“Glass” Movie Review

Synopsis:

Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds Dunn pursuing Crumb’s superhuman figure of The Beast in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Price emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men (Rotten Tomatoes).

Review:

I was a big fan of “Split” and I thought the idea of making a superhero movie that’s grounded in the real world like “Unbreakable” was cool… and after three years of waiting for the concluding story in this trilogy, I found myself a bit disappointed with this film.

To start things off, I thought the first act of the movie was great! The scenes with Kevin Wendell Crumb AKA The Horde was suspenseful, and I thought it was cool that David Dunn’s son (who is also the same actor from “Unbreakable”) worked with his dad at his security store to keep tabs on crime in the area.

The second act was kinda slow to me, and you could argue “Well the movie “Unbreakable” was slow so it makes sense.” But my problem with that is it felt like it didn’t fit with the movie that was set up in the beginning.

Mr. Glass, Samual Jackson’s character in the film is in a catatonic state for most of the film, but he has shifty eyes, and you can tell he’s planning something- but you’re unsure of what it is.

Now here’s some of the major problems I had with the film: There’s no way that you have these three potentially dangerous patients in this insane asylum, and have employees that are this incompetent. Another thing I wasn’t too crazy about was during some of the fight scenes, there’s some POV shots that are used- and in concept it should work, but it doesn’t really work in execution.

Sarah Paulson plays a psychiatrist but she mentions comic book facts to try to dispute the fact that these three individuals aren’t superheroes and I felt myself getting annoyed because I was thinking in my head “I know how comic books work, you don’t need to stand here and say these things like you’re dropping some knowledge on me.” And the last thing I didn’t like was the ending… without spoiling anything it’s confusing, messy, and makes no sense.

One thing I’ll mention that I liked before I give my rating was the tender moments between Kevin and Casey, the girl that Kevin let go in “Split” and you feel like there’s a real connection between these two characters.

Grade:

To recap my TL;DR review: The beginning was cool, the middle was too slow, and the ending was sloppy and made no sense. I debated between giving this either a C or a D so I’ll go 6.5/10 or a D+. I don’t know what happened, but this could have been a lot better.

“Escape Room” Movie Review

Plot:

Six adventurous strangers travel to a mysterious building to experience the escape room — a game where players compete to solve a series of puzzles to win $1 million. What starts out as seemingly innocent fun soon turns into a living nightmare as the four men and two women discover each room is an elaborate trap that’s part of a sadistic game of life or death (Google).

Review:

The first thing I’ll say about this movie is the opening to the film had me hooked… it was tense, nerve-wracking, and you want to know what’s going on.

We’re introduced to three characters: Zoey, Bill, and Jason…. we get some information about them in order to relate to them, then when the characters go to the facility to enter the Escape Room, we’re introduced to three more characters.

The cool thing about this movie is the Escape Room puzzles are intricate, and unique in different ways… my favorite room is an upside down billiards room where the floor falls apart during a timer.

Another thing I liked about the movie is normally in movies like this, the characters paired together try to sabotage each other and stab their peers in the back- but for the most part, they’re actually working together to solve the puzzles.

I was having a great time, I knew there were flaws in the movie- but I was rocking with it… I was gonna let this movie slide on a C+, but then came the ending- I’m sorry, I meant the second ending.

This film felt like it had two endings… the first one I was like “well, that’s a bit disappointing- but it’s not awful.” But then they had an epilogue ending, where it honestly felt like Inspector Gadget… and it feels like it’s trying way too hard for a sequel that it ends up betraying the whole movie towards the end.

Grade:

I tried y’all, I really really tried to let this slide, but I couldn’t… that epilogue ruined it for me, but not enough for it to be on an upcoming Worst Of list… so this gets a 6/10 or a D.

