“Deliver Us From Evil” (2014) Movie Review

Preface from Jay of the Dead: Where is Episode 020?
Horror Movie Podcast, Episode 020 was due to release on July 4, 2014. But on my birthday, July 2, my computer died just two hours before we were going to record the show. Long story short: You will still get Episode 020 in all its glory, but unfortunately, it will release a week late: next Friday, July 11, 2014. The good news? Episode 021 will release the following Friday, July 18, and it’s another themed episode! Our apologies for the week-long delay, but we’ll be back on schedule soon. It’s especially frustrating because Episode 020 is a “Horror on the Fourth of July”-themed episode that was intended to be released on July 4. So, in order to cover the newest horror films in theaters, Jay of the Dead has gone “old school” and provided you a written movie review of “Deliver Us From Evil” below.

Deliver Us From Evil movie review

Deliver Us From Evil (2014) Movie Review

Review by Jay of the Dead
Horror Movie Podcast.com

The Premise:
In real life, New York City police officer Ralph Sarchie spent most of his career dividing his time between typical police work for the department and his other work as a demonologist who investigated cases of possession and helped perform exorcisms — again, in real life — I’m not making this stuff up. In 2001, he co-wrote a book with Lisa Collier Cool called “Beware the Night” about his experiences with true crimes associated directly with demonic influences. Some of Sarchie’s chronicles described in this book have been adapted to film by horror director Scott Derrickson and Paul Harris Boardman. And that film, “Deliver Us From Evil,” was released in theaters on July 2, 2014.

The Review:
The first thing you should know about “Deliver Us From Evil” is that I would classify it as a Crime Thriller that’s interspersed with a couple of effective jump scares but only goes full-bore horror in its climax. Having recently revisited David Fincher’s crime masterpiece, I can confidently say this movie feels very much like a little cousin to “Se7en” (1995). “Deliver Us From Evil” also has a lot in common, structurally, with another recent demonic possession movie, “The Conjuring” (2013).

For the most part, “Deliver Us From Evil” skates an interesting thin line between “the real world as we know it” and the supernatural. In other words, a skeptic could watch most of this film and dismiss its events to just evil people perpetrating evil acts. For instance, there are no “monsters” (in a traditional sense) depicted in this movie. All the movie’s monsters just look like regular people who happen to do monstrous things.

This balance of real life and supernatural actually sets up the strongest aspect of the movie, and that’s the Ralph Sarchie character, who’s played very well by Eric Bana. It’s so refreshing — even exhilarating — to have a protagonist in a horror films who’s a dismissive and irreverent non-believer and a bad-ass. Eric Bana’s character comes across more like an action movie lead than a horror victim, and he’s a blast to watch! Regrettably, as Sarchie’s eyes are opened to the evil and he starts to believe, then he begins to assume the more familiar victim’s demeanor.

For a movie that is mostly set in the Bronx, “Deliver Us From Evil” features a surprising number of animals, including lions, spiders, snakes, bats, a bear and other creatures. The animals add something special. There’s a very memorable crucifix-related scene in this movie that seems familiar to me. I can’t remember where I’ve seen something so similarly ghastly, but I believe I have.

But I’m sorry to report, I have a number of complaints with the film. The first half of the movie is strong: It cuts to the chase and opens with good pacing and intriguing action, but it seems like it perpetually slows down as it gets bogged down in its exposition. So, the film is suspenseful out of the gate, but as it progresses, it loses its steam and even becomes a little tiresome. I think due to its framing as a series of work encounters for a cop, inevitably, this movie is a mystery that turns into a police procedural type of investigation.

And naturally, there’s a family drama side of it, where the wife is unhappy and concerned, and the kid becomes increasingly scared (rightfully so) with daddy being home so little.

I love story myself, but for those who don’t want or need a lot of story elements in their horror movies, this is a fairly talky movie. And it falls into a weak convention that I dislike in horror, where we eventually find “An Expert” who lays out all the lore and lengthy explanations about what’s going on and why. These types of clunky exposition dumps basically turn the lights on in the haunted house, removing the mystery and any scariness that might have existed.

