Thursday, November 20, 2014

Rock Flix: Rock & Rule

Are you ready to Rock?!?  I can't hear you!  I can't he-ar you!  Oh right, this is text.  Today's Film is Rock & Rule, a 1983 Animated Film featuring a number of great Musicians and a strange Story.  Much like Interstella 5555, it is a Showcase for the Rock.  Unlike that Film, this has dialog and is not JUST Songs by the band.  This is more about highlighting some more, shall we say, hip rockers from this Era around a strange, strange tale.  You get Lou Reed, Blondie, Iggy Pop and more.  The Story involves an evil Musician trying to do something, well, evil.  He needs a special Singer (Debbie Harry) to make it work, so he has to do some sneaky stuff to get her.  Can her Band stop him?  Will he destroy society?  To find out, rock on...
They wanted to make a cartoon with weird, mutant people, so they just said 'Nuclear Apocalypse' and that's that.  After that, we get a general Plot Summary (that's my job!) by way of Star Wars-style text.
MOK shows up looking for his Singer.  He's scoured the World and found nobody.  Thankfully for him, this weasely-rat-guy was managing our heroes.
The band actually has two Singers, but they can't exactly agree on that.  You can just cut the sexual tension with a knife.
MOK makes his move and takes our heroine away, making the band follow in pursuit.  Ew.
He finds out a crypic prophecy- from his magic mirror-esque Computer-, but generally disregards it.
The band gets close to saving her, so MOK messes with their brains and dumps them back home.  Unfortunately for him, the Concert he must put on that town too.
While it doesn't affect the Plot too much, the villain's song- by Lou Reed- is good enough to mention.
Back in the Plot, the Climax involves the big Concert and the Ceremony to let loose a big demon.  Nice King Kong homage there, huh?
Ultimately, the Prophecy comes true as the two Singers perform together and send the creature back.  As a bonus, one of MOK's henchmen turns on him- since the creature killed his brother- and knocks him into the portal to Hell as well.

The band is now famous and all is well.  The End.
It is a bit short on Story, but not on Style.  The Story is, well, kind of odd.  A famous Musician/Producer needs a special Singer to do a ritual that summons a Demon?  That's...weird.  The Characters aren't exactly all that 3-dimensional either.  It was neat of them to give the lead Henchman a bit of an Arc.  Of course, that stands out in contrast to just about everyone else in the Film.  So if the Story is out there and the Characters aren't that deep, what makes the Film work?  The Style.  The Character Design doesn't blow you away, but it is solid.  The rotoscoped Animation is not for everyone, but I've always been a sucker for it.  It just looks more fluid to me.  Others may disagree, but it is my site after all.  The biggest draw here is obviously the music.  You get a couple great Lou Reed (R.I.P.) songs, some nice stuff from Blondie, a bit from Earth, Wind and Fire (given a special Guest Star Credit!) and even some Iggy Pop.  Naturally, your love of the Film may be depend on how you feel about the Artists in question.  Regardless, Rock & Rule is a fun, catchy Film which still stands up after 31 years.  As a bonus, the DVD Version on Netflix is the Restored Version (with the Print literally cleaned up at times).  On top of all that, we get the first appearance of 'You're Tearing Me Apart, Lisa!' circa 1983...
Next up, a 3-Part look at some similarly-titled Films.  First on the list, a Night with a monster in the woods.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

WTF South Korea?!?: Bunshinsaba- Witch Board

This is basically the Gumbo Version of Japanese/Korean Horror Films.  Today's Film is Bunshinsaba: Witch Board, a 2004 Horror Film from South Korea.  This is not to be confused with the Trilogy of similarly-titled Chinese Films.  One source lists them as Remakes, while the other does not.  I dunno- haven't seen them (yet).  The Story involves an angry spirit, girls committing suicide and some hapless Detective trying to solve the crime.  I've only seen a handful of K-Horror Films and even I've seen this one- or have I?  While it plays like other Films, there are still some interesting things to talk about.  It has some neat visuals and was actually more engaging than I expected.  To find out more, read on...
A group of teenage girls do a Ceremony at their School to summon a spirit.  Of course, they don't think that it will actually work.
A new Teacher shows up and takes Roll, calling on Student #29...who doesn't exist.  Quick- where's Sadako?
A rash of mysterious suicides begin to take place.  The girls go to a public place- around School-, place a trash bag on their heads, coat it in Gasoline and then light their heads on fire.

