Archive for Scott Speedman

The Strangers

Posted in Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , on October 30, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

On the night of February 11, 2005, Kristen McKay (Liv Tyler) and James Hoyt (Scott Speedman) return to a remote summer vacation home owned by James’s parents after attending a friend’s wedding reception. Shortly after arriving in the middle of the night, a young blonde woman (Gemma Ward), whose face is obscured by low lighting, knocks on the front door asking for a Tamara, but leaves after James and Kristen tell her she is at the wrong house.

A short while later, James leaves to buy Kristen a pack of cigarettes, when the woman returns and begins to pound harshly on the front door. Kristen refuses to open up, locks all the doors, and tries to call James on her cell phone, which she discovers to be dead. She plugs it into the wall to charge near the fireplace and calls James on the house phone briefly before the line goes dead. She returns to the fireplace to retrieve her cell phone, but it has disappeared. Kristen then hears a noise coming from the back door. She grabs a large kitchen knife and opens the curtains, seeing a man wearing a sack mask over his head. Kristen screams and trips over a record player, and it begins to skip repeatedly. The front door then opens slightly, and Kristen peeks outside, only to see the blond woman in a Dollface mask. She slams and locks the door before going to hide in the bedroom. After yelling “go away,” the noises eventually stop, at which point she hears footsteps coming from the hallway, which turn out to be from James. As she explains what happened while he was gone, he tries to calm her down.

She frantically explains to James that she saw a man in a mask, and heard loud banging noises. James is not worried about the incidents, thinking that they were caused by some teenagers fooling around. He goes outside to his car, whose tires have been slashed and its windshield smashed in. As he searches the car, someone touches his back, but they run away before he is able to turn around and see them. Once he turns back to the car, he looks up and sees Dollface, and asks her to leave. After she runs off, James persuades Kristen that they need to escape in their car.

As they are backing out of the driveway, a large truck pulls up behind them with its floodlights on, revealing another woman, this one wearing a Pin-up mask. After she smashes the truck into the couples’ car, James and Kristen run back into the house, where James finds a shotgun. As the couple approach the front door armed with the gun, the Man in the Mask begins breaking down the door with an axe. Terrified, the couple block the door with a piano, and James attempts to shoot him, but misses. The couple decide to hole up in a bedroom, facing the open doorway with the shotgun armed and ready. They hear footsteps in the house, and one of the intruders puts on a country record.

James’s friend, Mike (Glenn Howerton), who James contacted earlier, arrives at the house in his car. When he tries to call James’s cell phone, it goes straight to voicemail. But while he is leaving a message, a rock crashes through his windshield, prompting him to jump out of the car. Baffled, he notices country music playing loudly from the house. He steps onto the porch and fails to notice Dollface hiding in the shadows there before entering the house. As Mike walks down the hallway, the Man in the Mask appears behind him, holding up the axe. When Mike steps in front of the closet, James fires the shotgun, thinking it is one of the masked killers, and kills Mike by shooting him in the face. After James and Kristen realize they killed Mike, they decide to leave the house to get help.

James leaves the house first, promising Kristen that he will return in a few minutes, but Kristen decides not to wait for him to return, and leaves to go to a shed in the backyard. There, she finds a radio, which she uses to try and contact someone for help, but when she raises her voice, Pin-Up Girl appears and smashes the radio. Kristen returns to the house to look for James. As she walks down the hall, she hears a few keys being played on the piano, followed by footsteps, and the lights suddenly shut off. The Man in the Mask enters the hallway, but does not notice Kristen, as he is looking in the other direction. Kristen hides in the kitchen pantry while the man searches the hallway. He sits down at the table a few feet away from the closet before leaving the room. Kristen peers out of the closet, only to find the blond, masked woman staring back at her. The woman breaks the pantry door in, but suddenly stops. Kristen exits the closet to find the woman waiting for her with a knife. Kristen opens a kitchen drawer to arm herself as well when James is pushed into the house by the masked man, who now has the gun. When James tells Kristen to run, she sprints for the front door, only to find Pin-Up girl blocking her way. She runs into a bedroom and slams the door before attempting to escape through the window, and suddenly the lights come back on and the door swings open. Kristen walks back toward the hall to see who opened the door, when the Man in the Mask grabs her and throws her into the wall. Barely conscious, she is dragged down the hallway.

James and Kristen wake up the next day and find themselves tied to chairs in the living room while the three strangers stand over them. Before removing their masks, Pin-Up Girl walks into the kitchen and returns with a large knife. Kristen asks, “Why are you doing this to us?” and Dollface answers, “Because you were home.” Each of the strangers then takes turns stabbing James and Kristen seemingly to death. After they escape, Dollface shows feelings of guilt, and they stop the truck for her to ask two young Christian boys for a religious pamphlet, before continuing to drive away with Pin-Up Girl telling her that “It’ll be easier next time.” The two young Christian boys (Alex Fisher and Peter Clayton-Luce) are then seen entering the house only to find James and Kristen lying unmoving in the living room. One of the boys goes up to Kristen, and as he is about to touch her, she grabs his arm and screams in terror.

REVIEW:

Seeing as how tomorrow is Halloween, I figured I’d do a bit of horror this weekend. The first of which is one of the films that slipped past me when it was released, The Strangers.

I’ve got to say that it was great to see a horror film that didn’t rely on graphic gore. There is a time and place for that, but truth be told, the scariest films are those where the sheer idea of something out there are what freak the audience out.

In this film, that is definitely the case, as these random strangers just seem to appear out of thin air and continue to more or less stalk the stars of the film, though it is never really revealed why until the film’s end.

I could sit here and talk about the acting and whatnot, but who watches a horror flick for the “brilliant performances”? Truth be told, anyone can star in a horror flick as long as they can run around and scream at the top of their lungs.