Just to be clear, “Deliver Us From Evil” has a few creepy moments, for sure, but I don’t consider this movie to be scary. Based on its premise and source material, I would think it should be frightening.

And like most horror films, this movie is dimly lit — annoyingly so — to the point that it’s difficult to decipher the action. Even in places that wouldn’t be dark — like inside the police station, for example — it looks like they’re sitting in the dark during a power outage. Having light in your horror movie makes the dark times scarier. Director Scott Derrickson seemed to know this in “Sinister” (2012), which has incredible cinematography. I hope Derrickson will get Chris Norr back again as the D.P. for his next film.

Surprisingly, even though this movie was inspired by actual accounts of this NYPD sergeant, it comes across as more of a very darkly toned crime-cop movie. The possession aspects culminate to a climactic showdown, but most of the movie is a brooding crime drama.

As a believer myself, I’ve spent some time wondering about the accounts of possession found in the Bible. I’ve wondered how many of those accounts were actual demonic possessions or simply someone with very serious mental illness, described in familiar terms of the time. Either way, since those biblical stories took place about 2,000 years ago, they are comfortably distant. But if Ralph Sarchie’s accounts really were what he says they were, then his stories are uncomfortably recent and not mental illness at all…

Jay of the Dead’s Rating and Recommendation:
“Deliver Us From Evil” (2014) = 5.5 out of 10 ( Rental )

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28 thoughts on ““Deliver Us From Evil” (2014) Movie Review

  1. Sorry to hear your computer died on your birthday Jay. That sucks! But at least it means we’ll end up with two episodes on two consecutive Fridays!

    I haven’t read the “Deliver us from Evil” review yet but I’ll definitely give it a good read later today and I’d also like to suggest that everyone else keep the horror alive by posting their own reviews/lists/discussion points in these comments. Just because we don’t have an episode doesn’t mean we can’t keep the community going!

    I’ll be back later with a few reviews of my own.

    – David

  2. Hi there everyone, would just like to say how much I enjoy your podcasts. It has become not just my favourite horror podcast, but my favourite podcast out of all the ones I listen to, and i listen to a lot! Will miss today’s ‘cast but look forward to getting two in a row, and belated Birthday greetings to you Jay.

  3. Bummer! Sorry to hear about your computer woes…but welcome to the world of computers!!
    I was really looking forward to this week’s show as I have a bit of a road trip planned and I could have use the company. Ah well, I’ll just dig into the achieves.

    I agree 100% with Dave’s comment. I think that I might try to find a deep cut to review this week, although admittedly review films is not really a strong point for me. I’ll see what I can come up with.

    The Dude

  4. Really enjoyed your review of “Deliver us from Evil” Jay. Even with your complaints (the exposition dump character is one that often grinds my gears) I think i may give this one a try sometime. I’m a big fan of dark police procedural/crime thriller type movies so this might be something that I’d enjoy. Also I love your comments about light in horror movie making the dark times scary, I’m all about those kind of complimentary juxtapositions in films and speaking of “Se7en” one of the things I love about that movie is how the majority of it is so dark and ominous but the climax which is arguably the darkest scene in the movie tonally happens in bright, broad daylight. That kind of subversion works so well when it’s pulled off properly.

    Anyway, I’ve been on a bit of a 90’s horror kick lately so here are a couple of reviews copied and pasted from my letterboxd page:

    Phantoms (1998)
    “Phantoms” is a generally forgotten late 90’s Sci-fi/horror/thriller with slight echoes of the Slasher and Bodysnatcher sub-genres.

