Movie Review: Evil Dead (2013)

When I heard they were making a new Evil Dead I was both excited and worried. For one Evil Dead a beloved cult classic while on the other it is a remake per se and you know how they can go right. Well this seem’s to fall in a grey space for me so let’s get right to it.

For one this new Evil Dead is grittier in that it takes itself somewhat seriously this time around and starts the movie off with a plot. A group of young adults head to this cabin in the woods where they attempt to help their friend Mia (and one of the character’s sister) in detoxing from her drug use over the course of a weekend. Now we already know that there was some freaky things that happened at this cabin via a flashback so it’s only a matter of time before things get out of hand.

In fact it takes almost no time at all for things to start going down the drain for these people. Mia is seemingly possessed after one of the friends reads from the necronomicon found in the basement and inadvertently summons this malevolent demon / spirit. From that point on there is the typical body count and craziness one would expect.

There are plenty of homages to the previous Evil Dead that you will be wondering if they are trying to freshen things up or are we simply watching a retread. Again depending on your taste it can go either way. I would go so far however as to say that it was too much retread. Rather then making the reboot their own thing they kept trying to use what we already have seen before and the movie comes off as being incredibly lazy.

The acting started off pretty good as well with everyone playing their designated roles and the prospect of the brother-sister relationship rebuilding between Mia and David had plenty of potential. But once the gore fest commenced this took an almost amusing backseat because she was possessed throughout the whole movie. Everyone else who seemed interesting initially were just fodder for the meat grinder.

And while the tone at the beginning of the movie is serious and the acting being quite decent we are torn away part way through the movie with ridiculous dialogue from the possessed friends as they each have their moment under the spotlight. It’s like they tried to inject campy dialogue from the original during these supposedly scary moments. Yes, let’s have the demon / spirit / possessed person yell “cunt” in various phrases. Oh the horror! When that moment hit, Evil Dead lost all credibility it had going for it. It’s ok to use expletives and other foul language in a horror movie. Hell it is expected but the dialogue was sophomoric. Maybe I expect better from demons / spirits.

This Evil Dead embraces gore and gives people a sight that is rarely seen. At times it was outlandish with how far it was going. But if you’re a fan of that type of gorefest then you will be more than happy with what this movie has to offer. At times even I had to admire the sheer amounts of fake blood used.

Evil Dead is an interesting beast. I think they had the intention of doing something new to freshen up the franchise and reboot it yet they missed their opportunity rather spectacularly and made a remake that brought nothing new to the table except current special effects and cinematography. I will admit the trailer had me fooled. I expected a somewhat serious take on the movie and doing something new. It is not the worst movie I have seen and I would go so far to say to at least rent it on a cheap night but I almost wish this had never been made.

Movie Review: The Conjuring

If you have any fascination with the spiritual world and probably even if you didn’t the name Ed & Lorraine Warren have certainly been heard. They are renowned investigators of the paranormal and demonic with many high profile cases such as the Amityville Horror. Now whether you believe any of their work or not is up to you but we have a treatment of one of their cases in the form of The Conjuring.

The Conjuring stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as Lorraine and Ed Warren as they are called in to help a family who has suddenly be plagued with not only odd occurrences in their home but the onset of being terrorized by the supernatural.

James Wan who directed this movie has taken it upon himself to treat the subject with a lot of respect. Often we see “based on” movies that go out of their way to hollywood everything to a point where you couldn’t believe what you are watching. James Wan however takes a more subtle approach in The Conjuring. If you were to imagine an escalating haunting then you could totally believe the events in the movie and that is what makes it so scary.

The movie is also not just about the haunting that took place but also the people involved. Performances are top-notch and you in turn feel a connection with all who are involved which is also difficult when presenting a movie like that. Often times one element is sacrificed for another whether deliberate or not but in this movie that fine balance is made.

In terms of atmosphere The Conjuring has you on your toes with all it’s subtleties. I would even say that it is a treat to watch in how well done it is. The tension in the theatre was thick and just about everyone jumped at one point or another. It was good to see a movie have an audience entranced like that.

Also if you are a fan of the Warrens and have read their books or perhaps just read online about their cases then this movie will also please you in the reference to the Annabelle case. I won’t go into description of the case itself as you can quickly google it but having read a book on their cases as well as online information I was left grinning ear to ear on it’s brief inclusion. Oh and don’t forget to look out for Lorraine Warren herself who cameo’s in the movie.

