Friday, October 31, 2014

Abandoned Mine (2013)

A year or so ago, I did a post about what was wrong with horror movies today, and in that post I took pictures of a bunch of DVD covers at my local movie rental store. One of those DVDs was Abandoned Mine, a film about a bunch of dumbass kids getting trapped in an abandoned mine as part of a Halloween prank. You could also call it “the Darwin effect.” And since I have run out of ideas completely, of course I'm just going to cannibalize my own past and do this as the last review for October this year!

Director: Jeff Chamberlain
Starring: Saige Thompson, Reiley McClendon, Alexa Vega

This movie starts off with several minutes of boring nothingness for the opening credits, because I guess they thought they really needed an opening that made people shrug and go “ehhhh.” Then we get our main character Brad, who has the distinction of having the most punchable face in the entire film.

He's going around trying to get his friends to join him in this SUPER COOL HALLOWEEN PROJECT yo, or rather what I already said – going down into this old abandoned mine to just hang out. Like I've said before...I really miss when kids just did drugs and got eachother pregnant.

If you need proof this movie has no idea what it wants to convey, well, get this – apparently Brad has invited his ex-girlfriend Laurie along, which is weird because his current girlfriend Sharon is also coming. And not only that, but Laurie and Sharon are also friends, who play wonderful tricks on one another like Laurie pretending to be a serial killer and then stabbing a ketchup bottle on the ground right next to Sharon. For some reason, Sharon is still panicked by this even after she isn't stabbed – does it just take her longer than most people to realize she hasn't been stabbed?

"I should realize I wasn't stabbed, but my brain moves at the pace of climate change, so I can't tell yet!"
"HA HA HA! You obviously are traumatized and I should be apologizing, but I'm a shitty friend. So nope!"

Maybe she's just empathic with condiments.

Then we get a several-minute long musical number scene where the two girls are trying on various costumes. It's really just an excuse to look down their shirts and watch girls who are supposed to be in high school getting dressed. It also comes off like it should have been in a Bratz movie.

Is it that hard to find a real live woman after writing a scene like this, show her what you wrote and ask "is this accurate?" Oh wait, yes it is, because you don't care about that - you just wanted jerk-off fuel. Being perverted is A-OK so long as you put it under the guise of characters dressing up for Halloween!

They all meet up in some empty field and we're introduced to some other characters, like Ben, who is a fat kid who plays football. And Ethan, who is an Indian guy who talks in a funny accent, is polite to a fault, misspells words and constantly knows everything about every trivia the characters need for the mine. I'd call this racist as fuck, but I think you actually would need to invent a new word to talk about what this is. It's at least as bad as blackface.

Somebody's going to hell for this, for sure.

There's some dialogue about how he used to work in a call center in India and how lots of Indian kids get those jobs – I refuse to become complicit in your attempt to make me confront racial stereotypes, movie!

While they're driving, someone mentions they're going to the old Jarvis Mine, which really freaks Sharon out, prompting her to start screaming about how SHE DIDN'T KNOW IT WAS THAT MINE, SHE THOUGHT IT WAS ONE OF THE OTHER HAUNTED MINES AROUND TOWN! Funny. I guess haunted mines are just like Walgreens around this town – there's one on every block.

They have a lot of really stupid conversations, which give off the aura that the writers just didn't want us to enjoy our time watching this. Like take a look at this gem:

LAURIE: I didn't know if I was supposed to be his mom or his girlfriend.

SHARON: Both, maybe.

LAURIE: Both is hard.

One, is it that hard to have your girl characters talk about ANYTHING besides the boy they dated? Two, that's gross and you should feel bad. I don't need to hear about any Oedipus complexes related to this face:

Then they sit around a campfire and Brad tells the longest ghost story ever – apparently in this story, some kid found gold in a mine and then grew up to have a family, but then the bosses tried to cut him out of his share of the mine. They kidnapped him and his daughters and raped the daughters in front of him – because there can't be a good horror story with women if they don't get raped... Then they became vengeful ghosts and spend the rest of eternity down there waiting to possess women, because possession is gender specific now.

Uh oh, better tell Pazuzu he got it wrong...

Then it starts to rain, so like idiots they hide inside the mine. They could just hang out there, but no! That wouldn't be stupid enough. They have to go further into the mine! I'm really just not sure what I'm supposed to be rooting for here. They're dumb characters doing a dumb thing on a whim – there's really no conflict or drama there. If the movie were scarier or more intense it might be easier to forget, but there's nothing but a bunch of obnoxious kids wandering around spewing putrid dialogue. What's there to latch onto?

