Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Year: 2007
Director: D.J. Caruso
Cast: Shia LaBeouf, David Morse, Sarah Roemer, Aaron Yoo, Carrie-Anne Moss

For the record, I haven't watched Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, which this film is supposedly based on. Most people would say that Rear Window is better, after all who can beat Hitchcock? But this film, updated for this generation and custom made for the teen crowd, is more than decent.

The protagonist in Disturbia is a young man named Kale Brecht, who hasn't quite been the same ever since he watched his father die in a car crash. His pent up depression causes him to attack his Spanish teacher in class at the mere mention of his dad, and the law reacts by placing him under house arrest. He gets to wear an electronic anklet that alerts the police if he tries to go beyond his lawn.

Stuck at home, he turns to the internet and video games for solace, until his mum cuts him off. Yeah, party pooper. Which leaves him with one option: watching the neighbours. He discovers how fascinating it is to spy on their daily activities and coerces his best friend, Ronald to come over and join in. Then he meets the new girl next door, Ashley. She catches Kale and Ronald spying on her and decides to join their little activity.

The three of them focus their attention on their strange neighbour, Robert Turner, who seems to fit the description of a serial killer at large. When Kale witnesses a woman being attacked in Turner's house, he is determined to get to the bottom of things, and ropes in his friends to help. But he may have bitten off more than he can chew, as Turner turns out to be a crafty person that knows how to stay one step ahead of him.

Director D.J. Caruso deserves praise for one thing: taking his time to unravel his work. I think most teen films would just get straight to the point, or worse, do unrelated things and miss the point altogether. But Caruso makes it worthwhile by spending time showing Kale struggle with not being able to leave his house, and of course, the love angle between Kale and Ashley. What's a teen film without that, eh? But when the thrills start, they come at breakneck speed, and I am glad to note that it was done solidly.

LaBeouf once again charms his way through yet another film, just like he did with Transformers. He's just natural and perfect for playing Kale. Morse once again plays a villain in Turner, and it's hard not to be chilled by the silent, cold exterior he always uses in his roles. Though I must say, watching him on House is a pain in the ass, not because he's good at playing bad, but because he's too deadpan.

Perhaps the only thing that's missing in Disturbia, despite the fact that it was well made, is a genuine surprise. It's pretty straightforward, you won't have any problems understanding this film. This isn't as entertaining as Saw or Identity. But it has enough heart stopping moments to keep you on the edge of your seat till the end.

Solid entertainment, nothing less than that. (4/5)

Monday, October 29, 2007


Year: 2007
Director: Mikael Hafstrom
Cast: John Cusack, Samuel L Jackson, Mary McCormack

If you lived in Malaysia, you'd have no idea how many times this film's release was delayed. For some reason the local film distributor kept putting it off, and as a result, us Malaysians only get to see it 4 months after the US. Well, patience does pay off, I guess.

1408 is based on the Stephen King short story, and focuses on Mike Enslin, a man that writes guidebooks on haunted places, and his latest research happens to be haunted hotels. He's searched high and low but has yet to find a truly haunted place to sleep in, all he gets are spooky but boring inns that have a history of deaths, yet no ghosts.

One day, he receives a postcard by The Dolphin Hotel in New York, with a message that says "Don't Enter 1408". Curious, he decides to give this hotel a shot. Once he arrives, he asks to stay in that very room, but is strongly dissuaded by the hotel manager, Gerald Olin. Olin tells him of all the grisly deaths that have occured in that room, and unlike the other faux experiences that Enslin's had, this room's evil is genuine. Enslin however, is adamant and persuades Olin to let him stay in 1408. After much persuasion, Olin agrees.

Once inside, Enslin finds it just like any other hotel room, and then gradually things start to take a turn for the worse. The clock radio turns itself on. The window slams itself shut on Enslin's hand at one point. He starts to get visions of apparitions walking across the room, some try to attack him. He continuously tries to explain it to himself how it's all possible, but it doesn't help him much. He tries to leave the room, but fails. Then the evil in the room deals him their trump card: his personal demons. The room shows him the moments he watched his young daughter die of a terminal illness. Enslin goes to the brink of insanity as he tries to survive.

