Monday, July 22, 2024

DEER CAMP '86 (2022)

The most original thing about DEER CAMP ’86 is the name. That actually is an eye-catching title which brings to mind all kinds of cool and unique ideas…that, sadly, never happen. Instead of fun THE BURNING, SLEEPAWAY CAMP and early FRIDAY THE 13TH-style camp hijinks mixed an awesome new slasher villain’s badass murder skillz, the viewer gets the middle of the road tale about six bland dudes hanging out in the woods while an angry forest spirit rustles around in the bushes and occasionally kills somebody (in the third act).

As the film opens, our heroes are heading out to the woods when they stop at a bar. They get in a fight with some locals and then go on to their cabin. I wish that the filmmakers had, in order to run up the kill count, had the locals follow our heroes with the intent of getting some sort of revenge. Then they all get slaughtered one-by-one without our heroes realizing it. That would have added some excitement to the story because instead, the entire middle section of the film is just the six hunters drinking beer, talking shit and digging a deer tick out of one dude’s ballsack. No killings at all. It’s nearly one hour into the movie before the murderer even makes its presence known!

As it is though, DEER CAMP ’86 is alright. A solid 5 / 10 film with almost zero blood or gore, lots of (purposely?) goofy dialogue, zero nudity, boring kills, a mediocre pace, subpar special effects, bland camerawork, okay (over) acting, a low body count and a disappointing killer. There’s really not much to say about the movie. It’s just kinda meh. The entire thing is strictly by the numbers and unimaginative. No ups, no downs. No surprises. No real reason why it is even set in 1986. I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it. I just kinda sat there watching it, expecting something cool to happen. And it never did. "Grey would be the color if I had a heart."

Tuesday, July 16, 2024

JUICE (1992)

"Yo, chill!"
"Yo, fuck chill!"

Four male New York City high schoolers don’t spend much (if any) time in school, but instead walking the streets, shoplifting, hanging out at the local pool room / arcade and watching TV at home. One of the dudes, who seems to have a little bit more ambition than the others, is excited to take part in a local DJing contest, but things turn to shit when one of the crew bullies the other three into taking part in an armed robbery.

For an early 1990’s coming of age / morality play, JUICE is pretty good. It’s dated as fuck, rough around the edges, overly simplistic and nowhere near as violent as you would hope…but the acting is strong enough to make it an entertaining watch. Except for that goofy ending. So, thank Satan for blu-rays because if you watch the extras you’ll see an interview with writer / director Ernest R. Dickerson where he explains that the dopey scream at the end was demanded by the studio. Plus, the extras include a rough cut of the scene as it was depicted in the original screenplay. It’d be nice if the scene was mastered and included in the actual film, but nope. The movie still has the same weak ass ending it had back in 1992. Lame.

One interesting thing I did notice while re-visiting the film is the media store where they go to shoplift albums has a copy of TERROR EYES! What the fuck? That’s kinda awesome. TERROR EYES isn’t a great film, but that VHS cover is beyond awesome. Another odd thing is JUICE didn’t feature any songs by Tupac Shakur. Which is weird when you think about it because his image is very prominent on the soundtrack cover. Yes, I understand it is his character and not Tupac the rapper. Still, how many musical albums can you think of that feature a musical artist’s image on the cover, but don’t include that person (or persons) on the album itself? Maybe a lot, what the fuck do I know.

Anyway, JUICE is dated, but it’s still a fun trip back to the early 1990’s. I just wish the violence had been amped up more. Oh yeah, the movie they're watching on TV is 1949's WHITE HEAT with James Cagney. Great movie.