Halloween (2018) Review

Plot Synopsis:

It’s been 40 years since Laurie Strode survived a vicious attack from crazed killer Michael Myers on Halloween night. Locked up in an institution, Myers manages to escape when his bus transfer goes horribly wrong. Laurie now faces a terrifying showdown when the masked madman returns to Haddonfield, Ill. — but this time, she’s ready for him. (Google)

Critique:

Out of all the iconic slasher characters, Michael Myers has always scared me the most because of several factors of the character: the blank expressionless mask followed by the heavy breathing, how much of a giant he is, and the fact that you have no idea if he’s entirely human. Michael seems to have no real motive, and he’ll sit right up from a gunshot like The Undertaker and Kane- and the mysterious, unknown nature of the character has always frightened me. In this film, Michael Myers retains some of those same traits, but the film humanizes him a bit- he can still be wounded, but he’s like an uncaged animal- and if you wound him and corner him enough, he becomes even more dangerous than he already was. I also have to mention that the design of his mask in this film is incredible, it’s been aged and worn out to give it a gritty, grizzled look that works for this iteration of the character. Another cool thing is you never get a clear look at Myers’ face, you’ll get a profile, a close up of the side of his face, and shots of his glassy, dead looking eyes, and it leaves it to your imagination to fill in the blanks.

Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode, and the way her character is portrayed is a breath of fresh air. Obviously she would be traumatized because of the near-fatal encounter she had with Michael in 1978, but that event has traumatized her so much that she’s become a walking embodiment of PTSD, and this trauma doesn’t just affect her- it affects her relationship with her family. Michael has gotten to Laurie in such a psychological way, that Laurie is alienated by her family due to her paranoia.

Another thing I like about this movie is John Carpenter’s score. It still retains the classic vibe of the 1978 film, but it’s been revamped in a modern way using electronic synths and violins, and an interesting thing to note is Carpenter’s son helped write the soundtrack with him.

Something I have to mention is the fact that there are some false jump scares, which is a modern horror trope that gets on my nerves, but there’s enough real genuine horror moments that outweigh those few moments I was annoyed at. Another thing that normally bugs me is when characters conveniently lose IQ points whenever they’re chased by the antagonist, but I won’t really hold that against the film because it honestly feels like it’s embracing that trope of the slasher franchise.

One thing I will hold against this film, however, is that flat ending this film delivers. Look, I know that the original film didn’t necessarily have the most concrete ending either, and this is obviously a tribute to that film, but the reason why this one is inexcusable to me is the fact that they zoom in on a character holding a knife… and that’s where they cut to credits. That frustrated me, because what am I supposed to take away from an ending like that?

I appreciate that this film wipes away the other movies in the franchise, and it makes Michael scary again, but that flat ending bugged the hell out of me, and you lose points for that.

Grade:

Halloween (2018) is definitely going to make fans of the Halloween franchise happy, and there’s no doubt it’ll do well in the box office, but the biggest critique of mine is that ending.

So, I have no choice but to give this film a 8.5/10 or a B+

To get the full experience: watch the original film and listen to the song “Stabbing in the Dark” by Ice Nine Kills, and you’ll be all set to see this movie!

“The Haunting of Hill House” REVIEW| A Netflix Original Horror Series

Plot Synopsis:

Flashing between past and present, a fractured family confronts haunting memories of their old home and the terrifying events that drove them from it. (Netflix)

Critique:

Normally on my blog I’ll do reviews for theatrical releases, however in rare cases I’ll review Straight To DVD Titles (case in point, see my review of “Batman Ninja”) and with something like Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House” I feel so profoundly to talk about this series, because this HAS to be talked about!

As many of you may know, I’m a huge fan of horror- I practically grew up on horror because my grandmother would let me watch old black and white horror films whenever I visited her. And for a while now, I haven’t really seen anything that had caused me the same terror as those movies did where I had to leave the lights on before I’d go to bed…. that is, until this series.

