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2010: Moby Dick (2010)

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2010: Moby Dick (2010)Reviewed by The Foywonder

Starring Barry Bostwick, Renee O’Connor, Matt Lagan, Adam Grimes, Dean Kreyling

Directed by Trey Stokes


2010: Moby Dick is without question the greatest modern day retelling of Moby Dick Roger Corman never produced.

A giant prehistoric white whale smashes sea-going vessels and knocks helicopters out of the sky, nuclear submarines dogfight a monstrous whale, a crazy sea captain with a robotic leg, sailors shooting at a giant whale with machine guns, speargun bazookas, massive explosions, countless corpses floating in the water, wisecracking black sidekick, maximum testosterone…

Come to think of it; this film is about a 200 million dollar budget and a few scantily clad female co-stars away from being Michael Bay’s Moby Dick.

Word came this past summer that anthropologists had discovered the fossils of a new species of predatory prehistoric whale so gigantic it was given the name Leviathan melvillei after both the Biblical beast Leviathan and the author of the most famous whale story of all time. Five minutes later The Asylum announced they were producing a modern day version of Moby Dick reimagining the “Great White Whale” as this very prehistoric sea beast.

The year is 2010. Ahab is captain of the USS Pequod, a state-of-the-art nuclear submarine. Ahab has been obsessed with hunting down this giant prehistoric behemoth ever since he was a mere cadet aboard an atomic submarine patrolling beneath the arctic ice back in 1969 when it had a fatal encounter with the whale. That encounter began with the whale grasping the sub in its jaws and bodyslamming it out of the water onto the ice and concluded with the gigantic whale biting off Ahab’s leg in a moment that if it wasn’t an homage to Bo Derek getting her leg bitten off in Orca it sure came across that way.

Ahab has gone “off the reservation” much to the chagrin of the Navy who now consider him an enemy of the state. Well, he has gone dark with a nuclear submarine. Even Ahab’s own crew are clueless that their captain has gone rogue and honestly believe that the United States Navy has ordered them to go on a mission to kill a still leaving prehistoric whale named Moby Dick considered by most seamen to be an oceanic urban legend.

Barry Bostwick chews so much scenery as Captain Ahab I’d be shocked to hear he wasn’t literally gnawing on the sets in between takes to help stay in character. Bostwick is so bombastically deadpan I spent much of the movie trying to figure out if he was unaware that he was in a campy b-monster movie version of Melville’s literary classic, thus making his pompous performance, sometimes delivering dialogue direct from the novel, all the more campier because of how increasingly preposterous the circumstances of the film are, or if he in on the joke the whole time and realized that playing the role to the hilt while keeping a straight face was precisely what a b-movie of this nature called for.

2010: Moby Dick (2010)It wasn’t until near the end when he was standing at the bow of a dingy clutching a giant speargun and letting out a continuous primal scream as he sped forth that I realized he knew what movie he was in and was clearly having a blast camping it up. If there’s one reason to watch this movie it is to experience Bostwick to the max. Ahab’s wooden leg is now a robotic boot that looks like something Gene Simmons would wear on-stage during a KISS concert. He’ll eventually gain a more traditional peg leg when he loses his fancy prosthetic limb and replaces it with a wooden burial cross he uproots on an island.

2010: Moby Dick never fully achieves the delirious heights as The Asylum’s Mega Piranha or Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus until the climax when any pretenses of working in dialogue and story elements from Melville’s novel gets chucked out the window in lieu of a ludicrous finale in which we will actually watch Moby Dick wiggle its way onto the shore of an atoll and disappear behind a hill only to then somehow sneak up from behind the shipwrecked sailors to ambush them from a cliff above. Swear to God I’m not making that up. In fact, watching that giant whale beached, thrashing and roaring, I kept wondering when Gamera was going to show up to fight it.

A rousing opening and a cosmically campy climax, but in between there’s sporadic sluggishness and almost all of it occurs whenever we’re subjected to the drudgery of military officials prattling on about how to deal with Ahab’s antics and just about every single second Renee O’Connor’s useless marine biologist character is on the screen.

The former “Xena” sidekick is a marine biologist specializing in whale song recruited, practically abducted, by Ahab to help him track Moby Dick. Sort of the Ishmael of this version, but don’t call her Ishmael. I wish the movie hadn’t called her anything because the scenes focusing primarily on her border on dead air. Watching people sitting around with headsets listening to whale song is about as entertaining as watching people sitting around with headsets listening to whale song.

The production is also greatly hindered by adventuresome visuals more ambitious than the f/x budget allows. Hard not to get the impression that you’re often watching the same set number of computer effect shots repeated over and over from different angles and durations; hard not to because that is exactly what you’re watching.

If you’re just looking for a corny creature feature to snicker at and have some cheap laughs with then 2010: Moby Dick will provide you with some schlock value. Just don’t be surprised if find yourself compelled at times to want to mash the fast forward button between the first and last fifteen minutes.

