Blair Jensen rode the highlife of drugs and partying until her arrest that separated her from Husband Roberto and her young daughter. Her release a year later thrusts her into a desperate state of self-effacement, swearing to not only to herself, but also to others a clean slate with a life of sobriety and future employment to better her odds at court ordered visitations with her daughter, but while incarcerated, Roberto left for another woman and her family is in the hands of Donna who is eager to do anything in order to stop Blair’s interposing unto her new life, including retaining a witch to invoke the Obsidian curse onto her. The curse attracts all nearby evil toward her. From flesh eating demons and zombies to murderous serial killers and powerful vampires, Blair is constantly on the run and with the help of a former archaeologic professor and his colleagues, she can better understand her dreadful predicament.
“Obsidian Curse” is the 2016 action-horror from schlock and knock-off B-horror director Rene Perez whose brought us such cinematic gems as “The Burning Dead” with Danny Trejo and the “Playing with Dolls” franchise that spawned two sequels, titled “Bloodlust” and “Havoc”. Perez, who also penned the script, has a slight obsession with Obsidian curses as he directed and co-wrote “Obsidian Hearts” in 2014 with nearly an identical premise that begs the question whether Perez just rebooted his own film to tweak and change here and there to gain redemption for initial mistakes? Having never viewed “Obsidian Hearts,” I personally can’t speak upon the film’s merits, but what can be commented about “Obsidian Curse’s” appeal is that the relentless action smothers any kind of insipid narrative traverse and is massively ambitious in wrangling a meshing of a monster mash. Perhaps too massive for it’s budget, Perez roams the locale landscapes as a flawed heroine flees from the flock of fearsome fiends following her like flies to a foul stench. How’s that for alliteration!
Party girl, Blair Jensen, is trying to regain her life after incarceration, but the convicted mother never had a chance. Stripped of her rights and left to fend for herself for the first time, Jensen is at the bottom, starting over, and attempting to claw her way back up the rank to mother of the year with young daughter, but Karin Brauns doesn’t fit the bill. The Swedish-born, blonde beauty is gifted with a paint brush and a canvas, but her talents don’t translate well as the downtrodden Jensen. Perez really over sexualizes her presence from scrip-to-screen that doesn’t seem necessary to the story and Brauns egregiously lacks capturing the struggles of her character’s life changing freedom and the struggles she must endure to survive an all-evil summons. The character is also written and visually portrayed poorly that follows a released felon fallen on hard times having a nice vehicle to drive around, a cell phone to use, and all the makeup applications and hairdo fashions bestowed to the character in every scene. Reggie Bannister should have been the lead, because the “Phantasm” actor really exhibits falling on hard times. Perhaps the most convincing actor on camera, Bannister’s archeological professor is diluted to just a mere paranormal researcher which resembles a shell of his former gun-toting Reggie role. The dimpled chinned Richard Tyson is no longer the seared image of Crisp from “Kindergarten Cop” in my memory bank. The aged actor also fills a professor role in Pere’z film, but, like Bannister, doesn’t register a pulse. Hard to swallow to very screen captivating actors being diminished in performance on a movie that’s engulfed in horror action. Rounding out the cast is former Playboy model Cody Renee Cameron (“The Neon Demon””), John Caraccioli, Julia Lehman (“Constantine” television series), Charlie Glackin (“Playing with Dolls”), and John Scuderi as the Vampire.
While “Obsidian Curse” has entertainment value, the value is rather low on the metric scale. What’s missing from Perez’s film is a rich, engrossing story that requires more than just peppered moments of indistinct human connections spread thin throughout the storyboard action sequences. Blair Jensen might have been the victim of a witch’s dastardly cursed as the bread crumb trail for monsters of countless configurations, but the mother was never tested as, well, a mother whose supposed to be fighting for her daughter and while a scene or two of malicious attacks and chases on Jensen is the rudimentary premise of her plight, the curse never truly agitates into a test of her maternal bond or her compassion for her friends. As far as the overall appearances of the creatures, they check the box as meeting expectations. The rubbery, latex look is conventional of horror creatures in the 1990s and you can see the awkward folds and the distinctive differences between makeup and skin as the two don’t move or mesh appropriately, but the creativity behind the general appearance offers a broad range of antagonists suited for carnage like an empty eye socketed demon with razor teeth who sees by holding up his detached eyeball with a bloody optic nerve dangling about and a vibrant blue vampire with medieval armor and has sexy, disposable women servants.
Breaking Glass Pictures distributes “Obsidian Curse,” in association with High Octane Pictures and iDiC Entertainment, onto DVD home video. The 79 minute feature runs on an single sided, double-layered DVD9 and is exhibited in an widescreen 1.79:1 aspect ratio. Picture quality maintains vibrancy without loosing the edgy details though a large percentage is filtered through a blueish tint. The drone sequences of Blair running through a field, whacking zombies with a basement ball, withstands the picturesque and lush backdrop and even with Blair makes a splash in a creek, the beads of spray really come out in the quality for a DVD. Though quick to edit, the gory scenes are visually tasty too. The digital dual channel audio track is par for the course, but there are some balance issues between score and dialogue that makes Karin Brauns’ accent difficult to interpret. The foley is all out of whack and could use tinkering to hone in or expand upon the range and depth; the repetitive chain rattle used in Blair’s ball and chain chase scene desperately needed to be mixed better. Bonus features include a sole photo gallery. “Obsidian Curse” subsequently cursed itself with a slew of monsters but displayed no character substance to bind the narrative together, leaving Blair’s character arch to flounder in a mindless and endless cycle of bashing in the hostile chromes of enticed evil.
