Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…
This crowd-funded, low-budget horror movie from the “found document” school of filmmaking plays like REC meets Christopher Smith’s Creep. The dark, claustrophobic tunnels that make up the film’s setting are the perfect place for tension and scares to ensue. The acting is fine, and while it mostly consists of people running and screaming, the characters are believable. I do wish we had gotten at least one good look at the wraith-like monster that stalks the protagonists, but I understand the filmmakers’ need to keep the viewer in suspense and never fully show their hand. This film was distributed by BitTorrent and is available to download for free! I strongly recommend getting your hands on a copy, because for a free horror movie this is really, really good, but I also encourage you to donate some money to the filmmakers for their efforts. I hope The Tunnel gains some popularity so that we can see other independantly made movies try this same approach.
3.5 out of 5
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
What should feel like an epic, swashbuckling return to form in fact turns out to be a dull, lazy attempt at recapturing what made the first Pirates of the Caribbean so much fun. Johnny Depp is still the Jack Sparrow we know and love, but making him the central character just doesn’t work. Geoffrey Rush is terrific as Barbossa, but the dramatic backstory surrounding his quest for revenge and the loss of his leg is never made to feel important to the progression of the film. Blackbeard is given NOTHING to do and is a completely wasted villain. The romantic subplot between the cleric and the mermaid makes no sense. The film is so full of plot holes that you could use it as a miniature golf course, and if you think about it for more than ten seconds, you’ll find yourself completely unimpressed with the slapdash nature of the script. Plus, there are only TWO zombies in this movie, they never do anything, and they get killed simultaneously. What a waste! And in the end, that’s what Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is – a big waste. A waste of opportunities, time, and money. It’s a damn shame, because this could have been so much more. To be fair, the special effects are good, the production design is solid, and the film is well put-together from a technical standpoint. But beyond the flash and bang of the visuals, this movie is nothing more than an empty shell. Never before has a film about the fountain of youth felt so old and tired.
2 out of 5
While it’s not the return to form for John Carpenter that I hoped it would be, The Ward plays with a lot of classic horror movie tropes in a way that shows it took a skilled hand to make it. Had this film come out before Shutter Island, I might have enjoyed it more, as the mental institution setting and psychologically twisted plot both feel very familiar when compared to Martin Scorsese’s movie. There’s nothing wrong with seeing something that’s been done before done again by a master of the genre, but The Ward never surpassed my expectations and honestly, it didn’t surprise me. You could do much worse than The Ward if you’re looking for a horror movie to watch, and John Carpenter fans can take some pleasure in seeing him return to the big screen, but this could have been more.
3 out of 5
See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!