It is not a song making them do it though (nor is it the wind)- it is a ghost girl (see her hand in the shot).
It all relates to this blind girl who got picked on at School 30 years earlier (by the kids' parents).

Wait- the acts of the Parents as teens comes to affect their kids?  I saw this one in Spain (and a dozen other places).
A woman is here to use her psychic powers to channel the spirits and see what happened.  Basically, the Village near the School thought that the girl and her mother- a powerful telepath- are Witches, so they burned them alive- hence setting up the theme of the suicides.
What's worse?  The mother was 'seeing' through the eyes of her daughter, allowing her to live like a person with sight.  That means that she saw her daughter die violently through her eyes...before she too was burned.

A person burned alive and seeking revenge on the kids of her killer- never seen that one.  It also reminds me of The Brainiac, only without the Comet and the actual brain-stealing.
Using the Teacher as a vessel, the evil Mom-spirit burns the remaining targets (save one) in a trapped room.

Get that one?  It was in Children of the Corn II!  It could be a coincidence...but that's not as funny.
For the final guy, she stabs him to death with some scissors (before Inside BTW) and leaves covered in blood.  While she's not in a Dress, I don't need to explain this one, do I?
After that, some time goes by and she gives birth to a daughter- who becomes the dead daughter, naturally.

Two final things:
1. She leaves behind a dead lady's fingerprints.  How is the case closed?
2. Of all the Films to borrow from, why did you pick Rasen?

Oh yeah, The End.
Honestly, I was surprised.  Yes, this Film borrowed from/was inspired by a number of Films.  Some of it could be purely inference from me, while other parts are hard to ignore.  With that out of the way, I actually kind of liked it.  Now bear in mind that I'm not a huge fan of K-Horror.  So, if you happen to be one, you may like it even more!  The Story breaks no boundaries or anything, but works.  There are neat moments that I didn't really have time/space to cover.  There's a bit where the evil Spirit appears as a head coming out the top of a desk.  There's another bit where the Teacher is talking to the Spirit controlling her.  They play with you a bit here which I like.  You first see the Spirit using the Laptop, while the Teacher sits on a nearby bed.  When the conversation changes, you see that the woman is actually the one using the Laptop and the 'other' version is imaginary.  Subtle?  No.  Neat?  Yes.  While the Story veers off into some odd territory- how does possession change your fingerprints?-, it is ultimately a good one.  The one question I have- what's up with this completely-real Company Logo in the Credits?
Up next, we switch gears to bring you a Cult Classic from 1983.  If it Rocks and it Rules, I'll watch it.  Stay tuned...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Goofy Cover Art Double-Feature: Beaks- The Movie

No, I haven't picked on this movie enough.  One more go...

Beaks: The Movie is known by many titles- in fact, Maynard Reviewed it as Birds of Prey- and it had a number of different Covers (both VHS Box Art and Posters).  Here's one Box Art for Norway...
That Owl bit sure is...not in the Film.  This one just is 'Birds.'

How about the English one (with the Title I actually used)...
Neat...but confusing.

Is the Bird trying to break through the bars of a window?  Is it trying to break out a cage it's in?  Is it trying to break INTO a cage?  Dunno.

Either way, these are both appropriately-goofy for a Film like this.

Project Terrible (Second Opinions): A.E.: Apocalypse Earth

Well, crap.
Time to finish off the latest round of Project Terrible! Today, I'm giving a second opinion on A.E.: Apocalypse Earth.

For Al's original review, see here.

Apocalypse Earth is a film by the Asylum, a company known largely for releasing low-budget films with suspiciously similar titles to big budget films on suspiciously similar release dates. They're traditionally called "mockbusters," which might lead one to believe they're parodies. They're not...they're just cheap and generally awful cash grabs. In this case, the target was After Earth, the Will Smith film directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

So here's the general layout. Frank, a soldier, is helping to evacuate citizens from Earth after it came under attack from an unknown alien race. For unclear reasons, he ends up aboard one of the evacuation vessels, the Albert Einstein (A.E., get it?) despite wanting to continue the fight. The vessels are set to each travel to different worlds that are likely to support human life, so that the human race can go on. The ship crash-lands on a heavily-forested world teeming with things that want to kill humans, including dangerous natural predators and mysterious invisible aliens. Working with other survivors, Frank tries to find a way to get off the planet.

