Though I grew up in a large metropolis, the neighborhood where I lived was pretty much self-contained. Besides knowing everyone who lived on the block, anything we needed was within walking distance from our home. My classmates and I grew up together through elementary school and into high school. It was funny, even with four other elementary schools being filtered in, all of us found a routine that carried us through the four years of high school. One of my friends and I would always meet up in the yearbook office on Tuesday afternoons to sit and catch up with each other. I knew never to go into the 3rd floor men’s bathroom on the far south side of the building because there was a gang of tough boys who hung out there to smoke cigarettes. Not until senior year did we all start to realize changes were coming. A friend of mine had to get a full-time job to help support his family, forgoing college. Some friends were going to out of state universities, others were going to the local city college; it was a scary time for me. I was going away to college and was nervous about living on my own. For a majority of people this was a natural rite of passage, which this dramatic coming of age film tried to show in a small Texas town. Shiloh Fernandez (The East, Red Riding Hood) played 19 year old Ritchie Wheeler. Content managing the local roller skating rink, Ritchie would be forced to look at his life when not only his circle of friends began to change but when his parents announced they were getting divorced. Set in the 1980s, this Sundance Film Festival nominated movie had a great soundtrack. The story started out slow for me, but I eventually found myself being interested in some of the characters. I thought Haley Ramm (Into the Wild, Flightplan) as Ritchie’s sister Mary and Ashley Greene (Twilight franchise, LOL) as Ritchie’s friend Michelle Burkham were a couple of the better actors in this drama. There have been coming of age stories done before, so I looked for this film to do something different; it really did nothing special in my opinion. I will say it was interesting to see teens in a small town going through similar things that took place in my city high school. Maybe I have had a slight prejudice towards small town living, but I did not see a real difference in the manner in which individuals from both ways of living reacted to the same situation. We really are creatures of habit aren’t we?
2 stars — DVD
Before I began writing movie reviews here, I had my own rating system for films. It was pretty simple: do I want to spend money to see it on the big screen, wait for it to come out on DVD or catch it one day on cable. After seeing a movie back then, I would email a group of my friends to tell them whether they could see the movie or not. You see I have a couple of friends who cannot see any trace of blood. Then there is one friend who cannot see anything violent, whether it involves humans or animals. These friends were the impetus for me starting this movie review site. As this site has grown, I feel it is necessary for me to cover all genres of movies; so there would be something for everyone. It is for these reasons I went to see this horror film. Five friends met at a remote cabin where they accidentally summoned evil spirits that were hell-bent on possessing the friends until death. The friends were played by Jane Levy (Nobody Walks, Fun Size) as Mia, Shiloh Fernandez (Red Riding Hood, Deadgirl) as David, Lou Taylor Pucci (Beginners, Horsemen) as Eric, Jessica Lucas (Cloverfield, She’s the Man) as Olivia and relative newcomer Elizabeth Blackmore as Natalie. There are times where it can be a fine line between horror and comedy; this film was a joke and I am not sure if that was the movie studio’s intentions. When the gore and blood is so over the top, it just becomes a comical mess. It was amazing to see how the body could keep on going as it was being dismembered. There was absolutely nothing of value in this remake; nothing new, nothing scary, nothing worthwhile. I will say for those who enjoy being grossed out this movie should provide you with enough sickening scenes to fill a vomitorium. Not that my friends would even consider seeing a movie like this; but just in case, multiple scenes of blood and gore throughout the movie.