They start going into the mine and somehow get lost in like five minutes – even though it was clear how to get out and they have nothing to gain by going deeper and deeper into this fucking place, I guess the story is running on the power of “hey! Putting my tongue in a wall socket sounds fun!” logic.

"Wait, let's check...nope, no point to what we're doing up there..." 

So they keep wandering around, going further up the ass of this old mine. Ethan keeps on hurling out random facts about mines, which starts to get ridiculous after a while. And by “after a while,” I of course mean it was never not ridiculous. He's Indian! He must know everything! That's just how Indians are. They're super-smart. Like Braniac from Superman, except with a funnier and more exaggerated accent.

"Wait, stop everything...I feel a psychic brainwave coming on that will give me the magical exposition-spewing powers all Indians have!"

When they come across a tight tunnel that may or may not lead to certain death, of course our brain-dead heroes are up for it. Except the fat kid doesn't want to get stuck and Sharon is just a wimp. Then it's bad dialogue time again!

BEN: Me and Sharon will just stay here. We'll probably, like, make a family or something together by the time you come back for us.

SHARON: I never would've been friends with you all these years if I had known how disgusting you were.

Because you know, friendship just means pulling the wool over your eyes and not caring who the fuck you're hanging out with, like at all! You could be friends with a serial killer and not notice until you literally just come across them stabbing some guy in an alleyway. Then you'd have just cause to be like “I never would have been your friend if I'd known THIS was what you meant when you said you killed people!” It just makes the most sense.

Then they get even more lost. Things finally start to look up a bit when Brad is killed, apparently by some kind of monster:

No, not that kind. I’m picturing something more like this:

Yeah, that ought to do it.

The other three wander around like this is their first day on Earth at all for a while until the movie decides it’s time to rip off [REC].

Then it’s just Laurie and Ethan. I will give the movie props for killing off its most annoying characters - not usually a consideration movies give the audience. But here it’s like sweet bliss.

We do get some more idiotic dialogue though, when Ethan reveals a stunning secret: he isn’t even really Indian! And what’s more, he never worked in a call center! Well, stop the fucking presses, I say. He should be left down in that mine to die for this heinous lie.

"How DARE you lie to me about your nationality?!?"

In my imagination, the actor for this kid is friends with the guy from Life of Pi. They were childhood buddies, let's say. I like to picture those two actors meeting up again after not seeing each other for years. Maybe the conversation would go like this:

"Hey, man, what have you been up to?"

"Well, I was in a movie called Life of Pi, which got critical fame and success! What about you?"

"Uh, well...let's change the subject."

Laurie has him beat, though, when she goes on an epic temper tantrum about the fact that the ghost is down in the mine and she wants to destroy him, I guess. This is clearly an Oscar-winning performance and will go down in history as the best scene to reference when putting a plot in your movie about an angry mine ghost trying to kill annoying teenagers. This will be one for the history books.

As the rest of the film progresses, I see I was wrong about it - it has more merit to it than I ever gave it credit for. For instance, the transcendental scene where Laurie seems to get the idea she’s actually a Game of Thrones character.

"Just keep the camera there and I'll look dramatic as hell."

And hey, bats are yummy!

Ozzy would be proud.

The film blends these diverse influences together into a strange amalgamation neither too silly nor too serious - it’s right on the borderline, leaving the viewers to decide how to feel! Such ambiguity certainly deserves at least a passing nod.

The directing also becomes more and more spastic and artsy, which is clearly a choice made to accentuate the confusion and bizarre nature of our own lives as we continue to forage into adulthood. The characters are clearly representative of a larger truth. Yes, the dialogue was bad in the beginning and yes, they could be annoying, but overall it was part of a larger plan. The movie is trying to tell us that life is confusing and there are no answers. Everything we see is just a cover for something that lies beneath. There is no good or bad, just a moral gray area. The mine, clearly, is supposed to represent the darkness and turmoil of our inner souls and minds - a complex and confusing labyrinth with no way out. Just like how we are as we try to figure out what to do in real life.

This is especially demonstrated when it’s revealed the whole thing was a big prank by Brad to get back at his friends for leaving town, because I guess they were all moving on with their lives and he wasn’t. What we thought was a devilish plot by monsters in a mine was just a sad kid afraid of losing his friends:

To get this effect, they stubbed his toe.

