Sunday, August 26, 2012

Gut (2012)

Dan and Tom used to be great friends in childhood but unfortunately, as many friendships do, that bond has faded. Now the two work together at an extremely dull office job where the cycle never seems to change. There is simply no light at the end of the tunnel and this fact is taking it's toll on Tom. Dan does his best to get the friendship back where it used to be but Tom just isn't having it. Now that he is married and has turned into a model citizen he doesn't have time to sit around at Dan's house watching cheesy horror flicks.

A sudden turn of events occurs when Dan receives a disc that Tom simply has to see to believe. Sadly once Tom views what appears to be a snuff film there is no turning back. Once they view the film Tom just wants to forget it altogether, but these movies just keep appearing in Dan's box. Eventually familiar faces get involved in the snuff flicks and Tom finds himself in too deep. Suddenly the office job seems less menacing in the grand scheme of things. Let the downward spiral begin.
The first thing that sticks out about Gut is the overall look of the film. This looks very professional from start to finish and there was never a moment where the words "low budget" crossed my mind. Everything in this aspect of the film was done perfectly. The lighting, shots, locations and everything down to the closing sequence just felt right. There are only a handful of characters in Gut and fortunately there isn't a weak link in the entire cast. The two main characters did an amazing job of capturing the daily grind of an office job and really did an astounding job setting the mood of the film. Then, much to my surprise, when shit hit the fan in Gut and things took a much more serious turn the acting still remained solid on everyone's behalf. This is a rare occurrence in this type of film.

The film leans more towards the drama/thriller category. With that being said, even though I can't really call this a straight up horror flick it definitely has a dark enough atmosphere to appeal to all of you horror freaks. Overall the film has a pretty original storyline and everything unraveled without a hitch. Any independent filmmakers looking to get into making feature length movies should check this out and take notes. Gut was incredibly well thought out from start to finish and Elias really hit all of the nails on the head with this one. Highly recommended.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Zombie Babies

"What's grosser than a pile of dead babies?"

Zombie Babies is one of the latest over the top cheese-fests being put out by Independent Entertainment. The film is directed by Eamon Hardiman, who is also behind the madness that is the Porkchop series. Given the director and the subject matter of the film this one is sure to turn some heads. The flick follows a group of four couples that are attending the annual abortathon. This little shindig is hosted by some degenerate rednecks that are attempting to step their game up after the recent legalization of abortions in their area. Little do the couples know they are in for a weekend that may be their last. Unfortunately the abortathon has been botched and is overrun by re-animated baby fetuses who are out to get revenge.

Just by the synopsis of the film you should know what you are getting yourself into. So if you're easily offended the best thing for you to do would either be to avoid the film altogether, or try to grow a sense of humor and bask in the gigantic chunk of cheese that is Zombie Babies. The film is very tongue in cheek and there are many comedic elements instilled throughout. So even with the "intense" subject matter there is nothing too disturbing about it. Sure it isn't politically correct but if all horror was we would have a very boring and vacant genre on our hands.
Zombie Babies is very reminiscent of the Ghoulies series once the babies spring up from the dead. So go into the film thinking Ghoulies with more abortion and feces and you'll have a pretty good idea of what to expect. The effects in this film are not too shabby, and the kills throughout are absolutely awesome. The film features one of my favorite kills in recent memory involving an umbilical cord. I won't give away what happens but let's just say anyone that enjoys a solid, clever kill will get a kick out of this one. The re-animated babies are done in a very old school manner and while they may look crude at times it all adds to the fun factor.

The only real quarrel I have in this department would be the horrible green screen moment with all of the fog when the couples first meet up. I fully understand that this is a cheesy low budget flick but just getting a few shots in the woods wouldn't have hurt. I couldn't even direct my attention to what was going on in that scene because of how distracting that background was. Obviously, being a low budget flick the acting isn't going to be top notch all of the time either, but for the most part the actors do their thing and deliver decent enough performances. Dr. Burt Fleming stuck out in particular, by far giving the most zany, over the top performance in the movie. Without a doubt my favorite character.