    I’ve heard that some of Ben Afflecks recent efforts in the world of cinema have been pretty good but I’ll be damned if throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s he didn’t play some of the most thoroughly dislikeable leading men ever. Unfortunately “Phantoms” is no different. Liev Schreiber plays a slimy, sex-pest creep in this movie and somehow manages to be a more likeable character than Affleck who I can only describe as a chiselled vacuum in a Sheriff costume. And that’s not the only problem with “Phantoms”. The latter half of the film falters after a genuinely atmospheric and gripping build-up. For a movie this slick looking some of the line deliveries are terrible although that most likely comes down to the extremely clunky exposition dialogue that even the most talented actor would struggle with. There’s some 90’s CGI that really hasn’t aged well too.

    These criticisms aside though and “Phantoms” is still a pretty entertaining watch. As previously mentioned the first half of the film is pretty good, delivering some truly eerie and suspenseful moments. I’ve been coming round to the idea of 90’s nostalgia recently and if that’s what you’re looking for then this movie may very well satisfy you. Check out the poster art: A bunch of irrelevant floating heads of the actors obviously not portraying the characters in the movie photoshopped onto a black background. It’s so artless that it’s kind of charming. The 90’s!

    Popcorn (1991)
    If you go into this movie expecting a straight-faced slasher replete with lots of gory kills chances are you’ll be disappointed. Instead “Popcorn” is a fun, campy send-up of the horror genre. The plot centres around a bunch of film students holding a late-night horror festival in an old cinema and this central theme, rather than the actual slasher plot, is where the film really shines.

    Most elements of this film are over-the-top, almost to the extent of parody but it never strays into the smug, knowing cynicism of later 90’s post-modern slashers, instead celebrating the goofiness at the core of the genre. This is nowhere more apparent than the fantastic movies-within-the-movie that are being shown at the horror festival. We’re given awesome glimpses of these wonderful homages to exploitative gimmick-laden B-movies. William Castle is a more than obvious point of reference in these accurately hilarious segments and the movie is worth watching for these parts alone.

    As for the film surrounding these internal moments of brilliance; it’s pretty short on kills but still not bad. I’ve seen people complaining about the characters being annoying but to be honest I’d take these goofy film-geeks any day over the glossy husks that populate more recent slashers. It’s also worth noting that this movie was made in that strangest of times when the 80’s seemed to transition so fluidly into the 90’s. The magic hour of my earlier memories captured in a movie that I for the most part enjoyed.

    – David

    • Agree about Phantoms. I actually saw it about four months ago… And honestly couldn’t tell you much of anything about it, it was that remarkable. Popcorn is a lot of fun– doesn’t beat my favorite movie within a horror movie, though “Anguish.” Check it out if you haven’t seen it. It’s a bit dated but a ton of fun.

      • I don’t know that I’ve ever heard of “Anguish” before. My approach to horror is more often than not: “the more dated the better” so it definitely sounds like one that I should track down.

        Thanks for the recommendation Hisdinnerisintheoven!

        • I almost mentioned “demons” in my last comment! I haven’t seen it recently enough to recommend (although I find myself watching demons two more than I’d care to admit). Also, excellent, excellent call on Martin! I tracked it down in the eighties and loved it. I finally got the DVD a few years back and it is even better than I remembered. That ending is sticks with you for a while.

    • I don’t remember Phantoms very well, but I do remember liking it to some extent. After reading your review, I must revisit it. Is my memory failing me or is Phantoms very Blob-like? Anyone? :/

      • It certainly does bare similarities to The Blob though I’d take the practical effects of both version of The Blob over the questionable CGI in Phantoms any-day.

        Oh and I just realised that i neglected to include my ratings in the above two reviews so here they are:
        Phantoms: 5.5/10
        Popcorn: 6.5/10

  5. MARTIN (1976)

    George A. Romero is a man that has left his mark on horror cinema. Many consider him the grandfather of the modern zombie film and rightfully so. Titles like Night of the Living Dead (1968), Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985) set the bar for the zombie sub-genre and continue to hold the respect of horror fans. Although Romero has branched out and directed other genre pieces like Creepshow (1982), The Dark Half (1993) and The Crazies (1973), he will forever be linked to his zombie movies.