For a horror flick, this one is quite different from the hack and slash films Hollywood is known for. When dealing with ghosts and things that go bump in the night, the result can be a fresh change of scenery. But only if it is executed well, and unfortunately director Mikael Hafstrom only gets it half right. He manages to pile on the scares good enough to incite terror, but it is unevenly done. He throws whatever he has at you left and right, up and down, back and front, but it doesn't make sense a lot of times. It feels as if he doesn't have a good reason to use a certain scare tactic, he just shoots and hopes it hits the mark. Perhaps if he had used a psychological angle in connecting the terror of the room to Enslin's past, he may have come up with something more interesting.

But at the very least, John Cusack doesn't falter in his performance as Mike Enslin. He is one of the most underrated actors of his generation, and he proves it again here. In fact, this film is all his, as the other cast members, including Samuel L Jackson, have minor roles. Cusack leads the way and carries the film by himself, and despite the uneven directing, makes it worth watching to a certain level.

It's a good horror flick, but it can be a lot better. I only wish Hafstrom could have made this as good as his last effort, Derailed. (3.5/5)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Planet Terror

Year: 2007
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Cast: Rose McGowan, Freddy Rodriguez, Marley Shelton, Josh Brolin, Michael Biehn, Jeff Fahey, Naveen Andrews, Michael Parks

Planet Terror is one half of the Grindhouse double feature, a collaboration of sorts between Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, where each director will present one film and combine them in one screening. This is what they used to do back in the 70s, as opposed to the high budget blockbusters which were more popular. So you can say that Rodriguez and Tarantino are trying to pay homage to the past.

This film is Rodriguez's contribution, a zombie type film with enough gore and violence that would make The Hills Have Eyes look like a walk in the park. But then again, Rodriguez throws in so much over-the-topness into his flick, that it ends up looking like a spoof half the time, and in that half it can get quite ridiculous, and even funny in certain moments.

The story begins with Cherry Darling (Rose McGowan), a go-go dancer who wants out of the business of dancing on tables for men. She runs into her old boyfriend El Wray (Freddy Rodriguez), a guy who's pretty good with guns. She probably couldn't ask for a better day to run into him, because it's this day that zombies start to walk the earth. It all starts with a deal gone bad between scientist Abby (Naveen Andrews) and military Lt Muldoon (Bruce Willis in a minor role) over a gas that causes people to turn into flesh eating creatures. Soon, a majority of the population becomes infected and turns into zombies, and it's up to Cherry, El Wray, a female doctor (Marley Shelton), the local Sheriff (Michael Biehn), his BBQ cook brother (Jeff Fahey) and a small ragtag group of survivors who are apparently immune to the gas, to stop the infected and survive.

This isn't Spy Kids. There, I said it. Planet Terror is much closer to Rodriguez's campy yet fun vampire flick From Dusk Till Dawn. I had a real blast with that film, especially because George Clooney can still play a badass even when he looks like ER's Doug Ross. And Quentin Tarantino was a riot in that film. But there's no Clooney in Planet Terror. What we do have however, are a bunch of non Grade A actors making a gory spoof. You'll see people like Josh Brolin and Michael Biehn, who aren't A-list by today's Hollywood standards, making a comeback. And they do it pretty well too. McGowan and Freddy Rodriguez are splendid as the leads, and make themselves quite memorable. Check out the cameos from pop star Fergie and Quentin Tarantino too.

But then, the over the top style of Rodriguez is quite numbing after a while. I mean, how much gore and violence and disgusting images can you withstand? Maybe some of you can stomach it, but for me, it got a little too carried away at times. When that happens, it kinda distracts me from the essence of the film. But I'll give credit to Rodriguez for making this film very retro, as if he had filmed it back in the day. He even has a fake movie trailer at the beginning, starring his favourite choices Danny Trejo and Cheech Marin. It's a nice touch indeed.

Verdict: Watch it if you want something different, but not if you hate gore and violence. Even if it is cartoonish. Excuse me while I go find Tarantino's half, Death Proof. (3.5/5)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Resident Evil: Extinction

Year: 2007
Director: Russell Mulcahy
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Oded Fehr, Ali Larter, Iain Glen

More sequels, more trilogies. That's the flavour of the year, it seems. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. In the case of Resident Evil, it is the former, though you'll have to keep in mind to let go of your inhibitions and just enjoy the ride.

