Black Kiss — AVP: Requiem — Species: The Awakening — Timber Falls — movie reviews
Posted on May 5, 2008 by Chris Nelson
So I’ve seen a few titles over the past month, but just haven’t had any time to review them. So, rather than let them fall to the wayside, here are a few quick capsules. As for regular film/dvd reviews, I’ve just received a flood of titles, including Bohachi and Shinobi no Mono 2: Vengeance. Look for them to post in the coming week or so. Now, on to the reviews.
If only America’s Next Top Model were like this. In Macoto Tezuka’s Black Kiss, the Tokyo modeling scene is terrorized by a crafty serial killer – one whose maker-fest skills involve reducing women and men alike to pin-cushioned, macrame’d works of modern art. When Asuka (Reika Hashimoto), a new model on the elite amazon scene, witnesses a murder/carving first hand, both she and her roommate, former it-girl Kasumi (Kaori Kawamura), become targets, and possibly prime suspects. As the bodies pile up an even more thrilling mystery unfolds, incorporating everything from Seven-esque neo-noir investigations to Serpent and the Rainbow voodoo juju. And, not to spoil anything, but there’s even a tertiary murderous gimp to be found! Black Kiss falls apart a bit toward the end, but for the majority of its runtime it manifests a palpable tension and genuine thrills. I definitely dug it.
Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem
Yah, I probably don’t need to review this one. AVP:R reduces both franchises to teen slasher fare, albeit with more on-screen kills than said genre could ever afford with a comparable rating. The film is surprisingly boring, despite some decent special effects and impressive Predator/Alien hybrid. I didn’t feel anything for any of the characters, or either side of the conflict. Just, blah…. Still, the willingness of the filmmakers to off any and every character at the drop of a hat, as well as their blatant disregard for political correctness made the droll proceedings a bit more fun. Plus, it was kind of cool to see any movie take place in Crested Butte, Colorado (I spent some of my high-school years in CO). But yeah, no real recommendation to be found here.
Species: The Awakening
Yup. Believe it or not, a fourth Species movie does exist. And, even worse, the local library spent my tax dollars on purchasing it. But you know what? Maybe because of lowered expectations, and the terrible Requiem, this Species wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Sure, it doesn’t hold a candle to the original, the “explosive” sequel, or even bad episodes of The Outer Limits, but it does maintain a certain degree of watchability. The basic story sees another Sil-type girl, lab-grown again, learning of her true, alien-nature and fighting other aliens in Mexico. Yup, Mexico. Add some alien tentacle nuns, some truly unappetizing sex scenes, and a handful of wonky special effects, and you’ve got yourself a late night entertainment to watch in lieu of those Tony Little exercise informercials. I’m not saying to go out and rent this sucker, but if you find that a local institution has given you free access to the title, you might want to check it out.
Another sort of hybrid film. This time, think Deliverance/Wrong Turn meets Rosemary’s Baby via Misery and Jerry Fallwell sermons. In Timber Falls a backpacking couple finds themselves set upon by a grossly disfigured killer, and worse, a group of Christian fundamentalists. Not satisfied to simply pass out pamphlets informing the couple of their pending eternal damnation (they’re unwed and frisky), the cult kidnaps and tortures them, while forcefully requesting they set about making a baby to donate to their cause. What follows is fairly ugly and cliched, but nonetheless effective. Timber Falls has a bit more thought to it than your usual Saw and Hostel fests, and despite some wonky acting and overall low-budget aesthetic, it might be of interest to members of those fanbases. It’s not great, but it’ll make you squirm. Take that for what you will.
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