    Digging a little deeper in Romero’s filmography we stumble across his 1976 release of Martin in which he set out to put his own spin on the classic vampire tale. This film was sandwiched between Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead and generally has not received the attention that it deserves. Please join me in a small review of this classic vampire tale.

    Martin is a teenage boy, but not exactly your average teenage boy. Martin believes that he is an 84 year old vampire who requires human blood to survive. The film follows Martin as he struggles with his mysterious past and as events start to unfold, we the viewer begin to question if Martin is a modern day vampire or a very disturbed teenager.

    Martin is a complex story that will likely leave the viewers with more questions than it answers. That being said, the viewing experience is an excellent one, even if the viewer is left feeling a little manipulated. The production values are low but we do get treated to some early practical effects by Tom Savini who would later go on to…well I think that everyone here knows Mr. Savini’s ‘body’ of work.

    John Amplas in the role of Martin is very effective. He manages the role of a confused, sexually frustrated teenager very well. The character clashes between Martin and his eccentric Uncle are great to watch. The film has a very haunting opening scene as Martin stalks a women on a train. This scene helps to establish Martin as, at the very least, a killer, but we are also treated to one of Tom Savini’s earliest effects put on film.

    Another very tense scene has Martin invading the home of a young couple and we are treated to a side of Martin that we were introduced to on the train. He proves to be cunning, devious, sick and twisted.
    Upon my first viewing my jaw hit the flow at the sudden and horrific end to the film. Saying anymore would be a crime.

    This film is a slowly paced, but effective movie that helps bring the vampire into the 20th century. The mysterious background of Martin holds the attention of the viewer and challenges our preconceived notions of what a vampire really is. Are vampires real? Do they still exist today? Is Martin in fact a vampire or just suffering from a mental illness? Watch Martin and judge for yourself.

    7.5 out of 10.

    • This was a brilliant review Dude. I’ve been aware of “Martin” for years but never felt an inclination to check it out until reading this. Now it’s going on my ever growing list of movies to watch.

        • To be honest I’m not sure why I’ve never checked it out before now. The Vampire sub-genre is probably my least favourite of all horror categories so maybe that’s subconsciously dissuaded me but I’m fully aware that “Martin” is far from a conventional “Vampire” film I’m a fan of classic Romero so I do really need to get it watched!

    • I’ve read a lot about Martin and I must say that this review sparked even more interest in watching it. Note to self: must watch Martin. There!

  6. Here are a couple more reviews, this time both films are from Japan, a country whose cinema and approach to horror/fantasy I find eternally intriguing.

    First a monster movie about a vengeful god in the form of a giant statue that comes to life:

    Daimajin (1966)
    As is the case with so many 1960’s monster movies the titular beast of Daimajin doesn’t actually show up until the films third act. Fortunately where so many of those lesser 60’s monster movies pad out the rest of the running time with inane hijinks and boring fluff Daimajin has an engaging and beautifully shot drama/fantasy plot centering around monstrous acts committed by humans and the subsequent need for justice.

    The film barrels forward at a brisk pace and despite the absence of any monstrous walking statues until close to the end I never found myself in a state of frustration. The beautiful period sets alone are a pleasure to look at but everything about the movie is well crafted. When the Daimajin does finally show up it turns out that it would have been well worth the wait even if the first part of the movie hadn’t delivered. The special effects here are astoundingly good, the creature itself truly menacing and the havoc we witness it wreak truly awesome.

    Definitely a recommendation for any fans of Kaiju/tokusatsu/60’s monster movies or Japanese cinema in general. 7/10.

    Next is a selection from the wave of J-horror that inundated the market in the early 2000’s (and would later suffer a remake that probably sucks):

    One Missed Call (2003)
    I hope you’ll forgive me for assuming that I saw this movie way back in the halcyon days when J-horror films were a dime a dozen and there was still a video store in town from which my friends and I could rent them. It turns out this is one that I never actually caught back then and to be honest I wasn’t in a massive hurry to remedy that due to the mobile phone-centric premise. I tend to to be somewhat (and maybe unfairly) suspicious of movies that capitalise on the popularity of contemporary technologies. It’s just something that kind of bugs me and makes me feel like I’m watching something specifically aimed at hip teenagers who can’t relate to anything that doesn’t pander to them. It also seems like a good way for filmmakers to ensure that their movie will seem terribly dated within a relatively short space of time. Remember all those 90’s movies about the early world-wide-web?

