Back Country

An urban couple goes camping in the woods of a Canadian National Park. Alex is trying to impress his girlfriend, Jenn, by showing her the stunning nature of the park, but, instead, they find themselves lost in the territory of a predatory black bear.

Warning: this post is spoiler heavy!

The acting is excellent as are the production values. There is a genuine atmosphere of menace and fear, especially when it appears that Alex is hardly Bear Grylls and you sort of know that something bad is going to happen.

During the entire movie, I couldn’t help but think: why is that guy (Alex) ignoring all advises,… I understand that he wants to impress his girlfriend, but he fist negates all advise given by the ranger, refuses to accept the map, leaves all mobile communication devices behind, then again refuses to follow the path right after a guide advised so, and ignores entirely all signs of impending doom,… I mean, dude, really?! At the first sign of the presence of a bear, I would be heading straight back home!

Nevertheless, his death was atrocious, and the entire escape scene of the girl was something you could literally feel.

I also have to mention Eric Balfour’s character, Brad. After he took off, I was left with an ominous feeling. Was this movie about some psychopath preying on young couples in the woods? Somehow, I expected that he was lurking around and about to strike at any moment. I was totally caught off guard when it turns out that the real threat to the couple turned out to be a bear and not Brad. His appearance was so menacing, preying on Alex’s weak personality and insecurity.

Well, one thing I’ve realized watching this movie is that I’ll never want to go camping ever!

Anyway, I can highly recommend watching this movie. If you like survival, trips go horribly wrong kind of films, I’m sure you’ll like this one!

Grim Dawn – Ashes of Malmouth (1/2)

The first expansion of Grim Dawn is out and it brought a lot of new stuff to this already great Hack’n Slash: new class masteries, increased level cap, 2 new chapters,… You can check the complete list of new features here.
After having spent most afternoons of our first week of Halloween holidays fighting our way through the game, here are our thoughts about it:

Gamrok

I had a few weeks of fun last year playing Grim Dawn, but the unoptimized graphic engine broke the game for me. In some zones, the game couldn’t get above 20 fps on a last gen PC with a 1080GTX…

The first thing I noticed with Ashes of Malmouth is that the graphic engine has been updated and never goes below 60 fps no matter the zone. To me, that’s a big green light.

Also, the classes I rolled back then were too squishy (dual handed soldier with 0 physique) or too boring (summoner). This time, like Sisqi, I went for a balance between resistance and offense, a Witchblade (soldier + occultist).
So far (almost level 40), I’m having a blast. Leveling in heavy armor with a two hand and arc as main skill is insanely fun.

I know that I’m nowhere near the end game and that everything will change in ultimate but leveling is a big part of my experience, I’m not rushing, I’m on holidays and I wanna take it easy 😉

Sisqi

Before the release of “Ashes of Malmouth”, I was playing a summoner in Grim Dawn. While I had a lot of fun leveling my character before this expansion, I’ve grown tired of summoning things and letting them do the job for me. Let’s face it, nothing’s more satisfying and rewarding in a hack ‘n slash than smashing all and everything around you with a bad-ass weapon. So, I went for another build this time. No more “cast and run”, but a “come at me bro” type of character that can take quite some damage before dying.

The last time I went for a melee class was in Skyrim and Diablo, and man, did I miss it! I’m having so much fun, I can’t wait to see how my character will perform in endgame content.

At the moment, I’m following a Cadence Witchblade build, partially from a build Gamrok found on the Grim Dawn Forums, the other part by improvising.

Until now I’ve followed most of his advise though… I needed to start somewhere, right? ;-p

Leveling guide byjajaja

Level with 2hand blade arc:

Start soldier, rush mastery to blade arc, max it, then rush to laceration, max it. 1 point in blitz for gap closer, then rush to oleron’s rage, max. then pop a point in occultist and max CoF. Afterwards get soldier passives then more points in occultist for the passives as you see fit.

Basically pop CoF and bladearc away.

