Tag Archives: horror movies

Movie Review: Sinister

Image result for sinister movie poster free use2012’s Sinister was written and directed by Doctor Strange foreman Scott Derrickson, who has spent his career on a carousel of horror. Clearly more of a talent here than in the coliseum of superhero novella, Sinister is one of the more notable films of the genre in the last decade.

Sinister was sponsored by Blumhouse, a company that is both a beacon and blot on the brand. Blumhouse has demonstrated that the need to throw millions at a movie in order for it to succeed does not exist. A film can succeed on its merits alone, an important statement. Great ideas should not be skipped over because a major studio has no interest in producing them. It is of great value that art not be controlled by the business moguls, but by the artists themselves. In a way, Blumhouse gave that power back to them, while also giving studios a lesson in theatrical enterprise. The less your story costs, the easier it is to make a profit.

The downfall to this noble approach is some expulsion of honest theater and the arrival of swindlers seeking to make a quick pay day. One of the more attractive qualities to art, at least to me, is its honesty and the pedigree to which it and its practitioners hold themselves. It’s purposefully free, restricted only by the artist’s hand. Blumhouse has unintentionally spoiled the soil.

And look, film making has never been perfect. There have always been hacks trying to discover how to cheat the system or novices that throw scripts together to get a project over with, but I find the horror scene has been overflowing with them, which is a shame, because horror used to be so good. I think it can be, but if there was a staple that needed a renaissance, it would have to be horror (with comedy not too far behind).

What made horror so great back in the day was character. Yes, there were great slasher flicks back then as well, but even character drove those. Halloween is nothing without Michael just as Friday the 13th is nothing without Jason. Character is what drives a story, no matter the mode. I’m talking about movies like The Shining and The Silence of the Lambs, movies with characters so dynamic and so twisted it made your blood flow like a river.

Sinister isn’t a classic, but it does rely heavily on lead Ellison Oswald, played by Ethan Hawke. A true crime writer with an attraction to the grotesque, Ellison moves into the house where a family was murdered with the hopes of discovering what happened to the girl who vanished from the family.

In addition to being a film about mass murders and the vile routes one will go to end a life, it’s also about the seductiveness of ambition. Ellison finds a rack of 8mm tapes, all showcasing a family execution, but driven by his desire of fame and fortune, decides not to report it to the police. Ellison once had great success with Kentucky Blood, his best work, but has been unable to find that grandeur since and he’s thrust himself into obsession chasing it. The story is as much about the paranormal and ghastly crime scene details as it is about the psychological torture that Ellison is putting himself through trying to capture this nagging feeling of resolve. It clouds his judgment and very quickly, he realizes he has screwed up. There’s a scene later in the film where Oswald is watching interviews he did following the release of his big hit, a questionnaire where he talks about how the justice of the victims is far more important than his individual accolades. It’s at this point that he realizes he’s changed, and yet still, he doesn’t turn back. This character dilemma produces a reason for Oswald to push forward in circumstances where nearly everyone else would do the opposite. The scenes where you’re asking, “Why doesn’t he leave?” or “Why would you open the door?” aren’t here. This is a genuine person whose job and life purpose has become going forward.

As seen above, Derrickson does not allow his characters to be the mortar of the story, an important distinction. Characters, in my eyes, should never be the filler. They should be the fountainhead, the first thing that comes up in word association. If you’ve ever watched a slasher flick, you know that is not always the case. Blase characters are easy to remove and almost effortless to write. A true penman possesses the equanimity to pore over his work for days on end, fine tuning his art with the compulsiveness of an addict and commitment of a soldier. With writer C. Robert Cargill molding a capacious lead and hypnotizing creation, Derrickson is free to devote his time to tone and lighting. The film features plenty of shadow work and red-tinted shots to add an unsettling atmosphere to the main cogs of the piece, only drawing you in more.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Captain America: Civil WarDeadpoolAvengers: Age of UltronThe AvengersThe Babadook)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Olympus Has FallenThe Cable GuyThe Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of Tomorrow)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Ip Man 2Ip ManKong: Skull IslandThe InvitationHush)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Doctor StrangeJohnny MnemonicJason BourneSuicide SquadBatman Forever)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The Great WallRobin HoodUnderworldThe Do-OverX-Men: Apocalypse)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Power RangersUnderworld: EvolutionBatman & RobinBloodsportWar, The Ridiculous 6)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (Most Likely to DieIndependence Day: ResurgenceThe Crow: City of AngelsCenturionPlanet of the Apes)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (Avalanche SharksCatwomanThe GunmanThe VisitThe Fantastic Four)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for Sinister: 85.

Sinister‘s best allegory is a black hole. It is enormously dark but increasingly enticing and soon, it’s pulling you in and it’s too late to escape. Like the abyss, Sinister is complex and inquisitive, the equilibrium of curiosity and patience. It’s one of my favorite horror films of late.

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Movie Review: The Invitation

Image result for the invitation movie poster free useThere’s something very unsettling about The Invitation. From its pacing to its characters to its fancy dinner parties and extravagant setting, something just feels off, making it feel less helter-skelter and more controlled insanity. Every interaction is so dubiously awkward that there’s got to be something afoot. It is a horror movie after all.

The Invitation does all it can to invite you to the table and take you out of the comfort of your couch, bed or wherever you may be watching and for the most part, I have to say it succeeds. It accomplishes the feat of interactivity.

We’re left with Will, a man who’s in a disheveled and confused state when he receives an invitation from an ex-wife who he hasn’t seen or spoken to in two years. Will is understandably suspicious but decides to go with his girlfriend, Kira.

