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Movie reviews (titles starting with D)
02-03-2017, 02:41 AM (This post was last modified: 02-07-2017 05:19 AM by goodcop2000.)
Post: #1
Movie reviews (titles starting with D)
Damien: Omen II (1978)
3.5 ancient prophecies

This follow-up to the classic supernatural horror The Omen is enjoyable in its own right. Damien has grown into a young man and starts to understand that he is not like other children. William Holden is excellent in the role of Damien's uncle and the rest of the cast do an adequate job. There are some very memorable scenes in the film and a nice plot twist at the end to keep things interesting. Jerry Goldsmith, who wrote great, atmospheric music for the original movie, returns and does another nice job for this sequel.

Dance of the Dead (2008)
3 tasty brains

Note: This is different from the 2005 Dance of the Dead episode from the Masters of Horror series. Considering this zombie dark comedy/drama/romance was probably relatively low-budget and filled with young, no-name actors, I thought it was very good. Dance of the Dead portrays a zombie apocalypse in a small town on prom night in a definite tongue in cheek manner but still delivers some nice zombie action scenes. The strength of the movie is the subtle humor which is hard to appreciate in a review. For example, one of our young protagonists finds himself alone in a town with zombies running amok, arms himself with a car cigarette lighter and threatens to "singe" the first suspicious person he sees. If you don't need the giant sets and special effects of, for example, a Resident Evil movie, this is a fun watch.

Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)
3.5 pitchforks

Dark Night of the Scarecrow is a well done made for TV horror movie about a group of vigilantes who unjustly murder a man they suspect of a crime. The story is entertaining and a number of veteran television actors give good performances. Although there is very little blood shown and few special effects, the movie maintains a satisfying, eerie atmosphere. The soundtrack adds to the ambience.

Darkness (2002)
3 creepy houses

Darkness is a Spanish movie from one of the directors of REC, Jaume Balaguero. The story line is interesting and the acting is pretty good. The movie has some nice imagery and a couple scary moments. It also includes some cliche tricks that do not really succeed. Please note the version I watched is the 103 minute unrated version. The original U.S. release is only 88 minutes long and reportedly suffers from the cuts.

Darkness Falls (2003)
2 sleepless children

This is a very forgettable film. I liked the appearance and movement of the monster but otherwise Darkness Falls is just another standard Boogeyman-type horror with nothing to make it stand out. The acting is pretty bad and the plot is simple and boring.

The Darkroom (2006)
3.5 straitjackets

I'd like to have seen what The Darkroom could have been with a big budget but despite its obvious limitations it is a fun film to watch. An amnesiac mental patient escapes the asylum to try to track down his past and eventually does so with the help of a young man who has his own family problems. The lead actors do a nice job and I enjoyed seeing a blonde Lucy Lawless in a small role. I've watched a million thrillers before so I figured out the final "twist" about 45 minutes before the end but I still think it was pretty well done.

Daughters of Satan (1972)
2 evil paintings

This movie features a poorly written plot about three ancient witches trying to be reborn in modern times. A young Tom Selleck stars but the acting in the film ranges from mediocre to bad and the dialogue they are forced to deliver doesn't help. The special effects are also terrible.

Dawn of the Dead (1978)
4.5 tasty brains

The beginning of this Romero sequel to Night of the Living Dead is a little disjointed but the movie only improves as it progresses. It really hits its stride when the heroes take shelter in a shopping mall. Classic zombie fun.

Dawn of the Dead (2004)
5 tasty brains

This is technically a "remake" of George Romero's second Dead film but really the only similarity is that a group of people is trying to survive the zombie apocalypse in a shopping mall. However, this is a great horror film on its own merits. There is an interesting start where we meet nurse Ana (played by Sarah Polley) and see her rude introduction to the zombie apocalypse. She joins up with police officer Kenneth (Ving Rhames) and eventually other survivors and they all take refuge in a mall. For a horror movie, the characters are well-developed and the actors give very believable performances. Dawn is full of fast-paced action from start to finish with only a few light moments to let the viewer's heart recover. The special effects and stunts are outstanding and zombie carnage is plentiful. Romero zombie purists may take issue with zombies who run instead of shamble, but I believe Dawn of the Dead sets the standard for modern zombie films.

Day of the Dead (1985)
4 tasty brains

There is not much zombie carnage in this film until the end but it is an interesting study in human character as we see military men and civilians trying to deal with the zombie apocalypse together. This movie contains my favorite portrayal of a specific zombie - Howard Sherman as "Bub" who is being trained to be human again by a scientist.

Day of the Dead (2008)
2.5 tasty brains

I really love zombie movies so I enjoyed this for what it was - a fast-moving somewhat scary gorefest. The zombies are not the traditional type as they are created by a virus and they are very fast. I don't mean that they are faster than the usual plodding, stumbling zombies. I mean they are Carl Lewis fast. For you youngsters, that's Usain Bolt fast. If you're not into zombie movies in general, skip this. If you liked the Resident Evil series, you'll probably enjoy it.

