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Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Special: CineMarvellous' TOP 10 Best-Reviewed Horror Remakes of the 10's


1. Let Me In (2010)
Overall summary: Truly beautifully shot, subtly creepy and thoroughly compelling, "Let Me In" is one of those extremely rare cases, where the remake surpasses the original in every way. The cinematography is absolutely breathtaking and deserves a special mention.

2. Mother's Day (2011)

Overall summary: Although it goes slightly over-the-top at times, "Mother's Day" is a disturbing, and utterly uncompromising depiction of sheer terror, that gets under your skin and stays there long after the credits roll. It's pretty much 'The Mother' of all 'home invasion' flicks.
3. Godzilla (2014)

Overall summary: Led by a capable cast, and Edwards' more than solid direction, that smoothly balances terror and human drama, "Godzilla" is a technically well-made epic monster of a film that provides spectacle of mass destruction monster fights, and sheer mayhem.
4. Piranha 3D (2010)

Overall summary: Offering buckets of blood, campy humor and huge amount of nudity, Aja's "Piranha 3D" is one of the funniest and most entertaining films of the year so far, and also one of the goriest. A great example of how a horror remake should be done!
5. Evil Dead (2013)

Overall summary: Not only it doesn't hurt the classic original in any way, but Fede Alvarez's "Evil Dead" remake stands on its own, providing its anticipating audience with a heavy dose of ultra-gory gruesomeness, some brutally nasty kills, and a couple of good scares.

Overall summary: Although it's predictable and lacks the haunting chills of the original movie, "Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark" is still an effective and atmospheric horror remake, that delivers solid scares, good old-fashioned thrills and some truly creepy images.

Overall summary: Thanks to its precise direction, arresting visuals and sheer bone-chilling brutality, "I Spit on Your Grave" is, surprisingly, the second horror remake released in 2010, along with "Let Me In", that easily surpasses the original in terms of quality and execution.
8. The Thing (2011)

Overall summary: Compared to Carpenter's 1982 masterpiece, it may be disappointing, but Matthijs Van Heijningen Jr.'s "The Thing" is still an entertaining, solidly-crafted and visually-adequate prequel, that delivers plenty of tense moments, slick gore and grotesque images.
9. The Crazies (2010)

Overall summary: The 2010 remake of "The Crazies" can be considered an upgrade from the original film. Is it a unique concept? No, not really. Yet the film remains entertaining, partly due to the great cinematography, plus, here are quite a few interesting kills, and the make-up and CG effects.
10. We Are What We Are (2013)

Overall summary: Superior to the Mexican original on many levels, yet still far from brilliant, "We Are What We Are" is a dark cannibal horror with religious undertones, that provides enough gore, without compromising on the acting.

Halloween Special: CineMarvellous' TOP 15 Best-Reviewed Horror Sequels of the Past 15 Years


1. [REC]² (2009)

Overall summary: The original "[REC]" movie was literally mind-blowing and utterly terrifying, and this sequel is almost as brilliant, as its creators went in a direction no one saw coming, making it feel very refreshing and super, super-scary.


2. Blade II (2002)

Overall summary: The first film was great fun, but director Guillermo del Toro really brought it in this excellent sequel, adding more martial arts action, tons of gore, and one of the nastiest, coolest-looking vampires ever featured in a film.


3. Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (2004)

Overall summary: Dark, intense, clever, and finely-executed "Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed" is one of the most gripping and thoroughly unique werewolf movies ever made, and a great and really twisted follow-up to the amazing original.


4. Final Destination 2 (2003)

Overall summary: It doesn't feel as inventive as the first film, but "Final Destination" compensates for that with somewhat more interesting plot, more memorable kill sequences, slicker gore, and characters that are easier to connect to.


5. Final Destination 5 (2011)

Overall summary: Featuring arguably the most creative death scenes in any "Final Destination" movie, this sequel proves there's still hope for the franchise. It's also the most well-produced and polished-looking entry in the entire series.


