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Jesse_Wroe has written 26 reviews for films rated ★★½ .

  • Deadly Manor

    Deadly Manor

    ★★½

    Not the banger you'd hope from the guy who gave us SYMPTOMS, VAMPYRES, and EDGE OF THE AXE, but for his final outing Jose Larraz lengthens the connective tissue to the thematic interests of his past, which had been absent to an extent during his "hackwork" from the 1980s.

    Like EDGE OF THE AXE, it is setup as another rural American slasher for a youngish audience expecting a body count. It takes a regal turn toward the psycho thriller, as…

  • The Carpenter

    The Carpenter

    ★★½

    I have to be on the fence with this one. I feel equal amounts of enthusiasm as disappointment. So, the chance of it growing on me is 50/50.

    Or higher. It has an ideal framework: domestic thriller and gory slasher which "house" the is-it-psychological-or-supernatural? trope. Add goofiness and "gaffes" and Wings Hauser to get a paragonal model of Eighties horror.

    But it can feel clunky, Hauser's dialog can be dull and repetitive, it needs one more death by carpentry, and…

  • Killing American Style

    Killing American Style

    ★★½

    Fun hot garbage. Not as incredible as SAMURAI COP, but it is still an entertaining piece of action trash.

  • Dead Heat

    Dead Heat

    ★★½

    Bad, but fun. The story deserved a better movie.

  • Christmas Evil

    Christmas Evil

    ★★½

    Some people have daddy issues. Harry Stadling has Santa issues.

    One Christmas Eve traumatized him. He couldn’t handle the truth.

    As an adult, he has a strong spirit of Christmas, but in the manner that Santa would. He admires a well-designed toy. He keeps two books: One for good children, the other for the bad. Spying on neighborhood children is a major pastime. Doubtless he’s on edge—what if he goes over it on Christmas Eve again, but murderously?

    It’s a…

  • Vice Academy

    Vice Academy

    ★★½

    Incredibly dumb, flippant, and frivolous, yet quite enjoyable, especially from a nostalgic late night TV gaze.

    This one doesn't try hard, nor does it care to cultivate sympathies. You'll easily wonder about real police protocol and citizens' rights more than anything like character development.

    But that doesn't mean you shouldn't watch it. It might even have some replay value, especially if you're on a bad '80s sleaze kick.

  • Trip with the Teacher

    Trip with the Teacher

    ★★½

    A good movie—great cast and performances, filmmaking is competent, action is exciting, suspense is real—ruined by bad plotting, annoying behavior (the actors aren't annoying!), a character cast aside, and one incredibly unbelievable turn of event.

    I'm usually harsh on audiences that tell the characters what to do while the movie plays. It's easy to think about the best decision to make when you're not in the moment. That's a common blindspot filmgoers have. But with this movie...I don't know. My…

  • The Bushwhacker

    The Bushwhacker

    ★★½

    Obviously, you’re in for a super low-budget, tasteless treat. I wonder how many words such a film is worth, but, of course, that means I have to say more about it.

    “The Bushwhacker” is a softcore roughie from the late 1960s. Roughies were, well, “rough.” Sexually. The intersection of sex and abuse presented simplistically and effectively to civilization. We in the 21st Century take for granted that with a few clicks we can find the same thing from the privacy…

  • Angel

    Angel

    ★★½

    Though there's much to admire about a fifteen-year-old girl whom lives in an apartment on her own in Hollywood, CA, (which, according to my eyes, has the biggest bedroom in 90028), has convinced the administration of the private school she attends that her mother is bedridden (rather than absent due to abandoning her daughter), and commands high prices as a sex worker along the Walk of Fame, "Angel" doesn't add much more to the viewing, besides references to necrophilia. It's…

  • Eye in the Labyrinth

    Eye in the Labyrinth

    ★★½

    This giallo will have the most value to the gialloholic. It has some fine distinctions:

    - A natural visual style that's different from the average giallo. It's earthen and toned down.
    - A score that's heavily influenced by Miles Davis's experimental period that began in the late 1960s. It sounds like one of his double albums from the early '70s.
    - A plot that builds toward a revelation, choosing the slow burn over murder set pieces.
    - Incredibly over-mixed sound…

  • Convoy

    Convoy

    ★★½

    A weak Peckinpah film. It's a higher-budget borderline-exploitation riff on movies like "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Vanishing Point."

    It starts off as a fun though clunky run-from-the-cops film, then becomes a contrived commentary on folk hero populism and political opportunism. The ethos is one of individualism, but poorly done and unconvincing. Characters make declarative statements that are obvious and thus risible.

    There is a story here, but it's too overtly predicated on prior films and feels like a mishmash…

  • Giallo in Venice

    Giallo in Venice

    ★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    By 1979, a giallo producer thought it was time to show the vagina being stabbed. If you're going to rip-off "The Bird with the Crystal Plumage" again, go all the way. There will be a build-up with tense music, bringing the audience as close as possible to "wanting" to witness such an event, and the cut to the screaming face that signals the awful outcome...then cutting back to a prosthetic hip laced in a garter belt being stabbed repeatedly with…