Daybreakers (2009)
3 dripping fangs

The movie started off in a very promising manner. I really liked the dark future world in which the movie is set - a world dominated by vampires who hunt down the few remaining humans as a food source. The effects of blood-deprivation on the vampires are quite startling, also. Despite the novelty of this different brand of vampire story, the plot was not very good and the acting was mediocre.

The Dead (2010)
3 parched lips

There is nothing groundbreaking about this zombie apocalypse film but it is interesting to see a zombie tale set in Africa. The film contains nice imagery and good special effects, but the acting performances are mediocre.

Dead Air (2010)
2 tasty brains

This movie was somewhat promising at the beginning but obviously low-budget. The quality of the film degraded as it progressed as if the project was running out of money. The lead actor, Bill Moseley, has a great voice for radio (making him believable as a radio talk show host) but not much emotional range in his acting. The zombie actors were particularly bad.

Dead Alive (1992)
3.5 tasty brains

Dead Alive is a comedy about mild-mannered and mother-dominated New Zealander Lionel Cosgrove attempting to navigate some pretty awful circumstances. Lionel's mother is bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey and her condition quickly deteriorates to the point where she becomes a vicious undead cannibal. Lionel tries to quell the situation as best he can but soon he is in over his head. I can see why many people love this movie but it is a little too silly and full of slapstick comedy for me. Scenes like the priest doing wacky kung-fu in the graveyard and a zombie baby being launched off a teeter-totter did not amuse me and left me somewhat bored. The most enjoyable part of the film for me was definitely the party at Lionel's house that turns into a ridiculously blood-soaked zombie buffet. The sheer volume of blood reminded me of Evil Dead 2! The extended party scene features many impressive special effects and makes the movie worth watching for all fans of gory zombie cinema.

Dead Birds (2004)
1.5 tasty brains

Starring Henry Thomas of E.T. fame, this film did not have much going for it. There were a few scary images and the acting was not abysmal, but the story line did not make any sense. Skip this one. P.S. The title of the movie makes no sense as I only observed 1 dead bird in the whole thing.

Dead and Breakfast (2004)
1.5 tasty brains

I'm not sure this film even deserves to be called a "B movie". It descends to the rank of "C movie" with its repeated lame attempts at humor. Of course the reason the movie tries to be FUNNY is because it sure as heck isn't SCARY! The plot, script, and acting remind me of a movie that a bunch of college friends would sit around and film on a weekend. The makers of this film just happened to have a little more money available for better special effects than the average amateurs. I recognized a few faces in the movie and can not comprehend why any respectable actor would associate themselves with this piece of junk.

The Dead Girl (2006)
4 buzzing flies

Don't be fooled by the title. This is not really a horror film or even a crime thriller. I would classify it as a drama, actually a really well done drama with a large, consistently excellent cast. The movie consists of 5 separate stories involving separate sets of characters but all revolving around the murder of a young woman and the subsequent discovery of her body. The first story starts the movie off a little slow but the stories get progressively more interesting. This is not a "feel good" movie. Several parts of the story are so tragic and sad that they are hard to watch, but that makes the few, small rays of sunshine seem that much brighter. Kudos to writer and director Karen Moncrieff and to Brittany Murphy, Marcia Gay Harden, and Rose Byrne whose performances stood out. Warning: there is only a small amount of gore and violence but plenty of very adult language and themes.

The Dead Hate the Living! (2000)
2 tasty brains

This straight-to-video horror/comedy unfortunately fails at being either scary or funny. The acting is noticeably bad, even for a horror film. The plot does not make much sense. It involves a group of people trying to shoot an independent horror film in an abandoned hospital. While they are working they accidentally release zombie-like creatures. On the positive side, the makeup and special effects are actually pretty good until the end of the movie when they throw in some horrible CGI fire and electricity. I enjoyed the look of the monsters, including Matthew McGrory who would later play Tiny in House of 1,000 Corpses and The Devil's Rejects.

Dead Heat (1988)
3 tasty brains

Somehow I never saw this movie when I was young and in fact had not even heard of it until I just happened across it on TV one night. This is a zombie action/comedy starring Joe Piscopo and Treat Williams as police officers investigating a crime wave perpetrated by very hard to kill criminals. Turns out the criminals are already dead! If you ever watched Piscopo on Saturday Night Live you know his zany type of humor and I found this movie to be a fun watch. There is a great scene in which the substance used to reanimate corpses is sprayed into a butcher shop causing quite a disturbance. I was also impressed by better special effects than I expected, especially a nice scene featuring the rapid decomposition of a zombie. The movie is a little dated by 80's fashion but worth watching for zombie fans. p.s. The great Vincent Price does have a small role, also.

Dead Heist (2007)
1.5 tasty brains

I needed some background noise on the TV while I was doing some sports stats research on the internet. I discovered that this movie barely even qualifies as decent background noise. Obviously low-budget, with a ridiculous plot and bad acting, this is a movie even zombie movie lovers like myself can skip without any heartbreak.