Now if I may take a moment to comment on something that remains a sticking point with me. A movie titled 2010: Moby Dick just got released on DVD at the end of November 2010. I understand many smaller studios like The Asylum now consider it smart business to put a number before a film’s title because VOD and online retailers list movies beginning with numerals and this makes it more likely to for their films to be seen first – I get that. What I don’t get is releasing a movie with 2010 at the outset of the title at the end of the year 2010. This isn’t like all those “2012” titles that will be outdated in two years because at least those movies are specifically titled to that year because of a perceived catastrophic event that is part of the current cultural zeitgeist. Why not have titled this film 21st Century Moby Dick? Still an unwieldy title, but at least you get your numerical listing and your movie won’t be outdated for at least a century instead of a mere 38 days after its release. In all likelihood this film is going to get reissued a year from now for resale in Wal-Mart $5 bins; 2010: Moby Dick is going to sound so passé even to budget shoppers.


2 1/2 out of 5

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Inside (Remake) Review – Is It as Brutal as the Original?

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Starring Rachel Nichols Laura Harring

Directed by Miguel Ángel Vivas


While the directing duo of the cringe-inducing and original 2007 French grand guignol thriller Inside have gone on to refurbishments of their own—Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo recently helmed a retread of Leatherface’s origin story—their flick now has an American stamp on it with the release of the remake, also titled Inside.

A cheerless Christmas eve sets the stage for heavily-pregnant widow Sarah’s (Rachel Nichols) oncoming ordeal. It’s a frigid and snowy night. She’s got a huge house to herself, following the accidental and violent death of her husband. She wants to sell the home that was meant to hold a family, to forget the nascent memories it once held. But she’s got to ride it out until the baby is born. While Sarah is lonesome, she won’t be alone. She’s got her genial gay neighbor nearby, and her mum is going to come and stay with her for a few days. Oh, and there will be an unexpected visitor too.

When a shadowy, seemingly stranded stranger (Laura Harring) knocks on the door pleading to be let inside, Sarah instinctively balks. She even calls the cops. But the woman leaves and all seems well. Crisis averted. Sarah puts the housekeys in the mailbox outside for Mom, and goes to bed. Big mistake.

Mystery Lady shows up at Sarah’s bedside armed with chloroform, an IV bag, and a case full of sharp-and-pointies (sorry, ’07 fans… those implements do not include a pair of scissors). The horror unfolds and the expected yet lively game of gory cat-and-mouse ensues. Then the tete-a-tete becomes a body-count chiller featuring one shocking moment after another.

Nichols is fantastic in the role, giving it her all. When the original Inside came out eleven years ago, she was starring in another French-helmed horror, P2—also set on Christmas eve—and she stole the show. She does the same here but with a less-intense adversary. Harring’s killer character, unlike her European counterpart, has a lot to say—which takes away from her initially mysterious manner as the minutes tick off. Still, the girl-on-girl action is a welcome change from the usual gender dynamic one sees in these things. Both deserve kudos for their performances.

While Inside isn’t a died-in-the-wool “Hollywood” remake (Miguel Ángel Vivas directs, while [REC] co-creator Jaume Balagueró wrote it) it feels like one. For those who’ve seen the original, there will be mild disappointment (which turns to major letdown at the very end). However, Inside is still a serviceable thriller that’s well-acted, beautifully shot, and effectively scored. Folks coming in fresh, and casual horror fans, will more than likely enjoy it.

  • Inside (Remake)
3.0

Summary

Inside is a serviceable thriller that’s well-acted, beautifully shot, and effectively scored. Folks coming in fresh, and casual horror fans, will more than likely enjoy it. For those who’ve seen the original, there will be mild disappointment (which turns to major letdown at the very end).

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What If Tina Fey Wrote Jennifer’s Body? My Friend’s Exorcism Book Review

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“Rummaging in one of his duffel bags, [the exorcist] pulled out and athletic cup and slid it down the front of his pants. ‘First place they go for,’ he explained. He then adjusted himself and picked up a well-worn Bible. ‘Let’s do the Lord’s work.'”

It was about a year ago now (it seems) that I first saw the cover of “My Best Friend’s Exorcism.” If you haven’t seen it for yourself in all of its glory, make sure to click the image over to the right for a more in-depth look. Awesome, right? Got to love all the VHS details such as the “Horror” and “Be Kind Rewind” stickers. Classic. Utter classic.

Now I’m fully aware that one should not judge a book by its cover. Literally. But still the moment I saw this work of delicious art crop up in the inbox I had to read the book asap. Well, it turns out asap was about a year later, but all the same, I’ve now had a peek at the inside of the book as well as the outside. Does the content inside match the content outside?

