Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy
By Steve Anderson
Dec 1st, 2009

The Witches Hammer

The Witches Hammer
Directed by James Eaves
Written by James Eaves
Starring Sally Reeve, Claudia Coulter, Jonathan Sidgwick, Jason Tompkins
Produced by James Eaves
91 mins

The return of the British vampire movie! Or so says the box breathlessly. I confess that British cinema can be downright entertaining--I've seen enough BBC America to have at least some understanding on that point. So I confess further that I was definitely interested in The Witches Hammer when I got a copy from MTI.

The Witches Hammer posits an unexpected vampire who is trained by a coven of witches to go forth and kill herself a whole slew of vampires. No glitter, no whining and no stupid teenage girls here, folks, just a whole lot of bloodsuckers getting blasted. But the plot our vampire vampire killer finds herself neck deep in is a whole lot more complicated than she ever expected.

There are a lot of fantastic sequences here, lots of jumping around that actually makes things a bit scarier for the fact that you only get a brief glimpse of what it is you're SEEING in those jumps. And there are plenty of nifty asides for those who watch carefully--see if you can catch at least two Star Wars references on the poster at the circus!

And, there will even manage to be a few laughs in all this! About the only thing stopping this from being a full on four star title is the fact that I'm not hugely into vampires. But if you like vampire movies, this one should blow your mind.

The ending will bring some really impressive surprises and twists, so pay a little bit of attention and you'll be well rewarded.

The special features include a making of featurette, a sound documentary with score featurette, a blooper reel and trailers for The Witches Hammer, Metamorphosis, Lost Treasure of the Maya and Albino Farm.

All in all, this is one seriously impressive vampire action horror comedy movie. Anyone with a bad taste in their mouth from Twilight should definitely check this one out.

Legend of the Bog

Legend of the Bog
Directed by Brendan Foley
Written by Brendan Foley
Starring Vinnie Jones, Jason Barry, Nora Jane Noone, Adam Fogerty
Produced by Joe Condren, Paul Valentine, Peter Burrell, Brendan Foley
92 mins

Legend of the Bog is one of those strange movies that's really rather tough to talk about. As you can see above, it's a clear two star but mostly because on the whole it's rather unspectacular.

Basically, the plot deals with things called "bog bodies", which are a kind of two thousand year old corpse that's been preserved in peat bogs. The things float to the surface every so often, or are disturbed by farming or development or similar such what have you. This time around, one of these well-preserved corpses comes back to life to get some payback on the folks that brought it up, and whoever else happens to get in the way.

The strange thing about Legend of the Bog is that it contains a whole lot of deaths, but only a handful of them are actually caused by the bog body. The rest, meanwhile, are caused by random accidents caused by desperation and / or sheer stupidity.

It's hard to get behind a horror flick where most of the targets kill themselves off, because it's so very unfulfilling. The whole point of a horror movie is to get some kind of monster to kill off people and get the people to band together to kill off the monster, not have a whole bunch of people do idiotic stuff and kill THEMSELVES off as though they're all in a mad dash to try and win the Irish equivalent of the Darwin award.

It's a fair enough concept--we've had bog monsters before, and bog monsters that just happen to be enormous, well-preserved Irishmen works out all right for the most part. But since so many of the cast dies off because of a combination of accidents and their own stupidity there's a serious loss of satisfaction here.

The ending is marginally satisfying if for no other reason than they manage to kill off the bog monster--it's really sort of a foregone conclusion so it's not really a spoiler.

The special features include your choice of English or Spanish subtitles, and trailers for Know Thy Enemy, Harder They Fall, Never Surrender, Octane, and Legend of the Bog.

All in all, Legend of the Bog isn't exactly the best horror movie you'll see this week, but there's vastly worse, and if you're looking for something a bit out of the ordinary this may well prove useful.