Dead Mary (2006)
2 scary myths

This movie had potential as the early character development was much deeper than the average slasher film and the acting wasn't bad. But the movie was very slow-moving (especially the beginning) and the special effects were sparse. Perhaps it was filmed on a shoestring budget? The worst thing about the movie was the boring and very abrupt ending. It was as if the film makers went broke and couldn't afford to film a big final scene.

The Dead One (2006)
2.5 painted faces

I like the idea of a horror movie based around Mexico's Day of the Dead. Unfortunately, this attempt ended up being kind of boring.

Dead Season (2012)
2 tasty brains

This is a pretty standard zombie apocalypse story. The twist is that a few survivors are able to get away from the mainland and head toward a remote island to try to find a safe haven. The writing for the movie is poor and the acting is not much better. The movie, as a whole, has a very amateurish feel. I do not recommend sitting through this one.

Dead Set (2008)
4 TV personalities

Dead Set is a short British miniseries that demonstrates what would happen to the contestants in the Big Brother house if a zombie apocalypse struck. The plot is written very well and the exceptional dialogue is delivered crisply and with perfect timing by talented actors. The characters are interesting and well developed and the movie has good special effects. What makes the miniseries especially effective is that some moments are very funny and some are very scary. I highly recommend this one.

Dead Set (2008) **Bonus review by UK_zombie**
(Mini-Series) 140+ Minutes
4 stars

I am not sure if the Big Brother (BB) fad made it to the US but it took off in a huge way in the UK in the early 2000's and although initially part of a social experiment it was a big success and spawned countless series, spin offs and celebrity editions and opened the door to discussion on all kinds of social and moral issues with not only reality TV but society as a whole. Social commentary aside this mini series does a really good job of being a satire on the whole concept of obsession with fame, celebrity and reality TV, and as a device to achieve this in a not so subtle way it uses Zombies!

Basic Plot - A young woman working for the TV channel that airs BB is trapped in the BB house along with the contestants as a zombie plague overtakes the country and her on/off boyfriend races to the studio to save her.

Characters - The main characters are relatable and well acted. Jaime Winstone stands out as the protagonist, as does Andy Nyman in a villain performance that I think sets the bar for people in a zombie movie that you really, really, really really (yes really) want to see get eaten. The contestants are your typical BB bunch and do a good job of portraying the type of people wanting to be on that show, notable mention has to be the character Space and Pippa the stereotypical dumb girl.

Zombies - Although not at the mainstream movie zombie level the zombies are done and acted really well here and if you are from the UK and remember BB early days then you will pleased to see some of the old contestants in cameos, as zombies! Along with the fabulous Davina who really gets into her role (non-UK Davina McCall was the host for a long time). They are basic zombie rules zombies, drawn to the living, no speech, limited tool use, non zombies turn after bites/death. As a down side these are 28 Days Later fast style zombies. Another plus point is that the zombie numbers reach Horde level (Lots of Zombies!) which I see as an important factor in my Zombie viewing.

Blood/Gore - Although infrequent to start with it gradually progresses in graphic nature and there are some great survivor eating moments from the Zombies especially towards the end.

Is it any Good - Yes, I would say 4/5 and I class it among a number of zombie related media that I think any true zombie fan should try and sit down and watch. As its a mini series there is the added bonus that it runs longer than your usual zombie fare (more zombie minutes!) and if need be its episodic nature lets you watch it in separate sittings.

Dead Silence (2007)
3 creepy mannequins

Ever since I saw the Twilight Zone episode about the mannequin with a mind of its own, I have found them to be creepy. Dead Silence is a simple but entertaining supernatural horror that begins with a man receiving a
n anonymous package containing a mannequin. Events lead the man to return to his home town where the residents appear to be keeping a deadly secret. The lead actors are Ryan Kwanten from True Blood and Donnie Wahlberg, whose work I really enjoy. There are a few scary moments and a pretty unexpected twist at the end.

Dead Snow (2009)
4 tasty brains

Wow! I'm not sure what I was expecting from the Norwegian film Dead Snow but it was certainly not this hour and a half of pure awesomeness. This is a great film for zombie lovers. I loved it right from the opening scene as I watched a girl fleeing for her life to the accompaniment of the majestic "Hall of the Mountain King" portion of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg's "Peer Gynt". In fact the whole soundtrack was great from that opening classical piece to later scenes with pounding heavy metal. The basic summary of the plot is that a group of young friends hike out to a remote cabin on a snowy mountain in Norway and find themselves accosted by a slew of Nazi zombies but that just doesn't convey how much fun this film is to watch. The zombies are scary and look great, although I wish they moved a little slower because I'm a traditionalist. These zombies also retain enough intelligence to follow the orders of their commander and to use weapons. The six friends who we get to see for most of the movie (friend #7 is rather short-lived) actually have personality and the actors perform well and interact in a believable manner. The film maker had enough respect to directly reference the Evil Dead movies and the manner is which subtle humor is introduced and funny lines are delivered in a dead-pan style indeed reminds me of those films. Even though the actors were speaking Norwegian and I had to read the English subtitles, I was able to enjoy the perfect timing and tone in which the lines were delivered. I was also reminded of Ash from The Evil Dead as I watched the main characters toughen up and attack the zombies with zeal, leaving themselves ridiculously drenched in blood. Great, gory special effects and an ironic ending top off this masterpiece. Chalk one up for Norway!