The Conjuring is a movie that you should definitely go a see. If you’re looking for something to renew your faith that a good haunting movie can be made then you will be vindicated. This movie was a labor of love and it comes across as such. It will please both newcomers and also fans of the Warrens with references and actual pictures at the end. I cannot recommend this movie enough and do hope to see movie case files handled with such a treatment.

Movie Review: Hollow

When it comes to horror movies a cover can trigger my excitement for a movie. I know they can be misleading as the common term for books is “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” and the same can be said for movies however this one just caught my attention as did the synopsis blurb.

The movie follows four teens as they travel to a cottage for a getaway which happens to be near a monastery as well as an old tree with a frightening legend to it. Apparently people have a tendency to commit suicide by hanging themselves via the tree.

Hollow is another in the found footage genre but that is not necessarily a bad thing. When it comes to these types of movies I don’t jump on the “not another one of these” bandwagons but rather I pretend no other found footage films have been made. This let’s me judge it in a fresh light. The use of the genre in this particular movie is okay. Obviously there are bits and pieces that you need to fill in the blanks as they use the method as a way to create atmosphere. However what creates the most atmosphere is the english countryside in which they are located. From the ruins of the monastery to the tree itself. It is pretty freaking creepy.

With that being said though you never feel fulfilled though. When things start building up it almost seem’s to be done too quickly. The mythology of the hollow tree itself could have been something much more but it never seem’s to attain it’s full potential. In the end you do end up feeling hollow which is somewhat ironic.

The characters themselves just seem your typical adolescent self involved jerks. Obviously they try to slip in a nude scene with the found footage method and there is a drug induced scene which brings nothing to the table.

Hollow is a movie that when your done watching could have been something so much more but there is still something to be found it it that is still entertaining. It may not pay off as a movie that will make it on your shelves permanently but it is something you should go out and rent when you have the chance when you are just looking for something different.

RPG Hub Movie Review: Friday the 13th (1980)

Being near Halloween now, I always like to go through my old collection of horror flicks so with that being said, let’s take a look at one of, if not THE innovator of the slasher genre. Friday the 13th even to this day and age stands as a classic but I think what people remember most is the infamous character Jason Vorhees that stands out. However the series actually didn’t even have Jason as a principle character and maybe that was a good thing.

Friday the 13th is campy, never taken too serious but is still more serious in tone then it’s sequels hope to be. A group of yound teenagers are gathering at Camp Crystal Lake where the buildings are being renovated for a new group of children to come visit during their summer. But the movie starts us off showing an murder of two young teenagers. This gives the area a bad reputation and a local name of Camp Blood. Also there is oddball local who likes to say how dangerous the place is. He tends to pop in and out at random places and survives despite it all no less.

It doesn’t take long for the new teenagers to start dropping but there is a bit of buildup. Effort is made to give the place a good impression and how calm it could be. So when things do start hitting the fan then we are made uneasy as that sense of comfort is suddenly not there. During the murder scenes we never see who the killer is but rather the legs and feet. This makes us wonder who it is as some characters even seem to know the killer.

Eventually we have the climax with the lone survivor confronting the killer who ends up to be Jason Vorhees mother who is taking revenge on councillors as her son Jason was left unattended and drowned. While being an accident we can quite relate to these days in current events over the summer, Mrs Vorhees has become deranged with anger and grief. Times where she talks to herself as if it were her son telling her what to do is extremely creepy and well done. While she is small in stature she makes up for in a crazy mom next door which is unsettling and maybe all the more scary. She comes off as warm and caring during her somewhat sane and luring into false sense of security moments. Kudos for the acting job well done Betsy Palmer. It’s not a large role in the movie but it’s got the most impact and makes the movie.

Also when we think all is over we have a scene of Jason as a boy coming out of the water to pull into the water. It’s another classic horror movie moment and opens the movie for a sequel if need be or an amusing finale otherwise. These dream like endings would be common for both the Friday the 13th series as well as Nightmare of Elm Street.

We also have the chance to see Kevin Bacon in one of his early roles. The horror movie genre tends to be a good stepping stone for many actors to start their careers and other movies will introduce others as well. It’s a tradition that won’t soon end in my opinion.

