Anacondas: Hunt for the Blood Orchid Preview

NOTE: This is a BONUS film watched in conjunction with Anaconda. I’ve reprinted The Adventures of the Bad Movie Twins installment from the preview here:

Finally Patrick and I get a chance for a little R&R while travelling to Bolivia via cruise ship. We pay no mind to the man arguing over his lost bagpipes and hit the pool like a couple of relaxed dudez. That’s weird, though, that same guy seems to have no interest in the nouveau-Scottish ska band rocking out on board. How suspicious. Suddenly the cruise ship lurches and we are told to evacuate the ship. Patrick’s spidey senses are a-tingling, though. Was that Bagpipes McGee he saw running the opposite way from the designated evacuation route? We better set him straight. When we confront him he reveals that he is in fact a maniacal eco-terrorist who hid a bunch of bombs inside his bagpipes. He’s hell bent on turning the cruise liner into a pirate war ship capable to disrupting the world’s shipping lanes that are the source of so much of our world’s pollution. Also he got bit by a whale as a child and contracted a whale-specific chronic blood condition that requires the use of diamonds to clean his blood… because there are also diamonds on the cruise ship so that’s also part of the plan. We quickly tire of his exposition so we give him a patented Twin Chop to the neck and save the day (“This was supposed to be our vacation!” we say with a sly smirk). Bagpipes McGee is taken away by the Sea Police (all rights reserved) and we continue on our way to Bolivia with the sweet dulcet tones of Reggae music pleasing our ears. “This is great!” I say to Patrick. “Yeah, super relaxing!” he says, “The only thing that could ruin this trip is if we encounter one or both of my greatest fears: snakes and rare flowers.” That’s right! We’re doing a double dose this week as we knock out both theatrical releases in the Anaconda franchise. Anaconda is a classic bad film and smash hit released in 1997. Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid was released seven years later and was neither of those things. Let’s go!

Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004) – BMeTric: 69.2

AnacondasTheHuntfortheBloodOrchid_BMeT

AnacondasTheHuntfortheBloodOrchid_RV

(Twenty thousand votes is absolutely astonishing. And no one hates horror films like horror fans so naturally this just does incredibly with the BMeTric.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  The original Anaconda had Jennifer Lopez tied up to Ice Cube and a snake-regurgitated Jon Voight; in this sequel, we have Chestnut getting woozy after a rare spider gives him a 151-proof bite. Still, that’s an apparent occupational hazard for anyone trekking the Borneo jungle seeking a fountain-of-youth plant right near the spot where snakes converge for mating season. There’s a jolt or two to satisfy diehards.

(Uh oh … would I be considered a die hard at this point? Maybe, I do prefer horror films with jolts rather than not, so I guess I’m a diehard. Solid semicolon work as always Leonard.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtBq5lox-1Q

(Lol this looks like complete trash. I do kind of like the Jaws theme joke. Since all creature features are inherently knock offs of Jaws in one way or another poking fun at it is kind of funny at least.)

Directors – Dwight H. Little – (Known For: Last Rampage: The Escape of Gary Tison; Future BMT: Tekken; Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home; Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers; Marked for Death; Murder at 1600; The Phantom of the Opera; Rapid Fire; BMT: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; Notes: Has been doing television almost exclusively for years including many episodes of Bones.)

Writers – Hans Bauer (1997 screenplay & story) – (Known For: Titan A.E.; Future BMT: Highwaymen; BMT: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; Anaconda; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Anaconda in 1998; Notes: He wrote the original. Additionally, he is a photographer and has has been involved in multiple group and one-man shows in LA)

Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr. (1997 screenplay & story) – (Known For: Top Gun; Dick Tracy; Turner & Hooch; The Secret of My Succe$s; Legal Eagles; Future BMT: The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas; BMT: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; Anaconda; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Anaconda in 1998; Notes: See the Anaconda preview for info on these guys. They only have a credit because they wrote Anaconda)

John Claflin (screenplay) – (Future BMT: Inhale; BMT: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; Fool’s Gold; Notes: I can find nothing about him beyond that he worked with Zelman on an unproduced horror film called The Watch in 2004 and then they didn’t seem to work together since.)

Daniel Zelman (screenplay) – (BMT: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; Fool’s Gold; Notes: Worked with Claflin until it looks like this film, since Zelman has gone on to create Damages and Bloodline in the television world.)

Michael Miner (screenplay) – (Known For: RoboCop; RoboCop (2014); Future BMT: Lawnmower Man 2: Beyond Cyberspace; BMT: RoboCop 3; Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; RoboCop 2; Notes: Claims to be a technophobe and has a second career as a large format landscape photographer.)

Edward Neumeier (screenplay) (as Ed Neumeier) – (Known For: Starship Troopers; RoboCop; RoboCop (2014); BMT: RoboCop 3; Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; RoboCop 2; Notes: He wrote the original screenplay for Starship Troopers when it was called Bug Hunt at Outpost Nine … good title change. It was not originally attached to the Starship Troopers book at all.)

Actors – Morris Chestnut – (Known For: Girls Trip; Boyz n the Hood; G.I. Jane; The Last Boy Scout; Like Mike; The Call; Think Like a Man; Higher Learning; The Best Man Holiday; Ladder 49; Confidence: After Dark; The Best Man; The Brothers; Two Can Play That Game; Scenes of the Crime; Future BMT: Half Past Dead; The Cave; Under Siege 2: Dark Territory; Identity Thief; The Perfect Holiday; When the Bough Breaks; The Perfect Guy; Breakin’ All the Rules; Heist; The Game Plan; Kick-Ass 2; Not Easily Broken; BMT: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; Notes: Most famous for winning the 1998 Madden Bowl. Has recently been on television including the title role in Rosewood.)

KaDee Strickland – (Known For: The Sixth Sense; American Gangster; Girl, Interrupted; Something’s Gotta Give; The Perfect Catch; Anything Else; The Family That Preys; Diamond Men; Future BMT: The Stepford Wives; The Grudge; BMT: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; Notes: Starred in over one hundred episodes of Private Practice.)

Eugene Byrd – (Known For: Sleepers; 8 Mile; Dead Man; Julia; One Point O; Easier with Practice; Went to Coney Island on a Mission from God… Be Back by Five; Future BMT: Whiteboyz; BMT: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; Notes: Starred in Bones and was a voice in Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures as well. All three of these actors are primarily television actors.)

Budget/Gross – $20–25 million / Domestic: $32,238,923 (Worldwide: $70,992,898)

(Hmmmmm. Given the stated budget it isn’t superb, but also isn’t a complete disaster.)

#40 for the Creature Feature genre

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(The Anaconda films are the eleventh and twelfth creature feature we’ve seen for BMT. I think Bats is my favorite one I’ve seen.)

#10 for the Horror – Terror in the Water genre

anacondas_terrorintehwater

(As I mentioned in the Anaconda preview this plot is just weird. I’m probably most excited to watch Deepstar Six on the list, it is an older film that is pretty notorious for being terrible.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 25% (30/118): A cheesy monster B-movie.

(Higher than one would expect. On a side note after looking at the Rotten Tomatoes page … I have a feeling the actors above are kind of just randomly chosen. At least the main guy in all of the pictures is not one of those three people I don’t think. Reviewer Highlight: This movie looks like it was no fun to make. It certainly was no fun to watch. – Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper)

Poster – Sklogs Don’t Mess With No Snakes 2: The Hunt for a MacGuffin (C)

anacondas_the_hunt_for_the_blood_orchid

(Not nearly as good as the previous one, but not the worst in my opinion. Green tone with the snake skin is a good idea… it’s just the skull is nonsense and thus makes the whole poster kind of nonsense and boring.)