This is just like real life. In real life we constantly fear the worst. We always think things are one way when they’re really another. We tend to not see the underlying motives behind other peoples’ actions. That’s what this movie is conveying. What a masterpiece.

And it’s even more muddied by the actual ending, where it’s revealed Brad died in the cave and everyone else is somehow at his funeral. Were they all conspiring to kill Brad the whole time? That would certainly be advisable, but it isn’t clear. Were they all possessed by the ghosts? Or did Brad just kill himself, Laurie remain possessed by the ghost, and everyone else just get out completely oblivious? There are no clear answers. Just like in real life.

Actually, no, on second thought, none of this made sense.

Happy Halloween!

Images copyright of their original owners; I own none of them.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

12 Great New Halloween Staples

There are only about four days left until Halloween. And being that I am nothing if not completely punctual, I'm here to give you a list of some of the best post-80s horror flicks so you can rush to watch them in these last few days. While the classics like Halloween, Texas Chainsaw and The Exorcist have been well-documented on this blog and, well, anywhere else you go to read about horror, I think there's still something to be said for the genre in the modern day, too. While nothing will replace the classics, there are plenty of creative filmmakers working today, putting out grisly, supernaturally-laced scares like it's nobody's business. they are.

12. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane

While I wouldn't say it's a masterpiece, this really is a good slasher flick in a genre mostly oversaturated with nonsense and shoestring budget flicks these days. This combines some solid kills (of extremely annoying characters, no less) with a vicious plot twist just like the classics have. Add in a great lead character, some commentary on expectations on high school girls and shallowness of young people and a fast, fun pace, and you have yourself a very solid horror flick.

11. Contracted

Grisly, gross violence taken to the extreme. This is a crazy-ass story about a woman who is raped at a party and then her body starts to fall apart. Gore freaks will have a field day with this, as it is a brutal, extreme good time. The story and characters are well done, too, and like most great horror films it takes a real-world problem and hacks away at it with a chainsaw to make it into a bloodbath. Highly recommended.

10. Frozen

There are a lot of movies like this out there - survival flicks with characters battling nature. But this one is a cut above the rest due to its exciting pacing and the cool, desolate wintry setting - there's a real sense of darkness and abandonment in this, and the characters are a bit annoying I guess, but they also act like real people and I believed they were afraid. Unlike other such movies like Dead Snow or Cabin Fever, this takes itself pretty seriously and doesn't focus too much on the characters' drama. While it is there, the main focus is always on the survivalist element, and as such this is a killer romp I really recommend - especially when you're snowed in at night.

9. Trick 'R' Treat

Probably the most well-known movie on this list, but I'm mentioning it anyway just for its sheer October fun factor. It's an anthology film and all the stories are laced with some of the best Halloweenish atmosphere you'll find - it's practically drenched in that atmosphere. While I don't find this scary at all, I don't really think it was trying to be. It's just a fun, enjoyable romp, and a big part of Halloween is having fun too.

8. Orphan

This was a bit of a controversial film upon its release and a lot of horror fans didn't like it. I always did, though, and it still holds up now as a fun, dark, hilarious romp. I don't think this story, about a family adopting a little Russian girl who turns out to be more than they bargained for, is taking itself entirely seriously, and there are some very goofy, tongue-in-cheek scenes. A lot of 80s horror could be kind of silly, too, and it doesn't mean this is some kind of horror comedy - it just means you don't have to take everything super seriously all the time. However, this just makes the actual dark, serial-killer-y moments that much more fucking intense. When Orphan gets scary, it means business, and the scary scenes here are incredibly terse, violent and macabre. Great characters and acting also enhance this and set it apart from the norm, far better than most movies of its kind. Clever, eerie, fun and opaque - go see this if you had any doubts.

7. Oculus

Mike Flanagan is the go-to guy for good horror these days, as this 2014 movie is the horror Pick of the Year so far. It's a surreal, mysterious film about memory, perception and childhood, and the lead actors both do a good job at conveying that lost, confused feeling for the movie to work. While this movie does utilize some of the common tropes of modern horror, such as vague supernatural exposition and excessive flashback scenes, it just really works. Flanagan knows what he's doing and sells the shit out of this story, common as it may be. The flashbacks (to the main characters' troubled childhood) are incredibly well done and come off as a legitimately scary, tense story on their own, and the scenes in the present time are dreamlike, ethereal horror theater, with tons of fun, bizarro-world scares that I found extremely enjoyable. It's a bit predictable and like I said, does tend to use a lot of the tropes we're tired of in modern horror, but it does everything so well that I don't care.