The movie doesn’t have the gore quantity other installments will have. The goriest scene would probably be Kevin Bacon’s characters demise with an arrow through the throat. For it’s time it is done well however these days we can see the setup for that scene quite well. Got to love those latex flesh ripping. You would never think skin so stretchable. There is also some T’n’A but again, not as much as the sequels to have but it is amusing that teenagers in a forest can only think about pot and sex.

There is not a lot more that can be said about Friday the 13th except that it stands the test of time as being maybe not a scary movie these days but definitely a classic worth seeing. Forget the zombie Jason, come say hello to mama Vorhees! The plot is thin and the acting sub par but you will still have a good pop corn movie night with your friends and that’s what it is all about. Go check it out! In fact, check out the original trailer that almost shows all the kills.

TV Show Review: 666 Park Avenue – Pilot

This year one of the newer tv shows is 666 Park Avenue. While the title may sound like a Melrose Place type of drama, it is far from it. The show is very much a Stephen King type of show in that while it is in the horror / suspense genre it is all very subtle in how it is handled.

The premise of the episode is about a couple. Jane and Henry who apply for a job at The Drake as hotel managers. The Drake is owned by Gavin Doran and his wife Olivia and while The Drake seem’s very old but posh in features has a dark side to it. There is also more then it seems to Gavin and his wife Olivia as from the opening scene of the show, there are dark forces at work and we soon find out that people who are in need seem to have an opportunity headed their way, but always at a price.

We get to encounter some of the neighbors in this pilot and also see how things work at The Drake. The neighbors thus far are an interesting bunch..well those who survived this first episode.But this brings a lot of potential for interesting twists and turns and this show seem’s to revel in this fact. Each neighbor is a self contained story full of potential as everyone wants something and the devil is willing to provide. The deaths in this episode are not gore filled so for you horror enthusiasts this subtlety might not be your cup of tea but for prime time it’s extremely well done.

We see how Jane is slowly being manipulated by Olivia early on as they go shopping together. Being new to the city and poor, Olivia gets right to it by offering her an expensive dress but while Jane plays the modest part we see the temptation there. And Olivia’s portrayal of manipulation is so spot on that you can just feel her trying to edge her way into Jane’s life and debt.

Gavin also pulls a stunt on Henry after putting him near a potential conflict of interest in a court case which could cost him his job. But again this is done in such a manipulative way that you almost root for how devilish the devil is being.

But does all this mean that Gavin is “the devil”? Well we can’t be too sure yet though indications all seem to point to it from contract signings to hollow promises. Terry O’Quinn does an excellent job in portraying this devilish character. He just seem’s perfect for the job and Vanessa Williams who plays Olivia does an equal job of playing the mischievous role. You can tell when actors love their roles and you can see it in their performances.

666 Park Avenue is a definitely must see show. It’s spooky but subtle. It’s enjoyable from start to finish and if this is any indication for how this show will continue to be then I will be along for the ride. The potential for new twists as new tenants come into The Drake is limitless. I look forward to seeing the various types of characters and their bargains they manage to get themselves into. I really suggest you check out this show.

Movie Review: Dredd 3D

If your a film of the comics and a film of action movies in general then you HAVE to see this movie. I cannot emphasize this enough. You may have vague memories of a Sylvester Stallone movie entitled Judge Dredd. Forget about that one and burn the memory from your mind.

Dredd 3D is essentially a reboot of the franchise on a smaller budget which stars Karl Urban as the rough edged Judge Dredd as he takes criminals on one at a time in the sprawling Mega City One. The premise of the movie is that he is teamed with a rookie Judge named Anderson (played by Olivia Thirlby) as she is a mutant telepath who is to be brought into the force as an asset. Dredd is to supervise her and test her but they soon stumble into a block war with the Ma Ma gang.

Dredd is action packed from start to finish. It’s unapologetic in the violence and revels in the gritty nature of the setting of Mega City One. Karl Urban’s enterpretation of Dredd is spot on. He is rough around the edges and does not hesitate to do what needs to be done. In fact he seems to even enjoy the havok. One of the interesting aspects is that throughout the movie Dredd will never remove his helmet. This is done purposely as he is to be seen first and formost as a judge. Anderson is the reluctant trainee who doesn’t have Dredd’s ability to kill however justified by their “law” they may be. As the movie progresses we get some depth from the character and despite their differences, Dredd and Anderson make an actual good team. Ma Ma is played by Lena Headey who does a great job at playing a psychotic criminal gang leader. She stands her ground and makes an interesting opponent for Dredd.

