Monday, February 29, 2016

What I Watched - February 14-20 2016


Slow Learners (2015) Netflix
 - On Valentine's night my girlfriend wanted to watch a rom-com, and since most big budget examples of the genre end up being formulaic crap, we settled on this indy movie. It follows two unlucky-in-love loser teachers, one male and one female, who decide to let loose over the summer and indulge in all sorts of one-night stands, drugs and alcohol. The end result - the losers ending up together - is predictable but the journey is less so, which I appreciated. Online reviews I've seen aren't very flattering towards this movie, but I found it enjoyable enough, more awkward humour (ala Napoleon Dynamite or Eagle vs Shark) than laugh-out-loud funny.

Boggy Creek II: And the Legend Continues (1984) AVI
- As a side-note, this blog was once known as "The Barbaric Bs of Schlocky Creek", a play on the original title of this movie, The Barbaric Beast of Boggy Creek, Part 2. But it was too confusing, long and obscure of a reference, so I changed it.
This movie is the second sequel to the original Legend of Boggy Creek (1972), but the first involving original director/producer Charles B Pierce. Pierce plays a university professor out to prove the existence of the Boggy Creek bigfoot. He takes along three young students (one played by real life son Chuck Pierce Jr) and naturally they run afoul of the creature.
Sadly this doesn't have the docudrama elements of the original (which felt like a 70s version of the opening portion of Blair Witch Project) and instead opts for straight drama/horror. The bad effects, acting and cinematography mean this movie is only worth watching for its unintentional comedy, and even that's in fairly short supply.

Bloodline Season 1 (2015) Netflix
- This is another TV series that has been on my Netflix list for a while. I liked the synopsis and the involvement of Kyle Chandler was enough to interest me. Chandler is one of my favourite actors since seeing him in the Friday Night Lights series (I did watch a few episodes of Early Edition back in the day, but it wasn't until FNL that he really made an impression on me). This series is all about how a successful family's facade can often hide dark secrets. It has a stellar cast including Chandler, Sissy Spacek, Linda Cardellini, Sam Shepard, Chloe Sevigny and under-rated Aussie actor Ben Mendelsohn. And a great setting - the Florida Keys.
Most of the season is dedicated to establishing the family dynamics and slowly revealing a tragic incident in the family's past. It ends with a bang, and Netflix has announced Season 2 will be online sometime early this year. I'll be interested to see how they proceed from the developments of Season 1.

Polonia Brothers Splatterfest Double Feature:

Two movies made by the Polonia brothers 20 years apart, both containing the word "Splatter" in the title.

Splatter Farm (1987) AVI
- John and Mark Polonia were 19 years old when they made this low-budget gorefest, in which they cast themselves in the lead roles of young twins going to stay with an Aunt on her farm. Her live-in handyman is a psycho who kills and cuts up people.
The acting of the paltry five cast members is awful and  the plot is virtually non-existant, but what makes this amateurish flick stand out is the gore. The brothers go overboard with the blood and guts and show they aren't afraid to offend, throwing in necrophilia, animal abuse, incest and child murder. There were a couple of moments where I even felt a bit ill, which doesn't happen too often these days.
Good music and some inventive camera angles also help make this movie rise above what the budget should have allowed - this is truly an example of no-budget horror done right.

Splatter Beach (2007) AVI
- Two decades after Splatter Farm, the Polonia brothers directed this, their 22nd straight-to-video feature. It doesn't have anything to do with Splatter Farm, instead telling the story of a sea creature that attacks beachgoers, paying tribute to the 60s Frankie Avalon/Anne Funicello beach movies as well as every sea creature flick you can think of - Humanoids from the Deep, Creature From the Black Lagoon and so on.
This movie gets points for using practical effects for the monster - good ol' man in a suit - but unfortunately it over-indulges in green screen and CGI effects elsewhere and there just isn't the gore or shocks of Splatter Farm. The acting is on par with that earlier film (ie terrible) - the former-Misty Mundae, Erin Brown, is in it and she couldn't act her way out of a wet paperbag.
I can appreciate what the Polonia brothers were trying to achieve here, but it just felt flat and boring for the most part. Sadly this is the penultimate directing credit for John Polonia, who died in 2008, although Mark has continued to make low-budget horror flicks.

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