The Devil Inside (2012) -vs- The Last Exorcism (2010)

January 23, 2012 Arthur Tiersky

Sweet, innocent-looking women shrieking the most foul profanities imaginable!

Limbs cracking and twisting in impossible ways!

Video cameras jiggling and swaying frantically!

Bodily fluids spewing willy-nilly!

Okay, so far, it sounds like a typical Charlie Sheen date, but throw “demonic possession” into the mix, and you have our latest Smackdown, a grueling battle of evil vs. evil between two shaky-cam mockumentary Exorcist ripoffs, the just-released The Devil Inside and 2010’s The Last Exorcism. […]

Paranormal Activity 3 (2011) -vs- The Blair Witch Project (1999)

October 20, 2011 Arthur Tiersky

Ingredients:
One hand-held camera. (Shake well.)
An ominous, mostly unseen supernatural force making largely off-camera mischief.
Lots of improvised bickering.
No stars, no music, nothing to suggest that any money was spent on anything.
An abruptly violent downer ending.
Blend for approximately 90 minutes, and presto! You’ve whipped up your very own POV horror flick! […]

The Thing (2011) -vs- The Thing (1982)

October 13, 2011 The FilmGuru

Hollywood has long been recreating and remaking stories. Even so, it’s no secret that the studios have gone into overdrive lately. Now John Carpenter’s cult classic horror movie, The Thing, has been remade as a prequel.

At first glance, everything about this new adaptation screams rip-off. Naturally, the setting and the time period had to remain the same. The cast have changed, but the characters are often alarmingly similar. Even the marketing for the film uses similar imagery and title treatments.

And they didn’t even have the decency to change the title. […]

Summer of Smackdown: Sci-Fi & Horror

June 9, 2011 The FilmGuru

When I was young, summer always heralded some of the best science fiction films. All year long, I would wait to see what to would come next to the local theaters: Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, and Alien — to name a few.

These were the films that made me glad to be a kid. I would walk out of a movie theater into the summer night, look up into the sky, and wonder what was out there among the stars… or what horrors awaited us here on Earth.

This year, the Summer of Smackdown includes some pretty original entries. Green Lantern could rightly be called science fiction. But we covered it — and other comic book heroes — in the spotlight we did on superhero movies. So I won’t repeat them here. […]

Resident Evil: Afterlife (2011) -vs- Resident Evil (2002)

May 18, 2011 Rodney Twelftree

Guns, girls and zombies. Everything a film fan could want, comes together in the film saga based on the hugely popular video game, Resident Evil.

True, films based on computer games don’t have a prestigious history. For every good adaptation, there are a dozen bad ones. But in 2002, one such adaptation hit the big screen that set the bar for horror / action.

In this Smack, we’re putting on our lab coats, stirring up some carnage and introducing the Smackring to the zombie hordes of Raccoon City! Get ready to score an extra life, take your T-virus vaccination, and have that sharpened axe ready, as we set Resident Evil: Afterlife upon Resident Evil. Either way, with Milla Jovovich in both films, we win. […]

The Last Exorcism (2010) -vs- The Exorcist (1973)

September 3, 2010 Mark Sanchez

Sometimes nothing is more than something. That truth is writ large this summer on the walls at the cineplex. So, Bryce searches the skies for UFOs, Sherry waits for something romantic, and I have time on my hands heading into the holiday weekend. Yikes. The Last Exorcism (I only wish) promises a scary ride about demonic possession and failed faith. It comes freighted with anticipation from producer Eli Roth (Hostel I & II) but this train comes in light, especially for audiences expecting to have their pants scared off. Or a less obvious touch. Nobody said this would be simple, or pretty. That’s why this Smack smells like a mismatch: Does The Last Exorcism stand a puncher’s chance against a double Oscar winning flick that really delivers the goods, The Exorcist? Swing away. […]

Predators (2010) -vs- Predator (1987)

July 9, 2010 Mark Sanchez

“Predators” spreads the interest around. As a group, the cast outperforms their counterparts in the earlier movie. Adrien Brody (bulked up for the role) as the team leader easily shows depth and dramatic complexity that is beyond Arnold. The same is true of every member of this kidnapped and ill-fated cast. Alice Braga, Topher Grace and Laurence Fishburne especially stand out. The all have something interesting to do. Especially since it involves steering clear of the creatures and different predators inhabiting this outer space game preserve.
[…]

The Wolfman (2010) -vs- The Wolf Man (1941)

February 22, 2010 Mark Sanchez

Werewolf movies, like roaches, don’t know how to die. The idea of a thick pelt, fangs and a taste for blood spawned seven decades of cinema lycanthropes with uneven results. Now it’s Benicio Del Toro’s turn. “The Wolfman” just hit the screen after multiple re-shoots and reedits amid sniping that the Hairy One just wasn’t beastly enough. You’ll recognize a familiar – and highly modified – storyline buried under the computer-generated effects, fog-shrouded moors and insistent sound track.
“The Wolfman” wants to sink its canines into the gold standard of the werewolf franchise, “The Wolf Man” from 1941. That movie defined the career of Lon Chaney Jr. career and made him a star. Here’s the ‘Smackdown: Does “The Wolfman” raise the bar.. or fall in with the rest of the pack?
[…]

Quarantine (2008) -vs- Cloverfield (2008)

February 7, 2010 Rodney Twelftree

Sometimes, it’s the reality of a scenario that scares us the most. Film-makers are turning to more and more alternate methods of delivering a film to jaded, YouTube-obsessed audiences. With the two films on offer in this Smackdown, we delve into the world of “found footage” cinema and its gradual proliferation among the mainstream today. One, “Cloverfield,” takes us into New York city during a terrifying alien attack. The other, “Quarantine,” (a remake of a successful Spanish film entitled “REC” from 2007) delivers the story of a group of apartment residents, some fire-fighters, police, and a news crew, who become trapped inside a block of units when they are sealed in to stop the spread of a mysterious virus. Both are filmed in the Single Camera Perspective. Both are equally gripping. Both are filled with images and moments that will stay with the viewer forever. But which is better: alien attack and mass destruction, or simple, human drama played out with feverish speed and incalculable terror?
[…]

1 2 3