Dredd 3D as the title indicates uses 3D but not in a tacked on way. While lots of movies these days will make everything in 3D but never really impress, Dredd uses it for some really awesome effects. They use it often during drug induced scenes as the characters take this new drug called Slow Mo. It’s very impressive how some of the effects actually feel right in front of you. They also use 3D during fights especially with close up gun shots. One memorable moment is a gunshot through the face all in slow motion and 3D.

Being on a smaller budget and being a turf war within a huge block in Mega City One, Dredd has a very closed atmosphere. It’s dark and gritty and shows us the harsh life of people in that world. But while there isn’t an abundance in classy looking scenery, the more cramp areas really work well.

Dredd 3D does what it was meant for and that is entertain. If your a fan of the comics you will be pleased as this redeems the franchise on the silver screen. Unfortunately as of this writing a lot of people have not seen it and it’s not doing particularly well. And it is a damn shame too as this is leaps and bounds better then it predecessor and on a lesser budget.

If there is one movie you should give a chance to this year it is this one. I don’t think you will be disappointed and hopefully we can see Karl Urban as Dredd again sometime in the near future. It would be a shame not to explore the gritty world of Mega City One.

Movie Review: House at the End of the Street

Being the horror movie buff that I am, I went to the movies with the guys to go see House at the End of the Street. When I first looked at the trailer on tv and online it looked primarily like a supernatural styled horror movie however I was both disappointed and surprised at what I did see.

House at the End of the Street follows a mother played by Elizabeth Shue and her daughter played by Jennifer Lawrence (of the now Hunger Games fame) as they move into a house in order to start their lives anew. The movie however opens up with a murder of two parents by their daughter and years later the house long considered off limits by townsfolk is now the neighbor of Elizabeth Shue and Jennifer Lawrence’s home.The house of the murders is occupied by the parents son and eventually his fate becomes entwined with Jennifer Lawrence’s character as she ends up playing a white knight to his brooding solitary character.

Eventually what you think will be a supernatural type of movie ends up being totally psychological but nothing too profound. Some parts will have you wondering with tiny hints placed here and there to make you question things with the eventual reveal at the climax.

I found a lack of supernatural aspect of the film to be a bit disappointing as the psychological aspects of the movie seem very much repetitive of other movies. It does have some decent scares as the audience jumped at a few parts but those parts were spaced out leaving the film to rest on the shoulders on simply being character driven.

We don’t get much in the way of background information on the main characters aside from the father is out of the picture. Is he dead? Was it a divorce? Nothing is explicitly mentioned and the mother is just learning to be a mom. We are led to believe there is some sort of wild past but nothing more. The daughter comes off as somewhat mellow but pushy when it comes to interacting with males. While they may have attempted to play Jennifer Lawrence’s character off as strong she comes off as slightly unlikeable. You honestly feel a bit more sympathy for the overbearing mother who is discovering how to parent her child again.

Max Thieriot’s portrayal as the brooding neighbor outcast is the most convincing of the performances. Relegated to being an outcast in the town by a bunch of snobs who blame his family incident for declining their property evaluations he does a solid job however it’s not exactly that demanding either. And yes, everyone seem’s to be pissed off at him for this reason primarily. His family history is considered secondary.

The rest of the acting is rather two dimensional and wooden. You have nice rich kid who is suddenly the biggest douche on the planet, a naive police officer, snobby neighbors galore and some who play friends to Jennifer Lawrence’s character. But this is where the movie mostly rests upon is the interactions of all these character in building up this supposed black stain on the community being the murders of these two parents. It falls terribly short in this regard and comes off as a missed opportunity.

For those liking any kind of gore in your horror movie you will be terribly disappointed as there is nothing at all to see. It’s very tame however there is some gigantic leaps of logic at the end of the movie that those buff’s out there will probably come out insulted.

House at the End of the Street has a lot of potential to be something more then it is even staying on it’s psychological horror theme. It has moments of great concepts but nothing is ever truly fleshed out. The characters never have any true depth and there are seeds that could have been explored further. With all that being said I wish I could recommend this movie to be seen in your local cinema however I wholeheartedly recommend that it simply becomes a rental option for you. You will be less disappointed that way for one and really that’s all it’s worth. It’s enjoyable but nothing more.

