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HORROR DVD/BLU-RAY REVIEWS

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MACHINED
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Reviewed by: JimmyO

Directed by: Craig McMahon

Starring:
David C. Hayes
Patti Tindall
Jose Rosete

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
When some dude named Ryan finds himself out of gas on a lonely highway, he is involved in an accident with a large, hairy dude that’s really into serial killers. Soon Ryan finds himself becoming the creepy guys own personal bloody servant.
Is it good movie?

What starts off as an intriguing premise (albeit impossible), soon turns into a repetitive stalk and slaughter flick with more in common with Wolf Creek than just the poster. We meet Ryan (Jose Rosete) as he is driving in the middle of the desert. He runs out of gas and finds himself looking for help. But help is not what he gets from serial killer loving wacko Motor Man Dan, played effectively by David C. Hayes. Ryan soon becomes a part of Dan’s crazed idea of fun when he is turned into a killer, yes you heard me right. Interesting idea, but it is weakened by the unbelievable nature of his transformation. This is sci-fi stuff which might have worked if this had been a different type of movie. It could have been a very thought provoking feature. But that sadly is not the case. Nope, what we get is a bunch of useless human fodder killed off in pretty basic ways, which means lots and lots of stabbings. And if it's nudity you want, there is a tit shot from one of the victims during a misplaced sex scene which turns disturbing when Ryan shows up. Not necessarily all that much fun. And all of these victims seem to have car problems in the same area. Come on; let’s find another way to get them there beside that tired cliché. Dumb people with cars breaking down and getting slaughtered in torturous sequences… its not always scary.

There is one single character that I actually gave any thought too. Angela, Ryan’s sister is played well by Patti Tindall. When her brother is missing she begins to lose patience with the useless police and takes things into her own hands. This does help in the last half hour when she finds out where her brother has disappeared to. Yet even that gets a bit monotonous and I really questioned some of her choices, but she is a good enough actress to keep me interested in her. I also appreciated the atmosphere created by writer, editor, cinematographer and director Craig McMahon. He is able to create a few suspenseful moments and has an interesting way of putting it all together. The sound, the set design all made for a pretty creepy feel, but if you have seen Wolf Creek or any other crazy psycho killer in the middle of nowhere, he offers nothing new. Shot on digital, there is a certain “snuff” feel to this machine and it works to a certain extent, especially since all of the victims aside from Angela, are there just to be tied up and killed. Yet this is also the films downfall, leaving you with nothing that you haven’t seen before and very few characters to root for.
Video / Audio
Video: Letterbox 1.78:1 picture looks decent for the kind of flick this is.

Audio: the 2.0 and 5.1 Dolby Digital work great with creepy breathing and synthesizer score.
The Extras
The extras are pretty pathetic here. We get the Machined Trailer (1:06) which makes the movie look worse than it is. And then we have more trailers for "Stephen King's Desperation", "Haunted Highway", "Sea of Fear", "The Great Challenge", "Ultimate Avengers 2" and "The Descent".
Last Call
Interesting direction and a capable lead actress are not enough to make a truly creepy horror flick. This is one of those films that hold some interest for the last section but when it’s over, it’s over and out of your mind. Too many useless characters and repetitive stalk and slash sequences make for a bland horror tale. And with a premise the starts off interesting, but soon ends up impossible to believe really could have been an interesting look at how someone could be driven to kill. I like Mr. McMahon’s vision. He has some unique ways to tell a story including some nice killer POV shots and effective use of lighting. It’s too bad the script wasn’t a little more challenging or insightful. Machined could have been much better with some major repair work done.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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