Tagline(s) – The hunters will become the hunted. (C)

(Not sure where this tagline came from. The poster doesn’t have one so maybe the DVD (?). Too cliched to really hit the marks. It’s short and sweet and has some rhythm, but you can’t get too many points by just spouting off a common phrase.)

Keyword(s) – blood; Top Ten by BMeTric: 95.5 Disaster Movie (2008); 93.8 Dragonball Evolution (2009); 91.0 Gigli (2003); 90.9 The Room (2003); 90.2 Alone in the Dark (2005); 89.5 The Wicker Man (2006); 88.8 Vampires Suck (2010); 88.7 House of the Dead (2003); 88.6 Street Fighter (1994); 87.5 BloodRayne (2005);

(I think any film that has people with blood in them will get this keyword I guess. What a dumb keyword. Who are these people who just added blood to every film on IMDb one day?)

Movie Stub – Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (Start class) – Shockingly detailed … and still a Start class? I’m 95% sure that wikipedia doesn’t really have a real review process. I think given that I can basically edit anything on wikipedia at will at this point that I could just declare this C-class and be done with it. So tempting.

Notes – The First Hollywood movie to have its premiere in Fiji. (fun fact)

Nerida Tyson-Chew’s score was nominated for Best Soundtrack Album at the 2005 Screen Music Awards (Australia). (WHAT)

When they captured the stone spider, the character mentions it first as “laba-laba batu”, the Indonesian for “stone spider”.

The character of Cole played by Eugene Byrd mentions a documentary crew who were also hunted by Anacondas which the other characters dismiss as a story, this is in fact a reference to the film ‘Anaconda’, the first film in the series which stars Jennifer Lopez and Ice Cube. (Lame as shit)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Remake or Sequel (2005) (I cannot believe this was actually nominated! That is crazy!)

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Anaconda Preview

Finally Patrick and I get a chance for a little R&R while travelling to Bolivia via cruise ship. We pay no mind to the man arguing over his lost bagpipes and hit the pool like a couple of relaxed dudez. That’s weird, though, that same guy seems to have no interest in the nouveau-Scottish ska band rocking out on board. How suspicious. Suddenly the cruise ship lurches and we are told to evacuate the ship. Patrick’s spidey senses are a-tingling, though. Was that Bagpipes McGee he saw running the opposite way from the designated evacuation route? We better set him straight. When we confront him he reveals that he is in fact a maniacal eco-terrorist who hid a bunch of bombs inside his bagpipes. He’s hell bent on turning the cruise liner into a pirate war ship capable to disrupting the world’s shipping lanes that are the source of so much of our world’s pollution. Also he got bit by a whale as a child and contracted a whale-specific chronic blood condition that requires the use of diamonds to clean his blood… because there are also diamonds on the cruise ship so that’s also part of the plan. We quickly tire of his exposition so we give him a patented Twin Chop to the neck and save the day (“This was supposed to be our vacation!” we say with a sly smirk). Bagpipes McGee is taken away by the Sea Police (all rights reserved) and we continue on our way to Bolivia with the sweet dulcet tones of Reggae music pleasing our ears. “This is great!” I say to Patrick. “Yeah, super relaxing!” he says, “The only thing that could ruin this trip is if we encounter one or both of my greatest fears: snakes and rare flowers.” That’s right! We’re doing a double dose this week as we knock out both theatrical releases in the Anaconda franchise. Anaconda is a classic bad film and smash hit released in 1997. Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid was released seven years later and was neither of those things. Let’s go!

Anaconda (1997) – BMeTric: 75.4

Anaconda_BMeT

Anaconda_RV

(Below 5.0 is actually quite shocking. I saw this in the theaters when I was like eleven years old and I never really got the sense that it was a terrible film … how did movies work back then? Why would my entire family go out and watch Anaconda one night on a whim. We must have known it was just utter and complete garbage. What else was on? One second … We could have seen Liar Liar. I bet it was my older brother who wanted to watch Anaconda though.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Documentary film crew adrift on the Amazon is besieged by a giant killer snake. Hokey special effects and an expositionless script detract, but there’s campy fun in the form of Voight’s demonic snake poacher, who speaks with a bad Brandoesque drawl and strangles human victims between his knees. FIlm makes most of beautiful Brazilian rainforest locale, yet the big serpentine climax looks strangely like deepest, darkest Arcadia. (In fact, it’s the Arboretum in L.A. County.) Followed by Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid and two TV sequels.

(Did someone say TV sequels? Voight is definitely the highpoint of the film. And I love the inside baseball fact with the filming locale. Definitely a place Leonard Maltin would end up at some point.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkX5t5ZJLEk

(Boom. The Anaconda looks fine in most of those shots although by all accounts it looks like complete trash for the most part. That murderer’s row of actors though, phew. Complete with Ice Cube declaring that he wants to go back to LA? Sign me up.)

Directors – Luis Llosa – (Known For: Sniper; Future BMT: The Specialist; BMT: Anaconda; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Director for Anaconda in 1998; Notes: Peruvian. He’s had a winding career going from film critic to low-budget exploitation film producer, to action director. He seems to now produce television in his native country.)

Writers – Hans Bauer (written by) – (Known For: Titan A.E.; Future BMT: Highwaymen; BMT: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; Anaconda; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Anaconda in 1998; Notes: The man behind the movie. He made this as his first script. And then wrote a book (!) about his original vision for the movie. He loves Anaconda.)

Jim Cash and Jack Epps Jr. (written by) – (Known For: Top Gun; Dick Tracy; Turner & Hooch; The Secret of My Succe$s; Legal Eagles; Future BMT: The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas; BMT: Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid; Anaconda; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Screenplay for Anaconda in 1998; Notes: Writing partners since college they worked together for twenty years until Cash’s death. Epps hasn’t seemed to have done anything after that. Anacondas is just a story credit.)

Actors – Jon Voight – (Known For: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Heat; Transformers; Mission: Impossible; Tropic Thunder; National Treasure; Deliverance; Holes; Zoolander; Midnight Cowboy; Enemy of the State; U Turn; Varsity Blues; The Manchurian Candidate; The Champ; The Rainmaker; Ali; Catch-22; Glory Road; Runaway Train; Future BMT: Big Fat Important Movie; Four Christmases; Pearl Harbor; Most Wanted; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Pride and Glory; BMT: Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2; Bratz; Anaconda; Getaway; Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; September Dawn; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Anaconda in 1998; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 1998 for Most Wanted, and U Turn; in 2005 for Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2; and in 2008 for Bratz, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, September Dawn, and Transformers; Notes: Occasionally in the news for all the wrong reasons. Like, currently he’s in the news because he’s in an anti-abortion film called Roe v. Wade with Milo Yiannopoulos which is so blatantly disingenuous that even Christian-film stalwarts like Kevin Sorbo dropped out once they got the completed script.)