Dead Snow 2: Red Vs Dead (2014)
3.5 tasty brains

Dead Snow 2 is much more of a comedy than the first film and the story is less believable. While it is a step below the original, it does feature lots of zombies, lots of action, and very impressive special effects.

The Dead Zone (1983)
3.5 cow bells

This is probably my favorite David Cronenberg film and definitely one of my favorite screen adaptions from a Stephen King tale. Christopher Walken is a natural as the creepy protagonist who gains special powers after emerging from a coma.

Deadgirl (2008)
1.5 tasty brains

I was very disappointed in this film. The premise had potential but the acting and actual plot are abysmal. Two high school losers skip school and decide the best place to drink some brews would be the local abandoned sanitarium. As improbable as that is, the rest of the movie only deteriorates with respect to believability. While checking out the loony bin, the boys come across a naked woman chained to a bed. From that point, the boys make wildly inappropriate, unethical, and often illegal choices. Along the way they discover that the woman is neither dead nor alive, which is really the only element that makes Deadgirl a horror film. Overall, it is much more a morality tale that makes the worst possible assumptions about human nature (specifically that of males). The only possible use I can see for this film is that if you want your girlfriend to break up with you, rent it on date night and tell her it turns you on.

Deadheads (2011)
2.5 tasty brains

If you are going to watch DeadHeads, keep this in mind. This is in no way a horror movie. It is strictly a campy, romantic comedy/road trip flick that happens to feature two smarter-than-average zombies in the lead roles. I actually enjoyed the chemistry between Michael McKiddy and Ross Kidder as the two talking zombies (Mike and Brent) and Markus Taylor as their regular zombie pet "Cheese". Other than that, I did not like much about the movie. The plot is very thin and intentionally goofy and the rest of the characters are so over-the-top that they are not people, but caricatures. Most of the humor is of the slapstick variety and not particularly well done. I like humorous scenes mixed in with good zombie action (see movies like Shaun of the Dead or The Revenant) but unfortunately DeadHeads does not deliver much of either.

Death Do Us Part (2014)
2 bloody axes

This movie is a basic low budget slasher about a bride and groom who decided to throw a joint bachelor/bachelorette party and rent a remote cabin. Before too long, the guests start getting eliminated. The plot is predictable and the dialogue is not very good. The actors deliver bland performances which fit nicely with the unexciting soundtrack and bad special effects.

Death Valley: Revenge of Bloody Bill (2004)
1.5 tasty brains

In this movie a group of young people find themselves in what at first appears to be an abandoned town. They soon discover that the only residents of the town are zombies! The soundtrack and cinematography were pretty good. The story line, acting, and special effects were very bad.

Deep Red (1975)
4 artistic camera angles

Deep Red is another fun ride from director Dario Argento, similar to his film Tenebre. In this one, British musician Marcus Daly witnesses a woman's brutal murder while working in Italy. Additional threats and murders follow. Intrigued by the cases, Marcus and a local reporter try to find the killer. The actors do a decent job and the soundtrack by Goblin is excellent. Argento provides some nice suspense and several memorable death scenes. He is such an artist with the camera that no matter how bloody and gruesome the murder, I don't feel guilty for enjoying the show.

Deliver Us from Evil (2014)
3.5 crucifixes

This film is an interesting combination of supernatural horror and police action film. The plot follows a police officer investigating a series of violent crimes who comes to realize that strange things are afoot. While it is not groundbreaking, it has a fun story, good acting, and decent special effects.

Demons (1985)
4 clawed freaks

Demons is a great Italian gorefest directed by Lamberto Bava and produced by Dario Argento. The plot is very basic and not very important to the enjoyment of the movie. Various strangers are invited to a special viewing at a movie theater. The event degenerates into a bloodbath when some audience members change into vicious creatures. The acting is mediocre but not so bad as to be distracting. The special effects are excellent and unsettling. A terrific heavy metal soundtrack infuses the movie with pure 80's awesomeness. There is a heavy dose of camp, highlighted by one of our heroes riding a motorcycle around inside the theater while swinging a samurai sword. If you are a fan of the Evil Dead series, try this baby out.

Demons 2 (1986)
3 clawed freaks

This sequel to Demons is the light beer version of the original brew. It has the feel of a movie that was rushed to the theater to cash in on the success of the first film. The same basic plot moves to an apartment building instead of a movie theater. The special effects are very good but I feel like they are not quite on par with the original. Some of the actors from the first film return in different roles, including Bobby Rhodes who delivers some of the best dialogue in both films. The soundtrack is still very 80's but switches from heavy metal to new wave. In short, I think Demons 2 is just not as fun as the first installment.

