Lionsgate ready to reboot Saw? – Rumors are circulating that we haven’t seen the last of Jigsaw, the villainous mastermind of the Saw franchise – but those expecting another sequel might be in for a shock.
Bloody-Disgusting says sources are telling it that Lionsgate is currently considering a reboot of the franchise – just years after the last installment hit theaters. On the one hand, a reboot makes sense since it can remedy the Jigsaw situation that has made the sequels increasingly more hard to swallow (I won’t spoil that here in case you’re not up to date on the franchise). On the other, it’s another shining example of how Hollywood isn’t the least bit interested in new material anymore and will gladly serve us up “reimaginings” of titles that were in theaters just a few years ago.
The reboot rumblings are just rumors at the moment – the studio could opt for another sequel instead – but the topic is on the table. Let’s all just hope it stays there.
New Lovely Molly feature highlights real-life spooky events – The fine folks at Image Entertainment have given us another new featurette in advance of the release of Lovely Molly – their upcoming horror film set to make its debut on August 28.
Unlike most featurettes, this one doesn’t give us the usual behind-the-scenes tour or showcase extended footage from a trailer. Instead, this new clip blurs the line between fantasy and reality by talking to the cast and crew about the spooky events that happened on location while shooting the film. If you love real-life ghost stories and paranormal investigators tossing around terms like “EVP,” this clip is for you. Check it out below.
Grim Night eyes German filmmaker – German director Dennis Gansel is reportedly in negotiations to make his Hollywood debut as the director of Universal’s upcoming horror film Grim Night.
The title, which is based on a short film by Brandon Bestenheider and Allen Bay, finds people forced indoors one night a year when the menacing Grims stalk the streets in search of souls. Universal acquired the rights to the project last year and has hopes that it will eventually morph into a franchise. Check out the video below for a taste of what we could expect if this feature gets off the ground.
Bigfoot County merges Sasquatch and found footage – If zombie flicks are everywhere, then films based on Bigfoot have to be right behind them on the “overused horror monster we still love" list. Bigfoot has starred in countless films over the past few years – so many, in fact, that he has his own subgenre: Sasquatchploitation.
The mythical monster is set to get another close up in the upcoming Bigfoot County, a found footage film from Grindstone Entertainment.
In this outing, a group of Bigfoot hunters disappear in Northern California. When their footage is found a year later, well… you can guess the rest.
There’s no official release date yet, but we’ll keep you posted.
I’ve been a fan of killer-shark movies since I saw Jaws as a child. In the intervening years, I think I’ve seen almost every other film in the subgenre – and not one of them has come close to matching Spielberg’s epic summer blockbuster. That doesn’t mean they all sucked, though – a few have been pretty decent (Enzo Castellari’s Great White springs immediately to mind) on their own terms. I didn’t have a lot of hope for David R. Ellis’ Shark Night going into it, but Ellis managed to surprise me. Was that surprise a good or bad thing? You’ll have to read on to find out.
Ellis, best known for gifting us with Snakes on a Plane (which should clue you in as to what to expect in Shark Night), returns to the world of crazy high-concept cinema with this tale about a veritable United Nations of college students (they needed an Asian presence to truly round it out) who head out to a beautiful isolated lake house only to discover that the lake is now filled with man-eating sharks.
Why is the lake filled with man-eating sharks? Oh, that’s a question you’ll have to resolve on your own. I will say that it’s the most absurdly stupid reason I’ve ever heard, and yet I didn’t hate the movie even after it was revealed. Kudos on that, Mr. Ellis.
Stupid reasoning aside, Shark Night is surprisingly fun. It’s like a slasher flick with killer sharks instead of a masked madman, but it still mostly works (and since Jaws 2 swam in the same water when it came to its slasher film inspirations, I’m okay with the homage). The cast of caricature characters are instantly recognizable to anyone who’s ever watched a slasher flick before (and guessing the order they’ll die in doesn’t take a lot of brainpower either), but there’s something charming in that familiarity. Ellis doesn’t take himself or the film too seriously – and it’s a better experience for it. At the very least, it lessens the potential blow of the stupefying plot reveal coming late in the second act. By that point, we’ve already suspended our disbelief to the breaking point and we either stick with the film the rest of the way regardless of what Ellis throws at us or we’ve already popped it out of the DVD player and gone on with our lives.
While it’s hard to argue that the sharks (which appear to be mostly well-done CGI creations of varying breeds) are the real star of Shark Night, the human cast is generally serviceable. Sara Paxton headlines as a quiet college student who apparently has a family with a really exclusive house on a saltwater lake. She’s the equivalent of a slasher film’s final girl, and she’s good in the part. She teams up with Dustin Milligan, who we’re supposed to believe is a nerdy pre-med student (only in the movies do nerdy pre-med students sport chiseled abs and muscular biceps), and several other archetypal characters who will face the monstrous maneaters head on.
There are also some locals tossed into the mix, including Donal Logue as the local sheriff and Chris Carmack and Joshua Leonard (who’s barely recognizable from his Blair Witch Project days) as a couple of creepy divers. Needless to say, the shark smorgasbord is pretty well stocked with potential chum.
Once Ellis gets everyone to the island (and goes to great lengths to remind us how isolated it is – there’s even a line where a character tells everyone their cell phones won’t work), he unleashes the mayhem. It is puzzling as to why this luxurious mansion doesn’t have a two-way radio or some kind of communication device, but no one said this film was brilliantly plotted.
The only other real complaint is that Shark Night made the puzzling decision to go with a PG-13 rating – which means it’s lacking a bit when it comes to the nudity and gore you’d expect from this sort of film. Piranha 3D went all out and earned every bit of its R rating, but Shark Night manages to keep it more kid friendly. It doesn’t ruin the experience by any means, but I did find myself wondering how much cooler it might have been if Ellis had been able to go with enough gore to earn an R instead of the more restrained PG-13.
Honestly, though, it doesn’t really matter. Shark Night is really the kind of film that could be reviewed sufficiently in a single paragraph and a plot synopsis. People know almost instantly if this is a film for them or not – and looking into it too deeply seems almost counterproductive. If you’re looking for a big, silly killer-shark movie where logic isn’t particularly important but crazy deaths and an outlandish narrative are, this is your film. If you want Jaws, well, go watch Jaws. Shark Night isn’t a perfect film, but it’s pretty perfect at being what it sets out to be – a brainless time waster designed to amuse viewers for roughly 90 minutes. And hey, it’s better than Deep Blue Sea – so there’s always that.
Horror on the Horizon
Horror finally returns to the multiplex in August with the arrival of The Awakening – but alas, it’s only a limited release. Rebecca Hall stars in this supernatural period piece as a woman investigating a haunting at a boarding school. The skeptic gets more than she bargained for when it appears that there really is something supernatural afoot.
Meanwhile, on August 17 we get ParaNorman, a kid-friendly family flick where a young boy named Norman is called upon to save his town from an evil curse. Sure, it’s not the hardcore blood and gore we tend to gravitate toward, but there’s nothing wrong with a little light-hearted horror once in awhile.
For the home theater crowd, August 14 is jam-packed with great stuff, including the long-awaited Blu-ray release of Jaws, foreign chiller Kill List, and Cuban zombie flick Juan of the Dead.
The week of August 21 isn’t as impressive – but there is a Halloween 4 and Halloween 5 Blu-ray release. Apparently the Halloween 4 disc doesn't feature extras promised pre-release, so buyer beware.