I have heard of Guns Akimbo before, so the Amazon Prime rule does not apply.
So, remember BumFights, where people would pay bums to, y’know, fight each other, and record it on their phones, and then upload those videos and charge people to watch them, and voilà, instant albeit troubling profit? Imagine that world advanced by technology and the decline and fall of civilized society, and you have Skizm, a website where people pay to watch random folk hunt and murder each other.
Now imagine that Harry Potter hadn’t been a wizard, so he ended up as a mobile game software developer with a way too cool girlfriend who came to her senses and dumped him, and now he’s got nothing going for him, so he trolls the Skizm website insulting its viewership one at a time. Until he insults the wrong person, and ends up home-invaded, knocked out, and wakes up with a pair of guns literally bolted to his hands, because he has become the latest contestant, with 24 hours to kill or be killed by his opponent.
Sure, the plot is a little deeper than that, but you know everything you need to know. Either that’s hilarious and you want to watch it, or you’re a better person than I am.
 I did a modicum of research and determined that it was too long ago for phone recordings, was released on DVD, and also maybe what I’m remembering was more backlash hype that reality. But that’s not important to the metaphor.
You know the rule about movies that you can’t make a good adaptation of a video game? It’s not 100% true, but it sure mostly is. I’m pretty sure I played the video game Far Cry since the inception of this blog, a fact which will be confirmed or denied by the link or lack of link just above, at the reference point.
Anyway, I have come here mostly to say that Far Cry (the film) lives down to those expectations. Its sins include: giving away way too much of the plot way too soon – the game was so great about the slow reveal; cartoonishly evil characters – like, at some point, when you’re a mercenary army and someone outside your hierarchy is disciplining your members by shooting them in the head, and you’re all armed and outnumber that person by 20 to 1, you just take the person out and blame it on the insurgent guy who everyone already knows is running around the island; extraneous and unfunny sidekicks; unnecessary to the plot sex scenes; even worse, unnecessary to the plot sex scenes where you skip the actual sex part of the scene.
There are probably more sins than these, but I was working and not being very distracted by the movie from working (which is both good and disappointing at the same time), so I reckon I had plenty of time to miss some. I didn’t even know they made this movie, to be honest, and finding it on Amazon Prime Video definitely feeds my theory about the contents of that service!
Amazon Prime Video is where bad movies go to die, I have concluded. I mean, it has good movies as well, there are definitely movies there you’ve heard of that are fine. But when you’ve never heard of a movie on Netflix, it still might turn out well. When you’ve never heard of a movie on Shudder, the odds are nevertheless stacked heavily in its favor. When you’ve never heard of a movie on Amazon, you end up watching Night Club Massacre.
It’s not that it was badly shot, although it was. It’s not that the sound editing was abysmal, which it also was. (Actually, the sound editing might have been the worst part after all, but I’ll pretend like it isn’t to get to the next sentence.) It’s that it didn’t know what it wanted to be. From what odds and ends of the dialogue I could actually hear, it started as the story of a twenty-something woman fallen on economic and relationship hard times who finds herself a cocktail waitress at a strip club, watching the dancers make all the money she wants to be making. Then in the middle third it pivots to terrible people doing terrible things for no discernible reason except to show how terrible they are, even though in any rational world they wouldn’t get away with the terrible things they had done. Then, there’s like 20 minutes of events justifying revenge, followed by revenge.
I like a good revenge flick! I just wish they hadn’t taken so long to decide that’s what it was. (Well, and the part where I like a good revenge flick might still have been an issue.)
The good news here is, it’s not the worst movie I’ve ever seen.
Later, they made Hatchet III.
I really respect where this is going. The movie starts on the morning after Hatchet II, which is to say two mornings after Hatchet. This is still one continuous narrative, even if one character has changed actors and one actor continues to show up as new characters. But then, that latter is part of the joke.
Another thing I appreciate is that they got the urge for overwhelming gore out of their system last time, so this one could be funny again. And it was. Possibly made even more funny by catharsis based on recent events, but watching Victor Crowley versus a Sheriff’s Department and also a SWAT team? I may well have found myself fascinated for twice as long, if he’d just kept killing people in new and inventive ways. (Just like in real life, I was sad for the one to possibly three of them who didn’t deserve what they got.)
Basically, if you like slasher movies enough to find them inherently funny, and want to watch modern films by someone who loves the genre just as much, and is in on the joke right along with you, this is a can’t miss series. Each entry adds just enough new material to not feel like a retread, while otherwise entirely being a retread, just as God and John Carpenter intended.
Unlike last time, though, I’m actually not sure how there’s room for another sequel. That actually felt like the end?
Apparently, the second Hatchet movie had some problems getting past the MPAA without deep, deep edits, most of which were taking over-the-top gore scenes and making them shorter, which for some reason is less offensive. They also pulled some mutilated genitalia scenes and about five seconds of transition from sex to necrophilia, both of which were critical to the plot.
Thankfully, the Prime Video people mislabeled the rated R version, so I got the unrated version instead.
Hatchet II is in the very small class of perfect horror movie sequels that understand how sequels should pick up immediately after the prior movie ended. Final girl Marybeth is ready to plunge right back into the swamp to retrieve the bodies of her dead family folk and just maybe take revenge on the wielder of the eponymous murder weapon, with help from voodoo entrepreneur Tony Todd and his band of merry redneck mercenaries. Will it work? I mean, maybe, but I have it on good authority that there are (at least) two sequels left, so, well, you do the math.
In short: not as good, nor as funny, as the original, but what it lost in comedy plus originality, it more than made up in commitment to grossing out the plebes. I ain’t mad at it.
Aliens gets a pass on this. “Sure”, you may be thinking, “57 years isn’t immediate!” But thanks to cryogenics, it was immediately for Ripley, and that’s what matters here.
As alluded to recently, the movie I watched last night was based on a creepy internet website from let’s say 2001. Living Dark, as both said website and the subtitle of the film proclaim, tells the story of Ted the Caver, when he found a tiny passageway leading to an untouched, or “virgin” as the caving community would have it, series of caves, and decided to get in there and see what was on the other side.
The movie, necessarily, has more going on than just someone’s caving blog would. There’s a family drama tied into it, and, later, a resolution to the cave exploration. The resolution part is the problem. Partly because I liked it better when [spoiler removed] did it, but mostly because I liked it better when the website did it. There’s always something to be said for letting your imagination run away with you, and unspecified supernatural phenomena are a great way for that to happen. However, it is also something easier to get away with in text than on film, so I understand why they had to do something more specific here.
And within the constraints of an answer, this was a decent answer and outcome for a creepy cave movie to have. But the website is better.