Chopping Block (8/10)

mv5bmjqznzeymjeynf5bml5banbnxkftztgwnza0mzy1ote-_v1_sy1000_sx675_al_

A group of incompetents just laid off from their cubicle jobs decide, after many drinks, to kidnap and ransom their ex-boss’s daughter. They actually end up saving her from a huge, deranged woman that’s been trying to kill her for years, and the killer now comes after all of them. Many more drinks and inept decisions follow.

This low-budget horror-comedy was freakin’ hilarious. Think “Office Space” with more kidnapping and murdering. Good performances all around make this one a quality effort, and the depth of idiocy of the protagonists is impressive. Very silly, but highly recommended.

Solo (7/10)

mv5bmtkxmdq1mzyxnv5bml5banbnxkftztcwnzc2mjg0oq-_v1_sy1000_cr006601000_al_

New-school take on an old-school formula. A teenage girl who has suffered some sort of trauma involving water takes a job as a counselor at a lakeside kids’ camp, presumably as a way to face her inner demons or some such. As a new counselor, she is required to do a “solo” – two nights camping on her own on an island away from the others. But is she really alone?

So this is another entry in the “survival horror” genre, as the girl faces off against a threat on the island. Ultimately, the success or failure of a movie of this sort boils down to two things: Is the threat credible and interesting, and does the protagonist make reasonable choices to combat or avoid the threat? Yes, and yes. It’s also very lean, moving the story along with little exposition, while still establishing the characters well enough that you can understand their motivations and have at least some concern about their survival. Overall, not the most original story, but very watchable and well made, and with at least a couple of interesting new ideas. No boobs though.

Hush (5/10)

mv5bowq4otdlodqtmdc3yy00mgvmlwexyjutogi0yjg4mdqzndnhxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynjizmzkymzk-_v1_sy1000_cr006751000_al_

I had high hopes for this, given that it was made by the guy that did Oculus, which was great. So, basically, this deaf chick lives by herself somewhere isolated and is stalked by some doofus with a crossbow. Decent setup, but it’s made really frustrating by the all-too-common problem of really bad decision-making. Even the stalker dude remarks on the chick’s bad judgement, which was kind of funny. Anyways, if you’re gonna do some kind of “strong woman saves herself from the baddie” thing, maybe not make your heroine a total dipshit? Also, this movie would have been about 20 minutes long if either of them had bothered to get an actual gun. Lots of people heaped praise on this, but I just don’t see it. “Don’t Breathe” is a much better example of this type of “home invasion with disabilities” sub-genre. Also, no boobs, which would have totally elevated the material.