A review digest for films you can watch right now on Netflix!
The Rezort (2016)
I have a sneaking suspicion that the makers behind the post-zombie plague film THE REZORT played a lot of the Dead Island video game and watched a healthy amount of modern zombie movies like World War Z. The film borrows from both, to be certain, but that’s not always a bad thing. However, I’m getting ahead of myself. The Rezort is a zombie movie that’s available on Netflix. The zombie genre has its wild mix of selections, each one trying to create a clever premise. The Rezort is no different. But is there a good movie wrapped around the premise or is it a rotting skin-suit?
The whole idea behind The Rezort is this: it’s been several years since zombies plagued the world. Now, humanity is recovering. The remaining undead are corralled and kept in a large preserve where they roam and roam. As capitalism will do, business grew in the form of zombie hunting trips. Already, this premise is sounding like a cheesy, renaissance fair style weekend thing with people pretending to be zombies and others hunting them. But, hold on, it gets better. Visitors to the park can camp out under the stars, just a few yards away from flesh-eating monsters, then wake up to sunshine and headshot. Naturally, as we learned in Jurassic Park, nature will find a way. Our characters, a group of visitors, soon find themselves trying to survive as the undead hordes break free of their open-air prison.
Now, the premise is weak already, but a movie like this can still survive. If it’s tongue-in-cheek, then it can be silly fun, if it takes itself seriously, it’ll need to work at character building. The Rezort takes itself way too seriously and does little to make any of the characters even remotely compelling. They’re essentially stock fodder for zombie movies. As if the creators bought them online as if it were iStock for film characters. So, one-by-one, the people run, the people die, and on and on until there’s the final girl and guy and, well, I won’t spoil it.
What is there to like about The Rezort? Plenty, actually. It’s briskly paced, so on a Saturday afternoon it’s not a bad hour and a half for vegging out. The cinematography is done well, providing for some very crisp images of zombie chaos. I can’t fault the actors much in this, while they weren’t great, the actors didn’t get much to work with either. Dougray Scott plays a veteran of the zombie war but mostly scowls and says short, sometimes meaningless things. The film’s lead, Melanie (Jessica De Gouw), went to the island to face her fears of zombies only to find herself having to survive hordes of them.
The Rezort is by no means a great movie. It goes into your eyeballs and right out the back of your brain. It’s likely to be forgotten because there’s no one single thing that stands out — for better or worse. However, it’s fun, especially if you like the genre and have reached that inevitable moment on Netflix when you just don’t know what to watch anymore.
Sound & Music 2.5
Visual Effects 2.5
Tales Of Halloween (2016)
Once in a while, a movie crosses my eye-holes that makes me think to myself “What in the hell just happened?” I’ve never been hit by a truck, but that’s the feeling. The movie surprises you left and right, and leaves you a bit bewildered. In some cases, that’s a good thing, in other cases no so much. TALES OF HALLOWEEN on Netflix left me bewildered. But was it a treat that film fanatics should enjoy or is it a trick sucking up 90 minutes of life points?
The premise of Tales of Halloween is right up my alley. It’s a horror comedy anthology with a similar tone to something like Tales From The Crypt. The one real link between the stories is that they all take place in the same fictional town. One Halloween night, the town is under assault by slashers, monsters, demons, aliens, and more. And when I say more, I mean a pumpkin with the power to move around on its own and decapitate humans with a bite. Tales of Halloween throws everything and the kitchen sink at viewers. It’s almost like a Wayans brother Scary Movie, but played a little more serious and gory.
The stories within Tales of Halloween are strange and often haphazardly told. One reason for that is the low budget nature of the movie. I know that term means a lot of things to a lot of people. Tales of Halloween doesn’t look cheap; it doesn’t feel cheap. The visual aspects on a technical level are all there, but the writing and storytelling skills are lacking. Some of the stories happen so quickly as to almost not happen at all. As I pondered if one segment had even ended, I missed an entire other section and had to reverse course and re-watch what I missed. Something about the editing and pacing was off-kilter enough so as to bypass style and become confusing.
Out of the 10 mini-stories, three of them stand out and are a great example of how wild a ride Tales of Halloween is. In “The Night Billy Raised Hell,” The Devil teaches a kid how to live it up on Halloween. A few segments later, “Friday the 31st” features a deformed, slasher-type killer who meets an alien with a mean streak looking for candy. In the “Ransom of Rusty Rex,” two thieves kidnap a child who turns out to be a clingy, flesh-hungry creature. From segment to segment, Tales of Halloween will keep you on your toes.
Tales of Halloween is still somehow fun despite its flaws. The love the creators have for horror is evident and infectious. There’s a real sense of joy that absorbs viewers making the experience exciting. The gore is great, the slapstick, silly nature of the whole movie never takes itself too seriously. And even hesitate to call them flaws. The movie aims for a particular style and nails it for better and worse. It’s an entertaining watch and a fun reminder of why horror and Halloween are so beloved.
Sound & Music 2.5
Visual Effects 3