Jennifer Lopez – (Known For: Parker; The Cell; Selena; Out of Sight; Antz; U Turn; Home; Shall We Dance; Jersey Girl; An Unfinished Life; My Family; Lila & Eve; Blood and Wine; Future BMT: Maid in Manhattan; The Wedding Planner; The Back-up Plan; Monster-in-Law; Money Train; Ice Age: Collision Course; Angel Eyes; Enough; Jack; El cantante; Ice Age: Continental Drift; BMT: Gigli; Anaconda; The Boy Next Door; What to Expect When You’re Expecting; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for Gigli in 2004; Nominee for Worst Actress in 2002 for Angel Eyes, and The Wedding Planner; in 2003 for Enough, and Maid in Manhattan; in 2006 for Monster-in-Law; and in 2016 for The Boy Next Door; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress in 2005 for Jersey Girl; and in 2013 for What to Expect When You’re Expecting; Nominee for Worst Actress of the Decade in 2010 for Angel Eyes, Enough, Gigli, Jersey Girl, Maid in Manhattan, Monster-in-Law, and The Wedding Planner; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Jersey Girl in 2005; Notes: You know, sometimes I forget that Alex Rodriguez was a person until I read about him dating Jennifer Lopez and the stunning pinstripe pants suit she wore for a date. Thank you J-Lo.)

Eric Stoltz – (Known For: Pulp Fiction; Fast Times at Ridgemont High; Jerry Maguire; Little Women; Mask; 2 Days in the Valley; Say Anything…; Some Kind of Wonderful; The Rules of Attraction; Singles; Rob Roy; 5 to 7; Memphis Belle; The Prophecy; Kicking and Screaming; Class Rank; The House of Mirth; The Rachel Papers; Naked in New York; Grace of My Heart; Future BMT: The Honeymooners; The Fly II; Harvard Man; Keys to Tulsa; Sleep with Me; Killing Zoe; A Murder of Crows; BMT: Anaconda; Notes: Famously dropped from Back to the Future after five weeks of filming for being too intense for the character. You can even see some of it in the documentary they made.)

Budget/Gross – $45 million / Domestic: $65,885,767 (Worldwide: $136,885,767)

(Smashed it. Kind of weird they waited so long for a sequel, although perhaps the reviews were so terrible they couldn’t lure the main players back and they had to wait a bit for people to forget who was in the original.)

#19 for the Creature Feature genre

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(Huge recent surge in the genre with Alien, Predator, Jurassic Park, Godzilla and King Kong all coming back. Alien Vs. Predator might be the saddest highest grossing BMT film I’ve ever heard for the genre. A Sound of Thunder being the lowest is quite nice.)

#4 for the Horror – Terror in the Water genre

anaconda_terrorintehwater

(If not for the clockwork like way water-based-horror comes back every 5 years I wouldn’t have even shown this … why would that be. Regardless, this is now the highest grossing we’ve seen. Jaws 3D is the only other one.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 39% (19/49): No consensus yet.

(Oooo I’ll have to write one. Corny with some of the worst effects you’ll ever see. And yet … who doesn’t love a snake that eats everything? Reviewer Highlight: The monster looks like a maniacal garden hose in a couple of sequences. Still, it delivers the necessary thrills and chills.  – Carol Buckland, CNN)

Poster – Sklogs Don’t Mess With No Snakes (A-)

anaconda_ver2

(I enjoy this. A masterfully made poster. The font is shit – can’t even give me some snake skin pattern on that? – but besides that I think this is great.)

Tagline(s) – When you can’t breathe you can’t scream (B+)

(A little cliche at this point. Almost a joke in the end at just how easy this tagline would be to predict. Also a little clunky, but still, it’s a classic for a reason.)

Keyword(s) – monster movie; Top Ten by BMeTric: 90.2 Alone in the Dark (2005); 84.5 Piranha 3DD (2012); 75.4 Anaconda (1997); 69.2 Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004); 60.5 Cursed (2005); 58.7 Godzilla (I) (1998); 58.6 The Cave (2005); 55.8 Primeval (2007); 53.6 Bride of the Monster (1955); 51.3 The Mummy (2017);

(I’m unreasonably excited about The Cave. A very rare spelunking film we’ve never really gotten around to.)

Movie Stub – Anaconda (Start class) – I absolutely love the Soundtrack section, which is somehow both rare, and weirdly common … I mean, who remembers or cares about the Anaconda soundtrack? And it doesn’t even seem to have Ice Cube or J-Lo songs on it, it mainly seems to be the score! Anyways, the lacking section is the production (a common theme on wiki it seems). Perhaps I’ll peruse Variety a bit and try and bolster it over the next few days.

Notes – During the filming of one scene the controls for the animatronic Anaconda shorted out, causing it to completely lose control. Some of the footage is included in the movie. (Oh terrible)

The Amazonian film shoot was occasionally disrupted by the fact that a number of the cast were incredibly afraid of snakes. (I would refuse to shoot in the Amazon entirely personally. I would be too afraid of getting sick)

The CGI for the Anacondas cost $100,000 a second. (Awful, and I would imagine completely untrue. That would mean a minute of footage would be $6 million)

The film makes mention of the Candiru, a tiny catfish (also known as the Vampirefish) which has been attributed with the peculiar behavior of swimming into the human body through the urethra (in men) or the vagina (in women), where it lodges itself with its spines. This is not as common an occurrence as the film implies. Only one such incident is known to have happened to a man where a small catfish traveled into the urethra whilst he was urinating in a river. This account has been corroborated by Jeremy Wade in River Monsters – Amazon Flesh Eaters. (Another reason I wouldn’t shoot in the Amazon)

This film is listed among the 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson’s book The Official Razzie Movie Guide. (Huh)

In the theatrical trailer, when Gary is attacked by the Anaconda, the CGI snake had not yet been put in, so he was falling backwards with nothing grabbing him. (Fun fact)

Contains two allusions to Ice Cube’s musical career. His first line of dialogue is “Today is a good day,” referring to his 1992 hit “It Was A Good Day.” There is a scene of him listening to Mack 10’s song “Foe Life,” which he co-wrote. (Fine, you do you Ice Cube)

Anaconda was not filmed in the Dominican Republic. The majority of the river scenes were filmed on the Rio Negro, in the vicinity of Manaus, Brazil. The remainder were filmed at the Los Angeles Arboretum. (As Leonard Maltin said)

Jean Reno was considered for the part of Paul Serone. (Would have been a better choice)

Most of the river scenes were filmed in LA Romana, Dominican Republic, tours are available to this area. (Wait one second! But that other note said it wasn’t. I’m starting to think these IMDb notes might be written by random people! …)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Picture (Verna Harrah, Leonard Rabinowitz, Carole Little, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actor (Jon Voight, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screen Couple (Jon Voight, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Luis Llosa, 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Screenplay (Hans Bauer, Jim Cash, Jack Epps Jr., 1998)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst New Star (1998)

Alone in the Dark Recap

Jamie

Monsters are loose in the world and only one man can stop them, supernatural investigator Edward Carnby. Can he team up with his ex-girlfriend archaeologist to take them down before it’s too late? Find out in… Alone in the Dark.

How?! Edward Carnby is one cool cat. Investigating the paranormal by day and boning to heavy metal music all night (probably). In an overly complex aspect of the plot we find that he’s been investigating a long lost Native American tribe that disappeared after opening a portal to a demonic world. At the same time a professor at the museum where his ex-girlfriend, Aline, works has unlocked this very same demonic world and has taken control of the demons within. People are dying and/or being turned into mindless weapons left and right, which eventually leads everyone to an abandoned gold mine near the orphanage where Edward grew up. They venture into the mine to have a totally rad showdown with the professor. He is able to open the demonic world once again, but Edward and his ragtag team of semi-professional killers and academics are able to kill the professor and blow up the mine. When they go back to the surface they find the beautiful city of Vancouver abandoned. Is this the end? Or is it… simply the beginning? Bum bum bum (spoiler alert: it’s the end).