He hasn’t seen any of his old friends in 24 months and here they are in his former house. It’s just too perfect for Will’s liking, mostly because he’s a broken person. Will’s fear bridles the audience, giving them the same understanding of the circumstances. Everything is so out-of-place that Will, and hence we, become curious of everything.

Will, played by Logan Marshall-Green, is the film’s magnetic center. Nothing succeeds in this film without him. As an isolated, disturbed character skeptical of everything, he brings a tinge and perception of the story’s events that the audience otherwise would not have. With the point of view of any other character, the things Will notices seem like an overexaggeration, an extrapolation that isn’t there, but Will is a defensive person, for reasons that are later revealed in the script, allowing for the detective-like focus this movie prides itself on. Director Karyn Kusama’s narrative focus frames the evening’s events in a magnifying glass. There doesn’t seem to be a need for one but after a little time, you’re glad you have that magnifying glass around.

Consumed by paranoia and uneasiness, we’re in for a slow drag thriller from the beginning, The Invitation‘s pride and joy. It boasts its writing and exudes confidence in its seemingly unwavering tact for the imaginative. It is a thin line, the line between delusion and confusion. If you’re confused, you still have control of your sensibilities. If you’re deluded, you’re convinced there’s something there when all the other signs point to the opposite. By the middle of the film, Will and ourselves are completely deluded. We have become obsessed. There is something wrong here. We won’t accept otherwise. We, ourselves, have become deranged.

This is an impressive feat. Few films can imprint a schizophrenic mindset and this film gets very close to doing so. It is a testament to the film’s writing and the weaving of Kusama’s baton behind the camera.

But…

It devastates me to even write it. The Invitation may be too good for its own good because the final third can’t hold the narrative weight and talent that has been demonstrated thus far, collapsing under the task that it is now expected to complete. Up to this point, The Invitation has said, “Yeah, we’re that guy” like a trash-talking pool swindler. He has performed up to the goals he has set himself. That also means that he feels he has to outdo himself with each shot, climbing the metaphorical ladder towards absolute perfection. The rungs get farther and farther apart the more he climbs, so much so that he has to start jumping to reach them. The third act has arrived, the final bar meters away but it outstretches his reach and he falls down the side of the cliff.

The payoff, after all this build, is not remotely close to enough. This film, to this point, has been borderline hypnotic. There’s not much plot-wise going on but you don’t dare take your eyes off it. It is magnetic, attracting all sorts of psychological tortures to it. It is as if someone shut off that magnet.

The tension slowly erodes and when the payoff comes (far too late, by the way), it has lost a lot of its grip.

This film could have been great, 80’s material. The payoff really hurts the memory of the film after you watch it though and that can’t be ignored.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Captain America: Civil WarDeadpoolAvengers: Age of UltronThe AvengersThe Babadook)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Olympus Has FallenThe Cable GuyThe Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of Tomorrow)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (HushGhostbusters (2016)BatmanFree State of JonesThe Running Man)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Jason BourneSuicide SquadBatman ForeverThe CrowHardcore Henry)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (UnderworldThe Do-OverX-Men: ApocalypseD-Tox/Eye See YouConstantine)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Underworld: EvolutionBatman & RobinBloodsportWar, The Ridiculous 6)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (Independence Day: ResurgenceThe Crow: City of AngelsCenturionPlanet of the ApesStonados)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (Avalanche SharksCatwomanThe GunmanThe VisitThe Fantastic Four)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for The Invitation: 71.

Logan Marshall-Green is a capable actor and Kusama clearly a deft hand at directing and yet with all that The Invitation offers, it wipes out in the clutch. It throws a lot of punches but disappears when those punches would have mattered the most. Still certainly worth a viewing and I’m more than likely to visit it again.

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Movie Review: Hush

Image result for hush movie poster free useIn a year of abusively bad pieces, 2016 has offered some horror treats. That hardly justifies the year we’ve had to suffer through at the cinemas but at least it’s something. When you’re desperate enough, you’ll accept any respite.

Over the last few years as a film critic, I’ve gained an appreciation for the horror genre that I initially did not have, mostly because it is quite easy to stereotype the horror genre as a found footage, directionless and sometimes gory, sometimes plain uninteresting behemoth. Horror is the niche that has struggled the most in film as of late. There’s no John Carpenter or George Romero to keep it afloat, but that is not to say that the horror table is vacant. There have been some successes, though not nearly as many as there should have been.

With all that said, most of the highlights of 2016 cinema have come from this dish and they’ve tasted fairly well, too. The Witch, 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Conjuring 2 and Don’t Breathe were all noteworthy and thus far all have a legitimate case to make the top ten best films of the year. Last I checked, 10 Cloverfield Lane still breaks my top five.

All of this goes to say that Hush should not have been a surprise to me. I should have expected more but I’ll be blunt when I say the horror genre has instilled some false hope in me more than a fair share of times, as has every other genre. I try to stint my anticipation to protect myself from disappointment.

Hush comes from the same vein as Don’t Breathe. It plays to our eyes, not to our ears. Our eyes show us a mute and deaf author alone in the woods. A killer on the loose becomes infatuated with her disabilities. Her helplessness intrigues him and he keeps her alive like a bird in a cage.

Maddie, our main character, lives in her own bubble, seemingly oblivious to the world around her. Unable to perceive sound or communicate with her voice, Maddie seems as pitiful as a lost puppy to both the killer and us as an audience. The killer can do all he wants whenever he wants. Maddie is completely incapable in this situation. These specific circumstances allow for a more complicated scenario and ambidextrous villain.