    Anyway, I’m totally digressing, but my point is that you shouldn’t always prejudge a movie based on what might seem to be an unappealing premise because I actually really enjoyed this and I think it probably stands head-and-shoulders above a good number of its contemporaries. Fortunately it felt as though the mobile phone elements were secondary to the actual ghost story being told which was for the most part well crafted and in places extremely, extremely creepy. There’s a whole sequence of events in an abandoned hospital that took this to levels of horror beyond what I expected. The twist is also a pretty good one; disturbing yet satisfying and not too far out of left field.

    This might not be a classic but it’s certainly worth checking out if you enjoy J-horror. Good solid creepy stuff. Another 7/10.

    That’s all for now, but I hope Jason’s computer is fixed because I’m looking forward to the new episode this Friday.

    – David

    • Nice reviews, man! I have to admit that I’ve been slacking off a bit ever since joining letterboxd. I’ll post some reviews here later.

      I’ve seen One Missed Call, but I believe (I”m almost certain) that it was the American remake. Hmmm… now I’ll have to watch both just to make sure.

      I hadn’t even heard of Daimajin, but it sounds pretty cool. I’m sad to say that my big monster movie experience is lacking at best. I think it’s about time I catch up.

      • I’ve never seen the One Missed Call remake but I’ve heard that it’s pretty terrible compared to the original so I’d definitely recommend giving that one a look. And a heads up; it’s one of those movies that doesn’t seem so great in the first half hour but it picks up after that and just keeps racking up the creepiness.

        As for big monster movies, I’m hardly the expert myself, in fact until the last few months my knowledge extended only to a few Godzilla movies and Ray Harryhausens stuff. To be honest I’m not that interested in the more common kaiju fare, rather I have a burgeoning interest in the folkloric history of Japan, the seemingly endless and boundless variations of “Yokai” legend in particular, and Daimajin seems somewhat akin to that sort of thing. It’s definitely worth checking out though; it feels less campy than similar films of the period and if you enjoy old school effects then the “monster” sequences are really great.

  7. Hi guys!

    As promised, here are some reviews of the movies that I’ve seen recently:

    Phantoms (1998)
    The ’90s horror scene is generally dismissed because of its lack of quality and quantity in horror movies. While it’s true that the ’90s weren’t as effective at churning out classics and creating enduring franchises like the ’70s and ’80s were, there are still a handful of great horror movies from that time period that are worthy of your attention. “Phantoms”, while not the greatest the ’90s has to offer, is one of them.

    “Phantoms” is kind of a mixed bag of genres and ideas from other movies. The film starts with two sisters who arrive into a nice, quaint and quiet town, maybe too quiet. Soon after they arrive they discover that in fact there is something wrong with the town as everyone seems to be either missing or dead. A few moments later they meet the sheriff and his deputies and hilarity ensues.

    There are a few things that the movie does very well. The atmosphere and creepiness its able to create during the first half is commendable. There is a sense of dread and an air of mystery that are done so well it really sells the supernatural aspect of the film. Sadly, this doesn’t last long. As soon as its revealed what’s happened to the town, the tone of the movie switches entirely and things start going downhill. Bad CGI, mediocre action, idiotic plot twists, and irrelevant characters plague the movie and ruin what was established in the first half.

    In the end, even with its lack of real characters, a silly script, and an even sillier delivery of such script, “Phantoms” is still pretty enjoyable. If you’re looking for something decent to watch, this is it. This is a 6.5 for me. Stream it while it’s on Netflix.

    Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
    “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” is a very smart film. Although some of the more politically charged themes from the time are lost on me, I’m still able to appreciate other themes that are just as applicable and just as powerful today — themes such as the loss of identity, but more importantly (for me) the loss of love. In one of the most powerful scenes in the movie, as the main character feels like there’s no escaping his horrible fate, he says “I love Becky. Tomorrow, will I feel the same?”. One of the body snatchers later remarks “You’ve been in love before. It never lasts, it never does”. This all ties back to one of the very early scenes in the movie where a woman is trying to explain to the doctor that her uncle looks and sounds the same, but feels different. She doesn’t know quite how to describe it, she just knows that the uncle is not himself anymore — just like when we are in love with someone and that someone stops loving us (or us them), and one day they suddenly feel different. We can’t explain why or how, but when you touch or kiss, even when they look and sound the same, they don’t feel the same. They’ve been body snatched. Suddenly, it all makes sense! This is an 8.5 for me. It’s a must watch!

    Hatchet III (2013)
    If you’re a fan of the Hatchet franchise (like myself), you’ll know what to expect. It’s basically more of the same times one and a half. “Hatchet III” continues right where “Hatchet II” left off. Limbs, blood, guts, and f bombs fly everywhere and hit everyone in the most unpredictable ways. Few people live, hundreds of people die.

    What I like most about the Hatchet movies is that they’re fun. They don’t pretend to be serious, they don’t try to be scary, they’re well aware of what they are and they just want you to have a great time. And what a good time I’ve had! So, job well done everyone.

    This third entry seems to put an end to the curse of Victor Crowley, so I’m curious as to what’s next for the franchise. Hopefully we’ll see more entires. Hatchet VIII: Victor Goes to Manhattan anyone? 😉 This is a 6 for me.

    Ju-on: The Grudge (2002)
    Sadly, I had already seen the American remake of this film before going into it, so I somewhat knew what to expect. This ruined the element of surprise for me. It didn’t ruin movie, but it certainly diminished the experience. This is a very creepy movie. If you think that because you’re a fan of horror and are therefore immune to scares, think again. “Ju-On” somehow manages to get under your skin with very little. It’s very subtle at scaring you, it sneaks up on you in a way reminiscent of a certain little “white” kid and just gets you when you least expect it.

    I love how the film is structured. Rather than telling a story in chronological order, the director pulls a page from Quentin Tarantino’s book and instead gives us six short stories that interconnect. Though a haunted house movie is at its core, it doesn’t feel like one. It feels fresh, even by today’s standards, thanks to it breaking the rules of the conventional haunted house movie. The majority of the movie doesn’t even take place inside the house.

    The visuals are very important here. They provide creepy imagery that will stay with you long after you watch the movie. But just as important as imagery is in horror movies, the sound here is just as important, if not more. One listen to the cracking sound that the ghost makes and you will understand what I mean. That sound will haunt you for a very, very long time.

    My only problem with the film is not even a fault of the film itself, but rather a bias of mine that I can’t get over. I love J-horror, but my one big problem with it is that Japanese girls are just too darn cute. It’s very difficult for me to get a sense of horror from them. And here, there are plenty of cute girls to distract me from the horror that is”Ju-On”. This is an 8 for me.

    Antiviral (2012)
    This film is very methodical. It feels like it was created in a quarantined lab. It somewhat feels artificial and everything about it feels and looks sterile. This all works wonders for the atmosphere, which is by far the strongest aspect of the film. The visuals are nice and the body horror is treated in a very subtle way. Quite the opposite from the director’s dad. “Antiviral” is the film debut of Brandon Cronenberg, David Cronenberg’s son.

    In hoping to get more of the Cronenberg brand of horror, I got something else instead. Something cleaner in its visual presentation. Something that shares some of the existential themes that the much older, much wiser Cronenberg has touched upon in the past, only not as smart. The themes here are so clear and so in your face that you don’t even have to do any thinking because it’s all there being explained to you. Ideas such as society’s obsession with celebrities and media in general being an illness are good ideas to explore. The problem is that there isn’t much exploration being done here. It’s a bit ironic then that, like with the themes it delves into, the film itself is very superficial.

