Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Shadows aka Hellgate (2011) Thailand

They should have kept the name Shadows for this one - do you know how many variations of the word Hellgate make up movie titles? Well, neither do I but I know there are quite a few of them. And the main baddie in this story, the tale of the spirits supposedly called 'Asurugai' was nowhere to be found in any wiki or Thai site so whether they just made that crap up or the close captioning misspelled it I dunno - I got a headache and stopped looking.

Accidents happen every second. There's probably not a single one of us who does not know of or love someone they have lost to an auto accident. We go into shock, we grieve, we get depressed, we continue living. Not in Thailand apparently, or so this movie would have us believe. But it takes two Americans in Thailand to tell us this?

A successful man and his family are in Bangkok and there's a horrible traffic accident, which kills the man's (Cary Elwes, looking old and sad) wife and child. He's in a coma for weeks but finally wakes. Funny (funny strange) but he just can't feel anything - he can't cry, he doesn't grieve. And he starts seeing things. In America it's called the five stages of grief. But this American is in Thailand so hey, here it means his 'soul' is split, and it's mostly clinging to the still stuck souls of his wife and child. How freaking depressing.

Because of this he has very little time left - soul travel is on a tight schedule. Like a freaking vampire, he's losing his reflection in the mirror (That means 'soul' why now?) so his hospice nurse, very disappointed that her patient didn't die and now she's stuck with him (just kidding, lighten up) has her aunt try to fix him up - she fails and now they need more powerful help. Well they're in Thailand so they go to... William Hurt. WTH? 

He plays some kind of shaman/surfer bum who's white as a sheet with a neato tat on his neck and lots of wisdom - especially about these things I couldn't find - the ass guys - who are supposed to be feeding on our... ya know, skip it. I think the Thai people should stick to their tradition of laying in coffins to get rid of the bad and let in the good, uh, karma? (they do, I have seen that) and not rely on Americans who think they're Thai people now.

So since Elwes is losing it - he sees dead people (so old I can't even think of a joke) and they can actually hurt him - reluctantly Hurt decides to use some wango-tango on the dude and takes him to some monks who take him further out where there's a 'gate' he's got to go through to pull himself together (sorry, couldn't resist). This is the only redeeming part of the film and that's only because of the beautiful countryside and gorgeous shots you briefly get to enjoy before going back to Elwes fighting Gollum - umm - I mean the ass guys and, uh, heal? Grieve? I dunno.

With the help of his nurse who suddenly is willing to risk her life for him (ick) you have the typical 'fighting your demons' type of scenes that drag until yes, he finds his family (and the rest of him) and we have the prolonged goodbyes. Trust me, I'm not being insensitive to either Thai tradition or people's need to grieve, what I have a problem with is this movie - harping on an overused theme and using Americans in the main roles as the problem and the problem fixer. So, finally, Elwes is whole and he can now cry. And we can breathe a sigh of relief because the movie is over.