In all honesty, Apocalypse Earth is actually one of the better Asylum films. In contrast to much of its usual fare, the Asylum has gifted this film with an honest-to-goodness plot that progresses along fairly clear lines, has reasonably natural rising tension and danger, and manages at least some level of drama. It has a very basic plot, and there are many things that aren't explained, but it sets up conflicts and develops plots and subplots reasonably well. There are problems with the film, but the general plot honestly isn't one of them.

This is probably because despite starting with a very large situation, the film largely tells a smaller-scale story. At its heart, this is just about a small group of people trying to survive in a dangerous environment. It really never much goes larger than that, and that's fine. The Asylum struggles when trying to tell very large scale stories (disaster movies, giant monster attacks, and the like), so keeping this tale smaller was a good decision, even if the film does hint at things beyond its scope. Honestly, I might have suggested going further with it: take out all the stuff about evacuating earth, and just make it a film about, say, a colony ship or better yet, explorer's vessel that goes down on an uncharted world. That removes all the unnecessary hints at a larger story and lets the story focus on the smaller struggle it is really aiming for.

It also helps that they've got a beautiful location to film in. The environment has a nice combination of natural beauty and a feeling of uncertainty and danger. It also helps that I didn't see any sign of the set with all the pipes from Ballistica, The Three Musketeers, Princess of Mars, and Air Collision, among others--I was getting tired of that one.

I'm pretty sure this shot was in Clash of the Empires, though.
And finally, I have to compliment the actors...or rather, I have to compliment one actor, really. Adrian Paul, playing Frank. I had such a conflicted reaction to seeing him in this film...I really want to see him in better films, since I have really fond memories of him in Highlander: The Series, but at the same time, he's a great guy to have as a focal character in a movie, and he just gave a good performance. He does spend much of the movie looking rather sullen (not sure if that's a character thing, or if Paul was just not all that happy about being in this film--he often has an expression that could really easily be read as a critique of the current scene), but he's just so much more natural on screen than most of the actors the Asylum tends to get. He doesn't get a lot to work with here in terms of a character--Frank is just a soldier, with not much else to his personality--but he works with what he has very, very well and seems genuine in the scenes in which he's allowed to show emotion. Particularly notable is one scene where he talks about the family he left behind--a generic scene, yes, but he makes it work by really bringing out a sense of sadness and pain. It also helps that while Frank isn't a particularly deep character, the plot does generally work to portray him as capable and skilled at survival, so it's easy to take him seriously.

Can we get a Sad Adrian meme going?
...I may go watch some Highlander: The Series after I finish writing this. I miss Adrian Paul.

The rest of the cast is not bad. There's no one who really lets the film down--it's just that they don't really give great performances either. The characters are pretty one-dimensional, which hurts, sure, but Adrian Paul shows that an actor can pull a one-dimensional character up and still make it at least somewhat interesting and sympathetic. The others pretty much just play their basic roles in the most basic way you can--so they don't make any flubs, but they don't do anything much interesting either.

I do have to specifically mention Bali Rodriguez as Lea, the camouflage-skinned girl that Frank meets, who serves as the group's native guide. She's not bad, and she's handling a pretty complex role despite not having...anything else at all in her film history, really. At the same time, she doesn't really do as well as the film needs. She manages to pull some sympathy out of the viewer, and has the right mix of capability and uncertainty, but she just...doesn't seem alien. She has lines suggesting more distance from the humans, or curiosity about them, or confusion about words, but by and large she just doesn't seem that distant. She speaks English naturally and casually, for one thing, even though she apparently only learned it from listening in on conversations and she's lived her life almost completely alone. Part of this is the writing of her character, but part of it is the performance...she really needs to sound less sure of herself in conversing with the other characters.

As one more compliment, though, the makeup work for her is quite good. It couldn't have been easy doing a full body camouflage pattern, complete with hair streaks, but it looks great and actually does help Lea blend into among the plants and such, which is pretty cool. Kudos on this one.

So, with all that out of the way, as you might expect, the film has a number of problems as well.