Let’s find out…

For those who might not know, “My Best Friend’s Exorcism” (henceforth referred to as MBFE) tells the tale of two best friends named Abby and Grethen. One night the two, and a few of there other friends, drop a bit of acid for the first time. While the drug never kicks in (no worries, there’s no lame twist-ending to be had here) poor Gretchen still wanders off into the woods and gets possessed like a motherf*cker in some creepy abandoned building. From there, things go from bad to worse until an unlikely exorcist is called in and things go off the wicked walls in all the best ways possible.

Now, to review. First of all, let it be know that MBFE is more of a teen romance (between two friends) than a straight tale of terror. Think of it as “What if Tina Fey wrote Jennifer’s Body?” and that will give you a good hint at what the book holds in store for you. Not that that’s a bad thing. Still, you should be aware that the first 2/3 of the book is almost exclusively teenagers not getting along, bitch about losing touch, who is sleeping with who, and yada, yada, yada for pages on end. Dramarama for days. Mostly.

That said, not only is the teen drama bearable (and truthfully quite sweet in spots), Hendrix keeps the horror in the spotlight just enough that I never lost faith the book was heading somewhere truly balls to the wall. And it does. Oh, boy does it. From the time the unholy shite hits the fan in the last third, to the time the last word is read, the book is filled with horror moments that will make even the most jaded fright-fiction fan gag, grimace, or stand up and cheer!

You just have to get through all the angst first…

But speaking of angst, let me get a bit of extremely personal business out of the way real quick. Can I trust you with this info? Sure I can. MBFE made is cry like a baby. Not kidding. There have been very few times in my life that I have literally burst out crying. I’ve had some sad shite happen in my days, and I have seen some sad-ass movies, but nothing has made me cry out of the f*cking blue like MBFE. I’m not going to go into details about the final 10 pages of the book, but it tore my poor horror-heart a new one. It was bad. Like snot and hyperventilating type shite. Again, not kidding. Thank the lord I wasn’t in public is all I can say. I would have arrested and thrown in the booby-hatch.

MBFE goes along like a slightly horror-centric version of Mean Girls and Heathers for most of its page count. If you’re a straight horror fan, you’ll be at odds with whether you should bother finishing it or not. You will. Trust me. But listen to me now and know that once our heroine goes into the dark, dank bedroom of the school’s resident bitch to find out why she hasn’t been in school the past few days/weeks, the horror hits like holy hell. And it only gets worse (RE: better) from there.

In the end, MBFE is a book ever horror fan should own – if only for the cover. I dug the hell out of the book (eventually) and I’m sure the majority of you guys will too. But even for those hard-hearts out there that just can’t stand to read about things like uncompromising love, and hellfire-forged friendship, you still need to own the book. You still owe it to yourself to give it a try. If you don’t care for it, that’s cool, just display in on your bookshelf in all it’s VHS glory. It will make you look cool.

  • My Best Friend's Exorcism - Book Review
3.5

Summary

Grady Hendrix’s “My Best Friend’s Exorcism” is a killer mixture of Mean Girls, Heathers, and The Exorcist. Just think of it as “What if Tina Fey wrote Jennifer’s Body” and you’ll have a good indication of what lies in store for you within the amazing VHS-inspired cover art.

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Knock Knock Review – This Throwback To The VHS Era Packs A Fun Punch

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Starring Kerry Tartack, Sisi Berry, Chuk Hell

Directed by Toby Canto


I remember the glory days of my youth back in the early to mid-80’s, renting every friggin horror flick on VHS and keeping the cassettes well past the return dates, eventually blacklisting my name from damn near all of the movie shops in my hometown. For the sole reason of wanting to hop back in the time-machine, I’ll never turn down the opportunity to check out a film that promises to ship you back to the days of all of that cheesy-neon attire and overblown hairdos.

Director Toby Canto was generous enough to offer his latest film up onto the sacrificial stone, and it’s called Knock Knock – about a WAY past his prime pugilist named Sam (Tartack) who is unwillingly thrust into a throwdown with a bloodsucker who happens to reside in the same apartment – damn noisy neighbors! His only birthday wish is to spend his 60th go-round safely hold up in his domicile, away from pesky residents alike. Well, that plan goes to shit when his kooky neighbor (Berry) comes by and pitches the idea of throwing hands with the newest tenant: a real creature of the night (Lucas Ayoub).

Sam initially nixes the idea wholeheartedly, but when more of his quirky neighbors show up to his place to substantiate the vampiric-claims, Sam finds himself lacing up the leather for one more round…or two, depending on if he can still take a beating. Filled with more than a handful of goofy instances, this near-hour presentation won’t blow the doors off of the horror/com vehicle, but should more than suffice in the short-term until the next spooky-laugher comes slithering out of its hole.

  • Film
3.0

Summary

Historians alike, this movie’s for those who want a reminder of how loopy those VHS days were, and the best part is you don’t have to rewind a freakin’ thing.

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