Based on the popular video game of the same name, Resident Evil is about a genetically engineered female warrior named Alice, who must save humanity from her creators after a virus, called the T-Virus turns everyone into undead zombies. For the past two films, Alice has succeeded in evading her creators and saving whatever's left of humanity, while disposing of countless zombies along the way.

In this film, the third of the series, the earth has become a vast desert land, after the T-Virus wipes out mankind, infects the planet and turned it into an empty world of sand. Most of the cities have been buried and the undead still roam, looking for food. There are but a small band of survivors, led by Claire Redfield and the male hero from the second film, Carlos Olivera. They continuously move from city to city, looking for food, gas and ammunition, being careful not to run into the zombies. Incidentally, Alice is still alive, and on the move as well, trying to survive on her own.

However, the Umbrella Corporation, who created Alice and the T-Virus, are still operating in the underground Raccoon City. Dr Isaacs, the chief scientist, needs Alice to find a cure for the virus. He gets an opportunity when his satellites lock on her when she saves Claire's convoy from a flock of undead crows. He sets a trap for her and the convoy, and now Alice has to band together with her new friends to escape Dr Isaacs' clutches and make their way to Alaska, which may be the last uninfected place on earth.

As far as action goes, Extinction does not disappoint. You'll have plenty to savour on screen as Alice shoots and maims the zombies in brutal yet stylish fashion, while looking so good at the same time. Kudos to Russell Mulcahy for not making this instalment look like a video game. By choosing a desert setting, he avoids the darkness cliche existent in most zombie flicks. The vast emptiness of the desert is in fact quite fitting and a nice change of scenery.

Jovovich, Fehr and Larter acquit themselves well enough in their roles as Alice, Carlos and Claire respectively, and Glen makes a nice villain in Dr Isaacs. Though it is Jovovich that holds everything together for this film. I don't think the film would have been fun and effective if not for her. My only gripe is how she looks too perfect in almost all the scenes she is in, when wear and tear from being in the desert and fighting the undead should exist.

Writer and producer Paul W.S. Anderson has said that this is the last one, but the ending seems to indicate otherwise. Well, if they can make it fun the fourth time around, why not eh? (4/5)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Lust, Caution

Year: 2007
Director: Ang Lee
Cast: Tony Leung, Tang Wei, Wang Lee Hom, Joan Chen

This will officially be the first Chinese film I'm reviewing here. I only wish I could say more good things about it. But anyway, let's get to it.

Ang Lee's Lust, Caution has already generated a lot of buzz worldwide due to its explicit sex scenes, which has caused the film to be condemned by Western audiences. However, Chinese and Taiwan viewers seem to love it, as it tells a story set in Shanghai during World War II, about the Chinese rebellion against Japanese occupation.

The story focuses on a young girl named Wang Jiazhi, who lives with her friend in Shanghai. Her mum has passed on and her dad has run to Britain, giving her empty promises that he will send for her. One day, Wang meets Kuang Yumin, a young man who is idealistic about liberating China from the Japanese. He invites her and her friend, Lai Shujin, to join his play about patriotism, and they agree. After a successful performance in front of an enthusiastic audience, Kuang, the two girls and his fellow three male friends become more confident about the impact they can make on the people.

Soon, Kuang receives information on a high ranking Chinese political figure, Mr Yee, who is loyal to the Japanese. Kuang plans to assassinate Yee in his quest for patriotism, and convinces his five mates to follow his lead. They hatch a plan to get close to Yee by having Wang and one of the boys to pose as a married couple, and get close to Mr Yee's wife, who loves to play mahjong and have talks with her female friends on occasion. The plan works to a certain extent, and Wang even catches Mr Yee's eye, and tries to seduce him. However, unfortunate circumstances ruins their plan to kill Yee, and they abandon their intentions and go back to their lives.

Cut to three years later, when a chance encounter between Wang and Kuang reignites the assassination plot. With the help of an old man who has bigger plans on overthrowing the Japanese, Wang reassumes her role and infiltrates the Yee couple once more. This time she manages to directly get herself involved in an affair with Mr Yee, with violent and uneasy results. It turns out Mr Yee is a sadistic masochist who enjoys being in control of her. Wang suffers as she continues the masquerade, but soldiers on at the old man's persuasion. She gets closer and closer to Yee personally, and finally makes a decision that will affect both Yee and her comrades.

