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Oh, the Horror! pt.4...

Dead of Winter (2007)

A horror movie that contains young people, partying and drugs. Wow, where have I seen that combination before? Oh yeah, pretty much everywhere. However, Dead of Winter is the only scary movie (that I can remember anyway) where the drugs are the main antagonist. Well, the drugs combined with not so smart twenty year olds.

Also titled Lost Signal, the paranoia filled journey begins with a couple, Kevin and Tiffany (Al Santos & Sandra McCoy), preparing to begin the New Year by deciding to move in with each other. While attending a New Year’s Eve party, they experiment with crystal meth and decide to make their way home. The trip is loaded with hallucinations and visions of them thinking that they are being followed by an unknown stalker. They “crash” their vehicle and find themselves attempting to navigate their way through a snowy set of woods. Their drug induced experience turns out to be a not so good one as they soon begin to turn on each other and lose their minds.

I personally didn’t find this film worth watching. The idea of having drug usage as the prominent factor as to why this couple is going through the horror that they are dealing with was a good one. But the rest of the movie falls flat. Below average acting and one too many visualizations of things that aren’t really there begin to get redundant and a little annoying. The slow pace of the film didn’t help matters as well.

Directed by Brian McNamara, who also stars in the film, could have done much more with the plot scheme. The small twist of an ending didn’t make any difference in my final opinion of this film. I give Dead of Winter “1.5 reasons to definitely say no to drugs out of 5”

Survival of the Dead (2009)

George A. Romero is at it again. Yet another entry in the very vast …of the Dead franchise. He continues his signature horror film zombie sub-genre with Survival of the Dead. It continues on where Diary of the Dead ends. This time around the survivors of the undead outbreak are trying to help their zombie counterparts.

A remote island off the coast of Delaware is home to two families who have a very different opinion of how this zombie epidemic should be handled. The O’Flynns have been taking it upon themselves to rid their small island of the walking dead. Their feud lies with the Muldoons, who have been keeping their share of the zombie population alive, especially their loved ones. They are holding onto hope that a cure will be found or at least that they can teach the dead to yearn for something other than human flesh. The O’Flynn family is met with a small team of soldiers who have been trying to survive amongst the monsters. The group joins forces to attempt to “prove” the Muldoons and their leader wrong.

Of course written and directed by the zombie master himself, this film has Romero’s signature creativity all over it. The blood and gore is as disgusting and gross as you can hope for. The way that body parts explode whenever a bullet enters them is rather entertaining. As usual, not much of a story here; Living vs. Walking Dead. Survivors bump heads along the way and even some opinions are changed. If you enjoy zombie films and are a fan of Romero, then this is a definite for you. I give Survival of the Dead “3 exploding zombie heads out of 5”.

“We got to get these things to learn to eat something other than us.”

Dead Tone (2007)

Prank calling unsuspecting people is always fun. That is until people start dying. Dead Tone shows why it’s not always a good idea to disturb people at home with pretend phone calls.

The film begins with a group of young children enjoying a sleep over. In order to entertain themselves, they begin prank calling people while all of their parents are down the hall partying. Without warning, one of the victims of their prank bursts into their home and slaughters all of the moms and dads. The story then fast forwards to them during their college years. They all attend a party where, guess what, they choose to resume their fun pastime, it now being called “75”. The caller must maintain a prank call for at least 75 seconds. Everything is all fun and games until they call the wrong person. Then it’s a battle for survival and escape from an axe wielding psycho killer.

Directed by Brian Hooks and Deon Taylor, this film really follows the script when it comes to teens running for their lives. The classic recipe of beginning with several young people mixed in with a secluded location to have a bitchin’ party and then seasoned with an unknown, deranged murderer. Simmer for about an hour and a half and this teen scream is the product.

The plotline was actually mildly enjoyable. This is the sort of film where you look forward to yelling at the not-so-smart victims running around the screen. Throw in some of the startling and brutal but hard to believe ways that many of the characters are killed and you can’t help but find it amusing in some ways. At one point during the party scene, I literally asked myself who still makes prank calls? Especially when there’s a party filled with nothing but hot, drunk girls. I give Dead Tone “3 grisly murders by an axe murderer due to stupid prank phone calls out of 5”.

“Why aren't we partying? Hit the music, white boy!”

Fingerprints (2006)

Based on an actual urban legend out of the Texas city of San Antonio, Fingerprints centers around a horrific accident involving a bus load of school children. The bus carrying the children was struck by a train killing all of its’ young passengers.

The film features a teenager, Melanie (Leah Pipes), who is fresh out of rehab and returning to her home and family after nearly dying due to drug use. Her sister Crystal (Kristin Cavallari) tells her of the legend and of course at first she is hesitant to believe any of it. That is until she attempts the second part of the legend which states if you stop your car just before the train tracks where the accident occurred and place it in neutral then the ghosts of the children will push your vehicle across the tracks to safety. She also finds herself being visited by the ghost of one of the little girls on the bus. She tries to solve the mystery of the legend amongst being accused of being crazy and lying due to her past problems. This becomes increasingly difficult when her friends start turning up dead.

In the sense of ghost and killer storylines, surprisingly I found this film to be the most entertaining so far in my mini horror fest. After a while the ghost story concept beings to become a little stale but the arrival of the films’ killer brings it back to life. The story, written by Brian and Jason Cleveland who grew up around a similar urban legend, actually keeps its’ audience wanting to find out the answer to the mystery that is the bus and train accident.

Decent special effects and believable acting adds to the effect that the film goes for. Not the greatest horror/ghost story out there but it just puts out enough to do its’ job. I give Fingerprints “3 scary car rides while it’s in neutral out of 5”.

“I'm only going to ask you once and you'd better be honest. Are you on drugs again?”


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