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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars finally...
I have written reviews for almost every After Dark Horror Fest release so far (to be honest, this is #6), and this is my highest rating so far. Before I tell you what I like about this one, let me tell you what I wasn't liking about the others:

I have great hope in horror movies, because it seems that this genre might be one of the most visceral mainstays of...
Published on June 30, 2007 by Mr. Richard K. Weems

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ALL IN THE FAMILY
This indie horror, part of Lions Gate's horror fest, is one of the strangest horror films to come down the road in some time. It is to be applauded for its unusual approach to a genre favorite--but I can't say which one without spoiling its ending.

At any rate, THE HAMILTONS are a family of three brothers and one sister trying to adjust to the deaths of their...
Published on April 6, 2007 by Michael Butts


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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars finally..., June 30, 2007
This review is from: The Hamiltons (After Dark Horrorfest) (DVD)
I have written reviews for almost every After Dark Horror Fest release so far (to be honest, this is #6), and this is my highest rating so far. Before I tell you what I like about this one, let me tell you what I wasn't liking about the others:

I have great hope in horror movies, because it seems that this genre might be one of the most visceral mainstays of creativity in the movie business nowadays. The essence of that creativity is its accessibility--it seems that just about anyone can make a horror movie (and does). They are famously low budget, and many big names have made their starts in horror movies--two of the most famous now would be Sam Raimi and Peter Jackson. And horror movies don't have to be high-grossing to be famous--just go on eBay and find tons of stuff relating to 'cult' movies, movies that maybe only ever saw the light of day in local theatres or on video, but spread by word of mouth (and, let's face it, drunken parties) over years until they became famous. Also, I think horror movies are wonderful for being able to reinvent themselves--horror movie makers are for the most part very well versed in horror, so while some may make run-of-the-mill horror, there are those who make horror movies that acknowledge the long history before them and stack themselves on top of that tradition either by playing with the form (as in Shaun of the Dead) or bring it down to its most visceral roots of splatter, gore and fun (as in The Evil Dead).

I was hoping for either of these in spades with the HorrorFest movies, but unfortunately, many of them were reminding me that there are also a lot of crap horror movies in the world, and that sometimes people get their friends together and make a horror movie because they just don't have the talent or creativity to make anything good, so they just work up on old formula. A lot of HorrorFest films were being little more than the usual formula in a new setting, doing the usual formula without bringing anything new to it (the ones that mostly come to mind for this were Dark Ride - After Dark Horror Fest, Penny Dreadful - After Dark Horror Fest and Unrest - After Dark Horror Fest).

This film, however, was the first one I watched without continually checking the elapsed time or getting the urge to fast forward through the obvious parts. This is also a film that is served well by its preview, a rare thing, for of late I have been finding a lot of previews to be either lies or giving away too much and thus making the movie less interesting to see.

This film is probably best summarized as a mixture of American Beauty (Widescreen Edition) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Two-Disc Ultimate Edition). The Hamiltons are four children who have been orphaned and are left to fend for themselves. Part of this fending for themselves involves the murder of transients and the housing of bodies, live and dead, in their basement. There is also a mysterious creature, Lenny, locked up in their basement as well. David, the oldest, tries to be the authority figure, while the twins, Darlene and Wendell, are the wild guns of the family and constantly threaten to act impetuously and reveal the secret that David has been working hard to keep in the family.

Francis, the adolescent, is unfortuantely going through his own rebelliousness and his own family squabbles over murder and kidnapping. This makes for a dynamic that is very driving and not dependent on a heavy wading through the usual 30-minute lead-up before the blood starts flying. This film might depend a little too much on a twist ending which didn't seem necessary or all that surprising (I am not going to spoil it here, though I think some other reviews here already did), for the drive of this movie is to see how this family works and what goes wrong and how they get through their lives with their secret or 'disease,' as Francis calls it, but the conflicts and the challenges they all go through are interesting and bring monster (and monster family) genre to a new height. There is of course an innocent social worker who has no idea of the kind of family he is working with, and Darlene has a friend who future does not look too bright, but this kind of predictability is only secondary to the dynamics among these kids, whose lives have been taken to extraordinary heights, so they must respond in like.