Demon Hunter (2005)
2 evil demons

The concept is pretty cool (a human/demon hybrid who executes rogue demons for the Catholic Church) but this is not a good movie. The special effects are made-for-TV quality, the acting is so-so and the dialogue is particularly bad.

The Descent (2005)
4 shadowy caves

The Descent is a nicely done mix of emotional drama and horror. The movie starts off with a bang and sets up an interesting underlying story line about the relationships in a group of women in their 20's and 30's. The women gather together to go spelunking and once they enter the cave, the viewer is in for a fun ride. The film makers take advantage of people's common fears (claustrophobia, the dark, the unknown, being viciously attacked) and combine them all to really heighten the tension as the girls fight for survival. I spelunked a few times in college but watching the movie even made me feel a little claustrophobic.

Desert of Blood (2008)
0 dripping fangs

I can not give a full review because I could not make myself watch this whole disaster of a movie. I suffered through the first 15 minutes of this Mexican vampire flick and then fast-forwarded to various points throughout the movie to see if it would improve. It did not. This is an obviously low-budget film with bad acting and a weak plot.

Desperation (2006)
2.5 ancient idols

This made-for TV movie is based on a Stephen King novel. The plot revolves around various travelers who are stopped and taken to a small town jail by what appears to be a mentally unbalanced police officer. The lack of any other living persons in the town hints at even deeper problems for the travelers. Unfortunately, despite the presence of a number of veteran television actors including Tom Skerritt, Steven Weber, and Charles Durning, the acting performances are flat and uninspired. Ron Perlman is a little better in the role of the police officer but even he doesn't live up to the hulking, maniacal character in the book.

Detention of the Dead (2012)
2 hall passes

Detention of the Dead is a very tongue in cheek zombie comedy about an eclectic group of students who get trapped in the school during a zombie apocalypse. There are a few funny moments. Picture The Breakfast Club meets Night of the Living Dead, but without the talented actors and interesting plot points.

Devil (2010)
3.5 red pitchforks

I've always liked M. Night Shyamalan's movies. While he didn't direct this one, he did come up with the story (with due credit to Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None). I found the movie entertaining and unpredictable enough to keep me changing my mind about which occupant of the elevator was the culprit. The acting was pretty good, especially Geoffrey Arend as a smartaleck yuppie type.

Devil in the Flesh (1998)
2 inappropriate relationships

This movie is a femme fatale feature in the vein of The Crush or Fatal Attraction about a student who becomes obsessed with her teacher. Unfortunately, the acting is not good and the plot is heavy handed and predictable. Star Rose McGowan can't even succeed delivering the cheesy dialogue. The teacher in the film makes ridiculously bad decisions and acts oblivious to the events going on around him. Some distracting features in the movie include lousy music, obvious stunt doubles in some scenes, and a police detective played by Phil Morris who was lawyer Jackie Chiles on Seinfeld.

The Devil with Seven Faces (1971)
3 stolen jewels

The Devil with Seven Faces is an entertaining quasi-giallo but is really an international crime thriller at its core. Similar to many giallos, the plot is a little convoluted but the acting is not bad and there is some nice cinematography.

The Devil's Carnival (2012)
2 red pitchforks

The Devil's Carnival is a quirky horror-themed musical ala The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I know you can not expect too much from a film shot in only 7 days on an estimated $500,000 budget, but I did not enjoy most of the movie. There are a few decent songs but most of them are not good and/or sung by actors who really should not be singing. Come to think of it, some of those actors really should not be acting, either. There is also not much of a plot to speak of, but I do have to compliment the amazing costumes and makeup on the carnival performers.

Devil's Kiss (1976)
2 lewd dwarves

Devil's Kiss is a Spanish horror from little known director Georges Gigo. The story involves a medium named Countess Clair Grandier who wants revenge upon a rich Duke. She conspires with an evil scientist named Professor Gruber to reanimate corpses to do her bidding. Clair also recruits a sex-crazed dwarf to help her. The plot is just as bizarre as it sounds and the acting is definitely B-movie level. The most entertaining scene is when the Duke hosts a crazy fashion show at his castle, with models clad in strange outfits disco dancing around the room. It is not a big surprise that Gigo had a brief directorial career.

Devil's Playground (2010)
3 tasty brains

This British film does not feature undead zombies but 30,000 infected humans who were part of an experiment to test an performance enhancing drug. The participants do become extremely fast and athletic but some unfortunate side effects include insanity and a desire to eat people and the condition is contagious. I enjoyed the movie overall, especially several sub-plots that placed different human survivors at odds with each other while still having to work together to survive. The extra-fast zombie-like predators were pretty animalistic and terrifying but I think the film makers went a little overboard when they repeatedly showed them performing free running/parkour moves as they chased down their prey. Although the acrobatic moves made sense with the story line, I found them distracting.