Video Game Review: The Last Story

The Last Story is a Wii game made by Mistwalker Studios which you may have heard rumblings about in the past. For one it was not even expected to head to North America and took a lot of petitioning via Operation Rainfall to get attention to this title as well as two others. Finally though this supposed epic RPG headed our way and luckily I managed to pick up a copy of this limited release.

The Last Story takes us on a journey of a young group of merc’s lead by Dagran but you play his best friend Zael. This is a bit on the odd side but it works story wise. You aspire to be a knight as the life of a merc is a relentless one and fortune smiles by the fateful meeting between Zael and the Princess Calista who ran away from home. Things pick up and conspiracies are afoot leading to an epic story between two cultures and mysterious beings who seek their freedom.

The story is very compelling but I expect no less from Sakaguchi. The first few hours of the game can have some awkward pacing. You might find yourself at a lack of direction. Actually may times you will and simply walking somewhere will trigger the next part which makes you wonder. But despite this the story is truly one worth experiencing. There is greed, love, fear, prejudice and plenty other topics covered. I like when my RPG can cover a range of themes and not just the hero saves the day. It’s gritty and it takes everything in stride. You are looking at a definite solid 20 hours game time to complete the game but there are sub quests to deviate you and expand this time.

The characters are all british voiced which is interesting. It’s interesting to us in North America as it’s not frequently done where a game is completely done this way. It’s nice and very well done. The characters are an ecclectic group with varying personalities. Over the course of the game you really get to know them and in the case of some there stories really blossom near the end of the game. It’s nice to see a fully fleshed out group.

Gameplay wise I am a bit less satisfied. The controls for the Wii offer no particular value. While I don’t want waggle slapped in for the heck of it I would liketo see some inventive ways to use it. However the wii mote is relegated to being used occasionally for shooting a crossbow and that is simply a targeter on the screen and voila. The game attempts to be strategic at times by having destructable obstacles or providing magical enemies in the rear of an enemy group. The idea is that you need to plan your attacks however I found probably 90% of the time I would run and kill.

The biggest gripe typically is levelling in an RPG. Typically they all tend to be rather grinding. I almost thought this was dispelled by The Last Story. Throughout the whole game everything went extremely well. I never felt underpowered compared to an enemy and even bosses fell to my blade however that being said there was the final boss. Suddenly the difficulty skyrocketed and I thought I was missing something. While some bosses were challenging I would be wipped out within minutes at the end of a 20 minute final boss which is ANNOYING. That said I looked online and sure enough, there was no special strategy, nothing required except…level grinding. Now being at the end I couldn’t go out and find any bad guys to kill. Instead there is what is a called a summoning circle. You summon enemies that you can kill if your lagging behind. I had to gain literally 10 levels (so from level 54-64) to be able to beat the last boss. This is poor design. Either make the boss scalable or make enough encounters to bring your group up to the level they should be.

The levels are very well put together and offers a crisp flow. A quickly accessible map lets you jump areas. I won’T say quickly however as loading is a bit of an issue. Now I am not sure if this is a problem of the Wii primarly however the game loads every 5 fucking minutes. Go here, load and wait. Go there, load and wait. The load times are not overly long but there is a lot of them which is really annoying.

Visually they game is a mixed bag. It falls on Playstation 2 type of graphics and even then I find them at times sub standard even for that. The cutscenes are gorgeous which makes you take a step back and think why is there such a difference. Now we all know the Wii cannot produce super duper graphics but seeing games like Xenoblade and Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword you have to wonder what the problem is. It seem’s at times that the whole world had this blurr effect going on. At first I chalked it up to dirty glasses and subsequently cleaned them however I noticed that nope, not going away. Alright for it’s trying to mask that it looks maybe not so good.

Now while I have mentioned some negatives don’t let it detract you from playing this. They are very small ticks that piss me off but the game is still a lot of fun to be playing and to simply experience the story is worth it.And let’s not forget to musical score by Nobuo Uematsu which is top notch. While there isn’t a lot of songs they are melodic and very classic. Of course while there are melodic songs there is also some rock music for boss battles which is much more up temp.