Start with falconswoop/hawk, then lizard to get kraken. afterwards slowly work ur way up to oleron, getting dryad/assassins blade on the way to level those skill.

Get a high dmg 2hand mace from vendor on a high lvl char , or do the best you can if its ur first char, attackspeed isn’t that important, just high base dmg, a white one is fine. when choosing gear, make sure to get decent armor values and get armor absorption up with scaled hide/field of command. use ectoplasms if you need mana, if its your first char you can farm those from ghosts in A2 spined cave or something like that.

Go all physique early to use high lvl armor/weapon.

At lvl 75 spec to real build. devotions are straight forward and no backward speccing required.

So far, I’m having a blast! I can’t wait to see how this build will work when running higher difficulties, I’ll write a new post with my thoughts and ideas later on.

The Human Centipede

I long hesitated before watching it… Well, I should have hesitated a bit longer and decided not to watch it.

I thought that, maybe, behind the disgusting “poop-in-the-mouth” thing, was hiding a well written and well acted creepy story. It isn’t the case. The Human Centipede is a nauseating “what-the-fuck” movie that we’ve cut before the end.

Annabelle

A couple begins to experience terrifying supernatural occurrences involving a vintage doll shortly after their home is invaded by satanic cultists. – Imdb

Throughout the entire movie I couldn’t stop but think that Annabelle is one hell of creepy and ugly doll! I really wonder why people would to want to buy this horrific looking thing. Now that I got this of my chest, here’s what I think about the movie…

With the release of Annabelle 2, I remembered never having watched the first one. Blasphemy! I kind of like all movies that were inspired on the Ed & Lorraine Warren case files. I don’t know why, but it has some really creepy vibe around it. Until this day, Annabelle, the curse of the devil doll, is still housed in the Warrens’ occult museum. How creepy is that?

Anyway, the movie in itself started off slow. It had a great opening scene with satanic cultists invading the home of a young couple (Mia & John). Yet, the beginning of the movie remained pretty mild with the typical haunted house occurrences like doors that close by themselves,… So, until that moment I didn’t really feel a real threat. Later on, however, Mia goes down the basement on a stormy night and that’s where things start to get pretty creepy!

As it is, I liked this movie more than I thought I would. I wasn’t expecting too much, since I hated how the Annabelle doll looked and I can’t imagine anyone wanting one like it in their house. However, the film managed to transcend “the boring haunted doll cliché” and actually created genuine scares towards the end of the film. Unlike a lot of horror movies, with their puzzling half and half ending, this one had a decent and believable end. Thumbs up for that!

On a side note: the actress that plays Mia, is named Annabelle Wallis in real life. Yes, I’m a sucker for details like that ;-p

In my opinion, “Annabelle” is, until now, the best movie we’ve watched during our 2017 Halloween holidays. Definitely worth the watch! I’m even looking forward to see what the second movie is about.

A Dark Song

“A determined young woman and a damaged occultist risk their lives and souls to perform a dangerous ritual that will grant them what they want.” – Imdb.

During the first half of the movie, I was thrilled to finally see a movie that doesn’t feature a ritual performed by four kids, a flashlight and a magic book that they found in the attic of their new house. The ritual performed in A Dark Song takes several months and begins by a spiritual and physical cleansing. The relationship between the woman and the occultist as well as the fantastic soundtrack contribute to build the heaviest and creepiest tension I’ve ever seen in a ritual movie.

As I was ready to see the ritual go wrong and end up in one of my creepiest TV moment, the movie flops. People with floured faces suddenly appear. They are supposed to be demons, unfortunately they feel more like actors from an opera of Maurice Béjart. And, when they finally manage to summon an angel, after 4 months of physical and psychological self-inflicted torture, this is what the woman asks as a favor (warning: spoiler):

The power of forgiveness.

At that moment, the movie was entirely screwed for me. What could have been one of the greatest ritual movies sadly turned into some crappy psychological drama.

