A pandemic sweeps across the Australian land, transforming the infected into hunger-driven cannibals. Andy and his wife, Kay, boat down river in hopes to find a safe zone for their baby daughter Rosie in attempt to avoid major populations and even the occasional infected, but when Kay falls victim to a bite aboard an apparent abandoned sailboat while salvaging for supplies, the couple have no choice but to seek help on the mainland. Desperation leads to carelessness when Andy veers off the road and crashes. He awakens to his wife having turned rabid, sustaining a bite on his arm when saving his daughter from the backseat. With maybe two days until the virus overcomes him, Andy must find a way across a mostly vacant landscape to find someone to take care of his young daughter. With time running out, Andy’s plight takes him through a barren-inhabited land where he encounters various walks with some being too unsavory and too unsuitable for his daughter’s welfare.
Ben Howling and Yolanda Ramke are the first time directors behind the 2017, zombie-classified horror-drama “Cargo.” The screenplay was also penned by Ramke stemming from a remake of the directing duo’s short film of the same title. The short, that went on to be a finalist at the world’s largest short film festival, Tropfest, and went viral back into 2013, being showcased on the internets most popular genre sites. From there, the success of Howling and Ramke’s 7-minute short, encouraged by a strong fan base, was able to land equity to fund a full-length feature set in Howling and Ramke’s home country of Australia. The 2017 film added a star cast, a grittier and gut-busting bigger budget, and even landed back the main actor from the short film in a smaller, but significant role. “Cargo’s” bigger, more organic, and exalts the very essence of being human in an isolated, catastrophic, capitalism dystopia overrun with the chrysalis monsters.
English actor and star of the “Hobbit” series, Martin Freeman, lands the lead role of Andy. Freeman’s usual knack consists of being mild-mannered with a variety of facial expressions and his performance in being a desperate father in “Cargo” is no different; yet Freeman expresses another quality that consistently stays in the shadows of his other worth and that is strength. Andy might be conservative and portrayed as meek, but when push comes to shove, Andy steps to the plate and Freeman shows us his upper hand of his character’s abilities. Freeman works alongside first time child actress, Simone Landers, as Thoomi, an indigenous native offspring who relies on Andy to return her to her family while Andy relies on her to bring safety to his infant daughter. For a first time performance, Landers couldn’t have been more of a perfect fit aside the experienced “Sherlock Holmes” actor. Also co-starring in “Cargo” is Anthony Hayes, Susie Porter, Caren Pistorius, Kris McQuade, and, “Crocodile Dundee’s” David Gulpili who, to quote Ben Howling who said it best, is essentially Australian actor royalty.
“Cargo” isn’t your typical genre zombie film. In fact, I wouldn’t even brandish it the label of a zombie film. Ramke’s post-epidemic story reverberates a more familiar “28 Days Later” echo that spurs more life altering contagion than the dead resurrecting to feast on the living. The infect do not run, but stumble, like a zombie and also crave living delicacies; yet, their tainted blood seeps an inhuman generated neon-orange-like sap through facial orifices that feels more like the European zombie of an organic or voodoo nature. These human-turned-monsters also bury their heads below the dirt up to their shoulders in a state of transformation or a rebirth in a sense. The essence of “Cargo’s” villainy is expanded further from Howling and Ramke’s initial short film that just introduced a milky-eyed dead head and these types of infected give “Cargo” a better, more substantial presence in an overcrowded living dead genre, but the infected are not the main villains as people, essentially one capitalistic vulture, is the real threat against the protagonists.
