Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy
By Steve Anderson
March 1st, 2011

The Possession of David O'Reilly

The Possession of David O'Reilly
Directed by Andrew Cull, Steve Isles
Written by Andrew Cull
Starring Giles Anderson, Francesca Fowler, Zoe Richards, Nicholas Shaw
Produced by Steve Isles
85 mins

We've got a nifty little surprise this go-round, folks--a possession / exorcism movie from the folks out at IFC, who we all know full well have put on some fantastic titles in the past. Will their grand streak continue with The Possession of David O'Reilly?

The Possession of David O'Reilly follows the title character, who's just been dumped by his girlfriend. He goes for solace to the only place he can think of to go, the house of his old friends. But something has followed David to his friends' house, and that something is about to make life profoundly unpleasant for the lot of them.

Right away they do a bang-up job of making things scary; The Possession of David O'Reilly knows suspense, and how to be ominous, like few movies I've seen lately. In fact, they don't say much of anything about what all this is or how anyone is related to it, so you're plunged headlong into this horror as though you were one of the main characters. No exposition, no advance warning, no nothing. And that, frankly, gives this movie a whole lot of strength in the horror department. Something is very clearly going on here, it is nasty as all hell and it means to do some damage. Just what it is, or why it's here, we won't know right away, nor will we know for some time. But it's going to be really impressive to watch all the same.

And the beginning is only the start of the horror, trust me on this one. It's going to carry right on into a nightmarish morass of stuff you're absolutely not going to want to watch just ahead of bedtime. It's not only plausible, it's also profoundly creepy. It's just one horror after the next, not so much shocking--jump scares will be minimal here--but this will be just spectacularly scary. I'd say this is high-water mark for most anyone looking for a scary movie. The neophytes are going to get blown utterly, utterly away here and may well never watch a second horror movie if The Possession of David O'Reilly is their first. I have been watching horror movies for decades now--about two of them, in fact--and I will tell you this: this is easily in my top fifty all time creepiest. It might be higher than that, but I'm still running on visceral impression here.

Long and the short here, folks, this is some deeply disturbing stuff, and it will scare you. If you're out for scares, this is exactly the kind of pure-T high octane nightmare fuel you'll want. And it's also the most original possession horror flick I've seen in a long time...maybe ever. I can't think of anything that's been done like this.

The ending is a little on the confusing side, but still pretty terrifying. Maybe it's the confusion that adds to the terror, I don't know, but the last fifteen minuts of this one are still pretty scary.

The special features are limited to English and Spanish subtitles as well as a trailer for The Possession of David O'Reilly. There are several other trailers inaccessible from the main menu, however, a measure I've personally never approved of.

All in all, if you want scary, watch The Possession of David O'Reilly. It does creepy almost too well, and should keep you up a couple good nights.

The Haunted World of El Superbeasto

The Haunted World of El Superbeasto
Directed by Rob Zombie
Written by Joe Ekers, Tom Klein
Starring Tom Papa, Paul Giamatti, Rosario Dawson, Sheri Moon Zombie
Produced by Andy Gould, Tom Klein
77 mins

There are so many movies coming out every day, week, and month in the direct to video market that it gets tough to tell where to begin. In fact, I've got a list longer than my arm of stuff I've been meaning to cover, and thankfully, I can catch up on that list. Today, I'm going after The Haunted World of El Superbeasto, which I've been meaning to hit for months.

The Haunted World of El Superbeasto follows a washed up masked wrestler who turned exploitation film director who finds himself forced to take on a lunatic midget supervillain who's out to marry a stripper and, by doing so, somehow manage to conquer the planet.

Okay, so no one really believes that this is plausible. It's a Rob Zombie movie, for crying out loud. But this one will be different for a whole lot of reasons. One, it's a cartoon. Two, it's actually halfway decent. Yes, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto will go down in history forever as the first Rob Zombie movie ever to not suck. And yes, I know, The Devil's Rejects wasn't exactly terrible, but let's face it, it still wasn't very good. And it's certainly not going to pack in the laughts the way this one will. For crying out loud, they hit Michael Myers with a car in the first ten minutes. Otis Driftwood and Captain Spaulding will show up. This movie is thick with horror movie subreferences like that.

And while Sheri Moon Zombie is actually somewhat better as a voice actress than she is as a regular actress, there's enough decent quality stuff around here, including a whole lot of wildly over the top nonsense that you can't help but laugh at (for instance, Suzi X's theme song--that thing is a riot of impossible logic).

The Haunted World of El Superbeasto has more laughs in its entire first half hour than every other movie Rob Zombie ever made twice over has in the entire catalog. Granted, it's like comparing an apple pie to a gigantic lump of cow dung but still, you've got to admit, the apple pie is still pretty good. It's really good compared to the cow dung, but even by itself, it still works out.

The ending is a little on the preposterous side...okay, a LOT on the preposterous side...but thankfully, it's sufficiently comical to make the preposterous nature of what we're seeing thoroughly worth while.

The Special features include English subtitles and a set of deleted scenes and alternate scenes.

All in all, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto is pretty much the only good movie Rob Zombie's ever done. When he's not trying to rip off Texas Chainsaw Massacre or bungle one of the biggest horror franchises of the slasher movie era, he's actually not half bad. Go check this one out, horror movie buffs--it'll be well worth your time.