So, what makes this series so scary? For me, what makes this show incredibly terrifying, and downright horrifying is the blend of the supernatural along with the very real issues this family is plagued with both while living in the house, and even after leaving it. The house, we later find out, is very much a character itself and the impact it has on the family inhabiting it is very sinister. Some members of the Crane family do very dangerous stuff to themselves as a way to cope with what happened in the house, other members exploit it as a way to make a career. So yes, the ghosts, ghouls, and malevolent spirits are terrifying- but the scariest thing is the fact that this haunted house has tore apart this family in a truly tragic way.

The one thing this show definitely nails is the atmosphere, it makes you feel like you’re actually a resident in this haunted house. Another neat touch is if you pay close enough attention, you’ll see some specters lurking in the darkest corners of the house. Another thing that really helps build the atmosphere is the score in the series, it definitely sets the mood. Something else that this series does is produce horrifying images that will forever be burned into your brain, so if the atmosphere and mood doesn’t affect you, the disturbing visuals definitely will!

Another thing I like is, just like in the movie “Oculus”, this show jumps from the past to the present, back and forth in time almost seamlessly. Some people may have a problem with this, but for me it’s a great way to connect certain events together… one significant event being the reveal of The Bent Neck Lady’s identity, which got the biggest reaction from me.

Now while there are a few false jump scares (sorry, I gotta mention it) there’s still plenty of very real moments of terror to keep you gripped to your seat.

Grade:

This is honestly one of the most terrifying shows I’ve seen in a while, and it’s definitely more effective than something like “The Nun” that I’ve seen this year- so I have no choice but to give “The Haunting in Hill House” a 10/10 or an A+. If you’re a fan of horror, you NEED to watch this series!

“Hell Fest” Movie Review

Synopsis:

“On Halloween night, three young women and their respective boyfriends head to Hell Fest — a ghoulish traveling carnival that features a labyrinth of rides, games and mazes. They soon face a bloody night of terror when a masked serial killer turns the horror theme park into his own personal playground” (Google).

Review:

When I saw the trailer to this movie on FaceBook, I was intrigued because I thought the concept of a serial killer hunting down teenagers, or in this case-college students, was a cool idea. But this film isn’t just a cool concept- it honestly feels like an homage, or even a love letter to the 1990’s era of slasher films like “Scream”. I like the fact that the beginning of the film felt like a party when the group is having fun at this horror themed festival, but as soon as they realize the very real danger they’re in… the movie becomes suspenseful, and somewhat uncomfortable.

I also like the fact that the serial killer, who isn’t given a name, feels like Micheal Myers in the way that he’s treated like a force of nature instead of a human being. The mask the killer uses is cool and it also serves a purpose of letting him blend in. Another cool fact I like about the killer is that they give you subtle hints at what his motivation could possibly be, and even at the end- the movie makes you come up with you’re own interpretation.

I thought the group of college kids played their roles well, there weren’t any nonsensical cliques amongst the group like the slutty chick or the dumb jock… they felt like real college kids. I felt each person amongst the group had a chance to shine.

Grade:

“Hell Fest” doesn’t really do anything new with the slasher genre, but it uses the DNA of the genre extremely well, and if you’re a fan of horror- I’d suggest giving it a watch. It feels like a good companion piece to films like “Halloween” “Scream” and “Friday the 13” so with all that being said, I’m going to give “Hell Fest” a 9/10 or an A.

Like I said, it doesn’t do anything new with the genre, but it’s a lot of fun and it feels like going into a horror amusement without having to physically be there.

“The Nun” Movie Review

Synopsis:

When a young nun at a cloistered abbey in Romania takes her own life, a priest with a haunted past and a novitiate on the threshold of her final vows are sent by the Vatican to investigate. Together, they uncover the order’s unholy secret. Risking not only their lives but their faith and their very souls, they confront a malevolent force in the form of a demonic nun. (Google)

Analysis:

When I first heard that they were making a movie about the Marilyn Manson Nun from “The Conjuring 2” I will admit, I scoffed at the idea, and for about 30 minutes of this film- I was about to eat my words.