    While technically the movie is rock solid, it didn’t leave a lasting impression on me. It did show me, however, something that made me look forward to Brandon Cronenberg’s next project: promise. This is a 6 for me.

    Day of the Dead (2008)
    Whoa! This is… pretty bad. Even by crappy remake standards, this is still pretty bad. Allegedly, this is a homage to Romero’s Day of the Dead. If that’s what they were going for, I think they completely missed the mark. Either that or their definition of homage is slightly different than mine.

    Everything in this movie reeks of half assed. The special effects are atrocious, the acting is amateurish, the writing is non-existent, the directing is… sigh, there isn’t a single redeemable thing in this movie. Well, for me the sight of Mena Suvari is a highlight, but then again, the casting of Nick Cannon cancels that out. So, really, the only two things this movie has going for it are that it’s a horror movie and that I don’t have to ever see this again… ever. This is a 2 for me.

    The Rift (1990)
    The Rift is a fairly decent underwater horror film that is not as memorable or does as much for the genre as other movies like DeepStar Six or Leviathan. This movie just feels like a low budget version of those already low budget movies. Still, this is good, solid fun, especially if you’re a fan of this sub-genre. This is a 6 for me.

    Cheap Thrills (2013)
    I went into this movie half expecting it to be good and half expecting it to be exactly as its title says, a cheap thrill. What I got instead was more thrills than cheap. This is a dark comedy (and it’s quite dark) that balances seriousness and fun so well that it never becomes depressing. It manages to stay fun, engaging, thrilling, and it keeps you on your toes as to what’s going to be the next bet and how far they’re going to take it. In all honesty, as farfetched as the concept of this movie might be to some, I think it’s actually quite plausible. And I think it’s a good experiment on what people can be capable of for money, be it out of greed or necessity. This movie does live up to the hype of its title, but it is anything but cheap. This is an 8 for me. Stream it on Amazon Prime!

    The Brainiac (1962)
    This is quite a gem of mexican b-cinema. If you’re a spanish speaker, you’ll enjoy the more “serious” tone of it. If you’re an english speaker you’ll get a kick out of it with its hilarious, word for word dubbing. If you speak both, even better since you’ll be able to appreciate the film from two different perspectives. The special effects are pretty awesome in its own ultra cheap kind of way. If this all sounds appealing to you, I guarantee you’ll have a blast.

    I apologize for so many reviews. Some of you may have already seen them, so double apologies to those of you.

    Oh and by the way, I didn’t think Ben Affleck was that bad, David. I think his “character” (if you want to call it that) was just fine. I was honestly more annoyed and creeped out by Lieve Shcreiber. But that’s irrelevant to the movie anyway. Just my two cents.

    • Juan you’re been busy!!

      I recall renting Phantoms when it first came out and being rather disappointed with it; so much so that I haven’t revisited it since. I do recall the movie holding my attention for a while, but I quickly lost interest and the script just seemed to waste Peter O’Toole. I might have to go back and revisit this one though.

      Invasion of the Body Snatches is a classic, there is just no other way of putting it. It came at a time when horror films were evolving and it blended horror and science-fiction. Although the political allegory may not have been intentional, there are a lot of parallels between the plot and the fear of the rise of communism during that time. I think that you’re rating of 8.5/10 is pretty accurate on this one.

      Hatchet…ah yes Hatchet. This is a love it or hate it franchise and I for one am in the love it camp. The entire series harkens back to the glory days of slashers and adds take it to the extreme with just enough camp factor to be enjoyable. Simply sit back and enjoy these three movies. Hatchet III once again recycled the plots from 1 and 2 but it is still an enjoyable film. We get the return of Kane Hodder and Danielle Harris but we are also treated to the addition of Zach Galligan (Gremlins and Wax Works), Caroline Williams (TCM Part 2), Derek Mears (Friday the 13th), and a fantastic appears by Mr. Sid Haig (who needs no introduction). Juan you put it right when you said that these movies are fun. Pop it in, shut off your brain and enjoy 7/10 for me.