6. Dead Snow: Red vs Dead (2014)

Overall summary: It has higher production values than the first movie, a bigger sense of humor, and quirkier characters, you might strangely care about. In other words it's the better of the two. It's also funnier and much more gorier.


7. 28 Weeks Later (2007)

Overall summary: Making a sequel to Danny Boyle's superb "28 Days Later" didn't seem like a great idea at first, but Spanish director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo proved us wrong, delivering a truly effective second movie, that entertained.


8. Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)

Overall summary: As a whole "Paranormal Activity" is not as good as its frightening predecessor, but there are certain parts in it that are so shiveringly scary, you will be terrified. And that's exactly how a horror sequel should perform.


9. The Descent: Part 2 (2009)

Overall summary: It's nowhere nearly as frightening, claustrophobic, well-crafted, well-acted and gory as Neil Marshall's original which turned into a modern horror classic, but "The Descent: Part 2" is a surprisingly effective and fun sequel.


10. Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)

Overall summary: As expected, "PA3" is 'more of the same' in terms of style and shocks, and is the least scary of the three, however, it goes in a slightly different direction than its predecessors, and as a result it feels some sort of refreshing.


11. [REC]3: Genesis (2012)

Overall summary: It's not the horror masterpiece the original "[REC]" was, nor is as inventive as "[REC]²", but "[REC]³ Génesis" is still a decent entry into the popular franchise, with enough action, thrills and slick gore to please all the fans.


12. Cold Prey 2 (2008)

Overall summary: "Fritt Vilt 2" is undoubtedly an enjoyable and fast paced sequel. Where the original was mostly character development, in this one we get a bigger body count and more action, and in these terms it exceeds the first film.


13. Underworld: Evolution (2006)

Overall summary: A bit sillier and less action-packed than the already iconic original, yet still incredibly fun to watch and entertaining as hell, "Underworld: Evolution" is a solid sequel that provides more vampires vs. werewolves goodness.


14. Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010)

Overall summary: Formulaic and predictable, yet visually-arresting, "Resident Evil: Afterlife" offers eye-popping 3D effects and amazing kick-ass action sequences, that should please any action fan. One of the best of the series!


15. Underworld: Awakening (2012)

Overall summary: Way too short and really thin on plot, yet briskly-paced, spectacularly action-packed and visually-stylish, "Underworld: Awakening" is a step in the right direction compared to the previous very mediocre installment.


[6.75/10] A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014)

A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014)

Quick Review: Slightly convoluted, yet hardly ever confusing, "A Walk Among the Tombstones" is a quietly compelling old-school thriller, that will keep you involved and make you part of the investigation from start to finish, thanks to the neat pacing, but above all Leam Neeson's engaging central performance. He's perfectly cast for the role, and carries the film with strong presence and charisma, easily stealing the viewer's attention in every frame he shows.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

[7.50/10] Housebound (2014)

Housebound (2014)

Quick Review: Bringing as much scares as laughter, and balancing horror and comedy pretty smoothly, Johnstone's "Housebound" is a Kiwi 'haunted house' flick with a clever twist, that feels like a breath of fresh air, due to its spontaneously witty script, quirky characters, and hardly foreseeable plot, that provides more than a few surprises along the way, most of which darkly hilarious. The film's delightfully gloomy visual style is also a strength, and makes it very appealing to the eyes.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

[5.25/10] The Canal (2014)

The Canal (2014)

Quick Review: It displays some truly peculiar images that may give you a sense of dread, and there are moments where it really messes up with your head, but those are not very often, and oddly enough, the whole thing feels somewhat familiar, even if it's difficult to say that "The Canal" is unoriginal. The creepiness is there, the eerie music score is fairly effective, and it has a couple of solid scares, especially towards the end, but all in all this Irish horror film is far from terrifying.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

[6.25/10] Exists (2014)

Exists (2014)

Quick Review: It's nowhere nearly as good as director's iconic "The Blair Witch Project", nor it's the most realistic Bigfoot movie you will ever see, but it's surely one of the most daring ones, as it manages to boldly reveal its creature, without spoiling the suspense. There are frustrating moments in which the characters act illogically, but that is compensated with the constant tension Sánchez capably maintains, and more than a few effective scares, that will make your heart pound hard.