Umbrella Entertainment presents “Cargo,” a Netflix film, onto Blu-ray home video in a sleek full HD 1080p and presented in a widescreen, 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The region B, MPEG-4 AVC encoded disc has great detail over the dry Australian countryside stocked with brown and brown vegetation, natural coloring across the board, especially in the infected’s neon-orange ooze, and an overall favorable viewing experience. The English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio doesn’t necessarily have a bombastic track, as it isn’t that kind of film, and the range is fairly around a mild-mannered tonality with a hiccup of gunfire and shouting in the ambient tracks. Dialogue is perfectly crystal clear in the forefront. Bonus material includes two featurettes, one entitled “Cargo: Shaping A Fragile Future” and the other “Cargo: Maternal Combat,” interviews with cast and crew, Q&A from May 2018 in Melbourne, the original Tropfest 2013 short, and the theatrical trailer. “Cargo” breathes fresh air into a threadbare genre with a sheer look into humanity’s willpower and callous.
Third year medical student Dan Cain is on the verge of graduating from the New England Miskatonic University Medical School. That is until Dr. Herbert West walks into his life. Learning all he can from neurologist Dr. Hans Gruber in Zurich, Switzerland, West eagerly enrolls as a student at Miskatonic to viciously dismantle, what he believes, is a garbage postmortem brain functionality theory of the school’s grant piggybank Dr. Carl Hill while West also works on his own off the books after death experiments with his formulated reagent serum. West takes up Cain’s apartment for rent offer and involves Cain in a series of experiments that lead to reviving the old and the fresh dead. The only side effects of revitalizing dead tissue is the unquenchable rage and chaos that urges the recently revived to rip everything to shreds. Things also get complicated and people begin to die and then revive when West and Cain’s work becomes the obsessive target of Dr. Hill, whom discovers the truth and plans to steal West’s work, claiming the reagent serum as his own handiwork while also attempting to win the affection of Dr. Cain’s fiancee and Miskatonic’s Dean Halsey daughter, Megan Halsey, in the most undead way.
A vast amount of time has passed since the last time I’ve injected myself with the “Re-Animator” films and I can tell you this, my rejuvenation was sorely and regrettably way overdue. Stuart Gordon’s impeccable horror-comedy, “The Re-Animator,” is the extolled bastardized version of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein without direct references and begins the ghastliness right from the initial opening prologue and never wanes through a fast-paced narrative of character thematic insanity and self-destructing arrogance with hapless do-gooders caught in the middle of undead mayhem. Producer Brian Yuzna financially backs Charles Band’s Empire International Pictures distributed 1985 film that’s based loosely off the H.P. Lovecraft 1922 novelette “Herbert West-Reanimator.” From a bygone novelette to an instant cult favorite amongst critics and fans, “Re-Animator” glows vibrantly like it’s reagent serum embodied with reality-buckling entertainment and grisly havoc displayed through the silver screen adapted form. Umbrella Entertainment has released a two-disc collector’s set, the first volume on their Beyond Genres label of cult favorites, and this release, with various versions, will include the allusive 106 minute integral cut!
From his first moments on screen holding a syringe to over three decades of pop-culture films, comics, and social media presence, nobody other actor other than Jeffrey Combs could be envisioned to be the insatiable Dr. Herbert West. Combs is so compact with an explosive vitality that his character goes beyond being a likable derivative of a Machiavellian anti-hero. Narrowing, dagger-like eyes through thick glasses on-top of small stature and a cruel intent about him makes Combs an established horror icon unlike any other mad doctor we’ve ever seen before. Bruce Abbot costars as Dr. Dan Cain, a good natured physician with a penchant of not giving up on life, but that’s where he’s trouble ensnares him with Dr. West’s overcoming death obsession. Abbott’s physically towers over Combs, but his performance of Cain is softly acute to West’s hard nose antics. Abbott plays on the side of caution as his character has much to lose from career to fiancée, whose played by Barbara Crampton. “Re-Animator” essentially unveiled the Long Island born actresses and made her a household name who went on to have roles in other prominent horror films, including another Stuart Gordon feature “From Beyond,” “You’re Next,” and the upcoming “Death House.” David Gale rounds out the featured foursome as the detestable Dr. Carl Hill. Gale embraces the role, really delving into and capturing Dr. Hill’s maddening short temper and slimy persona; a perfect antagonist to the likes of Combs and Abbott. The remaining cast includes Robert Sampson (“City of the Living Dead”), Carolyn Purdy-Gordon, and Peter Kent.