I'll tell you right now, I'm not a fan of Ang Lee's work. And after this film, I'm still not a fan. Sure, he can tell a story well, and he chooses the right people to play their roles every time. But he always takes too long to get the point across. You have no idea how much time he wasted on filming the women playing mahjong. Maybe I don't get it, but some conciseness can be effective. And a lot of time is spent posturing and lamenting, and worst of all it comes to a very unsatisfying climax that essentially makes no sense to me. I mean, I'm sure the book it's based on would be more gratifying, because the way Ang told this story makes me wonder why our protagonist did what she did.

As for the acting, Tang Wei is a knockout as Wang. She acts well in most of her scenes, and even speaks good English in a few scenes that require it. Had it been Zhang Ziyi, it would have been a disaster. Leung is effective as Mr Yee, though he comes across as a cold hearted man throughout the film, which makes it quite monotonous. But then again, I don't know if that's how the book described him. Wang Lee Hom does fine as Kuang, while Joan Chen doesn't do much as Mrs Yee, but still generates some screen presence.

The sex scenes between Leung and Tang Wei were cut out by the local censors, but I guess it wouldn't have made much of a difference to me. In the end, Lust, Caution is just unnecessarily too long, and is only slightly mitigated by the cast's performance. (3/5)

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum

Year: 2007
Director: Paul Greengrass
Cast: Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, David Strathairn, Joan Allen, Scott Glenn, Paddy Considine, Albert Finney

You know, I should have reviewed The Bourne Supremacy before writing this, for your benefit. But I just don't have the luxury of watching that instalment at the moment, so I'll just focus on this.

However, what I will do, is give you a recap. In The Bourne Identity, Jason Bourne doesn't quite succeed in finding all the people who made him a killer, but he finds happiness in Marie, the girl who helped him evade his employers. In the sequel The Bourne Supremacy, the CIA botch one of their jobs with the Russians, who frame Bourne for it, then assign someone to kill him to tie up loose ends. But he survives and Marie ends up dead. Bourne goes after the CIA and the Russians and kills a few more people, including the man who killed Marie, and continues to suffer from the guilt of being an assassin.

And now, Matt Damon returns again as Bourne in Ultimatum. The CIA continue to hunt him down, as the Director of the agency, Ezra Kramer (Scott Glenn), believes he is a threat to the country. But Pamela Landy (Joan Allen), the CIA officer from Supremacy, doesn't believe so. She thinks he's after something else.

Bourne on the other hand, comes across a newspaper article about him, written by a British journalist named Simon Ross (Paddy Considine), and arranges a meeting with him in order to learn who Ross' source is. Bourne's former employers, the upgraded Operation Blackbriar, led by CIA deputy director Noah Vosen are also after Ross for the same reason. They soon run into Bourne, and despatch one of their 'assets' to take out both Bourne and Ross. Bourne escapes but like everyone Bourne comes into contact with, Ross gets killed.

Bourne uses Ross' notes and traces his source to a man named Neil Daniels, and runs into his former handler, Nicky Parsons (Julia Stiles). She helps him follow Daniels to Tangier, as Vosen seeks Pamela's help to find Bourne. Things get sticky when Vosen learns that Nicky is helping Bourne and orders her execution. This is when Pamela realises that she isn't playing the same game Vosen is, and decides to get to the bottom of things. Bourne fails to save Daniels from getting assassinated by Vosen's 'asset', and returns to New York to learn about his past, face his 'creators' and put an end to them.

I have to admit, this is a wonderfully plotted, well executed action movie. I loved it. Truly. Paul Greengrass has done wonders with this supposedly final instalment of the Bourne series. True, his shaky handheld camerawork can be distracting at times, but in most ways, it works in bringing out the action the way it should be seen: personal, up close and in your face. Every blow in a hand-to-hand combat sequence, every crash in a car chase and every leap in a foot race can be felt. Best of all, the action doesn't overwhelm the drama and quieter moments in the film.

Damon does splendidly again as the troubled Bourne, who is as determined as ever to bring a sense of closure to his mystery. You are not going to see him smile or crack a joke, Bourne is all business, and he means it. And you can't find a better actor than Damon to pull it off. Stiles on the other hand, tries hard but doesn't quite have the screen presence to make her character memorable. Strathairn makes a good villain as Vosen, while Allen doesn't disappoint as Pamela Landy.

