Movie Review – Fear Street Part 2: 1978

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Hey everyone, Slick Dungeon here to tell you about the second film in the Fear Street series Fear Street Part 2: 1978.

This is the second film in a trilogy of movies based on author R.L. Stine’s series of books. These movies are much more mature than his better known Goosebumps series. So far, the films have been call backs to some of the better slasher films horror fans already know and love. I will be giving some mild spoilers for parts 1 and 2 in this review so before you take a bloody axe to my blog, watch the movies first if that sort of thing matters to you. You have been warned.

The second film in the trilogy is one I really want to like more than I do. My favorite type of horror to watch is slasher films and I have a strong affection for the teenage camp counselor variety of slasher film popularized by the Friday the 13th series. Fans of that series will definitely find a few easter eggs and references to smile at in Fear Street Part 2. But, if you’re like me, it may only make you want to go back and watch the originals.

This film finds us following Ziggy and Cindy, two sisters who have grown apart for reasons revealed later in the film. The story of what happened in 1978 at Camp Nightwing is delivered to us via flashback. We’re getting the story because the characters from Fear Street Part 1: 1994 have found the only survivor of the tragic murder spree at Camp Nightwing.

There are two vastly different towns in the Fear Street trilogy. Sunnyvale is a calm, safe place full of brightness and promise while Shadyside is dubbed the “Killer capital of the country.” Everyone knows Shadyside has been cursed by a witch and no one can get out of the town easily or safely. That doesn’t stop the two towns from being rivals.

In the first film the rivalry plays out at a football game, in this one it’s the “color wars” at camp. Basically a big game of capture the flag is going on between the two towns teenagers. This means there are tons of kids and teens running around in the forest after dark. The perfect setting for a low budget slasher film. (This isn’t low budget but they want you to think it is)

Since this is a slasher film, we know some murder is gonna happen. It doesn’t take long for the first murder to occur and we are left to watch the gruesome killings from there. Unlike a lot of slasher films, in this one we know who the killer is and even why they are doing it before the carnage really gets going.

We have all the usual characters and actions from most slasher films. There are stoners, nerds, teenagers who follow every rule, and we even get the requisite pranks gone wrong. I’m guessing you know who survives and who doesn’t. I sure did.

The main question is how one of the sisters will survive. We know she does because she is telling the story. The movie also gives us more background on the witch who has cursed the town. It seems there may be a way to stop the curse and with the characters from Part 1 learning the background, more of the puzzle is solved. We won’t know how right they are until Part 3 though.

Like virtually every camp slasher horror film there is a twist at the end but it was the most obvious twist possible in my mind so it really lost its oomph when it was revealed.

Also, it was clear from the beginning that there was way more than one survivor of this tragic night. This makes the impact of the story we are told feel much less important than it could have.

If you love slasher films you’d probably do better to watch an original. However, if you have seen all of those and want something a little more fresh and a little different, this one is serviceable. I’ll be sticking around for Part 3, mostly to see if they tie everything up well in the end. If they do then the reverse chronology angle might be a neat trick. I still don’t think it will put this above classic horror films but it’s a least trying something newer.

Fearfully yours,

Slick Dungeon

Dawn of the Dead vs. Army of the Dead – A Two-Fisted Double Feature Film Review

Welcome back dungeon crawlers, it’s me Slick Dungeon. I’ve been a bit busy this last month so haven’t posted as much as I would like but I’m back to review a pair of zombie films by the same director. My favorite movie monster (and the one I’m actually afraid of) is zombies. There are a million zombie films, shows, books and comic books out there so if you’re a zombie fan, there’s plenty of content to choose from. Zack Snyder has directed not one but two zombie films and although they are not directly related, they are both zombie films so I decided to watch them back to back to see if either one is worth watching. I’ve got my opinion on which one is the one to watch but there will be spoilers for both so you have been warned.