First off, there are just too many people in this movie. This would have been a much, much stronger film with a smaller cast. Despite the really small scope of the story, Frank ends up working with a pretty big group of survivors...most of whom exist to be bumped off whenever the movie feels like it, and have next to no characterization afterwards. Heck, they even find a group of survivors from a second ship! Most of the characters either have nothing to do in the film except die, or at best serve to get across one single plot point before they die. If the film concerned maybe Frank, his captain, the ship's robot, one civilian from their ship, one survivor from the other ship if needed (it does explain how Lea knows some English), and finally Lea, it would let the film build those characters more, which would make any death scenes far more meaningful. And frankly I don't know if the film even needs that many people.

Instead, we have this giant cast and the vast majority of them are just knocked off kind of offhandedly, even as the film goes on. I can't point to any real character trait for most of them other than things like "died when the alien ship blew him up" or "died when her head accidentally cracked against a rock in river rapids." Heck, there are some characters that stopped showing up in the film at some point, and I swear I don't even remember when they died. There's a subplot involving Lea's tribe, as well, but I'll forgive a point. More on that later.

Unfortunately, the one random civilian the movie does decide to build a little bit of a plot around isn't much better...because the plot makes basically no sense. He reveals to some of the other civilians at some point that he's a pilot, so he's valuable to the others...but only if the captain ends up dead, since the captain is a pilot too. I'm not sure why he's concerned with how "valuable" he is since Frank protects him anyway, is clearly intent on continuing to do so, and no one ever suggests that they need to pick who lives and who dies or anything like that, but something makes him worry, I guess. Anyway, he proceeds to do absolutely nothing at all to progress whatever plan he has to kill off the captain or something, until very suddenly near the end of the movie he has a rifle and aims it for a door the captain went in...and is then shot by invisible aliens. It's worth noting that this is after a large number of other characters have died, so it makes even less sense for him to think that...what, they're going to leave him behind or something? I don't get why this is even a thing for this film.

This looks much crappier in motion, believe me.
And now we reach the old bugaboo for Asylum films...the effects. As usual, they do a perfectly good job with their CG models, and an abysmal job blending those CG models with the rest of the film. Any scenes in which people interact with CG models, or for that matter any scenes in which CG models interact with the environment, are absolutely hilarious for all the wrong reasons. It's all just kind of random poking and stabbing, and a lot of close-up shots of the actors making fighting motions while clearly having no earthly idea where the thing they're supposed to be fighting is or what it is supposedly doing. Even the CG-only shots aren't all that great, though--things just don't seem to move or interact properly.

On a note more directly specific to this film, there are lots of scenes of people getting hit with green laser bolts from the guns used by the invisible aliens, and it just never really looked right. It's hard to really describe why...I think it's just that there wasn't really a sense of "oomph" about it, you know? No one really reacts to being shot--and I'm not talking about wanting to see Hollywood's "fly back from bullets" stuff, just basic reactions. They kind of just fall over. It's hard to really get into why this feels wrong, but it looks like people just lost their balance or tripped or something. It's kind of personal preference, though, I'll admit that.

Overall, it really hurt that I watched this so soon after Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning, which had some notably strong CG animation and laser effects.

Now, about that other subplot, involving Lea's's kind of a mixed thing. I actually rather like how they lead up to it, and a subplot about Lea being an outcast and all...the problem is that once the tribe and the survivors are together, the Asylum runs into its old problem of doing too big a plot for its abilities, and the fight with the survivors and tribe vs. the invisible aliens ends up seriously underwhelming. A lot of it even happens off-camera, as some of the survivors later discover people from the tribe dead and just kind of guess at what happened. It also doesn't really have a resolution. At a certain point, Frank, Lea, and the remaining survivors just kind of go take control of a small ship and try to leave.

Notably, in the film's final scene, only Frank, Lea, the captain, and the robot are shown, despite the fact that I'm pretty sure several survivors and tribesmen were left after the battle and never died on screen. Are they just elsewhere in the ship? It's never really stated.

I do have to discuss the ending in a bit of detail--Al's already spoiled it once, but anyway, spoiler warnings again.

So basically, Frank and Lea (and Expendable Extra #39) go to distract the invisible aliens' non-invisible ship by travelling in the open down a river, while the captain leads the other survivors to a ship they can use to get off-world. Of course most of the survivors just kind of disappear, but that's another story. Expendable Extra #39 bites it via waterfall, but the captain rescues Frank and Lea, and they travel into space.

