Strange Girls (2007) – [rate 2.5]
Considering the low budget debut for what it is, Strange Girls isn’t bad. The actors aren’t horrible, but not exactly smooth professionals either. The story is a patchwork of cool ideas, but sadly more often than not stolen from other movies. There is a difference between a quote or an hommage and plain theft and the writer and director of this movie seem to be oblivious to such differences.
If you don’t watch a lot of movies, or if you have been living in a cave for the past 20 years, Strange Girls might actually seem like the promising debut with some interesting ideas, but the only asset of this film that is its own is the basic plot. Two sisters, identical twins, live life as one, refusing to communicate with their surroundings.
Disconnected from life and the world by choice and only communicating by letter and by reading books, they live in a fantasy world with each other as the only party worthy of conversation. The story uses their isolation as a fair enough excuse for some socially unacceptable behaviour, but after a good start the story starts to run out of ideas and even shows some of the ideas that would have been better left out.
Seventh Moon (2008) – [rate 2.0]
Set in China and focussing on a newly wed couple, using their honeymoon to visit the groom’s family, the movie start off well enough, although the couple seemed more like two people on their third date than newly wed (or on a collision course with divorce). They happen to arrive on the day of a festival, not unlike traditional Halloween and getting lost in the countryside on that particular night turns out to be a very bad idea.
Having the whole affair shot in shakeycam, fairly lousy acting and poor grime don’t help the movie. A plodding plot also serves to diminish any potential it may have had. The end result is a fairly pointless movie, with some vague life lessons about sacrifice but you won’t miss a lot if you don’t go and see it.
Book of Blood (2008) – [rate 1.5]
I happen to be a fan of some of the work of Clive Barker. And even though I like his fantasy (like Weaveworld or Imagica) better, I do greatly appreciate his horror (Cabal, The Great and Secret Show). Book of Blood is some of his old work and fits right in with the material in movies like Hellraiser (1987) and Nightbreed (1990). But Book of Blood misses the mark rather severely.
The chemistry between the characters just isn’t there. And the special effects serve to do nothing but repeat the point of the movie, that has already been made 4 times in dialogue. I’ll spoil it here, since someone already says it in the opening sequence. The dead have highways, the highways intersect and at some of these crossroads, the dead spill over into our world.
A female researcher, with some experiences in her past, writes about the paranormal and has her eyes on some haunted house. She meets an apparently psychically gifted student and they end up in the house, along with one of her colleagues. Drama ensues, the dead walk and it all ends predictably.
Only if you really like Barker’s stuff and don’t mind sitting out a poor plot and aren’t expecting amazing effects would you want to watch this movie. Nothing sparkles, but I suppose it isn’t a real bomb either. It would have been better if it had been made just like this in the 80’s, where it really belongs, considering the competition it has to live up to nowadays.
100 ft. (2008) – [rate 2.0]
The premise of 100 ft. was good and had me interested because of an interesting angle on a tried and true thriller format: the haunted house. In 100 ft. a recently released convict, played by Famke Jansen, returns to the house where she killed her abusive husband in self-defense. She’s under house arrest and gets an ankle bracelet that makes it impossible for her to leave the house for more than a few minutes without the police showing up.
Adding to the interesting situation is the fact that her husband used to be a cop himself and his former partner is now assigned the case. Her husband may be dead, but as the character puts it herself: he isn’t taking it so well. Haunting ensues and you can pretty much guess what the bulk of the movie looks like.
But though the setting may be original, the setup is good and Famke Jansen portrays a strong, modern woman in a believable way, this movie didn’t work for a number of reasons. First of all, besides the main character, this movie is filled with stereotypical, shallow characters that are all over the place. Her husband’s paranoid partner seems to be ready shoot and kill whoever thinks about breaking the law one moment and is all loving and caring the next.
You can act like there’s no tomorrow and give the best performance of a career, but if the script has your characters make stupid decisions and gives you lousy lines, there’s no saving the movie. This is Famke’s plight. And the special effects are pretty and impressive in some scenes, but corny and needlessly over the top in others.
With a better scenario, better extra’s and another director, this would have had potential, but as it stands, I would only recommend it to the fans of a genre and even then, only to pass the time.