For one, our point of view in horror movies is normally skewed by all of the stupidity surrounding our character. Yes, living by yourself is dumb, especially when you’re disabled, but this loss of control can happen in any setting. The ability to choose is slowly tugged away from you like a thread pulled through a weave. We are paralyzed, unable to act.

Second, this murderer doesn’t want to kill Maddie, at least not right away. We see it early on as he slowly paces around the house allowing her to lock all the doors. He is stunned how clueless Maddie is. He loses interest in his first victim because of how distant and disconnected Maddie is. She is completely alone both in location and as a person and this second tidbit is probably what drives the killer to toy with her the most. He is alone, too. Where he has grown strong in his individuality, Maddie appears directionless and what’s worse, doesn’t have a compass. Our killer is both a psychopath and a man with some sense of value. He thinks so little of Maddie that he feels she isn’t even worthy of death. Instead, he cages her.

This is simple and developed all at once, a preliminary sketch and a developed blueprint. This conundrum is what I find most fascinating about Hush.

Director Mike Flanagan made headlines for his 2013 picture, Oculus. I have yet to see it but I’m certainly more likely to view it now. While I have no plans to see Ouija: Origin of Evil, that is Flanagan’s newest project. He may become one of the genre’s gargoyles.

It’s that Hush manages to accomplish so much with so little that attracts my attention as well. Few characters, small budget and none of it matters. They are numbers. This film isn’t about numbers. It’s about quality. Flanagan’s studious with his pen and perhaps more so with his director’s chair. It’s a mostly silent ride but one that you leave talking about.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Captain America: Civil WarDeadpoolAvengers: Age of UltronThe AvengersThe Babadook)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Olympus Has FallenThe Cable GuyThe Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of Tomorrow)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (Ghostbusters (2016)BatmanFree State of JonesThe Running Man10 Cloverfield Lane)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Jason BourneSuicide SquadBatman ForeverThe CrowHardcore Henry)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (UnderworldThe Do-OverX-Men: ApocalypseD-Tox/Eye See YouConstantine)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Underworld: EvolutionBatman & RobinBloodsportWar, The Ridiculous 6)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (Independence Day: ResurgenceThe Crow: City of AngelsCenturionPlanet of the ApesStonados)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (Avalanche SharksCatwomanThe GunmanThe VisitThe Fantastic Four)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for Hush: 75.

Hush thrills while leaving you short of breath at points. Like with Don’t Breathe, you can’t breathe. You can’t make a sound. You, like Maddie, can’t hear. All you can do is see and what Hush manages to offer is quite impressive.

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Movie Review: 10 Cloverfield Lane

10 Cloverfield Lane is an adaptation loosely connected to its source material, an installment that mimics tonal shifts and arpeggios similar to 2008’s Cloverfield directed by Matt Reeves. J.J. Abrams has called 10 Cloverfield Lane a “blood relative” and that is as apt a comment as ever.

10 Cloverfield Lane is not a lavish extravaganza for horror or science fiction fanatics, nor is it a blockbuster. A modest $15 million budget and 103-minute running time doesn’t jump out at you as something that’s a must-see.

10 Cloverfield Lane reminds me of old-time horror—horror that is trying to be rejuvenated and captivated again, such as in 2014’s The Babadook. Jump scares have outlived their usefulness and so have over-the-top special effects. What truly scares us is our own thoughts. The brain is more qualified to scare us than anything a master designer can create or a cameraman can capture. We scare ourselves. We just need a push in the right direction.

Nerve-grating tension and chilling dialogue can be the tools to give us that little push, and they’re the ones director Dan Trachtenberg best utilizes in 2016’s first horror hit. Trachtenberg’s weaknesses as a first-time director are overshadowed by the lead roles of Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Goodman, who ultimately steal the spotlight with an iron fist.

This film’s main course is not its plot, but its moving pieces, those pieces being its stars. Winstead, who’s made a name for herself as a scream queen, feels right at home in this role, as Goodman delivers a character that’s just awkward enough to make you feel like you’re teetering off a cliff.

I have to applaud this film, even if I do so half-heartedly.

To demonstrate: I loved sledding as a kid and there was a big hill near our house at a local baseball park. I would climb that hill in a foot of snow and sometimes it took me a full five minutes to make my way up. When I finally did and pushed myself off the top, I felt a freeing sense of euphoria. The moment would only last 30 seconds at most, but it was worth it. I got what I came for and I would turn around and begin the cycle all again.

10 Cloverfield Lane felt like I was going through that same cycle except for a few key differences. The climb up felt like a full hour, the incline increasing at a moderate pace. I don’t want to oversell this film. It’s not a thriller of thrillers, but it does its work fairly well when all is said and done.

When I finally got to the top of the movie’s plot, the clock winding down, I expected vivacity, a gut punch. The third act doesn’t provide either of those. It has a spark, but with all that the film accomplishes in its first two thirds, one expects more and the critics have echoed my sentiments. The third act does not do this film justice. It feels like a parent bought the perfect present for their child for Christmas and then put a sticky note on it that said, “Sorry, son. Santa’s not real.”

However, the film’s third act isn’t a deal breaker. It has potential, but I also can’t deny that the phrase, “Soiled it, soiled it” in SpongeBob’s voice echoes in my head when I think about the film’s conclusion.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (DeadpoolAvengers: Age of UltronThe AvengersThe BabadookInterstellar)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Olympus Has FallenThe Cable GuyThe Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of Tomorrow)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (CreedScouts Guide to the Zombie ApocalypseCrimson PeakThe MartianBlack Mass)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticePride and Prejudice and ZombiesThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2Beasts of No NationTerminator: Genisys)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (RaceEverestHerculesThe SentinelMad Max: Fury Road)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (War, The Ridiculous 6The Lost BoysZombeaversCrank)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (CatwomanThe GunmanThe VisitThe Fantastic FourThe Boy Next Door)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (The Coed and the Zombie StonerThe Forbidden DimensionsCyborgOutcastSabotage)

My score for 10 Cloverfield Land: 78.

