New Releases for Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Directed by: Michael G. Kehoe
Run time: 100 minutes
The Lowdown: Writer-director Michael G. Kehoe’s wannabe-scary horror thriller The Hatred is so disjointed, so unsure of what it wants to be, that by the time you reach the credits, expect to be frustrated and tired from trying to figure out what the hell you just watched.
The film begins with an extended prologue set after World War II. A former Nazi war criminal (longtime genre icon Andrew Divoff) has made his way to an isolated farm in the U.S. where he continues to run roughshod over his wife and daughter like he never left his SS rank behind.
The farmer refuses to allow his daughter to leave his sight or interact with the outside world – so much so, that when she disobeys his direct commands one too many times, he takes parenting in a wholly unexpected and shocking way.
The prologue also teases an ancient Nazi relic with ties directly to Adolf Hitler that the farmer receives in the mail, which he promptly hides deep inside a basement wall. As viewers, we’re told very little about the artifact, other than it appears to feed on anger. We know this because the spot on the wall where it was entombed turns scorched black in the shape of a swastika whenever people get really upset inside the house.
The farmer also has a penchant for donning a creepy gas mask to go out and spray his crops.
Why is this important? Answer: It exists only to reappear late, late, late in the film’s third act, which by that time you’ve almost entirely forgotten about it.
Kehoe’s film frustrates because it does its extended set-up a great disservice. The farmer, his Nazi artifact and his gas mask should have been the focus throughout. Instead, the film jumps forward to present day when a new family is now living at the house, and a young woman accompanied by some nubile friends arrives to stay at the house, and they get swept up in a paranormal mystery that envelops the couple’s young daughter.
You know the drill from here: The daughter starts seeing things that no one else can see. Of course, it’s the spirit of the farmer’s daughter.
For too long of a stretch, however, Kehoe makes viewers believe that the daughter is a malevolent spirit. While there are some sparse yet effective special effects, the plot just can’t support the action once all hell breaks loose and people start dying violent deaths.
The Stuff You Care About: Hot chicks – Not really.
Nudity – No. Gore – Minimal.
Drug use – No.
Bad Guys/Killers – Andrew Divoff, still playing the big-bad after all these years.
Buy/Rent – Neither.
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: 35th Anniversary Limited Edition (Universal Studios, 114 minutes, PG-13, Blu-Ray): Steven Spielberg’s classic story, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, gets the gold-star, deluxe treatment in this fantastic 35th-anniversary edition. It’s OK after these years to finally admit you cry every time Elliot has to say goodbye to E.T.
The Mummy (Universal Studios, 110 minutes, PG-13, Blu-Ray): Here’s the thing about trying to launch a new franchise – you have to make sure the first film in the burgeoning series is good enough to make viewers want to see more.
In launching its Dark Universe of classic monsters with The Mummy, Universal made a calculated decision to hang the fate of its franchise on Tom Cruise’s shoulders – and, as much as I like Cruise as an actor, it just doesn’t work as well as the studio likely hoped.
There’s just too much going on from introducing Cruise’s soldier of fortune, who will become a recurring character; the mummy (Sofia Boutella, the only good thing about the film); and the secret society tracking monsters, which is led by Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe). First-time feature director Alex Kurtzman just is overwhelmed in trying to move all the pieces around the board in a way that makes sense.
The Mummy is at its best when it focuses on Cruise and Boutella, but even their face-offs grow weary under the weight of too much CGI mayhem.
The next film in the series is supposed to be a new take on The Bride of Frankenstein. Here’s hoping they figure out a way to get that one right.
The Resurrected (Shout! Factory, 106 minutes, R, Blu-Ray): Way back in 1991, the late, great Dan O’Bannon (Alien, Dead & Buried and Blue Thunder, just to name a few of the genre classics he helped shepherd into existence) took on the granddaddy of horror himself, H.P. Lovecraft. While The Resurrected isn’t nearly as successful of a Lovecraft adaptation as, say, Re-Animator, it still crackles with energy and gets a boost from Chris Sarandon in a lead role. The special effects recall the heyday of classic 1980’s horror. This is a nice gem – one many fans likely have either forgotten or never saw upon its release – and kudos to Shout! Factory for, ahem, resurrecting the title for its flagship Scream Factory series.
Phantasm: 5 Movie DVD Collection (Well Go USA, 454 minutes, R, DVD): The definitive Phantasm collection finally arrives – but not on high-definition – with all five films from the enduring series intact: Phantasm: Remastered (1978), Phantasm II: The Ball is Back (1988), Phantasm III: Lord of the Dead (1993), Phantasm IV: Oblivion (1998) and Phantasm V: Ravager (2016).
The fan-favorite series from writer-director Don Coscarelli is a rarity in Hollywood for keeping its core cast intact over five films spanning 38 years. We’ve grown older and wiser with Mike, Reggie, Jody and The Tall Man, and while not every film is a cult classic in its own right (the first two films remain the best, with Lord of the Dead entertaining enough as a close contender), it’s still nice for cinephiles to have the bunch in one boxed set.
Sadly, the fifth and final installment, Ravager, does not live up to the mythology and cult status of the first four, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy this collection to proudly display on your home media shelf.
Lifetime Scary Movie Set
Chicago P.D.: Season Four
Chicago Justice: Season One
Soul on a String
Dead Again in Tombstone
Scorpion: Season Three
Erik the Conqueror
The Big Knife
Captain Underpants: The Epic First Movie