This film started off dark, grisly, and a bit frightening. The tone started off great early in the film and it seemed like this movie was going into a RPG direction which was something I thought was cool. The director, Corin Hardy (known for directing the Irish/ Scottish creature feature film “The Hallow”) did a good job with setting up the dark mood of the film, especially with the gothic looking Church abbey that most of the film is set in. But right as I was about to apologize, the film started to explore the abbey and said “Well, looks like our job here is done.” To which I replied with “Wait, what? Oh no. Oh no! OH GOD THIS FILM IS FALLING APART!”

My real problems with this film is: for starters, this film seems like a step down for the director, the scares are too telegraphed to be truly frightening, and the only character I can connect with is the character Frenchie (Jonas Bloquet) because he seemed to be the smartest character in comparison. Another thing that disappointed me was the fact that I felt like Sister Irene (Taissa Farmiga, best known for the television series “American Horror Story”) felt wasted to me. And the last thing that bothered me was the fact that The Nun, the thing that’s selling the movie, doesn’t show up until the third act of the film- so for the rest of the movie, we deal with ghosts, and henchmen of The Nun… So, I honestly feel bad if that’s your only reason to watch the film because that Nun is the most Prima Donna demon I’ve ever seen in a film.

So, this further proves my point that this movie was unnecessary to me, because we already got The Nun’s story in “The Conjuring 2”. The movie I honestly wanted was a movie for The Crooked Man, because in “The Conjuring 2” we only got a nursery rhyme and a cameo from him… so if we get one more movie in The Conjuring Universe, it better be for my boy, The Crooked Man!

Grade:

“The Nun” is a step above the first “Annabel” movie, but that’s a low bar to leap over… so this is one of the weaker films in The Conjuring Universe and since I don’t have to hold back, I’m giving this film a 4/10 or an F.

If you really want The Nun, be my guest- but I’d personally suggest just watching “The Conjuring 2”.

“Searching” Movie Review | A desktop narrative done right

Synopsis:

After David Kim (John Cho)’s 16-year-old daughter goes missing, a local investigation is opened and a detective is assigned to the case. But 37 hours later and without a single lead, David decides to search the one place no one has looked yet, where all secrets are kept today: his daughter’s laptop. In a hyper-modern thriller told via the technology devices we use every day to communicate, David must trace his daughter’s digital footprints before she disappears forever.

Analysis:

After seeing “Unfriended: The Dark Web”, I was worried about my enjoyability of this film- and seeing that SONY was involved in this didn’t help calm down my fears, but after seeing this movie I gotta say… this is a pretty solid film.

A question I asked myself during this film is this: did this film have to use this format? Could this story be told in the conventional method? And the answer is… sure it could’ve been done in the normal style of film making, but I don’t think it would’ve had the same impact it had with the style the filmmakers chose.

The reason why this style works is because this is a detective/ mystery film that unravels information in the moment, in motion. And getting the info this way felt very realistic to me. As the story continues and as you get more information, you’re gripping the edge of your seat because you’re genuinely concerned for the well being of the characters, because the biggest triumph of this film is getting you emotionally invested in the characters. These characters feel like real human beings, and they have clear goals and motivations. The scariest thing about this film is making you realize that you may think you know someone, but the cold hard truth is you only know a small portion of who that person really is… and that’s something that sticks with you even after the film concludes.

There are a couple of red herrings in this film that add to the drama. When you unravel what happened, everything starts to make sense, and the ending is emotionally satisfying. Basically, the payoff is great to this film, unlike “Dark Web” where the only payoff we get after being with these ‘characters’ is the main character getting run over by a car (sorry spoiler, but only if that’s the ending you get- which unfortunately I got.) So going forward, whenever I see another film in this style, I’m gonna compare it to this film.

Grade:

This film could’ve easily been terrible, but because it was in competent hands and John Cho carries the film excellently, this film rises above the initial fears I had and delivers an excellent film. I can’t really think of any problems I had with the film without it seeming like I’m just nitpicking, so I’m actually gonna give this film (for the first time ever) a 10/10 or the grade of an A.

