5. The Greasy Strangler
There is an audience out there for The Greasy Strangler. I’m just not a part of it. Granted, this is a film that is meant to be seen on the big screen in a sold out theater at midnight. I watched a screener by myself in my living room, so the atmosphere may not have been ideal. On the surface Jim Hosking’s film, about an elderly man (Michael St. Michaels) who covers himself in grease and strangles people when his relationship with his son (Sky Elobar) becomes strained after a woman (Eastbound & Down‘s Elizabeth De Razzo) enters their lives. There are plenty of disgusting moments and gross-out images present in the film, but they’re unable to hold your interest amidst the same jokes that are repeated over and over and over (and over) again. It gets boring after a while, and if a film with as much going on as The Greasy Strangler can bore you then it isn’t very good, no matter how intentional that badness is. If you enjoy The Greasy Strangler, good for you! But I’m going to hootie tootie disco cutie on out of here. I guess I’m just a bullshit artist.
4. Yoga Hosers
As someone who actually likes all of Kevin Smith’s work with the exception of Cop Out and Mallrats (yes, I even like Jersey Girl), I went in to Yoga Hosers with low expectations and somehow still walked out disappointed. The second installment in Smith’s True North Trilogy which began in 2014 with Tusk and will conclude with Moose Jaws* is a sloppy, unfunny inside “joke” that only Smith seems to be in on. This is a film where Smith plays multiple 1′ tall Nazi Bratwursts (Bratzis) that crawl up people’s butts and out their mouths to harass the titular yoga hosers (the two Colleens from Tusk) who are played by his daughter (Harley Quinn Smith) and Johnny Depp’s daughter (Lily-Rose Depp). The film’s 88 minutes are filled with obnoxious Canadian stereotypes (do you think Canadians saying “aboot” instead of “about” is funny? You’re about to hear a lot of it) and some cringe-worthy attempts at humor. The two leads are charming but must work with a script that is so pedestrian that you have to wonder if Smith was trying to sabotage his daughter. It’s telling when the best part of your movie is a music video (of the Colleens singing “O Canada”) shot during the credits.
Call me a glutton for punishment, but I’m still excited for Moose Jaws.
3. Phantasm: Ravager
I will get a lot of shit for this so I’m steeling myself for the comments, but I really did not enjoy Phantasm: Ravager. I am not a fan of the Phantasm franchise, so I’m the last person that should be reviewing the fifth and final entry, but here I am. Had I grown up watching the films my opinion may be different than it is now, but I unfortunately saw the first three films when I was 25 (I have yet to see the fourth). It’s just not my cup o’ tea. That being said, I can’t imagine anyone enjoying this film (though some people certainly have). It plays like a cheaply made student film. While it was made on an extremely low budget over the course of several years, first time feature director David Hartman simply doesn’t have the skill to make this movie. It is clear that a lot of heart is in the film and everyone had good intentions, but it’s a stretch to even call this a film. The editing is atrocious, the acting is sub-par and the script is nonsensical (though that’s sort of a Phantasm trademark). The effects are laughably bad but I won’t hold that against it since that’s the least of the film’s problems. You may think I’m being too harsh on a film whose intentions are so pure, but I just think of how I would feel if another Scream (my favorite horror franchise) film ever got made and turned out like this. As a fan I would feel insulted. This is how Phantasm fans should feel after seeing this movie. I’m genuinely happy for the fans though. They did get an ending to their beloved franchise. I just don’t get it.
Stephen King adaptations are notorious for being hit-or-miss. Cell definitely falls into the “miss” category. While we were gifted this year with Hulu’s amazing adaptation of 11/22/63 back in February, June finally saw the release of Cell, an adaptation that could have afforded to spend a little more time in post-production (or maybe it couldn’t?). After being announced in 2007 (Eli Roth was originally attached to direct it), Cell was stuck in development hell before finally starting production in 2014. John Cusack is doing his best Nicolas Cage impression while Samuel L. Jackson looks embarrassed to be there. The nine-year delay didn’t help things, as Cell was a product of its time, making the film adaptation feel outdated and irrelevant to today’s society. The film starts strongly with a sequence set in an airport that inspires genuine chills, but it’s all downhill from there. Cell is filled with clichés, not very scary and actually pretty silly. This is a film that was slapped together haphazardly in the editing room and dumped quietly on VOD services, showing that no one involved was proud of what they created. And they shouldn’t be.
1. Cabin Fever
The big question surrounding Travis Zariwny’s remake of Eli Roth’s 2002 gorefest is: Why? The film used the same script but switched out the cast and crew (Roth stuck around to executive produce though). It is essentially the same film but with all of Roth’s trademark humor and playfulness removed, making for a miserable viewing experience. Rather than tackle the screenplay with a different approach, Zariwny is content to sleepwalk through the filming process and play the whole thing straight. It does not improve upon the original in any way. Shockingly, the film is even less gory than Roth’s original. None of the actors look like they’re enjoying themselves. Cabin Fever 2016 is an appalling, pointless and (worst of all) boring film. It may be the worst remake ever made.
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