6. The Sacrament

Ti West is a real upcoming talent, and this newest film of his is a real killer. It's a Jim Jones, Kool Aid Cult-esque thing about some journalists going to a remote island to investigate a 'self help' cult, and getting in over their heads. It's a very meat-and-potatoes story with little adornments, but the actors sell the shit out of it and the tension goes from pleasantly, slightly creepy to all-out pitch-black horror at the end. West's directing is at its best so far here, as he transitions between the build-up and the explosion of terror very smoothly, and overall it's a very well done film. Go see it.

5. House of the Devil

The first Ti West movie that really put him on the map five years ago, and still my favorite thing he's done. I mean, sure, the film wants to be the 1970s so bad it's practically obsessive, but the occult horror is so, so cool here. The lead girl is likable, which makes her eventual descent into occult madness at the hands of a Satanic cult that much more terrifying. The eerie ambiance of the film's first two acts explodes in the third act into some of the best horror since Sam Raimi laid down Evil Dead or Fulci did The Beyond - it's that fuckin' good, and you should see it if you haven't.

4. The Children

A movie about children that turn evil. It's a pretty basic storyline done very, very well as we see a bunch of British people get picked off like babes during hunting season by their own progeny. The atmosphere is morbid, the gore is completely fucking nuts and the story is laced with all kinds of dark, seedy character stuff that builds to a boiling point. It's really all about the tense, feral horror, which is as hungry as a ravenous wolf here - this is an energized, macabre trip that you won't forget. One of my favorite horror movies.

3. Session 9

Insane asylums practically write themselves as scary as fuck horror movie locations, but this movie has excellent writing to back it up as well. The story of a construction crew cleaning up an old abandoned asylum and gradually sinking into madness makes for what I consider a new classic. Atmospherically brilliant with good characters and a lot of underlying themes about madness and the human condition's relation to it - the mind's breaking point is explored in full. It's also a very ambiguous story, without any real clear word on what's going on. Is it supernatural, or are the characters just losing their minds? You owe it to yourself to see this if you haven't.

2. Pontypool

This is a zombie film about a disease which infects the English language and turns people in a small Canadian town into "empty radio signals" when they hear and understand words. The twist, aside from that, is that all the action takes place in a radio station and from the point of view of the people working there. Much of the blood and gore is just told to us, rather than actually shown. I really think this is a fascinating movie and one of the best-written horror films in years and years. The acting and characters are superb and the story about the English language being infected is so weird, it actually works. It puts a very cool, clever twist on words and is much more "literary" than many other horror films. If you haven't seen this, it's imperative you do.

1. Absentia

Up there with the five or six scariest movies I've ever seen. Mike Flanagan's first big movie is a bone-chilling tale about people going missing, telling the story of a woman about to declare her husband dead in absentia after he's been missing seven years. However, a mysterious tunnel nearby may have had something to do with it and the woman's sister, arriving suddenly, sets in motion a dark chain of events. It's just a perfect horror film. The tension and atmosphere are very well crafted, and you care about the characters - they act like real people and their conflict is real, at the center of the story even. That's the key to a good horror film. Horror comes when we care about what's going on and then realize, hey, there's something creepy going on here that we didn't notice. It's the perversion of the mundane. Through its story and atmosphere, Absentia grows on you like fungus until the terrifying last act. Not only scary but also sorrowful, wistful and fantastical - a classic that I highly recommend.

So that's my list. Any you'd recommend? Any you disagree with? Let me know!

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Purge: Anarchy (2014)

Society is sick and has problems. There you go, that's all you need in terms of social commentary. You goddamn geniuses. Now you're basically done with storytelling for the rest of the movie in your first five minutes; you know, like any good movie. What can we do to fill up the rest? Just throw in gunfights and chase scenes from the bargain bin of 12-year-old thriller films ripping off Panic Room! Then have some serious faced scenes reiterating the social commentary at the end by saying “God Bless America” a lot!

Yeah, I guess that's good enough. We can go back to snorting cocaine in the bathroom now.

Or that's my interpretation behind the making of this film, anyway.