Where the robot mentions that 325,000 years or some such have passed since they started out on their journey, and they can't use the ship to go back to Earth because the planet they were on was Earth. Apparently every single world the evacuation ship visited was impossible to use, so he turned the ship around. He just didn't tell them because they needed a goal. Yeah. Never mind that lots of humans died pursuing that goal when they might have been able to live if they'd holed up in the forest and lived like Lea's tribe or something.

So they go back to land on future Earth again, landing atop Mt. Rushmore (which looked pretty shoddy, to be frank...and simultaneously too intact, since it's been 350,000 years), and decide to take back their world. Which would be nice, if we had any idea how big the invisible alien threat was in the first place.

Here's the problem with the entire tribe plot and ending--we never really know much at all about the threat, but Frank and company just kind of say "yeah, we can take 'em." Not as in "we can take 'em for long enough to get a ship," but as in "we can take this world out of their control." It makes no real sense. Frank has next to no intel on these aliens. He has no idea who they are or what they can do. In fact, he even looks surprised when a second alien ship shows up late in the movie, after they blew up one alien ship, explaining that he hoped they only had one. Yeah. It's pretty bizarre, honestly--he knows these guys have captured and enslaved humans for at least a few years, can go invisible, have ships that shoot death rays, and his rationale for being able to take them on is basically that he just assumes that there aren't many of them.

You know what happens when you assume, Frank.

It's a real hole in an otherwise pretty strong portrayal of Frank as a capable survival expert and soldier, and what's worse is that no one, no one, questions it at all. There's no explanation for why Frank thinks this is even possible, and even at the end of the film they just kind of all board the "let's take back Earth" train without anyone raising the question of how, since they're previous attempt resulted only in the slaughter of several tribesmen and ex-survivors, they might have the slightest hope in heck of defeating an alien force of unknown size who are, by the way, capable of turning invisible. They come off less as a pack of bold heroes starting an uprising that will overthrow overlords and more as a pack of morons who think that since they have a gun or two they can just go right out and defeat a much more powerful foe.

If the movie actually came right out and said that they knew there weren't many of these aliens--which to the best of my recollection it doesn't--it'd be different, but for all I can tell, Frank basically just assumes that he can best a force of completely unknown size and capability through the power of trying really hard.

Ah, well. That's where the film ends anyway, so assume it goes wherever you like from there.

Spoilers over.

A.E.: Apocalypse Earth is a better Asylum film than most, but still not a good movie. It helps that the plot mostly avoids outright stupidity and presents a natural flow of events, and it really helps that the film has a good actor like Adrian Paul in it, much as I would prefer to see him in better films. However, there are still enough major flubs in terms of effects, poor story choices, and lack of clarity that the film ends up...mediocre at best. It's still one of the best attempts ever out of the Asylum, so I have to congratulate them for that--but they are not, absolutely not, at "good" or "entertaining" yet. They have the template here for a decent film--they're just still not doing a good job using it.

I'm pretty sure this is the only shot in the film of Paul smiling. It doesn't last long.

Quick Reviews: Cigarette Burns (Masters of Horror)

Here's another thing that I revisited in October due to a Facebook Contest.  I've had this DVD for awhile, so let's get to it...
As a refresher for some/explanation for others, Masters of Horror was a Showtime Series where Directors like Carpenter, Joe Dante and others would make Short Films.

In this tale, a man (Norman Reedus from The Walking Dead) is hired to track down a rare Film.  It was shown only once and a mass riot broke out.  A rich guy (Udo Kier) wants it bad!
It is more than just a Film, however, as this thing was apparently in the Film...but now is in Kier's basement.  What.  the.  Hell?!?
While the Crew is nearly-impossible to find, he tracks down the one living Critic of the Film.  The man is apparently quite obsessed (even 32 years after the fact).  As you can see, his new Review is going to be a bit long...
Not everyone Reedus runs across is exactly nice and kind.  That's all I'll say about that here.
His father-in-law shows up for the Climax (for reasons I won't SPOIL here) and things...go badly.
Who lives?  Who dies?  What the hell is that giant, pale guy?  To find out, watch the Show/Movie.  The End.
Damn, this is neat!  The idea is something you don't see every day, which is nice.  As a Film Buff, I like the idea of a Lost Film with some sort of dark secret to it.  The way it plays out is nice, giving you a bit of weirdness at first and then doing a slow burn to pure insanity.  Having this be right around an Hour means that it can both linger on the key parts and also move briskly when they have to.  As good as this is, I would be curious to see how a Film like this would work at 90 minutes or more.  Would it explain more and be better?  Would it just have more filler and not be as good?  Who knows?  All of the Acting is good, ranging from generally-subdued to crazy.  They do a nice bit with one Character being completely sane in their first Scene and batshit crazy in their second (and last) Scene.  The big thing here is the Gore.  While I'm not really bothered by it, I'm sure that some of you would be.  To each his own.  I will say that they give you Gore in the big moments and use it to add Drama, as opposed to just being over-the-top with it.  By using it more sparely, they make it have more impact.  During the Show's 2-Season Run, it got some good acclaim.  In the time since, they have gotten less.  Well, I'm here to tell you that maybe you should give this whole thing another look.  I guess I should do more of these in the future, huh?  I just have to make sure that I give my writing hands a break, lest this happen...
A dark and grisly tale that is certainly not for everyone.  If you're up for it though, it is quite good.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Comic Flix: Constantine (2005)