If you’re a fan of horror, 10 Cloverfield Lane is a must-see for its cast’s ability to impact the story. If you’re not, I still give a light recommendation. 10 Cloverfield Lane is a should-see, not a must-see.

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Movie Review: House at the End of the Street

Guys, it’s been long. Too long. And ironically, so is this review, probably my longest yet.

I apologize for not writing much recently. I’m the soccer beat writer for the college paper and the broadcaster for both men’s and women’s soccer and with them playing two to three games a week plus classes and trying to hang out with friends, there’s been little time for reviews, sports, or life posts as of late.

I have watched some movies, just haven’t written reviews on them. Among some of the stuff I’ve watched in the last month: Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark (I feel like this goes without saying), Dredd (Dreddful, haha, no really it was awful), State of Emergency (Not nearly as terrible as I thought), American Psycho (Oh my gosh, Christian Bale, why I never expected such witty dark humor from you), The Judge (An Oscar-worthy film), The Kid (Similar to The Judge in scope but Disney-ified. A good family film) and V for Vendetta (Voluminous in vivacity and viewing valued).

I don’t know how much writing I will get to for the remainder of the week because I’m on break right now with my 21st birthday arriving shortly. Expect something on Monday for sure. The floodgates of WordsofWisTIM will be opened soon 🙂

For today’s post, I have House at the End of the Street starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bates Motel‘s Max Thieriot. There will be more plot synopsis with this review than I usually do, but as always, spoilers will be contained in the spoiler’s edition.

We see two parents get their heads bashed in by their clearly deranged daughter. Daughter runs into the woods. Flash forward four years later because time transitions are necessary in every horror movie ever.

Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) and her newly divorced mother move into an enormous house in an upscale, small neighborhood.

What is the fascination with large houses on barely inhabited streets? One, if you’re going to get a huge house, get one where you have neighbors that aren’t half a mile away so if something goes wrong, like I don’t know, some crazy people trying to kill you or something, you’ll have somewhere to go, rather than running around the house screaming “help me, help me” with no one to hear you. Two, if you have two people in your family, why do you need a house that could shelter a dozen? If you’re rich, I get it, you’ve earned the right to, you want to live the American dream, yada yada yada. These two are not rich. They just got it for a cheap price because there was a double homicide at the house next door. “Hhmm,” I would’ve said to myself. “If this is such a great deal then why hasn’t anyone taken advantage of it? There’s probably a reason for that and with me just starting a new job and it being just my daughter and I, there’s really no reason for us to have such a big place anyway. I think I’ll keep looking.”

You would also think if you haven’t spent any time with your daughter that you would want to buy a small place so that your daughter can’t hide around this expanse of a building and avoid any interaction with you, but our mom, Ms. Cassidy (Elisabeth Shue) isn’t very bright.

This setup has a lot of problems but it’s a horror movie, so I guess it’s a just-go-with-it element.

After a “feed the hungry” club meeting ends up to be a reason to get wasted and she finds out how much of a prick this one kid is, she begins to walk home when she gets picked up by Ryan Jacobson (Max Thieriot), the son of the murdered parents who was with a relative at the time of the killing. Yeah, there’s some misplaced pauses during their short drive home in the rain but Elissa handles it rather well and Ryan takes note of that. Elissa begins to have a relationship with Ryan despite her mother’s insistence not to do so.

As House at the End of the Street progresses, we learn more about Elissa. Director Mark Tonderai does a fair job of showing personality rather than telling us. She’s curious, a given for characters who find themselves in this genre. She’s a little pushy, forcing herself into Ryan’s house and just giving herself a personal tour and starting conversations on topics she really has no right to discuss, but perhaps the most revealing characteristic that Elissa emboldens is her want to fix people.

As stated in her mother’s monologue to this friend, “And that’s what she does: she picks the most damaged kid around and then she makes him into a project. So I guess I’m just worried that Ryan’s part of that pattern.”

I liked this tidbit because of its separation from the character norms we see in these films. Yes, there are other films where the girl tries to save the monster from eternal damnation, but it was the way it was presented and built on that clicked with me.

Beyond that, the character writing is pretty bad. The dialogue is okay but the colors of the characters are left pretty basic. I get that Elissa is a purple and that Ryan’s a blue, but what kind of purple and blue? A violet or a lavender? A turquoise or a baby blue? I’d like more specifics and with the horror reveal coming in the 26th minute but the actual horror not arriving till the 38th minute, I wanted more. At 101 minutes, 38 is slightly more than a third of your film and still not much has happened. The only substantial progress we have is our character learning, which is minor.

Ryan had his parents murdered and his sister was never found, yet he seems so reserved and nonchalant about it all. Where’s the pain? People treat Ryan like a freak, never disconnecting him from the malicious acts that happened at that house. Where’s the rage? Elissa’s prodding gets us somewhere but nowhere where we’d like it to be.

