Directed by: Tom Paton
Run time: 91 minutes
The Lowdown: While I’m typically all-in when it comes to new films intentionally striving for a retro-mid-1980’s vibe, both in style and visual dynamics, it’s difficult not to become frustrated and disillusioned when the end results fail to live up to a director’s ambition.
It happened two years ago with Beyond the Gates, a should-have-been great throwback to the days of VHS board games, and now it’s happened again with Black Site, the latest genre offering from Epic Pictures and Dread Central.
Black Site has a great story that’s completely squandered. In an unknown location, buried deep within a military stronghold, a team of elite government soldiers is responsible for keeping vigil on an ancient deity known as an Elder God who wants to open a portal so a supernatural army can cross into our world and launch an invasion.
That’s right, you had me at Elder God.
The problem, which quickly becomes apparent, is that writer-director Tom Paton, helming his third feature, has nary a clue how to translate such a pulpy-good comic book yarn into a live-action thrill-ride.
Black Site should play out like a relentless, white-knuckle ambush; instead, it meanders, wasting time on unnecessary subplots (the main female soldier is a rule-breaker at risk of being demoted for insubordination).
Here’s a pro tip: If you’re making a movie about an ancient deity called an Elder God, you should at least spend some time on special effects to properly make said Elder God wholly intimidating and seemingly unstoppable.
Black Site, sadly, does not do this.
Here’s another tip: If you’re marketing your movie as a kick-ass horror-action film, you should at least spend some time developing several impressive fight sequences to show just how challenging defeating something called an Elder God might be.
Black Site, sadly, does not do this.
Instead of being propulsive and engaging, the film drags, struggling to find a consistent tone. Instead of injecting some pitch-black humor into the madness, a la James Cameron’s Aliens, the film offers up a few weak jokes that fall flat.
I’m all for making a loving homage to the heyday of over-the-top 80’s mash-ups, but if you’re going to do that, then do that.
Black Site is little more than a tease of what could have, should have, been a bloody, epic brawl.
The Stuff You Care About:
Hot chicks – Yes.
Nudity – No.
Gore – Yes.
Drug use – No.
Bad Guys/Killers – The Elder Gods.
Buy/Rent – Neither
Mega Time Squad (Dark Sky Films, 86 minutes, Unrated, Blu-Ray): Run, run as fast as you can, and get your copy of Tim van Dammen’s Mega Time Squad, which is shaping up to be one of the best genre releases this year. It’s hysterical, for one, but also ridiculously solid in its approach to time travel, which can be a challenging nut for even the most seasoned filmmakers to properly crack.
The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires
On the Basis of Sex
Welcome to Marwen
The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire
Now on Video-on-Demand:
The Mummy Reborn (High Octane Pictures, 80 minutes, Unrated, Video-on-Demand): Here’s all you need to know about The Mummy Reborn: It opens with a quote by Kanye West.
Dan Allen’s film opens in 2007, in a hot tub, in England, with a girl being eviscerated and a guy getting his head crushed by the mummy, which is on full display not five minutes into the movie, and who steals an ancient medallion that the guy just happened to have lying around his flat.
Then we jump forward to 2018 and meet Tina (Tiffany-Ellen Robinson), who is responsible for caring for her brother with special needs. They fight, a lot.
Tina works at an antique store, which she learns is about to close within the week, meaning she won’t be able to afford to care for her brother. Tina is charged with cataloging all of the artifacts in the store.
At this point, in my notes, I wrote: Let me guess, the medallion is going to be in the back of the store.
Guess what Tina finds in the back of the store – the freaking medallion, on top of a crate that is covered in some odd iron fencing.
Later that night, which you know because there’s a title card that says, Later that night…, Tina is back at home arguing with her brother while making dinner for her boyfriend. She looks up the medallion online and learns that it’s valued at $800,000. Of course, her boyfriend says, let’s go steal it.
Even later that night, which you know because there’s a title card that says, Even later that night…, Tina’s boyfriend introduces her to his guy friend who is a low-level criminal. They break in steal both the medallion and the crate, which is actually a coffin, which contains…the fucking mummy.
I’m not sure if The Mummy Reborn was supposed to be a horror-comedy, given the use of silly title cards, or a horror-dramedy, given the consistent dark tone that takes over whenever Tina talks about her special needs brother, but neither tone works.
Suffice to say, the special needs brother finds the crate, breaks the medallion and keeps half of it. The mummy immediately wakes up, er, is reborn, and all hell breaks loose. The mummy takes to the street. The mummy is discovered watching television, holding a remote. The mummy takes one of the low-level criminal’s female cohorts, kills her and reanimates her as his Egyptian bride. Then he does the same to the low-level criminal’s other female cohort.
Suddenly, the special needs brother is speaking intelligently. The mummy is real, he shouts. Why am I the only one talking sense here?
About the time the mummy stumbles upon a group of stoners out in the woods, tripping balls, is the point that I said enough.
I have no idea how The Mummy Reborn ends, but I guarantee you, if you watch it, Tina will have to reconnect the two halves of the medallion in order to stop the mummy’s rampage.
Don’t believe me? Go rent The Mummy Reborn on demand and see if I’m right.
Go on. I’ll wait.