Why?! It’s both personal and professional for Carnby. One the one hand, it was (is?) his job to investigate the paranormal like this demon situation. On the other hand, through an intricate web of coincidence not only does his ex-girlfriend work for the guy attempting to use the demons for world domination, but as a child he was also part of the experiment that the same guy performed to produce weaponized sleeper agents. So he’s got a lot at stake. As for the bad guy, he just wants to control the demon creatures so that he can rule to world.

What?! While a bunch of companies got special thanks for providing product placement (including Volkswagen, which provided the VW bug that Tara Reid drove), I instead want to give a little shoutout to Nuytco. The company specialized in deep sea research and according to the credits provided a research mini-submarine for use in some scenes where a gold sarcophagus is raised from the ocean floor. Just seems insane. You are a legit research company.

Who?! While not actually a role in the film I have to highlight that for whatever reason Uwe Boll decided to score a lengthy sex scene using the 1994 hit (?) Seven Seconds. Nothing like letting the viewer know that your film is hip to what the kids are into these days than a decades old European afrobeat song. You’re welcome.

Where?! While this film is very obviously filmed in British Columbia, it’s not necessarily set there. I waited with bated breath for them to hint that it was set in NYC or Anonymous US City. Instead, when they localize the gold mine they zoom in on a map of… British Columbia. Weird. So this and Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever both chose to just set the film in Canada and not worry about it. Interesting. C-.

When?! Getting the location was a treat, getting a temporal setting was probably too much to hope for. I did not catch anything to suggest when the film actually took place. Uwe Boll was probably too busy counting his money to care. F.

Jeez louise, this film is just terrible. Not fun at all to watch really. More sad and boring. I had to take several breaks in my attempt to make my way through it. I would love to say that we’ll never watch another Uwe Boll film again, but who am I kidding? The man has two other major motion picture releases that we will eventually watch. It’s like saying we won’t watch Disaster Movie… we will. It is simply a fact. Sigh. I wish it weren’t the case, but it is our fate. Foretold millenia ago on an ancient Egyptian scroll. Alas. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting something different. That must mean I’m insane for Uwe Boll films. He churns out garbage, but damn … it’s some fine looking garbage. Let’s get into it!

The Good – It looks like a film, sounds like a film, and feels like a film. So I guess it must be a film? If there is one thing good to say about Uwe Boll films it is that he takes a lot of money and makes a film that looks like it costs that amount of money. A lot of bad films you can look at and think “this is close to being a film I could actually make a better version of”, like Steel Sharks and the like. But Uwe Boll films are real films that take a lot of effort and skill to make, and that is something.

P’s View on the Preview – Uwe Boll baby. We’ve only seen one other film by Uwe Boll, the legendary In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. Being able to place another film within the context of Uwe Boll is, of course, important to understanding that film in its full scope. And after over five years we finally got around to it. Can’t say I’m excited though.

The Bad – This plot is complete trash. The CGI is complete trash. The writing is complete trash. And any and all action is complete trash. There is no Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Matthew Lillard and the rest of In the Name of the King’s glorious cast to save the film. Christian Slater and Tara Reid are pale imitations in that respect, and so it just kind of … makes you sad watching the film. Someone really wanted to make a film, so badly they didn’t even bother to get that sweet German tax relief scheme for this mess, and they got this. That is profoundly sad.

Get Yo Rant On – Honest question … when was Christian Slater famous? Just looking through his filmography it seems like I might have watched a single Slater film in my life prior to BMT (The Wizard) and yet for whatever reason I was aware that Christian Slater existed and was famous. It is very confusing. Perhaps it was Broken Arrow? True Romance? Were those famous enough that I’d be aware of him at the time? It is blowing my mind! Got to give him credit though, he’s survived thirty years as an actor on the B-list (in the early 90s he was probably A-list, but I don’t know, that’s what this rant is about!), and he survived being in this piece of garbage. Go get yo money Christian Slater.

The BMT – Out of all of the Uwe Boll films In The Name of the Kind and Alone in the Dark are probably the two that are the most BMT of the bunch. And I think it was a tragic necessity to watch another Uwe Boll film, as I said, for context. We’ll eventually watch at least one more I think (BloodRayne, although House of the Dead and Postal will be in play as well), but it never really feels like a pressing issue since the films seem like they are intentionally terrible (even though they aren’t).

StreetCreditReport.com – It does get quite high in a few worst ever lists (21 here, for the record I’ve seen 37 of those 50 films, although a bunch outside of BMT) but surprisingly it didn’t get recognized at all when it was released. Possibly because critics were in the process of willfully ignoring Boll. Possibly because no one actually watched it. Possibly because people thought it was “good” in the sense of being hilarious. For whatever reason no one gave a shit about the film at the time. Surprising stuff.

There is a whole video game series, but as usually ain’t nobody got time for that. All complaints about me not doing my homework can go right into the trash can, heeeyyyyooooo.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Alone in the Dark Preview

Ruffles, our beloved dog lawyer, has been kidnapped by the assassin Aitch and Patrick and I are crushed. We end up going on a weeklong bender in beautiful Vancouver fighting anyone and everyone that gets in our way. Alone except for the booze, we are approached by an NCIS: New Orleans agent who looks suspiciously like mega-star Scott Bakula from the smash television hit Quantum Leap. “Hi, I’m Scott Bakula,” he says and offers us a deal. He will tell us where Ruffles is in exchange for help on a matter of national security. We know what that means: g-g-g-g-g-ghosts! In the end we relent… for Ruffles. When we go to where Ruffles is being held we are ambushed by the cops. Fortunately, Aitch swoops in with some wire-fu and explosions galore and frees us. Turns out Aitch is a lady assassin and is on our side after all. What a twist! She was actually keeping Ruffles safe from mega-star Scott Bakula. But wait, it turns out she’s not a “she” but in fact mega-star Scott Bakula himself! What a double twist! He peels off his Mission Impossible facemask as we look on in shock. “What are you doing here? You betrayed us,” we say. “Did I,” he says softly, “Or did I save you… sons?” What a triple twist! We hug mega-star Scott Bakula and know that there is one final thing to do before we start setting up that production company. “Still need some help fighting those g-g-g-g-g-ghosts, Dad?” To which he responds with a wink, “Hope you’re not afraid of the dark.” That’s right! We’re watching Alone in the Dark. When we watched In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale all those years ago we promised ourselves we would never watch another Uwe Boll movie. Mostly because he doesn’t make real movies, but rather financial scheme disguised as movies. But promises are meant to be broken, especially when we are looking for a producer that also produced that HoFer ItNotK:ADST… which pretty much limits us to Uwe Boll films. Well fuck us, right? Let’s go!

Alone in the Dark (2005) – BMeTric: 90.2

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(Legendary naturally. To just sit cold at 2.3 is just nuts. Would be one of the highest BMeTric films if people bothered to watch it. If that vote count doubled (and I’m not sure the rating would go up even if it did) it would exceed Meet the Spartans.)

