Let’s Talk About Frenzy (dir by Jose Montesinos)

Right now, we’re in the middle of SyFy’s Sharknado week.  On Sunday night, SyFy will premiering what they say is going to be The Last Sharknado.  In the days leading up to that moment, they’ve been reshowing all of their classic shark films and premiering a new shark film each night!

Wednesday night’s premiere was Frenzy.

Frenzy‘s a bit different from some of the other shark films that SyFy’s been showing this week.  Make no mistake, the film did feature sharks.  In fact, there were three very big sharks who swam through the ocean and ate just about anyone or anything that they could sink their teeth into.  Not only did they eat people who were unfortunate enough to be floating out in the water but they also bumped up against boats, the better to knock poachers overboard.  These were some mean sharks!

That said, they weren’t ghost sharks.  They weren’t zombie sharks.  None of them wore a little Santa cap on their fin, like Santa Jaws did.  They weren’t mutated by radiation or a Big Evil Corporation.  And certainly, they weren’t dropped into the ocean by a tornado.  No, these were just normal, very big sharks.

And while the sharks were undoubtedly important to the story that Frenzy was telling, the film really wasn’t about them.  Instead, at its heart, Frenzy is the story of two sisters, Paige (Gina Vitori) and Lindsey (Aubrey Reynolds).  Paige has always been the adventurous one while Lindsey has always been the one who rarely takes risks and who tries to play it safe.  Paige has found fame as a travel vlogger.  Along with Evan (Michael S. New), Kahia (Lanett Tachel) and Seb (Taylor Jorgensen), she travels around the world and she films herself doing dangerous things and having new experiences.  When Lindsey joins Paige for her latest adventure, it seems like a chance for Lindsey to not only break out for her shell but to also find romance with Seb as well…

Of course, things never go quite as smoothly as they’re supposed to.  In this case, things go downhill as soon as Paige, Lindsey, and everyone else gets aboard a less-than-reliable seaplane so that they can go scuba diving.  When the plane crashes into the middle of the ocean, Lindsey and a few survivors are left floating in the water.  There’s an island in the distance but can they reach it before the sharks reach them?

Frenzy was definitely a change-of-pace, as far as SyFy shark movies are concerned.  While I wouldn’t say that you necessarily have to have a sister to truly appreciate Frenzy‘s story, it undoubtedly helps.  The relationship between Paige and Lindsey — made up of equal parts love and rivalry — is at the heart of Frenzy and fortunately, both Aubrey Reynolds and Gina Vitori were totally believable as sisters.  Their relationship, with all of its complications, felt real and, on a personal level, there were many lines of dialogue and little actions to which I related.  For me, as I watched, this film could have just as easily been called “Lisa And Erin Go On Vacation And Try Not To Die.”

I also liked the way that the film used its flashback structure.  With Lindsey continually flashing back between the past and the present, we were kept off-balance as far as Lindsey’s current mental state was concerned.  It’s a structure that required us to consider what was real, what was dreamed, and what was just a hallucination.

Frenzy was a nice change-of-pace for Sharknado week.

Cleaning Out The DVR: Psycho Brother-in-Law (dir by Jose Montesinos)

(Hi there!  So, as you may know because I’ve been talking about it on this site all year, I have got way too much stuff on my DVR.  Seriously, I currently have 186 things recorded!  I’ve decided that, on January 15th, I am going to erase everything on the DVR, regardless of whether I’ve watched it or not.  So, that means that I’ve now have only have a month to clean out the DVR!  Will I make it?  Keep checking this site to find out!  I recorded Psycho Brother-in-Law off of the Lifetime Movie Network on December 28th, 2017!)

From our friends at the Asylum comes a film about love, marriage, family, and murder!

You may think that Eric (Mike Duff) has the perfect life.  He’s got a good job and a nice house.  He has a loving wife named Kay (Brittany Falardeau) and an intelligent teenage daughter named Laura (Megan Ashley Brown).  Good for Eric, right?

However, scratch the surface and you start to discover that things aren’t quite as perfect as they may appear.

Eric’s good job is keeping him away from his home and his family.  That nice house isn’t cheap and it’s big enough to store a lot of hurt feelings.

He sees his wife Kay (Brittany Falardeau) so sporadically that she has been reduced to scheduling sex with him.  “After date night?”

Laura, meanwhile, is dating Ron (Billy Meade) and we all know that Ron is bad news because he plays the guitar and he’s always hanging out in the high school’s hallway, instead of actually going to class.  Eric says that he thinks Ron is a punk.  Kay thinks Eric is overprotective.

And then, there’s David.

David (Zack Gold) is Eric’s brother.  One night, he mysteriously shows up at the front door, needing some place to stay.  At first, David seems like a good guy to have around the house.  He’s seems to be a nice guy.  He’s good at fixing stuff.  When Eric misses date night, David takes Kay to a movie.  When Laura rolls her eyes a little too much at her mom, David reminds Laura about how hard Kay has been working.

