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Movie reviews (titles starting with G)
02-03-2017, 02:43 AM (This post was last modified: 02-13-2017 04:59 AM by goodcop2000.)
Post: #1
Movie reviews (titles starting with G)
Gacy (2003)
2.5 buried bodies

I was really surprised at how boring this movie was. I'm sure the story of John Wayne Gacy's life was more interesting than this. The film gave very little background info about his youth and possible factors or motivation that turned him into a serial killer. It seemed like the whole movie was just Gacy schmoozing and then killing young men without trying very hard to conceal his actions with interludes of Gacy trying to get rid of the bad smell in his crawlspace.

Gangs of the Dead (2006)
2.5 tasty brains

This low budget horror is about a zombie apocalypse striking while two rival gangs and some police officers are engaged in a confrontation. The zombie special effects are not very well done but there are some nice explosions. The acting is low level as you would expect. I was pleasantly surprised by some unexpected plot twists.

The Gate (1986)
2 mini-demons

This movie about young kids accidentally opening up a portal in their back yard is not very good. I would have rated it even lower but the marauding gangs of knee-high claymation demons made me laugh.

The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)
3 neck bolts

The story and the acting are not as good in this installment as in the earlier Frankenstein sequels. For one thing, there is no Boris Karloff, no Basil Rathbone, and no Bela Lugosi. Lon Chaney Jr. does star as the monster. The plot follows an effort by one of Dr. Frankenstein's son, Ludwig, to use his scientific skills to help the monster. The inevitable mob with torches and pitchforks erupts at a moment's notice in this one!

Ghost Story (1981)
1 restless spirit

This movie was incredibly disappointing. The story is quite good, of course, because the movie is based on Peter Straub's very creepy novel of the same name. The film version though is very choppy with horribly dated, cheesy special effects. If I had seen this movie first I would never have read the book and that would have been a shame.

The Ghoul (1933)
3.5 ancient gods

The Ghoul is a fun tale of a dying man trying to avoid death by use of an ancient ritual. The acting is very good, highlighted by an excellent performance by Boris Karloff (of Frankenstein fame) as "the ghoul". Karloff is an extremely expressive actor, even when he is not using words.

Ghoulies (1984)
2 pint-sized demons

Ghoulies is an '80s cheesefest with a silly plot about young people in an old mansion who end up dealing with ancient demons. It's not scary at all but it is somewhat amusing to watch for the '80s styles and for how bad it is. The dialogue is bad and the acting is way over the top but you do get to see future Law and Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay in her debut. The puppet special effects for the little demons are pretty well done.

Ghoulies II (1988)
2 pint-sized demons

The setting for this Ghoulies sequel movies to a carnival and the plot is more interesting. The special effects are even a little better, but this is still not a good movie.

Giallo (2009)
2.5 yellow-skinned villains

The funny thing about Giallo is that it's really not a giallo! It is a crime thriller but there is no mystery throughout the movie about the identity of the killer. Giallo is one of Dario Argento's later films which do not compare to his earlier masterpieces. The movie does have a couple cool scenes but the violent scenes do not have Argento's usual flair and the ending is pretty anti-climactic. Star Adrien Brody gives an oddly subdued performance as the police inspector investigating the crimes.

Ginger Snaps (2000)
4 full moons

My favorite monster movie when I was a child was the 1941 Universal Pictures film The Wolf Man. Nowadays we have a lot of quality films about vampires, zombies, etc. but very few decent werewolf movies. Luckily, the Canadian film Ginger Snaps is an exception! Katharine Isabelle and Emily Perkins star as the Fitzgerald sisters, two gloomy girls fixated on death. Circumstances arise wherein Ginger, played by Isabelle, is bitten by a mysterious animal and finds herself going through a major transformation. Brigitte (Perkins) refuses to give up on her sister even when innocent blood begins to flow. Both lead actresses do a fine job, as does Mimi Rogers who plays their well meaning but clueless mother. Notwithstanding some subtle undertones of humor, the film builds tension gradually enroute to a scary, action-packed finish.

Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed (2004)
4 full moons

As mentioned above, I really enjoyed Ginger Snaps so I was happy to see a strong follow up to the film. Ginger Snaps 2 features a story about Brigitte Fitzgerald who ends up committed at a drug rehab clinic while trying to stave off a lycanthropy infection. The plot is clever and has a fun final twist. I enjoyed the acting performances, especially from Emily Perkins as Brigitte and young actress Tatiana Maslany as a character named "Ghost".

Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (2004)
3.5 full moons

Ginger Snaps Back is an interesting reimagining of the [/i]Ginger Snaps[/i] story a period piece in the 1800s. Sisters Ginger and Brigitte find themselves at a remote trading post besieged by bloodthirsty creatures. The atmosphere and visuals of the film reminds me of Brotherhood of the Wolf. The acting and special effects are both well executed. This third movie is not quite as well written or entertaining as the first two, but is still very enjoyable.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963)
3.5 serial killers

Considered by many to be the first giallo (a genre of Italian crime thrillers), The Girl Who Knew Too Much is different from many of Mario Bava's other films because it has an actual, understandable plot! This is Bava's final black and white film and it has his usual beautiful camera work. The story line has the feel of a Hitchcock movie. American tourist Nora Davis, played by the lovely Leticia Roman, is visiting her aunt in Rome when she witnesses an apparent murder. Nora has trouble convincing others of what she saw until she turns to local doctor Marcelo Bassi, surprisingly played by John Saxon from A Nightmare on Elm Street. Bava does a nice job maintaining suspense with a dash of humor and the film stays interesting all the way through. It doesn't have the levels of gore found in later giallo films, but I found it very entertaining.

Graduation Day (2015)
2 camcorders

I don't know if Graduation Day is considered a remake of the 1981 movie of the same name because I haven't seen that one. This film is a found footage thriller and clear ripoff of I Know What You Did Last Summer. A group of teens share a horrible secret and now somebody is punishing them for it. The music and editing are decent but the shaky cam filming method is overused. The litany of downfalls for the movie includes poor acting, very bad dialogue, a sparse plot with events that have no reason for being included, no special effects, and a ridiculous looking killer. I would have rated the movie even lower but I liked the ending.

Grave Encounters (2011)
3 restless spirits

Let me start by saying that some people hate the entire "found footage" genre in which we discover the fate of the characters by watching their personally filmed movies. My wife can't do these films because the jerky motion of the hand-held cameras makes her sick. So if you hated the format of The Blair Witch Project or you get motion-sick, this movie is not for you. Personally, I enjoy this type of film and I think Grave Encounters is worth watching. It's not an original or complex plot, but it is fun and scary at times. Basically, we follow the exploits of a small TV crew who lock themselves in an old lunatic asylum to film an episode for their Ghost Hunter-type reality show. Of course, they end up experiencing a lot more than they bargained for. The tension builds steadily as the TV crew progresses from noticing small phenomena to eventually realizing they may be in serious trouble. Thankfully the film makers don't try to overwhelm the viewer with special effects but instead use effectively scary images at intervals to break up the tension with brief moments of terror.

Grave Encounters 2 (2012)
1 restless spirit

This is a very disappointing sequel to the found-footage horror Grave Encounters. The viewer first suffers through 35 minutes of boredom watching an aspiring film maker discover that the footage from the first movie is not fiction but depicts the actual deaths of the actors by supernatural means. The film student, Alex Wright, decides to investigate the abandoned mental asylum himself. Once our intrepid hero and his companions enter the asylum, there are a couple of interesting scenes but certainly not enough to justify watching the film. The acting performances are terrible, particularly that of Richard Harmon who plays Alex. The scenes in the asylum are mostly a rehash of the first movie and the dramatic reappearance of an old character comes off as more comical than scary.

The Gravedancers (2006)
2.5 desecrated graves

The premise of The Gravedancers is pretty interesting. A group of friends thoughtlessly desecrate several graves and find themselves haunted by the ghosts of those graves' residents. Unfortunately the film does not live up to the idea. The acting is atrocious; lead actor Dominic Purcell displays an amazing lack of emotion. There are a few decent scenes but not enough for me to recommend watching this one.

Gremlins (1984)
4 furry creatures

Gremlins is a must-see classic for people who like humor and horror. It has a terrific plot about a mysterious creature that is given as a Christmas gift from an inventor/salesman to his son. The special effects are well done, the acting performances are very good and there are some hilarious moments. What is different about this film from other '80s movies is its smooth transition from cute kids' movie to scary (for kids) horror flick. If you have young kids, I would suggest watching the movie first to determine if your child can handle it.

The Grudge (2004)
2.5 cat boys

Adapted from a Japanese movie (see review for Ju-On: The Grudge in a separate post), The Grudge fooled me with its movie trailers more than any other movie. I was really expecting it to be great and it fell far short. Nothing was done to improve or augment the Japanese version. There is really no reason to watch this version instead of the original unless you like gazing at Sarah Michelle Gellar's face, which I admit is a decent draw.

The Guard Post (2008)
2.5 demilitarized zones

This Korean film (with English subtitles) is about a guard post along the Korean border that loses contact with Headquarters. When troops are sent to investigate, they find the majority of the soldiers slaughtered and one apparently insane survivor. A military investigator, Sergeant Major Noh Seong-gyu, is sent to the post to determine what happened. The Guard Post actually feels more like a murder mystery than a horror film, as we watch Noh slowly decipher the events that occurred. The acting is pretty good, particularly by Chun Ho-jin playing Noh. The big fault of the movie for me is that it moves past having a complex plot to being almost incomprehensible. Numerous flashback scenes of what happened earlier at the guard post are interspersed among scenes in the current time frame, sometimes with multiple versions of the same flashback. With the vast majority of characters being young Korean men wearing the same military uniforms, figuring out who is doing what at which time is really confusing. It doesn't help that sometimes the English subtitles appear to be incomplete translations of the dialogue. The movie has some nice moments but it feels like there was potential for it to be much better.
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