The Devil's Rejects (2005)
2.5 bloody axes

The Devil's Rejects is a sequel to Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses. Law enforcement is closing is on the serial killer family, forcing them to go on the run. That doesn't stop the psychos from gleefully leaving a trail of bodies in their wake. I do like a few aspects of the movie - the excellent soundtrack, the dialogue in a couple of humorous scenes, and some fun casting choices. Ken Foree from Romero's Dawn of the Dead, Priscilla Barnes from the sitcom Three's Company, badass Danny Trejo from Machete, Elizabeth Daily from Pee-wee's Big Adventure, the hulking Michael Berryman from the original The Hills Have Eyes and P.J. Soles from Halloween all fill secondary roles. My favorite acting performances in the film are not from any of the main stars but from Barnes as a hostage and from Foree as an updated version of Lando Calrissian (you will have to see the movie to understand the comparison). Despite these positives, I really did not enjoy the bulk of the movie. Sheri Moon Zombie (the director's wife) is annoying and not believable in her role as ruthless killer Baby. There is a terrible scene where the sheriff trying to track down the murderers brings in a ridiculously portrayed film critic for advice. The biggest issue I have with the movie is that Rob Zombie's explicit depiction of senseless violence and masochism goes beyond gritty realism to the point that he seems to revel in the villains' heinous acts. In fact, later in the film there are scenes designed to elicit sympathy for the savage killers. Opinion on this film appears to be widely divided, but it is not something I would watch again.

Devour (2005)
2 vivid dreams

This story is about a guy having these terrible dreams...except they're more than dreams...or are they? Ahhh, who cares? The conclusion of this movie is bad and seems hurried. The rest of the movie is no great shakes, either.

Diary of the Dead (2007)
3 tasty brains

The interesting hook in this zombie film is that most of the footage is supposedly shot by the film students who are the featured group of survivors in a zombie apocalypse. The movie was directed by George Romero so as expected, the story, special effects, and scares are all pretty good. This is not a sequel to the earlier Dead movies but a "reimagining" of the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. The acting is okay (more than you can say for a lot of zombie movies) but unfortunately there is nothing special about the movie that makes it stick out. It is a decent watch if you like zombie films.

Dismal (2009)
1.5 bloody axes

The title of this film is a big clue as to its quality. Dismal is set in the Great Dismal Swamp which extends across the Virginia/North Carolina border and features high school kids getting slaughtered by a backwoods maniac. There is nothing original or interesting about the film.

Disturbing Behavior (1998)
3 model students

Disturbing Behavior is a decent thriller in the vein of The Stepford Wives for high school kids. I thought the acting was pretty good, particularly Nick Stahl as the resident slacker.

Dog Soldiers (2002)
4 full moons

Dog Soldiers is the best werewolf movie I have seen in a long time. The strong British accents took a little getting used to, but the story and action are great. Our protagonists are British soldiers dropped into a wooded area in Scotland for a training exercise. Things go awry and they find themselves fighting for their lives. The werewolves are huge (really tall) and scary and there are a couple of plot twists to keep things interesting.

Doghouse (2009)
4 angry zombirds

Doghouse features a group of friends in England getting together for a male bonding weekend. They pick the small, remote village of Moodley to visit because of the large female population, not realizing that this is a very unfortunate time to be in Moodley. There is a pleasant amount of humor mixed in with the bloody carnage and the actors are entertaining. The makeup effects on the zombies are different than in any other zombie movie I've seen but the diverse group of ghouls is interesting.

Dollman VS Demonic Toys (1993)
2 tiny heroes

This movie is about a miniature alien police officer joining up with a miniature blonde bombshell to battle against evil toys and is as campy and badly acted as you would expect. It is a crossover sequel to 3 movies: Dollman, Bad Channels, and Demonic Toys. Very little effort was put into writing a plot to join the three story lines. There are a few amusing moments here and there and actress Melissa Behr may not offer an Oscar winning performance but she is serious eye candy. The highlights of the film for me are the Dirty Harry impression by Tim Thomerson who is the mini policeman and a filthy-mouthed evil baby doll. Thankfully, the movie is only about an hour long and that includes archive footage from all three of the prior films.

Dominion: Prequel to the Exorcist (2005)
2.5 weird looking animals

Dominion and Exorcist: The Beginning are two versions of an Exorcist prequel about Father Merrin investigating an unknown Catholic church uncovered during an archaeological dig. They started with the same base script, but Dominion loses the competition. The film is low key to the point of being boring. The acting is not very good. Clara Bellar is particularly robotic in her role as a nurse. Even Stellan Skarsgard, who stars as Father Merrin in both versions, gives a more subdued performance in this one. The CGI effects used to create hyenas, insects, and snakes look very bad.

Don't Answer the Phone (1980)
3 nylon stockings

Don't Answer the Phone is a sleazy grindhouse exploitation flick about a serial killer targeting women. The movie is entertaining but not scary. It features a lot of fashion and music left over from the 1970s. James Westmoreland plays police Lt. McCabe as a Dirty Harry clone but still gives a better performance than Nicholas Worth who portrays the killer. Worth has some decent moments when he is violent and angry but during most of the movie he overacts to the point of being comical. The final confrontation between the two is ridiculous and unintentionally amusing. Some of the best scenes feature witty remarks between McCabe and his partner and a short appearance from Chuck Mitchell of Porky's fame as a porn distributor.