Director: James DeMonaco
Starring: Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Kiele Sanchez

We start off this sequel to last year's The Purge with a bunch of people waiting to prepare for the annual Purge, the time space where all crime is legal for a year. Because it apparently makes the country better and helps the economy. If you can figure that one out, well, Ted Cruz has a space open for you right next to him on the campaign trail.

I guess the big change between the last movie and this one is that there are multiple different characters and storylines going on which converge eventually. But unlike most movies that try this, this one doesn't really try to develop it – the film just rushes through all the backstories with about as much caring as a hungover college student working on economics homework. 

If you want an example of the brilliant dialogue we have to look forward to, check this out, from some old lady talking about walking her dog or something: “He doesn't even like me anymore. He just wants to sniff your ass!” Well, thank you. Thank you so much for that gem of dialogue...

The two main girls are apparently mother and daughter, even though they look at most three or four years apart. I guess it's true, kids really are getting younger and younger. Their father is an old man who hates the Purge and also hates the new radical movement promising to destroy it. His solution is apparently to go offer himself to be killed by a bunch of rich people so his family can get money or something.

"There are probably easier ways I could have gotten you money, like cashing in those old savings bonds I have hidden in the attic, but I just like being dramatic!"

We never see him again and never see the money delivered to the girls, so this was an unpleasant, dark and nonsensical subplot that went nowhere. As you'll find out throughout the film, it's more interested in showing you DARK EDGY SHIT as a flimsy cover to disguise the fact that it has absolutely nothing to say. You know, showing bad things happening is good enough. That really drives home the point that bad things happen in real life. You guys are delivering messages we never heard of before!

There's also this other couple, who are considering getting a divorce and for some reason the most important aspect of this idea is telling the wife's sister. The husband, however, is having second thoughts and wants to reminisce about all the good times they had together.

You know, for all the insults I could hurl at this badly written plot, all that comes to mind is this: 

Their car breaks down on the side of the road, and now they're stranded on Purge night! Oh no! Even though you're clearly in an urban area and could easily find a place to hide all night, I guess this is now a big fucking deal. It's even more serious when the Joker's henchmen from The Dark Knight show up:

Not as scary without Heath Ledger, are they?

I guess the last main character is this guy, who is gearing up for some kind of revenge by trying all of these guns for the first time right now despite the fact that the Purge starts up any minute. Pfft. Being prepared is for nerds! 

"I bought these guns from some guy who repeatedly assured me while sweating profusely that he was NOT a cop in disguise trying to bust illegal gun buyers!"

The two Hispanic girls are in their house when their fat Breaking Bad wannabe landlord barges in and tries to kill them for not saying hi to him in the hallway, or some shit like that. Really not sure how this guy expects to keep any tenants the rest of the year if THIS is how he treats them now, but whatever; clearly that isn't a big deal at all in this universe.

"Conditions of your lease if you live here include no pets, don't leave any lasting damage on the walls, floor or bathroom, clean up after yourself and give me blowjobs whenever I break into your apartment and violently demand them!"

And ooh, such edgy social commentary about how people would KILL other people if it was legal because human beings are all scumbags deep down with no redeeming qualities! You're really doing a lot of good for the world by preaching that incredibly stupid, inaccurate generalization that has no basis in reality! You definitely shouldn't be eaten by a pack of rabid hyenas for perpetuating this kind of tinfoil hat nihilistic nonsense!

What follows after that is some pretty generic action/thriller bullshit, mostly full of dark alleys and running around and exclaiming banal things that wouldn't need to be said in real life, but are said here to explain what's going on. Like a character will say “oh no, we're surrounded!” No shit, really? I couldn't tell because I have tunnel vision and only see in one direction.

We have to use our legs to run or else they'll catch us, and if they catch us it'll be bad!

Or the badass “leader” dude will go “Duck! Keep moving! Go!” like a billion times when they're running away from people with guns. Oh really? When I saw that guy coming at me with an Uzi and shouting that he wanted to kill me, my first instinct was to stay here and enjoy the scenery, maybe camp out for a picnic!

Oh no, he's got a gun and that gun could probably kill us, and if it kills us, we're dead as fuck!

Dialogue is easy when you're a shitty writer with no real story in mind. You can just have various characters describe what's happening on screen and that will apparently, through some hellish sorcery of which I know not, make them three-dimensional characters. Teach us more of your magic, O Great Wizard.

