Tag Archives: Joe Anderson

Screen Rant’s 10 Most Anticipated Horror Movies of 2013

Horror-Movie-Preivew-2013Ready for a year of straight slasher flicks, horror anthologies, paranormal entities, home invasions, and more? 2013 is due to cover just about every corner of the horror genre – including remakes, adaptations, and even a few original ideas, too.

There’s dozens of prospective nightmare-inducing productions on the way (or already in theaters), but we’ve narrowed it down to the 10 that pack the most promising source material, stellar teams of talent, innovative core concepts and/or the potential for unprecedented carnage.

Check out our 10 Most Anticipated Horror Movies of 2013.

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Review: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2” is a seven – on the “Twilight” scale. If you’re comparing it to films that play by the rules, it’s more of a four. But this is a “Twilight” film and after five of them it’s successfully established its own set of rules.

“Breaking Dawn – Part 2” kicks off just days after Bella’s baby bloodshed. Renesmee is already a rather large infant and Bella’s testing the waters of this whole life as a vampire thing. An indiscernible amount of time later, Renesmee turns into a 10-year-old (Mackenzie Foy) and Irina (Maggie Grace) spots Bella and Jacob (Taylor Lautner) enjoying some playtime vampire-style out in the woods. Horrified that Renesmee may be a vicious “immortal child,” Irina tattles to the Volturi. However, Renesmee isn’t immortal. She’s half human, half vampire. The trouble is, the Volturi are pretty stubborn and the only way the Cullens can save their newest family member is by amassing an army of vampires to defend her.

“Breaking Dawn – Part 2”opens with the best part of the movie, the opening credits. And I’m only being semi-sarcastic. The film’s title sequence is really quite mesmerizing. The text either bleeds from red to white or white to red, and plays over a string of vibrant frosty forest shots mixed with a few of a blood red hue. It works especially well, artfully bringing the viewer back into the world with a rousing hypnotic effect. But again, it’s the best part of the movie. Really.

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Review: The Grey

Liam Neeson and director Joe Carnahan are back together again, but this time around, they’re working with material that’s far less fun than The A-Team. But less fun doesn’t make The Grey a bad movie. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Rather than turn The Grey into an utterly unrealistic survival adventure story, we get something far darker and, while it still has those handful of moments that make you think twice, it completely sells the severity of the situation.

Neeson’s Ottway works for a petroleum company in the icy tundra of Alaska. Amidst the other ex-cons, fugitives and “men unfit for mankind,” Ottway’s job is to keep them safe by shooting down invading wolves. When it’s time to return to society, Ottway and a number of his colleagues board a plane to Anchorage. Along the way, turbulent weather takes hold and the plane comes crashing down in the middle of nowhere – actually, in the middle of wolf territory.

The few survivors are thankful to be alive, but soon come to the harsh realization that they’re being hunted. With no food and few supplies, the group has to band together to keep each other safe from the wolves who look to viciously pick them off one-by-one.

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The Crazies 1973 vs. 2010: Side-by-Side

Back in 1973 George A. Romero gave us a taste of what it’d be like if a biological weapon were let loose on society in The Crazies. When someone comes in contact with Trixie they lose their minds and become violent. Think the army can save you from the madness? Think again. Not only are the military men just as afraid of contracting the virus, but they’re trying to protect themselves from the crazies too; basically, they’re willing to kill everyone and anyone not in a biohazard suit. The Crazies is a film particularly fitting for the remake treatment. It’s dated, yet the general concept remains powerful. That’s where Breck Eisner comes in. He takes his source material trims away the fat and the obsolete elements and packs it with exactly what horror audiences are looking for: sheer terror. Eisner’s The Crazies is one of my favorite films of 2010, but I’m going to leave the critique at that and deliver this comparison using just the facts. However I can’t say the same for spoilers because they’re all over the place in this article, so beware.

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Interview: The Crazies Director Breck Eisner (Post-Screening)

Getting the opportunity to talk to a director who created a film you absolutely love is a frustrating double-edged sword. You’re thrilled to have the opportunity to chat, but there isn’t nearly enough time to squeeze in every question. This is the fortunate/unfortunate case with Breck Eisner.

He’s the man behind the remake of George A. Romero’s The Crazies. After a slew of poorly made and blood drenched reboots, it’s fantastic to experience something so refreshingly original that still manages to pay homage to the source material. Even if you’ve watched Romero’s 1973 original, Eisner’s film is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. When an experimental biological weapon called Trixie accidently infiltrates Ogden Marsh’s water supply, it’s only a matter of time before the townsfolk go crazy. The film follows four survivors as they try to escape their hometown now overrun with violent versions of friends and loved ones while eluding the army who’s prepared to exterminate anyone with the potential to let the virus loose.

Check out what Eisner told me about creating some of the most memorable moments, utilizing the appropriate amount of gore and even a little update on his next project, Flash Gordon.