But there are little hints that David has some issues.  For one thing, he has trouble holding down a job and he’s remarkably tight-lipped about what he’s been doing for the past few years.  For another thing, Eric doesn’t seem to be too happy to see him, even though David is always willing to beat up anyone who gives his brother a hard time.  It seems that David is a bit overprotective himself.  He’s the type of guy who you never know whether he’s going to use a wrench to fix the sink or to bash your head in.

Of course, the main clue that we have that something is wrong with David is the title of the movie.  Since David and Eric are the only brothers in the film and Eric is the only one of them who is married, it doesn’t take much thought to figure out who is going to be the psycho…

BUT NO MATTER!  I love Asylum films like this.  The Asylum is so shameless and unapologetic about embracing the melodrama that you can’t help but love them.  I fell in love with this film as soon as David’s eyes bugged out when some fat slob accidentally bumped into Eric at the bar.  I was like, “Yes, this movie is totally going to live up to its title!”

And it did!  This was a fun movie, with Zack Gold totally turning it up to 11 in the role of the psycho brother-in-law.  According to the imdb, it only cost $200,000 to produce Psycho Brother-in-Law.  It was money well spent.

Lisa Cleans Out Her DVR: Sinister Minister (dir by Jose Montesinos)

(Lisa is currently in the process of cleaning out her DVR.  She’d probably be done already if she wasn’t trying to review every single movie that she watches.  Sometimes, it takes longer to write the review than to watch the movie.  Boo hoo.  Anyway, she recorded Sinister Minister off of Lifetime on May 28th.)

“Oh hell yeah!”

That’s what I shouted when Sinister Minister began and I saw the following: “The Asylum Presents…”

I’ve explained in the past why I love Asylum films but I will be more than happy to explain again.  After all, it’s possible that you may not have read my previous reviews and, anyway, I’ve got a word count to meet.  I love those three words — “The Asylum Presents” — because the Asylum specializes in making films that are pure entertainment.  There’s no pretension when it comes to the Asylum.  There’s no attempt to try to fool the audience into thinking that they’re seeing something more than they actually are.  There’s none of the silly BS that makes so many other films so tedious.  No.  The Asylum promises to entertain you and, usually, they keep that promise.

Take Sinister Minister for example.  First off, there’s the title.  Sinister Minister has got to be one of the most brilliant titles that I’ve ever seen.  You read that title and you know exactly what you’re getting.  It’s going to be a film about minister and he’s going to be sinister.  The only question is whether or not he’s going to be a man of God or if he’s going to be an official in some dreary socialist country in Europe.

In this case, he’s pretending to be a man of God.  DJ (Ryan Patrick Shanahan) is a charismatic dynamo on the pulpit, giving fiery sermons and encouraging people to read their bibles.  (I didn’t catch his denomination.  I’m going to assume that he a part of that all-purpose, nameless denomination that all television and movie protestants seem to be a part of.)  When we first meet DJ, he’s married but his wife promptly dies in an auto “accident.”  That frees him up to marry his mistress.

However, no sooner has DJ gotten remarried then he meets the recently divorced Trish (Nikki Howard).  DJ likes Trish and Trish likes DJ.  Less impressed is Trish’s teenage daughter, Siena (Angelica Briones).  Of course, it doesn’t matter because DJ’s married, right?  Well, that can be taken care of…

So, is it possible that DJ is just murdering one wife after another and now he’s planning on marrying Trish?  And, in order to do that, is he going to have to target everyone who might have reason to be suspicious of his intentions, including Siena?  Well, he wouldn’t be a sinister minister otherwise!

Anyway, Sinister Minister is one of those totally over the top melodramas that has just enough self-awareness to also be a lot of fun.  (It’s based on a true story but don’t let that scare you off.)  Ryan Patrick Shanahan brings the right mix of bad boy charisma and mustache twirling villainy to the role.  As always, The Asylum promises and enjoyable movie and it delivered.

Lisa Cleans Out Her DVR: Dream House Nightmare (dir by Jose Montesinos)

(Hi!  I’m currently cleaning out my DVR and, though I’m making some progress, I’ve still got over 150 movies left to watch and review!  Will I finish before the world ends in November?  Who knows!?  Anyway, I recorded Dream House Nightmare off of the Lifetime Movie Network on April 2nd.)

I got really excited when Dream House Nightmare started and I saw those three magic words: “The Asylum Presents.”

“Oh, Hell yeah!” I shouted.  “An Asylum film!”

See, whenever I see “The Asylum Presents,” I know that the film that follows is going to be a lot of fun.  The Asylum is shameless about being over the top entertainment.  There is rarely anything subtle about an Asylum film but that’s exactly why people like me love them.  The Asylum has turned melodrama into an art form.

The other reason that I got excited about Dream House Nightmare was, from the opening shots, it was obvious that the film was set and shot in Louisiana.  Seriously, an Asylum film shot in the Deep South?  You better believe I was excited!