There are some brief attempts at building character here and there, which mostly amount to this girl wiggling her eyebrows while the “daughter” (HA!) and that bland leader guy do some very, very minor flirting. Her eyebrows are the best actors in the movie.

At some point, they go to one of the characters' friend's houses or something, who is some annoying girl getting drunk off her ass while the rest of her family just sits around and acts miserable about that. Her husband comes in, who I'm sure is actually her cousin or something. Hello, West Virginia! 

What, did you escape from Texas Chainsaw Massacre?

Then that girl's sister, who she called fat a bunch of times in some passive aggressive way, goes insane and shoots up her entire family, because you know, your sister being a bitch is definitely a reason to murder your entire family. Because really, this scene is a mirror of how all American society really is, under the surface. This movie sees the TRUTH, man. Preach it! 


One of my favorite moments is when the grandfather kneels over his dead, drunk daughter's corpse after she was shot like five times and goes “Is she dead?” Well, maybe not. Try doing a rain dance over her body and then reciting from the Necronomicon – that ought to show if you she is or not. And it'd be more entertaining than anything else in the movie.

Out in the streets we get some more boring chase scenes, followed by more dialogue comprised of nothing but pointing out the obvious. It's really starting to get old at this point and I'm starting to see exactly how much I'm not exaggerating at all when I say all the dialogue is like this. It's seriously all there is in the fucking movie! No character development, no story being told, just telling us what we're seeing on screen!

Then they get kidnapped by a bunch of guys and shoved in a truck. I love the scene inside the truck when they're tied up and the main girl is like “Why are you doing this?” and the guy is like “Oh, we need money.”

Yeah you know...the same kids that these rich people would normally be trying to kill are now working for them. Awesome.

You need money? I guess getting a job or something was out of the question. “Hey, man, I heard Walmart was hiring down the street.” “NO! Fuck that! We're going to kidnap innocent people and truck them off to be killed on Purge Night!” “Won't that leave us with little income the rest of the year since this is a one night event?” “Ssshhhhh.”

Yeah, you know how it is – making sense isn't for cool kids anymore.

And get this – apparently they're shipped off to some fancy looking building owned by a bunch of rich people. Because in this world, being rich means you want to kill people randomly for sport. They don't have a reason to or anything – they're just bored. Being rich means being evil, and it doesn't matter how many rich people in real life donate to charity, help out good causes or propagate good things in the world – they're all just evil and want to kill the poor people. Glad the movie is keepin' it real.

"So what do you want to do after this?"
"Kicking puppies and stealing from orphans sounds good."
"Yes indeed...after all we are rich and that's all we do!"

Then they get hauled out into a discount Hunger Games arena and are hunted by a bunch of people wearing night vision goggles. Although we see those goggles don't really matter when the main guy can just jump them and take their guns and kill them instantly even without goggles. Either he's just got super vision or the room isn't that dark and you're just tools for thinking you needed night vision goggles. 

"You'll have to excuse how bad I am at this whole hunting humans thing! I've only ever done paintballing before this! I'm not exactly Count Zarloff!"

So then the one white married dude is kneeling down with his wife, and she tells him she still loves him – I guess being nearly killed several times is the cure for divorce. Start spreading the word! Except apparently her declaration of love is poison, as he then gets shot to shit.

"Hey honey, the shitty script thinks people in real life actually make up and decide not to divorce after a ridiculous scenario like this!"
What an ironic coinkydink...

I don't know how only HE got shot, seeing as they were all kneeling in the same place, but whatever! Continuity and making sense is for assholes.

Then the rebel leader guy comes in and the wife says she now wants to Purge, so she joins them and starts shooting shit up. Which is confusing, seeing as the rebel guys are all about ENDING the fucking Purge, but I guess this is supposed to be the movie's way of telling us that it's a gritty, hard-line, violent world and even the supposed good guys aren't that good. Except it doesn't work when you're not really saying anything besides that – just making a statement and showing us something doesn't work by itself. You need context and some kind of point.

If you can believe it, we actually have another last-minute plotline to cram into this movie's nonsense – the badass cool leader guy was actually on a mission all night long to go kill the guy who killed his son. Apparently it's some white-collar doofus who was driving at three times the legal Blood Alcohol limit and then somehow “got off on a technicality” after running over his son – because “getting off on a technicality” is the kind of vague story element you use when you don't know what you're doing.