Another thing worth mentioning is the locations used in the film. The crew travelled to London, Tangier, Paris and New York, and the way they filmed in the middle of huge crowds is just amazing, especially in London where they filmed at the Waterloo train station. Imagine filming while being surrounded by huge crowds of hundreds of people. Credit goes to Greengrass and his camera team.

As usual, Moby's Extreme Ways plays during the closing credits, though it's a remix this time. Bah, they shouldn't have changed that! Anyway, great film, even better than Live Free Or Die Hard. (4.5/5)

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Year: 2005
Director: Marc Forster
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Ryan Gosling, Janeane Garofalo, Bob Hoskins

I didn't know what to expect before I watched this film, other than it having some sort of supernatural element to it. And now that I've seen it, I find that it's far more than that.

Stay is set in New York, though the setting looks unlike it at all. Ewan McGregor plays Dr Sam Foster, a psychiatrist who seems happy doing his job and living with his girlfriend Lila (Naomi Watts). Lila is a former suicide victim who's happy now with Sam. One day, Sam meets his colleague's patient, Henry Letham (Ryan Gosling), who seems disturbed with the way the world is around him. Henry tells Sam that he plans to kill himself in 3 days. Sam starts to worry about him, and tries to find a way to help him.

But first, he has to learn more about Henry, and through his discussions with the young man, Sam learns that his parents died in a car wreck, he likes art by Reveur, an artist who killed himself on his 21st birthday, and he doesn't have a girlfriend, other than liking a girl named Athena, who works at a diner. However, something strange happens to Sam, as he digs deeper into Henry's life, his own grip on reality starts to blur. He begins to hear and see things that are unreal, he experiences dejavu for no reason and soon he can't tell the difference between dreams and reality.

Lila starts to worry about Sam as he races against time to stop Henry from taking his own life. But the more he tries, the more confused and disoriented he becomes, and Henry drifts further and further from the will to live. Both men finally come to a revelation that brings a surprise to the story.

Some have said that this is a lot like David Lynch's style, which was used for Twin Peaks. True, this film relies on surrealism to bring the story across. Director Marc Forster does well in bending the reality and vision of the protagonists in his story. He gets his cinematographer to use unique camera angles and blends one scene to the next seamlessly to distort the audience's view. Watching this is like going down the rabbit hole in Alice's Wonderland. The choice of music is also perfect.

However, Forster relies too much on it in his direction of Stay, especially in the second half. Yes, it is well done. But you can't have too much of a good thing. It affects the storytelling and ends up confusing the audience on which direction the film is actually going. Towards the end, some of the scenes do not really make sense, and you'll be wondering if that really was Forster's intention, to confuse you.

McGregor is convincing enough as a psychiatrist wanting to help his patient, and end up getting more than he bargained for. Watts lends able support as Lila, whose suicidal past is the root of the core of this film. Gosling does much better here than in Fracture, looking very believable as the disturbed Henry. Henry comes across as someone plagued by guilt and death, wanting redemption but too afraid to reach out for it. Gosling brings all that onscreen, and then some.

The ending will be confusing to most people, though I think that one needs to pay close attention throughout the film and deduce the conclusion when you get there. At the end, you'll be wondering if everything you've seen is real. It can be a big payoff, or a real annoyance to you.

Worth checking out, but not completely satisfying. (3.5/5)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Bourne Identity

Year: 2002
Director: Doug Liman
Cast: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Clive Owen, Brian Cox, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Julia Stiles

This may sound strange, but I'm probably the only guy who watched The Bourne Supremacy before The Bourne Identity. And I'm itching to catch The Bourne Ultimatum when it opens next week, so I had some catching up to do. So I got my hands on this film, to see where the great Jason Bourne came from.

The Bourne Identity begins somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea, where a group of fishermen find a man in the open water and bring him aboard. The doctor onboard finds two bullets in the man's back, and a capsule that emits a laser showing a Zurich bank account number. The man has no memory of who he is and where he's been before they found him.

The fishermen bring him to land, and the man makes his way to Switzerland. He finds his way to the bank and opens the safe deposit box assigned to the number, and finds a gun, lots of cash and six passports with his picture in them, all with different names. He assumes the name of the American passport, Jason Bourne, then takes the passports and money, and leaves. However, his employers are keeping track of his movements closely, and before long they attempt to kill him.