The “Re-Animator” universe is right up there with the likes of Sam Raimi’s “The Evil Dead.” Hell, there is even a line of comics that pit the two franchises together in a versus underlining. Unfortunately, “Re-Animator” is frankly nothing without the franchise star Jeffrey Combs, much like “The Evil Dead” is nothing without Bruce Campbell even though we, as fans, very much enjoyed the Fede Alvarez 2013 remake despite the lack of chin. Gordon’s film needs zero remakes with any Zac Efron types to star in such as holy role as Dr. Herbert West. That’s the true and pure terrifying horror of today’s studio lucrative cash cow is to remake everything under the genre sun. Fortunately, “Re-Animator” and both the sequels have gone unscathed and unmolested by string of remakes, reboots, or re-imagings. Aside from a new release here and there, such as Umbrella’s upstanding release which is fantastic to see the levels of upgrades up until then, “Re-Animator” has safely and properly been restored and capsulated for generations to come.
Umbrella Entertainment proudly presents the first volume of the Beyond Genres’ label with Stuart Gordon’s “Re-Animator” on a two-disc, full HD 1080 Blu-ray set, presented in a widescreen 1.77:1 aspect ratio. A very fine and sharp image quality that maintains equality across the board with minuscule problematics with compression issues, jumping imagery on solid colored walls for example, but the issues are too small amongst the rich levelness of quality and when compared to other releases, Umbrella Entertainment’s release is a clear-cut winner. The English DTS-HD master audio puts that extra oomph into Richard Bands’ score that’s heavily influenced by Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” adding a pinch of chaotic gothic charm to the macabre story. Dialogue is balanced and upfront, but there isn’t much prominent ambient noise to put the dialogue off-kilter. Special features on the first disc include the 86 minute unrated version of “Re-Animator,” audio commentaries from director Stuart Gordon, producer Brian Yuzna, and stars Jeffrey Combs, Barbara Crampton, Bruce Abbott, and Robert Sampson; there’s also a “Re-Animator Resurrectus” documentary, 16 extended scenes, and a deleted scene. The second disc includes the 106 itegral cut along with interviews with Stuart Gordon, Brian Yuzna, writer Denis Paoli, composer Richard Band, and former Fangoria editor Tony Timpone. Plus, a music analyst by Richard Band, TV spots, and the theatrical trailer. All this and a bag of corpses is sheathed inside a remarkably beautiful encasement with a seriously wicked custom slipcover desgin by illustrator Simon Sherry. There’s also reversible Blu-ray casing cover art with previous designs incorporated. H.P. Lovecraft would be extremely flattered and proud on how Umbrella Entertainment not only enhanced the film adaptation of his classic tale of macabre, but also with how diabolically attired the release is distributed. A true horror classic done right!
I want you all to try to go back to 1996. You just got your Playstation and you picked up the newest game called Resident Evil. You know nothing about it and when you start playing you have a wave of emotions hit you. You feel fear, excitement, and anxiety; but yet you keep playing. You were just introduced to the world of Survival Horror. Now it’s 2017 and we are now into seventh main installment of the Resident Evil franchise and sort of a moment of truth for Capcom. Last few years have been rough for Resident Evil so lets see how the latest installment stands.
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom. It is the seventh main installment in the Resident Evil series and was released on the Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
The game takes place in the fictional town of Dulvey, Louisiana. You play as Ethan Winters who goes searching for his wife 3 years after her disappearance. The only information you have of her location is at the Baker estate, this is where your nightmare begins.
