Piranhaconda review

0

piranhaconda

Whilst in Hawaii, Professor Lovegrove discovers a remarkably rare Piranhaconda egg and steals it from its nest but on his journey to escape, he must overcome a film crew, a kidnap plot and two very angry Piranhaconda parents…

Piranhaconda turns the standard Syfy formula into an entertaining romp with interesting characters, a clear plot, realistic character motivations, witty dialogue, surprisingly ‘meta’ jokes and an interesting hybrid creature.

Despite its meagre budget, Piranhaconda is actually quite adventurous and varied compared to the average Syfy fare. The film has a huge cast, plenty of guns and props, reasonable special effects and vehicle-wise contains cars, vans, boats, quad bikes and a helicopter. Also a rocket launcher.

Gone are many of the cheap production issues that plagued Sharktopus, instead we have nicely framed shots, good editing, no extraneous rubbish or filler material and everything has a nice professional edge. Sometimes the cinematography is a little cheap and the weather changes per-shot occasionally but the entertaining performances, swift pace and clear plot keep the action engaging.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Dark Tide review

0

darktide

After a fatal shark attack kills a diver under her command, the famed ‘Shark Whisperer’ vows never to enter shark-infested waters again. One year later, a thrill-seeking millionaire offers her a lucrative deal to take him to Shark Alley, the world’s deadliest feeding ground. To save her business, Kate must face her demons and accept his proposal

Dark Tide is a beautifully shot film with a respectable shark conservancy moral at its heart but it suffers from a dull narrative and saggy pacing.

Halle Berry gives one of the best performances that I’ve seen from her in years and her character is well-written and allows her to show some real range. Shark whisperer Kate Mathieson is the perfect hero for a creature feature as she’s a highly skilled, super competent, very moral and strong willed woman with a tragic backstory and enough agency to drive the narrative who is pushed to her breaking point. The rest of the cast put in fine performance whilst Mark Elderkin is hilarious and underused as ship hand Tommy.

Continue reading

Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! review

0

sharknado3-1

First it was California, then it was New York, now Florida and Washington D.C. are the next targets of a deadly Sharknado. Fortunately, this time April and Finn have some back up from their relatives!

Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! faces the difficult task of being bigger, better and more insane than its predecessors and for the most part, it succeeds.

As per usual, Ian Ziering is great. His straight-faced unrepentant heroism and reckless martyrism make him a fantastic hero and the perfect lead for the shark-based campiness. Cassie Scerbo makes a welcome return as Nova whilst Tara Reid gives her strongest performance yet as (the now pregnant) April.

The opening is a lot of fun with Washington DC being struck by a sharknado whilst Fin receives a medal (and a golden chainsaw) from the President. It’s super entertaining to watch famous landmarks being destroyed by flying sharks and it felt fresh as the film-makers had (probably wisely) not attempted it with New York.

Continue reading

Sharknado review

0

sharknado

When a freak monsoon floods California, beach bar owner Fin Shepherd must work together with his friends to travel inland and rescue his ex-wife and children before a deadly shark swirling tornado wipes LA off the map. Will he be able to outrun the Sharknado?

The Asylum historically focus on making cheap and crappy knock-offs but their recent run of successful creature features continues as although Sharknado is low-budget and poorly executed, it manages to be what it is better than most of its peers.

Ian Ziering leads the cast and easily gives the best performance. He makes the shift from easy-going beach bar owner to stern and responsible protector of his family believable and both he and Cassie Scerbo are able to carry some of the weaker members of the cast.

However the bane of nearly all cheap creature features is shooting outside and Sharknado suffers greatly. The inconsistent cinematography bounces from exposing to the bright sky, causing the actors to become blurry silhouettes to exposing to the actor’s faces, causing the sky to become a detail-less glowing white explosion.

Continue reading

Sharknado 2: The Second One review

0

sharknado2

The Sharknado is back but this time in New York, can Fin and April save the day again so far from home?

Sharknado 2: The Second One ramps up the action of the first film but so too the campiness and cheesiness.

Once again, Ian Ziering is the best thing on-screen. Zaniness can only get you so far and with a weaker lead star, the Sharknado films would undoubtedly be not nearly as successful as they are. Ziering is a great actor who whilst able to wink at the audience every now and again, is still the serious emotional centre of the film.

There are a few new additions worth noting as well. The new cast led by the Kari Wuhrer and Sugar Ray are entertaining enough whilst the increased threat of having one Sharknado collide with another to make a super Sharknado is a great way to up the ante from the first film’s finale. The celebrity cameos are unnecessary but fun (Oh hey, it’s Kurt Angle and Biz Markie!) and the degree of shark related insanity reaches a whole new level of fun.