“Slenderman” Movie Review

Plot:

Small-town best friends Hallie, Chloe, Wren and Katie go online to try and conjure up the Slender Man — a tall, thin, horrifying figure whose face has no discernible features. Two weeks later, Katie mysteriously disappears during a class trip to a historic graveyard. Determined to find her, the girls soon suspect that the legend of the Slender Man may be all too real.

Review:

I’m going to be honest, I had very low hopes for this film- but I can’t lie, the beginning of this film was set up pretty well- after that, that’s when we start getting into the problems of this movie.

Oh, and I will be doing a bit of a spoiler talk after I give my grade, because the ending is so incredibly stupid, I HAVE to spoil it. So there’s your warning before you start yelling at me.

So, let’s start with the good stuff: the atmosphere is pretty good. They did a good job of making the woods creepy, and the sound design was good. There’s certain shots where if you pay attention, you can see things move in the background…. and that’s about it.

None of the characters are really likable, on top of that, some of them make dumb choices. For example, when summoning Slenderman, you’re supposed to keep your eyes closed and not look at him, but what does one of the girls do? She looks at him, because why wouldn’t she?! When one of the friends of the main character tries to explain to her that Slenderman is real, and can prove it- the main chick blows her off because she has a date with some dude…. Your friend is clearly under duress, but you’re more concerned about some boy you like? You’re an awful friend.

Speaking of Slenderman, the design of the character is awful… first they tried scenes with CGI, then they tried practical, and just went back to CGI, and none of it worked.

But the main issue of this film is it becomes a generic horror film that abandons the atmosphere it created to instead rely on visuals that we’ve seen a thousand times from much better horror movies- like “The Ring” for example.

Another thing I could tell is this film was cut a bunch of times because this movie felt very incomplete to me. There’s definitely scenes missing, especially from the first trailer- which showed a girl stabbing her eye out, and a girl ripping her tongue out. And there’s apparently a subplot involving the main character being in Track that’s never really fleshed out other than mentioning trophies, or the girl being interested in Track than helping her friend.

Grade:

The real shame is that this film could’ve very well had potential, but classic SONY- that potential gets thrown into the trash can, because risky films apparently don’t equal money.

I had just recently read an article about how this film was gonna be darker, but SONY stopped that after the film’s release got backlash from the father of a child who stabbed her classmate 19 times in 2014 after trying to summon Slenderman (https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2018/01/03/slender-man-movie-reactions/1002527001/) so this was pretty much DOA.

So with that being said, I’m giving Slenderman a 6/10 or a D. It was generic and boring- and I was alone in the theater, it’s a miracle I didn’t end up falling asleep.

**SPOILER ALERT**

So, here’s the way the movie ended, for those of you who want to know:

After the main character realizes that sacrificing what they love isn’t enough to stop Slenderman, she goes into the woods and tells Slenderman to take her. Slendy turns into a spider-like creature and she starts running away, only to be sucked into a horrible looking CGI Slenderman tree (I’m not even kidding) this is followed up by a voice over of the main character’s sister telling the audience that there’s always a pattern, and that “he drives people to do crazy things, ya know?”

There, that’s an hour and a half of time I saved you- you’re welcome!

“The First Purge” MOVIE REVIEW

Plot:

To push the crime rate below one percent for the rest of the year, the New Founding Fathers of America (NFFA) test a sociological theory that vents aggression for one night in one isolated community. But when the violence of oppressors meets the rage of the others, the contagion will explode from the trial-city borders and spread across the nation.

Review:

As a fan of how The Purge trilogy progressed from a standard Break-in thriller to a horrific, anarchy filled action series- I was intrigued by the thought of a prequel exploring how exactly The Purge got created.