There is no denying that the RE engine is amazing. Resident Evil 7 passes with flying colors when it comes to visuals, the game is absolutely gorgeous. Realistic graphics with so much attention to detail really makes the atmosphere. Paired up with its excellent sound design which really puts you on edge, hearing random foot steps and loud bangs some where in the house can quickly make you stop what you’re doing and check behind you. Unlike older Resident Evil games, there really isn’t much background music. The only time i’ll hear music is either in the save rooms or during cut scenes, which is fine. No music really does build the tension and makes you listen to your environment.
The most controversial aspect of the game is its change to game play. Resident Evil 7 now puts the player in first person view, which this isn’t the first time they’ve experimented with this. Resident Evil: Survivor being the first one that was in first person, so I was quite interested when they said they were trying it again. As a big Resident Evil fan I can tell the skeptical fans that the first person view works. Resident Evil now feels even more immersive with it. The game still has its slow and sluggish movement, puzzle solving, save rooms , and combat just like the previous titles and the first person view fits perfectly. I haven’t played the game in VR because I’m broke but I have heard that game is even better with it, so now I guess I’ll have start saving up for one.
I feel I have to talk more about combat since I still see people complain how the game is like other non combat horror games, like Amnesia or Outlast. The combat feels just like an older Resident Evil, except Resident Evil 5 and 6. Thank god Capcom abandon the combat from the previous two and went right back to how Resident Evil 1 through 3 combat worked. Ammo and healing items are extremely scarce and you must manage your inventory to survive in certain situations. Enemies will move unpredictably and you must control your shots and keep your distance if you want to take down your foe. When it comes to difficulty, the game on normal is pretty easy, some parts can be a little challenging but if you’re careful and know where to go, then the game is a breeze.
Now Resident Evil 7 isn’t a long game. It took me about 7 to 8 hours to beat on normal difficulty my first time. It can easily be finished faster when you know where to go and what to do, There have been people who finished it in under 2 hours. But if you’re like me and like to explore then it will take you a while to finish. The story is where this game made me fall in love with it. This is by far my favorite Resident Evil story. The team they have behind this game is solid, the director behind the Revelation games is directing it and the writer behind the F.E.A.R 2 expansions made this a memorable experience and I hope Capcom keeps this team for future installments. Everything about the story is great, every character was interesting, and every location was awesome. The story to Resident Evil 7 is definitely more competent compared to the previous games.
As much as I love Resident Evil 7, I do have some minor gripes with the game. First one isn’t a big deal but I was a bit disappointed. Resident Evil has a tradition, when a player presses start on the main menu, they will hear a loud, deep voice reading the title of the game. Example:
Like I said this isn’t a big deal or a turn off for me but I was a bit bummed they broke tradition. Another gripe I had was the lack of variety with enemies. Before you always fought zombies, mutant dogs, and big hulking monsters. But now the only enemy you fight besides the Baker family are the ”Molded” which look very similar to Resident Evil 4 ”Regeneradors”. Yes these enemies are creepy and hard to take down but after a while you just get tired of fighting them and want something else. Hopefully in Resident Evil 8 we get a bigger cast of monsters.
In conclusion, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a great game. I’m so happy that Capcom put the brakes on the franchise and went back to how it originally was. Unlike other companies that have completely abandon their horror franchises. I’m glad that I stuck with Capcom all these years and going through many disappointments to finally see my favorite horror series come back on top. Resident Evil veterans would love this and for new people I highly recommend it. It is a great starting point for newcomers to get invested into world of survival horror.
My final score for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is a 9/10
December is finally here and that means one thing. Well yes you could say the holidays but for me, it means we are a month away from Resident Evil 7! In recent years I never thought I would be excited for another Resident Evil game, seeing how downhill the series went and the disappointment I had with Capcom. Now that the demo is complete and Capcom is getting their game ready for release, let’s look at what this small teaser has to offer.
