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Movie Reviews: Buried Alive + Resident Evil: Retribution + A Woman At War + Terror Vision

Edgar Allan Poe’s Buried Alive (1990)
Not to be confused with the Jennifer Jason Leigh tv movie or the Tobin Bell movie. This had a dramatic VHS cover which lied about this film’s contents. A young woman named Janet goes to teach at the Ravenscroft Institute which seems to be a reform school for wayward girls (among them Nia Long and Ginger Allen). This has nothing to do with Poe. Girls go missing and end up bricked up inside a wall. The place is run by a shrink named Gary (Robert Vaughn and his boot polish hair). He has a creeping lackey in a German weirdo (Donald Pleasence). The kitchen is full of unsanitary sluts who menace each other with whisks.

The inmates with perms can’t act. Janet hears heavy breathing and moaning and creeps around the reform school in dark and murky scenes. Ants attack. An inmate uses a whisk as a curling tongs and dies. There is more bad acting. This was filmed in 1988 and sat on the shelf for 2 years. The goings on aren’t agreeably horrible and the plot is not propulsive or a masterpiece of concision. John Carradine lurks in the basement (this was his final film).

The bright South African sunlight (it was filmed there) undercuts the attempted depiction of the reform school as a blasted place. Gary is unhelpful and acts uncomfortably weird and has malevolent charisma. The German mutters unintelligibly. More disingenuous people meet nasty fates in non-queasy, non-malevolent ways. Janet is oddly untroubled by anything and is weak, pathetic and fond of endless shrieking.

The film is daft, preposterous and populated by miserable actors but it is so terrible, it has a camp charm. The reform school girls all wear tight Lycra. They also all seem to be 30 - so why are they there? There is no cautiously rationed peril. More people end up the basement which leads to an infuriating darkening of the image. John Carradine turns out to be Gary’s father. A local cop (Arnold Vosloo - with hair!) chases Janet.

What are the moral or legal grounds for the girls to be held there? Gary proposes to Janet for no clear reason and gives disapproving stares. There are fights and the head mean girl (Allen) gets an unsettling end in wet cement. There is a villain speech that reveals disturbing motivations. There are chase scenes, more death, large ham acting and none of this deeply harrowing. Janet (Karen Witter of ‘Popcorn’) is bricked into a wall but manages to escape. No one wonders how the loony got all the building supplies. Janet gets over her near-immurement with ease. The mad dad lurks and there is a sinister sequel hook ending. This was egregiously entertaining in a weird way.

Best Lines:
“There’s something behind the wall.”

“Her two little sisters whom she tried to kill.”

“Boycott the bitch.”

“That’s my father.”

“You have a rich inner life.”

“Some sort of paranoid delusion.”

“You’re really freaking me out here.”

“I don’t kill people.”

“Made me better.”

“Strange things.”

“Run! Run! Just like all the rest.”

“Janet! Don’t run away from me!”

“A small, dark place. All alone.”

“There’s no killing me.”

~
Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
The 5th entry in the bafflingly popular series. There is incoherence, fight scenes, clones, stuff flying at the camera, stripper clothes and Jill, Alice, Ada and the Red Queen running around. No, just no.

Best Lines:
“Activate biohazard.”

“The apocalypse they created.”

“The Testing Floor. No one has ever escaped from this facility.”

~
A Woman At War (1991)
An okay TV movie about Martha Plimpton’s character carrying on secret activities during the occupation of Brussels in WWII.

~
Terror Vision (1986)
Horrifically bad comedy.
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