Thursday 14 January 2010

DVD Reviews

The Final Destination
David R. Ellis
Entertainment In Video

Available Now - £19.99 (DVD), £24.99 (Blu-ray) and £34.99 (Quadrilogy DVD Box Set)
Review by Brad Harmer

On what should have been a fun-filled day at the races, Nick O'Bannon has a horrific premonition in which a bizarre sequence of events causes multiple race cars to crash, sending flaming debris into the stands, brutally killing his friends and causing the upper deck of the stands to collapse on him. When he comes out of this grisly nightmare Nick panics, persuading his girlfriend, Lori, and their friends, Janet and Hunt, to leave... escaping seconds before Nick's frightening vision becomes a terrible reality.

Thinking they've cheated death, the group has a new lease on life, but unfortunately for Nick and Lori, it is only the beginning. As his premonitions continue and the crash survivors begin to die one-by-one in increasingly gruesome ways - Nick must figure out how to cheat death once and for all before he, too, reaches his final destination.

I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the Final Destination series. The concept of a slasher movie without the slasher has always struck me as at least trying to have a stab (no pun intended) at something original – something that the genre is all too often lacking on. The feel is undeniably a slasher movie, but with its execution lie the differences.

As usual, when transposed to the 2D home version, all of the 3D effects end up looking rather dumb, but they’re not especially intrusive.

The actual death scenes themselves are (with one exception) amazingly tense, and creepy. The beauty parlour scene in particular had me on edge the whole way through, only to have the completely unexpected happen – most satisfying!

There are more than a fair few plot twists along the way, and they completely flipped my guesses on their head when they arrived! It’s a shame the ending is so dumb, because it’s a hell of a ride getting there.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Several gory deaths.
Sex/Nudity: One sex scene. With boobies.
Swearing: Average for the genre.
Summary: A pretty well put-together “slasher-less slasher flick”, let down only by its rather weak ending and its, frankly, rip-off running time (IMDB claims eighty-two minutes, but I made the count seventy-three. You’ve got CDs longer than that.). 7/10

Street Trash
Jim Muro Jr.
Arrow Films

Available Now - £15.99 (DVD)
Review by Brad Harmer

Prepare to witness a molten hobo holocaust as the homeless denizens of New York City's skid row and its nearby junkyards fall foul to the irresistible taste of Tenafly Viper, an alcoholic delight that brings a whole new meaning to the term "gut rot". When a local liquor store owner discovers a case of out-of-date Viper in his basement, little does he know that selling it off cheap to the bums who frequent his store will have the devastating effect of turning those who even sip the brew into a exploding and melting, Day-Glo masses of liquefied flesh and bone. And a lot of them want to sip it.

Cartoony, and with its rotting tongue shoved firmly in its gore soaked cheek, Street Trash is a good, fun B-movie, and it doesn’t care who knows it. I was reminded of the classic Troma (and to a lesser extent, GWAR) movies, with its not-so-subtle blend of horror and knob gags.

It’s unfortunate that, like so many B-movies, it’s overlong for the flimsy concept within. At almost an hour and forty minutes, a better editing job could have got this down to a more suitable eighty or so minutes. Sure, a hundred minutes isn’t an epic by any stretch, but when you check your watch and realise that ten minutes have passed with virtually no developments at all, you realise that it’s a little vacuous.

When Street Trash is at its most self-aware and ridiculous, it is at its strongest. When one of the hobos is sneakily and badly shoplifting some chicken into his trousers, or during the infamous penectomy section, it is at its most entertaining. When it tries to be too dark or too just fails.

The gore work, whilst cartoony in its appearance, is startlingly good from a technical standpoint. That’s not “considering the budget”. It’s just damn good.

The ending is rather an oddity. Whilst it feels rather anti-climactic, it’s hard to think of any other way that all of the storylines could have been resolved.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating:
Several scuffles, traffic collisions, stabbings, mutilations and attempted murders.
Sex/Nudity: Full male and female nudity. Some explicit (without entering the realms of porn) sex scenes. Boobs and growler.
Swearing: Frequent and strong.
Summary: Not funny enough to be a really great comedy and not gory enough to be a great grindhouse movie. Troma fans may get some enjoyment from it. 5/10

It is 1806, Imperial Russia, and St Petersburg is in the grip of gambling fever. No card strikes more fear in to the hearts of the soldiers than the evil Queen of Spades. Captain Herman Suvorin is a lowly German engineer: an outsider obsessed with making his fortune whose peculiar manner isolates him from the revelries of the other bawdy soldiers. He is intrigued, though, by soldiers’ gossip that tells of the legend of an ancient Countess, who supposedly sold her soul to the devil years before in exchange for the secret of success at the card game de jour: Faro.

When he stumbles across a strange and rare book that seems to confirm the story, Suvorin sets about a dastardly plan in order to extract the old lady’s secret for himself. Worming his way into the household by paying false court to the Countess’ lonely ward Lizaveta, Suvorin discovers a secret door to the palace that leads directly into the Countess’ chambers. On the night of a ball that the Countess and Lizaveta attend, he enters the palace and waits in the shadows for the Countess, determined to learn her secret before another bitter winter’s day breaks...

The Queen of Spades is a wonderfully evocative and sinister drama, made by one of the most underrated of British directors: Thorold Dickinson, who throughout his career refused to compromise his artistic integrity in the face of commercial pressures. Based on a short story by Alexander Pushkin, the film boasts memorable performances by Anton Walbrook as the soldier driven insane by his lust for success and fortune and Dame Edith Evans as the bitter and twisted old Countess who gave away her soul for a short-lived salvation.

Thanks to our friends at Optimum Home Entertainment, we've got five copies of The Queen of Spades on DVD to give away! For your chance of winning one, send us an e-mail to with your name and postal address before midday on Thursday 21st January (UK time). The first five names drawn out of the electronic hat will win a copy of this awesome movie!

1 comment:

  1. YES!!! I knew they wouldn't REALLY kill of Kitty Pryde!