But who are his employers, you ask? The CIA, no less! See, Bourne is an assassin trained by the CIA's project Treadstone, led by a man named Conklin. Bourne's last mission went awry, and now Conklin wants to get Bourne and clean up the mess. This is because Bourne's intended target, an African warlord called Wombosi, is making his move to spill the beans on the CIA's attempts on his life.

However, Bourne has trouble piecing his past together by himself. He runs into Marie, a German girl who needs money, and asks for her help to get to Paris, where he believes he will find some answers. Marie agrees, and unwittingly gets dragged into the fray as Conklin's men and other 'products' of Treadstone close in on Bourne.

After watching this, I can conclude that this is not the typical action thriller. It's a thinking man's action thriller. At the end of it, you won't have all the answers you seek. But it's a spy thriller of sorts, where nothing is what it seems, so the open ended questions will pave the way for the sequels. Better yet, it's a film where characterisation was done well. Director Doug Liman gives us an insight into Bourne's character, as a man who is trained to kill, yet has no idea how or why he knows how to do all that. Liman also gives us some great action sequences, like the car chase between Bourne and the police through Paris, and some neat hand-to-hand fights.

Performance wise, Matt Damon is perfect as the assassin riddled with amnesia. In this film, Damon looks like a wide-eyed boy with no idea about what's going on, then in some scenes he just jumps straight into action and becomes deadly, giving Bourne a sense of unpredictability that fits his profile. If you met Bourne on the street, you would have no clue on how dangerous he actually is, which is cool. Franka Potente lends able support as Marie, and plays off the emotionally vulnerable Bourne splendidly.

And now, I'm all set for The Bourne Ultimatum, which promises to be better than its two predecessors. Bring it on. (4/5)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Hills Have Eyes

Year: 2006
Director: Alexandre Aja
Cast: Aaron Stanford, Emilie de Ravin, Kathleen Quinlan, Vinessa Shaw, Ted Levine, Dan Byrd, Robert Joy, Tom Bower

In the movies, violence can be fun if it's done right. Violence is kinda like horror's best friend, they always seem to go hand in hand. Some may abhor it, but others who just love to be scared would just enjoy the violence they see on screen. It can be fun, as long as it stays on screen of course.

OK, enough beating around the bush. The Hills Have Eyes was originally done by Wes Craven back in 1977 and now remade by Alexandre Aja. The story focuses on the Carter family, who are travelling across the New Mexico desert via motor home towards San Diego. They take a little detour through an unknown road, thanks to a shady gas station man and end up getting waylaid by a group of cannibalistic freaks.

These freaks apparently originated from a group of miners who refused to leave their homes when their village was used as a nuclear testing site by the US government. Now transformed and mutated by the radiation, they prey on any hapless people who cross into their territory. The Carter family, made up of parents Big Bob (Levine) and Ethel (Quinlan), daughters Lynn (Shaw) and Brenda (de Ravin), son Bobby (Byrd), son-in-law Doug (Stanford) and grandchild Catherine, and two dogs (Beauty and Beast) are now the next victims. When the freaks massacre half the family and kidnap the baby, the remaining family members must band together and become as violent as their attackers to survive.

I haven't seen the original, so I can't make comparisons. But I can tell you that this is one fun movie. If you're not the squeamish type, you'll enjoy the horror and violence depicted on screen. Director Alexandre Aja does an excellent job in almost every department, from the pacing to the casting to the music score to the production design. He uses classical 50s music during the opening and closing credits, giving an eerie feel to his film. He filmed in Morocco, using their vast desert landscape to great effect.

The cast, from the actors playing the Carters to the ones playing the freaks do a splendid job indeed. They bring out the best and worst of their characters, making it a very believable experience. Byrd, de Ravin, Stanford and Joy, who plays the freak Lizard, stand out best.

It's admirable to watch a normal American suburban family suddenly thrust into a life threatening situation turn the tables on their tormentors, with deadly force. It shows what some of us would do when backed into a corner with no way out, and having to resort to ruthlessness to stay alive.

A great and memorable horror flick. Just don't watch the sequel to this. (4.5/5)


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