And now I get to exploit popular Television.  Shame?  What's that?  Today's Film is Constantine, the 2005 attempt to make a Franchise out of this DC/Vertigo Comic.  Given that it is 9 Years Later and and it is now a Show on NBC, you know how that worked.  This actually came out in the same Year that DC managed to successfully revive their biggest Franchise: Batman.  Of course, it is also a year before the follow-up to that Film- Superman Returns- underperformed at the Box Office.  Fun Fact: the Star of that Film was in Dylan Dog, which is based on a Comic from Italy with many similarities to this one.  Coincidence?  Yes, of course it is.  Where was I again?  Oh, right.  The Film tells the tale of John Constantine, a man who battles the Occult, but can't win a battle inside of him.  Can he save his Soul when all of Hell seems to be coming at him?  To find out (mostly), read on...
A mysterious Relic- the fabled Spear of Destiny- is found and possesses a man in Mexico...who is now invulnerable.

Who does a Spear-head coated in Jesus' blood seemingly turn you evil?  That's a good question, actually.
Constantine works to keep the balance of good and evil on Earth right.  He does so by doing things like exorcising this Demon in a mirror.    Mind the landing.
Constantine finds out that he's dying of Lung Cancer, while this lady learns that her twin Sister committed suicide at a Mental Hospital.  He ends up helping her solve the mystery- she thinks that her Sister was killed- since...
...a good chunk of Hell seems to be out for both of them.  He's attacked by...well, a Bug Golem, I guess and she's attacked by all sorts of demons.
He has to do some pretty drastic things- like crossing over into Limbo- to get the info he needs.
The woman finally reveals that she can see the same Spirits that Constantine can...and so could her Sister.  She's being targeted as part of some big, evil scheme involving the Spear.
Constantine has to beat the information out of Two-Face here (actually a Demon of sorts) with his holy brass knuckles.  They are no Crossbow that shoots Dynamite, but they are badass.
Can our heroine (who is too dumb to hold onto a 'Protect You From Evil' Amulet) survive or is the Earth doomed to fall?
Since not many of you saw this Film and might be realizing it exists now, I won't SPOIL any more of this.  Sorry, folks.  The End.
Well, at least I like it.  Let me address some of the complaints that have come out about this Film right off the bat (at the End?).  The Film is very dark and bleak.  Well, it is about Demons...but also gives us some hope overall.  Keanu Reeves doesn't look like the Comic Book Character.  Yes, that is true.  If you wanted accuracy, they could have hired Sting- who the Character's likeness is based on.  Would you have wanted that?  I'm not saying that you couldn't have hired a Brit and dyed his hair blond- I'm just saying that it isn't my biggest concern.  With that out of the way, here's what I liked: Constantine's Character Arc, the inventive CG Effects and the Film's overall 'vibe.'  The Film has some great visuals and ideas at its disposal.  They throw some nice twists and turns in the Story, keeping it moving briskly.  Ultimately, I think this one still holds up.  Bear in mind that I've seen this Film twice now- once in Theaters in 2005 and now just last week.  As a bonus, you can see Shia LeBouf before he made 3 Transformers Films and went insane (but got better?)...
Next up, a South Korean Horror Film about...what you expect.  Will this cliche-laden Thriller be more of the same or stand out?  Stay tuned...