The second Resident Evil movie is much like the first an enjoyable, ridiculously over the top action affair. I think I might like this one a bit better than the first, but that might be splitting hairs. There’s a story present but it serves the action rather than the other way around. Worth watching when you’re in the mood for something over the top that doesn’t require too much thought.
If you’ve seen the first or second Wishmaster, this is more of the same but not as good. As in the previous two movies, a young woman accidentally releases the djinn from the jewel that imprisons it, and wish-based shenanigans ensue. Because of course all the wishes turn bad. In the previous two movies the genie needed to trick people into making wishes in order for it to gain power. Once it had reached a certain level it would try to force the person who had freed it to make three wishes, which would allow it to bring hell to Earth. In this movie it apparently can skip to just that last three-wishes part, and all the other wish granting it does is just the djinn being an asshole. That makes the whole thing less interesting to me.
And speaking of less interesting… The guy who plays the djinn in this movie seems like a perfectly fine actor, but he doesn’t come close to the gleeful malice of Andrew Divoff from the previous two movies. In fact the second movie is the best of the series simply by virtue of most of it consisting of the djinn going around with a creepy smile and granting people wishes that kill them in horribly inventive ways. In this movie… someone’s heart explodes. That’s about as exciting as it gets. Not to give the wrong impression, this is a perfectly decent, 5/10 movie. It’s just bland compared to what came before.
I never really hear anyone mention this movie so I didn’t have terribly high expectations for it. Luckily it turns out it’s pretty good. Not a timeless classic certainly, but more than good enough to keep you entertained for a couple of hours. The basic premise is that a group of vampires manage to cut off all communications to a small town in Alaska as thirty days of polar night is about to set in. After that, events play out pretty much as you might expect. It was kind of cool that the vampires were talking in their own language. Less cool was that I watched without subtitles for three quarters of the movie until I realised that there was actually supposed to be a translation of what the vampires were saying. I haven’t quite decided if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that I could follow the movie’s story without any problems whatsoever without being aware of significant portions of dialogue.
I didn’t watch The Lost Boys until a few years ago, which means it invokes no sense of nostalgia in me beyond the hairstyles and clothes of the characters. I suspect that I would like this movie a whole lot more if I’d seen it when I was younger. As it is, it’s OK but not great. A little too much teenage angst for my taste, but not too bad. The characters are likeable enough. And the vampires are menacing in a way that actually would be terrifying if they were real.
Not for the squeamish. I’m not sure if much else needs to be said about Hellraiser II. It picks up hours after the end of the first movie with a highlight reel of its more gruesome parts. The daughter who survived herself wakes up in a mental hospital, and if that sounds foreboding, it is. She starts having disturbing visions and things quickly get worse from there. The movie is more disturbing than scary, and good gods there is a lot of blood. Enjoyment of the movie will probably largely hinge on one’s ability to appreciate its gruesomeness. It certainly makes a credible attempt at depicting hell.
It’s difficult to articulate an opinion about Necronomicon. Like a thing out of the Lovecraft stories that it is based on the movie seems unknowable and unnamable. It’s not good, but it’s not exactly bad Esther. It’s an anthology of three stories, with a wraparound story starring Jeffrey Combs as H. P. Lovecraft. There are parts and moments of the movie that are really good, only for it to turn outright bizarre. The first story is a creepy ghost story… plus a giant tentacle monster. The first half of the middle story is a surprisingly good adaptation of Lovecraft’s Cool Air. The second half did not live up to the beginning, to say the least. And the less said about the third story the better. All in all, as I said, the movie is difficult to get a grip on. If I had to be more definite, I’d say it is a bad movie with flashes of excellence.
The Whisperer in Darkness is by far the best movie I’ve seen this month. It is an adaptation of the Lovecraft story by the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society (who also did the amazing Call of Cthulhu). Call of Cthulhu was a silent film in the style of the time that the story was written and published. Likewise, The Whisperer in Darkness has been adapted as if it were made at the time that the story was written, in this case the early 1930’s. That’s right, it’s a talkie!
Quite a lot has been changed and added, but more or less all of it is for the better. I would not have minded a more literal adaptation, but the changes do make for a better movie. And it does retain the spirit of the original. Add to that that it looks great, is well acted and keeps the suspense up even for those that are familiar with the story (perhaps even more so for them), and you have a really good movie. It is probably not for everyone, at least a passing appreciation of Lovecraft is probably a good start. But for me, this is one movie I will be watching again. And again.