The demo starts off the same. You wake up in the same room with a fireplace, piano and TV set, as well as the same objective; escaping from the house. The new addition in the final update is the locked door on the right is now unlocked and leads you into a creepy hallway. Already this is where I sort of felt like I was playing an old Resident Evil game. Walking into another part of this creepy house where I am greeted with a hallway or room that feels different from the previous one. Different wall colors, sounds and all around the feeling of something bad is going to happen.
The First room on the right is a bathroom where for some reason is a blood filled bathtub with a bike in it. Cool. Anyway, between the bathtub and the toilet is a pipe missing a valve. Next to the pipe is a blood filled toilet which we need to flush to get what’s inside (spoiler alert: It’s a gun). So thus begins my journey of finding this valve and collecting my weapon. Continuing down this hallway and collecting several handgun bullets and other items we come to an iron gated door that leads to the house’s basement.
Before entering the basement, I could hear something lurking inside the room and that feeling of dread came right over me. After opening the door and taking a few steps in, this room is just not sitting right with me. Bodies dangling from the ceiling, weird noises, the valve I’ve been looking for is right across from me and oh look; Black slime that we have seen before is dripping from the vent. This isn’t good. Just like the older games, I was preparing myself for what I am going to trigger by picking this valve up.
Picking up the valve I walk to the door and see that good old Jack Baker has blocked me in with god knows what. The model of Jack is really well done and his facial expressions are amazing. He almost frightened me when he showed himself on the other side, laughing at me. Once Jack takes his leave and our first encounter with a monster begins, I manage to break out of the basement and back track my way to the bathroom to retrieve my weapon. After finally getting a gun I must go back to the basement and face the monster again.
After going back into the basement and collecting a final item, I must fight the monster. The monster looks very similar to the regenerador in Resident Evil 4, but this is actually a new enemy called ”molders”. The design of the monster is nice and looks like something you really don’t want to run into. Fighting it can be pretty hard. It’s attack is pretty fast and being in a small room doesn’t help since it can grab you pretty easily. Along with the fast and creepy music playing during the fight it can really get your heart racing.
Now we come to the end of the demo. After getting your items and fighting the molder you must get to the attic window and escape. There are two new endings in this update, which I will not spoil. Both endings are based on how you play the demo, one ending is the ”True” ending and the other is the ”infected” ending. Each ending left me with more questions and wanting to continue on. Capcom did really well with this demo and did more than enough to show me that they care for this franchise. If you have a Playstation 4 please download this demo and give it a try, whether you’re new or a veteran. For Xbox One and PC players, don’t worry the demo is coming December 9th. Capcom I am ready to return to the world of survival horror.
Four camp counselors prepare a woodsy, dilapidated living quarters a couple of days before their anxious campers arrival. As the preparations seem to be going as scheduled, a sudden violent rage takes over the head counselor with the eyes turning severely bloodshot and a bloody-black ooze seeping from the tightly grit mouth. The isolated camp structure that should bring joy and excitement to young children becomes an unescapable labyrinth for the counselors when the local transient residents fall also to the murderous madness. Trust between the terrorized counselors thins as none of them have an idea how the infection transmits. Without an operational phone or vehicle, the surviving counselors can only count on themselves to flee and fend from a fury seeking to massacre them all.
When first hearing of Alberto Marini’s inaugural co-written and directed film entitled “Summer Camp,” a vivid portrait of radiant sunshine, lake canoes, bow and arrow games, and lots and lots of children campers naturally come to the forefront of mind – basically, “Salute Your Shorts” pops right into the old “cabeza,” even in front of slasher genre fave “Friday the 13th” that culturally Hollywood-ized camp counselors, transforming them into unlimitedly horny teens, subjecting campers into hapless victims, and demonizing campgrounds as death camps. And while “Summer Camp” resonates good times in the season’s solstice heat, Marini’s version of camp weaves a craft basket of intense fear.