After seeing the original Purge movie with Ethan Hawke, I joked about how I could see something like The Purge happening in the next 10 years, but after seeing this movie- and seeing how the economic, political, and social unrest that’s portrayed in this film is mirrored by our own- I could see The Purge happening in the next 3 years…. and that’s the most horrifying thing about this film.

I thought my dude, Skeletor (Rotimi Paul) set-up the tone perfectly in the beginning of the film when he was being interviewed on whether or not he would participate in the experiment, and seeing how psychotic he was let me know I was in for a wild ride. He honestly stole the show for me the more I saw him in action.

Much like the first film, this movie starts as a thriller with political elements sprinkled in… Actually, sprinkled in might be a bit of an understatement because this might be the most politically driven film of the franchise- some of it is done subtly, others are blatant. Most of those blatant political themes have to do with President Trump- honestly I’m surprised I haven’t seen him tweet something about this movie yet… but even if he did, I guarantee this movie would use his tweet as promotion, which is somewhat ironic, but at this point, nothing really surprises me anymore.

I will say, there are two negatives to this film- The Architect (Marisa Tomei) created The Purge experiment as a social experiment for citizens to release their anger and frustrations- but when the Government sends out trained mercenaries to dispatch lower class citizens, she’s horrified… that bugged me because honestly, how else did you think your research was gonna be used? Another thing that bugged me was the ending was so flat, and I know it’s because they’re releasing a TV Show, but I just want some finality in my movie.

Once the action ramps up, that’s when I found myself really enjoying the film. I thought that Demetri (Y’lan Noel) was a total badass, and I really liked the costume designs in this film… one of them that really caught my attention was a dude dressed as Black Skull with the full leather jacket, Nazi garb leading a bunch of dudes wearing blackface masks. I chuckled a bit to myself when I saw this because of the sick, twisted, demented logic of it.

Grade:

I found myself enjoying this film more than I thought I would, but The Architect complaining about how her study was being used, and that flat ending really bothered me.

I’m giving The First Purge a 7.5/10 or a C+

“Hereditary” Movie Review | Genuinely Scary or Overhyped?

Plot: When Ellen passes away, her daughter’s family begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. The more they discover, the more they find themselves trying to outrun the sinister fate they seem to have inherited.

Review:

As a huge fan of horror movies, this was one of the films I was looking forward to this year- but based off all the horror films that have let me down this year (Winchester, Insidious 4, Truth or Dare) I was a bit skeptical of all the praise the film had gotten at the film festival it premiered at… Because to be honest, all the drunk hipsters tend to overhype movies they see at the festivals. One example of a film I actually liked from one of the festivals was the last film I reviewed, which was “Upgrade.”

Now let me just get this out of the way before I continue… “Hereditary” is NOT the scariest film ever made, it’s creepy and there’s some effective moments, but this film suffers in my opinion because of all the hype that those drunk hipsters provided for it. I honestly thought the trailers were much scarier than the film itself.

I could be wrong in my opinion, after all- fear is subjective… different things scare different people, and this film explores a pretty dark topic, which is family drama- the fear of inheriting traits from your family that you despise, and insanity in general. This film explores how the simplest mistakes can have dire consequences, and I thought that Toni Collette did an amazing job portraying all these moods as the mother who has recently lost her own mother and has to try to keep her family together.

Some of the creepiest shots and scenes in this film involves the miniature houses that Toni Collette’s character works on in the film, and there’s scenes with a wide shot where you may or may not see something peering from the shadows… those are the scenes that truly got the hairs on my neck standing up. But my problem with the film is that it starts to lead you in one direction, but towards the third act- goes into a completely different direction. To put it better, I felt that the ending to this movie was very contradictory to the story the film was telling.

Grade:

“Hereditary” may not be the scariest film ever made, but it’s a lot better than most of the horror films I’ve seen this year… it’s creepy and effective with what it tries to achieve- but like I said in my review, it suffers from the festival hype.

I’m going to give Hereditary a 7.5/10 or a C+