And, for the most part, Dream House Nightmare lived up to my expectations.  It tells the story of a house, a really big house that practically anyone would die for.  Madison Dupree (Terese Aiello) loves the house and would love to buy it.  When she sees another couple looking at the house, she even tells them not to bother.  She has determined that the house is going to belong to her.  Can you blame her?  She doesn’t have much else going on in her life.  Years ago, she was named Mother of the Year but now, she has been relegated to the margins of society.  She lives with her disabled daughter (Tenea Intriago, giving a poignant performance in a difficult role) and her white trash husband (Brett Baker).  Why can’t she at least have a nice house?

However, she doesn’t get the house.  A better offer is made by the Wades, Thom (David A. Cole) and his wife, Theresa (Rachel G. Whittle).  Thom is an emergency room doctor.  Theresa is pregnant and is often alone at home while her husband works at the hospital.  Theresa has already suffered one miscarriage and is understandably worried that she’ll have another.  It doesn’t help that the neighbors all think that she’s stand-offish.  (“I’m just shy!” she protests and believe me, as someone who has often been wrongly accused of having an attitude, I knew exactly what she was going through.)

It also doesn’t help that Madison is batshit insane, so insane that she immediately launches a campaign of harassment against the Wades.  She leaves threatening notes.  She goes online and announces that the Wades are having an open house, which leads to a few surprise visitors.  She leaves notes for the other neighbors, making Thom look like a pervert.  When Thom and Theresa hold a party to get to know their neighbors, Madison attempts to blow everyone up.

It’s just all so over-the-top and insane that it’s impossible not to enjoy.  The plot doesn’t have to make sense when it’s this much fun.  It seems somehow appropriate that the film takes place in the Deep South.  Down here, we embrace our melodrama.  This film is a potent combination of Louisiana atmosphere and Asylum melodrama, with a healthy amount of random insanity tossed into the mix.

As I said, I’m always happy when I see “The Asylum Presents.”  Films like this are the reason why.

What Lisa Watched Last Night #160: Nightmare Wedding (dir by Jose Montesinos)

Last night, in between wrapping birthday presents and eating dinner, I watched the latest Lifetime premiere, Nightmare Wedding!


Why Was I Watching It?

It all started a little over 6 years ago when Arleigh asked me if I’d like to review movies for the Shattered Lens.  When I said yes, that meant I was promising to watch and review as many movies as possible.  If I hadn’t watched and reviewed Nightmare Wedding, I would be breaking my promise to Arleigh!

Add to that, Nightmare Wedding was a Lifetime film and I love Lifetime films!  And let’s be honest — how can you not watch something called Nightmare Wedding?  That’s a great title!

What Was It About?

After six years of dating, Max (Isaac Reyes) and Sandy (Nicola Posener) are finally getting married!  However, there’s a bit of a problem: Max’s friend, Roman (Evan Henderson), suddenly shows up for the ceremony.  Before she got together with Max. Sandy briefly dated Roman.  Now, she hates Roman.  Her family hates Roman.  He friends hate Roman.  Everyone hates Roman except for Max!

For his part, Roman is still in love with Sandy and he’s obsessed with both stopping the wedding and winning her back.  And if that means that he has to kill a few people, send a few incriminating text messages, and do a few other shady things, that’s what Roman’s going to do!

Sandy’s friend Lisa (Angie Teodora Dick) attempts to confront Roman about his stalkerish behavior.  Unfortunately, she makes the mistake of doing this while standing on the edge of a cliff.  Roman responds by tossing her over the side.  AGCK!  I hate it when they kill off anyone named Lisa!

What Worked?

This was the epitome of a Lifetime guilty pleasure.  Yes, the plot was totally ludicrous and, to a large extent, Roman’s plan depended upon everyone being an idiot.  But, even with that in mind, the movie was still a lot of fun.  One thing that I especially appreciated was the fact that Roman was so obviously psychotic and yet no one ever seemed to notice or care.  Normally, that might be cause for criticism but Nightmare Wedding pushed things to such an extent that it became oddly charming.

Nicola Posener did a good job in the role of Sandy.  You had sympathy for her and you really did find yourself hoping that she would get to have her dream wedding.  Evan Henderson went so far over the top as Roman that his performance actually worked in a very odd and unexpected sort of way.

(Add to that, Evan bared just enough of a resemblance to Ryan Hansen that I could pretend that I was watching a spin-off of Veronica Mars.)

What Did Not Work?

Max was such a wimp!  Seriously, after about five minutes, I found myself repeatedly shouting, “Be a man!” whenever he showed up on the screen.  You didn’t want Sandy to get together Roman but, at the same time, it was impossible not to feel that she could have done a lot better than Max.

“Oh my God!  Just like me!” Moments

I related to Megan (Gina Vitori), Sandy’s fun-loving sister.  She was determined to have a good time, regardless of how many psychos showed up for the wedding.  Watching Megan defiantly refuse to take the wedding seriously reminded me of my own refusal to take 2016 seriously.  Good for Megan!

Lessons Learned

Never call out a psycho while standing on the edge of a cliff.  It’s just common sense.