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Legend of the Bog (DVD)

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Legend of the Bog ReviewReviewed by The Foywonder

Starring Vinnie Jones, Jason Barry, Nora-Jane Noone, Adam Fogerty

Written & Directed by Brendan Foley

Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment


A 2,000 year old warrior, his body perfectly preserved in a rural Irish peat bog, comes back to life with a chip on his shoulder after a greedy real estate developer disturbs his corpse. It’s all downhill from there and I mean that in regards to the movie itself. Irish eyes are not going to be smiling upon viewing Legend of the Bog; this is one of the year’s worst.

When we’re shown some actual bog bodies as they appear in real-life they look like blackened corpses covered in moss and muck. The peat bogs allow for their insides to be almost perfectly preserved but their outsides are rather ghastly. But when the ancient dead man in this film resurrects he shows no signs of discoloration or disfiguration at all, looking no worse for 2,000 year old swamp corpse wear. He’s just a big bald guy in potato sack clothes who looks like he should be working as a bouncer at a Renaissance fair. We’re in Tor Johnson territory, folks. Except Tor Johnson was an odd looking chap with a weird screen presence. This guy is just an average looking big bald dude making dopey faces, grunting and snorting, and stumbling about like a drunkard.

The first half of Legend of the Bog, you’d swear it was meant to be a comedy. The bog man comes across a dilapidated old car, climbs inside of it, beeps the horn and freaks; he then leaps out and begins beating on the remains of this vehicle like a startled caveman. He’ll then wander into a convenience store in search of water (resurrected bog bodies require water or begin moving like a mentally challenged robot running low on battery power) trying desperately to bite open plastic water bottles. This is lame humor even by Encino Man standards.

The second half will then take this bumbling oaf and recast him as a Jason-type killer stalking the swamps in search of revenge against those that awoke him. I hesitate to describe it as a slasher movie because it’s so ineptly done I don’t know what exactly the filmmaker was trying to do. One moment he’s a brutish killer, the next he’s a sympathetic creature along the lines of Frankenstein’s monster. One thing he never is is scary. Nothing about this film comes even remotely close to being scary.

His potential victims consist of three sets of obnoxious characters that each experience contrived vehicular trouble leaving them stranded out in this Irish swamp. They include a pair of young women on the run from authorities, the hateful American developer responsible for moving the bog man’s corpse and her driver, and, most conveniently, an anthropologist who specializes in bog bodies and his ex-girlfriend (The Descent‘s Nora-Jane Noone experiencing her own descent into seriously bad filmdom). About all any of these people do for over half the movie is bicker, insult one another, and argue non-stop. Some of it appears to have been written to be funny. I assure you it is not. I wasn’t kidding when I described the American developer as hateful; her constant shrillness is extremely unpleasant to listen to. None of these people are particularly likeable.

All three pairs decide to go slogging straight into the swamp in search of help instead of following the road back to civilization like any sensible person would. The six of them will converge at a cabin in the middle of nowhere that turns out to be the shack belonging to Midnight Meat Train‘s Vinnie Jones. Jones plays a hunter cleverly named Mr. Hunter. Judging by the pre-title sequence he has experience hunting bog bodies that rise from the dead. None of this is ever explained. Apparently bog bodies rise from the dead around these parts on a regular basis.

Redemption would appear to the theme writer/director Brendan Foley was aiming for. He misses by a mile. After a jokey first half that falls flat, the second half becomes a greater chore to sit through as things now turn serious. Their life or death situation is constantly interrupted by personal asides in which various characters explain in drawn out detail – sometimes with accompanying flashbacks – whatever personal sin they have committed in the past. All of them are seeking some sense of redemption. There is no redeeming Legend of the Bog.

Terrible script. Terrible acting. Terrible monster. Terrible movie.

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    1/2 out of 5

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    1/2 out of 5

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    American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review

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    Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo

    Directed by Colin Bemis


    Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.

    The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.

    As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

    Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.

    Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.

    In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.

    On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.

    In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.

    Until then, check out the film’s trailer HERE, and follow the movie on Facebook.

    • Strawberry Flavored Plastic
    3.5

    Summary

    Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.

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    Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)

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    We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.

    In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

    Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!

    If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

    The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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    Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View

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    Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly

    Directed by Marcel Sarmiento


    Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as

    17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?

    What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.

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    2.0

    Summary

    Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?

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