The Last Story was almost a perfect name for this Wii game which was more or less Nintendo’s swan song for the current generation of games in North America. I have to give praise to Mistwalker for making an excellent game all around and beingĀ  at the forefront of RPG game design.

Movie Review: Halloween

John Carpenter’s Halloween is a classic in the horror movie genre. It both influenced other movies to come but has also spawned it’s own franchise for better or worse. I first saw Halloween when I was quite young and then when I started collecting movies, I immediately picked this up and I am glad I did. With that being said let’s talk about Halloween.

Halloween introduces us to the small community of Haddonfeild where one Halloween night a young boy named Michael Myers murders his sister with no particular motivation. The movie opens up with the young boy who, dressed in his costume of a clown, stalks his sister from the outside of the house. He observes quietly in the dark as her boyfriend comes to see her and as young teenagers do, have to intimate fun.She comes off as quite slutty as the boyfriend comes in for a quick hit and run but then young Micheal comes into the house after observing all this creepily from the outside. And so his story and reign of terror begins.

He is institutionalized and followed up by a therapist played by Donald Pleasance. But as the years have gone by and Michael has grown up we are lead to believe by Sam Loomis (played by Donal Pleasance) that Michael is pure evil. Not just unresponsive but some sort of cunning behind it all. It’s unsettling to the viewer as typically we as an audience with these sorts of violent images almost need a reason. Why would he do such things? Also being a scary movie you wonder is there something perhaps paranormal to it all or is the child just deranged.

Michael escapes and heads back to Haddondfield. There he heads after Laurie Strode played by Jamie Lee Curtis. Dubbed the scream queen, looking back at it now I don’t see why. Laurie is practically a school girl in the sense that she is very reserved, uptight and needing to let loose. She has a bit of a rebelious side to her but not much. As the movie and subsequent deaths build up we finally have her fateful encounter with Meyers. Sure she screams but really in this day and age I have heard better but in context for her time she does a job well done.

We have Sam Loomis who spends his time running around Haddonfield stirring up how dangerous Michael is and eventually has his fateful encounter with him. But as the movie goes on and Michael gets his fair shake of injuries we are always left wondering is his normal with a high threshold for pain or is there something supernatural to him.

This them plays through the movie mainly near the end. For 3/4 o the movie where it builds on the relationship of Laurie, her friends and Sam Loomis who spreads the myth of the evil of Michael, we simply see him stalking the streets and following Laurie. This of course is all together human but something always seem’s not right about him.

As a horror movie character, Micheal is very subdued in appearance. He wears a black mechanic overall suite and a white mask of William Shatner. Just thinking about it should be funny right? But no, it really does come off as creepy and you really don’t notice the masks origins till it either clicks or you see the making of. He is not a hulking figure either however during moments he shows a superhuman violent rage.

The pacing of the movie is deliberately slow. As I have seen the movie with my friends the common complaint is how slow it gets to the action but that’s the point. The point is the buildup. You get to know the characters while seeing the occasional appearance of Michael as he as well gets to know everyone.It’s unsettling to see and worse of he is noticed in the movie as just a creepy guy playing Halloween pranks but as the viewer you know much better of what awaits them.

The atmosphere of the town as well as the set pieces is extremely well done. You really have the small town vibe where everyone knows literally everyone. You had the obligatory creepy house which was Myers house now long abandoned. Just having it pictured once in a while gave you the creeps. What lurked in the shadows there? Even if you knew Michael was not there it was still freaking creepy. And by the time the end comes we are left with more questions then answers and leaving very worried. This alone makes Halloween one of the more scary movies even to this day.

The music in Halloween is often ridiculed simply because of how simple it is. Literally it is John Carpenter player a few simple keys of a keyboard. It’s both so simplistic yet so freaking amazing. Why amazing? Because it works. If you would watch the movie without the score it would come off as being very dull but just few simple keyboard notes and the mood is established. For that I need to give John Carpenter some serious kudos.

