perhaps in the only way he can — to kill them so his “honour” can be restored, if not remain intact.

Douglas is clearly having fun in this role. There are times his narcissm is as bad as Dan Fielding’s from the 80’s television comedy hit, Night Court.

Genre buffs will enjoy this film as its style and presentation is very colourful. It plays with various lighting techniques to successfully convey a black and white world and if this movie had another cool million to help polish off this film’s rough edges, it could possibly rival Blade Runner for its effects. Instead, this movie feels like it very much belongs in the 80’s, back when Max Headroom graced the small screens across the world. This film definitely makes a few nods in that direction. Even Andy Warhol may go, “HEY!” at a few moments when the this film discards its noir roots. The colors are bold, sexy and gay in one moment, and dull, lack-lusture, and sad in another. This mix actually works so that viewers know which subplot is taking center stage at the time.

But with a title of Apocalypse marring the title of this film, just how important is the end of days scenario throughout this film? With the sun described to be ready to go nova (it’s in its final stage of its lifespan) perhaps only twice in this movie, not much. There’s also a rogue planet on the loose and it’s not Nibiru! With no particular premise being important to this movie, viewers may feel puzzled at what the climax is supposed to be.

Much like another indie film, Apocalypse.CA, perhaps the one final surprise is simply going to be that of just how the world is going to end. With no proper denouemont, at least viewers will be left with an experience.

3.5 out of 5

 

Stay

Although the song Loch Lomond is a Scottish song, viewers curious in the movie Stay, starring Aidan Quinn and Taylor Schilling, may well be wondering which road is best travelled. Should one take the high road, or go down the low road in this troubled film. THe problem is that it doesn’t really go anywhere. Fans of Schilling will want to see this film. She attained notariety in Orange is the New Orange Black. As Abbey, a woman who leaves her man because he can’t deal with starting a family just yet.

This film is nice for the parallelisms it makes in two separate stories. Abbey returns to Canada, back to the only family she knows, and has to deal with her messed up father (nicely played by Michael Ironside), and face some personal demons which decide to resurface. Even Dermont (Quinn) has his own problems; most of which explains why he’s reluctant to take on parenthood. Not everyone will appreciate this movie for what it is. Stay belongs in a niche that will certainly find an audience with fans of Schilling’s and those looking for a heart-felt drama. At film festivals or art houses with the right marketing, this film can be a draw. But for a general audience who just do not care for love stories, the road individuals should take is that of one leading up to bar to drown his or her sorrows away.

3 out 5

 


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