[6.00/10] White Bird in a Blizzard (2014)

White Bird in a Blizzard (2014)

Quick Review: An odd hybrid of domestic drama, sex-driven coming-of-age story, and 'missing person' mystery, "White Bird in a Blizzard" works surprisingly well, despite the offbeat dream scenes, considering director Araki's peculiar choice of genre mixing. Woodley turns in yet another captivating performance in a seemingly unsuitable role for her, but it's Eva Green that steals the whole show as the lonely, neurotic, and often nutty mother.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

[8.00/10] The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)

The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)

Quick Review: A seamless blend of poignant medical mock-doc about a woman's struggle with Alzheimer's, twisted murder mystery, and creepy possession story, "The Taking" is as unpredictably shocking as it's utterly unsettling -- a rare hidden gem of a horror movie that defines 'cinematic scariness', delivering a jolt after jolt as the plot unfolds, and culminating in a final act that features one of the scariest film sequences ever shown. The acting is great, too.

[4.50/10] Step Up: All In (2014)

Step Up: All In (2014)

Quick Review: Forget about the plot -- it's plain dumb and painfully formulaic, but that's not a surprise, since much like the previous entries, "Step Up 5: All In" is all about the dancing. The latter, however, is not so impressive this time around. The choreography is far from inspired, and more than a few of the routines feel forced. The glossy production design and some good moves here and there do not excuse the super- stiff acting, lame romance, and lack of any sort of originality.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

[4.00/10] Asmodexia (2014)

Asmodexia (2014)

Quick Review: Much like most Spanish horror films, "Asmodexia" is a tastefully-shot and well-produced exorcism flick with a great tone, but sadly, it only excels in a technical and visual way. It tells three parallel stories, none of which make sense until the very end, hence, the whole thing feels disconnected and badly-narrated. Scares-wise, it does not work much either, as it only has a few possession images to display. If it has to be described with one word that would be... 'bizarre'.

Friday, October 24, 2014

[4.75/10] See No Evil 2 (2014)

See No Evil 2 (2014) 

Quick Review: A definite improve upon the dreadful original, yet still very generic, "See No Evil 2" is your typical slasher with zero brains, lots of blood, no actual plot, and stupid characters making stupid decisions. The Soska sisters certainly have a flair for style, and give the movie a 'slick coldness' feel, and the morgue it is set in will make you uneasy, but that's just half the job done. Kane is menacing and the death scenes are gory as hell, but the film could have been much more brutal.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

[5.25/10] Dracula Untold (2014)

Dracula Untold (2014)

Quick Review: You might learn a thing or two about Vlad, but overall "Dracula Untold" has very little to tell, or to show to its audience, apart from a couple of finely-crafted, CGI- laden action scenes and some well- chosen settings. Evans realizes he embodies one of the most popular horror icons in cinematic history and gives his all, but it's the derivative script, that doesn't allow him to fully dazzle. Charles Dance chills as the Master Vampire with both his wicked looks and dark charisma.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

[5.50/10] Extraterrestrial (2014)

Extraterrestrial (2014)

Quick Review: Make no mistake Colin Minihan's "Extraterrestrial" is a technically well-made film, featuring sleek camera work, combined with moody lighting and some POV shots to shake things up a bit, but other than that, this alien invasion feature is neither original, nor has enough potential to fulfill its out-of-this-world ambitions. In fact, "Extraterrestrial" is so cliche-ridden, you will be able to foresee most of the events, plus, the aliens are shown way too early, and they fail to frighten.