Tag Archives: road movies

Movie Review: The Houses October Built

by Dan Fields

The Houses October Built is a Halloween haunted house meta-journey in found footage style
© 2014 Image Entertainment

Found footage horror is played out, to the extent that an exhausting number of reviews begin with the complaint that “found footage horror is played out.”

See what I mean?

With that requisite disclaimer covered, Bobby Roe’s The Houses October Built is pretty excellent entertainment for this Halloween season. The notion of a POV camera going all meta-fictional on the phenomenon of live haunted house attractions, now simply termed “haunts” owing to the diversity of venues, turns out much better than it may sound.

Five friends – Zack (co-writer), Bobby (co-writer and director), Mikey, Brandy and Jeff – set out in an RV to tour and document the most extreme haunts out there. Most of them seem to be in Texas and Louisiana, by the way. While most are fairly traditional walkthrough attractions, other memorable outings include a hayride modeled on a zombie apocalypse, complete with paintball guns to pelt the legions of shambling ghouls. However, some of the “haunters” appear more aggressive and personally invasive than the rest. It even seems that certain characters are following the RV from one location to the next, across dozens and eventually hundreds of miles. Continue reading

Movie Review: Spring Breakers

by Dan Fields
First published March 23, 2013 by the California Literary Review

Bad Girls Go Everywhere

Harmony Korine’s work has never been, and may never be, easy to digest. The writer and director of such dreary, stomach-turning misfit dramas as Gummo, Julien Donkey-Boy and Trash Humpers has now completed his most mainstream, accessible film to date, but that still gives Spring Breakers elbow room to assault the senses and values of an audience without mercy.

We begin on the grounds of a nearly empty college campus. Faith (Selena Gomez), embodying the struggle between strong traditional values and a restless teenage spirit, has elected to set out on a classic Florida spring break trip with her wild-side friends Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson), and Cotty (Rachel Korine, wife of the director). Faith ostensibly has a benign and constructive wish to broaden her horizons, even as her church friends warn her about the dangers of falling in with the wrong people far from home. Whatever heights of liberty and abandon she expects from spring break, she appears to operate under the optimistic illusion that good clean fun will win out, or at least that four friends sticking together could not possibly let any harm come to one another.

Faith is soon to learn that her chosen companions have a more reckless agenda in mind. Surely she must have wondered at their inclination to practice making out with one another, for when boys will inevitably ask them to do so. If not, then alarm bells ought to have sounded within once the group decided to stage an armed heist in order to supplement their vacation fund. Surely. No? Okay, we are criminals now. But it’s Spring Break! Kids are expected to overcome inhibitions and push boundaries. How much further, Faith must suppose, could things really go? Continue reading

Movie Review: Drive Angry 3D

by Dan Fields
First published February 26, 2011 by the California Literary Review

Holy Gracious Hell

Taking into account all the casual profanity, copious T&A, comic book violence, awesome cars and impossibly badass gunfights, Drive Angry must surely have been written by the smartest group of fourteen-year-old boys living in America today. This is not meant to sound as snide as it probably does. Assuming that any two of those things just mentioned ever held a prominent place in your adolescent fantasy, you may find yourself thoroughly entertained against your better judgment. Conversely, anyone who has outgrown or never entertained the dream of meeting a gorgeous blonde who drives fast, punches hard and loves to cuss, might find this movie just a touch juvenile. Think of it as a big bucket of Halloween candy for the eye and the lower parts of the brain, and you will be ready to approach it in the proper spirit.
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Movie Review: The Devil’s Rejects (2005)

Strange and ugly as it is, The Devil’s Rejects may represent a high water mark for Rob Zombie as a moviemaker. Not a whole lot worth swallowing, but plenty to chew on. That said, don’t sit the young, impressionable, or squeamish down in front of it. In all its nasty glee, it is, like most things, not for everyone

Much anticipated and murmured over as the follow-up to The House Of 1,000 Corpses, this movie pulls ahead with more far more confidence of execution, and works perfectly well as a standalone piece.

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