      Back in the early 2000s I went on a BIG TIME Asian film kick. I was ordering movies from overseas that I couldn’t find anywhere else (mostly classic action films, but the odd horror movie thrown in as well). JU-ON was one of those films that I had heard about, but it hadn’t really hit North American shores. I ordered a copy that as region coded but thankfully I had a hacked DVD player that would play it. I still recall sitting in my room in the basement watching this and being totally creeped out. A great flick and do yourself the favour and skip the remake and check out this original. 9 /10

      Most of the other movies I haven’t seen except for Day of the Dead which was utter crap 1/10.

      Thanks for sharing Juan. I am going to pop in the often overlooked The Hand (1980) from Oliver Stone this evening so I’ll get some notes up on that.

      The Dude

    • Great reviews as always Juan. It sounds like aside for my disdain for Ben Affleck we’re pretty much on the same page when it comes to Phantoms. Also I’m really glad you enjoyed the original “Ju-on: The Grudge” that’s a great movie and a really good example of how to make something extremely effective and engaging with a pretty low budget and minimal FX.

      Also given your interesting thoughts on “Invasion of the Bodysnatchers” from ’56 I’m curious to know if you’ve seen the ’78 version? In my opinion it’s one of the best remakes of all time, up there with “The Fly” and “The Thing” and “The Blob”. It’s also surprisingly gruesome considering it was given a PG rating in the US. Definitely worth checking out.

  8. Dude! Thanks for the reply, man.

    Definitely check out Phantoms. I think it’s worth your time. You could certainly do a lot worse.

    I’m a big Hatchet fan. I mean, the movies are just so much fun. They’re very much all about the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach and I’m fine with that. There are plenty of cerebral movies to stimulate my brain and I’ll go to those when I need to, but for fun times I go to Hatchet haha.

    I’ve also watched quite a bit of Asian films, but I did so mostly during high school/college, so it has been a while. I think it’s time I revisit them all. Maybe if Jay and the crew decide to do an all Asian horror episode, that will give me the perfect reason to catch up.

    You know I watched The Hand as a little kid, so I don’t remember much about it. I do remember being fascinated and scared of that damn hand. It gave me quite a few nightmares! Wow, I haven’t thought about that movie in so long. I must revisit it now. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it.

    • Oops! That was meant to be a reply to The Dude’s message.

      David, your comment on the poster art for Phantoms led to me a few other posters from the ’90s that share that same “floating heads” approach. Google the I Know What You Did Last Summer and Scream posters and voilá, one more cool ’90s trend for you. As a graphic designer I should hate this stuff, but I find it kind of charming. Hmm…

      • I’m familiar with the posters for those movies and it doesn’t stop there, it seemed like sometime around the mid-nineties every genre movie poster became near identical save for the varying actors being depicted. I totally agree that there’s a sort of retroactive dumb-charm to it, but I also think that there’s some problematic underlying issues that persist to this day. To me it’s kind of suggestive of the turning point when the horror industry became more concerned with the people attached to the movies being the selling point rather than the content and aesthetics of the movie itself. Like the target market was more interested in seeing some generically good-looking face-of-the-moment than a cool, imaginative and artful poster design. It’s kind of symbolic of the genre being diluted for the mainstream. Personally nothing turns me off a movie more than a boring poster or DVD cover plastered with fashion model looking folks.

        Maybe I’m just being extra cynical and curmudgeonly, I do find it amusing to look at those ’90s posters, Phantoms especially since it doesn’t even seem that the actors are in character in the pictures, but I kind of wish it was an isolated trend that died with the 90’s. Instead it seems to have become a ubiquitous stylistic choice that has all but replaced classic poster art and that saddens me.

  9. To say that this movie is based on a true story is an egregious lie. Also, it just refused to end. That being said, I did like the jumpscare in the basement, it was pretty effective.

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