Dawn of the dead

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Dawn of the Dead is a “remake” of the incredibly memorable and hard to find on streaming film of the same name. The original was directed by the king of zombies himself, George A. Romero. That film was groundbreaking in its use of the zombie film to make commentary on society and consumerism. In many circles the original film is considered to be one of the best if not the best zombie film ever made. I’m not sure I would go that far on the original but if you have not seen the original and you like zombie films, do what you need to in order to get your eyeballs on it, because it is worth watching.

The Zack Snyder directed remake released in 2004 is not what the original was by a long shot. It’s full of zombie action and gore, stars several of the original cast members in cameos and has a fantastic soundtrack. In other words, it’s all gloss and no substance. I can’t recall a single character name after watching it. There are definitely memorable scenes and I did enjoy the film as a whole but this is no transformative movie going experience. I’m not saying every zombie film should be an in-depth character portrayal that reflects the soul of our world back to us. I’m just saying it would be nice if the film didn’t feel like a ninety minute movie trailer where the best thing about it is each scene delivers a little more shock than the last.

Like the original, the central plot of this film is a group of people from different walks of life end up in a shopping mall at the end of the world and must rely upon one another if they want to survive. Because of some assumptions on the part of the characters there is a lot of conflict and it’s just as likely some of these people will die because of humans as they will from the zombies. The goal for the group is to survive and figure out how to escape the mall without losing their lives in the process.

There are some stand out stars in the film and as always Ving Rhames shines in his role. It’s entertaining to watch him blast zombies with cold hearted proficiency and be realistic enough to want to leave everyone because they are likely to get him killed. Of course he stays with the group.

There are plenty of plot holes in the film but I don’t really think that’s what makes this film disappointing. Rather, I think the problem with it is that it is in no way a new idea when it comes to horror or zombies or… anything. It might as well be a series of vignettes of what someone thinks might be needed to get audiences into theaters to watch a film. It does that job but barely. I’ve certainly seen worse zombie films but I have absolutely seen better. If you’ve seen every other zombie property under the sun and just need a little zombie fix, this film is serviceable, just don’t get too excited over it.

Now that I’ve laid out my feelings on Dawn of the Dead that leads me to….

army of the dead

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Army of the Dead is an original film directed by Zack Snyder made for Netflix. It’s a heist film inside a zombie film and has a star line up including Dave Bautista, Tig Notaro and Ella Purnell.

It’s the end of the so-called “zombie wars” and there is only one hot zone left. Las Vegas is still teeming with the infected but the city has been walled off and is scheduled for nuclear destruction to finally rid the world of zombies.

In the opening sequence we see how the zombie infection originally spread and we see scenes of our cast of misfits kicking zombie butt. It’s a glossy sequence with an Elvis Presley song playing over it but in less than five minutes establishes a large cast of characters quickly and is done well. Soon we meet our heroes who are all living mundane lives again, despite their life saving actions during the zombie wars.

Scott Ward is making a living flipping burgers when a mysterious man offers him a job. There’s still a ton of money left in the Vegas casinos and if Scott and his team can recover it, they will be rich, no taxes to be paid on their earnings.

This sets up the heist adventure and allows the movie to have the required “getting the team together” scene. In this film, I really liked how that played out. Usually with these things there’s at least one character who has to think about it and is barely convinced to come despite all the good reasons for doing it. In this one everyone jumps at the chance and the sequence ends up not only being funny but unexpected.

I don’t want to spoil too much of this film but suffice it to say that there being zombies in the hot zone of Vegas where the characters need to be is not nearly the only threat. It turns out there are smarter, faster, and armed zombies here who have an army.

Things go awry and the team is going to have to try to escape.

Unlike Dawn of the Dead there are several quiet character moments. Some of them do seem rushed but overall I felt like I got to know at least a few of these characters and could understand why they were in the movie. And the way Tig Notaro played her character is going to go down in zombie film history as the perfect way to deliver dry, dead pan humor that works in a zombie film. She actually gets some of the best lines in the whole film.

Now, the idea of a heist film inside of a zombie film is not one hundred percent original, there have been other films that do something similar. The idea of smarter, faster zombies is not new either. But there is enough new or mashed up here that the film feels like an original idea. The action is good albeit predictable and it adds up to a really fun ride.