Don't Look in the Basement (1973)
3.5 mental patients

Surprisingly entertaining for a very low budget film, Don't Look in the Basement features a pretty clever plot about a murder at a mental institution. The acting varies from pretty good to pretty bad. There is some gore but no fancy special effects.

Don't Open Till Christmas (1984)
2.5 bloody white beards

There is not much of a plot to this film. It's mostly a lot of scenes of Santas getting murdered in London. With no back story on the victims to make you care about them, the story is not as effective as it could be. There are a few really good scenes like when the killer abducts one victim. The primary actors do a decent job and the special effects are okay. The film does suffer from some bad editing.

Don't Torture a Duckling (1972)
3.5 strange townspeople

This giallo from director Lucio Fulci is about a reporter investigating a serial killer who targets children. The acting is okay and the plot features several good twists and turns. The special effects are not great for a Fulci film.

Dorian Gray (2009)
3 evil talismans

The actors did a fine job and the movie is based on a classic story, but the plot felt rushed. The conversion of young Dorian Gray from an innocent country boy to a wealthy hedonist and worse seems too rapid and easy to be believable.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920)
3.5 split personalities

John Barrymore stars in this version of the famous Robert Louis Stevenson story. He plays Dr. Henry Jekyll, a good man who becomes intrigued with the darker side of man's nature. Dr. Jekyll's experiments lead to the creation of the black-hearted Mr. Edward Hyde. Despite the obvious limitations set by a silent film, Barrymore does a very nice job managing the dual roles.

Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972)
3.5 imaginative murders

This film has much the same feel as its predecessor, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, but is more of a straightforward comedy. The various kills are interesting but overall the plot is not as good as the original. Peter Jeffrey does a great job again as Inspector Trout and comedian Terry-Thomas is very funny in a small role.

Dracula (1931)
3.5 dripping fangs

Watching this movie for the first time since I was a young child, I was a little disappointed in how much the plot and characters were altered from the novel. However, the film absolutely holds a place in history so I gave it an extra 1/2 star for it's iconic status. By the way, this movie is safe for kids. No scares and all violence is implied not shown.

Dracula's Daughter (1936)
3.5 dripping fangs

Picking up the story right where the original Dracula ended, this is a pretty good sequel. The story was interesting even though Dr. Van Helsing is the only hold-over character. The acting was good, especially by the male lead, Otto Kruger, who plays Dr. Jeffrey Garth.

Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)
3.5 dripping fangs

This is one of the Hammer sequels to Horror of Dracula. Featuring (in my opinion) the best Dracula, Christopher Lee, this movie tells the story of how Dracula is reborn after apparently being destroyed by Dr. Van Helsing. Unfortunately, there is no Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) in this entry and it takes about half of the film for Dracula to make his appearance. It is a fun film, however, and introduces interesting new characters: Andrew Keir as a strong-willed monk (Father Sandor) and Philip Latham as Dracula's creepy minion (Klove). Keir is a powerful protagonist and Latham provides enough unease to tide the viewer over until Lee reappears. When Lee does grace the screen, he appears to be even more animalistic than in the original film. In fact, unless I missed something, Dracula does not speak a word in the entire film but just hisses when angry. The plot is not complex, but fans of Dracula will find it entertaining.

Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1968)
3.5 dripping fangs

This is another entry into the Dracula mythos from Hammer Film Productions. In this story, two priests travel to Dracula's castle to cleanse it of evil and accidentally awaken the great vampire. Dracula is highly offended by the cross placed on his castle's front door and spends the rest of the film trying to avenge himself on the senior clergyman. Christopher Lee is again terrific as Dracula - although his dialogue is extremely limited I find his expressions and violent movements capture the character perfectly. The rest of the cast is quite good and the leading lady (Veronica Carlson) is stunning. I didn't rate this movie quite as high as Horror of Dracula because it has less action and no Peter Cushing but it is still very enjoyable.

Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972)
3 dripping fangs

Usually, when Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing are both in a Dracula movie made by Hammer Films, it's a formula for success. Dracula A.D. 1972 may be the exception to the rule. The movie begins promisingly enough, with a flashback to the final confrontation between Count Dracula (Lee) and Dr. Van Helsing (Cushing) in 1872. It then jumps forward 100 years to present day London, where young thrill seeker Johnny Alucard (played by Christopher Neame) is determined to reanimate Dracula. Cushing also plays his own descendant, Professor Lorrimer Van Helsing, who gets involved to protect his niece. The combination of gothic vampire with hippies and go-go girls just didn't mesh well for me. There is one scene featuring a low-speed chase that is almost comical. Dracula is coming after the modern Prof. Van Helsing, but it feels ridiculous because both men are moving so slowly. Overall, Cushing and Neame do give very nice performances.