So far, this is one of the best Horror Fest movies that I've seen. I still have two more, so I'm hoping that I just started on the wrong end of the list and have a couple more decent movies to get through.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars might be the best of the set, February 11, 2008
This review is from: The Hamiltons (After Dark Horrorfest) (DVD)
this movie opens and runs for quite some time seeming fairly standard. you see people being captured and chained up in the shed. throughout the movie you get to know the family as well as why they live the way that they do.

three brothers and a sister live together after their parents deaths. the oldest(mid 20's) is the most mature and resposible of the bunch. the twin brother and sister (early 20's) are the impulsive ones, and nearly out of control. the youngest brother is the docile one, constantly second guessing thier actions. he is the center of the film. a lot of time is spend focusing on his life and how he handles everything he's been partly responsible for.

pretty low bugdet stuff here. though not much lower than any others from the Horrorfest series. it really doesnt take away from the movie though. i didnt find it "scary" at all, and there isnt much blood and there's really no gore to speak of, but i found the overall experience very rewarding when all was done.

it seems to bog down at times, and it could have moved along a little quicker and had more effects, but there's a great feeling of realization as it all winds down. i walked away from this one very satisfied.

VERY cool ending. i didnt see it comming.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE HAMILTONS: Fun with the Horror Genre, February 26, 2007
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This review is from: The Hamiltons (After Dark Horrorfest) (DVD)
THE HAMILTONS is a horror film directed by filmmakers who want to play with our perception of what a horror film is.

Sure, the filmmakers dress the walls of their basement cage with big wet splatters of blood, and bind their victims with tape and chain...but at the end of the day The Butcher Brothers care more about exploring the relationships between our family of orphan killers than the plight of the victims held down below. This is not a movie where some dumb teenagers go some out of the way place, do something "wrong" and then get hunted by crazed maniacs.

It is a movie about a good looking family that moves into your town--hardworking and on hardluck that just happen to have your daughter chained up in their basement. It is this reason that THE HAMILTONS was one of the most recognized indie horror films of 2006 and most certainly one of, if not the best, of the AfterDark Horror Fest: 8 Films to Die For.

Featuring charming and often times hilarious performances by a talented cast the movie is a smart, fun, critique of American family values, what consitutes a family, and the dangers of letting adolescence blossom outside of a well constructed and tightly chained box.

A real treat.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars ALL IN THE FAMILY, April 6, 2007
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This review is from: The Hamiltons (After Dark Horrorfest) (DVD)
This indie horror, part of Lions Gate's horror fest, is one of the strangest horror films to come down the road in some time. It is to be applauded for its unusual approach to a genre favorite--but I can't say which one without spoiling its ending.

At any rate, THE HAMILTONS are a family of three brothers and one sister trying to adjust to the deaths of their parents. David, the oldest, is trying to be the head of the family; the twins Darlene and Wendell are the rebellious type; and youngest brother Francis is the quiet, morose one, obsessed with his video camera. And oh yes, they kidnap and torture several victims, which forms the core of the movie: why are they doing this?

Despite its low budget, the film is an original one but it is also manipulative, confusing and only moderately well acted. But the horror fest is an interesting collection of horror movies that overall are quite entertaining. This is just not one of the best of the lot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT INDEPENDENT FILM - MAY BE BEST OF THE FIRST SERIES, April 21, 2009
This review is from: The Hamiltons (After Dark Horrorfest) (DVD)
THE HAMILTONS

I have to say that out of all of the films in this series this happens to be one of my favorite ones. Sure the film is flawed like most others but for the budget I truly believe this is the best they could do. I would love to this with a bigger budget because even at this one it was still great and a cool take on........... well you will see. I watched this long ago when it was first released and was thanking the filmmakers because the others in the series were a little lackluster. I would recommend this film to any fan of independent films and just over all good films.