While this film may not be as worth watching as the original Dawn of the Dead it is absolutely worth watching.

If you’re trying to decide on Snyder’s zombie films go with Army of the Dead.

Do you have a favorite zombie film? If so, let me know what it is in the comments.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

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Vampires vs. the Bronx – Movie Review

Vampires vs. the Bronx

Hey everyone out there in internet land, it’s me, Slick Dungeon. I watched a movie on Netflix called Vampires vs. the Bronx and I’m here to tell you all about it.

Most vampire movies are pretty standard fare, you have blood sucking immortal enemies, some group of heroes and the two groups face off in a bloody battle for the world. That’s basically the plot of Vampires vs. the Bronx so I can’t say it is touching much new ground here. However, this film has something in spades that I have missed in vampire movies lately. What is it? A sense of fun.

The film follows a group of boys who live in the Bronx and are concerned with the fact that their neighborhood is being sold off bit by bit to a wealthy real estate development company. In addition to that, there are people that have gone missing lately. Some of those people seem to have sold off their property or business and it would make sense that they left but others are simply missing persons cases.

One boy, Miguel is particularly concerned that one of the businesses he basically grew up in is in danger of being sold. He goes around the neighborhood trying to raise funds to save Tony’s Bodega. He has a pair of friends who help out, although they are a bit more interested in just hanging out than saving the neighborhood.

Since this is a film about vampires, I think you can guess the real reason these people have gone missing and businesses have been closing. Miguel is the first in the neighborhood to clue into what is going on. And like any good horror film, they main character is not believed by anyone else until they see definite proof of the vampires themselves.

I don’t want to get too much more into the plot here but this is basically The Lost Boys set in the Bronx. The location is a refreshing change for a vampire movie and although there are plot holes you could drive a semi-truck through, it doesn’t really matter because it’s just an enjoyable watch. It’s not scary and it’s not particularly original but it still works.

If you have been looking for a vampire film that can be a fun and enjoyable watch, have a look at Vampires vs. the Bronx.

Vampirically yours,

Slick Dungeon

His House – #MovieReview

Hey everyone, how’s it going out there? It’s me, Slick Dungeon back to give you a review of a genuinely creepy movie on Netflix called His House.

The film stars the phenomenal Wunmi Mosaku who showed off her horror skills recently in Lovecraft Country. Alongside her is Sope Dirisu. The pair play a couple of refugees who are trying to make a new home in London. Helping them is a social worker played by Matt Smith, best known as the 11th doctor from Doctor Who.

Star power aside, His House has something going for it that almost no other haunted house movie has. What is it? A legitimate reason to stay. Most haunted house movies seem to be about a family that buys a new house to find it is haunted. Or to be about people who just have to stay one night to win an inheritance at a haunted house. Or about people who drive out to some remote location for fun and end up in a haunted house. What do all of those types of movies have in common? If people really wanted to, they could just leave. The characters in His House are refugees and if they move for any reason, they lose their refugee status and will be sent back to war torn home they fled. Ghosts and ghouls can hardly be bad enough to make anyone want to do that.

The movie starts out with a few glimpses of the tragedy and loss that the couple experience. Soon they find themselves in a house in London that is much more spacious than they expected, albeit, the home is not in a nice neighborhood by any stretch of the imagination.

Soon strange things start happening in the house and many of the things you would expect in haunted house movies happen. There are weird noises, unexpected visions, and nightmares. What’s really interesting though, is that sometimes it’s hard to tell what is caused by the house or whatever is haunting them and what might just be traumatic memories playing out as they would for anyone who had experienced such real life horrors.

There are major surprises in the film that I won’t give away here but I will just suffice to say that even the reason for the haunting makes sense. This gives the whole film more legitimacy in its scares and if this film doesn’t leave you at least a little bit unsettled, I don’t think anything will.