Badass cool leader guy goes inside and wakes up the guy and points a knife at his face, forcing him to tell him “what his son looked like.” I dunno, the guy's only real answer is “I DON'T REMEMBER, I WAS REALLY DRUNK!”


Then we cut away and see badass cool leader guy coming out of the house. He gets shot by some other jackass, who comes up and goes on a long monologue about why the Purge is good for the country and all kinds of other psychobabble saying the same thing in different ways, that basically amounts to one thing: word vomit. You're really not even saying anything at this point, movie – you're just saying words to hear them come out, like a really annoying little child. And like most annoying little children, those of us who are adults will look upon this with condescension and promptly not take any of it seriously.

Frankly I'm just amazed this movie remembered there was colors aside from dark blue and green.
Then that guy gets shot by the hapless DUI child-murderer guy who the cool leader guy initially came to shoot – yes, apparently at the last second he had second thoughts, and now the would be victim saves the leader...for some reason. I don't know; it's hard to care about this story when we didn't know any of it until the last 10 fucking minutes of this movie.

People, this is not only the worst movie of 2014, it's also one of the worst films I've ever seen. I just hate this whole thing. Not only is it a poorly written mess with no characters, bad camerawork and a flimsy, dull storyline, it's also a complete hack-work when you look at it from the point of view of its ideology and message.

The film wants us to think it's smart and edgy with this whole “THIS IS WHAT WE'RE HEADING TOWARD IN 'MURICA” message, trying to tell us what we're seeing in this movie is a reflection of our societal climate right now – i.e. lots of violence and disarray and nothing else whatsoever. Well, if you think this movie is an accurate depiction of where the world is going right now, my suggestion is don't breed. Sterilize yourself. It's probably better for humankind as a whole.

She can see you any time now. In fact, you're first in line!

The movie's idea of social satire is to tell us things get SO bad that the government would actually “solve” the problem by making crime legal as a way to kill off those on the underbelly of society. Except really, there is no solution offered here, no greater purpose or message except “people are shit and they will kill each other for no reason.” If you want to have a nihilistic, depressing message, fine; but do it with more taste than this.

Because there's just no class to this. It's taking a complex issue like class warfare and the divide between rich and poor and boiling it down to “LOL! They're all just violent and would kill one another at the drop of a hat if given the chance!” No – there are far more pressing issues than that. The rich people are depicted as soulless cardboard cutout Saturday morning cartoon villains, and the poor are depicted as either crazy or babe-in-the-woods helpless, which is actually another level of there are no poor people in this world with the street smarts, weapons or resources to fight back? Are they really that much at the mercy of these rich people hiring mercenaries and shit? Seems to me like the writers just didn't know that much about real urban crime and violence - maybe stepping out of your parents' basement once in a while would have helped.

This picture probably isn't actually of the movie's writer.

Beyond even that, we come to the issue of the incredibly thin and transparent plot – this is a film where bad things happen just to drive home the despicable point I talked about above, which is that people are shit and bad things happen. There's really no attention paid to character or build up here. The girls' grandfather sells himself to be killed, and then it presumably happens and we don't see him again. The husband dies at the end and the wife becomes a bloodthirsty killing machine, and that's the last we see of her. These aren't characters, they're strawmen set up to prove the movie's shitty message: LOOK! THEY'RE ALL BAD PEOPLE! BAD THINGS HAPPEN IN LIFE! You puddle of shit.

It's just so fucking deplorable of a thing to say in a film. The worst part of it all is that there really was no care or direction to the message delivered here. This movie was just made so the filmmakers (and the audience, by extension) could feel smart and above the sheeple in society by pointing out where (according to their gross misinformation) we're really heading.

The people who wrote this don't really care about society's problems; they're just using those problems to feel like they're smarter than they really are, like they're in the privileged position of “knowing” while the rest of us are all ignorant masses.

Like a lot of bad dystopian stories, there's a big sense of smug self satisfaction reeking off this like corpse rot.

I really, really can't see much of an argument for enjoying this film or finding it intelligent or thought provoking. It's the lowest kind of trash in cinema. Let me tell you something, makers of The Purge: Anarchy – this is NOT a reflection of society, nor is it a statement about human nature. People are better than you think, and the world does have problems, but they're more complex and nuanced than you probably understand or comprehend. This movie is awful, plain and simple.

To put it simply, you failed at everything you were trying to do.

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