The creepy factor is ratcheted up by the direction of this film. Something about the way the camera pans over and we see a long figure with one of these masks on just standing there. It really is downright freaky!

Now, for some reason, The Strangers wasn’t a huge box office hit. I think that had more to do with what was released that week, though, but not sure. Having said that, some of the best horror flicks often are box office duds, or at least not the most successful. Do I think you should check this film out? sure, but it isn’t the best horror flick out there…at the same time, it isn’t the worst, either. Why not check it out and enjoy the creepiness!

3 out of 5 stars

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Underworld: Evolution

Posted in Action/Adventure, Horror, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The movie opens in the year 1202 AD with an army led by three vampire elders (Markus, Viktor, and Amelia) arriving at a Werewolf ravaged village. After killing several werewolves, Viktor and Amelia capture their target: Markus’s brother William Corvinus, the first and most powerful werewolf. Viktor orders that William be imprisoned in a secret location forever.

The story then continues the present-day timeline, after the events of the first film. Selene takes Michael to a safe house so that she can return to the mansion to confront Kraven. She knows Kraven intends to kill Markus and plans to stop him. However, Singe’s blood has already awakened Markus, turning him into a hybrid, who then wipes out Kraven and his men, and destroys the mansion. He learns Selene and Michael’s location from camera surveillance of various safe houses and leaves to track them down. Markus confronts Selene and Michael, who evade him and hide in a warehouse.

Lorenz Macaro, an elderly and imposing man, sends in a team of “Cleaners” to investigate the aftermath from the final battle in the first movie. When Macaro examines Viktor’s body he finds a metal disk attached to his ribcage which is the match to Sonja’s pendant, which is in the possession of Selene and Michael. Now knowing that the pendant is of some importance to Markus, Michael and Selene set out to solve its mystery. Selene recalls that she’d seen it as a child, but doesn’t know its significance. To find answers, they travel to the hideout of the exiled vampire historian, Andreas Tanis.

Selene and Michael confront Tanis, who reveals that Markus, not Viktor, was the first vampire. One of the two sons of Alexander Corvinus, Markus was bitten by a bat and became a Vampire; his twin brother, William, was bitten by a wolf and became a werewolf. The first werewolves created by him were entirely animal and unable to take human form again. Due to William’s destructiveness, Markus approached Viktor, a warlord dying of old age, and offered to turn him and his army into immortal vampires in exchange for tracking down and stopping William. Markus intended to capture his brother and tame him, but Viktor ordered that William be locked away forever, far away from Markus. Viktor does not kill the brothers because he believes doing so would result in the immediate extinction of all other vampires and his lycan slaves. Tanis also reveals that Selene’s father was the architect who built William’s prison and that the pendant is a key, that after Lucian’s escape Viktor killed Selene’s family as as they knew of the prison’s location, but turned Selene into a vampire. Tanis then refers Selene and Michael to Lorenz Macaro for help. Shortly after they leave, Markus arrives and questions Tanis. Tired of hearing Tanis’s lies, Markus learns the truth by drinking his blood, killing him.

Selene and Michael go to see Lorenz Macaro, who is actually Alexander Corvinus, who has devoted his life to containing the Vampire-Lycan War away from the mortal world. However, Alexander refuses to help kill his son. When Markus arrives, he apparently kills Michael and learns the location of William’s hidden prison by drinking Selene’s blood. He then attacks and mortally wounds his father, thereby obtaining the other half of the pendant. On Alexander’s bidding, Selene drinks his blood, which will give her the power to defeat Markus. Afterwards, Alexander blows up his ship.

Selene leads the cleaners to the prison to confront and destroy Markus, but he has already freed William. A battle ensues in which William bites the Cleaners and begins turning them into Lycans. Michael, presumed to be dead inside his bodybag, suddenly regenerates and joins the fight in his Hybrid form. Michael ultimately kills William, while Selene kills Markus by pushing him into the spinning blades of a crashed helicopter. It is then revealed that Selene can now stand in the sun. As the film ends, Selene narrates that she fears the days ahead, as the death of the Elders will cause nothing but chaos; but she is nevertheless hopeful.

REVIEW:

Vampires seem to be all the rage right now. This concludes the triolgy of Underworld films for me. I was expecting to recieve Twilightfrom Netflix this week, but that didn’t happen. Howveer, although I have’t seen Twilight yet, I believe this to be the better film.

When has Kate Beckinsale looked hotter than she does in these films. Unlike in the first film, this one lets her show her humanity a bit mire. I can’t get over the fact that sh spends the entire film in black leather. If vampires looked like her, I’d gladly become one.

This film has a dark quality, but at the same time isn’t a dark film. Make no mistake, this isn’t a feel good film, but it isn’t as dark as one would believe. There are quite a few exremely violent scenes where Michael, the hybrid, does some major damage to the Lycans he deafeats, and the result of the end battle is reminiscent of a Mortal Kombat fatality.

The flashback scenes are good, but not great. They don’t really move the story along, but they do give us some more insight into Markus, as well as the story of Viktor and Selene. Personally, I think it was just a way to ger Bill Nighy in the film.

Markus and Michael are both interesting characters in the way the make-up department depicted them.  There’s not much to say about Michael, other than he truly is a luck man for getting to make love to Selene. MArkus, on the other hand, is a totally different person than he was in Viktor’s flashbacks. I guess time caused him to become more violent, sadistic, and short tempered.

Typical of most films that spawn sequels, this isn’t in the same league has the original, but at least they are different stories. Despite the flaw of being a sequel and being mostly panned by the critics, this is a good film about vampires and lycans. Those of you out there into that kind of stuff will love it. For the rest of us, there’s action and Kate Beckinsale in tight leather sandbags.

4 out of 5 stars