If you haven’t checked out His House yet, make sure you take some time to take it in. It’s gripping and horrific in the best way possible.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

The Devil All the Time – #MovieReview

The Devil All The Time: Robert Pattinson as Preston Teagardin. Photo Cr. Glen Wilson/Netflix © 2020

Hey everyone, Slick Dungeon, here back to review the number one movie on Netflix right now. That’s right, I am here to give you my hot take on Devil All the Time.

The film stars Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson as a couple of southerners who end up at odds with each other. To be honest, that’s a really poor description of the film but those two are the most billable, bankable stars in the movie. I won’t give away any major spoilers here so feel free to read this review even before you watch the film.

The movie is really several story lines that intersect, kind of like Pulp Fiction did but it’s much less disjointed than that movie was. There is a lot of suspense and violence in the film. It’s not for the faint of heart but it’s by no means even close to the bloodiest thing you could watch on Netflix.

The pacing of the film is intentionally slow and deliberate but it is not harmed for that. The acting is stellar and there is a scene with Holland and Pattinson that takes place in a church that is downright electric. The whole movie is worth watching just for that one scene.

While it maybe could have used a few less characters overall, the story is rather interesting and all of the loose ends are tied in a bow, with one notable exception.

If you really like suspense or thriller films, especially the kind that have a slow build up to a majorly interconnected story, this movie is for you. Or if you just like a good drama and need a break from Marvel films but still want to watch Tom Holland, this is worth a watch.

Suspensefully yours,

Slick Dungeon

We Summon the Darkness – #MovieReview

What’s up everyone? Slick Dungeon here back to review the Netflix horror flick We Summon the Darkness. I promise not to give too much away but if you continue reading from here on out there could be mild spoilers. You have been warned.

If you were alive in the 1980’s and knew about the hair metal bands of the time, this movie will bring you right back to that period. The opening has all the iconic things from the 80’s you remember. Leather jackets, teased hair, the old Twinkie boxes and even Jolt cola. The movie follows three women who go to a heavy metal concert. While there they see signs that things are not exactly great in the area. Apparently there has been a slue of murders attributed to a satanic cult. When the women get to the concert they meet three men out for one last night of fun before they say goodbye to one of their group for good. The two groups start to hang out and the evening suddenly becomes very deadly.

This movie is described as horror and while there certainly are horror elements to it, I would classify this as more of a thriller than anything. The plot is very grounded in reality and although we have seen this sort of thing before this movie does have a fresh take on it.

The movie makes great use of limited locations and most of the night takes place in a single house. In some ways this reminded me of The Purge but I think the movie I would say this is closest to mirroring is the excellent Kevin Smith film Red State.

If you like the 80’s, if you are a fan of horror or thriller films, and if you enjoy seeing some of those conventions upended, this movie is for you.

Horrifically yours,

Slick Dungeon

Cursed: The Fey Queen (Episode 8) – #TVReview

Hey everyone, Slick Dungeon, here and I am back to review the eighth episode of the Netflix hit Cursed.

If you haven’t watched the first eight episodes of the series, watch out because there are mild spoilers below.

Although, on this one, I think the title of the episode is kind of a spoiler. Obviously, Nimue has taken on the mantle of the Fey Queen for this episode. This means that she has a lot of people depending on her and a lot more people who will think of her as an enemy.

This episode was action packed, had a couple of great sword fights and the plot moved along nicely. We got to see some characters reunite and lost a couple of others. The pace also picked up significantly and the stakes are getting higher here which is nice to see.

The consequences of what happens when someone holds the sword of power for too long becomes more apparent here too. The politics of the show are heating up here and the race for the throne is on, especially with the end result of what Nimue does in this episode.

So far this is a series I would recommend to any fantasy fan but with the next two episodes, we’ll see if this show can actually live up to its full potential.

Fantastically yours,

Slick Dungeon

The Babysitter: Killer Queen – #MovieReview

Hey out there comedy horror fans, what’s going on? McG is back with another crazy horror comedy film on Netflix. Allow me, Slick Dungeon, to give you a little review of it. There will be some mild spoilers below so you have been warned.

The first film in the franchise (wait is 2 films a franchise?) followed Cole, a kid who was just a little too old to have a babysitter. Turns out his babysitter was part of a demon blood cult and they spent a night trying to kill him. It didn’t end well for them. If you want to know more about it, see my review of the first one here.

It’s two years later and while Cole is no longer under lethal threat, he is still the picked on kid at high school. But what about the girl he met from the first movie, doesn’t she like him? They kissed at the end of the last one, she must like him right? Well, she does seem to be the only one that does still think he is okay. She even invites him to go to a lake house for the weekend when….

HUGE SPOILER COMING

She tries to kill him because she is part of that same blood cult from the first movie.

The rest of the movie for the most part, plays out as you would expect. Old cast members return, new ones try to kill Cole, all of them die in gruesome and hilarious ways. There is another twist at the end that I won’t give away.

This movie is a little bigger than the first and there are a few more stunts but basically, if you watched and enjoyed the first one, this one is not a bad follow up. I definitely chuckled through most of it although some of the jokes felt less than fresh.

The only thing I never really bought was the beginning of the movie where they say that there was no evidence of anyone else being at Cole’s house the night of the first movie. I mean, what? There was like ten gallons of blood spilled and major damage to multiple parts of the neighborhood but whatever, I will let it go, this is not Hamlet.

I will say that I hope they leave it here because I think any movie after this one is going to lose the point. Does this movie have a point? Well, not really but it’s still fun, dumb, entertainment which is exactly what I look for in a horror comedy.

If you like comedy and have a strong stomach, this is totally worth ninety minutes of dumb fun.

Comedically yours,

Slick Dungeon

Cursed: Bring Us In Good Ale (Episode 7) – #TVReview

Hey everyone, Slick Dungeon, here and I am back to review the seventh episode of the Netflix hit Cursed.

If you haven’t watched the first six episodes of the series, watch out because there are spoilers below.

The previous episode was somewhat slow moving and mostly a flashback to establish character development. This episode jumps right back into the action with exciting fight scenes, unseen threats and the furthering development of character relationships.

From the start of the episode, Arthur is under threat from the Red Paladins while Nimue is still trying to recover from her interactions with Merlin. Meanwhile a rival to the throne is making moves that could place him as head of the kingdom.

I think that so far this episode was my favorite. It has all of the things you want to see in a fantasy story. There are interesting battles with surprising outcomes, cool special effects, mysterious magicians doing their things, and inspirational speeches to the masses.

I don’t want to give too much away here but at the end of the episode I had goosebumps from how cool the whole thing was. The acting continues to be outstanding here and I still really enjoy the performances of Nimue and Merlin especially.

Now that I only have three episodes left to watch, I imagine the action and drama will only be ramped up and more exciting. Here’s hoping that is true.

Fantastically yours,

Slick Dungeon

Cursed: Festa and Moreii (Episode 6) – #TVReview

Hey everyone, Slick Dungeon, here and I am back to review the sixth episode of the Netflix hit Cursed.

If you haven’t watched the first six episodes of the series, watch out because there are spoilers below.

This episode was largely a flashback episode. After the big reveal of the previous episode, this one was a bit slow paced but it definitely gave us some vital information about Merlin’s past. We also learn a few more things about the sword that everyone is trying to get their hands on.

Nimue is off meeting with Merlin but we do get to see a little bit of what Arthur is up to here. He and the Green Knight are getting to know each other and their relationship is strained at best. A new character hopes to learn from Arthur as a squire.

So far, I think this episode has dragged the most which is disappointing considering how good the last episode was. I know there was a lot of stuff they had to set up here to make future episodes pay off but I feel like this went a little too far in the character development area while ignoring the action. At least up until the end but I won’t give away here what happens.

There were a few more side moments involving Arthur’s sister and a couple of other characters but I think it’s still going to be some time before that pays off. While I am excited for the next episode, this one was definitely the slowest paced. I imagine that will change as we pass the halfway mark for the first season. Here’s hoping it gets a little more exciting.

Fantastically yours,

Slick Dungeon