For those who have yet to see this it follows a nice little family of siblings, their parents died and now they all live together moving on. It seems that they can't stay in one place to long even though they seem to be a nice bunch of kids. David is he oldest and is now the man of the house, a job that seems thankless. Then there are the twins Wendell and Darlene who play nice with each other if you get what I mean. And then of course there is the youngest in the group Frances who is your average teen who is out there just looking to find his place in the world. Other then a little incest with the twins this seems like a nice group of kids to the outside world right? Well all is not what it seems because underneath all that goodwill there is a dark secret that the family is hiding. Turns out this family likes to kill other people, all that is except Frances who is contemplating turning in the family.

I have to say that the only thing weighing this film down is the budget constraints and maybe some of the performances seem to lag at times but still this is good. Cory Knauf was great as Frances and played the confused teenager very well, plus I like how some of the story was told through his home camera. Samuel Child as ok as David but at times he seemed a little off, but then again that may have been the character. Then of course there are the twins played well by Joseph McKelheer and Mackenzie Firgens, both turn in good performances each. Every one else in the film were good as well but this film is about the family more so then the victims so we will leave it at that.

Writer/directors The Butcher Brothers did very well with a very low budget and pulled off one of the best in this series. Their direction is good but their real triumph is in the script, this was a really interesting story with a great outcome. Like I said they put a cool spin on something that is very familiar, you will see. The film was shot well but it doesn't look as good as some of the others in the series, budget once again. I need to check out the other film by these two, if it is near as good as this I can buy it without even watching it first. It should also be noted that Adam Weis was a writer on this as well so credit should go to him as well.

This is a very entertaining film that is one of the better ones in the series of After Dark, maybe the best of the first year, maybe. Still this is a worthy addition to any home library so I recommend a purchase and skip the rental. If you do not like low budget films because of their look or something this may not be for you. Man I love that ending.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Hamiltons, April 23, 2008
This review is from: The Hamiltons (After Dark Horrorfest) (DVD)
This was one of the better movies from the '06 Horrorfest, described as a really dark Party of Five. To be honest with you, I really can't go in-depth into the movie without giving away spoilers, so I'll just put it like this: Good acting, excellent atmosphere, suspenseful at times, slow at others, interesting characters and great direction. Its horror, its dark, and I just love how it ends so check it out, it's a very good addition to the genre.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice new spin on an old and tired sub-genre, August 17, 2007
This review is from: The Hamiltons (After Dark Horrorfest) (DVD)
One of the best entries in the After Dark Horror Fest, The Hamiltons puts a nice new spin on an old and tired genre. Without giving too much away (though it doesn't really matter considering how many reviewers have spoiled the twist already), The Hamiltons revolves around a murderous family that enjoy kidnapping, imprisoning, and eventually killing their victims. Teenager Francis (Cory Knauf) is tired and disgusted of what his family is doing, all the while he tries to supress his own urges. Written and directed by newcomers the Butcher Brothers, The Hamiltons injects new life into the genre while throwing on generous amounts of blood, sex, incest, and more that even the most jaded horror fans will enjoy on some level or other. Look for hottie Brittany Daniel (Joe Dirt, Club Dread) in an unlucky semi-cameo role as the film opens.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cool concept, but poorly executed., October 5, 2008
This review is from: The Hamiltons (After Dark Horrorfest) (DVD)
I really can't wrap my mind around the fact that this flick is getting so much praise on here. The story, like so many have said, is refreshing but the poor cinematography, trying too hard acting, and the badly paced plot just really killed it for me; by the end of the movie all of the characters and plot just seem convoluted.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Seriously?, April 1, 2008
This review is from: The Hamiltons (After Dark Horrorfest) (DVD)
I can't believe how many people fawn over this movie. It has as much tension in it as a bag of wonder bread. This movie isn't very memorable. In fact I forgot that I had even seen it until I saw a preview for it on the Unrest disc. Then I remembered this drivel.