At the halfway point, there’s a twist that ends the supposed conflict, making you wonder what they’re going to go over for the next 46 minutes, but screenwriters David Loucka and Jonathan Mostow keep the former and latter halves of the tape together with a nice diversion from our original conflict that tidies up nicely but still leaves us with a few untied threads that bother us at the film’s conclusion.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Gone GirlMulanGuardians of the GalaxyDawn of the Planet of the ApesTransformers: Age of Extinction)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2Young Guns)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too.(When the Game Stands TallBlack Hawk DownRed Dawn(2012)MaleficentRise of the Planet of the Apes)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (The RavenDead SnowRubberHansel and Gretel: Witch HuntersAnchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (ZoolanderThe Expendables 3HomefrontG.I. Joe: RetaliationVantage Point)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesBilly MadisonA Haunted House300: Rise of an EmpireCowboys and Aliens)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The GreyX-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark WorldThe Sum of All Fears)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (GallowwalkersTucker & Dale vs. EvilSafeWatchmenClash of the Titans)

My score for House at the End of the Street: 66.

After finishing the film late last night, I wrote the following:

“House at the End of the Street is slightly more than the average horror flick with a few unexpected twists, but the character writing and therefore acting are pretty shoddy and overall isn’t worth a viewing let alone multiple visits.”

In retrospect, the schematics for the film were pretty good. I was overly satisfied with the plot, but I have to agree with my prior self that the character writing dragged down the talent that Lawrence and Thieriot have shown in other works. Its creativity is what puts it in the 60’s, not the entertainment I got out of it because I didn’t feel filled at the end.

*SPOILER ALERT* IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE SPOILED, STOP READING!!!

SPOILER’S EDITION

This is probably the most thorough spoiler’s edition I’ve put together. Enjoy!

In a conversation with Elissa, Ryan divulges that he accidentally injured Carrie Ann on a swing set and the resulting brain damage from the incident made her extremely aggressive, leading to their parents’ murder.

The first reveal is that Ryan’s sister, Carrie Ann, is still alive. Why Ryan is still keeping her alive, I have no idea. When someone you love does an act like that, they’re not your brother or sister anymore. They stopped being that when they decided to start killing people for fun. I love my brother with all my heart, but if he went loony and killed my parents, I’d make sure he never saw the light of day again, not just for my own sanity and safety, but for those of others, and I’d ask him to do the same thing if our roles were switched.

Ryan goes to a secret basement section underneath the floorboards and brings food to feed her but she is delirious and attacks him and he has to sedate her. The next time he goes down, he brings food again and sedates her before leaving but FORGETS TO LOCK THE DOOR!!! If you’ve been taking care of her all these years, how do you forget to do that?!!! It should be like clockwork! You shouldn’t even have to think about it!

So Carrie Ann runs to Elissa’s house to kill her for who knows why but Ryan grabs her right before she gets there. Tragedy averted.

During Elissa’s next visit, which involves a make out session, Carrie Ann manages to get out again. “How’d she do it this time, Tim?” Well, Ryan puts the key to the locked door on top of the door frame, probably the second worst place to put a key that unlocks a door to a psychopath ever, with the exception being if he put the key in THE DAMN ROOM!!! Why? Because all you have to do is slam on the wall a few times for the key to fall over, you idiot! HOW HAS SHE NOT ESCAPED YOU IF SHE’S COME THIS CLOSE THIS MANY TIMES IN A WEEK??!!

Carrie Ann takes the top of a board game box, flattens it out and slides it under the door and bangs the key off the frame so it falls onto the lid and she drags the lid into the room. Pretty easy. She gets out and Dylan sees her run out the door seconds before Elissa comes out from the bathroom. He tells Elissa she has to leave right away and then runs out the door to chase Carrie Ann. This time, Carrie Ann almost gets to the side of the highway before Dylan catches her and while trying to keep her quiet when a couple making out in a pulled-over car hears them, accidentally breaks her neck.

“Thank God,” I said to myself. “Should have done that a long time ago.”

Fast forward a few scenes and Elissa drives to Ryan’s house looking for him. She finds a tampon box in the trash, making her come to the same conclusion we came to a while ago: Is Carrie Ann still alive? She investigates, finds the underground compartment and Carrie Ann jumps her right as Ryan comes in to save the day. Wait a second. Ryan broke Carrie Ann’s neck. That can’t be her. The hair color isn’t right. As we get a closeup of her face, we see the eyes aren’t right either. Carrie Ann had two bright blue eyes. One of these is hazel.

In the tussle, one of the bright blue contacts ends up on Elissa’s shirt, which makes her look through the trash again and discover an empty package of blue contact lenses and the wallet of the kidnapped girl.

After abducting Elissa as well, Ryan confesses that Carrie Ann died that day on the swing set, which leads to Elissa’s follow-up question: “Then who killed your parents?” which he ignores, saying he can’t have her and Carrie Ann, but that Elissa could be Carrie Ann, so he drags the kidnapped girl somewhere.

Other stuff happens but I need to wrap this up. Ryan tells Elissa that Carrie Ann’s death was his fault, which is why he was punished, but that “he stopped them,” leading us to believe he killed them but there are still a lot of loose ends. Other stuff happens, people die, blah blah blah and the final scene answers the rest of our loose ends…somewhat.

On an old videotape, we’re shown the mother bringing a birthday cake, asking Carrie Ann to make a wish. Ryan, dressed up as Carrie Ann, says, “My name’s not Carrie Ann. It’s Ryan.” leading to an abrupt slapping and a counter of “Yes it is. Your name’s Carrie Ann.”

Yet I still have questions. If Ryan told the police he was at a relative’s house, wouldn’t they look into that? Weren’t they curious how he got from “up-state” to wherever they are now? He says his relative had a stroke when he was 18, which conveniently would have been about the same time that the murders occurred, leaving really no one to attest to his whereabouts. However, the girl we see at the beginning was no older than 13, leaving a five-year gap. A few too many holes here.