Leonard Maltin – BOMB –  Paranormal investigator Slater tangles with a mad scientist in this unintelligible time-waster based on an Atari video game. The opening crawl is dopey and overlong; what follows is mind-numbingly awful. Casting Reid as an anthropologist is like assigning Curly Howard the role of neurosurgeon.

(Kind of an unnecessary dig at Tara Reid there. That was the obvious intention of the casting, to make it somewhat of a joke in and of itself. I’m glad I get an overlong and awful opening crawl though, I’ll revel in that a bit before my brain starts to scream.)

Trailer – https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0369226/videoplayer/vi4088725785?ref_=tt_ov_vi

(If you get this far the video above that is embedded is just a teaser, the link itself though is to IMDb which has the full trailer (youtube for some reason doesn’t). The CGI looks like complete garbage, the dialogue and action look terrible and blessedly ludicrous. It is pretty sweet I think.)

Directors – Uwe Boll – (Future BMT: House of the Dead; BloodRayne; Postal; Blackwoods; Bailout: The Age of Greed; BMT: Alone in the Dark; In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Director in 2009 for In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, Postal, and Tunnel Rats; Nominee for Worst Director in 2006 for Alone in the Dark; and in 2007 for BloodRayne; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Postal in 2009; Notes: He literally makes tax shelter films. He is quoted as saying “Maybe you know it, but it’s not so easy to finance movies in total. The reason I am able to do these kind of movies is I have a tax shelter fund in Germany, and if you invest in a movie in Germany you get basically 50% back from the government.” This though can’t actually be one because it was filmed in Canada which violates the agreement.)

Writers – Elan Mastai (written by) – (Known For: What If; Future BMT: The Samaritan; BMT: Alone in the Dark; Notes: Just wrote his debut novel All Our Wrong Todays which is about time travel and seems to have gotten pretty excellent reviews actually.)

Michael Roesch and Peter Scheerer (written by) – (BMT: Alone in the Dark; Notes: They have written several Uwe Boll films, although mostly the later ones which didn’t get real releases. Here is an article about the production.)

Actors – Christian Slater – (Known For: Nymphomaniac: Vol. I; True Romance; Heathers; Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery; Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles; The Wife; Zoolander; The Name of the Rose; Bullet to the Head; FernGully: The Last Rainforest; The Legend of Billie Jean; Broken Arrow; Very Bad Things; King Cobra; Bobby; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; La Cordillera; Pump Up the Volume; Untamed Heart; Future BMT: Hot Tub Time Machine 2; Soldiers of Fortune; Stranded; Playback; Sofia; The Ten Commandments; Hard Ca$h; Slipstream; Windtalkers; Igor; True Deception; Kuffs; Masked and Anonymous; Jimmy Hollywood; The Wizard; Mobsters; Tales from the Darkside: The Movie; Mindhunters; Bed of Roses; Young Guns II: Blaze of Glory; Gleaming the Cube; Who Is Cletis Tout?; BMT: Alone in the Dark; Hard Rain; 3000 Miles to Graceland; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 1992 for Mobsters, and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves; Notes: Got his break in Heathers, and has been working consistently to a degree since. He’s now a part of the hit television program Mr. Robot.)

Tara Reid – (Known For: American Pie; The Big Lebowski; Cruel Intentions; American Reunion; American Pie 2; Josie and the Pussycats; Dr. T & the Women; Future BMT: My Boss’s Daughter; The Crow: Wicked Prayer; Urban Legend; Body Shots; Just Visiting; Van Wilder: Party Liaison; BMT: Alone in the Dark; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for Alone in the Dark in 2006; Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress, and Worst Screen Couple for My Boss’s Daughter in 2004; and Nominee for Worst Screen Couple for Just Married in 2004; Notes: Somewhat of a punchline these days unfortunately. An example of how quickly one’s career can crater when you don’t guard against taking on poor projects. Her starring turn in Sharknado kind of revitalized her career a bit, although perhaps ironically.)

Stephen Dorff – (Known For: Public Enemies; Blade; The Iceman; Zoolander; World Trade Center; Somewhere; The Gate; Felon; Cecil B. DeMented; I Shot Andy Warhol; Blood and Wine; Backbeat; The Motel Life; Brake; City of Industry; The Deal; Nanking; Zaytoun; Entropy; Future BMT: Cold Creek Manor; Leatherface; A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III; Space Truckers; American Hero; Immortals; Steal; Deuces Wild; Shadowboxer; Tomorrow You’re Gone; Jackals; Botched; S.F.W.; Judgment Night; Den of Lions; BMT: Alone in the Dark; Feardotcom; Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star; Notes: Will play a prominent role in HBO’s True Detective Season 3.)

Budget/Gross – $20 million / Domestic: $5,178,569 (Worldwide: $10,442,808)

(Funny enough I had a whole thing written about how this film made money from tax breaks … but it probably actually couldn’t because it was filmed in Canada, not Germany. Which means … as crazy as it sounds, someone decided to make Alone in the Dark with actual financing. Naturally it was a complete bomb … congrats.)

#65 for the Creature Feature genre

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(There is a fascination with the creature feature, and there always has been I suppose. Jaws busted it out in the blockbuster, and then with CGI things like Anaconda made them huge in the late 90s. Alien, King Kong, Godzilla, Jurassic World … it really isn’t ever going to stop. A Sound of Thunder and Critters 2 made less money than this piece of garbage, think on that for a hot second.)

#332 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

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(This is having a moment naturally, although it is interesting that it isn’t doing exceptionally well financially. By which I mean: with IT and Get Out’s success I would have thought that the dollar per theater number would have just been huge. But really it seems like it has just returned to the position it was in in the late-90s weirdly. At least on average.)

#35 for the Video Game Adaptation genre

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(They really have been trying to make this a thing since it all began. It has actually ticked up a bit on the return recently, and the reviews are coming in … but then again, Marvel/Star Wars/ Disney just kind of consume everything as well, so I don’t really see much room for giant video game franchises. Maybe they’ll end up on television though which could actually be quite cool now that I think about it.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 1% (1/120): Inept on almost every level, Alone in the Dark may not work as a thriller, but it’s good for some head-slapping, incredulous laughter.

(This is arguably the second worst reviewed film of all time. It kind of depends on how you define things. Our last movie, Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever has less review (116), but all bad. The former BMT thriller Twisted has more reviews (136) but two are good. One missed call also has a perfect 0% with only 80 reviews as well. So depending on how you calculate things I think there is a strong argument this is the second worst reviewed film of all time.)

Poster – Alone in the Sklog (C+)

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(While cheap looking and with totally uninteresting font and color scheme, it’s not as bad as I would have expected. It also has some artistic touch that makes it a bit more interesting that it probably should be.)

Tagline(s) – Evil awakens. (D)

(Blah. Really hard to have an original and interesting two word tagline to a film. This is neither of those.)

Keyword(s) – battle; Top Ten by BMeTric: 96.2 Epic Movie (2007); 95.9 Meet the Spartans (2008); 94.6 Battlefield Earth (2000); 93.7 Dragonball Evolution (2009); 90.2 Alone in the Dark (2005); 88.6 House of the Dead (2003); 88.6 Street Fighter (1994); 87.4 The Last Airbender (2010); 86.5 Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997); 85.9 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007);

(Given that I’ve seen Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (in theaters …) I am kind of one away from completing this list … that is pretty impressive. For the keyword battle!)