The whole story about a family of psychopaths who are psychos "just because" doesn't really work. The acting was decent, it had to be to hold the weak, slow, plodding story together. The story just meanders along taking its sweet time to get to an unsatisfying conclusion. Weak production quality. Looks like someone shot it on their camera phone.

Waste of a rental.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting ideas but flawed performances for the nadir of Horrorfest 2006, March 25, 2007
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This review is from: The Hamiltons (After Dark Horrorfest) (DVD)
Ranking the eight movies from the After Dark Horrorfest would be an interesting way of developing a psychological profile, at least when it comes to enjoying horror films. That's only 40,320 possible combinations, so that it is mathematically possible that at a given screening of Horrorfest 2006 last November no two members of the audience could have ranked the eight films in the same order. It all depends on your taste in horror films and Horrorfest certainly provided you with a wide range of examples. For me and my peculiar way of looking at the world "The Hamiltons," the last of the eight that I saw that weekend, earned the low spot on my personal totem pole. However, clearly there are those who will rank it higher and some who would place it in the top slot. There is enough here to make it worth checking out and making up your own mind, which is true enough of the entire Horrorfest roster.

"The Hamiltons" starts off as something like a variation on "Party of Five" as the four Hamilton siblings try to settle into a new house and a new routine following the death of their parents. David (Samuel Child) is the oldest of the kids and he is clearly trying to dress and act like a responsible adult in order to keep the family together. Unfortunately his younger siblings are making that quite difficult and it looks like David might finally be reaching the end of his rope. The main problem is Wendell (Joseph McKelheer), who likes to go out bring young women home and take them down to the basement to work out his violence issues, and when he is not doing that he is getting overly familiar with his twin sister Darlene (Mackenzie Firgens). Meanwhile, Francis (Cory Knauf) is at the age where ironically he would be wishing his parents were dead, but since they are he is totally embarrassed by the family he has left and wants them to leave him alone while he unburdens himself with his video camera. Then there is something locked up in a room in the basement (a big question here is whether being "brought out of the box early" is a good thing or bad thing. But the big question becomes what is Francis going to do about the latest girl Wendell has brought home.

The premise of this debut effort by the Butcher Brothers is fairly interesting what with the whole idea of what happens to the family that does whatever it is the Hamiltons are doing together. I have seen the argument that "The Hamiltons" represents some sort of scathing look at suburbia, the dark side of "Pleasant Valley Sunday" or some such, but I do not see that as being an apt characterization of what is happening here. What is happening in the basement is certainly unpleasant enough and the dilemma that Francis faces regarding betraying his family has some resonance, but overall the casting and performances work against these elements as far as I am concerned. Wendell is so over the top that it is impossible to believe that he does not end up in the slammer all of the time. The other problem is that in the end "The Hamiltons" turns on a twist on a par with what we saw in the old E.C. horror comics like "Tales of the Crypt." This provoked the traditional Peggy Lee response and the overall verdict here is two steps backwards for every step forward.

I was happy "The Hamiltons" was the last film we saw that Sunday, not counting "Snoop Dog's Hood of Horror" later that night, because my worst fear was that the "8 Films 2 Die 4" would all be low-budget films like this one. Not that there is anything wrong with such films, but I was hoping for a series of horror films that would give me nightmares and that did not happen. These were hardly cutting edge horror films, but all things considered they were certainly more interesting than the average direct to video horror films that I have seen in the past year. For the record, the order that these films were shown in the theater (at least in the Zenith City) was (1) "Reincarnation," (2) "Unrest," (3) "Dark Ride," (4) "The Gravedancers," (5) "The Abandoned," (6) "Penny Dreadful," (7) "Wicked Little Things," and (8) "The Hamiltons." That is if you went to the first showings starting in the afternoon. If you went to see the three films starting in the evening then it goes (3), (1), (2), (6), (4), (5), (7), and (8). But since "The Abandoned" got a general release as the "best of show" selection, it is not part of this DVD release for the other seven.
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The Hamiltons (After Dark Horrorfest)
The Hamiltons (After Dark Horrorfest) by Phil Flores (DVD - 2007)
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