All summed up, an easy message can be gathered here. One, don’t do drugs if you’re parents. The whole reason Ryan was watching Carrie Ann in the first place was because the parents were too busy doing cocaine. Two, if you’re parents and you do drugs, don’t force your living child to pretend to be your dead one. Favoritism is the first step to creating a psychopath.

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Movie Review: Dead Snow

I can’t remember who it was specifically, but someone in the WordPress blogging community recommended this film. I love The Walking Dead so when it comes to zombie movies, count me in.

It’s about a few Norwegian medical students going to a cabin in the mountains during Easter break. Everything is said in Norwegian so expect subtitles. I myself am not a fan of subtitles. Movies are supposed to be a form of entertainment that is both visual and auditory. When dialogue cannot be understood by your audience and you have to revert to subtitles, I’m now doing a lot of reading and not a lot of listening, which provides the overall feel of reading a picture book rather than watching a film. This is one of the disconnects that foreign films burdens American audiences with. It’s not intentional. It’s part of the language barrier.

Tommy Wirkola’s direction for the first half is aimless at best. He has his proponents sit around a cabin and engage in pointless conversation to waste time. It’s a bunch of guys and gals hanging around in a chilly cabin, drinking and relaxing. I got it. I don’t need to be beaten over the head with it.

For the majority of Dead Snow‘s first 45 minutes, Wirkola panders and erases at the drawing board while letting the tape roll. A film that is already short at 91 minutes, Wirkola’s poor decision-making makes Dead Snow more like a 46-minute short, if you have the patience to get that far. The script is far too nonchalant to stir interest. It doesn’t want to go anywhere. It’s like when you have to go somewhere and the car is in front of you, but instead of getting in the car and getting on your way, you sit down and fiddle with your keys. It doesn’t make sense.

The most persistent viewer will struggle to stay connected to the material. The audience’s desire to stick around would have been strengthened had they been teased of the quality Dead Snow had the potential to exhibit. However, when you watch a film for the first time and the opening half of the skit is mediocre at best, you can’t be criticized for turning it off. If you ate half of a pie and it was rotten, it makes no sense to eat the rest of it, even if the baker has assured you that is the good part. Rather than eat the rest, you’re more likely to ask, “Why couldn’t it have all been the good part?”

Desultory is probably the best adjective to describe Wirkola’s 2009 escapade: lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected. Inconsistency is a glaring blight on the zombie flick and it’s very unorganized. The story follows a logical trajectory but the entertainment value doesn’t. Wirkola’s pacing is off, especially considering this is a horror story and it’s even more of an affront when it’s a zombie movie. Where are the zombies? Where’s the suspense? Where’s the gore and laughs?

There’s no tension. The want to see what happens next is minimal. For a sub-genre that is usually described as gory and adrenaline-filled, Dead Snow if far too dead (haha) to elicit any cares from me.

Then Dead Snow got lively at the halfway point. Our protagonists stopped making the stereotypical, predictable decisions that infuriate viewers and started making the smart, survivalist decisions they should have made a long time ago. These people still aren’t bright. They make other choices that result in their demise, but at least Dead Snow improved.

Dark comedy and gutsy kills (pun) are displayed in favor of character development that never gave anything more than a perfunctory effort. I’ll give credit to the make-up artists for attempting zombie originality, but you got to do better than gray spray paint and some loose flesh to impress me. The Walking Dead is showing you up!

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (MulanGuardians of the GalaxyDawn of the Planet of the ApesTransformers: Age of ExtinctionJack Reacher)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2Young Guns)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too.(When the Game Stands TallBlack Hawk DownRed Dawn(2012)MaleficentRise of the Planet of the Apes)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (RubberHansel and Gretel: Witch HuntersAnchorman: The Legend of Ron BurgundyThe TransporterSpeed)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The Expendable 3HomefrontG.I. Joe: RetaliationVantage PointThe Starving Games)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesBilly MadisonA Haunted House300: Rise of an EmpireCowboys and Aliens)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The GreyX-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark WorldThe Sum of All Fears)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (GallowwalkersTucker & Dale vs. EvilSafeWatchmenClash of the Titans)

My score for Dead Snow: 61.

Dead Snow is half a film, so it gets half a score. The final third ascends it to the 60’s but just barely so.

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Movie Review: The Cabin in the Woods

Horror films don’t fly with me.

There are a few reasons for that. I highlighted some of them during my overview of You’re Next. For those who haven’t gotten to read that, one of the main problems I have with horror films is that they are so predictable. They never seek to amaze me. No, really, I was being serious. They really don’t.

In terms of what to take away from horror films, I don’t think there is such a thing. Keep in mind, I’m not a fan of the genre so this is just my opinion as is all of this. There are some great examples of how the genre can succeed. Two of my personal favorites are Silence of the Lambs and The Shining. They are so creepy and spine-tingling but they still find time to create enticing characters. It’s not a film that illuminates aspects of life like corruption or never trust your friends or something like that. These are two films that are just very well-written and scare the living crap out of you. I just saw The Shining for the first time this summer and oh my gosh, I will never be able to look at Jack Nicholson again without thinking of that movie.

In my opinion, that’s what the genre is so good at. It leaves a particular type of impression, usually an impression no other genre can facilitate. No matter how ruthless you make a character in an action film or drama, it can’t muster the same effect as a horror story can.

With that said, some people take the genre into realms the original creators of the genre never meant for it to go. I watched half of one of the Saw movies once, unwillingly I might add. It was one of the scariest things I ever watched, but it was so screwed up. There was no impression to be made from that film. The only thing it succeeded in doing was making me curl up in the fetal position. There were no characters, just hollow people waiting to be chopped up, burned alive or tortured in nearly every way imaginable. There was no point to it all. It was just unbridled chaos. It was not fun.