Notes – The lengthy opening text crawl was added after numerous test audience members said they were confused by the plot. (As I assume most such terrible beginnings are made)

After execs read the green draft of the shooting script, the film got an additional $10 million. Uwe Boll poured the money into special effects. (After they saw how real this tax shelter of a film was some rich German decided to evade several million more dollars worth of taxes … that is literally how this probably worked).

Was named worst film of 2005 by the Stinkers Bad Movie Awards. (One of the last ones)

Every piece of body armor worn by the various extra foot soldiers during major battle scenes is paintball body protection made by JT USA. (Sigh)

Uwe Boll wanted Christian Bale and Jessica Alba for the leads. (I’m sure he wanted many a thing in this pipe dream of a film)

One of the two films that received an “F” CinemaScore from audiences upon their release in 2005, along with Wolf Creek (2005). (That is actually pretty awesome. Wolf Creek doesn’t even qualify)

Nuclear Blast spend $30,000 on the soundtrack rights to promote their bands.

Uwe Boll stated on various occasions that he regretted having Tara Reid in the film. (I’m sure she regretted being in the film)

The song that can be heard during the shooting sequence is “Ghost” by Mnemic.

Uwe Boll changed the ending from the original script to make a more ambiguous note.

A love scene between Christian Slater and Tara Reid featuring the song “Seven Seconds” by Youssou N’Dour and Neneh Cherry can be seen in the extended version. (Nooooooooo, I best be getting the extended version)

Awards

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Tara Reid)

Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Director (Uwe Boll)

Chernobyl Diaries Recap

Jamie

A bunch of dumbos take a tour into a town near Chernobyl. Like dumbos they get trapped there and then must do battle with the mutant denizens of the town. Can these dumb-dumbs stop being dumb and escape before it’s too late? Find out in… Chernobyl Diaries. (If you’ve seen the movie, take the quiz as well! Test you nuclear disaster knowledge against the best of the best i.e. Jamie).

How?! Ah, to be young and dumb… emphasis on the dumb. Travelling Europe our heroes, Chris, Natalie and Amanda, make a stop in Kiev to visit Chris’s brother Paul. They mean to proceed from there to Moscow where Chris will propose to Natalie. Unfortunately Paul is super dumb and is like, “Forget proposing, bro. Let’s go to Chernobyl instead. Rad, right?” Nope. Not rad. Yet all these dumb-dumbs are like “Yup, obviously sounds amazing. We’ll get some super cool pix near that nuclear disaster. Good idea.” They join up with a tour group and head to the town, which is seemingly just an empty looking European town filled with wild dogs and a bear. Which I guess is terrifying in a non-horror film kind of way. Anyway, when they attempt to leave (presumably because they realize that they were super dumb) they find that their van has been sabotaged (a saboteur!) and they can’t leave until morning. While waiting their guide goes to investigate a noise and is killed and Chris is seriously injured. Realizing that Chris needs medical help they attempt to reach a checkpoint outside town only to be chased by dogs. When they finally make it back to the van it’s been attacked and Chris and Natalie are gone. They attempt a daring rescue only to be surrounded by mutants that have been living nearby. Their numbers are slowly whittled down until only Paul and Amanda remain. When they emerge from the reactor area they have severe radiation poisoning and are corralled by local authorities. It’s revealed that the mutants are escapees from a government experiment and we end with Amanda being thrown into that experiment to die… or perhaps become one of the mutants… or something. Bum bum bum! THE END

Why?! Did you not see where I said they were young and dumb? Isn’t that enough? You get a little backstory on the characters to show that Chris and his brother have had a rough relationship. Seems like Paul is always screwing up and Chris is always getting into trouble because of Paul. Unfortunately none of this is resolved in this film as Paul does the same thing here and everyone dies so… oh well. As for the mutants, well… they’re mutants!

What?! I do enjoy looking for products in these films just to see how much they tried given the very specific European locations. This gets an F right off the bat with a clear Telekom Srbija truck driving by in an early scene. As it sounds this is a telecommunications company servicing Serbia… where this film was actually filmed… not Ukraine. Even weirder is the beers they drink while partying it up in Ukraine: Bavaria 0.0%. This is a German beer but also a non-alcoholic beer… which is either because the actors couldn’t drink real beer in the scene or hints at a deeper backstory to our intrepid heroes. I choose the latter.

Who?! I literally had no idea the main character Chris was played by former boy band singer and child actor Jesse McCartney until I was looking around for this section of the email. Keep it up, my man, we always welcome more singers-turned-actors here at BMTHQ.

Where?! Ukraine all day never to be beaten (probably). It’s basically a perfect mapl.de.map film. Set in a weird location that is an integral part of the plot and in the title. A++ if I ever saw one.

When?! I do not know. I looked back through the film and didn’t get a glimpse at when this might take place. We certainly didn’t get anything after they got to the abandoned city… since it was abandoned. F.

I thought this movie was terrible. Not quite as bad as some of our least favorite BMT found footage horror films, but generally one of the most useless films we’ve watched in a while. I actually struggle to understand what the purpose of the entire affair was and why so much time was spent arguing and running away from wild animals rather than, you know, running away from mutants and discussing the presence of said mutants. This gets to the point where it’s very confusing as to exactly what the mutants were and why they existed (which is not a good thing since Patrick and I close watch these films). It also doesn’t help that the characters were so dumb (even for a horror film where all the characters are usually pretty dumb). Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! What do you get when you cross the heart-pounding disorienting fear from Paranormal Activity, with the gripping stranger in a strange land horror of Hostel? Wait … this isn’t a found footage film? And it isn’t torture porn? Hmmm, yeah, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. Let’s get into it!

The Good – Seeing Pripyat was cool. Basically the idea behind the movie is incredibly obvious. Chernobyl is legendary in a very unique way, a nuclear disaster leaving a desolate city in the former Soviet Union. Just sets up for a zombie apocalypse type movie with a creepy atmosphere on the cheap. And congrats you guys did it, you made a movie in Pripyat.

P’s View on the Preview – Going into the film I was mainly struck with surprise that the film wasn’t a found footage film. I could have sworn it was going into it. So seeing a movie that, in my mind, would have worked better as found footage being forced into something perhaps closer in style and tone to Hostel I thought would be interesting. It isn’t like Hostel either though … I actually am not sure I’ve seen a movie quite like this, although I’m sure there are stranger-in-a-strange-land type horror films shot in the traditional manner.

The Bad – I think this film would have worked a lot better as a found footage film. Given that I heavily dislike found footage films that … is not a compliment. The movie is incredibly dull, the “monster” part of the film is unimaginative and just feels cheap, and the twist ending didn’t work. The characters are so dumb it kind of ruins the whole affair.

Sklogification – The biggest crime of the film is, naturally, how stupid the characters are, epitomized by Chris leaving the van in order to … well to cripple himself and throw the tour into disarray. Let’s say instead he doesn’t leave the van. Now instead the whole band is mobile. Dawn breaks, they know where to go (Uri, the tour guide, naturally has a map), and they know it is 13 miles away. And they are off to the races. First chased by dogs, and then getting turned around by a mysterious band of men carrying Uri’s gun (uh oh are they friend or foe?). As they are picked off one by one can they make the checkpoint in time? … I like it more at least. Racing along a lonely road hoping to get to your destination in an abandoned city with wild animals. I wouldn’t even touch the mutant thing, too obvious, not to say offensive. Just the fear of whether what you are seeing is some urban legend come to life or guards protecting an abandoned city.