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Review: The Crazies

If any horror movie deserves a reboot, it’s George A. Romero’s The Crazies. The premise is still intriguing, but the execution is dated leaving room for improvement. Nowadays, this type of improvement comes in the form of ultra bloody horror reboots that desperately try to one up each other by having the most brutal kill scenes. Rather than rely on sheer gore, The Crazies mixes charming characters, suspense and disturbing behavior to provide a well-crafted and downright horrifying experience.

Everything seems normal in the quaint town of Ogden Marsh. Sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) and his deputy Russell (Joe Anderson) are busy maintaining order, while David’s wife, Judy (Radha Mitchell), and her assistant, Becca (Danielle Panabaker), are keeping everyone healthy at the local medical center. But that all changes when the townsfolk start to go crazy, literally. Those who were once friends and neighbors transform into violent bloody versions of their former selves with one goal in mind: kill.

Before they can attempt to escape the madness, the military infiltrates the town herding everyone into a restricted zone for sorting. The infected are funneled into the local high school while those who retain their sanity are bussed elsewhere. After the operation breaks down, David, Judy, Russell and Becca find themselves trapped in the town they once loved, being hunted by the army and terrorized by the crazies.

This is the horror movie we’ve all been waiting for. As opposed to the most recent slasher releases, The Crazies doesn’t rely on an overdose of blood and guts to give you a good scare. In fact, director Breck Eisner gracefully conceals what could have been extremely gory moments in favor of leaving the imagery to the imagination, ultimately making them far more frightening. Eisner also does away with the excess of cheap scares. The film’s most terrifying moments are the ones that are the culmination of a marinating process. The scene is set, the characters are positioned and then the threat slowly creeps into the room leaving the viewer more than enough time to recognize and feel the sheer horror of the situation.

The Crazies isn’t a slasher flick, but it isn’t really a zombie movie either. Yes, there’s a herd of humans-turned-monsters, but unlike zombies, the crazies retain some of their personality. They’re not members of a massive mob with the sole goal of devouring flesh; they’re extremely enraged versions of their former selves and have very particular methods of killing. Paradoxically, the film’s human evil entity, the army, does take on the form of a soulless mass. Whether the troops are armed to the tee or sporting chemical protection suits, their faces are covered by gas masks completely dehumanizing them.

These two deadly enemies couldn’t be nearly as dreadful if those they are terrorizing aren’t genuinely petrified. David, Judy, Russell and Becca create the perfect combination of lone survivors to take viewers through the film. Olyphant makes a strong lead and emits a sense of comfort in the midst of the insanity. He’s further softened by his clear devotion to his wife, Judy. Rather than resort to excessive screaming to express horror, Mitchell decides to do so by simply delivering a proper performance. A fantastic but modest dose of comedic relief comes from Anderson as Russell. He’s there to deliver the standard sidekick one liners, but gets occasional and perfectly timed moments to shine. The most helpless of the bunch is Becca, and Panabaker’s performance will rip your heart out. She’s a teenager being forced to witness the extermination of her friends and family, the effect of which is visible through her cowardly tendencies.

There are just two elements of The Crazies that aren’t quite convincing. First, David is a tad too smart. He’s the hero and his potential to save the day must exist, but he puts the pieces together far too quickly. Secondly, minus bloody noses and enlarged veins, a particular trio of crazies doesn’t really seem too crazy. We’re introduced to a band of hunters pre-infection and reunite with them twice post-meltdown. Most of the crazies benefit from a hint of personality, but these three have too much and come across as human psychopaths rather than virally insane.

However, thanks to excellent execution, these faults are easily overlooked. Eisner has created a perfectly paced creepy movie with the power to scare the crap out of you, but permits you to retain your senses. Then, you’re able to digest what just happened and recognize the sheer insanity of the situation making it exponentially more horrifying. Lastly, and most importantly, The Crazies is a terrifying blast. If you’re looking for a good scare, The Crazies delivers big time and, as an added bonus, has a degree of sensibility and depth making it so much more than an average horror movie.

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Interview: The Crazies Director Breck Eisner (Pre-Screening)

Thanks to a handful of sloppy remakes, the concept of a horror reboot has gotten a bad rap. Will Breck Eisner’s attempt at modernizing George A. Romero’s The Crazies be any different? Until I get a peak, it’s impossible to know for sure, but based on my chat with Eisner, it certainly has potential.

In the original film, a top-secret biological weapon is accidently released and contaminates the water supply of Evans City, Pennsylvania. We watch the action unfold and the townsfolk go mad from two points of view: a group of survivors trying to outrun the virus and the military desperately working to contain it. In Eisner’s version, the premise remains the same, but the focus shifts to another quaint town, Ogden Marsh. Eisner also opts to change the points of view. Rather than depict the catastrophe from two ends of the spectrum, he’s keeping the focus on the few townsfolk who retain their sanity played by Timothy Olyphant, Radha Mitchell, Joe Anderson and Danielle Panabaker.

It may not sound like much, but this will ultimately make his version of The Crazies far different from its predecessor. Will this be the key to making it a successful reboot? My hopes are high, but we’ll find out for sure when The Crazies hits theaters on February 26th. For now, check out what Eisner told me about making the film his own while still having it honor the source material.

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