Continue reading

Kazuo Umezu’s Horror Theatre: Snake Girl review

0

horrortheatre

Based on the manga by Kazuo Umezu. Traumatized after witnessing a violent murder, depressed teenager Yumiko finds herself re-appreciating life after being sent to stay with her cousins in their remote mountain village. However after she gets bitten by an evil snake demon, Yumiko finds that the superstitious villagers are less than understanding…

First context: Snake Girl is the third chapter of a six part anthology titled Kazuo Umezu’s Horror Theatre. Each chapter is an adaptation of one of Umezu’s famous horror manga stories, independent and unrelated to one another.

Second context: I haven’t read the source material for Snake Girl nor have I read anything else by Kazuo Umezu. In fact, I don’t read manga at all.

Snake Girl is an entertaining way to spend 54 minutes but it feels like a lot of build up to a very unsatisfying climax.

Continue reading

Deep Blue Sea review

0

deepbluesea

Believing that sharks hold the key to curing Alzheimer’s, a team of scientists chemically increase the brain matter of three sharks for their research. Unfortunately this also make the sharks super intelligent and they soon begin a deadly siege of the scientist’s underwater lab…

With its huge budget and great cast, Deep Blue Sea is a fantastically fun adventure but the real stars of the shows are the outstanding animatronic sharks.

Despite being made back in 1999, I am going to stick my neck out and say that Deep Blue Sea has some of the best creature animatronics in any movie – ever. Having these giant robotic sharks that can swim and interact with actors makes a huge difference and creates some staggering sequences and especially memorable death scenes. CGI is still used for the more outrageous shots but the degree of physicality in the shots with the animatronic is, in my opinion, unmatched by any other creature feature past, present and future.

Continue reading

Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys review

0

bloodlake

When lamprey start attacking the citizens of a quiet lake town, it’s up to Fish & Wildlife Ranger, Michael, to uncover the mystery surrounding their on-land assault. However, he must first contend with Mayor Akerman who is unwilling to take any drastic measures so close to tourist season….

Considering its 2014 release, Blood Lake is a very classic creature feature.

Whilst the story isn’t overly original, the film hits all the right beats and the action is very well paced. The majority of the named characters have motivations and agency and on the whole, the acting is actually pretty good (Zach Ward in particular).

The cinematography is solid and it seems like a lot of thought was put into the shots as the majority of the framing looks great and the tracking is very professional. Blood Lake serves as an antithesis to shaky handheld camera work which so many low budget productions rely on.

There are even a few very interesting flourishes including the inside-the-bucket shots and a fantastic moment where Nicole trips whilst fleeing the Lamprey horde and the camera just flows over her body.

Continue reading

Extinction review

0

extinctionjurassicpredators

Whilst on an expedition in the jungles of Peru, a team of cryptozoologists, researchers and journalists discover a pair of dinosaurs that not only survived the mass extinction but have evolved and adapted ever since. This will be the discovery of a life, if they can escape the jungle alive…

Extinction: Jurassic Predators is a very physical film.

Like a lot of its Found Footage brethren, Extinction is comprised of about 80% travelling shots but this includes our cast trekking, hiking, climbing, clambering, running and wading through the hills, forests and rivers of Wales, which is doubling for Peru.

Considering the degree of physicality required, I thought that the cast did a good job. The accents never shake, Sarah Mac has a fantastic TV journalist voice, most of the jokes land successfully and although they’re not fantastically deep characters, the actors stay consistent and true to their character’s key personality traits (Michelle is very serious, James is not serious, Lisa is quiet, Tim is neurotic etc).

Continue reading

Boa vs Python review

0

boavspython

After a giant Python escapes from its convoy, eccentric billionaire and extreme hunting enthusiast Broddick assembles a hunting party to track the snake down. At the same time however, the FBI enlist a genetically enhanced Scarlet Boa to seek out and kill the giant Python…

Boa vs Python is one of the earliest creature feature crossovers and I still believe that it holds up as being one of the best.

Not only does the film deliver on the promise of the premise but we’re even given a fairly interesting set of human characters to follow. David Hewlett and Jaime Bergman are our serious scientist protagonist and the formation of their relationship is believable and well-paced.

The designs for the snakes are beautiful with the bright blue colouring for the Python and the beautiful scarlet red for the Boa and although the majority of their scenes take place underground or at night, it is nice to see the creatures get such a screen presence. The choice to have the two bright primary colours really helps to differentiate between them especially when they become coiled together mid-battle.

Continue reading