Erotic escort Love falls for on the side boyfriend Ned, a regular client with who she’s madly in love and with who she doesn’t charge a dime for her services. When Love wants out of the escort business, her controlling pimp Sunny says otherwise by sending her and two other girls on Love’s final trick, an all night mansion party. When the girls arrive at the gated mansion, they’re greeted by three strange hosts: Cleb, Selma, and Hate. Each of the three girls partner up with each of the hosts and move forward to their separate rooms where the escorts fall victim to sadistic tendencies, but Hate has more in store for Love. Ned, concerned when Love didn’t call once all night, sets out on a rescue mission to track down Sunny and gain information in means necessary on the whereabouts of the girl who love struck him.
“The Last House” is a 2011 mixed subgenre film directed by b-horror director Sean Cain that was originally released under the title “Breath of Hate” and was penned by first time writer Wes Laurie. The ambitious story plays out cordially with a talented cast of actors behind the camera, but the story, though larger than life for a b-horror flick, follows a non-linear path that builds and builds for a grand finale and while that sort of tension usually creates a good setup, the ending nearly fizzles, not generating enough pizzaz and spark worthy the wait of the last five minutes of the total 91 minute runtime. However, the Laurie script fascinates and entertains throughout because of character structure through the aforementioned non-linear layout and because of the physical and emotional outpouring portrayed by the actors such as Lauren Walsch, Timothy Muskatell, Jason Mewes, and, especially, Ezra Buzzington.
“The Hills Have Eyes” remake actor Ezra Buzzington steals the entire movie as Hate, leader of the three sadistic maniacs, and Hate, in himself, is an interesting character who seeks to start revolutions against humanity through brains and brutality and maybe even something more. Buzzington embodies a “Die Hard with a Vengeance” Jeremy Iron’s type personality with a calm demeanor on one face and a ruthless side on the other, but he single handedly separates the character from the likes of any other and creates Hate, with the help of a Laurie twist ending, to be potentially a long time running franchise character. There is a fierce downside alongside Hate where his lackeys were served a overshadowed injustice. Monique Parent plays another sadist, Selma, and her time on screen didn’t add to the girth and felt unnecessary. The then 46-year-old actress, with more than 100 film credits to her name, looked absolutely stunning, sizzling with lust for her cougar age. That should be no surprise to fans of Parent who are mostly familiar with her previous work in a number of softcore porn films. Sadly, Parent has no nude scenes though the part strongly suggests it; “Evil Head’s” Joanna Angel and “Amateur Porn Star Killer 3’s” Regan Reece take the burden of skin diligently – thank you Joanna and Regan. The third sadist, Cleb, is portrayed by Jamaican native Ricardo Gray. Gray’s take made Cleb, frankly, my least favorite sadist as Gray went overboard with a character that could been a menacing psycho-sexual deviant to a half-witted, Jurassic role-playing pervert. If there was perhaps more of Cleb’s backstory, a better picture of this sadist’s mindset might have reversed the first unfavorable impression.
Jason Mewes has always played the part of the funny guy character. The same stereotype description can be laid upon other actors of similar character such as Hollywood studs Jim Carrey, the late Robin Williams, or the cult favorite Bill Murray. Mewes, a strong supporter of independent work, has most famously, for most of his career, teamed up with writer-director-actor Kevin Smith and produced some of the most notably comedic material to ever be released for about around a decade starting near the mid-1990’s. Not many audiences, aside from fanatical Mewes fans, are aware that the same Jay, of “Jay and Silent Bob” films, has had quite a few horror credits. From John Gulager’s “Feast,” to David Arquette’s “The Tripper,” Jason Mewes doesn’t just do comedy, but what makes “The Last House” unique from the other independent horror films is that Mewes is cast in a serious horror film whereas “Feast” and “The Tripper” are horror-comedies that still tap into Mewes endless vein of laughs. Instead, “Dead Girl” actor Timothy Muskatell takes the reigns on the comedy as a pot smokey, womanizing lackey and Muskatell is born for that type of part. Porn star Timmy Pistol also delivers some goofy laughs in a brief cameo with Jason Mewes and also, fun fact, Tommy Pistol and Joanna Angel were both in “Evil Head!”
Mewes, Buzzington, and even Parent are major, recognizable names in the movie industry, big enough that even audiences so attached to Hollywood stardom would still be familiar with them. Two of the names mentioned headlining “The Last House” are accompanied by one more name that isn’t familiar to mainstream audiences, but any knowledgeable horror enthusiast would surely recognize. “Sleepaway Camp” actress Felissa Rose is that third headlining name and, unfortunately, shouldn’t have been exploited. Rose’s on screen appearance runs a total of around two minutes as the mansion realtor, but her presence falls from the face of “The Last House’s” universe after her single scene. Her iconic name alone will draw in the horror masses, but when she filmed the minor role, Rose was near popping at 9-months pregnant and she didn’t have one single story merit line or action.
Distributed by Wild Eye Releasing, “The Last House” picture quality looks amazing presented in a detailed widescreen format. The audio quality comes and goes; at some points during outside scenes the ambience or the soundtrack plays at a whisper. When in more confined scenes, the tracks blare with some crackle. However, none of these will impact watchability nor take away from the film itself. “The Last House” aka “Breath of Hate” will make a deep gash into the independent horror scene and Wild Eye Releasing will help deliver Hate into your home entertainment on November 24th.