“Summer Camp” opens to a newscasters voice over reporting that three American counselors have vanished in the wilderness of Spain and are unlikely to be alive at this point of search. The setup already denotes no resolution to the counselors’ fate who make their on screen appearance in the following scene engaged in a trust game the Italian filmmaker had constructed to appear as every horror trope imaginable – a woman running through the woods with a blindfold and hands tied behind her back, a lurking ruffian peeping the counselors from the dense tree lot, and etc. The possibility of horror themed scenarios trickle at the top of a hill, snowballing until Marini decides to sudden plop down a massive, unbreakable brick wall in front of soccer ball size snowball before reaching critical speed, size, and strength for massive destruction. Marini’s a magician by convincing viewers to believe the trick in one hand, yet subtly revealing the real trick in the other and by doing this, a flare of confusion immerses the counselors and the audience in order to keep them guessing at every step of the way.
Continuing with Marini’s script co-written with Danielle Schleif, a contrived portion of many possible triggers that causes the violent behavior almost as if Marini and Schleif used satire to highlight the absurdity of previous zombie or infected films and their numerous infected origins. “Summer Camp” leads you to believe that one of the following three, or perhaps a combination of all three, possible culprits are responsible for spawning deranged and violent behavior. Characters are purposefully shown to be unprotected to the transmission of external blood or saliva, seen drinking the mysteriously broken and recently fixed well water pipes, and being exposed to an unusual after spring pollen buildup that seems to be everywhere. Which element prompts an outbreak? Or is it all three?
When the characters are aggressively possessed, a crossbreed between an “Evil Dead” Kandarian demon possession and a hybrid-rabies strain infected from “28 Days Later” sum up a “Summer Camp’s” possessed state of being. The actors themselves wholeheartedly accepted the role, doubling and switching themselves between normalcy and lunacy with ease. While the story prides itself on being quick to action and fast paced like Danny Boyle’s 2002 film, the characters’ depth burdens no viewer and their ultimate fate will raise no brows. The bare bones character backgrounds only affix their red shirt destiny; yet, Marini has already doomed his own characters for on script stupidity and whether intentionally or not, written to be cursed never qualifies a character to be a likable hero or heroine. When Will knocks out a possessed Michelle, he quickly unlatches his belt that holds up his pants to tie her legs with it and while that seems like a smart idea in the beginning, Will stills needs a way to keep his pants up from falling to his ankles in order to run through a dark dense forest from the numerous possessed individuals lurking about, screaming their lungs out. Will also attempts to unlace one of his shoes to bound Michelle’s hands. Why?! You’re going to need a tight fitting shoe to run through the forest and…oh forget it.
Diego Boneta portrays the unluckiest of the luckiest counselors. As Will, he’s accused of murder and along with being bitten, battered, incised, and even drilled; yet, he manages to still lead the surviving charge even if the odds are against him. The physicality of the role contrasts with Boneta’s character whose short and has a vision disadvantage, but Boneta underneath the skin of his character sports an athletic build as shown from one gratuitous shirtless scene. The dynamic between Boneta, Jocelin Donahue as Christy, and Maiara Walsh as Michelle couldn’t have been any better with decoding the group’s trust issues even until the very end, especially between the tomboy with a mysterious past Michelle and the prissy and uptight Christy. Dynamics stands out as the bright point of Marini’s skeleton script that doesn’t involve many complexities as it does debunking horror tropes.
The Lionsgate distributed the rated-R DVD release of the Spanish horror film has a 16:9 widescreen presentation with a Spanish and English 5.1 Dolby Digital audio complete with Spanish and English subtitles. With an average film runtime of 84, “Summer Camp” maintains just enough endless terror to suffice an entertaining haphazard horror-comedy and that’s about all the entertainment delivered from a DVD with thin extras including only trailers and a digital ultraviolet. The lightweight nature of this release should definitely not deter a viewership, but rather “Summer Camp” should be embraced as an intense and scary gauntlet of escape and survival. A well-fought first time feature from director Alberto Marini and a good showing of faith for a talented young group of actors seeking to imprint their names into horror.