Overall I applaud everyone behind Zombie Babies for delivering a nice and much needed breath of fresh air to the zombie subgenre. Being a category of horror that seems to get more and more saturated by the day it is extremely nice to see a flick coming out with a fairly original stamp on it. While Zombie Babies isn't the greatest film ever made it achieves what it was meant to. It is a very fun flick with wacky characters and some gross-out humor, simple as that. Recommended to those of you who can't get enough of the cheese.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Moloch/Yudlugar- Dissonanz Split 7"

What we have here is Dissonanz, a pairing of two bands with vastly different sounds. On side A we have Moloch. Moloch is a one man depressive black metal band that has had a slew of releases since forming back in 2002. On side B we have Yudlugar, a project that has been labeled "blackened speedcore" which immediately peaked my interest. I came in expecting a possible mix of fastcore and black metal (which was a complete misunderstanding on my part) but instead I got some extreme blasting noise with a bit of black metal influence. While I was disappointed at first, I took some time to fully digest what I was hearing and did my best not to be close-minded about it.

The Moloch side of this thing consists of some extremely solid depressive black metal. The track starts off with a spoken word section and shortly after we are met with some erratic, hopeless vocals (not a bad thing by any means). The instrumental for this track does a solid job at putting the listener in a trance-like state, although it is a bit disjointed at times. Moloch isn't doing much that separates this project from the pack but that isn't really something that is to be expected with bands like this. He does what he does quite well and this track may be one of my favorite tracks I've heard of this style in recent years. A thick atmosphere is created on this side of the split and it really sticks with you upon first listen. It is one of those tracks that I can put on and my mood will immediately change. That staying power is a very important factor to me when it comes to depressive black metal and I think Sergiy Fjordsson has mastered the ability to create that. 

The Yudlugar side of this split completely blindsided me. This style of music is something that has always been extremely hit or miss with me and in all honesty I'd never heard someone mesh black metal influence in with it. Upon the first few listens I thought it wasn't for me. Around my tenth listen it all sort of clicked. This is most definitely not something I can throw on the turntable any day of the week. A certain mood is certainly required for one to want to be hit with this vicious wall of noise. If you're not familiar with this brand of extremity then it will most likely take some getting used to.

Overall this split is actually a pretty damn interesting match and the two projects surprisingly fit nicely next to one another. I will say I'm glad I held off on this review for awhile and gave side B a few more listens because upon first listen this review would've been completely different. Fans of depressive black metal should definitely pick this up for the Moloch side alone. If you're a fan of speedcore or any other noisy skullcrushing musical genres then I'd recommend this to you too. This is a nice clash of two different styles that paid off quite nicely.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cognitive- The Horrid Swarm EP

Some may remember the review posted for Cognitive's 2011 Demo about a year ago. This was a demo that I was quite fond so it is only natural that I was pretty excited when I found out that The Horrid Swarm EP was finished. All three songs from the demo are used here and two new tracks are also used. The release clocks in at a short and sweet 15 minutes. By the time the last track finishes you'll find yourself quickly reaching for the replay button.

The EP kicks off with the extremely hard hitting track "In the Form of a Drone" (formally titled "Separation Anxiety"). The track bounces back and forth between fast paced riffing and snappy pulverizing sections that could easily throw any group of nearby metalheads into a frenzy. Cognitive pulls these transition off with an incredible amount of ease. This is one of the main things I enjoyed about the demo and it is good to see that skill is still being exercised throughout The Horrid Swarm. It's astounding how quickly a track can go from a jarring amount of heaviness and then just switch so seamlessly to something so crisp with an almost uplifting atmosphere. The demo tracks fit on this release perfectly and really mesh nicely with the new material we are hearing.

On tracks like "Falling Skies" and "Numbered and Slaughtered" the bass is used as a dominant instrument. It really adds to the impact of each note played. The bass is very clearly audible throughout the entire runtime but on these two tracks it really shines through the most. The solos are absolutely amazing. Which is something I've come to expect from the band.

Overall Cognitive's- The Horrid Swarm is yet another step in the right direction. Two out of two isn't bad. This release will definitely be enough to tide me over until the next one. As I said in my previous review Cognitive really has a knack for cramming a slew of great things into a very small period of time. This EP is another example of that. Fans of extreme metal in general should check this release out. It is hard to put this band in a box due to their versatility. If you like heavy, abrasive music that is not dumbed down than odds are you will find plenty that you will dig here.