Monthly Archives: June 2021

Another “Dyson Goes To The Movies” post!

I’ve never been a huge fan of zombie movies in the past. I mean, I saw NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and liked it, but it didn’t grab me like it did so many horror and zompoc fans. Also I hadn’t read a lot of zombie fiction.

But there was a lot of indie zombie fiction out there. I read most of the SLOW BURN series and Amanda Hocking’s zombie books back at the beginning of the indie revolution in self-publishing. And one led to another, and another, and pretty soon I was wondering about some of those movies I’d not watched.

So I watched WORLD WAR Z. It was interesting. An entertaining movie with a good cast and a seemingly big budget. Then I watched some others, including the excellent TRAIN TO BUSAN and SHAWN OF THE DEAD. That last one led me to watch HOT FUZZ and THE WORLD’S END, all of which I enjoyed quite a bit.

So on to another series I had never paid much attention to: RESIDENT EVIL movies. The first and second are available on Prime, so I was watching by myself one night and chose the first one.

And I kinda liked it! It was fun. Great unseen villain in Umbrella Corporation. Mysterious set-up where Milla Jovovich finds herself alone in a house with another guy and seemingly no memories of who she is or where she is. As she prepares to leave, soldiers break through the windows and… Well, suffice it to say that there are zombies and lots of them. And it ends with a shot of Jovovich’s character alone in a room, waking up, pulling sensors and IVs off of her virtually naked body, and wandering into the streets to find…

So of course I had to try the next movie. RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE is set shortly after the end of the first movie and starts promisingly enough as they close the city, not allowing anyone to exit. And of course a group of people who aren’t zombified are trapped inside and have to fight their way out. And Jovovich’s character (Alice) is now on the streets as well, trapped in the city by herself. Raise the stakes a bit with a little girl, the daughter of an important scientist, who also ends up trapped within the walls of Raccoon City (which disappointingly has no raccoons, as far as I could tell).

I was expecting another fun movie. Some of the acting was meh, but really, in a movie like this, who cares? It’s when the story gets weird and contradicts itself. And turns back on itself, then finally just goes over the top and turns a zombie movie into something else — still with zombies, but more about what the corporation has been up to.

Which could have been fine, but that’s not what I was expecting. At times it’s just silly and dumb, which also could have been fine, but in this one, it just didn’t work all that well.

Still, should I feel embarrassed that I sort of had fun watching it? I don’t know if I’ll go on in the series, but one never says never when streaming movie services are involved. If the mood strikes me…

Meanwhile, I’ll keep reading zombie fiction here and there and see what pops its head up above the crowded indie zombie apocalypse fiction scene.

Dyson Goes To The Movies!

Okay, I didn’t actually GO to the movies. I streamed and/or watched Blu-ray or DVD versions of them. And a couple of them bordered on horror.

So I’d seen SPLIT, the M. Night Shyamalan movie, some months ago, and was intrigued by Bruce Willis’s cameo at the very end. How do these movies tie together? I’d not seen UNBREAKABLE, so when it came to Prime, I did a viewing.

It was good. Samuel L. Jackson is really good as the comic art expert who has formed a theory about superheroes — they come from legends of former super-powered humans. As such, he has been searching for someone who fits his description, and when Bruce Willis’s character walks out of a train wreck as the sole survivor, and miraculously, uninjured, he thinks he’s found his man. Now all he has to do is convince David (Willis’s character) of this.

When I watch a movie, I want to be entertained, first and foremost. So my first question is, does this movie meet that litmus test? Answer: It does. It has a fun story with great performances and pacing that serves the story. I was invested in the outcome of David’s explorations almost immediately, in much the same fashion as I was in THE SIXTH SENSE, another Willis/Shyamalan film. I believed in him, and I believed that Elijah (Jackson’s fragile character) was actually on to something; his theory about these legends might actually be correct. So this succeeded for me, and I’m glad I watched it.

We followed it with a re-viewing (for me) of SPLIT. I was even more impressed by James McAvoy’s performance than I was the first time around. This is horror; there’s really no getting around it. Three girls have been kidnapped for unknown purposes, and are being held in — well, we really don’t know where they’re being held. It’s just secure and remote, or so it appears. When McAvoy appears with his split personalities (a selection of the 23 he is said to have), he is terrifying.

Again, this one passes the litmus test. I loved watching McAvoy become these various personalities, and I loved watching the supporting characters try to figure out what he’s doing, what he’s becoming, and why he’s becoming whatever it is. Anya Taylor-Joy is very good as the victim who doesn’t fit with the other two. What’s in her backstory? I wanted to know immediately. And in the end, the horror aspects worked really well with the thriller aspects and provided me with a very entertaining film.

At a glance, these two movies seem to have little to do with each other, but if you read close enough, you’ll find the common thread. The third of the series, GLASS, joins the characters from the first two films, along with Elijah, aka Mr. Glass. I don’t want to say too much because it will reveal a lot about the first two films’ stories, but I will just say that this one was the weakest of the trilogy, both in terms of pacing and in terms of actual story. I saw a lot of what the director was going for, but it just felt dragged out. In the end, I watched an entertaining film, still, but I did not like it quite as much as I liked the first two films. Was it a horror film? I think so, by virtue of an even better performance by James McAvoy. Otherwise, it’s a movie that mostly serves to connect two seemingly unrelated stories. Worth watching, but not if you haven’t seen the firrst two.

And that’s “Dyson Goes To The Movies” for this week. Enjoy your life!