Dracula (1979)
3 dripping fangs

There are some positives to this version of the classic tale - Laurence Olivier as Van Helsing, very cool looking gothic sets and surprisingly good special effects for the time. The negatives are that Frank Langella just didn't seem menacing enough as Count Dracula (ala Christopher Lee) and to simplify the story the writers made some odd changes. For example, Lucy is Dr. Seward's daughter and she (instead of Mina) is the love interest for Jonathan Harker. The version I watched was "drained" of color but not quite black and white. Apparently the original, full-color version is out of print.

Dracula (1992)
4 bloody fangs

Also known as Bram Stoker's Dracula, this Francis Ford Coppola film has great, imaginative visuals, but still tells the old story of Count Dracula effectively. The actors do a decent job for the most part.

Dracula 2000 (2000)
2.5 dripping fangs

It was disappointing to see Wes Craven's name on such a weak film but he was the producer, not the director. The idea for the film is not bad: Abraham Van Helsing (his life extended by Dracula's blood) can not kill Dracula and instead imprisons him. Burglars, believing that the high-tech security must protect great riches, break into Van Helsing's vault and accidentally free Dracula who then seeks to claim Van Helsing's daughter. Nice idea, bad execution. This movie is boring and not scary.

Dracula II: Ascension (2003)
2 dripping fangs

Dracula II: Ascension is supposedly a sequel to Dracula 2000 but the only element of the first movie which is referenced in any way is the very final scene where it appeared that Dracula was killed. Of course monsters never stay dead with sequels on the line. The only scenes I enjoyed in this movie were the ones featuring Jason Scott Lee as a vampire-hunting priest. The rest of the cast was forgettable as was the weak plot.

Drag Me to Hell (2009)
2.5 toothless hags

Directed by Sam Raimi, Drag Me to Hell has a good story about a young bank employee who is cursed by an old gypsy woman. The acting performances are pretty good, especially from Justin Long as the afflicted woman's boyfriend. The practical special effects are good but a number of scenes have very fake-looking CGI effects. The big disappointment about the movie is that it's not scary. Instead of thrills and chills, the film features way too many "gross out gags" involving disgusting things going into characters' mouths.

Dressed to Kill (1980)
3.5 straight razors

This Brian de Palma thriller has the look and feel of an Italian giallo. The story revolves around the murder of a psychiatrist's patient and the subsequent stalking of a possible witness. The movie has a great score and beautiful cinematography. It is full of striking images and nice moments of suspense, leading up to a great ending. I enjoyed the acting performances, particularly by Michael Caine as the psychiatrist and Dennis Franz as a police detective.

Drive-In Massacre (1976)
2.5 swords

Drive-In Massacre is a very low budget movie about a serial killer targeting patrons at a drive-in theater, but for some reason I found it entertaining. There is not much of a plot, but the writers threw in some decent red herrings. The acting is poor for the most part but Douglas Gudbye does a nice job portraying a dim-witted handyman. The soundtrack is terrible and the lighting for the movie is not good. The special effects are obviously cheap but not a bad effort. Although the end of the movie is a bit of a gimmick, I liked it.

Duel (1971)
3.5 massive trucks

Steven Spielberg's first feature length film has a simple but entertaining plot written by Richard Matheson. The story is about a man traveling remote highways who finds himself at war with a tanker truck. Dennis Weaver gives a nice performance in the leading role and Spielberg generates a lot of tension throughout the film. The action scenes are fun to watch.

The Dunwich Horror (1970)
2 feverish dreams

I am an H.P. Lovecraft fan, so I always hope for a good time when I watch a movie adaptation of one of his stories, but this 1970 version of The Dunwich Horror has a lot of problems. The main characters are strange recluse Wilbur Whateley (Dean Stockwell) and perky coed Nancy Wagner (Sandra Dee). Wilbur is obsessed with completing an occultic ritual his great-grandfather failed at before he was lynched by enraged townspeople. He charms Nancy into getting involved in his plans. Dee gives a decent performance but Stockwell is a different story. His awful mustache and hair style make him look like a 70's porn star and he gives a wooden performance which I think is supposed to be creepy but instead is just boring. The special effects are pretty poor but to be fair, special effects are always challenging for Lovecraft adaptations due to the complex and mysterious nature of his creations. The worst aspects of the movie for me are the strange, psychedelic atmosphere and the major plot alterations from Lovecraft's original story. Recent Lovecraft adaptations like The Call of Cthulhu in 2005 and The Whisperer in Darkness in 2011 do a much better job of staying true to the story line and atmosphere of Lovecraft's classic tales.
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02-04-2017, 11:35 AM
Post: #2
RE: Movie reviews (titles starting with D)
I agree with your excellent review of Dead Set if anyone hasn't seen this they should really check it out.
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02-05-2017, 04:37 AM
Post: #3
RE: Movie reviews (titles starting with D)
(02-04-2017 11:35 AM)samuraitrev Wrote:  I agree with your excellent review of Dead Set if anyone hasn't seen this they should really check it out.

I remembered your suggestion to watch it a long time ago, Samurai. I wasn't able to find a copy, so I was very excited to see it available for streaming on Netflix recently! Thanks for the recommendation.

“By the time I realized the danger, it was scratching at my front door.”
― Max Brooks, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War
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