You might have noticed I named two older films as my favorites of the genre. There’s a reason for that. Back in 1980 and 1991, when The Shining and Silence of the Lambs were released, respectively, writers and directors still understood the entertainment that was to be had from horror films. It was not to cause panic attacks, crippling helplessness, or display satanic, sadistic and heinous story lines. Directors involved in the genre today seem to think that painting the most gruesome, sickening images they can think of will get them in the good graces of the genre’s most loyal fans. The remainder seem to think a few jump scares and pretty faces will do the trick.

Should horror films scare us? Yes. Should we be forever scarred from them for the rest of our lives? Definitely not. A healthy medium is required here. As with most films, the genre needs to rely on characters. What made The Shining so great? A Stephen King adaptation, Stanley Kubrick directing, and an award-worthy performance from Jack Nicholson. What made Silence of the Lambs so great? It won the Big Five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay. Do you know Anthony Hopkins had less than 20 minutes of screen time as Hannibal Lecter? Yet he was so on point, so involved in his role, and so suspiciously evil  that everyone was scared of Hopkins for a while. I’m sure everyone was afraid to be in a room alone with that guy.

I’m not sure I can name a horror movie made in the last five years that I’ve seen that I cared for. Open Grave was lethal. Don’t subject yourself to it or you might dig your own grave. You’re Next was stupid but not intolerable. On the other hand, that’s not saying much. I don’t think I’ve seen any others unless you count last year’s World War Z, which was great by the way. I know based off the trailers and the reviews I read from the WordPress blogging community that not only are the horror movies of today not worth seeing, they’re detrimental to life expectancy.

So when I come upon a treat like The Cabin in the Woods, I know I’ve got to give it the high praise it deserves. Many moons ago, I read reviews from the blogging community and read about the bewildering phenomenon that it was. Apparently it was a ground-breaking story and a big hit for the genre. I also read that it wasn’t overly scary and that it made fun of horror films.

Based off those few tidbits, you can count me in.

So I watched it on Netflix last night and I was really confused at the beginning. I actually re-watched the first eight minutes to make sure I didn’t accidentally skip something. I never go back to the beginning when I start a film for the first time. Never.

That’s what The Cabin in the Woods is. It’s one of those rare exceptions to all the rules. It finds its way to dark humor that is effective rather than corny. It’s got some head-scratching scenes that shock you as the film proceeds because it all starts to make sense.

Because it’s one of those films, I can’t discuss a lot of the things that I would usually discuss in a review. It’s best to go in blind when you watch this. Trust me, you don’t want to know anything about this film when you watch it.

It’s not the acting or special effects that make this film so great. It’s what I discussed earlier that does: the characters and story. Joss Whedon produced it and wrote the script with director Drew Goddard, and Whedon’s ability to change things up and keep it fresh is especially notable here. This does not feel like another wasted canvas used for a shoddy, good-for-nothing story, trick-or-treat scare tactics and under-cooked characters. It carries originality and surprise twists. Dare I say, I care about these characters. Do you know how many times I’ve uttered the phrase, “I care about these characters” when discussing a horror movie? Probably twice.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Guardians of the GalaxyDawn of the Planet of the ApesTransformers: Age of ExtinctionJack ReacherGodzilla)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (Tears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2Young GunsCloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too.(When the Game Stands TallBlack Hawk DownRed Dawn(2012)MaleficentRise of the Planet of the Apes)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (RubberHansel and Gretel: Witch HuntersAnchorman: The Legend of Ron BurgundyThe TransporterSpeed)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (The Expendable 3HomefrontG.I. Joe: RetaliationVantage PointThe Starving Games)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesBilly MadisonA Haunted House300: Rise of an EmpireCowboys and Aliens)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The GreyX-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark WorldThe Sum of All Fears)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (GallowwalkersTucker & Dale vs. EvilSafeWatchmenClash of the Titans)

My score for The Cabin in the Woods: 86.

Sadly, I can’t go into more depth because this film will never be better than the first time you watch it, but The Cabin in the Woods is a revolutionary product not just for film-making, but for the genre. Even if you’re not a fan of horror movies, I think you’ll find Whedon’s influence here worth the watch by itself.

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Movie Review: You’re Next

I’m not intrigued by horror movies most times. I’m not able to comprehend the thrill of watching people be savagely murdered nor am I able to attain the adrenaline rush the horror fanatics seem to always refer to in their reviews. When I think of a fun movie, I don’t think of a slasher flick, nor do I understand those who couple the two together. Doesn’t mean they’re wrong or I’m right, I just don’t get it.

Nonetheless, similar to my slight interest in The Purge (although the more reviews I read the less interested I got), I thought You’re Next had some potential. Those masks are creepy! Add to the fact that I’m not pissing my pants nor am I totally appalled by what I just saw, and it’s got me curious, although not enough to go to a theater and see it. So when I was playing Modern Warfare 3 on my friend’s Xbox 360, killing everyone that got in my way because I was in the zone, and he mentioned watching it and taking a break, despite my reservations toward doing so, I was like “what the heck?” So I sat down to watch a horror flick for the first time in a long, long time.

As I said wrote earlier, I read some reviews on it so I did know a little of what happens although it had been a while since I read them so the movie wasn’t entirely spoiled for me.

A family reunion doesn’t last long before visitors from Animal Farm (get the reference?) decide to stop by for a killer-party (haha, I’m so funny).

The acting in this is egregious, putrid, and sickening (I’m soooo punny!). One of the main problems I have with horror films is that they’re so stereotypical. The characters are so bland, unoriginal, and are ill-fated (PUN) as soon as they hit the big screen. The family already comes across as a bunch of snobs that you already want to die and we’re only like fifteen minutes in, yet another stereotype the horror genre loves to take a ride on. Films like these want audiences to want the victims to die, which is incredibly sadistic although very true for some of these movies. It is just a movie after all, right? As I was saying, just no acting ability here asides from our warrior princess Erin, who’s a survivalist nut because her dad is paranoid and they lived in an Australian outback, which came out of thin air but whatever. I guess as long as they give you some sort of reason why she’s so good at killing things, even if it’s totally moronic, everything’s cool. Erin’s played by Sharni Vinson, who shows some character depth even if it is a minute portion and there is some talent there. If given a better script, perhaps she could do more than she did here.

A weak storyline but I already mentioned this is as clichéd as Samuel L. Jackson is an African-American right? I’m playing, I love Samuel L. Jackson, but who wrote this script? Did an intern write this or what happened here?

The kills themselves are the only things that show the least bit of creativity and they don’t get so gory that you want to throw up, which I greatly appreciated. Only some of the kills are actually creative, with most of them being ones that Stevie Wonder could have saw coming (man, I’m in a good mood today!!!).

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.

 90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (ScroogeThe Secret Life of Walter MittyThe Green MileThe Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (PoseidonIron ManLone SurvivorThe Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Next Three Days)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (The Usual Suspects21 Jump StreetEscape PlanCaptain America: The First AvengerDawn of the Dead)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Pacific RimThe Long Kiss GoodnightDisaster Movie)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (Along Came PollyAliensAlien ResurrectionFull Metal JacketThor)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Patriot GamesThe Great GatsbyPitch BlackAlienSerendipity)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30’s ironically define the 1930’s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (The ContractPride and PrejudiceRedemption)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All FearsThor: The Dark World)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Midnight CowboyDark FuryAlien 3)

My score for You’re Next: 54.

There is some “entertainment”, if that’s even what you would call it, to be had with You’re Next, but if you’re looking for a horror movie that will leave a lasting impression on you, this is not the one you’re looking for. Far too cliched and unsurprising at many points, this film doesn’t have you jumping out of fright or out of entertainment. The only thing this movie really accomplishes is causing you to raise your shoulders every time you go into public from the fear of having your throat slit for the next few days.

*SPOILER ALERT* IF YOU DON’T WANT THE MOVIE SPOILED, STOP READING!!!

*SPOILER’S EDITION*

The family is also stereotypical because they’re just so stupid. It’s like they’re trying to kill themselves! Once the terrorist Tariq takes a bolt to the forehead, everyone gets up and runs around like a bunch of dumbfounded kindergarteners until Drake takes one in the back of the shoulder. Only then does everyone decide to get on the floor. Guess an arrow to the head wasn’t enough warning: “hey…hey…hey you people….you might wanna…..I don’t know….get down?! Anyone at all? No takers? Okay, here comes another one!!!”

When they try their phones and realize they can’t get a signal, they decide that someone should run outside and try to get a signal and call for help with no weapon or protection of any sort. Unless you have a world-class Olympic sprinter in your family (looking at you, Usain Bolt), this is not a good idea at all!!! You don’t know how many are out there but I’d be surprised if they outnumber you cause there’s like nine of you right now, but whatever, go for it. Probably won’t work out well for whoever decides to run. Then the daughter, Aimee, runs herself to death literally, running her throat into garrote wire. Don’t mean to say I told you so, but…

The mother has something wrong with her although we never find out what it is because it’s a horror flick. It’s not trying to make us smarter or anything. Definitely a mental problem although this whole family seems to have one because they decide to put her upstairs on the bed ALONE BY HERSELF?!!! Have they never watched a horror movie before and/or they oblivious to common sense or anything resembling it?!!! You stay alone you die, everyone knows that, even the homeless people got educated on that lesson (man I’m terrible today, truly sorry if I’m offending everyone, but aaaaahhhhh! So stupid!!!)

By the way, I called the guy coming out from under the bed. Way too easy. Then everyone comes up and I’m like, “well, if I was him, I’d go back under the bed again so they should probably check under there when they’re all in the room so he has no way out”. Then I was like, “Ohh, they chose secret option B, come into the room to find your mother/wife dead as if you didn’t have even the slightest thought that this could happen, then go back downstairs.” Seems legit, I guess, oh wait, normal brain function activating…..NOOOOOO!!! You stupid people!!! Why does no one have a weapon yet except Erin?! Do you want to live?!

Drake’s wife goes back upstairs to check the room, more specifically under the bed, ALONE AND UNARMED! You know who are really easy to kill? People who are alone and unarmed. Just wanted to throw that out there in case you didn’t know that, lady. She finds he’s still under there and runs back downstairs screaming, doesn’t let anyone know “oh, by the way there’s a psychopath under the bed upstairs”, instead running out the front door with a homing beacon screaming out of her vocal chords in case no one knows where she is.

I was surprised Zee and Felix were in on the murder escapade, because my money was on Erin’s boyfriend, Crispian, who I ended up being right about anyway.

Final thing: Erin is probably just as much a psychopath as these murderers are because she’s better at their jobs, which is killing people! She doesn’t just kill these people, she makes them unrecognizable. Like I get it, you’re scared, you don’t want to die, but you seem pretty calm right now smashing that log into that guy’s face and that meat tenderizer into the back of that guy’s head. Then she puts the pairing knife through Zee’s head and breaks a blender, impales it into Felix’s head, and then turns the power on for an added bonus so we can enjoy a brain slurpee? What?! How is this chick normal? This movie is chaotic.

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