Sunday, November 14, 2010

DVD Review: The Haunted Casino (2007)


THE HAUNTED CASINO (2007)
Full Moon Features

RATING: Unrated
RUN TIME: 80 Min.
DIRECTOR: Charles Band
CAST: Sid Haig (Roy), Michael Berryman (Gil), Robin Sydney (J.J.), Scott White (Mathew), Kristyn Green (Paige), Wes Armstrong (Jimbo), Lily Rains (Emily), Jessica Morris (Melissa), Bob Rumncock (Sam), Kavan Reece (Skeeter)
TAGLINE: Sheer Terror! Bet On It!

SYNOPSIS: After inheriting the casino from his dead uncle, Matthew Dragna (Scott White),  his girl friend J.J (Robin Sydeny) and a group of friends take a road trip to the outskirts of Las Vegas where they find the run-down Mysteria Casino . But the trip takes a frightening turn when the kids discover that the casino is haunted by the ghost of Vegas mobster Roy "The Word" Donahue (Sid Haig) and his goon Gil Wachetta (Michael Berryman), looking to settle an old score. Matthew and J.J. must fight for their very souls as the ghost seek their gruesome vengeance, and in the vein of "The Shining, this horrifying tale builds to a bloody and surprising climax. (from fullmooondirect.com)

FILM: The Haunted Casino is a pretty straight-forward ghost story right out of the 1950's. Matt is a young guy who's inherited a casino from his uncle and he a group of annoying friends arrive on scene with intentions of restoring the place to its original glory. The film is fairly slow paced after some initial gory ghost action right up front. The problem is that Matt and his friends are truly a bunch of unlikeable caricatures of 20-somethings and it's not until the 40 minute mark that Sid Haig (Spiderbaby) and Michael Berryman (Hills Have Eyes) mercifully appear as the vengeful mobster spirits Roy and Gil that the film finally picks up a bit. We get a lot of tiresome exposition as the group separates and wander around the casino and are killed off one at a time by several casino-themed spirits including a sexy slot machine spirit, vengeful roulette wheel dealer and a cheating black jack dealer. The slot-machine spirit was definitely the highlight of the flick for me, good stuff, but it's one and done - that's all we get! So, the deaths are nothing special and pretty cheesy t'boot, but hey this is a Full Moon film, right? Seeing genre legends Haig and Barryman together on screen was fun even if the movie is no classic. This is one of those $500k Full Moon Features and despite this fact the feature looked good and suitably eerie.

DVD: The Haunted Casino from Full Moon Features is presented in non-anamorphic  widescreen with 2.0 stereo audio. The bonus features include the fun Making of The Haunted Casino and an assortment of Full Moon trailers. Be forewarned that this DVD is a re-packaging of Dead Man's Hand - Casino of the Damned so don't double-dip you Full Moon fanatics out there.

VERDICT: The Shining this film is not but it is a spirited lil' b-movie and was a fun watch if not overly impressive. Seeing Haig and Berryman together was a lot of fun and the effects while cheese-tastic were not without their charm. **1/2 (2.5 out of 5 stars)

3 comments:

  1. 2.5 stars in very, very generous...

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  2. Root Rot, I can see your point. I have a soft spot for Full Moon films and old-school ghost stories, I guess. The production looked pretty decent, I think they enclosed space really helped 'em on this one as far as set design and maximizing the ltd budget. And that one slot-machine spirrit didn't hurt either. Thanks for the feedback.

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  3. Just put my review up also and I agree its about a 2.5 on your scale also. Its your average Full Moon movie. Likeable characters, cheesy special effects and a weak ending. I still enjoyed it.

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