Halloween while lagging behind in pacing at times is well worth the viewing. The movie as a whole goes to show everyone that sometimes showing less is more. Fear is established by atmosphere and the inevitable encounter with our monster / villain. For a villain who should be by all purposes a 2d wooden plank we get more dimensions to him then we bargained for. Halloween spawned a generation of terror and leaves it’s imprint on modern movies. Even if your not a fan of a much slower paced movie, Halloween is a movie that needs to at least be seen once to at least appreciate it’s influence. I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Video Game Review: Dead Space 2

Dead Space 2 is of course the sequel to the acclaimed horror FPS and follows the same lonely hero Isaac Clarke. Now being a sequel and with the first one gaining so much praise, Dead Space 2 had a lot to live up to. Sequels following the same continuity tend on average like movies to fall a tad short. However this is not one of those sad stories.

We find our hero three years later on a space station. He has no recollection of these past three years, he is in a straight jacket and shit immediately hits the fan of the kind he thought he was done with. Well it seem’s a new marker was made and well as per usual, everyone goes nuts and your smack dab in the middle of it.

Now I half expected them to go this route with the marker so it was no particular suprise. Being in the action right from the start was also very good. Your immediately running for your life in the dark. The pacing is very well done. You have occasionally calm moments but then followed by heart pounding run in’s with the necromorphs. The story progresses quite well and overall it’s not that bad. It continues things nicely however I would have preferred more and I will get to this in a bit.

Throughout most of the game your within the confines of the station but suddenly your miracle to escape this hell is by heading to your ship you thought was destroyed. So you end up retreading through a portion of areas you already have been through. Now there are some visual changes to the areas to reflect the ship being repaired / cleaned / investigated. But still though I would have preffered not going that route as it had a very been there, done that vibe to it. So while most of the game felt fresh in a sense with new locations it just damperred the positive just a bit.

Also you learn that a group of religious zealots called Unitologists are wanting markers created to bring about a foretold event called convergence. This was pretty interesting but in the end did not really go anywhere. It was a bit dissapointing as another good part of the game was exploring their church.

And like the previous game you will meet an NPC or two, receive cryptic messages and find lots of audio logs. I think the NPC are used in a similar matter as Dead Space. They work for being there at appropriate moments however they come off as being wooden characters and fillers for your needs to get the story going where it has to go.

Gameplay wise, Dead Space 2is so much better then it’s predecessor. In the first Dead Space I found Isaac’s movements to be clunky, however now he moves much more smoother in his suit. Also in zero gravity areas you have full movement via thrusters adding much more flexibility to getting around. These are huge improvements on their own. More emphasis however is put on using your stasis on necromorphs. In fact at times if you don’t, you will simply die.

Dead Space 2 can be a difficult game at times. It’s sometimes doesn’t seem to have it’s balance firmly in place. While it encourages at times to find alternatives to wasting your ammunition at some times it is just inevitable to use them. Partcilarly annoying at times is swarms of monsters. You can simply be outnumbered and even when using your stasis you can deal with a few at a time. This can lead to some frustrating moments in the game as you simply want to get things going again.

The necromorphs are mostly the same as before with perhaps three new ones. Again this is a bit dissapointing as it would have been nice to see more varied mutations of people. At some points you just feel as though you are seeing the same monster over and over. Though I must confess that the small mutant babies are totally fucked up and creepy. They are scary, baby sounds and all.

Speaking of scary, the atmosphere in Dead Space 2is very well done overall. You will be scarred no doubt while playing in the dark. Shadows are played off very well for dramatic creepiness. I think after the mid point of the game the creepiness tends to wear off. But there are some scenes which are so very well done. However speaking of horror asa genre I find sometimes while they use subtle elements which work very well they sometimes tend to slide towards a shock horror type of genre where they try to gross you out with the worst possible deaths. Take for instance how Isaac dies. Sometimes every limb will get torn off, he will scream, then his head will be ripped off and blood gushing everywhere. While your thinking oh crap I died, they take extra time to amplify how he does. I don’t think that the shock horror they try to use is effective. I prefer moments like walking in a thinly light hallway hearing twinkle twinkle little star. That is scary. Some other scenes as well are shock value oriented and in my opinion takes away from what is going on.

Overall Dead Space 2 delivers on being an excellent game. The gameplay is so much more better, the story is very good as well however I think horror wise they need to find their voice. They don’t seem to know what direction they want to go in and being a horror game it is hard. People has varried tastes but you need to find what works best for your audience and this specific game. While you might find at times the game a bit dull especially retreading old stomping grounds, you will get a lot of enjoyment out of it. In all, I highly recommend giving this game a whirl.