The BMT – Terrible. The movie is boring. For me, a person who has come to appreciate good horror films (partly by watching so many bad ones), this isn’t even bad. It merely brings nothing to the game. The more I think on it though the more I wonder about the tourist part of it … makes me want to watch An American Werewolf in London.

StreetCreditReport.com – Turns out critics agreed with me as none of them even bothered to report on this film as far as 2012 went. Even where there was 25 films in some of these lists there was no mention. I looked up the worst horror films and found this list interesting actually … because the guy calls the film found footage … it is not. It is traditionally shot. Bizarre.

No homework as has become usual it seems.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

Chernobyl Diaries Preview

After a frigid trip to the X-treme heights of the Alps, the Bad Movie Twins are ready for some fun in the sun. Unfortunately on our way to Monaco we were waylaid by a black market travel agent promising the adventure of our lifetime with a trip to forbidden Chernobyl. “Why not?” we say. Can’t be much worse than the horrors we see on a weekly basis at BMT HQ. That’s right! We’re creeping our way into Ukraine and watching Chernobyl Diaries. Since I know nothing of this movie other than it qualifies and clearly takes place in Ukraine I’m gonna go ahead and guess that it’s about a young woman who is wooed by two young suitors, the rich man she knows she must marry and the rakish rogue called to adventure that she so desires. Set during the tumult of the Ukranian Civil War, young Nastya has only her diary to confide in. Set your heart aflame with… Chernobyl Diaries. Oh… and there are like vampires and Frankenstein’s monsters in it also since this is the horror/thriller entry in the cycle. Nailed it. Let’s go!

Chernobyl Diaries (2012) – BMeTric: 65.3

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(That is a very strange plot. I think this is regressing from two different means. Where it starts is basically where fans of perhaps horror in general, or maybe the one of the actors, thought “meh below average”. And then it quickly goes straight to where normal people thought of it (very below average). It just sticking at 5.0 is interesting and I don’t really have a theory on it. Usually that means a film is particularly bad, but I guess we’ll see.)

Leonard Maltin – 2 stars –  Six “extreme tourists” are stranded in Pripyat, the supposedly abandoned Ukrainian city near the infamous Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, and discover they may not be alone after all. Despite a few scares ad stretches of suspense, small-budget thriller plods along a predictable path through familiar territory.

(A few scares and stretches of suspense? This is already heads-and-shoulders above a lot of horror films. I’m wondering now whether this is actually going to be weirdly better than we thought it would be … I mean if it has a scare that is genuinely not bad for a bad horror film.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLRL5rjmqS8

(Hmmm … You know I could have sworn this was a found footage film. But it isn’t. Like  the camera isn’t really being held by anyone for the most part, only occasionally. How strange … Maybe I was thinking of Apollo 18 or something. Looks like a real world Silent Hill though. Actually they would have been  better off going with a story like that now that I think about it.)

Directors – Bradley Parker – (BMT: Chernobyl Diaries; Notes: Kind of first and foremost a visual effects guy. He’s attached as a visual effects artist on the next Godzilla film (King of the Monsters). He was second unit director for a few of the Planet of the Apes films as well though.)

Writers – Oren Peli (screenplay & story) – (Known For: Paranormal Activity; Paranormal Activity 2; Paranormal Activity 3; Future BMT: Paranormal Activity 4; Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension; Area 51; Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones; BMT: Chernobyl Diaries; Notes: He was a software programmers at one point helping to develop Photon Paint for the Commodore Amiga)

Carey Van Dyke and Shane Van Dyke (screenplay) – (BMT: Chernobyl Diaries; Notes: Grandsons of Dick Van Dyke. They’ve written a few Asylum mockbusters and acted in a few more as well. I’m not exactly sure why or how they got involved here … I guess it is one of those things where a movie is actually written by like 20 people and these two guys did juuuust enough to get a cut.)

Actors – Jesse McCartney – (Known For: Horton Hears a Who!; TinkerBell and the Secret of the Wings; Beware the Gonzo; Future BMT: Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel; Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked; Alvin and the Chipmunks; Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip; BMT: Chernobyl Diaries; Notes: He was the youngest member of the short-lived boy band Dream Street which disbanded in 2002 after a dispute between the parents of the artists and the production company. He’s been in a number of Disney shows like Hannah Montana.)

Jonathan Sadowski – (Known For: She’s the Man; Die Hard 4.0; Spring Breakdown; Future BMT: The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard; BMT: Chernobyl Diaries; Friday the 13th; Notes: He was the nerd character in Friday the 13th. He was also in the main cast of S#*! My Dad Says.)

Olivia Taylor Dudley – (Known For: Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story; The Dictator; Dude Bro Party Massacre III; Future BMT: Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension; The Vatican Tapes; Dumbbells; BMT: Chernobyl Diaries; Transcendence; Notes: She’s apparently most famous for being one of the stars of SyFy’s Magicians television series. All of the news about her has to do with that show.)

Budget/Gross – $1 million / Domestic: $18,119,640 (Worldwide: $37,157,648)

(Obviously made a fine amount of money. Interesting that it isn’t Blumhouse Productions considering they did Paranormal Activity which has the same writer. That $1 million budget certainly seems like the Blumhouse style though. This film netted probably $13 million in profits, which is a pretty penny if they had the same profit sharing arrangement that Blumhouse tends to do.)

#210 for the Horror – R-Rated genre

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(This genre is just going to keep going up as R-rated films become more profitable I think. It is an interesting trend, and It and Get Out kind of prove it is a good trend I think (and R-rated film was probably in the top three most likely film to win best picture which is crazy). Freddy vs. Jason is the highest BMT on the list.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 17% (15/86): Despite an interesting premise and spooky atmospherics, Chernobyl Diaries is mostly short on suspense and originality.

(There it is again. So this movie is likely to be an okay horror which is just a little trite and tired. I think I’d accept that over The Devil Inside or whatever. Reviewer Highlight: Director Bradley Parker shakes his camera around a lot. – Hank Sartin, Time Out)

Poster – Sklognobyl Diaries (B)

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(I really enjoy the artistry of the poster despite its similarity to many cheap straight-to-DVD covers. But maybe I just think that because most films have famous actors on the poster and this one doesn’t have any actors to put on the poster.)

Tagline(s) – Experience the fallout (A-)

(Hmmmm… this doesn’t sound like a tagline to a horror film. More like a thriller about trying to stop the end of the world via nuclear war. Otherwise this is excellent. Short and sweet and clever.)

Keyword(s) – abandoned city; Top Ten by BMeTric: 71.6 Cell (I) (2016); 65.3 Chernobyl Diaries (2012); 61.4 Vanishing on 7th Street (2010); 50.4 The Swarm (1978); 46.0 Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016); 41.5 Kill Switch (I) (2017); 31.1 Suicide Squad (2016); 28.0 Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970); 26.9 Land of the Dead (2005); 24.0 Incubo sulla città contaminata (1980);

(Oh look our first one. It is kind of amazing because these are all basically on our radar. I kind of love how many movies have the keyword “abandoned city” entered for them as well, so specific. There was an abandoned city in Expendables … 2? Whatever, all I’m saying is the list isn’t exhaustive.)

Notes – Oren Peli first thought of the idea for the story when he saw a photo blog posted by a girl traveling through Pripyat on a motorcycle. (Cooool)

The film was shot on location in Hungary and Serbia. (Wait one goddamned second … that isn’t Ukraine!)