With the tension that was built, I could have imagined the ritual going wrong. Since the woman had hidden her true intention to revenge on her kid’s murderers, a demon would have appeared and their immortal souls would have been damned to remain prisoners in the house, trapped with that evil presence for eternity.

Unlike the protagonist, I don’t have the power of forgiveness, so all I’ll give this movie is a two stars. Don’t watch it, please, it’ll only encourage these people making more dramas comouflaged into horror movies.

The Void

The Void is about a police officer that delivers a man, who seems to be drunk and hurt, to a remote hospital. Soon, very strange and violent events take place, including the appearance of mysterious hooded figures.

The movie isn’t that bad, it’s a bit between Hellraiser and The Thing. Unfortunately, the clunky acting and the slow pacing ruined what could have been a great movie.

The film has bags of atmosphere and sense of dread, but with zero explanation for the events that unfold. At some point, I started to feel restless and itchy in my couch, which means that there wasn’t enough action involved, and I lost interest.

I’m always up for a bit of a mystery but, in the end, who are the hooded people outside the hospital? No idea! Why are people turning into monsters? No idea! Where does the strange triangular gateway lead to? No idea! It feels like once again they had a great idea for a story, but no clue on how to realize a satisfying ending.

My final verdict: worth the watch but, without any expectations, and most certainly not for a big horror night!

Tonight she comes

After a girl goes missing, two of her friends and a mysterious set of strangers find themselves drawn to the cabin in the woods where she disappeared. They will laugh, they will drink, they will kiss, they will make love, and THEY MUST ALL DIE. – Imdb

This could have been a perfect recipe for a good slasher movie…

However, the only thing that I could think about during the entire movie is: “What the hell am I looking at?”. The movie was super bad and absurd at the same time, yet we couldn’t stop watching it. The acting was bad, the script was laughable and the effects… well, don’t get me started on that one.

I still don’t understand how this production ever got released. It felt more like a 84 minute gory hallucination than an actual movie. Like most reviewers on Imdb say: “Heed my warning! Don’t waste your time on this one!”.

Ouija

If there’s something I would never do, it’s to take place in a Ouija session. Is it superstition or too many horror movies in my life? It doesn’t matter, when it comes to Ouija, it’s a straight “No, thank you”.

So, when I watch movies about people using spirit boards to contact the dead, I can’t help myself but to think that what happens is purely their own fault.

Now, about the movie… Ouija manages to be entertaining and mildly creepy, just what I needed for a cozy evening on a stormy Saturday. My only critic is that “Origin of Evil” should have been released first since the first chapter offers a better ending to the entire story.

Finally, I was surprised to learn that, even if one of the first mentions of the automatic writing method used in the Ouija board is found in China around 1100 AD, the term “Ouija” is a trademark of Hasbro, Inc.

The Exorcism of Emily Rose

To welcome a new month of October, we’ve rewatched The Exorcism of Emily Rose.

The movie is loosely based on the true story of Anneliese Michel, a German girl who died of malnutrition and dehydration after undergoing multiple exorcism rituals. The film is actually more of a court room drama. However, there is no sparing of pure psychological terror.

The casting was excellent, Jennifer Carpenter portrayed a bone chilling Emily Rose. Eventhough, the film wasn’t the most creepy one I’ve ever seen, the scenes of the exorcism itself and Emily’s possessed episodes, were quite haunting.

I know that there are debates whether Emily / Anneliese was really possessed or whether she was just a very sick young girl. They claim that she suffered from epilepsy and psychosis, which would seem like a logical and scientific explanation. I still wonder what really happened to her? My science brain tells me she was ill, yet another part of me wonders whether there was more to it after all. Anyway, I guess we’ll never know…

It was the second time I’ve watched this movie and it was totally worth it. Definitely can recommend it!

Creepy side note: In real life, actress Laura Linney’s (the lawyer) TV turned itself on a few times in the middle of the night during production. I don’t know if this is true, but it’s the kind of thing that scares the living hell out of me.

Happy October every one!