Real Ukranian tours to Prypiat and Chernobyl can be booked online for under 100 USD. (No thanks)

Writer/Producer Oren Peli – who also created Paranormal Activity – strongly defends this movie against claims it was insensitive to a devastating disaster, saying “I found it very sad and fascinating and eerie and creepy… I thought it would be a great setting for a scary horror film. It was never our intention to offend anyone.”

Not screened in advance for critics.

After the end credits, the final sound the viewer hears is a rapidly clicking Geiger counter indicating high radiation. (ugh, alright)

According to Reuters, at least 1 organization has tried to use the film to raise awareness and funding for children of the disaster. Producer Peli is pleased with that but divulges, “I’m not going to pretend that was my main goal – my main goal was to create a movie that people will find entertaining and scary and will enjoy it.”

Jonathan Sadowski and Jesse McCartney have since worked together in the sitcom Young and Hungry. (fun facts)

Ouija Recap

Jamie

Laine Morris is struggling with the apparent suicide of her closest friend and ropes a group of teens into attempting to contact her through a mysterious ouija board. Instead they unintentionally awaken an evil spirit. Can they subdue the spooky ghost before it’s too late? Find out in… Ouija.

How?! When Laine Morris’ BFF forever Debbie dies in an apparent suicide she is shocked. Laine is tormented by the fact that she didn’t get to say goodbye, so when a mysterious Ouija board shows up she decides to communicate with Debbie one last time. Her friends and her gather together in Debbie’s house and think they’ve contacted her, only to realize too late that they’ve instead communicated with an evil spirit (Disclaimer: Hasbro does not support the use of its board games for communicating with evil spirits). Oh no! While the spirit kills them off one by one and grows stronger they race to solve the mystery. The find out that the spirit was a little girl murdered by her mother and they need to find her body and free her spirit to put her to rest. In a totally original twist that we definitely didn’t just see in the Ring franchise, it turns out that this was all a trick and they actually make the spirit even stronger. Double oh no! In a final confrontation Laine does battle with the spirit over a rousing game of Ouija while her sister is able to destroy the body. Phew. They did it… or did they? Bum bum bum. THE END.

Why?! The impetus for a bunch of high schoolers to gather together and play a little Ouija is entirely due to Laine wanting to have one last goodbye with her best pal Debbie. All the other teens are basically like “We’re only doing this because you are clearly struggling to process this tragedy and we’re here to help you.” Unfortunately this empathy gets them all killed. The spirit is just evil, having been driven mad through being used as a medium in seances. The spirits she communicated with told her to do terrible things and boy howdy does she.

What?! You mean besides the lame board game that this is a (really bad) advertisement for? Doesn’t seem like a super fun addition to game night. That is unless you awaken a spooky ghost who’s tormented only by its own enthusiasm for board games.

Who?! The editor Ken Blackwell makes an appearance in the film as Internet Expert… whatever that is. I don’t remember why there would have been an Internet Expert in the film. It also seems unnecessarily cruel that he had to show up on set and do a scene when they were also giving him a pile of useless film and making him edit it over and over with different stories and reshoots added in. Almost like the film was created as a form of torture for Ken Blackwell.

Where?! This film is set in California. It just obviously is. However I couldn’t make out the license plate clearly on my burn of the film so technically unknown. My theory is bolstered by the fact that the prequel, set in the same house as this film, is very explicitly set in Los Angeles. D.

When?! With how closely they seemed to keep the setting hidden (or more likely just didn’t care much about it), I thought for sure I would have to do without any inkling of when this took place. Not the case! In the age of cell phones you can always count on the possibility that a character looks at a spooky text and the date and time are in full view. That is the case here where we are informed that it is in fact March 8th. The cell phone date is the temporal setting equivalent to a license plate. Weak but precise. B-

You can tell by how little I wrote for the recap that the film is very basic. Pretty much as basic a ghost story as you can get. Take The Ring and strip away everything of substance and you might end up with something like this. It is also incredibly poorly made. Clearly taken apart, reshot, and put back together you can see where characters were inserted or changed throughout the story. It is actually so bad that it makes The Bye Bye Man look like a masterpiece in comparison. And that’s quite the feat since Bye Bye Man was hilarious. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Hasbro wants those Marvel bucks (who doesn’t?) but their big greed is now your big problem. They need a hit to start their board game universe off right! Well … horror films are easy peasy and cheap as shit. Call up the cheapest director available, what could possibly go wrong? Let’s get into it!

The Good (Sequel / Prequel / Remake) – Uh … the movie is better than you would expect of a cut-to-shit horror film based on a board game. That is really really really it. For the good version of Sequel / Prequel / Remake I kind of want to highlight Ouija: Origin of Evil. So, the entire underlying story of Ouija (a mother dabbles in channelling ghosts, but her daughter succumbs to the evil they find in their dark magic) was completely invented during reshoots. You can kind of tell the movie knows that the background story is interesting, but they can’t really do much with it because they just didn’t have the material to fill the space. So, after the modest success of the film, they just made the obviously more interesting prequel. And it worked! The movie got 82% on Rotten Tomatoes and is apparently great! That’s crazy impressive stuff. I cannot wait to watch that film and see what they did with it, I’ll try and report back when I do.

The Bad (Tril-Oh-Jeez) – The acting is quite bad, all the way down to bad horror film all-star Douglas Smith from recent BMT The Bye Bye Man. The kills look silly and cheap. There is not a single moment in the film that is scary. The twist is obvious (don’t help the ghost girl idiots, you just got Ringed!), and it is clear it only comes about because the movie was cut to pieces desperately trying to get something other than an F cinemascore. As for the Tril-Oh-Jeez how about the don’t-help-the-little-girl-ghost trilogy with Rings, One Missed Call, and Ouija. Can we talk about these dummies and how they deal with ghosts. For reals … don’t help the ghosts. Oh, you have to help the child! You have to help her stop the mother! No. No you don’t. The mother hasn’t done shit for the last like 60 years. Why do you think all of a sudden it is your job to solve all this anyways? Obviously, helping the girl is what it wants. Obviously she is going to ouija your ass the instant you help her out. Y’all dumb. Don’t help the ghosts! … don’t help the ghosts!!

The BMT (StreetCreditReport.com) – Paired with The Bye Bye Man in close proximity the film has that Douglas Smith one-two punch. The brand of so-not-scary-it-is-actually-funny horror film would have probably bored me a year ago, but I find them somewhat fascinating now. Like … how do you manufacture a scare from a disparate set of not-scary shots I wonder. It has to be just impossible. Like … a loud sound and shake the camera a bit? Brutal. As for StreetCreditReport.com … amazingly there is nothing. You have a bunch of horror nerds complaining about how terrible the film is, but there is a somewhat surprising lack of acknowledgement in the media. I remember even we balked at bothering with the film at the time. Our mistake.

As far as the Adaptation is concerned? I mean … Ouija isn’t a board game. It is barely a board. So what can you really do with that? Honestly, if I were to give one decent compliment to the film, I would say they did a pretty good job making Ouija seem like a thing people do and think about. I could have done with a bit more ghost conjuring perhaps, a few more potent Ouija scenes, but otherwise as far as adapting Ouija is concerned … this was a good start. And they ended up making a very good sequel apparently! So I’ll give it a B. Solid prep for what ended up being a surprisingly adept adaptation in the prequel all for something that had no business being adapted into a movie in the first place.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs